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FIRST & FOREMOST ASIAN WEEKLY IN EUROPE Solicitors, Advocates Immigration Specialists Commissioners of Oaths Family & Divorce

Rashid A. Khan

Solicitor (Principal) ● Switching Visas Asylum & Immigration ● Over Stayers New Point Based System ● European Law ● Work Permits ● Nationality & Travel Documents ● Visa Extensions ● Human Rights Application ● Judicial Reviews ● High/Court of Appeals ● Tribunal Appeals ● ●

Head Office: 190 Merton High Street, Wimbledon, London SW19 1AX Tel: 02085 401 666 02086 720 666, Fax: 02085 430 534 07878 33 5000 0777 4222 062 FREE LEGAL ADVICE

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Let noble thoughts come to us from every side

28 MARCH - 3 APRIL 2020 - VOL 48 ISSUE 46

OUR UNSUNG HEROES

inside: Tele-medicine Revolution: Easing the burden off the NHS SEE PAGE 7

Sunak announces historic wage protection package SEE PAGE 9

Rupanjana Dutta & Priyanka Mehta

Among Asians there is an old saying that medics are second to God on earth. Currently their selfless contributions to save people’s lives from coronavirus, without proper gears to protect themselves, indeed make them nothing but indispensable. Upto 65,000 ex-NHS staff will also go back soon to jobs to help Britain fight this pandemic and the government is asking 250,000 volunteers to step forward to help them.

Working long hours, many in intensive care units, these medics often don’t think about their own well-being. And it is not just the physical aspect of it. Mentally, to see people do not care about their repeated warnings or requests, then facing the ills without proper gears due to lack of equipments, as well as going home late to an empty fridge or empty supermarket has taken a toll on many of them. Still our national heroes, they stand strong, helping everyone in need, not caring about their own self first. A junior NHS doctor told BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme, that she was devastated to receive pictures of packed tube trains in London, as she deals with the consequences of the killer virus in intensive care units. She said that she had conversations with her dying patients and their families, she would have never imagined doing a week ago. On top of that, medics are being sent the wrong personal protective equipment to guard against

Covid-19, forcing many of them to take time away from the frontline to get refitted and learn how to use it, The Guardian reported. Speaking to Asian Voice, Dr Sutapa Biswas, who is a Consultant in Neurodiagnostics, London and a single mum said, “I was emotionally overwhelmed in the first week when after work I could not even find a bean in the supermarkets. I was standing in the midst of rows of empty shelves in tears. When the supermarkets opened up early morning slots for NHS, it was still difficult for me because I was doing the school run. “Schools have been very supportive to the best of their abilities. However since my children's school only had 4 key-worker children, they have been moved to a bigger school (under the same Trust) where they currently have 100+ such children. This was to save cost and staff safety.

Continued on page 4

PM Modi announces 21-day all-India lockdown SEE PAGE - 16-17

Shivraj Singh Chouhan takes oath as MP CM SEE PAGE - 26


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28 March - 3 April 2020

Birmingham pharmacy inflates calpol prices

with Keith Vaz

Sunju Gohel Sunju Gohel is the Superintendent Pharmacist at ‘Mr Medicine Online Pharmacy’. He was born and raised in Leicester, and graduated from De Montfort University in 2013 with a Master’s degree in Pharmacy. After qualifying, Sunju went on to work as a locum community pharmacist, working at various pharmacies across the East Midlands. He has since started his own online pharmacy business, where they provide healthcare and pharmaceutical services nationally – with a key focus on the local community.

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Which place, or city or country do you most feel at home in? Leicester. It truly is a wonderful city which has a unique melting pot of diverse cultures. From the world famous Diwali celebrations, to the historic Leicester City Premiership title win – the city’s name is globally known and I feel proud to call it home.

make them proud with my accomplishments.

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What is the best aspect of your current role? What I like most about my role is being in a position to make a difference in people’s lives by having a positive impact on their health and wellbeing.

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And the worst?

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What are your proudest achievements?

Completing my ‘pre registration’ year (a year in pharmacy practice after university). It is a demanding year that requires balancing full time work alongside full time academic work.

3

What inspires you?

I currently enjoy my role very much, so I would not say there is a “worst aspect”. However, running your own business certainly has its challenges.

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What are your long term goals?

I have always been inspired by these words from Albert Einstein, “In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity”. As it is a reminder that when you face a problem or complications, there is a chance to find a way to resolve it and learn from the experience.

My long term goal is to expand the products and services my pharmacy offers. I would like to offer a more tailored and personalised approach to the health and wellbeing of the local community we serve. I also hope to add a retail community pharmacy to my business portfolio in the near future.

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Biggest obstacle in your career?

The current coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is by far the biggest obstacle I have encountered in my career as a pharmacist. I am continually engaging with concerned members of the local community and reassuring them in this period of uncertainty. The pandemic has also resulted in logistical issues which have affected the supply chains of vital medicines.

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Who has been biggest influence on your career to date? My parents. They have always encouraged and pushed me to do my best and to pursue my dreams. I am thankful of the values and work ethic they have instilled in me. I hope to

If you were Prime Minister, what one aspect would you change?

I would remove university tuition fees. Student debt is continuing to grow and is reaching an unsustainable level which is placing a heavy burden on young people. I believe that education should be free for all and not a commodity to be sold.

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If you were marooned on a desert island, which historical figure would you like to spend your time with and why My choice would have to Mahatma Gandhi. His infinite wisdom along with his simple, non-materialistic way of living would be the ideal remedy for life on a desert island.

On 19th March, a Birmingham councillor expressed his disappointment at a local pharmacy inflating prices of a bottle of children's Calpol which was being sold at £19.99. City councillor Majid Mahmood from Bromford and Hodge Hill tweeted about the huge increase. His tweet read, “Really disappointed that a local @JhootsPharmacy in my ward is charging extortionate prices for paracetamol and calpol. Just last week it was charging £1.39 for 32 paracetamol and today it is £9.99. “Not good for a community pharmacy putting profits before people. #COVID2019!” The Pharmacy is a branch of Jhoots Pharmacy, a Walsall-based company with more than 100 branch-

es across the country. The firm said it was investigating. A 200ml bottle of infant Calpol - a paracetemol based suspension for tots - normally retails for around £3.99. But amid shortages it has been increased in the pharmacy to a staggering £19.99. In response Jhoots Pharmacy tweeted, "It has come to our attention that some branches have increased their prices, we

are currently investigating the matter. Meanwhile our staff are working hard to serve our communities during difficult times and putting on extra provision for free deliveries." In the meantime, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) have said they are monitoring price increases in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak and are ensuring that traders do not exploit the current situation.”

based at his flat in North London and had hired temporary agency staff in the past few days to attend the calls. Having sold the testing kits, the clinic passes the information against GDPR policy to intermediary in Barnsley. The efficacy of the test has yet to be approved by Public Health England. The shadow health secretary, Jon Ashworth, in a statement to The Times said, “This is an unprecedented public health crisis. People will be disgusted at profiteering behaviour like this. “It has to be a national priority to ramp up testing, especially for our NHS staff, and the government must stamp out this exploitative action.” The Randox tests are claimed to be the only ones in the world that “can identify the lethal Covid-19 virus and differentiate between nine other viruses with the

same symptoms”. Customers are instructed to swab their nostrils and throat, and post samples to Randox for analysis. Randox said it did not have a direct customer relationship with Ali and therefore had no control over the amount he charged. A man accused of making fake coronavirus treatment kits and trying to sell them around the world appeared before Brighton magistrates yesterday. Frank Ludlow, 59, was charged with fraud and remanded in custody.

Doctor fleeces people with Coronavirus test kits A latest report has exposed how a private doctor fleeced about £2.5m from thousands of people across the UK, on the grounds of testing for Coronavirus, profiteering about £1.7m in less than a week even as the doctor denied the profits. According to The Times, Dr Mark Ali, sold more than 6,600 coronavirus test kits for £375 each to all those who fear that they may have contracted the disease. The price is three times higherthan what his supplier, Randox Laboratories, charges the public for the same tests. The analysis work on samples is actually done by the clinical diagnostic company in Crumlin, Northern Ireland, which offers the test to the public at £120 only. Dr. Ali offers the tests through his company, Private Harley Street Clinic Limited, which, is actually

Mosques suspend Friday prayers On Friday 20th March hundreds of mosques suspended congregational activities as the death toll in London jumped to 177 with a record increase of 40 new deaths on a day-to-day basis. Ahead of Friday congregational prayers, over 375 mosques, community centres and prayer facilities in the UK confirmed the suspension of congregational prayers especially when Iranians ignored official Government warnings and congregated in Iran to celebrate their new year. Some of the mosques following this lockdown in the UK include East London Mosque, which holds 7,000

worshippers, London Central Mosque which sees over 5,000 people, and Birmingham Central Mosque which regularly hosts over 2,500 people on Fridays. Earlier on Monday 16th March the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) had called for a similar suspension in conjunction with expert medical advice provided by the British Islamic Medical Association and theological justification provided by a number of Muslim scholars, consulted through the British Board of Scholars and Imams. Harun Khan, Secretary General of the MCB said, “Safeguarding all of our communities is paramount, and it’s reassuring so

many mosques and prayer facilities have heeded this advice in trying their best to minimise the spread of the coronavirus. “Crowds at mosques draw the elderly, vulnerable and those who are high risk. With the increasing rate of transmission and the number of deaths, for the safety of our families, our communities and society, we cannot afford to take any risks. “We all have an Islamic and public duty to protect one another from harm, and I hope the remaining mosques, Islamic centres and prayer facilities across the UK take this extraordinary step in these unprecedented times and suspend all congregational activities.”

Dr Mark Ali


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28 March - 3 April 2020

Love thy neighbour Britain’s Chancellor to the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, has been hailed as UK’s next Prime Minister, irrespective of his ‘ethnicity’, after he promised to do "whatever it takes" to save people's jobs and livelihoods through the coronavirus pandemic. His famous lines, “When this is over, and it will be over, and remember the many small acts of kindness done by us and to us. We want to look back on this time and remember how we thought first of others and acted with decency,” directed at the businesses, gave goose bumps to the listeners. He is ‘the leader’ Britain needs during these times filled with uncertainties and despair. Even during the second world war, that actually moulded Britain into a social-welfare state, did not fund jobs across every sector. Though UK’s many measures during this pandemic came a week late, the country has always kept it’s people’s well-being at heart since the war. In fact, the announcements made by the Chancellor, were unprecedented in British history. Mr Sunak’s drastic measures have obviously been welcomed with open arms by many. But economists find his steps bit of a worrying indication of the severity of the financial crisis we are going to face. Britain has seen 300+ deaths in coronavirus, the country is facing a semi-lockdown and the Chancellor still has not protected all its citizens. Despite universal credit, self-employed workers will still face serious hardships. Pressure is therefore mounting on the government to provide urgent aid to Britain’s 5 million selfemployed workers including those in the creative industry. The Trades Union Congress has urged ministers to rapidly extend the worker wage subsidy scheme to the self-employed too. Treasury officials are said to be putting together a fresh financial

support package for the self-employed. But there are three key issues here, according to The Guardian- the technicality of delivering financial help to the self-employed- which is complex, how to calculate the level of the support- that remains complicated and how to give equal treatment to employed and self-employed workers, which is still unclear. The government plans to inject £7bn into the welfare system, which will help some 4 million households. Small businesses may be able to cover rents with this injection of funds. It is vital that firms are prevented from closing down, or laying off staff so that the economy recovers with their inputs once this passes. Mr Sunak reportedly added that business rates are to be abolished for the hospitality sector, and grants of up to £25,000 will be made available. A great announcement indeed for the industry that is the hardest hit by this virus. Mr Sunak has also extended interest-free loans for businesses from 6 months to a year. But with uncertainties looming large, collapsing demands, how is cheap borrowing an answer to this crisis? Who will take on more debt given circumstances? In fact this bail-out may require a massive borrowing for the government by the end of 2020, and the crisis may even surpass the 2008 recession that we have faced. In these desperate hours, it is only through collective measures and community spirit, we can sustain or survive. Supporting one another, with kindness and compassion matter the most now. Mr Sunak’s government is surely trying to imbibe that ethos, and ensure that no one is left out. It’s an effort in the right direction but only time will tell if his plan could actually be transformed into reality from theory.

Row over Gogoi’s Rajya Sabha nomination The nomination of former Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi to the Rajya Sabha, four months after his retirement, has triggered an avoidable controversy. The controversy stems from the key constitutional principle of separation of powers, whereby judiciary, executive and legislature ought to be kept separate. His nomination can lead to suspicion about how independent the judiciary really is. The government, after all, is a key litigant in Supreme Court. To avoid conflict of interest, judges must keep their distance from corridors of power. A cooling off period for judges is necessary. Alternatively, the retirement age for judges can be raised to 70, with no more sinecures allowed thereafter. BJP’s leading lights, such as late Arun Jaitley and Piyush Goyal, have gone on record to the effect that post-retirement jobs influence pre-retirement judgments. Justice Gogoi, therefore, may have unwittingly undermined his successors in Supreme Court by accepting the nomination. Unlike judges taking up memberships on tribunals and statutory bodies which would involve a fair degree of adjudication – their core competency – political appointments are more liable to be misinterpreted. There can be no doubt that Gogoi's presence is a valuable one in the Rajya Sabha. His experience and wisdom, and the stature that comes with having led the institution of the higher judiciary, would embellish its proceedings. Yet, it is equally true that the institution that Justice Gogoi served and led now comes under a deeper shadow. And that no amount of sugarcoating is going to take away from this reality. Yes, Justice

Gogoi is not the first judge to have accepted what looks suspiciously like a post-retirement benefit from government, and not even the first Chief Justice of India to do so. Justice Ranganath Misra retired as CJI in 1991, and was made NHRC chairman and some years later, Rajya Sabha MP on a Congress ticket. As far back as in 1958, the chief justice of Bombay High Court, MC Chagla, was appointed as India’s ambassador to the US and then High Commissioner to the UK in the Nehru regime. In its first term in power, the Modi government appointed another former CJI, Justice P Sathasivam, as Kerala governor. There are other examples, too. Yet, when Justice (retired) Madan B Lokur asks if the “last bastion” has “fallen” today, his words have a special resonance. Because the several wrongs of the past do not make this right. In his first comments, Justice Gogoi has said that the legislature and judiciary must “at some point of time work together for nation-building.” That’s a deeply problematic formulation coming from someone who should know better. Justice Gogoi was one of the four senior-most judges who held the historic press conference in January 2018 questioning then CJI Dipak Misra and his running of the top court. He has been articulate and eloquent about the imperative to protect and strengthen the integrity of the judicial institution, at the heart of which lies its independence. Delivering a lecture in 2018, he spoke of the precious freedom to speak truth to power, and the need for the judiciary to remain “uncontaminated”, “independent” and “fierce” to “preserve its moral and institutional leverage”.

China’s control of the Covid narrative Global media has been crammed with almost nothing but Coronavirus. Whilst European, American and South-East Asian countries wake up to lockdowns and a daily increase in the number of those infected and dead, China reports of a reverse trend or what it likes to call “life returning back to normal” as spring approaches. If their news is to be believed, and there is plenty of precendent to doubt their claims, one wonders if China has really countered the virus. The devil’s advocate looks at the local Italian broadsheet newspaper L’Eco di Bergamo (dated 13th March) containing about 10 pages of the names of those deceased, a sharp increase from the one page of obituaries initially and wonders if China is fudging data once again! The country had previously tried to supress the whistleblowers, doctors and journalists, who had been trying to alert the world about this deadly virus. Dr. Li Wenliang, hailed as the superhero who warned the world about the virus, unfortunately died off the same! But that was not the end of it, China also fudged the figures on the outbreak and now in it’s crussade to clean its image, the country has been pumping out several theories on social media around how the virus first originated. Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lijian Zhao initially fielded a video on his Twitter account of Robert Redfield, the director for the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, addressing a US Congressional committee on March 11. According to this video, Zhao claims that the novel coronavirus was brought into Wuhan by the United States military. Besides, a lone video about a professor addressing the committee Zhao has not provided another shred of evidence to substantiate his claims. In the meantime, US President Donald Trump has been quick to lambust the Chinese officials for pushing forward “propagan-

dist” narratives through state-controlled media in an attempt of passing the buck. Now, social media is innundated with unchecked and unverified claims about the origin of the virus. These range from people eating bats to China testing for some nuclear weapon and the test failing. It appears like the WhatsApp University is drawing inspiration from the Chernobyl disaster. God forbid that be true. However, the need of the hour is not to focus on how, why and where the virus emerged. That is not to say the aborigines of Covid-19 is not crucial in perhaps, understanding and diagnosing the virus which constantly appears to be changing form but not yet mutating. It is also crucial to cross examine the fact whether China has actually defeated the virus through self-isolation, a model increasingly followed by other global countries at a time when there is no vaccine or a drug to completely cure an individual. Critics are rightfully concerned that China may be easing the restrictions only to jump-start its crumbling economy. According to a report by RTHK, Hong Kong’s public broadcaster, residents said hospitals in Wuhan had refused to test patients who showed symptoms while Kyodo News in Japan reported a local doctor concerned about the President manipulating the numbers right before he visited the country. Such reports are even more concerning as news emerges that even young people are not invisible to the virus with a 13-year-old girl reportedly dying of the virus in Panama recently. Has the country been able to defeat the virus? Not even WHO is aware of it and neither can the UN attest to the country’s veracity but that does not however, should not become a breeding ground for racial discrimination against fellow Chinese citizens who are only suffering through this!

A person who feels appreciated will always do more than what is expected - Amy Rees Anderson

Alpesh Patel

What after this? As Chairman of City Hindus Network, we have worked with the ‘Hindu’ part with Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies and at this difficult time are pleased to promote the work they are doing to help people. I hope the increased interest continues after this: Dr Nick Sutton is holding a weekly Gita talk. Mondays at 8.15pm UK time. And for a deep read we're making Dr Sutton's Gita available as a pdf. The Gita discusses God, the soul, nature, time, and work – topics to bring perspective. https://ochsonline.org/bhagavad-gita-download After this…the Government should issue NHS bonds, like War Bonds in the last war ie long term loans from volunteers to the Government for the NHS. And I want the Chinese at the front of that queue as they are for lending money to US Government. After this…I want the 50% off for NHS to be permanent in shops and restaurants. I want people to always be cleaner, wash hands, and scrap pointless meetings and work more from home and avoid commutes and flights more often. After this. If you don't socially isolate - it's not me you will kill. I'm isolating. It's the person you infect and send to hospital and occupy someone else's bed, that you'll kill. Believe it or not, there already are laws, criminal laws, on knowingly causing someone to be infected. You see, pandemics cannot be understood outside of an understanding of political culture. The Chinese political culture is on which allows for ending pandemics quickly - people follow their Government. That's not a model I admire. But it proves useful at times like these.British political culture is far more libertarian. The subservience to class structure and to authority which we all laud, also means people are less inclined to follow authority and are more likely to be personal freedom seeking. So the UK will follow the Italians and not the Chinese. This virus appears to be more deadly based on the political culture. If you were inventing a virus where you wanted to devastate a particular western model of political systemthis would be it. What is worrying is, there is another political culture even more embedded in liberty and personal freedom, and rebellion against authority. One which makes the British and Italians look quite conservative. And that is America. And the virus is just now accelerating in America. After this – all bets are off. After this maybe our grandchildren will ask us many days from now “what did you do when the outbreak happened?” And we better be in a position to say something half way decent. 1. We continued paying salaries of people who were not working. 2. We paid invoices of contractors. 3. We worked with businesses to help them where we could financially through our efforts or Government resources where we work with Government so they could save and create jobs. 4. We tried to reassure people and educate them about their savings and pensions and futures and taught them to see value not price. We lobbied the Government wherever we had access. 5. We worked with businesses that could save lives and make a better world and had a bigger purpose. 6. We didn’t panic-buy or hoard. 7. We changed forever I hope. We learnt from the kindness of strangers. I hope. 8. We listened to our Government which told us to socially isolate and reduce the exponential rise in deaths which otherwise happens. After this – I hope I remember we are all connected. Editor: CB Patel Asian Voice is published by Asian Business Publications Ltd Karma Yoga House, 12 Hoxton Market, (Off Coronet Street) London N1 6HW. Tel: 020 7749 4080 • Fax: 020 7749 4081 Email: aveditorial@abplgroup.com Website: www.abplgroup.com © Asian Business Publications


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28 March - 3 April 2020

Continued from page 1 “Therefore it has been difficult for me because, the school is quite far from home. However, I am still grateful despite the added stress of school runs, that, at least my children are able to attend school.” Sutapa who is a specialist and still not in the frontline, will be deployed to A&E if the situation worsens.

Dr Sutapa Biswas

Speaking about that future scenario, Sutapa added, “My main worry is childcare (because the schools are now closed) and also as I am a single mum with no family in the UK.” But amidst all these challenges, fighting misinformations and panic, Sutapa is keeping her spirit up and asking people to have faith in the authorities and sticking to reliable sources for informations. “There are a lot of fake news and hearsay circulating in the media. Posts about DIY sanitisers, who said what etc that are extremely dangerous and I would urge people to please double-check anything before believing. “I would also urge people to have faith in the authorities and stick to reliable websites. “My 5 key advices? Be responsible, be positive, stay healthy, be kind and please report any illegal activities to relevant authorities.” Dr Diana Suresh is a GP and a frontline staff. Speaking to Asian Voice, she

OUR UNSUNG HEROES

coping reasonably well. We are doing our best to ensure patient safety and access to medical care though having to consult mostly by phone/video and restrict face to face consults for all but very urgent cases. “But I have had some problems getting hold of food and basic amenities though have been able to manage with what I have at home so far, and with a few different trips to the shops (by my partner) able to get what we needed.” When asked if she feels that the government has done enough for the frontline staff, Diana said, “In my opinion the government has been very slow to respond to the potential crisis within the NHS and there has not been enough done to protect frontline staff. Access to adequate PPE (personal protective equipment) still remains an issue, and though we do have some of this available we currently have to reserve this for the patients we think are “high risk” as opposed to just using it as standard for everyone we see. We are all mindful of when or how we use PPE knowing we may run out. Again my employers have been very proactive in seeking further supplies. “I personally am not worried for my own safety at

said, “As a frontline staff, my employers have been very proactive in preparing for the potential crisis ahead and for the moment we are

Covid-19 – Worse than a war

Diabetic patient vulnerable to virus, cooks for NHS in gratitude

50 biryani boxes delivered to NHS staff at the Royal Stoke University Hospital

essentials. I am talking about bread, milk etc. “Although we were seeing patients only in outpatient department (the department has been shut now) we were still at the front line and we did not have any protection. To add salt to injury, we were out stock on antibacterial wipes and hand gels were stolen from within the department! A whole box full of unopened packets (each packet had about 200 wipes) were stolen 2 weeks ago!” Dr Arpita Ray, a gynaecology consultant, superspecialising in IVF told us

ease". But her husband Dr Anirban Mandal, who is a consultant plastic surgeon in North West of England, may have to go in the frontline to support his colleagues. “My husband’s hospital is preparing to control this epidemic. He will possibly part of frontline team to support his colleagues and will act according to guidance.” Arpita’s son's A-level exam got cancelled because of coronavirus outbreak, but she thinks this was an appropriate step in this emergency situation (see story page 11).

Bombay Central delivering food to NHS staff

Dr Diana Suresh

Lord Dolar Popat, former Business Minister and Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Rwanda and Uganda

affected by Coronavirus. Now, consumers’ panicbuying and stock-piling habits have also added to their distress. However, there is a flip side to the UK’s socialistic society where the community has decided to shoulder the weight of the government.

Covid-19 and people ‘braving’ it out. But realistically, as doctors this is what we signed up for, when we decided to become medics. If someone did not think about it when they took up medicine as profession, whenever that was, that is just unfortunate.” Many of the NHS staff are relying on each other’s support to keep it going, as the pandemic worsens. Speaking to Asian Voice, Dr Amir Khan, a GP, who is also a wildlife enthusiast said, “It is very hard work dealing with patients anxieties and symptoms around

Dr Amir Khan

work, as I have a supportive, well organised and caring employer, but I cannot say the same for many of my hospital-based colleagues.” A doctor working as an audiological scientist with hearing implants, who did not want to be named told the newsweekly, “Last week when I went to pick up some essentials, the supermarket was empty. The vegetable section only had one onion. My colleagues have had to go to 5 different supermarkets after work to get basic

Lord Dolar Popat

that she has been lucky to face no food shortage in their area. “We have closed our clinic for all elective procedure. I am not in the frontline but we are continuing consultation over telephone. I haven't faced any food shortages so far. I didn't do any panic buying and I think there is enough food for everyone in UK . “Everyone needs to follow government advice and order. Public needs to be aware of their responsibility to stop spreading the dis-

Braving the scenario, fighting daily odds, many doctors remain resilient with indomitable spirit. In videos that are doing rounds on social media, some are even seen dancing to music during breaks, to keep themselves in good humour. An Indian-origin doctor working in the coronavirus ward here, thinks what they are doing as medics does not need to be called ‘heroic’. “It is a part of our job,” he told Asian Voice. “There is a lot of hype around

Covid-19. We now have to treat every patient regardless of symptoms as a potential case. There is a somber mood amongst the staff, as we know how serious this is, but it’s each other who are getting us through. Generally only NHS staff know what it’s like to treat people and have shared experiences, so we rely on each other to get through hard situations and know when your colleague needs a break or support.” A recent video from a paramedic showed how supermarket shelves were stripped bare of basic essentials such as fruits and raw vegetables which resulted in an emotional breakdown for her. The doctors, paramedics, nurses among other healthcare professionals at the NHS are already over-worked, burnt out and at the risk of contracting the infection as they treat those

A couple in Stoke-on-Trent have started delivering hot food boxes to the NHS healthcare professionals at the Royal Stoke University Hospital in a gesture of gratitude to the health professionals for their dedicated services during such difficult times. Arpita Patel and her husband Kinjal Patel have started delivering 50 containers of vegetable biryanis to the hospital on a weekly basis and have even started fundraising for the said cause: Feed the NHS. Speaking to Asian Voice, Arpita, owner of Spice Box catering, said, “I am a diabetic patient on insulin and tablets. I am more susceptible and vulnerable to the virus. So, me and my husband wanted to show our gratitude to the medical staff working long hours at the hospital. After taking permission from the A&E, my husband went shopping for the ingredients, and containers and I started cooking for them. “Following my first week, I set up a GoFund page and I have successfully raised about £400 from various people for the said cause. Most of it would go into ingredients and disposable plastic boxes and sanitary products and packaging bearing in mind the nature of the virus. Unfortunately, it is difficult for us to recycle these containers at the moment. However, we are intent on donating the surplus money to Diabetes UK.” In the upcoming weeks, Arpita plans on cooking hot curry and rice besides asking the NHS if they require essential supplies such as milk, bread and pasta among others. The team of two have not engaged a wider volunteer network for the fear of the human chain contracting the virus in any form. They are registered with the local council and have a hygiene rating of five.

Other restaurants and caterers cooking for vulnerable and frontline doctors Arpita is not the only one in this endeavour. There are various other community efforts in small pockets across the country that is

Arpita Patel and husband Kinjal Patel with the NHS staff

helping the NHS in their own way. In their show of gratitude local restaurants such as the Bombay Central has also recently provided 100 meals for the NHS front line workers at the Northwick Park Hospital. Each of these boxes have messages inscribed on them “We are really proud of you!” and also have disclaimer with allergens contents in the food. This initiative has been hailed by Conservative Party candidate councillor Anjana Patel who thanked Bombay Central for their generous donation. Additionally, Rangrez restaurant in Hammersmith and Ealing is also providing free food for elderly people beyond the age of 65 years old. Manan Seva Day Care Centre, Leicester has also started providing hot meals on wheels for just £2.50 for those who are vulnerable and cannot access necessary food items during the lockdown. Their Meals on Wheels services is available seven days a week between 11am-14:30 hours.

which is only open for takeaway, with the elderly being offered free food as well. Desi Dhaba has also successfully delivered 1350 meals plus teas, coffees, fruits to UCL, Royal Free, Barnet, St Albans, Ritz Pharmacy and local residents in Hayes. Now, they will also be covering Barnet residents who live in and around Barnet hospital. Other large food chains and coffee houses offering discounts to NHS staff include Greggs, Nando's, McDonald’s, Pret A Manger and Cafe Nero among others. At such a crucial stage, it is time everyone stepped up their efforts in being more tolerant of each other and supporting them mentally, and emotionally. Dr Dinesh Bhugra, emeritus professor of mental health and cultural diversity at Kings College London told Asian Voice that the onus also lies on the doctor. He said, “Frontline workers are in serious likelihood to burnout. They may be working long hours and not getting enough

with friends and family if possible. If needed diet supplements or vitamins may be added to diet but we need to ensure a sense of proportion. “Various factors play a role in managing burnout. Employers and organisations need to be aware of the pressures and ensure that time for short breaks is made available. Access to rest places and diet are available. In addition self awareness and self man-

Dr Dinesh Bhugra

agement including relationship management play a role in managing and preventing

Khalsa Aid delivering food to the emergency department at Northwick Park Hospital

Abdul Hamed, who owns Carron to Mumbai in Stonehaven, has also stepped in for the cause and is now asking NHS staff to phone in orders to the restaurant,

rest. It is important to recover from the day by setting time aside for oneself even if it is 10 minutes, listening to music, meditation, yoga, physical exercise chatting

burnout along with an awareness of structures. Doctors and nurses are not infallible and safe space should be accessible to deal with what they are experiencing.”

Covid-19 is set to drastically impact the vast majority of British Indian owned businesses in the UK. To combat this, our new Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak announced a set of comprehensive measures last week to support British businesses to deal with the crippling nature of this pandemic. The measures were widely welcomed by the UK’s business community, particularly British Indian businesses, making Rishi the blueeyed boy of the nation. From the Coronavirus Retention Scheme which is set to underwrite 80 per cent of wages of Rishi Sunak retained workers up to a total of £2,500 a month, to the Business Rate holiday for thousands of businesses up and down the country, this set of schemes was by far the most draconian set of state intervention measures by any Government in postwar Britain. However, this is not a war. As days unfold, we have all begun to realise that this crisis is far worse than a war; worse for our economy, worse for our businesses and worse for our investments. Whilst one can understand why the similarity with war is constantly made and why we need war like measures; this comparison is misleading. Unlike a war, we have hope that this crisis will end. However, for the foreseeable future the economic prospects are bleak. Bleaker than the 2008 financial crisis. Our economy is under cardiac arrest. Unlike the 2008 financial crisis, which mainly hit our financial services sector, this crisis is hitting the very core of our economy; hard-working businesspeople who are the lifeblood of our country. In just a week, we have seen such businesses implode around us, not due to poor financial planning, but because just like us, no business is immune from this pandemic. This is therefore not a war. For even in the war, the core of our economy did not shut down in this way. There might have been blackouts during the war, but no lockdowns. Even Harrods, an institution which prided itself on staying open during the war has closed for the first time in its history! Rishi’s extraordinary intervention is therefore a lifeline for our economy. Don’t forget, it’s always difficult for a Government to intervene in the market in this way – but for a Conservative Government who believes in free market economics and minimal intervention at its core - these measures were simply record breaking. Whilst we accept that these measures won’t prevent the worst recession in history, at least it will mean that we still have an economy at the end of this pandemic. However, the Chancellor has faced calls to further assist Britain’s five million self-employed people, who feel the measures do not protect them enough. The Government has already announced several measures to help the self-employed, including a deferral of self-assessment payments from the end of July to January. Self-employed people will also be able to apply for interest-free loans for a year guaranteed by the Government. In addition

to this, Rishi has removed the minimum income floor for universal credit, making it easier for self-employed people to claim. Furthermore, self-employed people will also be eligible for support through Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs’ (HMRC) Time to Pay service. Arrangements will be agreed on a case-by-case basis and tailored to individual circumstances and liabilities. Applications can be made by calling the dedicated Time to Pay service on 0800 0159 559. The Chancellor has already assured the self-employed sector – worth an estimated £305 billion – that he will continue to review the situation to see what further measures can be put in place to support them. This includes addressing concerns that the current package is pushing people into benefits and building up debt. An ideal solution would be to extend the job retention scheme to the selfemployed, but this has its pitfalls and will be duly reviewed. If we are to confront this economic pandemic, we must go much further than comparing it to a war. This is what our new Chancellor is trying to do. During these uncertain times, I like many other British Indians, have been very impressed by Rishi and have found his approach to Covid-19 to be very reassuring. He is certainly giving the impression that he has a steady hand on the tiller. The Chancellor’s comprehensive package of measures to support businesses include: ● a Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme - offering grants to employers who promise to retain their staff, covering most of the cost of paying people’s wages. Any PAYE employer in the country small or large, charitable or non-profit, will be eligible for the scheme. The government expects the first job-retention grants to be payed before the end of April and the scheme is initially expected to operate for three months. ● deferring VAT and Income Tax payments ● a Statutory Sick Pay relief package for small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) ● a 12-month business rates holiday for all retail, hospitality, leisure and nursery businesses in England ● small business grant funding of £10,000 for all business in receipt of small business rate relief or rural rate relief ● grant funding of £25,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with property with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000 ● the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme offering loans of up to £5 million for SMEs through the British Business Bank ● a new lending facility from the Bank of England to help support liquidity among larger firms, helping them bridge coronavirus disruption to their cash flows through loans ● the HMRC Time To Pay Scheme Further information on how to apply for the Government’s various COVID-19 support for business schemes can be found through the following website: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-toemployers-and-businesses-aboutcovid-19/covid-19-support-for-businesses


4 UK

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AsianVoiceNewsweekly

www.asian-voice.com

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28 March - 3 April 2020

UK

5

28 March - 3 April 2020

Continued from page 1 “Therefore it has been difficult for me because, the school is quite far from home. However, I am still grateful despite the added stress of school runs, that, at least my children are able to attend school.” Sutapa who is a specialist and still not in the frontline, will be deployed to A&E if the situation worsens.

