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inside: Namaste Trump: India welcomes US President in style SEE PAGES - 17, 25, 26
Curfew imposed as Delhi violence toll mounts to 13 SEE PAGE - 26
Build Ram mandir without bitterness: PM Modi tells trustees
Home Secretary Priti Patel delivered on her election promise of “taking back control of our borders” as she unveiled an overhaul of the UK’s current Continued on page 7 immigration system.
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with Keith Vaz
hich place, or city or country do you most feel at home in? London is home for me because I have spent all my life here since the age of eleven. London to me is the greatest city on earth.
What are your proudest achievements?
Babul Akhtar migrated to the United Kingdom from Bangladesh in 1986 with his parents and siblings. His Dad worked as a Chef in the Sportsman Casino in London and his mother was a housewife. Babul studied at Sir William Collins Secondary School in Camden, London where he met with other Bangladeshi people in his year. He completed his GCSEs in 1990. He went to North London College to do a diploma in Electronic Engineering. Babul started his career working in Indian restaurants from a very early age which gave him a good understanding of the restaurant business. In 1995, he along with his uncle opened their first restaurant in Surrey. From there, he moved on to invest in the Hotel Industry in Bangladesh in 2007. In 2017, he took over the Olive Limes Restaurant in Tring, Hertfordshire which he is currently running. In March 2019, he opened another exclusive restaurant in Bangladesh known as the Platinum Lounge in Sylhet with a group of other British Bangladeshi friends and restaurant traders. He believes strongly in giving something back to the people of his country of origin. Babul lives with his son and daughter in London. He enjoys travelling and trying different cuisines, as well as cooking, cinema and meeting people in his free time.
My proudest achievements would be opening high quality restaurants in the United Kingdom and Bangladesh. We have won many competitions and International Awards for these restaurants and it is always a proud moment to be rewarded for all our efforts.
What inspires you?
I have always had a craving or challenge to do things right. Customer satisfaction drives me in my business, and I find myself constantly striving to improve things. My family, I am one of 5 siblings (brothers and sisters), have always been the main pillars in my life. I believe in family values.
What has been biggest obstacle in your career? The Recession that affected the economy, has had a massive impact on the curry industry forcing many restaurants to shut down in recent years. Getting migrant skilled staff has also had an impact on the restaurant business causing businesses to shut down and venture into other alternatives.
Who has been the biggest influence on your career to date? My uncle, one of the former Chefs at the Red Fort Restaurant in London, Abul Kalam has had the biggest influence on my career. He was my first restaurant business
partner in Surrey that helped me step foot in the Curry Industry, from whom I have learnt a lot about the business.
What is the best aspect about your current role? We are an upmarket restaurant Olive Limes in Tring, Hertfordshire, and the customers have certain expectations, which we are able to meet on a regular basis. This continuous feedback is our pride that drives us to do better.
And the worst?
Shortage of skilled staff and having to repeatedly train new staff, which takes a lot of time and effort.
What are your long-term goals?
To continue to sustain all of my businesses in the United Kingdom and Bangladesh to an exceptionally high standard.
If you were Prime Minister, what one aspect would you change? Increase funding to emergency services and the NHS so they can operate smoothly like they used to. This will help to shorten the waiting times and cancellations in NHS services and better consistency throughout NHS Services, which affects a lot of people all over the United Kingdom. I recently had a stent put on and I voluntarily joined a medical study just to be able to bypass the waiting times.
If you were marooned on a desert island, which historical figure would you like to spend your time with and why. I don’t really want to be marooned on a desert island!
Samira Ahmed agrees settlement with BBC Jury shown CCTV of Salman Abedi's reconnaissance trips
Samira Ahmed and the BBC have reached a settlement after the presenter won her equal pay claim against the corporation. Last month an employment tribunal announced that the Newswatch host should have been paid the same as Jeremy Vine earned on Points Of View. The BBC had argued that the two presenters were not doing similar work. Now the broadcaster has said in a statement: “Samira Ahmed and the BBC are pleased to have reached a settlement following the recent tribunal. Ahmed asked why she was paid £465 per episode of Newswatch while Vine was paid up to £3,000 for each
episode of Points Of View, work she described as comparable. According to reports the corporation had argued that Newswatch was a “relatively niche” programme which aired on the BBC News channel, while describing Points Of View as “extremely well-known”.
Ahmed said in a statement after winning her claim that “no woman wants to have to take action against their own employer. She said: “I love working for the BBC. I’m glad it’s been resolved. I’m now looking forward to continuing to do my job, to report on stories and not being one.”
She has been among several female talents at the BBC to voice their concerns over pay equality following an outcry over former China editor Carrie Gracie’s salary compared to male colleagues in similar roles. Ahmed later tweeted: “Thank you to everyone who supported me and understands equal pay is about men and women as allies. To my amazing union @NUJofficial who backed me. And to the Ford Dagenham and Grunwick women who blazed the trail and to whom I’ll always be grateful,” she said of the fight for equal pay in the 1960s and strike over poor working conditions in the 1970s.
Pharmacist jailed for stashing £1.2million worth of Class C controlled drugs to sell illegally A pharmacist, who was found with £1.2million worth of Class C controlled drugs to sell without prescriptions, was jailed last week. Sarfraz Hussain, 50, ran three pharmacies in Birmingham, none of which had a wholesale licence needed to supply medicines in bulk. Despite not having a license, Hussain ordered large amounts of Class C drugs from legitimate suppliers. When the Medicines and Healthcare Products
Regulatory Agency (MHRA) visited one of his pharmacies, Hussain denied any connection with it. By cross-referencing the drugs Hussain had ordered against the prescriptions the pharmacist had filled, it was apparent that only a small portion of the drugs were supplied legitimately. In total, Hussain had 1,443,036 Class C tablets, including Diazepam, Nitrazepam and Zopiclone in his possession, which he was intending to unlawfully supply. Despite the extensive number of
tablets discovered and the prescription evidence pointing to his criminality, Hussain was vague about whether or not he had ordered the drugs. Faced by a wealth of evidence collected by the MHRA investigators, Hussain entered guilty pleas at an earlier hearing on 20 January this year. Today, at Birmingham Crown Court, he has been sentenced to 2 years and four months in prison. Philip Slough of the CPS said: “The reason controls are in place are to prevent
potentially dangerous drugs being circulated to vulnerable people without any regulation, in the wrong hands they could put real people at real risk. I hope Hussain’s conviction sends a message to other pharmacists and industry professionals, that if they fail to comply with the regulations that are in place to protect the public, we will look to prosecute where possible. We will be seeking a confiscation order to make sure that Mr Hussain does not benefit from this criminal and dangerous activity.”
Salman Abedi outside Manchester Victoria on May 18, three days before the Arena bombing (Image: GMP)
According to reports jurors have been shown footage of Manchester Arena bomber Salman Abedi carrying out three reconnaissance missions at the venue before his deadly attack. The 22-year-old and his brother Hashem had left Manchester and flown to Libya a month before the 2017 bombing after allegedly manufacturing deadly home-made TATP explosives at a 12th floor apartment in Blackley. The Manchester-born Libyan siblings left their flat hastily at midnight and stored the explosives in an old Nissan Micra they parked up in Rusholme before flying out of the country, according to the prosecution. Salman Abedi alone returned to Manchester
Airport via Istanbul and Dusseldorf during the morning of May 18, 2017, first taking a bus to Wythenshawe and then taking a taxi back to Rusholme to check on the Micra, the court has heard. As the trial of his brother Hashem Abedi continued at the Old Bailey in London, the jurors were shown CCTV of Salman Abedi carrying out reconnaissance at the Arena on the day he flew back into Manchester, the first of three scoping exercises before he carried out his attack. The jury saw him walking by a long queue of people at the box office and then standing and looking at concert-goers, who were on their way to a Take That gig at the venue on the evening of May 18.
29 Feb - 6 Mar 2020
Britain’s prison reforms and far-right threats Earlier this month the government’s terror laws adviser Jonathan Hall had echoed his skepticism around the “effectiveness” of the emergency legislation following Streatham and the London Bridge attacks. According to him, keeping prisoners behind bars for longer could "expose them to worse influences" than if they were released. It won’t be incorrect to say that Hall is unnervingly predictive of how the pyschology of the convicted prisoners develops. Especially, considering the recent Jihadist style fake terrorist attack in Winchester Jail. While the convict is understood to not be in prison for terrorist offences, the inmate told officers immediately after the incident that he was attempting a jihadist attack. The parallels between Hall’s warning and the failed attack have cast the scrutiny back on the UK’s jail reforms. This is particularly concerning at a time when reports have been abound about some leaders forcing inmates to convert to their brand of Islam, intimidating official prison imams and handing out punishment beatings. But perhaps more so, at a time when ministers are trying to speed the emergency law to pass through Parliament before the next jailed terrorist is due for release on
Friday 28 February. However, it is interesting to note that most law makers argue jailing people treats the effects and not the causes. The justice committee chairman, Bob Neill had once pointed to the absurdity of allocation of more funds from the budget at overcrowded prisons. Some theorists explain that prison exposes the prisoner to drugs, violence, psychological brutality, suicide and in recent times, perhaps in some cases, a misguided shift towards an extremist ideology. Now, in this vicious cycle of prison reforms and anti-radicalisation programmes is the growing threat from far-right extremist groups as has been highlighted by the recent massacre in Hanau. According to counter-terrorism officicals a quarter of all terrorism arrests in the past year were linked to far-right violence and cases jumped from 6% to 10% in two years. They claim that they have foiled eight far-right terrorist plots since March 2017. Is the emergency legislation slated to block the automatic release of those convicted of terror offences an actual solution to the growing threat posed by far-right and extremist organisations? Only time will tell.
Happiness is a butterfly which, when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you - Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864)
Kem Cho President When I worked in the US Congress, I once drafted a speech for my employer – Congressman Eliot Engel – welcoming Nelson Mandela to the US Congress. Were I to have been President Trump’s speechwriter this past week, this may have been my suggested speech: Dear Mr President of India,
Britain's new Chancellor and his first Budget for Britons The UK Spring Budget will go ahead on 11 March 2020, ensuring that the new Chancellor to Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, put together a fresh tax and spending programme, quickly, over the coming two weeks. A delay was expected after the former Chancellor Sajid Javid had to leave his job, when Dominic Cummings asked him to sack his advisers and replace them with a team jointly managed with No 10. Sunak, currently at the helm of delivering the budget is ready to do so in two weeks time- with no change to the previously announced date. As the Guardian wrote, Sajid Javid’s budget plans were understood to have been well developed. Sunak is likely to rewrite some of Javid's plans. He may relax some of the budget constraints as well. He is understood to be considering ending the nine year long freeze on fuel duty. However he is under pressure from 10 Downing Street to consider taxes on wealthy Britons, including a possible mansion tax, so that they could secure more money for public spending. The Tory MPs have now warned Sunak that they would vote against his budget in case he plans to raise fuel duty. The reality is that every budget is planned and billed way in advance and naturally Javid had already done a lot of the leg work. This budget is crucial for Sunak for various reasons. Of course this is his first attempt to appease his Tory colleagues and the various agendas that pressure groups have. But then there is the need of his budget to also satisfy a number audiences- the voters in the Midlands- including his own constituency voters and that of the north of England who left Labour to help Boris Johnson with his majority. Then there are the traditional Conservative voters. On the other hand he also has the financial markets and foreign governments who are eager to see UK's development especially after Brexit. The Times wrote that the Conservatives will consider radical plans to scrap business rates and replace them with a land value tax in a bid to save struggling high streets, The Times wrote in a recent article. The review will also examine proposals for a tax on the land rather than buildings, meaning that farmland would face a lower levy than developed areas. Other
ideas that are being considered include cutting pensions tax relief for high earners and ending the freeze on fuel dutywhich has faced internal objections. A package that satisfies everything will definitely not be easy for Sunak. Sunak plans to move a significant number of the UK Treasury department's 1,500 London-based posts to a so-called “economic decision-making campus” in the north. It will reportedly involve billions of pounds of public money directed towards infrastructure projects and other needs of businesses in the region. The Tees Valley, by the River Tees in north-east England, is among the favourites to host the new hub after Sunak took officials to Teesside last month for a Treasury board meeting. A team to lead the project is being set up, with an expected rollout of the hub to begin in 2021. Sunak had set up the South Tees Development Corporation committing 71 million pounds to redevelop a site near Redcar in region during his time as Chief Secretary to the Treasury under his predecessor as Chancellor Sajid Javid. But Stephen King, HSBC’s Senior Economic Adviser and author of Grave New World in a recent column in Evening Standard wrote: Sunak will need some vaguely credible economic forecasts to succeed. Without them, the fiscal arithmetic is nothing but guesswork. In the olden days, Chancellors simply came up with numbers that best suited their political purposes- but now things are different. George Osborne changed those rules by introducing the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR), an independent team of forecasters whose job has been to come up with projections for the UK economy, ensuring they are free from political influence. All future Chancellors are meant to receive the OBR’s forecasts and follow them closely so that there are no rooms for wishful political thinking. But Sunak, following Cummings' advises - who believes 'pundits' are of no good, if brings in superforecasters and replaces the OBR- they could easily conclude that the chances of a UK recession are high- or anything that may work against Sunak's advantage.
Permanent commission for women in army In a historic judgment, the Supreme Court has ruled that all women officers in the army shall be considered for permanent commission and be eligible for command posting on a par with male officers. This is a big step for gender equality in the army and paves the way for women officers being granted superior responsibilities commensurate with their capabilities. Since 1992, when women officers first entered the Army, they have played a significant role which has brought laurels for the organisation. The apex court ruling which brings women army officers at par with their male counterparts comes like a whiff of fresh air. The decision of the bench of Justices D Y Chandrachud and Ajay Rastogi to trash the Army’s “weaker sex” argument was a fitting finale to the 14-year-old litigation for equality doggedly fought by short service commission (SSC) women officers through senior advocates Meenakshi Lekhi and Aishwarya Bhati. The battle was first waged in the Delhi high court from 2006 to 2010 - which the women officers won - and then in the SC from 2010 till date. Importantly, it said those women officers who don’t opt for permanent commission despite more than 14 years of service “will be entitled to continue in service until they attain 20 years of pensionable service”. The verdict is a rejection of the Centre’s argument that women officers could not be given command posts because the composition of the army was predominantly male and drawn from rural background. It had also cited physiological limitations and family obligations of women officers. But the apex
court refuted these grounds and emphasised the need for a change in mindset. Indeed, women officers have performed admirably in the army and have even led companies and platoons of soldiers – including male soldiers – in the ten combat support arms. Therefore, there’s no reason why they can’t be given independent command of larger formations such as battalions. In fact, in foreign armies too the trend is towards giving women more responsibilities. Apart from Israel, where women soldiers have served in intensive combat roles since 1995, Germany has allowed women in combat since 2001. Australia opened all jobs in its defence forces to women in 2013, and Pakistan inducted its first woman fighter pilot the same year. True, combat roles are still not open to Indian women army officers. But that now women can be full colonels and above in army service corps, ordnance, education corps, judge advocate general, engineers, signals, intelligence, etc is definitely a step in the right direction. Finally, studies have shown that testosterone – a male hormone – leads to distorted perceptions of the risk-reward ratio in any endeavour. If men are prone to taking irrational risks in war, having all-male armies leads to enhanced possibilities of warfare. Having more women officers in command, including of combat units, would therefore reduce the risk of such warfare – which will have devastating consequences under 21st century conditions. That is where India, and the world, should be headed to.
Congratulations upon your role as the Head of State of the World’s largest Democracy; a political system which gives vote and voice to every adult. It is said more people live now on the planet than have ever died since the beginning of time. So it is that within the borders of your India, more people live in poverty than anywhere else in the world. But this is not a tragedy – it is an opportunity. Imagine Mr President, if in your short Presidential term you could do that one thing no politician ever could – have one singular cause – one national challenge – and bring a nation together and in so doing save the world itself. I suggest you recall the words of the US President, John F Kennedy who said in his Inaugural speech ‘...the belief that the rights of man come not from the generosity of the state, but from the hand of God.’ Fundamental to those rights, is the right to live free from poverty. So I suggest in your inaugural speech you mimic Kennedy and state, ‘I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of removing child poverty and malnutrition. If we were to go only half way or reduce our sights in the face of difficulty, it would be better not to go at all. And let every nation know... that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, to assure the survival and the success of our children. Let the word go forth.....that the torch free of the burden of poverty will be passed to a new generation of Indians.’ Imagine the advantage you have over Kennedy. You have a bigger economy in India today, than the United States had when Kennedy became President. You have more people to do your bidding. And you have a simpler task than putting a man on the moon. I remind you, the Head of a nuclear power, what else Kennedy said that fateful January day in 1961 – ‘Man holds in his mortal hands the power to abolish all forms of human poverty and all forms of human life’. So Mr President, when you ask what you can do for your country – this is it. Should you not wish to take up my suggestion, then you should know Kennedy also said, ‘...let us go forth to lead the land we love, asking His blessing and His help, but knowing that here on earth God's work must truly be our own." So it is Mr President, in this the land of the most ancient of faiths, the decision resides with you whether you have the vision to manifest God himself. May God grant you the wisdom and the courage to make the right choice.
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29 Feb - 6 Mar 2020
Drunken doctor misses flight to India after abusing airport staff A court has heard how a doctor became abusive with staff and was too drunk to stand at Birmingham Airport. Vijaykrishna Maddikera was unable to travel on a flight India to visit his ill father on December 29 because he had drunk too much. The doctor said it was because he was a 'nervous flyer'. According to reports, Birmingham Magistrates' Court heard he was so inebriated he could not stand up in the body scanner and was also abusive to airport staff and was handed a conditional discharge for 12 months on Wednesday, February 19. The court heard staff had considered arranging him a later flight so he could sober up but he became abusive towards them and was subsequently arrested. Maddikera, 52, pleaded guilty to a charge of being drunk in a restricted area at
an airport. Prosecuting him Preena Mistry, said: "Guards were on patrol and were directed to attend the central security area. They were informed a male had been refused entry due to being unable to stand up in the body scanner. Staff suspected he was drunk and when they spoke to him he smelled strongly of alcohol. He was strug-
gling to speak and his speech was slurred, he was struggling to maintain eye contact. Outside of the security area he was struggling whilst walking through the airport. He was unsteady on his feet." She added: "Staff tried to help him sort another flight to allow him time to sober up but the defendant was abusive to staff and was subsequently arrested." Maddikera was initially set to be handed a caution from police but because it would not have shown up on airport records he was formally charged, the court heard. Maddikera was also told to pay a £21 victim surcharge and £135 for court costs.
BBC critics call for tighter rules on 'moonlighting' stars BBC presenter Mishal Husain was paid to appear at Norwegian gas and oil industry events, causing critics to call for tighter rules on 'moonlighting' TV stars. According to a report by The Times the Radio 4's Today programme presen-
ter has taken part in at least 10 functions and just last week appeared at the Oslo Energy Forum. Ms Husain moderated the event - which she has also been apart of at least five times previously - but it is not known how much she was paid. However other
BBC stars are listed on speaking agency websites as being able to charge between £10,000 and £25,000 to attend corporate events. It comes after MPs demanded the BBC to publish a 'register of presenters' interests to allow greater scrutiny.
Restaurant worker used false identity in bid to stay in UK A restaurant worker who spent years living illegally in Wales spent £2,000 on a false application to deceive authorities into letting him stay in the country has been jailed for one year. A jury at Swansea Crown Court found Nurul Islam guilty of obtaining leave to remain in the United Kingdom by deception – by using the name and date of birth of a man called Alaur Rahman in his application to the Home Office between May 26 and June 16, 2015. He was also found guilty of being in possession of an identity document of improper mention – a Bangladeshi passport relating to somebody else on May 27, 2015. According to local media at a three-day trial the jury heard how Islam, who is orginally from Bangladesh, had come to the UK in 2010 to live with his aunt and uncle in Swansea after police began looking for him in his home country due to his support to the Bangladesh National Party. Islam had been granted a visa on May 20, 2010, to
Nurul Islam has been jailed for a year after a three-day trial at Swansea Crown Court
stay in the UK for six months but overstayed in the country between 2010 and 2015 in the knowledge he was doing so illegally, working at the West Cross Tandoori restaurant. Islam, who is unable to speak, read or write English, made another application in 2015 for 'no time limit' leave in the name of Mr Rahman while using his own photo and Swansea address details with the application. On the first day of the trial the jury was told that Mr Rahman is a real person, from Birmingham, who had previously successfully and legitimately applied for an
indefinite stay in the UK in 2002, and six years later, successfully obtained an actualisation as a British citizen in a legitimate application and was issued a certificate subsequently. Giving evidence on the second day of the trial, Islam claimed he paid £2,000 in instalments for help completing an application, with the help of a friend he met at the restaurant, Sujan Ali Chowdhury, who took him to a solicitor named Sheikh Usman and has since been sentenced to seven years imprisonment for conspiracy to facilitate the commission of a breach of UK immigration law by a non-EU person. Islam had said while giving evidence during the trial that he did not suspect the activity was wrong because he was taken to a British solicitor and "didn't think a legal person would do anything fraudulent". He told the court, with the help of a translator, that due to his inability to understand English he was unable to read the documents that he signed and just signed in the areas he was instructed to.
Trainee lawyer savagely beaten in Birmingham in ‘coronavirus rage’ attack after defending Chinese friend from racist abuse A female Asian trainee lawyer was punched and knocked unconscious after she stepped in to defend her Chinese friend who was accused of carrying coronavirus in Birmingham on 9th February. Meera Solanki, from Solihull, was out with friends celebrating her 29th birthday at Birmingham's Ana Rocha Bar and Gallery on Frederick Street. She was inside the venue with her friends including Mandy Huang, 28, who was visiting from London, when the group were targeted by a group of Asian men. The two friends left the bar after Miss Solanki said she was repeatedly harassed by one of the men who later followed the three women out of the venue at around 2am. Speaking to the media Miss Solanki said: 'I was having birthday drinks with a group of of girls and guys including Chinese friends. There were a group of Asian men inside the venue - one of them kept coming up to
Trainee lawyer Meera Solanki, from Solihull (left) with friend Mandy Huang, 28, from London (right)
me and harassing me. “He seemed to have a problem with me being an Indian girl with a multiracial group of friends,' she told The Sunday Mercury. Miss Solanki added: 'We tried to ignore him, even when he tried to spit at one of my friends. Towards the end of the night - there was just the three of us girls left including my Chinese friend Mandy. Miss Solanki told how she was 'shocked and angry' and shouted at the man to stop while she tried to push him away. Reports said that an ambulance was called to the scene and a witness com-
mented: 'What I saw was beyond despicable. A totally vicious assault.' Miss Solanki spent six hours at Heartlands Hospital where she was treated with concussion and was off work for a week. A member of a Birmingham based AngloChinese group said yesterday paranoia surrounding the disease has led to unease and confrontation. West Midlands Police have launched an appeal to find the thug responsible for the shocking violence. Reports of coronavirus violence has already surfaced in Newcastle, York and Manchester
Every Mind Matters Public Health England support for mental health A survey from Public Health England (PHE) reveals more than eight in ten (82%) people from an Asian background have experienced early signs of poor mental health including feeling anxious, stressed, having low mood or trouble sleeping in the last 12 months. While these can be a natural response to life’s challenges, they can become more serious if people don’t take action. PHE is encouraging the South Asian community to look after their own mental health, and support friends and family who might be struggling. They can start this by completing a ‘Mind Plan’, a quick and free tool from Every Mind Matters. The plan recommends a range of Dr Chirag D Gorasia evidence-based self-care actions for each individual, which are designed to deal with stress, boost mood, improve sleep and help people feel more in control. Harmeet experienced anxiety, stress, low mood and trouble sleeping due to a series of life events. She said: “Sometimes it’s really hard to deal with the challenges life throws at us but it’s important to try and pick yourself up, which can be difficult if you suffer from low mood. It was a mixture of things from making new friends and getting out more as well as being kinder to myself through taking up yoga which helped me. In South Asian communities, we can sometimes find it hard to deal with things such as low mood and anxiety because there is still social stigma attached to poor mental health, however, what I’ve learnt through this journey is that we’ll all struggle from time to time and that’s normal. I’m glad that Every Mind Matters is available because it helps people take simple steps forward to improve their mental health.” According to Dr. Chirag D Gorasia, a Clinical Psychologist, “Through my work as a Clinical Psychologist, I come into contact with people from a range of communities, including the South Asian community. I regularly engage people through workshops and talks on mental health, as a well as individually. Teaching and discussing issues around mental health is central to challenging social stigma, and helps people to understand there is always something they can do to improve how they feel. This is why I am so pleased about the launch of Every Mind Matters. I strongly request everyone to take the Every Mind Matters quiz today to receive a personalised action plan around looking after their individual mental health, go on, you’ll be glad you did.”
Discover simple steps to look after your mental health Every Mind Matters will get you started with a free online plan designed to help you deal with stress and anxiety, boost your mood, improve your sleep and feel more in control. Find your way to better mental health.
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29 Feb - 6 Mar 2020
Nandy to protect trans rights, Starmer offers Stabbing at London top shadow cabinet positions to opponents Central Mosque As the Labour leadership race goes underway a labour candidate has asserted the significance of protecting the rights of trans men and women especially considering the increasing levels of discrimination against them. On Sunday 23rd November, Lisa Nandy MP for Wigan said that she was given “pause for thought” about signing a pledge card from the Labour Campaign for Trans Rights. This pledge calls on candidates in the Labour leadership race to back the expulsion of party members who hold “bigoted, transphobic views”. In an interview on the Sky News, she said the call for those who support organisations such as Woman’s Place to be kicked out of the party had given her pause before signing the pledge. “I have to say, that was the part of the pledge that gave me pause for thought about whether to sign it. I decided to sign it in the end
(L-R) Lisa Nandy, Keir Starmer and Rebecca Long-Bailey
because I think that the sentiment of the pledge about protecting trans rights and about accepting that trans men are men and trans women are women is really important, especially at the moment with the level of discrimination that people face. “I don’t think that proscribing organisations is actually the right way to deal with disciplinary issues in the Labour party. “I think that the question for us is always about individual behaviour and it’s right to recognise that there are women who have fought for generations in order to create safe spaces for
women who want to have a proper debate about how we best protect that in an era where we’ve recognised that trans men are men, trans women are women, and we’ve got to do far more to protect trans women from harm as well. I want to see us have an open debate, I don’t want to see us close down debate and I don’t want anybody who’s listening to this to think that I do.” This pledge also describes Woman’s Place UK, a group that backs biological sex to be acknowledged as part of maintaining women’s rights, as a “transexclusionist hate group”.
Meanwhile, Sir Keir Starmer, apparently the current favourite leadership candidate anticipated to replace Corbyn has extended his support to his opponents Nandy and Rebecca Long-Bailey. Starmer said Long-Bailey, and Nandy, championing the interests of non-metropolitan Labour, were both “excellent candidates, sincerely and genuinely putting forward very powerful cases that they think are right for our party, for our movement and for the country”. Calling on Labour party members to unite, in a recent spin-off where he has now extended an olive branch to his opponents, he clarified, “I would happily offer both these candidates a top job in the shadow cabinet and I’d happily serve them if they wanted me to do the same.” Voting will close on 2 April, with the results expected to be announced at a special conference two days later.
