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FIRST & FOREMOST ASIAN WEEKLY IN EUROPE

VOICE

Let noble thoughts come to us from every side

VOL 40. ISSUE 33

80p

24th December to 30th December 2011

Dow agrees to drop its logo from London Olympics, IOA not happy

Dow Chemical has agreed to remove it logo from London's Olympic stadium but the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) said that it was not satisfied with the move and wants US giant to remove its sponsorship

from the 2012 Games. Dow said it was agreeing to the "vision" of the 2012 Games by waiving its sponsorship rights to place its brand on a controversial fabric wrap for the stadium which was objected by cam-

Bhagavad Gita faces ban in Russia Tomsk city is set to deliver its final verdict in a case filed by state prosecutors. The case, which has been going on in Tomsk court since June, Continued on page 25

Bhagavad Gita, one of the holiest Hindu scriptures, is facing a legal ban and the prospect of being branded as "an extremist" literature across Russia. A court in Siberia's

paigners furious at the US conglomerate's links to the deadly Bhopal gas disaster. Bowing to intense popular pressure, Dow Chemical has agreed to remove all its branding from Britain’s Olympic Stadium in what was hailed as a victory by campaigners furious at its links to the Bhopal disaster in India. According to reports, the US corporate giant said it was agreeing to the 'vision' of the 2012 Games by waiving its sponsorship rights to place its brand on a controversial fabric wrap for the stadium. According to reports, the beleaguered company, in a bid to salvage the situation, was trying for some

future partnership with the Olympic Park which is set to become the queen Elizabeth Olympic Park after the Games. The queen has close links with India and the park is being named for her Jubilee. Dow owns Union Carbide, the company that owned and ran a pesticide plant in Bhopal in India where a gas leak in 1984 killed thousands of people in the world’s worst industrial disaster. There have been widespread protests in India against Dow with the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) asking Olympic organizers to drop the company as a sponsor. Continued on page 25

Seema Malhotra becomes Britain’s sixth Asian female MP

Ms Malhotra delivers her winning speech as Lib Dem’s Roger Crouch (centre) and Tory candidate Mark Bowen listen on

Seema Malhotra, a former adviser to Harriet Harman and columnist at Asian Voice has become the sixth Asian female Member of Parliament after winning the Feltham and Heston by-election last week.

Continued on page 2

Add some sparkle to your festive season Buy an Approved Used Mercedes-Benz during our special event to take home some extra special festive treats.

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Asian Voice - Saturday 24th December 2011

one to one Keith Vaz MP with

Lalit Choudary Lalit Choudary is a young business entrepreneur. He is a Graduate of IIM Calcutta and worked as an Investment Banker at Lehman Brothers for 8 years, based in Hong Kong for the most part. He relocated to India in 2006 to establish the India operations of the Bank. Lalit saw the opportunity for luxury cars and products in India and established Infinity Cars Private Limited in 2006 with the dealership of BMW in Mumbai and subsequently Madhya Pradesh State. In late 2009 Mr. Lalit Choudary initiated dialogue with Aston Martin with a view to bringing the brand to India. 1) What inspired you to begin your career in your chosen field? Having spent many years pursuing investment banking in Hong Kong, I was exposed to the proliferation of luxury products and cars in particular in the city. I was convinced India would witness a surge in luxury consumption as well. With this in mind, I reached out to various companies and ultimately found ourselves moving to India and in quick time moving out of the banking world and getting into an entrepreneurial role. 2)

What

are

your

proudest achievements? Professionally speaking, establishing the automotive business from a standing start and becoming in 4-5 years the leading luxury car dealer in Mumbai, India’s most high profile and competitive city. 3) Please tell us about your current position? We are the leading luxury car dealer in Mumbai with dealerships for BMW and Aston Martin and an additional BMW franchise in Indore, Madhya Pradesh. 4) What has been the biggest obstacle in your

Seema Malhotra becomes... regional ministers for the West Midlands. She Ms Malhotra, who is founded the Fabian only the 28th MP from the Women’s Network and Black and Minority Ethnic was a previous National community, increased Chair of the Young Labour’s majority from Fabians. 4,658 to 6,203, a net swing The by-election came of 8.6 percent from the about following the unforConservatives. tunate death of Alan Keen MP last month after he lost his battle with c a n c e r . Turnout was under 29 percent, the lowest in a byelection for 11 years. S e e m a said: “This Ed Miliband, left, Seema Malhotra, centre, result is a great with Labour’s candidate for London victory for Mayor Ken Livingstone Labour which shows the progress we are The 39-year-old local making under Ed resident pulled in 12,639 Miliband’s leadership, a votes while Conservative vote of confidence in the candidate Mark Bowen way Labour is changing, came second with 6,436 listening hard, winning votes. Liberal Democrats back the trust of the peocandidate Roger Crouch ple we seek to serve. held on to third place with “But this is also a 1,364 votes. wake-up call for David A management conCameron. This result sultant, Seema has shows how this Tory led worked for Accenture and government is totally out PriceWaterhouseCoopers of touch.” and advised Liam Byrne Jim Fitzpatrick, the and Ian Austin before the shadow transport miniselection when they were ter, said that Labour had

Continued from page 1

evolving with the company as it moves from being a start up to a medium scale enterprise employing close to 300 people; managing the growth and offering a desirable work place to the growing base of employees; building a culture of transparency and accountability; and identifying and pursuing suitable growth opportunities. 7) And the worst? Dealing with local inefficiencies in obtaining spaces and getting them fitted to international standards. 8) What are your long term goals? Continue to build on our current platform to become one of India’s top automotive dealer groups. 9) If you were Prime Minister, what one thing would you change? The quality of infrastructure.

career? In the automotive business, finding the right retail and after-sales spaces in a rapidly evolving and urbanising city that remains extremely tight on the supply of suitable infrastructure. 5) Who has been the biggest influence on your career to date? I draw inspiration from many successful businessmen in the country

that have exhibited tremendous entrepreneurial spirit in overcoming various challenges inadequate infrastructure, extremely mobile human resources, high capital costs, the local bureaucracy in regulation etc. 6) What is the best thing about your current role? There are several. Having the opportunity to build a business from ground up;

10) If you were marooned on a desert island, which historical figures would you like to spend your time with and why? JRD Tata. I would like to understand from him how he went about building the Tata Group amidst the difficulties prevailing in the Indian business environment of the time.

lost during its performed well time in office, but because of fears the victory over the economy. showed a swing Speaking in the “ f r o m constituency on Conservative Sky News before ideas to Labour the declaration, ideas”. Fitzpatrick said: Mr Miliband “This is a seat the also said it was Tories had to win “offensive” of the last year to win the Conservatives to general election. dismiss the result They have failed to as inevitable. do that and they Seema Malhotra (centre) celebrates with her The Labour have gone back- husband Sushil Saluja (front left) after winning the leadership hopes wards. Labour is Feltham and Heston by-election that a solid permaking steady and of anywhere between 15% formance in a seat which significant progress. to 18%. Unless they do the Tories won in the “This was about the that they have gone backThatcher landslides in economy. Europe didn’t wards.” 1983 and 1987 will stareally feature very much. Visiting the conbilise Miliband’s position Youth unemployment has stituency with Ms after a tough week. But almost trebled here in less Malhotra and Labour’s than one year. The econosupporters of Tony Blair London Mayoral candimy, unemployment – these are likely to echo the argudate Ken Livingstone, Mr are the issues people here ment of the Tories – that Miliband said: “This byare worried about. The Labour should be perelection offers a verdict on government’s economic forming more strongly in a the government’s failed strategy has been rejected by-election when the goveconomic plan. here by the people this ernment is facing such a “It’s the verdict of evening.” grave economic crisis. young people in Feltham Alok Sharma, the Some Blairites allegedand Heston looking for a Conservative MP for ly say that members of the job. It’s the verdict of peoReading West, told Miliband circle are too ple who are seeing their Guardian: “The British complacent about the living standards squeezed. people just don’t think party’s poll ratings which “It’s a verdict that says have placed Labour nar[Labour] gets it. we can’t go on with the rowly ahead of the Tories [Labour’s] plan may be a idea that there is no alterfor much of the year. An Plan B but it is a plan for native. It’s a verdict that opposition needs to have a bankruptcy. This is a tradisays there is a better way tional Labour seat. Labour lead in double figures over forward.” should be doing really the government to be sure He said Labour had well. We would expect of securing an overall more to do to win back them, in a standstill posimajority at the next elecvoters whose trust was tion, to be getting a swing tion.

People ■ Haymarket’s Mint Leaf has acquired a sister in Dubai. A new branch will open next year under the watchful eye of Dhiru Bhattesa. ■

Civil Rights legend The Reverend Jessie Jackson came to Leicester to speak at a Conference. He also visited the famous Belgrave Road.

The 40th Anniversary of Indian Independence was celebrated in the Speakers Apartments this week. Guest of Honour was the Bangladeshi Foreign Minister Dipu Moni.

Tzedek – developing and alleviating poverty in India On 7th December, the Indian Jewish Association and the Board of Deputies of British Jews hosted a presentation by Tzedek, a Jewish organisation which works with partners, projects and communities abroad to provide direct support to help local people so that they can help themselves. Currently, Tzedek is working on a number of projects in Indian rural locations, and these were described and illustrated by its Director Dan Berelowitz, and volunteer Hirsh Cashdan. They were introduced by Board President, Vivian Wineman, and Group Relations Director, Michael Whine. Jitendra Kumar, Indian High Commission Minister for Community Affairs and IJA founding President, Aubrey Rose, also spoke on the strong affinities between the Indian and Jewish communities in Britain, and the long and happy settlement of Jews in India.

Future of British students in doldrums? Turning to prostitution Desperate British students, faced with rising costs on the back of government austerity measures, are turning to prostitution, gambling and other dangerous pursuits to fund their studies, support workers and student leaders said on last Wednesday. The English Collective of Prostitutes, a welfare body for sex workers, said it estimated the number of people approaching it for help had doubled in the last year as students struggled to make ends meet. Continued on page 30


Asian Voice - Saturday 24th December 2011

COMMENT

India-Russia: Reaffirming a time-tested relationship Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's three-day to Moscow for the annual summit with the Russian leadership – an arrangement that alternates between their capitals – has concluded with a number of significant trade and defence deals. The two sides have promised to double their trade turnover in the next four years, and there is no reason to doubt that the goal can be achieved with Russia at last becoming a member of the World Trade Organization. Both sides expressed their determination in this regard, contrasting the sector's indifferent performance to their countries' thriving cooperation in the nuclear, defence, science and space fields, and international issues, where there has always been (and still is) a remarkable convergence of their national interests. Indian Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee during his earlier stint as his country's foreign minister pointedly remarked that Russia had never sought to make mischief at India's expense in India's neighbourhood. Draw your own conclusions on who he implied were the mischief makers. Lying astride the vast Eurasian landmass, Russia is the fulcrum of its geopolitics much as the gurus of the British and American media, in denial mode, resent this, and the reality that India and Russia are joined at the hip. Apropos of trade, assembled in Moscow were leading Indian and Russian businessmen. Prime Minister Singh addressed them thus: “We would like to know from you what you feel needs to be done to promote the trade and investment aspect of our relationship. Our government is committed to creating a policy environment conducive for Russian companies to do business in India, and to invest in India.” “With 90 per cent of the issues resolved” in hammering out a bilateral Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement with Russia, India has set its sights on fitting this concept to the Customs Union Russia has struck with Kazakhstan and Belarus, the first being the largest state in Central Asia, the second located in the penumbra of Europe. “The initiative taken by Russia to launch an extensive modernization and privatization programme has opened avenues for Indian compa-

nies,” Dr Singh told his business executive audience. India's National Minerals Development Corporation (NMDC) and Russian metallurgical giant Severstal are setting up a large joint venture in Orissa to produce steel, Indian companies are discussing long-term deals for the supply of Russian diamonds, and the Steel Authority of India and NMDC seek procurement of Russian coking and thermal coal, while other Indian firms wish to do the same for copper and nickel. Russia has invested in India's telecommunications and India has done the same in Russia's oil and gas sector. However, much more needed to be done. Dr Singh pointed to the “vast unexplored areas that await exploitation. I refer in particular to the areas of pharmaceuticals, fertilizers, financial services, power, health, chemicals and civil aviation. President Medvedev made Russia's pitch, and the tenor of his speech was broadly similar to Dr Singh's. The two countries signed a crucial agreement for technical assistance in the joint production of an additional 42 Sukhoi-30MKI warplanes for the Indian Air Force. Prime Minister Singh dispelled the uncertainty surrounding the Kundakulam nuclear power plant, which was built with substantial Russian help. The dubious agitation to suspend further development is undoubtedly a nuisance. Dr Singh assured his hosts that the first unit of the project would be “operationalized in a couple of weeks.” A joint statement on the Indo-Russian strategic partnership was released to the media. The Indian Prime Minister met with Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who Dr Singh credits as the principal architect of the present Indo-Russian relationship. He congratulated Mr Putin on his United Russia party's recent victory in the country's parliamentary elections. The Indo-Russian relationship is among the most stable in the world today, its unique trajectory beginning in the aftermath of World War II and moving serenely forward in subsequent decades. Its renewal under Mr Putin has yielded significant results for both partners. The best possibly is yet to come.

Predictions of India's apocalypse a trifle premature A section of the British press is back to its old game: predicting India's political and economic apocalypse. Neville Maxwell, The Times India Correspondent in the late 1950s and mid-60s despatched his final report from the country in March 1967. Having looked into his crystal ball, he foretold the demise of Indian democracy and the inevitable military takeover. Not surprisingly, Mr Maxwell lauded Chairman Mao's China, the People's Communes and the Great Leap forward that we now know resulted in the deaths of 40 million Chinese, who perished in the subsequent famine - the worst in recorded history. Old habits die hard. In the mid-1990s, the Daily Express foresaw the dissolution of India amidst anarchy and ethnic violence, saying these would dwarf developments in the Balkans at the time. Prime Minister John Major was sdvised to decline India's invitation to be chief guest at the country's Republic Day celebrations. Last weekend Robin Pagnamenta produced a two-page spread in The Times forecasting the imminent collapse of the Indian economy and the country's relapse into dire poverty. His headline, which revolved round BRIC, was misleading since the report dealt exclusively with India. Living as

we do in a globalized world, if one economy sneezes another is likely to catch cold. The eurozone crisis and the inevitable shrinkage of an export market for India may well reduce India's economic growth by a couple of percentage points without this leading to a collapse. The Indian economy has long legs that straddles every branch of entrepreneurial activity. A survey covering 41 countries conducted by Manpower, the international employment rating agency, suggests that Indian employers are hiring with a gusto never experienced previously. According to Manpower, Indian employers had reported the most optimistic hiring among the 41 countries surveyed. The Manpower Employment Outlook Survey reveals a greatly improved trend in six out of seven industry sectors for the March 2012 quarter, compared to the previous three months. Meanwhile, the (Indian) monthly Naukri Job Speak Index, an indicator of online job demand, showed that hiring activity in India had moved across all sectors last month (November) from levels seen in October, “signalling a seasonal spike”. Let's see who's right. Methinks Mr Pagnamenta may forfeit his Christmas bonus.

Christmas cheer amidst the swirling gloom We are deep into the festive season. Christmas celebrates peace and fellowship in keeping with the gospel of Jesus Christ. But it is not always so. There have been times when Christmas has coincided with national conflicts and civil strife, yet even in moments of adversity the essence of Christmas remains a spiritual and moral force reminding men and women that through error it is possible to achieve redemption. That apart, Christmas has also a commercial dimension. High street retailers look forward to droves of shoppers coming into their stores in search of the best buys at the most affordable prices. But there are many who live among us who have not the wherewithal to indulge themselves or their families with the latest products of ingenious inventors and entrepreneurs. There are more people below the poverty line in Britain and America and other areas of the Western world than most of us can recall. Opportunities, whether in education or employment,

are becoming scarce commodities, hence the marginalized sections of society in these parts appear to be expanding at an alarming rate. Insensate greed in high places and the seeming inability or unwillingness of our rulers to do anything about it contain the seeds of future social discord and violence. There are disproportionate levels of smugness and complacency in the corridors of power. Shadows of darkness loom in other parts of the world. The much vaunted “Arab Spring” belies the hopes and expectations of its votaries, with other continents facing problems of their own. The end of the Cold War is yet to bring the peace dividend once hoped for and popular cynicism grows apace. Nevertheless, people of goodwill everywhere have the vision of a brave new world to inspire them. Do not give into despair. Keep the faith in your struggles, for only then will the new dawn emerge.

www.abplgroup.com

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Thought for the Week Year's end is neither an end nor a beginning but a going on, with all the wisdom that experience can instill in us -Hal Borland

“Our London” CIIr Navin Shah AM London Assembly Member for Brent and Harrow

MERRY XMAS This time of year gives us an opportunity to reflect on the past 12 months and look forward to the New Year. London has faced some massive challenges this year and wide-scale riots in August proved how people of Brent - Harrow and Londoners can overcome adversity. Next year will showcase London in the best light, with the Olympics and Paralympics bringing visitors here from around the world. In May, the elections for the London Mayor and Assembly take place which will determine London’s future for the next four years. 2012 is set to be a fantastic and exciting year in this great city of London. Working with Brent and Harrow's communities is an absolute privilege for me and I assure my best endeavours in the New Year. Enjoy the festive period, spending time with family and friends and stay safe. I wish all our community members in Harrow, Brent and across London Merry Christmas and very best for a peaceful and happy New Year. PUBLIC CONVENIENCES As the readers know, London Assembly’s Health and Public Services committee conducts a wide range of investigations – some of which like the National Health Reforms, Public Spaces and Mental Health I’ve shared in this column. Recently the Committee published findings of its investigation into Public Toilets. A similar scrutiny took place in 2006 and this follow up review was to establish whether provision & access to public toilets in London has improved and what more the Mayor of London could do to help improve the provision. The committee in the main addressed the issues of provision (numbers and type of toilets available) and how the members of public are informed about the location and accessibility of the facilities. The Committee’s recommendations focused on what the Mayor can do to promote provision of public toilets directly through his initia-

tives as well as by Borough Councils / Public Sector and Private Businesses / Companies, Public Toilet facilities are vital service but have rapidly disappeared in most parts of London due to the reasons like funding pressures faced by Councils and failure on the part of Borough Councils and private and public bodies to recognise the importance of toilet facilities especially for certain groups in our community like the elderly, visitors and people with certain health conditions. Our findings show that the number of Local Authority toilets available for public use has continued to decline and some Councils no longer provide public toilets directly. However, on a positive note, new initiatives like ‘community toilet schemes’ in which the toilets in public buildings and private local businesses are available to public are a welcome addition to the traditional public toilets. The Committee also examined the London Mayor’s ‘Open London Scheme’ which sought major businesses in London to make their toilets available to non-customers. Briefly the committee made the following five recommendations: GLA Buildings: The Mayor should instruct GLA organisations to allow public access, where possible, to the toilets in the GLA buildings. Major Companies and Other Organisations: The GLA should identify all such companies/organisations and the Mayor should approach organisations to make their toilets available for public use. Crossrail: Installation of public stations at all Crossrail stations in London. Guidance to Boroughs: The Mayor is asked to provide guidance on public toilets in his updated Supplementary Planning Guidance on Accessible London. Standard Information: The Mayor should publish data on the location and accessibility of all Transport for London (TfL) toilets, Stores participating in Open London Scheme etc.


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Asian Voice - Saturday 24th December 2011

In brief

Email: majithia.meera@gmail.com

Leicester Voice

By Meera Majithia

Asian community donates funds for research centre Members of Shree Sanatan Mandir presented a cheque of £1001 to the University of Leicester, to demonstrate their support for the appeal of a new state-of-the-art heart research centre at Glenfield Hospital. The cheque was handed over during a small ceremony conducted with the president of the temple, trustees and other representatives of Shree Sanatan Mandir, on Wednesday 13th December at around 11.30am. President Ramanbhai Barber MBE said: “We are a charitable organisation and we feel it is our duty to help other charities where needed. The new research centre will be beneficial to the people of Leicester and in other parts of the country. “Every year we donate funds to a chosen charity during the Diwali period, but this year we decided to donate a larger amount for this worthwhile cause. We would like to encourage other communities to do the same.” In August this year, the university launched the public phase of its appeal to raise the final £1million required to complete and equip the Cardiovascular Research Centre (CRC). The new £12.6million centre will impact radically on both the scale and quality of research and treatment of cardiovascular disease all over the UK.

L to R: Mr Jivanbhai Patel trustee], Mr Rameshbhai Pattni [treasurer], Mr Ramanbhai Barber [president], Vijay Sharma [University Development Board], Mr Steve O'Connor [Director Of Development], Mr Naren Pandya [assistant treasurer & photographer]

Steve O’Connor, Director of Development at the university, said: “Many families and members of the Sanatan Mandir have been touched by heart disease and leading members of the temple wanted to show their support for a local project, which will have positive benefits for the health and well being if their community.” Vijay Sharma, member of the university of Leicester Development Board, said: “We are delighted with the fantastic donation and support of the members of the Shree Sanatan Mandir for the University’s

Cardiovascular Research Centre Appeal. The support of the local community for our fundraising will be essential in helping to equip and complete this state-of-the-art building.” The university has so far committed over £6million of its capital resources on the project. Cardiovascular disease is the UK’s biggest killer. It causes one-inthree deaths in the UK resulting in over 198,000 deaths every year. Each day, in the East Midlands alone, nine people die prematurely of heart disease.

Leicester businessman praises Imran Khan

Vic Sethi of Daewoo International Europe, was all full of praises for excricketer and politician Imran Khan after meeting him at a recent dinner in London. Mr Sethi said: “He gave a fabulous speech and said that his passion was offering free education to the needy who could not afford it in rural areas of Pakistan.” Mr Khan has already built a college in Mianwali called Namal College, which he describes as a ‘technical education city’ based on 1000 acres of land. It offers co-education where boys and girls can study and are offered scholarships. Mr Sethi added: “Politics aside, his vision is great and I do hope every leader in the world thinks of investing in education for children. I sincerely wish Imran Khan good luck from the bottom of my heart for the work he has done and achieved in such a small period and may the almighty give him the strength and courage to carry on doing such good deeds.” His previous project was the

Imran Khan with Vic Sethi

opening of Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital and Research Centre, which has since established itself as a centre of excellence, providing comprehensive care free of cost to thousands of cancer patients. The hospital was presented with

an award of excellence by the World Health Organisation for being the only hospital, which has a record of over 75% free treatment to patients who could not afford it. Having retired from the game of cricket to focus on making his dream of the cancer hospital come true, Khan was forced to rejoin for another three years to raise more money for the project. During this time however he took Pakistan to victory in the cricket World Cup. Mr Sethi also had the privilege of meeting Pakistani pop sensation Abrar Ul Haq, who set up the charity Sahara for Life Trust after suddenly losing his mother in 1996. The trust focuses on providing help to women who suffer from delivery and obstetric problems. After seven years of work the trust opened up a hospital under the name Sughra & Shafi Medical Complex, which is fully equipped with a mother and baby unit, offering out-patient check-ups and family planning advice and medication in Pakistan’s isolated Narowal district.

Police tackle number plate thefts Officers in Leicester are taking measures to reduce incidents of number plate thefts in the Oadby and Wigston area of the city. Neighbourhood officers have purchased a supply of special clutch-head screws, which they are offering to motorists for free. The screws can be fitted as a replacement to number plate screws, which car dealerships fit as standard, and are much harder to remove. Sergeant David Stokes said: “Replacing standard screws with clutch-head screws is a good way to reduce the risk of your number plates being stolen. “The theft of a number plate can be a huge inconvenience to a motorist. Once the number plates are stolen, they can also be used to disguise stolen vehicles, conceal the identity of vehicles used in criminal activity such as theft of petrol from forecourts, and evade fines for traffic offences such as speeding and illegal parking. “I would advise motorists to report any theft of number plates to the police immediately so that we can investigate the incident and identify any offences committed by vehicles bearing the stolen number plates.”

Wife loses her case to bring husband to England A 54-year-old woman who was fighting for her husband to join her in the UK has lost her case. Rashida Chapti (pictured) of Stoneygate, Leicester, says she will appeal against the decision so that her husband of 37 years, Vali, can join her in the country, despite being refused a visa because he cannot speak English. She argues that the tougher rules introduced in 2010 by Home Secretary Theresa May breached her right to family under the Human Rights Act, as well as her right to marry and her right to be free of discrimination. Mr Chapti, 57, who is a farmer in India had commented in a previous interview to press saying it would be easy for him to get by in Leicester speaking Gujarati. The couple have six children in India and Mrs Chapti has 10 brothers and sisters in Leicester. She has been splitting her time between India and the UK for the past 15 years. Mrs Chapti was initially able to obtain British citizenship six years ago because she qualifies as an ‘overseas national’ as her parents come from Malawi, which was previously ruled by the British. Her husband on the other hand was unable to apply for this and had to wait until she had gained British citizenship and then apply for a spouse visa. So far the family have spent £5,000 on court fees and have now applied for legal aid to continue fighting this case.

Orange bags promise greener Christmas

The city’s new orange bag recycling will enable people to get rid of more of their festive waste. Items such as cards, wrapping paper, sweet tins, foil trays and drink cans and bottles and other plastic packaging will all be disposable via the bags. There is no limit for the number of orange bags you put out for collection. Cllr Sarah Russell, Assistant City Mayor responsible for neighbourhood services, said: “...This year everyone can make it a green Christmas simply by bagging their recycling and putting it out for collection.”

Campaigning to save solar subsidies Leicester City Council has signed up to a campaign opposing Government moves to cut support for solar power schemes. The council is backing the campaign by Friends of the Earth against Government proposals to slash the amount it pays small producers of electricity generated from solar panels.

Under the last Government, small producers who generated electricity from renewable sources, such as solar panels on the roofs of their homes, were paid “feed-in tariffs” to pay them premium prices for the electricity they generated. The tariff scheme was meant to help encourage

renewal energy production, to drive down the costs, and provide an alternative to the major energy suppliers. However, the Government is now proposing cutting the rates paid for any new installations by up to half, which would come into effect this month. Friends of the Earth

says the move has already led to the cancellation of several planned projects and to a slump in new orders, putting many newly-created jobs at risk. Among the projects hit are schemes by housing associations to install solar panels on rented properties, as well as installations planned by

schools, hospitals and councils. Leicester Friends of the Earth spokesman Malcolm Hunter said: “If we do not provide the support that is needed, to help renewables take off, we will have no chance of reducing CO2 emissions enough to prevent dangerous climate change. “We will also be

unable to stop electricity prices continuing to rise, in line with rising fossil fuel prices and will be jeopardising our longterm energy security.” Since the feed in tariffs started, in April 2010, 312 megawatts of solar generating capacity has been installed and 22,000 jobs have been created in the solar energy sector.


UK

Asian Voice - Saturday 24th December 2011

Political Sketchbook Alpesh Patel’s

The Politics of Real and Apparent Power I just got a call from the BBC World Service just as I was about to start writing this column. And they asked me, ‘well everything looks pretty bad doesn’t it?’ So there I was barking down the phone for 20 minutes explaining that actually it doesn’t. Yes, the Eurozone is in ‘crisis’. What does that mean? It means individual companies are having problems paying debts back to banks that have lent them money. Simple. So that could of course mean the banks then are left out of pocket and go bust. But of course that won’t happen. Yes the banks were too trusting of the governments to whom they lent the money. Yes they believed they were ‘AAA’ rated and so a good risk. But the governments themselves are not going to destroy their own banks. So where will they get the money from? In one sense it matters little whether each of the wealthier nations decide to lend more money to the IMF (International Monetary Fund) and they lend it to these banks, or the EU prints the money. Indians will I am sure find all this amusing as it used to be India in crisis talks with the IMF. Not the mighty Westerners, always telling the Indians how to run their economies. But we Indians should not get too complacent. The EU can print money. It is trying to avoid doing that because it fears the Euro would devalue and inflation would occur. (If you increase supply, the price of the thing you supply drops ie Euros, and the demand for products, and so their prices, eg food, increases.) But the EU printing money is not bad. The Chinese and others will want

Euros still. It will make European companies exports more competitive. The problem India had is that if it printed rupees, back in the day when it had IMF problems, no one wanted rupees of course and the rupee would plunge and so you would need more and more for each dollar of debt anyway. So why don’t the politicians not just get on with it in Europe? There is no one single leader. No one person able to say to the others, get on with it. It is like having a United States where each of the State Governors has equal power, but no US Treasury. (The US President is more powerless than the British PM in their respective political systems, contrary to popular belief. It is just the United States as a whole is more powerful economically and militarily than Britain that gives the perception of the figurehead having greater power than in reality he does). So what will happen? Well in Europe, they will muddle through and essentially make sure money reaches the Governments that need it. The more credit worthy nations, like Germany, will borrow, essentially on behalf of Italy, to pay Italy’s debts. What about India? The Rupee is at an all time low against the dollar. There has been no currency crisis. There has not been a threat of default. There has been no call to the IMF. Why? The markets clearly are not buying the story Indians are selling themselves. Something is not quite right. The markets have the real power. (alpesh.patel@tradermind.com) www.alpeshpatel.com/blog

Gita Jayanti celebrated at Shree Sanatan Mandir, Ealing On the eve of Gita Jayanti, Sunday 4th December 2011, a discourse by Swami Bhakti Swarup Tirtha Maharaj, the Founder Acharya of Bhagavat Vani Trust and Gaudiya Vaishnava Association, was held at the Shree Sanatan Mandir in Ealing Road, Wembley. Around 500 devotees and guests attended the programme which was well received by everyone present. Several speeches The Indian Cultural Centre organised their 31st annual Vegetarian Christmas Lunch on 11th December. Mayor of Croydon Councillor Graham Bass and Malcolm Wicks were amongst the guests. Around 120 people enjoyed traditional Indian Vegetarian fair. Nitin Mehta the founder of the Centre that the aim of organising this annual event was to promote friendship and understanding between the people of Croydon. The riots of the Summer meant that the people of Croydon need to come together to bring about all

were made by chief guests at the function including Mr. Narendra Thakrar Chairman of the Shree Sanatan Mandir, Mr. Arjan Vekaria - President of the Hindu Forum of Britain, Bharti Taylor Secretary General of the Hindu Forum of Britain and Dr. Chhaganbhai Mistry of House of Mistry, a reputed pharmacy in Hampstead, North London who has been a long time acquaintance of Swamiji.