Dr Sutapa Biswas

Speaking about that future scenario, Sutapa added, “My main worry is childcare (because the schools are now closed) and also as I am a single mum with no family in the UK.” But amidst all these challenges, fighting misinformations and panic, Sutapa is keeping her spirit up and asking people to have faith in the authorities and sticking to reliable sources for informations. “There are a lot of fake news and hearsay circulating in the media. Posts about DIY sanitisers, who said what etc that are extremely dangerous and I would urge people to please double-check anything before believing. “I would also urge people to have faith in the authorities and stick to reliable websites. “My 5 key advices? Be responsible, be positive, stay healthy, be kind and please report any illegal activities to relevant authorities.” Dr Diana Suresh is a GP and a frontline staff. Speaking to Asian Voice, she

OUR UNSUNG HEROES

coping reasonably well. We are doing our best to ensure patient safety and access to medical care though having to consult mostly by phone/video and restrict face to face consults for all but very urgent cases. “But I have had some problems getting hold of food and basic amenities though have been able to manage with what I have at home so far, and with a few different trips to the shops (by my partner) able to get what we needed.” When asked if she feels that the government has done enough for the frontline staff, Diana said, “In my opinion the government has been very slow to respond to the potential crisis within the NHS and there has not been enough done to protect frontline staff. Access to adequate PPE (personal protective equipment) still remains an issue, and though we do have some of this available we currently have to reserve this for the patients we think are “high risk” as opposed to just using it as standard for everyone we see. We are all mindful of when or how we use PPE knowing we may run out. Again my employers have been very proactive in seeking further supplies. “I personally am not worried for my own safety at

said, “As a frontline staff, my employers have been very proactive in preparing for the potential crisis ahead and for the moment we are

Covid-19 – Worse than a war

Diabetic patient vulnerable to virus, cooks for NHS in gratitude

50 biryani boxes delivered to NHS staff at the Royal Stoke University Hospital

essentials. I am talking about bread, milk etc. “Although we were seeing patients only in outpatient department (the department has been shut now) we were still at the front line and we did not have any protection. To add salt to injury, we were out stock on antibacterial wipes and hand gels were stolen from within the department! A whole box full of unopened packets (each packet had about 200 wipes) were stolen 2 weeks ago!” Dr Arpita Ray, a gynaecology consultant, superspecialising in IVF told us

ease". But her husband Dr Anirban Mandal, who is a consultant plastic surgeon in North West of England, may have to go in the frontline to support his colleagues. “My husband’s hospital is preparing to control this epidemic. He will possibly part of frontline team to support his colleagues and will act according to guidance.” Arpita’s son's A-level exam got cancelled because of coronavirus outbreak, but she thinks this was an appropriate step in this emergency situation (see story page 11).

Bombay Central delivering food to NHS staff

Dr Diana Suresh

Former Business Minister and Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Rwanda and Uganda

affected by Coronavirus. Now, consumers’ panicbuying and stock-piling habits have also added to their distress. However, there is a flip side to the UK’s socialistic society where the community has decided to shoulder the weight of the government.

Covid-19 and people ‘braving’ it out. But realistically, as doctors this is what we signed up for, when we decided to become medics. If someone did not think about it when they took up medicine as profession, whenever that was, that is just unfortunate.” Many of the NHS staff are relying on each other’s support to keep it going, as the pandemic worsens. Speaking to Asian Voice, Dr Amir Khan, a GP, who is also a wildlife enthusiast said, “It is very hard work dealing with patients anxieties and symptoms around

Dr Amir Khan

work, as I have a supportive, well organised and caring employer, but I cannot say the same for many of my hospital-based colleagues.” A doctor working as an audiological scientist with hearing implants, who did not want to be named told the newsweekly, “Last week when I went to pick up some essentials, the supermarket was empty. The vegetable section only had one onion. My colleagues have had to go to 5 different supermarkets after work to get basic

Lord Dolar Popat

that she has been lucky to face no food shortage in their area. “We have closed our clinic for all elective procedure. I am not in the frontline but we are continuing consultation over telephone. I haven't faced any food shortages so far. I didn't do any panic buying and I think there is enough food for everyone in UK . “Everyone needs to follow government advice and order. Public needs to be aware of their responsibility to stop spreading the dis-

Braving the scenario, fighting daily odds, many doctors remain resilient with indomitable spirit. In videos that are doing rounds on social media, some are even seen dancing to music during breaks, to keep themselves in good humour. An Indian-origin doctor working in the coronavirus ward here, thinks what they are doing as medics does not need to be called ‘heroic’. “It is a part of our job,” he told Asian Voice. “There is a lot of hype around

Covid-19. We now have to treat every patient regardless of symptoms as a potential case. There is a somber mood amongst the staff, as we know how serious this is, but it’s each other who are getting us through. Generally only NHS staff know what it’s like to treat people and have shared experiences, so we rely on each other to get through hard situations and know when your colleague needs a break or support.” A recent video from a paramedic showed how supermarket shelves were stripped bare of basic essentials such as fruits and raw vegetables which resulted in an emotional breakdown for her. The doctors, paramedics, nurses among other healthcare professionals at the NHS are already over-worked, burnt out and at the risk of contracting the infection as they treat those

A couple in Stoke-on-Trent have started delivering hot food boxes to the NHS healthcare professionals at the Royal Stoke University Hospital in a gesture of gratitude to the health professionals for their dedicated services during such difficult times. Arpita Patel and her husband Kinjal Patel have started delivering 50 containers of vegetable biryanis to the hospital on a weekly basis and have even started fundraising for the said cause: Feed the NHS. Speaking to Asian Voice, Arpita, owner of Spice Box catering, said, “I am a diabetic patient on insulin and tablets. I am more susceptible and vulnerable to the virus. So, me and my husband wanted to show our gratitude to the medical staff working long hours at the hospital. After taking permission from the A&E, my husband went shopping for the ingredients, and containers and I started cooking for them. “Following my first week, I set up a GoFund page and I have successfully raised about £400 from various people for the said cause. Most of it would go into ingredients and disposable plastic boxes and sanitary products and packaging bearing in mind the nature of the virus. Unfortunately, it is difficult for us to recycle these containers at the moment. However, we are intent on donating the surplus money to Diabetes UK.” In the upcoming weeks, Arpita plans on cooking hot curry and rice besides asking the NHS if they require essential supplies such as milk, bread and pasta among others. The team of two have not engaged a wider volunteer network for the fear of the human chain contracting the virus in any form. They are registered with the local council and have a hygiene rating of five.

Other restaurants and caterers cooking for vulnerable and frontline doctors Arpita is not the only one in this endeavour. There are various other community efforts in small pockets across the country that is

Arpita Patel and husband Kinjal Patel with the NHS staff

helping the NHS in their own way. In their show of gratitude local restaurants such as the Bombay Central has also recently provided 100 meals for the NHS front line workers at the Northwick Park Hospital. Each of these boxes have messages inscribed on them “We are really proud of you!” and also have disclaimer with allergens contents in the food. This initiative has been hailed by Conservative Party candidate councillor Anjana Patel who thanked Bombay Central for their generous donation. Additionally, Rangrez restaurant in Hammersmith and Ealing is also providing free food for elderly people beyond the age of 65 years old. Manan Seva Day Care Centre, Leicester has also started providing hot meals on wheels for just £2.50 for those who are vulnerable and cannot access necessary food items during the lockdown. Their Meals on Wheels services is available seven days a week between 11am-14:30 hours.

which is only open for takeaway, with the elderly being offered free food as well. Desi Dhaba has also successfully delivered 1350 meals plus teas, coffees, fruits to UCL, Royal Free, Barnet, St Albans, Ritz Pharmacy and local residents in Hayes. Now, they will also be covering Barnet residents who live in and around Barnet hospital. Other large food chains and coffee houses offering discounts to NHS staff include Greggs, Nando's, McDonald’s, Pret A Manger and Cafe Nero among others. At such a crucial stage, it is time everyone stepped up their efforts in being more tolerant of each other and supporting them mentally, and emotionally. Dr Dinesh Bhugra, emeritus professor of mental health and cultural diversity at Kings College London told Asian Voice that the onus also lies on the doctor. He said, “Frontline workers are in serious likelihood to burnout. They may be working long hours and not getting enough

with friends and family if possible. If needed diet supplements or vitamins may be added to diet but we need to ensure a sense of proportion. “Various factors play a role in managing burnout. Employers and organisations need to be aware of the pressures and ensure that time for short breaks is made available. Access to rest places and diet are available. In addition self awareness and self man-

Dr Dinesh Bhugra

agement including relationship management play a role in managing and preventing

Khalsa Aid delivering food to the emergency department at Northwick Park Hospital

Abdul Hamed, who owns Carron to Mumbai in Stonehaven, has also stepped in for the cause and is now asking NHS staff to phone in orders to the restaurant,

rest. It is important to recover from the day by setting time aside for oneself even if it is 10 minutes, listening to music, meditation, yoga, physical exercise chatting

burnout along with an awareness of structures. Doctors and nurses are not infallible and safe space should be accessible to deal with what they are experiencing.”

Covid-19 is set to drastically impact the vast majority of British Indian owned businesses in the UK. To combat this, our new Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak announced a set of comprehensive measures last week to support British businesses to deal with the crippling nature of this pandemic. The measures were widely welcomed by the UK’s business community, particularly British Indian businesses, making Rishi the blueeyed boy of the nation. From the Coronavirus Retention Scheme which is set to underwrite 80 per cent of wages of Rishi Sunak retained workers up to a total of £2,500 a month, to the Business Rate holiday for thousands of businesses up and down the country, this set of schemes was by far the most draconian set of state intervention measures by any Government in postwar Britain. However, this is not a war. As days unfold, we have all begun to realise that this crisis is far worse than a war; worse for our economy, worse for our businesses and worse for our investments. Whilst one can understand why the similarity with war is constantly made and why we need war like measures; this comparison is misleading. Unlike a war, we have hope that this crisis will end. However, for the foreseeable future the economic prospects are bleak. Bleaker than the 2008 financial crisis. Our economy is under cardiac arrest. Unlike the 2008 financial crisis, which mainly hit our financial services sector, this crisis is hitting the very core of our economy; hard-working businesspeople who are the lifeblood of our country. In just a week, we have seen such businesses implode around us, not due to poor financial planning, but because just like us, no business is immune from this pandemic. This is therefore not a war. For even in the war, the core of our economy did not shut down in this way. There might have been blackouts during the war, but no lockdowns. Even Harrods, an institution which prided itself on staying open during the war has closed for the first time in its history! Rishi’s extraordinary intervention is therefore a lifeline for our economy. Don’t forget, it’s always difficult for a Government to intervene in the market in this way – but for a Conservative Government who believes in free market economics and minimal intervention at its core - these measures were simply record breaking. Whilst we accept that these measures won’t prevent the worst recession in history, at least it will mean that we still have an economy at the end of this pandemic. However, the Chancellor has faced calls to further assist Britain’s five million self-employed people, who feel the measures do not protect them enough. The Government has already announced several measures to help the self-employed, including a deferral of self-assessment payments from the end of July to January. Self-employed people will also be able to apply for interest-free loans for a year guaranteed by the Government. In addition

to this, Rishi has removed the minimum income floor for universal credit, making it easier for self-employed people to claim. Furthermore, self-employed people will also be eligible for support through Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs’ (HMRC) Time to Pay service. Arrangements will be agreed on a case-by-case basis and tailored to individual circumstances and liabilities. Applications can be made by calling the dedicated Time to Pay service on 0800 0159 559. The Chancellor has already assured the self-employed sector – worth an estimated £305 billion – that he will continue to review the situation to see what further measures can be put in place to support them. This includes addressing concerns that the current package is pushing people into benefits and building up debt. An ideal solution would be to extend the job retention scheme to the selfemployed, but this has its pitfalls and will be duly reviewed. If we are to confront this economic pandemic, we must go much further than comparing it to a war. This is what our new Chancellor is trying to do. During these uncertain times, I like many other British Indians, have been very impressed by Rishi and have found his approach to Covid-19 to be very reassuring. He is certainly giving the impression that he has a steady hand on the tiller. The Chancellor’s comprehensive package of measures to support businesses include: ● a Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme - offering grants to employers who promise to retain their staff, covering most of the cost of paying people’s wages. Any PAYE employer in the country small or large, charitable or non-profit, will be eligible for the scheme. The government expects the first job-retention grants to be payed before the end of April and the scheme is initially expected to operate for three months. ● deferring VAT and Income Tax payments ● a Statutory Sick Pay relief package for small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) ● a 12-month business rates holiday for all retail, hospitality, leisure and nursery businesses in England ● small business grant funding of £10,000 for all business in receipt of small business rate relief or rural rate relief ● grant funding of £25,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with property with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000 ● the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme offering loans of up to £5 million for SMEs through the British Business Bank ● a new lending facility from the Bank of England to help support liquidity among larger firms, helping them bridge coronavirus disruption to their cash flows through loans ● the HMRC Time To Pay Scheme Further information on how to apply for the Government’s various COVID-19 support for business schemes can be found through the following website: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-toemployers-and-businesses-aboutcovid-19/covid-19-support-for-businesses


6 UK

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www.asian-voice.com

28 March - 3 April 2020

Drawing the curtains, the creative industry enters into a reflective period Ashes to ashes and dust to dust. What remains is the collective stories of the human civilisation. Strange as it may be, these times call for the artists to find their creative corners even as the Coronavirus pandemic threatens to clamp down on the finances of freelance painters, theatre connoisseurs among other artists. “It seemed that we were all riding in a car where the brakes were failing and this pause is now necessary for us to look at our stories. “We are all affected and professions like mine may have been more severely affected than that of others because art usually is not considered an important aspect of life by most individuals in our South Asian society,” said Ketna Patel a British Indian visual artist. Most artists today would speak of their emotional and financial distress considering the cancellation of gallery exhibitions and diminishing prospects of being commissioned. However, Ketna, who lives on her own in London is synergising the power of solitude and the luxury of time into her creative projects. Her work extrapolates on an evolving human identity transcending beyond the physical boundaries of culture, nationality and geography. And she explains that her artistic sketches stem from constantly listening and recording the little details that we consciously or unconsciously ingest. She says,

drop in the sales of advance tickets on 17 March compared with the same day in 2019 with the income dipping by 92% as theatre productions cancelled their shows. “As a result of the government's announcement around social distancing in the wake of Corona virus on Monday, a decision was made by the theatre to cancel the rest of our show. This has been the case across the board with many UK theatres shutting down for an unknown period of time. At this stage its unknown what the future of our tour will be, and thereby our jobs. On top of which, there are concerns around money. Being able to pay the rent/bills etc,

Call for revival: Art has eroded in the last 100 years “These are strange times but I am enjoying my gardens and the bright sunshine. I believe that solitude and creativity are intrinsically related. On an everyday basis we are bombarded with so much information that we don’t even remember or cherish a moment’s conversation. For all of us this may be a wake up call in understanding how culture, poetry, theatre and art has been eroded in the last 100 years. Recently, we have often come up with quick fixes because we are constantly running to achieve some or the other form of success. And now this is an opportunity to connect with ourselves and create art that speaks to the soul. It is time to record even this strange chapter into a historical memoir. “I urge everyone, not just the artists, to take up a hobby where you do something with your handsdrawing on the paper, writ-

Thousands of Indian students in the UK are desperate to go back to India as they feel "unsafe" in London, UK’s epicentre of the coronavirus. However, the Indian government had announced a complete lockdown of the country including sealing its borders to international flights after India witnessed an increase in the number of coronavirus cases owing to students returning from international countries.

Ketna Patel

ing in your diary, or simply cooking. The virus is not the first time that mankind has been tested and it certainly won’t be the last. But if anything, this is an indication into the kind of robotic life we were becoming accustomed to. “In this process of going back to ourselves, job insecurities will surface and we can possibly become weak because we are so busy chasing success that we do not know what to do with ourselves if we the externals are changed. But this is also the time when we can re-connect with our happiness and philosophical souls.” Within the South Asian society art is often the neglected profession. Most

(L-R) Mitesh Soni, Charley Caroline Parker MBE Fagin and Nadeem Islam Artful Dodger in Oliver Twist

boomers under-value the creative industry for their concerns around achieving financial stability during times as these. Their anxiety is not misplaced espeically if the UK’s massive theatre industry is observed. An analysis of advance ticket purchases from 196 venues of varying size, in the commercial and subsidised sectors, sheds light into the dramatic decrease in ticket sales.

Freelance theatre artist echoes concern around survival TRG Arts and data specialists Purple Seven amalysed that there was a dramatic

it is a massive worry for me. “This is proving to be an anxious time, especially as a self employed freelancer, not knowing if and when future work will occur (more so than usual),” said Mitesh Soni, a theatre artist. Soni has been trained at the Guildford School of Acting and some of his prominent work includes playing Deedar/Musa in Paradise of The Assassins, Ali Baba in Arabian Nights at the Manchester Library Theatre. In 2012, Soni won an award at the Manchester Theatre Award for the best ensemble for Arabian Nights. Now that a series of exhibitions have been can-

Stranded Indian students protest outside Indian High Commission in London

Mitesh Soni

celled including Riz Ahmed’s The Long Goodbye, creatives are thinking out of the box and coming up with alternate solutions to improve their creative abilities. Soni said, “I have started establishing a routine for myself to combat the growing anxiety and depression amidst all such negative news. There are some great online/facebook/twitter sources to keep creatives active at home. Writing, keeping audition technique up, learning lines for the plays just for the sake of learning lines, self taping for the sake of self taping. Keeping in contact with others in the same situation. All this being key to keeping myself ready for when work does start up again.” Recently the National Theatre of Scotland (NTS) and Home in Manchester are among the first theatres to commission major online programmes of work in response to the coronavirus, as theatres around the UK face months of closure caused by the outbreak. The commissions signal how arts venues are swiftly adapting in order to continue bringing new work to audiences. The irony of our quarantined life today is that we are all depending upon art to get us through the days whether it is books, music, drawing or simply watching movies.

But students stranded in the UK are worried of the increasing number of cases in the UK and want to fly back to their family especially as the classes are being carried out online after schools and universities were shut. Some have even raised concerns around lack of proper accommodation as university hostels are shut or their private tenancy have come to an end. Recently, an Indian student arrived from Scotland, Glasgow and has spoken about self-isolating herself in her Kolkata flat from her family. Whilst she was thermally tested at the airport, and found to be Covid-19 negative Pooja (name changed upon request) spoke about how she was taking precautionary measures and self-isolating for 14 days. She said, “I was pursuing my Msc in Glasgow and was fortunate to come to India before the country went into a total lockdown. I was tested both at the Bangalore and Kolkata airport and the test came out negative. “I do not have any symptoms of the Coronavirus but for precautionary measures, I am self-isolating myself in my flat for 14 days where only my parents are allowed to come and drop me with food. They come wearing the masks and gloves and drop off food and leave. No one else is allowed in the flat. It has been a difficult last few days staying on my own but once it is over, I am glad I will be with my family once again!” However, not everyone is fortunate. In the UK, hundreds of Indian students have protested at various airports demanding to go home. Students from Gatwick airport went to the Indian High Commission demanding to be sent back to India. After almost two days of staying put in the Indian High Commission premises, they have been moved into a hotel accommodation with food being provided by the High Commission. Meanwhile, Indian Nationals Student Association has put together a team to "provide guidance and support to all students in the UK". India has banned all international flights from March 18 till 31 amid a spurt in coronavirus cases. Despite the ban, however, some airlines allowed bookings for March 19-20. Many Indian students, who booked last-minute tickets, reached various airports in the UK and were stranded. They were asked to get a permission letter from the Indian High Commission to board a flight to India. High Commissioner of India to UK, Ruchi Ghanashyam, in a letter, appealed to all Indians residing in the UK to stay calm. "I appeal to all Indians to stay calm and follow the advisory issued by NHS to address the challenge of Covid-19. Let us remain prepared to fight the challenge and not panic. Please avoid non-essential travel. At the moment, flights to India stand temporarily suspended till 31st March. High Commission remains in touch with the Indian authorities concerned. We will keep you all updated about the status.” For any further queries, Indian students can get in touch with organisations such as National Indian Students and Alumni Union UK, Indian High Commission and Indian National Students Association UK.


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28 March - 3 April 2020

Tele-medicine Revolution: Easing the burden off the NHS Priyanka Mehta

tests and monitor chronic conditions. “At i-GP, we use cutting-edge technology to assess a patient to make sure it is safe to be treated online. We can issue prescriptions to local pharmacies in a matter of minutes and our system allows a relatively small clinical team to diagnose and treat a large number of patients without having to remove staff from the frontline. These patients, therefore, don’t have to attend A&E or urgent care centers, allowing hospital teams more time and energy in treating those who are Covid-19 positive,” Dr. Noorpuri explains.

A virus has brought the world to its knees; borders are sealed, transport has been stripped off and most of you are quarantined but continue to battle physical, mental, or emotional distress. Instead of queuing up to the hospitals, clinics or your local GP when the NHS is already overworked and short-staffed you might consider an alternative; consulting with a health professional for your symptoms over a video-conference without the fear of physically contracting the virus. This process is called tele-triage and is one of the several ways telehealth is revolutionizing patient treatment during the coronavirus pandemic. And platforms like i-GP are at the centre of driving this industry forward in the UK. “Telemedicine offers a clear and safe route for patients to access healthcare at a time when resources are being re-deployed towards handling the Coronavirus pandemic. It allows remote consultation and treatment without the usual face-to-face environment and risk of viral contamination,” explains Dr. Sukhbinder Noorpuri, Founder and CEO of i-GP. 24*7 virtual online clinic, consultation and treatment i-GP offers instant access to a 24*7 digital consultation with the online clinic offering a dynamic user-friendly design where treatment plans are usually issued within an hour of consultation. All the questions are architected with

Dr. Sukhbinder Noorpuri, CEO and Founder, i-GP

images and suitable multi-media. It does not operate like a chatbot or symptom checker where one is required to input copious amounts of text, describing your condition. Instead, you simply have to select the appropriate options relevant to your condition. This platform helps you in diagnosing and treating common medical problems such as urine or sinus infections, common cold, flu among others. Medical professionals estimate that such diseases constitute about 70 million cases a year across the NHS or about 20 percent of the doctors’ daily workload. However, please note that it does not that the platform does not treat emergency cases. “Video consultations allow the patient the reassurance of seeing the doctor and cover mental health issues as well as regular medical reviews. Clinicians can pick up on patient cues as they would in the normal clinical setting, arrange

health accelerator program. They are hoping to save the NHS over £1 billion per year by treating patients at a cost saving of 65% and have in the past been selected to join the Mayor of London’s Business Accelerator Programme. Over the last three months though, Dr. Noorpuri estimates that they have witnessed a 400 percent increase in patient flow in comparison to the same quarter last year 2019-2020. He said,

No requirement of PPE and preventing doctors from being infected Patients interact directly with the system called ‘Si’ which stands for Swarm Intelligence. Si triages patients for free but also helps guide the doctor in diagnosis and prescribing. This means the service is scalable and a small clinical team can treat 1 million patients per year. Remote care also preserves Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) that is already in critically short supply at many hospitals around the country and especially at a time when NHS doctors report of being infected themselves without the proper gear. This is essentially what the telehealth revolution looks like. From symptom-checking text bots to more traditional video chat consultations, telemedicine. Currently a team of about 15 medical experts, i-GP has treated tens of thousands of patients to date. being part of the NHS digital

“The last two weeks have been a very difficult time for everyone as the world starts to really acknowledge the impact of the virus. The growth curve of viral spread pivoted upwards once infection rates hit about 100,000 worldwide and infected numbers have tripled within the last three weeks. Patients are extremely anxious and simply petrified to go out and we are doing what we can to ease the burden off the NHS. “Frontline care is and should be the absolute focus of the NHS currently especially considering the viral spread across the UK is following a very similar pattern to that of the initial stages within Italy and the hospitals are bracing themselves for an influx of patients

with severe respiratory problems.” He believes that the UK has about 4,000 intensive care beds and this number may need to rise to as high as 150,000 with the associated number of staff required to tend to the sick. Correct PPE gear is essential for those in this frontline and there is a major effort to put them in place in anticipation of what is to come in the next few weeks. Remote consulting has very few additional requirements. Although, the setup process is complex in order to fulfil regulation i-GP has resolved all potential issues and Dr. Noorpuri believes it is mostly a matter of promoting awareness to patients so they can utilize these services and keep themselves and the medical teams safe. Dr. Noorpuri established i-GP along with his wife and CoFounder Dr Aleesha Dhillon in 2016. Ever since the platform has grown steadily with their physical offices being located in London and Kent. However, their team of health professionals has treated patients across all demographics online right up to the age of 84 years across the country. “Our aim is to change the way patients access healthcare and we are developing several new aspects of online service such as digital dermatology and mental health solutions. We have the vision to offer a worldwide digital care service that is fast, safe and convenient.”

Respecting the funeral rites of all faiths amidst safety concerns Councillor Rabina Khan, Shadwell, Tower Hamlets The current pandemic is causing concern amongst all faiths and other organisations about the enormous pressure on funeral directors, cemeteries and crematoriums. But it is exceptionally a worry for those whose faiths require certain rites, including burial customs. Leeds council, had already announced that it would cremate all bodies, without a service or mourners, following the Government’s Coronavirus Bill. Last week the Government’s emergency legislation to help stop the spread over-ruled the law that made it illegal for local Authorities to cremate bodies against the wishes of the deceased or their families. Every local authority (and the government, should the government take over the responsibility) should be given the funding and resources to deal with increased demands on morgues, crematoriums and registry offices, while respecting the wishes of those communities for whom crema-

tion is not an option. Tower Hamlets, like other parts of the country, is home to minority ethnic community. Muslims and Jews cannot cremate their dead, but Muslims do accept that – under pressing conditions – certain traditions and funeral rites will not be possible to honour, due to concern for contamination. Nevertheless, burial is something that Muslims cannot compromise on. Following concerns raised by different political persuasions, faith and community groups, the Government amended its Coronavirus Bill on Monday to address concerns over possible forced cremations. Under Part 3 of this schedule (27), which is titled "power to direct local authorities etc", new lines have been added. It states: "Local authorities and the appropriate national authorities must have regard to the desirability of disposing of a dead person's body or other remains, in accordance with the person's wishes, if known, or otherwise in a way that appears consistent with the person's religion or beliefs, if known."

It is welcoming for the Government to step up and listen to the concerns of faith communities and cross-party concerns on this matter during such uncertain times. There are approximately 300 crematoriums in the UK and 24 in London. There are approximately 45 general cemeteries in London, 2 Roman Catholic cemeteries and many Jewish cemeteries, some of which are listed here. Before the Covid-19 outbreak, London still faced challenges regarding burial provision. The Audit of London Burial Provision used projections to model demand for burial space from 2010/11-2030/31, but this was based on predicted deaths at the time. It showed a changing preference for burial over cremation based on the increase in religious/ethnic groupings in London, with more people opting for burial over cremation. There is no significant burial provision in eight Inner London boroughs. In Iran, coronavirus burial sites are so vast that they are visible from space. In Italy, funeral providers are overwhelmed, with a waiting list for burials. Coffins

are lined up in churches and many funerals are taking place with no family members present. The pandemic has already killed at least 60 priests in Italy and many more have been hospitalised. In Madrid, the city’s prime funeral home said that it would stop the collection of Covid-19 victims from 24 March because of lack of protective equipment. This week Liberal Democrats Greater London Assembly Member Caroline Pidgeon MBE wrote to Dr Fiona Twycross, Deputy Mayor of London for Fire and Resilience. She wrote “With London being at the centre of the COVID-19 outbreak in the UK and the expectation that there will be a significant increase in the number of people dying in the capital as a result of the current crisis; I wanted to know what consideration had been given to how the dignity of a deceased person’s faith will be upheld and how people will be supported to bury their loved ones. It will also be important to consider and

Rabina Khan

respect the wishes of those with no faith.” A deceased person’s faith needs to be supported and upheld, as does that of people of no faith, but in doing so, protecting public health is still paramount. This is only possible by working together for the wellbeing of everyone, with no exceptions.


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AsianVoiceNews

28 March - 3 April 2020

AsianVoiceNewsweekly

As I See It CB Patel

Finding light in the dark Dear Readers, The COVID-19 pandemic is very concerning. The outbreak shows no signs of slowing down and has disrupted not just lives, but markets and businesses as well. Amidst all the negativity that surrounds us today, India, under the able leadership and vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, gave the world a little something to smile about with its proper following of the 'Janta Curfew'. Trust Modi to find a shining light in the darkness. I received multiple reports and videos of citizens clapping and clanging in appreciation of our frontline workers – doctors, nurses, and medical staff. The move was not just followed by the people, but also by Modi's die-hard opponents. Sunday was a prime example of why we all need to stay together in these tough times. I have always said this, and will do so today too. India, and the world needs a visionary leader. Modi showed true leadership by calling a virtual SAARC summit recently. The initiative was recognised by leaders of the G20, some of whom have on record stated that they have a thing or two to learn from Modi. This is not the world's first pandemic, and will most certainly not be the last. But what is vital right now is to recognise the problem and do our part to curb the onslaught. Days are very critical and of course, one can never be too cautious. However, I would also like to stress on not taking things too far. Follow the norms, but do not let your mind wander into the dark. Stay educated. Stay aware. If you are not careful, the novel coronavirus may radically alter our society, but too much caution will push you towards paranoia. Italy seems to be fighting a war its losing with every single accounted death. Britain took its own sweet time in recognising the gravity of the situation too. As the World Health Organisation (WHO) repeatedly says ; Washing your hands, social distancing, and maintaining hygiene only works if it is paired with intense testing, contact tracing, isolation, and treatment. Only and only if, the government does its part, will the people do theirs. The Boris Johnson-led administration needs to set an example and enforce compliance in the bid. The worst of the lot is without a doubt, America. The biggest power of the world as we know it shows the least seriousness in tackling with the virus. President Donald Trump is a businessman, and that is where his head lies. His idea of promoting fake optimism is visibly disturbing and insulting to actual scientists and doctors working hard to find a solution, and treat patients. As for us mere mortals going about our routine lives, we need to take personal measures and do our part in the society. Work from home if possible. Make sure you don't see the current situation as an opportunity to hold dinner parties and tea parties, and get-togethers. The whole purpose of social distancing does not mean gathering around a bunch of friends. It means to limit exposure, and it begins with you. Spouses working in close quarters of each other all day, make sure you see this as an opportunity. Now is your time to show your love and respect for each other. Ways to make survive to work-from-home with your family: Maintain separate work spaces Manage expectations from each other sensibly Civility – You are two separate individuals, contain your contempt and cravings Find what works for the other Work to keep a positive environ ment as a team Exercise – Take that steam off Asian corner shopkeepers have years of experience working with each other. I want to tell people to see this as a blessing in disguise. May be this is nature's way of asking us to calm down, take a breath, and enjoy a better quality of life that allows us to work from home, save ourselves some money, and most importantly, give us a considerably less polluted lifestyle. Resort to home ailments, or Dadi manu vaidua, I like to call it. Refrain from pumping your bodies with modern (over the counter) medicines, and instead, just follow those small remedies your grandmother taught you years ago along with your Doctors prescriptions. There is a massive crisis today. Employees are insecure about their jobs, cities are under lockdown, businesses have no way of surviving. Show consideration. Every person you know today, is going through their personal crisis.

