FIRST & FOREMOST ASIAN WEEKLY IN EUROPE
Let noble thoughts come to us from every side
WHILE PRAYING Nine Indians were among 50 people killed and many others injured when a "right-wing extremist" armed with semi-automatic weapons rampaged through Al Noor Mosque in central Christchurch and the Linwood Mosque in the city's outer suburb, in what appeared to be the worst attack on Muslims in a western country.
23 - 29 MARCH 2019 - VOL 47 ISSUE 45
inside: Brexit and our British Strawberries SEE PAGE 6
Hola London: Ola's expansion into the UK SEE PAGE 7
Warrant issued, countdown begins for Nirav Modi's arrest in London
Continued on page 26 Prime Minister Jacinda Ardernâ€™s compassion, condolences & community peace
SEE PAGE 8
23 - 29 March 2019
onetoone WITH KEITH VAZ, MP
Thelma Walker MP Thelma Walker was elected to Parliament in June 2017, representing the Colne Valley constituency in West Yorkshire. Prior to becoming an MP, she worked as a teacher and head teacher for over 30 years, working in several schools in deprived areas in Kirklees. In September 2017, Thelma was appointed to the Education Committee, and she has drawn on her experience to ensure that the voices of education professionals and young people are heard through the Committee’s work. In January 2018, She was appointed as Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Shadow Chancellor, John McDonnell MP.
Which place, or city or country do you most feel at home in? I love Colne Valley, my constituency. The moors, the villages, small towns and yet it has easily accessible links to Leeds and Manchester. I love the beauty of the landscape and the dry wit of the locals.
What are your proudest achievements?
My two sons, who are both warm, clever, funny individuals with integrity but they're aware of their flaws. I'd like to think I was a good teacher and head teacher during my career in education. Winning the Colne Valley seat in the 2017 General Election is also a highlight.
What inspires you?
As an MP, people who face adversity and/or deprivation every day, yet continue to battle on. As a head teacher, I was inspired by a deputy head I worked with. She wouldn't be dictated to by systems and timetables, she always considered children's needs first. She was an amazing role model.
What is the best aspect about your current role? You really can change things! Raising the profile of causes and issues on behalf of my constituents. Being able to work with more experienced politicians is also a privilege. I love my role on the Education Select Committee and it is an honour to be a PPS to John McDonnell.
And the worst?
Being away from Colne Valley and living mid-week away from my husband. I really miss my home. The hours are very long and it's impossible to cover all the work that needs doing, even with a great staff team.
that diabetes often leads to organ failure. Disparity in waiting times The disparity in waiting times is a direct consequence of a disproportionately high need for organ transplants within ethnic minority communities and disproportionately low consent rates to donation. According to the NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) there are 1,300 Londoners currently waiting for an organ transplant and 62 per cent of them are Black or Asian. NHSBT further recorded that this is reflected in the demand for kidneys nationally. According to NHSBT, BAME groups made up 35 percent of the waiting list for kidney transplantation despite representing only 11 percent of the UK population. In May 2018 Agroni Research conducted a survey of 1000 participants from England’s BAME communities on behalf of NHSBT. The survey showed that only 37 percent of participants said they “definitely would not donate” their organs and 33 percent were opposed or strongly opposed to organ donation. Only 34 per cent of BAME people living in E n g l a n d
"• To make society fairer through the election of a Labour Government. • To be a champion for the disadvantaged. • To help modernise Parliament and bring it into the 21st century."
If you were marooned on a desert island, which historical figure would you like to spend your time with and why. Emmeline Pankhurst, or any of the Pankhurst women. Without the Women's Social and Political Union, and direction with "Deeds not words!" which shook up society, I might not be an MP now, nor any other woman for that matter.
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MAHAVIR VRUDHASHRAM Solace for the unloved. Cozy as a bird's nest, An honest place worthy of your donations. Mahavir Vrudhashram, Nr. Vishramgruh, Post: Bilimora (West) District: Gandevi, Navsari – 396321, Gujarat, India (M) : +91 99256 73021, Tel : +91 2634 – 285121
“supported”or“strongly supported” organ donation. The number of people who said that they would definitely donate some or all of their organs was only 11 per cent. These figures contrast markedly with the picture nationally in which, according to NHSBT, over 80 per cent of the adult population of England stated that they supported organ donation. Adults to be considered potential organ donor From Spring 2020 all adults in England will be considered a potential organ donor, unless they choose not to donate. This is commonly referred to as an ‘opt out’ system. This means that if you have not recorded a decision on the NHS Organ Donor Register to opt out of donation, it will be considered that you consent to donate your organs. The new law will apply to adults living in England, who die in England. It will not apply to: people who lack mental capacity to understand the new arrangements and take the necessary action, people who have lived in England for less than 12 months or who are not living here voluntarily and anyone under the age of 18.
Rashid A Khan
What are your long term goals?
If you were Prime Minister, what one aspect would you change? Increase regional funding and investment, and provide adequate funding for local government across the country. Under this government, inequality has increased which I think is truly shameful. I have many more things I'd want to do through so choosing one is very hard.
Who has been the biggest influence on your career to date? Politically, John McDonnell. He is an amazing role model. Intelligence, integrity, great socialist values and a warm heart. He never stops working! John has time for everyone and listens to other viewpoints. It is a privilege to be his PPS, I can't wait to see him in Number 11!
According to the NHS, 62% of Londoners waiting for an organ transplant are either Black or Asian. On Monday, the London Assembly Health Committee published a survey looking at attitudes towards organ donation within the BAME community. This special event featured musical and poetic performances as well as touching stories from living donors, donor recipients and families of deceased donors. Of BAME Londoners surveyed, it found that 42% are not willing to donate with many citing cultural or religious reasons, 1% said they are on the organ donor register and Bangladeshis and Black Africans are the least unwilling demographic to donate. Moreover, patients from ethnic minority backgrounds can often wait much longer than white patients to receive vital organ transplants, pitting them against unfair survival odds. National data for 2017-18 illustrates those odds. A number of studies have also shown that there is a greater incidence of type 2 diabetes and kidney disease amongst the UK’s BAME communities. It is commonly acknowledged
What has been biggest obstacle in your career? In my early career, sexism and inequality in the workplace was definitely an obstacle. In later life, I was a carer for my mother who was disabled. It was very hard balancing career with childcare and caring for my mother. Having a husband who shared the responsibility helped tremendously.
London Assembly publishes survey on BAME community's attitude towards organ donation
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23 - 29 March 2019
Commercial relations with China: India’s national interest China’s refusal to condemn Pakistani jihadi and Jaish-eMohammed mastermind, Masood Azar, as a terrorist for the UN’s proscribed list, should come as no surprise, save for the witless lotus eaters who haunt the corridors of power in Delhi and cliché-ridden broadsheets. The Hindu newspaper is the only one favoured with full-page Chinese advertisements, with a People’s Daily Correspondent purveying the glad tidings of Chinese economic growth, which international experts dismiss as fudged, based on dubious statistics – as the worldly-wise would expect from a privileged scribe operating in a one party state with strict media controls and a president holding office for life, with no questions for fear of risk to life and limb. The community of true believers bewitched by images of a risen China sing from shared hymn-sheets. However, foreign and domestic critics, include many with expert knowledge based on close study and firsthand experience; some hint of second sinking of the Titanic. A former Indian envoy to China, true to type, advised patient parleying in a prolonged effort to make Chinese leaders see the light on jihadi threats emanating from Pakistani soil. If they haven’t seen the light, haven’t been moved by Pakistan-based jihadi assaults on Mumbai, first in March 1993, then in November 2008, with the loss of hundreds of innocent lives, they surely never will. Their country is with Pakistan come wind or high water, its ties calibrated to the last brush-stroke of the black arts of Chinese diplomacy. Beijing’s soft talk on bringing Pakistan and India together with Han big brother in beneficent tutelage of their unruly charges – modern makeover of the once sanctified tributary system with the Son of Heaven dispensing justice in lofty dismissive tones to barbarian kowtows was integral to the Confucian world order. Beyond this soft beguiling talk lies big stick of a militarized Chinese presence in Tibet. Panch Sheel mantras translates as the Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence, which turned out to be the five shrouds of Tibet’s burial as a sovereign, independent entity. China has waxed and waned with India inducing a cloying sense of Indian complacency in face of stern historical truth. Consider the China’s brazenness during the 1971 crisis in the then East Pakistan, brought on by the genocidal mania of the Yahya Khan military regime in Islamabad: special camps set up for the mass rape of local peasant women, the massacres of perceived disloyal citizenry including the targeted killing of intellectuals reached a conservative estimate of 3 million lost souls. Ten million people fled the country for the sanctuary of India. China’s callous, hard-bitten response was to pin the blame on India. The Nixon-Kissinger administration in Washington partnered China in a joint venture of cynical infamy rarely equalled in modern times. The brilliant American columnist, I.F.Stone, commented: ‘The world has
seen strange bedfellows before but never before in a bloodier bed.’ Has there been anything to warrant optimism in relations with China, whose sly acidic malevolence has ebbed and flowed as the situation demanded? Beijing armed Islamabad with nuclear bombs and supportive nuclear weapon and missile technologies. It opposed the Indo-US accord on the peaceful uses of nuclear power fashioned by the Manmohan Singh government and the George W, Bush administration in 2008 to circumvent the Nuclear nonproliferation Treaty [NPT] that had cast India beyond the pale in such collaborative enterprise. China has opposed Indian membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group of nations, as it has of possible Indian membership of the UN Security Council. It has repeatedly warned India against infringing China’s ‘core interests,’ while crossing India’s red lines at will, notably on its persistent territorial claims to Arunachal Pradesh – the size of Switzerland, no less. Tranquillising sedatives – recycled clichés and shibboleths in everyday parlance - guarantee permafrost mindsets, hence the immovable object, China, escapes contact with the irresistible force that should be India. These negative vibes, this cloying defeatism was witnessed not so long ago, when the Indian government abruptly halted the country-wide anniversary celebrations of the revered Dalai Lama’s flight to India in April 1959 in search of sanctuary from Han Chinese repression. Thousands of Tibetans since have braved the elements and Chinese border guards in the perilous journey to freedom in India. There is still time to revoke the government’s illconceived decision and permit the celebrations to go ahead. In the aftermath of China’s attack on India in October 1962, Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, in a moment of deep anguish confessed to Parliament; ‘We have been living in artificial world of our own creation.’ It was indeed: HindiChini bhai bhai [Indians and Chinese are brothers] was a hallucinatory opiate, whose fumes continue to cloud rational judgment in India’s hall of mirrors, adjacent to an echo chamber. Commercial relations with China are in India’s national interest. So also is polite diplomatic discourse. But beneath velvet glove should be cloven hoof of realpolitik. It would be well for India to invite Taiwan to set up a string of missions across the metropolitan centres to diversify and boost economic ties and much else. India’s military deterrence must be beefed up, with bureaucratic choke points excised, if need be. Its rules of engagements with ASEAN require a visibly robust dimension, its naval heft in the Indian Ocean exponentially augmented, with the aid of concentrated air power. In a word, there has to be a major course correction in India’s woefully deficient China policy. Appeasement Munich 1938-9 vintage led Adolf Hitler’s Nazi regime to raise the stakes. History’s lessons are best learned early and well.
Azim Premji: Philanthropist Extraordinary Azim Premji, Chairman of Wipro, among the three foremost big hitters in India’s premier software league, has leavened business acumen with an ennobling vision channelling a considerable portion of his company’s assets into educational enterprises for the public good. His commitment was recently endorsed by his decision to transfer 33 per cent of his personal stake in the company valued at $7.5 billion. This coupled with the transfer of his personal stake in Wipro Ltd brings his total investment in the Premji Foundation to a formidable 21 billion dollars. According to Hurun India Philanthropy List 2018, the Premji family contributed Rs 113 crore last year, topped only by Mukesh Ambani with Rs 437 crore, and Ajay
Piramal with Rs 200 crore. The Premji Foundation works with various state governments in improving the quality and equity of of the public schools system. It also runs the Azim Premji University in Bangaluru. Over the next several years, the the work of the Premji Foundation is expected to expand significantly. Its team dealing with education will be increased from its present 1,600 personnel, while the university will take in 5,000 students with 400 faculty staff across multiple disciplines. Plans are afoot to set up a university in India’s North. Education grants are also set for a three-fold expansion from present levels. Overall, the Premji Foundation embraces a future that works.
Indian cricket’s World Cup blues The sports pages across India and TV sports channels bulged with indigestible offerings of India’s prospects in the forthcoming World Cup in the English summer. In the excitement of overexposure – mostly tripe, alas – from well heeled columnists, many ex-players, eyes trained on the big bucks, hence losing sight of the ball – which was the five-match ODI series against the visiting Australians. India prevailed comfortably in the first match at Hyderabad, scraped through the second by a whisker, when Australia were set to win, and lost the remaining three to opponents who were superior in every department of the game: batting, bowling, catching and ground fielding. Barring captain and superstar Virat Kohli, some in the team performed in fits and starts, and some with neither in fits nor starts. Meanwhile, waiting in the wings was Mayank Aggarwal, drafted into the Indian Test squad as
an opening batsman in the Sydney Test of India’s recent Australian tour, is now a discard; Prithvi Shaw has slipped from the selectors’ radar, while gifted Shubman Gill was studiously ignored. Recycled waste was included on the plea for experience. Wicketkeeper Risabh Pant was poor with the gloves, but should stay the course as a prodigious talent with the bat. The late West Indies great Clyde Walcott exploded with runs – 827 against Australia, 698 against England respectively, with five centuries and three centuries, one a double hundred in successive Test series of five matches each, once he had abandoned his wicketkeeper’s gloves. Pant has an authentic role model to emulate. As for the India’s World Cup prospects, they look none too bright. But miracles do happen: two millennia and more ago, Christ turned water into wine. The Indian will need the Holy Ghost to lay their hands on the trophy. Keep the faith. All things are possible, only believe.
It isn't our position, but our disposition, that makes us happy - Anonymous
What the Heck is a Hindu Nationalist? Dear Prime Minister Modi, When a country has 80% of its population as Hindus, and is the only historic home of the oldest of all faiths, then that country is home, wherever its sons and daughters may live. For too long nations have limited their protection to their own citizens. India, must extend this principle – to cover all those whose ancestors have called Hindustan as their home. Because unlike those of all other faiths, Hindus have no traditional, ancestral home, except India, it must be the policy of your government that all Hindus wherever they are in the world will be extended under the umbrella protection of your government. From this day onwards, the first determinant of your relations with any foreign government must be their treatment of the Hindu population within their borders. It has to be the business of this government on how Hindus are treated worldwide. If they want better relations with India, first make the best relations with Hindus in their own country. This doctrine is not novel in international relations. The people of Israel provide protection for Jews wherever they are in the world, of whichever nationality. We shall extend no lesser protection to Hindus. Nor should anyone ask, what of those of other faiths? Muslims, Christians, those of all other faiths who are Indian nationals will continue to have the full unwavering protections of the Indian state. As Hindustan becomes an economic superpower, what is the use this wealth, this status, the hands of friendship of other nations, if they do not respect our people, for Hindus wherever they are will always be Hindustani first. You are often called a Hindu nationalist. So be it. You have never been embarrassed of the title. This is Hindu nationalism. This is an example of what it means. Justice for all, appeasement of none. The Hindu nation is not confined to borders drawn by a colonial power. We are the Hindu nation, world over. Hindustan holds dominion over us all. Extend this doctrine to all dharmic faiths who have no home except India – including the Sikhs, Jains, Parsees too. Of course, there will be those liberal extremists who will say this is a extremist, right-wing divisive – whilst happily they will proclaim every country’s right to be a Islamic Republic. India is not a Hindu Republic. It rightly enshrines secularism in its constitution. Nothing I have said is anti-secular. But the liberals are right on one point. What if this creates a ‘hostile’ environment for other communities. What if it emboldens Hindu fanatics (there are some and it is no answer to say other faiths have their fanatics too – that is a low bar)? So the Prime Minister must, as Gandhiji did, reach out to all communities – especially minorities who may feel threatened and stamp on the heads of the Hindu fanatics who will think they can lynch with impunity as ‘their man’ is in power. It’s they who will cost the PM the election – it’s the fanatics who will scare the masses into the hands of others. We look forward to your visit. Editor: CB Patel Asian Voice is published by Asian Business Publications Ltd Karma Yoga House, 12 Hoxton Market, (Off Coronet Street) London N1 6HW. Tel: 020 7749 4080 • Fax: 020 7749 4081 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.abplgroup.com © Asian Business Publications
23 - 29 March 2019
LGBT lessons temporarily suspended in school Priyanka Mehta Parkfield Community School in Saltley, Birmingham which ran educative sessions on LGBT rights as part of a programme to challenge homophobia has suspended these lessons indefinitely until a resolution is reached with protesting parents. Andrew Moffat, the deputy head teacher, who had introduced the 'No Outsiders Programme' that attempted to promote LGBT equality and challenge homophobia in primary schools had earlier reported that he was threatened and targeted via a leaflet campaign for his efforts to raise awareness. “I am personally a supporter of Andrew Moffat, a dedicated teacher trying to bring diversity, equality and inclusion in the school. “As someone who identifies himself as a gay, I think it is a significant breakthrough that he is trying to achieve in breaking the stigma and taboo existing within the Asian community with regards to the LGBT group,” Khakan Qureshi, Founder, Birmingham South Asians LGBT. According to Qureshi, 98% students in the school are followers of Muslim faith and parents have claimed that these lessons are promoting gay and transgender lifestyles. Reports indicate that this month close to 600 Muslim children, aged between 4-11 years old, were withdrawn from the school for the day. However, the school would not confirm the number. But some inspectors said that there was only a “small, vocal minority” of parents who believed that the school’s equalities curriculum focused disproportionately on LGBT issues and was not taught in an age-appropriate way, but they found no evidence to support this. In a letter dated 8th March
Khakan Qureshi, Founder, Birmingham South Asians LGBT
2019 to Councillor Ian Ward, a woman named Fatima Shah wrote about her “deep concern and dismay” at Birmingham City Council's support to the 'No Outsiders Programme'. In the letter, Shah argues about how statements were made by the council without “communicating with the parents or attempting to understand their concerns”. Qureshi who has personally interacted with the various stakeholders of the protest including the school authorities and, the protesting parents
explains that the concerns spill over to the bigger challenge of mis-representation of the issue. “But the parents are also concerned that the narrative being amplified by the media is that they don't want their children to be taught “gay lessons” where a majority of them are saying that it is not in their faith or ethos,” said Qureshi. However, reports have also surfaced where parents have argued that these lessons are pre-dominantly promoting a “western lifestyle” and encouraging a “homosexual trend”, something that is completely unacceptable to them and their culture. “That mindset is very arcade because although they may come from different parts of the world, they are now in the UK. If they don't want their children to be brought with a western ideology then they must look to settle in a different country,” Qureshi argued. Earlier in the week, parents of Parkfield Community and
members of the LGBT+ community came together for a discussion over the on-going protest where some emphasised how marginalised communities should not be pitted against each other. Salma Yaqoob one of the members present at the curry night discussion tweeted about how the “school needs to apologise to parents & LGBT community for promoting LGBT issues as “de-radicalising” Muslim kids”. According to reports, school have said that the 'No Outsiders Programme' lessons, which teaches tolerance of diverse groups, including those of different races, genders and sexual orientation, will not be taught “until a resolution has been reached” with these protesting parents. Moffat, who has been shortlisted for the world’s best teacher award, has resigned from another primary school in Birmingham, Chilwell Croft academy, after a similar dispute.
#FreeJaggiNow: Supporters take social media as Johal spends 500th day locked up Theresa May last week said that the case of British Sikh murder suspect Jagtar Singh Johal, currently in an Indian jail for over a year was being dealt 'actively' by ministers. But supporters of Jaggi Johal, who is allegedly tortured by police in India, took to social media to highlight his case as he spent his 500th day locked up. Jaggi was detained in the Punjab region after his wedding in late 2017 and is accused of funding a Sikh group that allegedly killed right-wing Hindu figures and has spent more than one year in jail. Martin Docherty-Hughes, the family's local MP, called upon Foreign Secretary Jeremy
Hunt to meet with the Johal family, which includes Johal’s solicitor brother Gurpreet. Docherty-Hughes, the MP
Jagtar Singh Johal
for West Dunbartonshire, tweeted: “500 days no evidence & trial by media – time for @Jeremy_Hunt to stop passing
the buck to officials & other Ministers – time to meet me & the Johal family.” Bhai Amrik Singh, the Chair of the Sikh Federation (UK) said: “The British Sikh community is disgusted that Jagtar is being treated as a 2nd class citizen by the Foreign Office. “Jagtar appears not only to be at a disadvantage because of his Scottish identity and being represented by an SNP MP, but also because he is a Sikh activist. “Quite simply the lack of action taken by the Foreign Office to date to protect Jagtar smacks of racism and being frightened to stand up to the Indian authorities.”
in brief 'SAATHI' NIGHTS FOUNDER PASSES AWAY Perdes Simplay, the founder of one of the UK’s longest running Asian LGBTQ’s nights, has passed away. Famous for setting up the popular ‘Saathi’ club night in Birmingham, Perdes Simplay Simplay died in Torquay. According to reports he appeared to be attempting to climb a drainpipe when he fell about 20 feet to the ground. The ‘Saathi’ club-night was set-up in 2001 and has fast became one of the most popular South Asian gay nights in the UK. It is not known if ‘Saathi’ will take place this month, which has been scheduled for 29th March 2019.
KILLER IN UDAYAKUMAR CASE DETAINED Risaan Udayakumar, an 18-year-old civil engineering student, who lived with his parents in Wembley, died in hospital after being stabbed three times in the heart at his girlfriend’s home in Watford. His 17-year-old killer, who cannot be named for legal reasons, fatally stabbed Risaan after Risaan Udayakumar finding him hiding in the property’s adjoining garage on July 10. A jury found him guilty of manslaughter due to a loss of control but cleared him of murder. The 17-year-old boy who stabbed his sister's secret boyfriend to death has now been detained for seven years. In a statement his grieving parents said they did not attend the sentencing by “way of protest” at the “weak legal team” and that the sentence was “not proper justice for our innocent son”. They said- “As a family we cannot put into words how completely devastated we are and how Risaan’s untimely and cruel death has impacted our lives.” St Alban’s Crown Court heard that before the stabbing a member of the public called police after he discovered Risaan crouched in the corner of the garage with multiple stab wounds, following a disturbance. The parents of the boy and his 19-year-old sister were away on holiday at the time of the killing but had left strict instructions that she and her brother were not to have friends over to the house. Because of the parents’ “strict views” about relationships, their daughter had decided not to tell them that she was in a relationship with Risaan.
SOUTHALL STABBING, SEVEN INJURED IN KNIFE BRAWL One man was slashed while six others were injured in a knife brawl at a restaurant in Southall. According to the paramedics, seven people were treated for injuries out of which three of them were taken to hospital after the fight at a restaurant on The Broadway in Southall. Emergency services, including three ambulance crews and police officers, were sent to the scene shortly after the incident at 11am. Reports suggest that one of the victims is in his 20s and has suffered a slash injury, which according to the Met Police are not life-threatening. Scotland Yard said officers believed two groups of people were involved. Two people have been arrested. A Met Police spokesman said- “Officers are in Southall Broadway following calls at around 11.10am on Monday, March 18 to an assault in a restaurant. At this early stage, we believe two groups were involved. The identities of the victims are still not known.
23 - 29 March 2019
23 - 29 March 2019
Brexit and our British Strawberries Priyanka Mehta British consumers are eating twice as many strawberries as they did 20 years ago. According to some farmers, the army of East European workers flown in each year to pick the fruit has helped in keeping the prices down. But what happens to our British strawberries in the event of a no-deal Brexit? “Our biggest challenge in the last two-and-a-half years has been in acquiring the labour to work on our farms. Nobody in this country wants to work in our farms, we have tried getting local people to fill in but they haven't stayed,” said Jaswinder Singh, Operations Director, Vicarage Nurseries. Vicarage Nurseries is a family-owned farm in Worcestershire, UK which was started in 1996 by Makhan Singh, and today his family is the only British Asian family in the business of growing strawberries. The farm that was originally only 2.6 acres in size now grows strawberries over a land mass of 100 acre sand produces over 800 tonnes of strawberries annually. The nursery grows strawberries and raspberries throughout the year with the help of 12 permanent labourers, barring the six weeks in winter. But it also employs 250 part-time workers during the peak season of April-October. “95% of our staff is Eastern European” “95% of our staff is Eastern European and we heavily
(L-R) Bal Padda, Makhan Singh and Jaswinder Singh, Vicarage Nurseries
rely on them especially during the picking season and the labour shortage has grown so stark that the community farmers are asking each other if there are a few labourers who can work on each other's farms.
“One of them had plants that he needed to plant but didn't have the workforce. As a farmer myself, I understand the fix that he is in because these plants have a short life which can die in a matter of days and that would incur a huge loss for the business,”
Jaswinder revealed. Reports indicate that the number of foreign seasonal agricultural workers coming to the UK from other EU nations for a few months each year was roughly equivalent to 80,000 people. About 30,000 of those were put to work harvesting soft fruits and berries. This labour workforce from the EU countries has helped in keeping the prices down - a 400g punnet of midseason British strawberries has cost around £2 for more than 20 years. But Brexit threatens to restrict the supply of workers it relies on. But workforce is not the only factor which can potentially inflate the strawberry prices. “Import duties on strawberry plants” According to Jaswinder, majority of the plants that are planted in the UK farms for different varieties of strawberries are imported
from the EU countries owing to good climatic conditions “We have tried growing some of these plants locally in the UK but it hasn't worked out in our favour and they are usually of a low quality. At present we don't have any import duties on these plants. But, if a nodeal Brexit takes place and if we come out of the Europe without securing any sort of trade agreement then we will face bigger issues of sourcing these plants. The UK government might encourage us to buy more locally grown plants if import duties are imposed on those sourced from the EU but considering these are low performing plants, the quality may suffer,” Singh explains. Jaswinder disclosed that over the years they have had plans into experimenting with different varieties of berries and targets of increasing their annual production levels. But in the last two years, Singh has witnessed a stagnated market and all these plans have been on hold currently because of the uncertainty surrounding Brexit. George Eustice, the agriculture, food and fisheries minister in Michael Gove’s department, quit after writing a resignation letter to Theresa May in which he criticised a “series of rather undignified retreats” by the government and warned that “any extension would be the final humiliation of our country."
