a product message image
{' '} {' '}
Limited time offer
SAVE % on your upgrade

Page 1

FIRST & FOREMOST ASIAN WEEKLY IN EUROPE

R

Let noble thoughts come to us from every side

22 - 28 FEBRUARY 2020 - VOL 48 ISSUE 41

UK'S MOST INDIAN CABINET

inside: Trump, First Lady Melania likely to land directly in Ahmedabad SEE PAGE - 26

Rishi Sunak

Priti Patel

Priyanka Mehta On Thursday, 13th February, Downing Street became the floor of high drama as Boris Johnsons’ mini cabinet reshuffle saw the resignation of former chancellor Sajid Javid, sacking of eminent ministers and appointment or elevation of three Indian-origin MPs in the cabinet. “It’s been a huge honour to serve as chancellor of the exchequer. Whilst I was very pleased that the prime minister wanted to reappoint me, I was unable to accept the conditions that he had attached, so I felt that I was left with no option other than to resign. One of the conditions was that I replace all my political advisers. “These are people who have worked

www.holidaymore.uk.com

incredibly hard on behalf of, not just the government, but the whole country, [and] done a fantastic job. I was unable to accept those conditions. I don’t believe any self-respecting minister would accept such conditions. And so, therefore, I felt the best thing to do was to go,” he said in a statement to the BBC. Tensions between the ex-chancellor and Johnson's press secretary Dominic Cummings had been going on for quite some time now. They had further elevated last year when Cummings had sacked Sonia Khan, the chancellor's secretary without his advice and consent. Therefore, for some political pundits, his resignation came as no great surprise. And neither were they surprised

for premium escorted tours please contact Manish on

0203 475 2089 0203 883 8519

Suella Braverman

Alok Sharma

by the appointment of the former Treasury Chief Secretary, as Javid’s replacement. Rishi Sunak, the son in law of Indian tech giant Infosys cofounder Narayana Murthy, was confirmed as the UK’s new Chancellor of Ex-chequer by Downing Street in a tweet. Educated at Winchester College before reading PPE at Oxford, wide justification around his expected promotion circles around two key aspects – he backed Brexit and he backed Boris Johnson during last year’s leadership contest. He even stood in for Johnson in some televised debates during last year’s election campaign.

Nirbhaya convicts to be hanged on March 3 SEE PAGE - 26

The art of loving yourself SEE PAGE 16-17

Continued on page 5

Fascinating Russia

Classic Japan

Paris with Disney

Best of Colombia

Moscow & St Petersburg

Tokyo Kyoto Hiroshima

Easter break

Experience the best of the best-kept secret in South America

7 days From

£1395

9 days From

£1995

Our office: 66 Park Way, Ruislip, Middlesex, HA4 8NR G Subject to our terms and conditions.

3 days From

£275

10 days From £1495

Designated coach pick-ups available

11408


2 UK

AsianVoiceNews

AsianVoiceNewsweekly

www.asian-voice.com

22 - 28 February 2020

Man who was part of cricket bribe Science loving Slough pupils' trio is jailed after 'undermining success in national competition integrity of sporting contest' Three men - including one from Slough - who conspired to offer bribes to professional cricket players had "undermined public confidence in the integrity of the sporting contest", a judge said. Pakistan international bastman Nasir Jamshaid, 33, Yousef Anwar, 36, of Littlebrook Avenue, and Mohammed Ijaz, 34, were arrested last February as part of a National Crime Agency probe into alleged spot-fixing. An undercover police officer infiltrated the network by posing as a member of a corrupt betting syndicate. His work led to an attempted fix in the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) towards the end of 2016 being revealed, as well as an actual fix in the Pakistan Super League (PSL) in February 2017. In both cases, an opening batsman in the Twenty20 tournaments had agreed to not score runs from the first two balls of an over in return for a share of an overall £30,000 fee. Jamshaid, from Walsall, was the target of bribery in the Bangladesh "two dot ball" plan which was eventually

Ex-professional Pakistani cricketer, Nasir Jamshaid

Yousef Anwar

called off. He then turned perpetrator as a go-between and encouraged other players to spot-fix at a PSL fixture between Islamabad United and Peshawar Zalmi in Dubai on February 9. Jailing all three men at

Mohammed Ijaz

Manchester Crown Court on Friday, Judge Richard Mansell QC said the fixers, Anwar and Ijaz, both from Sheffield, had engaged in

"sophisticated and organised criminal activity" while Jamshaid was "vulnerable to succumbing to the temptation of financial reward". Anwar, who played the most prominent role, was jailed for 40 months, Ijaz was sentenced to 30 months in custody and Jamshaid was imprisoned for 17 months. The court heard a corrupt betting syndicate could make hundreds of thousands of pounds from such spotfixes by placing fraudulent in-play bets, safe in the knowledge they were almost certain to win. The undercover operative had been introduced to Anwar, who was suspected of involvement in bribery and match-fixing in international cricket.

Rashid A Khan Solicitor (Principal)

Benefit from very competitive rates, tailored advice & service to suit your specific needs, 24 hour response to all online enquries and our many years of experience.

www.rashidandrashid.co.uk

• Asylum & Immigration • New Point Based System • Settlement Application (ILR) • European Law • Nationality & Travel Documents • Human Rights Applications • High Court of Appeals • Family Matters and Divorce

• Switching Visas • Over Stayers • Legacy Cases • Work Permits • Visa Extensions • Judicial Reviews • Tribunal Appeals • Student Appeals

Immigration - Family - Stateless Child Visa

020 8540 1666 / 020 8672 0666

FREE LEGAL ADVISE 07878 335 000 / 07774 222 062

Head Office:

Southall Office:

190 Merton High Street, Wimbledon, London SW19 1AX 1 minute walk from South Wimbledon Tube Station

211, The Broadway, Southall, Middlesex, UB1 1NB

RASHID & RASHID SOLICITORS 1 minute walk from McDonald's

Talented pupils at St Bernard's Catholic Grammar School have been invited to showcase their amazing design for the a 'planet friendly' smart bag at a national science exhibition. The talented six - all aged 16 to 17 - beat some older degree students to make the finals of the Youth Industrial STEM (science, technology, engineering, maths) 'clean growth' competition. They came up with a design for a solar powered back pack capable of converting light energy into a battery which could also charge the owner's mobile phone. The bag would be made out of biodegradable materials/conductive fibres. One of the 'all girl' team Lorraine Mohanraj said they initially worked separately after head of science at the Langley Road school Sam Brophy entered them in the

competition. She said: "We did our own research and sent the results to each other. Then we would meet up at lunchtime to discuss ways of putting it all together." Their proud teacher Mr Brophy admits that he mistakenly entered them in the senior section of the competition initially, when their ages meant they should have been in the intermediary. It has made their success alongside older competitors even more impressive. The team has now been invited to showcase their project at the national com-

petition finals in Birmingham as part of the Big Bang exhibition at the National Exhibition Centre on March 16 and 17. They will all be staying in the city for the two days. Lorraine said: "This has given us so much confidence, to do well in such a big competition has made us feel we really can go on to study successfully for degrees." The proud team members are Liya Manuel, Nicki Nkomo, Lorraine Mohanraj, Rochelle Reginold, Riya Sood-Loomba and Neha Zehra.

Oxford professor in court after admitting he had 'consensual sex' with his accusers Oxford University Professor Tariq Ramadan was questioned in court about two rape charges for the first time since he admitted having sex with his accusers. In the latest stage of a marathon legal process, the 57-year-old father-of-four will be grilled by Paris judges about claims that he attacked two women. He originally denied sleeping with feminist activist Henda Ayari, 43, and a 42-year-old handicapped woman identified solely by the alias Christelle. But his story changed following his last meeting with judges when he was being held on remand at

Fleury-Mérogis – the largest prison in Europe – south of Paris in October 2018. He now says that he had consensual sex that he wanted to keep private, and that his accusers have been manipulated by ideological enemies who accuse him of being a radical Islamist. Professor Ramadan, who has multiple sclerosis, was released after nine months in detention without trial in November 2018. He has been living in the suburbs of Paris since, after surrendering his Swiss passport and paying bail equivalent to £250,000. The academic, who has taken leave of absence from

his job as Professor of Islamic Studies at St Antony's College, Oxford, has regularly requested permission to return to his north London home, but this has been refused.

Privileged pupil who brought knife to school that killed student loses bid for anonymity The identity of the teen who brought a knife that killed his friend Yousef Makki was revealed last week. Adam Chowdhary lost his bid for anonymity after he turned 18 on January 24. The teenager had previously been referred to only as “Boy B” or ”Boy 2” in previous press reports. According to reports Chowdhary’s co-defendant Josh Molnar, who inflicted the fatal stab wound, was named in the media last October when he reached 18. Mr Chowdhary, who was privately educated and the son of a millionaire was cleared of the allegations that he lied to police of the fatal stabbing of Makki in Cheshire, on March 2, 2019. A four-month sentence was handed to him after he admitted to possessing a

Adam Chowdhary

knife. He was released halfway through his sentence last September. A court order prevented the media from identifying him had elapsed on January 24, the day of his 18th birthday. Chowdhary had lost a High Court bid to keep his identity secret for a further two years. The family’s right to appeal this decision expired last week. His legal team argued that he was suffering from

Yousef Makki

posttraumatic stress disorder and that the publication of his identity would force him to move school. It was also described by his legal team as being “catastrophic for him.” His co-defendant Josh Molnar, also the son of wealthy parents, admitted possessing the knife and perverting the course of justice by lying to police at the scene. He remains in prison.


www.asian-voice.com

AsianVoiceNews

AsianVoiceNewsweekly

COMMENTS

UK

3

22 - 28 February 2020

India’s Supreme Court strikes at criminal candidates The Supreme Court of India has made it mandatory for political parties to publish, including on official social media pages, details of cases against their candidates and reasons for selecting them over others. Say 'winnability of a candidate cannot be the only reason for selection, the bench of Justices R F Nariman and S Ravindra Bhatt directed all parties to comply with its order and told the Election Commission to bring to its notice any instance of non-compliance 'in contempt of this court's orders/directions.' Parties can spare themselves ignominy of justifying tickets to criminals by choosing clean candidates. The verdict marks a continuation of its efforts to reverse the criminalisation of politics. In 2013, SC removed a loophole in Representation of The People Act that paved the way for instant disqualification of convicted MPs and MLAs. More recently, SC ordered creation of special courts to try MPs/MLAs. Henceforth, political parties must publish in newspapers, official websites and social media platforms details of criminal cases against candidates and reasons for choosing them at the expense of clean candidates. While political parties can be expected to trumpet the usual line that their candidates are victims of political machinations, such perfunctory responses will not pass muster where the charges involve murder, sexual offences against women and corruption. An NGO, ADR, had noted a 109% increase between 2009 and 2019 in elected Lok Sabha MPs with serious criminal cases like murder and rape. Candidates

already have to list criminal cases in election affidavits. But SC’s new stricture also forces the political party to take explicit ownership of a blemished choice. Any attempt to justify a bad candidate or trivialise heinous offences can invite public opprobrium. However, legally debarring candidates facing criminal cases is unworkable given the tendency of police to wantonly book opposition leaders on charges like unlawful assembly, obstructing public servants, rioting, etc even when undertaking peaceful protests. The best course would be for political parties to stop fielding criminals. Why can’t they follow a ‘Swachh Bharat’ policy when it comes to appointing candidates? With parties prioritising winnability over morality, criminals have prospered in politics and greatly contributed to weakening the rule of law. Parliament can no longer ignore the conflict of interest posed by candidates facing serious criminal charges getting elected and becoming ministers. In Karnataka, the new forest minister Anand Singh is accused of illegal mining and violation of forest laws. Fast tracking cases against politicians could act as a disincentive for criminals to enter politics. It’s likely, however, that parties will offer vague, repetitious explanations for ticket choices i n response to SC’s latest ruling. To check non-compliance, SC has directed Election Commission to approach it where parties flout the verdict. As the election watchdog, EC must cast a vigilant eye out for delinquent parties.

Britain’s ‘Desi’ Cabinet Indians are rejoicing at the ethnicity of some of the Cabinet ministers that UK’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson has appointed. Priti Patel has been re-appointed in her former role, but Rishi Sunak, Suella Braverman (Fernandes) and Alok Sharma all Indian origin - are part of the new team Johnson has put in place. David Cameron, the former Prime Minister also gave key responsibilities to Indian origin MPs – not all at such key positions, but had important roles nonetheless. He was the first one to initiate Priti Patel’s journey onto becoming the Home Secretary – giving her a new role in fostering a very crucial tieas a Minister for the Indian diaspora. Incidentally Theresa May also had four Indian-origin ministers in her team - Alok Sharma, Rishi Sunak, Suella Braverman and Shailesh Vara. Johnson of course, with paternal great-grandfather as a Muslim of Circassian-Turkish descent; maternal great-grandfather as a Russian Jew is multi-ethnic himself, with wide outlook. Johnson’s second wife Marina Wheeler’s mother Dip Singh was a Sikh from India. Dip Singh, by the way was earlier married to Khushwant Singh’s brother. Johnson and Wheeler had made a number of trips to India, including one to Kolkata. Johnson also often joked about his ‘Punjab connection’ at many events- especially at those organised by the Indian Journalists’ Association. The question that arises here is: did Johnson’s love for India made him choose such an ‘desi’ cabinet? The answer remains no. As Yusuf Begg in an article pointed out that the UK Prime Minister’s step to appoint Indians in the core Cabinet is a cold political move. The four Indian-origin ministers in Boris Johnson’s Cabinet - Priti Patel, Alok Sharma, Rishi Sunak and Suella Braverman - have always been pro-Brexit. In the tussle for Conservative Party leadership, all of them also backed Johnson against Jeremy Hunt.

Johnson’s appointment of new ministers is seen in British political circles as the biggest ever purge of a Cabinet. On the other hand the new ministers also bring connections worth mentioning. Rishi Sunak, the new Chancellor is the son-in-law of one of world’s richest man- Narayana Murthy, the founder of Infosys group. While India is on the list of Johnson’s key partners in FTA after the Brexit transition is over, a connection in the right place is something the Prime Minister would not let slip away. Behind the clownish facade is a sharp mind. Sajid Javid’s departure comes less than four weeks before this year's budget, meaning Mr Javid left the Treasury without ever having delivered the set-piece fiscal announcement- and it may delay budget on March 11. Mr Javid was offered the chance to keep his role but resigned following a dispute with Downing Street over his close aides. The Prime Minister demanded the Chancellor sack all of his special advisers following turbulence between Number 10 and the Treasury in recent weeks. The Chancellor refused and as a result both sides decided to part company. Javid made a number of pointed references to the row in his resignation letter to the PM. The former Chancellor reportedly said it was "crucial for the effectiveness of government that you have people around you who can give you clear and candid advice". And he told Mr Johnson, "I would urge you to ensure the Treasury as an institution retains as much credibility as possible." Question remains if Tory party’s alleged rising Islamophobic trait is to blame for what happened to Javid in a way? It is not to be missed that the reshuffle also reduced the number of women in the full cabinet from seven to six- a regressive move in the era that is trying to give women an equal voice!

Chinese and Qatari investors buying out Britain? China has for long been eyeing the UK’s infrastructure market to create in-roads for its state owned companies- be it the telecom services with Huwawei or now the transport industry with the China Railway Construction Corporation (CRCC). While the British government insists that no concrete commitments have been made, the two countries have held "preliminary discussions" over giving Beijing's state-owned railway firm a role in building the HS2 high-speed rail line. Which in turn means that apart from having access to the student accomodation market, Chinese investors will now also have a foothold on the £100bn High Speed 2 railway. CRCC has hung the proverbial carrot of lost completing the Y-shaped HS2 at a slightly lower cost as it approached the HS2 boss Mark Thurston to offer to build the entire line within five years. The January letter from the CRCC lacks detail on its plans. So it is unclear how seriously the approach is being taken - or whether discussions progressed beyond CRCC's interest being acknowledged and them being informed of process. Earlier in the year, several senior Conservatives have warned Huawei involvement in the UK's next generation mobile internet network poses a security risk and can lead to the first significant Commons rebellion against Boris Johnson's government. Now, HS2 stands next in line to follow suit. However, how does this bode for local British investors and businesses who may lose

out vital contracts and tenders from the government because of relatively “cheap” and easily made available product from foreign companies and offshore investors? Perhaps, it won’t be completely incorrect to state that the property banks in Central London are now almost completely owned by Qatari investors. Reports suggest that the UK is Qatar's single largest investment destination, with £35bn in place and another £5bn on its way in the next five years. Some of the properties include the HSBC Tower at 8 Canada Square in 2014 bought for £1.1bn, London's Savoy Hotel (through owning 10% of the French hospitality group Accor), and a 95% stake in the Shard and the purchase of Harrods department store for a reported £1.5bn in 2010.This has already driven local property developers out of sophisticated Mayfair district and forced them to focus on Home Counties and Greater London Region. Whilst this may bode well for the development of the neglected suburbs of the capital city, the idea that Qatar perhaps owns more land in London than the Queen sits uncomfortably with most financial investors especially in a post-Brexit UK. The part privatisation of the NHS has always been a consistent rumor on the table under the present Tory Government espcially while weighing in the US-UK special trade relationship once the UK is out of the EU. Are these all early indicators that in its worst nightmare, the UK is being bought by pounds?

Winning doesn’t always mean being first. Winning means you’re doing better than you’ve done before. -Bonnie Blair

CIIr Ketan Sheth

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

New Moorfields Hospital gets the Green Light Last year, I wrote about Moorfields Eye Hospital’s proposed move after more than a century of treating people from its main hospital at City Road in Islington. The proposal to build a brand new centre on land at the current St Pancras Hospital site, just north of King’s Cross and St Pancras stations, has now been given the go ahead by NHS commissioners, including Brent CCG. Brent already has an excellent community ophthalmology service based in Sudbury Primary Care Centre and Willesden Centre for Health and Care that support people at home as well as locally to prevent serious eye conditions. A new specialist hospital centre though will ultimately create the world centre for the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of eye disease. It’ll bring together excellent eye care, ground breaking research and the world’s best education in ophthalmology. This is fantastic news for Brent residents and for around 11,000 people from Brent who visit Moorfields Eye Hospital at City Road every year. The new centre will offer a better patient experience, shorter waiting times and access to the best of modern eye care. Londoners and people from all over the country have had their say on this proposal. The NHS clinical commissioning groups (CCGs), including Brent CCG, ran a joint public consultation for 16 weeks and during this period about 4,600 contributions were received, of which 1,511 were completed consultation surveys. People fed back through a variety of methods, including emails, discussion groups, phone calls and letters as well as via a virtual assistant on the consultation’s website. Just under three quarters of responses to the survey (73% of responses) supported St Pancras site as a location for the proposed new centre as it was a central London location and next to major transport links. Now the proposals have been approved, Moorfields Eye Hospital will continue to include the local community and patients in the development and design of the new centre, including detailed designs for the building and plans for how services will run. The invaluable feedback gained throughout the public consultation from people in Brent and across the country, will now lead the next steps. Both doctors and other clinical staff with patient representatives will continue to shape Moorfields’ plans. NHS Commissioners will also continue to work with Moorfields Eye Hospital to develop and ensure ophthalmic care is delivered in the best possible way. Editor: CB Patel Asian Voice is published by Asian Business Publications Ltd Karma Yoga House, 12 Hoxton Market, (Off Coronet Street) London N1 6HW. Tel: 020 7749 4080 • Fax: 020 7749 4081 Email: aveditorial@abplgroup.com Website: www.abplgroup.com INDIA OFFICE Bureau Chief: Nilesh Parmar (BPO) AB Publication (India) Pvt. Ltd. 207 Shalibhadra Complex, Opp. Jain Derasar, Nr. Nehru Nagar Circle, Ambawadi, Ahmedabad-380 015. Tel: +91 79 2646 5960 Email: gs_ahd@abplgroup.com © Asian Business Publications


4 UK

AsianVoiceNews

AsianVoiceNewsweekly

www.asian-voice.com

22 - 28 February 2020

CCTV captures burglars stealing £40,000 of devices from shop A family have shared shocking CCTV footage of burglars ransacking their shop and stealing £40,000 worth of stock in a bid to 'get justice'. At around 4am last Monday morning (Monday, February 10) thieves broke into Mr T Repair Centre on Brentwood High Street and stole bags full of electronic devices. It wasn't until a member of staff went to open up the shop shortly before 9am that they realised the store had been burgled. Marwa Bahri, the wife of shop owner Tounsi Bahri, says the incident has left her family shocked and forced her husband to start the business almost from scratch. Speaking to EssexLive the 27-year-old from Chelmsford said: "Tounsi is still very excited about the shop, he tries his very best to make his business successful. But now we have to start almost from zero again. It's just terrible, it's all my husbands life savings, he worked so hard for all of that and people just come along and take everything." Marwa described how

the burglars gained entry to their neighbouring shop, a hair salon, by mistake. She said: "They broke into the hair salon next door to us by accident, they tried to make a hole in the wall but they must have realised they wouldn't be able to get through the bricks so they went back outside and found our back door. It was a strong wooden doors, with three locks on it, but they broke into it with a metal thing they had in their hands." According to local media aside from the salon wall and the phone repair shop's back door the burglars didn't cause further damage to the properties. The thieves got away with 65 to 75 "top of the range" smart phones and two tills, one of which had £3,000 cash in. A total of around £40,000 worth of stock was stolen, including an ipad mini and an iphone six belonging to their customers. CCTV footage showed two people, wearing dark clothing and gloves with their faces covered, enter the shop and walk straight towards a glass display cabinet. After filling two sports

Overall, they have shown to improve poor physical function and extend health span and lifespan. This project will use a lab model where zombie human heart cells are grown together with healthy human heart cells. This will help understand how zombie cells are harmful to healthy heart cells, and by testing the effects of senolytic drugs, will determine if by eliminating zombie cells and/or stopping the harmful chemicals they produce improves the survival and growth of heart muscle cells and their ability to repair the heart. If successful, the findings may pave the way for the development of senolytics to treat age-related heart disorders and the toxic effects of cancer chemotherapy on the heart. The £126,441 Translational Research Project grant was awarded to King’s as part of Heart Research UK’s annual awards for research into the prevention, treatment and cure of heart disease. Last year, Heart Research UK awarded more than £1.6 million in grants for medical research projects across the UK. To date, the charity has invested more than £25 million in medical research via its grants programme.

BROTHER AND SISTER DIED IN 'TRAGIC ACCIDENT'

Malika Shamas and her brother Haider died after being rescued from the sea off Clacton

holdalls full of the devices they left the shop through the back door, the same way they entered. It took the burglars just over 30 seconds to open the glass display cabinet fill their bags with the stolen goods and leave the shop. Marwa said: "We are so glad that it was mainly new phones that were for sale that were stolen. But still those customers had photographs and memories on their devices they they have lost. Tounsi has contacted them and told them we will be compensating them in the next few days. It's not fair on them, it's not their fault and we want to keep our customers happy at the

end of the day." Marwa believes the people responsible pre-planned the burglary and, as a result, she says they will be tightening security to prevent it happening again. Marwa remains optimistic that those responsible will be caught. She said: "I don't know how the people that did this can sleep at night. We will not let this affect us, we are going to be strong, and hopefully these guys will be caught and we will get justice." Essex Police investigations remain ongoing in relation to the incident. A spokeswoman for the force also confirmed that no one has been arrested.

Project to eliminate ‘zombie Two robbers threaten cells’ receives Heart Boots staff at knifepoint in Research UK funding broad daylight A project at King’s College London aiming to eliminate so called ‘zombie cells’ using a new group of drugs has received a grant of over £125,000 from national charity Heart Research UK. Ageing is the greatest risk factor for many lifethreatening disorders, including cardiovascular disease and cancer. ‘Senescence’ is the term given to the biological ageing process which involves the build-up of senescent cells, called ‘zombie’ cells, which refuse to die. Zombie cells release chemicals that can be harmful to nearby cells, eventually causing them to also become senescent. The build-up of these zombie cells in our bodies promotes ageing and age-related conditions, including cardiovascular disease. The project, which will be led by Prof Georgina Ellison-Hughes, Professor of Regenerative Muscle Physiology at King’s, will test a new group of drugs, known as ‘senolytics’, which eliminate or disable zombie cells. In lab studies, senolytics have been shown to eliminate zombie cells and improve conditions such as cataracts, diabetes, osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s disease, kidney problems, and agerelated loss of muscle.

in brief

The police are looking for two men after they robbed a Boots in Stanmore with a knife. Police rushed to the scene on Church Road after being called shortly before 4pm today (February 17) but the men were nowhere to be found. The robbers threatened staff in the shop with a knife before stealing cash from the till, according to reports. Thankfully no one was hurt in the robbery. Witnesses in the area said that police cordon was

still there at 8pm. The Boots, which is part of the chain that stretches across the country, is at the heart of Stanmore in the main shopping area. A spokesperson for the Metropolitan Police said: "Police were called at 3.48pm after two men were reported to have entered a store in Church Road, Stanmore, and threatened staff before stealing cash from a till. One was reported to be armed with a knife. No reported injuries. No arrests at this stage."

Ilford children learn it's okay to share mental health worries For mental health week pupils at an Ilford primary school showed that brave kids share their worries proudly. Staff, children and parents from Uphall Primary School, in Uphall Road, came together at the beginning of the month for Children's Mental Health Week to create awareness around the issue and raised £440 for mental health charity Place2Be. The children had a full week of creative activities showing how mental health can be recognised and overcome. Interim Head Teacher Dr Kulvarn Atwal said: "We

want our curriculum to have the development of children's personal and emotional skills at the centre of all that we do." Place2Be organised activities around the theme Find Your Brave which showed the children that being brave can mean asking for help, trying something new, pushing themselves outside their comfort zones or sharing their worries. As part of the activities the school organised a nonuniform day, a cake sale and an exhibition to raise money for Place2Be, which seeks to improves children's mental health.

A brother and sister who got into difficulty in the sea died in a "tragic accident", a coroner has ruled. Malika Shamas, 14, was pulled from the sea at Clacton, Essex, on 8 August and died later in hospital. She had been in the water with her brother Haider Shamas, 18, who died two days later, and a cousin who survived. Their mother Shagufta Shamas said she wanted to ensure safety precautions were in place "so an incident like this does not occur in the future". The inquest in Chelmsford heard the Shamas siblings, who could both swim, and their cousin got into difficulty near Clacton Pier at about 13:40 BST. Det Insp Craig Wiggins said Malika, from Luton, was at a point where she was still able to stand up. He said she "panicked" and her brother and the other children tried to help. Malika died of immersion while her brother died two days later of pneumonia, brain damage and drowning, the inquest heard. Mrs Shamas said she struggled to stay upright when she tried to help: "The sand underneath my feet was giving way... this happened within minutes. Should there not have been signs in this particular area saying you should not go in and that this is what can occur?" The inquest heard the area where it happened was just out of range of the nearest beach patrol. The inquest heard there was a warning sign on a nearby flood defence which said "danger, no bathing due to varying depths of water" but the coroner noted that you had to be quite close to read it. She said some warning signs could be in a larger print and, after a suggestion from Mrs Shamas, said they should appear in a child-friendly format. Tendring District Council said its signs met national standards.

CCTV SHOWS SHOPKEEPER GRAB GUN OFF ROBBER

A shopkeeper has told of the moment he grabbed a gun off a obber before hitting him over the head with it. Vijayakumar Gowsikan took the firearm out of the attacker’s pocket as the assailant raided the cash register at Valley Stores in Basford, Nottingham. Moments later, the robber returned to the shop with a knife but Mr Gowsikan managed to defend his shop by throwing bottles at the perpetrator, who then escaped. “I don’t know what came over [me], I just did it,” Mr Gowsikan said. Nottinghamshire Police have appealed for anyone who knows the two robbers involved in the raid on 10 February to get in touch.

TYCOON ASSASSINATED IN BATHROOM Karandeep Singh Dhilon 35, was SHOT dead by a single gunshot through the mouth with the bullet exiting clean through the back of his head. He operated a wheat and transport business in Narok and Nairobi and was alone in the home when the Assasins struck. Police believe his killers were already in the house before he arrived from work. His three dogs were found dead in the compound, poisoned. Dhilon's family was away in India at the time of the murder. The home was not broken into. The backdoor was open and they entered and exited through there. His naked body was found in the bathroom. Valuables were intact and untouched in the house, an indication that the mission was to eliminate him. “They did not steal anything from him,” said the police.


www.asian-voice.com

AsianVoiceNews

UK

AsianVoiceNewsweekly

5

22 - 28 February 2020

BAME MPs face racial profiling and apartheid system A recent study carried out by ITV has highlighted that almost twothirds of black and minority ethnic (BAME) MPs have experienced some form of racism while working in parliament. According to the study half of the respondents said they have faced abuse from fellow MPs. The study was based on anonymous responses of 37 of the 65 BME MPs in the current parliament across all political parties including the Conservatives, Labour and the Liberal Democrats. Around 62 per cent said they faced “racism or racial profiling” while on the parliamentary estate. More than half of the MPs had faced it from their colleagues. Labour MP for Hampstead and Kilburn Tulip Siddiq told ITV that when she was pregnant a colleague was ‘surprised’ that Siddiq was having a daughter. Her colleague believed that people from Asian backgrounds were likely to abort girls. Siddiq also added that when she was first running for parliament someone advised her to use her husband’s last name, because “people wouldn’t vote for ‘Tulip Siddiq’”. She said, “Speaking to a colleague of a mine, she looked at me in astonishment and said: ‘You know you’re having a girl, because normally they don’t tell people of Asian ori-

Tulip Siddiq

gin they’re having a girl because you know, then Asian people decide …’ And I looked at her and I couldn’t believe what she was saying.” Of the MPs, 92 per cent said they believed their ethnicity made it harder for them to enter parliament, while 83 per cent said it had made their job more difficult. The study even revealed that 83 per cent of MPs had experienced racism from the public. Other MPs said they had been spat at in the street because of their religion. Afzal Khan, the Labour

MP for Manchester Gorton, shared his experience of getting racist letters and emails asking to “go back to Pakistan.’” In the meantime, a separate research carried out by workplace equality network ParliREACH highlighted the apartheid kind of system being followed by the Parliament. It listed “examples of times when they felt that the lack of diversity and understanding of race had resulted in racist (inadvertent or otherwise) behaviours”. Black and minority ethnic staff who responded to a survey carried out last year also complained that historic parliamentary rules meant that they were not allowed to eat or drink in the same rooms or even use the same toilets as the mostly white members of the House of Lords. The study, titled Stand in My Shoes: Race and Culture in Parliament, recommended that the hierarchy of access to restaurants, toilets and other parts of the parliamentary estate – which prevents staff from using the same facilities as politicians – be removed. “These reinforce power relationships and lead to a disproportionate number of BAME staff being questioned when trying to use parliamentary facilities,” it said.

