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14th January to 20th January 2017

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Karnataka hosts largest Pravasi Bharatiya Divas

Let noble thoughts come to us from every side

President Pranab Mukherjee releasing a compilation of Selected Speeches by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on foreign policy, at the 14th Edition of the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas in Bengaluru

Narendra Modi and other dignitaries at the inauguration ceremony of the Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit 2017

"Gujarat, the land of Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, also represents the business spirit of India," said Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the inaugural function of the Vibrant Gujarat Summit 2017. The eighth edition of the four-

day biennial event, being held at the Mahatma

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Mandir convention hall in Gandhinagar, was kickstarted with several world

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business leaders and Nobel prize winners in attendance. Delivering a 30-minute speech at the end of a three and a half hour long inaugural session, Modi broke his recent streak of making any fresh announcements. He said his government is

"strongly committed" to continue the pace of economic reforms and would take a number of measures in this regard. "We are setting our economy right." He read out statistics, already announced projects, and Indian and global Continued on page 26

The 14th edition of the three-day mega meet of Indian diaspora, Pravasi Bharatiya Divas held in Bengaluru, has come to an end. The state government termed it as "extremely substantive" and outcome oriented. Speaking to the media after the completion of the meet, Minister of State for External Affairs Gen VK Singh said, "This year we have had a very large gathering, we have had more than 7,200 people who registered, we have had more than 2,000 people who came from abroad." "The general impression that we get after

talking to people is that this time we were able to attract much larger crowd whether they were at the sessions or at the exhibition area," he said. The minister also keenly pointed out that for the first time, all allotted space for the exhibition was sold out. "I'm quite sure with this as the marker we will have to work very hard for the next Pravasi Bharatiya Divas in 2019. PBD is held with an aim to provide a platform to overseas Indians to engage with the government on issues of concern to the diaspora and to explore Continued on page 26


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ONE ONE with Keith Vaz, MP

Asian Voice 14th January 2017

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Lucy Mitchell

Lucy Mitchell has been described as the " First Lady of Chinatown". She was born in North West London in 1972, she attended Northwood College leaving after her A Levels to study Classics at Bristol University. Lucy is married to Dan Mitchell a London solicitor, and has 2 children, Tilly aged 15 and Charlie aged 12. Lucy began her career in Marketing in the IT industry in the mid 1990’s and worked for several rapidly growing American software companies managing regions across Europe, the Middle East and Africa. She joined her father in the family business in 2003 to develop the marketing function. Since 2012 Lucy has been actively involved in new business development and is now responsible for Sales & Marketing for the SeeWoo Group. She is passionate about family, friends and food and loves to entertain. She also loves exercising outdoors and runs or walks 5 days a week. Lucy’s hobbies are cooking, gardening and travelling. 1) What is your current position? I am currently Sales & Marketing Director at SeeWoo Foods Ltd, a family run Oriental Foods Business. I have been with SeeWoo Foods since 2003. 2) What are your proudest achievements? Between 1997 and 2000 I was European Marketing Manager for Northern Europe, Middle East, Africa and Emerging Territories of Siebel Systems a rapidly growing dominant CRM

software vendor. Aged only 25 I was responsible for all these territories in a rapidly growing and competitive sector, managing teams and working alongside sales colleagues to achieve aggressive targets. In my current role it would have to be organising SeeWoo’s 40th anniversary celebration. It was quite a humbling experience to take time to really consider what my father and his brothers have achieved from very humble beginnings all those years ago.

3) What inspires you? Getting things done, positivity, professionalism and empathy. My father is a particular personal inspiration given he left native Hong Kong aged 15 with no qualifications and no money to set up a high profile and successful Oriental Food business that today employs over 350 people.

Matru Vandana – A Mother's Day Special magazine

Yaa Devi Sarva Bhooteshu Matru Roopena Samsthita Namastasyai Namastasyai Namastasyai Namo Namaha

Meaning: Salutations again and again to the Devi (Goddess) who resides in all beings in the form of Mother. Mother is without doubt the most important person in your life – someone with whom you bond and connect immediately and easily. We all know who first held our hand to help us cross the street. You might have slept with no blanket but you know how you woke up with one. Even if you are born with the ugliest face, you know your Mom is there to love you, unlike the world. For every man, Mummy is their greatest teacher – a teacher of compassion, love and fearlessness. A hug from your Mom can be an antidote to the roughest of days. No matter what the world has thrown at you – that expression of unconditional love is balm for the soul. Certainly, Mothers are the most powerful people, because they shape their children’s personalities. We are who we are because of our Mom.

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4) What has been the biggest obstacle in your career? Juggling the challenges and demands of motherhood with my career. My children are always my priority and it’s been a challenge to keep the balance. They are now reaching a more independent age and their demands on time are different and easier to combine with a career. 5) Who has been the biggest influence on your career to date? My manager at Siebel Systems was definitely the person I have learnt the most from during my career. However during recent years my husband has been my biggest influence providing constant support and guidance. 6) What is the best aspect about your current role? The opportunity to build on my father and family’s hard work over the past 4 decades and grow a sustainable and solid

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business for future generations. 7) And the worst? The frustration of having a vision for the future but the business not having the current resources to enable it. 8) What are your long term goals? To manage the challenges that we face post Brexit and continue to grow the business and provide a stable income for all our employees and their families. Personally I would also like to see my father slow down a little (not completely because work runs through his veins) but enough to give him a better work / life balance. 9) If you were Prime Minister, what one aspect would you change? The benefit system and I would have another Brexit Referendum. 10) If you were marooned on a desert island, which historical figure would you like to spend your time with and why? Elvis Presley because he could sing to me whilst I caught and cooked dinner!

'Teach migrants how to queue', says Government's integration Tsar Migrants should be taught how to queue and when to put the bins out, the Government’s integration Tsar has claimed. Dame Louise Casey told MPs that some foreigners arriving in the UK had not been taught the basics of British life. The senior civil servant was brought in by David Cameron to report on social integration amid concerns hundreds of radicalised young Britons were joining ISIS. Speaking to MPs on the Communities Committee, she said her team had been the first authority figures to speak to a group of eastern European migrants in Sheffield. “We were the first to explain the rules of the game to people who had never been engaged with before,” she said. “I thought it was interesting that nobody had talked to them about the way of life here, about when to put

the rubbish out. “There are basics no one had run through, no one had told them to queue, to be nice, as a package that would be no bad thing to do.” It comes a month after Dame Casey said migrants should take an “oath of integration” enshrining British values as soon as they arrive in the UK. In a major Governmentcommissioned review, she warned the country was becoming more divided as it became more diverse.

Queen Elizabeth II made her first public appearance in almost a month on Sunday, allaying concerns about her health after she missed Christmas and New Year’s Day church services because of what Buckingham Palace described as a persistent cold. The queen, who will turn 91 in April, attended services at St. Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham, England, with Prince William, the

Duke of Cambridge, and his wife, as well as several members of the Duchess of Cambridge’s family, including her sister, Pippa, and brother, James. Before Sunday, the queen, whose appearances are usually a staple of the holiday season, had not been seen in public since Dec. 9. Her absence on Christmas Day was the first time in 30 years that she had not attended the holiday service.

Migrants need to be taught to queue

Queen Elizabeth II makes first public appearance since December 9th


C MMENTS

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Save our boys, not our girls “Aaj tak hum sab log ek galat direction mein effort karte rahe hai (Till today we all have given our efforts in the wrong direction)… we should save our boys, not our girls… because if we save our boys then our girls will be safe.” This is a hard-hitting dialogue delivered by Amitabh Bachchan in the much-acclaimed film ‘Pink’ that sarcastically describes the condition of women in the patriarchal mindset society. It just sums up the solution to the problem of increasing sexual violence against women – the burning issue in India. Recently Bengaluru city, known for its high-tech industry and parks, was in the news for all the wrong reasons – sex attacks. The alleged mass molestation of women on December 31, 2016, in the City of Gardens has shaken the conscience of the nation. Today it has become a national debate – the whole country is talking about it. Media reports claimed thousands of men on M G Road and Brigade Road, two of the most buzzing areas in Bengaluru city, had mobbed revellers and groped women – almost along the lines of what happened in Cologne (Germany) last New Year’s eve. And adding insult to injury was the highly insensitive remark by Karnataka Home Minister G Parameshwara who said: “Such incidents do happen on New Year’s eve and Christmas and that they do take a lot of precautions.” However, getting into the bottom of sex attacks, the problem is not about sexual drive alone, it’s about the power to possess. The problem predominantly lies with the society. One basic mistake that the society has done is – somewhere in the minds of the male youth, we have put the idea that a female is an object, a thing that you can possess. If a father refuses to give his daughter in marriage, the groom still thinks he can take her away. “You can take her away” mindset is still there in the background. Somewhere people have been brought up with an idea that a woman is a commodity and this is deeply implanted

in their mind at an early age. As they say “Child is the father of man” – inculcating a wrong belief in a boy manifests in him when he grows up and this wrong idea (objectification of women) gets deeply entrenched in him with the passage of time. Speaking out against violence against women, a virtuous male preacher will always tell you to imagine the victim as somebody’s wife, somebody’s mother, somebody’s daughter, or somebody’s sister. But the reality is – a woman is also a “somebody”, a fact the majority of the society has failed to recognise. Society, many a time unwittingly, tells us that women are objects, not subjects. The way women are objectified in pornography has only given credence to this wrong belief. By the way, punishment is not the solution. Of course, punishment can be a deterrent, but it is not an absolute fix. It does not prevent things. Bringing in harsher laws does not lead to a better society. We all know maximum molestations and sexual assaults happen within the four walls of the house. And most of them are never reported. It never goes to the law. So this cannot be contained by new laws or harsher punishments. Looking at the larger picture, the important thing is not what happened in Bengaluru, it is about what kind of human beings are we raising? The need of the hour is not only to combat sexual objectification but also to change the mindset of mainstream society towards women. Maybe there won’t be an ideal society where no such thing will happen, but this will certainly go a long way in reducing the percentage of such crimes. As Gandhiji rightly said, “Be the change that you wish to see in the world”, the solution to this raging problem lies in individual transformation. For the society to change, it’s important you invest time for your own transformation. Every parent must invest their time and energy into their children, to transform them into more inclusive human beings. If this is done, needless to say, the society will be in the pink.

Reflections on the year Few will look back on the world as it was in 2016 and judge that it was memorable for the right reasons. The turbulence was extraordinary, the tragedy of displacement stark, and the mindless violence grossly self-defeating. Political deceit was as brazen as it has ever been, making the noxious brew an existential threat to the wellbeing of all humankind across continents. The complacency of the congenitally self-righteous has been shaken by the commotion. Brexit, jihadi terrorism in Europe, the continent’s deepening social disorder brought about the flood-tide of refugees from the Greater Middle East, North and sub-Saharan Africa have shaken the arrogant certainties of the European Union and its purblind directory. The political earthquake – beyond measurement on the Richter scale – was the victory of Donald Trump in the US Presidential elections. As an event it can rightly be likened to Hercules cleansing the Augean Stables of its mephitic filth. Corporate media disinformation, absurdist Russian cyber hacking tales stealing the US election for Trump are obscene in their contempt for every free-thinking citizen’s intelligence. Barack Obama’s presidency started eight years ago with promise, then turned into calamity, ends in disaster. Media avatars like the Washington Post, The New York Times and CNN have

disgraced their profession. Indian broadsheets such as The Times of India and The Hindu, for example, use these discredited US agencies as their oxygen, hence diminishing their own credibility. American media oligarchs, the corporate world of banking, finance and politics took the biggest beating in the Republic’s. The man written off as the most certain loser this side of paradise has ridden to triumph on a giant swell of white working and middle class anger at the swindle of their white super rich cheats joined at the hip by their consensual bipartisan Beltway elites long accustomed to ruling roost with falsehoods and corrupt management. The Sisyphean ascent to normality will begin post January 20. Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria have been a financial strain like no other on the American purse. A Syrian peace without any American representative at the talks is an incredulous spectacle. The American media, suffering indecent exposure following their poisonous coverage of the presidential election are mostly in after shock, hence unconvincing in their dissembling sanctities. Presidentelect Trump will start with a clean slate. He can do much to restore America to rude health. He has the power to reshape history.

Casting aside politics of caste and religion In a landmark judgment on vote bank politics, India’s Supreme Court has barred political parties from using religion and caste to seek votes. Anyone who violates this will be disqualified if elected. The order comes just ahead of elections in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Manipur and Goa. The ruling puts the regional politicians in a jam and this could force political parties to change their strategy for the forthcoming Assembly elections. SC said elections are a secular activity and religion has no place in polls. To say the least, the SC ruling will go a long way in curbing inflammatory speeches from politicians during elections. It will keep a check on leaders like Azam Khan (Samajwadi Party) who infamously said in Ghaziabad in April 2014: “Peaks of Kargil were not conquered by Hindus, but by Muslim soldiers raising the battle cry of God is the greatest.” Who can forget Varun Gandhi (BJP) spewing venom in Pilibhit in March 2009? “If anyone raises a finger towards Hindus, then I swear that I will cut that hand.” Or as recent as November 2016 when Mayawati (BSP) said in Lucknow: “BJP leaders should refrain from making personal attacks on a “Dalit ki Beti’.” Dirty politics like Congress president Sonia Gandhi (in September 2015) asking Syed Ahmed Bukhari, the Shahi Imam of the Jama Masjid mosque in New Delhi, to issue a fatwa to vote for Congress is fresh in everyone’s memory. All these things will stop immediately because of the SC ruling and this will do the Indian democracy a power of good.

In West Bengal Trinamool Congress’ Mamata Banerjee unabashedly plays the religion card, while Samajwadi Party’s Mulayam Singh Yadav, Bahujan Samaj Party’s Mayawati and Rashtriya Janata Dal’s Lalu Prasad Yadav have been ruling the roost in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, respectively. But this has neither benefitted the religion nor the caste. It is heartening to know that in future they are less likely to play such kind of politics, thanks to the SC ruling. Current Prime Minister Narendra Modi was perhaps the only leader in recent past who have not succumbed to such dirty politics. He won the 2014 General Elections on sheer development plank. The SC ruling may refrain politicians from speaking about caste or religion during elections but things won’t change overnight, as caste politics has become endemic in our elections and the mindset is difficult to change. The coming assembly elections will be the acid test of the SC ruling implementation, especially in Uttar Pradesh, where the construction of a Ram Temple in Ayodhya and caste-based mobilisation are top poll planks. In Punjab too, religion and sacrilege are top campaign issues. This development in India is a potential game changer that could drastically alter the way we play our politics. Let’s hope this verdict paves the way for a real democracy in India and helps her become a truly secular nation where people will vote based on the merit of the candidates, not the huge caste following they wield.

I have become my own version of an optimist. If I can't make it through one door, I'll go through another door - or I'll make a door. Something terrific will come no matter how dark the present. Rabindranath Tagore

Cllr Sachin Shah Leader of the Harrow Council

Making Harrow clean again Tackling fly-tips is a 24-hour business. I’ve introduced a new service in Harrow that’s helping us to get out to reports of illegal dumps more quickly, even when most people are tucked up in bed. Last week I read in the paper that the first Friday of the year would be ‘fly-tipping Friday’. This was because the extra rubbish from over the Christmas and New Year holiday season would cause more people to consider fly-tipping – well, I say ‘rubbish’! I think it’s a shame that we could become so used to the problems of illegal dumping, that it could get its own day. Fly-tipping is illegal and totally unacceptable. It is all of our problem and we all have a duty to dispose of our waste properly - there can never be any excuse for fly-tipping. In Harrow we’ve stepped up our service and reduced the amount of time it takes between the reporting of a fly-tip and a team going out to investigate and clear it. Investigation is really important, because that’s how we catch the dumpers; by finding clues as to where the waste come from and tracing it back to whoever dumped it. We want to find the people that are making this mess, and take them to court. That’s how we caught Philip Cash, a professional fly-tipper operating in Harrow, who, thanks to the hard work of my colleagues, got a two-year suspended prison sentence at the end of last year, a driving ban and an electronic tag. I think we’ll all agree, he got what he deserved. Clearing the fly-tips away is of course every bit as important. A quick response shows that as a council we care and that, in our part of London, we’re committed to keeping on top of this national problem. People are more likely to feel positive about their communities and more likely to report fly-tips when they see that we’re responding quickly and taking action. And that’s why we now clear fly-tips right through the night, as well as the day. Behind the scenes at Harrow Council, we call the colleagues responsible ‘night riders’. Nothing to do with the 80s TV show, just hard-working council officers doing their bit to make Harrow clean again. And you can do your bit too, by reporting any fly-tips you see – in Harrow, just go to www.harrow.gov.uk/environment

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Surgeon claims he was 'a scapegoat' at medical tribunal A surgeon claims he was "a scapegoat" for "long-standing shortcomings" at a hospital's child heart unit, a medical tribunal has heard. Dr Nihal Weerasena, pictured, is accused of various failures in the care of six children and one adult while employed by Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust between 2008 and 2012. He felt he was the victim of a "cover-up", the Manchester tribunal heard. The trust referred the doctor to the General Medical Council (GMC) in 2014. Dr Weerasena is not attending the hearing, in which the GMC claimed his

fitness to practise is impaired because of misconduct in relation to a number of operations in which some children died. He was referred after a review of the trust's paediatric care services, which included looking at clinical outcomes. Children's heart operations at Leeds General Infirmary had previously been stopped for a fortnight in 2013 after safety concerns. A report later found the unit did not have excessive

Sainsbury's in Singhbury's Aylesbury shop name sign row

A shopkeeper removed the sign outside his store after supermarket giant Sainsbury's said it looked too much like theirs, he has claimed. Singhbury's Local in Aylesbury put its orange sign up last year. Co-owner Inderjit Singh Nagpal said Sainsbury's objected, but he said "Singh" was his middle name, "bury" referred to Aylesbury and the colour orange was important to Sikhs. Sainsbury's said it contacted the shop after its customers raised "concerns". The sign was erected early

last year but removed from the shop front in October. A spokeswoman for the supermarket said: "There were no legal proceedings around this but we did contact the owners after customers raised their concerns with us." Initially Mr Nagpal told the BBC it had been taken down because of water damage. However, he has now said it was because Sainsbury's contacted him. He said although he was prepared to change the colour of the sign, he would not change the name because he could justify it.

mortality rates. Outlining the individual charges against Dr Weerasena, Chloe Hudson - representing the GMC - told the panel he had shown "substandard practice" in his treatment of a seven-yearold patient in 2012 in a "complex" surgery. He is also alleged to have failed to keep an accurate record of surgery on a six-year-old patient in November 2010. Ms Hudson said an expert witness criticised his operation on an eight-year-old patient in September 2010 to repair nar-

rowing of the arteries into the heart. The tribunal heard he also failed to seek senior surgical help during the procedure and failed to explain in his typed operation report why the patient had died. Ms Hudson said: "In essence, the doctor says that there has been a campaign against him to cover up the long-standing shortcomings of Leeds Teaching Hospitals' paediatric heart surgery department and in effect he has been made a scapegoat for departmental failures." The hearing is scheduled to last up to three weeks.

Christmas curries bring cheer for homeless

Christmas curries at George House

An Indian takeaway is giving out Christmas curries to homeless people over the festive period. As preparations are being made for Christmas across the world, Abdul Azad, the owner of Roopnogar Takeaway in Milehouse has been preparing a Christmas curry for those who are less fortunate. Mr Azad approached Councillor Chaz Singh about his plans to prepare a lunch just before Christmas and Cllr Singh arranged for Abul to

serve a lunch to residents and staff at the George House based in Plymouth - a hostel which provides housing for homeless people. Mr Azad said: "In the name of humanity it is my duty to help those in less fortunate circumstances and to encourage others to do so as well. "I'd like to thank Councillor Chaz Singh for making this happen and educating me in how we can all live, work and prosper in a multi-faith Plymouth."

Vibrant Gujarat – Connecting India to the World

By Dhiren Katwa

Thousands of delegates from all over the world are in Gandhinagar, the capital of the state of Gujarat in India this week for the annual Vibrant Gujarat Summit. Last Wednesday the Midlands branch of the Consulate General of India organised a Vibrant Gujarat seminar in Nottingham to encourage people to participate, but also to raise awareness of the Summit. Held at the Centre of Nottingham Indian Business & Professional Association, or NIBPA, the evening, hosted by NIPBPA’s Chair Rajubhai Mistry, brought together around 100 delegates. Guests included Professor Nathuram Puri, Councillors Ratilal Govind, Rita Patel and Abdul Osman, as well as Dr Gaurang Vakil from Nottingham University, Shirish Patel of Oneness Therapies, Mr Hamid Malik, President of Indian Muslim Organisations UK and Professor Cillian Ryan, Pro Vice-Chancellor at Nottingham Trent

In Brief

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Asian Voice |14th January 2017

Delegates at the Vibrant Gujarat seminar in Nottingham last week

University. There were presentations from Mr JK Sharma, outgoing Consul General of India, Mr Steve Toogood from UK India Business Council and Tony Deep Wouhra MBE, founder and Chairman of ethnic food giant East End Foods. During a Q&A session, Councillor Rita Patel asked Mr JK Sharma what advice he could give to those wishing to establish links in Gujarat but are unable to attend the Summit. Ash Govind of Leicester posed a question, and sought assurances around Intellectual Property, or IP.

Now in its 8th year, the Vibrant Gujarat Summit provides a platform for networking and mutual benefits. India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi was previously Chief Minister of Gujarat. UK is the largest G20 investor in India. Gujarat “India’s economic expressway” is home to 60 million people, 5% of India’s population. It is the second most urbanised state in India boasting 19% of all Indian exports and 7.5% of India’s GDP. With two international and 16 domestic airports,

Gujarat is the largest of any state in India. The vote of thanks was given by Professor Hardev Singh of Nottingham University. Asian Voice and Gujarat Samachar’s publisher and Editor Mr CB Patel is currently in India at this Summit. It was a proud moment for CB when Mr Modi, during his speech at Wembley Stadium in November 2015, cited CB as a “friend” and paid tribute to his longstanding community work. To find out more about the Summit visit www.vibrantgujarat.com

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Pensioner found guilty of attack on housing association boss

A pensioner has been found guilty of headbutting a housing association boss. Jam Imani Rad, 67, hit national headlines after landscaping gardens belonging to Community Gateway Assocation (CGA) in Preston, without permission. When CGA staff arrived to remove unauthorised parts of the garden following a court order, Chorley Magistrates’ Court heard that Rad became irate. After being told he couldn’t photograph workers – another court order – he began swearing, shouting and ripping up plants, forcing repairs manager Mark Dunderdale to suspend operations. Rad then assaulted Mr Dunderdale, who said he was worried Rad was going to attack his 13-weeks pregnant colleague Lisa Heyes. Rad pleaded not guilty, claiming the contact came about when Mr Dunderdale moved his head upwards and caught his head. Rad also told police he had suffered a blackout, was autistic and had trouble communicating. The court dismissed Rad’s version of events, finding him guilty. He was fined £180 with a £200 victim surcharge and £460 costs.

Three men in court on Rotherham child sex abuse charges

Three men charged as part of an investigation into child sexual exploitation and abuse in Rotherham have appeared in court. Sajid Ali, 37, Zaheer Iqbal, 39, and Riaz Makhmood, 38, from Masbrough, appeared at Sheffield Magistrates' Court charged with a total of 14 counts of indecent assault. The offences are alleged to have taken place between June 1994 and June 1995. They were released on bail to appear at Sheffield Crown Court on 6 February. Mr Ali is charged with six counts of indecent assault, Mr Iqbal faces five charges and Mr Makhmood faces three. The men were the first to be charged under the National Crime Agency Operation Stovewood, which is looking into allegations of sexual abuse in the town.

Man injured by knife-wielding burglars

A man has been attacked by burglars who forced their way into his house armed with a knife. Two men with scarves across their faces knocked on the victim's door in Baldwin Road, Minster, on the Isle of Sheppey, just after 22:00 GMT on Saturday. They ushered him into an upstairs bedroom, threatening him and demanding money. One had a knife and the man suffered a cut to his head and hand. The suspects also stole two sets of car keys before running out of the house. They are described as aged between 20 and 40 years old and of Asian appearance, police said. Both wore dark coloured hooded tops.

Pupils return to vandal hit school

A city primary school has finally reopened this week for the new term. Staff at Braunstone Community Primary were forced to delay Head teacher Jatinder the start of school after Mahil at the vandal hit vandals struck on primary January 2 - two days before they were due to go back. They smashed windows and doors throughout the building.The cost of the damage has run into thousands. Teachers were forced to message parents of the 460 pupils during the Christmas break, to tell them of the delay. Two 11-year-old boys have now been arrested for burglary and bailed until March, pending further inquiries.


