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Vol 46 | Issue 34

BJP FORMS NEW GOVTS IN GUJARAT, HIMACHAL 6th January to 12th January 2018

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Let noble thoughts come to us from every side

Indian-origin scientist awarded top Royal honour

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Vijay Rupani and his colleagues with the Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP Chief Amit Shah after the swearing-in ceremony

Vijay Rupani has taken oath as the 16th Chief Minister of Gujarat, after the Bharatiya Janata Party's victory in the recent Assembly elections. The state's 20-member Council of Ministers was administered the oath of secrecy and office in a high-profile function that saw top leaders in attendance, including Prime

Minister Narendra Modi, BJP patriarch LK Advani, party president Amit Shah, and top union ministers and chief ministers from states where BJP is ruling. Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel was sworn in along with other top names like former state BJP chief RC Faldu, former minister

Maharashtra simmers following caste clashes Towns and cities in Maharashtra were on the edge as protests against Pune's violence on Monday reached Mumbai. Dalit agitators damaged numerous buses and disrupted road and rail traffic. Clashes broke out between Dalit groups and supporters of right-wing Hindu organisations during the 200th anniversary celebrations of the Bhima-Koregaon battle. Over 160 buses were damaged in Mumbai by rampaging protesters over 100 of whom have been detained. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has ordered a judicial inquiry by a sitting judge of the

Bombay High Court, and appealed for calm. He said a Rs 10,00,000 compensation would be given to the kin of the one man who was killed in the violence. Also, his death would be probed by the CID. Bharipa Bahujan Mahasangh leader, and grandson of BR Ambedkar, Prakash Ambedkar called for a 'Maharashtra Bandh' to protest against the government's “failure� to stop the riots. It all began when dalit groups were celebrating the bicentenary of the Bhima-Koregaon battle which was won by the forces of the British East India Company,

Continued on page 23

Kaushik Patel, and sitting ministers like Bhupendrasinh Chudasama, Dilip Thakor, and Jayesh Radadia. Leaders who were dropped from the ministry when Rupani became CM in 2016- Saurabh Patel and Parshottam Solanki, were re-inducted. Babu Bokhiria and Vallabh Kakadia were dropped from the Council even though they won in the recent Assembly polls. Just one woman legislator, Vibhavariben Dave, finds a place in the new Cabinet while one SC legislator Ishwarbhai Parmar and one tribal legislator Ganpat Vasava have been included in the Council.

Pratibha Laxman Gai, Professor and Chairwoman of electron microscope, University of York, has been awarded Damehood for her services to chemical science and technology by the Queen in her New Year Honours.

Continued on page 17

Rajinikanth launches his most awaited party

Nitin Patel absent, wrests back finance portfolio Deputy CM Nitin Patel was vocally unhappy over not getting his choice of portfolios in the new cabinet, and managed to get back charge over the finance portfolio once again. He agreed to resume office after an intervention from Amit Shah. Rupani met Governor OP Kohli and gave him a letter informing him of the new allocation to Patel. Along with finance, Patel will also hold the roads and building, health and family welfare, medical education, Narmada, Kalpasar and Capital Project ministries.

Continued on page 23

Full story on page 24


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Asian Voice | 6th January 2018

AsianVoiceNews

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with

Keith Vaz, MP

Eren Ozagir Eren Ozagir is the founder and CEO of Push Doctor, Europe’s largest on-demand GP video consultation service. Eren has held senior positions from a young age across multiple industries, including technology, property, retail, and advertising. Prior to founding Push Doctor, Eren was the Chief Commercial and Marketing Officer for the online marketplace Music Magpie, helping turn it into a hugely successful e-commerce company. 1) Which place or city or country do you most feel at home in? I’ve lived all over the country and indeed the world, but home right now in Yorkshire is the most settled I’ve ever been. The floods a few years ago were terrible at the time but have fostered a lasting sense of community that is special and unique. 2) What are your proudest achievements? What we’re achieving now with Push Doctor is just the start but already hard to top. We’re making a huge difference to thou-

sands of people every week, changing and even saving lives. We’re having to build completely new pathways to make that happen for people but the reward is immense. 3) What inspires you? Without question, the feedback from our customers. We’ve always captured some amazing stories online and through the service, but in the last 12 months we’ve hit a scale where it feels like everywhere I go I’m getting that first hand. That unprompted face-to-face feedback from someone we’ve helped is incredible.

4) What has been the biggest obstacle in your career? I was a patient, not a traditional ‘healthcare guy’. That’s been key to the way we’ve seen and approached the problem but early on it meant it was at times hard to engage the sector. Together as a group is the only way we’ll really change things for patients; happily, those partnerships are now starting to come together. 5) Who has been the biggest influence on your career to date? I don’t have one single mentor and I also don’t think that would have tuned my thinking in the same way. I worked with some inspirational people in an array of industries who have shown me leadership skills and team building that I use today. My career is the result of a collective set of influences, and I’m proud of that balance.

Loving dad in race to raise £1,600,000 for life-saving cancer treatment

A loving dad is in a race against time to raise £1.6 million for life-saving cancer treatment in the USA. The family of Jaguar Land Rover worker Inderpal Singh, Birmingham, is urgently trying to raise cash for the special CAR Tcell treatment. Inderpal’s leukaemia has spread to other parts of his body and has been told the treatment is his only chance of survival. Speaking to a local newspaper his sister Gurpreet Kaur said: ‘We are trying to give Inderpal the chance he deserves. His children need a father, and his wife needs her husband. We are trying to raise the money as soon as possible so that he can go to Texas for treatment. It’s his only chance left – we just want him to get better.’ Inderpal, who has two young children Yuuraaj, seven, and Priya, four, was diagnosed with Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia in 2013 and underwent chemotherapy. He also had a Haploidentical stem cell

Inderpal Singh pictured with his wife and two children, Yuuraaj, 7, and Priya, 4 (Picture: BPM Media)

transplant – where the donor is a part match to the recipient – from his 27-year-old brother, Hardeep. But Inderpal, now 28, sadly relapsed last month and his only option was to apply for treatment in Houston as part of a clinical trial. Now, the JLR worker’s family have set up a JustGiving page to try to raise the money before time runs out. As of last Friday (29th Dec), the appeal had raised more than £9,500 so there is a long way to go. Speaking about the

MATRIMONIAL

B.A. educated good looking Gujarati Brahmin widow, age 44, 5'6", ready to settle in UK seeks alliance of Gujarati Brahmin / Vaishnav /Patel NRI UK citizen willing to accept 9 year old daughter. Presently residing in Pune. Guardian in India at present till mid of February 2018.

Contact Bhupendra on 0091 95032 75454, or on 0044 79104 68572 after 15 th February

cancer Gurpreet said: ‘In October he was told that the cancer had spread to his stomach. In 2015, Hardeep [his brother] donated stem cells – a direct match couldn’t be found because there is a real shortage of donors in the Asian community. ‘It looked like it had worked but, a few weeks ago, we got this news. Our whole family is devastated. For almost five years he has been battling this, and your life gets put on hold. ‘When he was first diagnosed, his wife Ramesh was eight months pregnant with their second child. We need to give him this chance – he is an amazing father and husband, and he deserves to see his children grow up. ‘If everyone could just spare £1 for my brother, it would mean everything to us.’ To donate to Inderpal’s treatment visit http://www.justgiving.co m/crowdfunding/inderpal-singh.

6) What is the best aspect about your current role? Leading a growing team of amazing individuals. A team who turn up for work inspired to create better lives for people. Seeing that energy, ambition and the ideas that come from it is remarkable. 7) And the worst? Having to choose between all those ideas. There’s so many ways we can make life better for people, and we will, but it’s a complex challenge and we always bring it back to simply: what’s the most acute problem people need us to fix next. 8) What are your longterm goals? Our purpose is super clear: To Help People Live Happier Longer Lives. My long-term goal is to build a model and organisation that is sustainable enough to still be delivering that in 50-100 years.

9) If you were Prime Minister, what one aspect would you change? I’d introduce a principal of radical

transparency. If we want to solve some of societies biggest problems we need to be much more open about how things work/and don’t today. Far too much energy is often wasted as a result of incomplete understanding. 10) If you were marooned on a desert island, which historical figure would you like to spend

your time why?

with

and

I’m not sure I’d be unkind enough to subject anyone to being marooned with me alone. However, I would love to go back and meet Rene Dubos who once defined health in a way that’s been a huge inspiration to us: “Health… …a measure of each person's ability to do and become what he wants to become.”

British mother carries her heart in a backpack to keep her alive A British mother has had a life-changing operation so radical, she now effectively carries her heart in a backpack. Selwa Hussain, 39, has become only the second-ever person in Britain to be given an artificial heart after a six-hour operation. A battery-powered pump and electric motor inside the 15lb bag pushes air through tubes to feed plastic chambers in Selwa’s chest. This pushes blood around her body. The mum-of-two, from Ilford, east London, was

taken to Harefield Hospital, west London, in July after suffering heart failure. She was too ill for a heart transplant and her husband Al agreed she be given an artificial organ. Selwa’s diseased natural heart was removed by surgeons and replaced with an artificial implant and the specialist unit on her back at the hospital, famous across the world for its heart and lung centres. It cost £86,000 ($116,000) to make in the US.

Selwa Hussain

Charity Ball in memory of Ria Sanger raises £27,000 for charities A total of £27,000 was raised at a charity ball in memory of a girl who died shortly after being granted her final wish. It was the second such event held in the name of Ria Sanger, who died aged six in 2013. Her funeral was held eight days later, on what would have been her seventh birthday. The following year her parents Jas and Sab put on a fundraising ball for ellenor, the charity hospice that helped look after Ria during her last few days. Around 200 people attended that event at Rochester’s Corn Exchange and £10,000 was raised, but last month’s Remembering Ria ball at Detling S h owg r o u n d ,

Ria Sanger

Maidstone, more than doubled both of those records. It included a red carpet reception, a threecourse Indian dinner, drinks and cocktails, live entertainment and a raffle, with prizes including a week in Florida. The couple, who have two other children, twoyear-old Ryan and eightyear-old Jaya, will now split the money between Make A Wish and four families from around

Gravesend who are going through similar experiences. Make A Wish granted Ria’s wish for a sensory room with equipment to aid her development just before she died, but she never got the chance to use it. Mr Sanger, 39, said: “We chose to support Make A Wish as we feel they help so many children like our daughter and their support is invaluable. We chose to also help four families as we want to make a real difference to their daily lives and help with their future care.” If you would still like to support the cause, donate at gofundme.com/rememberingria


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COMMENTS

2G spectrum verdict shows rot in the system The 2G spectrum scandal was supposed to be India’s biggest corruption case, thanks to an estimated £17.6 billion revenue loss to the exchequer as investigated by former Comptroller General of India Vinod Rai. It met with closure, with former union telecom minister A Raja, Kanimozhi, former telecom secretary Sidhartha Behura and corporate honchos among those acquitted. It was hard to miss the mix of politicians, bureaucrats and corporates in CBI’s allegations of crony capitalist nexus. But yet again CBI has come a cropper in producing evidence that could withstand judicial scrutiny. Though the Congress and DMK have gone to town celebrating the acquittal as a vindication of their case, the judgment clearly reveals how UPA’s chaotic functioning, lack of clarity on policy issues, and bureaucrats running riot – often functioning arbitrarily and ineptly – contributed to the perception of wilful subversion of procedure and monumental scam. If this was the state of affairs in 2007-08 when 2G licences were awarded, by 2010-11 UPA government had become a house in complete disarray. The 2G “scam” and Commonwealth Games related irregularities became the tr igger for a powerful anti-corruption movement. The economy slipped, inflation rose and policy paralysis set in. All this gave impetus to the Modi wave of 2013-14 and Congress plummeted to a historic low of 44 Lok Sabha seats. The telecom sector is yet to recover from the beating

it took in 2010-11. A decade ago, when Raja issued 122 2G licences with the proffered aim of boosting competition and reduci ng tariffs, foreign investors like Etisalat and Telenor were lining up to invest in telecom, even with nondescript partners like Swan and Unitech. Public auctions are a good way for transparently allotting spectrum and should have been adopted much earlier. But the obsession with revenue maximisation through auctions at high base prices rejects the possibility of organic growth through lower tariffs, gre ater capital investment and focus on quality benefiting government, business and consumer alike. Policy decisions may be wrong or flawed but adducing criminality and corruption can bring governance to a standstill. A bureaucracy steeped in fear and a government on the defensive pit India unfavourably against a China which revels in swift decision making and rapid economic strides. The judgment points to a bureaucracy which worked at cross-purposes and covered tracks, revealing the soft underbelly of India’s supposed ‘steel frame.’ Some may console themselves that criminality was not conclusively rejected but prosecution failed to marshal evidence to prove it. This will not suffice if our objective is to design fail-safe systems. It is time to restart the discourse on CBI autonomy, professionalism, and building expertise in probing graft cases. Political control of CBI contributes to perceptions of witch hunt and ends up politicising corruption investigations, even as it short-circuits cultivation of professional expertise.

Why India voted against the US on Jerusalem India’s vote against US decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in the UN General Assembly espouses that, while it has shed its inhibitions in publicly engaging Israel, it has not abandoned its support for the Palestinian cause and the two-state solution. Indeed, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, by visiting Israel and not Ramallah on his trip, like most world leaders, has de-hyphenated India’s relations with Israel and Palestine. Through its actions, India has indicated that it deals with its foreign relations in their own right, without worrying about a third party. Indian foreign policy has shifted from normative posturing in favour of pragmatism and self-interest-based action. The changing international landscape following the end of the Cold War, and India’s shift from the periphery to the centre of the international system, have been instrumental in this. India’s careful and delicate balancing act is nowhere more evident than in the volatile Middle East. The Middle East is an important region for India’s commercial, security, energy, and diplomatic interests. India’s 2016-2017 trade with Arab countries, at $121 billion, accounts for 18.25 per cent of India’s total trade, while its trade with Israel, at $5 billion, accounts for less than one per cent of total trade. India has robust commercial, security, and defence ties with Israel, while Arab states are important sources of remittances, employment, and energy. India’s

bonhomie with Israel meant that there was a high possibility of India abstaining from the UNGA vote. In fact, while traditionally voting in favour of Palestine at the UN, India had abstained from the UNHRC vote against Israel in 2015, marking the first official signs of a shift in policy. India has also recently attempted to moderate the NAM anti-Israel resolutions. Moreover, during Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ recent visit to India, Prime Minister Modi reiterated India’s support to the Palestinian cause, stating that “there should be a sovereign, independent, united and viable Palestine, co-existing peacefully with Israel.” Modi’s vigorous and confident diplomacy saw in July 2017 the firstever visit by an Indian prime minister to Israel. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's four-day visit to India starting on 14th January shows that Indian vote in UN did not antagonise Tel Aviv. However, India has been equally active in ensuring its diplomatic impression in the Arab world. Preceding his Israel visit, Modi pragmatically pursued a thorough engagement with the Arab world by visiting Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia, inviting the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi as the chief guest for Republic Day celebrations. This laid the groundwork for his Israel visit, while alleviating possible damage and making the visit less controversial both within India and the region.

After months of suspense of whether he will or not, at last on 31 December, on the last day of 2017, superstar Rajnikanth announced his first foot forward in Indian politics. He has been pondering, consulting his fans, meeting, perhaps negotiating with other political structures in both State and at the Centre for a while now. Most popular film star not only in Tamil Nadu but over all of south India, 'Thalaivaa' (leader) Rajnikanth has a name and fame to go with. His critics already have started making pun “Rajnikanth ... Rajni can’t.” Whether he may or may not be, only time will tell. In Tamil Nadu for almost half of the last century, it is the film stars who dominated their state politics. Dravidian movement in south India predominantly centred in the present day Tamil Nadu has a long and checkered history. It has caused dangerous situations for the Federal Un ion of India at some stage. Historically there was a grievance of the South being dominated by the North, imposing of Hindi over the rich heritage of Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam languages. One more dimension is that most of south India remained intact with the age old Hindu heritage escaping the distraction and devastation of the Muslim invaders. This is evidential from the beautiful monuments and temples and other architectures, the wonders all over south India, especially Tamil Nadu. If Indians are keen film goers, perhaps one can say, half in humour, Tamils are mad about films and film stars. DMK (Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam) was started by a non Tamil, who has been an icon for nationalism. NT Rama Rao, Karunanidhi, Jayalalitha and several others entered the political fray and earned their name through celluloid. In that context Rajnikant has been following a pedigree. Like C N Annadurai, the founder of DMK, Rajnikanth also is a non Tamil to begin with. He was born Shivaji Rao Gaekwad in a very challenging circumstances. He has rose

from a coolie, to a bus conductor, other minor jobs, a small part villain in Tamil films to his present prominence. He has a better image of public service and to a certain extend he is a man of the people, committed to certain values and that may be his trump card. His fan club is huge, he has started setting up the part in the ernest. On 14 January he will announce the details. Rajnikant has two important targets in his timeline. First is the Parliament election by May 2019. In the present Lok Sabha (Lower house of Indian Parliament) Tamil Nadu has sent 39 MPs, 37 from Jayalalitha’s AIDMK. In the last Lok sabha, in the second term of UPA government, DMK sustained the Manmohan Singh government, dashing their numbers and causing so much corruption and scandals. With Jayalalitha's departure and ailing Karunanidhi, battle lines are drawn in Tamil Nadu with Rajnikant, as a new entrant. Rajnikant may have studied how President Macron in France launched a new political party and won majority in just 15 months. The similarities are only slight. Macron has had experience of politics and running a ministry in the previous French government. Also Macron was much younger and in a way his marriage to a much older Brigitte was an added advantage!! It is important to note that this is the first time someone has launched a campaign 18 months before the Parliament election and 3 years befor the State election, with huge hopes and huge expectations. Speculations are a bound about which way the new political alignment will develop in the state. Rajnikant can perhaps fill the vacuum created by the present commotions in the two political parties. He may even have made some overtures with the main national parties. Rajnikanth has a mountain to climb but what he has surely done is jolted the AIADMK & DMK. In short, politics in Tamil Nadu just got more interesting. The public of the state are ready to give Rajinikanth a hearing. Now it is up to the man himself, to make it count.

Rajnikanth has a mountain to climb

Asian Voice | 6th January 2018

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I know for sure that what we dwell on is what we become - Oprah Winfrey

Alpesh Patel

Pakistan’s Days of Fooling America Are Gone The first Tweet of 2018 by the President of America stated something no other American President has dared to do. “The United States has foolishly given Pakistan more than 33 billion dollars in aid over the last 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies & deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools. They give safe have to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No More!” First, the Americans have only belatedly understood India. This is partly because of the Cold War. It’s partly because, as I discovered when I was a US Congressional Intern for Eliot Engel in 1994, the Indian Govt was then spending $0 on lobbying the US Government. And whenever it received aid, the US Congressmen who were antiIndia (Pakistan spent millions on lobbying) such as Charles Wilson (remember the movie Charlie Wilson’s War) would make anti-India speeches. Second, the other problem was the lack of mobilisation by the Indians in the US. They hadn’t made their billions yet so hadn’t decided to coordinate and organise. You may think Democrats are natural friends of India, more so than Republicans. Eliot was proIndia, he lobbied the White House when I was in Congress to have Pakistan declared a terrorist state – that you may think does not make him pro-India necessarily – but it was 1994 – the terrorism he was talking about was in Kashmir. And how right Eliot was. He is still in Congress. But don’t forget it was the Republicans who signed the Nuclear Treaty with India, although it was the Democrats and Kennedy who told China to stop trampling freely through an ill-prepared India. India may say it supports US funding of antiterror efforts in Pakistan, but India knows, as when the US did it in 1979 against the Afghans via Pakistan, that the US jumped in with money and the ISI kept 90% and sent 10% to the Mujahidin. All this works out well for Britain, because when Cameron was in India, he made clear Britain is not on the fence anymore between India and Pakistan, and he did not backtrack in front of Mr 10% who landed in Britain asking for money a week later whilst his country drowned – I refer to the Pakistani PM. I recall clearly walking into numerous Congressmen and Senators’ rooms to get their signature on behalf of my boss, Congressman Engel, for US President Clinton to have in 1994 Pakistan declared terrorist State. And have the signed letters. Clinton refused. Trump’s hatred of the Clinton’s and what he considers their AntiAmerican treachery has foundation. Editor: CB Patel

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Maliks Restaurant bounces back one year on from arson attack

A year after a suspected arson attack, Malik Ahmed has reopened his eponymous Cookham restaurant and already won an award. On a December morning in 2016, the restaurant was being gutted by a fire and one member of his staff had to be taken to hospital. Police opened an investigation into the blaze, suspecting it to be arson with intent to endanger life, and Malik was left picking up the pieces from a fire that caused thousands of pounds worth of damage. He believed petrol had been poured through the letterbox. A year on, though, the interior has been repaired and the customers have returned. Malik is now all smiles after he worked with

his family and the staff, turning what could have been an annus horribilis into a triumph. The Cookham branch – one of three Maliks restaurants, alongside those in Gerrards Cross and Marlow – won a prestigious title at the British Curry Awards last month. It was a reward he would have struggled to foresee as he took in what happened early on Tuesday, December 6, 2016. Speaking to the Maidenhead Advertiser on Tuesday Mr Ahmed said: “I was absolutely gutted. Maliks (in Cookham) was my first restaurant. I started my businesses when I was quite young. I thought this restaurant would be totally destroyed. Sometimes you see things happen in your

life and you just don’t believe it.” It took firefighters four hours to put out the blaze. Malik estimated £400,000 of damage had been done to the building and a further £27,000 of wine and spirits had been destroyed. Last June, Maliks reopened with a soft launch

Shakur Ali proudly holds the award with staff

the service and atmosphere. Owner Shakur Ali said: “We have won awards 13 years running because the food and service is consistently good. We are part of the Bicester community. “Around 80 per cent of our customers are regulars and I think that’s because Jaflong has been under the same management for 21 years and the staff have been with us for many years. “The restaurant is in a

great location, it’s warm and cosy and people love the character of the building.” Dignitaries, celebrities and politicians joined restaurant owners and staff at the swanky bash at Battersea Evolution, in London, last month.

before providing its full menu again in August. All the hard work paid off after the Cookham branch scooped the ‘Best in the South-east’ accolade at the British Curry Awards on November 29, in London. Police said last year they were keeping an ‘open mind’ about the motive.

Nail bar traffickers jailed for modern slavery offences Two women and a man, described as "thoroughly devious, dishonest and manipulative", have been sentenced for modern slavery offences. Four teenage girls were trafficked from Vietnam and forced to work in nail bars across England. Viet Nguyen, 29, and Thu Nguyen, 48, were jailed for four and five years respectively at Stafford Crown Court. Giang Tran, 23, received a two-year suspended sentence. Passing sentence, Judge Chambers said the three had exploited highly vulnerable young Vietnamese women due to "pure economic greed".

Young Muslims spread Xmas cheer to the elderly and homeless

Young Muslims begin 2018 with a Leicester litter pick

Volunteers from the Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association clearing up in Clarendon Park

Around 30 young Muslims started 2018 with a litter pick on some of Leicester’s messy streets. Volunteers grabbed bin bags and brooms and set out to tidy up the road around the Ahmadiyya mosque in Clarendon Park after their early morning prayers. The clean-up was organised by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association (AMYA). AMYA youth leader for Leicester Amir Ahmed

said: “Islam urges every person to partake in charitable giving, and that even an act of kindness towards another is charity. "AMYA has and continues to instill young people with a sense of civil responsibility, and a desire to promote harmony within our local communities. "Our members have enjoyed living in Leicester for decades and so any opportunity to help our local community is a much welcomed one.”

Reading shop could lose licence over immigration and street drinking concerns

n Illegal worker detained after giving a false statement to immigration officers

Curry house sizzles with success

A Bicester curry house has won a British Curry Award every year since it was launched – and this year is no exception. Jaflong Tandoori Restaurant, in Market Square, was a finalist in the awards making it one of the top curry houses in the south east. The British Curry Awards takes place every year to celebrate industry talent and quality and is the curry industry’s equivalent of the Oscars. Family-run Jaflong has now reached the finals eight times and been shortlisted five times, it was one of 12 restaurants in the south east to receive an accolade. As part of the application process, judges paid a surprise visit to the restaurant to try out food,

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Young members of a minority Muslim group, Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association (AMYA) launched a nationwide initiative this Christmas as they decided to spread some festive joy to those who are isolated, as well as the elderly. Young Ahmadi Muslim visited hospices and care homes on Christmas Day. AMYA members also visited homeless shelters where they prepared warm meals and gift bags. 50 AMYA members in Yorkshire also offered free taxi service to over 100 elderly people from the local community and took them to

YMCA centres. In 2016, AMYA is said to have fed over 1,600 people, and donated 336kg of food, 100kg of clothing and visited 1,500 isolated adults. The organisation expressed in a statement, “This campaign is particularly important to us as we feel that it offers our youth vital training and personal development, which helps to shape them into productive, conscientious and well integrated members of British society. Moreover, it enables us to demonstrate the motto of our community: Love for all, hatred for none.”

Ariana News in Reading is at risk of losing its licence to sell alcohol after a 25-year-old Afghan man was found working at the shop in October. Reading Borough Council's Licensing team will hold a hearing on January 11 to decide if Ariana News can continue to sell booze. Enforcement Officers visited the premises along with Thames Valley Police (TVP) on October 4 and the illegal worker was detained after he was seen serving customers. The review of the licence has also been called due to a backlog of concerns over the sale of alcohol to street drinkers and other breaches of the licence conditions. During the October inspection, further breaches were identified, including concerns over the CCTV system at the shop and no staff training records could be produced. Ariana News had its licence reviewed and suspended in May 2009 after failing age related test purchases.

Temple’s pipe band wows crowds at London’s New Year’s Day Parade

A pipe band made up of members from a Hindu temple in Kingsbury entertained the crowds at the capital’s New Year’s Day Parade. Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa Pipe Band London, from Shree Swaminarayan Mandir Kingsbury in Kingsbury Road, performed their fusion of traditional Scottish and Indian tunes at the annual parade yesterday. The Band of fifty pipers and drummers, all of British Indian origin in Scottish regalia, wowed the cheering crowds with their renditions of traditional piping tunes, such as ‘When the Saints Go Marching In’ and ‘Scotland the Brave’, as well as top Bollywood hits. With them were members of the temple carrying Lord Swminarayan’s golden chariot. More than 8,000 entertainers from across the country and abroad performed along the route from Green Park station to Whitehall via Piccadilly Circus, Lower Regent Street, Pall Mall and Trafalgar Square.

Community & Excellence Awards

Nominations are now open for the Mayor of Walsall's Community and Excellence Awards, which honour people in the workplace, as well as members of the community who have gone that extra mile to help others. Mayor of Walsall, Councillor Marco Longhi said: “If you know of a colleague, neighbour, friend or family member deserving of being presented with an award by the Mayor, do please get in touch – I’d love to hear from you.” Winners will be announced at a glittering ceremony at Walsall Town Hall later this year. The evening will consist of a three course meal, musical entertainment as well as a magician. To nominate a person for an award, download and complete a nomination form available via www.walsall.gov.uk


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Asian Voice | 6th January 2018

New immigration rules to bring justice for the international students After years of immigration doldrums for international students, finally they are seeing the light of justice. During the Christmas and New Year holidays, two significant changes have been announced, that has given the Indian students a scope to some sense of the astronomical fees they spend to study in the UK. There are about 438,000 foreign students currently studying in the UK. A new Immigration Bill to be brought forward this year will allow MPs to force – and almost certainly win – a vote on the controversy of Theresa May's much-criticised policy of counting foreign students as immigrants in official statistics, the Home Office believes. Amber Rudd, the Home Secretary, is believed to have warned the Prime Minister that growing support for the rethink in Parliament means a Uturn is now inevitable. Taking foreign students out of the official figures will be embarrassing for Mrs May, who has resisted the move as weakening the defences against higher immigration. However, her claim

that up to 100,000 foreign students a year fail to go home after graduating fell apart when official exit checks revealed that fewer than 5,000 overstay when their visas expire. May stopped the Post Study Work visa, that allowed foreign students to gather work experience in the UK for two years, without any sponsorship. Universities along with MPs like Boris Johnson have been warning that classing the students as long-term migrants is deterring young people from coming to Britain to study and damaging its successful higher education sector, including university towns. The Home Secretary has already opened the door to a rethink by asking the independent Migration Advisory Committee to review the costs and benefits of overseas students. On another hand the foreign students in the UK will soon enjoy more flexibility in switching over to work visas, with new immigration rules set to be introduced from January 11. According to these new rules foreign students can switch over to Tier-2 visa

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(or skilled worker visa/work permit) as soon as they complete their course. At the moment, they have to wait until they obtain their final degree certificate to apply for the Tier-2 visa. This gives students a very short time frame of a month or two to find a job while still in the UK. A newsletter by EY-UK, one of the big 4 business consultancies, reportedly stated, "The new rule will enable them to apply for a Tier-2 visa a few months earlier than what would otherwise have been possible," London Mayor Sadiq Khan has advocated a new category of post-study work visas, during his trip to India. In his blueprint paper—'Immigration, a future approach', Khan pointed to reducing international student numbers. His suggestion states post study work visa should be separate from the Tier-2 route and should enable students to work in the UK for 12-24 months, after graduation- something very similar to the Post Study Work visa scheme that used to be operational a decade ago.

Mother wins employment tribunal against law firm A mother who sued one of world's largest law firms in November 2017 for losing her job as won a legal battle against it after they axed her job her while on maternity leave and thenreportedly destroying the evidence, the Times has reported. Tearful Bina Hale, 37, had told a sex discrimination employment tribunal of the treatment she received from her bosses at Dentons in Milton Keynes. The tribunal was also told how handwritten bullet points from the discussion about her future had since been shredded. However her Human resources manager Suzanne Barnes allegedly claimed she only destroyed the notes because she liked to work in a paperless office. The line manager Emma Rowe was rebuffed by the judge after allegedly producing a single piece of white paper at the tribunal which she claimed was from the notebook she used to make notes in the meeting. The judge is

then said to have reportedly blasted the firm for a 'lack of honesty and credibility' and for 'failing to keep notes', giving an impression that somewthing 'was hidden' or 'deliberately fudged'. The Times reported that in a written conclusion, Martin Warren, the tribunal judge said, “We therefore find that whilst there was a genuine redundancy situation, the principal reason that Mrs Hale was selected and therefore dismissed was that she had been absent from work on maternity leave...it was convenient to dismiss her.” He added: “We think that Ms Barnes and Mrs Rowe decided at an early stage that the easiest option was to make Mrs Hale redundant, because she was away on maternity leave and that would cause less disruption.” After the hearing, Mrs Hale said women should not be afraid of confronting discrimination. She told The Times, "I strongly urge women who have been subject to similar treatment to seek

Bina Hale

justice and speak out and stop such employers taking advantage of women at a very vulnerable phase of their lives, regardless of who the employer is. Do not be afraid.” A payout will be decided at a future hearing.

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Teen with nut allergy dies after eating at Indian restaurant An inquest heard that 18year-old Dylan Hill, collapsed and died in the arms of his girlfriend after dining at in Indian restaurant over two years ago. Dylan Hill, who suffered from a severe nut allergy, had gone out for dinner with his girlfriend, Demi Cash, on 17th May 2015, and had not been carrying his life-saving EpiPen. Demi Cash told Sheffield Coroner's Court that Dylan only carried the device “50/50” and at times forgot to take it out with him. The pair had gone on a date at Shaam's restaurant in Barnsley where Dylan ordered a korma while Demi ordered a jalfrezi. Demi described how they checked the menu to ensure no peanuts were mentioned as part of the ingredients. Dylan had “only one or two spoonfuls” of his korma and he described how “it was different to what he had before”. Demi explained to an inquest, “At this point, the waiter offered to swap the meal. The waiter said

Dylan Hill with girlfriend Demi Cash

that there were almonds in it but not peanuts. It took around 15 or 20 minutes for the next meal [described as a chicken curry] to come out. He had a bit of the new meal but started to say he was not hungry now. He said that he felt a bit ill but looked okay at that point.” Dylan, who was an apprentice builder from Barnsley, South Yorks., told Demi he “he always felt like that” if he ate something “he wasn't sure about”. The couple left the restaurant and went home. After sitting on the sofa for ten minutes.