Khan wants EU to offer Britons 'associate citizenship'

Sadiq Khan

The mayor of London, has asked EU negotiators during a visit to Brussels to offer free movement for Britons through “associate citizenship”, as the “next best thing” to membership. With the backing of the former prime minister of Belgium, Sadiq Khan called for the idea to be at the “the heart” of the negotiations over the future relationship. He said that rejoining the EU was not foreseeable in the “short to medium term” but that associate citizenship of the bloc could be one way to “make the best of Brexit”. The offer would include continued freedom of movement and residence around the bloc for those who wished to retain such rights. Such a

status would also protect rights in healthcare, welfare and workplace conditions and likely the right to vote in European parliament elections. Khan said, “There’s an opportunity for us to move forward with this and I’ve been pleased with the response and it gives hope to London, as well as across our country.” The chances of such an initiative making headway in the negotiations are extremely limited as it would be unlawful under EU legislation. There is unlikely to be appetite for any rewriting of treaties among the 27 member states, given the UK government’s hostile attitude to the free movement of EU nationals who wish to live and work in Britain.

UK'S MOST INDIAN CABINET Continued from page 1

Rishi Sunak is the new Chancellor: Budget, and launch of free ports Sajid Javid had been due to deliver his first Budget in the new government in three weeks' time. Now Sunak faces the daunting task of unveiling a budget around government’s tax and spending plans in a Brexit driven economy and reports suggest that his March budget may as well get delayed. While Sunak’s appointment has led to businesses keeping an eye on the launch of the proposed 10 free ports after Brexit. Proposed to be operating from 2021, once the consultation is completed, sea, air and rail ports will be able to bid for free port status. This idea was first pitched by Boris Johnson during his campaign to become Conservative leader. The government has argued that these zones could bring thousands of new jobs and significant investment, notably to deprived coastal areas. It is also proposing zones – which do not necessarily have to be located in a port – where no duty is paid on goods until they enter the full UK market, meaning none at all is paid if they are re-exported from the port. Other extra freedoms include duties only being paid on final goods, not on any raw materials that are imported into the area and then processed. Businesses would be exempt from filling out full customs declarations on imported goods.

"Free ports will unleash the potential in our proud historic ports, boosting and regenerating communities across the UK," Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Rishi Sunak, said in a statement.

have a parole board situation where every individual, every terrorist offender will go through a proper process. And absolutely, when it comes to terrorist offenders leaving prison early, it's an unacceptable situation.”

Dual role for Alok Sharma: Business Secretary and Chair of Climate Conference

Suella Braverman wants to take back control of our courts

While all eyes will remain peeled on the new chancellor and his spring budget, the cabinet reshuffle also saw Alok Sharma, the former Secretary of State for International Development being elevated to the role of the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, replacing Andrea Leadsome. Sharma, Tory MP for Reading will also be president of the COP26, the upcoming UN climate talks which are to be hosted by the UK this November. But that in itself is an uphill task after big names such as the former Prime Minister David Cameron and former Foreign Secretary William Hague turned down the offer. Several other ministers had been mooted for the role, including Michael Gove, who said there were “many, many, many, many” people who would do better as Cop26 president, and Kwasi Kwarteng, the clean energy minister. Rumours also swirled around Zac Goldsmith, who has a long background in environmentalism. Before entering parliament, he was the owner of the Ecologist magazine and a strong campaigner and

But perhaps the biggest surprise in this reshuffle was the appointment of Suella Fernandes and now Braverman as the new Attorney General having succeeded Geoffrey Cox. Born and raised in north-west London, Braverman’s father of Goan ancestry from South India moved to the UK in the 1960s from Kenya and Mauritius. The MP for Fareham is labelled as a passionate Brexiter among the political circles and recently published a searing attack on human rights litigation and the overuse of judicial review challenges. Now as an attorney general she will play a significant role in both the proposed royal commission on criminal justice and the constitution, democracy, and rights commission which will examine the relationship between the courts and parliament. Her “taking back control of our courts” based policy framing will be of utmost significance in light of the UK’s departure from the EU. Perhaps, more so based on Johnson’s insistence around “nonalignment” with Brussels and reluctance for the involvement of the European Courts of Justice in the UK’s judicial order.

philanthropist on green issues. Previous Cop summits have been led by the host government’s most prominent minister with a relevant portfolio, usually the environment minister. Sharma has held an impressive voting record standing against support for carbon-capture projects and taxing polluting vehicles and dirty power stations, among other things. This is one of the reasons why experts pit him as an MP who can convince UN countries to follow the UK’s climate policies.

Priti Patel continues as Home Secretary challenged with Emergency legislation But whilst Johnson focusses on the global climate crises, he appears to have his faith installed in Home Secretary Priti Patel who retained

her position despite the increasing terror threats that have surfaced in the UK’s domestic politics. Johnson had last July, had appointed Patel as the new Home Secretary. Following the development, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar had further extended congratulatory notes to his "good friend" Priti Patel on the occasion. Patel, an advocate for bringing back the death penalty has recently pushed for emergency legislation around the early release of convicted offenders. She believes that these laws would “make people safer on the streets.” In a statement to the LBC, she had said, “This legislation puts the British public's protection first, make sure that terrorist offenders can no longer leave prison early under this auto release scheme, but also ensure that obviously we now


6 UK

AsianVoiceNews

AsianVoiceNewsweekly

www.asian-voice.com

22 - 28 February 2020

Nandy faces flak for ‘offensive’ article on gay rights One of the three candidates still in the race for the Labour leadership, has faced growing flak after it has emerged that she had once queried the right of gay students to have their own society at her university. Lisa Nandy had cited the gay students’ club at Newcastle as an example of a “controversial” group with “views some might find offensive”.The Wigan MP, had also said that many found it “unacceptable” that gay people did not accept straight students into their club and asked if they should be stripped of their funding. As a deputy editor of the Newcastle University newspaper, she wrote in an article, “But what about societies that are controversial, whose views some might find offensive? Should they receive money — or at least as much money as others? The LGB [lesbian, gay, bisex-

Lisa Nandy

ual] Society for example, doesn’t accept straight members but we still have to pay for it, something many find unacceptable. Nandy joins Rebecca Long Bailey and Keir Starmer on the ballot before voting opens on Friday. Emily Thornberry has dropped out of the race.

Lisa Harvey-Smith, has now accused Nandy of “causing division and antagonism by singling out minority societies” and added, “The society does not have any ‘views’. It is just a safe space in which LGB students can be themselves.” The Labour leadership rivals have already split over

LGBT rights. Nandy and Long Bailey last week backed a pledge card urging Labour to expel transphobic members. The card, by the Labour Campaign for Trans Rights, describes Woman’s Place UK and LGB Alliance as “transphobic hate groups”. Both seek to protect spaces for biological women only. Starmer has declined to endorse the card. Nandy said: “I am a staunch defender of LGBTQ rights, I always have been and I always will be. I wrote about a debate around top down or grassroots funding at my uni almost 20 years ago, like a lot of student journalists do. “The suggestion that I would do anything other than encourage greater understanding and tolerance is daft and offensive.”

Children with eating disorder wait months for treatment On 13th February, the NHS released latest statistics on the number of children and young people (up to the age of 19) with an eating disorder who have accessed or are waiting for treatment. The figures reveal that hundreds are still waiting for their treatment to start, with some still waiting even though they’re classified as ‘urgent cases’. The release shows that in Q3 of 2019/20, 532 routine cases were still waiting for treatment to start since they sought help and were referred, with a further 22 urgent cases still waiting. Analysis of the statistics by UKAT’s Eating Disorder Practitioner Dimitra Theofili reveals that the number of routine cases still waiting for treatment has risen by 20% since the previous quarter alone, a trend she says should be going in the opposite direction.

“Of course the service is going to receive additional cases to manage and look after each quarter, but these figures suggest that more and more children are simply being added to an ever growing pile.” Of the 532 routine cases still waiting for treatment, 1 in 4 (134) have been waiting for between 4 and 12 weeks, with a further 39 children still waiting for treatment to start some 12 weeks since their cry for help. 287 children with routine eating disorder cases are waiting between 1-4 weeks since their referral and 72 are within the 1 week since referral bracket. Worryingly, UKAT’s analysis of the figures shows that there are some 22 children classed as requiring urgent treatment for their eating disorder, 3 of which have already been waiting between 4-12 weeks, and 2 are still waiting 12 weeks since their

Downing Street is facing fresh scrutiny on whether it vetted a No 10 adviser who argued that intelligence is linked to race, amid fresh questions about chief aide Dominic Cummings’ drive to employ “misfits and weirdos” to work under him. Andrew Sabisky had initially said that he would step down as a “contractor” to Downing Street because of the furore about his posts online. Now, Labour has written to Boris Johnson asking him to explain how the appointment was made, and whether the prime minister agreed with Sabisky’s views. Sabisky stepped down following increasing criticism from Conservatives and opposi-

referral for help. Dimitra Theofili, Eating Disorder Practitioner at UKAT’s eating disorder specialist facility Branbury Lodge comments; “The fact that there are 22 children requiring urgent treatment for their eating disorder condition and are still waiting for their treatment is appalling, quite frankly they are being let down by the NHS.This is a progressive illness, meaning it gets worse with time.” And it does seem like the NHS are aware of this. In today’s statistical report, the NHS themselves suggest that by 2020, 95% of urgent cases should start treatment within 1 week of referral, a figure that currently stands at 73.5%. For children with routine eating disorder cases, the NHS target is that 95% of patients should start treatment within 4 weeks of referral, a figure that currently stands at 86.9%.

Theofili continues, “There’s a lot of work that still needs to be done to protect these incredibly vulnerable children who are struggling with a misunderstood yet extremely dangerous and time-sensitive condition. A child who asks for help for their eating disorder has taken the first and most important step in their road to recovery and for them to be ignored for months is just not good enough. Time is of the essence when it comes to treating eating disorders, especially in young people. This is perhaps why at UKAT, we’re seeing a rise in the number of young people admitting into private rehab, because once they ask for help, they can get it as quickly as the next day.” Across the UKAT group, admissions for eating disorders has risen by over 200% since 2016, and in 2019, 8% of all admissions were for eating disorders.

Pankaj Vora passes away Pankajbhai Vora was 90 years old when he passed away on Monday 17th February in his apartment at Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire. Shri Pankaj Vora was the one who took initiative on behalf of Gujarat Samachar and New life (former incarnation of Asian Voice) to organise 1st Gujarat Day in Mandir Restaurant in Central London in 1977. He has contributed his services to the first ever International Gujarati Conference in 1984, NCGO in 1985 followed by the Sardar Patel Memorial Society UK in 1986 and other services have contributed their utmost over the years. Pankajbhai, a poet, a man with well resourceful contacts, enormous enthusiasm and energy was always available. We ,the Indian diaspora are most grateful to you, Bhartiben , Shruti, Setu and family. His prayer ceremony will be held on Friday 21st February from 8pm-10 pm in the evening at Navnat Centre in Hayes UB3 1AR.

Begum hoped for a more lenient treatment Shamima Begum, the Bethnal Green schoolgirl who fled the UK in 2015 to join the ISIS has said her “whole world fell apart” when she discovered that she had been stripped of her British citizenship. In an interview after losing the appeal against the decision to strip her British citizenship, the 20-year-old said she had hoped for a more lenient treatment. In a statement to the ABC News, she said, “I kind of saw it coming because I did do my research just before I came out. I thought I would be a bit different because I had not done anything wrong before I came to Isis. “When my citizenship got rejected, I felt like my whole world fell apart right in front of me. You know, especially the way I was told. I wasn’t even told by a government official. I had to be told by journalists.” Earlier this month, she had lost an appeal in a British court against revocation of her British citizenship which was done last

Was "racist" Sabisky vetted by No. 10? tion politicians after details emerged of his views on the subjects ranging from black people’s IQs to using brain-enhancing drugs on children, and whether benefits claimants should be encouraged to have fewer children. The business minister, Kwasi Kwarteng, who was sent to speak to broadcasters on behalf of the government on Tuesday morning following the adviser’s exit, called for the process for hiring staff to be looked at. Separately, a Labour MP wrote to the head of the civil service, Mark Sedwill, requesting information on who hired Sabisky and whether he was vetted.

However, No 10 refused to respond to separate questions from the Guardian about Sabisky’s employment, whether he was vetted or had a security pass. Downing Street has so far declined to give even basic details of Sabisky’s work, or how he was recruited. Officials also refused to comment on the status of two other so-called “super-forecasters” pictured with him outside No 10 in January. The photo was tweeted by Michael Story, cofounder of a forecasting startup called Maby, who has now made his Twitter account private. It showed Story and Sabisky with the

Shamima Begum

year by the then Home Secretary Sajid Javid. Although Begum had only ever lived in the UK before travelling to Syria to join Islamic State, the court held that she was eligible to apply for citizenship of Bangladesh, the birth country of her parents. Begum is reportedly living at al-Roj camp in Kurdish-run north-east Syria, where she was living in a relatively spacious heated tent with Kimberly Polman, a US-Canadian in her 40s who is waiting to hear whether she will be allowed to return to either country.

other founder of Maby, Thomas Liptay. Separately, a Labour MP wrote to the head of the civil service, Mark Sedwill, requesting information on who hired Sabisky and whether he was vetted. However, No 10 refused to respond to separate questions from the Guardian about Sabisky’s employment, whether he was vetted or had a security pass. Downing Street has so far declined to give even basic details of Sabisky’s work, or how he was recruited. Officials also refused to comment on the status of two other so-called “super-forecasters” pictured with him outside No 10 in January.


www.asian-voice.com

AsianVoiceNews

UK

AsianVoiceNewsweekly

7

22 - 28 February 2020

Cash and carry stalwart Khodidas Dhamecha passes away

On Friday 14th February, at 7 am, Khodidasbhai Dhamecha, one of the pioneering figures of the British Asian business community and a leading icon in the UK’s cash and carry grocery industry, passed away after suffering a brief illness. His son Pradipbhai Dhamecha informed Asian Voice that Khodidasbhai had been staying at the Tulsi Apartment in Jamnagar. He was surrounded by all his family members and his funeral rites were carried out from the city. Khodidasbhai came to the UK in the 1960’s from Kisumu

in Kenya where he worked for Barclay’s Bank. He lost his father at a young age in India and migrated to Kenya. One of Co-Founders of Dhamecha Cash & Carry chain alongside his brothers, Khodidasbhai was only 90 years when he passed away. Today Dhamecha Cash & Carry has expaned as one of the largest grocery chains in the country right after Bestway Cash and Carry with a turnover in excess of £700m. Operating primarily in London, followed by a in Leicester and another in Birmigham. The first of its nine depots had started in Wembley in 1976 under the supervision of Khodisdasbhai to serve the growing number of Asian retailers entering the convenience sector. Khodidasbhai was a prominent and generous philanthropist who donated to many charitable causes, particularly those focussed on education, religion and welfare. He helped to build community halls and temples in London, Leicester, Crawley and other cities across the UK, as well as donating to Lohana Mahajanwadi and various other bodies in the city of Jamnagar and the surrounding district. His funeral ceremony will be held on 1st March, Sunday from 4 pm in the evening at Dhamecha Lohana Centre in South Harrow.

Mayor of London leads diversity and inclusion in the infrastructure industry The Mayor of London will be helping tackle underrepresentation of women, BAME, deaf and disabled and LGBTQ+ Londoners in the infrastructure industry. Sadiq Khan, set out plans to boost diversity in London’s infrastructure sector, as a new report commissioned by City Hall revealed women, people from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds, disabled and LGBTQ+ Londoners are significantly underrepresented in the industry. “In a city as dynamic as London, our infrastructure should be the envy of the world – a vital way of ensuring it’s as good as it possibly can be is to help the sector reflect the range of talent in the capital. “That’s why I’m proud to announce the steps we’ll be taking to help increase diversity and inclusion in the infrastructure sector. “I’m clear that your background should never be a barrier to what you can achieve – and I’m determined to do all I can to help London’s best and brightest make use of their skills across this important field.” The report – Supporting Diversity and Inclusion in the Infrastructure Sector – confirms women are underrepresented in the industry compared to the economy

Sadiq Khan

as a whole: 21 per cent versus 47 per cent across all industries. Meanwhile, only six per cent of those in the industry are from a BAME background, compared to an average of 15 per cent across all industries.The report identifies a range of socio-economic factors which act as barriers to entering the infrastructure industry. They include the industry having a ‘white male’ image, which is reinforced by a lack of exposure to the sector through school careers guidance. The Mayor is now committing to using his existing London Enterprise Adviser Network to reach every London primary school over the next three to promote the infrastructure sector and highlight ways in which under-represented communities can make their way into infrastructure careers. Sadiq has also today launched his new Infrastructure Advisory Panel (IAP), comprising 43 leading figures from the

infrastructure and development field who will advise the Mayor on a range of issues. The membership of the panel is 30 per cent BAME and 70 per cent women. Head of HR at Ofwat, Sarah Lal, said, "Ofwat is committed to ensuring its communities are supported by organisations that are inclusive and representative to protect the interests of customers. I’m delighted to be part of this initiative so that Ofwat can lead by example. “The report includes cross-company reverse mentoring with diverse employees and senior leaders and to provide every primary school-aged child in London with the opportunity for meaningful encounters with professionals in the sector. Working together to deliver the pledges outlined in today’s report will help make changes for the better within the infrastructure sector."

The perils of Facial Recognition Cameras Priyanka Mehta Is the UK moving towards an authoritarian government with the deployment of a China-sytle model of facial recognition cameras? On 11th February, the Metropolitan police began the operational use of facial recognition CCTV Cameras in London’s Stratford Centre retail complex. Thousands of shoppers were scanned by van-mounted cameras pointed at the doors of the complex, in what was reportedly an “intelligence-led” deployment. However, this comes despite a scathing assessment of its effectiveness from the very expert who was hired to scrutinise its trials. However, what are facial recognition cameras and why are they being deployed by the government across the country? FRCs involve cataloguing and recognising human faces, typically by recording the unique ratios between an individual’s facial features, such as eyes, nose and mouth. The most controversial strand of the technology involve using facial features as biometric identifiers, that is, to identify individuals based on just a photo or video of their face. Now the government claims that these FRCs can be instrumental in curbing the growing knife-attack and stabbing related incidents by potentially identifying these offenders.

Stop and search related discriminatory approach Saqib Deshmukh, is an activist and a youth worker at the Voice4Change England. He is involved with campaigns around policing and stop and search policies. Speaking about his concerns around FRCs, he says, “I am concerned about the nature of this rollout especially in terms of how little accountability there is with regards to privacy and data protection. This has been trialed out at places like Romford etc. Previous research has indicated that 93% of those who were stopped during these trials were wrongly identified. Now, even the independent review commissioned by the Met Police states that this system was accurate only in 1 in 5 cases. “This means that the actually technology is faulty. It is a policing system similar to the stop and search aspect which is not tested properly and found to be inaccurate. The AI software behind this is also faulty in

However, the government believes that this system fuelled by a large database of labelled data can enable police to pinpoint a person of interest across a city of networked cameras. This would then help the government in curbing the recent terror-related attacks almost equivalent to the stop and search approach

“The cameras can only identify faces, not prevent knife-attacks or terror threats. In this instance, they would only be helpful if a suspect was seen brandishing a knife, or committing an offence, which can also be captured on existing cctv cameras. Despite the above, I can understand some people’s concerns about invasion of privacy and the way in which this technology will be used. “There is also the question about accuracy and the fact that the technology is not yet advanced enough to be completely reliable.

Rabina Khan

Saqib Deshmukh

undertaken by the Met Police. But the question around an individual’s privacy remains unaddressed. Race equality campaigners, including the family of Stephen Lawrence, have been spied upon; whilst climate activists from Extinction Rebellion were put on an extremism watchlist. However, it is interesting to note that while the European Union is considering a temporary ban on the use of facial recognition to safeguard individuals’ rights, the UK seems to be moving towards the opposite end. Rabina Khan is a Liberal Democrat councillor in Tower Hamlets council. Speaking about her concerns around the rollout of FRCs, she says, “Generally speaking, any technology that is used responsibly to help identify a potential terrorist or suspect of any crime, or a missing person, should be a welcome move. However introducing this highly sophisticated technology into public spaces without prior public debate is bound to cause concern. However when applying this technology it should be intelligence led and ethically implemented.

Therefore, it is possible that this information is not stored or used in any way that will be detrimental to innocent people. Some people have compared it to a virtual identity parade. In trials carried out between 2016 and 2018, for example, there was a 96% rate of false positives and only 8 arrests from a facial recognition match.” Additionally Facial Recognition CCTV cameras could identify and record who attends a protest. They could automatically flag suspicious behaviour, or people who look a certain way, which could be particularly problematic for groups already stopped and searched disproportionately. This is precisely how the technology is already being used in China and elsewhere. However, following the deployment in London, Commander Mark McEwen, the Met’s lead on crime prevention, said Stratford had been chosen because it had been the scene of “public space violence”, and that there was support from the community for the police to use “whatever tactic we can to deal with violence”.

that it wrongly identifies BAME and ethnic minorities and further risks their isolation.”

Invasion to privacy and data protection


8 UK

AsianVoiceNews

AsianVoiceNewsweekly

www.asian-voice.com

22 - 28 February 2020

UK’s new points-based immigration system to treat non-EU and EU citizens equally

IJA to host seminar on ‘The Changing Face of Media’

Minimum salary threshold lowered to around £25,000 as well as a suspension of the cap on skilled migrants

The Indian Journalists’ Association is organising a seminar on new trends and challenges to media. It will take place on the 5th March at 0900 at Taj hotel, St James Park, London SW1 and will end with lunch. The seminar, that will be called ‘The Changing Face of Media’, will have Anushka Ashthana, Associate Editor, the Guardian and Co-presenter, Peston (ITN), Samira Ahmed, presenter of Newswatch, BBC, Chris Morris, Reality Check Correspondent, BBC, Ashish Joshi, Senior correspondent, Sky News, Francesco Zaffarno, Senior

Rupanjana Dutta Home Secretary Priti Patel has announced the launch of a new points-based immigration system on Wednesday 19 February, which promises to open up the UK to the ‘brightest and the best’ from around the world. A statement from the Home Office said, “it will assign points for specific skills, qualifications, salaries or professions and visas will only be awarded to those who gain enough points.” The new rules promises to reduce overall levels of migration with tighter security and treat EU and nonEU citizens equally. It also says that it will give top priority to those with the highest skills and the greatest talents, including scientists, engineers and academics. The global talent scheme which will also be opened up to EU citizens will allow highly-skilled scientists and researchers to come to the UK without a job offer. The new system, which takes effect from 1 January 2021, will end free movement, as UK completes the transition period and leaves EU.Home Secretary Priti Patel told Asian Voice, “Today is a historic moment for the whole country. “We’re ending free movement, taking back control of our borders and delivering on the people’s priorities by introducing a new UK points-based immigration system, which will bring overall migration numbers down. “We will attract the brightest and the best from around the globe, boosting

the economy and our communities, and unleash this country’s full potential.”

Skilled workers Skilled workers will need to meet a number of relevant criteria, including specific skills and the ability to speak English, to be able to work in the UK. All applicants will be required to have a job offer and, in line with the Migration Advisory Committee’s (MAC) recommendations, the minimum salary threshold will be set at £25,600. The new pointsbased system will also expand the skills threshold for skilled workers. Those looking to live and work in the UK will now need to be qualified up to A-level or equivalent, rather than degree-level under the current system. This will provide greater flexibility and ensure UK business has access to a wide pool of skilled workers. In line with the Government’s manifesto commitment there will be no specific route for low-skilled workers. It is estimated 70% of the existing EU workforce would not meet the requirements of the skilled worker route, which will help to bring overall numbers down in future.

Professor Alice Gast, President of Imperial College London, said, “British science is global. The new poststudy work and Global Talent visas will help us to attract the world’s brightest students and researchers, wherever they come from. “From the race to develop a coronavirus vaccine to clean energy, British science’s international collaborations drive innovation and excellence.” Commenting on the Government’s policy proposals for a points-based immigration system, Richard Burge, Chief Executive of London Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said, “Businesses will welcome that the Government has set the minimum salary threshold for skilled migrants closer to £25,000, than the initially muted £30,000. They will also be relieved by the lowering of the threshold for what’s considered skilled, as well as a suspension of the cap on skilled workers. “It’s good to see the Government beginning a programme of engagement, as businesses and their employees will need to know how the system will work in practice. “With the reduction in overall levels of migration, it is vital that the UK’s domestic skills system provides the

training that its citizens need in order to access jobs. Employers are a key part of this. Whether it be T-levels, apprenticeships, or other schemes, businesses and business groups must be ready to work with Government and the public sector to ensure that relevant skills are acquired and applied. “Ultimately, businesses share the Government’s aim that the delivery of the immigration and skills systems give public and private sector employers access to talent at all levels.”

Student visa Student visa routes will also be points-based and be opened up to EU citizens, ensuring talent from around the globe has access to the UK’s world-class universities. Those wishing to study in the UK will need to demonstrate that they have an offer from an approved educational institution, that they can support themselves financially and that they speak English. In addition, the Seasonal Workers Pilot will also be expanded in time for the 2020 harvest from 2,500 to 10,000 places, responding to the specific temporary requirements of the agricultural sector. EU citizens and other non-visa nationals will not require a visa to enter the UK when visiting the UK for up to 6 months (this does not include India). However, the use of national identity cards will be phased out for travel to the UK and the Home Office will set out our plans in due course. Those EU citizens resident in the UK by 31 December 2020 can still apply to settle in the UK through the EU Settlement Scheme until June 2021.

Protest outside Pakistani mission seeking justice against forced conversions

Pakistani human rights activists and the Indian diaspora members protested outside the Pakistani High Commission on Sunday and Monday seeking justice for Mehak Kumari, a minor Hindu girl, who was forcibly converted to Islam and married to a Muslim man in

Sindh. Mehak was abducted by a middle-aged man on January 15. Protesters told ANI, that they were objecting to such conversions and demanding a ban on this practice. People came as far as from Germany to participate.

Social Media Editor, Daily Telegraph, Nic Newman, Senior Fellow, Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism and Mattia Peretti, Programme Manager, Journalism AI Polis, LSE. On the same day, the IJA will also formally launch their Student Journalist of the Year Award to honour the best ‘Indian student of Media’ in the UK. The first award (to two Cardiff University students who're joint winners) will be handed out at this event. Tickets available. If interested to attend, please write to: ijaeurope@gmail.com

India finally receives its share of £35mn from Nizam funds

Nizam VII of Hyderabad

The Indian High Commission in London has finally received its share of £35mn of the ruler of erstwhile Hyderabad state, which has been lying locked up in a London bank in dispute for over seventy years with Pakistan, according to a report by the Times of India. India won the seven decades old legal dispute over funds belonging to the 7th Nizam of Hyderabad at the UK Court last year. The High Court of England and Wales, in a landmark judgement on October 2, 2019, ruled in favour of India and the Nizam's descendants

and dismissed Pakistan's claims in a legal battle involving £35mn. The judgement was delivered by Justice Marcus Smith. The court ruled that those claiming in right of Nizam VII- his grandsons and India were now entitled to the Nizam Funds. According to the report by TOI, lawyers representing the titular 8th Nizam confirmed to them that the client had received his share of the fund and 65% of his legal costs too. India’s share of the £35 million is believed to be a significant sum, running into millions of pounds. It will now be remitted to New Delhi.


www.asian-voice.com

AsianVoiceNews

UK

AsianVoiceNewsweekly

9

22 - 28 February 2020

MP critical of Indian Government’s BBC boss Kamal Ahmed apologises for £12,000 for speech decision on Kashmir denied entry in India A senior BBC executive who earns over £200,000 a year as the broadcasting’s editorial director has returned a £12,000 speaking fee to a hedge fund last week after a backlash from colleagues. Kamal Ahmed was one of those in the BBC Team which recently announced 450 job cuts across BBC News. Now, it has emerged that he carried out two other paid engagements, at a property developer and a government-run bank. Ahmed spoke for St Modwen Properties, a £1.2bn property developer based in Birmingham, last year and also made an appearance at an event held by the British Business Bank at the Institute of Engineering and Technology in central

Kamal Ahmed

London last year. He has now declined to reveal how much he had been paid for the events or whether he would pay it back. However, he has apologised for accepting payment for a 40-minute address at Aberdeen Standard Investments, a hedge fund. He is listed on five booking websites as a speaker, commanding fees

of between £10,000 and £20,000. Mary Greenham, Ahmed’s agent, said he had “stepped in” to speak at St Modwen on March 21, 2019, “after a colleague was not able to make it” and had chaired a breakfast panel on February 11 of the same year for a small business finance conference organised by the state-owned British Business Bank. The bank declined to reveal Ahmed’s fee, citing “commercial exemption” to Freedom of Information laws. Ahmed joined the BBC in 2014 as business editor. The corporation declined to reveal how many paid external events he had carried out since he became editorial director in November 2018 and refused to say whether an investigation would follow.

