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16 - 22 MARCH 2019 - VOL 47 ISSUE 44

NEXT IN BREXIT? Prime Minister Theresa May suffers yet another defeat on her second meaningful vote on Brexit by a wide margin of 149 votes, two weeks before the UK is slated to officially divorce from its European wife. Mrs. May's revised Brexitdeal after receiving lastminute assurances from the EU has failed to achieve the Parliamentarians confidence in the house. Almost three years after the UK voted to leave the EU, no major breakthrough has been achieved in Brexit negotiations. With her vision for Brexit defeated for a second time, Parliament will now vote on whether to leave the E.U. on schedule, on March 29, without a deal — a scenario that could create economic chaos for Britain. Earlier when May was addressing Parliament, DUP leader Arlene Foster had released a statement saying her party could not support the Prime Minister’s Brexit deal, as “sufficient progress has not been achieved at this time.” While European Council President Donald Tusk says the EU is "disappointed" by Brexit result and that it has done "all that is possible to reach an agreement" with the UK. Continued on page 7

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onetoone

To restore faith in people about India and Indians. To prove that the legal system in India works and professional honest and ethical services are possible in India. To spread happiness and cheer in the lives of people in whatever way I can.

WITH KEITH VAZ, MP

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Nidhi Singh Nidhi Singh, the founder of NRI Legal Services, grew up with a passion for fighting injustice. A lawyer, she decided early to take up the cudgels for fighting for legal rights of NRIs, to work towards creating an efficient legal system for them who went through trauma while handling property issues back home in India. She figured out that they suffered mainly because of their inability to visit India frequently for resolution of property matters. Excellent leadership, a perfectionist’s attitude, thorough professionalism, an empathetic & sensitive approach, and impeccable communication skills with people in a multi-cultural environment are traits that lend a high level of credibility and competence to her working style. Nidhi is married and has three children, all of whom are being trained under her able guidance for a career in the legal profession. Besides her core profession, she is passionate about her vegan lifestyle and believes in a healthy & holistic way of life.

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Which place, or city or country do you most feel at home in? I am born bred qualified and have lived in India permanently. It’s my natural habitat hence feel at my best in India. Despite the fact that due to the nature of my work, I live overseas especially UK which is almost like my second home, I choose India as my permanent base as I am a proud Indian, it has a rich heritage and culture that I imbibe everyday from.

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What are your proudest achievements?

To have founded NRI Legal Services, a company which has a global foot print

touching the lives of millions of persons of Indian origin based overseas and brings justice to those who have lost all hope in ever getting their legal rights restored in their root country due to their absence, lack of knowledge on systems and greed or vested interests of those they trusted with their inheritance.

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What inspires you?

To give hope to people through my work in humanity, especially those who have lost it because their own blood relatives betrayed them by usurping their properties in their absence while they entrusted them with it.

Shamima Begum’s family beg for ‘act of mercy’ following death of baby son The parents of Shamima Begum have pleaded with the Home Office to grant her an ‘act of mercy’ and return her British citizenship following the death of her newborn son. The 19-yearold’s baby Jarrah died from pneumonia in a Syrian refugee camp on Thursday at just 18 days old. A lawyer representing the family has now written to Home Secretary Sajid Javid to ask him to reconsider and allow her to come back into the country. In the letter, posted

family have still to Twitter, lawyers argue not been able to ‘it is extremely unlikely c o n t a c t that Shamima will be in S h a m i m a a fit state to make any directly since rational decisions’. It the baby’s death. comes after the father of family’s the teenager, who flew Shamima Begum The lawyer Tasnime to Syria to marry an Akunjee, told Sky: Islamic State fighter in ‘Following the tragic and February 2015, apologised entirely avoidable death of for her joining the group. Shamima Begum’s son, we Begum was just 15 when she have written to the Home left her home in Bethnal Secretary requesting that he Green, London, with two reconsider his original deciother British schoolgirls to sion to strip Ms Begum of join the terror group. According to the letter, her her British citizenship.

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What has been biggest obstacle in your career? Firstly to get people to trust me as a professional, as the mindset of people is so warped and steeped in suspicion against India and Indians. The delayed legal systems in India and the huge backlog of cases languishing in courts doesn’t help either. Corruption, Nepotism and Red Tapism are still challenges that India as a nation is struggling to overcome and will probably soon now.

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Who has been the biggest influence on your career to date? My parents, who raised me to be a driven, motivated and a person with a huge sense of self-belief. They were both very evolved and raised me in a way that I never felt that as a woman especially from India there was something I could not do or achieve. My husband who believed in me and gave me the space and the environment to set up this International law firm which meant taking me away from home and kids for long periods of time.

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What is the best aspect about your current role? To be able to give correct advice and guidance to people who have no knowledge or access to information that they so badly need to resolve their legal issues in India. To be able to mentor and guide young legal professionals on how to believe and work for their clients ethically and passionately.

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And the worst?

As a lawyer not always able to bring speedy relief to people who look at me as their beacon of hope, I feel helpless and frustrated at

the delayed legal systems in India. When my client asks me how much more time and I have no definite answer to give and it almost kills me. I relate to their pain and anguish and in spite of doing my best as their lawyer, I have to submit myself to the court calendar and procedural delays in courts or otherwise that I can’t do much about, is something I have difficulty coming to terms with.

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What are your long-term goals?

To expand the horizons of NRI Legal Services as a world class global organization. To now work towards setting it up as a legacy that lasts well after I am gone. I would like to see it delivering fabulous customer experience, fully accountable and accessible to those who are fighting their legal battles through us, while living in far off lands outside India.

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If you were Prime Minister, what one aspect would you change? Remove reservation and caste and class based inequalities and promote equal opportunities to all. All leading professional degrees like doctors, engineering and law should be merit based and not class and caste based. This is to ensure that truly world-class professionals emerge in India to take the country to the next level of excellence.

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If you were marooned on a desert island, which historical figure would you like to spend your time with and why. Saint Kabir the Sufi mystic. I am in love with his philosophy of oneness of humanity. He espoused loving oneself because the supreme resides within each of us and that we as humans have to endeavor to live as God designed us to be, to our full and best potential. He also promoted in uplifting and helping those who you can in any manner one deems fit. This is the only purpose of our life here on earth as I believe it is.

Jain APPG celebrates Mahaveer Jayanti at House of Commons

The Institute of Jainology (IoJ), the international Jain organisation promoting Jainism in government and inter-religious affairs, held its Jain All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) meeting last Tuesday at the House of Commons (HoC) to celebrate the birth anniversary of its 24th and last enlightened teacher, Lord Mahaveer. The Jain APPG was organised as part of the IoJ led ‘One Jain’, representing the 30 Jain community organisations. Harrow West MP, Gareth Thomas, Chair of the All-Party Group, welcomed everyone and launched the petition for a Jain tick box on the 2021 census by Navin Shah, GLA Member for Brent and Harrow, which was supported by all parties in the GLA and all major faiths.

Deputy Chair Bob Blackman, MP for Harrow East, confirmed that the APPG had met with the Cabinet Office, and would continue to meet with ministers to ensure that Jains were properly represented in public service policy and funding decisions. Lord Dholakia of Waltham Brooks, added his support to the campaign. Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth, Minister for Faith, added his welcome and noted how his department had played a major role in ensuring that Jains were represented at the Cenotaph on Remembrance Sunday. He then awarded the 2019 OneJAIN Lifetime Achievement Award to Dr Harshad Sanghrajka MBE, for 50 years of service to the Jain community worldwide. Mr Nemu Chandaria, IoJ Chair commented; “We

were grateful to have had the opportunity to pay our respects at the Cenotaph to those that made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation. We are now seeking to ensure that the Jain community, that shares the values of modern Briton, is fully represented in the 2021 Census.” Other awards in the evening went to Mrs Sushila Shah (Winner – 2019 OneJAIN Community Award) and Mrs Shakuben Sheth (Highly Commended – 2019 OneJAIN Community Award). There were other speeches from Mr Samveg Lalbhai, Chair of the 400-year old Anandji Kalyanji Trust, that manages over 1,800 major Jain pilgrimage sites. He commented on the Trust’s work in managing and restoring these sites, as well as receiving over 2m visitors.


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16 - 22 March 2019

‘New’ Pakistan: New wine in old bottles Addressing a rally in Sindh province, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan pledged his government’s commitment to peace, stability and prosperity for all Pakistanis irrespective of gender, faith or ethnicity. He also pledged that,‘we will not allow our soil to be used for terrorist activities anywhere in the world. This is a new Pakistan, a new time. We want investment in this country. Our ‘naya’ [new] Pakistan will be prosperous, stable and peaceful. As a responsible country, and part of the international community, we will not allow any militant group to function here,’ he said. He spoke about ‘eliminating poverty’ and hoped India would participate in a similar endeavour from across the border. Prime Minister Khan would do well to take on board a critical reality: India, warts and all, has reduced its endemic poverty level from 52 per cent of the population in 1990 to around mid20 levels today and declining. Furthermore, the size of its economy is poised to be the world’s fifth largest, and it’s the world’s fastest-growing large economy. The economy of Indian State of Maharashtra alone is larger than that of Pakistan. Prime Minister Khan must get real. The proliferation of jihadi terror organizations aided and abetted by Pakistan‘s infamous Inter Services Intelligence directorate with the connivance of the Pakistan Army and governments have for long been a harsh ground reality. After all, Osama bin Laden was tracked down and killed by US Navy Seals in his Pakistan hideout, following years of official denials from Islamabad that he was in Pakistan. The record in recent years has been a revolving door policy on jihadi leaders, such as Hafiz Saeed and Masood Azhar, who had a free run going in and out of their sanctuaries with official connivance. The West having passively acquiesced to the reality is now showing signs of recognizing the scourge that jihadi terrorism poses to its own peace and security. Britain, France, Belgium and Spain have witnessed firsthand horrible deaths and injuries meted out to their citizenry. Britain’s National Security Adviser Mark Sedwill has spoken to his Indian counterpart Ajit Doval twice within a week, offering full cooperation in combating the terror threat. The European Union has expressed its concern at the terrorism emanating from Pakistan. At around the time of the suicide bombing in Pulwana, a Pakistani Sunni terror group shot dead 27 Iranian border guards on their common frontier. The Iranian riposte, a week or so later, resulted in the deaths of

eight Pakistani soldiers. As significant is the convergence of India-Iran national interests in stepping up counter-terrorism cooperation in recent years. This will be enhanced at next round IndiaIran talks. Neighbouring Afghanistan has been plagued for decades by the bombings and shootings of Afghan soldiers and civilians and the destruction of the country’s civilian and military installations by Pakistan-based Taliban operatives. Former Pakistan Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar, the first Pakistani woman to occupy the post, interviewed on an international TV channel, claimed that India faced isolation following its surgical strike on Balacot, reminding one of an old Punch cartoon, ‘Fog in the English Channel, Continent isolated.’! The strike, claimed Begum Khar, now a member of the Pakistan’s National Assembly, had been an abject failure, the site totally unscathed. However visiting Reuter Correspondents wishing to inspect the area were turned back by Pakistan policemen on grounds of national security. ‘Isolated’ India was in communion with the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, much to Pakistan’s chagrin and displeasure. Hina Rabbani Khar echoed Prime Minister Imran Khan, stating disingenuously, that whatever had happened on the terror front in the past had undergone seminal change, that that the ‘New’ Pakistan was a full blown democracy, characterized by gender, ethnic and religious equality and tolerance, with regressive India moving the other way. This clearly remains the dialogue of the deaf. Sight and sound may be restored on both sides by a perusal of Tehmina Durrani’s explosive autobiography, My Feudal Lord, which tells the story of her marriage to the once notorious Pakistani politician and minister Ghulam Mustafa Khar’s as the sixth of his six wives. If, as one suspects, Rabbani Khar is Tehmima’s niece, she may recall the opening paragraphs of her aunt’s dedication, which reads: ‘To the people of Pakistan , who have repeatedly trusted and supported their leaders – leaders who have, in return, used the hungry, oppressed multitudes to further personal interests. I want the people of my country to know the truth behind the reality, so that they might learn to look beyond the façade. ‘To the five other ex-wives of Mustapha Khar, who have silently suffered pain and dishonor while he walked away with impunity. As his sixth wife, I am holding him accountable.’ Enough said.

$3 billion nuclear sub deal with Russia India has signed a mega billion nuclear submarine deal with Russia involving the lease of nuclear powered Akula class-1 attack submarine to replace the INS Chakra, an older Russian version on a 10-year lease to India in 2012 and extended to 2025, when the new submarine will be operational. It will come with a package including comprehensive refurbishment, spares, support systems, and training for Indian personnel. Anxieties about threatened US sanctions are unwarranted. India is not a member of US-sponsored organizations targeting Russia. Sanctions without a UN imprimatur lack the required weight of International Law. India is neither Porto Rico, nor a Latin American banana republic in hoc to Uncle Sam. It is a sovereign entity with its own written Constitution and laws, which in no way includes fealty to an external authority. Truth is the world grows more unstably by the day. US and NATO-led wars of intervention in the Greater Middle East have undermined global order and stability. The consequences of these interventions have resulted in a humanitarian catastrophe that continues apace. The old Cold War red lines led to measures of nuclear arms control. The Trump Administration and Congress have upped the ante in relations with Russia, with little serious thought of its consequences. An arms race between the

two military Superpowers are certain to have regional spillovers, as is already the case in many corners of the world. It is well nigh impossible to put the already existing multi-polar world into a pre-arranged uni-polar straitjacket., as the denizens of cloud cuckoo land believe. The existential challenges confronting India are regional in content and design. The existing face-off with Pakistan was preceded in August 2017 by a potentially more combustible square-up with China - Pakistan’s ‘allweather friend,’ and mentor, on the Bhutan-Tibet border. A once peaceful, non-threatening Tibet is today militarized with nuclear and conventional weaponry, following the Chinese invasion and occupation of the country in October 1950. A Sino-Pakistan strategic alignment imperils Indian security, while Chinese control of the headwaters of Asia’s major river systems cast a menacing shadow over the rights of littoral states in South and South East Asia. The canvas presented here should help understand India’s dilemmas and the precautions under way to safeguard its national interest. The lessons of the past, whether in 1962, 65 or 71 have been digested through hard experience; the determination now is to prevent such events from occurring again with adequate, fully functioning mechanisms of deterrents in place.

Cool off General V K. Singh General V.K Singh was once the Indian Army’s Chief of Staff, now as Minister of State, Ministry of External Affairs, he roared like a bull in a china shop, tweeting that the Opposition, media, staff and students at the Jawaharlal Nehru University had prevented India from emulating Israel in striking perceived hostile bases across its borders at will. His solution presumably entails abolishing universities and media in their present form and substitute them with a new Ministry of Acceptable Thought. Bringing up Israel as a junior minister in the Ministry of External Affairs says little for his diplomatic skills. General Singh made a name not on the battlefield or at Army headquarters as a modernizing transformer for 21st

century purpose, but as a wheeler-dealer in the military bureaucracy.. He achieved a measure of notoriety when he placed a second birth certificate making him younger by a year, and hence extending his tenure as Army chief. The Defence Ministry refused to accept his application for a review and the Supreme, to which General Singh had appealed, rejected his claim. There were tales of factionalism and serious service discord under the general’s dispensation. Thereafter, he enlisted with the BJP and was duly appointed Minister of State at the Ministry of External Affairs, when the party assumed power following the general election of May 2014. The national interest took second place to party politicking. More’s the pity.

There are dark shadows on the earth, but its lights are stronger in the contrast. - Charles Dickens

Virendra Sharma MP Labour MP for Ealing & Southall

Commonwealth Day March 11th saw the annual commemoration of Commonwealth Day, a day of international festivities and cultural events celebrating the unique role played by our extraordinary global family. Given that 2019 also marks the 70th anniversary of the organisation in its modern form, I thought that I would take this opportunity to share with you why I think the Commonwealth has been such a force for good. The Commonwealth is an organisation unlike any other. Drawn from 53 member states and comprising of all the world’s major religions, the Commonwealth encompasses more than 2 billion people, the majority of which are under the age of 30. The sheer diversity within our family is perhaps its greatest source of strength. It provides us with so many different perspectives and experiences to call upon when pursuing our shared goals of promoting democracy, sustainable development, good governance and respect for human rights and our natural environment. Regarding human rights, the Commonwealth has proven itself time and time again to be one of the world’s leading moral authorities. Its dedication to equality and empowerment led the Commonwealth to take a leading role in the campaign against apartheid in South Africa, adopting strict sanctions against its racist government, which encouraged the crucial support of the United States. It also took a strong position against Zimbabwe in 2002 and has been quick to confront those who fall short of the high standards we have set. In more recent years the organisation has campaigned for gender equality, preparing a new generation of women for global leadership, and has been courageous champion of democratic principles. The Commonwealth has observed over 140 elections since 1980, ensuring free and fair elections in nearly 40 countries. Of course, we can always do more to promote greater equality and respect for human rights, especially in relation to those states who are not members of the Commonwealth, though I do believe that the organisation continues to be an outspoken advocate on these issues. The strongest case for Commonwealth membership lies in the incredible advantages it offers in international trade and developmental aid, which is why several developing nations have joined our family in recent years, despite lacking a historic link with Britain. The economic and diplomatic rewards of Commonwealth membership will only grow into the future, with the rise of emerging powers such as India, Bangladesh and Pakistan furthering their footprint on the global stage. With so much of the world suffering from economic, political and ecological instability, I believe that the Commonwealth can continue to serve us as a vital network in an uncertain age. Seemingly intractable problems such as climate change and inequality can only be resolved through truly international coordination, and few organisations are better placed to act at this critical juncture than ours. As the former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said during the Commonwealth Day festivities in 2016, “it has never been more important for the Commonwealth to stress the bonds of human compassion and solidarity that unite us”. I hope that on this special day, we can all take a moment to reflect on the bonds and shared values that unite us all, and celebrate the incredible achievements made possible by the Commonwealth of Nations. Editor: CB Patel Asian Voice is published by Asian Business Publications Ltd Karma Yoga House, 12 Hoxton Market, (Off Coronet Street) London N1 6HW. Tel: 020 7749 4080 • Fax: 020 7749 4081 Email: aveditorial@abplgroup.com Website: www.abplgroup.com INDIA OFFICE Bureau Chief: Nilesh Parmar (BPO) AB Publication (India) Pvt. Ltd. 207 Shalibhadra Complex, Opp. Jain Derasar, Nr. Nehru Nagar Circle, Ambawadi, Ahmedabad-380 015. Tel: +91 79 2646 5960 Email: gs_ahd@abplgroup.com © Asian Business Publications


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Haider Ahmed guilty of hunting knife suicide terror plot A teenage supporter of Islamic State (IS) has been convicted of planning a terror attack with a hunting knife. Haider Ahmed, 19, from Redhill in Surrey, told contacts he wanted to conduct a suicide mission. But Kingston Crown Court heard Ahmed's mother took the knife away from him after finding it in his bag. Jurors cleared the man who sold him the knife - Imdadul Karim, 24, from Streatham - of arranging property for the purposes of terrorism. Ahmed was aged 16 and 17 at the time he planned the attack, which was discovered after police arrested him in October 2016 on suspicion of money laundering. He refused to give officers the PIN for his phone and it took until the following April for detectives to gain access to his messages. In encrypted conversations with a female contact in September 2016, Ahmed wrote: "I wanna do Inghamasi [suicide attack] here inshAllah." Another read: "I came home on the train today and I even imagined doing it on the train." The court heard the college student had also been in contact with IS fighters in the Middle East. He asked a senior British member of IS in Syria - Omar Hussain, also known as Abu Saeed al Britani - if he could carry out a suicide attack in the

Haider Ahmed contacted an IS fighter in Syria to seek permission to launch an attack

UK. Hussain, who is believed to have since been killed, replied the following day: "Yes u can." By this point Ahmed had already asked Imadadul Karim to

provide him with a knife. When the teenager first made the request, Karim - who regularly purchased knives online - had replied: "Dnt gt caught with it.

They'll say isis." During communications over the following weeks, Ahmed said: "I wanna ruin some people's faces or dip [stab] them in the leg lol." Ahmed eventually bought a knife for £25 using Paypal and wrote that he could "now do damage." Other messages showed Ahmed saying he might use the knife to carry out a robbery which would help fund travel to IS territories. Det Ch Supt Kath Barnes, head of Counter Terrorism Policing South East, told the BBC it was "incredibly worrying because it's clear that he had started to have very extreme views and interpretations of Islam at an incredibly young age". She said Ahmed "first came to the notice of the p o l i c e because of a report from a member of the public who was concerned about h i s behaviour". Adding that "he had a very, very extreme mindset", she said it was a "failure of society that we haven't collectively been able to put this young man on a more positive path".

Ahmed had denied planning to carry out a terror attack and said his claims were just an attempt to impress girls. Ahead of trial he pleaded guilty to four counts of disseminating violent IS propaganda. When he sent out one image from a video of a man being shot in the head, a female contact replied: "Uuuhhhfff Bullseye", to which Ahmed responded: "Lool. Watching on TV HD lol." Ahmed also admitted collecting a record of terrorist information: an IS video explaining how to build a bomb and conduct a lone wolf attack. He further admitted a separate charge of assisting another person to prepare acts of terrorism. That offence involved helping a male he had met online travel from Nigeria to Libya in 2015 to fight for IS. Ahmed had been the administrator of an encrypted chat group of IS supporters from around the world. The court heard he told others how he had put the Nigerian - who used the name Carl Drogo - in touch with a fighter in Libya and that Drogo had later sent him photos from the conflict zone. Last year a jury failed to reach verdicts on the charges denied by Ahmed and Karim. After a retrial, Ahmed was convicted by a majority verdict of preparing an act of terrorism. He will be sentenced on 15 April.

Police search for 8 people after 'large amount of cash stolen in Scraptoft burglary CCTV images of eight people have been released after a large amount of cash was stolen from a shop in Scraptoft. The group went into the shop, on Main Street, at around 11am on February 13. They asked staff questions, but when they left it was discovered that a large amount of money had been taken from a room above the shop and behind the counter. Pc Jo Kearns said: “We believe the group of people were asking questions in order to distract the staff member while one of them made their way to the

upstairs of the property. Following this it was found a large amount of money had been taken from upstairs as well as from near the counter. “An investigation is ongoing and we believe the people pictured can help us with our enquiries. If you are pictured, or recognise anyone who is pictured, we urge you to get in touch. Anyone who has any information in relation to the incident should also make contact.” If you have any information call police on 101 quoting incident 19000078610.

Heroin dealers caught Two men guilty of "cutting drugs on an industrial scale" have been jailed for more than 20 years. Dealers Mohammed Tanvir and Mohammed Sirfraz were arrested after officers found more than six kilos of heroin at an address in St Saviours Road in Alum Rock on May 30 last year. Bags of caffeine – a common drugs mixing agent – drugs presses and a large electric mixer were also found inside the property. Tanvir – who was being tracked by police on suspicion of running a drug supply chain – had stepped from the property moments earlier, while Sirfraz was found inside hoovering powder from a bedroom floor. Analysis of a mobile phone

seized from the 33-year-old showed it had been in contact with another number in a handset consistent with the movements of the Passat. Both went on to admit possessing Class A drugs with intent to supply and at Birmingham Crown Court on March 6. Tanvir was jailed for 13-anda-half years and 43-year-old Sirfraz, of no fixed address, was handed an eight-year prison term.

Illegal tobacco traders llegal cigarettes and tobacco packets were found hidden behind a mirror in a Dudley shop during a trading standards bust. The team from Dudley Council discovered 242 packets of cigarettes and tobacco when they raided Dudley Stores in October 2016, with help from police plus a tobacco dog and handler - and the majority of them were counterfeit. Some were hidden in a void behind a mirror in a store room, while others were found in boxes and bags at the back of the store and on a counter behind the till. Sirdar Rashid, 42, the leaseholder of the High Street store, was found guilty of five offences involving the sale of illegal and counterfeit cigarettes and tobacco when he appeared at Wolverhampton Magistrates

Court. The offences included three relating to the possession of counterfeit brands, one offence of possessing 242 packets which did not contain the necessary health warnings and one offence relating to the possession of criminal property for which duty had not been paid. It was estimated that the duty evaded on the haul was approximately £1,500. Rashid, now living in London, was sentenced to a 12 month community order, must undertake 60 hours unpaid work and pay £400 towards costs as well as a victim surcharge of £85. Dudley Council confirmed that the business closed down in 2017 after the landlord took action to repossess the premises due to the illegal activity.

in brief TEARS AS HANDSWORTH CENTRE FOR WOMEN FORCED TO CLOSE A centre in Handsworth that helps thousands of struggling women from across the city is about to close for the last time. Distraught founder Usha Khera, pictured, and sole employee, daughter Daisy, are being forced to close the doors to the Women's Help Centre in Rookery Road, Handsworth after more than 30 years. They have battled in vain to secure new grants, to raise funds and win council support but, amid swingeing austerity cuts, they have been left with too little income to meet a threefold rent increase from a new landlord. The lack of support has left them bewildered. "The greater the cuts to public services, the more people come to us for help. They need us. New people are turning up every single day who need us. We do not know where people will go when we are not here," says Daisy. The centre is a charity relying on volunteer help to support around 3,000 women a year of all cultures and backgrounds, some to deal with the crushing misery of poverty, despair, domestic abuse and cultural isolation; others to learn new skills in preparation for work.

MEN CHARGED IN SHEFFIELD CHILD SEX ABUSE INQUIRY Eleven men have been charged with child sex offences in Sheffield. The alleged crimes, including rape and trafficking, were committed in the city between 2010 and 2011 against one victim, South Yorkshire Police said. All 11, who are mainly from Sheffield, are due to appear before the city's magistrates on Tuesday. - Usman Din, 34, charged with three counts of rape and one count of trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation - Tony Ejoune, 60, one count of rape - Kamaran Mahmoodi, 39, one count of rape - Shangar Ibrahimi, 29, one count of rape - Farhad Mirzaie, 29, two counts of rape - Soran Ali Karim, 43, one count of rape - Kawan Omar Ahmed, 29, one count of rape - Saman Mohammed, 40, one count of rape - Jasim Mohammed, 36, three counts of rape - Nzar Anwar, 39, one count of rape and one count of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice - Saba Mohammed, 40, one count of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice

VICTIM OF EASTLEIGH CRASH NAMED AS SAGAR BHATTI A pedestrian who died after he was hit by two cars has been named by police. Sagar Bhatti, 23, from Chandler's Ford was struck by a Vauxhall Astra and Renault Megane on Woodside Avenue in Eastleigh at about 05:45 GMT on Sunday. Two men, aged 26 and 29, from Eastleigh, who have been arrested on suspicion of murder remain in police custody. Police said the arrested men were not in either of the cars involved in the collision. The force said its investigation was focused on two areas. The first is Broadlands Avenue, where anyone who saw or heard a disturbance between 05:00 and 05:45 GMT before the collision is being asked to come forward. The second is Woodside Avenue, where the collision took place. Det Insp Lee Macarthur said: "We're still keen to speak to anyone who was driving along this road between 05:30 and 05:45. "Even the smallest bits of information, that might not seem significant to you, may turn out to be very valuable to the investigation; so please do get in touch."