Chef breaks Guinness book world record for largest onion bhaji weighing 175 kgs An award-winning Bangladeshi chef has broken the Guinness Book world record for the largest onion bhaji in a charity event to feed hundreds of homeless people. Oli Khan popularly known as the Curry King of Britain cooked a megaonion-bhaji weighing in at a whopping 175.7kg at the London Muslim Centre in presence of officials Ms Paulina Sapinska from Guinness World Records. The previous record of 102kg had stood since 2011. Khan, who was supported by Just Eat, used the recordbreaking bhaji to feed more than 500 people, including over 300 homeless people. Khan’s team took 8 hours to create the bhaji, which included 205 Kgs of
as terror-related at this time.” Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted that he was “deeply saddened” by the attack, and added: “It’s so awful that this should happen, especially in a place of worship.” Mayor Sadiq Khan said he was “deeply concerned by this incident”, and the Met department was “providing extra resources in the area”. In the meantime, the director-general of the Islamic Cultural Centre at the mosque, Dr Ahmad al Dubayan, said he hoped it was “only an individual incident. This place is iconic— not only for Muslims but for all the British society. Many Muslims come here, many communities come here.” The Muslim Council of Britain said it would be reissuing its safety advice to mosques across the country. It said, “Regardless of the motive of the attacker, we must remain calm but vigilant as we aim to balance the importance of retaining mosques as open spaces, and the security of worshippers.”
FSA urges Facebook to take responsibility for home foods onions, 50 Kgs of flower, 2kgs of coriander and 6kg of garlic and ginger paste. Speaking about his achievement, Khan said, “This wouldn’t have been
possible without my team, who are all present with me today to share in this amazing victory. This isn’t just a win for us, it’s a win for our nation Great Britain, which
we are proud to represent!” Money raised from the event will go towards the East London Mosque Trust, a charity supporting local causes.
Patel accused of bullying officials, Johnson asserts full confidence in her Recent media reports have suggested that Home Secretary Priti Patel has “bullied her staff”, allegations that have now been dismissed as "false" by the government. Patel has also been accused of trying to force out Sir Philip Rutnam, the most senior permanent civil servant in her department. A Times article, quoting unnamed sources, went on to allege that MI5 chiefs found her “extremely diffi-
On Thursday 20th February, Scotland Yard detectives initiated a probe into the attempted murder of the London Central Mosque’s muezzin during afternoon prayers. The alleged attacker was wrestled to the ground by worshippers, and later arrested by police officers. Videos showed the police arresting a barefooted white man wearing a red hoodie and black trousers. Reports said it was “30 seconds of mayhem” at the mosque in Regent’s Park. The muezzin, whom some reports named as Rafaat, is in his 70s, and has been attending the mosque for 25 years. He was “seriously injured” and rushed to a “major trauma centre” after being treated by paramedics at the spot. In a statement, the Metropolitan Police said, “A 29-year-old man, who is believed to have been attending prayers, was arrested inside the mosque on suspicion of attempted murder. He has been taken into custody at a central London police station. The incident is not being treated
Sir Philip Rutnam
cult to deal with”. The Home Office issued a joint statement, which said both Patel and Sir Philip were “deeply concerned about the number of false allegations appearing in the media”. Now, No. 10 has also backed Patel saying that the prime minister had “full confidence in the Home Secretary and the vital work she is doing”. In the meantime, former Environment Secretary
Theresa Villiers said she was “sick of spiteful briefings against women in high public office”. She said, “It happens again and again and I don’t believe these allegations against Priti Patel. I think she’s a highly effective home secretary and I think whoever is making these briefings should stop it because I think they are unfair and they are damaging. I think there are clearly people who are out to damage the Home Secretary.”
On 24th February Monday, the Food Standards Agency urged Facebook to "take responsibility" for people using its website to sell food from their own homes. The watchdog is warning that sellers who have not registered with or been inspected by their local councils could be putting the public at risk. FSA chairwoman Heather Hancock wants Facebook to bring in stricter seller checks on its Marketplace platform. Facebook Marketplace allows users to post advertisements for free, to sell a range of goods and services. But rules across the UK require people selling food from their homes on a regular basis to register with their local authority. Once registered, they may be inspected and given a food hygiene rating.
However, such is not the case. In a statement to the BBC, Food safety expert Tony Lewis said, "There is no information about what they contain, we don't have a list of ingredients. How's it been stored, how's it been prepped, have we got a whole load of allergens in there? Listeria is a real threat, in the worst case it could kill you."
29 Feb - 6 Mar 2020
Go back to ‘your’ country Continued from page 1 The government believes that the Australian pointsbased-immigration system will weed out cheap EU labour across factories and retail outlets, creating jobs for the local British workforce. But, businessmen and industrialists explain the contrary challenges of staff shortage, burden of shelling out higher salaries, increased visa sponsorship fees among other logistics.
Hospitality: Curry houses and restaurants The Home Secretary believes that they are currently 8 million economically inactive British workers who can be trained by businesses to fill these vacancies. But, industry heads argue that the hospitality sector is likely to take a massive hit especially the 12,000 small curry houses operating
hospitality sector and the British people” and deter investment in the high street.
(L-R) Bal Padda, Makhan Singh and Jaswinder Singh, Vicarage Nurseries
across the UK- some who maybe on the verge of closing down owing to staff shortage. “It is true that we have enough migrant workers in the UK. But we need to look at the practical scenario today. The fourth and fifth generation Bangladeshi children are not interested in working in the curry houses. “They are highly skilled and have built careers as professionals in law, medicine et al. We only need chefs not skilled migrants in the kitchen. The staff in these kitchens need to be only aware of the food & hygeine. And we don’t have any local British staff who are willing to work in restaurants as chefs and waiters. We were – and still are – struggling to get chefs to Britain from south Asia as the rules state you have to pay a salary of £35,000 to offer to a chef. This is simply unthinkable for a large number of smaller restaurants barring high-end chains such as Dishoom who constitute not even 30% of the industry,” explains Oli Khan, Senior Vice President of Bangladesh Caterers Association. UKHospitality chief executive, Kate Nicholls, said “ruling out a temporary, low-skilled route for migration in just 10 months’ time would be disastrous for the
those with low skills will be closed. A grower would never be able to get any more labour from Europe,” explains Jaswinder Singh, Operations Director, Vicarage Nurseries. Vicarage Nurseries is a family-owned farm in Worcestershire, UK which was started in 1996 by Makhan Singh, and today his family is the only British
Asian family in the business of growing strawberries. They employ around 250 seasonal strawberry pickers who go back to their European countries at the end of the peak season in October. At present they grows strawberries over a land mass of 100 acres and produces over 800 tonnes of strawberries annually. Last year, the Government started a pilot
Deputy Mayor of London for Business
Business after Brexit
Immigration Reform: Why we need Associate Citizenship?
Agriculture: Our Great British Strawberries “Point-based immigration plan makes it hard for lowskilled migrants to work. This immigration plan will make biggest structural changes to the UK labour market in the decades. Government’s “a high-wage, high-skill, high-productivity economy” policy is not good for employers like us who employee low skilled workers. “At present on our farm, we employ 90% of our workers from Europe which is the only source of labour for strawberry growing and harvesting. Under the new approach by Govt, the UK will be open to highly skilled workers from anywhere in the world, but the door to
scheme called Seasonal Agricultural Workers Scheme (SAWS) with initially proposing permits for 2500 employees from outside Europe. The benchmark is now increased to 10,000 permits. It is noteworthy that in 2016 more than 77,000 employed in the agricultural industry were of non-UK origin. How is such a stark gap going to be addressed by farm-workers remains a challenge for agriculturists such as Jaswinder. He says, “We will be struggling this year as it is not confirmed how many workers will be coming this year even as the immigration laws come into force from next year. We ourselves cannot have sponsorship licence as this is given to only two companies who control the employment procedure. “We tried before employing British workers. They are not willing to get their hands dirty in the field work. The licence to employ these people is only with
two companies which the grower or employer do not have control and cannot employ people directly to their demand.” Additionally, the British Poultry Council has said that 60% of its 23,000 workers are EU nationals, and the new rules "completely disregard British food production and will damage national food security".
“Unrealistic” immigration fees and sponsorship license Those organisations who do not have an alternative but to recruit non-UK workers do have another route of recruiting EU workforces. Currently, some migrants can gain Tier 2 visas under the Tier 2 Sponsor License system with a salary of £20,800 per annum. But under the current system the cost of a Tier 2 visa sponsorship to a small employer exceeds £3,000. Now, according to a latest survey by the Federation of Small Businesses about 48 per cent of the 1,083 small firms surveyed said that they would be unable to meet the immigration fees currently levied on employers hiring non-EU staff if extended to EU workers. The study recommended that the cost of hiring EU and non-EU staff be below £1,000 for small businesses, with exemptions for the smallest firms. Branding the fees as “unreal-
istic” were it to be carried across to the government’s new points-based immigration system, the report notes that the extra costs would mean one in ten (11 per cent) small businesses would have to radically change their business model or close altogether. “Against a backdrop of weak economic growth, record employment and an ageing workforce, it’s criti-
Recent weeks have seen political events that could have a huge – and far from positive – impact on Asian Voice readers and members of all Asian communities in the years to come. Most alarmingly, the Government’s proposals for the UK’s post-Brexit immigration and visas policy would be damaging to Asian businesses, communities and families if they are put into practice. Over 1.4 million strong, the British Indian community is one of the most prosperous and dynamic ethnic minority communities in the UK. A recent report by Grant Thornton found that British Indian-owned businesses in the UK turnover nearly £37 billion, employ 174,000 people and pay £1 billion in corporation tax. The proposals will make it harder for businesses to find the global talent and workforce we need to keep our economy strong and vibrant. They will impact small, familyowned businesses, hitting hospitality and retail particularly hard. For example, Asian restaurateurs will find it nigh on impossible under these proposals to bring talented chefs and waiting staff from overseas. Had the system proposed been in place in the past, I may never have come to the UK, founded a successful business, and created jobs and wealth in our economy, as so many other Asian immigrants in Britain have done. I am sure this is the same story for many readers of Asian Voice, their parents or grandparents. British Asians will also see their rights to travel and work freely within the European Union (EU) stripped away following the end of the Brexit transition period in December. But, though the UK left the EU on January 31, there is still everything to fight for to ensure our future relationship is as close as possible. That is why the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, recently visited Brussels to meet senior EU politicians and urge them to work with our Government to create a form of ‘Associate Citizenship’ for UK citizens who want to retain their rights to travel, work and live across the EU. We have less than a year to chalk out a deal with the EU. All the evidence points to our long-term growth, inward investment and jobs market being hurt by Brexit. The uncertainty it has caused has deterred many businesses from investing since the referendum. UK economic and productivity growth are both at or close to zero. Too many small businesses remain unprepared for the challenges they could face as a result of leaving the EU. At City Hall, we are doing all we can to help businesses of all sizes and sectors. As someone who came to London from India and founded a small business myself, I understand how valuable support and guidance can be in helping navigate uncertain times – which is why the Mayor has launched his Brexit Business Resource Hub. Amid all these challenges, let’s be clear: London will remain a global hub for business, culture and innovation. Our city is a world leader in finance, law, professional services, the creative industries and technology. Across the UK, services industries as a whole contribute 80 per cent to the UK’s economy and London accounts for half of the UK’s exports in services. That is why the Mayor is urging the Government to protect industries that are central to the future prospects of the British jobs and growth while the UK agrees a new trade relationship with the EU. Come what may, I remain optimistic. I am confident London will continue to thrive as a leading global city long into the future, with strong links to our trading partners in Europe, Asia and beyond. cal that we get this new system right, particularly when timeframes are so tight. Otherwise, we risk business closures,” Mike Cherry, Chairman of the FSB noted. Meanwhile, concerned about the damage the overhaul in the immigration system will do to the cultural and financial fabric of the UK, Nazek Ramdan, Director of Migrant Voice said, "By wrongly equating low wage with low skill, the
Government is sending a message to all those in these jobs that they are unvalued and unwelcome. "We want an end to crude assessments of migrants’ 'value', whether that’s a salary threshold or a points target. We want to see a system that recognises that a person’s value to this society goes far beyond their earnings, one that celebrates and protects the richness that comes from the UK’s diverse communities."
8 ART & CULTURE
29 Feb - 6 Mar 2020
How an extraordinary guide dog changed a man's 'dark' world Rupanjana Dutta In 2013 Amit Patel was working as a trauma doctor when a rare condition caused him to lose his sight within thirty-six hours. Totally dependent on others and terrified of stepping outside with a white cane after a horrifying assault, he hit rock bottom. He refused to leave home on his own for three months. With the support of his wife Seema, Amit slowly began to adapt to his new situation, but how could life ever be the way it was? The answer would come in the form of his guide dog, a white Labrador, Kika. At the start, Kika’s stubbornness almost put her guide dog training in jeopardy. Meanwhile, Amit had reservations about trusting a dog with his safety. But in September 2015 Amit and Kika were paired and started on their journey, learning to trust each other before taking to the streets of London and beyond. The partnership not only gives Amit a renewed lease of life but a new best friend. After a video of an irate commuter rudely asking Amit to step aside on an escalator goes viral, he sets out with Kika by his side to spread a message of positivity and inclusivity, showing that nothing will hold them back. From the challenges of travelling when blind to becoming a parent for the
Amit Patel with Kika
first time, Kika & Me is the moving, heart-warming and inspirational story of Amit’s sight-loss journey and how one guide dog changed his life. Dr Amit Patel is a disability rights campaigner, fundraiser, motivational speaker and independent diversity and accessibility consultant. Amit studied medicine at Cambridge University and qualified as a trauma doctor, specialising in emergency medicine and major incidents. During med school Amit was diagnosed with keratoconus, which is usually easily treated with a corneal transplant. However, Amit was one of the rare individuals for whom the transplants rejected and he was registered severely sight impaired
(blind) just one year after getting married in 2013. After coming to terms with his own sight loss, Amit set out to help others who were new to sight loss, through volunteering with the Royal National Institute for the Blind (RNIB) and Guide Dogs for the Blind. Amit is married to Seema and together they have a two children. Kika & Me is his first book. Amit speaking to Asian Voice for the Spotlight column in 2019 said how Kika has become his best friend. He said, “I call her the ‘blonde leading the blind’ and she has her own passport! She’s filled the void when I lost my sight. Funnily enough, my wife’s mother’s maiden name is Kika and Kika and I were one of the
fastest matches made between guide dog and person so it seemed destined! Additionally, Kika was completely fair when we got her and now she’s sporting brown hairs – I always joke that she’s integrating!” The community leader also personally assists the newly blind, providing advice and positivity and accompanying them through potentially daunting journeys: “I’ll go right to someone’s door to help them and there are some brilliant charities who will do the same such as the RNIB.” Significantly, refusing to shy away from the demands of visual impairment has been a conscious aspect of Amit’s expressive campaign. He told AV columnist Sunetra, “People tend to censor the bad parts of life, for example even with parenting, but you should confront them to thrive. I reiterate: it’s not easy to live with a disability but you carry on despite it. Sometimes I’ll feel pressure to stay smiling because if I don’t it seems to upset others. But as I say, I’m an ordinary person who has their ups and downs – in fact, more so than some. To truly represent, I must be as vulnerable as I am strong.” Kika & Me by Amit Patel has been published on 20 February 2020 (Pan Macmillan, £16.99 hardback).
pic courtesy: English National Ballet
NEW BALLET: Akram Khan returns with 'Creature' Dancer, choreographer and celebrity Akram Khan will make a return to this year with a new balletCreature, his third collaboration with English National Ballet. Creature is the tale of an outsider and the search for belonging- a story of exploitation and human frontiers inspired by Georg Büchner's expressionist classic Woyzeck, with shadows of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. It is based on
the theme of abandonment, isolation and the fragility of the mind. A co-production between English National Ballet and Opera Ballet Vlaanderen, Creature is Khan's second full length ballet and follows the success of Giselle, whichhas been seen live by over 100,000 people since 2016, while it toured twelve cities in the UK and outside. Khan said, "The outcast, the stranger, have been a
common theme in my work. In Creature, I am looking further into the areas related to the sense of abandonment, rage and loss." Khan is joined by a brilliant creative team of Academy Award-winning designer Tim Yip, composer and sound designer Vincenzo Lamagna, lighting designer Michael Hulls and dramaturg Ruth Little. UK and International Tours: 01 Apr 2020- 20 March 2021.
The super spy with a golden heart Zanib Mian's second book in the series of Planet Omar comes with great mix of humour and easy explanations for Muslim or Asian traditions. The story of 'Planet Omar: Unexpected Super Spy' is about Omar and his friends, who have been saving up their pocket money to go and see the world's most epic Nerf Blaster battle. But, they came to know that their local mosque was in trouble with rotting roof, that needed £30,000 to fix, so they decided not to travel but to put their pennies together and raise money to help save it. Planet Omar is a relatively new series, where Omar's life revolves around his family (parents, younger brother Esa, older sister Maryam), his school and friends Charlie and Daniel. The book is a bit like the Diary of Wimpy Kids- but with Asian traditions in the backdrop- a welcome change in the usual children's books. Omar in bid to raise money for the mosque included a spa and a talent contest judged by Lancelot Macintosh, who becomes the prime suspect when the mosque money goes missing and the boys turn into spies.
Can they work out who has taken it in time to stop the mosque closing down? And what exactly is Omar's sister Maryam hiding in her room? The illustrations by Nasaya Mafaridik are jolly
and the writing is easy, with gentle mix of humour, and crash course in Muslim culture- something quite fresh and necessary. Zanib started writing books when she felt that diverse characters from all minorities and backgrounds weren't being fully represented in books for young children. She regularly features in the Bradford Literature Festival. Nasaya is based in Indonesia. Self taught she has a passion for children's books and bright, colourful stationary. Planet Omar: Unexpected Super Spy will be published on 6 March 2020, £7.99.
BritMuslim play, Tartuffe, set to open at Brum REP
NEW MUSIC: Romaan's 'Frozen Heart' Straight out of Manchester, 19-year-old Romaan is ready to show what he's made of with the release of his slick debut track 'Frozen Heart'. Great production values, real-talk lyrics and unique vocals - this tune is about as good it gets! Romaan hasn't just entered the music arena, he's been writing since the age of 13, moving on to develop his passion for rap a few years later. Meeting his current producers, Dale and Akib
allowed him to refine his style and direction. Frozen Heart is the end result of that journey but the first step into what promises to be a dazzling future. Romaan's family descend from Pakistan. As a young Asian growing up in the UK, he was surrounded by an eclectic range of music from Bollywood and Bhangra to pop and RnB; but music motivation came from a sibling! He said, "My older brother and his best friend were a hip-hop duo and I
guess that was a real inspiration for me, that's where I began. There were others that I drew from like Drake, Party Next Door, Ramriddlz, WizKid and others. I've been like a sponge and I've experimented and had fun along the way creating a mixture of dancehall, reggaeton and afrobeat styles within my music, as well as forms of hip hop and trap." Frozen Heart is out now via iTunes, Amazon and other digital outlets and available to stream.
A stage comedy, Tartuffe, opens at Birmingham Repertory Theatre this month. Originally directed by Birmingham-born Iqbal Khan for the Royal Shakespeare Company in 2018, Tartuffe tells the story of charismatic chameleon and con man Tahir Taufiq Arsuf, a religious leader for the 21st century armed with a Twitter handle and the gift
of the gab. The cast includes Raj Bajaj and Simon Nagra who both return to the production having been part of the show when it opened at the RSC. Iqbal Khan said: “I’m a Brummie and born into a Pakistani-Islamic family so the production has always felt like a very personal journey to undertake. I can’t wait to see it on stage at Birmingham REP.” Tartuffe runs from 20 March – 4 April.
29 Feb - 6 Mar 2020
Krupesh Hirani selected as the Labour candidate in Brent and Harrow for the London elections Krupesh Hirani has been selected by the Labour Party to contest the Brent and Harrow London Assembly seat at the upcoming London elections in May. The selection was triggered after Navin Shah, the sitting London Assembly Member for the area announced that he was stepping down from the role. Shah had served as the GLA member for 12 years and will not be contesting the 2020 elections. Krupesh is currently serving his third term at Brent Council and overseeing Brent’s year as the London Borough of Culture. He has also working in Harrow for the disability charity Aspire based within the grounds of the NHS Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital and volunteering at the Stanmore Hindu temple. Now, as part of his selection campaign, he has pledged to be a representative for all communities in Brent and Harrow. Although not a member of any factional group within the Labour Party, such as
Momentum, he was backed by a broad range of Brent and Harrow based politicians including Dawn Butler MP, Gareth Thomas MP, the current London Assembly Member for the area Navin Shah and leaders of both Brent and Harrow Councils Cllr Muhammed Butt and Cllr Graham Henson. He was also endorsed by the Jewish Labour Movement due to his strong stance against anti-Semitism which has marred the Party in recent times. Additionally, he has also promised to set up Brent and Harrow’s first ever young people’s steer-
ing group to bring issues directly from young people in the area to the Mayor of London. Krupesh said, “I’m delighted to be selected as Labour’s candidate in Brent and Harrow for the May 2020 London elections. It’s an honour to have the opportunity to represent my Party in the best part of the greatest city in the world; the area I have lived and worked in all of my life. “As we move on to the elections in May, I look forward to campaigning and working hard for Brent and Harrow and retaining the seat for Labour as well as doing my bit to make sure we return Sadiq Khan as our Mayor of London.” His selection is seen as a massive boost to Labour’s prospects of reconnecting with the Hindu community following the general decline in support for the Party. Krupesh is a practising Hindu and is well connected to key temples and community organisations across Brent and Harrow and is seen as the ideal candidate from the Labour Party to take on the mantel from Navin Shah.
Global leaders to attend Ideas For India conference Attendance from more than ten countries confirmed for inaugural Ideas For India conference India is the most heterogeneous country in the world. Within Bridge India, we try and reflect this diversity and nuance in everything we do. That’s why our events just in February itself have focused on tough policy challenges in India, including an event on the Indian Union Budget, one on India’s foreign policy and a forthcoming one on the controversial CAA and NRC laws in India. The aim of our annual Ideas For India conference on 22-24 April is to bring together Indians and other India-watchers from different backgrounds, to explore opportunities in India. For example, we have nearly ten MPs from not only the ruling BJP, but across parties, already confirmed as attending. This includes speakers as diverse as Subramanian Swamy and Sitaram Yechury, as well as those more centrist, such as Harvard-educated Dr Amar Patnaik from the BJD in Odisha. From business, for example, we have Anurag Behar attending, who is the CEO for Azim Premji Foundation, Chief Sustainability Officer of Wipro and Vice Chancellor, Azim Premji University. Vindi Banga, former Hindustan Unilever head; David Landsman OBE, who headed Tata in Europe; and TVS Mohandas Pai, cofounder of Infosys, are all attending.
In addition, we have delegations of business leaders from India, the Nordics, the US and elsewhere coming. In total we expect around 400 attendees over the three days, as well as 300 for the black-tie Celebration Dinner on the third day. Other high-level India-related business events that happen in London are often aimed at a small segment of the business community. Our firm belief in organising this event is that it should be inclusive, with Indian communities from not just London, but Leicester, Southall, Harrow, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Dublin and elsewhere able to meet the senior business, policy and civil society leaders that are coming. What has been most welcome is the excitement amongst corporates and potential sponsors from the UK and Europe, about engaging with India is such a focused manner. Post-Brexit, Britain must look at further and deeper engagement with India, and forums like this offer the perfect opportunity. This is particularly true today, as the Coronavirus hits global growth, and the Indian economy slows down. You can find out more about ticket bookings, speakers and the agenda for the Ideas For India conference on the Bridge India website at www.bridgeindia.org.uk.
10 READERS VOICE
29 Feb - 6 Mar 2020
Enemies of mankind It started with the Corona virus which began taking its toll in China and then spread throughout the world. Hopefully an antidote will soon be found which will put paid to this vicious enemy of the modern world. Who would think that a tiny invisible germ can cause so much death and devastation? But then every now and then something sinister happens which brings the word to its knees. The raging fires in Australia and the floods in Europe including the UK are but a few recent disasters which make you wonder what the world is coming to. We are only talking about the disasters which happened in recent months. Not too long ago, the havoc caused by heavy rains in the wake of, and in accompaniment of, the two hurricanes had brought America, the world’s most powerful nation, to its knees. The incredible sight of America’s cities submerged in deep waters makes you wonder how helpless man is against the wrath of nature. But it has to be said, the culprit is man himself. These tsunamis, mudslides and floods are Mother Nature’s cry for help in retaliation to the flogging we humans subject her to. It is time for governments to do more to protect the environment. So what could be done to prevent such disasters from happening again? This could be achieved by reducing the global warming and conserving an ecological balance by avoiding the depletion of natural resources – by creating sustainability. Dinesh Sheth Newbury Park, Ilford
Coronavirus outbreak The outbreak of the novel Coronavirus disease has affected more than 15,000 people worldwide. The vast majority of the cases are inside China. The fatal virus seems to have spread to other countries as well. It is good to know that the government of India has taken swift and commendable steps by installing virus detection scanners at airports. In addition to this, the media too has played a crucial role in spreading awareness about this virus and preventive measures that has to be taken. Jubel D'Cruz, Mumbai, India
Fitting tribute to Vajpayee India’s most articulate, amiable, noble and popular politician across political divide, Shree Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s birthday was celebrated recently by unveiling his grand statue in his birthplace city of Lucknow, ceremony conducted by equally popular PM Shri Narendra Modi, in presence of CM Yogi Adityanath, State Governor Anandiniben Patel, Defence Minister Rajnath Sinh and many leading politicians from Central Government as well as Assembly Members. The decision for this twenty five feet high statue, weighing five tons, was taken on 11th November 2019 in a specially conducted meeting under Chairmanship of CM Yogi Adityanath. The proposal to honour Shri Vajpayee by erecting his grand statue was approved unanimously, the statue to be unveiled on his birthday by present PM Narendrabhai. It was followed by three days of celebrations, highlighting his achievements, not only on political front but his overall contribution to the society, as a humanitarian, poet, social worker and above all as kind, caring and thoroughly honest, decent person, a difficult honour to achieve in the field of cut-throat politics. As BJP did not receive overall majority, it was a coalition government and Vajpayee was the only politician who could work in tandem with other political parties who were willing to give their support to BJP under his leadership. If Vajpayee was PM now, there would not be a split between BJP and Shive Sena in Maharashtra. It is time for BJP to mend differences, bring back Shive Sena in their fold, even if BJP have to concede Chief Minister’s post to Shive Sena, as Shive Sena is a devoted supporter of PM and all three bills BJP has recently introduced, including CAA. After all BJP’s record in recent Assembly Elections are dismal, having lost power, elections in Maharashtra, Jharkhand and Delhi. It is time for BJP, PM Modi and Home Secretary Amit Shah to pause, think and recuperate before Bihar Assembly elections. One reason put forward by political pundits is the failure of BJP to make alliance with regional parties, thus allowing opposition to gang-up on BJP! Bhupendra M. Gandhi By email
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Namaste Trump I was amazed to see the Namaste Trump event on 24th Feb. Tremendous efforts, made by the Modi govt. to welcome President Trump, were quite evident. Modiji’s warmth and friendship were seen throughout the event whether it was receiving them at Ahmedabad airport, showing them round the Gandhi Ashram or being on the stage at the great Motera Stadium. Both the leaders spoke from their heart and hinted at strengthening their ever lasting trade partnership. This was Modiji’s answer to Trump’s Howdy Modi Event; both were equally spectacular. People of Ahmedabad responded positively and gracefully. It was so scintillating to see a jam packed Motera Stadium roaring in tune cheering both the leaders during their respective speeches. Although President Trump struggled to pronounce few names such as Vivekanand, Sachin and Kohli, I appreciate the fact that he included them along with Bollywood and it’s movies in his speech. He is a powerful person, he doesn’t have to say all these names, without mentioning them even he could have simply talked about Indo-US trade. But no, he chose to do so. I truly appreciate the fact that he put in his efforts to remember and mention about these personalities in his speech; which was received with great cheer and applause throughout the stadium. Modiji’s speech was brilliant as always; happiness was seen on his face hosting the Trump family. Both of them are intelligent & important personalities and will certainly form great trade deal during the visit. Finally not to forget the newly built Motera Stadium. I had been there few times during my childhood; what a Beauty it looks now with a Beast like capacity of 110,000. Let’s call it the Beauty & the Beast of Cricket. Devang Bhatt, Basildon
Doomsday scenario! Recent heavy rains in England, Scotland and especially Wales have created unprecedented situation this country has never faced before. If this is the effect of climate change, then worse is still to come, yet our politicians, academics and scientists are wallowing in the bliss of ignorance, failing to act until it may be too late! It seems younger generation is more aware of this threat than adult population. Watching villages submerged by rising waters, reminded me of Kevin Costner’s 1995 movie “Water World”. Could this fictional movie’s plot become reality one day! Well, it is a million dollar question that we could ignore at our peril.This 1995 movie is clever entertainment with stirring effect on knowledgably audience predicting what may engulf humanity if we ignore climate change scenario, when climate change discussion was in its infant stage. That is why movie was not taken seriously by any one, dismissed as a cheap entertainment rather than clever prediction, way before the time. Polar ice is already melting at an alarming speed. North and South Polls, Arctic and Antarctic Oceans together unbelievably hold some 80% of the fresh water stock of the entire world. In this fictional movie, these ice-caps melts, raising sea level by hundreds of feet, submerging practically entire world, with the sole exception of some mountainous regions, decimating human population, tiny number of mutated survivors’ living in boats with piracy and total mayhem, searching for dry land! Climate change affects us in many ways, with floods in Europe and South East Asia, bush fires in Australia and California; draughts in Mali, Northern Kenya and Somalia, as well as frequent earthquakes. Some African countries are invaded by vast swarms of locusts, a type of African grasshoppers that come alive once in a decade or two but swarms consist of billions of these hungry insects that turn vast areas of the continent bare of vegetation, eating any type of vegetation, causing hunger and famine in these already starving nations, depending on UN food aid to survive. Kumudini Valambia By email
Kapil’s Khichadi The anti-Indian mafia Kapil Dudakia Readers of Asian Voice/Gujarat Samachar are well aware that for the past decade I have been intimating them that there are forces within the UK that are anti-Indian. We find these forces in the media, Parliament, business, our public services and in our educational institutions. The plan of the ‘liberals’ and the hard-left has been to infiltrate all of these sectors. Systematically, their objective was, and is, to ensure that people of their persuasion are given a leg up to power positions so that they can exercise their ideology remotely. Of course, there might be a few deluded people who might say that this is yet another conspiracy theory. That is always a great get out used time and again to hide the truth. It has worked to date and I suspect these forces that we face believe that they can truly fool most of the people, most of the time. As part of my columns, I had previously written about the various strands of this antiIndian mafia. Some of you got it and some of you gave the perpetrators the benefit of doubt. That is life and we have to fight our battles as we find them, and so mine continues, even if it means that on occasions it’s a lone voice. So why have I brought these issues up now? The answer is simple, ever since the election and the emergence of Indian origin MPs on our front bench, we have seen the systematic attack on all of them. The anti-Indian mafia has come out in force.
