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22nd April to 28th April 2017

Let noble thoughts come to us from every side

INVISIBLE, FORGOTTEN, SUFFERERS: PLIGHT OF WIDOWS AROUND THE WORLD

WHY YOU SHOULD SUPPORT THE DISADVANTAGED WIDOWS IN INDIA

PM CALLS GENERAL ELECTION For more information, visit WWW.theloombafoundation.org or Contact, Safdar Shah at safdar@theloombafoundation.org

Announcement surprises diaspora and political parties Rupanjana Dutta

Prime Minister Theresa May's announcement of a snap general election on Thursday 8 June, has piqued world interest. On Tuesday morning, as we went to press, the Prime Minister announced that Britain needed clarity, stability and strong leadership following the EU Referendum. For a while, she declined the possibility of a general election before 2020, but her sudden change of mind, has been related to her hard Brexit mandate. But more importantly it has been related to her effort to prove her leadership as an 'elected' Prime Minister, against the losing popularity of the Labour party, that has been opposing the government's Brexit decisions. This announcement has also been seen to be Mrs May's fulfilment of her greatest promise- to

establish Britain's supremacy as a stronger economic giant, forging individual relationships, discussing mutually benefitting terms, especially after the Brexit. Recently, a poll suggested that the Conservative party is 21 points ahead of the Labours. The poll, conducted by ComRes for The Independent, has put Tories at 46% of the vote share, 25% for Labour, 11% for Tim Farron’s pro-EU Liberal Democrats and 9% for the embattled Ukip under Paul Nuttall’s leadership. According to historic data on the

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UK Polling Report, it is the highest lead for any party since May 2009, when three polls gave David Cameron a 22-point lead. It is also the party's greatest lead while in government since 1983, shortly before Margaret Thatcher’s second victory at the ballot box. While the party has gained its momentum among Asians, especially Hindus (who ensured the clear majority win in 2015), this however has not been the feeling within the Palace of Westminster, where the party's alleged internal turmoil (for various reasons) and that caused by the other parties, especially Labour party opposing a hard Brexit, have been

affecting its normal function. This was clear in her statement on Tuesday morning, when she explained her decision and said: "The country is coming together but Westminster is not." BBC reported that Mrs May said: "I have concluded the only way to guarantee certainty and security for years ahead is to hold this election." She accused Britain's other political parties of "game playing", adding that this risks "our ability to make a success of Brexit and it will cause damaging uncertainty and instability to the country". Continued on page 16

Vijay Mallya arrested, freed Absconding Indian businessman and loan defaulter Vijay Mallya was arrested in London on Tuesday, by the Scotland Yard, only to be let off on bail within three hours. British authorities had informed that the former liquor baron will be produced before the Westminster Magistrates' Court later in the day, and that

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India's Central Bureau of Investigation was notified of the arrest. Sources close to the tycoon asserted that it was a voluntary arrest. They revealed that he was granted conditional bail pending a deposit of 650,000 pounds. Confirming the arrest, the Scotland Yard released a statement saying, “Vijay Mallya was arrested on behalf of the Indian Continued on page 17

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ONE ONE with Keith Vaz, MP

Asian Voice 22nd April 2017

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to

Joe Ukemenam

Joe Ukemenam is a Professor of Criminology and has been a member of the Employment Tribunals of England & Wales since 1990. He currently serves the United Nations as the Expert on African Development & Confliction Resolution. He is the Chairman of the Africa Technology Policy Studies Network (ATPS UK); Chairman of the Enugu State Diaspora in the United Kingdom and Ireland and a Visiting Senior Researcher at the Enugu State University of Science and Technology, Nigeria. He is the Chief Executive of Reform Corporation – an International Development agency as well as a Mental Health Act Manager at the East London NHS Foundation Trust. Joe is also a Black and Minority Ethnic (BAME) Labour Executive member, leading the BAME Labour Mentoring and Political Education programmes. Joe is author of several academic books and publications focusing on African SMEs in the British Economy, Policing in Britain and the Dilemma of Information Logic in Britain Up to 1991. His current research interests are crime fighting in Nigeria. 1) What is your current position? I am a Professor of Criminology, a member of the Employment Tribunal of England and Wales; CEO of the Reform Corporation and the United Nations Special Envoy on African Development. 2) What are your proudest achievements? One stands out. To have served as a boy soldier at the age of 10 in the Nigeria/Biafra war (19671970) and to come through the three years of the war’s trauma to bag a PhD in the UK, while self-financing my education. I have more but this impacted my life the most. 3) What inspires you? The pioneering works I do and those that need to be done. For

example, I set up and ran the first Diversion from Custody for Mentally Disordered Black Offenders in this country. I became a founding member of several black self-organisations including: the NUJ Black Members Council; British Society of Criminologists, European Society of Criminologists, Association of Race Equality Advisers; Association of Black Probation Officers; TUC Black Members; SERTUC, African Communities HIV Forum amongst others. Currently, I have over 650 Black community organisations and businesses in UK and Africa for whom I deliver management consultancy interventions, mentoring in business development, capacity building and invest-

ment readiness initiatives. 4) What has been the biggest obstacle in your career? The biggest obstacle I have encountered is not having significant numbers of people before me to assist and support my development. As such, I spent needless amounts of time searching, navigating and inventing the wheels at nearly every corner of my career. At most points, I did not even have anybody to provide me with a simple reference for a position. For example, when I wanted to join the NUJ in the 1980s, after graduating with Higher Diploma in Journalism and Mass Communication in

Khalid Masood took out two payday loans and made farewell call to family prior to attack Khalid Masood took out two payday loans so he could continue to feed his addiction to Lotto scratch cards, it has been revealed. The jihadist was in debt and behind on tax payments when he carried out his heinous attack on Westminster Bridge and the Houses of Parliament. An ex-flatmate of Masood, 52, revealed the killer received a warning letter from HM Revenue and Customs a week after he killed five people in a car and knife rampage. He had arranged to pay off £100 a month but fell behind due to his love of gambling and alcohol. The former flatmate, from Birmingham, told The Sun: 'It didn't fit in with his faith because both habits are banned under Islam. He'd always be coming back with scratch cards. He was not a good Muslim.' He added: “I never saw him go to work. He must have spent a lot of what money he had that way.” A source told the Mail on Sunday that the Kent-born killer made a farewell phone call to his family one week before the atrocity last month. He reportedly told them: “You will soon hear of my death, but

don’t worry, be happy, because I will be in a better place, I will be in paradise.” He went on to add: “I want you to be happy for me, I don’t want you to be sad.” According to the newspaper, Masood told his family he wanted the phone conversation “to be our secret”. Detectives probing the killer said he had “a number of aliases” and was born Adrian Russell Ajao.

The Met Police previously revealed their investigation showed that Masood had not been radicalised during his time in prison and he had no links to IS Islamic State. Officers said there was no evidence he had discussed his planned attack with anyone else, and his method of attack was “low sophisticated, low tech and low cost” and that he acted wholly alone in the planning and preparation for the first mass casualty terrorist atrocity to hit Britain in more than 10 years. One source said: “The indications are he acted on his own, and that is rare.” The investigation of Masood is understood now not to be actively seeking anyone else. His communication on the day and in the run up to the attack has been one of police’s key lines of enquiry.

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London, there were not many people to sponsor and support my membership of the NUJ, yet I needed it at the time in order to secure a job in the media. 5) Who has been the biggest influence on your career to date? I am a religious person, and can only say God and my father because no single person lifted me up or showed me the way forward. It was that bad. The words of wisdom from my father assisted me not to give up and to seek alternative ways of navigating around the challenges I faced. 6) What is the best aspect about your current role? The best part is the opportunity it provides for me to lift others up in a way that I was not able to experience. People can now seek and receive quality advice, guidance and intervention directly from associating with me or consulting with me. This is true in the areas of criminal justice, employment relations, business development, access to business finance, international development, community building and development. With these, I am able to reach out far and wide

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into the communities touching individuals, communities, governments and nations. 7) And the worst? That would be the glass ceiling syndrome that exist for black people in this country plus deep rooted discrimination. The existence of these have hindered and excluded generations consistently. 8) What are your long term goals? I would like to be able to positively influence and assist more lives and people at most levels of the society. I would appreciate public appointments which would benefit from my experience and skills which in turn would enable me to do more for the diverse societies. 9) If you were Prime Minister, what one aspect would you change? I would change discriminatory practices because they impact negatively on all aspects and sectors of society, and undermine British development and progress in real significant terms. 10) If you were marooned on a desert island, which historical figure would you like to spend your time with and why? Nelson Mandela as he epitomises wisdom and compassion in a crazy world.

MPs call for Assad’s wife to lose citizenship UK lawmakers are calling on the government to strip Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's wife of her British citizenship, for supporting her husband's regime during the country's ongoing war. The Liberal Democrats' foreign affairs spokesman, MP Tom Brake, last Sunday accused Assad of using her international profile to defend "a barbarous regime". Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has urged other countries to do more about Syria, but the British government could ask Asma Al-Assad -- to stop using her position to defend barbaric acts, or be stripped of her British citizenship, Brake added. Brake’s remarks follow Johnson branding the Syrian president an "archterrorist", in a Sunday Telegraph newspaper article calling on Syria ally Russia to end its support for Bashar al-Assad. Brake's comments echoed those of MP Nadhim Zahawi, from the ruling Conservative Party. "The time has come where we go after (Bashar) Assad in every which way, including people like Mrs Assad, who is very much part of the propaganda machine that is committing war crimes," he was quoted in the Sunday Times newspaper

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad with his British wife Asma al-Assad

as saying. Once hailed as a progressive rights advocate, Assad has fallen from international grace during Syria's ongoing war which has killed more than 320,000 people since erupting in 2011. The 41-year-old, who is believed to hold joint British-Syrian nationality, has stood by her husband's side in his rare public appearances, posing for selfies with supporters in photos posted to the presidency's Instagram account. The couple's marriage was announced six months after he assumed the country's leadership in July 2000. They had met at a party hosted by the British Syrian community in London. Asma's ongoing support for her husband allows Britain to deprive her of her UK citizenship, according to the

Liberal Democrats, which served in an uneasy five-year coalition government with the Conservative Party until 2015. "If Asma continues defending the Assad regime's murderous actions, the onus will be on the UK Government to deprive her of her citizenship or demonstrate that her actions are not seriously prejudicial to the vital interests of the United Kingdom," said Brake. He is due to write to Home Secretary Amber Rudd outlining the view of the Liberal Democrats, which holds nine seats in British parliament. The home office would not comment on whether the government would take action against Assad, who previously worked as an analyst for Deutsche Bank and JP Morgan.


C MMENTS

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India’s silence on Syria The Syrian Ambassador to India visited the Ministry of External Affairs in New Delhi to express his government’s gratitude to the Government of India for its silence on the use of chemical agents in the ongoing war in Syria. An Indian Diplomatic Correspondent for an English-language broadsheet, taking fright with his antennae tuned into Washington, absurdly interpreted the envoy’s demarche as an embarrassment for India. Consider with a cool mind and an engaged heart an alternative interpretation of India’s silence. A noisy denunciation of the American missile attack on Syria would have achieved nothing of substance. It would have induced a fit of the vapours in the Trump Administration and muddied the waters of Indo-US relations, with China growling menacingly on India’s doorstep. The US decision to attack Syria has much to do with the crisis of the American Empire. America has fought 70 wars, 10 of them serious ones, in its 239 year history. War has been the intoxicant to arouse the American public. Trump’s erstwhile critics have lauded him for being presidential. Among the loudest voices has been that of Bombay-born Indian American Faried Zakaria of CNN Television, now happy-clappy part of the American establishment. However, the attractions of war are no longer gilded with the laurels of predetermined victory. The draining Indochina war and its myriad criminalities were the seedbed of scepticism and disillusionment, giving rise to widespread demonstrations across America and Europe. Anti-war coalitions are making their presence felt in greater numbers today. The deceits of the Bush Administration’s Iraq war – remember Saddam Hussain’s non-existent weapons of mass destruction, and the bogus Tonking incident of 1964 which was the Johnson Administration’s trigger for its massive assault on Vietnam - and the Obama Administration’s wanton intervention in Libya and Syria. In the hallowed counsels of the G 7, the Italian Foreign Minister vetoed British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson’s call for further economic sanctions against

Russia. France will shortly have its presidential elections in which one front runner from the right and another from the left have vowed to jettison the slobbering, slavish pro-US policies of Francois Hollande. T he militarily strength of Russia is what counts in the present Syrian imbroglio. Its political reach extends to Iran and the Lebanese Hezbollah, with their committed foot soldiers to aid the Syrian regime. Against this, the US has the corrupt Saudi dynasty and Gulf sheikhdoms, already deeply wired in the brutal Yemen civil war with Anglo-American and EU weaponry. The United States is making heavy weather of liberating the northern Iraqi city of Mosul from the meshes of ISIS. The loss of civilian lives through US has been horrendous. American planes in error have bombed Syrian opposition positions causing heavy casualties and deep embarrassment. This has been followed with the largest non-nuclear bomb strike in Afghanistan. Such egregious follies will take their toll of America’s standing in the world. The US armada sailing towards North Korea is a perilous gamble. The world is on the brink of an abyss. . US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s sullen ultimatums to Moscow are unlikely to bear the desired fruit of Russian submission. His visit to the Russian capital has been described as a disaster. Obama had little to show for his foreign policy, barring a ludicrous Nobel Peace Prize on the strength of a single long winded speech. Trump’s tantrums do not hold much promise of success either. America’s continuing crimes against humanity will lead to deepening revulsion across continents. We end where we started – which is India’s silence on Syria. The proof of the pudding is invariably in the eating. You will be able to judge for yourself when Prime Minister Narendra Modi meets President Vladimir Putin at the St Petersburg Economic Summit in the first week of June. This being the 70 th year of the establishment of diplomatic relations between India and Russia expect something approximating a big bang.

UK’s post-Brexit outreach to India India’s trade with the UK has risen from $5.3 billion in 2000 to $14.2 billion in 2015. An India-UK Free Trade Agreement following Britain’s formal exit from the European Union, could rise by an exponential 33 per cent, driven by a surge in British exports to India, according to the Commonwealth Secretariat in London. ‘India has always had much less trade and investment with the UK than with the European Union... Nevertheless, trade and investment with the UK has been steadily rising since 2005, says the Commonwealth report. The failure of India and the EU to conclude an FTA has meant that tariffs on Indian and UK exports in each other’s markets were pretty steep. ‘Tariffs on UK exports into India are estimated to be around 14.8 per cent on average., while Indian exports into the UK face tariffs of around 8.4 per cent on average, ‘ says the report. The report highlights the opportunities for services in sectors such as computers, transport, construction and financial services etc Senior figures in both governments have been keen to expand market access on either side. The report emphasized the need for flexibility and mutual accommodation on easier visas for students and temporary personnel on the Indian side; on the B ritish easier access for Britain’s auto sector. The four-day visit to India by British Defence Secretary Michael Fallon was of considerable significance in this post-Brexit context. He offered technology transfer and co-production of military platforms and weapon systems for under Prime Minister Modi’s ‘Made in India’ initiative. ‘As India invites the world to come and make in this

great country and as a global Britain spreads its wings, I believe we have an unprecedented opportunity to accelerate the partnership between us, ’ said the Defence Secretary, addressing The UK-India Strategic Dialogue: Opportunity and Security in a Changing World, organized by the Observer Research Foundation in New Delhi. Mr Fallon said his mission was not ‘just to see what we can make in India, or make with India, but to see what more we can design, develop, and value with India and export together to third countries and new markets; how we can better match British experience with Indian brain power.’ Such collaboration ‘will help us build the disruptive capabilities that can counter fifth generation threats.’ India and Britain needed to join hands ‘to defuse fanatical propaganda and to protect impressionable young minds,’ he said. ‘So in the next 12 months, I want to see these capability partnerships really take off. There are a myriad other areas where we can work profitably together.’ Asked whether Britain would be agreeable to the transfer of sophisticated technology to India, which previously had been a sensitive issue in Washington and London on account of misgivings on India’s military and nuclear programmes, Mr Fallon replied: ‘We are looking now at how we can further facilitate the transfer of technology under a government-to-government framework that can embrace the way we share technology…We should be thinking of India not just as a market but as a launch pad, where we can develop high-tech capabilities and sell them to third countries and new markets.’

Indian American youthful scientists excel Indian American teenager Indrani Das has won the top $250,000 prize in the Regeneration Science Talent Search competition in the United States. Ms Das, a 17 year-old who lives in New Jersey, was awarded the prize for her research on the treatment of brain injury and disease. Her work explored the possibility of boosting the survival rate of neurons. A contributor to neuron death is astrogliosis, a condition that occurs when cells called astrocytes react to injury by growing, dividing and reducing their uptake of glutamate, which in excess is toxic to neurons. In a laboratory model, Indrani Das demonstrated that exosomes isolated from astrocytes reacted with another chemical and improved neuron survival.

The third prize of $150,000 was won by another Indian American teen, Arjun Ramani, for his project on networks using mathematical field or graph theory and computer programming. The talent search, dubbed the ‘Junior Nobel Prize,’ the oldest US competition for students is organized by the Society for Science and the Public in conjunction with medical firm Regeneron. Of the 40 finalists in the competition, 13 were Indian Americans. Archana Verma won the seventh prize and Prathik Naidu the thirteenth, surely a telling display of Indian American science talent.

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We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves. - Buddha

Cllr Sachin Shah Leader of the Harrow Council

Safety and welfare of Harrow’s children Harrow Council’s children’s services are officially in the top 25% of all councils in the country. Ofsted praised Harrow Council’s “sharp focus on improving outcomes for children” and said Harrow Council are rated as ‘Good; which is the second highest rating. Every Council’s number one priority is the safety, welfare and wellbeing of its children. We have promised the residents of Harrow that this Council will deliver better outcomes, with less money – and that is exactly what we are doing. The result upgrades Harrow’s rating – considered “adequate” in 2012 – despite cuts to councils’ central funding, and new, tougher, criteria at Ofsted that have seen little more than a quarter of councils assessed receive a “Good” rating or better. The rating has proved that we are making absolutely the right decisions about where to put our effort and spend our shrinking resources. Harrow’s social workers were complimented for their tenacity, knowledge and effectiveness; adoption and fostering services and services for care leavers were among those particularly singled out as “Good”; and councillors and managers were praised for “strong and effective” leadership. The front line staff deserve the credit most of all, and I want to thank them. The services we offer to the children in the borough are diverse, from children’s centres and youth services to fostering, adoption and safeguarding.

One of our key area of focus has been the school expansion programme, which is on track to deliver sufficient school places for children in Harrow. One of the latest schools to be expanded is Priestmead School. The school opened their new building in spectacular style, with an explosion of colour in the playground marking Holi Festivities on the same day. Gone are the red bricks and 1930s style building and today stands a modern and energy-efficient building. The 13 month joint project between Harrow Council, the Education Funding Agency, KIER and contractors finished earlier this year. The school, which opened on 13 March, now enjoys improved play space, larger classrooms and a community hall, better catering facilities and eco credentials. With 210 new school places created, the school aims to take almost 900 pupils by 2020. Our ambition now is to strive towards achieving “outstanding”, even though our constantly decreasing funding and the national funding formula will be an impediment. 95% of Harrow’s maintained schools are judged to be good or outstanding by Ofsted. But the proposed school funding formula is expected to severely affect Harrow schools, with some losing up to £500 per pupil. Harrow is known for its excellent schools and funding cuts would jeopardise the high education standards.

Editor: CB Patel

Continued on page 8

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UK

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The shocking level of forced marriage reports in the West Midlands

Flash mob held by West Midlands Police in November 2016 to help raise awareness of forced marriage

Forced Marriage Unit reported 202 calls or emails from people worried about being involved in, or knowing someone involved in, a forced marriage. The Foreign Office received almost one call every two days from people in the West Midlands worried about forced marriage. From January to December 2016, the Forced Marriage Unit (FMU) reported 202 calls or emails from people worried about being involved in, or knowing someone involved in, a forced marriage. That is a significant increase on last year, when the number stood at 165. This represented nearly one

in seven - 14 per cent - of all cases advised by the FMU. A forced marriage occurs when one or both parties do not consent to the marriage and violence, threats, or any other form of coercion is involved. In 2016, the FMU gave advice or support related to a possible forced marriage in 1,428 cases nationwide via its public helpline and email inbox. This represents an increase of 14% (208 cases) compared with the previous year. Most of the contacts were from people originally from Pakistan, who accounted for 612 cases (43%), followed by Bangladesh with 121 cases (8%) and India

with 79 cases (6%). It is the highest number of calls received by the FMU since 2012. It is important to note that Home Office statistics only represent the cases that have been reported to the FMU. Forced marriage is a hidden crime, and these figures may not reflect the full scale of the abuse. In total, the FMU received approximately 350 telephone calls per month in 2016. This included repeat calls about cases and calls not about forced marriage for example queries about divorces, annulments, sham marriages and domestic violence. In 2016, victims’ ages

ranged from young children to people post-retirement age. Where the age was known, 15% of cases involved victims below 16 years of age, and 26% involved under 18 year olds. Some 1,145 cases (80%) involved female victims and 283 (20%) involved male victims. The largest proportion of cases (35%) involved 18-25 year old victims. As in previous years, in 2016 the UK region with the greatest number of cases was London (307 cases, 21%). The Forced Marriage Unit is a joint project between the Foreign Office and the Home Office.

Teenage thug who booked cabs so he could ambush drivers jailed A knife-wielding teenager behind a spate of terrifying armed attacks on cabbies has been locked up for ten years. Mohammed Abdurahman, 19, booked cabs under fake names so he could ambush the drivers. He used CS spray on one terrified victim, while two drivers were bundled into the back seat of their own vehicles before they were attacked and driven away. Abdurahman was behind three robberies in Bartley Green between last October and December. The teenager and accomplices threatened a driver at knifepoint before taking two expensive mobile phones,

cash and other equipment in Corn Mill Grove on the evening of October 27. Three days later, the second victim was punched in the face and dragged to an ATM at knifepoint before his phone, money and Volkswagen Touran were taken. It happened after a taxi had been booked to take one passenger from Mill Lane to the city centre. On the third occasion, again in Mill Lane on December 8, Abdurahman claimed he wanted to go to Heartlands Hospital but made the driver get out the car and let off CS spray in his face.

Mohammed Abdurahman a knife-wielding robber who terrorised taxi drivers in Birmingham has been locked up for 10 years

The victim was then driven to a secluded area where Abduraham made off with an Apple watch. His two accomplices fled with a mobile

phone and satnav. Checks of CCTV and links on social media led officers to Abdurahman and he was arrested at his home in Rush Green, Bartley Green, on December 10. He tried to hide the stolen watch but officers found it and linked it to the last victim. Abdurahman initially denied any involvement in police interview but later admitted three charges of robbery, two of kidnapping, and having offensive weapons. He was sentenced at Birmingham Crown Court. Investigations continue into the others involved in the robberies.

Northfield road rage thug smashed victim's face with baseball bat 0A road rage thug who smashed a motorist's face bones with a baseball bat has lost an appeal against his nine-year jail term. Imran Rashid, 36, tailed builder Ali Yanai and subjected him to an ordeal of "bullying" driving. He then launched an attack at a roundabout which broke the victim's eye socket and cheekbone. Rashid, from Northfield, was jailed at Birmingham Crown Court in May last year. He pleaded guilty to threatening another with an offensive weapon and damaging property, and was convicted of causing grievous bodily harm

with intent. He was also banned from driving for six and a half years. Judges at London's Criminal Appeal Court heard his lawyers argue that his sentence and driving ban were too tough. The court heard Rashid began a sinister game of "cat and mouse" with his victim in December 2015. He became irate because he was delayed briefly by Mr Yanai completing a manoeuvre in his car. He followed his victim, repeatedly blocking his way and eventually got out of his car brandishing a baseball bat. Mr Yanai got out of his

In Brief

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Asian Voice | 22nd April 2017

own car and managed to "usher" Rashid back to his vehicle. But soon afterwards, as the builder waited at a roundabout, Rashid got out of his car again and approached unseen from behind. He struck Mr Yanai a heavy blow to the side of his face with the bat through the open driver's window of his car. He hit him several more times with the bat before Mr Yanai, who had by then got out of his car, wrested it from him and restrained him until police could arrive. Mr Yanai had to undergo surgery to repair his facial

bones and had three metal plates inserted into his cheek. Lawyers for Rashid argued his sentence should not have been increased on the basis that the victim was "vulnerable." The offence involved "a unique set of features which were unlikely to be repeated," the judges were told. It was also pointed out that Rashid's wife had recently told him she was divorcing him which was dismissed by the judge. The judge, sitting with Lord Justice Simon and Judge Jeffrey Pegden QC, also dismissed the appeal against the driving ban, saying it was "right in principle".

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Man slits own throat in broad daylight on Glasgow street

In a gruesome incident, a man with two knives reportedly slit “his own throat” right in the middle of a busy street in Glasgow. In a footage shot by an office worker in a nearby building, a man is seen walking down West Nile Street holding something in his hands. Police can be seen arriving at the scene, pepper-spraying him, and then tackling him to the ground. The man later died from his injuries. Witnesses said he “calmly slit his own throat” in front of terrified children. One of the many people who saw the incident go down, Shaun Keegan, 29, said, “I can't unsee the way he put the knife to his neck and started slashing. How calmly he took the blade and started cutting. He looked focused and was walking straight ahead.” He said he first registered something bad was happening, when he saw a traffic warden sprinting down the street. “I looked further down and it looked like someone was smacking something with what looked like an umbrella. A moment later I saw this man deliberately cutting his own throat with a Stanley knife.” Dressed in stab-proof vests, officers soon rushed down the street and the man was taken to Glasgow Royal Infirmary where he died of his injuries.

Child sex inquiry drags 29 to court

A total of twenty seven men and two women appeared in court as they face at least 170 charges of sexual exploitation of eighteen children. The defendants appeared before a district judge at Huddersfield Magistrates Court only to be greeted by a handful of protesters outside the court building, where over 20 police officials were on duty. Allegations include non-recent sexual offences that date back to between 2004 and 2011, relating to 18 women who were children at the time. The youngest involved was 11 years old. While the defendants are mainly from Huddersfield, there are also men from Dudley, Sheffeild, Bradford, Manchester, and Dewsbury. District Judge Michael Fanning transferred all the cases to the crown court, after a lengthy sitting and asked them to appear again at Leeds Crown Court on May 11.

Gay Sikh man faced threats from family after coming out

A Sikh man has been speaking about the abuse he received from relatives after telling them he is gay. Manjinder Singh Sidhu, 30, from Birmingham, said he had been threatened with a "beating" after confronting a family member about his behaviour towards him. Figures from West Midlands Police show recorded honour crimes against men have risen from three in 2014 to 13 in 2016. Mr Sidhu has now produced a video and book with his mother to help other families going through similar experiences.

ONS names Birmingham as Britain’s benefits capital

Birmingham has been named as the benefits capital of Britain in official figures. Four areas of the city feature among a league table of constituencies with the highest proportion of claimants. Birmingham Ladywood topped the list with 10.3 per cent of working age residents receiving unemployment handouts. The neighbouring Hodge Hill seat was second on 8.9 per cent, while Perry Barr and Erdington were fifth and sixth respectively. The details, compiled by the House of Commons library using last month's data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), lays bare the extent of welfare dependency in some parts of the UK. Birmingham has been notorious for its deprivation, becoming the focus of the 2014 Channel 4 documentary Benefits Street.


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High Commission of India celebrates Dr Ambedkar's 126th birthday The High Commission of India along with the Federation of Ambedkarite and Buddhist Organisations (FABO) UK organised the 126th Birth Anniversary of Bharat Ratna Dr. B.R. Ambedkar at India House on 14th April 2017. High Commissioner Mr. Y.K. Sinha spoke about the contributions of Baba Saheb Ambedkar, and the continuing relevance of his ideas on equality and justice today. The HC also spoke about the BhimApp Prime launched by Minister Modi to mark the event on 14th April 2017, benefitting the most deprived sections of the society in India through digital application in monetary transactions. The

HE Y K Sinha speaking at Dr Ambedkar's birthday celebration

event was attended by around a hundred people, including Councillors, Mayors and prominent members of the Indian community in the UK.

