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First & Foremost Asian Weekly in Europe

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Vol 46 Issue 40

17th Febuary to 23rd February 2018

Let noble thoughts come to us from every side 80p

LOOKING WEST: MODI'S THREE-NATION TOUR

Indian Prime Minister launches Hindu Temple Project in Abu Dhabi

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi returned home after yet another one of his power-packed tours to nations that have been overlooked by India in the past. Every one of the PM's tours have been fodder to the critics, the internet, and the skeptics. Jokes of him being on “flight mode� circulate social media every time he sets off on a foreign visit. What is not noticed, is the leader's profitable emphasis to reduce gaps in India's engagement with the outside world.

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pakka Gujarati he is called. After all, a true businessman does not wait for business to come to him, he goes seeking for it. Similarly, all of Modi's visits have two things in common- renewed alignments, and investment opportunities. This time, a four-day visit took him to Jordan, Palestine, the United Arab Emirates, and Oman. His February 9 to 12 tour was nothing short of historic. He extended his hand, and the Middle East willingly embraced it. The entire tour once again brought NaMo to the limelight, a place Modi calls home.

Ishwarcharan Swami and Brahmavihari Swami explain the new temple project to the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and PM Modi at the Presidential Palace.

Full story on P17

Jordan The transit to Palestine brought Modi to the first leg of his tour, Jordan greeted him with enthusiasm. After all, isn't the prospective new leader of the third world- Modi a bearer of good news and new business? Continued on page 26

Prime Minister Narendra Modi meeting the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Deputy Supreme Commander of U.A.E. Armed Forces, General Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan

Maha Shivratri has been observed and celebrated in the UK on Monday by Hindus. Above,is a photo of the puja in BAPS Swaminarayan Temple, Neasden.

Full story on P14


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Asian Voice | 17th February 2018

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Keith Vaz, MP

Dr Buchi Reddy

1) Which place or city or country do you most feel at home in? I feel at home when I am in the countryside, whether it is in the little Indian village where earlier generations from my family lived, Maldives where I worked, Sri Lanka, North Africa, Cyprus, Switzerland and of course Berkshire and Oxfordshire. I am fond of a small hill near Streatley, Goring where a farm

horse always looks out for me! 2) What are your proudest achievements? My work on pre-diabetes and diabetes prevention, awareness and detection started nearly 25 years ago, through a partnership between City Corporation, Lions Clubs International, Voluntary Health Services and Bollywood in Chennai

targeting the high risk inner city areas, with nearly 100 camps and numerous road shows. Here in the UK, I continue to raise the profile of diabetes, reaching out to thousands of at risk people. I was given a letter of commendation by the former Minister for Public Health for my work on diabetes using the Rightcare methodology. I am also proud of my work on public mental health and time to change campaigns in Harrow Council. 3) What inspires you? Our great potential for change, innovation and transformation in the NHS for the next generation diabetes care, through smart phone apps, digital technology and AI, tailoring service to the needs of the people, a risk based public health approach and a continuous service improvement through an iterative process. My wife, a psychiatrist who worked and saved pennies since she was 8 years old in Mumbai, with the hope that one day she could be a doctor in the UK and our daughter who has inspired me to be a better person. 4) What has been the biggest obstacle in your career? My move from a practicing GP and diabetes spe-

Blind man with fear of dogs to get UK’s first assistance ‘guide horse’

A blind man with a fear of dogs has been given the UK’s first guide horse. Mohammed Salim Patel, a 23-year-old BBC journalist from Blackburn, Lancashire, was introduced to his new companion Digby on Monday. Digby, a two-foot-tall American Miniature horse, will help Mr Patel with daily tasks and household chores – just like a guide dog. Mr Patel, who has a degenerative eye condition called Retinis Pigmentosa, told the Lancashire Telegraph: ‘I have a big phobia of dogs that I was not able to work out, and it was good when I heard about horses being trained. ‘I have always loved horses, but it is good to see the benefits to people who are visually impaired.’ However, although they’ve already been introduced, Digby won’t be able to live with Mr Patel for another couple of years because he’s still completing his training. Until then Digby lives

Mohammed Salim Patel with Digby in the streets of Blackburn

with his owner Katy Smith from Northallerton in North Yorkshire. She told the paper that there are even more miniature horses being trained in the US, and that they have a long life span of around 45 to 50 years. She said: “There are about 14 training in America to help visually impaired people and they have a long life-span as they can live until 45 or 50 year old. “You may have to have two or three guide dogs and then you have to think about the emotional bond

to them. “Another thing is that people may have an allergy, phobia or for health reasons and it is a choice for people. “We are working with the Environment Agency to get them to understand Digby is toilet trained.” Horses began being used for guiding roles as an experimental programme in the early 2000s in the US. With an average lifespan of 30 to 40 years they can remain with their owner for much longer than a guide dog. They also have a natural ability to guide and in the wild, if a horse within the herd goes blind, a sighted horse is said to accept responsibility for the welfare of the blind horse and guides it with the herd. Ms Smith said the temperament of the American Miniatures is very well-suited to the role and they only grow to about 27 inches high. Digby is being taught to become used to a collar and being inside buildings and homes.

cialist to a public health manager and then a transformation change agent. Convincing directors, commissioners, contractors and senior managers how my clinical leadership and change management skills can help with diabetes and the wider healthcare transformation. Having demonstrated that in 2 different CCG collaborations in Berkshire, I need to continue to face this challenge in London, but persevere to overcome challenges to better the lives of people with diabetes. 5) Who has been the biggest influence on your career to date? Not one but many diabetes stalwarts. Dr Jonathan Valabhji, National Clinical Director for example. Also, the great team I work with at the North West London Diabetes Programme, especially Lesley Roberts, Programme Director with a huge portfolio of transformation work stretching from Scotland to England along with Dr Tony Willis, Clinical Director, for their vision, commitment and tenacity. 6) What is the best aspect about your current role? To be asked to do the impossible, choose a road less travelled, set your own targets, and also

work with the most amazing team, service users and bosses who have faith in my capabilities. And having a boss like Lesley Roberts who is also my friend, philosopher and guide.

makers to adopt a more holistic model of physical and mental health care.

7) And the worst? Having a dream job would mean that I will have less and less time to pursue my hobbies like writing poetry, travelling, cooking and long walks, and day dreaming!

9) If you were Prime Minister, what one aspect would you change? I would encourage all young people to take up active participation in their local parishes, councils and healthcare organisations. I would also focus on tackling social, health and income inequalities.

8) What are your long term goals? To achieve a sustainable model for diabetes transformation, like an Accountable Care System or Organisation (ACO/ACS) based on risk share/gain share model, with a major focus on remission, prevention and public health. To encourage politicians and policy

10) If you were marooned on a desert island, which historical figure would you like to spend your time with and why? For a while I would be happy enjoying the island as long as I have my family with me or hope that Bear Grylls is with me to build a boat to get to the nearest inhabited island.

London Bridge terror attackers 'were pumped up on steroids' Three Islamic extremists who killed eight people in the London Bridge terror attack were pumped up on steroids when they carried out the atrocity, a court heard today. Khuram Butt, 27, Rachid Redouane, 30, and Youssef Zaghba, 22, all had traces of bodybuilding supplement DHEA when they were shot dead by police in Borough Market, at the end of their 10-minute rampage. The attack began just after 10pm on June 3 last year, when a white van mounted the pavement on London Bridge, hitting several people and killing Canadian Christine Archibald, 30, and Frenchman Xavier Thomas, 45. The three extremists, all armed with knives and wearing fake suicide vests, leapt from the van after it crashed into railings outside the Barrowboy and Banker pub. They attacked members of the public at random, killing Alexandre Pigeard, 26, Sara Zelenak, 21, Kirsty Boden, 28, Sebastien Belanger, 36, James McMullan, 32, and Ignacio Echeverria, 39, before all three shot dead by armed police. Jonathan Hough QC, counsel to the inquest, told a hearing at the Old Bailey this morning a toxicology report on the killers revealed evidence of drug use shortly before they struck. An expert will be asked to prepare a full report on the drug use, to be shown to the jury at the full inquest next year.

Pic: Metropolitan Police

Dr Buchi Reddy is the Programme Manager and Clinical Lead for the North West London Diabetes Transformation Programme. He is also a Healthcare Public Health Specialist and trained as a GP with special interest in diabetes, a Post Graduate level training in Internal Medicine and a Post Graduate Diploma in clinical nutrition from India. He has very senior level experience in leadership and management. He began his training in Internal Medicine and Diabetes in CMC Vellore, also met his future wife, Dr Leena Reddy who is now a psychiatrist in Oxfordshire NHS Trust. He is passionate and proud of his work in the inner city slums of Chennai and at the Voluntary Health Services Medical Centre Diabetes Research Rehabilitation Centre, Chennai with special interest in caring for children and young people with Type 1 diabetes. He practiced medicine and diabetes care in a range of settings across India and the Maldives before moving to the UK. In the UK, after finishing his Masters in Public Health Nutrition from Southampton worked in different aspects of public health and the NHS ranging from commissioning, contracting, health promotion, prevention, health care public health and transformation work. He supported the Berkshire team in qualifying for the NDPP application and the subsequent transformation funding related work in North West London.

Khuram Butt, Rachid Redouane and Youssef Zaghba

The same court heard last month that Khalid Masood, the man behind the Westminster terror attack in March last year, had also taken steroids before killing five people including PC Keith Palmer while trying to storm the Houses of Parliament. Mr Hough told the court firearms officers at London Bridge will ask for anonymity at the inquest, and some evidence from MI5 may be given in secret. He said Butt had “been the subject of an MI5 priority investigation for almost two years, from mid-2015”, and while Redouane and Zaghba had not been under MI5 surveillance, they “were associates of Khuram Butt”. The judge ruled that inquests for the victims will be heard together in early 2019, before a separate hearing in front of a jury for the attackers.


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COMMENTS

PM Modi forging new relationships Prime Minister Narendra made an eloquent speech at Davos, Switzerland, on the need for the world to recognize the unity of the human family in their deliberations on planet’s future. Retreating behind nationalist walls and seeking salvation through protectionist barriers was neither the best way forward to economic prosperity nor the wisest way to conduct a political dialogue in the interests of mutual understanding. These stirring words were well received by a distinguished audience of industrialists, thinkers, politicians and journalists from almost every corner of the globe.

spectrum have proposed a simultaneous election in the States and Centre. The idea is desirabble and feasible and hopefully bear fruits in the foreseeable future. But the leaders of the government and Opposition parties behave differently on different days. Perhaps this may not be to the liking of Narendra Modi as a person. But he is compelled by the reality that the BJP has to fight the main political machine of the Congress Party which was formed 80 years prior and has been in the government nearly 60, out of 70 years of independent India.

Modi in the Middle East

In just over three and a half years the Modi government has succeeded in laying strong foundation, for the economic progress in almost all sectors, in India. The results obviously would take some time, as several renowned commentators have accepted that a big ship like India will take time to steer its course and deliver the results. On his return, Modi spoke in the Indian Parliament summing up the debate on the President’s address. It’s ironic that the Indian people at large have faith in and support PM Modi by unbelievable margin of 75-83Percent. Opposition parties led by the congress continuously accuse Modi and his government on almost all fronts. Modi made a robust speech replying point by point to almost all such unfounded allegations or unwarranted criticisms. Modi is known for his strong stand on issues of national importance which are non negotiable. Perhaps that itself is the reason for his unparalleled popularity. PM Modi launched the state assembly election campaign for Karnataka at Bangalore the next day. Here he was addressing an election rally and he made several accusations against the congress led government of the state. Chief Minister Siddaramaiah replied in kind which is part of a democratic process indeed. Perhaps this illustrates why India, inspite of several challenges, has remained a democratic nation, a beacon for the hundred odd countries which gained independence since the Second World War. In India, elections happen almost continuously. Normally Parliamentary elections take place once in every five years. 30 odd states choose their State Assemblies at their own timings. Consequently the political parties and the civil administrations are engaged in hard core politics almost continuously. PM Modi and several other political leaders from broad

Four days visit of PM Modi to Palestine, UAE and Oman has set a huge mark for the future relationship between India and this region. Historically India and Indians have traded and transacted with Gulf and the Middle East for the time immemorial. New India is emerging and it is taking its shape in this part of the world on firm footing on a fruitful relationship. It is of special significance that while Modi government has formed closer ties with the state of Israel it has also maintained the trust and confidence of Palestinians, other Arabs and Iranians. This is not easy and it is not dramatics. It is because of the age old values and traditions of India. What PM Modi has done is to transform the external relationships on equal basis with all partners. This is rather a distinct foreign policy of the modern India, different from the Non Aalignment of half a century ago. Equally after the demise of the Cold War and fissures of economic inequalities, religious intolerance coupled with hatred and terrorism, the fundamentals are both desirable and acceptable. People in the West especially believe that Arabs especially in Saudi Arabia do not permit other faith believers to follow their religion openly. Abu Dhabi has made a huge gesture by not only welcoming and cooperating in building an iconic Hindu temple in the traditional architectural way of Vedic India but PM Modi, the Sheikhs and other leaders jointly witnessed the foundation of a newer Akshardhaam being built there now. BAPS has an outstanding record of Akshardhaams in London, Ahmedabad, Delhi already. In New Jersey and now in Abu Dhabi even larger and greater monuments, the places for peace, harmony, love and brotherhood are being constructed. Surely the omens are very good for all the believers and non believers.

Prince Charles has launched 10 million dollar Development Impact bond for the education uplift of over 200,000 deprived children in India. The bond is the latest fundraising initiative by the British Asian Trust, set up by Britain’s royal family a decade ago to fight in South Asia. ‘We are launching a 10 million dollar Development Impact Bond that will improve education for more than 200,000 in India,’ said Prince Charles at a recent Buckingham Palace event. The new bond has the support of the British government’s Department for International development, and organizations such as Comic Relief, Mittal Foundation and the UBS Optimus Foundation. The concept behind the venture is designed to attract new capital into development projects based on data and well grounded supplementary evidence. Placed on the canvas of Brixit developments such as these is perhaps evidence of British re-engagement with a region long consigned to benign neglect. The Commonwealth was perceived in

Whitehall as a club which met from time to time, where much good work was done through welfare projects and educational exchanges and cricket and little else. Commonwealth trade had become secondary to that with the European Union. Politics and diplomacy concentrated on the ‘special relationship’ with the United States, EU big hitters such Germany and France, with NATO an abiding presence. The picture may be somewhat overdrawn but perceptions overseas also determine policy. India, for example, is much changed from what it once was when the Aid India consortium met to dispense development aid to a country with scarce foreign exchange reserves. India’s economic transformation, despite the uneven wealth distribution, is a continuing process, and a market of 1.2 billion souls bristles with opportunities for those enterprising enough to seize the hour. A congenial environment and its promise can bring together India and Britain in a partnership fit for purpose.

India’s Under 19 cricketers returned home in triumph from New Zealand, having beaten their rivals in every round by emphatic margins, including Australia by 8 wickets in the final.. The maturity of the team, superbly captained by star batsman Prithvi Shaw, had veteran commentators, among them, former West Indies fast bowler superstar Ian Bishop drooling on their skills and general deportment. Coach Rahul Dravid, one of India’s greatest batsmen in his heyday, was deservedly showered with praise by his young charges and older heads. Those who caught the eye with the bat included Shaw, his opening partner Manjit Kalra, Subman Gill and wicketkeeperbatsman Hardick Desai. Shyam Mavi and Kamalesh Nagarcoti clocked 145 km bowling, with Ishan Porel not far behind providing lift to his pace, and Anukul Roy

supplying the spin. Not all Under-19 star makes the grade at the international level. However, there are luminous exceptions, in India’s case none greater than the incomparable Virat Kohli, inspirational leader, genius with the willow. Without him, India might well have lost at least one of their first two ODI matches against South Africa, and did crash to defeat in the third, exposing the soft underbelly of the senior team’s vaunted middle order. Take Kohli out of the equation, and the current Indian batting lineup is likely to suffer a blowout. Mediocrity has for too long been hailed as excellence by overpaid scribes and false prophets. Three young batsmen in the Under19 squad waiting in the wings should be brought centre stage if India is to be credible force in England and Australia later this year, or in the World Cup next year.

Tata Steel profits have surged following a period of contraction when global steel prices plummeted brought on by a glut from China. Having reorganized its British and European operations, Tata Steel is set to raise capacity at its Port Talbot facility in south Wales, where its new investment is directed at high value steel products. The sum involved amounts 14 million pounds sterling. This comes on the back of a 30 million pound investment which

would create a ‘stronger, more efficient and more reliable platform,’ said a senior Tata officer at the site. Port Talbot’s future, once a subject of concern, is assured going forward. Its fortunes have been strengthened as Tata Steel moved to merge its European assets with those of German steel maker ThyssenKrupp and a much improved global market free of dumping, thanks to measures to counteract such practices.

Charles’s education bond for India’s deprived children

India’s cricket colts trail clouds of glory

Tata Steel to increase Port Talbot capacity

Asian Voice | 17th February 2018

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Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, 'I will try again tomorrow'. - Mary Anne Radmacher

CIIr Ketan Sheth

Councillor for Tokyngton Wembley Brent Council’s Chair of Community and Wellbeing Scrutiny Committee

The London Plan We know that London is unique in many ways. One of these is that it is the only city in the country, which has a strategic regional level statutory planning document, known as the London Plan, written by the Mayor. The current London Plan is coming up for review, and so Londoners and Councils have all been asked to for their views on the draft London Plan before the 2nd March 2018. The London Plan is an important document as we have to take it into account when determining planning applications and Brent Council’s own policies (Brent’s revised Local Plan is at one of its consultation stages as well) have to accord with it. aAt Brent, we have been scrutinising the draft plan to make sure it enables Brent to continue to flourish, support residents and businesses, as well as play its role in maintaining London as a fantastic global city. There is much in the draft Plan that from a Brent perspective is positive and to be supported. It is based on 'good growth' principles, which focus on creating a more obvious link between new development and improved outcomes for residents, for example, 'Building strong and inclusive communities' and 'delivering the homes Londoners need'. An underlying theme is reducing inequalities across London. You can't argue with these Good Growth principles as statements of how growth should be managed and benefit communities and businesses. However, there are also some bits which are of concern - although well intentioned for London as a whole, the impact on Brent is of concern. For example, the amount of housing that Brent is being expected to provide to meet London's housing need. As a Council we want to see more housing built, but the Plan sets a housing target of 2,915 dwellings per year for the next 10 years. This is equivalent to an additional home for every 5 that currently exist, which is a high and challenging target to meet. The Mayor and his team have identified some of the outer London areas as being able to take more dwellings. We want to work with the Mayor to find the most suitable locations for housing. The Plan also requires the protection of existing employment land and ideally finding some more. To meet these current ambitions in particular will be very challenging. Whilst responding positively on the majority of the draft Plan, the Council is likely to object to parts. If you want to find out more about the draft London Plan, and find out how to comment on it, it is on line at https://www.london.gov.uk/whatwe-do/planning/london-plan. Additionally, Brent Council is currently consulting on its own new Local Plan, which will shape how the Borough is developed in the future. This consultation document sets out the key future development challenges for Brent and how the Council might address them. The consultation period is open until the 22nd March 2018 and the consultation document and summary of consultation to-date is available at www.brent.gov.uk/shapebrent. Editor: CB Patel

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Paedophile faces being deported back to Bangladesh after being snared by vigilantes A man is facing deportation after being snared by paedophile hunters while attempting to meet a 13year-old girl for sex. Apu Raihan, who is originally from Bangladesh, believed he was talking explicitly to the teen online. However, the 29-yearold had been duped by a decoy from Guardians of the North, an undercover group who aim to expose adults looking for illegal contact with children. David Crook, prosecuting, told Newcastle Crown Court how Raihan organised to meet the girl after talking to her for just over a day. However, when he arrived to meet the youngster at Newcastle's Millennium Bridge he was confronted by members of Guardians of the North and the police. Mr Crook told the court: 'She repeatedly reminded

him she was 13. There was discussion about sex and plans to meet. He was interviewed and he made no comment but pleaded guilty at the first opportunity.' Raihan, of Condercum Road, Newcastle, admitted attempting to meet a child after grooming. Nick Cartmel, defending, said: 'He is not a practised paedophile. He will say this is the first foray he has ever had and it is one that takes place in entrapment. He's pleaded guilty and he's truly sorry. The Home Office will take action and he will no longer be a resident. He will be held in a detention centre.' The court heard how Raihan has no previous convictions. The judge, Recorder Benjamin Nolan QC, told Raihan: 'Apu Raihan you pleaded guilty to attempting to meet a child following sexual grooming. This is

Apu Raihan, who is originally from Bangladesh, believed he was talking explicitly to the teen online.

only an attempt so the sentence I will impose of custodial length is one year or 12 months. You have no previous convictions. 'I am prepared to suspend that [sentence] of 12 months, not that that has any practical value to you. Your immigration status is in jeopardy and it is likely you will be deported back to Bangladesh.' Recorder Nolan QC sentenced Raihan to 12 months prison suspended for 12 months, ordered that he

must abide by a sexual prevention order for five years and sign the sex offenders register for 10 years. A spokesman for Guardians of the North said: 'He wanted sex and wanted to bring condoms. He knew he had ruined his life, he was devastated. It is one less problem we have to deal with in this country. Suspended sentences just send the message that it's okay. What's the point being suspended? It is no deterrent what so ever.'

Two Brits named in French Alps ski accident

The two British victims who plunged to their deaths in the French Alps have been identified as a doctor and an account executive from Cambridge. Rajen Mahendra and friend Oscar CassagneuFrancis, both 26, fell “several hundred metres” while skiing off-piste in Chamonix-MontBlanc. One of the falls was witnessed by CassagneauFrancis' brother Oliver, 29, at Le Coulior Du Chapeau, a steep section of the famous Grands Montets ski area. He immediately raised alarm with piste patrol before the mountain police were called. Both Oscar and Rajen were childhood friends, and grew up as neighbours on an upmarket street in Cambridge. Rajen's brother Ravi was also known to have gone on

Rajen Mahendra

Oscar Cassagneu-Francis

the ski holiday, however, was not on the slope at the time the tragedy struck. Both were known to be keen sportsman and the pair had skied together with their families in the past decade. The group had been skiing at an altitude of 1700 metres, and the weather was clear. They were making their way down the mountain when the first skier fell sharply, when the second went to help him, the third skier who was further back, also tumbled suddenly and

fell down an icy, rocky terrain, facing imminent death. The police said there was evidence that other skiers had skied the slope in previous days and men had believed they were safe to follow the tracks. A local source said, “The boys were on holiday with Inghams. Everyone there is in complete and utter shock. This is such a tragic accident. The British consulate has been here helping with everything.” A local police spokesman

said, “Three British men were skiing Le Couloir Du Chapeau. It is a steep offpiste area. The snow at the moment is very hard, it is not powder skiing. The conditions in the couloir are not good. The two men fell one after the other. They fell independently but within a couple of minutes of each other. They fell several hundred metres. For sure these men were good skiers but the conditions are not good. An investigation has been opened into the accident.” Families of neither of the victims have addressed the accident in public. A family spokesman from the Foreign Office, Liam Herbert however, issued a statement saying, “The family would like to be left alone at this point. They would like some privacy and do not want to be disturbed.”

PC Ihsan Ali who 'targeted vulnerable women' jailed for two years

A disgraced police officer who kissed and groped a vulnerable domestic abuse victim and ‘groomed’ others has been jailed for two years after being found guilty of misconduct in public office. A jury of five men and seven women took less than three hours to unanimously convict PC Ihsan Ali on four counts of misconduct in public office in relation to four women after a seven-day trial at Preston Crown Court. Judge Mark Brown, the Honorary Recorder of Preston, told Ali that his 'campaign of grooming and manipulative conduct for a sexual purpose' had damaged the reputation of Lancashire Police and undermined the public's trust in it. Ali, who worked as an immediate response officer in Blackburn and Burnley

until his arrest and subsequent suspension last year, will now face internal disciplinary proceedings later this year. During the trial the jury was told how 40-year-old Ali initially went to the homes of his four female victims to legitimately investigate complaints they had made about being the victims of crime. But in each case Ali gave the complainants his personal mobile phone number and began sending them inappropriate texts with the intention of developing ‘emotional or sexual relationships’. Prosecuting, Sarah Johnston said Ali sent his victims photographs of himself in a swimming pool, told one he wanted to be her bodyguard and told another he was looking for a new wife and she would make a good

PC Ihsan Ali

one. The court heard how Ali went to the first complainant’s house in Burnley in May 2016 in relation to threats she had received from a former work colleague. Ms Johnston said Ali texted the woman with updates on her case for around a week after the ini-

tial visit. But the prosecutor said Ali continued to message her on WhatsApp from his personal mobile until November 2016, which the victim thought was ‘strange’ and showed he was ‘after something more’. The court heard that in October 2016 Ali went to the home of an older woman in Whitworth who had made a complaint against her expartner. After exchanging hundreds of text messages with the woman off his personal mobile phone, Ali went to the complainant’s house. After sharing a mutual kiss, Ali is said to have groped the woman and made sexually suggestive comments. When the woman asked him to leave Ali kissed her again.

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UK trade minister visits India to boost creative ties

Minister of State for Trade and Export Promotion, Baroness Rona Fairhead, is today (Monday 5 February) travelling to India to launch the very first India-UK Createch Summit in the country’s tech capital, Mumbai. The event is the pinnacle of a series of trade missions from the UK to India. These have seen more than 100 British companies from across sectors such as automotive, healthcare and film visiting the country during January and February, showcasing what they have to offer and forging important new trading ties. Baroness Fairhead will join HRH The Earl of Wessex to launch the event. This will bring together almost 1,000 leading figures from across business and government to celebrate innovation such as augmented reality and creative robotics that are uniting the creative and technology industries. Mumbai is considered the creative capital of India and ministers believe that increased engagement with UK businesses will provide booming trading links in the creative industries. The UK and India enjoy strong trading links. Latest statistics show that bilateral trade increased by 13.6% in the year to September 2017 compared to the previous year, with travel services and machinery the top service and good exports respectively.

Religious teacher has bail extended after arrest for sexual activity

A leading religious teacher has had his bail extended after he was arrested on suspicion of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity. Ashraf Sidat, 45, Ashraf Sidat from Blackburn, was arrested on suspicion of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity on Thursday, January 11 and was initially bailed until last week. Police said his bail has now been extended until Wednesday, April 11. Officers attended and a 45-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity. Sidat had been suspended from Masjide Noorul Islam, Audley Range, pending an investigation. He has also been suspended from The Islamic Educational Society, of which the mosque is a part of. The arrest came after Mr Sidat was stopped in the street by members of Justice Will Be Served, a self-styled vigilante group who passed information to police.

Police hunt man who tried to rape 10-year-old girl in Manchester

A man tried to rape a 10-year-old girl after she became separated from her friends in Manchester, according to police. The "brave" child was attacked shortly after 2pm on Saturday. She managed to escape before alerting a dog-walker, Greater Manchester Police said. Patrols have been stepped up in the area as officers search for the attacker. He is described as a man in his 20s, of Asian appearance, with a slim build and wearing a dark coat. Detective Chief Inspector James Riley said: "What happened to this young girl is understandably very upsetting and specially trained officers will continue to support her in any way they can. "Parents and neighbours will be concerned and we have stepped up our visible police patrols throughout the coming days and nights. "I also want to stress that we are doing everything in our power to find the man responsible for this. "With the help of this brave girl and the community we have a good description of the attacker and if anyone recognises it or recalls seeing a man matching that description in the area, then please call us."


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Dr Jason Wouhra receives OBE at Buckingham Palace Dr Jason Wouhra, IoD West Midlands Chairman, has been invested with an OBE for services to Business and International Trade by His Royal Highness Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales. The investiture took place at Buckingham Palace on Thursday, February 1. Dr Wouhra, who was 39 when he received news of his award, is a Director and Company Secretary of East End Foods plc, and said he was “delighted, honoured and humbled to receive the award”. He added: "I am grateful to my family, team at East End Foods and the numerous West Midlands business leaders and directors I have worked with over the years. Their help and support has been invaluable, thank you to those who have supported and guided me on my journey. I aim to continue to grow and assist others around me." Jason said the investiture ceremony at Buckingham Palace had been " a magnificent occasion – and particularly so as my family were there to witness it. They have always been so supportive of my work, whether with

Commission. In addition, Dr Wouhra has played a leading role in improving international trade links between the UK and India, while closer to home, he is also the patron of a number of charities and was Chair of the Library of Bir mi ng ha m Advisory Board, Vice Chair of the Black Country LEP and was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by Aston University in 2014. Through his role with the IoD Jason has been a strong Dr Jason Wouhra received his OBE supporter of the from His Royal Highness region's business Prince Charles community, working to build an environEast End Foods or in my ment in which enterprise voluntary roles." can flourish. As well as his work IoD West Midlands with the IoD Jason holds Regional Director Calum numerous voluntary and Nisbet said the honour is community positions. richly deserved. "Jason Currently he is a nonworks tirelessly for the executive director at business community in the University Hospitals West Midlands and has Birmingham NHS been an outstanding Foundation Trust and is champion for our region. the Chair of Aston He epitomises all that is University's Development good in a business leader Board, the West Midlands and has been a tremenPolice Business Crime dous support to the IoD Prevention Board and the and our members.” Child Poverty

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Asian Voice | 17th February 2018

EXCLUSIVE

Lutfur Rahman spotted distributing leaflets in Tower Hamlets for the upcoming elections in May

The leaflet being distributed by former Mayor Lutfur Rahman in Tower Hamlets

Lutfur Rahman, the former Tower Hamlets Mayor who was removed from his office over corruption claims in 2015, to people’s shock, had his latest application for forming a new political party approved recently by the Electoral Commission. The party, which has been named as ‘Aspire’, is Rahman’s second attempt to come back into local politics, after he was removed from his office by an Electoral Court in 2015 for “corrupt and illegal practices.” Rahman has now been spotted in Tower Hamlets locality, campaigning and distributing leaflets for the upcoming election in May, though he is believed not to be participating as a candidate so far. Local residents were surprised when Rahman knocked on their doors and

handed over a leaflet that had his photo with his endorsement for Blackwall and Cubitt Town ward independent Action team and Mayoral candidate Ohid Ahmed. The Action team comprises of candidates standing as Councillors in this upcoming election. The starting few lines of a note from this Action team on the promotional leaflet ironically reads as: “We will work hard to build on the achievements of Lutfur Rahman’s Administration.” The Met police in the meantime has reportedly received 15 complaints of electoral fraud and malpractice, in relations to the election on May 3rd, from the Tower Hamlets borough alone. An angry local resident who received the leaflet from the hands of Rahman in a social media post said, “he has no shame.”