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16 - 22 March 2019

Five million servicemen and women from Commonwealth countries remembered The Commonwealth Secretary-General paid her respect to the five million servicemen and women from Commonwealth countries who served during the First and Second World Wars, at Monday’s event in the Constitutional Hill. Patricia Scotland attended the ceremony at the Commonwealth Memorial Gates near Hyde Park Corner in London on Monday 11th March, which is observed every year on Commonwealth Day. She was joined by current and former members of Commonwealth armed services as well as high commissioners and other dignitaries. Chairman of the Memorial Gates Council, Lord Karan Bilimoria welcomed the guests, followed by a speech by the President, Baroness Shreela Flather and the Archbishop of York. The Secretary-General

those from the Commonwealth who served and made sacrifice in times of conflict, and those in the armed and other uniformed services of our member countries who follow that example of duty and discipline in the service of humanity and the values of the Commonwealth family. “We see many of them here with us and we are extremely proud of them.” The ceremony honoured the service and sacrifice of brave citizens from Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Europe and the Pacific, who fought for our freedom. This year, the service focussed on paying respect

laid a blue and yellow floral wreath on behalf of the Commonwealth and reportedly said, “I salute and offer thanksgiving for all that

to Commonwealth citizens who served in the Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Air Force during the First and Second World Wars.

Servants are invited in order to represent their people and to show the appropriate commitment to our commemorative activities.

Queen observes Commonwealth day

Baroness Flather, High Commissioner of India to UK- HE Ruchi Ghanashyam, Ashok Kumar Chauhan MBE, representatives of the Armed Forces and other dignitaries

Inauguration of Memorial Gates On the 6th of November 2002 Her Majesty The

Queen officially inaugurated the Memorial Gates on Constitution Hill, in London. These gates have been erected as a lasting

memorial to honour the five million men and women from the Indian subcontinent, Africa and the Caribbean who volunteered to serve with the Armed Forces during the First and Second World Wars. They also celebrate the contribution that these men and women and their decedents, members of the commonwealth family, continue to make to the rich diversity of British society. Since Her Majesty opened the Memorial Gates on Constitution Hill in 2002, there has been a wreath laying ceremony at the Memorial Gates on Constitution Hill to commemorate the actions of all those from the Empire who fought for the British in the two World Wars. Recently this has been

organised on Commonwealth Day. It is usually attended by significant individuals including the Defence

Secretary and the Chief of the Defence Staff. Ministers associated with the Armed Forces, all three Service Chiefs and the Senior Civil

Her Majesty The Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, accompanied by The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex and The Duke of York will attend the Commonwealth Service at Westminster Abbey on Commonwealth Day – Monday 11th March 2019. Organised by The Royal Commonwealth Society, the Commonwealth Service is the largest annual interfaith gathering in the United Kingdom and provides an opportunity to focus attention on this voluntary association of 53 countries and their commitment to promoting democracy, human rights, the rule of law and equality for its 2.4 billion citizens. The theme for this year’s Service was, ‘A C o n n e c t e d Commonwealth’, seeking to highlight the practical value and global engagement made possible as a result of cooperation between the culturally diverse and widely dispersed family of nations, who work together in friendship and goodwill.

The dynamics of diversity in Drama How Richard II explores the political correctness of being “BAME” Priyanka Mehta Shakespeare, women of colour and an iconic theatre act staged at The Globe in the week celebrating International women's day- if a political statement had to be made in a post-Brexit society, it couldn't have been stronger than the one made in this play. The play is centred around Richard, a weak monarch who is toppled by his enemy, Bolingrboke, after sending him to exile. His enemy, poisoned with the feeling of revenge subsequently returns with an army to lay rightful claim to his land. 'Richard II' together produced by Lynette Linton and Adjoa Andoh highlights that the historical play scripted some four centuries ago is perhaps, of relevance even today, if not completely reflective of the tumultuous political situation of the UK.

Shobna Gulati as The Duke of York

And, perhaps, that similarity is echoed the loudest by Shobhna Gulati's who plays the Duke of York, when she says- ‘If you raise this house against this house, it will the woefullest division prove that ever fell upon this cursed

earth’. Gulati's punchy sense of humour sprinkled with sarcasm raptures the audience in quick bouts of laughter, even as her character switches allegiance from Richard to his enemy. Perhaps, this can be indicative of the trend of breakaway MPs if not of the formation of an independent party. But the crowd erupted in a thunderous applause when the John of Gaunt, brought the spotlight on the imperial country's unfortunate divorce from its European wife by, whispering“That England that was wont to conquer others Hath made a shameful conquest of itself”, Prema Mehta's visionary raising and lowering of the candelabra, and periodically extinguishing of the candles- that in some instances signify the cloud of darkness looming over the empire- heightens the mysticism of the play, and is evocative of the

power of lightening in creation of that surreal atmosphere. The portraits of the actors’ grandmothers, that are neatly strung at the balcony, speak for themselves of the significance of history being told from “the bottom of the empire”, and a painful reminder of the Windrush generation and their treatment in recent times. Andoh’s portrayal of Richard evokes memories of the authoritative African presidents, and Ayesha Dharker's portrayal of Aumerle brings in that surreal reminder of the far east coupled with the harmonium-like Shruti box that is part of the musical accompaniment derived from India. Richard II is a “historic” play for its entirely female ethnic minority cast and crew and will be running at The Globe till April 21.

(L-R) Ayesha Dharker, Adjoa Andoh and Leila Farzad


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Bengal and Britain hope to link London Lumier festival with Chandannagar lighting Rupanjana Dutta Roshni Sen, Principal Secretary Dept of Tech Education from West Bengal government and Debanjan Chakrabarti, Director, British Council India and East and North East participated in UK Skills Policy Seminar- a conference cum study tour from 5-7 in London and Derby. The seminar themed as 'Skills and Debate: Disruption and Development' had 50 delegates participating from 5 overseas development assistant countries viz. India, Nigeria, Nepal, South Africa and Uzbekistan. The purpose of this delegation was to discuss the challenges in the skills sector, and to seek UK's guidance. The 2day session in Derby was delivered in partnership with colleges of UK. The interaction that was hosted in Derby college included meeting a whole range of people in the skills and employability programme. It included discussion with UK's Department of Education, OECD, Centre for Justice and the Indian delegation that also included representatives from states of Kerala, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat visited Rolls Royce, Huub design and Derby Country cricket club. The delegation has been looking at range of employment options in areas such as sports, engineering, health, beauty, wellness, travel tourism, artificial intelligence etc- and triggered conversation with UK in these sectors. On 4th evening representatives from Bengal Heritage Foundation and London Sharad Utsav met Ms Roshni Sen and Mr Debanjan Chakrabarti. in London along with Baroness Usha Prashar, Alan Gemmell, CEO, commonwealth investment and investment

Debanjan Chakrabarti (second from left) and Roshni Sen (fourth from left) with others

council and Kevin McCole, COO, UKIBC. The discussion included 4 broader subjects. First, a greater connect with Bengali diaspora, connecting Bengal internationally. Younger members of the London Sharad Utsav raised how they would engage with people in Bengal. Second, as a follow up meeting from BHF's participation at the BGBS, they discussed the possibility of talent transfer between UK and Bengal with the mission that Bengal's talent and knowledge power needs to translate to greater economic activity. Areas of association and discussion included FinTech. AI, automation and IT. London Sharad Utsav’s youth members emphasised how studying for a term in Bengal and such reciprocal arrangement in the UK, could strengthen the relationship for future generation. Debanjan told Asian Voice, “British Council already has such an arrange-

ment but it needs to expand further.” The discussion also included talks on cultural connection- through durga puja, river festival and the lumier festival- twinning of the contribution from Chandannagar's lighting craftsmen or artists and UK's cutting edge expertise and technology. The ultimate purpose of this collaboration is to see if a link could be built between the London Lumier festival and Chandannagar lighting. The London Lumier festival is a spectacular festival of lights featuring dazzling light installations across the capital by more than 40 artists, usually held in January. Chandannagar is a suburban town in West Bengal, famous for its innovative lighting during local festivals. The much talked about river festival will include twinning of events across the rivers Hooghly and Thames. Besides that a literature festival between Bengal-Edinburgh-NorwichNottingham may also be a possibility.

BEGUM DEBATE: JAVID V/S ABBOTT Home Secretary, Sajid Javid has insisted that the government had not acted illegally by revoking Begum's British Citizenship and made it clear that “the only person responsible for the death of that child is the foreign terrorist fighter” not the government. During a fierce encounter in the House of Commons, Mr Javid stated the foreign office has made it clear since 2011 that “no British citizen should travel to Syria under any circumstances because it is incredibly dangerous”. He stressed

that the country is unable to help those who go against the strict advise because the UK does not have a consulate presence in the war-torn region and any intervention would “risk the safety” of officials. “The death of any British child, even those children born to a foreign terrorist fighter is of course a tragedy but the only person responsible for the death of that child is the foreign terrorist fighter.” Meanwhile the shadow home secretary, Diane Abbott, went on a scathing

attack on Mr Javid and insisted that Ms Begum is “Britain’s responsibility”. Ms Abbott argued the Home Secretary’s decision contravened Article 15 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by leaving her stateless. She told the Commons- “We believe she should have been allowed to return home because this schoolgirl born in Bethnal Green was Britain’s responsibility.” She also questioned why Mr Javid “deemed this 19-year-old girl with her not-quite three-week-old

baby more dangerous to Britain than the hundreds of foreign fighters who have already been allowed to return” and added that“The Home Secretary has a responsibility of course protect the public but he also has a responsibility to appear just and fair in the eyes of the British public. “And this decision which has lead as nights follows day to this less and 3 week old baby dying does not appear just or fair to the majority of the British public.”

Shaun Bailey pledges 10 % salary cut if he defeats Sadiq Khan in 2020 election Shaun Bailey, who has been selected as the Tory candidate for mayoral elections of 2020 has pledged to tackle increasing staff costs at City Hall, which he claims have increased by £19m to £55m since Khan was elected mayor in May 2016. Khan currently earns £146,084 with a near £3,000

raise on 2016. His 15 political appointees, which include advisers and deputy mayors, earned a combined £1.8m in 2019. Bailey has said to City A.M. that deputy mayors will earn no more than £125,000 during his first term, which is what Khan's advisers took home back in 2016.

Shaun Bailey

Family finds Indian treasure worth millions in attic A British family is on its way to become the fastest millionaires after they found a bounty of Indian treasure in their attic. The artefacts found are believed to be taken by a British army officer from the palace of Tipu Sultan, in the wake of the Indian freedom fighter's fight to the Duke of Wellington in 1799. Also found is a cache of Indian arms that reportedly include the very gun used by the 'Tiger of Mysore' in his last stand against the Queen's Army. The weapons were brought back to Britain by Major Thomas Hart of the British East India Company, following the Fourth Anglo-Mysore war. They were passed down through his family, and now belong to a couple who kept them wrapped in newspaper in a dusty attic of their semi-detached home in Berkshire. The items will probably fetch them millions of pounds at auction. Auctioneer Anthony Cribb said the collection is said to be more significant. “It is impossible to put a price on these items but I would say this collection is more important than the previous one that sold. That one was put together over 40 years and came from lots of different places. But these weapons were picked up at the battlement by a military officer who was there and have been in the same family for 220 years. When I first saw the gun I nearly fainted. It is a once in a lifetime find.” He added, “The owners are just an ordinary family

who live in a Victorian semi-detached house. You could describe this find as like a lottery win for them.” Tipu's gun has a tiger stripe pattern unique to his and there is also damage caused by a musket ball that is believed to have killed him. They also found a goldencrusted firangi sword that bears the mark of Haider Ali Khan, previous ruler of Mysore, and Tipu's father. The British army had waged a war against Sultan after a spy intercepted a letter from French dictator Napolean Bonaparte proposing an alliance against them. Then Duke of Wellington, Arthur Wellesley led his army into Tipu's stronghold of Seringapatam, breached the walls of its fortress as the Indian ruler fired long-arm muskets at them handed by his servants. He died when a musket ball deflected off his gun and struck him above the right eye. After their victory, British soldiers pillaged the city, Tipu's palace, treasury and armoury.

Vacancy JOURNALISTS / WRITERS CORRESPONDENTS Full-time, Part-time, Freelance For our Kenya special magazine, as well as Asian Voice and Gujarat Samachar, we urgently need suitable candidate to join our competitive team. Attractive reward package, especially for experienced journalists is available. Write immediately to CB Patel at cb.patel@abplgroup.com.


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16 - 22 March 2019

FIRST UK-INDIA TRADE EXPO Continued from page 1

With only two weeks left to 29 March, the defeat of the second meaningful vote has significantly increased the likelihood of a 'no-deal' Brexit. Whitehall continues their no-deal preparations. Amdist such heightened uncertainties, UK prepares to look east with the first ever UK-India Trade Expo. The first ever UK-India Trade Expo, a conference that explored and discussed the strength of UK-India relations in a potentially post-Brexit atmosphere was hosted in presence of Deputy Mayor of London for business Rajesh Agrawal, Rt Hon Arlene Foster, leader of the DUP and Dame Asha Khemka DBE DL among others. “We have had a 20% increase in the number of students from India who came to study in universities in the UK- a boost to our soft power and nearly 40% of the fastest growing companies in India are today investing and expanding in London,” said Deputy Mayor of London for business Rajesh Agrawal in his keynote speech. One of the highlights of the day-long conference was the subject of 'ease of doing business with India' wherein Rt Hon Arlene Foster, leader of the DUP, shared her past experiences of working with New Delhi. In her speech, she brought to spotlight how the four mega trends at the heart of the Indian markets can be collaborated with businesses

Deputy Mayor of London, Rajesh Agrawal0 (L-R) Shanu S. P. Hinduja, Chair, Hinduja Bank, Sangeeta Waldron, Serendipity PR &Media, Dr. Kamel Hothi OBE, Non Executive Director, TLC Lions, Penny Power OBE, CEO, The Business Cafe and Dr. Priya Virmani, Founder Paint Our World

in the UK. “India can overtake the USA as the world's second largest economy by 2050 and should be the third largest economy ahead of Japan by 2030,” emphasized the DUP leader. At present there are close to 270 UK companies which are operating in India that employ close to 800 employees and according to Foster, UK's exit from EU will further establish UK-India relations. Providing two case studies of Andor Technology and a local bakery back in Northern Ireland, Foster stressed that India- is the gateway to the markets in South Asia- and a hub of young professionals and start-up culture. However, looking at the future, Barry Tomalin MA, 7Dnews discussed about today's meaningful vote and how did the UK find itself in a position of leaving the EU with Dr. Peter Collecott CMG, Co-Chairman, The Ambassador Partnership.

Cars to be banned outside schools?

Cars should be banned from idling near schools in a bid to cut pollution, health experts have said. In a new report, Public Health England (PHE) will call for a raft of measures, including stopping cars idling near school gates, promoting car pool lanes, and providing priority parking for electric cars. It is also calling for congestion charges to be imposed in cities across the UK. Professor Paul Cosford, director for health protection and medical director of PHE, told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "I'm a doctor, I see a figure of 35,000 to 40,000 people each year dying as a result of the harm that is caused by

air pollution. "And what I also see is that the technologies are available, the things that we need to do we know about, so this is a matter of how we take this issue as seriously as we need to and how we move the technologies and the planning and all of that into reality so we actually deal with this problem for us and for future generations." Asked about a proposal to ban cars from the school run, he said: "I do think that if we consider this to be an issue of future generations, for our children, let's have a generation of children brought up free from the scourge and the harms of air pollution.

(R-L) Barry Tomalin MA, 7Dnews and Dr. Peter Collecott CMG, Co-Chairman, The Ambassador Partnership

“We are all in a maze and the whole argument in the Parliament today is about getting out of this problem. There is clearly one exit to this situation-a no-deal Brexit but it is not acceptable to a majority in the Parliament. If Mrs. May's revised withdrawal deal is rejected today then it is very likely that a no-deal agreement which will be wiped off the agenda and I

don't think that a no-deal agreement will at all be good for UK-India relations,” said Dr. Collecott. But Dr. Colecott discussed other options wherein Mrs. May's deal can emerges victorious in this long-standing battle, or there could be a softer Brexit or even a potential second referendum. In this Brexit deadlock they highlighted how approxi-

mately £900bn worth of financial assets were removed from the UK and 10% of the banking asset which essentially meant the damage done to London's economy and how it can be revived with India's support. And this support was further lent by voices of professional women from financial, educational, industrial and technological sectors who explored the potential scope of UK-India relations. From discussing about enhanced diversity in workplaces to ensuring gender equality, women like Shanu Hinduja discussed the pivotal role that women can play in this process. “At Hinduja bank we offer an east to west bridge where we allow them to unlock opportunities in Europe, Middle-East and South-Asia,” said Shanu Hinduja, Chair, Hinduja Bank. Discussing the subject of under-representation of women both in the UK and India, Shanu called for provision of greater support

entrepreneurial women in both countries and confront the scale of gender pay gap that dominates some institutions even today. The conference even included discussion around Artificial Intelligence and innovation which saw speeches from frontrunners such as Atul Pande, Director of Infrsoft Technologies Ltd. and Sunil Sood, CTO, Miltronix. Meanwhile, in the nearly two weeks left for the UK to leave the EU twenty business people, ahead of Philip Hammond’s Spring Statement, have signed a joint statement with Leader of the Liberal Democrats Vince Cable warning that the UK faces more uncertainty if Brexit proceeds. “Overwhelmingly – whether in public or in private – business would prefer to stay as a full members of the EU. If the public chooses to do so in a People’s Vote, there would be a significant economic boost,” said Vince Cable, leader of the Liberal Democrats.

Pakistani-Khalistani protesters clash with pro-India supporters outside India House The Indian community in the UK have raised several pertinent questions against UK authority, including how a series of anti-India protests outside High Commission of India is turning into a violent mob, attacking people verbally and physically, leading to injuries. A picture of what happened at the Saturday protest is slowly becoming clearer after a series of videos were released on social media. A report by the Times of India said that a group of pro-Khalistani and Pakistani Kashmiris had clashed with pro-India counter protesters outside the High Commission of India on Saturday. Pro-India protesters reportedly said the Sikhs were protesting against the life sentences given to Ranjit Singh, 29, Surjit Singh, 27 and Arvinder Singh, 29 by a court in Punjab on February 5th. The Pakistani Kashmiris reportedly held PoK flag and

placards, saying that they were protesting against atrocities carried out by India in Kashmir. At one point a group of protesters wearing orange masks believed to have torn down the Indian flag outside high commission of India and stamped on it in the middle of the road. When Indian protesters objected to India's flag being stamped over, a mob again

wearing orange masks with sticks approached the Indian protesters, allegedly hit people on the neck, face and people were left bleeding. Police at first tried to hold them back, but they pushed through the police line. There were not enough police in the first place. Back up was called for later. However another man told the newspaper that,

there were heated exchange of slogans between the two groups that led to a scuffle, and police had to intervene. The Indian High Commission was not available to comment. The Metropolitan Police said, one man was arrested for breach of peace and then de-arrested, with no further action to be taken. They said no injuries were reported to them.


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How Home Office is forcing students to go to their homes?

Diversity in Defence Gavin Williamson - In his own Words

International students protesting against Home Office

Priyanka Mehta When Wahidur Rahman first came to the UK in September 2009 as an international student from Bangladesh, to pursue his under-graduation in Business Administration, he hadn't fathomed that a 'criminal' allegation' would be attached to his name for studying in this country.

Wahidur Rahman

Rahman had fulfilled the basic criteria, madatory for international students from non-English speaking countries, of successfully passing an approved language test, the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). A few years later, he also qualified the Test of English for International Communication (TOEIC) with a similarly high mark. Yet, in 2014 he received a letter from the Home Office where they accused him of using a “proxy” to take the exam for the speaking section of the test. “I approached a solicitor to represent me and asked the Home Office if they had any evidence against me when they alleged that I had used someone else to appear for my speaking examination and they said that they did have proof,” he recalls. The 2014 accusation against Rahman rested on a single audio clip that Educational Testing Service (ETS), who organises the test, had provided. According to the ETS, the clip showed that someone other than Rahman appeared for the spoken element of the exam. “When I asked to see the proof, the Home Office directed me to the ETS and although it was difficult for

me to get in touch with them, I somehow managed to contact them. However, the ETS then asked me to go back to the Home Office,” he sighs. From pillar to post: Home Office to ETS This back and forth between the ETS and the Home Office has wasted nearly half a decade of Rahman's life. According to him, it has also costed him a total financial loss of £25,000, in tuition fees and other legal expenses incurred to fight the Home Office’s efforts to send him home. Rahman, says, that although he had been able to complete a parallel degree in an external course of Marketing and Innovations from the Anglia Ruskin University, he was however, unable to finish his course at Regal College London from where he had been thrown off, on Home Offices' directions. “I am very lucky to have extended family here with whom I have been staying for the last five years. But it is very humiliating to remain completely dependant on them, both financially and mentally because aside from everything else, the Home Office have also taken away my right to work,” he said. Rahman had first arrived here when he was 24-yearsold and today he is, 29, jobless and fighting a criminal allegation due to which he cannot go back to his country either. “I would have gone back to Bangladesh but with these allegations I won't be able to secure a job in my home country and applications in other international countries will always be rejected as well,” he explains. “I want my future” As a result of Mrs May's 'hostile environment' policy, Rahman, and many others, fighting immigration appeals are stripped not only of their right to study but also to work, to rent accommodation, and to drive. Additionally, legal aid has been withdrawn from nearly all immigration cases.

Today, Rahman only asks for his future to be given back to him and although, he agrees that some of these students may have cheated in these exams, he fervently argues of his innocence. “If you still doubt my credentials then I am ready to sit for another examination. It is very easy to segregate genuine students from those who had cheated by asking all of us to once again appear for the exam,” he concludes.

Geeta Rani

But Wahidur Rahman is not the only struggling to prove his innocence. Geeta Rani is another one of these students from North India who had arrived to the UK in 2011 for her diploma degree in business administration at London Academy College and later, in 2013, applied to study financial management in a college in Birmingham. She would have finished her degree in 2016 however, halfway through the course, Home Office had revoked her visa on similar grounds of cheating in the TOEIC test. Today, she is challenged with difficulties similar to those of Wahidur if not worse. “I have spent more than £40,000 on my tuition and legal fees and now I am completely surviving on family support over here. It’s embarrassing as a highly qualified person to be living on charity. “It is very difficult to explain the situation to my family back in India, who do not know the full scale of the problem. But, I don’t want to give up. I’m innocent and I want to clear my name.” And amidst such diffi-

cult times Rahman and Geeta were able to get in touch with Nazek Ramadan, director of Migrant Voices through a group called 'TOEIC Victims'. Migrant Voice: The voice of international students Migrant Voice is a charity running for almost a decade now which has been at the forefront of this campaign of achieving justice for these international students who have been wrongfully accused of cheating in the TOEIC tests based on BBC's Panorama investigation. “When I first read some of these e-mails, they appeared so unreal and exaggerated but over time as I personally interacted with some of these students, and after speaking to solicitors and conducting our own research, I realised that some of them are being wrongfully accused of cheating,” said the director of Migrant Voice, Nazek Ramadan. Ramadan who was shocked of the scale of these allegations has been fighting for “justice” since September 2017 after understanding that these students were not presented with any form of evidence. Today, Nazek estimates that the actual number of these students goes beyond 35,000 as reported by the conventional media and covers approximately 55,000 students, the information for many of these victims not provided by the Home Office. Now an All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) campaign is calling for these students to be allowed to retake their tests and prove their innocence. The APPG on TOEIC is chaired by Stephen Timms and other members includeJim Fitzpatrick, Ruth Cadbury, Martyn Day, Mike Gapes and Paul Scully. They're currently planning to have frequent meetings where they will hear testimonies from different groups including students themselves and legal professionals. The plan is to produce a report with recommendations for the government.

Gavin Williamson CBE MP

Last week I had the huge honour of receiving an award from Asian Voice. It presented me with the ideal opportunity to pay tribute to a community whose contribution to our countryculturally, economically and philanthropically has been immense. This is especially the case when it comes to Defence. What was so pleasing about last year’s Great War commemorations was that they gave us the chance to recall the enormous role of Muslims, Sikhs and Hindus in that vast conflict. Millions travelled from the furthest flung corners of the globe to fight for liberty in the fields of Flanders to the shores of Gallipoli and sands of Mesopotamia. But even more remarkable than the 9200 decorations including many Victoria Crosses awarded for gallantry by Indian forces, is that every last soldier, sailor and airman was a volunteer. Their selfless contribution continues today. As I write, our proud service personnel from an Asian background are performing incredible feats across the world – whether tackling Daesh terrorists, helping Afghanistan build its fledgling democracy or keeping the borders of Eastern Europe safe from aggression. But why aren’t we doing better at getting the community on board? I want to see 10 per cent of our forces coming from minority communities. And I want to see a new generation of British Asian generals, air marshals

and admirals emerging. This isn’t about hitting a target for the sake of it. It’s not even about making sure our military properly represents the people it serves. It’s about making sure we don’t lose an immense pool of talent. To those who say the Armed Forces is not for them, I say why not? Today’s 21st century military is a haven of opportunity. It’s a place where you can become anything you want to be. It’s a place where faith is celebrated not disdained. Dress regulations respect faith requirements. Dietary needs are accommodated. Rooms are set aside for prayer. It’s a place of faith networks so strong that in 2017 10 of our Muslim personnel completed the Hajj to key religious sites in Saudi Arabi led by Imam Asim Hafiz, our Islamic Religious Advisor. The point is being a good Muslim, good Sikh or good Hindu and being a good MOD employer are compatible. We share fundamental values. And our commitment to service, our desire to give back to society, our ambition to do global good is the same. As we leave the EU, those opportunities to make a difference internationally are growing by the day. And as we strengthen our global alliances and strike out on a new path, I look forward to continuing to work with you. Together we’ve written many glorious chapters in our nation’s history but I’ve no doubt the best is yet to come.