Baisakhi celebrations

High Commissioner Mr. Y.K. Sinha joined the Baisakhi celebrations at Gravesend Gurdwara, London. He greeted the sangat on the occasion of Baisakhi, the day that celebrates the creation of Khalsa.

Black, Asian and Minority Teachers Are Leaving The Profession Due To Racism Teachers from black and minority ethnic backgrounds are encountering racism that prevents them from being promoted and is forcing them out of the profession altogether, a new report has said. The report found that more than 60% of black and ethnic minority (BME) teachers were thinking of leaving the teaching profession because of the difficulties they faced. One teacher told BuzzFeed News that racism in the profession was endemic, saying he had been told "your face doesn't fit" when he applied for a promotion. Another teacher said they were told by a headteacher in a job interview that they were "not sure how somebody like you

would fit in here." The study, commissioned by the National Union of Teachers (NUT) and conducted by the Runnymede Trust, surveyed teachers across the UK. In total, 1,027 BME teachers responded, while focus group interviews were conducted with 15 BME teachers from different geographical locations and stages of schooling. The results exposed the fact that teachers from minority backgrounds experience attitudes among senior teaching staff that they “have a certain level”, and are incapable of being promoted beyond that. Many of the teachers also said they felt unable to challenge decisions, as they

faced being branded troublemakers or aggressive for speaking out. BME teachers also described experiencing a lack of support from their line managers in terms of career progression and dealing with racist incidents. Many BME teachers felt that not all racism and discrimination experienced in schools was deliberate, and several spoke of "unconscious bias" and ingrained racist attitudes among senior leaders and governing bodies.

Prince Harry Praised by Mental Health Charities for Opening Up About His Grief Prince Harry has been praised by mental health experts for speaking openly about enduring years of “total chaos” following the death of his mother, Diana, Princess of Wales, who was killed in a car crash in Paris when he was 12. In a podcast interview with the U.K.’s Daily Telegraph, the 32-year-old prince said he has come “very close to a complete breakdown on numerous occasions” and has turned to a ‘shrink’ to discuss his problems “more than a couple of times,” describing the therapy process as "great." Harry's interview, which marked the first time a member of Britain's Royal Family has spoken so candidly about mental health, has been praised by campaigners and charities. Daily Telegraph columnist Bryony Gordon, who spoke to Prince Harry and has written extensively about coping with her own

High Commissioner at the Gravesend Gurdwara to celebrate Baisakhi

The High Commissioner was honoured with the ceremonial Siropa on this occasion. He also invited all present to join the April 30 Baisakhi cultural celebrations being jointly organised for the first time by

Gurudwaras and the High Commission at SKLPC centre in Northolt from 11am-4pm. The 30th celebration, which promises to attract at least 20,000 visiorswill include Punjabi spiritual music, Bhangra and Gidda

performance, Gatka- traditional Punjabi martial arts, turban tying, Kabaddi, Henna painting, children's games etc. Star performances will be hosted by Jasbir Jassi, Channi Singh and many more.

Charities sound alarm as men 'afraid' to come forward over honour abuse Male 'honour' abuse victims have been urged to speak out as charities warn reported cases are just the "tip of the iceberg". Men from "conservative communities" are particularly reluctant to involve police forces in England and Wales as it is seen as something that only women could report and receive support for. Honour abuse is usual-

ly associated with women from Muslim, Sikh or Hindu backgrounds and happens when they are seen to have "shamed" their community. Charities are sounding the alarm over the issue with new research uncovering that as many as one in five cases handled involve men. Charity Karma Nirvana says calls from men to its

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helpline are rising – with many "afraid" to come forward. BBC Newsnight contacted 70 men who say they have suffered various abuses and found that most of the victims said they have not spoken to any authorities about their experiences and believe they have nowhere to turn. Many said they had considered suicide.

Media Advertising Sales Representative Media Advertising Sales Representative positions are available with Asian Business Publications Ltd - publishers of Asian Voice and Gujarat Samachar, the leaders in ethnic media.

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mental health problems, including bulimia and obsessive compulsive disorder, described the interview as a "watershed moment" for mental health. Mental heath charity Mind described Prince Harry as "inspiring" for opening up about his mental health. "It shows how far we have come in changing public attitudes to mental health that someone so high-profile can open up about something so difficult and personal," said Paul Farmer, the charity's chief executive.

Prince William has followed his brother’s lead and opened up about the importance of discussing mental health. The Duke of Cambridge has called for an end to the ‘stiff upper lip’ culture, saying he wants Prince George and Princess Charlotte to be able to talk about their emotions. William also highlighted the importance of role models opening up about their mental health and welcomed grime artist Stormzy speaking out about suffering from depression.

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East London gang that stole £3m in high-end cars sentenced to 46 years

Sufiyan Mahmood

A high-profile east London gang that was caught on camera at a McDonald’s drive-thru during a haul have been jailed for 46 years. The eight-person gang was caught after police raided a pub belonging to the gang's ringleader Manjit Sandhu, 32, in east London's Manor Park on August 17 last year. Bags of stolen car keys were found in the basement, along with key pro-

Faisal Khan

Khuram Zaman

gramming technology, blank keys and a tool for picking car locks. The gang used to break into people's homes and stole car keys, taking off in high-end Range Rovers, BMWs and Mercedes. Their business touched Africa, as some of the cars were exported to the continent, while others were broken down for parts. They even drove about in minicabs emblazoned with Transport for

gang ringleader Manji Sandhu

London's “private hire” stickers to steal keyless cars by using technology to spoof car unlocking. Authorities found that the group had carried out over 120 crimes between March 2015 and August, last year. The Met's Organised Vehicle Crime Unit lead, Detective Inspector Caroline Clooney said, “This was an extremely prolific and well-organised criminal gang. They

Heena Bux

bought distress to many victims whose homes they broke into, who not only lost their vehicles but in many cases were traumatised by the thought of someone having been in their house while they slept. Although the case involved over 120 offences, it is clear that this team were responsible for an even greater number of crimes.” The gang included Sandhu, Heena Bux, 21,

Woman receives half-justice after sexual assault in bus A pervert who inappropriately rubbed a 22 year old woman on a London bus has managed to get off the hook with just a 12-month community order and 150 hours of unpaid work. The female was looking out of the window when she felt someone inappropriately rubbing against her. When she turned around, she saw Tharmalingam Sivagaran, 44, who apologised for his actions. But soon, he began to touch her again and opened his legs wide, pushing her against the window. He then placed a fin-

Tharmalingam Sivagaran

ger on her inner thigh. The woman managed to escape by sliding past her attacker, with her back towards him, but felt a hand on her bottom, the Wood Green Crown Court heard. She then fled from the bus and

called the police following the attack at 7 pm on March 28 last year. After a three-day trial, Sivagaran from Harrow, was found guilty of sexual assault by touching. He has been sentenced to a 12month community order and 150 hours of unpaid work. He was also handed a bill for £750 costs and a £60 victim surcharge. “This is a despicable offence against a vulnerable young woman and I hope this sentence shows how seriously the police and courts take this crime. I would like to thank the

Passenger grapples with knife-wielding man on bus It was a horrible moment when a bus passenger who is now deemed 'heroic', get into a tussle with an alleged knifeman on a London bus. In a footage, the two were seen wrestling near the driver's cab as the commuter trie to disarm the man of the 12-inch kitchen knife in his hand. Horrified passengers looked on, as the commuter ripped the blade away from the alleged attacker who manage to flee emergency alarm rings. With knife wounds to his hand and head, the 'hero' wasn't damp on spirits as he shouted “I am an African. You will never take my life,” after the man. The incident took place in on a route 149 bus

in Stoke Newington, on Tuesday. It came during a time when knife crime was on a high in London. A Met Police spokeswoman said, “Police were called to Stoke Newington Road junction with Foulden Road, N16, at 1.55 pm on Tuesday, 11 April, to reports of a stabbing which had occurred on a

bus. Officers and London Ambulance Service attended and found a man in his 20s with minor lacerations to his hand and head. He was taken to an East London hospital where he was treated for his injuries. He has now been discharged.” Inquiries continue as no arrests have been made.

victim for reporting the matter to police and for her courage in confronting her assailant and giving evidence during the trial.” “Although the chances of being a victim or witnessing a crime on the network are low, we are working closely with our policing partners to eliminate this unacceptable behaviour. I hope this result shows offenders that London's public transport is a hostile environment for sex offenders, that they are not welcome, will be identified and will be brought to justice.”

Fake £5 notes circulate following launch of new fivers

Police authorities have warned shoppers against counterfeit £5 notes after they were found in Wadebridge, Cornwall. The warning comes just six months after the new £5 note was launched by the Bank of England. PCSO Pete Sobye of Wadebridge police said, “If you find yourself in possession of a fake £5 note, contact your bank. Or if you have been given a number of these as payment, contact police on 101.” A similar warning was issued in February by the Dorset police after counterfeit notes were found in circulation near Poole. Both paper, and the new polymer £5

Geoffrey Cairns

Islam Mohammed Ariful

Khuram Zaman, 20, and Mohammed Islam, 21, who were all found guilty of conspiracy to commit burglary and conspiracy Sufiyan to steal, Mahmood, 19, and Faisal Khan, 23, both who pleaded guilty to conspiracy and to steal, Humzah Bhariwala, 23 who pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit burglary, and Geoffrey Cairns, 55, who was found guilty of conspiracy to commit bur-

glary. Sandhu received a sentence of 12 years in prison, Bux got nine years and six months, Zaman got a total of four years, six months, Islam got three, Cairns got three years and six months, and Bhariwala was jailed for a total of 18 months. Mahmood who was jailed for seven years and six months, and Khan was sentenced to four years and six months.

Business student Syed Islam stabbed to death Business student and Syed aspiring artist Jamanoor Islam, 20, was stabbed to death a few yards from his home in East London, after being set upon by a group of men in Wager Street. The incident occurred after two of his friends got into a fight with some people. Witnesses said the victim's family and neighbours ran to help him as he lay dying on the road. One of them cited that mouthto-mouth resuscitation was tried to keep him breathing, until emergency services arrived. “Many people were trying to help, shouting and crying,” the witness said. “All we heard was a lot of screaming and then a car sped off with tyres screeching,” a neighbour said. The Wager Street estate remained under lockdown as authorities scoured the car park for clues. “Police were called at 16:46 hrs on Tuesday, 11 April to Wager Street, E3, to reports of a stabbing. Officers and the London Ambulance Service attendnotes have been circulating together, However, British

Syed Islam

ed and found a 20-year-old man suffering from stab wounds. He was taken to an east London hospital where he was pronounced dead just after 17:30 hrs,” a Met Police spokesman said. Islam's death came an hour after 19 year old Abdullahi Tarabi was fatally stabbed in Northolt. Detective chief inspector Tony Lynes said, “We are keen to speak to anyone who was in the area at that time and might have seen what happened or who has any information about the circumstances.” people have only until May 5 to spend the paper ones before they lose their legal tender status. The Bank of England will soon issue a new £10 note featuring Jane author Austen, recognising “her universal appeal and enduring contribution to English literature.”


UK Asian Voice | 22nd April 2017

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Ministers rack up more than £1.3mn bill in search of Brexit deals Rupanjana Dutta UK Ministers have spent more than £1.3mn on official overseas travel in order to secure deals as Britain prepares to leave the EU, with Theresa May promising to create a 'truly global Britain'. The Foreign Office increased its ministerial travel budget by more than 70% to £260,000 after the June 2016 referendum, according to an analysis by the Government, The Times has reported. This was despite the department losing responsibility of Europe. Much of these travels have been made to India, costing Prime Minister Theresa May- a bill of £338,763, the highest so far, though she hasn’t secured any trade deals with India so far. The new Department for International Trade ran up a bill of £131,000 as Dr Liam Fox and his Ministers scoured the world for deals. Across the Government there have been 25 trips to the US and 13 to China. While the Department for Exiting the European Union spent only £4,430 travelling to the Continent, the vast majority of longhaul travel was in business

PM Theresa May during her visit to India in November 2016

class and does not include the cost of officials. Most cabinet ministers travel with at least 3 civil servants. Each Minister spent about £32,000 for registered trips, Boris Johnson spent a total of £88,288, travelling to over 15 places, and flew more than 45,000 miles. Alok Sharma MP, his junior Minister reportedly travelled over 93,000 miles- nearly equivalent to going around the world four times that cost

£47,771. Dr Liam Fox, the international trade secretary travelled to India, US, UAE and South America, costing a total of £37,345. While Chancellor Philip Hammond and Energy Minister Greg Clark both went to India in the beginning of this month to discuss possible post-Brexit deals, they have spent £29,311 and £29,109 respectively. Minister for I n t e r n a t i o n a l Development, Priti Patel spent £23,085 in 3

Government urged to do more for tackling soaring levels of hate crime Liberal Democrat Leader Tim Farron has called on the Government to do more to tackle soaring levels of hate crime during a visit to the curry mile in Manchester last week. Greater Manchester has seen hate crime rise to record levels since the Brexit vote last June. Analysis of official

statistics show hate crime offences recorded by Greater Manchester Police rose by 19 per cent from June to September last year - to 1,033 cases. Over the year there were 4842 cases of hate crime in Greater Manchester, 3979 were motivated by race and 438 by religion. This is the highest figure outside London which

recorded 13,385 cases of hate crime over the past year. He discussed the issue with the owners of the MyLahore restaurant in Rusholme alongside the Liberal Democrat candidate for Manchester Gorton Jackie Pearcey, who spent decades working for all our communities as a local councillor.

Akshaya Patra Foundation partners with India Business Forum The Akshaya Patra Foundation UK has partnered with India Business Forum 2017 to present "India - Beacon of Growth" on the 28th April 2017, Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (LBS Campus), Regent's Park, London, NW1 4RG as a part of the annual flagship conference of the London Business School India Club. The theme for IBF 2017, “India - Beacon of

Growth” will focus on India's unique development and progress in comparison to the world. With India’s growth projected at almost 7%, IBF 2017 will focus on outperforming sectors in the country. More specifically, the factors that have played a key role in their growth story and the challenges that lie ahead. IBF will bring together a host of different voices drawing from both large business and startups across varied

industries, to provide a holistic view of the changing landscape of Indian business, and its promising future. The Akshaya Patra Foundation's partnership with the London Business School is a long-standing one and ranges from supporting ongoing research, visiting lectures to student support and mentoring. To register see: https://lbs.pickevent.com/ EN/IndiaBusinessForum2 017

Volunteers Required

Hope for Children, the charity partner for the Anand Mela on June 17th and 18th at the Harrow Leisure Centre, are looking for volunteers to help them during the weekend. If you are able to assist them please contact hope@hope4c.org or call 01442 234 561

months, the newspaper further reported. The only area where costs decreased substantially compared with the same period in 2015 was because an RAF plane was acquired for travelling, but Downing Street has racked up £639,000- the largest travel bill so far- out of which more than half the money was spent in India, when PM Theresa May visited New Delhi and Bangalore in November 2016 to meet Indian PM Narendra Modi. Farron, Tim the Liberal Democrat leader ridiculed the spending of Mr Johnson and Dr Fox and Harry Davis, campaign manager at the taxpayer's Alliance said that while there was some reason for the spending, it needed to be justified, The Times reported. A spokesperson for the Foreign Office however said its ministers travelled to around many countries to fulfil their duties. “Boosting trade opportunities is often a part of these visits but they also involve building partnerships on peacekeeping and defeating extremism,” he reportedly said.

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Helminth therapy cures Autism

Milan Solanki with his parents Caroline and Vimal

Milan Solanki, four and severely autistic boy from Redbridge has recovered after being on a worm-eating therapy twice a week. The doctors advised assisted care for him since they predicted he would never be able to lead a normal life. But the parents were not willing to give up so easily. They sought help from a specialist in the US who recommended helminth therapy. The therapy entailed consuming tapeworms that act in the same way as probiotics by boosting the gut bacteria, reduce inflammation in the body and help treat some illnesses by inhibiting the body’s immune response. Milan's mother,

Caroline has shared the results of the controversial technique that improved her son's attention, made him sociable and helped him maintain eye contact with strangers. She told the Mail Online: 'It feels that we are on the road to recovery from his neurodevelopmental disorder. 'We have got Milan's brain and body to a better place, trying to encourage better synapses of his cells, improvement of brain function, lower inflammation, lower gut inflammation and hyperactivity. 'We know Milan's ability to lead a normal life is really dependent on us continuing our efforts to help him find a balance in his body.'


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Two adults and teen jailed for attack on Muslim women Two adults and a teenaged girl were convicted of a “vicious and brutal” attack on a Muslim mother and daughter in Eltham, southeast London, last year. Paul Anderson, 37, Joanna Farrer, 38, along with a 13 year old, who was aged 12 at the time of the assault, have each been found guilty of two counts of religiously aggravated actual bodily harm after a two-week trial. A jury at the Woolwich Crown Court was told how the younger victim, a 23 year old woman, wearing a traditional Muslim dress including a pink hijab and a long black Abaya, was thrown to the ground by Anderson while the other two attackers tried to rip off her headscarf. The victims, a 42 year old mother and her daughter, were left emotionally and physically violated as they were kicked and punched by the teen who cannot be named for legal reasons. The younger victim was driving along Middle

Joanna Farrer and Paul Anderson

Park Avenue on her way to visit a relative when the girl and a boy began to cross the road despite there being no zebra or pelican crossing. She however, stopped the car to allow them to pass when the girl gesticulated towards her. The victim continued on her way to meet her mother in Eltham Hill, when she stopped and the boy and girl walked past again, with the latter shouting racist abuses. The elder victim told the two that they had crossed the road in a dangerous spot

British couple kicked off Easyjet flight AsianVoiceNews

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and an argument began. This was when the girl attacked her before walking away, only to return with Anderson and Farrer later and launching a fullgrown assault. The attack only ended when the younger victim flagged down a passing ambulance prompting the suspects to flee. They were however, caught by the police with the help of a taxi driver who witnessed the assault. Detective Inspector Melanie Pressley of Greenwich Community Safety Unit, said, “This was

a brutal and completely unnecessary attack on two Muslim women who were racially abused and then assaulted. I have no doubt the attack would have continued had it not been for the passing ambulance one of the victims was able to flag down.” “The victims were left terrified by what happened and lived in fear they would be targeted again. The older victim was too afraid to leave her house for some time. It is shocking that the instigator of this attack was just 12 years old and I hope having a conviction to her name at such a young age will be a wake up call and encourage her to change her ways.” Anderson, of Sevenoaks Road, Brockley, was jailed for three years and four months and ordered to pay £2,000 compensation to the victims. Farrer, of William Barefoot Drive, Eltham, will be sentenced on April 21, while the girl will be sentenced at Bromley Youth Court on a date to be set.

A mere 24 hours after the brutal United Airlines incident launched a global outcry, a British couple were told to leave their overbooked Easyjet plane, without an offer for compensation. Viddha, 35, and Manoj, 38, who paid £628 for flights from Luton to Sicily, claim they were told by the staff, after boarding, that they would have to leave as it was overstaffed. The staff reportedly failed to tell them of their right to a replacement flight nor compensation, instead telling them there would not be another flight for the next four days. “This was an incredibly humiliating situation,” Manoj said. “The airline had overbooked and we were involuntarily off-boarded from the aircraft by two airport staff in front of a packed plane. The only difference between us and the chap involved with United Airlines is that we

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weren't physically dragged off.” Easyjet issued an apology, blaming the fiasco on an error. A spokesman said, “The circumstances were very unusual and resulted from a manual error at the gate. We have listened to our call recordings and at no point did we refuse alternative travel or EU261. We want to reassure our customers that we will be providing additional training to our contact centre agents to make sure that future customers are not put through a similar experience. This should also have been handled better at the airport on the day so this has been picked up with the individuals concerned. We are genuinely sorry for what has happened.” The couple had a sixday break planned, with a booking of non-refundable accommodation and transfers in Sicily worth £1,270. They had to eventually cancel the trip.

Health crisis expert dies in fatal night bus accident Zayn Malik's Mum slams A researcher and tutor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Dr Chesmal Siriwardhena was on his way home after a night out with friends when he was knocked down by a route N98 bus. The “brilliant” academic who lived in London for over eight years, was pronounced dead shortly after the crash at 2 am. His friends and colleagues were shaken at the loss and spoke about the “amazing guy” who “worked at the forefront of some of the major public health challenges of the day.” Siriwardhena lived with his girlfriend in Greenwich. He had gained his PhD in Psychiatric Epidemiology in 2015 before he became a lecturer in Public Health at the Anglia Ruskin University.

Dr Chesmal Siriwardhena

One of his friends, Sarah Hormozi, described the 38 year old as “incredibly skilled”, “knowledgeable”, and “incredibly hard-working”. “I always teased him about working too much, he always had deadlines for funding, and he was leading for global projects. He was a very high-achieving,

busy person, so it wasn't easy to see him. I last saw him about a month ago when we went for a drink. I'm just so happy I managed to see him recently. He seemed so happy and content with life and his career was going really well. It's so devastating to see what happened to him,” she said. Questions have been raised against people's safety at the junction of Oxford Street and Holles Street opposite to where Siriwardhena died. It was named Britain's most dangerous road junction in 2015. A victim of a bus accident, former Africa Commodities Group CEO Tom Kearney, who spent two weeks in a coma in 2009 after being hit by a bus at the same spot. “If someone has died from a bus collision at a junction

that has been known for years to be the UK's most dangerous, then, in my opinion, it raises serious questions about the safety culture of TfL's contracted bus operations.” Investigations have been launched by officers from the Serious Collision Investigation Unit at Merton Traffic Garage. Director of London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, Professor Peter Piot said, “We are deeply shocked and saddened to learn of the death of Dr Chesmal Siriwardhena. Chesmal joined the School in 2016 and was a highly regarded researcher and tutor in global mental health. Through his work on armed conflict, migration, and mental health, he was at the forefront of some of the major health challenges of the day.”

Safety and welfare of Harrow’s children

Colors HD TV – UK will telecast

“The Asian Achievers Awards UK” on Saturday, 29th April 2017 @ 6pm. Sky – 786, Virgin – 826, Freesat – 662.

Continued from page 3 With reduced funding our schools would struggle to give children a good education due to larger classrooms and overworked teachers. I am sure that our excellent local schools and their staff will continue to do their best to maintain a high standard of education, but these efforts are at risk of being compromised by these funding cuts. On the other side, In

March we took the major decision to temporarily close the site of Pinner Wood School. This decision was not taken lightly and we are doing everything we can to make sure the children continue to get a great education as we make their site safe. I know that for many parents and carers, this has been a major disruption to their lives. I'm sorry for any inconvenience caused. I would

like to thank all parents and residents for coming to the numerous meetings we have set up, for getting in touch and for showing so much understanding in such a difficult time. We are working hard to find a solution, I am committed to the current site and want to see all pupils return there. I would also like to thank all the wonderful offers by parents to volunteer.

Perrie Edwards' fans

Young singer Zayn Malik's mother found herself on the receiving end of online flak after she liked a couple of comments against his son's ex-girlfriend. The debate kicked off after Trisha Malik posted a photo of a bouquet of flowers sent by her “sonshine” and his current girl Gigi Hadid to celebrate the opening of her brand new salon in Bradford. As is the norm these days, Zayn fans soon began trashing Perrie, drawing comparisons between her and model Gigi, also on how she treated him badly. Trisha 'liked' several comments leading to a backlash from Little Mix (Perrie's band) fans, who thought she should have been more mature. Eventually explaining

herself, mommy Trish wrote, “I honestly don't have anything against Perrie. I never have n I never will.” She further commented, “This is the reason I don't come on to social media, because everything u do always gets blown up in to some big drama. I didn't like this comment, I must of pressed it by mistake as I was going through them, so please don't say things about me that r not true.” Perrie and Zayn's break up was not only messy, but also very public. It was preceded by two years of courtship and a short-lived engagement. In her autobiography 'In Our World', Perrie wrote that the end of her engagement to the One Direction star was “the worst time of (her) life”.


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Ambedkar Jayanti celebrated at Basaveshwara statue in London

Dr BR Ambedkar's birth anniversary was celebrated at the Basaveshwara statue in the London borough of Lambeth, on April 14, in a function organised by former mayor Dr Neeraj Patil on behalf of The Lambeth Basaveshwara Foundation. Patil, speaking on the occasion, drew several similarities between Ambedkar and Basaveshwara as he explained the reason for celebrating former's birthday at the statue.

“Basaveshwara and Ambedkar were both economists and statesmen who resigned from their powerful positions. Basaveshwara resigned from the cabinet of Bijala and Ambedkar resigned from the cabinet of Nehru. Both promoted gender equality and tolerance, and were strong advocates of the freedom of speech. Both fought against untouchability and caste discrimination in the Indian society,” Patil said.

Criminals and asylum seekers fast-tracked home A fast-track system will now be able to remove failed asylum seekers and foreign criminals within 28 days, the current average being 36 days. This scheme will send 2,000 home from the UK, each year. Liz Tuss, the justice secretary said that it is vital that foreign nationals who have no right to remain in the country should be removed as quickly as possible and ensure that criminals and failed asylum seekers are not exploiting the justice system by attempting to stay in the UK after their

Kishan Devani Consultant

For those of you looking forward to your summer holidays, you would be forgiven for thinking that the flight to your destination would be your only bumpy ride. However for those using pensions to provide for their future, turbulence is something that is all too familiar. Few products in the sphere of financial services have endured as much upheaval as pensions.

claims have been rejected. Under the current proposal, about 400 foreign national offenders and 1,600 failed asylum seekers and illegal immigrants could be removed

or deported each year. The number of failed asylum seekers being removed forcefully or voluntarily fell from just over 18,000 in 2006 to 3,446 in 2016.

BFI celebrates diversity in Indian films The BFI has begun a celebration of Indian films, to last till December as a part the UK India Year of Culture. Co-curated by BFI Robin Head Curator Baker, and writer and proMeenakshi grammer Shedde, the BFI’s 'India on Film' programme kicked off with Bollywood 2.0, a focus on acclaimed ‘New Bollywood’ films which have pushed the boundaries of conventional Bollywood filmmaking by combining song and dance numbers with more realistic stories that tackle issues such as caste, crime, homosexuality and feminism. The Art of Indian Cinema will be running alongside, with free exhibits of stunning posters, promotional materials drawn from the collections of the BFI National Archive, engaging visitors in the spectacle and artistry of India's cinema art in the golden age. Screening in April will

be Anurag Kashyap's crime thriller Raman Raghav, based on a reallife serial killer, who confessed to killing over 30 people in Mumbai in the 1960s. The film was selected at Cannes in 2016. Three stories intersect by the Ganges in Neeraj Ghaywan’s superb debut feature, Masaan which won two prizes at Cannes, and Hansal Mehta's Shahid - a powerful thriller based on the life of S h a h i d Azmi, the M u s l i m h u m a n r i g h t s activist and lawyer who freed many poor people, including Muslims, languishing in Indian prisons without evidence of their crimes, are in the list this month. Shakun Batra's Kapoor & Sons, redefining the traditional Bollywood family

Your Vaisakhi 2017 celebrations

Vaisakhi - the Sikh New Year, one of the most auspicious dates in the Sikh calendar will be celebrated for nearly two weeks in different parts of the UK, this year. In London, Vaisakhi will be celebrated in different parts of the city – vegetarian food will be distributed to all attendees in Gurudwaras, there will be Nagar Kirtans or prayers, tra-

ditional programmes and interactive activities showcasing Sikhism and its values. Trafalgar Square will be holding the Vaisakhi celebrations on the 29th April and the Indian High Commission will be holding a Baisakhi event at SKLPC in Northolt on the 30th April. Traditionally Vaisakhi marks the spring harvest for farmers in Punjab,

and commemorates the birth of Sikhism as a collective faith in the seventeenth century. How do you plan to spend your Vaisakhi this year? Do share your photographs and experiences with us, and we will publish it in our upcoming British Punjabi magazine, Asian Voice newspaper and on our website. Send to: smita.sarkar@abplgroup.com

Pensions: Join the ride!!