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UK

Graduate mum shares experience to encourage more mums to study

Asian Voice | 17th February 2018

Mum and housewife Vanie Kalapan had her heart set on gaining a degree in accounting and finance, and moving into the jobs market. But when she fell pregnant shortly after enrolling at GSM London’s Greenford campus, she was convinced she would have to leave her course and her career dreams.

But thanks to the support from her husband, family, friends, and some of her lecturers and staff, Vanie graduated in 2017, and has been mulling over job offers in accounting ever since. She recently came back to GSM London’s campus, proudly cuddling her 18-month daughter Harrini with a simple message to other mums. “Many of us are not brave enough to take the initiative after having kids as we assume that institutions will not be flexible,” she said. “But don’t write off the opportunity, you

Vanie Kalapan with daughter Harrini

may be pleasantly surprised.” Vanie had the full backing of her husband, who initially motivated her to start the course. She cites her lecturers Fred Agyemang and Andrew McKenzie as being instrumental in supporting her,

as well as members from Student Hub and the Finance department. “I can proudly say that without the kind help and motivation of the staff members at GSM London, I would not have been able to achieve my goal,” she said. “Luckily for me, my

Health surcharge for UK visa doubles

The health surcharge applicable for a UK visa for six months or more will double this year, affecting the overall cost of the travel document. Introduced in 2015, the current health surcharge is £200 per person per year, and it will rise to £400. The Department of Health and Social Care announced that the discounted rate of £150 for students will go up to £300 per year. It said that doubling the amount is aimed to better reflect the actual costs to the National Health Service of treating those who pay the surcharge.

The department estimates that an extra £220 million will be raised every year through the new surcharge. Immigration Minister Caroline Nokes said, “It is only right that people who come to the UK should contribute to the running of the NHS. “The surcharge offers access to healthcare services that are far more

comprehensive and at a much lower cost than many other countries.” Health Minister James O'Shaughnessy said, “Our NHS is always there when you need it, paid for by British taxpayers. “We welcome longterm migrants using the NHS, but it is only right that they make a fair contribution to its long-term sustainability.” Those with indefinite leave to remain are exempt from the surcharge. The department said that urgent and emergency care is always available regardless of immigration status.

daughter was born two days after the semester finished so I was able to attend classes without a break in studies,” she said. Inspired by her positive experience at the institution and the support she gained from friends and her sons once her daughter was born, Vanie has helped to motivate other mums to study. “I shared that experience with my friends and one of them, Sherine, was very eager to join and do a degree there. Now she is following the same accounting and finance degree programme I did and I hope in future more friends of mine will join the institution.” Vanie is keen to start a full-time career in finance but because her daughter is too young, she is working part time in her chosen profession. “I have lots of work opportunities in Accounting and Finance and I hope I can find a better job soon,” she said.

Could autism test help 2 year olds? A simple two-minute questionnaire could detect autism in toddlers, new research suggests. The Psychological D e v e l o p m e n t Questionnaire (PDQ-1) consists of 10 questions that help gauge how children interact with others, including whether the child points or gestures to show interest, responds to their name, and speaks in phrases. Autism affects one in 45 children, but early detection of the disorder is challenging since there isn't a single behavioral or observational approach that will be reliable for all children.

Curry chef cleared of chilli powder assault on customer A curry house chef has praised the British justice system after being cleared of assaulting a customer who complained about his food by throwing chilli powder in his face. Speaking outside court, former restaurant owner Kamrul Islam said he was relieved to have been found not guilty of assault occasioning actual bodily harm on David Evans at his restaurant, the Prince of Bengal in Tonypandy, South Wales, on January 21 last year. On Friday after a fiveday trial, a jury took three hours and 45 minutes to clear the 47-year-old father. Islam, who said he was now working as a certified air conditioning engineer having closed the restaurant down, said: "I was

very confident that the British system would find the right answer." Islam said the people of the Rhondda had given him "so much" in the 20 years he ran restaurants in the area and the result meant there was now no question about him. He thanked friends and family who had supported him over the last 13 months. The trial heard Mr Evans went to dine in the restaurant with his wife Michelle, arriving at around 6pm and ordering food and drinks. The couple said their starters were not right but they did not complain, however they claimed the chicken in their main meals tasted of paraffin and was shiny, rubbery and tough.

The Evanses told jurors Islam asked what the problem was in an aggressive way and then started swearing at them. Mr Evans claimed Mr Islam stood at the kitchen doorway, pointing and shouting, before the hot spice was thrown at him. In her closing speech to the jury, Ruth Smith, for Islam, said the couple were "clearly unreliable witnesses" who had "tailored their account", which was "riddled with inconsistencies" to give a false impression of their behaviour. She said there were "vast chunks of the evening that they have no recollection of" including the number of times various staff members went to their table, which was shown on CCTV. She asked the jury to

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Judge orders demolition of mosque in Newham A High Court judge has ordered for the demolition of Abbey Mills mosque near Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford, East London. The mosque is said to have 2,000 worshippers a week but no planning permission. In 1996, the mosque was built as a temporary Islamic centre on the site where a former chemical factory used to be. A group of Islamic missionaries from the Tablighi Jamaat bought the factory and converted it into the Islamic centre. It is said that the movement commenced in India in the 1920s and has been accused of spreading an isolated representation of Islam. It is alleged that the movement said it is apolitical and wants Muslims to return to the core principles of Islam. After the group started a makeshift mosque, they made plans for a large UK

headquarters which would include a mega-mosque for tens of thousands of worshippers. The plan is said to have divided locals and hence, the plan was reduced to a capacity of 9,000. However, in 2012, Newham council refused planning permission because the land had been marked for housing and businesses. In 2015, the government sustained the refusal of planning permission. Additionally, the site owners were given three months to stop using the mosque, but they spent two years appealing. The High Court has now ruled in the favour of Newham council and has ordered the mosque owners to pay the council £22,207 in costs. The mosque owners have until 16th February to take the case to the Court of Appeal.

A couple flouted planning regulations by converting their garage into an extra home - and then hid it behind fences and a fake garage door Officials at Blaby District Council had been investigating Enderby homeowners Dr Reeta Herzallah and Hamdi Almasri since October 2015. After following up reports of unauthorised work being carried at the couple's property in Old Church Road they discovered a raft of planning breaches. It culminated in a short hearing at Leicester Magistrates Court last week where the pair were convicted in their absence without making a plea. Planning permission granted for the original housing development in 2007 included conditions

stating that car parking facilities, including the garage, should permanently remain available to ease potential on-street parking issues. Further planning permission was also required to build the driveway. The defendants were each ordered by magistrates to pay a £770 fine, legal costs of £1,252, and a £77 victim surcharge. The garage will have to be restored to its original use.

The National Crime Agency has begun one of its biggest operations, tackling a people-smuggling network involving suspected Kurdish gangsters. About 350 officers took part in raids in London, Northumbria, Cleveland and Sussex. They targeted 20 addresses and visited car washes to monitor activity following a yearlong investigation with links to the French, Belgian and Dutch authorities.

Some 21 people were arrested in the raids. Officers from Immigration Enforcement, HMRC and the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority were carrying out spot inspections of car washes. The gang is suspected of charging up to £10,000 per head to smuggle migrants across the Channel. The authorities’ car wash inquiries were aimed at disrupting the gang’s money-laundering operation.

Couple build secret home in garage behind fences and fake door

Twenty one people arrested in crackdown on people smuggling

consider "whether Mr and Mrs Evans were drunk in the restaurant and as a result of drink became abusive, on occasions using swear words and in the case of Mr Evans aggressive and threatening violence to Mr Islam". The trial heard the couple ordered two bottles of wine and two Cobra beers but Mrs Evans told the jury they had not started the second bottle of wine by the time of the incident.


Political&

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Asian Voice | 17th February 2018

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Sikh and Hindu organisations call the UK government to account for ‘hate crime’ discrimination Rupanjana Dutta The British Sikh and Hindu organisations are demanding equal access, equal support and equal treatment by the government after raising issues affecting the ethnic minorities- such as hate crimes, religious literacies and bullying in schools. These organisations believe the government has not yet addressed these issues, despite several reminders. First pointed out by the Sikhs are now being supported by the Hindus as a joint campaign and they are together on a mission to seek justice. As British society has evolved, Parliament has responded to ensure that legal protections remain up-to-date and indeed relevant but of late many of Britain’s communities are beginning to comment that the twin sisters of British Jurisprudence, Justitia and Prudentia are no longer blind to difference nor prudent and seem to be displaying increasingly tangible bias. The Dharmic Communities such as the Hindus and Sikhs have been pressing the UK Government for equality of access, equality of support and equality of treatment but they believe that recent developments indicate that these requests are falling on deaf ears. The NCHTUK (National Council of Hindu Temples UK), the HFB (Hindu Forum of Britain) and the NSO (Network of Sikh Organisations) have been therefore working together to communicate to the Government that these inequalities which appear systemic are harming the minority Dharmic communities and the NSO has recently presented these results, from the Sikh perspective to the Government. The concerns also apply equally to the Hindu community. Hence they are appreciative and supportive of the initiatives taken by Lord Singh and the NSO. ‘Action Against Hate’ (July 2016) included reference to a number of government funded projects dedicated in tackling hate crime affecting Muslims and Jews. There was no reference to projects for Sikhs or any other nonAbrahamic faith group. Despite the high profile ‘revenge’ attack forLee Rigby on a Sikh dentist in Wales in 2015, and a catalogue of hate crimes against Sikhs here, and in the U.S where the first person to be killed in retribu-

tion for 9/11 was a Sikh, there is little focus on the community from government. With the exception of the places of worship security fund, there has been little progress. The one initiative (with True Vision) looking to help support Hindu and Sikh victims of hate, announced in 2017, has not moved any further forwards, despite being announced a year ago. ‘Prevention’ in the school setting must also be inclusive of children of non-Abrahamic faiths. * True Vision: Back in January 2017, the community were heartened to see the government acknowledge a specific request in their submission to this very inquiry, by announcing specific funding for Hindu and Sikh communities in helping report hate crime via the policereporting portal True Vision. Despite an initial meeting with True Vision,

and subsequent correspondence since, a year on the project appears to have come no further forwards. The communities demand the inquiry to establish the reason for the delay. The Indian diaspora understands that the True Vision is working with National Churchwatch (NC) in promoting a series of workshops talking with clergy about how to keep safe. This also involves the funding for NC to work with academics at Royal Holloway University to conduct research into anti-Christian hate. Hindus and Sikhs want a similar commitment and have established links with academics, who are already conducting research into the post 9/11 backlash Sikhs face and would be able to assist. They aspire to see government funding commitment to support such research efforts. The communities are aware of the publication of forthcoming Routledge academic volume titled:’Racialization, Islamophobia and Mistaken Identity: The Sikh Experience’. This is being co-authored by Dr Jagbir Jhutti-Johal from the University of

Birmingham and journalist Hardeep Singh, who is an officer in the NSO. * Religious literacy: Much of the hatred directed at Sikhs is down to ignorance about Sikhism and Sikh articles of faith. This is why Sikhs and other non-Muslims are being recorded as victims of ‘Islamophobic hate crime’ by forces like the MET police. The figures obtained via FOI from the MET show that 25% of victims of so called ‘Islamophobic hate crime’ in 2016 are non-Muslims, and for the previous year the figure is 28%. Some recent research on nonMuslim victims of Islamophobia (which includes Sikhs) by Professor Peter Hopkins from the University of N e w c a s t l e recommends,‘increasing understanding of ethnic, religious and cultural differences.’ Thr communities demand that the government must ensure steps for parity for all faith groups with this in mind. * Bullying in schools: As Professor Peter Hopkins points out ‘misidentification’ occurs in public places includingschools.Action Against Hate-states it would tackle bullying in schools with a ‘new programme to equip teachers to facilitate conversations about ‘difficult topics’ and carry out a new assessment of the level of anti-Muslim, anti-Semitic, homophobic, racist and other bullying in schools’. This involves working with the Anne Frank Trust and Streetwise, which run educational programmes.Sikh children, (in particular thosewith patkas) must also to be considered in the context of Islamophobia. There was the case from the U.S in which a boy is filming his classmates on a bus whilst they refer to him as a ‘terrorist’. The video shot in 2015 went viral, but shows how visible difference can promote prejudice. The Dharmic organisations find it peculiar that the government hasn’t extended ‘prevention’ projects to other children from ‘visible’ faith minorities and are requesting an urgent review of this element with input from both the Department for Communities and Local Government and the Department for Education. They also want that the government must brief project leads in the Anne Frank Trust and Streetwise on this element to encourage a more inclusive faith community approach.

UK

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Public Life Awards NOMINATION FORM

12th Asian Voice Political & Public Life Awards 2018 The prestigious Asian Voice Political and Public Life Awards represent our modest effort to honour a number of outstanding individuals from different communities, walks of life and diverse political persuasions who serve society in their own special way, and who contribute significantly and making a big difference in their COMMUNITIES.

Please

 

tick the appropriate category

Political

     

Campaigner of the year Minister of the year Conservative Backbencher of the year Shadow minister of the year Public Service Awards Peer of the year

       

Philanthropist of the year Lifetime Achievement of the year Community Service Awards Young Entrepreneur of the year Restaurant of the year Business Person of the year Professional of the year Travel Company of the year

Public Life

Application Form 

Full Name of the Person you are Nominating: ___________________________



His/Her Contact Details (Tel & email): ___________________________________



Occupation of the Nominee: ___________________________________________



Please attach the Nominees's CV which includes the following information

(Please do not exceed a limit of 1000 words) (1) Personal background (2) Most important career achievements till date. (3) Nominee's contribution to the community and nation. (4) Future Plans, ambitions and visions. (5) Any notable obstacles in the Nominee's career that has helped him/her to reach where they are today. ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________  Summary - (Please include a summary in not more than 150 words why the nominee is worthy 

  

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Deadline for Nomination: 17th February 2018 * NOMINATION AND SELECTION PROCESS

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Nominate your favourite charity

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Asian Voice | 17th February 2018

Do you know of any UK based charities / individuals who are solving pressing social issues of our time, both in Britain and globally

NOMINATIONS

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31 March 2018.

Nominate them for the Asian Voice Charity Awards 2018 by visiting our

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Award Categories

For Charities and Not-for Profit Institutions I Charity of the Year

This award recognises a UK-registered charity for their outstanding work and contribution to society, as well as demonstrated excellence service and achievement in its work over the last five years.

I

Start-Up of the Year

This award is similar to Charity of the Year, but specifically for charities that have been operational for three years or less.

I Outstanding PR Team

This award recognises excellence in charity PR, either in-house at a charity, or an agency undertaking a PR campaign on behalf of a charity

I Most Enterprising

This award recognises a social enterprise or the trading arm of a charity that has made a significant difference to beneficiaries through its ability to generate income to meet its social goals over the last two years.

I Social Impact Award

This award recognises an organisation for the social impact they have created and their contribution to society.

For Corporate Partnerships: I Excellence in Corporate Social Responsibility

This award recognises the best corporate partnership and corporate responsibility programmes. It honours a company which goes beyond simply CSR projects to engage in partnerships in the last two years with either UK-registered or international charities, social enterprises or unincorporated charitable projects, to demonstrate quantifiably positive impact to the community.

For Individuals: I Inspiring Individual

This award recognises an individual who has demonstrated dedication, professionalism and integrity over a sustained period of time, and who has produced an identifiably profound effect on the social sector in the UK or otherwise through their work, which could be voluntary or otherwise.

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Sadiq Khan invests £25m to boost workforce including young BAME Londoners Rupanjana Dutta Dozens of projects to boost skills and training for Londoners – including equipping black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) young people with valuable skills needed in the digital, gaming, music and creative industries – have been awarded a share of £25.7 million funding by the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan. Khan last week announced the investment to build a workforce for London’s future, as part of a total pot of £114 million available over four years through his Skills for Londoners Capital Fund – which aims to transform the capital’s skills provision by delivering 21st century, fit-for-purpose education and training facilities at further education colleges and other providers across the city. Big Creative Training in Walthamstow received funding totalling more than £110,000 across two projects to provide training in areas such as digital media and gaming – industries in which BAME Londoners are under-represented. Newham College received £170,000 to upgrade its training kitchen and develop its catering and hospitality curriculum to better serve the local area – including members of the BAME community, who have often faced barriers to accessing these skills or not progressed from training into employment. The London Aerospace and Technology College in Bromley – a joint project between London South East Colleges and London Biggin Hill Airport – received £6.4 million to expand technical training across aviation and aeronautics, while Barking and Dagenham College received £5 million to complete its Centre for Advanced Technologies,

which will provide training in electrical engineering, digital technologies and the creative industries. Other successful projects from the initial funding round include a learning hub focused on science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects and health care at Newham Sixth Form College, and funding for advanced simulators to develop nursing skills at London Cactus College in Edgware. The £114 million has been made available by the London Economic Action Partnership (LEAP), which is the Local Enterprise Partnership for London and is chaired by the Mayor. The Mayor of London has been clear that London’s skills provision should respond to the needs of businesses and should equip Londoners for the demands of the economy in the future, including a range of technological and digital skills. Last May, Khan launched Skills for Londoners, a programme aimed at giving all Londoners the opportunity to train in the skills needed across the economy. The Skills for Londoners Taskforce, a group drawn from London’s top skills and business experts, was set up to spearhead these efforts. Khan has also announced that he is creating a brand new £45million fund to help young Londoners – particularly those who are at risk of getting caught up in crime. It should be the Government’s job to fund services and activities for young people in London, but it has abdicated its responsibilities. That’s why the Mayor has listened to Londoners’ concerns and is stepping up to provide funding that local communities and charities desperately need and to help young people fulfil their potential. Sadiq’s

new Young Londoners Fund will see £15m invested in each of the next three years, beginning from April. The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “London’s economy is changing and I’m determined to lead by example when it comes to helping build the workforce of the future in the capital. “These projects are great examples of how innovative institutions can deliver the skills which will increasingly be in demand as London grows and changes over time. “The increase of globalisation and automation in the workplace brings both challenges and opportunities and we’re addressing this head on through our Skills for Londoners Strategy. “We are also making the case to the government for London to have greater powers and resources in this area, so we can help ensure all Londoners have the opportunity to train in the skills the city’s businesses need.” Member of the Skills for Londoners Taskforce and CEO of Creative Skillset, Seetha Kumar, said: "London's screen industries are world leaders in creativity, with a growing demand for skilled entrants and diverse talent. The Mayor's initiative will make a real difference by investing directly in the digital skills London needs to stay globally competitive in the future." LEAP Board member, Dr Celia Caulcott, said:"We are delighted to be working alongside the Mayor to invest in learning spaces and equipment to boost skills in the capital. Ensuring more world-class learning environments that reflect the realities of the world of work will help Londoners of all ages and backgrounds develop the skills they need to access employment and maximise their potential.”


Are Asians changing their minds about perfect marriage alliances? UK

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AsianVoiceNewsweekly

Asian Voice | 17th February 2018

Rupanjana Dutta

This year Valentine’s Day coincided with Maha Shivratri. Asian women are often encouraged to worship Shiva, so that they have a husband like the Lord himself. Valentine’s Day this year therefore bears extra significance. And many Indian restaurants are offering an all vegetarian menu to keep it simple for the girls who are fasting for the Puja as well as want to celebrate the V-day. Talking about husbands and marriages, though love marriages are very common in today’s times, the Asian community predominantly believes in arranged alliances, when the families choose a groom or bride for their child who is attained a ‘marriageable’ age. The techniques of bringing alliances have changed, as internet takes precedence over word of mouth. The criteria for finding a groom or bride has also changed, but profession is one aspect that remains of high priority in most

Charity watchdog to launch Oxfam inquiry The Charity Commission is to begin an investigation into Oxfam's handling of a sex scandal in which staff hired prostitutes in Haiti in 2011. The watchdog has concerns the charity may not have "full and frankly disclosed material details". It comes after Oxfam's deputy chief executive Penny Lawrence quit over the charity's response to the revelations. And a whistleblower said an Oxfam aid worker was accused of coercing a woman to have sex "in exchange for aid". Whistleblower Helen Evans, who worked as Oxfam's global head of safeguarding between 2012 and 2015, made the claim in an interview on Channel 4. Ms Evans, now a Labour councillor in Oxford, also said in a tweet that in the space of one month she had received three allegations of child abuse in Oxfam shops. In the same month she received claims of sexual exploitation against aid beneficiaries, alongside other overseas allegations. She said she "took her concerns" to the charity's trustees and was told that management would conduct a "strategic review".

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alliances. Kamal, speaking to Asian Voice said, “Times are changing. But the issue remains that alliances get difficult as families insist on groom's profession that needs to be conventional. I know families that run chain corner shops or mini super markets. But no one wants to give their daughtes to a groom working in a shop. “It is just not about the status. It is about the hard work involved. Looking after corner shops is a big task involving odd and long hours, and is very time consuming. Often girls don't want to marry into a lifestyle like that. “Many boys' families have actually asked me if I could get them alliances from India. But that does not work either.” The problems are man-

ifold. Growing up in a society, where most British Indians are very ambitious, and high achievers, often a traditional business of looking after corner shops does not look lucrative for current generations or even the millenials. Growing up it was very common for us to hear our friends talking about helping parents with their 'shop work' on the weekends. But with time that has changed. Though children taking up their parents' shop business is reducing in number, it still remains a noble profession as anything else. Last year during an interview with a young Patel boy who helps parents in their corner shop, the same issues were discussed. The 35 year old man, who is kind, humble and well spoken, the family has lost many good alliances because he works in the shop, though it is at a posh part of London suburb.

Lord Swraj Paul to invest in cancer research firm Caparo Angad NRI industrialist Paul Fund, set by Lord Swraj Paul Paul in memory of announced today his late son that he has agreed Angad. arrangements Led by Wang, with the the Cancer University of Research Group Wolverhampton (CRG) is developto invest in a Lord Paul ing a treatment spin-out company based on Disulfican an that is developing a new existing drug used to treat anti-cancer drug. alcoholism - which had The new company, showed promising results Disulfican Ltd, has been in pre-clinical testing as a formed to build on new anti-cancer therapy. research carried out by Initial research was Prof Weiguang Wang, conducted by the CRG Professor of Experimental Cancer Therapeutics at the within the Faculty of University of Science and Engineering Wolverhampton. It will at the University of Wolverhampton, where receive an investment of Lord Paul is the around 200,000 pounds Chancellor. from the varsity and the

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While this trend remains prevalent, exception proves the rule. Aditi Basu speaking to Asian Voice said, “I think it's a relative choice. I have seen both cases, where the the father refused to give away the daughter to a man he though did not earn enough. And also a case where the daughter was married into a family where the groom was not so well to do but was thought to be an extremely good human being. Every choice has it's pros and cons.” Hansa Gadhia said, “It does not matter as long as he is earning enough to support his wife and family and got a job that he can hold.” Sonali Dulani Wattai added, “He needs to find a girl who can see him and accept for what he is. Arrange marriage could be tough but I believe there is hope.” Smita D'souza said, “I met my husband in

London, while we were both students, and he was bartender in a big British boutique hotel. My family thought that was unacceptavle, though my mother as open to it. Later he became a bar supervisor and during our wedding, he was a bar manager and now he is a hotel manager. You have to give the person a chance.” The society seems to be undergoing changes, but in reality it remains tough for men with unconventional jobs. Mou Sircar told Asian Voice, “I met husband three four times before we tied the knot. Education and profession matters. Only hardly gets to know a person if she/he is a good human being, until one starts living with them. It ultimately depends on what the boy/girl/their parents are seeking- social status, stability or compatibility.” Mohua Banerjee Ganguly, mother of a daughter herself said, “There are honest ways to earn money in different ways but that does not qualify him to be on my

shortlist.” Shalini Virdi also reiterated the same. She said, “There has to be a balance. Good family values and good education makes one decent. One also needs to be working on a decent profession and earn well for his family. Initially everything will be ok, but after marriage if one partner is above the other in profession, then slowly but surelu problems and ego starts to creep up.” Meenal Upadhyay added, “Yes if I was looking for grooms for myself or even someone in family, would definitely look for someone in a professional job.” In an utopian world, we may think forging relationships and alliances remain an easy task. What created our future in this country, the nation of shopkepers, it is ironical how that profession is no longer acceptable as something prestigious or credible. Though as time passes, we perhaps can see the rainbow against the horizon, a future with different possibilities.

Gujarat Samachar & Asian Voice Rewarding career in media sales

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READERS’ VOICE

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Asian Voice | 17th February 2018

Akshardham in Abu Dhabi: a wonder of the world

In 1995 under the inspiration and guidance of Pramukh Swami Maharaj when the Neasden Temple became a reality world reknowned Readers’ Digest magazine described it as ‘the 8th Wonder of the World’. It made me very proud. Since then I have visitied Neasden Temple several times. The environment, spiritual presence, cleanliness and services rendered by the santos and volunteers is rather unique. I wish other Hindu temples visit Neasden Temple and get inspired on how to serve their devotees in a better way. Recently I witnessed the Shilanyas (the foundation stone laying) ceremony of the Akshardham - which will become a reality in two years - in Abu Dhabi in the heart of the United Arab Emirates by the Indian Prime Minister, local Sheikhs and dignitaries from around the world. Like Neasden Temple it will inspire an innumerable number of people. I also remember, with some sadness and equally some pride, what happened when the first Akshardham in Gandhinagar in Gujarat was attacked by some religious bigots - terrorists - when several people lost their lives and many were injured. In those delicate days Pramukh Swami Maharaj called for peace, harmony and forgiveness. Not one revenge attack was carried out on any Muslim mosque or place of worship in Gujarat or India - such was the power of persuasion from Pramukh Swami Maharaj. This is also a manifestation to the age-old message of Sanatan Dharma. Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam - the whole world is one family. BAPS, under the guidance of Pramukh Swami Maharaj transformed itself from a relatively smaller Hindu sect into a world wide phenomenon with over 130,000 temples which are not mere places of worship of a particualr deity but give solace, warmth and inspiration to all those young and old of different faiths and makes them better citizens of the world. Gandhinagar’s Akshardham was the stage for the Delhi Akshardham which has its own worldwide importance as will the one in Robinsville, New Jersey but an even grander one is being built in Abu Dabhi. In a Muslim region of the Middle East not well known for religious tolerance or multifaith traditions a Sanatan Hindu Temple will be created in about two years. I pray to all the vairous gods and goddesses we humans worship to enlighten our souls, educate our leaders and encourage the common folk to follow the path of peace, non violence and harmony. I must congratulate the Sheikh and other powerful people in the region and everywhere who have given us an opporetunity of a more tolerant and mutually respectful environment. P Santosh London

Hindu Gurus

I thank Ramesh Jhalla for his comments in A.V. of 10.02.18. I appreciate the contributions of ISKCON in practising and promoting Vedic Knowledge and their dedication in enriching Hindu customs, culture and heritage world over. I hold all Gurus in reverence and their selfless efforts to instil righteousness in Hindu society. However, in my humble opinion they can be instrumental in making huge difference to people’s life by landing helping hands along with the donor in poverty stricken areas in India by undertaking projects to facilitate needy with water supply, hospitals, sanitary requirements, schools or any other help deem necessary. When any project is accomplished, make it into big event with religious ceremonies and discourses and share it with wider public through media coverage. Our respected Gurus have huge potentially to overcome hardships and poverty in India sooner than later. Niranjan Vasant By email

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Brexit Turmoil

Our political system as far as Brexit is concerned is going downhill. The government’s actions defies all logic and the opposition is failing to oppose it. People feel let down by the politicians. The voice of 48% is being dismissed. Simon Jenkins said ‘We can leave the EU, but not Europe. Isolation is no longer splendid.’ The referendum verdict is to be respected but the ramifications of it has to be looked into also regarding: the single market, customs union, open Irish border, security arrangements, loss of jobs, nuclear research agreement and financial services access. According to government’s own analysis forecasting that a no-deal Brexit would hit growth across the country. Affecting the north-east going down by 16% over the next 15 years, the West Midlands by 13% and these were the areas that voted to leave. Soft Brexit will terms will not give easy one but no deal would send prices up by 21% according to the Guardian. Japanese car makers will not be able to continue operations in Britain if their access to the European market restricted or subjected to tariffs. It time all the political parties to get together to sort out this mess instead of bickering and finger pointing at each other. Although time is running out the negotiations are not moving fast enough to meet the deadline of 31 March 2019. If the pace does not pick up then we will be marching towards a national calamity. The EU negotiator Michel Barnier warned that the UK’s constantly changing and contradictory demands are putting the transition deal in doubt. Now is the time to change tactics now to get a good result. Baldev Sharma Rayners Lane, Harrow.