Within hours of PM Johnson announcing his initial front bench, we witnessed the undermining of Priti Patel. Even the shadow front bench seemed to be using cryptic language that these MPs from the BAME community were not quite Black enough for them. In the more recent cabinet reshuffle, we have seen the tally of prominent Indian origin MPs increase to three. Each of them, Priti Patel, Rishi Sunak and Alok Sharma have competence, intelligence, proven track record and are utterly loyal to this nation. Yet, we see in our press, on social media, and in the corridors of Parliament a systematic attack on all of them. Please don’t get me wrong, all of them have a solid spine and they don’t need me or you to fight their battles. Each of them can take on all of these rogue elements and will come out winners. You might remember, when Priti Patel was addressing the Police, she told them, I have got your back. That was a simple statement, but an incredibly powerful signal to those undermining our Police that they attack them at their peril. As British Indians is it not time that we considered that when our champions are attacked, that it is also an attack on all of us. The anti-Indian mafia is on the march and we as a community need to be mindful of who our real friends are and what we need to do to protect the community. Let’s not allow ignorance or appeasement to get the better of us. (Expressed opinions are personal.)
Pharmacies to offer medicinal advice to patients discharged from hospitals According to reports from July this year community pharmacies will be expected to offer advice on newly prescribed medicines to patients discharged from hospital, in a bid to reduce hospital readmissions. On Sunday 23rd January the Department of Health and Social Care and the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) announced an
update to the five-year Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework (CPCF). According to the Framework hospitals will be able to digitally refer patients to their pharmacy if they believe they need support with their newly prescribed medicines or changed prescriptions. A spokesperson said that under the new NHS
Discharge Medicines Service pharmacies will be asked to complete a one-off consultation with the patient and/or carer. It is not yet clear as yet how much pharmacies will be remunerated for providing the new service, but they it is believed that they will “receive a fee” for every referral they complete. Other new services that are due to be rolled out
sometime this year include extensions to the Community Pharmacist Consultation Service (CPCS) – under which GP practices will refer patients to community pharmacy and launching referrals for urgent medicine supply from NHS 111 online, a hepatitis C testing service and four NHS travel vaccines that are currently provided by some GP practices
29 Feb - 6 Mar 2020
Class sizes getting bigger to save cash An Ofsted report has revealed that the majority of secondary schools are increasing class sizes to save money. According to the education watchdog schools are axing teachers as part of widespread cost-cutting measures which is leading to quieter pupils becoming 'lost' in bigger lessons. Inspectors visited 16 primary and secondary schools in England last year, surveying 201 head teachers and carrying out telephone interviews with 18 of them. Ninety-one per cent of secondary school head teachers reported that 'class sizes have increased because of their school's response to financial pressures'. According to the report
Ofsted said: 'Most of the secondary schools that we visited had shifted to fewer but larger classes in order to save money on teachers.' One secondary school teacher told inspectors: 'Some quieter students get lost in a bigger classroom. It's hard for staff to get round all the students and support them.' Forty-eight per cent of
secondary heads predicted their school would be in debt by the end of the 201920 budget year. A Department for Education spokesman said: 'We recognise schools have faced cost pressures in recent years. That is why we are providing the biggest funding boost for schools in a decade, giving every school more money for every child.'
University staff walk out over pay and pensions Staff at 74 universities walked out on Thursday on the first of 14 days of unprecedented industrial action over a long-running dispute over pay, pensions and working conditions. UCU general secretary Jo Grady said the support sent a "clear message to universities" that the should be working together to "work things out. We have been clear that we are always ready to seriously discuss all the issues at the heart of the
disputes," she said. A Universities and Colleges Employers' Association spokesman commented that universities were "deeply disappointed" that the strikes were going ahead. The disputes are believed to centre on changes to the universities' pension scheme, the Universities Superannuataion Scheme (USS), that the UCU report mean members will pay more for their pension but will ultimately lose tens of
thousands of pounds in retirement. Staff are also angry at universities' failure to make significant improvements on pay, equality, casualisation and workloads. The strikes will largely take place between this Thursday and Friday, Monday and Wednesday next week as well as on March 2, 5, 9 and 13. It is the second wave of strikes in the disputes after UCU members took part in eight days of action before Christmas.
Restaurant wins ITV award Southall’s Brilliant Restaurant, which is owned and run by Gulu Anand, his son Shanker and his daughter Dipna, has just won an ITV award for the best family-run restaurant. Speaking to local media Dipna describes her father as feeling "incredibly proud" of how well the restaurant has done. She also described how her late uncle Kewal Anand, who started the restaurant with Gulu, would be "pleased to see" how far they have come. Now a huge part of running the restaurant as well as a success in her own right with two published books, Dipna said she's always been inspired by her father. Speaking to reporters Dipna said: "My father took an extra keen interest in the cooking side of things, so my grandfather passed a lot of his recipes on to him. “There was a political issue in Kenya at the time so my family migrated to London and my dad and his brother opened the first Brilliant restaurant here in Southall in 1975." "We tried to make ourselves useful, I remember stacking bottles, doing the table cloths, setting the tables, and talking to customers. “I was only nine or ten
but I used to see the way my dad was interacting with customers, running around in front and back of house. He's the same today, like a machine that never stops. "I've always aspired to be like dad. When I look at him sometimes I'm put to shame because my brother and I will be sitting down, tired, but he'll still be going." She continued to talk about how people often ask them about the secret to Brilliant's success and admits her answer is the same as her father's - that it’s a family business. Asked why the Anand brothers chose Southall, Dipna said she believes it was because of the small Indian community that was forming there, near to Heathrow. The community that is now huge in Southall. Dipna's grandfather
started the first Brilliant Restaurant, Nightclub and Hotel in Kenya, Nairobi in the 1950s and it was "very much a family affair". Her mother and father got married a few years later and, because her mother used to help out in the restaurant, Dipna and her brother used to spend a lot of time there as children. Speaking about her own success Dipna said that she did her vocational qualification in Hospitality and Catering at the University of West London and believes that was where her cooking dreams really began. She said: "While I was doing the Masters I was asked if I could start teaching Indian cooking at the university. So then I did the necessary training and before I knew it I was teaching Indian cuisine at the university where I was studying for my Masters. "That's where I knew that my love of cooking was getting stronger, and I've not stopped since then. I still do guest lectures at the university and then I obviously opened my cookery school at the restaurant. “A lot of what I learned in hospitality and catering was from the university. That's where my dream started and where it first became a reality.”
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12 MEDIA WATCH
29 Feb - 6 Mar 2020
SCRUTATOR’S The committee for the construction of Ram Mandir in Ayodhya has nominated Nripendra Misra, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s former principal secretary, as chairman of the committee, in what is being seen as a clear pointer to Modi’s close engagement with the ambitious project. The decision to get the retired UP cadre IAS officer to helm the temple building committee was taken at the first meeting of the newly
Sadhus look at stone slabs, carved-out for the construction of Ram Temple in Ayodhya
constituted Ram Janmabhoomi Teertha Kshetra Trust. Sources said the decision to assign the task to Modi’s trusted bureaucrat is in accord with the PM’s desire to construct a “beautiful and grand” temple in Ayodhya in a time-bound manner and with strict adherence to quality. End political detentions in J&K: US lawmakers A US Congressional delegation from both Republican and Democratic parties asked the Modi government to end political detentions in Kashmir. Ami Bera, senior moderate Democrat leader and chairman of the House committee on Asia and Asia Pacific and George Holding of the Republican party met foreign secretary Harsh Shringla and other senior members of the Indian government. Speaking to journalists, Bera said, “Obviously we have very large Indian American diaspora that talk to many members of Congress. Many members have approached me to get my assessment of Kashmir and the situation there. For the sake of the KashmiriAmerican diaspora we wanted to tell them its in our interest to see a resolution and return to normalcy in Kashmir. I expressed my concerns about the continuing detentions of politicians in Kashmir.” He said he had asked the Indian government to take a US Congress team to Kashmir, however, adding that the recent visit by the US ambassador was a “positive” sign.
signal to bring African cheetah to India and appointed a threemember committee to oversee it. At the 13th Conference of Parties to the Convention on Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals, Soumitra Dasgupta, inspector general of forests (wildlife) of India, said, “You name a species and India has done some work regarding the conservation of that species - tiger, elephant, rhinoceros, marine species. But unfortunately, we have lost one species - cheetah. It was considered to be extinct from Indian landscape in 1940s… The apex court has passed an order for reintroduction of cheetah in India. We are very hopeful that the introduction would take place very soon.” Women own 20% of all enterprises in India A new report titled “Women
Entrepreneurship in India – Powering the economy with her” identifies six dominant segments of women entrepreneurs and estimates India to have 13.5–15.7 million women-owned enterprises, representing 20% of all enterprises. These enterprises are creating direct employment for 22 to 27 million people in India. The report pushes for an integrated policy framework for accelerating entrepreneurship among women, including those from semi-urban and rural areas. As per the report an all state effort focused on enabling women entrepreneurship can by 2030 increase direct and indirect employment for 150 to 170 million people. This number is more than 25% of the new jobs required for entire working age population by 2030. If accomplished this will put India at par with several emerging and advanced economies where more than 40% of all enterprises are women owned. Japanese nationals turning to Jainism Hundreds of Japanese nationals travel to Palitana and Shankheswar in Gujarat to embrace Jainism every year. Churushi Miyazawa came as a traveller in 2005 and her first
meeting with Gachadhipati Swargiya Jayantsen Suriswarji Maharaj Saheb, a senior monk, charmed her into the religion. Such was the appeal that she decided to shed her past and vow to live like a Jain. Churushi wanted to take deeksha (renunciation) and would brook no opposition. “My guru
which the accused will be arrested,” Bhadohi SP Ram Badan Singh said. In her complaint, the woman said Sandeep had been repeatedly raping her since 2016 after promising to marry her. After being gangraped by the MLA and his sons for 45 days in 2017, she got pregnant, but was forced to abort. She approached the cops last month after Sandeep refused to marry her and threatened to kill her. Taking note of the complaint, Bhadohi SP Ram Badan Singh assigned the probe to an assistant SP. The survivor was provided security and a team led by the ASP collected prima facie evidence against the seven accused after which the FIR was filed against them.
Gang rape cases on the rise There is no end in sight regarding gang rape cases. The latest case involves Ravindra Nath Tripathi, BJP MLA from Bhadohi in Uttar Pradesh, his five sons and a nephew. Bhadohi Kotwali police lodged an FIR against the seven on a complaint filed by a 35-yearold widow. She accused Sandeep, the MLA’s nephew, of raping her for the past four years and the others, including the MLA, during the 2017 state elections. “Further probe and collection of evidence are in progress after
Jainism making inroads in Japan as thousands of Jappanese embrace it
Above normal temperatures predicted The India Meteorological Department has predicted that the summer months would be severe in most parts of India. The department’s forecast for March and April has indicated an “enhanced probability” of above normal temperatures in several parts of India - central, western and southern regions. In April, the mean temperature is likely to be higher than normal by 1-1.5°C in Delhi, UP, Haryana, Chandigarh, Rajasthan, MP and most of Maharashtra. February has already turned out to be warm this winter for Maharashtra and the southern states, and the heat quotient is expected to spike further in the next two months. The monthly average temperature during March and April could be 1-1.5°C above normal in many parts of the country, especially central India. Forecasts show that parts of Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan and the south peninsular states like Karnataka, Andhra (Rayalaseema region) and Tamil Nadu, among others, could see average temperatures highnature of the global-warming trend associated with greenhouse emissions.
Elephant, Bengal florican move closer to CMS Appendix I
Asian Elephants, Bengal Floricans
India firm on bring back cheetah India reasserted that it was committed to reintroduce cheetah to the country even as some experts expressed reservations about wisdom of such a project instead of focusing on the surviving species. This comes two weeks after the Supreme Court gave its green
entrusted me with a bigger task: To spread Jainism across Japan. Since then I have been travelling to India four to five time a year with hundreds of Japanese who are ready to embrace Jainism.” After Naganoken, the popularity of Jainism is spreading in Osaka and Tokyo too. Not only have thousands of Japanese turned to Jainism, many are readying themselves to take up monkhood. Under conventional practice, initiation into monkhood comes after immense training. The initiates live with monks in temples and the preparatory phase can last anywhere between six months and 10 years, says Babulal Jain-Ujwal, a veritable fount of information on Jainism.
The Appendix I of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) includes species that are facing a ‘very high risk of extinction in the wild in the near future.’ Last week, India moved to include the Asian Elephant, the great Indian bustard (GIB) and the Bengal florican to the Appendix I of CMS at the Committee of Whole (COW) which unanimously cleared the proposal. The proposal will now be sent for final voting to the plenary session of the conference of parties (COP) to the CMS. In its rationale for including GIB in Appendix I, India cited seasonal fluctuation in numbers of GIB indicating cross-border movement. For the Bengal florican, India said the species was on verge of extinction due to habitat loss, habitat degradation and hunting. The species no longer breeds outside protected areas except in a few pockets in the Brahmapurtra flood plains.
29 Feb - 6 Mar 2020
Asian stem cell donors still sought for 3-year-old Veer Gudka
Jealous woman stabbed sister 68 times in pre-meditated attack
As Asian Voice reported on page 2 of it’s 18th January issue parents of 3-year-old Veer Gudka are desperately searching for a stem cell donor. The boistrous 3 year old from Harrow was diagnosed with Fanconi anaemia - a rare genetic disease that puts him at risk of cancer as it reduces the number of blood cells created by the body - in December 2018 after having became very lethargic. His parents Nirav and Kirpa are continuing their appealing for more Asians to sign up as stem cell donors and are working very closely with blood cancer charity Anthony Nolan, to raise awareness and diversify the stem cell register which they hope will give their little boy a fighting chance of finding the best possible donor. Speaking to various
Details of how a woman driven by jealousy and rage brutally stabbed her sister 68 times in a pre-meditated attack while her children slept upstairs will be highlighted in a new documentary series entitled ‘The Lady Killers’. According to the documentary in May 2016, mother-of-four Saima Khan was found dead in her home after being murdered by her sister and investigating police uncovered the shocking story of a complex love triangle between one husband and two sisters. While she played the role of the grieving sister, Sabah Khan was spinning a web of deceit as in reality, she had murdered her own sister in cold blood. The documentary reveals how Sabah looked into various methods of killing her sibling, including buying poison, venomous snakes and even going as far as paying £5,000 for a witch doctor to put a spell on her. Whilst the Khan family were close, with three generations of the same family living under one roof, caring for and supporting each other, over a four-year peri-
Veer pictured with dad Nirav, mum Kirpa and sister Suhani
media outlets about the diagnosis Nirav said: “The news came to us as a big shock. We were distraught. Our otherwise perfect little world was turned upside down.” Doctors treating Veer say that his best chance of survival would be to have a stem cell transplant to help reboot his body’s ability to make blood. His parents and five-year-old sister Suhani were found not to be a
match and no matching donors are currently on the register. As he is of Asian descent, his chances of finding a match are only 20 per cent, compared with 80 per cent if he was Northern European. To find out more on how to help Veer please log on to: www.anthonynolan.org/HelpVeerNow, www.helpveernow.org or https://www.facebook.com/ he
Translator who helped British troops against the Taliban and IS begins new life in Britain Translator Mohammad Nazir was until recently hiding from Taliban and Islamic State fighters who had vowed to kill him for working with British troops. Following a campaign by the Daily Mail Mr Nazir and his family are out of harm's way and living in a semidetached home in Oldham. Speaking to the Daily Mail Mr Nazir said: 'We are safe at last. In Afghanistan this could only be a dream but now it is real.' According to the newspaper Mr Nazir, 34, worked with UK officials for nine years and as a result lived in
daily fear that the Taliban would hunt down and kill him, his wife Safia, 27, and his five children. Speaking to the paper about his relocation Mr Nazir said: 'My two oldest boys are already going to school and picking up words of English. To know that our children can study without the fear of kidnap, bombs and bullets is a blessing – an escape from the constant threat not just of the Taliban but of Islamic State. The threat they both pose is becoming greater, not less, and they have spies everywhere.' Talking about his work with British troops Mr Nazir
said that his duties included visits to camps holding Taliban prisoners. He said: 'These people hated the translators more than the soldiers. '[They] saw our faces, they will remember them for ever and, when the time is right, have their revenge because we will always be seen as traitors... I did not even tell my own mother that I worked with the British because it would put her at risk.' It is understood by the paper that there are cases of another 70 translators which are being examined to see whether they can be given sanctuary in Britain.
MPs warn Home Office against watering down 'racist' claims in Windrush scandal According to a report by The Times newspaper MPs have warned the Home Office against watering down a review into the Windrush scandal after it emerged that sections of it’s report accusing the Whitehall department of being “institutionally racist” had been stripped out. The delayed review was commissioned after people with a right to live in the UK were wrongfully detained or deported to the Caribbean. As The Times reported some sources commented that the phrase "institutionally racist" was included in an earlier draft of the Windrush review led by the Inspector of Constabulary, Wendy Williams, but had subsequently been removed. Labour MP David Lammy, a vocal campaigner over the scandal caused by the department's "hostile environment" policy, demanded that the "truth must be published in full". He continued: "The
Windrush scandal resulted in the systematic deportation and detention of black
British citizens by the UK Home Office. The victims' nationality and rights were denied because of the colour of their skin. If this is not institutionally racist, I have no idea what is. It would be an outrage and an insult to the Windrush generation for the independent review to be watered down for political reasons.”
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Sabah Khan (left) murdered her older sister Saima (right) in a frenzied attack at their Luton home in May 2016
od, Sabah had an affair with her sister’s husband, Hafeez Rehman. Whilst he was content at keeping the affair Sabah wanted something more open. As Jo Sidhu, Sabah’s defence barrister, notes in the programme, Hafeez began exploring his options and even inquired as to whether marrying his sisterin-law would be permissible in Islam. While Hafeez was content at keeping his affair with his wife’s sister secret, Sabah wanted something more open. As Jo Sidhu, Sabah’s defence barrister, notes in the programme, Hafeez began exploring his options and even inquired as to whether marrying his sister-in-law would be permis-
sible in Islam. It was online that Sabah came across a Pakistani witch doctor, or ‘fixer’, to see to her sister’s demise for the cost of £5,000. Playing the role of the bereaved sister, Sabah appeared breathless as she explained how she had found her sister’s lifeless body lying in the hallway. But as Forensic Psychologist Dr. Donna Youngs argues, examining the police bodycam footage at the scene, Sabah’s guilt shone through her performance as she feigned shock over her sister’s death. In 2017, Sabah Khan pleaded guilty to her sister’s murder and was sentenced to life with a minimum term of 22 years.
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29 Feb - 6 Mar 2020
'Fagun fest' unites spirit of Bengal with the heart of London Bengal Heritage Foundation in association with London Sharad Utsav and British Council organised their second year of “Fagun Fest” with an objective of bringing the soul of Bengal to the heart of London. On Saturday, 22ndFebruary, Bengalis from India and Bangladesh settled in the UK gathered at The Bhavans, London to celebrate the magnificence of “PoushFalgun” which brought burst of freshness amidst the current London weather. Different forms of Baul folk music, Pithey Utsav and Kantha embroidered items brought the “dui-bangla” together in London, supporting the “living bridge” project of British Council. "It gives us immense pleasure to present the second edition of the Fagun Fest that brings the Poushmela, one of the most colourful festivals of Bengal to the heart of London. This festival will provide a rare insight into the creativity, artistic innovation and cultural celebration of both the Bengal’s traditions including music, handicrafts and a variety of cuisine. The British Council and the Government of West Bengal are working together to showcase the range of community-led cultural innovations from India to the UK audience, and we hope that the coming together of the Indian and Bengali diaspora at the Fagun Fest will lead to a cultural collaboration of the arts, crafts and cultural sectors of the two counties, now and in the future." said Debanjan Chakrabarti, Director East and Northeast India, British Council.
India surpasses the UK to become the fifth largest economy Rohit Vadhwana
The focal point of the evening was soulful folk performances by eminent Baul and Bengali folk artists from Bangla Natok who travelled all the way from Bengal. The artists Arpan Thakur Chakraborty, Kangal Khyapa, Pranes Som amused the audience with their folk songs and melody streaming through indigenous instruments like dotara and ektara. “London is a like a dreamland for me and beautiful arrangements were made by BHF members in spite of their busy schedule. I feel overwhelmed to see how people here are putting all efforts to preserve and promote Bengali culture in a global platform and to their next gen. I have been in many places, but the love I have received from BHF and London audience is amazing. I now look forward to the Fagun Fest performance in Wales and Dublin”, said Pranes Som. Supporting the artists from Bengal were also melodious performances by prominent UK artists of
India and Bangladesh origin who staged together, a day after “Bhasha Dibos – 21stFebruary” and celebrated folk music at a global platform through Bengali language. The UK artists were Tanusree Guha, Gouri Choudhury, Amith Dey and Arunava Bardhan. “After last year’s performance when I was returning back, I felt like I was leaving behind a family. It amazes me how BHF has now become a global family for me and I am happy to support their initiative towards promotion of Bengali culture in a diversified platform. Thanks to Bangla Natok, British Council for supporting this cause. More such initiatives should happen so that Baul musicians, Handicraft artisans get more exposure, opportunities and global recognition” said Arpan Thakur Chakraborty, after a fantastic musical performance. Another key attraction of the evening was “Pithey Utsav”. There were various forms of Pitheys (similar to
pancakes) and Bengali sweets like Patishapta, Nokshi Pithey, Gokul Pithey, Dudh Puli, M a l p o a , G u r e r Sandesh,Baked Rosogolla prepared by members of Bengal Heritage Foundation and other baking enthusiasts from London. “For me this is a splendid experience to be part of the organizing committee of the Pithey Utsav. We have been planning this for weeks. I can never imagine being able to enjoy so many wonderful varieties of pitheys and Bengali sweets, while in London. This year, we also conducted a Masterchef in Mishti to encourage baking enthusiasts. There were 2 winners who bagged gift vouchers from Darjeeling Express and Posto, very popular Indian restaurants in London” said Eliza Acharya, new member of Bengal Heritage Foundation and part of the Pithey Utsav Organizing Committee of Fagun Fest. There were delectable food by Posto – Indian Bengali restaurant in
The race continued throughout 2018 and 2019 when the Indian economy was rallying behind the UK and France to become the fifth-largest economy in the world in terms of nominal GDP. The World Economic Outlook of October 2019 officially puts India in fifth place after the USA, China, Japan, and Germany. The size of Indian economy is estimated by IMF as USD 2.94 trillion, while UK is USD 2.83 trillion and France is USD 2.71 trillion. It also means that except Germany, India is bigger than all European economies. India's rise is steep and dramatic. In 2010, India was in the 9th place while in just nine years in 2019, India has secured the 5th place. This shows a multifold increase in the GDP of India. If we measure it in terms of Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) basis, the Indian economy overtakes two more players, i.e. Germany and Japan to sit in the third place with PPP basis GDP of USD 10.51 trillion. The importance of the Indian economy for the world has increased so much that the IMF had to revise its global economic growth output due to a slight slowdown in the Indian economy in the last two quarters of 2019. However, the elephant economy is poised to grow again at a faster pace at 6.1% in 2010-20 and 7% in 2020-21, as per the report. Growth in emerging and developing Asia is forecasted by IMF to inch up slightly from 5.6% in 2019 to 5.8% and 5.9% in 2020 and 2021 respectively. India's growth projection is also positively contributing to it, as India is no more a slow-moving elephant but has acquired swiftness along with its heavyweight. One more interesting fact about the Indian economy is that its official Gold reserve has increased very fast over the period of time. In 1970, India had 213 tons of Gold which in 2019 stood at 613 tons valued at USD 65 billion. Currently, India's Foreign Exchange Reserve stands at over USD 476 billion which is highest ever India has held. Noteworthy to mention that in 1990, India's Forex depleted to only 4.8 weeks' worth import bill. The first time it crossed USD 100 billion was only in 2004. Today, India is much more comfortable in the forex and gold reserve and enjoys good strength and stability of a strong economic base.
(Expressed opinion is personal) Do you have a story or suggestion for this column? Email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
London. Other prestigious figures who were felicitated were Biman Mullick,a Philatelist and stamp designer of international repute made the designs of stamps for
Bangladesh and British stamp commemorating Mahatma Gandhiand Mrinal Choudhury, first Bengali Mayor of the London Borough of Harrow.