Since April 2006, we have seen the introduction of the pension Annual Allowance (the amount you can pay into a pension with taxrelief on an annual basis) which started at £215,000 stepped up to £255,000pa then plummet to £40,000pa. The Annual Allowance is even lower if you’re a high earner, (I’ll explain more about that later in this article). In addition to the Annual Allowance there was the introduction of the Lifetime Allowance (the maximum value of your pension pot before you pay additional tax) this started at £1.5m rose to £1.8m before falling to £1.25m and now stands at £1m. April 2015 saw the most radical change to personal pensions in a

generation. Prior to 2015 there were very limited options to providing an income in retirement. Buying an Annuity being the most popular option. With declining annuity rates, this was becoming increasingly unattractive. With the introduction of “pension freedoms” in April 2015, savers could use the accumulated cash in their pensions to invest in a plethora of investments, through their existing pensions. This brought pensions right back into play. The good news is that for those who shied away from making pension contributions for the last few years, it is not too late to re-join the ride!! Assuming (a) that you haven’t made contributions in the last 3 years, (b) that you had

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sufficient relevant pensionable earnings in those years and (c) that you were a member of a registered pension scheme in those years then –subject to certain conditions- this year you could make gross contributions (before tax relief) of between £3,600 and £160,000 utilising the carried forward annual allowances from the last 3 years. These funds could be invested in a range of investments which will allow you a number of flexible arrangements to pay you an income in your retirement.

High Earners and Pensions So what advice can be given to people who used to provide for their retirement by sav-

ing £40,000 a year into a pension (and as I mentioned earlier up to £255,000pa not so long ago) and getting tax relief. From April 2016 ‘high earners’ can only make pension contributions on a tapered basis, with anyone earning more than £210,000pa, able to invest just a maximum of £10,000pa. For these investors, a 20 year run of pension contributions at £10,000pa means contributions that are not even the equivalent to one year’s income. There is an alternative that can work really well for those able to save in excess of the ISA allowance each year. That alternative is an Offshore Wrapper. Of course, only a pension can secure tax relief on the way in and only a pension can

The value of your investments can go down as well as up and past performance of an investment is not necessarily a guide to future performance.

drama with a story of a dysfunctional family grappling with homosexuality, parental infidelity and Chaitanya death; Tamhane’s debut feature Court – an art house film that redefines what a Bombay film in Hindi can be and won top prizes at Venice. Completing the programme is April is Vikas Bahl's Queen a delightful film about a traditional young Delhi woman who is stood up by her fiancé on the eve of her wedding and emerges as a confident and liberated woman after going on her honeymoon to Europe alone. India on Film will continue at BFI Southbank in May with Music in Indian Cinema: Song and Dance.

secure 25% tax free cash on the way out. But Offshore Wrappers have many features that compensate for both of these points – and others that are simply better. Even with pension simplification and freedoms, pension planning is complex and advice should be sought from an authorised and regulated adviser who understands your individual situation. For more information, please contact Kishan Devani (Consultant): 020 8953 3444. Email:  kishanDevani@hbfs.co.uk


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READERS’ VOICE

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Asian Voice | 22nd April 2017

On a knife edge We understand from media reports that knife crime in this country is on the increase. Two young men were stabbed to death in London within the space of just over an hour last week. The worrying figures published indicate that the number of knife and gun crime offences went up by an alrming rate last year. There was a rise of 42% in gun crime and a rise of 24% in knife crime. Imagine yourself being confronted by man weilding a knife and threatening to harm you. It must be a very frightening experience. People who are victims would probably live the rest of their lives on a knife edge, being jittery and afraid to go out any time of day or night. It has been suggested by some that increased jail sentences for the culprits may be an answer. But others argue that prison sentences on their own are not effective. The person will come out of jail more hardened criminal and would be carrying a chip on his shoulder. But then how could we put a stop to this sometimes indiscriminate harming of people who may have caused no offence or harm to the perpetrators? What needs to change is the person or the environment they are brought up in. The culprits and their victims need more support from their peers. However, the poor victims of a knife crime would probably live the rest of their life on a knife edge. Dinesh Sheth Newbury Park, Ilford

Fighting Talk

The world has suddenly become a more dangerous place with the frightening prospect that all of us could be wiped out at the touch of a button.. Albert Einstein was once asked what weapons he thought might be used in the next world war. "I don't know," Einstein replied. "But the war after that will be fought with sticks and stones." Rudy Otter By email

Nuclear disarmament

While there have been talks over decades about nuclear disarmament, the truth has been that those countries that do have nuclear armaments capabilities do not want to disarm. So why do we want North Korea not to test for nuclear bombs? After all, they could argue that they would want to develop this capability for self-defence. Historically, they have not invaded any country so far. Let us remind ourselves of what Ronald Reagan said in his speech to the British Parliament on 8 June 1982, paragraph 15: “There is, first, the threat of global war. No President, no Congress, no Prime Minister, no Parliament, can spend a day entirely free of this threat. And I don’t have to tell you that in today’s world, the existence of nuclear weapons could mean, if not the extinction of mankind, then surely the end of civilization as we know it. That is why negotiations in intermediate range nuclear forces now under way in Europe and the START talks—Strategic Arms Reduction Talks—which will begin later this month, are not just critical to American or Western policy; they are critical to mankind. Our commitment to early success in these negotiations is firm and unshakable and our purpose is clear: reducing the risk of war by reducing the means of waging war on both sides.” A Marshall Plan to uplift Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Egypt, South Sudan, Somalia, Yemen and Palestine is needed rather than bombs for the sake of peach and justice. Nagindas Khajuria By email

The Bhopal plan

I write with reference to the article about the Bhopal Plan by Dr Desai (catching up on past issues as I have spent a few weeks in Bharat). I am not a historian but I have listened to various people including my late father talk about the shenanigans by the Maharajas of the various states at the time of partition and Independence of Bhaarat. (There appears to be enough material to make a movie! Certainly of the female Nawabs which ruled for over a century-very interesting). I understand that had it not been the vision of Sardar Vallabhai Patel, Bhaarat would all be in a very sorry state. Imagine all the various states 'projecting Pakistan right across India'. The then Muslim League and presently All India Muslim Personal Law Board have a lot to answer for. I am glad that the descendant of Rana Pratap, the Maharana of Udaipur held firm and joined Bhaarat and hopefully in due course there will be a greater Bhaarat. Exciting times ahead. Yogi Pandya Wembley

Jokes in AV and GS

Gujarat Samachar and Asian Voice team is doing good job of adding spice to the material in form of JOKES. I read them first to lighten the load of variety of international news. There may be many readers whose sole taste is satisfied by reading and enjoying Jokes. Some jokes are too long and loaded with lots of explanation. Brevity of soul of wit. e.g. “If you pupils do not understand that two apples plus two apples equals four apples, then why oranges.” Sometimes outright truth can make one laugh. e.g. “No great men born in this village, only babies!” Simple conversation can be a joke. E.g.Wife,” I am going in kitchen to cook. Do you want anything?” Husband,” Do I have any choice?” Wife, “Yes or No.” Your team must be laughing at good jokes and yawning at long winded boring jokes. Keep up this pleasant addition. Readers have their own choices what to enjoy and what to discard. You can please some but not all readers. Therefore you have to keep one jump ahead of public demand and tastes. Readers have the last laugh, as they have one week to digest the new jokes next week. Ramesh Jhalla By email

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PM calls an unexpected General Election

I am sure PM May caught us all by surprise with her sudden change of mind, as she has insisted in the past that she would not go to polls before the due date in 2020. As Parliamentary act makes five year term mandatory, she will need two third majority in HOC to hold early election. But it seems to be a foregone conclusion as Labour Leader has welcomed her decision. As Tory lead in opinion poll stretches to 21 point and opposition is badly divided, her victory is guaranteed, although 8th June gives seven week time. In politics, even a week is a long time. Many may feel she is justified to call snap election, as Lib-Dem and especially unelected HOL is bent upon derailing her Brexit plan. A massive win will strengthen her hand at Brexit negotiation. It will also negate Lib-Dem and SNP threat to hijack, grind the negotiations to Holt, especially if Lib-Dem loses more seats that may be the end of its political existence at national level. This is also God send opportunity for British Indian community to unite, flex its muscle to pressure Labour who is primarily responsible for the unjust, unnecessary and vindictive "Caste Legislation" aimed at peace-loving, law abiding Hindu community. Even Jewish community may play a significant part in deciding the winner. Let us unite and vote for luminary candidates who are our REAL friends rather than on "Party Line" or for FIDUCIARY MPs who pay lip-service at election time but never attend EDM to defend our interest. Our disunity, lack of unison in voting pattern means no one takes us seriously, although our support for Bob Blackman at the last election did made significant difference. Bhupendra M. Gandhi By email

GP surgeries closure at critical level

BMA spoke person warned the government that surgery closure is now at a critical stage that would affect patients’ health. Reasons behind closures are varied. But main reasons are Government underfunding, strict CQC inspection and ever increasing demand from ageing population. Air pollution, junk food, obesity, lack of exercise, as well as smoking and drinking all play their part in putting more stress on GPs, A & E, as well as hospital admissions. The closure has steeply accelerated during last three years, as those GPs, who came from India and British colonies of East Africa are retiring, while newly qualified GPs prefer working part-time. Many single handed surgeries are closing down, as these GPs who worked independently all their lives may not feel at ease in “Group Practice” government advocates, so often for right reasons, as Surgeries are obliged to provide ancillary services like haematology, physiotherapy, diabetic, diet clinic, even minor surgeries to ease pressure on A & E, as more and more patients visit A & E for minor ailments that could be treated by GPs, thus increasing hospital waiting time to unacceptable level. There is also wide spread misuse of GP time, as many patients fail to turnup. No wonder telephone consultation precedes appointments to weed out time wasting patients. It is time to introduce £10 charge for GP appointment, as we pay heavy prescription and costly dental charges without question. Kumudini Valambia By email

Confronting extremism

Bravo to Mak Chisty, a top MET Police Commander urging fellow Muslim community to join a battle and confront extremism (Asian Voice, 8th /14th April 2017, Vol.45, Issue 48). You will note that I made a very similar point and wrote to you. My letter under your heading ‘Islamophobia’ (Asian Voice, 1st /7th April 2017, Vol.45, Issue 47), mentioned that there was ‘deathly’ silence amongst so called majority peace loving Muslims in regard to the terrorist attack that took place on 22nd March at the Houses of Parliament, London. Where was their voice of condemnation at the time? They are ‘up in arms’ and protest loudly on the rise of Islamophobia and hate crimes against Muslims here in the UK and the West. If they wish to be accepted within the British Community and help eliminate such hate crimes/Islamophobia, they need to confront extremism head on and also help the law to prevent such terror acts. The ball is in their court. Mohindra Master By email

Grammar schools debate

The education system in UK needs to reviewed based on systems which have proved to be successful in other countries. The disparity in education is causing a lot of confusion in the minds of the parents and even the children. This makes education divisive and unequal, especially for children from under privileged background. This cacophony of schools of different categories is a recipe for disaster. The constant changes to our school system is causing astonishment even to observers abroad. One cannot agree that the fragmentation of our education system is the right answer. The grammar schools, free schools and academy programme are divisive and unnecessary experiment with the education system which will certainly ensure more losers than winners. The type of schools we have are: - Grammar schools - also known as selective - are state schools which select their pupils on the basis of academic ability, with pupils sitting an exam (called the 11-plus) in the last year of primary school to determine whether or not they gain a place. - Maintained schools are schools maintained by local authorities. - Independent schools are private schools run by private individuals or organisations under contractual arrangements (generally with individual parents) - Academies are independent schools where the contract is between the proprietor and the Secretary of State. Parents, pupils, staff and individual governors are not parties to the contract. - Free schools are simply a type of academy – the term “free school” has no separate legal meaning. It is just a label coined and used by the Coalition Government. - State school is an entirely non-legal term. It is sometimes used to refer to the academies/free schools and maintained schools taken together. - State-funded school is also an entirely non-legal term. It is sometimes used to refer to the academies/free schools and maintained schools taken together. - Comprehensive school – the non-legal term used for maintained schools which are not selective (i.e. not grammar schools). Let us have a level playing field for children from all backgrounds and not just the privileged few. Baldev Sharma Rayners Lane, Harrow


EDUCATION/COUNCIL

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Student loan interest rate to leap by a third The price for education seems to be insanely high in the UK, especially after the Brexit vote. Recent stats reveal that the rise in UK's inflation, prompted by a decline in the value of the pound since June, will diversely affect students who will definitely be charged substantially more interest on their loans. This, despite several other consumers benefiting from record low interest rates. Student loan interest rates are tied to March's retail price inflation figure, published earlier this week. Currently, freshers and other students are charged 4.6 per cent, the March 2016 RPI figure of 1.6 per cent, plus 3 per cent, on their loans. However, from September, the figures will rise to 6.1 per cent, made up of the March 2017 figure of 3.1 per cent, plus 3 per cent. Consequently, current students and several other graduates will see the interest rate on their student loan jump to over 24 times the official Bank of England base rate. Those who took out their student loan on or after 1 September 2012, and who have now graduated, will from this autumn be charged between 3.1 per cent and 6.1 per cent,

depending on their income. An expert at money advice website Save the Student, Jake Butler said, “I was expecting an increase to student loan interest this year, but this is worse than expected. It really demonstrates that the interest on loans under the new system is far too high and should be reassessed.” The website however pointed out that those who started university after September 2012 do not start repaying their loan until they are earning over £21,000 a year. It added, “Unless you start off with a graduate salary of higher than £30,000, it's unlikely you will pay off your full loan and interest before it's wiped after 30 years anyway.” An individual who began university between 1998 and 2011 are currently charged an interest rate of 1.25 per cent, and will stay at this level in September. Those who began university before 1998 are currently charged 1.6 per cent, which will rise to 3.1 per cent.

Asian Voice | 22nd April 2017

Three Indians selected for Gates Scholarship at Cambridge Three Indians have been selected for the postgraduate study at the University of Cambridge. Yaikhomba Mutum, Saloni Atal, and Akhila Denduluri were among the 6000 applications from all over the world. The study includes 90 scholars, including 35 from the US, the total representing 34 nationalities. The prestigious Gates

scholarships have been awarded to 50 women and 40 men, out of which, 41 students will pursue a Master's Degree, and 49 will pursue PhDs. Cochair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Bill Gates said, “Gates Cambridge Scholars come from all over the world, but they have some important things in common:

£5.4m Croydon transport development slammed for delivering 'next to nothing'

Multi-million pound plans to redevelop the forefront of a south London train station have been criticised by residents for delivering "next to nothing". The unveiling of East Croydon’s bus shelters with new signposts, lighting and public seating marked the completion of a £5.4 million project by the council and Transport for London to improve the train station’s forefront. But some residents criticised the ren-

great leadership potential, a commitment to improving the lives of others and an unparalleled passion for learning.” From the three Indians, Saloni will pursue PhD in psychology to explore innovative and culturally appropriate solutions to tackle the problem of gaps in access to mental healthcare in

India. Akhila will pursue PhD in Chemistry and attempt to develop biophysical tools to better understand and elucidate the protein chemistry and associated toxicity in neurodegenerative diseases. Yaikhomba will study PhD Biological Science at the MRC Mitochondrial Biology Unit.

New £75 fines for littering from your car come into force

ovation, complaining the shelters look the same as before and do not solve traffic issues. The finished project was also unveiled a month later than planned, with only a single electronic display board installed at the bus shelters - the same as previously. Croydon council has defended the renovation as improving the environment for business and shops in the borough's main gateway.

Drivers face a stiff £75 for litter thrown out of their cars – even if it wasn’t them that chucked it. Tough new government measures to tackle litter louts would see car owners punished for the actions of their passengers. The power to fine owners of cars from which passengers have thrown litter are already in operation in London. Officials across the rest of the country must prove who in the car threw the rubbish. And anyone caught throwing rubbish on the streets could receive a fine of up to £150 – an increase of current levels of between £50 and £80 set by councils across the country. A default level of £75 will apply if the council does not specifically set its

own amount. Other proposals out for consultation include forcing fly-tippers to pick up other people’s litter as part of community service punishments. However, it is not just residents who will see changes in litter rules as councils will be banned from charging householders for the disposal of DIY household waste at local dumps. The move is set to infuriate local authorities who rely on the cash after Government cuts.

Gurudwaras in London and Punjabi community organizations with High Commission of India, inviteeveryone to

Non-Executive Director ¬DAYS¬PER¬MONTH¬s¬3ALARY¬a ¬PA Do you have Board experience in a large organisation? We are seeking candidates with a background in Business and Finance who, preferably, have held senior positions in large corporate organisations or similar. We expect you to share our values and to want to assist us in delivering quality services in an NHS organisation.

On Sunday 30th April 2017 - 1100-1600 hours

at SKLP Sports and Community Centre - India Gardens West End Road, Northolt Middlesex UB5 6RE

A celebration of the warmth and richness of Punjabi Culture!!! Come with your family and friends to indulg in a day-long festivity and rejoicing. Contact us: baisaki2017london@gmail.com Print Media Partners

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We would be particularly pleased to receive applications from candidates from a BME background, as part of our strategy to increase diversity at all levels of our organisation. We are an experienced provider of integrated services covering every aspect of physical and mental health, including sexual health.

With almost 7,000 staff, we provide healthcare across ten London Boroughs and four counties. We are committed to providing high quality locally focused services. You will be committing to three days per month to participate in Board and other Committee meetings, to visit our services and carry out such other duties as may be necessary. If you think you have the necessary skills and commitment to help shape the strategic development of the Trust we would be keen to hear from you. For Further details/informal discussion contact Professor Dorothy Griffiths, Chair on¬¬¬¬ or dorothygriffiths@nhs.net

For further information and to apply please go to: www.cnwl.nhs.uk/nedrecruitment Closing Date: Tuesday 2 May 2017 | Interview Date: Tuesday 30 May 2017

www.cnwl.nhs.uk CNWL is actively committed to improving staff’s working lives and aims to be an equal opportunities employer. We also positively encourage people who have experienced mental health problems to apply for any job within the Trust for which they meet the job specification.


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MEDIA WATCH

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Asian Voice | 22nd April 2017

Indo-Pakistan relations are fast sliding into an abyss with the news that Kulbhushan Jadhav, a former Indian naval officer with 12 years of service, was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court as an Indian spy. The court’s proceedings were held in camera; Indian diplomats were denied access to the prisoner, as required under international law. Jadhav was charged with ‘promoting terrorism’ in Balochistan and Sindh. He is believed to have been working at the Iranian port of Chabahar. He may have inadvertently crossed the Iran’s Balohistan border into Pakistani Balochistan. This is no more than a guess. His side of the story is presently a closed book.

There was a rare show of unity in Parliament, with Sushma Swaraj inviting the Congress party to join the government in drafting an all-party resolution on the subject. Spies were executed during the Second World War; during the Cold War and in peacetime generally, they have been sentenced to terms of imprisonment. Jadhav’s death penalty is a message that Pakistan considers itself at war with India.

Teesta water sticking point

Hasina in Delhi

However, the sharing of the Teesta River water, on which Sheikh Hasina had set her heart, proved to be a sticking point. Bangladesh pointed to the lack of water in the north of the country, the difficulty being that the same situation prevails in the northern areas of West Bengal. How to resolve these conflicting demands to the benefit of the two sides is far from easy, but surely not beyond the ingenuity and skills of engineers and water management experts. Ms Banerjee has suggested increased storage from other rivers to augment the water of the Teesta and its unimpeded flow into Bangladesh (Mint April 11)

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wajed visited New Delhi last weekend for talks to take the India-Bangladesh relationship – in excellent shape forward to the next level. She was given a red carpet welcome at the

Beghum Khaleda Zia, leader of the opposition Islamist party in Bangladesh, has denounced Sheikh Hasina for selling out the

warning words apropos of the Pakistani-sponsored invasion of Kashmir: ‘Srinagar today, Delhi tomorrow. A nation that forgets its history and its geography does so at its peril.’ (Reports, Hindu, Telegraph, Times of India April 10, with Scrutator’s comment)

G. Jadhav facing execution in Pakistan

among others, by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina (Times of India April 8)

Khaleda Zia

Indian warning

India has warned Pakistan of the grave consequences if Jadhav were to be executed. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has warned Islamabad that such an act would be perceived by New Delhi as ‘premeditated murder.’ Notes have been exchanged between the two governments. Jadhav has a right of appeal to a higher military court within 60 days, and were that appeal be rejected, he could post a mercy to the Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif (Hindu, Times of India, Telegraph April 12)

At the gates

In Kashmir, violent jihadi mobs wrecked and set fire to election booths near Srinagar for a byelection to Parliament. One must learn to read the signs correctly in order to survive. Jihadi outrages have recently occurred in Russia, Sweden and Germany; the most barbarous being the bombings of three churches in Egypt, in which 44 worshippers died, being the most reprehensible. Coptic Christianity in Egypt pre-dates Islam; Copts constitute ten per cent of Egypt’s 90 million population. They have been the target of rapes, kidnappings, forced marriages and acts of violence for centuries past. In the Kashmir valley, targeted Islamist violence resulted in the ethnic cleansing of Hindu Pandits. An Islamic Kashmir – the demand of the separatists – will become the platform for jihadi violence in the rest of India. Appeals to sweet reason have failed. Remember V.P, Menon’s (Sardar Patel’s principal aide)

Sheikh Hasina welcomed by President Mukherjee at Rastrapati Bhavan

airport by Prime Minster Narendra Modi, welcomed at Rashtrapati Bhavan by President Pranab Mukherjee, was the Chief Guest at the banquet, with West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in attendance.

Deals signed

Stepping up cooperation in connectivity, energy and defence, India extended lines of credit worth $5 billion to Bangladesh, the two prime ministers signed up to 22 agreements across these fields. A new bus service from Kolkata to Dhaka via Khulna is to take effect from June and Special Economic Zones (SEEZs) are to made available to exclusively Indian companies in Bangladesh to boost investment and trade. (Telegraph April ,10) There are also to be greater military exchanges between the two sides and more Indian facilities for training of Bangladesh personnel. Transmission of power from India to Bangladesh will follow.

Miltary personnel honoured

Indian Army and Air Force and Navy men who made distinguished contributions to the Bangladesh Liberation struggle against Pakistan lost their lives included Lance Naik Albert Ekka, Squadron Leader A.B. Samanta and Mohini Ranjan Chakravarty of the Border Security Force were honoured,

country’s interests to India. General elections are to be held in Bangladesh in early 2018, hence India has a strategic stake in Sheikh Hasina’s survival. Under Begum Zia, Bangladesh was a spring board for jihadi terrorists and smugglers wishing to enter and wreak havoc in india (Times of India April 9)

located. Minister of State, Railways Manoj Sinha and Minister of State in the Home Ministry Rijiju have been entrusted the necessary authority to explore the undertaking (PTI March 30)

Dalai Lama accorded rapturous welcome

The Fourteenth Dalai Lama was accorded a rapturous welcome when he visited Tawang, the birthplace of his ancestor, the

Rail link to Tawang

With an eye to the strategic significance of Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh, the government set in motion a feasibility study to establish a rail link to this remote site near the IndiaChina border at an approximate altitude 13,000 ft. However the nearest broad gauge station on the Assam-Arunachal border is Bhalugong through which the rail link to Tawang is likely to be

Never stronger ‘India-Israel relations have always been strong but never have they been widely publicized,’ said Ankar Gupta, New Delhibased Vice-President for Aerospace and Defence.’ (Business Line April 13)

Jihadi thugs provoke CRPF force

A video showing paramilitary CRPF personnel being kicked and abused by Kashmiri jihadi youth and the e x e m p l a r y restraint displayed by the force was a vivid demonstration of what the Indian security forces have endure in that hell-hole (Times of India Aril 13)

Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama addressing a gathering at Dirang monastery in West Kameng district of Arunachal Pradesh pictured with Arunachal Pradesh Governor PB Acharya (L) and Chief Minister Pema Khandu

Sixth Dalai Lama. Thousands of devotees, from Bhutan, Arunachal Pradesh, Tibet and the entire Himalayan belt thronged the area near the monastery from which he addressed the assembled crowd of worshippers. Chinese threats and insults directed at him and the Indian government proved counter-productive. Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister’s remark that India shared a border with Tibet and not with China provoked a further broadside against India from Beijing. China’s claim to Arunachal Pradesh is untenable in Indian eyes. The ball is firmly in China’s court (Times of India April 10. Mint April 13)

India-Israel ties to deepen

Indo-Australian ties firmed up

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull completed a successful visit to India. His talks with Prime Minister Modi were cordial. Australia reaffirmed its commitment to supply India with uranium for its nuclear power plants and expressed his unswerving support to the Adani Group’s venture in Queensland coal sector, involving mining and transportation for export – one of world’s largest projects, following a meeting with Gautam Adani, founder-chairman of the group (Mint April 12)

AsianVoiceNewsweekly

The formal inauguration of Apollo Tyres’ second manufacturing unit in Hungary was perceived as an event of national importance in the country, with Hungarian Prime Minister, Viktor Orban, giving an emotional speech on how investment was critically important for the country. Referring to Apollo’s Vice-Chairman and Managing Director Neeraj Kanwar and the Kanwars ‘as part of the Hungarian family (Business Line April 13)

Technology key to India’s growth

India’s next level of economic growth ‘rests on how it capitalizes on technology,’ said Deepak Parekh, Chairman Housing Development Finance Corporation (HDFC), one of India’s largest and most successful lenders. Six of the 10 largest companies globally were technology companies, he said. Quality and infrastructure are areas which India must address vas a priority. ‘There is no easy way to growing,’ he explained.

PM Modi hugs Israeli President Reuvin Rivlin in New Delhi

India is close to signing two major defence deals worth $1.5 billion with Israel prior to Prime Minister Modi’s visit to the country in July. The deals include anti-tank missiles and a naval air defence system. ‘The visit is a big milestone,’ said Shailesh Kumar, Senior Asia analyst at political risk firm Eurasia Group. Modi’s visit transcends defence. Officials in both countries believe they face a common threat: terrorism. India is Israel’s largest defence customer and third in India’s list of vendors after Russia and the US.

Hungarian welcome for Indian business

Trillion dollar economy

India became a trillion dollar economy in 2007, doubling it in 2015, and will more than double that by 2024, said Parekh. (Business Line April 13)

Parliament exceeds performance

In a historic session both Houses of Parliament passed a record of 18 Bills, thus redeeming themselves from previous performances when disruption led to a legislative logjam much to the detriment of the national interest (Business Line April 13)


UK Asian Voice | 22nd April 2017

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SHOULD VICTIMS OF DOMESTIC ABUSE BE CROSS-EXAMINED BY THEIR ABUSERS?

Will Labour Hate Me Again? I recall at the last election (feels like yesterday!) Ed Miliband blamed hedge fund managers for pretty much everything he could in the TV debate, like Farage blaming immigrants for everything. I used to clean toilets, 10 years before I started a hedge fund. Yes our office is in Mayfair. From when I was a child in Armley, Leeds, at a State school overlooked by Armley Prison, I had seen ‘Mayfair’ on the Monopoly board and I aspired. What’s wrong with aspiring Labour? And I achieved. But like most ‘successful’ people, I remember poverty and know I am lucky and I, like every hedge fund manager and private equity manager, does all we think fair to help those in need. But we can’t do that if we don’t aspire. We can’t do that if we can’t build our businesses. You hate us because you think we’re rich. Well I’m not. I’m a small business owner. And there is nothing wrong with aspiring, with being a small business owner. And you know what we hedge fund and private equity fund managers do? We get our rich friends to donate money to charities, we get banks like Barclays to do it. Yes, some want to create wealth. But we don’t sit at night looking at it, and then laughing at the rest of society. We help others. You don’t have a monopoly on being caring, in fact, I’m not sure you even have a claim at all Ed. When you demonise hedge fund managers, you are just demonising small business owners, all people who aspire. What

Ed and Labour don’t like is people who are not dependent on the State. They don’t want us hedge fund managers supporting the homeless, or widows, or orphans – they want to do it exclusively through tax and spend – so their votes are guaranteed. If the Tories don’t have a landslide it’s because there are fewer people dependent on them. I don’t want to be dependent on you Labour. And mine is a British company Labour. It earns money from foreigners by investing abroad and brings profits back to Britain. I live in Britain. You demonise me, you demonise Britons. I don’t dodge tax. I dodge how much I pay foreign governments by making sure as much as possible comes to Britain, back to where I and my company are resident –where I can use the money. But that’s too subtle to understand. Instead YOU make me want to become non-resident – remember the ‘will the last person to leave the country, turn off the lights’ headline in 1997 – that’s how you divide society. Yes there are some rich greedy tax dodging people. There are also some lazy refusing to work people too. Neither deserve our sympathy. Remember it is us, the entrepreneurs who create the companies, that pay the corporation tax, that employ the people that pay the income tax, that pay the national insurance and contribute to pensions. Without us the job creators, the business owners, you run out of the other people’s money you are so keen to spend.