Is Tax Increase The Right Medicine?

The suggestion by LibDem leader Vincent Cable to increase tax to pay for NHS has received mix reception. While most people are willing to pay extra tax, a rise of one penny overall, or better still a arise at the upper end of five penny, depending on the amount of extra revenue it may generate, many have also raised concern about the waste and inefficiency in the NHS. But the main concern is that unless this extra revenue is specially ear marked for NHS, it may disappear in the bottomless pit or worse government may fiddle with the figure, reduce their contribution in line with the extra revenue generated by this special tax, thus negating the benefit to NHS. Many pundits raised the valid questions of procurement where by NHS pays over the odd for medicine which could be purchased at fraction of the price paid by NHS. Add to this the cost of Health Tourism, the scandalous cost of agency nurses, as well as doctors who may earn a month's wage by doing couple of long shifts at weekends. Add to this the ten fold increase of non clinical staffs, especially managers, along with waste, inefficiency and PFI repayments due to past unbelievable blunders are all responsible for the mess NHS is in today. The best way forward is for government to appoint All Party Advisory Board to look at NHS and make fair and free but binding recommendation that may include contributions by patients for GP and A and E visits. Without such drastic solutions, NHS will stumble from one crisis to another every winter. The poor patients, especially the old, infirm and chronically sick will pay with their lives. Kumudini Valambia From Valancia, Spain

How To Make Friends And Influence People

It is time for our PM, FS and other leading politicians to come down from,their high horse, leave their Ivory Tower sanctuary and mingle with ordinary people to understand their pain, their every day concerns, their struggle to put food on the table and cloth their children. The PM should follow into the footsteps of John Major who was considered the most humble and down to earth Conservative PM to grace No 10 Downing Street. PM has also isolated Britain on the world stage with our holier than thou attitude, behaving as if we have an empire to run and the world to police! While our government has rejected all overtures from President Putin to improve and enhance our bilateral trade relations, other EU leaders, notably French President Emmanuel Macron will visit Russia in May for the second time in a year, in response to

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The Big Clawback

As negotiations for Britain’s exit from the European Union are continuing, I was apalled to learn that Britain is being asked to pay vast sums of money, to the tune of £56 billion, as a consequence of its exit from the EU. On top of this, we are being asked to cough up billions of pounds for border security and for remaining in the customs union.It is ridiculous that the so called “divorce bill” will cost us billions of pounds. On the contrary, I would have thought that the Brirtish negotiators should try and clawback the billions of pounds which we have contributed towards the running of the EU since 1974, and in bailing out its sick partners. Make it tough for EU negotiators and ask for refund of UK’s investments in the EU projects and loans we have given to the EU. Without getting into the intricacies of the process and the exact amounts involved, as laymen, we want to see if our negotiators can clawback the vast amounts of funds we were made to contribute towards the running of the EU or towards subsidising other member countries. The monies thus reverted back to us could be put towards the much needed funds to help our ailing NHS and other infrastructures. If EU bosses fail to agree to our counter demands, we must adopt the carrot and stick approach and threaten to remove all EU nationals from our shores without giving them much choice. Dinesh Sheth Newbury Park, Ilford

Indian Soldiers

At the start of the First World War in 1914, India's enemy was Britain and not Germany. Yet one and a half million Indians enlisted and over 70 thousand died for a country not theirs. However, it is as unbelievable as it is unacceptable that the Indian contribution to the British war efforts should be classified under religious groups rather than on the national identity of the soldiers. They were all Indian soldiers who fought courageously shoulder to shoulder with the British armed forces on the battlefields of Europe and beyond and not as Hindu, Muslim or Sikh soldiers, any more than the British soldiers did as Catholics or Protestants. The announcement of the ' London National Sikh War Memorial' ( AV Feb 10), cannot be a 'National' monument if it honours only the Sikh soldiers, disregarding the Hindu and the Muslim soldiers, who fought with equal valour. For all the support that India gave, the onus surely is on Britain to say 'thank you India' way of a real 'National' monument in the name of Khudadad Khan, the first Indian ever to be awarded the Victoria Cross and who served Britain with loyalty and courage. Sadly, the Indian contribution to the two wars is also ignored by the Royal British Legion in their televised annual Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall. Repeated appeals to include the contributions of the soldiers from India and the Empire have not been unsuccessful. Watching the programme one could be forgiven for thinking that Britain won the two wars singlehanded. In this Centenary of the end of the First World War, it is very much hoped that Indian soldiers will be honoured at the Royal Albert Hall and for their great and outstanding sacrifices, the Sikhs will take pride in their soldiers, representing India. Dr. Kusoom Vadgama London President Putin's invitation, as trade relations between France and Russia is booming, thanks to naivety, immaturity and false pride of our out of touch politicians. French President Macron will be signing multi billion dollar trade agreement at the expense of Britain. How I wish we get a politician of President Macron's calibre to lead Britain out of this rot, selfinflicted wounds before it is too late. Bhupendra M. Gandhi From Alicante, Spain.

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EDUCATION

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Asian Voice | 17th February 2018

New scholarships announced for Indians

Rupanjana Dutta

The John Innes Centre has established new scholarships to honour Dr Janaki Ammal, a worldrenowned botanist, cytogeneticist and global plant geographer, for post graduate research students. The centre which is in Norwich, UK is an independent centre for training and research in plant and microbial science and world working in association with University of East Anglia. The centre formerly known as John Innes Horticultural Institution was founded in 1910 at Merton in South London under the directorship of William Bateson and moved to the current site in 1967. In 1994 the Institute was renamed the John Innes Centre. Scholarships to overseas postgraduate research students are only eligible to nationals from developing countries such as India. Other South

Asian countries on the eligibility list includes Pakistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Sri Lanka to help enable them to study for a PhD degree at the esteemed institute. Upper Middle Income Countries are not eligible for the scholarship. The award that amounts to £13,805 per year covers the difference between the Overseas and UK/EU lab-based postgraduate research tuition fees (estimated figure for 2017/18 academic year). Each award is tenable for a full-time three or fouryear PhD degree programme of study at the John Innes Centre, subject to the satisfactory progress of the student. The Janaki Ammal Scholarship is aimed at those students in receipt of some external funding. So, the students must be able to provide evidence of additional funding to cover their living costs ie £14,553/annum in the 2017/18 academic year.

Originally from Kerala, Dr Janaki Ammal (1897-1984) was one of the first women from India to obtain a PhD in Botany (Michigan USA 1931). She worked at the John Innes Horticultural Institution briefly in 1931 and 1935, followed by a longer period between 1940 and 1945. This led to the publication of the Chromosome Atlas of Cultivated Plants, which she wrote jointly with the then Director, C. D. Darlington. She ultimately returned to India to continue a long and distinguished career in science. The Magnolias that are an essential part of the charm of Battleston Hill in London’s Wisley neighbourhood, were planted during the war years by Dr Ammal, when she was working at Wisley, close to the famous Kew Gardens. There is a small flowered variety named after her: Magnolia kobus Janaki Ammal.

Gurdwaras may be soon seen as part of the British heritage Gurdwaras across Britain may be soon seen as part of the British heritage, according to a research project completed at the University of Leicester by researcher Dr Clare Canning. As a recent PhD graduate Dr Canning from the University of Leicester delivered a lecture on 7th February on her specialist area of Sikh Gurdwaras in England as part of the University’s Doctoral Inaugural Lecture series, organised by the University’s Doctoral College, academics from the College of Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities. Dr Canning’s lecture entitled as ‘Religious heritage in transition: Sikh places of worship in England’ discussed the value of Gurdwaras in England to those who use and manage them. Focusing on narrative experiences, Dr Canning spoke about the nuanced, complex and highly contextual relationship between social and religious values and the physical fabric of a Gurdwara building, as is explored in her research, published in 2017. Dr Canning said: “The development, character and significance of minority religious space in the 20th and 21st centuries has, until recently, been overlooked in heritage

Guru Nanak Gurdwara Smethwick

Dr Clare Canning

debates. In this lecture, I will discuss findings of a PhD study, completed in 2017, which considered Sikh gurdwaras in England as heritage places. “The implications of this research relate to a need to more fully debate how a range of values and understandings of place can be acknowledged within heritage practice, ensuring the appropriate future recognition and management of perceived heritage places.” It is believed prior to this study there was very little known about the development of Gurdwaras among non-Sikhs. The first Sikh place of worship was set up in the UK in 1908. Some Gurdwaras have been purpose-built and clad with imported Indian stone, while others occupy buildings once used as factories, warehouses, churches, synagogues, hotels, houses, garages and schools. The first Gurdwara, the Khalsa Jatha British Isles, was formed in 1908 by a group of Sikhs studying at Cambridge University.

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With the financial assistance of the Maharajah of Patiala it later opened in 1913 in Shepherd’s Bush, London. For several decades later, the Sikh community of the UK remained small, and the Gurdwara served the social and religious needs of Sikhs across the country. This was the only Gurdwara in the UK until the growth of the Sikh population in the second half of the 20th century and currently there are around 300. The population of the Sikhs in the UK according to the 2011 Census is 432,429. The Hindustan Times reported that Linda Monckton from Historic England said: “...Little was previously known about gurdwaras in this way but Clare’s project explored the everyday value of Sikh religious spaces and their continuing potential for evolution and adaptation into the 21st century. We are now considering them as important historic places and thinking about their management and protection for the future.”

Peers debate about extremism and indoctrination in UK schools The issue of extremism and indoctrination in schools was debated in the House of Lords last week following a question tabled by Lord Storey who asked the government, ‘what steps they are taking to ensure that children and young people are not being indoctrinated in schools.’ Peers discussed Ofsted’s (Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills) initiative in identifying unregistered schools, which resulted in the closure of 34 or so schools, the establishment of a counter-extremism hotline, which has been utilised by educators a total of 450 times since April 2015, and difficult situations in which teachers have faced intimidation when they try to address extremism or indoctrination. The issue indeed has wide implications for British society, and has affected amongst others Sikh educators. During the time of Trojan horse affair in 2014, it was reported that a Sikh heritage principal Balwant Bains, stepped down from Satley School

Lord Indarjit Singh

and Specialist Science College due to relentless criticism from an allegedly Muslim dominated board. Last month another British born Sikh, Neena Lall head of St Stephens School in Newham allegedly received a backlash following a board of governor’s decision to ban the hijab for girls under the age of eight. Following a concerted campaign by conservative elements, (part of which included a spoof video in which Lall was compared to Hitler), the school reversed their decision. This resulted in an unprecedented intervention in support of Lall from Ofsted’s chief inspector Amanda Spielman. Contributing to the debate Lord Indarjit Singh,

the Director of the Network of Sikh Organisations (NSO) said, “My Lords, does the Minister agree that all the main religions should be taught in schools and that if a school is not doing that, it is a failing school? Should not the teachings of religion be in the context of today’s times rather than literally in the language of outdated texts, which can be manipulated for the purposes of extremism? Does the Minister further agree that the teachings should focus, not so much on customs and rituals, but on the underlying ethos so that it becomes self-evident that the different religions are all pushing in the same direction?” The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Department of Education – Lord Agnew of Oulton stressed extremism had no place in British society, and a change in law meant all schools must actively promote British values. He said, “If there are any allegations of schools promoting ideologies or discrimination in the classroom, we will not hesitate to take action.”


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MEDIA WATCH

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Asian Voice | 17th February 2018

The gloves were off in Karnataka. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, addressing an election rally in Bangaluru, accused the Congress State government of ‘ease of doing murder’ instead of ‘ease of doing business.’ The tenor of the speech sounded anything but prime ministerial, more in keeping with a visiting Tammany Hall boss in overdrive. India is sufficiently polarized already and could well do with less of the poison that makes a fraught situation worse.

Minister Arun Jaitley informed Parliament of a new procurement policy in this regard. ‘To secure the country’s defences, we are developing connectivity infrastructure in border areas…I now propose to take up construction of a tunnel under Sela Pass, he said. The Pass is a critical high altitude site in Arunachal Pradesh featured in the Sino-Indian border conflict of 1962, with China laying claim to the entire State.

Rohtang, Zozila Passes Minister Jaitley referred to the Rohtang tunnel, which ensures all-weather wheeled transport to the Ladakh region in the quickest possible time. He assured the House that the 14km under the Zozila Pass, linking Kashmir to Ladakh, was progressing well. PM Modi addressing Parliament

Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, determined not to take such incendiary abuse lying down, came out of his corner and got in some telling blows of his own. ‘Modi is morally unfit to be PM, since he has been propagating lies.’ Pointing to Rajasthan, where the BJP government is on the back foot, following its recent by-election reverses, he asked, ‘Where is Modi’s acche din,’ [Good days] Where indeed. With a well timed turn of the screw, Mr Siddaramaiah referred to the Godhra riots in Gujarat riots of 2002, when Narendra Modi was State Chief Minister. Karnataka State Governor Vajubhai Vala, addressing the State legislature in Bangaluru, complemented the State government for maintaining law and order and implementing welfare schemes for the poor and for all-round development of Karnataka (Hindu February 6).

Karnataka surge in innovation As 2017 drew to a close, Bangaluru was in good cheer at the news the Dornier 228 civil aircraft would be setting up its production facility in the city’s environs. Bangaluru is where the defence public sector facility Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) is headquartered. HAL and other defence-related research laboratories, along with premier institutions such as the Indian Institute of of Science and the National Aerospace Laboratories have been located for the past few decades. It is where software major Infosys was founded in 1981. Biocon, one of India’s foremost pharmaceutical companies, is Bangaluru-based. Bangaluru retains its epithet as India’s ‘Silicon Valley.’ Karnataka received $4.7 billion in Foreign Direct Investment in the first six months of the current fiscal 2017-18 (ending March 31, 2018) (Economic Times February 7).

Indian submarine project flounders Eighteen months after an extension by the Defence

Acquisition Council for Project P- 75 (O1), the construction of six diesel electric submarines have yet to take-off as the expiry date lapses. No shipyard has been selected, as the cumbersome bureaucracy and its equally cumbersome procedure have called shots. The Prime Minister’s Office, which had delivered a rocket at the Defence Ministry over its implementation procrastination, must wield a big stick when Mr Modi returns from his Karnataka sojourn (Business Line February 6).

Submarine upgrades To make up the shortfall of submarines and ships in the Indian Navy, the Defence Ministry has programmed an upgrade of its Russian and German-made submarines presently in service. Four Sindhugosh (Russian Kilo class) and two German (HDW class) submarines were identified for a Rs1000 crore each being refitted in Russia and Germany respectively, extending their span by ten years.

Defence Corridor A defence corridor, linking Chennai and Bangaluru,has been approved. It will be a facility for defence equipment for public and private sector companies. A second corridor is to come up later, its location awaiting an official announcement (Hindu February 2).

Former Air Chief sounds warning Former Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha has issued yet another warning to a somnolent government on the protracted delay in the procurement 12 squadrons of fighter aircraft in the country’s depleted Air Force.

Indian partners Russian and German companies have selected Indian partners to collaborate in the venture. Mumbai-based engineering giant Larsen & Toubro has been selected by the Russian manufacturer to refit some of the submarines in the Mazagaon shipyard in Mumbai, with full transfer of refit technology. A similar undertaking in underway on German submarines with ThyssenKrupp supervising the transfer of technology to an Indian partner, the work also to be carried out at the Mazagaon dock. (Business Line February 8).

Upcoming tunnel in Arunachal Pradesh With continuing friction along the Sino-Indian border, connectivity is a vital security imperative for India. Hence the government is engaged in building border infrastructure as a major priority. Finance

Arup Raha

Its projection of 42 squadrons has been running short as old aircraft are taken out of service. The present Air Chief Air Chief Marshal Dhanoa has long been crying out for replacement orders to a seemingly deaf Defence Ministry (Times of India February 3).

Defence Minister’s secrecy pledge Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has told MPs that she is unable to divulge details of India’s acquisition of 36 French Rafele as she was pledged to conditions of secrecy. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley (formerly concurrent Defence Minister) made a robust defence of his embattled colleague in Parliament, arguing that Congress ministers Pranab

Mukherjee and C. K. Antony had taken a similar stand on the Rafele contract in their time. Disclosures of the money involved might have revealed the weapons system of the aircraft, thereby threatening national security. Thereafter opposition

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Upbeat Jim O’Neill

Jim O’Neill, the economist who, as CEO of Morgan Stanley, coined the acronym BRIC [Brazil, Russia. India, China] as the upcoming economic powerhouse, spoke recently of an emergent India as the economic loadstar of the first half of the present c e n t u r y . Addressing the Confederation of Indian Industry and the IndoBritish All Party Parliamentary Group, on the contribution of Indian companies in Britain and the launch of the Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman Manchester India Partnership, he Congress criticisms were toned ‘India could do so much better’ down, with the reptilian Shashi given demographic trends had Tharoor asking only for financial the potential to grow at 12.5 per detail. The controversy cent annually. continues (Hindu, Times of India Future possibilities February 7, 8, 9). Congress would have been better served by referring to Air ‘Between 2015 and 2035 just the chief Arup Raha’s warning on increase in India’s working age the continuing under-strength of population will be bigger than 12 airworthy squadrons in IAF the combined working age service, and of the government’s population of of the four largest studied silence on the Fifth EU countries….if that translates Generation Aircraft deal of cointo people actually having jobs production From which direction and they boost productivity…in comes the obstruction? my judgment India could easily repeat in the next 20 years at Start-ups spreading least what China has done in the their wings past 30 years and grow by double digits …they need to do more in order to achieve this,’ he said. He It’s the economy, stupid also stated that England’s north proclaimed former US president should focus on growing links Bill Clinton on his election trail. with India, which presented a ‘as Indian politics having plumbed big if not bigger opportunity the depths, it’s the Indian than China, given the economy and all things related demographic trend. ‘If we have to it that will surely be the this event in another 15 years I’ll country’s lifeline, now and well be saying “guess what? India into the future. A reported surge creates a New Zealand every in applications for patents is three months’ …we are not at evidence that Indian start-us are that stage yet but that’s coming blazing a promising trail of down the road.’ (Business Line innovation. In 2017, there were February 3). 909 applications submitted for patents, up nearly 15 times from Sonia Gandhi prepares the 61 filed in 2016 when a for early election meagre 61 were filed. ‘A lot of start-ups are not just inviting something, but looking at making their products and services more affordable. For example, companies are also filing patents for simple processes they have invented,’ said Parthasarathi Guha Patra, founder of Asadel Technologies – video analytics and enterprise safety company ( Business Line February 7).

Tata Motors in third quarter surge Tata Motors reported a consolidated net profit of R s1,214 crore for the third quarter of the current fiscal ending December 31, 2017. In the third quarter Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) , despite tough market conditions, continued its volume growth trajectory with strong response to its new product range. ‘We have delivered a satisfactory quarter of profitable growth,’ said N.Chandrasekaran, Chairman, Tata Motors (Hindu February 6).

Sonia Gandhi

Addressing a Congress Party Parliamentary gathering, Congress Chairperson and former president, Sonia Gandhi, said she had detected the ‘winds of change’ in the Gujarat and Rajasthan Assembly elections [in which the ruling BJP] suffered reverses, with the possibility of an early general election (Times of India February 9).


UK

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Asian Voice | 17th February 2018

Foreign Aid, Trade and Aid

"We're for freedom of speech everywhere. We're for freedom to worship everywhere. We're for freedom to learn... for everybody. And because in our time, you can build a bomb in your country and bring it to my country, what goes on in your country is very much my business. And so we are for freedom from tyranny, everywhere, whether in the guise of political oppression, or economic slavery, or religious fanaticism. That most fundamental idea cannot be met with merely our support. It has to be met with our strength. Diplomatically, economically, materially. And, if Pharaoh still doesn’t free the slaves, then he gets the plagues or my cavalry, whichever gets there first. The Commerce guys will go crazy and say that we're not considering global trade. Other will go crazy and say we haven't consulted enough. And the Arab world will just go indiscriminately crazy. No country has ever had a doctrine of intervention when only humanitarian interests were at stake. That streak's gonna end tonight." Foreign aid is in the news again, thanks to Oxfam, and whether Britain should give aid at all. I argued with Jeremy Paxman some years ago on Newsnight that one country that should have aid from Britain (Indian pride aside) is India. But the reasons are not which you may think. The argument that India is a nuclear power and rich country and therefore does not need aid is as simple as it is dangerous as it is against British national interest. In 2011, Chinese troops undertook over 50 incursions into Indian territory ‘at will’ according to the well regarding India Today magazine. These ‘incursions’ include everything from Chinese soldiers setting up camps inside India to encouraging locals to join the Chinese army. There is no reason to suppose these have diminished. In case you don’t think this has anything to do with Britain, then I remind you, that India is nestled next to Pakistan, a nuclear-armed unreliable Western ally which housed not only Osama Bin Laden,

and widely considered a training ground for International terrorism. North of India is Russia – a Western adversary – whether we like it or not. And of course then there is China. If the United Nations existed before the Second World War, rather than as a consequence of it, who would doubt China and probably Russia would have in 1939 vetoed any military action. There are two Britons. The isolationist appeasers and those who appreciate, at great national cost, what we stand for, the values we believe in of freedom of speech, tolerance, belief, as far more costly than an aid bill. If as a result of aid India buys for deterrent armaments, that is in British interests. It is a leveraged investment by Britain, because the £200m in British aid, is far cheaper than Britain thinking it can deploy aircraft carriers in the Indian Ocean and South China Seas. Better Indians defend themselves, in our interest, with our help, than we have to do it for them, in our own interests. And I would prefer the Indians buy these armaments from Britain, not least because British, unlike French ones, do have a stronger reputation for deterrence. A strong India is in the national interests of a Britain because it makes a world closer in our own image, than in the image of a China or Pakistan or Russia. And if you think what goes on in India is not our concern then I remind you, that it was Indian soldiers, who 70 years ago, made it their business to interfere in the affairs of Britain and Europe – by forming the largest ever volunteer army in history – to defend freedom. And it was British generals, who led Indian troops against Japan at the same time. The lessons of 70 years ago, are dangerously being forgotten. We remember each year not just our glorious dead, but the glorious values for which they stood. Finally the words at the start of this column were Aaron Sorkins – but I wish they were my Foreign Secretary’s or International Development Secretary’s.

Loan shark and former nurse jailed for three and a half years A loan shark and former nurse who made more than £2million while ripping off vulnerable debtors has been jailed for three and a half years after a landmark case. Dharam Gopee, 64, from Westcliff-on-Sea, Essex, bought the homes of 'desperate and uneducated' people if they failed to repay their debts of a few thousand pounds. Gopee was an unlicensed consumer-credit lender and his conviction for acting as an illegal lender is the first of its kind by the Financial Conduct Authority. He lost his licence to operate in 2012 but continued to do trade through a complex network of 20 companies. Many of those who sought his services had mortgages on their homes and Gopee took

out a security against their properties. The home owners who failed to pay up would sell their home to him at well below the market value. He took over 200 victims to court and took possession of 100 homes. Gopee denied but was convicted of two charges of engaging in activities for which a licence is required, under the Consumer Credit Act 1974 and three of carrying out a regulated activity in the UK under Financial Markets and Services Act 2000. The charges dated from between 17 August 2012 and 16 December 2016. He was sentenced to three and half years in prison, on top of a 15 month sentence he is currently serving for contempt of court in October 2017.

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Stalking: when “course of conduct over a period of time” constitutes an offence

In 2012, the offence of Stalking was added to the Statute of Protection of Harassment Act 1997. It gave rise to two different offences; simple Stalking under Nicholas Section 2A of the De Freitas act is a summary only matter; and Stalking involving fear of violence and/or serious alarm or distress, under Section 4A of the act, is an either-way offence, meaning the case can be heard at the magistrates’ or Crown Court. Course of conduct is required to be found guilty of both offences. Essentially this means acting in a way over a period of time which would constitute the offence of Stalking, a type of Harassment. As Stalking is a fairly recently added offence, the term “course of conduct over a period of time” has never been clearly defined other than to say it takes place on two or more occasions. In the recent case of R v Bahram Hekmat, Mr Hekmat was found guilty and was sentenced to 9 months imprisonment for an offence of Stalking involving fear of violence and/or serious alarm or distress. His behaviour consisted of following a 13 year old child and blowing her kisses, which took place over a 15 minute period. It is a popular view that as a society we have a misapprehension that Stalking is an offence which takes place over a number of months. Whilst that type of behaviour is seen as the “norm” when thinking about the offence of Stalking, what this recent case establishes is that the course of

conduct required can take place over a matter of minutes. The Crown Prosecution Service will be relying on this conviction when considering charging individuals at the police station. Therefore, it can be assumed that the floodgates will inevitably widen as Stalking offenders continue to be prosecuted according to the newly narrowed period within which the course of conduct can take place. Author, Nicholas De Freitas, is Director of Crime at Duncan Lewis’ Harrow branch. Nicholas has extensive expertise in all criminal matters, representing both private and legal aid eligible clients. As a Higher Rights Advocate, he has experience in a wide range of criminal proceedings and he has acted as Junior Counsel in a number of murder cases and complex fraud trials. For expert advice on any criminal defence matter, contact Nicholas De Freitas on 02031141150 and nicholasd@Duncanlewis.com. Duncan Lewis Crime Solicitors

Duncan Lewis has a significant practice defending clients in serious and complex criminal cases, including gun and knife crime. We continue to deal with full range of criminal offences from police station representation up to Crown Court trials, appeals and judicial review. Duncan Lewis' Crime Department has been recognised as a Top Tier and recommended criminal defence practice by Chambers UK 2018 and the Legal 500 2017 Edition. Contact Duncan Lewis Crime department on 0333 772 0409 for expert legal advice. For our 24 hour service call Duncan Lewis’ emergency assistance on 033 3772 0607.

Muslim schoolboy triggered terror alert with water pistol

A seven-year-old Muslim schoolboy of Pakistaniorigin triggered a terror alert after he spoke about a new water pistol at his school in northern England. His father, Mohammed Gulfraz, has accused Wycliffe CE Primary School in Shipley of targeting his son because he is “not white” and from a “Muslim family” when they sent West Yorkshire Police officers to their home last year. Police landed at their home in June 2017 after the unnamed child expressed his excitement at being bought a small water pistol to play with during school holidays. The school told the Sunday Times newspaper that its deputy lead for safeguarding was concerned when the boy “mentioned he had water pistols and then went on to say that his dad has guns”.

200,000 people a year hit by scam text messages they don’t realise they are paying to receive Almost 200,000 people a year are being hit by scam texts which they are charged for receiving. Customers can end up paying up to £4.50 a time for the unsolicited premium rate messages. The messages do not make it clear people are paying to receive them – and they are often being billed for weekly or monthly texts, which advertise competitions, gaming services or pornographic content. Industry insiders revealed that more than 500 people a day are being billed for so-called ‘premium rate’ texts. Experts said most victims do not realise they have been targeted, as

the sums added to monthly phone bills can go unnoticed. Fines against scammers charging for the texts, and in some cases phone calls, more than trebled in a year to their highest level for almost a decade. Last year, industry reg-

ulator the Phone-paid Services Authority (PSA) imposed fines of £5.1million, up from £1.4million in the previous year. Some people have been scammed over a number of years to receive messages they initially believed to be spam and deleted.