Dylan went outside as he needed some fresh air. Demi felt that he had gone out for a long time before he returned to the door in a panic state. Demi said, “He came to the door and said, 'Can you ring my mum to get my EpiPen?”. As soon as I rang his mum she told me to ring an ambulance.” Demi tearfully described how the ambulance operator asked Dylan to “breathe in a certain way” before stating, “to me it sounds like he is alright”. Demi continued, “As soon as she [ambulance operator] said that he

started turning blue. I told him 'come inside and lay down, come inside and lay down' but he just kept saying “I can't, I can't'. Seconds before the ambulance got there, he dropped and I held him on the floor.” Ambulance staff pumped his stomach and rushed him to hospital where he died a few hours later. In 2015, an inquest into Dylan's death was opened and adjourned, however, no criminal case was brought by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) after his death.

Priti Patel urging Electoral Commission to investigate Remain campaign spending The former International development secretary, Priti Patel is writing to the Electoral Commission to urge an investigation into Britain Stronger in Europe (BSE), now Open Britain, regarding whether they breached the rules to get round strict spending limits. Patel urges for an investigation into claims about unlawful coordination between campaigns that pushed Britain to stay in the European Union in the 2016 referendum campaign. Vote Leave, BSE's opponents, are also under investigation. The Electoral Commission said it had “reasonable grounds to suspect an offence may have been committed.” Both campaigns for leave and remain had dur-

Priti Patel demands investigation of Remain campaign spending

ing the referendum had strict limits on spending, and BSE and Vote Leave both were forbidden from spending over £7 million each. The other campaign groups on each side which registered with the commission, were given a

spending limit of £700,000, but were proscribed from coordinating with the main campaign group. It is said that Priti Patel wants the commission to investigate the five campaigns in favour of Remain in the last month of the referendum, where they are alleged to have received over £1 million in donations. Priti Patel said, “There needs to be a thorough investigation into the actions, expenditure and financial probity of Remain campaigners, who appear to have flouted the rules and the spirit of the law to advance their cause on concert with each other. It cannot be right that Remain campaigners can so blatantly flout the rules to feed the British people their propaganda.

As well as coordinating campaigning and spending they used every organ of the British state to try to bully people into staying in the EU. They even spent £9 million of taxpayers' money on a campaign leaflet breaking the normal rules of fair play of our democratic system.” A spokesperson for BSE stated, “Britain Stronger in Europe always complied fully with Electoral Commission rules on working together and included any instances of it happening in our return to the Electoral Commission.” The commission's spokeswoman stated, “We continue to consider a number of issues arising from the EU referendum under our enforcement processes, including as formal investigations.”

Collecting winter clothes & food for the homeless BAPS Charities is committed to support and serve the needy. Volunteers from the Charity collected clothes and food for the homeless during the bitterly cold winter period in December. Homelessness is devastating, dangerous and isolating. On average, homeless people die at just 47 years of age. People sleep-

Various food items were distributed to Harrow Foodbank

ing on the streets are almost 17 times more likely to have been victims of violence, and homeless people are over nine times more likely to take their own life than the general population. A variety of

warm pieces of clothing, including jumpers, coats, hats and scarves were deposited at The Swaminarayan School opposite the Neasden Temple in London and various other collection points during the first two weeks of December. Worshippers at the Temple engaged with owners of local businesses to collect

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Lord Loomba speaks at debate about report on England's vulnerable children Lord Loomba, a Crossbencher in the House of Lords, spoke during a debate on the Children's Commissioner for England's Report on Thursday. Noting the report's emphasise on the difficulties in collating accurate numbers of vulnerable children effectively Lord Loomba said: " I commend the commissioner for the aim set out in her briefing of focusing on the child—putting the child at the heart of the matter." Declaring an interest as a Vice Patron of Barnado's Lord Loomba said: "[c]hildren are our future. It is our duty to support them in every possible way." Highlighting Barnardo’s work he said "[it] does a great deal of work with children in the looked-after system and to support them when they leave care, including adoptive and foster placements for harder-to-place children, post-adoption counselling, support for adopters and adoptees and residential care for children and young people who are not able to live in a foster placement or at home." Describing the difficulties facing many children who are in the "lookedafter system," Lord Loomba said: "[t]he number of children in care is at its highest level for three decades, with a 31% increase in the number of children subject to child protection plans and a 108% increase in referrals to children’s social care services since 2010, " as he asked the Minister, Lord Agnew," what is being done to ensure that there is adequate funding in place to help these vulnerable children when they need it the most?" Lord Loomba underlined the need for adequate funding by saying: "Barnardo’s highlights the complexities surrounding many of these children. A recent analysis of 630 referrals made to Barnardo’s fostering services revealed that 16% of fostering referrals involved a young person who had been involved in clothes at their respective shops and offices. Following the collection, more than 150 large bags of clothing were distributed to Crisis, the ‘national charity for single homeless people’, The Passage, the charity that ‘helps homeless people transform their lives’, and Glass Door, the charity that believes ‘no one should have to sleep on the streets of London.’ To further support

Lord Loomba

child sex exploitation; 17% involved an unaccompanied asylum seeker or a child or young person who had been trafficked; and 6% involved children or young people who were exhibiting harmful sexual behaviour." Lord Loomba also noted the huge role Barnardo's plays in supporting care leavers saying: "[t]he charity also provides support to care leavers as they make the transition to adult life, including employment, training and skills, accommodation and mental health and emotional well-being." "Last year alone," he informed peers, "11,000 16, 17 and 18 yearolds left local authority care in England," and Bardardo's helped support: "3,200 care leavers to make the transition to independent living." The difference he pointed out for care leavers is that "[m]ost young people’s parents help them on their transition to becoming independent adults, but often care leavers do not have this support, and for many this is a frightening and uncertain time." The importance of Barnardo's work was emphasised in research by the charity that showed: "one in four care leavers had faced a mental health crisis since leaving care, and that 65% of care leavers with mental health needs were not accessing a statutory service." "There is," Lord Loomba noted, "an increasing number of vulnerable children for whom the state has a responsibility as a corporate parent to help provide a stable, loving environment and to assist them to move on from traumatic childhood experiences." this initiative of helping the homeless, volunteers from BAPS Charities also collected various items of food. A total of 180kg of cereals, tinned food, biscuits, fruit and various other items were distributed to Harrow Foodbank – part of a nationwide network of foodbanks supported by The Trussell Trust, working to combat poverty and hunger across the UK.


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Four young men killed in New year stabbing

Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan

While many people were out amid celebrations for New Year, four young men lost their lives in separate knife attacks across London. The attacks took place on New Year's eve and are being treated as unrelated. These incidents have brought the numbers of people murdered in London in 2017 to 80. At 11:30am on 31st December 2017, an 18year-old man was stabbed in Larmans Road, Enfield, North London, and pronounced dead in hospital. At around 7:35pm, a 20-year-old man was brutally stabbed in Memorial Avenue, West Ham, East London, while a 17-yearold student died from a single stab wound at 10:40pm, in Norwood Road, Tulse Hill, South London, after an alleged “altercation� on a bus. In the early hours of New year's Day, a 20-yearold man was stabbed to death in Old Street, East London, while a second man in his 20s in the same incident was taken to hospital in a critical condition. The Metropolitan Police said, “Five males have been arrested in connection with the murder in Enfield. At this very early stage, there have been no arrests in the other three cases.� Commander Neil Jerome, of the Met's territorial policing command stated, “We have certainly seen in recent months an increase in knife crime.� He further added, “It is heartbreaking that, at a time when so many if us are contemplating what lies ahead in 2018, four families are dealing with

Four young men stabbed to death amid New Year's celebration

Commander Neil Jerome

the grief of losing a loved one to senseless violence and the callous use of knives as lethal weapons. I can assure Londoners – and the families and friends of the four males killed and fifth who remains in hospital – that detectives will work tirelessly to bring to justice those responsible for such despicable acts of violence.� The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan said, “The police were out in force helping people in enjoy our city's fantastic celebrations last night, and I thank them. However, it is horrific that knife crime has claimed another four young lives as the New Year begins. We will work tirelessly in 2018 and beyond to stamp out this scourge. I want to be absolutely clear: if you use a knife the full force of the law will be brought down on you. You will be caught and prosecuted.� A woman, 20, is also said to have been stabbed in the face by another woman, while celebrating the New Year in Soho, London. The victim was taken to hospital however, the police reveal that her injuries were not lifethreatening or lifechanging. No arrests have been made in connection to this incident. Following the death of

Deputy Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, Sir Craig Mackey

the four young men, the Deputy Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, Sir Craig Mackey has released a statement. He urges Londoners to help tackle knife crime. He stated, “Tackling serious violence and knife crime in London remains a number one priority for the Met, but Londoners need to pull together to tackle the issue. From community weapon sweeps, proactive operations that happen daily and engagement with schools, Met officers are working 24 hours a day, 365 days a year as part of our firm commitment to reducing knife crime amongst young people.� Sir Craig Mackey further said, “We need to find out why some young people think it is acceptable to carry knives, and this is where community organisations and local initiatives, charities, schools and educators, youth workers and families all have an important role to play in changing this mindset. We can all do more to protect young people, and I urge anybody who has information about those engaged in violent crime to speak to police. Your call could help save a life.�

Hindus cautiously welcome BBC’s “change of heart� on religious programming Hindus have cautiously welcomed the ambitious and wide-ranging British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) plans to enhance coverage of religion with a pluralistic approach. Hindu statesman Rajan Zed; commenting on the detailed “BBC Religion & Ethics Review� released by its Director General Tony Hall on December 20; in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, welcomed BBC’s idea of “improving religious literacy inside and outside the BBC�, calling it a step in the positive direction. Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, hoped that BBC would project and portray Hinduism in its future programming accurately instead of reimagining Hinduism concepts and traditions to fit its agendas. Moreover, BBC should show fairness to “other� religions which it desperately failed to do in the past despite tall claims. Zed pointed out that multi-culturalism had been fast growing in United Kingdom (UK) and it was now a diverse society formed of various reli-

Rajan Zed

gions and denominations and non-believers, but BBC had not kept pace with it. Hindus deserved more airtime at BBC and live aarti broadcasts from major Hindu temples in UK should regularly feature in BBC schedules. It was time for the disproportionate religious output at BBC to end, giving way to evenly distributed time/space on TV-radioonline among various religions/denominations/non -believers. Hymns from ancient Sanskrit scriptures, contemporary bhajans and

Hindu sermons should regularly form part of BBC One’s over 56 years old “Songs of Praise� program, one of the world's longest-running religious television series. Hindu hymns, songs and faith stories were also highly inspiring, warm and engaging; and moreover, God liked all songs-of-praise, irrespective of the religion these came from, Zed indicated. Rajan Zed further said that BBC, being “a public service broadcaster funded by the licence fee paid by UK households�, including the Hindu households, should have been more responsible and inclusive in its religious programming. It should not ignore and sideline “other� faiths in its content and productions, and across its various channels and services. BBC allegedly labelled “yoga� as “fad� in 2013, and also allegedly labelled the Hindu festival of Holi as a “filthy festival� in 2012, to which it apologised later.

  

                                             

Person dies after being struck by train A person has sadly died after being struck by a train at East Acton underground station on 1st January 2018, at 8:30am. The Central line was shut between White City and North Acton while the British Transport Police and London Ambulance

Service attended the incident. The Central line resumed its normal service at 3pm. A spokesperson from the British Transport Police said, “We were called to East Acton underground station at around 8:30am... A person

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was found to have been struck by a train. Officers and ambulance attended and sadly the person was found to have died at the scene.� Enquiries are being made to identify the person so that their next of kin can be informed.

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Ministry of Justice Amends Current Legal Aid System for Victims of Domestic Violence

Since the changes introduced by the Legal Aid Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 came into force in Angela OConnor April 2013, many vulnerable people are no longer eligible for legal aid funding in certain family matters.

The current rules state that to be eligible for legal aid in certain matters, the client needs to show that they have been the victim of domestic abuse or that social services have concerns about their children due to the opponent’s behaviour. The Legal Aid Agency is strict in what they accept as evidence of domestic abuse. A requirement of showing evidence of domestic violence within the previous 2 years was initially imposed; this has since extended to 5 years. What many practitioners and clients have found is that even if a client has been the victim of domestic abuse, if they do not have th e required evidence within the timeframe, they will not qualify for legal aid. The problem then arises when family law issues need to be resolved and court proceedings begin. Quite often the courts see victims of abuse who do not qualify for legal aid, without the funds to pay a solicitor privately, representing themselves in court. This means they have to come face-to-face with their abuser and, in cer tain cases, be cross-examined by them in court. Thankfully, the Ministry of Justice has announced plans to change the current system, abolishing the time frame for the abuse to have taken place and the 5 year time limit for

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evidence of abuse. The new rules, due to come into force in January 2018, widen the range of evidence, for example permitting statements from domestic abuse support organisations and housing officers. This will assist some people in getting legal aid, but not others who are too scared to speak out. Domestic abuse, by its nature often takes place behind closed doors with the victim too afraid to speak out. Eventually, though they may find the strength to leave the abusive relationship, many victims will not report the offender to the police or seek assistance from medical professionals o r domestic abuse agencies. In my view, although these changes are welcome, there is still a way to go in ensuring that the most vulnerable are able to access legal aid. Author, Angela OConnor, is a Childcare Solicitor specialising in public law children matters, including domestic violence, neglect, substance abuse, mental illness, serious non-accidental injury, sexual abuse and fabricated or induced illness cases. She is experienced in dealing with Emergency Protection Orders, Supervision Orders, Special Guardianship matters, contact and residence disputes, specific issue and prohibited steps orders. Duncan Lewis Childcare Solicitors Duncan Lewis’ Childcare team, recommended in Legal 500 2017, advises on a range of family matters, involving social services, Section 38 enquiries, pre-proceedings meetings, children taken into Local Authority care and Court of Protection cases. For legal advice on family and childcare matters, call Duncan Lewis Solicitors on 0333 772 0409.

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CB Patel

The shuttlecock victims from East Africa The Zimbabwian family stuck in a Thai airport for seven months is a tragic story in itself. Four adults and four children are there with all the suspense and hardships. The journey began in May when they reached Thailand on tourist visa. They tried to seek shelter in Europe and as the details (see page 22) reveal, they are unwanted everywhere. The international travel recognition at least has given them some shelter at the Bangkok airport. Nobody is sure what will be the final outcome, but it reminds me of thousands of East African Asians, predominantly from Uganda, some from Zimbabwe and Zambia, as well as few from Pakistan and India, now settled in the U.K, may well remember their horrible experience at various airports or flying to Heathrow and back, sometime upto 5 times, quite often with wife and small children. The British colonial Secretary termed the name East African Asians who were migrating to U.K. from newly independent Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda. It all began as a trickle prior to the independence. Today East African Asians especially from Uganda are praised for their entrepreneurship and other attributes for being first grade immigrants by the Royal family, media et all. Two years ago the Economist magazine had a four page spread in the Christmas special praising the Gujarati diaspora settled in U.K. But let me go back to the background a bit more. The arrival of East African Asians, predominantly of Indian origin, had blue British passports but their skin colour was brown (after U.K. became part of the EU passports were dark brown but that’s a different matter). A small number of intolerant people started the campaign against the new arrivals. They were by birth British citizens. In 1968, the Chancellor of the

Exchequer told the House of Commons that East African Asians have bank deposits in UK of over £250mn (in those days, helping the British balance sheet). All that aside, with the arrival of Enoch Powell and his infamous 'river of blood' speech, the British Home Secretary brought in settlement vouchers, where even with British passport, East African Asians could not fly into the U.K. without that entry permit. On the other hand, in some East African countries, Asians were squeezed due to the increasing political pressures by the newly independent African government in both employments and businesses. There were enough pressure for them and their families to migrate. Those with British passport thought U.K. was their home and made a beeline for their perceived homeland, those without the vouchers were refused entry, hundreds if not thousands flew back to and fro from U.K. to where they embarked on their journey. Thanks to the efforts of some enlightened British souls Eric Lubbock (later Lord Avebury), Mary Dines, Vishnu Sharma and others who formed the Joint Council for Welfare of Immigrants and brought 'brown' Britain’s private tragedies to public arena. Majority of British people are tolerant and stood by the victims of shuttlecock diplomacy and refugees evacuated from Uganda in 1972. It is painful to recollect the agony and uncertainties of those bad old horrible days. I know these stories not as a victim, as I came here earlier, but I was an eye-witness and a volunteer to the detention centres, airports, helping these unfortunate souls. I know so many of them who are now well settled and we applaud these excellent entrepreneurs and great British citizens.

Why hide BCCI files?

Selina Begum becomes first stateschool pupil to win Eton's debate An outstanding 16-yearold student from Newham, East London has become the first state-school pupil to win Eton's individual debating prize. Selina Begum, of Bangladeshi heritage, is truly an inspiration. Living in a three-bedroom council flat with her parents, grandmother and younger brother, in a borough considered as being one of London's poorest, Selina truly excelled in the debate. She shared, “I started college this year and my teacher told me about the Eton debating competition. It took place in a new debating chamber that had been opened by Prince Charles and looked like a mock parliament. I

Selina Begum

had never debated at a private school before, so I was nervous, but when I walked in I saw that everyone looked just as nervous as me. When you debate, you are not being judged on the way you look or where you come from, but how you present yourself

and the way you speak. No one is going to say: 'She is a Muslim, let's just mark her lower.'” Her extended family came over to her house to celebrate her remarkable achievement. Surely, her outstanding win will inspire many Asian parents to encourage girls to fulfil their potential. Talking about her future plans, Selina said, “In the future, I want to go to Oxford [university] to study history. I want to represent my community and go against all these stereotypes.”

For serveral decades, the Cabinet office normally releases all their files after 30 years to the National Archives. An array of secret papers from 1991 and 1992 running upto 500, only 300 have been released, 200 held back from press viewing since early December 2017. Maastricht treaty that led to EU integration files are published. But the papers relating to the Common Agricultural policy and common European budget and minute from European council meetings are hidden in the Cabinet office as also the BCCI files. Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) collapse was one of the biggest scandals of the 90s. The BCCI was founded by a Pakistani banker Agha Hasan Abedi, with support from Abu Dhabi government and in next to no time it became a major player in some parts of Africa, in Middle East and especially in U.K. itself. Some of the files held back were supposed to be released in the last few days but the fate of the BCCI papers are unknown while we go to press. The main reason for withholding documents is implication of national security and relationship with other important countries. I wonder what is in the BCCI files so crucial today, after 30 years and the change of scenario in the Middle East and U.K. beyond recognition to hide the BCCI papers. In the hay day of the BCCI thou-

sands of British Asians had banking relationship with them. There were large number of depositors and borrowers. Several hundreds were employees and the shocking announcement one night was that the BCCI was shut down made the depositors deprive of their hard earned money and the employees became jobless. The borrowers also had enormous problems. With sudden discontinuation of the normal banking services, especially those in trade and commerce had to struggle far beyond our imagination. There is something noble in the British system. One day I met Sir Eddie George at an event and mentioned about the hardships of the forced closure of BCCI and three Indian owned banks. He was a good listener and he invited me, Subhash Thakrar, Dolar Popat, a banker Mr Shah who helped me to prepare a dossier. We were invited to the historical Bank of England in Bank. Sir Eddie listened to us carefully, gave some clear instructions to the administrators to alleviate hardships. Not only me but many others would like to know why the BCCI was shut down when the main backer, the Sheikh of Abu Dhabi, was a guarantor of the depositors’ funds. There are many such questions, and we are keen to know the answers. I must also thank Rt Hon Keith Vaz MP and other group of supporters who came to the rescue of all the victims of the BCCI scandal.


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"Conscience comes before one's own ambitions" Kishan Devani Kishan Devani FRSA was the Deputy Chairman of the London Conservative Party from 2014 to 2016, a 2015 Parliamentary Candidate for the Conservatives & a 2016 London Assembly Candidate for the Conservatives. Many of you must be asking why would you leave a party of government? Wouldn't this affect your own personal political aspirations? I say no conscience comes before one's own ambitions and equality, tolerance & justice are far more important that one's own career path. The future of our great United Kingdom and our future generations is far more important than anything else in my view and worth fighting for every step of the way. Politics surely should be about policies and not personal attacks - what a shame it hasn't remained that way? What I did not realise is that this was just the beginning of a long and rocky ride over the coming months where I saw a real lurch to the right, in the words of the former Tory MP Stephen Phillips QC the party has started to mould itself into ‘UKIp-Lite’. This lurch to the right began to be visible to me during the EU Referendum campaign. Having been instrumental in setting up ‘British Indians for In’ with the now Housing Minister Alok Sharma MP, I travelled up and down the country talking to the British Indian Community about the benefits of remaining in the EU. Currently the only political leader and party outlining the inconcistences in the Brexit argument are the Liberal Democrats & Sir Vince Cable everyone else seems to have vanished & with them their 'remain' arguments too. That for me is still not the issue (even though some would say it remarkable how 'remain' politicians are now silent) – the issues

are the by products of the referendum vote for example a rise in hate crime in London and across the country. Ethnic minority communities in particular the youth in these communities have been subjected to abuse which has divided our strong and united country. This has in my view been brought about by this constant lurch to the right by the Government. This surely cannot be correct? Would we like our children or family members being treated differently just because they have a different accent? It is unfortunately where we currently are in our country. Whilst over 17 million people voted to leave the EU, over 16 million voted to stay. The real challenge is finding a suitable way to represent all people and be an inclusive country for all regardless of background, ethnicity or religion. There is evidently still time to acquire an exit from brexit as it is apparent there is growing support for a vote on the final deal. Having made many life long friends in the Conservative Party who do genuinely want to see a brighter future for all, it seems truly a shame that some have shifted the entire political discourse and agenda. We are looking to develop our trade with nations like India but do not seem to be bothered how Indians in the UK feel about their role in the UK and their place within British society. Stopping Indian students from studying here, stopping Indian restaurants from bringing specialist chefs over for their restaurants, making it harder for families to be reunited due to stringent visa rules on Indian nationals. How possibly can you on one hand

Kishan Devani and Sir Vince Cable

look to want to develop trade between nations such as India but not welcome Indians to the UK. Already trade between India and the UK has been affected since the Brexit vote – the General Secretary of the Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FCCI), Alwyn Didar Singh told The Guardian “The EU is India’s largest trading partner […] but exports from the UK to India have been declining." He added: “Now, exports from India to the UK will also decline because you’ve lost 18 per cent of your pound’s value. So if I’m sending something to the UK and getting a lower return on it, I’m going to have a think about that. It’s a double hit.” He also stressed what I feel is so ambiguous about the entire approach of the Government – their lack of clarity on international trade deals, which Mr Singh appears to feel too “In uncertainty, nobody takes an investment decision”. Lord Billimoria and the Vice Chancellor of Sheffield University Sir Keith Burnett have been incredibly critical of the recent trade delegation to India which they also went on. Sir Keith writes that he felt 'truly ashamed' by the entire trip, where he said in a blog in the Times Higher Education 'Indians

who studied in the UK say we don't act as if we are good friends any more. They say we want their money and business but are not willing to teach their children, even if they pay full whack'. He points to the figures that there has been a 50% drop in the number of Indians studying in the UK since 2010. So all in all there is no clear plan in particularly in relation to building trade deals with countries such as India. Trade delegations or trips mean nothing when the signals you are giving to the members of those communities living in the UK are the opposite. It really is hypocritical - maybe we should wake up and smell the coffee? All of this shows a clear unwillingness to engage with ethnic communities at grass root levels and understand what it is they want to see in a post brexit UK. Whether it is the announcement of cutting our aid budget or the reluctance of accepting child refugees it is not the type of Britain I would like to see and bring my children up in. As a British Indian who has been involved in community issues for many years and as the son of refugees who came to the UK in the 1970’s due to the expulsion of Ugandan Asians by Idi Amin, I cannot see how such heartless

actions can be carried out. It could have been my family 40 odd years ago! For many the Mayoral Campaign itself would have been enough to be put off by this type of nasty politics – yet I soldiered on thinking it may change. I am now left to believe unfortunately I may just have been dreaming. Grass root level engagement with BAME communities is what is truly needed to understand the issues they are facing. Flamboyant dinners, receptions at lavish venues such as Number 10, discussions at the House of Commons or visiting temples for photo opportunities at Diwali play a part in engagement with the communities, however cannot be the sole basis of the relationship between a political party and BAME communities. A more meaningful relationship has to be sought between all stakeholders, by visiting communities at grass root levels in their own domain – by visiting community centres, meeting various stakeholders within the communities, speaking and listening to people entrenched in the communities and listening to their concerns (not just views of self proclaimed ‘leaders of the community’). Although there is still much to be done for all members of the BAME community to feel they belong in the democratic process of our wonderful and great country, in a post Brexit UK we must look to unite communities and promote the idea of unity in diversity. Unfortunately the current trajectory is one of being divisive, segregating communities and isolating people. This is why it would be morally wrong of myself as the son of refugees to stand by and watch silently. After much deliberation I came to the conclusion social justice, equality and positive race relations are at the heart of my rationale and currently there is only one party that is looking to try and promote such an agenda and that is the Liberal Democrat Party.

Amir Khan receives threat for putting up Xmas tree British boxer, Amir Khan, who was last seen on the latest series of I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here, has been receiving deplorable messages, including death threats on Instagram for revealing that he had put up a Christmas tree for his daughter, Lamaisah, while she was asleep. Amir Khan posted a picture of his Christmas tree and captioned the image, “While everyone's asleep, daddy put the Christmas tree up. Lamaisah's going to be happy. #Christmas #MerryChristmas2017.” The 31-year-old boxer started to receive negative comments after posting the image, some claiming that he shouldn't be celebrating Christmas

Amir Khan with daughter Lamaisah and wife Faryal Makhdoom

as he is a Muslim. One person commented, “Muslims don't celebrate Christmas. It's one thing to give out cards at school your respecting other faith and their celebration but putting up a tree in your own home... poor kid will be confused.” Another person ques-

tion Khan. “Why did you have to post this? You know how much backlash you were going to get.” One person went one step too far and heinously threatened the boxer on social media. “I promise to god I want to kill you and your family.” Khan has 1.2 million

followers on Instagram and many came to his defence after the negative comments. One stated, “I'm Muslim and put my tree up every year. Merry Xmas! Hope you have a good one!!!” Another added, “Some absolutely disgraceful comments on here – everyone is entitled to decorate their house or celebrate whatever culture they wish.” These online trolls who believe it is their birthright to pass negative or threatening comments are completely deplorable. One has full right to practice whatever religion they want, or celebrate any festival regardless of their religious beliefs. On a positive note for Amir Khan, he seems to

have reconciled with his wife, Faryal Makhdoom, who is 6-months pregnant with their second child. The pair state “lack of communication” as the reason for their breakdown. The pair appeared on the TV show Loose Women, where Amir Khan expressed, “You want to

change things at times, the way it went public wasn't nice... anger sometimes takes over. That happened in 2017. Hopefully going into 2018 we've both put that behind us, we've got a lovely baby coming this year, we also have Lamaisah our daughter, my boxing career, [I will] get some good fights in...”.