Where to celebrate Holi Indian students at the University of Dundee led one of the biggest Holi celebrations ever to take place at a Scottish University. More than 300 students, staff and members of the public took part, and was the largest event of its kind to be held in Dundee. Holi usually takes place later in March in India, however, in order to fully celebrate their festival ahead of exams, the students planned to host the event earlier. Nitya Nair, a second-year Medicine student originally from Kerala in the south of India, said, “Holi makes me feel way more at home here. It gave me such a great sense of comfort when I first came to Scotland to see that students still celebrate it here.
“Holi is such a happy, homely festival for everyone to enjoy and we felt privileged to share that feeling with
everyone in Dundee.” Holi which signifies the triumph of good over evil, co-relating with the passing of winter and it
promotes inclusion and togetherness between people of all backgrounds. Eventually, everyone begins to
Campaign to increase cervical screening
Radio Presenter Noreen Khan
Public Health England (PHE) has launched a new national campaign, to increase the number of women attending their cervical screening across England. Around 2,600 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer in England each year and around 690 women die from the disease – that’s two deaths every day. It is estimated that if everyone attended screening regularly, 83% of cervical cancer cases could be prevented. The new PHE campaign provides practical information about how to make the test more comfortable and gives reassurance to women, who may be fearful of finding out they have cancer, that screening is not a test for cancer. Regular screening, which only takes a few minutes, can help stop cervical cancer before it starts, as the test identifies potentially harmful cells before they become cancerousand ensures women get the right treatment as soon as possible. The PHE research shows that once they have been screened, the vast majority of women feel positive about the experience, with eight in 10 (87%) stating they are glad they went and that they were put at ease by the nurse or doctor doing the test (84%). Professor Anne Mackie,
appear as one, all part of this vibrant spectrum of colour. The University already enjoys a strong relationship with India, with more than a hundred students currently studying there. Whereas HDFC Home loans in association with Indians in London and ICICI had organised Rang Barse 2019 where Deputy Mayor of London Shri Rajesh Agarwal, along with Ms Anima Barnwal from High Commission of
Director of Screening Programmes at PHE said, “The decline in numbers getting screened for cervical cancer is a major concern as it means millions of women are missing out on a potentially life-saving test. Two women die every day in England from cervical cancer, yet it is one of the most preventable cancers if caught early. “We want to see a future generation free of cervical cancer but we will only achieve our vision if women take up their screening invitations. This is a simple test which takes just five minutes and could save your life. It’s just not worth ignoring”. Radio presenter Noreen Khan said,“It’s simple, cervical screening save lives. When I get my reminder in the post, I don’t just put the letter to one side, I’ll call the GP surgery and make my appointment otherwise it’s too easy to forget and get busy with life. Once I’ve had my test it gives me peace of mind for a few years. I’d urge all you ladies not to ignore the crucial cervical screening test which could potentially save your life.” For further information about cervical screening, please search ‘NHS Cervical Screening’ or visit www.nhs.uk/cervicalscreening.
India and Shri Virendra Sharma MP were present. Indians in London is a Not for Profit Community Group and the group was originally formed on a social networking website Orkut in 2004 and later in 2012 transitioned on to current platform on Facebook . The event like every year had cultural performances by children and group members with light refreshments, where they played with organic colours on the Dhol beats.
23 - 29 March 2019
Hola London: Ola's expansion into the UK Brothers sell luxury hotels for £1bn
Priyanka Mehta Indian taxi-hailing start-up Ola cabs is expanding its footprint into the UK with plans of launching soon into Liverpool, Reading and Birmingham and is slated to debut into London's saturated taxi-market by the end of this year. The start-up which first rolled out in South Wales in August 2018 in a major competition to Uber has roughly 45 licenses today in across about 20 cities and is operational in major tourist hubs- Cardiff, Bristol, Exeter and Bath. It recently received a private hire operator’s licence by the Luton council’s licensing subcommittee to operate there. The company plans to provide executive services in six to eight months to and from London-Luton Airport, according to the licensing sub-committee. “The acquisition of licenses in London is very hard as there are 300 boroughs with each of them having different laws and application processes which can be extremely time-consuming that can vary from a few days to few months,” said Ben Legg, Managing Director Ola, UK. Currently, Ola only operates in two countriesIndia and Australia, and the
Tony Matharu, former Managing Director of Grange Hotels, London
Ben Legg, Managing Director, Ola, UK
UK will be its third market. From operating four different kinds of cab services today the company plans to introduce electric cars in future as well. “Ideally, we would also love to offer something for just women customers but there aren't enough licensed women drivers with us today. We have only 4-5% women drivers in the UK with a pre-approved license,” Ben explains. The UK's taxi market appears pretty saturated from private hire cabs to licensed taxis with Uber, Gett, Dragon among others. Aside from ride-hailing services there are other avenues of food delivery and weekend getaways that exiting companies already have their market share in.
Amidst such heavy competition, how does Ola plan to capture the market? “We are looking at how people are getting to airports or how parents are dropping their kids to school because those areas are sub-optimal. We are also exploring the areas of ensuring that airport staff and not just the tourists safely reach their destinations at odd hours,” Legg divulged. At a time when drug peddling, gang culture, knife crime and associated notorious activities have gripped the country's safe working atmosphere, many ride hailing services including Uber have struggled with ensuring passenger safety. And Legg, believes that the onus of such
heinous crimes often falls on the “company's lax rules” with respect to proper background checks that must be done before hiring the driver. According to Legg, “There are roughly 3040% drivers who are white British born in the UK and the rest are first and second generation immigrants. The biggest group would be South Asians from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh followed by Eastern Europeans and aside from running proper background checks we also meet these drivers in person before bringing them on board.” Ola was founded in 2011 in India by Bhavish Aggarwal and Ankit Bhati and has about 125 million customers.
A group of four Grange hotels, in London's prime locations, have been sold at almost £1bn and be rebranded by real estate investment firm Queensgate, which is a partnership between the Kow family, Alvarium investments, Peterson group and Dilmun. The company has acquired the Grange’s upmarket hotels at St Paul’s, Tower Bridge, the City and Holborn. In total the portfolio comprises 1,345 rooms and roughly 930,000 square feet (sq ft) of real estate. The hotels that have been sold by the billionaire Matharu family, who reportedly started reviewing their strategic options three years ago. The hotels will be now run by Israeli hotel group Fattal, which plans to to carry out refurbishments
across all four sites. The deal means Fattal now operates seven hotels and 2,000 rooms in the capital. Jason Kow, chief executive of Queensgate Investments, said, “Queensgate is proud to have completed this milestone acquisition which represents circa 1m sq ft of high-quality central London hotels and delivers superior cash on cash returns for our investors.” A spokesman for Grange Hotels said: “We are delighted with the outcome of the transaction. We acquired, developed and constructed the portfolio over a period of 20 years. “The four hotels give the purchaser immediate scale in excellent locations, in one of the most highly soughtafter and dynamic markets in the world.”
BECONTREE RM8 1DS
23 - 29 March 2019
Warrant issued, countdown begins for Nirav Modi's arrest in London Diamantaire Nirav Modi, who was recently spotted on the streets of London is all set to be arrested by the London authorities. The Westminster court has issued a warrant against the diamond trader reportedly on 13 March, who is accused of defrauding Punjab National Bank to the tune of over £1.3 billion. Modi was spotted roaming on Monday 18 March evening, around new Oxford Street. When confronted by journalists, after persuasive questions and chase, he responded 'no comments', hopped on to a taxi and drove away. Sources say, now the clock is ticking for Modi and at any moment he will be arrested by the Met police any time now, and will be produced before the Westminster court for an initial hearing. However, Modi will be eligible to appeal for bail and most likely, he will be granted conditional bail. A team from India's Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and Enforcement Directorate (ED) is meant to arrive in London soon. Sources said that the top officials of investigative agencies are in touch with UK authorities and Indian High Commission in London is closely monitoring the developments.
The intelligence agencies along with ED and CBI are also ascertaining the present location of Modi in London against whom extradition process was initiated in August 2018. The UK Home Office on March 7 sent the extradition request of Indian agencies against Modi to the Westminster court after it found that the case is fit for extradition. ED sources that on March 9, the agency received an email from the UK Home Office which read, the extradition request has been certified by Home Secretary and the same has been sent to the Westminster magistrate court. Sources said that the UK Home Secretary, in his remark over extradition of Modi, has said that this is a fit case for issuing an arrest warrant. Sources within the government claims that ED had stepped up the pressure on UK authorities, who were sitting on the extradition request since August. The UK authorities, early this year, had sought assistance from the Enforcement Directorate pertaining to their case, but the agency, according to sources, refused to provide any assistance and warned UK authorities that they will not assist in any case till the time they do not take action against
Modi. According to the agency, during the investigation, it was revealed that substantial proceeds obtained fraudulently by Modi owned group of firms - Solar Exports, Stellar Diamonds, Diamond RUS from Punjab National Bank were diverted to Modi, his relatives and entities controlled by him. The ED had registered a money laundering case against Modi and others on February 15, 2018 under the provisions of PMLA on the basis of an FIR registered by CBI. Allegedly, Modi, Mehul Choksi and others committed the offence of cheating Punjab National Bank in connivance with certain bank officials by fraudulently getting the LOUs issued without following prescribed procedure and caused a wrongful loss to the bank. Several properties of Modi in India and abroad worth £172.53 million were also attached earlier. In addition to the aforementioned attachments, gold, diamond, bullion, jewellery and other valuables worth £48.97 million belonging to Modi Group were also seized. A prosecution complaint has been filed in this case against Modi and others for the offence of money laundering.
On Monday, journalists spotted Nirav Modi around New Oxford Street. After a series of questions and chasing, he responded 'no comments', hopped on to a taxi and drove away
How does extradition work? After the Home Secretary has certified the extradition, it goes to the Westminster Magistrates's Court for issuing of a warrant. On the service of a verified written information on the court officer, a provisional arrest warrant may be issued by any Justice of the Peace in the magistrates’ court, once they are convinced on the reasonable grounds of arrest and satisfied about the written evidence that would justify the issue of an arrest warrant, if the person is within the jurisdiction of the court. The extradition judge needs to receive a certified extradition request within 45 days of the provisional arrest. If the request is not received within the required period, the extradition judge can grant the defendant’s application to be discharged from the extradition proceedings. An arrest warrant or provisional arrest warrant may
be issued without the parties having an opportunity to make representations, and without a hearing. The person carrying out the arrest or provisional arrest does not need to have the warrant, at the time of arrest, but the extradition judge may grant an application for discharge, if the defendant is not provided with a copy of the warrant as soon as practicable thereafter. Timing of first appearance An application for discharge must be granted if the defendant is not brought before the extradition judge as soon as practicable after arrest or provisional arrest, unless bail has been granted by police or the Secretary of State has deferred the extradition proceedings until a competing European arrest warrant (EAW) or the request has been disposed of. After this, an initial hearing will be set, in which the
judge is meant to inform the defenadnt about the allegation, possibility of irrevocably consenting to extradition and consider any ancillary application made, including any bail application. The extradition judge must also thereafter fix a date for the extradition hearing, give an appropriate direction about the introduction of evidence at the extradition hearing and in the event of a provisional arrest, the steps are subject to receipt of the certified request. The date fixed for the extradition hearing must be within two months of the defendant’s first appearance at court or, in the event of a provisional arrest, the day on which the certified request is received by the extradition judge (in this case any time after 7 March). The period can, however, be extended on application by either party to any later date the court decides to be in the interests of justice.
UK to establish new battalion for recruiting Gurkhas Rupanjana Dutta Theresa May government in the UK last week announced plans to establish a new battalion of Royal Gurkha Rifles, which will start recruiting in 2019. The 3rd Battalion Royal Gurkha Rifles will join other members of the Specialist Infantry Group, to complete plans set out in the 2015 Defence Review to establish up to five Specialised Infantry Battalions. These specialised Infantry Battalions are designed to provide expert capacity building and training skills with a focus on niche capabilities or areas of the world. For more than 200 years, Gurkhas have been an integral part of the British Armed Forces and have demonstrated exceptional military aptitude, with a 100% pass rate through basic training. Gurkha soldiers continue to make an exemplary contribution to the British Army through the unique skills they offer, including specialist language
Gurkhas to approach MPs to fight against pension discrimination
skills, which enable them to build longstanding relationships with the United Kingdom’s global partners. Alongside this new role, the Ministry of Defence will also be enhancing the support some Gurkha units already provide to the Army, for example the UK led NATO Allied Rapid Reaction Corps, and establishing additional Gurkha Engineer and Signals Squadrons . These are crucial capabilities to enable the UK to meet its global defence commitments. The new units will allow
Gurkhas to access more career opportunities, including promotion and increased chances to serve a full 24year Army career within the Brigade of Gurkhas. Minister for the Armed Forces Mark Lancaster said, “The Gurkhas have built an outstanding reputation for their skill and bravery as soldiers through centuries of service and sacrifice. They bring unique expertise and perspective to the United Kingdom and British Army which makes them an ideal choice to form a third battalion of the Royal Gurkha
Rifles as a Specialised Infantry Battalion.” Colonel of the Royal Gurkha Rifles Major General Gez Strickland DSO MBE said, “The Royal Gurkha Rifles is delighted to be able to support the Army by creating a third battalion. The specialised infantry role is exciting and challenging and we look forward to learning new skills and making new partnerships around the world as we begin the new task. We are enormously proud of the Army’s confidence in our ability to take this on.”
Retired Gurkhas are fighting for better pension, though the Ministry of Defence (MOD) has topped it up by £15mn last week, leading to an increase between 10-32% in pension, depending on ranks. Before 1997, three years of service equalled to one year of British pension. In March 2007, the rules were changed, so veterans who retired after 1997 got the same pensions as UK service personnel. The logic behind this decision initially was that many Gurkhas retired in Nepal, where the living costs are lower than living in the UK or India. However Gurkhas who provide service to Indian army are given equal pension as the Indian army personnel, without any discrimination. Speaking to Asian Voice, Retired Major Tikendra Dal Dewan, Chair of The British Gurkha Welfare Society
Retired Major Tikendra Dal Dewan
said, “We want equal treatment and equal pension. UK government make it sound like this pension increase is a big deal. It's not. It's a pure entitlement. Even if there is an increment of 32%, still it is less than 50% of what the British personnel get paid. That is the level of discrimination.” Mr Dewan has served 31 years in the regiment, but according to the pension scheme, he has lost 18 years of pay. He is now planning to make a joint plan with other Gurkhas and approach MPs for justice. The BGWS took this issue to European Court of Human Rights in 2016, but did not have much luck
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Child obesity Alarming levels of sugar intake A recent survey by Public Health England has revealed that children in the UK are currently consuming around 2,800 extra sugar cubes per year. According to the survey 10 year olds have consumed 19 years' worth of sugar. According to the latest data, Bangladeshi, Pakistani and Indian children aged 10 and 11 years old were the most likely to be overweight or obese (at 44.3%, 40.6%, 36.7%, respectively). A new strand of the 'Change4Life' campaign aims to support South Asian families to cut back on sugar and tackle childhood obesity. Change4Life is encouraging parents to “Make a swap when you next shop” to reduce children’s sugar intake. Parents can try swapping a sugary juice drink for a no-added sugar juice drink, to cut back from 2 cubes to half a cube. Alternatively, they can also encourage a higher-sugar breakfast cereal for a lower sugar cereal, to cut back from 3 cubes to half a cube per bowl and a higher-sugar yoghurt for a lower sugar one, to halve their sugar intake from 6 cubes of sugar to 3 among other habits. Many companies have reformulated products such as yoghurts, breakfast cereals and juices, meaning these swaps are a good place
Chef and author Anjula Devi
Nutritionist Azmina Govindji
for families to start. Swapping chocolate, puddings, sweets, cakes and pastries for healthier options such as malt loaf, sugar-free jellies, lower-sugar custards and rice puddings would reduce their intake even more. According to Orla Hugueniot, Campaigns Nutritionist at PHE, “Overweight or obese children are more likely to be overweight or obese as adults, increasing their risk of heart disease and some cancers, while more people than ever are developing Type 2 diabetes. They are more likely to be bullied and have low self-esteem. Excess sugar can also lead to painful tooth decay.” “It’s important we as a community understand the
sugar content in popular cultural foods and make dietary changes. Parents and grandparents too can play a significant role in children’s diet,”said Nutritionist Azmina Govindji. “Most South Asian households will have a blend of western and cultural foods in their homes leading to high consumption of sugary products. I try to reduce the amount of sugar and salt content in my cooking and make swaps using low fat/sugar products,” said Chef and author Anjula Devi. Families are encouraged to look for the Change4Life ‘Good Choice’ badge in shops, download the free Food Scanner app or search Change4Life to help them find lower sugar options.
Post-study work visa changes to attract international students International students, including Indians, are to benefit from a change in the upcoming visa system, according to a new 'International Education Strategy' launched by UK government on Saturday. The strategy will offer undergraduate and Masters degree students a chance to stay an extra 6 months after graduating, to look for jobs. Under the plans being formalised, these students will also have three months before graduating during which they can find work and change from a study visa to a work visa. Additionally, international graduates will be given two years after gradu-
ating during which they can apply to switch their UK study visa to a UK work permit. PhD students will be able to stay in the UK for up to a year to find work after graduating and will also have three months before
graduating to change from a study to work visa. The government is also meant to appoint a new International Education Champion in charge of encouraging overseas activity and striking key partnerships.
Togolese Community concerned about human rights violations
Members of the Togolese community have approached British officials raising “urgent” concerns about human rights violations in the West African Country. Togo, a former French colony achieved its independence in 1960 and ever since has been criticised for its human-rights record. As a result of which the EU cutoff it's aid in 1993. Faure Gnassingbé, became the President of the country in elections that were widely described as
having been “fixed” and led to violent attacks that resulted in as many as 500 deaths and the migration of 40,000 refugees. The most significant human rights issues include use of excessive force by security forces; life-threatening conditions in prisons and detention centres; arbitrary arrest; executive influence on the judiciary; government restrictions on freedom of assembly; corruption; criminalization of same-sex sexual conduct, although not enforced; and
trafficking in persons. The Togolese population in the UK have begun a lobbying process of local members of parliament to try and get Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt to intervene. In particular they have asked that the elections which have recently taken place in Togo, which was boycotted by the opposition should be annulled. FaureGnassingbé was reelected as president which will enable him to serve a further two terms in office.
10 READERS VOICE
23 - 29 March 2019
Disabled Access Day 16 March marked Disabled Access Day and it serves as a reminder of the huge amount of work that still needs to be done to ensure that London is a city truly open to all. For those with disabilities and mobility issues, navigating London’s largely inaccessible transport system can be a stressful and sometimes alienating experience. At City Hall, the Mayor is taking swift action on this by investing an extra £200m to ensure that 40% of the tube network will be made step-free by 2022. Next month, the Government will also be announcing the stations that will receive a share of its nationwide £300 million ‘Access for All’ fund and I hope that more of our local stations will be in line to benefit from this. By starting with an overhaul of our transport infrastructure, we can stay on track in our bid to become a world-leading capital for accessibility and inclusivity. Jennette Arnold OBE AMLondon Assembly Member for North East Constituency (Hackney, Islington and Waltham Forest)
Atrocities in New Zealand What significance the day, Tuesday, 22 March last year, was a black day for Brussels when bomb blasts, one at the airport and the other at a metro station, killed 31 and wounded 300 innocent people. This was in the wake of similar atrocities in Paris. This year, 22 of March witnessed mass killings in Christchurch in New Zealand - the land of kangaroos and koalas. A mad man on a killing rampage killed 49 people and wounded as many more. These terror attacks would corroborate what Donald Trump has been saying all along. One wonders whether we are safe walking in the streets of London as these types of terror attacks can happen in a big city anywhere in the world. What drives people to go on a killing rampage and how can we find a way of stopping such killings from happening again. How can we make the world a safer place for us, our children and the posterity to live in? Inequality causes hatred and jealously. So does religion. The inequality between the haves and have-nots must be the culprit and needs to be tackled in order that people the world over who are oppressed and hungry can feel satisfied and content with their lot. Religion must also be playing a part because, as history would indicate, many killings in the past and present have taken place in name of religion, as these last killings were. Dinesh Sheth Newbury Park, Ilford
Mumbai’s FOB collapse The government of Maharashtra has announced a meagre Rs 5 lakh (£5000) exgratia for the next of the kin of the deceased while the CSMT (Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus) foot over-bridge collapse injured will get only Rs 50,000 (£500). How long will the money last? What if the deceased was the sole breadwinner of the family? When will the relief be given? Or the family will have to run from pillar to post to get it. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation is to be blamed for the bridge collapse, as the repeated incidents show that the civic body is unable to run the city. Where is the taxpayers’ money going? Will the Chief Minister of Maharashtra (Mr Devendra Fadanavis) and the government take the responsibility for the incidents or turn a blind eye to the safety of the citizens? The Mumbaikars don’t feel safe at all. The city is sitting on a time bomb. Jubel D’Cruz, Mumbai, India
Period poverty It was shocking to read about period poverty in the UK. I have grown up in the UK, lived here for 45 years of my life and I had no idea that such poverty exists! Involvement of the Royals like Meghan Markle can surely act as wonders? Aren't there enough women power in Britain to make this campaign a success? Surely some political and business stalwarts should be able to join? For Asian women, I know it is a bigger issue- with all those superstitions associated with menstruation. Since Asian Voice runs a Charity Awards, it will be great if charity organisations like Bloody Big Brunch UK, Myna Mahila and Free Periods – those who campaign for this cause, could nominate themselves. It is a cause that we should highlight, especially in the BAME community. Anandi Devi Cambridge
No milk during Maha Shivratri
The use of milk during our religious festivals, especially Maha Shivratri was highlighted by knowledgeable activist Shri Nitin Mehta who is staunch vegan. His campaign has put vegetarianism on world map, especially here in England where one in ten people preferring vegetarian diet. Indeed more vegetarian restaurants are being opened than traditional ones in many parts of England. This is due to “Baily Bridge Brigade” at work promoting vegetarianism. We also lead Europe where understanding of vegetarianism is minimal. No one can deny that extreme cruelty is involved in producing milk. There are few dairy farms here that produce milk in traditional way, following into the foot-steps of Hare Krishna’s dairy farm in Watford, without involving cruelty or killing new born calves. It may cost double the price but I am sure most Indians (Hindus, Sikhs and Jains) would not mind paying a bit extra if cows are treated humanely. After all cows are closely associated with our favourite deity Lord Krishna whose birthday, Janmastami is celebrated with such panache at Watford Hare Krishna Temple, attracting fifty thousand worshippers over the festive period, largest gathering of Hindus on an auspicious day outside India! While using non-dairy milk, such as soya and almond may be fine but it may not be available in many countries, may be expensive and why waste such resourceful dietary food which can provide much needed nutrition to under nourished children, especially in developing world. If my memory serves me right, I remember some temples in East Africa used to encourage worshippers to put just a spoon of milk in a jug of water to pour at the feet of deity which will reduce milk usage by 99%. Perhaps it is time to mention ghee, clarified butter, as it is also widely used in performing havens; not only wasting valuable product but it also pollutes air, as it creates so much fumes in an enclosed place, affecting children’s health. Here we use goats’ milk in our home instead of cow’s milk; although I must admit I am not sure whether any cruelty is involved in production of goat’s milk. It would be nice if Hindu community could persuade some supermarkets to put on their shelves cows’ milk produced without cruelty that may financially benefit to some extent Hare Krishna temple if they want to take advantage of such an opening!
There is a very interesting discussion going on in our national newspapers about legalising use of cannabis, even if on a small scale to help those who suffer from life crippling illnesses. Cannabis is an extremely complex product which contains different chemicals, some medically beneficial like CBE while others extremely harmful, especially if taken in wrong doses as recreation drugs that makes one feel high, a super human being for a short time. Cases are known that while high on cannabis, they jump from tall buildings with feelings that they could fly! Cannabis oil and other products helps children suffering from severe form of epilepsy, reducing the fits some 90% in many cases, thus enables sufferers to live normal life. Until recently even small use of cannabis for medical reason was strictly prohibited, parents had to go out of their way, overseas to buy these products, although it was illegal to import it. One has to declare to Custom officers who would not hesitate to confiscate it. But after sustained campaign by parents of epilepsy suffers, Home Office has somewhat relaxed the law allowing tiny number of GPs to prescribe drugs to a very small number of patients who suffer from extreme case of epilepsy and those who are suffering from pain, vomiting and nausea caused by having chemotherapy treatment, if other drugs fail to provide relief. Many countries allow use of cannabis on medical ground while others, a tiny number of countries, like Netherland even allow it for recreation purposes in a few well-regulated outlets where addicts can use cannabis under supervision, knowing well that the product they buy, use is safe, not a mixture of dangerous chemicals that cause so many deaths in this country, especially at musical festivals like Glastonbury which attracts well over hundred thousand youngsters, come hell or high water, weather wise. Perhaps it is time to liberalize the use here, under strict conditions, at designated outlets, perhaps for a trial period, as these dangerous drugs are widely available on internet which may not be safe, a mixture of chemicals extremely dangerous for our health! The irony is that Britain is the leading producer and exporter of marijuana in the world. It would be interesting to know the opinion of readers who may be getting it on NHS through their GPs!