The main highlights of the discourse by Swami Bhakti Swarup Tirtha Maharaj, were the five subject matters discussed in the Gita namely, the God, the individual living entity, Material nature, Time element and Action. Free sumptuous prasadam was distributed at the end of the programme. The event was organised by Bhagavat Vani Trust, UK Registered Hindu Charity.

Croydon North MP Malcolm Wicks, Pratima Jethwa and the Mayor of Croydon Councillor Graham Bass

that is best in our town. Amongst the other attendees were members of the Purley United Reform Church, Croydon Ecology Centre and Night Watch. The Mayor congratulated the organisers and

said he was always looking forward to this annual event. Malcolm Wicks praised the Indian community and said more efforts needs to be made to promote more integration.

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The paid subscribers of Asian Voice will receive a 2012 calendar FREE with this issue. If you wish to buy a calendar call 020 7749 4080

Family cons war hero out of £300,000 A mother and her two daughters who operated in a ‘moral vacuum’ to swindle a war veteran out of nearly £300,000 have been jailed. Mahletchimi Ramudu, 53, Angela Davis, 27, and Jessica Mahatevan, 18, pretended to be good Samaritans to neighbour Stanley Flack, 83, who had dementia. But after winning his trust they removed the clocks from his house to confuse him so that they could turn up at all hours of the day and night to sift through his papers. They washed, shaved and dressed him before taking him to his bank where he was made to transfer money to them. One transaction was for more than £100,000. Much of the money was used to pay off the mortgage on Ramudu’s £225,000 house in Cambridge. The women, who were

Jessica Mahatevan, Mahletchimi Ramudu and Angela Davis

described by prosecutors as ‘a group of vultures’, also went on a two-day £21,000 spending spree after getting hold of the PIN for their victim’s debit card. In just two months they took Mr Flack’s entire life savings of £274,000. Not a penny has been returned and much of the money is believed to have been transferred to accounts in India. Jailing the trio at Cambridge Crown Court on Friday, Judge Gareth Hawkesworth said: ‘This sickening and ruthless

Yay it’s a baby boy

Konnie Huq with husband Charlie Brooker

Former Xtra Factor presenter Konnie Huq is expecting her first baby. The TV presenter, who married broadcaster and screenwriter Charlie Brooker in August last year, is reported to give birth next Easter to a

boy. The ex Blue Peter presenter is expecting a baby boy and is said to be ‘over the moon’. Her agent Jonathan Shalit said: ‘Konnie is telling friends how happy she and Charlie are.’

fraud was committed in an unbelievable moral vacuum. ‘It was a gross and unforgivable breach of trust on the most vulnerable of people and none of you has shown a glimmer of remorse – only self-pity for the situation you are in.’ Ramudu’s two daughters, Angela Davis, 27, and Jessica Mahatevan, 18, were both found guilty of involvement in the swindle. Ramudu – described as the ‘architect’ of the fraud – was given five years.

Asian Voice & Gujarat Samachar are committed to the value of ethical journalism. We are always in the forefront whether it is community achievement, campaign or reporting against injustice or unequal opportunity. All our reporters are aware that as long as they report true incidents, write articles in public interest and without malice, they have maintained utmost professionalism. If there are disgruntlements regarding articles reported in Asian Voice and Gujarat Samachar, it has nothing to do with our standards.


6

UK

Asian Voice - Saturday 24th December 2011

Kapil’s

KHICHADI

by Kapil Dudakia - email: kapil@abplgroup.com

By Spriha Srivastava

2011 - A year of mixed emotions It is that time of the year when while we look back at the events that took place this year, we also look forward to a new set of events, festivals, changes and happiness in the new year. The year 2011 was a year of mixed emotions. While there were some high points like the fall of Al-Qaeda leader and India winning the World Cup, there were many low points as well, for instance, India lost a number of its wellknown artists this year and the world lost Steve Jobs. However, the idea of this article is not to list out the sad moments of 2011 and make everyone unhappy just before holiday time. While going through the timeline of 2011 I realised that this year has witnessed a number of protests, natural disasters and rise and fall of terrorism and I decided to base my article on the same. 2011 started off with the disastrous Tsunami in Japan that played havoc with the lives of many. It also led to fluctuating markets around the world. A strong tremor measuring 9.0 on Richter scale jolted the nation’s northeast coast triggering a catastrophic 10-metre tsunami that besides sweeping a host of towns also corrupted the cooling systems at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant. Apart from this, a

Tsunami in Japan

The 74-year-old Gandhian crusader launched India Against Corruption movement to press for a strict antigraft legislation on April 5, 2011 with a hunger strike at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi. Thousands of Indians gathered in support of Anna Hazare. Anna finally ended his fast on 28 and said that he was only suspending his fast for the time being and will end it only after the strong Lokpal bill is passed by the Parliament. He is again set to hold a fast-untodeath from December 27 if the Lokpal Bill is not passed in the current Winter Session of Parliament. In other parts of the world too uprisings started happening. For instance in the Middle East, thousands took to streets to register their dissent against the tyranny of dictators. As per the reports it all started with a fruit seller in Tunisia, Mohamed Bouazizi, set himself

Demonstration in front of St. Paul’s Cathedral

number of natural disasters took place around the world – flooding and mudslides in Brazil that destroyed the homes of more than 3000 people, volcanic eruption in Chile, floods in Thailand and earthquake in Turkey. In India the year saw the emergence of a Gandhian leader in India – Anna Hazare. His methods and ideology to fight corruption took the entire country by storm.

afire, December last year. And from there it became contagious. People took to streets protesting to end political brutality and exploitation. From Tunisia it spread to Egypt, Libya, Algeria, Yemen, Jordan, Bahrain and Syria. While the uprising brought down 83-year old Hosni Mubarak, it also led to a shameful death of Gaddafi ending a long dictatorial rule. The year also wit-

nessed bomb blasts in Delhi and triple blasts in Mumbai in July – a reminder that we are still not over terrorism. However when US troops killed Osama Bin Laden many took a sigh of relief. In UK, the year 2011 was not the best for the new coalition government. David Cameron faced the biggest crisis of his leadership with regards to the phone hacking scandal at the News of the World. The Euro zone crisis is still looming over our heads leading to a fluctuating market and as some predict worse than the Lehman downfall phase. With spending cuts being announced, a huge protest came up around St. Paul’s Cathedral. The lowest point of 2011 for UK was the riots, termed as the worst riots since the racial unrest in the 1980s. Shops and businesses were looted as news of the riots spread by Facebook and BlackBerry messenger to other cities across the country. The event took the whole of Britain by surprise and caused a split in the political establishment. One of the most alarming developments this year is related to the population. The World population touched 7 billion in 2011. Asia accounts for 60% of the world’s population with India and China making up for 40%. Reports suggest that the next addition of a billion will be seen after 14 years, in 2025. A lot of events – both good and bad took place over the last one year. It is time to look at those events, learn from them and make 2012 a better year in every way possible. Wishing all ou r r e ad e rs a M e rr y Christmas an d a very Happy New Year.

Let us know what you think. Email Spriha at spriha@abplgroup.com

Bells Ring, do they Jingle or do they Toll? Coming up to Christmas it has been rather more active and interesting this year than those in the recent past. One assumes that when bells start ringing, that they jingle in anticipation of the merriment that Christmas brings to everyone. However, this year one is left wondering if they might ‘toll’ for many in the political arena. Take for example the Liberal Democrats who have found to their horror the price they must pay for being poodles to the Tory government, and in giving up on their morals and lifelong policies in the process. David Cameron went into battle with a battle cry reminiscent of the ancient crusades. He was galvanised to be the saviour who would out do even the feats of Churchill and Thatcher, alas if only that was true. The Prime Minster showed his inexperience by broadcasting his party’s ill will towards Europe in advance of attending the crucial Eurozone summit recently. Even before the discussions had started he was out with his toys and back home. He used the veto, but as far as I can make out, this has not stopped any of the developments taking place which will now be led by the other 26 countries. So on his return back to blighty surely one can ask a simple question – exactly what did he achieve by using the veto? Will it protect British jobs, the financial services, our exports, manufacturing or for that matter – anything else? The Liberal Democrats having lost the plot sometime back came out fighting. I say fighting, but maybe the right words might be a lot of shouting and screaming, but nothing of substance or gravitas to stem the flood of complaints piling in from all sides. I fear they have lost what little credibility they might have had post the range of errors they have made since taking power in the coalition. Interestingly when the Prime Minister made his statement in Parliament, Nick Clegg had gone AWOL. There were shouts of, ‘where’s Clegg?’ I suppose that said it all. In the words of the French president who said that there are now clearly "two Europes." It should therefore be quite clear to anyone who wishes to see beyond the rhetoric, ‘Mercozy’ laid a trap and the UK fell for it hook, line and sinker. I fear that Europe has finally

lost its patience with the UK and the future will be much harsher and quite uncompromising. In light of the predicament we face now as a result of what the Prime Minster has done, I have to say Britain might have to consider if it’s worth being part of a Europe where we have next to no influence left in affecting any of the decisions? The right wing of the Tory Party appears to have won the day at the expense of the Liberal Democrats. We may well have to decide if it is now worth being part of Europe any longer! The Prime Minister mentioned that he wanted a Europe where Britain should be able to choose what was in its interest. I found that to be rather bizarre statement. I wonder, would the Tory Party allow its own members to pick and mix which party rules to follow or not? Given this disarray one would have thought that Ed Miliband would have made hay whilst the ‘political’ sun was shining. Alas nothing of the sort. It’s almost unbearable to watch PMQ’s where for some reason his best laid plans are washed away by his inability to deliver the killer punch. When he was elected by the Labour faithful, I had indicated that they had made an error, one that the Party will regret at leisure. The polls favour, momentarily, the Prime Minister for his stance in Europe. However, how fickle are the British when you will see within weeks the position change yet again. And during this chaos came a ray of sunshine in the name of Seema Malhotra. You don’t have to be a Labour supporter to welcome the fact that with Seema now in Parliament, the net diversity has increased – and one assumes this for the betterment of democracy itself. The bell is certainly ringing. It tolls for the future of Britain. It tolls for the very existence of the Liberal Democrats. It tolls for a Prime Minister who I believe will face the real backlash of what has transpired, not today or tomorrow, but come May 2012. It tolls for a Labour leader who may well not be at the helm if clear leadership does not come forth in the very near future. For all of them, be ready to see the chickens of despair come home to roost with vengeance in 2012.

Mukundmala bedazzles classical dance lovers

Britain often observes the best of Indian cultural shows staged in Bhavans. Whether it is dance, music or a combination of both, nobody can beat the enthusiasm portrayed by the Indian community in Britain. Mukundmala was one of such excellent performances. Produced by Jayshree Rajkotia, she brought together Bhavan’s resident Bharatnatyam guru, Shri Prakash

Yadagude and its Kathak guru, Shri Abhay Shankar Misra, to present an interdiscipline spectacular. During the course of the 5 shows staged, more than 1,500 audience members enjoyed a 2 hour classical dance feast. The audiences were treated to the most important tales from the life of Lord Krishna performed by 55 of the Bhavan’s students resplendent in full classi-

cal costume, set to a range of classical and contemporary music. This, the eleventh production presented by Jayshree Rajkotia was unique in showcasing the combined talents of Bhavan’s dance gurus and its diverse student body. As ever, the funds raised through the performances are helping the Bhavan to continue its important cultural and artistic mission.


UK

Asian Voice - Saturday 24th December 2011

7

Baroness Uddin faces new Lords ban Peers will vote this week on new measures to bar expenses cheats from returning to the Lords if they have failed to repay the money they wrongly claimed. The move would prevent Baroness Uddin, the Labour peer, from taking up her seat when her suspension ends in April. Uddin, pictured, has ignored repeated Lords requests to pay back the 125,000 she got by falsely claiming an empty flat in Maidstone, Kent, was her

main home. Faced with a seemingly intractable stand-off, leading peers had sought guidance as to whether they could extend her 18-month suspension. They were initially advised a permanent

exclusion would infringe her right as a peer to be called to the house by the Queen at the start of a new parliament. The Lords house committee is proposing that peers who fail to repay are suspended until the end of the current parliament, with a further vote at the start of the next parliament to suspend the peer again. It means there could be a vote to exclude Uddin at the start of every parliament until she returns the money.

Murderer who fled the country sentenced for double murder Homicide detectives pursued a murderer who fled the country for eight years to ensure he was brought to justice for a double murder he committed in 2003. Mohammed Ayub Khan, 28 of no fixed abode was found guilty of shooting Amarjit Singh, 52, and his nephew Rajinder Singh, 35, in Atherton Mews, E7 on 29 August 2003 and sentenced to life imprisonment on 12 December at Woolwich Crown Court. The Judge ordered he serve a minimum of 26 years in prison. On Friday 29 August 2003 Khan, pictured, had been involved in a dispute with the victims over parking at the rear of their hotel. Khan had blocked Atherton Mews with his vehicle whilst attending a nearby Mosque. Having been unable to drive their van down to the back of the hotel the victims parked across the Mews blocking Khan’s vehicle in. The men became engaged in a heated argument before Khan left in his vehicle. He returned with two other men and began to damage the hotel van. At approximately

14:20hrs the victims ran out into Atherton Mews E7 to confront the suspects. One of the men was then seen to take a Mach 10 machine pistol out of a bag and fired 10 rounds killing Amarjit and Rajinder. Amarjit’s 26-year-old daughter was also present but escaped unharmed. Post mortem examinations gave cause of death for both men as gunshot wounds. Khan was quickly identified as a suspect but he had already fled the UK to Pakistan. He was later traced to Bangladesh and with the assistance of the Bangladeshi authorities Khan was arrested in Dhaka on 5 August 2010. Detectives launched formal extradition proceed-

ings and Khan was returned to the UK and charged with the incident 24 October 2010. Speaking outside court Detective Inspector Yeats also appealed for anyone with information on the two outstanding suspects or the murder weapon to come forward. He said: “We are still seeking two casually dressed Asian men wearing hooded tops in their late teens or early 20’s. They ran away from the scene during the busy period after Friday prayers and turned right into Norwich Road, crossed Romford Road and continued south in Margery Park Road where they may have got into a parked vehicle. “The Mach 10 machine pistol is yet to be recovered. I would appeal for anyone with any information on the two outstanding suspects or the murder weapon to come forward and assist my team with the on-going investigation.” Anyone who can assist should call the incident room on 0208 345 1570; if you wish to remain anonymous you can call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

London tribunal hears Anil Ambani fund case Two UBS bankers tried to create an offshore vehicle through which one of India’s most powerful businessmen could illegally invest in securities at home, according to evidence heard in a London tribunal, the Financial Times has reported. Anil Ambani, whom bank executives described as a “mega-client”, was the ultimate owner behind a Mauritius-based vehicle called Pleuri, the tribunal heard. Pleuri was established with the specific objective of investing in Indian stocks, according to evidence presented by the UK’s financial regulator in a case against the former head of UBS’ London-based India desk. Indian nationals and companies are not permitted to invest in Indian

securities through foreign institutional investors. Details of the controversial structure have emerged in the case of Sachin Karpe, former head of the desk that managed Indian client portfolios at UBS’s wealth management division in London. Mr Karpe is challenging a £1.25m fine from the Financial Services Authority. Mr Karpe and the other UBS banker, who cannot be named for legal reasons, have since left the Swiss bank. They allegedly misled UBS’s compliance team by maintaining that Pleuri was owned by a wealthy French couple. UBS ultimately refused to sanction the structure. Mr Ambani, who is not represented at Mr

Karpe’s tribunal hearing, has not been accused by the FSA of any wrongdoing. The FSA alleges that in addition to trying to establish the offshore structure for Mr Ambani, Mr Karpe made unauthorised trades on other clients’ accounts. To hide losses, Mr Karpe allegedly arranged loans from other clients, falsely promising them that the loans would be guaranteed by UBS at an above-market rate. Mr Karpe is not appearing at the tribunal and not contesting an FSA ban. He claims he did not know that the Pleuri structure would be illegal, the FT reported. Indian authorities have also launched their own investigations. Mr Ambani entered

Mutual learning with other faiths, but within ours faith too Pratik Dattani Chair, CHN The strength of our Sanatan Dharma lies in its heterogeneity in thought and ideas. It has no ecclesiastical hierarchy because individuals do not need a priest as an intermediary in their relationship with God, or in their pursuit of moskha (salvation). There are no sermons like at Easter Day at the Vatican that expound one single unifying view. At the CHN, at end2010, the current committee drafted a set of six Core Principles that we ensure every event and pursuit of the CHN is consistent with. Three I’d like to draw upon are: to promote solidarity, both amongst Hindus and with other faiths; promote the principles of the Sanatan Dharma; and provide members access to education about the Dharma. Though these three principles, we believe that we can celebrate this heterogeneity within ourselves and with others. The CHN does not represent any single sampradhaya or particular view of our Dharma and, as such, our talk and discussion series in 2011 has focussed on the basic principles of the Sanatan Dharma, often from an objective, academic context. In doing so, we have collaborated closely with the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies (OCHS), as well as organisations representing other faiths, such as the Board of Deputies of British Jews (BDBJ). We were invited by the Royal College of Art (RCA) to a panel debate run by FuelRCA, the RCA’s professional development platform, entitled “Ambition – Can I have it all.” I participated on behalf of the CHN, alongside designer and entrepreneur Clare Brass, author and business guru Charles Handy and psychoanalyst Darian Leader, and spoke on what

into a settlement with the Securities and Exchange Board of India in January over allegations that his group misrepresented its end-of-year financial statements and violated overseas borrowing rules, without admitting any liability. As part of the Rs500m (£6.1m) settlement, the billionaire and his Reliance Infrastructure and Reliance Natural Resources companies cannot trade stocks on Indian exchanges through December 2012.

Hinduism taught about the pursuit of wealth and success in front of a truly multicultural audience. Over the last year, we have hosted several such talks at prominent City professional services firms including Deloitte, Ernst & Young and Accenture in conjunction with the OCHS. The CHN’s unique selling point is that we are able to facilitate discussion on the foundations of our Dharma for young generations of Indians in the City, who have grown up learning cultural rituals, but not necessarily understanding the foundations that underpin these customs. We aim to make our rich heritage accessible to younger generations, seeking to contextualise the teachings of the Vedas, Upanishads, Puranas and other texts in an environment and language which our members working in the City will be most familiar with. At Deloitte, we discussed how the influence of Indian subcontinent thought has pervaded throughout the Far East including China and Japan over the centuries and how the beliefs and value systems of the East might translate into the business philosophies of the future. At an event organised by the BDBJ and hosted by the law firm Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP, and again at a round-table discussion to mark the start of Diversity Month at professional services firm PwC, the CHN discussed the role of faith in the modern City workplace and challenges faced to being true to your faith. In both instances, we did so alongside, amongst others, leading Jewish, Christian and Muslim organisations. This followed on from a talk on the polarisation of modern religion in both its liberal and fundamentalist branches, and the impact this has on the level of dogmatic and prescriptive practices in a sec-

Pratik Dattani

ular world. Dr Nick Sutton from the OCHS posed the examples of diktats from the Manu Smriti and Dharmashastra which, in the context of modern-day values in Britain, may no longer seem appropriate, while other guidance endures successfully. Gopal Gupta, again from the OCHS, presented a talk related to the conflict, coexistence and cooperation between Hinduism and science. The discussion examined the relationship between scientific and religious knowledge, and specifically the ways in which Hinduism contributed to the dialogue between science and religion. I firmly believe that to know where you are going, you need to know where you’ve come from. In today’s economic climate of budget cuts, when many are questioning the social usefulness of many City finance professions, this is an even more important consideration. The CHN provides a guidance and facilitation role, particularly in City professional networks to assist in young Hindus, and Indians more widely, understanding more about their rich heritage. Next year, we will be continuing our series of talks and debates and we hope you can join us. Pratik Dattani is the Chair of the CHN. You can sign up to be a member or find out more about the CHN at www.cityhindusnetwork.org.uk.

The paid subscribers of Asian Voice will receive a copy of our Wedding Special Magazine with this week’s issue


8

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Asian Voice - Saturday 24th December 2011

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Fake learners paid to take theory exams A driving test scam has been uncovered in the West Midlands, with imposters being paid to take theory exams. fraud and One man has been integrity team arrested on suspicion of believe the rackfraud as part of an inveset involves sevtigation at test centres in eral people livB i r m i n g h a m , ing in the Wolverhampton and region. A man Stoke-on-Trent. Learner was taken into drivers are being custody in approached and offered the chance to pay for a Wolverhampton on guaranteed pass in the Sunday. This week, he theory test. was handed over to the The Driving UK Border Agency, Standards Agency’s where officers ques-

False alarm Police arrived to rescue “a man stuck on the roof” of a house only to discover their target was a Father Christmas decoration. A member of the public called officers in Stretford, Manchester, thinking the “man” was unable to get down.

Bosses remain optimistic

Directors in the West Midlands are confident about growing their companies over the next 12 months – but are fearful about the futures of the markets they operate in. Researchers interviewed 46 businesses in the region, turning over between £1 million and £100 million. A total of 49% said increased direct costs was their major worry, while 41% identified a downturn in overall demand and 38% said public sector cuts were the biggest concern. The biggest opportunities were noted as taking business from failing competitors, at 43%, lowering costs, at 22%, and technological developments, at 19%.

Tough oath, but fully committed Credit is due to Harjibhai Ladwa of Bolton for his longstanding voluntary support to Hindu Gujarati families and organisations, locally and nationally. Septuagenarian Mr Ladwa, pictured, originally of Mombasa, East Africa, travels the length and breadth of the UK, as and when, to support, selflessly, those who host the Ramdevpir Paath, a members-only religious ceremony devoted to Ramdevpir, a Hindu saint. To become a member, an oath is usually taken. The UK has many members, but very few give their full commitment. In addition to Mr Ladwa, whom I met again last week, the few other pioneers who have dedicated their life to this spiritual denomination include Birmingham’s Premjibhai Masani and Sant Bapu and Khimdas Bapu in London. For more information visit www.ramapir.org

Jewish festival of lights Scores of people joined in vibrant celebrations in Solihull on Tuesday this week to mark Chanukah, the Jewish festival of lights. Chanukah lasts for eight days. The candles on the Menorah, a nine-stemmed candelabrum, are lit each day marking the universal message of the power of light over darkness, freedom over oppression and tolerance over tyranny.

Gloomy forecast for homeowners Home possessions in the West Midlands will top 3,700 next year, according to HML, a leading mortgage firm. The number of people defaulting on home loans is set to rise by 7%, say HML, which manages £43 billion-worth of mortgages on behalf of 50 financial institutions.

tioned him about his illegal entry into the UK. Andy Rice, of the Driving Standards Agency, said: “Criminals put the lives of other people at risk by helping unqualified drivers get behind the wheel on their own.” In the UK each year, around 1.5 million theory and 1.6 million practical driving tests take place. Learner drivers need to pass a theory test in order

to progress on to their practical exam. The test is made up of a multiplechoice part and a hazard perception video section. Earlier this year, four men who hired an impersonator to take their driving theory tests were each jailed for six months. Sami Hamadok and Kayfee Hameed from Middlesbrough, Ahmed Omar of Bristol and Agar Hamid from Leeds each paid £400 to £500 for the imposter to sit the test for them.

Reporter retires Paul Dale, a veteran reporter with the Birmingham Post has retired. Described by many as “the best local government reporter in the UK – shrewd, fearless, never wrong and always fair”, Paul spent most of his working life in the corridors of Birmingham Council House.

Neighbour attack, man jailed A violent offender who sliced a neighbour’s forehead open with a meat cleaver in a trivial row over a missing door key has been jailed for four years and eight months. Zahid Shah, 31, of Moseley, Birmingham, had denied any involvement in the attack – despite numerous eyewitnesses – but minutes before the start of his trial at Birmingham Crown Court this week, he changed his plea to guilty.

Christmas – what’s that? People in the West Midlands are so clueless about Christianity that a quarter were unaware Christmas marked the day of Jesus’ birth. One in 10 thinks turkey is eaten because Mary and Joseph were turkey farmers. Some thought the 12 days of Christmas was the length of time Mary was in labour, according to a survey by Clintons Cards.

The Snowman Described by The Times as “sheer theatrical magic”, The Snowman is a must-see for every child and parent. It brings to life on stage the famous film by Raymond Briggs. Currently on at The Birmingham Rep. To find out more visit www.birmingham-rep.co.uk

Missing man Police are appealing to readers to help trace a missing man, who they believe could be in Birmingham. Mayur Gupta, 25, pictured, from Sheffield, last spoke with a family member on Nov 1 and no contact has been made since. Anyone with information should call Yorkshire Police on 101.

Cash to control youth violence Birmingham is set to be handed more than £1.2 million to be used to tackle gang and youth violence. The city is one of 22 areas which shares in a total £7.3 million. Manchester will receive £715,763 and Liverpool, £566,643. The money, apparently, will help offer pathways out of violence among other things.

Surge in complaints against cops Complaints against police officers in the West Midlands have risen by 10% - despite a fall in the national total. According to figures from the Independent Police Complaints Commission, there were 1,871 complaints against officers in 2010/11, against 1,704 the previous year.

News in Brief Call for women volunteers Volunteers are needed to help out at the DIY Birmingham Women’s Festival for next March. Women are needed for maintaining online activity, dealing with enquires and for building connections. A meeting will be held on January 12. Anyone interested should go to www.womensfestival2012.wordpress.com

Weapons seized Security staff at Birmingham courts have confiscated 40,000 weapons from crime suspects, witnesses and others attending proceedings. Those attending criminal cases also tried to smuggle in 688 alcoholic drinks, according to data for January 2009 to August 2011 from Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service, released under the Freedom of Information Act.

Hotel in cash crisis One of Birmingham’s best known hotels, the Radisson Blu, pictured, in Holloway Circus, is at the centre of a shock financial collapse. The fall into administration comes after a string of Midland hotels collapsed in recent months, including the Hyatt Hotel on Broad Street.

Terror text, man locked up A bookshop owner from Birmingham who published extremist material found in possession of one of the 7/7 bombers has been jailed for three years. Ahmed Faraz, 32, a university graduate, was locked up after being found guilty of eleven counts of possessing and distributing material that encourages terrorism. Faraz, pictured, ran Maktabah bookshop in Stratford Road, Sparkhill.

Sell house, or go to jail A Birmingham trader who sold fake designer clothes from his stall at two markets will have to sell a house he owns to pay a £60,000 confiscation order – or face 20 months in jail. Zaheer Ahmed, 33, of Avondale Road, Sparkhill, had admitted seven charges of possessing counterfeit goods and seven of having them for sale.

Santa Treasure Trail Several Midland families have been taking part in a Santa Treasure Trail at Sandwell Valley Park. Participants are given a map to help lead them to Santa as well as to presents hidden in the park. The first 250 participants received a gift from Santa. The eight-day Treasure Trail ended this Thursday. Photo: Instructor Rob Simkins and Sandwell Leisure Trust’s Vina Fatania start the hunt for Santa.

More women are childless The proportion of women in their mid-40s who are childless is at a 45-year high, according to new figures. Women born in both the 1960s and 1970s have had fewer children by age 30 than previous generations.

Duke visits Longbridge MG Motor UK in Birmingham welcomed its first Royal guest since the Chinese took over Longbridge. The Duke of York, Prince Andrew, a former UK representative for international trade, was given a tour of the site last Friday. He made an impromptu speech in front of around 200 employees before signing the visitors’ book.


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Asian Voice - Saturday 24th December 2011

NEW STORE COMING SOON


YOUR VOICE

10

Asian Voice - Saturday 24th December 2011

Missionary hand in Kudankulam protest

Could Maldives become a new battle-field?