Part/Full time Male Priest & Van Driver required for Shirdi Sai Baba Temple

Priest:- Must have experience of working in Hindu Temple preferably Shirdi Sai Baba with ability to perform poojas & abhishek for the Deity. The applicant must be able to sing Aaratis in Marathi and communicate in English or Hindi. Van Driver:- Must have a Valid driving licence & permit to work full time.

for further details ring 020 8902 2311 Email: sai@shirdisai.org.uk. info@shirdisai.org.uk.Baba Malik


10

READERS’ VOICE

www.asian-voice.com AsianVoiceNews

Asian Voice | 6th January 2018

Wise head on young shoulders

I read with interest Cllr. Ameet Jogia’s views so elegantly expressed in his piece titled “Stamping out intimidation of those in public life” in Asian Voice dated 23rd December 2017. As Ameet himself was target of intimidation when he stood as Conservative Parliamentary candidate in our Brent North Constituency during June 2017 General Election, he speaks with personal experience. Then he is not alone, as most ethnic minority candidates have gone through similar experiences. But most are principled, hardworking, public spirited candidates who would not hesitate to lie on bed of nails to enter politics and serve their constituents, communities with dedication. Then even white, indigenous candidates, including Jewish politicians receive similar threats and intimidation. So political thuggery is not confined to any one race, colour, religion or culture. Who could forget brutal, cowardly and politically motivated murder of Labour MP Jo Cox who represented the constituency of Batley and Spen in June 2016 by a right wing fanatic? Politics is indeed becoming dangerous profession, no wonder the lure of politics is diminishing fast. It is time for PM Theresa May to introduce new laws ASAP to stamp out intimidation, as recommended in the report by “The Committee on Standards in Public Life” led by Lord Bew, in the aftermaths of death threats to Conservative MP Anna Soubry and Labour MP Luciana Berger. I have known Ameet for a long time, even before he entered politics, had the opportunity to meet Ameet several times, once in the company of Lord Dolar Popat who is his mentor, guardian and loyal supporter. Ameet is rare breed who puts his shoulder to the wheel, day in, day out. Let us wish Cllr. Ameet Jogia a bright future in politics, as it is only a question of time before he enters HOC as an MP! Bhupendra M. Gandhi By email

Sleeping rough at festive time

Now that festive season is over, compassion, generosity is in short supply, life is back to normal for those down-trodden, neglected rough sleepers who were fortunate to be allocated roof over their heads during festive season. They are back on the streets in this bitterly cold weather. Having volunteered our time and devoted our services in the cause of looking after these unfortunate destitute in the past when we were young, caring, ambitious, full of enthusiasm and heart filled with noble ideas to turn this country into a heaven of justice, equality, peace and harmony, it is indeed sad day for us to acknowledge that while our living standard has drastically improved but at the same time “Have Not” population has trebled, with some 9000 people sleeping rough in our streets and 120,000 children in temporary accommodation, so often the whole family cramped into one bedroom. Every politician promises to abolish homelessness at election time but conveniently fails to act once in power. Sometimes I cannot help but wonder whether ordinary people like us could do a better job than these seasoned politicians living in their “Ivory Tower” with one eye on building their vote-bank for the next election. It is time for the government to change their direction, from being charitable overseas to being kind and caring at home, by building permanent shelters in every town so that no one is obliged to sleep rough. Funding should be no problem, as our “Overseas Aid” budget is overflowing with extra cash that we are unable to spend wisely. I would like to urge every reader of this prestigious, influential and widely read AV/GS to write to their MPs to eradicate this scourge of homelessness ASAP. Kumudini Valambia By email

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Great Gujarati Writer

I would like to pay tribute to a prominent Gujarati author, K.M. Munashi, on his birthday 30th of December, (130 years ago). Though a lawyer by profession, he wrote over 35 books of which his historical novels ‘Patan ni Prabhuta’, ‘Gujaratno nath’, ‘Raja Dhiraj’, and ‘Prithvi Vallabh’ are the most popular and display his exceptional talent in writing. His contribution to the field of education is invaluable. He founded the well known institution of Bhartiya Vidya Bhavan which holds cultural and educational programs from cradle to grave through its 119 centers across India and seven abroad. Admired reader of his books I had the opportunity, when I was studying at Bombay university to attend daily his recital of 12th chapter of Gita at Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan. He was a trustee to various schools and institutions including our community hostel. I hold a treasured memory of meeting him personally when I was asked to present a brief, how well we, committee of 4 girls ran the hostel. We two, nineteen year old girls found him very humble and encouraging. He had profound influence of Gandhiji, Saradar Patel and Shree Arvind Ghosh (his professor at Baroda College). Consequently, He played an important role in the independence movement of India. He was a member of a committee which selected the flag of India and also on the committee, which drafted the constitution of India under the leadership of Dr. Ambedkar. After independence, he was an M.P., a minister for Agriculture & food (1952-53) and Governor of U P for five years (1952-57). An environmentalist, he initiated ‘Van Mahotsav’ (forest festival) in 1950 to increase the area under forest cover. Since then a three weeks long event of tree plantation is organized every year in India in the month of July. India, especially Gujarat has produced Gandhiji, Sardar and many intellectuals like Munshiji who played significant role in the fight for freedom and progress of India. Ila Kapadia By email

Homelessness Crisis

The crisis of homeless people in England is getting worse every year. In fact families with stable jobs are even at risk of homelessness. During Christmas time the homeless people are giving warm food, warm clothing and shelter for one or two days, then they are thrown back to their old haunts to struggle for their survival in this cold winter. Why can’t they be looked after for the rest of 364 days? One gesture of goodwill once a year is not enough to meet the needs of the homeless people. It is cruel to treat them in this way. Not only are they facing cold weather, but are also suffering from mental health, addiction and other ill health problems. These vulnerable people are abandoned to look after themselves in the21st century, when we are the 6th richest country in the world. How can this be allowed to happen? According to the recent report on homelessness, nurses are among those ending with nowhere to live after being evicted by private-sector landlords, says watchdog. Homelessness is now a serious risk for working families with stable jobs who cannot find somewhere affordable to live after being evicted by private-sector, Michael King said nurses, taxi drivers, hospitality staff and council workers were among those assisted by his office after being made homeless and placed in often squalid and unsafe temporary accommodation by local authorities. “People are coming to us not because they have a ‘life crisis’ or a drug and alcohol problem, but because they are losing what they thought was a stable private-sector tenancy, being evicted and then being priced out of the [rental] market,” he said. Homelessness of all kinds has increased for six consecutive years in England, prompting a highly critical National Audit Office report in September that said social security cuts and ministers’ failure to get a grip on a “visibly growing problem” was costing the taxpayer £1bn a year. The government has to take immediate steps to face this growing problem of homelessness before the situation becomes worse and gets out of hand. Baldev Sharma Rayners Lane, Harrow

What do you think? We want to know your views on this subject Write to: Asian Voice, 12 Hoxton Market London N1 6HW or e-mail: aveditorial@abplgroup.com

AsianVoiceNewsweekly

Bob Blackman

Your article ‘Bob Blackman hits back’ (Asian Voice 3/12/2017) falls short of giving full sense of the community concern about Bob Blackman’s divisiveness. Harrow Council full meeting on 30 November 2017 noted that the Harrow East MP, Bob Blackman, has recently hosted an event at the UK Parliament where the extremist keynote speaker was Mr Tapan Ghosh, who has written articles that are regarded by many in the Harrow community (and elsewhere) as anti-Muslim. Therefore, the council not just criticised Mr Blackman’s behaviour but rightly passed the following council motion: ‘To instruct the Chief Executive to write to Bob Blackman MP, condemning the visit of Tapan Ghosh and reaffirming that Harrow is one of the most diverse places in the UK, where hate speech is not tolerated. To instruct the Chief Executive to write to the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, calling on him to condemn the visit of Tapan Ghosh and to discourage hate speech in public institutions (such as the UK Parliament).’ Mr Blackman’s ongoing divisive politics, playing on sectarian issues, has been consistently condemned. For example assembly member Navin Shah who slashed Bob Blackman’s majority from 4,757 in 2015 to 1,757 last election, had said in an Asian Voice article: “I’m proud of positive and clean campaign we ran in Harrow East .... the general election (2017) saw the same old issues like Kashmiri Pundits and caste legislation dragged out for the Tory propaganda to find cheap favours amongst Indian / Hindu voters”. Dr Pravin Shah Coordinator, Harrow Monitoring Group

Disposable paper cups

In the festive season of Christmas and new year, we use disposable paper cups for serving drinks at parties. They are OK as far as serving soft drinks like coke and juices but when it comes to serving tea and coffee, they are potentially harmful. These disposable cups have become quite popular in office pantries due to the convenience they offer. They are cheap and can be thrown away after use, avoiding the need for washing up. What many overlook is the fact that these paper cups are coated with a tiny layer of wax, which is essential to prevent water from seeping into the paper. When very hot liquids are poured into this cup, wax may disintegrate and a little may come off, which will promptly be sent along with the drink into our stomachs! While our body can discard minor amounts, over the long-term, it does become a problem after repeated use. So what can be done about it? Try taking your own glass cups at functions. Glass is one of the least reactive materials in the world (acids are stored in glass vessels, blood samples are collected in glass plates – these are for a good reason). But glass does have the problem of breaking easily, so it requires good care. Ceramic cups are the best bet. One can also use ordinary stainless steel glass, but never use plastic ones – they are harmful, and the dangers are even worse than the wax. Dinesh Sheth Newbury Park, Ilford

Goodbye 2017, Hello 2018

New Year is a time for celebration. This is not a fairy tale because it is the last day of the year and there is not, and never will be a fairy tale as beautiful as our memories of the last year, or as beautiful as our dreams and hopes for the year that is about to begin. This is the time to bring all the fairy tales to life frogs that became princes, paupers who became wealthy, greedy and jealous people who unexpectedly became generous and kind, wicked men punished and good men rewarded….The list is endless! It’s time to look back at the past year, decide what went well, what didn’t and what you would like to change. New Year is a time to celebrate the start of something new. It is a time to make new promises, some to be broken, and some to be kept. It is also a time to look ahead and try to change things for the better. It is also a time to look behind and see what we may have done wrong, and how to change it. It is also a time to start new friendships and a time to ask for forgiveness from your enemies. New Year is a joyous time of the year because we feel like we get to start all over again. On New Year’s Day, people are happy, laughing, giggling and sharing about the events of the past year and those before. Jubel D’Cruz, Mumbai, India


UK

www.asian-voice.com AsianVoiceNews

AsianVoiceNewsweekly

Asian Voice | 6th January 2018

Harrow first time buyers at former Kodak site 'let down' by leasehold law First time buyers in Harrow are being let down by current leaseholds law, an MP has said. According to MP Gareth Thomas, around 30 properties were sold on the new Harrow View West site on a leasehold basis, but subsequent properties on the site were sold as a freehold, often for the same price or even less. Harrow View West replaced the iconic Kodak factory, one of the oldest and largest businesses in the borough, which employed around 6,000 people at its peak.

Mr Thomas, who represents Labour for Harrow West, says many home buyers were not given enough detail about purchasing homes on a leasehold basis, in some cases until they had already spent significant sums ahead of final exchange. The MP claimed that residents of Harrow View West were told by the developer, Persimmon Homes, that the entire site would be sold leasehold to retain the aesthetics of the development, but many homes were subsequently sold on a

Commercial Services (PCS) union, which represents Border Force staff, said the government was risking the country's security "on the cheap". The proposal comes after recent reports have raised concerns over "poor" coverage of some minor harbours and landing places. The Border Force carries out immigration and customs controls for people and goods entering the UK. But an assessment by the Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration, published in July, said

A decision not to publish details of a tribunal involving a "Trojan Horse" school governor has been described as "exceptional". Tahir Alam was chairman of governors at a Birmingham school embroiled in an alleged Muslim takeover plot. He was issued with a ban in 2015 after he was found to have engaged in conduct undermining fundamental British values. The ban was upheld at a tribunal in December, the details of which will not be made public.

Evidence was found of "co-ordinated, deliberate and sustained action to introduce an intolerant and aggressive Islamic ethos" into a few Birmingham schools, including Park View School in Alum Rock, where Mr Alam was chairman. Although the tribunal following Mr Alam's ban appeal was held in public, the full ruling will not be published to protect the identities of some witnesses called by the Department for Education

Gareth Thomas MP (right) with disgruntled recent Harrow homebuyers

freehold basis. The majority of residents were first time buyers who used the solicitors and mortgage brokers recommended to them by Persimmon, Mr Thomas said. Freeholders own

both the property they purchase, and the land it is on. By contrast, leaseholders do not own the land, but take out a lease on the property and are charged ground rent by the freeholder.

there were long periods of non-attendance by Border Force at some locations as well as a shortage of staff able to use specialist scanners. It looked at 62 normally unmanned ports on the east coast and found that Border Force officers had not visited 27 of the sites

between April 2015 to June 2016. Chief Inspector David Bolt's report also revealed the number of clandestine migrants detected at the ports had almost doubled in 12 months rising from 233 to 423. Another report by David Anderson QC, former independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, said there were similar issues with smaller south and east coast ports, marinas and landing places, adding it was "conceivable" they might be an option for returning foreign fighters or other terrorists.

'Trojan Horse' school ruling hush 'exceptional'

Tahir Alam was chairman of governors at Park View School in Birmingham from 1997-2014

(DfE). A spokesman for the Courts and Tribunals Judiciary said: "The final

decision of the tribunal makes reference to those witnesses and sets out the evidence they gave, which the tribunal considers could lead to their being identified locally." He said it was "exceptional that a public decision is not published on the tribunal's website". Former Birmingham Liberal Democrat MP John Hemming said the decision not to make details of the tribunal public is "concerning" and that the hearing was an "issue of enormous public importance".

100 'bags of warmth' from Slough school for London's homeless Kind pupils at Slough's Khalsa Primary School have been donating gifts to give to London's homeless. Raminder Vig, who is principal at the school in Wexham Road, said: "At this time of year as we look forward to holidays and spending time with our families there are many people who are vulnerable and require support. “This is especially important to our school as it is part of the school ethos Vand Chakko which means to share with those in need, with love and without discrimination." Pupils helped fill 100

Slough pupils' Christmas delivery for the homeless

bags with items including, hats, gloves, thermal socks, lip balm, hand sanitisers, wipes and chocolate. A supply of sleeping

Subhash V Thakrar

BCom, FCA, FRCA Vice President and past Chairman London Chamber of Commerce Founding Chairman, Charity Clarity www.subhashvthakrar.com

A healthy setback for the BJP

Volunteers could guard some UK borders Volunteers could be used to guard some of the UK's borders, the Home Office has said. The plans under consideration are for "Border Force Special Volunteers" to be used at small air and sea ports. A Home Office spokesman said it was "considering the potential benefits" and looking at how they are used by police forces. But Conservative MP Charlie Elphicke told the Mail on Sunday: "We can't have a Dad's Army-type of set-up." The Public and

11

bags were also purchased to help ensure that on a cold winter's night a vulnerable individual could still benefit from the contents of a 'bag of warmth'.

The items were then hand delivered last Wednesday [27th Dec] to the Glass Door Homeless Charity in Chelsea, London .

I am sure your readers will have not missed the recent state elections in India. There was enough coverage in the Asian media. BJP has once again won in Gujarat and had a landslide win in another smaller state, Himachal Pradesh. This is a win for BJP but in someways a healthy set back. The election highlighted the progress made by the Congress under the leadership of Rahul Gandhi. It managed to reduce BJP margin in a big way and in a state where Prime Minister Modi and his party have had a stronghold for many years. So for the BJP it was a win but a setback in the margin whilst for the Congress it was a remarkable increase in number of seats from earlier election result. This may show some trend where Congress is getting more focus and BJP may be losing some popularity. It is the classic election situation where the winner does not feel like a winner and the loser feels more like a winner! We had this situation in the UK in the last general election. In my view, this is a healthy set back for the BJP. It's a good wake up call before the general election in 2019. This will no doubt allow BJP to introspect and analyse what will be the feelings amongst the grassroots . It will push the party to make some fresh decisions in preparation of the next election, which Narendrabhai Modi and BJP must win for best national interest of India. I have been connected with India more actively since 1994 and got to meet and know Narendrabhai Modi from the time he took over as the Chief Minister of Gujarat in 2001. He proved to have unique leadership and a vision. He started the Vibrant Gujarat summits from 2003 to make Gujarat an attractive place to invest. As Chief Minister he travelled around the world and quickly brought Gujarat on the world map in a way no previous state or national leaders had ever done. In dealing with issues, he proved to be forthright and always keeping the state’s interest at the forefront. He connected with international NRI and non NRI community

like no other leader before. Such were the qualities that elevated Narendrabhai to the national politics and against all odds became the Prime Minister of India. Narendrabhai has carried this vision and enthusiasm to the national level. We have witnessed his reform process despite a lot of resistance and expressions of doubt. He has made bold decisions that to an extent have yet to reveal their benefits. Meanwhile, BJP has had recent gains in state elections which proved its popularity against Congress. BJP’s stronghold has been solidifying and most predictions were already assuring BJP’s win in 2019. However the Gujarat elections have highlighted a twist and new direction that must not be ignored or passed as nothing much. Congress and Rahul Gandhi have certainly added new momentum and started to gain some ground. Beyond all issues, the Modi government’s main objective is economic growth and for the benefits of growth reaching lowest of the strata. I personally subscribe to this philosophy as when an average Indian is able to have money in his or he pocket and is able to enjoy basic comforts of life, there is bound to be more peace and happiness. Many differences of caste, religion and economic strata start dissolving with personal economic progress. Of course this increases consumerism and leads to growth in the economy. But such policy changes require years to take effect. This may yet prove a challenge for the government. It will need to show quick tangible gains before the 2019 elections. This healthy set back of Gujarat may just be enough to bring the necessary change in the thinking and approach from over confidence to realisation and new enthusiasm. When I see how much India and its economy have evolved over the years and how Gujarat was pacing ahead of other states, I remain very confident that the Modi led government in 2019 will do India a lot of good in the long term.


12

MEDIA WATCH

www.asian-voice.com AsianVoiceNews

Asian Voice | 6th January 2018

Modi to make his maiden appearance at Davos Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will make his maiden appearance at Davos where the world’s top CEOs and a large number of heads of government gather for the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in January. Modi will be the first Indian PM to attend the meet in over two decades but officials said, it will be the first time that an Indian Prime Minister will be treated like the chief guest with the country expected to dominate the show, where nearly a hundred Indian corporate chiefs PM Narendra Modi and policymakers will be present. “The India theme will be in focus at the conference with several sessions around India,” said an official, pointing out that there is a lot of interest to invest in the country. India should not allow this golden opportunity to slip out of its hands and press hard to convince the investing nations and companies to accept its wholehearted invitation.

2 cops suspended for negligence Two Noida policemen were suspended for directing Prime Minister Narendra Modi's cavalcade into an unplanned route, leading to a major security lapse. The two cops who were in an anti-demolition vehicle that was leading the cavalcade, took a wrong turn and led the PM and his security detail into the stream of traffic on the Noida expressway. The cavalcade slowed down there and remained on the expressway for 200 metres before it turned back into its original route. The security lapse happened when Prime Minister Modi was en route to the Botanical Garden helipad from the Amity University campus. As is the protocol, a multilayered security cordon was set up for the PM and 5,000 police personnel were deployed along his route. To reach the helipad, 6 km away, the cavalcade was supposed to take the service lane of the expressway, but the two cops drove on to the main expressway instead of taking the earlier left turn. Officials said the route had been rehearsed, and there was no scope for confusion. UP chief minister Yogi Aditya Nath, who was also present along with the PM, pulled up Noida police officers for negligence.

at the 2015 Special Olympics World Games. He now works as a labourer in Ludhiana to make ends meet. His father, Balbir Singh said, "The Punjab Government is yet to give the prize money of Rs 30,00,000 promised three years ago." At the 2015 Los Angeles Special Olympics, Rajbir made India proud by winning two gold medals. He suffers from a disability, with below-average intellectual and adaptive functioning. After the victory, the Punjab government had announced Rs 15,00,000 for each of the gold medals he won, while the Central Government promised the family Rs 10,00,000.

A railway station being managed by villagers

Rajasthan’s Rashidpura Khori is unique in its own way as it is perhaps the only railway station in India which is being managed by villagers. Railway services which was suspended for over two years for track conversion has now been resumed. In May 2005, the railways had stopped the services at the 90 years old station in Sikar district citing low passenger load. But the people of three villages Palthana, Rashidpura and Khori made repeated appeals to the railway officials to resume the services. The railways then put on one condition that villagers Special Olympics gold would have to make sure that the medallist working station generates at least Rs 40,000 every month. The as labourer villagers accepted the offer and started motivating people to use the train. “We collected Rs 5,00,000 from villagers and used the money to publicise train schedules. A vehicle was used for a doorto-door campaign seeking people’s cooperation in meeting the monthly target. Double gold medallist in cycling, Rajbir Singh People responded enthusiastically,” one of the villagers recalled. The Whenever a sportsman wins an services finally resumed in 2009, international medals, with much after four years. fanfare the government usually promises huge prize money, but Sachin airs views on after some time they forget social media about the promise. A recent Sachin Tendulkar wanted to victim of such government share his thoughts in the Rajya apathy is double gold medallist Sabha but could not do so in cycling, Rajbir Singh, who won

because of the din. But he was not disheartened and shared his thoughts on the social media. The former cricketer, now an MP, spoke his heart out on subjects that matter to him “more than anything else” - specifically, inculcating a sporting culture and promoting a healthy lifestyle. “We rejoice when medals come, we’re happy when we are so carefully planning the development of sports at a macro level. We say we love sports. We’re doing good in so many aspects. But are we focused on getting better?” he wondered. He says, “sports should

Bihar man gets master’s degree at 98

Minister apologises for his remarks on constitution

Age is no bar to gain a degree. The latest example is Raj Kumar Vaishya who at the age of 98 received postgraduate degree from Nalanda Open University.

One has to be very careful while commenting on the Constitution. Recently, Union Minister Anant Kumar Hegde had to apologise for his controversial remarks on Constitution following a deadlock in Parliament. The five-time Lok Sabha MP had stoked a controversy by hinting at changing the Constitution at a function in Karnataka. Hegde had reportedly questioned the secular nature of the constitution. He said people should identify themselves by their religion and “those who, without knowing about their parental blood, call themselves secular, they don’t have their own identity…They don’t know about their parentage.” He had also reportedly said “we are here to change the Constitution and we’ll change it.”

Raj Kumar Vaishya

Sachin Tendulkar

compulsorily be made part of our curriculum. Look at the way the world is changing around us. In fact, we have brought out a sample book on India’s unforgettable sports heroes, which if looked at in detail, is an endless list. There are inspiring stories to tell, stories that children need to grow up reading so that they learn a slice of their own history.” own history.”

Man found hiding in washing machine Criminals know how to commit a crime and evade the policeman. But it is impossible to escape from eyes of the law for ever. A 54-year-old man who had been evading arrest since the past 14 years was caught hiding inside the washing machine in his house in Mumbai recently. The police went to his house to arrest him but were stalled by his wife. Finally, the wife allowed the police team to search the house.

The nonagenarian had enrolled in a master’s course in 2015. He received his degree recently at a ceremony. Born in 1920, Vaishya cleared Class X in 1934 from a government school in UP. He went on to secure a law degree in 1940. But that was not enough for him. Vaishya says his thirst for education stems from a desire to understand poverty so that he can contribute to eliminating the social evil. Vaishya is now working on an article titled ‘The government’s policy on senior citizens,’ which expresses concerns over falling interest rates on fixed deposits.

Rajasthan MLA’s son to join assembly as a peon Getting a government job these days is a Herculean task. Ram Kishan, the son of Jamwa Ramgarh MLA Jagdish Narayan Meena of BJP, has to satisfy with the job of a peon in the state assembly. Following interview, he was selected as one of 18 from 18,008 candidates for grade-IV vacancies in the assembly. But the opposition has alleged nepotism in his appointment and demanded an investigation. Meena, a first-time MLA, said Ram Kishan, his eldest son, could study only up to matriculation and had to apply for the post of peon. One should not waste our time on prestige and take up whatever work comes to our way.

HC ruling on tobacco warning norm

Manoj Tiwari

The police team searched the house and were about to leave when they couldn't find him but decided to check once again. One of the constables, just to ensure they do not miss out on anything, decided to open the washing machine. To his surprise, he found the accused, Manoj Tiwari, under a pile of clothes staring up at the constable. Police said the accused was declared an absconder by court and he had been on the run and had also shifted residence from time to time to avoid getting caught.

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The habit of smoking or tobacco chewing cannot be eradicated only by the size of pictorial warning on packets of cigarette, gutka and other products. For reducing such habit one has to educate the users about the bad effects the products can cause following its continuous use. In a significant ruling, the Karnataka High Court had struck down the 2014 Rules mandating that 85% of the principal display area on packets of tobacco products be covered by specified health warnings. The HC bench said the new stipulation under the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Packaging and Labelling) Amendment Rules, 2014, was unconstitutional. Even the Supreme Court has refused to stay the ruling of the high court. Personal preferences cannot be dictated by law. Only persuasion on the part of authorities can reduce the use of such products.

After leaving office, Sonia relaxes in Goa After relinquishing the post of Congress president, Sonia Gandhi went to Goa on a holiday. She has been keeping herself busy by doing yoga and reading books, sources said, adding she has not been keeping track of news and politics during her visit. She appeared quite relaxed and cheerful during her stay, and was also seen cycling at a resort in south Goa. She had no inhibitions in interacting with guests at the resort, with some even taking selfies with her. Sources attribute her preference to the South Goa resort to the serene environment and relatively more privacy the location offers. Some of her close friends are accompanying Sonia on her Goa visit. As Sonia is on a private visit, the local party leaders are not forthcoming on the details of her itinerary.

AC local thrills Mumbai commuters, but high fare a dampner The introduction of local AC train between Borivli and Churchgate has been welcomed by the commuters but the high fare has discouraged many to use it. A mother of two who travelled on the maiden run said, “The automated doors will save many lives that are lost daily due to overcrowding. We should have had those years ago, but it’s a good start to 2018.” While the comfort of travelling on an AC train impressed most, there were many who felt the fare was steep for daily commuters. One daily commuter between Andheri and Grant Road, said he could not afford it. But Mumbai may take a while to get used to automated doors during peak hours. Mahesh Patil, a curious passerby, jumped onto the train while it was preparing to leave Borivli. As the door shut, he kept asking security personnel on the train to open it for him. “It’s going to take some time before people are conditioned to the automatic doors,” said an official. A light beep goes off before the doors open or shut. For many passengers, access between coaches because of vestibules was a big plus.


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Hindus urge UK Govt. to mandate listing of gelatine source on food, which many times is beef Hindus are urging the British Government and its Food Standards Agency (FSA) to mandate food manufacturers to mention the source of gelatine, if used in the product, on its “Ingredients” label. When the source of gelatine is not listed and if it is beef, it is a serious nondisclosure affecting the Hindu devotees and would severely hurt their feelings when they would come to know that they were inadvertently consuming beeflaced popular food products, Hindu statesman Rajan Zed stresses. Consumption of beef was highly conflicting to Hindu beliefs. Cow, the seat of many deities, was sacred and had long been venerated in Hinduism; Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, pointed out in a statement in Nevada (USA). According to Douglas Potter of the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA): Under the Food Information to Consumers Regulation (EU) 1169/2011 there is no requirement to label gelatine with its species or origin. It would be shocking for the British Hindu communi-

Rajan Zed

ty to learn that some of the popular food products, which they might had been unknowingly eating for years, might contain beef as part of the gelatine while beef was not explicitly mentioned under the ingredients listed on the boxes/packages to caution them, Rajan Zed indicated. Zed further said that it was hard to comprehend that why companies, both British and international, many times were not transparent enough to mention beef explicitly under the ingredients on the box/package when, being constituent of gelatine, it was part of the product inside; so that an ordinary consumer could make right and appropriate choices. Rajan Zed urged UK Prime Minister Theresa May; Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Michael Gove; and FSA Chief Executive

Jason Feeney to seriously and urgently look into this issue affecting BritishHindus. DEFRA, whose claimed purpose was “make our country a great place for living”, should not shy away from its responsibility to the food safety of its Hindu citizens. FSA should act on what it boasted (“We want people to understand the truth about where our food comes from and what’s in it”), Zed noted. Dutch-British transnational consumer goods company Unilever, which “has been in business since the 1880s” and which claims to have “developed a clear and global approach to nutrition labeling”, in a response to Zed, stated: Gelatin “is used in some of our products to provide a lower fat, lower calorie product with a pleasing texture and consistency…We cannot guarantee if the gelatin is derived from beef or pork”.

Man jailed for sharing Islamic State propaganda near Windsor Castle

A young Sainsbury's shop assistant is facing jail for sharing Islamic State propaganda on WhatsApp including a video filmed near Windsor Castle. Iftikhar Ali was aged 18, and living at home with his parents, at the time he sent extremist material on his mobile phone. He denied 12 counts of disseminating a terrorist document and one of possessing a document likely to be useful to a person committing an act of terrorism. But following a trial at the Old Bailey, Ali, now 19, was found guilty of all the charges. Ali was friends with convicted terrorist Taha Hussain, who was filmed driving past Windsor Castle shouting "Allahu akbar" and "burn in hell". Hussain, 21, from Berkshire, knew London Bridge attacker Khuram Butt and was jailed for four and a half years in September, for disseminating terrorist documents on social media. In December 2015, Ali had been identified by the Prevent team but he failed to engage with them. He was arrested on March 10 last year over a payment of £140 via Western Union to a man in Turkey, which he claimed in police inter-

views was for "charitable purposes". Examination of his mobile phone revealed Ali had an avid interest in IS with material including audio files of radical preacher Anwar al Awlaki, and images of executions as well as Hussain's Windsor video.

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Many products of Wrigley, said to be the largest manufacturer and marketer of chewing gum in the world, contain gelatin that is sourced from beef. Gelatin derived from beef is found in the many products of multinational Kellogg’s, which claims to be “world's leading cereal company”. Gelatine/gelatin is procured from various animal body parts and is usually used as a gelling agent in food; but there are animalfree and plant-based alternatives to gelatin like seaweed extracts. It is an ingredient in some cereals, ice creams, candies, yogurts, desserts, marshmallows, aspic, trifles, dips, fruit snacks, sour cream, margarine, frosting, confections, gums, Chinese soup dumplings, puddings, nondairy creamers, cakes, cream cheese, lozenges, etc. It is also used for clarification of vinegar, juices and wine.

Slough MP wins support for memorial to Sikh soldiers who fought for Britain Slough's MP Tan Dhesi has won support from both sides of the political divide - after tabling a motion in Parliament calling on the Government to support a national memorial dedicated to Sikh soldiers who died for Britain during the two World Wars. He tabled the Early Day motion on December 19 and it had attracted more than 150 signatures by Christmas. Supporters included members of his own party including deputy Labour leader Tom Watson and Labour's shadow chancellor John McDonnell, as well as longest serving Conservative MP Ken Clarke and Conservative former Chancellor Ken Clarke. Leading figures in the Liberal Democrat, Green and newly empowered Democratic Unionist party have also supported it. Mr Dhesi said: "It recognises the sacrifices of Sikh soldiers in service of Great Britain and calls for a permanent national monument in a prime central London location. It would have huge additional benefits for com-

Slough MP Tan Dhesi

munity cohesion and integration within our country - something that’s very close to my heart." The motion states 'that this house appreciates the extraordinary bravery and sacrifices of Sikh soldiers in service of Great Britain, including during both World Wars and supports the erection of a permanent national monument in a prime central London'. Early Day Motions (EDMs) are formal motions submitted for debate in the House of Commons. Although few are actually debated they allow MPs to draw attention to an event or cause and give other MPs the chance to back them.


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The Rt Hon Tom Brake MP, Ruth Cadbury MP, Tanmanjeet S Dhesi MP, Lord Dholakia OBE DL, Lord Hussain, Seema Malhotra MP, Virendra Sharma MP, and Lord Suri along with Amarjeet-singh Bhamra lead a special celebration to mark the 548th Parkash Utsav (Holy birth anniversary) of Satguru Nanak Dev in UK Parliament in London on Monday 18th Dec 2017 amidst a gathering of over hundred participants including community and faith leaders. Parliamentarians paid rich tributes to The Founder of Sikh Faith and proposed of having a special postage stamp on His 550th Holy Birth Anniversary in 2019. Satguru Nanak Dev was the first Guru of the Sikhs. He believed that true salvation could be achieved only by devotion of thought, excellence of conduct and encouraged both the Hindus and Muslims to take refuge in Sarbat da Bhala (the good and welfare of all) a universal faith of brotherhood based on compassion. Satguru Nanak Dev was an exceptional prophet in human history whose profound impact on the world has stood the test of time. His contributions were in both spiritual and social, and these were expressed through his tripartite teaching of 1. Nām Japo, 2.

548th Holy birth anniversary of Satguru Nanak Dev at the House of Commons. Amarjeet S Bhamra, Lord Suri, Consular D P Singh, and Tanmanjeet S Dhesi MP

Kirat Karo and 3. Vand Chakko. In our modern age of rampant consumerism where our attention is relentlessly drawn to and fixated on the transient, society has increasingly recognised the need for meditation to facilitate one’s inner peace and contentment. The purpose of the Guru’s first injunction to recite the name of the divine is to enable such meditation to take place at all times. His second injunction addressed that facet of human behaviour that has been observed since time immemorial: numerous individuals in their endeavours to become financially abundant have succeeded yet through the exploitation of others. He taught that whatever one earns must be done through honest means and through one’s own physical and mental efforts. The Guru’s third teaching was that of sharing wealth with others. He encouraged the act of

charity and serving others thereby allowing all to benefit. Special guest from the High Commission of India Consular D P Singh and Dr Rami Ranger CBE, Deputy Treasurer Conservative Party, Chairman British Sikh Association and Fellow of the Princes Trust were the key speakers who elaborated on Satguru Nanak Dev. Loveleen Kumar a former student of Ustad Manawar Ali Khan, performed a recital Akhiyan Nanak Milan di Pyassi (devotional song) to Satguru Nanak Dev, followed by speeches by: Hon Jaffer Kapasi OBE Consular General of Uganda, Dr Rishi Handa Philosopher of Religion & Sanskrit, Inspector Sutinderjit Mahil Chair Metropolitan Police Sikh Association, Dr. Cyriac Maprayil Vice President India League UK, Lieutenant Harmeet S Nijjar British Army, Cllr Liaquat Ali MBE JP & Shokat Ali British Muslim Friends of Labour,

TajinderPal Sindra Founder Punjabi Theatre GB, Trupti Patel President Hindu Forum GB, Venerable Dr Miaolung London Fo Guang Shan Temple, Nigel Grace Chief Executive Maharishi Foundation, Chandru Gidoomal Sindhi Community Temple, Jasvir Singh OBE Co-Chair Faiths Forum for London, Warrant Officer Balbir Singh Flora MBE Royal Air Force, Kuldip Singh Ubhi President Namdhari Sikh Sangat UK, Lakshmi Vyas President Hindu Forum Europe, and Varsha Mistry Chair Metropolitan Police Hindu Association who also offered vote of thanks. Apologies were offered on behalf of Lord Bourne Minister Dept. for Communities and Local Government, High ommission of Bangladesh HE Mr Md Nazmul Quaunine, High Commission of Guyana HE Mr F Hamley Case, Lord Patel, Mr S P Hinduja and Hon Alojz Peterle MEP.