White House denies Trump demanded gold carriage procession with the Queen The White House has denied Donald Trump is to insist on a gold carriage procession during his state visit to the UK. According to the Evening Standard the President was reported to have insisted on the traditional state welcome, which would include a procession down the Mall with the Queen. But a White House spokesman told People that the reports were unfounded, claiming: “We have not even begun working on details for this trip”. The Times had reported that President Trump had left the Met with a “monster” security operation to coordinate after

demanding the gold-plated carriage procession during his visit in October. The newspaper quoted a source saying the carriage would not be as safe as the armoured, bulletproof car used by former president Barack Obama during his state visit in 2011.

The President’s visit is expected to spark a fresh wave of demonstrations across the capital after a petition calling for it to be scrapped was signed by almost two million people and cost London’s police force millions of pounds due to the expected protests and security concerns.

Councils name and shame blue badge parking cheats by emailing their faces to local residents Thousands of callous motorists caught fraudulently using disabled parking permits are being named and shamed by councils. Under the nationwide scheme, the disabled qualify for a blue pass that allows them to park on yellow lines and in specific bays placed closer to shops. However, growing numbers of cheats are masquerading as disabled relatives by placing the 'gold

dust' badges on their dashboard so they can park for free. Many offenders are eminent members of the community, including doctors and lawyers, councils say. Ganett Phiri, 40, who works for London Underground, pleaded guilty to using a friend's badge, and was told to pay £1,230 on top of the £165 cost to get his car back. Bank employee Jashree

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Parmar (pictured) was found to have been using her mother's badge. The 61year-old pleaded guilty and was ordered to pay £1,230 in fines and court costs, as well as a £165 tow fee.

January 2017 heralded key discussions amongst government officials surrounding the need for an emergency review to explore how those accused of domestic abuse can be prevented from directly crossGenet Amare examining their victims in family courts. The government plan is to ensure that family courts are consistent with criminal courts, where the practice was abolished under the Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act, 1999, whereby victims of sexual abuse are not allowed to be cross-examined by the alleged perpetrator. By and large family court cases are held in private in England and Wales; the testimony of witnesses, documentary evidence, expert statements and judicial decisions are mostly delivered outside of the public domain. Research by the all-party parliamentary group on domestic violence found that 55% of victims had no access to special measures in the family courts. Special measures such as applications for intermediaries, pre-recorded evidence in chief, communication aids and TV links are designed to ensure that vulnerable or impressionable witnesses give the best possible evidence. Meanwhile, it is reported that approximately 70% of separation and child contact cases involve some form of domestic abuse. These statistics indicate that an extremely high proportion of victims who were subjected to domestic abuse do not have access to the appropriate court infrastructure which is required to protect them. Recent research also indicated that the family courts: l Allow men with criminal convictions for abusing their ex-partners to directly question them – sometimes repeatedly. l Are able to ignore restraining orders imposed by the criminal courts to protect the women. l Allow fathers, no matter how violent or abusive, to repeatedly pursue contact with children and their mothers. l Can ignore expert evidence that women are at risk from abusive men. l Fail to adequately protect vulnerable victims of domestic and sexual abuse. The President of the family Court Division, Sir James Munby, has been outspoken in his support for a ban on direct cross-examination stating that the practice should be banned “as a matter of priority”. In my role as a Family Solicitor for

Duncan Lewis, I was recently involved in a case where we represented a mother in private law proceedings in respect of the abusive father’s application for live with and spend time with. Due to the changes in Legal Aid the applicant father was a litigant in person. As such, when the matter was listed for a two day contested final hearing, the same abusive father who had subjected my client to acts such as: kicking and punching her repeatedly; throwing a plate at her causing injury to her hand; ripping a clump of hair from her scalp and countless acts of verbal abuse spanning 8 years; was permitted (much to my client’s terror) to cross-examine her despite there being findings made against him in respect of domestic abuse. Needless to say, my client was horrified that her perpetrator was allowed to put questions to her making her feel like she was being subject to further abuse in the very place where she was seeking safety. Whilst the judge dealing with matter did not permit any unnecessary or irrelevant questions being put to my client, stopping the father a number of times from ‘badgering’ my client, she still was traumatised by the experience. Whilst on the whole I feel these changes are a positive step, all individuals have a right to defend allegations made against them. When an individual is accused of domestic abuse and do not fall within the threshold for Legal Aid, but wish to contest their innocence yet cannot afford representation, this change in law would prevent the accused from making their case. Should they not be given the same opportunity as the person who is seeking these allegations against them? Should they not be given the opportunity to cross examine? This is something that the Courts and lawyers will continue to be challenged by. Duncan Lewis Family Solicitors Headed by 18 Director Solicitors, and boasting over 40 Law Society Family & Childcare Panel Specialists, the Duncan Lewis Family & Childcare department are specialists in all aspects of family and private/public children law matters from offices across London and throughout the UK. Duncan Lewis is recognised by Legal 500 2016 as a leading family practice. We have also acquired a number of kitemarks which are testament to the quality of the specialised work our staff undertake. We were shortlisted by Jordan’s Family Law Awards 2015 for ‘Family Law Firm of the Year’. If you have any family related queries or require representation please do not hesitate to contact our team of expert solicitors on 0333 772 0409.

Councillor hits back at report over executive pay Four staff members at Oldham Council currently earn more than £100,000 a year, new figures have shown. The information, released by the local authority, follows an investigation by the TaxPayers' Alliance, which discovered that 2,314 council staff earned a six-figure sum in the UK in 20152016, a rise of 89 from the previous year. Their research found that eight members of staff at Oldham Council earned over £100,000, a rise of two

on the previous year, however the local authority has hit back to say the figures are now out of date. Councillor Jabbar added that shrinking the executive structure had resulted in some high upfront costs due to redundancy and pension payments. This included a £358,000 remuneration including £257,000 for loss of office compensation and £16,000 pension contribution and a further £261,000 remuneration - including £98,000 loss of office com-

Cllr Abdul Jabbar

pensation and £25,000 pension contribution - was paid when the Executive Director of Economy and Skills role was declared redundant in March 2016.


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Asian Voice | 22nd April 2017

The future of Indian cuisine in the UK Smita Sarkar Ask any Brit what their national dish is, and they'll happily tell you it's chicken tikka masala. Indian cuisine has become an integral part of UK's cosmopolitan lifeline, but with immigration laws becoming tougher over the years, restaurants are unable to fly down overseas chefs on short-term visas like it was possible earlier. A law passed in 2016 stated that skilled chefs from South Asia must earn at least £35,000 or more a year to work in British Indian restaurants that also offer takeaway service. The figure is higher for restaurants without takeaway services. Lord Bilimoria, Founder of Cobra beer is part of an all-party parliamentary group lobbying to reverse the law, which he calls “ridiculous” and “discriminatory”. He told The Guardian that no ordinary curry chef earns £35,000, where the industry average is £22-25,000 but the cooks who marinate lamb chops and mix raita get less. Oli Khan, the Senior VP of the Bangladeshi Caterer's Association (BCA) told the Asian Voice that the curry industry is facing much pressure, with nearly 2 to 3 small restaurants having to shut down every month. At this rate, there is bound to be a curry crisis in the near future. “The curry industry contributes £4.5 billion to the British economy every year and the government

should do more to help the industry,” said Khan. “There are nearly 12,000 Indian restaurants in the UK, vis a vis 10,000 Mc Donald outlets. The government should be doing more to support this industry.” Unfortunately, the Brexit rules under Theresa May’s government, will pose further hindrances in the labour and service market. At the moment, nearly 25 to 30 percent of the people working in curry houses are East Europeans. New immigration policies says that people from the EU will be able to come to work on short-term two years visas, pay taxes but not claim benefits. Oli Khan says that “the same could be applied to overseas South Asian chefs for a two-year time period. But that is not going to happen.” Since the ConservativeLiberal Coalition came to power in 2010, the net migration into Britain has been substantially reduced, and this has had a direct impact on the Indian restaurants, traditionally run in the UK by

Bangladeshis, Pakistanis and Indians. Brexit will bring in “huge challenges” but some of the new restaurant owners are trying to spot the silver lining and make it work to their advantage. The grossly under-staffed Indian restaurants are now looking inwards, hiring people from different ethnic backgrounds in the UK and training them to take on specialised jobs. Dhruv Mittal, Founder of DUM Biriyani House in Soho, is of the opinion that the flavours of Indian cuisine has depleted in an attempt to Anglicise it for local consumption. “The food industry is evolving fast and I am optimistic about starting on a clean slate with local European chefs. The old curry house concepts of the chicken tikka masala, chicken korma etc are dying out and that is a good thing. London is a massive hub of culture and cuisine and the food is moving towards a fusion, to provide different food formations, and this phenomenon is becoming increasingly successful,” Dhruv said.

The focus has also shifted to regional cuisines - as the astute UK customers understand the good versus the bad Indian food. “Solid regional Indian cuisine that represented authenticity was not apprehended earlier – like the Andhra and Hyderabadi cuisine we serve. So even though its spicy, people are appreciating it for its authenticity and coming back to it again,” said Dhruv. S h r i m o y e e Chakraborty from Calcutta Street at Fitzrovia said that she hired local staff for her kitchen to combat the chef deficit and used intelligent techniques to train them. “It all depends on how sophisticated your training packages are and on how well you are able to motivate your staff. The recipes I have are all my own – I spend quality time to train and polish them. There is such a shortage of chefs specialising in Indian cuisine here that they are now demanding exorbitant rates that small restaurant owners like us cannot afford. Indian chefs are simply taking advantage of the situation,” Shrimoyee said. Will this result in a compromise on the quality and service of this popular cuisine? How will all the challenges change the dynamics of the Indian cuisine that has become Britain’s lifeline and lifestyle? Will the curry industry be able to sustain itself – all these are speculations at this stage, just like Brexit, we can only wait and watch.

NRIs Help Build Urgently Needed Hospital in Rural Gujarat Charitable giving is motivated by many factors. It can be an expression of compassion, a form of gratitude, or simply a way to create joy. Members of Shrimad Rajchandra Mission Dharampur UK are motivated by a desire to improve the lives of others and fulfil the vision of Pujya their Guru, Gurudevshri Rakeshbhai Jhaveri, Spiritual Head of Shrimad Rajchandra Mission Dharampur. Their passion in service is driven by devotion and love for their Guru and His inspiration, Shrimad Rajchandraji. The devotees endeavour to realise Shrimad Rajchandraji’s vision of spreading love and care to all living beings. Shrimad Rajchandra Love and Care (SRLC) relentlessly pursues this purpose. SRLC is a ten-fold programme which includes health care, education care, child care, women care, tribal care, community care, humanitarian care, animal care, environmental care, and emergency relief care.

A new health care initiative taken in stride by the members of the mission across the world is to raise funds to support the construction of a hospital in the Valsad district of rural Gujarat. It is a stateof-the-art 200-bed multispeciality charity hospital. Poverty, malnutrition, illiteracy and lack of access to basic healthcare and sanitation are prevalent amongst the tribal population in the area. Such factors have an adverse impact on the long-term well-being of the community. An existing Shrimad Rajchandra Hospital has

been in operation since 2004 providing affordable healthcare to those in need - a 75-bed facility with a multitude of departments including neonatal care, radiology, ultrasound, and 24-hour accident and emergency services. These services among others are extremely rare in rural hospitals. Nonetheless, it has become an urgent need to expand the scope of healthcare provisions and related infrastructure to cope with sheer weight of necessity of the local population, and hence the plans for the new technologically advanced hospital have been commissioned.

The huge investment required for such an undertaking has been supported by an array of fund-raising initiatives in India such as the annual Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon. Runners from UK took part in the marathon in January and raised an incredible £25,000 for the new hospital. Bharat Sheth, Hetal Shah, Miloni Virani, Kaushik Rambhiya and Preeti Rambhiya represented the London Centre of the Mission, and with donations from generous individuals, they reached their target. Bharat Sheth enthusiastically commented, ‘I felt most fulfilled from knowing that the construction of these facilities would change the lives of thousands of people for many years to come’. The biggest contributor to this fund-raising initiative is a theatrical masterpiece ‘Yugpurush – The Play’, as all surplus proceeds will go towards the new hospital. The 150th birth anniversary of

AsianVoiceNewsweekly

Finding Fatimah fights Muslim stereotypes The comedy film puts British Asians in the centre-stage The trailers of the British romantic comedy Finding Fatimah has been received well, and is due to be released on the 21st April. Writer and Director Oz Arshad makes his directorial debut, the film is a fresh take on the community, fighting mis-representation of the Muslim community. The film is about Shahid, a man who struggles to find a bride in the British Asian community and the comic situation arising out of his status as a divorcee. The story weaves around how he overcomes the community's disapproval to find true love. It is a comic depiction of the issues faced by British Muslims, and

unlike other British Muslim productions, the film gives women some rather crucial central roles. Commissioned by the British Muslim TV, the film with feature YouTube star Guz Khan in a cameo role, and distributed in the UK by Icon as a potential breakout hit.

New crisis for the NHS 2011 and 2014, with many GPs facing increasing workload. They GPs are saying that even a six-figure salary is not worth staying on in the job over a long time.

The NHS faces fresh crisis over younger doctors and GPs taking early retirement, to take advantage of better work-life balance, the implementation of the recent pension rules making it less worthwhile to serve for a long time within the system. A study published this week, and reported in The Times found that two-fifths of family doctors in the Southwest intended to quit patient care within five years and this is likely to be a reflection of the whole country. The NHS released the General Practice Forward View in 2016, promising to deliver extra GPs and increase funding of about £2.4 billion a year by 2020 – along with a £500 million investment in staff, technology and premises. Successive governments have diverted money towards hospitals to avoid crucial waiting times, there have been an estimated 15 per cent GP appointments between

NHS Digital showed almost 100 fewer full-time GPs – with the younger members deciding to quit after seeing their burnt-out older colleagues. Despite government's efforts, a number of healthy patients are stranded in hospitals because nearly 37 percent of the patients do not have adequate care at home and are holding up beds. Nearly 6,797 patients were ready for discharge in February, but were still holding beds in the hospital. The entire crisis spiralled down to a lack of social services, leading to hospital bed blockers.

Shrimadji was marked with the launch of Yugpurush. It depicts the untold story of the relationship between Shrimad Rajchandraji and Mahatma Gandhi, a bond that helped transform Mohandas to Mahatma. Yugupurush has taken India by storm with rave reviews, touching over 275,000 lives in 140 cities across India through 400 shows in just 5 months. It has won Transmedia Gujarati Drama Awards for Best Director, Best Drama and

Best Supporting Actor. The UK will witness the first international tour of this play with performances in London, B i r m i n g h a m , Manchester, Leicester, Southampton and Bolton between 27th April and 11th May. With 7 sold out shows and over 6,000 tickets sold already – new shows have been added across UK. Don’t miss this opportunity to witness an untold story in Indian History - buy tickets now at www.yugpurush.org/uk.


UK Asian Voice | 22nd April 2017

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UK-India Ministerial Energy Dialogue: ‘Energy for Growth’ AsianVoiceNews

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UK and India commit to strengthen engagement further in Renewable Energy, Climate Change

UK’s Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Mr. Greg Clark and Union Minister of State (IC) for Power, Coal, New & Renewable Energy and Mines, Shri Piyush Goyal chaired the inaugural India-UK ‘Energy for Growth’ Dialogue in India, earlier this month. The dialogue took forward the commitment of Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi and Prime Minister of UK, Ms. Theresa May for an enhanced ‘Energy for Growth’ Partnership between the two countries. Both Mr. Clark and Shri Goyal welcomed UK’s ongoing commitment to India’s energy sector. Earlier this month, the two

countries had reaffirmed their commitment to anchor investment up to £120 million each in the joint fund which aims to raise around £500 million, and has the potential to unlock much more in the future. It was announced that the fund will focus its initial investments on India’s rapidly growing energy and renewables market. India and UK also recognised the importance of combating climate change and mobilising finance from a variety of sources, instruments and channels to mitigate its effects alongside generating economic opportunities. They welcomed the work of the G20 Green Finance Study Group promoting green finance

encouraged the issuance of green bonds, among other forms of green finance. Both Ministers appreciated the strides taken by Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL), which has established operations in UK by investing around £7 million in seven energy saving projects after intense technical and financial due diligence. The projects are in operation for more than two years and have been yielding dividends. The Ministers also noted the interest expressed by UK for replicating successful LED business model (UJALAUnnat Jyoti by Affordable LED’s for All) of India in the UK. India and UK share a strong investment and financial partnership,

wherein UK is the third largest FDI investor in India and India is the third largest source of FDI projects in the UK. The India-UK Partnership Fund set up under National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) has made substantial progress. The successful issuance of Rupeedenominated bonds in London by Indian entities is encouraging and is

London celebrates the 100 Years of Gandhi’s Sabarmati Ashram

reflective of the potential of our financial partnership. The two Ministers agreed on priority areas for further collaboration in the power and renewable energy areas under the Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in the Energy Sector, which was signed during the visit of Prime Minister Modi to the UK in November 2015. The agreed areas include inno-

Sabarmati Ashram: The Home of Gandhi’s Experiments with Truth

Susanna Nemeth

Filmmaker Vijay Rana presenting his book, 'Mahatma Gandhi: Images and Ideas for Non-violence' to A S Rajan, Minister Coordination, High Commission of India. In picture: CB Patel, Publisher/Editor of Asian Voice and Gujarat Samachar, Vijay Rana, AS Rajan, Vibha Mehdiratta, Deputy Director Nehru Centre and Journalist Lalit Mohan Joshi

The centenary of Mahatma Gandhi’s Sabarmati Ashram was celebrated at the Nehru Centre in London with the screening of a documentary – ‘Sabarmati Ashram: The Home of Gandhi’s Experiments with Truth.' Written and produced by the veteran NRI journalist Dr Vijay Rana, the film showed how Gandhi set up this ashram in 1917 on a 36acre wasteland on the banks of Sabarmati River. It was full of snakes, and the first thing Gandhi said was that none of them was to be killed. This was going to be Gandhi’s karmabhumi for next thirteen years. Many of his revolutionary ideas were conceived in this ashram economic liberation

through spinning wheel and the home-spun Khadi, fight against social evils like untouchability, a boycott of foreign goods, non-cooperation, peaceful civil disobedience and the defiance of the oppressive Salt Law. Gandhi was an inventor of ideas. His ideas changed the course of history and gave hope to those who sought freedom, justice and human dignity across the world. “Look at the sheer ingenuity, courage and perhaps the craziness of the man,” says Dr Vijay Rana, “a hundred years ago, Gandhi was thinking of mobilising the poor, virtually necked and starving, to fight the world’s mightiest Empire without arms.”

The film shows how proBritish newspapers, like the Statesman, ridiculed his idea of Salt March. People in England wondered what harm could be done to the powerful British Indian government by picking up some salt from a deserted seashore? Nobody could imagine that on Gandhi’s call millions of Indians would come out on streets to defy the Raj and break the Salt Law. The films shed light on Gandhi's life in the Ashram. There was also an interesting eyewitness account of the famous Salt March by one of his disciples, Sumangal Prakash. He was one of the 78 Ashram residents whom Gandhi personally selected as his co-

marchers. Gandhi left Sabarmati Ashram on the 6th March 1930, when he launched the Salt March. He also took a vow that he would only return to Sabarmati Ashram after India had achieved Purna Swaraj or complete independence. So he never returned to the Ashram. After the film, A S Rajan, Minister Co-ordination at the Indian High Commission in London, said the film appropriately reflected the values such as non-violence, peace, love and harmony that Gandhi Ji preached. CB Patel, the Publisher/Editor of Asian Voice and Gujarat Samachar, remembered his first visit to the Ashram in

vation in smart technology to improve performance and reduce losses in India’s power sector; support for increased energy efficiency; enhanced energy access; work to accelerate deployment of renewable energy and its integration with the grid; financing for clean energy; decentralized energy scale up and sustainability; and support to states in renewable energy planning and deployment.

I attended a film screening called Sabramati Ashram: The home of Gandhi’s Experiments with Truth on the 10th of April at the Nehru Centre (London, W1K 1HF). I can wholeheartedly say that I am a Gandhian. I am inspired by his idea of non-violence and I am in awe of how he led (with others) Bharat Mata to independence. I read books, articles, anything available on the Mahatma: trying to understand where he got his strength from to fight and what shaped his way of thinking. By booking this event I thought I would get a little closer to Him. After Mr. A. S. Rajan Minister (Coordination Indian High Commission) very enjoyable speech about his take on Gandhi’s philosophy, then Dr Vijay Rana introduced his documentary. He spoke about his personal experience of the lack of education about Gandhi in remote Indian 1949 when he was a 12-yearold schoolboy. He told the audience that this Ashram, once neglected, has now become the centre of Ahmedabad's civic life and tourist scene. “While celebrating 100 years of Gandhi's Sabarmati

villages, which inspired him to make this film. He reminded everybody the exemplary cleanliness of the Mahatma and his vision for villages and referred to the current state of India by saying that the Swatch Bharat is running out of steam and Modi ji should learn from Gandhi’s teachings. Somehow I hoped that current Indian politics won’t creep in or at least not like this. The cleanliness of India is each and every citizen’s responsibility and the government needs to provide the right tools. "Let each do his duty, If I do my duty, that is, serve myself, I shall be able to serve others.” [M. K. Gandhi, Hind Swaraj. Chap. XX] To summarize it all, it was a lovely evening especially listening to Mr. C.B Patel’s anecdotes about Gandhi and the lovely bhajans of Vaishnava Jana and Ragupati Raghava sung by Ms Uttara S. Joshi and Mrs Kusum P. Joshi. Ashram, this small film is an attempt, in this age of social media when attention span is increasingly fractured, to retell Gandhi's story with some interesting visual elements to the Internet generation,” said the filmmaker, Dr. Vijay Rana.


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Asian Voice | 22nd April 2017

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PM CALLS GENERAL ELECTION

Continued from page 1

"So we need a general election and we need one now. We have at this moment a one-off chance to get this done while the European Union agrees its negotiating position and before the detailed talks begin. "I have only recently and reluctantly come to this conclusion. Since I became prime minister I've said there should be no election until 2020, but now I have concluded that the only way to guarantee certainty and security for the years ahead is to hold this election and seek your support for the decisions we must take." In a statement outside Number 10, Mrs May said Labour had threatened to vote against the final Brexit agreement and cited opposition to her plans from the Scottish National Party, the Lib Dems and "unelected" members of the House of Lords. "If we don't hold a general election now, their political game-playing will continue and the negotiations with the European Union will reach their most difficult stage in the run up to the next scheduled election," she said. Mrs May spoke to the Queen on the phone on Easter Monday to let her know of the election plan, the prime minister's official spokesman said. She also got the full backing of the Cabinet before calling the election. Former Prime Minister David Cameron called Theresa May's decision to hold a snap general election "brave and right". In a tweet, he added: "My very best wishes to all Conservative candidates." It is not known if Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn will step down if the party loses, it's unlikely, given past performance, that he will offer a firm lead, and when he fails the party will split again, at the worst possible time. While SNP leader has asked its members and supporters to stand up for Scotland, the Liberal Democrats have witnessed a sudden surge of new members in the minutes following the announcement of a snap general election, the party has said. The party's internal membership figures show it has gained around 1,000 new members in just one hour after Theresa May announced that there would be a general election on 8 June. The party is hoping to make significant gains at the election, following a disastrous result in 2015 where it was reduced to just eight MPs after going into coalition with the Conservatives. British Pound has also soared to four-month high after her announcement though FTSE 100 suffered the worst day today since Brexit vote on 23 June 2016.

Asian MPs and Peers react to the announcement

Labour party MP Virendra Sharma, in a fiesty comment told Asian Voice that the PM has called the election in fear of the Opposition's pressure in Parliament, “I and the Labour Party welcome the

snap General Election, it will give the country a chance to have their say on the divisive policies and hard Brexit that Theresa May is pursuing. “The Prime Minister has called this election because she is scared of the Opposition that the Labour Party is mounting in Parliament. “Tory policies on the NHS, jobs and Brexit are not what the people want. June 8th will give the public a real choice, a choice between austerity and handouts for millionaires and Labour policies that help small businesses and the National Health Service. “In Ealing, Southall we will speak to thousands of people, we will speak to the people that are being hurt by Tory policies and we will see that there is no support for a hard Brexit that punishes working people." Seema Malhotra, another Labour MP told the newspaper, "This is a Prime Minister, who once again focussed on her own interests not on the interests of the country. At a time when we have growing inequality in education, a Budget that gives to the most wealthy, an NHS in need desperate need of funding and youth services being cut, the Prime Minister should be focussed on healing divisions not widening them." She tweeted, “For our shared prosperity, community cohesion, our NHS, a better education for our kids, I will stand again to be MP for Feltham & Heston.” Lord Bhikhu Parekh, a Labour peer, told AV, “Snap election suits the Tories for obvious reasons. It allows tem to capitalise on Labour's problems as well as avoid future economic downturn. I do not see however how it benefits the country, especially after the passions aroused during the recent referendum on the European Union. Clearly short term party calculations have played a major part in the Prime Minister's decision and I deeply regret that this should be so. I very much hope that this will be the opportunity for Labour to put its house in order and unite behind the current leadership." Lord Navnit Dholakia, who is the Deputy Leader of the pro-EU Lib Dem party, is currently in India. Given the developments, he made himself available to speak to Asian Voice and said, “I am delighted that we will have a General Election on 8 June. It is clear from the outcome of the referendum on European Union that UK politics is fractured and the public opinion is divided about our future in the wider world. This election gives a a chance to change the direction of our country. “Following the last referendum the Liberal Democrats have the highest ever membership in recent times. Already a thousand new members have joined us since the announcement of the General Election. In local government we have made considerable

gains and the election will give us the opportunity to further consolidate our efforts in a national poll. “The country has been crying out for a stable, meaningful opposition which Labour has failed to provide. We will now have large numbers of young people able to vote. Hard Brexit has let them down. This is their chance to vote for their future in an open, tolerant and united world which the Liberal Democrats stand for.

“We look forward to exciting times ahead.”

Priti Patel, Secretary for International Development, told Asian Voice, “The Prime Minister is right to call a General Election to secure the strong and stable leadership that Britain needs during Brexit and beyond. The Conservative Party offers Britain strong leadership, certainty and a clear plan to secure a successful future outside of the EU. “I am looking forward to campaigning in the Witham constituency during the General Election campaign.” Alok Sharma MP, who is a Minister in the F o r e i g n Commonwealth Office said: “Prime Minister Theresa May has been leading our nation with great purpose and distinction since last July and this general election is all about securing that strong and stable leadership the country needs to see us through Brexit and beyond. The choice for the country could not be clearer, strong and stable leadership in the national interest with Theresa May and the Conservatives or weak and unstable coalition government, led by Jeremy Corbyn.” Lord Dolar Popat, who was in Cuba when we spoke, told Asian Voice, “Brexit is a fantastic opportunity to reshape our country but it is vital that we have strong political leadership to lead Britain through this period. As we have seen in recent months, the other political parties will use opportunism to challenge and undermine the Government, and therefore I support the Prime Minister's decision." Shailesh Vara MP told the newspaper, “I welcome the decision. People who voted for Brexit in the referendum clearly shown the direction for Britain and the will of the people. The Opposition and unelected members of the House of Lords are currently opposing what is best for Britain. Calling for the General Election will reaffirm the Conservative party of the majority support and help us deliver what people of Britain have asked for.” Cllr Ameet Jogia, one of the y o u n g e s t Councillors in Britain said, “I welcome the news for a General Election, because it provides

an opportunity for all Parties to put forward their proposals for Brexit. After Brexit, Mrs May’s leadership has been paramount in maintaining stability. However, Westminster continues to promote division; Labour has threatened to vote against the final agreement we reach with the EU, the Liberal Democrats still haven’t accepted last year’s Referendum result and the SNP are hell bent on breaking up the United Kingdom. This election will enable the nation to have their say and to end the debate over how to deal with Brexit once and for all. For me personally, Brexit requires strong leadership and only Mrs May and the Conservative Party can deliver that.”