Kumudini Valambia Via Email
Winner takes it all
Bhupendra M. Gandhi Via Email
Gambling rule- winner takes it all, cannot be applied to run a democracy or a country. Referendum result of 55% v/s 45% does not mean those who won can assure the remaining will benefit from the change. Referendum has turned out to be farcical. Government should have analysed the Brexit before referendum, as how the public will benefit by cutting off the trade relation with EU. Referendum was a rushed job, and totally uncalled for. A minister was appointed who travelled lavishly at the cost of tax payers' money, who never gave full report to the House or to the public as how the UK citizens will benefit. How many millions of pounds have been consumed by Brexit, no one knows. Former Prime Minister John Major hit the nail by saying the problem is not with EU because they are united, criticising some selfish MPs. It's odd to estrange from 27 countries by choice! In the world's eyes, UK is a mess and has lost its image. In the past UK ruled one third of the world and now they cannot manage their own house! T Chudasama Solihull
India's interest How is UK letting Pakistani and Khalistani people clash with Indians outside a certain embassy? Indian people were beaten up as the videos show, but police according to your story claims, nothing happened? This is outrageous. The Indian MPs in the UK must take up the cause with authorities. Yes we understand every community has a right to self expression. But that does not mean you will run behind people hitting them. That is punishable offence. I hope the community's concerns are taken notice of. Amit Sheth Via Email What do you think? We want to know your views on any issue. Write to: Asian Voice, 12 Hoxton Market, London N1 6HW or e-mail: email@example.com
I read your Women's Special in Asian Voice, issue date 9-15 March, with much interest. A well informative 4 pages of article, talks about challenges and issues faced by today's women. It is true when your author writes, women have been strong since birth but its only now society understand their strength. Woman have always been associated with kitchen work, raising children. But today's generation is much beyond such cliché. Women are taking the world by storm. We cant say that Glass ceiling does not exist, but we are getting better with time. There is another thing that is very important. We need women to give other women a push, a word of encouragement and a chance to do better. Women need to recruit more women. It creates a chain that can only help the community further. Anita Sen Edinburgh
Getting the wind up Pavements these days are not the safe havens they used to be. Did you see that horrifying incident on television recently when heavy masonry collapsed from a shop roof, missing a pedestrian by inches? That person had a lucky escape. Another incident involved a manhole cover exploding, making people near it scream and jump away. We must also avoid using pavements battered by high winds when shop signs start rattling on their moorings, threatening to fly off and smash into passers-by. These incidents have also happened. Rudy Otter Via Email
We are grateful to all letter writers for more and more versatile letters well within word limit. Please keep contributing as always. If you are new, then write to Rupanjana at firstname.lastname@example.org - AV
23 - 29 March 2019
Kenyan Indians, their strengthening of the Kenyan Economy and regeneration of the British society arliest accounts of Indian presence on the eastern coast of Africa has been found in a book titled 'Periplus of the Erythaean Sea', written by an anonymous author in first century AD. There are also other scriptures that serve as evidence that Indian merchants were visiting the continent since the days of ancient Babylon. They even established trading posts along the coast of East Africa. Situated on the equator on Africa's east coast, Kenya, is called the “cradle of humanity”. A vibrant country with a more vivacious culture, Indians in the country constitute of 1 per cent of the entire population. Ancestors of most of the current diaspora during the British colonial rule, when construction of the Kenya-Uganda Railway was undertaken between 1896 and 1901. After the First World War, Kenyan Asians got into all kinds of occupations, ranging from business, the police force, bureaucracy and other service professions in Nairobi and its surroundings. Their commercial contribution is what has lead to the steady economic development of Kenya and the entire African continent. A classic example of market-dominated minority, Indians in Kenya are the biggest and most powerful diaspora in the African country. The community makes a substantial contribution to the larger society and are found in almost all sectors of the economy. Most of them are in private businesses and formed large corporate groups to host them. Kenyan Indians have business ventures in all major towns including Kisumu, Mombasa, Nairobi, Nakuru, Eldoret and Kakamega. Called “Wahindi” in Swahili, they are known to invest in the country left and right. Kenyan Indians have been a major part of the country's history with them being in the forefront of the mass' push for increased rights in the 1950s. Indians leaders like Pio Gama Pinto, Makhan Singh, and AR Kapila were active participants in the fight against inequalities of colonial rule.
The Asian community had firmly established their dominance within the urban economy by 1962. After Kenya achieved independence from Britain in 1963, times became volatile for Indians. Asians were given two years to surrender their British passports and acquire Kenyan citizenship. Thousands of British passport holders were forced to leave and set base in the UK. While in Kenya, the diaspora was playing a vital role, they were playing second to none initially in the UK. However, it wasn't soon before they deeply involved themselves in boosting the British economy too.
Kenya's romance with Gujarat and Gujaratis After arriving in Kenya barefoot, riding on rickety dhows, the Gujarati population in Kenya, especially the Shahs, the Kutchi community, and others are one of the most dynamic minorities that reside in the country now cruise around in top-of-the-range vehicles. Population of the Shahs is somewhere over 12,000 out of a total Gujarati population of 90,000 (according to a BBC report), and their business acumen and resilience has immensely contributed to Kenya's economic outlook. Indians, especially Gujaratis are so well-integrated into the cultural life of Kenya that currently there are today around 15 Swaminarayan temples, other Hindu, Jain, Sikh and Muslim places of worship in the country. An unofficial source believes the first Hindu temple in Kenya was constructed in the 1870s. This only goes to prove how the African country has allowed religious freedom to all those who have made that country home.
Dear readers, we have been talking about the Kenya magazine for over seven weeks, however it has been regrettably delayed. While we appreciate the overwhelming amount of personal and other information that have reached us we can unfortunately, not accommodate more. In almost all walks of life in the UK, the Indian diaspora with a Kenya connection, plays an important role. We are currently working on some inspiring and touching stories and can't wait for it to reach you.
12 MEDIA WATCH
23 - 29 March 2019
SCRUTATOR’S The starter’s gun for India’s General Election was fired barely a week ago, but party leaders and their underlings were into the stride with remarkable speed. Their speeches were most sedentary in political content: haywire populism from Congress President Rahul Gandhi, promises of loans and goodies with gay abandon with not a care about the public purse. His vision on the country’s future direction were a set of disjointed images embellished with guff.
market, with strong adoption and many competitors, Data, therefore, is quite staggeringly cheap.’ it said. With over 430 million smartphone users, India is the second-largest in the world after China. In 2016, Mukesh Ambani sparked a price war in India’s hyper competitive telecom market with the launch of 4G phone service Jio. Since then,Jio has signed on 280 million customers by offering them domestic voice calls, dirt-cheap data services, and virtually free smartphones (Statesman, Times of India March 10). CII growth roadmap
Prime Minister Narendra Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP President Amit Shah stepped on the gas and were soon into top gear trading brickbats and routine insults with their Congress opponents. It was an unedifying spectacle, for sure, yet it says much for the public support of a chaotic democracy, warts and all, that ordinary citizens flock to polling booths and queue patiently for hours to cast their ballots. Their conduct stems from an ingrained belief that their lot will improve, given time; that social and economic injustices will be ameliorated on the basis of visible evidence. Lifestyles across the social spectrum have improved markedly over the last three decades as previous levels of mass poverty declined and continue to decline.. Three decades and more ago, India’s state and general election were regional and national hazards, today they are orderly and well organized in stages. In the present case, in seven stages, commencing on April 11 and ending on May 23. India, US polls compared Consider this: the US establishment and its toxic mainstream media are much given
Congress President Rahul Gandhi
per cent of the population voted in the last presidential election, of these the winner polled less than half.
The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) released its roadmap to political parties for higher economic growth. It covers a wide range of sectors including agriculture, industry, manufacturing and infrastructure. It recommends high pace of reforms; compression of GST rate slabs to 2 or 3 per cent and lowering corporate income tax to 18 per cent with no exemptions; and prioritizing education and health care and infrastructure (Statesman March 11). Lucknow locals help Kashmiri traders
scared of Chinese President Xi Jinping, who he parleyed with confidentially at the Chinese city of Wuhan and was previously welcomed with bear hugs and garlands on his visits to Gujarat. Congress would well do to advertise for expert guidance on the deficits of their China policy. What passes, and has passed as China policy is scandalously unequal and shamefully cringing (Business Line March 16) See Comment Page 3. Boeing 737 Max grounded India joined the growing list of countries to ban further flights of this aircraft, following the tragic air crash of one such plane in Ethiopia, killing all 157 passengers and crew, and an earlier crash of an Indonesian airliner. The black box of the Ethiopian aircraft has been recovered, sent to Paris for expert analysis of the cause of the ragic crash (Times of India March 13). Supreme Court raps Mamata govt The Supreme Court in a studied rebuke to the Bengal government ordered it to cease obstructing screening of the Bengali film
Early signs Early opinion charts reveal the Prime Minister Modi’s rating rose by 7 per cent, stang overall at 52 per cent as of now. The Sensex and Nifty made spectacular gains at the news..Indian merchandise exports rose by 2.4 per cent last month in February. Foreign investors have around Rs 18,000 crore worth of stocks already in March. The rupee, which has been steadily appreciating recently closed at the weekend at 69.10 to a US dollar. President Bill Clinton on the campaign, asked what the most pressing issue was, replied ‘It is the economy, stupid.’ (Hindu, Times of India March 16). India mobile data world’s cheapest
It was more than business as usual when Lucknow’s bustling Dallganj, where vendors of fruits, vegetables and fish, with Kashmiri traders much in evidence selling their wares was a familiar scene as shoppers clicked their selfies to record the scene. A few days earlier a group of saffron-cled thugs beat the Kashmiris causing public outrage across the city (THindu March 10). Tibetan leader on Uprising Day The Central Tibetan Administration President, Lobsang Sangmay, speaking at the March 11, 1959 anniversary of his country’s National Uprising Day in Dharamsala, denounced
Bhabiswarer Bhoot [Ghost of the Future] in local cinemas despite the film receing a no objection certificate from India’s Board of
Censors. The Intelligence Unit of the Kolkata Police had objected to its public viewing on grounds of possible disorder, much to the anger of the film’s director and producer, who promptly took the government to court. The Bengal defence counsel had the brazen affront to justify government’s action on the dubious plea that the subject was a state issue under the Indian Constitution, the argument contemptuously brushed aside by the Justices, who opined: ‘Such actions of the State directly impinge upon the fundamental right to the freedom of speech and expression guaranteed under the Constitution of India.’ Enough said (Hindu March 16). New York Times, Truth as Fiction The New York Times, long an established pillar of media rectitude, confected fact with fiction as a practised had in defaming India. It resents India’s refusal to become a banana republic bowing and scraping to Uncle Sam’s every whim and nod. The scurrilous rag headlined its report on the Pulwana suicide bomb blast as follows:: ‘In India’s Election Season, an Explosion Interrupts Modi Slump’. Even Chidanand Rajghatta, the Times of India’s special pleader for all things American, including the desirability of Indian membership of the US satraps club, appeared miffed that a ‘newspaper famed for its meticulous’ reporting could have committed such an egregious error (Times of India March 13) Rajghatta must have forgotten or is willing abjectly to forget, the Times support of the George W, Bush administration fabled claim that the Saddam Husain regime in Iraq, was in possession ‘weapons of mass destruction’; in other words, of nuclear bombs. It lied through its teeth; so, too, did The New York Times.
Chennai music prodigy enthrals US audiences
Thanks largely to billionnaire Mukesh Ambani’s Jio, India has the cheapest mobile data in the world with IGB cost just Rs 18.5 [$0.26] as compared to the global average of around Rs 600, according to research price company Cable. co.uk.
People show their voter identity card as they queue to cast their vote at a polling booth
to preening on their democratic model for the rest of the world. The broad American public cynical about the real situation on the ground have exercised their ballots in ever decreasing numbers: approximately 23 to 25
Chinese governments, past and present, for their brutal repression of the Tibetan people, their language and culture through force and colonisation, with waves of Han immigrant settlers dominating the economy and displacing Tibetans on prime land (Statesman March 11). Modi scared of Xi Jinping: Rahul
Younger savy generation ‘A company whose young population particularly has a high technological awareness, India offers a vibrant smartphone
Congress President Rahul Gandhi, reacting China’s opposition to UN ban on Pakistan Jihadist leader of the Jaish-e-Mohammed, accused Prime Minister of being running
Watch as India's musical prodigy Lydian Nadhaswaram, known as the Mini Maestro, wins the first season of The World's Best, taking home a $1M prize
As his fingers flew over across the keys of his piano, it became plainly evident for an enthralled American audience that were witnessing something truly special, something that they would carry with them for a very long time indeed. The 13 year-old genius with magic in his fingers was (is) Lydian Nadhaswaran who spends six hours daily practising. He was in America as an entrant to ‘The World’s Best talent contest, which he won with the ease with which he performs, saying off the million dollar prize money. The judges were stunned by the speed, 280 beats per minute, increasing it effortlessly to 325 per minute. He was adept with both hands playing two pianos simultaneously, pieces from Mozart and Beethoven. ‘This is one of the best things I’ve ever seen,’ tweeted James Gordon host of the show. The prodigy can play blindfolded. The youngster has been invited to the Jazz Foundation gala, in early April, at the Apollo Theatre in New York (Hindu March 15).
23 - 29 March 2019
Toxicity of LOBO loans and Barclays sued Seven local councils are suing Barclays over “fraudulent” bank loans worth £550m, that they claim were wrongly sold to them following the 2008 financial crisis. These Lender Option Borrower Option (LOBO) loans are long term loans spanning 40-60 years with complex derivatives embedded within them wherein the lenders can charge varied interest rates. Lobos typically offer the borrower a low interest rate for the first few years of the loan in the beginning, to attract the customer but shoot up after a while. Councils taking the action against Barclays are Leeds, Greater Manchester Combined Authority, Newcastle, North East Lincolnshire, Nottingham, Oldham and Sheffield. Separately, the London Borough of Newham is also pursuing legal action against Barclays for approximately £250m worth of these toxic LOBO loans. Abhishek Sachdev is the Conservative Councillor for Potters Bar, Parkfield and the CEO of Vedanta Hedging Limited who has been instrumental in bringing forward the case, and gave evidence about these loans to the Communities & Local Government Select Committee in 2015.
“These councils are alleging that these frauds committed, in this instance, by Barclays which has been found guilty and fined for manipulating the Sterling GBP Libor. They also claim that Barclays are manipulating the Libor to their benefit,” said Sachdev explaining the quantifiable risks associated with these loans. Libor is the common interest rate at which banks can lend and borrow with each other and almost all of these of loans were indexed against three months of Libor. According to Sachdev, these councils would not have entered into such loan contracts with the bank had they known of these “manipulating tendencies”, and now want the entire loan contract and any of the associated breakage costs that are payable today to be “ripped up and rescinded”. But, an individual bank can only have so much impact upon manipulating Libor considering the system in which these interest rates are decided. Different interest rate estimates are submitted to the British Banking Association (BBA) from across the banks. The BBA then excludes the most extreme estimates from either sides and takes an average of the rest. The rates submitted are what the
banks estimate they would pay other banks to borrow dollars for three months if they borrowed money on the day the rate is being set. “There was collusion among quite a lot of these banks including Barclays and JP Morgan. Principally, in terms of, Sterling Libor and investment banks there are others who have been found guilty by the regulators both in America by the Department of Justice (DoJ) in US and Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the UK. “They were colluding not just to make the bank appear healthier than it was but they were genuinely colluding to boost their own internal trading profits,” Sachdev explained. Between 2002-12 there have been approximately 805 such loans which have been issued to 250 councils. Today, Libor is in a difficult state where it is gradually being phased out and cannot be manipulated either. But, in existing cases, the councils can only file legal claims against these banks and basically force the bank to enter into a normal litigation process. This would either lead them to trial or to some sort of negotiated settlement before going to trial. But not all councils have entered into a negotia-
tion with the bank- and only a tiny fraction have taken action about it. At the moment, there are only eight councils who have instigated proceedings. “According to the statute of limitations, there is a time frame of six years within which you could discover and report the harm or litigate the contract on it and now they have run out of time even if others wanted to file cases,” Sachdev explained. The best alternative for these councils, according to Sachdev, today as opposed to the LOBO loans is the PWLB (Public Works Loan Board) loans which the councils can borrow from the Government. These loans would not be as attractive as the LOBO loans but, he explains that also these loans won’t have hidden, breakage costs either.
Impact of government policy on immigration, education & youth mobility from India The High Commission of India in the UK in partnership with Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI UK) and Indian Professionals Forum (IPF) organised an Interactive Session on “Impact of Government Policy on Immigration, Education & Youth Mobility from India” at the India House. The session included a panel discussion reviewing the report and making specific suggestions and recommendation as it affects immigration and attracts key skilled workers from India. While welcoming the delegates Mr. Manish Singh, Minister (Economic), High Commission of India shared that the large number of Indian Companies that operate in the UK, contribute not just to the GDP but also to the job market. He added that a conducive immigration policy is on the top of the agenda for bilateral discussions between India and UK. Rt Hon. the Lord Dholakia in his key note address briefly sketched out what the Bill meant in practice, provided background
Lord Navnit Dholakia addresses the audience, as Dr Mohan Kaul and other panellists look on
information on the development of policy and also provided additional information on how the Bill would affect existing legislation in this area.Lord Dholakia in his address said that the purpose of Immigration act is not in dispute. It is to admit those who are eligible and to exclude or, subject to appropriate humanitarian principles to remove those who are not. This was followed by a Panel discussion on the nuances of the white paper moderated by Dr. Mohan Kaul, President, IPF. The distinguished Panel included Ms. Punam Burley, Partner and Head of Employment & Immigration, KPMG, Mr. Loknath Mishra, MD & CEO, ICICI Bank UK PLC, Ms. Jurga McCluskey,
Partner & Head Immigration, Deloitte LLP, Mr. Philip Bouvrat, Director, JCB and Ms. Pat Saini,
Partner & Head of Immigration, Penningtons Manches LLP. Dr. Param Shah while giving the concluding remarks thanked the speakers and the panelist for their insights on the immigration white paper and the delegates for their participation. He also gave constructive suggestions that going further FICCI & IPF would be putting together a paper to be submitted to the Home office for their consideration.
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The Crowning moment The other day I was waiting to catch the late train from St Pancras. In a zen-like state I was watching the clock turn until it was time to board. And then I heard part of a conversation between two guys that could have only worked in financial services of some kind. “We’ve had a great bull run!” said a man with slicked back hair wearing a pinstripe suit. “Quantitative easing” he said, Sachin Nandha “Q.E., in other words, printing Chief Executive PillboxCapital 3 money, is what bailed us out of trouble last time round. This was one of the longest expansions of credit in history.” “That came to an end years ago” retorted his buddy who looked far more haggard. “The funny money in the system is still working itself through giving some life to the economy. Almost everywhere you look right now – the macro indicators are favourable; GDP growth up; unemployment in decline; stock market rising; corporate defaults declining; and corporate profits are up”, he gloated looking up at his gangly colleague. “So, what’s the problem?” “Well, as the funny money dries up and works itself through the system, all this credit will naturally need to be paid for. When we finally get around to that, there will be a God almighty contraction!” said the shorter man, with spectacles, who looked far too excited by what he was saying. He went on, “public equity valuations are high everywhere, causing endless speculation as to whether this is a bubble or not. Government debt and household debt is also a serious concern. Current levels are simply unsustainable. Interest rates have risen and will rise further, resulting in a tougher environment. Furthermore, the GDP growth we have seen has done nothing to reduce the inequality in society, which just keeps getting wider. Europe has sovereignty issues; BREXIT has bamboozled us; China has a great big hole the size of Antarctica in its pension provision; and Japan is about to start suffering from a declining population and therefore a contracting economy” he went on with growing enthusiasm. It was as if he was getting to some life-changing revelation. He just wasn’t getting to his point quick enough! “Ask yourself” he said nonchalantly, “and definitely ask your financial advisor, if you have one, where is your pension invested? And to what level have you diversified your risk? Is it in property? Is it in equities? Is it in bonds? Is it in commodities such as gold, which is near an all-time peak? You will find that nearly all of these assets are at a crowning moment.” I could see his haggard friend feeling less comfortable with each passing moment. There is an adage which came to my mind, and it went something like this: ‘Let a man be crowned. Let him become King. For the weight of his crown shall bring him to his knees.’ “There is a correction coming. The great contraction will come,” he said prophetically. “When it does how much of your value will you lose? How much are you prepared to lose ought to be a more fitting question?” I could see his friend now, just wanting to get on the train and crawl under the table. He was visibly concerned. But his tormenter wasn’t finished just yet. “So, while we have 12 to 18 months left before the high caused by the “funny money” turns into last night’s hangover, again, what will you do to secure your wealth and savings?” he asked rhetorically. I was sure that the great revelation was upon me. He was about to tell us all what the great escape from financial stagnation would be…but then with a smirk on his face he picked up his briefcase; with a glee in his eye he said, “I work in private equity, what do I know!” Then he patted his friend on the back and ushered him to board the train. To find out more about PillboxCapital visit: www.pillboxcapital3.com or call 0116 274 0707
23 - 29 March 2019
Neasden Temple celebrates International Women’s Day with inspiring conference
Lucy D'Orsi, Deputy Assistant Commissioner at Metropolitan Police addressing the guests BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, London – popularly known as the ‘Neasden Temple’ – observed the UN’s International Women’s Day (IWD) on Sunday 10 March 2019 with an inspiring conference attended by over 1,100 women of all ages. The celebration of IWD by BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS) represents its on-going commitment to women and matters of importance to women, as inspired and guided by BAPS’s spiritual leader, His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj. This year marks the tenth anniversary of the celebrations organised by BAPS in the UK. The event began at 1.00pm with the keynote
Distinguished speakers and panellists sharing their inspiring experiences
address of chief guest Lucy D'Orsi, Deputy Assistant Commissioner at the Metropolitan Police Service. Ms D’Orsi shared her inspiring experiences of resilience in balancing various roles as a woman and urged others to also fulfil their dreams and duties. Other distinguished speakers and panellists included some of the most accomplished and esteemed women in the country in their respective fields – Seema Sharma (dentist, entrepreneur, management consultant and philanthropist), Lois Stonock (international cultural and creative consultant), Babita Sharma (TV host, including newsreader for BBC News and BBC
World News), Sonal Sachdev-Patel (author for HarperCollinsIndia and philanthropist), Smita Oza (Senior Director of Legal Operations for VeriFone), Abha Thorat-Shah (Executive Director at The British Asian Trust), Lakshmi Kaul (Head and Representative of the Confederation of Indian Industry in the UK), and Rupa Ganatra (entrepreneur, investor, consultant and Founding Board Member of the UK Guild of Entrepreneurs). They spoke about the importance of a positive perspective in times of adversity and encouraged the audience to find opportunity in failure by channelling their inner strength.
Overall, the conference centred on three key themes. The first, ‘Reflect’, focussed on the progress of women individually and collectively, and reflected on the personal strengths and achievements of women observed over the past 10 years. The second theme, ‘Progress’, explored ways in which women can enhance various skills and advance towards new goals. The third theme, ‘Shine’, set a forward-looking vision for women to achieve their full potential. “The underlying message,” explained Rena Amin, one of the lead volunteers for BAPS in the UK, “is that every woman has the ability to be a light, not just for themselves but for those around them.”
These themes were artfully conveyed through a series of video presentations, cultural performances, panel discussions, and addresses by eminent guests who shared their inspiring testimonies and experiences. Various interactive stalls provided delegates with an opportunity to harness various life skills relating to health, music and lifesaving. Younger participants enjoyed hands-on activities, including cooking, henna, cosmic painting and other arts and crafts. The conference also included an exhibition of ten elaborate silk scrolls designed and crafted by female members of BAPS in partnership with Kinetika, an internationally
renowned arts organisation. The scrolls depict the achievements and values of powerful women in the community. They were produced with the support of Arts Council England from handmade Indian silk using special techniques. Amee Desai, a lead volunteer for the event, added, “We’re so grateful for the overwhelming support of so many inspiring women who presented and attended today. We hope the conference helped women of all ages to reflect on their personal journey, progress through perseverance, and continue to shine professionally, personally and in support of others through faith and courage.”
Car rallies organised in support of India Hundreds of Indian expatriates have participated in car rallies organised by Overseas Friends of BJP across different cities in the U.K. in support of India and Prime Minister Modi. People in Birmingham, Edinburgh, London, Manchester, Milton Keynes and Newcastle have rallied through town centres
and iconic places irrespective of the rain and wind, to show their appreciation to Modi's leadership and India's progress under his captaincy. This is probably the first of its kind initiative taken to express solidarity and support by members of Indian background living here. Racing champion and Euro NASCAR win-
ner Advait Deodhar has flagged off the rally at SKLP in London where the rally started and culminated. High energy Maharashtrian Lezhim performance at the beginning of the rally added colour. In Edinburgh, the rally started with a Vedic prayer. In London, Bob Blackman MP and Professor Sunil
Poshakwale gave the closing remarks in which they highlighted the remarkable development India has achieved in recent years, climbing up the digitalisation, infra structure and economic progress chart. The diaspora was urged to actively engage in tapping electorate within known circles back home in India in order to keep the developmental momentum going. Further to this, a Town Hall event in London to engage students and academia, and an informative event "Dance and Development" underscoring the empowerment of tribal communities are on cards in April that would highlight the ground realities based on evidences.
Indian Overseas Congress UK, mega car rally show was held on 16th March 2019. It started from Heston. More than 100 cars and 300 IOC members participated the rally across the U.K. They travelled more than 300 miles from West London to Central London, including Parliament Square, Hyde Park and Tavistock Square, where they gathered and offered flowers to the Mahatma Gandhi statue. The Midlands group travelled from London to Leicester to Birmingham,
Coventry, Slough and concluded session in Osterley, west London. Chief guest AICC secretary and Overseas in-charge Himansh C Vyas travelled all the way from Delhi to London for this. Virendra Vashisht, IOC UK in-charge who had been deployed from India especially to monitor and give the guidance for this event arrived 3 days before the event. IOC, UK President Mr Kamal Dhaliwal explained strategy for this election step by step and action points for team members.
