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VOL 41. ISSUE 39


9th February to 15th February 2013

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Rajapaksa rules out greater autonomy to Tamils

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Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapaksa has not earned the goodwill of the world, as well as the Tamil minority during his seven years rule. While on one hand he is trying to sniff out all types of dissent against his rule, he has ruled out giving Tamils greater political autonomy, appearing to back off Continued on page 26

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“Immigrants may have a greater sense of belonging than government ministers”

- ONS Report

The recent census reveals that three Indian languages are now in the list of top six spoken languages in Britain, with Punjabi being the third most common language used in England and Wales, after English and Polish. It is spoken by 273,000 people, which is 0.5% of the population.

Urdu is the fourth commonest language (269,000 people), Bengali (Sylheti and Chatgaya) is the fifth commonest language (221,000 people) followed by Gujarati (213,000 people- 0.4% of the population) in England and Wales. Tamil took 12th spot with 101,000 people using it as

British Gujaratis seek CM Modi’s help in restoring London- Full Story Ahmedabad direct flight on page 7

their main spoken language. The 2011 Census conducted by the UK Office for National Statistics (ONS) has for the first time tried to see how well the population could speak English when this was not their main lan-

guage. It showed English remained the main language for 92% (50m) residents aged 3 and over. The remaining 8% (4m) had a different main language, but most were proficient in English. The top 10 languages included English, Polish,

Punjabi, Urdu, Bengali, Gujarati, Arabic, French, Chinese and Portuguese. The census revealed there were 49 main languages (spoken by groups of more than 15,000 people). Continued on page 2



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UK - Asian Voice 9th February 2013

Keith Vazwith MP

Keith Vaz MP

Stewart Jackson MP

And the worst? The worst part of my job is not being able to contribute as a Government Minister in areas where I have a strong interest, such as housing, planning and regeneration. However, lamenting over what could have been is a fool’s errand. Life really is too short to waste on self pity and regrets. I do genuinely count my blessings.

Stewart was elected as the Conservative Member of Parliament for Peterborough on 5th May 2005. Prior to being elected, Stewart attended the University of London and became a Business Services Manager with Business Link in London. He is married to Sarah, who is a journalist with a national newspaper. Following the 2010 Election, Stewart was appointed as Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Rt Hon Owen Paterson MP, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland and he held this position until the 24th October 2011 when he resigned due to his support for the motion on an EU referendum. What inspired you to stand for Parliament? I have always loved history and have been interested from a young age in politics and government. Politics in the UK is still a noble vocation and one of the least corrupt and transparent systems in the world with a capacity to do more good than not. It seemed a natural progression from serving as a local Borough Councillor in London (in Ealing) to putting my name forward to be a Parliamentarian and I managed to win an election at the third attempt. That said, I’ve had a few “proper jobs” too before reaching the House of Commons! What are your proudest achievements in politics? Getting elected and re-elected and realising a long held ambition. There’s really nothing like sitting on the green benches in the House of Commons for the first time. It’s great to feel that you are at the centre of the national conversation. I do have some long term political campaigns which I hope I will see come to fruition before I leave Parliament.

Please tell us about your current position? I enjoy being on the backbenches. I guess I am tribal to a certain extent – I still think Margaret Thatcher was a phenomenal leader and Prime Minister – but I think the freedom to think and speak for yourself irrespective of the whip, is refreshing and healthy. It’s also something that the voters are increasingly mindful of and appreciative. After all, I was elected as a Conservative not a Coalitionist. What has been the biggest obstacle in your career? Compared to a lot of people, I have had an easy journey in life. Loving parents, good health, a solid education and a wonderful supportive wife have been my great good fortune to possess. I do find the media’s constant attacks on politicians a bit corrosive and cynical, whereby the default position appears to be we’re all liars, cheats and thieves. Most MPs are hard working, diligent and committed to their constituencies, irrespective of party affiliation. That said, H L Mencken described the relationship between politician

What are your long term goals? I’m only 47 and I can’t see myself leaving Parliament as a dribbling has been who most people thought was already dead or in a wooden box! I’d love to run my own business, mentor young people, write, travel and study a bit more. 50 after all is the new 30 or so they say!

and journalist as that between a dog and a lamp post so nothing changes…..

fought four General Elections together. She keeps me on the straight and narrow – mostly.

Who has been the biggest influence on your career to date? I’ve never had a guru. Why do you need someone to validate you constantly? I am an autodidact. There are a million books to read if you’re seeking wisdom. If I need advice, it is my wife I turn to. She has very good judgement and a shrewd awareness of people, including their motives and character. They say the onlooker sees most of the game and as she is not from a political background, I think that does help. We met in 1996 and we have

What is the best thing about your current role? The best thing about my current role is not having a government job allows me to speak my mind and make judgement calls solely based on what’s good for my constituents and ultimately for the country. I enjoyed being a frontbencher in Opposition and I found working with Owen Paterson as a Parliamentary Private Secretary fascinating on one level but I really don’t miss having to toe the party line 24/7.

