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Vol 45 | Issue 35

Modi's Disaster Management

ASIANS ONCE AGAIN DAZZLE IN NEW YEAR’S HONOURS LIST 2017 P6-7

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the nation during his much-awaited speech on New Year's Eve, after the 50-day deadline to deposit or exchange banned notes came to an end. Hailing Indians for their patience and support for the movement, he made several announcements aimed at benefiting the poor and the underprivileged, a step seen by the skeptics as yet another tact to divert attention from the question of the hour. The speech remained long due as it were a tedious two months since the evening of November 8, when the PM announced the scrapping of 500 and 1000 rupee notes. The notification was followed up by a severe mismanagement on the government's part, mass chaos, and a steady change of rules. Addressing the nation on state television at 7:30 pm, Modi announced a slew of schemes for women, the poor, and the old. Assuring that the ruling National Democratic Alliance was a friend of the honest, Modi, in his 43 minute speech, said his government's focus for 2017 was to bring the banking system to normal at the earliest. "Since Diwali, our nation has been witness to a historic rite of purification. The patience, discipline, and resolve displayed by 125 crore Indians, will play a critical role in shaping the future

7th January to 13th January 2017

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Let noble thoughts come to us from every side

2 Indians among 39 killed in attack on Istanbul club

Abis Hasan Rizvi and Khushi Shah

ISTANBUL: Two Indians were among the 39 killed in a lone man attack on the posh Reina nightclub in Istanbul. The attack that injured at least 70 odd people, was soon claimed by the Islamic State. The deceased Indians are Abis Hasan Rizvi, 49, son of former Rajya Sabha

of the nation for years to come," Modi said. "Corruption, black money, and counterfeit notes had become so rampant in India's social fabric that even honest people were brought to their knees." Explaining his landmark move, he said, "There is no precedent globally, to what India has done. Nations similar to us do not have the amount of currency that we had. Over the last 10 to 12 years, 500 and 1000 rupee currency notes were used less for legitimate transactions, and more for a parallel economy. The excess of cash was fuelling inflation and black-marketing. It was denying the poor, their due. Lack of cash causes difficulty, but excess of cash is even more troublesome. Our aim is to

46 Church Road Stanmore Middx London HA7 4AH email@travelinstyle.co.uk

achieve a balance. Economists agree that when cash is outside the formal economy, it is a cause of worry. When it joins the mainstream, it is an opportunity for development." "This Government is a friend of good people. And it aims to build an enabling environment for the dishonest to return to the path of goodness. It is also a bitter truth, that people have complaints of bad experiences at the hands of Government machinery, and some government officers. This reality cannot be wished away. No one can deny that Government officers have a greater responsibility than common citizens." After his effort to satisfy the millions who remained glued to their

seats, listening to his speech, NaMo recited a list of programmes to "further the principle of Sabka Saath - Sabka Vikaas". Ensuring homes for the poor, the neo-middle class, and the middle class, Modi said, "Two new middle income categories have been created under the Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana in urban areas. Loans of up to 9 lakh rupees taken in 2017, will receive interest subvention of 4 per cent. Loans of up to 12 lakh rupees taken in 2017, will receive interest subvention of 3 per cent." He added, "In addition to this, another scheme is being put in place for the neo middle and middle class in rural areas. Loans of up to 2 lakh rupees taken in 2017, for new Continued on page 26

member Akhtar Hasan Rizvi, and Khushi Shah of Gujarat. India's External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj tweeted, "I have bad news from Turkey. We have lost two Indian nationals in the Istanbul attack. Indian Continued on page 26

SC removes BCCI president, secretary

Ajay Shirke and Anurag Thakur

India's Supreme Court on Monday ordered the removal of two of the country's most powerful cricket administrators for failing to introduce reforms, and said it would appoint its own committee to carry out the recommended changes. In a ruling that was described by one former chief justice as a "victory for the game of cricket,"

the Supreme Court fired the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president Anurag Thakur and BCCI secretary Ajay Shirke and vowed to axe any other officials who refused to adhere to the court's orders. The court said it would appoint a new committee later this month to run the BCCI's business Continued on page 26


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ONE ONE with Keith Vaz, MP

Asian Voice 7th January 2017

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to

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confidence. Always getting in my own way. With a few plays under my belt, I’m finally learning to get out of the way.

Satinder Chohan

Satinder Chohan is a playwright. After editing the arts and culture magazine, 2nd Generation, and the women of colour magazine Pride, she worked as a documentary researcher and assistant producer before writing her first play Zameen, about a cotton farming family in the Punjab. She was selected for an Emerging Writers’ residency at the Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh and also completed a Writer’s Attachment at Hampstead Theatre, where she wrote Crossing the Line, about Somali pirates and British gap year students. In 2013 she received an ‘Adopt A Playwright Award’ for Mother India, about East-West surrogacy (now under commission with Tamasha Theatre and will be touring the UK in 2017). For Tamasha she is also currently Writer-inResidence at the Centre for Family Research, University of Cambridge, working on a play about young people and Assisted Reproductive Technologies. 1. Please tell me about your current position? I’m a playwright currently working on a play called ‘Mother India’ about East-West surrogacy, set in an Indian fertility clinic. Yes, it’s sort of inspired by the gutsy film, which had me in tears as a kid at the Dominion Cinema in Southall. Also, I’m developing another play ‘1984’ about the struggle for Sikh independence in the UK and India and ‘Lotus Beauty’ about the lives of multigenerational women set in a suburban Asian beauty salon.

5. Who has been the biggest influence on your career to date? My grandparents and parents (and I guess, Guru Nanak by extension) – they taught me about respect, humility and hard work. In a world obsessed with image and money, I’m grateful for their lessons daily.

2. What are your proudest achievements? My MA English Language and Literature from Yale in the US, writing plays despite a massive lack of writing confidence and helping to bring up my two nieces, one of whom is doing her Masters at Oxford and the other who graduated with an MA in History of Art from the Courtauld Institute. Southall girls doing good!

munity both in Southall and the Punjabi/Asian community worldwide. I’ve met a lot of people who have been terribly disdainful about my hometown but let me declare it now, I’m immensely proud to be from Southall. Immigrant, working class, rootsy – it’s in the blood. You can take the girl out of Southall but you can’t take Southall out of the girl…

6. What is the best aspect about your current role? Being creative and spending lots of time alone. I get to tell my own stories and create my own worlds, my own characters and love spending time in those imaginative spaces, with people of my own making, rather than those of the real world! Writing in bed beats the daily chicken pen commute to a routine office job too.

3. What inspires you? My family – the whole extended lot of them and also, my com-

4. What has been the biggest obstacle in your career? Me. Especially with my lack of

7. And the worst? The pay. Because you make nothing financially from it and

Home Secretary visits biggest Gurdwara to discuss hate crime The Home Secretary has visited the largest Gurdwara outside India to discuss the importance of tackling hate crime against Sikhs. Amber Rudd met with Sikh leaders and community groups at Sri Guru Singh Sabha Gurdwara in Southall, London, last month. She heard about work underway to bring the community together to beat hatred as she met representatives from the Gurdwara, local charities and the Sikh Council UK. Home Secretary Amber Rudd said: “The Sikh community plays an important role in the diverse Britain that works for everyone and I was delighted to visit the Sri Guru Singh Sabha Gurdwara and hear about the important work taking place to unite the community. “Hate crime has absolutely no place in our society and it is vital we protect those who follow this peaceful religion. That is why I’ve made over £3 million available to protect places of worship and for community projects to combat hatred, and I’d urge all Gurdwaras and

Home Secretary Amber Rudd meeting with Gurudwara leaders

Sikh groups to consider whether this funding could help them.” Sri Guru Singh Sabha Gurdwara plays an important role in the Government’s Near Neighbours programme, which brings together people from different faiths and backgrounds in diverse areas so they can work together to improve their communities. During the visit the Home Secretary met with representatives from the scheme and several women’s groups. She heard about the work being conducted by The Listening Project, who provide counselling for vulnerable women of different faiths,

including Sikhs, and Ladies 4Tea, who help Somali women integrate with the local community. Sikh Council UK Secretary General Gurmel Singh said: “The Sikh Council UK welcomes the visit by the Home Secretary to a landmark Gurdwara in the heart of a diverse community. This was a great opportunity to see firsthand the Sikh ethos of self help and community cohesion in action. The Home Secretary’s commitment towards tackling hate crime and improving community cohesion is acknowledged, and the role faith can play in modern Britain is very well received by the community.”

Home Secretary speaking to attendees

The Home Secretary’s latest engagement with the Sikh community comes after she co-hosted a roundtable for faith representatives with the Communities Secretary last month, with attendees including the Sikh Council and Lord Singh CBE from the Network of Sikh Organisations. Sri Guru Singh Sabha Gurdwara Vice President Sohan Singh Sumra said: “It was a great pleasure to have the Home Secretary visit the Southall Gurdwara. The way she spoke to us and listened to what we had to say was much appreciated. I am delighted to see the Government engaging with the Sikh community and respecting the important contribution that we make to British life.” The Home Secretary published the Hate Crime Action Plan in July, which included measures to combat racial and religious hate crime. Alongside action to encourage greater reporting and tougher sentences, she announced £2.4 million that places of worship which are at risk of, or which have been victims of, hate crime can apply for to fund security measures such as CCTV or fences. An additional £900,000 was made available for innovative community projects tackling hate crime. Nine schemes have already been awarded over £300,000. The next round of bids for both of these funds will open in the Spring.

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will be the butt of family ‘loser’ jokes forever. Writing truly is a labour of love. Only write if you love writing. Thankfully, it’s been the greatest love affair of my life. Single and almost 40, that’s something my parents, the masis and mamis aren’t entirely happy about. 8. What are your long term goals? As well as writing for theatre, I’d like to write novels and films about Asian experiences too. Very different mediums but I grew up fully immersed in both, unlike theatre which I’ve only learnt about in recent years. 9. If you were Prime Minister, what one aspect would you change? Privatisation/the marketization of everything - bodies, education and emotions included. I’d spend the defence budget fighting capitalism. 10. If you were marooned on a desert island, which historical figure would you like to spend your time with and why? Buddha (or Guru Nanak). With all that meditating and appreciating the beauty of solitude, there might not be a whole lot of conversation but whenever there might be, it would be divine.

97 nail salon workers arrested in crackdown on modern slavery

Almost 100 arrests were made after police raided nail bars in relation to immigration offences. A total of 97 people were held during the weeklong operation launched at the end of last month. It also saw dozens of businesses warned they could face fines and 14 people identified as potentially being at risk of modern slavery. The activity was part of Operation Magnify, a cross-government drive to clamp down on illegal working by targeting specific ‘risk’ industries. The operation, led by I m m i g r a t i o n Enforcement, took place from November 27 to December 3 and saw officers visit more than 280 businesses across the UK. The majority of the 97 people arrested were Vietnamese nationals, but the number also included suspected immigration offenders from

Mongolia, Ghana, China, Nigeria, Pakistan and India. Those who are potential victims of trafficking will be offered support, while those who have no right to be in the UK will be removed, the Home Office said. Officers also issued notices to 68 businesses warning them they may be liable for financial penalties of up to £20,000 per illegal worker found if they cannot provide evidence that appropriate right to work document checks were carried out. Operation Magnify is an initiative aiming to tackle exploitative employers who provide low-paid jobs to illegal migrants. It focused on the construction, care, cleaning, catering, taxi and car wash industries during 2016, with further activity in similar sectors planned for 2017.


C MMENTS

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Demonetisation – a risky but necessary step Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a risky and surprise announcement on November 8 by demonetising India's high demonetisation Rs 1000 and 500 notes. It was a drastic step full of imponderables. His intention was to fight corruption and black money. Following the announcements there were long queues outside banks either to exchange old notes or to withdraw money from the accounts. People were seen standing in line for hours together in front of banks in an orderly manner. Though there were murmurs of dissent, people suffered for the sake of the country. Tragicaly, some old people even lost their lives while standing in the queue, but there were no riots By and large this shows that people have accepted the steps taken by Modi as a necessary thing to do. After 50 days of demonetisation, Modi last Saturday addressed the nation and made demonetisation as a battle between “honest and dishonest.” Modi said that the taxes recovered from large suppressed incomes benefit the socially and economically vulnerable. He said he would protect interests of poor, middle class and promised more action against black money and tax evaders. The PM announced schemes and measures for the poor, farmers, small traders, women and senior citizens. Modi said the pain of demonetisation would be worth the while if the dishonest are punished and promised he will not take his eye off the ball with more measures to curb corruption and unveil black money on the anvil. Promising action against those who are dishonest about their tax liabilities, he said “The question being asked is what will happen to the dishonest? Law will deal with them strictly,” he said. Modi described demonetisation as a “historic shuddi yagna” (Cleansing operation) that will set the country's

direction in coming years. He said people had supported demonetisation despite having to stand in lines for hours to withdraw their own money because they wanted to escape the stifling effect of distortions and ills caused by corruption, black money and fake currency. Modi said that gains from demonetisation in terms of money that has become part of the formal economy will be used to benefit the poor and small tradesmen who find it hard to access credit. He said it would be his priority to find ways and means to reward honest citizens while there would be tough action against the unscrupulous. The PM said more measures would come to nab tax evaders and black money hoarders. Modi announced 8 per cent return for the saving schemes for senior citizens. Modi said that assured return would be offered on deposits of up to Rs 7.5 lakh for 10 years. Modi's incentive schemes for the people will permeate into the market and would benefit the whole nation. Modi's steps have changed the attitude of the people and they are now looking at corrupt people with contempt. The demonetisation has increased the deposits in the banks and this in the long run would benefit the country. Banks will have more money to finance welfare schemes for the people. The demonetisation has brought out the black sheep in the society and many of them were caught by the officials. Even some bank officials were caught indulging in corruption and they would face the law in due course. Even most of the industrialists supported the move as a necessary step though they also faced hardship due to restrictions on withdrawals. Overall the majority of the people accepted it as a necessary step though the opposition parties have opposed the steps.

Time for us to raise our voice against terror A mere 75 minutes into 2017, Turkish city Istanbul fell victim to its first terrorist attack of the new year. A gunman opened fire on revellers at a jam-packed nightclub situated on the shores of Bosporus, on January 1. The perpetrator, who remains at large, killed at least 39 people, including two Indians and several foreigners, in his seven minute shooting spree, shooting 180 bullets. The past year was rather harsh on Turkey, with its failed July 15 coup and a string of deadly bombings in major cities, including capital Ankara. The attack on the Reina club was claimed by ISIS. Handful of days before the New Year's eve the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant had put up an online message calling for attacks by "lone wolves" on "celebrations, gatherings and clubs". A threat which prompted tight security across the country, 17,000 police officers were deployed in Istanbul alone. The Reina Club is one of the best known nightspots, popular with locals and foreigners, making it an apt mark for terrorists. Somewhere around 700 people were said to have been inside the club when the gunman shot dead a policeman and a civilian and forced his way in and opened fire. Istanbul Governor Vasip ahin said the attacker used a "long-range weapon" to "brutally and savagely" fire on people. Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said the suspect

remains at large and is now the target of a primary manhunt. "The attacker, in the most brutal and merciless way, targeted innocent people who had only come here to celebrate the New Year and have fun," Governor Vasip said. Identities of 35 victims were confirmed by the authorities. Twenty four of the deceased are said to be foreign nationals, the other 11 are reported to be Turkish citizens. In the last few weeks of 2016, Turkey already limped its way through assorted terrorist strikes, be it from the Kurdish group or the ISIS. Two bombs were placed by PKK militants outside a football stadium, 44 people were killed. A car bomb by PKK claimed 13 soldiers and wounded 56. The Russian Ambassador to Turkey was shot dead by an off-duty police officer while giving a speech in Ankara. And these, are just major reported incidents. People of foreign nationalities killed on January 1, included seven Saudi Arabians, two Indians, one Canadian, one Syrian, one Israeli, two Tunisians, four Iraqis, one Lebanese, and one Belgian. If there aren't enough reasons for nations to unify against terrorismmaybe this could motivate leaders to call upon each other. Every terrorist attack is an attack on ourselves. Innocents have been brutally slaughtered for several decades now, and it is about time we all raised our voice against it.

Akhilesh stages coup, grabs power from the old guard Three months of acrimonious manoeuvres and countermanoeuvres resulted in Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav staging a coup and dislodging his father Mulayam Singh Yadav as Samajwadi Party president and installing himself as the party boss at an emergency meeting of the party. Mulayam was made margdarshak (the guide). Akhilesh represents the future of Samajwadi Party. The new president was installed during the meeting of the SP national executive, where another sensational development was removing Akhilesh's adversaries Shivpal Yadav and Amar Singh from party posts. With the old guard resisting to handover the baton to the gen-next leader, Akhilesh has done well to grab authority ahead of the crucial assembly elections. When Akhilesh was appointed CM by his father in 2012, it was assumed that the move would end the succession battle within SP. But the CM did not get a free hand in running the state's affairs and his authority was undermined at regular intervals. When Akhilesh asserted himself, it was met by stiff resistance from uncle Shivpal and from Mulayam. At the core of the dysfunctional joint family politics is the SP legacy of patronising criminal elements and corruption. Akhilesh has consciously tried to build a different image. It was against the wishes of Akhilesh that mafia don Atiq Ahmed was given a ticket and Mukhtar Ansari's Qaumi Ekta Dal was merged with SP. But while its past glories might have come from muscle power and caste

politics, the future of SP lies with Akhilesh, who has managed to brand himself as a leader committed to development and middle-class aspirations in a state witnessing urbanisation. The CM also enjoys popularity among women and youth. Mulayam is not going to give up power so soon. He has complained to the Election Commission that the meeting which declared Akhilesh the party president was unconstitutional. Meanwhile, political rivals are keenly interested in how all this infighting is weakening SP. It strengthens Mayawati's message that Muslim interests would be better served by voting for BSP. It gives Amit Shah a reason to smile too, after dismal reports of how public discontent over the cash crunch has hurt BJP prospects. Congress would like to seek the CM riding the saddle because he is more open to an alliance with it than Mulayam. As for SP, its prospects strengthen with the strengthening of Akhilesh. Sources said a revamp of the national executive will also begin in two days. Akhilesh is tipped to nominate cousin and Lok Sabha MP Dharmendra Yadav to the national executive. According to Article 14(2) of the SP constitution, a special convention can be convened on the back of a demand for it by 40% or more members. Ram Gopal claimed this was the case. The SP constitution also permits a general secretary to convene such a convention, and says it should be led by party vice president - in this case Kiranmoy Nanda - in absence of the president.

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If we ever forget that we are One Nation Under God, then we will be a nation gone under.

- Ronald Reagan

Vibrant Gujarat summit to be bigger than ever The eighth edition of biennial investors' summit, Vibrant Gujarat is set to commence from January 10, and is expected to be bigger than ever. With participation from over 10 different countries, the Global Investors' Summit this year has a lot on its plate, including featuring action seminars, and interactive sessions with Nobel prize winners. While Gujarat looks forward to invite much more business than it did in 2015, this time, it has decided to do it with much glitz and pomp. Vibrant Gujarat was initiated in 2003 by then chief minister Narendra Modi. The event saw over 73 MoUs signed, all worth and investment of $ 14 billion. Conspicuously known as an industrial state, the state has been in direct competition with China, Japan, Taiwan, and South Korea in terms of business. A lot of credit goes to Modi for developing Gujarat based on its strength. With a flagship idea, which was later mirrored by chief ministers of other Indian states, Modi- along with other prominent Gujarati business leaders, pitched for direct foreign investment. Over the years, the focus of the Vibrant summits have remained on various sectors including, Information Technology, Biotechnology, Agro, Energy, Gas, Petroleum, and other Non-conventional sources of energy. The central focus of this year's Summit is Sustainable Economic and Social Development. The total of seven summits held until now have been met with resounding success and transformed Gujarat into a "Global Business Hub". The year 2016 has been a good for Gujarat. Even with the leadership changing after a brief glitch in the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, several employment opportunities opened up courtesy the previous summit, MoUs were put into execution, or plan, and the local businesses got an opportunity to mingle with big names. Gujarat also audaciously stepped into the defence sector. After making its mark in the Automobile sector, data put forth by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion said the state was granted 18 out of total 99 industrial licenses for private companies to set up units for defence related items- the highest for any state for the period of 2015 and 2016. It also received major impetus in the Information Technology sector that may cross £20 billion by FY 2020-21, as clocked by industry body ASSOCHAM. What began as a way to bring in investment, Vibrant has blossomed into a global business event. This year's event will bring in good news for Start Ups, as there are several seminars scheduled on innovation, start-ups and entrepreneurship. The state government is also in contact with incubators and entrepreneurs from various fields such as academics and finance to help position Gujarat as a potential start up hub. The first vision document was launched in the 2016 edition of the Summit, where a guideline of policies was laid out to aid a holistic environment for growth for start-ups. The 2017 edition will improve upon these further by bringing together people from diverse fields such as industry, technology and science to help shape the policies of the future. Editor: CB Patel

Asian Voice is published by ASIAN BUSINESS PUBLICATIONS LTD Karma Yoga House, 12 Hoxton Market, (Off Coronet Street) London N1 6HW. Tel: 020 7749 4080 • Fax: 020 7749 4081 Email: aveditorial@abplgroup.com Website: www.abplgroup.com © Asian Business Publications


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IS recruit found sleeping on floor of Birmingham mosque is jailed A former Kurdistan fighter discovered sleeping on the floor of a Birmingham mosque has been jailed for three years. Shivan Azeez Zangana, 21, was radicalised in Britain after fleeing the bloodshed in Iraq has been jailed for planning to fight for his former Islamic State foes. He was discovered police sleeping at a mosque in the city, and was sent to the UK by his family to “keep him safe”. But after falling in with “a nest of rats” here, he was turned by a fellow Kurd, asylum seeker Aras Hamid, 27, and agreed to change sides and go with him to fight for IS. Kingston Crown Court heard both were found at the mosque on May 17, days after Azeez’s worried relatives had called 999 with concerns about what he was planning.

Ahmad Ismail (right), from Coventry, has been found guilty of terrorism offences along with two others - Aras Mohammed Hamid (left) and Shivan Hayder Azeez Zangana (middle).

later, hiding in a lorry on the A2 near Dover, Kent, while trying to smuggle himself out the UK. He also had a fake Bulgarian passport. Hamid, who entered the UK illegally in September 2015, had arranged to travel to the war zone to fight for a Kurdish IS unit, the

Azeez dramatically collapsed in the dock Monday after being jailed for three years, but was able to leave unaided after a few minutes. While Azeez was arrested at the mosque, plan ringleader Hamid had items confiscated but was not detained. He was discovered two days

Salahaddin Battalion, documents found on his phone showed. He used code names including “car wash” to mask their intentions and arranged covert meetings, including in a Coventry park and a cemetery. Giving evidence last year, Hamid admitted he wanted to die a martyr’s death and the jury heard that he exchanged messages with other extremists, telling one “we will die as martyrs in the holy land of the caliphate”. He was jailed for seven years. Both he and Azeez were also ordered to serve an extended period of 12 months on licence at the end of their prison sentence. A third man, Ahmed Ismail, 19, of Portwrinkle Avenue, Coventry, was convicted of failing to disclose information about acts of terrorism, and was jailed for 18 months.

Relatives devastated as grandmother dies in New Year’s Day fire The family of a grandmother who died when a blaze tore through her Bordesley Green home on New Year’s Day have spoken of their shock and grief. The 54-year-old was killed after a fire at her terraced house in Fourth Avenue at 7am on Sunday. The inferno gutted the first floor and the woman was found dead at the scene. Members of the family gathered at the nearby Pak Pashtoon Association on Monday morning.

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Asian Voice |7th January 2017

A relative, who did not want to be named, said they would include her in their usual morning prayers at the centre. “It hasn’t sunk in yet, we still can’t believe she’s gone, everyone is in shock. It was a terrible thing and we will spend the next few days mourning and remembering her,” he said. Fire investigators and police were investigating the cause of the fire, which gutted the first floor. It was not being treated as suspicious, but the cause was unknown.

The death also shocked neighbours in the street. The woman was a member of the Pak Pashtoon Association, based on nearby Hob Moor Road. It is a charity set up to help the local community. A notice was put on its Facebook page stating: “Due to unforeseen circumstances, the AGM scheduled for Sunday 1st January 2017 has been rescheduled.” Shane Khattak, assistant secretary said: “We are deeply saddened by what has hap-

pened and it is a great shock to our community. “Our deep condolences go out to the family and we will be offering prayer supplications for the family.” West Midlands Fire Service said crews from Ward End and Hay Mills attended the blaze, which had taken hold of the first floor and loft space of the house. A spokeswoman said: “Our fire investigation team has been on scene and our findings have now been passed on to police.”

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Worshippers at a gurdwara raise £2,750 for Macmillan

The Namdhari Sikh Sangat community laid on a spread of sweets and savouries, including samosa, pakoras and cakes at their Leicester temple in Spinney Hills. There were also games, face painting, henna tattoss and a raffle. Sukhdev Roopra, Kiran Toor and other organisers said members of the community had received invaluable support from Macmillan and they wanted to give something back. A spokeswoman told the Leicester Mercury: "The turnout was fantastic. It was busy from start to finish and it was great to see people from so many different faiths coming together and aiding the cause." In total, Namdhari Sikh Sangat community members raised more than £6,500 at gurdwara around the country.

Sharp rise in calls to NSPCC

Calls to the NSPCC helpline reporting suspected child abuse and neglect have rocketed to 81 per cent, according to new figures from the charity. The helpline, which takes calls and emails from adults in Leicestershire who are worried about children, received a total of 60 contacts in December 2015. This is up 81 per cent from the total of 33 in December 2011. The most common issue in Leicestershire was neglect, with 23 calls. Across the country, the helpline received 3,750 contacts in December 2015. The number is up by a third over four years, showing that while December is a wonderful month for many, for some it is a time of heightened risk and increased vulnerability. Of the 3,750 contacts, 30 per cent were from people reporting cases of neglect, reaching 1,129 – a 60 per cent rise since 2011. And reports of sexual abuse had risen 54 per cent from four years ago, to 580.

Director appointed to head business group expansion A national director has been appointed to take a new concept in business networking nationwide. Kasim Choudhry, aged 27, has been appointed as National Director of Pathway2grow, part of the Birmingham based Pathway Group. He was appointed shortly after organising the first ever highly successful Asian Apprenticeship Awards in Birmingham. Pathway2grow has successfully launched in Birmingham and London an afternoon event ‘Coffee and Natter’ and an evening group ‘Chutney and Chat.’ The concept behind both groups is to provide opportunities

Kasim Choudhry

for businesses to get together in an

informal atmosphere free from the pressures and formality often involved with networking groups. Coffee and Natter is a free event based around businesspeople getting together for coffee or tea and chat. Groups meet in the afternoon once a month and there is always a guest speaker and a review of a business related book. Chutney and Chat is for people who want to meet and have a meal together and listen to the guest speaker. “We have ‘road tested’ Coffee and Natter in the Birmingham and London area for a year and likewise ‘Chutney and Chat’ in

Birmingham and there are now groups in Manchester, Derby and Bradford,” said Kasim Choudhry. “People know that networking and building relationships is the best way to do business but we are responding to a view that many networking groups that exist are too formal. The idea that underpins Pathway2grow is that businesses can learn and grow together. “We are now ready to expand throughout the UK and are keen to hear from people who would like to be involved in running both Coffee and Natter and Chutney and Chat groups.”

HM Royal Navy supports Carnatic Choir concert A senior Royal Navy official has renewed his pledge to encourage and attract more recruits from diverse communities. Speaking at the annual national concert of the British Carnatic Choir (BCC) in Birmingham last night, Commander Al Gibson said that low numbers of recruits from Black, Asian & Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities was “unacceptable”. The BCC is the brainchild of Dr Chithra Ramakrishnan, one of the country’s finest Carnatic vocalists and Artistic Director of Shruthi UK, the Solihull-based South Asian arts organisation. It aims to complement former PM David Cameron’s British Values in an attempt to encourage all citizens to respect each others’ ways of life and to celebrate good work, through the sounds, words and pictures of the BCC. Carnatic music is a system of classical music

Carnatic Choir Participants including (at the back) a team from Coventry University

associated with the southern part of the Indian subcontinent. Attended by representatives from public and private sector organisations, the milestone event, themed ‘Journey of Carnatic Music’, took place at Bournville Gardens retirement village Guests included West

Midlands’ Deputy Lieutenant Simon Topman MBE, Her Majesty’s former Lord Lieutenant of the West Midlands Paul Sabapathy CBE and Dr K Somasundara Rajah and his wife Jega Rajah from The Balaji Temple, one of Europe’s largest Hindu temples. Also in attendance

was Dr Ramakrishnan’s mentor, Guru Neyveli Santhanagopalan, a highly acclaimed, word-class musician and musicologist. Dr Ramakrishnan paid tribute to her Late father Dr S Seetharaman who she said had been a pillar in her passion. This year she introduced seven awards, including one attributed to her Late father. The other awards for ‘Best’ vocalist, performer, singer, strings, percussion and a BCC Patrons & Trustees award were presented to recipients by Commander Al Gibson and Paul Sabapathy. Participants, of all ages, the youngest aged just 7, reflected the multicultural make-up of Great Britain and included students from Coventry and Birmingham City universities. To listen to podcasts, learn more about Carnatic music or to find out more about BCC visit www.britishcarnaticchoir.com


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Family lives £100m high life on profits from NHS drug deals The Times newspaper has revealed that a British businessman has earned £100 million in the past five years by selling licences for drugs, many of which have undergone huge price rises. Anil Sharma, 64, is among the biggest individual beneficiaries so far identified from the exploitation of a loophole in NHS rules that has allowed companies to implement large price increases. The companies have been able to avoid limits on drug profits by selling medicines under generic rather than brand names. Although he has not raised prices himself, Mr Sharma has managed to make a fortune by acting as a middleman, obtaining licences for generic drugs and selling them to other pharmaceutical companies. Over the past five years at least 24 of the drugs for

Mos st popula ar agen nt to INDIA DIA Social media photos show Anil Sharma and his son, Udaya, enjoying vodka and champagne

which he has sold licences have had dramatic price rises. These include three types of trimipramine, an antidepressant that has quadrupled in price to about £200 a packet since he sold the licences; it was as little as £11 when he first obtained it. Another drug, a hyperthyroidism treatment called carbimazole, rose from £6.77 for a packet of 5mg tablets when he sold the licence to a peak of more than £100.