BHV outrage at Yoga called devil

Milestones in India’s recent history

Much noise has been made over the safety of the nuclear reactor that was slated to operate out of Kundankulam in the Tirunelveli district of Tamilnadu in India. On the face of it it appears it has been a simple clash between human safety and environmental interests on the one hand and energy and developmental concerns on the other hand. There are several factors why the Catholic churches should protest at the final stage of completion. The Kudankulam Nuclear Project began after an inter-governmental Agreement which entered between the Indian and the Russian Prime Minister in 1988. During the construction phase of the nuclear of the nuclear reactor, there was no protest and no upraising against the project. Several years after the project was first initiated and shortly before it became operational, protests broke out in Kudamkulam that the plant should be scrapped completely and permanently. Indian government had spent more than 14,000 cores of rupees for the project and it is due for commissioning very shortly. It is worth noting the newly elected AIDMK party is pro-Hindu. The district is dominated by Christians and the local MLA is a Christian. It is not surprising on the very first day of the protest number of Catholic priests and nuns undertook an indefinite fast. Most of the priests who are taking part in the demonstration are scientifically illiterate and are engineered by the Christian backed NGO’s from America. The Indian government should investigate where the churches get funding for the protest. It is high time for Digvijay Singh to tell the Catholic priests to keep out of politics. India is short of power and there is no need to politics at the expense of development.

Maldives Islands, an archipelago of 300 islands, scattered among the clear turquoise shallow waters of Indian Ocean, is a tourist heaven, especially for the sun starved Westerners. As these islands are strategically placed, no wonder the regional superpowers are taking keen interest. China has just opened its first mission in the capital Male. It is only a question of time before China, a world super-power in the making, will economically dominate or rather enslave these islands. India, to her credit, is trying to take Maldives under her wing, as they are only a stone throw away from the Indian mainland. India has just facilitated $100 million credit and integrated Maldives with Indian Navy’s Southern Command with common radar tracking facilities. India is already heavily involved in building its infrastructure, ports, air strips, houses, schools and hospitals with a promise to provide more Uni places where Maldives students can study under secular atmosphere to stop them going to Pakistan and coming under the influence of Salafi ideology that can destabilise Maldives. The question is can India, saturated with minority appeasing, vote bank politicians, already heavily penetrated by home grown as well as foreign terrorist groups provide such a secular atmosphere to Maldivian when India is unable or unwilling to protect her own minorities from coming under such extreme influence? The West should wise-up and help India to build up a naval force that could stand up against the might of China, as China is already planning to build a vast network of naval facilities in Sri Lanka that would destabilise the whole region. Then the West is already sleepwalking to economic, political and in time military disaster, without even realising the danger. The sleep walkers never do.

We all know from first hand experience how wonderful and good Yoga is. All this is comforting and reassuring but there is no value in talking to each other about it. The Hindu community should be communicating and challenging the Catholic Church directly on this. Take it from the point of view as to who made these remarks - Father Amorth is an official of the Catholic Church. He is not an ordinary Catholic lay person. So this has a bearing on and we need to hold the Catholic Church as an institution accountable for these remarks at all levels of the Church from the local Diocese in England & Wales to the Pope himself. Understand the purpose and intent of these remarks - These were not “off the cuff” remarks. They were aimed at particular sections of our vulnerable Hindu Communities who are targets for conversion. They were aimed at sections of the Christian community who practice Yoga and/or are sympathetic to Hindu & Vedic philosophies. It was aimed at the media to get maximum publicity. All our Hindu institutions and for that matter none of the Hindu media has picked this issue, done some basic research and challenged it effectively to date. British Hindu Voice has picked this issue up and are dealing with it in a strategic manner. We have written to each Bishop, Arch Bishop & the Cardinal for England & Wales + their PR officers personally. BHV will not rest here. We intent to follow this up with each Diocese and with the local Hindu community to ensure this sort of behaviour is not repeated. If any Hindu Organisation or individual would like to be kept informed on this, please email Mukesh Naker, BHV Communications Officer oninfo@BritishHinduVoice.org.uk

1885: Indian National Congress was formed. 1893: World Parliament of Religions, Swami Vivekananda: “religions were not meant to spread hatred and discord but to foster love and brotherhood”. 1905: Viceroy Lord Curzon partitioned Bengal and Assam into “Eastern Bengal” capital Dacca and “Bengal” capital Calcutta; 1906: All-India Muslim League was formed in Dacca. 1913: Dadasaheb Phalke released the silent feature film “Raja Harishchandra” shot in Dadar; R Tagore was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature for “Gitanjali” [103 song offerings]; TISCO [The Tata Iron and Steel Company Limited] was formed by J N Tata in Jamshedpur. 1919: M K Gandhi starts non-violent non-cooperation movement. “Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from indomitable will”. 1931: The first India talkie, “Alam Ara” [Light of the world] was released at Majestic Cinema by A M Irani. 1932: Tata Airlines became India’s first commercial airline [renamed Air India International Limited in 1948]. 1935: Government of India Act was passed creating the Indian Constitution and elected State governments. 1950: Constitution of India came into force: 395 articles and 9 schedule s. 1953: Madras State split to create Andhra Pradesh. 1954: 3 Academies formed: Sangeet Natak; Lalit Kala and Sahitya. 1960: Mumbai State split into Maharashtra and Gujarat. 1962: Teachers’ Day 5 September Dr S Radhakrishnan. 1966: Punjab State split into Punjab and Haryana. 1971: Birth of Bangladesh. 1974: Offshore oil and gas discovered by ONGC 160 km West of Mumbai coast. 1985: India mastered nuclear technology. 1998: India develops its own nuclear weapons. 2000: Chhattisgarh carved out of Madhya Pradesh; Uttaranchal from Uttar Pradesh and Jharkhand from Bihar. Nagin Khajuria FCCA Via Email

Arun Vaidyanathan Via Email

Live and Let Live The Christmas and New Year holidays are upon us. Millions of turkeys, chicken and other animals will be slaughtered for consumption as festive food over the week long period. Is it really necessary to kill and consume animals as special treats during these auspicious days? Don’t get me wrong. I am all for peace on earth and goodwill for all, and merry making at the time of the festive season. But does Christmas invariably mean the slaughter of all those turkeys? I do not know how the tradition of roast turkey on the plate for Christmas dinner has started or what its significance is. I do know that the Jain (and Hindu) religion is totally opposed to eating of animals. Be the turkeys, cows or any other living creature for that matter. We have all those roast potatoes, Brussels sprouts, bread and brandy pudding, vegetarian curries, not to forget the booze and the plonk. Why can’t we do without turkeys? Why do people want to eat turkeys or any other animal at Christmas or at any other time? Animals and birds have life and they too suffer pain like humans. Is it

Bhupendra M Gandhi Via Email really necessary to cause pain and suffering to them especially during the holy days when we should be contemplating on Jesus Christ’s message of compassion towards our fellow humans and other living beings? I do not wish to be branded as a spoilt sport at a time when people are looking forward to Christmas parties and are generally in jovial moods. Nor do I wish to impinge on others’ beliefs. As a general rule, most of us Gujaratis are vegetarians. But if I can persuade those few AV and GS readers who do indulge in non-vegetarianism not to eat turkeys this Christmas, I would have made a small contribution in spreading Lord Mahavira’s message of kindness and ‘ahimsa’ – non violence to other living beings. Dinesh Sheth Newbury Park, Ilford

Mukesh Naker Communications Officer British Hindu Voice (Asian Voice also received a copy of a letter and petition form sent to Pope Benedict XVI in the Vatican city regarding the above, requesting the Pope to ask Father Gabriel to apologise.)

Story of Mandhata World ridiculed incidents, in Hindu scriptures, of man giving birth to baby and numerous incidents of conception by non-conventional, alchemical and ritual methods, or by male or female singly. The same sceptics accept immaculate conception and virgin birth that is mentioned in Bible. Account of Mandhata shows that male can conceive and deliver. Hindu scriptures mention following methods to conceive and beget children: 1. Potions were orally administered, as in case of Guru Gorakhnath. 2. Putrakameshti yagna-vide Ramayana (Dasrath). 3. Niyog-mentioned in Mahabhart and explained in Satyarth Prakash. 4. Impregnation by sweat-a la Ramayana (Hanuman). 5. Conception by invoking Sun, Air, fire

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‘Smile Pinky’ too gets the Oscar Boyle says Mumbai dwarfed the statuette

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Cricket crazy Indians for the first time was seen so euphoric on Monday morning, as they expected a couple of Oscars. British Indians in the UK, Dharavi slums, the shanty township of Mumbai, a village in Uttar Pradesh and almost the entire Bollywood waited in expectation, glued to their TV sets. They burst into celebrations as one by one, their heroes, the actors of the British Indian film and the music maestro, A R Rahman bagged the top awards in the world of entertainment. British actress Kate Winslett also won the Oscar after having missed it almost five times earlier. ‘Smile Pinki’, a short documentary on a cleft-lipped Indian girl in Uttar Pradesh directed by American director Megan Mylan, won the Oscar for the Best Documentary (Short). -/1% /. 0!'%

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etc as done by Kunti and Madri. 6. Gift of child bearing container whereby Gandhari bore Kauravas. Today we know these as: a. In vitro fertilisation-I. V. F. (test tube babies.) b. Artificial insemination. c. Surrogate motherhood. d. Scientific research to dispense with male partner by auto fertilisation, similarmto asexual reproduction by amoeba. e. Frozen sperm from male partner or sperm bank. f. Stem cells to repair damahe. Such material shows that Hindu scriptures are not confined to God and spirituality only, but also educated public about sex, conception and delivery of children beyond prevalent information among listeners. Ramesh Jhalla Via Email

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EDUCATION / COUNCIL VOICE

Asian Voice - Saturday 24th December 2011

Council clampdown on illegal outhouses continues Ealing Council has pledged an additional £250,000 to help tackle unscrupulous landlords who illegally rent outhouses across the borough. The council has decided to fund a specialist team to work on the growing issues of illegal outhouses and unlicensed houses in multiple occupancy (HMOs) across the borough. To begin with, the team will be knocking on the door of every home in Southall to determine who lives there and whether it has an outhouse with people living in it. Working with police colleagues, the council will take enforcement action if the property is being used illegally. As part of the council’s clampdown officers have

already taken enforcement action against a crooked landlord from Southall for operating a HMO without a licence. Mr Malkit Ram Gill, aged 56, of Gordon Road , Southall appeared at Ealing Magistrates’ Court on Thursday, 1 December 2011. Mr Gill pleaded guilty to failing to obtain a licence for operating a house of multiple occupation at the same address. The court fined Mr Gill £1,300 and was ordered to contribute £1,200 towards the council’s costs. The maximum penalty for this offence is £20,000. Leader of Ealing Council, Councillor Julian Bell said: “We take this issue extremely seriously and there is a maximum penalty of £20,000, so

we’re disappointed the court didn’t’ impose a higher fine. Landlords who are illegally renting out their outhouses are cultivating a hidden population and that affects everyone. The landlords are putting an increasing strain on local resources, such as waste removal, schools and healthcare while profiting from undeclared rental incomes. The structures being illegally rented can often be unsafe and have poor conditions such as no electricity or clean water.” Residents are being urged to contact the council’s outbuilding project team on 020 8825 6655 if they are concerned about an outbuilding in their area. Details will be kept completely confidential.

11

Middlesex duo to fly the flag for Britain at ‘Skills Olympics’

Two Middlesex University designers will next week represent the UK and take on the world’s most highly skilled students, apprentices and employees at WorldSkills London 2011. The tournament is the world’s largest international skills competition for young people. Puja Varsani, from Rayners Lane, and Darren Lewis, from Lewisham, both Product Design and Robotics students at Middlesex University, will represent the country in the Mobile Robotics category at the skills competition, taking place at London’s ExCeL centre from 5-8 October 2011. The event will see 1000 young people from 52 countries compete to be crowned the best at

Darren, Training Manager for the UK Mobile Robotics team Dr Aleksandar Zivanovic and Puja celebrating

their skills, under the watchful eye of around 150,000 spectators. The pair have undergone an intense training programme since November 2010 with each completing on average 100 days of training and assessment. Both have recently been putting in 11 hour days as they worked

hard on completing a robot which they will use in the competition next week. At the event they will need to programme it to complete a number of tasks including a postal task where the robot will have to collect and deliver items to a correct postal area on a mini London landscape.

New primary school comes a step closer to opening Plans to open a brand new school on the current Ilford Jewish Primary School (IJPS) site reached a major milestone this week. The Council has now purchased the current IJPS site in Barkingside from its owners the United Synagogue Trust. This now paves the way to create a new school on the existing site and for IJPS to move to their new home on the King Solomon High School site.

The four-form entry school will be run by the IFoundation who won the new school competition back in May. They will now start preparing to open the new primary school in September 2012 which will provide 840 places when full. The Krishna Avanti Primary School Redbridge will cater for four to 11 year-olds and will also provide 52 places for nursery age children. It will allocate

75 per cent of its places to any local pupils, regardless of their religious beliefs and these will be prioritised by how close a family lives to the school as they are for other primary schools in the Borough. The remaining 25 per cent of the places will be given to local Hindu children. Councillor Alan Weinberg, Cabinet Member for Children's Services said, "I'm very pleased that we've moved a step closer to

opening this much-needed school on the Ilford Jewish Primary School site and that it's all systems go now. I'm confident this school will join other schools across the Borough in providing a first class education to its pupils." Edward Anobah, Krishna Avanti Primary School Redbridge Chair of Governors, said, "We are very happy to be taking this definitive step in offering this service to the com-

munity of Redbridge. We are keen for the school to be a place that children from all backgrounds, regardless of faith, can come and receive a world class education. We welcome applications from everyone and will ensure that the very best of educational excellence is delivered." Jonathan Goldstein, Chair of Redbridge Jewish Schools Project, said, “This is an extremely excit-

ing project and we are really pleased that we have now reached this stage. It has been a real pleasure working with Redbridge Council and we now look forward to the next phase of the project which will see Ilford Jewish Primary School join King Solomon High School on the same site from the beginning of the new school year in 2013. To have both schools on one site will bring a host of benefits to our pupils.”


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MEDIA WATCH

Asian Voice - Saturday 24th December 2011

Scrutator’s A familiar complaint of Western scribes in India is the country's lack of infrastructure. One would have thought they knew that Rome wasn't built in a day. The unfolding Delhi Metro is a technological marvel, on budget and on schedule. Its chief E. Sreedharan set the entire enterprise rolling, content only to work for his pension, having accepted the assignment after his official retirement from service as a distinguished railway engineer on whose watch the arduous Mumbai-Konkan had when completed. Dean Nelson, The Sunday Telegraph's man in the capital thought it fit to eulogize Mr Sreedharan's performance and his integrity. Virtue being its own reward, the respect he commands with the Delhi and Indian public is enormous. Before laying down office, Mr Sreedharan told reporters that work on Phase III of the Delhi Metro (which had already begun) would take ten years to complete. The network would cover the whole of Greater Delhi and its burgeoning population. Passenger fares would be kept in check, he said. “We have no intention of increasing the fares although many people are prepared to pay more. We want to make it very popular, affordable so that people come away E. Sreedharan from the roads.” Such is the voice of a true

Delhi Metro

servant of the community (The Economic Times December 11). Mass public transport is now appearing in other major conurbations. The Kolkata Metro – a rough and ready stop-go affair built under the Communist dispensation - was India's first, although its pains of labour were a nightmare for the citizenry. Following Delhi, was the Bangalore Metro, whose first stage was inaugurated earlier in the year. Mumbai's Metro, between Versova and Ghatpokar, will make its opening run sometime next year. Bharat Modgil, the project chief, has said the trains will be on par with the best in the world. Besides standard features such as comfortable seats, stainless steel grab poles, the Mumbai network will also have LCD screens, dynamic 3D route maps, LED destination signs, wheelchair facilities and most importantly, a 'Black Box' to record operational data.

Nanotech institute for Bangalore

Ranbaxy drug hits US market

An institute for nanotechnology research is to be set up in Bangalore, said Professor C.N.R.Rao in a conversation with reporters in the city. “We have already got the land for the new institute, for which the Union Science and Technology Department has given its approval,” said Professor Rao, who is Chairman of the Scientific Advisory Council to the Prime Minister. A similar institute will be opened in Chandigarh next month, he said. Professor Rao was briefing the media ahead of the two-day Bangalore Nano 2011 conference earlier in the month. Acclaimed scientists in the field such as E.W. Meijer of the Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands, Timothy Fisher of the US, Antony Cheetham of the University of Cambridge (UK), IBM Almaden Research Centre Director Stuart Parkin, Robert Stokes of Nanotink, spoke at the event (The Hindu December 8).

Global drug major Ranbaxty Laboratories, has launched the generic version of its much sought after cholesterol-lowering Lipitor in the US market. The announcement of the launch followed the final approval from the US health regulator to manufacture the product at the Ranbaxy-owned Ohio Laboratories facility in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Ranbaxy Laboratories has also received approval from the US Food and Drug Administration to manufacture Atorvastatin. CEO and Managing Director Arun Sawhney said: “Atorvastatin helps millions of Americans manage healthy cholesterol levels and we are pleased to have received USFDA approval to manufacture and market a safe, effective, affordable and accessible alternative to branded Lipitor. “ The parent company is based in Gurgaon, a newlydeveloped town on the outskirts of New Delhi (The Hindu December 2).

Pinaka rocket tested at Chandipur-on-sea

by developing robots to function as soldiers. “We are in the process of developing robots that can work A trial demonstration of India's like soldiers. We are worklocally developed multi-barrel ing on the data and artifirocket launcher weapon system, cial intelligence necessary Pinaka, has been conducted in for the process,” said Dr the presence of personnel from V.K.Saraswat, Director the Indian Army and defence General, DRDO, and scientists at a base 15 kilometres Scientific Adviser to the from Balasore in Orissa. Defence Minister, at a press Pinaka, an unguided rocket conference in Chennai. system and an area weapon sysEarlier, Dr Saraswat tem, supplements the existing inaugurated Bharat Earth artillery at a range of around 40 Movers Ltd-Combined kilometres; it is capable of acting Vehicles Research and as a force multiplier, said D e v e l o p m e n t Russian President Dmitry Medvedev defence sources. Pinaka, which Establishment (CVRDE) greeting Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has evolved from its beginnings Centre, the DRDO lab (See Comment page 3) in 1995, is currently at an which is making India's advanced state of development. The Indian Army is clearly if fine Main Battle Tank (MBT) Arjun. It is meant to neutralize a large fettle. Observing that DRDO was good geographical area with a rapid at designing and prototyping, Veteran Goan salvo of rockets. With a strike but seemingly lacked what it range of 40 kilometres, Pintaka illustrator dies took to convert technology into can fire 12 of these rockets from manufacturing. Collaboration six batteries in 44 seconds. Mario Miranda, master illustrawith Public Sector Undertakings The quick reaction time, tor and cartoonist, has died, (PSUs) was thus imperative if accuracy of fire give an edge to aged 85. The Economic Times this obstacle was to be overIndia's armed forces an edge in (December 11) referred to his come, he said. low intensity operations. The images, redolent of Goan comChief Controller (R&D) of same sources said the system's munity life, from bronzed, Armaments and Combat capability to incorporate types sinewy toddy tappers to buxom Engineering, S. Sundaresh said of warhead made the weapon fisherwomen bringing in their future MBTs should be of lighter lethal in fighting around solid catch. weight, hence become a model structures and bunkers (The His son Rahul announced for the world. Times of India December 7). his death after a long illness. Mr Director CVRDE Miranda was cremated and his P.Sivakumar said trials of MBT ashes interred in the quiet vilArjun Mark II would commence DRDO to launch lage of Loutoum, some 70 kilofrom October 2012. Hyderabad hub metres from the capital Panaji, where he lived for the better of Indian Army team The Defence Research and his life. Mr Miranda was awardDevelopment Organisation ed the Padms Shree in 1988 and excels in UK exercise (DRDO) is all set to launch its the Padma Bhusan in 2002. He new high-tech facility in the will be sadly missed An Indian Army team that took environs of Hyderabad city. part recently in the Cambrian Housed in a concrete structure Patrolling Competition, in a Media Watch built in a four mere years, the rugged district of Wales of bearNavigation and Embedded January 7, 2012. ing the name, won the Gold Computer Complex will contain Medal in a field 100 competitors some of the most discreet and It was a welcome change from representing multitude of critical missile technologies. the bitchy fractiousness of nations.The unit of the Part of DRDO's Research Indian politics to hear the Sudarshan Chakra Corps beat Centre Imarat (RCI), the new Leader of the Opposition Complex will develop Bharatiya Janata navigation sensors Party (BJP) in the like fibre-optic gyroRajya Sabha scopes, ring laser (Upper House of g y r o s c o p e s , Parliament) Arun accelerometers (for Jaitley, pay a fulaccuracy requiresome tribute to ments of long range Finance Minister missiles), resonating P r a n a b gyros and star sensors Mukherjee in the - all pivotal to missile middle of a stateand military applicament critical of tions. the conduct and An advanced attitude of most large-scale integration ministers as and simulation lab for “arrogant and Lieutenant General A.K.Singh awarding to Army unit the design of integratinsensitive.” ed circuit and system Turning to him, on chip is also being incorporatMr Jaitley said: “I rate you as off its challengers with panache. ed into the building. Whilst one of the honorable excepLieutenant General A.K.Singh, DRDO is tight-lipped about tions.” Army Commander, Southern about the new Complex, defence This was good to hear. Command, congratulated his sources told the Indian Express Beyond every politician's mask team on its achievement during (December 10) that the facility there lurks a human being, and a visit to Corps headquarters in will house next-generation clean it would better for politics and Rajasthan. He referred to the rooms of the Class 10-10000 political culture in general if digcompetition conducted by the (parts per million category) catnity and courtesy were restored British Army as the most prestiegory. Technology denial against to legislative proceedings and gious of its kind, held under India by the West, stemming better manners shown to politiadverse battle conditions in from the Missile Technology cal opponents in TV and radio arduous terrain including thickly Control Regime, forced the lab exchanges, not to speak of the wooded country and bare mounto devise ways and means to print media. Relentless abuse o f tains and valleys and treacherdevelop control and inertial opponents diminishes the qualious defiles.. grades for missiles, tanks, airty of debate. Surely freedom to The performance of a team, craft and assault vehicles. think and talk freely is elevated especially the best, hinges on when ideas are discussed withleadership, team work, physical out personal rancour. In that fitness, robust aptitude, and tacRobotic soldiers way the poison is taken out of tical skills involving reconnaispublic life. India will be the richsance techniques, navigation, In its bid to remain ahead of the er for it. first aid and casualty evacuation. game, DRDO is going futuristic


UK

Asian Voice - Saturday 24th December 2011

Going down the memory lanes with Dev Saab Amrit Kotak Dharam Dev Anand, who died of a cardiac arrest in London, was a Bollywood creative allrounder. He was the son of a well to do advocate father, the second of three brothers, Chetan and Vijay (aka Goldie), who all became active in film industry. Dev graduated in English Literature from Government College, Lahore, now in Pakistan. In the 1940 he arrived in Mumbai from his hometown of Gurdaspur, Punjab to work in the military censor office at Churchgate, Bombay for a salary of Rs.165 per month. Dev soon became a member of the Indian People’s Theatre Association (IPTA), a group formed by Kefi Azami, Balraj Sahani, Chetan Anand and other like-minded lefties. He excelled as an actor and soon, in 1946, an offer arrived from Prabhat Talkies, Pune, to star in their film Hum Ek Hai. While shooting, Dev struck a friendship with another future legendary actor Guru Dutt. They made a pact between themselves that whoever becomes successful first in the film industry would help the other out. Their dream came to be and they both honoured their promise to each other: When Dev produced a film, Dutt would direct it and when Dutt directed a film, Dev would act in it. I met Dev in early fifties at Central Studios, Tardeo, Bombay. I went to interview him on the set of film Taxi Driver; I was a lad in my early twenties and very nervous to be meeting by now a huge star, known for his aura and charm too. However, he put me at ease by his continuous conversation and charming smile. At times, I thought he was in fact interviewing me. It was the beginning of a conversation that lasted to his death. We sat often chatting, drinking whiskey. He was often compared to the Hollywood icon, Gregory Peck. He told me that he and Suraiya – the singing star and darling of millions - met Mr Peck for the first time at Bombay’s Willingdon Club in 1954. He also confirmed a rumour that he had once been in love with Suraiya. He told me he had made a number of films with her and they fell in love. They wanted to marry but her family objected and especially

Chandra Kotak, Dev Anand, Mr Jogi and Amrit Kotak discussing about New York premiere of Film Guide

Suraiya’s Nani, who was determined that her granddaughter should marry a Muslim according to her faith. He eventually married Catholic Kalpana Kartik (Mona Singh); they tied the knot on the last day of Taxi Driver’s in 1954. Dev believed that love was greater than the confines of religious authority. Once in 1960s Bombay the film industry responded to the unusual tragedy of Assam, Bihar and other provinces where an unpredicted torrential rain had put a heavy toll on the Indian treasury. Following a Government’s appeal for donations, the film industry decided to go to the streets of Bombay to collect donation from Bombayites. I joined Dev and we gathered in and around the compound of Central Studios. The late Motilal and Raj Kapoor guided us all to occupy waiting lorries as the sun was rising. My friend Bharat Sanghvi and I got on a lorry with Dev. We were showered with money. When we reached Princess Street, a cent percent Gujarati locality, I suggested to Dev that we should make an appeal in Gujarati. Bharat and I did and we continued to do so throughout Princess Street and Kalbedevi Road. Later on our way to Pydhuni, Dev asked whether I was hungry. Of course, I was, I said. He gave me a phone number to ring Mona his wife for sandwiches. I did so and requested to add some vegetarian as well. Suddenly in the middle of Mohamed Ali road we received a delivery of sandwiches and drink as Dilip Kumar was showered with rupees. The evening was nearing and so the procession dispersed in the compound of Shri Sound Studios, Dadar. When Dev was shooting his first directorial debut film Prem Pujari (1970) in London he asked whether I could get

some friends to play extras for a crowd scene out side India House, Strand, London. He also needed others to be at London Heathrow Airport receiving Waheeda Rehman and others. We stayed at the airport all night and shot the scene Dev needed. In the morning he asked me “what kind of dress does our Indian High Commissioner wear?” and asked if I could manage to get a similar outfit. The next day we were shot Waheeda Rehman’s dance scene at the Mayfair hotel. When we taken all the shots, Dev asked me whether I managed to get the High Commissioner’s clothes. Gleefully I answered “yes!” and handed it to him. Come on. Wear it. You are playing the Indian High Commissioner” “Oh! Gosh!” I murmured and soon found myself on set. To this day, whenever I meet Shatrughna Sinha, I always tell him we both acted together in London in the film Prem Pujari. Later again in Mumbai I, with my children stood by an injured Dev, acting as concerned relatives in a hospital scene in the film Warrant (1975). One Saturday afternoon in 1975, Dev telephoned me to find out whether I could see him at his London hotel. This was the time when I was busy in rehearsals for the Indian National Theatre’s UK’s first production, Kadam Milake Chalo. On entering his room, I saw he was in deep thought; he needed four to five hundred photos for his next film Des Pardes as soon as possible and asked me to help him. I asked, “When do you need someone by?” He looked at me with worry, “Tomorrow morning!” I asked a friend who willingly agreed to do it at cost price, it wasn’t every day you had a chance to work with the great Dev. We shot the whole next day around the West End and East End of

London and completed the photography by about 9.00 pm. We were exhausted. On our way home the photographer requested Dev to meet his wife in South East London; she was his biggest fan. Dev gladly obliged, it was the least he could do and we set off, Dev, still full of beans and us exhausted. On the way Dev suggested that he attend one of my rehearsals that week. He was a humble man who was interested in everyone and everything. Thereafter we met a number of times in Mumbai and London. I saw him last at his office Anand Dubbing Studios, Bandra, Mumbai. With me was Saroj Oza, yesteryear’s Gujarati stage and TV artiste. They talked about current conditions of theatre and TV and added that he has started his career on stage in Mumbai in 1940s. He had heard and read a lot about Pravin Joshi adaptation of Pygmalion, Santu Rangili. He was sorry that he could not see the play. The symbol of humanity is no more with us.

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Annual event held by the UK (London) Chapter of ICAI The UK (London) Chapter of The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India held the 2011 Annual Event on 25 November at Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan in London. The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI), one of the largest accounting bodies in the world, is recognised globally for its contribution in the fields of education, professional development and maintains a very high accounting, auditing and ethical standards. The UK (London) Chapter is one of the largest and active Chapter of the 21 overseas Chapters of ICAI and has more than 600 members. This was the second Annual Event under the new management committee of the Chapter which provided opportunity to members of the ICAI in the UK, their family and friends to meet and bond their relationship and demonstrate their cultural skills. This event is very popular among the members and has always drawn a large attendance. The event was attended by more than 200 people including ICAI members, guests from business houses, financial institutions and senior functionaries from accountan-

cy profession. This year’s Annual Event was sponsored by State Bank of India, UK and the event partners were The Association of Corporate Treasurers, The Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales, and The HDFC Ltd, UK. The Guests of Honour for the event were Colin Tyler, Chief Executive, The Association of Corporate Treasurers; Dr M N Nandakumara, Executive Director, The Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, UK and C B Patel, Publisher and Editor of Gujarat Samachar and Asian Voice newspapers in the UK. It was a fun filled evening with Indian classical and bollywood music & dance performance, raffle draws with exciting prizes (Amazon Kindle, digital camera), appetising food and plenty of opportunity for networking.