“Immigrants may have a greater sense of belonging than government ministers”- Census 2011 Continued from page 1 The top 20 included five South Asian languages and nine European. Interestingly, 22,000 people used sign language. However, critics believe that it is beautiful to have such a diversity alive in the heart of Britain, as long as integration remains not a problem, like in some of the regions of Britain, where the Muslim community refuses to accept and adopt the common Britishness. Academics believe that whether good or bad, the breadth of languages being spoken in England and Wales may start to change the English we speak, most rapidly in areas where people have the most contact with foreign language speakers. "We are more likely to pick up words than change accents as we find foreign words that fit much better and work better," Oliver Mason, a lecturer in English linguistics at Birmingham University told The

keen to cut net migration. The census further reveals that only 13% of the population was born abroad, but only 138,000 people, less than 0.5% of the population, could speak no English at all and in total only 1.6% of residents could speak it not well or Eric Pickles not at all. Guardian. "Vocabulary may This contradicts a statebe the main area of change." ment by Eric Pickles, the Hindi words such as communities secretary, who pundit, pukka and pyjamas said in a recent speech that have long been adopted into the UK was in an "incompreEnglish but the relationship hensible situation where no works the other way too one can speak English as with Poles, for example, their main language in 5% of noticing how friends returnour households" and this ing from England are inflectwas "terrible for community ing their conversation with relations". English words in hybrid The ONS confirmed, known as "Ponglish". one million households have The language data was no residents with English as also taken as evidence that a main language, yet most immigrants may have a had some proficiency in greater sense of belonging English. than government ministers, Dr Stephen Jivraj,

researcher at the University of Manchester's Centre on Dynamics of Ethnicity, told a national daily: "In policy debates, immigration is a proxy not only for being born outside the UK but also for other concepts such as not belonging, with family origins outside the UK and requiring services to help integrate. "These concepts are measured by combinations of language, citizenship, national identity and ethnicity better than by birthplace." Chinese people alone listed 67 different languages or dialects, although a minority of those were different spellings of the same language. All but three of the London boroughs, excluding the City, Richmond and Havering, have residents speaking more than 100 main languages, the ONS said. Hillingdon is the most linguistically diverse, with 107 languages listed, followed by Newham, with 103.

If you were Secretary General of the United Nations, what one thing would you change? If I were Secretary General, I would concentrate as my number one priority on solving the impasse between India and Pakistan over Kashmir. I used to be Chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Pakistan and there are around 10,000 Pakistani heritage people in my constituency - and I am well aware that it is a huge unresolved legacy of our Imperial past. If you were marooned on a desert island, which historical figure would you like to spend your time with and why? It would have to be Abraham Lincoln (which is very topical) a man beset by defeat, disappointment, tragedy, depression and failure only to rise to greatness as a charismatic and historic leader and visionary who saved his country and emancipated the slaves. He would be incredibly interesting and probably both wise and inspiring.

Brit-Indian police office retires, alleges racial discrimination An Indian-origin police officer in Britain took early retirement because of alleged racial discrimination, after he was rejected for further promotion in his career, the Times of India has reported. Dal Babu (49), who was chief superintendent in the Gujarati-dominated London suburb of Harrow, was in 2011 refused a place in the "strategic command course (SCC)", which prepares officers to become regional chief constables or commissioner of police in London. The British daily newspapers said was because his media interview skills weren't deemed to be good enough. In 2003, Babu won a court case against London's metropolitan police service (MPS) for being refused promotion and being discriminated against because of his faith. He formed the National Association of Muslim Police in England. This year, not a single ethnic minority officer was admitted to the SCC despite the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) in England repeatedly highlighting the need to improve diversity in police leadership. Currently, 2.8% of English senior police officers are from ethnic minority backgrounds. A spokesperson for Scotland Yard told the Indian daily, headquarters of London's metropolitan police service, said that Babu hadn't resigned, but was availing of an option to retire after 30 years as a police officer, which service rules permitted him to do, with commensurate benefits. - Asian Voice 9th February 2013