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Ealing Council backs 1 Million Minutes loneliness campaign Ealing Council is supporting Good Morning Britain’s 1 Million Minutes campaign to combat loneliness amongst older people. The campaign, led by ITV’s Good Morning Britain breakfast show and charities Age UK, Royal Voluntary Service, Campaign to End Loneliness and The Silver Line, urges people to volunteer their time to help an older person. Volunteers can pledge anything from 30 minutes on a one-off basis to more regular weekly commitments of their time. Earlier this year the council launched a new charter setting out how the council and other partners such as Age UK, the NHS, Neighbourly Care and Campaign to End Loneliness plan to tackle the issue. Ealing’s cabinet mem-

SR RI LANKA A Amazing o offfers on To our & Holidays H ber for public health and adults’ services, Councillor Hitesh Tailor signed up to the campaign this week. He said: “Research shows that being lonely can have a huge impact on a person’s mental and physical health and make them more likely to visit their GP. “Although the council and its partners are working all year round to provide activities and support so that people don’t feel so isolated, we recognise that Christmas and New Year can be especially difficult

for some people which is why we are supporting the 1 Million Minutes campaign. Whether it is just checking on an elderly neighbour who you think may be lonely or making a regular commitment to volunteer, I would encourage people to think how they may help others and sign up to the campaign.” For information on community groups, activities and support available in Ealing visit: http://www.careplace.org. uk/

Slough fraudster and thief given jail sentence A woman who defrauded three organisations, including a charity, for tens of thousands of pounds in the space of just three years, has been jailed. Karen Muhammad, 52, of Windmill Road, Slough, was sentenced to three years in prison for fraud and theft offences. She was chosen to chair the Chalvey Partnership charity when it was founded with the aim of working with residents to identify community projects that would benefit the area. One of her proposals required funding from Slough Borough Council for new gym equipment that was never actually

purchased. Muhammad also received money from the council directly in to her personal account for a street party that never happened. At trial, Muhammad claimed she had been using the money to pay off her own debts to the maintenance company Metro Management Co. Limited, where she was formerly director and chairman, when in fact she was defrauding them too. The company dissolved in 2014. It emerged that she had diverted funds running to tens of thousands of pounds from the Chalvey

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HONOURS LIST 2017 Asian Voice |7th January 2017

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ASIANS ONCE AGAIN DAZZLE IN The New Year’s Honours List was published last Thursday (30th December) in recognition of the achievements of a wide range of extraordinary people right across the United Kingdom. Hundreds of sports stars, celebrities, scientists, community champions and politicians have been recognised in the New Year's Honours. The list consists of 1,197 honours and women statistically making up more than half of those on the list, with 603 earning an award representing just over 50% of the total. Also 9.3% of the successful candidates come from a Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) background, the greatest ever number of BAME

Medicine as well as 322 BEMs, 503 MBEs and 222 OBEs around 10% of the honours are for work in education with Team GB’s Olympic and Paralympic stars making up another 10%. However yet again the Honours List has attracted much criticism with Jeremy Corbyn voicing his anger at the number of awards that have been Ravindra Pragji Govindia, MBE handed to Tories and honoured for his service to local their supporters. government The Parliamentary and Political Service recipients in an honours list Committee has made a including a Knighthood, number of recommendagiven to Professor Shankar tions, including knightBalasubramanian, Herchel hoods for Julian Brazier, Smith Professor of Conservative MP for Medicinal Chemistry, at Canterbury and Whitstable, University of Cambridge for David Crausby, Labour MP his services to Science and

Naim Ibrahim Attallah: Publisher. Quartet Books. For services to Literature and the Arts. (London)

biggest economic development and home building programme.

for Bolton North East, and Steve Webb, former minister and ex-Liberal Democrat MP for Thornbury and Yate. Overall 14 people are honoured for "political service" - 10 Tory supporters, two Labour and two Lib Dems. Seven members of DWP staff are nominated including for "services to welfare reform". The boss of the Department for International Development, Mark Lowcock, is made a Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath. And 12 members of Home Office staff are on the list, including Theresa May's former legal advisor Peter Fish and former Deputy Principal Private Secretary Alastair Whitehead.

Commanders of the Order of the British Empire Hardip Singh Begol: Director. Independent Education Safeguarding in Schools and Counter Extremism, Department for Education. For services to Education. (London) Professor Kamaldeep Singh Bhui: Professor of Cultural Psychiatry and Epidemiology. Wolfson Institute of Preventative Medicine Queen Mary University of London. For services to Mental Healthcare. (Amersham, Buckinghamshire) Ravindra Pragji Govindia, MBE: Leader Wandsworth Borough Council. For services to Local Government and the community in Wandsworth, London. (London). Ravibhai was born in Uganda and arrived in the UK in 1972 where he studied Law at Queen Mary College where he also became active in Conservative Party. In 1982 he became the first Asian Councillor to be elected to Wandsworth Council and went on to hold many key positions before being elected Leader of the Council in 2011. He was previously awarded MBE for his community service to diverse organisations in arts, community relations and disability rights . His significant past credits include chair of Tara Arts, head of finance at Greater London Association of Disabled People and Treasurer of Friends of Seva Mandir UK. He played a key role in securing the Northern Line extension to Nine Elms in north Battersea, which unlocked central London’s

Professor Anita Thapar: Clinical Professor. Institute of Psychological Medicine and Clinical Neurosciences Cardiff University. For services to Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. (Cardiff)

Officers of the Order of the British Empire

Abdul Fazal Bhanji: Deputy Chair. University of London Board of Trustees. For services to Education and Young People. (London) Imran Gulamhuseinwala: Global Lead for FinTech. Ernst and Young. For services to Financial Services. (London) Mrs Poonam Gupta: Chief executive Officer, PG Paper Company Ltd. For services to Business and charity. (Greenock, Renfrewshire) Poonam Gupta, the multi-award winning chief executive of paper supplier PG Paper in Greenock, received an OBE for services to business and charity.

paign. The business, which is owned by Gupta and her husband Puneet Gupta, acquired some of Tullis Russell’s brands after the papermaker collapsed in 2015. Bookbinding expert Maureen Duke, who has spent a lifetime honing her craft and passing on those skills to others over the course of 70 years, was made a BEM (Medallist of the Order of the British Empire) for services to the craft of bookbinding.

Naseem Aslam Khan: Managing director. Jennings Motor Group. For services to the Economy and charity. (Stockton on Tees, Durham) Dr Brinder Singh Mahon: Chief executive Officer. Nishkam School Trust. For services to Education. (Birmingham, West Midlands) Professor Ghulam Jeelani Mufti: Professor of Haemato-oncology. School of Medicine King's College London. For services to Haematological Medicine. Avtar Singh Purewal: Regional head of Learning and Skills. HM Prison Service Yorkshire. For services to Prisoners. Jasvir Singh: Founding Chair. City Sikhs. For voluntary service to Faith Communities and Social Cohesion.

Poonam Gupta with husband Puneet

PG Paper has grown into one of Scotland’s biggest exporters and the company works closely with a number of charities including Action for Children Scotland and Oxfam’s South Asian cam-

Mohammad Taj: President. TUC. For services to Trade Unionism. (West Yorkshire) Dr Hakim Yadi: Chief executive Officer. Northern Health Science Alliance. For services to Healthcare Technology and the Economy. (London)

Members of the Order of the British Empire

Councillor Mohammed Aikhlaq: Chair of Governors. Leigh Primary School Birmingham. For services to Education. (Birmingham, West Midlands) Imran Amed: Founder and chief executive Officer and Editor-in-chief. The Business of Fashion. For services to Fashion. (London) Mrs Anjana Purnawaty Appiah: Foster Carer, Islington Council. For services to Children. (London) Krushnah Appiah: Foster Carer. Islington Council. For services to Children. (London) Surjit Singh Chowdhary: Vice-president. Central Gurdwara Singh Sabha Glasgow. For services to the Sikh Community and charity. (Glasgow) Parkash Singh Dhami: President. Telford Gurdwara. For services to charity and Community Cohesion. (Telford, Shropshire) Arjuna Gihan Fernando: Investor and Entrepreneur. For services to the Digital Economy. (Sevenoaks, Kent)

Knighthoods

Professor Shankar Balasubramanian: Herchel Smith Professor of Medicinal Chemistry. University of Cambridge. For services to Science and Medicine. (Cambridgeshire) Balasubramanian, 50, is the co-inventor of Next Generation DNA sequencing, considered the most transformational advance in biology and medicine for decades, the citation accompanying his knighthood announcement said. Born in Madras (now Chennai) India in 1966, S h a n k a r Balasubramanian moved to the UK with his parents in 1967. He grew up in a rural area just outside Runcorn in Cheshire and attended Daresbury Primary School, then Dance in the UK. (London) Mrs Uzma Johal: Festival director, Frequency Festival and Co-founder and director, Threshold Studios. For services to the Digital Economy in the East Midlands. Mrs Sarbjit Kaur: Detective Sergeant, Merseyside Police. For services to Policing. (Wirral, Merseyside) Javid Khan: For services to the Prevention of Forced Marriage and Honour Based Violence. (Blackburn, Lancashire) Massa Singh Nandra: For services to charity and the community in South London. (London) Shezad Arif Nawab: Cofounder and chief Operating Officer. Sfhere. For services to Business and Diversity. (Solihull, West Midlands)

top Asian snack company Priyeshbhai was named Leicester Mercury Business Executive of the Year 2015. He was also named Business Executive of the Year for a medium-sized company. Cofresh makes more than 200 products ranging from Bombay mix to potato snacks which sell in chains such as Asda, Tesco, Sainsbury's and Morrisons. The family business has 100 staff and is anticipating a UK turnover of around £25 million this year – up from £22 million last year, with further growth planned after moving into new premises in Menzies Road, off Abbey Lane. Speaking to Asian Voice he said: I am grateful for the leadership and support of my parents, my family and the team at Cofresh who are the heart of this recognition. I am humbled and deeply honoured to be recognised to receive a MBE in the Queen’s New Year 2017 Honour List’

Inayat Omarji: For services to Built Heritage and the community in Bolton. (Bolton, Greater Manchester) Priyesh Patel: Managing director. Cofresh Snack Foods. For services to the Economy in Leicestershire and to Exports. (Leicestershire). As the boss of the UK's

Mrs Vanita Patel

Mrs Sharan Ghuman: Higher Officer, Outbound Detection Heathrow, Border Force. For services to the Safeguarding of Vulnerable People. ( C o l n b r o o k , Buckinghamshire) Mrs Sunita Golvala: For services to South Asian

Appleton Hall High School (which has since amalgamated to form Bridgewater High School). He then went on to study at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge, where he did his undergraduate degree in Natural Sciences (1985– 88) and continued with a PhD for research on the Reaction mechanism of the enzyme Chorismate synthase supervised by Chris Abell (1988-1991).

Priyesh Patel

Mrs Vanita Patel: AntiSlavery Ambassador, Worldwide Eradication of Slavery. For charitable services to Human Rights. (London). Vanitaben lives in Kingston-Upon-Thames. She balances family life with her husband, children,


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HONOURS LIST 2017 Asian Voice |7th January 2017

7

NEW YEAR’S HONOURS LIST 2017 grandchildren and cares for older relatives whilst supporting her family business interests. For the past 22 years Vanita has found the time to devote her energy into a cause that she is most passionate about – the end of modern slavery – and has managed to fundraise £1.5 million for a range of antislavery projects both here in the UK and abroad. Her passion for the cause and persistence is contagious not only is she brilliantly diligent, she has the ability to motivate people into giving the charity their products, time and services for nothing. This is what marks her out as a truly incredible charity fundraiser, as well as in applying encyclopedic event supplier knowledge. Ms Indhu Rubasingham: Artistic director. Tricycle Theatre. For services to Theatre. (London) Mohammed Abid Saleh: Detective Constable. CSE Team Lancashire Constabulary. For services to Policing and the community in East Lancashire. (Blackburn, Lancashire) Mohamed Karim Sbihi: For services to Rowing. (Kingston upon Thames, Surrey) Mukesh Shah: For charitable and community service in the UK and Abroad. Mrs Sangeeta Rajesh Shingadia: Field Force Officer, HM Revenue and

Customs. For services to Debt Collection and charitable service in the UK and India. (London) Professor Sital Singh Sitara: For services to Sikh Heritage and Culture. (London) Miss Manisha Tailor: For services to Football and Diversity in Sport. (London) Jatinder Verma: Cofounder. Tara Arts. For services to Diversity in the Arts particularly Drama. Born in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania and grew up in Nairobi, Kenya. Migrated to Britain in 1968. Co-founded Tara Arts in 1977 and remains its Artistic Director, developing a unique “Binglish” cross-cultural theatre style, where Asian theatre sensibilities meet European drama. In 1990, Jatinder became the first non-white director at the National Theatre, staging his own adaptation of Molière’s Tartuffe. This was followed by the first-ever staging at the National of the Sanskrit classic The Little Clay Cart. Since 2010, has been leading on the renovation of Tara’s home in south London to create Britain’s first multicultural theatre, fusing Edwardian brick and Indian wood. Due to open in September 2016. Jatinder holds Honorary Doctorates from the universities of Exeter, York and De Montfort, Leicester and is an Honorary Fellow of Rose

Director of Public Health Education and Training. Nuffield Department of Population Health University of Oxford. For services to Public Health. (Oxfordshire)

Jatinder Verma

Bruford College. Mrs Mira Vyas: Senior Executive Officer, Universal Credit Programme, Department for Work and Pensions. For services to Welfare and the community in London. (London) Miraben has worked for the DWP for 33 years and is

Mrs Riffat Perveen Young: Head of Corporate Services, Department for International Development Nepal. For services to International Emergency Response. (London)

British Empire Medal

Miss Trudi Jeannette Abadi: Manager. National Confidential Unit North of England, National Crime Agency. For services to Law and Order. (North Yorkshire) Mohammed Farooq: For services to Fundraising and Providing Meals to Disadvantaged Children in Peterborough. (Peterborough, Cambridgeshire)

Mrs Mira Vyas

one of 11 department staff members to be given the award this year. She was described by colleagues as a “stalwart” of the Barnet community, known for founding a breakfast and after-school club in the area to help new parents get back into work. Dr Premila Nalini Webster:

Chaiwala's bid to make polygamy normal He’s the owner and founder of Britain’s first ever polygamy matrimony website and already has well over 100,000 members signed up to it since launching in June. Thirty-four-year-old Azad Chaiwala, from Sunderland, is currently in the process of setting up a matrimony harmony website – his third after the success SecondWife.com and Polygamy.com. Speaking to Metro.co.uk on the need for such a website, the young entrepreneur said: “We’re quite hypocritical in our society in the sense that we allow mis-

tresses, we visit prostitutes, watch pornography and visit strip clubs. As long as a man is not bringing it home it’s fine. They just have their mistresses and keep them there rather than turning them into wives. So I’m giving them the option to do the honourable thing and have multiple families. To practise it in an open upfront honourable way rather than going to nightclubs and visiting women. By me doing this I’m actually keeping families together.” The Metro report says after struggling to find a second wife, following his

marriage, Azad decided to set up a digital service to help him and others on their quest. That’s when he launched SecondWife.com in 2014. He then launched Polygamy.com in 2016 for non-Muslims wanting polygamous marriages. In the UK, polygamy is illegal under Section 57 of the Offences Against the Person Act 1861, but it is permitted in some interpretations of Islam. If you’re a man, you can have four wives at a time. Azad hopes his current websites and his new one will continue to change the way people perceive polygamy.

Police are appealing for witnesses after two children were assaulted on board a Metropolitan Line service in Wembley Park for putting their feet on the seats. The train, travelling from Liverpool Street to Uxbridge, had stopped at Wembley Park when a man onboard the service shouted at two children, aged four

and five, at around 5.20pm on November 12. The man was unhappy that the children, who were accompanied by their mother, had their feet on the seats. He grabbed one of the children by the ankle and the other by the knee and tried to physically remove them from the seats. Investigating officer PC Ryan Hutchings said:

“The children and their mother were left distressed after the incident and I am very keen to speak to anyone who was travelling in this particular tube carriage and may have witnessed the incident. “If you have any information about this incident please contact 0800 40 50 40 or text 61016 citing reference 84 of 28 December.”

Appeal to find commuter who assaulted two children in Wembley Park

Mrs Habidah Glass: School Volunteer, Clayton Village Primary School, Bradford and Gladstone Primary School, Scarborough. For services to Education. (Bradford, West Yorkshire) Emrul Islam: Chairman. Newark Youth London Limited. For services to Sport and the community in East London. (London) Pirthipal Singh Kang: For services to Fire and Rescue Awareness and Community

UK NEWS

Cohesion in North Kent. (Gravesend, Kent) Ms Davinder Kaur: Chief executive Officer. SWEDA and Chair Sandwell Consortium. For services to Women's Enterprise and the community in Sandwell, West Midlands. (West Bromwich, West Midlands) Gurcharan Mall: For services to British Asian Music and Performing Arts. (Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands) Siraaj-ul-Haq Nadat: Senior Quality of Life Facilitator. Changing Our Lives. For services to People with Disabilities in the West Midlands. (Walsall, West Midlands) Sewa Singh Nandhra: For services to the community. particularly in Woolwich. London. (London)

Football Club. For services to Football and Inclusion in Kent. Mrs Vijey Rattan: Chair, Naree Shakti. For services to Interfaith Relations in Enfield. (London) Miss Nadia Fauzi Saba: For services to Triathlon in Bristol. (Cliftonwood, Bristol) Miss Qurratul Annie Zaidi: For services to Football Coaching. (Nuneaton, Warwickshire)

Diplomatic Service and Overseas List

These are for those who live and work overseas but have made a significant contribution.

OBE

Mrs Carmen Patel: Formerly head of Year 11, Oasis Academy Coulsdon, Croydon. For services to Education. (Crawley, West Sussex)

Professor Ram Prasad (Robin) Sengupta: Chairman. Institute of Neuroscience Kolkata. For services to people with neurological disease in the UK and India, and to the UK/India relationship.

Mrs Parita Paritaten Patel: For voluntary and charitable services to Poverty Reduction in India. (London)

Shehzad Charania: Formerly First secretary. The Hague Netherlands. For services to international law and legal diplomacy.

Ms Indu Popat: Hindu Priest. Ashton under Lyme Hindu Temple. For services to Asian Women in the North West. Baljinder Singh Chairman. Guru

Rana: Nanak

MBE

Queen’s Police Medal for England and Wales

Jagdev Singh Atwal: Chief Superintendent. Derbyshire Constabulary.

Older people more likely to fall victim to email fraud A recent report has warned that more than 1 million older people could have been duped by email scammers. According to a survey by Aviva insurers almost three quarters of over 45s with

internet access said they had been the targets of an email scam and out of these 6 per cent said they had fallen for the trap. The Real Retirement report said that older users are most at risk with 8 per

cent of the over 75s who were questioned saying they were victims. The survey also found that more people had been contacted by scammers via email (73 per cent) than by phone (60 per cent).

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T he Head of Chancer y, High Commission of India, India House, Aldwych, London WC2B 4NA


8

UK

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Asian Voice | 7th January 2017

Anti-Semitic comments by Muslim activists who won PM’s praise Members of a governmentfunded Muslim ‘antiextremism group’ which was lauded by the Prime Minister have been found to have made homophobic and anti-Semitic comments on social media. The Birminghambased charity Odara is a Muslim women’s group claiming to promote integration. It is believed to have received over £150,000 of taxpayers' money through the government’s counter-extremism Prevent programme for the work it does in running workshops for women. Last year, Theresa May, then home secretary, said she was “proud” to support the group “working to stand up against the extremists who seek to divide us”. But according to a Daily Mail report, Aysha Iqbal, leader and cofounder of Odara, and outreach worker Tasmiyah Bint Naeem were both found to have made

Prime Minister Theresa May with Odara founder Aysha Iqbal (right)

numerous comments on Facebook that were antiSemitic and homophobic in nature. Iqbal posted conspiracy theories claiming a series of mass shootings, including the US Sandy Hook massacre, were committed by Israel. Alongside a video entitled, “Israel did Sandy Hook, Newtown CT School Massacres says Michael Harris”, she wrote: “Truth be told.” Bint Naeem made homophobic comments on the social media site, saying she would not “be in

the company of those that are gay”. She posted a video claiming 9/11 was an “inside job”, alongside the caption: “Watch and think.” She also appeared to make anti-Semitic comments – in one she said “may Allah destroy Zionists”. She repeatedly used the word “Zionist” to describe Israelis – a term considered by many to be anti-Semitic in some contexts. These views have now been taken off their Facebook pages.

Alcohol abuse linked to higher heart risks, study says A new study has shown that excessive drinking can increase a person's chances of heart attack and heart failure. Previous studies appeared to find that moderate drinking could be good for the heart, but the new research suggests that intake can be deadly. The NHS estimates that around two million people in England are harmful drinkers, defined as men who drink more than 50 units per week (22 pints) or 35 units for women (three and a half bottles of wine.) But although it was known that heavy drinking damages the liver, raises high blood pressure, and triggers cancer, there had never been any

direct link to heart attack and heart failure. Researchers at the University of California San Francisco analysed data from 15 million patients who attended hospital between 2004 and 2009, 286,000 of whom had been diagnosed with alcohol abuse. The found that heavy

drinking doubled the chance of suffering an irregular heartbeat, raised the risk of a heart attack by 40 per cent and more than doubled the risk of heart failure. Charities said that the findings were yet more evidence of the deadly impact of too much alcohol.

Warning as govt can now record everything you click on online Internet users in the UK are facing greater online surveillance than ever before as the government and police can now record everything you click on online, thanks to the Snooper’s Charter officially coming into force. The controversial law, officially titled the Investigatory Powers Bill, allows the government to collect data on anyone. The government says the new laws will primarily be used to combat crimes like terrorism, but

campaigners have warned that it could lead to innocent people being convicted of offences they didn't commit. The new law will mainly be used to carry out bulk email surveillance, as authorities look to monitor communications between suspects. However it could also be used to monitor other personal information, including phone records and web browsing history. The law, described as “world-leading” by home

secretary Amber Rudd, forces electronic data to be stored by app companies for 12 months, which can be subsequently collected by law enforcement. The companies would also be required to provide police, security services and official agencies with access to this data whenever required. Law enforcement agencies would also be given powers to hack into the computers and mobile devices of potential suspects.

AsianVoiceNewsweekly

Sex slave: British woman survives to tell the tale A British woman has lived to tell the tale after she was kidnapped and abused as a sex slave for 13 years. Anna Ruston claimed the sadistic paedophile sold the babies she had from him raping her while in captivity. She said she was locked in a bedroom by her kidnapper and badly beaten up. Her captor also pimped her out to other men, she alleged. “I can still see that bedroom, the corner where I would rock in pain,” she told The Daily Mirror. “Although after a while I stopped feeling pain, I think my body shut down. And I can smell it – the can I used as a toilet, the garlic he reeked of. I got to the point where I didn’t

know what life was.” Anna Ruston said she was befriended by an Asian taxi driver in the Midlands who lured her to his home before imprisoning her. She alleged she was raped almost every night, eventually escaping after she made up a plan with

a visiting health worker. But her alleged attacker remains unpunished as she has never felt strong enough to give evidence that could help bring him to justice. She says the police asked her to give a statement, but she refused because she feared for her life. Under the pseudonym Anna Ruston, she writes in her memoirs 'Secret Slave' about meeting a taxi driver she calls Malik when she was 15. He was kind to her but when she went to his house expecting to meet his family, she was held captive and subjected to horrific sexual and psychological abuse for more than a decade. Her claims are impossible to verify.

Britons are socialising less with people from different ethnic backgrounds Deep concern over growing segregation as new research shows Britons are socialising less with people from different ethnic backgrounds. A study commissioned by the UK’s leading social integration charity, The Challenge, has found that, compared to a similar survey in 2014, Britons are socialising less with people from a different ethnicity to their own and that as a society we are becoming more segregated by ethnicity. The research in the British Integration Survey, published last month, shows: l White Britons are least likely of all to socialise with other ethnic groups l Black Britons socialise with other Black Britons nearly eight times as much as the researchers expected given the ethnic mix of where they live l Asian Britons socialise with other Asian Britons more than 5 times as much as the researchers expected given the ethnic mix of where they live l Those categorised as in socio-economic groups A and B - those in higher professional occupations - are more likely to socialise with different ethnic groups to their own than those in lower socio-economic groups. The study gives a unique insight into how much we socialise with those different to ourselves, and comes shortly after the Government published its major review into integration by Dame Louise Casey. The review found growing

segregation in cities up and down the country. It also comes amid the ongoing national and international debate about integration and immigration following the UK’s decision to leave the European Union and the victory of Donald Trump.

A key finding of the survey, of 4,265 13 to 80year-olds living in Britain is that White Britons are the least likely ethnic group to take the opportunity to mix socially with those from a different ethnic background to themselves. The researchers found White Britons take up just 38% of the opportunities to socialise with those from a different ethnicity to their own given the demographics of where they live, and that this percentage has dropped from 40% in 2014. The survey also shows that Black Britons take up just 42% of the opportunities open to them to mix socially with a different ethnicity to themselves given the demographics of where they live. This has fallen considerably from 2014 when the figure was 52%. Asian Britons only take

up 41% of the opportunities open to them to mix socially with a different ethnicity. Overall, Britons of all ethnicities are socialising less with people from other ethnicities than in the past. Jon Yates, Director of The Challenge, the country’s leading social integration charity, said: "These figures are stark and show millions of Britons are not mixing with people from a different age or ethnicity to themselves. “The research shows there is an urgent need to improve integration if we are to reap the benefits of an integrated society and avoid the dangers of growing segregation. We know from previous studies that those who mix with people who are different to them have closer ties to their neighbourhoods and higher levels of trust with their neighbours, while those who do not mix are less likely to earn a good salary and more likely to feel isolated and ostracised from their community. “Both individually and collectively we need to make more opportunities in schools, in the workplace and in our communities - to have meaningful contact with those from different walks of life to ourselves. That’s why The Challenge is at the forefront of improving social integration through programmes like the National Citizen Service, which enables young people from different backgrounds to mix together.”


UK Asian Voice | 7th January 2017

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Rani Singh, Special Assignments Editor

Mihir Bose, Writer with the Golden Touch, Gives Us a Book on Silver Award winning writer and journalist Mihir Bose has just penned a book about the only quintuple spy in the Second World War, an Indian man with the code name of Silver. The title of the book is Silver: The Spy Who Fooled the Nazis – the most remarkable agent of the Second World War. Silver was the code name given by Peter Fleming, brother of Ian, creator of James Bond, who during the war ran D (Deception) Division in Delhi. Silver’s real name was Bhagat Ram Talwar, a Hindu Pathan, who was born and grew up in the then North West Frontier Province of British India. It is now part of Pakistan.   

Background

Mihir’s own background is stellar. Mihir Bose writes and broadcasts on social and historical issues as well as sport for a range of outlets including the BBC, the Financial Times and History Today.

Mihir Bose

He has written more than 30 books. His books about history and biography include the only narrative history of Bollywood, biographies of Michael

Grade and the Indian revolutionary Subhas Bose (no relation), a history of the Muslim community of Memons and a study of the Aga Khans.

Other recent books include Game Changer: How the English Premier League Came to Dominate the World and The Spirit of the Game: How Sport Made the Modern World. Bose has also contributed to various books including  British Greats  and  Histories of Nations,  and he coauthored the story of  William Hill. Mihir Bose was the BBC’s first Sports Editor. There, his job involved investigating and analysing sports stories. His scoops included revealing the cost of the Olympics and the Premier League plans for the 39th game. He covered all BBC outlets including the flagship Ten O’Clock News, the Today programme, Five Live and the website. Before joining the BBC, he was the chief sports news correspondent for the Daily Telegraph for 12 years where he created an innovative weekly column, Inside Sport. He has won several awards: business columnist of the year, sports news reporter of the year, sports story of the year and Silver Jubilee Literary award for his  History of Indian Cricket.

Genesis of Silver

Mihir lives in west London, but spoke to us flying from Yangon to Kolkata where he was visiting over New

9

crossed Bose. He fooled Year. We wanted to know the Nazis and got £2.5 milwhat led him to write the lion from Germany.   Some story of Silver. of the money he gave to the “I had first come across Russians and the India his extraordinary story communists.   He kept some years ago, and even some for himself. A comcorresponded with him, munist, he really worked but it is only now that, after for the Russians and the trawling through archives British. But after Indian in the UK and various independence he could not other countries that the full admit the truth. I cortruth can be told. responded with He was spying for him and he did the Germans, not admit the Italians, Japanese, I have now told the truth.  I have the Soviets full story. What it now told the and the means is that we have f u l l British.  In reality he to revise our history story.  What it means is that worked for of what happened in we have to the Allies India in the Second revise our hisand fooled tory of what the Axis so World War happened in successfully India in the Second that the Germans World War. The gave him the Iron Communist party of India Cross, Germany’s highest who knew and encouraged decoration.  Talwar’s spying has not Silver is my 30th admitted the truth of what book.   I first knew about they did during the war, Silver when I did my biogworking for the British and raphy of Subhas Bose against Indian nationalists called The Lost Hero.   I fighting for independence. had doubts whether his We must also acknowledge story that he did not double that Talwar was one of the cross Bose was true. It did greatest spies of the Second not ring true.” World War. He operated in How did Mihir go an area between India and about proving his theory Afghanistan during WWI that Subhas Bose was douabout which little has been ble crossed? written. He was a truly “Based on research in remarkable spy fit to rank the previously classified with the best on the world.” files of the British governSilver: The Spy Who ment and other archives Fooled the Nazis is pubincluding Russia, in my lished by Fonthill. book I prove he double

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READERS’ VOICE

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Asian Voice | 7th January 2017

Demonetisation: a welcome move In the last two to three issues of "Asian Voice" I saw a few letters by subscribers and articles on "Demontisation" in India. I observed that NRIs are making a lot of "noise" in respect of the old notes which are in their possession. PM Modi, a true patriot, has so far done so much for India and will continue to do so in the years to come for the betterment of Bharat and the people. This is the first time India has had a PM who has vision for the future of India and always thinking how best he can serve the people of India, especially the poor class.There is no doubt that PM Modi has put India on the World map by creating such good relations with the World leaders. By the way, when he was CM of Gujrat, my wife and I visited Gujrat State for 10 days and travelled all over the State. We saw the progress and chatting with the ordinary people we noticed how much good he did and there was nothing but praise and praise for CM Modi. I said to my wife that India needs CM Modi as PM of India toput things in the right perspective. PM Modi was voted in as PM to eradicate corruption and black money (one of the many points in the Party Manifesto ) Congratulations -- with a "master stroke" and being only two and half years in office he announced demontisation.No previous PM has done this in 69 years of Independence and it goes without saying that it needs "jigar / guts" to take this drastic step --- excellent work indeed. The demontisation programme has been so far very popular move (though some people have suffered) and if it was an unpopular move then India would have witnessed some "riots". Keeping above in view, I strongly feel that NRIs should also contribute towards the development of India. In this respect I propose that the NRIs should donate their old notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 towards the projects, CONSTRUCTION OF TOILETS and SWATCH INDIA. Also, I feel very strongly that NRIs support PM Modi in the above two projects. Furthermore, with the help/assistance and support from the High Commission of India, who can approach all the Indian Missions in the World and make this a truly World Wide Projects SC Handa Battersea, London

Demonetisation or Demonisation?