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COMMUNITY

India Connect Q & A: Visa to India What are the normal processing times? Normal processing times are a minimum of 2-3 working days depending upon the visa category applied for and the application itself. How do I withdraw my application and will I get a refund? If you wish to withdraw your Jiten Vyas, VFS Global application you are required to visit the application centre and submit your withdrawal request. VFS will not be able to provide you any definite timelines to get your passport back. You are requested to wait and check the status of your passport on our website Can I send my application directly to the High Commission? Where does it go if I have done so? All applications should be submitted at the specified visa application centres. If you have already dispatched your application to the High Commission of India (London) – your application will be redelivered to our Visa Centre on India Visa Application Centre, India Visa Application Centre 1-3, Canalside, Uxbridge Road, Hayes, Middlesex, UB4 0JN. But please keep in mind that there will be a delay in the processing of your documents until they reach the Visa Centre from the High Commission.

Asian Voice - Saturday 24th December 2011

Indian PowerBrands & Cult launched in London On the 12th of December 2011 London witnessed Top Corporate Personalities, Business Tycoons, Leaders, Icons, Academicians, Media Giants, Sports and Film stars from India and UK ascend at the Marriott, Grosnover Square for the crowning of the ‘Indian PowerBrands – The Global Superpower Edtion’, a beautifully designed and well crafted coffee table book that features 81 of India’s biggest

Vice Chairman, & MD JK Tyre & Industries Ltd., Ace F1 Racer Karun Chandhok, Anirudh Dhoot – Director, Vi d e o c o n Industries Ltd., Actor - Director Farhan Akhtar, Shreyas Joshi – President, Park Avenue, Raman Roy - Chairman & MD, Quattro

Subas Allirajah, Chairman Lycamobile and Siddharth Mallya

Lord Bilimoria presented with the “Global Indian Icon” Award

Where can I get the correct specifications of photographs? Each Visa Application Centre (except for Cardiff, Glasgow and Manchester) have in-house photo booths that will provide you with the required 50x50 size photographs for your application. The cost is £4 for a set of 2. I get a message of ‘No Record Found’ on my postal application. What is the processing timelines? Postal applications must be scrutinised before we can begin to process them. In case there are further details required to have been submitted by you or for example, the photographs given were not up to the specification – your application will be posted back to you. In this case, since we are unable to enter your details through our system, there will not be a record to track. In such cases, you can address your concern info.inuk@vfshelpline.com. It is always strongly advised to be ensure that you have read all requirements for an application before it is dispatched through the post. How do I track my application? You can track your application through the website by entering data required under the tab ‘Track your Application’ found on the left hand side of the homepage. How do I withdraw my application and will I get a refund? If you wish to withdraw your application you are required to visit the application centre and submit your withdrawal request. VFS will not be able to provide you any definite timelines to get your passport back. You are requested to wait and check the status of your passport on our website. What if I have lost my ICR for collection of passport? If you have lost your receipt, we will be unable to provide you with your passport without photographic proof of identification. If I need to offer a compliment for good service or a complaint for service not up to mark – to where can I address this? You can address all such feedback, including application queries to info.inuk@vfshelpline.com. Complete information is given under the tab ‘Contact Us’ found on the left hand side of the homepage.

For more information regarding any quires about Indian Visa please contact by email or post: Email: info.inuk@vfshelpline.com Customer Relations Department. India Visa Application Center, 60-62 Wilton Road, London SW1V 1DE

India Connect - your questions answered on India visas” a service offered by

Subrata Roy and Farhan Akhtar

Priti Patel, MP, Dr. Ruby Dhalla, Prof. Arindam Chaudhuri

and most successful brands/companies & for the launch of the book ‘CULT’ authored by Prof. Arindam Chaudhuri & Prof. A Sandeep. The evening began with a special message from the British Prime Minister David Cameron read by MP Caroline Nokes. With keynote addresses from British Indian MP Priti Patel, the event witnessed the presence of some of India’s biggest business Icons and dignitaries such as Sir Robert Worcester, Saharasri Subroto Roy, Lord Bilimoria, Lord Meghnad Desai, Lord Swraj Paul, Guy Kawasaki, Canadian Politician Dr. Ruby Dhalla, British MP Priti Patel, Dr. Rami Ranger, Siddharth Mallya, Dr. Raghupati Singhania –

BPO Solutions, Ace Photographer Atul Kasbekar, Vandana Luthra, Gurnam Arora – Joint MD Kohinoor Specialty Foods, Mehul Choksi – Chairman & Managing Director, Gitanjali Group, Subas Allirajah – Chairman Lycamobile, Milind Kangle – CEO Lycamobile along with many others. The high profile event witnessed the launch of the Book ‘CULT: The Ultimate CEO Guide to calling the shots without getting shot’ – a Book by Prof. Arindam Chaudhuri & A. Sandeep. The Book was unveiled by the legendary Guy Kawasaki. This was followed by the unveiling of the ‘Indian PowerBrands’ by Priti Patel, Dr. Ruby Dhalla & Prof. Chaudhuri.

Lord Bilimoria, founder and chairman of Cobra Beer, has been presented with the “Global Indian Icon” award at the 2011 Indian Powerbrands conference held in Mayfair, London, on Monday 12th December. Lord Bilimoria, pictured, said: “I am delighted and honoured to have received this award. My dream with Cobra Beer has always been to create the finest ever Indian beer, and to make it into a global Indian brand. 2011 is 20 years since the start of India’s liberalisation, and over the past two decades India has truly emerged onto the world stage as a global economic power. “As President of the UK-India Business Council for the past five years, working to promote trade and business investment between our two countries, I have seen firsthand the enormous potential for British companies in India, as well as Indian companies in Britain. “India’s growth is a huge opportunity for businesses in Britain in almost every sector. For example, India is the fastest-growing beer market in the world. Having entered into a global joint venture with Molson Coors in 2009, Cobra Beer entered into a joint venture with Molson Coors in India in June 2011, Molson Coors Cobra India, which has started to build a strong founda-

tion to take advantage of this enormous opportunity in India.” In his speech to the Conference, Lord Bilimoria spoke of Molson Coors’ criteria for identifying an ‘extraordinary brand’ like Cobra: a compelling story based on an undeniable brand truth; refusing to compromise on its principles; an instantly recognisable and iconic look; providing a unique, relevant, and consistent experience; inspiring people to become loyal brand champions; and the delivery of extraordinary enduring profits. “I congratulate Indian Powerbrands for initiating this conference at this timely juncture, when Indian brands are emerging onto the world stage. Looking ahead, the euro’s future may be in the balance, but what is absolutely certain is that India, in spite of all its challenges, will continue to go from strength to strength as an emerging global economic superpower,” said Lord Bilimoria.

Indian High Commission celebrates Christmas

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The Indian High Commission had organised a Christmas drink and delicious Indian canopes on 14th December 2011. Hosted by Mr C Rajasekhar, Minister (Political, Press & Information), the evening had the gracious presence of Lords, journalists and creme de la creme of the community. Lord Navnit Dholakia who was present with Lady Ann Dholakia presided over

the evening and spoke about the UK-India strong relation, political and economic and the Christmas spirit. The Acting High Commissioner, HE Rajesh N Prasad was also present to meet and greet the guests. The event was coordinated efficiently by Padmaja, First Secretary, Press & Information and her able team.


UK

Asian Voice - Saturday 24th December 2011

For more stories visit www.scribbledesk.com

Short Story by Neha Garg

The Saviour And she saw, From far away, The white horse, Her saviour gray. Galloping together, over the mountains. As the clouds showered, their nectar fountains. As he reached her, she blushed, The love in her heart, to her eyes rushed. The horse stood, whinnying its song, He lifted her veil, and admired her long.

Much as she did, want to kiss him deep, she knew she must wait, and not let the joy, to her heart leap. He whispered words, she could no longer hear, She had him finally, the one she held dear.

Together, they shall, cross all borders. There shall be no more spite, and no hurried orders. The hills shall be their home, the flowers, their rugs. And all they shall need, would be said with a hug. He whispered this dream, as the horse bowed its head, and together they galloped, into the sun that set.

Southall football club – one year on!! Twelve months ago Southall FC was relaunched with a mission of becoming embedded in the local Southall community, placing family values at the centre of the relaunch. A year on the club has made massive strides towards achieving its mission. It has initiated a number of community programmes consistent with local council policies, and at the same time has made great progress in building a winning football team. To take the club to the next stage however needs the backing and support of a corporate partner, and one that not only shares our community vision but understands the diversity of the Southall diaspora. The club is delighted to announce that it has entered into a long term partnership with Lycamobile as a main sponsor and the club will be known in future as Lyca Southall FC. Milind Kangle, CEO Lycamobile commented, “supporting the communities in the countries we operate in, is an integral part of our strategy. Southall has a diverse group of ethnic

Julian Bell, Leader of Ealing Council with Rajeshwar Gautam

and expatriate customers that require international and national calling services. With our high quality affordable rates our customers can stay in touch with their friends and family in over 40 countries from just 1p per minute”. Lycamobile is the largest global provider of high quality international mobile calls with operations in the UK, Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Italy, Spain, Australia, France, Germany, Poland and Ireland. And they have

now agreed to bring the same passion for the community to our very own ‘Southall FC’. Tommy Taylor, Chairman Southall FC said, “The fact that our First team and Junior teams have shown tremendous results and potential is extremely encouraging. However, we have a long way to go. We are extremely pleased to know that we now have a committed partner as ‘Lycamobile’ and this partnership will only strengthen our club and deliver our long term vision.”

The Asian Music Circuit celebrates Christmas at the Museum of Asian Music The Asian Music Circuit celebrated the festive season at the Museum of Asian Music in Acton, London, with an intimate performance by guitarist and vocalist Rashid Ali. Rashid played two sets for an audience including Karan Pangali from Star TV’s Just Dance and musician Shammi Pithia, who appeared in an AMC event earlier this year at Southbank Centre. CEO of the Asian Music Circuit, Viram Jasani, said “We’ve produced some outstanding events this year and wanted to round 2011 off with a little thank-you to our friends and supporters.” Singer Unnati Dasgupta, who works for the AMC as Tour Producer, joined

Karan Pangali, John Singh (AMC board member), Unnati Dasgupta (AMC staff), Rashid Ali, Mohan Padala (HSBC), Viram Jasani (AMC), Kishor Parmar, Ji-Eun Jung (Korean kayagum performer)

Rashid on-stage to perform some beautiful duets as an extra treat for the audience. Rashid Ali’s rise to fame over the last ten years came after he was talent-spotted in London by A R Rahman. He was signed to Rahman’s KM Musiq label and the two musicians

continue to work together regularly, both in live shows around the world and on numerous film soundtracks. Rashid’s debut album ‘Call Me Rashid’ showcases his flawless guitar playing and distinctive voice and was released last month.

God is

with

Christopher Benjamin The Presbyterian Church, Wembley Every Christmas season we return to the familiar texts, in the Gospels of St. Matthew and St. Luke and also in the books of the Prophets Micah and Isaiah, to remind us of the Christmas story. These Scriptures remind us that the birth of Jesus Christ in Bethlehem was part of God’s eternal plan. It was an event predicted centuries before it happened. Even today the meaning and message of Christmas is very much relevant to our families and us. There are two points on which I would like to ponder. 1) Family, 2)The meaning and message of Christmas. Family: At the first Christmas, God, in Christ Jesus, was born into a human family. This is perfectly obvious, but the same time very telling. It tells us that the humanity of God is real. Christ entered into the fullness of human experience with all its joy and sorrows, all its stresses and strains. He did not merely pretend to be human. It is heartening to remember that God entrusted his own son to human parents and family. Moreover, God made it so that the family of Nazareth, a poor family, was the place where the child Jesus would learn in his humanity the texture of human love, the sound and smell of it, the sight and the touch of it. Christmas is a time for a break from all our busy life routine and we think of family. In the spirit of the festival and with a family around we do our best to make the event joyful, pleasant and of great importance. Christmas provides us with an opportunity to bring our whole family together at least once a year. But we need to remember that family is not just for the Christmas. Family is wide and rich term. When we ponder for a moment the time we have had as a family then we would like to do something to our own family throughout the year even when Christmas is over. We would like to return to the basics as a family. We would like to recommit ourselves to the best values as a family. As a family we would like to reconcile, reestablish, redevelop, reconstruct our broken relations. We would like to repair and redouble our family ties. As a family we would to believe that such love; such grace is possible even in our own families as it was with the poor family of Nazareth (Joseph and Mary). We would to make our Christian faith the firm foundation of our family. “Family is not just for the Christmas.” The meaning and message The meaning and message of Christmas continues throughout the year and does not cease when the celebration and festival is over. Christmas, the coming of Christ, is about everyday life. God is with us and in us and we need to do anything we can, to remember that fact the rest of the year.

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Us

In the book of the prophet Isaiah 7:14, the familiar prophecy that is quoted in Matthew chapter 1. “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Emmanuel” which means, “God with us.” (Matthew 1:23) God is with us- not against us As we look around at the majesty and glory of creation, and even as we look at the spectacular events at Bethlehem when Jesus was born, it is

easy to see that God is with us, in us and for us. His power is evident. He is greater and stronger than any thing or any one we have ever known. At the first Christmas at Bethlehem the wise men also called the Magi from the east and the shepherds from the wilderness rushed to see and worship Jesus. From the manger He has extended His hand and His invitation to all human being even today. God wants to build a relationship with all of us at this Christmas and when its over. This is the real spirit of Christmas. God is with us- rather than somewhere else There is a feeling in many hearts and minds, especially in the turbulent times, that God is distant and detached. People talk all the time about their attempts even to “find” God. But God is not hiding. He is not distant. He has drawn close to us through Jesus. Christmas is the account of God taking on the form of man. He lived as we do. He is not unsympathetic, He understands from firsthand experience and identifies himself with us, no matter who we are or what our situation or status is. And this is the spirit of Christmas. God is with us- We are not alone During this last year perhaps we have passed through the difficult times. Perhaps we have had the chance to walk with many people down the path of grief. In almost every case the grieving person just needs someone to be with them every now and again. They need someone who will share their sorrows and their pain. They want someone to help them through the times of transition and someone who will listen to them when they need to talk or when they need to cry. And God is with us, lending us His shoulders to support on. We wish all the readers of Gujarat Samachar and Asian Voice, a Merry Christmas and Peaceful New Year.


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BoLLywooD

Asian Voice Saturday 24th December 2011

Lakshmi Manchu in Mani Ratnam’s ‘Pookadai’

Gorgeous Lakshmi Manchu is going places. The multifaceted actress seems to be crossing all language barriers. After making her Bollywood debut in Ram Gopal Varma’s “Department,” she has now signed a prestigious Tamil movie to be directed by Mani Ratnam. The actress took Twitter to share her excitement to be part of maverick filmmaker Mani Ratnam’s flick. She wrote, “What an amazing day.. Launched Tamil film

w @itsmemanoj as producer and signed a movie as an actor w Mani Ratnam himself. Doesn’t get bigger.” The movie is tentatively titled as “Pookadai” and is a launch pad of veteran actor Karthik’s son Gautham. However, Mani Ratnam is considering a few Bollywood actress to cast in the film to play the female lead role. It is reported that the filmmaker has approached Sonam Kapoor recently and waiting for her nod.

Dhanush wants to cast Hrithik in his film

Post the Kolaveri mania, Rajnikanth's son-in-law Dhanush is planning to take a leap into direction with a Bollywood fantasy film. It is learnt that Dhanush is keen on casting Hrithik Roshan as his main lead. Says a source, "A few days back, Dhanush was in Mumbai and he met some

people regarding his project. He has a few names in mind and Hrithik is on the top of his list. This is a big budget fantasy flick and he needs someone largerthan-life who can carry off the film." It came as a surprise when Dhanush chose to make this movie in Hindi and not in Tamil.

Vadivelu to act only in heroes roles now

Kollywood actor Vadivelu said, “These days there are vulgar comedy scenes in Tamil films. I am very upset seeing this. I am not interested to act in such comedy scenes. I want to go to next level. I have decided to don hero roles. “Imsai Arasan” Part 2 is being produced

shortly. Talks are going on with regard to this with director Chimbudeven. In the recent times, I am not getting roles that I am interested in. I am not interested to act in small and medium budgeted films. Because of this I have not signed for any new films.”

For the first since their break-up, Deepika Padukone will be working with Ranbir Kapoor in 'Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani.' Deepika says that she is looking forward to working with Ranbir again. The former couple, who met on the sets of their 2008 release 'Bachna Ae Haseeno', dated for a year before they split amid claims that Ranbir cheated Deepika. However, the 25-year-old 'Love Aaj Kal' actress insists that the two are very good friends and talk to each other often. “I am really excited about the film, it is going to be real fun. Working with such a brilliant actor like Ranbir, that too in a love story, that's the kind of film I always wanted to do. Moreover Ayan (director) is so young and talented and it was about time we did a film together. It is indeed great to be back with Ranbir in a film. Both of us were looking forward to a film that would justify our presence and 'Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani' has turned out to be one such film,” Deepika said. 'Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani' is being directed by Ayaan Mukherjee and produced by Karan Johar. Its' Mukherjee's second film after Ranbir Kapoor-Konkona Sen Sharma starer 'Wake Up Sid'. Deepika insists that the film is very different from her past projects and will bring out a different side to her. “The film is special since it would be directed by Ayan Mukherjee. He is a mutual friend of Ranbir and myself. He pretty much knew that he had to do something special to bring us together on screen. I am ecstatic since this is going to be a true blue love story with an old school romance to it. I have never worked in a film like this before,” said Deepika.

n i a g a r e h t e g o t k r o w o t r i b n a R , a k

Deepi

Bollywood singer, lyricist and composer Kailash Kher will be making his first world tour with his band Kailasa. Saregama, the music recording company, will be the sponsors of the programme. Kailash formed his band in 2004 and his brothers Naresh and Paresh Kamath are also part of it. Kailash’s rich voice has earned him comparisons to Pakistani legend Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, but his populist approach and knack for writing catchy hits with his band have helped him bridge the divide between traditional and contemporary styles. Since 2001 he has worked with over 60 different film soundtracks and nearly two hundred jingles, plus stints as a judge on popular television shows. The world tour kicks off in the UK on April 4th, 2012, visiting prestigious venues in London (HMV Hammersmith Apollo), Birmingham (Symphony Hall), Liverpool (Philharmonic Hall) and Leicester (De Montfort Hall). The band will make a stop in the Netherlands before moving on to North America. Kailash will cover 20 cities with his band, performing crowd favourites like ‘Allah Ke Bandey’, ‘Teri Deewani’ and ‘Saiyyaan’ amongst many others. He will also perform tracks from his upcoming album ‘Rangeele’, releasing on the Saregama music label in January 2012, and Nusrat classics like ‘Sanu Ek Pal Chain Na Ave’ and ‘Ishq Ka Rutba’. Kailash’s strong traditional folk sensibilities and lyrics invoking Sufi mysticism with Naresh and Paresh’s modern rock, electronic, and funk influences, has proved to be a big hit with audiences in India and abroad Kailasa will be one of the first Asian bands to perform at The Hollywood Bowl and various world music festivals such as The Stern Grove, The Brooklyn Festival and The Parramasala Festival. Kailash has also performed at high profile venues such Wed 4 April 2012 Fri 6 April 2012 Sun 8 April 2012 Wed 11 April 2012 as The Royal Festival Hall and Wembley Stadium – London, The Symphony Hall Philharmonic Hall HMV Hammersmith De Montfort Hall Santa Monica Pears - Los Angeles, Webster Hall - New York and more. This will be the seventh live extravaganza to be organised Birmingham Liverpool Apollo, London Leicester by Saregama Events. Time: 7.30 pm Time: 7.30pm Time: 7.30pm Time: 7.30pm

on world tour with his band

Ramu wants to kiss Ekta Kapoor E k t a Kapoor's much talked about film “The Dirty Picture” has done the unimaginable thing. Guess who is showering praises on the film and Vidya Balan's sterling performance. Well it's our out-of-the-ordinary filmmaker Ram Gopal Varma. Ramu, who is hard to please, is absolutely impressed by producer Ekta Kapoor's film. After watching the film he instantly tweeted, "Kudos to the family queen Ekta for making even families see Dirty picture. Ramu unabashedly tweeted, "I want to give 2 million 15 lakh 17 thousand 3 hundred and 26 and a half kisses to Ekta for proving that Dirty is Clean and Clean is Dirty."

Sonam Kapoor all set to start four biggies in 2012 Sonam Kapoor is doing something that she has never done before in her four year long career so far. She has gone ahead and signed as many as four biggies, all of which would go on floors next year. For someone who has always believed in doing one or at maximum two films at a time, this is indeed a first. Confirms a close associate of the stardaughter, "Yes, Sonam has signed four big films with some of the biggest filmmakers. She would be starting working on these films next year after the release of “Players.” In the past she had only six releases in four years. All of that would change from next year onwards as she has now picked up multiple films."

Today people don’t see as a sex symbol: Neha Dhupia Bollywood actress Neha Dhupia began her career with bold films like 'Julie' and 'Sheesha', but later she moved to performance-based roles with 'Mithya'. But the transition was not easy, she says. 'A lot of hard work has gone into revamping the image of a sex symbol. People have built a perception in their minds and to change that I needed a lot of patience. I am happy that my hard work has paid off and today people don't see me just as a sex symbol,' Neha said. Her 'Julie' and 'Sheesha' had a lot of skin show and the subject was bold too, but Neha changed track and did films like 'Chup Chup Ke', 'Delhi Heights' and 'Dear Friend Hitler'. 'I am really happy with the way my career has shaped up. People have started looking at me as an actress. I never planned anything. I have grown immensely as an actor as well as a human being during my career of eight years,' she said. 'I have learnt a lot from the industry. I entered Bollywood as an amateur, but the industry has taught me little nuances. I have met so many different people and learnt a lot by just observing them. I have a lot of respect for my job,' added the 31-yearold who was crowned Femina Miss India 2002. Her first Bollywood film was 2003 release 'Qayamat: City Under Threat' and she played Ajay Devgn's love interest. Initially, newcomers are on signing spree, but Neha chose to move at a slower pace. 'Money has never been a driving factor for me. I want to be known as an actor. I don't want to do work just for the sake of doing it. My aim is just to do good work. Once money gets into your mind, the entire focus of your career goes haywire,' she said.

Ranveer to woo Sonakshi with Dev Anand songs

Ranveer Singh will be wooing Sonakshi Sinha with Dev Anand’s hit numbers, including "Khoya khoya chand", "Tere mere sapne" and "Yeh dil na hota bechara" in the new film “Lootera.” Producer Madhu Mantena will seek permission to use Dev Anand melodies. These, say a source, would not be applied to the film in any random fashion. The songs would be filmed keeping the mood and tempo and flavour of the original sequences, and no tampering to the core of the compositions or their screen interpretations at all. Apparently, director Vikramaditya Motwane would shoot the songs in black-and-white. Ranveer, a huge Dev Anand fan, would be shown as a Dev Anand fan in the film, sporting the same hairstyle, clothes, attitude and of course the songs. When Mantena was asked about the Dev Anand influence on "Lootera", he said, "We're most certainly going all-out to get the mood right. Beyond that it would be premature to reveal our exact plans. Vikramaditya would be the best person to throw light on how Ranveer's character will be presented in 'Lootera'." While Motwane remained tight-lipped, Ranveer did mention, " 'Lootera' is the only film that I've signed after 'Ladies Vs Ricky Behl'. Of course, there's a huge amount of preparation involved. Though the film is set in Kolkata, I don't play a Bengali."

Sunny Leone 'most googled celebrity in India' Porn star Sunny Leone has been crowned India’s most googled celebrity, beating Bollywood divas Katrina Kaif, Kareena Kapoor and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan. It is believed that her stint inside the Bigg Boss house has helped her to top the charts with fans searching for her five times more than Kaif, twice as many as Bachchan and nine times more than Kapoor. Data collected from Google Trends reveals that her biggest fans are based in Noida where surfers have clocked up the most number of searches downloading photos and videos followed by Bhubaneswar, Ludhiana and Bhopal.

Salman Khan refuses to work with Ashutosh A s h u t o s h Gowariker reportedly approached Salman Khan with a script that he the director thought the mega-star would find strikingly unorthodox. True to his style, Salman completely turned the tables on the director. Apparently Salman heard Ashutosh out and then calmly said, "I don't do good films. I do hit films. I work in films that make money, not the ones that get awards." Before Ashutosh could get over the shock of Salman's plainspeak, he also added that he has his own pace of working. Salman told the “Lagaan” director, "I arrive in the afternoon and shoot at my own pace. You're used to working with other actors who reach the set on the dot at 9 am and work according to your pace."

Asian Voice - Saturday 24th December 2011

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Shah Rukh Khan offers Lady Gaga lead role in Bollywood film Shah Rukh Khan has offered lead role to pop superstar Lady Gaga in his next movie. Khan said that he would love to cast Gaga in one of his Bollywood productions during an interview in which the pair talked about love, shopping and music. The 'Born this way' singer told Khan that she would love to be part of a Bollywood movie, but not as a leading actress instead "in a smaller role". "I don't have any illusions of being a lead actress! Instead, I would like to be cast in a smaller role," she said. During their hour-long chat Khan also taught the singer how to speak some Hindi, including how to address her "little monsters" when in India.

Mallika makes US her second home Actress Mallika Sherawat has made US her second home and has moved there, thanks to her international project. "I am more of a global actress now but Bollywood is my life. It is my bread and butter," said Mallika. The actress, who was last seen in Hollywood flick "Politics Of Love", asserts that the West is curious to know more about Bollywood. "I have signed 'Lucky Unlucky'. I am playing a Jat sprinter in it and have signed another movie with Vivek Oberoi, 'Kismat Love Paisa Delhi'. It will be directed by Sanjay Khanduri. Then, there is an international venture that I'm doing. I'm trying to maintain a balance between both America and India,” she added.

Kareena and Katrina race for 'Best Actress' Kareena Kapoor and Katrina Kaif are vying with each other for “Best Actress” in a romantic role. Kareena has always been the dream co-stars of many successful heroes, especially the Khans and their films. But there's also another favorite girl, Katrina, who is Salman Khan's close friend and confidant. She is edging slowly and carefully as the favorite of the masses. Both girls are magical and absolutely brilliant on screen and off screen too. Both have danced their way in to people's hearts with ease.

Madhuri Dixit to launch own TV channel Madhuri Dixit who is back in India is now planning to launch her own television channel. "Everybody had initially thought that Madhuri has returned back home for a second innings in her acting career. However, she has now surprised everyone with the plans of her new TV channel. She is already working on forming a new team for the same," sources said. The channel, reportedly will be launched tentatively in June 2012. Mads herself will be the face of the channel, according to the source.

Prateik & me are close friends: Amy Jackson British model Amy Jackson denies rumours that she is dating her costar Prateik from her Hindi film debut. Amy - who is making her Bollywood debut in Gautham Menon's remake of the Tamil hit “Vinnaithaandi Varuvaaya” alongside Prateik - brushes off queries of being romantically involved with him. "He's a good friend and he made me very comfortable on the sets. He's a very dedicated guy and he influenced me a lot. We worked together on this movie and we grew pretty close during the shoot," says Amy.


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Asian Voice - Saturday 24th December 2011

India moves out of trillion-dollar stock market club

Dear Financial Voice Reader, As the year end approaches, I am delighted to say I’ve just submitted the manuscript for my latest book. It’s been seven years since I wrote my last book. Or as my cousin Nishaan put it, ‘for an author, you’re pretty bad…if you’ve not written a book in 7 years’. Hmmm…I may talk about how I am flying here and there and meeting this VIP and that VIP and doing this media appearance and that media appearance, but I can rely on my family to ensure that not only are my feet firmly on the ground, they’re probably upto my knees in soil! Ummm…I think a ‘J’ is appropriate. The book is about Trading Strategies and in the format of a cookbook. After all cookbooks teach complex skills to a novice audience. And that is my aim with trading strategies. The reason I mention this is not to plug the advance sales of a book not yet on advance sale, or like a film trailer, preview something to build exhilaration and excitement. I am sure that will come with a West End and ten country red carper tour with Julia Roberts culminating in a VIP launch event at the Ritz with an after-party at Buckingham Palace…and wake up. I mention this because as I was writing one of the strategies, someone asked me, why can’t they do the following to make money? I mention this because sometimes those simple ideas readers come up with can be the most self-destructive financially. You yourself may have come up with this strategy. You find something which trades in ranges, such as GBP/USD. As soon as it moves 25 points down from the average price it has been for the past 10 days, you buy it, in anticipation it will go back to its average and you make 25 points. Let’s ignore commission costs for now. That is simple and you make money. But the problem becomes what if it drops another 25 points away? Well then you have lost 25 points. This as a strategy works fine. But it breaks down because more private investors will not exit at a 25 point loss. Facing such a loss they will hold and hold until the loss is unbearable. Or when it is time to wait for the 25 point gain, they will get scared and exit at a 20 point gain. So their losses are worse than theory and their profits are also lower than in theory. In essence this exemplifies all economic and financial theory. That the reality of what people will do is different to what in theory we tell them, and what they should do. Fear and greed rule. So if you too have come up with this theory this year, remember it works. On paper. But in reality you lack the discipline. If you are keen to try it, I recommend nowhere better than the site Nishaan uses himself: www.sterlingmarkets.com

HSBC planning to cut 1,200 jobs in its Indian consumer banking unit London-headquartered global banking major HSBC Holdings PLC plans to cut up to 1,200 jobs at its consumer banking unit in India in what could be the largest retrenchment exercise undertaken by any foreign bank in the country. The job cuts are likely to affect a range of functions and are likely to be carried out in a phased manner, two people directly familiar with the banks plans said. The planned cuts are in line with a decision announced by HSBC chief executive Stuart Gulliver in August this year in which

he said the bank would cut 30,000 jobs globally by 2013 in a move to reduce costs. A spokesperson for HSBC in India refused to comment on the report. An executive familiar with the planned exercise confirmed that a team from HSBC's human resources department is currently working with managers across functions in the consumer banking division to identify dispensable roles. "The job cuts could lead to a large number of layoffs but the bank would attempt to rehabilitate as many people as possible.