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Historic International Women’s Day debate hosted in Parliament

historic debate was held in Parliament last week to celebrate International Women’s Day. The debate was cohosted by Rupa Ganatra Popatand Rupal Sachdev Kantariaand consisted of 25 esteemed and renowned speakers from the BAME community to commemorate International Women’s Day under this year’s theme “Balance for Better”. All the speakers took to the floor to share the biggest challenges they face not just in the UK but globally, and their tangible solutions for change. Speakers included international fashion designer Diipa Khoslawho has a social media following of over 1.6 million, renowned chef Asma Khan, former Eastenders actress and anti-Semitism activist Tracy-Ann Oberman. The debate also included men such as India’s biggest designer Sabyasachi Mukerji, Vedanta philosopher Bhaskar Ramachandranand entrepreneur and philanthropist Avnish Goyal. The speakers tackled a vast range of topics including artificial intelligence, black feminism mental health, modern slavery, anti-Semitism, philanthropy, spirituality, food, fashion, transgender rights, innovation, venture capital and entrepreneurship. The debate was chaired by the former Lord Speaker of the House of Lords, Baroness D’Souza, who has actively partici-

A

pated in the spheres of human rights and development, House of Lords reform, gender equality and how to access to information. Other speakers included Baroness Prashar, a great champion of women’s rights, transgender female activist Nour Shaker FayedandTracey Ford, who following the death of her son, has dedicated her working life to tackling youth-on-youth violence. The debate was hosted by Lord Popatwho started the initiative last year to invite and give non-Parliamentarians a platform to speak in the mother of all Parliaments to celebrate International Women’s Day. Speaking after the debate, Lord Popat said, “It is a privilege to host such a talented, diverse and inspirational group of speakers at the mother of all parliaments. The UK made huge progress for gender equality in 2018 but we still have a long way to go and events like this are key to moving this conversation forward.” Other speakers included human trafficking and modern slavery activist Meenal Sachdevand the Head of Charities at Barclays Nazreen Vishramwho spoke of the importance of pluralism within the gender debate, “pluralism is identifying with the other, identifying with the other that is not

Lord Loomba speaks at IWD debate Lord Loomba welcomed the opportunity to celebrate International Women's Day by highlighting the issues women face everyday. Focussing on the plights of the widows, he said that they face doublediscrimination in this world. To combat their mistreatment and abuse, he founded The Loomba Foundation. Noting number of widows increasing worldwide, especially in war torn areas, Lord Loomba said, "Widows and their daughters in conflict zones face extremes of abuse and violence, including sexual violence. Both conflict-afflicted mothers and daughters are vulnerable to traffickers, sexual slavery, forced 'temporary remarriage' and modern-day slavery.” “These numbers also include half-widows", he added. Describing the situation, Lord Loomba said, "there are uncounted mil-

Lord Loomba

lions of wives of men forcibly disappeared or missing. In Colombia 86,000 are missing, and in Sri Lanka 40,000." Further highlighting the problem, especially in countries such as "Syria and Iraq [where] there are uncounted missing husbands, sons and brothers" Lord Loomba went on to say, "In so many conflict zones, men go missing or lie unidentified in mass graves. These women are in limbo,

unable to have any closure, their status so ambiguous. “These women, widows, half widows and their daughters need help. If we want to achieve gender equality as well as the sustainable development goals by 2030". Touching on his recent successful visit to the Department of International Development, where he gave a talk on widows and the particular difficulties they face, Lord Loomba stressed "we need to make an extra effort in developing countries and fragile states suffering from conflict where the input into civil life from the female population is often very limited". He has also urged the Minister "to set up a specialist unit in the Department for International Development to focus on widows and their issues.”

you and who will never be you because they are of a different race or colour, they have different cultural values or follow another religion. The recognition that they are they and you are you, but the language of being a human being is what holds you together. This is the basis of pluralism.” The debate was concluded by Rupal Sachdev Kantaria who summed up the two hour debate, “We have heard about the gender pay gap, the ethnicity pay gap, the funding, investment, productivity gap. Today I would like to introduce the concept of the “listening gap” which is central to the change many have talked about today. We do not hear the stories and experiences of those around us - not because our fellow brothers and sisters are not speaking. Listening is a skill which is assumed to be passive and easy.”

Commenting on the showcase, Rupa Ganatra Popat, Co-Founder & CEO of FUTR Group said, “The world around us is changing at an unprecedented pace and change is crucial as the keystone of progress. This year’s showcase was part of that process to progress. If we want balance we need inclusion, if we want equality we must celebrate diversity and if we want progress, there has to be solidarity. In addition to each of this year’s speakers making their own pledge for change, each member of the audience was asked to join the conversation”. The 170-strong audience of parliamentarians, charities, schools and private sector leaders, were invited to join the conversation online and through sharing their own International Women’s Day pledge for change at the event’s pledge wall.


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16 - 22 March 2019

Spike in knife crime

International Women’s Day

Gujarat moving at full speed

The issue of knife crime is on the rise when it should have come down. Knife killings has now become the norm instead of the exception. This situation is unacceptable and a blot on the government for failing to combat it robustly. At present the government and the police are dealing with the symptoms and not the underlying reasons and root causes. Symptoms and causes should be tackled simultaneously to bring down knife crime and violence. Youth involved in these crimes come from school exclusions, broken homes, poverty, lack of parental control, lack of opportunities, discrimination, racism, mental health problems and inequality. Interest rates on student loans have soared. And for the poorest young Black people, the impact of these cuts has been devastating. On top of that youth clubs have been closed down, facilities for sports like boxing, football, cricket, athletics, arts, music are lacking for these young men. This leads them to fall prey to gangs involved in drug dealing and gang warfare. Furthermore, police officers have been decreased by 22,000 instead of increasing them because of the lopsided policies of cutting funds for the youth by the government. When young boys see a bleak future in front of them, they are lured into crime as the only way out for them because nothing else is available. Police chiefs have called for the public's help in stopping knife crime after a spate of fatal stabbings across the UK. West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson said the issue has become a "national emergency" after three teenagers were killed in Birmingham earlier this week. A knife crime charity has said recent deaths in London are "just the tip of the iceberg", and added that "all sectors of society" have to take responsibility to stop the violence. There have been around 20 murders in London so far this year, with six of them happening in nine days. Met Police Commander Dave Musker said: "Every death or injury is a tragedy and will have a lasting impact on those who knew and were close to the victims. West Midlands Police Chief Constable David Thompson said the rate of knife crime was increasing across all major cities. It is time for solutions that genuinely address and try to solve the underlying reasons why knife crime is increasing and urgent steps taken to address this important issue facing the nation. No more posturing but it is time to take proper actions with proper resources. Baldev Sharma Rayners Lane, Harrow

On March 8th we celebrated International Women’s Day. It is a day we celebrate how much women have achieved. We celebrate the many ways that women have advanced in various careers and roles as independent, autonomous persons able to strive toward their full potential. We celebrate the many creative and innovative ways that women are successfully contributing to the global community. Women are the beautiful creation of God! They are the angel on the earth who makes our life a wonderful experience all together. Imagining life without a woman is quite hard-hitting. This angel shakes the cradle with one hand and the earth with the other hand. The fact is that all the great people of the world are born from the womb of a woman and it is a woman from whom those great people have taken their initial teachings. And that is the reason we have always emphasized upon giving due respect to women in their life. And that is why Women’s Day is celebrated with so much of zeal and fanfare all over the world. Jubel D’Cruz, Mumbai, India

When Narendra Modi took over reign of Gujarat, he changed the course and fortune of the State, making Gujarat hub of industrial development, removing red tape that frustrated industrialists who wanted to move to Gujarat. This was common problem though-out India, especially in West Bengal where Tata Motors struggled for three years to build factory to manufacture Nano, the smallest and cheapest car in the world. So when Ratan Tata received text message, followed by telephone call from Gujarat Chief Modi, inviting him to manufacture the vehicle in Gujarat, he jumped at the God given opportunity, as he was getting frustrated by the attitude of West Bengal government, as well as Trade Union who were making unrealistic demands, compensation for land, wage, holiday and sickness pay and other demands which were difficult to concede even before single vehicle was built. So when Modi moved to Delhi to take up reign at Center, we all thought Gujarat’s progress on all front will be difficult to maintain without his leadership and it proved to be justified, as under uninspiring leadership of Anandiniben Patel, progress was indeed halted. Fortunately after the incident of Dalit beating outside police station, outcry forced her to resign, replaced by Vijay Rupani who proved to be capable replacement, following into the foot-steps of Modi. Now the development of Gujarat on all fronts is at its best with two new medical universities established to give Gujarat and India doctors, pharmacists and medical auxiliaries, as well as giving prominence to ancient, tried and trusted Ayurvedic medicine a boost. No wonder Gujarat attracts medical tourists from Middle East, Africa and even from the West, for heart, kidney treatment but foremost for dental treatment, implants that has become fashionable, replacing dentures. Tourism is also high on his list, as Gujarat has some wonderful beaches in Diu and Daman, former Portuguese enclaves, now Union territories. These two islands, separated from the mainland by a shallow water creek is already favourite place for local people. It is well developed with wide dual carriageway. Then there is Mount Girnar with lion reserves, as well as many religious places, for Hindus and Jains. The most important is temple of Somnath, practically on beach, rebuilt recently. Now three kilometre zone around the temple will be declared a veggie zone, to the delight of many pilgrims who visit this place annually. It would be nice to hear from readers who may have visited these places! Bhupendra M. Gandhi By email

On a knife-edge We understand from media reports that knife crime in this country is on the increase again.The worrying figures published indicate that the number of knife offences went up by an alrming rate. Last year was London’s bloodiest when 135 people became victims of knife crime. Children as young as 5 years old carry knives to schools. They learn from their siblings and peer groups. Thousands of weapons including samurai swords, axes and air guns have been seized from schools. The fear of being hurt may be one of the reasons why your child may be reluctant to go to school. Probably we, in AV, have been the first to throw light on this scourge for over a year on this very page. But then how could we stop this sometimes indiscriminate harming of people who may have caused no offence or harm to the perpetrators? The mayor of London has decided to get to grips with the soaring knife crime. He has put in place certain measures to combat this newly evolving scourge. There will be more police presence on the streets. Imagine yourself being confronted by man weilding a knife and threatening to harm you. People who are victims would probably live the rest of their lives on a knife edge. The culprits and their victims need more support from their peers. However, the poor victims of a knife crime would probably live the rest of their life on a knife edge. Dinesh Sheth Newbury Park, Ilford

Less publicity please I think excessive media coverage of rising knife crime might actually be encouraging attention-seekers to carry on stabbing. Maybe twisted individuals get a kick out of seeing the results of their appalling acts on television or splashed across newspapers? Publicity should be minimal, with no names or actual locations revealed, no interviews with shocked relatives, neighbours and friends. For example, the media should simply disclose the following information: "A man was stabbed in (name of town or city) yesterday. Two suspects are being questioned" and later: "A man was jailed for the so-and-so stabbing." Such an approach may help greatly in reducing knife crime, hopefully eradicating its dreadful surge completely. Rudy Otter By email

Popularity of International Women’s Day There was a time, not long ago, when Women’s Day would come and go without drawing much attention in media. How the time has changed! No serious, popular newspaper could now afford to ignore this very important day. One reason is the popularity of “MeToo” movement, supported by leading women personalities in TV, Film and media industry, that include Victoria Beckham, Emma Watson, Princess Beatrice and Eugenie, as well as former Australian PM Julia Gillard. I am pleased to read so many beautifully articulated articles and interviews in AV to mark this special day for women throughout the world. One welcoming news is that Royal family celebrated this occasion by announcing that Duchess of Sussex Meghan will take up the post of Vice President of “The Queen’s Commonwealth Trust” thus giving her an important role on the world stage where she could make a difference and fulfil her long standing ambition, commitment to serve and help deprived women throughout the world, especially in emerging countries and in particular Commonwealth nations where Queen is the nominal head of the nation, like Australia, New Zealand, Pacific Island nations and many more. She was heavily involved in such projects, being one of UN’s roving ambassadors for women’s welfare even before she met Prince Harry, due to her exposure and popularity on American, Canadian TV serial, that is how Prince Harry was attracted to her and met her through common friends. Meghan joins her husband Prince Harry who is President and the Queen who is Patron. While royal connection, involvement is most welcome, especially as the Queen is the patron, it would be nice, encouraging to see someone prominent in an important role in the organization, from our own ethnic minorities, like Ayesha Hazarika, Dia Chakravarty, Gina Miller, super model Naomi Campbell and many more or coming from Commonwealth of Nations, especially someone like Julia Gillard. Commonwealth is blessed with well known, intelligent men and women who could be an asset to such an organization. Kumudini Valambia By email

Obesity Obesity has become an epidemic in this 21st century. It is ironical that in poor countries people die of malnutrition and hunger while in rich nations people are dying on account of obesity related illnesses. Obesity is now acknowledged as the fastest spreading disease in the world. UK is now declared as the most obese country in western Europe. It is not only posing a major challenge to public health but is also phenomenally draining the finite NHS resources. Less physical activity, fast food culture, high sugar content drinks etc. are mainly responsible for this outbreak. No wonder that there is a proposal before the government to discontinue free NHS treatment for obesity related diseases. The problem can only be tackled through a multi-dimensional approach. Various stakeholders, that include health care professionals, government bodies, NHS etc., will have to work jointly to bring the circumstances under control. Finally, the crucial role of schools and parents cannot be under-estimated in curbing the childhood obesity. Bharat Shah Harrow

We are grateful to all letter writers for more and more versatile letters well within word limit. Please keep contributing as always. If you are new, then write to Rupanjana at rupanjana.dutta@abplgroup.com - AV

The inclusion of the word ‘secular’ in the Indian constitution The inclusion of the word 'secular' in the Indian constitution is impractical and destructive for any religion in India, because it is absolutely about worldly or material, and not religious or spiritual, and, as such, without the base of religion in morality and education,it has created chaos in family,society and the country. Mahatma Gandhi believed in God- Paramatma (The Great Soul), The Father, Allah etc - the Creator of the Universes - and he found that Christianity under the Church of England is represented in the House of Lords in British Parliament, legally preserving their right of Christian religion among other rights. Albert Einstein, a genius and physicist,became spiritual having read Shrimad Bagavad Gita - a Hindu scripture. Indian constitution is mainly based on British constitution which is renowned for Democratic Principles and 'law and order'. The British people did not find the need to include the word 'secular' in their constitution, and yet they make scientific progress. India's culture and society are based on an indigenous Sanatan Sanscruti - ageless civilisation - based on spirituality; Indian society is complex and well developed, and follow organised religions; and their ideas and beliefs form the Indian culture. The aim of the struggle for Indian independence was to adhere to Indian culture, and, as such, the Father of the Nation - Mahatma Gandhi and others did not allow the inclusion of the word 'secular' in the Preamble of the constitution since the inception of it in'47, as it was rightly thought in the very beginning that the purpose of the use of the word would certainly defy the transparent purpose of multi-religions; and, as such, the pages of it are decorated with multireligious forms and Sanscrit texts giving the message to the nation to live up to the code of it. But the Congress Party selfishly and illegally introduced the word during '76 emergency. Indian people do not live in a communist country; they can make a national referendum on such an important main issue, as, for example, British people do on Brexit, to exclude the word from the constitution, as it was undemocratically introduced, so that Mahatma Gandhi's wish for plural religions can be reaffirmed to save the nation from being misguided. R.N.Patel By email


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EDUCATION

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16 - 22 March 2019

Google brings 'Be Internet 'Universities at risk if they Legends' safety programme admit to cash crisis' to Maidenhead school There are UK universities facing deeper financial problems than at "any point in living memory", warns the head of a higher education think tank. Nick Hillman, director of the Higher Education Policy Institute, says some universities are "close to the wall". But the think tank says its survey of student attitudes raises dilemmas over how much information should be shared. The vast majority of students - 97% - thought they

should be told if their university was in financial trouble. But 84% said they would be less likely to apply to a university that had admitted facing such difficulties. This raised the risk that if a university admitted to financial problems it would be unable to recruit students and would be even more likely to be forced out of business. Mr Hillman said it was important for the university sector to work out how it should respond to such problems - and how it would

balance the need for transparency with avoiding putting institutions at even greater risk. There have been reports of several unnamed universities in England being in serious financial difficulties - and one university had to depend on a bailout from the Office for Students. The institute's survey of students found that 77% would expect the government to intervene if their university faced cash problems and 51% would expect a refund on fees.

Cambridge offers places only for deprived

Internet giant Google has made a visit to a Maidenhead school to promote internet safety for 7 – 11-year-olds. The ‘Be Internet Legends’ educational programme, set up in partnership with internet safety experts Parent Zone, gave children at Riverside Primary School and Nursery advice on how to be safe, confident explorers of the online world. Five key points of internet safety were taught to the children: 1. Be “internet sharp” – think before you share 2. Be “internet alert” – check it’s for real 3. Be “internet secure” – protect your stuff 4. Be “internet kind” –

respect each other 5. Be “internet brave” – when in doubt, discuss Since its launch, the programme has reached over one million children across the UK. The youngsters were also show Internland, an online adventure game which aims to make learning about online safety both fun and informative. Playing the game teaches children how to avoid hackers, phishers and bullies practicing the skills taught in the programme. Rosie Luff, online safety public policy manager at Google, said: “We are delighted to visit Riverside Primary School and Nursery today to help teach children about how to Be Internet

Legends. By getting acquainted with what we believe are the five core areas of online safety, we want to prepare children to have a safe and positive experience online,” Vicki Shotbolt, founder and CEO of Parent Zone, added: “It is essential that, from a young age, children learn to think carefully and critically about what they see and do online. “Parent Zone has teamed with Google to teach children the tools they need to keep them safer, spot scams and unkind behaviour and to understand how their online actions can affect others. These are vital skills for being more confident in the digital age”.

Schools should have 'no idling zones', Public Health England chief says Public health chiefs have proposed a ban on cars idling outside school gates in a bid to cut air pollution. The measure is among a series of UKwide recommendations put forward by Public Health England. PHE medical director Paul Cosford told the BBC: "We should stop idling outside schools and we should make sure that children can walk or cycle to school." PHE said 28,000 to 36,000 deaths a year in the UK could be attributed to long-term exposure to air pollution. The report said local authorities could implement no-idling zones in areas with vulnerable hotspots such as schools, hospitals and care homes. It also recommends a wider uptake of low emission or clean air zones to discourage the most highly polluting vehicles from entering populated areas. It describes air pollution as the biggest environmental threat to health in the UK and says there is strong evidence that air pollution causes the development of coronary heart disease, stroke, respira-

tory disease and lung cancer, and exacerbates asthma. Although England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales lead on air quality policy in their own territories, PHE contributes to the implementation of the government's UK-wide strategy. Professor Cosford told BBC Radio 5 Live conversa-

tions needed to be had between local authorities, schools and parents about how to "stop the emissions at source". The PHE review also recommends: l Redesigning cities so people aren't so close to highly polluting roads by, for example, designing wider streets or using hedges to screen against pollutants l Investing more in clean pub-

lic transport as well as foot and cycle paths l Encouraging uptake of low emission vehicles by setting more ambitious targets for installing electric car charging points l Discouraging highly polluting vehicles from entering populated areas with incentives such as low emission or clean air zones Prof Cosford said: "Transport and urban planners will need to work together with others involved in air pollution to ensure that new initiatives have a positive impact. "Decision makers should carefully design policies to make sure that the poorest in society are protected against the financial implications of new schemes." PHE said that national government policy could support these local actions - for example, they could allow controls on industrial emissions in populated areas to take account of health impacts.

Cambridge University is to offer "second chance" places after A-level results for the first time this summer, in a deliberate bid to increase the number of disadvantaged students. There will be about 100 places available but only deprived students from the UK will be allowed to apply. The university has faced accusations of being socially exclusive. Cambridge says the scheme reflects its wish to recruit more disadvantaged youngsters - but it is not a "quota". The prestigious university has been attacked for a lack of diversity in its intake

of about 3,500 undergraduates each year - such as too few students from poorer backgrounds or from deprived areas. Last week, BBC News revealed UK students had 500 fewer undergraduate places at Cambridge than a decade ago, while overseas student numbers had risen by 65%. In response, Cambridge has announced that it will give a second chance to about 100 disadvantaged youngsters currently at school in the UK. These will be students who have already applied to the university but have been turned down in the main

admissions process, who can now try to get a place after their exam results in the summer. It will use the "adjustment" process which runs alongside the clearing system after A-level results are published, which allows students with strong results to make a late change in their application. The type of disadvantage will include young people living in deprived areas, in places where few people go to university and who are at schools where few people have ever gained places at Cambridge or Oxford. Ethnicity will not be counted as a factor.


12 MEDIA WATCH

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SCRUTATOR’S Pakistan has responded to India’s strike – which included an Israeli 2,000 pound bunker bombs - on the Jaish-e-Mohammad hideout at Balacot by placing its head Masood Azhar, his son and brother in preventive custody, and imposing a ban on Hafiz Saeed’s Jamaat-ud-Dawa. Clearly, the response has come as a result of mounting international pressure on Islamabad to take action, but it was the Indian strike that perhaps persuaded the Western powers to exhibit a sense of urgency beyond its previous pieties of simple regret and calls for dialogue. Pakistan jihadists Hafiz Saeed, Masood Azhar However, there is another dimension to consider. The Parisbased Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is an international body mandated to combat money laundering for terrorist ends. Pakistan Finance Secretary Arif Ahmad Khan warned that global economic sanctions would cripple the country. Pakistan is already on FATF’s grey watch list. Should it be placed on its black list, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund would be compelled to cease issuing loans to Pakistan. Money transcends jihadi swagger. Hence the clampdown on Saeed and Masood Azhar. There is a measure of scepticism regarding the permanence of the Pakistan measures. Time alone will tell whether optimism is in order (Times of India, Statesman, Hindu March 6). Diplomacy the goal For now, diplomacy is India’s goal, although further acts of terrorism against India, as has been made clear, would be met with a forceful riposte. The Indian dossier, including voice recordings of Pakistani handlers, made

undue haste. The Supreme Court of Pakistan has issued a ban on Indian films as detrimental to the country’s culture - Pakistan’s not India’s. Anyhow, tapes of Indian films are freely available in the Gulf Kingdoms, home to a large Pakistani Diaspora.

Two Hizbul Mujahideen were killed during a 12-hour battle with Indian security forces in Pulwana Tral, Kashmir, They were identifies as Adfar Parray from Tral’s Gulshanpora and Irfan Ahmad Rather from Tral’s Shariefabad. The house in which they were holed up blasted by the besieging security unit, killing both men (Hindu, Times of India March 6). Indian missile man Reddy honoured G. Satheesh Reddy, aerospace scientist and Director of the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) and Scientific Adviser to the Defence Minister, has been

Media have revealed that Pakistan has been talking to a number of countries on possible mediation, but thus, far has failed to evince a positive response from any quarter. Hence the Hindu Correspondent Suhasini Haider’s claim – under the provocative headline ‘Russia rebuffed’- can be dismisses as patently false. Satheesh Reddy

China steps into the breach

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj addresses as 'Guest of Honour' at the 46th Foreign Ministers' Meeting of Organisation of Islamic Cooperation in Abu Dhabi

available to the United Nations in New York. Meanwhile the Pakistan High Commissioner, who had been recalled to Islamabad ‘for consultation’ has returned to New Delhi. Pakistan propaganda and disinformation are expected to continue as par for the course; obstacles to better relations will be tackled without

Kashmir

Mediation spurned

The Hindu newspaper’s Beijing Correspondent, Atul Aneja, reported (March 7) that, following the Pulwama suicide bombing and India-Pakistan tension, China’s Vice Foreign Minister Kong Xuanyou was already in Islamabad, and in Chinese spokesman’s words to create an ‘enabling atmosphere’ that would help Pakistan cooperate with

‘other powers’. His mission, said the Foreign Ministry Lu Kang was to ‘promote dialogu’ between India and Pakistan. He went on, ‘In fact, Pakistan has been making efforts and exercised policies to combat terrorism. We think we should encourage this.’ Then, more disturbingly, Lu Kang explained:

The AK-203 is a refinement of the basic product used so devastatingly by the Red Army against the Nazi invaders during the Second World War. The project was dedicated to the nation by Prime Minister Modi at Amethi. It replaces the Indian INSAS rifle that fell short of the requirements to face the contemporary terrorist challenges. The induction of this weapon has been delayed by slothful bureaucratic procedures (Times of India March 7).

‘terrorism is a complex issue. We should address the symptoms and root causes of terrorism…’ Sounds much like the Pulwama suicide bomber’s reasoning. Beware of the Greeks bearing gifts. The warning clearly has modern applications (Hindu March 7).

conferred the Missile Systems Award 2019 by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, the foremost such body. Dr Reddy is the first Indian to be so honoured for his leadership in India’s emergence as a significant missile power. Accomplishments As Project Director, Dr Reddy led the design and development team in the production of the country’s first 1,000-kg class guided bomb, which has enhanced precision strike capability demonstrated in the recent attack on the jihadi Jaish facility at Balakot. Earlier, he became the First Indian scientist to be awarded the Silver Medal from the Royal Aeronautical Society in London. Dr Reddy has also contributed significantly to the development of key tactical and strategic missile systems, the portable ant-tank Helina and Nag missiles and the Quick Reaction surface-to-air system (Business Line March 4). UK’s Indian Diaspora Lord Kumar Bhattacharyya, who died of cancer, aged 78, was born in Calcutta and took his B.Tech degree from the Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur. He came to Britain as a 21 year-old for further studies in engineering. ‘Once an engineer always an engineer,’ he was to remark in his

Lord Kumar Bhattacharyya

later years. An academic, he was the founder and Chairman of the Warwick Manufacturing Group launched in 1980, that looked to provide ‘innovative solutions to the manufacturing industry ‘through research, education and collaboration.’ He became Britain’s first professor of manufacturing and was a close adviser to prime ministers Thatcher, Major and Blair. He was a close consultant of Tata Steel and Jaguar & Land Rover of Tata Motors companies, also had close links with the Confederation of Indian Industry. The Warwick University campus is to have a Lord Kumar Bhattacharyya Building. Warm tributes were paid to Professor Bhattacharyya’s enormous contribution to industry, the city and to the region as a whole. The road leading to the Building is to be named Lord Bhattacharrye Way. Kumar Bhattachayya was made a peer in 2004, and was awarded the Padma Bhushan by the Government of India (Business Line March 2). Sheila Dixit rules out tie-up with Kejriwal No tie-up with Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party, said Sheila Dixit, President of the Delhi unit of the Congress Party. The entire party was firmly opposed to any alignment with the Kejriwal group. She made this clear following a meeting with Congress President Rahul Gandhi and the top party leadership (Hindu March 6).