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Blind man fits lens to guide dog to record abuse A 37-year-old blind man has attached his guide dog with a lens to expose the discrimination he faces while travelling around London. Amit Patel, a former A&E doctor who lost his sight five years ago to keratoconus, said he is constantly pushed out of the way as he navigates around the trains and buses with his guide dog. He fitted a GoPro camera to his dog Kika’s back to film some of the abuse he suffers on a daily basis. Travellers were recorded not getting up from their seats as he and Kika stood in train carriages; staff were filmed ignoring his cries for help; and people were even caught hitting him and Kika with their umbrellas and bags. He said that he decided to film his commute so that his wife Seema can share the clip on social media to bring awareness. “It all started when people barged me out of the way, they hit (Kika) with umbrellas, bags, I get shoulder charged every day and when my wife looks back at the footage she can see they have done it deliberately. They have loads of space to get past but they seem to think it is fun to barge into a blind person,” he told ITV News. “Kika always sits to my left hand side so we often block the escalator, and

Mos stt popular agen nt to IND DIA AHMEDABAD BHUJ GOA DELHI MUMBAI CHENNAI

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Amit Patel with his guide dog Kika

people will hit her with bags and umbrellas to get her to move out of the way. The worst part is the tutting and negative comments behind me. People are so rude and arrogant and assume they can do whatever they want.” Amit was even reportedly told to apologise for “holding people up” on the escalator. “One lady even said I should apologise to the people behind her for holding them up. I asked her if I should apologise for being blind and she said ‘yes’.” He described passen-

gers barging ahead of Kika to get seats on packed Tube trains and others knocking into her while jostling for space. Kika is so loyal to Patel that she even saved his life when a car jumped a red light at a crossing. “She saw the car and she got in front of me and took the hit - the car grazed her nose,” Patel said. However, Patel said the majority of Londoners are “fantastic” towards him. Amit travels almost every day on Southeastern trains to London Bridge, and then on the London Underground.

Woman who was told she'd never have children becomes a mother of four A woman who had 17 miscarriages after being told she would never give birth has become a mother to four children - in just nine months. Lytina Kaur was was told she may never be able to give birth after being diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia, an aggressive cancer of the white blood cells, at the age of 17 and receiving a bone marrow transplant a year later. However 13 years and several miscarriages later, Lytina, 32, from Wollaton in Nottingham, found out she had fallen pregnant and she is now a mother to four young daughters. Lytina gave birth to her first daughter Kiran in September 2015 by

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Up p to Proud mum Lytina Kaur with (L-R) Kiran Kaur Landa, 16 months, Kiyara Kaur Landa, 6 months, Kajal Kaur Landa, 14 months, Kavita Kaur Landa, 14 months

planned C-section at the Queen's Medical Centre. Her twins, Kajal and Kavita, were born via surrogate in India two months later. And in June 2016, Lytina gave birth to Kiyara at the Queen's Medical Centre, Nottingham. Before becoming a mother-of-four Lytina suffered her 17 miscarriages in just five years, the first of

Annual Calendar 2017

This week's Asian Voice and Gujarat Samachar includes the 2017 annual calendar. Issued free to all paid subscribers, this unique calendar covers all the major world faiths, important dates, auspicious time and observances both in the UK and India. The cost of each extra calendar is £5. For extra calendars please call 020 7749 4080.

which happened in 2010 after she conceived twins. Lytina, who first started trying to get pregnant after her 2007 wedding, said: 'I had 17 miscarriages in total and they were all hard but that one was the most difficult because it was my first and I had been carrying them for a long time.' The former housing officer said: 'I was still quite young when I was told I couldn't have children. 'When I had my transplant I was told I couldn't have children because of my leukaemia. 'I didn't think about it too much at the time and thought I'd worry about it when I crossed the bridge. However when I got married at 23 it was heartbreaking.'

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Asian Voice |14th January 2017

Manoj Ladwa

Hospital order for carer who killed his father in 'tragic case'

Gujarat is a laboratory of a development model that is uniquely home-grown, writes India Inc. Founder & CEO Manoj Ladwa

Gujarat - India's Laboratory of Development A lot has been written and even more spoken of the Gujarat Model of Development that has been praised the world over, including by the United Nations. But in India, the media narrative, disseminated mainly by people who view Prime Minister Narendra Modi – who authored this model as chief minister of Gujarat – solely through the prism of their opposition to everything he does, has been mixed. Though people on the ground have responded positively to the Gujarat Model, giving Modi a huge mandate in 2014 on the promise of replicating it across India, dominant sections of India's so called 'intelligentsia' have mocked its backers. According to their narrative, Gujarat is a laboratory of Hindutva, which they define as a narrow ideology based on Hindu majoritarianism where minorities are treated as second class citizens. They have also tried to paint the Gujarat Model as some kind of a political-corporate plutocracy that privileges a few large industrial groups while riding roughshod over the rights of minorities, the poor and the marginalised.

This is nothing but utter fiction

The fact is that Gujarat is a laboratory – but of a development model that is uniquely home-grown. Just as China’s Deng Xiaoping authored a new development model based on Chinese ground realities that turned that country from an also ran into a world leader, Modi’s Gujarat Model promised to do the same to India. The big difference, however, is that Modi's development agenda is rooted in democratic values, making him ultimately accountability to the electorate at every juncture. Modi transformed Gujarat into India’s industrial powerhouse by reaching out to the world and by attracting investments from every single developed country. This global outreach is an integral part of the Gujarat Model. At a time when countries across the world – from the US to many other countries in Europe – are pulling up the drawbridge on foreign companies, foreign professionals and foreign capital, India is proactively reaching out to the world. Little wonder that the country received record FDI of $53 billion last year, making it the largest recipient of such investments in the world. All the government’s flagship programmes – such as Make in

India, Start-up India, Digital India, pensions for all, insurance for all, housing for all, the ambitious initiative to light up India with 100 GW of solar power, among others – have their seed in Modi’s tenure as chief minister of his native state. The parallels are strikingly similar. When he took over as chief minister in 2001, Gujarat was coping with the aftermath of a devastating earthquake. Droughts, cyclones and floods, too, had taken their toll. Gujarat, people said, would take years to get back on its feet. But less than three years later, Gujarat emerged as the leading Indian state on most parameters of development.

How did Modi do this?

The most important facet of the Gujarat Model of Development was (and is) that it wasn’t the discredited and corruption riddled trickle down model that had been followed since Independence. Instead, it initiated a new paradigm that took into account the views of the people who would be affected by it. By making the people active stakeholders and participants in the development process, the model was able to create a sense of ownership around government schemes that had, till then, been the exclusive domain of bureaucrats and technical experts. Let’s break for a moment and consider Modi’s bold move to demonetise the high value Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 notes. By all accounts, this has caused tremendous hardship, especially for the poor. But despite this and the best efforts of almost the entire combined Opposition, the ordinary Indian has borne the pain with a smile, confident that their temporary pain will lead to better times in the not too distant future. How did Modi pull this off? You guessed it. The Gujarat Model of Development! By making every Indian a foot soldier in his fight against corruption, he gave them a stake, a sense of ownership of a scheme that promises to wipe out, or at least substantially curtail, the shadow economy. Yes, Gujarat is a laboratory, but of a balanced approach to economic liberalism and welfare economics. India was a country without a social security net before the Modi government introduced three affordable medical, life insurance and pension schemes that have been resounding-

ly welcomed by long suffering ordinary Indians. In Gujarat, farmers received soil health cards that provided guidance on productivity enhancement under Modi’s annual Krishi Mahotsav (farmers) initiative. This and various other programmes led to never seen before rural prosperity in Gujarat. As Prime Minister, Modi has introduced the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (Crop Insurance Scheme) wherein farmers pay between 1.5 per cent and 2 per cent premium to insure their crops against failure. The plan: cover 50 per cent of all farmers within 2-3 years. Then, his crusade against corruption and his achievement in stamping out high level corruption from the corridors of power in Delhi and using technology to root out corruption lower down the government’s hierarchy are based on his experience in Gujarat – and the Gujarat Model of Development. Two important touchstones of this model are Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas (development for all) and the Antyodaya Yojana, a reach out to the last person in the queue – and both these ideas are the cornerstones of that same model. These are just a few examples taken from the laboratory that is Gujarat. But the crucial question is: can this model, that has served Gujarat so well, be replicated across India?The canvas, of course, is far more massive and the complexities unimaginable. But given the success of the Jan Dhan scheme (a financial inclusion programme that provided bank accounts to 260 million unbanked families) and the initial success of others like the scheme to provide cooking gas cylinders to the poor whilst encouraging the less needy to relinquish theirs, there is no reason to believe that the Gujarat Model, honed in the laboratory that is Gujarat, cannot be rolled out successfully across the country. On the eve of the 8th Vibrant Gujarat Summit, let us celebrate this uniquely Indian model of development that is being feted all over the world. Manoj Ladwa is the founder of India Inc. and chief executive of MLS Chase Group @manojladwa - See more at: http://www.indiaincorporated.com/item/6407-gujarati nd ia- s-l abor ato ry- of-d eve lop ment.html#sthash.ioNVy72N.dpuf

Ofsted downgrades East End Islamic school An independent Islamic boys' school has been rated "inadequate". Ofsted downDarul Hadis graded Latifiah in Bethnal Green, saying pupils were not being "prepared for life in modern Britain". Inspectors also found "grimy" facilities and "inappropriate" literature. The school, for boys aged 11 to 20, said it was "preparing a formal complaint" in response. It said the camera only viewed the "washing

area". Ofsted reported a CCTV camera was found "in the communal area of the toilets" and displayed images in "plain view" of the reception area. Changing rooms and showers were labelled "grimy and disgusting" after mouse droppings and sharp metal were found on the floor. During a two-and-ahalf day inspection in October a book was found in the school library which

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"promoted inappropriate views of how girls and women should behave". School leaders said they were "unaware" of the book's presence, but claimed the book referred to the belief women should "dress modestly". Ofsted concluded "there are too few opportunities to learn about women in modern society" at the school. Very few pupils were able to name "the new British prime minister or were

aware of the first female presidential candidate in the elections taking place in the United States of America" during the inspection. Respect for women was taught, but was limited "to the roles of motherhood and families" during Islamic studies, the report added. Some pupils told the inspector that if they asked questions about sex and relationships they would get a detention.

A mentally ill carer has been locked up indefinitely for battering his 81-yearold father to death while under the "intolerable" pressure of looking after both his handicapped parents. Mohsin Manji, 45, had paranoid schizophrenia for some 25 years yet had taken sole day-to-day responsibility for his bedridden disabled father and dementia-suffering mother. At the time of the killing at the family home in November 2015, Manji heard voices of "evil spirits" and had got the idea that his father Amirali Manji was some sort of "zombie", a court heard. At an Old Bailey hearing, Manji, of Kingshill Drive, Harrow, pleaded not guilty to murder but admitted manslaughter by diminished responsibility. Mukul Prosecutor Chawla QC accepted the plea and the defendant was handed a hospital order and a restriction order "for the public protection" without limit of time. Sentencing, Judge Michael Topolski QC said: "The pressure of the circumstances, meaning the defendant's caring responsibility for his parents,

given his ill health, placed intolerable pressure on him." Offering his "deepest sympathy" to the family, he said: "This is a truly tragic case. An old and seriously infirm 81-year-old man was attacked in his own home by his son who was one of his carers." Outlining the facts, Mr Chawla said Mr Manji senior had been attacked by his son in the early hours of November 29 2015 at the family home. Later that morning, visiting carers found the victim unconscious with scratches on his face. Manji mumbled at them: "He called her a bastard in the night", in an apparent reference to his mother, then went to pack a bag saying: "I'm going to a mental hospital." Mr Manji senior was taken to hospital with bruises on his head and eye as a result of being punched repeatedly. He never regained consciousness and died on December 3 2015. Manji told police afterwards: "He called my mother a bastard so I hit my father lots of times." He also claimed that "evil spirits control him", the court heard.

East Ham man admits stealing powdered baby milk from supermarket A man who admitted stealing £143 worth of powdered baby milk from a supermarket was ordered to pay a £105 fine at Barkingside Magistrates Court. Senthooran Selvarajah, from East Ham, filled a trolley with cans of the product at the Asda superstore in London Road, Barking on Christmas Eve.

The 33-year-old then walked into the store’s car park, having made no attempt to pay for the goods, where he was stopped by security guards who called the police. After pleading guilty yesterday, Selvarajah claimed that, as he was unemployed, he had taken the powder in an attempt to make some money.

Girl dies allegedly after eating Indian takeaway A teenager succumbed to apparently a severe allergic reaction after eating a takeaway meal from an Indian restaurant. Subsequently, two persons have been arrested in this connection. A budding actress, Megan Lee, 15, from Oswaldtwistle in Lancashire who was believed to have a nut allergy, suffered the allergic reaction after eating the Indian meal from Royal Spice in Oswaldtwistlee. She was taken to the Royal Blackburn Hospital but died two days later on New Year's Day. “Megan Lee had eaten food from an Indian takeaway before suffering an apparent allergic reaction. Two men aged 37 from Rossendale and 38 from Blackburn have been

arrested on suspicion of involuntary manslaughter by gross negligence and are currently in police custody. We are working closely in liaison with colleagues from Trading Standards and Environmental Health,” Lancashire police was quoted as saying by the Guardian. A post-mortem examination has taken place, but full results as to the cause of death are still not fully known.


UK Asian Voice | 14th January 2017

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2017 – A very special year for St Luke’s Hospice

By Lord Popat It’s that time of year again when we focus on new beginnings, filled with hope, promise and plenty of New Year’s resolutions! However for St Luke’s Hospice, 2017 is a very special year. It’s not a new beginning for the Hospice, but a milestone anniversary as they celebrate 30 glorious years for caring for the local community in Brent and Harrow. I was privileged enough to be one of the Founding Members of the Hospice back in 1987, and it’s been a pleasure to see the Hospice grow in size and strength over the last three decades. What started as a small unit, is now a much loved and well-established insti-

tution in North West London. St Luke’s cares for people with incurable illnesses, ensuring they have access to the care they need, as well as providing much needed support for family members. The Hospice lives by its motto, “adding days to lifeâ€? providing a haven for people to die with dignity. The care and support St Luke’s provides is completely free, making it a much treasured asset to our local community. However over the years, the Hospice has to an extent become a victim of its own success. The popularity of the Hospice in the community, combined with the implications of an aging population have added tremendous pressure to the services offered by St Luke’s. Just last year, the number of patients the Hospice supported increased by 28.5%. But St Luke’s has embraced this challenge as an opportunity and remains committed to serving as many people as possible, whilst extending its services to reach more people. Each year the Hospice is tasked with raising at least ÂŁ3.5 million to enable them to fund their services.

anniversary provides us with an opportunity to invite the whole community to get involved in the celebrations. It is also a great opportunity to thank all those individuals, community groups and businesses who have helped the Hospice over the year. There are a number of flagship events planned for the anniversary celebrations including, St Luke’s renowned Ladies Midnight Walk which has a special luminous theme this year. There are also a range of sporting and adventure challenges during the Mike Redhouse (Chairman of St Luke’s), Lord Popat, Samantha Cameron, CB Patel, Robin Webb year, and the Bubble (CEO of St Luke’s) Dash in September. Whatever your in events like the Midnight trends in life, including The Hospice is open to New Year’s resolution this Walk, organising their death. people from all backyear, I hope that you will own events or serving on Over the years, Brent grounds. For me, the consider supporting St committees,  or as trustees and Harrow’s British Hospice is much more Luke’s Hospice this year to to help govern the Indian community has than an organisation that continue to deliver this Hospice.  Last year, Mrs played a tremendous role cares for people. It is a hub outstanding service to our Samantha Cameron very in the success of St Luke’s. that is open to people of all community. From volunkindly hosted a reception The community has been walks of life, helping to teering, to giving a small at No10 Downing Street to hugely supportive of the bring communities togethdonation or supporting an help raise awareness about Hospice at every er. The Hospice reinforces event –your help will be the excellent work of the level,  whether volunteerthe fact that regardless of invaluable in empowering Hospice. ing in the charity shops or your background, we are our local Hospice. St Luke’s 30th in the Hospice,  taking part all bound by uniform

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Asian Voice | 14th January 2017

Shri Pragjibhai Jina Ladva: End of an era

Dhiren Katwa

A flood of tributes from all over the world are pouring in following the sad demise of Pragjibhai Jinabhai Ladva – a renowned singer of Gujarati devotional folk songs, or bhajans – on Monday evening (9th January). He was 79. He is survived by his wife Muktaben, son Vijay, two daughters Rekha and Veena and eight grandchildren. Pragjibhai was the founder of Shree Vishnu Bhagwan Bhajan Mandal, a band that promoted the teachings of Pragjibhai’s spiritual guru and mentor Hirjibapa who too departed in January, 40 years ago in 1976. Hailing from the Shri Sorathia Prajapati Community, or the SSPC, a denomination of the Hindu Gujarati community, Pragjibhai was a maestro of bhajans, unique and irreplaceable, and inspired people of all ages all over the world, particularly in India, East Africa and the UK. He was a beacon of light who spiritually lit the souls of all those fortunate to have met him. His ability to sing bhajans and to explain the deep meaning of each was his natural gift. He visited his ancestral roots in Gujarat, India, several times every year where he led and got involved, selflessly, in a series of charitable projects, helping the needy. To put his work and personality into perspec-

Shri Pragjibhai Jina Ladva (1937 – 2017)

tive, even a CBE, OBE or a Bharat Sanman Award would not have done justice to Pragjibhai who was a larger than life soul, living a simple but extraordinary life. In a conversation among many I had with Pragjibhai in November 2015, he joked that he’d like me to write his obituary. It’s with immense sadness that that day has arrived and I see his loss as the end of an era. He was an inspiration to me personally and fond memories shall live on. The fact that each time he paid tribute to my grandfather, Ravjibhai Bhoja Katwa, also a bhajan singer, whom he saw as a mentor, and who passed away 40 years ago, meant so much to me. Also, among his mentors was his “mama” (uncle) the late Bhimjibhai Ghedia, of Coventry. I vividly recall one of his favourite folk songs “kirtans”, “Aaj no lavo lijiye re kaal kone dithi chhe”, which translates to, “Enjoy today, who knows what tomorrow holds”.

Among the flurry of tributes: “A great bhakta, a great loss” (Neetinbhai Kariya, US); “A massive loss to us all” (Madhavbhai Soni, Leicester); “Deeply saddened by the loss of an amazing soul” (Pujya Shri Ram Bapa, aka Maganbhai Bhimjiani); “He will be sorely missed” (Kishan Wadhia); “Can’t believe that our inspirer is no longer with us” (Mradula & Dhiren Pancholi); “A legend who will be forever missed” (Shimal Thakrar). Also paying tribute to Pragjibhai, Publisher and Editor of Asian Voice and Gujarat Samachar, Mr CB Patel, said: “Pragjibhai was a remarkable gentleman who contributed immensely in his own way to our community over many decades. May God rest his soul in eternal peace.” There’s no doubt that Pragjibhai’s son, grandson and his immediate family will continue to fly the flag of the foundations of Hinduism “Sanatan Dharma” and of course of his teachings and bhajans, but Pragjibhai was one of a kind and his departure will be felt by many all over the world for years and decades to come. A peace vigil has been organised and will take place on Sunday (15th January) between 2pm and 5pm at Hindu Mandir, Hereford Road, Luton, LU4 0PS. For more information contact Kapilbhai Naresh Savania on 0751 468 8954.

Drivers could be fined £60 for littering Car owners could be fined up to £60 if litter is dropped from their car, even if the culprit is a passenger. Ministers and green groups alike have been frustrated at how hard it is to punish drivers who let rubbish be dropped from car windows because it is too hard to identify the culprits. The change will be announced in the Government's litter strate-

gy, which represents the biggest shake-up for a generation and has been leaked to The Sunday Telegraph. But proposals to grant new legal powers to English councils would leave car owners having to foot the bill automatically unless they can convince guilty passengers or other drivers to own up. Councils will be able to set their own fines, but a

popular model would see the charge rise to £200 if not paid within 28 days. The plans will also include increasing the standard fine for littering of £75 – possibly going up to £125, the Sunday Telegraph reported. According to the newspaper, the proposal says Britain “must act now to clean up the country and change our culture so that it is no longer acceptable to drop litter”.

Hindu Cultural Society of Bradford Ltd. Hindu Priest Required

Brahmin Hindu Priest is required for a very busy Hindu Temple in Bradford which is a part of a large Hindu organisation in Bradford. Hours: 20-39 hrs per week over 6 days a week. Salary: Negotiable plus part of offering and a subsidised accommodation.

Priest must be well versed in Sanskrit and Hindi and adequate knowledge of English and must be able to perform Havan, Yagna, 16 Sanskara and all kind of Puja according to Hindu rites. Priest must have good knowledge of Ramayan and Gita and should be able deliver lectures on both. Please send your application to: Mr S Tailor, 341 Leeds Road, Bradford BD3 9JY

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One of the world's most wanted terrorists married a British woman One of Isis’s most senior recruiters lived in Britain and married his British wife in a Yorkshire town hall. John Georgelas, an Joya American, wed Choudhury, a young Briton of Bengali descent, in Rochdale in 2004 when they were both 19. They had met online after Georgelas converted to Islam. The American, who uses the Arabic name Yahya Abu Hassan, is now believed to be the most senior westerner in Isis. He is the son of a former US Air Force doctor and the grandson of an American Second World War veteran but was revealed last month to have become a senior Isis figure who has urged followers to carry out terrorist attacks in the west and lured scores of young Britons to join the terrorist group in Iraq and Syria. Georgelas spent some of his childhood in Britain, living near Cambridge

Lord Heseltine fined for knocking cyclist off bike

Lord Heseltine has been fined £5,000 for knocking a cyclist off his bike. Heseltine, who had been driving a green Jaguar car, pulled out of a lane and into the path of the cyclist on 19 June. The male cyclist had multiple injuries, including a broken arm and shattered knees which required plates and pins. Last Thursday at Northampton Magistrates' Court the 83-year-old peer pleaded guilty to careless driving. Heseltine was also ordered to pay a £170 victim surcharge and £85 costs, a magistrates' court clerk confirmed. He was also handed five penalty points on his driving licence.

Joya Chowdhury had four children with John Georgelas

while his father was serving in the UK. He converted to Islam in 2001, soon after the 9/11 attacks, having befriended a group of Muslim students at his college in Texas. His wife, Choudhury, is believed to have been radicalised during her A-level studies at a college in East London. She became friends with a group of Algerian Muslims who dressed conservatively and followed a strict interpretation of Islam. As her new friends

began to get married, Choudhury met Georgelas on a Muslim dating website in 2003, according to the Sunday Times. He travelled to the UK and the pair lived in a number of British towns. It was in London that they became involved with radical Islamic preachers. Some reports suggest they were connected to Anjem Choudary, the jihadi cleric who is now behind bars after being convicted of terrorism offences for supporting Isis.

NHS launches new smartphone app to assess patients and take the pressure off A&E Sick patients will be diagnosed using an ‘artificial intelligence’ smartphone app in a controversial NHS trial to take pressure off the disgraced 111 hotline. The new NHS 111 app, run by private firm Babylon, will ask users to type in their symptoms and give them advice. It will be offered to 1.2million patients in a sixmonth trial starting later this month, as part of a major drive to digitise the NHS. Those in the north London pilot area who call 111 will be given the option of downloading the app, which will also be advertised in GP surgeries. Officials last night insisted it would supplement, rather than replace, the 111 telephone service. But experts have raised concerns about the safety of using a computer pro-

gram rather than a human being to give health advice. The country’s most senior GP yesterday warned that a seemingly minor problem could quickly escalate – and that only a doctor could spot the signs. The NHS has already come under fire for its 111 ‘non-emergency’ telephone service. This was launched in 2010 with the aim of cutting costs and reducing pressure on busy A&E departments. Dr Chaand But Nagpaul, chairman of the British Medical Association’s GP committee, said the app would not solve the core issues.

Mother of two diagnosed with Alzheimer's at 36 A British woman whose father and grandfather died of Alzheimer’s has inherited the mysterious disease, thusbecoming one of the youngest people in Britain to be diagnosed with Alzheimer's at the age of 36. Carla Brammall, a former court worker from Northampton, first developed symtoms of the disease when she was 30. Carla was only 15 when her father, Barry, died of Alzheimer’s at the age of 43, and she faced a 50% chance of inheriting the incurable disease. She was diagnosed with a rare mutation of the PSEN-1

Carla Brammall

gene, which affects just 450 families in the world. Now 39, Carla needs round-theclock support and lives in a care home. “She’s gone downhill a lot quicker than her dad. Watching my own child go through this is indescribably painful. It breaks my

heart,” Carla’s mother, Rita Pepper, said. Carla’s 18year-old son and 12-yearold daughter have since moved in with Pepper. The inherited form of dementia claimed the lives of Carla's father, uncle and grandfather, all in their 40s.