Accused match fixer Sanjeev Chawla extradited to India A British national has been finally extradited to India. Sanjeev Chawla was first accused by the Indian Government for his alleged involvement in a cricket match fixing scandal in India in 2000 and has been sent to India 20 years later under the UK-India Extradition Treaty. Legal experts and the Indian Government officials believe Chawla’s case sets precedence for the other wanted “fugitive businessmen” who are currently hiding in the UK including Vijay Mallya and Nirav Modi. The Indian government has assured the UK that Chawla will be accommodated in a cell to be occupied exclusively by him, with

Sanjeev Chawla

proper "safety and security" and complying with the "personal space and hygiene requirements". India had also made further guarantees on medical facilities and protection from intraprisoner violence in Tihar Jail, where he will be held ahead of his trial. Chawla is accused of

acting as link between former South African cricket captain Hansie Cronje and bookies who wanted to fix cricket matches in early 2000. He is now expected to undergo the required medical examinations before being taken to Tihar Jail and held in custody in accordance with the Indian government's assurances given to the UK courts. Recently, his appeal to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), against being extradited to India was rejected. Last month he had also lost his High Court appeal on human rights grounds against former UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid's extradition order at a hearing in the Royal Courts of Justice in London.

Until December for Goans to take the Portugal route to live in Britain Portuguese citizenship has been a shortcut for entry to Britain for Indian citizens hailing from places like Goa and Daman for some time now. This immigration route is open till December 31, 2020, the cutoff date for Brexit. A former British Parliamentarian has now said that although the UK has left the EU but there is still some time left for people holding the passports of EU member countries to move to and settle in Britain, if they wish so. According to Keith Vaz about 837,000 British citi-

zens are of Indian origin, making Indians the strongest immigrant community in United Kingdom. Vaz says Goans need not worry about Brexit but have to now arrive at a decision after completing five-year

stay in the United Kingdom (UK) on whether or not to be UK citizens, as they have to compulsorily apply for ‘settled status’ after five years or leave for India or Portugal or any other country in the European Union

On Monday 17th February, a British MP was stopped at the New Delhi airport and later deported to Dubai according to the Press Trust of India. Debbie Abrahams, Labour MP for Oldham East and Saddleworth has been critical of the BJP led Indian government's decision on Kashmir and the revocation of Article 370. Abrahams, the Chairperson of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Kashmir in the UK was informed that her e-visa had been rejected only after she arrived at the Delhi airport. The Indian Government sources suggest that the MP did not have a valid visa to visit India. However, Abrahams said she was told by Delhi airport officials that the evisa issued last October and valid until October 2020 had been rejected. In a statement, she further alleged that she was "treated like a criminal". Abrahams said, "Along with everyone else, I presented myself at the immigration desk with my documents including my e-visa, had my photograph taken and then the official looked at his screen

Debbie Abrahams

and started shaking his head. Then he told me my visa was rejected, took my passport and disappeared for about 10 minutes. When he came back he was very rude and aggressive, shouting at me to 'come with me'. "I told him not to speak to me like that and was then taken to a cordoned off area marked as a Deportee Cell. He then ordered me to sit down and I refused. I didn't know what they might do or where else they may take me, so I wanted people to see me. "Even the person who seemed to be in charge said he didn't know and was really sorry about what had happened. So now I am just waiting to be deported... unless the Indian Government has a change

of heart. I'm prepared to let the fact that I've been treated like a criminal go, and I hope they will let me visit my family and friends." Ms Abrahams' timeline has several posts critical of the Kashmir decision. Now, the Indian High Commission in London has clarified that immigration officials in Delhi had deported British MP Debbie Abrahams because she “did not hold a valid visa”, and that there was “no provision for visa on arrival for UK nationals”. This had created a massive controversy on Twitter with Indian ministers and officials both from the BJP and Congress tweeting about it. Pakistani President also took to Twitter for a potshot at India. In an apparent reference to Kashmir, he said, “The world will find out despite India’s attempt to hide its atrocities.” “We are gravely concerned at the announcement by Indian Home Minister, Amit Shah, that Article 370 of the Indian Constitution, which grants special status to Jammu and Kashmir, has been removed by Presidential Order,” said the letter to UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab.


10 READERS VOICE

AsianVoiceNews

AsianVoiceNewsweekly

www.asian-voice.com

22 - 28 February 2020

Serving our country with pride Prime Minister Boris Johnson has appointed two Indian origin individuals to the most powerful positions in the country. Priti Patel has the important post of Home secretary and Rishi Sunak is the Chancellor for Exchequer. The parents of Priti and Rishi hail from East Africa. This is just another example of the huge achievements of the East African Indian community. No wonder former Prime Minister Ted Heath said of the expulsion of Asians from Uganda, ' Uganda's loss is our gain'. In East Africa our education was the best anyone could get. Our upbringing was such that we were able to meet any challenges in adult life. The children of East African parents have done even better. Highly successful entrepreneurs, academics, IT professionals, scientists, engineers, hospitality industry, armed forces, tourism, building industry, there is hardly any facet of life that they have not excelled in. Some media enterprises will not be able to accept two Indian's in these high positions. They have already started to dig for dirt. It is therefore important for both Priti and Rishi to be very vigilant and professional in their jobs. No one should be given an opportunity to cast aspersions. Wishing both them every success in serving our country with pride. Nitin Mehta Croydon

Unsolicited ‘Phone Calls Are other AV and GS readers being plagued and pestered by ‘phone calls we receive at any odd times from people trying to sell their goods and services or companies asking you to participate in their surveys? These calls have the habit of taking you by surprise at inopportune moments while you are having dinner or are in company or watching your favorite TV programmes. Recently, I have started receiving calls purporting to come from a well known firm where the caller says that £60 per month subscription will be taken from my account unless I unsubscribe. To unsubscribe, I would need to give my details. I gave details of my name and address but when he asked for my bank account number and branch, I thought that something was fishy and put the phone down. What can one do in these circumstances? I hate phone calls which interrupt my evening, especially when someone is trying to sell me something. I understand that there are websites which profess that they can stop these calls. However I am skeptical about them working for me. I now pick up the phone and keep it off the hook. This way the callers would incur call charges and would stop them ringing again. I also ask the caller what was in it for me. I hope these tactics would work. Other readers may have some other tricks up their sleeve and may want to share them with us. Dinesh Sheth Newbury Park, Ilford

Epidemic associated with missing MMR jabs Recent outbreak of rubella and especially mumps with a rise of some 350% in just over a year, affecting children and young men in educational establishments like schools and Universities has indeed taken these families by surprise. From late eighties to early two thousand, due to misinformation spread by well-intended but misinformed medical professionals, hinting that autism is somehow connected with MMR, resulting in what is known as “Wakefield Generation” who grew up without protection of MMR, as many parents avoiding MMR jabs for their children, believing in the misinformation about MMR somehow responsible for autism. Some parents’ preferred single vaccination at a time but most of them failed to carry out the full course, leaving their children at a risk of such outbreak, as mumps, rubella, measles and similar illnesses that MMR vaccines could protect against are on the rise when these illnesses should have been totally eliminated. Unfortunately a tiny number of mumps cases may lead to contagious infection leading to viral meningitis putting young lives at risk. The age group of between 15 and 22 are most at risk and most affected victims belong to this group, especially university students who live, study and mix as a group, passing such infection within the group with ease. No wonder there were 5000 such cases among students just in a year. The anti-vaxx campaign is still running on social media, although it has been proved beyond doubt that it is safe and saves lives if children are vaccinated when they are young. Some politicians even advocate extreme measures to bared children from schools if they are not vaccinated, arguing that why their children should be put at risk for the failure of a tiny number of parents who have failed to protect their children! It is time government should educate and introduce some laws to protect all children, banning such misinformation spread on the social media. Kumudini Valambia By email

Women's equality gap Women's rights for equality are lagging behind because of male dominations over them for centuries. Bridging this inequality gap at present is moving at a slow pace and needs speeding up. Representation of women is below par in the field of top jobs, in politics, laws, the civil service, media, professional and sports bodies. Just 5 per cent of FTSE 100 chief executives and 34 per cent of MPs are women. Sam Smethers Chief executive of the Fawcett Society which carried out the study, said, " despite much lip service about the importance of having women in the top jobs, today's data shows we are still generations away from achieving anything close to equality. We are wasting women's talent and shills." In my view, women will have to more assertive in fighting for equality in jobs but also on equal pay, flexible working hours and child care facilities. Baldev Sharma Rayners Lane, Harrow

Our Hibernating Politicians Whenever there is above average rainfall, which is the norm in most countries, so many homes in Yorkshire, Lake District and South East England are flooded, putting these trapped home owners in dilemma, as it costs thousands of pounds to make these homes habitable again. As these homes are in flood risk areas, no insurance company would touch them. Even if some may be willing to insure, premium is prohibitive, out of reach for most of them. Repair cost varies from £10k to £50k depending on the damage caused by flood. The worse aspect of this tragedy is that home owners are forced to seek alternative accommodation while their homes are being repaired, some six to twelve months in rented accommodation, adding to their cost and draining their capital reserve, an old age retirement fund! Some, who could afford, have bought caravans parked in nearest Caravan Park to avoid paying high rent. But living in caravan for elderly and those with children in bitterly cold and damp winter months is a grave hazard to their health and wellbeing. No wonder when some of these unfortunate victims appear on TV, they seem to be lost, depressed and many have tears in their eyes. Yet our “Ivory Tower” living politicians with privileges of private medical insurance, highly subsidized 5* meals in HOC restaurant, rent paid accommodation, as well as many other privileges, living a life of comfort; have no inclination about sufferings and hardships these people have to endure, living with fear and trapped in their unsaleable properties. Yet, it will take just one year’s Overseas Aid Budget of £15 billion to protect and make these homes safe and flood proof. For some such schemes, building the wall is “Work in Progress” for five years. No wonder now public wants to know if China can build 1200 bed fully equipped hospital in two weeks, why our government is so inefficient! If necessary government should buy these properties paying fair price so that these long suffering home owners could move out and settle nearby! Bhupendra M. Gandhi By email

Viva La Carnival The carnival in the state of Goa is the most famous festival and has been celebrated since the 18th century AD as a precursor to the abstinence of Lent. The carnival is exclusive and unique to Goa, and was introduced by the Portuguese who ruled the State for over five hundred years. Huge colourful parades take over the state's cities with bands, floats and dances. Although, the four-day festival is primarily celebrated by Catholics, it has also absorbed Hindu tradition revelry, western dance forms, and turned into a pageantry of sorts. Though it started as a celebration enjoyed only by the local population, it has today crossed the state frontiers and attracts thousands of people from all over the country as well as from other parts of the world. The carnival is held in February/March for four days and four nights (depending on when Lent starts) when the legendary king Momo takes over the state and the streets come alive with music and colour. The carnival is meant to be a feasting-drinking-merrymaking orgy just before the austere 46 days of Lent. Huge parades are organized throughout the state with bands, dances and floats out all night on the streets, and grand balls held in the evenings. The history of the Goan carnival goes back to almost 500 years. It was essentially introduced in Goa by the Portuguese. The trend of celebrating the carnival with hedonistic pleasures dates back to ancient Rome and Greece. It came to be known to the Portuguese and Spanish people with time and when the Portuguese established their colony in Goa, they introduced the concept there. Since then, the carnival is regular feature every year and a time when people all over Goa take part in it with pleasure. The word 'carnival' is originated from the Latin word 'carnelevarium' meaning 'removing the flesh' or 'raising a gala storm'. Jubel D’Cruz, Mumbai, India

Kapil’s Khichadi The BBC Kapil Dudakia Narrative from Downing Street suggests that maybe our Prime Minister might finally question the BBC and its relevance to us in its present state. In my view, and let me be upfront from the start, the BBC has lost its way. It appears to be abusing its power as the national privileged broadcaster. It is run by people with an agenda, their own biased agenda that is more woke than common sense. It has been granted such powers that not paying the licence fee becomes a criminal offence. With all this privilege comes responsibility, and in my view the BBC has failed in its duty of care to its own charter. They often say that BBC is ‘an independent world beating broadcaster’, one that is the very custodian of ‘journalistic integrity’. Nothing can be further from the truth. The BBC was and is the organisation whose principal surrounds undermining nations, people and cultures, or how it will promote those it favours. Its worldwide dominance was created in an era when the UK was an imperial master. It needed a means to send a message to all corners of the world which turned the listener into believing everything it was narrating. And let us be honest, we have to applaud the BBC for executing that to perfection. The world still tunes into BBC world service thinking they will always get unbiased news and commentary. Those who have freed themselves from this smokescreen have come to learn of the shady nature of its programming. Take any week and look at its programming. You will see BBC News that peddles its bias in what it says and how it says it. Look at the dramas and you will see an underlying theme that is leaning towards the left. Look at the comedy programmes and the majori-

ty are leaning towards the left. Look at its sports commentators and you will see the likes of Linekar who have taken a pro-left stand. These are just a few domestic examples. Go further afield and you see how it treats different countries and different cultures. As a British Indian, let me be blunt – to me the BBC over the past five decades has come across as antiIndia and anti-Hindu. From the way it reports events in India, to the way it describes the Indian PM, to the way it presents Hinduism and to the way in which antiIndia/Hindu commentators are given so much access to voice their negativity. I am certain that each one of you will have many more examples of how the BBC has used and abused its unique position to undermine certain countries, people and faiths. I am therefore pleased that at the very least Downing Street has put the cat amongst the pigeons to get this debate started. I do not want the Government to control any of our media. However, I do not want any state funded enterprise to undermine the nation and its people either. The legal position of the BBC Licence fees needs addressing at the very least. However, in my view a more profound change is needed. One that is suitable for the world of tomorrow. If the licence fee becomes optional, giving me the opportunity to exercise a right to buy into the BBC or ignore it, that I can live with also. People should not be trapped into a mindset that we cannot touch the BBC. That is the narrative of the fake merchants. The BBC costs us around £4 billion per year. We have a right and a duty to see that it gets sorted now. (Expressed opinions are personal.)

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


www.asian-voice.com

EDUCATION

AsianVoiceNewsweekly

AsianVoiceNews

11

22 - 28 February 2020

Children who sit too much 'more likely to get depressed' A study by researchers at University College London looked at the activity levels of 4,257 12- to 16-year-olds and has found that children who spend lots of time sitting still are more likely to develop depression by the age of 18. According to the researchers those who did an additional hour of light activity each day, such as walking or chores, had fewer depressive symptoms when they reached adulthood. The study suggests people of all ages should be encouraged to move more. The participants, from the University of Bristol's

declined, while sedentary behaviour increased, the study says. Researchers found the average time per day spent on: - sitting still rose from about seven hours to eight and a half - light activity decreased from about five and a half hours to four - moderate to vigorous activity "remained stable" They found for every additional hour a day spent sitting still at the ages of 12, 14 and 16, the participants' depression score rose by 11.1%, 8% and 10.7%, respectively.

Children of the 90s cohort study, wore accelerometers for at least 10 hours on at least three consecutive days (except when they were washing or doing water sports) at the ages of 12, 14 and 16. It showed whether they were sitting still, engaging in light activity such as walking or engaging in moderate to vigorous activity - such as running or cycling. The participants had to fill out a questionnaire that measured depressive symptoms such as low mood, loss of pleasure and poor concentration. Between the ages of 12 and 16, physical activity

money can come with strings attached. The Department of Education said Yale University had chosen not to report any foreign funding over the last four years, and is suspected of failing to disclose at least $375m in foreign gifts and contracts. The agency said it was also concerned that Harvard lacked "appropriate institutional controls over foreign money" and had failed to fully report foreign gifts and contracts.

ing to academic institutions. Under US law, universities are required to report all gifts and contracts from foreign sources that exceed $250,000 (£193,000). Since July, the Department of Education said it had uncovered some $6.6bn in previously unreported gifts from countries including Qatar, China, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Officials have previously described foreign spending on US universities as a "black hole" and warned that such

Schools are being told they do not need to close or send people home if there is a suspected case of coronavirus. Guidance to be published by Public Health England says no restrictions are needed while tests are carried out. If tests are positive, health protection teams will speak to the head teacher and action will be taken. Meanwhile, the Foreign Office is "urgently considering all options" for Britons aboard a quarantined cruise ship.

The advice was published on Monday, after some schools in Brighton told concerned parents they can choose to keep their children away from school as an authorised absence, even if a coronavirus case is only suspected. PHE says that it will continue to advise people who have been in close contact with a confirmed case to self-isolate. It is believed to have advised at least seven schools in Brighton, Hove and Eastbourne that a member of staff or pupil should stay at home for 14

days. The Department of Health said last Sunday that 3,109 tests had been carried out in the UK so far, with nine positive results which is an increase of 117 tests on the 2,992 reported on Saturday. Speaking to the BBC Niall Dickson, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, which represents hospitals and other trusts, said "the system is under enormous pressure" but the NHS is "very used to dealing with emergencies of all kinds".

Education ministers pull plug on 5,000 post-GCSE qualifications

US investigates Harvard and Yale over foreign funding The US has launched investigations into Harvard and Yale universities over suspicions they received undisclosed funds from foreign countries, including Saudi Arabia and China. The US Department of Education said the elite schools did not fully report hundreds of millions of dollars in foreign gifts and contracts. Speaking to the BBC Harvard and Yale said they were preparing responses for the government. It comes amid a clamp down on foreign fund-

Schools advised not to close over suspected cases

More than 5,000 qualifications in England studied by few or, in some cases, no students are being scrapped. The Department for Education is pulling funding from about 40% of the 12,000 post-16 qualifications as it prepares to introduce new T-levels in September. T-levels are post-GCSE courses, equivalent to three A-levels, developed in collaboration with businesses. Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said find-

ing the right course was like looking for a needle in a haystack. He added: "Removing funding for qualifications that have no or low numbers of enrolments will help make sure students have a clearer choice of the qualifications on offer, and ensure they get the skills they need to progress." The move is the latest step in the government's wider review of post-16 qualifications at Level 3 - A-level standard - and below. But the head of the well respect-

ed qualification provider City and Guilds said the move would be "disastrous for social mobility". The qualifications purge will move closer to a system where teenagers choose at age 16 from one of three routes - A-levels, apprenticeships or T-levels. The move is also intended to ensure funding goes towards more popular qualifications that help students learn skills they need to go on to have successful careers.

Gift your loved ones an Asian Voice & Gujarat Samachar subscription for Birthday, Wedding & Anniversary

Your Voice for 47 years, 200,000 readers

Save lots of money by subscribing for both papers

G Exclusive news, Outstanding columnists G Excelent value for your subscription

G For 50 weekly issues and several special magazines plus Annual Calendar

SUBSCRIBE TO ASIAN VOICE AND GUJARAT SAMACHAR TODAY TO RECEIVE A

FREE CALENDAR 2020 ear One y on for t d rip i subsc amachar an ly n S o t is Gujara oice in UK V n Asia Please tick as appropriate:

Gujarat Samachar & Asian Voice Gujarat Samachar

RATES VALID FROM 1-2-2018

1 Year 2 Years

UK G.S. A.V. Both G.S. £30.50 £30.50 £36.50 £79 £55 £55 £66.50 £147

EUROPE A.V. Both £79 £131 £147 £252

Please Note: Subscriptions are non-refundable after 30 days

WORLD G.S. A.V. Both £95 £95 £154.50 £174 £174 £288

Please detach this form and send it with your payment or credit card instructions to address below

NAME ADDRESS

POST CODE TEL: Email: I’d like to be kept up to date by email with offers and news from ABPL I enclose a cheque/ postal order of £................... made payable to Gujarat Samachar Please charge my Visa Mastercard Credit Debit card for £ Card Expiry date Card No: Signature

Date

CALL NOW 020 7749 4080

or Email: support@abplgroup.com www.asian-voice.com www.gujarat-samachar.com

GUJARAT SAMACHAR & ASIAN VOICE Karma Yoga House, Unit 1 12 Hoxton Market, (Off Coronet Street) London N1 6HW


12 MEDIA WATCH

AsianVoiceNews

AsianVoiceNewsweekly

www.asian-voice.com

22 - 28 February 2020

SCRUTATOR’S Umesh Jadhav drove 61,000 km across India to meet families of all 40 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel killed in the Pulwama attack on February 14 last year. After completing the last leg of his journey, he paid tributes to the slain jawans with a fistful of earth from their hometowns. The 40-year-old was the only special guest at a wreathlaying ceremony in CRPF’s campus in Lethpora (Jammu & Kashmir) last week to commemorate the sacrifice of the jawans. “I spent last year collecting soil from the hometown of each jawan who lost his life.

Senior police officer pays tribute to the 40 CRPF personnel who were killed in the Pulwama terror attack in February last year

It’s all here...in this urn,” said the pharmacologist-turnedmusician, gently pulling out an earthen vessel, while he was on his way to Srinagar. Jadhav was returning from a music concert in Ajmer on February 14 when, at the Jaipur airport, he heard the news that a CRPF convoy had been attacked by a suicide bomber. The visuals on TV screens at the airport disturbed him greatly. “As images of the bodies lifted from the terror site beamed across TV, I decided I had to do something,” he said. Jadhav then set out to meet families of all 40 jawans. It wasn't an easy task as some houses were deep in the interiors. There were other challenges - his car, modified for extra space and painted with patriotic slogans, often served as his shelter for the night. He managed to trace all the families, who were eager to share their stories with him. “We ate together and cried together. I even celebrated my birthday on December 21 with the family of a slain jawan from Punjab,” he said. At each stopover, he took a fistful of earth and carefully kept it in the urn. He will now present this urn to the CRPF to “keep alive the memory of these jawans”.

‘Romeo’ multi-mission helicopters for the Navy and the $930 million one for six AH-64E Apache attack choppers for the Army are set to be cleared by the Cabinet committee on security (CCS) by next week, said sources. “India will pay an initial 15% for the MH-60R choppers under the US Foreign Military Sales (FMS) governmentto-government deal. Once the contract is inked, the first lot of choppers will be delivered in two years. All 24 will come in four to five years,” said a source. The “direct commercial sale” of the six Apaches, in turn, is basically a follow-on order to the 22 such choppers already inducted by IAF under a £1.39 billion deal inked with US in September 2015. “The Army should get the six choppers, armed with Stinger air-to-air missiles, Hellfire Longbow air-toground missiles, guns and rockets, around 2022-2023,” said a source. Pay taxes honestly, Modi's plea to citizens Prime Minister Narendra Modi appealed to the people to take a pledge to pay their taxes honestly,

India, US clinch $3.5bn def deals India has finalised two more mega defence deals with the US, together worth over $3.5 billion for 30 heavy-duty armed helicopters, in the run-up to President Donald Trump’s visit on February PM Modi at Times Now event 24-25. These soon-to-beinked deals will take the total keeping in mind the sacrifice of value of Indian defence contracts those who laid down their lives for bagged by the US just since 2007 the freedom of the nation, while to well past the $20 billion mark. stating that only 15 million people The $2.6 billion deal for 24 MH-60 pay taxes. “We will be celebrating

75 years of our Independence in 2022. I urge you to align your personal objectives with this great occasion,” Modi said. He said the government was making a strong effort to make India a taxcompliant society. “In the past four-five years, a lot of work has been done but there is a long way to go,” he said. The PM said in the last five years, 15 million cars were sold and more than 30 million people travelled overseas for business or leisure, but only 15 million people pay tax. He said across the country there were many lawyers, doctors and chartered accountants but only 2,200 professionals declared annual income above £100,000. Detailing steps taken by the government to re-orient the tax system from process-centric to people-centric, PM Modi said, “There will be no room for foul play anymore". Modi also detailed the measures taken by the government to achieve the goal of a $5 trillion economy and said the budget had steps to achieve that target. Addressing the skepticism in certain quarters about the target, the PM said: "It is better to set a stiff target and seek to achieve it rather than drifting forward without aim. This is not an easy goal but also not one that cannot be achieved," the PM said, asserting that the country was moving ahead on several fronts and there was renewed confidence. He said businessmen and entrepreneurs have got confidence that they can do business in a good environment and prosper. He said the government was working overtime to reach the $5 trillion economy target. Lift restrictions: EU envoy after Kashmir visit India has taken positive steps to restore normalcy in Jammu and Kashmir but it is important to lift

European Union. “The visit confirmed that the Government of India has taken positive steps to restore normalcy. Some restrictions remain, notably on internet access and mobile services, and some political leaders are still in detention,” a statement from the European Union said. “While we recognise the serious security concerns, it is important that the remaining restrictions be lifted swiftly,” the statement from Virginie Battu-Henriksson, EU Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, added. The visit, organised by the government, had been criticised by opposition parties in India who were stopped in early days of the lockdown from visiting Jammu and Kashmir. This was the second group of foreign envoys whose visit was facilitated by the government after the big announcement in August. Along with the announcement, the government had placed a series of restrictions on the state, saying they were preventive measures for possible backlash. Six months on,

Sanskrit tols. Teachers employed in these madrassas can stay home without having to worry about finding employment elsewhere. The government will pay their salaries till their day of retirement," the minister said. Pointing to the decision to simultaneously stop funding Sanskrit tols, Sarma said this should put at rest speculation that madrassas were being targeted on religious grounds. Privately-run madrassas - Assam has around 900 of them, all run by the Jamiat Ulama and Sanskrit tols can continue to function as usual, he said. The website of the erstwhile state madrassa education board defines "madrassa" as an Arabic word for "an educational institution or school imparting education to all, irrespective of religion, caste, creed and gender". Crackdown against songs glorifying drugs, gun culture Transport authorities in Punjab have booked 212 buses in a bid to curb the use of video/audio clips

Punjab’s transport department has issued notices to 212 buses during a five-day drive to curb the use of videoaudio clips glorifying drug and gun culture in buses plying across the state

some of them were still in place, including the ban on cellphone internet that raised concern abroad. Last week, charges under the tough Public Safety Act were brought against former Chief Ministers Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti, who have been under preventive detention since August. No govt funds for 'religious education'

The Assam government has decided to shut down over 614 government-aided madrassas and 101 Second batch of 25 foreign diplomats visits Jammu and Sanskrit tols Kashmir to witness the ground situation in the region (institutes) in Assam and convert it as high and the remaining restrictions swiftly, higher secondary schools as part the European Union said, of a policy decision by the BJP-led following the latest visit by a government not to spend public group of foreign diplomats to the money on "religious education." union territory under lockdown Finance and education minister since August. Diplomats from 25 nations - including some from the Himanta Biswa Sarma said, European Union – visited Srinagar "teaching Arabic and religious and Jammu for two days to survey texts is not the government's job. the situation in Jammu and In a secular country, religious Kashmir six months after the teachings cannot be funded by the Centre ended the state's special government. If religious texts are status and bifurcated it into two allowed to be taught in state-run union territories. The group madrassas, the Gita, or for that included envoys from Germany, matter the Bible, should also be Canada, France, Italy and Poland, taught with government funding. New Zealand, Mexico, The government spends Afghanistan, Austria, Uzbekistan, £300,000-400,000 annually on madrassas and about £100,000 on as well as envoys from the

glorifying drug and gun culture in buses. The drive was launched from February 7 to 11 in which all the Regional Transport Authorities (RTAs) held meetings with transporters, sensitising them about the ill-effects of playing obscene/vulgar songs on the psyche of youngsters, the statement added. During the drive 509 buses were checked, of which 212 were found violating such norms. The statement said such campaigns would be vigorously carried out frequently in future also and special instructions had already been issued to the SDMs and Secretary RTAs to address this issue on top priority during their routine checking. The statement said the CM had directed the transport department to crackdown on obscene/vulgar songs in buses, as these are not only detrimental to Punjabi culture, but also cause distraction to the driver, endangering the lives of people. Police have recently booked Punjabi singers Shubhdeep Singh Sidhu (Sidhu Moose Wala) and Mankirat Aulakh for propagating violence through a video clip uploaded on social media. The CM has also ordered a ban on the screening of movie ‘Shooter’ which is based on the life of the notorious gangster Sukha Kahlwan. Subsequently, Punjab Police also registered a case against producer/promoter KV Singh Dhillon and others for allegedly promoting violence, heinous crimes, and gangsterism.


www.asian-voice.com

AsianVoiceNews

UK

AsianVoiceNewsweekly

13

22 - 28 February 2020

in brief LIVERPOOL HOSPITAL SORRY FOR 'UNACCEPTABLE' CARE OF DEMENTIA PATIENT

A hospital has apologised to the family of a dementia patient who was "left for hours in his own urine and faeces". Khawaja Anwar, 82, was admitted to the Royal Liverpool University Hospital on 3 February after a fall in which he broke two bones in his pelvis. His family complained over Mr Anwar's "unacceptable" lack of care and said he was "humiliated" by some carers. The hospital said "patient care is our top priority" and is investigating. Mr Anwar's wife Nargis made a formal complaint to the hospital after she noticed the conditions her husband had to sleep in. Speaking to the BBC Nargis said: "The physio came and started to help him to move him so he could sit on the edge of the before standing him up. Mr Anwar's son, Aamer, told the Local Democracy Reporting Service that the standard of care given to his father was "simply unacceptable".