On New Year’s Eve, Shri Modi in a nationwide address thanked the general public for their support and patience (queuing for their own money) on the demonetisation which he rightly described as (Shuddhikaran) purification. The scheme is a bold approach to curb rampant corruption, huge Kala Dhan (black money) economy, fake currency notes, tax evasion and terrorism. Surely, public support was the fundamental requirement for its success but also more than 200 million new accounts opened by the less well-off citizens under the Jan Dhan Yojana (introduced in August 2014 along with RuPay card) and the coming of age of the information technology in Bharat played a huge part. Modi recognised that some bank employees and others have indulged in profiteering but he assured the public that they will not be spared. We as outsiders gauge the success with return of calm in Kashmir, devoid of destructive demonstrations, Naxalites surrendering to the authorities in droves and a huge amount of money deposited in banks and declared by individuals to the tax authorities. As expected the opposition leaders like Rahul, Kejriwal, Mamata and others have been on a path of demonization of Modi since 8th November instead of supporting the scheme for the greater good of the country. The Congress in particular has not left its policy of the “Mushroom Syndrome” which aims to keep the public in dark (ignorance) and feed them manure (lies). Modi also promised to introduce schemes to uplift the poor and needy with the extra money received in the banking system and additional tax money collected and also will be received in future by the revenue department. Narsibhai Patel New Malden

Jayaben Desai Exhibition - “We are the Lions”

I would like to suggest to your readers that they go to Willesden Green Library, Willesden, London NW10 where there is an exhibition to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the heroic struggle led by Mrs Jayaben Desai with her ‘white’ and ‘non white’ work colleagues against the atrocities by the employers of Grunwick photograph processing factory in Dollis Hill, London NW10. Mrs Jayaben Desai is the only heroine of Indian origin I know of who fought against her powerful white employers at Grunwick who underestimated the might of meek looking Indians whom they sought to exploit by poor working conditions which included compulsory overtime, and requirement to ask permission to go to toilet! The strike went to many other workers and at the height of the strike 20,000 people came out. It was the first time traditionally white male trade unions such as the National Union of Mine Workers had shown real solidarity with non white female workers who in the past had been seen as threat to jos and pay by rather than fellow workers. This strike was ultimately unsuccessful but achieved big improvements in the status of non-white workers within the trade union movement and helped to challenge the widely accepted cliché that Asian women were meek and passive" observed actress Meera Sayal who spoke at the exhibition. Gulab Mistry By email

Dear Letter Writers

Thank you for your letters to our ‘your voice’ section. As you may recall a few years back we made it mandatory that your ‘letters to the editor’ must not be more than 200 words. Despite that we have allowed people to write upto 250-300 words and have edited them as and when required. However some letter writers continue to send letters worth 400-450 words. Our Editorial team has been editing them every week. The team and the Editors have decided that from now on, we would unfortunately not be able to accommodate in the paper if any letter is more than 250 words, Please note: Letters must be written within 250 words and can be emailed to aveditorial@abplgroup.com by Monday 5pm, fax to 020 7749 4080 or by post. - AV

AsianVoiceNewsweekly

Calm Putin vs Short-sighted Obama

It seems outgoing President Obama is hell bent on making mischief for incoming Trump, by expelling 35 Russian diplomats and imposing new travel restrictions on Russian security personals. If his action was meant to mesmerize, provoke luminary Putin to react similarly, then Putin’s calm diplomacy has thrown spanners in Obama’s strategy, as Putin refused to employ “Kitchen Sink Diplomacy” stoop low to Obama’s level, drawing praise from President Elect Trump. Putin would wisely play waiting game; give leeway to Trump to negate Obama’s cold war rhetoric’s. Trump has already mentioned that he has no faith in CIA who painted Sadam as war monger with nuclear arsenal, ready to attack West. In reality Sadam had no WMD, incapable of attacking any one. Trump even cancelled daily briefing from CIA, preferring weekly update. Trump’s assumption that China and not Russia is real enemy, destroying West’s industrial base with heavily subsidised goods, creating mass unemployment and using vast currency reserves to buy Western utilities, to enslave and thwart competition with world domination as the main object is shared by many “Pacific Rim Nations” especially Indian PM Modi. China has more reserves than entire world put together, with some $460 billion annual trade surplus with US and similar amount with Europe. West’s stupidity has driven Russia closer to China, thus creating dangerous situation for the world peace and prosperity. Hopefully Trump’s presidency may negate Obama’s cold war strategy. Bhupendra M. Gandhi By email

The rivals Yet another blow emanating from the Brexit saga! While the former Bank of England Governor, Mervyn King says that Britain should be “self confident” about leaving the European Union, Donald Trump’s new trade chief, Wilbur Ross, has reportedly urged Britain’s rivals to profit from Brexit and take business away from the UK. Ross, the 79 year old donor and longtime associate of Donald Trump is a clever guy who has helped Trump resurrect his casino company after it went bankrupt in the early 1990s. According to Trump, Wilbur Ross is a champion of American manufacturing and knows how to help companies succeed. Therefore, his outbursts about Britain’s potential problems may not go unnoticed. We are all too aware that Britain’s rivals like France and Luxembourg are all poised to strike and take advantage of the God given opportunity to profit from Britain’s exit from the EU. We also know that some of our financial institutions are already making plans to move their HQs from Britain to France or Germany. This will have very adverse effect on Britain’s economy as we rely heavily on our financial acumen to generate business and to create wealth. This will also affect us Asians, particularly the Gujaratis, who are mainly employed in the financial industry and the movement of financial institutions away from Britain could cause unemployment and displacement in many of our people. Dinesh Sheth Newbury Park, Ilford

Unbelievable misuse of emergency calls

As we know, emergency 999 calls have nearly doubled during last couple of years. The worse aspect is that people are misusing this service for trivial reasons. As reported by police, some bizarre, hotchpotch reasons for ringing police is sighting of foxes in their gardens, to complain about late delivery of consumer goods, unavailability of GP appointments or just to ask time, complain about neighbours which has nothing to do with police. Now police has launched information blitz to educate people, advising them to ring 101 for non-emergency and search internet for information rather than asking police, thus wasting police time and jamming emergency line that may be a matter of life and death to some. Police have identified 220 such callers who made unbelievable 66K calls between them who are persistent misusers. One such caller was jailed for 12 weeks. But police could not prosecute every one, as some have mental health problems or are too old, too fragile who are in need of social care and support. One reason for misuse is lack of family and neighbourly support, isolation and decline of social services that leaves venerable people isolated. It could be cry for help that falls on deaf ears. Then we are living in fast changing materialist world devoid of family values, even among feckless Indian community. Kumudini Valambia By email

National pride India’s National flag is a symbol of the nation’s respect and pride. There is liberal use of the flag on Independence Day and Republic Day. There is a new trend of selling flags made of paper and plastic, which is incorrect. With a sense of national pride, people enthusiastically buy such flags but the very next day, we find these flags being trampled upon on roads, in dustbins and elsewhere. By allowing this to happen, people forget that they are insulting the flag. Often, these flags are burnt along with the garbage. It is the duty of every individual to maintain proper respect towards our National flag. We also commonly see people waving the National flag proudly during national, cultural and sporting events. However, once the programme or the event gets over, we see the flags strewn all over the place. This disrespect towards our flag must be stopped. Even when the national anthem is being sung on the radio or played on television, people don’t stand still and sing along. They are busy cooking in the kitchen or are busy talking on their mobile phones. As Indians, we should respect our country’s national flag, national anthem and national song. Jubel D’Cruz. Mumbai, India

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EDUCATION

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Asian Voice |7th January 2017

Jewish students "avoid" certain universities, warns peer Universities must become more proactive when tackling anti-Semitism, several parliamentary figures have warned. Sir Eric Pickles, the Government’s Holocaust envoy and current chairman of Conservative Friends of Israel, urged universities to “show a bit of gumption” when dealing with anti-Semitic incidents. He accused academic institutions of showing “grave cowardice” when it came to hostility faced by Jewish students on campus. This was echoed by Universities Minister Jo Johnson, who said institutions must “act swiftly” in instances of antiSemitism. Labour MP John Mann described antiIsrael attitudes as a “chill factor” for Jewish students at some universities. The comments came after crossbench peer Ruth Deech warned that Jewish students are hesitant to attend certain universities, due to their perceived failure to curb anti-Semitic behaviour. Baroness Deech told the Telegraph: “Amongst Jewish students, there is gradually a feeling that there are certain universities that you should avoid. Definitely SOAS, Manchester I think is now

Eric Pickles

not so popular because of things that have happened there, Southampton, Exeter and so on.” She suggested that institutions are slow to act because of their unwillingness to alienate potential investors. “Many universities are in receipt of or are chasing very large donations from Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states and so on, and maybe they are frightened of offending them. I don’t really know why they aren’t doing anything about it, it really is a bad situation.” Baroness Deech went on to express her disappointment with Oxford University, her alma mater, which she said has failed to deal with antiSemitic incidents despite its proctors being given a report documenting

numerous instances where Jewish students were harassed. “I find it personally very difficult, I’ve been at Oxford for 45 years or something and I owe my career to Oxford. But I can’t believe that my own university is not setting up an investigation and being proactive about this.” The universities of Southampton, Exeter, and SOAS have denied claims of anti-Semitism. Oxford University said it was “surprised and disappointed by Baroness Deech’s remarks”. Nicola Dandridge, CEO of Universities UK, said: “The university sector has been clear that there is no place for anti-Semitism or any other kind of unlawful discrimination at our universities. Universities UK look forward to continuing work with the Union of Jewish Students to ensure that every Jewish student has a safe and positive university experience.” There has been a series of reported anti-Semitic incidents at universities over the past year, including at Cambridge, where three Jewish students reportedly faced abuse at a party held by Christ’s College drinking societies last term.

11

Fake university degree websites shut down More than 40 fraudulent websites have been shut down in a major crackdown on the sale of fake degrees. The sites closed included those selling authenticlooking certificates using the names of real British universities. Others were providers offering distance learning courses but were not valid UK degree awarding bodies. An agency set up to investigate the issue, Higher Education Degree Datacheck(Hedd), said it had reports of more than 90 bogus institutions. It follows a BBC South East investigation which found fake University of Kent degree certificates on sale online in China for

£500. Jayne Rowley, the higher education services director at Prospects which runs Hedd, said last September was its busiest month so far, with the closure of four bogus university sites and three websites selling fake degree certificates from multiple UK universities. Other fake certificates have purported to have come from Salford and Anglia Ruskin universities, while degrees from the University of Manchester were sold on the auction

website eBay. The government announced a crackdown on bogus providers in June 2015, with the aim of prosecuting and taking down fraudulent websites. Ms Rowley said Hedd had taken action against offenders both in the UK and overseas. Hedd has now asked new graduates not to take photographs with their real degree certificates in case they inadvertently aid fraudsters. A spokesman for the Department for Education said: "Degree fraud cheats both genuine learners and employers so we've taken decisive action to crack down on those seeking to profit from it."

Tuition fee rise 'sneaked out' on website The move to increase university tuition fees in England to £9,250 has been launched - without any announcement from the Department for Education. The changes to the fees, affecting more than 500,000 students beginning in the autumn, was put onto a government website last week. Opposition parties have called it "shabby" and "avoiding scrutiny". The Department for Education has rejected suggestions it wanted to deflect attention from the increase. Tuition fees in England have been fixed at £9,000 since 2012 - but the government wants to allow fees to increase each year with inflation, with an initial increase to £9,250 from the autumn.

MPs wanting to scrutinise the plans had been waiting for the government to publish its bid to increase fees. But it has emerged in December that the regulations to enable the higher fees were published last Thursday without being announced on the Department for Education's website. Instead the regulations

were placed on a government website managed by the National Archives, http://www.legislation.gov .uk, on the day school league tables were published. Labour's Gordon Marsden accused the government of trying to "sneak out" the changes - saying that this is the "increase that doesn't like to speak its name".

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MEDIA WATCH

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Asian Voice | 7th January 2017

India has eased the passport norms for single mothers, adopted children and sadhus/sanyasis while reducing the paperwork for several other categories of applicants. Minister of State for external affairs Gen V K Singh said that Aadhaar/e-Aadhaar cards would now be accepted as proof of date of birth and digitally signed marriage certificates as proof of marriage. The birth date proof also includes PAN card, voter ID, school leaving certificate and driving licence. Getting a passport for single parents too has been made easier. The MEA says, "The online passport application form requires the applicant to provide the name of father or mother or legal guardian. This would enable single parents to apply for their children and to issue passports where name of father or mother is not required to be printed at the request of the applicant." Sadhus and sanyasis will now be able to name of their spiritual guru in place of their biological parents' names. Orphaned children or those born out of wedlock can now give a declaration from the head of the orphanage or child care home instead. Documents now would only need self-attestation and on plain paper.

China threatens to move UN over India's Agni-V

China has questioned the testlaunch of India's intercontinental ballistic missile Agni-V and threatened to move the United Nations. India is unmoved by Chinese threat. India's external affairs ministry responded with spokesperson Vikas Swarup saying, “India's strategic capabilities are not targeted against any particular country. India abides by all the applicable international obligations and hopes that all others do the same. India's strategic autonomy and growing engagement contributes to strategic stability.” Agni-V can reach most parts of Europe and can cover the northern tip of China. “The UN Security Council has explicit regulations on whether India can develop ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear weapons,” Hua Chunying, spokesperson of the Chinese foreign ministry said. She did not specify if Beijing would actually invoke these rules, perhaps hoping that Indian diplomats might react.

Madras HC raises doubt over Jaya's death

The Madras High Court raised doubts over late Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa's demise and said that the truth must come out. "Media has raised a lot of doubts, personally I also have doubts in Jayalalithaa's death," said Justice Vaidyalingam, who was hearing a petition demanding an inquiry into the former AIADMK chief's death. Justice Vaidyalingam said, "When Jayalalithaa was admitted in the hospital, it was said that she was on proper diet. At least after her death now, truth should be revealed." The high court said why it could not order the exhumation of her body. The court also issued notice to the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) and rapped the Centre for having “kept quiet.” The bench also issued notices to three Union ministries, CBI and Apollo Hospitals. The bench was hearing a PIL filed by AIADMK worker P A Joseph.

Apple plans to make iPhones in Bengaluru Media reports quoting industry sources say that Wistron, a Taiwanese OEM maker for Apple, will be setting up a facility in Peenya, Bengaluru’s industrial hub, to manufacture iPhones. The facility will start production from April 2017. According to sources, while the assembly operations will start, Apple was seriously looking at full manufacturing by the end of the year. While imports of phones attract 12.5 per cent additional duty, through local manufacturing Apple will be able to price its products competitively in the Indian market. Apple sold 2.5 million iPhones in India from October 2015 to September 2016, a rise of more than 50 per cent over the yearago period. In May last year, Apple announced plans to establish a design and development accelerator in Bengaluru, to make apps for iOS, the iPhone maker’s powerful mobile operating system. These new initiatives from Apple will help provide support to local engineering talent and accelerate growth in India’s iOS developer community.

Japan won’t wage war again, promises Abe

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe made a visit to Pearl Harbor with US President Barack Obama last week, commemorating the victims of Japan's World War Two attack and promising that his country would never wage war again. “I offer my sincere and everlasting condolences to the souls of those who lost their lives here, as well as to the spirits of all the brave men and women whose lives were taken by a war that commenced in this very place,” Abe said. “We must never repeat the horrors of war again. This is the solemn vow we, the people of Japan, have taken.” Japanese forces attacked Pearl Harbor with torpedo planes, bombers and fighter planes on the morning of December 7, 1941.

Insurer told to pay for mosquito bite death

India's national consumer commission has ruled that death from malaria - caused by mosquito bite - is an accident, upholding a woman's insurance claim. "It is difficult for us to accept that death due to mosquito bite would not be a death due to an accident," Justice V K Jain said. "It

can hardly be disputed that a mosquito bite is something which no one expects and (which) happens all of a sudden. According to information available on the website of the insurance company, an accident may include events like snake bite, frost bite and dog bite. Hence, it would be very difficult to accept the contention that malaria due to mosquito bite is a disease and not an accident," the judge said. The commission was hearing a claim filed by Mousami Bhattacharjee, whose husband Debasish had died of malaria in January 2012. After the death of Debasish, Mousami approached the insurer which rejected her claim and said that her husband died of mosquito bite and not an accident.

After 17 kids, Gujarat couple says no more

A couple from Gujarat's tribal district of Dahod has finally opted for a family planning operation after conceiving 17 children, which includes 16 daughters and a son. The entire village come together to convince Ramsinh, 44, to let his wife, Kanu Sangot, 40, undergo a tubectomy a fortnight ago. "The villagers persuaded us to put a full stop to our family expansion," Ramsinh said. He admitted that his family kept getting bigger in the quest for another son. Vijay, his son, was born in 2013 but Ramsinh wanted another boy. "First, I wanted a son for our old age. After I fathered so many girls, I desperately wanted sons to look after my girls. But that didn't happen," Ramsinh said. Living in a dilapidated mud house, Ramsinh grows maize and wheat on two bighas of land. He and his wife also work as farm labourers to earn extra income to feed their large family.

Mother posts suicide note on Facebook, kills self, toddler

A mother posted a lengthy suicide note on Facebook a day after Christmas before suffocating her one-year-old son and killing herself, a media report said. According to the report, police found 40-year-old Sheri Shermeyer dead in bed from an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, and son, John who was apparently suffocated. Before committing suicide and killing her son, Shermeyer wrote on Facebook: “I have been slowly dying inside… I feel that the ONLY thing I have to live for is this little guy asleep in my arms right now, John. He is the only reason why I haven’t blown my head off right now.” The chilling Facebook post further added, “And even now all I can think about is leaving this world. Putting a gun in my mouth and leaving. Which is what is about to happen.” Shermeyer’s post reflected her love for the child and the challenges she has faced as a single parent. Apparently addressing to her husband, Shermeyer wrote in her post, “You will never see your son again. You don’t deserve to have a son, a legacy. Why should you have your name carried on? You are a nasty man.”

Nepal-China military drill worries India Nepal's proposed first joint military exercise with Beijing early this year has triggered considerable unease in New Delhi. The decision discomfits India as it seeks to put a rocky patch in relations with Nepal during the tenure of K P Oli behind it and look forward to a new chapter with Prime Minister Prachanda at the helm. Nepal's ambassador to India Deep Upadhyay sought to play down the significance of the exercise and said the military engagement would be on a very "small scale" and that there was nothing for India to be worried about. "There's really not much in it," Upadhyay said. "We have done similar exercises with some other countries, too, in the past to be able to deal with the Maoists," Upadhyay said. "Whichever way you look at it, Nepal has a special relationship with India and that's not going to change because of any such exercise." The exercise is meant to help Nepal with counter-terror operations. India, however, has been conducting such anti-terror joint exercises annually with Nepal for a decade. Nepal deciding to go ahead with a similar exercise with China is likely to add another layer of complexity to India's ties with both Nepal and China, not discounting Prachanda's efforts to restore Nepal's ties with India after he took over from Oli.

New York professor appointed new RBI Deputy Governor

New York University economics professor Viral V Acharya, considered an expert in credit risk, is the new Deputy Governor in charge of the crucial monetary policy department of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). The appointment of Acharya - a strong votary of central banks’ independence - for a three-year tenure has been cleared by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC). He will join the RBI on January 20, 2017. The 42-year old Acharya, who has coauthored research papers with former RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan, is taking over at a time when the RBI is facing flak for repeated changes in the rules during the ongoing demonetisation period. After Urjit Patel was elevated as the Governor in September 2016, Deputy Governor R Gandhi was looking after the monetary policy department. Acharya has often praised Rajan for his works and once said, “Raghu has been a great source of inspiration for me.”

Tirumala Tirupati temple laddoos under FSSAI scanner

The famous ladoos of Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) are under the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) scanner. The temple which gives ladoos to devotees as 'prasadam' does not have a license from the FSSAI to distribute the food item, and has been directed to get one at the earliest. An FSSAI letter addressed to the Commissioner of Food Safety,

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Andhra Pradesh, states that "as per the definition of 'food' under FSS Act, laddoo which is presented as 'prasadam' at the temple is food". It further says that the applicability of the Act is not affected if the food is purchased or distributed free of cost. The letter then asks TTD to obtain a license to distribute the prasadam. "TTD, therefore, has to obtain a license and, fulfil all the responsibilities of a FBO (food business operator) as stipulated in Section 23 of FSS Act as well as comply with its rules and regulations," the FSSAI letter says. The letter came on a complaint filed by RTI activist T Narasimha Murthy to the chairperson of FSSAI.

US eases tests for green cards

US authorities have liberalised the tests to grant a National Interest Waiver (NIW) to EB-2 category of green card applicants. Those having an advanced degree or exceptional ability fall in the EB-2 category. Indian entrepreneurs and qualified individuals will now have a fairer chance of obtaining an NIW, which in turn will speed up the process of obtaining a green card. The liberalisation was part of a recent landmark decision by the Administrative Appeals Office of the US Citizenship and Immigration Services. Normally, a permanent job offer and an approved labour certificate are pre-requisites to file for a green card. An NIW allows individuals in the EB-2 category to skip the cumbersome `labour certification' process. In general terms, this certification process, which is a protectionist measure, requires the employer to determine whether US workers are available for the job. The AAO, in its decision dated December 27, has redefined the existing tests for obtaining a National Interest Waiver. These tests were perceived as subjective and often resulted in similar applicants being treated differently - with a denial of an NIW in one case and a grant in another.

World's oldest male panda dies in China

The year 2016 has claimed yet another furry victim. Pan Pan, the world's oldest male giant panda, died at the age of 31 in China's Sichuan Province. The male giant panda played a large role in rescuing his species from the brink of extinction. Pan Pan has more than 130 descendants in captivity and is grandfather to Bao Bao and Bei Bei, the Smithsonian Zoo's giant panda cubs. Giant pandas are notoriously difficult to breed. Female pandas only ovulate once a year and a male panda has less than two days to fertilize the egg, according to the Smithsonian. But Pan Pan was what some at the Smithsonian consider to be a "natural breeder" and he fathered an estimated 32 cubs. The giant panda had been battling cancer for years, but his health declined rapidly in recent weeks. The agency said he lived to be nearly 100 in human years. At present there are more than 2,000 pandas in the wild and hundreds in captivity.


UK Asian Voice | 7th January 2017

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Retired cornershop couple recall their alarming experiences By Rudy Otter I told a joke I had heard to London-based retired shopkeepers Kirit Patel and his wife Ranjan and they both exploded with laughter. "Why," I said, "are Indians not allowed to play football in the world cup? Because every time they get a corner they want to open a shop!" Owning a corner shop, however, for the thousands of Asians in the UK who choose to earn a living this way, is no joke. Apart from the unavoidably long hours, from early morning until late at night, seven days a week, the question of shop security and personal safely looms large in their day-to-day lives. Kirit, aged 75, and Ranjan, 70. had owned a shop in Shepherds Bush, a previously rough but now respectable west London district. These days, from the comfort and serenity of their elegant suburban bungalow in Greenford, Middlesex, they can sit back in retirement and recall some of the hairraising experiences they encountered over a 26year spell. Their general store sold groceries, tobacco and newspapers and also had an off-licence section selling alcohol, the latter always posing a temptation to light-fingered customers. "We were attacked, robbed and threatened more than twelve times," Kirit said. shaking his head. He and Ranjan mostly manned the shop together to put off thieves, but that show of mutual support behind the counter did not always deter the miscreants. One afternoon Ranjan happened to be on her own at the till and suspected trouble might be building up when she saw a man loitering near the shop entrance. An obvious accomplice also walked into the shop and pretended to study items on the shelves while another moved closer to the counter. "Suddenly," she said, "the man near me pointed at the till and shouted: 'Give me the money!' " Ranjan stood still. He then tried banging on it but it was locked and only accessible by using a special code. Losing patience the man grabbed cigarettes and telephone cards instead and sprinted away with his two accomplices. "Luckily," Kirit said, "there were some council workmen and telephone engineers nearby and they noted details of the getaway car which turned out to be stolen." Later the

ticularly vigilant during school breaks when pupils swarm in, reaching for everything from crisps to sweets. Many shops allow only two pupils in at a time so they could be more closely monitored while they move around Kirit and his wife Ranjan relax at home the aisles. At 7pm one day a man, police closed the shop for wearing a woollen hat half a day while they took pulled down over his ears, fingerprints." Although entered the shop and they lost business their began to browse along a insurance company reimrack of magazines. His hat bursed them. and strange behaviour "Usually," Kirit said, "I aroused the suspicions of parked my car outside the Kirit and Ranjan and they shop and its absence must were proved right. have attracted their atten"Suddenly," Kirit said, tion, so they decided to try "the man took out a long their luck." knife and slashed the live On another occasion wire leading to the till. He two young men popped in then wrenched the till off and helped themselves to the counter and hurried bottles of whisky and away with it out of the brandy as well as cigarettes shop. I went after him as and ran off. he dashed to a waiting car One day Kirit and in which he dumped the Ranjan stared at a welltill in the back seat." dressed man, who, while Kirit grabbed the staring back at them, man's leg as he was getting opened a carton of eggs in but let go when his and helped himself to one. accomplice driver started "He then turned and calmthe car and drove off. The ly walked away without frightening experience left paying," Ranjan said.. "But Kirit with a knee injury we didn’t think it worth which still prevents him running after him and from walking long disdemanding payment tances. because it was such a small The couple moved to item." Britain in 1967 from Kirit added: "Another Bhadran, Gujarat and time, when we were busy Kirit, who was interested at the counter, a man in pottery, studied ceramhelped himself to two ics at a Midlands college, coconuts and hurried away then had ten "enjoyable without paying. and creative years" at the Sometimes customers world-famous Royal would pick up two items, Worcester firm producing drop one of them into a pottery decorations until bag and pay for just the he was made redundant. one they had in their Ruefully he said: "At hand." that time, in Staffordshire, For enhanced security there were around 200 the Patels kept their till in potteries. Today, accordthe middle of the shop ing to a survey, there are rather than at the far end fewer than 20." to deter easier getaways by The idea of running a thieves. "In this business," corner shop had appealed Kirit said, "you have to be to them back in those days aware of what is happenand they set the plan in ing in the shop at all times motion. Would they follow even when there is a queue the same path now? I of people waiting to pay for asked. their purchases." "No," they said in uni"One man," Ranjan son. Kirit added: "Business said, "went to our newsparates now are too high to per rack every Sunday, make a decent profit. At slyly pulled out the colour one time corner shops magazines from the variwere a vital part of local ous newspapers on display, community life but now slipped them into a bag shoppers are more mobile, and disappeared out of the happy to drive to superdoor. This meant we could markets further afield not sell any of the papers which are able to offer without their magazines." them bigger discounts and There was a woman other incentives to keep who specialised in making them coming back. There off with cheese without is no loyalty to corner being caught. shops any more." Most shopkeepers, the A number of hobbies couple said, have to be par-

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“High cost of living and low wages leaves those in “in work poverty” struggling to make ends meet this holiday period”. The holiday season is an expensive one, with Christmas presents, work parties, train tickets home and the cost of getting across the country to see family ever increasing, Asif Anwar January is often a time for everyone to tighten their purse strings. However, for the 1 in 8 workers living in poverty who still have high rents to pay out of a low income the holiday period and subsequent months can be very difficult. The number of families who are living in temporary accommodation or considered homeless has continued to rise for five consecutive years with evictions by landlords reaching a tenyear high. This is happening, despite the fact that the number of workingage adults in full-time employment is at an all-time high. Dr. Peter Kenway, director of the New Policy Institute, noted that “an adult in poverty today is much more likely to be young, working and a tenant living in the private rented sector than 15 years ago”. Property agent Savills are predicting a sharp 19% increase in rent prices over the next five years. According to the Monitoring Poverty and Social Exclusion report (2016) rent accounts for at least 33% of income for 70% of private renters. Add the cost of Christmas and New Year into the equation and the pressure of eviction is ever looming for many of this demographic who range from single parents to those on zero hour contracts and even young professionals. The Joseph Roundtree Foundation (JRT) has identified three ways the situations could be improved: l Reverse cuts to the Work Allowance. These cuts currently means that a lone parents with two children working on the National Living Wage (NLEW) will be £2,600 worse off, whilst a family of four with both parents working on the NLW will be almost £1,000 worse off.

keep them happily occupied these days including reading, watching television documentaries, news and current affairs as well as wildlife programmes presented by Sir David Attenborough. They also like to take short daily walks to keep fit. [Rudy Otter, 81, a retired Anglo-Indian freelance journalist, was for many years a regular columnist on ABPL's Asian Business, the former fortnightly magazine for independent retailers. He also wrote news and features for the Group's New Life, predecessor of this newspaper, and continues to write occasionally for Asian Voice.]

l End the current freeze on working-

age benefits, which are currently not rising with inflation. The projection for inflation next year is 2%, which means that with the current freeze on benefits those who depend on help from the government will, in real terms, be getting less money, unless we see an increase in wages and the value of social security. l Build more homes by investing £1.1 billion extra a year in affordable housing through a Living Rents scheme. If successful, this would provide 80,000 genuinely affordable homes each year and link social rents to local wages which would make rents affordable to those earning the NLW. Although these recommendations are tailored to assist those most affected by the current poverty and housing crisis, even if the government do take on board these recommendations, progress will be slow and it is unlikely the cost of renting will fall anytime soon. This is of little comfort to those who have struggled to make ends meet and keep a roof over their through the holiday period and will continue to struggle to keep up with the increasing pressures on their budget in the New Year. Asif Anwar, the author, is a Trainee Solicitor, works in the Housing Department for Duncan Lewis Solicitors, mainly assisting vulnerable clients in their Homelessness, Disrepair, Possession and other housing law matters. Duncan Lewis Housing Solicitors can guide clients in any matter or issues arising with local housing authorities, housing applications, tenants, landlords, ownership and repairs. With a niche expertise in Possession and Unlawful Eviction cases, the Department holds a significant presence in County Court Possession Duty Schemes. The Housing Department also offers representation in all housing relating proceedings. If you or your family have been affected by any of the issues in this article and feel that legal advice could aid your situation please do not hesitate to contact our team of expert housing solicitors on 03337720409.

Online divorces to save couples time and trouble Couples will be able to divorce online this year under plans that could open the way for the abolition of fault-based grounds for ending marriage. Ministers are preparing a pilot project to allow divorce proceedings to be issued digitally for the first time, in a move to save time, paperwork and stress for thousands of people. More than 110,000 divorce proceedings were begun in 2015. The plan, backed by England’s most senior family judge, Sir James Munby, will be tested before being introduced across England and Wales

in June. Family judges and lawyers predict that it will increase calls for the scrapping of fault-based grounds for divorce. The aim is to allow divorce petitions to be lodged online, with both parties being able to upload copies of any relevant documents but any disputes over children and finances will still have to go before a court or through mediation.


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Pia Sutaria - following her passion By Smita Sarkar Pia Sutaria is the proverbial beauty with brains. A talented, compassionate and ambitious 20-year old, a reigning beauty pageant holder and an accomplished ballet dancer who topped her class several times at the Royal Academy of Dance in London since she was eleven. Instead of making the most of her reigning Miss Petite Intercontinental title by walking the ramp or queuing up for Bollywood film auditions, like most reigning beauty pageant holders from Mumbai would do, Pia is in London to pursue her education in dancing. She chose to follow the tougher and less glamorous road of performing arts because that is where her passion is. Pia is warm and grounded, poised and mature for her age and she greeted me with a smile that could easily launch a thousand ships. Sipping a hot chocolate and munching on a freshly made sandwich at a café close to the Trinity Leban Conservatoire of Music and Dance in Greenwich, Pia shared her thoughts about ballet in India, the beauty pageant that dedicates itself to multiple causes, her education and her philanthropic desires to give back to society.