Permanent presence for legend Freddie Mercury Dhiren Katwa A street in the London suburb where iconic rock musician Freddie Mercury lived as a teenager has been renamed Freddie Mercury Close. The new street sign was unveiled at a special ceremony on Monday this week by the late Queen frontman’s sister, Kashmira Bulsara and Mayor of Hounslow, Councillor Tony Louki. Local authorities agreed to rename part of Hanworth Road the address of the headquarters of the World Zoroastrian Organisation (WZO). Freddie, real name Farrokh Bulsara, was born a Zoroastrian and practiced the ancient religion as a child. He and his family moved to Feltham in west London after fleeing the revolution in Zanzibar in 1964. The family lived a short walk away at 22 Gladstone Avenue. That site
was marked with a blue plaque in 2016. Monday’s ceremony, attended by around 150 guests, included Lord Karan Bilimoria, CBE, DL, Seema Malhotra MP, British writer and human rights campaigner Zerbanoo Gifford, writer Shahin Bekhradnia and flutist Jessica Mistry and leading British Zoroastrians Malcolm Deboo and Shahpur Captain. The proceedings as well as the vote of thanks were led by WZO Secretary Darayus Motivala. Ervad Jimmy Madon, one of the youngest Zoroastrian priests in the UK, along with his brother and fellow priests recited a prayer. A minute’s silence was observed as a mark of respect for two senior priests who the community recently lost. Hounslow Mayor Tony Louki spoke about Diversity in the Borough he represents. Silence during his address broke for a
moment when twoyear-old Micah called out “daddy” a few times which prompted laughter and smiles. Micah was with her dad Sheni, mum Anahita and brother Remi, aged five. Jacky Smith who runs the Official International Queen Fan Club, founded in 1973, also said a few words describing Freddie “a warm, funny man”. Lord Bilimoria spoke about the contribution of fellow Zoroastrians in the UK and heaped praise on their collective remarkable achievements. “Wow, what an From left: Darayus Motivala, Lord Bilimoria, MP Seema address to have,” he Malhotra, Mayor Tony Louki, Kashmira Bulsara, guest said and quoted two of
Freddie’s most popular songs, ‘We are the Champions’ and ‘Don’t stop me Now’. WZO President Sammy Bhiwandiwalla gave a presentation, with the aid of a script, featuring notable Zoroastrians in the Performing Arts, including Zubin Mehta. Medallions with the image of WZO House were presented by Shapur Captain to selected dignitaries. Warren Vokes from AE Tuition, a sponsor, who lease the top floor of WZO House, paid tribute to the Zoroastrians. Of India’s 1.3 billion population, around 60,000 are Zoroastrians, also known as Parsis. In the UK, the Parsi population stands at around 6,000. A memorial garden is in the planning to carry on the legacy of Freddie who influenced millions and is still so affectionately remembered by his fans, globally. To find out more about WZO visit www.w-z-o.org
Shani Dhanda On Everyday Equality
Sunetra Senior hani is an award-winning event manager, social entrepreneur and prominent spokesperson for the disabled community. She has worked with high-profile celebrities such as World Champion heavyweight boxers Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury, having travelled the world, and boosted social visibility for a variety of marginalised groups, giving talks in the medical, charity and business sectors. Her infectious sense of humour distinguishes the petite live-wire too.
ground art from emerging talented artists. “I could not see these vibrant areas being promoted amongst the South Asian community or indeed such South Asian Female identity being represented in this dynamic way. Maybe in London, but not so much in the Northern English cities. There isn’t as much open dialogue.” By broadening the concept of South Asian heritage, Shani enhances individual confidence and creates clearer cultural visibility within the national community. Similarly, Shani spoke of the reductive way in which society can view disability and the willing open-mindedness that is required to counteract this: “People don’t realise you are fundamentally the same as everyone else: you have the same wants, dreams and requirements. It is easy just to see someone as their disability, relegating them to that isolated space. I always say I am not defined by my condition: I define myself. After university I tried applying for over a hundred jobs and did not receive a single job offer. As soon as I removed the declaration of my condition, I was immediately offered work.” In fact, Shani’s apparent fault has at once been an unparalleled source of aptitude: “I thrive in my career as an events manager because my entire way of life is centred on creative thinking. I have to think quickly: how do I reach a kitchen counter, how do I tailor my clothes, drive a car and so much more? Working hard is inbuilt for me because I am more challenged than the average person to progress. In my family, I’m always the one who plans the holidays or organises the big celebrations. There is so much untapped potential when one discriminates.”
The 32-year-old was born with a rare genetic condition called Osteogenesis Imperfecta (OI), more commonly known as Brittle Bones, “affecting one in every 15,000 people in the UK”. This means her frame is fragile and “bones could break easily or for no apparent reason.” Shani stated: “I was in and out of hospital through a lot of my childhood. I had to learn to walk again at least six times over.” A secondary feature of Brittle Bones can also be a shorter stature where Shani herself is 3’10”. The driven activist founded The Diversability Card, which offers discounts to disabled people due to the unavoidable extra costs they face living with a condition or impairment. She is also the Founder of the new Asian Woman Festival which has been a career highlight, and the first spectacle of its kind in the country. In addition to campaigning for fairer treatment of those with disabilities, Shani has sought to commemorate the fully-fledged identities of women from South Asian culture where “we still see them in limited roles e.g. being just a wife or Indeed, this highlights the flawed mother.” Shani wanted to highlight the way in which we view difference altomultitude of ways in which fulfilment is gether: “there is a very serious Us versus found from a buzzing work life and Them mentality ingrained in people,” family care to unique personal interests Shani elaborated. “But it is wonand hobbies. “The theme last year derful to have diversity” and, was around ‘Identity’ where we of course, much realer to will be looking at ‘Honour’ “When embrace ‘flaws’. in 2020. I was so tired of you live with a Indeed, another sigseeing events to either nificant aspect of book your wedding or condition or South Asian buy a sari on offer to impairment, it’s like Shani’s Woman festival is its women – that cannot you’re treated like highlighting of the be the only value we everyday rewards have for Asian either a celebrity that are part of ordiWomen.” or a nobody” nary life. Last year’s The Asian Woman event boasted a workshop Festival will take place in that helped accessorise Shani’s hometown of Eastern clothes with Western style, Birmingham of which she is infinitely and included a panel that discussed proud. “I’m a Brummy girl for life! I currelationships and sexuality at great rently work in-between there and depth. London. My full-time job is in project “When you live with a condition or management for Virgin Media which is impairment, it’s like you’re either treatbased in the City, but I enjoy staying ed like a celebrity or a nobody,” Shani connected to the place that has raised commented, “you’re viewed as either a me.” The Festival consists of talks, benefit scrounger or a Paralympian.” panel discussions on significant social However, there’s a huge middle-ground ideas, workshops from fashion to selfof empowerment to be discovered. As expression and budget-management, the humorous entrepreneur herself street food, pop-up bazaar and underembodies, there are finally a plethora of
paths that lead to a full and prosperous life. “As someone who attended a special needs school in Sandwell, I never thought I’d one day be behind massive events for such influential people,”. Success then does not come in one shiny cookie-cut form. Paradoxically staying grounded within herself, Shani emerges exceptional. As well as working with a number of big names in the entertainment industry, Shani has given talks at a number of big companies, flying to the Google offices for a Diversity Conference very soon. “I have to say that my mother has been a huge influence,” Shani concluded. “She never let me feel unable and taught me there is always another way of doing something.” Providing a transformative mix of discipline and love, Shani even remembers “her dumping a load of laundry next to me when both legs were in plaster saying ‘you’re not getting out of that!” And so, going deeper than the substantive gestures that would facilitate a better quality of life for a greater number of people, Shani demonstrates inclusive capitalistic thinking as the fundamental systemic change. “If I see underrepresentation, I have to move to address it. This is what underlies every project. If there isn’t room, I’ll create a chair and a whole table if necessary!” We’d like to see a crown also.
There next Asian Woman Festival (AWF) will be on this April 4th, 2020. Tell us more? Last year, we had over 1000 people turn up, coming from locations overseas as well: Germany, Spain and Singapore. Expect an even more exciting array of people! There will be talks that address the complexity of BritishAsian identity as well as South Asian women. As a role model, I want to empower others to reach their full potential too. There will be: mainstage talks, on issues such as divorce, the cost of Asian weddings and mental health; workshops run by industry professionals; pop-ups by smaller and medium-sized businesses and finally opportunities to network and make new friends. The target audience is unofficially the age range of 20-35, but we welcome everyone. 30% of turnout were those of non-South Asian backgrounds last year. We’re not just creating a safe space for Asian Women to attend but also a lean-in event where people can come to learn, support and collaborate. You can come to speak, sell or just listen! We want to put the spotlight on the unsung heroes. Tell us more about your deep drive to foster equality? No one was speaking on behalf of people such as myself. It was a very limited white homogenous spectrum. Also, people do not understand how easily disability can affect them. I was born with my condition, but so many acquire an impairment. The figure is currently at 14,000 disabled in the UK. I think we’ll see real integrative change when we see disabled people being portrayed in an everyday light, such as a mother to CEO - we don’t hear those stories. T: @ShaniDhanda W: https://www.shanidhanda.com/
29 Feb - 6 Mar 2020
ENGALI FILM MAKER TO BRING NEW PLAY TO UK Bengali Film maker, actor and famous singer Anjan Dutt is bringing his latest stage production Raghupati from Kolkata, India to the UK in May. According to a report in the Times of India, On May 2, the play will be staged at Ditton Park Academy in Slough, London and on May 3, at Capstone Theatre Anjan Dutt in Liverpool. Based on Rabindranath Tagore’s seminal work, Bisarjan, the play is directed by Anjan, who plays Raghupati. It was premiered in December in Kolkata. Dutt told TOI, “Many people in the UK see me as a musician. But I am essentially a theatre person. I am really happy to take my play to the UK this year." Speaking about the play, Dutt reportedly added, “This play stands against violence and religious dogma. I am analysing it through my worldview. I have taken eight scenes from the main conflict moments in the final version of Tagore’s play and just changed the language. I have incorporated my bits, especially the monologues. I wanted to tell today’s story.”
SUELLA BRAVERMAN SWORN IN AS BRITAIN’S FIRST EVER ASIAN FEMALE ATTORNEY GENERAL Indian-origin MP Suella Braverman (former Fernandez) who was appointed UK's new Attorney General in Prime Minister Boris Johnson's reshuffled Cabinet earlier this month, has been formally sworn in for the post at a ceremony at the Royal Courts of Justice in London. A Cambridge University graduate and barrister who specialised in public law and judicial review, said her priority will be to restore confidence in the justice system. Braverman was born in London to parents from Kenya and Mauritius with roots in Goa and South India. She is the first female Attorney General to be appointed by a Conservative Party government. Suella Braverman Braverman after the ceremony reportedly said, "It is a privilege to be sworn in as attorney general and a moment I will cherish as the second woman to be appointed to this historic role," said "Restoring confidence in the criminal justice system is my top priority. I want to thank my predecessor for his work in this area and his distinguished service to government," she said, in reference to the previous Attorney General Geoffrey Cox. Robert Buckland, the Lord Chancellor and UK Secretary of State for Justice, welcomed the new incumbent to the "vital and historic role" as the chief legal adviser for the government, the PTI reported. Buckland added, "The relationship between the law officers and the lord chancellor is a crucial one. I look forward to working closely with the attorney on matters relating to the rule of law, which is the cornerstone of our democracy and a major factor in our success as a civilised and prosperous nation," 39 year-old Braverman's role will involve overseeing the work of the law officers' departments, which includes the independent prosecuting authorities, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and the Serious Fraud Office. Braverman has been the MP for Fareham in south-east England since 2015. She has been a vocal supporter of Brexit and previously served as a minister in the erstwhile Department for Exiting the European Union. As a former member of the Attorney General's panel of treasury counsel, she has defended the UK Home Office in immigration cases in the past.
PAS WORRY WORKPLACE STRESS AFFECTING THEIR HEALTH Over 60% of PAs (Personal Assistants) in the UK are worried that workplace stress is affecting their health. The results of a widescale survey of Personal and Executive Assistants carried out by PA Life – the leading resource for PAs and EAs in the UK – are revealed as the PA Show opened its door in London Excel on Tuesday, 25 February. The survey of over 420 individuals also looked at the hours PAs and EAs are regularly working – with 33.4% working 9-9.5 hours each day and 11.5% working over 10 hours a day. Almost half (49.7%) of the PAs surveyed revealed that they feel they are constantly on call, with a further 8.6% claiming that they ‘sometimes’ feel like they are required to respond to their bosses outside of normal working hours. In addition, a whopping 83% say that they check work emails in the evening, at weekends and on holiday, and over 66% believe that their bosses’ stress makes them feel similarly pressured and anxious. Unsurprisingly, these issues mean that over 56% worry that they don’t have a healthy work/life balance, with over 57% concerned that they are at risk of ‘burn out’. Meanwhile, when asked what one thing would help them to achieve a better work/life balance, over 60% responded that having the option to work from home or to have flexible hours would make a huge difference.
29 Feb - 6 Mar 2020
Prince Charles launches JLR innovation centre Tata Motors' Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) innovation centre, worth 150-million pound has been launched by Prince Charles on last Tuesday. The centre will be Europe's largest automotive research and development facility of its kind, at the University of Warwick to create sustainable future mobility projects, including electrified and autonomous vehicles- dedicated to advanced automotive research, design and development. The launch event also marked the unveiling of JLR's new concept vehicle created at the NAIC, Project Vector, as part of the company's Destination Zero vision of an autonomous, electric, connected future for urban mobility. The National Automative Innovation Centre will have up to 1,000 academics, researchers, engineers and designers from across Britain and India to work on cars and vehicles of the future. The 33,000 sq metres centre is designed as an innovative, collaborative workspace and includes cutting-edge workshops, laboratories, virtual engineering suites and advanced powertrain facilities. The concept for this NAIC was initiated by the late Professor Lord Kumar Bhattacharyya, the Indian-origin founder of the Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG), and the building it is located in is named after him. Prince Charles, who admitted pressing for action
on environmental issues for nearly 50 years at the launch which was attended by Tata Group Chairman Ratan Tata said, "This centre in the heart of the United Kingdom brings together from industry and academia some of the brightest minds to tackle some of our society's toughest problems. "In all the years what has always struck me is the need for a cooperative, joint up approach between all those who are pursuing the same goal by whatever means. This centre is now pulling together many of the most talented people tackling society's greatest mobility challenges and is helping to shape the future of the automotive industry," reported the PTI. The Times of India wrote that JLR CEO Ralf Speth said, "At Jaguar and Land Rover, we believe in creating a better tomorrow for mobility. A future of zero emissions, zero congestion and zero accidents," said
"We call it 'Destination Zero' and the National Automotive Innovation Centre will make sure we get there," he said. Speth went on to explain how at the NAIC, academics, manufacturers and suppliers will work towards developing a smart, safe transport infrastructure that integrates autonomous vehicles and public transport, design zeroemission vehicles powered by smart-chargers and renewable energy, and discover material and digital manufacturing innovations that will eliminate waste. As part of the NAIC's integrated approach, engineers from Tata Motors' Pune design base will also come to the UK on a temporary basis and colleagues from Britain will go to work in India. Guenter Butschek, CEO and MD of Tata Motors told the PTI, "The National Automotive Innovation Centre brings together our UK-based engineering and design experts to one setting,
providing greater synergy on ground-breaking design and technologies with a focus on connected, electric, shared and safe, that will help shape future mobility solutions in India. "The centre has been carefully designed to support the future of automotive advancements. Its virtual engineering suite, powertrain facilities, laboratories and cutting-edge design workshop provide an inspiring, productive and collaborative environment for the future". "The late Professor Lord Bhattacharyya's vision was for future generations of designers, researchers and engineers to be inspired to innovate through collaborative research projects with manufacturers, suppliers and academia at the National Automotive Innovation Centre," said Professor David Mullins, Interim Head of the WMG. Professor Stuart Croft, the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Warwick reportedly said, "Its location underscores Coventry, Warwickshire and the West Midlands' leading roles in UK and international automotive innovation and research.” The WMG said that students and apprentices work alongside experts and leaders in their fields at the new centre, which will also transform university curricula over time to supports emerging technologies and mobility solutions.
Yorkshire Tea shocked by criticism of Chancellor's photo with a cuppa Chancellor Rishi Sunak's photo of him appearing to make a huge round of Yorkshire Tea for his Treasury staff has kicked off a backlash among social media users. The Twitter image led to calls by some on the left for a boycott of the brand. The tea company has now urged social media users to “try to be kind”. The company said that it was “pretty shocked” by this backlash and call for boycott. They reminded people that Labour leade Jeremy Corbyn had also posed with iys products in 2017. During a visit to York in 2017, Mr Corbyn said he would be happy to discuss climate change and other issues over a pot of Yorkshire Tea with Donald Trump if he ever made it to Downing Street. Yorkshire Tea, a popular tea brand has evolved over the years from being just a
regional blend found in Yorkshire to a major export quality of tea, sold as far as China and Australia.But after Mr Sunak posted a photo on Friday with a bumper pack of 1040 tea bags, the company was struck with major criticism. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, who represents the North Yorkshire seat of Richmond's twitter handle with the photo said, “Quick Budget prep break making tea for the team. Nothing like a good Yorkshire brew.” Yorkshire Tea, which is owned by Taylors of Harrogate, reportedly made it clear on Friday that it had had nothing to do with the photo and had not been told in advance by the Chancellor's team that he would associate himself with their brand. A member of the firm's social media team urged people on twitter to remember that the company has a human as well as a corporate face.
NEW ORGAN DONATION SYSTEM TO COME IN FORCE FROM 20 MAY 2020 From 20 May 2020 organ donation will move to a system of deemed consent, otherwise known as ‘opt-out'. All adults will be presumed as a possible organ donor when they die, unless they have made a decision that they do not want to be a donor or are in an excluded group. Currently people from a black, Asian or ethnic minority (BAME) backgrounds are disproportionately affected – they are more likely to need a transplant and one in five people who died on the organ transplant waiting list last year were BAME. The new system of consent will help address the shortage of BAME organ donors and help those desperately waiting for a life-saving, or lifeenhancing, transplant with organs that are a suitable match. It’s important that everyone takes the time to discuss their choices on donation with their families, whatever their preference may be. Last year, government passed the Deemed Consent Act 2019 to give hope to those waiting for a transplant. Children below 18, people who have been ordinary residents for less than 12 months in England and people who lacked capacity for a significant time, will be excluded. These regulations will ensure that when novel transplants become available in the UK they will be excluded from the new system. The new system is expected to start from 20 May 2020, subject to Parliamentary approval of draft regulations and Code, laid in Parliament on 25 February. Health Secretary Matt Hancock told Asian Voice, “Too many people lose their lives waiting for an organ, and I've been determined to do what I can to boost organ donation rates. "So I'm incredibly proud of the action we are taking with this new law. This is an important step forward in making organ donation easier and more available to those who need it and could help save hundreds of lives every year. "I pay tribute to the brave campaigning of families such as Max and Keira's, whose tireless work on this issue has made a huge difference." A wide-ranging public information campaign led by NHSBT is ongoing to make the public aware of the changing law so they know what this means and the choices available to them. Jacob West, Director of Healthcare Innovation at the British Heart Foundation added, “More than 300 people in the UK are waiting for a heart or a heart and lung transplant in the UK, not knowing when or if they will receive their new organ. Max and Keira’s Law is a lifesaving change in legislation that will offer hope to these people and their families. “With the change in law, there’s no better time to discuss with your loved ones what you want to happen to your organs when you die. It’s not an easy conversation, but it could save somebody’s life.” Fiona Loud, Policy Director of Kidney Care UK, said, “People are still dying every single day in need of a transplant and around 80% of those waiting for a transplant are in need of a kidney... “Patients have been waiting and hoping for this change, which stands to make a positive contribution to lives and our society, for many years. “Alongside the commitment to continued public education and support from our NHS. We urge everyone to have a conversation about organ donation so they know what their loved ones decision is.” Minister for Care, Helen Whately said, “The incredible gift of organ donation means that one family’s tragedy can bring new hope for another. “At the moment, the chances of this are lower because of the shortage of available organs and tissues. This new law can help change that, saving many more lives every year. “I encourage everyone to take this opportunity to have a conversation with their families and friends about their organ donation wishes and register a decision.” Anthony Clarkson, Director of Organ Donation and Transplantation for NHS Blood and Transplant, added, “We hope that the new law encourages more people to record their donation decision and talk about organ donation with their families. It is important for people to know that they can do this at any time before or after the law comes into effect. There is no deadline for making your donation decision. “We are encouraged that almost two thirds of people in England are now aware that the law is changing, but we would like this figure to be even higher by the time the law changes. The majority of people tell us that they support organ donation in principle, yet only around 4 in 10 have actually registered their decision. “For those who have not thought about organ donation before, or who still have questions, we have lots of information available on our website and our team of helpline advisors are available to answer any queries. Organ donation is and always will be a precious gift and if more people are inspired to support and agree to donation, then many more lives can be saved.” The simplest way to record a decision is on the NHS Organ Donor Register website, available at: https://www.organdonation.nhs.uk/register-to-donate/.
29 Feb - 6 Mar 2020
120,000 respond to US prez’s ‘Namaste’ At the 'Namaste Trump' event at the Motera stadium in Ahmedabad, 120,000 voices cry out an exuberant ‘Namaste’ in response to US President Donald Trump's 'Namaste' at the beginning of his speech. “Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call, ‘Long Live Indian-American Friendship’, also received a similar response.” The stadium was packed before Modi and Trump arrived at noon. They received a spectacular ovation when they strode onto the stage. Groups from several districts of Gujarat were spread across the stadium. The loudest roar of approval came when Modi and Trump addressed each other as ‘friends’. The US president’s allusion to Bollywood blockbusters, his ‘chaiwala’ reference about Modi, and his appreciation of the contribution of NRIs in the US drew
'Namaste Trump' event at the Motera stadium in Ahmedabad
spirited cheers from the crowd. Moreover, the specta-
cle seemed to mitigate the effects of the scorching heat
for the crowd.Senior city police officials said that the
Modi-Trump bonhomie becomes stronger
bandobust at the stadium rivalled that for the annual
Rath Yatra in Ahmedabad. “We had an extensive plan to handle the arrival of participants from outside the city to prevent jams on arterial roads and highways,” said a senior city police official. “We also scheduled the entry of people to prevent crowding outside the stadium.” People were frisked by two cops simultaneously - one focused on the upper part of the body and the other on the lower part. “This allowed us to frisk each person in just five seconds,” the official said. “Still, it took about three-anda-half hours for the stadium to fill up.” To provide uniformity to the crowd, various groups had provided specially designed white T-shirts and caps to the participants. A few groups entered the stadium with saffron jackets with ‘Namaste Trump’ logo emblazoned on them. Legions of people wore Modi and Trump masks.
Moving experience for Trump & Co at Gandhi Ashram
US President Donald Trump said that his country would always be faithful and loyal to Indians, and enthusiastically embraced the entire gamut of India-US ties during his speech at the packed Motera Stadium in Ahmedabad on Monday. Trump’s speech signalled a strong confluence on major issues of concern to India. “India and the US are committed to defending our people from radical Islamic terrorism,” he said. “Every nation has the right to secure and controlled borders,” he added. Trump said the US had a “very good relationship with Pakistan” and “we are working with them to crack down on terror organisations and militants” in that country. On trade, Trump said he and PM Narendra Modi would be making “very very major deals” but added that they were in the “early stages of discussion”. Modi, he said, was a “very tough negotiator”. Trump dwelt at length on the burgeoning defence ties as he highlighted joint military drills and sale of American weapons to declare that the “US should be India’s premier defence partner.” He emphasised that the US military had been “rebuilt” and that Washington was quickly revitalising its alliances and friendships all around the world and referred to IndiaUS land, air and sea military exercise while announcing a joint commitment to a “free and open” the Indo-Pacific. “It is faith in free society, confidence in your own people, your trust in your own citizens and respect for dignity of every person that makes the US and India such a natural, beautiful and enduring friendship,” Trump said. Modi emphasized on upward trajectory of India-US ties
PM Modi emphasised the upward trajectory of India-US relations and said, “Whether it is a matter of individuals or nations, the basis of their relationship is to trust one another.” He quoted a Sanskrit phrase to say “friend-
socalled Islamic State and said, “In defeating terrorism, the US and the leadership of President Trump have served the cause of humanity.” He described Trump as a “singular (vilakshan) leader” and a “unique (ananya) friend of
India”. Modi said it was sigship is where trust is unshaknificant that Trump was visitable” and added, “Our trust is ing India at the beginning of a at a historic level. I have seen new decade. this trust grow in my visits to PM Modi dwelt on several the US. When I first met economic President Trump, he See also pages 25 & 26 and welfare measures said India has taken by the government, saya true friend in the White ing India had the biggest House.” Modi referred to health assurance scheme in Trump’s comments on the the world and it was also US’s leading role against the
working towards accelerated financial inclusion. “Whether it is infrastructure or social sector, we are working on global benchmarks,” he added. Modi referred to laws on transgender rights, abolition of triple talaq, facilities for disabled, and maternity leave of 26 weeks for women. He also said India was the US’s largest trading partner and biggest research partner. “Ties in defence, energy, health and information technology... every area is expanding,” he said. Reciprocating Trump’s view that a growing US offered opportunities for India, he said the same was true for American investment in India. “The US will have more opportunities as India’s manufacturing grows and presents the US with new possibilities. Industry 4.0 and digital growth will mean investment for US,” he said. The PM took note of Trump’s reference to Indian icons, noting that the US president had spoken with reverence about Mahatma Gandhi, Swami Vivekananda and Sardar Patel. “You said a lot about the capabilities of Indian people, you spoke a lot about me, I am grateful on behalf of all Indians,” he said.
President Trump visited Mahatma Gandhi’s Sabarmati Ashram where he thanked PM Modi for the ‘wonderful visit’ and called him a ‘great friend’ in the guest book. The president and the first lady were accompanied by their daughter Ivanka and sonin-law Jared Kushner. Trump and the first lady were welcomed with a khadi dupatta by Kartikeya Sarabhai on behalf of the Ashram trustees. Trump and Melania had a brief stopover at the ashram and Bapu’s cottage ‘Hriday Kunj’ which was home to Mahatma Gandhi from 1917 to 1930. Sarabhai said that before Trump and
the US first lady headed towards the charkha, President Trump told him, “Coming to the ashram was a moving experience.” Jared and Ivanka took keen interest in Bapu’s life at the Ashram and made sure they visited every room of Hriday Kunj.Before entering Hriday Kunj the US president and first lady took off their shoes, according to the Ashram’s custom. Melania put on ankle socks to enter. After Hriday Kunj, PM Modi took them for a demonstration of the ‘charkha’ or spinning wheel, where they were helped by an Ashram employee Lata Parmar. Before the the US president and first lady left the Ashram, the trustees presented them ‘Gandhi’s talisman’ printed on khadi cloth, a pencil sketch of Mahatma Gandhi by city-based artist Vijay Shrimali. Then there was a collection of 150 quotes of the Mahatma, a copy of Bapu’s autobiography ‘The story of my experiments with truth’, a small replica of the charkha or spinning wheel and a 9-inch tall marble statue of Bapu’s proverbial ‘three-monkeys’.
18 FINANCE - UK
29 Feb - 6 Mar 2020
Dear Financial Voice Reader, Alpesh Patel Dear Financial Voice Reader, With the sharp market falls, triggered by conoravirus, we must ask what now? Do we wait for more falls? Do we try to profit from falls? How? Do we work on the basis of the long-term and that all will be fine in the longer term. Or do we say even in the short term it will all be fine. Let’s look at the arguments for each. In the short term it will be fine The support for this argument is that when the major US markets fall steeply on a Monday, as they did this week, then within a week of that they are almost always higher – sometimes by as much as 10% in a week. Of course, buying when people are fearful is not something that would come naturally to most people. By the time you read this, if the market has rebounded, I will add to my US index trackers. I use what are called triple leverage Dow ETFs using HL.co.uk as my broker. So if the Dow goes up 10%, I would be up 30%. Actually, these can be risky. So always take proper advice. Wait for More Falls This tactic I have adopted. But I’ve done it like this. First, I picked stocks I like for the very long term, like Amazon. I then sold some last week because I had accumulated large profits. Next, I told the broker to buy some ETP Note 2x Amazon ie double leverage Amazon tracking stock. But, I told the broker only to buy if there is a 20% drop. That way, I should make roughly a 50% return because they’re 2 x leverage, once Amazon gets back to it’s peak after the decline – and that should happen in a year. Complicated? I use a method of education to drip educate people in bitesize. I use a free app to do this. You can receive the education and information on your desktop or phone – free: https://t.me/pipspredator Ignore It There is a good argument for ignoring the falls. The argument is that in the long term it all works out and you should not try to time good companies, instead just own them. Profit from Falls Now there are two ways to do this. First, trading. You could ‘short’ ie sell say the Dow and buy it back later cheaper. We do this, but it needs a but of skill, and also is higher risk in pursuit of higher return. Second, there are index trackers which go up as the index eg FTSE falls. You could use one of these. Each of these strategies differs in complexity. The more complex, the more potential risk and reward. Always understand fully what you are doing. Here I presented just an overview.