High Commission of India in London celebrates IWD Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) organises panel discussion on 'Parenthood & Career'
HE Ruchi Ghanashyam (centre right), Lakshmi Kaul (centre left) with other guests and panellists
International Women’s Day was celebrated at the High Commission of India on 8th March 2019. The programme was presided over by the High Commissioner, Her Excellency Mrs Ruchi Ghanashyam. The programme included a panel discussion on “Balancing Parenting and Career” which was based on this year’s International Women’s Day theme: #BalanceforBetter. A packed room of over a hundred people, attended the programme (hailing from various professional and cultural backgrounds). The High Commissioner of Bangladesh, HE Ms Saida Muna Tasneem was the Guest of Honour and the opening remarks were delivered by HE Mrs Ruchi Ghanashyam, High Commissioner of India who spoke about the increasing women representation in Indian Foreign Services especially as Heads of Missions around the world. Mrs Ghanashyam shared her own personal journey in her career around the world and said, “It is important for women to stand up for themselves and call out injustice when they see it. Most of us are victims of our own inability to speak up when we can.” She commended women standing up for other women and welcomed the High Commissioner of Bangladesh, HE Ms Saida Muna Tasneem who congratulated Mrs Ghanashyam on her appointment and thanked her for the invitation to be a part of the IWD2019 celebrations. Recalling her own journey as a woman Ambassador she recognised the importance of solidarity, support and community of women for women. Parenthood as a factor in gender gap on the professional front Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) organised a set of panel dis-
cussions that were conducted by Ms Lakshmi Kaul, Head & Representative – UK, Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) with an esteemed panel of guests. The panel examined the theme: #BalanceforBetter and examined Parenthood as a factor in gender gap on the professional front. “The premise of the discussion was that the prime of an individual’s career and his/her early parenting age coincides (25-40 years). This is also the age when career is at a fast growth trajectory for most individuals. The panellists shared their wide ranging perspectives including parenting, non-parenting, career progression, achievement targets are facilitated by not only implementing workplace changes but also involving families in the process,” said Lakshmi. The guests on the first panel, “Parenthood and Career: How to strike the balance” included Avnish Goyal, Managing Director, Hallmark Care Homes, Vinati Sukhdev, Executive Director, Pratham UK, Maithreyi Seetharaman, Director, Fortune (Live Media Content), Co-Chair, Fortune Most Powerful Women Network and Philip D’Costa, Partner, Pennington Maches. The panellists spoke about their career and parenting paths reflecting on good practices that helped strike a balance. This was followed by another panel discussion, “HR Policies: Are they inclusive, gender sensitive and adequate to bridge the gender gap?” The panellists included Cllr Pinder Chauhan, County Councillor, Sixfields, Northamptonshire, Rozy Contractor, General Manager, Topcoder at Wipro, T N Giridhar, Head of Investment Banking, Axis Bank, and Punam Birly, Partner, KPMG. The discussion in second panel was more pointed and laid
out the perceived gender gap and how policies as well as infrastructural facilities help a young parent in pursuing a career path with active progression. Both the panels concluded in a set of “Calls-ToAction” that saw strong support from audience: l Family First: actively involve families especially children to strike a balance in parenting & career; children are key stakeholders. Ensure work life integration as opposed to trying to balance work and life independent of each other. l Encourage women to pursue male dominant career streams. l Boardroom Composition: Go back to your boardrooms and review what might need to change. More women ought to be in Boardrooms and senior leadership roles. l Make HR Policies effective: Paternal leave ought to be compulsory however, it is important that fathers avail parental leave. Reduce the gender pay gap by incorporating fair professional assessments. l Be Inclusive: Stop feeling the discrimination in thought. Be conscious of the inadvertent bias at workplace and home – be sensitive and compassionate. Relook at recruitment (selection) and promotion policies within HR to ensure inclusivity and opportunity. l Celebrate womanhood instead of trying to be a man at workplace. l Support women out of work to get back into work by offering reskilling opportunities; offering adequate career goals and equal opportunity. The “Call-To-Action” as part of the #IWD2019 is being followed up by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) via its members (Indian Companies in the UK) at the India Business Forum (IBF) as a formal ‘Working Group on Inclusivity at Workplace”.
23 - 29 March 2019
100 Years Old Mother of All Subhash V Thakrar B Com, FCA, FRCA Smt Diwaliben Ghelani celebrated her 100 years in great funfare with family and friends in Leicester proudly showing of the famous letter of best wishes and congratulations from none other than Her Majesty the Queen. I have always felt that when you meet people in their late 80s or 90s, you always learn a lot from them. They have just great wisdom and frankly no time to care about fears or sensitively. They are frank and straight Diwaliben celebrating her with their remarks. birthday with family and friends Diwaliben was born in a challenged to even look after a small village called Gunda in family of 4. But this iron lady had Gujarat and studied up to ‘3 chop13 to look after! She did praise all di ‘ which means up to 3 years of her Patel and Shah neighbours basic education. This is an amazwho proved very helpful. She ing example of so little formal commented that it was in her education but being educated by character to make new friends practical real experience. easily. She had often helped and She got married at the age of supported other women at times 13 years to her then husband, Mr of illness or social challenge. She Popatlal, who lived in Pallisa, a always led new initiatives to help small town in Uganda. As was others by arranging help groups then the custom she did no and sat sang groups. immediately join her husband When I asked what were her until she matured to age of 16 best days of life she was quick at years. She then spent 45 years in saying this was when she and her Pallisa supporting her husband family arrived in UK in 1972. and bring up a family of 7 chilInitially her family got scattered dren. all over UK at different immigraWe often overlook the hard tion camps but over a few months work of the wife in balancing they managed to rejoin and settle between supporting her husband, in Leicester. In her words this is bringing up children but also the ‘Queen’s Raj’ and real swarg with tight financial budget. This (heaven). She feels well looked is all done by the lady of the after in the UK, happy and enjoyhouse. Sometimes, if the husband ing her senior years. is not ambitious then she has even bigger challenge upon her. When I asked what her best time of life, she stressed that life had to be lived whatever the circumstances. She made friends and made lot of contributions to local society to help with needs of women. Then she remembered the 3 years the family had spent in the city of Mbale in Uganda. This was a much bigger and developed environment and she enjoyed this time. However the happiDiwaliben with Subhash Thakrar holding a greeting ness did not last more card from Her Majesty the Queen than 6 months. She discovered that her This is a lady who still walks son in law was suddenly killed by about on her own and without robbers leaving her daughter as a need of any support like a walkwidow with 6 very small children. ing stick. She takes no medication She immediately inherited this even now! Her advice to us is to extended family in a small flat in take Sudarshan Churna powder Mbale . The happy times went by whenever you feel under the and tough times were in. But this weather and never give up on was the mother of all and she consuming ghee. And more took on the challenge despite importantly Diwaliben is known limited budgets and space. for her sense of humour which is Diwaliben went on to look her recipe for longevity. after her now enlarged family of She even joined the ladies to 13 children and grandchildren. play the garba on her special She used the words that she birthday party. shared her piece of ‘rotlo' (bread) A remarkable lady with iron and gave the piece to her granddetermination to face all chalchildren. lenges and be the mother of all. In our modern life , we are
23 - 29 March 2019
CHRIST (Church) SAVE ISLAM New Zealand, reportedly has never experienced an attack of the kind that the country saw before, one that has shaken the country. But post 9/11 the West has been plagued with Islamophobia, white supremacy and racism that has seeped deeper and now apparently taken root into the UK's political parties as well. It is "perfectly possible" that a far-right attack like that seen in New Zealand could happen in the UK,” said security minister Ben Wallace. Following the attack, Muslim leaders have called on the government to double its efforts to ensure the country’s mosques are protected as they said that worshippers attending prayers would be doing so in the face of “unabated Islamophobia”. Reports suggest that roughly 100 counter-terrorism investigations are under way to battle the extreme rightwing terror plots and those who might help them. Reports indicate that the MI5 are investigating the white supremacist suspected to be behind the deadly mosque attack in New Zealand over possible links to far-right groups in the UK. London’s Muslim mayor Sadiq Khan was named among a trio of ‘highprofile enemies’ he wanted to kill. According to Temporary Chief Constable John Robins, West Yorkshire Police, “The UK threat level remains at severe meaning an attack is highly likely”. “Rotherham is not synonym for child sexual exploitation by Muslim men” Australian Brenton Tarrant, 28, is convicted of leading the gun attack which left at least 50 dead in Christchurch. He also published a 74 page ‘manifesto’ describing how he had been inspired by Islamophobic violence in Britain and praising the Finsbury Park mosque attack in London. On one of the guns used in the shootings the words read as- 'For Rotherham'. This has been widely accepted as a reference to the 1400 children groomed and abused by men of predominately Pakistani heritage. This latest attack, in Christchurch, New Zealand, is the third where far-right individuals have committed acts of terror in apparent revenge for the Rotherham scandal. But in a solidarity vigil organised in support of victims of New Zealand and for the broader Muslim community living under the threat of Islamophobia in the UK, Amrit Wilson said“The media has made Rotherham as a synonym for child sexual exploitation of white girls by Muslim men. I would like us to remember that while Muslim men were involved in Rotherham they were a minuscule proportion of those involved in child sexual exploitation in this country. “Even in Rotherham itself a report commissioned by the police revealed that the vast
majority of abusers were white men- but most of us do not know that because the media chose not to tell us. From time immemorial powerful white men have sexually abused children and got away with it. Some have even been protected by the government. Wilson and the hundreds of supporters gathered at the London Street vigil had one message to News Corporations that “we are also no longer willing to tolerate your vicious Islamophobia and white supremacy - as when you described the killer as an 'angelic' boy”.
Violence perpetrated in the name of religion or racial supremacy must be rejected by all of us without reservation.” Whereas Jack Rosen, President, American Jewish Congress has found it “difficult to comprehend the degree of hatred that motivates someone to murder innocents as they pray. This is the end result of all hatred. We condemn the hateful ideology that motivated this attack in the strongest possible
Amrit Wilson, writer and activist
training. “I know many Muslim communities are feeling vulnerable and anxious. But they should seek comfort from knowing we are doing everything to tackle hate and extremism. That is why we are doubling next year’s places of worship fund - providing physical protection as well as peace of mind,” said Home Secretary, Sajid Javid.
"I have been in contact this morning with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to express the UK's deepest condolences at the horrifying terrorist attack that took place at two mosques in Christchurch. To target Muslims as they were attending their place of worship is despicable. And our thoughts and prayers are with the people of New Zealand, with the families and friends of those who have died in these attacks and with all those who have been injured. The UK stands ready to support New Zealand however we can," said PM Theresa May. According to the annual report of monitoring group Tell Mama, a record number of antiMuslim attacks and incidents of abuse were reported in 2017, with women disproportionately targeted by mostly male teenage perpetrators. In its annual report, the group noted a surge in Islamophobic attacks, with 1,201 verified reports submitted in 2017, a rise of 26% on the year before and the highest number since it began recording incidents. “Islamophobia within Conservatives is at best an indifference towards the concerns of British Muslims and at worst its a deliberate political strategy. but there is no doubt the problem is institutional,” read Baroness Sayeeda Warsi's tweet. But amidst such concerns Harun Khan the secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) has urged the Home Office to allow applications for its 'worship security fund' to resume. Launched in 2016, the scheme helps churches, mosques, temples and gurdwaras to install alarms, security lighting and CCTV cameras. Following this call from Muslim leaders for increased security levels, the Home Secretary has boosted funding for next year’s 'Places of Worship Protective Security to £1.6m to reassure communities and safeguard mosques and other places of worship. This is double the amount awarded last year. In addition a new £5m fund will be opened to provide security
Councillor, Brent & Harrow, Navin Shah
terms. To our Muslim brothers and sisters, as you stood with us after Pittsburgh, so do we stand with you now. The hatred that drove these attacks stems from the same profound hatred for social inclusion and coexistence, hatred for a world in
We stand shoulder-toshoulder with you While the government, police officials and security forces are ensuring that Muslims are safe in their Friday prayers, community members have come out to ensure a peaceful atmosphere. This included Andrew Graystone from Levenshulme who stood outside the Madina mosque with a cardboard sign which read- “You are my friends. I will keep watch while you pray.”
Trupti Patel, President, Hindu Forum Britain
Mrs Trupti Patel, President, Hindu Forum Britain, has paid her tributes to the victims of the terrorist attack in Christchurch, New Zealand and said“We are horrified with the attack against Muslims and our prayers are with the victims, the survivors and their families who today are facing a very difficult time because of this callous act of terror.
MP Virendra Sharma
which Muslims and Jews and other minorities can live and prosper and feel at home,” said Jack Rosen, President, American Jewish Congress. Others included councillor for Brent & Harrow, Navin Shah who as a trustee of AntiRacist Alliance Trust, conveyed his solidarity with the victims of terrorist attack in New Zealand. “We condemn the carnage and pray for the victims. We must continue to work for global peace & harmony” said Shah in a statement. Whereas Labour MP for Ealing, Southall, Virendra Sharma said he was “appalled and saddened” by the Christchurch attack in New Zealand and called for “reflections” on the incident. “We all stand with the Muslim community at this time and against the apparent white supremacist ideology of the perpetrators. The level of hate required to act in this way has no place in civilised society and the murder of innocent people on their way to and from prayer is the act of a coward,” said Sharma.
in brief BEGUM'S LAWYER HELD BACK BY SYRIAN FORCES Isis bride Shamima Begum’s ongoing effort to return to the UK has been stalled once again after her lawyer Tasnime Akunjee was held back by Syrian forces. Shamima Begum Akunjee travelled thousands of miles to the al-Roj camp in north-eastern Syria to get Begum’s signature on paperwork necessary to begin the appeal process against the British government’s decision to strip her of UK citizenship. “She can’t get legal advice and I have even been there and tried, but got detained for my efforts,” said Akunjee. “It cannot be that this is in any way just.” Akunjee spent weeks obtaining the correct permissions to enter the camp. But after arriving and being questioned by a number of officials, he was told he would not be able to see her. He knew which tent she was in, and even got aerial photographs. He stood in the camp where she was about two rows down and less than 50 metres from him. Akunjee has described the process as “frustrating”.
TWO BOYS KILLED IN WOLVERHAMPTON HIT-AND-RUN CRASH Sanjay Singh, 10, and Pawanveer Singh, almost 2, were in a BMW being driven by their mother when they died in a collision with an Audi S3. Police have urged the driver of the Audi, who left the scene on Thursday evening, to come forward while a 31-year-old driver of a third car, has been arrested on suspicion of Sanjay Singh & Pawanveer Singh causing death by dangerous driving. Ambulance crews arrived at the Lawnswood Avenue junction to find members of the public tending to the injured. Paramedics tried to save the brothers - from Dudley, police said - but they were pronounced dead at the scene. The mother, whose injuries were not lifethreatening, was taken to hospital but has since been released. A family statement issued by West Midlands Police said- "Our family are grieving over the tragic deaths of our two beautiful children, as well as dealing with the shock of the horrific crash."
LORD AHMED IN COURT ON CHILD ABUSE CHARGES Lord Nazir Ahmed, 61, appeared in court after he was charged with two historical counts of child abuse. The peer is accused on two counts of attempting to rape a girl and indecent assault of a boy under 13. The incidents were alleged to have taken place Lord Nazir Ahmed between 1971 and 1974 – when Ahmed was a teenager. His solicitor, Haroon Shah, has confirmed Lord Ahmed would plead not guilty to all the charges brought against him. The peer has been charged alongside his two brothers, Mohamed Farouq, 68, and Mohammed Tariq, 63. They have been charged with crimes linked to indecent assault of a teenage boy. Farouq and Tariq entered not guilty pleas during the hearing.
23 - 29 March 2019
Azim Premji now among World's Top Philanthropists ndia's most generous billionaire, Azim Premji announced a brand new bequest to his eponymous philanthropic initiative, pushing his total commitment to $21 billionaire- one of the five largest private endowments in the world, and the biggest in Asia. With the donation, Premji is now amongst the world's most influential philanthropists including Bill Gates, George Soros and Warren Buffett. Last week, Premji announced that all earnings from approximately 34 per cent shares of India's fourthlargest software services exporter WiproNSE worth about $7.5 billion would be transferred to the endowment that supports the Azim Premji Foundation. With this, Premji has committed earnings from 67 per cent of Wipro's shares to the charitable foundation. The Premji family and entities controlled by them hold a 74.30 per cent stake in the software exporter. The education-focused philanthropic initiative launched by the Wipro chairman over a decade ago, remains focused on improving the quality of teachers in some of the country's most remote locations and also runs the Azim Premji University in Bengaluru. Chief Executive Officer of Azim Premji Foundation, Anurag Behar said, “All our activities are scaling up substantially. The important point is that we need funds for eternity.” “Azim Premji’s philanthropic activities have an overarching vision to contribute to developing a just, equitable, humane and sustainable society in India. To enable this vision, the Azim Premji Foundation works directly in education and supports other not-forprofits working in some specific areas through multiyear financial grants,” the foundation said in a press statement. Focus on Education Established in 2001, the Azim Premji foundation also supports other not-forprofits working in specific areas through multi-year financial grants. The Foundation's extensive fieldwork in education with close partnership with various State governments helps contribute to the improvement of quality and equity of the public schooling system. Its field strategy focuses on scaling up a network of institutions at the district and State levels to contribute to improvement in the school education system on a continued and sustained
basis, a statement issued by the foundation. The foundation will use the returns from Premji's bequest, including dividends to fund all activities, as well as new initiatives such as setting up a second university in North India. The university plans to increase intake of students by five times from the existing 1500 every year. It will also increase the field work in the most disadvantaged parts of Uttarakhand, Karnataka, and Rajashan to improve quality and equity in education. The foundation will also step up funding to other nonprofits. Expansion Over the next several years, the activities of the Foundation are expected to scale up significantly. The team working the field in education is expected to grow significantly from the current 1600 people, while the university will have 5000 students with 400 faculty members across multiple programmes. The grantmaking activities will also continue to expand rapidly, growing three times from its current levels, supporting work across multiple domains of social importance in India, the statement said. India's Fourth Richest Businessman Born on July 24, 1945 in Mumbai, Azim Premji is one of the biggest names in the Indian business industry. He is a Gujarati Muslim and his family is originally from Kutch. His father, Mohamed Premji, who was known as the 'Rice King of Burma', was a famous businessman in his time. During the partition of India, Muhammad Ali Jinnah had invited him to stay over in Pakistan. However, his request was humbly turned down. Azim Premji is married to Yasmeen Premji and they have two sons – Tariq and Rishad. Rishad is currently working as the Chief Strategy Officer for the IT
business activities of Wipro. Apart from being a business tycoon, he is the Chairman of Wipro and a well-known philanthropist. He is also the unofficial Czar of the information technology industry of India. According to Forbes, he is the wealthiest person in the country in the six-year span of 1999 through 2005. The same magazine also states that as of 2015, he is the 61st richest person across the world. As of 2014, his personal wealth totaled to 16.4 billion. Not only was he voted in Asia Week as one of the 20 most powerful men in the world, first in 2004 and then in 2011, but Time Magazine has twice enlisted him among as one of the 20 most powerful men in the continent. Premji holds 75 per cent of the shares of his company, besides owning a private equity fund named Premjiinvest. It is responsible for managing the personal investment portfolio of the tycoon, which is estimated to be worth a billion dollars. Premji obtained a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University. This is almost equal in importance to a graduate degree in engineering in India. Premji's career began in 1966 when he had to cut short his education at Stanford University when his father passed away and he came back home to take charge of his father's company. Wipro at the time was working out of a small town in Maharashtra named Amalner and dealt in Sunflower Vanaspati, and its byproduct, a laundry soap named 787. Premji later diversified the company's offerings by starting the production of bakery fat, various kinds of lights and related products, toiletries made from locally available ingredients, hydraulic cylinders, hair care soaps and toiletries for babies. In the 1980s, he was able to
understand the potential of information technology. At the time, when IBM was shown the door, Premji changed the name of the company to Wipro and began making microcomputers so as to gain entry into the sector for high technology products. He collaborated with an
CURRENT TOP FIVE ENDOWMENTS GLOBALLY
Bill and Melinda Gats Foundation (US)
Wellcome Trust Stichting INGKA (Using capital of Sir Henry Foundation Wellcome) (London) (Netherlands)
$ 51.6 B
$ 36 B
Howard Hughes Medical Institute (US)
Garfield Weston Foundation (London)
$ 23.8 B
$ 15.7 B
Source: Data from foundations
$ 27.1 B
American organisation, Sentinel Computer Corporation. NGOs and Foundations Part of some key charitable initiatives, Premji's life is testament to his belief of giving back to the society. He established the Azim Premji Foundation which is
a major part of the philanthropic work done by him. It is a not-for-profit entity that aims to come up with contributions that can help in realising a level of universal education, which in turn, will lead to a society that thrives on values like justice, equality, humanity and sustainability at its core. Its basic area of work is as mentioned above, elementary education. The Azim Premji Foundation is currently attempting to come up with proofs of concept that can change the very system in which the governmentowned schools operate in India. Their emphasis is on improving the quality of education on offer and bringing the schools at par with the best schools across the country. Most of these schools are in the rural area and this is where the foundation has been focusing to a significant extent. In December 2010, Premji promised to provide 2 billion dollars for making school education in the country better than what it was. He transferred equity shares, amounting to 213 million in number, from his company to the Azim Premji Trust. This was the biggest ever educational donation in the country. Meanwhile, the Azim Premji University was set up as per an act passed by the legislative assembly of Karnataka. Its main aim is to conceive and execute programmes that can help in the development of the overall educational scenario. Azim Premji is also the first Indian to have signed up for the Giving Pledge campaign, a brainchild of Bill Gates and Warren Buffett. Its primary aim is to provide encouragement to rich people to come forward and commit a part of their riches to philanthropic activities. As of April 2013, Premji had donated at least 25% of his personal wealth to the said charity.
INDIA’S OTHER KEY PHILANTHROPISTS
u u u u
Shiv Nadar of HCL has contributed $558 million Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw of Biocon has pledged 75% of her wealth Nandan and Rohini Nilekani have pledged 50% of their wealth PNC Menon of Sobha Developers has promised half of his estimated $435 m
18 FINANCE - UK
23 - 29 March 2019
Consultant Editor Financial Voice Alpesh Patel Dear Financial Voice Reader, Why is the stock market near an all time high? Why? Company profits. Markets move on expectations. We expected far worse earnings after all the Brexit shannigans and uncertainty and trade war talk. So stock markets sold off and became cheap. Companies expected poor profits and so they cut costs. But exports held up. Disaster was denied, or at least delayed and so the consumer merrily bought and China and India did too. So profits rose. Am I not forgetting something? Unemployment, EU country default dangers, government spending cuts, tax rises, inflation, and commodity prices, rising oil? Surely stock prices cannot rise with all this going on? Ummm… yes they can. Unemployment is receding – in the UK it is as low as when I was born back in...well let’s just say a long long time ago. EU debt defaults are being bailed out by printing money, which yes causes inflation which in turn leads to rising stock prices anyway; government spending cuts are being substituted by private sector orders for companies, commodity prices are being hedged by companies or leading to outright profits. So where is the pain? Tax, but it is slowing down growth, not killing it. But do consider some warnings. To quote Warren Buffett, “We see the growth in corporate profits as being largely tied to the business done in the country (GDP), and we see GDP growing at a real rate of about 3%. In addition, we have hypothesized 2% inflation. If profits do indeed grow along with GDP, at about a 5% rate, the valuation placed on American business is unlikely to climb by much more than that. Add in something for dividends, and you emerge with returns from equities that are dramatically less than most investors have either experienced in the past or expect in the future. If investor expectations become more realistic — and they almost certainly will — the market adjustment is apt to be severe, particularly in sectors in which speculation has been concentrated… “Fools give you reasons, wise men never try.” So in the age of Facebook in anticipation of this article I posted a poll: ‘If you had to invest in the equities of one of these countries which is your favourite?’ The results at the time of writing are: 58% for India; 25% for US; 0% for China, 8% for UK and 8% for Japan. Back to caution: “Examine the record of, say, the 200 highest earning companies from 1970 or 1980 and tabulate how many have increased per-share earnings by 15% annually since those dates. You will find that only a handful have. I would wager you a very significant sum that fewer than 10 of the 200 most profitable companies in 2000 will attain 15% annual growth in earnings-per-share over the next 20 years,” said Warren Buffett. The point is the current rate of profit growth which some of the large British and US companies are producing presently cannot of course last. But the issue with the market is always ‘when’ not ‘how’ or ‘what’. So when will the music end?
Tenants in England not being protected from revenge evictions Latest figures reveal only one in 20 private tenants who complain to their council about poor living conditions gets protection from a revenge eviction by their landlord. Data extracted from under the Freedom of Information Act by the housing campaign group Generation Rent suggests that local authorities in England are failing to use their full powers to protect tenants. The group also suggested that even when the most severe hazards, such as mould or broken stairs, is found in a rented home, tenants only get protection from eviction in one in every five cases. Dan Wilson Craw, the director of Generation Rent, said, “These figures demonstrate that despite powers and protections, tenants living in squalid homes are being let down by their councils. If landlords
are free to evict tenants who complain about disrepair then we cannot expect the quality of private rented homes to improve.” The data is the latest example of councils being accused of failing to use all of their powers to clamp down on rogue landlords, following an investigation launched by the Guardian and ITV News last year which found that convicted landlords, who have been ruled unfit to rent out their properties, are continuing to operate by exploiting gaps in a law that is supposed to protect the most vulnerable tenants. The campaign group also added that there were 12,592 category 1 hazards recorded by 78 councils in 2017-18. However, 2545 improvement notices were served as a result, equating to 20 per cent of cases and leaving the remaining tenants with no protection from eviction.
Baroness Vadera-led Santander bank sees no scope for growth in UK As Brexit continues to dampen growth prospects for international lenders, Spanish banking giant Santander has begun to divert spare capital away from its British operations. Chaired by former government minister Baroness Shriti Vadera, Santander, one of the world's largest banks with a £59.6bn market capitalisation and operations in 10 countries, now views business in the UK as a least profitable scope for growth sources said. A banker said, “Do I think that Brazil looks more interesting than the UK for Santander? Yes.” He added, “It is the biggest risk to the attractiveness of the UK as a place for financial services companies to do business.” Santander's pull back comes at a time when uncertainty pushed by Brexit continues to darken prospects for banks, pushing many to set up costly subsidiaries in the EU to keep business with
European customers. There are several foreign companies that have retreated from making acquisitions in financial services, partly because of Brexit. Bankers prepare plans to relocate staff Other UK bankers at JP Morgan and dozens from Goldman Sachs are on standby for relocation to EU offices by March 29 despite Parliament's vote to delay Brexit. Around 400 JP Morgan bankers are ready for last-minute moves to financial hubs including Frankfurt, Luxembourg and Dublin as part of preparations for a no-deal Brexit. A source said it is part of the bank's plans to shift staff “as late as possible” to avoid any unnecessary disruptions. While last week's parliamentary vote in favour of an extension to article 50 has not affected the existing relocation plans, given that an extension still requires EU approval, JP Morgan is
Baroness Shriti Vadera
understood to be watching developments carefully. Meanwhile, affected staff who primarily work across sales and trading, are “clear that they're on standby”. Another source said Goldman Sachs has a couple of dozen trading desk staff ready to be shifted overnight. The US investment bank employs about 6,000 people in the UK, while as many as 700 could be relocated in the event of no deal. It is known about 150 have moved to
other offices in the EU so far, most of them EU27 nationals. JP Morgan employees are also bound for Paris, Madrid and Milan. The bank, which employs about 16,000 people in the UK, recently opened a new office in Dublin, which has the capacity to host double its existing Irish workforce of 530. Liam McLaughlin, an EY partner and the firm's financial services Brexit lead, said it was not time for companies to back-pedal on their Brexit plans. He added, “Over the last three years, financial services firms have invested significant time and resources in preparing for all possible scenarios, and our view is they are unlikely to halt their plans for a no-deal in hope of a possible extension. There would be a real operational risk if firms started to stand down their no-deal preparations now only to have to try to stand them up again if no-deal becomes a reality in two weeks.”