Some simple nourishing recipes I am guessing you have stocked your kitchens with food essentials. Now is the best time to put you simple cooking skills to test. Dust the dirt off that cookbook you've stored in the back of your pantry and make a family day out of it.

Mixed Lentils Curry (Dal) Soak a mix of your favourite lentils for eight hours, then pressure cook them until soft. In a pan, put some cumin seeds, one pinch asafoetida, chopped onions, and ginger-garlic paste. Cook them until translucent. Then add some chopped tomatoes and sprinkle a pinch of salt. Once the tomatoes are soft, add turmeric, red chilli powder, coriander powder, cumin powder, and some garam masala. Saute until all spices are cooked. Now add the previously cooked lentils in the pan and add some water to balance the consistency. Close the pan and cook for 5-10 minutes. Finally, add some salt as per taste. Veggie Buddha Bowl In a bowl, toss some cooked chickpeas, cooked barley, cooked brown rice, chopped lettuce, cherry tomatoes, cubed cucumbers, some julienne carrots, and sliced avocado. Squeeze some lemon, sprinkle some Himalayan salt, and pepper. Finish off with a drizzle of olive oil. Vegetarian Omelette In a bowl, whisk some chickpea flour, red chilli powder, turmeric powder, dry mango powder, and salt. Now add some water and whisk until it reaches pancake-batter consistency. Make sure to leave no lumps. Add chopped onions, tomatoes, and coriander to the batter. In a non-stick pan, pour some of the batter with a ladle. Flip over once one side is done. Pair it with some green chutney, or ketchup. Cooker Pilaf In a pressure cooker, add some butter, one bay leaf, one inch piece of cinnamon, two cardamom pods, and two cloves. Toss in vegetables of your choice – potatoes, onions, tomatoes, peas, carrots, cabbage, cauliflower, etc. Saute them for 2-3 minutes. Now add turmeric powder, red chilli powder, coriander powder, cumin powder, and garam masala. Saute until everything is mixed. Now add some soaked rice, mix, then pour in some water. Add salt as per taste and close the cooker. Cook until 3-4 whistles. Release the pressure before opening. Khichadi Simple khichadi with variations of lentils, vegetables could provide a quick nourishing and healthy meal.

Exercises to do at home

Be Active Keep active dont be a couch potato in front of T.V, in the house, flat or on the varanda, more safely as much as you can. Do one or more of these exercises of which you can do, subject to your health condition. Exercises to do at home see below. Chair pose Stand with your feet hip-width apart, pointing forward. Take a deep breath in and raise your arms straight up over your head. Push your shoulders down and away from your ears. Then, bend at your hips and lower yourself, as if sitting in a chair. Go as low as you feel comfortable. Lengthen through your spine, and breathe deeply. Try to hold this pose for six to eight breaths. Return to standing. Repeat. Forward bend From the chair pose, reach your hands up to the ceiling and return to standing. Breathe out, bend at your hips and lower your head as far toward the floor as possible. Cross your forearms and hold your elbows. Let your head hang and relax. Breathe in, lengthening the front of your body; as you breath out, reach your hips toward the ceiling. Hold for eight breaths, then place your hands on your hips and, with a flat back, come back to standing. Repeat.

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Windrush report slams Home Office, critics demand structural reforms

Priti Patel

On 19th March, Thursday the latest Windrush report found ”institutional ignorance and thoughtlessness towards race” in the Home Office and the critics have now demanded for structural reforms in the government department to avoid future mistreatment of immigrants. The Windrush Lessons Learned review submitted by Wendy Williams criticises the Home Office officials of a “reckless” and “defensive” behaviour in wrongly classifying thousands of legal UK residents as illegal immigrants. Addressing the report at the House of Commons, Home Secretary Priti Patel said, “We must all take responsibility of the suffering of thousands of this generation and the unintended consequences of such a mishap. “There is nothing I can say today which will undo the pain, suffering and misery inflicted on the Windrush generation. What can I do is say sorry for the actions taken place decades ago. And I am sorry for the suffering that a generation had to endure. "I will review the recommendations Wendy Williams makes in relation to the way the Home Office operates as an organisation. I will continue to look closely at its leadership, culture, practices and the way it views the communities it serves.” The report focuses on the discriminatory effects of “hostile environment” immigration policies introduced by Theresa May when she was home secretary in 2012. It condemns Home Office staff for failing to treat those affected with dignity or adequate respect and criticises the department for failing in its duty to counter racial discrimination. Following the scandal and consequent investigations which proved that these citizens were wrongfully being deported out of the UK, over 8,000 people have been given documentation proving that they are – and always were – living legally in the UK. A compensation scheme has been set up with an estimated budget of between £200m and £570m, but at the last count only £62,198 had been paid out, shared between 36 people.

India cracksdown on citizens going illegally to the UK

Plank Place your hands on the floor, shoulderwidth apart, and walk your feet back until you are in a straight plank position. Spread your fingers out as much as possible. Lengthen through your spine and send the top of your head away from your heels in a straight body position. You should feel a stretch across the muscles of your back as you rotate your shoulders out from your body. Hold this pose for eight breaths. Lower to the ground. Repeat. High lunge Get into plank position. Bend at the knee, reaching one foot forward, placing it between your hands. From this position, reach for the ceiling with both hands so your upper body is now straight. (Your back leg remains straight and your front leg is bent at 90 degrees.) Your lower-body muscles should be engaged. Hold this pose for eight breaths. Return to plank pose and then repeat on the other side. Illustrations: Alex Mathers

The Mumbai Crime Branch has busted a racket involved in sending people from Gujarat to the UK on fake passports. A probe was initaited after the detention of a couple headed to UAE at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport on February 26. “Their passports were fake,” said an officer, who identified the couple as Mitaben and Hitesh Patel. “They were told by the accused that getting a visa for England would be tough because of the Patel surname, so they got fake passports made. The two were charged Rs 15 lakh per passport.” Officers soon tracked down Manish Ghogri, 36, Amit Agrawal, 41, and Bhavesh Shah, 40, who operated the fake passport racket. Police recovered 14 passports, 11 Permanent Account Number cards and other documents from the trio, who confessed to sending 15 people from Gujarat to UK using fake passports.


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AsianVoiceNews

UK

AsianVoiceNewsweekly

9

28 March - 3 April 2020

Britain’s Ex-Muslims and atheists call to shun shunning 23rd March is celebrated as the International Atheist Day by ex-Muslim and atheist organisations across the world including countries such as Sri Lanka, Norway, Jordan and the UK to name a few. The Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain (CEMB) celebrated the international day for the second year now with the organisation urging families, communities and societies to end the heinous practice of shunning atheists, ex-Muslims and freethinkers. Shunning can be explained as long-term psychological torture and a form of social death penalty injected upon those who were born into a religion but have given up practising the religion and in this context the religion is predominantly Islam. Now, a recent panel discussion on Apostasy, Shunning and Survival, has highlighted why we must #ShunShunning. The Panel discussion inculded actress Nazmiye Oral, YouTube sensation Fay Rahman, Journalist Khadija Khan, student activist Saff Khalique, Clinical Psychologist Savin Bapir-Tardy and Born Free Foundation Director Shabana Rehman Shabana Rehman alongside CEMB spokesperson Maryam Namazie and MC Nahla Mahmoud. Each of the panelists

highlighted their struggle in achieving religious freedom from parents and orthodox societal elements who were reluctant at their chosen lifestyle. One of the audience members who wished to remain anonymous spoke about his experience of being gay and giving up on Islam. His Salafi parents however, were unable to accept his “lifestyle” and therefore, threw him out. Shahid* (name changed upon request) “When I was growing up, I noticed that my household had adopted the Salafi sect of Islam. My mum started wearing the face veil and she eventually implicitly imposed Salafi rituals and customs on my father instead of the other way round. “When I realised that I was gay, I was shamed for my identity and told to become more religious. But the more I read, the further

away from religion my rationale and logical thinking took me and eventually, I became an ex-Muslim. But the day my parents found out that I was gay and had given up on my religion, my parents asked me to leave. In a few days, they called me back with the hope that maybe able to “change and cure me”. After three months of psychological and mental torture, I left home!” Apostasy- the renunciation of one’s religion- is a punishable offence under the Sharia law in as many as 13 countries, including Malaysia and Pakistan but not in the UK. But these individuals continue to remain marginalised from the society, being shunned from the community and in worst cases, they are threatened and abused physically falling prey to honour killings, or abused mentally, emotionally and psychologically.

Anil Ambani’s deadline ended by UK Court On Friday 20th March, a deadline set by a United Kingdom court for Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group (ADAG) chairman Anil Ambani to pay $100 million to three Chinese banks came to an end. Ambani is tangled in litigation with three state-controlled Chinese banks who claim that the Indian business mogul has provided a personal guarantee against loans given to his nowdefunct telecom company Reliance Communications Ltd, which filed for bankruptcy last year. Ambani has contested the personal guarantee claims of the banks. The lenders in question—Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Ltd, China Development Bank and Exim Bank of China—had sought a summary judgement against Ambani over an alleged breach of a personal guarantee on a debt refinancing loan of around $925 million in February 2012.

Anil Ambani

During his trial in the UK, Ambani had pleaded poverty, saying that his net worth was down to zero, blaming it on a series of investments that had gone wrong. His failure to pay the amount is expected to have serious implications for him, including a potential seizure of his personal assets in India and across other countries. According to the Bloomberg the Indian business mogul had made a lastminute bid to postpone the payment deadline after an appeal court judge ruled on Thursday that his application “had no real prospect of success and is totally with-

out merit". On 7 February, the High Court of England and Wales set the terms for the “condition order" of a payment into court it had granted to the three Chinese banks last year against Ambani. The argument was however set aside by the court, which ruled that Ambani was still liable to make the payment. At that hearing, the judge ruled that Ambani or a member of his family must still put up the cash. He said that he didn’t believe that his family wouldn’t help. “What I’m dealing with is an extraordinarily wealthy family who have helped each other in the past," he said. However, officials did not believe that Ambani’s family “have firmly and irrevocably brought the shutters down".

Sunak announces historic wage protection package On Tuesday 24th March, chancellor Rishi Sunak admitted that supporting the self-employed during the coronavirus outbreak is particularly challenging. This follows after he announced a historic wage protection package last Friday where grants will cover 80% of salary of retained workers up to £2,500 a month. These measures were announced as civilians continued not to comply with government guidelines and advise around non-mobility and social distancing. They were expected to alleviate the concerns of gig-economy workers and daily wage earners. Rishi Sunak had last Friday said, "Today I can announce that in the first time of our history, the government is going to step in and help pay people's wages. "We're setting up a new

coronavirus job retention scheme. Any employer in the country small or large, charitable or non-profit, will be eligible for the scheme. "Government grants will cover 80% of the salary of retained workers up to a total of £2,500 a month that's just above the median income." An official guideline around the amount of wages that the employees on zerohour contracts are entitled to is still being hammered out. However, the Chancellor has assured that No. 11 is closely co-ordinating with the Bank of England in terms of building a war chest, and borrowing especially as it looks at the sustenance of this model for the next few months in light of the warnings issued by scientists and health experts around the longterm effect of the virus running until Spring 2021. But, the government is

under growing pressure to financially support non-contracted workers and entrepreneurs, who face a potentially devastating loss of income and are still crowding London underground tube everyday. But speaking on the floor of the Commons on Tuesday, Chancellor said, “There are genuine practical and principled reasons why it is incredibly complicated to design an analogous scheme to the one that we have for employed workers. “But, rest assured that we absolutely understand the situation that many selfemployed people face at the moment as a result of what’s happening and are determined to find a way to support them. “We just need to be confident that can be done in a way that is deliverable and is fair to the vast majority of the British workforce.”

Mayor warns about banning movement if not complied In the meantime, Mayor of London has warned about banning movement of people and curtailing their civil liberties as trains continue to see packed crowds. Sadiq Khan said, "I am

concerned about people not following the advice. There are still too many people being witnessed on our streets, in our bars, in our cafés, using the Tube, using our buses.”


10 READERS VOICE

AsianVoiceNews

AsianVoiceNewsweekly

www.asian-voice.com

28 March - 3 April 2020

Numbers are not supreme but they are important I enjoyed the article by CB on ‘Numbers are important but not supreme’. It made fascinated reading. I was astonished to read that some Hindus from India want to leave India as they fear increasing and strong influence of Muslims in the country. This is unusual when India is still a majority Hindu nation. Of course at one time during the Moghul times it was ruled by Muslims and latterly by the British Christians. As CB acknowledged, despite all this the majority Hindu’s survived. I wonder whether all this is to do with the age of the various religions. Sanatan dharma is the oldest, well over 5000 years old. This is followed by Christianity which is around 2000 years old and Islam is one of the youngest religions, about 1400 years old. As we well know from our own lives, when you are young and vibrant, you tend to be more aggressive and risk taking. As you mature, you start balancing things and understand values of your religion and others too. And when you reach the full mature age, wisdom and peace comes in which is just like the Sanatan Hindu dharma. I see this dharma has a lot of peace and tolerance as well as good wisdom. Christianity is moving more to peace and less violence as well as tolerance. Both Hinduism and Christianity have also witnessed lot of violence in the past. Islam is a young religion and has still to undergo the challenges of a young dharma. So may be Islam will also mature to more peaceful, less violent dharma over time. I also recently visited India and its interesting to see and experience a lot more Indian Hindus who do not actively practice Hindu dharma and are more secular. They seem to be not so strongly supporting the so called ‘hindutva’ momentum. Regrettably, they are not prepared to look at the way Islam is developing in India. Many Indian Muslims still support Pakistan despite being residents of India. Indian Muslims enjoy special privileges despite being a ‘significant ‘ minority. The Indian Muslim population is more than the Muslims of Pakistan! Despite all the fairness and special privileges, the Indian Muslims do not seem to be satisfied. Its like Muslims of UK, who keep criticising all UK values and systems but will not uproot themselves and go and live in a dominant Muslim country. Such is the irony of our society! Hindus of India are more and more tolerant and secular towards their Muslim citizens. Yet the Indian Muslims continue to be unhappy instead of recognising their quality of life in India is much better than Muslims elsewhere. Subhash Thakrar By Email

Numbers are important I refer to the article by CB Patel's viz. "Numbers are important". I feel that with a good and informative start to the article he missed to (may be on purpose?) add/continue through the thought process on why some families decided to leave Bharat for foreign shores. They said that Bharat was being 'dominated by the Muslim community'. Noting from various articles and commentaries, if any thing 'untoward' is said, cries of Islamophobia explode. The bigger question Sri Patel did not carry on to a conclusion with the numbers conversation is that the population of the Islamic community is increasing at a higher rate than other 'religious' communities. I have seen numbers of this in the UK and a great number of people have been communicating to me in Bharat; however getting hold of official data is not always that easy. If the population of one community increases at a higher rate than others, even a democracy can be turned over to the rule of one person/peoples/ideology within a certain period of time. In the UK, no one dares to look up these figures and produce and publish them for the fear of prosecution. We talk about things that cause danger to us and we are comfortable with that, but not this. I do think that Sri Patel should have taken his discussion further rather than meander to other matter because conversions by insidious means or warfare are not the only way to be ‘supreme’. We have seen this during the last century or two, have we not? Yogi Pandya By Email What do you think? We want to know your views on any issue. Write to: Asian Voice, 12 Hoxton Market, London N1 6HW or e-mail: aveditorial@abplgroup.com

Proud Indian I read Bhupendra Gandhi’s letter of AV 14th March 2020 with keen interest. My humble request to you is, please don’t advise the Indians/British Indians by such slogans “I am a Hindu”. Please preach, I am a proud Indian. Every Indian should take great pride by calling himself a proud Indian like the Americans, British, Canadians, Australians, Europeans and rest of the civilised nations. However, I very much enjoyed the rest of your informative letter. It was an eye opener, especially for our younger generation, as well a reminder of our great past. Belief in one’s religion is a personal matter. The prayer you, me or anyone recites through different religious believes and languages, takes all of us to the same one God, who understands every one’s language. This religious division and hatred is the cause of bloodshed going on through centuries. Look at Dehli recently or Godhra or 1984 riots 0 the partition in 1947, or even Hitler’s Germany, where millions of innocent Jews were gassed and many more endless atrocities in the world since the evolution of this mankind. Let us be positive and spread positive thoughts. BS Grewal By Email

Mob psychology Kapil’s Khichadi in Asian Voice dated 21-27 March 2020 clearly depicts human behaviour during panic period. He has rightly mentioned that people have been buying as if the end of the world is coming. It is really difficult to understand the behaviour of people especially “mob psychology” during the period of crisis. Print and visual media have also shown empty shelves in the supermarket most of the time. The head of BRC (British Retail Consortium) Helen Dickinson mentioned on the BBC that we have enough stock in the country to support the requirement of our people, it is just a matter of transporting goods at appropriate place at the right time. General tendency of common people is to believe, what they see instead of what they listen. If we have stock, why cannot you show pictures of stocks, warehouses, people picking the stock and sending through lorries? I personally feel the government should immediately set up a task force of people having grass root knowledge of supply chain to mitigate the situation before imminent threat of lock-down of the country. The present situation requires “micro-management” and time to time update about stock situation at various stock points with major retailers or arrival at ports. The government might have complete picture but to stop people stock piling of essential things, drastic measures are required. Verbal assurance is not enough because people have various sources like social media, word of mouth etc to get information about stock level situation at various place. People will stop panic buying only when they see that every day new stock is arriving than the requirement. Hitesh Hingu, London

Justice may be delayed but never denied The ongoing case of rape and murder of a young, beautiful, statuesque medical student Nirbhaya finally came to an end, with justice apparently served, with the hanging of four young men, Pawan Gupta, Vinay Sharma, Akshay Kumar and Mukesh Kumar, to the utter delight of vast audience who gathered outside Tihar Jail. The fifth convict on death row committed suicide while one minor who committed the worse disgusting sex acts on the innocent girl was freed after just few months in Youth Detention Centre, a travesty of justice! Normally death penalty is frowned upon, rightly so, in most civilised, democratic and secular nations but it is still on statute book in some countries for gruesome rape, murder and terrorist acts like attack on Indian Parliament and mass murders in Mumbai by terrorists. While this draconian punishment was approved by vast majority of Indian people, there was tiny minority of so called Indian intellectuals out of touch with reality on the ground, as well as International Committee of Jurists whose aim is to abolish death penalty for any crime. No wonder many people gathered outside the jail commented that if such a violent, deprived sexual crime was committed against one of their daughter or wife, these bleeding heart smothers’ would have adopted a different tune. This case took seven year to come to the final conclusion. It is time to establish military court and dispense justice within a year if not earlier, to avoid pain and humiliation on the family members of the murdered victims. Bhupendra M. Gandhi By Email

Kapil’s Khichadi You will never walk alone

Kapil Dudakia When you walk through a storm Hold your head up high And don't be afraid of the dark At the end of a storm There's a golden sky And the sweet silver song of a lark Walk on through the wind Walk on through the rain Though your dreams be tossed and blown Walk on, walk on With hope in your heart And you'll never walk alone You'll never walk alone Walk on, walk on With hope in your heart And you'll never walk alone You'll never walk alone Songwriters: Oscar Hammerstein II / Richard Rodgers Gerry and the Pacemakers sang it to us, Liverpool and their supporters made it into an anthem. Today, maybe the words resonate louder and wider than they have ever done. Corona virus, its impact and the way in which it is testing the very humanity of humans brings many of us to deliberate on those words and maybe conclude, it’s time to wake up. People may try to walk it alone, but today we know that if we are true to ourselves and to each other, alone is not necessarily all that it’s cracked up to be. Today we experience, if we are lucky, the warmth of our family, that of our friends and even the many strangers who help us. Fear and panic are a bigger danger to all of us than any virus or disease. As each day passes countries takes ever more stringent action to slow down the virus and reduce its damaging impact on our elderly, on the most vulnerable, on jobs, on the economy and on every aspect of our lives that most of us took for granted. We applaud our emergency services rightly; we applaud the NHS and health professionals also but let us not forget our unsung heroes. For example, those working in our supermarkets and shops. They face the gauntlet of maddening crowds each and every day. Long hours of service that come with verbal and sometimes even physical abuses. But they carry on, and because they carry on, we have food on our table. Today we are asked to create a personal space of 2m to protect ourselves and others. So let’s do a 360 and see who is around us. Time to reflect and value your family. Let me start, to openly declare that I am the luckiest person in the world for having one of the best families in the world. With all my faults and tantrums (too many to list!), they are always there for me. Today I applaud them and say, thank you my family. Without you, this Kapil would have been a nothing. To all our friends, those who have been with us from when we were young to those who we have collected over the years – thank you for being in our life. We are enriched in all aspects of our lives because of you, thank you and forgive our errors and omissions. And to our enemies who we collect over the years but when we think about it, we just cannot remember why we drifted apart. So, to all my enemies, stay safe, stay healthy and maybe one day we can have the courage to take that step and look at the future with a smile, rather than the past with bitterness. This is not the end of the world folks. Let’s make it the beginning of a new one. As it is said, let us now become the change we wish to see around us and in the world. Hindus got it right when they say, ‘Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu’. You’ll never walk alone, just let others walk with you. (Expressed opinions are personal.)

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


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AsianVoiceNewsweekly

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28 March - 3 April 2020

A-level students call cancellation of exams ‘unfair’ Rupanjana Dutta

results. Despite this, I believe the results I will get will be fair and allow me to continue with my life as I would had I taken the exams successfully.” When asked if he would like to take the exam next year, he added, “It is highly unlikely I will want to take an exam following this situation, as we will receive A Level qualifications from our past results. However, if it is better for me and opens up more opportunities, then I may be obliged to take exams next year.” Arya’s mother Dr Arpita Ray, who is a gynaecologist, specialising in reproductive medicine, told the newspaper, “I was anticipating something will change about their exam. But cancellation was a shock, though in given situation this was needed. We are facing a national emergency and everybody has to play their role. If it helps to stop spreading disease then let it be this way.” Aditya Mukhopadhyay, a London school student who was meant to take his Alevel this year said, “The cancellation of the exams was an unpleasant shock, many of us were expecting a good exam season to make up for what has been a very

Schools across the UK have now closed indefinitely after the coronavirus outbreak, with A-level and GCSE exams cancelled, asking teachers and pupils to self-isolate, in the government’s efforts to curb the spread of the pandemic. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, said he has been forced to close down classrooms for up to 8 million pupils in England. This is the first countrywide school shutdown in modern British history. However, schools will remain open, for the children of NHS staff and other frontline workers as well as for vulnerable children. The Prime Minister announced that the national voucher scheme will ensure that pupils who are dependant on and eligible for free school meal each day, will continue to receive it. Mr Johnson also emphasised that the summer exams will now be replaced with teachers’ assessment and prediction for a student, in combination with the past 18 months of their school work and results based on their mock tests. However those students

Arya with father Dr Anirban Mandal and mother Dr Arpita Ray

possible. Arya Mandal, an A-level student from Essex, was meant to take his exam this year. Multi-talented Arya is now stuck with his teachers’ assessment to determine his future. Speaking to Asian Voice, he said, “The teachers will now take into account predicted grades, mock results and data from the past 18 months to come up with grades that will reflect my ability and would have been viable for me to achieve this summer through the exam results. “It is completely unprecedented and far from an ideal situation - there is very little any of us can do apart from wait for our

wish to take their exam can appear early next year. Ofqual (the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation that regulates qualifications, examinations and assessments in England) promises to develop and set out a process after that, which will provide a calculated grade to each student that reflects their performance as fairly as possible. They will then work with the exam boards to ensure this is consistent and applied for all students. However, Ofqual and exam boards reportedly will be discussing the approach with teachers’ representatives before finalising it, to ensure that it is as fair as

Aditya with father Anirban Mukhopadhyay and mother Nandini

long and arduous couple of years. The system of predicted grades and teacher assessment is a best case alternative in fairness, but the system is unlikely to be fair and proportional throughout the country. This puts students I believe at a disadvantage when looking at their university offers and places as it seems unlikely to be done as best as possible.” His father Anirban Mukhopadhyay added, “They could have just postponed the exams to JulyAugust. No one joins univer-

sity before September endOctober. That could have given the children and examiners enough time. Evaluating on past work could be tricky for various reasons. We are worried that my son’s evaluation on past 18 months’ work may not be appropriate as their school is quite stringent with marks, has higher standards, making it much tougher to score than other schools. So how is he meant to compete with someone whose school is lenient with marking and their past evaluation? It is disproportionate.”

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12 MEDIA WATCH

AsianVoiceNews

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28 March - 3 April 2020

SCRUTATOR’S The World Health Organisation (WHO) has praised the Indian government's commitment to combat the novel coronavirus and the progress made by Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) towards identifying isolates for a vaccine. "I think the commitment of the Indian government from the top level - the Prime Minister himself - has been enormous, very impressive. This is one of the reasons why India is doing very well. I am very impressed that everyone has been mobilised," WHO representative to India Henk Bekedam said after meeting officials at ICMR. The UN agency has declared COVID-19 a pandemic which has infected more than 3,35,000 people and Henk Bekedam killed over 14,641 globally. “We have very good research capacity in India and especially at the ICMR and the Department of Health Research. They have been able to isolate the virus, (and) now India will continue to be part of the research community,” Bekedam said. Earlier, ICMR had announced that the Indian scientists had been successful in isolating the new strain of coronavirus - the first step towards expediting development of drugs and vaccines for COVID19. (The Times of India). Sneezing leads to assault In an incident which shows how the fear of coronavirus has become all-pervasive, a man riding a motorbike was thrashed in Kolhapur city of Maharashtra just because he sneezed in public. A CCTV video of the fracas, which took place in Gujari area of the city, went viral on social media, though the local police said no

complaint had been registered. The video showed that a bikerider stopping and asking another rider on the road why he sneezed without covering his face with a handkerchief as it could cause the spread of the coronavirus. It led to a heated exchange, and the man who had allegedly sneezed was beaten up. The incident led to a traffic jam as many other vehicles stopped, though it was not reported to the police. Maharashtra has so far reported at least 89 confirmed cases, including one who died. (Agency). Only 366 fast track courts for rape trials The government’s resolve to fasttrack trials in 244,000 rape and child sexual offence cases seems to be progressing at a snail’s pace. In

the last six months, ever since the Centre announced setting up of 1,023 fast track courts (FTCs), only 21 states have come forward and set up 366 FTCs, including the five north-eastern states. During the last one year, rape cases against women and children have increased by 46%, from 166,000 in 2018 to 244,000 in 2019 - about 96% of these cases are those against children booked under the Pocso (prevention of children from sexual offences) Act that mandatorily provides for completion of investigation within two months, from the date of registration of the FIR, and trial within six months. According to data collected by the Union law ministry from various high courts, there are at least 389 districts in the country where the number of pending cases under Pocso Act exceeds 100. The government has allocated funds to these states and issued advisories to immediately set up FTCs in each of these districts. However, the latest status report reveals that only 21 states have so far set up FTCs - West Bengal, Bihar, Kerala and Odisha, which have high number of pending rape/Pocso cases, are yet to do that under the government’s proposed scheme of 1,023 FTCs. Out of 366 FTCs set up so far, UP accounts for the highest at 74, followed by Madhya Pradesh (56), Rajasthan (45), Gujarat (35) and Maharashtra (30). (The Times of India). 19 die daily of cancer, TB & AIDS in Gujarat Cancer, TB and AIDS together claimed on an average of 19 lives daily in Gujarat. An average of 381 new cases have also been reported every day in the state for the past two years. According to a report tabled in the state assembly, AIDS had the highest mortality rate in the state. The report said that Ahmedabad reported 10,801 cases of cancer of whom 1,062 patients died in two years. For AIDS, 3,342 new cases were added and 196 patients died in the two-year period. The district accounted for the most cancer and AIDS deaths

in the state. The government also listed measures to control and prevent AIDS, prevent cancer and tuberculosis. An official said cases of tuberculosis were more numerous in the tribal districts of Dahod and Panchmahal where medical facilities are lacking. The officer said that in these districts and Banaskantha, malnutrition is a major issue and when a person gets tuberculosis his survival chances are low. (The Times of India). TMC member told to remove locket inscribed with 'NO' A Trinamool Congress MP was asked to remove a locket inscribed with 'NO NRC, NO CAA' during a debate in Rajya Sabha. TMC has been opposing the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC). When MP Dola Sen started speaking during a discussion on the working of the MSME Ministry, the chair asked her to remove the locket, saying she should respect the dignity of the House. Sen said that it was an ornament, but she removed it after the chair insisted. She was supported by some Opposition members, including Vaiko who was sitting next to her and Jaya Bacchhan. 'If the chair says, it's mandatory, then it's ok,' Sen said while removing it. (The Indian Express). Step motherly treatment for lions The central government has released £101.04 million for Project Tiger while only £3.2 million for Asiatic lions under a centrally sponsored scheme. Union minister of state for forests Babul Supriyo told Rajya Sabha member Parimal Nathwani that

decided to relay live images of Lord Swaminarayan to the devotees through our website.” (The Times 0f India). Answer sheets found on roadside

Sara Ali Khan’s temple visit irks Brahmins, Deoband

Sara, who was in Varanasi to shoot for a film, offered prayers at Kashi Vishwanath temple along with her mother. Sara is the daughter of actors Saif Ali Khan and Amrita Singh. Kendriya Brahmin Mahasabha cited an order affixed at the temple entrance to condemn Sara’s act. The order states: “Those not belonging to Hindu religion are requested not to enter.” On their part, Deoband clerics too were upset. (The Indian Express). Ganga aarti sans public in Varanasi The famous Ganga aarti of Varanasi, which is a prime attraction for domestic and foreign tourists, will now be conducted by just one priest, and without any public participation, with the Varanasi district administration banning gatherings on the ghats during the ritual as a precautionary measure against the coronavirus pandemic. In Haridwar, the district administration capped the number of devotees at 50 during the ritual at the Har-ki-Pauri area where on a normal day thousands of people witness Ganga aarti. Varanasi district magistrate said that the traditional aarti will not be stopped, but will be performed in a ‘curtailed form’. “Public participation has been banned and now only aarti organisers will participate in the ritual,” he said. The authorities said that the restrictions will continue till March 31. “With the beginning of navaratras on March 25, live streaming of the aarti will commence so that devotees can take part in the ritual virtually,” he said. (The Indian Express). Fear puts devotees on the e-mode

according to the latest census, the number of tigers in the country is 2,967, while that of lions is 523. Though the Gujarat government has sanctioned £35 million for the long-term conservation of lions in the state, the Centre needs to increase funding to conserve Asiatic lions. Nathwani said that since Asiatic lions are found only in Gujarat, the central governments needs to increase funding for the conservation of Asiatic lions. (The Times of India.). Sara Ali Khan’s temple visit irks Brahmins, Deoband Bollywood actor Sara Ali Khan’s visit to the presiding deity and her presence at Ganga aarti on Dasaswamedh ghat drew her into the epicentre of another row with a Hindu outfit and Deoband clerics calling her act sacrilegious.