What does the community have to say?

Tania Mitra Ghosh told the newspaper, “This learly shows the state of affairs at the moment - turmoil within the Tory party plus amongst parties over the terms of Brexit! However, what this decision clearly underlines is political shortsightedness of the Tory party in general and I very strongly feel that the country should hold them accountable for this. So first David Cameron drags the country to an EU referendum, throws the country into a disarray with no one understanding what it really entails. Michael Gove and Boris Johnson played the trumpet until the final show when they completely lost the tune and surprisingly, no one quite held them accountable for misleading people. And then followed Theresa May's 'hard brexit' slogan, completely obliterating the voices of the 48% of us who voted 'remain'! Such divisions notwithstanding, we now have to prepare for a general election in less than 2 months with no able opposition credible enough to steer the country forward. The funny bit about this whole thing is that no real issues are being talked about. We all seem to be driven towards hyperboles and rhetoric.” Sanjay Jagatia, Director /Secretary General Hindu Council UK told Asian Voice, “The announcement by Prime Minister Teresa May of a snap election on 8th June 2017, comes as no surprise with the Conservative Party's poll lead widening by the day since she took over from David Cameron. Theresa May has calculated that the rewards are too good to miss and allows her to go to the country to get a firm mandate for delivering Brexit. In essence, the Prime Minister has just bought herself an extra two years before the country will be asked to deliv-

er a verdict on the Brexit she’s negotiated. Furthermore, the Tory Party are likely to win by a substantial margin, and this will dramatically improve Theresa May's room for manoeuvre in the Commons and affirm her personal authority in negotiations with the EU, together with having a stronger Tory Government backing her - a smart move! A substantial Tory victory would also kill off the idea of a second referendum, and close down the argument that the electorate had not given consent to withdrawal from the single market. No doubt, this election campaign will be extraordinary and be dominated by the divisive political rhetoric of recent months. The Tories are likely to gain in every area of the UK - and will make inroads in Scotland. Labour will be pushed back to their very, very core - perhaps even losing support in urban strongholds in the Midlands, North and the outer suburbs of London.” Vinod Tikoo, told the newspaper, “It is a good political move, albeit it comes with a cost of an election. Having said that , the serious level of negotiations and maneuvering required to make brexit work requires a strong government and Theresa may currently has a slender 12 member majority in Commons and on top of that since she took over leadership from Mr Cameroon she has to always face the question of her legitimacy to lead UK through Brexit. So I guess based on the fact that British economy is doing rather well. Conservatives are a clear 20% ahead on polls from the rivals and the impending daunting task of brexit legislation, this seems all in order. Haragopal Lingam told Asian Voice, “Brexit negotiations are not going anywhere till the government has a firm say in the overall deal and not being questioned or stalled every step by their own politicians. Theresa May has done the right thing by calling the people of Britain to back her to the hilt to make Brexit work in Britain's favour.” Keyur Buch told AV, “It is nothing but a cowardly act of passing the buck to the next PM, or indeed the cynical game of kicking the can further down the road in case May happens to be that next PM!” Bikiron Banerjee said, "Cynical timing for tories to take advantage of current popularity.gives them plenty of time to recover after full reality of brexit emerges." Ram Mulage said, "Theresa May saw an opportunity(exit polls being in favour of Tories) and seized it. It's all about politics and power and rest are just excuses."


UK Asian Voice | 22nd April 2017

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AsianVoiceNewsweekly

CASTE LEGISTALTION CONSULTATION The government is to undertake a full public consultation on the issue of Caste and the Equality Act 2010. A key aim of the consultation will be to obtain the views of the public on whether additional measures are needed to ensure victims of caste discrimination have appropriate legal protection and effective remedies under the 2010 Equality Act. Before taking any decisions, the Government will carefully consider the responses to the consultation, which will run for 12 weeks from its commencement date. Further details and timings for the consultation will be set out in due course. You can visit the government's website https://www.gov.uk/government/ for further

details. The Consultation was announced on 28th March and ends on 17 July 2017. It is most important for everyone, every organisation and every business to fill in the form. All major Hindu organisations have come together to find a way forward to understand and issue guidance to fill in the consultation form. The existing Equality Act 2010 is sufficient to protect everyone regardless of their colour, race or ethnicity and there is no need to introduce any further legislation. There will be a series of assemblies across the UK to raise awareness and assist in completing the consultation form. The form can be accessed from: https://www.gov.uk/go vernment/news/caste-discrimination-consultation

The British Hindu diaspora has called for the repeal of the Caste Amendment to Equality Act 2010, as a prejudice against the UK Hindu Citizens. They questioned why the Hindu Citizens have been singled out for this unique process when all citizens are equal before the law and are entitled to a robust and impartial process. The Caste Amendment to Equality Act 2010 discriminates against UK Hindu Citizens, and is totally unacceptable that this amendment should be implemented into Equality Law just because law enforcement agencies don't know how to deal with some complaints about discrimination and harassment. Do keep an eye on our detailed campaign story next week.

Vijay Mallya arrested, freed Continued from page1 authorities in relation to accusations of fraud.” The development seemed to have hardly scrapped Mallya as he tweeted, “Usual Indian media hype. Extradition hearing in Court started today as expected.” Accused of defaulting on loans worth over £900 million, Mallya's arrest, as brief as it was, has been seen as a major political win and a boost to India-UK relations. By the time news of the Kingfisher Airline owner's arrest began to catch speed, he had already managed to secure a bail. Media reports suggest that Mallya will next appear before the London Court on May 17 and that the judiciary will decide on the merits of India's request for extradition. It has become abundantly clear that Mallya will fight against the extradition. While Mallya's arrest can certainly be pegged as an achievement for the Modi government, the entire legal process is longdrawn. The controversial tycoon has time and again proved himself to be difficult to catch, despite the unrelenting pressure mounted by the Indian administration. ROCKY ROAD AHEAD Mallya is certainly not the first high-profile 'wanted' Indian to live in the UK. One has to take into considerations cases including Lalit Modi, Ravi Sankaran, Nadeem Saifi, and Tiger Hanif. The only process that pulled through was of Samirbhai Patel who was wanted for the 2002 Gujarat riots. The result, also, was only possible because Patel did not oppose his extradition, instead choosing to give his 'consent'. He was arrested on August 9, 2016, and his extradition order was signed by home secretary

Vijay Mallya with Prince Charles

Amber Rudd on September 22. A treaty was signed between India and the UK, in 1992, which came into effect in 1993. India is included in Type B of the Category 2 list of countries in Britain's Extradition Act of 2003. Article 5 of the treaty specifically cites that the extradition may be refused if the offence is of a political character. There is also the factor that British courts may consider whether violations of the person's human rights, in case he or she is returned to their country. For years, the country has acted as an asylum to people fleeing "political and religious persecution", however, there are several who also seek “refuge” to escape financial allegations. The process for Mallya's extradition is long, and include several options for appeal. Mallya for the past one year, has openly challenged the lenders, putting up a face of determination in public. He has remained extremely defiant and blamed the Indian government, security agencies, and bankers for targeting him. INDIA PREPS TO BRING MALLYA BACK Following the one “successful” move in the year-long default case, the Ministry of External Affairs issued a statement saying, “His (Mallya) arrest in London today was in connection with request by the GoI to

UK authorities for his extradition. Legal process in this regard is underway in the UK. The two governments are in touch in this context.” Former CBI director Anil Sinha termed the arrest as a “success” of law enforcement agencies, adding that efforts to bring him back would “fructify”. He said the arrest also signifies the strong resolve of law enforcement agencies and the governments. Advocate Abad Ponda, who represents bankers arrested in the IDBI Bank loan case, said that while initiation of the extradition process showed “good intent”, a lot rides on the efforts made by Indian authorities. “While the intent is good, extradition is a long, tardy, cumbersome process. It all depends on how much effort the Indian authorities have made for a strong case for his extradition. His extradition is crucial to take the CBI investigation to its logical conclusion,” he said. Managing Partner at Advaya Legal, Ramesh Vaidyanathan said the timeline to take the extradition process to a logical conclusion could be anything between 18 months and 24 months. “It all depends on whether the court feels that a conviction is possible. The first level will include a full hearing before the district court that may happen sometime next month, then hearing before the high court and the Supreme Court.”

17

Scotland Yard's first female commissioner promises to crackdown on gun and knife crime Cressida Dick, Scotland Yard's first female commissioner in an interview with Evening Standard has pledged a five-year crackdown on violence to curb the rise in gun and knife crime in London. Sje has promised an “end-to-end” approach in tackling crime and a tough stance on violent offenders. In an interview with Evening Standard, speaking within days of three young men being stabbed to death in the capital, she said knife and gun crime were among the most significant challenges she faced. She declared: “I want to bear down on violent crime, in all its aspects from terrorism to sexual offences but definitely knife and gun crime, particularly as it affects young people. “It’s an absolute tragedy losing young people in the way we have been to knife crime. "We are seeing too many young people carrying knives feeling that it will protect them when in actual fact it clearly doesn’t and

ly.”

can be incredibly dangerous and tragic for them and their families. "Violence, for me, is what this next five years is going to be about. "You have to prevent people getting involved and you have to intervene really, really strongly with people who are habitual knife carriers, and that includes stop and search, definite-

In her first interview with the midia she also said that she planned to modernise the Met with a surge in digital policing to put people in closer touch with local officers. She said more young people wanted to report crime online and officers were being equipped with tablets so they could spend more time on the streets. Ms Dick added that she was proud of the Met’s response to the attack on March 22 and discussed the positive reaction of the public, saying: “Something good must come out of all that horror and one of the things is we must build on that goodwill.” In another interview with Nick Ferrari on LBC today, she also said she doubted that Pc Palmer would have been able to protect himself if he had been armed because of the speed of the attack.

Cressida Dick

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India is on road to faster growth: World Bank Choose your life partner AsianVoiceNews

Asian Voice | 22nd April 2017

India's economic growth is expected to rise from 6.8 per cent in 2016 to 7.2 per cent by 2018 after a modest setback due to weaker than expected investments and effects of withdrawal of large denomination bank notes, as revealed by a World Bank report. The report said growth is expected to further gather momentum by 2019 when the Indian economy is expected to expand by 7.7 per cent. The report said, “Timely and smooth implementation of the GST could prove to a significant

benefit to economic activity. However, India faces the challenge of further accelerating the responsiveness of poverty reduction to growth,” the report said. It also said possible protectionism in advanced economies should not deter export-oriented growth in South Asia, including India, a region that could benefit from the backlash against globalisation. The report also confirms that South Asia remains the fastest-growing region in the world, gradually widening its lead relative to East Asia.

Regional GDP growth is expected to rise from 6.7 per cent in 2016 to 6.8 per cent in 2017, and 7.1 per cent in 2018. The report claims that global integration has been good for economic development and poverty reduction, but finds that the region would be resilient to higher trade barriers in advanced economies. It said that the region would even stand to gain if selective protectionism resulted in trade diversion from established suppliers. Annette Dixon, the World Bank South Asia Region vice president, said,

“Simulations on the impact of hypothetical new trade barriers show that South Asia is not only resilient to a potential rise in protectionism, but could possibly even gain from it in some circumstances.” She added, “Advanced economies are recovering and could faster growth that will likely increase demand for South Asian products. The region should seize this opportunity to diversify it exports and enhance its supply response. This could create a substantial number of jobs for new entrants to the labour force.”

Vedanta completes Cairn merger, retains brand Indian arm of the LSE-listed Vedanta Resources, said that Cairn India has been merged with the company. The merger boosted Vedanta's revenues to $9.7 billion and its market value to $15.6 billion. The company also said that it has fixed April 27 as the record date for determining the list of Cairn India shareholders to whom equity and preference shares will be allotted under the arrangement. Cairn India sharehold-

Anil Agarwal

ers will get one equity share of Vedanta and also four redeemable preference shares, carrying a coupon of 7.5 per cent. This is the new scheme of arrangement

after some shareholders had raised concerns over valuations. When the deal was announced in June 2015, shareholders were to get an equity and a preference share. Cairn India shareholders, as a part of the deal, will also receive an interim dividend of Rs 17.70 per share. 'No shares will be issued to Vedanta or any of its subsidiaries for their shareholding in Cairn India,” the company said. Though Cairn India as a legal entity ceased to

exist, Vedanta said it would preserve the Cairn brand for the oil & gas production business. It will fuel the growth for the diversified natural resources group as India becomes the growth engine for the world economy. The merger, which was announced nearly two years ago, was stuck due to several factors such as getting regulatory approvals, tax issues and minority shareholders expressing displeasure over valuations.

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carefully: Axis Bank CEO Shikha Sharma

Axis Bank CEO Shikha Sharma gave a warm speech to this year's graduating batch of the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, asking students to look beyond the surface when choosing the right partner. An alumnus of IIM-A, Sharma spoke of three choices that shaped her career. “You are poised to enter the real world tomorrow, the choices you make there will decide who you become. Today I want to talk to you about these choices. The choice of the life partner is the single most important choice you will make in your life,” Sharma said. “Much of the joy you derive on the journey of life, does hark back to who you choose to share your journey with. A lot of what I am today are a function of the partner I was lucky to have alongside my journey.” She said, “Indulge me for a minute if I sound like a mom here, but when you are out there, looking for a partner, look beyond

Axis Bank CEO Shikha Sharma

their looks, their success, their style. The durability and strength of your relationship is not going to come from your partner's personality, it is going to come from their character. So remember to look well beneath the surface. The money, the fancy title, the foosball table in the break room, they are all very exciting. But in most cases, that's not what makes for a fulfilling career. You want to join an organisation that has values that match yours, that has people who you can be yourself with, that gives you the space to be who you have the potential to be as a professional.”

Indians best in paying card dues: Study SUV is the most preferred vehicle in India A survey conducted by credit information agency CIBIL has revealed that 92 per cent of Indian credit card holders pay their minimum monthly dues compared to Canadians 88 per cent, Americans 89 per cent and South Africans 44 per cent. It also showed that Indians seem more aware of the penalties that come with non-payment of credit dues. When it came to awareness on credit card billing metrics, about 33 per cent Indians were uncertain about the importance or benefits of paying more than the minimum due. Harshala Chandorkar, COO, TransUnion CIBIL, said, “Our analysis suggests consumers who pay more than their minimum due on credit cards are less likely to go delinquent.” The survey was conducted across eight metro cities with 1,100 consumers in the country. Among the

eight metros surveyed, Delhiites use credit cards the most- about 93 per cent of respondents use their credit card for online and offline retail shopping. Card usage was seen to be higher in cities like Delhi, Ahmedabad, Pune, and Mumbai as compared to Kolkata, Bangalore, Hyderabad, and Chennai. On a positive note, about 78 per cent of respondents usually pay off the full balance. When it came to financial literacy, about 90 per cent of respondents

knew that non-payment would affect their credit history and scores, which would in turn, affect their borrowing capability. Chandorkar said, “How each of the data points interacts with others gives further insights into credit behaviour. For example, while a traditional CIBIL Report may tell you a consumer has Rs 30,000 in credit card debt, one using trended data would show you whether they have built up or paid down that balance over time.”

Amazon India receives RBI approval for digital wallet E-commerce giant Amazon India has received approval from the Reserve Bank of India to operate a prepaid instrument or digital wallet. The development comes at a time when the digital payments space is witnessing a high level of engagement by leading internet-based start-ups in the country. The Amazon Online Distribution Services, sub-

sidiary of Amazon Asia Pacific Resources, was given the license on March 22, which will be valid till the end of FY22. Amazon invested £15 million in AODS last year. Following its footsteps, Flipkart too holds plans for its own payments business under the PhonePe brand. Flipkart Group CEO Binny Bansal revealed in an interview last week that a significant

part of the company's latest $1.4-billion fund raise will be deployed towards PhonePe. Amazon has been promoting Amazon Pay since the beginning of 2017. The wallet allows users to pay online on the marketplace, making the check-in and check-out process simple by using information already stored in the Amazon account.

Mainly seen as giant polluters, SUVs now account for one out of every four new vehicles sold in India. Data for vehicle sales released by the Society of I n d i a n Automobile Manufacturers shows the growing clout of SUVs and utility vehicles when it comes to new purchases, a trend that seems to be getting stronger with each passing year. With a 14 per cent share in the overall passenger vehicle sales at the end of March 2010, it has hit 25 per cent at the end of March this year. The trend is only going to get stronger in the coming years, given new model launches. The pace of growth in the demand for SUVs, where diesel is the preferred engine option, has been nothing short of

spectacular. SUV sales shot up by 30 per cent in 201617, remarkable

a s compared to the 4 per cent growth in car sales. “SUVs are a global trend and very much liked in India as well. The large and varied spread of the country, with strong challenges when it comes to road infrastructure, makes them a necessity when one wants a stronger, safer, and highseating vehicle,” said Rakesh Srivastava, Senior VP at Hyundai India. “This trend will contin-

ue and I feel that the share of SUVs will rise to nearly 30 per cent over the next one year.” While there has been a strong rise in the compact SUV segment, an equally robust buyer pull has been there in the bigger segments for vehicles such as Hyundai's Creta. Going by the price point, the relatively higherpriced Toyota Innova Crysta has been a strong success, selling over 75,000 vehicles in under a year of its launch. In the luxury space, companies like Mercedes-Benz have seen a good demand for models such as the GLC and GLE SUVs, something that has resulted in off-roaders contributing to 40 per cent to the company's overall sales in 2016-17 against 30 per cent in the previous year.

Listing of eleven state-run companies gets Cabinet nod The Union Cabinet has approved a listing of 11 state-run companies, including five subsidiaries of the Railways. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, in his Budget speech had announced to list subsidiaries of Railways. He had said, “Listing of public sector enterprises will foster accountability and unlock true value of these companies. The govern-

ment will put in place a revised mechanism and procedure to ensure time bound listing of identified CPSEs on stock exchanges.” The five subsidiaries are Ircon International, Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation, Rail Vikas Nigam, Indian Railway Finance Corporation, and RITES. The listing of PSUs will be

through public offer of shares up to 25 per cent of government holding, which may include offer of fresh shares for raising resources from market. However, actual disinvestment of each CPSE, along with mode of raising resources, will be decided on a caseto-case basis by the alternative mechanism headed by the finance minister, a government statement read.


REALESTATEVOICE

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THE VALUE OF SUBTLETY AsianVoiceNews

Suresh Vagjiani

Sow & Reap London Property Investment

AsianVoiceNewsweekly

Just before the Easter break I was called by an agent to see a property in W2. It is opposite one of the most expensive roads in London, namely Kensington Palace Gardens, where the average sale price of a property is £36m. The property is a one bedroom flat, to the rear of the block which means it’s very quiet, this combined with the location of the block being in a dead end road means it’s an exceptionally quiet location, given it’s in one of the most prime areas of London, Notting Hill. It requires modernisation but nothing major, I mean how much can you do to a one bedroom flat? The price of this property can be closed at £550k, which equates to £1,279

AGONY AGENT Each week, we answer a reader’s rental property question, from first-time landlords to experienced owners. Agony Agent, is here to help! This week’s question is one I have heard more often than not: Q: Why will the deposit not cover the full cost of my sofa that my tenants damaged, and what is betterment? A: Whilst the tenant has a duty of care to return the property in the same condition at the end of the tenancy in accordance

with the inventory report, with exceptions made for wear and tear, the law does not allow landlords to claim ‘betterment’ or ‘new for old’ from the tenant deposit. Many landlords seem to be unaware of ‘betterment’, which means that if an item was old at check-in, and after a two-year tenancy there is some additional damage, the law will not allow a landlord to replace this item with a new one. Instead compensation is given towards its replacement or repair.

BUY TO LET OPPORTUNITY

per sq. ft. Prices in this locality are floating around the £1,500 per sq. ft. mark. The pounds per sq. ft. is the rule of thumb quick measurement of a deal. Not always accurate, as it’s only a two dimensional measurement and does not for example take into account the heights of the ceilings, as well as some of the more subtle features of the property. Typically speaking the smaller you get in size of the property the higher the price per square foot gets. This is because the property market is a little like a triangle, there are more buyers at the bottom end and therefore there is more demand at this end of the market. This flat should command a further premium due to Betterment applies to cleaning as well. If a carpet was badly stained at the time of check-in, a landlord can’t expect the tenant to pay for cleaning at the check-out, no matter how long the tenancy has been. In one case, we had a property where the landlord demanded that the tenants pay for repainting several rooms following a one year tenancy. The check-in inventory clearly stated that the walls were already well marked and the few additional scuffs and rubs were clearly a normal wear and tear issue due to the length of the tenancy. The problem is that landlords and tenants have

Asian Voice | 22nd April 2017

its location within the block and also in the street. Prices can vary considerably even within a hundred yards, reflecting often subtle differences in the local character and positioning of two otherwise similar properties. This is a feature which will picked up by the prospective tenant or buyer, whom would have trolled through several properties in the location and will be appreciative of these features which would be missed by the armchair investor. Even if we ignore these points and treat them as cherries on the pie, this property represents a 15% discount on the market price; in a location which different expectations when it comes to fair wear and tear issues. There is a distinct difference between fair wear and tear and actual damage – for example carpet tread will flatten over time, where there has been foot traffic, but cigarette burns and stains will require a charge. Normal wear and tear is a fact of life with rental properties, just as it would be at home. The best way landlords and agents can ensure that the property’s condition is fully recorded, is by having an inventory in place at the start of any new tenancy, and that a thorough check-in and check-out report is completed.

l

Two bedroom apartment l Portered block l Within walking distance of both Marylebone and March Arch stations Call us now for more information!

Marylebone, London, W1H Purchase Price: £650,000

is very solid. This is a buy and hold deal for long term, or even on a permanent basis. Investors often forget you can extract equity by way of remortgage rather than selling. You will have wait longer, but this way you get to keep the asset and you circumvent the issue of capital gains tax, as this is only applicable at the point of sale and you are not selling the asset. This deal should be tied up

19

this week, and is in need of a buyer; if it whets your appetite call the office to find out more.

My Top Tips: 1] Take photographs at check-in to accurately record the condition of the property. This could help settling any later disputes. I would recommend an independent company to carry this out. 2] Be aware of any issues recorded at the check-in inventory. Remember tenants cannot be charged to fully rectify these issues even if they make them worse during their tenancy. 3] Remember that goods depreciate during their lifetime and, therefore, any damages can only be

claimed as proportion of the original cost of the item unless it was brand new at the start of the tenancy. 4] Try to look at it like your car insurance, if you have a bump the insurance will not pay out for a brand new car, but only to cover the cost of the repair. Richard Bond Lettings Manager Sow & Reap


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FINANCIAL VOICE

Asian Voice | 22nd April 2017

Consultant Editor Financial Voice Alpesh Patel

Dear Financial Voice Reader, So what are the election trading opportunities? Well I will get into those I promise between now and June. But one promise for sure is more pledges… Pledge of Labour: “I pledge to keep the red flag flying, but in a closet”. Pledge of David Miliband: “I pledge never, ever to have a second child”. Pledge of the Irish Central Bank: “We pledge to never ride the ‘luck of the Irish’ again’. The pledge of the Indian Supreme Court on the issue of Ayodhya: ‘We pledge to pass the buck like a hot potato on this one. We’re judges not martyrs.’ The pledge of Donald Trump: ‘I promise to unpledged and pledge the opposite of everything I pledged during the election.’ The pledge of the Iranian President: ‘I pledge I will not sound crazy and completely untrustworthy with nuclear weapons the next time at the UN I say ‘America itself did 9/11’’ The pledge of the North Korean President: ‘I pledge to the world my son who will takeover is not a crazy nut-job. I raised him in a completely sane environment. Now stand and salute glorious leader.’ The pledge of Hugo Chavez of Venezuela: ‘I pledge to sound less paranoid when I blame all my problems on the Americans...some are down to the Brazilians.’ The pledge of whichever Castro is in power in Cuba: ‘I pledge to sound less paranoid when I blame all my problems on the Americans...some are down to the Mexicans’. The pledge of the Israelis negotiating in the Middle East peace process: ‘We pledge to forgive but not to forget.’ The pledge of the Palestinians negotiating in the Middle East peace process: ‘We pledge to forget but not to forgive.’ The pledge of the Pakistani Government: “We pledge to hold elections, now and again, sometimes, and hate India”. That’s enough pledging...this isn’t a furniture cleaning ad. What is unfortunate is how much things stay the same in politics. Anyone who like me has all the Yes Minister and Yes Prime Minister shows on their Ipod and Ipad knows all the political issues remain the same. There is the one about Civil Servant’s pay – how come they get paid so much and honours too with job security? Or the one about cost over-run on defence contracts for Trident – we have to pay because it is a security leak to tell anyone and the contractors know it. Or the one about the hospital all ready to go but with more administrators than doctors so can’t afford to have patients. It’s all almost enough to make you give up! What about the markets – they will be up up and away – all good news for the markets. No one won an election by saying there is no money to spend after all.

In India bank credit grows lowest in over 60 years Growth in bank credit in India in the year 2017 has turned out to be the slowest in over 60 years at 51 per cent, as state-owned banks burdened with bad loans struggled to find safe avenues to lend. Last time loans grew slower than when in 1953-54, when bank credit slowed down to 1.7 per cent. According to data released by the RBI last week, outstanding bank credit as on March 31, 2017, stood at £788.2 billion. A large part of the growth in lending has come in the last fortnight of the month when banks disbursed £31.6 billion. Other than bad loans and corporate investment coming to a halt, bank credit growth was also constrained by demonetisation. Between October and December 2016, bank credit contracted by 2.3 per cent as against a 2.7

per cent growth during the same period last year. Besides bad loans, one of the biggest concerns for the RBI is managing the surplus liquidity with banks. While on one hand banks are seeing lower credit growth, on the other, their deposits continue to remain high, all due to demonetisation. Banks this year, ended with a 11.8 per cent growth in deposits which now stand at £1,080.5 billion. Several banks feel that RBI is reluctant to intervene in the Forex market as this would add to the surplus liquidity in the system. A senior banker said that of the total credit growth during the current fiscal, half has come from home loans and a large part of the rest has been due to loans to the service sector. Most of the lenders are private banks and few large private banks.

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RBI may wind up, merge banks short of capital AsianVoiceNews

Banks with unsound financials face chances of a merger or winding up, also risks of their board and management being sacked by the Reserve Bank of India. The RBI, last week, came out with a revised set of 'prompt corrective action', steps to get failed banks back on the track. While the PCA have been around since 2002, the

RBI reset the trigger points. Norms dictate that the RBI gets into action when the capital adequacy sinks below a certain level or when bad loans rise beyond a certain point. There are different corrective actions for each milestone. RBI said that a shortfall of the common equity tier I capital by 3.625 per cent from

prescribed limits “would identify a bank as a likely candidate for resolution through tools like amalgamation, reconstruction, or winding up.” The current minimum requirement of common equity tier I capital is 6.75 per cent. Under the new trigger points, banks with net nonperforming assets between 6 per cent and 9 per cent

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will face restrictions on dividend payments with promoters being asked to bring in more capital. Those with net NPAs between 9 per cent and 12 per cent would not be allowed to expand branches. Banks that breach the third level of NPAs will face restrictions on management compensation as well.

Petrol prices to be Bajaj Auto loses ground revised every day in 5 since exiting scooters in '10 Indian cities In a pilot run before a countrywide roll-out to counter undercutting by private retailers, staterun fuel retailers will revise petrol and diesel prices daily in five cities Chandigarh, Udaipur, Vizag, Puducherry and Jamshedpur- from May 1. Until the system is in place throughout the country, public sector retailers will continue with the practice of tweaking prices on the 15th and last day of each month in all other places. Not only will the rollout make the price hike bearable as they would come in small doses, it may potentially set off a price war and bring real competition in a market 95 per cent of which is controlled by public sector retailers. Revising prices daily will give them a chance to match private companies who have been undercutting them in a free market in times of low oil prices.