Part/Full time Male Priest & Van Driver required for Shirdi Sai Baba Temple

Priest:- Must have experience of working in Hindu Temple preferably Shirdi Sai Baba with ability to perform poojas & abhishek for the Deity. The applicant must be able to sing Aaratis in Marathi and communicate in English or Hindi. Van Driver:- Must have a Valid driving licence & permit to work full time.

for further details ring 020 8902 2311 Email: sai@shirdisai.org.uk. info@shirdisai.org.uk.Baba Malik


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COMMUNITY

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Asian Voice | 17th February 2018

“You can take an Indian out of India…. But you can’t take India out of an Indian”

Mahashivratri celebrations at BAPS Neasden Temple

IIW - Hamara India aur Hamari Hindi

Nisha Motwani Mawji With a Zeal to create a Little India within London, enthusiastic members of IIW INSPIRING INDIAN WOMEN organised an event on the republic day, focused on instilling those values of patriotism in our future generation. Once again Victoria Hall, Harrow, astounded with patriotism and we were enthralled to see little kids pumping the atmosphere with the feel of ‘Mera Bharat Mahaan’. The event aptly named, Hamara India aur Hamari Hindi, had a huge turnout and the hall seemed so small. Children born and brought up in Britain have no idea about India and what being Indian means. To keep that legacy going on within our future generation, IIW embarked upon the journey of creating such events to ensure they instil that feeling and patriotism within our next generation as well. The programme commenced with a prayer. The event was hosted by Ms Geeta Sharma , founder of Hindijunctionuk, who started with a welcome note for the esteemed guests, parents and children. The evening progressed with little children enlightening the crowd with their speech on Indian Republic Day and reason for the celebrations. A number of kids glorified the event with fancy dress where we could see kids dressed as our inspiring Freedom Fighters and role models like Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Subhash Chandra Bose, & Jhansi ki Rani. We also had Savitri Bai Phule, spreading the message to educate girl child. There was participation from kids as small as 2 years, which was

Mrs Sashirekha Rajan

a delight to watch. Lot of credit goes to the parents who had put in tremendous efforts. There were acts and dances Involving on Suhaane Din Bachpann Ke, a Tribute to Childhood in India, a medley of patriotic songs, Famous poems like ‘Pushp ki abhilasha’ (Pt.

budding entrepreneur’s stalls for Indian food and Clothing. There was ample choice right from chaat pani puri and vada pav to falafels and chinese bhel. Loads of ethnic wear options, costume jewellery, and face painting were amongst the major attractions of the event. Henna application has always been a major attraction and this event would have been incomplete without one. We could see henna artists applying them same to tiny little hands and adults alike. Some very beautiful hand painted candles took the people by awe. Our adult performers were icing on the cake and had chosen beautiful patriotic desh bhakti songs like Mile sur mera

Mahashivratri annakut offerings

Rashmi Mishra, Inspiring Indian Women (IIW)

Services longest serving female Hindu officer), Varsha Mistry (Deputy chairperson of the MPHA), Tara Patel (President of M.Y.C.A.) , Mr Guniraj Vyas, his wife Sudarshan Vyas and Ms Madhu Rai from Punjabi Society of British Isles

The festival of Maha Shivaratri was celebrated on Tuesday 13 February 2018 at BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, London (popularly known as the ‘Neasden Temple’). Maha Shivaratri is special day in the Hindu calendar for offering reverence to Lord Shiva. Swamis began the festivi-

tunity to bathe the shivaling with panchamrut (a holy mixture of milk, yoghurt, honey, sugar and ghee). In keeping with the traditions of this festival, bilva-patra (bael leaves) were also offered. An ice shivaling was presented in the Haveli entrance throughout the

Devotees praying at Mandir

Children performing on the occasion of Indian republic Day

Makhanlal Chaturvedi), and so on. Some of the participants sang and danced to the beautiful tunes full of praises for India, mesmerizing the audience with a sense of pride and joy. More than 25 children participated for Art Exhibition on the theme India and Hindi thus taking us in to the roots of our country. Mrs Sashirekha Rajan led the audience and little kids to soulful meditation through Heartfulness. Along with the performances, art and meditation, we delved into the culture of India with our

tumhara, Ae mere watan ke logo, Vande mataram… that our entire crowd were tapping their feet to and feeling proud to be an Indian. For a moment it felt like we are back in our own country , our homeland. One could feel the aura and the entire air was filled with patriotism. There were some esteemed guest, who made time from their busy schedules to encourage these children and boost the IIW team. Mr Tarun Kumar (Hindi Adhikari HCI), Mr Manish Tiwari from Here and Now Ms Purnima Raval Vyas (The Metropolitan Police

Celebrating India's Republic Day

were some of the esteemed guests. The programme finally concluded with a dance number on A.R Rahman’s Vande Matram. Former President and Missile Man of India Late A. P. J. Abdul Kalam once said, “We will be remembered only if we give to our younger generation a prosperous and safe India, resulting out of economic prosperity coupled with civilizational heritage”. Instilling patriotism for the country of origin is one way. IIW moves a step closer to that. “Jai Hind”

ties in the morning by performing the ritual bathing of the shivaling, an iconic representation of the popular Hindu deity symbolising his energy and potentiality. Devotees and wellwishers arrived at the Mandir throughout the day to offer their respects and availed of the oppor-

day providing a reminder of the sacred pilgrimage town of Amarnath in India where a natural ice shivaling exists. As part of celebrations at the Mandir, an annakut (offering of food for thanksgiving) was also decoratively assembled before the deities in the shrines.

Voluntary Departure

Life in the UK, for those who have overstayed their visas or are without a valid visa, has become very destitute. Working like slaves with only twenty percent of the minimum wage, in some cases earning just a pound or two per hour. The immigration rules have become so strict that: a) their bank account could be frozen and those who have no bank account would not be able to open one. b) they would not be able to apply for a driving license and if they have one, the DVLA would invalidate and revoke it. c) they cannot get a proper job and an employer caught employing over stayers or people without a valid document would be fined £10,000 per worker. d) they cannot rent a flat or a house with a rent book or legal documents. The property owners would be prosecuted if renting a place to such people and could be fined up to £20,000. e) they cannot access NHS

treatment and would end up paying thousands of pounds for any serious illness. f) if they are arrested, they would spend several weeks and months in a detention centre and banned from entering the UK for 10 years. People caught in this situation need sympathy, guidance and explanation as to why every route is a no entry for them. In order to assist these people, Confederation of Indian Organisations (UK) (CIO), established 42 years ago, has launched a “Voluntary Departure” project. CIO’s spokesman emphasised, “We are not working for the Home Office but working with them and Indian establishment, in order to facilitate the over stayers to return to their country either voluntarily or with assistance. CIO aims to alleviate the miserable and fearful live they live in the UK, gracefully exit and live a full and dignified life in the country of their origin”.


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UK

'The Beatles in India' documentary set to release this year

The Beatles in India, along with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Mia Farrow, and her sister Prudence

English rock band The Beatles has over the years aged like fine wine, as its resonates with the current generation as well as the old. The 60s band has a special connection with India, and their 1968 pilgrimage to the country will be extensively shown in a brand new documentary which is set to release later this year. The Beatles In India is in fact, a realisation of a lifelong journey by award-winning filmmaker Paul Saltzman who met the group during his own trip in India. The two-time Emmywinning producer-director took several personal photos of the band during the journey, and has now put all that together for the world to see. The documentary, which promises “rarely seen footage,

including in-depth interviews with the band”, reportedly speaks about how the India trip affected The Beatles' creative process during the time that succeeded the White Album. While the film does not have a release date, production believes it should be out in Autumn. Producer Reynold D'Silva said, “The idea of a Beatles in India documentary has been with me since the mid-90s. By pure coincidence, or perhaps it was fate, three separate people put me in touch with Paul early last year. It turned out he had been harbouring the idea for even longer than I had. After our first phone call, we were set on a path to produce the film together.”

Ben Kingsley to star in spy thriller, alongside Monica Bellucci

Ben Kingsley

Oscar-winner actor Ben Kingsley has signed on a contemporary thriller 'Spider in the Web' from Israeli director Eran Riklis, along with Italian actress Monica Bellucci and Israeli actor Itay Tiran. The film will see Kingsley play a highly lauded secret agent,

Monica Bellucci

Adereth, who discovers a lead on the sale of chemical weapons to a Middle Eastern dictator. Shoot for the film is set to begin in the spring. The story is inspired by real events, and the script is written by Gidon Maron and Emmanuel Nakkache.

Asian Voice | 17th February 2018

MEENA KANDASAMY: WHEN SHE HIT BACK SP

TLIGHT

invested in preserving the idea of home and commitment to family. In the case of film actresses and working women generally, they are bound financially by their industries and the trajectory that they need to accomplish: it becomes necessary to suffer to thrive in the work-place.” Thus, the real problem emerges the invisible system that surreptitiously protects “unchecked male entitlement.”

Sunetra Senior

At a time when the #MeToo movement is birthing increasingly new and nuanced dialogues about the way men are sexually relating to women, prolific writer and activist, Meena’s, latest lyrical book, When I Hit You: Or, A Portrait of the Writer as Young Wife, bursts pertinently to the fore. Not out of some biological enactment of motherhood, but because, as Meena herself emphasised, she consciously chose the professional construct of authorship. “People have told me: ‘your prose style is unusually tight -well done!’ It’s not accidentally like that s*** head– it’s because I’ve actively worked it. I’m realising a talent.” First published in early 2017, When I Hit You, is speedily gaining global traction. The story is primarily based in Mangalore, India, and gives an evocative, personal account of Meena’s entrapment in an abusive marriage. There are descriptions of controlling behaviour, escalating physical violence, and finally the horrific acts of repeated rape. It is a fierce and unapologetic piece, but is cleverly set apart from other contemporary narratives on domestic violence through its candid yet flowing creativity. As the word warrior herself told us: “having been a poet first, with short verse collections such as Touch and Ms. Militancy published before the marriage, due diligence was paid to the choice of words, metre and crafting the narrative.” This allows Meena’s story to be uniquely incisive: at once providing a valiant supplement to an existing gender critique. For example, one small line reads: ‘Lights, camera, action./Rolling, rolling, role-playing’. Immediately, we intuit the wider concept of a woman being scrutinised into her assigned place as well-behaved and submissive. Meena’s more objective role as the self-professed ‘writer as a young wife’ allows her to distance herself from her experience without losing any of the poignant clout. She also regains mastery over herself in the process. By claiming her destiny as a powerful writer, she reclaims her autonomy as a woman.

15

Photo credit: Raimund Vogel

aggressive undermining of her academic career and love of writing, and her connection to the community, but simultaneously omits huge and unexpected, chunks of the story. For example: what exactly happens after the climactic moment when she escapes, and the big interrogative hook: why she chooses to endure violence for so long. As Meena stated: “a good writer knows not to be too dramatic, especially when this was not meant to be a sensationalised story of a very real, everyday crime.” The main point is not the simplistic take-away of abused women learning to walk away sooner, or why, as one ignorant blogger writes, ‘she (Meena) does not just admit she made a mistake? Perhaps it doesn’t work with her feminist image’: it’s that being hit, held down or harangued is never, ever, the woman’s fault. At the end of the day, women are only human, and many men purposefully prey on that. Touting her stance as a survivor and a gender rights fighter then, Meena powerfully drives home this tired social hypocrisy. The strongest, smartest females can be the target *** because they are individuals before Indeed, Meena also attributes the they are women: reacting in entirely structural soundness with which she normal, acceptable ways. For examwrote, When I Hit You, to her first – ple, if someone appears charming literary - love of lyricism. and caring, and is viewed as Obviously poetry demands such by the wider world, brevity, and Meena “has why wouldn’t you also Many men carried this into her think so? If someone aren't big long-verse writing”. Her threatens you with psyenough to let first book after the marchological and physical the woman riage was The Gypsy violence, would you not Goddess. Using her sigalso buckle – perhaps take centre nature fictional fire, she more than once? “Forget stage left exposed other social deep, psychological scars issues close to her heart: the from childhood,” Meena pasinequality endured by the sionately told me when asked about ‘Untouchable’ or Dalit community, the theory of parenting informing a with whom she identifies, and class person’s vulnerability. “That’s a secand caste injustice. Here, Meena’s ondary issue – another way to particularly significant contribution entrench the idea that women have to current feminism is precisely – invited violence upon themselves.” contextually - identified. Not only She is not saying don’t get help if it is does the writer show the agency of a needed, but implores us not to make woman who has successfully rebelled this the default diagnosis. “This a against her oppressor in When I Hit socio- economic problem: an expecYou, but also the full responsibility of tation of passivity that many men, the man who has inflicted it. Yes, she especially in India, freely exploit. As shows the pain of her then husband’s a woman you find yourself culturally

After writing When I Hit You, a catharsis in itself, how did you seek to heal in the long-term? There’s no one trick. Everyone’s different. Some people do require help from trauma, or they might find themselves repeating cycles of abuse. You have to shed that past part of yourself. In that sense, it’s not simply about healing: you must also be defiant. Do what you were told you couldn’t. I’m still an ardent socialist though my former husband would accuse me of being just ‘a petite bourgeois writer’. Was it your incredible mind and education that helped you escape abuse? No, it was deeper than that. It was an innate strength that came from the people who influenced and touched my life. My mother, for example, is very kind on the surface and very strong inside. The courage to keep fighting comes from those around me: from sharing similar stories and fighting for equality across society. Do you have comment on the fragile, masculine ego? As a house-wife you face a patriarchal double-standard. On the one hand, if you simply do house chores, you’re an abject failure. If you go out and become a success, you must be sucking c***. You can’t win. I have found certain men to be very jealous of my relationship with work. Other men don’t even have to be in the picture: the husband will be competitive with any activity outside of them. A lot of men are not big enough to let you take centre stage. What makes a talented fiction writer? Being able to open up a whole new world that beckons you in. For example, Tony Morrison’s novels: they’re addictive. As well as the story, another element is the brilliance of the language and sentences. Morrison also uses beautiful metaphors. Do you have advice for individuals fighting oppression who feel they’ve lost all hope? Say to yourself: You are important. Life is beautiful, and nothing comes close to its mad, terrifying beauty and you are here on this planet to live it fully. Don't waste away. Do everything you can to reclaim your life for yourself. T:@meenakandasamy


GUJARAT FINDS STRENGTH IN NaMo Indian Prime Minister opens Hindu

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GUJARAT

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Asian Voice | 17th February 2018

Back in 2001, when then chief minister Keshubhai Patel's health began to fail and the Bharatiya Janta Party seemed on the verge of losing control of Gujarat, national BJP leaders sought a new candidate for the post. Narendra Modi was chosen as a replacement. BJP veteran LK Advani, concerned with his lack of experience running a government and also shutting out Patel, offered to make Modi the deputy chief minister. The current Prime Minister however, declined the offer stating that he would either be fully responsible for the state, or not at all.

Modi replaced Keshubhai on October 3, 2001. The time was crucial as the BJP was marred with allegations of abuse of power, corruption, and poor administration following the Bhuj earthquake in the year. Modi was administered the oath of office on October 7, 2001, and he entered the Gujarat state legislature on February 24, 2002, by winning a by-election to the Rajkot II constituency. The show hasn't stopped for Modi since then. The best part about humble beginnings is the fact that up, is the only way to go. After 12 successful years as the CM of Gujarat, Modi went on to become the Indian Prime Minister in his first national elections. Even as the state deliberated over a government without Modi at its helms, it was grateful for the development and growth the leader had brought over the years.

Godhra Riots 2002 The first and by far the biggest hiccup on Modi's road was the 2002 Gujarat riots, that brought the state to the world's attention. A train carrying a large number of Hindu pilgrims returning from Ayodhya after a religious ceremony at the site of the demolished Babri Masjid was burned, killing at least 60 people. The incident prompted a set of riots, following a bandh call by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad. Anti-Muslim violence spread through out Gujarat, with several cases still running in courts. Later, the government's decision to move the bodies of the train victims from Godhra to Ahmedabad further inflamed the violence. In a later toll, the Gujarat government informed that 790 Muslims and 254 Hindus were killed. CM at the time, Modi said the initial attack had been a terror attack planned by local Muslims. Several women and children fell victims to what ensued. The violence shockingly involved mass rapes and mutilations of women. The state administration back then was blamed of having been complicit with the riots.

Sardar Sarovar Dam

Many criticised Modi for his handling of the situation. The former RSS pracharak was accused of an “ethnic cleansing”. Even though the SIT did not find any evidence of his involvement, it is still a subject of debates today. In true Modi style, as he was being widely blamed for his role in the riots, including him turning a blind eye, Modi later threw a challenge to all saying that he should be hanged if he is guilty of collusion. He also added that if he was proved innocent, the media should apologise for ruining his image. The leader said the way he handled the media was his only regret of the incident.

Surat Floods 2006 The Diamond Capital of India, Surat saw mass destruction 12 years back, when the city saw its most destructive flooding. Over the years, Surat has faces approximately 20 floods, but 2006 almost brought its doom, as it killed over 120 people, stranded tens of thousands in their homes without food or electricity, and closed schools and businesses for weeks. Analysts said the disaster was largely preventable, and while the government called it a “natural” disaster, it was more or less imposed by a lack of knowledge on the administration's part. Heavy rainfall built up behind the Ukai Dam, approximately 100 kilometres upstream from the city. Dam managers, instead of releasing the water gradually, unleashed a deluge all at once, submerging large areas of Surat underwater with little notice. Committees concluded that the situation was created by a mismanagement of the dam operations. Destruction caused by flood waters had shaken the core of the rich city. Aid poured in from all around the world, and analysts were sure that Surat was devastated economically and would take 30 years to stand up. However, Surat sprung back into action within 6 years, shinier than before.

Cyclone 2015

Deep Depression ARB 02, or the 2015 Gujarat cyclone brought heavy rains to the Indian state in June 2015. Following a bout of heavy rains, the state was affected by floods, resulting in at least 80 deaths. The worst affected was Amreli district in Saurashtra, facing its worst flood in ninety years. Around 600 of the 838 villages in the district were flooded, over 400 villages were inaccessible with road and rail connections washed away due to flash floods, and there was no electricity. Heavy rains were experienced across the state with Saurastra and south Gujarat receiving 65.99 per cent and 37.82 per cent rainfall respectively. Torrential rains at peak accumulations of 636 mm were experienced in Bagasara, 511 mm in Dhari, and 400 mm in Variyav. Crops faced severe damage and a large number of cattle died. The Gir Forest National Park and adjoining area housing Asiatic lions was severely affected. The carcasses of 10 lions, 1670 Black Bulls, 87 Spotted Deer, nine Black Bucks, six Wild Boars, and several porcupines were recovered. 112,217 farmers suffered major or minor damages with an erosion in 134,007 hectares of land. The Gujarat State Government deployed the Indian Air Force and National Disaster Response Force for rescue and relief operation. IAF helicopters delivered over 200,000 food packets to villages, and evacuated around 4000 people from 17 villages. The government of Gujarat announced a Rs 3 billion relief package that included Rs 1.5 billion from the National Calamity Relief Fund. Other than the stated disasters, the state faced droughts, floods, a Hepatitis outbreak, and other calamities. However, Gujarat today, stands as a testimony of what Narendra Modi envisioned for his home state, and what sheer grit,

determination, and strength is capable of achieving.

Vibrant Gujarat 2003

A biennial investors' summit held by the government of Gujarat in the state since 2003, Vibrant Gujarat aims at bringing together business leaders, investors, corporations, thought leaders, policy and opinion mak-

level promenade situated on both sides of the river, with the lower level only for pedestrians and cyclists, it was made open to the public in 2012 and is today, one of the star attractions of Ahmedabad. The upper level of the promenade is used to host several cultural events, hosts large public parks, plazas, and areas for commercial and retail development.

BRTS Ahmedabad

ers. The two-day summit was first held during Navratri festival, in major cities of Ahmedabad and Surat. Then deputy prime minister of India, Lal Krishna Advani inaugurated the summit. Over the years, the global investor's meet has only grown by size, with leading foreign agencies and companies extending their involvement in the meet. Also, public and private banks continue to forward financial support to the large-scale project.

There is a lawn spanned across 40,000 square metres capable of hosting over 50,000 people. Also, the Sabarmati Ashram is connected to the lower existing steps and will be developed as an amphitheater. The Heritage Plaza along the city walls between Ellis Bridge and Nehru Bridge is designed as an open space showcasing heritage, history, and culture of the city. Activities along the are include boating, and zipline, Sunday markets, and fairs.

Sabarmati Riverfront Project 2005

Kankaria Project 2008

A waterfront project in Ahmedabad that was proposed in the 1960s, development along the banks of the river Sabarmati only began in 2005, and became one of Modi's pet projects. The major objectives of the project is environment improvement, social infrastructure and sustainable development. The riverfront helped the city restore its relationship with the river. A two-

One of the most-visited spots in Ahmedabad, Kankaria Lake is located in the heart of Ahmedabad, and has been a part of the city's history since the 15th century. Today, the lake is a hub for family events, and various activities. One would find it surprising to know that the world-class spot that attracts hundreds of people each day, once stood in a depleted, sorry state. Things changed when Modi took charge of the state. Kankaria Lake area

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was one of the first projects he undertook, as he was firm on wanting to alter the lake's image. The lake was a scene of complete chaos, with unclean ghats, traffic, unorganised street life, and a congested eating area with street food vendors. The lake was unclean and its precincts were abominable. The Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation adopted a model of service delivery of various recreational activities through in-house planning and capacity building, along with a use of capable and experienced private sector agencies. The whole project was completed in 2008 at the cost of Rs 360 million. Kankaria was transformed into a complete entertainment centre. Facilities along the area include food courts, walkways, linear gardens, musical fountains, water activities, mini train, and a permanent fair.

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Sardar Sarovar Dam 2017 Perhaps one of the most controversial constructions in the country, the Sardar Sarovar Dam is a gravity dam on Narmada river near Navagam. Four Indian states of Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Rajasthan receive water and electricity supplied from the dam. The project had begun in 1961, with the foundation stone laid out by then prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru. The second biggest dam in the world after the Grand Coulee Dam in the United States, its environmental impact and net costs and benefits are widely debated. Several documentaries have been made protesting the harms of building the major project. Modi, even after taking office of the Prime Minister, continued to fight for the dam, finally making it happen. He inaugurated the Sardar Sarovar Dam in September last year.

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Asian Voice | 17th February 2018

Temple Project in Abu Dhabi

Thousands of devotees and well-wishers from all across the world witnessed the auspicious and historic Hindu Vedic Shila Pujan that took place in Abu Dhabi on a land that was generously gifted by a royal decree for the construction of a Hindu temple. Performed by Pujya Ishwarcharan Swami on behalf of His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj of BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha, the ceremony was streamed live to a special assembly at the Dubai Opera where Prime Minister Narendra Modi, along with 1700 Indian and Emirati dig-

stone temple that will be built by 2020. “I believe this temple will not be only unique in terms of architecture and splendour, but will also give a message of 'Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam' (world is one) to people across the world,” Modi said. He also thanked Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan on behalf of 125 crore Indians. Several satsangi from the UK, including Nitin Palan, Kamlesh Patel, Hitan Mehta, and Nirav Patel specially flew to Abu Dhabi to attend the ceremony.

PM Modi unveiled a model of the temple at the Dubai Opera

BRTS 2009 Janmarg, or Ahmedabad BRTS, which was designed by CEPT University, was inaugurated in October 2009. A bus rapid transit system with a network covering 89 kilometres and a daily ridership of 2,48,000 passengers, it has won several national and international awards for design, implementation, and operation. The BRTS has 17 lines, and 150 bus stops. Initiation of the service was implemented in three different phases, with the first inaugurated by then chief minister Narendra Modi. The network expanded to 89 km by 2015. Dedicated buses for women were introduced in January 2016, all at a total cost of Rs 1200 Crore.

SPECIAL

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Ishwarcharan Swami of BAPS performs shila pujan of the new Hindu temple in Abu Dhabi in front of hundreds of devotees and community leaders

nitaries were present. Modi later addressed the gathering, and unveiled a model of the traditional

The occasion saw a impressive display of interfaith harmony, as representatives of various Indian

religious denominations and communities also stood in attendance. Following the laying of the foundation stone, Consul General of India Vipul said, “This is a historic event, rightly called the millennial moment. The first traditional stone temple built by BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha shall serve the needs of the entire community. The temple and its activities shall be pathbreaking for promoting love, tolerance and harmony in the UAE and the neighbouring regions.”

The temple will be built across 55,000 square metres of land, off Dubai-Abu Dhabi highway. It will be handcarved by Indian temple artisans. Once built, it will be open to people of all faiths. A BAPS spokesperson said that this will be the first traditional Hindu stone temple in the Middle East. The temple will cover all aspects and features of a traditional Hindu temple. Sources say that the institution will host idols of Lord Krishna, Lord Maheshwara, Lord Ayyappa, and other

Hindu Gods. The temple complex will have a visitors' centre, prayer halls, an exhibition centre, learning areas, thematic gardens and water features. There will also be a sports area, and a food court. Temple committee head and community leader BR Shetty said the construction work will be carried out diligently. “The temple should match with Abu Dabhi's landscaping. We will not compromise with the quality of the building. This will be an iconic building. It will be

largest and the best temple. This is for the future generation to pray and be disciplined in this country. We have not decided the cost of the temple yet but it should be in line with the skyline of Abu Dhabi. I think it will be not less than Dh 400 million.” He said that the temple will not be an exact replica of the Akshardham Temple in New Delhi. “No, it is different. The same people are building this. We have shortlisted the design,” he said. Shetty added, “It was never dreamt that one day we will have the temple made in Abu Dhabi. This is because of the benevolence of the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince. This is one place for everyone irrespective of caste, creed and religion. Anybody can perform a religious function there without paying a single dirham.” Top members of BAPS met His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, and PM Modi at the Presidential Palace prior to the ceremony. Ishwarcharandas Swami and Brahmaviharidas Swami presented a traditional golden amrut kalash to the Crown Prince.

NRIs who desert wives risk Legendary South Asian losing property in India photographer passes away In key changes in the code of criminal procedure (CrPC), the central government has suggested declaring NRI husbands who desert their wives in India and don't respond to court summons in the case thrice as “absconders”. Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi said properties of such people and their families will be confiscated as per the proposal. “After three summons it will be considered that the man is absconding and his name is proposed to be added to a list of absconders on the MEA website,” she said. The changes were recommended by an interministerial panel headed by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj. The panel is primarily formed to look into issues related to NRI marriage disputes. Rakesh Srivastava, secretary, WCD Ministry, said, “If three such notices have been served and the person does not appear, it will be assumed that he is evading

summons and will be treated as an absconder. The enforcement agencies will be authorised to attach the property of such persons and their families. The MEA has already written to MHA proposing the changes of CrPC.” The rising number of distressed NRI wives encouraged the government to take several steps. Around 3328 complaints from Indian women with NRI spouses were received by the MEA since 2015. The current

amendment sought by the ministry in the code of criminal procedure will allow summons put up on the website of Ministry of External affairs to be considered as “deemed to have been served”, Srivastava added. Currently, any female who has been deserted by a Non-Resident Indian husband files a police complaint, and the authorities then write to the concerned embassy. The summon is usually served by the embassy.

Maganbhai Patel, lovingly known as Masterji passed away at the age of 95. His daughter Tarla Patel tweeted the news, saying, “It was wonderful to see him recognised for his photography in his later years, and a joy for my family to see him achieve so much.” Masterji, who landed in Coventry in 1951, was already taking pictures in India using a box camera before studying photography. He soon took up his passion full-time, and set up the Master's Art Studio which he ran from the front of his home. His first exhibition was however, held in Coventry in 2016, and a book of his images was published in 2017. The exhibition that featured 70 pictures taken by him, was used as part of Coventry's bid to be City of Culture 2021. Laura McMillan, Director of Operations and Legacy at Coventry City of Culture Trust, said, “Our thoughts are with Masterji’s family at this time. We were proud to work with him, his daughter, Tarla, and the whole family as well as the team at PAM to help share his story with the world – and what an inspirational story it is. He held his

Maganbhai Patel

Two women photographed by Masterji

first exhibition at the age of 94 and released his first book aged 95 and it was lovely to see how much the recognition meant to him and his family.” She added, “And we have no doubt whatsoever that his work made a major contribution to Coventry being named UK City of Culture 2021. We talked a great deal about the diversity of the city during the bid process but Masterji’s photos were a wonderful illustration of that and have given a much better understanding of the city’s history in terms of immigration from South Asia.”


GUJARAT FINDS STRENGTH IN NaMo Indian Prime Minister opens Hindu

16

GUJARAT

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Asian Voice | 17th February 2018

Back in 2001, when then chief minister Keshubhai Patel's health began to fail and the Bharatiya Janta Party seemed on the verge of losing control of Gujarat, national BJP leaders sought a new candidate for the post. Narendra Modi was chosen as a replacement. BJP veteran LK Advani, concerned with his lack of experience running a government and also shutting out Patel, offered to make Modi the deputy chief minister. The current Prime Minister however, declined the offer stating that he would either be fully responsible for the state, or not at all.

Modi replaced Keshubhai on October 3, 2001. The time was crucial as the BJP was marred with allegations of abuse of power, corruption, and poor administration following the Bhuj earthquake in the year. Modi was administered the oath of office on October 7, 2001, and he entered the Gujarat state legislature on February 24, 2002, by winning a by-election to the Rajkot II constituency. The show hasn't stopped for Modi since then. The best part about humble beginnings is the fact that up, is the only way to go. After 12 successful years as the CM of Gujarat, Modi went on to become the Indian Prime Minister in his first national elections. Even as the state deliberated over a government without Modi at its helms, it was grateful for the development and growth the leader had brought over the years.

Godhra Riots 2002 The first and by far the biggest hiccup on Modi's road was the 2002 Gujarat riots, that brought the state to the world's attention. A train carrying a large number of Hindu pilgrims returning from Ayodhya after a religious ceremony at the site of the demolished Babri Masjid was burned, killing at least 60 people. The incident prompted a set of riots, following a bandh call by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad. Anti-Muslim violence spread through out Gujarat, with several cases still running in courts. Later, the government's decision to move the bodies of the train victims from Godhra to Ahmedabad further inflamed the violence. In a later toll, the Gujarat government informed that 790 Muslims and 254 Hindus were killed. CM at the time, Modi said the initial attack had been a terror attack planned by local Muslims. Several women and children fell victims to what ensued. The violence shockingly involved mass rapes and mutilations of women. The state administration back then was blamed of having been complicit with the riots.

Sardar Sarovar Dam

Many criticised Modi for his handling of the situation. The former RSS pracharak was accused of an “ethnic cleansing”. Even though the SIT did not find any evidence of his involvement, it is still a subject of debates today. In true Modi style, as he was being widely blamed for his role in the riots, including him turning a blind eye, Modi later threw a challenge to all saying that he should be hanged if he is guilty of collusion. He also added that if he was proved innocent, the media should apologise for ruining his image. The leader said the way he handled the media was his only regret of the incident.

Surat Floods 2006 The Diamond Capital of India, Surat saw mass destruction 12 years back, when the city saw its most destructive flooding. Over the years, Surat has faces approximately 20 floods, but 2006 almost brought its doom, as it killed over 120 people, stranded tens of thousands in their homes without food or electricity, and closed schools and businesses for weeks. Analysts said the disaster was largely preventable, and while the government called it a “natural” disaster, it was more or less imposed by a lack of knowledge on the administration's part. Heavy rainfall built up behind the Ukai Dam, approximately 100 kilometres upstream from the city. Dam managers, instead of releasing the water gradually, unleashed a deluge all at once, submerging large areas of Surat underwater with little notice. Committees concluded that the situation was created by a mismanagement of the dam operations. Destruction caused by flood waters had shaken the core of the rich city. Aid poured in from all around the world, and analysts were sure that Surat was devastated economically and would take 30 years to stand up. However, Surat sprung back into action within 6 years, shinier than before.