RATAN TATA AWARDED HONORARY DOCTORATE BY UNIVERSITY OF MANCHESTER

Ratan Tata receiving his Honorary Doctorate from Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell

Tata Group Chairman and prominent business tycoon Ratan Tata was awarded with an honorary doctorate by the University of Manchester last Friday. The university awarded the 82-year-old industrialist for his contribution to philanthropy and innovation. Ratan Tata was awarded with the Honorary Degree of Enterprise whilst in Mumbai during the India tour of Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell, President and Vice Chancellor of University of Manchester who is visiting the country to strengthen research and industry links between India and the University. This is not the first time that stalwart business tycoon Ratan Tata has been awarded with an honorary doctorate. He has collected a number of them through the years. In 2014, Ratan Tata also received an honorary doctor of laws degree by Canada's prestigious York University for his leadership, his drive to promote innovations and his sense of social responsibility. He was honoured with a Doctorate of Automotive Engineering by the Clemson University back in 2015. In 2018, Swansea University awarded an honorary doctorate in Engineering to Ratan Naval Tata and also received another doctorate from Amity University last year during its annual convocation ceremony attended by HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank.

NUMBER OF MOTORISTS TAKING DRIVER AWARENESS HAS TRIPLED SINCE 2010 Nearly 1.5 million people took driver awareness courses last year - around three times as many as in 2010. The number of motorists taking driver awareness courses has tripled since 2010, new figures show. A total 1,492,236 people attended and completed driver awareness courses in 2019. Of these, 1,282,698 took speed awareness courses; the rest took part in one of eight other types of course, covering infractions relating to mobile phones, motorways and seatbelts. The figures from NDORS (National Driver Offender Retraining Scheme) reveal a three-fold increase in the number of drivers participating in such courses since 2010, when only 467,601 people did so. The figure increased every year except 2016, when there was a slight drop.

Seven convicted of rape and sex assault in Huddersfield grooming case A grooming gang has been convicted of raping young girls, who were drawn into a "dark and sinister world" of sexual abuse. The group preyed on two teenage girls in the Huddersfield area, with one estimating she "had sex with up to 300 men". They gave the girls drink and drugs and did not "see them as human beings". Usman Ali, Banaras Hussain, Abdul Majid and Gul Riaz and three other men were convicted of rape and indecent assault. The family of one girl, who was 14 when the abuse started, tried to stop the meetings and would go out looking for the youngster. When the case was raised with social services her family was told "she must love it if she keeps going back", the jury was

told. The court heard that the second girl was 12 years old and doing paper rounds in her school uniform when she came to the attention of the gang. The men "used her for sex" and on one occasion she was thrown out of a car drunk, with her trousers around her ankles. Speaking after the case Michael Quinn, from the Crown Prosecution Service, said: "The girls were drawn into a dark and sinister world where they were passed around to men who used them sexually without any regard for whether they were consenting." Det Ch Insp Richard McNamara, of West Yorkshire Police, said: "The men involved in these vile offences have robbed their victims of their childhood and abused them in truly

Top row: Usman Ali, AKA Johnny, (left) and Banaras Hussain. Bottom row: Abdul Majid, AKA Smokey, (left) and Gul Riaz, AKA Saj

appalling ways." The offences took place between 1995 and 2007. The men, who will be sentenced on Wednesday, are: - Usman Ali, 34, of Huddersfield, convicted of two counts of rape - Banaras Hussain, 39, of Huddersfield, convicted of one count of rape

- Abdul Majid, 35, of Huddersfield, convicted of two counts of rape - Gul Riaz, 43, of Huddersfield, convicted of two counts of rape and two counts of indecent assault - Three other men who cannot be named for legal reasons, each convicted of a count of rape

Midrar Ali’s parents lose court appeal over his treatment Doctors can stop providing medical treatment for a brain dead baby, the Court of Appeal ruled last Friday. The three appeal judges analysed evidence on fourmonth-old Midrar Ali after the High Court concluded that treatment could be withdrawn. The baby's father had argued his son had been showing "signs of life" and said the ruling was "terrible".

But doctors at St Mary's Hospital in Manchester said the baby should be allowed a "kind and dignified death". Mrs Justice Lieven, who analysed evidence at a trial in the Family Division of the High Court in Manchester last month, had concluded that Midrar was brain-stem dead. Midrar's parents, Karwan Ali, 35, and Shokhan Namiq, 28, who live in Manchester, had asked

Secretary who stole millions from property tycoon bosses thanks judges for being spared jail

A secretary who stole nearly £1.2million from her property tycoon bosses thanked a judge as she was spared jail. Samina Khan, 48, bought a fleet of luxury cars including an Aston Martin, Porsches and Mercedes, plus personalised number plates. The mum of one fiddled books and forged signatures at Landmark and Duram Properties over 13 years — even taking £159,000 from one of her bosses’ daughter’s personal accounts. Khan destroyed chequebooks to hide her thefts but a suspicious transaction was spotted. She was spared jail after Recorder Quincy Whitaker heard Khan cares

for both her son, six, and husband, who has mental health difficulties. The judge said: “In any other circumstances, you would have gone to prison. I hear that would lead to your son going into care. Having taken into account the circumstances that led to your offending, your husband's mental health issues." "The best outcome for your son that won't devastate and possibly destroy his life is for you to remain caring for him." Khan, who admitted theft charges, said: “Thank you so much.” She got a suspended twoyear jail term and 250 hours of community service.

Karwan Ali and Shokhan Namiq had asked appeal judges to overturn the High Court ruling

appeal judges to overturn the ruling. According to reports he said Midrar was still growing and that doctors could not be sure that he would not improve, which meant more tests should be carried out. But appeal judges Sir Andrew McFarlane, Lord Justice Patten and Lady Justice King dismissed their challenge. They concluded that Midrar's parents did not have an arguable case and declared that their son died at 20:01 GMT on 1 October, when he would have been 14 days old. Sir Andrew said evi-

dence showed that "awfully" Midrar no longer has a "brain that is recognisable as such". "There is no basis for contemplating that any further tests would result in a different outcome," he said. Midrar was starved of oxygen when the umbilical cord came out ahead of his birth on 18 September, causing complications. Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust, which runs St Mary's Hospital, has previously said that Midrar has always been on a ventilator and has never breathed independently.

FINANCIAL A SERVICES MORTGAGES Residential Buy to Let Remortgages

PROTECTION Life Insurance Critical Illness Income Protection

Please conta act:

Dinesh Shonchhatra S Mortgage Ad dviser

Call: 020 8424 C 4 8686 / 07956 810647 77 High Street, Wealdston ne, Harrow, HA3 5DQ mortgage@majorestate.co om ~ majorestate.com


14 COMMUNITY

AsianVoiceNews

AsianVoiceNewsweekly

www.asian-voice.com

22 - 28 February 2020

Riz Ahmed to revisit his ‘complicated relationship’ with Showcasing Sarees at India Day in London Fashion Week Britain at Manchester show Manchester International festival to premiere emotional live music show Rupanjana Dutta Award-winning actor, musician, story teller and activist Riz Ahmed will be performing in an emotional live music show, The Long Goodbye, which will merge rap music and theatre, exploring his complicated relationship with Britain. The Long Goodbye, commissioned by Manchester International Festival, is described as “an electrifying journey into our here and now – a close-up look at the breakup of a toxic relationship with the country we call home,” and will feature new songs from the actor. It is written and will be performed by Ahmed and directed by writer, director and dramaturg Kirsty Housley, with creative direction from Andrea Gelardin. Riz Ahmed will perform The Long Goodbye for three nights only, from 26-28 March 2020 at Manchester’s atmospheric former railway station, Mayfield. Ahmed is a musician, storyteller, award-winning actor and activist, The Long Goodbye is a Manchester world premiere. He took the spotlight as the first South

Riz Ahmed

Asian actor to win an acting Emmy for his lead role in HBO’s The Night Of. He was born in Wembley, London in 1982 to a British Pakistani family. Speaking about his forthcoming trip to Manchester to perform in The Long Goodbye, Riz Ahmed said, “I can’t wait to come to Manchester and share the world premiere of this live experience. It takes us on a journey through our past to the current crossroads we face as a multicultural society.” As a musician, Ahmed came up in the London music scene as a rap battle champion, going on to write and perform both as a solo artist and with Swet Shop Boys. His provocative solo release, Post 9/11 Blues, was

banned before a viral groundswell forced it onto radio. The Swet Shop Boys album, Cashmere, toured to sold-out crowds from Coachella to NYC's Webster Hall. In a nod to their cultural impact, protestors against Trump's ‘muslim ban’ at Los Angeles International Airport protest were heard chanting its lyrics. John McGrath, Artistic Director & Chief Executive, Manchester International Festival said, "We are so pleased to be working with Riz Ahmed to premiere his new show ‘The Long Goodbye’ in Manchester. Riz is an extraordinary and fearless artist and an increasingly important commentator and activist. For audiences it will offer a hint of the range and calibre of work that will be made and experienced when we open The Factory.” The Long Goodbye is commissioned by Manchester International Festival and Brooklyn Academy of Music, and produced by Manchester International Festival. Following its world premiere in Manchester, The Long Goodbye will be presented in Brooklyn, New York as a part of Brooklyn Academy of Music's (BAM) new season Yours Theirs Ours.

India Day celebration at London Fashion Week

Indian High Commission celebrated a special 'India Day' at the London Fashion Week. The event took place in Victoria House, London on February 15. It was a fashion show of the attires designed by young designers from the Inter National Institute of Fashion Design (INIFD) in India and was backed by the London School of Trends. Sarees from different parts of India were at the heart of a first of its kind India Day celebration, making it a visible presence within London’s mainstream fashion consciousness. Mrs Ruchi

Ghanashyam, the Indian High Commissioner to the UK said,“This event is a true labour of love, with sarees borrowed from personal wardrobes, including mine, to showcase this living heritage that is such a part of our daily lives. “This is a tribute to all the wonderful craftspeople and weavers who create these most amazing combinations. Each state has a different weave and so much of science, art and creativity goes into the making into each saree,” added the envoy, as reported by the PTI. Smriti Irani, the Union minister of textiles, in a

video message screened at the event said, “These thousands of weaves bring to you the rich diversity of Indian textile. The saree is not only a cloth, a significant reflection of our textile legacy, it is also a matter of Indian pride. UK Foreign Office minister Lord Tariq Ahmad, Israeli ambassador to the UK Mark Regev and Bangladeshi High Commissioner to the UK Saida Muna Tasneem were among some of the key guests at the India Day at the London Fashion Week, which opened on Friday 14thand concluded on Tuesday 18thFebruary.

Rohit Vadhwana Six yards of elegance was the trending hashtag on social media following an evening titled: India Day at the London Fashion Week (LFW) on 15 February, Saturday. An array of 17 beautiful, handwoven sarees were presented by models at the LFW with a narration running in the background that educated the audience of its origin and the distinc- Mrs Ruchi Ghanashyam, the High Vishakha Yaduvanshi tion between each variety of Commissioner of India to London depicting valour and saree. Rajputana royalty, unlike Mughal style of India Day, first of its kind event in the simplicity in the Chikankari sarees. Much history of LFW, started with showcasing ancient to both of them is the tradition of dresses designed by the students of INIFD. Chanderi sarees of Madhya Pradesh which Once it was over, High Commission's saree commenced in the 13th century and has show started with the video message from remained favourite of royalty as well. Mrs Smriti Irani, Minister of Textile of Phulkari of Punjab uses floral work to India. It was followed by remarks of High characterize the agricultural richness of Commissioner of India, Her Excellency the region which has enjoyed an affluence Mrs Ruchi Ghanashyam. flora due to the presence of five rivers. The 17 sarees from different states included the Kashmiri Saree from Jammu & Kashmir, Phulkari from Punjab, Kantha from West Bengal, Chikankari from Lucknow of Uttar Pradesh, Mekhlachadar from Assam, Sambalpuri from Odisha, Baluchari from West Bengal, Chanderi from Madhya Pradesh, Bandhni from Rajasthan, Gharchola from Gujarat, Paithni from Maharashtra, Pochampalli from Telangana, Bangalore Silk from Karnataka, Kanjivaram from Tamil Nadu, Garad from West Bengal and Banarasi from Punjabi women also wear stoles, shawls Varanasi of Uttar Pradesh. All embraced and Kurtis with the phulkari pattern. and adorned by European and Asian modThe beautiful representation of a els. diverse and rich variety of sarees at the Saree is a universal attire of all London Fashion Week was the inspiration provinces in India for women but their of Mrs Ruchi Ghanashyamthe, High design, pattern and style of wearing differs Commissioner of India to London whose from state to state in India. rich knowledge and wardrobe collection of Handwoven Banarasi silk sarees from different types of sarees are evident to the Varanasi of Uttar Pradesh used to have real people who happen to meet her. Special gold and silver threads which would take Assistant to the High Commissioner Mrs months or years for a weaver to complete. Vishakha Yaduvanshi, First Secretary in It got Geographical Indication in 2009 and the High Commission curated the show the art is still preserved through hard work over two months. Spouses of officers at the of weavers. Starkly different from the silk High Commission, representing a number of Banaras saree is Gujarati Ghatchola of states of India, not only contributed which is made of cotton or georgette sarees from their wardrobe but were also mainly, and only occasionally of Silk. involved in curating the show throughout Cotton is a sustainble material for the the preparation period. Beautiful descripattire as the Ghatchola is made in tion of all sarees was prepared by Mrs Khambhat, a seaside town, and Gujarat is Swati Jha, spouse of a senior officer at the humid and hot for the most part of the High Commission. year, making it suitable to the climatic More than 200 people attended the condition. Mekhalachadar of Assam is made of two parts, of which Mekhala is worn on waist while chador rests on the torso, giving perfect flexibility for women living and working in mountainous regions. The Maharashtrian drape of Paithini saree is completely different from other styles of sarees. Gerad saree of West Bengal and Kasavu saree of Kerala look similar as both have a predomevent including Lord Tariq Ahmad, inantly white colour with red and golden Minister of State for UN, Commonwealth colour borders. Another resemblance is and South Asia and DFID. Lord Jitesh that both of them are considered auspiGadhia among others. After the show was cious for religious ceremonies. Lucknow over at the London Fashion Week venue, style of Chikankari saree is a typical royal an event was held at the High Commission cloth style of that place and is believed to where Lord Tariq Ahmad addressed the have been introduced by Noor Jahan, the designers who were also felicitated by the famous Moghul empress. Another royalty Deputy High Commissioner of India Shri lies with Bandhani of Rajasthan which uses Charanjeet Singh. tie and dye method with bold use of colour (Expressed opinion is personal) Do you have a story or suggestion for this column?

Email at: livingbridgeasianvoice@gmail.com


www.asian-voice.com

AsianVoiceNews

AsianVoiceNewsweekly

SP

TLIGHT

Nilima Devi MBE

UK

15

22 - 28 February 2020

MOU BETWEEN INDIA AND UK TO PROMOTE DENTAL HEALTH

Carrying Classical Indian Dance into The Exciting Unknown of the Future Sunetra Senior ilima Devi, MBE is the Artistic Director of the centre of Indian Classical Dance (CICD), based in Leicester, and is known for her superior dance work throughout the West. She is also the Founder of her own now prestigious dance company: Nilima Devi Dance. An intertwining of the soft and powerful, her down-to-earth instruction has created great Contemporary performers such as Aakash Odedra, Subhash Viman, Kesha Raithatha and Meera Patel: all of whom are going on to leave their own distinct dynamic legacy. “I make sure to teach traditional Kathak dance movements in a simple but structured way, – so that they can be easily learned. I’ll not make them overly intricate so as to accommodate for the time.” This is an excellent way to recruit youth from a diversity of cultures which Nilima stated is “pivotal in

N

artist's power of imagination.” As well as being an influential local figure in Leicester and throughout the Midlands, Nilima has worked with many internationally successful dancers and choreographers, some of whom have given Masterclasses and workshops at the Dance centre itself. This includes Pandit Sundarlal Gangani, Pandit Durgalal, Padma Shri Kumudini Lakhia, Pandita Guru Rohini Bhate, Sanjukta Panigrahi, Mallika Sarabhai, Birju Maharaj and many more. “I really see myself as an ambassador of Indian culture,” Nilima commented. “Classical Dance is more than physical art: it keeps alive an entire way of life, immersing others who are not from the preserving a flagship of national culcountry.” ture.” Nilima’s students are further Indeed, this Feb 29th, the CICD encouraged to “tell their own stories will be staging 'TATTVA' the Indian creatively, using the body to communiClassical and Creative Dance Show cate the message to the audience.” which will showcase a variety of new The alternatively strong leader has talent and dance styles, also created a popular modern dance decked out in beautiful herself to Beethoven’s Piano Concerto Indian costumes. “ No. 1 where Western music is comStudents and collabobined with Indian Dance. She elaboratrators will perform ed: “Kathak was originally a solo artKathak, imaginative and form, but I have enjoyed adapting it to Folk dance in stunning be more social. This allows a cultural items, bringing everyone relationship to form with the surtogether too.” The cosrounding immediate community.” tumes, which were carefully curated by Nilima *** Devi MBE who oversaw However, Nilima also emphasised the their grass-roots productimelessness inherent in this Dance tion will also be exhibited form of North India: “Kathak perforat the New Walk mances normally consist of two parts, Museum in Leicester on nritta and nritya. The first, the sothe 22nd and 23rd of called technical part, is a pure dance February for Free. Some form focusing on technique, a of the garments for the 'Ugly tremendous sense of rhythm Ducling' production were and joy of movement. The “Classical designed by gifted hands beauty of this part of at the Loughborough Dance is more Kathak lies in the exact Arts College. “There rendering of rhythmic than physical art: it will be informative, patterns provided by historical descripkeeps alive an entire musical instruments, tions beneath each through graceful way of life, immersing costume. These will body movements and detail their making others who are not the mystery of the and individual inspifrom the artist's footwork. rations,” Nilima Nritya, the second added. country” element of Kathak perfor“Some are modern mances, emphasises abhinaya, such as the Ugly Duckling which is the recounting of a story or costumes. As well as being available song through mime, gestures of the to the general public, these should help hands and symbolic postures of the researchers when studying Indian herbody. In the Kathak style, this is not itage too.” This event will also include rigid and allows the artist to use a variembroidery, Bollywood dance and ety of free movements, thus leaving Indian storytelling classes. “My role as interpretation of a story or poem and Artistic Director has been multifarirhythmic improvisations greatly to the ous,” Nilima concluded. “I choreo-

graph, produce, create good partnerships, communicate and plan and network well! For example, we are already organising for our 40th anniversary next year which will take place at the Leicester Curve Theatre! My drive will always be teaching inspiring national ideas at a community level, while keeping the national focus.” Indeed, an immediate commitment to cultivating identity paradoxically results in greater respect on the wider stage. as Nilima Devi and her lively troupe demonstrate, playfully interacting with tradition to create contemporary Kathak or Cathak or Bolly Kathak. This not only fosters a healthier connection within the self, but also builds a cultured and infinitely brighter world in which to really live. “Positive vibes have been key in moving cultural projects forwards.”

As well as boosting physical health, how else does Dance help people? It boosts the brain: strengthening focus and discipline. It also unifies the mind and body which can make you feel more completer person. It is possible to feel entirely different! Indian Classical Dance is often about a quiet power which is meditative and martial. Do you have comment? Yes, it’s true. The teaching isn’t just about the dance, but also about the philosophy of connecting to other people through yourself. However, not everyone emerges a performer. I’ve had many students who’ve gone on to be doctors, lawyers and architects! It’s very much about an inner practice of calm that can emanate outwards. We’ve helped transform lives with dance.

Signing of MoU at the India Institute, by Dr Kavipal Singh, Principal, SGRD and Professor Robin Mason, Director, India Institute, University of Birmingham

On 12th February, 2020, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between Sri Guru Ram Dass Institute of Dental Sciences & Research (SGRD), Punjab, India and the School of Dentistry, University of Birmingham (UoB) as part of the collaborations taking place between India and UK in the healthcare sector. It is aimed at promoting exchange of students, staff and of best practices, to develop understanding of research and education between the two institutions. UoB and SGRD have collaborated to foster exchange of students and staff mutually for short period of time, to work together to promote dental sciences and practical applications of the findings in India, UK and globally, which will enable them to gain foreign expertise and exposure. The two institutions will seek methods of cooperation that will be mutually beneficial.

COMMUNITIES URGED TO LOOK OUT FOR FAMILIES WITH DEMENTIA THIS WINTER Some of the most common problems for families living with dementia are social isolation, worry and stress. Therefore, Dementia UK’s Admiral Nurse Dementia Helpline is experiencing a significant increase in calls during this winter period in a climate of stretched healthcare services. The Helpline is urging communities to improve their knowledge of the increased risk to people with dementia during the wintertime. This can include the flu, which can cause additional distress and the person with dementia admitted into hospital – this is at a time when there have been increased admissions to hospital around this illness. Dementia UK provides specialist dementia support for families through its Admiral Nurse service. Some important advice from Dementia UK’s Helpline Nurses for communities to support people with dementia during winter includes: Checking-in with a person with dementia and their family. Even if you’re a neighbour, just asking if someone’s ok can have a massive impact. You can also check in to see if there are any supplies they need like warm clothing or food. Get a flu vaccine for the whole family as soon as possible. Community pharmacies can deliver this in people’s own homes. Never forget the joys of indoor activities if the weather gets too cold and you’re unable to go outside. Puzzles and games can help to engage a person with dementia and can be enjoyed by the whole family, friends and even wider community. Speak to your local council to find out what resources are available, or if you’re not sure how to do that.

VIRENDRA SHARMA JOINS ‘SHOW THE LOVE’ CAMPAIGN We are looking to work more with mental health charities and organisations as a result. Similarly, I’ve found the dance to be helpful in exercise. We’ve helped women who might be otherwise housebound become more active and look after themselves more. In my classes, for example, I’ll also really get the students' Heart rates going and their blood flowing faster. Especially to warm up.

What, for you, makes a good dancer? Someone who can listen and learn to then inspire others as they take enjoyment. It’s a balance of creativity and hard work. Also, being able to culturally connect to other ideas in the world to perhaps even create dances that are entirely new. W: http://www.cicd.org.uk/

Virendra Sharma MP has joined hundreds of thousands of people up and down the country proudly wearing green hearts to show they want to protect the people, places and lives they love from climate change. The MP for Ealing Southall wore the heart, sent to them by a constituent, as part of The Climate Coalition's ‘Show The Love’ campaign which celebrates Virendra Sharma MP things that could be lost without efforts to tackle climate change – from beaches to bees and cricket to coffee. A report released last week from the Coalition warned that a population the size of Birmingham and Manchester combined face significant flood risk. It comes at a time when we have just seen flooding caused by storm Ciara, and the report points out that climate change has made extreme rainfall in the UK ‘40% more likely’. The Climate Coalition is made up of more than 140 organisations representing more than 22 million people, ranging from aid agencies such as CAFOD and Christian Aid to groups such as the Women’s Institute, WWF, RSPB, and the National Trust. Virendra Sharma MP said, “I’m proud to be wearing my green heart and supporting policies that make our country fit for the future, and being cleaner and greener to end our contribution to climate change. I want to be part of leaving a legacy for future generations that we can all be proud of.”


& &

& ' ( ) "

!

& * & *

& &

D

+ $ ,9

"=

>

0

1

,9 " =

> + -

.

#

0

#

.

" #

#

3

/

# !

0

$

%$ "

# /

$

/

-

2

%

$

# ,9 " =

" /

' ( )

!

#

-

0

0

#

% , /

# #

&

45 6A

"

,

+

-

# #

B # ,9 " =

# 0

>

1

D2 D

!

D 2

#

45 5 # 5 5 5 2

$

AH GB

::;

) "

$

.

*

+ -

,

.

# .

+

#

< 6; ,9 " = >

#

$

G

$

#

/

$ #

!

" "

? $ &

# !

F

2 / "

#

8

? 2

#

, 8

.

8 #

I # &

F "

& 1

#

$

. /

8 2 0

#

-

"

#

+

$

#

8

"

C /

/ /

' 0

-

#

*

!

( )

0

2 0

#

E !

C

0-

0 -

K

C

#! #

!

#

/

0

#

"

+ %

8

GB

/

66 +

8

# #

#

2 0

#

+ ,9 " = > I

# / 2

#

/

#

0

# $

I

. /

, #

D

F

"

2

#

8

3

-

$

8

-

0 /

$

#

# #

$

#

/

#

-

"

!

!

$

"

)

$

& /

?

- '

% -

D &

!

( 0

#

# # #

#

$ .

0

#

" )

9 #

!

#

,

/ 9

.

#

$

$

#

"

$ 45 67#

#

$

-

-

8

#

# #

$

$ $

E.

%

-

.

# #!

#

0

"

0

01

#

/

0

-

+

# -

0 !

#

+ ,

0

2

0

$

>

#

-

C @

-

0 &

"

?

-

$ +

"

!

"

/

#

!

# "

"

. $

#

8

8 !

. !

/

/

"

. $

# &

"

$

0

5 7EJ5 45

$

& * & *

0

#

2

C

#

,9 " =

#

+

+ @

0

1

& ' ( ) "

2

8

,9 " > L65 # 5 5 5

" C

3


& &

& ' ( ) "

!

& * & *

& &

D

+ $ ,9

"=

>

0

1

,9 " =

> + -

.

#

0

#

.

" #

#

3

/

# !

0

$

%$ "

# /

$

/

-

2

%

$

# ,9 " =

" /

' ( )

!

#

-

0

0

#

% , /

# #

&

45 6A

"

,

+

-

# #

B # ,9 " =

# 0

>

1

D2 D

!

D 2

#

45 5 # 5 5 5 2

$

AH GB

::;

) "

$

.

*

+ -

,

.

# .

+

#

< 6; ,9 " = >

#

$

G

$

#

/

$ #

!

" "

? $ &

# !

F

2 / "

#

8

? 2

#

, 8

.

8 #

I # &

F "

& 1

#

$

. /

8 2 0

#

-

"

#

+

$

#

8

"

C /

/ /

' 0

-

#

*

!

( )

0

2 0

#

E !

C

0-

0 -

K

C

#! #

!

#

/

0

#

"

+ %

8

GB

/

66 +

8

# #

#

2 0

#

+ ,9 " = > I

# / 2

#

/

#

0

# $

I

. /

, #

D

F

"

2

#

8

3

-

$

8

-

0 /

$

#

# #

$

#

/

#

-

"

!

!

$

"

)

$

& /

?

- '

% -

D &

!

( 0

#

# # #

#

$ .

0

#

" )

9 #

!

#

,

/ 9

.

#

$

$

#

"

$ 45 67#

#

$

-

-

8

#

# #

$

$ $

E.

%

-

.

# #!

#

0

"

0

01

#

/

0

-

+

# -

0 !

#

+ ,

0

2

0

$

>

#

-

C @

-

0 &

"

?

-

$ +

"

!

"

/

#

!

# "

"

. $

#

8

8 !

. !

/

/

"

. $

# &

"

$

0

5 7EJ5 45

$

& * & *

0

#

2

C

#

,9 " =

#

+

+ @

0

1

& ' ( ) "

2

8

,9 " > L65 # 5 5 5

" C

3


18 FINANCE - UK

AsianVoiceNewsweekly

AsianVoiceNews

www.asian-voice.com

22 - 28 February 2020

EU chief negotiator scotches hopes of special deal for City of London Michel Barnier, the EU chief Brexit negotiator, has warned former chancellor Sajid Javid and prime minister Boris Johnson that “they should not kid themselves” that Brussels Michel Barnier will give a special deal to the City of London after a photograph emerged of the UK’s opening negotiating position on the new post-Brexit arrangements. A briefing paper suggested the UK would seek in the coming negotiations a “permanent equivalence” regime for financial services that would last for “decades to come”. Speaking in the European parliament in Strasbourg, the EU’s chief negotiator scotched former chancellor’s hopes for maintaining such stable access to the European market after the end of 2020, when the UK leaves the single market and customs union. “I’d like to take this opportunity to make it clear to certain people in the United Kingdom authority that they should not kid themselves about this. There will not be general open-ended ongoing equivalence in financial services, nor other management or financial agreements with the United Kingdom,” Barnier said. “We will keep control of these tools, and we will retain the free-hand to take our own decisions.” Negotiations on the future relationship between the UK and the EU are due to start in the first week of March. At the end of the transition period, the British financial services sector will no longer have the right to operate in the EU as it does today. The City will instead rely on Brussels judging that the UK’s regulations and supervisory systems are sufficiently robust – a so-called equivalence decision that can be overturned with as little as 30 days’ notice. The document photographed outside Downing Street said that the former chancellor would instead be seeking “comprehensive, permanent equivalence decisions”, according to a report. Such an equivalence deal could mean foreign companies such as investment firms and clearing houses can serve European customers largely from their home base and avoid having to set up a subsidiary in the EU. Barnier said that Brussels would not even engage in talks on the topic let alone be open to granting such a deal. He said: “We are not negotiating on these topics, rather we are checking that there is consistency and wherever possible granting equivalence on particular sectors of the financial industry. That’s what we did with Canada, that’s what we did with the United States. It works. So I don’t see why it shouldn’t work with the United Kingdom.” While all the focus on Brexit talks has been on goods, the financial services chapter in any trade deal is critical for the UK. It employs more than 1 million people and contributes £127bn to the economy, according to the former chancellor. “We hope to agree a chapter on financial services in the UK-EU free trade agreement that establishes a baseline for the trading relationship,” the former chancellor said.