Vivekananda: Engaging East and West A familiar figure in the robe of a Hindu monk, Swami Vivekananda was by upbringing and education a modern man free of the cloistered mind associated with his calling. What gave Vivekananda a special lustre was his close study and appreciation of other religions, most notably Christianity and Buddhism. As such he sought to initiate a public dialogue between the Hindu and Christian traditions with the larger goal of promoting greater understanding between India and the West. Vivekananda saw his opportunity at the World Parliament of Religions convened in Chicago in September 1893. His speech to the assembled delegates created an abiding impression on his immediate audience and the larger public beyond its confines. “A striking figure, clad in yellow and orange, shining like the sun of India in the midst of the heavy atmosphere of Chicago, a lion-head, piercing eyes, mobile lips, movement swift and fast – such was my first impression of Swami Vivekananda,” wrote Annie Besant. Romain Rolland, author, thinker and Nobel laureate novelist, put it thus: “His pre-eminent characteristic was kingliness. He was a born king and nobody ever came near him either in India or America without paying homage to his majesty.” Vivekananda spoke of Vedanta and its philosophical and spiritual reach, of timeless India and its hospitality to oppressed newcomers to its shores, be they Jewish or Zoroastrian, but beyond this theme he addressed American and British audiences on subsequent visits to the West on his deep veneration for Christ: “Better be ready to live in rags with Christ than to live in palaces without him,” he told a meeting in Detroit. He sought to explain the message of the Christian Gospel in terms of Adwaita. On his travels, he carried two books on his person, the Bhagavad Gita and a copy of The Imitation of Christ by a medieval Catholic monk named Thomas Kempis. Vivekananda translated six chapters of this work into Bengali, added appropriate quotations from Hindu texts, and contributed these to a Bengali monthly journal. This he did to present to a Hindu audience what he understood to be the true spirit of Christianity. This, alas, was absent in

the makeup of many contemporary hotgospelling Christian missionaries in India, reflecting, even if subconsciously, imperial pride leavened by racial conceit. Of the scholarly and pioneering work of European Indologists, Vivekananda had nothing but admiration. For the researches of Max Muller into Vedic texts, he had the highest praise. This for him was an ennobling Indo-European conversation. Vivekananda pointed to the general lack of Christian charity in America and Britain, where the acquisitive spirit reigned supreme, despite ritual genuflection to Christian scripture. Struck by the racial injustices in the United States, Vivekananda questioned America’s right to be a role model for humankind. For all this, he perceived American and British societies to be more responsive seedbeds for the Vedantic message than India, because their stability and prosperity would enable them to appreciate the relevance of the spiritual underpinning of the good life. In India the struggle for survival by the masses transcended all other considerations. Vivekananda admired the accomplishments of Western science and was eloquent in his praise of the British concept of liberty under the law. As a social and educational reformer, Vivekananda denounced India’s crippling inequality, heightened by caste barriers; and he stressed the importance of mathematics and English as core subjects in the Indian curricula. India’s stricken body had to be healed before its mind and spirit could find true release. To sum up, Vivekananda sought, above all, to modernize Hinduism, to distill its essence from form and make it a true world faith with universal appeal. He was critical of the exclusiveness of Christian doctrine, contrasting this with the capaciousness of the tradition. If Jesus Christ was in a state of grace so surely was Gautama Buddha, he argued. Vivekananda was in many ways a precursor to Rabindranath Tagore and Mahatma Gandhi, whose thinking and outlook followed his in its inclusive trajectory. Vivekananda visited Japan and China and sought wisdom from the culture and civilization of the Far East. He was India’s first global citizen.

Three Indian languages are among the six top spoken in Britain, with Punjabi, spoken by 200, 73 people, listed as the third-largest common language used in England Wales after English and Polish. Bengali ranked fifth and Gujarati sixth on the list, their joint number of speakers totaling 400, 34. Tamil took 12th spot with just under 100,000 speakers. There are, of course, a host of other minority languages such as Polish (the most widely spoken of these), Arabic, Cantonese and Mandarin etc. These figures were compiled in 2011 by the UK Office for National Statistics, whose findings also reveal that proficiency in English is 92 per cent among ethnic minorities. This must range from the excellent and good to the passable and poor, all of which conforms to the pattern among native-born speakers of English. This has much to do with class and cultural differentials, categories with universal applications. That said, English is, and must continue to be, the first and only language of choice in the public domain. It assuredly is for second generation immi-

grants born in the UK or of tender years on their arrival to its shores. Minority speech is usually reserved for the home with parents or kin. It strengthens one’s roots and sense of belonging, a boon to self-confidence and a bridge between cultures. Having a second string to one’s bow can further linguistic skills. For newcomers a minority language is spoken rather written. The Indian community, for example, has generally been a success story in its adaptation to British life. Punjabi. Bengali or Gujrati speakers there may be, but their command of the English language has been responsible for a high profile in education, business, the professions and the arts. They traverse two worlds with ease and, as whole, are model citizens. Success stories among other minority communities are also self-evident.. The last word belongs to Britain. British democracy and the rule of law have provided a level playing field for those enterprising enough to take advantage of the myriad opportunities open to them, irrespective of ethnicity or faith. This is what stands out, most of all.