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The Indian stock market on Tuesday lost its trilliondollar status, as a decline in the rupee and share valuations led to its size slipping below this mark to $994.97 billion. India had managed to hold onto the select league of the countries with a trillion-dollar stock market by a whisker for the past few days, but finally gave in today [Tuesday] after the market barometer Sensex fell to a fresh 28-month low and the rupee lost further value against the US dollar. At the end of Tuesday's trade, the total size of the Indian market, measured in terms of cumulative valuation of all listed stocks,

stood at Rs.52.60-lakh crore. As the rupee ended the day at 52.87, the stock market's size in the American currency was $994.97 billion, just a shade below the trilliondollar mark. The Indian market had a size of

$1.0116 trillion at the end of Monday's trade. A total of 13 countries are now estimated to be left in the trillion-dollar stock market club, including the US, the UK, Canada, Brazil, Australia, Hong Kong, South Korea, China, Japan, Spain, Germany, Switzerland and France. The Indian market had first achieved a trilliondollar size about four-andhalf years ago on May 28, 2007, but moved out of this coveted league about a year later on July 1, 2008. It again joined this elite club of markets with trillion-dollar valuation about a year later on June 3, 2009.

Harrow looking at India to do more business

“I would say that Harrow is the Ahmedabad of the UK and we will be working closely with Gateway Asia, Harrow Council and others to mount a trade delegation to Gujarat in the New Year,” added Anup Vyas, Senior Director at Vyman Solicitors. He said, “Indian businesses all over the UK, especially in places like Harrow, are looking more and more to emerging markets, particularly India, for new business opportunities and as a way to strengthening family and business ties and develop new ones.” The Gateway Asia workshop was attended by more than 100 business people, mostly from the Harrow and surrounding areas of London. It was about “Doing Business with India at Mumbai Gardens, in North Harrow on 13th December 2011. The event, organised by Gateway Business Consultants (GBC) and Gateway Asia, was an integral part of a series of workshops and other business support activities being delivered to London’s small and medium sized enterprises

The pictures are Paresh Patel (Mumbai Gardens), Anup Vyas (Vyman Solicitors), Ash Verma (Gateway Asia) and Ragen Amin (JVR Accountants)

(SMEs) who are looking for sales in new and emerging markets; joint ventures; and improved business performance. Gateway Asia is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and many leading private and public sector organisations like BAA Heathrow, HSBC Bank, Chantrey Vellacott, Tata Consultancy Services, the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), Brunel University, Harrow Council and West London Business and others. “Gateway Asia is about building trade links and connecting communities, and apart from workshops and seminars, we

provide coaching and mentoring and organise trade delegations in collaboration with our strategic and technical partners,” said Ash Verma, Chairman of GBC and Gateway Asia. “India is a fast growing, free market democracy that offers our business in the UK tremendous business and investment opportunities for growth, diversification and employment generation”. The trick is to research, build relations find good partners on the ground,” added Ash. Councillor Keith Ferry, Chair of the Economic Development and Planning Committee at Harrow Council, gave a special welcome address to delegates.

The Indian market was, in fact, seen inching towards the two-trillion dollar mark at least twice in the past - first in early 2008 and then at the beginning of 2011 with a size as high as $1.9 trillion. A sharp plunge in the market this year has led to the market valuation falling over $500 billion, from about $1.7 trillion at the beginning of 2011. The rupee has been declining for many months now and had hit its record low level below 54-level last week, but the fall was somewhat checked since then on the back of an intervention by the Reserve Bank of India.

Kingfisher to get $47 mn loan from Sahara group The Sahara group will give a loan of more than 2.5 billion rupees to cash-strapped Kingfisher Airlines, to help the carrier continue operations, sources said. Kingfisher, India's third largest airline by market share, has been struggling to raise funds to continue operations and repay debt. The carrier, majorityowned by Vijay Mallya controlled UB group, has a debt of about 65 billion rupees and its creditors have asked the airline to raise at least $160 million in equity. "We neither confirm nor deny speculation,"

Ravi Nedungadi, group chief financial officer and president of UB Group, was quoted as saying. Early this year, the Sahara group invested $100 million in Force India for a 42.5 per cent stake and now co-owns the Formula One motor racing team with Kingfisher Airlines Chairman Vijay Mallya. Spokesmen for both Kingfisher Airlines and Sahara group declined to comment on the report.

David Cameron sees 2012 worst year since 1980s British prime minister David Cameron said that there was no sign of the economy picking up in the new year. He is understood to have told a meeting of the Conservative Party that next year “will be tougher than in the first couple of years under Margaret Thatcher”. He blamed the Liberal Democrats’ unhappiness about his veto at the Brussels summit last week on them “not thinking through” the strategy. Mr Cameron is understood to have said: “The Liberal Democrats were fully accepting the negotiating position but they had not thought through the impact of exercising the veto.”

He reportedly told the meeting: “I am not trying to finish [Ed Miliband] off. The Labour Party has got the leader it wants. You have got the leader you want.” Mr Cameron is facing a fresh uprising by Eurosceptics who fear they have been “sold a pup” over the eurozone treaty.

Even as Conservative MPs applauded Mr Cameron over his European policy, they gave warning that he must “follow through” on his combative approach. Otherwise, sceptics say, Mr Cameron will squander his recent popularity gains. Wary of opposition from Tory backbenchers, Downing Street dismissed suggestions the UK will increase contributions to the International Monetary Fund to help struggling eurozone countries. Mr Cameron last week refused to take part in a new treaty meant to create a “fiscal union” among eurozone members, who will face new rules limiting

their government’s annual deficits. MPs want Mr Cameron to ensure that institutions such as the European Commission and the European Court of Justice are not used to enforce the new treaty. Government sources have privately admitted that Britain will be legally unable to stop the eurozone-plus group using the institutions. Nick Clegg and the Lib Dems are also insisting that Britain should not try to block their use. Some Conservative MPs say Mr Cameron will lose the popularity he won with his party if he does not take a stand.


FINANCIAL VOICE

Asian Voice - Saturday 24th December 2011

19

Wrapping up one for Christmas

Suresh Vagjiani Managing Director Sow & Reap A Property Investment & Financing company.

This week we are trying to conclude a deal I mentioned a few weeks back, one where we have two Lots at £1.25m worth £1.8m. It wasn’t easy to choose the right solicitor for this, as this is crucial in making sure there are no hiccups. The blocks are currently two freehold titles, but we want them chopped into seven re-assignable leases, so we have the option of selling them on. The properties are currently rented and so the other issue is we must serve notice for the tenants to vacate as having them occupied would reduce the price we can fetch for them. The rent currently being achieved is below the market level. Notice would be served to the tenants and we would have to agree to cover any rental during any void periods which the current landlord would have got prior to completion. In choosing a solicitor I didn’t want one who doesn’t speak to me directly or one who doesn’t return calls until days after, also I wanted one who understands what we are trying to do and has all the bases covered, without further input from our side. Someone who focuses solely on property.

Th ere was only one man who tick ed all th e bo xes, a J ewish fellow – n atu rally. Expe nsive, bu t he is t horo ugh and came to u s throug h reco mme ndation. He is th e k ind of g uy who kno ws every little thin g on the case himself and will dire ctly speak t o yo u. He even t ak es t he file with him on holiday so he can arrange exch ang e from wherever he is! He charge s we ll o ve r the od ds, bu t in fairn ess it’s horses f or cou rse s. And this d eal de mand ed this le ve l o f tho rou ghne ss and o n t he ball att itude . The other issue was all this needs to be done on the seller’s side not ours. Therefore this will be his instruction to the solicitor we have chosen. I needed to brief the solicitor, then convince the sellers to use my recommended solicitor not theirs, not always an easy task. Also we wanted the solicitor’s partner firm to act for the buyer - us, so everyone is singing in tune nicely from the same hymn sheet. In all fairness plain vanilla conveyancing isn’t rocket science, this is why you have firms doing it at £299. This is done factory style mostly by administrators who don’t know what they are doing, the services standards tend to be poor and they cannot answer any questions. One of the most dangerous aspects is they do not take a holistic view, and so important considerations can be missed which may not be realised until a while after the transaction has been finished. So in sho rt – if you pay pe an uts you ge t mon keys!

A tale of two cities This is now the end of the year and traditionally the quietest time for property. Valuers, solicitors, and agents are either having their Christmas parties or attending someone else’s and recovering from the hangover the following day, so in short little gets done. It’s a good time to recap what’s gone on in the year and look at which direction to focus in the coming year. One thing is very clear, we are operating as two very separate housing markets in the UK. One is the Central London Market and the other is the rest of the UK. Let’s look at the latter: Index Halifax Nationwide Land Registry Hometrack Rightmove Department of Communities LSL Acadametrics

Annual Change -2.3% +0.8% -2.6% -2.8% +1.2% -1.5% -2.3%

Now here are predictions of what will happen in the future in this market: CEBR forecast prices rising from 2011 to 2016 by 15%. The NIESR says house prices will fall 10.5 per cent in real terms over five years, down 4.5 per cent this year and 1.5 per cent in each subsequent year. The factors dampening the future price growth are pretty clear. loans harder to obtain lenders still have limited funds to give out

austerity measures in the UK Eurozone crises The criteria for obtaining loans is far more stringent these days, gone are the self certification mortgages. These have disappeared totally, so you can only borrow based on exactly what you earn or rather declare to the Inland revenue, problematic for self employed works as usually there’s a disparity between what’s declared and what’s earned. Even for Buy to Let mortgages they have started requesting income proofs and stringent money laundering requirements, when the actual situation is you do not even need to be alive to pay the mortgage as the rental will cover the mortgage payments and other costs. The o ther issue is len ders are still cash strapped. The Special Liqu idity Sch eme (SLS) was in tro duce d in April 2008 t o improve the liqu idity position of t he ban king system by allo wing ban ks and bu il ding so cie ties to swap the ir hig h qu ality mortgage-backed an d o ther se curit ie s for UK Treasury Bills for u p to t hree years. The Scheme was designe d to finance part o f the overhang of ill iq uid assets on ban ks' balance sh eets by exch ang ing them temporarily for more easily tradable assets. This scheme is now be in g unwoun d. Government cuts will be filtering down through the economy - this will result in Public sector job cuts and higher taxes. The Eurozone crisis has said to have impacted heavily on the swap rate money market costs as these influence fixed rate mortgages which will lead to them eventually being increased. Gloomy right? But contrasting this is the profile for central London, where prices have increased by 12.6% in 2011. This means that if you had bought a property for £1m, if purchased in November 2010 it will have increased in price by around £395 per day. A £5m property will have seen price growth equivalent to £2,205 per day. Prime central London residential prices are nearly 40% above their post- Lehman low of March 2009, and are now more than 6% higher than their March 2008 pre-Lehman peak. Prices are now at a record high, which many will find hard to believe. Average prices for prime central London properties have hit £3.19m, meaning that a typical prime London property has risen in value by more than £1,202 per day over the past year. Point of note is this growth has taken place against the backdrop of ever-worsening global economic news and rising threats of a second credit crunch. Despite the dire economic predictions most analysts agree central London prices will carry on rising throughout 2012. In fact it seems the weakening of the pound encourages foreigners to invest giving them a window of opportunity which will not stay open for ever.

We provide a turnkey solution. Contact us now: Specialists in: l Property Sourcing l Mortgages l Commercial Finance l India Properties

UK Sales 0207 313 4595 India Sales 0203 384 5323 Westbourne House, 14-16 Westbourne Grove, London, W2 5RH

Tips of the Week l Though now is a quite time you will still find the seller which needs to sell now….if you look hard enough. l If you're looking at building a portfolio, it may be prudent to set up a structure right from the outset


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financial voIce

Asian Voice - Saturday 24th December 2011

Amit Patel has over 15 years experience in the field of Leadership and Human Resource Management

This Island Nation

maria@abplgroup.com

Maria Fernandes

Fees for appeals Fee charges come into effect for most asylum and immigration appeals from 19 December 2011 and will include asylum, human rights and applications made under EU law. Those who want to appeal against a decision notice dated 19 December 2011 or later will be required to pay a fee. The fee proposed was £65 for a paper appeal, £125 for an oral appeal and £250 for an appeal to to the Upper Tribunal. It remains to be

IMF chief sees repeat of 30s depression

The managing director of the International Monetary Fund Christine Lagarde has warned that the global economy faces the prospect of “economic retraction, rising protectionism, isolation and . . . what happened in the 30s [Depression]”, as European tensions again flared over suggestions in Paris that the UK’s credit rating should be downgraded before France’s. “There is no economy in the world, whether lowincome countries, emerging markets, middle-income countries or super-advanced economies that will be immune to the crisis that we see not only unfolding but escalating,” Christine Lagarde said in a speech at the US state department in Washington. “It is not a crisis that will be resolved by one group of countries taking action. It is going to be hopefully resolved by all countries, all regions, all categories of countries actually taking action. She was speaking after the governor of France’s central bank, in an attack on the “incomprehensible and irrational nature” of credit rating agencies, also angered London officials by suggesting the agencies should target the UK’s rating rather than France’s.

seen what the final figure will be. The funds can only be paid by credit card or debit card and it will be possible to pay online. Applicants who win their cases will be able to ask a Judge to make an order for costs limited to the cost of the fee. The Judge has the discretion to grant this if it is reasonable to do so. A further change is that applicants will need to lodge their appeals at the Tribunal in the UK. It

will will no longer be possible to lodge an appeal at any of the overseas posts. Full details will be available after the 19th December 2011 Maria Fernandes has been in practice exclusively in immigration for the past 25 years. Fernandes Vaz is based at 87 Wembley Hill Road Wembley in Wembley and can be contacted by telephone on 02087330123, by email on info@fernandesvaz.com.

India visualizes major actions as economy falters CLSA, the Singaporebased stockbrokers. “Whatever could go wrong, did go wrong.” Jim O’Neill, chairman of Goldman Sachs Asset Management, calls India’s performance – in spite of its domestically driven, sheltered economy – “disappointing”. Now Mr Mukherjee and his senior advisers fear wilting job creation in an economy that needs to absorb millions of college graduates every year. “The slowdown in industrial growth is of particular concern and its impact on employment,” Mr Mukherjee told the Delhi economic conclave, a meeting of policymakers. He has called for emergency measures to boost the economy and prevent the country returning to what was called the rate of growth of the 1970s and 1980s, nearer 5 per cent. There is little room to manoeuvre. Borrowing costs have risen to counter high inflation, and fiscal deficit targets are under strain. They are likely to come under additional pressure the closer the government comes to parliamentary elections in 2014. “This time the ‘Indian miracle’ has been killed,” says Lord Meghnad Desai, emeritus professor at the London School of Economics and a regular commentator on Indian affairs. “When and if India regains its growth momentum is anyone’s guess,” he said.

Some economists predict that India’s transformation into a high growth economy to rival China is fading fast. They say that once growth starts ebbing, turning the tide to return to higher rates is more difficult. Pranab Mukherjee, India’s finance minister, has last week warned off altering economies in leading emerging markets, reflecting a growing sense of pessimism at home about falling growth and high inflation. Growth in Asia’s third largest economy looks buoyant from the shores of blighted markets in the west, but India’s ruling Congress party is firing warning flares from the deck of a listing ship. The currency falling to record lows of Rs 54 to the dollar, an exit of foreign capital and statements by prominent business people that they would sooner invest abroad than in India. Analysts openly state that India’s highgrowth economy is running out of steam after a shift of expectations from 9 per cent to 7 per cent. A year characterised by corruption scandals and unsightly bickering in parliament is beginning to tell on economic performance. The currency and benchmark local stock indices are among the region’s worst performers. “The year 2011 will probably go down in history as the year of the perfect storm for India,” says Rajeev Malik, economist at

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At the onset of World War 2 the Nazi military swept through Europe with terrifying speed and viciousness. After the conquest of Poland Hitler ordered his armies to advance through Belgium and on towards France. The British Government hastily sent troops to help resist the Nazi surge, but their efforts were no match for the new type of warfare being waged by the German forces. The British forces were fortunate not to be completely annihilated thanks only to the miracle of Dunkirk. Soon France fell and with it Hitler assumed control over the majority of continental Europe. At this time Winston Churchill was appointed as Prime minister and one of his first tasks was to consider an offer from Hitler who promised not to invade Great Britain in return for her allegiance to the Third Reich. It may seem like a rather straightforward decision

today, but at that time Great Britain was alone, isolated and overmatched in military strength. Logic demanded that Hitler’s offer be given serious consideration. Britain could not be certain of being able to put up any effective resistance in the event of a German invasion. At one point it was estimated that there was only one trained soldier to oversee each 3 miles of coastline. It was Britain’s darkest hour. With no one to help and no prospect of the danger diminishing Churchill had to make a decision on whether to follow in the footsteps of France and subjugate itself to Hitler and his Nazi regime. We all know what Churchill did and the outcome of his momentous decision. And while today we can celebrate it as a symbol of defiance, courage and honour, at the time things were not so clear or convincing as they are today. Last week David Cameron took a decision

By Amit Patel

which has left Britain alone, isolated and very much uncertain about what the future will hold. While there has been much speculation about the merits of that decision the fact remains that before we reach the point of total despair and resignation. We must take a moment to remind ourselves that this country has been in such territory before. And now, just as it was then, all we can do is follow our instincts, adhere to our principles and behold our values. Time will judge Cameron’s decision just as it did Churchill’s. And today, just as they were then, Churchill’s words are of great relevance, “In war as in life, it is often necessary when some cherished scheme has failed, to take up the best alternative open, and if so, it is folly not to work for it with all your might”.

India eases on monetary grip India left its key interest rate unchanged on Friday as it decided to put an end to its aggressive anti-inflationary efforts amid fears that it was in danger of choking off economic growth in Asia’s third-largest economy. The Reserve Bank of India left the repo rate – the rate at which the central bank lends to commercial banks – at 8.50 per cent during its quarterly policy review meeting, as it indicated that future measures would centre around stimulating growth at a time when the economy is rapidly cooling. “While inflation remains on its projected trajectory, downside risks to growth have clearly increased,” the RBI said. “From this point on, monetary policy actions are likely to reverse the cycle, responding to the risks to growth,” it said. The decision marks a pause of the strategy that saw the central bank raise rates 13 times since March 2010, as it tried to curb demand in a dogged effort to combat near doubledigit inflation. The decision comes at a

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time when India’s economic growth has been battered by a series of corruption scandals at home and the eurozone debt crisis abroad, which has led to a retreat of foreign capital and a weakening local currency. The rupee rebounded sharply on Friday after a series of measures announced by the RBI to curb speculation in the

praised the policymaker’s decision and said it would help the country’s waning economy regain momentum. India’s economy grew at an annualised 6.9 per cent for the quarter ending September 30, the slowest rate for more than two years. Meanwhile, industrial output dropped 5.1 per cent in October from a year earlier, the first fall in more than two years, highlighting the vulnerability of emerging markets to the eurozone debt crisis. The Indian central bank said it was still concerned about the stubbornly high rate of inflation, which has been hovering around 9 per cent for nearly two years despite the bank’s attempts to tame prices with its tightening of monetary policy. However, the pause is seen by several economists as the first step towards a possible rate cut as policymakers increasingly believe that India’s high growth story – it had been looking for double digit growth – now looks to be falling away. Many believe a rate closer to 5 per cent is more realistic.

currency forward market helped it strengthen. The domestic currency was trading at around Rs 52.60 against the dollar, significantly stronger than on Thursday when it hit a record low of 54.30. The RBI’s decision to hold rates is in contrast with the measures taken by other emerging economies such as Brazil and Indonesia, which have recently cut interest rates in anticipation of a global slowdown. Pranab Mukherjee, India’s finance minister,

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FINANCIAL VOICE

Asian Voice - Saturday 24th December 2011

21

Foreign Exchange Rajesh Agrawal is the Chairman & CEO of RationalFX, Currency Specialists. For any further information call 020 7220 8181 or e-mail info@rationalfx.com

Global Market Decline

Weekly Currencies As of Tuesday 20th December 2011 @ 10am GBP - INR = 82.88

The week began with global markets in decline as negative investor sentiment and fading hope for the Euro kicked in. Bonds hit record highs again and sell offs for the Euro saw both the USD and GBP increase sharply. The markets have proved that last week’s talks were not sufficient enough to bolster government balance sheets and that both Germany and the ECB need to reaffirm their commitment to stand behind the sovereign debt crisis. This trend continued mid week as a raft of poor data released

fuelled investor concerns regarding the viability of the outcomes reached in Brussels last week. The difficulty in implementing any liquidity and budgetary discipline means that markets are quickly losing faith in the restoration of the Euro and are shying away to other currencies such as the Pound. Later in the week it was Italy’s turn to take centre stage, as they were forced to pay record interest rates of 6.47% on future loans in a bond auction. Further data released points towards Italy as being at high risk and markets are no longer convinced of the sustainability of “forza Italia.” This led to further declines for the Euro with EUR/GBP breaching a record10 month low. In the US, Chairman Bernanke and his fellow policy makers are likely to start another round of Fed asset purchases for quantitative easing next

USD - INR = 53.04 EUR - INR = 69.34 GBP - USD = 1.56 GBP - EUR = 1.20 EUR - USD = 1.31 GBP - AED = 5.74 GBP - CAD = 1.61 GBP - NZD = 2.05 GBP - AUD = 1.57 quarter. The Fed is due to buy $545 billion in home-loan debt, a figure which is based on the median of firms that provided estimates. However, the dollar did fair better than its counterparts with positive US Consumer Confidence results, at its highest level in 2 months, which is a strong indicator in lifting sentiment during the festive period. This week we may see Sterling come under pressure

ahead of the Bank of England minutes possibly showing an increased willingness to expand monetary policy further. In light of the recent comments from the BoE, it seems as though the statement will highlight the increased risk of a double-dip recession, and the central bank may talk up speculation for additional monetary support as policy makers see a greater risk of undershooting the 2% target for inflation.

GBP - ZAR = 13.00 GBP - HUF = 361.57

www.rationalfx.com Information provided by RationalFX. None of the information on this page constitutes, nor should be construed as financial advice. The exchange rates used are the commercial foreign exchange rates provided by RationalFX. For a live quote or to find out more about how RationalFX can help you, call us on 0207 220 8181.


22

Pakistan-Bangladesh-sri lanka

Asian Voice - Saturday 24th December 2011

Sri Lankan army commanders In focus Afghan rape victim freed 'assassinated surrendering Tamils' Colombo: Sri Lankan army commanders were ordered by the country's leaders to assassinate surrendering Tamils in the final phase of the long and brutal civil war, according to a senior former military officer. The claims are contained in a sworn deposition made by a career officer who rose to the rank of major general before he fled the country in fear of his life to seek asylum in the United States. He is the highest ranking person to assert that atrocities against Tamil rebels and civilians were sanctioned at the highest echelons of the government. The source had the highest security clearance and close contact with some of the army's most powerful figures. His testimony contradicted a governmentappointed commission, which concluded that Sri

Lanka's military did not intentionally target civilians. The Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission report, which was released last week, said some isolated allegations of civilian abuses by security forces needed to be investigated further, suggesting that any violations could only have resulted from soldiers who were not following orders. That assertion flew in

the face of an extensive United Nations report that accused the government of deliberately shelling civilian areas and possibly killing tens of thousands of people in the final months. In his deposition, the major general says that he was informed that Gotabaya Rajapaksa, the defence secretary and brother of President Mahindra Rajapaksa, passed on "some instruc-

53 kids chained in Pak madrassa freed Islamabad: Pakistani police rescued 53 madrassa students, some as young as seven, who had been chained in the basement of a Karachi seminary, unearthing gruesome tales of dungeon torture and visits by Pakistani Taliban instructors, who some claimed were starting to prepare them to join the terror group's jihad on the Afghan front. After the raid on the seminary, Pakistani police said they were probing the institution's possible links to terrorist groups. Pakistani authorities have long suspected that some of these seminaries are involved in brainwashing students to join violent extremists, including the Taliban operating in the country's tribal northwest. "We are being made mujahideen here. We are being made Taliban here. They say you should get

training... we will send you to fight," a student told Pakistan's Geo TV. The disclosure forced Pakistan's interior minister Rehman Malik to order a thorough probe into the Zakariya madrassa's role in training the children, sent there by poor families for religious education, to

become terrorist fighters. Pakistan police said the chained students rescued from a Karachi madrassa were beaten and barely fed and that they have begun investigations into the seminary links to violent militant groups. "The rescued students included kids as young as

seven and 21 teenagers,'' a police officer said. He said most victims had signs of torture and developed wounds from the chains. The police arrested some clerics, but the head cleric, who had arrived recently from Pakistan's Khyber Pakhtoon Khwa, bordering Afghanistan, and his four accomplices managed to flee. A rescued student told reporters that he had been kept confined for 30 days. "I did not see the sky or the sun even once," he told reporters at a police station, where the students were questioned and then handed over to their relatives. He said their captors whipped them with belts and forced them to beg for food. Another student said he was kept chained in the basement for the past month. "They also tortured me severely during this period. I was beaten with sticks."

tions to a field commander to get rid of those LTTE [Tamil Tiger] cadres [who] are surrendering without adhering to normal procedures". Such an order, he said, "should come from either the secretary of the defence, with the knowledge of the president involved. He also has to be kept informed. The commanders could not undertake such decisions." It has been estimated that 20,000 people or more died in the closing months of the civil war in 2009. The source, whose name has been withheld, confirmed that assassinating Tamil Tigers who had been captured or surrendered became "standard operating procedure" as the Sri Lankan military forces closed in on the last rebel resistance on a strip of land on the island's northeastern coast.

Zardari returns to Pakistan Karachi: Pakistan president Asif Ali Zardari, has returned home on Sunday after completing his medical treatment in Dubai. His special plane, equipped with medical facilities, landed at the PAF base Masroor in Karachi. Zardari was accompanied by his daughter, Asifa Bhutto Zardari. Senior Pakistan People's Party (PPP) leaders welcomed him at the airport. The medical team accompanying Zardari declared him completely fit to resume his official duties. Earlier, Pakistan Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani had dispelled claims of a rift between the country's military establishment and the government following a meeting with army chief General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani and a telephone conversation with Zardari. Sources had earlier said that Zardari's core team made the decision to return to Pakistan. Sources said Zardari would rest at Bilawal House till December 26.

Yousuf Raza Gilani asks US to respect Pak's 'red lines' Islamabad: The US must respect Pakistan's 'red lines' and give a guarantee that there will be no transgression of the country's borders in order to regain Islamabad's cooperation in the war on terrorism, prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said on Friday. Gilani made the remarks during a meeting with US Ambassador Cameron Munter, who "emphasised that both Pakistan and the US should fully cooperate to fight the menace of terrorism," said a statement from the Premier's office. Pakistan "wanted to work with the US to defeat

the common enemy" of terrorism, Gilani said. "The prime minister, however, made it clear to the Ambassador that Pakistan's red lines should be respected, adding that the US must ensure respect for the national

sovereignty and territorial integrity of Pakistan with the guarantee of nonoccurrence of the transgression of Pakistan's frontiers in future," the statement said. Anti-terrorism cooperation between the two countries has virtually stopped after a cross-border NATO air strike on two military posts killed 24 Pakistani soldiers on November 26. Pakistan closed all NATO supply routes and forced US personnel to vacate Shamsi airbase, which was used by IAoperated drones. Gilani had referred to Pakistan's 'red lines' for

cooperating with the US while making a policy statement in parliament on Thursday. He had said the conditions included "sovereign equality and mutual respect, no unilateral actions inside Pakistan or against Pakistan and no transgression of our territorial frontiers." The Premier told the US envoy that "it was his primary responsibility to safeguard Pakistan's dignity and honour." In a reference to the NATO air strike, he said: "Respect for sovereignty and nonrepeat of unilateral action were the very minimum that Pakistan expected."

Kabul: An Afghan woman who was jailed for "forced adultery" after a relative raped her, then pardoned following an international outcry over the case, has been released nearly two weeks after a judicial panel said she could go free, her lawyer said. "She was released last night," said lawyer Kimberley Motley. "She's happy that she's in a safer place. "Sex outside marriage - even in cases of rape - is one of several "moral crimes" for which women are imprisoned in Afghanistan. Gulnaz, now 21, was attacked by her cousin's husband in 2009 and then given a two-year sentence for "adultery by force". She gave birth to a daughter behind bars.