Bhagavad Gita recited at the British Parliament for the first time in history The evening of Monday 11 December marked a proud moment for Indian culture as the Bhagavad Gita was recited for the first time in history at the British Parliament by Dhruv Chhatralia. The House of Lords celebrated the completion of the spiritual organisation SHYAM’s third Gita Gnyan Maha Yagna by Saloni Belaid and 27 of SHYAM’s Bhagavad Gita teachers to over 340,000 students in 161 countries around the world after 2 years and 3 months. The event also celebrated the over 150 recitals of the Bhagavad Gita given by Dhruv Chhatralia in London over the last six years and the festival of Gita Jayanti, the auspicious day on which the divine wisdom of the Bhagavad Gita was spoken by Shree Krishna to Arjuna. The event was hosted by Lord Popat and Lord Gadhia. It was attended by community leaders of 8 different religious backgrounds and chairpersons of over 25 national Indian organisations. The evening featured inspirational and powerful talks by Lord Popat, Dhruv Chhatralia and Saloni Belaid. It began with a memorable speech by Saloni Belaid about this historic journey and how SHYAM’s teachers have achieved the impossible in completing this epic feat that has never been achieved before. Lord

photo courtesy: Bhupendrasihn Jethwa

548th Holy Birth Anniversary of Satguru Nanak Dev at Parliament in UK

Dhruv Chhatralia presenting Lord Popat with an edition of the translation of the Bhagavad Gita by Professor Radhakrishnan, the former President of India

Popat then beautifully explained the significance of this historic occasion where the Bhagavad Gita was being recited for the first time at the British Parliament and gave messages of congratulations on behalf of both himself and Lord Gadhia. Chhatralia then gave a powerful talk recital of the commentary of verses 1 to 28 of the first chapter of the Bhagavad Gita, and was almost moved to tears during his inspiring and thought-provoking speech. He presented Lord Popat with an edition of the translation of the Bhagavad Gita by Professor Radhakrishnan, the former president of India. Lord Popat then presented a copy of the book Rukhmini's Love Letter by His Holiness Pujyashree Bhupendrabhai Pandya to Saloni Belaid and a copy of a commentary of SHYAM’s commentary on the Hanuman Chalisa to Bhupendrasihn Jethwa.

Unique fusion of British and Indian cultures light up the London New Year’s Day Parade 2018 kicked off in London with a spectacular parade through the streets of Central London – the annual and world famous London New Year’s Day Parade. The historic event attracts marching bands, floats and performers from all over the world, but one of the more unusual performances came form right here in London. Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa Pipe Band London, with their unique fusion of traditional Scottish and Indian tunes, was amongst the leading pack of acts, and certainly one of the highlights of the Parade. The Band of fifty pipers and drummers, all of British Indian origin, showcased their musical talent and military-style discipline as they marched along Piccadilly passed the iconic Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square, and finished along Whitehall by the Houses of Parliament in Westminster. The wonderful spectacle of the Band in full Scottish regalia wowed the cheering crowds with

their renditions of traditional piping tunes, such as ‘When the Saints Go Marching In’ and ‘Scotland the Brave’, as well as top Bollywood hits. Onlookers were surprised and delighted that

the Band hails from Shree Swaminarayan Mandir Kingsbury, only a few miles north of the Parade route. The Band has its origins in Central London, when in 1970,

the Band’s founder and global spiritual leader, Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa was so impressed with the discipline and dedications of a Scottish marching band that played in His hon-

our during a parade to Trafalgar Square, that He commanded His disciples to start their own. Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa Pipe Band London was established in 1972, and under the inspiration of current spiritual leader, Acharya Swamishree Maharaj, has become renowned around the world as being a civilian band with military style and discipline. The Band supports numerous charities and has performed at important national events including Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II Golden and Diamond Jubilees. Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa Pipe Band London is one of a five sister Pipe Bands across the world; others being situated in the USA, Kenya, Manchester and India. Together, Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa Pipe Band currently has over 225 performing members, forming a key facet of the social and charitable activities of Maninagar Shree Swaminarayan Gadi Sansthan, all led by worldwide spiritual leader, Acharya Swamishree Maharaj.


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No major casualties from Liverpool seven-storey car park blaze

A blaze, which spread rapidly through a sevenstorey car park in Kings Dock, in Liverpool, on New Year's Eve has destroyed an estimate of 1,400 vehicles, according to Merseyside's chief fire officer, Dan Stephens. Six dogs were rescued from the fire. It is said that their owners might have left their dogs in the vehicles parked in the car park, while they attended the Liverpool International Horse Show at Echo Arena. No humans or animals were severely injured in the fire. Two people were treated at the scene of the event for minor smoke inhalation, as well as a woman who has injured her hand as she ran from the flames. Dan Stephens stated that there were no sprinklers fitting in the building. He said, “Had the car

A huge fire destroyed nearly 1,400 vehicles

park had sprinklers, that would certainly have suppressed the fire and might even have extinguished the fire.” In a tweet, the Labour Mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson expressed that fire service cuts has also led to the devastation. He tweeted, “Car Park fire was reported to me at 4.45pm, and I was told it was con-

tainable. It would have been if we had enough appliances responding. Chief Fire officer [Dan Stephens] confirmed my view that 2 years ago we would have had 8 fire engines from 4 stations responding instead of 2 #cutscost.” Fire investigators believe that the fire was not started deliberately.

They also suggested that on 31st December 2017, shortly after 4.30pm, the engine compartment of a Range Rover Discovery on level 2 had gone up in flames. Stephens stated, “There is nothing to suggest it was anything other than an accidental ignition.” Regarding the incident, Stephens further stated, “It's a bit like Grenfell. With these high temperatures, you were never going to put the fire out without the whole building taking hold. The speed at which the fire spreads means you simply aren't going to put it out.” Merseyside police have advised anyone affected by the fire to go to the Pullman Hotel, in Kings Dock, where staff, aided by the British Red Cross, will be able to provide assistance.

Holidaymakers warned to beware of sales gimmick An investigation has found that travel firms luring holidaymakers by using deceptive discount claims, making customers pay much more than necessary for flights and accommodation. Trading standards have been asked to investigate after big travel brands who lowered their holiday prices after their sales ended. Sandals and Virgin Holidays are also included in the big brands. During the summer, the consumer group Which? Kept a tab on many promotions and the results showed that

People are being warned not to be lured by sales deal by travel firms

alleged discounted deals were available for the same price or even less in more than half of cases. It is alleged that Virgin

Holidays had offered a seven-night stay at Coco Key Hotel, Florida, starting from £792 per person in its “summer sale”. However, after the sale ended, the price had dropped to £677 per person. The investigation was conducted by researcher Jo Rhodes, who stated, “You'll struggle to find a time when Sandals holidays aren't on sale. It seemingly runs 60% off promotions back to back under various guises – flash sales, mega sales, sales for every season. The strapline on its Halloween

promotion read 'no tricks, just treats' but a disgruntled customer who had rushed to book might feel otherwise.” The travel editor at Which?, Rory Boland added, “Most of the timelimited deals we looked at are nothing of the sort. The tight deadlines, emotive language and countdown clocks are all designed to rush us into making a decision, but it might not be the right one. Don't be fooled – compare prices with other holiday companies and travel agents to check savings are genuine.”

Two men charged for plotting Christmas terror attack

West Yorkshire police revealed two men have been arrested and charged with terrorism offences by police who were investigating a suspected Christmas terror attack. Chip shop owner, Andi Sami Star, 31, from Chesterfield, and Farhad Salah, 22, from Sheffield have been charged with engaging in preparation of an act of terrorism. The duo were among four men arrested on 19th December 2017, in Derbyshire and South Yorkshire. They were arrested by detectives from Counter Terrorism Policing North East following an intelligence-led operation. The pair, who were

Andi Sami Star

remanded in custody, appeared at Westminster Magistrate's Court via video link from Leeds. The owner of Mermaid Traditional Fish Bar, Andi Sami Star's solicitor sug-

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gested that there was no evidence that his client was involved in terrorism. His solicitor indicated that Star would plead not guilty. Prosecutor, Thomas Halpin told the hearing the Crown alleged that Star and Salah had been a part of the early stages of a plot when they were arrested. While a 41-year-old man from Meersbrook, Sheffield was released, a 36-year-old man from Burngreave, Sheffield remains in custody. Star and Salah are both Kurdish Iraqis. According to the Daily Mail, Star's exgirlfriend said that he arrived in the Uk from Iraqi Kurdistan, his homeland, about 10 years ago. The

Daily Mail also added that Star was granted indefinite leave to stay in the UK, and he passed his citizenship test three months ago. 25-year-old Jordan Batteson who lives near the Fish bar owned by Star said, “He [Andi Sami Star} was a really nice guy, really friendly. I used to go in there to get my chips. He have the staff copies of the Koran.” A fifth man has been arrested in Sheffield over an alleged plot for a Christmas terror attack, police have said. The 21year-old man was held under the Terrorism Act late last Friday night, and two buildings in the city are being searched.

26-year-old woman badly injured in acid attack

A 26-year-old woman had acid thrown at her near South Quay DLR station

Two chemical attacks took place in less than two hours and about 500 yards apart in East London. Scotland Yard revealed that a 26-year-old woman was a victim of an acid attack on 27th December 2017. She suffered from life-changing burns to her leg and face when she was attack shortly before 7pm, near South Quay Docklands Light Railway station on the Isle of Dogs. Approximately an hour and a half later at Crossharbour, an Asian man who was leaving the station was attacked with an alkaline solution.

The Asian man's attackers attackers are described to be two white men aged between the age 20 to 20, and about 5 foot 10 inches in height. They are said to have been in a Volkswagen car. One man wore a grey hooded top with a baseball cap, while the other man was dressed in a blue jacket and sported a short beard. Police stated that the attacks were not linked. The National Police Chiefs' Council revealed that there have been 431 similar attacks across the country in the 6 months to April, compared with 261 in 2016.

Funding Circle plans to become public company Funding Circle, considered as Britain's biggest peer-topeer lender has held an ambition to become a public company. In 2018, the company will take the step to turn this ambition into reality. According to a source which confirmed a report by Sky News, Funding Circle, founded by Samir Desai, Andrew Mullinger and James Meekings in 2010, has informed investment bankers about its plans to hold a beauty parade within the first three months of 2018., in order to select advisers for a first public offering. Funding Circle, which is an online lending platform, offers loans to small businesses, using money from retail investors and institutions. It is said that so far, the company has arranged loans worth over £3 billion. The company raised

Samir Desai, co-founder of Funding Circle

£83 million a year ago and it was thought that their value, at that stage, was an estimated $1 billion. Sky News also reported that some investors believed that Funding Circle could be worth about £2 billion. In 2016, the company reported a 59% rise in revenues to £50.9 million, and arranged over £1 billion of credit for 10,000 small enterprises.

Poetry from the Heart An inspirational new book, Poetry from the Heart, which renews the hope for victims of depression has been officially launched. The book is written totally from the author’s heart, in a raw fashion, dealing openly and honestly about a personal battle with depression. Globally, more than 300 million people of all ages suffer from depression. In the UK,approximately 1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem each year. The book is divided into four chapters – Battling Depression, Love & Family,

Life after Death and Nature & Life. The author, Lee Barker, 37, a bespoke furniture maker, is married to Emily and the couple live in Birmingham with their two sons, ages 9 and 2. Lee talks in depth, in his book, about losing his disabled aunt, Janine, and the impact this had on him, as well as on his children. Lee said that his aunt Janine, who sadly died on New Year’s Eve three years ago, was his hero, "a very special lady,” he said. The book, which features a series of great poems, is available via Amazon for £4.90.


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Government cuts in police Indian-origin scientist awarded top Royal honour force proves detrimental Around 40 British Asians have been recognised under different categories this new year

Government cuts to police funding could prove to be detrimental on society. The lack of access to help and support from the police can lead to further crimes and unrest in society. A law lecturer at SOAS University of London is campaigning against the closure of public counters at police stations in Britain after he suffered atrocious injuries during a raid by thugs at home in 2014. The 58-year-old lecturer, Paul Kohler, 58, attempts to raise £5,000 in order to commence a legal challenge against the alleged “unlawful” decision by the Mayor of London of closing public access to police stations, as well as selling off police buildings and claiming the cuts are essential as the savings are needed to protect the jobs of frontline staff. Kohler believes his life was saved because police officers arrived from the local police station within 8 minutes of receiving a 999 call from his daughter who had been hiding upstairs during the ordeal. He suffered a broken nose, hand and a fractured eye socket. The 4 perpetrators, aged between 13 and 19 were later jailed. In November, Sadiq Khan announced the closure of front counters at 37 police stations across London, including the police station closest to Kohler's home, in Wimbledon, Southwest London which has allegedly been tagged as for sales to developers. Paul Kohler expressed, “I do not doubt that Sadiq Khan has a problem because

£1 billion has been cut from the police budget. But he has provided no analysis and no evidence to support the closures. I want him to stop making assertions and assumptions and make a proper consideration of police needs for the future or he could be making a terrible mistake.” Having local police stations open can help tackle crimes at a faster rate, helping victims getting help much faster.

Liam Allan While on one side, we have members from the police force who fight tooth and nail in preventing crimes and helping victims, on the other side, there have been allegations against the police regarding certain cases. The recent revelations in the case of a student, Liam Allan, who was falsely accused of rape, it has emerged that the police failed to hand over text messages from the alleged victim that could have instantly proven him innocent. Instead, the 22-yearold had to spend nearly two years on bail and was put on trial for twelve counts of sexual violence. It has been revealed that the alleged victim who accused Liam Allan of rape had allegedly sent text messages to friends stating how upset she was that Allan will not be able to see her again, while also describing her obsession with sex and talking about her sexual fantasies of being raped. In reference to the accused, she had written, “it wasn't against my will”. The defence team had

repeatedly asked the police for the complainant's telephone records. The police declined the request as, according to the opinions of detectives, there was nothing of interest to either the prosecution or defence. However, a new prosecutor, who took over the case before the trial, finally agreed to the request for the defence lawyer to see the telephone records of the victim and hence, the case was immediately dropped. Liam Allan suffered immensely in the last two years during the ordeal of being on bail. He stated, “I felt completely isolated at every stage of the process. I feel betrayed by the system which I had believed would do the right thing.” Consequently, Allan now intends to sue the police as well as the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

Isaac Itiary Another revelation has emerged that the police had failed to disclose crucial evidence in another rape case. 25-year-old Isaac Itiary had been charged with the rape of a child, however the case was dismissed after it was revealed that important information from the alleged victim's phone was not shared and analysed by the defence and prosecuting lawyers. A common factor between the two cases, apart from them both being accused of rape, Detective Constable Mark Azariah, 37, had worked on both of these cases. These two cases have prompted senior officers from Scotland Yard to launch a review on every live rape case that is currently being investigated by the police force. Mark Azariah has been removed from duty following the collapse of these two rape cases. The Tory MP, Nigel Evans, who was cleared of rape charges after a controversial investigation and prosecution has accused the police force for making these basic faults. He said,

Liam Allan

“There has been an absolute systematic failure in the disclosure of evidence that might result in people not being charged... it is putting people through a mental torture, it is a colossal admission of failure... I have a suspicion there is a desire to ensure that the number of convictions increases.” The Justice Secretary, David Lidington has also said that the prosecutors and police should not be chasing targets in sex abuse investigations. He also expressed that rape suspects should be granted anonymity until convicted.

Corruption allegations Amid the controversy of these two rape cases, the police force are facing further allegations, including corruption claims. An associate of the alleged gangster Paul Massey told The Times newspaper about the police receiving bribes. Paul Massey was murdered two years ago. His former associate revealed to The Times newspaper, “Nobody wants to admit it. It was officers, left right and centre. Big A4size brown envelopes full of money. It was running into the tens of thousands.”

Failure in protect children Furthermore, a damning report 12 years ago revealed that Scotland Yard is allegedly the worse at helping children at risk of sexual exploitation and rape. According to fresh assessment by the police watchdog delivered a month ago, Britain's biggest police

Isaac Itiary

force had failed to adequately handle 90% of the child protection cases. The Metropolitan Police has been criticised for police officers' poor attitudes dealing with missing children, delays of up to three days in responding to such cases, as well as failures to record the concerns of children and the lack of intense investigation.

Shayab Miah A British Muslim man from Southampton, Shayab Miah won the right to challenge the secret intelligence used against him after he claimed he was discriminated against after being stopped and questioned by police under terrorism laws. In August 2009, Shayab Miah was stopped and detained for an hour at London Heathrow Airport by counter-terrorism police after returning from India. He was later released without further action, and complained to the Metropolitan Police, stating that his detention was not a random stop, but was motivated by religious discrimination. It was only after he made a complain that it emerged the security services had placed “tab” on his passport, which would be activated whenever he left or entered the UK. However, the police refused to say on which basis Shayab Miah was being targeted. Miah further appealed to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) who backed the Metropolitan Police's original rejection of his complaint. However, three

Mark Azariah

judges from the Court of Appeal recently ordered the IPCC and the police to consider the complaint again by taking full account of all the secret intelligence in Miah's case.

Supporting our Police Force The Government's decision to make cuts in in the police force has undoubtedly been detrimental, putting a lot of pressure on the police while they try to combat crime across the country. The five incidents named, although very unfortunate, should not make one lose faith in the police as they are doing the best that they can in trying to provide justice to the general public regardless of staff shortages, financial cuts, as well as closures of local police stations. One may be dissuaded after reading about such incidents, but we must also bear in mind that had it not been for the local police, Paul Kohler may have not survived from his horrific ordeal, and justice may have not availed if the police had not arrived on time, saving Kohler and nabbing the perpetrators. Undoubtedly, a majority of the general public can walk down the street without any fear, all thanks to the great work of the Metropolitan Police, who make us feel safe. Amid the recent crimes in London, including the four killings on New year's Eve, one would hope that the Government revokes its decision on further cuts in the police force.

Post-Brexit passport turns blue British Prime Minister, Theresa May's tweet regarding British passports returning to their original form has left many baffled. The old passport, appearing to be black in colour, will now become blue post-Brexit to symbolise Britain's new “independence and sovereignty”, confusing many as it looks different from the “iconic” passport ministers had promised to

reintroduce. TV journalist, Michael Crick said, “Having fished out my old passport, it's also wrong to describe that as blue. It looks black to me, and that's how any witness would describe it in court.” The Scottish Tory leader, Ruth Davidson also tweeted with a passport picture of her younger self. She said, “This blue passport campaign's baffling... I had to go

back and check as I always thought it was black.” The old passport was introduced in 1920 after the League of Nations agreed global standards for design. In 1988, Britain adopted the burgundy passports part of a standardisation of European Union travel documents. The colour, however, was optional and it was for the government that decided to change it, not the

EU.

The shadow Brexit minister, Paul Blomfield said, “The Tories claimed the new passport was a symbol of restoring UK sovereignty. But it has quickly become a symbol of the government's incompetence instead. First, Boris Johnson wrongly claimed that the EU had imposed red passports. Now they've been caught out for getting the colour wrong.”

She has the distinction of creating the first microscope that has the ability of perceiving chemical reactions at the atomic scale. Gai is the fourth Indian-origin woman conferred with the honour since it was instituted in 1917, following Maharani Lakshmi Devi of Dhar (1931), educationist Asha Khemka (2014) and medicine academic Parveen Kumar (2017). Around 30 individuals of Indian origin are among 1123 people who have been recognised in Queen Elizabeth's New Year Honours List this year, for their contributions and services to the UK. Besides them there are around ten others of Asians origin who have been on the recipients' list this year. The list features few political donors, unlike before, same as sportsmen and businessmen. 49% of the recognised are women, and 9% (slightly less than their percentage nationally) are from ethnic minority background.

includes fifteen officials from Home Office, her previous department- significantly more from last year. Most of them are from UK Border Force. The most controversial honours has probably been given to former deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, who has been presented with a knighthood.

Dr Mehool Sanghrajka

OBE Prominent among winners of the OBE honour include Jarnail Singh Athwal (for services to business and charity, Datchet, Berkshire); Charanjit Bountra, professor of translational medicine, University of Oxford (for services to translational medical research); Ranjit Lal Dheer (for services to local government and to charity, London) and Rilesh Kumar Jadeja (for services to people with disabilities, London), Paromita Konar Thakkar, deputy director, Energy Economics and Analysis, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial

Dame Pratibha Laxman Gai Dame Pratibha Laxman Gai is a British microscopist and Professor and Chair of Electron Microscopy and Director at The York JEOL Nanocentre, Departments of Chemistry and Physics, University of York. She created the atomic-resolution environmental transmission electron microscope (ETEM) and is an outspoken advocate for women with careers in science. Gai grew up in India, and was fascinated by science as a child. She was influenced by Marie Curie, her education, and her parents to study chemistry. However, at that time, it was not socially acceptance for women to have careers in the physical sciences. When she was a teenager, she was selected as a national science talent search scholar. Gai was educated at the University of Cambridge where she was awarded a PhD in 1974 for research on weak beam electron microscopy conducted in the Cavendish Laboratory. Gai has pioneered advanced in-situ electron microscopy applications in the chemical sciences. With Edward D. Boyes, she co-invented the atomic resolution environmental transmission electron microscope (ETEM), which enables the visualisation and analysis on the atomic scale of dynamic gas-catalyst reactions underpinning key chemical processes. Her research has helped to understand better how catalysts function, leading to valuable new science. Her microscope and process inventions are being exploited worldwide by microscope manufacturers, chemical companies and researchers. With the help of colleagues, she built and refined the machine over two decades, beginning with a lower-resolution prototype when she was a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Oxford. She then spent 18 years in the US at chemical firm DuPont and the University of Delaware. Although her microscope is highly valuable to the scientific field, she made the decision to not patent it. She often advocates for women's roles in science, and has spoken about the challenge of having children as a woman scientist. She says, "what's needed to keep women in science; it's a very competitive field and they (otherwise) lag behind whether they are working or not. So I keep telling my female students to aim high.” British Prime Minister Theresa May has however been accused of croynism after she authorised a knighthood for one of her main allies in the Conservative party, undermining her own pledge to end it in Britain's honours system. The list also

received an OBE for hois services to business, job creation and charity. Alina Khan has been conferred with the same, for protection of women and children in unregistered marriages. Suranga Chandratillake, partner at Balderton Capital has been presented with an OBE (for services tpo engi-

Strategy (for services to energy analysis), Rajan Madhok, trustee, Darlindas Charity for Renal Research (for services to renal research and tackling health inequalities in Scotland). Other Asians on the OBE list includes Raja Mohammed Adil, Chairman of the Adil Group has

Glamorgan), Shyamal Kanti Sengupta (for services to interfaith relationships in Refrewshire), Prof Vikas Sagar Shah, member Industrial development, advisory board and CEO, Swiscot Group (for services to business and economy), Rohit Shankar, Consultant in adult development psychiatry, Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation trust (for services o people with learning disabilities in Cornwall), Dr

Dr Mehool Sanghrajka, Director and Trustee, The Institute of Jainology has been awarded an MBE in the 2018 New Year honours for services to the Jain Faith and Education. For over 20 years Sanghrajka has played an important role in the Jain community and has substantially raised the profile of Jainism and improved interfaith relations throughout the UK and globally. Sanghrajka’s hard work and dedication has been recognised and an MBE awarded for outstanding achievement from Her Majesty the Queen. Upon receiving the invitation to receive such a prestigious award, Sanghrajka said, “I am humbled. It’s a real honour to receive this MBE. Education and Jainism are both very important parts of my life. This inspires me to do even more and I am grateful to all those who work with me in these endeavours.” For the past 15 years Sanghrajka has been the Director and Trustee of the Institute of Jainology (IoJ) which represents the 32 Jain organisations in the UK in Inter-faith and governmental activities. The IoJ has helped to establish the Jain all-party Parliamentary Group and focuses on matters affecting the larger Jain community as a whole such as inclusion in the census and representation at Armistice Day. He is also a current trustee of the Navnat Vanik Association, the second largest Jain community in the UK. In addition to his work with the IoJ Sanghrajka is also the Executive Director of Jainpedia.org. The organization has digitised and contextualized the 4,000 Jain manuscripts held at major British Institutions such as the Victoria & Albert Museum, the British Library, the Welcome Trust, the Bodleian Library and the Royal Asiatic Society. For over 20 years, Sanghrajka has been dedicated to transforming education for students around the globe. He has developed e-learning solutions which improve outcomes for learners worldwide. Sanghrajka’s key focus is on meeting the needs of learners in the digital age while enhancing and developing their digital literacy skills no matter where in the world they are located. neering and technology).

MBE Those honoured with MBE include Onkardeep Singh Bhatia (for services to the community, particularly young people), Bobby Gurbhej Singh Dev (for services to the community, particularly young peoplein Sheffield, South Yorkshire), Gillian Dillon, senior executive officer, district employer and partnership manager, Department for Work and pensions (for services to employment and skills), Nora Dillon (for services to affordable housing credit management and the community in South Lanarkshire), Atulkumar Bhogilal Patel (for services to heritage and the community in the East Midlands, Leicestershire); Mubeen Yunus Patel (for services to public sector digital transformation programme, Leicestershire), Gurmit Singh Randhawa (for services to community cohesion in Vale of

Mehool Harshadray Sanghrajka (for services to the Jain faith and education), Seema Srivastava, safety programme and falls lead, North Bristol NHS Trust (for services to improving quality and patient safety), Sanjiv Kumar Shridhar, GP in Nantwich, Cheshire (for services to primary care), Joan Mary Sanger has also been conferred an MBE for her charitable services in Beckingham, South Yorkshire. Anwara Ali a general practioner at the Spitafields Practice in East London has received an MBE for services to community healthcare. Neelam Farzana, co-founder and managing director of The Listening Service has been awarded an MBE for service to mental health in the community. Mohammed Yaqub Joya (for services to Army and the Muslim community in Northern Ireland) and Alexander Khan, chief executive officer at Lifetime Training (for services to

Suranga Chandratillake

Suranga Chandratillake, Partner at Balderton Capital has been presented with an OBE this year. Suranga joined Balderton as a General Partner in 2014. He was previously an entrepreneur and engineer. Suranga founded blinkx, the intelligent search engine for video and audio content in Cambridge in 2004. He then led the company for eight years as CEO through its journey of moving to San Francisco, building a profitable business and going public in London where it achieved a peak market capitalisation in excess of $1bn. Before founding blinkx, Suranga was an early employee at Autonomy Corporation - joining as an engineer in the Cambridge R&D team and ultimately serving as the company's US CTO in San Francisco. Suranga has a MA in Computer Science from the University of Cambridge. He holds patents in the area of video discovery and online video advertising, was elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 2012 and was chosen as one of the World Economic Forum's Young Global Leaders in 2009. In 2017, Suranga joined the UK Government's Council for Science and Technology.

apprenticeships), Sadi (Mehmood Sajdah) Khan (for services to cultural/religiousawareness training and voluntary services to vulnerable women) and Sajda Majeed (services to community in Burnley) have been recognised with an MBE.

BEM A BEM has been given to Caroline Anne Husain for services to charity and community in Hampshire, Buldev Kaur Angela Kandola, the founder of AWAAZ chairty for services to vulnerable people with mental issues, Subhash Chander Mahajan for services to the community in Hounslow, Manju Rajawat a higher officer in Border Force, Home Office for services to border security, Suryadevara Yadu Purna Chandra Prasad Rao, former Chair of Stoke on Trent

Clinical Commissioning Group, services to health care, Ashish Jaidev Soni for voluntary and charitable services to homeless people in London, Deveish Tankaria, international youth Chairman, Sathya Sai International Organisation for voluntary services and Kulbir Singh Brar (for services to community cohesion, Berkshire). The damehood and other honours will be conferred at the Buckingham Palace by the Queen and/or other members of the Royal family at various times in 2018.

Queen’s Ambulance Service Medal The recipient of this honour has been Kuldip Singh Bhamrah, East Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Trust.

Onkardeep Singh Onkardeep is one of the youngest people in the world of South Asian heritage to be awarded an MBE. His drive and commitment for improving social cohesion in Britain over the last 15 years has helped create strong relationships between people from all communities across the UK. As a result he has been the very first Sikh speaker invited to speak at the largest yearly faith based events in UK such as Limmud (Jewish), Living Islam and Greenbelt (Christian). His passion for building a stronger Britain through grassroots community cohesion led to him becoming in 2010 a Founding Member of City Sikhs, which is the largest network of Sikh professionals in the UK. His groundbreaking interfaith work has been purely voluntary and he has resourcefully used his skills as a design and technology professional to benefit a variety of communities and voluntary organisations by developing websites and branding for them. He is also part of the consultative committee for leading interfaith charity Three Faiths Forum; Director of Equal International, a charity improving pre-school education in India; and a supporter of HWPL, an international world peace charity. When not active in charity work, Onkardeep has his own design and technology company and provides design services for a variety of clients. Jasvir Singh OBE, Chair of City Sikhs, said “I’m so proud to see Onkardeep getting recognised for his extensive interfaith work. He is a true role model for young people of all backgrounds, and his unwavering commitment to various community projects shows how each of us can have a positive impact in British society.” Onkardeep Singh MBE said, “I am extremely humbled by the prestigious honour. It is a testament of the dedication and support of all those I have worked with on the various projects I have been involved in, and I hope it will inspire other young people to give back to society however they can.”


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Asian Voice | 6th January 2018

Government cuts in police Indian-origin scientist awarded top Royal honour force proves detrimental Around 40 British Asians have been recognised under different categories this new year

Government cuts to police funding could prove to be detrimental on society. The lack of access to help and support from the police can lead to further crimes and unrest in society. A law lecturer at SOAS University of London is campaigning against the closure of public counters at police stations in Britain after he suffered atrocious injuries during a raid by thugs at home in 2014. The 58-year-old lecturer, Paul Kohler, 58, attempts to raise £5,000 in order to commence a legal challenge against the alleged “unlawful” decision by the Mayor of London of closing public access to police stations, as well as selling off police buildings and claiming the cuts are essential as the savings are needed to protect the jobs of frontline staff. Kohler believes his life was saved because police officers arrived from the local police station within 8 minutes of receiving a 999 call from his daughter who had been hiding upstairs during the ordeal. He suffered a broken nose, hand and a fractured eye socket. The 4 perpetrators, aged between 13 and 19 were later jailed. In November, Sadiq Khan announced the closure of front counters at 37 police stations across London, including the police station closest to Kohler's home, in Wimbledon, Southwest London which has allegedly been tagged as for sales to developers. Paul Kohler expressed, “I do not doubt that Sadiq Khan has a problem because

£1 billion has been cut from the police budget. But he has provided no analysis and no evidence to support the closures. I want him to stop making assertions and assumptions and make a proper consideration of police needs for the future or he could be making a terrible mistake.” Having local police stations open can help tackle crimes at a faster rate, helping victims getting help much faster.

Liam Allan While on one side, we have members from the police force who fight tooth and nail in preventing crimes and helping victims, on the other side, there have been allegations against the police regarding certain cases. The recent revelations in the case of a student, Liam Allan, who was falsely accused of rape, it has emerged that the police failed to hand over text messages from the alleged victim that could have instantly proven him innocent. Instead, the 22-yearold had to spend nearly two years on bail and was put on trial for twelve counts of sexual violence. It has been revealed that the alleged victim who accused Liam Allan of rape had allegedly sent text messages to friends stating how upset she was that Allan will not be able to see her again, while also describing her obsession with sex and talking about her sexual fantasies of being raped. In reference to the accused, she had written, “it wasn't against my will”. The defence team had

repeatedly asked the police for the complainant's telephone records. The police declined the request as, according to the opinions of detectives, there was nothing of interest to either the prosecution or defence. However, a new prosecutor, who took over the case before the trial, finally agreed to the request for the defence lawyer to see the telephone records of the victim and hence, the case was immediately dropped. Liam Allan suffered immensely in the last two years during the ordeal of being on bail. He stated, “I felt completely isolated at every stage of the process. I feel betrayed by the system which I had believed would do the right thing.” Consequently, Allan now intends to sue the police as well as the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

Isaac Itiary Another revelation has emerged that the police had failed to disclose crucial evidence in another rape case. 25-year-old Isaac Itiary had been charged with the rape of a child, however the case was dismissed after it was revealed that important information from the alleged victim's phone was not shared and analysed by the defence and prosecuting lawyers. A common factor between the two cases, apart from them both being accused of rape, Detective Constable Mark Azariah, 37, had worked on both of these cases. These two cases have prompted senior officers from Scotland Yard to launch a review on every live rape case that is currently being investigated by the police force. Mark Azariah has been removed from duty following the collapse of these two rape cases. The Tory MP, Nigel Evans, who was cleared of rape charges after a controversial investigation and prosecution has accused the police force for making these basic faults. He said,

Liam Allan

“There has been an absolute systematic failure in the disclosure of evidence that might result in people not being charged... it is putting people through a mental torture, it is a colossal admission of failure... I have a suspicion there is a desire to ensure that the number of convictions increases.” The Justice Secretary, David Lidington has also said that the prosecutors and police should not be chasing targets in sex abuse investigations. He also expressed that rape suspects should be granted anonymity until convicted.