UK Asian Voice | 14th January 2017

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Rani Singh, Special Assignments Editor

Deputy High Commissioner Dinesh Patnaik on his Goals for his British Posting Dinesh Patnaik arrived in London four months ago and has already spent some time as Acting High Commissioner here. As Deputy High Commissioner, he has clear goals for what he wants to do in the UK during his posting. These are economic and political. On economic and commercial interests, he plans to concentrate on small and medium sized enterprises. “It’s around BREXIT. The large companies already have the access and the knowledge of India, but the small companies need help, so I’m going to focus on the SMEs. I will also research and talk to people how BREXIT affects Indian companies here. I want to help Indian companies better adjust to BREXIT. On the political side, I want to make sure that all the people who are decision makers; MPs, bureaucrats, business people, politicians, people on the

street; all understand where India comes from. When they think of India, they think of an IT power, a big democracy, a growing economy. But there are some negatives that come up because of vested interests, a lack of knowledge, and I want to remove that lack of knowledge. I want to reach out and let people know what is happening. If you have the two political and economic strands working strongly, then other strands; art, culture, defence, music, all fall together. India and the UK should have the best relationship in the world but after 70 years, we are still talking about reaching that potential. My job is to take it to the next level and make it a stronger relationship.”

Dinesh Patnaik

Background

Mr Dinesh Patnaik has a record representing Indian bilaterally and unilaterally. His postings include the UN Permanent Mission of India in Geneva, Dhaka, Bangladesh, Beijing, China, and in the Ministry of External Affairs in Delhi looking

after Western European countries. He also looked after the External Publicity Division. In the MEA, he had another stint overseeing India’s relations with African countries. From 2007 to 2009, he served as Director (UNES)/Joint Secretary (UNES) overseeing works relating to the UN. Ambassador Patnaik was Deputy Chief of Mission/Deputy P e r m a n e n t Representative at the Indian Embassy in Vienna from 2009 to 2012, and India’s Ambassador to Cambodia from 2012 to 2015. Prior to London, Mr Patnaik was Ambassador to the Kingdom of Morocco. Ambassador Patnaik holds a Master’s degree in Business Administration (MBA) from the Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Kolkata, in addition to a Master’s degree in Advanced International Studies from the University of Vienna and Certificate in International Studies from the Diplomatic Academy, Vienna. Mr Patnaik speaks seven languages; English, French, German, Chinese, Oriya, Punjabi and Hindi.

Postings and Passions

Mr Patnaik says that he was initiated into diplomacy through the multilateral

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UK and the US. See what a system. He cites Geneva, few parliamentarians here the UN, and being in said about the President Vienna at the International Atomic Energy Agency. Elect. You don’t do a relaHis passions in this sphere tionship based on pin were climate, aid, human pricks. You do a relationrights, and social issues. At ship based on what is the UN, economic and common. China is one of social topics fired his imagour largest trading partination. ners, a large amount of His postings in students cross Bangladesh, China back and forth, and now the UK there is intercreate an impresaction at I want to reach every level. sive bilateral portfolio. His out and let people There is ambassadorcommon know what is ships were sigground in happening in nificant. the multi“Cambodia l a t e r a l India has a huge Indian forum on cliinfluence and mate change Morocco is one of our and human biggest trading partners rights. We started in North Africa. These are the Asian two countries with great Infrastructure Bank links to India. together; there’s an Indian On China, he says that at the head of the Asian the relationship is being Infrastructure bank in Shanghai today.” “well managed; that’s our The DHC says that his job as diplomats. The relatenure in Bangladesh tionship has its own ups taught him that relations and downs; anything that with that country are will happen between two vibrant and vital. On the large neighbours. Both Russian Federation, he sides need each other, stated, “Russia will always both are developing counbe important to us. tries, and both have great Having new friends does aspirations. We don’t want not mean you shed old a situation where our aspifriends. In politics you rations clash and pull us don’t have best friends, back. In that sense there is you have people with directly no problem with whom your interests align. China. Indirectly, there A lot of people want us to will always be problems be their best friend. We between two big nations. know who our friends are There are always pin and who our enemies are.” pricks, even between the


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READERS’ VOICE

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Asian Voice | 14th January 2017

Jayaben Desai Exhibition I remember the Grunwick strike, lead by Jayaben Desai from 1976 to 1978. A Indian Gujarati sari clad woman lead 84 employees at Grunwicks in London against harsh and racist working conditions at the plant. Her famous phrase was "What you are running here is not a factory, it is a zoo. But in a zoo there are many types of animals. Some are monkeys who dance on your fingertips, others are lions who can bite your head off. We are the lions, Mr. Manager." Her efforts lead to the mobilization of some 20000 strikers to join her at the picket lines outside Grunwicks. The then Labour government of Callaghan had a poor record in dealing with strikers, this one hogged the headlines, nationally for months. Mrs Desai's actions in 1978 were a decisive factor that lead to the arrival of another powerful fearless woman taking over the running of the country, she was of course Margaret Thatcher in 1979. History has yet to recognise Mrs Desai's role in helping change the course of British history and politics forever. Jayesh A Patel Wimbledon

Our loony overseas aid policy

National papers are up in arms at the waste of “Overseas Aid Budget” (OAB) of some £14 billion that government finds difficult to spend. Now “Foreign Office Mandarins” are issuing ATM cards to people in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia that forms long queues outside designated destinations, people waving their freebee cards, many obtained by bribes, akin to winning lottery! Most sensible people equates “Foreign Aid” to building infrastructure, such as schools, hospitals, roads and libraries, not handing out cash to Tom, Dick and Harry who may spend it on drugs, guns, even handing it to terrorists that may be detrimental to our safety. It is indeed sad reflection on our righteous, self-opinionated politicians who live in “Ivory Tower” completely cut-off from reality. We badly need these finances to improve our crumbling NHS, chronic housing shortages, rough sleeping and shameful third world roads and railway infrastructure. During these festive times, many people died due to chronic bed shortages, A & E departments closed due to lack of doctors, affecting OAPs most? When our people living in over-crowded homes, apply for Council homes, they are treated as criminals? What has happened to this once mighty caring nation who used to look after their own? No wonder people have lost faith in our uncaring “Charlie Chaplin” politicians who are engrossed with overseas aid, looking after their own interest rather than serving us with care and dignity! Bhupendra M. Gandhi By email

Sickening soaps story lines

Most people enjoy our popular soaps, like EastEnders and Coronation Street. They look forward watching festive episodes, in the company of family members, their highlight for the cold Christmas night, especially for those unable to throng nightclubs, restaurants and pubs, due to age, health or families with young children. Yet, more and more soaps adopt draconian storylines, inexorable trend that spread gloom and doom, rather than gentrification, festive atmosphere. EastEnders’s storyline, killing two popular characters, idolized by many, two sisters, one on her honeymoon night is unbelievably short-sighted, extremely in poor taste. It is easy to shock viewers with tragedies, affairs and cruelty, rather than happy events. Then so often they give free telephone numbers to ring if viewers are distressed! So why depress, upset them in the first place? In extreme cases, venerable, infatuated, sensitive viewers may need medical attention that add to extremely high workload on NHS at this time of the year when A & E departments are inundated with patients due to overindulging in drinks, drugs and food poisoning. Some A & E even have to close their doors due to high number of patients they could not cope with! Is it too much to request producers to spread happiness at such a festive time or their kidology is to achieve high viewing figure at any cost? Kumudini Valambia By email

President elect Donald Trump

On 20th January, 2017 President elect Donald Trump will be sworn in as President of USA. There are a lot of expectations and fears about his Presidency. There is no doubt he is a loose cannon, a maverick and an unpredictable person. He is bound to take America on a roller coaster ride never seen before. He is still talking of building a wall along the Mexican border and make Mexico pay for it. It is rather a tall order. Trump says he will dismantle Obamacare and replace it with a better health care, I assume he will call it Trump-care. He wants to build good relations with Putin and Russia despite the cyber hacking by Russia of America. He wants NATO to pay its own way rather than depend on America to keep funding it. He wants payment for services provided by America. No free lunch. Trump is more worried about the threat from China than from Russia. He claims he has got a masterplan to destroy IS. He supports Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel against the resolution passed by the Security Council of the United Nations against building of new settlements on Palestinian land by Israel. He has surrounded himself will like-minded people holding important positions in his administration. He has got rid of all the American ambassadors appointed by the Obama administration. An unconvenenial step. So one can imagine he will be turning tables all around him. Trump is lucky to have a Republican majority both in the Congress and the Senate, but it will depend how he controls these institutions. Not only America but the International community should hold their breath, as to what he will be doing after becoming President. Baldev Sharma Harrow

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Snack moan

Can readers please explain why spicy Asian snacks like chevda, made in Africa, are considerably more expensive than their equivalents exported from India or manufactured in the UK? Rudy Otter By email

Maligning the Messenger

Since the publication by WikiLeaks in July 2016 of some hacked emails from the (USA) Democratic National Committee (DNC) computers, a lot of hullabaloo has been created by the cosy club of Elitist Politicians and the Main Stream Media. The Club has cunningly succeeded in diverting the discourse solely on to the messenger, ignoring the message it carried. They have drafted in some intelligence agencies personnel this time to give credence to their scheme. They allege (of course without any definitive proof) that the messenger (Russia) has interfered in their democratic processes. The hacked emails reveal, without slightest doubt, that the people who are riding the high horse of democratic values and processes did subvert the basic tenant of democracy. Their avowal of subversion resulted in the resignations of Debbie Wasserman Schulz, Brad Marshall and Amy Dacey. Truth has no place in their schemes. The massive failure of the Cyber Security Command as well as sixteen other intelligence agencies is ignored. The same DNC files were pilfered by their own hired people which resulted in the notorious Watergate and Nixon's resignation. Their own interferences all over the world including regime changes and hacking of mobile phone of their closest ally Mrs Merkel by them has become simply a history of no significance. Would they ever look in the mirror? Narsibhai Patel New Malden

National pride

I wish readers happy new year. Jubel D’Cruz has picked unusual topic about insult/ disrespect to India’s national flags by Indians. The national, (plastic/ paper) flags are discarded as soon as patriotic fervor ebbs after national occasion. I wonder if and whether other nationals disrespect flags of their nation. Please note that if Indians had Indo-centric patriotism, India’s post-independence history would have been different. All Indians would have created a monumental role model nation. Though Sardar Patel succeeded to unite 555 states, he could not create a patriotic nation. Partition of Indian subcontinent has not ended with creation of Pakistan.. Sadly today, there are many cracks that threaten integrity of residual India Yet all is not lost, with thinkers like Mr. D’Cruz. His idea can be realized if he forms a team to collect plastic and paper flags from owners. Collection points can be set up at public places. Flags returned by users can be collected, stored and recycled. He may enroll/ motivate action / assistance from various public oriented patriotic organizations. National flags can be distributed on use and return basis. Respect towards one national flag is an innate trait. It can be aroused only by innovative thinkers. Ramesh Jhalla By email

Black money

Black money is often invested in land, gold and other things and deposited in tax havens such as Switzerland. The sudden announcement in November 2016 has certainly led to chaos and confusion all over the country. It would have been ideal to announce the date of demonetisation in advance, as it was done in 2014 regarding currency notes printed before 2005. This would have saved the common man from the chaos inflicted upon him. The demonetisation move might at first glance, appear to be a good way to control black money and crack down on fake notes, but it is hindering people’s day-to-day lives. The rich and powerful people, whose money is stashed away in tax havens, are having a hassle-free time while the common man/woman like you and me are suffering. It is also a very good decision by the Central Government that Rs 2.5 lakhs can be withdrawn from one’s bank account if a marriage is performed in the family by showing adequate proof like a wedding card, etc. But the restrictions that one should produce receipts are entirely baseless. In the first place, why restrictions on withdrawing one’s own money from one’s own bank account? It is our own hard-earned money which we have earned since the time we were 18 years of age and not Narendra Modi’s money. Why harass the common man? On the other hand, demonetisation of Rs 1000 and Rs 500, though had been introduced to wipe out black money, the fact is that more than good, it has proved to be a bad decision for the common man/woman and hence to the nation. Jubel D’Cruz, Mumbai, India

Bedlam in Berlin

Christmas is a period of peace and tranquility. It is a period of goodwill towards our fellow human beings. We exchange gifts and wish others a merry and fun filled holiday. But then there are people who are envious of others. They bear a grudge against the rest of humanity – have a chip on their shoulders. This is what happened in Berlin in the run up to Christmas. Some brainwashed lunatic ploughed a truck into people gathered at a market in Berlin on 19 December, killing 12 people and wounding 48 more. Our heart cries out for those who are dead or injured. Our condolences to their families. What drives these lunatics to take lives without regard to any principles that govern the people in the rest of the world? Why can’t people live and let others live in peace and harmony? This all happened in the wake of similar massacre in Nice in France and then followed by atrocities in Istanbul. Is it greed and envy which make people act like this in the name of religion? Why did these attacks on innocent people take place or to put it in other words, would this happen again or would this create a trend for things to come in these European cities? How safe would people be walking in the streets of London, Paris or Berlin? There has to be a way of stopping these indiscriminate killings which has to be found soon. Dinesh Sheth Newbury Park, Ilford


/NEWS Asian Voice |14th January 2017

EDUCATION

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Survey shows huge drop in pavement gum ‘Bin it your way’ hits home in Harrow. New figures released by Harrow Council show that the amount of chewing gum on the borough’s streets has fallen a remarkable 70%, following a campaign targeting anti-social litterers. The campaign, run by the Chewing Gum Action Group and supported by Harrow Council, encouraged chewers to bin gum ‘their way’ or face a big fine, in a series of colourful adverts on local streets and buses. Surveys in ten areas of Harrow’s bustling town centre at the end of July, before the campaign was run, recorded an alarming 2,784 pieces of recently dropped or spat-out gum across a combined one-kilometre-square area. The same survey conducted during September’s eye-catching campaign, found 892 pieces of recently littered gum on the street – still a

lot, but nonetheless an incredible reduction of about 70%. Cllr Graham Henson, who has Cabinet responsibility for the environment, said: “These fascinating findings show that it’s possible to challenge the thoughtlessness of some litterers and get results. Unfortunately, for others the message won’t hit home until they get stuck with a £75 fine.” The Chewing Gum Action Group reports that 95% of UK streets are stained by chewing gum.

Muslims kick off 2017 with street cleaning campaign Young Muslims from Cardiff joined members of the local community last week to help keep Britain's streets clean after the new year festivities. Youth from the Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association (AMYA) Cardiff celebrated the New Year by waking at the crack of dawn offering communal prayers for a prosperous 2017. After the morning prayer, the youth took to the streets, brooms and bin bags in hand as part of the 'Big Street Clean' and later fed the homeless. The campaign is one of many charitable and community initiatives carried out by the AMYA across the winter break. The group also organised blood donation sessions, charity collections, Children's hospital and Nursing home visits, and homeless feeding sessions. Kaleem Ahmed, Youth Leader for Cardiff, said: “Cleaning the streets of Cardiff also presents us with an opportunity to become better Muslims as Cleanliness is an integral part of our faith. We are a peace loving British Muslims and will continue to do all we can to serve our local community as best we can and wherever there is a need.” AMYA is an auxiliary body of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, a religious and charitable Muslim organisation.

Appeal for calm after Huddersfield shooting Huge protests followed as a 28-year-old man from Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, was shot by police at junction 24 of the M62 near Huddersfield, after they received information that he was armed and carrying a gun in the Audi he was driving. Consequently, riot police were called after over 100 people blocked roads protesting against the death of Mohammed Yasser Yaqub. It has led his family and Bradford West MP Naz Shah, a member of the Home Affairs Select Committee, to appeal for calm. Police chiefs and the Independent Police Complaints Commission have also appealed for patience from the public as inquiries into the circumstances surrounding the police operation last week continue. The protest brought traffic to a standstill. Police reported number of vehicles being damaged, though no arrests were made. Independent Police Complaints Commission, which is probing the matter, revealed a “non-police issue firearm” had been found in his car and was

Mohammed Yasser Yaqub

being “further examined”. Police had earlier revealed the probe was connected to the illegal possession of a gun, and not terrorism. Yaqub is reported to have been cleared of two counts of attempted murder in May 2010 after a judge described the key prosecution witness as one of the least convincing he had heard in 35 years. He had been accused of shooting at two people in a car in the Huddersfiled suburb of Birkby in September 2009 but Bradford crown court ruled there was insufficient evidence to convict him. Three people were arrested at the scene of last Monday’s shooting.

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Is Productivity Linked To Education? The UK’s productivity is at an all-time low with government figures showing the biggest gap with other leading western economies since modern records began in the early 1990s. This was particularly apparent when in 2014, the Office for National Statistics concluded that the output per hour Selva Pankaj, CEO worked in the UK was 18 Regent Group percentage points below the average for the remaining six members of the G7, demonstrating how far behind the UK is falling in terms of productivity compared with some of the world’s other largest industrial nations. In addition to this, when comparing the UK with the US, its productivity is lower in every sector of the economy, but this gap is particularly prevalent in manufacturing. In the 2016 Autumn Statement the UK government voiced their desire to tackle current low levels of productivity. Chancellor Philip Hammond announced a £23bn Productivity Investment Fund to boost lacklustre output, hoping that this would help the economy become "match fit" for the challenges ahead. With the unrest of and uncertainty around ‘Brexit’, UK productivity is more important than ever. There are many factors that may have led to the UK’s decrease in productivity; one factor is the increase in the school leaving age. Another factor explaining the UK’s low productivity rate, according to Rebecca Riley, a research fellow at the National Institute of Economic and Social Research is the decline in the banking and oil industries. This is because being high-margin businesses, where the workforce is a relatively small element of the costs, the banking and oil industries are highly productive. Low productivity can have many detrimental effects on a country’s economy and population. If productivity is increased, it can improve living standards nationally, as there will be an increase in the amount and quality of output, with no increase on input in the form of labour and resources. It is a generally accepted trend that a higher level of education will lead to higher wages, however it is much more difficult to spot a definite correlation between the level of education and productivity, as productivity is not necessarily linked to earnings. In August 2013, the Economic Policy Institute publicized the striking conclusion that at the state level, the average worker’s productivity increases as their education level increases. However, it is also clear that in many cases a higher level of education does not relate to an individual’s earnings or level of productiveness. In order to achieve rising incomes for average people, productivity needs to increase, and the extra income created by this needs to be returned back to people in the form of higher wages. In order to attain an increase in productivity, people, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds, need to have the tools they require to be highly productive, which include education and healthcare. Therefore, in order to see the rewards of high productivity, companies need to invest in training, workshops, online learning, mentoring, and college classes. Overall, it is clear that the current low productivity of the UK is having a negative impact on the economy and people’s lives and wages. Hopefully, the recently announced £23bn investment in productivity will be pumped into the correct areas, developing the education of people in the work place, enabling them to do their jobs more efficiently. Only time will tell whether this investment will be enough to help the UK catch up with the world’s other large industrial nations, particularly with the uncertainty of Brexit still facing the UK.

www.regentgroup.org.uk www.selvapankaj.com


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MEDIA WATCH

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Asian Voice | 14th January 2017

Ring out the old year, ring in the new. Alas, not in Indian politics, where low comedy, it would appear, continues to be the flavour of the season, comer wind or high water. Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and her Trinamool Congress, bit between the teeth, have begun an unruly campaign to force Prime Minister Narendra Modi from office, of which there isn’t a hell’s chance of success. Clearly on a fool’s errand, she let loose her goons on the streets of Kolkata displaying intimidating mob power with a premeditated onslaught on the BJP office, and a separate attack on the house of the local BJP MP and minister Babul Supriya.

ministerial exchanges ’ which have seen many important agreements being signed and implemented.’ He said the ModiNetanyahu visits to Israel and India respectively would take place in 2017, although he was unable to give precise dates (Hindu January 1)

New service chiefs

Agni V missile lauch

Trinamool Congress activists at a protest rally against the arrest of TMC party leader in Lok Sabha Sudip Bandopadhyay, in Kolkata

What may the cause of such mayhem, traffic jams in the heart of the metropolis, you may well ask. It was her nationwide campaign to ‘roll back’ demonetization. The more she tries such methods, the worse it gets for her credibility as chief minister and politician. She has been assured of the support of Sonia Gandhi and her heir apparent Rahul, both of whom are political liabilities, a cross for the Congress party to bear.

Corruption of power

The historian Lord Acton pronounced memorably that ‘power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely’ It is more applicable to Ms Banherjee than it is to any other Indian politician. What has aroused her ire is yet another scam, following the previous two, Sarada and Naroda, in which TMC leaders were implicated. To these has been added the Rose Valley scam, which has led to the arrests by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) of MPs Sudip Bandhopadhyay and Tapas Pal. There is little investment coming in to Bengal, and it promises to remain so until there is stable government and a more visible rule of law. Who would want to invest in a place where hooligans on the loose? (Telegraph, Times of India January 3, 4, 5)

UP’s dynastic war

Uttar Pradesh is India’s most populous State, and one not noted for its social progress. Government is largely a family enterprise called the Samajwadi Dal. Its patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav has ruled the roost for as anyone in Lucknow can remember, making his son by his first wife, Akhilash Chief Minister. Having tasted power, the young man developed a love of it, wielding it with sufficient skill in distributing the loaves and fishes of office long enough to create an independent power base of his own, leaving the patriarch, his younger second wife and their

politically ambitious daughter stranded. Akhilesh and Mulayam have held a series of marathon talks to heal the breach, and have failed. The king is not exactly dead but dying. Long live the king! (Times of India, Hindu January 4)

Sasikala star of Tamil Nadu

The third tale of a rising star in regional dominance is Sasikaala Natarajan, who appears ready to step into the late Jayalalithaa’s shoes as the supreme leader of the AIADMK in Tamil Nadu. Having been confirmed leader of the party, the next step appears to be her coronation as chief minister. The swelling calls from within the party to take the reins of office, she will find impossible to refuse. We await the appointed hour. (Business Line December 30)

Vibrant Gujarat

The Vibrant Gujarat meet, with its impressive presence of Nobel laureates and captains of industry, is set to attract business to the State in volumes, of which Mamata Banerjee in Bengal can only dream, will get star media billing. Started way back in 2003 as then chief minister Narendra Modi’s brainchild, it has spread its wings and brought in massive flows of investment into this business-friendly State. During the seven summits since then, 51,738 memoranda of understanding (MoUs) have been signed, of which 36,065 or 58 per cent have been commissioned and 4,014 are under implementation (Business Line December 27)

Agni V launch

To matters national, the awaited Agni V, India’s 5,000km intercontinental ballistic missile was test-launched successfully for the fourth time on Boxing Day, from a mobile vehicle on Abdul Kalam Island (formerly Wheeler Island) off the coast of Odisha over the

Bay of Bengal. Agni V, designed and developed by the Defence Research & Development Organization (DRDO), is capable of carrying a 1.5 tonne nuclear warhead. Scientific Adviser to the Defence Minister, G. Sateesh Reddy, said: ‘The successful test establishes the long range capabilities and critical technologies that required for this class of missile.’ (Business Line, Hindu, Times of India December 27)

Agni IV test-launch ‘grand success’

The New Year began on a bright note for the Strategic Forces Command (SFC) and DRDO, with what was described as the ‘grand success’ test-launch of the higher- end 4000km-range of the intermediate range ballistic missile, also from a mobile launch pad. Agni IV has already been inducted into the SFC, hence the test was one to assess its readiness for action, whenever required. Agni IV can carry a one tonne nuclear warhead. (Hindu January 3)

Cyber technology offer from Russia

Russian Quantum Center (RQC) is ready to collaborate with India through an offer of quantum technology designed to prevent hacking into banks accounts and Indian strategic assets across the board. ‘We are ready to work with Indian colleagues if the technology can’t be bought from the United States,’ said Ruslan Yunusov, CEO at RQF. Established by Russia’s largest technology hub, Skolkovo in 2010, RQC conducts scientific research in areas such as materials science that could lead to a new class of technologies, which include developing ‘unbreakable cryptography,’ based more on physics than mathematics. (Hindu December 26)

Israeli envoy hails India’s UN vote

Daniel Carmon, Israel’s Ambassador to India, in a newspaper interview said that India’s decision to cast an abstention vote at United Nations condemning Israeli settlements on the West Bank had brought the two countries closer. ‘In the last two years we have seen some very ‘visible visits, more than a dozen

General Bipin Rawat took over as Chief of the Army Staff from General Dalbir Singh, while Air Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa succeeds Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha, as Air Chief Marshal and Chief of the Air Staff. The latter was received as a smooth transfer of authority; not so the former, which gave rise to a fever of halfbaked media speculation about the true reasons behind the gov-

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erally, have little cause to throw stones at others when their own integrity for honest reporting is frequently called into question.

Central Asian leaders come calling

Two important Central Asian leaders, President Emomali Rahmov of Tajikistan and President Almazbek Atambaev of Kyrgyzstan – both former Soviet republics with close ties to Russia - came calling prior to Christmas were welcomed warmly with full honours by President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi at gala receptions at Rashtrapati Bhavan. President Rahmov promised to work for stability in Afghanistan and cooperate close-

Lt General Bipin Rawat (left) and Air Marshal BS Dhanoa

ernment decision to supersede Pravin Bakshi of Eastern Command and Lt General P.M Hariz of Southern Command, both senior to General Rawat. Such decisions are rare but not unknown. Those superseded generally put in their papers of resignation. Lt General Bakshi chose not to do so, pledging full support and loyalty to General Rawat and appealing to media to end the controversy. Well said, General. The Indian media, gen-

ly with India on matters relating to jihadi terrorism, from money laundering to gun running and fake currency smuggling. President Rahmov said: ‘We will intensify our defence and counter-terrorism cooperation with India, and expressed full support for India’s membership of the UN Security Council. Prime Minister referred to Tajikistan as part of India’s extended neighbourhood and promised close engagement on all aspects of terrorism.