While the deadly coronavirus has virtually brought the world to a standstill, BAPS has switched lane to follow online aartis, havans and discourses! Stating that all religious events for the next fortnight have been cancelled across its more than 1,200 centres in India and abroad, Swami Vivekjivandas of Bochasanwasi Akshar Purushottam Sanstha (BAPS) said that the temple trust has asked devotees to organize online satsang on Sundays instead of organizing gatherings at temples. “We have already appealed to the devotees to avoid crowding at temples and instead utilize the facility of online darshan,” he added. Gyanvatsal Swami of Swaminarayan BAPS Temple, Vadodara said: “Ever since the outbreak of coronavirus in the country, there has been a ban on large gatherings. In such a scenario, the BAPS has also issued an advisory to its devotees asking them to take all precautions and

Barely 10 days after the Gujarat education board class 10 science exam was held, more than 1,200 answer sheets were found on the roadside near Rajkot, jeopardising the future of over 1,000 students. The incident exposed the sheer carelessness of the board in safeguarding the answer sheets of the students whose future rests on the results. An education department official said that at least 135 answer sheets were missing and more than a dozen sheets were soiled or damaged. Some were so damaged that it was not possible to examine them. The answer sheets found by the roadside were yet to be evaluated, the official added. The education department has ordered a probe and assured strict action against staffers whose negligence resulted in the incident. According to police, the answer sheet bundles is believed to have fallen from the open window of the mini-bus which was transporting the bundles. However, there are some witnesses claiming that the bundles were thrown out of the moving bus. Police are verifying the claims. (The Times of India). How to conquer disability Mukesh Bharti, 34, is perhaps the first Uber driver with paralysed legs. When he was five, polio affected the lower parts of his body and his legs remained paralysed. But he conquered the disability by sheer willpower.

Mukesh Bharti

Bharti, who recently had his car modified, joined Uber as a partner driver. He has installed an auto gear stick which connects with the clutch. The brakes are hand operated, with the lever near the steering, which help him drive safely. Before he became a driver he worked in offices for several years. He says he was never treated equal and struggled to find a job. He was always passionate about driving. The turning point came when he asked a driver friend working with a ride hailing firm if he could find a similar job for him and he mocked and laughed at his disability. This made Bharti more determined to ride on his dreams. He had been riding a scooter modified by a mechanic and planned to do something similar with a car. He bought a small, automatic car and had it modified. He had a hassle free entry in Uber. He was recently honoured by senior offcials of the company. (The Times of India).


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AsianVoiceNews

UK

AsianVoiceNewsweekly

13

28 March - 3 April 2020

“Our London” Navin Shah

GLA Member for Brent and Harrow

End of an Era I travelled to Mumbai on 7thMarch to attend funeral service of Dineshbhai who was my father figure and inspiration. Here is a tribute to this legend.

A long, inspirational and legendary journey ended when Shri Dineshbhai Shah passed away on Saturday 7th March 2020 in Mumbai. He was a well-known fine artist, a much loved art teacher and an ideologist who was a follower of Mahatma Gandhi and Vinoba Bhave. Dineshbhai was born in 1928 in Sarkhej (near Ahmedabad) in a well-known family. His grandfather Punjabhai was the President of Ahmedabad Stock Exchange and father Fakirchandbhai ran a local business. His early inspiration as an infant came from a potter in a village where he made shapes from lumps of mud. This was followed by art exams but his education came to a grinding halt as he joined the 'quit India' movement preparing posters with freedom slogans which nearly landed him in Jail. When his family lost its wealth through speculation he first worked in local cloth market but radical as he was, Dinesh decided to go to Mumbai in his late teens to pursue studies in fine art. He managed to get a place in Sir JJ School of Art and sustained himself through part time work. Under the wings of Ahivasiji a prominent artist at the school Dineshbhai flourished as a fine artist specialising in water colour medium. He also trained in mural techniques. Upon receiving his diploma Dineshbhai became an art teacher at the famous New Era School where he made his mark for over 30 years as an independent thinking art teacher & educationist who not only brought out creativity from within children but also became their friend and a 'guru'. Hundreds of students benefitted from his mentoring and inspiration for the rest of their lives. In 1964 Dineshbhai went on a tour of Europe, USA and Japan which gave him a direct exposure to ‘modern art’ from a global perspective. In parallel with his teaching, he was also a prolific artist and painted water colour paintings (his preferred medium) over the span of 60 years. According to Dineshbhai during his studies he was exposed to the simplicity, forms and flowing lines of Chinese and Japanese paintings which left deep imprint on his work. Dineshbhai travelled extensively in India to study people and the diverse environment. He loved the rustic vigour and vibrant colourful attire of the attire of people which too is evident in the range of his work, the forms, colour schemes and richness of his paintings. He was a versatile artist who experimented for fun and without fear. His talent laid much beyond watercolours as evident from various pieces such as: the wire sculpture of Vinoba Bhave - whom he believed in; hugely popular collage/mural of the life of Gandhiji on the front wall of the New Era School and a ‘Ramayana’ themed mural commissioned by Air in Kochin. He particularly relished an invitation to London in 1999 to restore a mural in the prestigious heritage building of the Indian High Commission. The Buddha's mural restored after water damage is now enjoyed by distinguished visitors from across the world. In 1987 he decided to be free of institutional responsibilities and left New Era School. With his newly found freedom he started his own weekend art classes at the Manav Mandir which saw hundreds of pupils of all age groups and 'class' (rich and poor) benefit. After running his classes for many years he decided to pack up due to age constraints but continued to teach and inspire everyone. He remained active till the age of 91 - still painting and teaching. Regrettably, the disabling stroke two and a half years ago stopped him from active life.

Worried parents of missing Preston student appeal to ‘join them asap’ Rupanjana Dutta Parents of Indian-origin student originally from Pune, India who has gone missing from Preston, north-west England, has launched an emotional video plea for their son to get in touch and let them know that he is safe. 23-year-old Siddharth Murkumbi has been studying at University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) before disappearing on Sunday, 15th March. More popularly known as Sid to the family, he moved to Preston, to study MBA (Marketing) at UCLan in September 2019. His father Shankar said the family is frantic with worry for his welfare. In a statement he said, “Siddharth stays within the university campus and we came to know from his friends that he is untraceable from the night of 15th March and his mobile phone is also not reachable since then. On Monday 16th March a police complaint was launched with the help of his friends and the university. “Since then I have been in regular touch with the Lancashire police and following up for updates... “It has already more than one week and there seems to be not much progress in the investigation. Now Siddharth's mother is bed-ridden since the last 4 days and my health is also deteriorating due to

Father Shankar and mum Abha (right) with Sid's friend Vibha

lack of sleep since last 8 days. “We are very concerned about Siddharth's well being. Now since last 3 days due to coronavirus the university campus has been under lock-down and students' movement has been restricted. Nonetheless due to obvious priority to coronavirus, search of my son has taken a back seat. “I am also in touch with Mrs Happy Guptan (Consul, Community Affairs) at Birmingham consulate who has been helpful in pushing the police department so far. However with every passing day, it is getting frustrating and I am losing patience.”In a video appeal, Shankar and Abha (Sid’s mum), with Sid’s friend Vibha and their pet cat, sent a teary message out, saying, "Siddharth you are most precious, nothing is more important than you, everything will be fine, please join us immediately.” Sid also has a 20-year-old brother Samarth, who is three years younger to him. In a poster doing

rounds, that is tweeted by the Consulate of India in Birmingham too, says, “SidMessage from your papa and Maa. You need to begin life afresh leaving behind the past. Contact Papa or Maa immediately. They are shocked and deep in grief, desperately waiting to hear from you. Nothing is more precious than you.” Shankar reportedly said he had last spoken to his son at around 7pm (BST) on Sunday 15thMarch. Sid had been in regular contact with his family after moving to Preston. Every day, between 7pm and 8pm, Sid would phone his parents to chat. He has no family in the UK and didn't have any friends in any other cities. Lancashire Police believe he may have travelled to Preston Docks before going missing. The force said it is "very concerned" for his welfare and are urging anyone who might have seen him to come forward. PC Iann Skillander, of Lancashire Police in a statement said,

"We are worried about Siddharth’s disappearance and would urge anyone who has seen him or knows where he is to come forward. "Furthermore, I would ask Siddharth, if he sees this appeal, to come forward and let us know he is OK." Siddharth is described as Asian, of stocky build with blond hair and a beard. Anyone with information can contact police on 101 quoting log number 1362 of March 15. Spokesperson from the British Indians Voice, a forum that helps Indians in the UK said, “We are in touch with Siddharth’s parents in Pune, India and giving them comfort in this difficult times. We also want to thank Preston local administration for their continuous efforts in search. We request parents and friends to have faith in God and pray for the safe return of Siddharth.”

Police launch public appeal after Newham woman is stabbed to death Detectives investigating the murder of a woman in Newham are appealing for information and witnesses as local officers continue to conduct additional patrols in the area. Shadika Mohsin Patel, 40, was stabbed after midnight on Thursday, 19 March, on Altmore Avenue near the junction with Barking Road, East Ham. Ms Patel died later in hospital, and a post-mortem examination revealed cause of death as blood loss following multiple stab wounds. Next of kin were informed. Detectives

from Specialist Crime North are not, at present, linking the murder to any other investigation. Detectives Inspector John Marriott (Specialist Crime) said, “This tragic incident took place in a busy area with a number of buses running along Barking Road. There will be people who saw or heard something that may be significant, and I need to hear from them. “Ms Patel was the mother of two teenage sons, but she lived alone in Plaistow. She does seem to have led a relatively isolated life recently, and

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Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or online at crimestoppers-uk.org. In the early hours of 20 March, a 30-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of the murder in east London. He has been released under investigation. On 21 March, a 31 year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of murder and is currently in custody.


14 COMMUNITY/CULTURE

AsianVoiceNews

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28 March - 3 April 2020

‘Shankar 100’ to mesmerise Britons with the sitar maestro’s legacy

Famously called as 'the godfather of world music' by George Harrison, the influential Indian musician Ravi Shankar was revered in his homeland and credited with bringing the sounds of the Indian raga to the West.

He collaborated with artists and composers including Philip Glass,Yehudi Menuhin and John Coltrane. His own works married musical traditions of East and West. Ravi Shankar's association with Southbank Centre goes back more than 60 years to his first performance in Royal Festival Hall in 1958 which began a lifelong relationship with the venue, including several performances and significant premieres over the years. To celebrate his aweinspiring life and legacy, Southbank Centre is presenting Shankar 100, a special programme of concerts and projects throughout his centenary year, developed in consultation with his wife Sukanya and daughter and Southbank Centre Associate Artist Anoushka Shankar. More than 100 dancers chosen by Ravi Shankar’s wife Sukanya Shankar will open the Ravi Shankar Centenary concert with musicians from India and

Pandit Ravi Shankar with daughter Anoushka

around the world performing alongside Anoushka Shankar, her half-sister Norah Jones and Nitin Sawhney. The public programme is supported by Olivia and Dhani Harrison and the Material World Foundation. After 18 years, Akram Khan will be returning with his company's first fulllength dance production, Kaash, created in 2002 in collaboration with visual artist Anish Kapoor and composer Nitin Sawhney. The London Philharmonic Orchestra with Zubin Mehta and Anoushka Shankar will rediscover Ravi Shankar’s Raga-Mala in Mehta Conducts Shankarankar. Amass Sitarathon workshop, a chance to create rangoli art and a dance workshop with Sujata Banerjee Dance Company will take

place at Southbank Centre for their celebration called Shankar 100. Highlights from the Ravi Shankar Archives exploring the life and legacy of a global musical icon in a show viz. Indian Sun will be showcasing significant items belonging to Shankar including personal belongings that accompanied him on stage for his last performance in 2012 and a unique, rare custom-made Kanai Lal sitar will be performed. This intimate display also contains archive photographs, unseen film footage and correspondence between Shankar and George Harrison giving audiences a new understanding of Shankar’s word. A series of film screenings curated by Anoushka Shankar in partnership with the BFI including Alice in Wonderland, Monterey

Pop, Pather Panchaliand Raga: A Film Journey Into the Soul of India will be filmed. Gillian Moore CBE, Director of Music, Southbank Centre said, "Shankar 100 is a true celebration of a musician who brought the great tradition of Indian Classical Music to a global audience. We are privileged to honour Shankar’s life and legacy with a programme including concerts with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, performances from Akram Khan Company and free workshops around the Southbank Centre site. Women take the lead with Anoushka Shankar, Sukanya Shankar and Norah Jones contributing to the centenary events and later in the year, Sitar Fest showcasing the brilliant female sitarists who are continuing to explore the instrument so closely associated with the great sitar maestro. "Our neighbours at the BFI celebrate Ravi Shankar’s legacy as a film composer, and in November, Ravi Shankar’s friend Zubin Mehta conducts London Philharmonic Orchestra and Anoushka Shankar 40 years after Mehta collaborated with her father on the world premiere of his RagaMālā."

Armitage's 'Lockdown' draws inspiration from Sanskrit poet Kalidasa Simon Armitage, has written a poem to address the coronavirus and a lockdown that is slowly being implemented across the UK. Amritage is an English poet, playwright and novelist who has been the Poet Laureate since 10 May 2019. The Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom is an honorary position appointed by the monarch of the United Kingdom, currently on the advice of the Prime Minister. Armitage is also professor of poetry at the University of Leeds. His new poem Lockdown, moves from the 17th century bubonic plague outbreak in Eyam to the epic poem Meghaduta (cloud messenger) by the famous poet Kalidasa. It recounts how a yaksha (spirit), a subject of King Kubera (the god of wealth), after being

exiled for a year to Central India for neglecting his duties, convinces a passing cloud to take a message to his wife at Alaka in the Himalayan mountains. Armitage, who is at home with his family in West Yorkshire, reportedly said that “as the lockdown became more apparent and it felt like the restrictions were closing in, the plague in Eyam became more and more resonant” to him. His poem references Eyam’s boundary stone, which contained holes that the quarantined villagers would put their money in to pay for provisions from outside, and then fill with vinegar in the hope it would cleanse the coins. It also touches on the doomed romance between a girl who lived in Eyam and a boy outside the village who talked to her from a distance, until she

stopped coming, the Guardian reported. Drawing inspiration from Meghadūta Armitage said, “The cloud is convinced to take the message because the’yaksha’, which I think is sort of an attendant spirit to a god of wealth, tells him what amazing landscapes and scenery he’s going to pass across. I thought it was a kind of hopeful, romantic gesture.” He thought in these poems there was a message to be learned and told The Guardian- “about taking things easy and being patient and trusting the Earth and maybe having to come through this slightly slower, and wiser, at the other end – given that one thing that’s accelerated the problem is our hectic lives and our proximities and the frantic ways we go about things.”

15-year-old British Indian becomes Leicestershire’s new youth parliamentarian Fifteen year old Dev Sharma of Leicester has recently been elected as the Member of the UK Youth Parliament (Youth MP) for Leicestershire for 2020 to 2022. The UK Youth Parliament has 369 seats for elected members and Leicestershire has recently elected four new Youth Parliament members. MYPs are elected annually in every part of the UK. Once elected they meet with MPs and local councillors, organise events, run campaigns, give speeches, hold debates and ensure the views of young people are listened to by decision makers. The role of the MYP is increasingly being recognised at a local and national level. Some local authorities have given their MYPs equal status to their MPs. In his new role Dev has pledged to

campaign to help tackle child poverty and help improve children’s health while also campaigning for Mental Health. Dev is an award-winning campaigner and volunteer, who won the Leicestershire Young Person of the Year in 2019 and appeared on the BBCs ‘The One Show’ alongside Dame Emma Thompson to speak about their campaign for tackling child food poverty. He currently also works with Celebrity Chef Jamie Oliver on a new campaign Dev has helped to create called BiteBack2030. He has helped inspire young people all around him by showing that together we can all create a positive difference. Speaking to Asian Voice Dev said, "I am honoured to have been elected as the Member of Youth Parliament for

Dev Sharma

Leicestershire! I’m so thankful for all the support I have received. I’m so excited to start my journey and represent all the young people of Leicestershire."

Setting a new world order Rohit Vadhwana It’s a testing time. Coronavirus has questioned the whole system we have established. It questions globalisation, mass manufacturing, division of labour in large scale, our current lifestyle, sustainability of the world, the vulnerability of human lives and everything else that we have adopted recently. Disruption of global supply chain happened due to the emergence of Covid-19 in China. Later, it encompassed other parts as well. Economists are debating if we need to have regional manufacturing centres to avoid such a disaster again. Although China reports containment of Covid-19, other parts, especially Europe is engulfed dangerously. Even developed countries are under serious threats. Do we need to have scattered manufacturing clusters? So that in case of a pandemic or other challenge, they can be alternatives to each other? The global health system, surprisingly even in the developed nations, has come under immense pressure. The USA, European and other countries claimed to have the best health systems in the world. But they have come under pressures and are not able to cope up with the situation. In fact, no health system has been able to accommodate even its own citizens at this time of need. Prioritising is the only option, but it has left a large number of individuals to suffer and many to die. Even testing capacity is not enough. An eye-opener for all of us. Privatisation has its own merits but in this situation, except for some responsible corporations, no one has come forward. Only the governments have borne the burden, economic and administrative. It raises the question of whether privatisation of all assets is a viable option. It has been proven that in times of difficulties, private players seek government support but unwillingly cooperate in the time of need. Can a nation run if everything is privatised? How much will they be willing to listen to the government? Even if they have to, what will be the cost that individual will have to pay, directly or indirectly? So, either we need to rethink privatisation or put riders on them. Travelling has increased over a period of time. Facilities and ease of transportation have promoted business travelling and tourism. Both are valid and essential to a certain extent. But as an organisation and individual, we need to ask ourselves, is this an essential travel? If not, avoid. Not only for coronavirus situation but at any time. Each individual travel contributes to the ecological, cultural and social disturbances in one way or other. How many meetings of business could be handled through the use of technology, i.e. teleconference, video conference etc.? How many vacations do we need in a year? Aren't we exaggerating our travelling? Our current lifestyle, seeking validation on social media, has become restless. This time of isolation and social distancing has revealed the truth. We are finding it difficult to spend time with ourselves, families. Going out is not a necessity but an addiction for us. Even if everything is available at a place, an urge to go out remains in the heart. Even introvert people are finding it surprising how much their ability to remain with themselves has reduced. We need to come back to ourselves. Are we, as the human species, really undefeatable? Perhaps no. A virus or any other calamity is a threat against us. Some of them are avoidable and some are not. We know, and should accept, that we are vulnerable. Maybe not as mankind, but as an individual. Death of every individual, due to any threat, is a small defeat of human specie. So, why to create more threats? Why not stop preventable deaths? Are we serious about it? Does comfort and riches of a few outweigh basic needs of others? If a larger section of human society is at a threat, can others live peacefully? The fundamental question is how can one prosper at the cost of others? Don’t say it is reality and pragmatism. We all know, even if it is, it’s faulty. It has been normal for most of the people not to worry for thousands of deaths occurring in some part of the world if their heating and cooling is working properly. But it is only when their own life has come under danger, the antenna has been raised. Our sensitivity and responsibility for mankind need to be stronger. This is a signal, not an occasion. Let’s learn from it. Not sounding like it’s doomsday, but it’s a time to introspect into the system, our society and humanity.

(Expressed opinion is personal)


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Lavina Mehta

Feel Good with Lavina, Health and Fitness

Lavina Mehta

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avina is a personal trainer, fitness expert and wellness coach who has appeared on Sky News as well as various radio segments including the BBC. She recently won the SHE Award for Inspiration in Health and Fitness for 2020. Offering one-to-one sessions from a private gym and online training, she is now further spreading her agile wisdom via the media platform, having created the increasingly popular unique concept of Exercise Snacking. This is when one partakes in short bursts of exercise to “use as a treat” as Lavina specified, “breaking down a routine that might seem daunting.” She emphasised this as particularly helpful during the time of a constrictive viral outbreak:

makes a person feel confident and happy within. Physical exercise reduces stress, anxiety and releases endorphins. Again, looking at its power at the time of the new Coronavirus, this is crucial in relieving loneliness and general unease.” Lavina’s speciality is also in strength training which has involved creative use of household objects at this difficult social time. “If the fitness equipment you want has run out in stores, you can use safe household objects to exercise instead: you can use cartons of milk, tins or bottles! As well as burning body fat and replacing it with lean muscle, the squats, lunges, press ups and planks you can do with these improve your mood, creating an anti-depressant effect.” You can follow Lavina live on Instagram, this week, to complete her Feel Good 7-day Programme running daily at 6pm, where she will focus on each part of the body to give people a digestible, interactive online medium through which to achieve domestic fitness through the nationwide lockdown. “I’ve separated the workouts into the upper body, lower body, cardio, core and even just stretches, using breathing to combat the stress and anxiety too. They are easy methods that will not overwhelm you, and speak to the whole family, being fun too.” She has also launched ‘lunchtime snacks’ at 12.45pm each day for just 10 mins only! Previously, Sky News had featured Lavina’s Instagram advent calendar,

“We should be Working Out as well as working from home! Physical exercise is crucial in boosting your immune system and keeping you primed to fight Covid-19. You should try to keep moving. My exercise snacks hit the government guidelines of receiving 2 and a half hours of aerobic exercise a day e.g. I encourage having a ‘walk snack’ where you exercise in the garden or go for a walk outside with social distancing. The ultimate goal is that you manage to take brisk 30 minute walks 5 times a week, making this a habit after meals too. You could also work out within the comfort of your home where you ‘stair snack’, showing the different ways in which going up and down three flight of clients had incorporated workouts into stairs, three times a day, 3 times a week: their everyday lives during the don’t get in a sofa slump! Working out Christmas period. manageably creates a massive improveHere, Lavina offers an entire Feel ment to cardiovascular health.” Good Prescription where she accom*** modates a welcoming approach to fitIndeed, Lavina is passionate about fosness in general. “It’s about deeper welltering health in the South Asian combeing and so people must feel comfortmunity, who have notoriously high able with what they’re doing: it’s rates of heart disease and Type 2 important for my clients to diabetes. She has launched the choose the workouts that Get UK Asians Get Fit camappeal to them and work “We should paign to especially address for their bodies rather this: “There are alarming than pushing a onebe Working Out statistics that those of size-fits-all approach. I as well as workAsian descent are less want physical health likely to pursue active to become a sustaining from home" lives and this has been a able part of everyone's key motivator for me. I lifestyle.” Indeed, Lavina wanted to raise awareness loyally extends this flexiabout the reducing health risks ble ethos to healthy eating in an accessible, preventative way. habits, having helped her mother, The solution is at people’s fingertips author of Feel Good with Food, write and they just need the awareness: you and compile the famous recipe colleccan actually reverse Type 2 diabetes tion. “I don’t believe in diets. I simply with the right regular exercise.” The believe in healthy balanced eating.” eloquent coach also believes in accomTaking a literal leaf out of this plishing a holistic model of wellbeing book, the entrepreneur elaborated: “it’s where mental health is boosted too. as much about exciting, nutritious eat“My mission is to help people feel good ing as it is foods that aid in weight loss. physically, mentally and emotionally,” My mum actually possesses a degree in she elaborated. “I don’t just look at Biological Science, which means there weight loss or the sculpting of the peris concrete biochemical reasoning for fect body on the outside but also what how certain foods help boost one’s

health in the recipes e.g. Broccoli is anti-cancerous. Berries and simple Indian ingredients such as onion, garlic and Turmeric are anti-viral and antiinflammatory. Many of the recipes are also centred on produce that is rich in anti-oxidants which is crucial in maintaining the immune system. These include fruit and vegetables, for essential minerals and vitamins. I actually worked as a sous-chef as the book was made, informing my own journey into well-being.” Feel Good with Food contains easy recipes which will feed many in simply 4 to 5 steps. It is also designed to celebrate the joy in cooking: “We wanted to create a colourful plate, including the benefits of spices, where each individual one brings a different quality e.g. being anti-bacterial.” And so, successfully promoting her wise wellness brand, Lavina at once demonstrates the underlying formula to accomplishing effective fitness: being conscientious, consistent and caring over disciplinary to accomplish physical targets. As opposed to lapsing, this will preserve the desired outcome in the long run.

What have been some highlight moments? Seeing everyone take a personal journey into their well-being: mums who’ve wanted to lose weight after having children, women trying to cope with menopause, older members of the Asian community who’ve felt stronger now than previously, suffering from painful osteo-arthritis. I’ve trained all age groups from children to the elderly. I’ve also enjoyed hearing the various benefits that have come of having a fitter and flexible body from better sleep to an enhanced general mood and changed positive behaviours within families. I always do a wellness check to keep connected with my clients. What inspired you to start your business? I worked as an IT project manager in the city for BP and advanced to a high level in that career. I would commute into Canary Wharf; travel globally and really enjoyed the job. However, when I had my third child, I wanted to give full attention to my family. Back then, it wasn’t as easy to fight for flexible hours to be both a mother and professional success. As a result, I began to use my spare time to cultivate fulfilment which came from being able to work out. It was my rock and a mental release. I later completed a course in Level 2 Fitness Instructing & Level 3 Personal Training and started using my private gym at home to train up other women and pass on the benefits! Finally, what have been some proudest moments? As well as appearing on SKY News to talk on Exercise Snacking, I have spoken about the importance of fitness in combating the likelihood of cervical cancer, appearing on New Year ’s Day to talk on this for Cervical Cancer Awareness Month: just 30 minutes of exercise per week has the potential to significantly reduce women’s risk of developing cervical cancer. This is also very personal to me as I had my own scare and treatment at aged 26 which actually kick-started my relationship with wellness. W: https://feelgoodwithlavina.com/about-me/ Insta: @feelgoodwithlavina

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28 March - 3 April 2020

British summer times begins On Sunday 29th March 2020, the clocks will go forward one hour from 1am. Don't forget to change the time on your clocks and watches. Dear Readers, In the midst of the fear, worry, and uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus pandemic, each day seems to bring news that’s worse than the day before. But among all this darkness there is always light. As our Chancellor Rishi Sunak rightly said, “When this is over, and it will be over, and remember the many small acts of kindness done by us and to us. We want to look back on this time and remember how we thought first of others and acted with decency.” Asian Voice and Gujarat Samachar are working very hard to keep you informed and up-to-date about the latest developments, especially within the community. Our team, including journalists and graphics, that is spread across the UK, India (Ahmedabad and Kolkata) and Canada are putting together the newspapers every week, with the latest news, as well as updating our websites and twitter regularly to keep you informed. A special thanks to all our subscribers, readers, advertisers and supporters who are with us in these difficult times. We had to cancel three of our events including the Asian Voice Political and Public Life Awards and postpone a few of our magazines, including the Tanzania special due to the ongoing issues. Given situation, we are considering various options, but as of now, will be serving you as ever, with fresh contents and community news every week. While we are doing everything within our power and ability to send you your subscription copy on time, given current situation, please bear with us if we are delayed due to distribution or postal disruptions. We have also been notified that several shops that sell our newspapers have now been closed till further notice. We apologise to our readers for any inconveniences. I would like to thank all my colleagues again, who are working so hard every week to put together this newspaper with fresh content. However before I formally sign off, I would urge all of you to follow the NHS guidelines to keep yourself safe and healthy and help our government beat this virus before it beats us. Yours sincerely, CB Patel Publisher/Editor

Retired doctors to fight virus In a battle to combat the coronavirus, the UK government has appealed for the retired medical staff to render their services to the over-burdened NHS. The UK’s Department for Health had written to over 65,000 retired doctors and nurses in England and Wales, asking them to help the NHS tackle the pandemic which is expected to claim thousands of lives. “To further boost the ranks of our the NHS, we are now turning to people who have recently left the healthcare professions who can bring their experience and expertise to our health system. Your NHS needs you,” said UK health secretary Matt Hancock. Now, stepping up their game British Association of

Physicians of Indian Origin (BAPIO), the representative body for Indian-origin doctors in the UK, said it has already started receiving messages and calls of support from among its membership. The UK has an estimated 60,000 doctors of Indian-origin working within the state-funded NHS, often referred to as the backbone of the country’s health service. Among the recently retired, at least a couple of thousand are likely to be of Indian-origin, with a further estimated 10,000 in long-term retirement who are also being rallied to assist in whatever capacity possible. Final-year medical students and student nurses could also be given temporary work to boost the ranks.


16 CORONAVIRUS SPECIAL

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CORONAVIRUS SPECIAL

28 March - 3 April 2020

28 March - 3 April 2020

PM Modi announces 21-day all-India lockdown Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday announced complete lockdown of the entire India, as part of government’s stringent efforts to tackle coronavirus disease (Covid-19). “Today, I am going to announce a very important measure in our fight against Covid-19. The entire country will be under lockdown from today. The complete lockdown will come into effect from midnight tonight,” PM Modi said in his address to the nation. This lockdown will be in place for 21 days and more stringent than Janta Curfew, he added.

The Prime Minister described the situation in different countries due to the pandemic that has infected more than 350,000 people and killed over 16,000. “This virus has been spreading very fast across the world. It spreads like wildfire. Looking at the experience of these countries, and what the experts say, the only successful way to tackle the spread of the virus is social distancing,” said the Prime Minister. Some people believe that social distancing is only for those who are infected with the disease. It’s not true, and this thought will be detrimental for you, for me and for everyone. Social distancing is for everyone, even for the Prime Minister,” said PM Modi. This was the second time in a week when PM Modi addressed the country on the fast-spreading disease. In a television address last Thursday, PM Modi had highlighted the threat posed by the Sars-Cov-2 virus, which causes Covid-19 disease, and appealed to people to practise social distancing and work from home. He had also asked Indians to observe ‘Janta Curfew’, a self-imposed restraint measure to keep themselves and others in the society safe. The Janta Curfew was in place for 14 hours on Sunday from 7 am to 9 pm. And, as advised by the Prime Minister, people stayed off the roads and public places during this period. PM Modi had also apprised the nation of an

606 Of 728 Districts Under Lockdown More areas of India came under lockdown on Monday as the battle against Covid-19 entered a decisive phase with the governments of Maharashtra and Punjab imposing curfew across their states. Regimes like the Pinarayi Vijayan government in India’s second worst hit state Kerala – which had dithered on Centre’s directive to impose a lockdown in 10 affected districts just 24 hours ago – also decided to follow other states on Monday by ordering complete shutdown of the state till March 31. Other states where total lockdown was imposed on Monday were Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Assam and Manipur. On Sunday, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana,

emergency task force to mitigate the economic challenges stemming from the crisis. States under lockdown Earlier, India suspended all passenger train and interstate bus services till March 31 and more states imposed unprecedented restrictions to contain the spread of the infection. Delhi, Jharkhand, Punjab and Nagaland declared a statewide lockdown while similar curbs were announced in a number of districts in Bihar, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal. Several states, including Maharashtra, Kerala, Rajasthan and Uttarakhand, had earlier imposed a partial or complete lockdown. The Union health ministry said one death each was reported from Bihar, Gujarat and Maharashtra on Sunday taking the toll to 10. As the virus cases climbed to 415, Union home ministry officials said the central and state governments decided to completely lock down 80 districts

in 17 states from where Covid-19 cases have been reported while the states can extend the list of districts as they deem fit. The health ministry said states would earmark hospitals to exclusively treat coronavirus patients. The government was also expanding the network of labs for testing samples from suspected cases. 'Janata curfew' Millions of people stayed indoors to observe a ‘Janta curfew’ on Sunday after an appeal by Prime Minister Modi, but they stood outside their homes or in their balconies at 5pm to thank the health workers at the forefront of the fight against the virus. Shortly thereafter, Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal announced that his government was placing the national capital under a lockdown. Nagaland said it was imposing an indefinite lockdown from midnight Sunday. India’s leading automakers, including Maruti Suzuki

India, Mahindra & Mahindra and Honda Cars, announced suspension of manufacturing activities at their plants. Fiat also put brakes on production in the country till the end of this month. In the two-wheeler segment, Hero MotoCorp and Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India said they were suspending production. Earlier on Sunday, the Railways announced it was suspending all passenger services until March 31 and said only goods trains will run during the period. The suspension includes all suburban train services. Trains that commenced their journey

prior to 4 am on March 22 will complete their journeys, it said, adding that passengers can claim a full refund for trains cancelled during this period till June 21. The Railways has also ordered closure of all its museums, heritage galleries and heritage parks till April 15. The government also suspended all inter-state bus services until March 31. The extraordinary decisions were taken a day after the Railways reported three incidents (12 positive cases) of people asked to remain in quarantine travelling on trains and amid an exodus of people from urban areas to their

home states, raising fears of the virus spreading to the countryside. The West Bengal government said in a notification that Kolkata and several other areas of the state will be under lockdown from Monday 5 pm till Mar 27. According to the Health Ministry, Maharashtra has reported the highest number of confirmed coronavirus cases at 67, followed by Kerala (52) and Delhi (29). Uttar Pradesh has recorded 27 cases, Telangana 22, Rajasthan 24 and Haryana 21. Karnataka has 26 patients. Punjab has 21 cases while Gujarat has 18.