Cyclone 2015

Deep Depression ARB 02, or the 2015 Gujarat cyclone brought heavy rains to the Indian state in June 2015. Following a bout of heavy rains, the state was affected by floods, resulting in at least 80 deaths. The worst affected was Amreli district in Saurashtra, facing its worst flood in ninety years. Around 600 of the 838 villages in the district were flooded, over 400 villages were inaccessible with road and rail connections washed away due to flash floods, and there was no electricity. Heavy rains were experienced across the state with Saurastra and south Gujarat receiving 65.99 per cent and 37.82 per cent rainfall respectively. Torrential rains at peak accumulations of 636 mm were experienced in Bagasara, 511 mm in Dhari, and 400 mm in Variyav. Crops faced severe damage and a large number of cattle died. The Gir Forest National Park and adjoining area housing Asiatic lions was severely affected. The carcasses of 10 lions, 1670 Black Bulls, 87 Spotted Deer, nine Black Bucks, six Wild Boars, and several porcupines were recovered. 112,217 farmers suffered major or minor damages with an erosion in 134,007 hectares of land. The Gujarat State Government deployed the Indian Air Force and National Disaster Response Force for rescue and relief operation. IAF helicopters delivered over 200,000 food packets to villages, and evacuated around 4000 people from 17 villages. The government of Gujarat announced a Rs 3 billion relief package that included Rs 1.5 billion from the National Calamity Relief Fund. Other than the stated disasters, the state faced droughts, floods, a Hepatitis outbreak, and other calamities. However, Gujarat today, stands as a testimony of what Narendra Modi envisioned for his home state, and what sheer grit,

determination, and strength is capable of achieving.

Vibrant Gujarat 2003

A biennial investors' summit held by the government of Gujarat in the state since 2003, Vibrant Gujarat aims at bringing together business leaders, investors, corporations, thought leaders, policy and opinion mak-

level promenade situated on both sides of the river, with the lower level only for pedestrians and cyclists, it was made open to the public in 2012 and is today, one of the star attractions of Ahmedabad. The upper level of the promenade is used to host several cultural events, hosts large public parks, plazas, and areas for commercial and retail development.

BRTS Ahmedabad

ers. The two-day summit was first held during Navratri festival, in major cities of Ahmedabad and Surat. Then deputy prime minister of India, Lal Krishna Advani inaugurated the summit. Over the years, the global investor's meet has only grown by size, with leading foreign agencies and companies extending their involvement in the meet. Also, public and private banks continue to forward financial support to the large-scale project.

There is a lawn spanned across 40,000 square metres capable of hosting over 50,000 people. Also, the Sabarmati Ashram is connected to the lower existing steps and will be developed as an amphitheater. The Heritage Plaza along the city walls between Ellis Bridge and Nehru Bridge is designed as an open space showcasing heritage, history, and culture of the city. Activities along the are include boating, and zipline, Sunday markets, and fairs.

Sabarmati Riverfront Project 2005

Kankaria Project 2008

A waterfront project in Ahmedabad that was proposed in the 1960s, development along the banks of the river Sabarmati only began in 2005, and became one of Modi's pet projects. The major objectives of the project is environment improvement, social infrastructure and sustainable development. The riverfront helped the city restore its relationship with the river. A two-

One of the most-visited spots in Ahmedabad, Kankaria Lake is located in the heart of Ahmedabad, and has been a part of the city's history since the 15th century. Today, the lake is a hub for family events, and various activities. One would find it surprising to know that the world-class spot that attracts hundreds of people each day, once stood in a depleted, sorry state. Things changed when Modi took charge of the state. Kankaria Lake area

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was one of the first projects he undertook, as he was firm on wanting to alter the lake's image. The lake was a scene of complete chaos, with unclean ghats, traffic, unorganised street life, and a congested eating area with street food vendors. The lake was unclean and its precincts were abominable. The Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation adopted a model of service delivery of various recreational activities through in-house planning and capacity building, along with a use of capable and experienced private sector agencies. The whole project was completed in 2008 at the cost of Rs 360 million. Kankaria was transformed into a complete entertainment centre. Facilities along the area include food courts, walkways, linear gardens, musical fountains, water activities, mini train, and a permanent fair.

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Sardar Sarovar Dam 2017 Perhaps one of the most controversial constructions in the country, the Sardar Sarovar Dam is a gravity dam on Narmada river near Navagam. Four Indian states of Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Rajasthan receive water and electricity supplied from the dam. The project had begun in 1961, with the foundation stone laid out by then prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru. The second biggest dam in the world after the Grand Coulee Dam in the United States, its environmental impact and net costs and benefits are widely debated. Several documentaries have been made protesting the harms of building the major project. Modi, even after taking office of the Prime Minister, continued to fight for the dam, finally making it happen. He inaugurated the Sardar Sarovar Dam in September last year.

17

Asian Voice | 17th February 2018

Temple Project in Abu Dhabi

Thousands of devotees and well-wishers from all across the world witnessed the auspicious and historic Hindu Vedic Shila Pujan that took place in Abu Dhabi on a land that was generously gifted by a royal decree for the construction of a Hindu temple. Performed by Pujya Ishwarcharan Swami on behalf of His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj of BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha, the ceremony was streamed live to a special assembly at the Dubai Opera where Prime Minister Narendra Modi, along with 1700 Indian and Emirati dig-

stone temple that will be built by 2020. “I believe this temple will not be only unique in terms of architecture and splendour, but will also give a message of 'Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam' (world is one) to people across the world,” Modi said. He also thanked Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan on behalf of 125 crore Indians. Several satsangi from the UK, including Nitin Palan, Kamlesh Patel, Hitan Mehta, and Nirav Patel specially flew to Abu Dhabi to attend the ceremony.

PM Modi unveiled a model of the temple at the Dubai Opera

BRTS 2009 Janmarg, or Ahmedabad BRTS, which was designed by CEPT University, was inaugurated in October 2009. A bus rapid transit system with a network covering 89 kilometres and a daily ridership of 2,48,000 passengers, it has won several national and international awards for design, implementation, and operation. The BRTS has 17 lines, and 150 bus stops. Initiation of the service was implemented in three different phases, with the first inaugurated by then chief minister Narendra Modi. The network expanded to 89 km by 2015. Dedicated buses for women were introduced in January 2016, all at a total cost of Rs 1200 Crore.

SPECIAL

www.asian-voice.com

Ishwarcharan Swami of BAPS performs shila pujan of the new Hindu temple in Abu Dhabi in front of hundreds of devotees and community leaders

nitaries were present. Modi later addressed the gathering, and unveiled a model of the traditional

The occasion saw a impressive display of interfaith harmony, as representatives of various Indian

religious denominations and communities also stood in attendance. Following the laying of the foundation stone, Consul General of India Vipul said, “This is a historic event, rightly called the millennial moment. The first traditional stone temple built by BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha shall serve the needs of the entire community. The temple and its activities shall be pathbreaking for promoting love, tolerance and harmony in the UAE and the neighbouring regions.”

The temple will be built across 55,000 square metres of land, off Dubai-Abu Dhabi highway. It will be handcarved by Indian temple artisans. Once built, it will be open to people of all faiths. A BAPS spokesperson said that this will be the first traditional Hindu stone temple in the Middle East. The temple will cover all aspects and features of a traditional Hindu temple. Sources say that the institution will host idols of Lord Krishna, Lord Maheshwara, Lord Ayyappa, and other

Hindu Gods. The temple complex will have a visitors' centre, prayer halls, an exhibition centre, learning areas, thematic gardens and water features. There will also be a sports area, and a food court. Temple committee head and community leader BR Shetty said the construction work will be carried out diligently. “The temple should match with Abu Dabhi's landscaping. We will not compromise with the quality of the building. This will be an iconic building. It will be

largest and the best temple. This is for the future generation to pray and be disciplined in this country. We have not decided the cost of the temple yet but it should be in line with the skyline of Abu Dhabi. I think it will be not less than Dh 400 million.” He said that the temple will not be an exact replica of the Akshardham Temple in New Delhi. “No, it is different. The same people are building this. We have shortlisted the design,” he said. Shetty added, “It was never dreamt that one day we will have the temple made in Abu Dhabi. This is because of the benevolence of the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince. This is one place for everyone irrespective of caste, creed and religion. Anybody can perform a religious function there without paying a single dirham.” Top members of BAPS met His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, and PM Modi at the Presidential Palace prior to the ceremony. Ishwarcharandas Swami and Brahmaviharidas Swami presented a traditional golden amrut kalash to the Crown Prince.

NRIs who desert wives risk Legendary South Asian losing property in India photographer passes away In key changes in the code of criminal procedure (CrPC), the central government has suggested declaring NRI husbands who desert their wives in India and don't respond to court summons in the case thrice as “absconders”. Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi said properties of such people and their families will be confiscated as per the proposal. “After three summons it will be considered that the man is absconding and his name is proposed to be added to a list of absconders on the MEA website,” she said. The changes were recommended by an interministerial panel headed by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj. The panel is primarily formed to look into issues related to NRI marriage disputes. Rakesh Srivastava, secretary, WCD Ministry, said, “If three such notices have been served and the person does not appear, it will be assumed that he is evading

summons and will be treated as an absconder. The enforcement agencies will be authorised to attach the property of such persons and their families. The MEA has already written to MHA proposing the changes of CrPC.” The rising number of distressed NRI wives encouraged the government to take several steps. Around 3328 complaints from Indian women with NRI spouses were received by the MEA since 2015. The current

amendment sought by the ministry in the code of criminal procedure will allow summons put up on the website of Ministry of External affairs to be considered as “deemed to have been served”, Srivastava added. Currently, any female who has been deserted by a Non-Resident Indian husband files a police complaint, and the authorities then write to the concerned embassy. The summon is usually served by the embassy.

Maganbhai Patel, lovingly known as Masterji passed away at the age of 95. His daughter Tarla Patel tweeted the news, saying, “It was wonderful to see him recognised for his photography in his later years, and a joy for my family to see him achieve so much.” Masterji, who landed in Coventry in 1951, was already taking pictures in India using a box camera before studying photography. He soon took up his passion full-time, and set up the Master's Art Studio which he ran from the front of his home. His first exhibition was however, held in Coventry in 2016, and a book of his images was published in 2017. The exhibition that featured 70 pictures taken by him, was used as part of Coventry's bid to be City of Culture 2021. Laura McMillan, Director of Operations and Legacy at Coventry City of Culture Trust, said, “Our thoughts are with Masterji’s family at this time. We were proud to work with him, his daughter, Tarla, and the whole family as well as the team at PAM to help share his story with the world – and what an inspirational story it is. He held his

Maganbhai Patel

Two women photographed by Masterji

first exhibition at the age of 94 and released his first book aged 95 and it was lovely to see how much the recognition meant to him and his family.” She added, “And we have no doubt whatsoever that his work made a major contribution to Coventry being named UK City of Culture 2021. We talked a great deal about the diversity of the city during the bid process but Masterji’s photos were a wonderful illustration of that and have given a much better understanding of the city’s history in terms of immigration from South Asia.”


18

FINANCIAL VOICE-INDIA

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Asian Voice | 17th February 2018

Modi invites Omani businesses to invest in India

Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the Oman-India Business Meet in Muscat

On his three-nation tour, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi invited Omani business to invest in India, as he addressed around 50 Omani chief executives at the Oman-India Business Meet in Muscat. Speaking at the event, Modi said the reforms were aimed at preparing India for the 21st century and make it a global manufacturing hub. He said India was ushering in a knowl-

edge-based technologically driven society which presents many opportunities for Omani businesses. The PM listed some of the major reforms by the government in the last over three years, saying that India had climbed to the third position in the global Start-up Index. Earlier, during his meeting with Sultan of Oman, Qaboos Bin Said Al Said, Modi appreciated Indian expa-

triates for their contributions to the country's development. Oman houses over 8,00,000 expatriate Indians. Modi praised their roles in the Gulf country's development. Following the meeting between Modi and Sultan Qaboos, eight agreements were signed between India and Oman. These include three memorandums of understanding on cooperation in the fields of

health, outer space, diplomacy and defence studies and analyses. The India-Oman defence cooperation has emerged as a key pillar of the strategic partnership between the two countries. Oman is a strategic partner of India in the Gulf and an important interlocutor at the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), Arab League and Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA).

Australia won't fund Adani’s rail link Indian miner Adani's plans for a massive coal project in Australia has suffered a setback as the government has confirmed that it would not fund a rail link to the facility. The development of the controversial US$16 billion Carmichael mine near the Great Barrier Reef is set to be one of the world's largest. But it has been delayed by several years amid regulatory and legal hurdles. While a lease was granted in 2016, Adani is still seeking to secure funding for the first stage of a Aus$1 billion (US$790 million) government loan for the 189-km rail line linking the mine to a port.

Gautam Adani

But government frontbencher Karen Andrews said such a loan would not be forthcoming from Canberra amid opposition from the state government. "For there to be money available through NAIF (Northern Australia Infrastructure Fund), that will require the support of the Queensland (state) Labor

government," Liberal MP Andrews said. "They are not going to provide that, so the advice that I've been given from the resources minister is that the financing will not proceed." The Queensland Labour government campaigned against the rail loan last year in state elections. Andrews said she was hopeful the project would still go ahead, adding that the mine "is actually very, very important for employment and jobs in the northern part of Australia". Several global banks have already said they would avoid the project amid a growing shift away from investing in fossil fuels. There was no

immediate comment from Adani Australia. Adani last year cancelled a conditional Aus$2 billion contract with mining services giant Downer to develop and run the mine, saying it would manage the mine on its own to keep costs down. The mega mine is opposed by environmentalists, who claim it will harm the World Heritage-list Barrier Reef - already threatened by climate change - off Australia's northeastern coast. The Indian conglomerate forecasts it will produce 60 million tonnes of thermal coal a year for export and estimates it will generate 10,000 direct and indirect jobs.

Mallya loses court battle in UK, to pay Singapore company $90mn Embattled Indian liquor tycoon Vijay Mallya has lost another legal battle linked to his nowdefunct Kingfisher Airlines after the UK High Court awarded Singapore-based BOC Aviation an estimated USD 90 million in claims. The latest case involving the 62-yearold businessman, whose extradition case over alleged loan defaults amounting to around £900 million returns to W e s t m i n s t e r Magistrates' Court in London on March 16, is related to the leasing of

Vijay Mallya

aircraft by Kingfisher Airlines dating back to 2014. Justice Picken, in a judgment dated February 5 at the Business and Property Courts of the High Court

in London, ruled that "the defendants have no real prospect of successfully defending the claim". The defendants in the claim brought by BOC Aviation in Singapore and BOC Aviation (Ireland) Ltd have been named as Kingfisher Airlines Ltd and United Breweries (Holdings) Ltd. “We are pleased with the judgment but would not like to comment further at this stage,” said a spokesperson for BOC Aviation in Singapore. The legal claim relates to a leasing agreement

between Kingfisher Airlines and aircraft leasing company BOC Aviation involving four planes, of which three were delivered. The delivery of the fourth was reportedly withheld due to unpaid amounts due in advance under the lease arrangement. BOC Aviation claims that the security deposit, which is a course of redress in such matters, was also inadequate to cover the payments that Kingfisher was "contractually bound" to make, resulting in the high court claim in London.

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Air India's operating profit more than doubles in FY17

Air India has been “consistently improving” its overall performance and its operating profit doubled to £29.80 million in the last financial year. However, the net loss of the state-owned airline widened to £576.51 million in 2016-17. India's Minister of State for Civil Aviation, Jayant Sinha said, “Air India has been consistently improving its overall financial and operational performance since the implementation of the turnaround plan by the government.” Air India in an operating profit of £10.5 million, in 2015-16, while net loss stood at £383.67 million. The previous UPA government had approved a turnaround plan under which Air India is to receive a total equity infusion worth £3.02 billion up to 2021 subject to meeting certain performance thresholds. Pound 2.65 billion has already been invested in the airline. Sinha said the draft expression of interest document

inviting proposal for the airline's disinvestment is yet to be finalised by the Air India Specific Alternative Mechanism (AISAM). He said, “Formal proposals from prospective bidders would be received thereafter only. Any unsolicited expressions of interest at this stage are not relevant.” AI had an operating profit of £10.5 million while net loss stood at £393.67 million. The previous UPA government had approved a turnaround plan in 2012. The airline's total loans totalled up to £ 4.84 billion in 2016-17, including aircraft and working capital loans of £1.74 billion and £ 3.11 billion. The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs had given its inprinciple approval for considering strategic disinvestment of Air India and its five subsidiaries, in June 2016. It also constituted the AISAM, which is headed by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.

Tata Steel Q3 net profit jumps 5-fold Tata Steel has reported five-fold rise in consolidated net profit to £113.6 million for the third quarter ended December 31. The company had posted consolidated net profit of £23.2 million in the same quarter of previous fiscal. CEO and Managing Director of the company, TV Narendran said that they had delivered strong operational performance across geographies and the firm expects this momentum to continue as markets are expected to remain favourable. Narendran said the company's focus on India continues as Tata Steel looks to expand its Kalinganagar site as well as pursue inorganic growth opportunities. He said the company is progressing well on the JV with ThyssenKrupp and “We are committed to building a long-term

investment in strong European portfolio.” Narendran added, “Globally, steel prices have been buoyant with improved trade position in China along with cost push from raw materials. In India, we have witnessed strong volume growth across the verticals as well as an increase in realisations.” Executive Director and CFO Koushil Chatterjee said the group revenues saw a strong growth by improved volumes in India and stronger realisations across geographies, on the back of improvement in commodity prices.


REAL ESTATE VOICE

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EXODUS AsianVoiceNews

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Asian Voice | 17th February 2018

Today, I am heading over to Birmingham with a view of closing a few deals by the end of the week. These are small in value, but the yields are high, and we aim to make them even higher by turning them into HMOs.

Suresh Vagjiani

Sow & Reap London Property Investment

I bought a property in Birmingham about 15 years ago. The property was a new build and came with an apparent 15% ‘discount’. The trouble is, it seems that almost everyone got the discount. Therefore, it wasn't really a discount, it was market price. New build properties were often packaged this way in order for the investor to put zero or very little into the deal. Normally, the costs would be stamp duty, legals and a sourcing fee. The property was a one bedroom flat on the tenth floor of a new build block overlooking the Grand Union Canal. You would have expected the property to rise steadily along with the rental. The reality is it hasn't gone up a penny. There were periods when it had actually gone down in value, even below what we had paid. The same can be said about the rental. In fact, after the mortgage and the service charge payments, this investment is cash flow negative.  We had a similar

experience with a foray we had in Luton many years ago. Here, we purchased below market value, second hand property, not new builds. High yields. The beauty here was one could refinance almost instantly and extract the original deposit out of the deal, and still have the property producing cash month on month. Sounds good right? However, the reality on the ground was very different. The type of tenants the block attracted were the lowest of the low. Dealing with them even through Agents was frustrating, and expensive, to the point where the negatives outweighed the positives, which led us to exit all the investments. We couldn't wait to get out. However, in recent years Luton has been one of the fastest growing boroughs in the UK, with returns of over 20% per annum. It wasn't that long ago that Luton, much to the dismay and protest of the Mayor of Luton, was voted as Britain's worst borough. Property and areas move in cycles, and today's ghetto will often become tomorrow's investment destination. The shift out of London is driven by a need, not by a desire or preference. The

AGONY AGENT IS HERE TO HELP! I get asked a lot of questions about renting to students. Over the years, many myths have surrounded student living and the properties they rent, but most of these simply aren’t true. Student Myths 1. Students don’t care about location Whilst students may have limited budgets, this doesn’t mean they’ll live anywhere in pursuit of cheap rents. Ultimately, they’re looking for somewhere within a couple of miles of their University; so it’s crucial that you find a property to let that’s in the right area.

With students now demanding more, for example, properties with high quality furnishings, this myth is no longer the case. What this does mean is that landlords with student accommodation to rent will need to invest in quality furniture and fittings, with a modern interior. Don’t scrimp with cheap furnishings, as it’ll need to withstand wear and tear, and in the long run, you could end up forking more out for replacements. Students don’t mind

Specialists in Central London Property Sourcing

ability to purchase a property £300k or less has almost disappeared completely out of London now. Why is this bracket so important? It is because this is what the average couple can afford as firsttime buyers. Therefore, there is an exodus of first time buyers, who are heading out of London but within commuting distance to London. This trend will carry on, and the hotspots will be centred around the stations which provide connectivity. What the smart thing to do is to look one layer deeper and foresee which areas will rise off the back of the ripple effect of a station. This is when you will be purchasing very cheaply, and will not have any competition. A similar trend is occurring in Birmingham, an area named one of the poorest in the UK, has now the fastest house price rises. Prices in Ladywood are up 17% in a year. Prices in the B16 postcode of the city, which covers the Ladywood area, rose by 17% in the 12 months to July, far outstripping any part of London, where the property market has cooled rapidly since the EU referendum. The average house price in Ladywood jumped to

Again, this is another total misconception – students today look for a comfortable property that they’ll enjoy living in. It’s worth knowing that whilst students may not always demand the best of furnishings and decor, their parents most certainly will, especially if they’re asked to be a guarantor for the rent! A scruffy, dirty student property will most definitely struggle finding quality student tenants.

pay a low rent because of their limited budgets, it isn't true to assume that all students are like this. There is a growing demand for quality accommodation which means that students are willing to pay realistic market rents to enjoy these properties. Additionally, when a house is recognised as an HMO, the reality that the property has undergone inspection to ensure it reaches a certain standard, will draw in students looking for goodquality housing; meaning higher rents can be charged.

4. Students don’t pay much in rent

5. Student houses are too much trouble

While it's true to say that students would prefer to

Again, the clear majority of students are decent,

living in grotty properties

2. Students don't respect property

3.

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0207 993 0103

info@sowandreap.co.uk www.sowandreap.co.uk 27 Gloucester Place, London, W1U 8HU SowandReapProperties

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£172,498, from £147,121 the year before, according to a report by the mortgage arm of Barclays bank, with local estate agents pointing to an influx of young professionals and investors amid the HS2 rail project, and the building of a “super hospital” in nearby Smethwick. OBR has warned that the stamp duty cut for firsttime buyers will push up prices. Ladywood, on the western edge of the city centre, has long suffered from a reputation as a crimeridden jumble of estates, high unemployment and low pay. Last year it was named by the End Child Poverty campaign group as having the worst levels of child poverty in the UK. But cheap housing – it is possible to buy a three-bed terraced house in the area for £120,000 – has prompted a new wave of buyers to move in. Areas like Moseley, Sutton Coldfield and the Jewellery Quarter are often talked about as some of the main property hotspots in Birmingham. These areas typically command high prices and some of the best houses in the city - but they aren’t the only places that could make a great investment.

hard-working people who have been undermined by the antics of a very small minority. So, while there are some badly behaved students, most students today have too much invested in their education to cause problems for their landlord or their neighbours. Additionally, most students sign up for a year long tenancy agreement, ensuring the

We’ve found some of the lesser known places in Birmingham that could become some of the most desirable areas to live over the next few years - and where you could make a fortune. According to the 2017 Crane Survey, Birmingham is seeing the highest level of development for 15 years, with a huge focus on creating office, retail, leisure and residential areas. One of the world’s biggest banks, HSBC, is relocating out of the UK capital to Birmingham in what’s considered the ‘biggest inward investment deal for a generation’. HSBC’s new headquarters will soon sit in one of Birmingham’s largest mixed-use schemes, Arena Central. The new ‘Paradise’ development in Birmingham City Centre is also soon set to welcome a prestigious financial services company, PwC, to the neighbourhood.

consistent payment of rent – even when they’re not residing in the property during the summer months. The student accommodation sector is a buoyant one, so get in touch and let us help you to tailor your property to the student market. Richard Bond Lettings Manager Sow & Reap

Turning land into cash Get in touch about our land opportunities


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Asian Voice | 17th February 2018

Consultant Editor Financial Voice Alpesh Patel Dear Financial Voice Reader, How do you keep sane in volatile markets? When I wrote my first book, there was a very good reason I called it ‘The Mind of a Trader’. Every one of the 10 leading traders of the world I interviewed for the book told me that psychology was key to success and wealth. One of my favourite interviewees was Bill Lipschutz, who was Global Head of Forex at Salomon Brothers so pretty much the largest forex trader in the world. His Chairman was Warren Buffett.

Your Mind is Your Profit

There are many biases that influence our reasoning. Popular literature recognizes 53 different types of cognitive biases (Hilbert, 2012); however, four of them are particularly important and significantly influence risk calculations and strategic decision making (Das, & Teng, 1999). These cognitive biases are: Prior hypotheses and focusing on limited targetthis happens when a decision maker brings hypothesis and personal beliefs into decision-making process without previously inspecting the relevant data. Consequently, the decision-maker tends to overlook the information and evidence that can prove the opposite of what he thinks. This is a major problem for traders because instead of being detached and dispassionate when looking at data, they let their pre-existing trades and losses affect their future decisions. Exposure to limited alternatives- in the situation when data is incomplete, decision makers tend to focus on limited numbers of alternatives because they usually fill in the missing data with intuition instead of trying to get additional information. Traders here do trades they shouldn’t. Instead of waiting for high probability trades, instead they dive in impatiently. Insensitivity to outcome probabilities- if a manager is influenced more by the value of possible outcomes then by the magnitude of probabilities, he/she will tend to make very risky and hazardous decisions that are not based on statistical calculations of probabilities. Here the trader thinks how much money he will make, not how likely he is to make it. In trading, all we are trying to do is make small incremental gains, not huge windfalls. In trading we need high probability trades. In essence we are tying to do this: Illusion of manageability- when decision-makers intuitively believe that success is more probable than what statistical models predicted they can become overly optimistic. Consequently, they tend to overlook risks and develop illusion of control in uncontrollable situations. In addition, in these situations, they irrationally think that they can and will solve every possible problem that arose as a result of their decisions (Das, & Teng, 1999). Beware of all these biases when it comes to making money. Alpesh Patel Alpesh Patel and Juventus Football Club are Official Partners of 24Option.com brokers. Alpesh.patel@tradermind.com

Lakshmi Mittal and Ruias to battle it out for Essar Steel ArcelorMittal, the world’s largest steel producer and Numetal, the latest commodities entrant, which is backed by Ruias, will battle it out to acquire Essar Steel. On Monday, billionaire Lakshmi Mittal’s ArcelorMittal, through its India arm, placed its bid for Essar Steel, which has been put on the block through the insolvency process. Numetal has been set up in Mauritius by Ruias in a majority partnership with Russia’s leading bank VTB. Rewant Ruia, the younger son of Ravi Ruia, is spearheading the family’s interest in Numetal. Mittal said Essar Steel is a “compelling opportunity” to “enter the high growth Indian steel market”. The $69-billion ArcelorMittal recently sold its stake in Uttam Galva, which too is facing insolvency proceedings, so that it could qualify

Lakshmi Mittal

to bid for Essar Steel. One of the largest players in the country, Essar Steel owes £4.75 billion to lenders, but its total debt, including to other creditors and suppliers stands at £7.80 billion. Anil Agarwal’s Vedanta, Sajjan Jindal’s JSW Steel and Tata Steel, which were in contention, didn’t participate in Monday’s auction process. Both ArcelorMittal and Numetal have submitted an attrac-

Rewant Ruia

tive ‘cash offer’. However, there is speculation that ArcelorMittal’s bid is in excess of the loan amount due to lenders. Besides the financial proposal, ArcelorMittal’s offer included a detailed plan to improve Essar Steel’s performance and profitability. ArcelorMittal, however, did not reveal the details of the plan for Essar Steel or whether it was bidding as part of a consortium.

SBI reports first quarterly loss in nearly two decades

The State Bank of India reported its first quarterly loss in nearly two decades, after a surge in provisioning for bad loans and losses on bond valuation. Bad loans rose after the RBI directed the bank to classify loans worth £2.30 billion, largely in the power sector, as nonperforming assets. The rise in bond yields resulted in major loss for the bank, with the value of bonds dipped by £ 200 million, requiring provisioning, and profits from trading in securities dipped to £102.6 million from £490 million in Q3FY17. SBI chairman Rajnish Kumar said, “We have done an account-byaccount assessment and NPA provisions have peaked and will be coming down in coming quarters.” Kumar said that the large loan accounts against which the bank has initiat-

ed insolvency proceedings have advances amounting to £7.80 billion. The bank has already made all the statutory provisioning in respect of these loans and most of these were expected to get resolved in the first quarter of FY19. Country's largest bank, SBI reported a net loss of £241.6 million for the quarter ended December 31, versus a profit of £182 million a year earlier. The quarter turned out to be the perfect storm for the bank as it was simultaneously hit by £70 million provisions towards imminent wage revisions

100% increase in interest rates during 2018?

this means that the cost of fixing your debt has gone up 1/3 in just over one month!