Corruption allegations Amid the controversy of these two rape cases, the police force are facing further allegations, including corruption claims. An associate of the alleged gangster Paul Massey told The Times newspaper about the police receiving bribes. Paul Massey was murdered two years ago. His former associate revealed to The Times newspaper, “Nobody wants to admit it. It was officers, left right and centre. Big A4size brown envelopes full of money. It was running into the tens of thousands.”

Failure in protect children Furthermore, a damning report 12 years ago revealed that Scotland Yard is allegedly the worse at helping children at risk of sexual exploitation and rape. According to fresh assessment by the police watchdog delivered a month ago, Britain's biggest police

Isaac Itiary

force had failed to adequately handle 90% of the child protection cases. The Metropolitan Police has been criticised for police officers' poor attitudes dealing with missing children, delays of up to three days in responding to such cases, as well as failures to record the concerns of children and the lack of intense investigation.

Shayab Miah A British Muslim man from Southampton, Shayab Miah won the right to challenge the secret intelligence used against him after he claimed he was discriminated against after being stopped and questioned by police under terrorism laws. In August 2009, Shayab Miah was stopped and detained for an hour at London Heathrow Airport by counter-terrorism police after returning from India. He was later released without further action, and complained to the Metropolitan Police, stating that his detention was not a random stop, but was motivated by religious discrimination. It was only after he made a complain that it emerged the security services had placed “tab” on his passport, which would be activated whenever he left or entered the UK. However, the police refused to say on which basis Shayab Miah was being targeted. Miah further appealed to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) who backed the Metropolitan Police's original rejection of his complaint. However, three

Mark Azariah

judges from the Court of Appeal recently ordered the IPCC and the police to consider the complaint again by taking full account of all the secret intelligence in Miah's case.

Supporting our Police Force The Government's decision to make cuts in in the police force has undoubtedly been detrimental, putting a lot of pressure on the police while they try to combat crime across the country. The five incidents named, although very unfortunate, should not make one lose faith in the police as they are doing the best that they can in trying to provide justice to the general public regardless of staff shortages, financial cuts, as well as closures of local police stations. One may be dissuaded after reading about such incidents, but we must also bear in mind that had it not been for the local police, Paul Kohler may have not survived from his horrific ordeal, and justice may have not availed if the police had not arrived on time, saving Kohler and nabbing the perpetrators. Undoubtedly, a majority of the general public can walk down the street without any fear, all thanks to the great work of the Metropolitan Police, who make us feel safe. Amid the recent crimes in London, including the four killings on New year's Eve, one would hope that the Government revokes its decision on further cuts in the police force.

Post-Brexit passport turns blue British Prime Minister, Theresa May's tweet regarding British passports returning to their original form has left many baffled. The old passport, appearing to be black in colour, will now become blue post-Brexit to symbolise Britain's new “independence and sovereignty”, confusing many as it looks different from the “iconic” passport ministers had promised to

reintroduce. TV journalist, Michael Crick said, “Having fished out my old passport, it's also wrong to describe that as blue. It looks black to me, and that's how any witness would describe it in court.” The Scottish Tory leader, Ruth Davidson also tweeted with a passport picture of her younger self. She said, “This blue passport campaign's baffling... I had to go

back and check as I always thought it was black.” The old passport was introduced in 1920 after the League of Nations agreed global standards for design. In 1988, Britain adopted the burgundy passports part of a standardisation of European Union travel documents. The colour, however, was optional and it was for the government that decided to change it, not the

EU.

The shadow Brexit minister, Paul Blomfield said, “The Tories claimed the new passport was a symbol of restoring UK sovereignty. But it has quickly become a symbol of the government's incompetence instead. First, Boris Johnson wrongly claimed that the EU had imposed red passports. Now they've been caught out for getting the colour wrong.”

She has the distinction of creating the first microscope that has the ability of perceiving chemical reactions at the atomic scale. Gai is the fourth Indian-origin woman conferred with the honour since it was instituted in 1917, following Maharani Lakshmi Devi of Dhar (1931), educationist Asha Khemka (2014) and medicine academic Parveen Kumar (2017). Around 30 individuals of Indian origin are among 1123 people who have been recognised in Queen Elizabeth's New Year Honours List this year, for their contributions and services to the UK. Besides them there are around ten others of Asians origin who have been on the recipients' list this year. The list features few political donors, unlike before, same as sportsmen and businessmen. 49% of the recognised are women, and 9% (slightly less than their percentage nationally) are from ethnic minority background.

includes fifteen officials from Home Office, her previous department- significantly more from last year. Most of them are from UK Border Force. The most controversial honours has probably been given to former deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, who has been presented with a knighthood.

Dr Mehool Sanghrajka

OBE Prominent among winners of the OBE honour include Jarnail Singh Athwal (for services to business and charity, Datchet, Berkshire); Charanjit Bountra, professor of translational medicine, University of Oxford (for services to translational medical research); Ranjit Lal Dheer (for services to local government and to charity, London) and Rilesh Kumar Jadeja (for services to people with disabilities, London), Paromita Konar Thakkar, deputy director, Energy Economics and Analysis, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial

Dame Pratibha Laxman Gai Dame Pratibha Laxman Gai is a British microscopist and Professor and Chair of Electron Microscopy and Director at The York JEOL Nanocentre, Departments of Chemistry and Physics, University of York. She created the atomic-resolution environmental transmission electron microscope (ETEM) and is an outspoken advocate for women with careers in science. Gai grew up in India, and was fascinated by science as a child. She was influenced by Marie Curie, her education, and her parents to study chemistry. However, at that time, it was not socially acceptance for women to have careers in the physical sciences. When she was a teenager, she was selected as a national science talent search scholar. Gai was educated at the University of Cambridge where she was awarded a PhD in 1974 for research on weak beam electron microscopy conducted in the Cavendish Laboratory. Gai has pioneered advanced in-situ electron microscopy applications in the chemical sciences. With Edward D. Boyes, she co-invented the atomic resolution environmental transmission electron microscope (ETEM), which enables the visualisation and analysis on the atomic scale of dynamic gas-catalyst reactions underpinning key chemical processes. Her research has helped to understand better how catalysts function, leading to valuable new science. Her microscope and process inventions are being exploited worldwide by microscope manufacturers, chemical companies and researchers. With the help of colleagues, she built and refined the machine over two decades, beginning with a lower-resolution prototype when she was a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Oxford. She then spent 18 years in the US at chemical firm DuPont and the University of Delaware. Although her microscope is highly valuable to the scientific field, she made the decision to not patent it. She often advocates for women's roles in science, and has spoken about the challenge of having children as a woman scientist. She says, "what's needed to keep women in science; it's a very competitive field and they (otherwise) lag behind whether they are working or not. So I keep telling my female students to aim high.” British Prime Minister Theresa May has however been accused of croynism after she authorised a knighthood for one of her main allies in the Conservative party, undermining her own pledge to end it in Britain's honours system. The list also

received an OBE for hois services to business, job creation and charity. Alina Khan has been conferred with the same, for protection of women and children in unregistered marriages. Suranga Chandratillake, partner at Balderton Capital has been presented with an OBE (for services tpo engi-

Strategy (for services to energy analysis), Rajan Madhok, trustee, Darlindas Charity for Renal Research (for services to renal research and tackling health inequalities in Scotland). Other Asians on the OBE list includes Raja Mohammed Adil, Chairman of the Adil Group has

Glamorgan), Shyamal Kanti Sengupta (for services to interfaith relationships in Refrewshire), Prof Vikas Sagar Shah, member Industrial development, advisory board and CEO, Swiscot Group (for services to business and economy), Rohit Shankar, Consultant in adult development psychiatry, Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation trust (for services o people with learning disabilities in Cornwall), Dr

Dr Mehool Sanghrajka, Director and Trustee, The Institute of Jainology has been awarded an MBE in the 2018 New Year honours for services to the Jain Faith and Education. For over 20 years Sanghrajka has played an important role in the Jain community and has substantially raised the profile of Jainism and improved interfaith relations throughout the UK and globally. Sanghrajka’s hard work and dedication has been recognised and an MBE awarded for outstanding achievement from Her Majesty the Queen. Upon receiving the invitation to receive such a prestigious award, Sanghrajka said, “I am humbled. It’s a real honour to receive this MBE. Education and Jainism are both very important parts of my life. This inspires me to do even more and I am grateful to all those who work with me in these endeavours.” For the past 15 years Sanghrajka has been the Director and Trustee of the Institute of Jainology (IoJ) which represents the 32 Jain organisations in the UK in Inter-faith and governmental activities. The IoJ has helped to establish the Jain all-party Parliamentary Group and focuses on matters affecting the larger Jain community as a whole such as inclusion in the census and representation at Armistice Day. He is also a current trustee of the Navnat Vanik Association, the second largest Jain community in the UK. In addition to his work with the IoJ Sanghrajka is also the Executive Director of Jainpedia.org. The organization has digitised and contextualized the 4,000 Jain manuscripts held at major British Institutions such as the Victoria & Albert Museum, the British Library, the Welcome Trust, the Bodleian Library and the Royal Asiatic Society. For over 20 years, Sanghrajka has been dedicated to transforming education for students around the globe. He has developed e-learning solutions which improve outcomes for learners worldwide. Sanghrajka’s key focus is on meeting the needs of learners in the digital age while enhancing and developing their digital literacy skills no matter where in the world they are located. neering and technology).

MBE Those honoured with MBE include Onkardeep Singh Bhatia (for services to the community, particularly young people), Bobby Gurbhej Singh Dev (for services to the community, particularly young peoplein Sheffield, South Yorkshire), Gillian Dillon, senior executive officer, district employer and partnership manager, Department for Work and pensions (for services to employment and skills), Nora Dillon (for services to affordable housing credit management and the community in South Lanarkshire), Atulkumar Bhogilal Patel (for services to heritage and the community in the East Midlands, Leicestershire); Mubeen Yunus Patel (for services to public sector digital transformation programme, Leicestershire), Gurmit Singh Randhawa (for services to community cohesion in Vale of

Mehool Harshadray Sanghrajka (for services to the Jain faith and education), Seema Srivastava, safety programme and falls lead, North Bristol NHS Trust (for services to improving quality and patient safety), Sanjiv Kumar Shridhar, GP in Nantwich, Cheshire (for services to primary care), Joan Mary Sanger has also been conferred an MBE for her charitable services in Beckingham, South Yorkshire. Anwara Ali a general practioner at the Spitafields Practice in East London has received an MBE for services to community healthcare. Neelam Farzana, co-founder and managing director of The Listening Service has been awarded an MBE for service to mental health in the community. Mohammed Yaqub Joya (for services to Army and the Muslim community in Northern Ireland) and Alexander Khan, chief executive officer at Lifetime Training (for services to

Suranga Chandratillake

Suranga Chandratillake, Partner at Balderton Capital has been presented with an OBE this year. Suranga joined Balderton as a General Partner in 2014. He was previously an entrepreneur and engineer. Suranga founded blinkx, the intelligent search engine for video and audio content in Cambridge in 2004. He then led the company for eight years as CEO through its journey of moving to San Francisco, building a profitable business and going public in London where it achieved a peak market capitalisation in excess of $1bn. Before founding blinkx, Suranga was an early employee at Autonomy Corporation - joining as an engineer in the Cambridge R&D team and ultimately serving as the company's US CTO in San Francisco. Suranga has a MA in Computer Science from the University of Cambridge. He holds patents in the area of video discovery and online video advertising, was elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 2012 and was chosen as one of the World Economic Forum's Young Global Leaders in 2009. In 2017, Suranga joined the UK Government's Council for Science and Technology.

apprenticeships), Sadi (Mehmood Sajdah) Khan (for services to cultural/religiousawareness training and voluntary services to vulnerable women) and Sajda Majeed (services to community in Burnley) have been recognised with an MBE.

BEM A BEM has been given to Caroline Anne Husain for services to charity and community in Hampshire, Buldev Kaur Angela Kandola, the founder of AWAAZ chairty for services to vulnerable people with mental issues, Subhash Chander Mahajan for services to the community in Hounslow, Manju Rajawat a higher officer in Border Force, Home Office for services to border security, Suryadevara Yadu Purna Chandra Prasad Rao, former Chair of Stoke on Trent

Clinical Commissioning Group, services to health care, Ashish Jaidev Soni for voluntary and charitable services to homeless people in London, Deveish Tankaria, international youth Chairman, Sathya Sai International Organisation for voluntary services and Kulbir Singh Brar (for services to community cohesion, Berkshire). The damehood and other honours will be conferred at the Buckingham Palace by the Queen and/or other members of the Royal family at various times in 2018.

Queen’s Ambulance Service Medal The recipient of this honour has been Kuldip Singh Bhamrah, East Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Trust.

Onkardeep Singh Onkardeep is one of the youngest people in the world of South Asian heritage to be awarded an MBE. His drive and commitment for improving social cohesion in Britain over the last 15 years has helped create strong relationships between people from all communities across the UK. As a result he has been the very first Sikh speaker invited to speak at the largest yearly faith based events in UK such as Limmud (Jewish), Living Islam and Greenbelt (Christian). His passion for building a stronger Britain through grassroots community cohesion led to him becoming in 2010 a Founding Member of City Sikhs, which is the largest network of Sikh professionals in the UK. His groundbreaking interfaith work has been purely voluntary and he has resourcefully used his skills as a design and technology professional to benefit a variety of communities and voluntary organisations by developing websites and branding for them. He is also part of the consultative committee for leading interfaith charity Three Faiths Forum; Director of Equal International, a charity improving pre-school education in India; and a supporter of HWPL, an international world peace charity. When not active in charity work, Onkardeep has his own design and technology company and provides design services for a variety of clients. Jasvir Singh OBE, Chair of City Sikhs, said “I’m so proud to see Onkardeep getting recognised for his extensive interfaith work. He is a true role model for young people of all backgrounds, and his unwavering commitment to various community projects shows how each of us can have a positive impact in British society.” Onkardeep Singh MBE said, “I am extremely humbled by the prestigious honour. It is a testament of the dedication and support of all those I have worked with on the various projects I have been involved in, and I hope it will inspire other young people to give back to society however they can.”


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FINANCIAL VOICE -INDIA

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India to overtake UK, France to become 5th largest economy in 2018 The interesting trend is that by 2032, five of the 10 largest economies will be in Asia

A British research organisation has predicted that India will “leapfrog” Britain and France to become the world's fifth largest economy in 2018, ahead of a major global economic shift towards Asia. Released by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR), the World Economic League Table (WELT) 2018 said that in dollar terms, India will rise from its seventh rank to overtake those European economies this year despite demonetisation and introduction of the Goods and Services Tax (GST).

CEBR deputy Chairman Douglas McWilliams said, “The World Economic League Table shows that despite temporary setbacks from demonetisation and the introduction of the new GST tax, India's economy has still catch up with that of France and the UK and in 2018 will have overtaken them both to become the world's fifth largest economy in dollar terms.” Projections by the report gave India the fifth spot a year ahead as compared to the International Monetary Fund estimates. Currently, the world's

largest economies are the US, China, Japan, Germany, France, Britain, and India as per the IMF. CEBR charts a trend of global economic shift to Asia. CEBR senior economist Oliver Kolodseike said, “The interesting trend emerging is that by 2032, five of the 10 largest economies will be in Asia, while European economies will be falling down the ranking and the US will lost its top spot.” CEBR expects Korea and Indonesia to join list of the world's top 10 economies, with Taiwan, Thailand,

Philippines and Pakistan making the top 25 list. Graham Robinson, director of Global Construction Perspectives said, “Construction's share of world GDP is to reach its highest level ever, driven by ultra large global transformational projects. The Chinese Belt and Road Initiative and the Indian infrastructural project will boost construction's share of world GDP to 15 per cent by 2032, probably the highest share of world GDP construction has seen since the pyramids or Great Wall of China were built.”

India’s GDP growth expected to rise in 2018 Getting over effects of demonetisation and GST, the Indian economic growth is expected to rise in the new year. However, high oil prices and firming inflation are looming threats. Several data analysts have estimated loss to the country to be around 2 per cent of the GDP, meaning £30.4 billion considering 2016-17 GDP of £1525.1 billion. GDP growth after falling for five successive quarters from 9 per cent in the fourth quarter of FY2015-16 to a low of 5.7 per cent in the first quarter of FY2017-18, reversed at 6.3 per cent in the JulySeptember quarter of 2017-18. Prime Minister Narendra Modi was bold

TCS faces trial in America

Tata Consultancy Services Ltd will have to defend itself at a US trial over claims that it’s biased against American workers. A federal judge in California, rejected a request from the information technology outsourcing giant to dismiss a 2015 lawsuit accusing it of violating anti-discrimination laws by favouring South Asians. In a further setback for the company, the judge also expanded the case into a class action on behalf of American workers who lost their jobs at TCS offices in the US because they hadn't been assigned to any of its clients. A TCS representative declined to comment on the ruling. While the case predates President Trump’s election, its objective mirrors one of his campaign promises: to reduce the use of overseas workers in US jobs. TCS, Asia’s largest software maker, and Infosys Ltd, a rival firm facing a similar lawsuit in Milwaukee.

enough to bring about reforms that have so far only brought short-term economic pain, but have boosted India's mediumterm outlook. Moody's has upgraded India's sovereign rating by one notch to Baa2 and changed its outlook to stable from positive in November, while World Bank gave India a 30 place

jump on its Ease of Doing Business ranking. In its Economic Outlook in 2018 report, Standard Chartered said, “The worst is over for GDP growth. We expect growth to normalise gradually over the next four to six quarters as the disruptive impact of major policy changes fades.” In the current term,

budget presentation on February 1 will set the agenda. Finance Minister Arun Jaitely has a tough job on his hands as he seeks to address challenges of job creation and rural distress, along with concerns about fiscal slippages given the additional borrowings and GST collections falling short of the target. Will he slip back into populism, offering giveaways and subsidies in Modi government's last full year budget before national elections in 2019 is a question everyone is asking? It remains to be seen how he prioritises the competing objectives of supporting growth and achieving macroeconomic stability.

Indian oil companies to explore Israeli waters

A consortium of India's state-run oil and gas hunters led by ONGC Videsh Ltd (OVL) has set anchor in Israeli territory for the first time amid New Delhi's growing closeness with Tel Aviv. The development was confirmed by ONGC Videsh MD NK Verma, who said the consortium will go though certain processes before deciding on drilling for oil or gas in the block. This was the first auction of exploration licences, consisting of 24 blocks, in four years since Israel blocked foreign companies from exploring its eastern Mediterranean waters. The country's Energy Ministry gave its preliminary green signal on December 11 to the bid for one block submitted by the Indian consortium of OVL, IndianOil, Oil India Ltd and Bharat Petroleum subsidiary Bharat Petro Resources Ltd. The other bidder was Energean of Greece who secured

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6 stressed Indian banks get capital of £750 mn A £750 million fresh equity has been provided by the government to six stressed state-run banks to help them meet the prescribed regulatory capital requirement and state its commitment to keep banks wellfunded. The update was confirmed by financial services secretary Rajiv Kumar, who said, “Banks will not suffer due to shortage of regulatory capital. But we will monitor their functioning to ensure that they undertake clean, responsible and prudent business to enhance stakeholder value.” Bank of India, IDBI Bank, Uco Bank, Bank of Maharashtra, Dena Bank and Central Bank of India have received equity through preferential issue of shares with two of them informing stock exchanges about the decision. Details of the monitoring plan are

expected to be announced shortly. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, while announcing a mega £21.1 billion recapitalisation plan, had warned of strict conditions being put in place to avoid a repeat of unbridled lending that has resulted in record non-performing assets (NPAs) for Indian banks. It is also working on incentives to give to better performers. While the government decides the mode of recapitalisation of all state-run banks, it advanced release of funds to these six to help them meet their equity requirements and enable them to resume normal business. Uco bank informed stock exchanges that the finance ministry communicated its sanction for release of £137.5 million towards preferential allotment of equity shares.

Murthy flays high wage hikes for top management Infosys co-founder NR Narayana Murthy lashed out at the high wage hikes senior managements have been apportioning to themselves when the software industry is in trying times. He advised them to make “sacrifices” in a bid to maintain the common man's faith in capitalism. The corporate thoughtleader dismissed commonly attributed threats of artificial intelligence and automation as “more hype than reality”. Calling the trend of no hikes for juniors and freshers as “worrisome”, he rued that the senior level people have been taking handsome hikes. Speaking at IITBombay, he said, “I think that it is not the way to make capitalism acceptable to the larger masses in a country that has huge poverty. If we believe in

capitalism, if we believe that is the best solution for the country to move forward, then the leaders of capitalism will have to demonstrate self-restraints in apportioning to themselves the part of the benefits that come out of running companies.” Murthy has been a vocal proponent of “compassionate capitalism” since his working days in the company. He had even gone on public with his displeasure over senior executive compensation at Infosys. Murthy informed his audience that in the last seven years, salaries of freshers in the software industry have stayed stagnant while the same for senior-level employees have grown by up to 1,000 per cent. “If all of us make sacrifices, then the youngsters will understand,” he said.

India's direct taxpayer base growth slows down approval for five blocks. Permission for the Indian consortium comes as Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's scheduled three-day visit to India comes close on January 14. It comes as a positive indication and willingness of both governments to expand the horizon of bilateral ties from security and defence to energy security. Israel's Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz called Indian Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan in June to invite Indian participation in that country's exploration business, dominated by Delek Group and Isramco Negev. The

two leaders connected again in December as the Indian bid was being cleared. India's relations with Iran have cooled off recently over Tehran's failure to award Farzad-B to the OVL-led consortium in spite of commitments made by top leaders on both sides to see the deal through quickly. Feeling slighted, India, which had stood by Iran during western sanctions, has retaliated by reducing by a third Iranian crude imports. Tehran responded by scrapping benefits it gave to Indian refiners on crude purchase and approaching Russian companies for Farzad-B.

Data released by the tax department shows that tax concessions and moderate increments slowed down the expansion of direct taxpayer base in the first two years of the Narendra Modi administration. It expects the trend to reverse post-demonetisation. It also showed that the number of individual taxpayers filing returns has grown but at a slower pace for four years in a row starting 2012-13, when there was increase of 54,00,000. Widening the base, however, remains a concern. It has been seen that in the first two years of the current regime, the number of individual taxpayers

rose from 54 million in 2013-14, the year before Modi swept to power, to 59.3 million in 2015-16, an increase of 53,00,000. But, with at least 91,00,000 taxpayers added after demonetisation, the government is hoping to significantly widen the base. Tax experts said part of the reason for the moderation in growth in the direct taxpayer base are the concessions offered by the Modi government. Samir Kanabar, partner at Ernst & Young said, “The reduction in individual taxpayers could be a consequence of increase in basic ceiling of taxable income for individual taxpayers in 2014-15.


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COUNTING THE PENNIES PART 1 AsianVoiceNews

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Recently, I was asked by a client, who’s been with us for many years, to source a property for him to invest in. His day job pays him close to the average wage of £36k, leaving not a lot left over for saving. Investing in property is seen as a way out for him. However, the amount of money he has saved up for a deposit is only £25k. Suresh Vagjiani

Sow & Reap London Property Investment

This is a small amount of money, and you cannot buy anything in London with these kind of funds. Geared up, it allows one to purchase a property for £100k, not allowing for the ancillary expenses. The conundrum is what can be done with a relatively small amount money, in this environment? Back in the day you could purchase property with even no money in your pocket. I purchased my first property with a 95%

mortgage, and the other 5% was borrowed off a credit card. The property was purchased for £155k, it was a two bedroom flat in Wembley, and the mortgage was £778pm. However, I was getting £923 rent per month. The property was a dive, and I managed to get all the furniture second hand from Gumtree. I remember, we went in the evening to pick up the furniture, and the next day I discovered the sofas had grime on them. So, I spent that morning scrubbing them clean with a Brillo pad! The electric certificate failed due to some minor reasons. However, the electrician was a very reasonable fellow and told me exactly what to do to reach the required standard. It required some earthing, which I managed to do myself by running a wire through the

ANY TENANT OR THE RIGHT TENANT? Let me tell you a story about a landlord that didn’t trust his gut instincts. His buy to let property had been empty for one month, this is because it was the run up to the Christmas period, which is typically a quiet time, and therefore there had not been any interest in the apartment. Understandably, the landlord was getting quite concerned. In time, he was approached by a family that was desperate for accommodation. There was something disconcerting about this family, so I advised him that it might be better to have the property empty than just any old person in there,

and that he should trust his gut. However, he decided to let them move in, as he was anxious to have tenants in his empty property. Once they had moved in, they proceeded to redecorate the property, painting the walls black and all the radiators dark purple. Numerous complaints were received from neighbours about their behaviour and loud music at night. There were several incidents when the police were called out to the property, and it was suspected that they were taking drugs. They had paid one

BUY TO LET OPPORTUNITY

West Kensington, W14 Purchase Price: £450,000

Specialists in Central London Property Sourcing

month's rent in advance, but had then failed to pay any further rent. The landlord had to issue proceedings for possession, in order to evict them. This took four months, by which time the rent arrears had risen to several thousands of pounds. The night before the bailiffs were due to come to evict them, they had a huge party, during which several windows were broken, and other damage was done. It was left completely filthy, with rubbish in all of the rooms. Much of the furniture had been either broken or removed from the property. The landlord was left with

REAL ESTATE VOICE

19

Asian Voice | 6th January 2018

attic and to the outside of the property, connecting it to a pipe which ran along the outside of the front wall. True to his word the electrician, passed the work I had done, and issued the certificate to my relief! It was all about counting and saving the pennies. The property was to be rented to the council, as at the time they were the highest payers. Rest assured, I had done my research well. Two bedroom properties were the most in demand, due to the fact that they are best suited to accommodate one parent families. The flat was promptly rented by the first tenant to view the property, much to my surprise. Not surprisingly, she asked permission to throw the sofas out, I replied in the affirmative. Furnishing the apartment

was more of a tick box exercise, as many tenants have their own pieces to bring in. The great thing about council tenants is that they tend to stay. This one stayed for a good six to seven years, primarily because there is such a shortage of housing

stock and such a long waiting list for accommodation. This means you can have a long steady flow of income, it reduces the need to refurbish every time a tenant leaves, and avoids void periods. To be continued next week...

a property which needed several thousand pounds of work (including re-decoration throughout and replacement of almost all the furniture) to make it fit for re-letting; a bill from his solicitors for the eviction proceedings; and no chance of recovering anything from the tenants, who had disappeared without a trace. Moral of the story? Never let anybody move into your property without full references, and be very, very careful who you rent to. Once in, it is not so easy to get them out. This type of nightmare story only happens rarely - but this does not mean it cannot happen to you! Use our service

to find a tenant and manage your property, in order to reduce any risks.

Richard Bond Lettings Manager Sow & Reap

l Excellent location l Good condition l Long lease Get in touch now for more information!

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20

FINANCIAL VOICE -INDIA

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Asian Voice | 6th January 2018

Consultant Editor Financial Voice Alpesh Patel Dear Financial Voice Reader, I was a young presenter on Bloomberg TV with my own trading online show when the original internet bubble hit. Before Facebook, there was MySpace. Before Spotify there was was Napster. Before Google there was Yahoo. First mover advantage is not necessarily the best place to be – Bitcoin beware. Why Ripple over Bitcoin? If I had to bet on one, and I don’t, then the case for Ripple is far stronger. It’s just most people do not bother to dig into the technicalities. Whereas Bitcoin was principally established for peer to peer money transfer, between individuals, Ripple was established to handle interbank transfer at much larger size. That to my mind means more volume and so more value of the coin. Of course, it has the basics of any decent Cryptocurrency; first, connectivity across payments networks, second, speed of instant on demand settlement, third, real-time traceability of funds and finally, low operational and liquidity costs. But what caught my attention is the global network of customers. Ripple has customers such as Santander, Standard Chartered, Credit Agricole, UBS, American Express, India’s Axis Bank, BBVA among others. Who Solves the Bigger Problem? Ripple was created to solve an important problem worth trillions daily. Of the five trillion dollars traded on the forex markets daily, this is not done by individuals but between banks and traders. It’s Ripple’s territory not Bitcoins. The problem Ripple was created to solve is the delays between banks. Currently when my business wires funds abroad through my bank, if any information is incorrect, the payment is returned and delays accrue. (Do you know how to fill in routing instructions via 3rd party banks when wiring USD from the UK to UAE?) The chances of error are huge – I tell you as a business man. If you’ve never sought an MT103 trace from your bank, you will not truly appreciate the problems of international corporate money transfer and the ensuing stress. Ripple ensures both banks validate critical information such as customer ID, fees, rates, time of delivery before funds are transferred. This allows the bank to know beforehand if the transaction will pass or not and so remove the failed transaction problem. By removing the correspondent bank, we remove risk management issues too. But unlike Bitcoin, which can take over an hour to settle, (still better than traditional systems taking 3-5 days, if you get to your bank before 1530!), Ripple settles in 4 seconds. By the way Ethereum takes over two minutes. Ripple handles about 1,500 transactions per second, 24x7. They do claim they can do a comparable to Visa scale of 50,000 per second. Who are behind Ripple? As an asset manager running a private equity fund, I like to know who are investing in an backing a company. Ripple’s shareholders include Andreessen Horowitz. Not heard of them? They backed PayPal as an original founding investor. How about Google Ventures, Santander InnoVentures, Standard Chartered and Accenture – all investors as shareholders in Ripple. Traction Traction of any technology is not just if the public are interested, but the big entities. In the case of Ripple, it does not get bigger than the Bank of England. The Bank of England Accelerator has published a report on how they may be able to use Ripple for real time settlements. For me, for now, that is ample background information for me to invest alongside Google Ventures in Ripple too. Alpesh Patel Alpesh Patel and Juventus Football Club are Official Partners of 24Option.com brokers. Alpesh.patel@tradermind.com

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Mukesh Ambani gives brother Anil £2.30 bn relief

The move comes as a major relief for Anil whose company was groaning under a debt of almost £4.5 billion, and was facing possible bankruptcy proceedings Anil Ambani's debt-ridden Reliance Communications (RCom) received a helping hand from brother Mukesh Ambanis' Reliance Jio as the two merged to announce a wide-ranging deal for spectrum, towers and optic fibre assets on their father, Dhirubhai Ambani's brthday. While the giants are yet to announce details of the size of their deal, it is estimated to be worth around £2.3 billion. The move comes as a major relief for Anil whose company was groaning under a debt of almost £4.5 billion, and was facing possible bankruptcy proceedings. The deal also marks the exit of RCom from telecom space, a business Anil received in 2005 as part of a bitterly-fought family settlement with his brother. He had already stopped the company's consumer 2G and

Mukesh and Anil Ambani

3G operations at the end of November, deciding to continue with only the enterprise business as well as sale of assets. “RCom has signed definitive binding agreements with Jio for sale of wireless spectrum, tower, fibre, and media convergence node (MCN) assets... Jio emerged as the highest bidder in a transparent process conducted under the supervision of a high-powered Bid Evaluation Committee, com-

prising experts from banking, telecom and law,” the company said. It added that it expects the transactions to close in a “phased manner” between January and March 2018, subject to lenders' and other applicable approvals. RCom said the deal comprises “primarily of cash payment” and also includes transfer of deferred spectrum instalments payable to the department of telecom. “The company will utilise

Liberty Group buys ArcelorMittal's US steelworks

UK-based Indian metals giant Liberty House Group has completed purchase of South Carolina-based Georgetown steel mill from ArcellorMittal. The deal which was agreed upon earlier last year between Sanjay Gupta's company and NRI steel magnate Lakshmi N Mittal's US steelworks, includes a 540,000 tonne a year electric arc furnace and 680,000-tonne a year rod mill. The sale is the first in a series of strategic North American acquisitions and new projects targeted by Gupta-led GFG Alliance. Gupta released a statement saying, “Securing the Georgetown furnace and mill is a major milestone for us, marking our first major step in the USA. The melting and rolling facilities here give us a formidable entry to the

Sanjay Gupta

American market and provide a strong platform for expansion.” He said he wanted to apply his GreenSteel sustainable strategy to the American plants, in line with the UK and Australia. “We've already had customers contacting us about placing orders, so we're keen to get back up and running as quickly as possible.”