Nation says thanks with clapping, clanging of utensils India’s gratitude to its foot soldiers in fight against the novel coronavirus on Sunday found expression in a choreographed yet chaotic nationwide chorus of clapping, clanging of utensils and conch shells being blown as the “janata curfew” that had started 10 hours earlier entered its final lap. PM Modi tweeted his approval by tagging a video clip of his mother Heeraben beating a plate in her Gandhinagar house. “With the blessings of crores of mothers like you, doctors, nurses, medical staff, police personnel, security personnel, sanitation workers and

17

members of the media fighting coronavirus are encouraged,” he wrote. Empty roads & the sound of silence Pushed into action by the global Covid-19 pandemic, India on Sunday practised social distancing on a neverbefore scale through a “janata curfew” that kept the country’s 1.3 PM Modi's mother Heeraben claning utensils at her residence billion population indoors all day and wise congested streets, nationdelivered more than a few al landmarks bereft of surging fringe benefits - sparrows and weekend crowds and air purer pigeons frolicking on otherthan it has been in a long time.

Punjab, Uttarakhand, Jharkhand, Jammu and Kashmir, Chandigarh, Rajasthan, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Mizoram had ordered total lockdown. According to information provided by the Centre, 28 governments have imposed complete lockdown in the entire state/ Union territory, covering 548 districts. Another three governments have brought certain areas in the states under lockdown, covering total 58 districts. Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray imposed a curfew in the entire state with immediate effect on Monday after imposition of Section 144 of CrPC in urban areas a day earlier proved to be ineffective with private vehicles back on the street in large numbers. “We

are forced to impose a curfew in the state. Also, the use of private vehicles, taxis and autoriskshaws will be

restricted only to the extent of procuring essential commodities, health services and other emergency reasons," he

said. Only one person besides the driver will be allowed in private vehicles. Justifying the strict mea-

sures while referring to the ‘janata curfew’ on Sunday for which PM Narendra Modi had given a call, Thackeray said: “We are putting these restrictions only for some time and for the benefit of the state. By beating thalis we have not killed the virus, this is a turning point in the fight against this virus." The CM said that most religious places have shut their doors to visitors “and the ones which haven’t will also be shut from today”. Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh also announced state-wide “full curfew with no relaxations”. In a tweet, he said: “The DCs have been asked to issue orders accordingly. Any person required to be given relaxation will be so allowed specifically for given period and purpose.”

India halts its crucial train Anand Mahindra offers network to try to stop virus to provide ventilators As India expanded its virus-containment measures and halted its train network, the country's lifeblood, the federal government warned of strict legal action for those who flout the rules. "Please save yourself, save your family,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted in Hindi, calling for states to follow the preventive measures issued by the federal government to contain the spread of the virus. The strict legal action vowed wasn't immediately clear. Other places have simply sent violators home, since alternatives like detention would create crowded conditions where the virus could spread. To contain the outbreak, authorities have gradually started to lock down many of the country of 1.3 billion people, sending stock markets to record lows. Parliament adjourned its session, and India's civil aviation authority banned all commercial flights within India starting Wednesday. International flights were kept from landing from Sunday until at least March 31. At least 80 districts where cases of infection have been detected are under stringent lockdown. Police and health care were operating, but commercial establishments have closed except for essential services. Banks have asked their customers to switch to online transactions and reduced their office staff. The government has fervently appealed for people to practice social distancing and wash their hands often. But

Modi's call for a 14-hour voluntary curfew on Sunday was the first nationwide effort at social isolation practices the World Health Organization believes are critical to slowing the outbreak to a level that doesn't overwhelm health

care systems. Lockdowns in other places have lasted at least two weeks, which is believed to be the maximum incubation period of the virus. Streets across India’s cities on Sunday were deserted as citizens stayed indoors heeding Modi’s call. But key train stations were packed with thousands of migrant workers suddenly out of work and trying to head to their villages, risking carrying the infection to the nation’s vast hinterland. Late Sunday, train services were suspended until March 31 while crowds were still waiting to board. The suspension included major long-distance trains and public transit in India's big cities, exempting only freight. The

New Delhi Railway Station, usually teeming with activity, was empty on Monday. India's national railway system totals 67,000 kilometers (42,000 miles) and carries more than 8 billion passengers a year. India has at least 415 active cases of infection with the new coronavirus and 10 deaths from COVID-19, the illness it causes. Many were linked to foreign travel, but indigenous spread of the

With the number of coronavirus cases on the rise, many epidemiologists are of the opinion that India may just be entering the Stage three of transmission. Cases are likely to increase manifold in the coming months. And as the public health emergency threatens to hamper the country's healthcare system, businessman Anand Mahindra has come forward to provide aid to the medical fraternity.

Even as India observed a 14-hour "Janata Curfew", the Mahindra Group chairman took to Twitter and wrote that there was an immediate need to create "scores of temporary care facilities" to deal with the crisis as well as ensure there was no scarcity of ventilators. He further added that

disease is considered inevitable in India, where tens of millions live in dense urban areas with irregular access to clean water. Experts have said the number of confirmed cases seemed low for the world's second-most populous country, amid concerns that India is not testing enough people. The bulk of the testing had been aimed at international travellers and their contacts, but in recent days the government has expanded it to people in hospitals with respiratory symptoms such as pneumonia. “Our biggest challenge is how do we break this chain of transmission,” Lav Agarwal, a senior health ministry official, said at a briefing in New Delhi.

Anand Mahindra

Mahindra Group will "immediately begin work on how our manufacturing facilities can make ventilators". Mahindra also added Mahindra Holidays was ready to offer its resorts as temporary care facilities and that its Project team was ready to assist the government and/or the Army in building temporary facilities. "The Mahindra Foundation will create a

fund to assist the hardest hit in our value chain (small businesses & the selfemployed). We will encourage associates to voluntarily contribute to the Fund. I will contribute 100% of my salary to it & will add more over the next few months. I urge all our various businesses to also set aside contributions for those who are the hardest hit in their ecosystem," Mahindra tweeted. Mahindra's tweet comes after India lost another patient to COVID19 with the death toll rising to 10. Even as Indians observed self-isolation and social distance on Janata Curfew, Mahindra's tweet managed to bring cheer to social media.

Delhi's Tihar jail to release 3,000 prisoners Tihar Jail authorities have said that they will try to release about 3,000 prisoners in the next few days to contain the spread of the coronavirus infection as the number of positive cases rises across the country. At least 1,500 convicts will be released under parole or furlough and 1,500 under trial prisoners on interim bail. However, this would not include hardened criminals. "We will try to release around 1,500 convicts (on parole / furlough) and around same number under trial prisoners (on interim-bail) in coming 3-4 days. To ease congestion in jails in the wake of threat of Coronavirus. This will not include hardened or

dangerous criminals," the director general of Tihar Jail said. According to the Health Ministry, there are 415 confirmed cases of coronavirus infections in India, with 29 of them in Delhi. At least 10 people have died so far due to the virus. Earlier on Monday, the AAP government told the Delhi High Court it has decided to decongest its prisons to check the spread of coronavirus by providing convicts with the options of special parole and furlough. The Delhi government told a bench of Justices Hima Kohli and Subramonium Prasad that it was going to amend its prison rules to provide the options of special parole and furlough. The sub-

mission was made by the Delhi government's additional standing counsel Anuj Aggarwal who said a notification would be issued within a day to amend the prison rules to include the two new provisions. Taking note of the submission, the bench directed the Delhi government to take steps during the day to implement what it has proposed and disposed of a plea moved by two lawyers seeking decongesting of the prisons in view of the coronavirus pandemic. The bench disposed of the matter on the submission made by the government and did not examine the matter further, saying a similar issue has been taken up by the Supreme Court on its own.


16 CORONAVIRUS SPECIAL

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CORONAVIRUS SPECIAL

28 March - 3 April 2020

28 March - 3 April 2020

PM Modi announces 21-day all-India lockdown Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday announced complete lockdown of the entire India, as part of government’s stringent efforts to tackle coronavirus disease (Covid-19). “Today, I am going to announce a very important measure in our fight against Covid-19. The entire country will be under lockdown from today. The complete lockdown will come into effect from midnight tonight,” PM Modi said in his address to the nation. This lockdown will be in place for 21 days and more stringent than Janta Curfew, he added.

The Prime Minister described the situation in different countries due to the pandemic that has infected more than 350,000 people and killed over 16,000. “This virus has been spreading very fast across the world. It spreads like wildfire. Looking at the experience of these countries, and what the experts say, the only successful way to tackle the spread of the virus is social distancing,” said the Prime Minister. Some people believe that social distancing is only for those who are infected with the disease. It’s not true, and this thought will be detrimental for you, for me and for everyone. Social distancing is for everyone, even for the Prime Minister,” said PM Modi. This was the second time in a week when PM Modi addressed the country on the fast-spreading disease. In a television address last Thursday, PM Modi had highlighted the threat posed by the Sars-Cov-2 virus, which causes Covid-19 disease, and appealed to people to practise social distancing and work from home. He had also asked Indians to observe ‘Janta Curfew’, a self-imposed restraint measure to keep themselves and others in the society safe. The Janta Curfew was in place for 14 hours on Sunday from 7 am to 9 pm. And, as advised by the Prime Minister, people stayed off the roads and public places during this period. PM Modi had also apprised the nation of an

606 Of 728 Districts Under Lockdown More areas of India came under lockdown on Monday as the battle against Covid-19 entered a decisive phase with the governments of Maharashtra and Punjab imposing curfew across their states. Regimes like the Pinarayi Vijayan government in India’s second worst hit state Kerala – which had dithered on Centre’s directive to impose a lockdown in 10 affected districts just 24 hours ago – also decided to follow other states on Monday by ordering complete shutdown of the state till March 31. Other states where total lockdown was imposed on Monday were Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Assam and Manipur. On Sunday, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana,

emergency task force to mitigate the economic challenges stemming from the crisis. States under lockdown Earlier, India suspended all passenger train and interstate bus services till March 31 and more states imposed unprecedented restrictions to contain the spread of the infection. Delhi, Jharkhand, Punjab and Nagaland declared a statewide lockdown while similar curbs were announced in a number of districts in Bihar, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal. Several states, including Maharashtra, Kerala, Rajasthan and Uttarakhand, had earlier imposed a partial or complete lockdown. The Union health ministry said one death each was reported from Bihar, Gujarat and Maharashtra on Sunday taking the toll to 10. As the virus cases climbed to 415, Union home ministry officials said the central and state governments decided to completely lock down 80 districts

in 17 states from where Covid-19 cases have been reported while the states can extend the list of districts as they deem fit. The health ministry said states would earmark hospitals to exclusively treat coronavirus patients. The government was also expanding the network of labs for testing samples from suspected cases. 'Janata curfew' Millions of people stayed indoors to observe a ‘Janta curfew’ on Sunday after an appeal by Prime Minister Modi, but they stood outside their homes or in their balconies at 5pm to thank the health workers at the forefront of the fight against the virus. Shortly thereafter, Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal announced that his government was placing the national capital under a lockdown. Nagaland said it was imposing an indefinite lockdown from midnight Sunday. India’s leading automakers, including Maruti Suzuki

India, Mahindra & Mahindra and Honda Cars, announced suspension of manufacturing activities at their plants. Fiat also put brakes on production in the country till the end of this month. In the two-wheeler segment, Hero MotoCorp and Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India said they were suspending production. Earlier on Sunday, the Railways announced it was suspending all passenger services until March 31 and said only goods trains will run during the period. The suspension includes all suburban train services. Trains that commenced their journey

prior to 4 am on March 22 will complete their journeys, it said, adding that passengers can claim a full refund for trains cancelled during this period till June 21. The Railways has also ordered closure of all its museums, heritage galleries and heritage parks till April 15. The government also suspended all inter-state bus services until March 31. The extraordinary decisions were taken a day after the Railways reported three incidents (12 positive cases) of people asked to remain in quarantine travelling on trains and amid an exodus of people from urban areas to their

home states, raising fears of the virus spreading to the countryside. The West Bengal government said in a notification that Kolkata and several other areas of the state will be under lockdown from Monday 5 pm till Mar 27. According to the Health Ministry, Maharashtra has reported the highest number of confirmed coronavirus cases at 67, followed by Kerala (52) and Delhi (29). Uttar Pradesh has recorded 27 cases, Telangana 22, Rajasthan 24 and Haryana 21. Karnataka has 26 patients. Punjab has 21 cases while Gujarat has 18.

Nation says thanks with clapping, clanging of utensils India’s gratitude to its foot soldiers in fight against the novel coronavirus on Sunday found expression in a choreographed yet chaotic nationwide chorus of clapping, clanging of utensils and conch shells being blown as the “janata curfew” that had started 10 hours earlier entered its final lap. PM Modi tweeted his approval by tagging a video clip of his mother Heeraben beating a plate in her Gandhinagar house. “With the blessings of crores of mothers like you, doctors, nurses, medical staff, police personnel, security personnel, sanitation workers and

17

members of the media fighting coronavirus are encouraged,” he wrote. Empty roads & the sound of silence Pushed into action by the global Covid-19 pandemic, India on Sunday practised social distancing on a neverbefore scale through a “janata curfew” that kept the country’s 1.3 PM Modi's mother Heeraben claning utensils at her residence billion population indoors all day and wise congested streets, nationdelivered more than a few al landmarks bereft of surging fringe benefits - sparrows and weekend crowds and air purer pigeons frolicking on otherthan it has been in a long time.

Punjab, Uttarakhand, Jharkhand, Jammu and Kashmir, Chandigarh, Rajasthan, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Mizoram had ordered total lockdown. According to information provided by the Centre, 28 governments have imposed complete lockdown in the entire state/ Union territory, covering 548 districts. Another three governments have brought certain areas in the states under lockdown, covering total 58 districts. Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray imposed a curfew in the entire state with immediate effect on Monday after imposition of Section 144 of CrPC in urban areas a day earlier proved to be ineffective with private vehicles back on the street in large numbers. “We

are forced to impose a curfew in the state. Also, the use of private vehicles, taxis and autoriskshaws will be

restricted only to the extent of procuring essential commodities, health services and other emergency reasons," he

said. Only one person besides the driver will be allowed in private vehicles. Justifying the strict mea-

sures while referring to the ‘janata curfew’ on Sunday for which PM Narendra Modi had given a call, Thackeray said: “We are putting these restrictions only for some time and for the benefit of the state. By beating thalis we have not killed the virus, this is a turning point in the fight against this virus." The CM said that most religious places have shut their doors to visitors “and the ones which haven’t will also be shut from today”. Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh also announced state-wide “full curfew with no relaxations”. In a tweet, he said: “The DCs have been asked to issue orders accordingly. Any person required to be given relaxation will be so allowed specifically for given period and purpose.”

India halts its crucial train Anand Mahindra offers network to try to stop virus to provide ventilators As India expanded its virus-containment measures and halted its train network, the country's lifeblood, the federal government warned of strict legal action for those who flout the rules. "Please save yourself, save your family,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted in Hindi, calling for states to follow the preventive measures issued by the federal government to contain the spread of the virus. The strict legal action vowed wasn't immediately clear. Other places have simply sent violators home, since alternatives like detention would create crowded conditions where the virus could spread. To contain the outbreak, authorities have gradually started to lock down many of the country of 1.3 billion people, sending stock markets to record lows. Parliament adjourned its session, and India's civil aviation authority banned all commercial flights within India starting Wednesday. International flights were kept from landing from Sunday until at least March 31. At least 80 districts where cases of infection have been detected are under stringent lockdown. Police and health care were operating, but commercial establishments have closed except for essential services. Banks have asked their customers to switch to online transactions and reduced their office staff. The government has fervently appealed for people to practice social distancing and wash their hands often. But

Modi's call for a 14-hour voluntary curfew on Sunday was the first nationwide effort at social isolation practices the World Health Organization believes are critical to slowing the outbreak to a level that doesn't overwhelm health

care systems. Lockdowns in other places have lasted at least two weeks, which is believed to be the maximum incubation period of the virus. Streets across India’s cities on Sunday were deserted as citizens stayed indoors heeding Modi’s call. But key train stations were packed with thousands of migrant workers suddenly out of work and trying to head to their villages, risking carrying the infection to the nation’s vast hinterland. Late Sunday, train services were suspended until March 31 while crowds were still waiting to board. The suspension included major long-distance trains and public transit in India's big cities, exempting only freight. The

New Delhi Railway Station, usually teeming with activity, was empty on Monday. India's national railway system totals 67,000 kilometers (42,000 miles) and carries more than 8 billion passengers a year. India has at least 415 active cases of infection with the new coronavirus and 10 deaths from COVID-19, the illness it causes. Many were linked to foreign travel, but indigenous spread of the

With the number of coronavirus cases on the rise, many epidemiologists are of the opinion that India may just be entering the Stage three of transmission. Cases are likely to increase manifold in the coming months. And as the public health emergency threatens to hamper the country's healthcare system, businessman Anand Mahindra has come forward to provide aid to the medical fraternity.

Even as India observed a 14-hour "Janata Curfew", the Mahindra Group chairman took to Twitter and wrote that there was an immediate need to create "scores of temporary care facilities" to deal with the crisis as well as ensure there was no scarcity of ventilators. He further added that

disease is considered inevitable in India, where tens of millions live in dense urban areas with irregular access to clean water. Experts have said the number of confirmed cases seemed low for the world's second-most populous country, amid concerns that India is not testing enough people. The bulk of the testing had been aimed at international travellers and their contacts, but in recent days the government has expanded it to people in hospitals with respiratory symptoms such as pneumonia. “Our biggest challenge is how do we break this chain of transmission,” Lav Agarwal, a senior health ministry official, said at a briefing in New Delhi.

Anand Mahindra

Mahindra Group will "immediately begin work on how our manufacturing facilities can make ventilators". Mahindra also added Mahindra Holidays was ready to offer its resorts as temporary care facilities and that its Project team was ready to assist the government and/or the Army in building temporary facilities. "The Mahindra Foundation will create a

fund to assist the hardest hit in our value chain (small businesses & the selfemployed). We will encourage associates to voluntarily contribute to the Fund. I will contribute 100% of my salary to it & will add more over the next few months. I urge all our various businesses to also set aside contributions for those who are the hardest hit in their ecosystem," Mahindra tweeted. Mahindra's tweet comes after India lost another patient to COVID19 with the death toll rising to 10. Even as Indians observed self-isolation and social distance on Janata Curfew, Mahindra's tweet managed to bring cheer to social media.

Delhi's Tihar jail to release 3,000 prisoners Tihar Jail authorities have said that they will try to release about 3,000 prisoners in the next few days to contain the spread of the coronavirus infection as the number of positive cases rises across the country. At least 1,500 convicts will be released under parole or furlough and 1,500 under trial prisoners on interim bail. However, this would not include hardened criminals. "We will try to release around 1,500 convicts (on parole / furlough) and around same number under trial prisoners (on interim-bail) in coming 3-4 days. To ease congestion in jails in the wake of threat of Coronavirus. This will not include hardened or

dangerous criminals," the director general of Tihar Jail said. According to the Health Ministry, there are 415 confirmed cases of coronavirus infections in India, with 29 of them in Delhi. At least 10 people have died so far due to the virus. Earlier on Monday, the AAP government told the Delhi High Court it has decided to decongest its prisons to check the spread of coronavirus by providing convicts with the options of special parole and furlough. The Delhi government told a bench of Justices Hima Kohli and Subramonium Prasad that it was going to amend its prison rules to provide the options of special parole and furlough. The sub-

mission was made by the Delhi government's additional standing counsel Anuj Aggarwal who said a notification would be issued within a day to amend the prison rules to include the two new provisions. Taking note of the submission, the bench directed the Delhi government to take steps during the day to implement what it has proposed and disposed of a plea moved by two lawyers seeking decongesting of the prisons in view of the coronavirus pandemic. The bench disposed of the matter on the submission made by the government and did not examine the matter further, saying a similar issue has been taken up by the Supreme Court on its own.


18 FINANCE - UK

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Dear Financial Voice Reader, Alpesh Patel Dear Financial Voice Reader, Government should buy shares for cash in large employers needing a bailout eg British Airway BUT on an offer to existing shareholders who if they do not pay up, get diluted away. The State will get its money back and save jobs. The problem with the financial markets is they are not the real economy with real people and real jobs. When I had my show on Bloomberg and we went through a couple of crashes we were mindful that real people will be losing real jobs. There are those who cannot and so have not saved. Others chose not to. You may have read reports of how the worlds wealthiest have lost trillions. Actually, market crashes always result in transfer of wealth from the many poor to the few rich - just faster than usual. At this time it should be British Airways shareholders diffused - who should feel the pain not employees. Shareholders are capitalists. It is capital that should pain. But instead management will sack workers. Cash flow is a limit operating boundary condition of any business but just as banks were forced after 2008 to ensure they had ample reserves we know now to ensure all businesses of any scale should have too. They don’t because dividends from earnings are paid to capitalist shareholders not kept in reserves. This needs to change as it was for banks. Once again banks will be loaded with money and management will make massive profits paid to their senior managers and dividends. If you have an extended family of friends and relatives you are especially rich at this time. Those who have sought self isolation for years as their idil realise I hope even more so we are connected. It is heartening we as a fragile species even in increased isolation brought on long before this new threat, we help those we can, when we can, in whatever way we can. That part of human nature is a constant. The pound has weakened weakened further this past week against major currencies, and it’s no mystery one reason why: Brits like buying products made elsewhere more than the rest of the world likes buying products made in the UK. Inevitably, that causes the UK to ship billions of IOUs and assets annually to the rest of the world. And over time, that puts pressure on the pound When the pound falls, it both makes our products cheaper for foreigners to buy and their products more expensive for UK citizens. That’s why a falling currency is supposed to cure a trade deficit. Indeed, the UK deficit has undoubtedly been tempered by the large drop in the pound. There’s been much talk recently of sovereign wealth funds and how they are buying large pieces of British businesses. This is our doing, not some nefarious plot by foreign governments. Our trade equation guarantees massive foreign investment in the UK when we force-feed billions annually to the rest of the world, they must invest in something here. Why should we complain when they choose our companies? (thank you to Warren Buffett for his more eloquent explanation I have adapted here). This crisis is an opportunity to change. And one thing needing change is not only more British exports, but more manufacturing in Britain. Not for nationalist reasons, but for economic survival. What we do within the Department in Government with which I work is to bring those entrepreneurs to the UK. Homegrown talent is not large and is not growing fast enough. The one import I recommend is that of the overseas entrepreneur setting up HQ and home in the UK and manufacturing here and exporting from here.

Contactless limit for in-store spending to increase Contactless limit for in-store spending is set to increase from £30 to £45 from April 1. The British Retail Consortium’s head of payments policy Andrew Cregan said, “The last contactless limit increase to £30 took two years to implement but, given the extraordinary circumstances we face today, this new £45 limit will be rolled out from next week. Some shops will take longer to make the necessary changes, given the strain they’re under. In the meantime, most customers can continue to make contactless payments for higher amounts using their smartphone.” Mobile phone users can already make contactless payments above £30, if the retailer accepts, by holding their phone over the reader and entering their normal card pin on their phone. The BRC said the increase to £45 would reduce the need for physical contact with pin entry devices at points of sale.

UK extends visas until May 31 for foreigners stuck due to COVID-19 The UK announced the extension of all expiring or expired visas of foreign nationals, including Indians, who are unable to return home due to the coronavirus pandemic until May 31. Home secretary Priti Patel said no enforcement action will be taken against anyone caught up due to the current stringent travel restrictions and that certain categories, such as overseas students from countries like India, would be temporarily allowed to switch their visas from within the UK instead of the usual application rules of applying from their home countries. “The UK continues to put the health and wellbeing of people first and nobody will be punished for

circumstances outside of their control,” said Patel. “By extending people’s visas, we are giving people peace of mind and also ensuring that those in vital services can continue their work,” she said. The extension will apply to anyone whose leave expired after January 24 and who cannot leave the country because of travel restrictions or self-isolation. It will last until May 31 in the first instance but will be kept under regular review in case further extensions are needed, the Home Office said. “Those who contact the Home Office for these visa extensions will be expected to return to their home countries as soon as possible once flight and border restrictions are lifted. No immigration enforcement

action will be undertaken during this time for those who email the Home Office as outlined above,” it noted. To help those who want to apply for visas to stay in the UK long-term, the Home Office said it is temporarily expanding the incountry switching provisions. This will mean people can apply to switch routes, such as from Tier 4 (student) to Tier 2 (General Worker) whilst remaining in the UK. “The extension has been put in place to give these individuals peace of mind that they will not be penalised for overstaying their visa when the situation is out of their control due to COVID-19,” the Home Office said. The announcement will

come as a relief for Indian nationals, including tourists, professionals and students, who have inundated the social media channels of the Indian High Commission here with queries around their expiring visas. Like many foreign nationals, they have found themselves unable to return home due to flight cancellations and border restrictions over COVID-19. Another relief for Indian students and professionals would be the Home Office confirmation that in light of the current advice on selfisolation and social distancing, a waiver of number of requirements on visa sponsors on allowing non-EU nationals under work or study routes to undertake their work or study from home.

PM Johnson suspends railway services Trains in Britain have been effectively nationalised after the Boris Johnson-led government suspended rail franchise agreements. The move came in a bid to stop train companies from collapsing under the COVID-19 strain. Emergency measures announced by the Department of Transport reveal train operators have been offered the chance to transfer “all revenue and cost risk” to the government and be paid a small management fee to continue running services. The Rail Delivery Group (RDG) said it “strongly welcomes” the proposals, which boosted the share prices of

Boris Johnson

listed companies with rail franchises, such as FirstGroup and Go-Ahead. The protocol will be in place for an initial period of six months in order to “minimise disruption to the rail sector.” FirstGroup's chief executive Matthew Gregory wel-

comed “swift and comprehensive” measures from the government and said the company had accepted its offer. The Department of Transportation said passenger numbers had fallen by up to 70 per cent, while ticket sales were down by two-thirds on the same period of 2019. Transport secretary, Grant Shapps, said, “We are taking this action to protect the key workers who depend on our railways to carry on their vital roles, the hardworking commuters who have radically altered their lives to combat the spread of coronavirus and the

UK urgently needs 30,000 ventilators The UK government has chosen medical ventilators it believes can be rapidly produced to equip the NHS with 30,000 machines needed to cope with an upsurge in Covid19 patients. The Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) had issued a criteria, based on which, manufacturing giants have been looking at designing a model could be mass-produced. Reports said the government has opted for existing designs and could promote scaling up production massively. Smiths Group, which already makes one of the designs, said it was in discussions with the government to help make 5,000 ventilators in the next two weeks. Chief executive Andrew Reynolds Smith

said, “During this time of national and global crisis, it is our duty to assist in the efforts being made to tackle this devastating pandemic, and I have been inspired by the hard work undertaken by our employees to achieve this aim. We are doing everything possible to substantially increase production of our ventilators at our Luton site and worldwide. Alongside this,

we are at the centre of the UK consortium working to set up further sites to materially increase the numbers available to the NHS and to other countries impacted by this crisis.” Another ventilator designer Oxfordshirebased Penlon had previously warned that asking nonspecialist manufacturers to make ventilators could be “unrealistic”.

frontline rail staff who are keeping the country moving. People deserve certainty that the services they need will run or that their job is not at risk in these unprecedented times. We are also helping passengers get refunds on advance tickets to ensure no one is unfairly out of pocket for doing the right thing.” RDG chief executive Paul Plummer, meanwhile said, “The industry strongly welcomes the Department for Transport’s offer of temporary support and, while we need to finalise the details, this will ensure that train companies can focus all their efforts on delivering a vital service at a time of national need.”

UK banks stepping up fraud prevention steps UK banks are stepping up fraud prevention measures to protect customers from scammers eager to exploit the coronavirus pandemic with a whole range of new tricks, including fake sales of medical supplies and bogus government relief schemes. With British households effectively on lockdown, some banks said customers had already been caught out by fraudsters posing as banks, government and even health service providers to persuade victims to hand over passwords or other sensitive data. Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds Banking Group and Royal Bank of Scotland have launched social media campaigns to flag ploys. Metro Bank said its fraud team was still operating a 24-hour, seven-day service to help affected customers.


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28 March - 3 April 2020

TIME TO GO ONLINE… We are in interesting times. There are many undercurrents to what is actually going on and there are many varying opinions. However, the point is it is happening and we need to deal with it. That’s the bottom line. From a property investment perspective it is a good time to get deals, as most people will be too fearful to make the right moves in this climate. One place where you will find deals is the auction room; although everything has shifted online for obvious reasons.

Suresh Vagjiani Sow & Reap London Property Investment

Auctions have always been lagging, it seems decades, behind in terms of onlining the whole process. On the surface it makes a lot of sense. You could attract investors not only nationally but from all around the world. You have plenty of interest in UK property from overseas. However, there has been limited traction from the physical auction rooms to the parallel universe of online auctions. Surprising, considering how long Ebay has been around. It’s the same principle, just higher values and bigger lumps; and the time for bidding is shorter. Several months ago we were looking at a very lucrative deal in North West London, which was cheap even though it was being flipped. The property was bought cheap primarily because it was bought online, thereby avoiding the masses; as the masses go to the physical auction rooms.

This was from an auction house who is really trying to push forward with an online presence and seems to be the only one. If this was the case in a normal market you can imagine the lack of enthusiasm the auction houses will face in the current environment. However, they have been all forced to switch. Viewings have been cancelled. So, this is the time to purchase for the brave investor. Money is never made by following the herds, one needs to go against the movement of herds. The focus should be yield not growth. As you don’t know when the bounce back will occur, it may take months, or years. Nobody knows. The property should be purchased in a strong location, where the location will drive the growth. However, emphasis should be on the cash generated every month, in other words yield. In times like this, one should not forget the fundamentals of property. There is a shortage of property which at the current build rate means the demand will always outstrip supply. Due to planning rules and regulations this does not look like it will improve any time soon. Therefore, if you concentrate on the end of the

pyramid which focuses on actual people who need homes and shelter you will not go far wrong. When looking for property in auction, the best deals will always come from those who have to sell, those in the category of the three Ds; death, divorce, distress. There are also companies who need to shave of the fat before the year end and still will want to offload empty buildings regardless of the environment. We have a couple of investors who hope to grab a deal in the next couple of days. This will be good for our investors and good for the sellers, who need a quick sale. It will be interesting to see whether my speculation matches the reality of the market.

AGONY AGENT IS HERE TO HELP! Q: What is a rent collection service? A: The majority of letting agents offer you mainly two types of service: Tenant Find or Intro Only - this service normally comprises of the agent finding and referencing the tenant. Once they've moved them into the property, everything else from that moment onwards is down to you. Fully Managed – is the most popular and known throughout. With this service, normally the agent will take

your property and look after every aspect of your property from paying bills, service charges, finding the tenants, referencing them, inspections etc, basically anything and everything that involves the day-to-day running of your property. There is a third option, Rent Collection. This is usually where an agent will find tenants and reference them. Once they've moved the tenants into the property they will demand the rent from the tenants each month, and if the tenants fall into arrears or a late

BUY TO LET OPPORTUNITY

payment for any reason the agent will have the awkward conversations with them. This allows you as a landlord to remain hands-on as far as maintenance and repairs are concerned. Just double check with your agent that this service includes deposit protection and negotiation of any dilapidations or damages at the end of the tenancy, as some agents will charge additionally for this at the end of the tenancy. If you need any other lettings guidance, please do get in touch.

● A bright and large one bedroom conversion ● Long lease and low service charges, making the ideal BTL investment

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


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DoT prepares crisis plan for telcos The Indian government has begun preliminary work on crisis plan for the troubled telecom industry, taking into consideration interest of millions of mobile subscribers and business enterprises and to make sure that telecos sail through the difficult period. The department of telecom (DoT) is hopeful of working out a formula to pull the beleaguered players out of the crisis. The collapse of any major telecom company would result in chaos. Mass-scale shift of subscribers, millions of porting requests, and even closure of telecom and internet lines of businesses (leased lines) that range from top corporate houses and MNCs to ride-hailing companies and online retailers are feared in the worst scenario. India’s biggest service provider Vodafone Idea, with 300 million mobile subscribers and a long list of business enterprises as customers, appears to be in a very tight spot now with the Supreme Court making it clear that companies have to pay

the AGR dues. Vodafone Idea has so far paid about £ 680 million. With its current outstanding is around £5.15 billion, amid it already crippled operations. The company has made an SoS for the bailout package. The deadline set by the SC is a challenge for other operators. Within over two weeks, by when the SC hears the matter, Airtel is required to cough up around £2.50 billion, over the £1.8 billion that it has paid. The plausibility for raising fresh finances in a short span of time remains questionable and doubtful. Expert group to look into the row The huge differences between the outstanding payment sought by the DoT and those claimed by telcos has compelled the Indian government to form an expert group to decide over £8.23 billion disputed AGR (adjusted gross revenue) dues. It has been learnt that the group will look into the matter in order to create an opinion acceptable to all the parties involved. The need to form the group has arisen as the differences in the amounts are mammoth.