Abhishek Sachdev

Fixed (i.e. swap) rates are soaring with the eagles these days. Since the start of 2018, the five year swap rate has increased sharply by nearly 30% from 0.97% to 1.24%, while the ten year swap rate has climbed 25%, from 1.21% to 1.51%. In simple terms,

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Such a rapid rise after months of stability comes on the back of expectations that the Bank of England will raise rates twice this year, after the UK economy grew 0.50% in the last three months of 2017, up from 0.40% in the

third quarter and stronger than expected. With wage growth and inflation around the 3.00% level, there is considerable pressure on the Bank to raise rates from current “emergency” levels; an upgrade to growth forecasts is expected along with an interest rate hike in May, with a further rise expected in November. As I write, the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) has just unanimously voted to

keep interest rates on hold, but struck a very hawkish that is to say, “worried” about inflation - tone in its latest Inflation Report, also released today. The MPC warned that earlier and larger rate rises would be needed to counteract the impact of the booming global economy on UK inflation. So, what does this mean for borrowers looking to hedge? The cost of securing a fixed rate £10m loan over a ten-year period has actually skyrocketed by £285k since the start of the year! It is important to remember that

and costs related to merger of associate banks with itself. Kumar said the bank has invoked the personal guarantee of the promoters, in addition to initiating insolvency proceedings against them. He said that 90 per cent of the accounts that slipped into the NPA category were from those classified as stressed and there were no stressed loans left. “We are at the end of the NPA cycle and the overall scenario looks very good,” he said. He also talked about the shift in customer engagement to alternate channels, which now account for 84 per cent of all transactions, up from 76 per cent earlier. “The benefits of the branch rationalisation that we have undergone will be felt in coming quarter,” Kumar said. swap rates fluctuate continuously and are likely to react to market news before the MPC is able to. What does the interest rate hike mean for importers/exporters? Exporters have suffered over the past few weeks; the Pound has recovered much of the ground lost against the Dollar post-referendum, and now stands at 1.40, up nearly 4.00% since January 1st. Nevertheless, there is still some distance to go before the pre-Brexit level of 1.44 is in sight. Putting that into context, your US customers would need to spend $535k more to import £10m worth of UK goods today than if

ArcelorMittal has joint venture partnerships with Nippon Steel and Sumitomo Metal Corporation to acquire assets in various global markets. A deal for Essar Steel through the insolvency process is likely to go through if the bids are in excess of the liquidation value of the company, which is placed at £22 billion. The government has barred defaulting promoters from submitting a resolution plan for getting the company back on track either directly or through front companies. However, promoters can still have a go at retaining their assets by repaying all the dues to bankers. In the case of Essar Steel, banks have not recalled the loan, which means that Ruias can bid by repaying the interest overdues and penalties.

Nano on way out in 2019

One of the most ambitious projects in Gujarat, Tata's Nano needs fresh investments before it collapses. Tata Motors MD Guenter Butschek has stated that new safety regulations mean that the Nano may require an overhaul. When asked whether this would mean a phase-out of the model, he said, “It could be one of the calls. We are evaluating. No decision has been made as yet. We would need to make quite significant investments for the upgrade of the Nano to meet changes in the regulatory environment. This is one of the calls that we need to take as we are currently reviewing our product portfolio.” you had made the sale at the close of 2017. In the current economic climate, the potential for future rising interest rates could have a significant impact on your business. You can keep track of key market rates by subscribing to our FREE market rate sheet. Updated daily, this concise summary covers swap rates (i.e. fixed rates for loans), FX rates and more. Visit our website for more details.

Tel: 020 7183 2277 www.vedantahedging.com


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PAKISTAN

Pak prez signs ordinance to rein in UN-banned outfits ISLAMABAD: Pakistan President Mamnoon Hussain has signed an ordinance aimed at reining in individuals and organisations like the LeT, al-Qaida and Taliban, which have been banned by the UN Security Council (UNSC), a media report said. The ordinance amends a section of the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA), enabling the authorities to take action against the UNSC-proscribed individuals and terror outfits, like sealing their offices and freezing their bank accounts, The Express Tribune reported. The sources in the National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA) confirmed the new move, saying the ministries of interior, finance

Hafiz Saeed

and foreign affairs as well as NACTA’s Counter Financing of Terrorism wing are working together on the matter. An official in the Presidency confirmed the development but refused to share details, saying the ministry of defence was the notifying authority. It is learnt that the authorities are bound under international obligations to take measures against such

outfits under the framework of the Financial Action Task Force - an international body that combats money laundering and terrorist financing. The UNSC sanctions list includes al-Qaida, Te h r e e k- e -Ta l i b a n Pakistan, Lashkar-eJhangvi, Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD), Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation (FIF), Lashkar-e-Taiba (Let) and others. In December, the government had planned to take over two charities belonging to Hafiz Saeed JuD and FIF - and an action plan in this connection was supposed to be submitted. Last month, the government had also banned companies and individuals from making donations to the JuD, FIF and other outfits.

Jundullah was the last organisation declared “proscribed” by the government of Pakistan on January 31, 2018 on the NACTA website. However, the JuD and the FIF continue to be on the NACTA “watch list”. Laskar-e-Taiba (LeT) was declared a banned organisation under the UNSC resolution 1267 in 2005. The US state department in 2014 had named the JuD as a “foreign terrorist organisation”, a designation that freezes assets the organisation has under the US jurisdiction. India also blamed Saeed for the 2006 Mumbai attacks, but Pakistan argues that New Delhi has failed to provide incriminating evidence against him, the report said.

One sentenced to death over blasphemy lynching in Pak HARIPUR (Pakistan): A Pakistani court has sentenced one person to death and five others to life imprisonment for lynching a student accused of blasphemy, a crime which sent shockwaves through the conservative Muslim country. Mashal Khan, 23, was stripped, beaten and shot by a gang made up mostly of students last April before being thrown from the second floor of his dormitory at Abdul Wali Khan University in the northwestern city of Mardan. "One of the accused has been awarded a death sentence, (five) were given life imprisonment while 26 have been acquitted," Saad Abbasi, a defence lawyer, said. Twenty-five others were given threeyear sentences, he added, saying he planned to file an appeal against the decision. The court sentenced

Imran Sultan Mohammad to death over his role in shooting Khan during the lynching, a crime he confessed to earlier. Ahead of the verdict, heavy security was enforced at the jail where the accused were detained, with the area cordoned off by police and elite commandos. The proceedings were held in an anti-terrorism court inside the jail for security reasons. Around 100 relatives of the accused students waited outside the prison as news

of the verdict trickled out. "A day will come that the judge will answer the God. The verdict he has announced is unjust," said Waheedullah, whose son was given a three-year sentence. The brutality of the attack, which was recorded on mobile phone cameras and posted online, stunned the public and led to widespread condemnation -- including from prominent Islamic clerics. Students who took part were rounded up

after being identified through CCTV footage from the university and video clips. An official report released months later concluded Khan was falsely accused, saying the murder was instigated by members of a secular student group who felt threatened by Khan's growing prominence as a critic of rising fees and of alleged corruption at the university. Blasphemy is an enormously sensitive charge in Pakistan, and a criminal offence that can carry the death penalty. While the state has never executed anyone under blasphemy laws, mere allegations have prompted mob lynchings and lesser violence. Since 1990 vigilantes have been accused of murdering 65 people tied to blasphemy, according to research compiled by the Center for Research and Security Studies.

Bangladesh, Myanmar to hold talks on Rohingya issue DHAKA: Repatriation of the Rohingya refugees from Bangladesh will be high on the agenda of the ministerial-level meeting to be held between Bangladesh and Myanmar in Dhaka on Friday. Dhaka would stress restoration of peace and stability in Rakhine as well as creating a congenial atmosphere so that the refugees sheltered in Cox's Bazar are encouraged to return home. Myanmar's Home

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Minister Lt Gen Kyaw Swe is scheduled to arrive in Dhaka on February 15 to hold talks on various important issues with his Bangladesh counterpart Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal. Apart from Rohingya crisis, the two sides would discuss halting smuggling of arms and drugs and full implementation of border agreement, among other issues. Bangladesh would ask Myanmar to take effective measures to stop nar-

cotics production and smuggling and end drug trafficking across the border. During his visit to Myanmar last year, Foreign Minister Mahmood Ali and Myanmar Home Minister Kyaw Swe on November 23 exchanged the long-awaited “Instrument of Ratification” of the Agreement on demarcation of the land section of boundary north of the Naf river” concluded in 1998

The two countries also signed “Supplementary Protocol on the demarcation of a fixed boundary in the Naf river” earlier agreed in 2007. In another development, the United Nations Security Council will meet to discuss the latest situation in Myanmar that has sent about a million Rohingyas to Bangladesh since violence erupted in Rakhine on August 25 last year.

BANGLADESH

Former Bangla PM Khaleda jailed for 5 years

Khaleda Zia

DHAKA: Bangladesh’s former prime minister Khaleda Zia was sentenced to five years in jail in a corruption case, a setback for the opposition BNP chief as she can be barred from contesting the next general election slated for December. Zia, 72, was sentenced by the Special Court-5 in connection with the embezzlement of 21 million takas (USD 252,000) in foreign donations meant for the Zia Orphanage Trust. In the same case, her son Tarique Rahman and four others have been sentenced to 10 years in jail. Judge Mohammad Akhtaruzzaman sentenced Zia to rigorous imprisonment and said the shorter term was because of “her health and social status.” The judge read out the abridged version of the 632-page verdict in 10 minutes while several BNP leaders were present in the courtroom. The verdict came four years after Zia and others were indicted in the case. Legal experts believe that Zia could be disqualified from contesting the next general election slated for December after the verdict. Security has been beefed up around government and non- governmental establishments

across the country ahead of the verdict. But Zia’s supporters clashed with police as she was on her way to the court. Zia on November 30, 2014 lost her last ditch effort to evade the graft trial as the Supreme Court turned down her second ‘leave to appeal’ petition challenging her indictment and asked her to face trial in the lower court. The high court earlier validated the trial in the lower court which on March 19, 2014 had indicted Zia on two graft charges brought by the AntiCorruption Commission (ACC). The ACC alleged that the two charities, the other being the Zia Charitable Trust, existed only on paper and a huge amount of money was misappropriated in the name of the two organisations while Zia was premier during the BNP’s 2001-2006 government. Others sentenced are former Bangladesh Nationalist Party MP Quazi Salimul Haq Kamal; former Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister, Kamal Uddin Siddique; and two others, including a businessman. There are more than 30 cases, including cases related to fund misappropriation, against Zia and other BNP leaders.

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AFRICA

Kenyan lawyer deported over ‘inauguration’ of Raila Odinga

Pranlal Sheth

NAIROBI: Kenyan lawyer, Miguna Miguna, has been deported from Kenya after being charged with treason over the presidential inauguration of opposition leader Raila Odinga. Miguna stated that he was forcibly made to board a flight to Canada, where he is also a citizen, via Amsterdam. The Kenyan government has argued that the decision and act to deport him was legal as Miguna had lost his citizenship under a now-defunct law. Miguna was detained after he participated in

the unofficial swearingin of Odinga as “the people's president”, which is a move considered to have directly challenged the Kenyan president, Uhuru Kenyatta. In a statement, Miguna said, “The illegitimate, despotic regime... forcefully placed me on a late night KLM flight from Nairobi to

Jaramogi Oginga Odinga

Amsterdam in flagrant violation of my constitutional rights, five court orders and common decency.” The Kenyan government lawyers marked the

Raila Odinga

swearing-in ceremony as an act of treason. Three TV networks were subsequently closed down after broadcasting the ceremony, two of which have reopened. Furthermore, fourteen opposition members also had their passports suspended. This deportation, could be considered more than a mere coincidence. In 1966, Pranlal Sheth, a barrister practising in Nairobi, was also a political activist as well as supporter/advisor of Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, Raila Odinga's father. Sheth who was said to

have been challenging Jomo Kenyatta, father of the current leader of Kenya, was also forcibly deported to India from Kenyadespite the fact that he was a Kenyan citizen. Later that year, Pranlal Sheth was admitted to Britain, where his wife and family soon joined him. He was the

Uhuru Kenyatta

founder of the still prevalent weekly Gujarati newspaper, Gujarat Samachar and was the chief editor for a year, and was also a very influential figure in Britain.

BoB pulls out of South Africa after Gupta scandal PRETORIA: The Bank of Baroda (BoB) which has been in operation in South Africa for the last 21 years has decided to exit the country. They made the decision in the wake of a scandal involving the lender’s funding of Indianorigin businessmen Gupta Brothers, accused of being cronies of the Jacob Zumaled administration. In a communication to South African customers, BoB said that it has decided to cease operations in South Africa territory in view of its strategic plan for rationalisation of branches in international markets. “The branch will stop taking new/incremental deposits and disbursing loans with effect from March 1, 2018. Further, it will cease to operate and conduct the business of a bank with effect from March 31, 2018,” the mailer said. A BoB spokesperson

Atul, Rajesh and Ajay Rajesh Gupta

said that the business of the bank in South Africa is not very significant and the exit will not have any major impact on its financials. He also said that BoB was working with the regulators for an orderly exit. In a statement, the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) said that BoB has notified the Office of the Registrar of Banks of its exit from South Africa. “The registrar, which is

part of the SARB, is in discussions with the Bank of Baroda to ensure its orderly withdrawal from South Africa so that no depositor is disadvantaged,” the SARB said in its statement. Earlier in an interview, BoB chairman P S Jayakumar said that the bank is talking to regulators around the world to shrink its presence in geographies that do not

provide a strong business as it plans to focus on larger markets where it can grow its business. According to local South African news reports, BoB had violated norms on single party exposure in its dealing with the Gupta brothers. The brothers are a reference to Ajay, Atul and Rajesh Gupta, originally from Saharanpur in Uttar Pradesh, who have set up base in South Africa. There have also been news reports that BoB has facilitated dealings between the Gupta brothers and South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma’s family. BoB had also said that it was fined an equivalent of £500,000 by the South African banking regulator. Following the penalty, BoB informed the stock exchanges that SARB was investigating allegations against the bank and it is actively cooperating and supporting these investigations.

SA President Zuma defies ANC order to resign

JOHANNESBURG: South African President Jacob Zuma on Tuesday defied an ultimatum from the ruling African National Congress to resign within 48 hours, pitching the nation into an unprecedented political crisis. The decision to ask Zuma to stand down or face being stripped of his office was taken at a specially convened emergency session of the ANC's national executive committee (NEC) on late Monday night. The meeting was called after it

became clear that nearly five days of talks between Zuma, who has been the President since 2009, and Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, who took over the ANC's leadership in December, had failed. After nearly 10 hours of heated debate, Ramaphosa and a key Jacob Zuma ally of Zuma left the tum: stand down or face meeting to drive to the "recall", a technical term for President's official resithe process of forcing an dence to deliver an ultima-

ANC official to leave their post. If Zuma is ousted by a no-confidence vote, the speaker of parliament will serve as an interim President until elected representatives chose a new head of state. However a "defiant" Zuma demanded a three month "notice period" before resigning, an ANC official said.

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Marry two or more women, Tanzanian men told

John Magufuli

DODOMA: Tanzanian President John Magufuli has urged men in his country to marry two or more women in a bid to curb prostitution among women. Magufuli said a lot of unmarried women are being forced to commit adultery with other people’s husbands due to 'lack of men to marry.' He said that Tanzania has 40 million women compared to 30 million men. “I am not forcing you, but just encouraging you to marry two or more wives to reduce on women staying without husbands”, the head-of-state told a conference of about 14,000 men who were receiving training in various life

skills in the commercial capital. “Our women are crying every day due to lack of men to marry and support them economically hence they engage in prostitution. So please try to work hard and be productive so that you can help our women by marrying two or more wives provided you are able to provide for their basic needs," he added. He quipped that men who would heed to his plea would receive 'small incentives' from the government provided they don't mistreat their wives. Tanzania has the highest level of prostitution in East Africa among young girls and women.

SRI LANKA

Rajapaksa's party wins Lanka local bodies polls COLOMBO: Sri Lanka's former President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his party, the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP), have won a local government election in the island nation after the party won 239 local bodies out of 340, the Elections Commission said. The ruling United National Party (UNP) led by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe won 41 local government bodies while the ITAK, which represents the minority Tamil population, won 34. The Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), led by President Maithripala Sirisena, won 10 local bodies. Following the government's defeat, President Sirisena met ministers from the SLFP who are part of the unity government and said he would bring noticeable changes within the coming days. "The people of the country have voted for a change and I will respond positively to their message and introduce necessary changes as soon as possible," Sirisena told his cabinet ministers.

Mahinda Rajapakse

Prime Minister Wickremesinghe in a meeting with his UNP ministers also said that the election result was a "wake-up call" for the UNP and he intended to take some drastic decisions to put the government back on track. Both the President and Prime Minister said they would continue the unity government till its full term which ends in 2020. Speaking to reporters in the capital, Rajapaksa said that following his party's victory, they would now work towards developing the grassroots levels in order to gain economic stability.


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Asian Voice | 17th February 2018

India urges UN to send fact-finding Saudi national team to Maldives cultural festival

NEW DELHI: India is working with its international partners to ask United Nations to send a fact-finding mission to Maldives so that impartial observers can assess the situation on the ground and nudge the Abdulla Yameen government into restoring democracy. The move is part of hectic back-channel manoeuvre New Delhi is currently engaged in to exercise diplomatic options to deal with the crisis in the island nation following President Yameen's decision to impose an emergency and place the supreme court chief justice under arrest. The situation in Maldives came up for discussion between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Donald Trump. Sources said most countries are looking to India to take a lead in dealing with the problems in Maldives given its proximity and ability to influence events in the archipelago. "Both leaders expressed concern about the political crisis in Maldives and the importance of respect for democratic institutions and rule of law," the White House said in a readout of the phone call between Trump and Modi, the first this

Abdulla Yameen

year. Given Yameen's proximity to China which has invested heavily in his regime, the India-US convergence is significant. At the moment, India is exploring "diplomatic options" to get Yameen to see sense. However, highlevel sources said all options remain on the table if normalcy was not restored in keeping with international opinion. India earlier refused a request from Maldives to send a special envoy, foreign minister Mohammed Asim who had travelled to Abu Dhabi expecting to board a plane for New Delhi. After India's snub, Asim went to Islamabad. There is almost no likelihood that India will recieve any special envoy from the Yameen government in the near future. Earlier, Maldives asked China to provide "security"

Mohamed Nasheed

for its investment in Maldives, a thinly veiled request for troops. China refused. In a statement, India said "We note that China has said that Maldives government has the ability to protect the security of Chinese personnel and institutions in Maldives. We hope that all countries can play a constructive role in Maldives, instead of doing the opposite". Over the past few days, international voices calling for Yameen to return to some sort of democratic rule are increasing despite China, Yameen's primary backer, calling for dialogue between political parties in Maldives. Yameen refused to meet senior European diplomats who were the first foreign dignitaries to visit the troubled nation since his crackdown. Envoys from

the European Union, Germany and Britain arrived in Male. German Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Jorn Rohde, said the trio requested meetings to discuss Yameen's crackdown. "Sadly the Maldivian government refuses dialogue with my UK/EU colleagues... Our requests were unfortunately refused," Rohde said on Twitter. "That is surely not the way forward".

Opposition seeks foreign intervention Hours after Yameen declared a state of emergency, the opposition called for other countries to intervene. Ali Zahir, deputy leader of Adhaalath Party (AP), demanded an immediate intervention to resolve the turmoil as the situation continues to worsen after the arrest of top judges and politicians. Zahir said, "This is the time for other countries to help us. I wonder what the international community is waiting for to happen. Do they want to help us only after we become another Syria?" Citing concerns, he added, "President Yameen first hijacked and dysfunctioned the parliament and now he has done the same with the judiciary."

In a first, PIO gives a press briefing in US White House WASHINGTON: In yet another landmark moment, an IndianAmerican stood behind the White House briefing room and for the first time became the face of the US administration. Raj Shah, 33, a Republican who is formally deputy assistant to President Trump and also the deputy White House press secretary, held centerstage in the James S Brady briefing room, becoming the first Indian-American to speak for the US government. Although he was just standing in for the regular press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who is on vacation, it was a historic moment for IndianAmericans despite the community’s high profile as a model and successful minority, given the Trump administration’s purported antipathy towards immigrants. Indeed, immigration issues featured high on the day’s topics, even as scores of Indian-

Americans demonstrated outside the US Congress in bitter cold seeking a resolution to the green card backlog that has put high-skilled professionals and their children in a spot. Shah, himself a son of Indian immigrant professionals (mother a dentist and father an engineer), had a reassuring message for them: the Trump administration is committed to ending the diversity lottery visa (which gives nationals of every country a shot at emigrating to the US) to help reduce the green card backlog (which would favour India). “I think the president wants to see legal immigration reform. He wants to see us move from a process of extended family chain migration toward merit-based immigration reforms,” Shah told reporters during his briefing. Trump himself confirmed the position later in the day tweeting: “Time to end the visa lottery.

Congress must secure the immigration system and protect Americans.” But the rest of the briefing was a rough initiation for Shah as the White House press corps, largely liberal leaning, bore down on him over the administration’s latest travails and flubs: the exit of Rob Porter, a White House minion forced to quit earlier this week after his two ex-wives accused

him of domestic violence. Shah had to tread a delicate line of acknowledging that the White House hadn’t handled the situation well (“I think it’s fair to say we all could have done better dealing with this,” he said), while defending reports that senior White House officials handed Porter greater responsibilities even after stories emerged of his alleged domestic abuse.

Raj Shah

honours India

that includes Minister of RIYADH: Al Janadria, the State for External Affairs national cultural festival V K Singh, members of the of Saudi Arabia that has Federation of Indian India as the 'Guest of Chambers of Commerce Honour' country this year, and Industry (FICCI), who was inaugurated by India's are the Industry and exeexternal affairs minister cution partner for the Sushma Swaraj. The festiIndian Pavilion at the val was begun in 1985 Janadria festival. under the patronage of The India Pavilion the ruling monarch. This provides glimpses of trayear too King Salman bin ditional and modern Abdulaziz Al Saud is the India. There was displays patron of the festival, the and presentations by minbiggest cultural festival of istries/departments such the Gulf that brings to life as Indian Ordnance the culture and heritage of Factories Board, Indian the oil-rich desert kingSpace Research dom of 32 million people. Organisation, Ministry of From the rich tapestry AYUSH, India Tourism of colours, aroma of deliboard, Ministry of cacies, reverberating Shipping, Ministry of sound of music to insightTextiles, Handicrafts ful intellectual debates, the two-week long festival has something for all. The year 2018 marks the 32nd edition of the festival. Organised every year by the Saudi National Guard, a primary goal of this festival is to highlight Saudi Arabia's Islamic identity, display its national heritage and help preserve it for generations to come. However, Al Janadria is not only aiming to educate its own citizens on its Sushma Swaraj inaugrating culture, it also aims the festival to acquaint its people with the cultures Promotion Council, of other countries. For Ministry of Food this purpose, every year Processing Industries, the country nominates a Skill Development, Digital "Guest of Honour" at its India, and Make in India, festival. This year the choamong others. sen country is India. The On the traditional country that has been front, the pavilion repreaccorded this honour gets sents India's socio-culturto present facets of its al heritage, folklore, tradiculture, business opportutional costumes, Indian nities and scientific, techperfumes, bridal cosnological, medical and tumes, artefacts, calligramilitary progress. phy and food. The festival The invitation to India features a variety of activfor this prestigious festiities, including a camel val is a testament to the race, horse race, sports, growing relationship dance, arts, history, falbetween Saudi Arabia and conry, and traditional arts India. Sushma Swaraj, and crafts. who led a large delegation


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Asian Voice | 17th February 2018

SOUTH

DMK against Jaya's portrait

CHENNAI: An hour after a seven-foot high portrait of late chief minister J Jayalalithaa was unveiled in the Tamil Nadu assembly by Speaker P Dhanapal, the DMK moved the Madras high court seeking to remove it, as Jayalalithaa was "found guilty of corruption charges by the Supreme Court." When the court commenced its proceedings, DMK counsel P Wilson made an urgent mention and requested the court to take up the plea on an urgent basis. However, the court said it would take up the case at the earliest since it had to some prior

her guilty of corruption charges, he said. In view of her demise, she was not sentenced and appeals against her were treated abated. At the same time, the co-accused were convicted, sentenced and attachement of their properJayalalithaa ties ordered. The DMK cases to deal with. had already moved the According to the petitionhigh court seeking to er, Jayalalithaa was found remove the photos and the guilty in corruption name of Jayalalithaa discharges. She was originally played and mentioned in convicted by a special government offices, buildcourt; later the same was ings, public sector underset aside by the Karnataka takings and government high court and on appeal, schemes, he said. the Supreme Court found While the facts being all the accused, including so, the Speaker arbitrarily

took a decision to unveil a portrait of Jayalalithaa in the assembly hall on Monday. Claiming that the decision of the Speaker was unconstitutional, the counsel said, "It is antithetical to standards of morality and probity enshrined in our Constitution and expounded by the Supreme Court of India from time to time." The advocate then sought the court to grant an interim direction asking the authorities to forthwith remove the portrait of Jayalalithaa from the precincts of assembly, pending disposal of the above plea.

Jaitley's outreach fails to pacify TDP NEW DELHI/VIJAYWADA: Unhappy with finance minister Arun Jaitley's statement in Parliament on the allocation of funds for Andhra Pradesh, the second in the last few days, TDP president and Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu is reported to have told his party MPs that "the Centre is behaving in such a way that it is making people of AP feel that they are not part of the nation". Naidu, who was in Dubai, called an emergency tele-conference meeting with TDP MPs, including two ministers in the Union Cabinet. He directed the MPs to continue with their protests in Parliament, TDP

Chandrababu Naidu meeting Arun Jaitley

sources said. TDP MPs read out Arun Jaitley's statement in Parliament to Naidu during the tele-conference. Some of them told Naidu that TDP should keep up the tough stance towards the

Centre. TDP sources said they have been pushed to the corner by the BJP leadership. "Naidu expressed unhappiness over the Centre's response in the last few days and asked us to keep up the protest in

Parliament," Tota Narasimham, TDP floor leader in the Lok Sabha, said. Naidu will hold another tele-conference with his MPs later, sources said, adding that a firm decision would be taken based on the outcome of the talks between AP government and Union government officials on revenue deficit and externally aided projects. Some TDP members, including state HRD minister Ganta Srinivas Rao, said if required, TDP will walk out of NDA. Meanwhile, BJP sources expressed their unhappiness over TDP's muscleflexing and said that such brinkmanship could strain equations.

NORTH

Another shocker: 19-yearold gangraped in Haryana SONEPAT (HARYANA): A 19-year-old girl, who was returning home after getting her Aadhaar card ready, was raped by three people in Sonepat, Haryana, including the driver of the vehicle she boarded, the police said. The girl alleged in her police complaint that on 4 February, while she was returning from Sonepat city, three men along with the driver of the jeep she boarded took her to the fields nearby and raped her, Sonepat police station inspector Dalbir Singh, said. A case has been registered against three accused and one of them was arrested, he said, adding that further investigation was on. The Haryana state has been marred by reports of multiple rapes in the recent past. In January, three gruesome rape cases were reported in a matter of a week, shocking the entire nation. The body of a 15-

year-old girl with her private parts mutilated and liver ruptured was found near Budhakhera village in Haryana’s Jind district, after she left home for her tution classes. Her body was found on 12 January. As many as 19 different injury marks were reported to have been found on her body. A woman who was walking back home from work in Faridabad on 14 January, when a car with four men pulled up beside her and she was dragged inside. After raping her for two hours, she was dumped near Ballabhgarh. On 15 January, a 11year-old girl in Panipat was on her way from home to dispose garbage nearby when two men allegedly took the minor home, murdered her, and raped her later. The offenders had allegedly burnt her clothes after raping and murdering her, in an attempt to destroy evidence.

Punjab CM Amarinder welcomes Canadian Ministers' stand on Khalistan

CHANDIGARH: Ahead of Canadian Prime Minister Justim Trudeau's visit to Amritsar, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh welcomed a statement by two Canadian federal Ministers of Indian-origin that they did not sympathise with the Khalistan demand. Amarinder, who had refused to meet Indian-origin Canadian Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan during his visit to Punjab in April last year, said he was looking forward to meeting Trudeau. In a statement, Amarinder welcomed the "categorical denial by Sajjan, the first Sikh to be Defence Minister of a western country, of taking a pro-Khalistani stance, and congratulated Trudeau for creating the necessary environment against secessionist forces (demanding separate Sikh homeland) believed to be operating from his country".

Amarinder Singh

"Sajjan's statement, carried by the Canadian Press, said that he and fellow Sikh Minister Amarjit Sohi, 'neither sympathise with nor espouse the Sikh nationalist movement, which is bent on creating a separate country called Khalistan in India's Punjab region' indicated that the Canadian Prime Minister had clearly sent out a strong signal within his party and government that he would not allow his country's soil to be used for any anti-India activities," the Chief Minister said.

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WEST BENGAL

BJP promises free phones, jobs in Tripura

Arun Jaitley along with party leaders Shahnawaz Hussain and Himanta Biswa Sarma releasing BJP’s vision document

KOLKATA: Agartala: BJP released its 28-page ‘Vision Document,' promising employment opportunities for every household, free education for women up to the graduate level, a college in every constituency and, in a push to its Digital India initiative, free smartphones for youths. “The manifesto reflects Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s development agenda,” Union finance minister Arun Jaitley said, releasing the document. Besides promising brick housing for those who don’t have homes, free health insurance for all BPL households and drinking water for everyone, the party said it would implement the 7th Central Pay Commission for state government employees, regularize all contractual government employees, and provide minimum social security pension of Rs 2,000 and minimum wages of Rs 340. Bringing those accused in the Rose Valley

scam to the books also features on the party agenda. The focus is on sector-wise development - connectivity, mobility, infrastructure development and urban amenities - to invite more investment opportunities to the state. Dormant sectors will be revived and new industries will be set up. The party has also promised it will fill up more than 50,000 vacant state government posts. “We are committed to bring transparency in public employment policy, which is lost today because of nepotism under the Left Front rule. If a BJP-led government comes to power in Tripura, the state and the Centre will work in a coordinated manner, so the state can prosper,” Jaitley said. Criticizing Congress for underdevelopment in Tripura, Jaitley said the main opposition of the region had betrayed the people of the state, which helps BJP to grow in northeast as a whole.