Liberty will initially re-hire 125 employees at Georgetown and then build the workforce to 250 in the medium-term. The group targets a major share of the US market for home-produced wire rod, demand for which is projected to grow substantially this year. “Throughout the process ArcelorMittal has been steadfast in our goal of maintaining the Georgetown steel-making operation to preserve jobs and maximise the value of the property for our shareholders,” said John Brett, president and CEO of ArcelorMittal USA. “While bittersweet for ArcelorMittal, we are hopeful that the announcement is a celebration for Liberty and GFG Alliance, the United Steelworkers and the Georgetown community.”

Tata Steel plans to mop up $2bn for expansion

Tata Steel plans to raise $2 billion to help add capacity in India, where demand for the alloy is forecast to triple in over a decade. The money will be used to build and buy mills as well as to repay debt, the company said in an exchange filing. The board also approved increasing the capacity of its Kalinganagar plant in Odisha by 5 million metric tons. The addition, this would boost Tata’s local capacity to 18 million tons, it said. Tata Steel has sharpened its focus on the Indian market after selling off some

unprofitable assets in the UK and agreeing to merge its European operations with Thyssenkrupp AG. The Mumbai-based company and rivals including JSW Steel are betting on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s plans to build roads, ports and power plants in the world’s second-most populated nation, and the growing demand for automobiles and homes to spur sales. The mill is raising production capabilities to meet the requirements of automotive, general engineering and other value-added segments,

it said. The costs for ramping up the Kalinganagar facility includes raw-material capacity expansion, upstream and midstream plants, and a cold-rolling complex, it said. Tata Steel, with an annual capacity of 13 million tons, is India’s largest producer after JSW Steel and Steel Authority of India. India’s steel consumption is forecast to almost triple to as much as 240 million tons by 2030, with the majority being used in construction, according the Indian Steel Association.

the proceeds of the monetisation of this cash deal solely for pre-payment of debt to its lenders,” the statement said. The company was headed towards a shutdown in the face of mounting losses. It was under a strategic debt restructuring (SDR) and had been facing irate lenders. Meanwhile, Jio said the deal would help the company expand its telecom business. “These assets are strategic in nature and are expected to contribute significantly to the large-scale roll-out of wireless and fibre-to-home (FTH) and enterprise services by Jio.” Anil said after completion of the revival process, the “new RCom” would only have debt of £600 million. He added that the company will only serve the low-capex and high-margin enterprise space from here onwards.

India warns people against Bitcoins The Indian government has cautioned people against the risk of virtual currencies, stating they are not legal tender and do not have any regulatory permission or protection in India. The administration issued a strict warning saying it does not back virtual currencies. A government statement said, “These are also not legal tender. Hence, virtual currencies are not currencies. These are also being described as 'coins'. There is, however, no physical attribute to these coins. Therefore, virtual 'currencies' (VCs) are neither currencies nor coins. The government or RBI has not authorised any VCs as a medium of exchange. Further, the government or any other regulator in India has not given license to any agency for working as exchange or any other kind of intermediary for any VC.” The statement said there has been a phenomenal increase in recent times in the price of VCs, including Bitcoin, in India and across the globe. “There is a real and heightened risk of investment bubble of the type seen in Ponzi schemes,” the statement said. Explaining the way the currencies are traded, the government said they are stored in digital, electronic format, making them vulnerable to hacking, loss of password, malware attack, also permanent loss of money.


WORLD

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PAKISTAN

Pak gave us lies, deceit in return for billions in aid: Trump WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump lashed out at Pakistan and accused it of "lies and deceit" in return of the $33 billion aid the US gave it in the last 15 years. "The United States has foolishly given Pakistan more than 33 billion dollars in aid over the last 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies & deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools," Trump said in a strongly worded tweet. "They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!" Trump said in his first tweet of the year. This is the strongest warning yet from the US president. In his new South Asia policy unveiled in August, Trump had called for tougher measures against Pakistan if it did not cooperate with the US in its fight against terrorism. Earlier this month, Trump had hinted that he may cut off the aid for good. "We make massive payments every year to Pakistan. They have to help," he said in

Donald Trump

unveiling his national security strategy. And last week, Vice President Mike Pence told American troops during a visit to Afghanistan: "President Trump has put Pakistan on notice." US withholds $255 mn to Pakistan The Trump administration has, meanwhile, indicated it would be withholding $255 million in foreign military financing, and possibly future aid for Islamabad, following the US President's New Year tweet. White House officials conveyed to the media that the

administration plans to put a lock on the money pending Pakistan demonstrably acting against terrorism in a way that furthers Trump's South Asia Strategy. The strategy invests regional primacy on India, by far the largest country in the region, including giving it a key role in Afghanistan, a situation Pakistan resents and which it has protested against. "The president has made clear the US expects Pakistan to take decisive action against terrorists and militants on its soil, and that Pakistan's actions in support of the South Asia Strategy will ultimately determine the trajectory of our relationship, including future security assistance," a White House National Security Council spokesman told the media. Trump's tweet has traumatised Pakistan going by reactions from the country. Although some Pakistan shills argued it should not be taken as policy, the tweet was widely welcomed in the

US and beyond, including by his son. Pak PM calls for emergency meeting Stung by Trump’s tweet berating his country, Pakistan Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has summoned a meeting of the National Security Committee (NSC) on Wednesday. Abbasi will chair the meeting to discuss the future course of action following the US President’s scathing statement against Pakistan. The meeting will be attended by Foreign Minister, Interior Minister, Minister for Defence, services chiefs besides, senior civil and military officers, a statement issued by Abbasi’s office said. Pakistan also summoned US Ambassador David Hale to lodge its protest against Trump’s statement, reports said. Hours after Trump’s tweet, a top White House official confirmed that Washington has indeed decided to block $255 million aid to Islamabad.

Sharif leaves for Saudi Arabia; deal suspected

LAHORE: Pakistan’s ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif left for Saudi Arabia amid reports of a “deal” between the embattled Sharif family and the military establishment. On his arrival he is scheduled to meet King Salman and Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman to discuss what the ruling PML-N said are “important matters”. Sharif, 67, had to step down as chief of the Pakistan Muslim LeagueNawaz (PML-N) after he was disqualified as prime minister by the Supreme Court on July 28 in the Panama Papers scandal. The Sharif family is facing three corruption cases linked to the scandal. The political future

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of Sharif, who leads the country’s most powerful political family and his party, has been hanging in the balance since then. If convicted, he can be jailed. His younger brother and Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif is already in Saudi Arabia on an “official visit”. The Saudi government had sent a special plane for Shahbaz’s travel to the kingdom last week. He is believed to have prepared the ground for the visit of his elder brother. Opposition parties say that since the Sharif family is facing multiple cases in courts and political challenges it needs its friends in the Saudi royal family to

Nawaz Sharif

reach a deal with the establishment in Pakistan. Opposition leader in the National Assembly Syed Khurshid Shah objected to the Sharifs’ Saudi visit. “It looks like the matter is towards seeking forgiveness and that a National

Reconciliation Order (deal) may be on the horizon. If such a situation arises, I think we will have to shut our courts and go home,” he said. “I feel sorry to see that foreigners are being involved in local matters. If Saudi Arabia intervenes for reconciliation between the Sharifs and the establishment it will be shameful that Pakistan, a nuclear power, cannot make its own decisions,” Shah said. Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chief and cricketer-turnedpolitician Imran Khan said his party would launch a movement if the Sharifs were given any relief. “If the Sharifs are given any relief after a deal we will be on the roads,” he said.

BANGLADESH

Bangladesh minister condemns attack on minorities DHAKA: Bangladesh's cultural minister Asaduzzaman Noor has condemned the attacks on religious minorities and foreigners in recent times. He has said the social consciousness generated by Bengal Classical Music Festival would help eradicate the evil forces disrupting the harmony of the country. He said the festival would help to cherish the values of pluralism. But we see with concern that militancy has been born in our country. Fundamentalist forces are destroying peace in our country, he added. "There is social exploitation of women and children in our country. All these make us concerned. We have to overcome these hurdles. Bangladesh is making progress but these obstacles ought to be overcome," the minister said. After the 2014 national elections, religious minorities have faced attacks in Bangkadesh, heightening a sense of fear among different religious groups, according to a report of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF). Speaking of Muslim Rohingya refugees taking shelter in Bangladesh after the August 25 violence in Myanmar which forced more than 600,000 members of the community to escape to this country, Noor said: "We have given

Asaduzzaman Noor

Rohingya shelter in this country. We have extended our hands and embraced them. Our Prime Minister (Sheikh Hasina) has said, 'we will surrender one of our meals but help them'. "At the same time, we see fundamentalist forces want to destroy amity and harmony in this country. They want to derail us from the path of development," he said. Giving examples of the tribals and Buddhist minorities being targeted in Chittagong, Noor said Bangladesh will never surrender to the communal forces. "They are killing people in the name of religion. We see we are giving shelter to foreigners but we see the people we are living alongside for thousands of years are being targeted. We saw Chittagong tribals being attacked, Buddhist coming under attack. We saw santhals being targeted...we saw in Rongpur Hindu localities were attacked. At any cost, we cannot surrender before this communal forces and in this struggle music will give us strength and I believe this strongly.”

Pakistan plans takeover of charities run by Hafiz Saeed

ISLAMABAD: The government of Pakistan plans to seize control of charities and financial assets linked to Islamist leader Hafiz Saeed, who Washington has designated a terrorist. The civilian government detailed its plans in a secret order to various provincial and federal government departments on December 19, officials who attended one of several high-level meeting discussing the crackdown said. Marked "secret", the document directed law enforcement and governments in Pakistan's five provinces to submit an

action plan for a "takeover" of Saeed's two charities, Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) and the Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation (FIF). The United States has labelled JuD and FIF "terrorist fronts" for Lashkar-eTaiba, a group Saeed founded in 1987 and which Washington and India blame for the 2008 attacks in Mumbai that killed 166 people. The secret document, which refers to "Financial Action Task Force (FATF) issues", names only Saeed's two charities and "actions to be taken" against them. The FATF, which is an international body that

Asked about a crackdown on JuD and FIF, interior minister Ahsan Iqbal, who co-chaired one of the meetings, responded only generally, saying he has ordered authorities "to choke the fundraising of all proscribed outfits in Pakistan."

Hafiz Saeed

combats money laundering and terrorist financing, has warned Pakistan it faces actions like inclusion on a watch list for failing to crack down on financing terrorism.

First major move If Pakistan follows through with the plan, it would mark the first time the country has made a major move against Saeed's network, which includes 300 seminaries and schools, hospitals, a publishing house and ambulance services. The

JuD and FIF alone have about 50,000 volunteers and hundreds of other paid workers, according to two counter-terrorism officials. Participants at the meeting raised the possibility that the government's failure to act against the charities could lead to UN sanctions. A UN Security Council team is due to visit Pakistan in late January to review progress against UN-designated "terrorist" groups. "Any adverse comments or action suggested by the team can have farreaching implications for Pakistan," the official said. The move to seize the charities could spark some

concern from the military, which has proposed plans to steer Saeed and the JuD into mainstream politics. In August, JuD officials formed a new political party, the Milli Muslim League, and backed candidates who fared relatively strongly in two key parliamentary by-elections. Saeed has, meanwhile, opened the first office of his party in Lahore. Don’t register Saeed’s party Meanwhile, the home ministry has asked a court not to consider Saeed's plea seeking registration as a political party.


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Parliament asked to set rules for Zuma's impeachment JOHANNESBURG: South Africa's Constitutional court ordered Parliament to set rules related to the potential dismissal of the country's President Jacob Zuma after the legislature failed to hold him accountable for using public money to remodel his private residence. South Africa’s highest court has ruled that the parliament failed to hold Zuma to account in a scandal over state-funded upgrades to his country residence, fuelling opposition calls for him to be impeached. Frustrated by setbacks in the national assembly, the leftwing Economic Freedom Fighters and other small opposition parties went to court as part of their campaign to impeach Zuma before a general election in 2019. Last year, the court found that Zuma had violated the constitution when he refused to pay back £11million public money spent to upgrade to his rural home at Nkandla, in his home province of KwaZulu-Natal. The court cited section 89 of South Africa’s consti-

tution, which allows for the president to be removed for serious misconduct, or violation of the constitution or law, if two thirds of the members of the national assembly are in agreement. “We conclude that the assembly did not hold the president to account … The assembly must put in place a mechanism that could be used for the removal of the president from office,” judge Chris Jafta said, handing down the judgment, which was supported by a majority of the court. “Properly interpreted, section 89 implicitly imposes an obligation on the assembly to make rules specially tailored for the removal of the president from office. By omitting to include such rules, the assembly has failed to fulfil this obligation.” Speaker blamed Opposition parties blamed Baleka Mbete, the speaker of the national assembly, for parliament’s failures on Nkandla. Mbete was accused of personally trying to protect Zuma over the upgrades after she said:

Jacob Zuma

“In the African tradition, you don’t interfere with a man’s kraal (cattle enclosure).” The ruling will probably trigger an investigation into the grounds for impeaching Zuma, who has faced many calls for his resignation in the past few years, particularly over his relationship with the Guptas, a powerful family of wealthy businessmen alleged to have influenced his decision-making. The president and the Guptas both deny any wrongdoing. Parliament asked to set rules for Zuma's impeachment Johannesburg: South Africa's Constitutional court ordered Parliament to

set rules related to the potential dismissal of the country's President Jacob Zuma after the legislature failed to hold him accountable for using public money to remodel his private residence. The court ruled that Parliament failed to determine whether Zuma had violated Article 89 of the Constitution and therefore to establish rules to regulate his impeachment, Efe news agency reported. Article 89 states that a dismissal procedure should begin when a serious violation of the Constitution or the law takes place. Opposition parties had filed a lawsuit before the court in September, arguing that Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete should have established a Commission to start the dismissal procedure after a public prosecutor accused Zuma of violating the Constitution. However, the court considered that some actions had been taken against Zuma, as no-confidence motions were carried out in light of the scandal, though he emerged from them victorious.

We will launch civil disobedience against Uhuru regime: Raila Odinga NAIROBI: National Super Alliance (Nasa) leader Raila Odinga while addressing Kenyans said that his party would launch fresh peaceful protests against the Jubilee Government. He said, “Within the first week of the New Year, we will unveil a programme for civil disobedience, peaceful protests, noncooperation and resistance to an illegitimate regime in addition to People’s Assemblies.” The Opposition leader said that Nasa’s priority will be to fight for electoral justice to ensure that the voter’s voice is heard. “After three stolen elections in a row and the standoff that has ensued, ending the culture of sham elections with predetermined outcomes must be the nation’s pri-

Raila Odinga

ority. We must nip the new trend where people continue to vote, opposition is allowed to exist and win a few seats in parliament, but the vote does not really count,” said Raila. He indicated electoral justice will go hand in hand with strengthening of the Judiciary and reforming the security sector. The former Prime Minister also hit out at

the Government saying that police brutality will not be accepted and must end. “So far, the mindset is to steal the election, suppress and subdue protesters into submission by killing them, forget and move on. This has been the case in all the three stolen elections,” Raila pointed out. He also warned that the only way President Uhuru Kenyatta and his government can avoid Opposition’s fury is by agreeing to dialogue on electoral reforms. “Nasa has two ways to realize these goals. We can sit down on the negotiating table with our Jubilee opponents and discuss how to fix our electoral system, reform the executive, protect the judiciary, reform the security sector and strengthen devolution. We are ready for such dia-

logue as long as these issues are on the table. Alternatively, we take the issues to the people and let them decide without the involvement of the State,” Raila declared. President Uhuru to name new cabinet Meanwhile, President Uhuru hinted at naming a new Cabinet in the next few weeks when he names a team to deliver his Big Four Vision. “In the next few weeks, I will unveil the men and women to whom I will entrust delivery of the Big Four, and other programmes that will transform this country. I will expect these men and women to serve Kenyans without partiality and with the very highest standard of integrity and efficiency,” Uhuru said on New Year’s Eve message.

Ugandan president blames police for increased crime KAMPALA: Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has criticised police for rising crimes and efforts to address them. He cited the recent murders of more than 20 women in Entebbe and Nasana municipality. Museveni made these remarks during a twohour broadcast of his New

Yoweri Museveni

Year’s message. He said the assailants were taking

advantage of a gap in the security infrastructure. “Even the old police methods could have unearthed those criminals earlier. However, some laxity had crept in with some elements in the police failing to do what they should have done,” said Museveni. “Vigorous corrective

measures were taken and are being taken to ensure that the police force is totally free of infiltration by criminals or any other non-patriotic elements.” Praised health workers Museveni praised health workers for their work and role in stemming epidemics.

Zimbabwean family stuck in Thai airport for several months

HARARE: Zimbabwean family consisting of four adults and four children have been stuck at Bangkok Airport for three months after being refused passage to seek asylum in Europe. In May 2017, the family arrived in Thailand on tourist visas. They tried to fly to Spain via Ukraine in October, however, they were refused permission to travel as they did not have visas. They were also denied re-entry to Thailand as they had overstayed as tourists. It is said that the Thai authorities booked flights for the family to return to Zimbabwe at the beginning of November 2017, however, they begged not to be sent back, stating that they feared for their safety due to political unrest in the country. On the other hand, Robert Mugabe's resignation as president and his successor, Emmerson Mnangagwa's pledge for a more peaceful era in Zimbabwe could weaken their asylum claim. According to reports, the family boarded a

Ukraine International Airlines (UIA) flight in November, intending to travel to a third nonEuropean country, possibly Mauritania, via Kiev and Dubai. It is said that the family cancelled their flights ticket for the final leg, as a result they were sent back to Bangkok from Dubai. The UN's High Commission for Refugees stated that it was seeking another destination for this family. Assistant liaison officer, Panupat Danpanich said, “The UNHCR has accepted this case into our care. We are finding the best solution for them. A spokesman for the Zimbabwean government, George Charamba said, “We have heard quite a few cases of drug peddling in that part of the world. One doesn't want to quickly embrace those stories. Our nearest embassy is in Malaysia. We will get our guys [there] to look into this.” Read “As I See It” on page 8”.

SRI LANKA

Lankan candidates warned against influencing voters COLOMBO: The Sri Lankan Elections Commission Chairman Mahinda Deshapriya has warned of strict legal action against local government elections candidates who distribute monetary or material subsidies funded personally or from public money as a part of their election campaign. Chairman Deshapriya pointed out that according to the Elections Ordinance distributing subsidies during the election campaigning is entirely illegal and considered a case of bribing. If any public officer or government institute is found to violate election laws and directives issued by the Elections Commission, action will be taken against them, the statement said. Public officers and politicians involved in such actions should be held responsible for the misuse of public funds, Deshapriya pointed out. “The officers of the Elections Commission will take direct action against public officers and the Commission together with the police will also make submissions for court inquiries on breach of election law and politicians could pursue election petitions against such actions,” the statement said.

The Elections Commission observes that the political parties and candidates should refrain from acts such as distributing education materials, gifts, and contributing to religious institutes. The Commission states that complaints have been lodged against such activities, stating that they are also parts of election campaigning. The Commission has directed Divisional Secretariats and other government bodies to refrain from distributing public funded aids among people until after 15th February, 2018, as it is a prolonged habit to use these programs as a part of the election campaign. “The divisional secretariats are advised to distribute only items such as livestock, plants, seeds and similar items which are difficult to be stored. The public is also advised not to accept public funded aids as a bondage to vote a particular political party, Chairman of the Elections Commission noted. “People must understand that by right they are entitled to receive these aids from the government. They will be made aware that these aids are provided by public money.” the statement said.


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Death toll in Iran’s nationwide protest rises to 22

TEHRAN: Iran’s state television reported that clashes between protesters and security forces in Iran caused the deaths of nine more people, including some rioters who tried to storm a police station to steal weapons, during the ongoing demonstrations in the cities. The demonstrations, the largest to strike Iran since its disputed 2009 presidential election, have seen six days of unrest across the country and a death toll of at least 22. Videos showed an intense clash in the central town of Qahderijan between security forces and protesters who were trying to occupy a police station, which was partially set ablaze. There were unconfirmed reports of several casualties among demonstrators. In the western city of Kermanshah, protesters set fire to a traffic police post, but no one

by rioters who tried to steal guns from the police station. State TV also said an 11-year-old boy and a 20-year-old man were killed in the town of Khomeinishahr, while a member of Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard was killed in the town of Najafabad. It says all three were shot with hunting rifles, which are common in the Iranian countryside. The towns are all in Iran’s central Isfahan province, some 350 km south of Tehran. President

Hassan Rouhani has acknowledged the public’s anger over the Islamic Republic’s flagging economy, though he and others warned that the government wouldn’t hesitate to crack down on those it considers lawbreakers. That was echoed by judiciary chief Ayatollah Sadegh Larijani, who urged authorities to confront rioters, state TV reported. Saudi Arabia is among major players behind recent unrest in Iran, a senior Iranian security official was quoted as saying by Tehran-based Press TV. The secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani said certain countries are waging a "proxy war" against the Islamic Republic via social media and the Internet. The United States, Britain and Saudi Arabia are behind the recent riots in Iran, he said.

picture of Abu Ali sharing a stage with Saeed in Rawalpindi, which also houses the headquarters of the Lashkar boss’s mentor the Pakistan Army, led to strong outrage, coming as it does close on the heels of India going against the US in a Palestine envoy Walid Abu Ali vote in the UN on the with Hafeez Saeed American decision to support Israel’s move India’s concerns after to declare Jerusalem its Palestinian envoy in capital. India is also implePakistan Waleed Abu Ali menting projects such as was seen with Saeed, who the development of inforheads terror outfit mation technology and Lashkar-e-Taiba, and was electronics in the PA. recently released from detention. “We stand Modi to travel to together with India in its Palestine in coming fight against terrorism,” Al months Haija said. “It is a historical In a statement, the relationship and we are Palestine Authority said, working to strengthen it.” “On the basis of the princiThe widely circulated

pled and firm Palestinian position, the ministry of foreign affairs and expatriates considered the participation of our ambassador in Pakistan in a mass rally in solidarity with Jerusalem, held in Rawalpindi, and in the presence of individuals accused of supporting terrorism is an unintended mistake, but not justified. Accordingly, the ministry, under the direct instructions of the President of the State of Palestine, has (decided) to recall the Palestinian Ambassador to Pakistan immediately.” Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to travel to Palestine in the coming months. “I cannot disclose the exact date, but I can confirm that Mr Modi will travel to Palestine,” Al Haija said.

was hurt in the incident, Mehr news agency said. The protests began on Thursday in Mashhad over Iran’s weak economy and a jump in food prices and have expanded to several cities. Some protesters chanted against the government and the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Hundreds of people have been arrested. State TV reported that six rioters were killed during an attack on a police station in the town of Qahdarijan. It reported that clashes were sparked

Palestine says India ties very important, recalls envoy to Pak

NEW DELHI: The Palestine Authority has decided to recall its envoy from Islamabad in the face of India’s strong protest over the presence of the Palestine ambassador to Pakistan in the company of Mumbai attack mastermind and global terrorist Hafiz Saeed in Rawalpindi. A day after India’s demarche, Palestine ambassador to India Adnan Abu Al Haija said, “Our ambassador in Pakistan has committed a fault, knowingly or otherwise. He is being recalled to Ramallah. He will no longer be Palestine ambassador to Pakistan. Relations with India are very important for us.” Al Haija was called in by Vijay Gokhale, a senior diplomat in the ministry of external affairs, to express

Will Smith is “90% through the Bhagavad Gita” Visiting Mumbai for a oneday trip to attend the premiere of his latest Netflix film, Bright, Will Smith admitted to being an avid admirer of India, Indian culture and history. Will Smith brought along coactors Joel Edgerton and Noomi Rapace, as well as director David Ayer. Will Smith, who has visited India a couple of times, has nearly completed reading the Bhagavad Gita and draws inspiration from the holy book. He stated, “I have been here [India] a few times. I love history. I am

Will Smith at the premiere of "Bright" in Mumbai

90% through the Bhagavad

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Gita... and to be reading it and to be here, my inner Arjuna is being channelled. I am going to Rishikesh next time. I am definitely going to be spending a lot more time here.” Smith shares a very warm bond with Bollywood superstar Akshay Kumar. Will Smith spoke about their equation. He said, “The one thing that I'd love to do, but I won't be able to - it's a tragedy - is I would love to go back to Akshay's house for dinner. The last time I was here, we had a party at Akshay's place. I

loved the food. It was the best food I ever had in my life.” It is extremely heartwarming and commendable to imagine a huge Hollywood superstar drawn towards Indian culture to this extent. In this contemporary world when some Indian youths may disassociate themselves with their heritage, Will Smith's connect with Indian culture, as well as the Bhagavad Gita, could somehow encourage young Indians to reconnect with their roots and rich culture.

BJP forms new govts in Gujarat, Himachal Continued from page 1 Talking to the media at his residence, Patel said, “BJP president Amit Shah called up in the morning and assured me that I will be given a portfolio which befits my stature as the number two in the cabinet and as the deputy chief minister.” He said that the issue was not about departments, but about “self respect”. “I had conveyed to the party high-command to either give me respectable departments or relieve me from the cabinet.” He added that he had been serving the party as a “loyal and disciplined” soldier for the last 40 years. Rupani cleared the air and apprised of the changes in portfolios saying, “We have made certain changes in the portfolios. We have given finance to Nitinbhai. With this, the issue is over now. Such small things happen in a big family like the BJP.” While in the previous government headed by Rupani, Patel handled key portfolios of finance and urban development among other departments, this time, the department was handed to Saurabh Patel, while Rupani kept urban development to himself. Unhappy over the changes, Nitin refrained from taking charge of the allotted departments, prompting the party to console the senior Patidar leader. Gujarat Cabinet Ministers are B h u p e n d r a s i n h Chudasama, R.C Faldu, Kaushik Patel, Saurabh Patel, Ganpat Vasava, Jayesh Radadiya and Ishwarbhai R. Parmar. While Ministers of State are, Pradipsinh Jadeja,

Parbatbhai Patel, Jaydrathsinh Parmar, Ramanlal Nanubhai Patkar, Parsottam Solanki, Ishwarsinh Patel, Vasanbhai Ahir, Kishor Kanani, Bachubhai Maganbhai Khabad and Vibhavari Dave. Himachal Cabinet a blend of the old and the new Himachal Pradesh, that went to polls close to Gujarat, too inducted a new cabinet, creating a perfect mix of both, old and new faces in the ministry. After the BJP secured twin wins in December, the party had a short-list for prospective leaders to take office in the northern state. The Himachal cabinet was headed by new and “young” Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur who has stated that his cabinet has “both experienced and new faces”. In his first official interaction with reporters, a day after being elected as the BJP Legislature Party Leader in the Assembly, he said his top priorities would be restoring law and order situation, to do away with the VIP culture, to review all decisions of the previous Congress government in past three months, minimise wasteful expenditure, and develop infrastructure. The five-time legislator who is known for his humble and low-profile nature, was sworn-in at the Ridge on December 27 in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP President Amit Shah. The brand new cabinet has six new faces and five old ones. There are only 12 ministers including the CM, in the comparatively small 68-member House.

Maharashtra simmers following caste clashes Continued from page 1 over those belonging to the Peshwa. Dalit leaders commemorated the British victory as their soldiers included those from the Mahar community, then considered untouchables. The Peshwas were Brahmins. Victory of the dalits was seen as an assertiveness of the community. Protesters disrupted road traffic, and local train services on the Harbour Line. They blocked roads in several areas, forced shops to shut down and also attacked a journalist. Demonstrations were held in Chembur, Vikhroli, Mankhurd, and Govandi. Maharashtra Congress chief Ashok Chavan condemned the violence and urged people not to believe in rumours. He said

antisocial elements were trying to create tensions between dalits and Maratha communities. NCP chief Sharad Pawar blamed the administration for the violence and demanded a probe into the incident. Appealing for peace, Pawar said such situations need to be defused patiently by those in political and social spheres without any provocative speeches being made. "Since the administration did not take precautions, rumours and misunderstanding spread. A youth in Nanded died unfortunately. People from political and social field should defuse the situation harmoniously and patiently without making provocative speeches," the former Union minister said.


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Rajinikanth launches his most awaited party Rajini said he would float a political party that would contest all seats in the state

CHENNAI: In an expected yet surprising move, Tamil superstar Rajinikanth announced his entry in the political arena, seeking to occupy the political space vacated by AIADMK's Jayalalithaa and DMK president M Karunanidhi. Following five days of interaction with fans, Rajini said he would float a political party that would contest all the 234 constituencies in the state. He began his speech by quoting a verse from Bhagavad Gita; “Put in your efforts. I will take care of the rest.” The line was said by Karnan to Arjuna in Kurukshetra. Citing the incident where Arjuna hesitates entering the war, Thalaivar said, “Wage war. If you win, you will rule the country. If you are killed in war you will go to heaven. If you do not go to war they will call you a coward.” He added, “I have put in my efforts already. All that is left is to shoot the arrows. We will contest in all 234 assembly constituencies of TN. As the local body elections are already nearing, we do not have time to prepare. As for the 2019 general election, I will make a decision as per circumstances.” Taking aim, Rajini said, “My political entry is confirmed. This is the need of the hour.” He called for an honest and transparent system of governance to

erase corruption and practice “spiritual politics”. He took on the ruling AIADMK without naming it. “Political developments in the past year have brought shame to the people here. In the olden days, when a king invaded a country, his men went about plundering the coffers. Generals and soldiers would loot the people on the losing side. Today, however, partymen, under the guise of democracy, are looting their own people,” he said. The 67 year old asked all his fans to take the message to every street in every village of Tamil Nadu, “First, we must integrate the registered and unregistered fans associations and bring them under one umbrella. We must then prepare to face the election through democratic means. Until then, there is no need to criticise other politicians or hold agitations. There are many other already doing that.” Rise from humble beginnings Born in a Maratha family in Bangalore, Shivaji Rao Gaekwad was named after warrior king Chhatrapati Shivaji. Following the completion of his school education, Rajini continued to work several jobs in the cities of Bangalore and Madras, only to end up as a bus conductor in the Bangalore

Rajnikanth

Transport Service (BTS). A fan of the cinemas, he also participated in stage plays and was known for his quirky behaviour. Rajini later attended acting courses in the Madras Film Institute, only to be noticed by Tamil film director K Balachander. It was the filmmaker who advised him to speak Tamil, and the rest, as they say, is history. His career in the movie industry took off in 1975, when he was given a relatively smaller role. He went on to do different roles, slowly and gradually making his way to the hearts of the mass. By 1990, Rajini was a star, and was worshipped by several fans. Breaking the glass ceiling, he went on to become the second highest paid actor in Asia after Jackie Chan, after earning Rs 26 Crore in 2007 for his mega-hit 'Sivaji'. Thalaivar off to a super start: 50,000 join his movement Just two days after

launching his political movement, over 50,000 people have already registered as members on the Rajini Mandram website and mobile app. He is not the first film actor to move across to politics. Chief Ministers Jayalalithaa, Karunanidhi, MG Ramachandran, and Annadurai were all from the film industry, before they drifted to the power play. Caution to confrontation The Bharatiya Janata Party was effectively the only prospective opponent to welcome the announcement. While DMK remained silent, Tamil nationalist outfit Naam Tamizhar criticised the actor for his non-Tamil roots. Dear friend Amitabh Bachchan welcomed his move of joining politics by sharing a picture of the star with a caption that read, “My dear friend, my colleague and a humble considerate human, RAJNIKANTH, announces his decision to enter politics .. my best wishes to him for his success !!” “Bring all those around you to the association, be it the young, the old, the illiterate, or the educated. I do not want cadres. I want guardians capable of questioning erring legislators, officials and even partymen,” Rajini said.