More than £100bn of UK property is secretly owned A new analysis suggests property worth over £100bn in England and Wales is secretly owned. More than 87,000 properties are owned by anonymous companies registered in tax havens, research by the the transparency group Global Witness said. The analysis said that 40 per cent of the properties are in London. Cadogan Square in Knightsbridge, where the average property costs £3m, has at least 134 secretlyowned properties. Also, Buckingham Palace Road houses a large number of buildings, with a combined estimate value of £350m. Ava Lee, senior anticorruption campaigner at Global Witness said, “It's increasingly clear that UK
property is one of the favourite tools of the criminal and corrupt for stashing and laundering stolen cash. This analysis reveals the alarming scale of the UK's secret property scandal.” The revelation came at a time as Parliament’s joint select committee on the draft
registration of overseas entities bill meets to hear evidence on the impact of property ownership by anonymous companies. The government committed to introduce a register of UK property owners at its anticorruption summit in 2016, but progress has been slow since then.
Historical Land Registry data reveals the combined value of the properties was at least £56bn at the time of their acquisition. Once inflation is factored in this would exceed £100bn. Some 10,000 of the properties are in Westminster, while around 6000 are in Kensington and Chelsea. Camden is home to more than 2300 of the anonymously owned properties while almost 2000 in Tower Hamlets. Global Witness said its investigations have shown how criminals and corrupt politicians use the UK property market to hide or clean dirty cash and to secure safe havens for themselves and their families.
UK employers defy approach of Brexit with hiring spree Official data showed that British employers ramped up their hiring at the fastest pace since 2015 in the three months to January as the labour market defied broader Brexit weakness in the overall economy. The number of people in work surged by 222,000, helping to push the unemployment rate down to its lowest since the start of 1975 at 3.9 per cent. The increase in hiring was stronger than all forecasts in a poll of economists and pushed the proportion of the population in work to an alltime high. The pound rose slightly after the data. The surprising resilience of the labour market and the
subsequent rise in wage growth, plus a fall in inflation, are cushioning the Brexit uncertainty for many households, whose spending drives the economy. However, the surge in jobs could reflect nervousness among businesses who have scaled back on investment in equipment, making them
more likely to hire workers who can be sacked if the economy sours. An employers group said that companies were set to cut investment by the most in 10 years in 2019 because of Brexit, even if Prime Minister Theresa May gets a deal to ease the country out of the European Union.
“There is continued strength in the labour market but we all know that it is a lagging indicator and we shouldn’t get too carried away,” Commerzbank economist Peter Dixon said. “There have to be questions about how long the labour market can continue at this pace.” The Bank of England forecasts that Britain’s economy will grow at its slowest rate in a decade this year. Private surveys have suggested employers turned more cautious in February as May struggled to get parliament behind her deal. Brexit is now expected to be delayed beyond the scheduled date of March 29.
THE BREXIT BUFFER
Sow & Reap London Property Investment
The supply of housing stands on average at 2,600 units per annum. Last year being an exceptional year, at 4,800 planning permissions. However, this does not mean there will be 4,800 properties constructed. For one reason or another planning permissions do not necessarily translate on ground level. An increase in population, along with supply which is far below the demand, leads to only one thing, an increase in property prices. Prices have been increasing at 4.7% a year since 2010. There was a sharp increase last year at 7% with flats increasing a massive 10%. Property prices in the capital are on par with some of London’s premier post codes. Something which is often over looked is the car parking, which rarely keeps pace with this type of phenomenon. Currently, spaces are being sold for €170,000-€180,000.
And yet we suffer under the illusion that we do because of our powerful yet erratic minds. Do you control the sun? The moon? This planet? Do you even control the body you occupy? You could die right now. Do you control how anyone behaves towards you? How about the weather? Do you control the
Most of the buildings in Luxembourg are only 3-4 stories, in order to preserve the character of the country. However, in order for this problem to be alleviated the government will need to do something. The obvious solutions they are considering are to release land which is not ‘zoned’ for house building, or higher density housing. The former may simply multiply the problem over a wider area. London is a city which is ahead of this curve by several decades. If we look at the average property price in say Kilburn, which let’s face it, is not a desirable area, the average price for a flat is £540,493 (last year). This probably equates to £1,000 per sq. ft. This is similar to prices in town. Therefore, perhaps releasing more land may simply expand the issue to a wider area, rather than address the issue head on. In effect the two solutions suggested by the government amount to the same thing. One is to stretch property upwards which is called higher density. The other is to expand outwards, by releasing more land.
inflating the problem to a wider area upwards and outwards. Not actually solving the underlying issue, which is keeping housing affordable, so it serves the many and not the few. The article demonstrates that wherever you go in the world, governments and cities are struggling with the effects of urbanisation. The UK government have tried to address this problem, using Help to Buy and through various other planning instruments. But as we have already examined, the Help to Buy scheme seems to benefit the developers more than the struggling first-time buyers. This is a major problem which is not being solved in an effective manner. Though prices in central London are floating at around £1,000 per sq. ft, we are doing deals at about 2530% below this level. This means you come into the deal with effectively a ‘Brexit Buffer’. Do get in touch for more information on how we can work with you.
others. Life is usually a mixed bag of results in this domain.
If you analyse your behaviour, much of it stems from a desire to control your world while knowing that it is uncontrollable. Most of us have little control over our emotional reactions to events. If you are lucky you have some discrimination when handling your emotions and controlling your reactions to
London, SE2 Purchase Price: £230,000 Specialists in Central London Property Sourcing
Both could be seen as merely
parents who begot you?
BUY TO LET OPPORTUNITY
AGONY AGENT IS HERE TO HELP!
means when the population migrates from the rural areas for life in the cities.
HOW MUCH DO YOU ACTUALLY CONTROL? These are all symptoms of what we call urbanisation, which basically
You and I do not have much more control than an ant.
23 - 29 March 2019
I came across an article recently, which delves into the issue of rising property prices in Luxembourg. The signs are the same the world over. Luxembourg’s population has increased from 364,000 in 1980 to 600,000 today; and the increase continues at a pace of 2.5% per annum.
REAL ESTATE VOICE
Ask those close to you. In business, handling this conundrum gives you a competitive advantage. Act with full dedication. Know that you do not control the outcome. Accept in your heart you do not control anything. And thus do not suffer distress when you see how much you cannot control.
This way you can act with full vigour yet remain equanimous. Watch your performance improve! Abraham Goldberg
Q: Do I need permission from my local authority to rent out my property? A: If it is for a standard BTL, it depends on the local authority (LA). There are a few that require you to have a specific license to be a landlord, for example, Brent Council require you to have a landlord license in order to let your property out, so it's worth checking with your LA. This can easily be done on their website. The LAs that do require licenses will charge a fee for doing so, and there is plenty of paperwork to match. If your property is an HMO, then every LA will require you to have a license. Sometimes, this will fall into two categories; a nonlicensed HMO and a licensed HMO. Each LA’s rules and regulations differ, so again it's worth contacting them or looking online. Both will require certain safety aspects installed in the property such as fire doors, smoke alarms, locks, slow closing doors...and so on. Again, this will require paperwork filling and as usual, fees. I would recommend that you contact your LA or check their website just to be sure, as not checking means you run the risk of potentially £1000s worth of fines. Do get in touch if you need any help with this, and the associated paperwork. Richard Bond
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23 - 29 March 2019
Mukesh Ambani saves Anil from jail Jim Bligh Chair, Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), UK India Business Forum
Strong rays of sunshine piercing the clouds of gloom In these uncertain times for the economy, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the business community is all doom and gloom. But success in business is about risk-taking and hard work with a dose of courage. In business, rarely are you certain about the future of your market, your business or your workforce, but you are prepared to take big risks to be successful on the way. Brexit looms, markets are uncertain, and few can map a clear route to a prosperous future for the UK - and yet many Indian businesses are hugely successful here. IT is the UK’s fastest-growing sector, spurred on by Indian IT giants and startups. Indian businesses of all sizes are making waves in manufacturing, food and drink, legal, professional and financial services across the length and breadth of the land. In short, Indian businesses are boosting growth and productivity, while providing skills and jobs. These firms see Brexit as both a risk and an opportunity, and there’s no sign that Indian investment is on the wane despite the clouds of uncertainty hovering over the British economy. This optimism and
dynamism would have made one pioneering risktaker proud. This month, the whole Indian business community mourns Lord Bhattacharyya. A pioneering industrialist who is credited with revitalising a dying manufacturing sector in the UK, Professor Kumar Bhattacharyya will long be remembered for his commitment to British and Indian business. As the CII director-general said, he was “deeply committed to fostering India’s manufacturing excellence. Working on policy development, manufacturing competitiveness and research, he believed in deepening India’s global manufacturing footprint to make the country a leader.” Nowhere is that commitment clearer than in the Midlands, where he founded the Warwick Manufacturing Group. The group’s work turned around the fortunes of the sector, introducing new working methods and attracting serious global investment, not least in Tata’s acquisition of Jaguar Land Rover 11 years ago. The automotive sector is clearly challenged by Brexit and changing market dynamics. The
challenge for the government is to ensure that Lord Bhattacharyya’s legacy is strengthened, not squandered, in the coming years, focusing on securing investment which preserves jobs, skills and supply chains. March also marked the 180th birthday of another pioneer, Jamsetji Tata, the founder of the global group which bears his name and carries his immense legacy. Tata set himself four goals: to set up a world-class university, build a hydroelectric plant to power Mumbai, grow an iron and steel business, and found a unique hotel. He achieved only the last during his lifetime, but his successors built the rest, and more. Tata is now a major investor across the globe through dozens of successful companies, including world-leading IT services and technology giant TCS. (I declare an interest here, as UK corporate affairs director for TCS.) At 151 years old, the group has seen off all manner of risks, threats and challenges - yet continues to thrive. It is in the twin examples of Lord Bhattacharyya and Jamsetji Tata that we can find the inspiration to succeed through difficult times. And it is in times of uncertainty that the most courageous innovators take risks and win prizes so there are strong rays of sunshine piercing the clouds of gloom.
Mukesh Ambani stepped in to save his younger brother Anil from going to jail by giving money to be paid to Swedish equipment major Ericsson. Beleaguered telecom operator Reliance Communications (RCom) has paid £45.87 million to Ericsson, avoiding a potential three-month jail term for its Chairman Anil Ambani. The payment comes a day before the deadline set the Supreme Court expires on Tuesday. The group paid the amount to the court on Monday, sources close to the development said. When contacted, an Ericsson spokesperson confirmed the development. Anil said, “My sincere and heartfelt thanks to my respected elder brother, Mukesh, and Nita, for standing by me during these trying times, and demonstrating the importance of staying true to their strong family values by extending this timely support. I and my family are grateful and deeply touched with their gesture.” Earlier in January, debtladen RCom deposited £11.8 million with Supreme Court
More borrowers are seeking refuge in these uncertain times with certainty on their interest costs. More and more banks are offering ‘Fixed Rate Loans’ (“FRL”) and although these would appear to be straightforward in structure with an assumption that they would operate as per the
fixed rate being provided to borrowers. The fact that there is an underlying swap in the FRL has serious implications for any ‘early redemption’ of a FRL (as the bank would have to re-enter the money market to unwind the associated swap at prevailing rates) unlike the domestic fixed rate mortgage market where actual early redemption charges and costs are known and explained at inception. Typical fixed-rate mortgages may have a 1% exit cost or perhaps three months interest for example. The rationale for this
personally guaranteed by Anil. Later, Ericsson had moved the apex court seeking initiation of contempt proceedings against Anil for allegedly not complying with its order to clear dues of £55 million (plus interest). On February 20, the Supreme Court had held Anil and two directors of the group guilty of contempt of court and asked them to pay the amount within four weeks. Failure to comply with the order will invite a three-month jail term, the court had warned. The apex court had also directed RCom, RTL and Reliance Infratel to deposit £100,000 as penalty.
Jet suspends services to Abu Dhabi, slashes flights to Dubai Jet Airways has suspended services to Abu Dhabi and slashed the number of flights to Dubai till Marchend. According to a notice from Etihad Airport Services, the airline has cancelled all its flights for operational reasons. It has also stopped Delhi-Dubai flights. “The airline has been committing lessors and vendors regarding payment and has not been able to meet them till now. The airline management is looking to raise funds and clarity would be available in next few days,” said a source
familiar with development. “Jet has proactively undertaken certain operational adjustments to its flight schedule, keeping in mind the likely, yet interim non-availability of some aircraft in its fleet in the foreseeable future. The airline has kept the regulator as well as its guests informed of these changes,” it said in a statement. Air India rejigs some USA and Europe routes Pakistan which closed its entire airspace on February 27, have since opened it up for very few flights. Every day, they delay
apparent confusion in ‘terminology’ may be explained by the requirement of stringent compliance procedures for any derivative products that are not required for what banks call ‘straightforward’ fixed rate loans. The anomaly being that as explained above, the commercial FRL does in fact include a swap, however, the Bank is not providing the same regulatory safeguards as if it were selling a swap. Worryingly, we have seen one major UK Bank actively persuade customers to take a fixed rate loan compared to a swap or a cap, by reduc-
ing the loan margin by 0.20%. This in itself should throw up a red flag to a borrower, because when the bank is really keen on you choosing a certain option, it begs the question why! Many of us know this such as when we are pressured to buy insurance from say a mobile phone retailer (Dixons Carphone were fined £29m this week for misselling these). However, given the misselling these banks have had to pay billions for in the past, it is concerning that they are still not being fully transparent with borrowers. As I have explained thousands of times to borrowers, clients, the
Fixed rate loans vs Mobile phones
domestic fixed rate mortgage market, these must not be confused. Critically the FRL offering will have an ‘embedded’ swap or derivative that enables the bank to offer a fixed rate by entering into an internal ‘swap’ through its Treasury function. If you are entering into or repaying a FRL, we can assist in benchmarking the fixed rate since this is based upon live swap rates which cannot be found online. Since banks know that borrowers don't have access to this information, there is a natural tendency to hide extra margin within the
Mukesh and Anil Ambani
Registry as partial payment of dues it owes to Ericsson. The Indian firm has now paid a total of £57.97 million to Ericsson. The Swedish company had moved a bankruptcy court in 2017, accusing RCom of not paying £150 million in dues for a seven-year contract to manage and operate its network. The deal, signed by an Indian unit of Ericsson, was signed in 2013. Ericsson had dragged Anil to the court after RCom failed to clear its dues, and won the suit. On October 23, the court had asked RCom to pay £55 million by December 15, and warned that any delay would result in a 12 per cent interest. The £55 million dues were also
the opening of their airspace for overflying flight, and there is no schedule at the moment about when will be the international aviation community be able to use Pakistan’s airspace again. The prolonged closure has significant implications for many carriers that overfly Pakistan to fly west, especially Air India. Air India operates more than 100 weekly flights to the USA and Europe combined, and all of them used to fly over Pakistan. Ever since the airspace closed, all these flights were affected. FCA and also the Government, there is nothing wrong with a fixed rate loan or a swap if they are explained carefully. There are other options like a cap (which I will explain more in a future article) which provide more flexibility to borrowers with no threat of nasty breakage costs. We are the UK’s largest FCA authorised firm that is regulated to be able to advise all types of business on derivatives. Please don’t hesitate to call us.
Tel: 020 7183 2277 www.vedantahedging.com
23 - 29 March 2019
in brief INDIAN-AMERICAN CONFIRMED AS JUDGE The US senate has confirmed Indian American Neomi Rao, who was under scrutiny for her previous writings on sexual assault, as a judge on the DC Circuit Court of Neomi Rao Appeals. Rao is set to take over the chair vacated by US Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh following his nomination for the top post in the country's highest judicial body. The Senate voted 53-46, with all the Republicans backing Rao's nomination and the Democrats opposing her confirmation. The 45-year-old Indian-American, who serves as Trump's "czar" overseeing regulatory rollbacks, was quizzed not only about her work in the Trump administration, but for the commentary she wrote in the past few years as a student at Yale University, when she opined that women should change their behaviour in order to avoid date rape. While some Republicans had expressed apprehensions about her nomination, Rao apologised for her past writing.
TRUDEAU CONGRATULATES LILLY SINGH Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau congratulated Canadian-born Lilly Singh, who goes by the stage name Superwoman, on bagging a late night show of a major TV network and said the YouTube sensation is making Canada proud. Singh has landed a rare chance to host a late night talk show on a major broadcast network - a feat for a woman of colour. She will replace Carson Daly as the host of NBC's late night talk show. The show will be re-titled "A Little Late with Lilly Singh" and will launch in September, making her the only woman to currently host a late night talk show on one of the big networks. "A Little Late" will feature Singh, who first became famous as a YouTube star, conducting in-studio interviews, as well as feature pre-taped comedy sketches and other "signature elements".
SURAT MAN KILLED BY FRIENDS IN SA Shiraz Patel, a 36-year-old man from the Rander area of Surat, was allegedly killed by his former business partners over a financial dispute in Johannesburg, South Africa. Shiraz had gone to meet his former business partners, in Johannesburg when one of them attacked him with a knife. Shiraz sustained multiple stab wounds, including one on neck that led severe blood loss. He was shifted to a hospital where he died during treatment. Shiraz had some financial dispute with three persons, his family members said. Meanwhile, Ayaz Babu, one of the accused, has confessed to killing Shiraz over financial dispute. Ayaz Babu said he attacked Shiraz after a heated argument over phone over financial issues.
PAK JOURNALIST CRITICISED A Pakistani journalist has come under fire on Twitter for likening Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar to the Tibetan leader Dalai Lama. Pakistani journalist Hamid Mir has, in a post on Twitter, likened the chief of the terror outfit to Dalai Lama. "It's very easy to understand why China blocked resolution against Masood Azhar in UNSC... India sheltering an enemy of China since decades and his name is Dalai Lama," Mir tweeted. The comparison drew outrage on Twitter with many questioning the journalist's logic in likening a man who has been called 'Mahatma Gandhi's Children' by TIME magazine and the spiritual heir to his legacy of non-violence with a man who has actively been linked to terror outfis, and acts of violence and killing.
France freezes JeM chief Masood Azhar's assets PARIS: Just few days after China blocked the listing of Pakistan-based terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammed's chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist at the UN Security Council, France has decided to sanction the man behind the Pulwama attack at the national level by freezing his assets. For the fourth time in the last 10 years, China, on March 13, put a technical hold on a proposal by the US, the UK and France, among others, to enlist Azhar as a global terrorist at the UNSC, despite his outfit carrying out the ghastly Pulwama terror attack on February 14, which killed over 40 CRPF personnel in India's Jammu and Kashmir. "France has decided to sanction Masood Azhar at the national level by freezing his assets in application of the Monetary and Financial Code. A joint decree of the Ministries of the Interior, and Economy and Finance was published in
the Official Gazette," a release issued by France noted. "A deadly attack took place in Pulwama on 14 February 2019, claiming over 40 victims from the Indian police forces. The Jaish-e-Mohammed, which the United Nations has deemed to be a terrorist organization since 2001, has claimed responsibility for this attack...France has always been and always will be by India’s side in the fight against terrorism," the statement outlined. "We will raise this issue with our European partners with a view to including Masood Azhar on the European Union list of persons, groups and entities involved in terrorist acts, based on this decree," the note stated. China has since defended its technical hold to the UN resolution, saying it needed "more time" as it is "conducting a comprehensive and in-depth review" on the listing request
leaders who are involved in heinous attacks on our citizens" are brought to justice. "We are disappointed by this outcome. This has prevented action by the international community to designate the leader of Jaish-eMohammed (JeM), a proscribed and active terrorist organization Masood Azhar which has claimed responsibility for the put forth by the countries - a terrorist attack in Jammu and stance that has been widely Kashmir on 14 February 2019," a criticised. statement issued by India's According to sources, more Ministry of External Affairs than 10 countries supported as said. "We are grateful for the co-sponsors to India's bid to efforts of the Member States designate Azhar as a global who moved the designation terrorist in the United Nations proposal and the Security Council 1267 list. unprecedented number of all India expressed other Security Council disappointment over the members as well as nondevelopment but vowed to members who joined as cocontinue to pursue "all available sponsors," it added. avenues to ensure that terrorist
China draws ire of other UNSC members for saving Azhar WA SHIN GT ON /B EIJIN G: Virtually calling China a terrorism supporter, the US indicated that members of the UN Security Council may need to consider “other actions” if Beijing continued to prevent the sanctions committee from designating Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar a global terrorist. A day after Beijing used its veto to stall the sanctions committee’s near-unanimous decision to designate Azhar a terrorist, a Security Council diplomat said China should not prevent the UN panel from doing the job the council has entrusted it to do, and Beijing’s move to hold the listing was 'inconsistent with its own stated goals of combating terrorism and furthering regional stability
in South Asia.” “If China is serious about these goals, it should not protect terrorists from Pakistan or any other country from being held accountable to the council,” said the diplomat. The diplomat warned, “If China continues to block this designation, responsible member states may be forced to pursue other actions at the Security Council. It shouldn’t have to come to that.” Needs more time to find lasting solution: China Defending its actions, China said the UNSC committee needed more time to find a “lasting solution” on the matter. Chinese spokesperson Lu Kang said, “Only a solution that is acceptable to all sides can fundamentally provide a chance
for a lasting solution to the issue. China is ready to communicate and coordinate with all sides, including India to properly handle this issue.” Even as the US made plain its unhappiness over the Azhar block, there was more stormy weather on the US-China front over a state department report indicting China for “record level” human rights violations, a charge that Beijing rejected as “ideological prejudice”. China counterattacked and said, “We also advise that the United States take a hard look at its own domestic human rights record, and first take care of its own affairs.” In Washington, the diplomat did not elaborate on what “other actions” were being contemplated by member states but considering the move to
designate Azhar a global terrorist has near-unanimous support, it is conceivable that the matter may be bumped up to the Security Council itself, where an isolated China could be called on to explain itself before the world. Four of five permanent UNSC members - US, UK, France, and Russia - back the move to designate Azhar a global terrorist, with China the lone holdout. “One big state holds up, again... one small signal at UN against terror. Grateful to the many states - big and small who in unprecedented numbers joined as co-sponsors of the effort,” India’s envoy to the UN Syed Akbaruddin tweeted after China foiled India's bid to declare Azar as a global terrorist for the fourth time.
Pak tea seller uses IAF pilot Abhinandan's photo to boost business KARACHI: An elderly Karachi tea seller has found the most witty way to give his business a boost by using an image of IAF pilot Abhinandan Varthaman in a banner on his stall. The banner also had a line that said, “Aisi chai ki dushman ko bhi dost banaye” (The kind of tea that can turn foes into friends) in Urdu. The image used by the tea seller garnered a lot of attention online, and has now gone viral. Wing Commander Varthaman was chasing Pakistani jets with a MiG -21 Bison fighter plane in Jammu and Kashmir on February 27 and crossed over to Pakistan-
occupied Kashmir (PoK) where his aircraft was shot down during the fierce dogfight. He
ejected safely and was taken into custody by the Pakistan Army when his parachute drifted and fell inside the PoK. He was released on March 1 after Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on February 28 announced to release him as “a peace gesture.” Varthaman was returned to India through the WagahAttari border two days after his capture. His image has inspired fan art, memes, and poems online.
India's Election Commission also asked Facebook to remove two political posters and the Wing Commander’s photograph and asked political parties to stop making references to the armed forces in their campaigns. Sources said Wing Commander Varthaman had informed the top brass of IAF that he was subjected to a lot of mental harassment, though he was not physically tortured by Pakistan military authorities. On March 4, IAF Chief Air Marshal BS Dhanoa clarified that Varthaman will fly an aircraft again after he is declared fit.
23 - 29 March 2019
1,000 feared killed as Cyclone Idai batters Mozambique MAPUTO (MOZAMBIQUE): Mozambique president Filipe Nyus said that as high as 1,000 people could have killed as Cyclone Idai battered the country. Nyusi flew over some of the worst-hit areas said he saw bodies floating in the rivers. The storm made landfall near the port city of Beira on Thursday with winds of up to 177 km/h, but aid teams only reached the city on Sunday. A UN aid worker said that every building in Beira - home to half a million people - had been damaged. Gerald Bourke, from the UN's World Food Programme, said: "No building is untouched. There is no power and telecommunications. The streets are littered with fallen electricity lines. "The roofs on so many houses have fallen in, likewise the walls. A lot of people in the city have lost their homes."
The official death toll in Mozambique stands at 84 following flooding and high winds. The cyclone has killed at least 180 people across southern Africa. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Society (IFRC) described the damage as
"massive and horrifying." In Zimbabwe, at least 98 people have died and 217 people are missing, the government said. Malawi was also badly hit. The flooding there, caused by the rains before the cyclone made landfall, led to at least 122 deaths, Reliefweb reports. The
UK government said it would provide humanitarian aid worth £6million to Mozambique and Malawi. It also said it would send tents and thousands of shelter kits to Mozambique. How bad is the damage in Beira? Most of those known to have died so far were killed around Beira, Mozambique's fourth largest city with a population of about 500,000, authorities said. More than 1,500 people were injured by falling trees and debris from buildings, officials said. Situation in Zimbabwe A state of disaster has been declared in Zimbabwe. President Emmerson Mnangagwa has returned home early from a trip to the United Arab Emirates to "make sure he is involved directly with the national response", the authorities say.
Lanka govt urged to withdraw proposed anti-terror law COLOMBO: Media rights activists urged the Sri Lankan government to withdraw proposed anti-terror legislation, calling it of draconian laws aimed at suppressing media freedom and democratic rights. The new counter-terrorism bill approved by the cabinet of ministers is now before the Parliament. C Dodawatta, the convener of the Free Media Movement, a local media rights group, said the act could be used to arrest and detain journalist for "distributing or making available any information to the public." He said the new government came into power in 2015 promising to repeal the existing anti-terror law, the Prevention of Terrorism Act that has been criticized by rights groups.