The DoT has sought £5.82 billion in AGR dues from Vodafone Idea but the company’s selfassessed puts the dues at £2.15 billion. From Airtel, the department has demanded £4.39 billion while the company claims a self-assessed amount of £1.3 billion. From Tata group, the DoT has sought £ 1.67 billion but the company pegs the selfassessed dues at £2,20 million. Even as the deadlock over the dues payment and difference in calculations continue, telcos have received a breather from the government. The Union Cabinet has recommended to extended the payment tenure to 20 years. But its implementation is unlikely without the Supreme Court’s go-ahead. SC lashes out at telcos, govt The Supreme Court, meanwhile, has come down heavily on the government and telecom companies for not complying with its order on AGR dues.

Refusing any reassessment of the AGR dues fixed by it, the apex court warned them of contempt of court proceedings if the dues were reassessed. The court questioned the government’s formula for a staggered dues repayment option for the telcos spanning 20 years and said the duration was unreasonable. The matter is expected to heard later this month. The court said it will become a party to fraud if it allowed selfassessment of AGR dues by telecom companies, adding that reopening of the entire judgment cannot be allowed. It warned of actions against managing directors of telecos and government officials if the AGR dues fixed by it were changed.

Zydus Cadila scores first ever NASH approval in India Zydus Cadila has received the nod of the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) for its New Drug Application (NDA) for saroglitazar, becoming the first pharma company in the world to win approval for a non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) drug. According to Zydus, NASH is a progressive disease of the liver, which starts with fat accumulation in the liver known as Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD). This condition could progress to cirrhosis and liver failure. It is a large unmet medical need as there is currently no approved drug for the treatment of NASH anywhere in the world, a disease that is highly prevalent with 10% to 30% of

Pankaj Patel

the global population being affected by it. The prevalence of NASH in India is estimated to be nearly 25% of the population. NASH ranks as one of the major causes of cirrhosis, behind hepatitis C and alcoholic liver disease. Liver transplantation is the only option for managing advanced cirrhosis with liver failure, the company said in a

Anil Ambani quizzed by ED in Yes Bank case The Enforcement Directorate (ED) questioned Reliance Group chairman Anil Ambani for more than nine hours in connection with a £1.25 billion loan extended by Yes Bank to the Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group (ADAG) companies. ADAG had allegedly given £110 million as loans to firms owned by Yes Bank promoter Rana Kapoor’s family members at the same time the former received the loan. The move is suspected to be a quid pro quo arrangement. Ambani was questioned at the ED headquarters in south Mumbai from 9 am to 6 pm. It is learnt that he may be questioned again in the month-end. According to a Reliance Group statement, Ambani met ED officials to clarify that the group’s entire exposure to Yes Bank is secured and in compliance with laws and financial regulations. “Ambani also clarified to the agency that Reliance Group has no direct or indirect exposure to Rana Kapoor or his wife or daughters, or any entities controlled by Rana Kapoor or his family.

statement. Pankaj Patel, chairman, Zydus Group, said, “We are happy that our efforts to discover and develop a novel drug for patients living with NASH, an unmet healthcare need globally have been successful. Saroglitazar will provide hope and new lease of life for millions of patients in India suffering from NASH.” Saroglitazar was launched in India in September 2013, for the treatment of diabetic dyslipidemia and hypertriglyceridemia in patients with type-2 diabetes not controlled by statins alone. In January this year, Saroglitazar received an

approval for the treatment of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus. Saroglitazar is uniquely poised with its dual PPAR alpha and gamma properties – reducing the comorbidities (dyslipidemia, hypertriglyceridemia, diabetes mellitus) and causing NASH resolution, the company stated. Zydus achieved positive results in EVIDENCES II trial, a Phase 3 liver biopsy trial of Saroglitazar 4 mg versus Placebo in Indian patients with NASH. The trial evaluated histological improvement of NASH using liver biopsy at the end of 52 weeks and successfully met primary and secondary endpoints. Saroglitazar 4 mg demonstrated a significant reduction in liver fat, liver enzymes and disease activity, the company added.

Companies suspend production As a precaution against spread of coronavirus across India, top companies such as Maruti Suzuki, Hyundai, Samsung, Hero Moto, Ford, Honda, LG, and Havells announced factory closures till the end of this month. The categories that will be impacted by the lockdown include cars, SUVs, motorcycles, scooters, refrigerators, ACs, washing machines, and even mobile phones. The companies said that a review will be conducted around the month-end to assess whether the lockdown needs to be carried forward, or lifted progressively. Even industry bodies Siam (for auto companies) and ACMA (for parts makers) asked companies to consider “limited-period

shutdowns”. The production closures come amid growing worry over the spread of the virus, and fear that the cases of infected persons may be on the rise. Also, with the Centre and many state governments putting restrictions on the use of public transport as well as movement of non-essential cargo, the step was deemed as necessary. Maruti said the company has taken the decision upon an advisory issued by the Haryana government. Samsung also said that its factory in Noida will be shut down. LG said its Pune plant is shut till the end of the month, while the Greater Noida factory will remain closed till March 25. “With the safety and wellbeing of employees as

top priority in view of the escalating COVID-19 situation, Hero MotoCorp has decided to halt operations at all its global manufacturing facilities - India, Colombia and Bangladesh and the Global Parts Centre (GPC) at Neemrana with immediate effect,” the country’s largest twowheeler maker said. Officials say that with retail also being shut at most of the locations, due to the closure of malls and shopping areas, there is not much of a pressure to immediately have the production facilities up and running. Sources said that operations at factories of phone companies such as Oppo and Vivo are also being reviewed in view of the escalating concerns around the virus.

in brief

INDIGO TO CUT PAY UP TO 25% FROM NEXT MONTH

IndiGo will from next month cut pay of all its employees by up to 25%, except those at the bottom rungs. The CEO of India’s biggest airline, Ronojoy Dutta, will take a 25% pay cut, senior VPs will take 20%, VPs and pilots 15% and AVPs along with cabin crew 10%, and 5% for a few others. In a mail to employees, Dutta said, “These are very difficult times indeed. I cannot think of another crisis that has engulfed the entire world with its speed and penetration into the lives of every single human being on this planet…. impact on aviation industry has been particularly severe. Governments across the globe have issued travel advisories, which have resulted in a virtual shutdown of all our international flights. Domestic bookings too are down around 20% and it is not clear that the situation will not get worse before it gets better. With the precipitous drop in revenues, the very survival of the airline industry is now at stake. We have to pay careful attention to our cash flow so that we do not run out of cash. With a great deal of reluctance and a deep sense of regret, we are therefore instituting pay cuts for all employees,” Dutta said.

YES BANK REOPENS UNDER A NEW AVATAR

Yes Bank, under the new ownership of SBI and other lenders, resumed services on March 19 after a 13-day shutdown following a moratorium imposed by the RBI. The bank will also extend working hours across branches for senior citizens from March 19 to March 27 to minimise crowd amid the coronavirus outbreak. Following the moratorium being lifted, customers could access the full range of banking online services and use ATMs. “Only a third of depositors who could withdraw up to Rs 50,000 during the moratorium, withdrew their money. This gives us confidence,” said Prashant Kumar, the RBIappointed administrator who is set to take charge as the bank’s CEO.

FORMER SBI CHIEF BHATTACHARYA IS INDIA CEO OF SALESFORCE

Former State Bank of India (SBI) chairperson Arundhati Bhattacharya will lead the India operations of Salesforce, one of the world’s leaders in customer relationship management (CRM) software. The $17-billion US company announced that Bhattacharya, who retired from India’s biggest bank in October 2017, will join on April 20 as chairperson and CEO for India. Bhattacharya served SBI for 40 years, after joining the bank as a probationary officer. In 2016, she was listed as the 25th most powerful woman in the world by Forbes. “Arundhati is an incredible business leader and we are delighted to welcome her to Salesforce as chairperson and CEO India,” said Gavin Patterson, president & CEO of Salesforce International.

TATAS PROMISE TO PAY TEMPS IN FULL FOR MARCH, APRIL

Amid fears of widespread job losses and pay cuts in the wake of deepening coronavirus pandemic, the Tata Group has said that it will make full payments to temporary workers and daily wage earners working at its offices and manufacturing sites. Other companies too are doing their bit, responding to the fallout from coronavirus. Bajaj Group scion Rajiv Bajaj said that he will cut his salary to zero before a single employee is laid off. Paytm founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma will forego two months salary to “help office staff who may need it” after being inspired by Marriott CEO (the lodging company’s chief said that he will not take any salary for the rest of the year). Prime Minister Narendra Modi had appealed to employers to not cut salaries of people during these testing times.


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in brief BANGLADESH TO RELEASE FORMER PM KHALEDA

Bangladesh has initiated a process to "conditionally" release jailed former prime minister Khaleda Zia for six months amid the coronavirus outbreak in the country, Law Minister Anisul Huq said. The 74-year-old opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party chief is serving a 17-year prison term in two graft cases since 8 February 2018. "The decision has been taken on humanitarian ground," Huq said. He said the decision was taken in line with Prime Minister Shekh Hasina's directives and considering the age of the former prime minister. "...Zia will be released for a period of six months and she must stay in her own house," the minister said. He declined to elaborate immediately but officials familiar with the process said the home ministry would take subsequent steps for the former premier's temporary release under a criminal procedure code (CRPC). Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal said his office would take steps for the release of Zia, who is being treated for old-age complications at the prison cell of a state-run specialized hospital, "as soon as" they receive the file from the law ministry. Home ministry officials, however, said the law ministry proposal reached them by now while they were now exhausting the legal procedures to be approved "finally by the prime minister".

QUAKE HITS TIBET NEAR NEPAL BORDER

A 5.9-magnitude earthquake struck China's remote Himalayan region of Tibet close to Nepal last week. The epicentre of the quake was located 28.63 degrees north latitude and 87.42 degrees east longitude, with a depth of 10 km, according to the China Earthquake Networks Centre. Tremors were felt in Tingri county of Xigaze city in Tibet near Mount Everest. No casualties or damage have been reported. Meanwhile, tremors were also felt in Nepal's capital city Kathmandu and surrounding districts. The earthquake measuring 6.2 magnitude was recorded at National Seismological Centre in Kathmandu. The epicenter of the earthquake was located at Quilling in Tibet, according to the National Seismological Centre of Nepal. Five days ago, western Nepal's tourist hub Pokhara was hit by a 5magnitude earthquake.

17 AFGHAN FORCES KILLED IN INSIDER ATTACK At least 17 police and army personnel were killed in an apparent insider attack at a joint military and police base in Zabul province, a Taliban stronghold. The defence ministry statement said the Taliban carried out the attack, but with the assistance of Afghan police and army personnel inside the base. It said 11 soldiers and six police were killed. No one immediately took responsibility, but Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahed said he would look into the allegation

GABBARD ENDS 2020 PREZ BID, BACKS BIDEN

Hawaii congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard is suspending her presidential campaign, ending fear among Democrats that she would mount a third-party 2020 bid. She offered her full support to former vice-president Joe Biden. “I feel that the best way I can be of service at this time is to continue to work for the wellbeing of the people of Hawaii and our country in Congress,” she said.

875 COVID-19 cases in Pakistan ISLAMABAD/KARACHI: With over 150 new coronavirus cases confirmed in the last 24 hours, the number of COVID-19 patients in Pakistan reached 875, officials said on Monday. The death toll in the country also jumped to six after a doctor lost his life in the northern GilgitBaltistan region. According to Federal Health Ministry, the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in southern Sindh province rose to 352, Punjab province to 225, in northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province to 31, western Balochistan province 108, Gilgit-Baltistan 71, the capital's Islamabad 15 while one case confirmed in Azad Jammu and Kashmir. Most of the new patients had recently returned from neighboring Iran. So far, six patients have successfully recovered and discharged from the hospital, the ministry said. Usama Riaz, a young doctor who treated coronavirus patients in GilgitBaltistan hospital, has died, raising the number of deaths in the country to six.

"GB Government declares Dr. Usama a national hero," the Information Ministry of the region tweeted. All major markets, shopping malls, restaurants, and other public spots remained closed in most parts of southern Sindh, and southwestern Balochistan -- the two worsthit provinces. Authorities closed Karachi, and Sukkur airports suspending air travel between Sindh and rest of the country. Law enforcing troops used containers and barbed wires to block the major roads in Karachi, the country's commercial capital, forcing the citizens to stay at homes. The provincial governments of Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and Gilgit-Baltistan already announced partial lockdowns in their provinces and asked the public to remain in their homes. The KP government has also declared an emergency and suspended all inter-district public transport for seven days starting on Monday. Also in Islamabad, restaurants, coffee shops, cafes, and major malls have been closed. Demand for complete lockdown

The country's political leaders demand Prime Minister Imran Khan to impose complete lockdown to stop spreading of coronavirus in the country. Opposition leader in the National Assembly and head of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz Shehbaz Sharif, who arrived from London on Sunday, suggested Khan to impose lockdown. "On the basis of my meetings with public health experts, party leaders & public feedback I am of the considered opinion that it has become essential that the govt imposes the lockdown to contain COVID-19. Any further delay in taking this vital decision has serious implications," Sharif tweet-

ed. But Khan opposed the suggestion of complete lockdown in the country of over 200 million people with a weak public healthcare system, as he believes it is almost impossible. In a televised address to the nation on Sunday, Khan said as 25% of the country's population live below poverty line, their livelihoods would be adversely affected by a complete lockdown, which he called tantamount to a curfew. "It would sow chaos in the country more perilous than coronavirus. "The only thing that can save us from this pandemic is, stay at home. I’m sure my people will not disappoint me," he added.

India, Bangladesh have created a golden chapter of mutual relations: PM Modi NEW DELHI: India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi drew a clear distinction between the growth trajectories of two of India’s neighbours - describing Pakistan as a supporter of terror and Bangladesh as an inclusive society with its focus on development oriented policies. Addressing the centenary celebrations of Bangladeshi freedom icon Sheikh Mujibur Rehman via video link from New Delhi, Modi said: “We are all witnessing that how, making terror and violence weapons of politics and diplomacy destroys a society and a nation. The world is also watching where the supporters of terror and violence are currently placed and in what state they are, while Bangladesh is scaling new heights." Though he did not mention Pakistan by name, the allusion to India’s western neighbour was clear. Bangladesh is predicted to grow at 8.1% in 2020 faster than India according to various predictions - while Pakistan last year sought an

Narendra Modi

International Monetary Fund bailout. New Delhi accuses Pakistan of supporting terrorism in Kashmir and other parts of the country, a charge Islamabad has consistently denied. Heaping praise on Bangladesh with which India has nurtured warm relations in the past decade, Modi said: “Be it economy, other social indices or sports, today Bangladesh is setting new benchmarks. It has made unprecedented progress in many fields like skill, education, health, women empowerment, micro finance." Noting the upswing in ties

between New Delhi and Dhaka, Modi said that India and Bangladesh have “scripted a golden chapter of bilateral ties and given new dimension and direction to our partnership. This is because of increasing trust between the two countries that we have been able to amicably resolve complex issues like Land Boundary and Maritime Boundary," he said - possibly an oblique reference to how in contrast India and Pakistan have not been able to resolve similar problems. “Today, Bangladesh is not only India’s biggest trading part-

ner in South Asia but also development partner. Electricity generated in India is lighting up millions of houses and factories in Bangladesh. A new dimension has been added to our relations through Friendship Pipeline. Be it road, rail, air, waterway or internet, our cooperation in several sectors is connecting people of our two countries even more," Modi said referring to the slew of cooperation measures undertaken by both countries. Modi also heaped praise on Sheikh Mujibur Rehman, the father of current prime minister Sheikh Hasina, who led the country to independence from Pakistan and was assassinated in 1975. Stating that Sheikh Mujibur Rehman’s life had a message even in the 21st century, Modi recalled how Pakistan had tried to stub out the independence struggle in its erstwhile eastern wing. “We all are well aware, how a repressive and cruel regime, disregarding all democratic values, unleashed a reign of injustice on `Bangla Bhumi’ and devastated its people," Modi said.

Pak man, on way to join IS, held at US airport WASHINGTON: A Pakistani doctor who the FBI said was intent on joining the Islamic State terror group, either on the battlefield in Syria or as a “lone wolf ” in the US, was arrested before boarding a flight at Minneapolis-St Paul Airport. The doctor, Muhammad Masood, 28, had been en route to Los Angeles to try to travel to West Asia by cargo ship, authorities said. He had initially bought a plane ticket from

Chicago to Jordan, but officials said the flight was cancelled because of the coronavirus outbreak. Masood, who most recently worked as a research coordinator at a medical clinic in Minnesota was charged with one count of attempting to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organisation. The charge carries a penalty of up to 20 years in prison. Masood spent the past two years in the US on a temporary visa, known as a H-

1B, that is issued to skilled workers from abroad, a criminal affidavit said. Law enforcement officials said they began their investigation of Masood in January, after he posted on an encrypted social media platform asking for help making “hijrah,” the Arabic word for migration. The FBI said the word was widely used by those seeking to join IS. Masood then used the same platform to correspond with two informants about his plans, according to the affi-

davit. He told one, “I want to fight on the front line as well as help the wounded brothers,” Carson Green, an FBI special agent, wrote in the affidavit. Masood was kept in custody after a brief appearance in US district court in Minneapolis. Manny Atwal, an assistant federal public defender, said that he could not comment on the case. In a message, Masood told one of the informants that, as a doctor, “I want to help on the ground,” Green wrote in the affidavit.


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Lanka extends nationwide curfew to fight coronavirus COLOMBO: Sri Lanka has extended its nationwide curfew to combat the outbreak of coronavirus pandemic, with total cases of infection in the country reaching almost 100. The countrywide curfew imposed last week and due to expire on Monday morning - has now been extended in Colombo, Gampaha, Puttalam, Jaffna, Vavuniya, Mullaitivu, Kilinochchi and Mannar districts until Friday and in all other districts until Thursday, according to a statement by the president's office. While Sri Lanka reported its first COVID-19 patient as early as January 27, the country's second case came weeks later on March 11, as the pandemic spread across most parts of the globe. Since then, the outbreak has also accelerated on the island nation of roughly 21 million, reaching at least 95 cases on Monday, according to the country's health ministry. Most patients appear to be recent travellers from countries that were some of the worst-hit by the global outbreak of the highly contagious virus, including Italy and South Korea. At least 3,506 people, including 31 foreigners from 14 countries,

remain quarantined in 45 centres across the country, according to the National Operation Centre for Prevention of COVID-19 Outbreak. "There is fear that the numbers could rise up as some of the returnees from COVID19-hit countries escaped from quarantine process," said Ananda Wijewickrama, consultant at Infectious Diseases Hospital (IDH) in capital Colombo. Earlier, police imposed a curfew in Puttalam district and several areas of the Western Province amid claims that people who escaped the quarantine process had gone to their homes in those areas. Following the imposition of the countrywide curfew, people across the country were reported to be rushing to stores

US shuts down website claiming to sell coronavirus vaccine WASHINGTON: The US Department of Justice announced that it had shut down a website claiming to sell a coronavirus vaccine, in its first act of federal enforcement against fraud in connection with the pandemic. Lawsuits had been filed against the site coronavirusmedicalkit.com, which claimed to sell vaccines for COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, when in fact there is no such vaccine, the Justice Department said in a statement. A Texas federal judge ordered the site to shut down, according to the statement. Its homepage, however, was still accessible as of Sunday evening. "Due to the recent outbreak for the Coronavirus (COVID-19) the World Health Organization is giving away vaccine kits. Just pay $4.95 for shipping," read a statement on the homepage. It was followed by a place to leave bank account information to pay shipping fees. The Justice Department did not specify how many people fell victim to the scam, but the investigation is ongoing to identify who is behind the fraud and how much money was stolen. The intervention by the federal judiciary system is part of ongoing efforts by US authorities to combat the spread of misinformation that has blossomed since the start of the pandemic. Attorney General Bill Barr last week urged federal prosecutors to make stopping misinformation a priority and called US civilians to report all such abuses to the National Center for Disaster Fraud.

to buy essential supplies and medicine. Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, however, assured citizens in a televised address that there were adequate stocks of basic necessities. "We are able to provide you the daily needs. We have adequate stock of medicine, food, drinks and fuel for months," he said. Earlier, his brother and President Gotabaya Rajapaksa ordered a reduction in the prices of certain essential commodities in order to aid the public during the crisis. Expanding facilities Doctors fear they do not have enough resources to deal with a large-scale outbreak. So far, all patients who test positive for COVID-19 are being treated at the Infectious Diseases Hospital (IDH) in Colombo. "We

are expanding the ICU by converting a section of the hospital into it," said Wijewickrama. "The air force is building a small building within the hospital premises. They will complete the work within three to four days." To check the spread of COVID-19, the Sri Lankan government has closed all international commercial flights into the country until at least March 25. A mandatory 14-day quarantine process is in place for those who have returned from countries where large-scale COVID-19 outbreak has been detected. The imposition of a curfew was aimed at promoting social distancing, which the World Health Organization has recommended to curb the spread of the virus. Authorities are strictly enforcing the curfew, with at least 2,000 people arrested for violating it over the weekend, according to the Sri Lankan police. Compared with its densely populated South Asian neighbours, Sri Lanka has a better health infrastructure, with 2.38 ICU beds per 100,000 people, according to Dr Naveen De Soysa, assistant secretary of the Government Medical Officers' Association.

Pompeo rushes to Kabul to salvage stalled peace deal with Taliban KABUL: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrived in Kabul on an urgent visit to try to move forward a US peace deal signed last month with the Taliban, a trip that comes despite the coronavirus pandemic, at a time when world leaders and statesmen are curtailing official travel. Since the signing of the deal, the peace process has stalled amid political turmoil in Afghanistan, with the country's leaders squabbling over who was elected president. President Ashraf Ghani and his main rival in last September's presidential polls, Abdullah Abdullah, have both declared themselves the country's president in dueling inauguration ceremonies earlier this month. Pompeo will meet separately with Ghani and Abdullah before meeting together with both. His schedule also has Ghani and Abdullah coming together for a one-on-one meeting, presumably to discuss a possible compromise. The United States pays billions every year toward the Afghan budget, including the country's defense forces. Afghanistan barely raises a quarter of the revenue it needs to run the country, giving Pompeo

in brief I’M NOT A ‘CZAR': PUTIN

Russian President Vladimir Putin dismissed comparisons to a czar arguing he “works every day” and listens to what people want. “Well, this is not true,” Putin said when asked about being described as a Russian imperialera ruler. “Maybe someone else can be called a czar. But in my case, I don’t reign, I work every day,” he told media. An amendment approved last week would allow Putin to run for another six years in the Kremlin in 2024 and again in 2030.

PUTIN KIN LAUNCHES POLITICAL PARTY

One of President Vladimir Putin’s relatives, Roman Putin, son of President Putin’s cousin Igor, has launched a political party and said he wants to contest parliamentary elections next year. His People of Business party was a rightwing conservative project aimed at supporting small businesses, Putin junior claimed. His party would support the ruling pro-Putin United Russia party. Like the president, Roman, 42, is a former employee of Russia’s FSB security service. He said he had not discussed his political plans with the president, but did not anticipate problems.

13 US JOURNALISTS FACING EXPULSION FROM CHINA

At least 13 American journalists stand to be expelled from China in retaliation for a new visa limit imposed by the Trump administration on Chinese state-owned media operating in the US. The Chinese government announced that Americans working at three major US newspapers would have to surrender their press cards within 10 days. It would be by far the largest expulsion of foreign journalists from China in recent memory. Foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang described the move as “necessary countermeasures that China is compelled to take in response to the unreasonable oppression the Chinese media organizations experience in the US." The US earlier this month said that five of China's statecontrolled media outlets would be restricted to 100 visas, the de facto expelling of about 60 journalists.

NEW ZEALAND PASSES LAW TO DECRIMINALIZE ABORTION

US Secretary of State Mike Pompe (left) stands with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

considerable financial leverage to force the two squabbling leaders to overcome the impasse. The political turmoil has put on hold the start of intra-Afghan peace talks that would include the Taliban. Those talks are seen as a critical next step in the peace deal, negotiated to allow the United States to bring home its troops and give Afghans the best chance at peace. The US and NATO have already begun to withdraw some troops from Afghanistan. The final pullout of US forces is not dependent on the success of intra-Afghan negotiations but rather on promises made by the Taliban to deny space in Afghanistan to other terror groups, such as the insurgents' rival Islamic State group.

But within days of the signing of the peace deal in Qatar on Feb. 29, Afghanistan sunk into a political crisis with Ghani and Abdullah squaring off over election results and Ghani refusing to fulfill his part of a promise made in the US-Taliban deal to free up to 5,000 Taliban prisoners. The insurgents were for their part, to free 1,000 Afghan officials and soldiers they hold captive. The exchange was meant to be a good-will gesture by both sides to start the negotiations. Washington’s peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad, who has been trying to jumpstart talks between Afghans on both sides of the conflict — the next critical step in the U.S.Taliban deal — tweeted early Monday that the two sides are talking about the prisoner exchange.

The New Zealand has become the latest country to decriminalize abortion. The country passed a law in this regard. The law, while updated in 1977, had not fully reflected that change corresponding to women reproductive rights, requiring women to prove to a doctor that their pregnancy presented a danger to their physical or mental health before they could get an abortion. The new law removes those obstacles, allowing women who are up to 20 weeks pregnant to get an abortion and those over 20 weeks to get one with approval from a health practitioner.

DISTILLERY NOW PRODUCES HAND SANITISER

The gin stills of the Listoke Distillery have been repurposed in the fight against the coronavirus, producing precious hand sanitiser currently in vanishingly short supply across Ireland. Staff at the distillery and gin school in Tenure, in eastern Ireland north of Dublin, originally began production of sanitiser with 64% alcohol, with the same aroma of juniper botanicals as their artisanal spirit, for in-house use. But as the Covid-19 emergency escalated, they started selling bottles to the public for 10 euros ($11) each.


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in brief

BANGLADESH REPORTS FIRST VIRUS DEATH

A patient who was suffering from COVID-19 died in Bangladesh last week, said healthcare officials, marking the first fatality from the disease in the South Asian country. The patient, aged 70, was also suffering from diabetes, kidney ailments and hypertension, Meerjady Sabrina, director of the Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research, said. Bangladesh also confirmed four more confirmed COVID-19 cases, taking the total tally in the country to 14.

BIDEN VICTORIES INCREASE PRESSURE ON SANDERS TO QUIT

Joe Biden swept to victory in Florida, Illinois and Arizona, increasingly pulling away with a Democratic presidential primary upended by the coronavirus and building pressure on Bernie Sanders to abandon his campaign. Still, Biden's quest for his party's nomination now seems well within reach. His wins doubled his delegate haul over Sanders, giving the former vice president a nearly insurmountable lead. Top Democratic leaders and donors have also increasingly lined up behind Biden as the best option to square off against President Donald Trump in November. With the exception of North Dakota and the Northern Mariana Islands, Sanders hasn't scored a victory since Super Tuesday on March 3.

MUSLIM PILGRIMS IGNORE VIRUS RISK

Thousands of Muslim pilgrims from across Asia gathered in Indonesia, despite fears that their meeting could fuel the spread of a coronavirus, just two weeks after a similar event in Malaysia caused more than 500 infections. Organisers and regional officials said the event in the world's fourth most populous nation had begun, although the regional police chief said he was making a last ditch-effort to persuade organisers to call it off. Administration estimated that 8,695 people had already assembled in Gowa, near the provincial city of Makassar, adding that the numbers would make it hard to put a halt to the proceedings. The Malaysian event, held from February 27 to March 1, drew 16,000 followers.

PHILIPPINES DECLARES CEASE-FIRE WITH REBELS

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte declared a unilateral cease-fire with communist guerrillas this week to focus on fighting the coronavirus outbreak that prompted him to place the northern third of the country under quarantine. Duterte ordered the military and police to stop offensives against New People’s Army guerrillas during the cease-fire, which will end on April 15. Interior Secretary Eduardo Ano ordered the national police to shift to a defensive posture. He urged the Marxist guerrillas to respond with their own cease-fire. The insurgency has raged for more than half a century, making it one of Asia’s longestrunning rebellions.

AMAZON BANS, THEN REINSTATES HITLER MANIFESTO

Amazon quietly banned Adolf Hitler’s manifesto “Mein Kampf” late last week, part of its accelerating efforts to remove Nazi and other hate-filled material from its bookstore, before quickly reversing itself. The firm is under pressure to keep hate literature off its platform. But Amazon doesn’t want to be seen as the arbiter of what people are allowed to read, which is traditionally a hallmark of repressive regimes. An Amazon spokeswoman said that the platform provides “customers with access to a variety of viewpoints” and noted that “all retailers make decisions about what selection they choose to offer”.

Nikki Haley joins Trump in criticising China for coronavirus outbreak

WASHINGTON: Nikki Haley, the Indian-American former US ambassador to the UN, has joined President Donald Trump in criticising China for the handling of the deadly coronavirus outbreak that has killed over 5,000 people globally and spread to nearly 148 countries. The US now has at least 46,168 cases of the coronavirus and 582 deaths, according to state and local health authorities and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. New York is by far the worst-hit state followed by Washington. “China is now trying to create a narrative that it’s an example of how to handle this crisis when in fact its early actions led to the virus spread-

ing around the globe,” 48-yearold Haley said in a tweet. She referred to a study which has indicated that if Chinese authorities had acted three weeks earlier than they did, the number of coronavirus cases could have been reduced by 95% and its geographic spread limited.

In China, a total of 80,928 cases and 3,245 deaths have been reported so far, according to the National Health Commission. The country reported no new locally transmitted coronavirus cases for the first Nikki Haley time since the the pandemic began, marking a major turning point in the global battle to contain Covid-19. Haley’s tweet came hours after Trump said that China did not inform the international community in time about the virus. “I don’t know if you’d say China is to blame. Certainly, we didn’t get an early run on it. It

would have been helpful if we knew about it earlier. But it comes from China, and there’s not a question about that. Nobody is questioning that,” President Trump said. Over the past few days there has been a war of word between the US and China on coronavirus. “It’s not racist at all... It comes from China. That’s why. It comes from China. I want to be accurate,” Trump told reporters at a White House news conference. “I have great love for all of the people from our country. But, as you know, China tried to say at one point - maybe they stopped now - that it was caused by American soldiers. That can’t happen. It’s not going to happen - not as long as I’m president. It comes from China,” the president said in response to a question.

Minister and Minister of Defence Ishwor Pokharel decided to lockdown the country for a week. All public and private transports will be stopped, except in case of emergency. Only vehicles carrying medicines, foods and other goods will be allowed to operate. Lockdown is an emergency protocol that usually prevents people from leaving an area. It is usually imposed to protect people from a threat or an external event. Nepal has so far reported only two coronavirus case, the lowest in the South Asian

region. Countries such as China, Iran, Spain, Italy, among others have been hardly hit by the COVID-19 outbreak. These countries have also imposed

lockdowns in a bid to contain the spread of the deadly virus by limiting mobility and contact, and thus breaking the chain of transmission.

Nepal announces complete lockdown till March 31 KATHMANDU: The Nepal government has announced a nationwide lockdown by completely halting transportation services, international flights and non-essential services. The lockdown will come into force from March 24, in a bid to contain the virus that has claimed thousands of lives and affected more than 3,35,000 people globally. Earlier, Nepal has shut down Mount Everest for climbers amid Coronavirus outbreak. The decision comes after meeting led by Deputy Prime

India to fund construction of China to launch new school buildings in Nepal human trials of Covid-19 vaccine KATHMANDU: India has signed two MoUs with Nepal, pledging NR (Nepali Rupee) 107.01 million for the construction of three schools in the landlocked country.

According to an official release, the MoUs were signed with the Mahakali Municipality in Darchula and the Mukhiyapatti Musharniya Rural Municipality in Dhanusha. The schools will be constructed in Darchula, Dhanusha and Kapilvastu districts as part of the India-Nepal Development Partnership programme. One of the schools will be built at Dhap in Darchula district at an estimated cost of NRs 29.64 million to be used by Shree Malikarjun Higher Secondary School. The second one to be used by Baidyanath Devnarayan Public Higher Secondary School will be constructed for NRs 44.32 million at Tulsiyahi in Dhanusha district.