Aid 'freeze' to Pakistan can be waived: US Washington: As the US Congress agreed to freeze close to $700 million in aid to Pakistan, the Obama administration sought to assure its estranged ally that the legislation merely includes a reporting requirement and that too could be waived. The freeze provision is part of a giant $662 billion defence budget for fiscal 2012 passed by US Senate by 86-13 votes last week, a day after the US House of Representatives approved it by 283-136 votes. It will now be sent to President Barack Obama, who has said he would reluctantly sign it after months of fighting over the handling of suspected terrorists, especially those who are US citizens.

Build ties like India does, Pak tells Afghanistan New York: Citing the "enormous maturity" shown by India in dealing with Indo-Pak issues, Pakistan has advised Afghanistan to "take a leaf out of the Indian book" and learn about building ties, instead of engaging in an "accusatory game" towards it. Even if a "leaf falls on the grass in Afghanistan", president Hamid Karzai points a finger towards Islamabad saying the "Pakistanis must have done it", Pakistan's ambassador to the UN Abdullah Hussain Haroon said. "It does not work that way. I think India would be a good example for Karzai to follow in which he should realize that this accusatory game gets no where," he said.

Pak honours Dilip Kumar, Raj Kapoor Islamabad: The ancestral homes of Bollywood legends Dilip Kumar and Raj Kapoor in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar will be given the status of national heritage sites, a provincial minister said. Mian Iftikhar Hussain, the information minister of KhyberPakhtunkhwa province, said both actors were a "source of pride for our land" as they were born in Peshawar and steps would be taken to protect their homes in the famous Qissa Khwani Bazar. Hussain made the remarks while interacting with the media during a visit to the erstwhile homes of the Bollywood stars.

Fonseka loses appeal against jail term Colombo: A Sri Lankan Appeal Court rejected former Army chief Sarath Fonsekaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s plea against his 30-month jail term. The Appeal Court in a unanimous decision upheld the verdict of the court martial which sentenced Mr Fonseka in September of 2010. The military court martial found Mr Fonseka guilty of following wrong procedure in procurements when he headed the Army between 2005 and 2009. Mr Fonseka was also sentenced to a three year prison term by the High Court last month for newspaper comments that surrendering LTTE rebels had been killed on the orders of the Defence Secretary Gotabhya Rajapaksa.

Mob kills 10 suspected pirates in Bangladesh Dhanka: Bangladesh police say fishermen have beaten to death 10 suspected pirates who were wounded in a gunfight with security forces. Local police chief Bashir Ahmed says the wounded men were being brought to a police station late when hundreds of angry fishermen snatched them from police and beat them to death. He said that police were far outnumbered by the mob and could not save the suspected pirates.

5 Tamil Nadu fishermen arrested by Lankan navy Rameswaram: In the second such incident in over two weeks, five fishermen from Tamil Nadu were taken into custody by Sri Lankan naval force personnel when they were fishing near Katchatheevu, officials said. Fisheries department officials said the Lankan navy chased fishermen who had put to sea in 711 boats and rounded up three boats. However, fishermen in two boats managed to escape but five fishermen in the third boat were taken into custody. The Lankan navy also seized their boat and took the fishermen to Sri Lanka, officials said.

Pak court probes Zardari's knowledge of memo Islamabad: Pakistan's Supreme Court began a hearing on whether president Asif Ali Zardari knew of a secret memo to Washington that has raised tensions between the government and the military. Zardari's sudden departure on Dec. 6 was gleefully portrayed by his critics as the flight of a guilty man from the country, and there was feverish speculation about his health.


worLd

Asian Voice - Saturday 24th December 2011

In focus

Obama names Nancy Powell as India envoy Washington: US president Barack Obama has named Nancy Powell, a career diplomat who has served as ambassador to Pakistan and to Nepal, to be the next ambassador to India and fill a half-year vacancy. Powell, who holds the rank of career ambassador, a prestigious title given only to select career diplomats based on their service, takes the place of Timothy J. Roemer, a political appointee who resigned in June. In a statement announcing Powell's appointment and a separate appointee, Obama said: "These fine public servants both bring a depth of experience and tremendous dedication to their new roles.â&#x20AC;?

200 migrants feared dead as boat sinks off Indonesia Watulimo (Indonesia): Two hundred migrants, mostly from Afghanistan and Iran, were feared to have perished as the boat in which they were traveling to seek asylum in Australia sank off Indonesia. Thirty-three survivors were plucked from shark-infested waters after 6 hours. The boat was crammed with 250 asylum seekers. "It's impossible even for a good swimmer with a life vest to swim to shore safely in such extreme conditions. When boats sink like this, the bodies usually surface on the third day," an Indonesian official said.

BAPS Toronto Mandir gets $50,000 aid Toronto: Swaminarayan temple in Toronto has received $50,000 in government aid to improve its security. Communities across Canada are eligible for up to $1,00,000 (Rs 52.52 lakh) in federal funding to help secure or protect halls or places of prayer from vandalism, graffiti and other forms of hate crime. V J Patel of BAPS Swaminarayan Temple said about $50,000 (Rs 26.26 lakh) was received to help with fencing and other security needs.

Philippines declares calamity as storm toll nears 1,000 Iligan (Philippines): Philippine President Benigno Aquino declared on Tuesday a state of national calamity after flash floods and land slides caused by a typhoon swept through a southern region late last week, killing about 1,000 people and leaving tens of thousands homeless. The national disaster agency said 957 were killed and 49 were missing, with most of the casualties in the cities of Cagayan de Oro and Iligan in the Mindanao region. Aquino held meetings with officials in the two cities, worst-hit by water, mud and logs that swept down mountains as residents in riverside and coastal villages slept in the early hours of Saturday.

French ex-President Chirac guilty of corruption Paris: A French court has given former president Jacques Chirac a two-year suspended prison sentence for diverting public funds and abusing public trust. Mr Chirac, 79, was not in court to hear the verdict because of ill-health but denied wrongdoing. President from 1995 to 2007, he was put on trial on charges that dated back to his time as mayor of Paris. He was accused of paying members of his Rally for the Republic (RPR) party for municipal jobs that did not exist.

India, Russia sign deal for another 42 Sukhoi combat planes

Moscow: India signed a fresh agreement with Russia for the licensed production of 42 Sukhoi fighters for which the Russians will provide technical and equipment support. The new deal comes a week after an Indian Air Force (IAF) Sukhoi Su-30MKI crashed near Pune in Maharashtra following which the entire fleet of 120 planes in six squadrons has been grounded while the case of the accident is investigated. The deal was among five pacts signed after delegation-level talks between visiting Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh and Russian president Dmitry Medvedev.

Gillard to get more salary than Obama Melbourne: With Australian politicians pay set to rise, prime minister Julia Gillard's salary will touch a whopping USD 476,000, more than what US President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron earn. The pay rises were based on recommendations following an independent review. After the pay hike, Gillard's salary will touch 481,000 Australian dollars (USD 476,000) from 367,000 Australian dollars. She will earn more than the US President, who is paid about 400,000 Australian dollars, and Cameron, whose salary is about 221,000 Australian dollars.

Thousands rally in Moscow, St. Petersburg Moscow: Thousands took to the streets of Moscow and St. Petersburg for a second weekend of protests over Russia's fraud-tainted parliamentary vote. About 4,000 supporters of the Communist Party rallied just outside the walls of the Kremlin on a snowy on Sunday afternoon. They demanded a re-count of the vote and the government's resignation. In St. Petersburg, a rally in a central square drew about 3,000 people from various political parties and movement. Protesters chanted: "Russia without Putin!''

23

syria signs Arab League pact to allow in monitors Damascus: Syria has signed an agreement to allow observers to monitor its implementation of an Arab League initiative to end the crackdown on anti-government protests. Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem said the deal had been signed at the Arab League's headquarters in Cairo. He said the Arab

Egypt's Islamists claim sweep of 2nd round vote Cairo: Egypt's two leading Islamist parties said on Sunday their separate party lists secured about three-quarters of votes cast in the second round of a parliamentary election, extending their lead in the three-stage vote. A source from the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party said it was on track to win about 40 per cent of votes for party lists, based on results from most districts. A spokesman for the ultra-conservative Salafi al-Nour Party said its list received about 35 per cent of votes. In the first round of the six-week poll, the FJP won about 37 per cent of votes for lists and Nour secured about 24 per cent. The poll is the first since President Hosni Mubarak was ousted in February.

League had accepted amendments demanded by Damascus. The Arab League had threatened to ask the UN Security Council to adopt its peace plan to end the crackdown, which has left more than 5,000 people dead. Human rights activists said security forces had killed at least six civilians on Monday, including

three in al-Quriya, near the south-eastern city of Deir al-Zour. They were shot dead during clashes between troops and army defectors, the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. The other three deaths were reported in the southern province of Deraa. At least 15 civilians

and six soldiers were killed on Sunday, activists said. At a news conference in Damascus, Mr Muallem said the Syrian government had agreed to the Arab League's peace initiative because it wanted a "political solution to the crisis in order to emerge from it in the best way possible". 2009, calling for democratic reform.

US forces mark end of Iraq mission

Baghdad: US forces formally marked the end of their mission in Iraq with a low-key ceremony near Baghdad last week, after nearly nine years of war that began with the invasion to topple Saddam Hussein. There are a little more than 4,000 US soldiers in Iraq, but they will depart in the coming days, at which point almost no more American troops will remain in a country where there were once nearly 170,000 personnel on more than 500 bases. The withdrawal ends a war that left tens of thousands of Iraqis and nearly 4,500 American soldiers dead, many more wounded, and 1.75 million Iraqis displaced, after the 2003 US-led invasion unleashed

brutal sectarian fighting. "After a lot of blood spilled by Iraqis and Americans, the mission of an Iraq that could govern itself has become real," US

Defence Secretary Leon Panetta said at the symbolic flag-lowering ceremony staged near Baghdad's airport. "Iraq will be tested in the days ahead -- by terrorism and by those who would seek to divide it, by economic and social

issues, by the demands of democracy itself," said Panetta. But the US "will stand by the Iraqi people as they navigate those challenges." "This is a time for Iraq to look forward. This is an opportunity for Iraq to forge ahead on a path to security and prosperity," he said. "And we undertake this transition today reminding Iraq that it has in the United States a committed friend and partner. We owe it to all of the lives that were sacrificed in this war not to fail." Panetta described the US withdrawal as "nothing short of miraculous" and "one of the most complex logistical undertakings in US military history."

N Korean leader Kim Jong-il dead, son hailed as heir Seoul: North Korean leader Kim Jong-il died of a heart attack while on a train trip, state media reported on Monday, sparking immediate concern over who is in control of the reclusive state and its nuclear programme. A tearful television announcer said the 69year-old had died on Saturday of physical and mental over-work on his way to give "field guidance" - a reference to advice dispensed by the "Dear Leader" on his trips to factories, farms and military bases. Kim Jong-un, Kim Jong-il's youngest son, was

named by North Korea's official news agency KCNA as the "great successor" to his father, which lauded him as "the outstanding leader of our party, army and people". Little is known of Jong-un who is believed to be in his late 20s and was appointed to senior political and military posts in 2010. KCNA news agency said the elder Kim died at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday (2330 GMT on Friday) after "an advanced acute myocardial infarction, complicated with a serious heart shock". Kim had suffered a stroke in 2008, but

h a d appeared to have re c o v e re d from that ailment. South Korea, still technically at war with the North, placed its troops and all government workers on emergency alert but Seoul's Defence Ministry said there were no signs of any unusual North Korean troop movements and President Lee Myung-bak called for people to carry on with their normal lives.

Lee held talks with President Barack Obama over the telephone as the United States is the main guarantor of South Korea's security. Seoul was also due to hold talks with government officials in Tokyo.

US mulling sale of armed drones to India

Washington: US is eyeing to sell its battle proved armed drones to key allies, including India, but the move is being opposed by lawmakers who don't want the technology to be exported. "The Pentagon wants more North Atlantic Treaty Organization members to have such pilotless aircraft to ease the burden on the US in Afghanistan and in future conflicts like the alliance's air campaign in Libya this year," Obama Administration officials were quoted by media

reports. It is believed that India would be one of the potential target countries for the US to sell its drones. India has been purchasing drones from Israel for quite some time now, and has been developing its drone capabilities, but

does not have armed drones like the Predators and Reapers used by US security agencies with devastating effect against alQaeda and Taliban targets in Pakistan. "The Pentagon's proposed sales have set off a behind-the-scenes debate between the administration and some members of Congress over whether the US should speed the spread of a technology that will allow other countries to carry out military strikes by remote control," the report said.

Drones have been highly successful in the war against terrorism in Afghanistan and Pakistan and also in countries like Yemen and Somalia. However, the report some lawmakers are resisting to such a move from the Administration. "There are some military technologies that I believe should not be shared with other countries, regardless of how close our partnership," said Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein.


24

INDIA

Asian Voice - Saturday 24th December 2011

Pakistani woman spy had Modi on terror radar

A Pakistani woman spy and her companion were arrested as they planned to attack Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi and other targets in Gujarat. The spy and her companion were pushed into India from ISI's launch pads in Nepal. Both jihadis, Soofia Kanwal and her accomplice Imran, were trained to trigger blasts and were being remote-controlled by their masters in Pakistan. These startling facts came to the fore during their interrogation by Special Cell sleuths. Soofia and Imran, both from Karachi, had also been assigned to recce Akshardham Temple in Ahmedabad and the Cantonment areas in Agra and Delhi, said a police officer. "They have not revealed details of their plan to kill Modi. We are investigating whether Lashkar, Indian Mujahideen or Jaish were providing them logistics," said a police officer. Delhi Police has alerted Gujarat Police about the threat to Modi. Police are also questioning spies about the

By Rajen Vakil

Story of Mandhata (Part 2) Introduction to Mandhata

training programmes they underwent in Pakistan. Both were well-versed in techniques used by different terror organisations. Sleuths have also stumbled upon fresh evidence on how Indian Mujahideen terrorists were keeping in touch. IM's India chief Siddi Bappa alias Shahrukh had instructed all module members to use different SIM cards for calling each other and he himself carried several phones with different connections, said a sleuth. In fact, Special Cell has reportedly recovered 30 SIM cards of different operators and different

states from those arrested. "Indian Mujahideen members had procured all SIM cards on the basis of fake documents," he said. "They would keep changing numbers every two weeks to evade police. Shahrukh had reportedly given different numbers to each member. He would not talk to Ajmal on Irshad's number or to Qateel on Farooq's number. Members also did not know about the different numbers of different modules," said a senior police officer. Police said the recovered SIM cards would help them track down their visits to different states.

Another shocker for UPA: clamour for Chidambaram's 'dismissal'

The already buffeted UPA government was dealt yet another blow with the opposition in one voice clamouring for the dismissal of home minister P. Chidambaram who found himself in more trouble last week following a media report imputing that he ignored conflict of interest to bail out a hotelier who was his former client when he was a practising attorney. Even as the Congress party defended Chidambaram, already under legal scanner over his alleged role in telecom spectrum pricing, the opposition, that has the government on the mat on a number of issues, pounced on it with Bharatiya Janata Party (BJ) leader Yashwant Singh asking prime minister Manmohan Singh to 'dismiss' the home minister for his 'criminal offence'. According to reliable sources, after the furore over the issue in parliament, Delhi Lt Governor Tejendra Khanna revoked the home ministry decision of withdrawal of prosecution in the case. Both houses of parliament plunged into chaos and were adjourned for the day following a report in The Pionner alleging that the home minister had helped the hotelier who was his client when he was a practising lawyer. Chidambaram was not in either house when the opposition raised the issue and has not reacted

In divine light

BJP boycotts Chidambaram

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the main opposition party in Parliament boycotted Chidambaram on Tuesday when he stood up to give an answer during Question Hour in the Lok Sabha. BJP demanded Chidambaram's resignation, alleging that he had misused his office to help a local businessman he once represented as a lawyer. It also decided to submit a privilege notice against Chidambaram for speaking on the issue outside Parliament. Earlier, Chidambaram had denied in front of media that he or his ministry had given any order to the Delhi Police to drop all cases against SP Gupta to the report. BJP members showed copies of the English daily that had published the report on Chidambaram's alleged interest in the legal dispute involving the Delhi-based hotel and its owners after he became home minister last year. The report alleged that the home ministry had earlier this year, with the approval of Chidambaram, directed the withdrawal of three FIRs against his client S.P. Gupta, accused of cheating and forgery. 'The conflict of interest relates to a politically sensitive case in which Chidambaram's client S.P. Gupta, a hotelier, was also

accused... The main case against Gupta was defrauding to the tune of several crores of rupees,' according to the newspaper. BJP MP Chandan Mitra, editor of the daily, raised the issue in the Rajya Sabha alleging that the home minister had misused his power. 'Chidambaram misused his powers. He instructed the Delhi government and Delhi Police to withdraw charges. We think it is a big case of conflict of interest. Chidambambaram has no moral authority to remain the home minister, he should resign,' Mitra said. The home ministry, according to the report, had consulted the law ministry for a legal opinion -- that the power vested in the government could be exercised in such cases in the interest of proper administration of justice. The case dates back to 1999 when owners of the luxury Metropolitan Hotel, Gupta and his company Sunair Hotels were involved in a legal battle with private firm VLS Finance Ltd that claims to have funded the hotel project. Chidambaram, who was an opposition MP represented Sunair Hotels in the case, according to the report. But the home ministry said Chidambaram had no role to play in withdrawing Gupta's prosecution.

Previously, we saw that Mandhata acquired the knowledge of the Vedas, weapons, and warfare in a flash. The weapons he acquired were a bow called ‘Ajagav’, arrows made out of horns, and armour that was impenetrable. Lord Indra himself performed the ceremony to anoint him as king. Just as Lord Vishnu had done before him, Mandhata won over the earth in three steps. The power of Mandhata was such that it invited the flow of wealth from everywhere. The earth itself willingly yielded immense amounts of precious stones to him. The king used the wealth to perform many yagnas in which he freely gave charity to numerous Brahmins. Owing to the spiritual grace he got from the yagnas, he was even able to share half of Indra’s kingdom. In one of the yagnas he performed, the whole earth was included, not an inch of earth was spare and the seas were covered with agnihotras. When Mandhata became king, the kingdom and its people had been suffering from a drought for twelve years, with no grain to eat. Mandhata asked Lord Indra to provide his kingdom with

Cabinet nod for expat doctors to practice, teach in India The government of India has cleared the National Council of Human Resources in Health (NCHRH) Bill that allows doctors who hold the Overseas Citizens of India (OCI) status to work in India. They can also join medical college as faculty. The move has been initiated primarily to reduce the country's acute doctor shortage. India has one doctor for 1,953 people, or a density of 0.5 doctors per 1,000. The Planning Commission says the country is short of six lakh doctors, 10 lakh nurses and two lakh dental surgeons. Union health secretary P K Pradhan said, "We expect the Bill to come up in Parliament next week since it got cleared by the Cabinet. It will then go to the standing committee." The Bill also brings in penal provisions against authorities running private medical colleges who fudge figures like bed strength, number of faculty members or infrastructure to get registration.

rain. Indra refused and so the king personally forced the clouds to shed water which ended the drought. This was a task which till then only Indra could perform. Mandhata defeated and killed the king of Gandhar, the most powerful king at that time. Thus, he ruled unopposed as the lord of the earth. This great king performed his last yagna on the ground called Kurukshetra. On this holy ground, the great war of Mahabharata would be fought, where good will overcome evil. Let us try to see what the story symbolizes. The student of yoga tries to build the astral body, an inner body separate from the physical. We get a small glimpse of what the astral means in our

dreams. This body has a life of its own after the death of the physical. If the student has worked well to build this body, his consciousness continues even in death. In the astral world, time and space change, that’s how Mandhata acquired the knowledge of the scriptures and warfare in an instant. When the inner body is being built, it must be protected from people’s negative thoughts, signified by Mandhata’s impenetrable armour. Just as the raw material for the physical body is food, the raw material for the astral is prana, which comes in with breath. Mandhata’s bow represents the diaphragm, he was breathing in a special way. It was called ‘Ajagav’ which comes from ‘gati’ to move implying the movement of prana. To be able do this requires total control over attention, symbolized by the arrows he possesses. Gandhar, means smell, a ‘guna’ of the element earth. Mandhata defeating the king of Gandhar shows that he is free of the cycle of the earth or life and death.

All past articles on the Mahabharata can be accessed from http://epaper.asianvoice.com or from http://www.3stepbreath.com/mahabharata.html

Ahmedabad wins Centre's accolade for supporting poor The government of India has awarded another accolade to Ahmedabad city. Ahmedabad bagged the national award in the category of 'Best City in the Implementation of Basic Services to Urban Poor (BSUP)' under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) scheme. The award was received in Delhi by Nitin Patel, the state's urban development minister, and Ahmedabad mayor Asit Vora. The awards were given away by Union urban development minister Kamal Nath at the sixth annual conference held in Delhi. The state government also received a cheque of Rs 300,000 as an incentive. The concerted efforts of the Gujarat government, the Union government, and Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) have helped in overhauling the city's physical and civic infra-

structure through various schemes. Under JNNURM, Rs 5.24 billion had been approved for constructing 32,640 houses, of which 28,522 dwelling units have been constructed and 24,052 already allotted to beneficiaries. Earlier, the AMC had also received a national award for 'Innovations in Services to Urban Poor (Housing)' from the Centre. Patel pointed out that the Gujarat government had effected various measures to cope with rapid urbanization. He said that AMC had constructed two ring roads on the outskirts of the city to tackle traffic jams at the entry and exit points. Such schemes shall be implemented in other cities as well to control traffic congestion with the aid of central government. Principal secretary (urban development) I P Gautam and municipal commissioner Guruprasad Mohapatra were present at the awards ceremony.


InDIA

Asian Voice - Saturday 24th December 2011

In focus 57 militants surrender in Manipur

Fifty-seven militants belonging to different outfits have surrendered before the state government and army officials in Imphal. The militants surrendered their weapons in a ceremony attended by Manipur chief cinister Ibobi Singh and other high officials of Indian Army and police. They also surrendered a huge cache of weapons, including AK-47 rifles, carbines, 7.65 mm pistols, etc. The chief minister stated that the return of the militants to the mainstream is a victory of the state government in combating militancy in the state.

Ajit Singh sworn in as aviation minister Rashtriya Lok Dal leader Ajit Singh was on Sunday sworn in as cabinet minister in a brief ceremony at Rashtrapati Bhavan. Singh’s induction as civil aviation minister is seen as UPA’s strategy to mobilize Jat voters in western UP in its favour as it comes days after he struck an electoral deal with Congress. The move is also aimed at strengthening UPA’s tally as the government is finding difficult to push through several important legislations in Parliament. RLD has five members in Lok Sabha, including Singh and his son Jayant Chaudhary.

Bhagwati named envoy to UK India has proposed Jamini Bhagwati, presently the country's ambassador to the European Union in Brussels, as the next high commissioner to the UK. A British foreign office official said the agreement sent by the Indian government in this respect “will be processed speedily.” Bhagwati is unlikely to take over before the New Year. The post has been vacant since Nalin Surie retired in July. Rajesh Prasad has been the acting high commissioner since. Bhagwati, a secretary level 1976 batch IFS officer, has been in Brussels for over three years. He has a PhD in finance from Tufts University.

Jayalalithaa expels close aide Sasikala from AIADMK

AIADMK supremo Jayalalithaa expelled her close aide V K Sasikala and her husband M Natarajan besides 10 others from the party's primary membership. The drastic action against Sasikala, who had enjoyed absolute confidence of Jayalalithaa was announced in a brief statement by the AIADMK chief, who also told her partymen not to have any truck with the expelled members. Sasikala, also an AIADMK executive member, Natarajan and their relatives, including T T V Dinakaran and Jayalalithaa's disowned foster son V N Sudhakaran are being expelled from all posts, including the party's primary membership, she said.

No plan to censor web, says Sibal The government held a dialogue with social networking firms seeking their views on effective use of these platforms and is also working on guidelines for its own officials on how to make good use of the social media to reach out to wider population. The discussion came a few days after IT minister Kapil Sibal asked internet firms to ensure that no defamatory and incendiary materail is uploaded. Sibal’s remarks had sparked a huge controversy. Sibal asserted that there was no question of censorship of internet.

Rajasthan clerk held for spying for Pakistan A 25-year-old government clerk was arrested Monday in Rajasthan's Sri Ganganagar district on charges of spying for Pakistan, police said. Pawan Sharma, was employed as a lower divisional clerk in the sub-divisional magistrate (SDM) office at Suratgarh town in the border district. Pawan was under surveillance of state police's special operations group for a few days. He was booked under sections of the Official Secrets Act. Pawan will be presented in a court, a police official said.

Cold wave claims 7 lives in north India Seven people died as temperature in north India dipped at several places with the hills as well as the plains being in the grip of heavy fog and biting cold. Four people died in Pratapgarh and two in Farrukhabad due to accidents following poor visibility, taking the toll in Uttar Pradesh to 35 this winter. One person died in Amritsar due to extreme cold, according to police reports.

World’s shortest woman stands tall Being short has brought Jyoti Amge a tall reward. Standing at just over two feet in height, Jyoti celebrated her 18th birthday with what she calls as the ‘best gift possible’. Jyoti has been declared as the world’s shortest living woman by the Guinness World Records (GWR), beating the current record holder by a huge margin. Rob Molloy, adjudicator for GWR, said, “Jyoti was measured by an accredited medical doctor under GWR supervision and her height has been noted at 62.8cm. The current record is held by Bridgette Jordan, an American, who stands at 69cm. Jyoti also became an adult, hence we declare her as the shortest living woman in the world.”

Anna Hazare threatens fast, ‘jail bharo’ agitation Expressing disappointment with the new draft Lokpal Bill to be tabled in Parliament, Anna Hazare on Tuesday said he would fast for three days from December 27, followed by a three-day ‘jail bharo’ agitation. “I will fast on December 27, 28 and 29. This will be followed by a three-day jail bharo from December 30. After this, I will go to five states (where Assembly polls are due) and campaign against the (Congress-led) government,” Mr. Hazare said. Maintaining that the government’s intentions on bringing an effective Lokpal Bill were “suspect”, Mr. Hazare said the government was ignoring the “voice of the people”. “The common man’s life has become miserable due to all-pervasive corruption. But the government has become blind. It cannot see or hear the suffering of the people,” he said. “Let the government go its way, we will go our way. I have decided that I will continue to fight till

there is life in me,” Mr. Hazare said. Asked if he agreed with the provisions of the draft sought to be tabled in Parliament, he said, “We say, bring in whatever draft, but end corruption.” Mr. Hazare was also opposed to centralisation of the grievance redress mechanism in the draft bill. “For a ration card, you will need to go to Delhi,” he said, adding Uttarakhand had brought a good Lokayukta bill. Team Anna member Arvind Kejriwal said, “In our JanLokpal Bill, we had provided for redress mechanism at the block level.” Meanwhile, with government appearing not keen on bringing CBI under Lokpal, Team Anna raised the pitch over the proposed legislation alleging that the UPA was making a fool of the whole country as it was not letting control over the investigative agency go. Team Anna also asked the BJP whether it was firm on a strong Lokpal as it was on issues of JPC probe into 2G scam and

FDI in retail and cautioned the opposition party against “double speak” on the question of bringing CBI under the ombudsman. Lokpal Bill cleaned up Meanwhile, Parliament session may be extended by three days to pass legislation With the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government's drafting team finally cleared the text of the controversial Lokpal Bill on Monday the parliament session may be extended by three days to pass the legislation. A group of senior Ministers P. Chidambaram, Kapil Sibal and Salman Khursheed all lawyers and members of the original joint drafting committee with Anna Hazare - and MoS in the Prime Minister's Office and Department of Personnel V. Narayanasamy met in the afternoon in the office of the home minister Chidambaram, who chaired the meeting. It went through the draft Bill, clause by clause, and “cleaned” it up.

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Dow agrees to drop its logo from London Olympics, IOA not happy Continued from page 1 The Indian government too has been vocal about it's displeasure at Dow's association with the Games. Even in Britan, the tide has been rising against the deal with several politicians voicing opposition to it. In fact, leading British politicians had signed an 11,000-strong petition asking the organisers to drop Dow. Besides, claims were made that the Parliament was misled about elements of the deal. The report claimed that an unnamed artist now working on the wrap insisted on 'artistic integrity,' which meant not using Dow’s logo. MP Barry Gardiner, who chairs the All Party Parliamentary Group on India, was reported as saying: “This decision at last indicates Dow is showing some shame and that can only be positive. But we also hope any attempt by it to have a long-term involvement in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park are abandoned.”