Rights groups say that the successive governments have used the existing anti-terror laws for arresting and detaining journalists, media workers, artists, rights activists, ethnic minority Tamils and opposition politicians, said Dodawatta. "But so far the government has failed to repeal the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) and instead now, they are
bringing another legislation which seems worse than the PTA," he said. Dharmasiri Lankapeli, another media rights activist, said the legislation may result in arresting journalists for nonrevelation of sources and "this would pose a great danger to media freedom and send more journalists to prison." Rights activist and lawyer Viranjana Herath said the minister in charge could prohibit a ban on entry, taking photographs, video recordings and making sketches and also, prohibit any organization from any event. "This will affect the freedom of assembly and association and could pose a serious threat to the freedom of
expression and media-freedom," said Herath. He said Lanka doesn't need new laws to combat terrorism, saying there are more than 20 existing laws to deal with offenses on terrorism. Bringing new laws could be described as an attempt to suppress voice of people, he said. There was no immediate comment from the government and the spokesmen for the government did not respond to queries. President Maithripala Sirisena and the new government came into power in 2015 promising to end a culture of impunity and ensure justice to slain journalists. Under Sirisena's predecessor, Mahinda Rajapaksa, dozens of journalists were killed, abducted and tortured. Some even fled the country.
UNHRC resolution to give breather to Lankan govt NEW DELHI: India's desire to give some breathing space to Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe found a sympathetic ear in the international community. His government is to be granted a further extension of two years to carry out key pledges on transitional justice and accountability. Just before the UN Human Rights Commission (UNHRC) session ends mid-week, the Geneva-based body will adopt by consensus a new resolution proposed by the UK, Canada and Germany - that will give time till 2021 for the Sri Lankan government to fully implement commitments it made four years ago.
Sources said that India had been kept informed "at every stage" about the drafting of the resolution by the UK. This is the first time that the US is not taking the lead, since it withdrew from the HRC last year. This is the first regular session that India will participate as a member of UNHRC, after a mandatory gap in 2018 of one year following two consecutive terms. According to sources, various countries were aware of the very recent turbulent political history and the fraught ties between President Maithripala Sirisena and Wickremesinghe. "It was felt that the government required a break and this was not the right
time to impose any stringent strictures," said an Indian government official. However, some Nordic countries with large Sri Lankan Tamil diasporas, had tried to introduce stronger language in the text. This was when India intervened to "remind" the international community about
the current circumstances in Sri Lankan polity, sources noted. However, officials said that there was largely not much intervention required, as there was consensus among the international community about the need to give the government some breathing space. "We didn't have to do too much," said the official. This will certainly be good news for Wickremesinghe, who has been embattled domestically, with presidential election due in Sri Lanka within a year. This agreement came despite Sri Lanka not having a good record of meeting its assurances on reconciliation and transitional justice.
8 KILLED IN BRAZIL SCHOOL SHOOTING At least eight people were killed when two young men opened fire at an elementary school, police said. Among the dead were five school children, one adult and the two adolescent shooters. A large number of children were injured in the shooting and were taken to hospitals. School shootings are rare in Brazil, even though the country is one of the world’s most violent, with more annual homicides than any other. The last major school shooting was in 2011, when 12 children were shot dead by a former pupil in Rio de Janeiro. While gun laws are extremely strict in Brazil, it is not difficult to illegally purchase a weapon. Police said that two adolescents wearing face masks entered the building and started shooting. The pair eventually shot and killed themselves.
INTERPOL RED NOTICES FOR 20 OVER KHASHOGGI KILLING Turkey said that Interpol issued red notices for 20 suspects in connection to the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last year. Turkey's justice ministry said that the General Secretariat of Interpol issued the red notice on March 1, 2019, after Turkey's request was accepted. A manhunt has been initiated to search for the 20 suspects across the world. Earlier, Saudi Arabia rejected calls for an international and independent investigation into Khashoggi's killing, arguing that it was well equipped to bring the perpetrators to justice, according to reports. Khashoggi, a vocal critic of the Saudi regime, was killed in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2 last year, where he had gone to obtain paperwork certifying his divorce with his former wife Alaa Nassif in order to be able to re-marry his Turkish fiancée Hatice Cengiz.
FLIGHT FORCED TO RETURN AFTER WOMAN FORGETS BABY AT AIRPORT A Kuala Lumpur-bound Saudia flight had to return after a passenger told crew that she had forgotten her baby in the boarding area of the terminal. A video in which the pilot can be heard relaying the story to air traffic control was uploaded in Youtube and has since gone viral, with more than 50,000 views. It’s not the first time that a similar thing had happened. In 2017, a photo of a woman who’d left her baby on the airport floor while she used her phone, quickly went viral. However, the mother, Molly Lensing, said that her shaming experience should be a lesson to those who deem it acceptable to publicly judge a stranger’s parenting techniques online.
FLASH FLOODS KILL 42 IN INDONESIA'S PAPUA PROVINCE At least 42 people have been killed by flash floods in Indonesia's eastern Papua province, an official said, as rescuers raced to find more victims of the disaster. The floods in Sentani, near the provincial capital of Jayapura, were triggered by torrential rain and subsequent landslides, and also left 21 people injured. Dozens of homes were damaged, national disaster agency spokesman said. "The number of casualties and impact of the disaster will likely increase as search and rescue teams are still trying to reach other affected areas," the spokesman added. Flooding is not uncommon in Indonesia, especially during the rainy season which runs from October to April. In January, floods and landslides killed at least 70 people on Sulawesi island, while earlier this month hundreds in West Java province were forced to evacuate when torrential rains triggered severe flooding.
23 - 29 March 2019
in brief READERS BLAST NYT OVER PULWAMA REPORT Agitated readers, many from India, blasted the New York Times for describing the Pulwama terrorist attack that took the lives of 40 Indian soldiers as an “explosion”, forcing a hurried online change -without an explanation - from a newspaper famed for its meticulous corrections and clarifications. The headline, “In India’s Election Season, an Explosion Interrupts Modi’s Slump” was changed to “In India’s Election Season, a Bombing Interrupts Modi’s Slump” in the digital edition of the newspaper after chagrined readers vented at it. “If #Pulwama is explosion, #Osama was ‘misguided youth’ probably responsible for 9/11 plane crash,” one reader said tartly, while another asked if the paper would described IS as an “adventure group” and Taliban as a “standup comedy group.”
CHINESE ENVOY CALLS MUSLIM DETENTION CENTRES ‘CAMPUSES’ A top Chinese diplomat claimed that detention centres for Muslims in China’s Xinjiang province are "campuses, not camps" and said they are eventually going to be closed as a "training programme" for ethnic Uighurs is downsized. At the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, executive vice foreign minister Le Yucheng reiterated that the detention centres are designed to provide training and fight regional terrorism. He also claimed that officials from around the world, including from the UN, had visited the region and that the detention centres in Xinjiang are "actually boarding schools or campuses, not camps" as reported by critics. The US State Department said that China has "significantly intensified" a campaign of mass detentions of minority Uighurs over the last year, with between 800,000 and 2 million people from the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region interned in camps. The centres have drawn condemnation from across the world.
MOBILE PHONE SAVES AUSTRALIAN An Australian man had a lucky escape while confronting a man armed with a bow outside his home, as a loosed arrow pierced the mobile telephone he was holding to take a photograph of the incident. The 43-year old man had returned to find the man, who was known to him, waiting outside his home near Brisbane. “The resident held up his mobile phone to take a photo of the armed man who then engaged the bow and was ready to fire,” a police statement said. “It’s alleged the man fired the arrow at the resident which pierced through the man’s mobile phone causing the phone to hit him in the chin. It left a small laceration that didn’t require medical treatment.” A 39year old man was arrested at the scene and charged, police said.
LION LOCKED-UP IN SOUTH AFRICAN JAIL A young lion captured after being on the run for almost a month spent the night in a South African police cell before being moved back to its national park home. The juvenile male apparently escaped from the Karoo National Park through a hole in a perimeter fence. He was eventually tracked and darted before being moved to the Sutherland police station where he ended up alone in a holding cell.
US state depart rebukes visiting Afghan NSA WASHINGTON: In an unusual move, the United States summoned Afghan National Security Advisor Hamdullah Mohib hours after he blasted Special US Representative Zalmay Khalilzad for bypassing the elected government of Afghanistan in their direct peace talks with the Taliban. “Under Secretary for Political Affairs David Hale summoned Afghan National Security Advisor Hamdullah Mohib to reject the public comments attributed to National Security Advisor Mohib criticizing the US approach to reconciliation,” State Department deputy spokesman Robert Palladino said after the meeting the between the two officials. Mohib at various public forums during an appearance at a Washington DC-based thinktank and in an interaction with reporters described the US's
talks with the Taliban as surrender discussion. He alleged Khalilzad was keeping the "duly elected" Afghan government in dark and that in the latest round of talks in Doha, they were humiliated and made to wait in a hotel lobby. "We don't know what's going on. We don't have the kind of transparency that we should have," Mohib told
reporters at a news conference. He claimed the Afghan government was getting the information in bits and pieces. "The last people to find out (about the peace talks) are us," Mohib claimed. He alleged the Afghan-born US diplomat Khalilzad has personal ambition in Afghanistan. "The perception in Afghanistan, and people in the government think that
perhaps all of this talk is to create a caretaker government of which he will then become the viceroy," Mohib alleged. But Palladino said Under Secretary Hale in his meeting with the Afghan NSA "underscored" the "longstanding" US assistance and support to Afghanistan. Hale expressed America's commitment to the Afghan government's stability and full participation in the peace process, the State Department deputy spokesman said. "He also reminded National Security Advisor Mohib that Special Representative Khalilzad represents the Secretary, and that attacks on Ambassador Khalilzad are attacks on the Department and only serve to hinder the bilateral relationship and the peace process," Palladino said in a strongly worded statement.
Indian admits to smuggling immigrants to US NEW JERSEY: An Indian national arrested last December for conspiring and smuggling foreign nationals into United States recently pleaded guilty. Bhavin Patel, 38, admitted to the charges against him, in the district court of New Jersey before District judge, John M Vazquez. He accepted that he did it for financial gains. Each substantive smuggling charge carries a maximum sentence of 5 years in prison. On December 7, 2018, special officers of US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), arrested Patel at the Newark Liberty
International Airport. HSI learned that Patel was running a smuggling operation, in which Indian nationals and others were recruited to pay fees in exchange for passage to the US. In October'13, the undercover law enforcement agent, posing as a smuggler, met Patel in Bangkok, Thailand. Patel told him that he wanted to smuggle Indian nationals to the US and agreed to pay tens of thousands of dollars per individual. The law enforcement officer would then presumably use his contacts to get those
people on commercial planes to US in three different occasions. In the following months, Patel arranged for six Indians to smuggle to the US via the Newark International Airport from Thailand on commercial
flights. His luck ran out and he was arrested last year. Department of Justice said, "He's charged by indictment with one count of conspiracy to bring in and harbor aliens and six counts of smuggling foreign nationals into the United States." Patel pleaded guilty to all the charges against him in front of the US District Judge in New Jersey. The potential sentence in conspiracy charge is maximum 10 years of prison and up to $250,000 fine. Sentencing is scheduled for July 9.
What's next for Tim Berners-Lee’s web as it turned 30? Internet, which was invented by Tim Berners-Lee, has turned 30 this week. Back in 1989, Tim Berners-Lee and other scientists at CERN, were unable to share the experiments and data stored in their computers. He proposed a system whereby information in one part of the globe was connected to every other part easily searched, available to all and not controlled by anyone. That vision of universal connectivity became the world wide web. According to Berners-Lee, connectivity for all is a human right and he is calling on governments to sign a global contract to protect people's rights and freedoms in the digital age. "We're talking about a contract for the web for the next phase ... companies and governments need to talk to each other but there's also a third constituent we've included - the consumer ... The web in the future should be more user-
centric; users should have more control of their data," BernersLee said. Asked about progress made in reigning in the power of big tech companies' use of personal data, Berners-Lee explained that "the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) ... even though they're applied to Europe - have had a massive effect changing the
international conversation. So, for example, as a result, since GDPR has come in the EU, four big companies in Silicon Valley Google, Facebook, Twitter and Microsoft (and others not only in Silicon Valley), they produced a thing called, The Data Transfer Project (DTP). It's a little-known project, but it is a commitment by those companies that you will be able
to get your data, like your photographs or your contacts or whatever it is out of one of them and put it into the other one, or ... whatever else you want to do." "The web works because it is actually independent of country, when you're reading the blog you don't know where the person who wrote it is at the moment, and it shouldn't matter. I think that's a really healthy thing for the world," he said. "The value of it as a global open platform is hugely greater than what it would be if it were broken into national or continental chunks. So every time we see government censorship, we have to gently persuade the agencies in the relevant governments that they can survive with people exposed to the other point of view ... The political debate should be grounded in a good open access to good knowledge about the state of the world."
23 - 29 March 2019
Tamil parties announce list of candidates for LS polls CHENNAI: DMK in Tamil Nadu announced that Rajya Sabha member Kanimozhi Karunanidhi will be its candidate from Thoothukkudi constituency as it released its list of 20 candidates for the April 18 Lok Sabha polls. Kanimozhi will be crossing swords with the Bharatiya Janata Party's candidate in Thoothukkudi. The party will also field former Union Ministers T.R. Baalu, A. Raja, Dayanidhi Maran and S.S. Palanimanikkam from Sriperumbudur, Nilgiris, Chennai Central and Thanjavur constituencies, respectively. The DMK will contest in 20 Lok Sabha seats in Tamil Nadu and the balance 20 (19 in Tamil Nadu and the lone Puducherry seat) have been allotted to its various electoral allies including the Congress, the Communist Party of India-Marxist and the MDMK. The party has also named
D.M. Kathir Anand, son of party leader Duraimurugan, from Vellor and Kalanidhi Veerasamy, son of senior leader Arcot N.Veerasamy, from Chennai North. The DMK also released its list of 19 candidates for the by-elections in Tamil Nadu (18 candidates) and one seat in Puducherry
AIADMK list The ruling AIADMK also released the list of Lok Sabha constituencies that the party and its allies would contest. In a statement, the AIADMK said it would contest from 20 seats: Salem, Namakkal, Krishnagiri, Erode, Karur, Tiruppur, Pollachi, Arani,
T h i r u v a n n a m a l a i , Chidambaram, Perambalur, Theni, Madurai, Nilgiris, Tirunelveli, Nagapattinam, Mayiladuthurai, Tiruvallur, Kancheepuram and Chennai South. Notably, the AIADMK currently holds 37 of the 39 seats in Tamil Nadu. The PMK has been allotted seven seats: Dharmapuri, Villupuram, Arakkonam, Cuddalore, Chennai Central, Dindigul and Sriperumbudur. The Bharatiya Janata Party will contest from five seats: Kanniyakumari, Sivaganga, Coimbatore, Ramanathapuram and Thoothukkudi. The DMDK has been allotted four seats: Kallakuruchi, Tiruchirappalli, Chennai North and Virudhunagar. The TMC will contest from three seats: Thanjavur, PT (Tenkasi) and PNK (Vellore). The lone Puducherry seat has been allotted to N.R. Congress.
Punjab Police bust gang planning crimes, recover weapons CHANDIGARH: The intelligence wing of the Punjab police busted a gang of antinational elements who were planning to carry out major criminal activities in the state. A spokesperson from Punjab Police said, “Acting on a specific input, a police party from the Special Operations Cell arrested three people from Amritsar.” Authorities have recovered two pistols of .32 bore along with three magazines and 14 live cartridges from their possession. Arrested include Baljit Singh from Ajnala, Jagdev Singh from Baba Bakala and Manjit Singh from Amritsar. The spokesperson said, “The three have been associated with different radical organisations and were actively involved with
radical activities across Punjab. The trio got in touch with each other through social media and were planning to target persons responsible for sacrilege incidents in Punjab and the Hindu Shiv Sena leaders.” They said the accused had procured weapons from Indore. “The exact origin of the recovered weapons is being ascertained and the supplier is being identified,” the spokesperson
added. Baljit Singh worked as a “granthi” at a gurdwara in Nagpur for about four years and recently shifted to Ajnala near Amritsar. When his residence was searched, literature relating to different radical organisations have been seized. “It is also being ascertained if the accused were being funded and tasked by the radical organisations. Besides, the Indian and foreign contacts
of the arrested persons are also being examined. Meanwhile, a suspected ISI agent from Jalandhar was arrested last week. He was accused of leaking sensitive Indian military intelligence information to Pakistan handler. The accused has been identified as Ram Kumar and is a Fazalika resident. Two mobile phones and four SIM cards were recovered from his possession. Kumar is currently admitted being in touch with ISI agents in Pakistan in lieu of money and was tasked of providing information of Indian Army located along Indo-Pak border. The accused was also keeping a track on movement of Army jawans along the area.
Seventeen women in TMC list, 6 first-timers KOLKATA: Trinamool Congress gave tickets to 17 women in its list for all 42 Lok Sabha seats in Bengal. Mamata Banerjee outdid her Odisha counterpart Naveen Patnaik by giving 40 per cent of the seats to women candidates. She said, “Today I am extremely happy. This has never been achieved in India. While other parties are only talking about 33 per cent reservation for women, Trinamool Congress has implemented and raised the bar higher. Today, we are declaring 40.5 per cent women candidates and we hope other parties emulate this.” Patnaik was all praises for the move and tweeted,
“Immensely happy to see All India Trinamool Congress led by @Mamata-Official nominate over onethird #women candidates for ensuing #LokSabhaElections2019. With the gathering momentum, India could see a sea change in electoral & development domain.” Among the 17 women candidates, six are first-timers and 11 have been re-nominated. Midnapore MP Sandhya Rou and Jhargram MP Uma Soren were dropped. In 2014, 11 out of 12 women Trinamool candidates had won. After the deaths of Uluberia and Bongaon MPs, two more women candidates had contested and
won the bypolls. Also announced were Birbaha Soren, niece of Nityananda Hembram, who heads Bharat Majhi Pargana Mahal, a tribal organisation. She will contest from Jhargram. Trinamool had sought inputs from tribal outfits and Soren was chosen based on the consensus. Also in the list of newcomers was Rupali Biswas, widow of Satyajit Biswas, the former TMC MLA who was killed last month. Meanwhile last week, BJP urged the Election Commission to declare the state as a “super sensitive state” to ensure fair polling and demanded that
central forces be deployed at all polling stations for the Lok Sabha polls to be held in seven phases in the state. A BJP delegation, including Union ministers Ravi Shankar Prasad, Nirmala Sitharaman and JP Nadda and party's general secretaries Bhupender Yadav and Kailash Vijayvargiya, met top officials of the poll panel with their demands. Briefing the media after the meeting, Prasad said, “We have requested the Election Commission that the state of West Bengal should be declared as super-sensitive... have also demanded that central forces be deployed at all polling booths in the state.”
SC TO HEAR DHINAKARAN'S PLEA ON SYMBOL The Supreme Court has agreed to hear a plea of former AIADMK leader TTV Dhinakaran and VK Sasikala challenging a Delhi High Court order granting the “two leaves” symbol to a faction led by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister EK Palaniswami. A bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi issued notice to the Election Commission of India (EC) on the limited plea of Dhinakaran that they be allowed to use common 'Pressure Cooker' symbol. The bench, comprising justices Deepak Gupta and Sanjiv Khanna sought reply by March 25. Appearing for Dhinakaran, senior advocate Kapil Sibal said that EC is not giving them a common symbol. He said the SC was directed to allot “pressure cooker” as a common symbol to the party.
'PIANO PRODIGY' WINS $1 MN IN US REALITY SHOW Academy Award winner AR Rahman is all praises for 13-year old Lydian Nadhaswaram. The teenager won a million dollars for his performance on American reality show 'The World's Best'. Lydian said, “It was really good performing in a huge international platform. I practiced a lot for the competition.” The young prodigy also made his debut on 'The Ellen Show'. The “piano prodigy” is also a student of AR Rahman's Chennai-based KM Music Conservatory. However, Rahman has different hopes for the young one, who he called an “ambassador” for Chennai and India. Rahman said, “I want him to become like the Lang Lang for India.” He was referring to the Chinese pianist, adding that Oscar was not an ultimate goal.
MANMOHAN WON’T FIGHT LS POLLS: AMARINDER Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh said that former prime minister Manmohan Singh wouldn't fight the Lok Sabha election from Amritsar. Amarinder met Manmohan amid reports of Punjab Congress' plans to field him from Amritsar. Singh said Manmohan had made it clear he was not interested in contesting elections, citing his age and poor health. Amarinder described his meeting with Singh in Delhi as a “courtesy call,” during which he briefed the former PM on Congress' plans in Punjab. Punjab Congress chief Sunil Jakhar had confirmed that MLAs from Amritsar region were keen on fielding the former PM as the party candidate.
DON'T HAVE ENOUGH WINNABLE CANDIDATES: BENGAL BJP CHIEF West Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh said his party does not have enough winnable candidates for the Lok Sabha polls in West Bengal. Ghosh said, “We have party leaders and workers who are working very hard. We had given them tickets in panchayat and assembly polls. But in case of fighting Lok Sabha polls we don't have enough candidates who can put up a fight and win the elections.” When asked if there was resentment in the party ranks over leaders from other parties defecting and getting prominence in the BJP, Ghosh said, “There is no such thing in our party. If someone wants to come and join our party to be part of our development process, how can we stop it.” The comments came in the backdrop of TMC MLA from Bhatpura Arjun Singh joining BJP.
23 - 29 March 2019
Tipu and Bahadur Shah Zafar as Heroes of Imran • Mysore and Mughal Rulers were betrayed by their trusted cronies • History books have not mistakes, but rather gallant manoeuvres! akistan is full of contradictions. The baby country born out of the British India, just in August 1947, rightly claims a common heritage of 5,000 years with India. On the other hand, to promote anti-India feelings among the masses, the rulers and even the educationists in Pakistan have been busy naming their missiles as (Mahmud) Ghazni or branding Emperor Aurangzeb as the heroes of the Islamic Republic in the textbooks since last seven decades. Both are considered villains by a vast majority in India. Pakistan prefers to receive grants worth billions from UNESCO for the maintenance of the world heritage sites like Taxila i.e. Takshashila, an ancient global university where Kautilya alias Chanakya not only studied but also taught. Of course, the present day rulers prefer not to remember or pay homage to such great personalities. They also feel shy of taking credit to claim Panini, an ancient Sanskrit philologist and grammarian, born in the present day Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (PK), as their own. One should not forget that Islam was born in the 7th century and till 1947, Indo-Pak had a common heritage.
Recently, during the latest conflict between India and Pakistan following Pulwama terrorist attack, the attitude of Pakistan leadership seems to have changed. Prime Minister Imran Khan preferred to call Tipu Sultan as hero while addressing the joint session of the Pakistan National Assembly and the Senate. One should not read much in the cricketer turn politician’s statement but it does reflect change in the thinking of the new leaders of Islamabad. The historians of Pakistan origin including K. K. Aziz and Ayesha Jalal have been not only keen to take up projects to rewrite the history but also tried to make conscious efforts to incorporate unbiased and factual history in the textbooks. The political masters always try to give twist to the history as it would suit them. Imran Khan calls Tipu Sultan the hero and has not much praise for Mughal Emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar. Even in India, Tipu is praised as one who laid down his life fighting the British and one who was disciple of the Shankaracharya of Sringeri Sharada Peetham like his father Hyder Ali. None can deny the fact that he got the temples rebuilt which were demolished by the Maratha army. The Marathas and Nizam sided with the British against Hyder Ali and Tipu of Mysore. Imran Khan had drawn a comparison between the gallantry of Tipu Sultan (1750-1799) and the cowardice of the last Mughal Emperor, Bahadur Shah Zafar (1775-1862), who had to surrender before the British Empire. The celebrated historians and analysts in Pakistan have discussed both the personalities. Tipu, undoubtedly, is hailed as the hero in Pakistan but the last Mughal Emperor was called “a reluctant rebel” who led the 1857 mutiny against the British. The debate in
Pakistan focuses on both rulers just had one thing in common; they were
(The Besieged Self in Pakistani Text Books), A.H. Nayyar (The Subtle Subversion) and K.K. Aziz (Murder of History, The Pakistani Historian). The project of building a monolithic ideology for Pakistan that would bypass the country’s multiethnic and multicultural make-up began soon after the country’s creation (in August 1947 or more so, after the early death of its founder, Mohammad Ali Jinnah in 1948).”
of 1857. Bahadur Shah foolishly thought British will be merciful to him. He surrendered at Humayun’s Tomb in Delhi and was arrested on 20 September 1857 by the British forces led by Major William Hodson. The next day Hodson shot his sons Mirza Mughal and Mirza Khizr Sultan, and grandson Tipu Sultan who was the Father of Rocket Technology Mirza Abu Bakar under his own need to keep repeating — mistakes that have authority. The severed them, no matter what the continued to retard the heads of the princes were cost.” “To get a better, political, social and brought before him. Zafar’s detailed and more articulate economic evolution of account of this awkward Pakistan? In our history predicament, I’d suggest books they are not mistakes young Pakistanis searching at all, but rather gallant for answers beyond their manoeuvres to ‘safeguard history books to read the ideological, geographical authors like Dr. Mubarak Ali and religious borders of (History on Trial, In Search Pakistan’. This should of History), Rubina Saigol suggest that we actually
Dr. Hari Desai (The writer is a Socio-political Historian. E-mail: email@example.com)
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The last Mughal Emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar
betrayed by their most trusted cronies. While Tipu’s trust was betrayed by his most loyal army general, Mir Sadiq, Bahadur Shah Zafar had fallen to a few British spies and informers like Hakim Ahsanullah Khan and Mirza Illahi Bux within his ranks. Zafar was exiled to Rangoon (Burma, called Myanmar now) by the British for his involvement in the Indian Rebellion of 1857, when sepoy (soldiers) regiments had seized Delhi, killing at least 52 Europeans. Zafar’s youngest wife, Zeenat Mahal, his previous wives and some remaining members of the family, had accompanied him to Burma on October 7, 1858 in
Next Column: Thakkarbapa, a Lohana devoted to Subalterns bullock carts escorted by the forces of Lieutenant Ommaney. The 1857 uprising had started from Meerut and Mutineers entered Delhi from Bridge of Boats on Yamuna and took control of Delhi after proclaiming Zafar as their King and vowed to restore the court of Great Mughals. This followed by an intense fight between the ruling British and mutineers, which resulted in mass devastation of Delhi and eventual collapse of first Indian struggle of freedom
trial at Red Fort had lasted for 41 days, had 19 hearings, 21 witnesses were brought to the dock and over a hundred documents in Persian and Urdu, with their English translations, were produced in the court. The 82-year old Zafar did defend himself, pleading he was helpless before the will of his soldiers (sepoys), but to no avail. He had stated in his defense that the sepoys had affixed his official seals on empty envelopes fraudulently to implicate him in the mutiny. Hakim Ahsanullah Khan, Zafar’s most trusted confidant, his Prime Minister and personal physician, had also betrayed him by testifying against him at the trial in return for a pardon for himself. Pakistani author Nadeem F. Paracha rightly wrote in his popular column in “Dawn” daily of Karachi: “How can we learn from history? We were never taught how to. We are taught just one version of history in which we pat ourselves on the back for being the extension of a glorious people out to create an even more glorious future. Why this does not seem to be happening is because our glorious ways are supposedly being adulterated, sabotaged and conspired against by a host of ‘enemies’. So what is there to be learned from the many mistakes that we have made
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23 - 29 March 2019
BJP ahead in electioneering With the Lok Sabha elections around the corner, the BJP has increased its electioneering activities to maximum, while Rahul Gandhi's Congress appears sluggish. Prime Minister Narendra Modi's party has tied up all loose ends in alliance formation well ahead of the Congress, showing dependable clarity in its campaign points. In the aftermath of the unfortunate Balakot air strike, the BJP has been adopting a confident posture. Currently, the BJP has a clear head start and this might prove critical in the upcoming long-drawn campaign. The biggest stakes are without a doubt, for the incumbent government as there is no bigger face in the political scenario than Modi and his party, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) stands to lose the most after coming to power with a thumping majority in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls. Firstly, the party is clear on its issues, be it national security, Lokpal or the leadership position. The
Modi-led government recently announced the formation of the Lokpal (anti-corruption ombudsman), one of the many poll promises made by the Prime Minister in 2014. While the battle pertains to the entire country, there are six states that could make or break the BJP. They are Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Gujarat, along with Uttarakhand, Jharkhand, and Chhattisgarh. Their over-all power on the polls can be ascertained from the fact that they contribute 278 to the 543-seat strong Lower House. It should be noted that
the BJP has earned a major piece of their LS success through these states, which is almost 70 per cent of the party's LS seats since 1989. In the last elections, the BJP's vote share spike exponentially in the above mentioned states, resulting in capturing of a never seen high number of LS seats. While Modi's charisma and his four years of tenure is enough to retain the extraordinary vote share, chances are that Lok Sabha 2019 will be a cakewalk for them. However, some strong alliances in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, and Jharkhand, can prove to be a dent in the saffron party's tally.