Scathing attack on Defence Ministry Former Indian Ambassador to Pakistan, G. Parthasarathy, launched a scathing attack on the workings of India’s Defence Ministry, drawing special attention to the scandalous delay in modernizing the country’s frontline aircraft for around two decades and more (Business Line March 7). Second line of Mumbai monorail The second line of Mumbai monorail from Wadala to Gadge Maharaj Choiwk was opened to commuters recently, the first line from Chebur to Wadala becoming operational in February 2014. The 19.54km line will operate daily from 6am to 10pm reducing travel time from 90 minutes to 30 minutes (Hindu March 5). Bangaluru foremost billionaire city Bangaluru has emerged as India’s top wealth-creating city ahead of Mumbai and Delhi. According to Knight Frank Wealth survey, the city is home to 33 billionaires, more than Mumbai and Delhi

Infosys Campus.

Supreme Court frees six men on death row Reserving its earlier judgment in the light of fresh evidence, India’s Supreme Court acquitted six men who had been sentenced to death for hideous crimes of rape and murder and ordered the Maharashtra police to hunt down the real criminals. The innocent individuals – one a juvenile at the time of his arrest - had spent 16 years in prison on the basis of false evidence of the Maharashtra police. Abolition of the death penalty wold be an enlightened measure in judicial system (Hindu March 6). India-Russia AK-203 to be indigenized The India-Russia project for the manufacture of the iconic Russian assault rifle AK-203 is to be made in Indian factories has evolved.

combined. Bangaluru is the base of some of the country’s leading companies - Infosys, Flipkart, Biocon and Wipro – and multinationals Microsoft, Hitachi and Samsung. The city is also home to the Indian Institute of Management and the Indian Institute of Science. Bangaluru’s wealth is expected to grow by 60 per cent over the next five years (Business Line March 7). Indian women opting for adventure tourism More Indian women are opting for challenging adventure trips such as trekking, walking, cycling and climbing. These women, mostly based in metropolitan and Tier II cities belong to a younger generation and find the experience liberating, according to the findings of travel firm Cox & Kings (Business Line March 7).


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UK

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16 - 22 March 2019

The Colour of my Skin You may have seen my broadcast on BBC that people of my skin colour are simply not on FTSE 100 company boards. It drew some gasps from the presenter and set Twitter aflutter. We must speak out, boldly at every opportunity. Indeed, the week when, led by Baroness Flather and Lord Bilimoria, the Commonwealth Gates were the scene for commemorating the service of Commonwealth soldiers in the two World Wars, we have every right to be represented in every aspect of British life – in proportionate numbers. This skin which when I was young and foolish, how I wished it was any other colour. Any other colour, preferably a very pale colour as I was kicked at school, mocked and bullied because of the colour of my skin. The colour of my skin which told people I worshiped an elephant god in my faith. As I grew older, I realised my greatest asset was the colour of my skin. This skin which is a walking advertisement that I belong to the oldest of all civilisations and religions. The civilisation without which the world would not have mathematics and therefore science or the West its languages. This skin which is a brand, a brand which means whatever I do or say I am a brand ambassador for that civilisation. You see it has been estimated Britain, which only in the last 10 years finished paying its loans borrowed to fight the second world war, spent in today’s money over 10 trillion dollars to fight tyranny, sacrificed an Empire, all for principle, all because a small

Eastern European country was invaded at a time when invasions were commonplace in 1939. So when someone mocks Britain as being a spent power, you remind them of the sacrifices of this island nation, and that this is our home, where people of my colour of skin are welcome and people of the colour of my skin in return volunteer to make it a better country – because paying taxes and being law-abiding is not sufficient discharge of our debts. Another reason: because I must prove to myself the blood running through these veins under the colour of this skin, is the blood betrothed by good fortune to me by my ancestors of India. That it is the same blood in some small part as the blood of Gandhiji and the Sardar. Bloodlines should be put to the test – voluntarily not just in times of emergency. It is often said that the greatest generation is the generation which fought in the second world war – the generation of my grandparents. Those who sacrificed their lives to rid the world of tyranny. And they did it in the national service. We god willing will never be called upon to show such greatness, but in times of peace, our proof that we are worthy of being the descendants of the greatest generation is if we too volunteer in the national service. Because if we don’t do this, how do we look our children’s children in the eye when in years to come they will turn to us, as we tell them to get off the sofa and make a difference, and ask us, ‘well what did you do then?’ We have to be worthy of our grandparents, worthy of our grandchildren.

Ready Steady British Science Week 2019 Northern Ireland is currently in the spot-light over Brexit negotiations, but for one lucky 6 yearold, Milan Paul Kumar, a pupil at Beech House Bolton School, Northern Ireland meant a Ready Steady Space Exploration Festival. Milan met inspiring Scientist Simon Watt at the Titanic Belfast for an amazing live show exploring the science behind space exploration, with incredible experiments you can create at home. Get involved in British Science

Milan Paul Kumar with Simon Watt

Week 8th March - 13th March 2019. “I didn’t feel like a giant. I

felt very, very small,” Neil Armstrong, the first human to walk on The Moon.

Businesses urged to 'do more' to win public contracts Businesses looking to secure public sector contracts will need to do more to help improve society, the UK government is set to announce. Ministers want firms to tackle issues like modern slavery and climate change. The UK, which spends £49bn with outside organisations every year, will also try to award more contracts to small firms. It is "morally right" for the UK to make certain demands of companies taking taxpayers' money, Cabinet Office minister David Lidington will say. When drawing up public contracts, the government will now be looking at: - Firms that employ people from diverse backgrounds, including those with disabilities and from ethnic minorities - How companies reduce

modern slavery and cybersecurity risks in their supply chains - that are focused on environmental sustainability - Companies that boost employees' employability

potential through staff training However, the government stressed that the changes to public procurement would not add complexity or increased costs to the process.

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Motorbike Rally organised in support of PM Modi

The Overseas Friends of BJP has organised a motorbike rally in London in support of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his governance. About 20 professional bikers from Ace Café London have rallied through important sites of the city such as Trafalgar Square, Tower Bridge, London Bridge, Parliament Square and finished at Neasden's Shri Swaminarayan Temple. The rally was flagged off by children learning dance at Indian Gymkhana in Osterley in a traditional way, through a classical dance on Ganesha, the God of

removing obstacles and bestowing success. Several NRIs have gathered throughout the route to express their support and appreciate Modi’s peoplefriendly initiatives. A car rally will also be organised on 16th March throughout Britain, including

Birmingham, Edinburgh, Leeds, London, Manchester and Milton Keynes. In the recent times, Indians living in the UK are seen more actively participating in matters that concern their country of origin, including politics, heritage and community-cohesion.


14 COMMUNITY

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16 - 22 March 2019

'Inspirational’ parents of threeyear-old organ donor honoured A couple committed to raising awareness of organ donation in memory of their young son have been recognised in the first UK Awards for Excellence in Organ Donation and Transplantation. Jay and Sina Patel were named Exceptional Volunteers in the new awards, launched by NHS Blood and Transplant and the British Transplant Society to celebrate outstanding professionals and volunteers. The couple, from Croydon, were nominated for their outstanding contribution to raising awareness of organ donation in memory of their threeyear-old son Aari, who died in 2016. By agreeing to donate his organs, including his heart, the family saved the lives of two children. They have since lent their support to several campaigns, events and initiatives aimed at encouraging people to talk about organ donation, both in the London area and on a national level. Jay and Sina were presented with their award before a 600-strong audience at the NHS Blood and Transplant and British Transplant Society joint congress, which brings together professionals and volunteers from across the field of organ donation and transplantation. Sina told Asian Voice, “We feel humbled and surprised to have won the Exceptional Volunteer award. It’s amazing for Aari’s story to be recognised. “Working as volunteers ensures Aari’s story continues and will hopefully ultimately change perceptions around organ donation.” Jay and Sina’s awards recognition comes just days after they met with Health Secretary Matt Hancock to share their experiences as the parents of a child organ donor. The meeting was part of the launch of NHS Blood and Transplant’s first paediatric and neonatal organ donation strategy which aims to make more lifesaving transplants for children possible. Health Secretary Mathew Hancock said, “It was an absolute privilege to meet Jay and Sina last week. I was humbled by their story - the courage they have shown in turning their own heart-

Jay and Sina with Secretary of State, Mathew Hancock

break into a force for good is inspirational. “In choosing to donate their son's organs after his tragic death, they gave two desperately ill children the gift of life. Through continuing to preserve Aari's legacy and raise awareness of donation, they will no doubt save the lives of many, many more - and I am delighted to see them being recognised for their work today.” Jay and Sina volunteer in the London pilot of the new NHS Blood and Transplant Organ Donation Ambassador Programme, attending events across the capital to raise awareness of organ donation. They have spoken on two occasions at the House of Parliament, including at an event focused on Hindu and Jain communities, and attended a reception at 10 Downing Street. The couple fronted the launch of a current Government-funded campaign led by NHS Blood and Transplant to encourage more black, Asian and minority ethnic organ donors. They now sit on the advisory group of the campaign’s community investment scheme which funds local projects to increase support for organ donation among people from these backgrounds. The couple have created a video with NHS Blood and Transplant that

celebrates Aari’s life, and the pride and comfort they found in his donation. The video was shown at last summer’s England and India test match at Edgbaston and is now used in training for hospital staff. Katy Portell of NHS Blood and Transplant, who co-ordinates the ambassador programme, told the newsweekly, “On behalf of their beloved son Aari, Jay and Sina have made an outstanding contribution to raising awareness of organ donation. “For many children on the waiting list, their only hope is the parent of another child saying ‘yes’ to organ donation at a time of terrible personal grief. “By sharing their story and experience, Jay and Sina have offered reassurance and prompted countless families to have the conversation about organ donation. “Their generosity in sharing Aari’s story is so moving, and by encouraging others to speak about organ donation more openly, we hope that more lives will be saved. “They are a truly inspirational couple and are thoroughly deserving recipients of the Exceptional Volunteer award.” For more information or to sign up see www.organdonation.nhs.uk.

Asians urged to test their eyes as world marks Glaucoma week

Glaucoma is one of the four main eye conditions in the UK, affecting around 600,000 people, as we mark World Glaucoma Week from 10-16 March. Glaucoma leads to loss of vision that is caused by damage to the optic nerve because of high pressure inside the eye. People of the Asian and African community belong to a high risk group, especially those with diabetes, very high blood pressure or short-sightedness. Pari Sen, whose father, aunt and a grandaunt (father's aunt) suffered from glaucoma told Asian Voice, “My father was diagnosed with glaucoma much later in life. In my family I know 3 people who have suffered from it. My mum's sister had it and one of my greataunts. “People told my greataunt that she suffered from glaucoma, because she was a vegetarian. I don't how far that is true. Whereas my dad and aunt are not vegetarians, but they suffer from glaucoma too.” There are several types of glaucoma, but they all result in loss of vision and, if left untreated, can lead to blindness. Up to 145,000 people in the UK are living with sight loss due to glaucoma. Most forms of glaucoma have no symptoms in the early stages, but regular eye examinations can help detect the condition early

and prevent sight loss. Royal National Institute of Blind People in a statement urged people to make sure they have their sight tested every two years. Almost 14 million Brits (13.8 million) don’t have regular eye tests, despite them being essential health checks. Treatment for glaucoma is usually with eye drops to control the pressure in the eye. It is important that there is no break in treatment, as this will cause sight loss. There are also some surgical treatments available if drops are not sufficient. Louise Gow, Specialist Lead for Eye Health at RNIB, says: “It is crucial that people have regular eye examinations to ensure that conditions, like glaucoma, are not robbing them of their sight. An optometrist can detect eye health problems or other medical issues at an early stage, before any symptoms are noticed. “A routine eye test only takes around 30 minutes and for millions of us it’s absolutely free – paid for either by the NHS or an employer. Anyone who hasn’t had their eyes tested for longer than two years should urgently make an appointment to avoid potentially irreversible sight loss.” Celebrities living with glaucoma include U2 frontman, Bono, actress and comedienne, Whoopi Goldberg, and opera singer, Andrea Bocelli.

Harrow councillor leads motion in memory of Kaiya Patel Harrow Councillor Ameet Jogia, has passed a motion in memory of Kaiya Patel, to enable Harrow Council to have a stem donor registration stand at all events that they hold for over 150 people. Kaiya was six year old and sadly passed away in January after suffering from a rare Cllr Mina Parmar Cllr Reena Ranger and aggressive cancer. Kaiya’s plight encouraged a Jogia said, “Kaiya has left a legacy nationwide campaign to find her a for us to continue to promote the stem cell donor. Since Kaiya was importance of stem cell donor regdiagnosed in March 2018, she istration, so as to ensure we can encouraged thousands – particusave as many people as possible larly from the British Indian comfrom leukaemia. munity – to register for stem cell “I am pleased that this motion donors. was passed unanimously by Speaking to Asian Voice, Cllr Harrow Council. It ensures that we

Cllr Ameet Jogia

can play our art in encouraging further registration wherever we can.” The motion is seconded by Cllr Mina Parmar from Harrow and part of the campaign is led by Cllr Reena Ranger to encourage other councils to also promote further stem cell registration.

Kaiya Patel


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AsianVoiceNewsweekly

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UK

TLIGHT

15

16 - 22 March 2019

UK

Rakhee Kandaiah

NHS URGED TO REMOVE RESTRICTION ON NON-DAIRY MILKS

The Little House of Baking Sunetra Senior ophistication meets creativity with the contemporary, quirky designs of The Little House of Baking, which co-founder, Rakhee, says is as much ‘a place of art’ as it is a bespoke franchise that creates good quality cakes: just look at the pretty pictures! From weddings and anniversaries to birthdays and other novelty events, the company caters to the celebratory spirit while staying true to individual vision. “We stay fashionable, and love to help make suggestions, but it’s always about what the bride and groom, or client really want. For example, the vintage, rustic feel is in demand right now. One wedding took place in a barn, and the couple asked after a rural design: it was about suiting the cake to the decor.” Other modern masterpieces by the stylish cake company include a colourful fusion wedding cake, featur-

S

ter, salted caramel, and chocolate and orange. Gin and Elderflower cakes have been popular all year around. We have also produced tiered cakes of up to six layers” that are both beautiful and robust! ***

Rakhee Kandaiah

ness, while my business partner, Sonal, took a step back for a while with having two young children.

How did the business aspect of it develop? I learnt more on pricing structures along the way; I had great support from my family as my husband is in finance. I got better with budgeting and correctly pricing and valuing products. It’s now a thriving business! How do you begin the design aspect of your cakes? We listen to the client and sketch what is needed, taking into account the design and colour palate. Every creation has a cost and we are up front about what can be done. I have spent a lot of time educating myself, from the crafting side of it – sugars, flavours, modelling characters – to the financial side. What other cakes have you made? Disney cakes, cakes with edible gold leaves, iced cakes, marble cakes. There’s really no limit to what we can offer in consultations. We cater to both the English and Indian bridal communities as well as particular tastes. We can do eggless and Vegan cakes too.

Indeed, the scrumptious talent of the charming business have earned them a finalist’s spot for the Wedding Cake Designer of 2019 where Rakhee only sees the business expanding in the future. “We are already fully booked for this year, and have done so well that we’ve been able to open a teaching school to pass on our great baking techniques as well as an associated wedding planning business where the focus stays on the cakes: it’s called White Orchid Events.” Rakhee studied Hospitality Management at university before going on to work at some of London’s finest hotels, cultivating an even greater love for the culinary sector during this time. “I had always had a love of patisserie and baking, and found myself returning to it. It has helped me sharpen my business skills and grow as an entrepreneur too.” And so, the organic yet attractive journey of The Little House of Baking shows how any enduring appetite can become a potent brand. Where necessity is the mother of invention, hunger can create a solution for craving.

ing Minions draped in traditional Indian dress, and an R2D2 model that saluted the popular film series: Star Wars. “We really love the adventure of sculpting someone’s passion, and everyone presents a concept that’s unique.” However, despite boastWhen exactly did you ing a broad clientele, The move into baking? Little House of Baking also After working in hosspecialises in a distincpitality, I started to “We really tively natural signature work in the NHS love the adventure approach: “we will use before the baking. It fresh flowers and seawas a challenging of sculpting somesonal fruit to decorole and I learned a one’s passion, and rate, having butterlot, but I found everyone presents a myself feeling burnt cream as the design base which gives a out. I continued to concept that’s simple, nude effect. bake as a hobby. Our unique.” Some of our flavours first wedding cake was have been: Raspberry ripple actually for a registrar, with sumptuous raspberries, and was a massive hit! We Lime and Coconut, Lemon with started to teach adults and children Poppy seed, Vanilla with fresh strawbaking too for weekend courses. Now, berries, and more traditionally for winI’m full-time in the cake-making busi-

Is there a strong element of cultural fusion? Young brides and grooms are very adventurous, venturing into mixing flavours such as pistachio and rose etc. It’s really about the individual. What makes a good cake? Baking a cake isn’t like general cooking. You can’t just throw in a bunch of ingredients and end up with a lovely dish. A lot of precision is involved. Generally, you should have good quality ingredients and equipment including a good oven. Every measurement is important: if one little ingredient is out of place, the whole cake can be ruined. Personally, I enjoy lowering the temperature to get an even finish when baking. It seems the nuances are very important? Absolutely. Every aspect of patisserie is very different; from baking to making pastry. Each technique creates a different affect too. If you want to master great baking, it’s just good practice. Keep trying and learn from each mistake. Do you have any early business tips? If you want to set up food business, you must register your kitchen and get a food and hygiene certificate. Also, go and talk to someone who has experience in business, just to get an understanding of what is required. Make sure you’re advertising when you’ve set the business up: be aware of social media obviously. In cooking, word of mouth is very important. Practically: Log all your purchases and keep track of your progress. From the fridge temperature to varying ingredients, every little bit is significant. W:https://littlehouseofbaking.co.uk/

The NHS has been urged to be inclusive of vegans through its Healthy Start voucher scheme which currently includes vouchers that can only be used to purchase cow’s milk and free supplements containing animal-derived vitamin D. The Vegan Society has written a formal letter to the NHS about its scheme that allows some pregnant women and parents of young children to claim free vouchers to spend on milk, fruit and vegetables. The charity says the restriction imposed by the NHS on the purchase of plant milk and the lack of vegan-friendly vitamin D unfairly and unreasonably disadvantages vegans. Heather Russell, Dietitian at The Vegan Society, added: “It is important for everyone to eat calcium-rich foods daily and fortified plant milk plays an important role in vegan nutrition. The Vegan Society has sent a letter to the NHS prompting it to remove the restriction on the purchase of plant milk and provide a vegan alternative to the supplement containing animal-derived vitamin D.

ISIS BRIDES LOSE THEIR CITIZENSHIP Two Pakistani-origin sisters, Reema Iqbal and her sister Zara from London are believed to be the latest mothers to lose their British citizenship for marrying into the Islamic State (ISIS) terrorist group in Syria. They have five boys under the age of eight between them and are being held in a Syrian detention camp. Their parents are from Pakistan, so the UK Home Office would argue they are eligible for Pakistani nationality instead. Their five sons, however, are likely to remain British citizens. Reports of them losing their right to return to the UK after losing their citizenship rights come as it was confirmed that Bangladeshi-origin Shamima Begum lost her three-week-old baby in a Syrian refugee camp days after her British citizenship was similarly revoked. The Sunday Times quoted legal sources to say that the Iqbal sisters, from east London, have had their British nationality rights revoked for marrying into an ISIS terrorist cell.

MAN DIES IN IMMIGRATION DETENTION The Home Office has come under fire after Tarek Chowdhury lost his life when officials locked him up together with a mentally unstable person in immigration detention. Tarek Chowdhury, 64, from Bangladesh, was killed by Zana Assad Yusif, 33, from Iraq, at Colnbrook immigration removal centre near Heathrow in December 2016. Yusif launched an apparently unprovoked attack on the older man and allegedly killed him with his bare hands after he asked for a lighter. An inquest at west London coroner’s court is exploring the role of the Home Office in the death. Chowdhury lived in the UK for 13 years and was detained by the Home Office as an overstayer when he attended a regular reporting session. Yusif came to the UK when he was 17. In 2017, he was sentenced to 15 years in jail. He pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility because of his mental health issues.

BOOHOO'S SPLIT IN THE BOARDROOM Last September, Boohoo.com announced a “board realignment”. The online fast-fashion brand said Mahmud Kamani, the driving force behind its whirlwind success, would relinquish his role as joint chief executive after 13 years of hard graft. But the workaholic was not about to put his feet up and enjoy the £1bn fortune his family has amassed. Rather, the “realignment” enhanced his power. When the changes come into effect on Friday, the 54-year-old will become executive chairman of Boohoo. John Lyttle, formerly chief operating officer at Primark, will join the company and — unconventionally — slot in beneath him as chief executive.


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18 FINANCE - UK

AsianVoiceNews

AsianVoiceNewsweekly

www.asian-voice.com

16 - 22 March 2019

Consultant Editor Financial Voice Alpesh Patel Dear Financial Voice Reader, As the British Prime Minister concludes her Brexit negotiations, one wonders what it means for India and the UK. Never before has any country outside the US had as many of its corporate leaders in the Forbes Rich List top 10 as India recently had. Not even Japan in its heyday or China matched the feat. To make the case for opportunities in India would seem self-evident then. After all, if a nation’s own people, who know the country the best, can make fortunes to compete with the world’s largest economy, then surely outside investors too can do very well there. Yet, misperception still obstructs many investment decisions concerning India. Let’s eradicate them. Meeting a California Silicon Valley billionaire who has re-emigrated back to India is perhaps one of the more striking proofs of India’s potential. These, the most successful of Indians, who moved to the US in the 1960s from an opportunity-shorn India, return today with their millionaire colleagues, to capture the types of opportunities few, if any places on earth can match. After, all, no other major capitalist economy will even come close to matching India’s growth for decades. Imagine a business person with a time machine. They would probably choose to go back to the beginning of last century to the US to make their fortune – the time of Rockefeller and Getty. Consider during that century, the Dow advanced from 66 to 11,497. This gain, though it appears huge, shrinks to 5.3% when compounded annually. And that nevertheless was the American century – the century when the US became a super power. Consider that that growth rate transformed a backward nation from the horse and carriage to one which freely sent man to the moon. Yet India today exceeds and is projected to exceed for our working life times that return-rate of 5%. The baton of Rockefeller and Getty is truly carried by Ambani and Tata. If your investment options were binary: US, the world’s largest economy, or India, think now about this century. For investors to merely match that 5.3% marketvalue gain, the Dow – just 9 years ago at 10,000 – would need to close at about 2,000,000 on December 31, 2099. It had racked up none of the 1,990,000 Dow points the market needed to travel in this hundred years to equal the 5.3% of the last. Whereas, India, with the real economy targeting 8% for the foreseeable future is far more likely to provide the types of returns to match the transformation the United States had since 1900. Where would you invest? What is sadly striking is how few smaller British companies know about the Indian opportunities. Was it like this in the late 1500s before the East India Company was established? With Brexit, we have to make even more of a connection between our Government bodies and our businesses to leverage the size and scale of the British presence in India – just as they did in the past!

JLR plans big investment in UK Sources close to Jaguar Land Rover and the British government have stated that news of fresh investment in the UK was imminent. When announced, this news will be a welcome boost to the UK car industry which has seen a raft of bad news in recent weeks. Honda recently stunned the sector by announcing the closure of its Swindon plant in 2021 shortly after Nissan said it was reversing plans to build the Nissan X-Trail in Sunderland. In January, Jaguar Land Rover itself announced plans to cut 4,500 jobs in the next two years. It pointed to the declining popularity of diesel engines which currently power nearly 90 per cent of its range and a slump in sales in China which had been its most profitable market. Figures from the Society

of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) showed that sales of UKmade cars fell 72 per cent in the last month compared with a year earlier but sources at JLR said there were “green shoots of recovery” in the Chinese car market. The government hopes the new investment will confirm the UK still has an important role to play in the company's move to electric vehicles despite some existing model production being moved to Slovakia. Tributes to Lord Battacharya This news coincides with the death of India born Lord Kumar Battacharya, who founded the Warwick Manufacturing Group in the 1980s - a group of advanced engineering facilities clustered around Warwick University. Many in the car industry are paying tribute to him and his legacy.

Unexpected jump in UK economy Despite the growing uncertainty over Brexit, British economy recorded an unexpected growth in January as manufacturing and retail sales growth recovered compared to the end of last year. The Office for National Statistics said monthly GDP growth jumped to 0.5% in January, the biggest rise since December 2016, reversing a drop of 0.4% in the final month of last year. Economists had forecast a growth rate of 0.2% on the month, although several analysts said the unexpected shot in the arm in January – arriving just before the chancellor’s spring statement would likely lead to stronger growth over the first quarter. John Hawksworth, chief economist at PwC, said: “There are no signs yet that uncertainty over Brexit has pushed the economy as a whole into recession. If an orderly Brexit can be achieved, then the economy

should pick up speed again in the second half of this year.” The main drivers of the UK economy – services, production, manufacturing and construction – all made a positive contributions to monthly growth, following a weaker end to 2018. Consumer spending growth helped the services sector – which accounts for about 80% of the economy – to grow by 0.3% in January after a fall of 0.2% in December, while the construction sector reversed a fall of 2.8% to grow by the same amount last month. Manufacturing output rose

by 0.8% following a drop of 0.7% in December. Despite the positive performance last month the ONS said economic growth in the wider three months to the end of January remained sluggish, as fading demand for manufactured goods around the world weighed on the UK. Analysts cautioned that monthly growth figures can prove volatile, meaning a rise in January could be revised. Much of the rise in monthly manufacturing output came from the pharmaceuticals industry, which can provide erratic

readings on the strength of the economy. Over the three-month period, which is the ONS’s preferred barometer for economic growth because it smooths over volatile monthly statistics, GDP growth remained a steady 0.2%, the same as the three months to December. Suren Thiru, the head of economics at the British Chambers of Commerce, said: “The data for the longer three-month period recorded an economy that was continuing to slow under the weight of uncertainty over Brexit and weakening global trading conditions.” The ONS said there was a drop in sales of metal products and cars over the period, holding back economic growth. Britain’s trade deficit widened in January by more than expected as imports into the UK grew faster than exports – potentially a signal of the slowing global economy.