“The funny thing about pageants is, like everything in life, it is all about people. You must be real to give a 100% of yourself. Everybody can see through you,” she said matter-of- factly. “Never in my wildest dreams had I thought I would be a part of a beauty pageant and most definitely not an international one. I recently went through a shoulder surgery because I repeatedly dislocated it over the past two years and that forced me to step back and take a break from my dance, which was honestly quite devastating at the time.”

“I was extremely fortunate that I did not have much time to dwell over things because I got called to take part in a nationwide audition for a beauty pageant which was dedicated to multiple causes.” “I almost didn’t go, but when I found out that it was the first pageant that didn’t discriminate based on height, (Pia is 5 feet 2 inches) I decided I wanted to be a part of it and change the mindset that you have to be tall to be a model or a beauty queen.” Pia was selected from 150 participants in Goa and after a week of rigorous competitions, crowned the Miss Petite Intercontinental India. She went on to represent India in Costa Rica and was the first Indian to win the world title, Reina (queen) Petite Intercontinental 2016, along with Miss Talented, Miss Bikini and Miss Attitude. “They considered every aspect of your personality, the way you carry yourself, the things you decided to dedicate your life to, your achievements and so much more. You must be an ambassador of the world.” “I found out only after winning that I was the first Asian and Indian to ever win one of the titles. It was a huge honour.” She grinned as she said “it was all so overwhelming because I was there with my own clothes, make up and no previous experience, up against girls who were preparing for this for months with formal training.” Pia is clearly being humble and truthful about this. Performing arts has been her life, she has been training children and adults since she was 16. She heads the ballet division at the Danceworx in Mumbai and is a part of Navdhara, one of the first Indian contemporary dance companies that tours nationally and internationally. Her journey started at the age of five when she was taken to watch the musical Billy Elliot. She

walked wide-eyed out of the theatre, looked at her mother and said ‘I just have to do this.’ Her twin sister Tara and she have been practicing classical ballet in Mumbai since, under the guidance of Trushna Dallas, “one of the most fantastic mentors and teachers I have known,” said Pia.

“I studied ballet through the Royal Academy of Dance in London, aced all my graded examinations and topped the school multiple times.” “At 15, I was curious to develop other aspects of my dance and moved to studying at the Danceworx Mumbai where I started exploring other styles like jazz, contemporary, some ballroom and hip hop etc. I started teaching children and adults with the academy at 16, and discovered I am extremely passionate about teaching as well.” Unfortunately, a lack of trained teachers makes ballet a rare form of dance in India and the exclusivity makes it expensive too. Pia wants to popularise the dance and make it accessible to all kinds of students. “I am hoping that in the next few years with the help of the Danceworx system of ‘dance in education’ we can involve ballet in schools as a subject.” India does not have its own ballet company even

though there is tremendous potential and talent among the dancers. Awareness about the dance form and its potential as a career option is also something that Pia wants to take up in the next decade or so. “There is no ballet company that can employ dancers in India, and this is going to make the trans i t i o n extremely difficult. I am hoping to work towards this in the next ten years and change the face of ballet in the country.” Pia has a l w a y s dreamed of becoming a professional dancer. The last few years have been full of surprises for her, but having graduated in Business Management studies, she looks forward to taking her dance further for a while. “I would love to take my music forward as well, so after a couple of years I would love to explore the world of musical theatre. Along with this I really look forward to spreading awareness about ballet and teaching ballet in India.” She is fascinating because she is different. She is creative and down to earth. She dreams big but has her path carefully chalked out. She is aware of her short-comings but confident of her aptitudes. “I would like to think I am quite a transparent, passionate and emotional person. The two things I am most passionate about though are travel and food. Once I set my mind to something, I become quite determined to get it right,” giggled Pia – a real power packed petite femme to reckon with. If you are all heart, there’s nothing that can stop you from winning.

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Prison staff ‘goaded Muslims for sport’

Eight prison staff have been suspended over allegations that they goaded Muslim inmates until they needed to be restrained and then “kept score” in a group text message. The officers from HMP Nottingham are said to have focused on black and Asian prisoners, although it is alleged that white inmates who had converted to Islam or who were drug addicts were also targeted. Points were awarded via a group on the messaging service WhatsApp, it is alleged, with the highest scores available for restraining converts. Betting is thought to have taken place based on the points total. A police investigation is under way. One source said: “The officers are said to have engineered a confrontation so they could have reason to restrain inmates. The language they are said to have used was vile.”

The category B jail holds 1,060 adult and young adult male prisoners. Latest figures showed that about 8.5 per cent of its inmates were black, 5.5 per cent Asian and 5 per cent of mixed ethnicity. There were about 90 Muslim prisoners in the jail earlier last year. A report by the Independent Monitoring Board last year said that the procedure for reporting incidents of discrimination at HMP Nottingham was not operational in the eight months leading up to November the previous year. It said this seemed to indicate that the “prison’s priorities were elsewhere”. Separate figures show that almost 60 firearms, including guns, replica firearms, toys mimicking firearms and chemical incapacitant sprays, were found in prisons in England and Wales between 2005 and 2014.

Diet rich in processed meat 'may worsen asthma symptoms' A French study suggests eating four or more portions of processed (cured) meats a week may worsen symptoms like wheezing – but this does not amount to an asthma attack. An asthma attack is a debilitating and sudden loss of normal lung function that may require emergency treatment. The study of just under 1,000 French adults (42% with asthma) found evidence eating sausage, ham or dried sausage four times a week worsened asthma symptoms. The researchers think compounds called nitrites, which are used to preserve meat, might be the culprits, as they have been linked to inflammation in the airways. Some of the effect may also be influenced by obesity. It's thought obesity increases inflammation throughout the body, which could also affect the lungs, so the researchers

adjusted for this in their analysis. Independent experts from the UK have questioned whether the study looked at diet in sufficient detail. It's difficult to prove

that one type of food causes symptoms. A person's diet is a complex mix of foods, and food is only one of the factors that can affect people's chances of developing asthma symptoms. Processed meats have also been linked to bowel cancer. A healthy dietfor people with asthma is likely to be the same as for people without – plenty of fresh food, including vegetables, and low in sugar, saturated fat and salt.


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Sonia Muliyil: Investigative Biology

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Introducing Little Ellina Kumari - First baby born in Britain in 2017

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TLIGHT

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Asian Voice | 7th January 2017

Sunetra Senior

Ellina kumari was born 6lb and 8oz at 00.01

Britain's first baby of 2017 was born at 00.01 - just a minute into the New Year . Bharti Devi, 35, gave birth to bouncing baby girl

two-year-old son Arriv Kumar with husband Ashwani Kumar, 26, said: “She is doing well and is healthy. “I was five days overdue so

Ellina and mum Bharti Devi, and dad Ashwani Kumar and two-year-old son

Ellina Kumari just seconds after Big Ben stopped chiming. The mum-of-two arrived at City Hospital in Birmingham on Saturday and was induced later in the evening. Baby Ellina, who weighed a healthy 6lb 8oz, is now being looked after by excited midwives alongside her proud parents. Speaking from her hospital bed, the housewife, who also has a

we expected her to be born in 2016 but the longer the labour went on I thought it might go into 2017. “We didn’t really get the chance to celebrate the new year at midnight because I was just about to give birth. “It is really exciting to think she is the first baby born in Britain in 2017, it is definitely something special to tell her when she is grown up.”

Hundreds of thousands of elderly people are needlessly suffering in pain while they wait for hip operations because care is being rationed by the NHS, leading doctors have warned. The waiting list for hip, knee and other orthopaedic operations has risen by a quarter over the past eight years to more than half a million in 2016. One in 10 people have to wait more than 18 weeks for surgery amid rising concern that NHS is deliberately delaying treatment because it is not seen as life threatening.

Those forced to wait for surgery suffer extreme pain as their bones wear away and are left increasingly immobile, often unable to climb stairs or go outside. It comes as hospitals have been ordered not to schedule any more major nonurgent operations over the next month to avoid a m e l t d o w n . Routine operations could be cancelled because regulators say that beds are too full and wards must make space for e m e r g e n c y patients coming in over the festive period.

Hip-replacement patients needlessly suffering on waiting lists

Sonia is a Post-Doctoral Researcher at the Dunn School of Pathology at the University of Oxford, and specialises in Cell and Developmental Biology. She currently works with the renowned head of the department, Matthew Freeman, whose group was one of the first “to identify a collection of intramembrane proteases (enzyme which breaks down proteins and peptides) in the cell that were involved in regulating a growth factor signalling that had broad implications for various diseases,” including of course the notorious cancer. “This discovery was one of a kind,” Sonia emphasised, “because it involved the identification of a class of proteases which could function within a hydrophobic (water-repelling) environment. Since its detection, this family of proteases has grown into a superfamily with both active and inactive counterparts that are involved in a wide range of functions. My research mostly entails understanding the role of an inactive protease belonging to this cluster in relation to its role in stress signalling and neuronal function.” *** And the plurality of this unique discovery is significant. As the scholarly young mind also stated, the translational aspect of scientific research is vital for placing posited questions into the relevant context, meaning the more diversified the experimental techniques and interdisciplinary conversation, the more likely there will be incisive breakthroughs and the resultant workable cures. Indeed, Sonia has contributed her world-class expertise in genetics and cell-based imaging – supported by the prestigious Human Frontiers Science Program Fellowship, awarded to only 70 scientists across the existing 196 nations, of which Sonia is the second Indian woman recipient. “My colleagues are all incredibly talented and passionate too,” Sonia equably continued, “hailing from different fields and a mix of cultural backgrounds. Our varied ideas and means give us more than enough opportunity to discuss, argue and clarify the viable paths of action. In terms of the wider scientific community this really helps to break the rut. It’s possible to be so deeply involved that it’s difficult to rethink a problem by yourself. I also believe it’s a professional duty to participate in communication with the public. As individual researchers, we are accountable to the many people who are funding our work.” Thus we find that a science of organisms and buzzing life extends too to the sociological realm: “the complexity within a cell is almost unimaginable,” Sonia aptly added. “While the core components of each cell are more or less the same, the various phenomena and the dynamics of processes like protein trafficking, cell movements and so on will always vary between each cell type and between each different organism.” Add this to the recent findings that trees are able to talk to each other, and the natural authority– both the subject and her science – demonstrate to us that inner and outer lives are one in the same wonder, and the physical is the feeling.

What have been some of your proudest breakthroughs? I have many fond memories, but I think one of the more special ones was when my first ever publication was accepted during my PhD. Another was when I was awarded the first ever Zeeshan Khan Memorial award by Olympus.

Do you feel science is given enough of a platform in society? I think I speak for all scientists when I say that it's inadequate. This problem has been accentuated by situations like Brexit wherein the global funding will now be further reduced and money from various European organizations will no longer come into UK. This also has wider repercussions impacting the exchange of students between UK and EU, finally also hampering the exchange of scientific ideas and thoughts.

You have met the Nobel Prize-winning (Chemistry, 2009) Professor Venki; when interviewing with us, he mentioned that true achievements in science are methodical and concentrated fruits of labour, not some explosive dis-

covery. But, at the same time, that there is a lot of creativity? Science does demand patience. Unlike what’s projected in the movies, progress does not happen overnight. Often an important discovery is a combinatorial and concerted effort of many individuals over a long period of time. However, science is also an art which requires people to take risks, think out of the box and combine different skill sets to paint a more holistic picture.

What appealed to you so much about the world of biology and cellular research? I’ve been fascinated by Biology since childhood. But during my formative years, I oscillated between Maths, Chemistry and Biology – it was the logical that appealed really. Even though I was the National topper in Biology in my school board exams, for example, I took a detour to Chemistry for my undergrad degree. Ultimately, though, my love for Biology prevailed. Do you think studying cells can be as awe-inspiring and infinite as say the universe?

'Just as we have telescopes to track movements of planets and extra-terrestrial bodies, we now have great sub cellular imaging which captures life inside the cell, happening in real time'

Absolutely. Just as we have fancy telescopes to track movements of planets and extra-terrestrial bodies, we now have great sub cellular imaging techniques which can capture life inside the cell in vivo in real time. It’s almost like the universe is functioning at a macro scale, and the cellular in the micro.

Would you say there is a bias against women in science? It’s tough for women to reach top positions in academia. This problem has many layers: one is the lack of support from family and society in general which pressures you to quit prematurely. The other is more personal where it can be difficult to survive in a male dominated arena. My advice for women would be to work hard and let your actions speak for themselves. I’m inspired by a quote from a Japanese tradition which states that if you repair a broken piece of pottery with gold lacquer, you can make it even more beautiful than before. Thus the hardships and obstacles we face can actually transform us into better human beings. What’s the most thrilling part of lab research? The curiosity of exploring what no one's done before.

Did you receive a lot of support to get where you are today? I'm grateful to my family and friends, especially my husband, who have always supported me in various capacities - from the uncertainties of a stable future to the very long working hours.

Finally, where do you envision all your hard work taking you in the future? Using the knowledge that I've gained over the years to address an important problem in my own lab. w w w. e c u . a c . u k / e q u a l i t y W charters/athena-swan/


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Asian Voice | 7th January 2017

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The spat between Mistry and Tata Sons Tata Group made a shocking announcement on October 24, ousting Cyrus Mistry as Chairman after the markets closed for the day. While reasons for the move remained under the wraps, it gained a lot of mileage in the media, and the issue propelled into an ugly spat between Mistry and the conglomerate. Beginning of the end On October 24, the group, led by holding company Tata Sons, released a statement saying Mi stry was removed and that former chairman Ratan Tata will assume interim charge of the group. "The board has constituted a selection committee to choose a new chairman. The committee comprises Ratan N Tata, Venu Srinivasan, Amit Chandra, Ronen Sen, and Lord Kumar Bhattacharya, as per the criteria in the Articles of Association of Tata Sons," the statement said. The group also said that the search committee had four months to find the next chief. Mistry, visibly hurt and shaken by the abrupt farewell, wrote a letter to the board of Tata Sons. In it, he alleged that he was promised a free hand which never happened. He said that following his appointment as chairman of the Tata Group, the Articles of Association were modified, "changing the rules of engagement between the Trusts, the board of Tata Sons, the chairman, and the operating companies." He went on say that "inappropriate interpretation" of the rules followed, which "severely constrained the ability of the group to engineer the necessary turnaround." In the same letter, Mistry said the directors nominated by the Tata Trusts, were "reduced to mere postmen". He talked about an incident when two trust directorsNitin Nohria and Vijay Singh, "had to leave a Tata Sons board meeting in progress for almost an hour, keeping the rest of the board waiting, in order to obtain instructions from Mr (Ratan) Tata." He also questioned the foreign acquisition strategy of the group that "left a large debt overhang", with the company’s European steel businesses facing a potential $10 billion impairment. Tata Sons respond to Mistry's allegations Following Mistry's assertion, the company put out yet another statement, this time saying the Tata Sons board gives its chairman "complete autonomy to manage opportunities and challenges. However, the tenure of the former chairman was marked by repeated departures from the cul-

ture and ethos of the group." The statement further said, "It is unfortunate that Mistry had overwhelmingly lost the confidence of the members of the board of directors for a combination of several factors. The directors of the Tata Sons board had repeatedly raised queries and concerns on

advisory firms. JN Gupta, managing director of S t a k e h o l d e r s Empowerment Services said, "The removal of Mistry with a majority of board members voting against him is not illegal as the chairman is elected by the board and can be elected for every meeting. Under Section 173 of the

MISTRY VS TATA SONS: WHO SAID WHAT

I WAS REMOVED WITHOUT AN OPPORTUNITY TO DEFEND MYSELF’’

The legal feud with NTT Docomo could cost more than $1 billion

TATA POWER CARRRIES A RISK OF FUTURE IMPAIRMENT

I was not given a free hand as the chairman Tata Group’s foreign acquisition strategy was flawed European stell business faces a $10 billion impairment Tata Capital stands to lose $4-5 billion

I WAS UNCOMFORTABLE BOTH WITH THE AIRASIA AND VISTARA DEALS

CYRUS MISTRY TATA NANO PROJECT HAS BEEN MAKING LOSSES; SHOULD HAVE BEEN SHUT DOWN”

BENEATH THE DIGNITY OF THE GROUP TO ENGAGE IN A PUBLIC SPAT Growing trust deficit between Mistry and the rest of the board Mistry makes unsubstantiated claims and malicious allegations

RATAN TATA

Mistry party to decisions by the group for over a decade in various capacities

MISTRY HAD OVERWHELMINGLY LOST THE CONFIDENCE OF THE BOARD certain business issues, and Trustees of the Tata Trusts were increasingly concerned with the growing trust deficit with Mistry, but these were not being addressed. The Tata Sons board, in its collective wisdom, took the decision to replace its chairman in the manner undertaken." Cyrus Mistry joined the board of Shapoorji Pallonji & Co Ltd as director in 1991 and was appointed the managing director of Shapoorji Pallonji Group, in 1994. Shapoorji Pallonji has the single largest shareholder with 18.4 per cent stake in Tata Sons – the holding company of Tata Group. Mistry's abrupt removal cannot be called illegal as stated by proxy

Companies Act a seven-day notice should be given, however, this notice is waived if at least one independent director is present in the board meeting or if the decision is ratified by majority of directors,” said JN Gupta, managing director of Stakeholders Empowerment Services (SES)." Soon, taking over as the interim Chairman of the Tata Sons, Ratan Tata wrote to PM Narendra Modi to inform change in the top management of Tata Group. Tata group filed caveats in Supreme Court, Bombay High Court and National Company Law Tribunal to prevent Mistry from getting an ex-parte order against

his sacking. According to s ources, the Tatas don’t want any court to pass any ex-parte orders without hearing their side of the story. "They have pleaded to be heard before the court passes any interim order like stay on Mistry’s sacking," a source said. Soon markets regulator Sebi began looking into the Tata-Mistry case, for any possible breach of corporate governance norms and listing regulations at various listed companies of the over USD 100 billion conglomerate. "We (Sebi) are taking note of each and every development and will act immediately on any hint of possible violation of corporate governance and listing norms or any other regulation under our jurisdiction," a senior official said. The controversy even affected the company stocks with shares of various Tata group stocks, including Tata Power and Tata Motors, plunging sharply. Tata Motors and Tata Power were down nearly three per cent each while Tata Steel was trading nearly 2 per cent down in early morning trade at BSE. Meanwhile, Tata Group began search for at least two internal candidates as successor to ousted Mistry, according to people familiar with the matter. Tata Consultancy Services Ltd. Chief Executive Officer N. Chandrasekaran and Jaguar Land Rover head Ralf Sp eth were among those considered. Also in the race was Trent Ltd. Chairman Noel Tata, a member of the founding family and Mistry’s brother in law. Also, top officials of Tata Steel met analysts, fund managers and financial institutions assuring them that business continued as usual in the $103billion group. Tata Steel said it continued to pursue European consolidation strategy and is in talks with Thyssenkrupp AG for potential JV for European steel business, following purported disclosure from ousted chairman Cyrus Mistry that some group firms could face a potential write down of USD 18 billion. "In response to the recent media reports, Tata Steel would like to clarify that it continues to pursue its European consolidation strategy and the talks with Thyssenkrupp AG (as announced on July 8, 2016) for a potential joint venture of its European steel business are currently ongoing and progressing," Tata Steel said in a BSE filing. These are just the initial of a fight that began over two months ago. Mistry and the Tatas continue to clash, with several company leaders dragged through the muck in the progress.

Demonetisation - testing time for people

AsianVoiceNews

The last two months were a testing period for all Indians, primarily the middle and the lower class as they were forced into long queues at the ATMs and Banks by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Without caution, Modi invalidated over 86 per cent of the country's cash in circulation, on November 8. "The 500 and 1000 rupee notes hoarded by anti-national and anti-social elements will become just worthless pieces of paper," Modi had announced, later seeking a 50-day period until the end of December to fix all troubles caused by demonetisation. With several conditions and a promise to curb terror funding, counterfeit currency, and unaccounted wealth which revealed to be worth 20 per cent of the nation's GDP, NaMo gambled. He gambled his government, he gambled his votes, but most importantly, he gambled the Indian economy. In his November 8 speech, Modi said, "To break the grip of corruption and black money, we have decided that the 500 rupee and 1,000 rupee currency notes presently in use will no longer be legal tender from midnight tonight, that is 8th November 2016. This means that these notes will not be acceptable for transactions from midnight onwards. The 500 and 1,000 rupee notes hoarded by antinational and anti-social elements will become just worthless pieces of paper." He added, "The rights and the interests of honest, hardworking people will be fully protected. Let me assure you that notes of 100, 50, 20, 10, five, two and one rupee and all coins will remain legal tender and will not be affected." The Prime Minister also announced several steps to ease people's troubles. They were: 1. Persons holding old notes of 500 or 1,000 rupees can deposit these notes in their bank or post office accounts from 10th November till close of banking hours on 30th December 2016 without any limit. 2. Thus you will have 50 days to deposit your notes and there is no need for panic. 3. Your money will remain yours. You need have no worry on this point. 4. After depositing your money in your account, you can draw it when you need it. 5. Keeping in mind the supply of new notes, in the first few days, there will be a limit of 10,000 rupees per day and 20,000 rupees per week. This limit will be increased in the coming days. 6. Apart from depositing your notes in your bank account, another facility will also be there. 7. For your immediate needs, you can go to any bank, head post office or sub post office, show your identity proof like Aadhaar card, voter card, ration card, passport, PAN card or other approved proofs, and exchange your old

500 or 1,000 rupee notes for new notes. 8. From 10th November till 24th November the limit for such exchange will be 4,000 rupees. From 25th November till 30th December, the limit will be increased. 9. There may be some who, for some reason, are not able to deposit their old 500 or 1,000 rupee notes by 30th December 2016. 10. They can go to specified offices of the Reserve Bank of India up to 31st March 2017 and deposit the notes after submitting a declaration form. 11. On 9th November and in some places on 10th November also, ATMs will not work. In the first few days, there will be a limit of 2,000 rupees per day per card. 12. This will be raised to 4,000 rupees later. 13. 500 and 1,000 rupee notes will not be legal tender from midnight. However for humanitarian reasons, to reduce hardship to citizens, some special arrangements have been made for the first 72 hours, that is till midnight on 11th November. 14. During this period, government hospitals will continue to accept 500 and 1,000 rupee notes for payment. 15. This is for the benefit of those families whose members may be unwell. 16. Pharmacies in government hospitals will also accept these notes for buying medicines with doctors’ prescription. 17. For 72 hours, till midnight on 11th November, railway ticket booking counters, ticket counters of government buses and airline ticket counters at airports will accept the old notes for purchase of tickets. This is for the benefit of those who may be travelling at this time. 18. For 72 hours, 500 and 1,000 rupee notes will be accepted also at • Petrol, diesel and CNG gas stations authorized by public sector oil companies • Consumer co-operative stores authorized by State or

Date

Nov.08

Nov.10

Nov.12

Nov.13 Nov.15

Nov.16 Nov.17 Nov.18 Nov.22 Nov.24 Nov.27 Nov.30 Dec.08

Dec.19

Dec.21

Dec.31

What happened

Modi declares the Rs500 and Rs1,000 notes invalid. Exchange of currency up to Rs4,000 allowed at banks, ATM withdrawal limit set at Rs2,000. Banks reopen after a day. Massive queues ensue as millions line up to deposit or exchange old currency. Deaths attributed to waiting in queues begin to be reported. The Sensex registers the biggest singleday fall in nine months. Currency exchange limit raised to Rs4,500 and ATM withdrawal to Rs2,500. Banks asked to use indelible ink marks on those exchanging money, election commission raises concerns. Parliament session begins; opposition parties corner the government over the sufferings of the poor. Currency exchange limit lowered to Rs2,000. India’s supreme court says many are “frantic” over demonetisation. RBI says banks have received Rs5.3 lakh crore in deposits since Nov. 08. Old notes can now only be deposited at banks and not exchanged. RBI governor Urjit Patel justifies demonetisation, says the new notes are difficult to counterfeit. RBI limits the withdrawals from Jan Dhan accounts to Rs10,000 per month. The Modi government announces incentives to initiate people into digital payments. Offers dicounts on digital payments. The RBI says deposits above Rs5,000 in old currency to be permitted only once until Dec. 30, the last date for depositing old notes. The RBI withdraws the restrictions on depositing cash above Rs5,000. Allows multiple transactions until Dec. 30 provided they are know your customer-compliant Narendra Modi thanks Indians while addressing the nation on new year’s eve. Says “firm resolve” and “infinite patience” characterises 125 million Indians.

Central Government • Milk booths authorized by State governments • Crematoria and burial grounds. These outlets will have to keep proper records of stock and collections. 19. Arrangements will be made at international airports for arriving and departing passengers who have 500 or 1,000 rupee notes of not more than 5,000 rupees, to exchange them for new notes or other legal tender. 20. Foreign tourists will be able to exchange foreign currency or old notes of not more than Rs 5,000 into legal tender. 21. One more thing I would like to mention, I want to stress that in this entire

exercise, there is no restriction of any kind on non-cash payments by checks, demand drafts, debit or credit cards and electronic fund transfer. CONSEQUENCES: What ensued was utter chaos. While the corrupt and the rich did what they do best, use the poor to stack their money, banks remained flooded with customers, most of them clueless of what the pradan mantri had said. The general idea was that the ban of the two high denomination currencies means everybody's money is at stake. Many scrambled to withdraw cash for daily use, standing in line for hours waiting for their chance. Bank employees were overworked, aam aadmi was confused and

exhausted, and the Opposition had the perfect opportunity to point their fingers at the ruling party. By December 8, a month after the announcement, 100 people were reported dead due to causes directly or indirectly related to demonetisation. Shortage of new notes led to an acute liquidity crunch in the economy. Many held off discretionary expenditure like weddings. To sum up, the government took a step in the right direction, but stumbled along the walk. To make matters worse, the two months following the notification of demonetisation was filled with several tweaks of ruling. IMPLICATIONS: Eventually, Modi's government lost its objective. From waging a war to curb black money, the administration soon began promoting India towards becoming a cashless economy. Exactly a month after the notification, the Modi government offered a slew of incentives to push Indians towards digital payments, including discounts on the purchase of fuel, railway tickets, and insurance policies. Modi Sarkar even launched the Bharat Interface for Money app for "fast, secure, and reliable" cashless payments. "It's a part of our campaign to incentivise people, to persuade people. I think incentivising people to go digital and shed cash, to the extent it is possible, is a good development for the economy," Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said. TAX RAIDS: Officials of the Income Tax Department have been on their toes, unearthing copious amounts of currency from bank officials, politicians and builders, in a series of raids. In his recent address to the world, the PM said the war against corruption is far from over, and while we can't ignore the amount of pain and troubles undergone by the people due to mismanagement on behalf of the administration, we think if it promises a better future, so be it.

INDIA Asian Voice | 7th January 2017

17

Many firsts in this year's Vibrant summit AsianVoiceNewsweekly

Vibrant Gujarat is all set for the eighth edition of the Vibrant Gujarat Global Investors Summit, scheduled to commence on January 10. With a notable in its reach and span, the four day business meet this year is being touted as the biggest-ever summit with the stage set for Prime Minister Narendra Modi to pitch India as an investment hot spot from the platform of the biennial event. Flagged by Modi in 2003, when he was Chief Minister, the Summit this year will also host Nobel Laureates along with several heads of states for the first time. Modi himself will hold dialogue with the heads of 35 different international and

queues. Rajkumar Beniwal, managing director, iNEXTb, said, "Compared to last year, the participants have increased by 15 to 20 per cent." All visitors will be provided with the QR code ID card that will store information about the individual. Code scanners will be installed at various locations across Mahatma Mandir and other venues. Itinerary The four-day Summit will feature 24 seminars, out of which, three will be action seminars. They will held on the lines of the World Economic Forum held at Davos. Action seminars won't feature one specific speaker, instead all stakeholders will discuss and draw

11, these Nobel laureates will interact with students at various educational institutes such as IIT Gandhinagar, Gujarat University, and MS University in Vadodara." List of Participants Gandhinagar will witness tight security all througout the summit as the attendees include the crème de la crème of the business and international communities. The conference to be chaired by Modi will host 35 foreign business leaders and 23 Indian industrialists. Top Indian industry leaders to attend the highprofile event are Mukesh Ambani, CMD, Reliance Industries Limited, Anil Ambani, Chairman, Reliance ADA Group, Kumar

23 Indian companies at the global CEO roundtable on 'Transforming India' at Mahatma Mandir in Gandhinagar on the inaugural day. PK Taneja, additional chief secretary (industries and mines), said, "The roundtable aims to dig and brainstorm industry's expectations to make India an ideal investment destination." Among those who have already forwarded their participation confirmation in a special meeting with the PM are, John Chambers, chairperson of global technology giant Cisco, Bertrand-Marc Allen, president of Boeing International, and JeanBernard Levy, CEO of French electricity giant EDF. Also, Presidents of Kenya and Rwanda, prime ministers of Portugal and Serbia, and deputy prime ministers of Russia and Poland will be among the dignitaries present at the inaugural ceremony. The event will also see participation of delegations from the United Kingdom, Canada, Japan, Sweden, and France, among others. Vibrant goes digital As many as 20 heads of states and ministers from different governments across the world will attend the summit. In a first, this year's Vibrant Summit will bear a Digital India imprint with the participants wearing a 'Quick Response Code Identity Card' to enter the venue. Registrations made on the event website requires one to upload photographs for the ID card, which have been issued to avoid long

a consensus. The Industrial Extension Bureau has planned three action seminars on Innovation, StartUps and Entrepreneurship, Smart and Liveable cities: Opportunities and Challenges, and Inclusive growth. Each session will feature approximately 100 participants. Vice-Chairman and MD, GIDC, D Thara, who will be co-ordinating the action seminar on Innovation, Startups and Entrepreneurship, said, "It will be a three hour long rigorous discussion on entrepreneurship and start ups. The outcome of seminar will help us formulate a start-up policy." Also to be held, is a Nobel Series Exhibition, where Nobel-winning scientists will interact with students, scientists, industry leaders, and policy makers. Seen as one of the high points of the summit which has until now, been seen as a platform for making business. The five-week exhibition will be opened by the PM on January 10, at Science City in Ahmedabad. "This will be the first time that Nobel Prize winners in such a big number from across the world will hold a session in the country," said Chief Secretary JN Singh. The dignitaries will also participate in the 'Nobel Laureate Dialogue' at Mahatma Mandir on the 10th, as informed by Secretary of the Department of Science and Technology Dhananjay Dwivedi. He added, "On January

Mangalam Birla, Chairman, Aditya Birla Group, Gautam Adani, Chairman, Adani Group, Vishal Sikka, CEO, Infosys, and Pankaj Patel, CMD, Zydus Group. Taneja said, "We are privileged to host these leaders from around the world. Their presence will make Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit 2017 one of the grandest events the country has seen." Opposition shut down over MoUs materialising Gujarat Inc. dispelled all notion that memorandums of understanding signed at Vibrant Gujarat Global Summits are not materialising; clarifying that the MoUs are not mere promises and investment commitments made by different industrial houses have been fulfiled. Corporate groups such as Reliance Industries Ltd, Adani Group, Essar Group, Zydus Group, Welspun Group, and Torrent Group, gave an account of the progress made in accord with the investment intentions inked by them in the previous two editions of the Vibrant Gujarat summits. "Around 72 per cent of the total 21,304 MoUs signed at the 2015 Vibrant Summit have either been commissioned or are under implementation," said Pankaj Patel, CMD, Zydus. Also the president of industrial body FICCI, Patel said of 41,023 MoUs-projects announced during the previous two summits, 27,551, or 67.15 per cent have either been commissioned or are at advanced state of implementation.