BJP's Pramod Sawant sworn in as Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant (45), former Speaker of the Goa legislative Assembly and BJP MLA from Sankhelim in north Goa, was sworn in as the 11th Chief Minister of Goa, succeeding Manohar Parrikar, who died on Sunday after a prolonged battle with advanced pancreatic cancer. He was administerd the oath of office and secrecy at the Raj Bhavan by Governor Mridula Sinha. Along with the Chief Minister, Sudin alias Ramkrishna Dhavlikar of the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) and Vijai Sardesai of the Goa Forward Party were sworn in as Deputy Chief Ministers. The entire Cabinet of Manohar Parikkar has been retained. The Ministers who were also sworn in included Manohar Ajgaonkar (MGP), Rohan Khavtye (independent), Govind Gaude (independent), Vinod Palyekar (Goa forward), Jayesh Salgaonkar (Goa Forward) and four of the
Pramod Sawant, former Speaker taking oath as a Chief Minister
BJP, namely, Mauvin Godinho, Vishwajit Rane, Milind Naik aand Nilesh Cabral. The BJP-led alliance has a strength of 21, which includes 12 of the BJP, three each of the MGP and the Goa Forward Party and three Independents in the truncated House of 36 (40). The Congress has 14 MLAs, while the Nationalist Congress has one. Goa bids adieu to Manohar Parrikar As the shots of the 21gun salute rent the air, former defence minister and Goa chief minister Manohar
Parrikar’s mortal remains were laid to rest with full state honours on Monday. The gun shots were loud, but nothing could drown the shouts of hundreds of supporters who had gathered at the Miramar beach near Panaji to catch a glimpse of the final rites. Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Union minister for textiles Smriti Irani offered prayers at the Kala Academy in Panaji, where Parrikar’s body was kept for people to pay respects.
SHOT DEAD WHILE PRAYING Continued from page 1
Among the Indians killed are five from Gujarat, two from Telangana, one from Andhra and a woman from Kerala. The killed are Maheboob Khokhar from Ahmedabad, Asif Vora and Ramiz Vora from Vadodara, Hafiz Muza Wali Patel from Bharuch, Junaid Kara from Navsari, Farhaj Ahsan, a technology professional, and Mohammed Imran Khan, restaurateur from Telangana, Ozair Kadir from Andhra and Ansi Alibava from Kerala. Khokhar, a retired GEB employee, had gone to New Zealand two months ago with his wife, Akhtar Begum, to meet his son, Imran, who lives in the Phillipstown suburb of Christchurch. Arif Vohra and his son Rameez Vohra from Vadodara were initially reported missing but later declared dead. Arif’s elder son Rahil, who lives in Australia, rushed to Christchurch and later confirmed that Arif and Rameez had died in the attack. Another victim of the terror attack was Hafiz Musa Vali Patel (52), a native of Luvara village of Bharuch district. He succumbed to his injuries in hospital after 20 hours of treatment. Following the attack, Muslim leaders in the UK have called on the government to double its efforts to ensure the country’s mosques are protected as they said that worshippers attending prayers would be doing so in the face of “unabated Islamophobia”. Reports suggest that roughly 100 counter-terrorism
investigations are under way to battle the extreme rightwing terror plots and those who might help them. Reports indicate that the MI5 are investigating the white supremacist suspected to be behind the deadly mosque attack in New Zealand over possible links to far-right groups in the UK. London’s Muslim mayor Sadiq Khan was named among a trio of ‘high-profile enemies’ he wanted to kill (Full report on p16). Gujarat govt offers help When Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani came to know about the massacre in New Zealand, he immediately put his officials on duty to assist the relatives of Gujarati victims. He asked the state home department additional chief secretary A M Tiwari to immediately contact the Indian High Commissioner in New Zealand Sanjeev Kohli to contact Gujarati families in New Zealand to find the status of the victims. The general administration department head Sanjeetha Singh contacted external affairs ministry for making arrangements for the early departure of relatives to New Zealand. Main suspect charged with murder The main suspect Brenton Harrison Tarrant, a 28-year-old Australian citizen, was charged with one count of murder, a day after the attacks, prompting the Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to vow reform in the country's gun laws. Tarrant appeared in the Christchurch District Court and was
remanded without a plea until his next scheduled appearance in the South Island city's High Court on April 5. Handcuffed and wearing a white prison suit, Tarrant did not speak. His court-appointed lawyer made no application for bail or name suppression. He was likely to face further charges, police said. PM Jacinda Ardern terms it terrorism The attack, which PM Ardern labelled as terrorism, was the worst-ever peacetime mass killing in New Zealand and the country raised its security threat level to the highest. Tarrant has been identified as a suspected white supremacist, based on his social media activity. Footage of the attack on one of the mosques was broadcast live on Facebook, and a “manifesto” denouncing immigrants as “invaders” was also posted online via links to related social media accounts. The video showed a man driving to the Al Noor mosque, entering it and shooting randomly at people with a semi-automatic rifle with high-capacity magazines. Worshippers, possibly dead or wounded, lay on the floor, the video showed. At one stage, the shooter returns to his car, changes weapons, re-enters the mosque and again began shooting. The camera attached to his head follows the barrel of his weapon like some macabre video game. Forty-one people were killed at Al Noor mosque, seven at a mosque in the Linwood neighbourhood and two died in hospital, police
said. Hospital officials said some of the wounded were in a critical condition. Police said the shooter took seven minutes to travel to the second mosque in the suburb of Linwood, where seven people were killed. No images have emerged from the second mosque. Tarrant was arrested in a car which, police said, was carrying improvised explosive devices. Two other people were in custody and police said they were working to understand their involvement. None of those arrested had a criminal history or were on watch lists in New Zealand or Australia. Gun laws to be changed PM Ardern said the main suspect was a licenced gun owner, who used five weapons during his rampage, including two semiautomatic weapons and two shotguns. The authorities were working to find out how he had obtained the weapons and a licence, and how he
was able to enter the country to carry out the attacks, she said. There was heavy police presence at the hospital where the families of the more than 40 wounded had gathered. Eleven people remained in intensive care, hospital authorities said. Leaders around the world expressed sorrow and disgust at the attacks, with some deploring the demonisation of Muslims. Modi condemns attack Prime Minister Narendra Modi said hatred and violence have no place in diverse and democratic societies. In a letter to his New Zealand counterpart, Modi also expressed India’s strong condemnation of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, and of all those who support such acts of violence, the Ministry of External Affairs said in an official release. US President Donald Trump among other
world leaders who condemned the attack. Trump, who condemned the attacks as a “horrible massacre”, was praised by the accused gunman in a manifesto posted online as “a symbol of renewed white identity and common purpose.” Concern over targeting of Muslims Political and Islamic leaders across Asia and Middle East voiced concern over the targeting of Muslims. A website set up for victims had raised more than NZ$1 million ($684,000) in less than a day, and social media was flooded with messages of shock, sympathy and solidarity. India's High Commission in New Zealand said that any Indian national affected by the attacks can contact the mission for assistance. Approximately 200,000 Indian and Indianorigin people live in New Zealand.
Shri Bharatkumar Ratilal Dangarwala Shri Bharatkumar Ratilal DangarwalaIt is with esteemed sympathy that we announce the passing away of Shri Bharatkumar Ratilal Dangarwala, on March 11. He was a regular attendee at the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Wellingborough and offered his seva in many ways.
Shri Vinodbhai Chhotubhai Patel It is with regret that we inform you of the sad demise of nishthavan satsangi Shri Vinodbhai Chhotubhai Patel, on March 13. He was husband of Hansaben Patel and father of Alpeshbhai Patel and Hetalben Patel. Vinodbhai was previously a Gujarati teacher at The Swaminarayan Sunday School.
Dr Babalal Tulsidas Depala It is with deep sadness that we inform you of the passing away of nishthavan satsangi Dr Babalal Tulsidas Depala, on March 14. He was the brother of Aksharnivasi Shri Rupabhai Depala and Shri Rashmibhai Depala. Dr Depala enthusiastically performed seva as part of the Health Care Team at the BAS Neasden Mandir for several years, while also serving the entire Satsang community with medical support and care.
HEALTH & LIFESTYLE
23 - 29 March 2019
93 per cent of medications contain 'potential allergens' According to a recent study, many of the medicine ingredients that people consider to be inactive may, in fact, cause health problems for some consumers. Alongside the active components in medicines, there is almost always a list of other ingredients. Manufacturers add these inactive components for a number of reasons. For instance, they might make the drug more easy to absorb or stabilize the compound. Or, they could simply enhance the way the product looks or tastes. For the majority of people, additives such as fructose and lactose will do no harm whatsoever, but for certain people, they could cause issues. Recently, a group of researchers decided to investigate these additives. They wanted to understand whether these ingredients might be affecting people's health. An unexpected reaction Giovanni Traverso, the study's senior author, began looking at this topic around 5 years ago. An experience that he had while treating one of his patients with celiac disease piqued his interest. He prescribed the individual a common acid suppressant called omeprazole. Although many people take this drug and generally tolerate it well, Traverso's patient responded poorly. Within a week, the patient reported feeling sick. On further investigation, Traverso found that the particular formulation that the patient had taken included ingredients derived from wheat products, which
could contain gluten. "That really brought it home to me as far as how little we know about tablets and the potential adverse effects they might have. I think there's a tremendous underappreciation of the potential impact that inactive ingredients may have." Daniel Reker, one of the lead authors of the study, says: "For most patients, it doesn't matter if there's a little bit of lactose, a little bit of fructose, or some starch in there. However, there is a sub-population of patients, currently of unknown size, that will be extremely sensitive to those and develop symptoms triggered by the inactive ingredients." Hidden compounds When a doctor prescribes a drug to someone, they take careful note of the active compound and the dosage, but they are much less likely to think about the inactive ingredients. Even drugs with the same active chemical at the same dosage can have
different ingredients, depending on who manufactured them. For instance, the authors note that 43 different companies produce a total of 140 distinct formulations of levothyroxine, a treatment for thyroid hormone deficiency. Also, although manufacturers provide a list of ingredients on the packet, it might not be clear from the chemical names which of them could contain allergens. For instance, the packet would not label a wheat derivative as containing gluten. Most people will only consume small quantities of these inactive ingredients, but some groups, such as older adults, tend to take more medications. The authors write: "A patient taking 10 prescription medications each day would ingest an average of 2.8 [grams] of inactive ingredients daily." Medical professionals know little about this subject, so the researchers set out to fill in some gaps. A recent study
demonstrates that emulsifiers can produce both physiological and behavioral changes in mice. To investigate, the scientists pored over medical journals, searching for examples of allergic reactions to inactive ingredients in medications. They also scoured a database called Pillbox, which the National Library of Medicine run. Here, they were able to see the full ingredients of all medicines for sale in the United States. They found that, in most cases, more than half of each pill consists of inactive ingredients. In some cases, they considered as much as 99 per cent of the pill to be non-pharmaceutical. Worryingly, they discovered that 93 per cent of medications contain allergens, including lactose, dyes, and peanut oil. Almost all medicines contain ingredients that some people might not be able to tolerate, such as gluten.
Blood pressure drug may increase cardiac arrest risk A study concludes that a drug that doctors commonly prescribe to treat angina and blood pressure might increase the risk of sudden cardiac arrest. Cardiac arrest occurs when the heart stops pumping blood around the body. If a person does not receive treatment, cardiac arrest can be lethal within minutes. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), around 475,000 people die from cardiac arrest each year. It claims more lives than colorectal cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer, pneumonia, influenza, vehicle accidents, firearms, HIV, and house fires combined. The AHA describe cardiac arrest "as one of the most lethal public health problems in the US."
So, because cardiac arrest is both serious and common, understanding the risk factors involved is essential. To this end, the European Resuscitation Council set up a project that collects data on cardiac arrest, called the European Sudden Cardiac Arrest network (ESCAPE-NET). A new risk factor? A recent study using ESCAPE-NET data investigated whether a common group of drugs might play a role in cardiac arrest. Healthcare providers use dihydropyridines to treat high blood pressure and angina, which is chest pain related to reduced blood flow to the heart. The project focused on two dihydropyridines: nifedipine and amlodipine. The scientists had access
to data from the Dutch Amsterdam Resuscitation Studies registry and the Danish Cardiac Arrest Registry, both of which form part of ESCAPE-NET. A recent study uncovered why sudden cardiac arrests no longer tend to occur in the mornings. In total, they had access to data from more than 10,000 people who
were taking dihydropyridines and 50,000 controls. Their analysis showed that those who took high-dose nifedipine were significantly more likely to have an outof-hospital cardiac arrest than those who were not taking dihydropyridines or who were taking amlodipine.
in brief COFFEE CHEMICALS COULD CURB PROSTATE CANCER Researchers found that two compounds found in coffee might help slow the growth of prostate cancer cells. Although the findings are preliminary, they are encouraging. Coffee is one of the most popular drinks on the planet and is a complex cocktail. In fact, coffee can contain more than 1,000 nonvolatile chemical compounds and in excess of 1,500 volatile ones. The type and concentrations of these chemicals can vary wildly, depending on several factors, including how the makers prepare the beans. Scientists have been intrigued by coffee's potential impact on health for many years. A drink that contains so many active ingredients - and one that people consume so widely - is likely to have an effect on the population at large. Some studies have concluded that, overall, coffee might be a force for good. However, questions remain. Recent studies have started identifying links between coffee consumption and lower prostate cancer risk. As evidence mounts, people are directing more attention to this relationship. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the United States, prostate cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer death in men. If chemicals from coffee can help reduce the risk, it is a line of investigation worth pursuing.
EYE TEST COULD PROVIDE EARLY WARNING TO ALZHEIMER'S DISEASE A research paper says that in future an examination of the eye might be able to tell whether someone is heading toward Alzheimer's disease. The researchers propose that a loss in density of blood vessels in the retina could suggest development of Alzheimer's disease. Researchers studied more than 200 people with normal brain function as well as individuals with Alzheimer's. They used a technique called optical coherence tomography angiography (OCTA), which is noninvasive and can reveal blood flow in every layer of the retina. In the control group, they found that the web of tiny blood vessels located at the back of the eye was quite dense. The vessels of those with Alzheimer's disease, however, were less dense. In some cases, they were also much more sparse. Senior study author Dr. Sharon Fekrat, an ophthalmologist and retinal surgeon at Duke Eye Center, notes that they measured blood vessels that are not normally seen during a routine eye exam. She explains that to do so, they used a noninvasive technology that can take images in a matter of minutes. "It's possible that these changes in blood vessel density in the retina could mirror what's going on in the tiny blood vessels in the brain, perhaps before we are able to detect any changes in cognition." They were also able to spot differences between people who had Alzheimer's disease, those who didn't, and those with mild cognitive impairment, which often precedes Alzheimer's. Challenges in diagnosing Alzheimer's Doctors cannot definitively diagnose Alzheimer's disease before death; afterward, pathologists are able to examine brain tissue during an autopsy and identify the hallmarks of the disease. Currently, doctors will need to run tests that measure memory, attention, counting, language, and problem-solving abilities before they can arrive at a probable diagnosis of Alzheimer's. Also, there are a few medical tests that can help rule out other conditions. These tend to include standard medical tests as well as brain scans. However, doctors cannot make a definitive diagnosis using these methods, which is why there is an ongoing search for solutions that can provide doctors and their patients with certainty before deciding on the best treatment plan. Current treatment options cannot halt or reverse the condition's progression, but detecting it earlier can help in a number of ways. For example, it can help slow progression for a while, and it can also help families plan for what lies ahead. Also, research into Alzheimer's treatment is ongoing, and an early diagnosis means more chances to participate in clinical trials.
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23 - 29 March 2019
Aamir’s next is adaptation of Tom Hanks’ ‘Forrest Gump’ Aamir Khan's next project is an official adaptation of Tom Hanks’ classic ‘Forrest Gump.’ Aamir shared the news on the occasion of his 54th birthday that the Hindi adaptation will be titled “Lal Singh Chaddha,” which he will be coproduced with Viacom18 Motion Pictures. The film will be directed by “Secret Superstar” director Advait Chandan. “We have bought the rights from Paramount... I am playing the lead role of Lal Singh,” Aamir said. ‘Forrest Gump,’ directed by Robert Zemeckis, released in 1994 and went on to win six Oscars,
including best picture, best director and best actor for Hanks. The film, based on Winston Groom’s 1986 novel of the same name, follows Forrest Gump, a dim-witted man from Alabama, who witnesses and unwittingly influences several historical events in 20th century USA. The actor said the makers are yet to decide on other members of the the cast. “We have started the prep work for the film. The shoot will start from October. I have to lose weight to look lean and slim,” he added. The makers are planning for a 2020 release. “I have always loved ‘Forrest Gump’ as a script. It is a wonderful story about this character and is a film for the whole family,” Aamir said. Aamir was last seen in Yash Raj Films’ ‘Thugs of Hindostan’ alongside actors Amitabh Bachchan, Katrina Kaif and Fatima Sana Shaikh.
Alia, Salman confirmed to lead in SLB's next
Ranveer bowled over by Deepika's wax statue Actress Deepika Padukone along with her husband and both families, recently traveled to London to unveil her wax statue at the famed Madame Tussauds. Deepika live-streamed the whole charade on Instagram, and while we were hooked on the beauty of the statue, it was Ranveer Singh who actually took our hearts away. It is a fact that the 'Gully Boy' actor is clean bowled by his wife, which is why, seeing him smitten by her wax statue filled us with warmth. In the live video, Ranno is seen examining every inch of the statue, from its face to its saree. He kept gushed at how brilliantly made it is, before he started posing with it. In one of the videos, when Deepika quizzed him about his thoughts on the wax idol, he replies, “Can I take it
Actors Alia Bhatt and Salman Khan have been confirmed to star in director Sanjay Leela Bhansali's 'Padmaavat' follow-up, titled 'Inshallah'. The movie will be a coproduction between Salman Khan Films and Bhansali Productions, reuniting the actor and director almost two decades after their superhit 'Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam'. Both Alia and Salman were spotted at Bhansali's Mumbai office recently, fueling speculation about the project which is rumoured to also feature Shah Rukh Khan in a cameo. Announcing the news, Alia tweeted, “I was 9 when I first walked into Sanjay Leela Bhansali's office, all nervous and hoping and
praying that I would be in his next film. It's been a long wait. Dream with your eyes wide open they say & I did. Sanjay Sir and Salman Khan are magical together & I can't wait to join them on this beautiful journey called 'Inshallah'.” Salman also tweeted saying, “It's been 20 years but I am glad Sanjay and I are finally back in his next film, 'Inshallah'. Looking forward to work with Alia and Inshallah, we will all be blessed on this journey.” On the work front, Alia will be seen next in Karan Johar's period drama 'Kalank', followed by fantasy film 'Brahmastra'. Salman will be seen with Katrina Kaif in 'Bharat'.
home?” Not just him, even the 'Padmaavat' actress was blown away. Videos from the event showed her stunned by the creation. Last year, Deepika had announced that she was getting a wax statue. She took to Instagram and shared a video saying, “It's fun, exciting and in a way, I feel a lot of gratitude because you know when you give your fans a little more than just the movies, then it's really, really special. I hope they enjoy it as much as we enjoy creating it.” On the work front, Deepika will be next seen in 'Chhapaak', a movie based on the life of acid attack survivor, directed by Meghna Gulzar. Ranveer on the other hand, is working on '83', a biopic on Kapil Dev, based on the 1982 World Cup when India made cricketing history.
23 - 29 March 2019
Keerthy Suresh to make Bollywood debut Last seen in Vijay's 'Sarkar', Keerthy Suresh is currently filming for her next 'Marakkar: Arabikadalinte Simham', a Malayalam film directed by Priyadarshan. Meanwhile, there are reports doing the rounds that Keerthy will be making her Bollywood
debut pretty soon. If the grapevine is to be believed, Keerthy will make her BTown debut opposite Ajay Devgn in a film directed by Amit Sharma of 'Badhaai Ho' fame. The movie is touted to be based on the glory of Indian football team in the years. The project is
reportedly jointly bankrolled by Boney Kapoor, Akash Chawla and Arunava Joy. Devgn was last seen in 'Total Dhamaal', which was a
* Schedule is subject to change
SUNDAY MARCH 24, 2019 01:40 FILM : SAAYA 06:00 FILM : LOGIN 08:00 FILM : JUNGLE 11:04 FILM : BAAZIGAR 14:32 FILM : AWARAPAN 17:03 FILM : HOLIDAY - A SOLDIER IS NEVER OFF DUTY 20:19 FILM : TANU WEDS MANU 22:45 FILM : WAH TAJ MONDAY MARCH 25, 2019 01:00 FILM : SHAITAAN 06:00 FILM : PRITHIPAL SINGH... A STORY 08:00 FILM : MAJAAL 11:13 FILM : VIDROHI 14:25 FILM : SHIKAAR 17:04 FILM : JAB WE MET 20:14 FILM : TUTAK TUTAK TUTIYA 22:55 FILM : JEET - BORN TO WIN TUESDAY MARCH 26, 2019 01:53 FILM : SABSE BADA MAWALI 06:00 FILM : PYAR KI KAHANI 08:59 FILM : HIRAASAT 11:55 FILM : WOH LAMHE 14:29 FILM : KHAKEE 17:00 FILM : TANU WEDS MANU 19:21 FILM : STAR STOP 20:00 FILM : THE KILLER 22:27 FILM : JURM
* Schedule is subject to change
Rajamouli ropes in Alia Bhatt, Ajay Devgn for ‘RRR’ Baahubali director SS Rajamouli has begun work on his upcoming period action film with Telugu stars Junior NTR and Ram Charan. In latest update on the movie titled 'RRR', Bollywood stars Ajay Devgn and Alia Bhatt have been roped in for the Telugu film. Rajamouli, who is scripting and directing the film, announced the title, release date and details of the cast and crew. Later, the Twitter handle of the film posted welcome cards for Ajay, who has a prominent role in the movie, and Alia, who will play one of the female leads. Another female lead will be Hollywood actress Daisy Edgar Jones. The movie will mark both, Alia and Daisy's debut in the Telugu industry. The first schedule of the movie was already shot and the team kick-started its second schedule on January 20. The makers tweeted, “Back on the sets! The second schedule starts, today. #RRR” The film will release on July 30, 2020, in Telugu, Tamil, Hindi, Malayalam, and other Indian languages simultaneously.
sequel to the 'Dhamaal' movie franchise. He will also be seen in period film 'Taanaji: The Unsung Warrior', which also stars Saif Ali Khan.