Kyrgyzstan

A ceremonial welcome was accorded to Kyrgyzstan President Almazbek Atambayev recently as he was received by President Pranab Mukherjee at the Rashtrapati Bhavan

India and Kyrgzstan finalized plans for annual military exercises named Khanjur, starting in 2017, and appealed for a global convention on terrorism. The first Mughal Emperor Babur came from the city of Osh, hence the two countries shared a common heritage. Their joint statement referred to the IT support India had rendered to Kyrgyzstan including the establishment of three IT centres in the country. It also mentioned the high altitude Kyrgyz-Indian Mountain Training Centre, being built at the city of Balykchi, where

Indian troops will train. They pledged to build transport networks covering Iran and Afghanistan to improve regional connectivity. Prime Minister Modi spoke of the critical Indian thrust in this direction (Hindu December 18, 21) Media barons of other newspapers ignored both visits, clearly too busy recycling New York Times, Washington Post trash in syndicated columns or Obama angst in the dying days of a thoroughly discredited administration. January 20 is to be the day of its mercy killing.


UK Asian Voice | 14th January 2017

www.asian-voice.com AsianVoiceNews

AsianVoiceNewsweekly

13

Stay Well This Winter campaign awareness The Politics of Marriage I am so angry. I’ve just been shown the messages my sister-in-law received from ‘men’ on Shaadi.com. You would think the clue is in the name of the website – ‘Shaadi’ – marriage. Not ‘quick hook up for sex’. So I told her to tell these sleaze bucket men that I write in an Asian newspaper and would love to publish their names and the text messages they sent her. Then we told Shaadi.com – so if you’re a British Indian man in his 30s and had his Shaadi.com account suspended this past week – I’m gonna make you famous. My sister-in-law together with my wife’s female friends keep me posted on their hellish experiences trying to get married. The Government can offer all the tax breaks it wants, make all the encouraging sounds about how it values marriage in society – including same-sex marriage – but you try being a single British Indian girl in her 30s trying to find a decent husband in Britain today. With apologies to all the amazing outstanding Indian men in their 30s out there – these ladies despite Shaadi.com and something called Asian Single Solution cannot seem to find one. I know at least six girls who from all I can tell are perfectly normal hard-working women, but the

choices on these websites are depressing. They are not being fussy. So here is a note to the boys out there who have character issues from the single ladies I asked – their views NOT mine: 1. Do not get mommy to call on your behalf – seriously no wife wants to marry a child. Overbearing mothers – let your baby speak now and again. 2. Do not bang on about how rich daddy is – wives usually care about what you’ve achieved 3. They want someone to look up to – not someone for you to look down on 4. If you want a cook and cleaner – get a cook and cleaner. Hassle.com is good – and a lot cheaper than a wife. 5. Mommy may be wrong sometimes – if you come across 6. If you believe in horoscopes, or rather mommy and daddy do, then make it clear on date one, not date 10. 7. Stop going on Shaadi.com asking for sex. We will find you, we will hunt you down, and then we will make you famous. Especially because in the age of social media, it is so easy to reveal how truly disgusting you are. You are looking for Tinder or Grindr. Stop harassing women who are using Shaadi.comand such sites for what they are meant for.

Girl finds ‘prison shank’ blade in X’mas gift An eight-year-old girl was supposed to get a keyboard for Christmas, but the gift box she received included a row of up to 15 Stanley knife blades with a taped handle. Holly Cornwell pulled a homemade “Prison Shank” covered in blades from a Christmas present ordered on Amazon. Beverley Cornwell bought her granddaughter Holly Cornwell a keyboard from the online giant last month and wrapped up the instrument in its original box.

Weather warning as snow could cover most of Britain Friday (January 13th) is expected to be the coldest day of winter so far as temperatures are set to plunge well below zero this week as an Arctic blast sweeps across the country. Vast swathes of Britain are expected to be covered in several inches of snow, after a cold northerly wind hits parts of the country on Wednesday evening. Arctic winds will bring wintry showers as far south as Norfolk after dumping snow on Scotland, Northern Ireland and the North York moors. It is warned that snowstorms and chilly winds will reach the whole of the UK by the weekend.

But the 57-year-old alleges when the little one ripped open the packaging on Boxing Day, she pulled out a row of up to 15 Stanley knife blades with a taped handle. Beverley, a mental health worker from Hillingdon, West London, said: “It was a makeshift knife, you could see that it had tape around to make a makeshift handle. We think it had been used for packaging purposes. Obviously an eight-yearold child is excited and wants to tear the packaging open so thank goodness she had the hindsight to hold it up and say ‘what's this?’, and thank goodness we were there to witness her unwrapping it.”

The blade found inside Beverley Cornwells parcel

She was offered a refund by Amazon but said: “My complaint is not about monetary gain, it’s to highlight the potential of a very severe incident.” The keyboard, sold on Amazon for £78, is made in China by UK-based company RockJam and both companies are probing the matter.

PUNDIT PUJARI MAHARAJ

l The main duties and responsibilities of the job (job description); perform the religious ceremonies for the Murtis of Lord Swaminarayanbapa Swamibapa who preside in the main shrine of the Temple. This includes preparation of the meals and others offerings that are presented to the Lord and each of the said Murti's bathing, clothing, performing aarti, the mahapooja ceremony etc. l The location of the job; Temple Premises in Bolton, Lancashire. 161 Deane Road Bolton BL3 5AH. Contact Mr. Kanji Naran 07529 981 422 . l Remuneration and other terms on offer; wages of £1200 per month l Skills, qualifications and required; you must be fluent and have detailed practical knowledge of the daily ritual requirements of the idols of the Swaminarayan religion including the rites and ceremonial aartis, verses and hymns in their original text and language, as practised by the Maninagar Shree Swaminarayan Gadi Sansthan, with at least one year’s experience. You will not be required to give religious teachings to the general public l The closing date for applications: 28 days from the advertisement date

NHS England in partnership with Public Health England (PHE) hosted a roundtable event with Faith and BME organisations representing Hindu, Muslim, Sikh and Christian communities. The event focused on how faith organisations can work together with NHS England and PHE to ensure that BME communities know how to Stay Well This Winter. During the discussion valuable knowledge was shared and it was agreed that a partnership approach would be of great benefit to address very real health issues within BME communities. More people die over the course of each winter compared to other times of the year and there are a range of conditions worsened by the cold weather 80 per cent of these deaths are accounted for by people with circulatory diseases (such as heart disease, lung illnesses and stroke), dementia and respiratory diseases (such as asthma). Stay Well This Winter important recommendations are: l Get the free flu jab if you are eligible. l Keep warm by heating

your home to 18 degrees if possible and wearing warm clothes. l Stock up on foods in case it’s too cold to go outdoors. l Visit the pharmacy at the first sign of illness. Gurmit Mahal, Executive Member Sikh Women's Alliance, said: “The Sikh Women’s Alliance are keen to work with PHE and NHS England on the Stay Well This Winter campaign. We had a very positive discussion on how to reach out to our people.” Ibrahim Hemaida, Muslim Association of Britain, said: “Today’s event was brilliant, the idea of engaging local communities in this campaign and delivering the message is clear.” Dr Jyoti Sood,

Redbridge CCG, who chaired the event, said: “The event was a positive step in equipping faith organisations with the right information about the Stay Well This Winter campaign, in particular the flu vaccine, so that their communities can make informed decisions.” Ian Hampton, Senior Campaigns Manager, NHS England, who presented the Stay Well This Winter campaign, said: “These faith organisations play a key role in connecting us with their communities and helping us get our important campaign messages heard and responded to.” To find out more about the Stay Well This Winter campaign, visit www.nhs.uk/staywell


14

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TLIGHT

www.asian-voice.com

Sonia Golani: What After Money and Fame?

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Asian Voice | 14th January 2017

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Police officers given choice to carry a gun or a Taser

Sunetra Senior

At the start of a new year, in an increasingly business dominated and minded world, best-selling author Golani seeks the answer to a very pertinent question, ‘What After Money and Fame?’, in her new book entitled as such. The owner of a well-established recruitment firm, Golani’s critically accredited work features a variety of huge South-Asian names. Spanning an array of notable professions, from the world’s 405th richest man and head of the Godrej Group – Adi Godrej - to prominent artists such as Kavita Seth – the beloved singer of Bollywood and Hindi cinema – she delves into their respective experiences, and provides an accurate exposé. ‘We are watching with immense joy,’ the inquisitive author writes in her introductory address to What After Money and Fame: Conversations with India’s Rich, Famous and Powerful, ‘as our children graduate from prestigious engineering and medical colleges and liberal arts universities in India and around the world. As these young boys and girls step into the real world, they have mighty aspirations and big dreams (…) On the other hand, another generation has been contemplating what we have achieved after completing three quarters of our working life, and at what price. Looking back and discovering an exhilarating mix of achievements, missed opportunities – situations that could have been avoided (in hindsight), sacrifices made, we are thinking of how to make the best of our remaining work life and thereafter.’ *** Looking to form a powerful intergenerational bridge was significant in Golani’s research as it had foundations in the big answer: “what all highprofile interviewees undoubtedly had in common”, she shared with us, “was their desire to give back, once they had achieved a certain degree of reputable and materialistic satisfaction,” and this in turn indicated that it was not a set destination or timely accomplishment that defined success, but the more elusive and eternal quality of an open and connective mind. To epitomise this, Golani gave the philanthropic examples of Godrej, Ajay Piramal and Amit Chandra – to name but a few - whose entrepreneurship and civic principles are defined through a combination “of good ethics and relationships with people as well as their hard work.” Golani also states in her introduction, on research into the common thoughts of people in their later years that they’d often wished to: ‘have the courage to live a life true to themselves, not worked so hard at the expense of family and friends,’ and regretted ‘not travelling enough.’ Introspection must then work alongside the corporate values to equate to a meaningful life. With What After Money and Fame? being Golani’s fourth investigative literary exploit – the first two looking at how successful women balanced their home lives and the board room, and the stories of the lives of those who dared pursue unconventional careers - Golani herself is an inspiring role model for living what she teaches.

Please elaborate a little on the findings of your book? Yes, I feel goodness does rule the human mind as the ultimate yardstick, more so once material goals have been achieved. Across my four books, I’ve met and talked with 63 movers and shakers, high-achieving individuals and when you ask the question What After Money And Fame, to the super successful, the common response is their wish to be a good human being. In terms of business practice and models they believe conducting this ethically not only grows you spiritually, but your financial health too – it becomes an organic extension. You can only gain. Giving back is a huge part of communal duty as stated in scriptures such as the Bhagavad Gita.’

You did study liberal arts as a student and will be more than well-versed by now on social structure and the ordering of society. Can your findings on the satisfaction of material needs as a catalyst for being good be extended to a desire to eliminate social inequality? People need to have enough to provide their families decent living, medical care and their children a good education. However, it is important to remember that while

there may be an end to need there is not to greed, and that’s the main issue. My book does address social inequality, but philanthropists, even though they wish to, alone cannot affect a mass change. There needs to be large scale governmental intervention and individual resolve to do better – no matter which strata of society is concerned. Having said that, philanthropists consider being wealthy a blessing, and believe it’s always right to give back. Reviewers are raving about your book’s specific ‘existential’ questions. Please elaborate? There are many, but a key one is: how do you stay motivated after you reach the threshold you had set for yourself. Rashesh

'Practice restraint be the master of your money, not the victim'

Shah, the CEO of Edelweiss Group, one of India’s leading diversified financial services conglomerates, talks about continuous learning and growth as a personal motivation and the larger motivation for business coming from the satisfaction of creating value adding jobs. As per Narayana Murthy, ‘it is important to define larger and bigger goals as we go from one orbit of achievement to another.’ It will never be enough unless you’re absorbing your journey and going through an inner process. What are the common pitfalls that ensnare people in the chase for money and fame? People usually lose the balance in this chase as they normally they do not pause and ponder What After Money And Fame? Individuals have to realize that even after all the fame and money, it’s important to exercise restraint for your own good. Over-indulgence is harmful – ‘you can’t eat money and you cannot take it with you. If you realize that fact, you will know your priorities very well’, say Dr Naresh Trehan, the renowned cardiologist covered in the book. You must pay heed to the intuitive and spiritual needs in life. Simple habits help you become a master, not a victim of your money. Who do you think would most benefit from your book? From millennials to the middle-aged, everybody can learn from these conversations.

Your personal success seems mirrored in the title trajectories of your book; what will your goal be in this, your ‘final layer’ of achievement? Thank you. You are being generous in saying so. I pray to the Almighty to choose me as the channel for the creativity the God wants to see in this world. With submission and humility to the divine inspiration, I wish to keep writing and giving my best to newer ideas..

Mr Adi Godrej’ speaking on Sonia’s book:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=nDPPjsGxSA

w w w. f a c e b o o k . c o m / S o n i a - G o l a n i 540641522725335/

Thousands of police officers will be asked if they want to be armed. All members of the Metropolitan Police Federation will have the opportunity to state whether they would be willing to carry a gun or a Taser. They will also be asked if the prospect of being armed at all times would put them off the job altogether. Last year Scotland Yard announced plans to increase the number of firearms officers in the capital by 600 in the wake of the Paris terrorist attacks in November 2015. Nationally the number of armed police is going up by 1,500. The Met Police Federation is asking all 32,000 of its officers whether or not they would be happy to be armed on duty. Questions for those taking part in the survey cover both Tasers and firearms, including whether they would want to carry them at all times on duty. Officers will be asked for their views on whether they think there should be more officers carrying guns in London or if the thought of carrying a gun

would make them leave the job. Most police personnel in the UK are unarmed, setting the country apart from most other nations around the world. But the question of whether officers should carry guns as a matter of course has been debated for decades, and the issue has come under scrutiny again after recent atrocities in Europe. P r e v i o u s research has suggested the majority of police are opposed to any change in approach, but surveys of members of the public have proved less conclusive. A poll in the wake of the Paris attacks found 58 per cent of people believed officers should be routinely armed. For more than two years the official threat level for international terrorism in the UK has stood at severe, meaning an attack is “highly likely”. The Met Police Federation is being allowed to use the Met's systems for the poll but Scotland Yard said the survey is not being carried out on behalf of, or in partnership with, the force.

Police appeal after Pinner store burglary

An investigation has been launched following a burglary at a store in Pinner. Harrow police were called to reports of a burglary at a commercial property in Bridge Street, Pinner at 12.40am. Police officers attended the scene

on Friday January 6, but found no one at the premises. Enquiries are ongoing and no arrests have been made so far. Harrow MPS are asking anyone with information to call police on101 or via Twitter at @MetCC.


15 TRAVEL AND HOLIDAY SPECIAL Asian Voice | 14th January 2017

www.asian-voice.com AsianVoiceNews

AsianVoiceNewsweekly

The Niagra Falls, Canada (Photo by Jonathan Howell)

Travel can be fun – but planning for it is anything but. Choosing destinations, travel options, accommodation and a good company – all tough decisions that require the prospective traveller to weigh and value different experts and their opinion. Summer is the season that witnesses the most frenetic travel activity and the knowledgeable UK traveller plans well in advance to maximise on a carefully monitored budget. Asian Voice has gathered trusted travel information and evaluation of travel partners as well as advice from seasoned travellers to put together a list of locations that you could consider for your summer holidays this year. Travelling in small groups has become a requirement for some, in the mature Asian community in the UK. As per Hitesh Mehta, Managing Director of

Citibond Travel, the Escorted Tours company caters exactly to that necessity. “The mature Asian community in UK have the know-how and the opportunity to travel the world, but are not always comfortable travelling alone they would like the comfort of their peers, with their ethnic cuisine and home comfort,” Hitesh said. “This is what we focus on while designing our group tours. We aim to give them all the comfort and security they require, when travelling to some of the most far out exotic destinations around the globe,” Hitesh confirmed. The evaluation of different destinations – ranging from historic to scenic, the beaches to the mountains; from road often-travelled and paths less trodden. Everything has been designed to ensure the best holiday experience. We could start with Canada.

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RELAXING CANADA Given it's physical proximity to the USA, Canada often gets lumped in with America. Canada is a very different place, with a generally more relaxed atmosphere. Take Ottawa for example, the capital city is a world away from the panic of bustle of somewhere like New York, although the two are under an hour and a half flight away from each other. Ottawa sits on a river, full of grand Victorian architecture and museums like the National Gallery of Canada, but with an easygoing pace. Parliament Hill is the impressive suite of

buildings that house Canada's parliament. It's position, near the Ottawa River and various points of interest, makes it a good place to start exploring from. Water and waterways are frequent and numerous. There are a variety of lakes and canals that make for a wonderful way to either travel and just laze about on. Of course, if you want to visit the pick of the crop then you need to make the trip to Niagara Falls. The majesty and sheer power of the falls is something that has appeared in movies, such as Superman 2, but is

difficult to capture. You can take the Hornblower boat up to the river and into the mist at the bottom of the falls, or you can go into a tunnel that takes you behind the falls where you can look at the crashing curtain of water from behind. It's also possible to head over to America, because you're on the border, and visit the American piece of Niagara Falls (the famous horseshoe is in Canada, the Americans have a straight waterfall). If you're a fan of movies or TV then a trip to Toronto is worth your time. Given the city's architecture, its often used to stand in for places like Chicago, New York, and Washington. Situated on Lake Ontario, there are plenty of places to visit, such as the CN Tower with its views of the city and petrifying (if you're afraid of heights) section of glass floor. There's also an aquarium, a zoo, and plenty of places to sample Canadian cuisine - you'll be amazed at how many dishes benefit from some maple syrup. These trips can be planned for you. As per Dyvyakumar Shah, CEO, Sona Tours, “we do tailormade packages for within Asia, Africa, North America, Central America and South America and Australia and make it memorable for our clients.”


16

TRAVEL AND HOLIDAY SPECIAL

www.asian-voice.com AsianVoiceNews

Asian Voice | 14th January 2017

WILD AND FANTASTIC AFRICA

Based in the Southern Hemisphere, South Africa offers some great spots for the winter sun. The picture-perfect landscapes, brightly-painted houses, African music and cuisine makes it a perfect adventure spot. The places to visit are the Table Mountain in Cape Town, the Kruger National Park and the Lion Park (if you are in the mood for a safari) and Graskop in Mpumalanga province. Africa is the second largest continent in the world, and choosing a destination can be rather perplexing. However, July to September are the best months to enjoy the astounding scenic beauty and wildlife safaris in the Southern African countries of Zambia and Tanzania. The largest waterfall in the world, the Victoria Falls (Mosi-oa-Tunya) is Zambia’s biggest attraction. July to September is the best time to appreciate the spectacular natural views of the falls in the Zambezi river. For the adventurous traveller, the dangerous rapids give ample options for whitewater rafting, zip lining and bungee jumping. For families, the South Luangwa National Park is much-loved because of its abundant wildlife. You

could drive from Lusaka in less than twelve hours. There are several bush camps and lodges located at short distances from the safaris, but Mfuwe and Chichele Lodges are the premiere ones. A trip to Africa is incomplete without shopping for handmade arts and crafts. Artisans from Zambia and neighbouring Tanzania, Congo, Mozambique and Zimbabwe sell their wares at the Saturday Dutch market. It is a favourite shopping spot for tourists – many getting to taste some authentic ethnic food while shopping. Neighbouring Tanzania also draws crowds for its safari adventures at the Serengeti National park, the white sand beaches of Zanzibar, picturesque Afromontane peaks that summits alongside the iconic Mount Kilimanjaro, and the coastline along Lake Tanganyika. Tanzania is a safe and stable country, embodying the best of African culture, diverse and unique mesh of customs inspired from indigenous tribes and the colonial influences from British, Arabs and the Germans. Dar Es Salaam, meaning ‘abode of peace’ in Arabic is the largest multicultural city in Tanzania.

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It is the home to South Asian, Arab, African Tanzanians, German and British communities who exist peacefully; making it a prominent city in fashion, music, film and arts. The blend of cultures gives it cuisine an inimitable palette from the authentic Zanzibari and Tanzanian fare to American, Chinese, Thai and Indian spreads. The market squares are also favourite spots for vibrant music and street dancing – jazz, contemporary and the native Bongo Flava, a derivation of hip hop. For trekkers with or without much experience, climbing the world’s tallest free standing mountain Mount Kilimanjaro would be a great experience. Kilimanjaro is the fourth of the Seven Summits, but is neither that expensive nor that hard to climb. There are several guided tours conducted for various age groups and fitness levels and gives ample camping opportunities along the way. Planning these trips might not be terribly heavy on the pocket. “We have started a low deposit scheme where the travellers pay only 500 pounds and can guarantee early booking discounts at very low prices,” Dyvyakumar confirmed.

AsianVoiceNewsweekly

OZ, AUSSIES, AUSTRALIA

The Sydney Bridge, Australia (Photo by - Jonathan Howell)

Travelling to Australia can seem daunting, given that it's in-between the Indian and Pacific oceans and a decent flight away from any other country. However, the lure is strong and it's certainly worth all the effort. Australia is renowned for its climate and the sunny weather will give you ample opportunity to savour all the delights on offer without worrying about rain spoiling things. The cultural capital (and often incorrectly labelled as the actual capita of Australia) Sydney has the world-famous Opera House which houses a variety of entertainment, not just the titular operas that you'd expect. For adventure-seekers you could climb the Harbour Bridge or go on the speedboat rides. If

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you're after a more relaxing day, then catch the ferries over to Manly Beach and relax on the sand. Of course, there's always the famous Bondi Beach if you're up for some surfing action. If you want to experience nature, then venture outside of Sydney. To the North are the Blue Mountains which give amazing views across New South Wales and challenging walks for the more intrepid. Also in the region, there are also caves that you can visit at Jenolan and the Scenic Railway (very steep) at Katoomba. Beach-lovers will want to head to the Gold Coast in Queensland (just over an hour's flight away from Sydney) where along with long, golden beaches there are also theme parks and water parks. If you're look-

ing for something a little more slow-placed then there are islands off the coast of Queensland, like Brampton Island, where you can relax in quiet surroundings and treat yourself to some snorkeling and check out the Great Barrier Reef. Jonathan Howell, an avid traveller leaves some tips for Sydney. “Check out the Sydney Tower. You can go up to the top to get amazing views of the city but there's also a fantastic revolving restaurant that serves a buffet of over 50 freshly-prepared dishes. You really need to try the kangaroo, it's surprisingly tasty. And if you're on a budget then the tower is built on top of a shopping centre than has an impressive, and good value, food court.”

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TRAVEL AND HOLIDAY SPECIAL Asian Voice | 14th January 2017

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17


TRAVEL AND HOLIDAY SPECIAL

18

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Asian Voice | 14th January 2017

EXOTIC AND SPIRITUAL ASIA

According to Jagnesh Shah of Incredible Tours, “some of the destinations that are very popular for this time of the year are places with culture like Cambodia and Vietnam, Malaysia and Borneo, and Thailand.” Cambodia embodies some fascinating history and culture – the Hindu Temple at Angkor Wat with the history of the Ramayana and Mahabharata on its walls is fascinating. “You could intersperse that with the visit to the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum and Choeung Ek Memorial, that brings out the horrors of the Khmer history in Phnom Penh.

You could take a journey to the vibrant, dynamic multicultural Ho Chi Minh City after that.” One can discover the waterways of the Mekong Delta – the ‘rice bowl’ of Vietnam, famous for exotic fruits and local cuisine. The floating villages and the historic charm of the Hoi An that will leave you breathless. “You should finish off your tour with a visit to the Ha Long Bay. Spend a night or two on one of the seven new Wonders of the world which is also a Unesco world heritage site,” Jagnesh said. Another destination that remains ever-popular

is Thailand. It is a frenetic mix of Bangkok’s city bustle, street food, sprawling street shops, branded marketplaces and exotic beaches with fine luxury hotels. This is one place, that caters to every travellers’ budget. Borneo’s jagged valleys and forests are home to a rich flora and fauna, the most popular being the orangutan. The tribal population continues to follow the old traditional way of life, co-existing with the Borneo proboscis monkeys and elephants. These ethnic people and animals and, the stunning caves and pristine beaches in South China seas makes it an ideal spot for summer vacations.