Bhagavad Gita faces ban in Russia Continued from page 1 seeks ban on a Russian translation of "Bhagavad Gita As It Is" written by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the founder of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON). Indian External Affairs Minister SM Krishna assured Parliament on Tuesday that India has registered its protest to the Russian government on a petition seeking a ban on Bhagvad Gita in a Siberian court. Krishna hoped that Russia would act appropriately on the Bhagvad Gita controversy. "The complaint in a local Russian court appears to be the work of some ignorant and misdirected or motivated individuals. While this complaint is patently absurd, we have treated this matter seriously and the Embassy of India is closely monitoring this legal case," Krishna said. The government believes that it can't do more than that because it's a Siberian court that has to decide on a ban on December 28. But the South Block is hopeful because the court has asked academics and Indologists to help it decide if parts of the Russian translation of the Gita penned by the ISKON founder are extremist in nature or not. India has also got support from the Russian government. Sargei Karmileto, Russian Embassy

spokesperson in New Delhi says, "Russian side regrets that the issue has reached such controversy . You can not ban any sacred text and Bhagvad Gita is considered a sacred text in Russia as well." But the critics haven't been satisfied. The BJP even demanded that the Gita be declared a national book to protect it from being dishonored ever again. The prosecutors also wants the Hindu religious text banned in Russia and declared as a literature spreading "social discord", its distribution on Russian soil rendered illegal. In view of the case, Indians settled in Moscow, numbering about 15,000, and followers of the ISKCON religious movement have appealed to Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh and his government to intervene diplomatically to resolve the issue in favour of the scripture, an important part of Indian epic Mahabharata written by sage Ved Vyas. The ISKCON followers in Russia have also written a letter to the Prime Minister's Office in New Delhi, calling for immediate intervention, lest the religious freedom of Hindus living here be compromised. "The case is coming up for a final verdict in Tomsk court. We want all efforts from the Indian government to protect the religious rights of Hindus in Russia," said Sadhu Priya Das of ISKCON and a devotee of a 40-year-old

Krishna temple in central Moscow. The court, which took up the case filed by the state prosecutors, had referred the book to the Tomsk State University for "an expert" examination on Oct 25. But Hindu groups in Russia, particularly followers of ISKCON, say the university was not qualified as it lacked Indologists who study the history and cultures, languages, and literature of the Indian subcontinent. The Hindus pleaded with the court that the case was inspired by religious bias and intolerance from a "majority religious group in Russia", and have sought that their rights to practice their religious beliefs be upheld. "They have not just tried to get the Bhagavad Gita banned, but also brand our religious beliefs and preachings as extremist," Das said. The ISKCON devotees have taken up the matter with the Indian embassy in Moscow too for an early diplomatic intervention before things get worse and the court passes an adverse verdict banning the Bhagavad Gita and Krishna Consciousness teachings. In the Nov 1 letter addressed to Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister Pulok Chatterji, ISKCON's New Delhi branch Governing Body Commissioner Gopal Krishna Goswami, said the prosecutor's affidavit claims Lord Krishna "is evil and not conforming to

Christian religious view". Goswami also urged Manmohan Singh to accord priority to the matter during his Moscow stay and take it up with the Russian authorities. Indian diplomatic corps officials at the embassy here, who were unwilling to be named, said that they have been following up the case since the time it was brought to their notice earlier this year. They had also taken up the matter at the appropriate levels in the Russian government to get the case either withdrawn or get the defence to fight the case to obtain a favourable verdict. Officials at the Indian Prime Minister's Office, who were part of the Indian delegation accompanying Manmohan Singh, confirmed to IANS the case and the letter they received from ISKCON in this regard. "This matter is receiving the highest attention and the Indian embassy officials in Moscow have been instructed to follow up the case with the Russian authorities," they said. The BJP took up the issue in a big way. In the Lok Sabha, BJP leader Sushma Swaraj demanded that the government declare the Gita a 'national book'. Several members cutting across party lines were furious. Rajya Sabha deputy chairman K. Rahman Khan said 'the entire house agrees with this and joins in condemning this'.


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Asian Voice - Saturday 24th December 2011

InDIa January

• 102 pilgrims killed in Kerala temple stampede. While pilgrims were returning from Sabarimala Ayappa temple, they were killed when a jeep ploughed through the devotees in a forest at Pullumedu in Idukki district of Kerala, triggering a stampede. • Vibrant Gujarat summit by Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi attracted

$450bn investments. More than 7,936 MOUs were signed at the meeting where 650 delegates from 43 countries attended. Special “Mahatma mandir” was constructed at Gandhinagar for the summit. • Indian music maestro A R Rehman received two Oscar nominations –for ‘127 Hours’, and for the song ‘If I Rise…’ for the same movie. He has already won two Oscars for ‘Slumdog Millionaire” • Due to rapid urbanisation and developing infrastructure, tourism recorded rapid growth in Gujarat. The rise in growth of tourism in the state was more than 50%. • India’s finance minister Pranab Mukherjee estimated ‘plunder’ of the country at $1.4 trillion. He said names could not be disclosed for legal reasons. • BJP yatra stopped at Jammu and Kashmir border and senior leaders arrested. A day after being thrown out of the state, senior leaders Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley and Ananth Kumar tried to re-enter the state but was foiled by police. • Manmohan Singh reshuffled his cabinet. Praful Patel lost the portfolio of civil aviation and was given heavy industry and public enterprise. • Supreme Court asked the Kashmir govt to rehabilitate Pandits. • Parsi scholar Dr Ratan Marshal who was the first to chronicle the history of Gujarati Journalism passed away. • Indian scientist Dr. Ramesh Pillai was awarded a grant worth Rs 60 million to work in French lab • Classical singer Pandit Bhimsen Joshi passed away. • Gujarati veteran Kanti Lal Jina received Fijian honour. • India honoured 128 with Padma Awards. • Sardar Patel statue unveiled at Ahmedabad airport. Aviation minister Praful Patel said Air India flight Ahmedabad-London would be restored.

February • A special court which heard the Godhra train carnage case of 2002 upheld the stand of Gujarat govt and BJP that the burning of the train just outside Godhra railway station was a pre-planned conspiracy. Thirty one accused found guilty and 63 acquitted. • Medical council of India has put a curb on foreign doctors, including NRI medicos, coming to the country and organizing lectures or demos. • Gujarat CM Modi inducted 6 more ministers. • Billion dollar partnership with US companies signed during Vibrant Gujarat summit • Govt of India amended rules, now NRI could vote and contest elections. • Cine star Chiranjeevi led PRP to merged with Congress. • The new terminal T2 of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel international airport

at Ahmedabad bagged an award as the second best steel structure at an allIndia open competition. • Indians erupted into rallies against cor-

ruption, thousands held protest marches in New Delhi, Mumbai and other cities.

March • Gujarat CM Modi did not want any interference from America in India’s internal affairs. • Raj Rajaratnam, hedge fund billionaire of Sri Lanka, on trial in US for inside trading. • Mukesh Ambani sliped to 9th place in rich list. • Indian girl Tosha Thakkar raped, murdered in Australia. • India emerged as world’s largest arms importer. • Manmohan accepted responsibility for appointing P J Thomas as Central Vigilance Commissioner which was earlier nullified by the Supreme Court.

April • Godman Sri Sathya Sai Baba passed away. • DMK MP Kanimozhi named co-conspirator in 2G scam. • Former Commonwealth Games organizing Committee chairman Suresh kalmadi arrested and remanded in CBI custody to inquire about major aspects of CWG scam. • India’s population rose to 1.2 billion. • UK delegation explored business opportunity in Surat. • CBI charged Raja, top corporate bosses for 2G scam. • Tata Sons chairman Ratan Tata and Niira Radia were quizzed for 2G scam by the Parliament’s PAC. • Gujarat introduced a Braille version of RTI application. • Union law minister Veerappa Moily ruled out ban on most controversial book on Mahatma Gandhi by American author Joseph Lelyveld. • India’s engineering exports crossed $50 bn mark.

May • Jayalalithaa, Mamta Banerjee and Oommen Chandy were sworn in as the

chief ministers of Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Kerala. • Ahmedabad one step closer to world heritage city. • Women top civil services exam. • Attempt on Dawood brother’s life. • Gujarat card not UID: Govt told Nilekani. • Centre rejected demand to dismiss Yeddyurappa govt. • Ten new domestic flights from Ahmedabad airport started. • 30 dead as thunderstorm lashed UP. • DMK MP Kanimozhi lodged in Tihar jail.

June • Anna Hazare team, govt clashed over Lokpal Bill. Govt wanted PM, MPs to be kept out of the purview of the new bill. • Gujarat set to get 1st offshore wind power project. • Baba Ramdev denied rift with Anna Hazare led team. • Karunanidhi blamed Centre for Kanimozhi’s arrest. • Man tried to hurl shoe at Congress leader Janardhan Dwivedi and created high drama at All India Congress Committee headquarters in New Delhi. • Foreigners entry to Goa temples restricted. • India planned to launch 12 foreign satellites in next 2 years.

• 4 IIMs set to get more autonomy. • Court rejected plea against Ambani, Tatas. • Monsoon claimed 23 lives in Kerala. • Manmohan asked ministers to declare assets. • Uma Bharti re-inducted into BJP. • Govt of India cleared defence deal with US. • Wipro planned 20 pound tablet computer for Indian masses.

July • Serial blasts in Mumbai, 21 killed, 130 injured in terror attacks at Dadar, Zaveri Bazar and Opera House. • Tatas planned to launch 'Nana’ houses costing Rs 32,000. • Debt ridden Air-India failed to get lifesaving money. • India's industrial growth slowed down to 5.6%. • 75,000 displaced in Assam due to flood. • 34 kg gold found at Sathya Sai temple. • Treasure trove worth billions found in Kerala’s Sree Padmanabha Swamy temple. • Nirupama Rao named India's next envoy to US. • Isro successfully launched GSAT-12. • Mukesh Ambani planned to sell gas pipeline business. • Apex court pulled up Delhi Police for Ramdev crackdown. • 68 killed and 250 injured in UP train accident. • Gujarat University introduced professional courses for jail inmates.

August • UPA Government planned to introduce Lokpal Bill in both Houses of Parliament. • Ranjani Mathai, India’s former ambassador to France took over as India’s foreign secretary. • Hindu commander of Hizbul Mujahideen killed in Jammu and Kashmir. • Taj Mahal remained top tourist draw with earning of Rs 870 million entry fees. • The only surviving gunman of the deadly 2008 Mumbai attacks has appealed against the death sentence handed down by the trail court. • American scholars translate Indulal Yagnik’s autobiography. • Gurgaon court of Mumbai recognized lesbian marriage. • Bajaj group planned car making unit in coastal town of Mundra in Gujarat. • A Raja blamed Manmohan, Chidambaram for 2G mess. • Govt drafted fresh Lokpal Bill, excluded PM and CJI from its ambit. • With 520,000 pilgrims, Amarnath set a record. • Air India planned to pay Rs 75,00,000 to Mangalore crash victims. • IAF planned to buy 189 jets for $20 billion.

September • 13 killed, over 60 hurt in Delhi blast. • Govt bowed to Anna Hazare’s demand for strong Lokpal bill. Parliament passed resolution on strong, independent Lokpal bill after demands from Anna Hazare with 12-day fast campaign. • BJP demanded removal of Gujarat governor over Lokayukta appointment. • Easier visa rules for India-Pakistan businessmen. • Somali pirates arrested in the coastal region of Gujarat; Pak link confirmed. • India’s industrial growth slowed to 3.3%. • SC reprieve for Modi in 2002 Gujarat riot. • CBI wanted to re-investigate Haren

Pandya murder case. • 22 dead, millions affected by floods in Orissa. • India, Bangladesh sign landmark border pact, but no Teesta deal. • Peugeot signed Rs 40 billion car plant in Sanand, Gujarat. • Amar Singh arrested, sent to Tihar jail in cash-forvotes scam. • Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi fasted for peace and unity. • 82 killed as quake jolted Sikkim, Bengal, Nepal, Tibet. • India, China square off sea fight. • US saw Rahul v/s Modi fight for prime ministership in 2014 polls.

October • L K Advani began 38-day Jan Chetna Yatra against corruption. • Anna Hazare appealed to Hisar voters in Haryana to reject Congress. • Split verdict by Gujarat high court in Lokayukta case. • Ghazal singer Jagjit Singh passed away. • Arrested anti-Modi IPS officer Sanjeev Bhatt given bail. He was jailed for allegedly fabricating evidence to show that he was present at the crucial meeting held at Gujarat CM’s home on Feb 27 2002. In the meeting Modi had allegedly told cops to go easy on rioters. • India builds longest railway tunnel of 11 km long through Pir Panjal range in Jammu and Kashmir.

November • 22 killed in Haridwar temple stampede. • Modi showcased “Brand Gujarat” in China. • India’s trade deficit at record high of $ 19.6 billion. • India, Pakistan declare new chapter in ties, agree on 26/11 justice. • 2G case trial started, Raja’s plea dismissed. • India-China planned joint army exercise in 2012. • Rupee at all-time low of Rs 52.15 to dollar. • Manmohan Singh, Obama pitch for strengthening bilateral ties. • Modi distributed 6,598 awards to village panchayat. • Modi announced Rs 2.81 billion package for Porbander. • 14 senior citizen found live-in partners in matchmaking meet in Ahmedabad. • Maharastria spent Rs 160million on Ajmal Kasab. • 31 get life term in Gujarat riot case.

December • Indian homes hold gold worth $950 billion. • Anna Hazare: Will go on fast if Lokpal Bill not passed. • FDI on hold, Pranab told Opposition parties. • 4 killed in Delhi building collapse. • Death for killer hooch brewers in dry Gujarat. • Gujarat govt offered free opium to addicts in order to prevent them from catching HIV virus. • BJP accused Mayavati, her brother of running 26 corrupt companies. • The Indus river changing its direction towards Gujarat. • No delay on Lokpal Bill: Singhvi


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Asian Voice - Saturday 24th December 2011 • Chinese court freed 13 Indian diamond traders from jail. • 93 killed in Kolkata hospital fire. • Modi invited to Pak to share secret of economic success.

worlD January

• Bomb blast at Egypt church killed 21 people. • Bobby Jindal voted as the most popular US governor. • Former Israel president Katsav convicted of rape. • Dilma Rousseff became the first woman to lead Brazil. • UN declared June 23 as international widow’s day. • Pakistan Punjab province governor Salman Taseer shot dead.

February • Charlie Chaplin’s grandson married in India in Hindu style. • hina made acquisition rules stringent for foreign firms. • 6 Pakistanis convicted for killing Indian guard. • India-Pakistan agreed to continue peace talk which was suspended after 26/11 terror attack. • 100 killed in S Sudan as rebels clashed with army. • Pakistan singer Fateh Ali Khan detained at Indian airport for huge cash in hand baggage. • 65 killed in New Zealand earthquake. • 500 Indian workers sued US company for human trafficking. • Ugandan President Museueni won another five year term amid fraud charges. • Gandhi articles fetched Rs 2.3 million at auction in US. • Indonesian pop star Arial jailed for sex tapes. • Five bomb blasts rocked Pakistan.

March • Major earthquake rocked Japan. • Dandi march in US against corruption in India. • Pak minorities minister shot dead. • Pak legislators demanded Rehman Malik’s resignation. • Obama warned Gaddafi with military action. • India emerged as world’s largest arms importer. • Nepal Gandhian warrior Krishna Prasad Battarai passed away. • Sonia Gandhi delivered a lecture on role of Indian women in country’s political, economic and social life at the Commonwealth Institute.

April • Six Indian-Americans in Forbes Midas 100. • Five Indian -Americans named Truman Scholars. • Indian teachers most sought after in Singapore. • Millions of lost cash found in Japan’s tsunami hit coastal areas. • 400 suicide bombers being trained in Pakistan. • Pak demanded drastic cut in CIA and US agents on its soil. • British PM David Cameron urged India, Pak to strengthen peace process. • Tahawwur Hussain Rana, David Headley implicated Pak, ISI in Mumbai attack. • 500 Taliban prisoners escaped from Afghan jail. • Pak Interior minister Rehman Malik said Pak investigators had enough evi-

dence to convict 26/11 mastermind. • Lenin’s largest statue razed in central Asia.

May • Pakistan -American 26/11 Conspirator David Headley testified in a US court in the trial of his friend and suspect Tahawwur Hussain Rana. • Obama: Pakistan’s India obsession a mistake, Cameron agrees. • London student Jetsun Pema planned to marry Bhutan’s king Jigma Khesar. • 116 killed in US tornado. • 640 injured in South Africa train crash • Sri Lanka got its first female chief judge of the Supreme court. • Pak forces recaptured naval base from Taliban. • Taliban denied death of Mullah Omar. • 15 killed in B a g h d a d bombings. • Pak parliament warned US against another raid. • IMF chief denied bail in sex assault case. • Deadline for Nepal’s new constitution extended by a year. • International court prosecutor sought arrest of Gaddafi. • Indian jumped from Dubai’s Burj khalifa. • Indian kids defeated global science geeks. • Hindus topped education in US. • Aussie teen crowned Miss India worldwide. • 29 Bangladeshi held in UAE. • US questioned Laden’s wives.

June • Manmohan Singh assured African nations of strong ties. • Iran hanged 5 convicts in public. • Indian envoy’s daughter sued New York for false arrest. • 36 killed in Pak suicide bomb attack. • Pak court declared Mush proclaimed offender. • Rajapaksa vowed to shield his army from international probe.

July • South Sudan became world's newest nation. • US formally recognised Libya rebels. • Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi became New Zealand MP. • 30 killed in Syria clashes. • 600 senior cops sacked in Egypt. • 22 killed in Karachi violence. • Hina Rabbani n a m e d Pakistan's first woman foreign minister. • Hillary Clinton promised to support India against terror. • No laws to register minority marriages in Pakistan. • Canada blacklisted Pakistan Taliban. • Scientist Khan implicated Pak army in nuclear sales in N. Korea. • 40 students killed in Bangladesh accident. • HuJI threatened Pak foreign office in India. • 93 killed in Karachi ethnic violence. • China warned US against meeting Dalal Lama. • 128 killed in Russia boat tragedy. • 26 drug traffickers hanged in Iran.

August • Sri Lanka introduced mumps vaccine. • Nepal PM resigned, pushed country into turmoil. • China granted rare green card to an Indian for 1st time, he was Mohammed Rizwan.

• Statue of Liberty New york closed for a year for renovation. • 39 people died in bombing on Pak’s 65th independence day.

• Clinton pledged improved ties with Myanmar if reforms continue. • Two Indian honeymooners killed in Las Vegas copter crash. • US freezed $700 mn aid to Pak as distrust grows. • Pakistan mulled deploying air defenses to border.

uk

January

• Pak Court censured ministers for interfering in Mumbai attack case. • Dalai Lama envoy arrested, released in Nepal. • Pak-US headed for showdown over Narms. • Graft case against Bangladesh opposition leader Khaleda Zia. • 19 Indians indicted in US health case fraud. • BBC reporter killed in Afghan suicide strikes. • Pakistan released 59 Indian prisoners. • British Chancellor of Exchequer Osborne and Indian finance minister Pranab Mukherjee announced billion pounds investment in India. • 93 killed in Norway’s twin attacks. • 43 killed in China’s first bullet train accident. • US embassy staff barred from entering Peshawar.

September • Pak refused to hand over ex ISI chief to Bosnia tribunal. • China offered military help to Bangladesh in order to advance bilateral and military relationship. • Denmark got first woman PM. • 20 hours Kabul siege ended, 27 killed. • Ex-Afghan President Burhanuddin Rabbani killed by suicide bomber. • Interpol issued notice for Gaddafi’s son. • Leila Lopes of Angola crowned Miss Universe. • Five drug traffickers hanged in Iran. • Nairobi pipeline blaze killed 100. • Bobby Jindal filed papers for re-election as governor of US • Twin suicide bombing in Pak killed 23. • Apple co-founder Steve Jobs has resigned as chief executive and replaced by CEO Tim Cook. • Bangladesh jailed 182 soldiers for 2009 military mutiny. • Thousands stranded after 41 die in Japan typhoon. • Sri Lanka freed 1,200 alleged Tamil Tigers rebels. • China maps Brahmaputra Indus for dams. • Four Indian- Americans among top fund raisers for Obama. • Japan got 6th PM in five years (Yoshihiko Noda).

October • World visionary and founder of Apple Inc Steve Jobs passed away due to pancreatic cancer. • Greek debt crisis posed threat to world economy. (Greece needed 110 billion euro for bail out) • Terror plotter Rana sought fresh trial, convicted of aiding terror group Lakshare-Taliba in terror attacks in Mumbai.

November • Rupee at all time low of Rs 52.15 against US dollar. • China planned to develop $5bn township in Gujarat. • Pakistan allowed more imports from India. • Pakistan minister demanded death for Kasab. • China planned to build the world’s largest underground system metro. • World population reached 7 billion.

December • Afghanistan shrine blasts left 34 dead. • Pakistan violated ceasefire, fired at Indian posts in Jammu.

• Indian diplomat Anil Verma who allegedly assaulted his wife ordered to leave Britain. • London illegal immigration gang found guilty, they were helping immigrants to get into UK via Heathrow airport. • Harvard’s first Asian head Prof Nitin Nohria, is India-born and is the tenth dean in the school’s 102 year history. • Indian income tax offices to be set up in UK. • Sudden mysterious death of Indian youth Karthik Patel of Gujarat, left families shattered. • Prince Charles planned to build 3,000 home townships for Indian urban poor with facilities of school and shop.

February • British PM criticized homegrown terrorism. • UKIBC planned largest ever India focused business conference. • Lord Dholakia appointed as a Privy Councilor. • Leader of Labour Party and her Majesty’s opposition, Rt Hon Ed Miliband, MP received Parliamentarian of the Year Award at Asian Voice Political and Public Life Awards 2011 • RE teacher Gary Smith attacked on the name of religion.

March • Govt planned to slash number of foreign students coming to UK. • Mahatma Gandhi’s letter of 1919 set for auction at Bonhams in London. • Few Britons went missing in Japan quake and its radiation. Indian IT firms took steps to evacuate staff. • More than 500 businesses were represented at UK’s largest business Conference with focus on India. • Kutch Madhapar Karyala UK raised 11,166 pounds for BBC Children in need.

April • Thousands joined the world's top long distance runners for a record-breaking 26.2 mile London marathon. Kenya's Emmanuel Mutai won the men's race in two hours four minutes and 39 seconds - breaking the London record. Compatriot Mary Keitany won the women's race in in 2:19.17, the fourth fastest women's marathon ever, and Britain's David Weir won the wheelchair race. • Prince William married Kate Middleton on 29th April in Westminster Abbey in c e n t r a l London. It was a wedding with lot of pomp. Bride and Groom taken their vows solemnly before a congregation of almost 2,000 people. And outside the church the mood was broken by the cheers. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge-travelled in an open top carriage to Buckingham Palace, from where they waved to their fans from the balcony and had their first public kiss. • London witnessed historical success of Swarnim Gujarat celebrations. • 60 girls groomed for sex at takeaway shops.


28

Asian Voice - saturday 24th December 2011

• Leicester city football club revived championship hopes. • 1,000 job openings for East Midlands Airport. • Law Society hosted successful minority lawyer’s conference. • Aylesbury man admitted to stabbing mother to death. • Race fears erupted after council votes Britain’s first BNP mayor • 70,000 shortfall in school places. • Child sexualisation rampant in UK. • Tuberculosis on the rise in and around London. • Nas Nabi restaurant in Bathgate faced 20,000 pounds fine.

May • Lieutenant Tul Bahadur Pun,VC passed away. • Eight forced marriages prevented by an East Lancashire project. • British University’s international work honoured by the Queen. • 12,000 Londoners face homelessness. • Corporate, political and community leaders came together for FBI 2011. • Thousands of lawyers took part in walk for justice. • European Muslim activists gathered in London to stop racism. • Council of Dharmic faiths launched in the UK. • University of Salford set up base in Sri Lanka. • India’s export rose 37.5% to a record high of $ 246 bn. • RationalFx did money transfers worth pound 1bn. • Lord Gulam Noon made his maiden speech in the House of Lords. • Thieves raid O2network. • Inflation hits 4.5% • alert over Queen’s security. • European leaders urged to ban mobile phones in school. • BACL honoured MP Harrington. • Four Indians joined Tony Blair Faith Foundation. • Hindus hailed British Catholics for reestablishing “meatless Fridays.” • Cameron planned to close Ealing Hospital. • Bhavan’s chairman Mr Maneck dalal retired after 40 years of service. • Murdered Anni Dewani’s ashes immersed in Swedish lake. • Rugby League secured Commonwealth Games recognition. • Six illegal workers arrested in Leicester.

June • Asian Voice / Gujarat Samachar launched a campaign to protest against arbitrary plans which will see overseas relatives lose their Right to Appeal to attend family events. • Keith Vaz, MP and Habib Rahman opposed Coalition’s plan to cap the inflow of migrants. • Sikh protesters trashed their own community centre for selling meat and alcohol. • City lawyer in pound 3m fraud probe. • England cricketer Monty Panesar arrested. • Hindu temple took shape in Leicester. • Indian Mamtora received MBE for welfare to elderly citizens.

July • London Convention held by OFBJP made Indians in Britain proud. • UK Air Charter firm planned India foray.

August • Meena Patel in 1st London Backward running championships 2011. • Further job cuts loomed at Council. • Sun Mark Ltd received Queens Award for enterprise in International Trade for the third time. • Kenyans planned to sue Britain over Mau Mau abuse.

September • Racial tension in Aldershot.

October • UK government to stop permanent settlement for immigrants - new proposal made by govt. • Multi-million pound BAPS S h r i Swaminarayan mandir opened its door to public (on Gypsy land in Leicester). • Dawood Ibrahim aide arrested in London. • Bhartiya Vidya Bhavan UK’s first executive director Mathoor Krishnamurti passed away.

November • 3,000 banks on visa blacklist - 1977 banks in India, 3 in Pak and 762 in Philippines. • Paul Boateng’s son jailed for sex assault. • Gurkha settlement fund to aid Rushmoor Council. • Bordering on unfair treatment of tax paying immigrants. • Two UK terror suspects Ibrahim Adam and Mohammed Azir suspected to have been killed in US drone strike.

December • London bids final farewell to actor Dev Anand. • TiE Awards UK 2011 honoured business talent. • Council to provide 5 pound for street parties. • India wanted Dow out of London Olympics sponsorship. • UK Annual gala awards 2011 celebrated entrepreneurship as engine of global economic growth • Labour Lord Nazir Ahmed attacked. • Tributes paid to Birmingham riot victims’ mothers. • IJA celebrated another successful annual dinner at Central London.

sports January

• FIFA award for football players Lionel Messi, Jose Mourinto. • Pakistan defeated New Zealand in T20 series. • Tennis players Paes and Bhupati won together after 9 years. Their reunion crowned with Chennai open title. • India defeated S. Africa in T20 match. • Gautam Gambhir at Rs 110mn and Yusuf Pathan at Rs 96.6 mn highest buys at IPL. • India won Johannesburg ODI against S. Africa. • Reliance Industries Ltd bagged Indian football in 15 year- deal. • India defeated S.Africa at Durban.

February • ICC banned Pakistan players Salman Butt, Mohammed Asif, Mohammed Amir from playing any form of cricket. They were found guilty of spot-fixing. • Japan won their 4th Asian Cup football. • Nadal won world sportsman of the year at the Laureus World Sports Award.

March • Sania-Vesnina pair won doubles title in Indian Wells. • 5,000 Pakistanis given Indian visa for World Cup.

packed his bag after taking India to win in world cup. • India wins cricket world cup after 28 years as they suppressed Sri Lanka with a six-wicket victory in a nerve-wrecking final to script a glorious new chapter in their cricketing history. • Mumbai Indians beat Royal Challengers by 9 wickets. • Shane Watson demolished Bangladesh with record sixes. • Royal Challengers defeated Daredevils in tight finish. • Bob Houghton said goodbye as Indian football coach. • David Beckham topped Forbes rich-list. • Malinga retired from test cricket. • Tillakaratne Dilshan sought early exit from IPL.

friendly. • Lanka crushed Scotland by 183 runs in ODI. • Deshmukh defeated Vengsarkar to become new MCA president. • World Cup bat auctioned for 100,000 pounds. • BCCI recommended Zaheer's name for Arjuna award. • Pak cricket board recovered fine from Shahid Afridi. • Long jumper Mayookha won gold in Asian Athletics meet. • India won 243 medals at special Games in Athens. • Andre Agassi made it to hall of fame. • 2 Indian swimmers qualified for London Olympics.

August • Forlan scored twice as Uruguay won Copa America. • Gagan Narang got Khel Ratna award, Zaheer Khan got Arjuna. • Ahmedabad shooter won silver in Singapore. • London court dismissed banned Pak cricket trio’s appeal.

May • Unbeatable Djokovic stunned Nadal in Rome. • Muttiah Muralitharan to play in NZ T20 league. • Australia defeated Pakistan, lift Azlan Shah hockey cup. • Gilchrist conquered Bangalore. • Gautam Gambhir leads India, Dhoni rested. • British court asked banned Pak trio to appear in July. • Sharne Warne interested in role of consultant. • Misbah, bowlers put Pakistan on top against WI. • Raina powered Chennai to final. • Adam Gilchrist Kept quiet on IPL future.

September •

Pakistani pacer Mohammad Aamer confessed to involvement in spotfixing. • Australia won test series against Sri Lanka. • India’s whiff of hope at Lord’s. • UK parliamentarians felicitated Team India. • 4 Indians in ICC ODI team of the year, Dhoni named captain. • Djokovic defeated Nadal to win maiden US Open. • India defeated Pak to win Asian champions trophy.