SATURDAY 23RD MARCH TIME TV PROGRAM NAMES 17:00 KAUN BANEGA CROREPATI 18:30 THE KAPIL SHARMA SHOW 20:00 SUPER DANCER CHAPTER 3 21:30 THE KAPIL SHARMA SHOW 23:00 THE KAPIL SHARMA SHOW
* Schedule is subject to change
MON 25TH - FRI 29TH MAR 2019 15:30: SIRF 30 MINUTES 16:00: THE GREAT INDIAN GLOBAL KITCHEN 2 16:30: RASOI SHOW 17:30: CHHUTA CHHEDA 18:00: RADHA PREM KI DEEWANI 18:30: UTTARAN 19:00: JAHAANARA 19:30: INTERNETWALA LOVE 20:00: ISHQ MEIN MARJAWAN 20:30: MOHE RANNG DO LAAL 21:00: BALIKA VADHU - LAMHE PYAAR KE
* Schedule is subject to change
MON 25TH - FRI 29TH MAR 2019 18:00: KITCHEN CHAMPION 19:00: KHOOB LADI MARDANI JHANSI KI RANI 19:30: UDAAN 20:00: SHAKTI ASTITVA KE EHSAAS KI 20:30: KESARRI NANDAN
WEDNESDAY MARCH 27, 2019 01:00 FILM : PAPPU CAN'T DANCE SAALA 06:00 FILM : LOGIN 08:04 FILM : WAFADAAR 11:16 FILM : KAYDA KANOON 14:01 FILM : SIKKA 17:11 FILM : TUTAK TUTAK TUTIYA 20:00 FILM : KALYUG 22:11 FILM : LUV SHUV PYAR VYAR THURSDAY MARCH 28, 2019 00:43 FILM : DHOKHA 06:00 FILM : KRISHNA ARJUN 08:35 FILM : SULTANAT 11:43 FILM : NAYA SHOORVEER 14:20 FILM : BOMBAY 17:03 FILM : TAAL 20:54 FILM : TRAPPED 23:00 FILM : GANGSTER FRIDAY MARCH 29, 2019 01:18 FILM : NAARAAZ 06:00 FILM : FOUR PILLARS OF BASEMENT 08:10 FILM : DASTAK 11:00 FILM : YEH ZINDAGI KA SAFAR 14:01 FILM : ANDHA KANOON 17:25 FILM : TRAPPED 19:37 FILM : STAR STOP 20:18 FILM : D-DAY 23:18 FILM : NAZAR SATURDAY MARCH 30, 2019 01:35 FILM : ANJAANE - THE UNKNOWN 06:00 FILM : ZEHER 08:29 FILM : BOMBAY 11:05 FILM : EK SE BURE DO 14:00 FILM : TAAL 17:51 FILM : D-DAY 20:54 FILM : OMKARA 23:49 FILM : JISM 2
SUNDAY 24TH MARCH TIME TV PROGRAM NAMES 17:00 KAUN BANEGA CROREPATI 18:30 THE KAPIL SHARMA SHOW 20:00 SUPER DANCER CHAPTER 3 21:30 THE KAPIL SHARMA SHOW 23:00 THE KAPIL SHARMA SHOW MON 25TH MAR - FRI 29TH MAR TIME TV PROGRAM NAMES 17:00 BEYHADH 17:30 EK DUJE KE VAASTE 18:00 KUCH RANG PYAR KE AISE BHI 18:30 VIGHNAHARTA GANESH 19:00 MERE SAI 19:30 YEH UN DINON KI BAAT HAI 20:00 CHANDRAGUPTA MAURYA 20:30 MAIN MAAYKE CHALI JAAUNGI 21:00 PATIALA BABES 21:30 LADIES SPECIAL 22:00 CRIME PATROL
22:00: RED ALERT 23:00: TANTRA SAT 30TH MAR 2019 17:30: CHHUTA CHHEDA 18:00: RADHA PREM KI DEEWANI 18:30: UTTARAN 19:00: HUM SAAF SAAF HAIN 19:30: GLOBAL KITCHEN 20:00: NAVRANGI RE 20:30: RED ALERT 21:30: ZINDAGI KI HAQEEQAT SE AAMNA SAAMNA 22:30: CHHUTA CHHEDA SUN 31ST MAR 2019 18:00: RADHA PREM KI DEEWANI 18:30: UTTARAN 19:00: HUM SAAF SAAF HAIN 19:30: FAMOUSLY FILMFARE 20:00: NAVRANGI RE 20:30: RED ALERT 21:30: ZINDAGI KI HAQEEQAT SE AAMNA SAAMNA 22:30: CHHUTA CHHEDA
21:00: 21:30: 22:00: 20:00: 22:30:
GATHBANDHAN ROOP SILSILA ISHQ MEIN MARJAWAN KHOOB LADI MARDANI JHANSI KI RANI 23:00: SITARA SAT 30TH MAR 2019 19:30: DESI BEAT RESET 20:00: NAAGIN - SEASON 3 21:00: RISING STAR (SEASON 3) 22:00: COURT ROOM 23:30: SITAARA SUN 31ST MAR 2019 19:30: FAMOUSLY FILMFARE 20:00: NAAGIN - SEASON 3 21:00: RISING STAR (SEASON 3) 22:00: COURT ROOM 23:30: SILSILA
23 - 29 March 2019
Pujya Mahant Swami celebrates Samarpan Din in Navsari
Yogesh Patel named a 'Poet-of-Honor'
Bochasanwasi Shree Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha head Pujya Mahant Swami is currently in Sarangpur. Earlier he was in Tithal. On March 11, he visited BAPS temples under the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Temple. On March 12, he reached Navsari to a rousing reception. On March 14, devotees of Navsari were given a much-awaited darshan of Pujya Swami. On March 15, residents of Navsari got the chance to witness him. People in large numbers flocked in to take advantage of the opportunity. Samarpan Din was celebrated on March 16. The Navsari temple is almost ready and the foundaion stone will be laid in December. In his address, Pujya Mahant Swami said the entire world's money cannot break God, but he can break when there is hatred. On March 18, he as greeted by saints and devotees at the Sarangpur Swaminarayan temple. Pushpadolotsav is organised to take place in the temple on March 21. It will be followed by an assembly for volunteers.
l Indians in London presents Rang Barse 2019 on March 23, 11 am to 4 pm, at the Indian Gymkhana Club, Thornbury Avenue Osterley, TW7 4NQ.
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To put a diaspora literature on the international and American map, at each festival, Matwaala collective of American SouthAsian Diaspora awards a poet with the prestigious Poet-ofHonor honour. It is not given for just the talent or poetry achievements but also for the service to the poetry community. This year, in 2019, Matwaala will be honouring a UK diaspora poet Yogesh Patel. The events planned are from 3rd April to 5th April. They are in association with the Nassau Community College of State University of New York, Hunter College of the City University of New York and New York University. Poet & Writer magazine and Nassau Community College are sponsoring this event. Yogesh Patel, a co-editor of Skylark, runs Skylark Publications UK and a non-profit Word Masala project promoting diaspora literature. A founder of the literary charity, Gujarati Literary Academy, he has been honoured with the Freedom of the City of London. With LP records, films, radio, children’s book, fiction, non-fiction books and three poetry collections to his credit, in 2017, he was presented to The Queen at Buckingham Palace to represent the best in poetry. A recipient of many awards, and published in many magazines and anthologies, he has read in the House of Lords and the National Poetry Library. His recent collection is ‘Swimming with Whales’ reflecting on racism, immigration and
In Madurai, city of temples and poets, who sang of cities and temples, every summer a river dries to a trickle in the sand, baring the sand ribs, straw and women’s hair clogging the watergates at the rusty bars under the bridges with patches of repair all over them the wet stones glistening like sleepy crocodiles, the dry ones shaven water-buffaloes lounging in the sun The poets only sang of the floods. He was there for a day when they had the floods. People everywhere talked of the inches rising, of the precise number of cobbled steps run over by the water, rising on the bathing places, and the way it carried off three village houses, one pregnant woman and a couple of cows named Gopi and Brinda as usual. The new poets still quoted the old poets, but no one spoke in verse of the pregnant woman drowned, with perhaps twins in her, kicking at blank walls even before birth. He said: the river has water enough to be poetic about only once a year and then it carries away in the first half-hour three village houses, a couple of cows named Gopi and Brinda and one pregnant woman expecting identical twins with no moles on their bodies, with different coloured diapers to tell them apart.
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ARIES Mar 21 - Apr 20 A blast of personal energy comes your way, and showing your leadership skills works for you now. Romance and pleasure are highlighted this week. The flowing, expressive, and spontaneous energy surrounding you attracts like-minded people. Be sure to take time to enjoy yourself, preferably around others!
The prevailing pattern of planets gives you a marvellous opportunity. Take time out to strengthen close ties of affection, sort out emotional differences and proffer the olive branch to anyone who may have caused you pain in recent months. Venus throws an easy light on affairs of the heart - prime time for engagements and weddings.
GEMINI May 22 - June 22 Although all kinds of opportunities are coming your way, there are many obstacles between you and the fulfilment of any of these. You’re likely to find yourself weighing practical considerations with long–term goals. Work is taking up a lot of your time, pace yourself to achieve good results.
LIBRA Sep 24 - Oct 23 Health is an important area that you will take seriously. It is likely that you may embark on a course of physical exercise and diet. It could be quite a difficult week psychologically with increased danger of misunderstandings arising and not being able to see the wood from the trees. Try to be diplomatic.
TAURUS Apr 21 - May 21 The fiery planet Mars, continues to occupy your sign. Its influence will help you to maintain a high energy level and achieve positive results in anything that requires drive and initiative. However, you will need to focus on what is most important in your life, otherwise mistakes will be made.
The Sun’s transit continues to put a spotlight on your solar tenth house. Satisfaction and fulfilment during this cycle comes from being professionally responsible and contributing to the world in practical ways. You will get a lot of support from authority figures during this transit. Avoid the pitfalls by being confident and positive.
CANCER Jun 22 - Jul 22
– A. K. Ramanujan
many other social aspects, including the environment and whaling. This year his work kicks off with the publication of his poem in the coveted ‘The London Magazine’ where all giants of English literature have been published since 1732. Shearsman, Confluence and The Book Review are amidst others who lined up his work. ‘It is about time the rich Asian community comes forward and fuels up our lone efforts which make up the soul of culture,’ invites Yogesh the rich to wager with him. Also in May, as a second phase, Matwaala will be holding poetry readings at Cambridge University. One of the directors of the festival, Usha Akella, will be in Cambridge at the time to receive her degree. “A vision I share with Usha is to bring more and more of the younger generation into the Matwaala fold and mentor them so they publish and transmit their knowledge to others. In 2019 we are connecting with the UK diaspora,” says Pramila Venkateswaran, a poet and the director.
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LEO Jul 23 - Aug 23
VIRGO Aug 24 - Sep 23 Jupiter, the planet of plenty transits your solar 4th house for some time to come, bringing noticeable improvements to your environment. This will hold you in good stead as you have a lot of important jobs to finish around the house such as decorating and for some buying or selling of properties.
The fiery planet Mars, continues to occupy your opposite sign for some time to come. Its influence will help you to maintain a high energy level and achieve positive results in anything that requires drive and initiative. If you are involved in a fairly competitive field of activity, you will be the one who comes out on top.
SCORPIO Oct 24- Nov 22
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SAGITTARIUS Nov 23 - Dec 21 There seems to be a danger of conflicts of duty between home and work. Your work is likely to take up a lot of your time which may generate some domestic strain. Try to balance these areas of your life. Some of you will be intent on expanding their mental horizons through meditation, yoga or by travelling.
CAPRICORN Dec 22 - Jan 20 You have been going through major changes in your relationships, as a result of your own radical personal transformation. Your ideas about love and partnership are changing daily. As with most things, your health waxes and wanes. You might even find the energy to keep up with your projected gym schedule. No matter how hard you are working, try to make time for relaxation.
AQUARIUS Jan 21 - Feb 19 Venus, the planet of love and romance throws a pleasing light on affairs of the heart. It is certainly going to be a fortunate time for those already married or in an established relationship. The keynote is emotional enrichment through close interaction with a loved one. There may be a certain amount of unfinished business to be dealt with. Therefore you will need to adopt a fairly flexible policy in order to accommodate the odd twists and turns of everyday life. There are planetary energies firing you up preventing you from sleeping properly. Give yourself plenty of physical outlets to calm you down mentally.
PISCES Feb 20 - Mar 20
23 - 29 March 2019
in brief SAINA NEHWAL HOSPITALISED, TO SKIP SWISS OPEN
India's ace badminton player Saina Nehwal has been hospitalised after being diagnosed with ‘acute gastroenteritis’ with mild pancreatitis. The former world number one recently posted on Instagram that she was facing acute pain since March 11, and that she managed to play a couple of matches in the All England championship while enduring a lot of pain. Saina also mentioned that she has decided to skip the Swiss Open and return to India for treatment. Saina said her doctors advised her to get admitted.
INDIAN SQUAD FOR ASIAN WRESTLING MEET ANNOUNCED
India named a 30-member squad for the Asian Wrestling Championship, scheduled to be held from April 23-28 in China next month. Vinesh Phogat will test herself in her new 53kg category when she competes in the championship along with Bajrang Punia and Sakshi Malik. Sakshi will go back to her original 62kg category and Navjot Kaur will represent India in 65kg. Asian Games bronze medallist Divya Kakran will return to competitive wrestling after recovering from an ankle injury. She will compete in the 68kg category.
CHESS IS BACK IN ASIAN GAMES
The legendary Viswanathan Anand and other top players welcomed the return of chess to the Asian Games fold for the 2022 edition in Hangzhou, stating that it will be an incentive for players to take up the sport. Five-time world champion and the country’s first Grand Master Anand said he was happy with the development adding that he looked forward to a medal from the team.
INDIAN WOMEN STORM INTO SAFF SEMIS The Indian women's football team sealed its place in the semifinals of the SAFF Championship with a resounding 5-0 win over Sri Lanka at the Sahid Rangashala Stadium in Biratnagar, Nepal. This result extended India's unbeaten run in the competition's history to 21 games and secured the top spot in Group B. In the semis, India will take on Group A runners-up Bangladesh while hosts Nepal will face Sri Lanka in the other fixture.
SC appoints mediator to resolve disputes in BCCI The Supreme Court appointed senior advocate PS Narasimha, who is assisting the apex court as an amicus curiae in the BCCI matter, as mediator for resolving various disputes related to cricket administration in the country. "The game must go on," the bench said, asking Narasimha to act as a mediator in the cricket administration disputes. It also asked Narasimha to look into the dispute relating to the release of funds by the court-appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA) to various cricket associations. Besides, it restrained all other courts in India from entertaining or proceeding with any matter pertaining to BCCI and state cricket associations. The apex court had on February 21 appointed its former judge Justice Jain, as the first court-appointed ombudsman for BCCI. Justice Jain emerged as the first choice among the six former apex court judges whose names were placed before a bench in an envelope. In the previous hearing, the counsel appearing for some of the state cricket associations had told the
court that CoA has not released funds to them. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for Maharashtra Cricket Association, had said the condition was "precarious" as their stadium has been attached in a court proceeding and they have not been given funds by the CoA. Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for a state cricket association, had argued that for the last three years, "not a single penny has been given to the state cricket associations". Senior advocate Parag
Tripathi, appearing for the CoA, had told the bench that funds were released directly to the respective vendors for the works done by them. "As long as people are playing the game and cricket is going on, we are not concerned," the bench had observed. It had asked Narasimha to advise the CoA to release funds to the state cricket associations for cricketing purpose. "At the moment, let CoA be re-constituted and they can seek the advice of PS Narasimha and then release funds," the bench had said, adding, "We think that the CoA is not utilising the services of amicus. Let them do it". The apex court had on February 21 appointed Lieutenant General Ravi Thodge as the third member of the CoA for BCCI. In 2017, the apex court had appointed a four-member CoA, headed by former Auditor General of India (CAG) Vinod Rai, to run the affairs of BCCI and implement the courtapproved recommendations of the Justice R M Lodha panel on reforms in the cash-rich cricket body.
The other three members of the CoA were -- former Indian women cricket captain Diana Edulji, historian Ramachandra Guha and banker Vikram Limaye. Following the resignations of Guha and Limaye, the CoA presently has only two members -- Rai and Edulji. The twomember CoA has been divided on several matters including the recent controversy involving cricketers Hardik Pandya and K L Rahul. Pandya and Rahul had attracted widespread criticism for their alleged misogynistic comments on a popular TV Show. Rai had reportedly recommended a two-match ban on Pandya and Rahul, but Edulji had taken the matter to the BCCI legal cell which refused to call the players' actions a violation of the code of conduct and recommended the appointment of an ombudsman. The CoA chief and Edulji had also reportedly differed on the controversy relating to exclusion of Indian women cricketer Mithali Raj from the playing 11 in the crucial semifinal match of the recently concluded women's world cup.
SC sets aside Sreesanth's life ban by BCCI Fighting a legal battle against BCCI which held him guilty of corruption and spot-fixing, former India cricketer S Sreesanth got partial relief from the Supreme Court which upheld his guilt but set aside the life ban and directed the board to decide afresh on the quantum of punishment. A bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan and K M Joseph said cricket is a synonym for gentlemanliness which means discipline, fair play and high standard of morality and there should be zero tolerance towards foul play in the game. It rejected the plea of the bowler who contended that BCCI’s disciplinary committee findings against him were wrong and he should be given a clean chit as he has already been acquitted in a criminal case for spot-fixing.
“The conclusion drawn by the disciplinary committee on the basis of the material cannot be said to be suffering from any infirmity which may warrant judicial review by the constitutional courts. We, thus, are of the opinion that for the
decision of the disciplinary committee holding charges under Articles 2.1.1., 2.1.2, 2.1.3 (corruption) and 2.2.3 (Betting) and Article 2.4.1(Receiving gifts) and 2.4.2 (Failing to disclose to BCCI) proved, there are no grounds for this court to take a different view,” the bench said. The court said acquittal in criminal case would not result in quashing of disciplinary proceedings and findings against him as standard of proof in a disciplinary inquiry and in a criminal case are entirely different. “In a criminal case, it is essential to prove a charge beyond all reasonable doubt wherein in departmental inquiry preponderance of probability is to serve the purpose,” said the court. “In the disciplinary proceedings held against him
under the Anti-Corruption Code of BCCI, the principles of natural justice were not violated. The conclusions drawn by the committee cannot be said to be suffering from any infirmity which may warrant judicial review by the constitutional courts,” it said. The bench, however, came to the conclusion that BCCI did not consider aggravating and mitigating factors while imposing the harshest punishment of life ban and quashed the decision. The court said the board should decide afresh on quantum of punishment to Sreesanth within three months and also consider mitigating factors like his good previous disciplinary record, the young age etc before coming to any conclusion.
Narrow escape for Bangladeshi cricketers in NZ Bangladesh’s cricket team left New Zealand on Saturday, less than 24 hours after narrowly avoiding being involved in the worst mass shooting in the country, which now had to accept that sporting events were likely to have been changed for ever. The Bangladesh team were on a bus that was approaching the Al Noor mosque, where 41 people died, on the eve of the third Test at nearby Hagley Oval when the shooting began. The Test match, which had been scheduled to start on Saturday, was cancelled after the shooting and Bangladesh’s tour
abandoned. Violent crime is extremely rare in New Zealand and the Bangladesh Cricket Board said the attacks had now changed their perception about team security on tours. “We’ll demand proper
security wherever our team goes in future,” BCB president Nazmul Hassan told reporters in Dhaka. “If a country provides proper security as per our demand, then we will go otherwise not. I can say that everything will change after this incident.” Pakistan’s minister for human rights Shireen Mazari also suggested the world governing body, the International Cricket Council,
should possibly take a harder line against hosting matches in New Zealand. “ICC should take note & perhaps suspend international cricket in NZ after this act of terrorism?” Mazari said on Twitter. Pakistan has been unable to host matches at home since 2009, when gunmen attacked the bus carrying the Sri Lanka team to a match in Lahore. New Zealand have not toured Pakistan since 2002 following a suicide bombing outside their hotel in Karachi and instead played their games in the United Arab Emirates.
23 - 29 March 2019
Afghanistan clinch historic Kohli, Dhoni among 9 athletes featured in the maiden test victory World Fame 100 list
Afghanistan defeated Ireland by seven wickets in the one-off test and clinched a historic maiden victory. Needing 118 runs, Rahmat Shah scored his second half century of the match and Ihsanullah Janat made 50 in his debut test as Afghanistan reached 149-3 just before lunch on the fourth day. "It was our dream to play test cricket and today we won a test match so I am very happy for Afghanistan and its people," Afghanistan captain Asghar Afghan said. "I want to give credit to the bowlers, especially Rashid Khan, Waqar (Salamkheil), Yamin (Ahmadzai) and (Mohammad) Nabi because the wicket was good for batting." Leg spinner Rashid claimed the match haul of 7102 while nursing his injured spinning finger. It was only the second test match for both countries since gaining test status in
2017. Afghanistan lost its inaugural test against India last year before Pakistan went on to beat Ireland. Man-of-the-match Shah, who missed out on the century in the first innings before falling for 98, played another splendid knock of 76 with 13 fours before he got stumped when Afghanistan required only three runs for victory. Janat was equally good in scoring an unbeaten 65 off 129 balls as both batsmen dominated Ireland bowling with attacking shots during their 139-run match-winning stand. Ireland had an early opportunity to break the stand but Shah was dropped on 19 by Stuart Thompson in left-arm spinner George Dockrell's second over of the day after Afghanistan resumed on 29-1. Although Mohammad Nabi missing Afghanistan's winning moment on the field when he got run out,
Hashmatullah Shahidi got the winning runs when he pulled James Cameron-Dow to the square leg fence off his first delivery. Ireland captain William Porterfield saw his team's first-innings effort of 172 as the prime reason for the defeat as Afghanistan replied strongly with 314. "In any multi-day game, we had to capitalize on the first innings. If we'd done how we'd done in the second innings then, it could have been a completely different game," Porterfield said. Ireland fought back in the second innings by scoring 288, thanks largely to the last-wicket half century stand between Cameron-Dow and Tim Murtagh that set up Afghanistan's target of 147 runs. "Credit to Afghanistan, they outplayed us ... and once Afghanistan got past us in the first innings, it was always going to be hard," Porterfield said.
Indian cricket team captain Virat Kohli, former captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni were among eight Indian cricketers who found a place in this year's ESPN World Fame 100 list. Portuguese footballer Cristiano Ronaldo is at the top spot, followed by former Basketball player Lebron James and FC Barcelona captain Lionel Messi. Kohli stands on the seventh position and is the only Indian athlete in the top 10 club, whereas Dhoni is placed on the 13th position. Interestingly, all Indian men mentioned in this list were from the cricketing fraternity, including Yuvraj Singh (18), Suresh Raina (22), R Ashwin (42), Rohit Sharma (46), Harbhajan Singh (74) and Shikhar Dhawan (94). This list was prepared by
looking at three aspects, namelysearch score, endorsements and social following. No athlete was able to sway the top three contenders, Ronaldo, Lebron James and Messi, as their rank has not changed from the previous year rankings. However, this time Kohli made into the top 10 as he jumped from the last year’s 11th position to 7th position.
There were only three women in the list- Serena Williams (17), Maria Sharapova (37) and Sania Mirza (93); making Sania Mirza the only Indian woman athlete to feature in the list. Top 10 athletes: Cristiano Ronaldo, Lebron James, Lionel Messi, Neymar, Conor McGregor, Roger Federer, Virat Kohli, Rafael Nadal, Stephen Curry and Tiger Woods.
Delhi Capitals appoint Sourav Ganguly as advisor Former Indian captain Sourav Ganguly was appointed as advisor of Delhi Capitals for the upcoming edition of Indian Premier League (IPL). In his new role, Ganguly will work closely with the team's head coach Ricky Ponting. "I am very pleased to come on board with the Delhi Capitals," Ganguly said. "Having known the Jindals and the JSW Group for
staff." "Sourav is one of the most astute minds in world cricket. A lot of what we see in Indian cricket today was born Sourav because of Sourav. His Ganguly aggression, positivity and never say die attitude are traits we years, I am now excited to be want the Delhi Capitals a part of their latest sports team to imbibe,’’ said Delhi venture. I am really looking Capitals chairman Parth forward to working with the Jindal. players and the support
Australia humble India to win T20 series The aura of invincibility India built in recent years, especially at home, in the limited-over format has vanished. In what was the team’s last ODI before the World Cup, the collective performance of a puzzling combination left more questions unanswered than it started out to address. In addition to the persisting middle-order woes and lack of a reliable fifth bowling option, some batsmen’s lack of technique against quality spin bowling stood exposed before Adam Zampa and Nathan Lyon. Moreover, the over-reliance on the toporder hurt the team once again. As India’s worries grew, the 35-run victory, in the fifth and final ODI at the Ferozeshah Kotla, gave Australia a well-deserved 3-2 series triumph, its first in India since 2009. India’s third successive defeat also
blew the lid off the muchunderlined ‘problem of plenty’ in selection and exposed plenty of problems. Only bright spot For the record, riding on the in-form Usman Khawaja’s 100, Australia set a target of 273. In response, India folded at 237, the only bright spot being the fighting 91-run seventhwicket stand between Kedar Jadhav and Bhuvneshwar Kumar. All through, Australia stayed ahead of India despite a brief spell when the side tumbled from 175 for one to 229 for six. Indeed, this kept Australia from scoring a 300-plus total for the third time in succession but the way India responded, it did not matter. However, the composition of India’s playing XI clearly raised a few eye-brows. It was not clear whether India was playing to win the series or happy to stay in the
Australian cricketers poses with the trophy after winning the fifth one-day international (ODI) cricket match in Delhi
“experiment mode” even after two reverses. On a pitch, known to progressively offer slow and low bounce, India chose to go in with Mohammed Shami and Ravindra Jadeja for K.L. Rahul and Yuzvendra Chahal. That meant, this combination had only three specialist batsmen, in
addition to a wicketkeeperbatsman, three all-rounders and seven bowling options. As it turned out, Vijay Shankar played as a specialist batsman after Kohli found no use for his bowling. When India chased, its vulnerability was evident once Shikhar Dhawan and the skipper were dismissed
with just 68 on the board in the 13th over. Except for Jadhav and Bhuvneshwar, both of whom departed in succession at 223, the Indian batting was disappointing. A struggling Rohit Sharma got a half-century, was dropped at 52 and 53 off Adam Zampa and finally lost his bat before being stumped for 56. Rishabh Pant, walking at
the fall of Kohli’s wicket, did not help his cause. Though Pant’s wicketkeeping skills left much to be desired, his flamboyant batting once again came a cropper. Clearly, those assuming the Delhi-lad to be a sure second-choice keeper for the World Cup need to seriously consider Dinesh Karthik in their options. Opportunity lost Vijay Shankar, too, lost out on another great opportunity to reinforce his claim for a World Cup berth, and so did Jadeja. Among the bowlers, only Jasprit Bumrah looked effective while the rest, particularly Kuldeep Yadav, had an ordinary day at work. In contrast, Australia ticked most of the boxes after leaving out Shaun Marsh and Jason Behrendorff and included a fit-again Marcus Stoinis and Nathan Lyon.
Asian Voice weekly newspaper (Issue 45)