Kate Forbes is Scotland's first female finance secretary Kate Forbes has been appointed as Scotland's first female finance secretary in a minireshuffle prompted by the sudden resignation of Derek Mackay earlier this month. She was appointed to the post 11 days after being asked to Kate Forbes present the Scottish government's draft budget for 2020 with around 14 hours' notice. Mackay resigned after allegations erupted stating he had repeatedly texted a 16 year old boy. One of the Scottish parliament’s newest MSPs, Forbes is considered the youngest cabinet secretary in the administration’s history, at the age of 29. As the SNP runs a minority government, Forbes now has to negotiate a deal with at least one other party to ensure the budget is passed on March 5. Forbes is not the only new addition, another new arrival Jenny Gilruth has been made minister of Europe and international development in her girst government appointment. She will support Mike Russell, the veteran cabinet secretary for the constitution and European affairs, whose brief has been expanded to include external affairs.

UK housing boom leads to £2,500 jump in asking prices According to a new report, the British property market is in the grip of fresh boom, with asking prices jumping by more than £2,500 over the past month alone. Rightmove said the average asking price for a home rose to £309,399 in February, £40 less than its all-time record. It added that buyers and sellers have been invigorated by renewed economic confidence described as the “Boris bounce”. The British property portal said it received a record 152m visits in January while agreed sales surged by 12 per cent compared with the same month last year. Rightmove predicted price records would be broken in the spring and hesitant buy-

ers should “now jump in”. Critics however, consider Rightmove's monthly figures less reliable than Land Registry data. Halifax said that in January, Britain's house price inflation rate surged to 4.1 per cent, the highest since February 2018, while Nationwide said prices rose by 1.9 per cent over the month. Rightside director

Miles Shipside said, “There is a boom in buyer activity outstripping the rise in the number of new sellers, which we expect to lead to a series of new price records starting next month.” They said, “Buyers who had been hesitating and waiting for the greater political certainty following the election outcome may be paying a higher price but

they can now jump into the spring market with renewed confidence.” Others said the “Boris bounce” could flag after the budget and if wrangling over EU trade negotiations saps confidence in the economy. The portal said prices rose in the month to midFebruary in every part of the UK except the East Midlands. The highest regional monthly and annual increase was recorded in Yorkshire and Humberside, where asking prices were 5.1 per cent higher than last year. It said prices in Camden jumped by 5.7 per cent over the month, adding £50,000 to the average £1,023,489 price tag in the London borough, returning them to where they were a year ago.

Consumer confidence highest in over a decade in Britain A new survey reveals that consumer spending is at the highest in over a decade since Boris Johnson's decisive election victory. A poll by IHS Markit showed households' optimism over their finances and the economy increased in February to the highest point since the survey records began 11 years ago. The IHS Markit household finance index, which measures Britons' perceptions of financial well-being from 1,500 survey responses compiled by the pollsters Ipsos Mori, rose to 47.6 this

month from 44.6 in January. The index has not exceeded 50 in the decade, a level that indicates improving conditions. The new figures suggest conditions facing families in Britain have become less challenging. The future household finance index, which measures expected changes in financial health over the next 12 months, rose from 49.6 to 52.7 surpassing the previous peak in January 2015. The improvement could pave the way for an increase in consumer spending after

one of the toughest years for high street retailers. Meanwhile, retail sales failed to rise for a record fifth month in a row in December, the longest period since 1996, as household spending fell by 0.6 per cent on the month. IHS Markit

said households showed a lower degree of pessimism about job security in February. An IHS Markit economist said the poll showed a rise in optimism about the country's immediate economic prospects.

French minister says Britain and the EU will ‘rip each other apart’ in Brexit talks

New chancellor sticks to 11 March budget date

A leading European minister believes the UK and the European Union will “rip each other apart” in negotiations over a new trade deal. Jean-Yves Le Drian, Foreign Minister in the French government, said that talks between Britain and the EU could turn nasty when the sides clash over contentious issues like fishing and EU rules.

The budget will be presented on 11 March, the Treasury said on Tuesday, forcing the new chancellor, Rishi Sunak, to piece together a fresh tax and spending programme over the next three weeks.

Speaking at the Munich Security Conference, Le Drian said, “I think that on trade issues or on the measures for our future relationship that we are going to discuss, we are going to start on, we are going to rip each other apart. But that is part of the negotiation. Everyone is going to defend their interests.” Talks between both parties are due to start next month. Both sides aim to reach some sort of

agreement by the end of the year, when the 11 month Brexit transition period comes to an end. EU trade chief Phil Hogan said last month it was “just not possible” to negotiate a comprehensive free trade deal in that time. UK PM Boris Johnson said it's “epically likely” that a deal will be done. His administration has promised that Britain will take back control of its

waters as part of leaving the EU. However, the union countries like France are prioritising access to British waters as part of a new trade relationship. French minister Le Drian said he hoped the UK and EU would overcome the difference in opinion to negotiate a close relationship, telling the conference, “We must realise that we have common interests.”

A delay was expected after Sunak’s predecessor, Sajid Javid, abruptly quit his job after a demand by Boris Johnson that he sack his advisers and replace them with a team jointly managed with No 10. Javid’s budget plans were understood to have been well developed. It was due to include a dramatic increase in spending on infrastructure but leave many dayto-day departmental budgets largely in place, cementing another five years of restrictions on welfare and local authority funding. Sunak is likely to rewrite some of Javid’s rules, relaxing budget constraints across a broader number of Whitehall departments. However, he is under pressure from No 10 to consider taxes on wealthy Britons, including a possible mansion tax, to pay for some of the extra spending. The government failed to have a scheduled budget in November last year.


REAL ESTATE VOICE

SLICING FROM THE TOP

www.asian-voice.com

AsianVoiceNews

AsianVoiceNewsweekly

We are in the midst of trying to place some mortgage cases for a client. Initially my assumption was these cases will be easy to place. Afterall, the client only wanted 50% of the value of each property. He has three large lumps at around £2.5M each to remortgage. I wrongly assumed this would not be an issue, especially as they would all be on a BTL basis. BTL mortgage cases depend primarily not on the income of the applicant, but the rental income of the property. Here’s where the issue lies.

Suresh Vagjiani

Sow & Reap London Property Investment

All the properties are in personal names. The rental cover has increased. It used to be circa 1.25, but since the tax changes have come in it has jumped to 1.45. This has had a major impact on properties in central locations, where the rental yields tend to be very low but the potential for capital gains is high. The potential for future uplift is what central London property is all about. And currently, we’re in an environment where the brakes have come off, things are starting to move fast already. To further illustrate this point, I was just looking at a property we mortgaged for a client some time back, in W2, valued then at around £300K. We have been asked to remortgage the very same property with an expected valuation of £960K. To put things into perspective, the property wasn’t a cash purchase, it was purchased with a good old 15% deposit, therefore, only £45K. You can see the uplift the property has given.

AGONY AGENT IS HERE TO HELP!

When things don’t go to plan, often the issue is

Q: How do I legally dispose of items left by my tenants?   A: At the end of many tenancies, items of furniture or personal belongings are left behind, but despite their abandonment, these items still legally belong to the tenant. So how should you go about removing them? Items left by your tenant still belong to them, regardless of whether a possession order was obtained by you, or the tenant surrendered the tenancy. This is a recurring dilemma for landlords, who are conscious that the removal of belongings left by a tenant is unlawful. If possible, photographs of the property and

London, SE2 Purchase Price: £240,000

22 - 28 February 2020

not the property itself. What often kills the deal is funding; for example, if you have a one trick pony and the property has been stuck in planning for years. We have been in both of these scenarios. However, this should take nothing away from the proposition of buying in one of the world’s most coveted locations. When you’re purchasing at the bottom end of the scale in a strong location, and the timing is right, your growth will be very strong. Property is driven primarily by location. Many mortgage lenders have arrived at the same conclusion. Lenders have released finance even when the rental cover has not stacked up; this is because they still have a strong appetite to lend in strong locations. In their eagerness to lend, they have come up with a solution called top slicing. This is where the stress test is not applied too rigidly to the BTL property. There are only two components which can be applied, one is the rental cover and the other is the interest rate it is applied to. Typically for properties in a personal name the ICR is 145%. In companies, this drops to 125%.

There is a third way, which is to look at the surplus income of the client and take this into account alongside the annual rental income.

What the name indicates to me is one borrows more than required, therefore allowing the borrower to take off a slice from the amount borrowed in order to top up the interest payments.

These are aspects of mortgages we are fast coming to terms with in regards to remortgaging central London properties. The product of choice for our client in question is unsurprisingly a 5 year fixed rate, which is floating at around less than the 2% mark.

In practise this translates to a dampening of the two variables i.e. the rental cover or the rate it is applied too.

its contents should be taken and an estimate of the value of the goods left behind should also be recorded.

Goods) Act 1977, Landlords are permitted to dispose of goods left behind as long as the correct procedures are followed.

A decision should be taken based on what is left behind. If the goods are disposed of by the landlord and subsequently turn out to be of value, the landlord may be subject to a claim for damages by the tenant. The landlord becomes an 'involuntary bailee', having acquired goods left at the property which belong to another. Landlords are required to take care of the tenant's goods and make reasonable arrangements to trace the tenant so that their goods can be returned to them. Under the Torts (Interference with

Notice should be served in accordance with Schedule 1 of the Act, requiring the tenant (or the true owner of the goods) to come and collect them. The notice should be sent to the tenant if the address is known, and in any event attached to the property so that it can be clearly seen.

BUY TO LET OPPORTUNITY

19

Reasonable time to collect is all down to you, however we believe two weeks or more is sufficient. If all reasonable steps have been taken to contact your former tenant and the

notice has expired, you can dispose of the goods. If the goods are sold, any proceeds of sale that remain - after deducting storage costs and debt owed to the landlord - must be returned to the former tenant. If the steps mentioned above are not taken, landlords may find themselves open to the former tenant bringing legal action against them (a civil action for damages for selling or using another person's property). This can be very costly and time consuming so it is important to ensure that the steps above are taken and evidence of doing so is carefully recorded. For any further information or advice please contact us.

l Two bedroom flat in private block with long lease and low service charges

l 200 yards away from a Crossrail station l Journey time to Canary Wharf and Bond Street will be 11 mins and 25 mins

l Yield of 5% per annum l £94K cash required to close this deal, subject to mortgage criteria l Sustained long term growth due to Crossrail backed up by our in house 18 page report on this location Call us now for more information!

Specialists in Central London Property Sourcing

0207 993 0103

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

Sowandreapuk

Interested in investing in property? Do get in touch to see how we can help


20 FINANCE

AsianVoiceNews

AsianVoiceNewsweekly

www.asian-voice.com

22 - 28 February 2020

Three telcos pay part of AGR dues; DoT chalking out strategy Following the Supreme Court’s rap for failing to make adjusted gross revenue (AGR) payments by the stipulated deadline of January 23, at least three telecom companies made a part of their payments on Monday, and informed the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) about their willingness to make the rest of the payment in due course. On Monday, Bharti Airtel was the first one to inform the exchanges that it had made a payment of £1 billion to the DoT. This included a sum of £50 million for Bharti Hexacom, a subsidiary of the company, and Telenor India, which had merged with the parent company. “The Company is in a pro-

cess of completing the selfassessment exercise expeditiously and will make the balance payment upon completion of the same, before the next date of hearing,” Bharti Airtel said in a statement. Vodafone Idea, which faces a payout of more than £5.3 billion, tried to persuade the apex court on Monday “for directions to be issued to the DoT to not take any coercive steps for recovery of AGR dues”. The oral plea, however, was not entertained by the SC. The coercive action, sources said, could be invocation of bank guarantees submitted by the company with the banks. Later in the day, Vodafone Idea said it had made a payment of £250 million to the DoT, and would make of payment of £100

SP Group moves SC for Tata Sons board seat The Shapoorji Pallonji (SP) Group, which holds 18% in Tata Sons, has moved the Supreme Court against the December 18 appellate tribunal order that reinstated scion Cyrus Mistry as the chairman of the Tata holding company. The group said the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) had found the conduct of Tata Trusts, majority shareholder of Tata Sons, to be prejudicial, but failed to provide vital reliefs that would have put an end to the oppressive conduct of the majority stakeholder. The group, in its appeal filed before the apex court, said the NCLAT had not granted proportionate representation on the board of Tata Sons to ensure SP’s interest and investment - now worth over £10 billion - were protected in future. The NCLAT order had allowed Cyrus to continue on the Tata Sons board until his tenure ends. The SP Group said while abuse of power and conduct was found in the manner Cyrus was removed from the chairman’s post, his reinstatement in office was not sought. Instead, it had sought deletion of certain provisions in Tata Sons’ Articles of Association (AoA), which were tools for minority shareholder oppression. The group added that the NCLAT had erroneously said it did not have the powers to alter AoA even though it has correctly recorded that the relationship between the Tata Group and the Mistry family was of a quasi-partnership.

million by Friday. “The Board will take further stock of the situation to see how further additional payments can be made,” it said in an update with exchanges. The payment of £350 million is the principal amount of the AGR calculated by the company, sources said. Last Friday, while saying that it was ready to make the AGR payment, Vodafone Idea had also mentioned that its ability to continue as a going concern was dependent on the outcome of its modification plea for the order, which had asked them to pay the AGR dues within three months. Tata Teleservices - which faces a payout of close of £1.4 billion - also said that it had paid £219.7 million to the DoT on Monday. Both the DoT and the

telecom operators had faced the ire of the SC over non-payment of AGR dues on time. A threejudge bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra also issued showcause notice to the telcos for not having paid the AGR dues on time. On October 24, 2019, the apex court had upheld the DoT’s definition of AGR and said since the licencees had agreed to the migration packages, they were liable to pay the dues, the penalty on dues, and the interest on penalty due to the delay in payments. The SC had then given the telcos three months to clear their AGR dues. That deadline ended on January 23, before which the telcos unsuccessfully tried to persuade the DoT to give them more time.

Credit flow is slowly reviving, says RBI governor Shaktikanta Das The Reserve Bank of India (RBI said that credit flow was reviving and is expected to improve further in the coming months on the back of steps taken by the central bank and the government. “The momentum is gathering pace... Credit flow is slowly and steadily reviving,” RBI governor Shaktikanta Das told reporters after the postBudget board meeting that was addressed by finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman. While latest data showed that credit growth had moderated to 7.1% at the end of January, Das said that from contracting by £13 billion at the end of September 2019, the flow of credit was higher by £27 billion. Similarly, fund flow to the commercial sector was estimated at around £10 billion in September has now risen to around £75 billion. “There is expectation of the flow to improve in coming months due to the steps

announced by the government and RBI,” he said. RBI has reduced policy rates five times since February 2018 and Das said that there were indications that banks were passing on the cuts now. Asked about the Shaktikanta Das £150 billion target for import duty on a number of loan flow to the farm sector, products are expected to Sitharaman said that she make these items more was confident of the goal expensive. Das, however, being achieved. “Credit said that the main concern limit has been expanded. I was over the fiscal deficit, am sure it is based on local which the government has ground level requirehandled by “adhering to the ment...we expect the principle of fiscal prudemand to grow and credit dence”. “The good part of requirements to also meet the government borrowing up with it. I am actually is also budgeted to come closely monitoring banks from small savings. and their extension of credit Therefore, I don’t see much facility particularly to rural of an inflationary impact... areas. So I think we'll be able Declining crude prices has to meet that,” the FM said. definitely positive impact The RBI governor also on inflation...The main reasuggested that the overall son for spike in inflation is impact of the steps because of food inflation, announced in the Budget mostly milk, fish, and variwill not be inflationary. ous protein related items. Measures such as higher

SONIA, please be kind to me....

Tony Piggott

The Uk corporate and small business community face many challenges in 2020 from uncertain global activity, geopolitics, Brexit transition and the current “coronavirus” to name just a few. Equally important and currently under the radar is the replacement of £ libor with a new bench-

mark “SONIA” from the start of 2021. With thousands of loan and derivative contracts currently linked to “£ libor”, the implications on cash flow and risk management for small businesses, corporate and institutional clients, are only now beginning to surface. Libor has been in operation for many years, it was considered the bedrock of stability and impartial determination “by submission” of where banks and financial institutions financed themselves for a given maturity in the wholesale money markets. The recent investigations by regulators into libor

manipulation by banks, resulting in fines, demonstrated the flaws in the libor submission process. The resulting solution “SONIA” (Sterling Over Night Index Average) has now been acknowledged as the reference benchmark for all future loan and derivative-based products from 2021. “SONIA” was introduced in 1997 and since 2016 has been administered by the Bank of. England, being reformed in 2018 and complies with “international best practice” for financial benchmarks. So what does this mean for businesses with a vari-

able rate loan and or derivative-based product currently linked to libor? In summary, all of these products will need to be adjusted to reflect the new “SONIA” benchmark. How will this occur? At present, there doesn’t seem to be a universal approach to this but the consensus seems to centre on the banks either using “fallback language” in the underlying ISDA agreement, accompanying the derivative, a clause which is not universal for all clients or asking clients to accept the change to “SONIA” for an agreed NPV adjustment. Simply put, in an ideal

in brief VODA IDEA Q3 REVENUE UP 2% After reporting the biggest quarterly loss in Indian corporate history in the second quarter of 2019-20 (at £5.09 billion), Vodafone-Idea said that loss in the thirdquarter stood at £643.9 million as steep competition, high costs and large debt servicing depressed earnings. The massive loss in the second quarter was mainly on account of the provisions that the company had made towards the heavy dues that it needs to pay to the government - estimated at over £5.3 billion - following the October 23 Supreme Court order regarding Adjusted Gross Revenues (AGR). Vodafone-Idea said while profitability remains elusive by a large distance, the company managed to grow its revenues in the third quarter by 2.3%.

MOODY’S CUTS INDIA GROWTH PROJECTION FOR 2020 Moody’s Investors Service slashed India’s growth forecast to 5.4% for 2020 from 6.6% projected earlier on slower than expected economic recovery. In its update on Global Macro Outlook, Moody’s said India’s economy has decelerated rapidly over the last two years and expects economic recovery to begin in the current quarter. “We expect any recovery to be slower than we had previously expected. Accordingly, we have revised our growth forecasts to 5.4% for 2020 and 5.8% for 2021, down from our previous projections of 6.6% and 6.7%, respectively, Moody’s said. The growth projections are based on calendar year and as per its estimates, India has clocked a GDP growth of 5% in 2019. With a weak economy and depressed credit growth reinforcing each other, Moody’s said it is difficult to envision a quick turnaround of either, even if economic deceleration may have troughed.

FORMER JET CHIEF DUBE APPOINTED GOAIR CEO GoAir has appointed Vinay Dube, former Jet Airways chief and an aviation veteran, as its CEO. While Jet stopped flying last April, Dube resigned as CEO a month later. Around the same time last year, GoAir had lost another CEO, with C Vrieswijk resigning in February 2019. Incidentally, Vrieswijk had come in place of another aviation veteran Wolfgang Prock-Schauer, who had served as Jet Airways CEO in 2009. Prock-Schauer had quit Go to join IndiGo, where he is now president-cum-COO. This makes Dube the second ex-Jet CEO to join GoAir in a similar role. After Vrieswijk’s departure, GoAir MD Jeh Wadia was looking after the CEO’s role, while former Airbus and Rolls Royce executive Miranda Mills was appointed the low cost carrier’s COO last July.

world, clients could rely on the banks for this calculation for the adjustment from Libor to “SONIA”, but as recent miss-selling activities of the not so distant past have shown, each individual assessment needs to be independently validated. Here at Vedanta, we were instrumental in the redress for miss-sold derivatives in the past and consider the pending transition to “SONIA” as potentially problematic for clients who enter these negotiations with their banks unaware of the implications and the impact both from a cash flow perspective and in terms of the interest rate risk management.

As the UK’s largest FCA authorised provider of hedging advice, we are continually helping our clients succeed by delivering individually tailored solutions and advice to achieve their desired hedging profile, consistent with the appropriate level of risk for their business. You can monitor key market rates by subscribing to our FREE market rate sheet, updated daily, or alternatively download by visiting our website www.vedantahedging.com

Tel: 020 7183 2277 www.vedantahedging.com


www.asian-voice.com

AsianVoiceNews

PAKISTAN

AsianVoiceNewsweekly

21

22 - 28 February 2020

in brief INDIAN SAVES WIFE FROM FIRE, DIES OF BURN INJURIES A 32-year-old Indian man has died in the UAE after sustaining severe burn injuries in his bid to save his wife from a fire at their home in Abu Dhabi last week, according to a media report. Anil Ninan, who hails from Kerala, sustained 90 per cent burn injuries in the fire. His wife Neenu also suffered injuries in the incident, however, her condition is said to be stable. "This is a difficult time for us. His wife Neenu is still recovering at the hospital. She is safe. But, all of us are shocked at his death," a close relative was quoted as saying. It is suspected a short circuit caused the fire at Ninan's home. "We do not know the exact details. But Neenu first caught fire while she was in the corridor. Anil, who was in the bedroom, ran to his wife and was trying to save her when the flames spread to him," a source said. The couple, who has a four-year-old son was shifted to a hospital in Abu Dhabi for critical care.

1ST WIFE THRASHES MAN AT HIS THIRD WEDDING IN PAK A Pakistani man was rescued by the police after his first wife gatecrashed his third wedding and brutally thrashed him and tore up his clothes in front of guests here, a media report said. Madiha and her relatives barged into the wedding reception venue of Asif Rafiq in Karachi's Sakhi Hassan Chowrangi area and claimed that was married to him in 2014. She claimed that Rafiq had married another woman, a Jinnah University employee, without her consent and apologised to her after she objected to his second marriage, promising to stay only with her, the report said. Madiha and her family brutally thrashed Rafiq during the reception and tore his clothes, the report said, adding that the police also beat him up after detaining him. Rafiq tried to escape from the police station but was chased by Madiha's family, forcing him to hide under a parked bus. He was caught and beaten up again before being rescued by some people, it said. According to Rafiq, he had divorced Madiha and therefore does not require anyone's permission to remarry, saying: "It is my right to marry four women at the same time".

SUICIDE BLAST KILLS 10 IN PAK CITY OF QUETTA At least 10 people were killed in a suicide blast that hit a police vehicle in southwestern Pakistan, officials said. Two police personnel were among those killed in the blast in the city of Quetta, the capital of Balochistan province, which borders Afghanistan and Iran. “We have received 10 bodies so far and 35 injured in Civil Hospital,” a hospital official said. The suicide bomber wanted to target the rally of a religious group, but blew himself up when police stopped him. Last month, 13 people were killed in Quetta when blast ripped through a mosque during evening prayers. Mineral-rich Balochistan province is at the centre of the $60 billion China Pakistan Economic Corridor. Violence in Balochistan has fuelled concerns about the security of projects such as a planned energy link from western China to Pakistan’s southern port of Gwadar.

31 KILLED IN SAUDI-UAELED AIR STRIKE IN YEMEN Thirty-one people were killed in airstrikes on Yemen, the United Nations said, the victims of an apparent Saudi-led retaliation after Iranbacked Huthi rebels claimed to have shot down one of its jets. The Tornado aircraft came in northern Al-Jawf province during an operation to support government forces, a rare shooting down that prompted operations in the area by a Saudi-led military coalition fighting the rebels. The deadly violence follows an upsurge in fighting in northern Yemen between the warring parties that threatens to worsen the war-battered country's humanitarian crisis. "Preliminary field reports indicate that as many as 31 civilians were killed and 12 others injured in strikes that hit Al- Hayjah area," the office of the UN humanitarian coordinator for Yemen said in a statement.

Hafiz Saeed jailed for 5.5 years in two terror cases ISLAMABAD: Days before the FATF plenary, a Lahore-based anti-terrorism court convicted Lashkar-e-Taiba founder and alleged mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, Hafiz Saeed, in two terror-financing cases, sentencing him to five and a half years’ jail term in each, which will run concurrently, and a fine of Rs 15,000 in each case. The Financial Action Task Force meeting which began in Paris on February 16 will decide whether or not Pakistan finally needs to be blacklisted for failing to act against terror. “Pakistan wants to get off the grey list but it’s important to remember that Saeed has not been convicted in the Mumbai attacks case. We want to see sincere attempts to bring the Mumbai accused to justice,” an official source said. Saeed was present in the courtroom when judge Arshad Hussain Bhutta announced the verdict. The court also convicted one of his associates, Malik Zafar Iqbal, in the same cases and awarded him similar punishment. Saeed and Iqbal were con-

victed under the Anti-Terrorism Act’s Section 11-F(2), which carries a maximum penalty of six months’ imprisonment for anyone found to be member of a proscribed organisation, as well as Section 11-N, which carries a minimum penalty of five years’ imprisonment for anyone involved in fund-raising for the “purpose of terrorism” or money laundering for proscribed organisations or owning “illegal” assets. They were granted the benefit of Section 382-B of the Code of Criminal Procedure, which allows for a reduction in sentence against the period they were detained before the announcement of verdict. The court had reserved its verdict in the two cases on February 6 with Saeed’s counsel requesting that all pending cases against him be clubbed together and sentencing rendered simultaneously. The terror-financing cases against Saeed and his associates were filed last year by the counter terrorism department (CTD) of Pakistan’s Punjab province. CTD had lodged 23

cases against members of the banned Jamaatud-Dawa. Pak’s renewed bid to comply with FATF terms On July 3, 2019, Saeed was booked along with Hafiz Saeed 12 other JuD members in 23 cases for terror-financing and money laundering under the Anti-Terrorism Act. CTD had claimed that JuD and Saeed-led charity Falah-e-Insaniyat Foundation were financing terrorism from the massive funds collected through non-profit organisations and trusts, including Al-Anfaal Trust, Dawatul Irshad Trust and Muaz Bin Jabal Trust. CTD had banned these nonprofit organisations in April 2019 after investigations found that they had links with JuD and its top leadership. On July 17, 2019, CTD arrested Saeed from Gujranwala in central Punjab on terror-financing charges and sent him to jail on judicial remand. The action against Saeed was described by officials and observers as a renewed effort by the country to comply with com-

mitments to FATF to curb terrorfinancing and money laundering. A few months before Saeed’s arrest, Pakistan had declared JuD, FIF and six other outfits, including Maulana Masood Azhar-led Jaish-e-Muhammed, as proscribed organisations, after years of allowing them to operate freely across the country US welcomes step The United States, meanwhile, called on Pakistan to hold Saeed accountable for his involvement in planning "numerous acts of terrorism, including the 2008 Mumbai attacks". "We continue to call for Saeed to be held accountable for his involvement in the planning of numerous acts of terrorism, including 2008 Mumbai attacks that killed 166 innocent people, including 6 Americans," a US State Department spokesperson said.

Imran warns of new refugee crisis in Pakistan ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan warned that Pakistan may face another refugee crisis if the international community failed to take notice of the current situation in India. Speaking at the two-day refugee summit in Islamabad on 40 years of hosting Afghan refugees in Pakistan, he said India's "ultra-nationalist ideology going unchecked could lead to destruction and the region could become a flash point", The Express Tribune quoted him as saying. He said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi's statement that India can destroy Pakistan in 11 days is not a responsible statement by a premier of a nuclear state with a huge population, the paper reported. Khan made the statement in the presence of visiting UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, who was also attending the summit.

Imran Khan

He said because of the "Hindutva" ideology, Kashmiris have been lockdown for over 200 days. He alleged that under the same ideology, the BJP-led government passed two discriminatory nationalistic legislations, targeting 200 million Muslims in India. Khan was referring to India's Citizenship Amendment Act and the revocation of the special status to Jammu and Kashmir. The new citizenship law passed by the Indian Parliament in December 2019 offers citizenship to nonMuslim persecuted religious minorities from Pakistan,

Bangladesh and Afghanistan. The Indian government has maintained that the CAA is an internal matter of the country and stressed that the goal is to protect the oppressed minorities of neighbouring countries. India revoked Jammu and Kashmir's special status on August 5. Reacting to India's move, Pakistan downgraded diplomatic ties with New Delhi and expelled the Indian High Commissioner. India has always maintained that Jammu and Kashmir is its integral part and ruled out any third party mediation, including either from the UN or the US, saying it is a bilateral issue with Pakistan. Khan said if the international community does not take notice of this situation, it will create another refugee crisis for Pakistan as Muslims of India will move to Pakistan. "This is not the India of Jawaharlal Nehru and Mahatma

Gandhi. The United Nations must play its role otherwise it will become a very big problem in the future," Khan was quoted as saying. No longer a safe haven for terror groups There are no “safe havens” for terror groups in Pakistan “right now,” Imran said while admitting publicly that it was possibly not the case under previous regimes. Addressing an international conference marking 40 years of hosting Afghan refugees in the country, he said Pakistan seeks peace in Afghanistan and instability in the war-torn neighbouring country was not in its interest. Khan’s assertion on terror safe havens came as the Financial Action Task Force, the global anti-money laundering watchdog, began a crucial meeting in Paris where Pakistan is trying to wriggle out of being blacklisted for not doing enough to combat terror financing.