Revolut becomes the UK’s most valuable financial technology startup With a funding round that more than tripled its value to £4.2bn, digital bank Revolut has become the UK's most valuable financial technology startup. The valuation has placed it ahead of its rival bank Monzo, which was valued at £2bn last year. It has also surpassed small business lender OakNorth, which previously held the top spot at £2.2bn. Headquartered in London, Revolut announced it had raised £387m from a group of investors led by the US fund Technology Crossover Ventures, ending months of speculation
around the deal. It should be known that this very company has been a vocal backer of major leagues like Airbnb, Netflix and Spotify. With the cash flow, Revolut is now worth more than triple its previous valuation of £1.3bn in spring 2018. It has expanded from
its head office in Canary Wharf, into UK current accounts, business banking, crypto currency and stock trading, and has 10 million customers worldwide. It employs about 2,000 staff across 23 global offices, 500 of whom are
based in Canary Wharf. Revolut walked into controversy in the past over its treatment of staff, and the founder Russian-born Nik Storonsky's alleged Kremlin connections. Speaking on the fresh bout of funding, Storonsky said, “Going forward, our focus is on rolling out operations in Europe, increasing the number of people who use Revolut as their daily account, and striving towards profitability. TCV has a long history of backing founders who are changing their industries on a global scale, so we are excited to partner with them as we prepare for the next stage of our journey.”
Sanjeev Gupta buys bankrupt steel plant in India India-born British businessman Sanjeev Gupta, who made headlines in 2016 for buying Tata Steel’s UK units, has acquired the bankrupt Adhunik Metaliks and Zion Steel for £42.5 million. He is the second global steel tycoon to debut in India, one of the world’s vibrant metal markets, after L N Mittal. The announcement comes after the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) told Gupta to make a payment by February 14 if he wants to proceed with the acquisition of Adhunik and Zion. Though Gupta had put in a bid for Adhunik and
Zion in 2018, the process got delayed because of litigation. The NCLAT had ordered liquidation of the two companies. But after an appeal from Gupta, the liquidation order was stayed. Adhunik and Zion had a debt of over £500 million. “It has been a challenging journey to get us to this stage,” said Gupta, who is chairman of Liberty Steel Group. He added, “It is great to be investing in the country where my family began in the steel industry a generation ago.” Liberty, which Gupta launched 27 years ago while studying at Cambridge University, is the eighth largest steelmaker in the world outside of China
with operations in 200 locations in 10 countries. Gupta’s immediate plan is to revive Adhunik and Zion by introducing his ‘green steel’ model in their operations. The model is based on using renewable power to fire furnaces that recycle scrap and use the finished steel to make value-added products. Adhunik’s plant in the eastern Indian state of Odisha, with a coal-fired blast furnace, an electric arc furnace and a power plant, has an annual capacity of 500,000 tonnes of crude steel. Zion Steel is a rolling mill and the two units together have rolling capacity of 400,000 tonnes a year, making prod-
ucts for the automotive, energy and engineering sectors. The operations, which are currently shut, will be integrated into Liberty Group, which was formed last year and aims to become carbon neutral by 2030. Liberty Steel, with annual output of 18 million tonnes, is the world’s 17th largest steel producer.
BoE faces heat over board member's Tesco's brand new 'diverse' plasters oil connections The Bank of England finds itself deep in a fresh pot of soup as environmental groups have questioned its commitment to dealing with the climate emergency. Greenpeace, along with Friends of the Earth and campaign group Oil Change International (OCI) condemned Dorothy Thompson, executive chair of Britain's largest independent oil company Tullow Oil. She was appointed to Threadneedle Street in 2014, when she was the head of power station operator Drax Group. She is also a senior non-executive on the bank's board – the Court of Directors. The criticism
comes at a time when governor Mark Carney prepares to step down and become Prime Minister Boris Johnson's special adviser for the crucial Cop26 climate conference in Glasgow in November. He has also been appointed as the UN special envoy for climate action and finance. Head of climate finance at Greenpeace UK, Rosie Rogers said the BoE was “central to tackling the climate emergency” and that Carney needed to be “making the best decisions possible for the planet free from the influence of the fossil fuel industry.” Rachel Kennerley, a climate cam-
paigner at Friends of the Earth, said, “While the world grapples with the severity of the climate crisis and young people take to the streets for their future, our country’s finances remain too tightly aligned with climate-wreaking oil and gas companies. Climate breakdown needs to be fought in every arena which can only mean cutting ties between financial institutions and dirty oil companies.” Carney had earlier this month said that when world leaders meet in Scotland for UN-led climate talks, they needed to show they had a plan to reduce carbon emissions.
The UK's largest retailer Tesco has introduced a brand new range of plasters that will match multiple skin colours and better advocate racial diversity. The own-brand fabric plasters will go on sale in all 741 Tesco stores nationwide. The product was developed after a staff member spotted a nowviral tweet when a black American man described his emotional response when he first used a plaster that matched his skin tone. The thread, which now has over 500,000 likes, also attracted multiple celebrities including John Boyega. After the product idea was brought to the attention of senior Tesco team members, the development of
the product was supported by the BAME within the staff network. They helped test and gave inputs on the final design. Chair of the network, Paulette Balson said, “No UK supermarket had ever stocked plasters in a range of skin tones before and we saw this as an opportunity for Tesco to lead the charge
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29 Feb - 6 Mar 2020
A couple of weeks ago, we were hoping to secure a deal in Barnet, which was in an auction. The price went way over the guide; and our client’s limit. We had a limit of £550K; the property went for £685K. Another freehold which was in Hatfield Town Centre was a large lump, with plenty of scope for development, went for £710K. Previously, this was available for £625K. We decided not to go for this one because the residential resales were low. Perhaps we were wishful thinking. Suresh Vagjiani
Sow & Reap London Property Investment
Looking through the auction catalogue there were very few unbroken freehold blocks. It seems many traders/dealers had purchased the unbroken freehold and split them up and dumped the commercial elements into auctions. The current pension rules allow the purchase of commercial property within the pension pot; this means you’re buying property with money you have not paid tax on. In effect there is a ‘discount’ of 20- 40% on your purchase. No wonder there is strong market for these; and they were being snapped up well over the guide prices. Anything which was freehold, and in a moderately good location, was flying. I had a similar experience just yesterday. I saw a North London freehold unbroken property, it looked vacant, for sale; I called the agent and it was already under offer. We know under offer does not necessarily mean the deal is done. We’ll be keeping an eye on it. Given the above, the ability for being able to get deals which have genuinely not touched the market is very valuable; as you are not having to fight through a mob to get the deal. And, mobs especially at auctions attract a mob mentality. Properties often go for more than they are worth, purely due to perceived demand and
AGONY AGENT IS HERE TO HELP! Q: I need to sell my BTL urgently, but it is tenanted. Help! A: You may have to sell the property with the tenant in situ, if your assured shorthold tenancy is still within its initial fixed term, whether that be 6 months or 12 months. So, you’ll have to check your
Since Brexit has materialised, the hand brake has been released in the property market. This is not some statistic written from an ivory tower. The effect of this can be perceived on ground level now. The word off market in one sense is nonsensical because as soon as it’s offered to you it means it’s on the market; albeit to a limited number. What they are trying to say is it’s not on the web and so on. However, more often than not when you call a few people in the industry you find the deal has
been around town and everyone has heard of it. We have managed to secure a freehold which is ‘off – market’; the contracts should be in this week. The deal has been brewing for about six months and only recently come to fruition. The property consists of a shop and uppers, both are dilapidated and crying out for renovation. Our builders have been to the site and we roughly know what to expect on the build contract. We could do plain vanilla, flats and uppers, but we feel there are more interesting angles to explore on this deal. The delay in completion will allow us to do this without too much pressure. If this deal interests you, please do get in touch.
tenancy agreement for confirmation. If this is the case, we suggest that you speak to the agent selling the property, and ask them to see if they will sell the property with the tenant in situ. The new owner may be happy to take on a tenanted property, if they are buying as a BTL.
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supply and not actual. This is not what I feel is occurring at the moment, as the prices for these blocks are still within the realm of sensible, though it means the profit margins will be thinning.
If, however, you're outside your fixed term and your tenancy agreement permits you to, just serve notice on the tenants. Before you give notice, it is important that you explain the reasons why; you may find that the property takes a while to sell, so it is a good idea to explain to your tenants
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29 Feb - 6 Mar 2020
Voda Idea, Airtel seek more time to pay, bailout package As they line up funds to pay the telecom department after the order of the Supreme Court on the adjusted gross revenue (AGR) matter, stressed telecom companies Vodafone Idea and Airtel are understood to have made a series of suggestions to the government to help them tide over the difficult times. Among them is a plan to give more time to the companies to make the AGR dues payment, while also giving them access to easier funding facilitated by the government so that payments can be made accordingly. Sources said the companies have been saying that a government bailout is essential at this point, especially as the relief offered by the highpowered Committee of Secretaries (CoS) - which is now disbanded - was “insufficient, and not in line with the current needs of the industry”. The CoS had given a two-year moratorium on spectrum payments to the industry, and had measured its value at £ 4.2 billion. Vodafone Idea chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla and Airtel chief Sunil Mittal have been holding a series of meetings with the government, where they have particularly focused on increasing the viability of the sector. They have
held meetings with highranking officials of the department of telecom (DoT), as well as finance ministry functionaries. Vodafone Idea has been clear that the survival of the company hinges on a support package from the government, as the company has failed to receive any relief from the top court so far. Interestingly, Reliance Jio the biggest telecom company has so far not made any particular demand for a larger bailout package, especially as it remains profitable and has been witnessing rapid growth. The stand of Jio and its potential opposition to any special package - only for the financially-weaker mobile operators - may also dissuade the government from working out a special plan only for a few. Unlike others, Jio’s AGR dues were a meagre £20 million, which it paid by January 23, the last date of payment that had been fixed by the top court. The request of Vodafone Idea and Airtel for a relief comes at a time when the DoT is initiating steps to recover their dues, including potentially invoking the bank guarantees of the companies for failure to clear full dues. The ministry is taking legal opinion on the matter, including a view from solicitor general Tushar Mehta.
Indian IT has over 100,000 US employees The top four Indian IT firms have over 55,000 American employees in the US. The number is sharply up from a few years ago, and reflects the companies’ efforts to overcome visa barriers and become more global in their operations. With Cognizant, which is US-headquartered but has an India heritage, the tally of American employees is over 100,000. Cognizant employs 46,400 people in North America. IT industry body Nasscom’s data on American employees shows TCS has 20,000 such employees, Infosys 14,000, HCL 13,400, and Wipro 10,000. For all of them, these numbers are about 70% of their overall US employee strength (including those on visas). Infosys had committed in 2017 to hire 10,000 American workers at its US operations. The data shows it is now well over that target. TCS HR head Milind Lakkad said the company is hiring 1,500 freshers from campuses in the US and Europe this year, one of the highest in recent times. Along with those on visas, the Indian IT industry had 170,000 employees in the US in fiscal 2018, as per estimates by research firm IHS Markit Research. This is up from 150,000 in fiscal 2015. Indian IT firms are estimated to have paid an average compensation of $96,300 to its US employees in 2018, higher than the average wage of $94,800 that IT professionals get in the country. This data is also from IHS Markit Research. While visa is one reason to have local hires, the other is the newer kinds of digital and outcome-based work that IT companies are now doing, and which require client proximity.
Finmin against penalty relief The finance ministry has objected to deferring or waiving a part of interest and penalty for the telecom industry hit by the Supreme Court’s adjusted gross revenue (AGR) burden, effectively blocking a reprieve for the beleaguered mobile operators. At a specially-convened meeting in the telecom department headquarters, finance ministry officials said any concession on payment of penalty would “set a wrong precedent and lead to similar demands” from other sectors, sources said. The government works overtime to sort out the mess as telecom companies have time till March 17 to clear the dues. The order of the top court has asked the companies to pay £14.7 billion to the DoT, and this is in lieu of previous licence fee and spectrum usage charges dues, apart from the interest and penalty. A large chunk of the demand is in the form of interest and penalty. For example, of the total licence fee dues of £9,26 billion, only £2.25 billion is the principal. Besides this, telecom companies owe £5.50 billion in spectrum usage charge (SUC) dues. At Sunday’s meeting, there was unanimity that “all efforts need to be taken to save the existing companies” – which, if done, will provide a much-needed relief to Vodafone Idea that is on the brink. “There should not be a monopoly, or even a duopoly, in the sector,” a top government source said. Vodafone Idea, which needs to pay £5.3 billion in past dues, has paid only £250 million so far, while Airtel is required to clear £3.5 billion (£1 billion paid) and Tata group £1.4 billion (paid £ 219.7 million). The discussions, led by telecom secretary Anshu Prakash, were attended by top officials from the finance and commerce and industry ministries as well as Niti Aayog. Sources said Prakash made a detailed presentation on the options on the table. One of the proposals was to offer soft loans to companies to help them tide over an immediate cash crunch and clear the AGR-related dues. But government authorities were split on the modalities. “However, it was mentioned that any such credit window should not be given through the telecom department, since it is also the receiver of the dues. Thus, it was proposed that public sector banks or other financial institutions or instruments can be used to provide emergency credit,” a source said. The government is worried that closure of any company may create panic in the Indian telecom market and disrupt the ambitious Digital India programme. Also, the upcoming 5G auctions look set to be hit hard due to the existing financial crisis that the industry is facing.
Duty cuts among measures likely to soften virus impact The Indian government is expected to announce a set of measures to tackle possible disruption in supply of drugs and other manufactured goods due to the coronavirus outbreak in China. The solutions may include a reduction in customs duty on some essential inputs, apart from speeding up port clearances. Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman met industry players and instructed her team of officers to discuss the issues with ministries concerned for a brainstorming session. “The issues raised will be informed to them (other departments) and then they will apply their mind and come back so that we talk it among ourselves so that possible solutions can be found, post which we will hopefully have a discussion with the PMO. Speedily, some response will be announced at the earliest,” Sitharaman said after meeting representatives from around 20 industries which do business with China. A senior official said the government would look at suggestions to airlift some inputs and raw material used for manufacturing life-
saving medicines and reduce duties to offset the impact of higher transportation cost. Niti meet on ways to hike production of pharma ingredients Asked about solutions to tackle possible shortage of medicines, Nirmala Sitharaman Sitharaman said, an opportunity to resume “I can answer this after a production. Company execfew days… The concern is utives spoke of stocks being that some essential raw held up at ports as it was material will have to be difficult to complete paperobtained, we will have to act work due to problems in speedily. That’s where it is China. Besides, there were today.” Separately, Niti demands from micro, small Aayog has called a meeting and medium enterprises of several ministries to dis(MSMEs) to ensure that cuss ways to manufacture there was no financial pharma ingredients as India impact on them due to supimports nearly two-thirds ply lines getting choked. of its requirement of basic The finance minister, drugs used in medicines however, said the industry from China. had suggested that other There were indications options for sourcing raw that some announcements material should also be to address the concerns will explored. She said sectors come over the next few such as pharmaceuticals, days. Chemicals used by chemicals, fertilisers and various industries were solar power suggested that flagged as an area of conthis would be the best time cern and domestic industry to start new manufacturing indicated that the supply units. disruption could be used as
in brief FIAT CEO IN RACE TO SUCCEED SPETH AT JLR Fiat Chrysler chief executive Michael Manley is learned to be one of the potential candidates being considered for the top post at Jaguar Land Rover (JLR). JLR CEO Ralf Speth, who has been with the UK-based automobile major since it was acquired by Tata Motors in 2008, will step down in September as he turns 65, which is the retirement age for executive directors. Manley, a 55-year-old Briton, has been with Chrysler since 2000 when the carmaker was a part of Daimler. He was appointed CEO of Fiat Chrysler in July 2018. Sources said Tata Motors had interviewed Manley in the past for the CEO’s position in India. This role eventually went to Gunter Butschek who joined India’s largest automobile company from Airbus in 2016. Manley, an MBA from Ashridge Management College, is credited with the success of Fiat Chrysler’s Jeep brand’s global expansion. JLR, which was purchased for $2.3 billion, returned to profitability in recent quarters. However, its sales in China, the world’s largest automobile market, has been hit due to the coronavirus outbreak.
FOREX RESERVES SWELL $3BN TO RECORD $476BN India's foreign exchange reserves swelled by $3.09 billion to a record high of $476.09 billion in the week to February 14, mainly due to a rise in foreign currency assets, according to the RBI data. In the previous week, the foreign exchange reserves had increased by $1.7 billion to $473 billion. Foreign currency assets, a major component of the overall reserves, rose by $2.76 billion to $441.95 billion in the reporting week. Expressed in dollar terms, the foreign currency assets include the effect of appreciation or depreciation of non-US units like the euro, pound and yen held in the foreign exchange reserves.
INDIAN IPHONE IMPORTS, PART SUPPLIES SEE DIP Apple’s woes with the coronavirus outbreak are also playing out in India. The development has started impacting product imports and component supplies to Apple’s phone distributors and supplier factories in India. Sources said that the company has not had any fresh supplies coming in for the past three weeks or more. “If the production in China does not pick up by 50% by the end of February or early March, it could be worrisome. If the output in China remains low, this could surely result in signs of stress on the availability of products and variants, even in India,” research firm IDC’s director Navkendar Singh said. There’s been a decline in supplies of products, which could lead to shortages at showrooms, especially as a large numbers of models are imported here. And while the company does make some products locally, here too, sources said the shortage of parts is hitting production.
I-T DEPT MOVES HC AGAINST FLIPKART’S ITAT RULING The income tax (I-T) department has taken Walmart-owned Flipkart to high court over its £11 million demand. The case relates to the treatment of discounts as capital expenditure instead of revenue expenditure, according to court listings. Flipkart was issued a notice last month to appear and represent its case following the tax department’s petition. The matter had first moved to the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT), which had given a ruling in 2018 allowing Flipkart to treat the marketing expenses and discounts as a loss. The tax demand here is for the financial year 2015-16, which has now got into another legal wrangle.
29 Feb - 6 Mar 2020
in brief INDIAN SHOT DEAD IN LOS ANGELES A masked assailant shot dead an Indian national Maninder Singh Sahi at a grocery store in Los Angeles on last Saturday, local police said. Maninder, who had turned 31 last month, was married and father of two. Hailing from Karnal, Sahi had arrived in the US less than six months ago and had sought political asylum. He was working at a 7Eleven grocery store in the Whittier City in Los Angeles County of California. The only earning member of his family, Sahi used to send money to his wife and two children back home, his relatives in the US said. According to the police, it appears the suspect entered the store with a semiautomatic handgun with the intent to commit a robbery.
PAK COURT NULLIFIES MINOR HINDU GIRL’S MARRIAGE In a rare judgment, a court in Pakistan has nullified the marriage of a minor Hindu girl, who was converted to Islam and married to a Muslim man in Sindh province. The girl, a class IXth student, was allegedly abducted on January 15 by Ali Raza Solangi who later married her. Her father filed an FIR, claiming that Solangi had married her forcibly. He said the girl was 15year-old when she was abducted. Additional Session Judge Ghulam Ali Kanasro ruled the girl was underage. The couple had initially claimed that the girl had embraced Islam of her own will after which they got married. But the girl later said changing her religion was a mistake. The judge ruled that the girl was not fit for marriage under the Sindh Child Marriage Restraint Act. He directed police to take action against all those involved in conducting and abetting the child marriage.
WAGAH BOMBING: PAK COURT JAILS 3 FOR 300 YEARS Three terrorists belonging to the banned Jamaat-ul-Ahrar were handed down death sentences and 300 years of imprisonment for their involvement in the 2014 Wagah border bombing that killed over 60 people. Over 60 people, including women and children, were killed in the suicide attack on November 2, 2014 at the Wagah border on the Pakistani side. The responsibility for the attack was claimed separately by the proscribed Jundullah and Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan’s splinter group Jamaat-ul-Ahrar. “The anti-terrorism court announced the verdict in the Wagah border bombings. It handed down death sentence to three suspects - Haseebullah, Saeed Jan Ghana and Hussainullah - on five counts and also gave them 300-year jail term and imposed a fine of Pakistani Rupee 1 million on each one of them,” a court official said. The court acquitted three other suspects giving them the benefit of doubt.
PAKISTAN SAYS 5 MILITANTS KILLED IN SHOOTOUT Security forces in Pakistan said that five suspected militants were killed in a raid in the country's northwest, and that two other militants were arrested in a separate operation. Senior counter-terrorism officer Tahir Khan said the shootout took place at a compound in the working-class suburb of Mathra near Peshawar, the capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. He said the militants belonged to a banned group and that security forces found suicide vests, sub-machine guns and other weapons at the scene. Two militant commanders from the Sajna group of the Pakistani Taliban, known as Tehrik-e-Taliban, were captured in the raid, according to counter-terrorism officer Mohammad Ajmal. The operation took place in Tank district, which serves as a gateway to the mountainous South Waziristan district, a former militant stronghold.
Act or face financial consequences: FATF tells Pakistan ISLAMABAD: In a stern warning to Pakistan which managed to stay on the “grey list”, global terrorist financing watchdog Financial Action Task Force (FATF), chaired by China, told Islamabad that “all deadlines” have expired and if they don’t prosecute and penalise terrorist financing by June 2020, the FATF will take action which will have financial consequences. In effect, Pakistan could face the FATF “blacklist” if it failed to implement the remaining action plan by June 2020. The FATF, in its plenary meeting held in Paris from February 1621, expressed serious concerns on Pakistan’s failure to complete its 27-point action plan in line with the agreed timeline which ended in September 2019. This was the key takeaway after the FATF plenary session ended last week. FATF President Xiangmin Liu of the People’s Republic of China chaired the plenary - China has the presidency until June. In a significant development, China and Saudi Arabia
had also joined India, US and European countries, among others, to send Pakistan a stern message to complete the commitments on terrorist financing and money laundering given to FATF by June 2020 including “conviction and prosecution of top leaders of all terrorist organisations”. The FATF statement said: “All deadlines in the action plan have expired. While noting recent and notable improvements, the FATF again expresses concerns given Pakistan’s failure to complete its action plan in line with the agreed timelines and in light of the TF (terrorist financing) risks emanating from the jurisdiction. To date, Pakistan has largely addressed 14 of 27 action items, with varying levels of progress made on the rest of the action plan. The FATF strongly urges Pakistan to swiftly complete its full action plan by June 2020.” “Otherwise, should significant and sustainable progress especially in prosecuting and penalising TF not be made by the next plenary, the FATF will
take action, which could include the FATF calling on its members and urging all jurisdiction to advise their financial institutions to give special attention to business relations and transactions with Pakistan,” the statement said. Officials in New Delhi said Pakistan’s propaganda on exiting the FATF grey list in February 2020 has been “proved false”. In a detailed statement, the FATF said that since June 2018, when Pakistan made a highlevel political commitment to strengthen its anti money-laundering and Combating Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) regime and to address its strategic counterterrorist financing-related deficiencies, Pakistan’s political commitment has led to progress in a number of areas in its action plan, including risk-based supervision and pursuing domestic and international cooperation to identify cash couriers. The FATF asked Pakistan to demonstrate that terrorist
financing-related prosecutions result in effective, proportionate and dissuasive sanctions and demonstrate effective implementation of targeted financial sanctions against key UN-designated terrorists and those acting for or on their behalf, including preventing the raising and moving of funds, identifying and freezing assets (movable and immovable), and prohibiting access to funds and financial services. Pakistan was placed on the grey list in June 2018 and was given a plan of action to complete by October 2019 or face the risk of being placed on the black list. The FATF is an intergovernmental body established in 1989 to combat money laundering, terrorist financing and other related threats to the integrity of the international financial system. It currently has 39 members, including two regional organisations — the European Commission and the Gulf Cooperation Council. India is a member of the FATF consultations and its Asia Pacific Group.
Imran urges UN to honour its commitments on Kashmir Islamabad: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan urged the UN to fulfil its commitments with the people of Kashmir and help them achieve right of selfdetermination as he met UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. During his meeting with the UN Secretary-General, Khan highlighted the 'dire human rights and humanitarian situation' in Jammu and Kashmir following India's August 5 decision to end the special status of the region. 'The Prime Minister underscored that the Kashmiri people continued to look to the United Nations to honour its commitments for the realisation of their right to self-determination, as enshrined in numerous UN
Security Council resolutions,' Khan's office said in a statement. Tensions between India and Pakistan spiked after New Delhi ended the special status of Jammu and Kashmir on August 5 last year. India's decision evoked strong reactions from Pakistan, which downgraded its diplomatic ties and expelled the Indian envoy. India has defended its move, saying the special status provisions only gave rise to terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir. 'The country took the decision of abrogation of Article 370, which had only given separatism and terrorism to that state,' Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in October last year. India has rejected any third party intervention to the Kashmir issue and has maintained that all outstanding matters in Indo-Pak
Imran Khan with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres
ties should be resolved bilaterally. Khan claimed that India's belligerent rhetoric, intensified ceasefire violations on the LoC, and other aggressive actions were imperiling peace and security in the region, the statement said. He also highlighted the possibility of a false flag operation by India to divert global attention from its 'unacceptable
actions' in Kashmir, it said. Talking about Afghanistan, Khan underscored that there was no military solution to the Afghan conflict and reaffirmed Pakistan's steadfast support for peace and reconciliation in the war-torn country. Khan also highlighted Pakistan's generosity in hosting millions of Afghan refugees for the last four decades, the statement said.
Pakistan floats news of another Xi Jinping visit ISLAMABAD: As the United States President Donald Trump has landed for his maiden visit to India, Pakistan is expecting a visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping, reported a Pakistani newspaper The Express Tribune. The date of the visit is yet to be finalised added the report. The paper, however, has not revealed the source of the information and neither the Pakistan government or China has confirmed President Xi's visit to Pakistan. The report has said that the visit comes for a reason to bolster ties between Pakistan and its all-weather friend China as the dragon nation is grappling with concerns such as Coronavirus outbreak. The
issue of the development of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) will be one of the prime topics on the table for the Imran Khan government to discuss. China has been the biggest supporter of Pakistan on the international stage be it economic front or strategic affairs. Beijing had launched an ambitious China Pakistan Economic Corridor under President Xi Jinping's pet project – the Belt and Road Initiative. CPEC has been a bone of contention between China and India as the CPEC passes through the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. New Delhi has not taken part in any of the infrastructure megadeals with China. On February 21, Pakistan
was let off by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and was retained in the 'grey list'. The Paris-based watchdog that oversees terrorist funding was chaired by China in its plenary summit this time and it made life easier for the Imran Xi Jinping Khan-led Pakistan government. However, the FATF didn't back down from issuing a stern warning to Islamabad to comply with the 27-action plan it had earlier committed to fulfilling. The body that comprises of 39 nations found the measures taken by Islamabad as ineffective against terror financing and money laundering. Pakistan is set to be in the 'grey list' at least
till the time FATF will meet for its next plenary in June later this year. On the 27- point action plan, the anti-money laundering watchdog had found out that Pakistan was fully compliant on 14 metrics, whereas it could not effectively implement another 11 action plan. One other two parameters, Islamabad was not at all compliant and hence was retained in the 'grey list.'