The Government of India will provide 107.01 million Nepali Rupees (NPR) for three new school buildings in Nepal.

The construction works will be executed by the Mahakali Municipality and Mukhiyapatti Musharniya Rural Municipality as India will only fund the project, which will be monitored by the Ministry of Federal Affairs and General Administration of Government and the Embassy of India. The third school will be constructed by Mahrajgunj Municipality of Kapilvastu district for which New Delhi has committed NRs

33.05 million. The embassy said the projects complement the efforts of the government of Nepal in augmenting infrastructure in the field of education. A cheque of the first installment of NRs 8.26 million has already been released by the Indian embassy to DCC Kapilvastu in the presence of Mayor of Mahrajgunj Municipality. The construction work has been awarded to Daya Nirman Sewa Rupendehi following the tender process.

BEIJING: Months after the Covid-19 outbreak that has claimed over 8,000 lives across the globe, r e s e a rc he r s in China are now preparing for human safety tests of a vaccine in an attempt to develop a shot against novel coronavirus. China has given approval to researchers at People’s Liberation Army-affiliated Academy of Military Medical Sciences to begin initial clinical trials of the antiCovid-19 experimental vaccine. Hong Kong-listed biotech firm CanSino Biologics will join China’s Academy of Military Medical Sciences to conduct the trial. According to the clinical trial registration database of China, the first phase of the trial between March 16 and December 31 aims to test whether the experimental vaccine is safe in humans, for which 108 healthy people will be roped in. As the race to develop a shot to fight the virus hots up, US scientists said that clinical trials for a vaccine developed by its National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the biotech firm Moderna are already underway.


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SOUTH INDIA

Concern in TN over community transmission of Covid-19 cases

CHENNAI: Tamil Nadu has raised concern over community transmission of Covid-19 cases as a 20-year-old man from Delhi has tested positive for coronavirus in Chennai. The case of this man with travel history to Delhi and no overseas travel has raised concerns of community transmission of the disease. He is now being treated in Chennai. Authorities, however, are not calling the case one of community transmission yet. A senior officer from the Department of Public Health and Medicine said, "In Delhi, this man had come in contact with a person with foreign travel history. Only when many such people report we can call it community transmission." The health secretary Beela Rajesh added, "We are tracing the contact presently." Tamil Nadu's first

coronavirus case, a 45-year-old man who had returned from Oman has been discharged after he tested negative twice following treatment. The health minister tweeted, "He has completely recovered from the illness and back home. He will be home quarantined for two weeks." The DMK demanded that those without travel history too be tested. DMK leader MK Stalin wanted private hospitals and labs to be roped in to deal with what he called "any Italy-like epidemic". DMK MLA Dr Poongothai Aladi Aruna said,

"The government has to understand disease has moved from local category to community category. The need of the hour is to provide access to diagnostic tests to all. I request the Tamil Nadu government to set up diagnostic centres in every district on a war-footing. Under-testing will lead to rapid community spread which in turn will become an epidemic and that will be detrimental to lives of health care professionals and public." Presently 189,000 people, largely international passengers have been screened in Tamil Nadu. Of the 222 samples sent, only two have tested positive, 166 have tested negative, 54 samples are under process. Nearly 3,000 people are on home quarantine. The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) had insisted that India is currently at Stage 2 of the coronavirus pandemic that has

hit over 100 countries, meaning that at present, there is no community transmission of the virus. In Stage 2, there is local transmission from infected persons like relatives or acquaintances of those who travelled abroad and less people are affected. The source of the virus is known and it is easier to trace the chain, as opposed to community transmission. In Stage 3, when community transmission takes place, large areas get affected. Community transmission is when a patient not exposed to any infected person or one who has not travelled to any of the affected countries tests positive. At this stage, people detected positive are unable to identify where they got the virus from. At Stage 4, considered the worst stage, the disease takes the shape of an epidemic with no clear end point like it did in China.

PUNJAB

Punjab DGP warns against spreading fake news CHANDIGARH: Punjab DGP Dinkar Gupta has warned that those found guilty of spreading rumours and fake news about COVID-19 pandemic would be penalised and dealt with under the relevant provisions of the law. In an advisor, the DGP warned people against spreading baseless rumours and falsehood, with a series of dos and don’ts against using mobile phones and social media platforms to spread mischievous and unsubstantiated information, which could create unnecessary panic and hardship to all around. These are tools that help keep everyone connected and informed, he said, warning people against just sending forwards, or posting/spreading fake news. Gupta requested the general public not to create panic/unrest through malicious

forwards and social media posts. Pointing out that COVID-19 pandemic affected everyone of us, Gupta said it impacted our daily lives and affected our livelihoods. The virus can be devastating for our families, our friends and our communities, he warned, adding that the safety and welfare of each one of our family members, our colleagues and everyone around us is of paramount importance, with the authorities doing their best to battle the problem. Punjab shuts bus services As a preventive step, the Punjab government has decided to discontinue public transport buses in the state. Accordingly, buses, auto-rickshaws and tempos will not be allowed to ply in the state. The decision was taken by a group of ministers who met to review the state's preparedness to counter the coronavirus pandemic. It also decided to limit public

gatherings to 20 people. The state has reported two positive coronavirus cases so far. One person, with travel history to Germany and Italy, had died and test reports confirmed that the deceased was infected by the dreaded virus. The other positive case has been admitted to a hospital in Amritsar. The state's capital, Chandigarh, also reported its first positive case last week. Taxis and rickshaws have been exempted from the ban. All public dealings in government offices have been called off with immediate effect. It was also decided to not allow public gatherings of more than 20 persons. Organisers of functions have been advised to adhere to hand washing protocol and proper cleanliness. Hotels, marriage palaces, outdoor and indoor dining and banquet halls will also remain closed. The government has allowed home

WEST BENGAL

Dinkar Gupta

delivery service and takeaways. It was also decided to increase the number of isolation wards set at different public, private hospitals and medical institutions and to strengthen the services by ensuring availability of medical and para medical staff and adequate stock of medicines. Routine OPD services in hospitals have also been deferred but emergency services at all hospitals and PHCs will continue 24X7. It was also decided to close all dental colleges and hospitals with immediate effect till March 31. The classes of first and second year students in medical colleges have been deferred while those of third and fourth year students would continue.

West Bengal reports first Coronavirus death KOLKATA: West Bengal reported its first coronavirus death after a 57-year-old patient succumbed to the infection at a private hospital in Salt Lake. The victim, a resident of Dumdum in North 24 Parganas district, had no history of travelling abroad.

The man was admitted to a private hospital with fever and dry cough and his symptoms intensified from March 19; a few days later he became the fourth person in the state to have tested positive for coronavirus. The second swab test also turned a positive result for the virus. He was admitted to the ICU and breathed his last after multi-

organ failure. His family members, who came in contact with him over the past week, are also in isolation in the same hospital. "There are certain guidelines to handover bodies in such cases. It will be done soon," a senior hospital authority said. At an all-party meeting, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee instructed the officials to direct private hospital authorities to take all the necessary steps immediately to prevent the spread of the virus from the dead body. As per protocol, the deceased's body will be kept in a special bag and only trained persons will be allowed to carry it to the electric cremation unit

in a special vehicle. Only selected family members will be allowed during the cremation, with no one permitted to touch the body. However, the 'asthi' can be collected as a part of last rites. On March 21, a 22-year-old woman from Habra in North 24Parganas district, with a recent travel history to Scotland, tested positive for COVID-19. So far there are seven positive virus cases in Bengal. All of them were kept in isolation at the Infectious Diseases and Beliaghata General Hospital in Kolkata. Lock down till March 27 Sensing the seriousness of the pandemic and upon advised by

the Centre, the Bengal government on Sunday have decided to go for a complete lock down from 5 pm from March 23 to March 27 midnight across the state. As per the order, no public transport services, including operation of taxis, auto-rickshaws will be permitted. “All shops, commercial establishments, offices and factories, workshops, godowns etc shall close their operations. All foreign returns and other such persons were requested to remain under strict home quarantine for a period as decided by the local health authorities,� the notification reads..

in brief MID-DAY MEALS COME HOME IN KERALA

The Kerala government has closed all schools till class VII as a precautionary measure against the coronavirus. Around 26,000 children are under the mid-day meal scheme of 33,115 anganwadi centres. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has, however, said that food will be made available to all the anganwadi children at their homes. Since the children are not coming to the anganwadis, the teachers have been asked to take the food to them. So, for 17 days, each child is being given 255 gm of pulses, 120 gm of wheat, 170 gm peanuts, 55 gm oil and 180 am jaggery. Twice a week, they get payasam (a dessert), that's why we are giving jaggery too, said a teacher.

MUSLIM OUTFITS TO DEFER ANTI-CAA PROTESTS

Various Muslim outfits have announced their decision to defer the anti-CAA protests being organised by them in several parts of Tamil Nadu, citing the outbreak of the deadly coronavirus. The agitations were being held against the Citizenship Amendment Act, National Population Register and National Register of Citizens, even demanding that the state assembly pass a resolution against the CAA. The decision to defer the agitations was taken keeping in mind the people's welfare in view of the coronavirus scare, leaders of the outfits said. However, they warned of intensifying their agitation in the future if the Tamil Nadu government took steps to implement the NPR in the state. The government has put on hold the NPR work, set to begin from April 1, saying some of its concerns have not been responded to by the Centre.

WON'T ALLOW ANY MAFIA IN PUNJAB: AMARINDER

Promising to wipe out transport, drug, mining and liquor mafias operating in the state, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said his government will deal with them with an iron hand. Addressing a press conference on the occasion of completion of his government's three years, Singh said a legislation will be brought soon to give more teeth to the anti-drug special task force (STF) and the Punjab Police to tackle the drug mafia. Singh said his government has been working to put an end to all this since taking over Punjab's reins 'but these things take time'. 'We have done our best, and we could not have done any better considering the situation,' he said. Singh's remarks come amid demands by several legislators of the ruling party for concrete action against the mafias.

BENGAL CIVIC POLLS DEFERRED

The West Bengal State Election Commission (WBSEC) postponed the upcoming civic polls in the state for the time being after political parties expressed their concern over coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak. The decision, which will be reviewed after 15 days, was taken at an all-party meeting. The ongoing Budget session in the Assembly has also been curtailed. The polls were likely to be held between April 12 and 26 for 107 civic bodies. Elections to the municipal bodies and the Kolkata Municipal Corporation are being viewed as a litmus test for the TMC and the BJP, a year ahead of the crucial Assembly polls. Earlier, the ruling TMC and the BJP had appealed to the SEC to defer the polls. Earlier in the day, Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar appealed to the SEC to take an appropriate decision on the civic polls schedule. The state government had earlier proposed to hold the polls between April 12 and 26.


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

Kamala Nehru and Ramakrishna Mission

• Jawahar had little time for her which lead initiation at the Ramakrishna Mission • Attached to her mother PM Indira facilitate allotment of land in Arunachal Pradesh

S

wami Nikhilesharananda, the President of the Ramakrishna Mission at Rajkot and Ahmedabad as well, had come to the Mission’s Vastrapur Centre to share his experiences of visit to the North East. Having explained how he was received in the Christian majority state Mizoram by some of the former students of Mission schools, he surprised us all by saying, “Prime Minister Indira Gandhi asked our Mission to apply for as much land as required for the schools and other pro-people activities and directed the state government to allot the same.” Curious as this writer was to know Mrs. Gandhi’s close relations with the Ramakrishna Mission, the Swami had another bombshell. He stated: “Her mother Kamala Nehru was a disciple of Swami Shivanandaji Maharaj, the second President of the Ramakrishna Mission. Even Indiraji used to visit the Mission and the land in Arunachal was offered for schools to the Mission by her.” The North Eastern states had been important keeping the geopolitical strategic affairs in mind and even for restricting the influence of the Christian Missionaries. The 1962 attack by China was also kept in mind. The Ramakrishna Math and Mission established on 1 May PM Nehru with was Kamala and daughter Indira 1897 by Swami to explain the events that had lead to her Vivekanada inspired by his Guru taking initiation at the Ramakrishna Ramakrishna Paramhansa having the Mission in Calcutta (now called Kolkata) HQs at the Belur Muth in Howrah nearly a year earlier.” District of West Bengal. These twin Kamala had participated in the organizations have set in motion a nonfreedom movement and had gone to jail sectarian, universal spiritual movement twice. Even when the Nehru family was which has been silently working for more opposed to Jawahar joining politics, than a hundred years to catalyze the Kamala supported her husband. Her illspiritual regeneration of humanity. The health and modest family background Math and the Mission run around 1,200 could not match that of Nehrus.Even her educational institutes including a young daughter did smell the differences. Deemed University. The Ramakrishna As Pupul writes: “She was aware that her Math and the Ramakrishna Mission have daughter had grown like a wayside plant, 214 centres all over the world : 163 in forcing its way through the soil with its India, 15 in Bangladesh, 14 in USA, 2 each own vitality. There was no one to watch in Russia and South Africa, and one each over her, advise her, had begun to take in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, her own decisions and to plan her own Fiji, France, Germany, Ireland, Japan, life, but now she was at a critical age; a Malaysia, Mauritius, Nepal, Netherlands, dangerous age; she needed love, care and Singapore, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, UK support. There was no one from amongst and Zambia. There are 45 sub-centres (22 her family to whom Kamala within India, 23 outside Next Column could turn for advice.” Off India) under different Dr.Ambedkar and on Indira was in jail like centres. Curiosity generated by renounced Politics her father. When released for Spirituality from jail after eight Swami Nikhileshwarananda months, she was keen to join the about Kamala Nehru becoming a disciple Ramakrishna Mission relief work. “She of Swami Shivananda and Abhayananda was anxious to become involved in the of the Ramakrishna lead to the study of famine relief work and wrote to Swami the circumstances which brought not Abhayanada of the Ramakrishna Mission only Kamala but even her husband and asking if she could come to Calcutta. The first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru Swami told her that what he needed was and her PM-daughter Indira Gandhi money, food and clothes, not more closer to the Mission. Pupul Jayakar in her workers.” Of course, even after she most authentic biography of her close became the Prime Minister of India her friend Indira Gandhi records:“Jawaharlal association with the Ramakrishna Nehru was released from prison on 31 Mission continued as a strong bond and August 1933, twelve days before in the memory of her mother she completion of his prison term… extended any assistance the Mission .immediately plunged into active required for fulfilling the dream of politics…He had little time for Kamala. Swami Vivekananda. Kamala had hesitatingly approached him

The head of BAPS Mahant Swami is in Nenpur temple till 29th March. He addressed devotees online through webcast. He said prayer to God never fail. Due to coronavirus all sabha and satsang will be telecast via TV and website.

Britain shares special bond with Gujaraties: Peter Cook The UK shares a special connection with Gujaraties and those migrating to London from India for higher studies never feel homesick, for there exist a mini-Gujarat in London,’’ said British Deputy High Commissioner Peter Cook while addressing a seminar by Gujarat Chamber of Commerce and Industry NRG committee in Ahmedabad. The seminar was held to create awareness regarding higher education opportunities and work permits in the UK. “The main aim of this seminar is to give information about newly prepared guidelines on student visas and work permits in the UK,’’ he said addressing students and parents. He informed them about the new guidelines and job opportunities in London and other parts of the UK. “Leaders of IndianAsian origin, including home secretary Priti Patel, business secretary Alok Sharma, attorney general Suella Braveman and chancellor Rishi Sunak, are shouldering important

(From right) Deepali Dharamraj (Asst Dir British Council Mumbai), Sanjeev Chhajer, (Presidend GCCI), Peter Cook (British Dy High Commissioner, Ahmedabad), Digant Sompura (chairman NRG Committee) and Rohit Patel (Member NRG Committee)

responsibilities in the incumbent UK cabinet,’’ said Cook who was born in Kolkata. Explaining new visa policy, Cook also shared information about entrepreneur visas, business visas and point based system. Hailing the UK’s education institutes for their world class standards, Cook also elaborated on various activities carried out to promote the ease of doing business between Gujarat and UK. Seminar was also attended by Gujarat Business Group honorary secretary Sanjeev Chhajer, NRG committee honorary secretary Digant Sompura and British Council

Mumbai assistant director (academic) Deepali Dharmraj. Former expats, who have pursued higher studies in the UK, also shared their experiences. Cook also addressed the concerns raised by participating students related to student visas and job permits. He also briefed the audience on British Council’s initiatives in Gujarat in the area of urban development, waste water management, renewable energy and information technology. Digant Sompura, in his address, shared details of various activities by the NRG committee.

UK youths’ cyclothon raises £125,000 Thirty-four cyclist expats from UK, through a 481km-long cyclothon from Delhi to Amritsar, raised pound 125,000 to help under privileged. Cyclists, including women and some of Kutch origin, raised the funds for two organisation working for poor and children in the UKNishkam SWAT and Shishukunj. Nishkam SWAT had organised `langar’ for shelter less people. The organisation aims to bring

change in lives of needy and homeless people. It intends to provide financial help by raising charity fund. Shishukunj, which has been functioning for over 30 years in London, works internationally in the field of healthcare and education among children from poor families. Prakash Patel, one of the organizers of MMD Today program and native of Kutch said, “the challenging expedition received excellent support from cyclists’ team, medical team and saints of Delhi

Akshardham and Bhuj Swaminarayan temple. We all are thankful to them’’. Earlier, the same group had organised a cyclothon between Bhuj to Ahmedabad to raise fund for the children of sex workers. Also, they had cycled from Bhuj to Junagadh in one of the expeditions earlier. Devraj Halaria Patel, a London resident, said the organizers received total donation to the tune of £325,000 from donors and corporate sponsors.


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Shivraj Singh Chouhan Do we need artificial takes oath as MP CM humans? Samsung's Pranav Mistry, creator of Neon Life, explains BJP national vice-president Shivraj Singh Chouhan was sworn in for a fourth term as chief minister of Madhya Pradesh on Monday amid the Coronavirus outbreak.

Chouhan took oath of office in a simple ceremony at Raj Bhawan. Governor Lalji Tandon administered the oath in the presence of select BJP leaders, MLAs and top bureaucrats. Acting chief minister Kamal Nath and former chief minister Uma Bharti were also present. The fight against Coronavirus would be his top priority, he said,

outbreak and overcome the threat. You all have made janata curfew successful on the call given by Prime Minister. This is a big leap, which will help break the spread of Coronavirus,” CM Chouhan said after Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Monday took oath as the the ceremony. Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh for the fourth time. Urging people to greeting everyone with a take care of elders, CM ‘pranam’ rather than his Chouhan said: “Be a usual two-palmed responsible citizen and handshake. “Coronavirus adhere to the instructions has hit our state as well. We of the government to will join hands to fight the control the outbreak.”

Four Nirbhaya killers hanged A little over seven years after a 23-year-old medical student died following her brutal gangrape in a moving bus in south Delhi, four of the culprits were hanged to death on Friday. This was the culmination of a long judicial process during which the parents of the victim, Nirbhaya, swung between hope and despair. “She got justice today. Throughout the day, I have been looking at her photo and telling her she finally got justice,” said a visibly moved Asha Devi, mother of Nirbhaya. The fifth culprit, Ram Singh, had been found hanging in his jail cell in March 2013, four months after the incident, while the sixth convict, found to be a

juvenile, was let off as part of a reformation process. The incident had shaken India’s conscience, leading to widespread outrage and demonstrations. It led to significant changes in the law - death penalty for rapists who brutalise their victims, full trial as adults for juveniles accused of

heinous offences and fasttrack courts for speedy trial in sexual assault cases. A Nirbhaya fund was set up by the Centre in 2013 to fund women’s safety initiatives but utilisation has been quite poor. The execution of the four - Vinay, Pawan, Akshay and Mukesh - was the first mass hanging in Tihar Jail.

Morari Bapu announces £100,000 donation to fight Covid-19 Ramkathakar Morari Bapu announced donation to the tune of pound 100,000 for the Prime Minister's Relief Fund in fight against Covid-19 outbreak. Making an announcement in Rampara, Morari Bapu said that staunch devotees of Vyaspith and London based Rameshbhai Sachde family has announced this donation. “The Sachde family

told me that relief fund donation has been possible owing to blessings of saints, mukhya acharya and my consent, at a time when the nation and the world is going through the crisis. So far national relief fund has not been announced, we request PM Narendra Modi to use this fund wherever it is required.’’ In his message to the

society, Morari Bapu has said, ``In his address to the nation, the PM has made an appeal to maintain restrain and resolve. We should not go out in crowd and should follow all the instructions given by him. Saints, mahants and statesmen all are concerned over the pandemic. And, our actions should be in interest of the nation.’’

Complaint against UK woman for duping Ahmedabad man Gujarat cyber crime department has registered a complaint against an English woman for allegedly duping an Ahmedabad resident, who had come in his contact through social networking site Facebook. According to a complain registered by Uday Bhatt (61), a resident of Satellite and retired employee of EPFO, a

woman named R Rosy, who introduced herself as widow, in an act of fraud made him pay Rs 59,00,000 to various Indian agencies for possession of prohibited Bitcoins when she landed in Delhi in January 2020. Bhatt claimed that he had received her Facebook friend's request in December 2019. Bhatt in his complaint

said that first he received a call from some custom officer to bail out Rosy by paying Rs 49,900 for travelling with prohibited Bitcoins worth Rs 50,00,000. Later on, he received numerous calls from Delhi allegedly from different agencies and in all he paid Rs 59,00,000 to prevent her detention.

Is it possible to have a fully virtual, computationally created being that looks and behaves like us? That’s what Pranav Mistry, president and CEO of Samsung STAR Labs, is working to build. One of the most awaited demos at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2020 in Las Vegas, the Neon. Life, involves humanlike digital avatars who look, speak and move like real people, respond in real time, have millions of human expressions and are built to have their own personalities and original thoughts. A digital species of sorts. Mistry, a computer scientist and inventor who grew up in the small Gujarati town of Palanpur, is known for creating Sixth Sense, a gesture-controlled wearable device. He has previously worked with Microsoft, Google and NASA, among others. At his CES 2020 presentation, Mistry says that if there was one cause he could dedicate his life to, it would be the Neon - a mode to make machines more human. At the demonstration, Mistry introduced a few kinds of Neon: a yoga instructor, a flight attendant, a student. Currently, the Neons work with two kinds of technology- Core R3 (which stands for reality, real time and responsiveness); and the in-progress SPECTRA, which will give Neons long-standing memory, like the human brain. Mistry says that the technology is still raw, and the beta version of the Neon will debut at the end of 2020, at an event called Neon World. “This isn’t something that will be launched today and you can have in your homes tomorrow,” he said at his CES presentation. “We are becoming more like machines, rather than the other way around. That’s what we want to fix.” His professional pursuit has been about making machines more human. When he was in India, Mistry worked with the India Incubation Centre to make Gujarati keyboards. ``I’ve always wanted to connect technology to everyone at the grassroots’’, he said. Behind creating

`artificial humans’ or Neon, he aims to make technology more like humans, so people don’t have to worry whether we can read and write. His thought that rather than humans learning the language of machines, can machines learn the language of humans was the main driver behind the project. But it is very different than what artificial intelligence (AI) assistants like Siri and Alexa do. Mistry’s goal is not to have something that can answer questions for you. He wants to give technology that is humane to talk to. Neons and AI assistants are fundamentally different in a couple of ways. Neons are not connected to the internet to give you answers, and unlike AI assistants, Neons can learn. They will have memory with SPECTRA, which makes them much more intuitive. Right now, devices need passwords, two-factor authentication. But Neons have the ability to recognise the default user and remember interactions, just as a human friend would. Not just owner of the phone, currently, anyone can give Alexa or Siri instructions. A Neon would be more secure because it recognises the owner. Each Neon has a different personality, and character traits that will evolve over the years. When one interacts with a Neon, it will register that user and learn about his or hers likes and dislikes. Use of Neons would start with the corporate world, with selected partners. The Neon has two core technology aspects - the Core R3 and Spectra. But currently, they come enabled with Core R3, and can connect

to any third-party valueadded service. Giving an example, Mistry asked to think of a bank in India, let’s say in Andhra Pradesh. The bank could need people with domain-specific knowledge who can also speak Telugu. It can easily plug in this knowledge into the Core R3, and ‘hire’ a Neon to interact with customers. The Neon can show up on any phone or screen and give customers the comfort of talking to a human. Similarly, hotel services could use Neons for any-time bookings or concierge services. Another Neon could become your fitness instructor, or your Marathi or Spanish teacher. And, it’s impact won’t be on cutting jobs, but on widening the reach of technology. For instance, Neons could be used in the media services industry. If news breaks in the middle of the night, a whole crew has to be woken up and brought in. Instead, a Neon can deliver the news break in 50 different Indian languages, automatically translated, instead of having to reshoot multiple times or with multiple anchors. The news anchor won’t be replaced in this scenario, but augmented. The power of Core R3 will be used to combat concerns of deepfakes and fake news. Neon will not modify what someone has said or interfere with reality. There’s no fake news, because the content is generated by Core R3. It’s not a real person but a Neon, with its own personality and emotions. Unlike Siri or Alexa, which are universal characters, Neons will have their own voices and be unique with each and every user. That’s what makes them private and ethical. (Courtesy Forbes India).


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28 March - 3 April 2020

Hair loss: Common causes and prevention In human beings, active phase of hair growth lasts 35 years, followed by a 10-day transitional period, and finally the hair sheds and follicles fall out. The follicle is then inactive for three months before the whole cycle is repeated. Some experiences rapid and sudden period of loss, which is caused by some sort of internal disruption, including nutritional inadequacies, illness, surgery or hypo/hyperthyroid. The American Academy of Dermatology defines normal hair loss as 50 to 100 strands a day, so anything more than your usual amount could be reason to see a doctor. Doctors say hair loss due to hormones, stress, iron and diet-related causes is generally reversible. It’s harder to reverse hair loss connected with hereditary causes or rare inflammatory cases. Hormones Hormones can wreak havoc on our skin, and unfortunately that applies to our hair, too. A balance of estrogen, progesterone and testosterone is necessary for healthy hair growth. Although estrogen usually promotes hair growth, when in excess, it can tip the balance and actually increase testosterone, causing a testosterone-related hair loss.. In that case, there may be a genetic predisposi-

Keep your phone clean Hygiene is back in focus with the outbreak of Covid19. We all are busy trying to keep our hands and surroundings virus-free. However, we must not forget to clean our mobile phones, which experts believe is an overlooked source of microbes like bacteria, viruses and fungi. While regularly washing hands is good habit, doing it every time you touch your phone may not be feasible. So, keeping your handset clean is a wise option. It’s better to consult the manufacturer of your phone for cleaning instructions to avoid damaging your device or case. Apple has recommended using 70 per cent isopropyl alcohol wipes or Clorox Disinfecting Wipes to wipe down any hard, nonporous surfaces. This should not be used on leather or fabric. Experts advise against the use of chlorine bleach. Make sure to clean your handset soon after someone has sneezed or coughed near it. Do this even if you clean your phone often. In addition, it would be a good idea to clean your phone “on a regular basis.”

tion to dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which attacks the hair follicle, diminishing and eventually resulting in total loss of the follicle. To stop hormones conversion, the one most prescribed drug is Finasteride. Although only approved for men, women have also had success with it. This is a prescription-only drug, so speak to your doctor if you think it might be a good fit and ensure you know all the contra-indications, which include loss of libido among others. Pregnancy Hormones Hair fall during pregnancy is not uncommon. Though not every woman experience this, for those who do it’s due to a prolonged anagen phase thanks to higher estrogen and progesterone hormones during pregnancy. Reports say 40% of women will experience excessive shedding (telogen effluvium) post-birth. This is due to the physical stress of the labor, and it’s selfresolving without treatment. Its effects are temporary, lasting around three to four months, and starting at three months post-birth. Being diligent with the intake of all necessary vitamins and minerals is helpful in dealing with this type of hair loss, and it’s completely reversible. Menopause Hormones Both before and during menopause, hormonal

changes affect hair growth, particularly due to a decrease in estrogen and progesterone. The decrease in the female hormones leave the hair cells unprotected from circulating androgens. Over time, the hair shafts will thin, miniaturize and eventually die. “Estrogens are ‘hair friendly’ and help to keep strands in the hair growth phase. They also offer a sort of buffer against androgens, which are not very good for your scalp hair. The extent to which a woman will experience changes to hair diameter is down to genes. Studies have shown that Finasteride can be successful against hair loss in preand post-menopausal women who do not intend to be pregnant. There are suggestions that anti-androgen hormones can help, as well as iron supplements. Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) can be beneficial in hair loss too, by slowing it down or stopping it completely, studies show. Another topical treatment that is proven to work in menopausal women is Minoxidil. Thyroid Irregularities The thyroid gland is responsible for regulating our metabolism, and it’s usually the first thing a doc-

tor will look at if you have issues with weight changes or hair loss. Thyroid hormones are released in the body at a steady steam, regulating everything from breathing to temperature, body weight and hair growth. Nutrition and thyroid disease can affect the release of those hormones, and low thyroid hormones, also known as hypothyroidism, can cause reversible alopecia and even lateral eyebrow thinning. With proper medication to support the thyroid, the hair loss can be completely reversed. Anemia Anemia, or iron deficiency, is one of the most common causes of hair loss in women, apart from hormones. Low iron stores can force hair into a chronic rest phase, resulting in increased shedding and reduced density, which leads to iron deficiency in case of sudden weight loss, and is often the result of going on a vegan diet. Iron is used both for hair production and red blood cell production. The body wisely prioritizes the red blood cell production, so if it has a limited amount of iron intake, the first thing to be affected is the hair.

The difference between Coronavirus and COVID-19 Information regarding the difference between Coronavirus and COVID-19 can be key during a pandemic, be it for causes, symptoms or even the virus names and the language we use to talk about the disease itself. “Coronavirus” and “COVID-19 have been often used interchangeably. But one is actually a subset of the other. ‘Coronavirus’ actually refers to a handful of diseases The term refers to a group of viruses that are known to cause respiratory issues. Some examples of previous coronaviruses include Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). This time it is being referred as the “novel coronavirus,” meaning it’s a new type of coronavirus. COVID-19 can lead to major health problems like pneumonia and organ failure, and it can also cause issues like shortness of breath and fever. Those who are over 65, anyone who may be immunocompromised,

and those with chronic medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes and lung disease are at the higher risk. COVID-19 start and spread COVID-19, the virus was passed from an animal to a human. Every once in a while, one of these animal viruses gets rogue and jumps species. COVID-19 is mainly spread person to person, likely through respiratory droplets when someone coughs or sneezes. Transmission can happen when people are in close contact with one another, usually up to about six feet. COVID-19 can also live on surfaces up to a few days. The symptoms Mild in nature, COVID19 symptoms feel similar to the cold or the flu. Some people may not have any symptoms at all but could still be infected. The main

signs are a cough, a fever of 100.5 or higher, and general malaise. Some may also experience nausea or diarrhoea. A runny nose, sore throat or upper respiratory symptoms with a fever less than 100 are more often seen in colds than COVID19. Precautions Avoid crowded places and transports, practice social distancing, frequently wash hands, wear masks and gloves and do not touch your face with hands. What is social distancing? The purpose of social distancing is to separate everyone enough so that the chain of infectivity is broken. Every person who is sick right now appears to infect about two other people, on average. The goal, then, is to try to break that cycle. Isolate or quarantine the affected and rest should be keeping away from other people as much as possible. Because most people have not been tested for the virus, there’s no way to know who is potentially both infected and infectious.

in brief CORONAVIRUS AND ASTHMA

Coronavirus is causing anxiety for many people, including those with asthma. The lung disease, which makes breathing difficult, is among conditions that appear to make people more vulnerable to the severe form of COVID-19, the illness caused by the bug, according to the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Still, there’s little data right now about how exactly the new virus affects people with asthma, though the condition has been known to worsen with other strains of coronavirus. Since the virus is new, the picture is not entirely clear for people with the condition. One recent study of 140 people who were hospitalized for COVID-19 in China found asthma was not a risk factor for the infection. “The data are limited and at this time do not demonstrate any clear evidence of increased risk of disease or severity of disease for those with asthma,” an American doctor said. It is important that all patients with asthma take their medications and keep their asthma under control. People with the condition should take precautions when any type of respiratory illness is spreading in their community. That includes the usual advice: frequent hand washing, social distancing, staying at home if there’s local widespread disease and having a two-week supply of supplies.