Belgium companies told to halt exports to UK after March 29 Belgium customs authority is advising companies that export to the UK to halt shipments after Brexit day in a bid to avoid customs chaos in the event of a nodeal scenario. Kristian Vanderwaeren, chief executive of Belgian customs, called for a “Brexitpauze” after March 29, and said firms should do as much of their exporting as they can before new controls have to come in. He said, “Who are we as customs to give the business world instructions? But we are still asking the SMEs and all other parties to wait. Do the necessary export to your customers before March 29.” Vanderwaeren said larger industries “such as

pharmaceutical companies and car manufacturers” had been “storing stock in the UK for months” to avoid having to get parts through after Brexit but that the vast majority of businesses were not well prepared with just weeks to go. Zeebrugge, Belgium's main port is expected to have to deal with around a million additional import declarations and 4.5 million extra export declarations once the UK leaves the single market and customs union. The warning came after chaos and hours of delays at Calais and the Eurostar terminal in Paris after French customs officers carried out a trial of the sort of checks they would have to impose under

a no-deal Brexit. The chief also warned that many small businesses that dealt with the UK were simply not prepared to export and that it would be better for them to pause operations. Vanderwaeren said, “Our customs authority has written letters to some 20,000 companies that trade with the UK telling them they have to apply for an EORI number, which is necessary to be able to import and export.” He added, “But today, three weeks before the Brexit, customs received only 4,700 positive answers. Customs has even set up a call centre that answers questions and calls companies to get them to register for customs

licences.” France, the Netherlands and Belgium have all hired hundreds of extra customs officers to deal with the potential disruption caused by the UK's decision. Unless Article 50 is extended or revoked, Britain is set to leave on March 29. If Theresa May's Brexit deal is approved by MPs, the UK will enter a transition period and little will change immediatelybut there are few signs the government has the numbers in the House of Commons to get it approved. The UK government unveiled plans last month to wave through EU imports under a no-deal Brexit in a bid to head off disruption.

Shortage jacks up house prices in UK Latest data by Halifax House Price index reveals UK house prices were up sharply at the beginning of this year due to a lack of properties on the market. The average price of a house rose to £236,800 in the three months to February, up 2.8 per cent compared to the same period one year prior. Russell Galley, managing director at Halifax said, “The shortage of houses for sale will certainly be playing a role in supporting prices. People are still facing challenges in raising a deposit which means we continue to expect subdued price growth for the time being.” He added, “However, the number of sales in January was right on the five

year average and, at over 100,000 for the fifth consecutive month, the overall resilience of the market is still evident.” Founder of estate agents James Pendleton, Lucy Pendleton said, “This market is rattling around like a ricocheting bullet. It's an incredibly unusual shift, even for monthly prices which are known to be more

volatile. At first glance this monthly surge could be a bout of pre-Brexit confidence but nothing has changed. We have as much certainty over Britain's exit from the EU as we did a year ago.” She added, “The more likely answer is that in key areas low supply is squeezing those buyers who have a need, rather than just a desire, to move and just can't put it off any longer.” Meanwhile, Samuel Tombs at Pantheon Macroeconomics said the volatility shown in the latest figures provoked “little confidence in Halifax's index as a reliable indicator of the housing market.” He added, “Its extreme volatility... undermines its

validity. Like others, the index is seasonally adjusted, but it uses an outdated methodology which potentially is contributing to its excessive volatility. All other indicators suggest that house prices essentially are on a flat trend.” Tombs said, “The support to house prices from the combination of faster growth in nominal wages and extremely low unemployment is being offset, for now, by anxiety about Brexit. The housing market likely will revive for a short period if, as we still expect, MPs sign off a Brexit deal by the summer. But a Brexit deal also will give the green light to the MPC to push through further increases in bank rate.”


EXODUS

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Sow & Reap London Property Investment

This is the average across the UK. Let me give you an example of the issue in London. In the borough of Kensington and Chelsea, house prices are typically 40 times greater than earnings. It’s easy to see how this has happened. Since 1997 and 2016 property prices have increased by 259%, but earnings have been left abysmally behind at only 68%.

The statistics for urbanisation were very revealing to me. Looking at North America, with such a large land mass, you could fit over 100 UKs into its size. Yet it is one of the most urbanised countries in the world; with 82% of its populations living in the cities.

In 1997, house prices were on average about 3.6 times workers’ annual gross earnings. On one hand we have a trend towards urbanization, on the other we have a fundamental affordability issue. The Help to Buy scheme has been used by 200,000 applicants to move onto or up the ladder. But as last week’s article revealed, the real profiters from this scheme have been the developers.

Here, in the UK, it is over 83%, and this has been steadily increasing over the last decade. The bottom line is, the population tends to gravitate towards cities. This results in the cities, and their property prices, expanding outwards and upwards, known sometimes as the ripple effect.

Whilst the affordability issue is not being addressed, humans are adapting. You can observe pockets of underground economies developing. For example, several years ago, in and around Ealing Road, Wembley, there was a

We have a major issue. An affordability one.

WHERE DO YOU PLACE YOUR HEART? Across the UK, rising house prices

Success is driven by motivation. Where does this motivation come from? It comes from purpose. When a person knows his or her purpose and feels this deeply then anything can be achieved. Mountains are moved.

animals, he is driven by a sense of purpose.

But what is purpose?

However, Sanskrit is a sophisticated language capable of expressing love, philosophy and emotion more deeply than modern English. He explained that this word means “where one places one’s heart”.

This made me think. Where I place my heart is where I move towards.

I was speaking with a friend about a Sanskrit word “shraddha”. I thought it meant “faith”.

BUY TO LET OPPORTUNITY

AGONY AGENT IS HERE TO HELP!

now stand at an average of 7.6 times the average annual salary, which is more than double the figure for 20 years ago.

Globally, more people live in urban areas than in rural areas, with over half of the world’s population residing in urban areas. In 1950, 30% of the world’s population was urban, and it is predicted by 2050 two thirds of the world’s population will be urban.

A great German philosopher, Hegel, wrote at the turn of the 18th/19th centuries that Man is “teleological” in his makeup. In other words, distinct from

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Urbanisation is an increase in population in cities and towns from rural areas. Urbanisation began during the industrial revolution, when workers moved towards manufacturing hubs in cities to obtain jobs in factories, as agricultural jobs became less common.

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If I have not placed my heart anywhere then how am I going to progress with momentum? Whatever the goal, this deep condition is the pre-requisite for extraordinary results. When we take the time to define where it is that we are

Q: What is a rent collection service? A: The majority of letting agents offer you mainly two types of service: particular type of tenant who would take your property. He would not negotiate, he would pay the full market rent and take it in almost any condition. This property would then be sublet to couples who would live four to a room. In a three-bedroom property this would mean as many as 16 people living there. The tenants would be provided with a tiffin service. The cost of this would be £55 to £70 pw. Flat sharing has now increased. From 2009 to 2014, sharing apartments has increased by 186% for age group 35-44yrs and 300% for 45-54yrs. From statistics such as these we can appreciate how urbanization is increasing in spite of the rising property prices in urban locations. People adapt and comprise. It seems the steady march into the cities is the overriding factor. This trend looks set to continue. However, nothing is being done to really tackle this issue head on.

placing our hearts and then cultivate our relationship with that place then reality will shift rapidly until that outcome has been achieved. I see today a lot of action, much sound and fury without sufficient work being done in this arena. You may even say that the addiction to action is in itself an action of avoidance of this deeper state of consciousness. Abraham Goldberg

Tenant Find or Intro Only - this service normally comprises of the agent finding and referencing the tenant. Once they've moved them into the property, everything else from that moment onwards is down to you. Fully Managed – is the most popular and known throughout. With this service, normally the agent will take your property and look after every aspect of your property from paying bills, service charges, finding the tenants, referencing them, inspections etc, basically anything and everything that involves the dayto-day running of your property. There is a third option, Rent Collection. This is usually where an agent will find tenants and reference them. Once they've moved the tenants into the property they will demand the rent from the tenants each month, and if the tenants fall into arrears or a late payment for any reason the agent will have the awkward conversations with them. This allows you as a landlord to remain hands-on as far as maintenance and repairs are concerned. Just double check with your agent that this service includes deposit protection and negotiation of any dilapidations or damages at the end of the tenancy, as some agents will charge additionally for this at the end of the tenancy. If you need any other lettings guidance, please do get in touch. Richard Bond

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Decks cleared for L N Mittal to gain control of Essar Steel Ahmedabad bankruptcy court has cleared the decks for ArcelorMittal to take over the debt-ridden Essar Steel. The Ahmedabad bench of National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) approved the resolution plan submitted by world's largest steel-maker ArcelorMittal to the Committee of Creditors (CoC) and Resolution Professional (RP) of Essar Steel. The verdict has paved way for acquisition of the biggest asset under the new bankruptcy law laid down by the central government in 2016. ArcelorMittal will jointly own and operate Essar Steel in partnership with Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp, Japan's largest steel producer and the third-largest steel producer in the world, in line with the joint

L N Mittal

venture formation agreement. Earlier, on October 25, 2018, the financial creditors had voted in favour of the resolution plan of ArcelorMittal, which has proposed an upfront payment of £4.2 billion to lenders and an additional £ 800 million towards

capital expenditure. An official statement from ArcelorMittal said, “We welcome today's pronouncement by NCLT Ahmedabad. While we will need to review the full written order once it becomes available, we hope to complete the transaction as soon as possible.” While the statutory requirement is to close insolvency cases within 270 days, it took about 600 days for the process to conclude in this case. A two-member bench of Justices Harihar Prakash Chaturvedi and Justice Manorama Kumari passed the order while suggesting the CoC that 15 per cent of the total amount offered by ArcelorMittal be distributed to operational creditors. Essar Steel is the largest among a dozen firms

identified by the Reserve Bank of India for immediate bankruptcy proceedings based on two main criteria that the total banking exposure of the company should be at least £500 million and 60 per cent of this exposure should have turned non-performing by March 2016. Meanwhile, Mukesh Ambani-controlled Reliance Industries Ltd is all set to take over the debt laden assets of textile player Alok Industries, which owed lenders £2.95 billion. The NCLT, Ahmedabad bench, approved the £505 million resolution plan submitted jointly by RIL and JM Financial, with immediate effect. Alok Industries is one of the 12 big firms identified for early bankruptcy proceedings by the RBI.

Lifeline for Jet only after promoters put in £75 mn Jet Airways lenders have approved a plan to convert part of their debt into equity with a 49 per cent stake in the airline. State Bank of India (SBI) and Punjab National Bank (PNB) will bring in £50 million as an emergency infusion, subject to other lenders agreeing to the two banks being allowed to take out their money first. Banking sources said lenders do not want to be majority shareholders in the airlines. They have therefore agreed to a debt conversion and to hold equity up to 49 per cent of the airline. Other lenders will bring in an additional £100 million as part of this plan. This is subject

to the airline promoters – Naresh Goyal and Etihad Airlines, bringing in £75 million promoter contribution. Once all involved parties agree, SBI and

India’s mobile data is cheapest globally A global analysis of mobile data prices by UK-based price comparison portal Cable reveals India is home to the cheapest mobile data price in the world. One gigabyte of data costs $0.26 in India, compared to an average $6.66 in the UK and $12.37 in the US. Cable compared data from 6,313 mobile data plans in 230 countries between October and November 2018 for the study. For example, there is a 97 per cent difference in the price of 1GB of data between India and the US, while the gap in the 2018 edition of the Big Mac index between the two countries is far narrower at 54 per cent. The Big Mac index is a quirky measure of purchasing power parity between nations using the price of McDonald’s Big Mac burgers. Asia makes up half of the top 20 cheapest mobile data prices in the world, with the average price of 1GB less than a dollar in Sri Lanka, Mongolia, Myanmar and Bangladesh. On the other hand, the survey said Zimbabwe is the most expensive country for mobile data as 1GB there costs $75.2. Dan Howdle, consumer telecom analyst at Cable said, “A country where the young population has a particularly high technological awareness, India offers a vibrant smartphone market with strong adoption and many competitors. Data, therefore, is quite staggeringly cheap.” Without specifying why India ranks first, the study said the cheapest countries either have “excellent mobile and fixed broadband infrastructure”, or have a large user base reliant on mobile data.

PNB will release £50 million of emergency funding. Etihad could bring in funds to make up for Goyal's shortfall if the promoter agrees to step down.

Emergency financing is crucial to keep Jet's planes in the air and also to re-induct aircraft that have been grounded for want of spares. Of its total fleet of 119, only 70 are operational with lessors taking action every other day. In September 2018, the airline operated 124 planes, of which 16 were owned. SBI Chairman Rajnish Kumar had said that a resolution plan was being worked out with the lenders of Jet Airways. Kumar said, “An overall comprehensive resolution plan is being worked out. There would be many elements, including conversion of debts of lenders into equity.”

Soumya Swaminathan named Chief Scientist at WHO Deputy Director-General of the World Health Organisation (WHO) Soumya Swaminathan has been named Chief Scientist of the organisation. As Deputy Director-General Programmes (DDP), she was one of the three DDGs assisting WHO DirectorGeneral Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. Swaminathan confirmed the news saying, “Yes. I am now Chief Scientist, a newly created position and division.” The new position was specially created for Swaminathan. In a statement, Ghebreyesus said, “What will be announced today will be the result of your ideas. For the past 18 months, they (WHO officials) have been relentless in conducting a root-and-branch examination of what we do, why we do it, and how we can do it better.” The new division is termed the fifth pillar that will strengthen the WHO's core scientific work, ensure quality and

consistency of ensuring it norms and works for standards. W people. The statement from new division WHO said, will ensure “WHO's new W H O corporate anticipates and structure is stays on top of based on four the latest pillars which scientific will be mirrored developments.” throughout the Soumya Swaminathan T h e y organisation.” added, “For The wing will be example, the development responsible for WHO's of gene editing technologies critical health security has raised important responsibilities, both in scientific, ethical, social and responding to health crises legal questions. To address and helping countries that, we recently prepare for them. The established an expert panel External Relations and on gene editing, bringing Governance Pillar will together the best minds centralise and harmonise from across the globe. WHO's work on resource It will help us define the mobilisation and boundaries between the communications. Regional potential opportunities and Director for Africa, Tshidi harms of this frontier Moeti, said, “Science is technology.” Another key changing at a rapid pace. area of the Chief Scientist’s WHO must not just keep work will be to keep WHO up, but we must be ahead of ahead of the curve by the curve, setting the overseeing our work on agenda, driving research digital health and and innovation, and innovation.

in brief INDIA TO ISSUE RS 20 COINS The Indian government will issue Rs 20 coin with the shape of a 12-edged polygon with the design of grains. Besides, new series of one, two, five and 10 rupees coins too would be minted, which will be circular in design and have denominations written in Hindi script. The exact date of issuance of these new series coins is yet to be decided. The Rs 20 coin will weigh 8.54 gm and its outside diameter will be 27mm with the outer ring made of nickel silver and the centre piece of nickel brass. The face of the new Rs 20 coin shall bear the 'Lion Capitol of Ashoka Pillar' with 'Satyameva Jayate' inscribed below. The left periphery will have the word 'Bharat' in Hindi and the right periphery will have the word 'India' in English.

UB OPPOSES MOVE BY BANKS TO SELL MALLYA ASSETS United Breweries has opposed the SBI-led consortium of banks’ plea seeking the restoration of absconding accused Vijay Mallya’s properties and sought the dismissal of the application before the special Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court. UB said the plea was not maintainable as the claim for restoration can only be considered during the trial of the case. It said that the property was subject matter of various judicial proceedings. Among the proceedings cited by UB were those initiated by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) under the Fugitive Economic Offenders (FEO) Act. UB said that the banks’ list of properties include those cited by the ED for confiscation under the FEO. Mallya was declared a fugitive economic offender and the proceedings on confiscation of properties are pending.

I-T TO ASSESS 80,000 BIG CASH DEPOSITORS Over 80,000 taxpayers who had deposited significant amounts of cash during the demonetisation period but failed to respond to initial notices sent by the income tax (IT) department and furnish their tax returns for the financial year 2016-17 will now be subject to a ‘best judgment’ assessment. In a notification, the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has laid down the standard operating procedure (SOP) in this regard. Earlier, the I-T department had issued notices to around 3,00,000 individuals, requiring them to provide details relating to their cash deposits and also to furnish their I-T returns for the financial year 2016-17. In 87,000 cases, the I-T department received no response to these notices. The CBDT has exhorted that the best judgment assessments should be completed by March 31, or latest by June 30.

VOLKSWAGEN FINED OVER ‘CHEAT DEVICES’ Volkswagen has been slapped with a fine of £50 million for damaging the environment through the use of a “cheat device” in its diesel cars in India. The National Green Tribunal (NGT) headed by its chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel directed the German auto major to deposit the amount within two months while increasing the compensation amount from £17.13 million, which had been recommended by an NGTappointed committee, as a means of “creating deterrence.” Volkswagen, however, claimed it did not violate BS-IV norms and that the results were based on ‘on-road tests’ for which there were no prescribed standards. The company said it would challenge order before the Supreme Court, reiterating its cars were compliant with the emission norms in the country. A “cheat” or “defeat device” is a software in diesel engines to manipulate emission tests by changing the performance of the cars.


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in brief PADMA LAKSHMI APPOINTED AS UNDP GOODWILL AMBASSADOR In its fight against inequality and discrimination, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has appointed IndianAmerican television personality and Padma Lakshmi food expert Padma Lakshmi as its Goodwill Ambassador. In its new role, the awardwinning author will mobilise support for the Sustainable Development Goals with a focus on fighting inequality, discrimination and empowering the disenfranchised. “As we celebrate International Women’s Day let’s remember that women and girls face some of the worst discrimination and hardships in the world,” Lakshmi said. She said her main focus would be to shine a spotlight on the fact that inequality can affect people in rich and poor countries alike.

INDIAN-ORIGIN CISCO EXDIRECTOR ARRESTED FOR FRAUD IN US A former director of the technology giant Cisco Systems, Prithviraj R Bhikha, has been charged in a $9.3 million fraud using shell companies, according to federal prosecutor David L Anderson. He was arrested at the San Francisco International Airport on March 1. Bhikha has been charged with wire fraud, Anderson announced after the former director was produced in a federal court in San Francisco following his arrest. He was released on a $3 million bail. According to the FBI, Bhika, who was a director in the global supply unit of Cisco until mid-2017, set up shell companies abroad to negotiate with third-party vendors on behalf of Cisco and he directed payments to those shell companies.

HINDU WOMAN CHAIRS PAK SENATE SESSION Krishna Kumari Kohli aka Kishoo Bai, Pakistan’s first female senator from the Hindu Dalit community, chaired the session of the upper House of Parliament on occasion of International Women’s Day. Krishna, 40, was elected as senator in March 2018 after spending many years working for the rights of bonded labourers in Muslim-majority Pakistan. She is the first Thari Hindu woman to be elected to the Pakistan senate. She belongs to the Kohli community from Dhana Gam in Nagarparkar area of Sindh province where a sizeable number of Hindus live. “I consider myself very fortunate today to be sitting on this seat...,” she said before starting the session.

INDIAN-ORIGIN DENTIST FOUND MURDERED IN AUSTRALIA A 32-year-old dentist of Indian origin, whose family hails from Telangana, was found dead with multiple stab wounds in Sydney, Australia, days after she went missing from a busy area. Police investigations into the death of Preethi Reddy, whose body was found in a suitcase in the boot of a car in the Kingsford area of Sydney, have zeroed in on a 34-year-old man, who was killed in a head-on collision on the New England Highway. Cops said the man, Harshwardhan Narde, was Preethi’s former boyfriend and a fellow dentist. They added that they had spoken to Narde as part of their investigation after they were alerted by Preethi’s family about her disappearance.

Pak launches crackdown on banned organisations ISLAMABAD: Facing international pressure following the cross-border terror attack in Jammu & Kashmir's Pulwama, Pakistan launched a crackdown on banned organisations, which are fuelling terrorism in the region. A total of 44 members of such outfits were detained, including Mufti Abdur Rauf, the brother of Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) chief Maulana Masood Azhar. Along with Rauf, Azhar's son Hamza Azhar has also been reportedly detained. The action comes in the backdrop of Pakistan issuing a fresh pledge before the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), assuring curbs against outfits and individuals proscribed by the top global body. A Pakistan Foreign Office spokesman said that now onwards all kinds of assets and properties of all (banned) organisations will be in the government’s control. Lahore HQ of JuD sealed Two days after banning the Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) and its charity wing Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation, Pakistani authorities sealed the Lahore headquarters of the two Hafiz Saeed-led outfits." Under the National Action Plan (NAP), the government has taken control of

Pakistan arrests 44 militants in new crackdown on extremist groups

the banned JuD and FIF headquarters in Lahore and Muridkey," the Punjab Home department said. It said the government has been taking over the control of the mosques, seminaries and other institutions of the banned organisations in the province. A government official said that the authorities have sealed the Jamia Masjid Qadsia, the Lahore headquarters of the JuD and FIF. The official said the government has also taken over the complete control of the JuD headquarters in Muridke. The Mumbai terror attack mastermind has also been barred from delivering the

weekly Friday sermon at JuD’s Lahore headquarters. UN rejects Saeed’s plea Meanwhile, the United Nations has rejected an appeal of Saeed, the 2008 Mumbai terror attack mastermind, to remove his name from its list of banned terrorists. The decision came at a time when UN's 1267 Sanctions Committee has received a new request to ban Azhar after the Pulwama terror attack. The UN decision to reject appeal of Saeed came after India provided detailed evidence, including "highly confidential information" about his activities, sources said.

Saeed was banned on December 10, 2008 by the United Nations Security Council after the Mumbai terror attacks in which 166 people were killed. Saeed had filed an appeal with the UN through Lahore-based law firm Mirza and Mirza in 2017, while he was still under house arrest in Pakistan, for removal of the ban. Independent Ombudsperson Daniel Kipfer Fasciati, appointed by the UN to examine all such requests, has informed Saeed's lawyer that it has been decided following examination of his request that that he will "continue as a listed individual," sources said. Azhar faces no travel ban Unlike Saeed, Azhar faces no travel ban and assets freeze despite JeM being a UNdesignated terrorist outfit, mainly due to China’s refusal to back any proposal for a UNSC ban. After its attempts to mainstream Saeed in politics, Islamabad sought to help him get his name removed from the sanctions list by blocking a visit by the UN ombudsman to Pakistan, according to government sources. This was apparently to prevent Saeed from coming face-to-face with the ombudsman.

US, India urge Pak to take action against terror groups NEW YORK: In the first highlevel face-to-face India-US encounter after the February 14 Pulwama terror attack, US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo and Indian foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale discussed the "urgency" of Pakistan taking action against terror groups. Pompeo "affirmed that the US stands with the people and government of India in the fight against terrorism", State Department deputy spokesman Robert Palladino said. He said that they discussed "the importance of bringing those responsible for the attack to justice and the urgency of Pakistan taking meaningful action against terrorist groups operating on its soil." Gokhale is on a three-day visit to Washington for diplomatic consultations and strategic security dialogue with the US. He is scheduled to meet Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs David Hale and Under

Vijay Gokhale and Michael Pompeo

Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Andrea Thompson. He will also hold talks with other US lawmakers. The Indian Embassy in Washington said in a statement: "Pompeo expressed his understanding of India's concerns regarding cross-border terrorism. They agreed that Pakistan needs to take concerted action to dismantle the terrorist infrastructure and to deny safe

haven to all terrorist groups in its territory. "They also agreed that those who support or abet terrorism in any form should be held accountable." Gokhale "conveyed appreciation to the US government and to Secretary Pompeo personally for the firm support that India received from the US in the aftermath of the terrorist attack in Pulwama", the statement added. The two leaders appreciated

"the significant progress and the quality of the India-US Strategic Partnership", following Pompeo's visit to India last September for the first Ministerial 2+2 Dialogue of the foreign policy and defence leaders. He also apprised Pompeo about the recent developments in the region, it said. Last month, the Pulwama terror attack carried out by the Pakistan-based Jaish-eMohammed (JeM) killed 40 CRPF personnel. India launched an attack on terrorist camp in Pakistan and an air skirmish between the two neighbours followed during which an Indian MiG-21 was shot down and its pilot, Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman was captured by Pakistan. He was later released after Pompeo's intense diplomacy. During the crisis, US President Donald Trump, Pompeo and US National Security Adviser John Bolton backed India's opposition to cross-border terrorism.

US closely following reports of F-16 misuse by Pak WASHINGTON: A top State Department official said that United States was “very closely” following the reports which have claimed that Pakistan misused American-made F-16 fighter jets against India in the recent aerial confrontation between the air forces of the two countries. The Indian Air Force displayed parts of an AMRAAM beyond visual range air-to-air missile as evidence to “conclusively” prove that Pakistan deployed USmanufactured F-16 fighter jets during an aerial raid targeting

Indian military installations in Kashmir after India’s anti-terror operation in Balakot. While Pakistan said that no F-16 fighter jets were used, US State Department has said that America is seeking more information from Pakistan on the potential misuse of American-made F-16 fighter jets by it against India in violation of the end-user agreement. “We’ve seen those reports and we’re following that issue very closely,” US State Department Deputy Spokesperson Robert Palladino told reporters. He was

responding to questions that Pakistan has violated the enduser agreement on F-16 that it procured from the United States. “I can’t confirm anything, but as a matter of policy, we don’t publicly comment on the contents of bilateral agreements that we have in this regard involving US defence technologies nor the communications that we have with other countries about that. “So, we’re taking a look and we’re going to continue to take a look. I’m going to leave it at

that,” Palladino said. AMRAAM missiles allow a fighter pilot to target an enemy aircraft that is beyond visual range, in day or night, and in allweather conditions. They have an autonomous guidance capability, which allows the pilot to manoeuvre immediately after the missile’s launch. Tensions between India and Pakistan flared up after a suicide bomber of Pakistan-based Jaish-eMohammed killed 40 Central Reserve Police Force personnel in Kashmir’s Pulwama district on February 14.