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SL delegation reaches Geneva; FM to address UNHRC COLOMBO: Minister of Foreign Relations Dinesh Gunawardena who leads the Sri Lanka delegation to the 43rd session of the Human Rights Council arrived in Geneva. The Minister is scheduled to address the Human Rights Council, where he will formally inform the council members of the decision of the Government of Sri Lanka to withdraw its cosponsorship of Resolution 40/1 of March 2019, which also incorporates and builds on preceding Resolutions 30/1 of October 2015 and 34/1 of March 2017. He will meet the High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet on Friday 28th February. The Sri Lanka delegation to the current session includes State
Minister of Public Administration and Home Affairs Mahinda Samarasinghe, Foreign Secretary Ravinatha Aryasinha, Additional Secretary to the President
Admiral (Retd) Jayanath Colombage, Deputy Solicitor General Nerin Pulle, Director General of the UN and Human Rights Division of Ministry of Foreign Relations M.R.K.
Lenagala, Senior State Counsel Kanishka Balapatabendi, Brigadier E.S. Jayasundara from the Ministry of Defence and Coordinating Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Relations Subash Sri Wijethunga. Acting permanent representative of Sri Lanka to the UN in Geneva Dayani Mendis and relevant staff will join the delegation during the session and meetings. During his stay in Geneva, Gunawardena will also meet with the Director Generals of the United Nations Office in Geneva (UNOG), the International Labour Organisation (ILO), the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and the Secretary-General of the InterParliamentary Union (IPU).
US, Taliban to seal Afghan peace deal on Feb 29 KABUL: In a dramatic development with strategic, political and security repercussions for India, the United States and the Taliban said that they will seal a political settlement on February 29 at the end of a week-long period of “violence reduction” in Afghanistan. The deal could become one of the major talking points during the bilateral meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Donald Trump. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the agreement, which will reduce US presence in the region, will be signed upon the successful implementation of an understanding with the Taliban on a “significant” and nationwide reduction in violence. A Taliban spokesperson was quoted as saying that “both parties agreed to sign the finalised accord in the presence of international observers”. Both sides would also make arrangements for the release of prisoners, the Taliban
said. Afghan, international and Taliban forces will observe the reduced violence period. There has been no official word from New Delhi yet, but the deal is of some concern to the Indian establishment. More so, because the return of the Taliban in Afghanistan carries harsh memories from the 1990s, especially of the IC-814 hijack crisis that ended with the release of Masood Azhar. Azhar later founded the Jaish-eMohammed, a terror outfit that has claimed several Indian lives — from the Parliament attack in 2001 to the Pulwama attack in 2019. Over the last two years, New Delhi had kept a close watch on meetings between the US and Taliban negotiators. It has been briefed by the US interlocutors, especially US special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad who has travelled to India several times and recently met External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar recently at the Munich Security Conference. Apart from the US, India has engaged in regular talks with other active players, like Russia,
Iran, Saudi Arabia, China and the political forces in Afghanistan, on this issue. While many Western observers believe the agreement could represent a chance for peace in the region, New Delhi has been cautious on the issue as it gives strength to Pakistan, which has been a longtime benefactor of the Taliban. Though New Delhi has softened its position over the years on engaging with the Taliban, India has always maintained that it has three “red lines”, which it spelt out last year when the US, Russia and China were conducting negotiations with the Taliban. The first is that “all initiatives and processes must include all sections of the Afghan society, including the legitimately elected government”. This is important as, in the past, the Afghan government was often sidelined by international interlocutors engaging with the Taliban. This also means that there is acceptability in Delhi about talking to the Taliban - since they represent a “section of the Afghan society”. The second red line is that
“any process should respect the constitutional legacy and political mandate”. This means that the achievement of establishing democratic processes and human rights, including women’s rights, should be respected. Delhi will again monitor whether the “new Taliban” as Western interlocutors claim - will respect these markers from the last two decades. The third is that any process “should not lead to any ungoverned spaces where terrorist and their proxies can relocate”. This is crucial for India, as it points to threats from terrorist groups, including the Haqqani network, Al Qaeda, Islamic State - and also, Pakistan-based outfits like the Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jamaat-udDawa and Jaish-e-Mohammed that could relocate. India has always pushed for a peace and reconciliation process that is Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghancontrolled - and, in a nutshell, counter the Pakistan military establishment’s influence over Kabul.
Malaysian PM Ghani wins 2nd term as Afghan prez Mahathir resigns KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has announced his resignation but was asked to stay on as interim leader by the country's monarch. Mahathir said in a two-line statement that he had informed the country's king of his resignation. Mahathir also reportedly resigned from his own party, Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia, according to reports. Mahathir's party also announced that it was quitting the ruling government coalition, Pakatan Harapan (Alliance of Hope), casting doubt on the future of the partnership. Mahathir's decision follows a weekend of political wrangling, after it was reported that his party was planning to form a new government that would exclude his anointed successor, Anwar Ibrahim. The king accepted Mahathir's resignation after meeting with him, Chief Secretary Mohd Zuki Ali said in a statement.
KABUL: President Ashraf Ghani was declared the winner of Afghanistan’s presidential vote after months of delayed results and bitter dispute. Opposition politicians have protested the result, threatening a full-blown political crisis on the cusp of a US peace deal with the Taliban. Supporters of Ghani’s leading challenger, Abdullah Abdullah, accuse Afghanistan’s election commission of favoring Ghani and have threatened to form a parallel government if the commission announced results that did not satisfy their grievances. The vote, held in
September amid a record number of Taliban attacks intended to destabilize the election, had itself been repeatedly delayed and marred by uncertainty as a peace deal between the US and the Taliban over the future of Afghanistan was nearing finalization. But President Donald Trump snubbed the talks just weeks before the election was expected, opening the way
for the vote to proceed. Now, with the announcement of a peace agreement between the United States and the Taliban, the fresh political crisis risks derailing that fragile peace and the country's political future. “Even if they put a knife on my throat, even if they hang me, I will not accept an announcement based on fraud,” Abdul Rashid Dostum, one of Abdullah’s main supporters and a powerful strongman who was previously Ghani’s vice president, said at a gathering. “If they announce a government based on fraud, we will announce a parallel government.” The win gives Ashraf Ghani another fiveyear term as president.
in brief MYSTERIOUS TOXIC GAS KILLS 14 IN KARACHI Toxic gas has claimed the lives of 14 people and affected more than 500 others in the coastal residential areas of Karachi. But the authorities have yet to identify the source of the toxic gas. Authorities said they became aware of the incident after people in Karachi’s Kiamari neighbourhood, close to the main port, suddenly started rushing to hospitals with severe breathing problems. Iftikhar Shallwani, Karachi’s commissioner, said that while multiple theories were being considered, the source of the mysterious gas leak remains unclear. He said experts from the armed forces are also part of the investigation. Meanwhile, fear and panic has gripped the area with residents wearing face masks, while many families are moving away from the place.
NEPAL PM'S B'DAY CELEBRATIONS MARRED BY CONTROVERSY Nepal Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli's birthday celebrations were marred by controversy after pictures of him cutting a 15-kg-cake with the country's map drawn on it went viral. Oli's wife Radhika Shakya, along with a large number of people, including school children, and his close aides attended the 69th birthday celebrations of the premier on Sunday at his birthplace in east Nepal's Terhathum district. Social media users expressed anger at the use of the country's map on the cake. 'According to Article 151 of Criminal Code 2017, denigrating glory of the national anthem, flag and coat of arms is restricted. The Code prohibits the use of national emblems in inappropriate places and situations. Anyone found to have been involved in such an act can face legal action,' said one of the social media users online. Cutting Nepal's map in the form of the cake is inappropriate as it indicates motive to disintegrate the country, senior advocate Dinesh Tripathi was quoted as saying. This may invite legal action, he said, demanding apology from the prime minister.
LANKA PROPOSES BAN ON BURQA IN PUBLIC PLACES A Sri Lankan parliamentary committee on national security has proposed an immediate ban on burqa and suspending the registration of political parties on ethnic and religious basis, following the Easter Sunday terror attack that killed over 250 people. The proposals featured in a special report presented in parliament. The report was tabled by MP Malith Jayatilaka. The report suggested that the police should have the power to ask anyone to take off face covering in a public place in order to establish the identity of the person. If such a request is not complied with, police should have the power to arrest the individual without a warrant. It also recommended the country’s election commission to suspend the registration of political parties on ethnic and religious basis. Other proposals include absorption of all students studying in madrassas into the normal school system under the ministry of education within three years.
BOAT CARRYING 91 MIGRANTS GOES MISSING IN MEDITERRANEAN The UN refugee agency said that a rubber dinghy packed with 91 migrants that set out from Libyan shores in hopes of reaching Europe has apparently gone missing in the Mediterranean. The inflatable boat carrying mostly African migrants departed from alQarbouli, 50 km east of the capital Tripoli on February 8, said Osman Haroun, whose cousin was on board. He hasn't heard from the 27-year-old Mohamed Idris, or his 10 other friends also on the boat, since. “It's the first time I've heard of this happening,” Haroun said from the western coastal district of Zawiya, where he has lived with his family since fleeing the conflict-ridden Darfur region of Sudan in 2016.
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in brief TOGO PRESIDENT GNASSINGBE WINS RE-ELECTION Togo's President Faure Gnassingbe declared an electoral victory and called on his rivals to drop a competing claim, with official preliminary results showing him reelected in a landslide. The win, if confirmed, will give Gnassingbe a fourth five-year term and extend a family dynasty that began when his father took power in a 1967 coup. But some Togolese worry that a contested outcome could lead to political violence. Preliminary figures released by the electoral commission showed Gnassingbe winning with 72 per cent of the vote, with his main opponent, former Prime Minister Gabriel Messan Agbeyome Kodjo, at 18%. Longtime opposition leader Jean-Pierre Fabre received just 4%. Final results are expected in the coming days.
NIGER STAMPEDE KILLS 20 Fifteen women and five children were trampled to death in a stampede for food and money for refugees in southeast Niger, a regional governor said. The accident occurred at a youth and culture centre in Diffa, the main town of a region of the same name that hosts more than a quarter of a million refugees and internally displaced people. "Unfortunately, fifteen women and five children died... in this regrettable drama," Issa Lemine, the regional governor of Diffa, said after visiting the injured in hospital. The region which abuts Nigeria and Chad has been repeatedly hit by attacks by Nigeria's Boko Haram jihadist group since 2015. It hosts 119,000 Nigerian refugees, 109,000 internally-displaced people and 30,000 Nigeriens who have come home from Nigeria because of the instability in its northeast, according to UN figures.
THIEVES STEAL 6,000 SURGICAL MASKS IN JAPAN Thieves in Japan have made off with some 6,000 surgical masks from a hospital, with the country facing a mass shortage and a huge price hike online due to the coronavirus. Four boxes containing the face masks disappeared from a locked storage facility at the Japanese Red Cross hospital in the western port city of Kobe, a hospital official said. “We still have a large number of masks - enough to continue our daily operations at the hospital, but this is so deplorable,” the official said. Police have launched an investigation as they suspect the thieves intend to resell the masks. Masks have sold out at many stores as the number of infections have increased in Japan.
CAMBODIA ORDERS WOMEN NOT LOOK SEXY ON FACEBOOK A crackdown in Cambodia on women who wear provocative clothing while selling goods via Facebook live streams was slammed by women’s rights groups as dangerous and baseless. PM Hun Sen said low cut tops were an affront to Cambodian culture and ordered authorities to track down Facebook vendors who wear them to sell items like clothes and beauty products - a popular trend in the conservative country. “Go to their places and order them to stop live-streaming until they change to proper clothes,” the PM told the government’s Cambodian National Council for Women. “This is a violation of our culture and tradition,” he said, adding that such behaviour contributed to sexual abuse and violence against women. The national police posted a video on Facebook in which a Cambodian woman makes a public apology for sullying the “tradition and honour of Cambodian women” by wearing “extremely short and sexy clothes” in her online sales pitches. Facebook was not immediately available to comment.
Indian American judge to lead federal court in US WASHINGTON: Sri Srinivasan, a prominent IndianAmerican judge, has created history by becoming the first person of South Asian descent to lead a powerful federal circuit court considered next only to the US Supreme Court. Srinivasan, 52, became the Chief Judge of the United States court of appeals for the DC Circuit. An Obama appointee who has already been considered for a Supreme Court seat twice, Srinivasan donned the mantle of the Chief Judge of the DC federal court circuit on February 12. Srinivasan succeeded Judge Merrick Garland, who has been a member of the DC Circuit since 1997 and Chief
Judge since 2013. He will remain on the bench, a press release said. Notably, Garland’s nomination to the apex court by then president Barack Obama was blocked by Senate Republicans in 2016. Srinivasan, was
appointed to the US court of appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in May 2013. He was the first ever IndianAmerican to be appointed to the second most powerful court of the US. Neomi Rao, nominated by President Trump, is
the second Indian American on this powerful judiciary bench. “History being made on the DC Court of Appeals. Congratulations, Judge Srinivasan!” Senator Mark Warner said. “Congratulations to Judge Sri Srinivasan on becoming the Chief Judge of the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit! A milestone for the IndianAmerican/Kansan community,” US Federal Communications Commission Chair Ajit Pai said. Born in Chandigarh, and raised in Lawrence, Kansas, he received a BA from Stanford University, a JD from Stanford Law School, and an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.
As concern grows, China, South Korea report more coronavirus cases SEOUL (South Korea): China and South Korea reported more coronavirus cases that has been concentrated in North Asia but is causing global worry as clusters grow in the Middle East and Europe. China reported 508 new cases and another 71 deaths, 68 of them in the central city of Wuhan, where the epidemic was first detected in December. The updates bring mainland China's totals to 77,658 cases and 2,663 deaths. South Korea now has the second-most cases in the world with 893 and has had a near 15fold increase in reported infections in a week, as health workers continue to find batches in the southeastern city of Daegu and nearby areas, where panic has brought towns to an eerie standstill. Of the 60 new cases reported by South Korea’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 49 came from Daegu and the surrounding areas of North Gyeongsang province. The country also reported its eighth and ninth fatalities from COVID-19. The government has vowed to fully mobilize public health tools to
contain the outbreak to the region surrounding Daegu, but says it isn’t considering restricting travel. All Daegu citizens exhibiting cold-like symptoms, estimating around 30,000 people, will be tested for the virus. The country is also restricting exports to deal with nationwide shortages in masks. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advised Americans to “avoid all nonessential travel to South Korea” in its highest travel alert notice. Japan's Foreign Ministry
urged citizens to avoid unessential trips to Daegu and North Gyeongsang province. Clusters have also emerged in Iran and Italy, and there are concerns the new outbreaks could signal a serious new stage in the global spread of the illness. Schools were closed in Iran for a second day, and daily sanitizing of public buses and the Tehran metro, which is used by some 3 million people, was begun. In several countries that reported their first cases on Monday - Iraq, Afghanistan,
Kuwait, Bahrain and Oman, the i n f e c t e d patients had links with Iran. Iraq and Afghanistan closed their borders with Iran in an effort to stop the further spread. In Italy, where 229 people have tested positive for the virus and seven have died, police manned checkpoints around a dozen quarantined northern towns as worries grew across the continent. Austria temporarily halted rail traffic across its border with Italy. Slovenia and Croatia, popular getaways for Italians, were holding crisis meetings. Schools were closed, theater performances were cancelled and even Carnival celebrations in Venice were called off. As outbreaks grew in more countries, the World Heath Organization said COVID-19 had the potential to be a pandemic but wasn't one yet.
PIO Google staffer held on suspicion of wife’s death SEATTLE (USA): Seattle-based Google product manager Sonam Saxena was arrested on suspicion of the second degree murder of his wife. Sonam, 43, was arrested after his wife, Smriti, went missing a day earlier. A body was found near Aneaho’omalu Bay, her last known location. The police have yet to positively identify the body as Smriti’s. Prior to police finding the body, Saxena told news outlet West Hawaii Today that he last saw his wife in that area, and
that she had suffered an asthma attack. He said he offered to return to their room at the Waikoloa Beach Resort to get her inhaler. He said he was “disturbed” because, upon returning, he found his wife’s phone and purse but she was missing. He said he rushed back to his room to dial 911. “We called out for her, but there was nothing. No response.” Saxena had even put out a call for help on his LinkedIn page. saying: “ Can you please promote this tweet so that I can tell my daughters where their
Sonam Saxena and Smriti Saxena
Mom is #help.” The Saxenas have two children. Sonam worked for Google
and Smitri for Microsoft. Sonam moved to Seattle from India in 2008.
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Rajiv Gandhi murder case: Centre opposes release of convicts CHENNAI: The central government has opposed the release of convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case. In an oral submission before the Madras High Court bench of Justices R Subbiah and R Pongiappan, Additional Solicitor General (ASG) G Rajagopalan said that the convicts cannot be released without its consent and said the Tamil Nadu cabinet recommendation for their premature release would have ‘zero’ effect. The bench was hearing a petition by Nalini, one of the seven life convicts, seeking to declare her detention as illegal. Nalini has moved the court contending that since the Tamil Nadu Governor had failed to order her release based on the September 9, 2018 recommendation of the state cabinet, she was in illegal detention. The bench, which heard arguments from all
parties, reserved its orders on her petition. Opposing the plea of Nalini, the ASG cited a Supreme Court order and said unless there was an order in the name of the Governor, it was not an illegal detention. He said the resolution passed by the state Council of Ministers was not an order (for release). Referring to an earlier litigation by Nalini in the Supreme Court, he said then the question raised was whether the state government has the power to release the convicts without the consent or consultation of the Central government under CrPC
provisions. The apex court had held that the Centre’s consent or concurrence was necessary because the case was investigated by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Rajagopalan said. Already the central government had refused to release these convicts. Besides, as per the Supreme Court orders, life sentence means imprisonment till death, he said. Intervening, the bench asked the ASG then what will be the effect of the state cabinet’s decision recommending premature release of the seven convicts (under Article 161 of the Constitution), which is pending before the Governor. To this, the the Centre’s counsel said the effect of the resolution passed by the cabinet was Zero. In its counter affidavit filed earlier this month, the Centre had said the Tamil Nadu Governor has the discretion under powers conferred by the
Constitution, to decide on the pending mercy petition of Perarivalan, another life convict in the case. State Public Prosecutor A Natarajan, in his arguments submitted that some of the offences committed by the accused come under the Central Act and therefore, for the purpose of commutation or remission, the state government has to get consent from the central government. The Cabinet passed a resolution requesting the Governor to release all the seven convicts. It can only recommend or request the Governor to consider their release and cannot demand or ask him to set them free, he said adding it was for the Governor to decide. Unless an order was passed, there was no question of illegal detention of Nalini, he added. Radhakrishnan, counsel for Nalini, contended the resolution passed by the Council of Ministers was binding on the governor.
SC rejected CBI plea to probe Punjab sacrilege cases CHANDIGARH: Punjab chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh told the state assembly that the Supreme Court has dismissed a CBI petition seeking permission to probe the Bargari and Behbal Kalan sacrilege cases, vindicating the state government move to withdraw the probe from the central agency. The chief minister said that now the cases will be investigated by the Punjab police, adding that the Special Investigation Team (SIT) probe into the sacrilege and firing cases would be taken to its logical conclusion. As Amarinder made the announcement on the opening day of the Budget Session, there were loud cheers from the treasury benches even as the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) legislators gathered in the well of the House. The Supreme Court
earlier in the day allowed the state to carry on with its investigations into the sacrilege and the subsequent police firing cases, which were handed over to the CBI by the previous SADBJP regime. In view of the CBI’s failure to take the probe to logical conclusion, the Congress government had announced in the House earlier that the cases would be taken back from the central agency and would be investigated by the state police. A division bench of the apex court comprising Justices Rohington Nariman and Ravindra Bhatt dismissed the CBI plea, rejecting the arguments of their advocate Aman Lekhi on the ground that instead of the 90 days given to the agency to file the special leave petition (SLP), it had taken 257 days to make its submission. The judge also rejected Lekhi’s
argument that the CBI team had a problem on the legal issue as it would form a precedent, and not on the investigation being transferred. The bench ordered the dismissal of the SLP on the ground of delay, while keeping the question of law open. Incidentally, the question of law, whether section 21 of General Clauses Act applies to Section 6 of the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, was earlier left open in the cases of Kazi Lendum Dorji and R Chadrashekhar as well, Punjab Advocate General Atul Nanda said, giving details of the proceedings in the apex court. Given this, the act of reverting the investigation to the Punjab Police from CBI has now attained finality and no further fetter remains on the SIT to investigate the same, said Nanda. As per the judgments in
Dorji and Chandrashekhar cases, once investigation is transferred to CBI, it cannot be withdrawn. Those cases were decided on their own facts, but the question of whether the state legislature has the power to take back an investigation from CBI, in terms of General Clauses Act, was left open. It was further submitted by the prosecution that only the investigation was transferred and CBI had been informing the stage of investigation to the Punjab government from time to time. Further, the prosecution argued that later on, a resolution was passed by the Punjab Legislative Assembly through which the investigation was taken back from the CBI and accordingly, on September 6, 2018, a notification was issued by the Punjab government, withdrawing the consent to the CBI to investigate the case.
in brief 19 KILLED AS TRUCK CRASHES INTO BUS IN TAMIL NADU Nineteen people were killed and 25 others injured when a container truck rammed into a Kerala state transport bus on Tirupur-Salem bypass in Tamil Nadu. The deceased included five women and the two driver-cumconductors of the multi-axle luxury bus of the Bengaluru-Ernakulam bus. The overnight bus was hit by the truck laden with over 25 tonnes of floor tiles coming from the opposite lane hit the median, flew over to the other side and collided with the bus. Such was the impact that the right side of the bus was completely torn off till near its middle. All but one of the deceased hail from Kerala.
MUSLIM TO HEAD LINGAYAT MATH IN KARNATAKA A Lingayat math in Gadag district of north Karnataka is set to make a Muslim man its pontiff. Diwan Sharief Rahimansab Mulla, 33, who will take charge on February 26, said he was influenced by the teachings of 12thcentury reformer Basavanna since childhood and would work towards his ideals of social justice and harmony. Sharief will become pontiff of the Murugharajendra Koraneshwara Shantidhama Math in Asuti village, which is linked to the 350-year-old Koraneshwara Sansthan Math in Khajuri village in Kalaburagi. They rank among the 361 maths of Sri Jagadguru Murugharajendra Math of Chitradurga, which draw millions of followers from across Karnataka and Maharashtra, besides other parts of the country. “Sharief is dedicated to Basava’s philosophy and has been living by those tenets.
PLEA TO WAIVE PASSPORT NORM FOR KARTARPUR VISIT Akal Takht officiating Jathedar Giani Harpreet Singh has appealed to the governments of India and Pakistan to simplify the process of ‘darshan-e-didar’ of Kartarpur Sahib by lifting the mandatory passport condition. He also appealed to the Indian government to pave way for making an identical arrangement so that Pakistani Sikhs could pay obeisance at Gurdwara Dera Baba Nanak in Gurdaspur. Giani Harpreet Singh was speaking at Gurdwara Janam Asthan in Nankana Sahib, the birth place of Guru Nanak. He was there leading a 12-member delegation to participate in the Saka Nankana Sahib commemoration programme on an invitation extended by the Evacuee Trust Property Board and the Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee.
TMC, BJP gearing for crucial civic poll KOLKATA: With the State Election Commission (SEC) set to announce poll dates for the 110 civic bodies across West Bengal, Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee will hold a marathon meeting with poll strategist Prashant Kishor’s Indian Political Action Committee (I-PAC) on March 2. The civic polls that are likely to be held in the second week of March are being considered a dress rehearsal for the 2021 Assembly elections. Mamata's meeting is planned a day after Union Home Minister and former
BJP president Amit Shah would arrive in Kolkata to hold talks with party leaders over the municipal polls. The state BJP unit has applied for police permission for Shahid Minar as the venue for Shah public rally on March 1. Banerjee is scheduled to invite all the councillors, panchayat pradhans, youth body presidents, district presidents and observers and leaders of the minority, scheduled caste and scheduled tribe communities at Netaji Indoor Stadium. TMC sources said that about 14,500 party functionaries will be present
during the meeting. “Recently Kishor asked councillors to increase contact with people in their respective wards. They have also been directed to not indulge in corrupt practices and it is going to be one of the key criterion for distribution of tickets this time. On March 2, based on reports placed by the I-PAC team on the councillors, our party chief will evaluate their position in their respective areas,” a senior TMC leader said. “We have received several complaints against some councillors and this time, they will be replaced with non-controversial fresh
faces. There are 144 wards in the Kolkata Municipal Corporation and 66 wards in the Howrah Municipal Corporation. Of these, councillors of about 20 wards will be on the target list for their indulgence in corrupt practices or for not doing enough for the welfare on locals in their respective wards,” he added. Sources said all the party leaders would be asked not to accept expensive gift items from anyone and ensure humility while creating mass contact with locals. They would also be asked to avoid cars for shortdistance travels in their wards. “The whole idea is to
Mukul Roy and Mamata Banerjee
inculcate the basics of ‘civic sense’ among the leaders who want to govern the civic bodies. It is a good move and we are hopeful the party would benefit from this,” the TMC functionary said. A BJP delegation, led by Mukul Roy, met State
Election Commissioner Sourav Das and requested that enough time be given to political parties for campaigning as there could be certain restrictions as long as the board exams are underway till the end of March.
29 Feb - 6 Mar 2020
Taj Mahal inspires awe: Potus
Mahant Swami in Anand
The head of of BAPS Mahant Swami is at present in Anand. Till 20th February he was at Atladara. On 18th morning he laid the foundation stone for world's tallest temple Vishwa Umiya Dam at Atladara. A family peace campaign was organised which will be replicated across Gujarat, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Delhi. On 23rd morning annual function of BAPS Swaminarayan hostel was held at Vidyanagar.
Ahmedabad marches for Trump U.S. President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump pose as they visit the Taj Mahal in Agra
“The Taj Mahal inspires awe. A timeless testament to the rich and diverse beauty of Indian culture! Thank you, India,” US President Donald Trump wrote in the guest book after visiting the 17th Century mausoleum in Agra on Monday afternoon. Earlier, the US President, First Lady Melania Trump, the President’s daughter and advisor Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner were received at Agra airport by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and Governor Ananiben Patel. Beats of dhol and mridang greeted the Trump family as they stepped out of the airplane. There were performances of Mayur dance, Dhobia folk dance and Bamrasia for the US President. On the road from the airport to the Oberoi Amarvilas hotel, the highprofile guests were greeted by dance performances and billboards that read,
“Welcome to the City of Love.” Sixteen-year-old Manshita Kumar and her friends from Chitrakoot performed the Kolhai dance at a stage near the airport. “I saw Trump’s car and I hope he liked our performance. We have been practising for days and wanted to showcase the Adivasi culture. We are proud that the authorities chose us,” she said. The president reached Taj Mahal in a golf car around 5 pm. After signing the guest book, Trump and Melania walked towards the mausoleum, stood in front of the Diana bench and posed for photographs. They were followed by Ivanka and Jared. On their way back from the mausoleum, performers, women and children packed the streets to bid farewell to Trump. They held Indian and American flags. Anita Rajput, who works with the National Rural Livelihood Mission, said, “We are grateful that the officials chose us to welcome and see off
Trump. We were called to sit around 1 pm, we waited for hours to see him. We were also given flags. It was fun, I saw his car.” As part of the threelayer security in city, personnel from police and paramilitary forces were deployed at streets, markets and buildings. Some security personnel also stood atop buildings and houses. Shops and malls along the route the convoy took were shut for the day. Arya Prasad (65), who owns a photo studio, said, “We had shut our shops but I wanted to see Trump. I have been living here for the last 30 years. I have seen Diana and (Pervez) Musharraf come here. I peeped through the door when his car passed and waved. I think he saw me as children were standing outside my studio and waving.” The convoy reached Agra airport at 7 pm, where Chief Minister Adityanath gifted Trump a portrait of the Taj Mahal. The US President then left the city for Delhi.