Teacher arrested for ‘sexually harassing’ Class 2 student KOLKATA: A dance teacher of a prominent girl’s school in Kolkata was arrested for allegedly sexually harassing a Class 2 student for the last six months, police said. The accused was charged under sections of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act after the girl’s mother lodged a complaint with the police. The mother came to know that her daughter was being sexually harassed when the child refused to go to school. The child revealed that she was being harassed by the teacher after the mother prodded. Angry parents demanding action against the accused teacher gathered in front of the school. They also alleged that there are no closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras inside the campus and questioned the presence of male teachers in a school meant only for girls. Authorities deployed

policemen at the school to tackle the situation. Two police officers were injured in a scuffle with the agitating parents. State education minister Partha Chatterjee said the government would look into the matter if there were lapses on the part of the school. “There are safety guidelines laid down by the state government. The school authorities should also keep a vigil that such incidents do not take place,” Chatterjee said. “It’s despicable. Are there CCTV cameras to keep an eye on what’s happening? It’s all the more necessary where girls study,” the minister added. School authorities did not issue any statement but Sudeshna Ray, a member of West Bengal Commission for Protection of Child Rights, said they did not deny the allegation and were “sympathetic to the victim and her family”.


HERITAGE HISTORY

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Asian Voice | 17th February 2018

Dr. Hari Desai

Chhatrapati Shivaji, a Ruler for Hindavi Swaraj • Maharaj can be rightly called the founder of the modern secular state • Dara Shukoh was preferred, writes Maratha King to Raja Jay Singh Right from the day of independence, Mantralaya, the seat of the state government in Mumbai, does everything in the name of Shivaji. Even in 1966 when Bal Thackeray and others floated Shiv Sena, a regional political party inspired by Balasaheb Desai, the then Congress Minister, they continue to claim following Shivshahi for the welfare of the people. An ardent follower of Adolf Hitler and his concept of benevolent dictatorship.

T

he trend of statues and memorials of the iconic kings and leaders is flourishing in India. So is the case of the 17th century great Maratha King, Chhatrapati Shivaji. His birth anniversary, as recognized by the Government of Maharashtra, is on 19 February. Shivaji has been a real God for Maharashra where all the present day rulers, irrespective of any political party, swear by his name, though they may interpret his concept of Hindavi Swaraj as per their convenience. Right from the day of independence, Mantralaya, the seat of the state government in Mumbai, does everything in the name of Shivaji. Even in 1966 when Bal Thackeray and others floated Shiv Sena, a regional political party inspired by Balasaheb Desai, the then Congress Minister, they continue to claim following Shivshahi for the welfare of the people. An ardent follower of Adolf Hitler and his concept of benevolent dictatorship, late Thackeray openly claimed that he did not believe in Lokshahi but preferred Thokshahi. Till 1984, the Shiv Sena continued to support Congress party, even the Emergency imposed by late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. Later preferred to join the Hindu bandwagon lead by the Bharatiya Janata Party(BJP). Of late, to claim closeness to Chhatrpati Shivaji, both the Nationalist Congress Party(NCP) lead by Sharad

Pawar and BJP lead by Narendra Modi preferred to send the descendents of Shivaji to the Parliament, Udayan Raje Bhosle of Satara to Lok Sabha and Shambhaji Raje Bhonsle of Kolhapur to Raj Sabha respectively. The present BJP-Shiv Sena government in Maharashtra raised the original Rs.300 Crore proposal of the previous Congress-NCP government to Rs. 3,600 Crore to establish a 192-metre- tall statue of the iconic Maratha king, Chhatrpati Shivaji, 1.5 KM off the coast in Arabian Sea near Mumbai. Prime Minister Narendra Modi performed “jalpoojan” and laid the foundation for the megamemorial of Shivaji on 24 December 2016. Chief Minister Devendra Fadanvis along with Shiv Sena Chief, Uddhav Thackeray, and both the descendents of Maharaj, Udayan Raje and Shambhaji Raje, accompanied the PM in the hovercraft. Credited with setting up an Empire fighting the Mughals and other Muslim rulers, Shivaji espoused the ideology of Hindavi Swaraj. The description put forward by Colonel Anil Athale (Retd.) presents perfect picture of Shivaji and his H i n d a v i S w a r a j : “Shivaji’s call

Shambhaji Raje Bhosle of Kolhapur, BJP MP and a descendent of Maharaj

for Hindavi Swaraj gave a concrete shape to the social urge in Maharashtra. The ideological foundation of Shivaji’s kingdom ensured that he assured the co-operation of the entire population. He had popular support cutting across caste divisions that enabled him to perform feats like the celebrated raid on Shaista Khan at Poona or his escape from Mughal custody in Agra. The natural corollary of Shivaji’s call for Hindavi

Chatrapati Shivaji, who established Hindavi Swaraj

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him killed along with his brothers and after imprisoning his father, declared himself the Emperor. Fundamentalist Islam suited Aurangzeb to strengthen his control over the Mughal Empire and that led to gradual fall of Mughal dynasty too. When he re-imposed the hated “jijya”, a tax that had to be paid by Hindus, Shivaji wrote to him : “ In this land Muslims, Hindus, Christians and other people have stayed

Udayan Raje Bhosle of Satara, NCP MP and a descendent of Shivaji

together without any the Southern India. The problem. Your own great full text of the letter is grandfather Akbar was available in the well known for his toler“Shivkaleen Patra Sar ance to all faiths. Your Sangrah Part-I” edited by imposing of this tax will N. C. Kelkar and D. V. Apte lead to terrible hardship published in 1930.The for poor people and your Chhatrapti writes: “The empire will not survive. lion never is afraid. But if I The Quran is God’s revelapull out the sword, the tion and it does not make Hindus from both the distinction between God’s sides would be at children. In the mosque, loss…If your sword is the Muslims give Azaan capable enough, while the Hindus ring attack the enemy bells in temples- what is of Hindus and the difference?” wipe him out. We Aurangzeb may have the would have largest empire but he preferred ruler could experienced like Dara Shivaji’s foresight coming Shukoh.” Dara true even before he died in was the eldest 1707 after 50 son of Emperor long year Shahjahan and was set to be Next Column: r u l e . Though the ruler of Mahatma and Shivaji, a India as Quaid-e-Azam on secular M u g h a l Bhagat Singh king, could Emperor. He was be the ruler for like his great grandjust six years, he continfather, Emperor ues to be alive in the heart Akbar, respecting the of Indians world over. Hindus and (The writer is a SocioHinduism. political Historian. E-mail: Unfortunately, haridesai@gmail.com) Aurangzeb got

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Swaraj was his wooing of Rajputs. It would not be an exaggeration to say that the Mughal empire in reality was not Mughalat but a Rajput-Mughal coalition, Shivaji’s greatest success was that while he fought the misrule of the Muslim sultans and emperors, he managed to win over sizable numbers of Muslims to his side.” One should not be surprised to know that not only his grand-father, Maloji Bhosle, and father, Shahaji Bhonsle, but even Shivaji served the army of Muslim rulers; Nizamshahi, Adilshahi and even the Mughals. The title of Raja to Shivaji was given by the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb ! Though Shivaji established his own Empire in 1674 declaring himself a Chhatrapati, the King, and could rule over it for a brief period of six years, he was so popular r u l e r that even

today the historians with rightist tag like Setu Madhavrao Pagadi or leftist one like Govind Pansare would praise him alike. When Aurangzeb sent his army under the command of Raja Jay Singh to kill or capture Shivaji, the Maratha warrior writes a long letter to the Army Chief of the Mughal Emperor to convince him “not to serve the Mughals” and “to join hands” with him to wipe out the Muslim rule from

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Asian Voice | 17th February 2018 Continued from page1

Looking West: Modi's three-nation tour

Modi met with His Majesty King Abdullah II of Jordan, who described the Grand Collar of the Eventhough the country the meet as a beginning of State of Palestine on Modi sees India's growing relaa new chapter in bilateral in recognition of his key tionship with Israel, offities. Their talks covered contribution to promote cials believe it will not topics like the Palestinian ties between India and compromise India's supcause, and Jordan's role in Palestine. The honour is of port to their issue. protecting Islamic and the highest order Christian holy sites in given to foreign Jerusalem. The King dignitaries, includalso highlighted the ing kings and key role played by heads of governIndia in promoting ments. Modi security, stability and accepted the fighting terrorism. respect, saying The meet, which also bestowing the saw Acting Prime honour on him was Minister Mamdouh a matter of proud Abbadi in attendance, moment for India. was focused on coorModi also visitdination and consuled the West Bank, tation between the without travelling two countries in difto Israel, a gesture ferent fields. to show his policy Spokesperson of the Ministry of PM Narendra Modi with King of Jordan His to “de-hyphenate” India’s relations External Affairs Majesty Abdullah II Bin Al-Hussein with Israel and the Raveesh Kumar tweetPalestinians. In his visit to In his meeting with ed, “The Prime Minister West Bank, he laid a Abbas, the two leaders expressed sincere thanks wreath on the tomb of fordiscussed the full potential for logistical support mer PA president and PLO and range of ties between extended for smooth facilchairman Yasser Arafat. He both the countries, after itation for his Palestine also toured the Yasser which, they signed six visit.” Modi's visit to Arafat Museum. “At Abu agreements worth around Amman was the first by an Ammar’s tomb, I had the $50 million including a Indian Prime Minister in opportunity to pay my $30 million super speciali30 years, and needless to respects. He was one of the ty hospital in BeitSahur. say, it was fruitful. great leaders of our time,” Three agreements were Modi said. made in the education secPalestine tor worth $5 million, and Next, Modi met one MoU for procurement UAE Palestinian President of equipment and machinFor ages, Indians have Mahmoud Abbas in ery for the National migrated to the Gulf for Ramallah, becoming the Printing Press, and one for business. Survived their first Indian Prime Minister construction of a centre for strict rules, conditions, to make an official visit to empowering women were and in more cases than the country. He was rensigned. Speaking at a joint one, atrocities, for the sole dered a red carpet welpress conference with reason of financial growth. come in an official cereAbbas, Modi said, Ironically, the Indian PM is mony at the presidential “Palestine and India enjoy now luring all of the profcompound, called strong, historic relations its back home. Modi's secMuqata'a. India has historthat have withstood the ond visit to the country, he ically been a strong suptest of time, and our supdid a lot more this time, porter of the Palestinians, port for the Palestinian than give a fiery speech. In establishing ties with the issue has become a fixed one of UAE's gestures to Palestine Liberation element of our foreign polwelcome NaMo, Dubai's Organisation in the 1970s, icy.” Abbas meanwhile, iconic skyscraper Burj recognising the 'State of acknowledged that the Khalifa lit up in the Palestine' in 1988, and Indian leadership has colours of the Indian flag. sending millions of dollars always stood by peace in The Indian tricolour was in aid to the West Bank Palestine. displayed every hour for and the Gaza Strip. Abbas also conferred Taj Mahal, India's biggest attraction and one of the world's most famous buildings, is turning a sludgy yellow-brown colour, prompting calls for urgent action. The monument is being badly affected by pollution which has caused the 400-year-old building's white marble to become discoloured. Now Indian judges have told ministers that more must be done to protect the iconic building from the smog coming from polluting industries nearby, which conservationists have long fought to close. India’s Supreme Court demanded a detailed plan to protect the historic site, warning the state government’s ad hoc approach was putting it in jeopardy. Judges told the Uttar Pradesh to produce a ‘vision document’ outlining its plan for protecting the wonder of the world, which must be published within a month. But years

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Taj Mahal turning yellow

of interventions - including using mudpacks to draw the stain from the stone - have failed to arrest the slow decay of the iconic building. The court expressed concern about a ‘sudden flurry of activities’ in the buffer zone around the monument which was intended to protect it from pollution. The state government

was also told to notify the court how many trees had been planted in the buffer zone before any further greenery was felled for construction works. The Taj Mahal was built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan as a tomb for his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal, who died in child birth in 1631. It has attracted world leaders and royalty, including

UAE residents to admire, during Modi's visit. Modi met UAE Vice President and Prime Minister Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, and discussed different ways to expand bilateral cooperation in trade, defence, and people-to-people contacts. He was also called upon by business leaders from Gulf Cooperation Council countries, where he shared his vision of a “new India”. Modi also met Prime Minister of Kyrgyzstan Sapar Isakov on the sidelines of the World Government Summit in Dubai. On day two of his visit, he arrived in capital Abu Dhabi, and held wideranging talks with Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan. Both the sides signed five agreements, including a historic pact awarding a 10 per cent stake in offshore oil concession to a consortium of Indian oil companies. Earlier, Modi had addressed Dubai's Indian community at the Dubai Opera House, with expats calling it a historic occasion. In a joint statement held by both the countries, an intention to hold the first-ever joint naval exercises was stated. This visit highlighted Modi's stress on his Look West policy. Not only does the Gulf Cooperation Council hold strategic and commercial importance for India, the leader's vision of SAGAR demands strong partnerships. Not to forget, India's gradual emergence as an important market for Gulf oil economies. One of the most iconic moments of the visit was however, Modi witnessing the foundation stone-laying ceremony of the first Hindu Princess Diana, who was famously photographed alone on a marble seat there in 1992. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge sat on the same bench at the end of a week-long royal tour of India in April 2016. Hollywood couple Catherine Zeta-Jones, 48, and Michael Douglas, 73, also posed outside the famous monument with their children in December last year. In 2016 nearly 6.5 million people visited the monument, situated in the city of Agra on the banks of the Yamuna river in the state of Uttar Pradesh. But last month the government announced plans to cap visitor numbers to reduce wear and tear. Anyone wanting to see the main crypt, which houses the couple’s spectacular marble graves inlaid with semi-precious stones, will also have to pay for a more expensive ticket.

PM Narendra Modi being received by the Deputy Prime Minister Oman, Fahd bin Mahmood Al Said

temple in capital Abu Dhabi. (Details on Page 17).

Oman

Modi arrived to the Sultanate on a two-day visit, and was received by His Highness Sayyid Fahd bin Mahmoud Al Said, Deputy Prime Minister for the Council of Ministers. He held talks with the Sultan of Oman, Qaboos bin Said Al Said, discussing measures to strengthen cooperation in trade and investment, energy, defence, security, food security, and regional issues. Ruler of the nation since the early 1970s, Sultan Said is a student of former President Shankar Dayal Sharma in Pune. Both the sides signed eight agreements, including pacts on cooperation in defence, health, and tourism. One of the agreements now allows the Indian navy to use facilities at Duqm port in Oman. The port will act as

India's entry point for wider West Asia and Eastern Africa, a development that is welcome in light of China's strategic assets in the Indian Ocean region. They also signed an MoU on legal and judicial cooperation in civil and commercial matters, an agreement on mutual visa exemption for holders of diplomatic, special, service and official passports, and an MoU on cooperation in the field of health, tourism, and peaceful uses of outer space. An agreement on cooperation between Foreign Service Institute, Ministry of External Affairs, India and Oman's Diplomatic Institute, was also signed. On the second day, he addressed the Indian diaspora at the Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex in Muscat. He said ties between both the countries have always remained strong despite the ups and downs in political environment.

TTD trains Dalit, tribal priests A quiet social reformation is apparently in the making in Andhra Pradesh, with the abode of Lord Venkateswara as the epicentre. With the idea of reviving “Bhakti movement” among the sociallyexcluded sections, the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) and the State Endowments Department have jointly conceived a programme to train Dalits and tribal people in priesthood. First, the local elders of a Dalitwada or tribal hamlet identify their favourite God to be consecrated in the temple proposed to be constructed by the TTD and unanimously propose the person to be trained in priesthood. Eighty per cent of the hamlets chose Ram temple, while the rest picked Venkateswara, Ganapathi, Shiva, Durga etc. “Interestingly, we are

constructing a temple even for Sevalal Naik, revered by the Lambada community,” says N Muktheswara Rao, TTD’s Special Officer (Projects). The plan is to train 500 youths in priesthood and employ them in as many new temples built in their localities. “By March-end, 10 batches of 30 to 40 each will be fully trained in topics such as temple system, role of a priest, idol worship and the link between a temple and society,” says scholar and course coordinator P. Chenchusubbaiah. About 120 temples have already been consecrated and 300 are in various stages of progress, to be ready by March-end. Apart from the TTD’s contribution of Rs 5,00,000, the dwellers have pooled in their own money in many instances to spruce up their temple.


HEALTH & LIFESTYLE

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Asian Voice | 17th February 2018

Health Benefits Of 27 Important Spices From Around The World Spices play a significant role in the way we cook and consume food around the world. Every spice has its own flavoring and essence, and its addition or omission can literally make or break a dish. Spices are known to have several health benefits; in fact it's the addition of a bouquet of spices, that make traditional indian home-cooked food one of the healthiest meals eaten around the world. Here's a list of 38 different spices which you should start adding to your meals for healthy living. 1. Allspice: It is a kind of berry that combines flavors of pepper, nutmeg, and cinnamon for a powerpacked flavour dose. It helps in digestion, has anti inflammatory properties, improves circulation, promotes dental health, enhances immunity and promotes heart health. 2. Celery Seeds: Native from the Mediterranean region, celery seeda are also used as tea. It treats menstrual problems, lowers anxiety, treats your joints problem, lowers uric acid in the body and lowers inflammation. 3. Cinnamon: Cinnamon is a favourite household

spice which has been used throughout the world for ages. It has large number of antioxidants which protects body from body diseases and have many antiinflammatory. Cinnamon forms a part of many exotic

dishes and is currently trending because of its ability to reduce a tummy bloat. 4. Cayenne: It is grown in the tropical and sub-tropical regions of India, Africa, United States of America and Mexico. It has various health benefits, it aids in digestion, stimulates blood circulation, has anti bacterial properties and helps in weight loss too. 5. Cassia: It Is usually sold as a form of cinnamon. It used in cooking and has many healthy benefits which helps the whole

A client walked in and got a sentence tattooed on his back. A few hours later, the customer called, demanding a refund. Client: You did my tattoo backward! Tattoo artist: It’s backward? Client: Yes! I’m looking at it in the mirror right now! ********************************** A passenger in a taxi tapped the driver on the shoulder to ask him something. The driver screamed and lost control of the cab, nearly hit a bus and drove up over the curb, stopping inches from a large window. For a few moments everything was silent in the cab. Then the driver quietly said, “Please don’t do that! You scared the daylights out of me.” The passenger, who was also frightened, apologized and said he didn’t realize a tap on the shoulder could startle someone so much — to which the driver replied, “It’s really not your fault. Today is my first day driving a cab. I’ve been driving a hearse for 25 years.” ********************************** The checkout clerk at the supermarket was unusually cheerful even though it was near closing time. “You must have picked up a ton of groceries today,” a customer said to the checker. “How can you stay so pleasant?” “We can all count our blessings,” the clerk replied. “The hardest part of this job is the turkeys and the watermelons. I just thank God that Thanksgiving doesn’t come in July.” ********************************** When Dave ran out of gas, he called his friend Nick to pick him up in her car. They went to a gas station, filled a gas can, and returned to his car. After a few minutes, he got into Nick's car again. "We need to go back to the gas station," Dave said. "One gallon wasn't enough?" Nick asked. "It would have been if I'd put it in the right car."

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body run properly, it also helps in boosting the immune system, maintains healthy digestion. It is also known as an effective antidepressant which keeps your body and mind relaxed and at peace.

6. Caraway Seed: They are a good source of dietary fibre. They are used as tea and as a seasoning. It contains various essential vitamins like A, E, C as well as a number of B-complex vitamins. They remove harmful free radicals from the body. It is known to be a really effective treatment for cough. 7. Dill: It has many vitamins and minerals which are beneficial for the body. It has many health benefits which includes, aiding digestion, managing insomnia and as a quick cure to hiccups. Dill is also known the regulate menstruation and helps take care of our oral health. 8. Frankincense: It is a type of sweet gum. It has been used for centuries for its healing properties. It is also used in aromatherapy which provides you with many health beenfits as it helps you to cure chronic stress, reduces pain and boosts immunity. 9. Fennel: This spice is a rich source of dietary fiber. Its powerful antioxidants helps in removing harmful free radicals from the body and promotes a healthy being, it helps fight aging and other degenerative neurological diseases. 10. Fenugreek: It improves digestion, is known to increase libido in men, promotes milk flow in mothers, helps those suffering from eating disorders and also reduces inflammation. 11. Horseradish: It is a bitter spicy root. It is has antioxidants properties which help to reduce skin damage. 12. Juniper Berries: They are usually used to detoxify the body and promotes healthy digestion and skin health. They also has natural antiseptic and antioxidant properties. 13. Licorice: It has various benefits which include helping in digestive issues, stomach ulcers, colic, heartburn and any ongoing inflammation in the stomach. 14. Mace: Mace is the outer coat of the nutmeg

seed. It aids your appetite, helps manage stress and enhances blood circulation. It also acts as a fragrance, has anti inflammatory properties and protect your kidneys. 15. Mustard: This seed comes from the ground and has a spicy flavor. Native to the temperate areas of Europe, mustard helps reduce pain, stimulates appetite and relieves symptoms of arthritis. 16. Nutmeg: It improves bad breath, helps detox the livers, helps you to sleep well and is known to improve the texture of your skin. 17. Paprika: Peppers are used both in whole and powdered forms. Powdered paprika has many benefits and its flavor is quite mild. A rich source of anti inflammatory agents, paprika helps lower blood pressure and promotes eye health. 18. Peppercorns: Its a rich source of vitamin K, manganese and iron. It aids weight loss, is a good ingredient for diabetic people and balances blood pressure. 19. Saffron: It helps manage asthma, aids in menstrual problems and soothes dry skin. 20. Savory: It has antiseptic properties, cures throat, aids in digestion. 21. Sumac: Antioxidants make sumac once of the most healthy spices to eat. Antioxidants help neutralise the effects of freeradical damage that could lead to many severe illnesses in the long run, including cancer. Anti-oxidants also help delay the signs of aging. 22. Star Anise: It has antioxidant properties which has vitamin c, and has anti fungal uses and improves women's health. 23. Sesame: This seed has a nutty taste. It has cholesterol lowering compounds, helps balance hormones, and crucially boosts nutrition absortption. 24. Tabasco Pepper: It fulfils your vitamin C needs. It has almost zero calories. It helps control metabolism, cures arthritis, and prevents soar throat. 25. Turmeric: This spice is packed with antioxidant, anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-carcinogenic, anti-mutagenic and anti-inflammatory properties. It is good for your brain, relieves arthritis, prevents cancer and has healing properties. 26. Jalapeno Pepper: They are rich with antioxidants, cures muscle aches. 27. Galangal: Eating galangal helps relieve the pain in the stomach and abdomen because of inflammation or other diseases.

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...

Take sick children to pharmacies first

Parents of young children with minor illnesses should take them to pharmacies rather than GPs or A&E, a new NHS England campaign says. It follows a survey which found just 6% of parents with under-fives would go to a pharmacist first. NHS England's Stay Well Pharmacy campaign is urging people to visit their local pharmacist first to help save the service money and free up time for the sickest patients. It said each year there were about 18 million GP appointments and 2.1 million visits to A&E for so-called self-treatable conditions - costing the service the equivalent of more than 220,000 hip replacements or 880,000 cataract operations. Its survey of more than 2,000 people in England found 35% of parents of children under five would go to a GP if their child had a minor illness, such as earache, diarrhoea or stomach ache, while 5% would go directly to A&E. The NHS survey also found that only 16% of adults would go to a pharmacist first if they were similarly unwell.

Schools struggle to get mental health help, says survey A survey of UK head teachers has found that nearly half are struggling to get mental health support for their pupils. A total of 45% of 655 of school leaders quizzed by children's mental health charity Place2Be said it was a problem. The survey - carried out to mark this week's Children's Mental Health Week - found 44% of head teachers said knowing what type of support was needed was a barrier to them providing mental health support for pupils. And 37% said they did not feel confident in commissioning a counsellor or therapist. The charity also surveyed 1,198 counsellors and psychotherapists currently working in schools and found 34% said providing services in schools was difficult.

Scientists discover safe UV light to kill flu virus in public spaces Researchers have discovered a special type of untraviolet (UV) light that can kill airborne flu viruses without harming human tissues, according to a new study. Broad-spectrum ultraviolet C (UVC) light, which has a wavelength of between 200 to 400 nanometers, has been routinely used to kill bacteria and viruses by destroying the molecular bonds that hold their DNA together. By contrast, the study found that continuous low doses of far-UVC light, which is around 207 to 222 nanometers in wavelength, is capable to inactivate more than 95 percent of aerosolized H1N1 flu virus in a lab setting. Moreover, earlier studies have proved that far-UVC light is not harmful to the human body.

Reason why women are more prone to suffer stroke decoded Researchers have found that stroke disproportionately affects women as compared to men due to factors such as fluctuations in naturally occurring hormone levels, early age of menarche and menopause. According to the researchers, stroke is a leading cause of disability that affects 55,000 more women than men each year. For the study, published in Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association, researchers delved into the scientific literature to investigate evidence about risk factors that are unique to women.

Why you feel hungry after weight loss You may have thought that it’s down to your body being used to you eating more food and it just needs to adjust, but you would only be partly right. It actually comes down to the levels of the hunger hormone, ghrelin, in your body, according to new research. Experts from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology have discovered that when we lose weight our stomachs produce more ghrelin, thinking it needs you to consume more calories.


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Asian Voice | 17th February 2018

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Shivani Rajasekar to make her Tamil debut E

‘The Window’

The Window is a drama about an artist’s struggle between staying true to his art and giving in to the ruthless reality of life. Lekh fights with his own demons of angst, arrogance, selfishness, and denial while not being ready to compromise with the art that he thinks cinema is.

AB Sr in Suriya's next?

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irector KV Anand has reportedly got a thumbs up from Lyca Productions for his new film with Suriya. Industry sources said the director is now in talks with Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan to play in the soon-to-be-titled film. The movie will be Suriya's 37th film. Both, the actor, and Anand have worked earlier together in two films, 'Ayan' and 'Maatthrraan', with the former turning out to be a blockbuster at the box office. On the work front, Suriya has completed the first schedule of his upcoming with director Selvaraghavan, and the second phase is likely to start in Thanjavur shortly. The movie sees Sai Pallavi and Rakul Preet Singh as the female leads.

Lyca Productions to join hands with Mani Ratnam

ver since Shivani's pictures (daughter of star couple Rajasekhar and Jeevitha) started doing the rounds, there was a lot of buzz regarding her film debut. She was recently signed on to play the female lead in a Telugu film, a remake of the Bollywood film '2 States'. And now, Shivani will be making her Tamil debut opposite Vishnu Vishal in a yet-to-be-titled film, to be directed by newcomer Venkatesh. An elated Shivani says, "I got a call from Vishnu sir's studio asking me to send some of my portfolio pictures. Later, I met the director and Vishnu in Chennai for a story narration. I really liked the heroine's role. But things weren't

confirmed that day. A few days later, they told me that I was on board." Shivani says that the story is set against a rural backdrop. "Vishnu sir has a knack of choosing interesting scripts. This one, too, is a different film. It is a love story and there is a lot of scope to perform. I can't wait to begin shooting for the film in April," she says. Shivani, who is doing her third year in medicine, says that she always wanted to become an actress. "I grew up seeing my parents work in the industry and have always wanted to become an artiste ever since," she says.

'Padmaavat' creates record in Chennai

I’m not getting married:

Shriya Saran

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ctress Shriya Saran denied speculations that she is all set to tie the knot with her Russian lover in Rajasthan next month. The actress is reportedly in Russia now, to meet her prospective in-laws. While Shriya responded with a 'It's false, I'm not getting married', her mother Neerja said, "No, it's all rumours that keep resurfacing. She has to attend her friend's wedding in Rajasthan and had ordered clothes and jewellery for it. In fact, she has to attend both, a relative's and a friend's wedding this month and in March. That's probably why this has gone viral." While Shriya has Karthick Naren's 'Naragasooran' in Kollywood, she's busy with 'Gayatri' in Telugu. She's also part of Prakash Raj's 'Tadka,' which is a remake of his 'Un Samayal Arayil,' in Bollywood.

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ctors Ranveer Singh, Deepika Padukone and Shahid Kapoor’s 'Padmaavat' was released 3 weeks ago and has won positive reviews and support from audiences across the country. According to a report, at the end of its third weekend run in Chennai theatres, it has collected £450,000 (approximately). It has managed to hold around 96 shows by the end of third weekend and has emerged as the highest-ever grossing Hindi film in Chennai. When Deepika was asked about her Valentine’s Day plan this year, she has reportedly given a surprising answer. The actress has gone on to say that, every day has to be celebrated as a day of love and that is how she intends to celebrate the much talked about V-day as well.

Nayanthara may do a horror film now

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ce director/producer Mani Ratnam has decided to produce his next film 'Chekka Chivantha Vaanam'in collaboration with Lyca Productions. For the last 25 years his films were produced by Madras Talkies. So his next film 'Chekka Chivantha Vaanam' will be produced in collaboration with Lyca Productions. Ever since 'Roja' happened, Mani Ratnam has always been making films under his own production banner Madras Talkies and some big banners like Reliance and Thenandal Studio Limited have only collaborated to release his respective films like 'Raavanan' and 'Kaatru Veliyidai.' However with his new film, he has finally decided to go with Lyca Productions, who will be jointly producing this venture with Madras Talkies.