Jaish chief ‘missing’, says Pak, India to challenge the claim at FATF NEW DELHI: India plans to point out the incongruity of Pakistan’s claim that Jaish-eMohammad supremo Masood Azhar has been “missing”. Pakistan has claimed his disappearance in numerous Financial Action Task Force (FATF) meetings in the past year. The FATF plenary, which started in Paris on Sunday, will take up the Pakistan dossier for discussion on Friday. Pakistan expects to get about 12 countries to speak in favour of getting it off the ‘grey list’. However, out of the 27 action points that Pakistan needs to take to get

there, it still needs to move on 13. In the last review meeting in Beijing in January, Pakistan was judged to have taken satisfactory action on 14 action points. On Masood Azhar, Pakistan has told FATF that it could not file an FIR against him since he could not be “found”. It has not yet applied for his subsistence allowance from the UN Security Council, after he was proscribed by the 1267 Committee in 2019. The committee allowed Lashkar-e-Taiba chief Hafiz Saeed to get over Rs 100,000 a month for expenses. Following the Pulwama suicide attack in February 2019,

Pakistan had announced a crackdown on militant groups, including JeM. Seminaries and buildings linked to JeM and other groups had been Masood Azhar taken over by the government. Azhar’s brother Abdur Rauf had been taken into preventive detention alongside another relative Hamad Azhar and dozens of others. Azhar was believed to be in protective custody of the government since 2016 but such reports were not confirmed by

authorities. However, he used to release audio messages for his supporters. After Pulwama, he never released any video or audio message and the government also avoided speaking about him and his whereabouts. Since March 2019, government sources claimed several times that he had gone missing.


22 WORLD

AsianVoiceNews

AsianVoiceNewsweekly

www.asian-voice.com

22 - 28 February 2020

Sri Lanka ‘decides’ to withdraw from UNHRC resolutions COLOMBO: The Sri Lankan government has reportedly decided to withdraw from a United National Human Rights Council resolution that mandated an accountability mechanism for the prosecution of mass atrocities, just weeks before it was due to be discussed in Geneva. According to reports, the “special meeting” was held at the Presidential Secretariat with several senior Sri Lankan officials, including Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena present. The meeting reportedly concluded that the implantation of the resolution "under the prevailing political realities does not agree with policies of the present government”. There has been no official announcement from the Sri Lankan government as yet. The resolution, which was initially co-sponsored by the previous Sri Lankan regime in 2015, before being extended both in 2017 and 2019, called for a hybrid accountability mechanism with

foreign judges and lawyers, to prosecute those guilty of rights abuses. However, both the previous and current regime have repeatedly spoken out against the resolution and pledged to shield troops from prosecution. The resolution was due to be discussed at the Human Rights Council in Geneva in the coming weeks. Sri Lanka’s foreign minister is reportedly set to inform the UN Human Rights Council of Colombo’s decision next week.

According to a report "top official" in Lankan president Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s office was quoted as stating the government's policy was "to seek a closure of the resolution.” It also reported that Colombo was looking to withdraw from co-sponsorship of the resolution. “In other words, the decision had no mandate. It was because co-sponsorship was resorted to without taking the domestic stakeholders into

consideration that the accountability mechanisms demanded by the resolution could not be put in place. The constitution and legal system of Sri Lanka had no place for some of the mechanisms and these and other measures that the then government had committed itself to ran into popular opposition. It was because of the lack of mandate that 30/1 of 2015 could not be implemented in the last five years,” the source added. The move will heighten calls on the international community to find alternative pathways towards justice and accountability more than a decade after tens of thousands of Tamil civilians were killed by a Lankan government offensive. Tamil groups in the North-East and around the world have called on Sri Lanka to be referred to the International Criminal Court (ICC) and for states around the world to exercise universal jurisdiction to ensure those guilt of rights violations face prosecution.

US bans visits by Lankan army chief over war crimes WASHINGTON: The United States said it would refuse entry to Sri Lanka's army chief over "credible" evidence of human rights violations in the bloody 2009 finale to the civil war. Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva, whose appointment last year drew wide international criticism, will be ineligible to visit the United States, as will his immediate family, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said. "The allegations of gross human rights violations against Shavendra Silva, documented by the United Nations and other organizations, are serious and credible," Pompeo said in a statement. "We urge the Sri

Shavendra Silva

Lankan government to promote human rights, hold accountable individuals responsible for war crimes and human rights violations,

advance security sector reform, and uphold its other commitments to pursue justice and reconciliation," he said. Silva was the commanding

officer of an army division in the island's northern war-zone in the final months of the military offensive against Tamil Tiger rebels in 2009. Rights groups say some 40,000 ethnic Tamils were killed in mass atrocities as government forces seized Sri Lanka's predominantly Tamil north. The United Nations, in a report into the allegations, said Silva played a major role in orchestrating war crimes. The 2009 offensive delivered a death blow to the Tamil Tigers, whose nearly four-decade campaign for a separate homeland had killed 100,000 people and was characterized by the rebels' bloody suicide attacks.

Indian couple in Singapore jailed for exploiting Bangladeshi women Singapore: A married Indian couple, who ran two Hindi entertainment clubs in Singapore, was fined and sentenced to over six years in prison for exploiting three Bangladeshi women, coaxing one of them into prostitution, in the first conviction for labour trafficking in the country. Malkar Savlaram Anant, 51 and Priyanka Bhattacharya Rajesh, 31, were also fined 7,500 Singapore dollars ($5,406) each, The Straits Times reported. In addition, Malkar was ordered to pay a compensation of 4,878.31 dollars ($3,516) to one of the women over unpaid wages. In the first conviction of a labourtrafficking case in Singapore

under the Prevention of Human Trafficking Act, the couple were each found guilty in November last year of three counts of abusing their power to exploit them. Priyanka was also convicted of three prostitution-related offences under the Women's Charter. Her husband was found guilty of two similar charges. The couple managed Hindi entertainment clubs in Singapore. The victims and their workplaces cannot be named as per the rules to protect their identities, according to the report. In handing down the sentences, District Judge Shaiffudin Saruwan said that the couple had played integral roles in a vice ring. The judge said that the

pair exercised "total control" over their victims, and the Women's Charter offences, which had a "transnational element", were difficult to detect. Deputy Public Prosecutors (DPPs) James Chew and Rimplejit Kaur had stated in their submissions that Malkar was the sole managing operator of one club in the city area and was responsible for recruiting performing artistes at another nightspot nearby. He recruited three Bangladeshi women as dancers for the clubs, and they lived with the couple in an apartment. The husband and wife jointly managed the day-to-day operations of the two clubs and their employees. However, the court heard that Malkar and

Priyanka did not allow the women to leave the apartment on their own. They also confiscated the women's passports, work permits and mobile phones. The three women had to work every day. They were not allowed to keep the tips they had earned and were given "revenue targets" to meet, failing which they were penalised with their salaries docked or were "blacklisted", said the DPPs. Priyanka also told one of the victims that she had to "go out with customers". The woman told the court that she wanted to return to Bangladesh upon learning this, but Priyanka told her she had to pay 400,000 Bangladeshi taka (6,530 dollars) first.

in brief FORMER NEPAL SPEAKER ACQUITTED OF RAPE CHARGES Former Nepal Speaker Krishna Bahadur Mahara, who was arrested in October after a parliament secretariat staffer accused him of attempting to rape her, was acquitted by a court due to lack of evidence. The first high profile politician to be tried for sexual assault allegation, Mahara was arrested on October 6 last year after the parliament secretariat staffer filed an FIR accusing him of attempting to rape her on September 29 at her rented apartment in Kathmandu, the Himalayan Times reported. Mahara, also a Nepal Communist Party (NCP) leader, was the Speaker of the House of Representatives when he faced the allegations and the ruling party asked for his resignation, which he tendered albeit initial hesitance. He was remanded into judicial custody on November 4. He denied the charge and moved the Patan High Court which rejected his plea. He again moved the Kathmandu District Court, which acquitted him on the grounds of insufficient evidence.

MAN THREATENS TO END LIFE AFTER VIRUS CANCELS BIRTHDAY A man in southwest China doused himself with petrol and tied firecrackers around his waist because authorities cancelled his birthday banquet as a precaution against spreading the coronavirus. The Chongqing resident, a 59-year-old surnamed Wang, had planned to hold a banquet with 10 tables late last month, state news agency Xinhua reported. But with authorities across China restricting public gathering, officials told Wang to cancel the party. He showed up at a village committee office armed with firecrackers tied around his waist and poured gasoline on his chest and held out a lighter in an attempt to “scare and threaten the village committee into allowing the birthday party”.

FIRES CONTAINED IN OZ STATE, BUT NOW FLOODS THREATEN New South Wales, the state in Australia which was hard -hit by the blazes that claimed 33 lives nationwide have been contained, firefighters said. But heavy rains that helped extinguish the blazes that have raged along the east coast since September are causing flash floods in parts of the state, posing new problems. “Not all fires are out, there’s still some fire activity in the far south of the state but all fires are contained so we can really focus on helping people rebuild,” the state’s fire service deputy commissioner Rob Rogers tweeted. Bushfires scorched more than 10 million hectares in the country’s east and south, killing at least 33 people and an estimated one billion animals, while destroying more than 2,500 homes. The fires prompted mass evacuations of both locals and tourists during Australia's peak summer holiday period.

MAN WALKS ON FROZEN RIVER AS GPS SAYS IT IS THE SHORTEST ROUTE Google Maps has been blamed for one man’s near-death experience. The man, who has not been identified, attempted to walk across the frozen Mississippi River in US over the weekend, claiming that Google Maps told him it was the quickest route. However, the ice cracked beneath his feet, partially plunging him into the frozen water. The Minneapolis fire department responded to the man’s calls, and helped him. The man, CBS said, suffered a mild case of hypothermia.


www.asian-voice.com

AsianVoiceNews

WORLD

AsianVoiceNewsweekly

23

22 - 28 February 2020

in brief MAN STARTS ‘EATING PHONE’ ON FLIGHT AFTER GETTING DRUNK A man who started “eating” his mobile phone after drinking gin onboard a flight is facing jail. Matthew Flaherty, 44, from England, was travelling on a flight from Manchester to Iceland in January 2019. A court heard how he drank straight from a bottle of gin, swore at cabin crew and threatened to kill them during the flight, which was forced to divert to Edinburgh. During the flight, Flaherty started chewing on the electrical parts of the phone. The phone battery began to smoulder, leading one crew member to put it in a glass of water. Upon landing, Flaherty was met by cops.

BILL TABLED IN UTAH SEEKS TO RID BIGAMY FROM FELONY LIST A new bill introduced in the US state of Utah calls for polygamy to no longer be considered a felony but instead a simple infraction that would be on par with getting a traffic ticket. The bill, which was unanimously approved by a committee in the state senate, will now go before the full senate for consideration. Bigamy is currently considered a felony in Utah, where an about 30,000 people practice it. They risk up to five years in prison and a fine of $5,000. The Utah branch of the American Civil Liberties Union supported the bill and said the practice should be decriminalised when consenting adults are involved.

FOUR SURVIVE 32 DAYS ADRIFT IN PACIFIC OCEAN Four people who survived a month adrift in the Pacific were recovering in the Solomon Islands after an ordeal that claimed the lives of eight of their companions, reports said. The group, from Papua New Guinea’s Bougainville, said they survived by eating coconuts found floating in the sea and collected rainwater in a bowl during the ordeal.

DUO SCAMS JAPAN HOTELS WITH FAKE RESERVATIONS Japanese police have arrested a mother-andson duo for allegedly making 3,200 no-show hotel cancellations, costing the hotels $1million, while collecting reward points worth $22,000, reports said. Police arrested the duo for making fake reservations in November at three hotels, causing damage worth 95,000 yen ($864). But that was just the tip of an iceberg, the investigation found. The duo used an online booking service for making the fake reservations.

PORN MOVIE SHOT AT HOLY SITE OUTRAGES MYANMAR Outrage is growing in Myanmar after the emergence of a 12-minute porn video shot in Bagan, the country’s best known tourist destination and Unesco heritage site of thousands of hallowed Buddhist pagodas. The video was posted on PornHub by a 23year-old Italian couple. According to the site, the pair boasts more than 81,000 subscribers and over 35 million video views since they joined 11 months ago. But the couple’s antics in one of Bagan’s ancient pagodas have been less than well-received in Myanmar.

BANKSY PAINTING TO GO UNDER HAMMER FOR OZ BUSHFIRE An original artwork by Banksy, the anonymous British street artist, will be auctioned in Australia to raise money for bushfire relief, media reported. Art collectors, Sandra Powell and Andrew King from Melbourne donated the Banksy piece from their private collection to go on sale, alongside close to 100 other works from some of the world’s most famous artists. The work by Banksy depicts a circular saw blade heading towards a frail-looking figure sitting on a bench as is titled “Weston Super Mare”.

Indian-origin politician raises over $7 mn for US Senate race WASHINGTON: Indian-origin American politician Sara Gideon has raised USD 7.6 million in her bid to enter the US Senate from the state of Maine. gideon, 48, daughter of an indian-American father, is currently the Speaker of the Maine State Assembly. She hopes to challenge Republican Senator Susan Collins in the november Congressional elections. incumbent Collins has raised more than USD 10.9 million in this election cycle. gideon's campaign said that she has raised USD 3.5 million in the last quarters ending on December 31, taking her total to USD 7.6 million. While Collins leads in the fundraising efforts,

Sara Gideon

gideon in the last quarter raised more money than the incumbent Republicans. gideon, whose mother is from Armenia, announced to run for the US Senate in june last year. 'Over the past seven months, we've built a strong

grassroots movement travelling to every corner of the state, holding 'Suppers with Sara' and talking to Mainers about the challenges they face,' gideon said in a recent statement. 'Washington is broken – it's too responsive to special interests and that's why i'm not accepting any corporate PAC money in this race,' she said. in the Democratic primary, she is contesting against lobbyist Betsy Sweet of Hallowell, former google executive Ross Lajeunesse and defence attorney Bre Kidman of Saco. A graduate from the george Washington University's elliott School of international Affairs in Washington, gideon served as an intern for US Senator

Claiborne Pell. She was first elected to the Maine House in 2012. in 2014, she was chosen as the Assistant Majority Leader of the Maine House of Representatives. in 2016, she was elected by her colleagues to serve as the Speaker. Launching her campaign in june last year, gideon said she is running for Senate to make a difference. 'At one point, maybe Senator Collins was different but she doesn't seem that way anymore: taking over a million dollars from drug companies and the insurance industry and voting to put Brett Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court,' she said. Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has endorsed her.

140,000 Indian students get Canadian study permits in 2019 New Delhi: The number of Indian students to be granted study permit by Canada’s immigration agency, exceeded 100,000 for the second consecutive year. in 2019, Canada approved a little over 400,000 study permits of which 139,000 or 34.5% went to indian students, followed by Chinese who bagged 21% of the new study permits. in 2018, Canada had granted a total of 355,000 study permits - the newly released figures for 2019 signify an overall increase of 13.8% over the previous year. An analysis of the past three years shows that while the number of Chinese students to be granted a study permit has shown a miniscule decline, the

inflow of students from india is steadily on the rise. The number of Chinese students to be granted study permits in 2019, at 84,710 was slightly lower than the previous year’s figure of 85,165. in contrast the number of indian students to be granted study permit has increased by 30.3% to 139,000, over the previous year’s figure of 107,000. With just 82,990 permits granted to indian students in 2017, it reflects a 68.3% increase over two years. Canada is increasingly attracting more foreign students. This can be attributed to various factors such as uncertainties relating to optional training programmes (OPT) for international students in US some of these issues were settled

via court intervention. Post completion of US studies there are also challenges in obtaining an H-1B visa (the most commonly used work visa) for those at the entry level. Karan gupta, a study abroad career counsellor, said, “if a stu-

dent studies in Canada he or she is more likely to land a well-paying job and settle down in the country. This is the primary reason for the numbers going up.” He added that the country is perceived to be safe and welcoming of foreigners.

China’s coronavirus death toll rises to 1,886 BEIJING: The death toll from China's new coronavirus epidemic jumped past 1,800 on Tuesday after 93 more people died in Hubei province, the hard-hit epicentre of the outbreak. in its daily update, the province's health commission also reported 1,886 new cases, a decline on the number of new cases reported on Monday. Among the deaths, 93 were in Hubei Province, three in Henan, and one in Hebei and Hunan respectively, according to the national Health Commission, the Xinhua news agency reported. The World Health Organization (WHO) warned against "blanket measures" over the novel coronavirus outbreak, pointing out the epidemic outside of China was only affecting a "tiny" proportion of the population. WHO also said that - with a mortality rate of around 2 per cent COViD-19 was "less deadly" than other coronaviruses such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) or Middle

east Respiratory Syndrome (MeRS). WHO officials rejected the suggestion that all cruises should be halted to avoid risking a new nest of infection like the one on the coronavirus-hit Diamond Princess off japan. "Measures should be taken proportional to the situation. Blanket measures may not help," WHO chief Tedros Adhanom ghebreyesus told reporters in geneva. The outbreak, which has infected some

70,500 people in China and killed over 1,800, has battered manufacturing and tourism across the region and led to multiple travel restrictions including for flights and cruises. Fall in new cases The number of new cases in China fell on Sunday and a health official said intense efforts to stop its spread were beginning to work. The number of new cases in mainland China fell for a third straight

day, China’s national Health Commission reported on Sunday. C o m m i s s i o n spokesman Mi Feng said the percentage of severe cases had dropped to 7.2% of the total from a peak of 15.9% on january 27. The proportion is higher in Wuhan, the Hubei city where the outbreak started, but has fallen to 21.6%. “The national efforts against the epidemic have shown results,” Mi said. The province and its capital, Wuhan, have been virtually sealed off and locked down since january 23, with schools, offices and factories shut and most travel suspended. The virus is believed to have an incubation period of 14 days which would appear to indicate it has been spreading since the lockdown was imposed. But Mi said the campaign was beginning to show results. “The effect of the coronavirus controls is appearing.”


24 INDIA

AsianVoiceNews

AsianVoiceNewsweekly

www.asian-voice.com

22 - 28 February 2020

SOUTH INDIA

Yediyurappa redistributes portfolios to please MLAs BENGALURU: BS Yediyurappa has finally expanded his cabinet to include 10 of the turncoat MLAs taking the strength of ministers to 28. While there was hectic lobbying for key portfolios, the chief minister tried to play safe by keeping the much soughtafter posts like finance, Bangalore development and energy to himself. However, there were a few who made their concerns heard, forcing the CM to redistribute the portfolios. Among the changes made is that of Vijaynagara MLA Anand Singh, who was initially made minister of the food and civil supplies department. He is now in charge of the Forest Ministry. K Gopalaiah will now look after food and civil supplies instead of small-scale industries and sugar that was earlier allocated to him. The industries portfolio has

BS Yediyurappa

been given as an additional charge to Yelapura MLA Shivram Hebbar who will also be looking after the labour department. Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai who was given additional charge of agriculture has been relieved of the latter post. The new agriculture minister is Hirekerur's BC Patil who was earlier given charge of

the forest department. While Anand Singh, who paid a visit to CM, said that he was there to discuss the idea of making Vijayanagar a separate district. Patil had expressed his displeasure of being given charge of forest and environment ministry and seems like the CM might have given in to the pressure tactics. However, a few others like K

Sudhakar and ST Somashekar, who were reported to be unhappy with the current allocation, couldn’t manage to get their pleas heard. Sudhakar, an MBBS, was eyeing the coveted energy portfolio, but was given medical education. Even Yeshwanthpura's Somashekar, who was the chairman of the Bangalore Development Authority in the previous coalition government, was hoping to get Bangalore development. However, he had to remain satisfies with the cooperation portfolio. If rumours are to be believed, Yediyurappa is said to have kept some plum posts with himself in the hope to reward party loyalists who weren't inducted in this round of the cabinet expansion. With six vacant berths, another round of cabinet expansion may take place anytime in the near future.

PUNJAB

SGPC slams Amarinder govt over separate Sikh body for Haryana AMRITSAR: The SGPC has condemned Capt Amarinder-led state government endorsing in the Supreme Court about establishing a separate Sikh body for Haryana and MP Ravneet Bittu for passing derogatory remarks against Akal Takht officiating Jathedar Giani Harpreet Singh. After holding the executive committee meeting, SGPC president Gobind Singh Longowal said under a deep rooted conspiracy, the state government had attempted to divide the Sikhs. He said if need be, the SGPC would not refrain from taking a legal course of action against the government move. “By submitting a revised affidavit in the Supreme Court favouring the establishment of the Haryana Sikh Gurdwara

Committee separately, the state government has proved its continuous antipanthic approach and conspiracies. The erstwhile SAD-BJP government had filed an affidavit against setting up a separate Sikh body in Haryana as it would defy the Gurdwara Act-1925 and strike the spiritual source of the Sikhs. Moreover, it does not come under the preview of the state government to amend the SGPC leaders the injured. About the TikTok gurdwara Act. The executive videos in the Golden Temple body passed a condemn complex, he said though stern resolution at the meeting measures had been taken to against the state government,” prevent the visitors from Longowal added. making videos on the premises, Taking cognisance of the but if it doesn’t work then a total nagar kirtan mishap, he said the ban on carrying mobile phones executive body had decided to could be imposed. give a relief £100,000 each to the He also disclosed that deceased and Rs 50,000 each to

in brief CONVICT IN RAJIV MURDER CASE SEEKS REMISSION The Tamil Nadu government told the Madras High Court that the state has recommended the release of all seven life convicts of Rajiv Gandhi assassination case to the Governor as it lacks the power to order such remission. “The state cabinet has only made a recommendation to the governor. Only the governor has the power to take a decision. The Governor cannot be questioned by the state for not acting on its recommendation," public prosecutor A Natarajan said. The public prosecutor made the submission on a plea by a life convict Nalini Sriharan, seeking to declare her detention as illegal since the Governor had failed to order her release based on the September 9, 2018 recommendation of the state cabinet.

TN SPEAKER'S RULING AWAITED ON MLAS DISQUALIFICATION DMK said it was hopeful of a 'good ruling' by the Tamil Nadu Assembly Speaker on its plea seeking disqualification of 11 AIADMK MLAs, including then rebel leader and Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam, who had voted against the Palaniswami government in 2017. The DMK was reacting to the state government's submission in the Supreme Court that Speaker P Dhanapal has initiated action on the disqualification petition. DMK had moved the apex court alleging that the Speaker did not act on its plea seeking the disqualification of the 11 ruling AIADMK legislators, who had voted against the confidence motion moved by chief minister K Palaniswami in the assembly on February 18, 2017.

AKALIS TAKE A DIG AT BJP OVER DELHI POLL DEBACLE

recognising the contribution of former SGPC president Late Avtar Singh Makkar administratively and establishing educational institutions in his 11-year span, it was decided to set up his portrait at the Central Sikh Museum in the Golden Temple complex.

With the BJP suffering a drubbing in the Delhi elections, its coalition partner Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) has rubbed in the importance of keeping the alliance for better results. “Better coordination with us could have produced different results for the BJP,” said Daljit Singh Cheema, SAD spokesperson. “Local BJP leaders did not want Akalis to participate due to which we stayed away from the polls. Besides, there were differences on our stand to include the Muslims in the CAA. The differences were bridged close to the voting day but it was too late for us to participate actively in the campaigning.” The results would have been different if the BJP was not swayed by its local leadership, said DSGMC chief Manjinder Singh Sirsa. Sirsa said the BJP did not even feel it fit to field Sikh candidates from the seats dominated by the community.

WEST BENGAL

In signs of thaw, Mamata meets governor Dhankhar KOLKATA: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee held a one-on-one meeting with Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar on Monday, after a delay of nearly five months, in what is being seen as a sign of thaw in their frosty relationship. The Raj Bhavan had indicated on Sunday that the chief minister might meet the governor on Monday. Dhankhar hadn't accepted any appointment for the day as he was expecting the chief minister. The governor said he had been seeking time from chief minister for an interaction ever since he

Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar meeting CM Mamata Banerjee

assumed charge, but to no avail. Mamata's closed-door meeting with Dhankhar at Raj Bhavan came at a time when the governor refused to sign two legislative bills, seeking further clarification, and had issued show cause notice to the vice chancellor

of Cooch Behar Panchanan Barma University for conducting the convocation ceremony in the absence of the governor- who is also chancellor of the university and without taking his assent. In his letter, governor

said, "Whereas by such act you have abused and misused the powers vested in you by proceeding with the holding of convocation without following the provisions of clause 2 of statute number 153 and such act appears to me that you have willfully omitted to carry out the provisions of the University Act." He further added, "You have shown incompetence to perform duties imposed on you by and under the (aforesaid) University Act." He also suggested to start the process of vice chancellor's removal saying, "It is expedient in the interest of the university to set in motion the process of

consideration of your removal from the office of the vice chancellor in accordance of the provision of subsection 7 and section 9 of the University Act." Reacting to the issue, the West Bengal Chancellor Council said in a statement, "Concerned VC had intimated governor on the proposed convocation, but found no response. He acted according to rules." VC Debkumar Mukherjee refused to comment, but sources said the issue drew the attention of Education Minister Partha Chatterjee. Before the motion could set in, Chatterjee consulted Banerjee and the chief minister decided to meet

Dhankhar, as she was left with no other option. Raj Bhavan called the meeting between Dhankhar and Banerjee "extremely satisfying but was done oneto-one" as, sources said, desired by the chief minister. Such a meeting between the chief minister and the governor usually takes place in the presence of the secretary of the governor and additional chief secretary of West Bengal, Satish Tiwari. But in this case, Tiwari was not asked to come during the meeting. Dhankhar's office said the meeting lasted for one hour and that "it was regarding the various issues of governance".


www.asian-voice.com

AsianVoiceNews

INDIA 25

AsianVoiceNewsweekly

22 - 28 February 2020

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

Verrier Elwin preferred Indian Nationality • PM Pt. Nehru appointed Elwin as an adviser on tribal affairs for north eastern India • A Christian missionary later married the Gond tribal women called Kosi and Lila errier Elwin (29 August 1902 – 22 February 1964) was a British self-trained anthropologist, ethnologist and tribal activist, who began his career in India as a Christian missionary. He was a controversial figure who first abandoned the clergy, to work with Mahatma Gandhi and the Indian National Congress, then converted to Hinduism in 1935 after staying in a Gandhian ashram, and split with the nationalists over what he felt was an overhasty process of transformation and assimilation for the tribals.

V

Mahant Swami in Atladara The head of BAPS Mahant Swami is currently in Atladara. This year the birth anniversary of Pramukh Swami will be celebrated in Atladara in December. An inspiration day for volunteers was held, where volunteers who gave best services were felicitated. One skit was also performed in connection with the forthcoming anniversary celebrations. On 14th morning Mahant Swami inaugurated a new hostel building at Old Padra Road. On 16th Sunday assembly was held where it was decided to celebrate Mahant Swami's birth anniversary in December.

India snubs UN chief's offer to mediate in J&K India used strong words to protest against UN secretary general Antonio Guterres who offered to facilitate dialogue between India and Pakistan.