All along the 22km roadshow, tableaux, folk dancers and musicians rolling out the cultural tapestry from 28 states of India lined the roadsides, making it a sight to behold for Donald Trump and Co. At least 50 stages were set up with some bearing unique names like Lilliput and Michael Jackson. Young, old and children alike thronged the roads to watch Trump. “I have come to watch Trump with my eight months old baby,” said a housewife Meena
Bharwad. There was unprecedented curiosity over Trump’s bulletproof limousine ‘The Beast’ as large crowds bent over the railings to click picture of the vehicle. Unlike Japanese PM Shinzo Abe and wife Akie Abe, who participated in the 8km roadshow from airport to Gandhi Ashram in an open vehicle, the fact that Trump was in a closed vehicle was a bit of a dampener. “It would have been great if we have caught a glimpse of Trump and
Modi together. But we understand the security concerns,” said Madhav Patel, a professional. At many places, cops were seen having a tough time to restrain the enthusiastic crowds behind the makeshift barricades as they clamoured to get pictures in their mobile phones. Policemen were also seen enjoying the roadshow on TV sets in shops in Motera. The Trump euphoria at Motera had attracted salesmen from cities as far as Kolkata to sell their wares.
Build Ram mandir without bitterness: PM Modi tells trustees Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked members of the Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teertha Kshetra Trust to ensure that the temple was built peacefully “without any bitterness” in society. “Work should be accomplished at the earliest without hurting anyone,” he told them during a brief interaction at his residence. “We had a courtesy meeting with the PM on his invitation as he wanted to meet senior trust members Nritya Gopal Das and K Parasaran. He suggested that social harmony should be maintained and temple construction should be executed in a way that no
one feels hurt,” trust general secretary Champat Rai, who was among the four officebearers to call on Modi, said. Gopal Das Giri was the other member to meet the PM. Rai said the temple will be built on the model proposed by VHP in the first phase and expansion will be considered only after the first phase is over. It is learnt that the proposed plan will be altered slightly to increase the temple’s height, and another floor could probably be added to the existing design. “The temple will be built on the base of the VHP map. There can be changes to its proposed shape and scale,” Swami Govind Dev Giri,
Members of the Ram Mandir trust during its first meeting in New Delhi
another member of the trust, said. Another member of the trust said, “We have received suggestions to make changes to the old design in order to give an ever grander form to the temple. Now, we are brainstorming on
building a three-storey structure instead of the two stories proposed earlier, as well as adding a pavilion and detailing to the 35-feet high 'shikhar'.” The height of the proposed temple could be increased to 160 feet from 125 feet decided earlier by
the VHP. In 1987, craftsman Chandrakant Sompura had prepared a model of the proposed temple based on the VHP's design after being asked by VHP international president Ashok Singhal. The temple will be built in Lord Vishnu's favourite octagonal shape and its structure will be made with stone without the use of iron. “There was consensus among the trust members in its first meeting that temple construction should be completed in next two years. Construction of the existing model will be ideal to follow as carvings of major parts of the structure have already been done,” Rai said.
“The date to start construction will be decided in the next meeting in Ayodhya next month,” he said, adding that the Ayodhya administration had been urged to shift the Ram Lalla idol to a permanent structure from the makeshift tent. All key dates, including start of construction, will be decided as per the Hindu Panchang, which was followed to fix the first meeting of the trust which was on was Vijaya Ekadasi, an auspicious day for Hindus. “Moreover, the day coincided with the birth anniversary of second RSS pramukh M S Golwalkar,” Rai said.
29 Feb - 6 Mar 2020
India-US sign defence deal worth $3 bn On the second day of his first-ever state visit, the US President Donald Trump announced a key Indo-US military deal worth $3 billion that would result in the Indian armed forces getting some state of the art military equipment manufactured in the US. This military equipment would add to India's cutting edge in defence equipment not only on the western front but also on the eastern front against China. From the stage of 'Namaste Trump' event organised by the Gujarat government to welcome the US President, Donald Trump spoke of the technological superiority of the arms and ammunition made in the US. "We make the best rockets, missiles, helicopters, planes. And we are willing to share some of our state of the art technology with India. We will be signing with India a defence deal that would give Indian Army some of the best helicopters manufactured in the US," he said. The deal was officially announced when Trump and Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke after their bilateral meeting at the Hyderabad Bhavan. What does the Indian Armed Forces get out of defence deal? To answer that question in one word - Helicopters. The Indian Navy gets the MH60R Seahawk, which is considered as the most advanced maritime
helicopter in the world. The acquisition of the helicopter was approved by the cabinet committee on security last week. As per the deal, 24 MH-60 multi-role helicopters will be inducted in the Indian Navy. Manufactured by Lockheed Martin, MH-60R Seahawk would add to the might of the Indian Navy which will also be beneficial to the US as they expect India to control the Indo-Pacific corridor. The MH 60 multi-role
Control, ESM roles besides Search and Rescue (SAR), Vertical Replenishment (VERTREP) roles, etc. As a part of the deal, the Indian Army will also get six AH-64E Apache helicopters for $800 million from the US. The Boeing AH-64 Apache is an American twinturboshaft attack helicopter with a tailwheel-type landing gear arrangement and a tandem cockpit for a crew of two. It features a nose-mounted sensor suite for target acquisition and night vision systems. The additional six helicopters for the Indian Army will be in addition to the 22 already ordered by the Indian Air Force (IAF). US aerospace giant Boeing has already cleared the manufacturing of these
Prime Minister Narendra Modi with US President Donald Trump at the joint press statements at Hyderabad House
Romeo Sikorsky will replace the ageing British-made King helicopters and will be delivered by Lockheed Martin within 2 years. These helicopters will be used in Anti Submarine Warfare (ASW), Anti Surface Warfare (ASuW), Command and
helicopters with specialised alterations that have been asked by India. Production of the Apache helicopter also comes as a boose to PM Modi's 'Make in India' campaign as it will be produced as a joint venture
between Boeing and Tata Advanced Systems Ltd. As per reports, over 90 per cent of the parts used in these helicopters will be sourced by Indian suppliers. The 22 Apaches for the IAF are expected to be inducted by the end of the year, while there is still no confirmation as to when the six ordered by the Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi welcome Donald Trump Army will arrive. President and First Lady Melania Trump at the ceremonial reception at Rashtrapati Bhavan Apache will replace President Trump and wife Modi on it. I think India the ageing Russian MI25/35 Melania paid homage to would like to see it happen. gunships which are Mahatma Gandhi at Rajghat. We are pretty close. gradually being In the morning, the US Everybody is happy about it. decommissioned. President was accorded On being asked about Earlier speaking at a ceremonial reception at terrorism emanating from press interaction, Trump Rashtrapati Bhawan. From Pakistan: We talked a lot said PM Modi wants people ceremonial welcome to state about it today. I said I will to have religious freedom. banquet dinner at do whatever I can do to help Trump said that he did not Rashtrapati Bhavan and as my relationship with discuss the issue of Delhi inking of several major deals, both gentlemen (PM Modi violence with Modi as it is the day of Trump's India & Pak PM) is so good. India’s matter. Talking about tour was jampacked with Anything I can do to Citizenship (Amendment) events. The lavish dinner mediate/help, I'd do. They Act, 2019 (CAA), Trump said menu for state banquet (Pak) are working on it is up to India to decide. dinner hosted by President Kashmir. The defence deal Ram Nath Kovind in the Meets India Inc: Trump announcement was made honour of Trump and has met Indian industry during a joint statement by Melania has a range of captains at US Embassy in Trump and Modi following dishes. Prime Minister New Delhi. We are working their meeting at Hyderabad Narendra Modi also on blue dot network for House. Apart from this, attended the state dinner. sustainable projects. The significant progress was Trump also met Vice visit was great; We will made on the trade deal front, President M Venkaiah remember welcome science and technology, Naidu, Lok Sabha Speaker accorded to us. US-India space missions and Research Om Birla and other Union partnership truly stronger and Development. In Ministers, at Rashtrapati than ever before. Trump meantime, President Bhawan during the state and First Lady Melania leave Trump’s wife Melania banquet. after attending dinner Trump has attended When asked about peace banquet hosted by the ‘happiness curriculum’ at a President Ram Nath Kovind Delhi government school. deal with Taliban, Trump at Rashtrapati Bhawan. On Tuesday morning, said, yes, I spoke to PM
Curfew imposed as Delhi violence toll mounts to 13 Smoke billowed in the air and mobs roamed unchecked through the streets, burning shops, pelting stones and threatening locals, as fresh violence tore through northeast Delhi, killing six more people on Tuesday and taking the toll in the communal clashes over the amended citizenship law to 13. As tension smouldered in the national capital's northeast and the sun set over another restive day, violence cut through several localities, including Chand Bagh and Bhajanpura, with stones and other missiles hurled and shops set ablaze. Rioters damaged two fire tenders in Gokulpuri and crowds raising incendiary slogans set on fire fruit carts, rickshaws and anything that came in their way in the epicentre of the trouble - Maujpur and other places. Delhi Police imposed curfew in riot-hit Maujpur, Jafrabad, Chand Bagh, and Karawal Nagar. Meanwhile, the police said anti-CAA protesters have vacated
road outside Jafrabad metro station where they had launched a sit-in since Saturday night. In another development, IPS officer S N Shrivastava has been repatriated from CRPF. As per an order, he has joined as Special Commissioner (Law and Order) in Delhi Police. With US President Donald Trump also in the city, Delhi Police ramped up security. It fired teargas shells to disperse the rioters - armed with stones, rods and even swords and many wearing helmets to protect themselves. Streets were littered with mangled remains of vehicles, bricks and burnt tyres, mute testimony to the violence and bloodshed that took on a communal taint on Monday and injured about 180 people, including 48 police personnel. According to GTB Hospital Medical Superintendent Sunil Kumar, six people were declared brought dead on Tuesday, taking the death toll to 11. At least 35 injured people were also taken to the hospital. "Fifty per cent
of those injured have sustained bullet injuries," Kumar added. As the violence continued unabated, police officials said the situation was under control and flag marches were conducted in Bhajanpura, Khajuri Khas and other places. Shah holds talks Union Home Minister Amit Shah convened a meeting with Delhi Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Delhi Police chief Amulya Patnaik and others to address the situation. The meeting resolved that workers of political parties should join hands to restore peace and peace committees should be reactivated in all localities. In scenes not seen in the national capital for decades, frenzied groups, armed with sticks, stones and rods, were seen thrashing people on the road in Maujpur and also venting their ire on erickshaws and other vehicles. Many journalists were heckled and told to go back. Schools were shut and fearful residents stayed indoors as restless crowds
roamed the streets, seemingly unmindful of prohibitory orders restricting the assembly of more than four people imposed by police on Monday. Eyewitnesses said the police presence on several riot hit areas was negligible and police action wanting. Houses were also torched in parts of northeast Delhi, with government sources ruling out calling in the Army. “There is hardly any police presence in the area. Rioters are running around
threatening people, vandalising shops. The law and order situation is extremely bad. Families need to be evacuated. We are unsafe in our own homes,” said a resident of Maujpur, requesting anonymity. Another added that this is the first time in 35 years - possibly since the 1984 anti-Sikh riots - that he has seen a situation such as this. “The area had always remained peaceful,” he said. Amnesty India calling for investigation
Political leaders in India who are creating a violent environment by making hateful speeches must be immediately held accountable, Amnesty International India, said. Avinash Kumar, Executive Director of Amnesty International India, said: “These riots - along with the earlier instances of violence that took place in Jamia Milia University and Jawaharlal Nehru University - were preceded by the hateful speeches made by political leaders.
HEALTH & LIFESTYLE
29 Feb - 6 Mar 2020
Online Eligibility Checker For Dental Treatment According to a recent NHS release if you’re claiming free dental treatment – don’t assume you can claim it for free. Not all benefits entitle you to free dental treatment, and if you claim when you’re not entitled, you could face a penalty charge of £100 plus the cost of your treatment. Thankfully, there’s a simple way to find out if you should be paying. Search “check before you tick” online and use the quick and simple NHS eligibility checker to understand if you’re entitled to free or reduced cost NHS dental treatment.It also helps explain other means of NHS support to reduce costs, such as the NHS Low Income Scheme. The activity is an extension of the ongoing ‘check before you tick’ prescriptions campaign which launched for the first time in September 2018, helping people to understand if they are entitled to free prescriptions and how to claim correctly to avoid unnecessary penalty charges.
What if you’re not sure whether you are entitled to free or reduced cost dental treatment and need to check? Nobody wants to get a penalty
charge for claiming incorrectly. To help you understand if you’re entitled to free or reduced cost dental treatment so that you can claim correctly, the NHS has a handy online tool. The online eligibility checker takes you through a few simple questions. It’s been specially designed so that it: l Is easy to use l Takes less than 5 minutes to complete Check if you’re entitled now at: nhs.uk/checkbeforeyoutick
What happens if you claim incorrectly? Claiming incorrectly can mean a penalty charge of £100 plus the cost of your dental treatment. Nobody wants to receive an unnecessary charge, so please make sure you always check before you tick. You can check your entitlement using the eligibility checker online, or ask your dentist for more information.
What other help can you get if you are not eligible for free or reduced cost dental treatment? If you’re not eligible for free or reduced cost dental treatment, you might be able to receive financial support in another way, such as the NHS Low Income Scheme. Please go to nhs.uk/healthcosts to find out more about the Chirag Shah help available. According to Dentist Chirag Shah, “The eligibility checker is a great tool to check if you’re entitled to free or reduced cost dental treatment, by answering some simple questions, it only takes a few minutes. And if you do need to pay, it can tell you about other means of help with your costs. So always ‘check before you tick’ at nhs.uk/checkbeforeyoutick” As well as telling you if you’re entitled to free dental treatment or free prescriptions, the online eligibility checker can also tell you about other NHS support available to help you with costs for prescriptions, dental treatment and eye care. Find it here: nhs.uk/checkbeforeyoutick
Scientists discover powerful antibiotic using AI Scientists have, for the first time, discovered a new type of antibiotic using artificial intelligence (AI). The discovery has been heralded as a major breakthrough in the fight against the growing problem of drug resistance. According to the research powerful algorithm was used to analyse more than one hundred million chemical compounds in a matter of days. The newly discovered compound was able to kill 35 types of potentially deadly bacteria, said researchers. Reports suggest that antibiotic-resistant infections have risen in recent
years - up 9% in England between 2017 and 2018, to nearly 61,000. If antibiotics are taken inappropriately, harmful bacteria living inside the body can become resistant to them, which means the medicines may not work when really needed. The World Health Organization (WHO) has called the phenomenon "one of the biggest threats to global health security and development today". The discovery was made using an algorithm inspired by the architecture of the human brain. Scientists trained it to analyse the structure of 2,500
drugs and other compounds to find those with the most anti-bacterial qualities that could kill E. coli. Since 2014, the UK has cut the number of antibiotics it uses by more than 7%, but the number of drug-resistant bloodstream infections increased by 35% from 2013 to 2017. Researchers added that the use of the machine to accelerate drug discovery could help bring down the cost of generating more antibiotics in future. It comes just weeks after a drug molecule discovered by AI was set to become the first of its kind to be used in human trials. It will be used
to treat patients who have obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). The use of AI technology within healthcare remains in its infancy, but major breakthroughs continue to be made. Another recent study has claimed that AI is more accurate than doctors in diagnosing breast cancer from mammograms. An international team, including researchers from Google Health and Imperial College London, designed and trained a computer model on X-ray images from nearly 29,000 women. The algorithm outperformed six radiologists in reading mammograms.
Year on Mediterranean diet could reduce frailty and keep mind sharp' by improving gut health Researchers have found that eating a Mediterranean diet could help keep the mind sharp and reduce frailty in old age. Retired adults in five countries followed either a diet rich in healthy fats and fruit and vegetables or continued their normal diet for one year. Researchers analysed stool samples and found the Mediterranean-style diet boosted bacteria in the gut. Some bacteria are linked to healthy ageing by staving off frailty and memory-loss, scientists say. The study adds to mounting evidence finding the Mediterranean diet to be one of the healthiest in the world. The traditional Mediterranean diet includes lots of vegetables, fruits,
beans, and wholegrains. It is also abundant in healthy fats like olive oil. It contains moderate amounts of fish, white meat and some dairy, and very little sugar and red meat. According to studies experts from the UK, France, Italy, the Netherlands and Poland wanted to see if following a Mediterranean diet for a
year could improve participants' microbiome. The composition of our gut is partly determined by our genes but can also be influenced by lifestyle factors. Interest in, and knowledge about, the microbiota has recently exploded as we now recognise just how essential they are to our
health, affecting everything from mood to the development of serious disease. Last year, scientists at California Institute of Technology found the first ever link between the gut and Parkinson's symptoms. In this latest study, researchers asked half a group of 612 people aged between 65 and 79 to eat a Mediterranean diet. The other half stuck to their existing diet which varied according to each country. British people in the study were the least likely to naturally follow a Mediterranean diet, while those in Italy and France were the most. The researchers said the most striking finding was how strong the link was between an improved gut environment and markers of ageing.
in brief ANTIBIOTIC-RESISTANT SUPERBUGS COULD LEAVE CHEMOTHERAPY INEFFECTIVE WITHIN NEXT DECADE Experts have warned that antibiotic-resistant superbugs could render chemotherapy ineffective within the next decade. British oncologists have seen a rise in superbug infections among cancer patients in the past year alone, some of which are deadly. A predicted 65,000 cancer patients could develop potentially life-threatening drug-resistant infections after surgery in the next decade. Cancer patients may be more vulnerable to emerging superbugs because their immune systems have been made weaker by treatment. Therefore, routine medical interventions, such as chemotherapy and other surgeries, may become less safe to use - thereby 'ineffective' because of the infection risk. Half of oncologists surveyed fear strong cancer-killing chemotherapy drugs may be unviable within ten years. Bacteria can become resistant - known as a superbug - over time. This is accelerated by people taking incorrect doses of antibiotics or unnecessarily. The survey of oncologists was carried out by the Longitude Prize, which was set up to develop a diagnostic test which can identify which antibiotics are needed for patients on the spot, removing guess work. The Times reported that one in four oncologists in the UK have seen an increase in drug-resistant infections in the last year. A survey of 100 cancer doctors found that 95 per cent were worried about the rise of superbugs in their patients. Some 46 per cent of those surveyed said they believed drug-resistant infections could make chemotherapy unviable.
NEW TEST COULD HELP MILLIONS WITH BLADDER WEAKNESS According to reports millions of people with bladder weakness may finally be spared embarrassment thanks to new diagnostic test. One in five people have an overactive bladder, which means having to go to the toilet often or suffering leakages. Now scientists are a step closer in the development of a 'game-changer' test which will diagnose the problem quicker. They have identified chemicals in the urine caused by an overactive bladder, which could be picked up by something similar to a pregnancy test. Diagnosing an overactive bladder is a cumbersome process because its symptoms are similar to other disorders, leading to a range of costly tests. But getting treatment with speed would stop the condition worsening. It's not uncommon for patients to end up wearing sanitary towels in their underwear to deal with leakages. Dr John Young and Dr Sepinoud Firouzmand, both in the School of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences at University of Portsmouth, published their research in Nature's Scientific Reports. Using 95 participants referred to the Urology Department at the Royal Surrey County Hospital, Dr Young and colleagues found patients with overactive bladders had more of the chemical ATP in their urine. If clinical trials bear out the development, the test would allow treatment for the condition to begin much earlier. The device, which patients would urinate on like a pregnancy test, is a year or two from clinical trials, but the early signs are encouraging.
MORE PEOPLE COULD BECOME DIABETIC BY 2025 AS OBESITY CRISIS FUELS NHS TIMEBOMB A national obesity crisis could see another two million people become diabetic in the next five years. The number of people with 'pre-diabetes' – those on the brink of type 2 diabetes and who must take urgent action – has leapt from an average of 1.3million to almost two million in only a year. Already a sixth of the entire NHS hospitals budget is spent treating those with diabetes, which affects an estimated record four million people in Britain, costing taxpayers £14billion a year. In 2018 hospitals spent £5.5billion caring for people with the condition, with some £3billion needed to treat diabetes complications such as kidney failure and sight loss. The 'alarming' figures released by NHS England now show many more people in England have abnormally high blood sugar, which is likely to see them become diabetic too. More than 100,000 of them are under the age of 40, following warnings that type 2 diabetes is no longer a middle-aged disease. And all of them are a ticking timebomb, according to experts, who expect people with pre-diabetes to develop type 2 diabetes within around five years if they do not lose weight to reverse the process. The NHS began recording cases of prediabetes, also known as 'non-diabetic hyperglycaemia', two years ago, standing at 1.3million in 2017-18. The latest figures show 1,969,610 people registered with a GP in England in 201819 have the condition.
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29 Feb - 6 Mar 2020
Deepika joins hands with husband Ranveer in '83'
Homeland: The Final Home Run Mathison is back in action and at her CIA station in Kabul Bytes to Binge Priya
Genre: Action Thriller Duration: 55 minutes each Season: 8 No. of episodes: 12 Where: Sky/ Netflix Directed: Lesli Linka Glatter, Michael Cuesta Cast: Claire Danes
Most spy-intelligence dramas are met with skepticism with predictive narratives. CIA officers, drone attacks, a mock up of a war-torn Middle East and post 9/11 America. What gives Homeland an edge over the others? A former CIA officer John MacGaffin is the guiding light in the writer’s room, and thus the reason the show has had an uncanny ability to predict world events- right from Bowe Bergdahl’s captivity Bowe Bergdalh’s captivity to the American president-elect at war with the National Security establishment similar to President Trump’s situation. Now, in its 8th and sadly final series, Carrie Mathison, the protagonist of the show, seems determined to secure and seal the peace talks between the Taliban, Afghan Government and America! She’s got to “get it done” and boy is she set to. In fact, all the main actors are on top form and their characters brilliantly written. But if you’ve been hiding in a cave and haven’t watched a bipolar Carrie, an intelligence office for the CIA claw her way through yet another ocean deep obstacle, you better catch up with season 1! You’ll be glued to this season as she does it again, and for the final time! When one of the main character’s, Nicholas Brody played by the uber talented Damian Lewis left the show a couple of seasons ago, and alongside critics, I wondered if the show would exude the same amount of energy to us but it has! Damian went on to make Billions. I didn’t think he would be able to shake off his character but he has nailed the role of a captured American Marine Corp.
Going back to Homeland, it was nice seeing old the faces, like Saul Barenson, (National Security Advisor and assigned to negotiate peace with the Taliban in Afghanistan), after what felt like a decade! He feels like the ever-grounding figure in Carrie’s life. I also like the realness to the show’s content. I hope we get to see Carrie’s daughter, her sister Maggie and how they have settled to a domestic life that Mathison may be fortunate to return to, that is to say if she ever can! This season we see her recovering from her brutal treatment as a prisoner in Russia. Although, she fails her polygraph test with bare recollections of the 180 days she had spent in Russian prison, Saul is determined to put a “compromised officer” back on field in Kabul, a place 10 times worse than ever before. And oh boy, even if the CIA may have pulled away all her assets after she had been caught in Russia, Mathison has her own agents and recruits. Practically speaking, it does not sound feasible. But well she is able to track her fixers and using old-school spy tactics able to get a good roadmap of the border, check-posts and security system that is until she finds out that one of her fixers had been murdered by the Taliban. Russian interference? Or is it the Afghan Vice President Ghulom? The show is fast paced and the filming mostly done in Afghanistan is impeccable, which in its own right is difficult. This week’s review comes with no holds barred and a straight up 5* from me.
Real-life couple Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh are set to share the screen space in the upcoming movie '83'. While Singh will play cricket legend Kapil Dev, Deepika will be seen as Dev's wife Romi. When asked about sharing space with her husband once again, after movies like 'Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram-Leela' and 'Bajirao Mastani', the actress said both of them had to “remind ourselves that we had worked with each other before”. “It was good. It was a refreshing change because of the kind of films that we have done before. It was a completely different setting, era, characters, costumes and dialogues. It was refreshing to work with him in this capacity. We were both surprised. We had to remind ourselves that we had worked with each other before because these characters were so different from what we had already done before and we look forward to working with each other in contemporary films a lot more,” she said. Based on India's historical 1983 Cricket World Cup victory, the movie will also see Deepika as a producer. The actress also has another production in the pipeline, 'Mahabharat' which will be made from Draupadi's point of view.
Amitabh Bachchan's emotional post for daughter Shweta Veteran actor Amitabh Bachchan's daughter Shweta Bachchan unveiled her first ever luxury collection at a show in Mumbai over a weekend, and he was as proud as a father could be. Sharing pictures from the event, he wrote, “progeny pride.. moist eyes, ever to se achievement of kids .. love you Mama.” Shweta is seen wearing a denim jacket from her collection, which featured Amitabh's portrait on the sleeve. Expressing his happiness, the actor wrote on his blog, “A day of glory and pride .. when progeny excels .. when they achieve .. when they bring the eyes to moisten .. when independent hard work fructifies and the World sees and applauds .. when you see the glimmer and glow in the countenance.” He added, “Love to you Shweta .. and the pride you give to all of us.” Amitabh also shared a collage of his and Shweta’s throwback pictures, as a child and an adult. Amazed by her evolution, Amitabh captioned the throwback pics on Instagram, “ kab ye aise se aisi ban gayi pata hi nahin chala. love you Mama.”
Hollywood's Lana Condor and Noah Centineo react to iconic Bollywood scenes In a brand new video released by Netflix India, actors Lana Condor and Noah Centineo of 'To All the Boys' fame were seen reacting to iconic Bollywood scenes. The two were shown famous scenes from films such as 'Main Hoon Na' and 'Om Shanti Om', both starring Shah Rukh Khan. The four-and-a-half minute video starts with Lana
greeting “Hello India”. Noah adds, “We know a thing or two about making romantic movies.” Lana then says, “We hear Bollywood makes romance on a different level.” The duo were shown scenes like Amrita Rao's hair-flip from 'Main Hoon Na', to which Lana reacts, “If I did that, I'd 100 per cent crack my neck.” Reacting to the spontaneous violins in the movie, Noah says, “They're literally showing how these people feel on the inside.” Condor adds, “I almost felt like I was watching a Pantene commercial.”
29 Feb - 6 Mar 2020
by Vallisa Chauhan
Genre: Romantic Comedy Duration: 117 mins
When Bollywood meets LGBTQ+ Homosexuality is still associated with stigma and prejudice in the South Asian societies- be it here in the UK or back in India.
Katrina hosts Alia and Priyanka With actress Priyanka Chopra in India, Katrina Kaif hosted her and Alia Bhatt at her Bandra home over the weekend. While Alia and Kat have known to be good friends and used to share several photos and videos with each other in the past, Alia's relationship with Ranbir Kapoor, Kaif's ex-boyfriend, appeared to affect the girls' friendship. Kat had previously stated in an
interview that she has cordial relations with Alia. She had said, “When I thought about it, I just felt, who she was dating was not to the equation that I share with her. So why should that equation change?” With Priyanka, the 'Tiger Zinda Hai' actress offered words of encouragement recently when she faced flak for wearing a navel-baring dress to the Grammys.