BEING A DAUGHTER’S DAD

Raising children is one of the greatest joys. But this life-long experience does have its share of challenges. A common belief holds mothers in a better position to tackle the challenges of parenting than fathers. It is said the challenges get tougher for fathers raising daughters. So, what are the points a father of girl/s keep in mind as their beautiful relationship grows? Always express your love for her Your love and affection are paramount to the daughter. No matter what gifts you bring her, if your expression of love to her starts to fade, these things will be rendered meaningless. She will make mistakes and display irresponsible behaviour, but you must never turn your back to her. Rather, tell her you will always be there for her. Be a man of good qualities Father is the first man in the daughter’s life. The impression you have on her is there to last for life. So, make sure the impression is the good one. Your good qualities are what she may look for in her potential life partner. Thus, treating your wife well becomes all the more important. Spending some quality time with your wife is something your daughter would never mind, especially as she enters her teens. Be a part of her hobbies The generation gap will be there between you and the daughter. But building the bridge over it is your responsibility. You two may not share the same taste when it comes music, sports, clothes or friends, but not liking her likes isn’t the best option for you. Being part of her hobbies could be the first stepping stone to develop a mutual admiration club. Grow up with her This could be the most challenging part of your relationship. As a girl enters her teens and hits puberty, things and her moods change real quick. But she must not experience any changes in her dad with her increasing age. Discuss her problems related to boyfriends and periods just as you would done 5-7 years back about her teddies and neighbourhood friends. Remaining engaged is the key.

KEEPING SKIN HEALTHY AMID FREQUENT HANDWASH

With the frequency of washing hands going up in the wake of Covid-19 outbreak, ensuring that our skin is not damaged by regular use of soaps has become critical. Skin experts recommend use of lukewarm water to wash hands. They say hot water can cause dry skin in longer run as it also washes natural oils off the skin. Use of moisturising soap is also highly recommended along with applying moisturiser after washing the hands. Skin experts suggest using creams or ointments rather than lotions, which contain water content. According to experts, wearing gloves for a couple of hours after applying a moisturiser helps the surface moisture to reach where it needs to go.People having some skin conditions like psoriasis can use skin balm directly onto sores or cracked areas after the wash. If you want to avoid frequent use of soap, you can temporarily replace it with a hand sanitizer. If you have deep fissures, which often occur at the sides of the fingers by the nail inserts, consider liquid Band-Aid. Liquid Band-Aid is a great way to keep the edges of the fissure together to accelerate wound healing.

To Our Readers

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


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28 March - 3 April 2020

Sonam faces the heat for defending singer Kanika Kapoor Singer Kanika Kapoor, who tested positive for coronavirus and chose to ignore it, has set off a national debate. However, it is actress Sonam Kapoor who faces the heat for defending her on the internet. The 'Khoobsurat' actor got into a Twitter brawl with journalist Nidhi Razdan and boy is it spicy! Sonam had sided Kanika by tweeting that India was playing Holi when the singer arrived on March 9. Razdan however, called her out by saying, “Top leaders, including the Prime Minister, had already announced days before that they would NOT be celebrating Holi, by that time it was serious enough. The UK was also a concern by then. So she was reckless and careless, and those throwing parties were too.” Not one to bite their tongue, Sonam replied, “Nidhi I'm self isolating since I arrived from London. But a week before I arrived self isolation wasn't mandatory and people weren't even aware. I think kindness and empathy is the need of the hour.” One user commented, BJP MPs and members were at parties... you cannot have one set of rules for you party members (which they always do) and something else for the others. The PM & his close aides knew something everyone else didn't and hid it! If they knew it was serious pass orders & stop gatherings.” While another commented, “She was reckless no doubt. However, Modi advised against mass gatherings. He didn't call for self-isolation for those returning. And GoI advisory for self-quarantine applied to a few countries as of March 10. Did not apply to the UK where she returned from.”

Important message from Anushka and Virat Anushka Sharma and Virat Kohli took to their social media handles and shared a video where they talked about the Covid-19 threat. In the video, Virat said, “We know that we are all going through a very difficult time.” While Anushka added, “The only way to stop the coronavirus spread is by acting together.” The two also shared with their fans that they are social distancing. They said, “We are staying at home for our safety and everyone else’s too. You should do it too to prevent the further spread of the virus. Let’s make it safe for us and everyone else by self-isolation. Stay home and Stay Healthy.” Sharma also participated in the World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus’s #SafeHandsChallenge and posted a video educating her fans about the correct way to wash hands.

Celebrities follow PM Modi's 'Janta Curfew' in style Bollywood actors and actresses came together on Sunday to express their gratitude towards frontline health and emergency workers in wake of the ongoing novel coronavirus outbreak. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had Priyanka Chopra and singer urged all citizens to take to their balconies, doorsteps, and husband Nick Jonas are windows, to applaud health workers, police, government currently at home employees who are doing their bit to control spread of the practicing self-isolation like disease. Actor Akshay Kumar shared a video of himself and all of us should. Over the Hrithik standing on top of a platform outside their beach weekend, PeeCee shared an houses in Mumbai, clanging utensils and clapping. Also seen adorable picture of her with them, was filmmaker Sajid Nadiadwala. Sharing the family showing us what video on his social media, Akshay wrote, “5mins at 5pm: With really matters. The photo my neighbours, taking a moment to appreciate those who do features her sleeping on not have this luxury of staying at home & working tirelessly to Nick's lap with the couple's keep us safe. Thank you to all the essential service providers for your selfless work #JanataCurfew #BreakCorona pet lying close by. The celebrity couple is @iHrithik #SajidNadiadwala”. Other stars such as Deepika Padukone, Ranveer Singh, self quarantining in all true earnest. Nick also shared a Amitabh Bachchan, Aishwarya Rai, Karan Johar, and Varun video, featuring both of Dhawan also participated in the initiative. India observed a them, to wish people to stay curfew on Sunday to avoid spread of the virus. calm and to stay positive in difficult times. He wrote, “Love you all. @priyankachopra.” In the video, Nick says that it was unsure times for all. He said, “Hi everyone, I know it’s an unsure time for all of us. Hope you’re doing okay. Sending you positive vibes.” Priyanka later added, “Let’s just take care of each other. I hope every is safe out there. Lots of love.” The couple has been regularly posting on Instagram, asking people to self isolate and follow at the World Health Organisation guidelines. Priyanka also left the mandatory message for fans to observe precautionary measures. “We are taking all recommended precautions right now, we are safe, we are healthy, we are practicing social distancing,” she said.

Priyanka and Nick practicing self-quarantine


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28 March - 3 April 2020

Kareena's way to spend quality time With most of us bound to our homes on Sunday, actors Kareena Kapoor Khan and Saif Ali Khan found just the perfect way of spending some quality time. In a post on Instagram, Kareena shared pictures of her husband, and son Taimur enjoying gardening. Both the boys are seen dressed in crisp white kurta and pyjamas, sitting in the balcony of their home, potting plants together. Bebo captioned the picture, “My boys doing their bit! Together, let's make the world a better place for us all. Play your part... #StayHome #StaySafe #JantaCurfew.” Fans instantly began drooling over the photo, and even praised Kareena for spreading awareness. One user wrote, “Thank you Kareena for promoting social distancing and making our job easier for us stay blessed!”

Salman shares appeal to his fans on the internet

Currently self-isolating at his farmhouse, actor Salman Khan shared a video of himself appealing his fans to maintain hygiene and distance in the face of the ongoing pandemic. Khan took to Instagram to thank all frontline workers. “My name is Salman Khan. I would like to start by thanking all those who are still stepping out of their homes to help stem the spread of coronavirus pandemic,” he said. He then asked people to practise social distancing as it saves lives. “My appeal is that you follow what the government is saying and don’t spread rumours.” He also addressed the “nothing will happen to us” attitude. “No one is safe from coronavirus and you can get infected anywhere.” The actor also added, “Follow all the necessary precautions and don’t go it. If this saves lives including your own then what is your problem? This is not a public holiday.”

Shah Rukh preaches precautions in new hilarious video Bollywood King Shah Rukh Khan is known for his wit and sense of humour. In a brand new video, he teaches his fans the right hygiene habits to help fight COVID-19. He posted, “InshaAllah #JantaCurfew will help against the spread of virus, though we may have to do this again. The clapping brought so much cheer. So a reminder of safeguards, with some cheer... Pls take it in the right spirit. To all relentlessly working today – Extremely Grateful. Thx!” In the video, Shah Rukh begins by telling his fans how the lockdown may be a good opportunity to pick up hobbies. Demonstrating, he himself picks up a guitar only to drop it clumsily. What ensued was major hilarity as he used his movies 'Raju Ban Gaya Gentleman', 'Kal ho Naa Ho', 'Chennai Express' and others to drive his agenda. He also illustrated the kind of masks people should not buy, with an example of the mask he wore in 'Baazigar' and 'Badshah'.

by Vallisa Chauhan

Genre: Drama Duration: 93 mins

Mangoes in our dreams, strength in our solidarity It is underrated, low-budgeted and highlights the strength of collective solidarity as it encapsulates the bitter-sweet pain of the Partition era. Now as the world appears to be nearing an apocalypse, this movie on Netflix will inspire you emotionally and spiritually to not give up!

Mango Dreams is a film about a man’s last wishes as dementia starts taking over his life. He wants to walk down the memory lane and revisit some of the special places from his childhood, including the home he grew up in before his family was murdered. The film starts with two young Sikh boys playing under a Mango tree. It then moves onto an older Dr Amit Singh played by Ram Gopal Bajaj, whose wife has passed away and his son lives abroad. Dr Singh is slowly losing his memory and his son, Abhi, returns and insists that Dr Singh move to the USA with him. But there is a slight problem of Dr. Singh not having a passport and therefore Abhi suggests he move to an old age home in the meantime.

Dr. Singh has another idea though. He wants to take one final journey and nothing is going to get in his way. He meets Salim, played by Pankaj Tripathi, a rickshaw driver whose son was saved thanks to Dr Singh. They start the journey together and during this time we see a relationship form between the two as they share stories and help each other find peace and happiness. Dr Singh finally manages to visit his old orphanage and the college where he trained to be a doctor. Abhi has now managed to track him down and the final leg of the road trip sees them hit the India/Pakistan border. Dr Singh just wants to step over the border and visit his childhood home but with no passport this is impossible. What happens here? And will Dr Singh manage to make the last part of his journey? Mango Dreams is spot on in showcasing the emotions of the story and the relationships between the characters and the audience. It starts out quite boring and jarring however, once the storyline picks up it will have locked you in your seats. The road trip could have been shot a lot better as the two characters take the journey from Gujarat to Punjab and the countryside landscape in reality itself of widespread agricultural fields and thatched roof huts could have been shot much more artistically as is often highlighted in Yash Raj or Imtiaz Ali movies. However, one can forgive the director for lack of cinematography excellence and this can be especially forgiven thanks to the acting ability of Tripathi who has you laughing and crying along the way. At this time of the pandemic when we need to show solidarity to each other and stregthen our collective spirits, Mango Dreams is a family drama highlighting the partition and problems between races in a very tactful and audience friendly way. Catch the film now on Netflix. You can get in touch with Vallisa: djvallisa@gmail.com


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28 March - 3 April 2020

Amala Paul ties the knot with boyfriend Bhavinder Singh

Actor Amala Paul has finally tied the knot with her boyfriend and singer Bhavinder Singh after two years of dating. While it is yet unknown when the wedding took place, social media was flooded with pictures from the couple’s wedding ceremony. The couple have been living together in Delhi. Amala had recently spoken about her boyfriend, but did not reveal his identity. She had said, “The person I have become and the way I look at my work, I owe it to him. Only a mother can give unconditional love with sacrifice. This person has also proved that he can be sacrificing and quitting his job to be with me and support me because he knows my passion.” This is Amala’s second marriage. She was previously married to Tamil filmmaker A.L Vijay. The actress was last seen in Tamil movie 'Aadai' and currently awaits the release of Tamil thriller 'Adho Andha Paravai Pola'. She has also signed to play the lead in one of the segments of Telugu version of 'Lust Stories'.

praises the Prabhas wraps up shooting Rajinikanth government in Georgia Prabhas has completed the Georgian schedule of his next tentatively titled project 'Jaan'. Director Radha Krishna Kumar took to Twitter to announce that the crew has successfully wrapped yet another shoot amidst the COVID-19 outbreak. He tweeted, “One more schedule done!! I thank the Georgian team for helping us finish a kick-ass schedule!! Lovely people you are.” The film marks the maiden collaboration of Prabhas and Pooja Hegde. The movie was officially launched a year ago amid a ceremony in Hyderabad. The film was supposed to start rolling from November 2018, but had to be postponed due to 'Saaho'. Talking about the project, Radha Krishna had said a few months ago, “At the moment, all I can say is that it’s going to be a love

story which will be shot on a lavish scale. We’ve finalised Europe where most of the shooting will happen.” The film will be jointly produced by Gopikrishna Movies and UV Creations. Amit Trivedi is most likely to compose music for the project.

TV Listing

* Schedule is subject to change

SATURDAY MAR 28, 2020

07:00

FILM: AAKHRI GHULAM

10:00

FILM: GURUDEV

13:00

FILM: SHUKRIYA

16:00

FILM: KEEMAT

19:00

FILM: JURM

22:00

FILM: RAGINI MMS

Veteran actor Rajinijanth took to Twitter over the weekend to commend the government's dealing with the coronavirus outbreak in the country. He tweeted, “The government is doing a commendable job of dealing with the coronavirus outbreak. I strongly feel more people should join hands with the authorities to ensure that the virus doesn’t spread more.” He also highlighted the fact that people's livelihood is affected during the difficult phase and appealed to the state government to provide financial relief. On the work front, Rajinikanth is currently shooting for Tamil film 'Annaatthe', which is being directed by Siva of 'Veeram and Viswasam' fame. The film also stars Keerthy Suresh, Meena and Khushbhu in key roles.

10:43

FILM: HOTE HOTE PYAR HO GAYA

05:00

FILM: 18.11 - A CODE OF SECRECY

17:30: CHHUTA CHHEDA

18:00:

RASOI

13:32

FILM: EK AUR BHOOL BHULAIYAA

07:27

FILM: KRISHNA ARJUN

18:00: TUM KAUN PIYA

19:00:

DESI BEAT

16:53

FILM: KOYELAANCHAL

10:15

FILM: MELA

18:30: DIL KA RISHTA

20:00:

KHATRON KE KHILADI (SEASON 10)

19:53

FILM: THAKSHAK

13:44

FILM: NAACH GOVINDA NAACH

19:00: MERE HUMRAHI

21:00:

TROLL POLICE

16:48

FILM: POORNA

19:30: MOHE RANNG DO LAAL

23:26

FILM: KASOOR

19:00

FILM: BLACKMAIL

20:30: BARRISTER BABU

02:09

FILM: BANARAS

21:46

FILM: DHOKHA

21:00: BALIKA VADHU - LAMHE

20:00 21:00

INDIA’S BEST DANCER THE KAPIL SHARMA SHOW – ORIGINAL ORIGINAL

FRIDAY APR 03, 2020

TUESDAY MAR 31, 2020

PYAAR KE

SATURDAY 28TH MARCH

SUNDAY 29TH MARCH 11:00:

SHRIMAD BHAGWAT

17:00:

DHARAM THI GUJARATI

18:00:

RASOI

19:00:

DESI BEAT

20:00:

KHATRON KE KHILADI

21:00:

TROLL POLICE

01:00

FILM: INTEHA

05:00

FILM: MUNNA MANGE MEMSAAB

MON 30TH MAR FRI 03RD APR 2020

07:00

FILM: ANOKHI ADA

18:30

VIGHNAHARTA GANESHA

10:00

FILM: DIL NE JISE APNA KAHA

19:15

MERE SAI

13:00

FILM: MELA

20:00

EK DUJHE KI VAASTE 2

16:00

FILM: SHAADI MEIN ZAROOR AANA

20:30

ISHAARON ISHAARON MEIN

FILM: RUSTOM

19:00

FILM: KOYELAANCHAL

21:00

PATIALA BABES

FILM: JASHNN - THE MUSIC

22:00

FILM: EK AUR BHOOL BHULAIYAA

21:30

MERE DAD KI DULHAN

22:00

BEYHADH 2

20:00: NAAGIN (SEASON 4)

22:30

CRIME PATROL

21:00: FEET UP WITH THE STARS

02:00

FILM: SAAYA

06:00

FILM: KHEL KHILARI KA

08:00

FILM: JUNGLE

11:00

FILM: DARAAR

14:00

FILM: BAADSHAH

17:00

FILM: LINGAA

20:00 23:00

WITHIN

WEDNESDAY APR 01, 2020

SUNDAY MAR 29, 2020

01:49

FILM: JISM 2

01:00

FILM: KEEMAT

05:00

FILM: DAM999

05:00

FILM: BEZUBAAN ISHQ

07:00

FILM: INSANIYAT

07:14

FILM: MAST

10:00

FILM: AWARAPAN

13:00

FILM: LINGAA

16:00

FILM: DIL NE JISE APNA KAHA

19:00

FILM: SHAADI MEIN ZAROOR AANA

22:00

FILM: RUSTOM

MONDAY MAR 30, 2020 01:00

FILM: GANGSTER

05:00

FILM: KAB? KYOON?

AURKAHAN?

* Schedule is subject to change

SATURDAY 28TH MARCH 18:00 18:30 20:00 21:00

THE CHEF THE KAPIL SHARMA SHOW (REPEAT) INDIA’S BEST DANCER THE KAPIL SHARMA SHOW – ORIGINAL ORIGINAL

SUNDAY 29TH MARCH 18:00 18:30

THE CHEF THE KAPIL SHARMA SHOW (REPEAT)

MAX2 PRIME SUN 29TH MARCH 2020 AT 20:00 TV PREMIERE OF “PATI PATNI AUR

10:02

FILM: KRANTIVEER

13:09

FILM: YEH HAI MUMBAI MERI JAAN

15:54

FILM: DARAAR

19:26

FILM: KASOOR

8:00:

TERE NAAL ISHQ

22:44

FILM: UTTHAAN

8:30:

BHARADWAJ BAHUEIN

WHO!”

13:00: SWARAGINI

001:20 FILM: BAS EK PAL

15:00: DIVINE DESTINATION

05:00

FILM: MUNNA MANGE MEMSAAB

16:00: DHARAM THI GUJARATI

07:29

FILM: PYAAR KE KABIL

* Schedule is subject to change

AHAKALI

13:30:

GFF - DADA HO DIKARI

17:00:

DHARAM THI GUJARATI

16:30: RASOI SHOW

(SEASON 10)

21:30: BIGG BOSS (SEASON 13)

SATURDAY 28TH MARCH 15:00: STUDENT OF THE YEAR 2

21:30: KHATRON KE KHILADI * Schedule is subject to change

MON 30TH MAR FRI 03RD APR 2020

MON 30TH MAR FRI 03RD APR 2020

THURSDAY APR 02, 2020

11:00:

18:30: VIDYA 19:00: CHOTI SARDAARNI 20:00: SHAKTI ASTITVA KE EHSAAS KI 20:30: SHUBHARAMBH 21:00: NAATI PINKY KI LAMBI LOVE STORY

(SEASON 10)

SUNDAY 29TH MARCH 11:00:

MOTU PATLU

11:30:

PAKDAM PAKDAI

13:00:

MAIN HOON NA

18:00:

MIRCHI TOP 20

20:00:

NAAGIN (SEASON 4)

21:00:

DESI BEAT RESET

21:30:00 KHATRON KE KHILADI (SEASON 10)


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TRAVEL & EVENTS

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28 March - 3 April 2020

Hiking up the

Yosemite National Park The UK is in lockdown and we have no idea when the world is going to be back on its feet leave aside the travel industry. But you have this urge to get away from the four walls of your room – what should you do? Planning a trip and a budget trip to the Yosemite National Park can be quite a laborious process and once you are back in the office you will hardly have enough time to figure out the logistics- from selecting the right hiking gear to buying the most weatherproof tents! Now is probably the best time to get started. Famed as the Sierra Nevada mountains of California, the Park is located some 200 miles from the city

provided yourself with an ideal dinner menu after a long hike! Camping equipment from tents to sleeping bags are available at Amazon. Make sure you buy the temperature regulated sleeping bags for the fire burns out in the middle of the night! On the loop: Verna and Nevada Falls via the mist trail

of San Francisco. Whilst regular Greyhound buses run between the city and the park, renting an SUV where you can offload all your camping essentials is perhaps the wisest decision! If you are a company of four-five friends, it can be quite economical and convenient with each one of you taking turns at the wheel! Gear up to buy the right hiking and camping gear Temperatures are usually quite sublime however, mornings can be freezing especially if you are barebones camping in tents on campground sites, essentially living in a forest. Make sure you stock on plenty of coal, gas lighter, oil and stripped woodblock from the supermarkets on your way. Throw in bags of hot dogs, loaves of bread beside a barbeque grill and you have

The loop is the most popular circuit for most hikers. Often considered easy, the loop can be divided into three landmarksthe vernal falls, top of the vernal falls and top of Nevada Falls. The entire loop is estimated to be around 5.4-6 miles and can be completed in six-seven hours for an average backpacker and hiker. The first two phases of the hiking journey is quite easy-going with plenty of hikers climbing up the rocks with you. However, they thin out in the last stage of the loop where the trail gets rougher and sometimes roads are invisible meaning you have to carve out your path through tree trunks and rocks. In parts, you will require the stamina to jump up the haphazard stone staircases. Pro-tip travel light but carry plenty of protein bars, disposable refillable plastic bags. Regardless to say, the falls are instagrammable and the climb will give you a high like none other especially when you look down at the

world from 2000ft above the ground. Rock-climbers paradise: El Capitan If you are a rock climbing expert, not an adventurer then the 3000ft granite stone monolith is your climbing paradise. Professional climbers take about 3 hours to scale up these steep mountains. However, if you aren’t one and interested in capturing time-lapses then you can easily relinquish another hour or two! Caution: You are no Alex Honnold. Therefore, do stock up on ropes and other safety gear! Sunsets at Glacier Point It arguably offers the most stunning view of the sun hiding behind these mountains and the upper terrace also gives you a view of the Half Dome. Note, for hiking up the Half Dome you need to apply for prior permission and need to be tested for your physical fitness owing to greater elevation and thinning of the oxygen levels in the air. Other tourist attractions include the majestic Yosemite falls, passing through the tunnel view and the Merced river! The climb is tough but the view is great and if you plan to rest in nature’s lap then you need to work towards it from now!

Stuck at Home! What to Read As you stew in your room, self-isolating from the world of clubs, pubs and social gatherings with constant negative news around Coronavirus, we bring to you a list of books that might be worth downloading on your Kindle. This might be as good a time as any to catch up with your self and find your social-emotional balance once again! 1. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck - Mark Manson This book is not your regular self-help counselling story listing the ten yoga asanas you should practice. If you are unaware it generates positive energy whilst listing the constant struggles in life. 2. The Plague- Albert Camus In case you are stressing out that the world will come to an end because of Covid-19? Then perhaps brushing up on your history about the plague that swept through the French Algerian city of Oran will help ease your anxiety levels. It is not the end of the world, even if the stock markets make you believe that way! 3. Models: Attract Women Through Honesty - Mark Manson Another Manson piece of masterstroke. The name says it all. If you are stuck in a dating limbo then perhaps you may receive your answers/solutions leafing through this instead of scheduling another appointment with your counsellor. Its the virus time! 4. How do we fix this mess? - Robert Peston ‘Peston politics’ has provided a simplified outlook into Westminister on an everyday basis. Today, as economists predict about slipping into an era worse than that of the financial crises of 2008, then Peston’s explanation of the ‘boom and bust’ bubble might be a good starting point. 5. Oranges are not the only fruit – Jeanette Winterson A coming-of-age book about a Lesbian girl in an English Pentecostal community. If you are struggling to ‘come out’ to your parents, then maybe the journey of this woman may inspire you to pay heed to your partner’s request. 6. In Extremis: The Life of War Correspondent Marie Colvin – Lindsey Hilsum For those of you unaware of Marie Colvin; she was The Sunday Times Foreign Correspondent and the only foreign journalist in Baba Amr Homs in 2012 when Syrian President Bashar-al Assad had shelled the region using “chemical weapons”. For a journalist with an eye patch she was certainly not blind and her last dispatch about Syrian war widows hiding in tunnels will give you the gooses! 7. The Red Sari- Javier Moro There was a lot of brou haha around this dramatised biography of Indian Congress President Sonia Gandhi. For someone who has been touted as perhaps one of the most powerful female politicians of the world often labelled as “the woman who ruled India through a puppet prime minister”, the controversies chronicled in the book are worth reading! 8. Not a Diet Book- James Smith You have not had the time/motivation/commitment or the fitness guide to tie your sneakers and hit the gym? Buckle up, for you don’t have the work excuse to avoid skipping sessions. This book is your perfect training guide offering you guidance from exercise regimes to diet strictures!

SKYPE IT: THE WEBCAM HELPING YOU WITH SOCIAL DISTANCING If you are not working at essential services and still manage to have a job then most likely the scenario is that you are working from home. Whilst you have slowly adapted to the norm of social distancing, you are trying your best to adapt to skype meetings, zoom sessions and tele-conferencing to map out the next few days’ work. The internet and advanced technology has allowed for such an intervention. Whilst most laptops and monitors would come attached with a webcam, sometimes their may not offer Editor: CB Patel Chief Executive Officer: Liji George Managing Editor: Rupanjana Dutta Deputy Editor: Urja Patel Journalist: Priyanka Mehta Advertising Managers: Kishor Parmar Head - New Projects & Business Development: Cecil Soans Advertising Sales Executive: Surendra Patel

clarity or perhaps may be inconveniently positioned in a backward facing style from your PC, laptop or TV. The Logitech C920s is a flexible webcam with a 78 degree fieldview that offers a clear and crisp image quality. The C920s is sturdy and includes a privacy cover. It can be tilted up and down, and can be easily fitted to any desktop display or laptop screen. The good core image is bolstered by fast, effective autofocus, solid exposure adjustment and automatic white balance.

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28 March - 3 April 2020

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All England putting profits over players welfare, says Saina India's former world No.1 Saina Nehwal, lashed out at the All England Championships, saying the officials had put profits ahead of player welfare by allowing the tournament to go ahead last weekend despite the coronavirus pandemic. The competition was one of the few international sporting events to conclude on Sunday amid the deadly outbreak, which has claimed thousands of lives across the globe. "Only thing I can think of is that rather than the players welfare and feelings, financial reasons were given more importance," Nehwal, who won bronze at the 2012

London Olympics, tweeted. "Otherwise there was no other reason for the “All England Open 2020 to go on last week." Saina bowed out of the event in the first round and is racing against time to qualify for the Olympics. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is yet to announce any extension in qualifying schedule for the Olympics, where the top 16 play. As with all sporting events, the Badminton World Federation (BWF) has suspended all tournaments until April 12 due to the virus, badly affecting Olympic qualifying which closes on

Stay at home to beat the virus Saina Nehwal

April 30. Several players took part in the All England Open - an Olympic qualification event - and Parupalli Kashyap, Saina’s husband, said the players were “under

pressure” to play. Denmark's Viktor Axelsen clinched his first All England title, while Tai Tzu-Ying of Taiwan regained the women's singles crown.

Indian football legend PK Banerjee passes away Pradip Kumar Banerjee, 83, popularly known as PK, - the life and voice of Indian football for over five decades breathed his last week at a hospital in Kolkata after a month-long fight with illness. “He was suffering from multi-organ dysfunction and sepsis. “We put him on ventilator support for more than two weeks and tried to revive him. But despite our best efforts, it was not possible,” Dr Kunal Sarkar, a member of the medical team set up to oversee his treatment, said. The coronavirus-induced restrictions didn’t allow the hearse to be taken to the Maidan and the Big 3 clubs, which gave birth to the legend of the man since he arrived here as an 18-year-old. “Given the unusual situation we are

Pradip Kumar Banerjee

going through, the family decided to take the hearse to his residence and from there straight to the crematorium at Nimtala. We respected their decision,” said state sports minister Aroop Biswas, who supervised all arrangements.

As the legend set off on his last journey in a somewhat strange backdrop, many of his students - who flourished under him and went on to decorate Indian football with their exploits - recalled PK’s legacy. “I lost my father when I was just four. Dada (brother)

brought me up in such a way that I never missed my dad,” Prasun, himself an Indian international and current MP, said. It’s this sense of gurudakshina which saw the likes of former internationals Satyajit Chatterjee and Krishnendu Roy accompanying the hearse all the way from the hospital. PK was draped in his India blazer when the police-escorted hearse reached his residence. “There was nobody like Pradip da. There will be nobody like Pradip da,” Subhas Bhowmick, one of his famous pupils, said. The state government honoured the legend with a gun salute at the Nimtala crematorium. As Mihir Bose said: “He’s gone. And we are here to tell his tales. He will live on.”

Tokyo Olympics postponed until 2021 over coronavirus pandemic The Tokyo Olympics has been postponed until 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic. The International Olympics Committee (IOC) made the decision after Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe asked members to postpone the Games due to measures taken to combat COVID-19. Their decision ended weeks of speculation over whether the Games would go ahead in July.

The IOC said the Games will be held "not later than summer 2021" but will still be called the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The IOC had initially said it would make a decision in four weeks' time "In the present circumstances and based on the information provided by the World Health Organisation today, the IOC president and the prime

minister of Japan have concluded that the Games of the XXXII Olympiad in Tokyo must be rescheduled to a date beyond 2020 but not later than summer 2021, to safeguard the health of the athletes, everybody involved in the Olympic Games and the international community," the IOC said in a statement. Before the official announcement, Abe said IOC president Thomas Bach agreed "100% with him about postponing the games for a year". The IOC had said it would make a decision in four weeks' time but came under mounting pressure to postpone the Games now. There had been growing calls for Tokyo 2020 to not take place as the world struggles with the coronavirus pandemic, despite the committee insisting over the

past few weeks it would go ahead. Abe said holding the Games next year would be "proof of a victory by human beings against the coronavirus infections". Canada and Australia confirmed on Monday they would not be sending their athletes to Tokyo for their own safety, while the British and French governments urged the IOC to make a quick decision.

In the 124 years of the modern Olympics, Games have never been postponed, although they have been cancelled three times - in 1916, 1940 and 1944 due to the two world wars. The IOC added that the Olympic flame will stay in Japan "to stand as a beacon of hope to the world during these troubled times" and the flame would become a "light at the end of the tunnel".

The Covid-19 virus has taken the world by storm. It has stopped all sporting events and the risks should be taken seriously. We should be at home for at least 3 weeks and we should take the government advise very seriously. The cricket season is currently under review. Club cricketers in the UK may face the possibility of not playing at all this season. The health of the nation is far more important than the economy or your own hobbies and passions of life. The professional cricket season has been postponed until the end of May. It is very likely that we may only see T20 matches and regional four-day cricket which could be a safer option than travelling around the country to play county championship. There is uncertainty with the IPL. The league is postponed until 15th April, but we may see further delays announced by the Indian Government because they would want foreign players to play in the IPL. The question remains would other nations give permission for cricketers to travel to India? If the IPL was played without the international cricketers would it attract the same interest? The Premier League is another uncertainty? When should the league be played? Will we see Premier League matches in the summer for the first time in the history of the premier league? Now is the time to come together as a nation and follow the government’s advice. We should stay at home for 3 weeks and only go out for food and medical services. Our death toll is already higher than Italy at the same stage, so we need to follow the advice because it takes 2 weeks for the symptoms to establish in your body. It would be best to stay at home, and once the weather warms up let us hope that the situation will improve. I am already thinking of the possibility that we will not play any cricket this season. We may not even get a chance to play club cricket this year. My advice for you is to stay at home, be selfless and think about other people. We can collectively work together to stop the virus spreading. Let's just think about the NHS doctors, nurses and staff who are working endlessly for us to be alive. Let's protect the NHS. Please stay home. You can follow Monty Panesar @MontyChannel

Profile for Asian Business Publications Ltd

AV 28th March 2020  

Asian Voice weekly newspaper (Issue 46 Vol 48)

AV 28th March 2020  

Asian Voice weekly newspaper (Issue 46 Vol 48)

Profile for abpl