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8 Indians among 157 killed in Ethiopian plane crash ADDIS ABABA: Eight Indians were among 157 people killed when an Ethiopian Airlines flight crashed shortly after takeoff from the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, en route to Nairobi, Kenya. The deceased Indian nationals were Prerit Dixit, 43, his wife Kosha, 37, their daughters Ashka, 15, Anushka, 12, Kosha’s parents Pannagesh Vaidya, 65, Hansini, 60, Nukavarapu Manisha, a doctor based in US and Shikha Garg, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) consultant attached with India's environment ministry. The plane was identified by its manufacturer, Boeing, as one of its newest models, a 737 Max 8. Earlier, a Lion Air flight using the same model of plane went down in Indonesia in October killing 189 people. There were passengers from at least 35 countries. The dead included 32 Kenyans, 18 Canadians, nine Ethiopians, eight each from the US, China

Pannagesh Vaidya and Hansini

and Italy, and seven each from France and Britain, the airline said. The flight on Sunday took off in good weather from Bole International Airport and lost contact six minutes later, the airline said. The plane went down near Bishoftu, about 56 km southeast of Addis Ababa. Six of Gujarati family from Surat, Vadodara killed The six family members from Canada, who died in the Ethiopian Airline crash were from Gujarat and were

shifted to Ahmedabad few years ago. He used to often travel to Toronto and live there with his son Manan Vaidya. His daughter Kosha also lived with her biotechnologist husband Prerit in Toronto. Prerit, Kosha and two daughters have Canadian citizenship. Prerit’s father Virendra Dixit, 72, and mother Parinda, 69, live in Surat. Prerit Dixit, his wife Kosha and their daughters Dixits said that Ashka and Anushka Pannagesh’s friend Prakash was winding up travelling from Addis Ababa to his business in Ethiopia and Nairobi. The family members permanently coming to live in were from Surat and Vadodara India. He had asked Pannagesh and their relatives live in Surat. to come and stay with them for Those who died were Prerit a few days. They worked Dixit, 43, his wife Kosha, 37, together in past. Since their daughters Ashka, 15, Pannagesh and Hansini were Anushka, 12 and Kosha’s parents planning to go to Ethiopia, Pannagesh Vaidya, 65, Hansini, Prerit and Kosha also planned to 60. While Prerit’s parents live in join them with their daughters. Surat, Kosha’s parents were They wanted to visit African from Vadodara. Pannagesh, a safari in Kenya and Kosha’s mechanical engineer from M S birthplace Mombasa. University in Vadodara, had

US House of Representatives condemns hatred against Hindus, Sikhs, Muslims NEW YORK: In a controversial resolution that initially split the Democrats before being expansively reworded, the House of Representatives has condemned hate against Hindus, Sikhs, Jews, Muslims and other minorities and denounced accusations of dual loyalty. A key element in the resolution adopted is the condemnation of dual loyalty that insinuates doubt about patriotism of sections of citizens that has a resonance for IndianAmericans who sometimes face that accusation for expressing support for India. While 234 Democrats backed the resolution and one abstained, 173 Republicans voted for it and 23 against it. The Executive Director of the Hindu American Foundation (HAF), Suhag Shukla, welcoming the resolution pointed out that "our

communities have also faced suspicion and bigotry from people on the far-left end of the political spectrum with baseless accusations of dual loyalties to India." The build-up to the resolution exposed a deep divide within the Democrats as the party leadership faced a rebellion from its Left and African-American groups, while the moderates pushed for the original version that targeted only anti-Semitism. There is risk of divide that is also being reflected in the ideological divisions economic and social policies also may grow and undermine party unity to the advantage of Republicans. The resolution was first proposed as a response to repeated anti-Jewish statements by a newly elected Muslim Representative of Somali descent, Ilhan Omar, who had

accused supporters of Israel as having "allegiance to a foreign country" and tweeted that support for Israel was motivated by "Benjamin's Babies" - an antiSemitic slur - which implied lawmakers were being bought. But Speaker Nancy Pelosi proposal to condemn antiSemitism faced opposition from the left wing of the party as well as the African-American bloc in the House, even though the initial draft did not mention Omar. Indian-American Senator Kamala Harris, for example, said that it would draw attention to Omar and endanger her. As a compromise to get the vocal dissenters to back the resolution, references to Muslims and African-Americans were added. The final version included other religions, Asians, immigrants, gays, lesbians and transgender people and other

minorities. But it left out Budhists, Mormons and others. Rajwand Singh, the senior adviser to the National Sikh Campaign, said: "We welcome the resolution as it hits home for us as we have been victims of hatred and violence because of our identity." The opposition was because of the watering down of the resolution to deflect the prime reason for it - anti-Jewish comments from a Democrat. A Jewish Representative Lee Zeldin, for example, called the resolution "spineless". Omar and two other Muslim Representatives, Rashida Tlaib and Andre Carson, turned it around making it a victory for themselves and proclaimed: "It's the first time we have voted on a resolution condemning antiMuslim bigotry in our nation's history."

Pak minister removed for anti- Hindu remarks

Yogesh Patel named a Poet-of-Honor in New York

Pakistan's ruling party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) said that Punjab information and culture minister Fayyazul Hassan Chohan has been removed from the post following severe criticism over his anti-Hindu remarks. "PTI Punjab government has removed Fayyaz Chohan from the post following derogatory remarks about the Hindu community. Bashing someone’s faith should not be a part of any narrative. Tolerance is the first and foremost pillar on which #Pakistan was built," PTI tweeted.

Matwaala collective of American South-Asian Diaspora will honour UK diaspora poet Yogesh Patel for his poetry achievements and service to the poetry community. In an event that will take place from April 3 to 5, sponsored by Poet & Writer magazine and Nassau Community College, as a second phase in May, Matwaala will be holding poetry readings at Cambridge University. Co-editor of Skylark Publications UK and a nonprofit Word Masala project promoting diaspora literature,

Yogesh Patel

Yogesh Patel is also founder of literary charity, Gujarati Literary Academy and has been honoured with the Freedom of the City of London. With a slew

of LP records, films, radio, children's book, fiction, nonfiction books and three poetry collections to his name, Patel was presented to Her Highness The Queen at Buckingham Palace to represent the best in poetry. He is a recipient of many awards, and published in several magazines and anthologies. Patel has also read in the House of Lords and the National Poetry Library. His recent collection is “Swimming with Whales” reflecting on racism, immigration and many other social aspects, including the environment and whaling.

in brief US DEPORTS INDIAN PILOT OVER CHILD PORNOGRAPHY An Indian pilot was handcuffed and deplaned from the aircraft by US authorities soon after his flight from Delhi landed in San Francisco airport over charges of downloading child pornography. The Mumbai-based pilot is employed as a first officer with an Indian carrier and frequently operates flights to US. Under current regulations, air carriers operating US-bound flights must transmit to the US Bureau of Customs and Border Protection, the passenger manifest and crew details no later than 15 minutes after the departure of the flight. “The FBI agents must have waited for him to re-enter the US. He was arrested, his passport seized, his US visa cancelled. He was then put back on a flight to Delhi and deported from the US,” the source said adding that the said pilot would not be able to visit the US again.

116-YEAR-OLD JAPANESE WOMAN HONOURED The Guinness Book of World Records has recognised Kane Tanaka, a 116-year-old Japanese woman, as the world's oldest living person. She was honoured in a ceremony at the nursing home where she lives in Fukuoka, in southwest Japan. Her family and the mayor were present to celebrate. Tanaka was born 2 January, 1903, the seventh among eight children. She married Hideo Tanaka in 1922, and they had four children and adopted another child. She is usually up by 6 am and enjoys studying mathematics. The previous oldest living person was another Japanese woman, Chiyo Miyako, who died in July at age 117.

CHINA HIKES DEFENCE BUDGET BY 7.5% TO $177.6 BN China announced a 7.5% increase in its defence budget for this year, hiking it to a whopping $177.61 billion, over three times that of India. The 2019 defence budget will be 1.19 trillion yuan, according to a draft budget report submitted at the National People’s Congress (NPC). The increase this year is lower than that of last year’s 8.1% which amounted to $175 billion. China, which increased its defence budget in double digits till 2015, has been lowering it to single digit hikes since 2016. China’s budgeted defence spending growth rate stood at 7.6% in 2016, 7% in 2017 and 8.1% in 2018. With this year’s hike, China’s defence spending moved closer to the $200 billion mark, making it the highest spender on defence after the United States.

THAI COURT DISSOLVES PARTY OVER PRINCESS' PM BID Thailand's constitutional court ordered the dissolution of an opposition party that nominated the King's elder sister as its prime-ministerial candidate for the March 24 general election. The court ordered the dissolution of the Thai Raksa Chart party and banned the members of the party's executive committee from taking part in politics for 10 years. Thai Raksa Chart announced Princess Ubolratana Mahidol's candidacy on February 8, but hours later her brother King Maha Vajiralongkorn issued a royal communique calling his sister's nomination "highly inappropriate," effectively ending her candidacy.

MAN’S DYING WISH FULFILLED A terminally ill Connecticut man who’s a big supporter of President Trump got a last wish fulfilled with a call from the White House. Jay Barrett of West Haven received a call from Trump. “Mr President, through thick and thin, you know there’s been a lot of thick, and there’s been a lot of thins, I support you,” Barrett said. Trump told Barrett he’s a “champ,” and that a personal letter is coming his way. “You’re my kind of man, Jay... I’m very proud of you,” Trump said. “I’ll talk to you again, Jay, OK? You keep that fight going. We both fight.”


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Throwing the issue out of the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, the Supreme Court has referred the 70 year old Ayodhya litigation to a secret meditation process by a threemember panel which will submit a report in eight weeks. The dispute for ownership of the 2.77 acre land in Ayodhya has defied previous efforts for a negotiated settlement but the court said a panel headed by former SC Judge FMI Kalifulla and comprising spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and wellknown mediator Sriram Panchu could conduct a dialogue with contending parties. The court said there should not be any reporting on the matter. While specifying Faizabad as the venue for in-camera mediation, a bench of CJI Ranjan Gogoi and Justices SA Bobde, DY Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S Abdul Nazeer said, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Mediation proceedings should be conducted with utmost confidentiality so as to ensure its success which can only be safeguarded by directing that proceedings of mediation and the views expressed therein by any of the parties, including the mediators, shall be kept confidential and not revealed to any other person.â&#x20AC;? The eight-week deadline for the panel comes as a blow to the hopes of Hindu parties that the SC would expeditiously take up the appeal against the Allahabad High Court order dividing the plot equally among all three parties- deity Ram Lalla, Sunni Waqf Board and Nirmohi Akhara. By the

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O OM PE IN N ATI

SC refers Ayodhya case for mediation

N O O NS W !

16 - 22 March 2019

Disputed Ayodhya land

time the mediation process concludes in early May, Lok Sabha elections would be going on in full force and the court is unlikely to reach any conclusion before the next government is sworn in. While the ruling BJP did not react officially, individual leaders from the party expressed disappointment even as they steered clear of criticising the court. Hindu parties opposed the court's suggestion during the hearings on February 26 and March 6 to refer the dispute for mediation. However, Muslim parties welcomed the SC's move to attempt to resolve the dispute through mediation, although All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen objected to the choice of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar as one of the mediators by pointing out that the spiritual guru favoured construction of the Ram Temple. Meanwhile, Hindu parties held that such attempts were made in the past and this too would prove futile.

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OCI card becomes compulsory for investment in India RAJESH H DHRUVA & RIMA K JOSHI Non Resident Indians (NRIs) and People of Indian Origin (PIOs) residing abroad did not require any additional documents other than copies of their passport, business or permanent residency visas; etc for purchase or sale of properties or investing in businesses in India. But since 7th November 2017, Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) has made it compulsory for PIOs to hold an OCI card (Overseas Citizen of India) to actively participate in business by way of partnership firm; proprietorship firm or limited liability partnership and also for passive investments under portfolio investment schemes on repatriation basis. From March 2018, if a PIO wishes to purchase a property or sell or transfer by way of gift or exchange even a pre-owned existing immovable property, OCI card is compulsory. Salient features of these rules: Immovable properties: Since 26th March 2018 OCI card has become necessary for a PIO for purchase, sale or transfer of immovable property. As such every PIO who wishes to purchase, sale or transfer any immovable property after 26th March 2018 will be required to be a OCI cardholder. PIOs who are owning property prior to 26th March 2018 will also need to avail OCI Card for sale, gift or transfer even an existing property on or after 26th March 2018. Active businesses & PIS: Likewise PIOs are also required to be OCI card holder for actively participating in businesses as a partner in partnership firm or limited liability partnership or a proprietorship firm. OCI card will also be required for portfolio investments in listed securities of Indian companies on non repatriation basis. OCI card is not required for: Direct investments in securities of Indian private limited companies, direct investments in shares & debentures of non-listed public limited company or PIS of listed Indian stocks on repatriation basis. OCI card is also not required for opening & maintaining non

resident external (NRE), non resident ordinary (NRO) Rupee bank accounts, opening & maintaining US$, GBP, Euro, CAD, AUD & JYEN foreign currency non resident (FCNR) deposits, investments in Indian government securities and investments in Indian mutual funds. If the PIOs are already conducting business of proprietorship firm, partnership firm, LLP or has a PIS on non repatriation basis prior to incorporation of these regulations, such PIO will have to obtain OCI card for continuing business. Eligibility: A PIO is eligible for OCI card if he was an Indian citizen on 26th January 1950 or any time thereafter, born in India after 26th January 1950 and before 1st July 1987; born after 1st July 1987 but before 3rd December 2004 provided either of his parents was a citizen of India at the time of birth; born in India after 3rd December 2004 and both his parents were Indian citizens or one of the parents is a legal Indian citizen and other is a legal migrant, any one of the parents or grandparents or great grandparents have been citizen of India and spouse of Indian citizen or OCI card holder. Application: Application is to be made together with supporting documents at ttps://ociservices.gov.in with supporting documents - proof of citizenship, copy of passport; certificate of citizenship; copy of birth certificate; address proof, proof of parents, grandparents or great grandparents being Indian citizen or OCI card holder and marriage certificate if available in case of spouse. Originals are to be presented at Indian Embassy in the country of residence or Regional Passport Office or Foreigners Regional Registration Officer (FRRO) in India with payment of fees of Rs 15,000 by banker's cheque. Benefits: Lifelong visas with facility of multiple entries, no requirements of registration with FRRO or police authorities, no approvals required for conduct of any business or profession or taking up employment or making any permissible investment.

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For Individuals: I Inspiring Individual

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Chennai Central railway station will be named after MGR KANCHEEPURAM (TAMIL NADU): Prime Minister Narendra Modi has declared to rename the Chennai Central Railway Station after former Chief Minister MG Ramachandran. In his first public rally in Tamil Nadu after his party inked a poll pact with the AIADMK and other parties, Modi said he was not bothered about threats and abuses against him and asserted that he would do whatever was needed to make the country strong. Addressing a Congress leader's remarks on “killing” him, he said, “I am not bothered about threats and abuses. Will do whatever it takes to make India strong.” He said the Opposition was guided by politics and selfish interests and they did not want a strong India or a strong armed force. “Modi hatred is reaching new levels daily. There is a competition on who abuses him the most... some even abuse my lower cast.” He said the Opposition should clearly state their plan to take the nation

MG Ramachandran

forward and reiterate his “mahamilawat” alliance against them. Modi recalled that as many as 50 governments were dismissed by former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi using Article 356. Hitting out at the Dravidian party led by MK Stalin, he stated even the DMK had become a victim, and said “opportunism has prevailed over values.” Modi added, “We are also seriously thinking about ensuring that flights to and from Tamil Nadu have in-flight

announcements in Tamil language.” Meanwhile, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami has urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to confer the Param Vir Chakra on Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman. In a letter to Modi, Palaniswami said the IAF pilot, a native of Tamil Nadu, displayed amazing poise and confidence in the face of adverse condition and it would be appropriate he be awarded the highest military

honour. He noted that Varthaman was released by Pakistan “due to the diplomatic initiatives” of the Prime Minister and “intense international pressure.” The CM said, “Wing Commander Abhinandan Carthaman displayed amazing poise and confidence in the face of adverse conditions, which has won him many hearts across the country. It is appropriate that he be awarded India's highest military honour Param Vir Chakra (PVC) for displaying most inimitable gallantry and valour.” He added, “I request the Government of India to confer the nation's highest military honour, Param Vir Chakra, on Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman.” He recalled that the MiG-21 Bison aircraft piloted by Varthaman had shot down a Pakistan Air Force Fighter (F-16) when it tried to violate India's air space and that he was later taken into custody by Pakistani armed forces.

PUNJAB

Kartarpur to get passenger terminal for smooth movement of pilgrims NEW DELHI: The Kartarpur Sahib corridor will get a modern passenger terminal with adequate immigration and customs clearance facilities to process the smooth movement of nearly 5,000 pilgrims per day. The home ministry has approved the plan following the Cabinet decision of November 2018 to develop the Kartarpur corridor between Dera Baba Nanak in Gurdaspur district, Punjab and the Kartarpur Sahib gurudwara in just across the international border with Pakistan. Sources said Land Ports

Authority of India has been directed to complete work on the passenger terminal building before 550th birth anniversary of Shri Guru Nanak Dev Ji in November. The design and quality parameters have been prepared

keeping in view the aspirations and religious sentiments of the followers of Shri Guru Nanak Dev Ji. The design of the Kartarpur Complex, which will developed at a cost of £19 million, has been inspired by the Sikh religious

symbol ‘khanda’ which represents values of oneness and humanity. Around 50 acres of land has been identified for creation of the complex, which will be developed in two phases. PhaseI will be cover 15 acres for which the process of land acquisition has already commenced. PhaseII will cover development of a viewer gallery, a hospital, accommodation for the pilgrims and expanded amenities. A terminal for a 300-feet high national flag is also proposed to be erected at the international border.

WEST BENGAL

1,000kg explosives seized, 2 arrested in West Bengal’s North 24-Parganas district KOLKATA: Two people were arrested and explosives weighing 1,000 kg seized in North 24-Parganas district in West Bengal last week. Police suspect that the explosives, being smuggled from mines in Odisha’s Balasore, were to be used to manufacture country bombs for use in the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections. According to sources, police set up checkpoints at various places of north Kolkata and intercepted the truck carrying the explosives at Tallah bridge under Chitpur police station. The explosives were packed in 27 gunny bags. The

driver and helper of the vehicle were arrested. The driver and the helper, both residents of Balasore were charged under the Explosives Act. They have named several people from the industrial belt

of North 24 Parganas in the case. “Raids are on across Bhatpara and Barrackpore to nab those who were to receive the consignments,” an officer said. The security men - which had earlier probed a bomb blast case inside a local train - had found several small bomb making units around Kolkata. However, there is no terror angle attributed to this case at present. The police said that all its units have been instructed to ensure that there is

no trouble during the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. “We are trying to find out how many such shipments have already been made. It seems this has been going on for some time,” said an investigator. In 2015, the CID had recovered 600 kg of the far more lethal ammonium nitrate from a godown on Strand Road. In that instance too, the explosives had come from Odisha and Bihar. They were used to manufacture country bombs in North 24 Parganas and Murshidabad that were then sent to Kolkata and even across the border to Bangladesh.

CONG, JDS FINALISE SEAT-SHARING PACT IN KARNATAKA The Congress and the Janata Dal Secular has finalised its seat sharing in Karnataka in Delhi, with a 19-9 division. Details were worked out in a meeting last week between Congress chief Rahul Gandhi and former Prime Minister HD Devegowda, who flew down to Delhi. Details, including identification of the seats, has been left to the General Secretaries of the two parties. HD Kumaraswamy's party, which initially wanted 12 seats, has scaled down. Speaking to the press, Devegowda said the party will get nine or 10 seats. He added, “Our focus is to win the elections with as many seats for the alliance and we will concede a seat or so.”

VIJAYAKANT FINALLY TAKES AIADMK’S OFFER FOR 4 SEATS AIADMK signed a poll agreement with DMDK chief Vijayakant, allocating four Lok Sabha seats to his party. DMDK has also extended full support to AIADMK in the 18 by-elections to assembly seats. Tamil Nadu CM EK Palaniswami and his deputy O Panneerselvam and Vijayakant signed the deal in the presence of DMDK leaders Premalatha Vijayakant and L K Sudheesh. The erstwhile allies had parted ways three months after 2011 polls, and Jayalalithaa expressed regret in the assembly that she aligned with the actor. Though Vijayakant was present at the media interaction, Premalatha chose to take the questions from the media. The DMDK treasurer said that her recent remarks against AIADMK that the state did not benefit much from its 37 MPs were misquoted.

SC WARNS HARYANA GOVT OVER ARAVALI AGAIN The Supreme Court once again warned the Haryana government against damaging the ecologically sensitive zone of Aravali and said it would have to face the consequences if a proposed law allowed construction in the area. “If you are doing anything with Aravali, you will be in trouble,” a bench of Justices Arun Mishra and Deepak Gupta said while referring to a bill passed by the state assembly by which construction work was to be allowed in the zone. Solicitor general Tushar Mehta, appearing for Haryana, assured the court that the state government would not do anything to harm the forest cover of Aravali hills and told the bench that the bill was not passed to help anyone. On March 1, the court had stayed operation of Haryana government’s legislation and pulled up the state for violating its order by which mining and construction work are banned in the Aravali zone.

BENGAL BJP CHIEF HITS OUT AT MAMATA Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh criticised Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for raising doubts about the credibility of the Balakot strike and said she was enough to cause more harm to the nation than Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan. He said, “When the entire nation is demanding retaliation after the Pulwama terror attack, opposition leaders like Mamata Banerjee, Rahul Gandhi and Arvind Kejriwal are making Pakistan’s job easier by making insensible comments over Balakot (air strikes).” Ghosh added, “It is unfortunate that instead of standing united, they are asking for the number of casualties during the Balakot strike.”


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16 - 22 March 2019

Claimants for Andaman and Nicobar Islands • Netaji Bose had renamed the Islands as Shaheed and Swaraj Islands • By retaining, Mountbatten hoped to use the Islands as a naval base hile going through “Jinnah Papers” published by the Government of Pakistan, one letter dated 5 July 1947, to the secretary of state for India from Mohammad Ali Jinnah, the first Governor-General of Pakistan claiming the Andaman and Nicobar Islands makes one curious to find during research many more claimants of the strategic location of nearly more than 500 islands. Of course, today the Union Territory is one of the precious geographic territories of India. The history of the Islands makes one more curious as one tries to hunt out more and more historical facts. On 30 December 2018, three islands of the Andaman group were renamed by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The Ross Island as Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Dweep, Neil Island as Shaheed Dweep and Havelock Island as Swaraj Dweep.

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The Andaman and Nicobar Islands do find mentioned in the diaries of Chinese Buddhist monk I-Ching of 7th century, the Arab travelers of the 9th century and even of Marco Polo (C. 1254-1324). The islands were part of the Chola Empire of Rajendra Chola (1014 t0 1042) and later changed hands from Denmark to the British. The islands were used by the Cholas as strategic naval base for expedition against Sriwijaya Empire (Indonesia). The Cholas called the Andaman Island as Ma-Nakkavaram (great naked land) and Necuverann (Nicobar). Prof. Aparna Vaidik, a Historian from Ashoka University records, “The renaming (by PM Modi) commemorates Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose’s visit to the Andamans as the commander of the Azad Hind Fauj (INA) in December 1943. This was during World War II when the Japanese had occupied the Islands as allies of INA. They had wrested control from the British who had colonized the Islands in 1858. Although mistakenly assumed to be a consequence of the Revolt of 1857, the colonization of the Andaman was an outcome of the oceanic politics of the Raj and its need for a strategic foothold in the Bay of Bengal.” It is interesting to note that the British had planned to separate the Lakshadweep Islands as well as the Andaman and Nicobar Islands from Independent India since they wanted to retain. Pakistan had also claimed the islands! “In 1947, as the final days of the British Raj in India approached, the imperialists were keen to sabotage the emergence of a strong India. From the confidential records of the British Government released a few years ago, we are able to piece together the drama behind those crucial days. The chiefs of staff of the British army examined the question of keeping their hold over parts of India, which were not in the mainland,” writes K.R.N.

Swamy in ‘The Tribune’ and adds, “The report dated 13 June 1947, by the Joint Planning Staff of the British Army stated: ‘The Lakshadweep Islands, which

the inheritor of the legacy of nationalist struggle and thereby of the Andamans, which were a sacred symbol of this struggle. It’s a different matter that Mountbatten had hoped to use the Islands’ as a British naval base. Of course, Netaji Bose had renamed Andaman and Nicobar Islands as Shaheed and Swaraj Islands in 1943, the British had undone when they took control of the Islands in 1945 following surrender of the Japanese Netaji Bose in Andaman in 1943 forces with the end of Andaman and Nicobar World War II. Islands has three revenue The Andaman and Districts. Port Blair- the Nicobar Islands have been capital and gateway to the inhabited for several islands lies in South Andaman Island and falls under South Andaman District. The latest North & Middle Andaman District with Maya Bunder as headquarters lies separated from South Andaman District by a creek. Car

the east of the Indian mainland geographically, float in splendid isolation in the Bay of Bengal. Most of these islands (about 550) are in the Andaman Group, 28 of which are inhabited. The smaller Nicobars, comprise some 22 main islands (10 inhabited). The Andaman and Nicobars are separated by the Ten Degree Channel which is 150 Kms. wide. These islands also boast of freedom fighting days’ historically significant landmarks viz. Cellular Jail, Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Island, Viper Island, Hopetown and Mount Harriet. Even China has eyes set on these Islands.