16

INDIA

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Asian Voice | 7th January 2017

AsianVoiceNewsweekly

The spat between Mistry and Tata Sons Tata Group made a shocking announcement on October 24, ousting Cyrus Mistry as Chairman after the markets closed for the day. While reasons for the move remained under the wraps, it gained a lot of mileage in the media, and the issue propelled into an ugly spat between Mistry and the conglomerate. Beginning of the end On October 24, the group, led by holding company Tata Sons, released a statement saying Mi stry was removed and that former chairman Ratan Tata will assume interim charge of the group. "The board has constituted a selection committee to choose a new chairman. The committee comprises Ratan N Tata, Venu Srinivasan, Amit Chandra, Ronen Sen, and Lord Kumar Bhattacharya, as per the criteria in the Articles of Association of Tata Sons," the statement said. The group also said that the search committee had four months to find the next chief. Mistry, visibly hurt and shaken by the abrupt farewell, wrote a letter to the board of Tata Sons. In it, he alleged that he was promised a free hand which never happened. He said that following his appointment as chairman of the Tata Group, the Articles of Association were modified, "changing the rules of engagement between the Trusts, the board of Tata Sons, the chairman, and the operating companies." He went on say that "inappropriate interpretation" of the rules followed, which "severely constrained the ability of the group to engineer the necessary turnaround." In the same letter, Mistry said the directors nominated by the Tata Trusts, were "reduced to mere postmen". He talked about an incident when two trust directorsNitin Nohria and Vijay Singh, "had to leave a Tata Sons board meeting in progress for almost an hour, keeping the rest of the board waiting, in order to obtain instructions from Mr (Ratan) Tata." He also questioned the foreign acquisition strategy of the group that "left a large debt overhang", with the company’s European steel businesses facing a potential $10 billion impairment. Tata Sons respond to Mistry's allegations Following Mistry's assertion, the company put out yet another statement, this time saying the Tata Sons board gives its chairman "complete autonomy to manage opportunities and challenges. However, the tenure of the former chairman was marked by repeated departures from the cul-

ture and ethos of the group." The statement further said, "It is unfortunate that Mistry had overwhelmingly lost the confidence of the members of the board of directors for a combination of several factors. The directors of the Tata Sons board had repeatedly raised queries and concerns on

advisory firms. JN Gupta, managing director of S t a k e h o l d e r s Empowerment Services said, "The removal of Mistry with a majority of board members voting against him is not illegal as the chairman is elected by the board and can be elected for every meeting. Under Section 173 of the

MISTRY VS TATA SONS: WHO SAID WHAT

I WAS REMOVED WITHOUT AN OPPORTUNITY TO DEFEND MYSELF’’

The legal feud with NTT Docomo could cost more than $1 billion

TATA POWER CARRRIES A RISK OF FUTURE IMPAIRMENT

I was not given a free hand as the chairman Tata Group’s foreign acquisition strategy was flawed European stell business faces a $10 billion impairment Tata Capital stands to lose $4-5 billion

I WAS UNCOMFORTABLE BOTH WITH THE AIRASIA AND VISTARA DEALS

CYRUS MISTRY TATA NANO PROJECT HAS BEEN MAKING LOSSES; SHOULD HAVE BEEN SHUT DOWN”

BENEATH THE DIGNITY OF THE GROUP TO ENGAGE IN A PUBLIC SPAT Growing trust deficit between Mistry and the rest of the board Mistry makes unsubstantiated claims and malicious allegations

RATAN TATA

Mistry party to decisions by the group for over a decade in various capacities

MISTRY HAD OVERWHELMINGLY LOST THE CONFIDENCE OF THE BOARD certain business issues, and Trustees of the Tata Trusts were increasingly concerned with the growing trust deficit with Mistry, but these were not being addressed. The Tata Sons board, in its collective wisdom, took the decision to replace its chairman in the manner undertaken." Cyrus Mistry joined the board of Shapoorji Pallonji & Co Ltd as director in 1991 and was appointed the managing director of Shapoorji Pallonji Group, in 1994. Shapoorji Pallonji has the single largest shareholder with 18.4 per cent stake in Tata Sons – the holding company of Tata Group. Mistry's abrupt removal cannot be called illegal as stated by proxy

Companies Act a seven-day notice should be given, however, this notice is waived if at least one independent director is present in the board meeting or if the decision is ratified by majority of directors,” said JN Gupta, managing director of Stakeholders Empowerment Services (SES)." Soon, taking over as the interim Chairman of the Tata Sons, Ratan Tata wrote to PM Narendra Modi to inform change in the top management of Tata Group. Tata group filed caveats in Supreme Court, Bombay High Court and National Company Law Tribunal to prevent Mistry from getting an ex-parte order against

his sacking. According to s ources, the Tatas don’t want any court to pass any ex-parte orders without hearing their side of the story. "They have pleaded to be heard before the court passes any interim order like stay on Mistry’s sacking," a source said. Soon markets regulator Sebi began looking into the Tata-Mistry case, for any possible breach of corporate governance norms and listing regulations at various listed companies of the over USD 100 billion conglomerate. "We (Sebi) are taking note of each and every development and will act immediately on any hint of possible violation of corporate governance and listing norms or any other regulation under our jurisdiction," a senior official said. The controversy even affected the company stocks with shares of various Tata group stocks, including Tata Power and Tata Motors, plunging sharply. Tata Motors and Tata Power were down nearly three per cent each while Tata Steel was trading nearly 2 per cent down in early morning trade at BSE. Meanwhile, Tata Group began search for at least two internal candidates as successor to ousted Mistry, according to people familiar with the matter. Tata Consultancy Services Ltd. Chief Executive Officer N. Chandrasekaran and Jaguar Land Rover head Ralf Sp eth were among those considered. Also in the race was Trent Ltd. Chairman Noel Tata, a member of the founding family and Mistry’s brother in law. Also, top officials of Tata Steel met analysts, fund managers and financial institutions assuring them that business continued as usual in the $103billion group. Tata Steel said it continued to pursue European consolidation strategy and is in talks with Thyssenkrupp AG for potential JV for European steel business, following purported disclosure from ousted chairman Cyrus Mistry that some group firms could face a potential write down of USD 18 billion. "In response to the recent media reports, Tata Steel would like to clarify that it continues to pursue its European consolidation strategy and the talks with Thyssenkrupp AG (as announced on July 8, 2016) for a potential joint venture of its European steel business are currently ongoing and progressing," Tata Steel said in a BSE filing. These are just the initial of a fight that began over two months ago. Mistry and the Tatas continue to clash, with several company leaders dragged through the muck in the progress.

Demonetisation - testing time for people

AsianVoiceNews

The last two months were a testing period for all Indians, primarily the middle and the lower class as they were forced into long queues at the ATMs and Banks by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Without caution, Modi invalidated over 86 per cent of the country's cash in circulation, on November 8. "The 500 and 1000 rupee notes hoarded by anti-national and anti-social elements will become just worthless pieces of paper," Modi had announced, later seeking a 50-day period until the end of December to fix all troubles caused by demonetisation. With several conditions and a promise to curb terror funding, counterfeit currency, and unaccounted wealth which revealed to be worth 20 per cent of the nation's GDP, NaMo gambled. He gambled his government, he gambled his votes, but most importantly, he gambled the Indian economy. In his November 8 speech, Modi said, "To break the grip of corruption and black money, we have decided that the 500 rupee and 1,000 rupee currency notes presently in use will no longer be legal tender from midnight tonight, that is 8th November 2016. This means that these notes will not be acceptable for transactions from midnight onwards. The 500 and 1,000 rupee notes hoarded by antinational and anti-social elements will become just worthless pieces of paper." He added, "The rights and the interests of honest, hardworking people will be fully protected. Let me assure you that notes of 100, 50, 20, 10, five, two and one rupee and all coins will remain legal tender and will not be affected." The Prime Minister also announced several steps to ease people's troubles. They were: 1. Persons holding old notes of 500 or 1,000 rupees can deposit these notes in their bank or post office accounts from 10th November till close of banking hours on 30th December 2016 without any limit. 2. Thus you will have 50 days to deposit your notes and there is no need for panic. 3. Your money will remain yours. You need have no worry on this point. 4. After depositing your money in your account, you can draw it when you need it. 5. Keeping in mind the supply of new notes, in the first few days, there will be a limit of 10,000 rupees per day and 20,000 rupees per week. This limit will be increased in the coming days. 6. Apart from depositing your notes in your bank account, another facility will also be there. 7. For your immediate needs, you can go to any bank, head post office or sub post office, show your identity proof like Aadhaar card, voter card, ration card, passport, PAN card or other approved proofs, and exchange your old

500 or 1,000 rupee notes for new notes. 8. From 10th November till 24th November the limit for such exchange will be 4,000 rupees. From 25th November till 30th December, the limit will be increased. 9. There may be some who, for some reason, are not able to deposit their old 500 or 1,000 rupee notes by 30th December 2016. 10. They can go to specified offices of the Reserve Bank of India up to 31st March 2017 and deposit the notes after submitting a declaration form. 11. On 9th November and in some places on 10th November also, ATMs will not work. In the first few days, there will be a limit of 2,000 rupees per day per card. 12. This will be raised to 4,000 rupees later. 13. 500 and 1,000 rupee notes will not be legal tender from midnight. However for humanitarian reasons, to reduce hardship to citizens, some special arrangements have been made for the first 72 hours, that is till midnight on 11th November. 14. During this period, government hospitals will continue to accept 500 and 1,000 rupee notes for payment. 15. This is for the benefit of those families whose members may be unwell. 16. Pharmacies in government hospitals will also accept these notes for buying medicines with doctors’ prescription. 17. For 72 hours, till midnight on 11th November, railway ticket booking counters, ticket counters of government buses and airline ticket counters at airports will accept the old notes for purchase of tickets. This is for the benefit of those who may be travelling at this time. 18. For 72 hours, 500 and 1,000 rupee notes will be accepted also at • Petrol, diesel and CNG gas stations authorized by public sector oil companies • Consumer co-operative stores authorized by State or

Date

Nov.08

Nov.10

Nov.12

Nov.13 Nov.15

Nov.16 Nov.17 Nov.18 Nov.22 Nov.24 Nov.27 Nov.30 Dec.08

Dec.19

Dec.21

Dec.31

What happened

Modi declares the Rs500 and Rs1,000 notes invalid. Exchange of currency up to Rs4,000 allowed at banks, ATM withdrawal limit set at Rs2,000. Banks reopen after a day. Massive queues ensue as millions line up to deposit or exchange old currency. Deaths attributed to waiting in queues begin to be reported. The Sensex registers the biggest singleday fall in nine months. Currency exchange limit raised to Rs4,500 and ATM withdrawal to Rs2,500. Banks asked to use indelible ink marks on those exchanging money, election commission raises concerns. Parliament session begins; opposition parties corner the government over the sufferings of the poor. Currency exchange limit lowered to Rs2,000. India’s supreme court says many are “frantic” over demonetisation. RBI says banks have received Rs5.3 lakh crore in deposits since Nov. 08. Old notes can now only be deposited at banks and not exchanged. RBI governor Urjit Patel justifies demonetisation, says the new notes are difficult to counterfeit. RBI limits the withdrawals from Jan Dhan accounts to Rs10,000 per month. The Modi government announces incentives to initiate people into digital payments. Offers dicounts on digital payments. The RBI says deposits above Rs5,000 in old currency to be permitted only once until Dec. 30, the last date for depositing old notes. The RBI withdraws the restrictions on depositing cash above Rs5,000. Allows multiple transactions until Dec. 30 provided they are know your customer-compliant Narendra Modi thanks Indians while addressing the nation on new year’s eve. Says “firm resolve” and “infinite patience” characterises 125 million Indians.

Central Government • Milk booths authorized by State governments • Crematoria and burial grounds. These outlets will have to keep proper records of stock and collections. 19. Arrangements will be made at international airports for arriving and departing passengers who have 500 or 1,000 rupee notes of not more than 5,000 rupees, to exchange them for new notes or other legal tender. 20. Foreign tourists will be able to exchange foreign currency or old notes of not more than Rs 5,000 into legal tender. 21. One more thing I would like to mention, I want to stress that in this entire

exercise, there is no restriction of any kind on non-cash payments by checks, demand drafts, debit or credit cards and electronic fund transfer. CONSEQUENCES: What ensued was utter chaos. While the corrupt and the rich did what they do best, use the poor to stack their money, banks remained flooded with customers, most of them clueless of what the pradan mantri had said. The general idea was that the ban of the two high denomination currencies means everybody's money is at stake. Many scrambled to withdraw cash for daily use, standing in line for hours waiting for their chance. Bank employees were overworked, aam aadmi was confused and

exhausted, and the Opposition had the perfect opportunity to point their fingers at the ruling party. By December 8, a month after the announcement, 100 people were reported dead due to causes directly or indirectly related to demonetisation. Shortage of new notes led to an acute liquidity crunch in the economy. Many held off discretionary expenditure like weddings. To sum up, the government took a step in the right direction, but stumbled along the walk. To make matters worse, the two months following the notification of demonetisation was filled with several tweaks of ruling. IMPLICATIONS: Eventually, Modi's government lost its objective. From waging a war to curb black money, the administration soon began promoting India towards becoming a cashless economy. Exactly a month after the notification, the Modi government offered a slew of incentives to push Indians towards digital payments, including discounts on the purchase of fuel, railway tickets, and insurance policies. Modi Sarkar even launched the Bharat Interface for Money app for "fast, secure, and reliable" cashless payments. "It's a part of our campaign to incentivise people, to persuade people. I think incentivising people to go digital and shed cash, to the extent it is possible, is a good development for the economy," Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said. TAX RAIDS: Officials of the Income Tax Department have been on their toes, unearthing copious amounts of currency from bank officials, politicians and builders, in a series of raids. In his recent address to the world, the PM said the war against corruption is far from over, and while we can't ignore the amount of pain and troubles undergone by the people due to mismanagement on behalf of the administration, we think if it promises a better future, so be it.

INDIA Asian Voice | 7th January 2017

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Many firsts in this year's Vibrant summit AsianVoiceNewsweekly

Vibrant Gujarat is all set for the eighth edition of the Vibrant Gujarat Global Investors Summit, scheduled to commence on January 10. With a notable in its reach and span, the four day business meet this year is being touted as the biggest-ever summit with the stage set for Prime Minister Narendra Modi to pitch India as an investment hot spot from the platform of the biennial event. Flagged by Modi in 2003, when he was Chief Minister, the Summit this year will also host Nobel Laureates along with several heads of states for the first time. Modi himself will hold dialogue with the heads of 35 different international and

queues. Rajkumar Beniwal, managing director, iNEXTb, said, "Compared to last year, the participants have increased by 15 to 20 per cent." All visitors will be provided with the QR code ID card that will store information about the individual. Code scanners will be installed at various locations across Mahatma Mandir and other venues. Itinerary The four-day Summit will feature 24 seminars, out of which, three will be action seminars. They will held on the lines of the World Economic Forum held at Davos. Action seminars won't feature one specific speaker, instead all stakeholders will discuss and draw

11, these Nobel laureates will interact with students at various educational institutes such as IIT Gandhinagar, Gujarat University, and MS University in Vadodara." List of Participants Gandhinagar will witness tight security all througout the summit as the attendees include the crème de la crème of the business and international communities. The conference to be chaired by Modi will host 35 foreign business leaders and 23 Indian industrialists. Top Indian industry leaders to attend the highprofile event are Mukesh Ambani, CMD, Reliance Industries Limited, Anil Ambani, Chairman, Reliance ADA Group, Kumar

23 Indian companies at the global CEO roundtable on 'Transforming India' at Mahatma Mandir in Gandhinagar on the inaugural day. PK Taneja, additional chief secretary (industries and mines), said, "The roundtable aims to dig and brainstorm industry's expectations to make India an ideal investment destination." Among those who have already forwarded their participation confirmation in a special meeting with the PM are, John Chambers, chairperson of global technology giant Cisco, Bertrand-Marc Allen, president of Boeing International, and JeanBernard Levy, CEO of French electricity giant EDF. Also, Presidents of Kenya and Rwanda, prime ministers of Portugal and Serbia, and deputy prime ministers of Russia and Poland will be among the dignitaries present at the inaugural ceremony. The event will also see participation of delegations from the United Kingdom, Canada, Japan, Sweden, and France, among others. Vibrant goes digital As many as 20 heads of states and ministers from different governments across the world will attend the summit. In a first, this year's Vibrant Summit will bear a Digital India imprint with the participants wearing a 'Quick Response Code Identity Card' to enter the venue. Registrations made on the event website requires one to upload photographs for the ID card, which have been issued to avoid long

a consensus. The Industrial Extension Bureau has planned three action seminars on Innovation, StartUps and Entrepreneurship, Smart and Liveable cities: Opportunities and Challenges, and Inclusive growth. Each session will feature approximately 100 participants. Vice-Chairman and MD, GIDC, D Thara, who will be co-ordinating the action seminar on Innovation, Startups and Entrepreneurship, said, "It will be a three hour long rigorous discussion on entrepreneurship and start ups. The outcome of seminar will help us formulate a start-up policy." Also to be held, is a Nobel Series Exhibition, where Nobel-winning scientists will interact with students, scientists, industry leaders, and policy makers. Seen as one of the high points of the summit which has until now, been seen as a platform for making business. The five-week exhibition will be opened by the PM on January 10, at Science City in Ahmedabad. "This will be the first time that Nobel Prize winners in such a big number from across the world will hold a session in the country," said Chief Secretary JN Singh. The dignitaries will also participate in the 'Nobel Laureate Dialogue' at Mahatma Mandir on the 10th, as informed by Secretary of the Department of Science and Technology Dhananjay Dwivedi. He added, "On January

Mangalam Birla, Chairman, Aditya Birla Group, Gautam Adani, Chairman, Adani Group, Vishal Sikka, CEO, Infosys, and Pankaj Patel, CMD, Zydus Group. Taneja said, "We are privileged to host these leaders from around the world. Their presence will make Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit 2017 one of the grandest events the country has seen." Opposition shut down over MoUs materialising Gujarat Inc. dispelled all notion that memorandums of understanding signed at Vibrant Gujarat Global Summits are not materialising; clarifying that the MoUs are not mere promises and investment commitments made by different industrial houses have been fulfiled. Corporate groups such as Reliance Industries Ltd, Adani Group, Essar Group, Zydus Group, Welspun Group, and Torrent Group, gave an account of the progress made in accord with the investment intentions inked by them in the previous two editions of the Vibrant Gujarat summits. "Around 72 per cent of the total 21,304 MoUs signed at the 2015 Vibrant Summit have either been commissioned or are under implementation," said Pankaj Patel, CMD, Zydus. Also the president of industrial body FICCI, Patel said of 41,023 MoUs-projects announced during the previous two summits, 27,551, or 67.15 per cent have either been commissioned or are at advanced state of implementation.


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FINANCIAL VOICE

Asian Voice | 7th January 2017

Indian-origin tycoon to rescue UK's last aluminium smelter Indian-origin metal tycoon Sanjeev Gupta will invest a whopping amount of 120 million pounds in Britain's last aluminium smelter as part of a deal to save the site and safeguard hundreds of jobs. Liberty House and Gupta's father's related business, Simec, will pay over 330 million pounds to acquire the plant at Lochaber, and two hydro-electric plants that power it. He said the group is committed to invest a further 120 million pounds, creating up to 600 jobs in the coming years. Scotland's First Minister Nicola Strugeon, during a visit to the site said, "Today is the start of an exciting new chapter in Scotland's manufacturing story and the Scottish government and its agencies will keep working with Sanjeev Gupta and the GFG Alliance to help them realise their enterprising vision for Lochaber." Gupta, in his late 40s, said, "We hope this day will come to be recognised as

Sanjeev Gupta

the start of a bright new future for Highland industry. It puts Lochaber right at the heart of our vision for sustainable and integrated local production that can revitalised British manufacturing." His plans include creating an aluminium wheel manufacturing facility with 300 jobs directly and another 300 in the supply chain. Liberty also announced that it aims to protect the existing 170 jobs at Lochaber and expand metal manufacturing and downstream engineering in the region.

Anshu Jain to join Cantor Fitzgerald as president Anshu Jain, who was forced to step down from the top job at Deutsche Bank after a series of regulatory mishaps, will join the private trading firm Cantor Fitzgerald this month as group president. The appointment, which was announced by Cantor’s chairman and chief executive, Howard Lutnick, comes 18 months after Jain resigned under pressure from his job as co-chief executive of Germany’s largest bank as concerns mounted over Deutsche’s financial health and the many investigations it was facing. A Cantor spokeswoman confirmed the appointment. Jain, 53, was among a small group of Merrill Lynch executives who were persuaded to join Deutsche in 1995, with a mandate to build an investment bank that would challenge large firms like Barclays, Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase. Deutsche’s global markets division would do exactly that during its first 10 years in existence, becoming a market leader in derivatives, fixed income and foreign currency sales and trading. But its hard-charging culture of pursuing profits and risk - and paying its bankers and traders magnificent sums along the way - proved to be the division’s undoing in the years after the financial crisis.

Anshu Jain

As group president, Jain will, in effect, become a partner to Lutnick, helping him oversee Cantor’s various businesses and, crucially, providing strategic insights. According to a Cantor spokeswoman, Jain will not have a group of executives reporting to him. Instead, he will strategize and engage with clients at a senior level. Lutnick called the hiring of Jain “a strong next step in broadening our franchise.” “He will work alongside me as my partner as we expand our global footprint and drive the firm’s momentum,” Lutnick said. The two men have been friends for years and have on occasion even spent vacations together. People who know Jain well say they are not surprised that he would soon return to the front lines of finance. From an early point in his career, he had seen himself as a Wall Street chief executive in the classic style of wielding unchallenged power and influence.

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Incisive law against benami assets next step: Modi AsianVoiceNews

In his 'Mann Ki Baat' radio programme, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said banning the notes was just the first step in the fight against corruption and black money. He added that "incisive law' against benami property was next. "In the coming days, this law will also become operational." The PM stated that a "benami property" law was promulgated in 1988, but it was dormant for 28 years because rules had not been framed. "I assure you that this is not the end. This is just the beginning in our fight against corruption. We have to win this war against corruption and black money. There is no

Narendra Modi

question of stopping or going back in this fight," Modi said. Defending the constant changing of rules of demonetisation, he said, "Another issue which comes up is this, why are rules changed time and

again? This government is for the sake of the people. The government continuously endeavours to take feedback from them. What are the areas of difficulty for the people? What are the rules that are creating

AsianVoiceNewsweekly

hindrances... The government, being a sensitive government, amends rules as required, keeping the convenience of the people as its foremost consideration, so that citizens are not subjected to hardships." He also took a dig at the opposition who have been expressive of their skepticism. "People who cannot endorse corruption and black money openly resort to finding fault with the government relentlessly," Modi said. Referring to the arrests of "influential persons" and seizure of currency notes, the PM said the source of information behind this crackdown was the common man.

Airbus eyes Gujarat for helicopter plant In a major boost to aerospace and defence industry development in the state, France-based Airbus group has expressed interest in establishing a greenfield helicopter manufacturing facility in Gujarat at an estimated cost of £280 million. Senior government officials said, "The company, a global leader in aerospace industry, is interested in setting up a production unit in Gujarat. Although the company is among the top aircraft manufacturers in the world, a helicopter project is on its mind as far as Gujarat is concerned." Senior authorities met with Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani and other officials last week.

Sources revealed that Airbus intends to make its own investment of 100 million euros for the factory and another 300 million euros will be pumped in by the company's suppliers and vendors.

"We have proposed multiple projects to kickstart a defence focused industrial ecosystem in the country, including an offer to build the C295W military transport aircraft alongside Tata, and a part-

nership with Mahindra Defence to locally manufacture military helicopters," stated Airbus on its website. The giant's land requirement includes 900 acres for building the factory and another 1,000 acres for its suppliers, vendors and township purposes. The western state has recently emerged as a preferred destination for defence projects. Corporate companies such as Pipavav Defence and Offshore Engineering Company, Reliance Helicopters, and Asteria Aerospace Pvt Ltd among others have been granted industrial licences to make helicopters and defence related items in the state.

Niraj Shah looking to make Wayfair 'pre-eminent brand in home' Entrepreneur of IndianAmerican origin, Niraj Shah attended an entrepreneurial class during his final semester at Cornell University, in 1995. A lesson which helped him build a multi-billion dollar e-commerce giant, Wayfair. Shah, 42, believes the class sparked a business plan that led to the founding of his first company together with Steve Conine, Spinners. "It ultimately became the foundation for starting and building several technology companies," Shah said. Spinners, an IT and Web services company was later sold to global technology consulting firm iXL. In the acquisitional process, Shah became the chief operating officer of the latter, after which he took up the role of entrepreneurin-residence at Greylock Partners. He came a long way, until he founded Wayfair in 2002. "In 2002, Steve Conine and I were

Niraj Shah

analysing search trends and noticed there was a great deal of untapped opportunity in certain commerce categories," Shah said. He stated that around that time he and Conine were looking for the right opportunity, plasma TVs and surround sound were becoming popular and they felt countless consumers needed entertainment furniture to house the items. "We decided to address that online need by creating a retail site called RacksandStands.com. From there we started to expand to other furniture categories one by one. That became the roots for what

would become Wayfair.com." Things weren't smooth sailing for the partners. "People do not generally want the same home furnishings and décor as their neighbours. That means offering great selection alongside beautiful, inspiring imagery as well as support and expertise, which we provide through specialised service teams who really understand furniture and other home products, such as lighting and flooring," Shah said. "When we hire smart, hard working, team-oriented and analytical people, we set ourselves up for our success. In fact, I've come to value these traits far more than job experience because these individuals are not burdened by the assumption that there's only one way to do something. They automatically think outside the box and that mindset is what drives innovation."

With a strong team, and founders who knew exactly what they wanted, Wayfair has now become one of the leading online retailers for home furnishings since its inception 14 years ago. Shah said that in 2002, they launched CSN Stores with a single website which grew into more than 250 standalone sites selling items from barstools to birdhouses. The successes of the hundreds of standalone sites opened the door to build a repeat customer base and raise awareness of the vast product offering under one umbrella, he added. So, in 2011, the entirety of the ecommerce sites under Shah and Conine was rebranded into a single destination known as Wayfair, which offers roughly 7 million products from more than 7,000 suppliers across five brands: Wayfair.com, AllModern, Birch Lane, DwellStudio and Joss & Main.


REALESTATEVOICE

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THE EARLY BIRD CHOOSES ITS WORM AsianVoiceNews

AsianVoiceNewsweekly

The new year has started and the property market will begin to get into gear again, after the Christmas lull. The auction houses in London will start running again in early February, lagging slightly behind to ensure everyone has returned from their holidays to attend.

Suresh Vagjiani

Sow & Reap London Property Investment

As the market is still rising awake, there is a window of opportunity. Traditionally this is probably the quietest time of the year for property deals. Everyone takes their holidays during this time, however it also represents a great time to pick up some deals. We managed to close a deal which was a great one for our investors on the 20th December, in the nick of time just before the Christmas period hit. A freehold in Marylebone for £680 per sq. ft., all

IS A BENEFIT TENANT A QUICK FIX? One question I am asked too often is: will the council pay a good rent for my investment as the rent is guaranteed? It may seem like a quick and easy fix to fill your investment with a council tenant, however, I think the following issues would overrule the “quick fix” we were looking for: 1. Payment in arrears When letting to tenants who are in receipt of housing benefit, the payments are always made

in arrears. This compares unfavourably with a private letting where the rent is paid a calendar month in advance, which means a better cash flow for investors. 2. Deposits Tenants who are dependent on housing benefit often do not have a deposit to hand over to the landlord to protect. And even where the local council can help with a deposit, the council schemes are cumbersome,

BUY TO LET OPPORTUNITY North Watford Purchase Price: £150,000

done up, no work required. Similar deals can be done during this early part of the year by the astute investor. You want to be focusing on those who have to sell, and not those who merely are dipping their toe in the water to see if they can get the price they wish to achieve, which at times exists only in their heads and nowhere else. And with London being London, surprisingly sometimes they achieve it. The focus needs to be on the 3 Ds: Death, Divorce and Distress. These should be the ideal motivations of the seller. The first two exist in any market, the latter is driven in large by the market, and especially the lending market. Recently Brexit did not slow to administer and claim against in the event of damages caused by tenants. 3. Red tape The administration of housing benefit can be slow and involve lots of form filling. Payments can start and stop without notice, and councils retain the right to try to claw back past payments from landlords if it later emerges that their tenant was claiming fraudulently – even if the landlord was unaware of a change in the tenant's circumstances. 4. Insurance traps l

help in the short term, during this time many lenders either reduced the Loan to Values or had properties revalued, and this was in mid application, meaning during the process of refinance. This was a very anxious time; although it was mostly caused by the knee jerk response to the result, rather than reality, however due to this response it then became reality. The lending market is set for a tightening up, which means the amounts loaned will be less for BTL properties. This, along with the recent hikes in Stamp Duty will serve to reduce the demand for property. Lending will be tightened up to accommodate the removal of the interest relief for BTL properties.

Asian Voice | 7th January 2017

All this means is there will be deals to be done. However, no one can say how long this period will last for, or what the actual price of a property actually is. The comparables will not reflect the current market values, as the market is in a different shape to the comparables. And the comparables themselves can be deceptive. They show the price a property has been sold for and the date. However, the price is likely to have been negotiated three months prior to this date. Therefore, the completion price may not reflect the true price on the date, especially when the market is changing.

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So how does one know what is a fair price in the current market? And when will it go up again?

The truthful answer is you don’t. So one good strategy is to purchase based on yield, meaning you ‘ignore’ the capital appreciation and focus on how much money the property will make on a monthly basis. This can be challenging in London, and more so as you get to the centre. However, there are ways and means to increase the yield for rental properties. So even in areas such as St John’s Wood, Marylebone one can attain yields of 5% plus.

the last years has left landlords feeling confused. Rather than trying to understand something that keeps changing, many private landlords simply opt out

instead. If you have any questions relating to a situation you are currently in, regarding a rental property, then please call the office for a chat.

Buildings and contents insurance premiums are often higher where a landlord lets to people dependent on the Local Housing Allowance. Sometimes insurance is refused to landlords altogether. 5. Buy-to-let mortgages Some buy-to-let mortgage loan terms and conditions do not allow landlords to let to tenants on any kind of benefits or income support. 6. Constant change Finally, the array of changes to the housing benefit system, rates of payment and rules over

A one bedroom flat in good internal condition l Currently tenanted, generating over £9,000 per annum l Located to the north of Watford l Good local amenities and facilities l Priced at circa £150k, great as a first-time l BTL investment l Purpose built block, surrounded by communal gardens Call us now if you are interested!