Elwin with Jamnalal Bajaj and Pyarelal in Dhule Jail

he attracted the ire of nationalists, who Elwin is best known for his early work thought tribals were merely backward with the Baigas and Gonds of Orissa and Hindus who had to be rapidly Madhya Pradesh in central India, and he assimilated into the dominant religion. married a member of one of the Elwin, on the other hand, emphasized communities he studied there. He later their distinctive culture, their rich also worked on the tribals of several traditions of poetry, art, music, and North East Indian states especially dance; their love of nature and their North-East Frontier Agency (NEFA) and identification with the land.” settled in Shillong, the hill capital of After 1947, Verrier Elwin stayed on Meghalaya. in this country. In 1954, by now an In time he became an authority on Indian citizen, he was appointed adviser Indian tribal lifestyle and culture, on tribal affairs to the Northeast particularly on the Gondi people. He Frontier Agency (now Arunachal served as the Deputy Director of the Pradesh). Despite his advancing age Anthropological Survey of India upon (and bulk), he retained his zest for field its formation in 1945. Postresearch. He travelled, by foot and on independence he took up Indian horseback, through the remotest parts citizenship. Prime Minister Jawaharlal of the territory, studying the culture and Nehru appointed him as an adviser on lifestyle of its tribes. tribal affairs for north-eastern India, Elwin married a Raj Gond tribal girl and later he was Anthropological called Kosi who was a student at his Adviser to the Government of NEFA school at Raythwar (Raithwar) in (now Arunachal Pradesh). His Dindori district in Madhya Pradesh on 4 autobiography, The Tribal World of April 1940. They had one son, Jawaharlal Verrier Elwin won him the 1965 Sahitya (Kumar), born in 1941. Elwin had an exAkademi Award in English Language, parte divorce in 1949, at given by the Sahitya Next Column the Calcutta High Court, Akademi, India’s National Kamala Nehru and writing in his Academy of Letters. Ramakrishna autobiography, “I cannot The historian Mission even now look back on this Ramachandra Guha’s period of my life without a deep sense of biography Savaging the Civilized: pain and failure” In 2006 Kosi was still Verrier Elwin, His Tribals, and India living in a hut in Raythwar, their son (1999) brought renewed attention in Kumar having died, Elwin remarried a India to Elwin’s life and career. Guha woman called Lila, belonging to the writes: “Through the 1930s and 1940s, Pardhan Gond tribe in nearby Elwin lived in central India: first in the Patangarh, moving with her to Shillong forest belt of present-day Madhya in the early 1950s. They had three sons, Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, then in the Wasant, Nakul and Ashok. Elwin died in tribal uplands of Odisha. He wrote a Delhi on 22 February 1964 after a heart series of scholarly and well-documented attack. His widow Lila died in Mumbai books on adivasi culture, as well as in 2013, aged about 80, shortly after the many popular essays on their economic demise of their eldest son, Wasant. Even exploitation and political neglect. today not only the Adivasis of India but Through these writings he became even the intellectuals prefer to talk known as an extremely effective about Elwin with respect and miss him. spokesman for Adivasi rights. However,

Responding to the “offer” by the top UN diplomat, the MEA spokesperson said, “Jammu and Kashmir has been, is and will continue to be an integral part of India. The issue that needs to be addressed is that of vacation of the territories illegally and forcibly occupied by Pakistan. Further issues, if any, would be discussed bilaterally. There is no role or scope for third-party mediation.” Insisting that India’s position “has not changed”, the spokesperson said, “UN secretary general would emphasise on the imperative for Pakistan to take credible, sustained and irreversible action to put an end to cross-border

Antonio Guterres

terrorism against India, which threatens the most fundamental human right the right to life, of the people of India, including in J&K.” The UN secretary general’s remarks have gone down very badly within the Indian system because they were made as part of a question and answer session after Guterres’s talk in Islamabad on Sustainable Development and Climate Change. Guterres emphasised the need for protection of human rights

in J&K. Although he tempered it by saying it was applicable everywhere in the world, India has taken umbrage because of where he delivered his comments and the context. This is also not the first time Guterres has offered mediation, even though it has been perfectly clear that India would not welcome it. Guterres reportedly said both India and Pakistan should de-escalate “militarily and verbally” and exercise “maximum restraint”.

Kejriwal hails birth of new politics Arvind Kejriwal was sworn in for a third consecutive term as chief minister of Delhi, along with his cabinet, by lieutenant governor Anil Baijal on Sunday afternoon at Ramlila Maidan as a capacity crowd cheered. Addressing the people later, he attributed his overwhelming victory to the common man of Delhi, making the Aam Aadmi Party’s “new kind of politics” the centrepiece of the celebrations. “The people of Delhi have given birth to new politics in the country. This is the politics of work schools, hospital, 24-hour cheap power supply, water, good roads, women’s security, a corruption-free city - politics of 21st century India,” he said, in remarks that were the closest he came to making a national pitch. He said this had started resonating across

Arvind Kejriwal and fellow AAP ministers

the country and other states were either emulating it or being denied any reason not to do so with people asking, “If Delhi can do it, why can’t you?” And, in an apparent gesture to people migrating to the city, he told those already here to call up people in their villages and say, “Hamara beta CM ban gaya dobara, chinta ki koi baat nahi hai” (Our son has become the CM again and you need not worry anymore). This was a direct

call to AAP’s core support base in slums and unauthorised colonies. He defended AAP’s freebies - free power, water, bus rides for women etc with the remark: “Everything precious in the world created by God is free...Kejriwal loves people of Delhi and they love Kejriwal. This love is also priceless.” He added: “Do I start charging people for education and health? Do I start charging patients for their operations? That is not possible.”


26 INDIA

AsianVoiceNews

AsianVoiceNewsweekly

www.asian-voice.com

22 - 28 February 2020

Trump, First Lady Melania likely to land directly in Ahmedabad US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump will land directly in Gujarat on February 24 around 12 noon. According to reliable sources, President Trump is likely to spend 3.5 hours in Ahmedabad. His Ahmedabad itinerary details have not yet been released, but according to information, there will be no engagements except a visit to Sabarmati Ashram and inauguration of the Motera stadium for the VVIP guests. Motera stadium, rechristened as the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Stadium, is the world’s largest cricket stadium built at the cost of $100 million. The old Motera stadium with a capacity of 53,000 people was demolished in 2015. The new stadium, built completely as per the vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi will now accommodate 1,10,000 people. President Trump and PM Modi are likely to recreate the remarkable magic of their chemistry with a hug at this stadium on February 24. PM Modi is returning the favour of the HowdyModi event that President Trump organised for the Indian Prime Minister in Texas where over 40,000 people greeted Modi. However, in Ahmedabad, more than double of the people present in Texas will be there at Motera stadium greeting President Trump. During Trump's visit to Sabarmati Ashram, entry will be restricted. However at Motera stadium, there will be more than 1,00,000 people from various parts of Gujarat cheering up President Trump when he inaugurates the stadium in a traditional Indian manner by lighting a lamp. Onwards to Agra, Delhi Sources said that around 3.30 pm, President Trump, the

First Lady, and few dignitaries are likely to depart from Ahmedabad international airport. Interestingly, President Trump may fly down directly to Agra on February 24. The Ahmedabad-Agra route details are being worked out, sources said, adding that besides Air Force One, there could be VH 3D sea planes and White Hawks flying from Ahmedabad to Agra. President Trump and First Lady will visit the Taj Mahal on February 24 evening, then depart for Delhi where they will be given a magnificent dinner reception by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Govt machinery in top gear Crowd management is emerging as the biggest headache for organizers and security personnel during Donald Trump's visit at the Motera stadium. It is estimated that with 120 metal detector door frames and 250 handheld devices, it will take approximately 2 to 3 hours to complete security checks for 110,000 people who will be entering the stadium. A large chunk of the crowd is coming from nearby districts of Patan, Sabarkantha, Aravalli, Gandhinagar districts and outskirts of Ahmedabad. There is tremendous pressure on BJP party workers to gather numbers. Children as spectators will be

avoided within the stadium, unless they are part of cultural performers, said a senior Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation

contracting NGOs and religious institutions. Incentives like banners of the NGO will be allowed to be put up along the VIP route,” said a senior AMC official. In all space for 2,300 buses and more than 6,000 cars have earmarked in 28 plots, most of which are private. “People have happily given us their plots as the AMC is clearing their plots of debris and garbage,

and execution of preparations for Trump's Ahmedabad visit said that CM Vijay Rupani has instructed that budget should not be a constraint in hosting Trump. The AMC and Ahmedabad Urban Development Authority (AUDA) are revamping roads and beautifying the city for Trump's visit, will jointly spend nearly £10 million.

levelling them and watering them for parking purposes. It’s a win-win deal,” says the AMC official. Visit set to cost over £10 mn Expenditure, it appears, is definitely not a constraint, as the state government readies to roll out the red carpet for Trump, who will visit Ahmedabad for three hours on February 24. According to rough estimates, the state government will spend upwards of £10 million to put its best foot forward for the high-profile visit. Top sources involved in planning

This includes £6 million for resurfacing of 17 roads and laying a dedicated 1.5 km road for Trump to travel back to the airport after opening Motera stadium. Mini trade deal unlikely The possibility of a mini trade agreement between India and the US during Trump’s visit later this month seems unlikely even as foreign minister S Jaishankar met US secretary of state Mike Pompeo on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference to exchange notes and take

Donald Trump and First Lady Melania

(AMC) official. “Spectators from outside Ahmedabad district will be given preferential treatment and will be taken inside the stadium first,” said a senior BJP leader in the AMC. Government officials, including mamlatdars in the collectorate and assistant municipal commissioners have been given targets to bring spectators. “Each assistant municipal commissioner in every zone has been asked to gather at least 220 to 250 people for the roadshow by

stock of the bilateral relationship. “Good to see secretary Pompeo at MSC 2020. Allowed us to take stock of the relationship as we look forward to President Donald Trump's visit,” Jaishankar tweeted. The visit, which will see Trump being feted in Ahmedabad and Delhi, is likely to cover important strategic ground but the trade negotiations have run aground as both sides failed to make the last mile. The Indian side said the US was adding new items to the list. The US wants India to open markets for pizza cheese and whey protein among other things, which are new additions, prompting India to say that the goalposts are being moved. The US wants India to have a level playing field for international digital services like credit cards while the Indian government has delayed negotiations due to American unwillingness to allow for testing of DDGS (dry distilled grain soluble) poultry feed for ‘live’ GM components. The trade deal is important to Trump as he heads into elections and is keen to show that his tough stance with allies and rivals has improved the terms of commerce for the US. The situation also presents an opportunity as the US President would like to have a deal in hand. Though India is not as crucial as China, a trade pact can add to Trump’s list of “achievements” that reflect a better deal for US products.

Nirbhaya convicts to be Indians quarantined at Japanese hanged on March 3 ship cannot be evacuated: Govt Further delay in the execution of the Nirbhaya case convicts would be “sacrilegious” to the rights of the victim and for justice, a Delhi court noted on Monday, fixing 6 am on March 3 as the fresh date for their hanging. This means the four men will be executed on the said date, unless Pawan Gupta decides to file mercy or curative petitions at the last minute as he is the only one who hasn’t exhausted all legal remedies provided under the Constitution. Though the Delhi high court-laid deadline for Pawan to file curative and mercy plea ended on February 11, authorities, including the President’s secretariat and the Supreme Court, are known to be lenient and open to hearing any plea till the last minute in capital punishment

jurisprudence. “Article 21 merely guarantees an opportunity to the condemned convicts to exercise their legal rights. However, whether to utilise the opportunity or not is a matter of choice of the condemned convicts,” additional sessions judge Dharmendra Rana observed. He pointed out that “convict Pawan cannot be permitted to defeat the ends of justice by simply opting to remain indolent”. “After a lapse of 33 months, Pawan has opted to

file neither any curative nor mercy petition,” the court observed, saying there can be only “two possible inferences for such indolence; 1) either convict Pawan is satisfied with the verdict of the Supreme Court or 2) he is simply interested in merely delaying the court proceedings.” In either case, he cannot claim that the execution of the sentence needs to be delayed further, the judge underlined, adding that even the HC gave “one more opportunity” to Pawan.

Indians stuck at the coronavirus-hit Japanese cruise ship, off the coast of Tokyo, cannot be evacuated, Union Health Minister Dr Harshavardhan has said. Addressing a press conference on the situation and monitoring of deadly coronavirus in India and abroad, Harshavardhan said that the Indians aboard the cruise ship cannot be taken out as they have been quarantined in the larger interest of preventing the spread of the virus. "People have been quarantined on the ship as per Japan government rules. The positive cases on the ship have been hospitalised by the Japanese authorities. The

rest will remain in quarantine till February 19. We can’t just tell them to take out only our men, it is being done in the larger interest," Harshavardhan said. The Japanese cruise ship had a total 3,711 people on board, out of which 138 are Indians. The ship was quarantined at Port of Yokohama early last week after a passenger who de-boarded last month in Hong Kong was found to be the carrier of the virus on the ship. Earlier External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said that two Indian crew onboard the cruise ship 'Diamond Princess' have tested positive for the coronavirus infection. He said that the Indian mission in Tokyo was providing all assistance to the crew and passengers of

the cruise ship. Indian officer sends an SOS Sonali Thakkar, a security officer on the ship, asked the centre to take them back home or at least send some medical experts along to expedite the coronavirus tests. "We are scared that if the infection is spreading, it is spreading so fast that we could also become one of them. We don't want to. We just want to go back home," she said. Sonali sent out yet another appeal to the Indian authorities. "We want the Indian government to take us back to India and isolate us there. Or at least send some more medical staffers across to help these people with the tests. We want to go home," Sonali said.


www.asian-voice.com

AsianVoiceNews

HEALTH & LIFESTYLE

AsianVoiceNewsweekly

27

22 - 28 February 2020

Cases of asthma rise in ‘extra clean’ homes amid fears cleaners can damage babies’ airways According to research published on Monday household cleaning products could be linked to childhood asthma. It is thought cleaning chemicals may damage the lining of the airways in babies if they are very frequently exposed to the products. This could lead to an overactive inflammatory response in the respiratory tract. The study of 2,000 newborns found those whose parents most frequently used items such as dishwashing detergent, laundry products and surface cleaner were 37 per cent more likely to be diagnosed with asthma by the age of three. After years of warning about outdoor air pollution, caused by traffic and factory emissions, experts are increasingly concerned about the dangers of indoor pollution. The problem of airborne chemicals – many from

cleaning products – is exacerbated by modern energyefficient, air-tight homes. The latest research, which was led by Canadian scientists at the Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, involved 2,022 families, whose babies were younger than four months, and were asked how often they used a list of 26 products, such as bleach, detergents and polish. Washing up liquid was the most commonly used – with 90 per cent of families using it each

day.Dishwasher detergent, surface cleaner, laundry detergent and toilet cleaner were used at least once a week by most families. The researchers then tracked the babies for three years, carrying out annual tests. The team found that the quarter of children whose families had the highest frequent cleaning product use were the most likely to develop asthma. By three, these children were 37 per cent more likely to have a diagnosis of asth-

ma and 35 per cent more likely to have a recurrent wheeze when compared with the quarter of families with the lowest cleaning product use. Researcher Jaclyn Parks said parents should read labels on products and choose those that do not contain volatile organic compounds. Using products that are not sprayed can also help. An article in the same journal said the study had exposed a ‘potentially important public health concern’. And it warned: ‘Even products labelled “environmentally friendly” or “green” may contain harmful substances, as such claims are largely unregulated.’ More than five million people in Britain have asthma, including 1.1million children. The findings are published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

How a bad night's sleep makes you eat more A study by researchers shows that women who sleep poorly tend to eat more and have a lowerquality diet. The researchers tracked 500 womens' sleep, finding those who take a long time to fall asleep eat more calories every day and found that those who wake up a lot throughout the night tend to eat fattier foods. The findings provide fresh insight into why bad sleepers have repeatedly shown to be more at risk of heart disease. The researchers believe a lack of shut-eye either triggers hunger, or suppresses signals that tell the brain the stomach is full. The researchers – from Columbia University in New York – sought to get a more comprehensive picture in women by examining the link between diet and sleep

quality. They looked at women specifically because they face more sleep difficulties, according to study senior author Dr Brooke Aggarwal, assistant professor of medical sciences at Columbia University. If women have bad sleep quality and eat more as a result, they are more likely to be obese - a risk factor for a myriad of heart problems and other diseases.

The sleep and eating habits of an ethnicallydiverse group of 495 women, aged between 20 between 76, were collected. Women reported their sleep quality - which is how 'sound' a sleep they have the time it took to fall asleep, and any symptoms of insomnia. Their sleep was scored using the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index and the Insomnia Severity Index. Participants reported

how much or little they ate of around 70 food items throughout the year. Researchers used a database to calculate total calorie intake and fiber, fish, dairy, whole grain and sugar consumption. Similar to previous studies of sleep and diet, the study found that those with worse overall sleep quality consumed more sugary foods. This may explain the link between poor sleep and obesity and type 2 diabetes. Dr Aggarwal said: 'Our interpretation is that women with poor-quality sleep could be overeating during subsequent meals and making more unhealthy food choices.' The authors also note insomnia can influence activity in the hippocampus region of the brain, which is involved in regulating food intake.

AI predicts when patients will have a heart attack or stroke A study led by Barts Health NHS Trust and University College London has found that artificial intelligence has accurately predicted the possibility of heart attack or stroke in a world's first. The researchers used AI to analyse cardiac scans of more than 1,000 patients. They said it's the first time blood flow scans, which reveal problems with the heart, have been read by a computer. The technology was more accurate at predicting major cardiovascular events within a 19-month followup than a doctor using traditional means. Heart disease is the

leading global cause of death and illness, with reduced blood flow a common symptom of many heart conditions. The study found that international guidelines recommended a number of assessments to measure a patient's blood flow, but many are invasive and carry risk. Some non-invasive assessments are available, such as Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance (CMR) imaging. This provides an image of the function and structure of the cardiovascular system, allowing doctors to spot abnormalities. CMR has been validated

for detecting coronary artery disease with death and major adverse events, such as heart attack, within a year. But the researchers

argue scan images using this technique are difficult to analyse in a precise manner with the human eye. Researchers used CMR scans from more than 1,000 patients, with an average age of 60, at St Bartholomew's Hospital and the Royal Free Hospital. They had been referred to investigate suspected and known heart conditions which could be deadly. The AI technology analysed the images and instantly quantified blood flow to the heart. The study was funded by the British Heart Foundation and published in the journal Circulation.

in brief CRIMINALS END UP WITH 'SMALLER BRAINS' Researchers using MRI have found that people who steal, bully and lie throughout their lives may have smaller brains. The MRI scans suggested 45-year-olds who had shown antisocial behaviour from childhood had reduced surface area and a thinner cortex in parts of the brain previously linked to such behaviour. But it is unclear if this was inherited or due to factors such as substance abuse, low IQ or poor mental health. The researchers scanned nearly 700 volunteers they had studied from birth. The 70 were divided into three groups, those who: were not persistently antisocial only behaved this way when they were adolescents continued to act this way throughout their lives They found the 80 people in the last group, which included people who had committed violent crimes, had significant structural differences in their brains. The authors said their findings - published in Lancet Psychiatry - provided the first robust evidence to suggest people who offended throughout their lives had underlying neuropsychological differences.

COCOA 'BOOSTS BLOOD CIRCULATION IN LEGS AND HELPS KEEP OVER 60S ON THEIR FEET' A study has shown that drinking hot chocolate could help over 60s stay on their feet as it is believed cocoa boosts blood circulation in the legs. Those who drank a mug of cocoa three times a day for six months were able to walk significantly further in a walking test at the end of the study. Cocoa is abundant in a compound called epicatechin, also found in dark chocolate. Researchers think it's epicatechin that may improve blood flow to participants' calves, allowing them to go the extra distance. The study was carried out on people with the common peripheral artery disease or 'PAD,' which is a narrowing of the arteries. A fifth of people over 60 in the UK have some degree of PAD, causing pain, tightness and cramping in leg muscles while walking. Speaking to media Professor McDermott said: 'If our results are confirmed in a larger trial, these findings suggest that cocoa, a relatively inexpensive, safe and accessible product, could potentially produce significant improvements in calf muscle health, blood flow, and walking performance for PAD patients.' The researchers highlighted that regular chocolate - often laden with sugar - would not be expected to have the same effect as the cocoa they used, which is commonly available. The study was published in the American Heart Association's journal Circulation Research.

MUMPS CASES HIT DECADE HIGH IN ENGLAND ACcording to media reports mumps cases in England are the highest they have been in a decade and are set to worsen. There were 5,042 recorded cases of mumps in England in 2019 – four times the number in 2018. Public Health England said the problem shows no sign of slowing, with 546 cases already confirmed in January alone. Many of the infected are young adults at university or college, where outbreaks have become common. They may have missed their jabs as children because their parents believed antivaxx claims made by the disgraced doctor Andrew Wakefield. Research by Wakefield in 1988 made false links between the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine and autism. Public Health England (PHE) said its never too late to have both doses of the MMR vaccine which offers maximum protection. Data from PHE show that there were 5,042 confirmed cases of mumps in England in 2019, compared to 1,066 cases in 2018. The rise in cases looks set to continue in 2020 - with 546 confirmed cases in January 2020 compared to 191 during the same period in 2019. A large number were born in the late 1990s and early 2000s, and had missed out vital vaccines as children. The MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) jab was introduced in 1988, and has reduced cases of all three viruses since. Measles, mumps and rubella are highly infectious conditions that can have serious, potentially fatal complications, including meningitis, swelling of the brain and deafness.

To Our Readers

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


28 BOLLYWOOD

AsianVoiceNews

AsianVoiceNewsweekly

www.asian-voice.com

22 - 28 February 2020

Priya

Visible – Out On Television. What has changed after all these years? Priya

Bytes to Binge Genre: Docuseries regarding LGBTQIA+ representation on TV Duration: 54 minutes each No. of episodes: 5 part Docuseries Where: Apple TV Directed: Ryan White

‘Visible’ is a brilliant onestop shop look at the journey of how a minority can be perceived, labelled, condemned, shamed and wrongly understood by the lack of knowledge and at the fear of the unknown. It visits this notion mostly during the late 20th century and through American TV. It is scathingly cruel, it is brutal but it is the harsh reality into how the LGBTQIA+ representation on TV were perceived 70 years ago. And it transcends into the changes that have taken place over the last seven decade and boy have minds developed! No pun intended. The first part of this docuseries covers the beginnings on television and the absolute lack of represention of gay people. It is rather impressive with how the show has pulled in numerous renowned celebrities to talk about their personal experiences, with Ellen as the biggest example! Although now a household name in television and philanthropy, the path Ellen has had to pave to be heard is nothing less than courageous.

OUT ON TELEVISION

They all talk about not being able to see people like them on TV growing up and how some of them hid the truth about themselves on a day to day basis. It is also quite impressive how stars, communities and individuals have spoken up, started that conversation in the last number of years and inculcated a sense of reality and truth about the LGBTQIA+ community and as a result we have listened. A long road still to go, but their voice is being heard and laws and being changed. Though some not so much….as one can imagine the amount of undercover secrets one might have had to tell for a conventional rise to fame. Sheila James is one such TV starlet. She played a tomboyish character of Zelda Gilroy in the ‘The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis’, who was set to star in the spin-off until orders from top executives at CBS told her they were about to kill off the show because she was “too butch”. Other fascinating threads and celebrity stories continue. One where Raymond Burr reveals that he was forbidden to come out as a gay by film studios. Although, he rose to fame subsequently but at what personal cost? Michael Douglas talks about how he and his family adored Liberace after he played him in ‘Beyond the Candelabra’ and how his mother and everyone’s mother thought he was so dreamy while not knowing he was also gay. He was perhaps an example of a non-stereo typical version of someone who is gay. Less of the flamboyant dressing and dramatic hand gestures. Back in the 50’s and 60’s they were openly mocked and later impersonated on TV as laughable sidekicks or cameo artists. Although this provides a stark reflection in what is perhaps true across the world mind even while transvestites, gays, bisexuals etc. have been a part of society for hundreds of years! They are members of the community and not mentally ill! This point is depicted cleverly with Richard Socarides. He worked for the Clinton Administration and for me was one of the most fascinating parts to this docuseries. Especially given he is the son of Charles Socarides, a psychiatrist in the time when TV was shown in black and white and who appeared on the CBS documentary spoken about on this series, declaring ‘gays have a mental disorder’. His words were taken as the ultimate truth by the audience. It was interesting to hear about how Richard ‘came out’ to this anti-gay father, (recreated in ‘When We Rise’). How time and knowledge can come together and how each generation can learn more. It’s a good watch with some sizzling scenes but definitely not a Friday night favourite.

Tara Sutaria does not want to limit herself to acting Actress Tara Sutaria says she is happy to have begun her Bollywood career at a time when great parts are being written for women. After beginning her career as a child artiste with Disney India show 'Big Bada Boom', she made her Bollywood debut last year with 'Student of the Year 2'. The 24 year old said she aims to surprise the audiences with every film. “These are really exciting times for women in the movies. There are great opportunities for us. The kind of roles I want to do, the list is endless and the next film I'm doing something not many people expect me to do. I want to reinvent myself with every film,” Tara said. On the work front, the actress was last seen in 'Marjaavaan', and has the Hindi remake of Telugu hit 'RX 100', 'Tadap' opposite Suniel

Shetty's son Ahan. Speaking about her newest outing, she said, “We have shot most of the film. We shot in Mussoorie where I also shot for my first film 'Student of the Year 2'. I'm looking forward to the film.” Tara said she does not want to limit herself to acting and wishes to expand here repertoire in other aspects of filmmaking. She said, “I always wanted to be a singer and I'm delighted I got a chance to act too. I'm really looking forward to the next few years and hopefully I will get a chance to sing in my films as well. I hope to sing in my next film and carry that forward. I would also like to direct someday.” She added she has always been passionate about fashion. Tara said, “Fashion is something I have always loved. Anything to do with designing- be it decor, fashion or styling. I have always paid attention to it. Also in my line of work, it is a big part. I'm passionate about art and music, so I would love to do a crossover between fashion and music.”

PeeCee-Nick celebrate Valentine’s, dance to 'Aankh Marey' Singer and actor Nick Jonas shared a new video on the occasion of Valentine’s Day, featuring him and wife Priyanka Chopra dancing to the hit number 'Aankh Marey' from 'Simmba'. PeeCee can be heard saying “let's see it, baby!” as Nick nails the hook step from the song. The song was originally picturised on Sara Ali Khan and Ranveer Singh in the movie. Nick captioned the movie 'Pre show dance party with my forever Valentine”. The post has since been viewed and liked by over 2 million times. Priyanka meanwhile, shared a picture of Nick, captioning it, “My forever valentine... He just happens to look like GI Joe in those leather pants!” Nick has previously shared similar videos of himself, dancing to the 'Kalank' song 'First Class', 'De De

Pyaar De' song 'Hauli Hauli', 'Badhaai Ho'’s 'Morni Banke', and 'Pink

Sara wants to explore every aspect of being a performer Actress Sara Ali Khan, who was part of Imtiaz Ali's 'Love Aaj Kal', believes the only thing “circular” about being a part of a movie that starred her father 11 years ago, is that both films are looking for similar answers on love in different eras. The 2009 original starred Saif Ali Khan and Deepika Padukone. The remake, that released last week, features her opposite Kartik Aaryan. Sara said, “I have never really planned journeys. I feel privileged that so early in my career I got the chance to work with the people I really wanted to, whether it is Imtiaz sir or Kartik. I hope each experience I have with different filmmakers enriches me further and adds to my personal bounty of experiences.” She added, “The only thing extremely circular about this is that filmmaking is a journey, love is a journey. In 'Love Aaj Kal', we had a journey about love and filmmaking, and I don't really know which was what. Both filmmaking and love are somewhere down the line a means to discover ourselves. I hope I never stop doing that.” The actor, who started her movie career with 2019 film 'Kedarnath', said she wants to explore every aspect of being a performer. “As an actor, I’m young and want to discover myself. I want to do diverse films, whether it is a larger-than-life commercial film with David (Dhawan) sir, or a true hard-hitting narrative with Imtiaz sir or a self-seeking project with Aanand (L Rai) sir. I just want to continue with all of that,” she said.

Gulaabi Sky' from Priyanka’s film 'The Sky is Pink'.


www.asian-voice.com

BOLLYWOOD

AsianVoiceNewsweekly

AsianVoiceNews

29

22 - 28 February 2020

Taapsee Pannu on being called 'female Ayushmann Khurrana' Actress Taapsee Pannu is not one to be messed with. The actress, who won a Filmfare award recently for her performance in 'Saand Ki Aankh' was called the “female Ayushmann Khurrana' and she had a tongue-in-cheek response. Producer Tanuj Garg congratulated Pannu on Twitter for her award. His original tweet read, “Congrats to the powerhouse @taapsee, humaare #Bollywood ki female Ayushmann Khurrana.” Taapsee responded to the tweet saying, “What about calling me bollywood ki pehli Taapsee Pannu?” Garg responded saying, “Woh toh ho hi! Inimitable, singular, distinctive!” (That you already are). The Twitterati loved her response and several comments poured in. One person said, “Yaaaas! Queen. Your success doesn't need to always be equated to that of a man. You're your own person and this is just amazing! Congratulations.” Other wrote, “Why does she has be compared to a man to show her achievement? Why does she has to be compared with anyone? She has done enough to be known and acknowledged by who she is! It's Taapsee.” Taapsee will next be seen in director Anubhav Sinha's film 'Thappad', which is slated for release on February 28.

by Vallisa Chauhan

A tale of two love stories spanning three decades Love Aaj Kal 2

Vicky Kaushal does not believe in mapping out career Actor Vicky Kaushal scored big in the industry with films like 'Raazi', 'Sanju', and 'Manmarziyaan', even winning a National Award for 'Uri – The Surgical Strike'. Not one to jump genres by design, the actor believes he will start feeling “rigid” if he starts charting out his career. He said, “I don't plan my career. I won't be able to justify my work if I'm planning and then sticking to it. It'll make me rigid as an actor. It's important for me to be part of good films made by good filmmakers because people are interested in watching good stories.” Vicky said he will continue to grow as an actor as long as he keeps doing different kinds of films. He said, “I hadn't explored action before 'Uri', so there was a hunger in me. In 'Bhoot', I did horror for the first time, so I wanted to learn a lot. I don't want to get complacent that this is my home ground now.” 'Bhoot' is directed by Bhanu Pratap Singh, backed by Karan Johar and spins a fictional tale around a

true incident where a cargo ship was stranded at Juhu Beach. The actor said he has been on a beautiful journey since 'Uri' and feels more

confident about his skills. On the work front, Vicky will also be seen on Shoojit Sircar's biopic on Udham Singh, followed by Johar's 'Takht'.

'Bhoot Part One: The Haunted Ship'

'Bhoot – Part One: The Haunted Ship' is a horror thriller film directed by Bhanu Pratap Singh and jointly produced by Karan Johar, Hiroo Yash Johar, Apoorva Mehta and Shashank. It is based on a true accident that took place in Mumbai, and tells the story of a couple on an abandoned ship lying static on a beach. The film features Vicky Kaushal, Bhumi Pednekar and Ashutosh Rana in lead roles, and is the first film of a planned horror film franchise.