Nicobar is the District Head quarter of Nicobar District. As per 2011 Census, the total population of Andaman & Nicobar stands 3,79,944 and the literacy rate is 86.27%. The islands have 69.44% Hindus, 21.7 % Christians and 8.751 % Muslims. Port Blair is the capital of the Union Territory. The Andaman and Nicobar Islands, located in

Dr. Hari Desai (The writer is a Socio-political Historian. E-mail: haridesai@gmail.com)

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The Cellular Jail which was declared the National Museum by PM Morarji Desai in 1979.

are sparsely inhabited coral strips, assume strategic importance from the airport of view if we cannot retain all the facilities we require in India. In such circumstances they would be essential for our air reinforcement and the support route to Australia, New Zealand and the Far East. British Navy cannot use the islands as they are only open anchorages. If we cannot assume that the successor states in India will give us these facilities then we will have to rely on Ceylon, provided we can exclude the Andaman and Nicobar Islands from the transfer of power’. The same day, the Indian and Burma Committee of the British

Next Column: Tipu and Bahadur Shah Zafar as Heroes of Imran cabinet considered the report of the chiefs of staff. In their minutes they stated, ‘The claim by Pandit Nehru is that Hindustan will automatically succeed to the position of India as an international entity... and Pakistan is merely a seceding minority”. The Islands became part of the Indian Republic with Partition. Mountbatten handed them to Nehru, despite Jinnah’s repeated claims, because in his view the Republic of India was

thousand years, at the very least. The earlier archaeological evidence yet documented goes back some 2,200 years; however, the indications from genetic, cultural and linguistic isolation studies point to habitation going back 30,000 – 60,000 years, well into the Middle Paleolithic. In the Andaman Islands, the various Andamanese people maintained their separated existence through the vast majority of this time, diversifying into distinct linguistic, cultural and territorial groups. By the 1850s when they first came into sustained contact by outside groups, the indigenous people of Andamans were: the Great Andamanese, who collectively represented at least 10 distinct sub groups and languages; the Jarawa: the jungle (or Rutland Jarawa); the Onge; and the Sentinelese (the most isolated of all the groups). The indigenous peoples of the Nicobars (unrelated to the Andamanese) have a similarly isolated and lengthy association with the islands. There are two main groups: the Nicobarese, or Nicobari living throughout many of the islands; and the Shompen, restricted to the interior of Great Nicobar. Administratively, the Union Territory of the

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26 INDIA

AsianVoiceNews

AsianVoiceNewsweekly

www.asian-voice.com

16 - 22 March 2019

India to choose next govt on May 23 The 2019 poll battle has officially begun. The Election Commission has announced a seven-phase poll schedule for Lok Sabha election from April 11 to May 19, culminating in the results on May 23. PM Narendra Modi has already spun multiple rounds of intense campaigning, as he travels across the country inaugurating and laying foundation stones of multiple institutions. As Modi seeks a second term and pitches for a majority mandate, the political conversation is swirling around the PM's claim to have provided decisive leadership even as the Opposition point their fingers at him for encouraging a culture of majoritarianism and failure in creating employment. The PM has now hit back and said he is opposed by a disparate grouping of parties driven by the sole agenda of replacing him. He has responded to Congress leader Rahul Gandhi's “corrupt chowkidar” jibes, asserting he has in fact, been an alert chowkidar who replaced a culture of nepotism and corruption with purposeful governance and took bold decisions to curb black money and counter terrorism. The polls are a tough test for Rahul, who has taken charge of Congress from his mother Sonia, and has gone all out to attack Modi, accusing him of graft in the Rafale deal and a divisive social agenda. He has, with some success, offered a strong dose of populism, promising loan waivers to woo voters as he seeks to revive Congress from the 44-seat low it hit in 2014. 51,709 booths in Gujarat Voting for all the 26 Lok Sabha seats in Gujarat will take place on April 23 during the third phase of polling. After announcement of the election schedule, Gujarat Chief Electoral Officer S Murali Krishna said that the model code of conduct has come into force throughout the state. Candidates will be able to file their nominations from March 28 to April 4 between 11 am and 3 pm. Two seats reserved for candidates from Scheduled Castes are Kutch and Ahmedabad West, while those reserved for candidates from Scheduled Tribes are Dahod, Chhota Udepur, Bardoli and Valsad. The remaining

20 seats are open to candidates from the general category. Polling is set to take place at 51,709 polling stations in Gujarat, of which one third are in urban areas and two thirds are in rural areas. With a view to ensuring that people do not have to wait in long queues to cast their vote, there are just eight polling stations having more than 1,500 registered voters. In all, 3,895 polling stations have less than 500 registered voters, 31,056 polling stations have between 500 and 100 registered voters and 16,750 polling stations have between 1,000 and 1,500 registered voters.

Lok Sabha Poll 2019

Modi Sarkar 2.0? In the meantime, speculation has intensified on whether BJP can repeat its feat of winning a majority on its own and what will be the implications for its leadership if it falls short. Odds of a Modi majority, a BJP-led coalition, a federal front government or a Congress-led coalition have all engaged political and business circles. While Modi and BJP have been front runners, the recent air strikes may have changed

dynamics. While the election seems to be framed by “ordinary” issues like employment, farm incomes, cow vigilantism, intolerance, economic growth, and welfarism seemed to be framing the elections, the military action has dwarfed other discussions for the time being. Modi's political rivals - regional, OBC and Dalit leaders such as Mamata Banerjee, Akhilesh Yadav and Mayawati - rely on caste alliances and secular/communal politics to attack BJP as an upper caste party that subsumes lower caste aspirations in the name of Hindu assimilation. Congress, looking to retrieve its centre space, has attacked the efficacy of every major policy from demonetisation, GST, surgical strikes to air raids on Pakistan’s Balakot. While the challenge for BJP is to ensure the public response to the air strikes sustains while hoping its propoor schemes along with low food inflation create a new vote bank, Congress and opposition parties will bank on incumbency and a consolidation of anti-BJP votes, particularly the minorities. The big challenge for Modi is the SP-BSP combination in UP, which threatened BJP’s sweep of the state in 2014. BJP has sought to counter this through Modi’s stature (and his OBC background) and an ambitious outreach to non-Jatav Dalits and non-Yadav OBCs. Other powerful spoilers are regional leaders holding their own in big states like West Bengal, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. A major part of the poll action will be fought in states where BJP and Congress face off. Last time round, BJP did well in Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Gujarat, Maharashtra, MP, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Rajasthan, Karnataka, Goa, Assam and Haryana, which add up to 216 seats. With BJP having already reached saturation point in these territories and in UP, Congress naturally hopes to do better, with the results of assembly elections in November whetting its ambition.

Sajid Javid agrees to India request to extradite Nirav Modi UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid has agreed to India's extradition request of billionaire diamond tycoon Nirav Modi who is accused of being behind India's biggest ever banking fraud after a media source tracked him down to an £8  million London apartment. Indian authorities wants Modi so he can be prosecuted for his part in the alleged embezzlement of £1.3 billion from Punjab National Bank. Modi, 48, was found living in an £8 million, threebedroom apartment in Centre Point, one of London’s most famous tower blocks in the heart of the West End. Similar flats have been rented for £17,000 a month. Modi’s case is set to begin in the Westminster Magistrates’ Court after Home Secretary, last week certified India’s extradition request. When Modi was found in London, the Indian government said it has been aware of Modi's presence in the UK, saying it wouldn't otherwise have requested

for his extradition. While the ED said its extradition request sent to the UK, US and Egypt has been pending since June, UK Home Office confirmed that the request has been certified by Javid and is now with the Westminster magistrate court. The court will now take up to 28 days to issue an arrest warrant after which the process will start. Meanwhile, Modi had started a new business which is listed as a “wholesale trader in watches and jewellery and a retailer of watches and jewelery in specialised stores.” It is a few hundred yards walk from his luxury flat. The diamond merchant, together with his uncle Mehul Choksi, is wanted in India over the £1.3 billion PNB scam. Modi and his family left India in January 2018 before the CBI and ED started investigating him and Choksi for swindling PNB through their companies using fraudulent LoUs. Both agencies have now filed chargesheets in

Nirav Modi

the Indian courts against the two men. In July 2018, Interpol issued a red corner notice against the celebrity jeweler saying he was “wanted for criminal conspiracy, criminal breach of trust, cheating, dishonestly inducing delivery of property and money laundering.” In August, India had sent a request for his extradition to the UK Home Office. Choksi, meanwhile, fled to Antigua where he had bought citizenship. Two other highprofile cases of businessman

Vijay Mallya and alleged cricket bookie, Sanjeev Chawla, have moved to the higher court. The Magistrates’ Court in December ordered Mallya’s extradition to face fraud charges in India. The extradition of Chawla, who is an accused in the matchfixing scandal involving late former South African captain Hansie Cronje in 2000, was cleared a month later. Modi diverted £93.4 mn to personal, wife, father's accounts The ED filed a

supplementary chargesheet against Modi. It also named a few other accused, including his wife Ami for her alleged involvement in laundering proceeds from funds obtained fraudulently from PNB through LOUs. According to a fresh chargesheet, Modi channeled £93.4 million of the defrauded money into his personal account and two other accounts in the name of his family members. The ED submitted the details of the bank statements of companies based in Dubai, UAE and Singapore in the recent

chargesheet to establish this money trail. In fact, the agency has reportedly unearthed the flow of 91 per cent of the defrauded money. Officials said £56 million was credited into Modi's account while £20 million was diverted into his wife's account and £17.4 million into his father Deepak Modi's personal bank account maintained abroad. They added that after receiving PNB money into accounts of shell companies, a portion of it was diverted into various other shell companies before it reached Modi-controlled Pacific Diamonds.

Obituary Laljibhai Murjibhai Kerai It is with deep regret that we announce the passing away of Laljibhai Murjibhai Kerai, husband of Dhanbai Lalji Kerai, and father to Lakhubhai Kerai, father in law to Amrutben Kerai, and grandfather to Sanjay Kerai.


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AsianVoiceNews

HEALTH & LIFESTYLE

AsianVoiceNewsweekly

27

16 - 22 March 2019

Can acupuncture help menopause symptoms? For some women, the menopause and the years leading up to it, can be a time of troubling emotional and physical symptoms. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) eases symptoms like hot flushes and sweats, but it's not suitable for all women. Now, a small study published in BMJ Open suggests acupuncture may be worth considering. The Danish study found that five weeks of acupuncture in women with menopausal symptoms reduced hot flushes, night sweats, sleep disturbances and emotional problems. Researchers at the University of Southern Denmark cautioned that they couldn't rule out that the results were down to the placebo effect. The placebo effect is where a treatment works because a patient believes it will, rather than as a result of the treatment itself. One of the study authors, Prof Frans Boch Waldorff, from the University of Southern Denmark, said: "We can't

explain the underlying mechanism behind acupuncture, nor determine how much of the effect is caused by placebo. "But this was a safe, cost-effective and simple procedure, with very few side-effects reported by the women. Women seeking acupuncture treatment for menopausal symptoms should be informed of the current evidence, and its limitations, so they can make a decision." Acupuncture is a treatment derived from ancient Chinese medicine, where fine needles are inserted at certain points in the body. Researchers recruited 70 women with moderate-tosevere menopause symptoms.

This group was then split in two. The first group, the control group, received no acupuncture until week six of the study. The second, intervention group received weekly acupuncture treatments from experienced local doctors. Each participant then completed a questionnaire to self-evaluate their symptoms at three and six weeks. By six weeks the women in the acupuncture group recorded moderate improvements in all symptoms compared with the group having no acupuncture. A total of 80% of the women in the acupuncture groups also said they felt the sessions had helped them. Dr Channa Jayasena, a

consultant in reproductive endocrinology at Imperial College and Hammersmith Hospital, said: "Menopausal flushes will affect most women at some point. HRT cannot be given to women with certain types of cancer. "This leaves a huge gap in the market for simple and safe therapies to reduce hot flush symptoms. "I suspect that most of the effect of acupuncture is a placebo effect, but is that a really bad thing? Anything that is safe, affordable and helps the wellbeing of patients while reducing symptoms is worth considering if HRT is not an option." Last year, an episode of the BBC programme Horizon looked into the potential power of the placebo effect. The programme prescribed fake pills to 100 volunteers with back pain. Half of the participants found significant relief from taking the pills even though they were fake. Acupuncture treatment is available on the NHS, usually for migraines or chronic headaches.

'Benefit changes adding to mental health problems' Cuts to benefits and wider economic hardship are increasing demand for mental health care, NHS bosses say. Mental health leaders in England cited the rollout of universal credit, in particular, as a key factor. They also said money problems and job worries alongside social factors, such as loneliness, were adding pressure to an already stretched system. The government acknowledged there were "challenges" in reforming benefits, but said it was tackling them. A spokesman also stressed that mental health services were a "key priority" for the boost in funding to the health service in the coming years. He said the extra ÂŁ2.3bn being invested by 2023

would increase the proportion of the budget spent on mental health. 'We're not complacent though and we know that change won't happen overnight," he added. The way the government is overhauling the benefits system has attracted criticism. A new system called universal credit is currently being rolled out. It involves the merger of six different benefits for working age people into one monthly payment. While the system, first introduced in 2013, was supposed to be up and running by 2017, it is now not expected to be fully operational until 2023. However, it has been criticised for running over budget, causing delays to

people's payments and, in some cases, making vulnerable people worse off. The government said it was "making improvements" to the system as it was rolled out, but said universal credit would simplify the system and "tailor support" better to help those most in need. However, NHS Providers deputy chief executive Saffron Cordery said her members were clear that "social and economic pressures are translating into higher demand for services". She said the feedback showed that rising demand was causing problems as services struggled with staff shortages. This meant there were insufficient services in the community and patients needing hospital-based care were at risk of being sent

away from their home areas. The mental health bosses provided feedback to their trade body NHS Providers. The group asked bosses from mental health trusts to answer questions via an online survey. A total of 35 bosses answered questions about economic and social factors from nearly 60% of England's dedicated mental health trusts. The benefits system and the changes being made were said to be increasing demand by 32 trusts. Meanwhile, 34 cited financial hardship, 33 homelessness and 31 job instability as factors. Wider social issues, such as a lack of local services and loneliness were also highlighted by many.

Satisfaction with NHS 'hits 11-year low' Public satisfaction with the NHS has fallen to its lowest level for over a decade, a long-running survey suggests. The British Social Attitudes poll of nearly 3,000 people found 53% of in England, Scotland and Wales were satisfied with services last year. That is a three percentage point drop since 2017 and the lowest level since 2007. A peak of 70% was seen in 2010. Experts said waiting times and a lack of staff were major concerns as ratings for GPs dropped to an all-time low. The findings of the survey have been released by the Nuffield Trust and King's Fund think tanks, which helped to provide analysis around the figures. Ruth Robertson, from the King's Fund, said the issues identified by

thepublic were "long-standing" problems that the government had not yet managed to deal with. She pointed out the findings were even more interesting considering the public had been polled in the summer after the 70th anniversary of the cre-

ation of the NHS and at a time when the government had announced extra funding for the health service. Of those who were not satisfied last year, 30% said they were actively dissatisfied, with virtually all the rest being neither satisfied or dissatisfied. Less than 1% said they could not answer. Being free at the point of use, the quality of care and the range of services and treatments available were the main reasons people expressed satisfaction. Despite the drop in satisfaction, the rating was still well above the alltime low of 34%, which was recorded in 1997. The survey started in 1983. The poll also provided breakdowns for individual services.

in brief HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE DRUGS TO BE OFFERED TO THOUSANDS MORE

New guidelines on diagnosing high blood pressure could mean thousands more people benefiting from treatment in England and Wales. Health bosses say offering bloodpressure-lowering drugs to more people with stage-1 hypertension would help to cut heart attacks and strokes. In total, about 450,000 men and 270,000 women could now qualify for the drugs. But some GPs expressed concerns about over-diagnosis, saying the benefits could be limited. And they said lifestyle factors, such as weight control, diet and exercise, all had an important role to play in bringing down blood pressure. At present, people with high blood pressure - a reading of 140/90mmHg or higher in clinic - are offered treatment if they have a 20% risk of cardiovascular disease over 10 years and are aged under 80.. The draft guidelines, announced by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), recommend that people with a 10% risk should now qualify. This assessment score is based on a blood test several risk factors, including: l smoking l obesity l alcohol l age l sex l family history NICE said it was difficult to predict the impact of lowering the threshold because some people in this group may already be taking blood-pressure-lowering drugs. The longterm plan for the NHS in England contains a commitment to diagnosing high blood pressure earlier and saving lives from heart attacks and strokes. High blood pressure affects more than one in four adults in England, accounts for more than one in 10 visits to GPs and contributes to 75,000 deaths every year - but millions of people are thought to go undiagnosed.

GREATER MANCHESTER REPORTS RECENT SPIKE IN CONFIRMED MEASLES CASES Doctors have urged people in Greater Manchester to make sure they and their children are vaccinated against measles after a sharp recent increase in cases. Public Health England said there had been 32 confirmed cases across Greater Manchester so far this year. At the end of January there had only been five confirmed cases. "The majority of the cases are in unvaccinated children," said Dr Kristina Poole, from Public Health England North West. Experts have warned in recent years that a rise in the number of measles cases may be linked to the controversy surrounding the MMR vaccine used to immunise people against it. In 2018 there were 144 cases in Greater Manchester, up from 127 in 2017. The government's chief medical advisor Prof Dame Sally Davies has insisted the MMR vaccine is safe. She said uptake was "not good enough" and urged parents to ignore "social media fake news". Dr Poole said the MMR vaccine both protected individuals against the measles virus and also limited its spread throughout the community. "MMR is a highly effective and safe vaccine," she said. According to data from the World Health Organization (WHO), the number of measles cases in Europe tripled between 2017 and 2018 to 82,596. Measles is a highly contagious disease that in severe cases can lead to complications including blindness, pneumonia and infection and swelling of the brain. The UK, which was declared free of the disease for the first time by the WHO in 2017, experienced small outbreaks last year.

To Our Readers

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


28 BOLLYWOOD

AsianVoiceNews

AsianVoiceNewsweekly

www.asian-voice.com

16 - 22 March 2019

Shah Rukh pays special ode to Bachchan Bollywood legends Shah Rukh Khan and Amitabh Bachchan have a kind of chemistry like no other and recently, they came together for a series of special videos for 'Badla'. The movie has been produced by Shah Rukh's Red Chillies Production. As part of the promotions, the team brought Shah Rukh and Amitabh together in one frame with both the stars getting candid about their careers and lives. In one of the unplugged videos, Shah Rukh decided to pay a special tribute to Big B and it is definitely heart melting. He penned down the special message and recited it in front of Amitabh.

Alia clears the air on new Juhu property Alia Bhatt and Ranbir Kapoor are one of the IT couple of B-Town, and in the shortest span ever, they have went from colleagues, to #CoupleGoals. The two recently went to the Kumbh Mela 2019 to unveil the logo of the Ayan Mukerji directorial and while we can't wait to see more on the project, there are rumours that Bhatt has bought a plush Juhu apartment which will be her and Kapoor's 'Love Nest'. After days of speculation, the 'Raazi' actress who usually prefers to stay mum on these things, opened up and clarified the property is for her newest venture as a producer. “They got the report of me buying new property right. But unfortunately, they got all the other details wrong. Firstly the property is not away from

my current home. It is an apartment in the same building where I live now. A place I've bought as my office space. Yes, I've started my own production house. I've named it Eternal Sunshine Productions.” Alia also opened about her marriage plans. She said, “I've not set any deadline, because it doesn't really matter. I may be like, 'Listen, I love you, so let's get married and live together but I will still work. So I may get married just to live with that person. It's also because I don't want to be in a live-in relationship. I don't want to live with someone until I get married. So, it may happen for that reason.”

Farhan Akhtar set to marry girlfriend Shibani Dandekar Farhan Akhtar and Shibani Dandekar have never shied away from the media to profess their love for each other. Their Instagram accounts are testament to their affection, however, their cryptic captions have recently been massive head scratchers. Their last photo had the caption 'three six five'. Following a year of togetherness, the two have reportedly decided to take the plunge and are planning on an April or May wedding this year. In a talk show, 'Tape Cast' season 2 with Bhumi Pednekar, the actress plays a segment titled 'Do Not Play Cassette'. When she played the cassette for Farhan, it has Shibani popping out the marriage question to him. She asked, “When are we getting married?” Beau Farhan Akhtar couldn't stop blushing and without dodging the question, he replied, “I don't know. May be April or May.” The actor also spoke at length about his equation with Dandekar and their relationship. He said, “She is an amazing woman. It's been very special, the last year... You know we've been getting to know each other and I couldn't be happier about it. But with the social media world again, we are constantly being told about the things we should be doing. But yeah, I have never felt so comfortable to share my personal stuff but I don't know, I just feel like somehow with celebrating all this, it just feels very natural to me.” About being open on social media about his relationship with Shibani, he added, “I mean, obviously you don't want to go like crazy and people are like please 'bas kar' but ya, it feels nice to share that because we are always living so sheltered and you are always so protected and your guards are constantly up, especially when it comes to people like your partner in your life and you don't want people to know. I just felt like it's rather nicer to share it with people and include them in the joy and let them feel happy, hopefully. Some might feel a bit jealous that she's with me.”

The poem incorporated Amitabh's famous line 'Kabhi Kabhi Mere Dil Mein' catch line and wrote an ode around it. The special video showcased a montage of still from Amitabh's movies. The montage had stills from all movies, like 'Thugs of Hindostan' , 'Bunty Aur Babli', 'Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Ghum', to 'Veer Zaara'. Touched by the gesture, Amitabh recited a poem in honour of Shah. His ode featured iconic movies from SRK's career as well which included funny montages from 'Om Shanti Om', 'Happy New Year', 'Chennai Express', and more.


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KOLLYWOOD

AsianVoiceNewsweekly

AsianVoiceNews

29

16 - 22 March 2019

Dhanush joins hands with director Durai Dhanush is all set to collaborate with filmmaker Durai Senthilkumar for his next and the project is yet to be titled. It is reported he will be seen playing dual roles in this film. The film, which is set to be bankrolled by Sathya Jyothi Films, was launched last week and the event had the complete cast and crew in attendance. Dhanush, Director Durai, music composer Mervin Solomon, cinematographer Om Prakash and many others were present at the launch of the film. The makers held a puja ceremony at the launch of the film which is slated to be released by end of this year. The shooting will continue for this yet untitled film as part of the first schedule and will be wrapped up in twenty days, reports reveal. One of the leading ladies will be played by actress Sneha. This will be the reunion for the 'Pudhupettai' pair after thirteen years. The 2006 release was directed by Dhanush's brother Selvaraghavan and is given a cult status by fans of Tamil cinema.

Jayalalithaa’s biopic titled 'Thalaivi' Marking the occasion of former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa's birth anniversary, producer Vidhnu Induri announced that her biopic will be titled 'Thalaivi'. The film will be helmed by director Vijay of 'Madarasapattinam' fame and Vijayendra Prasad, writer of hit films like 'Baahubali' and 'Bajrangi Bhaijaan', will be supervising the script. The biopic will be shot simultaneously in Tamil, Telugu, and Hindi. The announcement comes at a time when reports of various filmmakers are keen to adapt the later leader's life to the big screen. Apart from Vidhnu Induri, A Priyadhaarshini and veteran director Bharathiraja announced that they are also shooting a biopic. Producer Bharadwaj is bankrolling the film directed by Bharathiraja and Illayaraja will be compsing the music. Titled 'Thaai: Puratchi Thalaivi', there have been rumours that either Aishwarya Rai or Anushka Shetty will be roped in to play Jayalalithaa. Meanwhile, Priyadhaarshini’s biopic has actress Nithya Menen on board and the filmmaker had even shared a first look photo. Nithya Menen’s striking resemblance to the politician caught everyone’s attention.

Ajith starrer Viswasam' earns £20 mn For the first time in history, a movie clashing against a Rajinikanth film has created an all-time record at the box office. Thala Ajith starrer 'Viswasam' which created havoc at the Tamil Nadu box office when it released on January 10 earlier this year and clashed with Thalaivar's 'Petta'. While the latter made a lot of money at the worldwide box office, 'Viswasam' was the first choice of the moviegoers when it came to the domestic box office. 'Viswasam' is also become the biggest blockbuster ever in a particular industry despite clashing with another big film. It is the highest grossing Tamil film of all time and is biggest Tamil blockbuster at the Tamil Nadu box office braving the love of Rajini. The film managed to earn Rs 200 Crore at the worldwide box office. KJR Studios had earlier tweeted and shared that the film has become the “biggest blockbuster in Tamil cinema.” Directed by Siva, this was the maker's fourth collaboration with Ajith after 'Veeram', 'Vedhalam', and 'Vivegam'.