On the work front, Katrina will be seen next opposite Akshay Kumar in 'Sooryavanshi', the fourth instalment of Rohit Shetty's cop universe. Alia will be seen alongside Ranbir in 'Brahmastra', and Karan Johar's period epic 'Takht'. Priyanka, meanwhile, has Netflix's 'The White Tiger', Robert Rodriguez’s superhero film, as well as Barry Levinson's 'Maa Anand Sheela. biopic for Amazon.
This despite the evolutionary South Asian voices aiming to break perceptions around the stranglehold of “following a western influence and lifestyle of accepting certain sexual preferences as opposed to being born into them”. However, Ayushman Khurana sets precedent in delivering a social message around how homosexuality is not a choice but an identity. Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan is Bollywood’s interpretation and explanation of two young men falling in love with each other. In other words it is the industry’s first ever mainstream interface with the LGBTQ+ diaspora. Directed by Hitesh Kewalya this movie is titled similar to its prequel with the lead being the same as the 2017 romantic comedy Shubh Mangal Saavdhan. Yet, the plot is completely different. Perhaps, an empathy bridge this movie tries to explain to the older generations, societal authorites and cultural organisations about how Kartik Singh (Ayushmann Khurrana) and Aman Tripathi
Shilpa Shetty and husband welcome baby daughter Actress Shilpa Shetty and husband Raj Kundra have been blessed with a baby girl. They took to social media to share the announcement. Named Samisha Shetty Kundra, the little one was born on February 15. Shilpa shared the first glimpse of her baby girl on Instagram, and wrote, “Our prayers have been answered with a miracle. With gratitude in our hearts, we are thrilled to announce the arrival of our little Angel Samisha Shetty Kundra. Born: February 15, 2020, Junior SSK in the house, 'Sa' in Sanskrit is “to have”, and 'Misha' in Russian stands for “someone like God”. You personify this name – our Goddess Laxmi, and complete our family. Please bestow our angel with all your love and blessings. Ecstatic parents: Raj and Shilpa Shetty Kundra, Overjoyed brother: Viaan-Raj Kundra”. The baby girl was reportedly born through surrogacy. Bollywood poured in with congratulatory messages, including those from Bhumi Pednekar, Malaika Arora, Neha Dhupia, Dia Mirza, Sonali Bendre, and Sophie Choudry. On the work front, Shilpa is making a comeback to the movies with 'Nikamma' and 'Hungama 2.'
The film 'Haunted Hills' revolves around a honeymoon couple. The wife dies accidentally, and her soul remains in a painting that she leaves incomplete. Writer, Director: Sanjeev Kumar Rajput. Stars: Sharan Anandani, Gavie Chahal, Krishna Chaturvedi.
'Guns of Banaras'
It is an action film directed by Shekhar Suri and jointly produced by Ashok Munshi and Shaina Nath Taldar under the banner of Dashaka Cinema Co, and is presented by Dashaka Films and AJ media. Stars: Karann Nathh, Nathalia Kaur, Ganesh Venkatraman.
(Jitendra Kumar) cannot live without each other. The film revolves around the duo who live a blissful life together in Delhi where they are not judged or frowned upon. They then decide to go to Allahabad and try to convince Aman’s very old school parents to accept them, where the comedy actually begins. The opening scene will have you smiling when you see the two male leads running for a train and we see very Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge scene take place. When we arrive in Allahabad we meet the family and quickly realise it is going to take a lot for them to ever accept their sons’ sexuality. Instead this family believes that if they do a few rituals and conduct traditional ceremonies for Aman and get him married off to a girl from the town they will solve the problem. They have not realised Kartik may be the biggest problem, with his flamboyant live life to the fullest attitude. He is the one guy who is not scared to share his feelings. An interesting scene where we can see just how cheeky and open Kartik can be is a conversation between Chaman, Aman’s uncle and Kartik where the uncle asks, “When did you decide you would be gay?’to and Kartik replies ‘When did you decide you won’t be gay?’ Another interesting scene takes place at Aman’s cousin’s wedding where the popular Honey Singh track Gabru’s lyrics have been reworked to further emphasised Kartik’s love for Aman. Without giving it all away the film is a must see to laugh along and appreciate Khurrana. He demonstrates his creative intellect in doing meaningful cinema. He shows his calibre and attention to detail when picking a script and of course to find out if Aman’s parents will finally accept that he is gay. If nothing else you will definitely appreciate the songs within the film and Khurrana’s nose ring. Shubh Mangal Zyada Savdhan is a compelling narrative that needed to be told to help those coming from smaller towns where being gay is just not acceptable. It is not a mockery unlike Dostana but a lesson for the homophobic society and infotainment for those unaware of the challenges that the LGBTQ+ diaspora faces. You can get in touch with Vallisa: email@example.com
29 Feb - 6 Mar 2020
Trisha joins Mohanlal, Jeethu Joseph on sets of 'Ram' Actress Trisha joined the sets of upcoming Malayalam movie 'Ram', starring superstar Mohanlal in the lead role. She noted she felt “blessed” for having had the opportunity to work with “the best.” Sharing a picture of herself along with Mohanlal and Jeethu Joseph, she wrote, “Just chillin amidst one of India’s finest filmakers and the legendary superstar himself. Blessed to be working with the best!(sic).” Trisha made her debut in Malayalam with 'Hey Jude', which came out in 2018. She was paired opposite Nivin Pauly in the movie, which was directed by filmmaker Shyamaprasad. 'Ram' will be her second outing in Malayalam cinema. The movie also stars Indrajith Sukumaran, Adil Hussain, Durga Krishnan and Saikumar. The production of the movie is going on in full swing. The film is expected to hit the screens later this year.
Three killed on 'Indian 2' sets: Dhanush’s next is titled 'Jagame Thanthiram' Kamal Haasan pained Actor Kamal Haasan has offered condolences to the families of the three deceased and nine injured in a horrific accident that occurred on the sets of his film 'Indian 2'. The actor wrote that though he has overcome several accidents, this accident was the most horrific he has ever experienced. He added that though he was extremely saddened by the loss of three colleagues, the grief of their family members was far greater than his own. In another tweet, Kamal wrote that he has spoken with the doctors who were treating the crew members injured in the accident and hoped for their speedy recovery. Producers of the movie, Lyca Productions issued a statement expressing their sorrow.“No words could ease what we truly feel. We are extremely saddened
with the unfortunate accident happened on the sets of Indian 2 yesterday (19th Feb 2020). We have lost 3 of our most hardworking technicians. Krishna (Assistant Director), Chandran (Art Assistant), Madhu (Production Assistant). Our deepest condolences to their family members, may their soul rest in peace,” the production house wrote on Twitter. Three unit members died when a crane employed to erect the sets fell on them, last week. The accident happened at EVP Film City on the outskirts of Chennai and also injured nine others. Directed by Shankar, 'Indian 2' is the sequel to the 1996 Tamil blockbuster 'Indian', featuring Kamal as a vigilante named Senapathy. The film also stars Kajal Aggarwal, Siddharth and Rakul Preet Singh in key roles.
SATURDAY FEB 29, 2020
00:59 06:00 08:44 11:08 13:27 16:29 19:33 20:00
FILM: ANJAANE - THE UNKNOWN FILM: SWEEKAR KIYA MAINE FILM: AWARAPAN FILM: MASTI EXPRESS FILM: DIL NE JISE APNA KAHA FILM: D-DAY LIFESTYLE : STAR STOP FILM: SALAAM-E-ISHQ
00:29 02:39 06:00 08:30 11:43 14:23 17:49 20:28 23:47
FILM: FILM: FILM: FILM: FILM: FILM: FILM: FILM: FILM:
JISM 2 ISHQ CLICK MUNNA MANGE MEMSAAB PYAR KI KAHANI NAZAR KE SAMNE YES BOSS BHAIAJI SUPERHIT BHAGAM BHAG SALAAM-E-ISHQ
03:34 06:00 08:24 11:16
FILM: FILM: FILM: FILM:
TUMSA NAHIN DEKHA AAJ KA RAVAN AAJ KA MAHATMA JUAARI
SUNDAY MAR 1, 2020
MONDAY MAR 2, 2020
14:21 17:09 20:18 22:47
FILM: SAMAY - WHEN TIME STRIKES FILM: 16 DECEMBER FILM: THE KILLER FILM: FAREB
01:08 06:00 08:33 11:48 14:17 17:21 20:40 23:56
FILM: CHOR BAZAARI-EK ATRANGI PREM KAHANI FILM: VIKALP FILM: AULAD FILM: NAARAAZ FILM: KRANTIVEER FILM: BHAGAM BHAG FILM: JOSH FILM: THENALI
FILM: HAI APNA DIL TOH AWARA
FILM: AAR YA PAAR
TUESDAY MAR 3, 2020
* Schedule is subject to change
WEDNESDAY MAR 4, 2020 06:00 11:16 14:00
FILM: BAAT BANN GAYI FILM: AGNIVARSHA
FILM: HOTE HOTE PYAR HO GAYA
FILM: WOH LAMHE
THURSDAY MAR 5, 2020
FILM: FOUR PILLARS OF
FILM: TITOO MBA
08:08 10:25 13:03 15:47
LIFESTYLE : STAR STOP
17:30: CHHUTA CHHEDA
20:00: KHATRON KE KHILADI
18:30: DIL KA RISHTA
19:30: MOHE RANNG DO LAAL
BIGG BOSS (SEASON 13) -
20:00 23:27 16:30
* Schedule is subject to change
SATURDAY 29TH FRBRUARY
SUPER DANCER CHAPTER 3
DUS KA DUM
THE KAPIL SHARMA SHOW
INDIA’S BEST DANCER
SUNDAY 1ST MARCH
FILM: EMI - LIYA HAI TO
SUPER DANCER CHAPTER 3
FILM: GULAAB GANG
DUS KA DUM
MERE DAD KI DULHAN CRIME PATROL
TERE NAAL ISHQ
15:00: STRICTLY STREET
* Schedule is subject to change
18:00: BIGG BOSS (SEASON 13) -
15:30: JAI SHRI KRISHNA
DESI BEAT RESET (SEASON 3)
DANCE DEEWANE (SEASON 2)
SUN 1ST MAR 2020
DHARAM THI GUJARATI WEEKEND KA VAAR
DESI BEAT RESET (SEASON 3)
DANCE DEEWANE (SEASON 2)
KHATRON KE KHILADI (SEASON 10)
21:30: MUJHSE SHAADI KAROGE
SAT 29 FEB 2020 18:30: VIDYA
19:00: CHOTI SARDAARNI
20:00: NAAGIN (SEASON 4)
21:00: FEET UP WITH THE STARS
13:30: BIGG BOSS (SEASON 13)
13:30: DIKRI CHALI SASASRIYE
SAT 29 FEB 2020
EK DUJE KI VAASTE 2
MON 2ND MAR FRI 6TH MAR 2020
BALIKA VADHU - LAMHE PYAAR KE
ISHAARON ISHAARON MEIN
20:30: BARRISTER BABU
17:00: DHARAM THI GUJARATI
19:00: MERE HUMRAHI
INDIA’S BEST DANCER
18:00: TUM KAUN PIYA
16:30: RASOI SHOW
THE KAPIL SHARMA SHOW
MON 2ND MARCH FRI 6TH MARCH 18:30
WEEKEND KA VAAR
16:00: DHARAM THI GUJARATI
FILM: SHIVA SHAKTI
filmmaker like Karthik Subbaraj. This one is going to be special.” The movie is said to be an action thriller with gangster elements. Actress Aishwarya Lekshmi is the leading lady in the film. 'Game of Thrones' and 'Braveheart' actor James Cosmo plays a pivotal role in the film apart from Kalaiarasan and Joju George. The poster revealed that the film will release on May 1, 2020. Meanwhile, Dhanush has a busy lineup of projects in his kitty. In January 2020, Dhanush saw the release of 'Pattas', which was directed by RS Durai Senthil Kumar. The film featured him in dual roles.
FILM: HOTE HOTE PYAR HO GAYA
FILM: EMI - LIYA HAI TO
FRIDAY MAR 6, 2020
Actor Dhanush has unveiled the title of his upcoming Tamil film 'Jagame Thanthiram' through a motion poster that has been shared multiple times since. The motion poster introduces key characters of the movie, and gives a glimpse of Dhanush as a gangster dressed in a dhoti. Maiden collaboration of Dhanush and Karthik Subbaraj, the movie has been predominantly shot in London, along with a few other places in the UK. Following completion of the project, Dhanush tweeted, “That's a wrap for D 40. One of the quickest films I have done. It was a pleasure to work with such a quirky, sensible and visionary
21:30: KHATRON KE KHILADI
* Schedule is subject to change
MON 2ND MAR FRI 6TH MAR 2020 18:30: 19:00: 19:30: 20:00:
VIDYA PAVITRA BHAGYAA CHOTI SARDAARNI SHAKTI ASTITVA KE EHSAAS KI 20:30: SHUBHARAMBH 21:00: NAATI PINKY KI LAMBI LOVE STORY
SUN 1ST MAR 2020
KABHI KHUSHI KABHI GHAM
NAAGIN (SEASON 4)
11:30: 19:30: 21:00: 21:30:
PAKDAM PAKDAI FOOD HIGHWAY
DESI BEAT RESET
KHATRON KE KHILADI
TRAVEL & EVENTS
29 Feb - 6 Mar 2020
hey call it a diversity pool breeding and nurturing Chinese, Indian and Malay culture. Singapore is the urbane metropolis and every bit glamourous as it appears in Crazy Rich Asians. Clean, green and systematic in its administration, the island city-state is an introduction and perhaps, an entry into South-East Asia. From the Chinese Lunar Year to the Indian Diwali, this country celebrates culture. But if you are an adventurist or planning a family holiday then it is the perfect getaway for shopping sprees, spending hours howling with laughter in the Universal studios and ringing in the sunsets whilst in food coma. Fun fact: If you are holding a British passport then you do not need any visa to enter the country. Frequent flights operate from London Heathrow to the Changi airport (the largest airport in the world) with round trips starting from £550 and a flying journey of 13 hours on an average. The best time to visit this place is between February to April. Singapore is relatively expensive and according to the Economist Intelligence Unit Singapore remains one of the most expensive cities in the world with 1 GBP = 1.80 Singaporean Dollars (At the time of writing). From the places to visit, to the things to do, we break down Singapore in bite sizes of fun for you.
Sing away to
Singapore by the Bay The botanical gardens offer some spectacular views and walking around the gardens outside is free but you need tickets to access the domed conservatories. One of these conservatories replicate the
Marina Bay Sands is perhaps the epitome of sprawling modern architecture. From housing a hotel, a casino, two world-class theatres, an ice-skating rink, an indoor boat ride, a museum and a gamut of luxurious shops and restaurants, this place provides a blend of exotic fun and a rejuvenating self-care hibernating cave. The SkyPark on the 57th floor offers head-spinning views of Singapore. There is even an infinity pool on the top overlooking the city. Sound and light show at the Gardens
Chinatown is noisy, crowded and packed with souvenir stalls that you must visit if you are planning to hoard a bag full of Singaporean trinkets for your loved ones. There are a number of traditional Chinese temples and a few Hindu ones to boot. It is also replete with old-style tea houses and home to best dumplings. Yet, the atmosphere is more contemporary with edgy clubs and bars, quirky stores, fine dining and Michellin restaurants. Go Universal Studios at Sentosa Island
Mediterranean flora and the other features a tropical forest, complete with a waterfall. Outside, two of the tall imposing trees are connected by a walkway or skywalk for which separate tickets are needed. The Super trees light up at night for an entertaining sound and light show.
Sunsets at Marina Bay Sands
Haven’t had the opportunity of visiting the Universal Studios in Florida or Miami? There is one in the Sentosa Island. Similar to the others across the world, the Universal studios have adventure roller coaster rides, 3D animation houses, music and theatre shows not just for kids but adults as well. Protip, rides have pretty long queues so you might as well be an early riser and hop your way down to the islands for the entire day. Besides, Sentosa Islands have breezy beeches and fine dining for spending a day lazing around. The Resorts World hosts hugely popular casinos and French themed cafes. Other attractions include quick stop shop at the flea markets and enjoying street Laskan food at the Orchard market.
l Sampad Asian Spring 2020 - Sampad’s annual South Asian dance extravaganza returns to Birmingham Town Hall in 2020. This extremely popular dance showcase promises an evening of extraordinary talent across a variety of South Asian dance styles. Groups from all over the Midlands and beyond will perform throughout the evening in a wow-factor event curated by Sampad. From Classical dance to Bollywood and Bhangra, Asian Spring always delivers something new and exciting. Asian Spring 2020 will mark the launch of this huge achievement, and we hope you can join us for an evening of celebrations and brilliance. Date: Sunday 1st March Time: 6pm Venue: Birmingham Town Hall, Victoria Square, Birmingham, B3 3DQ Price: Free (limited) ticket for Disabled Visitor’s Carers, as per Access Scheme ; £11 (60+, U16s and Unwaged) ; £13 (Standard) Tickets: https://www.thsh.co.uk/event/sampad-asian-spring2020 l The Asian Miracle: - The lecture analyzes the phenomenal transformation of Asia, which would have been difficult to imagine, let alone predict, fifty years ago. In doing so, it provides an analytical narrative of this remarkable story of economic development, situated in the wider context of historical, political and social factors, and an economic analysis of the underlying factors, with a focus on critical issues in the process of, and outcomes in, development. The analytical conclusions drawn contribute to contemporary debates on development, and highlight some lessons from the Asian experience for countries elsewhere. Date: Thursday 5th March Time: 2pm Venue: Queen Elizabeth House, 3 Mansfield Road, OX1 3TB l Milan Asian Carers Group - The purpose of the Milan Asian Carers sessions is to pass on information about various local services, provide art and craft activities, training, trips and outings. They help to get carers involved in consultation with health and social care professionals and celebrate various religious festivals throughout the year. On the day, the timetable roughly follows this plan: 10.15am - 10.45am - Yoga/Light Exercise 11am - 12noon - Speakers 12noon - 12.30pm - Refreshments and one to one talks with speakers if required Date: Friday 6th March Time: 10.15am till 12.30pm Venue: Penny Collard Centre, Fleet Street, City Centre, Coventry, CV1 3AY l WOW – Women of the World festival - This year mark’s the tenth anniversary of Southbank Centre’s WOW – Women of the World festival. Over three days, WOW’s line-up of world-class speakers, activists and performers are joined by thousands to explore the state of gender equality across the globe and tackle the subjects that matter most to women and girls across the world today. This year’s festival features Naomi Wolf, Deborah Frances-White (The Guilty Feminist), Scarlett Curtis, Sandi Toksvig, Emma Dabiri and Shazia Mirza. Day passes are available for Friday and Saturday. Each day features a different line-up, so you can buy passes for both or attend just one. Standard tickets are available to purchase. Date: Friday 6th March to Sunday 8th March Venue: Venues vary depending on event For more info https://www.southbankcentre.co.uk/whats-on/festivalsseries/women-of-the-world# Tickets: https://www.southbankcentre.co.uk/whatson/137871-wow-friday-day-pass-2020
SAMSUNG GALAXY Z: FLIP IT. FLAUNT IT 00
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Flip phones are back in fashion. It is not the Motorolas of 2000s but a Samsung product, Galaxy Z Flip, which is a tall smartphone folding in half. There is a small 1.1inch screen on the lid of the device adjacent to the main camera. It shows the time, the battery charge and notifications. When you unfold it, it has a 6.7 inch screen making it appear similar to a normal Samsung android. The Galaxy Z Flip has Qualcomm’s topof-the-range chip from late 2019, the Snapdragon 855+, not this year’s top chip, the Snapdragon 865. It also has 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage, which isn’t expandable with microSD.
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FEATURES Main screen: 6.7in FHD+ AMOLED Infinity Flex Display (425ppi) Cover screen: 1.1in AMOLED (303ppi) Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 855+ RAM: 8GB of RAM Storage: 256GB (UFS 3.0) Operating system: One UI 2.1 based on Android 10 Camera: Dual rear camera: 12MP wide angle, 12MP ultra-wide angle, 10MP front-facing camera Connectivity: 4G, nano sim + esim, Wi-Fiac, NFC, Bluetooth 5 and GPS Weight: 183g The Galaxy Z Flip lasts about 27 hours between charges of medium to heavy usage.
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29 Feb - 6 Mar 2020
ECB launches Dynamos Cricket to inspire kids aged 8-11 Dynamos Cricket will encourage boys and girls aged 8-11 to have fun and fall in love with the game. The programme is designed for children graduating from ECB’s All Stars Cricket programme for 5-8-year olds, but is also designed to welcome those who are new to the game. Up to 35,000 kids will take part in Dynamos Cricket in their local centres at one of two eight-week courses: During the summer term, beginning mid-May Over the school holidays alongside The Hundred Each week, participants will develop new cricketing skills including batting, bowling and fielding. They will have the chance to play a fast-paced and exciting game of countdown cricket – a new format that mirrors The Hundred. Every child taking part will receive a New Balance Dynamos shirt with their name and number on the back. They will get access to a Dynamos app providing cricket tips, activities and quizzes, alongside skills and tips from the stars of The Hundred so that they can practice at home and with their friends as well as receiving packs of Cricket Attax trading cards, featuring some of the best players from The Hundred. Nick Pryde, the ECB’s Director of Participation and Growth, said, “2020 promises to be another unforgettable
year for the game with the launch of The Hundred and Dynamos will give kids a chance to experience for themselves just how exciting cricket can be. “Dynamos Cricket is a key part of our plans to grow the game in England and Wales and we hope that thousands of children will fall in love with the game this summer.” England fast bowler James Anderson, Oval Invincibles spinner Laura Marsh, Birmingham Phoenix star Pat Brown and England Physical Disability cricketer and parent Liam Thomas were joined by Clare Stokes, the wife of England all-rounder Ben, at a special Dynamos Cricket taster session to launch the new programme. Laura Marsh said, “I’ve seen today just how much fun Dynamos Cricket is. It’s great that so many children will have the opportunity to take up the game at such a young
age.” “I learnt so many lessons playing cricket – from teamwork and communication, to looking out for my friends in tough times. Cricket has made me stronger and more resilient as a person and is something I’d recommend to anyone.” England and Birmingham Phoenix star Pat Brown said, “Cricket taught me how to win and lose gracefully. Just as importantly, it helped me to make friends and to learn how to cope with pressure. These are great life skills and you’re never too young to learn them!” Clare Stokes said, “I’m always looking for new ways for my children to get active and having watched a session today, I know Layton and his friends will love it. The fast and fun format makes it perfect for the kids of this age and parental involvement is encouraged so I got the chance
to pick up a few skills too!” Thanks to a new partnership with Topps, Dynamos participants will receive packs of Cricket Attax trading cards, featuring some of the best players from The Hundred, at their Dynamos sessions each week. Each pack will include a scannable card that can be used to be unlock exclusive skills content and challenges within the Dynamos app. All Dynamos participants will also have the chance to apply for “money can’t buy” experiences linked to The Hundred, such as attending training sessions and taking part in Q&As with their heroes. There will also be unique experiences for all Dynamos at Hundred games, including being part of a guard of honour before play. The sessions themselves will run either on weekday evenings or on Saturdays and Sundays. Sessions will be run by trained, DBS-checked volunteers, linked to the local Dynamos Cricket centre. We also encourage parents to get involved. All parents and guardians are asked during the registration process if they would be interested in helping out during the programme. Parents who volunteer will be supported to help them get involved. Parents can find out more about Dynamos Cricket and sign their kids up to take part at dynamoscricket.co.uk or for All Stars Cricket at allstarscricket.co.uk.
10-year-old paddler FIH Pro League: India beat Hansini to make Aussies after four-year wait international debut M Hansini, the 10-year-old Chennai table t e n n i s sensation, is all set to showcase her talent at M Hansini international level as she will play her maiden International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) junior circuit event, Swedish Junior and Cadet Open, which began in Orebro, Sweden. It has been a memorable year for Class V student who bagged bronze medal in cadet girls’ singles at the 2019 UTT 81st National Table Tennis Championships and will start the upcoming season as India No.1 in the U12 category. Coach Muralidhara Rao, who has experience of coaching top paddlers in the country such as Sharath Kamal and K Shamini, had spotted the talent in Hansini at SDAT AKG Table Tennis Development Centre in Chennai. Hansini has been placed in the Group 8 in junior girls’ singles alongside Germany’s Naomi Pranjkovic, Sweden’s Hannah Holgersson and England’s Amy Marriott.
The Olympics are still a few months away but if the Indian hockey team can play in Tokyo like they did at Bhubaneswar last week, there is much to hope for.
At Kalinga Stadium, India beat Australia 3-1in the FIH Pro League via shootouts after the match finished 2-2 in regulation time. It was their first victory over the Aussies since 2016, when they had won in Bendigo, Australia. It was a brilliant show by the entire team but special mention must be made of PR Sreejesh, who had another fantastic match. For the umpteenth time, he stood like a wall and kept denying the Aussies over and over. In the shootouts, the visitors were able to score past him only once after he fouled Daniel Beale,
and Matt Dawson converted from the penalty stroke. They failed on the other three occasions. For the Indians, Harmanpreet Singh, Vivek Prasad and Lalit Upadhyay scored with ease. Now, both India and Australia have10 points from six matches. India were a muchimproved side. They had the Aussies gasping for breath on a number of occasions. The Indians
were faster, more organized and passed well. They had control over the midfield, which made it difficult for the visitors to attack through the middle. But coach Graham Reid must do something about the failure to convert chances when it comes to scoring field goals. Ramandeep Singh was specially poor. This problem needs to be addressed before India face Germany in April.
Monty’s Spin Monty Panesar
Kyle Jamieson, Taniya Bhatiya impress The Women's World Cup cricket is under way in Australia and India have started their campaign really well. They recorded their second victory against Bangladesh. One player who has lit-up the tournament is the Indian wicket-keeper Taniya Bhatia. Taniya trained under former Indian cricketer and Yuvraj Singh’s father Yograj Singh while she was studying at secondary school. Former India cricketer Yograj Singh was a huge influence on Yuvraj Singh and it is heartening to know that he is now helping the Indian women's cricket team. Taniya has won the hearts of Indian cricket fans who believe that her style is similar to that of MS Dhoni's. She always wanted to become a wicket-keeper like her father Sanjay Bhatia who played cricket at the all India university level. Indian men haven’t started very well in the Test series against New Zealand. There were huge expectations from them. Yet again the moving ball proved to be India's nemesis, opening up the debate on who might be the best Test team in the world. On current form I would say it is England. They won the T20 series, One-Dayers and the Test series. How can India win the next Test match? It will boil down to their batting. They will need to master conditions that are unlike their home turf. Even the likes of Virat Kohli is not in good form and it will require the skills of Ravi Shastri and the coaching staff to come up with appropriate strategies to show that the Indian Test team can perform. I remember a similar situation when I was on the India tour in 2012. We lost the first match but won in Mumbai and Kolkata. We soon realised that as a batting unit we had to score quickly to allow enough time to bowl India out. And it worked for us. India need to occupy the crease for long periods of time and the best way to do this is to leave the ball well and know where the off stump is so that they can play each ball according to its merit. It is not going to be easy for India to make these changes because they play so much white ball cricket, making it difficult for them to adjust to the red ball. I think conditions in New Zealand will play an important part too. India will need warm weather and a good plan to attack Kyle Jamieson who at 6ft 8 inches is possibly the tallest player to play for New Zealand. A cricketer who turned from batsmen to bowler he made a dream debut taking Virat Kohli's wicket. The next Test match is at Christchurch where he spent five to six years and is familiar with the ground. So, things are looking ominous for India. The Pakistan Super League has started and all the games are being played in Pakistan. Finally Pakistan fans can watch cricket in their own backyard. This is good news for the cricketing world, and the country now appears safe for both fans and players from a security point of view. Pakistan deserves this. It has been a long time since international cricket came to Pakistan. You can follow Monty Panesar @MontyChannel
Asian Voice weekly newspaper (Issue 42 Vol 48)