Genre: Romantic Drama Duration: 141 minutes

'Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan'

'Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan' is a comedy drama film following the romance between two men, played by Ayushman Khurana and Jitendra Kumar. This movie delivers a crucial message on homosexuality with a healthy dose of laughter. Mudit and Sugandha are all set to marry, however, two days prior to their wedding, Mudit realises he suffers from an erectile dysfunction, which almost sabotages their wedding after both the families get involved. Leading to a comical mess, Mudit attempts to treat his medical condition, using all the possible quacks.

is a film that spans the timeless era of the 1990s and the urbane ‘friends with benefits’ culture of 2020s. It encapsulates the obstacles that relationships faced and continue to experience even today, whilst projecting the obvious 30-year generational gap between the two periods. Imtiaz Ali, is the writer and director of the film, and he maintains his narrative from his directorial debut Love Aaj Kal. However, this time instead of father Saif Ali Khan, it is the daughter Sara Ali Khan playing one of the lead protagonists being paired opposite the current chocolate boy of B-Town Karthik Aryaan. While some may perceive that Love Aaj Kal 2 would follow the predictable plot lines from its earlier prequel. Imitiaz manages to re-kindle the magic moments even as he infuses pop hook-up culture with the timeless romance of the 90s. Khan plays the role of Zoe Chauhan, a complex character with a five-year plan to open her own event management company. As is always the norm, this plan has no room for love. But soon enough Veer (Kartik Aryaan) comes along and although she keeps trying to push him away he is like a love sick puppy following her around and jumping at all her orders. We also meet Leena (Aarushi Sharma) taking you back to 1990 who keeps sending mixed messages to Raghu who is played by both Aryan as the younger version and Randeep Hooda as the older version. The only problem is the flashbacks to 1990 are frequently interrupted or cut-off to a degree which makes it very hard for the audience to follow and understand the script. Khan looks stunning in her role raising the bar of a glamourous modern Indian girl to another notch. However, she does not quite pull off the high powered millennial she is supposed to be and instead comes across a little bit over the top and appears to be trying too hard. Aryan does well in his role as Raghu however as Veer you beg to question whether the director should have chosen a more suitable actor. If we look back at the trailer there is an obvious reason why Aarushi Sharma is not given enough screen time, but the dark horse of the movie is clearly Randeep Hooda. He is the saviour of the film with his “been-there-done-that, worn the proverbial t-shirt” attitude. While Love Aaj Kal 2 celebrates a unique dettached era of complex relationship, Ali and his characters appear to be trying too hard to build up on the leagcy of the first movie. This sequel falters in the second half following the themes, format and fails to weave the audiences’ absolute attention despite having some spell-binding moments. Some fans have even taken to twitter to express their disbelief with one stating “Imtiaz Ali made ‘Love Aaj Kal(2)’ to make SRKians feel better for ‘Jab harry met Sejal’ basically stating that SRK’s Jab Harry Met Sejal was a flop but this was even worse.” Love Aaj Kal 2 does make you feel that sometimes when a writer/director has a hit they should leave it like that and not try and build on it with a sequel. You can get in touch with Vallisa: djvallisa@gmail.com


30 KOLLYWOOD

AsianVoiceNews

AsianVoiceNewsweekly

www.asian-voice.com

22 - 28 February 2020

Key role for Sobita Dhulipala in Mani Ratnam's magnum opus Contemporary actress Sobhita Dhulipala has landed a key role in Mani Ratnam's upcoming film 'Ponniyin Selvan'. While the actress shared the first look of the film poster on her Instagram, she is yet to officially reveal if she's on board. However, sources in the know have confirmed that she has been signed. Last seen in Geethu Mohandas' 'Moothon', the upcoming will be Sobhita's maiden collaboration with Mani Ratnam. Reportedly being made on a lavish budget, the first look poster of the movie was unveiled in January. It features a sword with a golden hilt and bears the emblem of the Chola kingdom along with the words 'Beginning of the

Sivakarthikeyan to play triple role in sci-fi film 'Ayalaan'? If rumours are to be believed, actor Sivakarthikeyan will be seen playing triple roles in the upcoming Tamil science-fiction film 'Ayalaan'. A media report suggested that he will be seen playing three roles, and each character will have a connection with the other. Siva had played dual roles in his film 'Rajini Murugan' earlier, and it made a massive success at the box office. 'Ayalaan' went back on floors last week after days of rumours saying it had been shelved last year. Makers of the movie, 24 AM Studios, took to Twitter to share a picture from the sets and wrote, “Happy to have kickstarted the last two schedules of our production no 5 after a brief gap ; starring Sivakarthikeyan and directed by Ravi Kumar. Thanks to all those who supported us throughout.” Directed by Ravikumar, the film fea-

TV Listing

tures Rakul Preet Singh as an astronomer. The movie is set to hit the screens next year. Actress Isha Koppikar, who is making a return to Tamil cinema after two decades, will be seen playing an assassin in the movie. Siva had recently revealed that he has decided to forego his remuneration for the project. He also confirmed that he will reunite with Ravi Kumar for another project to make up for the time lost on this one.

20:43 23:24

FILM: BLACKMAIL FILM: NAMASTE ENGLAND

01:58

FILM: YEH HAI JUDGEMENT HANGED TILL DEATH FILM: 18.11 - A CODE OF SECRECY FILM: CHAAR DIN KI CHANDNI FILM: WOH LAMHE FILM: GHAR MEIN RAM GALI MEIN SHAM FILM: MAUSAM FILM: BATTI GUL METER CHALU FILM: JUDAAI

TUESDAY FEB 25, 2020

* Schedule is subject to change

SATURDAY FEB 22, 2020

01:43 06:00 08:15 10:54 14:04 17:43 20:08 23:01

FILM: TUMSA NAHIN DEKHA FILM: FAREB FILM: YEH HAI MUMBAI MERI JAAN FILM: DHADKAN FILM: PUKAR FILM: JUDGEMENTALL HAI KYA FILM: CHEENI KUM FILM: THAKSHAK

02:19 06:00 08:34 11:52 14:48 17:16 20:20 23:08

FILM: FILM: FILM: FILM: FILM: FILM: FILM: FILM:

SAAYA BEZUBAAN ISHQ KHILADI CHEENI KUM JUDGEMENTALL HAI KYA LINGAA NAMASTE ENGLAND AWARAPAN

01:30 06:00 08:21 11:25 13:52 17:14

FILM: FILM: FILM: FILM: FILM: FILM:

SHAAPIT WAKE UP INDIA SULTANAT THE KILLER GURUDEV JUDAAI

SUNDAY FEB 23, 2020

MONDAY FEB 24, 2020

06:00 08:28 11:14 13:50 16:45 20:13 23:21

WEDNESDAY FEB 26, 2020 02:29 06:00 08:33

11:03 14:17 17:52 20:34 23:29

FILM: JURM FILM: VIKALP FILM: JASHNN - THE MUSIC WITHIN FILM: SIKKA FILM: KHEL FILM: BLACKMAIL FILM: BINDASS RANI FILM: BATTI GUL METER CHALU

02:19 06:00 08:18 11:25 14:51 18:15 20:25 22:45

FILM: FILM: FILM: FILM: FILM: FILM: FILM: FILM:

THURSDAY FEB 27, 2020

LUV SHUV PYAR VYAR DHOKHA DHADKAN YES BOSS MAUSAM KALYUG NH10 DIL NE JISE APNA KAHA

FRIDAY FEB 28, 2020

01:38 06:00 08:10 11:18

FILM: NAARAAZ FILM: FOUR PILLARS OF BASEMENT FILM: PYAAR KE KABIL FILM: YEH ZINDAGI KA SAFAR

SS Rajamouli's 'RRR' breaks 'Baahubali 2's record

Director SS Rajamouli's upcoming movie 'RRR' has beaten the pre-release revenue of his previous magnum opus 'Baahubali : The Conclusion'. Reports reveal, the ambitious multistarrer has grossed approximately £40 million already. Trade analyst Ramesh Bala tweeted, “#RRR breaks the pre-release business of #Baahubali2 with a huge margin. All right undertaken for record numbers! Definitely, emerging out to be a film with the pre-release business of more than 400 Crores from South India and Overseas alone. This is going be HUGE!” The movie, reportedly set across two timelines, will feature Ram Charan and Jr NTR in lead roles, with Alia Bhatt, Ajay Devgn, Olivia Morris, Alison Doody, and Ray Stevenson playing supporting parts. The Telangana rights to the film have been sold for £21.5 million, while the Karnataka rights have been sold for £5 million and the Kerala rights for £1.5 million. The movie is reportedly based on the life of two Telugu revolutionaries, Komaram Bheem and Alluri Sitaram Raju. 'RRR' is produced on a reported budget of £30 million and will be slated for a January 8, 2021 release. 14:20 17:11 19:26 20:00 22:45

FILM: BINDASS RANI FILM: MASTI EXPRESS LIFESTYLE : STAR STOP FILM: BHAIAJI SUPERHIT FILM: NH10

20:00

INDIAN IDOL

23:00

DUS KA DUM

21:30

THE KAPIL SHARMA SHOW

MON 24TH JANUARY- FRI 28TH JANUARY 18:30

* Schedule is subject to change

SATURDAY 22ND JANUARY

16:30

SUPER DANCER CHAPTER 3

18:00

THE CHEF

20:00

INDIAN IDOL

18:30 21:30 23:00

THE KAPIL SHARMA SHOW THE KAPIL SHARMA SHOW DUS KA DUM

SUNDAY 23TH JANUARY

16:30 18:00 18:30

SUPER DANCER CHAPTER 3

THE CHEF

THE KAPIL SHARMA SHOW

VIGHNAHARTA GANESHA

19:00

MERE SAI

20:00

ISHAARON ISHAARON MEIN

19:30 20:30 21:00 21:30 22:00

EK DUJE KI VAASTE 2 PATIALA BABES

16:00: DHARAM THI GUJARATI 16:30: RASOI SHOW

17:30: CHHUTA CHHEDA 18:00: TUM KAUN PIYA

WEDNESDAY HIMMATWALA

19:00 19:00

TUESDAY

THURSDAY FRIDAY

11:00:

SHRIMAD BHAGWAT

SAT 22ND FEB 2020

20:00:

KHATRON KE KHILADI

PYAAR KE

11:00: MAHAKALI

13:30: SAJAN BINA SUNO SANSAAR

MON 24TH FEB - 28ST FEB2020

8:30:

TERE NAAL ISHQ

BHARADWAJ BAHUEIN

13:00: SWARAGINI

13:30: BIGG BOSS (SEASON 13) 15:00: STRICTLY STREET

15:30: JAI SHRI KRISHNA

(SEASON 10)

DANCE DEEWANE (SEASON 2)

SUN 23TH FEB 2020

16:00: 21:00:

FILMFARE AWARDS 2020 (SEASON 10)

DANCE DEEWANE (SEASON 2)

21:30: MUJHSE SHAADI KAROGE 22:30: BEPANAH PYAARR

SAT 22ND FEB 2020 18:30: VIDYA

19:00: CHOTI SARDAARNI

20:00: NAAGIN (SEASON 4)

DIL KI BAAZI

SATTE PE SATTA

DESI BEAT RESET (SEASON 3)

21:00: BALIKA VADHU - LAMHE

20:30: MOHE RANNG DO LAAL

ANAND

HAMRAHI

WEEKEND KA VAAR

21:00:

19:00: MERE HUMRAHI

CRIME PATROL

19:00

19:00

19:30:

19:30: KITCHEN CHAMPION

MERE DAD KI DULHAN MONDAY

18:00: BIGG BOSS (SEASON 13) 20:00: KHATRON KE KHILADI

BEYHADH 2

19:00

17:00: DHARAM THI GUJARATI

18:30: DIL KA RISHTA

SONY MAX 2 PRIME TIME

8:00:

* Schedule is subject to change

Golden Era'. The movie will feature Aishwarya Rai Bachchan in dual roles. The actress has already confirmed her involvement with the highly anticipated project. Music for the movie will be rendered by AR Rahman, Ravi Varman will handle cinematography, Sreekar Prasad for editing, and writer Jeyamohan will be in charge of dialogues. The film is jointly produced by Mani Ratnam and Lyca Productions. 'Ponniyin Selvan' went on floors in Thailand last December where the first schedule was filmed for over 90 days. The cast includes Vikram, Jayam Ravi, Vikram Prabhu, Amitabh Bachchan, Mohan Babu, and Aishwarya Rai so far.

21:00: FEET UP WITH THE STARS * Schedule is subject to change

MON 24TH FEB - 28ST FEB2020 18:30: 19:00: 19:30: 20:00:

VIDYA BARRISTER BABU CHOTI SARDAARNI SHAKTI ASTITVA KE EHSAAS KI 20:30: SHUBHARAMBH 21:00: NAATI PINKY KI LAMBI LOVE STORY

21:30: KHATRON KE KHILADI (SEASON 10)

SUN 23TH FEB 2020

11:00:

MOTU PATLU

14:30:

KI & KA

11:30: 19:00: 21:00: 21:30:

PAKDAM PAKDAI NAAGIN (SEASON 4) DESI BEAT RESET

KHATRON KE KHILADI

(SEASON 10)


www.asian-voice.com

AsianVoiceNews

TRAVEL & EVENTS

AsianVoiceNewsweekly

31

22 - 28 February 2020

Sky-dive to the island paradise of New Zealand They call it remote, rugged and romantic. New Zealand remains an unexplored paradise for adventurists backpacking through hinterlands and tramping their trails to volcanic mountain peaks. Known mostly for avocados, kiwis and the Maori the island country is spread across vast stretches of forest lands tucked between serene lakes and fiords. And if your bucket list has mountain biking, sky-diving or simply paddling a canoe left uncrossed then this is the one-stop shop for you.

expenses including food, travel and shopping you should allocate a bare minimum of NZD $150-$200 a day in expenses. What are some of the highlights in New Zealand though? Where to drink the pristine wine, and the trails to trek?

NZeTA entry, Currency and Air tickets

Sky-diving in New Zealand is of three types: Accelerated freefall, Static line and Tandem. If you are a beginner then Tandem is the best choice among the three with an instructor quite literally having your back. Perhaps, a once in a lifetime experience this will cost you $ 295 NZD per person onwards depending upon your type of skydiving.

If you are a UK citizen with a British passport then you don’t need a visa to enter New Zealand as a visitor for up to 6 months, but you will need to get a New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority (NZeTA) before you travel. This will cost you NZD $9 (1 GBP= NZD $2.013, at the time of writing) if you are applying through a mobile app. Online application is slightly more expensive at NZD $12. You are also required to pay an International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy (IVL) of NZD $35 when you apply. But, once issued, the NZeTA is valid for up to two years. This rounds your total entry cost to the country at a maximum of NZD $47. Considering the distance there are no direct flights operating from London to any city in New Zealand and one-stop flights usually provide a layover at Dubai or Bangkok depending upon the airline of your choice. A round-trip from London to Auckland costs a pretty penny of about £700 per person with the average flying time estimated at 28 hours. December is considered the best time of the year to detox in the nature’s lap. New Zealand is an expensive country and even a backpackers room booking at Expedia in Auckland can lead you to shelling out about £100 a night. Which means with your other

Skydiving in Auckland

Scuba diving at the Poor Knight Islands However, if you prefer discovering crumbling wrecks, technicolour coral reefs and dramatic drop-offs as opposed to heights then perhaps scuba diving at the Poor Knights

Arch, with thousands of maomao swimming around you! With tropical currents often coming through the area, this often brings a fascinating array of fish. Mountain biking at the Old Ghost Road The Old Ghost Road is an 85 km advanced singletrack adventure cutting through remote valleys, gorges and glacial mountaintops. The entire trail can be covered between 2 - 4 days on a bike packing trip. The route is an old gold miners road from the 1870s that has been revitalized for mountain bikers and hikers. As the name suggests there are 4 ghost towns along the route that hold the spirits and memories of miners and builders. Explore the classic New Zealand Wine Trail Stroll and sip your way from Hawkes Bay in the Northern Island to Marlborough in the Southern Island with stops in Wellington, Napier and Hastings. If you want to spend the last three days of your trip in glorifying luxury then perhaps the classic is the best way to rejuvenate yourself before you hit back to your office desk.

Islands is the perfect spot. There are four dive spots, but your diving trip isn’t complete until you do the Maomao

What’s on l Women's Wellbeing Event - This space is the beginning of driving a change in our communities about how we view and talk about mental health. For February they present their second Women's Wellbeing Forum run by 2 women who have gone through their own lived experiences of mental health, so don't worry, they totally get you. The theme for this meeting is all about self love which they feel is so important to have but something which we unfortunately hugely neglect not only as South Asians but as women in general. Date: Saturday 22nd February Time: 2pm till 4.30pm Venue: The Bridge, Christchurch Avenue, Harrow, HA3 5BD Price: Free To register: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/womenswellbeing-event-south-asian-mental-health-peer-supportgroup-tickets-89789407535 l Sampad Asian Spring 2020 - Sampad’s annual South Asian dance extravaganza returns to Birmingham Town Hall in 2020. This extremely popular dance showcase promises an evening of extraordinary talent across a variety of South Asian dance styles. Groups from all over the Midlands and beyond will perform throughout the evening in a wow-factor event curated by Sampad. From Classical dance to Bollywood and Bhangra, Asian Spring always delivers something new and exciting. Asian Spring 2020 will mark the launch of this huge achievement, and we hope you can join us for an evening of celebrations and brilliance. Date: Sunday 1st March Time: 6pm Venue: Birmingham Town Hall, Victoria Square, Birmingham, B3 3DQ Price: Free (limited) ticket for Disabled Visitor’s Carers, as per Access Scheme ; £11 (60+, U16s and Unwaged) ; £13 (Standard) Tickets: https://www.thsh.co.uk/event/sampad-asian-spring2020 l The Asian Miracle: - The lecture analyzes the phenomenal transformation of Asia, which would have been difficult to imagine, let alone predict, fifty years ago. In doing so, it provides an analytical narrative of this remarkable story of economic development, situated in the wider context of historical, political and social factors, and an economic analysis of the underlying factors, with a focus on critical issues in the process of, and outcomes in, development. The analytical conclusions drawn contribute to contemporary debates on development, and highlight some lessons from the Asian experience for countries elsewhere. Date: Thursday 5th March Time: 2pm Venue: Queen Elizabeth House, 3 Mansfield Road, OX1 3TB l Milan Asian Carers Group - The purpose of the Milan Asian Carers sessions is to pass on information about various local services, provide art and craft activities, training, trips and outings. They help to get carers involved in consultation with health and social care professionals and celebrate various religious festivals throughout the year. On the day, the timetable roughly follows this plan: 10.15am - 10.45am - Yoga/Light Exercise 11am - 12noon - Speakers 12noon - 12.30pm - Refreshments and one to one talks with speakers if required Date: Friday 6th March Time: 10.15am till 12.30pm Venue: Penny Collard Centre, Fleet Street, City Centre, Coventry, CV1 3AY Price: N/A

FUJIFILM INSTAX MINI 9#THEPERFECTSTAYCATIONPICK

£69 Editor: CB Patel Chief Executive Officer: Liji George Managing Editor: Rupanjana Dutta Deputy Editor: Urja Patel Journalist: Priyanka Mehta Advertising Managers: Kishor Parmar Head - New Projects & Business Development: Cecil Soans

You have an Instagram feed where you want all your followers drooling over the perfect #staycation beachscapes. Or perhaps, you saw your friend posting that Halsey’s colours like polaroid on their feed and wondering how can you upload your retro-looking travel diaries? Instant film cameras are the quick fix solution and essential travel kits you need to pack while boarding your next flight. Easy to use, light to carry and you get a printed photo on the spot. Whilst there are a range of instant cameras to choose from, Fujifilm Instax mini 9 is our Graphic Designers: Harish Dahya & Ajay Kumar Customer Service: Ragini Nayak Tel: 020 7749 4080 Email: support@abplgroup.com Leicester Distributors: Shabde Magazine, Shobhan Mehta Mob: 07846 480 220

favourite. It comes with a matching strap, a set of batteries, and a close-up lens attachment. But you will have to buy the instant film separately. The new camera is available in funky pastel shade of lime green, blue and red. The Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 is built entirely of plastic, but the fit and finish is good with no crude edges or misaligned joints. Around the back, we have a little compartment for the film cartridge, an optical viewfinder, and a counter which shows you the number of unused film sheets remaining. The

batteries slot in on the side, and there's a loop for the wrist strap on either side of the camera. Since this isn’t a digital camera, there are no files to display for quality to be judged by. The final output is printed onto the film sheets, and that's that. The credit-card sized photographs make for fun mementos, but the output quality isn’t always predictable. The Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 is a functional upgrade over the Mini 8, with its useful close-up lens and selfie mirror that a lot of people will relate to.

FEATURES Lens: 60mm Focusing: Macro, Normal and Landscape Flash: Built-in Self-timer: Yes Available from: £69 at Currys PC World

Asian Voice Head Office

Disclaimer

Asian Voice & Gujarat Samachar Switch board: 020 7749 4080 Advertising Sales: 020 7749 4085 www.abplgroup.com

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

Karma Yoga House 12 Hoxton Market (Off Coronet Street) London N1 6HW.

© Asian Business Publications


32

www.asian-voice.com

22 - 28 February 2020

AsianVoiceNews AsianVoiceNewsweekly

Moeen Ali to captain Birmingham Phoenix in The Hundred Birmingham Phoenix has appointed Moeen Ali as captain of their men’s team for the first season of The Hundred. Moeen will lead a star-studded team that includes World Cup-winning Birmingham local, Chris Woakes, as well as upcoming England bowler Pat Brown and New Zealand captain Kane Williamson. Moeen said: “Every time that I come to Edgbaston it takes me back to some great first memories of coming here at a very young age. “I grew up in this area and to be the first-ever men’s captain of Birmingham Phoenix in a new and inclusive competition that will reach out to communities and welcome them in is very special for me. We’re a tightknit city in Birmingham. We have so much around us that brings the people together, no matter who you are or

Moeen Ali

your background. I know how much of a uniting game cricket is and as a leader of the Birmingham Phoenix that is something I definitely want to promote. We are lucky to have some of the best players in the country in our squad but also some amazing overseas players, so we know that the cricket is going to be really exciting.” Moeen has an excellent record as a captain having led Worcestershire Rapids to the past two Vitality Blast finals

at Edgbaston, including their victory in 2018. Moeen added: “Worcestershire is where I have developed as a player and as a leader and captaining them in high-profile games like at Finals Day will shape the way I will lead the Birmingham Phoenix. “It will also help that I’ve got my Rapids team-mate Pat Brown too because he is one of the best young white-ball bowlers in the country and when you add players like Chris Woakes, we have a

strong local flavour that I’m sure can bring home the title.” Andrew McDonald, Birmingham Phoenix head coach, said: “Moeen is a fantastic all-rounder and has the experience and temperament to lead the team. “He started his cricket journey here at Edgbaston from a young age so it feels fitting that he will captain the men’s Birmingham Phoenix team. He’s involved in the local community in Birmingham and I know how much of a popular figure he is at Worcestershire too so I’m sure his efforts on and off the field will help inspire the next generation from our region and beyond to get involved in cricket.” The Hundred will be one of the unmissable events of the summer with familyfriendly pricing to attract a new generation of cricket fans.

Day-night tests will be a regular feature in Indian cricket, says Ganguly Day-night tests will be a regular feature in India’s cricket calendar from the 2020-21 season. The Indian cricket board (BCCI) apex council met and decided that India will be playing a daynight Test in Australia later this year followed by the hosting of one such game at home when England come to India for a five-Test series next February. India will be in Australia to play a four-Test series. “A formal announcement will come soon but we have decided to play a day-night Test in Australia. We will also play one against England at home next February. Daynight Tests will be a regular feature from now on,” BCCI president Sourav Ganguly said after the meeting. India had been resisting playing with the pink ball until the

Sourav Ganguly

Ganguly-led BCCI took the initiative to stage their maiden day-night Test against Bangladesh at Eden Gardens in November. However, it is understood that the venue for India’s first overseas pink-ball Test is not finalized yet. Sources in the board said the match could be played in either Brisbane or Adelaide. “It will have to be seen if the team will be comfortable playing the

opening Test of the series or is willing to break the rhythm in the middle of the series,” said a senior BCCI official. As for the daynight Test at home against England next year, it is learnt that the revamped Motera stadium in Ahmedabad is the frontrunner to host the match. Lanka tour after a break post IPL The BCCI also ensured that there is sufficient rest for the players post a long IPL before embarking on their next assignment. India will be touring Sri Lanka for three T20Is and three ODIs in late June. “The BCCI wanted that there was at least a month’s break after the IPL. That’s why the tour of Sri Lanka was pushed to the end of June,” said the BCCI official.

India to tour Zimbabwe in August India will also travel to play three ODIs in Zimbabwe in August. India had scrapped a home series against Zimbabwe in January since the Zimbabwe Cricket was suspended by ICC over political interference. However, the BCCI has now decided to honour the future tours programme (FTP) since the suspension has been lifted by the world body. ODIs still important India captain Virat Kohli had played down the relevance of the 50-over format in a T20 World Cup year after losing the ODI series in New Zealand 3-0. What’s the thinking of the board? “That’s his (Kohli’s) opinion. But ODIs remain a very important format in cricket. We can’t dismiss it,” the official remarked.

Manpreet first Indian to win FIH Player of the Year award Skipper Manpreet Singh has been named as the FIH Player of the Year (2019), the first Indian to get this honour. He is one of the top midfielders in international hockey and the engine of the Indian team. He became a fan favourite with his consistent performances in recent times. The 27-year-old got more votes than Belgium’s Arthur van Doren and Lucas Vila of Argentina. “I am a bit surprised and thrilled at the same time. I don’t know how to react. It is a huge honour. Hockey is not an individual sport, so I would

like to dedicate this to my team. We are playing some fantastic hockey,” Manpreet said. In 2019, Manpreet led the team to victory in the FIH Series Finals and the Olympic qualifiers, which helped India secure a spot in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. India also reached the final of the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup and won the Olympic test event in Tokyo last year. They also went on to win five matches on the trot in Antwerp, Belgium, where they played three matches against the hosts and two against Spain. This is turning out to be

a great week for Indian hockey. Just a couple of days ago, Indian women’s hockey team’s striker Lalremsiami and Indian men’s team midfielder Vivek Sagar Prasad had bagged the FIH Rising Star of the Year awards. “It is truly humbling to see Indian hockey get so many accolades and awards. Our youngsters Lalremsiami and Vivek got the rising star awards. Last month, our women’s team captain Rani Rampal won the prestigious ‘World Games Athlete of the Year’ award. It shows our hockey is moving in the right direction,” said Manpreet.

Manpreet Singh

Manpreet, who made his international debut in 2011, has won 263 caps for the national team and has played two Olympics - London 2012 and Rio 2016. He wants to make Tokyo 2020 memorable.

Cherry Talk

Monty’s Spin Monty Panesar

England are top dogs Kiwis will test India The T20 match between England and South Africa was a thriller. The whole series was amazing to watch. The pitch was flat and it was one of the best games we have watched this year. Clearly England are one of the top teams in the world and certainly one of the most entertaining. It seems to me that playing against England helps opposition teams become better and raise their game. The standard of cricket that England are playing at the moment is helping the opposition get a feel for their own potential. South Africa have also performed well. Quinton De Kock has come across as a mature leader and he plays better when he has added responsibility. The manner in which he played gave his side much needed confidence. Faf du Plessis becoming available for all formats of the game will just make South Africa stronger. I don't hold much hope, but to see AB de Villiers playing in the T20 World Cup matches would be the icing on the cake. They have got Dale Steyn back which provides experience in the bowling department. From a fans' perspective it will provide great entertainment. On a flat pitch in the third T20 all the English batsmen struck form, and being a fan of Jos Butler it was good to see him perform. For England to win the T20 World Cup they will need Jos Butler, Adil Rashid, Moeen Ali, Ben Stokes and Eoin Morgan to be in top form. The reason I haven’t picked fast bowlers is because it is easier for batsmen to hit the ball for a six when there is pace on the ball than hit it when the spinners are bowling. The key player for England will be Adil Rashid because Eoin Morgan always looks to him to take a wicket in the key moments of the match. Finally, the Test series against New Zealand gives India an opportunity to extend their lead on the Test Championships table and see if they can win away from home. Jusprit Bumrah coming back to form in the warm up games must have been a relief for the Indian selectors especially because he wasn’t able to take a wicket in the One Dayers. For me the important aspect will be how Indian batsmen perform in seaming conditions. If India want to play like the number one team in the world they need to win Test series. All the great teams like the West Indies in the 1980s and Australia in 2000 were dominant both at home and away. India have the opportunity to do the same because they finally have the seamers and fast bowlers to take 20 wickets in a Test match. But do they have the batting to bat long periods of time and against the new ball? They will be put to the test by an ever resilient New Zealand. You can follow Monty Panesar @MontyChannel

Profile for Asian Business Publications Ltd

AV 22nd February 2020  

Asian Voice weekly newspaper (Issue 41 Vol 48)

AV 22nd February 2020  

Asian Voice weekly newspaper (Issue 41 Vol 48)

Profile for abpl