The idea of daily revision has been on the oil ministry's table since 2012, but state-run retailers, in a complacent market of high oil prices, subsidy and lack of competition, were loath to implement the idea, citing lack of connectivity and infrastructure in the hinterland. Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said, “Daily change in prices of petroleum products is a recommendation of experts. The government has nothing to do with it... We have developed an effective model to ensure that those who can afford should not get subsidy and those who need should never be left out.”

SC orders auction of Sahara's Aamby Valley The Supreme Court has ordered auction of Sahara group's prime Aamby Valley township near Lonavala in Pune for failing to deposit £500 million of the £1.4 billion due towards refund to investors. In August 2012, the court had ordered group companies Sahara Real Estate and Sahara Housing to refund £2.5 billion illegally raised through one-time fully convertible debentures from nearly 30 million investors. On the SC's direction, Sahara has so far deposited £1.1 billion with market regulator Sebi. Failure to pay up the entire amount saw group head Subrata Roy being sent to jail on March 4, 2014. He was let out on parole in May 2016 to attend to his mother's last rites. Since then, he has been on interim bail by

paying up hundreds of million of rupees in instalments. On Monday, a bench of Justices Dipak Misra, Ranjan Gogoi and A K Sikri was furious that Sahara had failed to abide by the March 21 order asking it to deposit £500 million by April 17. The bench said since the group refused to abide by the SC's orders, the time had come to act on the court's threat to auction the group's prime property Aamby Valley. The SC had earlier rejected Sahara's plea for time till July 2019 to refund the balance amount. “As no amount has been deposited by the contemnor (Subrata Roy), we are inclined to go ahead with the auction of Aamby Valley City near Lonavala, Maharashtra,” the bench said.

Bajaj Auto's decision to stay out of the scooter market has cost the company in terms of market share, both in the overall two-wheeler market and in the motorcycle segment. SIAM numbers reveal Bajaj Auto's motorcycle market share declined from 24.3 per cent in FY10 when scooters were discontinued, to 18.3 per cent in FY17. This, despite the fact that the 'zero' margin product CT100 has helped add nearly 4 per cent market share since its launch a year and a half ago. Bajaj Auto's market share has come down 27 per cent 10 years ago to less than half at around 12 per cent in FY17, in overall two-wheelers. The compa-

ny, however, maintains that it is more focused on margins than market share. Bajaj Auto president S Ravikumar said, “The low-margin Indian scooter industry is not attractive to us. We make far more money exporting 1.5 million bikes and 3-wheelers across the world than anyone could ever hope to selling scooters in India. Our focus will always be highmargin segments. This is why Bajaj Auto is the world's most profitable auto company with the highest market cap in its industry in India.” However, analysts state that despite its margins focus, Bajaj Auto is losing out in the domestic numbers game.

32 most powerful economies in the world by 2050 A report prepared by PwC looks at which economies around the world will be the biggest and most powerful in 33 years time – by 2050. The report, titled "The long view: how will the global economic order change by 2050?" ranked 32 countries by their projected global gross domestic product by purchasing power parity. PPP is used by macroeconomists to determine the economic productivity and standards of living among countries across a certain time period. With the exception of the USA, many of the world's current powerhouse economies like Japan and Germany will have slipped down global rankings, replaced by countries such as India and Indonesia, which are currently emerging markets. According to the report, the rankings are as follows. (All numbers cited in the slides are in US dollars and at constant values (for reference, the US's current PPP is $18.562 trillion): 1. China — $58.499 trillion 2. India — $44.128 trillion 3. United States — $34.102 trillion 4. Indonesia — $10.502 trillion 5. Brazil — $7.540 trillion 6. Russia — $7.131 trillion 7. Mexico — $6.863 tril-

lion Japan — $6.779 trillion Germany — $6.138 trillion 10. United Kingdom — $5.369 trillion 11. Turkey — $5.184 trillion 12. France — $4.705 trillion 13. Saudi Arabia — $4.694 trillion 14. Nigeria — $4.348 trillion 15. Egypt — $4.333 trillion 16. Pakistan — $4.236 trillion 17. Iran — $3.900 trillion 18. South Korea — $3.539 trillion 19. Philippines — $3.334 trillion 20. Vietnam — $3.176 trillion 21. Italy — $3.115 trillion 22. Canada — $3.1 trillion 23. Bangladesh — $3.064 trillion 24. Malaysia — $2.815 trillion 25. Thailand — $2.782 trillion 26. Spain — $2.732 trillion 27. South Africa — $2.570 trillion 28. Australia — $2.564 trillion 29. Argentina — $2.365 trillion 30. Poland — $2.103 trillion 31. Colombia — $2.074 trillion 32. Netherlands — $1.496 trillion 8. 9.


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Indian-origin woman doctor held for performing genital mutilation

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MICHIGAN: An Indian-origin female doctor has been arrested and charged with performing genital mutilation on girls aged 6 to 8. According to a complaint, some of the minor victims allegedly travelled inter-state to have Jumana Nagarwala perform the procedure out of a medical office in Livonia, Michigan. An emergency room physician, she is scheduled to appear in federal court in Detroit. Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), was made illegal for anyone under 18, in the US, in 1996, after the Congress passed a law. It is punishable by up to five years in prison, however, is not a crime in 26 US states including Michigan. Acting Assistant Attorney General Kenneth Blanco of the

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added that the Department of Justice is committed to stopping FGM in the US and will use the full power of the law to ensure that “no girls suffer such physical and emotional abuse.” Acting US Attorney Daniel Lemisch of the Eastern District Jumana Nagarwala of Michigan said the procedure Justice Department's constitutes a particularly Criminal Division, released a brutal form of violence statement saying, “Despite against women and girls. “It her oath to care for her is also a serious federal patients, Nagawala is alleged felony in the United States. to have performed horrifying The practice has no place in acts of brutality on the most modern society and those vulnerable victims.” He

who perform FGM on minors will be held accountable under federal law.” Following the complaint, federal agents reviewed Nagarwala's telephone records. Further investigations revealed that parents of two minors had travelled to Michigan. The girls were later interviewed by a forensic expert and one of them said she was told she was coming to Detroit for a “special” girls trip, but after arriving at the hotel, she learned she and the other girl were going to the doctor because “our tummies hurt”. FGM comprises all procedures involving partial or total removal of the external female genitalia, or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons.

US varsity supports Indian students NEW DELHI: Following US President Donald Trump's new proposal of immigration rules, the Missouri State University has announced its support for Indian students, announcing that it wants its Indian students to “stay on in the university”. A statement from the varsity read, “Missouri State University, a long-established university of

mid-west US, announces that the university values the presence of all Indian students. MSU wants Indian students to be in the university, to be engaged in university activities, and to be successful.” It said that following the travel ban decision made in January, the university has been engaged in one-on-one interactions with the interna-

tional students and has been guiding and supporting them. “At Missouri State University, there are 2,500 international students, all of whom have been given thorough support in every aspect.” In a statement, Associate VicePresident of the university's International Studies Department Stephen Robinette said, “We have wel-

comed Indian students for over 10 years and will continue to do so with the same zeal and enthusiasm.” Trump had signed an executive order in January, this year, clamping a travel ban on nationals of seven countries comprising Iraq, Iran, Syria, Yemen, Libya, Somalia, and Sudan for 90 days.

WORLD Asian Voice | 22nd April 2017

In Brief

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13-year-old accidentally kills self live on Instagram

WASHINGTON: A 13-year-old boy accidentally shot and killed himself live on Instagram as his friends watched in horror. Malachi Hemphill of Forest Park, Georgia, was found unconscious by his mother Shaniqua Stephens and her daughter after they heard a loud bang from his bedroom. “We kicked in the door. We found him just laying there in a pool of blood,“ Stephens recounted. “My daughter screamed and said, `Mom turn his phone off !' As I proceeded to look at his phone he was on Instagram Live,” she said. Hemphill was live on the social media site Instagram handling the gun when it went off.

Indian man commits 'suicide' in Sharjah

SHARJAH: A 52-year-old Indian man allegedly committed suicide in Sharjah by hanging himself in his room, a media report said. Officials said the man was identified as S.M. The body was found hanging in his room when police and forensic officers arrived at the apartment. According to the officials the man died at 8 pm as his family members were unaware of the incident and they thought he was sleeping. The body was taken to a forensic laboratory for investigation to determine the exact cause of the death, said officials.

16 killed in Lanka garbage dump collapses

COLOMBO: At least 16 people were killed and more than 600 others fled their homes after a massive mound of garbage collapsed on part of a poor neighbourhood near Sri Lanka's capital during festivities to mark the local new year, officials said. Four people were rescued from underneath the mound, but it was unclear whether any others were buried, said military spokesman Roshan Seneviratne. Seneviratne said 625 people whose homes were either destroyed or under threat were being housed in nearby schools.


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Double life sentence for killer of Indian American couple Asian Voice | 22nd April 2017

SOUTH CAROLINA: A man convicted of killing two elderly Indian-American motel workers in 2015, has received a double life sentence without the possibility of parole. Joshua Poacher, 22, who was convicted by a jury for murdering Hansaben and Kantibhai Patel, at the Best Western motel in Point South, South Carolina, on August 16, 2015, was also sentenced to 30 years in prison for armed robbery and five years for having a deadly weapon. The jury is reported to have deliberated for just 45 minutes on April 12, before finding Poacher guilty of the double murders. Before the verdict was delivered, Circuit Court Judge Lawton McIntosh told the court he

to a local restau“would sleep on rant to get someit” before handthing to eat when ing down he saw the Patels Poacher's senon the secondtence. Prosecutor floor balcony of Duffie Stone of the motel. He the Fourteenth asked them if they Circuit Solicitor’s had a light, and Office asked for a Kantibhai invited life sentence in him up. Poacher the heinous case. said he went into He heard from the couple's room, the convict's relaJoshua Poacher and when tives who said he Kantibhai saw his gun, he was a good man who had started to push him and made a terrible mistake. grabbed him. “I grabbed the Poacher himself addressed gun and just turned around the court in tears, apologisand fired,” he said in the ing to the victim's family. “I video. He said he had no know what I did was criminal intent when he wrong,” he said. “My intenentered the motel, also contion wasn't to go in there fessing he had a drug proband kill those people. I just lem and was likely coming fired 'cause I got scared.” off a high. He said he was walking

The Patels' murder was called a “cold-blooded execution” by Prosecutor Stone. “They were cowering in the back of their own home when they were shot and killed by the defendant.” Releasing a press release after the sentencing, Stone said, “Mrs Patel was bending over her dead husband when Poacher shot her in the back. Mr Poacher is exactly where he needs to be. Mr and Mrs Patel were truly innocent people. They were getting ready for work when they were gunned down. They hadn't even had time to put on their shoes.” He added, “To me, the way he killed her is inexcusable. I can't fathom anything worse than that.”

Nepal, China begin joint military exercise KATHMANDU: China and Nepal began their first-ever joint military exercises last week, in a move most likely to miff New Delhi as Beijing shows off its influence in the region. The 10-day drill programme in Kathmandu, dubbed 'Sagarmatha Friendship 2017' referring to the Nepali name for Mount Everest, will focus on counter-terrorism, as

informed by Nepalese army. Military spokesman Jhankar Bahadur Kadayat said, “This is in line with our efforts to hold joint exercises with countries that have diplomatic relations with Nepal.” The drills might be watched closely by India, which has been a major ally of Nepal since the Jawaharlal Nehru era, with the signage of the India-

Nepal Treaty of Peace and Friendship in 1950. While the landlocked Nepal remains dependent on India for the majority of its imports, its previous government had aggressively courted China as part of a nationalist drive. “Nepal and China share a multi-faceted tie and a joint military exercise broadens that relationship,”

said former Nepali ambassador to China, Tanka Karki. Chinese defence minister Chang Wanquan visited Nepal last month to discuss the joint military exercise. China has even granted several promises on Nepal, including a recently pledged $8.3 billion in investment, equivalent to nearly 40 per cent of its entire GDP.

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British tourist stabbed to death in Jerusalem

JERUSALEM: Officials said that a British tourist was killed when an Israeli Arab stabbed her near Jerusalem's Old City. The 25-year-old woman from Britain was stabbed while travelling on a tram. She was brought to the hospital in critical condition and was declared dead shortly thereafter, the hospital spokeswoman said. The stabbing occurred while hundreds of Christian pilgrims were recreating the Stations of the Cross to commemorate Good Friday. According to the police, the alleged assailant who was arrested was a 57-year-old Jamil Tamimi, an Israeli Arab from the Palestinian neighbourhood of Ras al-Amud in the occupied territory of East Jerusalem.

18 Syrian fighters killed in coalition air raid

WASHINGTON: An air strike by the American-led coalition fighting the Islamic State (IS) terror group killed 18 Syrian fighters allied with the US, the military said. The strike in Tabqah, Syria, was the third time in a month that American-led air strikes may have killed civilians or allies, and it comes even as the Pentagon is investigating two previous air strikes that killed or wounded scores of civilians in a mosque complex in Syria and in a building in the west of Mosul, Iraq.

Bangladesh executes HuJI chief, 2 aides

DHAKA: Bangladesh has executed banned Harkatul-Jihad al-Islami chief Mufti Abdul Hannan and his two associates for a 2004 attack on a shrine that killed three people and wounded the British high commissioner at the time. Hannan was hanged along with his accomplice Sharif Shahedul alias Bipul. His associate Delwar Hossain Ripon was executed in Sylhet jail. President Abdul Hamid had rejected their mercy petitions last week. Earlier, the authorities beefed up security in and around the Kashimpur jail.


WORLD Asian Voice | 22nd April 2017

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Protests in Pakistan against lynching of student

India to supply locomotives, train sets to Lanka railways

NEW DELHI: In the largest export order for any public transporter, Indian railways is all set to supply modern locomotives and train sets to Sri Lanka, worth £68 million. Rail India Technical and Economic Service (RITES), has secured its largest export order from Sri Lanka Railways for the supply of 10 broad gauge diesel locomotives and six diesel multiple units train sets. A senior Railway Ministry official said that ISLAMABAD: Protests led by civil society organisations were held in several parts of Pakistan to condemn the killing of university student Mashal Khan for allegedly “publishing blasphemous content online.” Demonstrations were conducted in Zaida village, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa as Khan was laid to rest. Slogans were raised against the university administration and the police. Demonstrators also demanded a judicial inquiry into the incident. Khan, 23, a student of journalism from Abdul Wali Khan University, was stripped, shot, and thrown down from the second floor of the hostel and brutally beaten to death by a mob last week. Over 20 people have been arrested in connection with the incident. “I want justice as my son was innocent. I cannot even imagine that he will have committed blasphemy,” said Mashal's father Muhammad Iqbal. His funeral was attended by over 1,000 people, including relatives, friends, and co-villagers.

However, none of his college students nor university officials marked their presence. His sister, while talking to the press, said it was a “conspiracy against my brother and it must be unearthed.” Awami National Party's Mardan President Himayatullah Mayar, meanwhile, has urged his party members to not comment on the killing until the issue was investigated. He met university students and was told that negligence on the university administration's part was what got Mashal killed. The mob stormed the university's Journalism and Mass C o m m u n i c a t i o n Department in search of Mashal Khan, Zubair Khan, and Abdullah, became violent, and shot him while critically injuring another. The university had earlier rusticated the three victims, over the complaint of committing blasphemy. Mashal had said that his Facebook account was hacked and was being misused. Several Pakistani polit-

ical leaders have condemned the incident, expressing their shock. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said he was “shocked and saddened by the senseless display of mob justice.” Pakistan Peoples Party chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari demanded the immediate arrest of the culprits. Proeducation activist Malala Yousafzai too condemned the murder, saying that the terrorising incident has brought disgrace to Pakistan. In a video posted on social media, Malala said, “Today I heard about the death of Mashal Khan. It is a very agonising incident... This incident alone has brought disgrace to our nation. I urge people to know your religion, values, and culture. They have always professed peace and tolerance.” She added, “We complain of Islamophobia and say that other nations are disgracing us. No one is doing that. It is us who are giving a bad name to our country. Islam does not tell us to be impatient and intolerant.”

Nepal braces for 'traffic jam' at Mt Everest KATHMANDU: Given a surge in the number of climbers this season, Nepalese officials are making preparations for a “traffic jam” at Mount Everest. According to the Department of Tourism, this year, there would be around 400 climbers who will embark on the journey to scale the 8,848 metrehigh mountain from midMay. As they are often accompanied by high altitude workers, who are usually more in numbers than that of climbers, there could possibly be around 1,000 individuals aspiring to conquer Everest. A local media news report said that a good weather means expedition teams will start climbing from camps two, three, and four, resulting in a “traffic jam”. Sonam Sherpa, who has scaled Mt Everest five times, said, “Everyone will be in a hurry to reach the

peak when the weather clears, there is no management up there to fix turns for the climbers. So there is a possibility of a traffic jam this year. Returning climbers in general have depleted stock of oxygen with them and they are exhausted, which means life hangs in the balance.” It is also highly likely that those with a 2014 permission will return to scale the peak this year. The government had introduced a new law allowing climbers a three years' window to scale Mt Everest with a single permit and

fare. Information officer at the Department of Tourism, Durgadatta Dhakal said, “This is the final year of the three-year period and the climbers who had taken permission earlier have also arrived to ensure that they do not miss the chance. That is why the number of climbers this season is so high.” Programme officer of the Everest Pollution Control Committee, Kapindra Rai said that 267 climbers have already begun trekking from Namche to the Everest base camp this year.

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all locomotives and train sets would be equipped with state-of-the-art technology and manufactured in Varanasi and Chennai. The contract will be funded under the Indian Line of Credit to Sri Lanka announced in 2011, and supplies will be made over the next two years. The total amount of assistance to the Sri Lanka Railways from India, has been over $1284 million. RITES, which also serves as the railways' export arm, is currently

executing a contract for the supply of eighteen locomotives to Myanmar Railways too. Besides providing expertise for setting up railway maintenance facilities and training for Sri Lanka's railway officials during 2008-12, RITES had also earlier exported 20 DMU train sets, and three locomotives to the island nation. Locomotives' supplies from Diesel Locomotive Works in Varanasi would be completed in 2017-18.

94 killed in Afghan bombing KABUL: Afghan officials said that 94 militants were killed in a massive US bomb blast targeting Islamic State’s regional affiliate. Ismail Shinwari, governor of Achin district in the eastern Afghan province of Nangarhar, where the 20,000-pound bomb struck, said there were no reports of civilian casualties. The dead included several leaders of the Islamic State affiliate, which is loosely connected to the main militant organization based in Iraq and Syria, Afghan officials said.

US military officials said the Massive Ordnance Air Blast bomb - dubbed the “mother of all bombs,” the largest non-nuclear weapon ever used in combat - targeted an underground network of caves and tunnels that Islamic State fighters had used for weeks to evade an ongoing operation by US and Afghan forces. The Afghan government said it had worked with the US military to coordinate the bomb strike, a sharp escalation of the U.S. fight against Islamic State in Afghanistan.But the use of

the massive weapon has also drawn criticism, including from former President Hamid Karzai, who told a gathering in Kabul that it amounted to “a national treason.” US helicopters continued to launch strikes near the village, providing cover for Afghan troops and US military advisors on the ground. The area in remote Achin district, close to the Pakistani border, is considered one of the main redoubts of a militant group estimated to number from 600 to 800 fighters.


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20 AIADMK ministers revolt against Dinakaran In Brief AsianVoiceNews

Asian Voice | 22nd April 2017

CHENNAI: A couple of ministers in Tamil Nadu have revolted against AIADMK Deputy General Secretary TTV Dinakaran's leadership following a tax raid on one of his henchmen, Health Minister C Vijayabaskar. Over 20 senior party functionaries, including 12 ministers, called upon Dinakaran at his residence in Chennai asking him and general secretary Sasikala who is currently serving jail term, to step down and make way for the O Panneerselvam group. They told Dinakaran that this would be the only way to reclaim the frozen “two leaves” symbol of the AIADMK, otherwise they will be playing into the hands of the Opposition which hopes the Edappadi government falls leading to

mid-term polls, they said. The rebels conveyed that OPS, given his brief stints as chief minister, has several supporters in the party and mass appeal. Dinakaran was told that the for-

TTV Dinakaran

Dinakaran booked on bribery charge

Police sources said that Dinakaran has been booked for allegedly trying to bribe the Election Commission for obtaining the party symbol for his faction. The development comes after the arrest of an alleged middleman from a five star hotel in South Delhi. Dinakaran’s name cropped up after the arrest of alleged

Telangana CM to work as coolie for 2 days HYDERABAD: Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, along with his cabinet colleagues, and other lawmakers of the Telangana Rashtra Samithi will work as coolies to raise money to attend the party's plenary and formation day public meeting scheduled to be held later this month. KCR declared 14 to 20 April as 'Gulabi Coolie Days'. The CM urged every party workers to work for at least two days to earn the money to meet transportation and other costs. The TRS will hold its plenary at Kompally near Hyderabad on 21 April while a massive public meeting is being planned at Warangal on 27 April to mark TRS' formation day. KCR said the party had 5100,000 members when the government was formed in 2014 and the number has now gone up to over 7500,000. TRS is expected to get £2.5 million as membership fee. Provoking a controversy,

K. Chandrasekhar Rao

KCR announced that the state government would follow Tamil Nadu model in implementing reservations for the state's Schedule Caste, Schedule Tribe and Backward Class population. In a cabinet meeting at Pragati Bhavan, he accepted the report prepared by State Backward Classes Commission on the socio-economic conditions of Muslims, and another report to increase quota for tribal population. KCR also announced that the hike in reservation for minorities would be done like it was done by Tamil Nadu and if the Centre does not respond positively, he will move the Supreme Court.

Amarinder too defends use of EVMs CHANDIGARH: After former union minister M Veerappa Moily, another Congress leader and Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has defended the use of electronic voting machine amid the party's allegation of EVM tampering. “If EVMs were fixed then I wouldn't be sitting here. The Akalis would be,” Amrinder said. Moily had found himself isolated in the Congress over his remark that going back to ballot paper would be a regressive step, with the party distancing itself from what it called his “personal opinion”. At the AICC briefing, senior Congress spokesperson Ghulam Nabi Azad said the entire party is of the view that something is wrong with EVMs and the Election Commission needs to satisfactorily address the issue. “If someone has said something, it is in his personal capacity,

mer CM has the capacity to carry everyone along with him, unlike him or Sasi, and proposed that the party after re-unification, can be run by a politburo. OPS could be the CM

let it be very clear on this. It is his personal opinion and not of the Congress,” Azad had said when asked about Moily's remarks. He said Moily was a signatory to the memorandum handed over to the President and was a part of the delegation seeking a revert to the ballot paper. “Congress and likeminded political parties have reached a conclusion that there was tampering with EVMs in Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and UP. We have substantial evidence based on which the 15-16 opposition parties met the EC. We gave substantial proof to EC. It said that our objections were wrong. It said that it would probe it. We have asked (the EC) to see how to rectify the flaws in EVMs (so) that the people should have faith that their vote goes to those they vote for,” Azad had said.

middleman Sukesh Chandrasekhar from a hotel on Sunday night. He approached Dinakaran and assured him that he could get the frozen two leaves symbol for his faction. Police said they recovered £130,000, which he was planning to use to bribe Election Commission officials.

and Edappadi, his deputy. However, reports are that Dinakaran turned down the 'request' and said he was willing to weather the storm. Along with tax raids and a slew of cases filed against other ministers, Dinakaran himself is facing two criminal cases regarding FERA violation. They will be heard on a day-today basis by an economic offences court in the city. The party deputy general secretary, however, dismissed the dissidence talk, calling it media inspired and said that the senior ministers were with him for consultation. The IT raids have proved severely damaging to the AIADMK, with it leading to the cancellation of the RK Nagar by-elections.

BJP opposes reservation on religious basis HYDERABAD: Union to another partition of the country. It will Minister Venkaiah bring disunity among Naidu has stated that the people. Social disthe implementation of ruption will also be reservations on the caused by that.” basis of religion, may Raises Muslim prompt social unrest quota to 12%: The in the country and Telangana governmay “lead to creation ment, meanwhile, of another Pakistan.” Venkaiah Naidu has passed a bill to Hinting at Telangana's increase reservation in jobs recent proposal to hike reserand education for backward vations for certain sections, Muslims to 12%, exceeding the Naidu who was speaking at a Supreme Court’s 50% ceiling BJP meeting, said, “the BJP for such benefits. The opposed such a move even Telangana Rashtra Samithi when Rajasekhar Reddy (late (TRS) government bulldozed CM of united Andhra Pradesh) its way, convening a special and Chandrababu Naidu (preassembly session on Sunday, a sent CM) also tried to do that. holiday, to pass the bill We will oppose any such move through a voice vote after because it will lead to the crehours of intense debate and ation of another Pakistan. It is suspension of five BJP legislaan all India policy of the BJP. tors who opposed religionIt is not the policy of based reservations. Backward Telangana unit of the BJP,” he Muslims in the new state are said. Naidu also added, already entitled to 4% reserva“Communal reservation will tion in educational institutions divide people on the commuand government jobs. nal basis. It will give demand

Cong seeks clarification from Canadian minister CHANDIGARH: Congress unit in Punjab has asked Canadian defence minister Harjit Singh Sajjan to clarify his stand on Khalistan. The statement came a day after Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said he would not meet him as he is a “Khalistani sympathiser”. State Congress leaders and MLAs released a statement saying, “It is important and in the interest of the good and friendly relationship between India and Canada that Sajjan clarifies his stand on this sensitive issue.” Alleging that the High Commission, instead of clarifying on the issue, has been trying to cover it up and put up a vague defence. “It is surprising that the High Commission has preferred to remain quiet on the specific issue that is of serious concern and consequences for the peace-loving Punjabis.” The leaders also advised Akalis and Aam Aadmi party leaders to try and

Harjit Singh Sajjan

be more loyal than defending Sajjan when he himself had not denied his association with Khalistani sympathisers and supporters. Senior Congress leaders and MLAs, including Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, Sukh Sarkaria and Navtej Cheema said, “Moreover, none of them has denied these charges, while leaders like Sukhbir Badal, Sukhpal Khaira and HS Phoolka have gone overboard in defending them for reasons best known to them.” The leaders asserted that the CM had only reiterated a fact, which Sajjan had not even bothered to deny.

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11-year-old passes class XII exam

HYDERABAD: “Child prodigy” Agastya Jaiswal is currently in the news for passing the Class XII senior secondary school exams six years prior his age. His father Ashwani Kumar said that he passed the examination with 63 per cent and claims that his son is the first person in the state to pass the exam at the age of 11. “I answered 300 questions at the age of 2 and 3,000 at the age of 6. I completed my class 10th at the age of 8 years,” Agastya said. “I don't mug up but understand and then write answers. I like to study in a playful atmosphere. I am being taught under chain-method of memory.” The boy does not attend regular classes, and instead, is homeschooled. He wants to become an IAS officer.

MLA threatens to behead those opposing Ram Temple

HYDERABAD: BJP MLA Raja Singh has threatened to behead those opposing construction of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya. He tweeted, “To those who warn of dire consequences if Ram Mandir is built. We were waiting for you to say this so we can behead you.” A controversial figure, Singh faces several charges and has been arrested on a couple of occasions. The remark came a day after Union Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti said that she was ready to go to jail for Ram temple in Ayodhya. Bharti had said, “Ram temple is a matter of belief for me and I have immense pride in it...If I have to go to jail for it I will go, if I have to hang myself for it, I will do it.”

Farmer suicides: Silence of TN govt shocks SC

NEW DELHI: A Supreme Court bench has took stern exception to Tamil Nadu's lack of “humanitarian concern”, and initiative in saving its farmers. The bench led by Justice Dipak Misra, said it was the duty of the State government to protect its farmers, many of whom have been protesting in the national capital for the past 31 days for relief. It also expressed its shock and alarm at the way Tamil Nadu government remained silent and didn't even “extend a finger” to help the starving ryots. The SC said the state government needs to “rise up to the occasion” instead of blaming everything from drought to loan sharks. “It is alarming to see that the State is still silent on this issue as farmers commit suicide,” Justice Misra said. The TN government has been directed to produce all records and files before the bench by May 2 and open it up for judicial inspection.