Once upon a time New Zealand was a far-away place where potential visitors might not know what to expect. However, the Lord of the Rings films has provided a fantastic cinematic brochure to showcase the country and its beautiful landscapes. There's even a book, available in lots of the shops over there, that details the locations that were used in the filming of the trilogy. New Zealand has two islands, north and south, and you can fly into either. Taking the southern island, you can arrive at Christchurch, rent a car,

and then tour around at your own pace. Exploring is part of the fun and it's not unusual to be driving along and suddenly, around a bend, an impressive vista opens that takes your breath away. If you're looking for a bit more action with your views, then try climbing a glacier. Fox Glacier is a small town on the west of the island where, if you're fit, you can clamber up a mountainside covered in ice. It's even possible to have a helicopter fly you over the glacier and take you to sections that are more remote and difficult

to reach by climbing alone. Thrill seekers will make a beeline for Queenstown where you can go skiing and snowboarding. There's also bungee jumping, jet boating, and white-water rafting. Adrenalin junkies will have a ball, but there's also a vibrant town with lots of delicious food options and it's a good base to explore the south west of the island. One of the areas of interest in the far west is the Fiordland National Park where you can take a boat and explore the beautiful fiords, surrounded by

THE LAND OF THE KIWIS - NEW ZEALAND

snow-capped mountains and tall waterfalls. On the other side of the island there's Dunedin which claims to have the worlds steepest road (it's particularly scary if you're driving an automatic) and Cadbury World where you

If you do not want to travel that far, you could simply fly into Zurich in Switzerland, and take a train to different parts of the Alps. You could also look at doing Italy and the South of France. If you are fond of historical places, that blend beautifully with modernity in a quaint, unassuming manner – Italy is where you should be visiting. The capital Rome has individual The Coliseum, Italy (Photo by Amina Khan)

guided tours at the Colosseum and Vatican City that are customised to keep children engaged. They last for nearly three hours, but are interactive and interesting. Be ready to have a pair of good walking shoes, since the city is best explored on foot, recommends Amina

can indulge your chocolate desires. Jonathan says “If you're out towards Queenstown then I'd recommend dropping into Puzzling World at Wanaka. There's a 3D maze, holograms, and vari-

ous other optical illusions that you can pose inside and take photos. The high point is the Hall of Following Faces where 168 famous faces appear to stare at you and follow you around the octagonal room. Very eerie.”

Khan, a seasoned traveller. She told the Asian Voice “every corner of the city is historic. You can do the walk in short bursts with several cafes and quaint shops to take a break.” Not to be missed is a tour of the river Tiber that makes a great picture at sunset. The dated stone bridges on the river are interesting as they form modern day pavements and

stuff. Nothing from China, which was a relief,” she chuckled. Florence, Venice, Milan, Sienna, Tuscany and Cortona and Lucca are the other places of tourist interest. Croatia, Greece and Cyprus are the other countries that one could explore, but they will be rather crowded in the summers. If you are willing to brace the heat, you could look at countries like Oman, Jordan, Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Whatever your holiday plans, make sure you embark on a safe journey and choose the right vendors. “Always book with an agent that gives the names of the hotels on their website,” says Jagnesh. As per Jagnesh, “always book with a reputed agent who is covered by the AOTL protection scheme. This means that as soon as you book your trip even if you are paying the deposit, you should receive an AOTL certificate from the agent. This should state the flights and hotels as covered by your itinerary,” he advised.

GOOD OLD EUROPE

divides the city into two. “A touristy place is Trastevere, with nice pubs, cafes, good food and street shopping; it is very safe,” she recommended. “Italy being the fashion capital – stood that test very well. All stores very chicly designed. Even roadside vendors were selling very good quality

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15 Feb - 1 March ‘2017


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WHY SOLVE A PROBLEM, WHEN YOU CAN MAKE IT DISAPPEAR? AsianVoiceNews

AsianVoiceNewsweekly

This will be a good year if you’re intending to purchase central London Property, BUT to do so you will need a hefty deposit given the increased rental cover ratios, which are currently being implemented by mortgage lenders.

Suresh Vagjiani

Sow & Reap London Property Investment

As if rental yields weren’t low enough already, there is the additional burden of the higher rental cover, typically from 125% they will jump to 140% - 145%. Then you have the tax to be concerned about, as you cannot offset the interest element of the mortgage against the rental income, not at the higher rate of tax anyhow. For basic rate payers there will be no difference.

NON PAYMENT OF RENT The number of landlord possession claims going to County Court remains high, with a strong trend for using the accelerated procedure. In this article, I highlight some of the pitfalls of obtaining possession and urge landlords to insure for legal expenses and loss of rent. Get insurance Non-payment, late or partial payment of rent is the biggest worry for landlords. Good letting agents are increasingly tending to highlight the

risks to landlords and are putting strict vetting procedures in place. This can be backed up with rent and legal protection insurance to help protect themselves and the landlord against the non payment of rent. Late Payers or Non payers If your tenant pays the rent late or not at all, try to enter and maintain a dialogue with them to gain an understanding of their situation and explain that legal action will follow, if the arrears are not met. You will need to serve

BUY TO LET OPPORTUNITY

The increase in rental cover is in response to the new tax regime, which is due to be implemented in phases from this coming year, with full implementation occurring in 2020. This has served to diminish the number of BTL Landlords, according to The Council of Mortgage Lenders applications have dropped from around 6,000 new purchases a month using buy-to-let mortgages, compared with 10,000 11,000 last year. This is a huge drop of 40%. This means there are less buyers in the market therefore arguably more deals to be had, though this then begs the question: how does one define a deal if the market

tenants with the necessary notices to gain possession as soon as possible, whilst keeping the lines of communication open. If the tenant subsequently pays, the notices can be withdrawn. Go for possession – how not to do it In a court case, last year, a judge found against the landlord as he unlawfully evicted the tenant, who was awarded £22,500 in damages. The tenant had returned from a holiday to find the locks had been changed and a new family were now living at the property, leaving her, her husband and three young

Asian Voice | 14th January 2017

19

is in a state of flux? In short, the BTL game can only be played with increased stakes, you need a bigger deposit and you still have the tax issue to worry about. However, there is an alternative, given the right mechanism you can invest with less money and strip out the issues concerning rental covers and therefore larger deposits, and the tax implications, and still have the benefit of investing in central locations. There are still ways and means of achieving your objective by investing in strong locations, as this is the first mantra of property investment and cannot be

broken in any market. There are some extra benefits in investing in this way too. Too good to be true? Not so, we will be unveiling the means to achieve this in our seminar on the 25th January 2017. This is our first one of the year, where we will be sharing

our strategy and vision for the London property market and the best way to exploit this market, which presents an opportunity which hasn’t existed in recent years. Please call the office to register for this unique seminar. Spaces are limited, so book your space now to avoid disappointment.

children homeless. Go for possession – be careful with serving your notices In a recent case, Spencer v Taylor, the landlord got the expiration date wrong when serving notice. The judge had to decide whether a fixed date, or a date calculated by a formula, applied in the context of serving a valid Section 21 notice. If you do have insurance in place - beware of notification deadlines If you have insurance in place, be aware of the policy conditions for notifying claims. Many

insurance policies have a very short window for notifying claims. This can sometimes work against the agent who is working with the tenant to get the rent payments back on track.

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20

FINANCIAL VOICE

Asian Voice | 14th January 2017

Consultant Editor Financial Voice Alpesh Patel

Dear Financial Voice Reader Call it algos, robo advisors or what you want, but it isn't new and yet in 2017 they will steal more of the market than ever. But, most are useless and re-marketing the same old, same old – simply putting some index tracking funds into over-simplified buckets with a seductive website. Worse still, fintech companies spend millions of other people's (venture capitalists) money and need to make a return through fees - they've not used technological innovation to benefit the private investor at all. Or if they have, it's only until the marketing budget runs out, and the fees must be hiked once the poor investor is well and truly inside. The genuinely innovative are rare. Want to know why? We're an FCA regulated asset manager and we've been using them since 2004! Back when I was about to set up my hedge fund and was still writing my 'Diary of an Internet Trader' column in the Financial Times, and working on the second edition of my FT book, Trading Online, you could say I knew a little about what private investors wanted and institutions were not providing. That gap has got wider in the decade since then; private investors want instant access, individual not pooled assets, daily 24/7 reports (not monthly) and here is the clincher, no entry or exit fee, no admin or annual fee, no uplift on the dealing charges you are secretly adding! Well before the internet became ubiquitous we've been trying to educate people through books and newspaper articles on how to do all this for themselves. But ofcourse people are time poor, even if cash rich. Actually, they are also cash poor, which is why the costs have to be next to nothing too; but Fintech companies spend millions of other people's (venture capitalists) money and need to make a return - they've not used technological innovation to benefit the private investor at all. Private investors are still paying more than they should, just another bunch of wealthy 'experts'. We ensure private investor have algorithms for hour by hour trading based on momentum and trend following, examining where prices close each period and how volatile the market is to determine our exits and trade-size - but most importantly the private traders pay no daily, weekly, monthly or any subscription or ongoing fee. That is what using technological innovation is about - cutting cost, upping quality. Even the trend-following hedge fund AHL is revealing how it uses such algos, and as millions of hedge fund and VC money flows into the likes of Quantopian, Quantbot, surely someone will provide the private investor what he wants.Instead we have glorified social trading where you pay a unconventional fund manager in the form of an algo to underperform or outright lose money. And for the longer term investor our little algo into it's second decade has outperformed every single fund manager investing in the same market over the same period. We also use algorithms to datamine thousands of corporate accounts and mine for what moves share prices over the course of a 12 month holding period - basing that information on academic research and number crunching which reveals what makes equities undervalued (it isn't relative P/E) and likely to be high growth (it is not the new product release) - we then weigh and score these factors based on that same research. 2016 gave us 19.4%, 2015 saw 23.3%. Actually since 2004 that one near cost-less algorithm has beaten every fund manager over the same period. Until my industry of asset management comes clean, rather than infecting a new generation of Fintech entrepreneurs with the same greed, the fight goes on - but who speaks for the private investor – prized increasingly from the clutches of the fund manager, into the fangs of the fintech entrepreneur. We will keep giving free education and I will keep on asking 'what is a banker really worth?'

Google introduces tools for small businesses in India Google India has announced key initiatives for small and medium businesses in India, including a new tool that would help them create an online presence. The announcement was made by Google CEO Sundar Pichai, who was in New Delhi for a day. He said the brand new tool- My Business, was

introduced first in India, and will gradually be taken to other countries. It will help small businesses set up website from their mobile devices. All they need is a smart phone and a few minutes. "We've learnt that when we solve for a place like India, we solve for everyone around the world," Pichai said.

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Implementation of Modi's schemes will boost economy: Assocham AsianVoiceNews

Calling the new schemes announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his New Year's Eve address to the nation as "extremely positive for the Indian economy", industry body ASSOCHAM said the focus should now be on effective implementation of the schemes to drive economic growth. "The initiatives like 60day interest waiver for farmers who have taken loans from district cooperative banks and primary societies together with additional funds of £2 billion given to NABARD to give loans to farmers would help in alleviating pains of farmers and rural class,"

Narendra Modi

said ASSOCHAM president Sunil Kanoria. He said the schemes like interest subsidy on loans for low cost housing together with impetus to affordable housing will provide much needed help to vulnerable sections of society and revive consumer confi-

AsianVoiceNewsweekly

dence amid largest, but poorest socio-economic group. He added that the push towards low cost housing is also good news for retail portfolio of banks and nonbanking financial companies that have been struggling to boost their business amid economic slowdown. "The credit guarantee for SME and MSME has been increased to £200,000. This will provide support to these sectors. The focus should now be on effective implementation of the credit insurance programme so that banks and NBFCs get their money in case of defaults faster than what it has hap-

pened in the past," the chief said. "The government should also complement these actions with substantial reduction in both, individual and corporate tax rates, more so as private sector investments are yet to kickstart and lower tax rates will certainly push private investments and drive economic growth. Considering that postdemonetisation there has been a substantial surge in deposits, resultantly banks have started reducing interest rates and further rate cuts will only revive consumption demand and reinvigorate the investment cycle."

Tata Sons calls EGM on Feb 6 to oust Mistry as director After ousting Cyrus Mistry as chairman, Tata Sons has called a shareholders' meeting on February 16, to remove him as director of the holding company of the $103-billion Tata Group. After he was abruptly removed on October 24, Mistry subsequently resigned from the board of six companies, but dragged Tata Sons and his interim successor Ratan Tata to the National Company Law Tribunal. After the board meeting of October 24, 2016, Tata Sons had resolved that Mistry shall, notwithstanding his ceasing to be the chairman, continue as a director of the company. "Subsequent to his replacement, Mistry has made certain unsubstantiated allegations, which cast aspersions not only on Tata Sons Limited and its board of directors, but also on the Tata group as a whole. Internal communications, including confidential, were made public. Mistry's con-

Cyrus Mistry

duct has caused enormous harm to the Tata group and its stakeholders, including employees and shareholders," Tata Sons said in a note for extraordinary general meeting (EGM). The ousted chairman's conduct, it said, "resulted in significant erosion of the market value of the Tata group companies, which has consequently resulted in harm to Tata Sons Limited and indirectly losses to its shareholders." The notice said continuation of Mistry as a director of Tata Sons is "untenable" and therefore, he should be

removed. The resolution, which has been moved for his removal, said: "The board of Tata Sons Ltd is of the view that the integrity of the board proceedings is being jeopardised by Mistry's continuation as a director and the confidentiality of the board decisions and proceedings cannot be ensured as the documents presented to the board have been leaked and made public in a distorted and untruthful manner." Sebi writes to Tata cos on corporate governance charges: Market regulator Sebi has sent letters to the audit committees of seven Tata companies, on which Mistry was the chairman till December 19, to individually clarify on his allegations that there were several instances that pointed towards lack of corporate governance at Tata Sons and also the group companies some of which are listed. Separately Sebi has also written to these Tata Group companies to clarify if they

had violated any Prevention of Insider Trading (PIT) rules by sharing board agenda items and strategy documents with the Trustees of Tata Trusts. Mistry had also alleged that directors on the boards of some of the listed Tata companies failed “to discharge the fiduciary duty owed to stakeholders” of group companies. Mistry was the executive chairman of Tata Sons, the group's holding company and non-executive chairman of Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), Tata Motors, Tata Steel, Tata Power, Tata Chemicals, Indian Hotels and Tata Global Beverages. After he was sacked as the chairman of Tata Sons on October 24, he had written to the board of directors of Tata Sons and also the shareholders of the seven Tata companies which are listed. All listed companies, including the directors on their boards, have to adhere to strict corporate governance rules.

30 Indian-origin innovators in Forbes list of super achievers Over 30 Indian-origin innovators, entrepreneurs, and leaders have been featured in the Forbes' 2017 list of super achievers under the age of 30 who seek to break the status quo and transform the world. The list feature 600 who are "challenging the conventional wisdom and rewriting the rules for the next generation of entrepreneurs, entertainers, educators, and more. They are a passionate and formidable bunch, and for good reason. Their goal is nothing short of breaking the status quo and transforming the world." In the list, is 27 year old Vivek Kopparthi, cofounder of NeoLight, a

company that has developed a portable phototherapy device to use at home for jaundice. They are also in the works for a second tool to treat infant hypothermia. Prarthna Desai, 27, who left her Harvard graduate school programme to use drones to get medication to people in the developing world, is also in the list. With healthcare company Zipline, she is leading efforts to integrate the medicine-delivery-by-drone service with the healthcare system in Rwanda. Orthopaedic surgery chief resident at Harvard Medical School, Shaun Patel, 28, has dozens of scientific publications in sur-

gery journals. His company OrthoNinja, aims to streamline communication between doctors by creating a mobile app that allows doctors to consult with one another. The 17 year old Rohan Suri, founder of Averia Health Solutions, has developed an improved concussion test. Featuring in the law and policy category is Varun Sivaraman, 27, Acting Director, Energy Security and Climate Change in leading think tank Council on Foreign Relations. With a PhD from Oxford University, Sivaraman is on the advisory boards for Stanford's energy and environment institutes. He has even advised Hillary

Clinton's campaign on energy policy. In the manufacturing and industry sector, Neha Gupta, 28, played a role in the sale of Beats by Dre to Apple. She manages manufacturing and supply chain for DAQRI, which makes augmented reality headsets to improve safety and efficiency for industrial workers. The social entrepreneurs category has Aditya Agarwalla, 23, Co-founder of Kisan Network- an online marketplace for small-scale farmers in India. In the sports category, Akshay Khanna, 29, Vice President of Strategy for American football team Philadelphia 76ers finds a place.


WORLD Asian Voice | 14th January 2017

www.asian-voice.com

5 Indian-Americans join US Congress In Brief AsianVoiceNews

AsianVoiceNewsweekly

21

Indian-American selected for education campaign

(from left) Kamala Harris, Ami Bera, Ro Khanna, Raja Krishnamoorthi and Pramila Jaypal

WASHINGTON: In a historic breakthrough for IndianAmericans, five from the community were sworn in as members of the US Congress. All of them are Democrats, and three for them are from California. Kamala Harris will become the first to become a Senator. Meanwhile, Ami Bera, the only Indian-American in the 435-member House of Representatives, got re-elected last November and will be joined by the other four. The others include Ro Khanna from California, Raja Krishnamoorthi from Illinois and Pramila Jayapal from

Washington state. Harris, whose parents are from Chennai and Jamaica, represents both- the IndianAmerican and the AfricanAmerican community. She was administered the oath of office by Vice President Joseph Biden, when she swore on a copy of the Holy Bible held by her husband Doug Emhoff. In members of the 115th Congress, 91 per cent identify as Christians. Among the 293 Republicans elected to serve this term, just two identify as Jews- Lee Zelding of New York and David Kustoff of Tennessee. Both serve in the

House. Democrats are also overwhelmingly Christian, but there is more religious diversity on this side. Among the 242 Democrats in the Congress, there are 28 Jews, three Buddhists, three Hindus, two Muslims, and one Unitarian Universalist. There is also one member who identifies herself as religiously unaffiliated- Kyrsten Sinema from Arizona. While Bera and Khanna are US-born (Los Angeles and Philadelphia respectively), Pramila Jayapal and Raja Krishnamoorthi are Indiaborn (Chennai and New Delhi respectively).

Krishnamoorthi has an engineering degree from Princeton and a law degree from Harvard, and Jayapal has an MBA from NorthWestern University. Both have done immense community work. But the star of the line-up is Kamala Harris (law degree from University of California), who served as the state's attorney general and is now the junior Senator from California. A rising star in the Democratic Party, she is already being spoken of as the next generation of the party's leadership even as Clintons and Obamas fade into dusk.

PeeCee, Dippy astound on the red carpet at Golden Globes LOS ANGELES: The 74th Golden Globe Awards saw peak glamour as Hollywood's best walked the red carpet with style. Giving an ode to powerful performances held last year, the event saw a powerful speech by ace actress Meryl Streep. Also visible was Bollywood beauty Priyanka Chopra, who has now become a regular at red carpets in the West. Wearing a gilded custom-made Ralph Lauren metallic gown with a plunging v-neckline, PeeCee looked every bit gorgeous. The floorlength sequined gown put up

Priyanka Chopra

her hourglass figure on display. She wore her hair in loose waves and finished off her look with a bold diamond pendant and matching earrings.

Indian-Americans shine in US power circuit WASHINGTON: IndianAmericans are shining bright in the American media for several reasons; chiefly political. Confusion recently prevailed when the Trump transition team announced the appointment of Indian-American Raj Shah as deputy assistant to the President, and deputy communication director and research director in the incoming Trump administration. The media, however, ran photos of Rajiv Shah, who served as administrator of the US agency for international development in the Obama administration, raising questions on when the Democrat switched sides. The Trump appointee of the same name would transition into a formal job in the new administration with a similar role of casing President Trump's opponents. Currently head of Opposition Research in the Republican National Committee, he had led a team of experts to carry out research against Hillary Clinton, the Democratic presidential candidate, during the campaign. Additional hires include Marc Short, Director of

Raj Shah

Legislative Affairs; John DeStefano, Director of Presidential Personnel; Josh Pitcock, Chief of Staff to the Vice President; George Gigicos, Director Of Advance; Jessica Ditto, Deputy Communications Director; Jen Pavlik, Deputy Chief of Staff to the Vice President; and John McEntee, Personal Aide to the president. Meanwhile, the Democratic Raj Shah, formally Rajiv J Shah, was also in the news. The Rockefeller Foundation, one of the America's largest and most influential philanthropies, named him President, succeeding Judith Rodin, who had held the post for 12 years. Shah will be the youngest person - and the first IndianAmerican - to head the Foundation.

Priyanka also presented this year, along with Jeffrey Dean Morgan. They gave away the trophy for the 'Best Actor in TV Series-Drama' to Billy Bob Thornton for 'Goliath'. Speaking to the media on the red carpet, she said, "I think of myself as just as an actor and I go where my work takes me. I'm excited about 'Quantico' and I'm very excited about 'Baywatch' coming up." She also added, "I have a lot of fun on the red carpet as I meet people I work with. It's a fun time for me." Also making her mark,

actress Deepika Padukone attended the Globes' afterparty, hosted by Warner Bros Studios and InStyle magazine. Brightening up the room, Deepika sported a floor-length one-shouldered canary yellow Ralph Lauren gown. In the US to promote her Vin Diesel-starrer Hollywood debut 'xXx: The Return of Xander Cage', she was styled by Shaleena Nathlani. And wore a pair of statement pearl earrings, nude make up and side swept curls in true old Hollywood style.

Hindus seek Diwali holiday in California schools CALIFORNIA: Hindus in California are seeking official holidays on Diwali in all 1,025 public school districts. They have also approached all 1,222 charter schools, 3,170 private schools, and all independent schools in the region to adopt the Hindu festival as an official holiday on their 2017-18 calendars. In a statement, Hindu statesman Rajan Zed said it would be a step in the positive direction in view of presence of a substantial number of Hindu students at school around the state, as it was important to meet the religious and spiritual needs of these pupils. President of Universal Society of Hinduism, Zed indicated that schools should make efforts to accommodate the religious requirements of Hindu students and show respect to their faith by not conducting regular business and scheduling classes on Diwali. "We do not want our students to be put at an unnecessary disadvantage for missing tests/examinations/papers, assignments, class work, etc., by taking a day off to observe

Diwali." He urged California Governor Edmund Gerald Brown Jr, California State Board of Education President Michael Kirst, California Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson, California School Boards Association CEO Vernon M Billy, California Charter Schools Association President Jed Wallace, California Association of Private School Organisations President Kevin Baxter, and California Association of Independent Schools Executive Director James McManus to work towards adding Diwali as an official holiday in all the public, charter, private, and independent schools of the state. He further said, "Hinduism is rich in festivals, and religious festivals are very clear and sacred to Hindus. Diwali, the festival of lights, aims at dispelling the darkness and lighting up the lives. It symbolises the victory of good over evil. Besides Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, and some Buddhists also celebrate Diwali which falls on October 19 in 2017."

WASHINGTON: US First Lady Michelle Obama has selected Indian-American Swetha Prabakaran for 'Better Make Room' campaign's Student Advisory Board in recognition of her efforts to educate youth in the field of computer sciences. The board members will visit White House to attend Michelle's School Counsellor of the Year Ceremony. Born in Indianapolis to Indian parents, Swetha is among 17 students selected by the White House to serve on 'Better Make Room' Student Advisory Board. The inaugural Board has 12 high school students and five college students.

PIA plane hits Air France jet at Toronto airport

TORONTO: A Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) aircraft hit an Air France plane while taxiing at Toronto International Airport. The PIA flight from Toronto to Lahore was suspended after the plane clipped the wing of the Air France plane which was parked at Terminal 3. No one was injured and the damage to the plane was minor. A PIA spokesperson said the matter was under investigation. There's some damage to the equipment which may need replacement, he added.

Pak arrests 150 supporters of blasphemy law

ISLAMABAD: Police arrested 150 people, mostly clerics and seminary students, who had gathered in Lahore to celebrate the assassination of Punjab's former governor Salman Taseer on his sixth death anniversary. The supporters of blasphemy law had planned to march from Lahore's Kalma Chowk to Liberty Chowk. The provincial government, however, did not grant them permission for the rally. “Over 150 members of religious groups have been detained,� a police officer, said. Blasphemy law is a sensitive subject in Pakistan and several persons have been gunned down in the past for opposing the legislation.

Bangla police kill prime suspect in July cafe attack

DHAKA: Bangladeshi police shot dead two Islamist militants in a gunfight in Dhaka, including a prime suspect in the killing of 20 hostages, mostly foreigners, in a cafe in the capital last year. Nurul Islam Marjan, 30, a commander of a splinter group of the Jamaat-ulMujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), was killed along with another suspected militant, Saddam Hossain, 35, the chief of Dhaka's counter-terrorism police, Monirul Islam, said. Marjan was wanted by police for his role in the attack on the cafe last July, which raised alarm over the rising threat of Islamist militancy.

Turkey attacker identified

ANKARA: Turkish police have confirmed that an Uzbek national was behind the attack on the crowded nightclub on new year's eve in Istanbul. Abdulkadir Masharipov arrived in Istanbul from the central Anatolian province of Konya on December 15, 2016, police sources said. He was part of an Islamic State (IS) cell in Konya that consists of Uzbeks. They continued to provide logistical support to Masharipov, who was also known as "Ebu Muhammed Horasani." The attacker remains on the run after escaping the Reina nightclub despite the massive deployment of police to prevent attacks targeting New Year's celebrations.

Pakistan test-fires cruise missile

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan last week successfully test-fired submarine-launched cruise missile Babur-III, an official said, and claimed the missile has been developed indigenously. The range of the missile is 450 km, Director General InterServices Public Relations (ISPR) Maj. Gen. Asif Ghafoor said. The development came less than a month after Pakistan conducted a successful test of an enhanced version of Babur cruise missile. Babur weapons system version II incorporates advanced aerodynamics and avionics that can strike targets both at land and sea with high accuracy at a range of 700 km.