TV LISTING

* Schedule is subject to change

SUNDAY MARCH 17, 2019 01:04 FILM : KHAKEE 04:00 FILM : ZEHER 06:06 FILM : BAS EK TAMANNA 08:18 FILM : JOHNY I LOVE YOU 11:15 FILM : CHALO ISHQ LADAAYE 14:18 FILM : SOCHA NA THA 17:23 FILM : BAADSHAH 20:57 FILM : THE SHAUKEENS 23:29 FILM : ISHQ CLICK MONDAY MARCH 18, 2019 02:04 FILM : TERE MERE PHERE 06:00 FILM : BLUE ORANGES 08:17 FILM : KARISHMA KUDRAT KA 11:21 FILM : KRISHNA ARJUN 14:06 FILM : ARUNDHATI 17:04 FILM : AITRAAZ 20:23 FILM : YEH HAI JUDGEMENT HANGED TILL DEATH 23:18 FILM : INTEHA TUESDAY MARCH 19, 2019 02:12 FILM : KOYELAANCHAL 06:00 FILM : ANOKHI ADA 08:21 FILM : AVINASH 11:15 FILM : TAAQATWAR POLICEWALA 13:25 FILM : GHATAK 16:44 FILM : THE SHAUKEENS 19:20 FILM : STAR STOP 20:00 FILM : MACHINE 22:55 FILM : FOUR PILLARS OF BASEMENT

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SATURDAY 16TH MARCH TIME TV PROGRAM NAMES 17:00 KAUN BANEGA CROREPATI 18:30 THE KAPIL SHARMA SHOW 20:00 SUPER DANCER CHAPTER 3 21:30 THE KAPIL SHARMA SHOW 23:00 THE KAPIL SHARMA SHOW

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MON 18TH - FRI 22ND MAR 2019 15:30: SIRF 30 MINUTES 16:00: THE GREAT INDIAN GLOBAL KITCHEN 2 16:30: RASOI SHOW 17:30: CHHUTA CHHEDA 18:00: RADHA PREM KI DEEWANI 18:30: UTTARAN 19:00: JAHAANARA 19:30: INTERNETWALA LOVE 20:00: ISHQ MEIN MARJAWAN 20:30: MOHE RANNG DO LAAL 21:00: BALIKA VADHU - LAMHE PYAAR KE

* Schedule is subject to change

MON 18TH - FRI 22ND MAR 2019 18:00: KITCHEN CHAMPION 19:00: KHOOB LADI MARDANI JHANSI KI RANI 19:30: UDAAN 20:00: SHAKTI ASTITVA KE EHSAAS KI 20:30: KESARRI NANDAN

WEDNESDAY MARCH 20, 2019 01:13 FILM : GUNAAH 06:00 FILM : THE SILENT HEROES 08:20 FILM : TADIPAAR 11:11 FILM : YES BOSS 14:33 FILM : SAMURAI THE WARRIOR 17:29 FILM : MR. NATWARLAL 20:51 FILM : PHOBIA 23:06 FILM : MACHINE THURSDAY MARCH 21, 2019 01:50 FILM : CHEETAH THE LEOPARD 06:00 FILM : UTTHAAN 08:44 FILM : JWALAMUKHI 11:32 FILM : EK AUR MAHASANGARSH 14:26 FILM : AGNEEPATH 17:45 FILM : ENTERTAINMENT 20:33 FILM : SINGH IS BLING 23:27 FILM : PHOBIA FRIDAY MARCH 22, 2019 01:37 FILM : JAHAN TUM LE CHALO 06:00 FILM : BAS EK TAMANNA 08:12 FILM : DHADKAN 11:33 FILM : KASOOR 14:49 FILM : SINGH IS BLING 17:42 FILM : BAAZIGAR 21:06 FILM : HOLIDAY - A SOLDIER IS NEVER OFF DUTY SATURDAY MARCH 23, 2019 00:26 FILM : AGNEEPATH 03:30 FILM : TUMSA NAHIN DEKHA 06:00 FILM : FAREB 08:15 FILM : KRANTIVEER 11:16 FILM : UTT PATAANG 13:20 FILM : ENTERTAINMENT 16:11 FILM : WAH TAJ 18:23 FILM : STAR STOP 19:12 FILM : STAR STOP 20:00 FILM : JAB WE MET 23:07 FILM : SHAITAAN

SUNDAY 17TH MARCH TIME TV PROGRAM NAMES 17:00 KAUN BANEGA CROREPATI 18:30 THE KAPIL SHARMA SHOW 20:00 SUPER DANCER CHAPTER 3 21:30 THE KAPIL SHARMA SHOW 23:00 THE KAPIL SHARMA SHOW MON 18TH MAR - FRI 22ND MAR TIME TV PROGRAM NAMES 17:00 BEYHADH 17:30 EK DUJE KE VAASTE 18:00 KUCH RANG PYAR KE AISE BHI 18:30 VIGHNAHARTA GANESH 19:00 MERE SAI 19:30 YEH UN DINON KI BAAT HAI 20:00 CHANDRAGUPTA MAURYA 20:30 MAIN MAAYKE CHALI JAAUNGI 21:00 PATIALA BABES 21:30 LADIES SPECIAL 22:00 CRIME PATROL

22:00: RED ALERT 23:00: TANTRA SAT 23RD MAR 2019 17:30: CHHUTA CHHEDA 18:00: RADHA PREM KI DEEWANI 18:30: UTTARAN 19:00: HUM SAAF SAAF HAIN 19:30: FAMOUSLY FILMFARE 20:00: NAVRANGI RE 20:30: RED ALERT 21:30: ZINDAGI KI HAQEEQAT SE AAMNA SAAMNA 22:30: CHHUTA CHHEDA SUN 24TH MAR 2019 18:00: RADHA PREM KI DEEWANI 18:30: UTTARAN 19:00: HUM SAAF SAAF HAIN 19:30: FAMOUSLY FILMFARE 20:00: NAVRANGI RE 20:30: RED ALERT 21:30: ZINDAGI KI HAQEEQAT SE AAMNA SAAMNA 22:30: CHHUTA CHHEDA

21:00: 21:30: 22:00: 20:00: 22:30:

GATHBANDHAN ROOP SILSILA ISHQ MEIN MARJAWAN KHOOB LADI MARDANI JHANSI KI RANI 23:00: SITARA SAT 23RD MAR 2019 19:30: DESI BEAT RESET 20:00: NAAGIN - SEASON 3 21:00: RISING STAR (SEASON 3) 22:00: COURT ROOM 23:30: SITAARA SUN 24TH MAR 2019 19:30: FAMOUSLY FILMFARE 20:00: NAAGIN - SEASON 3 21:00: RISING STAR (SEASON 3) 22:00: COURT ROOM 23:30: SILSILA


30 UK

AsianVoiceNews

AsianVoiceNewsweekly

www.asian-voice.com

16 - 22 March 2019

Bochasanwasi Shree Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha head Pujya Mahant Swami is currently in Tithal on his vicharan. On March 4, he reached here from Silvassa, and was welcomed by saints and devotees at the temple. At the the Welcome Assembly on March 5, around 4000 students of std 10 and 12 who will appear for the board exams this year, were blessed by Pujya Mahant Swami. He said all children have studied very hard for the tests and they will pass with flying colours. Sameep Darshan was celebrated from March 9 to 11. In the four days, around 20 to 25,000 devotees were present. “Phoolon Ki Holi” was celebrated on March 10. Pujya Mahant Swami who was seated on a pedestal, showered all devotees with flowers. During his stay in Tithal, thousands of devotees swarmed in for one glance of Pujya Mahant Swami. On March 12, Mahant Swami will leave for Navsari.

Coming Events

l Shree Swami Temple Stanmore to celebrate Holi on March 20, from 6.00 pm to 8.00 pm at Wood Lane, Stanmore, HA7 4LF. l Shree Jalaram Jyot Mandir to host Holika Dahan on March 20 from 6.00 pm to 9.00 pm at Jalaram Jyot Mandir, WASP, Repton Avenue, Sudbury HA0 3DW. l Vishwa Hindu Parishad Ilford to hold a Health & Wellness Seminar on March 24, 1.30 pm onwards at the Ilford Hindu Centre, 55 Albert Road, Ilford IG1 1HN.

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Abode Of The Beloved - Kabir Oh Companion That Abode Is Unmatched, Where My Complete Beloved Is. In that Place There Is No Happiness or Unhappiness, No Truth or Untruth Neither Sin Nor Virtue. There Is No Day or Night, No Moon or Sun, There Is Radiance Without Light. There Is No Knowledge or Meditation No Repetition of Mantra or Austerities, Neither Speech Coming From Vedas or Books. Doing, Not-Doing, Holding, Leaving All These Are All Lost Too In This Place.

Shipu Ahmed

a suspect. However when Ahmed was swabbed for DNA after being reported for a domestic incident in 2017, police were able to link him to the attacks and brought him in for questioning - only for Ahmed to swear on his daughter's life that both incidents were consensual.

No Home, No Homeless, Neither Outside or Inside, Micro and Macrocosm Are Non-Existent. Five Elemental Constituents and the Trinity Are Both Not There Witnessing Un-struck Shabad Sound is Also Not There. No Root or Flower, Neither Branch or Seed, Without a Tree Fruits are Adorning, Primordial Om Sound, Breath-Synchronized Soham, This and That - All Are Absent, The Breath Too Unknown

Shop owner fined £2,400 for selling illicit cigarettes A convenience store owner on Walm Lane, Mr Hekmatullah Khan, has been fined £2,400 for selling cigarettes without displaying the correct health warning, following action by Brent Council's Trading Standards team. Last July, officers seized over 500 illegal packets of cigarettes and 164 packs of hand rolling tobacco from Galaxy News at 37 Walm Lane in Willesden Green. With an estimated street value of £3,325, the tobacco products failed to display the legally required health warnings.

Mr Khan claimed to have bought the tobacco for £1,700 from an unknown salesperson who visited his shop and blamed his own inexperience for stocking the illegal tobacco. Mr Khan pleaded guilty to six offences at Willesden Magistrates Court on 26 February 2019, five in relation to the haul of illicit tobacco and a sixth for failing to display his name and address in his business premises. He was fined £2,400 and ordered to pay court costs of £1,376 to Brent Council, as well as a victim surcharge of £40.

Asian Business Publications Ltd (ABPL) is not in any way responsible for the goods and services rendered by its advertisers. The ABPL management accepts all advertisements in good faith and it is entirely up to readers to verify advertisers’ products and services, should they feel the need to do so.

Where the Beloved Is There is Utterly Nothing Says Kabir I Have Come To Realize. Whoever Sees My Indicative Sign Will Accomplish the Goal of Liberation.

The UK’s leading Vedic writer and TV personality

ARIES Mar 21 - Apr 20 You may find yourself hard at

work behind the scenes, although that may not be apparent to others. You may find yourself caught up in a whirlwind of activity, with opportunities to advance on both the inner and outer level. There is likely to be a powerful incentive to do what remains to be done and tie up loose ends. If lately you have had all sorts TAURUS Apr 21 - May 21 of demands being placed on you

from all sides, don't despair; take some time out to reflect. Try and work out where you want to make changes in your busy life. Once you know, don't hesitate to implement it systematically. A tremendous amount of planetary activity in your chart signals a time of mixed emotions as well as personal issues to be dealt with.

GEMINI May 22 - June 22 Responsibility is your key word,

especially at work. Set your own goals, rather than trying to meet those set by someone else. Your ability to manage what you have on your plate earns respect from others around you. You will benefit in every way if you learn to self-discipline and pace yourself wisely.

CANCER Jun 22 - Jul 22

A taxi driver rapist who attacked a woman and a 15year-old girl in 2007, but escaped capture for 10 years, finally faced officers in a dramatic episode of 24 Hours in Police Custody. Last night's Channel 4 programme showed footage of Shipu Ahmed, then 36, of Luton, being questioned after finally being arrested in September 2017 - a decade after he committed the crimes. Back in 2007 a 15-yearold girl and woman, 22, both reported being raped by a taxi driver. Police collected DNA evidence at the time and knew they were connected but had never been able to match the sample to

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Sneh Joshi

Dramatic moment police confront rapist taxi driver

Ajit Ninan and Jug Suraiya for TOI

“Phoolon Ki Holi” celebrated in Tithal, Pujya Mahant Swami says, “If respect is lost, everything is lost”

At the moment, relationships are experiencing major transformations - those with shaky foundations should be extra careful. Financially, you have everything going for you. This is a good time to put lucrative plans into action and reap the benefits of sound investments. However, be prudent and do not fritter away your good fortune.

The focus is on finances this week, but that doesn’t mean you should worry yourself sick. Rather, use this time to find new and improved ways to boost your earnings potential. Don’t let nebulous tendencies interfere with your plans. It’s fine to consider several options but don’t get caught up in indecision. Schedule networking opportunities later this week.

LEO Jul 23 - Aug 23

VIRGO Aug 24 - Sep 23

It's a time of slow and steady progress that can set the stage for a long time to come. Of course, there are still challenging issues on both a personal and practical level. To get here you may have overcome obstacles by making important decision and choices. You will achieve a lot more, by motivating your own desires.

This is an excellent time for developing and perfecting skills, exploring ways of enhancing your earning powers or simply discussing your ideas with friends. Do not kid yourself that emotional problems can always be solved by material means. This only covers the cracks and does nobody any good in the end. Be prepared to confront the issues.

LIBRA Sep 24 - Oct 23

Although there are very intense amorous energies indicated in your chart, the trouble is that these are likely to be marred by feelings of jealousy. Do not therefore dabble in anything that could harbour such negative potential, as it is bound to end in heartache. Venus and Jupiter in your Solar chart throws a very positive light on property interests and home affairs.

SCORPIO Oct 24- Nov 22

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SAGITTARIUS Nov 23 - Dec 21

At home, be at your diplomatic best and try not to tread on anyone's toes. Passions will run from hot to cold, and relationships may suffer. Even the most strong-willed Sagittarian will be more open to compromise to keep the peace. Plan your spending and set sensible budgets to reach your financial goals. All things considered, your health should be robust.

CAPRICORN Dec 22 - Jan 20

You may feel at times that the results of your efforts are not coming up to expectation. Progress will be slow and may incline you to a negative view of your current work situation. However, this seems like a temporary blip in what is otherwise a highly constructive state of affairs. Make up your mind early in the week to knuckle down to the tasks in hand.

AQUARIUS Jan 21 - Feb 19

There seems to be some pressure on financial affairs and maybe a problem to contend with in regard to a joint venture. If you feel that something has been hanging in the balance, whatever happens you will get a clearer picture of the situation eventually. Allow matters to ride as impatience will not give you the whole picture.

PISCES Feb 20 - Mar 20 Either you or your partner have been going through a phase of inner doubts and uncertainties, and perhaps the main source of tension has simply been the need for breathing space in your relationship and a need to look at things more objectively. Wait before going full steam ahead with grand actions and gestures.


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SPORT

AsianVoiceNewsweekly

31

16 - 22 March 2019

in brief BCCI OMBUDSMAN TO DECIDE PANDYA AND RAHUL’S FATE

K L Rahul and Hardik Pandya

The Committee of Administrators (COA) running Indian cricket referred the investigation into K L Rahul and Hardik Pandya's sexist remarks to the newlyappointed ombudsman DK Jain, who will decide if the cricketers will get a punishment more severe than the already served provisional suspensions. Rahul and Pandya were suspended for their loose talk on women on a popular TV show but their suspension was eventually revoked pending an inquiry to be conducted by a Supreme Court-appointed ombudsman.

VIJENDER’S US DEBUT ON APRIL 12 Indian boxing star Vijender Singh will make

Vijender Singh

his debut in the American professional circuit on April 12 against a yet-to-bedecided opponent and is currently training under Hall of Famer Freddie Roach, who shaped the likes of Manny Pacquiao and Mike Tyson. Vijender, who is unbeaten in his 10-bout pro career, will make his US debut at Staples Centre on the Vasiliy Lomachenko-Anthony Crolla undercard. It will be an eight-round contest and his opponent will be announced later. The 33year-old Vijender recently relocated his training base to Los Angles where he is training at the ‘The Wild Card Boxing Club’ under Roach, a 2012 International Boxing Hall of Fame inductee.

DE KOCK HITS TON, SA WIN SERIES Quinton de Kock’s century inspired South Africa to beat Sri Lanka by 71 runs under the Duckworth-Lewis system at Kingsmead to secure a winning 3-0 lead in their fivematch ODI series. After South Africa had been put into bat, De Kock smashed 121 off 108 balls at the top of the innings - his 14th ODI hundred - as they went on to make 3315 off their 50 overs. Sri Lanka, set a revised target of 193 after a rain delay, fell a long way short, managing to score only 121-5 off 24 overs in reply.

CHINA’S WORLD CHAMP QUITS AT 26 China’s former 100m freestyle world champion and swimming pin-up Ning Zetao announced his retirement from the sport on his 26th birthday. A fan favourite in China because of his ability and looks, Ning won the 100m free world title in 2015 and was a four-time gold medalist at the Asian Games a year earlier. But his career has been on the slide since and he hangs up his trunks with the reputation of a talent never fulfilled. Ning announced his retirement on Weibo. “Don’t be afraid of the past and the future! Say goodbye to the swimming pool and blue water and restart my own new life,” Ning wrote.

Indian women gift England third T20I, lose series 0-3 India snatched defeat from the jaws of victory as England beat the hosts by one run in the third and final women’s Twenty20 International, completing a series whitewash. Chasing England’s modest 119 for six, the Indians had only themselves to blame as they lost their way after having been on course to register a consolation win to end the series. India needed just three runs from the final over with veteran Mithali Raj well-set at the crease on 30 off 32 balls, but the ODI skipper was left stranded at the other end and didn’t get an opportunity to face a single delivery in the final over of Kate Cross (2/18). Bharati Fulmali (5 off 13) was guilty of wasting the opening three deliveries of the final over before handing Cross her first wicket - a catch to Anya Shrubsole at mid-off - trying to clear the in-field. It was an insensible display of batting from the Indian lower-order as the new batswoman in, Anuja Patil, also attempted a big shot the next delivery rather than giving the strike back to Mithali, in the process getting brilliantly stumped by Amy Jones. With the equation for India

England women’s team with T20I Trophy

being three needed off one, Shikha Pandey could only steal a single, Mithali having helplessly watched the drama unfold from the other end. Besides Mithali, skipper Smriti Mandhana smashed a quickfire 58 off 39 balls at the top to keep India one step ahead in the chase. While Mandhana decorated her innings with eight boundaries

and one six, Mithali’s unbeaten knock was laced with four hits to the fence. With the series already in their pocket, England women earlier posted a modest 119 for six from their 20 overs after electing to bat. Tammy Beaumont (29) and Danielle Wyatt (24) got England off to a flying start, stitching 51 runs for the opening stand. Besides the

duo, wicket-keeper Amy Jones made a 21-ball 26. The off-spin duo of Anuja Patil (2/13) and Harleen Deol (2/13) put the brakes in the middle-overs for India. India had lost the first T20 by 41 runs, and suffered a five-wicket defeat in the second, to hand England the series. India had earlier won the three-match ODI series 2-1.

3 Gujarat cricketers in Indian T20 team for disabled players Three cricketers from South Gujarat, including Surat’s 39year-old all-rounder Pravin Wankhede, will represent India in the upcoming 3-day bilateral T20 cricket tournament of disabled persons to be played in Agra from March 12 to 15. The other two players are Chirag Gandhi and Mahmud Patel from Navsari district. The trio has left for Agra and are likely to play in all the three T20 matches. Excited about his selection, Pravin said, “I performed very well in recent selection tournament where I bagged the man of the match in the finals and the man of the series awards. This opened the doors of international cricket for me.” Coming from a humble background, Pravin has been

Pravin Wankhede

Chirag Gandhi

Mahmud Patel

playing cricket for the last nine years. He suffers 40 per cent disability after he lost one of his heels while driving a tempo as the delivery man. Father of four

children, the 39-year-old wants to win a match for the country on his own and also make his family proud. “We have been encouraged by the Viklang

Kalyan Trust to play cricket. We are grateful to our coach Sameer Chauhan and others for providing us with such an opportunity,” Pravin said.

India likely to lose right to host sports events India have started to feel the effect of the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) decision to suspend the country’s hosting rights of global sports events. The decision, which was an outcome of the Indian government’s refusal to grant entry visas to two Pakistani shooters and their coach for the recentlyconcluded World Cup, has brought international sports in India to a virtual standstill, and is now threatening to cause major casualties on the sports front. To start with, the United World Wrestling (UWW) – the

sport’s global governing body – has indicated that it may withdraw the hosting rights of the Junior Asian championships in July this year, following its stern directive to all its associated and affiliated national federations to stop communicating with the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) and not to award any hosting rights to them. Similarly, the conduct of the men’s FIH Hockey Series Finals – an Olympic qualifying event – in Bhubaneswar in June is also engulfed in a cloud of uncertainty, with the

International Hockey Federation’s (FIH) office-bearers trying to convince the IOC bosses there not to snatch away the hosting rights of the event. Since FIH president Narinder Batra, is also the president of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA), the veteran administrator is going all out to salvage the situation. The Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI) is also worried as it is slated to host the C o m m o n w e a l t h Championships in Odisha from July 17 to 22 where Pakistani paddlers are expected to

compete. Then, the combined shooting world Cup (rifle/pistol/shotgun), which has already been granted to India and is scheduled to be held just ahead of the Tokyo Olympics, could also become a victim of the IOC’s directive. It’s been learnt that the International Sport Shooting Federation (ISSF) has categorically told the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) that it intends to withdraw the hosting rights of the championship in the absence of a clear undertaking from the Indian government.


32

Sport

www.asian-voice.com

16 - 22 March 2019

AsianVoiceNews AsianVoiceNewsweekly

Virat, Rohit, Jasprit Australia chase down in BCCI's top group 359 to win fourth ODI

Virat Kohli

Rohit Sharma

Jasprit Bumrah

Indian captain Virat Kohli, hitman Rohit Sharma and star pacer Jasprit Bumrah have been put in the top bracket by the BCCI in the annual player retainership for 2018-19. The trio is in

in the list - left-arm fast bowler Khaleel Ahmed and batsman Hanuma Vihari. Both have been kept in Group C along with five other players. The criteria for getting the central

The list: Group A+: Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah. Group A: Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya

Mithali Raj

Harmanpreet Kaur

Smriti Mandhana

Group A+and will be paid £700,000 for the period of October 2018 to September 2019. The major gainer in the annual contract is the young wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant. The 21-yearold Pant, who was not in last year's list, made an entry directly into Group A. He is there along with Dhoni and nine other players and will get an annual payment of £500,000. But the big losers have been Shikhar Dhawan and Bhuvneshwar Kumar, both of whom were unable to perform up to their potential and slipped from the Group A+ to Group A. The men's list has 25 players compared to 26 in the last year's contract. The other two groups are Group B and Group C with their annual payment being £300,000 and £100,000 respectively. There are two new entrants

Poonam Yadav

contract is that a player should have played either three Test match or eight One Day International matches. In the women's category, there are three groups - A, B and C. While players in Group A will be paid an annual retainership of Rs 50,00,000, those on Group B and C will get Rs 30,00,000 and Rs 10,00,000 respectively.

Rahane, MS Dhoni, Shikhar Dhawan, Mohd. Shami, Ishant Sharma, Kuldeep Yadav and Rishabh Pant. Group B: KL Rahul, Umesh Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal and Hardik Pandya. Group C: Kedar Jadhav, Dinesh Karthik, Ambati Rayudu, Manish Pandey, Hanuma Vihari, Khaleel Ahmed and Wriddhiman Saha. Women's list: Group A: Mithali Raj, Harmanpreet Kaur, Smriti Mandhana and Poonam Yadav. Group B: Ekta Bisht, Jhulan Goswami, Shikha Pandey, Deepti Sharma and Jemimah Rodrigues. Group C: Radha Yadav, D Hemalatha, Anuja Patil, Veda Krishnamurthy, Mansi Joshi, Punam Raut, Mona Meshram, Arundhati Reddy, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Taniya Bhatia and Pooja Vastrakar.

The unfancied Australian team chased down the mammoth 359 runs with five wickets in hand and won the fifth one-day international in Mohali on Sunday to level the five match series 2-2. Earlier, India's openers finally found form and Shikhar Dhawan came up with a scintillating ton. The dew factor loomed large, with India’s butter-fingered fielders struggling to hold on to crucial catches, their spinners being rendered ineffective for long periods, their wicketkeeper missing a crucial stumping and towels being in heavy use after the 35-over mark, when the PCA stadium could feel the night chill. Australia were well served by two extraordinary innings, by Ashton Turner (84 not out off 43) and Peter Handscomb (117 off 105), and a 192-run third-wicket stand between Handscomb and Khawaja, but this match may well be remembered for India’s bungling in assessing the Mohali dew. “We had it in control for about 35 overs,” said Shikhar Dhawan, “We expected dew in the last game but it did not happen. We didn’t expect dew and it came heavily. You could play any shot on that surface once the dew came in. Because of dew the ball wasn’t gripping. If there was no dew, it wouldn’t have been possible (for Turner) to play those shots. Turner took the game away from us.” There were, however, two other crucial factors behind India’s feat that cannot be explained away by the dew. One was the absence of MS Dhoni behind the stumps and some horrid goof-ups by his replacement Rishabh Pant, whose performance served as a telling reminder of how quietly effective Dhoni has been in reading this new crop of Indian spinners. By the time Pant had botched up a stumping and a runout chance, a section of the

Peter Handscomb and Ashton Turner

crowd was angrily asking to “bring back Dhoni”. The second non-dew factor was another stutter in the middle after the 191-run opening stand. India scored 91 in the last 10 overs, losing six wickets, and neither KL Rahul, who replaced Ambati Rayudu and got a chance to bat at No. 3, nor Pant could build their innings. On such a benign surface, this proved crucial. Incidentally, this was the same pitch on which India had put on 392/4 against Sri Lanka in the last game here, in Dec 2017. If Rohit Sharma had been the aggressor that time, this day belonged to his opening partner Dhawan, desperately in need of runs with the World Cup looming. Dhawan exploited the friendly nature of the surface with an enchanting 143 (115 balls) and added a Mohali record 193 with Rohit (95). The sheer impact of their performance served as timely reminder of why Kohli has invested heavily in this pair, now India’s second most prolific ODI opening combo of all time, behind just Tendulkar and Ganguly. As it turned out, it was the only bright spot for India on the day, keeping the series alive till the last game in Delhi on Wednesday. India lose by 33 runs in third ODI Australia beat India by 32 runs in the third ODI by

scoring 313 for five in 50 overs and bowled out India for 281 runs in 48.2 overs. Virat Kohli's 123 went in vain as India could not manage to win the game. After beating Australia in the first two games of the five-match ODI series, Kohli would wanted to pocket the series by winning the third match at Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s home ground in Ranchi. Aussie captain Aaron Finch will be happy that his side is alive in the series, which is being seen as one last chance for both sides to set up their team line up ahead of the crucial ICC World Cup 2019. Team India won the last two ODIs by six wickets and eight runs respectively. The wins have boosted the team's confidence after losing the recently concluded T20 series against Aussies. India's bowling unit looked strong in both games. In batting department, while skipper Kohli showed his class once again with 40th ODI hundred, other batsmen also need to pull up their socks further and play to their potential. As far as bowling is concerned Kohli would be hoping Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Kuldeep Yadav come good yet again and part timers Kedar Jadhav and Vijay Shankar to chip in with a few good overs too.

England thrash West Indies, sweep T20I series England beat West Indies by eight wickets in the final T20 International on Sunday to sweep the threematch series. Pacer David Willey rattled through West Indies' top order, taking 4-7 off three overs as England dismissed the home team for a paltry 71 in 13 overs. The capitulation left West Indies with the ignominy of being the first team to score less than 75 in consecutive T20 internationals, following their 45-run rout

in the second game on Friday. No West Indies batsman scored more than 11. It took England just 10.3 overs to polish off their victory target, Jonny Bairstow scoring a quickfire 37. The die was cast from the first ball on a slowish wicket when Shai Hope gave an easy catch to short cover off Willey, who was named man-of-the-match. "My role up front there is to try to swing the new

Victorious England Team

ball," Willey said. "Tonight it didn't swing a great deal but I put it in the right area." Captain Eoin Morgan was particularly pleased with the performance of some of his fringe players who got a chance to play when several

top players were rested. "Guys who don't get a huge amount of opportunities have stuck their hand up on numerous occasions and it's really exciting to see," Morgan said, naming bowlers Willey and Chris Jordan and batsmen Sam Billings and Joe Denly. BRIEF SCORES: WI 71 in 13 overs (Campbell 11, Holder 11, Pooran 11; Willey 4-7, Wood 3-9, Rashi 2-18) lost to England 72/2 in 10.3 overs (Bairstow 37).

Profile for Asian Business Publications Ltd

AV 16th March 2019  

Asian Voice weekly newspaper (Issue 44)

AV 16th March 2019  

Asian Voice weekly newspaper (Issue 44)

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