UK cherishes the gift of tongues

China’s menacing shadow Chinese national Qiang Hu has been has been charged in Massachusetts “with conspiracy for violating US export controls by allegedly selling thousands of pressure transducers to unnamed customers through his position of sales representative at MKS Instruments Shanghai Ltd China.” According to experts at the Washington-based Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) Pakistan is at the top of the list of suspects for these components. These pressure transducers are used to measure gas centrifuge cascades that are most commonly used in Pakistan, which, according to ISIS, Islamabad has “regularly sought through surreptitious means as used in this illegal scheme.” Apropos of this case, ISIS said, “ Hu and his co-conspirators allegedly arranged their unlawful export to unauthorized Chinese-end-users or to other, unnamed end-users. Over and above this, comes disturbing news that China plans to construct a series of hydroelectric dams on the Brahmaputra river in Tibet. India as a down-stream riparian state depends on

its waters for agriculture and ecology. Similar Chinese constructions on the Mekong have affected its water-flow into Southeast Asia, causing concern to Vietnam and Thailand. The headwaters of Asia’s great river systems are located in Tibet and Beijing’s political and strategic ambitions, it would appear, are being driven by plans to limit or divert their crucial lifegiving waters for geo-political goals. Beijing’s policy to bend the riparian states to the south to its will is a dangerous game with unforeseen consequences. Finally, Pakistan has ceded development of Gwadar, its deep water port in Baluchistan, to China. The port’s location on the Arabian Sea is significant. China claims that its sole purpose is commercial. On possible misgivings in the neighbourhood, the influential Chinese paper Global Times, writes: “China is not so powerful, nor is India so weak…..that a mere civil project can encircle India.” Maybe. But the trust deficit grows wider by the day.


If you can dream - and not make dreams your master; If you can think - and not make thought your aim; If you can meet with triumph and disaster And treat those two impostors just the same - Extract from the poem "If" by Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936)

Our Attitudes To India Sitting by the bedside of a man as he receives the last rites from a priest, and looks to me and says – because we are of different faiths - ‘we are all one’ puts our daily arguments and trivialities into perspective. So this morning as I trawl through emails debating India, I notice a sad pattern. Unfortunately it is not long before the various participants start getting vitriolic about each other. I just observe. Who needs a Pakistan or a China, when Indians can just keep on attacking each other. But I have noticed certain personalities. The Leave India Alone Commentator: this individual will pretend that their enemy is anyone from the West who comments on India. They say of these people that India has nothing to learn from them, after all, India and Indians are doing perfectly fine, and if they are not, they are immensely resourceful themselves, and that whenever outsiders suggest remedies, those are the cause of India’s problems. A variant of this approach is that everything wrong with India is because of outside Western influences, from Bollywood, to how Indian women are treated, to the Constitution and the judiciary. That the ancient Vedic ways worked very well, if only we would return to them. Yes, if only we would, if only we ever had. To defend their position, they may even say, ‘solve your own problems first in the West’. But there is a problem. You see just as the ‘dogooder’ is being accused of ‘superiority’ or ‘colonial’ attitude, I wonder if the defender is really acting in the best interests of India, or is acting on their own selfimposed inferiority. Surely, if I am interested in the wellbeing of a country, I hear all views, then discard those I consider not useful. But to kill the messenger, regardless of message, seems irrational. To say all diagnosis Western is wrong, is short-sighted. If it’s good enough for the Taliban, then it is for Indians Commentator: This person is secret Taliban, but in the clothing of another faith. They just don’t see it. For them, things would be better if we could just have women dress properly, beheadings for all crimes, (because the legal system always gets the right person of course), a lot more manliness and testosterone in all behaviour. There is no room for Western things like scanty Bollywood movies, Valentine’s Day, or liberalism generally – all leads to degeneration of the human spirit argues this person. The only thing is, few people want to live in their harsh disciplinarian world and that too is not an India anyone would recognise. The do-nothing whinger: This individual never actually does anything, for any country, or community. They whinge and complain, but don’t get involved with any charity. They may write to the odd newspaper now and again, but they do not use their energies to actually ask what can they do to make things better. After all, to them, everything is hopeless – they just have not yet noticed how hopeless they are. Life’s short. Help through actions, not just words to make the world a better place. Look into the eyes of the dying and you see just how little time you have.

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: www: © Asian Business Publications


Midlands Voice - asian Voice 9th February 2013

Awards initiative raises £4k for The Prince’s Trust

Namita Patel (right) and Roshni Lad (centre) collected the cheque from Annabel Prow (left), CEO of The Wilson’s Organisation, which organises the Awards.