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Uttarayan- The Festival of Kites AsianVoiceNews

Asian Voice | 14th January 2017

Unlike other Hindu festivals that follow lunar motion, Makar Sankranti follows the movement of the sun. 'Makar' means Capricorn, and 'Sankranti' means Transition. This is the only festival to fall on a fixed date every year- the 14th of January. Every region celebrates the festival in its own local way. It is regarded as the day Winter officially ends and spring begins, a symbol of leaving behind all past negativity and begin a fresh new season. It still holds cultural significance. Puranas say that it is on this day the Sun visits the house of his son Shani, swami of Makar Rashi. This day symbolises the healthy

relationship of father and son- also symbolic of the son's responsibility to carry forward his father's dream. It is also said that on this day, Lord Vishnu ended the increasing terror of the Asuras, by finishing them off and burying their heads under the Mandara Parvata. This is

also why, Makar Sankranti represents the end of negativity and the beginning of righteous living. In several regions, people celebrate the day by flying colourful kites. Families make a day out of it, various sweets are prepared and eaten. Gujarat marks the day with kites,

chikki, undhiyu, and jalebi. In commemoration of the festival, a week-long International Kite Festival has been kick-started at Sabarmati Riverfront in Ahmedabad, Gujarat. It was inaugurated by Chief Minister Vijay Rupani on January 8 in a grand cere-

mony. Over two thousand students from schools run by the Municipal Corporation performed 'suryanamaskar' during the opening. Theme for this year's Festival is 'Tourist Destinations of Gujarat'. The event includes kite workshop, adventure games for kids,

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craft stalls to display local art and food stalls with local delicacies. An estimated of 186 kite fliers, which includes 51 from 8 different states and more than 100 kite fliers from more than 31 countries, will participate this year. Participants from Argentina, Australia, France, Brazil, Belgium, Cambodia, Canada, Estonia, Germany, Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Korea, Macau, Malaysia, Netherlands, NewZealand, Poland, Russia, Singapore, Spain, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, the UK, the USA and Vietnam will be a part of this mega event.

Note ban: Grace period for exchange Ashley Tellis in race to become doesn’t apply to PIOs/OCIs US envoy to India Prime Minister Narendra Modi's demonetisation move not only affected India and those living in it, but also put NRIs in a soup. Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs) and Overseas Citizens of India (OCIs) left with Indian demonetised currency after a visit to India, left back with nothing but a bag full of disappointment. They were informed that the grace period until June 2017 available for non-resident Indians to deposit scrapped Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes were only available to Indian citizens. The Reserve Bank of India turned away PIOs and OCIs attempting to get their notes exchanged, even though they were not in the country from November 8

to December 31. In its updated FAQ list, the bank specifically said they are excluded from the scheme. All bets are lost by those attempting to find some aid as eventhough both, the government and the RBI at the time of the notification, had said that the central bank would provide a facility to exchange demonetised notes until March 2017, the final ordinance did not have the provision.

The OCI, was a scheme set up in response to demands for dual citizenship by the Indian comm u n i t y abroad. It was introduced by the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2005 in August 2005, and enables foreign passport holders to visit India without a visa using the OCI card. The PIO card was issued earlier to people of Indian origin and was subsequently merged with the OCI scheme. Bankers said widening the grace period to foreign citizens could make it difficult for enforcement authorities to regulate.

Nobel Series is for knowledge, peace

Modi at the Nobel Prize Series Exhibition at Science City, in Ahmedabad

The inauguration of the Nobel Prize Exhibition held on January 9, in Ahmedabad, by PM Narendra Modi, saw nine Nobel laureates among guests present. Nobel Media CEO Mattias Fyrenius gave a speech and talked about the plan that had gone into the event and the future of the partnership between the Nobel Foundation and India. "Planning for the event started almost a year ago. It was a fantastic opportunity for us as what we are trying to achieve resonates well within the Indian side. The

Nobel Prize Series India2017 is the most ambitious series of events we have ever organised outside Scandinavia," Fyrenius said. He said the exhibitions, lectures, seminars, and round-table discussions they had planned would be spread over three centresAhmedabad, Delhi, and Bengaluru, "We have never before organised on this scale any event where nine laureates and most top officials of the Nobel Foundations would be present," he said. He also added that the rationale of

organising such an event is that it would allow them to work on subjects in science and technology, research, literature, and peace-related topics. Meeting of the laureates with Modi was crucial, he said. "At one level, the laureates bring with them their learning and prestige, On another, they are sincerely interested in promoting ideas and fact-based reasoning. Thus, we are trying to create a dialogue at the political level. If it can somehow affect India's efforts in this area, we and they would both be proud."

WASHINGTON: 'Desi' names are being thrown around in Washington as the next American envoy to India, succeeding Richard Verma who is expected to demit office before January 20. Mumbai-born, Indiaeducated scholar-diplomat Ashley Tellis, 55, has reportedly being spoken of. He is currently a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace specialising in international security, defence, and Asian Strategic issues. He has served as senior adviser to Robert Blackwill, the US Ambassador in New Delhi, and has also served on the US National Security Council staff as a special assistant to President Bush. Tellis was also intimately involved in

Ashley Tellis

negotiating the civilian nuclear deal with India. President-elect Donald Trump has moved quicklyputting in nominees for Secretary of State (Rex Tillerson), Defence Secretary (Gen James Mattis), and envoys to China (Governor Terry Branstad) and Japan (William Hagerty). All have

extensive experience dealing with Asia. Tellis' nomination will have to be confirmed by the Senate. If appointed, he will most certainly be welcomed in New Delhi, not just because he's IndianAmerican, but also because of the scholarly work he's done on the region, on USIndia ties, and his tireless promotion of closer defence and strategic relations between the two countries. The Trump administration will have at least three other Indian-Americans. Among them are Atul Keshap, currently the US Ambassador to Sri Lanka and Maldives, Geeta Pasi, US Ambassador to Chad, and Krisha R Urs, Deputy Chief of Mission at the US Embassy in Madrid, Spain.

Foundation laid for 5-star hotel at Gandhinagar Prime Minister Narendra Modi, along with Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu, laid the foundation stone for a ÂŁ25.4 million, 300room five star hotel project at the Gandhinagar Railway Station. The hotel is touted to be hi-tech and passengerfriendly. Tenders have also been issued for the re-development project of 23 railway stations across the country. Prabhu said the stations marked for redevelopment include Habibganj in Madhya Pradesh and Ludhiana and Amritsar in Punjab. Modi said that while the railway's share in freight transportation in India was 15 per cent to 20 per cent, it was around 70 per cent in other countries. He said the Indian Railways is working to reverse the trend. Railway electrification projects have been undertaken, Modi informed. "Earlier the railway ministry was offered

Modi unveiling the foundation stone for the redevelopment of Gandhinagar Railway Station Complex

as a perk to political parties joining a coalition", but now, importance was being accorded to railways, he said. The PM said projects of the sector are being taken up expeditiously and that a major effort is on to make railway journeys safeincluding designing safe coaches. Railway projects in the country had attracted the maximum foreign direct investment, he said.

Gujarat government had recently formed a special purpose vehicle for the speedy implementation of redevelopment of this station. The SPV, known as the Gandhinagar Railway and Urban Development Company Ltd, is a government company. The station will have three platforms, and two railway tracks will be designated for trains that don't halt at the station.


VIBRANT GUJARAT Asian Voice | 14th January 2017

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India's first international exchange opened at GIFT IFSC AsianVoiceNews

The country's first international exchange- India INX, was inaugurated at the International Financial Services Centre at Gujarat International Financial Tec-City in Gandhinagar. It has been declared "open" as part of a series of events kicked off by Modi on the eve of the Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit. The INX, whollyowned subsidiary of the Bombay Stock Exchange will start trading initially in equity derivatives, currency derivatives, commodities derivatives. "I am sure, this exchange will set new standards for quality of service and speed of transactions

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Modi being presented with a memento at the inauguration ceremony of the India International Exchange in GIFT City, Gandhinagar

across time zones. The exchange, I am told, will work 22 hours a day, starting when the Japanese markets start and closing when US markets close," Modi said. "In 10 years, Gift City should become the price setter for at least a few of the largest traded instruments in the world, whether in commodities, currencies, equities, interest rates or any other instrument." "India INX will act as a gateway to raise capital for the country's infrastructure and development needs.In parallel, it would provide cross-border opportunities of investment with a com-

paratively low cost of transaction in the world's most technologically advanced platform," said Sudhakar Rao, chairman, BSE at the inaugural ceremony. Also present was Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, Union MoS finance Arjun Ram Meghwal, and SEBI chairman UK Sinha. BSE will also sign a MoU at the Vibrant Summit proposing Rs. 500 crore for its international exchange, clearing corporation and other activities. As many as 250 trading members, including commodity and overseas brokers, have expressed interest to operate from India INX.

Global Trade Show 2017 opened Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the Vibrant Gujarat Global Trade Show at Helipad Ground in Gandhinagar, along with the Vibrant Gujarat Global Investor Summit. He was accompanied by Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, Russian deputy PM Dimitri Rogozin, and Poland's deputy PM Piotr Glinski. NaMO visited stalls of Japan, Russia, Poland, UAE, Thailand, USA, Britain, Sweden, and various summit partner, and participating countries as

well as those of Indian and foreign companies and the Indian defence pavilion. He also interacted with a few foreign participants at the Russian, UAE, Japan, and Poland stalls. The Vibrant Gujarat Global Trade Show 2017the largest exhibition in the country, has 14 themed halls, including an exhibit area with nearly 1500 stalls. VGGTS 2017 will provide a forum for global businesses from over 25 different industry and social sectors to showcase themselves. The 2017 edition has nearly 1500 com-

Narendra Modi visiting the Global Trade Show, on the sidelines of the Vibrant Gujarat 2017

Use Innovation To Improve Society: Narendra Modi

Modi delivering the inaugural address at the Nobel Prize Series Exhibition at Science City, in Ahmedabad

The Nobel Prize Exhibition inaugurated by PM Modi as part of a series of event proceedings of the main Vibrant Global Summit, also saw him hold a discussion with nine Nobel laureates at Science City. In his speech to the crowd, Modi stressed on the impact of innovations on society's well-being. He said that earlier there were occasions of Nobel laureates visiting India and having limited interactions with media and scientists. "But today we are making history by having a galaxy of Nobel laureates in Gujarat," he said. "My government has a clear vision of where we want India to be in the next 15 years. Science and

technology is the pivot on which that vision will translate into strategy and action," he said. Addressing 250 students, hand-picked by a nationwide competition, he asked them to take the best of the events. "Globally, science and technology have emerged as one of the major drivers of socio-economic development. You will be scientists soon and must not neglect the challenge posed by poverty," he said. "Be inspired and be daring, have courage and be your own person and not imitative. That is how our honoured guests succeeded and that is what you should learn from them," Modi told students. Lars Heikensten, exec-

utive director, Nobel Foundation, spoke about the life and inspirations of Alfed Nobel whose legacy created the famed prize. "Nobel knew that good role models- people and organisations can show that it is possible to understand the world and improve it. It is in this spirit that we organise events such as this one," he said. "Persons like Tagore, Raman, Sen and Satyarthi are the role models Nobel was looking for.In the world today, many of his ideals are threatened. Even facts are refuted -climate change is good example of this. Thus, we all have good reason to work on what he believed in," he said.

panies participating and over 1.5 to 2 million visitors are expected. International delegates from a large number of countries are also expected to visit the exhibition. Some of the major pavilions include automobiles, agro and food, aerospace and defence, energy and petrochemicals, environment, healthcare, pharma, biotech, engineering and manufacturing, urban mobility and infrastructure, maritime, R and D, IT-ITES and financial services, skills and education, textiles and special focus

pavilions on international organisations, women entrepreneurs, MSME and startups. All visitors and delegates are offered free wifi internet during the event. More than 150 hotspots have been set up at the global trade show and an additional shareable telecom tower has been set up along the route from the airport to Mahatma Mandir. This infrastructure is shared with all operators to ensure seamless connectivity and was completed in a record time of 30 days.


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Bharat Ratna for Jaya: Madras HC trashes plea In Brief AsianVoiceNews

Asian Voice | 14th January 2017

CHENNAI: The Madras High Court has rejected a petition seeking Bharat Ratna for the late Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa. The bench comprising Chief Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice M Sundar also declined to dictate the Central government authorities over conferring India's highest civilian honour to Amma. While hearing the PIL filed by KK Ramesh, the bench also made it clear that deciding on conferring such honours was on the realm of the committee concerned and that courts could not issue directions even to consider representations. Ramesh had

J Jayalalithaa

cited an earlier order of another division bench which had asked the authority to consider representations demanding the award for Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose. In his petition, he said Jaya was three time chief minister of Tamil Nadu and that she had implemented several welfare schemes such

Police detain 6 for Bengaluru molestations BENGALURU: The police have detained at least six suspects following an outrage over the mass molestation on New Year's eve in MG Road, Bengaluru. The police first denied any occurrence of sexual harassment, however, later in the week, police officer Hemant Nimbalkar said as many as six men were detained after several video clips of women being attacked by groups of men caught traction on the internet. Bringing to light the constant incidence of violence and the lack of respect inflicted on women, the 'Night of Shame' as it is being called, saw several prominent political leaders slut shame victims. A senior state government minister said the incidents took place because the women were acting like westerners - implying their clothes were responsible for provoking the attacks. Initially, police said no complaints were filed

against anybody. State Home Minister G Parameshwara criticised young women for "copying the Westerners, not only in their mindset, but even in their dressing. These kinds of things do happen." Since then, one woman came forward to speak of how she was molested, while others said they saw women being molested or groped and that revellers were making lewd remarks. Another major incident that came to light was the molestation of a girl by two drunk men on a bike in Kammanhalli area. In a CCTV footage, two motorbike-borne men were seen trying to molest a girl who was walking towards home. The pillion rider gets down and molests her, pushing her to the ground as she resists, and fleeing once the victim raises alarm for help. The perpetrators have since been identified and are currently in police custody.

SAD-BJP likely to emerge as largest party in Punjab NEW DELHI: In a pre-election survey, conducted by Lokniti-ABP News, the ruling SAD-BJP combine are seen emerging as the top party in the upcoming state Assembly elections in Punjab. The survey said the alliance may win 50-58 seats, while the Congress might bag 41-49 seats, and AAP may bag 12-18 seats and come third. The survey said 34 per cent of voters indicated SADBJP as their preference, 31 per cent respondents said Congress, and 21 per cent chose AAP. The ruling party was shown leading in two out of three regions of the state, according to the survey. It also revealed that 85 per cent respondents said drug addiction problem was a very serious issue. It also said that Congress was the choice of 25 per cent of respondents when it came to solving the problem of drugs. It found Capt Amarinder Singh to be the most spontaneous preference of voters for the post of CM

with 29 per cent rooting for him. Politics in the country are on a high with Assembly elections scheduled to take place in UP, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Goa, and Manipur, between February 4 and March 8. While polling will be spread over seven phases in Uttar Pradesh, it will be a one-day affair in Uttarakhand, Punjab and Goa, and a two-day exercise in Manipur. The whole electoral process will begin with the issue of notification for polls in Punjab and Goa on January 11. Counting of votes will be taken up together in all the states on March 11, the Election Commission said. The survey revealed that 43 per cent of the voters saw AAP as being a spoiler, while 34 per cent thought Kejri was a strong contender in the state. Twenty per cent backed Parkash Singh Badal, 8 per cent backed AAP's Bhagwant Mann, while 4 per cent think Kejri will win.

as low cost canteens, free laptops and bicycles for students to ease the suffering of poor people. The Tamil Nadu Cabinet has also decided to recommend the late AIADMK supremo for the award. Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O Panneerselvam had even met Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi to hand over a letter requesting the government to bestow the Bharat Ratna on Jayalalithaa, and install a bronze statue in the Parliament complex. "A resolution was adopted in the Cabinet to recommend to the Centre to award Bharat Ratna to Jayalalithaa," an official

statement had said. Meanwhile, the Supreme Court has dismissed petitions filed by rebel AIADMK MP Sasikala Pushpa and a youth organisation seeking an order for a CBI investigation into the death of the former leader, warning it would fine them if they pressed the plea further. A bench of Justices PC Ghose and Rohinton F Nariman said, "What are we supposed to do here? You have filed a petition under Article 32 (violation of fundamental rights of citizens by the State) of the Constitution. We will dismiss these petitions and if you press it further, we will impose costs on you."

Stalin elected as working president of DMK CHENNAI: DMK treasurer MK Stalin has been unanimously elected as the working president of the party by the general council that met at party headquarters. Missing in the meeting was party president M Karunanidhi as he is not keeping well. "I feel exuberant when I became the organiser and secretary of the youth wing, deputy general secretary of the party and subsequently its treasurer. But now I am assuming the office of the working president with a heavy heart as it is happening at a time when our party leader is not well," said Stalin. A resolution was also passed by party general secretary K Anbazhagan to make amendments in the by-laws to create the new post, making it clear that the working president will have all the powers of the president. The move was seconded by the party's principal secretary Duraimurugan. It was an emotional moment for the party. Recalling the speech of DMK founder CN Annadurai at the party's 1965 conference

MK Stalin

urging VR Nedunchezhian to preside over, Duraimurugan said, "Anna said 'Thambi Vaa. Thalaimai Thaanga Vaa' (Younger brother come forward to lead). I borrow his words." A visibly moved Stalin later sought blessings from his father in Gopalapuram, as several general council members broke down. “I will implement the wish of our leader,” Stalin said after the meeting. “When I became the Mayor of Chennai, our leader said it was not a position but a responsibility. I consider the working president post as a responsibility," he added.

'Substantial increase' in first-time voters in Punjab CHANDIGARH: A senior election commission official said there has been a "substantial increase" in the number of first-time voters in Punjab, almost 2 per cent of the total 19.7 million electorates in the state. Punjab's Chief Electoral Officer Vijoy Singh said the electoral roll has 3,67,077 voters in the age group of 18-19 years. He added that the number of voters in Punjab is 1,97,49,964, including 1,04,40,310 males and 93,09,274 females. There are 380 third-gender voters, and the total number of Non-Resident Indian voters are 281, he said. He added that 2,260 polling stations would be set up in Punjab for the 117 assembly constituencies. ADGP (Elections) HS Bhawra said 1,330 FIRs were registered under the NDPS Act in the past four months, in a brief about the pre-emptive meas-

ures taken by the Punjab Police in the past four months. He said "1,565 people were arrested under the NDPS Act," with around 2,000 proclaimed offenders, including absconders, rounded up from across the state. Bhawra revealed that a total of 13,387 non-bailable warrants were executed and 5,276 potential trouble-makers were identified out of which 3,425 were taken into preventive custody. He said 22 sniffer dogs have been deployed in various districts and checking was being carried out for narcotic substance with the help of these dogs. He said that 43 officers of the Narcotic Control Bureau are currently deputed in Punjab and checking has been tightened to stop inflow of drugs to the state. Also, in its move against illicit arms, 123 weapons have been seized.

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Jaya's niece Deepa planning to join politics

CHENNAI: A month after her aunt and former Tamil Nadu chief minister Jayalalithaa's death, Deepa Jayakumar has hinted at her entry into politics. Addressing supporters who had gathered at her Thyagaraya Nagar residence, she said, "My entry into politics cannot be stopped." Daughter of Amma's only brother, late Jayakumar, Deepa caught media attention recently after she alleged she wasn't allowed to meet Jaya when she was hospitalised for 75 days. She did not reveal her political plans, instead waving the victory sign to her supporters who urged her to enter politics and carry forward the work done by her late aunt.

Tussle between Puducherry CM, Lt governor

PUDUCHERRY: The fight between Puducherry lieutenant governor Kiran Bedi and chief minister Narayanasamy grew bitter when the former cancelled a circular issued under the instructions of the CM, directing government staff to desist from using social media for official work. The "circular dated January 2 of the department of the personnel and administrative reforms (personnel wing) has been issued in contravention of guidelines, rules and policies in force and is hereby declared null and void with immediate effect," Bedi said in an order. She also posted a copy of the order on her Twitter saying, "If Puducherry has to be a progressive UT, it cannot be retrograde in communications. Since @CM_Puducherry's order stands cancelled:@PMOIndia."

Sidhu likely to join Cong

NEW DELHI: Punjab Congress leader Captain Amarinder Singh said Navjot Singh Sidhu would join the Congress soon, and campaign against Finance Minister Arun Jaitley if he decides to contest the Lok Sabha by-election in Amritsar. "Navjot Singh Sidhu will join the Congress soon and will campaign against Jaitley if he decides to fight the Lok-Sabha byelection," he said to a media channel. Amarinder had beaten Jaitley from the same seat in the May 2014 general election, by a margin of over one lakh votes in major embarrassment to the ruling Shiromani Akali DalBJP alliance government. Sidhu, once the BJP MP from Amritsar, has won the seat thrice- in 2004, 2007 by-election, and 2009.

By-election to Amritsar Lok Sabha seat on Feb 4

NEW DELHI: By-election to the Amritsar Lok Sabha vacated by Congress Punjab president Capt Amarinder Singh will be held on February 4, along with the assembly polls in the state. The by-poll was necessitated after Amarinder announced his resignation in protest of the "injustice" meted out to the people of Punjab following the November 10 Supreme Court verdict on the Sutlej-Yamuna Link canal water sharing agreement, which he and other state Congress leaders have been vehemently opposing. A statement released by the Commission said the notification for the by-poll will be issued on January 11 and, January 18 will be the last date of filing nominations. Counting will be held on March 11.

CM Badal to contest from Lambi constituency

CHANDIGARH: Punjab Chief Minister and Akali Dal leader Parkash Singh Badal is likely to contest the Assembly elections from the Lambi constituency. His son Sukhbir Singh Badal will stand for the Jalalabad Assembly seat. The Aam Aadmi Party has fielded Jarnail Singh, who currently represents Delhi's Rajouri Garden constituency, against Parkash Badal. "There is no competition for us in Punjab where our coalition will win more than three-fourth seats in the Assembly elections," Badala said while on a visit to attend the 150th birth anniversary celebrations of Sikh leader Guru Gobind Singh at Patna Sahib.


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Assembly elections in 5 states, UP to vote in 7 phases AsianVoiceNews

The Election Commission of India announced the poll dates for Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Manipur and Goa. Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi said that the state of Manipur will have a two-phase election and Uttar Pradesh will have a seven-phase election. Counting for all states will be held on 11 March. Punjab Date of Notification: 11 January Last date of nomination: 18 January Scrutiny of nomination: 19 January Withdrawal of candidature: 21 January Voting: 4 February Goa Date of Notification: 11 January Last date of nomination: 18 January Scrutiny of nomination: 19 January Withdrawal of candidature: 21 January Voting: 4 February Uttarakhand Date of Notification: 20 January Last date of nomination: 27 January Scrutiny of nomination: 30 January Withdrawal of candidature: 01 February Voting: 15 February Manipur – Two phase

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Phase 1 Date of Notification: 7 February Last date of nomination: 14 February Scrutiny of nomination: 16 February Withdrawal of candidature: 18 February Voting: 4 March Phase 2 Date of Notification: 9 February Last date of nomination: 16 February Scrutiny of nomination: 17 February Withdrawal of candidature: 20 February Voting: 8 March Uttar Pradesh Phase 1: Date of Notification: 17 January Last date of nomination: January 24 Scrutiny of nomination: 25 January Withdrawal of candidature: 27 January Voting: 11 February Phase 2: Date of Notification: 20 January Last date of nomination: 27 January Scrutiny of nomination: 30 January Withdrawal of candidature: 1 February Voting: 15 February Phase 3: Date of Notification: 24 January Last date of nomination: 31 January

Scrutiny of nomination: 1 February Withdrawal of candidature: 3February Voting: 19 February Phase 4: Date of Notification: 30 January Last date of nomination: 6 February Scrutiny of nomination: 7 February Withdrawal of candidature: 9 February Voting: 23 February Phase 5: Date of Notification: 2 February Last date of nomination: 9 February Scrutiny of nomination: 10 February Withdrawal of candidature: 13 February Voting: 27 February Phase 6: Date of Notification: 7 February Last date of nomination: 14 February Scrutiny of nomination: 16 February Withdrawal of candidature: 18 February Voting: 4 March Phase 7: Date of Notification: 9 February Last date of nomination: 16 February Scrutiny of nomination: 17 February Withdrawal of candidature: 20 February Voting: 8 March A total of 690 assem-

bly constituencies will go to polls in these elections. Twenty three of these have been reserved from Scheduled Tribes candidates. Over 160 million voters - that’s the size of the electorate in these assembly elections. There will be 1,85,000 polling stations across five states. CEC Zaidi also announced that voter facilitation posters will be displayed at every polling booth, including voting procedure, dos and don’ts, etc. Top officials of the Election Commission, had met with Chief Electoral Officers of the five poll-bound states – Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Manipur and Goa to fine tune arrangements. The law and order situation in Manipur had been the key focus of the meeting. The terms of the legislative assembly of Goa, Manipur and Punjab are due to expire on March 18 while that of Uttarakhand expires on March 26. The legislative term of Uttar Pradesh ends on May 27. Goa has 40 assembly seats, Manipur has 60, Punjab has 117, Uttarakhand has 70 while Uttar Pradesh has 403.