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FINANCIAL VOICE

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After losing to India in FDI, China opens more sectors

AsianVoiceNews

Asian Voice | 7th January 2017

In a bid to catch up with India in the race to attract further foreign investment, China has opened up more sectors. Offering a piece of government-controlled segments like public transport and railway equipment to foreign players besides cutting down the number of restrictions by a third from 93 to 62. However, the real reason Beijing opened its doors despite resistance from state-owned enterprises is not just slipping numbers of foreign direct investments. China is worried about US President-elect Donald Trump using China's partially closed market to launch negative trade actions. Chinese authorities are trying to pre-empt

adverse action from Trump, who has openly endorsed his antagonism with the communist nation, even accused it of unfair investment practices resulting in the "theft of American jobs." Commerce Minister Gao Hucheng admitted that foreign direct investments grew at a slower rate of 3.8 per cent last year, as compared to 6.4 per cent in 2015. Whether India will manage to retain the top slot this year, remains to be seen. "US-China commercial relations are in for a rough ride in the coming months, as the Trump administration aggressively pushes China to open its markets further to American imports and investment and applies a

more critical eye to Chinese investments in the US," said Scott Kennedy, deputy director of Freeman Chair in China Studies at the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies. India crossed China after its FDI inflows slipped 23 per cent to $56.6 billion last year. "The big FDI story of the past year is India. After a long period of trailing behind China, the south Asian country is now racing past its formidable rival. India was the highest ranked country by capital investment in 2015, with $63 billion worth of FDI projects announced," said Courtney Fingar, head of content with London-based FDI Intelligence.

I-T lens on 6800,000 non-filers who made high-value transactions Income Tax department has identified an additional 67.54 Lakh non-filers who carried out high-value transactions in the 2014-15 financial year, but did not file tax returns for 2015-16. The IT department is set to initiate action against the people soon. Data analysis carried out by the Central Board of Direct Taxes identifies non-filers about whom specific information is available in transaction reports received in its data-

bases from various sources. The analysis is carried out as part of the IT department's Non-filers Monitoring System which is meant to identify non-filers with potential tax liabilities. A CBDT press release said the IT department had identified the 67.54 Lakh people by conducting its fifth cycle of data matching. The department is now sending notices to those asking to now account for their transactions and pay taxes as applicable. The

non-filers can access details of their transactions when they log on to the efiling portal with their PAN, the CBDT said. The PAN holder will be able to respond electronically and retain a copy of the submitted response. The CBDT urged all tax payers to disclose their true income and pay taxes accordingly to prevent coming under the IT's radar. It said the I-T department would continue to vigorously pursue non-filers.

3 Kerala firm's gold holdings touch 263 tonnes Gold holdings of the three major gold loan companies in Kerala have recorded a growth from 195 tonnes two years ago, to nearly 263 tonnes towards the end of September 2016. Muthoot Finance, Manappuram Finance, and Muthoot Fincorp jointly hold nearly 263 tonnes of gold jewellery, higher than the metal reserves of Belgium, Singapore, Sweden, or Australia. Over the last two years, the gold holdings of Muthoot Finance, the largest of Kerala's gold loan companies, grew from

Abhishek Sachdev

2016 will be remembered by many of us as a year of consternation. We have witnessed some truly shocking events, from terrorist atrocities, loss of so many wellloved celebrities to Brexit, Trump and much more. So,

will secure the capital needs of BMPS and allow the bank to pursue its industrial plan," Pier Carlo Padoan, Italy's finance minister, said. Monte dei Paschi's desperate need for state aid followed an unsuccessful attempt to raise enough capital through private investment. The bank, which has been saddled with non-performing loans, raised 2.5 billion euros from retail and institutional investors, however, was well short of the 5 billion euros

Yet another damp squib. The re-auction of embattled businessman Vijay Mallya's Goa property, Kingfisher Villa, saw no takers despite a reduction in reserve price by 5 per cent to £8.1 million by lenders. The lenders were hopeful to get buyers for the property which was put under auction for the third time. "There was hope that villa could get some buyer this time, but unfortunately, none of the bidders came forward. The auction failed this time as well," a source said. Experts believe one of the reasons for the failure

of the auction could be that people are seeing correction in real estate and the expect lenders to reduce the reserve price further for the villa. "Post demonetisation, the real estate market has become dull. The property prices have come down. Bidders would not have come forward for buying the villa today as they are hoping that lenders will lower the reserve price for the property," said an analyst. The government's demonetisation move has also affected the real estate market where black money is steadily used to buy and

sell properties. In the third failed auction of the Kingfisher House, the lenders reduced the reserve price by 15 per cent to £11.5 million. The prime property has a built up area of over 17,000 sq ft and is located in the plush Vile Parle area near the domestic terminal. It once Mallya hold several lavish parties. The businessman owes over £900 million to lenders like SBI, PNB, IDBI, BoB, Allahabad Bank, Federal Bank, and Axis Bank, among others. He had left the country on March 3 last year and currently resides in London.

Boxing Day sales ‘ravaged’ by Black Friday returns

required. The European Central Bank (ECB) had previously rejected a request for BMPS to have its deadline to raise sufficient funds extended to January 20 in early December. Monte dei Paschi was found to be the weakest of 51 European banks that went through the ECB's stress testing earlier in the year and was given until the end of 2016 to resolve its dire situation or face being wound down. "Italy is really rather depressing to look at," Paul

Donovan, global chief economist at UBS Wealth Management said. "(In Italy, we have) negative bank lending… In a modern capitalist society, if you don't have normal bank lending you don't have normal economic growth, it's that simple," he added. Under new European Union (EU) regulations, any such state bailout would enforce a conversion of the lender's junior bonds into shares while risking losses for thousands of ordinary retail investors.

As a result of higher rates of internet shopping than expected and returns, up to one in five “this season” items were absent in today’s store sales, returns firm Clear Returns has warned. The company said that since it takes warehouses several days to process and prepare items for resale, huge volumes of Black Friday returns would not make it back into shops in time. For bricks-and-mortar

shops, it was another kick in the teeth by online stores, which took most of the Black Friday trade this year. The level of stock “in transit” will hamper their profits by leaving them with less to sell today. A record £1 billion worth of items were expected to be returned after Black Friday online customers adopted a “buy now, decide later” attitude instead of braving the high street.

rosy? No, economically despite a few bright spots, Europe is still fighting deflation and lacklustre growth. Whilst we have seen some improvement, Government debt in Germany out to 8 years is still negative. In other words, people are PAYING for the privilege to lend money to the German Government in return for security; hardly a sign of a strong Europe given that Germany is its key engine. We finished 2016 with the defeat of Italy's Mario Renzi and seen Austria just fall short of electing an extreme right wing president.

Ahead we see notable elections in the Netherlands, France and Germany. These elections will test the Euro to possible breaking point and with the shocks seen in the UK and US elections, upsets should not be ruled out. Back in the UK, Brexit will dominate, starting with the ruling from the UK Supreme Court on Article 50 ‘Brexit Appeal’, followed in March by Teresa May’s selfimposed deadline for triggering Article 50. Given the lack of guidance from the Government with regards to what Brexit actually looks like, expect significant volatility in both Sterling and UK interbank rates. With regards to growth

expectations, Brexit didn’t initiate the immediate doomsday effect that most commentators had forecast, Bank of England included. The consumer has continued to spend and job growth has continued to record highs. However, looking ahead the picture looks gloomy, with most predicting a slowdown in GDP from a forecast 2.2% in 2016 to 1.4% in 2017. The labour market is also showing worrying signs of a possible turnaround, with the unemployment rate expected to rise from 4.9% to 5.4%. Inflation is likely to squeeze householder’s income significantly, with businesses again holding back on investment.

Because of all the uncertainty, I would expect to see no change in Bank of England Interest Rate policy, but remember this doesn’t necessarily mean we can’t see higher lending rates, in particular, higher fixed rates. With all the uncertainty 2017 will bring, it is essential that you take independent FCA regulated advice in respect to FX and Debt related transactions. Please call us at Vedanta Hedging to discuss your requirements.

Fasten your seatbelts...

what do we expect to see from 2017 in the world of finance? In summary, expect the unexpected! Never has there been a time of so much uncertainty in the world of political policy both here in the UK, US and Europe. We have the ingredients in place for some game changing events. This January against many economists’ beliefs, a Global Financial crisis and the near financial collapse of a number of European countries, the Euro in cash form is 15 years old. So with 15 years under its belt, does the future look

116 tonnes to 150 tonnes. It now holds more yellow metal in its vaults than the reserves of Singapore (127.4 tonnes), Sweden (125.7 tonnes), Australia (79.9 tonnes), Kuwait (79 tonnes), Denmark (66.5 tonnes) and Finland (49.1 tonnes). There are other two big players Manappuram Finance

with 65.9 tonnes and Muthoot Fincorp with 46.88 tonnes. The combined holdings of the three are 262.78 tonnes. India accounts for somewhere around 30 per cent of the global demand for gold. According to the World Gold Council, it has the 11th gold reserves at 558 tonnes. The US heads the pack with 8,134 tonnes, with Germany and IMF come next. According to GFMS Gold Survey, India tops the list of countries consuming gold jewellery, with a consumption of 107.6 tonnes during Q3 of calendar year 2016.

Kingfisher Villa in Goa fails to find takers, again

Italy to bail out world's oldest bank Italian government has decided to bail out Monte dei Paschi di Siena, after the world's oldest bank failed to secure backing from private investors. Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni and his cabinet paved the way for a 20 billion euro ($20.8 billion) rescue fund to help the country's embattled banking sector, with BMPS, Italy's third largest bank, the priority. The troubled lender issued a statement saying that it would formally request a state bailout in an effort to stay afloat. "This

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CURRENCY VOICE

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Asian Voice | 7th January 2017

Paresh Davdra is the Dealing Director of RationalFX,

LOOKING BACK AT AN EVENTFUL 6 MONTHS Currency Specialists.

BREXIT

On the 23rd June the UK voted to withdraw from the European Union with 51.9% of votes in favour of leaving the European Union. This was a surprise to most, with the majority of polls predicting a remain vote. As news broke the Pound had its biggest ever one day drop since free floating exchange rates were introduced in the 1970’s. This was the single largest one day fall of any of the world’s four major currencies. The political uncertainty was far from over in the Brexit aftermath with the incumbent Prime Minister David Cameron resigning hours after results were announced. Panicked investors forced the Pound a further 10% lower from the period July to October 2016. Expansionary Monetary Policy The Bank of England (BoE) offered a swift response to news of Brexit, offering a helping hand to businesses and consumers by slashing interest rates from 0.5% to 0.25%. The BoE also relaxed Bank reserve capital requirements, freeing up capital and allowing banks to lend more to businesses and individuals.

US ELECTION

The whirlwind economic and political issues of June were Trumped in October, when a controversial Republican candidate was elected as the new US President – to the surprise of many. Donald Trump managed to take control of major swing states including North Carolina, Ohio and Pennsylvania. The initial impact of Donald Trump as president on global markets was negative as both commodity and equity markets weakened with USD on the back foot and safe haven currencies being heavily bought. However, once it was officially announced that Mr Trump had been elected as the new US

21

Foreign Exchange

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President; markets reversed rapidly with the Dollar making back it’s losses.

LOOKING FORWARD TO MORE SETTLED WATERS?

Brexit/Article 50: The British government is appealing against a legal ruling stating that it needs parliamentary approval to trigger the formal Brexit process. London’s High Court ruled in November that the government does not have the constitutional right to start the process without the backing of lawmakers. Prime Minister Theresa May has insisted that she will invoke Article 50 of the EU’s Lisbon Treaty before the end of March 2017, thus beginning two years of formal exit talks, expected to conclude with Britain leaving the EU in spring 2019. Europe’s leaders, such as Angela Merkel and Council President Donald Tusk are united in their determination to delay negotiations on discussions until the UK formally triggers Article 50. British households are likely to experience a cut in their disposable incomes in 2017, as the effects of the vote pushes inflation higher and weakens the outlook for the economy. The government’s freeze on tax credit payments will also play a part in pushing down real disposable incomes, according to forecasts by the National Institute of Economic and Social Research. UK – What action will the Bank of England take next year? Following on from Article 50, uncertainty is the question driving what action the Bank of England will take. Another interest rate cut to try to stimulate the economy is not necessarily the most likely outcome. Carney has stated that; “You can envisage scenarios where it (interest rates) goes either way. We don’t have a bias in terms of direction of where the next move will be.

Again, in a period of a fair bit of uncertainty you can envisage scenarios where either direction would be merited”. This statement indicates that the BoE is prepared to hike rates if the outlook for inflation gets to a point they are uncomfortable with. Europe - another political sea change? In 2017 we could see the Eurozone return to the spotlight as a number of countries in the trade bloc have their general elections. Populist support around the globe is growing as we have seen already in 2016 with a Brexit vote and Donald Trump voted in as the 45th US President. Across the English Channel we are seeing right-wing populist parties gaining popularity as Europe faces a spate of elections that are set to shape the continent’s political landscape. In early December, voters in Italy were asked whether they would approve a constitutional law amending the Italian Constitution. 59.1% of Italians voted against the reforms, and the Italian Prime Minister resigned, leaving the country set for further instability. Around this time, Austria rejected an anti-immigration far-right leader in favour of a left-leaning candidate. Probably the most notable and unnerving election for EU purists is the French Presidential election. National Front far-right leader Marine Le Pen, who has dubbed herself ‘Madam Frexit’, is projected to be one of the top two candidates in the first round of the election. Le Pen is currently projected to lose in the second-round to Francois Fillon, who is seen as the centre-right candidate, and favourite to become the next French President. However political analysts are refusing to rule out a La Pen upset.

WHAT TO LOOK OUR FOR IN 2017

With an increasingly fast-chang-

ing political landscape, 2017 looks set to bring further economic surprises. RationalFX can assist you in navigating these times, hedging your risk through innovative, tailor made strategies for your business. Speak to one of our dealing team to see how we can help you navigate through an uncertain 2017. GBP The outlook for the Pound is shrouded in uncertainty as we move into 2017. A timeline has yet to be set for Brexit, as well as an expected date for Article 50 to be triggered by Theresa May. Currency markets are currently extremely sensitive to any news regarding the outlook for the UK regarding Brexit. So far we have seen the Pound rally on news of a ‘soft’ Brexit, and conversely the Pound has been sold off when news breaks that the UK could be in for a ‘hard’ Brexit. Until there is a clearer roadmap on how the UK will fare in its relationship with the European single market, we expect choppy trading conditions for the Pound to continue in the medium term. Ultimately, the risk still remains that a ‘Hard’ Brexit is still a possible outcome, and if this is the case, there is still scope for a continued weakening Pound. USD The key theme for the US dollar in 2017 is how the US Fed will act on President elect Donald Trump’s new economic policies after the rate hike on the 14th December. With Trump being elected on a platform of infrastructure spending, tax cuts, cuts to government regulations, and renegotiating or halting of international trade agreements there is a strong argument that these policies will be inflationary, leading to further interest rate hikes and a stronger US Dollar in 2017. EUR All eyes will be on the political

We e k ly Currencies

As of Tuesday 3rd January 2017 @ 1pm

GBP - INR = 83.49

USD - INR = 68.39 EUR - INR = 70.92 GBP - USD = 1.22 GBP - EUR = 1.17

EUR - USD = 1.03 GBP - AED = 4.48

GBP - CAD = 1.64

GBP - NZD = 1.77

GBP - AUD = 1.69

GBP - ZAR = 16.88

GBP - HUF = 363.62

www.rationalfx.com

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

landscape of the European Union and the potential impact of the populist vote and right wing leaders. Importantly we have seen Austria reject a far right leadership however we still have key French and German elections to come. Recently we have seen the rise of the German Alternatif for Deutschland Party as Merkel’s popularity suffers. Also, high on the ECB’s agenda for 2017 is bound to be quantitative easing programmes and any potential developments from this.

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22

WORLD

Reading fake news, Pak minister directs nuclear threat at Israel Asian Voice | 7th January 2017

ISLAMABAD: A fake news piece has prompted the Defence Minister of Pakistan to threaten to go atomic. Khawaja Muhammad Asif wrote a severe Twitter post directed at Israel after reading a false report saying Israel had threatened Pak with nuclear weapons. "Israely def min threatens nuclear retaliation presuming pak role in Syria aganist Daesh," he wrote on his Twitter account. "Israel forgets Pakistan is a Nuclear state too," he said. The fake story appeared on a website with a headline that went 'Israeli Defence Minister: If

Khawaja Muhammad Asif

Pakistan send ground troops to Syria on any pretext, we will destroy this country with a nuclear attack', on December 20. It even misidentified the country's defence minister, attributing quotes to a former minister,

Moshe Yaalon. Responding to the piece, the Israeli Defence Ministry said the report was fictitious. "The statement attributed to fmr Def Min Yaalon re Pakistan was never said," it tweeted. The ministry also said, "Reports referred to by the Pakistani Def Min are entirely false." While Asif did not respond to the Israelis, his tweet was reposted almost 400 times, and he was mocked for the mistake. The same website had several fake articles including one that read, "Clinton is staging a military coup against Trump."

The proliferation of fake news stories - spread on social networks and produced by a variety of sources including pranksters, foreign governments and enterprising individuals who hope to receive advertising revenue by driving traffic to their websites - has become an increasingly serious problem. A North Carolina man was arrested on Dec. 4 after firing a gun at a Washington pizza parlour, because investigators said he was investigating claims in fake news articles that the pizzeria was at the center of a child sex slave ring linked to Hillary Clinton.

Indian in running for $1 mn Global Teacher Prize in UK NEW DELHI: A female Indian physics teacher in the UK has been recognised for her experiential method of teaching physics, and has been placed among the top 50 contenders from around the world for a global prize of $1 million. Kavita Sanghvi, principal of MET Rishikul Vidyalaya in Mumbai, has been recognised by the Global Teacher Prize 2017. Expressing her excitement, she said, "For the past few days on receiving the mail and finding my name in the top 50, I have been walking in the clouds,

Kavita Sanghvi

smiling and feeling an immense sense of gratitude towards all for shaping me professionally to develop my strengths and potentials. This recognition makes me feel truly special and inspires me to enhance my abilities and capabilities further. The

Prize will be a constant reminder to me that I am responsible and accountable to the community towards academic, environment and social development of my students and teachers." Set up by Indianorigin entrepreneur Sunny Varkey, the Global Teacher Prize recognises one exceptional teacher who has made an outstanding contribution to the profession as well as to shine a spotlight on the important role teachers play in society. Ten candidates

will be chosen from the top 50 by February, who will then be invited to Dubai for the award ceremony at the annual Global Education and Skills Forum to be held on March 19. "We were overwhelmed by the huge support the Global Teacher Prize received this year. We intend to keep this momentum going as our journey continues to return teachers to their rightful position as one of the most respected professions in society," said Varkey, founder of the UK-based Varkey Foundation.

Berlin suspects' 'suicide-strike offer' BERLIN: German intelligence sources said the suspect in the Berlin terrorist attack was overheard as offering to carry out a "suicide attack" several months ago. No order was given to arrest Anis Amri, and investigators wrote him off as an "errand boy". A surveillance team monitoring a wellknown extremist preacher, intercepted a call from Amri in which he made the offer, as per a media report. It was claimed that Amri was seen entering a Berlin

mosque that had been under police surveillance in the hours after the attack. An image of the suspect leaving the mosque was released by regional broadcaster RBB. The place of worship which was earlier searched in the day, was reportedly shut down by authorities. Prosecutors said they had found Amri's fingerprints on the lorry that ploughed into a Chrisrmas market in Berlin, killing 12 people and injuring 49. "We believe that Anis Amri was steering the truck,"

a spokesman for the federal prosecutors said. German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said, "We can tell you today that there are additional indications that this suspect is with high probability the actual perpetrator." Following the attacks, police have raided apartments and mosque complexes in a manhunt for the 24 year old. The report also said that the police knew Amri wanted to carry out an attack, but he was never seriously taken. The claims were

supported by a report in Focus, a rival publication, that a regular informant warned police Amri was planning an attack in July, but that he was allowed to slip away. Both sets of claims centre on the immediate circle of Abu Walaa, an Iraqi known as "the faceless preacher." The cleric, whose real name is Ahmad Abdulaziz Abdullah A, was arrested in November on charges of recruiting volunteers to fight for Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

China once again shields JeM chief Azhar at UN NEW DELHI: India reacted sharply to China's action of formally blocking sanctions in the UN Security Council against Pakistan-based JeM chief and Pathankot terror mastermind Maulana Masood Azhar, saying it was confirmation of the “double standards” prevalent in the world community's fight against terrorism. India also said it would continue to push forward with resolute determination “through the use of all options available with us to bring perpetrators of terrorist violence to justice. As a consequence of this decision, the UN Security Council has again been pre-

Maulana Masood Azhar

vented from acting against the leader of a listed terrorist organisation. We had expected China would have been more understanding of the danger posed to all by terrorism and would join India and others in fighting

the common challenge of terrorism,” a spokesperson of the ministry of external affairs said. “The inability of the international community to list its leader Masood Azhar is an unfortunate blow to the concerted efforts to effectively counter all forms of terrorism, and confirms prevalence of double standards in the fight against terrorism,” he added. India, he said, was surprised by Beijing's reaction, since China was itself in the cross-hairs of international terrorism. Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) is already under sanctions by the 1267 com-

mittee, but Masood Azhar remains out of that list, which would make it easier for Azhar to access funds and travel more freely. With China blocking New Delhi's proposal just a day before expiry of Beijing's “technical hold”, the proposal now will go into cold storage said officials, until a new listing is proposed. That would probably be done in the coming weeks by India. India also plans to list other terrorists on the committee, which would leave China with no choice but to continue to support Pakistan and keep blocking terror leaders from sanctions.

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Google slows clocks to usher in a leap second

CALIFORNIA: Tech giant Google found a creative way to adapt its systems to the extra second that was added to past year on December 31. The 'leap second' as it is called, was introduced to allow the earth's rotation to catch up with atomic time. Previously, systems have been unable to handle a minute with 61 seconds, resulting in internet crashes. Google, however, came with a cure by building a publicly available "network time protocol" server to prevent similar crashes. In the 10 hours before and after the end of 2016, its clocks ran 0.0014 per cent slower to spread out the extra second.

Scarlett Johansson is the top-grossing actor of 2016

WASHINGTON: The Black Widow has had a great year at the box office, making her 2016's top-grossing actor, bringing in $1.2 billion at global ticketing booths. Scarlett Johansson beat co-stars Chris Evans and Robert Downey Jr, both who stood second with $1.15 billion worldwide. All the three actors have Marvel's 'Captain America: Civil War' to thank, as it became the top grossing movie of the year. Also on the list were Ryan Reynolds at number 8, and British actor Jones at 9. The list, released by Forbes, was based on annual ranking using global ticket sales. Given that 'Captain America' did the best business globally, it is understandable how Johansson claimed the top spot. She is one of Hollywood's fiercest female action heroes, after all.

'Serial' Subject Adnan Syed Is Denied Bail Motion

MARYLAND: Adnan Syed, the 'Serial' podcast subject, will not be released on bail. The Circuit Court for Baltimore City denied Syed's motion for release pending appeal. He will remain in jail as he awaits a new trial. The motion was denied "because of the open status of the case in the appeals court" said the judge, who also denied his request for a hearing. In his motion to release, Syed's attorney argued that his client has been a model prisoner and poses no threat. "Syed has now served more than 17 years in prison based on an unconstitutional conviction for a crime he did not commit. He has no history of violence other than the State's allegations in this case, and if released he would pose no danger to the community." Syed's case rose to prominence in 2014, when the first season of podcast 'Serial' looked into his exgirlfriend Hae Min Lee's murder, and his subsequent trial. Syed remains in prison for his murder conviction in the 1999 death of Lee.

Sikh community head gunned down in Afghanistan

KABUL: Head of a Sikh community in Afghanistan's restive Kunduz city was shot dead by unknown gunmen, in a second such incident in three months. Lala Del Souz, a naturopath, was gunned down in the Haji Gulistan Kochi Haman area of the city, and he later died from his injuries while being taken to the hospital. Relatives said he had been shot at five years ago, but had survived the attack. Kunduz security chief Masoum Stanikzai said the police have arrested three suspects. The shooting sparked a social media outcry, with hundreds of people condemning the incident and sending condolences to his family. His uncle Prem has called on the government to investigate the incident thoroughly and deliver justice.

Pak boy sues presidency for ‘stealing’ speech

ISLAMABAD: An eleven year old boy has sued the office of Pakistan President Mamnoon Hussain, for stealing his speech. Six grader Muhammad Sabeel Haider, through his father Naseem Abbas Nasir, approached the Islamabad High Court, filing a petition against the presidency for "stealing" the text of his speech and giving it to someone else without his consent. Justice Aamer Farooq has reserved the verdict on the maintainability of the young orator's petition. The counsel said Haider's speech was forwarded for approval from the presidency to be read out as part of an official event to celebrate the birth anniversary of Pak founder MA Jinnah, and that it was approved. Later however, Haider was told a girl would be reading out the speech.


INDIA Asian Voice | 7th January 2017

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NY allows Sikh police officers to wear turbans on duty

NEW YORK: In good news, Sikh officers in the New York Police Department will now be allowed to wear their turbans while on duty. NYPD Commissioner James O'Neill said, "We want to make the NYPD as diverse as possible, and I think this is going to go a long way to help us with that. It's a major change in our uniform policy, so we had to go about it carefully. And now I have the opportunity to make the change, and I thought it was about time that we did that." A navy blue turban with a badge will replace the traditional cap worn by other personnel, wearers will however, need approval from their senior officers. O'Neill said there were around 160 Sikhs who served in the NYPD and they all welcomed the news. The Sikh Officers Association tweeted, "This is a proud moment for Sikh community." Also, religious officers are now allowed to grow facial hair to up to 1.27cm, again, only with the permission of a superior. Otherwise, the limit for facial hair remains just one millimetre. Kavneet Singh, of the Sikh American Legal Defence and Education Fund said that the move was a "great step."

First female Afghan air force In Brief Ban Ki-moon bids pilot seeks asylum in US Outgoing farewell to UN

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KABUL: Afghanistan's first female fixed-wing pilot, Capt. Niloofar Rahmani has requested asylum in the US, as announced by the Afghan defence ministry. The pilot made the request after she allegedly began receiving death threats from hard-line radicals. Speaking to the New York Times, Rahmani, 25, said "things are not changing" in Afghanistan. She added, "Things are getting worse and worse. I would love to fly for my country, that is what I have always wanted to do. But I'm scared for my life," she told another paper last week. She has been training at airbases in Arkansas, Texas, and Florida, and was slated to return to her home country last week, but instead she decided to speak out her fears shortly before her departure. Her comments however, failed to gather support from Afghanistan, with the leadership irked by her instead. Gen. Mohammad Radmanish, an Afghan defence ministry spokesman dismissed her safety concerns saying, "What she said in the US was irresponsible and unexpected. She was meant to be a role model for other young Afghans. She has betrayed her country. It is a shame." He

Niloofar Rahmani

added, "I am sure she lied by saying she was threatened just to win the asylum case. It is baseless that she claimed her life was at risk while serving in the Afghan Air Force. Since Captain Rahmani’s claim is new, we expect her to change her mind and return to her own country and continue serving as a pilot. We request from our American friends and government to reject her asylum case and send her back, because knowing the truth, Captain Rahmani’s life isn’t at risk at all." She was recognised by the US State Department in 2015, when she was given the Women of Courage award. If the asylum is granted, Rahmani said she wants to

continue flying, either as a commercial pilot or for the US Air Force. Heather Higginbottom, US deputy secretary of state for management and resources, praised Rahmani when she received the award: "Niloofar is now the first woman in her nation’s history to earn her flying wings on a fixed-wing plane. Afghans and people all around the world swelled with pride at her accomplishments, but many, including the Taliban and some members of her own extended family, were incensed. Niloofar received death threats and was forced to relocate several times. But she will not be intimidated and she will not be silenced."

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UNITED NATIONS: Outgoing UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon bid adieu to the United Nations where he has worked for 10 years. Ban expressed his gratitude to the UN staff at the headquarters before his departure, encouraging them to keep working hard on UN causes and never give up. A group of UN officials, staff members, and diplomats had gathered to see him off. The former chief even joked saying, "Millions of people will be watching as I lose my job." He pushed the button beginning the official 60-second countdown to the New Year. He quipped, "I feel a bit like Cinderella. At midnight, everything changes." His tenure as the eighth UN Secretary-General began on January 1, 2007, and ended on December 31, 2016. He is succeeded by Portugal's Antonio Guterres.

364 Pakistanis imprisoned in Saudi Arabia, says Sartaj Aziz

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan's Advisor to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs, Sartaj Aziz said there are 364 Pakistani citizens imprisoned in Saudi Arabia. Answering a question in the Senate, he said the jails hosting them include Riyadh, Jubail, Buridah, Dammam, Khober, and Oniza. Aziz said that the embassy of Pakistan is extending all possible assistance to Pakistani prisoners in jails and deportation centres in Saudi. "Embassy has sought consular access for the detainees, to inquire about their welfare, extended to them all possible assistance, and clemency requests from their relatives to the Royal Court," he said. The Advisor also said that the Saudi government provided translators to the accused during the investigation process in the courts. "In serious offences, lawyers are provided on the government's expenses."


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INDIA

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Call to make Sasikala as Tamil Nadu CM Asian Voice | 7th January 2017

NEW DELHI: Close friend and confidante of former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, Sasikala Natarajan has formally taken over as the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam's general secretary. Breaking down while speaking about her mentor in her address to AIADMK party workers, Sasikala said, "Amma is not with us now but our party will rule here for the next 100 years." Unanimously chosen to lead the ruling state party, Sasikala said Jaya had struggled for 75 days, before God called his beloved child to him. She said she had been with the

Sasikala Natarajan

former chief minister since she was 29 and that she was her "life". She added that she will follow Jaya's directions while leading the party, and that the party's cadre were its strength, and she was confident they will support her. The new party chief also announced that the AIADMK founder and former

Telangana gets £45 mn additional aid NEW DELHI: The Central government has provided additional £45 million as special assistance to Telangana for the development of the backward areas in the region. Following a cumulative assistance of £90 million so far, the Finance Ministry released a statement saying, "In keeping with its commitments to support the development of backward areas of Telangana, the Central government has provided a further special assistance of £45 million to the state for 2016-17." Another £45 million was released by the Centre during 2015-16, for the development of nine backward districtsAdilabad, Nizamabad, Karimnagar, Warangal, Medak, Mahbubnagar, Rangareddy, Nalgonda, and Khammam. "Cumulatively,

the central government has so far released £90 million to the state for this purpose," the statement said. The Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act, 2014, entrusts the Central government with supporting the programmes for the development of backward areas in the successor states, including expansion of physical and social infrastructure. These additional resources from the Centre would enable Telangana to devise and implement schemes best suited for mitigation of backwardness and alleviation of poverty. "The developmental activities would improve the physical and social infrastructure bringing these districts at par with the more developed districts of the state," it added.