A not-for-profit Awards initiative that is unique in the Midlands has raised £4,000 for The Prince’s Trust. The Midlands Family Business Awards (MFBA) recognise and celebrate family businesses across the region. Now in their fourth year the Awards are run by The Wilson Organisation, a specialist independent insurance and financial advisor and a third generation family business. Namita Patel,

Fundraising Manager at The Prince’s Trust, said she was grateful to the award organisers and described the awards as “inspirational to all the region’s family businesses who often get overlooked.â€? The MFBA is a charitable initiative that has raised over ÂŁ15,000 for charities supporting young people and families, since their launch in 2010. To find out more about the MFBA visit w w w. f a m i l y b u s i n e s

Malala wakes up after two operations to repair her skull and hearing A Pakistani school girl who was shot by the Taliban underwent two successful operations to repair her skull and hearing at Birmingham Hospital. Malala Yousufazai, under the watch of a ninestrong medical team at Queen Elizabeth Hospital on Saturday. The 15 year old is making progress and the staff are “very pleased�, especially after the cranial reconstruction and cochlear implantation operations. A spokesperson of the hospital even confirmed that she is now talking to the staff and the members of her family. Malala's operation lasted a total of five hours and her recuperation as an inpatient will continue until she is well enough to be discharged. The assassination

attempt on the school girl activist whilst she rode home on a school bus swept the news during October last year. The girl was left completely dead in her left ear, with a piece of her skull missing. Doctors planned to use a missing part of Malala's skull, which was put in her abdomen skull by surgeons in Pakistan, in order to “keep her alive�. But they chose to use a custom-made mental plate by using CT imaging from Malala's skull instead after the fears the bone may have shrunk. Following this, a cochlear implant was fitted into her skull. Many people have signed a petition calling for Malala to be awarded a Noble Peace Prize, recognising her efforts campaigning for girls' rights

to education. Her medical director, Dr Dave Rosser has said that her recovery could take up to another 15 to 18 months, even though the youngster has been discharged as an inpatient from the hospital in January.

The surgeons managed to remove a bullet from her head, before she was flown to the UK for further specialist treatment. The family live in the West Midlands and have plans to look for a home in Birmingham.

Richard III skeleton discovered in a council car park It is confirmed by scientists that they have found the remains of Richard III, who was known to be one of England's most reviled kings, eventually killed at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485, more than 500 years ago. The skeleton was not buried in a coffin nor a shroud, which is unusual for a medieval king. Instead, he was discovered in a shallow grave. The remains were found on the site of the choir of the Greyfriars Church that now lies beneath the concrete of a council car park in Leicester. The search was led by Philippa Langley, a member of the Richard III Society. “It doesn't look like the face of a tyrant�, said Philippa Langley to the Channel 4 documentary last night. “He's very handsome. It's like you could just talk to him, have a conversation with him right now�, she added. A reconstruction of the king's face was built by forensic experts, taking a 3D scan of the

Skeleton discovered of King Richard III

skull unearthed before using a computer to add layers of muscle and skin. Once the 3D digital bust was completed, it was replicated in plastic using a rapid prototyping system and was later painted, dressed with a wig, hat and clothing. This reconstruction is significant as there are no surviving portraits of the king.

The king was described to be a slender male, in the late 20s or early 30s. Richard was 32 when he died. Newly released pictures also show a distinctive curved spine, tying in with with the hunchback king depicted by Shakespeare. One part of the myths associated with Richard III was that he had a withered arm, which



Mum and daughter from Leicester involved in ÂŁ56,500 benefits scam Mother Dahiben and daughter Nutan Patel were involved in a benefit fraud scam, which they have now been jailed for. Both women claimed ÂŁ40,000 of housing benefits they were not entitled to. When questioned about her fraudulent activities Dahiben responded to the investigators saying: “Well, everyone is doing itâ€?. According to the Leicester Crown Court Dahiben had thousands of pounds of savings in secret accounts and even purchased a ÂŁ9,300 holiday home in Gujarat, India. The 62 year old was jailed for nine months and admitted 11 counts of benefit fraud in relation to housing and council tax benefit and income support, all coming up to ÂŁ56, 533. The daughter, Nutan Patel of Thurmaston also got herself involved, dishonestly obtaining ÂŁ39, 970 of that amount. She admitted 5 counts of benefit fraud and was jailed for six months. Miss Rhona Campbell, prosecuting stated that Dahiben Patel originally made a claim foe income support in 1988, which became illegal 10 years later. She accumulated savings, but did not declare her capital, which impacted her eligibility for state benefits, from 1988. She wrongly claimed to be a tenant at an address owned by her daughter, where payments went into a joint account between the two, in 2000 and 2011. Miss Campbell also highlighted that the “housing benefit scamâ€? involved forged documents, along with a bogus tenancy agreement. At a given point, mother and daughter lived together in Bardolph Street, Belgrave, which was bought by Nutan Patel in 2000 and payments were made on the basis that they had no relationship with the landlord. Dahiben Patel only revealed savings of ÂŁ330 in Barclays account when she had “significantly moreâ€?, as stated by Miss Campbell. She had fluctuating balances, a trust account between ÂŁ2,000 and ÂŁ3,700, a ÂŁ6,700 mini cash ISA, a ÂŁ1,000 investment account, a joint HSBC account with ÂŁ5,300 and between ÂŁ1,000 and ÂŁ3,000 in another account.