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Samajwadi row: EC to hear both factions on Jan 13 The Election Commission of India on Tuesday fixed January 13 as the date for hearing the Samajwadi Party (SP) factions led by Mulayam Singh Yadav and and his son Akhilesh Yadav to settle the dispute over control of the party and its election symbol, ‘cycle’. Meanwhile, differences persisted on Tuesday over key issues in Samjawadi Party (SP), notwithstanding a meeting Akhilesh Yadav had with Mulayam, who on Monday night declared that his son will be the Chief Minister if the party wins in the Assembly elections. The Commission wants to settle the matter before January 17 when the process of nomination begins for the first phase of polling in Uttar Pradesh to be held on February 11, provided the two sides proceed accordingly. Notices are being sent to both factions for the hearing. While the Akhilesh camp has submitted affidavits signed by party MPs, MLAs, MLCs and delegates supporting him, the other side has maintained that as per the party’s constitution, Mulayam is still the party chief. The Mulayam-led faction has also claimed that the affidavits submitted by the Akhilesh camp were forged and that the EC should get them verified before proceeding. On Monday, the Akhilesh camp urged the Commission to decide on the matter at the earliest as the nomination process will begin on Tuesday next. The ‘cycle’ symbol faces the threat of being frozen before the

seven-phase Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls if the Election Commission is not able to decide which of the two factions of the party commands majority in the organisation. The side that has the support of majority (50 per cent plus 1) of MPs, MLAs, MLCs and delegates will gain an upper hand in the fight to control the party founded 25 years ago. Candidates from the Mulayam and Akhilesh camps cannot fight election on ‘cycle’ symbol at the same time, therefore, the EC will have to take a call on the issue before the filing of nominations begins. Akhilesh meets Mulayam: The Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister walked down to his father’s bungalow on Tuesday morning and after the meeting proceeded to his residence without responding to media questions. There was no official word from either side as to what transpired at the 90-minute one-toone meeting between the father and the son at Mr. Mulayam’s bungalow which took place amid signs of rapprochement. There were expectations of reconciliation as Akhilesh’s warring uncle Shivpal and Amar Singh, often described as an outsider by the CM’s camp, were kept out of Tuesday’s confabulations. However, party insiders said the long meeting ended without finding any common ground. The main bone of contention was the post of party president, which Akhilesh had snatched from his father at a party meeting in Lucknow on January 1.

Morari Bapu's recital dedicated Two centuries of intellectual glory to 'Kinnar Samaj' Renowned Hindu scholar Morari Bapu’s recent Ram Katha in Thane, Mumbai, has been dedicated entirely to the “Kinnar Samaj” – India’s transgender community. The Katha has already made headway by breaking down the barriers and taboos around the community and empowering them to be better accepted in today’s society. The Thane recital has been in the making for over a year and has been very well attended, including by Shankararcharya and over 1,000 transgender participants from the Asia Pacific regions. One of the key members in India’s transgender community is Laxmi Narayan Tripathi, India’s first transgender to represent her community at the United Nations, and also the first one to write her own story in an autobiography which has already become a best seller in Asia. Laxmi is also in the process of establishing a Kinnar Akhada Vishwapeeth and has

The bicentenary of Presidency College, Calcutta, is being celebrated with great gusto. Justifiably so. It was India’s first great modern educational institution and among the luminaries who studied and taught there are names of the 200 most distinguished engraved on its walls. They include scientists of international repute such as Jagadish Bose, Satyen Bose, Megnad Saha, P. C. Mahalanobis, Economics Nobel laureate

Amartya Sen. Now called Presidency University, the institution was founded as Hindu College in 1817, the term Hindu at the time was how all Indians were mostly described. Among the men who brought into being this remarkable, was the revered social reformer David Hare, a revered Englishman lived in the city. His name was among the 200 engraved. Another is that of HVL Derozio of Portuguese-Indian descent, an iconic teacher

recalled today as one of the original deities of what came to be called the Bengal Renaissance whose light was to spread across India. Appropriately Derozio Hall is where the good and great assembled for speeches and seminars. The local papers carried a picture of Amrtya Sen and the French Economics Nobel laureate Jean Tirole (supporter of India’s demonetization), deep in conversation. Long may Presidency’s ideals endure.

Leuva Patels plan grand opening of Khodaldham temple in Kagvad already represented the community at the Kumbh Mela. The Kinnar Samaj practices rituals for both men and women and are devotees of “Bauchar Maa” and worship “Ardhanareshwar” – the union of Parvati and Shiva, a union symbolising both a man and a woman. Bapu reiterated in the Katha the significance of the Kinnar community in the Ramayana. During Lord Rama’s 14 year exile, a number of his subjects followed him into the forest out of devotion. However, Lord Rama addressed them all to go

back. Upon his return, only the Kinnar community remained waiting for Lord Rama’s arrival. Impressed with their devotion, Lord Rama granted them a boon to confer blessings on people during auspicious inaugural occasions like childbirth and weddings – a practice that is still followed in India today. Bapu’s Katha has been widely welcomed in India and particularly amongst the international transgender community for empowering the Kinnar community and emphasising their significance to society.

The inaugural celebrations for Khodaldham temple situated in Kagvad, Rajkot, will begin on 17th of this month and will continue till 21st. Entire Leuva Patel community in the area will be present in the opening ceremony of the temple made at a cost of £6 million. A grand procession is planned for 17th January, when the idol of Goddess Khodal will be taken to Kagvad from Rajkot's Race Course grounds. The procession which will span over 30-35 km, will include 3,000 cars, 7,000 bikes and 300 buses. Khodaldham

Trustee Paresh Gajera said that the temple was built on money donated by members of the Patel community. Over 5000,000 Patidars are expected to join the celebrations from different parts of the world. Statues of gods and goddesses in other temples in the area will also be taken out along with the procession. Over 1,008 havan kunds have been built for pooja. Engineer Trivedi said that the temple was the result of over five years of hard work and perseverance. Only choicest stones from Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh have been

used in its making. The grand ceremony will also include a maha prasad for which, a massive spread will be prepared for over 200,000 people. Leaders of Khodaldham Trust, led by president Naresh Patel, had even met Chief Minister Vijay Rupani in Gandhinagar, to extend an invitation. Gajera said, "We are having a major religious function at Kagvad on January 21, for which we visited a number of Leuva Patidars in Ahmedabad. Since the CM is from our region, we informally met him."


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INDIA

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Asian Voice | 14th January 2017

Karnataka hosts largest Pravasi Bharatiya Divas

Continued from page 1 opportunities for investment in India and contribution to the country of their origin." He informed that most of the problems raised dur-

S.No. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23. 24. 25. 26. 27. 28. 29. 30.

will be given on ensuring that government schemes, programmes, outreach programmes of the MEA goes out in a bigger manner to all the countries," Singh said. Karnataka's Industries

PBS Awardees-2017

Name Dr. Gorur Krishna Harinath Rajasekharan Pillai Valavoor Kizhakkathil Antwerp Indian Association Nazeer Ahamed Mohamed Zackiriah Mukund Bhikhubhai Purohit Nalinkumar Sumanlal Kothari Vinod Chandra Patel Raghunath Marie Antonin Manet Dr. Lael Anson E. Best Dr. Sandip Kumar Tagore Ariful Islam Tan Sri Dato Dr. Muniandy Thambirajah Hon’ble Pravind Kumar Jugnauth H.E. Mr. Antonio Luis Santos da Costa Dr. Raghavan Seetharaman Zeenat Musarrat Jafri Singapore Indian Association Dr. Carani Balaraman Sanjeevi Susheel Kumar Saraff Winston Chandarbhan Dookeran Vasudev Shamdas Shroff India Social and Cultural Centre, Abu Dhabi Rt. Hon’ble Priti Patel Neena Gill Hari Babu Bindal Dr. Bharat Haridas Barai Nisha Desai Biswal Dr. Mahesh Mehta Ramesh Shah Dr. Sampatkumar Shidramapa Shivangi

ing the PBD were from Gulf countries and Malaysia, because there is a large labour force there. "Our aim has been to find a solution to the issue, most of them were of generic nature and those that can be solved by discussion with their ambassador. In the coming years, a greater emphasis

The Divas saw two Karnataka ministers make a hardsell of several things and forward their "personal" commitment to facilitate any investment that they want to make. Deshpnde

Country Australia Bahrain Belgium Brunei Canada Djibouti Fiji France Israel Japan Libya Malaysia Mauritius Portugal Qatar Saudi Arabia Singapore Sweden Thailand Trinidad & Tobago United Arab Emirates United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United Kingdom USA USA USA USA USA USA

Minister RV Deshpande said that the state takes pride in hosting the largest ever PBD since the inception of the idea. He also thanked the union government for providing the opportunity to project the state as a destination for investment and a hub for innovation and science.

ments in human capital, creating high quality social, physical and digital infrastructure." He also exhorted the NRIs to become Karnataka's ambassadors. "Promote India, promote innovative Karnataka. And you do decide to make new investments or expansions, do reach out to me directly."

Vibrant Gujarat begins with a bang

Continued from page 1 rating reports, stating that India has received foreign direct investment worth USD 130 billion during the NDA Government since May 2014- 60 per cent higher than the two preceding years. Pitching the work done by his government since it took over in May 2014, Modi said he proved even a democracy could deliver good results. "We are at the threshold of creating the world's most digitised economy." He said the country offers a vast market as well as demographic advantage to companies of all shapes and sizes. "India's strength lies in three Ds: Demography, Democracy, and Demand. Our biggest strength is the depth of democracy. Some say that democracy cannot deliver effective and fasttrack governance. We have seen in the last 2.5 years, it is possible to deliver quick results in democracy as

Narendra Modi in the group photograph with the Global CEOs, at the Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit 2017

well." He said, "We have placed great emphasis on the ease of doing business. The outcome of our efforts are visible in India’s global ranking. We have moved up 16 places on the Global Innovation Index. Total FDI inflows in the last two years have touched $130 billion. The total FDI inflows received during the last years were the highest ever. India is now the leading recipient of capital investment in Asia-Pacific. India has become the sixth largest manufacturing

country in the world." "We're bringing a paradigm shift in India's polity and economy: from relation based governance to system based governance; from favouritism to level playing field; from informal to formal economy," PM Modi said. Earlier during the day, the Prime Minister held bilateral talks with several heads of state and ministers who have converged for the Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit. Speaking before the PM, Gujarat Chief

Sad Demise

tem to the new world of startups. He said, "Karnataka's strategy is based on introducing conducive new policies, revising and improving old ones, making massive invest-

Field Community Service Business Community Service Community Service Business Community Service Social Service Arts & Culture Medical Science Arts & Culture Community Service Education and Community Service Public Service Public Service Business Management Education Community Service Medicine Business Public Service Community Service Philanthropy and Community Service Public Service Public Service Environmental Engineering Community Service Public Affairs Community Service Community Service Community Leadership

said the state had achieved outstanding success in all sectors including steel, IT, BT, nanotechnology, aerospace and space, garments, granite, and iron ore, tourism and fashion, agro industry, horticulture, floriculture and silk, high quality general, technical, medical and educational ecosys-

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Minister Vijay Rupani said the state enjoys a special place in the Indian economy. He informed attendees that over 100 countries are participating in the Summit. He also lauded the Centre's demonetisation effort. "In two months, 1.25 million bank accounts have been opened and 7.5 million RuPay debit cards have been issued. Within one month, 450 villages have been enabled for digital payments. It's become a mass movement in Gujarat. We hope that this vision of the

The Nayyar family wish to inform the sad demise of their dear husband, father and grandfather.

Mr. PREM SINGH NAYYAR Beloved husband of Mrs Sushma Nayyar and father of Romy Nayyar and Tanzy Nayyar (Holidaymood Ltd) who passed away peacefully on Tuesday 3rd January 2017. The funeral will be held at 11am on Wednesday 11th January 2017 at Breakspear Crematorium, Breakspear Road, Ruislip, Middlesex, HA4 7SJ. The last day of the event is marked with the conferring of the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Awardthe highest honour given to overseas Indians. It is conferred by the Hon'ble President of India as a part of the convention. President Pranab Mukherjee gave away the awards during the valedictory session of the impressive ceremony. Thirty nominees were selected by an 11-member Jury-cum-Awards committee, with the Vice President as Chairman and External Affairs minister as ViceChairman. Giving his speech, President Mukherjee said, "It is indeed a pleasure for me to be present amongst you on the occasion of the valedictory speech of the

Pravasi Bharatiya Sammelan. On this historic day 102 years ago, the greatest Pravasi Bharatiya of all times, Mahatma Gandhi returned to India from South Africa. One of the largest community of expatriates amounting to about 31.7 millions, the Pravasi Bharatiya stands out for his innate ability to assimilate and yet maintain his identity." He congratulated the winners saying, "On behalf of the Government of India, it was indeed an honour for me to have conferred the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman on 30 members of the diaspora just a while back. I congratulate each one of you for your contributions to your counties of origin and India."

PM will make Gujarat and India more vibrant." Also addressing the crowd, businessman Mukesh Ambani, India's richest person, said his company Reliance Industries will complete investment of £12.5 billion in refinery and petrochemical expansion projects in Gujarat by March. During his speech, he called the PM as a "great transformative leader" who first transformed Gujarat, and is now transforming the country with a series of historic and visionary initiatives. "No leader in the world has changed the mindset and behaviour of so many people in such a short period," he said. Citing examples, he named Modi's Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, Digital India, Make in India, Skill India, and Start Up India initiatives. These initiatives, Ambani said, have won the respect of the world and "no wonder this has resulted in India receiving its highest foreign direct investment in recent

times." Speaking of the commitment made by his Reliance in the previous edition of the Vibrant Summit, he said Reliance exceeded the commitment it made in investing in projects in the state by £1 billion. "Our global scale of investment is an expression of our commitment and faith in the Gujarat story. Our cumulative investment in the state of Gujarat is over £24 billion, that is over USD 45 billion. It is the biggest investment made by Indian corporate in a singe state," Ambani said. Of this, Reliance has invested more than £1.25 billion in Gujarat in the past four years. "I am happy to report that we have invested £1 billion more than what we had committed. All these investments will be completed by March 2017. These investments provide sustained employment, both direct and indirect, to over 200,000 people and contribute to Gujarat's export competitiveness."


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HEALTH&WELLNESS

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Incredible benefits of jeera water for skin, hair and health FOOD

FITNESS

rinking jeera (cumin) water everyday is of great advantage to our bodies. Following are the incredible benefits of jeera water: Good for Stomach: Jeera water helps in getting rid of acidity and bloating and provides relief from indigestion. It acts as a painkiller and is especially beneficial in curing stomach ache and abdominal pain. Improves digestion during pregnancy: It improves digestion during pregnancy, as it acts as a stimulator for the enzymes which are required for digestion of carbohydrates and fats. Promotes lactation during pregnancy: It facilitates the secretion of milk from the mammary glands, and thus promotes lactation in pregnant women. Boosts immunity: Jeera is an excellent source of iron and dietary fibre. It is essential to drink jeera water to maintain the normal functionality of your immunity system. It fights diseases and reduces your chances of

falling sick. Treats diabetes: Jeera water is good for patients suffering from diabetes. You can drink it on an empty stomach to reduce blood sugar levels. Aids respiratory system: It has a positive impact on your respiratory system. It is anti-congestive by nature, and helps get rid of the mucous accumulated in your chest. Regulates blood pressure: The potassium content present in jeera water helps to regulate blood pressure by balancing out the negative effects of salt.

Boosts energy: It improves your energy levels and makes you feel so much better. Good for liver: Jeera water flushes out toxins from the body and facilitates the production of bile. Hence, it is extremely beneficial for the liver. Treats anemia: Cumin contains high amounts of iron and helps in treating anemia. You can drink jeera water to fight acute iron deficiency. Reduces period pain: You can drink jeera water to reduce period pain. It has a relaxing effect, and its anti-

spasmodic and anti-inflammatory properties are useful for getting rid of menstrual cramps. Good for skin: Jeera water rejuvenates your skin and gives you that healthy glow you’ve always wanted. It contains high amounts of potassium, calcium, selenium, copper and manganese which help in rejuvenating your skin. Use a face pack of jeera water with turmeric to get that glow you’ve always wanted. Anti-ageing: Jeera contains high amount of Vitamin E and is well known for its antioxidant property. It fights free radicals and prevents premature ageing. Treatment of acne: Jeera water is a great way to get rid of acne naturally as it is anti-bacterial in nature. Apply topically for clear, flawless skin. Promotes healthy hair: Jeera water contains many nutrients that are great for your hair, and help nourish the roots of your hair. It combats hair thinning and hair loss.

An hour-long nap may boost memory in elderly A

new study has found that an hour-long nap after lunch may help older adults to preserve their memories, improve their ability to think clearly as well as to make decisions. Sleep plays a key role in helping older adults maintain their healthy mental function, necessary for people as they age, the

To Our Readers

We are publishing these items in good faith, kindly consult your Doctor before you try to implement it. We do not hold any responsibility for its efficacy...

researchers said. In the study, the researchers examined nearly 3,000 Chinese adults aged 65 and above to learn whether taking an afternoon nap had any effect on their mental health. They found that nearly 60 per cent of the people took an afternoon nap after lunch. Their nap time was between about 30 minutes to more than 90 minutes, with most people taking naps lasting about 63 minutes. The results showed that people who took an hour-long nap after lunch had better health condition compared to people

Laughter is the Best Medicine

On their first date, a man asked his companion if she'd like a drink. "Oh, no, what would I tell my Sunday school class?" she said. Later, he offered her a cigarette. "Oh, no, what would I tell my Sunday school class?" she said again. On the drive home, he saw a motel. Figuring he had nothing to lose, he asked if she wanted to stop in there. "Okey," his date replied. "What will you tell your Sunday school class?" he asked, shocked. "The same thing I always tell them. 'You don't have to drink or smoke to have a good time." *** A Man is recovering from minor surgery when his nurse comes in to check on him. "How are you feeling?" she asks. "I'm okay," he says, "but I didn't like the four-letter word the doctor used during surgery." "what did he say?" the nurse asks. "Oops."

who did not take a nap neither shorter nor longer. Conversely, those who took no naps at all had four-to-six times more decrease in their mental ability. In addition, people who did not take a nap at

all, and those who took shorter or longer naps, experienced about the same decline in their mental abilities that a five-year increase in age would be expected to cause, researchers said.

"Sir, the NRI wants to invest Rs 100 Crore in our illegal alcohol-making business"

| Asian Voice | 14th January 2017

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LIFESTYLE

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Sleeping pill usage may result in more hospital visits

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study says that usage of drugs for sleep problems, depression, anxiety, pain, allergy and incontinence in the elderly could be harmful and may result in frequent visits to hospital. The study finds that drugs with anticholinergic properties could be harmful. "Individuals taking anti-cholinergics should talk with their doctors or pharmacists about possible alternatives," said lead researcher Noll Campbell from Indiana University Center for Aging Research in the US. While taking a drug with mild anti-cholinergic effect daily increased the likelihood of in-patient admission by 11 per cent over a year, using a drug with a strong anti-cholinergic effect daily increased the likelihood of inpatient admission by 33 per cent over a year, the study said.

Sleeping pills, one of the most common medications used by elders, are in this category as are antihistamines, which are available without prescription, according to the study of 3,344 Americans aged 65 and older. "Anti-cholinergics, the medications that block acetylcholine, a nervous system neurotransmitter, have previously been implicated as a potential cause of cognitive impairment, by us and by other researchers," Campbell pointed out. "This new study provides stronger motivation to design and conduct deprescribing studies to determine safe ways to take individuals off anticholinergic medications in the interests of preserving brain health and decreasing healthcare utilization rates and their potential costs," Campbell noted.

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Prabhas wraps up his 'Baahubali 2' shoot after 613 days

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Dulquer Salmaan’s next in Tamil with debutant director? AsianVoiceNews

14th January 2017

aahubali' fans rejoice! Prabhas has finished his part for the role after 613 days of shooting for 'Baahubali:The Conclusion'. Taking up on Twitter to announce the end of his "journey" with the crew, director Rajamouli wrote, "And that is a wrap for Prabhas after 3.5 years. One hell of a journey. Thanks Darling. No one had as much belief on this project as you. That means a lot [sic]" Apart from Prabhas,

the film features Rana, Tamannaah Bhatia, Anushka Shetty and Nassar playing crucial roles in the movie. Rajamouli created history with the release of the first part of the franchise, which changed Tollywood's image all across the country. Made on a budget of £25 million, the movie went on to become a blockbuster and earned approximately £60 million till date. The second part is scheduled to release on April 28 this year.

Tamannah in Gautham Menon's next

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amannah had an ideal 2016 with three super hits- 'Thozha', 'Dharmadurai' and 'Devi'. She is currently working in 'Anbanavan Asaradhavan Adangadhavan' opposite Simbu, and has bagged the lead role in a Tamil remake of critically acclaimed blockbuster 'Queen'. She will also play the female lead in the Tamil remake of Telugu super hit romantic comedy 'Pelli Choopulu', to be produced by celebrated director Gautham Menon under his Ondraaga Entertainments. The movie will be directed by Senthil Veerasamy.

'xXx: The Return of Xander Cage'

Xander Cage is back with a mission. Recover Pandora's Box before it falls into the wrong hands. More action, more thrill!

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I am an old school romantic: Shruti Haasan

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ce actress Shruti Haasan revealed she is a firm believer in the charm of old-world romance. Recalling a conversation she had with her father, Kamal Haasan, who talked about the days love blossomed outside cell phone screens, she said, "I was talking to my dad and he said half of the love stories happened because we didn't have WhatsApp and we had to actually meet and talk. I remember the Nokia phones, the SMSes. There was the landline and the romance was that the guy calls you and you're hoping your mom doesn't answer. I don't think this generation has that, and it is sad." She said it was this simplicity of romance which made her sign her upcoming movie, 'Behen Hogi Teri'. "I love those times we had. My idea of romance is pretty old school. I loved that element in 'Behen Hogi Teri'. The freshness and simplicity is beautiful in this film. I love romantic-comedies. When I am at home and if I want to watch something, I would probably watch a romantic comedy. Surprisingly, I've never been offered romcoms."

Directed by Ajay K Pannalal, the movie also features Rajkummar Rao. Talking about her character in the film, Shruti said, "She is boisterous. She is a tough cookie but also sensitive. I really liked that. I couldn't relate to everything, but may be that's never been my priority to relate to the character. It's about empathising with the character's emotions and playing it out."

fter a successful stint in Tamil with Mani Ratnam film 'OK Kanmani', Dulquer Salmaan will reportedly venture back in the industry with a film to be directed by debutant filmmaker Ra Karthik. Reports said the film is a romantic entertainercum-road movie and will go on floors soon after Dulquer's dates are confirmed.

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Sources also revealed that it would be a three heroine movie. While none of the actresses are confirmed, 'Enai Noki Paayum Thota' fame Megha Akash and 'Oru Naal Koothu' fame Nivetha Pethuraj are currently under consideration. When contacted, Karthik said the project is in the pre-production phase, and an announcement with the details will be made soon.


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Many star kids ready to make their Bollywood debut

Glitzy premiere for Deepika's Hollywood debut

Bollywood actor Om Puri is no more

Asian Voice | 14th January 2017

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ollywood, this year, expects a handful of much-awaited debuts - Jhanvi Kapoor, Sara Ali Khan and Karan Deol included. Saif Ali Khan and Amrita Singh's 23 year old, Sara Ali Khan has top filmmakers vying for her. After a degree from Columbia University in New York, it is rumoured that Sara has been offered a film opposite Hrithik Roshan in a Karan Johar production. He also wanted to cast her in another production starring Shah Rukh Khan's son Aryan. Social media star

Jhanvi Kapoor, daughter of veteran actress Sridevi and Boney Kapoor, will make her debut this year. A student of Los Angeles-based Lee Strasberg Theatre & Film Institute, every star kids' favourite Uncle Johar has stepped in and offerer her a role in his production opposite Varun Dhawan. Buzz is, her first movie will be a Hindi remake alongside fellow debutant Ishaan Khattar. Also in the race is Suniel Shetty's 20 year old son Ahan who will soon be launched by Sajid Nadiadwala in his next

Salman, Akshay and Karan Johar join hands for a new film

romantic action-drama. He has reportedly signed a four film deal with the filmmaker's production house. The 24 year old son of Sunny Deol, Karan Deol began his career as an assistant director on 'Yamla Pagla Deewana 2'. He will be launched by the Deol production house Vijeta Films. His film is tentatively titled 'Pal Pal Dil Ke Paas' and is a love story. Shahid Kapoor's half brother Ishaan Khattar is currently busy preparing for the Hindi remake of 'Sairat'.

e e p i k a Padukone is on Cloud 9 as the release date of her Hollywood debut film 'xXx: Return of Xander Cage' nears. The film marks the return of Vin Diesel's much-loved character Xander Cage. The action fantasy talks of a group of heroes who come together to capture a weapon that could destroy the world. Dippy, who plays Diesel's love interest Serena Unger-a leatherclad, long-legged, gunloving lass with action moves to die for. Ajit Andhare, COO, Viacom18 Motion Pictures said, "We're looking forward to host the lead pair at the premiere. We've been at the forefront in growing the Hollywood trajectory in India over the years. As a studio, the release of 'xXx' ahead of its worldwide opening is our next big milestone." Meanwhile, Deepika celebrated her 31st birthday and wowed her fans by releasing a few shots from a photoshoot she did with a popular international style magazine.