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irector Sarjun KM, who created a buzz with his short films, 'Lakshmi' and 'Maa,' will be directing Nayanthara next. Sarjun has already completed his debut feature film, 'Echarikkai Idhu Manithargal Nadamadum Idam (EMNI),' which stars Varalaxmi Sarathkumar, Sathyaraj, Kishore and Vivek Rajagopal. Talking about how he managed to rope in Nayan, he says, "I have been in touch with

producer Kotapadi Rajesh for the past few months. After the release of my short film, he had asked me if I had any script for Nayanthara. I told him a one-line. He was impressed and arranged for a meeting with her. I gave a one-hour narration to Nayanthara and she, too, liked the script and agreed to star in the film." The film will be an out-and-out horror movie. "It is a serious hor-

ror film, not a horror comedy," he says. Sarjun says that the film is likely to go on floors in the next 2-3 months, though he adds that the rest of the cast and crew are yet to be decided. Meanwhile, he has been flooded with positive responses to 'Maa.' "While 'Lakshmi' had an equal number of positive and negative responses, for 'Maa,' it has been almost entirely positive, and people are liking the theme," he said.


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Jeetendra accused of sexual harassment AsianVoiceNews

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eteran a c t o r Jeetendra has been accused of sexually assaulting his cousin 47 years ago, a charge that he has rubbished as “baseless and ridiculous”. The complainant who hasn't been named, said the actor, whose actual name is Ravi Kapoor, is her aunt's son, and that with the passing away of her parent's she can now speak the truth without fear of hurting them. In a complaint written to the Director General of Police, Himachal Pradesh, the complainant said the incident took place in Shimla in January 1971, when she was 18 and Jeetendra was 28. She said he had “arranged” for the victim to join him from New Delhi to Shimla on the sets of a film he was shooting for, and after reaching the place at night, an inebriated Jeetendra went to her room which she was supposed to share with him, joined two twin beds and sexually assaulted her. Police sources in Shimla said an FIR had not been registered as the complaint had been emailed to the DGP, and for the registration of an FIR, signature of the complainant was necessary. Jeetendra, meanwhile, has denied that any such incident had taken place. His advocate Rizwan Siddiquee issued a state-

Akshay Kumar's upcoming to hit gold!

T ment in Mumbai, saying the allegation was “baseless and ridiculous”. It said, “Foremost, my client specifically and categorically denies any such incident. Besides even otherwise such baseless, ridiculous and fabricated claims cannot be entertained by any Court of law or the law enforcement agencies after a span of almost 50 years.” Siddiquee added that the law did not give any person “any rights or liberties of making any baseless... claims against any man publicly and seek to defame him with a hidden personal agenda. Media is therefore advised to cautiously refrain from giving any importance to such ridiculous, baseless and fabricated claims, and they should not participate in any way whatsoever in defaming or assassinating the character of any man in such cases.” The statement also questioned the timing of the complaint.

easer of the highlyanticipated Akshay Kumar starrer 'Gold' is finally out and it oozes patriotism. The opening sequence of the period film starts with Akki in a drunk avatar where is he frustrated for playing in English Hockey team. He later decides to coach the Indian hockey team and we see the inspiring journey of the the Indian team winning its first Olympic gold medal as a free nation. The film is special because of the lead protagonist, television star Mouni Roy, a sultry goddess who will make her big screen debut with the best in the industry. With a stellar fan base, and remarkable talent, Roy is a promising

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the early 19th century. Directed by Vijay Krishna Acharya, the Yash Raj Films production will see stars of the industry, Aamir Khan and Amitabh Bachchan together onscreen for the first time. Parts of the film have been shot in Morocco, Thailand, and India. Katrina had earlier posted a photo with the two stars and captioned it, “#Thugs.”

Asian Voice | 17th February 2018

Bollywood actress. 'Gold' will also be the very first association between Akshay Kumar, and Excel Entertainment led by Ritesh Sidhwani and Farhan Akhtar. Inspired by true events, the film is about India's first Olympic medal win as a free nation in 1948 at Games of the XIV Olympiad, London. The film is directed by Reema Kagti, of 'Talaash' and 'Honeymoon Travels Pvt. Ltd.' fame, and is scheduled to hit the screens on August 15 this year. Also in the movie are Kunal Kapoor, Amit Sadh, and Sunny Kaushal in pivotal roles.

Alia and Varun to play Nisha and Prem? T here are reports of a 'Hum Aapke Hain Koun' remake and we are freaking out! Sooraj Barjatya's 1994 sentimental musical hit the screens over two decades and the buzz now is that Rajshri Productions is keen on remaking their modern-day classic. Interestingly, RP's Facebook page also conducted an open poll recently, asking fans who they would like to see in the much loved lead roles originally played by actors Madhuri Dixit and Salman Khan. The poll asked for suggestions for actors who could regenerate the simple yet beautiful chemistry between Nisha and Prem, and the thing worth noticing is that they only offered two options, 'Alia BhattVarun Dhawan' in one category and another one being 'Others'. People on the internet were so amped up with the poll that around 2000 people voted. And to top things, Renuka Sahane, who played the adorable

Katrina glitters in 'Thugs of Hindostan'

s much as makers of the much-hyped 'Thugs of Hindostan' want to maintain a tight secrecy around the film, a new set of leaked pictures have emerged from sets showing actress Katrina Kaif clad in a skimpy gold costume. Taken during the shooting of the title song of the film, Kat looks like a vision with her outfit properly paired with gold head ornaments and thick anklets. The film is said to be based on Philip Meadows Taylor's 1839 novel 'Confessions of a Thug'. The film focuses on a gang of thugs who had posed a challenge to the British Empire in India in

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Zayn Malik records his first Hindi song T

aking his Indian fans by surprise. young heartthrob Zayn Malik has announced that he has recorded his first Hind song for a Bollywood movie. Speaking in an interview with Elle India, the former One Direction member revealed, “It's one of the first songs I've sung in full Hindi, so it's going to be cool to see what the respons to that is.” The 'Pillow Talk' singer who is of Pakistan-origin, detailed his love of Bollywood movies, having watched them as a kid. “Before I can even remember on the TV. Bollywood is so impeccable. If you ever get a chance to watch a good Bollywood movie, watch 'Devdas'!” The 25-year old spoke about his multi-cultural

bhabhi in the original, has pitched Alia and Varun for a remake. “Revisiting 'Hum Aapke Hain Koun' would surely bring something different this time around. If it's remade for the younger generation, I think they'd like to see the characters in a modern sort of way.” Sahane also added, “'Hum Aapke Hain Koun' is a very family-oriented film, where everyone loves each other. It started this whole plethora of Sangeet, Mehendi functions at all family weddings and that has not gone out of fashion yet, so, definitely, a 'Hum Aapke Hain Koun' remake would still work and I'd love to see Alia Bhatt and Varun Dhawan play the new-age Nisha and Prem.” Both, Alia and Varun have grown to become B-towns's absolute favourite on-screen couple, and are currently set to star in Dharma Productions' 'Shiddat'. They have collaborated in three films, making a debut together, all that went on to become hits.

musical taste to the magazine, telling them he has dipped into his Pakistani roots again for his next album. 'Mind of Mine', he said will resonate a lot with his roots, “There's definitely a lot of Urdu; some nice qawwali sounds. There might even be some bhangra vibes. I have worked with AR Rahman on one song,” Malik confirmed. The news sent the Indian twitterati on a frenzy, with tweets pouring in on the “fantastic” news. One user wrote, “I CANT WAIT TO SEE WHAT ZAYN IS DOING WITH BOLLYWOOD”, while another said, “the fact that zayn is expanding his music career & dipping into the Bollywood scene is literally making me scream”


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UK

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Asian Voice | 17th February 2018

Oadby furniture company sold dangerous sofas before abusing customers A businessman sold potentially dangerous furniture and when people complained they were abused by his staff. Abdul Farooq Dad, pictured, has been running Maymun Ltd since 2009 and employs around 40 people. In 2015/16, it had an annual turnover of £3.9 million and made a profit of more than £100,000. But in early 2017 the business came under the radar of Leicestershire Trading Standards following "numerous reports" from dissatisfied customers. An investigation was launched and a test purchase of a sofa carried out in March, last year. When the sofa arrived there was no fire safety labelling in place and when tested in a lab it failed fire safety requirements. The product was also

If your child has a good joke, poem or any suggestions they would like to share please email us with the name, age and school. Email:- support@abplgroup.com

THOUGHT OF THE WEEK

EXPERIMENT OF THE WEEK

“Life is like a bicycle, ving” to balance you must keep mo

- Albert Einstein

Facts You Didn't know about Time

l Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) is the mean solar stated to be leather but was actually PVC plastic. Dad, of Knighton Grange Road, Oadby, appeared before Loughborough magistrates last week after pleading guilty to a raft of consumer rights violations, including "aggressive commercial practices". In a prosecution brought by Leicestershire County Council Trading Standards, the 46-year-old admitted to a total of 36 breaches of consumer protection laws and regulations - on both his and his company's behalf.

Detectives make 10th arrest in connection with kidnap and death of Ramniklal Jogiya custody where he is being questioned about events surrounding the death of Ramniklal Jogiya. Mr Jogiya, 74, was last seen locking up the family’s shop, Vama Collections, in Belgrave Road around 7.45pm on Wednesday, January 24.

Detectives working on the Belgrave jeweller murder inquiry have arrested their 10th suspect this morning. A 41-year-old man has was detained from his home in Leicester this morning on suspicion of conspiracy to commit robbery and kidnap. He has been taken into

Coming Events

l Sree Sree Thakur Anukulchandra's Satsang to be held on February 17, Saturday, 6.30 pm onwards, at VHP Hindu Temple, 43, Cleveland Rd, Ilford, Essex IG1 1EE.

l Wreath laying ceremony at the Memorial Gates on Constitution Hill to be held on March 12, 1-.15 am onwards, to commemorate actions of all those who fought for Britain in the two World Wars.

Sneh Joshi

transit the twelfth house of your solar chart, your mind is focused on private matters. This is a time when you are searching for answers. This is a good time for research, quiet contemplation and meditation. You are likely to require a certain amount of solitude in order to get your thoughts together or to be mentally productive.

TAURUS Apr 21 - May 21 Venus, Sun and Mercury transit

through your solar eleventh house. This is a good time for networking with friends and work colleagues creating ripples for business or just having a great social life. If there are any issues with anyone, this is a great time to iron out the differences. Personal freedom is especially important to you right now.

GEMINI May 22 - June 22 More than any other time of the

year, your focus is drawn to your career and standing in the society. This is the time when you are more interested in, and focused on, accomplishing something important. Contact with authority figures is more likely during this period. Recognition will come your way whether you ask for it or not, and the responsibility that goes with it.

CANCER Jun 22 - Jul 22

time at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, London. l Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) was born at the world-famous Royal Observatory in Greenwich, London, established in 1675 by Charles II. l The United Kingdom observes daylight savings (DST), in the Summer the country turns its clocks forward by an hour for British Summer Time – so, in the warmer months, the Brits are an hour ahead of themselves.

CAREER WORD SEARCH

TEACHER POLICE DESIGNER SPORTSMAN SINGER PILOT TYCOON ACTOR DOCTOR LAWYER

T E A C H E R E A N

O M R R L C E C C A

L S O O A O N I B M

I R T T W P G L R S

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MAKE YOUR OWN ILLUSION What you need: white cardboard pencils and colouring pens scissors glue/sellotape

WHAT TO DO: Cut out two shapes from a sheet of white cardboard. Draw whatever you want, but we tried some fish on one piece a the tank on the other. Glue or sellotape a pencil in between the two pictures. Hold the pencil between your palms and rub your hands to make the picture spin around.

A VERY INTERESTING TASK TO DO FOR THIS WEEK Grandparent Biography

This is another good activity for you all, Do you live in a joint family, with parents or uncles and aunts? Grandparents are often lonely but full of memories of their childhood. Children love perception to their stories. Get your child to record and write down an interview with a grandparent or much loved uncle and aunt about their childhood. You can then “print” it along with pictures and distribute to family and friends. Here are a few questions to become them started on an interview with grandma: 1) What are the names of your parents and brothers and sisters? Did you have a nickname? 2) When and where were you born? When and where were your parents and brothers and sisters born? 3) What kinds of things did your family do together when you were young? 4) Who were some of your friends? What did you do with your friends? 5) What schools did you attend? What were your favourite subjects? Who were your favourite teachers? 6) How did you meet Grandfather?

For solution see next edition

Joke of the week

During a cold winter day a wife messaged to her husband that “the Windows frozen”. Husband replied to pour some warm water on them. After a while husband received a message again “No way, the computer is completely spoilt now”!

The UK’s leading Vedic writer and TV personality

ARIES Mar 21 - Apr 20 While Mercury, Venus and Sun

Venus, Sun and Mercury grace your solar ninth house. During this cycle you might become inspired by someone who might awaken a new perspective or way of thinking in you. You could also enjoy a trip, or a new adventure of sorts. In fact, you are attracted to anything that is non-routine and beyond your comfort zone.

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The Sun, Venus and Mercury highlight your solar eighth house. Your attention turns inward on a deeper level to personal transformations. There may be a strong focus on other's money, such as the resources of a partner, inheritance, banking and loans, or taxes. This transit should be positively dealt with to achieve any benefits.

LEO Jul 23 - Aug 23

Venus, the planet of love and romance with Mercury and Sun transiting our solar 7th house, throws a pleasing light on affairs of the heart. It is certainly going to be a fortunate time for those already married or in an established relationship. The keynote is emotional enrichment through close interaction with a loved one.

VIRGO Aug 24 - Sep 23

The Sun, Venus and Mercury put a spotlight on your solar sixth house. This is a busy period that finds you tending to many different aspects of your daily routine and health matters. You are in a very fortunate position to be able to improve your health and diet and also tackle any problems at work, which have been a source of irritation for some time.

LIBRA Sep 24 - Oct 23

SCORPIO Oct 24- Nov 22

The Sun, Venus and Mercury are transiting your solar fifth house. This is the time of year when you are ready to perform and express yourself creatively. It's a good time for recreation, romance, connecting with children, and enjoying performing arts. Make sure you do not get over-sensitive if things do not go according to plan.

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With the Sun, Mercury and Venus highlighting your solar 4th house of family and home, these areas are your instinctive focus during this period. This is the time when you put down roots and seek a sense of belonging. A good period to strengthen family ties and secure a successful future for your loved ones. The trend for buying or selling property still carries on.

SAGITTARIUS Nov 23 - Dec 21

CAPRICORN Dec 22 - Jan 20 The Sun, Mercury and Venus continue to highlight your solar third house--a time of the year in which you are most likely to be a "busy bee". You could have a finger in many pies, so to speak, as your curiosity is heightened by a larger variety of things than usual. Used well, this could be a period in which you come up with solutions to a number of problems. AQUARIUS Jan 21 - Feb 19 Your energy and attention will be very much devoted to financial matters. The tide of fortune continues to run strongly in your favour for some time to come. You will be working harder than usual, intent on getting things done. Close personal relationships may come under some stress and strain. A lot of work will be carried out behind the scenes.

PISCES Feb 20 - Mar 20 The Sun, Venus and Mercury transit your first house and this affects your personal identity, appearance, outward behaviour, and self-expression. This marks the peak of your physical solar cycle, and you are in the position to make an impression on others, and to assert your personal influence. Increased energy and a renewed feeling of confidence is with you now, so take advantage.


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MITHALI'S 50 HELPS INDIA WOMEN BEAT SOUTH AFRICA AsianVoiceNews

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Indian opener Mithali Raj held the innings together with an unbeaten half-century as Indian women notched up a comfortable seven-wicket victory over South Africa in the first T20 International on Tuesday. Mithali (54) shared two crucial stands a 69-run partnership for the third wicket with debutant Jemimah Rodrigues (37) and then added 52 runs with Veda Krishnamurthy (37 not out) for the unbroken fourth wicket - as India chased down a target of 165 with seven balls to spare. Mithali's knock, her 11th T20 International half-century, came from 48 deliveries and she hit six fours, one six and carried her bat through the innings. India finished at 168 for three in 18.5 overs. The 17-year-old Mumbai player Rodrigues also batted impressively, hitting four boundaries and a six during her breezy 27-ball knock. After Rodrigues was out in the 14th over,

Krishnamurthy did not allow the momentum to slow down, as she hit three boundaries and three sixes in her 22-ball innings. The other opener, Smriti Mandhana, contributed 28 while one-down Harmanpreet Kaur was run

out for nought in the first ball she faced. For South Africa, legspinner Dane van Niekerk and left-arm pacer Moseline Daniels, took a wicket apiece. Earlier, put into bat, South Africa scored 164 for four in their

India's veteran pacer Jhulan Goswami added another feather to her illustrious cap by becoming the first female cricketer to take 200 ODI wickets. Goswami achieved the feat during the second ODI between India and South Africa. The 35-yearold, playing her 166th ODI, dismissed opener Laura Wolvaardt for her 200th scalp. Interestingly, the first male cricketer to pick 200 ODI wickets, was also an Indian - the great Kapil Dev. In May 2017, Goswami became the highest wicket-taker in women's ODIs, eclipsing the decade-long record held by Australian Cathryn Fitzpatrick. Goswami, hailing from a small town called Chakdaha in Nadia district of West Bengal, made her debut way back in 2002. She was also adjudged ICC Women Cricketer of the Year in 2007. In an interview, Goswami revealed that she cannot pick any one wicket as the special one of the favourite as she believes that every wicket is important. "I remember each of my 200 wickets, right from the beginning of my international career in 2002," said Goswami.

"I still remember I got (Caroline) Atkins (the then England opener) out, caught in the slips. Mithali (Raj) was in the slip and she caught that catch. Whenever I bowl at a crucial time in the match and end a partnership, it becomes special for me. I cannot pick one. All the wickets are planned. Every wicket is important," said the 35year-old. The ICC Women's Cricketer of the Year 2007, Arjuna Awardee, Padma Shri winner and the once the fastest bowler in women's cricket has been the mainstay of India women bowling unit since her debut in 2002, and she credits her training regime for being able to play this long despite being a fast bowler. "I do a lot of training. I believe in my training," revealed Goswami, adding, "As a fast bowler, you have to train hard as there are a lot of ups and downs. When things aren't working my way, it is the process that counts. I strongly believe that my training regime has helped me a lot because there is a lot of wear and tear. Injuries happen, but our schedule is such that we play one series, then we get a break of one or two

months. So, I have got time to recover." With 290 International wickets (Tests, ODIs and T20I), Goswami is the all-time leading wicket-taker in women's cricket. After winning the ICC Women's Cricketer of the Year 2007, she captained India. She was conferred with the Arjuna Award in 2010, and the Padma Shri two years later and for her there has been no bigger honour than wearing the India jersey. "So far whenever I have played, I have tried to give more than my hundred per cent on the field. I always play for my team, it is not about an individual (performance). Every day, every session and every match, I always enjoy. It is a huge honour for me to represent my country. Wearing the India jersey is a big honour for me. All these moments are very special moments in my career because iske elava mere life mein kuch nahi hai (there is nothing else in my life other than this)," she said.

Jhulan first female cricketer to take 200 ODI wickets

allotted 20 overs, with Chloe Tryon making a hurricane 32 not out off just seven balls. She struck four sixes and two boundaries in a late batting pyrotechnic. Tyron took 23 runs (3 sixes and 1 four) from the final over bowled by a clueless Shikha Pandey. Nadine de Klerk was the other not out batsmen on 23 off 25 deliveries. Other notable contributors were opener Dane van Niekerk (38 off 31 balls) and Mignon du Preez (31 off 27 balls). A heel injury has forced veteran India pacer Jhulan Goswami to withdraw from the five-match series but the team did not feel her absence till Tyron's blitz gave the South Africans a competitive total. Brief Scores: South Africa: 164/4 in 20 overs (Dane van Niekerk 38; Chloe Tryon 32 not out; Anuja Patil 2/23). India: 168/3 in 18.5 overs (Mithali Raj 54 not out, Jemimah Rodrigues 37, Veda Krishnamurthy 37 not out; Dane van Niekerk 1/23, Moseline Daniels 1/16).

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Asian Voice | 17th February 2018

Cricketer Ben Stokes to stand trial over altercation

Ben Stokes

England cricketer Ben Stokes will face a trial over an altercation outside a nightclub. The 26-year-old allrounder, who missed the Ashes against Australia last year after being suspended from playing for England, is accused of fighting along with two other men. Stokes appeared at Bristol Magistrates' Court on Tuesday. It follows the altercation in Bristol during the early hours of Sept. 25, hours after England played a oneday international against the West Indies in the

city in southwest England. It is alleged a 27-year-old man suffered a fractured eye socket in the incident. All three defendants pleaded not guilty. Stokes is accused of affray and using or threatening unlawful violence toward another. The charge states that his "conduct was such as would cause a person of reasonable firmness present at the scene to fear for his personal safety". The other two defendants face the same charge. The first hearing in the trial was scheduled for March 12.

Khelo India games: Haryana earn top honours

Khelo India School Games (KISG), part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's ambitious vision to make sports more popular across the nation, ended on Friday last. After an intense battle among the participants, Haryana emerged as the overall champions, finishing with 102 medals, which included 38 gold, 26 silver and 38 bronze medals. It was a threeway fight between Haryana, Maharashtra and Delhi vying for the top honours, but the boxers from Haryana produced a dominant show on the concluding day to pip their rivals at the post. Maharashtra finished with 111 medals, but due to their lower gold medal count (36), they had to contend with the second spot. Delhi finished at the third position with 94 medals, which included 25 gold, 29 silver and 40 bronze. Starting the day a gold behind Maharashtra, Haryana

pugilists cornered 10 of 26 gold medals on offer as the state athletes accounted for overall 15 gold in different disciplines, including two in judo and one each from archery, football and hockey. Six of Haryana's boxers finished with silver. The winner's trophy was presented by sports minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore and Haryana's education, tourism and parliamentary affairs minister Ramvilas Sharma. Khelo India has the power to bring a significant change in the way sports is perceived in the country. The pyramid structure of Khelo India will have a strong and lasting impact at the grassroots level. It's important that we reach out to the kids and encourage them to go out and play. That's what Khelo India is intended to achieve. I am sure the concept will help to spot a good crop of fresh talent in greater numbers.


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Asian Voice | 17th February 2018

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INDIA BEAT SA TO CLINCH MAIDEN ODI SERIES

India finally won an ODI series in South Africa. The visitors defeated the Proteas by 73 runs in the fifth oneday international at the St George's Park in Port Elizabeth on Tuesday, to take a 4-1 lead in the six-match series. India bowlers led by Kuldeep Yadav (4/57) and Hardik Pandya (2/30) bowled South Africa out for 201 in 42.2 overs to register a comprehensive victory, after Rohit Sharma scored his 17th ODI hundred to help India set a challenging 275-run target. South Africa lost their last four wickets for five runs to the spin duo as India registered the historic maiden series win. Yuzvendra Chahal (2/43) also took two wickets for India, while Jasprit Bumrah (1/22) chipped in with a wicket. Hashim Amla topscored for the hosts with 71 off 92 balls. After a good start in their chase, South Africa lost three wickets in quick succession - AB de Villiers, JP Duminy and Aiden Markram. Markram was in good nick and scored 32 off 32 balls which included a six and four boundaries. The Proteas skipper also put on 52 runs

for the opening wicket with Amla, before giving a simple catch to his counterpart Virat Kohli at mid-off off Bumrah in the tenth over. Seven balls later, Pandya dismissed Duminy in his first over, before landing the big wicket of de Villiers in the second. South Africa were reduced to 65/3 in 12.5 overs from 52/0 in 9.3. Amla and David Miller then resurrected the South African run chase by adding 62 for the fourth wicket. But unlike at Wanderers, South African batsmen found it tough to negotiate India's wrist spinners - Yadav and Chahal. The spin duo gave

away 100 runs in their 19.2 overs and took six wickets and along with Pandya, they squeezed the runs in the middle overs. In the one end, Amla continued to keep South Africa in the hunt and scored his 35th ODI fifty off 72 balls, hitting three fours. Amla added 39 for the fifth wicket with Heinrich Klaasen, but his long vigil ended in an unfortunate way beaten by Pandya's direct hit. And it ended South Africa's hopes for a comeback in the match. Earlier, after a series of dismal performances, scoring just 40 runs in first four ODIs, Rohit roared back to

form and scored his 17th ODI hundred to help India post 274/7. He smashed 11 fours and four sixes to score a classy 115 off 126 balls. Rohit added three crucial partnerships during his innings - 48 with Shikhar Dhawan, 105 with Virat Kohli and 60 with Shreyas Iyer. But his untimely wicket in the 43rd over stopped India from reaching 300-mark. Pacer Lungi Nigidi triggered a late collapse for India as he took four wickets, including back-to-back wickets in the 43rd. India lost three of those wickets for just two runs and in 12 balls, all caught behind by wicketkeeper Heinrich Klaasen. Ngidi finished with figures of four for 51 in nine overs and restricted India to 55 runs in the final ten overs. Brief scores: India 274/7 (Rohit Sharma 115; Lungi Ngidi 4/51) beat South Africa 201 all out (Hashim Amla 71; Kuldeep Yadav 4/57) by 73 runs

AI deplanes shooter Omkar for his air gun Poor communication between airlines and airport staff cost Commonwealth Games gold medallist and international shooter Omkar Singh his flight booking when he was asked to Omkar Singh deboard his flight to Coimbatore from Mumbai for carrying an air pistol. Singh was travelling on Air India flights from Delhi to Coimbatore via Mumbai. According to the shooter, he had checked in his air pistol at the Delhi airport and had reached Mumbai as per schedule. When on board for the connecting Air India flight to Coimbatore, he was asked to leave the flight by the Air India staff. “I told the officer incharge in Mumbai that I had declared my air gun at the Delhi airport. I also told that the DGCA allows shooters to carry air guns with them but they didn’t budge,” Singh said.

Malinga is MI bowling mentor

Warne back in Rajasthan Royals Australian spin great Shane Warne returned to Rajasthan Royals as team mentor, 10 years after he led the side to the IPL title in the inaugural edition. Warne was the captain-cum-coach of the side which exceeded expectations by winning the trophy in 2008. Royals, who will be playing the IPL this season after serving a two-year ban, announced the 'homecoming' of the 48-year-old. "I am very happy and excited to be back with the Rajasthan Royals who I believe hold a very special place in my cricketing jour-

Shane Warne

ney. I am overwhelmed by the love and affection show-

ered on me by the franchise and the fans," said Warne. "We have a strong, young and energetic bunch of boys and I am looking forward to work with them," he added. The Australian led the Royals for three seasons from 2008 to 2011, during which he played 52 games and picked 56 wickets. Warne will be joined by another Royals old hand in former Mumbai batsman Zubin Bharucha as Head of Cricket. Warne and Bharucha's association at the Royals goes back to 2008. As part of Royals think-tank,

the two forged a solid partnership and are looking forward to working with each other again. Royals co-owner Manoj Badale was thrilled at Warne's return. "He is a legend and what he has achieved in Rajasthan Royals is unmatchable," said Badale. "Bringing back Warne is also a way of giving back to our fans who have stood by us in trying times. As we are looking to build a strong team that can be in contention for the title, we believe Warne is the right person to mentor the Rajasthan Royals."

Lasith Malinga

Mumbai Indians has appointed Sri Lankan Lasith Malinga as its bowling mentor for IPL Season 11. The Lankan fast bowler, who has donned the MI jersey in 110 matches, has taken 154 wickets, the highest in the league. Malinga joins a support staff that has head coach Mahela Jayawardane, bowling coach Shane Bond, batting coach Robin Singh and fielding coach James Pemment.

Ankita, Karman help India avoid Fed Cup relegation Ankita Raina helped India maintain their position in Fed Cup Asia-Oceania Group I after the hosts won the relegation playoff against Chinese Taipei 2-0. The result though, wasn’t as easy as the scoreline suggests because India had to battle for the better part of Saturday to survive and ensure the tie didn’t make it into the decisive doubles match. Ankita, who was the highest-ranked Indian play-

er here at No. 253 on the WTA charts, made it four out of four wins this weekend but had to battle the hardest for her last win. The India No. 1 took two hours and 54 minutes to down Chinese Taipei’s Chieh-Yu Hsu 6-4, 5-7, 6-1 after Karman Kaur Thandi got the hosts off to a winning start in the morning with a 7-6 (4), 6-3 win over PhiChi Lee in an hour and 28 minutes. Ankita, who defeated

day, the ranking of the two players didn’t matter because it was Hsu’s left-handed game and the slow nature of Court at the RK Khanna tennis stadium that nullified Ankita Raina Ankita’s aggressive style for better part much higherranked players of two hours. like Yulia Putintseva of “It was tough in terms Kazakhstan and Lin Zhu of of the fact that after the China earlier this week, ran first two days (against into trouble in the face of Kazakhstan and China), Hsu, ranked 377. On the

the level was completely different. The court was much slower than the Centre Court and I had to grind it out. Both of us kept changing strategy and tactics throughout the match, also in the second set the balls got really heavy,” Ankita said after her victory. The second set between the two was a match in itself, lasting an hour and 23 minutes, during which Ankita’s serve was broken

four times although she herself managed to break back the Chinese Taipei player thrice. “It was very important to finish the match off in singles, Chinese Taipei have a strong doubles team. Ankita needed to get aggressive in the third set and she did just that, stepped up in the court, cut the angles and ensured a win for herself,” team captain Ankita Bhambri said after the win.

AV 17th February 2018  
AV 17th February 2018  

Asian Voice Weekly Newspaper (Issue No.: 40)