forensics found no evidence of. University of Leicester's lead archeologist, Richard Buckley spoke to 140 journalists from across the world, who arrived for the announcement. He described the identity of the curved spine skeleton found at the council car park as “beyond reasonable doubt�. The remains uncovered last August on the site of a friary in Leicester, beneath a council car park used by social workers has surely been confirmed to be that of Richard III's (“an academic conclusion�). Mr richard Taylor stated that the discovery itself was “truly astonishing�, proving to be one of the biggest “archaeological discoveries of recent time�. The facial reconstruction was unveiled by the Richard III Society of Antiquaries at Burlington House in Piccadilly, London at 10am on Tuesday 5th February 2013. Has the name Plantagenet died with Richard III?

In support of the Leicester University discovering the remains of King Richard III, budgets hotel chain Travelodge is offering free rooms to Britons with the name Plantagenet. By doing this, Travelodge attempt to support the investigation and see if the surname still exists in modern Britain. Travelodge has four properties in Leicester and according to researchers King Richard III spent his last night, before the Battle of Bosworth Field, at the Blue boar Inn, now the site of Leicester Central Travelodge hotel on Highcross Street. Shakila Ahmed , the spokesperson of Travelodge said: "We are delighted to find out that our Leicester Central Travelodge hotel is located at the very same spot where Richard III spent his last night at the Boar Inn." They also wish to find out whether there is any truth behind the name Plantagenet dying with the death of the king in 1485. - Asian Voice 9th February 2013



UK - Asian Voice 9th February 2013

As it is

Act of courage and foresight of Lord Adam Patel deserves widespread support Lord Adam is a soft spoken, devout Muslim. I can say this with authority, as our friendship began in 1957 in MS University, Baroda, where he came from his ancestral village Karmad near Bharuch. I re-collect him thin man of average height with a firm belief in his faith and destiny. He joined 6th Bombay battalion NCC at Baroda where I was an under officer. We became friends ever since- in spite of our rare disagreements. I vividly remember that deeply saddening and horrible day when a train compartment was burnt down near Signal Falia, just outside Godhara railway station. Adam Patel and myself had a long discussion on the phone. In the aftermath of the tragic burning of 59 Hindu Karsevaks (pre-dominantly women and children) state wide violence broke out and nearly 900 lives were lost, 2/3 Muslims, killed by Hindus and 1/3 Hindus, mainly victims of police bullets. Readers are requested to refer to my long article in Asian Voice and in Gujarat together with the comments in the editions of 9th March 2002. Such unwanted bloodshed pains all of us. A man of Lord Adam Patel's stature suffered more than just agony and pain. Council of Indian Muslims was formed by concerned individuals and Baron Adam Patel of Blackburn was made its Patron. In the last 10 odd years so much water has flown under the bridge. No one can take pride on what happened on those heart breaking days of early March of 2002. Narendra Modi, the Chief Minster of Gujarat bore the brunt of the vilification by the aggrieved Muslims (justifiably so and by some opportunistic elements, both India and abroad). Lord Adam Patel is now facing the wrath of some of the leader in the council of Indian Muslims UK for his bold, courageous, praiseworthy initiative to make courtesy call on Narendra Modi, with Zafar Sareshwala, a prominent businessman and a well known interlocutor. I must also confess my small part in arranging a meeting with Zafar Sareshwala and Chief Minister Narendra Modi in August 2003 in London. I would like to appeal sincerely to my friends in the CIM to take certain facts into consideration in evaluating Lord Adam Patel's initiative to start a dialogue with the Gujarat Chief minster. 1) The root cause of the bloody and tragic violence was the train carriage burning and the consequential tragic deaths of innocent men, women and children. 2) In the Indian Parliament, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has reported the total number of deaths as mentioned above. 3) The Indian Parliament and the Supreme Court of India have accepted the train carriage burning was a result of external aggression.