TV campaign to educate Americans about Sikhism

CHANDIGARH: A Sikh organisation, appalled by widespread ignorance of the religion, has launched a $1.5 million TV campaign to educate Americans about the faith and teach its values of tolerance and equality. TV commercials from the National Sikh Campaign that debuted on Baisakhi are consequential of Americans' perspectives of Sikhism and religion. “We needed to go beyond the narrative about hate crime and discrimination,” NSC cofounder Rajwant Singh said.

50 injured in students-police clash in Punjab University

CHANDIGARH: Over 50 people, including students, police personnel and journalists were injured as students, protesting massive fee hike for different courses, clashed with the police on the Punjab University campus last week. Authorities took over 50 students into custody, slapping sedition charges on all those indulging in violence. Police resorted to baton charge, use of water cannons and tear-gas to disperse the agitators who had gathered near the Vice Chancellor's Office complex. On the other hand, protesters pelted stones at the police and broke window panes and flower pots. The hike was being opposed by student organisations, including Panjab University Students Union, Students of Panjab University, and Students Organisation of India.


HERITAGE - HISTORY Asian Voice | 22nd April 2017

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Merger of a Hindu State Amarkot with Pak In 1946, Nehru went to Rana to invite in Congress, but he opted for League

Dr. Hari Desai The Indian Prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru had specially gone to Amarakot (now Umarkot in Sindh, Pakistan) to extend invitation to Rana Arjun Singh

The Present Rana Hamir Singh

Rana Chander Singh Sodha

Sodha, the ruler of a small princely state, to get associated with Congress Party. Amarkot was once the capital of Sindh. The Rana of 48.6 sq.KM jagir having population of 12,000, mostly Hindu, declined the offer. He conveyed Nehru in no unclear words that there had been a long association with the Muslim rulers of India and he would prefer to be with the Muslim League. Rana Arjun Singh contested the decisive 1946 elections on All India Muslim League ticket, resisting all pressures by the Congress to join it on the basis of being Hindu. His jagir was as such surrounded by the proposed Pakistan. A long historical background also made him not to toe Congress line. The population of India was 400 km away across the desert. His forefather, Rana Prasad, had extended protection and assistance to the Mughal Emperor Humayun when he was escaping the Afghan usurper Sher Shah Suri. Amarkot is the birthplace of Padshahzada Akbar, future Emperor of Delhi. Since the 24th Rana of Amarkot, Arjun Singh died in 1947, his son and the 25th Rana Chander Singh Sodha(1931-2009) merged his state with Pakistan. He never had to repent for since he was elected to the

National Assembly seven times from Umarkot and was also the Federal Minister of Agriculture and Revenue. He was close to Late President and PM Zulfikar Ali Bhutto as well as Benazir Bhutto. And was one of the founder member

and Jaisalmer of Rajsthan in India, there was a state called Amarkot, in today’s Sindh, Pakistan. Amarkot was 90 % Hindu during 1947 and still Hindu majority. Raja was Rana Chander Singh. Ruler was Hindu and State was also overwhelm-

Amarkot Fort

of Pakistan Peoples Party(PPP). Rana Chander Singh experimented a Pakistan Hindu Party(PHP) with a saffron flag bearing two ancient logos- Om and Trishool but had to give it up and returned to PPP fold. His son and the present 26th Rana Hamir Singh too was a Minister of Agriculture in Sindh Government. Hamir Singh married a lady from the Ajmer Royal family and has three daughters who are all married in Rajput clan in India. While going through the booklet “ The Myth of Kashmir Problem” published by RSS front organization, Jammu Kashmir Study Centre, curiocity was generated by the para : “Adjacent to Jodhpur

ingly Hindu majority. Amarkot was also the place where Mughal Emperor Akbar was born in 16th century.” Even today Ranas of Amarkot have live matrimonial alliances with former Indian Princely States. The male members of Rana family marry in India and their daughters are also married in India. The last Royal marriage held at Jaipur was of Kunwar Karani Singh Sodha, the grandson of Late Rana Chander Singh, with Padmini Singh Rathore of Kanota. It was reported that Jaipur saw such a royal wedding after 250 years in February 2015. Nearly 500 guests from Pakistan came apart from local royal guests like the Chief Minister of Rajsthan “Maharani”

The Birthplace of Emperor Akbar

Vasundhara Raje and her MP son Dushyant Singh attending it. Bena Sarwar of the Times of India in the “Aman Ki Asha” series gives an interesting account of Amakot history. Amarkot was later re-named after Umar, king of the Soomro dynasty(Umar-Marvi folktale fame). Even present Rana Hamir Singh is proud of his ancient lineage, Sindhi roots, language(Dhatki or Thari), and Sufi heritage linked to the dargah at Ajmer Sharif.It is this heritage that the Ranas traditionally identify with more than their Hindu beliefs.The Ranas see themselves as

least with the sacrifice of their ancestor Rana Rattan Singh who fought to keep Sindh free from British colonialism. The British captured and executed him in his own fort at Amarkot in 1853, on top of a high platform constructed especially to make the hanging visible for miles around and serve as an example. Legend has it that at the gallows, his last wish was to give a twist to his magnificent moustache in a final gesture of defiance. The Sindhi folk song “Mor tor tillay Rana” is based on his heroism. The story of Umar Marvi is also interesting. Marvi was a young Thari girl abducted by then ruler, Umar, who wanted to marry her because of her beauty. Upon her refusal she was imprisoned in the historic Umarkot Fort for several

Kunwar Karni Singh marries Padmini Kumari at Jaipur in February 2015

representative not just of the upper caste Hindu Rajputs, but of all the people in Thar, whatever their religion, caste or creed. They have proved their loyalty to these ideals multiple times, not

years. Because of her courage, Marvi is regarded as a symbol of love for one’s soil and homeland. After the British victory, the Sodhas moved to Rana Jagir, 12 km from Umarkot

to the sprawling singlestorey rawla the family built where their descendents still live. The fort has since then been government property and is in ruins, with only one of the outer walls partially restored. Close to the site where Rana Rattan Singh was martyred is a modest museum containing various artifacts and booksincluding a Persian translation of the Mahabharat. The present Rana Hamir Singh is rightly quoted saying : “ It was the late Rana Chander Singh who brokered the former Indian Prime Minister A. B. Vajpayee’s historic trip to Lahore to meet Nawaz Sharif, his counterpart. Then a Member of the National Assembly as well as a SAARC Committee member, Rana used his family ties with Jaswant Singh, the member of Vajpayee Cabinet, to get him convey the message to Vajpayee and convince him to make the trip. Earlier it was the Congress led by Rajiv Gandhi who said let’s have people to people contact, trade, and other confidence building measures. It is through confidence building that other disputes will be solved.” Rana Hamir Singh is bold enough to challenge his political rivals and is proud of his standing in Pakistan. He is not shy of speaking out in various interviews that without the presence of Muslims in his religious and other occasions, he is incomplete and vice versa. Rana recollects the railway line laid by Jodhpur Darbar up to Karachi and the flight service from Hyderabad of Sindh to Jodhpur in the past. He wants the relations between the people to be revived despite both countries being at loggerheads. He dreams of such confidence building measures where suspicion and enmity is faded out. Next Column : Prithviraj : The Last Hindu King of India ( The writer is a Socio-political Historian. E-mail: haridesai@gmail.com )

The Amarkot Fort where the British hanged Rana Rattan Singh in 1853


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Modi showers gifts on poll-bound Gujarat Hope for Indian boy with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to his home state ahead of polls, and Union Territory Dadra and Nagar Haveli in the weekend was full of mega roadshows, extravaganzas, gift showers and announcements. Modi's speeches steered evidently clear of national and international issues; focused on statelevel topics. After he arrived at Surat from Odisha on Sunday, the PM led an 11-km long mega roadshow that included around 15,000 motorcyclists, including women. Targeting his vote base; women, farmers, diamond artisans, milk cooperatives, tribal communities, and the youth, Modi showered several layoffs in Gujarat's richest city. He extended the deadline for procurement of pulses by a week, for farmers, by Central agencies at MSP

rates, in the wake of a bumper crop and a delayed crop cycle this year. Addressing a huge gathering of farmers and milk cooperatives at Bajipura, near Surat, he said the extension would help them sell their produce properly. Modi then inaugurated six Amul Dairy projects totalling £40 million. He also exhorted farmers to produce solar energy, honey, and bio-gas. Next at Botad, Saurashtra, PM praised the BJP government in Madhya Pradesh

which had organised a massive Narmada Yatra asking people to raise forests along the river. Dedicating an irrigation scheme to the people in Botad, he said the region was where BJP's predecessor Jan Sangh had controlled the municipal body in 1967. He also inaugurated the £50 million trust-run Kiran Hospital, where he asked doctors to encourage affordable generic drugs for the poor. “The NDA government has announced the National Healthcare

Policy 15 years after the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government's policy.” He added that the government has listed nearly 700 affordable generics for the poor, women delivering baby girls at the hospital will get free medical treatment, and their second girl baby will be paid Rs 100,000 when she turns 21. Modi also attempted to reach out to Muslims, giving strong statements against triple talaq and calling for measures to ensure that “socially backward” in the community got benefits from affirmative action for OBCs. “There are backwards in the Muslim community too. We must reach out to backwards in the community. These welfare initiatives are for those who have been deprived of benefits of government policies,” Modi said.

Australia abolishes visa programme popular with Indians In yet another blow to Indians aspiring to go abroad, the Australian government scrapped a visa programme used by over 95,000 temporary foreign workers, prominently Indians, in a bid to tackle the unemployment issue in the country. In an announcement made by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, it was known that the 457 Visa which allows businesses to employ foreign workers for up to four years, in skilled jobs, has been scrapped. “We are an immigration nation, but the fact remains; Australian workers must have priority for Australian jobs, so we are abolishing the 457 Visa, the Visa that brings temporary foreign workers into our country,” Turnbull said. He added, “We will no longer allow 457 visa to be passports to jobs that could and should go to Australians.” The visa will soon be replaced by another programme with new restrictions. “It is important that businesses still get access to

the skills they need to grow and invest, so the 457 visa will be replaced by a new temporary visa, specifically designed to recruit the best and brightest in the national interest,” the PM said. He has assured that the new programme will ensure that foreign workers are brought into Australia in order to fill critical skill gaps and not brought in because an employer finds it easier to recruit a foreign worker than go the trouble of hiring an Australian. The announcement, ironically came a few days after his visit to India where he discussed several topics including national security, counter-terrorism, education, and energy. Australia is the third country to implement new restrictions after UK and USA. US President Donald Trump, whose entire campaign sailed on his 'Buy American, Hire American' policy, stood true on his words as he recently took a foul aim at the country's IT sector; majorly ruled by

Indians. The Donald is all set to issue an executive order for a review of the H1B visa programme. In a whole new level of regulatory curbs, Trump's review of the order may just adversely affect the big chunk of Indian IT officials working in the Silicon Valley on H1B visas. A USbased tech website, Recode said, “In a forthcoming executive order, Trump will commission the Department of Homeland Security, which issues the popular H1B visa, to review the way they are rewarded. The agency is also instructed to suggest reforms so that visas only land in the hands of the highly paid, specially skilled applicants, and not foreign workers who might be paid less than their US counterparts.” In a similar case of strict visa restrictions, UK's move to impose restrictions on work visas, including the discontinuation of the short-term visa category, is set to impact at least 30,000 Indian software professionals.

The short-term visa was primarily being used by Indian IT services companies to send young engineers to work on projects in the UK. Termed as Tier 2 under the sub-category of short-term staff, these work visas ceased to be issued from last week. Shivendra Singh, Vice President and Head, Global Trade Development at Nasscom, said, “High-skilled worker mobility should be delinked from immigration because it is different from unskilled labour. We at Nasscom voiced concerns to the British government as well as the Indian government, but the UK decided to go ahead with its plans. Our companies are investing billions of pounds to skill locals and have been extensively hiring there as well.” The move was highly anticipated by IT companies since it was initially brought into the House of Commons last November, as part of proposed changes in immigration rules.

Snapchat tries to mollify Indian users After its CEO Evan Spiegel's “India is poor” remark, Snapchat is finally doing some damage control. The company completely refuted the reported claims of a former employee who alleged that Spiegel made negative comments about the Indian market by saying that the multimedia mobile app is for everyone and the company is “grateful” to its Indian users. Snapchat has strongly denied allegations by Anthony Pompliano, who claimed in a lawsuit that

the CEO had once shot down his suggestion to pursue growth in certain international markets. Pompliano alleged that Snapchat was “only for rich people” and that he didn't want to “expand into poor countries like India and Spain.” A company spokesperson said, “These words were written by a disgruntled former employee. We are grateful for our Snapchat community in India and around the world.” Pompliano was fired in 2015 just three

weeks after joining. His claims provoked an uproar in India, with users taking offense and uninstalling the app. However, in unfortunate circumstances, a case of mistaken identity made several people downgrade and uninstall the e-commerce platform Snapdeal instead of Snapchat. A group of hackers claimed to have leaked data of 1.7 million users, a move that came in retaliation to the remark. Indian hackers said they had found vulnerabil-

ity in the Snapchat database last year and had siphoned details of 1.7 million users. They leaked and made the database available on the darknet to mark their resentment towards Spiegel's remark. The claimed that they had never used the data before, but the CEO's “arrogance” had miffed them. They have also further threatened to carry out intensive strike against the company on the virtual world till the CEO apologises.

the world's biggest hands An eight year old boy went through dramatic surgery to reduce his disproportionately large hands. Mohammad Kaleem, who lives with his parents in a small village in Jharkhand, was born with a rare form of giantism, which saw his hands and arms grow until they weighed a colossal two stone between them. Not only the boy, but even his family had to go through superstitious neighbours in their remote village who believed his large hands were the result of a curse, and branded him a 'devil's child'. “The school teachers said they could not take Kaleem. They said his huge hands will scare other kids. So he was denied admission,” said his father, Mohammad Shamim. As the boy grew older it however became increasingly difficult for him to even carry out his daily chores like dressing himself, eating, and taking a bath. It was only when Kaleem's story made headlines in several international newspapers, that he finally received help from medical experts in south India. His condition was recognised as macrodactyly, or localised giantism. The family met with Dr Raja Sabapathy, a pioneering hand surgeon, who took on the challenge to help improve Kaleem's hands. Haleema Begum, Kaleem's mother said, “Dr Sabapathy gave us hope after seeing Kaleem. He

Mohammad Kaleem

was the first doctor who told us that some sort of remedy was possible to help our son.” In a new documentary on the family, it is revealed that the family travels thousands of miles from their village to Tamil Nadu, to see the doctor and his team of expert surgeons at Ganga Hospital, Coimbatore. It was one of the most complex cases as Dr Sabapathy was faced with finding a way to reduce the size of Kaleem's hands and fingers, without damaging any of his nerves. So that he would still be able to use them. “We decided to go for just one hand to begin with. This was our best way to assess the condition. At the same time, we did not want to affect the boy's mobility.” An eight-hour surgery was performed to debulk his forearm and hand, and further surgeries to reduce the growth plates so that his hand and fingers would not grow any further.

£100 mn for India's priciest film, 'The Mahabharata' A UAE-based Indian businessman is reportedly putting in £100 million to produce India's biggest ever motion picture, 'The Mahabharata'. To be produced in two parts, the ambitious projects will be directed by ad filmmaker VA Shrikumar Menon, and the shoot will begin in September 2018 with the film aimed to release in early 2020. B i l l i o n a i r e entrepreneur Bavaguthu Raghuram Shetty's organisation UAE Exchange and NMC Healthcare informed that the film will be shot in English, Hindi, Malayalam, Kannada, Tamil, and Telugu, and be dubbed in major Indian and foreign languages. In an announcement, it was revealed that the project will engage both Indian, and International artistes,

including Academy winners. “This film will have an identity across continents.” Padma Bhushan and Jnanpith Awardee MT Vasudevan Nair has written the screenplay. “I am confident that this film will be adapted in over 100 languages and reach over three billion people across the world,” Nair said. Menon, who has been researching for this project for the past few years, said, “We are fully geared to attain the next level of production quality and visual magic, as well as narrative wizardry with this initiative.” Meanwhile SS Rajamouli too plans a cinematic version of The Mahabharata and has reportedly discussed the idea with Aamir Khan, and considered Amitabh Bachchan for a key role.


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Cut Down on Trans Fats to Prevent Risks of Heart Attack Heart disease is one of the major causes of death in the world today. And there is no denying the fact that our lifestyle and diet choices are much to be blamed for the upsurge. While they may score high in terms of satisfying our taste buds, but they are nothing more that empty calories, being loaded with sugar, trans fat, artificial additives and preservatives, so on and so forth. Trans fat is one of the most harmful types of fats that is known to cause health problems, particularly heart diseases. And the more we really on such foods, the more we are putting ourselves at risk. According to a study done by Yale School of Medicine in New Haven, Connecticut, US, cases of heart attacks and strokes is less common among people

living in areas that restrict trans fats in foods compared to residents in areas without restrictions. The study’s lead author Eric Brandt said: "Our study highlights the power of public policy to impact the cardiovascular health of a population." Trans fatty acids, or trans fats, are commonly found in fried foods, chips, crackers and baked goods. Eating even minimal amounts is linked to a greater risk of cardiovascular disease. Some communities in the US - most notably New York City have eliminated the use of trans fats in restaurants and eateries in the recent years. To study the impact of restricting trans fats, researchers compared outcomes for people living in New York counties with and without the restrictions.

Using data from the state department of health and census estimates between 2002 and 2013, the researchers focused on hospital admissions for heart attack and stroke. They found that three or more years after the restrictions were implemented, people living in areas with the bans had significantly fewer hospitalizations for heart attack and stroke when compared to similar urban areas where no limits existed. The decline for the combined conditions was 6.2

per cent, said the study published in the journal JAMA Cardiology. "The results are impressive, given that the study focused on trans fatty acid bans in restaurants, as opposed to complete bans that included food bought in stores. If we enact a more complete restriction on trans fatty acids, it could mean even more widespread benefits for people," added senior author Tamar S. Polonsky, Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of Chicago.

Omega-6 Fats May Increase Diabetes Risk in Girls Omega-6 fats have been considered to be important, healthy fats. That was up until a while ago. Recently, there has been some confusion around the benefits and risk of Omega-6 fats. Omega-6 is fatty acid that belongs to the class of polyunsaturated fats. It cannot be produced in the body, therefore it is mostly derived from vegetable oils rich in linoleic acid such as

Laughter is the Best Medicine

sunflower oil, soybean oil and palm oil. According to a new study, published in the Journal of Nutritional

A neighbour finds a young boy sitting on the stairs crying. “What’s the matter, honey?” she asks him. “It’s my father,” the boy says, sobbing. “He hit his finger with a hammer.” “Then why are you crying?” she says. “Because first I laughed!” he answers. *** The family was viewing old slides and one flashed on the screen that caught everyone’s attention. My father wearing his favourite golf shirt, was holding me at the tender age of three weeks. The look on his face told all. “There’s my prize possession,” my father said. Touched, I smiled at him as he continued, “I wonder whatever happened to that golf shirt!”

*** A friend of mine has an adopted son who, at six-foot-one, loves to play basketball. The boy was applying to basketball camp, and a section of the application called for him to write a brief essay about himself. My friend got a lump in his throat as he read his son’s word: “Most of all I am thankful that I am adopted ... ” Then my friend got a cold dose of reality as he continued: “because my dad is so short.” *** My two daughters were discussing the less than desirable physical attributes they had inherited from their fahter. The older one: “I hate my freckles from Dad.” Her unsympathetic younger sister: “At least you got his freckles. I got his eyebrow.”

Biochemistry, high consumption of Omega-6 fats can induce sedentary behaviour in pre-teen girls an also increase their risk of developing diabetes. In previous studies, heart disease has been linked to high consumption of saturated fats - a notion which is being challenged by many health experts now. The new study claims that this may not have been the best decision. When it comes to fats, you don't really need to cut them out of your diet but choose the right kind. Saturated fats like desi ghee are healthy and good for you. Similarly, though MUFAs and PUFAs are

considered to be the good fats, you need to careful about what you pick. We go wrong when we choose foods like potato chips, energy bars, crackers or burgers use cooking oils like corn, sunflower and soybean and margarine which are rich in MUFAs and PUFAs but may not healthy at all. Go for nuts and seeds, olive oil, oily fish and poultry to get your doses of polyunsaturated fats. Health experts also advice to have a mix of fats and cooking instead of relying on one kind for a balanced diet. Keep changing your cooking oils and try to incorporate a variety in your diet.

| Asian Voice | 22nd April 2017

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Being Obese or Underweight Puts You at a Higher Risk of Migraine A new study shows that being obese and underweight both can increase your risk of having a migraine attack. Therefore, for people who are suffering from migraine it is critical that they maintain an ideal body weight and remain healthy. Migraine is a headache disorder in which people may suffer recurrent headaches that typically affect one half of the head and are pulsating in nature. These may often be accompanied with nausea and sensitivity to light and sound. There isn't any permanent cure for migraine as headaches can stem from a variety of causes. But a group of US scientists are suggesting that being fit and staying at a healthy weight may be the best way to beat migraine. The study appeared in journal of the American Academy of Neurology. According to them being obese or even being underweight - both put you at a higher risk of migraine. Researchers studies all the available papers on Body Mass Index (BMI) and migraine. A total of 12 studies with 2, 88, 981 participants were included in this meta-analysis. Obesity was defined as a BMI of 30 or higher while being underweight was defined as having a BMI of less than 18.5. The findings showed that people who were obese had a 27 per cent higher risk of developing migraine in comparison

to people with normal weight. On the other hand, those who were underweight were 13 per cent more likely to have migraine. Researchers also explain that the risk of obesity and migraine is more common in women and amongst the younger lot. This, they say, is probably because they carry more fat than men in their middle area which has been linked to chronic headaches. However, it is still not clear how the body composition can affect migraine. Researches believe it could be the activity of the adipose tissue which secretes a number of molecules that may trigger migraine. They also suspect other factors like medications, change in physical activity or depression to play a role in the risk of migraine. The exact cause of migraine remains obscure. It is believed that some kind of abnormal brain activity is to blame and it may also be triggered by tiredness or stress. But these reasons and the effects of migraine may differ from person to person. There are some home remedies like drinking ginger tea, inhale rosemary oil or applying nutmeg paste on the forehead that can help soothe a throbbing head.

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After Trisha, Nayanthara teams up with Nivin Pauly Am honoured to do a film with Sachin - Rahman

Asian Voice

22nd April 2017

W

i t h 'Premam' a c t o r Nivin Pauly's 'Hey Jude' opposite Trisha under production, buzz is that his new untitled project will see him pair opposite ace actress Nayanthara. The movie will also peg D h y a n Sreenivasan's directorial debut. A popular actor, Dhyan is the son of legendary actorscreenwriter Sreenivasan and brother of acclaimed director V i n e e t h Sreenivasan.

South Indian actress to act in Majid Majidi's film

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cclaimed Iranian filmmaker Majid Majidi is in the works of making a film about Indian lives. 'Beyond The Clouds', produced by Zee Studios and Eye Candy Films, is an Indian story based on human relationships, covering nuances for an adorable brother-sister relationship. Majidi is apparently going all out for his first Indian story, bringing India's best technicians and young artists on board, along with veteran South Indian actress GV Sharada. A spokesperson

from Zee Studios and Eye Candy Films said, “It was amazing to see such a seasoned actress have her level of enthusiasm. She

Prabhu Deva becomes lyricist

went through the entire casting process just like anyone else wanting to do the role would- meetings, screen tests- the works.

She was even asked to lose some weight, which she took up and did with so much grace.” Speaking about the role, Sharada said, “I am so glad to be making my comeback after 15 years for a director who I consider as a cinematic God, Majid Majidi and, for a story as beautiful as 'Beyond The Clouds'. I am extremely thrilled and look forward to work with such a phenomenal team- both artists and technicians and the wonderful team at Zee Studios and Eye Candy Films.”

W

ith 'Kaatru Veliyidai' releasing to full houses across the country, music maestro AR Rahman is just relieved that he did his job well. He said he was always tired before film releases but eventually was satisfied that he did his job well. Talking about his mentor Mani Ratnam, he said, “In the industry, people treat you with respect when a couple of films become a hit and those same people will deride you when you give flops. But Mani sir always treated me the same, and it is the same for a cameraman or editor or other technician. When we see an artiste for the first time, we get the impression that he will reinvent himself and as for Mani Ratnam, his visuals, storytelling, etc., will be so new that even I am forced to give my best for him to match up.” About 'Kaatru Veliyidai', he said, “Mani sir has shown the life of an air force officer, which has

never been told before and I am fascinated when listening to my songs played with the magnificent atmosphere created in the film.” On the work front, Rahman will be rendering songs to Rajinikanth's '2.0'. When asked about his journey with Sachin for his biopic…Rahman (Laughs). I don’t even know how to hold a bat but am honoured to do the film in which many unknown aspects of his life are revealed and is one of the most inspiring movies I ever did. I have done three songs for the film and have still not got the feedback from the cricketing legend.”

I thought about suicide, Dileep opens up

E

verybody loves Prabhu Deva- the actor, director, choreographer, producer and multi-tasker. Currently acting in 'Yang Mang Sang' directed by debutant MS Arjun, Prabhu has reportedly turned lyricist in the film and penned the introductory song 'Ayyamaaru Vandhuttanga Inga paaru'. Yet another feather to his very big hat, the song has already been composed by Amresh, and is being shot in Kumbakonam with 150 dancers.

A 'Maatr'

U p c o m i n g revenge thriller film featuring Raveena Tandon, written by Michael Pellico.

Kamal Haasan to make his television debut?

K

amal Haasan has been confined to his home after he fractured his legs following an accident. The fractured leg has kept him in hibernation for a few months now and his ‘Sabaash Naidu’ too has been stalled indefinitely. It is being reported that the Ulaganayagan has been advised further rest after the fire accident recently at his home and it looks like it will be some time

before he faces the movie camera. In the meanwhile, Kamal is said to have given his nod to the Tamil version of Bigg Boss reality show for a huge remuneration.

'Noor'

A drama film feat u r i n g Sonakshi Sinha as a journalist.

ce actor Dileep opened up about his life in a recent interview, discussing topics ranging from his exwife Manju Warrier to the 'Bhavana incident'. The latter was abducted and molested in a running car, and lately blamed Dileep to be part of the group. The two have for years been openly hostile towards each other, making their displeasure public. “It was me who offered her a cameo in my film 'Thilakkam'. At that time she was just one film old and was not a leading lady in the industry. Since then, she has acted as my heroine in almost 6 or 7 films and in each one of them it was me who recommended her for the role, not the director or the producer. Those were the roles any other heroines could have easily done. After some years, I noticed changes in her behaviour and found it difficult to adjust with her, thus refrained from casting her in my films,” the actor said.

Talking about the allegation, he said he was in the hospital the day Bhavana was abducted, “On hearing the news, I immediately called the family and expressed my support. It was only two days later I saw many fingers being pointed towards me. I was stunned and did not know how to react, I became so depressed that I even thought about suicide. But then my daughter's face came to my mind and I thought about how it would be for her without me.” The 'My Boss' actor added, “There were many people who deliberately wanted to attack me, my body was not harmed but my soul was attacked from all sides. What did I do to be attacked like this? The owner of a big advertisement firm has said that he would kick me out of this industry. I believe in God and believe that if we set out to destroy someone, it will end up destroying ourselves.” He alleged it was a calculated attack on his image.


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Katrina to undergo rigorous training

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'Begum Jaan' rejection by Pak board hurts Mahesh Bhatt

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ctor Salman Khan believes that actresses today need to learn from yesteryear divas on how to be friends with their peers. “Waheeda (Rehman) aunty and we live in the same compound, Helen aunty they all have been so close. Today's girls should also learn from them. From Saira (Bano) aunty, Asha aunty to Shammi aunty an Sadhana aunty, they all have been

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he has killer moves! Actress Katrina Kaif will undergo an extensive combat training to perform stunts in her next with Salman Khan, 'Tiger Zinda Hai'. In a press statement, director Ali Abbas Zafar said, “Katrina will be going through a rigorous training programme in hand-to-hand fighting along with Kali knife fighting with specialised trainers from the UK and LA.” The actress is currently shooting for a musical song for her upcoming 'Jagga Jasoos' and will start her training from April 20. She will shoot for some highoctane action sequences along with Salman Khan at a studio in Mumbai and other foreign locations.