AAP gamble raises stakes for SAD, Cong in Punjab CHANDIGARH: Punjab is all set to go to polls this year and with the Aam Aadmi Party placing its bet and trying to find its feet in the north, it has consistently been the flavour of the political scene in the state. Delhi Chief Minister and national convener of the party, Arvind Kejriwal, in his series of attempts to gain an upper hand against his opponentsthe ruling Shiromani Akali Dal-BJP combine and the Congress, organised several events, including the historic Maghi Mela in Muktsar. Addressing a mass turnout, Kejri hit out at the drug menace and promised to bring back Punjab's glory. The Mela was a major blow to Congress' Punjab president Capt Amarinder Singh, who was hoping to lead the party to victory. In response to the event, Amarinder soon hit the road with his 'Coffee with Captain' programme to appeal to the youth, which soon turned into a series of programmes like 'Halke vich Captain' as his mass contact programme. Amarinder made several promises, including smart phones for the youth, one job in every family, and a waiver of farmers' debt. The

Arvind Kejriwal

Captain enforced a rule of onefamily-one-ticket, promised to do away with VIP culture. Meanwhile, the SAD-BJP government resorted to its old vote-catching stints, including 'poll doles' with the state budget for the current fiscal announcing doubling of old age pensions, a free pilgrimage scheme, recruitment of over one lakh jobless youths, free utensils and free electricity to poor. The government regularised 27,000 contractual employees, initiated a facelift exercise for the historic cities, constructed memorials, rolled out its much-hyped amphibious bus. By the mid of the year, traditional parties-the SAD and Congress, found themselves knee-deep in trouble with the state government fighting double-incumbency, a drug menace that was getting out of hand, and the Badal family facing allegations of conflict of interest.

TN chief minister, M G Ramamchandran's centenary birth anniversary celebrations will be organised throughout the year. The party will demand the Centre to release a stamp and a commemoration coin in honour of MGR. After being appointed the chief of the AIADMK, there has now been noise about Sasi becoming the head of government, a top party leader said. M Thambidurai, member of the Lok Sabha, said it's unwise for the party and government to have separate power centres. "Governments have lost their credibility among the people, when the leadership of the party and the leadership of

the government was in the hands of two different persons," he said. After Jaya's death, O Panneerselvam, 65, replaced her as Chief Minister. While he was supportive of Sasi becoming the party chief, he hasn't commented yet on the call for him to step down for 'Chinamma'. Revenue Minister Udayakumar launched the campaign asking for Sasikala to become Chief Minister and denied an unsubtle revolt against Panneerselvam saying, "Mr Panneerselvam is a symbol of loyalty in the party and he was the first person to ask Chinamma to become Chief Minister."

Taxmen raid former TN chief secy's residence, office CHENNAI: Additional Chief Secretary Girija Vaidyanathan was appointed new chief secretary of Tamil Nadu, replacing P Rama Mohana Rao, a day after income tax officials raided his house, office, and other premises in connection with his alleged link with sand mining baron J Shekhar Reddy. A 1981 batch IAS officer, Girija will hold full additional charge of the post of the vigilance commissioner and the commissioner of administrative reforms held by Rao. Chennai-born Girija is the fourth women chief secretary of Tamil Nadu, after Lakshmi Pranesh, S Malathi, and Sheela Balakrishnan. She holds considerable experience in the finance department in both, DMK and AIADMK governments. Income Tax investigation wing officials raided Rao's residence and his office at the secretariat, over allegations of corruption. They also simultaneously, conducted raids on the premises belonging to his son, relatives, and associates in Chennai, Bangalore, and Chittoor. Officials said that the

P Rama Mohana Rao

raids began at the former chief secretary's house in Anna Nagar, where more than 20 officials from the Income Tax investigation wings conducted the search. A total of 13 premises were raided the same day, including his office. The investigations were being conducted in connection with his alleged links with sand mining baron J Shekhar Reddy, and others. Recent raids were conducted on the premises of Reddy and his brother Srinivasasalu in Chennai and Vellore. 36 Crore in Old and new currency notes worth £13.6 million and gold worth £17.7 million were seized from the duo. The CBI and the Enforcement Directorate registered cases against Reddy and others for alleged money laundering.

SGPC urges SC to ban 'Sardar jokes' NEW DELHI: The Shiromani Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee has urged the Supreme Court to ban 'Sardar Jokes' as the "12 o'clock" jibe is in reality linked to acts of bravery. The top Sikh religious body explained to the court how the joke came to be associated with the Sikhs. It claimed that every time Muslim invaders looted India, capturing women to take back with them, Sikh warriors despite low on numerical strength, attacked them at midnight to free the captive Hindu women. The 12 o'clock jokes also come from another incident. The British used to fire a cannon at 12 noon, Calcutta time. But the Sikhs defiantly used to fire another cannon at 12, Punjab time. People began to refer to the firings as British time and Sardar time, the SGPC said. The SGPC, in its affidavit

filed through Advocate Kamaldeep Gulati, said, "Living in those violent years of Mughal and Afghan invasions, the Sikh community, aside from adorning the mantle of protectors being brave, courageous, and fearless, also ingrained in themselves a gregariousness and zest for life. They lived every day with the knowledge that at any time they may have to lay down their lives for the service of faith and others." It also added, "It is most unfortunate that over a period of time, the society has forgotten the role played by the Sikh community. The courage is now looked upon as foolhardiness, the fearlessness is translated into lacking in intelligence and the gregariousness and zest for life is shown to be buffoonery. What started off as a salute to the heroism of the Sikhs, has been turned into a rude vitriolic of 12 o'clock jokes."

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Boy dies after cellphone explodes

VILLUPURAM: A teenager died after his Samsung phone exploded into flames in Villupuram district of Tamil Nadu. It is yet to be confirmed if it was a Galaxy Note model. R Abilesh, 15, a Class 10 student at Jallahalli, reached his uncle's house along with his parents to celebrate Christmas and New Year. He was on the terrace, talking on his phone at 2 in the afternoon when the gadget accidentally caught fire, and fell on his shirt which instantly flamed too. The fire inflicted severe burn injuries on his upper body. Police said this might be the first incident of a person dying of an explosion of a mobile phone reported in the state or country.

Karnataka plans 100% job quota for Kannadigas

BENGLAURU: Karnataka government is planning to introduce 100 per cent reservation to Kannadigas in blue-collar jobs in private sector industries across the region. The state labour department has released the draft amendments to the Karnataka Industrial Employment Rules of 1961, to this end. Sources said the government has already drafted the new move which will be placed in the Assembly after going through the legality of the amendment. Karnataka Labour Minister Santosh Lad said, "The amendment will ensure job opportunities to the local people. The industry houses get lot of concession from the government, be it land cost, tax rebate, etc., and therefore they will also need to encourage the local talent." The move is not limited to the manufacturing sector, also covering IT and Biotech sector.

Madras HC summons Chief Election Commissioner

CHENNAI: The Madras High Court has summoned the Chief Election Commissioner of India, to be present in the court next month for a case hearing. Justice MV Muralidharan directed the CEC to remain personally present in the court on January 9, along with the returning officer of Oddanchathiram assembly constituency in Tamil Nadu. The court was miffed at the fact that the poll panel had not been responding to court notices and for the last three hearings the commission was not represented by anyone in the court. The issue relates to an election petition filed by a voter, challenging the election of DMK candidate R Sakkarapani from Oddanchatram in May last year.

AAP fields eye surgeon against Captain Amarinder

CHANDIGARH: A few days after bidding MP Bhagwant Mann for the constituency of Jalalabad, AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal has announced the candidature of an eye surgeon and activist Dr Balbir Singh against Punjab Congress president Captain Amarinder Singh for Patiala Assembly constituency. A super specialist in retina surgery, Dr Singh is a political greenhorn. He is known in the district for his contribution in free eye care for the poor, and has worked closely with slum-dwellers in Patiala, training them as home nursing care help. The party plans to project him as "messiah of the underprivileged" against the royal family scion of Patiala.

Students brought in to fill empty chairs at deputy CM show

JALANDHAR: Punjab's ruling SAD-BJP government seems to have lost its footing in the party itself after Sarabit Singh Makkar got a ticket from the Jalandhar Cantonment Assembly constituency. In a show of protest after Makkar got a ticket, all senior SAD leaders from Jalandhar Cantonment and Jalandhar district boycotted Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal's rally in the region. Badal, who was to lay the foundation of the ITI at Sofi Pind, was received by a damp crowd with more than 60 per cent chairs remaining empty. Students from a nearby school and college were later brought in by the rally organiser to the venue just before the deputy CM arrived.


HERITAGE - HISTORY Asian Voice | 7th January 2017

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Lokmanya Tilak preached Gandhian non-violence AsianVoiceNews

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Sai Baba restrained the Father of Freedom Movement from any bloodshed Dr Hari Desai The history of any event or personality can be coloured by the presenter unless one is keen on having the factual picture. Still none can deny twisting of the facts. Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak (23 July 1856 – 1 August 1920 ), the Father of Indian Freedom struggle, leaves misgivings about many facets of his life even today. Known for his efforts for mass awakening of Indian masses to obtain Swaraj (Self-rule or Home Rule), he was leading the Extremist group of Indian National Congress but never ever favoured split in Congress despite sad

Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak

chronology of events at Surat in 1907. Tilak was the firebrand Editor of “Kesari” (Marathi) and “Marhatta” (English) newspapers and had to face sedition cases leading to sentencing him for years. Though a predecessor of Mahatma Gandhi, he did not mind calling Gandhi a “Mahatma” (Great soul) even in 1918 while writing the preface of a Marathi biography of M K Gandhi by Avantikabai Gokhale. One may be surprised when Tarkteerth Laxman Shastri Joshi, Chief Editor of Marathi Vishwakosh (Encyclopaedia), states: “The Gandhian era began with Tilak era itself.” Tilak was a supporter of armed revolution is a myth. Tarkteerth, while editing Editorials by Tilak for Sahitya Akademi of India,

calls him a Revolutionary who never favoured armed struggle. It may surprise many since many biographers, including Dhanjay Keer, Y D Phadke and Gayatri Pagdi, presented Lokmanya as one “thinking of organising an armed revolt against British rule” and “wanted Lord Curzon dead”. The political Guru of both Gandhi and Mohammad Ali Jinnah, Gopal Krishna Gokhale was always at loggerheads with Tilak. He is quoted from his memoirs by Pagdi as “both Tilak and Shivram Paranjape wanted Curzon dead. Tilak also provided financial help. However, the plan did not succeed”. He reportedly maintained close relations with extremist armed revolutionaries like those belonging to Chaphekar Club and Shivaji club.

Misconception about Tilak needs to be removed or analysed. Though both Tilak (“Gita Rahashya”) and Gandhi (“Anasakti yog”) had faith in Bhagawad Gita, their interpretation differed. The ideal of Tilak was Sri Krishna but Gandhi’s ideals were Jesus Christ and Buddha. Quite often Lokmanya justified killing of Afzal Khan by Shivaji. Tilak even started celebration of Ganesh festival and Shiv Jayanti for mass awakening. Such an orthodox Hindu leader of Congress was mostly seen in Barrister Mohammad Ali Jinnah’s chamber at leisure time. Not only that Jinnah appeared for him in various cases when Lokmanya was facing sedition and other cases. Jinnah even boycotted the dinner hosted by the

Gokhale and Gandhiji in Durban, South Africa, 1912

Bombay Bar Association for Justice Davar on receiving a knighthood as the very judge of Bombay High Court had sentenced Tilak to jail for six years recording nasty comments for the great patriot. This very Davar had earlier appeared for Tilak when he was practising as a lawyer. During the Christmas week in 1907, Jinnah attended the Congress session at Surat and witnessed the tumultuous scenes which led to the split between the Moderates and Extremists. It is a curious fact that, though Jinnah was Pherozshah Mehta’s blue-eyed boy, an admirer of Gokhale and aligned with the Moderate Party, he also developed great respect for Bal Gangadhar Tilak, notes B R Nanda in “Road to Pakistan: The Life and Times of M A Jinnah”. When Tilak started Ganesh and Shivaji festivals, an impression was created that he was antiMohammedan. But he was prepared to start even Akbar festival! To win the support of Muslims in the struggle for Swaraj, he sought the co-operation of leaders like Jinnah, who according to him was a genuine Nationalist Muslim of his day. Even when Dr B S Munje and Tej Bahadur Sapru criticised Tilak, he preferred to proceed and a historical Lucknow Pact was signed between the Congress and the Muslim League in 1916. The Muslim League on behalf of the Muslims agreed to the demand for Swaraj, and the Hindu leaders headed by Tilak agreed to separate elec-

Gopal Krishna Gokhale

torates for the Muslims and weightages in bargain. The Lucknow Pact laid down that one-third of the Indian elected Members in the Central Legislature should be Muslims elected by separate Muslim electorates. Tilak, who in the 1890s had berated Justice Ranade and G K Gokhale for not standing up to Muslim communalism, lent his powerful support to separate electorates in 1916! Here in Lucknow while addressing Home Rule League meeting on 30 December 1916, his well-known slogan “Swaraj is my birthright and I shall have it” was uttered for the first time and it became synonymous with his name. Even when Congress leaders of Nagpur Dr Munje and Dr K B Hedgewar went to Puducherry in 1920 to convince Sri Aurobindo to accept the Presidentship of Indian National Congress after Tilak’s demise, he refused it point-blank. According to the official figures of Congress, the Nagpur session of Congress in 1920 had the maximum number of registered delegates (14,582) so far. In fact Tilak was to be the President of Congress at Nagpur in December 1920 but he died in August 1920. Aurobindo refused to take up the Presidentship. Despite the opposition by Dr Hedgewar, who established Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) in 1925, Vijayraghavariar was

elected the President. Tilak could not be the President in Delhi in 1918 since he had to extend his stay in England. Instead Madan Mohan Malaviya presided and did not mention Tilak’s name even for once! Tilak was of the firm belief that an armed revolution in India is not a pragmatic way for gaining Swaraj. As Tarkteerth analysed, Lokmanya did maintain sympathy for the armed revolutionaries but it was crystal clear that he never favoured that option. Hence in a way he was the first one to preach Gandhian way. Tilak was always for bloodless revolution. But some people do analyse him the way it is convenient to them. This is unfortunate. It causes injustice to the character of the great nationalist. Even when Gayatri Pagdi presents Tilak as an armed revolutionary in the biography, she does record Lokmanya’s meeting with Sai Baba of Shirdi with his associate Ganesh Khaparde, after his release from Mandalay Jail. “Baba is said to have told him that the goal of independence would be achieved but not through violence of any sort. Baba also advised him to tone down any kind of aggression.” Next Column: Swami Vivekananda and his Religion (The writer is a Sociopolitical Historian. Email: haridesai@gmail.com)


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NRIs can now exchange old notes

AsianVoiceNews

Asian Voice | 7th January 2017

NRIs and Indian nationals abroad can deposit up to Rs 25,000 of the demonetised currency during the 3-6 month grace period, but only if they show the junked notes to Customs officials at the airport and get declaration form stamped. The declaration will have to be submitted at specified branches of the Reserve Bank while depositing the junked currency, a finance ministry notification stated. While the 50-day window for such deposits at banks or post offices ended on December 30, the government has offered a grace period for those who were abroad. The window for Indian nationals who were travelling abroad is till March 31 and for NRIs, it is June 30, 2017. This facility, however, is "subject to the Foreign Exchange Management (Export and Import of Currency) Regulations, 2015. As per

these regulations, bringing back such currency into the country is restricted to Rs 25,000 per person". Those returning from Nepal and Bhutan are not permitted to carry specified bank notes (SBNs) of old 500 and 1,000 rupee notes. "For the period from up to March 31, 2017 or June 30, 2017, as applicable, a declaration form will need to be filled by resident Indians and non-resident Indians coming to India and carrying SBNs for depositing these SBNs in the specified offices of RBI in India," the notification said.

"At the airp o r t / l a n d Customs stations etc on entry, Customs stamp on the said forms shall be affixed and the same shall be submitted along with other documents to RBI offices." A onepage form has been worked out for the purpose. Since the form to be filled in by the passenger bearing the Customs stamp will be crucial in subsequently facilitating the deposit of SBNs at the specified issue offices of RBI, the finance ministry asked the Customs formations to keep a copy of the same, preferably in a scanned format. "The Customs officer shall strictly count the number of notes and tally the total amount mentioned before stamping the form submitted by the passenger," the notification said.

Akhilesh takes over as Samajwadi Party chief Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav dislodged his father Mulayam Singh Yadav as Samajwadi Party president and installed himself as the boss at an emergency meeting. While this caps ends months of acrimonious fights, the party has split into two separate entities. Although Mulayam indicated his willingness to fight, this cannot blur the fact that he is no longer the party boss. Worse for him, the Election Commission is likely to freeze the `bicycle' symbol as it doesn't have enough time to verify the claim of either of the two factions as to which one is real. The freezing of the symbol would further erode any leverage Mulayam has left with the MLAs, and level the playing field between him and his son. Akhilesh took the precaution of not appearing to be ungrateful to his father by making Mulayam the

The committee later made a number of widesweeping recommendations, including a ruling that each of the country's states get just one vote in the BCCI, that a maximum age limit of 70 be introduced for cricket administrators and that any government ministers and bureaucrats be kept out of cricket administration. However, the BCCI did not carry out all the reforms, despite an order from the

Supreme Court in July last year that the BCCI was obliged to make the recommended changes, culminating in Monday's court order to remove the top officials. "If the BCCI was reluctant to accept the Supreme Court's July order, these consequences were bound to follow," Lodha said in an interview with the New Delhi Television news channel after Monday's court decision. "I am sure that the game of cricket will be gov-

Modi's Disaster Management

Continued from page 1 housing, or extension of housing in rural areas, will receive an interest subvention of 3 per cent." Gushing in achche din for rural India, Modi's new top initiatives included, 33 per cent more homes to be built in rural areas under

the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana, 30 million Kisan credit cards to be converted into RuPay cards, government promises to pay interest for 60 days on loans taken by farmers for Rabi farming from district cooperative banks and societies, and the government prom-

ises to give Nabard £2 billion for giving loans to cooperatives at low interest rates. For women, he declared a sum of Rs 6,000 to be transferred to the accounts of pregnant women, in a bid to decrease deaths during childbirth. The policy decisions of

Pravasi Bharatiya Divas to commence this week

The Ministry of External Affairs has announced that the annual overseas Indians' gathering, Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, will be held in Bengaluru, from January 7 to 9. The 14th PBD will be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in the esteemed presence of his Portuguese counterpart, Dr Antonio Costa, also chief guest at the convention. At a media address, Secretary for Overseas Indian Affairs Dnyaneshwar M Mulay said, "The Pravasi Bharatiya Divas convention is a very important platform for engagement of the government of India and the state governments with the overseas Indian community. The Pravasi Divas had traditionally been held on January 9 every year to commemorate the return of Mahatma Gandhi as 'Pravasi' from South Africa to India."

erned as well as ever. The Supreme Court order should work as a template for other sports organizations too. The majesty of law has worked." Thakur in a statement said he respected the Supreme Court verdict. "If the Supreme Court judges feel that the BCCI could do better under retired judges, I wish them all the best," Thakur said. He also said it was not a personal battle with the top

court: "It was a battle for autonomy of a sports body." His deputy Shirke said: "There was no issue. I will go." With India's growing economy, and billions of dollars flowing in from sponsorships, India's cricket board is one of the most powerful in the international game. In an one-minute long video, Thakur goes on to say that while he respects the SC judgment like any citizen should, for him it was not a personal battle but for the autonomy of the sports body. Thakur adds that over

the years Indian cricket saw its very best in cricket administration and the development of the game. Calling BCCI the best managed sports organisation Thakur said India has the best cricket infrastructure build and maintained by the state associations with the help of the cricket board. He signed off saying that he is sure that Indian cricket will do well under their (SC appointed judges) guidance and his commitment to the best of Indian cricket and autonomy of sports will remain.

the Modi government announced on 8th November and especially his New Year eve speech have received mixed reaction. While the BJP has hailed PM for unleashing a string of welfare measures for the weaker sections, the Opposition attacked the Modi yet again for "failing" to show "sensitivity" towards people's pain due to

demonetisation. Congress slammed Modi for his "lacklustre" address, calling him a merchant of "false promises". They raised questions on why he did not mention how many "lakhs of crores" in black money and fake currencies the government managed to wipe out with the demonetisation move in the last 50 days. The Left attacked him for "failing" to

address problems of the poor and farmers caused by demonetisation and charged him with delivering a "budget speech" in view of forthcoming assembly polls in UP and several other states. "He spoke like a pracharak for most of the 45-minute speech... It was like a budget speech," said CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury.

SC removes BCCI president, secretary

Continued from page 1 operations and that officials would have to provide an undertaking that they would carry through the reforms recommended by former chief justice RM Lodha or "cease to be office bearers." Lodha was appointed in early 2015 to head up a committee to reform the running of Indian cricket in the wake of the Indian Premier League (IPL) corruption scandal.

mentor, but this would hardly mask the fact that the party the 77-year-old former UP CM founded has gone out of his control. MSY showed he wasn't ready to give up by sacking cousin Ram Gopal, who had called the meeting, for the third time in less than two months, and declared it “unconstitutional.” Mulayam then called his own national meet on January 5, possibly the last bout of his political career. The special convention called by Ram Gopal also moved two other proposals; one, Mulayam remain SP's top leader; and, second, Amar Singh be sacked from the primary membership of the party and Shivpal Yadav be removed as SP state president. The convention, presided over by SP vice president Kiranmoy Nanda, a known Mulayam loyalist, was attended by other Mulayam confidants.

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2 Indians among 39 killed in attack on Istanbul club Continued from page 1 Ambassador is on way to Istanbul. /1" She also tweeted, "The victims are Mr.Abis Rizvi son of former Rajya Sabha MP and Ms.Khushi Shah from Gujarat. /2" Swaraj also said she spoke to Akhtar Rizvi. "He and Mrs Rizvi also want to go to Istanbul. We r organising their Visa," she tweeted. She also informed that Indian envoy to Turkey Rahul Kulshreshtha has been asked to receive the families at the airport and make all necessary arrangements. Expressing his condolences, Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted, "Heartfelt condolences to the government

and people of Turkey on the tragic loss of lives in Istanbul." Rizvi, who is survived by his wife, son and parents, was vacationing in Turkey when he fell prey to terrorism. The Rizvi Educational Society issued a statement saying it mourned the death of its secretary Abis Rizvi and that his family has requested privacy in their hour of grief. The 27 year old victim from Vadodara, Gujarat, Khushi, had shifted to Mumbai five years ago and opened a boutique named 'Khushi Z'. She had gone to Istanbul for business purpose on New Year's eve. Her father's business part-

ner Nishant Ramani said, "We broke the news to Ashwinbhai late in the night. He is too shocked to speak." He said her brother Akshay and another cousin have left for Mumbai, from where they would go to Turkey to get her body. Visa for their tour was also arranged by the MEA. Sources said Khushi's family members had desperately tried to reach her after getting to know about the terror attack. However, they did not receive any update until they saw the news about Swaraj tweeting about the tragedy. In a case of irony, the fashion designer's last WhatsApp status reads, "What if God asks you after

you die... So how was Heaven?" She had arrived in Turkey on December 28, to meet clients, and was scheduled to return to Mumbai on January 2. Her friend Tanisha Singh said, "I asked her why she was celebrating New Year’s in Istanbul. She said she had a business meeting, so we planned to celebrate together after she returned. “She was such a jolly person, I have always seen her happy." The nightclub attack shook Turkey just when it thought it is recuperating from a failed July coup, and a series of deadly bombings in cities including Istanbul and capital Ankara. A man barged into

the club after killing a policeman and a civilian at the entrance, and fired 180 shots, before he escaped. A witness who survived the attack said, "At first we thought some men were fighting with each other. Then we heard the sound of the gunfire and ducked under the tables. We heard the guy screaming 'Allahu Akbar'.. Then we heard his footsteps crushing the broken glass. We got out through the kitchen, there was blood everywhere and bodies." Nationals of Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Lebanon, Libya, Israel, a TurkishBelgian dual citizen and a Franco-Tunisian woman were among those killed,

officials said. Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said 15 or 16 of those killed at Reina were foreigners, but only 21 bodies had so far been identified. President Tayyip Erdogan released statement saying, "As a nation, we will fight to the end against not just the armed attacks of terror groups, but also against their economic, political, and social attacks. They are trying to create chaos, demoralise our people, and destabilise our country... We will retain our coolheadedness as a nation, standing more closely together, and we will never give ground to such dirty games."


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10 easy ways to look young FOOD

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HEALTH&WELLNESS

ost of us wish to look younger. So go for the following simple diet and lifestyle changes to look younger. Eat a Sweet Potato Sweet potatoes help lock in moisture, give your skin a healthy glow, and protect it from damage, thanks to their abundance of vitamin A. In fact, dry skin is often a sign that your diet needs more vitamin A, which is why it's often used in skin products. Put Fat on Your Face: The vitamin E and good fats of olive oil help moisturize skin, which is why the oil is a popular skincare ingredient. Luckily, using the fat in your cooking will let you reap the same benefits. "Carrots are loaded with vitamin C, which is a precursor to collagen production," explains Brooke Alpert, dietitian and founder of B Nutritious. Collagen is essential for skin elasticity. "In addition, the vitamin A found in carrots attacks free radicals and can prevent wrinkles and uneven skin tone," says Alpert. Vitamin A also stimulates fibroblasts, the cells responsible for developing the tissue that keeps

FITNESS

skin firm and healthy. Take A Deep Breath: Research shows that chronic hostility can reduce lung function and speed the natural decline in lung power that normally occurs with age. Researchers say anger can alter neuroendocrine processes, which can trigger chronic inflammation and damage the lungs. Burn Off That T-Bone: Exercising after consuming a high-fat meal reverses the damage fatty foods cause to the arteries, according to a study in the European Journal of Applied Physiology. After eating a high-fat meal, a healthy person's arteries resembled those of someone with heart disease. However, exercising within two hours of a high-fat meal returns the arteries to nor-

LIFESTYLE

mal. Sleep Off The Fat: The number of hours you sleep each night may affect the inches of your waistline. In a study researchers noted a direct relationship between higher body mass index (BMI) and lesser amounts of sleep. The analysis determined that a one hour decrease in sleep was associated with a three-pound increase in waistline. Dry Brush Your Teeth: Studies show that brushing your teeth with a dry toothbrush before brushing with toothpaste and water can cut tartar by 60 per cent. Use a soft or medium toothbrush for the dry brushing. Eat an Avocado: There's a reason we can't stop singing the praises of avocado. The blend of healthy fats, proteins, and vitamins

make it a powerhouse for your body inside and out. "The protein helps support the structures of collagen and elastin in your skin, while the fat keeps your skin moisturized," says Alpert. Dip Your Face in Your Cereal: You'll often find oatmeal in products meant to soothe irritated skin or even help reduce inflamed skin caused by skin conditions like eczema. It's nourishing and the skin-settling properties come from its mix of flavonoids, phenols, and also a type of polyphenols called avenanthramides - all which act as natural anti-inflammatories. Oats are best used in masks when in a ground or flour form. Keep Sugar Out of Your Head: High blood sugar levels put you at risk not only for diabetes but also for Alzheimer's disease, say Swedish researchers. Type 2 diabetes has already been linked to dementia, but this study found that people with slightly higher than normal blood sugar had a 70 per cent increased risk of Alzheimer's. Exercise and a low-carb diet can lower blood sugar levels.

How eating 'healthy' makes you fat R

esearchers from the University of Texas found that when you think a food is good for you, you eat more of it. Scientists gave two groups of people popcorn, but told one group that the snack was “healthy” and the other that it was “unhealthy.” The people who thought they were eating diet popcorn chowed down 2.33 cups compared to 1 cup. The reason: Your brain tricks you into feeling less full when you eat a food that you think is healthy, says study author Jacob

To Our Readers

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

Suher. This phenomenon was confirmed in another study: The scientists gave people either a “healthy” or “unhealthy” cookie. The subjects who ate the supposedly virtuous treats reported that they were hungrier afterwards. You may unconsciously think that healthy foods are light - as in, not filling, says Suher. That belief is drilled into your brain every time you eat a quarter pounder with cheese and feel stuffed afterwards, or opt for a gar-

Laughter is the Best Medicine

JUAN Veha, a clam diver, found an injured sea otter and nursed it back to health. From the moment the grateful otter was able to walk, it never left Juan’s side. It even learned to dig for clams. One day, a man went to Juan’s house looking to hire him for a week. His wife answered the door. “Sure,” his wife said. “It will cost you $500.” “That much?” “But you’are getting my husband and his otter. They bring up more clams than anyone else in town.” “I just want Juan. I’ll hire him alone for $350,” the man countered. “Sorry,” she shrugged. “You can’t have Juan without the otter.”

den salad and feel famished 30 minutes later. Over time, your body becomes conditioned to feel dissatisfied when you eat things you consider “healthy”- even if the food contains plenty of calories, protein, fat, and fibre that should fill you up. Of course, it’s fine to gorge on something like

fresh vegetables. But be careful with your portion sizes when eating highcalorie foods that are advertised as good for you, Suher says. Think: “All-natural” gluten-free pizza, or cookies in wholesome-looking packaging. These foods still contain lots of calories, and overeating them can spell bad news for your belly.

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| Asian Voice | 7th January 2017

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Creative people worry less about death A

study has found that creative people worry less about mortality because their artistic creations will live on after their death. They are likely to be more resilient to death concerns, according to researchers at the University of Kent. A group of students were asked to complete two questionnaires to gauge their level of creative achievement and ambition. Those with a record of creative achievement, combined with high levels of creative ambition, were found not to make so many associations with death in their thought processes after thinking about their own demise, in comparison to those in the control group. But among those with low levels of creative ambition – whatever their creative achievement – thinking about their own mortality did not affect their level of thoughts about death in comparison to controls. The findings suggest that those who pursue creativity and produce significant creative contributions may benefit from

existential security in the face of death. Psychologist Dr Rotem Perach said: “The relationship between creativity and symbolic immortality had been long acknowledged by scholars. We examined the existential anxiety-buffering functions of creative achievement as assessed by the Creative A c h i e v e m e n t Questionnaire in a sample of 108 students. “It was found that at high, but not low, levels of creative goals, creative achievement was associated with lower deaththought accessibility under mortality salience in comparison to controls. “To our knowledge, this is the first empirical report of the anxiety buffering functions of creative achievement among people for whom creativity constitutes a central part of their cultural world view. “The findings support the notion creative achievement may be an avenue for symbolic immortality, particularly among individuals who value creativity.”

"This note matches with the colour of my saree. Can I keep it?"


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28 Asian Voice

7th January 2017

Proud moment of Samantha in 2016

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ctress Samantha Ruth Prabhu did a question hour with her fans on Twitter, answering questions both professional and personal. When asked what moment made her proud in the year that went by, Sam said the success of her film 'Theri' made her feel a bit taller for a few days. "I was 6 feet tall for a few days post the release of Theri and Aa..aa," she said. Starring Vijay and Sam in the lead, 'Theri' was a surprise hit and raked in about ÂŁ15 million in

worldwide theatrical collections. Currently shooting for two Tamil films, 'Irumbu Thirai' and 'Aneethi Kathaigal', Sam has already signed few other films, all scheduled to hit the screens next year. Year 2017 is a special one for her as she will be getting engaged to longtime beau Chaitanya, whom she started dating in 2009. During interaction with her fans, she also revealed Chaitanya is afraid of horror films. "Ha ha you heard true," she said, "...he hates it... I don't mind watching."