4) One cannot condole a single incident of such communal frenzy, let alone a loss of life or limb. But the law has taken its stand and so many Hindus have been found guilty, given life imprisonment and even sentence to death. The process of justice is rather slow in such circumstances, especially in India. But the Indian judiciary has done us proud. There are other cases pending, about which I have every confidence that justice will be done. 5) Chief minster, Narendra Modi has been completely exonerated from any direct or indirect enticement of violence. In the past 11 years, Gujarat has remained free of communal violence and the tension between the communities has significantly decreased over the years. 6) Recently I spent nine weeks in Gujarat traveling to most of the districts, covering the elections. I also went Juhapura in Ahemadabad and Farehpuza areas in Baroda, where I grew up. You can feel that not only is there a violence free communal life, people are also engaged in developing their own lives and that of their families'. You can see that through the businesses, schools, sport and also pursuit of their faiths and traditions. The word “curfew” is absent in the vocabulary of children. 7) I have lived in Great Britain for nearly 50 years. This country is like the real Ram Rajya. Equal opportunities and fairness are some of the unique characteristics, which surely makes Great Britain really great. Our security forces and other agencies are endowed with well trained personal and up-to-date arms and equipments. Whether in Toxeth or Brixton, Lozzells or Tottenham, the riots continue for two, three or more days with a result of the loss of lives and properties. We should all remember these before we pass judgement on those tragic days of early March 2002 in the mad world of prevailing hatred and anger in Gujarat. Bridge building is very important, yet is very difficult. 10% of the Gujarati population are Muslims. Modi government has not at all discriminated on religious, or any other sectarian grounds. Even the most ardent critic or enemy of Chief minister Narendra Modi has not in the slightest made accusation of corruption or nepotism. Eleven peaceful years in Gujarat during Modi's government has not happened by chance. Let us all remember the facts and look forward to a more meaningful dialogue. Suspicions, doubts and hatred turns into violence. It's a vicious cycle. Let's look at India's neighbour to the West. We all should grieve for our Pakistani brethren. We should all endeavour our utmost to see Gujarat and India more peaceful and progressing. We all have a duty and let's discharge our obligations honourably.

- CB

Children living in the mainland EU claiming benefits from Britain

This week paid subscribers will receive a copy of the Asian Voice Political and Public Life Awards magazine with their newspaper

Almost 50,000 children living abroad are receiving almost £1m benefits per week claimed by the EU immigrant families based in Britain, figures have revealed. About 30,000 families are claiming child benefits and tax credit for Sajid Javid offsprings who live outside Britain but within the EU, or Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. Poland is home to the highest number of children who are receiving benefits claimed in Britain with more than half the total- 25,659allegedly receiving welfare. Rt Hon Keith Vaz, MP, Chairman of the Home Affairs Committee, said he was ‘surprised’ by the figures which were released in a written answer by the Treasury. Treasury minister Sajid Javid

Keith Vaz

told a national daily: ‘The main purpose of child benefit and the child tax credit is to support families in the UK. Consequently, the rules for these benefits generally do not provide for them to be paid in respect of children who live abroad.’ He added Britain was forced to pay out the sums to children living overseas under a European regulation which protects the social security rights of nationals of all EEA member states.

Questions for Hafiz Saeed M J AKBAR A question for the internationally recognised terrorist, ideologue and mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai attack, Hafiz Saeed, resident of Lahore, who has just offered sanctuary in Pakistan to our superstar Shah Rukh Khan. Pakistan was carved out in 1947 to ensure security for this subcontinent’s Muslims in a separate homeland. Why, six decades later, has Pakistan become the most insecure place for Muslims in the world? Why are more Muslims being killed each day, on an average, in Pakistan than in the rest of the Muslim world put together? This continual mass murder is not being done by Hindus and Sikhs, who were once proud residents of Punjab and Sindh but are now merely a near-invisible trace. Some Pakistan leaders even express pride in the fact that non-Muslims, who constituted around 20 per cent of the population in 1947, have been reduced to less than 2 per cent. In contrast, the percentage of Muslims in secular India has increased since independence. Hindus and Sikhs are not killing Muslims in Pakistan; Muslims are murdering Muslims, and on a scale unprecedented in the history of Punjab, the North West Frontier and Sindh. Why? There have been riots in India, some of them horrendous. But the graph is one of ebb from the peak of 1947. When a riot does occur, as in Maharashtra recently, civil society and media stand up to demand accountability, and the ground pressure of a secular democracy forces even reluctant governments to cooperate in punishment of the guilty. When Shias, or other sectarians, are massmurdered in Pakistan on a regular basis, the killers celebrate a “duty” well done. History’s paradox is evident: Muslims today are safer in India than in Pakistan. The “muhajirs” who left the cities of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar in 1947 would have been far safer in Lucknow, Patna and dozens of cities in their original land than they are now in the tense streets and bylanes of Karachi. Could Shah Rukh Khan have become an international heart throb if his parents had joined the emigration in 1947? Since he is talented he would have gained some recognition on the fringes of elite society, but he could not have become a central presence of a popular culture that has seeped and spread to every tehsil and village. Nor is Shah Rukh the only Muslim superstar in Mumbai’s film world; Salman Khan is bigger than him. Shah Rukh