Deepika opts out of the movie starring Shah Rukh

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hah Rukh Khan and Deepika Padukone make a great on-screen pair and their chemistry has wooed fans more than once. After 'Om Shanti Om', 'Chennai Express', and 'Happy New Year', the two were touted to come together yet again, in Aanand L Rai's next Bollywood venture. However, a recent report cited that Deepika has opted out of the project. “While Deepila was quite keen on doing the film, unfortunately, her dates were clashing with those allotted to Sanjay Leela B h a n s a l i ' s 'Padmavati'. Since she has already committed her dates to SLB's historical, she has had to say no to Aanand L Rai,” a source said. Shah Rukh will reportedly play the role of a dwarf for the very first time, in the movie.

Today's actresses need to learn on how to be friends: Salman

Asian Voice | 22nd April 2017

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he latest in the list of films to not release in Pakistan, is Vidya Balan's 'Begum Jaan'. Producer of the movie, Mahesh Bhatt said, “I was told by my distributor that Pakistan, as a policy, does not permit the import of films dealing with the issue of Partition. I requested the key officer of the Pakistan censor board to at least view the film and then take a decision. I was assured they would look into the matter. Sadly, I have not heard from them since. My distributor informs me that his office has been intimated that 'Begum Jaan' won't be imported into Pakistan.” Hurt by Pak board's decision, Bhatt said, “I did not look at Pakistan just as a market to sell my

wares. Yes, when 'Begum Jaan' was not viewed by their Censor Board, I was ridiculed by some of my close associates. That did hurt.” Shah Rukh Khan's 'Raees' and Taapsee Pannu's 'Naam Shabana' were rejected by the Pak Board this year. 'Begum Jaan' Director Srijit Mukherjee said, “It is the rule of someone's land which must be respected. Unfortunately, the common thread binding these two nations is the history and Partition is the integral tragedy connecting us. All the hatred can be traced back to it. Understanding and analysing it from a human view would help but it’s a pity they don’t want to. They are touchy and sensitive about this issue.”

Nargis Fakhri wants to do a lot more in life

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ilms are not the only aim in actress Nargis Fakhri's life, she wants to pursue other things including meeting new people and learning new things. “Acting is not the only thing... I want to do a lot in life. When you are on sets you are always acting, you are not interacting with people in life and not learning anything new. There is so much more to learn and do different things in life. I want to balance things by doing acting and other things,” she said in an interview. “I am a different person. I like to cook, plant flowers, and travel. I like to live life. I want to explore other things but not related to cinema as such. I would want to be a public personality on television or do something different,” she added. With three movies, 'Azhar', 'Housefull 3' and 'Banjo' last year, Nargis has decided to go slow. “Last year I did four films and it's damn tiring. I will never do that again. I will go slow now on. One film a year will be amazing.” “The positive side is you see you are so popular. I did not know I was so popular. I felt I am like a regular person and nobody likes me. But when I see social media and the good comments and when I go out and people talk sweet things to me, I feel overwhelmed. There is a negative side as well.”

really close, it's something you don't see any more. I think it was the best quality their generation had. We lack that quality today.” Speaking at the launch of Asha Parekh's biography 'The Hit Girl' in Bandra, Salman talked about his bond with the actress and said she was very dear to him. “I am really pleased that I am here at the book launch,” he said.


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Asian Voice | 22nd April 2017

Experts say number of tech-savvy student cheats on the rise in UK More students in the UK are using technology to cheat, according to data released to The Guardian, and experts say the actual figures are likely higher, given how easy it is to hide some of the gadgets used. Cheating using tech devices jumped 42 percent over the last four years, the report said, citing the data obtained through freedom of information requests. Offenders used everything from mobile phones, smart watches and hidden earpieces to outsmart invigilators during exams – and it is believed many got away with it. “These figures are only

going to show what’s been detected. Students who cheat well won’t always get caught, especially now there’s so much mini-tech out there that are hard to spot,” said Thomas Lancaster, an associate dean at Staffordshire University and one of the UK’s leading experts on cheating. Between 2012 and 2016, the number of such cases grew from 148 to 210. Those caught cheating last year had used electronic devices, though the universities were unable to specify which devices were used. For the schools that knew, most said the cheaters used

mobile phones. Queen Mary University of London recorded among the greatest number of offenders – two-thirds of the 54 cheating cases there were committed via technology. Others like University of Surrey had 12 such cases out of their 19 cheating incidents, while at Newcastle University, almost half (43 percent) of the 91 reported cases involved technology. Suppliers of these devices say students buy from them because they see no point in how the education system, especially exams, are structured these days.

Women drivers on the rise A record number of women-owned cars took to Britain's roads, last year according to a poll conducted by the Department for Transport (DfT). 37 million vehicles were registered by women at the end of last year, compared to 11 million the previous year. Ownership rates among women increased almost three times as fast as those for men in the 20

plus age bracket. The breakdown of the 'macho' stereotype, improved affordability and the flexibility and independence that it offers led to more twovehicle households – signifying that second cars in the household are more likely to be regis-

Coming Events

l Sree Sree Thakur Anukul Chandra has organised a Satsang on May 7, 6,30 pm onwards, at Reading Hindu Temple, 112 Whitley Street, Reading RG2 0GD

l Friends of Sangam invites you to their 'Delete your Memory to Gain Peace' journey with Samani Dr Pratibha Pragya, and Samani Unnati Pragya, on April 26, 7.30 pm to 9.30 pm, at Sangam Centre, 210 Burnt Oak Broadway, Edgware, HA8 OAP l The Bhavan presents Chitrangada- The Warrior Princess by Rabindranath Tagore, on April 23, 7 pm onwards.

Maa Charity Trust, UK organised a faith gathering on Tuesday 11th April at The Hindu Cultural Centre in North London to voice collective expression of abhorrence at the Westminster attacks in London in March, to offer prayers for the victims and appreciative thanks for the emergency services. Invited speakers included Varshaben Mistry Chairperson of The Metropolitan Police Hindu Association, Right Hon. Theresa Villiers, MP for Chipping Barnet and Truptiben Patel, President of the Hindu Forum of Britain (HFB) and, Shashibhai Vekaria Patron, HFB and Haribhai Halai. Rajnikant Jani (Maa Charity Trust) spoke of the untimely deaths of the victims and the irreparable pain and the suffering of the families and in particu-

tered by women. Steve Goodling, director of the RAC Foundation said to The Times “the increase in women drivers and car owners is a reflection of societal changes over many decades that has led to more women than ever being in employment and enjoying financial independence.”

A company of four British/ South Asian actors will take roles in new play No Dogs, No Indians, which examines three generations of resistance, sacrifice and discovery at the end of the British Empire in India and in the years that followed. The play draws on the tragic and little known story of Pritilata

Winner of Rang Rangeela Gujjubhai competition is Vikas Wadhwani The organisers of the event will get in touch with you directly.

Sneh Joshi

house of finance, and your focus is on material affairs and comfort issues. This is a good time to plan your future investments carefully to maximise your profits. If travelling make sure you keep your documents safe as there is a possibility of misplacing them. Some of you might change your travel itinerary.

TAURUS Apr 21 - May 21 The Sun transits your first house and this affects your personal identity, appearance, outward behaviour, and self-expression. This marks the peak of your physical solar cycle, and you are in the position to make an impression on others, and to assert your personal influence. Increased energy and a renewed feeling of confidence is with you now, so take advantage of your charisma to achieve your goals. GEMINI May 22 - June 22 The Sun travels through your

twelfth house now, marking a time of retreat and regeneration. This also heralds a time for research and unfinished behind-thescene activities. Matters which have dragged on for a while should now be re-assessed and put to rest. Some of you will be looking to spiritual enlightenment and take up yoga and meditation. The Sun illuminates your sector of friends, social gatherings and group activities. You will be in constant demand and will be in a position to network with new-found friends who will promote your cause. Personal relationships are also to the fore and some of you might even find true love. This is a time to follow your dreams and ideals.

lar the bravery of PC Keith Palmer and the emergency services. Varshaben Mistry read a message from Neil Basu, the Deputy Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police emphasising the importance of vigilance in the community and further stated how important this prayer meeting was to convey the thoughts of the community. The Right Hon. Theresa Villiers, spoke of

the futility of violence where ordinary people going about their everyday lives became victims. The Met Police were represented by Constables Laura Perrin and Dean Knight very movingly stated that PC Keith Palmer ‘’was of one of us and he died for us’’. Councillor Sury the Deputy Mayor for Barnet expressed the desire for communities to work together to bring about understanding.

Casting announced for Siddhartha Bose’s ‘No Dogs, No Indians’

COMPETITION WINNER

ARIES Mar 21 - Apr 20 The Sun highlights your second

CANCER Jun 22 - Jul 22

Prayers held at Hindu Cultural Centre in memory or Westminster attack

Completing the cast is Archana Ramaswamy, best known for her roles as Hippolyta & Titania in the Royal Shakespeare Company’s critically acclaimed 2006 Indian A Midsummer Night’s Dream, a multilingual version directed by Tim Supple.

The UK’s leading Vedic writer and TV personality

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

LEO Jul 23 - Aug 23

You are feeling most adventurous and willing to achieve higher knowledge and spiritual growth. This is a good time to broaden your horizons through travel and higher learning. This may take you to far off lands in pursuit of your new-found goals. You must distance yourself from the mundane grind of life and take on something which is more meaningful for your inner growth.

VIRGO Aug 24 - Sep 23

The Sun energizes your sector of change, transformation and regeneration. On a more practical level, you may be dealing with joint finances and shared resources now more than usual. You should also make sure that your tax affairs are in order. You are more willing than usual to explore and delve deeper into life's secrets and arrive at meaningful conclusions.…

LIBRA Sep 24 - Oct 23

As the Sun transits your seventh house, you have a greater need than usual to be in a relationship. The emphasis is on "us" rather than "me". Social interactions of a personal nature are highlighted. This is likely to be an extremely busy time for most of you. Use tact and diplomacy in your dealing, otherwise you are likely to come across as over confident and egotistical.

SCORPIO Oct 24- Nov 22

Waddedar, a female philosophy graduate who joined a revolutionary group in pre-independence India. The role will be taken by Komal Amin, who previously worked with Kali Theatre and Strongback Productions. Omar Khan joins the cast as Shyamal. Also casted is Navinder Bhatti who has performed at venues including the National Theatre (King Lear), Nottingham Playhouse, (The Revenger’s Tragedy) and Chichester Festival Theatre (Ross).

020 8518 5500

SAGITTARIUS Nov 23 - Dec 21 The Sun moves into your solar sixth house, the accent shifts to your job interests and physical welfare. Do not try to rush projects to completion - pace yourself sensibly. At the moment, relationships are experiencing major transformations - those with shaky foundations should be extra careful.

After a period of relative inactivity, you are coming out of your shell, ready to perform and to express yourself creatively. This is a very progressive period of the year, when you are inspired emotionally. You take more pride in your love affairs, your children, and your hobbies and you are generally very sociable and make friends easily.

CAPRICORN Dec 22 - Jan 20

With the Sun transiting your solar fourth house of family and home, these areas are highlighted during this period. Buying or selling of property or even renovating it will be uppermost in your mind as you will be trying to put your roots down permanently. It is also a time when family life will be charged with emotions so be diplomatic and respect other people's views.

AQUARIUS Jan 21 - Feb 19

You are exploring and searching now, making connections, and paying attention to your immediate environment. Socially you are very popular and your communications strengthen your connections. You will be busy with errands, paperwork, phone calls, and light socializing. Siblings, close relatives and friends may play an important role in your life during this period.

PISCES Feb 20 - Mar 20


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India beat Malaysia to win Asian school hockey championship AsianVoiceNews

The India School team registered an emphatic 5-1 win against Malaysia to win the 5th Asian School Hockey Championship at the Aishbagh Hockey Stadium in Bhopal. Alishan Mohammad continued to have a good outing in the Championship as he gave India an early lead with a stunning field goal in the 12th minute. India's next two goals came in the 20th and 23rd minute when Pratap Lakra successfully converted a penalty corner and a penalty stroke respectively. This took India's lead to an impressive 3-0. Though Malaysia scored a field goal through Akhimullah Anuar Esook M in the 32nd minute, Alishan Mohammad scored his second goal of the match in the 34th minute and earned his team a comfortable 4-1 lead at half-time. Maninder Singh scored in the 38th minute while the team's defenders did well to keep Malaysia from

Bangla team concedes 92 runs in four balls!

A Bangladeshi cricket team conceded 92 runs in just four balls to deliberately lose a match in what they called a protest over biased umpiring in their league. In the 50-over match of Dhaka Second Division League, Lalmatia Club were dismissed for just 88 off 14 overs before opponents Axiom Cricketers reached 92-0 off just four balls. Lalmatia's opening bowler Sujon Mahmud sent down 13 wides and three no-balls in the first over and all of them raced to the boundary, costing his side a further 80 runs. Axiom opener Mustafizur Rahman struck three fours in four legitimate boundaries to take his side home in just 0.4 overs to complete a 10-wicket win in the capital's City Club ground. Lalmatia Club secretary Adnan Rahman said his player bowled the wides and no-balls deliberately as a mark of protest for poor umpiring. “Throughout the league we were subjected to poor umpiring,” Adnan said. The secretary alleged the umpires did not even allow the team captain to see the coin after toss. “They tossed the coin and said: Okay you bat. Very soon we found our team had lost five wickets for just 11 runs inside seven overs,” he said.

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scoring another goal to end the match with a stunning 5-1 victory and enthral the home crowd. Malaysia had to settle for a second place finish. In the match for third and fourth place, Singapore beat China 3-1 in a nail-biting shootout after the two teams ended the regulation time in a 1-1 stalemate. It was Jharen Glen Yap, Kai Cong Chua

and Yixuan Ooi who scored for Singapore in the shootout while their keeper Bing Hong Kwa was exceptional with his goalkeeping abilities as he made three important saves to help Singapore finish third. Zhigiang Wu was the lone scorer for China in the shootout. Earlier in the regulation time, China took the lead in the 38th minute with a field goal by Lele

Zhang. Singapore scored an equaliser through a penalty corner strike by Jharen Glen Yap in the 49th minute and eventually held their nerve in the penalty shootout to push China to fourth place. In the fifth and sixth placing match, Sri Lanka beat Thailand 4-1. Ali Akram Amjad gave an early lead for Sri Lanka with a 13th minute goal while Ashan Bandara scored in the 31st minute to take their lead to an impressive 2-0. Thiran Shashintha converted a penalty corner in the 38th minute putting Thailand under pressure. Ashan scored his second goal of the match in the 59th minute to ensure Sri Lanka marched to victory and finish the Championship at fifth position. Anucha Yodsaeng was the lone scorer for Thailand who converted a penalty stroke in the 67th minute. Thailand ended their campaign in Bhopal with a sixth place finish.

Chennai youths keep eye on ball, break Guinness record Two Chennai -based footballers Pradeep Ramesh and Raghul Raja have become proud owners of Guinness world records. Ramesh, 27, a resident of Thiruvanmiyur, made 284 consecutive football touches on his knees, while Raja, 21, a resident of Chromepet, made 117 eyeto-eye rolls with a football, the most anyone has managed in a minute. The previous records were 250 and 98 respectively. The duo attempted the world record on December 25, 2016 and received their certification from the USbased organisation last week. Ramesh, a former footballer-turned-freestyle coach, said the records would help build his academy's brand. "I run a freestyle coaching academy called PRSoccerArt. We conduct weekend classes at Nageswara Rao Park in Mylapore and at the Elliot's Beach in Besant Nagar. Having a world record in my name will help me market the academy and myself better," he said.

Pradeep Ramesh and Raghul Raja

It was Ramesh who mentored Raja into the world of freestyle football. Having watched videos of Ramesh competing at the Red Bull street style competition in 2012, Raja interacted with him over Facebook. Both credit Brazilian football icon Ronaldinho for inspiring them to take up the pursuit. "It (freestyle) is more than just juggling," Raja explained. "Sometimes, it is irritating to have to explain that to people," he said. Ramesh, who has delivered TED talks on freestyle football in Chennai and Trichy, has worked with Bollywood

IPL, 2017 - Points Table Teams Kolkata Knight Riders Mumbai Indians Sunrisers Hyderabad Delhi Daredevils Kings XI Punjab Rising Pune Supergiant Gujarat Lions Royal Challengers Bangalore

Mat 5 5 5 4 5 5 4 5

Won 4 4 3 2 2 2 1 1

Lost 1 1 2 2 3 3 3 4

film actors Akshay Kumar and Ranveer Singh, coaching the duo for brief scenes in `Houseful 3' and a TV commercial respectively. The duo have performed during ISL and Premier Futsal opening ceremonies. The duo also market their talents through the YouTube channel PRSoccerArt which has several videos offering a step-by-step guide to freestyle football. Having achieved one record, the duo do not plan to rest on their laurels. "We're working to break four more world records at present," Ramesh said. Tied 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

NR 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

Pts 8 8 6 4 4 4 2 2

NRR +1.013 +0.302 +0.549 +1.635 -0.302 -0.942 -1.084 -1.095

SPORT

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Visually impaired Indian completes Boston Marathon Asian Voice | 22nd April 2017

Sagar Baheti

Bangalore-based Sagar Baheti has become the first visually impaired Indian runner to complete the historic Boston Marathon, the world's oldest, most competitive and the hardest marathon to qualify for. Supported by the Massachusetts Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired (MABVI), the 31-year-old Baheti travelled to the USA and became the first visually impaired Indian to participate in the famous marathon. With assistance from an old college friend, Boston-based Devika Narain Aerts, Baheti finished the 121st Boston Marathon as one of 30,000 runners on a blisteringly hot Monday. The 2017 Boston Marathon has been recorded as the second hottest in a decade. Baheti completed the approximately 42.16 km distance in just over four hours. Watching from close quarters were his parents, Vishnukanta and Naresh Baheti, who travelled from India to support their son.

Eoin Morgan signs up for SA T20 tournament Eoin Morgan

England limited overs captain Eoin Morgan has joined as one of eight "marquee" players for South Africa’s new d o m e s t i c Twenty20 competition to be played in November and December this year. Cricket South Africa (CSA) announced that Morgan has signed up for the first two seasons of the tournament, along with two South African-born past and present England internationals, Kevin Pietersen and Jason Roy. A trio of leading West Indies limited overs players, Chris Gayle, Dwayne Bravo and Kieron Pollard, will also feature, as well as ex-New Zealand batsman Brendon McCullum and Sri Lanka seamer Lasith Malinga. The eight will be distributed among the as yet unnamed teams via a draft system similar to that in the Indian Premier League. Each team will have 17 players in their squad, with a maximum of four from outside of South Africa. CSA are inviting interest from prospective team owners with the deadline for submissions on April 28. Overseas players are also able to register their desire to join the draft, with the competition set to go head-to-head with the troubled Bangladesh Premier League and Dec. 16 pencilled in for the final. “We are thrilled with the responses we are receiving from prospective team owners. No doubt this is a once in a lifetime opportunity for both bidder and city,” CSA CEO Haroon Lorgat said in a statement.

At 82, Hyderabad veteran is swimming to glory

The 82-year-old Om Autar Seth took to swimming as a regular form of exercise. The veteran, who has been battling asthma for nearly 50 years, took it up with such gusto that he is travelling from Hyderabad to New Zealand to compete in the World Master Om Autar Seth Games. Seth, who turned a professional swimmer after a 20-year-long stint at Steel Authority Of India Limited, prefers to spend hours perfecting his strokes at local swimming pools and raking in gold medals at swimming competitions. "It was only 15 years ago that I started to taking the sport seriously. Even though I am 82, I am capable of swimming for nearly one hour without breaks. I recommend swimming to all those suffering from asthma," said Seth. "I am participating in the 400 and 800 metre freestyle categories at Auckland. This is the first time I am participating in an international sporting event," said Seth, who has won prizes at national-level swimming competitions held by the Swimming Federation of India in Trivandrum, Bhopal and Indore.


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Pandey, Pathan power Kolkata with last-over win

Manish Pandey and Yusuf Pathan rebuild the tattered Kolkata Knight Riders innings and won the match against Delhi Daredevils in New Delhi. In the end the Daredevils found that scoring 168-7 and snapping up three Kolkata Knight Riders batsmen by the third over was not sufficient to win the match for them. Pandey looked at ease even as the potent Daredevils attack hung in there as the pressure swivelled back on KKR by the last over of the match. But Pandey wasn't going to give in with nine runs remaining off the final six balls and eventually finished it off with a ball and four wickets to spare. The innings of 69 off 49, in terms of strikerate and entertainment, wasn't jaw-dropping. Five-run win for Hyderabad: Many teams have succumbed to their ability to defend low totals and it was the turn of Kings XI Punjab, when David Warner's unbeaten 70, Bhuvneshwar Kumar's crippling blows, upfront and at `death' during his five for 19, and the Afghan duo's brilliant comeback after expensive first overs, sealed a five- run win for Sunrisers Hyderabad. Mumbai Indians beat Gujarat by 6 wickets: Mumbai: The Mumbai Indians, it seems can do little wrong at the moment. Even when their bowling talisman Lasith Malinga goes for 51 in his four overs, the most he has ever conceded in his 101-match IPL career, they can find a way to win. His under-study, Jasprit Bumrah, another bowling star for MI over the years, conceded 45 in his four overs. Together, the pair of MI's go-to bowlers, went for 96 in their eight overs. It was a major factor in the Gujarat Lions getting to 176 for 4, which seemed above par on a dryish pitch after they were put in to bat in the 16th match of the IPL at the Wankhede on Easter Sunday. Yet, MI found a way to get past the Lions by six wickets and three balls to spare to win their fourth match on the trot to go past

Kolkata Knight Riders and the top of the table with eight points from five games. Pune back to winning ways: Bengaluru: Royal Challengers Bangalore faltered on home turf yet again, losing to Rising Pune Supergiant by 27 runs in their IPL match in Bengaluru on Sunday night. It was their second straight defeat at home and they are lunguishing at the bottom of the table. It was a muchneeded victory for Pune who had lost their last three matches. Set to get 162, RCB never got going as Pune put up an impressive bowling performance and finished at 134-9. RCB's chase was undone primarily by the fact that both Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers could not stay at the wicket long enough to produce a substantial knock. Delhi live up to top billings: The top of the order innings played by Sam Billings ensured that Delhi Daredevils scored a 51-run win over Kings XI Punjab at the Ferozeshah Kotla. The 40 ball 55 had not let the visitors to settle into a tempo in the first innings. The array of shots and maturity must have tickled the grey cells of national team skipper Eoin Morgan, on the other side on the night, as he plans for the Champions Trophy following the IPL. They say a good opening burst up sets up the foundation for a strong team performance. The Delhi supports staff has spent enough time in grooming and working on Billings the opening batsman and Zaheer Khan has

spent enough time in the field of top-flight cricket to ease the nerves in the otherwise an inexperienced Daredevils dugout. Spinners star for Kolkata: The re-laid Eden Gardens track changed its character in the summer heat much to the delight of the Kolkata Knight Riders spinners who played a key role in securing a 17-run win over Sunrisers Hyderabad on Saturday. For Gautam Gambhir's team, it was their second successive win at home, while it was another heartbreak for Hyderabad as they suffered their fifth defeat in as many matches at Eden Gardens. Gujarat have it easy against Pune: A brilliant five-wicket haul by seamer Andrew Tye (5-17), including a hat-trick, and then some characteristically quickfire batting by their batting heavyweights Brendon McCullum (49), Dwayne Smith (47), skipper Suresh Raina (35 not out) and Aaron Finch (33 not out), who finished the match with two sixes, helped Gujarat Lions thrash Rising Pune Supergiant by seven wickets. Mumbai down Kohli's Bangalore: With 142 runs to defend against a team which bats deep, Royal Challengers Bangalore skipper Virat Kohli wore a solemn look as he had a chat with the team. The pep talk may have been inspiring. Three overs into Mumbai Indians innings, hat-trick hero Samuel Badree (4-1-94) had flattened the Mumbai batting order with an awe-inspiring maiden

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B Sai Praneeth

B Sai Praneeth clinched his maiden Super Series title by downing compatriot Kidambi Srikanth 17-21, 21-17, 21-12 in the Singapore Open final. This was Praneeth's first appearance in a Super Series final, the biggest events of the international badminton calendar. Previously, Saina Nehwal, PV Sindhu and Srikanth have won the coveted crown. Until Sunday, only three other countries China, Indonesia and Denmark - had been represented on both sides of the court. After losing the first game 17-21, Praneeth showed tremendous grit to come back from being 1-6 in the dumps to level at 7-7. Srikanth tied to assert his

dominance with a superb smash down the line to take a 8-7 lead but Praneeth seemed determined to go into the break 11-10, winning 10 of the 14 points on the bounce. Leading 18-16, Praneeth showed great awareness to outfox Srikanth who relied on his smashes and netplay to dink the cork over his head when he was closer to the net for a sublime point. Three game points to play for, Praneeth returned the favour this time with an identical 2117 win to hang the final game perfectly in balance. In the final game, Praneeth opened up a 104 lead and never looked back as Srikanth made an error.

Now, an expat in India's U-17 World Cup squad The India squad for the Under-17 football World Cup that it will host in October has been boosted with the inclusion of Namit Deshpande, a US-based NRI scouted by the All India Football Federation (AIFF) through its overseas scouting portal. The website launched last year in collaboration with Sports Authority of India saw young NRI footballers, with valid Indian passports, uploading their videos in an attempt to catch selectors' eye. The AIFF received 50 applications, but it was Deshpande, son of New Jersey-based architects and originally from Mumbai, who impressed

the most. Deshpande travelled to Brazil where the Indian team, then under coach Nicolai Adam, was on a exposure trip. Adam was impressed by the youngster who plays in central defence. When Portuguese coach Luis de Matos took charge, Namit reached the Goa camp, and after showing off his skills over a four-day period proved that he was as good, if not better, than the boys in training. In the US since 2006, Deshpande has the tiny matter of handing in his school assignments before he joins the rest of the squad travel to Portugal early next month.

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third over which saw Parthiv Patel, Rohit Sharma and Mitchell McClenaghan return in quick time to leave Mumbai reeling at 7-4. Kolkata crush Punjab by 8 wickets: Knight Riders sprang yet another opening surprise. After Chris Lynn (93*) bludgeoned the Gujarat Lions into submission in their first match while opening with skipper Gautam Gambhir, it was Sunil Narine who filled in injured Australian's shoes at the Eden Gardens. Kolkata think tank must have taken a cue from the Trinidadian's opening exploits for Melbourne Renegades in this year's Big Bash league, where he opened with Aaron Finch. Mumbai end Hyderabad run: If there are two venues in India where you would not want to lose the toss and defend a target in an IPL or T20 match, they're the Wankhede Stadium and Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru. That holds true even if you possess a bowling line-up with as much variety and skill as defending champions Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) do. The former's reputation of being a graveyard for teams defending a score in cricket's bikini format came to the fore as Mumbai Indians (MI) beat SRH by four wickets. Sanju Samson century downs Rising Pune Supergiant: Twenty-two year-old Sanju Samson (102 off 63) put his woeful domestic season behind him in some style, smashing the first century of IPL 2017 to lay down a strong foundation for Delhi Daredevils' resounding victory over Rising Pune Supergiant. Rishabh Pant (31 off 22) too chipped in with a vital cameo, while Chris Morris's carnage (38 off 9) truly put daylight between the sides competing for two crucial points. With Steve Smith absent due to illness, RPS were behind the eight-ball from the very start in a daunting chase of 206 and couldn't quite bridge the gap by the end. The result was a humbling 97-run defeat.

Singapore Open - Praneeth beats Srikanth in final

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Bur Dubai - 5 Nights Four Points By Sheraton 4*

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Travel : 1 May - 5 Sep 17

Canada - 6 Nights

Orlando - 7 Nights

Toronto and Niagara

Sunsol International Drive

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ÂŁ749pp

Travel : 7 Jun 17

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Travel : 7 Jun - 14 Jun 17

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AV 22nd April 2017  

Asian Voice weekly newspaper (Issue 50)

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