NORTH

SAD claims sacrilege over Guru Gobind Singh's picture CHANDIGARH: Punjab's Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) has accused the Congress government of sacrilege over “morphing” of a picture of a 10th Sikh Guru Gobind Singh by using one of French Emperor Napolean Bonaparte. An advertisement released by the Public Relations Department on the occasion of the 350th birth anniversary of the Sikh Guru saw a computer-generated swapping of faces. SAD demanded strict action against the erring officials and the advertising agency concerned. SAD Senior Vice President Daljit Singh Cheema said, “An image of Guru Gobind Singhji's face was swapped with that of the French ruler through computer on the picture. The said painting dates back to 1800, almost a century after Guru Sahib's period. I wonder why the Congress government committed this grave sin of passing off the tampered picture as that of Guru Sahib when plenty of the Gurus' paintings are avail-

able.” Cheema said, “The painting has the same horse, with resemblance to face, body, mane, tail, stirrups and other things shown in Napoleon's painting. Even the clothes Guru Gobind Singhji is shown wearing in the morphed picture are the same as Napoleon's in the original painting.” He also sought an immediate apology from the government over the alleged morphing and removal of the painting from media and public places. Meanwhile, the government rejected all charges of sacrilege. A government spokesperson said, “The assertion is totally ridiculous. The picture has been sourced from a Sikhism website, which is in the public domain. It was neither created nor modified by the government in any manner.”

Punjab govt slashes number of holidays CHANDIGARH: Punjab government's decision to cut down the number of gazetted holidays has unleashed a political storm with the Opposition parties strongly criticising the move and linking it to “dictatorship”. Reports said Captain Amarinder Singh's government has declared 18 gazetted holidays, restricting 39 off days for the year 2018. State government employees will now avail 5 restricted holidays, while they earlier could only avail only 2. The state's administration believes that the move will provide a much-needed push to its functioning. An official spokesperson said they decided to reduce the number of gazetted holidays for the calendar year 2018 in a bid to enable better public service to the citizens and also ensure more teaching days in educational institutions. “With this reform, the State government offices will remain open for 21 more days in 2018 as compared to the previous year

Amarinder Singh

2017. At the same time, government employees will be able to avail more restricted holidays than previously, in keeping with their preferences.” The spokesperson added that the state government has tried to strike a balance between its commitment to better public service, more teaching days in educational institutions, while maintaining requirements of its employees to avail of holidays on the other. “Now, the number of gazetted holidays in Punjab are comparable to the number of holidays by Government of India, which has declared 17 gazetted holidays for the calendar year 2018.”

Dhinakaran wins Jaya's seat CHENNAI: In a by-election marred with allegations of bribery, rebel AIADMK leader and independent candidate TTV Dhinakaran emerged shockingly victorious, beating his rival by a clean and wide margin of 40,707 votes. The glorious victory of Sasikala's nephew came on the death anniversary of AIADMK founder MGR. “This government will be ousted in three months. Tamil Nadu people have taught this traitor-AIADMK government a fitting lesson. I am Amma's successor,” Dhinakaran gloated after the results. His victory set off minor tremors within the newly unified AIADMK that could lead to further desertions by MLAs and MPs. The winner, meanwhile, called on his aunt and side-lined party leader at the central prison in Bengaluru. A party official said, “The meeting lasted for about half an hour at the Parappana Agrahara

TTV Dhinakaran

Central Prison, but Sasikala did not speak throughout the meeting as she is observing a vow of silence.” Sasikala has been maintaining silence as a tribute to Jayalalithaa, ever since her death anniversary on December 5. “She will be observing silence till sometime in January,” the official said. Meanwhile, the ruling AIADMK continued to crack the whip against Dhinakaran supporters post the defeat.

2G Scam: Raja, Kanimozhi walk free NEW DELHI: “I place the 2G verdict at your feet with gratitude,” said Tamil Nadu's 2G scam accused A Raja, to DMK chief M Karunanidhi. The letter made its way to the media a day after the former telecom minister and Karuna's daughter Kanimozhi were acquitted by a CBI court in Delhi. Raja writes in the letter, “You preserved me in snow. So I wouldn't dissolve in the spectrum battle. Who will punish those who tainted your 80-year old public life? The spectrum attack tainted an ideological movement. Spectrum politics gave a handle to those who couldn't shrink your governance.” “My firm belief in the rightfulness of my actions as well as my faith in our nation's justice system is validated today. The decision for allocation of spectrum or radio waves that carry mobile voice signals,

were in line with the National Telecom Policy and the recommendations of the telecom regulator TRAI.” Raja said he felt vindicated all along even prior to this judgment because the beneficial results of his actions were being enjoyed by the nation's public. “I had full faith in the judiciary and had cooperated fully with the trial and did not seek even single day adjournment. I also had the courage and confidence to step into witness box and give evidence and offer myself for cross examination by the CBI, which is very unusual in criminal trials in India,” he said. He said the judge had repeatedly observed that his evidence was “cogent, credible, and consistent with the official records, in contrast with the evidence of the prosecution witnesses whose evidence has been rejected as untrustworthy.”

WEST BENGAL

Amit Shah's visit worries Bengal party workers KOLKATA: Bharatiya Janata Party president Amit Shah's four day visit to West Bengal this month has his party workers worried as they have not completed tasks given to them him by the leader on his last visit to the state. The BJP president had instructed workers to build a committee at every booth of West Bengal, asking them to complete the task by December. The party is officially demanding that the BJP has committee at 80 per cent booths of the state, but given the current situ-

ation, construction appears doubtful even in 50 per cent of booths. WB BJP president Dilip Ghosh said that constructing a committee at every booth wasn't possible now as many of them are minority-dominated, specially Murshidabad and North Dinajpur. Also to be considered is that the party is yet to reach to thousands of booths in Kolkata too. However, a BJP leader said these are only excuses and inner conflict between the state BJP is the main reason it is yet to have a good grip in the region.


HERITAGE HISTORY

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Asian Voice | 6th January 2018

Dr. Hari Desai

Sardar Patel for Uniform Civil Code

Barrister Vallabhbhai was an important Constitution maker Thanks to him Minorities and Backwards enjoy Reservations Even the Supreme Court has already declared Triple Talaq as “Unconstitutional” since it is inhuman custom of divorcing Muslim women and directed the government to make a law banning it. The Law Commission of India is all set to prepare groundwork for UCC

T

he founding fathers of the Indian Constitution had envisaged the Uniform Civil Code(UCC) as one of the Directive Principles under Article 44 of the Constitution some seven decades back. Even the Supreme Court, on number of occasions, expressed distressed over the government’s failure in enacting a common civil code to end discrimination between

Commission of India is all set to prepare groundwork for UCC. Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru favoured implementing the UCC but was little cautious about the reaction from the Muslim community. Even Deputy Prime Minister Sardar Patel and his loyalists like K.M. Munshi were in its favour. After an extensive debate in the Constituent Assembly on

PM Pandit Nehru and Dy PM Sardar Patel

various religious communities in matters of marriage, succession and property. Now since the Union Government headed by Narendra Modi has shown the political will to initiate the implementation of the will of the founding fathers of the Constitution, there is hue and cry. Due to the political will of the Indian government, the bill banning Triple Talaq is already taken up in the Parliament. Even the Supreme Court has already declared Triple Talaq as “Unconstitutional” since it is inhuman custom of divorcing Muslim women and directed the government to make a law banning it. The Law

23 November 1948, the article 35 in the draft Constitution, which later became Article 44, was incorporated in the Constitution : “ The State shall endeavour to secure for the citizens a Uniform Civil Code throughout the territory of India.” Even the Indian State of Goa, which remained under Portuguese rule till 1961, has a Common Civil Code for all the communities since 1870. Unlike the popular perception, Barrister Sardar Patel was definitely an important Constitution maker. No doubt, Dr. B. R. Ambedkar was the Chairman of the seven member Drafting

Committee in the Constituent Assembly. Other members of the Drafting Committee were N. Gopalaswamy Ayyangar, Krishnaswamy Ayyar, Dr. K. M. Munshi, Syed Mohammad Saadullah, B. L. Mitter (resigned due to ill health), N. Madhava Rau, D. P. Khaitan (Died in 1948), T. T. Krishnamachari. The Sardar was the Chairman of Advisory Committee on Minorities, Fundamental Rights, etc. and his reports and active participation in the Constituent Assembly was responsible for the rights and protection given to the minorities and even the reservations to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes as well as the provisions for the Socially and Educationally Backward Communities and Classes. Though the Sardar was busy with the gigantic work of the integration of the Princely States and was the Home Minister of India, his contribution as a Constitution maker was beyond imagination. In spite of his busy schedule, he had contributed so much by participating in the debates and finalizing the Indian Constitution as an active member of the Constituent Assembly of India. One who goes through the 5 bulky volume Constituent Assembly Debates brought out by the Lok Sabha Secretariat and the Volume XI of “The Collected Works of Sardar Vallbhbhai Patel –Special Volume- Sardar Patel as Constitution Maker” would certainly resist the myth that the Indian Constitution is just copied down from the Government of India Act, 1935. The Constituent Assembly took almost three years(two years, eleven months and seventeen days to be precise) to complete its historic task of drafting the Constitution for Independent India.

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During this period, it held eleven sessions covering a total of 165 days. Of these, 144 days were spent on the consideration of the Draft Constitution. Those who adorned the front row in the Assembly were Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Acharya J.B. Kripalani, Dr. Rajendra Prasad, Sarojini Naidu, Dr. Harekrushna Mahatab, Pandit Govind Ballabh Pant, Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, Sarat Chandra Bose, C. Rajgopalachari and M. Asaf Ali. Two hundred and seven representatives, including nine women were present. As to its composition, members were chosen by

K.M.Munshi, the Sardar loyalist

indirect election by the members of the Provincial Legislative Assemblies, according to the scheme recommended by the Cabinet Mission. The arrangement was : (i) 292 members were elected through the Provincial Legislative Assemblies; (ii)93 members represented the Indian Princely States; and (iii) 4 members represented the Chief Commissioners’ Provinces. The total membership of the Assembly thus was to be 389. However, as a result of the Partition under the Mountbatten Plan of 3 June 1947, a separate Constituent Assembly was set up for Pakistan and representatives of some Provinces ceased to be

Dr.Ambedkar submitting the final draft of the Constitution to Dr. Rajendra Prasad

tries the personal law of members of the Assembly. each minority has been As a result, the memberrecognized as sacrosanct ship of the Assembly was as to prevent the enactreduced to 299. ment of a Civil Code.Take Prime Minister Nehru, for instance Turkey or Deputy Prime Minister Egypt. Even when the Sardar Patel, Law Minister Shariat Act was passed in Dr. B. R. Ambedkar and British India at the Chairman of the instance of Mohammad Ali Constituent Assembly, Dr. Jinnah and others, the Rajendra Prasad, who later Khojas and Cutchi was elected as the Memons were highly disPresident of India, did have satisfied since they folsome differences but after lowed certain Hindu cusextensive brain-storming toms for generations.(2) they have come up with the Allauddin Khilji(1296best suitable Constitution 1316) made several for India. In a report subchanges which offended mitted to the President of against the Shariat, though the Constituent Assembly he was the first ruler to of India dated 23 April establish Muslim 1947, Patel states: “The Sultanate here. The Kazi of Fundamental Rights SubDelhi objected to some of Committee recommended his reforms, and his reply that the list of fundamental was – “I am ignorant man rights should be prepared and I am ruling this in two parts, the first country in the best part consisting of rights enforceable Next Column: interests. I am sure , looking at by appropriate ignorance legal process and The Forgotten my Slogan of and my good the second conintentions, the sisting of direcAkhand Almighty will fortive principles of Bharat give me, when he social policy which, finds that I have not acted through not enforceable in according to the Shariat ! Courts, are nevertheless to What is important is be regarded as fundamenthe political will and nothtal in governance of the ing would stop the Indian country.” government from impleIn the Constituent menting Goa like Civil Assembly, while supportCode since the founding ing Dr. B. R. Ambedkar’s fathers of the Constitution proposed Article 35 makhave made the provision, ing the provision for though as a Directive Uniform Civil Code counPrinciple supported by the try wide, Munshi had preSupreme Court directives. sented two important arguments on 23 (The writer is a November 1948 : (1) The Socio-political Historian. UCC cannot be tyrannical E-mail: to minorities. Nowhere in haridesai@gmail.com) advanced Muslim coun-

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INDIA

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10,000 Patidar delegates to attend Global Patidar Business Summit in Gujarat It is known for a fact that Gujarat's Patidar community is an influential and mighty group which is spread across the globe. After its display of political might in the state over the controversial reservation issue, community leaders are all set to hold the Patidar Global Business Summit, modelled on Prime Minister Narendra Modi's flagship Vibrant Gujarat. Organised by community-run Sardardham Vishwa Patidar Kendra, the event will be held at Gandhinagar's Mahatma Mandir, from January 5 to 7. Approximately 10,000 Patidar delegates are expected to be present, including industrialists, investors and businessmen from 32 different countries. The even also expects about three lakh visitors. It is aimed at facilitating internal and global alliances of small, medium and large enterprises run by community members, support new entrepreneurs and help

Endowed Professorship in Jain Studies

Following a donation of a whopping amount of $800,000 forwarded by a couple of philanthropist Jains and Jain Centre of Southern California in Los Angeles, the Bhagwan Mallinath Endowed Professorship in Jain Studes was established at Loyola Marymount University, LA, California. The past year saw a visible promotion of studies in the religion in universities and colleges in North America with the establishment of three Chairs and Professorships Jain Studies. Other than Loyola Marymount University, University of California at Davis established the Mohini Jain Presidential Chair in Jain Studies with a donation of $1.5 million, and the University of California at Riverside established the Shrimad Rajchandra Chair in Jain Studies with a donation of $1.00 million.

educate youths of the community by providing training and respectable employment. Speaking to the local media, CEO of Sardardham Vishwa Patidar Kendra, TG Jhalawadia said, “As part of this, we aim to prepare at least 100 Patidar youths to become IAS/IPS officers by setting up training centres at Sardardham campus in addition to hostel facility at nominal costs. We plan a total investment of Rs 100 Crore for this. That apart, we will help some 10,000 Patidar youths enrol in government services.” Sardardham president Gagji Sutariya stated that they have approached NaMo to inaugurate the summit. He added that the summit will have speakers

like Baba Ramdev, Chetan Bhagat, Shiv Khera and BJP MP Hema Malini. Hardik Patel and PAAS to make key topic The summit is expected to also pose as a platform for the community to discuss the infamous Patidar reservation agitation. Held in August 2015, people of the Patidar community walked the streets of Gujarat in large public demonstrations to demand reservation. Incidents of violence and arson were marked across the state, and the government had to issue a curfew in several cities and towns. It is also reported that properties and vehicles worth Crores of rupees were damaged and destroyed.

During this time, young leader, Hardik Patel rose to prominence and became the face of the movement. The mass were supported by Sardar Patel Sevadal, and they formed the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti, making Patel their leader. Following a series of mishaps, burning, loss of lives, and misjudgement on part of the state government, the agitation came to a close. Hardik Patel however, remained fresh in everybody's minds. He received several positive and negative reactions from within his community. Many criticised Hardik and PAAS for their tactics, while others celebrated the emergence of a brand new representation. The topic and its events are expected to be brought to light in the summit to be held this week, as leaders of the Patidar community weigh in their opinions. It won't be far-fetched to point out here that both, the agitation and the summit has the issue of youth employment as its core point.

251 couples tie the knot in Surat

Around 252 couples tied the knot in a mass wedding hosted by Surat's favourite diamond merchant Mahesh Savani. The wedding included five Muslim couples, a Christian couple and two women who are reportedly HIV positive. A philanthropist, Savani believes giving away brides is a blessing from God, and has therefore, been organising and funding mass

weddings for fatherless women since 2012. The merchant himself performs the Hindu ritual of kanyadaan. Savani has previously given gifts to each bride, including gold, sofas and beds, and other things worth Rs 500,000 each to help them start their married life. Women who married this year in the mass function received similar privileges. When contacted, Savani said he

feels it is his social responsibility to help women who can't afford their own weddings. He said he takes their responsibility as their father. He also informed that this year, he was helped by real estate developer Sanjay Movaliya. Savani began the campaign back in 2008, when one of his own employees died just days before his daughter's wedding.

AsianVoiceNewsweekly

Obituary

Dial Dass Sharma 1934-2017 Mr Dial Dass Sharma was born on 9 February 1934 in Punjab, Chireek. He spent most of his teenage years in Moga, Punjab where he completed a BA degree. Dial Dass went on to study law in Mumbai in the late 1950s. He married Kuljit Kaur Sharma in 1960, a school teacher. Dial Dass moved to England in 1963 and settled in Bradford following which he moved to London, Dial Dass initially worked at a steel factory and then worked as a school teacher spanning over three decades whilst setting up a number of businesses as an entrepreneur. Since retiring, he threw himself into community and charitable work which included founding and chairing

the Acton Asian Association. He passed away peacefully on 26 December 2017, after a short illness leaving behind his wife Kuljit, son Sukriti his wife Rita, elder daughter Sushma and husband Ravi and younger daughter Sujata and husband Satish and 10 grandchildren Pranav and wife Shefali, Varun, Meera, Ravina, Rishi, Avinash, Mya, Kavi and Hari.

15 killed as fire engulfs Mumbai restaurant

A major fire broke out at a complex in Mumbai, claiming at least 15 lives. Officials said the blaze erupted around midnight last week at a building in the popular Kamala Mills restaurant and shopping compound, surrounding the entire structure in just 30 minutes. People who tried to escape were reportedly trapped by an artificial ceiling made of bamboo that collapsed. Another group of people who tried to seek shelter in the bathroom, died of suffocation after being trapped. The victims also included those from Gujarat. A chartered accountant from Ahmedabad, Yasha Shah Thakkar, 27, was on a visit to Mumbai and was waiting for husband Alaap to join her. The couple was to celebrate New Year's eve together. It was said that an hour before the fire broke out on December 29, Yasha messaged her husband saying she missed him. Out for dinner with her cousin and friends, she got trapped inside the restaurant and died due to suffocation while the others survived with minor injuries. Her uncle Devendra Thakkar said both the victim and her cousin Mansi were very close and the latter is in a state of shock. He informed that after the fire broke out, a huge bamboo structure came crashing on the terrace where the group was sitting and they ran towards the exit to escape.

“Yasha ran away from the exit and got trapped,” he said. Her body was brought to her home in Ahmedabad. Also at the scene of disaster was BBC Gujarati's editor Ankur Jain, who managed to escape. “It was a happy evening which turned into the scariest night for me. I was at the restaurant with my sister and friends when we heard someone screaming, 'Run, there is a fire'. Within seconds there was a stampede and the fire engulfed the whole restaurant before anyone could realise what went wrong. The way to the fire exit was among the first places to catch fire. We managed to escape but not everyone could. We could hear blasts on the rooftop while we were running down the stairs,” he said. A d d i t i o n a l Commissioner of Police S Jaykumar said they booked all three partners of the restaurant where the fire started. It took nearly six hours for the blaze to be doused. Several bodies were found in washrooms later. BMC Assistant Municipal Commissioner Prashant Sapkale said the corporation had sent the eateries notices for various violations including the illegal use of terrace to serve food and drinks without valid permissions. Fire brigade officials said the blaze had spread in minutes due to the combustible material used in the interiors.


HEALTH & LIFESTYLE

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To Our Readers

Ditch peppermints for NUTMEG if you want fresher breath

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

Exercise stops a brain cell-killing protein found in Parkinson's patients

n Festive spice is 30 times more potent and lasts three times longer than menthol

It is the spice that lends a festive flavour to many dishes at this time of year, from mulled wine to a range of puddings and sauces. But nutmeg could also help to leave your mouth feeling fresher for longer in the mornings. Scientists have discovered that a compound in this popular Christmas spice can produce the same cooling effect as menthol, the natural ingredient that gives mint its refreshing tingle. Experts found the compound is 30 times more potent than menthol but also gentler – avoiding the sudden unpleasant freezing sensation some mintflavoured products produce. The nutmeg compound, known as a neolignan, also produces a cooling effect that lasts three times longer than that of menthol. Researchers believe the compound could be used to produce new types of longer-lasting toothpaste and mouthwashes. They are now working on ways of incorporating it into other

products like mints and chewing gums. Tomohiro Shirai, a chemist at chemical company Kao Corporation in Tochigi, Japan, who led the work, said: 'This compound has a long cooling effect probably because it is absorbed slowly. This is valuable in many products. 'High concentrations of menthol often create a burning sensation, unpleasant irritation, and a distinctive smell and taste while low concentrations do not evoke enough of a cooling sensation. The high molecular weight of our compound resulted in a cooling effect with a long duration time.' Menthol is widely used in toothpastes and mouthwashes because it acts on cold-sensitive receptors that then send signals to the brain. There are few other natural products capable of producing this brisk, cooling effect and only a handful of synthetic compounds. The researchers at the Kao Corporation, whose findings are published in the journal ASC

27

Medicinal Chemical Letters, screened hundreds of plants and spices in the hope of finding more. They found an extract of dried nutmeg acted on the same coldsensitive receptor as menthol and then set about identifying the compound that was responsible. The compound, known as threo-Δ8′-7ethoxy-4-hydroxy3,3′,5′-trimethoxy-8O-4′-neolignan, was 30 times as potent as menthol, but the researchers found that if they tinkered with the chemical structure slightly, they found they could make it up to 116 times as potent. The scientists then tested the nutmeg compound on volunteers by giving it to them in a mouthwash to rinse with for 30 seconds. They found it took five minutes to reach the initial level of cooling experienced after rinsing

Exercise slows the progression of a harmful protein in the brain believed to contribute to the degenerative disease Parkinson's, a new study revealed. New research has uncovered the molecular reasons behind the link between exercise and the disease that has remained a mystery until now. Researchers discovered that running on a treadmill can stop the accumulation of a protein in brain cells called alpha-synuclein, which they believe plays a central role in brain cell death. The findings suggest that exercising can help stop Parkinson's in its tracks, as the disease is incurable, affecting 60,000 Americans a year. Scientists from the University of Colorado tested mice who started developing Parkinson's symptoms in mid-life, as humans do. Running wheels were then put into their cages at 12 months old. After three months, the mice that ran showed improved movement and cognitive function com-

with menthol, meaning it builds more gradually and leads to a more pleasant experience. The cooling effect also lasted for 30 minutes, three times longer than that of menthol. Mr Shirai said the nutmeg compound also works on a the cold-sensitive receptors in a different way to menthol, meaning they could even be used in combination in products. But it will need to pass safety and taste tests before it will begin appearing in products. Mr Shirai and his colleagues said it could find a wide range of uses from food and drink, cosmetics, toothpastes, mouthwashes and flavoured tobacco products. 'Oral care products like mouthwashes are an obvious use. Perhaps combining it with compounds that show short cooling effects might be even better,' said Mr Shirai.

pared to the group of mice that did not run. The results found that exercise increased brain and muscle expression of a key protective gene called DJ-1. Parkinson's is a disease caused by the death of brain cells that make a critical neurotransmitter called dopamine. The loss of dopanine in the brain makes voluntary movement impossible. The disease causes muscle stiffness, slowness of movement, tremors, sleep disturbance, chronic fatigue, an impaired quality of life and can lead to severe disability. Most people with Parkinson's disease take a drug called L-DOPA to treat their symptoms. That drug is converted into dopamine, allowing patients to move. In 1988, Freed and his colleague Dr Robert Breeze performed the first transplant of human fetal dopamine cells into a Parkinson's patient in the United States. His lab is currently working to convert human embryonic stem cells to dopamine neurons.

Antibiotics may not be solely to blame for drug-resistant bugs

A mayor who was running for re-election, was in a bar and paid for a woman’s drink. She thanked him but wondered why a stranger had bought her a beer. “I’m running for mayor,” he told her, “and I want your vote.” “You got it,” she said, grabbing her glass. “Anyone’s better than the jerk who’s in there now.”

uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu My father, a Navy man, had the good fortune to be stationed in Hawaii — but the bad fortune to have fair skin. One day, after spending many hours under the hot sun, he reported back to duty with a terrible sunburn. Expecting sympathy, he was, instead, reprimanded by his superiors and then written up for "destruction of government property."

uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu A beggar knocks on the door of an inn known as St. George and the Dragon. The landlady answers. “Could you give a poor man something to eat?” he asks. “No!” yells the woman, slamming the door in his face. A few minutes later, he knocks again. “Now what do you want?” the woman asks. “Could I have a few words with George?”

uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu Jim's flight was delayed in Houston. Since the gate was needed for another flight, his aircraft was backed away from the terminal, and he, along with the other passengers was directed to a new gate. They all found the new gate, only to discover a third gate had been designated for their plane. Finally, everyone got on board the right plane, and the flight attendant announced: “We apologize for the gate change. This flight is going to Washington, D.C. If your destination is not Washington, D.C., you should deplane at this time.” A moment later a red-faced pilot emerged from the cockpit, carrying his bags. “Sorry,” he said, “wrong plane.”

The overuse of antibiotics may not be solely to blame for the growing crisis of drug-resistant bugs, researchers claim. Deemed to be one of the biggest threats to humanity, the issue has previously been cited as severe as terrorism and global warming. Antibiotics have been doled out unnecessarily by GPs and hospital staff for decades, fueling once harmless bacteria to become superbugs. However, a new Swiss study suggests bacteria can also become resistant

to drugs and become deadly by attacking rival bugs. University of Basel experts found bugs can catch their competitors' drug resist a n c e genes after killing them in the battle for space and resources. The World Health Organization has previously warned if nothing is done the world was head-

ed for a 'post-antibiotic' era. It claimed common infections, such as chlamydia, will become killers without i m m e d i a t e answers to the growing crisis. Bacteria can become drug resistant when people take incorrect doses of antibiotics, or they are given out unnecessarily. Chief medical officer Dame Sally Davies claimed last year that the threat of antibiotic resis-

Just ONE egg a day for six months can boost a baby's brain development and function Feeding babies eggs boosts their brain development and function, new research suggests. Just one egg a day for six months significantly increases youngsters' levels of the nutrients choline and DHA, both of which are involved in brain health, a study found. Previous research reveals feeding babies eggs improves their growth and prevents stunting. Lead author Lora Iannotti from the

Brown School at Washington University, said: 'Like milk or seeds, eggs are designed to support the early

growth and development of an organism and are, therefore, dense in nutrient content. 'Eggs provide essential fatty acids, proteins, choline, vitamins A and B12, selenium, and other critical nutrients at levels above or comparable to those found in other animal food products, but they are relatively more affordable.' The findings were reported in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

tance is as severe as terrorism. Figures estimate that superbugs will kill ten million people each year by 2050, with patients succumbing to once harmless bugs. Around 700,000 people already die yearly due to drug-resistant infections including tuberculosis (TB), HIV and malaria across the world. Concerns have repeatedly been raised that medicine will be taken back to the 'dark ages' if antibiotics are rendered ineffective in the coming years.


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Asian Voice | 6th January 2018

Pawan Kalyan's upcoming in trouble

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Sunny Leone announced K-Town debut

C T

he hoo-haa surrounding ace actor Pawan Kalyan's 'Agnyaathavaasi' now has top players of the industry involved. After it was reported that the film is inspired from 2008 French film Largo Winch, music giant T-Series revealed that it owns remake rights of the adventure thriller. It has reportedly issued a notice to the makers of the Telugu film, and is trying to find out about any copyright breach. The news was confirmed from a source from the company who said, “Yes, the rights of the French film are with us. We are checking with the producers of

'Agnyaathavaasi' if any copyright infringement has taken place, and if so, follow the procedure required.” The highly anticipated film is just ten days away for a grand release across the world. Meanwhile, as censor formalities have been delayed, it is said that makers of the movie have arranged a special screening for megastar Chiranjeevi and his family. It is being said that Chiran and Pawan will watch the film together in Hyderabad two days before its release. If true, the gathering will put all rumours of rivalry between the superstar brothers to bed.

utie patootie Sunny Leone is all set to make her debut in the Tamil film industry, and will be seen in Vadivudaiyan's 'Veeramadevi', a historical biopic of a warrior queen of the same name. The actress has a huge fan following in the South and the makers are keen on cashing in on it. They will release the film in five languagesTamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada, and Hindi. A promotional video of the film was released on the internet, featuring Sunny talking in Tamil. She says, “Greetings, Tamilians. I

am going to meet you all as Veeramadevi. I am very excited to do the period film Veeramadevi in the ancient and classical language Tamil.” The actress also revealed the news on her social media accounts. She wrote, “Hey guys, the wait is over. The title of my much-awaited Tamil film is #Veeramadevi Historical magnum opus. I am so so excited :p” Sunny is reportedly given 150 days for the film and will be learning martial arts and swordfighting for the role. The film is said to be made on a high budget, and will include a lot of CGI work.

Manju Warrier Nayanthara thanks her fans blames Dileep-Kavya N affair for her divorce

Kasaba controversy: One arrested for abusing Parvathy online

F A

day after Malayalam film actress Parvathy lodged a police petition against cyber abuse, the Ernakulam South Police arrested a 23 year old man identified as Printo from Vadakkancherry in Thrissur. A police team picked him from his house and charged him with Section 67 of the IT act. Sources said the accused was traced with the help of the Cyber Cell. Parvathy of 'Bangalore Days' fame saw a wave of abuse showered on her in social media in the wake of her comments citing the alleged misogynous nature of film 'Kasaba' during an open forum in the recently concluded International Film Festival of Kerala. Ernakulam South CI Sibi Tom said, “We received the complaint on Sunday. She has given us a bunch of URLs of social media

posts in which people have tried to harass her. Obscene language has been used in these posts. We have asked Twitter and Facebook for more information about these accounts.” Reacting to the comments, veteran actor and lead of the film, Mammootty clarified that he has not assigned anyone to debate or respond on his behalf. “I don't go after controversies. What we need are meaningful debates. We all abide by freedom of speech and right to opinion.” He revealed that he had discussed the matter with Parvathy at the onset of the controversy itself and consoled Parvathy by pointing at the dangerous trend of dragging celebrities into unnecessary deadlocks. He emphasised the need to keep the freedom of opinion alive since it is as important as the freedom of expression.

ormer spouse of Malayalam superstar Dileep, Manju Warrier spoke to police authorities investigating the Malayalam actress abduction case and reportedly blamed her ex-husband's extra-marital affair with fellow actress Kavya Madhavan as the main reason behind their divorce. Dileep is one of the main accused of the kidnapping and molestation case that has visually shook the entire industry and the state. A media report said that while giving her statement to

the police in February earlier this year, Warrier revealed details about Dileep's illicit affair with Kavya in the past. She reportedly said that she came to know about them through some text messages that were exchanged between Dileep and Kavya. It has also been said that she confided about the affair in her friends, including the actress who was abducted. It was the victim's reply that had confirmed Warrier's doubts. Her statements have allegedly strengthened the case against Dileep who is currently out on bail.

ayanthara issued a handwritten note thanking her fans for the success of her latest movie 'Aramm'. The extensive note read, “To, All my fans who have made this life of mine meaningful! I extend my sincere thanks and heartful wishes for a new year which gives you all that you have ever wished for..! You have made me feel blessed! You have made me believe that sincere and unconditional love exists. Your love towards me has proven time and again that life is beautiful. You all have made me realise that no matter what, we should just keep working harder with utmost dedication and leave the rest to god..!” The multi-talented actress also recently marked the completion of her fourteen years in the industry. She celebrated Christmas with friends and family at her new apartment in Chennai. On the work front, Nayan's 'Velaikkaran' fared extremely well in the box office, and the actress now has Balakrishna's 'Jai Simha', 'Imaikka Nodigal', 'Kolamavu Kokila', and a yet-untitled psychological thriller with director Arivazahagan. Not to forget, Chiranjeevi's epic war drama 'Sye Raa Narasimha Reddy' in the pipeline. She has also signed a romcom in Malayalam with Nivin Pauly in the lead.