June

October

• Chennai defeated RCB, retained IPL trophy.

• Tennis star Serene Williams named Unicef’s ambassador. • Parthiv, Jadeja and Ravindra retain places in ODI squad. • Murray won Shanghai Master; replaced Federer as world No 3. • inflicted second defeat on England. • Harbhajan dropped from India ODI team.

• Lakshmi Mittal’s son-in-law resigned from QPR in Ecclestone row. • Afridi pulled out of Pak-Ireland ODI series. • Barcelona overwhelmed Man United in final. • Pak defeated West Indies to draw series. • Durani given C K Naidu Lifetime Achievement Award. • Gayle omitted from ODI, T20 squad against India. • Anand won Leon Masters for 8th time. • Sania-Elena lost women’s doubles final. • Messi planned to play in Kolkata in September. • Saina Nehwal suffered minor mishap. • Sri Lanka managed to secure a draw in the cricket match against England. • India defeated West Indies in the first ODI. • India clinched one day series against West Indies. • Jayasuriya planned to join Lanka team. • Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi lost doubles final at Queens’. • Sachin Te n d u l k a r, J a c q u e s Kallis shared top spot in test rankings.

April

July

• Indian Cricket coach Gary Kirsten

• India stunned Qatar 2-1 in football

November • Sebastian Vettal won Indian Grand Prix. • McILroy won S h a n g h a i Masters title. • defeated India in 20-20 match. • Tendulkar, VVS Laxman ensured victory for India in first test. • Australia to host 2018 Commonwealth Games. • India defeated Canada to lift Kabbadi World Cup. • Pak won one day series against Sri Lanka. • India rose to second spot in ICC test rankings.

December • • • • •

NZ stunned Australia with 7 run win. crushed Bangladesh in 1st test. Won ‘El Classico.’ Won final ODI despite Pollard power-hitting. Virender Sehwag scored world record score of 219 against West Indies. • Windies defeated India by 16 runs to keep series alive. • India conceded last minute goal to lose Champions Challenge final. • Former Brazil football captain Socrates died at 57.


HEaltH Watch

Asian Voice - Saturday 24th December 2011

How to cope with dementia patients With over 11,500 ethnic minority sufferers of dementia in the UK, it’s about time we understood dementia. It was not until I lost my mum to dementia last year that I became acutely aware of a need to improve education about dementia not only nationally, but specifically within our communities. Over 11,500 sufferers of dementia in the UK are from ethnic minority groups, yet misconceptions and a lack of education about dementia continue to run through the Asian community. Firstly, what is dementia? It is certainly not a

result of ‘just getting old’ or ‘going mad’. The term ‘dementia’ describes symptoms such as memory loss, severe confusion, and problems with speech and understanding, which can result from specific brain conditions. All types of dementia are progressive, as the brain becomes increasingly damaged over time. There are many causes of dementia, which can occur from over 100 brain conditions. In my mum’s case, it was Raynaud’s disease, which affects the blood supply to extreme parts of the body such as fingers, toes, and even the brain. However, many

other diseases that cause dementia, such as Parkinson’s, have obvious genetic links, while age plays a major factor too. I cannot stress the importance of recognising dementia at the earliest possible moment. It is inevitable for me and anybody else who has lost a loved one in similar circumstances to question if we could have spotted the signs of lethargy, slower responses, and confusion over everyday tasks at an earlier stage. However, diagnosis in the early stages is not easy: some symptoms can go unnoticed for years, and several

assessments to confirm dementia and rule out other causes of the symptoms take time. Living with a dementia sufferer is not easy. As Asians, many of us have been brought up to believe that family matters must be kept within the family. However, we must be fortunate for the medical professionals, voluntary agencies, and support groups that are on-hand for advice and support when we need it most. Whether it is respite care to relieve family-members for a few hours, or support groups to share one’s experiences, it is crucial that family members are not ashamed

to build a support system. Through organisations such as Alzheimer’s Society and Marian Home Care, I developed my understanding of dementia, and how best to care for my mum. Knowing how to care for our loved ones who are suffering from dementia is key to slowing down their progressive decline. Isolating somebody to prevent them from doing something ‘wrong’ or ‘making a nuisance of himself or herself’ could not be more wrong or disrespectful. Dementia sufferers must be able to maintain their dignity, feelings of self-worth, and identity. Seeing familiar faces, staying active and stimulated, and regular reviews of medication with their doctor are all essential. Negligence has irreversible effects, by which point it is too late. The financial impact of dementia must not go unmentioned. Whilst secondary to the time, love, and support required at such a difficult time, finances can add an additional burden. As councils are forced to make cutbacks, it is up to us to think ahead, save for a rainy day, and secure pensions that may contribute to better quality care in later life. With the UK’s ageing population, it is predicted that over one million of us will suffer from dementia by 2021. Just like I cared for my mum, it may be our children caring for us. My aim is to increase awareness of dementia, the toll it takes on a sufferer’s family, and the ways to cope by seeking help and support, so that our generation are better informed to handle dementia. - Shivani Mawji

Eating more and still lose weight

You can really eat more food and still lose weight if a recent study by the Harvard School of Public Health is to be believed. Research monitoring 12,000 people over 20 years showed eating larger portions of healthy food can be more effective in helping you slim than diets that encourage you to consume less. Weight-loss diets don’t necessarily mean meagre portions, said Aine O’Connor, nutrition scien-

tist at the British Nutrition Foundation (BNF). It’s all about the energy density of your diet, that is how many calories it has per gram. “For example, taking a standard spaghetti bolognese recipe

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and reducing the meat content, using half-fat cheese and adding plenty of vegetables can reduce the energy density by half which means you can eat twice as much for the same calories,” she added.

29

Ethnic people more susceptible to glaucoma A new research has revealed that people of African-Caribbean and South Asian origin in the UK are unaware that they are more susceptible to certain eye diseases than the rest of the population. The findings from the College of Optometrists reveal that while scientific evidence suggests those of South Asian and African-Caribbean origin are at a higher risk of developing glaucoma, an eye condition where the optic nerve is damaged due to pressure in the eye. If left untreated, glaucoma can cause blindness, but early diagnosis and treatment can mean further vision loss can be prevented. Glaucoma affects 480,000 people in England and people of African-Caribbean descent are up to eight times more likely to develop the most common type of glaucoma, primary open glaucoma. Glaucoma also occurs in people of AfricanCaribbean origin 10 to 15 years earlier than in other ethnic groups. Research has indicated that people of South Asian and East Asian origin are also more likely to

develop glaucoma, but are more likely to develop a rarer form; primary angle closure glaucoma. Primary open glaucoma occurs very slowly, which means there can be no noticeable symptoms until significant vision damage has occurred - the peripheral vision gradually starts to deteriorate, working towards the centre of vision. It is there-

fore vital to go for regular sight tests to aid detection and treatment, particularly if you are in the risk group. Sonal Rughani from The College of Optometrists said: “Glaucoma is a condition that can cause blindness but there may be no noticeable symptoms until the condition is in the advanced stages. The lack of awareness revealed by the research confirms that it is vital that we raise awareness of the condition and ensure that individuals from risk

groups, including those who have a family history of glaucoma, are even more vigilant towards changes in their eyes or vision and have regular sight tests. Early detection and treatment can prevent unnecessary vision loss.” What can I do if I am of an affected ethnic group? • Visit an optometrist at least once every two years or as advised by your optometrist. Your local optometrist is professionally trained to provide eye care and spot potential problems such as glaucoma, as well as refer people on for specialist treatment if required and assist with the ongoing management of the condition. • Be aware of any changes in your eyes or sight, and visit your optometrist as soon as you notice anything changing. • Try to find out if you have any family history of eye disease as this can be another risk factor and tell your optometrist what you know. • Talk to your family about the increased risks and ensure everyone attends regular eye examinations too.

Milk in tea will pile on the pounds

Beware, especially if you want to lose weight - don't add milk to tea, or you would pile on the pounds. Scientists have discovered that tea contains high levels of compounds that help reduce the amount of fat but proteins found in cows' milk neutralise this fat-fighting ability. New research has shown that the compounds, called theaflavins and thearubigins, prevent obesity when given to rats that were also on a highfat diet. Researchers now believe this could explain why people in Britain appear not to benefit from the healthy effects of tea despite being among the world's biggest consumers of the beverage. Devajit Borthakur, a scientist at the Tea Research Association at Jorhat in Assam, India said: "When tea is taken with milk, theaflavins and

thearubigins form complexes with the milk protein, which causes them to precipitate." "It means that we don't get the health benefit from these compounds nor from milk protein. Therefore, it is always advised to take tea without milk." A study by scientists in Japan, reveals that extracts from tea leaves inhibit the absorption of fat in the guts of rats being

fed high-fat diet. These rats also had less fat tissue on their bodies and lower fat content in their livers, reports the Journal of Nutrition. Hiroaki Yajima, a scientist with the Kirin Beverage Company in Japan who carried out the Japanese research, said: "Black tea extracts may prevent diet-induced obesity by inhibiting intestinal lipid absorption."

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30

UK

Asian Voice - Saturday 24th December 2011

CB Live is only a Gujarati programme in UK on MATV SKY 793 This week in CB Live Alka Shah will interview Dr. Sameer Patel, Director of award winning Dental Clinic, E11even Orthodontists UK, who has been voted as one of the top 5 cosmetic dentists by Expert beauty magazine. He will discuss about new implant dentures that give you teeth in a day. He is also a national champion from Ealing Cricket Club. He will be accompanied by Dr. Shivani BDS (Hons), MFDS RCSP (Glas), MSc (Lond), IMOrth RCPS(Glas), FDS(Orth) RCS(Eng),winner of best young dentist for the year 2011, who works with both children and adults using cutting edge technology from the US and is also a specialist to help patient to stop snoring. She will discuss about various advanced braces options available at E11even. Lines will be open for questions

If you do not have a SKY, go to www.tvunetworks.com and watch CB Live on TVU Player Channel 75203

Future of British students in doldrums? Continued from page 2 Young people have been the hardest hit by economic slowdown with youth unemployment now accounting for 1.03 million of the 2.64 unemployed, the highest level since 1992. Last year, the government said it would scrap the Educational Maintenance Allowance, a grant to older teenage schoolchildren to help them stay in education, and allow university tuition fees to treble to up to 9,000 pounds a year from 2012. With part-time jobs scarce and the cost of living being squeezed with rising prices, the NationalUnion of Students said young people were taking desperate and dangerous measures to pay for their education. A research commissioned by British Council reported unless Britain encourages its students to think more globally, they will not be able to meet demands of global business and will fall behind India, China and Brazil, according to a research commissioned by the British Council. Three out of four business leaders fear that UK will be left behind by emerging countries unless young people learn to

think more globally, said an ICM business poll released on last Thursday. No international outlook The research, commissioned by the British Council and Think Global, found that while almost two-thirds felt they had an ‘international outlook’, students failed to see the potential career advantages to be gained from international experiences, rating the aspects that might help their future employment prospects behind other benefits like making new friends, culture or altruism. Three-quarters (74 per cent) of the 500 business leaders polled expressed concern that young people’s horizons are not broad enough to operate in a globalised and multicultural economy. Employers agreed that unless “we better support schools to teach young people to think more globally, UK is in danger of being left behind by emerging economies such as China, India and Brazil”. Only 18 per cent of young people said they had done, or definitely planned to work, study or volunteer abroad, despite almost nine out of 10 saying that such experiences were a great opportunity.

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Sneh Joshi - 020 8518 5500 ARIES Mar 21 - Apr 20

Uranus, the planet of change, is in your sign encouraging you to detach yourself from certain elements of your past so that you can start afresh, in pursuit of a lifestyle that is more to your liking. You could be facing ground-breaking changes this coming year.

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TAURUS Apr 21 - May 21 Jupiter remains in your sign until June after which it enters your financial house. This is a planet of expansion and plenty. You personality will be more expansive and charismatic and you will do very well financially. However, you will still have to work very hard in your daily job to achieve your financial goals. GEMINI May 22 - June 22 You may find yourself hard at work behind the scenes, although that may not be apparent to others. You may find yourself caught up in a whirlwind of activity, with opportunities to advance on both the inner and outer level. There is likely to be a powerful incentive to do what remains to be done and tie up loose ends.

CANCER Jun 22 - Jul 22 Relationships are complex in the best of times, but Pluto's motion can make things even more complicated now. Misunderstandings can plague partnerships or potential romances - be more careful and forgiving. A good time for completing unfinished business and reassessing your future projects. LEO Jul 23 - Aug 23 You’re likely to receive insights into where everything is going and these may shape your life for months to come. You can look forward to advancing both personal and professional ambitions from now onwards. There are opportunities to expand your sphere of operations and you and a partner could really go places. VIRGO Aug 24 - Sep 23 It is an excellent time for exercising your mental energies, claryfying your ideas and getting involved in discussion. Exercise caution when it comes to making financial decisions as being hasty will cost you ! Wait before going full steam ahead with grand actions and gestures. Focus on essentials and establish a solid foundation, so that you feel secure. LIBRA Sep 24 - Oct 23 This is a good time to appreciate what you have already created in your life. There are still challenging issues on both a personal and practical level. It's a time of slow and steady progress that can set the stage for a long time to come. To get here you may have overcome obstacles by making important decision and choices. SCORPIO Oct 24- Nov 22 It would be a mistake always to blame the other person if your experience and expectations of love turn out to be disappointing. It is said that if you do not learn from past experience you will be condemned to repeat it until you do learn. You now have an excellent opportunity to sort out where things may be going wrong. SAGITTARIUS Nov 23 - Dec 21 You will feel energetic and confident as the year begins. Your thinking is inspired, so listen to your thoughts. This may be a time of expansion and improved opportunity and it would be unwise to let yourself become complacent. A good time for restructuring and rethinking your aims and interests. Affairs of the heart are likely to flourish. CAPRICORN Dec 22 - Jan 20 Responsibility is your key word, especially at work. Set your own goals, rather than trying to meet those set by someone else. Your ability to manage what you have on your plate earns respect from others around you. You will benefit in every way if you learn to self-discipline and pace yourself wisely. Anything or anyone that drains your time and energy should be re-evaluated. It’s time to use that creative imagination of yours to create grandeur in your life. Don't get too carried away and lose sight of little things that mean a lot to you. There are a lot of opportunities around you.

AQUARIUS Jan 21 - Feb 19

If lately you have had all sorts of demands being placed on you from all sides, don't despair; take some time out to reflect. Try and work out where you want to make changes in your busy life. A tremendous amount of planetary activity in your chart signals a time of mixed emotions as well as personal issues to be dealt with.

PISCES Feb 20 - Mar 20


Sport wOrLd

Asian Voice - Saturday 24th December 2011

Cricket must respect fans, tells Rahul Dravid at Bradman Oration

Cricket risks killing the goose that lays the golden egg if it disrespects fans by scheduling too many meaningless international matches, former India captain Rahul Dravid has said. Dravid, the first Indian to give the annual Sir Donald Bradman Oration, said the sport needed to find a balance between the three formats of the game and should consider playing Test matches, the "gold standard" of the game, at night. "It must scale down this mad merrygo-round that teams and players find themselves in: heading off for two-Test tours and seven-match ODI series with a few Twenty20s thrown in," the 38year-old said in his speech in Canberra, Australia last week. "Test cricket deserves to be protected, it is what the world's best know they will to be judged by. Where I come from, nation versus nation is what got people interested in cricket in the first place. When I hear the news that a country is playing without some of its best players, I always wonder, what do their fans think? "We must actively fight to get as many (fans) as we can in, to create a Test match environment that the players and the fans feed off. Anything but the sight of Tests played on empty grounds.

"For that, we have got to play Test cricket that people can watch. I don't think day-night Tests or a Test championship should be dismissed." Dravid, who said the money received from burgeoning television rights deals had been a major force for good in Indian cricket, had been shocked to see empty stadiums at recent one day internationals between India and England. "The fan has sent us a message and we must listen," he said. "This is not mere sentimentality. Empty stands do not make for good television. Bad television can lead to a fall in ratings, the fall in ratings will be felt by media planners and advertisers' looking elsewhere."

on to the bat, where there’s pace and bounce,” he says. “Australian grounds also tend to have fast outfields where you get full value for your shots.”

But going into the Boxing Day Test Laxman will have a point to prove as he averages a lowly 18.50 from three matches at the MCG, with a highest score of just 42. And while Michael Clarke’s newlook Australia may have dropped down the world rankings, there’s no hint of complacency from Laxman as he looks ahead to his final tour of the country. “Their [Australia’s] fighting spirit

and the refusal to give up make them the toughest opponents,” he says. “They’ll not give you anything easily. Even at Under-19 level, it was that way. They were very aggressive and they were quick to identify your weaknesses.” Laxman’s affection for cricket in Australia goes back as far as his schooldays: “As a young boy, I used to wake up early in the morning to watch cricket from Australia, when we had a telecast, and I loved to listen to the likes of Richie Benaud, Bill Lawry and Ian Chappell give insights about the game. To actually make runs there was something special,” he reflects. The full interview with VVS Laxman appears in WISDEN Extra, the new online magazine from Wisden. WISDEN Extra was published on Tuesday 20 December and can be viewed and downloaded as a pdf file at www.wisden.com. Content from the magazine is available for syndication; please contact Mark Harrison for further details.

Fletcher giving sleepless nights to Cricket Australia India coach Duncan Fletcher has made both local media and Cricket Australia set-up paranoid ahead of the fourmatch Test series starting on December 26. While Fletcher's technical expertise has forced Australian coach Mickey Arthur to order a three-day camp for his batsmen, the local media sees his remotely operated hand behind the suggestion on Monday that Indians were close to abandoning the three-day fixture against CA Chairman's XI and move to Melbourne. Fletcher has termed Australian captain Michael Clarke as a "nicker" for his tendency to reach out to drive outside his off-stump and Arthur has no doubt he would have done similar assessment on his other batsmen. "He's a fantastic technician. He will try to unpick the Australian players' techniques, he is very good at

13,500 troops to be deployed for London Olympics

Fans deserve respect

Dravid said that could have an impact on the value of television rights. "If that happens, it is hard to see television rights around cricket being as sought after as they have always been in the last 15 years. "Everything that has given cricket its power and influence in the world of sports has started from that fan in the stadium," he added. "They deserve our respect and let us not take them for granted. Disrespecting fans is disrespecting the game." Dravid said the biggest dangers facing the sport were spot-fixing and players being tempted to become involved with the betting industry. Players should be prepared to give up a "little bit of freedom of movement and privacy" to battle those scourges and undergo lie detector Tests if necessary, he said. He concluded by calling on his fellow players to remember that how they conducted themselves as they played cricket was reflected in the amateur game and would ultimately influence the generations of cricketers to come. "As the game's custodians, it is important we are not tempted by the short-term gains of the backward step," he said. "We can be remembered for being the generation that could take the giant stride."

VVS Laxman is ready to do it again in Australia Despite being the owner of an outstanding record against Australia, India batsman VVS Laxman says he is ready to do it all over again in what is almost certain to be his last Test tour of the country. “You always want to prove yourself against the toughest opposition. Most of the Australian teams I’ve played against had some great players, and it was a challenge to take them on. It has always brought the best out of me,” he says in an interview with WISDEN Extra. In 25 Tests against Australia Laxman averages 55.58, including his epic innings of 281 at Kolkata in March 2001 which inspired India to a famous victory after following on. In his 11 Tests in Australia Laxman has scored four memorable centuries, including three (167, 178 and 109) at the SCG. Where other Indian batsmen have struggled to cope with the extra bounce, Laxman has thrived with his ability to drive off the back foot and pull in front of square. “I’ve always enjoyed pitches where the ball comes

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that, and he will present a team that's very well prepared," said Arthur. Arthur believes that Fletcher would plot a swingled attack against his batsmen and hence he wants them to be fully prepared for what lies ahead in the fourmatch Test series. The local media similarly went to town about the suggestion from a Canberra groundsman on Monday that Fletcher could have been behind the alleged Indian move to leave Canberra for Melbourne in

order to avoid the falling rain in Australian capital. Fletcher was the England coach when Australian were beaten in that historic Ashes series of 2005. He found himself embroiled in more than one controversy with the Australians. His mischievous wink at Ricky Ponting from the balcony at Trent Bridge after the batsman was run out by substitute fielder Gary Pratt saw the then Australian skipper go ballast at the English dressing room. During the 2009 Ashes series, Fletcher wrote a newspaper column lashing out at Ponting over Australian concerns regarding perceived gamesmanship from the hosts in the closing minutes of a thrilling draw in Cardiff. Fletcher and Arthur themselves fell out during the 2006 Champions Trophy in India over access to nets for their respective sides of

England and South Africa. Interestingly, they also worked together for the South African team, leading up to the World Cup this year. "We had a little bit of a falling out in India many years ago, but since he came back and worked with me, we have become very good mates," Arthur was quoted as saying in a newspaper. "He's tough and uncompromising and he won't expect anything less. I guess Duncan doesn't trust easily which is why he is a little bit abrasive with the media at times, but I have the utmost respect for him," Arthur added. "His focus is definitely going to be resilience. He is tough and he doesn't allow his players to get complacent." Arthur, a South African and the first foreign coach for Australia, himself is said to be a good technician with marvellous skills in manmanagement.

Around 13,500 armed forces personnel, including specialist dog handlers and bomb disposal experts, would be deployed during the 2012 London Olympic Games. British's navy's biggest ship HMS Ocean will be moored in the Thames river while Typhoon fighter jets will provide air cover. The security measures have led to the costs of the games spiralling to around 1 billion pounds (around $1.55 billion). Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said around 7,500 personnel would be dedicated to venue security. Along with the HMS Ocean, the HMS Bulwark assault ship will carry Puma or Lynx choppers or even Apache attack helicopters, the report said. There would be 1,000 'unarmed' personnel plus 12,000 policemen. The Special Air Service and the Special Boat Service - special forces units - will be on standby to react to any terrorist incident, and will be based in 'secret locations' in London. Originally, the security budget was set at 600 million pounds with a 238 million-pound contingency fund. Recently, the government announced that an extra 270 million pounds was being set aside for Olympic venue security from its total budget of 9.3 billion pounds.

Akram turns down offer to join special task team

Former Pakistan skipper Wasim Akram has turned down an invitation from the Pakistan Cricket Board to join a special task team, which will seek to recommend measures for improvements in domestic cricket. The PCB said in a statement that Akram had declined the invitation because of his personal and professional commitments. "He was invited to be on the high powered committee but he has informed the board he is not available since he already has many professional and personal commitments lined up," a board official said.

Five Indian athletes banned for doping

India's National Anti Doping Agency has handed two-year bans to five athletes who tested positive during domestic competitions this year. NADA's director-general Rahul Bhatnagar said that a disciplinary panel announced the verdict as part of the agency's effort to "root out doping altogether from the system." The five banned athletes are sprinter Hemant Kirulkar, hammer thrower Gaurav Bhardwaj, long distance runner B. Madhusudhan, shot put thrower Budhisatva Banerjee and javelin thrower Megha Pardeshi. Madhusudhan and Pardeshi both tested positive for the steroid stanozalol, Kirulkar for oyxendrolone, Bhardwaj for nandrolone and Banerjee for the stimulant methylhexanamine.

Pakistan tennis star Qureshi ties the knot Pakistan tennis star Aisam-ul Haq Qureshi has tied the knot with British citizen Faha Akmal at a grand ceremony in Garrison Golf Club, Lahore on December 17. Qureshi wore a white sherwani and red turban and his bride wore a conventional red 'lehnga' dress. Qureshi's Indian tennis partner Rohan Bopana and their American tennis coach were among the guests at the marriage ceremony, The News reports. According to the Express Tribune, Akmal has recently acquired a masters degree in psychotherapy from the University of Greenwich, United Kingdom. Akmal's father, Dr Muhammad Akmal Makhdum is the son of renowned educationist and former education secretary Professor Muhammad Ajmal.


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Asian Voice - Saturday 24th December 2011

Boucher sets world record South African cricketer Mark Boucher has set the world record by becoming the only wicketkeeper to score a Test match half-century and effect six dismissals in an innings for the second time. He achieved the feat during South Africa's first Test match against Sri Lanka in Centurion, Sport 24 reports. He had earlier accomplished the feat against Pakistan in 1998 in his fourth Test match. South African cricketer Denis Lindsay, England player Matt Prior and Indian wicket-keeper MS Dhoni have also achieved this feat.

Sachin Tendulkar has 'helper' for Australia series A cricket enthusiast listed in the Indian touring squad as an "attendant" is helping Sachin Tendulkar prepare for India's quest to win their first Test series in Australia, reports said on Monday. DVGI Raghavindraa has never played first-class cricket but what he lacks in playing expertise he makes up for with enthusiasm and his presence in Australia, The Sydney Morning Herald said. Raghavindraa is being used on tour for his throw-down skills in the practice nets and the Herald said he has come with strong recommendations from Tendulkar and fellow Indian batsman Rahul Dravid. The newspaper said Raghavindraa, 27, is listed as an "attendant" on a Board of Control for Cricket in India news release, and is an employee at the National Cricket Academy in Bangalore. A Herald reporter watched Raghavindraa during a Sunday net session with Tendulkar at Canberra's Manuka Oval in which he threw balls at the batting maestro for an hour. Raghavindraa helped Tendulkar prepare for the barrage of outswingers he is likely to receive from Australia's rising pace star James Pattinson ahead of the opening Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on December 26.

Vernon Philander appeals for one of his five wickets in South Africa v Sri Lanka match

Steyn's 4 for 18 in Sri Lanka's first innings was accompanied by his partner Philander's 5 for 53 and 5 for 49, giving him an astonishing match analysis of 10 for 102, and the Man-of-the Match award. This is Philander's first

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the Manuka Oval. Off-spinner Ashwin continued his good form from where he had left at home against the West Indies as he picked up four wickets for 52 runs from his 14 overs to put brakes on the CA Chairman's XI side which was struggling at 214/7. The home side rode on Test hopeful Ed Cowan's 109 made from 154 balls, inclusive of 16 fours, and were still trailing by 55 runs with three wickets in hand. Tim Ludeman was batting on 15 when stumps were drawn early

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season in Test cricket. It has been amazing and memorable on every count: 24 wickets in three Tests (two against the Australians, the third just concluded), with four 5 wicket hauls. This is astonishing stuff. He is set

to take the world by storm. Cocky England, beware. Philander is due to visit these shores next summer and is certain to set the country alight. Sri Lanka are in a shambles, their bowling is at best ordinary, the batting feeble. They look to be on a hiding to nothing. Boardroom politics and intrigues have taken their toll. Muttiah Muralitheran has retired and with him has gone Sri Lanka's greatest asset. There is little else to say of a woebegone side struggling to make an impact on testing Test opponents. As captain and opening batsman, Tillekeratne Dilshan is clearly out of his depth. Sri Lanka have a painfully long haul ahead of them.

Kohli, Ashwin shine, Zaheer disappoints

Virat Kohli struck a century and spinner R Ashwin captured four wickets but it was pace spearhead Zaheer Khan's form and fitness which turned out to be the main concern for the Indians on the second day of their warm-up game against CA Chairman's XI on Tuesday at Canberra. Kohli slammed 132 in a team total of 269 as his other batting colleagues, including captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, failed to impress. Rohit Sharma was the only substantial contributor with 47 as the Indian innings folded around half an hour before lunch at

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Sri Lanka were struck by a bolt of lightening at Centurion Park, left shellshocked as they crashed to an innings and 231-run defeat in three day by a rampaging South Africa. The new South African icon Vernon Philander played Jove as his fast leftarm swing and seam demolished the visitors in both innings (180 and 150) in answer to the home side's 411 all out. South Africa's new ball attack of Dale Steyn and Vernon Philander are a lethal combination, the best there is in international cricket. Steyn's brutal pace and lift is admirably complemented by Philander's angled line:

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Khawaja (25) and Phil Hughes (20) - failed to get going. It was left to Cowan to thump an attractive 109 and make the most of friendly conditions. Kohli, unbeaten on 55 last night, continued in same vein and made 132 before becoming one of the five victims of left-arm spinner Jon Holland who claimed six for 70.

Virat Kohli

due to bad light. For India though, the main cause of concern would be the form and fitness of senior pacer Zaheer Khan, who failed to impress in his return to the Indian squad after long injury lay-off. The 33-year-old paceman bowled 10 overs in two spells and conceded 41 runs without ever looking like picking up a wicket. Worryingly, he did not stay put in the field and left for dressing room as soon as he was through with his spell on both occasions. The home side would be similarly upset as all their Test regulars - David Warner (2), Usman

India draw first tour match Sachin Tendulkar sounded a warning to Australia's depleted bowling attack by hitting a stylish 92 before retiring in India's drawn tour match against a Cricket Australia Chairman's XI last week. The two-day match ended prematurely due to rain at Manuka Oval with India on 6-320 in reply to the Chairman's XI's 6-398 declared. Tendulkar is just one century short of becoming the first cricketer to reach the historic milestone of a combined 100 hundreds in tests or limited-overs internationals. He will get the opportunity to push for the landmark when India faces Australia at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Dec. 26 in the first of four test matches.


Asian Voice