Chiranjeevi’s 'Khaidi No 150' cleared by censor

Rajinikanth supports 'Taramani', unveils audio AsianVoiceNews

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halaivar Rajinikanth came out in support of 'Taramani' and unveiled its music album. While the music launch wasn't a grand affair, movie producer J Satish Kumar was grateful for Rajini's support. "Thank u Superstar Rajinikanth sir for supporting us and launching this wonderful audio," he tweeted. 'Taramani' has been in the making for quite some time now and given Rajini's boost, it has already garnered a lot of attention. With the superstar being particular about

his endorsements, getting him to promote is a major help from business standpoint. The movie went on floors in 2013 and the reasons behind the director taking so long to complete the film remains unknown. The name 'Taramani' comes from an area in Chennai which houses many IT parks. The film is on a couple working in the IT industry and explores the challenges faced by people in a relationship in an urban set up. Lead roles are played by Vasanth Ravi and Andrea Jeremiah, and the film is directed by Ram.

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someone from the Nandamuri family. "For all the fans who have been eagerly waiting to hear this for a long time. The news is finally out and you would get to see the magical combination of NTR and Trivikram happening. This will be our 5th movie with our dear director Trivikram garu," the production house said in a statement.

Jr NTR to team up with Trivikram Srinivas

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very Chiranjeevi fan is probably marking dates on their calendars right now, as the megastar's 'Khaidi No. 150' has passed its censor formalities and has been cleared with a U/A certificate. Producer of the film Ram Charan Teja announced that a grand pre-release event would be held in Indira Gandhi Municipal Grounds in Vijayawada. The film crew is in full swing already.

They have released three songs that have already gained a lot of traction on the internet. The movie is Chiran's 150th and his comeback after a decadelong sabbatical. Directed by AR Murugadoss, it is a remake of Tamil blockbuster 'Kaththi'. The female lead is played by Kajal Aggarwal and Tarun Arora plays the villain. 'Khaidi No. 150' will release as per schedule on Sankranthi this year.

etting picky about the projects he chooses, Jr NTR had reportedly locked dates for a film with director Bobby. However, latest buzz was that he has signed his 28th film with hit director Trivikram Srinivas. When approached, the project's production house confirmed the news. This would be the first time the director will work from

Director Suraj apologises for sexist comments

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ollowing backlash from actress Tamannah Bhatia, director G Suraj issued an apology for his unsavoury comments against the actress. In his apology, Suraj said he was "really sorry." "I am really sorry and would like to apologise to Ms Tamannah and all the heroines in the industry. My intention was not to show anyone in bad light or hurt their sentiments. I am sorry once again and take back my comments," he said in a statement. The well-known director made some sexist remarks while talking about Tamannah's costumes in his upcoming film.

Furious with his disrespectful words, Tamannah prompted him to issue an apology. "This is 2016 and it is very ironic that I had to leave a film like 'Dangal' in the middle which is on woman empowerment and to tackle this issue. I am very hurt and angered by the comments made by my director Suraj and I would definitely want him to apologise, not only to me, but to all women in the industry," she said in a statement on her Twitter. Her statement was retweeted by co-actor Vishal, also general secretary of the South Indian Artistes' Association, who called Suraj's comments as "totally unnecessary."


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Saifeena's Taimur already Twitter star

Asian Voice | 7th January 2017

Priyanka to present award at the Golden Globe

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riyanka Chopra was one of the very chosen few who had an outstanding 2016. All set to present at the Golden Globe Awards 2017, PeeCee has a busy and bright 2017 ahead of her. Rocking Hollywood with her television series 'Quantico', she soon roped in 'Baywatch', and made headlines for her Oscars red carpet debut in a Zuhair Murad ensemble. Next, she shared the stage during the Emmys, with heartthrob Tom Hiddleston, and twirled her way to the mike. Priyanka will present alongside Holly big shots like Nicole Kidman, Chris Pine, Eddie Redmayne, Drew Barrymore, Matt Damon, Viola Davis, Justin Theroux, Sophia Vergara, Mandy Moore, Zoes Aaldana and Brie Larson. Priyanka

celebrated New Year's eve in India with her family and friends. "My plan for New Year's Eve is to hang out with my friends and family. I'm going to be in Goa, India because I have a home there. So I intend to be awake into the wee hours of the night." With her last stint in B-Town being Prakash Jha's 'Jai Gangaajal', PeeCee said she would sign on two films soon. "I will be doing two Bollywood films next year. I have come to India to decide on those films. By the end of January, I will finalise which those films will be."

SRK to complete 25 years in films soon

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ollywood Badshah Shah Rukh Khan will complete 25 years in the film industry in 2017 and the superstar walked down nostalgia lane as he cleaned his costumes collected since the beginning of his career. "I have been so many people and still been none," the actor aptly wrote on his Twitter. Shah Rukh has taken on varied roles - beginning his career playing negative characters to being called the 'King of Romance'. He found unmatched popularity over the years. The actor said he was feeling "nostalgic" cleaning his costumes that he had collected since the beginning of his career, including

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hile everybody showered Saif Ali Khan and wife Kareena Kapoor Khan with love on the arrival of their first baby together, it took as little as the boy's name for the Twitteratti to turn against the couple. When the parents announced their son's name, Taimur Ali Khan Pataudi, all hell broke loose with every Twitter egg taking a moment to openly describe how the choice of name is not in good taste. 'Taimur' is a name that can be read in history books. Taimur the Lame, also called Timur, was a brutal Mongol invader who conquered many parts of Persia and central Asia. He called himself the "Sword of Islam" and used religious symbols for his conquests.

his 'cool' chain from 'Kuch Kuch Hota Hai' and his jacket from 'Fan'. An actor often gets into the skin of the characters they play on screen and sometimes start feeling and thinking like the characters while shooting for the films. That is perhaps the reason actors often collect memorabilia from the films like costumes and other items. Considering Shah Rukh’s lengthy career, he would also have collected many such items.

Anushka, Virat not getting engaged

utting an end to all speculations revolving around Virat Kohli-Anushka Sharma's engagement, ace cricketer took to micro-blogging website Twitter and cleared the air. Saving people's time since "news channels can't resist selling false rumours," Kohli tweeted, "We aren't get-

ting engaged & if we were going to, we wouldn't hide it. Simple...(1/2)" He also added, "(2/2)

Since news channels can't resist selling false rumours & keeping you confused, we are just ending the confusion :)" The tweets were retweeted by girlfriend Anushka Sharma. The couple are enjoying a vacation in Uttarakhand following a successful year for both of them. As they shared pictures and videos

of their stay, rumours of Virat popping the question began to do the rounds. When they were seen visiting a local ashram, the pip only got louder. Things got momentum when Bollywood 'shehenshah' Amitabh Bachchan too arrived in Dehradun, along with wife Jaya and the Ambani family.

He is known to have slaughtered hundreds of thousands of Indians on his way to capture Delhi in the 14th century. The announcement soon followed by people lashing out at the two actors on social media, and the media giving out detailed history lessons one the tyrant. The newborn has already got his first taste for controversy courtesy his unique name. Both, Saif, and Kareena belong to prominent Bollywood families. Kareena Kapoor Khan belongs to the first family of the film industry, her grandfather being Raj Kapoor and her greatgrandfather Prithviraj Kapoor. Saif, the Nawab of Pataudi, is on to yesteryear actress Sharmila Tagore and former Indian cricket captain Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi.


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Asian Voice |7th January 2017

Those middle aged 'are dangerously unfit' Eight out of 10 of middleaged people in the UK weigh too much, drink too much or do not exercise enough, analysis from Public Health England (PHE) shows. Modern life is harming the health of the nation, according to the organisation, which has launched a campaign, One You, aimed at the 83% of 40 to 60year-olds – 87% of men and 79% of women in this age bracket – who are overweight or obese, exceed the chief medical officer’s alcohol guidelines or are physically inactive. Obesity is one of the biggest problems for this group: 77% of men and 63% of women in middle age are overweight or obese. Obesity in adults

has risen by 16% in the past 20 years. Research shows that many people cannot identify a healthy body, suggesting being overweight has become the new normal. Many more middle-aged people are being diagnosed with diabetes, with the rate among the 40-60 age group doubling in the past 20 years. Obese adults are more than five times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes, which 90% of adults with diabetes have, than those who are a healthy weight – have a body mass index of between 18.5 and 24.9. People are being urged to consider their health and the simple steps they can take to improve it in the run-up to the new year.

Coming Events

l Chinmaya Mission UK, Bhajan Satsang, Chinmaya Kirti 2 Egerton Gardens Hendon NW4 4BA, 6.30pm to 8.30pm, Sunday, January 8 l London Sevashram Sangha Unity Cultural Programme, 99A Devonport Road London W12 8PB, Begins at 10.30 am, with several events scheduled, ends with Preeti bhojan 1.15 pm, Sunday, January 8 l Leicester Friends Of Oxford Centre For Hindu Studies, Talk by Ramesh Pattni, Meerabai- Unique Devotion, Uniqueness of Devotion, Jalaram Centre Narborough Road Leicester LE3 OLF, 6.30pm to 9.00pm, Saturday, January 7 l Kashmiri Pandits Cultural Society, UK, Seminar on Persecution of Minorities & Kashmiri Hindus forced Exodus day. Committee Room 12, House of Commons, Houses of Parliament, Westminster, 7pm to 9pm, Wednesday, January 18 l Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies Series of classes and seminar on Hinduism, that begins from Sunday, January 15 to Saturday, March 11.

ARIES Mar 21 - Apr 20 Expect life to change dra-

matically this year. If you are single and looking for a relationship then 2017 could be the best year to find that someone special. However, this is not a good year for speculative ventures – stay cautious, focused and diligent about your finances. As you rise to the top, beware of over confidence as it could make you unpopular. Take care of your health and get plenty of sleep to boost your energy levels. Neptune’s influence could

TAURUS Apr 21 - May 21 cause confusion in your

friendships. Whilst it is important to respect other people’s opinions, you should try to hold your ground on important issues. 2017 is a year for serious, long-term financial planning. Your confidence levels at work are high which could lead to promotion and a higher income. Jupiter’s influence in your health house should give you high energy levels to cope with your new-found responsibilities.

GEMINI May 22 - June 22 Romance will be on your

mind this year and for some it is a good time to tie the knot and settle down. Joint finances continue to be under a strain and you may have to supplement your income by different means. With Neptune transiting your solar 10th house profession, beware it can lull you into a false sense of security. With all that is happening around yourself, you should try and have a healthy life style.

CANCER Jun 22 - Jul 22

Saturn transits your solar 6th house of job, health and everyday work. You will be more focused on these areas of your life in 2017. During this transit, there may be extra responsibilities which you may not necessarily enjoy. It is important that you learn to delegate the work when you need to. Your relationships can be enriched by thinking positively and being more sociable. This will improve your confidence and self esteem.

Looking after grandchildren can add five years to life span Many grandparents gush about the joys of becoming one, explaining how caring for a tot is more enjoyable the second time round as you’ve already experienced any stress that can be thrown your way. And now a fresh study has shown just how beneficial caring for grandchildren can actually be. New research from a team of international scientists looked at survival rates of a study group of more than 500 German and Swiss adults, aged between 70 and 103. They discounted any grandparents who were the primary

caregivers of their children’s offspring, focusing instead on those who provided occasional childcare and compared them to older people who had no care duties. Those who had no children but gave emotional support as a carer to others were also looked at, comparing to those who didn’t act in any way as a carer.

Barcode technology helping to improve patient safety Barcodes are being used to trace NHS patients and their treatments, manage medical supplies and monitor the effectiveness of equipment. The barcode technology used in major industries such as aerospace and retail is being introduced to the NHS in England to improve patient safety. Barcodes are being placed on breast implants, replacement hips, medication and surgical tools. The £12 million Department of Health ‘Scan4Safety’ project is already helping staff to quickly and easily track each patient through their

Sneh Joshi LEO Jul 23 - Aug 23

hospital journey. From the unique barcodes on wristbands patients receive when they enter hospital, to the barcodes used to record their medication and the equipment used in their treatment, each code can be scanned to show which member of staff administered each treatment, at what time and where. By using barcodes, anything that might develop a fault years later. The details, such as when it was used and the surgeon who carried out the procedure, can be found quickly and easily.

PARENTS must show “tough love” to stop children gorging on fizzy drinks and junk food as if it was Christmas every day, the head of the NHS said last Tuesday. NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens said it is the responsibility of parents to ensure their children do not become obese Mr Stevens said: “As parents, now is the time of year to think about what we want for our children in the year ahead. With figures showing that nine in ten of us can’t recognise when our children are obese, we’re going to need

Neptune is influencing your relationships - your partner may come across as mysterious, psychic, or spiritual. Their actions could intrigue and mystify you in equal measure. Whatever the case, you need to pay closer attention to your partner. While Jupiter remains in your solar 2nd house, the focus will be on your finances perhaps leading to a new business. The area of your life that requires most attention continues to be home and family.

VIRGO Aug 24 - Sep 23

LIBRA Sep 24 - Oct 23

Uranus in your solar 7th house of relationships creates mischief and unpredictability. Partnerships of any kind need to be worked on that much harder. You will have opportunities to expand your investments through calculated risks. Neptune, the mysterious planet is now transiting your solar 6th house of health. There may be hard to diagnose ailments which could lead you to alternative or holistic therapies.

Neptune, the planet of illusion and idealism transits your solar 5th house of love. You could be wearing rosetinted glasses as you pursue your love life and this will make it difficult for you to find the perfect partner. Saturn impacts your finances, but sensible investments may alleviate some of the pressure. October to December is the best period to take up a get-fit regime to cope with any stresses and strains.

a bit more ‘tough love’ so that every day of the year isn’t a Christmas-like splurge on supersized fizzy drinks and junk food.” Britain faces a health timebomb, with overweight and obese people more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Sugar-laden pop has been blamed for soaring levels of obesity among youngsters, with a third of 10 to 11-year-olds and more than a fifth of children aged four and five now overweight. The Obesity Health Alliance said the drinks are currently the largest source of sugar for children.

NHS bed blocking doubled in past 6 years NHS bed blocking is costing the government nearly £500million a year as thousands of elderly patients are needlessly stuck in hospital, according to official figured. The data from NHS England shows that the numbers of patients stuck in hospital, for want of care at home or help to get them discharged, has more than doubled since 2010.

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Generous, warm and full of life, you’re a natural-born leader, with an excellent sense of loyalty and dignity. Love is a serious game for you this year, especially if you’re currently unattached. Leos who are already involved with a special someone will be thinking about marriage. You will gain a lot in your career depending on how you present yourself. Health-wise make sure you balance all aspects of your life.

SCORPIO Oct 24- Nov 22

Parents 'must get tough on diet'

Figures show that patients taking up beds when they no longer required care took up 134,221 days in October compare with 58,362 in 2010.

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SAGITTARIUS Nov 23 - Dec 21

You should expect the unexpected when it comes to love in 2017. Beware of false promises and don’t allow your heart to be broken too easily. With transiting Pluto going through your solar 2nd house of money, finances will have to be structured in a better way. Saturn, the Planet of Discipline will force you to work harder and you’ll be impressed with the results and proud of your accomplishments.

At the start of the year Pluto will do its utmost to bring about a radical lifestyle change where you will learn new things and grow spiritually. Your ruling planet Saturn is transiting your solar 12th house of inner learning, introspection. meditation and karmic debts. If you want your ‘luck’ to improve then you have to be willing to step out of your comfort zone and expand your horizons. These changes are for the better.

CAPRICORN Dec 22 - Jan 20

You will realise that love comes from within and takes time to mature. Unfortunately, not everyone will share your view which is likely to make you feel frustrated and irritable. Beware the transit of Neptune, the planet of illusion in your 2nd house as it is likely to confuse you and draw a false picture of your finances. After October your hard work will be recognised and you will be promoted to a higher level.

AQUARIUS Jan 21 - Feb 19

With Neptune transiting your sign, you have been going through so many personality phases, always taking on the energies of whatever or whoever is around. Because of the illusory character of Neptune your love life will also be rather transient in nature. Jupiter continues to work its way through your 8th house until October, highlighting financial matters such as wills, legacies, alimony, insurance, taxes and the like.

PISCES Feb 20 - Mar 20


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Sports ministry suspends Indian Olympic Association AsianVoiceNews

Taking a tough stand against the nomination of Suresh Kalmadi and Abhay Singh Chautala as life presidents of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA), the sports ministry suspended the recognition given to the national sports body. The government's move came after the IOA failed to come up with a satisfactory response to the government's show-cause notice served on it. IOA had sought a time extension for its response up to January 15, 2017 on the ground that its president was out of the country and it needed to consult him. “Following the suspension, IOA will cease to enjoy the privileges and prerogatives bestowed on it by the government as the National Olympic Committee (NOC). All government assistance, financial or otherwise, to IOA will also be stopped,” the ministry said in a statement. The ministry said it was not satisfied with the response of IOA. “Government considers the reply of IOA only a ploy to buy time. This is a serious violation of the norms of good governance by IOA which is the mother sports

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Suresh Kalmadi and Abhay Singh Chautala

body and corrective action needs to be taken immediately as it is a matter of national prestige and public sentiments,” the ministry said. The ministry said it cannot remain a mute spectator to “blatant violation of principles of ethic and good governance” while adding that the IOA will remain unrecognized until necessary corrective measure is taken by IOA. “It doesn't make any difference. We are not on the payrolls of the ministry. IOA does not take money from the government as there is no direct funding. I would rather ask them to dissolve it,” IOA joint secretary Anandeshwar

Pandey, who was India's deputy Chef-de-Mission to Rio Olympics, said. Sports minister Vijay Goel said that IOA's decision was a violation of world body's (IOC) charter. “When IOC itself objected to Chautala's election as president and had forced him to resign in 2014, why has this body (IOA) has gone ahead and nominated him as life president? IOC is surely going to question this,” Goel said. Meanwhile, another IOA office-bearer said that the body may now approach the IOC over the issue. “The reversal of the decision is not an easy thing to do. This decision has been taken at an AGM

and we need another meeting to take a decision again. Calling another meeting cannot be done in a jiffy,” said an official of the IOA. “We will in all probability go to IOC because the government cannot interfere in the matters of an independent body.” However, ministry sources said it was necessary to send out a strong message to IOA. “We have taken a decision and there will be no looking back. What this means is that whatever competition they conduct will not be recognized by the government. Few people in the IOA cannot hold the country's sports to ransom. They have acted against their own constitution and the guidelines of their world body,” they said. “The Government of India has taken a stand and it is very clear that the National Olympic Association cannot function like a private club. The Supreme Court has made it very clear that they are a public body and they have to function as a responsible body. Public funding will be governed by public law and they have to be accountable,” sources added.

Serena Williams finds her love in Alexis Ohanian Serena Williams has announced she is engaged to Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian. Rather aptly tennis star, who won her seventh Wimbledon singles title in July, has used the social media platform to share the news. Sharing a poem on a Reddit thread for people to share their engagement stories, Williams told of how Ohanian had taken her to Rome, where they first met, to propose. “I came home A little late Someone had a bag packed for me And a carriage waited,” the 35-yearold wrote. “Destination: Rome To escort me to my very own `charming'. “Back

to where our stars first collided And now it was full circle At the same table we first met by chance But by choice Down on knee He said 4 words And I said yes.” Ohanian commented on her Reddit thread, writing: “And you made me the

happiest man on the planet.” Another user quipped the score was “love-love.” The 33-year-old, who is the executive chairman of Reddit, shared Williams's post on his Facebook page, alongside the message: “she said yes.” A photo Williams

shared of the couple at a fancy dress party four weeks has already been inundated with congratulatory messages. Williams and Ohanian have been dating since around late 2015 but chose to keep their relationship relatively quiet. The pair has yet to reveal when the wedding will take place. Williams is widely seen as one of the greatest tennis players in history. This year she won her seventh Wimbledon singles title and 22nd Grand Slam singles title but fell to world No. 2 ranking. She was the highest paid female athlete in 2016, earning $28.9 million in both prize money and endorsements.

International Cricket Council. The Asian bloc, sources said, was unanimous in its view that the Indian cricket board - by way of its resources, reach and financial strength - could not be ignored as far as the game's overall well-being is concerned. “If world cricket has to sustain, Indian cricket has to be at the forefront of it. Indian cricket is not just about catering to India's prospects but a thriving diaspora. I don't want to get into what BCCI is dealing with at the moment.

That's their internal matter,” a board representative present at the meeting said. The BCCI has been busy garnering support from member boards in trying to deny a recently formed member-board consortium from changing the financial dynamics of the sport. In the year gone by, Cricket Australia (CA), New Zealand Cricket (NZC) and the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) have been at the forefront to bring about a change in financial redistribution of world cricket

rights. In line with trying to rejig the game's revenues, CA and the ECB had led discussions at the ICC meeting in Edinburgh and Cape Town earlier this year to try and lobby for pooling of international cricket rights - a move that was thwarted by the BCCI. PCB, SLC and BCB coming on board with India could mean four decisive votes at the ICC board, which could be enough to turn the tables. A source present at the ACC meeting also confirmed that SLC chairman Thilanga Sumathipala had

Serena Williams and Alexis Ohanian

SPORT

Student dies after javelin strikes his chest Asian Voice | 7th January 2017

A 15-year-old boy died after being hit by a javelin at the Government High School in Talwandi Malliyan village, 21km from Moga in Punjab. Hira Singh, a class 9 student, was playing football on the school ground and had rushed to retrieve the ball from an adjoining ground where other students were practising javelin throws. Hira was hit by a javelin in his chest and died on the spot. He was rushed to a nearby hospital where he was declared dead. The latest tragedy comes barely two months after a 23-year-old woman was killed when a hammer thrown by a national-level athlete during practise went awry and hit her on the head in Ludhiana. Now Hira’s death once again underlines the lack of safety and precautionary measures on sports grounds. Police said the name of the student who threw the javelin was not disclosed. On the complaint of Hira’s father, Harpal Singh, police have registered a case of causing death by negligence against unidentified person under Section 304-A of the Indian Penal Code.

Heena Sidhu shoots gold with new record

It was a good end to the day for Heena Sidhu as she clinched the women's 10m air pistol gold with a new national final record at the 60th National shooting championships at Shiv Chhatrapati sports complex in Balewadi, Pune. Heena, who holds the finals world record (203.8) in this event, scored 201.9 to break Malaika Goel's earlier record of 201.1 (2013) and beat Yasha Singh (197.8) of Rajasthan by 4.1 points. Though Heena won the gold by a huge margin, it wasn't easy for her to enter the final. The former World No. 1 had to rely on inner tens to get into the final of her pet event, which included three junior and one youth category shooter. Heena had shot 378 in the qualifications, a score that was shot by four other shooters. Railways' Priyanka Susvirkar was placed seventh with 12 inner 10s, while Heena was eighth in the qualifications with 11inner 10s. Delhi's Sanjana Sherawat (8 inner 10s) and Madhya Pradesh's Kajal Patel (6 inner 10s) were placed 9th and 10th respectively . In the final, Heena shot like a champion, but what stole the limelight was the presence of Muskan (youth), Yasha (junior) and Harshada Nivathe (junior) and Yashaswini Deswal (junior), who gave their seniors, Heena and Harveen Srao a tough fight. Harveen finished sixth with 115.1points. Heena maintained lead right from the first shot. Her gold was certain, but the fight was for silver and bronze. Yasha, who won silver, was on fourth position till the 10th shot. The Rajasthan shooter then shifted gear and some 10s, including a 10.8 in her 16th shot to come up in the ranking. She left Yashaswini behind for bronze with 176.7..

Asian bloc lends support to BCCI in fight with ICC

Pakistan Cricket Board's (PCB) insistence that it would bring up the topic of suspended bilateral ties with India at the immediate available opportunity did not materialise at the recent meeting of the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) held in Colombo last week. However, it is reliably learnt that the PCB - along with Asian counterparts Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) and the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) - decided to stick its neck out and support India in the ongoing backroom tussle with the

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spoken with ICC chief executive David Richardson about the Asian bloc's concerns regarding BCCI when the latter had toured Sri Lanka recently. The BCCI clearly believes that ICC chairman Shashank Manohar has not acted in the best interests of Indian cricket, despite using the Indian board's support to occupy the position. The relations between BCCI and top ICC officials further soured when Richardson told an Indian media channel in September this year that

BCCI President Anurag Thakur had verbally requested Manohar to write a letter to the BCCI citing government interference if CAG was brought on board. The ICC's next board meeting is scheduled in February and regardless of who is at the helm of affairs in Indian cricket administration, the BCCI will have to continue looking for support from member boards of the ICC if they have to defy member board consortia from taking over the financial reins of the game.


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Asian Voice | 7th January 2017

Ashwin wins ICC Cricketer of the Year award

India's Ravichandran Ashwin capped off a sensational year by being adjudged the ICC Cricketer of the Year to win the prestigious Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy. He joins Rahul Dravid (2004) and Sachin Tendulkar (2010) as only the third Indian to take away the top individual honour. Ashwin picked up 72 wickets from 12 Tests this year, for which he was also named the ICC Test Cricketer of the Year, becoming the third Indian cricketer to win the award after Dravid in 2004 and Gautam Gambhir in 2009. Ashwin also finds a place as the lone Indian in the Test XI. India's limited-overs vice-captain Virat Kohli has been named as the captain of the ODI side. Alastair Cook, despite the recent 0-4 loss to India has been appointed captain of the Test XI. This is the third time Cook has been appointed captain of the Test side. Dravid, Gary Kirsten and Kumar Sangakkara selected the

Ravichandran Ashwin

ICC Test and ODI sides based on players' performances in the period from September 14, 2015 to September 20, 2016. South Africa's wicketkeeper-batsman Quinton de Kock has been named the ICC ODI cricketer of the year with 857 runs from 17 matches, including three centuries and three fifties. Three Indian cricketers - Rohit Sharma,

Ravindra Jadeja and Kohli have found a place in the ODI set-up. Pakistan Test skipper Misbah ul Haq was given the Spirit of Cricket award, while Bangladesh fast bowler Mustafizur Rahman was named the emerging player of the year. ICC ODI team of the year 2016: Virat Kohli (captain), David Warner,

Bhupathi named India's next non-playing Davis Cup captain Indian tennis legend Mahesh Bhupathi was named the new non-playing captain of the Davis Cup team and will take charge after the Asia/Oceania zone group I home tie against New Zealand in Pune from February 3 to 5. The tie against New Zealand will be Anand Amritraj's last tie as non-playing captain as AITA wants to give him a "farewell." Multiple Grand Slam winner Bhupathi was the hot favourite the moment AITA decided to replace Amritraj. "Everybody should get a chance to be captain. No post stays with one person forever. I personally spoke to Mahesh and asked if he is available, he said 'Yes'. That was it. Also we wanted Anand to be given a farewell tie," AITA Secretary General Hiranmoy Chatterjee said.

Mahesh Bhupathi

Asked if Amritraj is happy with the decision, Chatterjee tersely replied: "No one wants to go. But everyone deserves a chance to be the captain." Asked if players were taken into confidence since they had rallied around Amritraj, Chatterjee replied: "It's not their prerogative. We don't need to consult the players. Even Leander Paes was not consulted." Asked about the history of strained relationship between Leander and Mahesh and whether the latter's elevation would prove to be end of the road TM

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for the former, Chatterjee said: "We will cross that bridge when it comes." On whether Amritraj giving leeway to players as far as discipline is concerned was an issue alongwith his views in media, the AITA top official did not deny. "When a committee meets, we discuss a lot of things. But let me tell you that we did not receive any letter of support from the players," he asserted. Chatterjee also said that there was no communication with either Somdev Devvarman or Ramesh Krishnan regarding coach and non-playing captain's role. Chatterjee said that Bhupathi has not demanded any special favours. "He has not demanded anything and simply said yes to the job. As far as remuneration is concerned he will be paid as per our Davis Cup payment slab," he said.

Quinton de Kock (wk), Rohit Sharma, AB de Villiers, Jos Buttler, Mitchell Marsh, Ravindra Jadeja, Mitchell Starc, Kagiso Rabada, Sunil Narine, Imran Tahir. ICC Test team of the year 2016: Alastair Cook (captain), David Warner, Kane Williamson, Joe Root, Adam Voges, Jonny Bairstow, Ben Stokes, Ravichandran Ashwin, Rangana Herath, Mitchell Starc, Dale Steyn, Steve Smith. Jadeja jumps to careerbest 2nd place Following his matchwinning 7/48 in the final Test against England, Ravindra Jadeja has jumped to a career-best second spot in the latest ICC Test ranking for bowlers. Jadeja's matchhaul of 10/154 has put him 8 points adrift R Ashwin, who continues to hold the top spot. Jadeja has gained 66 points and has leapfrogged the likes Josh Hazlewood, James Anderson, Dale Steyn and Rangana Herath, which means this is the only occasion since

Ravindra Jadeja

1974 that the top two spots in the ICC bowling chart have belonged to Indians Bishan Bedi and BS Chandrasekhar being the last pair. Jadeja has also gained one place to reach a careerbest third rank in the list of allrounders, which also is ruled by Ashwin. Apart from a tally of 43 wickets from nine matches this year, Jadeja has also contributed with the bat, scoring three half-centuries,

two of which - a careerbest 90 and 51 - came in the series against England. Ishant Sharma, who played the final Test was promoted by two places to hold the 23rd spot while triple-centurion Karun Nair has rose 122 places to be ranked 55th. His Karnataka team-mate KL Rahul, who scored 199 in the first innings, has also leaped 29 places to be placed at a career-best 51st.

Britain's Olympic legend Wiggins retires Five-time Olympic champion Bradley Wiggins has announced his retirement from cycling after being hit by doping rumours in the past three months. "I've met my idols and ridden alongside the best for 20 years," the 36-year-old, who became Britain's first Tour de France winner in 2012, said. "This is the end of the road for this chapter, onwards and upwards. Kids from Kilburn don't win Olympic golds and the Tour de France! They do now," he added. Wiggins won the team pursuit gold on the track in the Rio Olympics, his fifth gold and eighth Olympic medal in five Olympics since 2000, making him Britain's most decorated Olympian in history. He also won eight world titles on the road and track and set the world

Bradley Wiggins

record for the furthest distance ridden in one hour at 54.526km. "Cycling has given me everything and I couldn't have done it without the support of my wonderful wife Cath and our amazing kids," he said. Wiggins and Team Sky, the professional team he won the Tour with, were put under scrutiny in September 2016 for his use of therapeutic use exemptions (TUEs), after his confidential medical information was leaked by hackers 'Fancy Bears', the BBC

said. A mysterious package put them into the spotlight again two months ago and the content of the package is the subject of a UK AntiDoping (UKAD) investigation. Appearing before a Parliamentary select committee, Team Sky's general manager Dave Brailsford revealed that he has been told the content was Fluimucil. The drug, which was to be administered by a nebuliser, is used to clear mucus and is not subject to any controls by the World AntiDoping Agency. UKAD launched an investigation after it was reported that a package had been delivered by a senior British Cycling coach to Team Sky on the final day of the 2011 Criterium du Dauphine at La Toussuire in the French Alps.

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AV 7th January 2017  

Asian Voice weekly newspaper (Issue 35)

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