Hip Hop Adhi first South Indian artist to feature in YouTube list of music makers

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usic composer and actor Hip Hop Adhi has had a special year as he made his acting and directorial debut with 'Meesaya Murukku'. And now, it has emerged that he made it to YouTube's 2017 list of Top Music Creation Spotlight. Adhi is by far the only South Indian to be named in the list, and is deservedly on cloud nine for being chosen along the likes of Ed Sheeran and Luis Fonsi. He shared the news on Instagram with a caption that read, “We still remember the days we would sit and upload songs after songs on YouTube thinking one day we might make it big. We started

from the bottom now we here. Just because of your love we are here.” Adhi's journey from an independent artist to an actor is certainly an inspiration. He started off with a band along side Jeeva, called Hip Hop Thamizha and went on to become famous with his song Club le Mubbu le. He soon co-starred in songs composed by Anirudh Ravichander, and became a music director with Aambala. It was only a matter of time until he became one of the sought-after music directors in Kollywood. His latest film 'Meesaya Murukku' received critical acclaim and also brought in profits.


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SLB's 'Padmavat' cleared after cuts

ulling the plug on the unending controversy on Sanjay Leela Bhansali's 'Padmavati', the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) suggested a few modifications, including changing the film's title to 'Padmavat'. The decision came following an examining committee meeting held by the board on December 28. The CBFC released a statement saying, “Considering the complexities and concerns around the film, the requirement for a special panel was felt by CBFC to add perspective to the final decision of the official committee.” It said that the modification details and corresponding decision was shared with producers and Bhansali, who attended the feedback session post screening. “They are in agreement with the modifications.” Bhansali Productions had earlier requested that a panel of historians/academicians and members of the Rajput community should watch the film, in a written communication. The special panel consisted of Arvind Singh from Udaipur, Dr Chandramani Singh and Prof KK Singh of the Jaipur University. “The certificate, as per procedure, will be issued once the required and agreed modifications are carried out and the

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final material is submitted by the team,” the statement said. Media reports soon suggested that the board had issued 26 cuts to the film. In response, CBFC chairman, Prasoon Joshi came on record to refute all claims and state that the film will be released with a U/A certificate without any cuts. He said the CBFC had “only” asked for five modifications in the film. He also confirmed the change in the title of the movie. When asked the reason, he said the filmmakers during discussions with the special panel, had attributed their sources as the fictional poem Padmavat and not history. Other changes included making the depiction of the character in the song 'Ghoomar' befitting, and change the incorrect or misleading references to historical places. “This was an unprecedented and tough situation. (I) am glad that following a balanced approach, we resolved the task at hand,” he said. Based on the legend of Rani Padmini, a Hindu Rajput queen mentioned in an Avadhi poem 'Padmavat', written by Sufi poet Malik Muhammad Jayasi in 1540, the film was in a limbo with various groups including the Shri Rajput Karni Sena protesting over alleged tampering of historical facts.

Nargis hints at new beau in her life

ust recently the grapevine was abuzz with rumours of Nargis Fakhri moving in with ex-boyfriend Uday Chopra and his mother Pamela. And as “sources” remain glued to their story on how both the actors have finally gotten together for the better, the 'Rockstar' actress has another man on her mind. Currently in Los Angeles, Nargis posted an intimate photo of her Christmas celebration with American filmmaker Matt Alonzo on Instagram. The photo shows them lovingly looking at each

Kangana makes hasty exit to avoid Karan Johar?

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ctress Kangana Ranaut had a long year, as she found herself in battles with several leading personalities of the film industry. The 'Queen' created waves when she came on Karan's chat show and called him the “flag-bearer of nepotism”, and several vicious words have been exchanged since then. The two make sure to stay out of each other's paths, and recently almost bumped into each other at Virat Kohli and Anushka Sharma's star-studded

reception at the St Regis hotel in Mumbai. While Kangana was posing for the shutterbugs with Rekha and Madhuri Dixit, Johar arrived at the venue with Sidharth Malhotra. The minute she got wind of his arrival, she cleared the path and went inside. While Johar admitted in an interview that he had been “ungraceful” in repeatedly bringing up Kangana and the nepotism debate, it appears that the two have a long way to go before they repair their differences.

PeeCee: Wanted to become the best version of me

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other, with Alonzo's hand resting on her thigh. She wrote, “‘Tis the season to enjoy sharing food, fun and festivities with loved ones ! Merry Christmas Everyone! #GreyGooseLife #merrychristmas” Matt on the other hand, posted another

picture of them on his Instagram, captioning it with a heart emoji. Nargis and Uday's rumoured on-off relationship has been in the news for quite a while. It was speculated last year that the actor ended things

with her over WhatsApp, following which, she left the country heartbroken. All reports have however, been denied by Nargis. On the work front, the beauty is all set to be seen opposite Sanjay Dutt in 'Torbaaz'.

Varun Dhawan to star in 'Biwi No. 1' remake?

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Asian Voice | 6th January 2018

ilmmaker David Dhawan seems to be reliving the past by creating remakes of his previous successful movies. His son and actor Varun Dhawan stepped into the shoes of 'Bhai' Salman Khan, when he starred in the remake of the 1997 hit 'Judwaa', only to replicate the success at the box office. And now, speculation is that Daddy Dhawan is keen on duplicating his 1999 hit 'Biwi No. 1', and wants to cast Varun in the lead. When asked about the rumours in an interview, Dhawan rubbished them, saying, “Good that people are speculating about what we will do next. We haven't thought about remaking 'Biwi No. 1' as of yet. Right now, we're in the holiday mood. Let the new year

begin and then we'll think of what to do next.” The director added, “I know it is a convenient formula to do remakes and sequels. But we may surprise everyone by doing an entirely original film this time.” Dhawan had returned to the director's chair after a gap of three years for 'Judwaa 2'. “I have directed 45 films in the last 41 years. And before we forget, I was a film editor before a director. I have left nothing to prove. Some critics say I haven't changed my formula for 40 years. But the question is why should I, when it's working fine. I am proud of what I've achieved in the industry, and in life. But I am even prouder of what my sons Rohit and Varun have achieved in just 4-5 years.”

ational Awardwinning actor and producer, Priyanka Chopra who spoke during the Penguin Annual Lecture on 'Breaking the glass ceiling: Chasing a dream', counselled her young audience to love themselves. The 'Baywatch' babe said her secret mantra throughout her long career has been three Fs: Fierce, Fearless, and Flawed. She said, “I want to tell you a little secret. I am not very fond of this phrase 'breaking the glass ceiling'. Why does it annoy me? Because it takes the context of everything that I have done, all my achievements, all my hard work, and puts it into a box. As if my ambition was that I want to find a glass ceiling and break it... All I wanted was to chase my dreams... I wanted to become the best version of me that I could be.” 'PC's 12 rules of becoming the best version of yourself' included, love yourself, be ambitious, learn from one's failures, and always remember where you came from. She also spoke in the context of Hollywood actresses

speaking out against Harvey Weinstein. “I am very fierce. People are a little bit scared of me... But yes, I have had situations when I have been thrown out of films because someone else was recommended; a girlfriend was recommended after I was signed for a movie... I couldn't do anything about it. I was removed last minute from many such situations because I never catered to the whims and fancies of powerful men.”


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Asian Voice | 6th January 2018

Someone has sent a kebab on a 124,000ft mission into space A kebab has become the world’s first to be sent to space. Pascal Leuthold, a businessman, blasted the kofta 124,000ft through the sky on a weather balloon last week. Witnesses in Zurich, Switzerland, saw the kebab soar into the air for an epic voyage through the stratosphere – and then crash back down to Earth some two hours later. The delicacy came back down frozen solid. Pascal spent three months planning the launch to mark the opening of his Zurich restaurant, which resembles a rocket. Talking about the achievement the chef said: ‘One of the most impressive things was to watch the Kebab freeze. We

didn’t think about this before, but of course at this height it’s very cold and the whole kebab was frozen solid. We are all very proud that we actually managed to pull this off – it took about three months to plan and film. What started as a bit of a joke actually turned into a really impressive event for us all.”

A 23-year-old killed himself at his family home after a year suffering from depression and becoming isolated. Mohammed Shabbir Ahmed Seedat was found hanging at his home by his mother in the early hours on October 31. The inquest into Mr Seedat's death heard how he had distanced himself from his family, begun neglecting himself and taken to walking around the house at night. The inquest resumed last Wednesday (28th Dec) and Area Coroner for Manchester West Alan Walsh read a statement from Mr Seedat's father, Shabbir Seedat.

In the statement Mr Seedat's father said: "He was a clever and wonderful son, who was 23 and had given the family many happy memories and they were proud to call him their son." The inquest heard how Mr Seedat's mother had found him at 4am after she had got up in the night at their home in Burnaby Street, Bolton. It heard how Mr Seedat's mother and father wanted him to seek professional help for his depression but he would to go. Mr Walsh recorded a conclusion of suicide and accepted the cause of death as hanging.

If your child has a good joke, poem or any suggestions they would like to share please email us with the name, age and school. Email:- support@abplgroup.com

WISHING YOU ALL A VERY HAPPY & PROSPEROUS NEW YEAR THOUGHT OF THE WEEK

t, big or “Every Worthwhile accomplishmen and triumph; little, has its stages of drudgery tory.” a beginning, a struggle and a Vic

The kebab crashed back to Earth completely frozen after the voyage (Credit: Caters)

Family's tribute to 'clever and wonderful' son who killed himself

Coming Events

l Bring the Geeta home in 2018, with Chinmaya Mission UK's 'Geeta in Every Home'. Held by Brni Shripriya Chaitanya, the talk will be held on date and times decided by mutual agreement.

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Facts You Didn't know:

l A fire has no shadow But it makes shadows. l You can only see a rainbow if you have your back to the sun. l Ants never sleep. Though many researchers claim it is only true in

the perspective of a human definition of sleeping. They have no eyelids, so they can’t shut their eyes. l Chewing gum while peeling onions will keep you away from crying.

NEW YEAR WORD SEARCH

NEW YEAR CALENDAR COUNTDOWN RESOLUTION PARTY ADVENTURE GOALS CARD CLOCK GIFT

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Your love life continues to thrive TAURUS Apr 21 - May 21 and relationships will be happy

and more meaningful. All types of partnerships benefit from expansive and warm energy of Jupiter.The transit of Saturn in your 9th house restricts you from expanding your horizons thus greater realism and practicality will rule. You will enjoy better health if you

GEMINI May 22 - June 22 stick to a fixed routine of work and

relaxation. You also gain from sharpening your skills to promote yourself at work. Try and focus on long-term benefits regarding joint resources, taxes, wills, legacies and your intimate relationships - don't look for quick results as this is a time of perserverance. A great time for self-expression CANCER Jun 22 - Jul 22 and romantic endeavours. This part of your life continues to expand and grow throughout the year. A wonderful time with children and some of you will expand your families. All types of relationships are tried and tested under the influence of Saturn in your solar 7th house. Those of you on weak foundations are likely to break up and those of you who are strong willed will perservere.

Red is the earth of African deserts Bare feet of children run across Chasing kites over Christmas holidays Pulling strings That carry melodies in the winds And skies that are blue as Mary’s tunic Where cradles baby Jesus Resplendent in heavenly hue And so many the ragas the gopis dances to Played on a flute of the blue-skinned cowherd Green are the tolerant pine firs That scent homes with Christmas Green the favourite colour of the Prophet And green is the promise of spring With breezes to savour on the hindola White is the colour of purity Of cold Christmases warmed With love of family Of the promise of new year Clean slates To rejoice humanity

A Boy asks his father,”Dad, are bugs good to eat?” Father replies,”Thats disgusting don't talk about things like that whilst eating dinner!” After Dinner Father goes to the Boy and asks,”What is it that you wanted to ask me?” The boy replies,”Are bugs good to eat because there was one in your soup but It’s gone now.”

The UK’s leading Vedic writer and TV personality

your innermost feelings and be more empowered. Jupiter in your 8th house is good for joint resources but try not to borrow money from others. You also need to put down roots and build foundations regarding work and stability at home. You need to work deligently without looking for immediate results.

Seven yellow flames on the menorah Lit in the Temple of Jerusalem Seven is the number of swaras Sa, Re, Gha, Ma, Pa, Da, Ni And back to Sa

Joke of the week 6

3 9

The ragas of Christmas around the world

Mira Shirish Modi Age-10 yrs School-St James school, Kensington

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For solution see next edition

ARIES Mar 21 - Apr 20 This year you learn to embrace

AsianVoiceNewsweekly

Jupiter, the planet of expansion is transiting your house of family and home. These areas are under a strong focus during this period. This is a time when you put down roots and seek to belong. Besides, the focus can be on cultivating and nourishing your inner foundations that support you and your growth. A lot of discipline is required for you to achieve stability in your daily routines and

LEO Jul 23 - Aug 23

VIRGO Aug 24 - Sep 23

Jupiter continues to highlight your solar third house. A time in which you are most likely to be busy communicating. Used well, this could be a period in which you come up with solutions to a number of problems. You will be proud of your intellectual accomplishments, ability to socialize and make connections . The area that governs creativity, romance, pleasure, children and hobbies will go through highs and lows as if the universe is checking that the foundations are strong.

LIBRA Sep 24 - Oct 23

Jupiter, the planet of expansion continues to transit your solar second house. The focus for you is on financial matters this year. You are more attracted to objects and possessions that give you a sense of comfort, status, or luxury now. You should be careful not to be extravagant in your purchases. You crave for more structure in your home life. It’s vital that you strike a balance between your work and home in order to move forward feeling rooted and secure.

SCORPIO Oct 24- Nov 22 Jupiter, the planet of expansion transits your solar first house. You experience a renewal of energy and vitality now, and it's a strong time for increased personal confidence. The emphasis is on self-expression. You are more decisive and forward-looking now, and you put more faith in your own abilities. There is a great need now to structure your life by managing daily details and your time more effectively. Communications should be more lucid and direct.

Sudoku Answer Edition 3

3 6 2 9 5 8 4 7 1

SUDOKU - 003 1 5 9 4 6 7 3 8 2

4 7 8 2 1 3 5 9 6

9 8 1 3 4 2 7 6 5

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SAGITTARIUS Nov 23 - Dec 21

Jupiter's transit of your 12th Solar House indicates that experience will put you in a deeply reflective mood. This is a favourable time for getting away from usual routines and seeking a retreat for a few days. All the better if you are interested in such things as meditation, yoga and therapies that help you to get in closer touch with your inner self.

CAPRICORN Dec 22 - Jan 20

Jupiter, the planet of expansion continues to put a spotlight on your solar eleventh house. You will benefit from networking in this period and you might find some great ideas through others now. Working in a team will also benefit you. You are more attracted to what is is progressive or unconventional during this cycle. Saturn your ruling planet in your sign teaches discipline, patience and perserverance.

AQUARIUS Jan 21 - Feb 19

Jupiter, the planet of expansion continues to put a spotlight on your solar tenth house. Satisfaction and fulfilment during this cycle comes from being professionally responsible and contributing to the world in practical ways. You will get a lot of support from authority figures during this transit. Avoid the pitfalls by being confident and positive. Saturn in your 12th house will either make you spiritual or very isolated.

PISCES Feb 20 - Mar 20 Jupiter, the planet of expansion continues to transit your solar ninth house now. In this period you seek to expand your experiences and awareness, whether through philosophical thinking, travel, or simply activities that take you away from your mundane routines. It's an excellent period for looking at your life from a different perspective. You will have a smaller intimate circle of friends as you will be selective in your choice.


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ANAND SURPRISES HIMSELF WITH WORLD RAPID TITLE TRIUMPH

Viswanathan Anand might have endured a tough year but he ended it on a high by reclaiming the World Rapid chess title in Riyadh. What’s interesting is that Anand wasn’t even expected to be part of the event. “This win was so unexpected, I had no plans to come when it was announced so late,” Anand said. To add to that, Anand wasn’t in the best frame of mind before entering this tournament. “I came here in a pessimistic frame of mind. My last two rapid tournaments have been nothing short of disasters. However, on the very first day of this tournament, I could feel that I was playing well,” said Anand. A win against Peter Leko in the second round provided Anand the impetus he was looking for. However, the win against Magnus Carlsen with black pieces in round 9 gave him a lot of confidence. “To beat Carlsen who has been so dominant in last few years felt like an accomplishment. Initially, we both had the same hallucination that this was a

draw. Since I had a guaranteed draw, I decided to spend a few minutes to just check and look for something else. After 2 minutes, it suddenly hit me that I was winning. When I looked at his face, I realised it had hit him as well because as soon as I made the move he thought for a few seconds and resigned,” said Anand. He entered the final phase (Round 11 to 15) of the event tiedsecond. However, Anand felt he had

lost the plot after the first three games ended in draws. “What looked like a realistic podium finish — even that looked doubtful. But I played an excellent game against Alexander Grischuk and caught up with Magnus in the final round. When I did that, I knew I would have a good finish no matter what,” Anand said. Round 15 saw Anand draw with Bu Xiangzhi while Carlsen went down to Grischuk. This result meant

Vladimir Fedoseev, Ian Nepomniachtchi and Anand were in the top spot with 10.5 points each. Anand and Fedoseev made the tiebreaker as they had superior average score over the opponents. Once the tiebreak commenced, Anand felt it was going to be his day. “I had the advantage in the first tiebreak game and felt the wind was behind me,” said Anand who sealed the deal 2-0 against Fedoseev.

FIR lodged against Sushil Kumar after supporters attack Praveen Rana Police registered an FIR against double Olympic medallist and former world champion Sushil Kumar a day after scuffle broke out between his and wrestler Praveen Rana's supporters at the KD Jadhav Stadium in New Delhi. On Praveen's brother Navin Rana's complaint, an FIR has been field against Sushil. The ugly incident occurred after selection trials for the Commonwealth Games, to be held in April next year at the Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium. It was attended by, among others, Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) President Brij Bhushan Singh Sharan. The proceedings ended on a stormy note when supporters of both the wrestlers came to blows. Sushil, who returned to the international arena after three years with a C o m m o n w e a l t h Championships gold, won all his bouts in the 74kg category. But things took a nasty turn when Rana, after losing to Sushil in the semifinal clash, claimed that the decorated wrestler's supporters beat him and his elder brother "for daring to take the ring" against him. Sushil, on the other hand, claimed that he was bitten by Rana during the bout. "...he bit me but no problem, it might be his

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Asian Voice | 6th January 2018

England react angrily to ball-tampering allegations

Trevor Bayliss dismissed Australian allegations of ball tampering by England as “beat up” stories and “pommie bashing” after footage emerged of James Anderson appearing to dig his nail into the ball. Bayliss claimed the umpires told him there was nothing in the suggestions, which were first aired by commentators on James Anderson Channel 9 and then picked up by other sections of the Australian media. The match referee, Ranjan Madugalle, confirmed after play that both teams had been warned about scuffing the ball up by deliberately throwing it to the wicketkeeper on the half-volley, but there were no reports of ball tampering. “It is a beat up. As soon as I saw the headlines I raced into the umpires. The words they used were it was a ‘beat up’ and that it is absolutely fine. That is as much as I know. You are allowed to clean the ball. Kumar (Dharmasena, umpire) said to both sides that he has no problem cleaning the ball but he would like them do it in front of umpires so they can see nothing untoward is going on. There is a bit of dirt and mud on the outfield that does get on the ball and the seams and you are allowed to clean it off. “If he (Anderson) was trying to scratch it he was scratching the wrong side. I am sure that is not the case. We've had a good couple of days and there hasn't been too much positive press from their (Australia) point of view. It's a bit of pommie-bashing. You've got to laugh it off and put up with it." Stuart Broad later picked a piece of leather off the ball with the permission of the umpires. Nine then broadcast a freeze-frame image of Anderson looking as though he was picking the ball with his left thumb. "I'm not sure you are allowed to use your fingernail there," said Shane Warne on commentary. Michael Slater said: “That’s interesting, you can't get your nail into the ball. That’s a no-no.”

Vijay, Rahul to open in first Test against S Africa

Sushil Kumar

tactics to stop me from performing well. All this is a part of sports," Sushil told reporters after the bouts. "Whatever happened here was wrong. I condemn it. There was mutual respect after the fight ended," he added. Rana alleged that Sushil's supporters gave death threats to him and dared him to participate in the upcoming Pro Wrestling League. WFI president had been worried about such an incident since the day Sushil announced his muchawaited comeback to the

competitive wrestling, and had even called up the Delhi Police personnel to man the wrestling hall to avoid any untoward incident. However, his fears came true when a bunch of supporters, allegedly supporting Sushil, mercilessly landed punches and blows on Naveen and a friend accompanying him, alleging that Parveen had hit Sushil on the head and even bit him on the arm during the roughly-contested bout. But going by the drama, which unfolded in front of

media crews and supporters of participating wrestlers, it could be safely assumed that there was no mutual respect and admiration in the ‘once-united and now-divided’ wrestling community. Friday’s fracas can be seen as a part of series of incidents in the past which led to Narsingh failing the dope test and the subsequent pointing of the finger of suspicion towards Sushil and his father-in-law Satpal, leading to trust deficit and formation of of ‘groups’ among wrestlers.

Murali Vijay and KL Rahul, the two specialist openers from south, will open batting for India in the first Test at Cape Town starting January 5 in the series against South Africa. Delhi batsman Shikhar Dhawan, who injured his ankle, the same evening when India skipper Virat Kohli hosted his wedding reception in Mumbai, has been ruled out. Those in the know of things said the captain expressed his disappointment in Dhawan “not being careful” ahead of some hectic travel. The team management, nevertheless, is not overtly worried about Dhawan missing out, considering Vijay is among the only three cricketers in this team that played the 2010-11 series in South Africa where they won the second Test in Durban by 87 runs. While Dhawan has time until January 10 to recover and stay in contention for the second Test at the Wanderers, Johannesburg, Vijay and Rahul will now have to deal with the all-important task of denying the South African attack – consisting Morkel, Philander, Rabada and Steyn – any early initiative. It is in this regard that Team India has successfully managed to pull off a strategy they have been trying to put in place on away tours for quite a few years now. The team management had specifically made a request – not for the first time – to be allowed to practice on the centre wicket, instead of the option of training in the nets. The Indian team management, which is travelling with four extra pace bowlers to help them out in the nets, is focused on using the centre wicket to replicate match situations, which they think could be more useful than just playing local SA nets bowlers.


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INDIA WRAP UP T20I SERIES

Rohit Sharma (118) and Lokesh Rahul (89) feasted on the Sri Lankan bowlers with some breath-taking strokeplay. Rohit blasted a record equalling hundred, while Rahul missed out on his second T20 ton. The duo had a record Indian opening standfourth overall - as India posted 260-5, the joint second highest total. India then wrapped up the series without much discomfort with an 88-run victory after restricting Sri Lanka to 172-9 in 17.2 overs. The injured Angelo Mathews didn’t come out to bat. Sri Lanka kept the contest alive with an improved batting performance. Kusal Perera and Upul Tharanga took India’s wrist spinners Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav to the boundaries during their 109-run second wicket stand, which came off just 53 balls. Unlike Cuttack, where they managed to overcome the dew problem, Chahal and Yadav struggled but still managed to get wickets in the middle overs. Once Chahal broke the Tharanga-Perera stand, the Indians tightened the grip on the contest with six quick wickets in just 10 balls. Kuldeep sent back skipper Thisara Perera, Kusal and Asela Gunaratne in the 15th

the 100-run mark in only 8.3 overs. The Rohit-Rahul show continued as the Sri Lankan skipper ran out of options. While Rohit was on a roll, Rahul was happy to rotate the strike and watch the batting exhibition from the other end.

over, while Chahal accounted for Chaturanga de Silva, Sadeera Samarawickrama and Akila Dananjaya in the 16th over to seal the contest. The duo went for 52 runs each, but shared seven wickets between them and proved why they are India’s first choice spinners in the shorter formats. Except for the toss, nothing went right for the Sri Lankans as Rohit and Rahul treated the Sri Lankan bowlers like a club attack. Except for the first three overs, where the visitors did well to keep the hosts under check, there was no respect whatsoever for the bowlers. Having suffered their biggest T20 defeat at Cuttack, the Sri Lankan team management would have hoped for a better show. Their bowlers, however, struggled to stop the free

flowing Rohit and elegant Rahul as they hit boundaries at will. Rahul got going with a classical straight drive off Dushmantha Chameera. He offered a straight forward chance to Sadeera Samarawickrama but he put down at point. Rahul was on 6 and he added 83 more after that. The right-hander rubbed the salt into wounds with a huge six over long off to Chameera. It was just a kind of momentum India needed. Rohit shifted gears after that and gave Indore crowd a perfect display of class and timing. The Powerplay turned out to be productive for India as they raced to 59 without loss. The platform was set for a big total. The Indian openers had got the measure of the Indore wicket as they crossed

Lanka decimated in first T20I Barabati Stadium in Cuttack was a place where Sri Lankan pacers found gripping the ball difficult and Jaydev Unadkat found it difficult to land his foot on the bowling crease because of dew but Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav had no problems bowling all their variations. Chahal's four for 23 and Yadav's two for 18 put India ahead in the T20 series with a 93-run victory. Nobody knows what the future holds for the young duo but they clearly have too much calibre for this Sri Lankan outfit. Even Angelo Mathews, the only man in Thisara Perera's party, who seems to have some clue about facing up to them, looked out of sorts against the two tweakers. His reverse sweeps off Yadav did not fetch a single boundary and he ended up offering a simple return catch to Chahal.

Fourth Ashes Test ends in draw Australian skipper Steve Smith scored an unbeaten century in the second innings as Australia and England played out a draw in the final day of the fourth Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) on Saturday. Smith remained unbeaten on 102 as Australia posted 263/4 in their second innings by the end of play on the final day. The hosts were dismissed for 327 runs in the first innings while England posted 491 in their only innings of the Test. Australia have already won the five-match series as they took a 3-0 lead after winning the third Test in Perth. Smith, who notched up his 23rd Test ton, became the highest scorer in Test cricket in 2017 with 1,305 runs, surpassing India's Cheteshwar Pujara, who is at the second spot with 1,140 runs in the calender year. Australia off-spinner Nathan Lyon, who bagged a three-wicket in this Test, became the leading wicket taker in Test cricket last year with 63 scalps, overtaking South Africa pacer Kagiso Rabada who has 57 to his name. Meanwhile, the MCG saw a match being drawn after 42 years and 12 Ashes series. It also ended a streak which saw the previous 13 Ashes Tests ending in a deci-

CSK set to retain Dhoni, Raina, Jadeja

sive result. Resuming the final day at 103/2, overnight Australian batsmen Smith and David Warner started the proceedings well to stitch together a 107-run stand. Warner was, however, dismissed on 86 while trying to slog a delivery from England skipper Joe Root which handed an easy catch to James Vince at the covers. Warner hit eight boundaries over the course of his 227ball knock. Smith on the other end, kept up a steady flow of runs. His 275-ball knock was laced with six boundaries. Although Shaun Marsh (4) failed to do much with the bat following Warner's departure, Mitchell Marsh (29 not out) played out a cautious 166-ball innings containing three boundaries

to compliment his skipper till the end of the day. For England, pacers James Anderson (1/46), Stuart Broad (1/44) and Chris Woakes (1/62) scalped a wicket each. Alastair Cook breaks records

England batsman Alastair Cook becomes the sixth highest run scorer in Test history, surpassing

Mahela Jayawardene, Shiv Chanderpaul and Brian Lara. Cook produced a masterclass in concentration by scoring an unbeaten double century. The 33-year-old opener stonewalled Australia's bowling attack for more than 10 ½hours, eclipsing a stack of historical batting records. Cook became the first Englishman since Wally Hammond to score a double hundred at the MCG (in 1928) and his 244 not out is now the highest score made by any player against Australia in Melbourne, breaking the 208 Viv Richards made for the West Indies in 1984. Cook also overtook Mahela Jayawardene, Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Brian Lara to move into outright sixth place among test cricket's all-time leading scorers while posting the fifth double ton of his career. Cook had managed a meagre total of just 83 runs from the first three tests but was well supported by England's lower order, which had also struggled in the previous matches, when he needed their help most. Brief scores: Australia 327 & 263/4 (Steve Smith 102 not out, David Warner 86; Stuart Broad 1/44) against England 491.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Suresh Raina and Ravindra Jadeja

The Chennai Super Kings are all set to retain their core group, including skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Suresh Raina and Ravindra Jadeja for the11th edition of IPL. However, senior off-spinner R Ashwin’s chances of being picked through the ‘Right To Match’ card look bleak. “We have not yet submitted our retention list but it goes without saying that Dhoni and Raina are all but retained. The third retention in all likelihood will be Ravindra Jadeja,” an IPL official, who is aware about CSK’s team strategy said. The official also revealed that the CSK management was still undecided on whether to go for Ashwin, who is no longer in the Indian team management’s radar as far as limited overs cricket is concerned. Ashwin has not played a T20 for over a year now and it remains to be seen if the franchise is ready to invest on a player, who is no longer a force to reckon with in the shortest format of the game. The only factor that might encourage CSK to bid and go for the Right To Match (RTM) is the local connection, with Ashwin being the most successful international cricketer from Tamil Nadu. The emergence of all-rounder Washington Sundar, as a potent off-spinner during last season’s IPL is also a threat to Ashwin’s chances of returning to the CSK fold.

New Zealand clinch series

A career best seven for 34 by Trent Boult destroyed the West Indies as New Zealand wrapped up their one-day international series. Boult had three for six after his first three overs as the West Indies fell apart at the start of their innings after being set an imposing 326-run target. The tourists struggled through to 121 before Boult finished off the tail to give New Zealand victory by 204 runs to go with their five-wicket win in the first ODI. When Boult had finished off the West Indies top order, Lochie Ferguson plucked out the middle with three wickets in 10 deliveries, including Jason Mohammed and Rovman Powell with successive balls. New Zealand, sent into bat first, posted a healthy 325 for six after an impressive final 10 overs by Henry Nicholls and Todd Astle which produced 103 runs. Nicholls, given out lbw on 22 but reinstated on review when replays showed the ball would have missed the stumps, went on to be unbeaten on 83 at the close. Astle went for 49 in the final over after the pair had put on a whirlwind 130 for the sixth wicket. George Worker and Colin Munro gave New Zealand a flying start, reaching 50 off 40 deliveries before Sheldon Cottrell removed Munro (30) and his replacement Neil Broom (six) in quick succession.

AV 6th January 2018  
AV 6th January 2018  

Asian Voice Weekly Newspaper (Issue 34)