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eteran actor Om Puri passed away following a massive coronary attack in Mumbai, after he returned home following a shoot. His driver raised an alarm after his door bell went unanswered for quite some time. Padma Shri awardee, Om Puri made his acting debut in 1976 with Marathi film 'Ghashiram Kotwal'. A critically acclaimed actor, he has come a long way after that, featuring in movies like 'Ardh Satya', 'Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron',

and 'Mirch Masala'. He even did a meaty and memorable role opposite Helen Mirren in Steven Spielberg's 2014 American Comedy Drama 'The Hundred-foot Journey'. Om did a lot of regional films as well, and has starred in Malayalam movies like 'Punaradhivaasam' and 'Aadupuliyattam''. The acclaimed actor delivered some stellar performances in mainstream commercial Pakistani, Indian and British cinema.

Jackie Chan and Sonu Sood pack a punch

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old your breath! A whopping big entertainer is on your way. Superstar Salman 'Bhaijaan' Khan, Akshay Kumar, and filmmaker Karan Johar are collaborating for a movie slated to be released in 2018. The three took to their social media accounts to make the announcement. The yet-to-be-titled will be jointly produced by Salman and Karan, with Akshay as the lead. "Joining hands on a project where @akshaykumar is the hero and will be co produced by @karanjohar and #SKF" tweeted Salman. SKF is his production house, the

Salman Khan Films. Akshay too posted a tweet announcing the news, saying, "Coming together for a film produced by friends, @BeingSalmanKhan and @karanjohar, starring me! Out in 2018." Johar said he was "supremely excited" about the movie to be directed by Anurag Singh. "Supremely excited to coproduce with @BeingSalmanKhan #SKF on a film starring @akshaykumar directed by Anurag Singh...releasing 2018! "Truly a fraternity feeling when friends come together to make a special film!!!," he wrote.

artial artist and everybody's darling Jackie Chan's 'Kungfu Yoga' is all set to hit the theatres on January 28. With the actor reeling in the film release, makers have released yet another poster featuring Sonu Sood with him. Also in the film, is actress Amyra Dastur. Directed by Stanley Tong, the movie is part of a three-film agreement signed between India and China during President Xi Jinping's visit to the country. Chan will soon come down to India for the promotions, and will be seen with Sood, Dastur and Disha Patani. In a grand gesture to thank the Chinese for their hospitality throughout the shoot, Dastur has arranged for an elaborate Parsi feast for the Hollywood actor during his visit. Revealing the names of a few dishes to be part of the food, Dastur said the platter will include everything from Akhuri, Chicken Farcha, Dhansak to Patra Ni Machhi.


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Dear readers, Every week Asian Voice has been publishing the Star Sign Horoscope on Page 30 of Asian Voice. For a while now we have received letters to discontinue the section, as it is encouraging superstition and also it is not based on any scientific evidence. We would like to have the readers' response in the matter. Please send your responses by email to aveditorial@abplgroup.com at the earliest. Warm Regards, CB Patel Editor/Publisher

Diet drinks won’t reduce weight, says study Sugar-free diet drinks make no difference to weight and could even cause people to pile on the pounds, a study claims. A paper compiled by scientists from Imperial College London and two universities in Brazil states that there is no proof that diet drinks are healthier or help in weight loss. Researchers also argued that artificiallysweetened beverages should not be promoted as

part of a healthy diet, as they may be a risk factor for chronic diseases. Although artificiallysweetened beverages contain fewer calories than sugary versions, researchers say they still trigger sweet receptors in the brain, which may make people crave food. Coupled with the fact that most people view diet drinks as healthier, it could lead to over-consumption, the experts argue.

Coming Events

Shree Jignyasu Satsang Mandal, Mahayagya in memory of Pujya Rambapa, 15th January, 11am to 5pm, Social Club Hall Northwick Park Hospital Watford Road Harrow HA1 3UJ l Shree Sanatan Mandir Leicester, Sunderkand Path 14th January, 10:30 am onwards, Shree Sanatan Mandir 84 Weymouth St Leicester LE4 6FQ Shri Hanuman Chalisa, 14th January, 7:30 pm onwards, l Shree Sanatan Mandir 84 Weymouth St Leicester LE4 6FQ, Shri Ramdhun Narsinh Mehta Bhajan Mandal & Shree Sanatan Mandir, 15th January, 8:00 am to 8:00 pm, Shree Sanatan Mandir 84 Weymouth St Leicester LE4 6FQ l Adhya Shakti Mataji Temple, Hanuman Chalisa 14th January, After mid-day Aarti, Adhya Shakti Mataji Temple 55 High Street Cowley Middlesex UB8 2DZ Bhajans, followed by Aarti and Maha Prasad at 5 pm 15th January, 3 pm onwards, Adhya Shakti Mataji Temple 55 High Street Cowley Middlesex UB8 2DZ l Kashmiri Pandits Cultural Society, UK Seminar on Persecution of Minorities & Kashmiri Hindus forced Exodus day, 18th January, 7pm to 9pm Committee Room 12, House of Commons, Houses of Parliament, Westminster l

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Asian Voice |14th January 2017

ARIES Mar 21 - Apr 20 Much enthusiasm goes into

professional ambitions right now, but you need to be your own boss in many ways. Circumstances will make you more determined to place your lifestyle on a foundation of greater security. With both Venus and Mars resonating powerfully in your Solar chart, amorous affairs are likely to become extremely intense.

TAURUS Apr 21 - May 21 With Mars and Venus tra-

versing your sign of leisure for some time to come, will put you in the right mood if you intend to indulge your pleasure-loving instincts. Venus, the planet of love and romance throws a pleasing light on affairs of the heart. Your creativity is riding high and you should make the most of this phase.

GEMINI May 22 - June 22 Venus and Mars grace your

solar tenth house now. During this cycle, you are most charming and well-received on the job. Venus is charming, friendly, and affectionate, and her presence in your career and reputation sector brings social opportunities to your career. You are coming across well at work now, and there are more chances to socialize and network.

CANCER Jun 22 - Jul 22

Your horizons have most certainly being expanding. Venus and Mars in the area of your chart ruling long-distance travel and philosophical thoughts will make your mind run wild. Personal relationships may be more intense, though there will be many romantic opportunities. Your financial affairs are also looking up.

Thousands of pounds donated to hospice which cared for Ilford mother A woman from Ilford has inspired residents to donate more than £6,000 to the hospice which provided her end-of-life care. Nasim Khan, 74, passed away in November, after battling pancreatic cancer at Saint Francis Hospice. Following her death, her family created a tribute fund in her name, to achieve her last wish of supporting the service. Her husband Muhammad, along with their sons, Kashif, Wasif, Asim and daughter Sarah recently returned to the hospice in Havering-atteBower to deliver gifts to the doctors and nurses who cared for her. “We were so grateful to the doctors and staff for everything they did for her and our family at such a difficult and testing time,” said Kashif. “This was our first

Nasim Khan

experience of hospice care as we tried our best to look after mum at home but there came a point when the pain was so bad that we couldn’t cope on our own. “Mum was very happy here and it was great to see how well looked after she was. The hospice took away some of the stress and allowed us to spend quality time with her.” Kashif said his time at the hospice has inspired him to return as a volunteer in the future.

False car insurance claims land driver a lengthy sentence Jubair Choudhary, 31, from Ilford, reported a collision in July 2014 between the car he was driving and a Mercedes - his father’s car - but failed to mention the connection. Mr Choudhary also used Carlos Dior - his deed poll changed name - to disassociate himself from his dad. Sgt Steven Holland, of the City of London Police’s insurance fraud enforcement department, said: “Insurers have a number of stringent checks in place that make it very difficult to deceive them.” Insurers, Geoffrey Insurance Services,

Sneh Joshi LEO Jul 23 - Aug 23

became suspicious when it noted both parties involved in the claim lived at the same address. The case was referred to the fraud department and further investigations showed Mr Choudhary was involved in two other false claims. In January and May 2010, the driver made claims for £4,418 and £6,453 respectively for car damages and costs. Mr Choudhary was sentenced at Inner London Crown Court for one count of fraud by false representation and one count of failing to disclose information.

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The Sun and Mercury illuminate your fifth house. After a period of “nesting”, you are coming out of your shell, ready to perform and to express yourself creatively. You are feeling inspired creatively and romantically. At this time, you instinctively know how to place yourself in the best light in order to make a good impression on others

VIRGO Aug 24 - Sep 23

Venus and Mars graces your solar sixth house now. Establishing a happy and harmonious work environment through friendly relations with co-workers or tidying up your work area comes into focus now. Romantic and social activities may revolve around your working environment. You are generally well liked and respected socially on the job right now.

LIBRA Sep 24 - Oct 23

Fortune smiles on the romantically inclined with Mars and Venus transiting your solar 5th house. Not only are you likely to experience a highly satisfying phase in respect of amorous desires but you may even find yourself in the flattering position of having more than one admirer. A good time to start something creative too. Sagittarius

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Your energy and attention will be very much devoted to financial matters. The tide of fortune continues to run strongly in your favour for some time to come. You will be working harder than usual, intent on getting things done. Close personal relationships will improve with with Venus and Mars transiting your solar 8th house.

SCORPIO Oct 24- Nov 22

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Mercury and Sun transit your solar second house. During this cycle, you are likely to see and enjoy benefits to your earning power and this will boost your own sense of security and wealth. Money problems from the past may clear up, if you manage your resources properly. Schedule networking opportunities later this week.

SAGITTARIUS Nov 23 - Dec 21

The Sun and Mercury transits your first house and this affects your personal identity, appearance, outward behaviour, and self-expression. This marks the peak of your physical solar cycle, and you are in the position to make an impression on others, and to assert your personal influence. Increased energy and a renewed feeling of confidence is with you now, so take advantage of your charisma to achieve your goals.

CAPRICORN Dec 22 - Jan 20

AQUARIUS Jan 21 - Feb 19 Venus continues to grace your solar second house. You may be a little extravagant with money, as your desire for luxury and comfort items is increased now, and this is something to watch for. When it comes to love, you value those who make you feel comfortable and secure. Also a good time for getting on with unfinished behind-the-scene activities. PISCES Feb 20 - Mar 20 Venus and Mars grace your solar first house now. Something about how you present yourself, your image, and your manner boosts your personal magnetism during this cycle. You're more charming and you are likely to want to attract increased contentment in love. Pleasant and harmonious light on close ties of affection.


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India-Bangladesh Test in danger owing to lack of funds AsianVoiceNews

Troubles don't seem to end for the Board of Control for Cricket in India, as the beleaguered board is now staring at another crisis. According to reports, the Hyderabad Cricket Association (HCA) has stated its inability to host the India-Bangladesh Test due to lack of funds. India are scheduled to host Bangladesh for a oneoff Test match after the ODI series against England. However, the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Uppal, Hyderabad has stated its inability to host the match owing to financial crunch. This has put the BCCI in a real crunch position. In October, the Supreme Court of India issued an order to the Indian board to halt all funding to the state associations in lieu of its noncognisance with the Lodha panel recommendations. However, the Court then allowed funds to be disbursed before the England series. The Court has now come down hard on the

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BCCI and have removed president Anurag Thakur and secretary Ajay Shirke, and have asked the BCCI to adopt all recommendations. This has once again left the series against Bangladesh in a real haze and there is no clarity regarding the series. The Supreme Court has also informed that a new panel would be put in place on January 19 and this panel would then be in charge of the business operations of the BCCI. Rahul Johri, the BCCI CEO, and the person who is currently in charge of the

day-to-day operations would approach the Lodha panel and would present the concerns raised by the Hyderabad Cricket Association. In a separate development, the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association has also expressed their reluctance to host the two fourday matches between India and England's Under-19 teams in February. The four-day games were scheduled for February 1316 and February 21-24 in Chennai, but TNCA has expressed its inability to host these games owing to

"domestic programs" scheduled during the same window. With the Supreme Court expected to introduce a new set of panel members, it would be interesting to see what the future course of action would be. Also, owing to the new set of guidelines the flow of funds could be more in order and this could set the tone for the season this year. The BCCI has been facing a torrid time owing to the Lodha Panel recommendations and its repercussions were felt for the past 6 months. There were many times when the Board was hauled up by the Supreme Court for not adopting the recommendations. Finally, the Apex Court cracked its whip and axed both Anurag Thakur and Ajay Shirke, and this has pushed the BCCI in a state of frenzy. However, things look promising if and when the new panel takes charge and this could have a positive effect on the upcoming season.

Mithali to lead India in ICC Women's WC qualifiers Mithali Raj will lead the 14-member Indian squad in the next month's ICC Women's World Cup Qualifiers which brings together 10 sides in their quest to claim the remaining four places in the main event to be held in June next year. The tournament will run from February 7 to 21 at four Colombo venues and the sides finishing in the top four of the Super Six stage will join defending champion Australia, host England, former winner New Zealand and reigning ICC World Twenty20 champion West Indies in the ICC Women's World Cup 2017 from June 26 to July 23. Asian champions and

Mithali Raj

former World Cup finalists India leads Group A which also includes Sri Lanka, Ireland, Zimbabwe and Thailand, while South Africa heads Group B which comprises Pakistan, Bangladesh, Scotland and Papua New Guinea (PNG). Each side will play four matches in the first round,

following which the top three sides from each group will progress to the Super Six stage, while also carrying forward points they earn against sides which have progressed to the Super Six stage from their group. The top four sides from the Super Six stage, in

which each side will play three matches against teams from the other group, will complete the eight-team line-up for the ICC Women's World Cup 2017, while the top two sides will battle out for the title in the February 21 final. The Indian women cricket squad is as follows: Mithali Raj (Capt), Harmanpreet Kaur, Smriti Mandhana, MD Thirush Kamini, Veda Krishnamurthy, Devika Vaidya, Sushma Verma (wk), Jhulan Goswami, Shikha Pandey, Sukanya Parida, Poonam Yadav, Ekta Bisht, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Deepti Sharma.

played in North America. The CONCACAF region has not hosted the World Cup since the 1994 tournament in the United States. American, Canadian and Mexican soccer leaders have had informal talks about a co-hosting bid. Africa and Asia could be winners in a bigger World Cup with up to nine

places each. They had only five and four teams, respectively, at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Still, FIFA said it expects the standard of soccer to drop compared to the 32-team format locked in for the next two World Cups in Russia and Qatar. The "absolute quality" of play, defined by highranked teams facing each other most often, is achieved by 32 teams, FIFA acknowledged in a research document sent to members last month. It made 10,000 tournament simulations to reach that conclusion. Instead, Infantino wants to create fervour and months of anticipation back home in the 16 extra nations which would qualify, some

SPORT

Agut subdues Medvedev to lift Chennai Open title Asian Voice | 14th January 2017

Spain's Roberto Bautista Agut defeated Russia's Danill Medvedev 6-3, 6-4 to win the Chennai Open and to capture his fifth ATP singles title. "I cannot be more happy than now. I played a great tournament," Spaniard Bautista Agut, said during the presentation ceremony. Agut remained solid from the baseline while Medvedev paid the price for little mistakes against a superior opponent, who kept the strokes and emotions under control. Medvedev's serve was always under pressure and in contrast the Spaniard served out his games comfortably, losing only eight points in the 1 hour 11 minute contest. The Russian managed to engage Agut in long rallies, especially in the second set, but the Spaniard mostly found the way to finish the points. Nevertheless, the 20-year-old Medvedev, playing in his maiden ATP final, made a good impression with his all-round game and will move up the rankings table from his current 99th rank. It was the second time that Agut was playing a final at the Chennai Open, having ended runner-up to Janko Tipsarevic in 2013 at the Nungambakkam stadium.

Djokovic ends Murray's winning streak

Novak Djokovic beat Andy Murray 6-3, 5-7, 6-4 to defend his Qatar ExxonMobil Open title and exact revenge on the World No. 1 tennis star. In an electrifying final at Dubai, the Serbian captured his first title since July (Rogers Cup) and showed some of the fiery tennis that helped him dominate the first half of 2016. The 29-year-old frequently encouraged the crowd to back him, lifting his arms and pumping his fist while staring into the stands. “Playing all five matches in this tournament and then three hours against No 1 of the world, biggest rival, and winning in a thrilling marathon match,� Djokovic said after the match.

FIFA to expand World Cup to 48 teams in 2026

The FIFA Council on Tuesday unanimously approved President Gianni Infantino's plan to expand the World Cup to 48 teams, adding 16 extra nations to the 2026 tournament which is likely to be held in North America. The approval meets with Infantino's election pledge of a bigger World Cup, and should help raise funds for FIFA's 211 member federations. With 80 matches instead of 64, FIFA forecasts the equivalent of $1 billion extra income at current rates from broadcasting and sponsor deals, plus ticket sales, compared to $5.5 billion revenue forecast for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Gianni Infantino

FIFA projects an increased profit of $640 million despite some extra operating costs and prize money for teams. FIFA's six continents should find out by May how many extra places they will each get. UEFA wants 16 European teams at the tournament, which is strongly favoured to be

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probably making their World Cup debut. FIFA has pointed to Costa Rica, Wales and Iceland as examples of teams which overachieved at recent tournaments. FIFA must break with soccer tradition to make its new format work after an original 48-team plan with an opening playoff round sending 16 "oneand-done" teams home early - was unpopular. Instead, three-team groups will replace the usual groups of four to create simple progress to a knockout bracket. However, it leaves one team idle for final group games and could risk collusion between the other two teams. FIFA said it could

guard against result-rigging by introducing penalty shootouts after group games that end in draws. Despite the 16 extra games, FIFA believes the current maximum of stadiums needed will stay at the 12 used by Brazil and Russia. However, the demand for more training bases and hotels means developed countries would be better equipped to win future hosting contests. North America is the strong favourite for 2026 because European and Asian countries are blocked by a FIFA rule excluding continents which hosted either of the two previous tournaments. Russia will host the World Cup next year and Qatar in 2022.


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Asian Voice | 14th January 2017

Virat Kohli named ODI and T20I captain

Virat Kohli was named the captain of both limitedovers formats after MS Dhoni stepped down last week. The selectors also recalled Yuvraj Singh to both the ODI and T20I squads for India's upcoming series against England in January While Dhoni retained his place in both squads, wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant was named in the T20I squad. This was the 19-year-old Pant's first international call-up. It followed a prolific Ranji Trophy, in which he scored 972 runs at an average of 81, including a triple-century at a strike rate of 94. A BCCI official said that they hope to find a successor for Dhoni, though he remains the first-choice behind the stumps. "As far as MS is concerned, he is fit and fine and there is no two ways about it. But, you still need to have a back-up ready, no? You have to prepare a succession chart, that is what is happening. Mahi is one guy who doesn't keep knowledge within himself; he is always there to share. So what else do you want?" In the absence of the injured Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane kept his spot in the ODIs, but the selectors opted for youth in the T20Is, going for Punjab and Royal Challengers Bangalore batsman Mandeep Singh ahead of Rahane. Shikhar Dhawan, who had been kept out of

Virat Kohli

the Test squad despite recovering from his hand injury, walked back into the ODI squad. Suresh Raina made a return too, but only to the T20I squad. He was originally selected for the ODI series against New Zealand, but illness ruled him out of the initial stages and he was later released. Considering he has only played five first-class matches since the end of the IPL in May 2016, the BCCI official said the selectors preferred to ease Raina back into international cricket. "See, that is the reason why we put him in T20. We will see how his progresses and we will take a call in ODIs." India A squads for warm-up matches v England

First match: Shikhar Dhawan, Mandeep Singh, Ambati Rayudu, Yuvraj Singh, MS Dhoni (capt and wk), Hardik Pandya, Sanju Samson, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Ashish Nehra, Mohit Sharma, Siddharth Kaul Second match: Rishabh Pant, Ajinkya Rahane (capt), Suresh Raina, Deepak Hooda, Ishan Kishan (wk), Sheldon Jackson, Vijay Shankar, Shahbaz Nadeem, Parvez Rasool, Vinay Kumar, Pradeep Sangwan, Ashok Dinda R Ashwin, whose workload has been managed carefully because India are playing 13 Tests in their home season, was back in both the squads after he missed the closing stages of Tamil Nadu's Ranji cam-

paign with a sports hernia. Ravindra Jadeja, too, made a comeback to both the limited-overs squads after resting during the New Zealand ODIs. Royal Challengers Bangalore legspinner Yuzvendra Chahal took the place of Amit Mishra in the T20I squad while veteran Amit Mishra retained his spot in the ODIs. Ashish Nehra, who missed the tours of Zimbabwe and the USA, came back to the T20I side, with the selectors going for experience in the bowling attack. The return of the 35year-old Yuvraj, though, remained the biggest talking point. Yuvraj last played for India in the World T20 in March 2016 and has not played ODIs since December 2013. He

averaged 18.53 in his last 19 matches in the format going back to the start of 2012. The selectors, however, recalled him based on his form in the 2016-17 Ranji Trophy, where he scored 672 runs in five matches for Punjab, at an average of 84, making two hundreds including a 260 against Baroda. Fast bowler Mohammed Shami was yet to regain fitness after missing the last two Tests against England with a right knee injury. Some of the players coming back from injury were set to prove their fitness in the two warm-up matches against the England side in Mumbai. Dhawan and Rahane were set to play in the side games. Nehra, who has recovered from the hamstring injury that ruled him out of the IPL and the domestic season, will get to prove his fitness in the first of the tour games. ODI squad: KL Rahul, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli (capt), MS Dhoni, Manish Pandey, Kedar Jadhav, Yuvraj Singh, Ajinkya Rahane, Hardik Pandya, R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Amit Mishra, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav T20I squad: KL Rahul, Mandeep Singh, Virat Kohli (capt), MS Dhoni (wk), Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina, Rishabh Pant (wk), Hardik Pandya, R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja,

Yuzvendra Chahal, Manish Pandey, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ashish Nehra Dhoni steps down as limited overs captain Earlier Dhoni stepped down as India's ODI and T20 captain. He has

Mahendra Singh Dhoni

remained as the much capped captain with 331 international matches (Tests, ODIs, T20Is). Under Dhoni's leadership India have won the ICC T20 World Cup in 2007, the ICC ODI World Cup in 2011, ICC Champions Trophy in 2013 and let the team into the semi-finals of the 2015 World Cup. He reached the top of the Test rankings in 2009. Sources close to Dhoni said he had been thinking of leaving the captaincy for the past few months. Dhoni's stunning announcement recalled his abrupt departure as Test skipper. Dhoni led India in 199 ODIs, winning 110, but the 35-yearold's stars have been on the wane in recent times, both as captain and batsman.

Root tipped to replace Cook as captain Joe Root, the current vice captain, will most probably be named as England captain as reports suggested that Alastair Cook will resign as England captain when he meets Andrew Strauss, the Director of Cricket of England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), later this week. Cook looked a dispirited man towards the end of the recent Test series in India, particularly in the last two matches where India amassed scores of over 600. It was thought that the Christmas vacation would help Cook refresh and rejuvenate, but it

appears that he has decided it is the right time to go. Should the Essex opener step down, he will go down as an England captain with 24 wins, 22 defeats and 13 losses. He was a decent leader, but not a great one. There were notable achievements during his tenure, including a fine Test series win in India in 2012, Ashes wins in 2013 and 2015 and an away series victory in South Africa last year. However, set against that were some rather abject failures, including England's first ever Test defeat to Bangladesh in TM

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Joe Root and Alastair Cook

October last year, a drawn series in the West Indies and the 5-0 whitewash at the hands of Australia in

2013/14. That defeat brought an end to Kevin Pietersen's international career, partly at Cook's instigation, which was the most controversial and difficult period of his captaincy. Many called for Cook's resignation the following summer after further poor displays against Sri Lanka, but a series win against India helped stave off those demands, and Cook continued for another two years with some success helping to form the nucleus of a side with plenty of potential that Root will inherit. If Cook resigns, there is

no suggestion that he would not continue as a player and, at 32, and with 11,000 Test runs behind him, the left-hander has plenty of cricket left. With young Haseeb Hameed expected to open the batting next summer, Cook's class and experience will be vital in helping the 19 yearold settle in to his first home summer. Root's first Test as captain would be against South Africa in the beginning of July and the Yorkshireman would have seven Tests before next winter's Ashes series in Australia to establish him-

self. He has precious little captaincy experience, except for a handful of games for Yorkshire but he remains the obvious candidate for the job. At 26, he would be the youngest permanent England captain since Michael Atherton, which some may regard as a risk but in truth, Root is the standout choice. England's management will hope the captaincy does the same for Root's game what it's done for Australia's Steve Smith and India's Virat Kohli who have been in terrific form since taking charge of their respective sides.

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AV 14th January 2017  

Asian Voice weekly newspaper (Issue 36)

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