and Salman and Amir Khan do not hide their identity through an alias; their birth name is their public persona. The television set in my office serves two main purposes: it shows cricket and offers access to an FM radio station which plays old film songs. A song by Muhammad Rafi was on the air while the previous paragraph was being written: Man re tu kahe na dheer dhare. It is a beautiful classic, written by Sahir Ludhianvi. Rafi, as his name confirms, was a Muslim. He was born in 1924 in western Punjab and came to Mumbai as a very young man in search of dreams. Those dreams had not come true by 1947. Rafi had the option of returning to Lahore. He chose to remain in Mumbai, and brought his family in what might be called the reverse direction. It was a wise choice. Mumbai made Rafi’s voice immortal. Rafi, like India, was the distillation of many inspirations. Hafiz Saeed and his ilk possess cramped, virulent minds which condemn the ragas upon which our subcontinent’s music, both classic and popular, is based, as inimical. They want to destroy a shared Hindu-Muslim cultural heritage in which Muslim maestros took classical music to splendid heights under the patronage of padishahs, rajahs and nawabs. Instead of art, they possess vitriol, even as the violence they spawn turns Pakistan into a laboratory of chaos. They call themselves guardians of their nation, but they are in fact regressive theocrats who are shredding the Pakistan that Jinnah imagined. There is an answer to the opening question. Extremists who reduce faith to a fortress do not understand a simple truth: faith cannot be partitioned. Islam was a revelation for mankind; it cannot be usurped by a minor tract of geography. Nations are created by and for men, within boundaries of language or culture or tribe. Religion comes from God; it is not a political tool for human ambition. Those who equate religion with nation distort the first and destroy the second. Pakistan has become a battlefield for dysfunctional forces because theocrats will not permit it to become a rational state. Logic suggests a reciprocal offer: Pakistani Muslims would be safer in India. But that offer cannot extend to Hafiz Saeed. His mission is to be India’s adversary. What he does not understand is that he is really Pakistan’s enemy. (The Times of India, 3 February 2013)

UK - Asian Voice 9th February 2013


British Gujaratis seek CM Modi’s help in restoring London-Ahmedabad direct flight The British Gujaratis are now urging Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi to take up their plight with the UPA government, restoring the LondonAhmedabad direct flight. After the sweeping victory of Mr Modi, many readers of Asian Voice and Gujarat Samachar have not only called us to pass on their congratulatory messages to the re elected Chief Minister, but have also desperately sought help for the problems they continue to face, during their regular trips to India. Every week on an average at least 2500 passengers fly from the UK to Gujarat,India. There is no direct flight at the moment. So passengers travelling Air India, Jet Airways or any other airlines going Ahmedabad have to change in Mumbai or Delhi or a Middle Eastern countries. It is difficult and extremely painful for the people especially with physical hardships, like pregnancy, disability or elderly people to go through a 2-3hrs of wait or rush through change of flights, especially to disembark and again embark with their hand

Narendra Modi

luggage. According to travel agents on an average there are 10-27 wheel chair bound passengers to Ahmedabad per flight. Passengers flying by the airlines from Middle East Emirates,Qatar,Oman,Eth ihad and others have to transfer in Dubai or Doha or some other place. Middle Eastern airlines are cheaper and it is reported by the travel agents that they carry more passengers bound for Gujarat than other airlines. In 2003 direct flights by Air India were started between Sardar Patel International Airport and

London Heathrow airport. To begin with there were 2 flights and within a few months they were increased to 5 flights a week. A campaign for direct flight was started years earlier by the community, Asian Voice and Gujarat S a m a c h a r ( A V + G S ) newsweeklies. Eventually CB Patel, as Publisher/Editor of AV+GS approached Hon Shri Narendra Modi, Chief Minister of the State of Gujarat who discussed with the Civil Aviation Minister Shri Prasad. When the UPA government was formed, the Air India flights were stopped without any public notice, though the travel agents were informed some 6 weeks prior to this arrangement. AV and GS had approached Air India's Regional DirectorMr K D Row to restore the direct flights. The reasons given were: a. The runway was not adequate at the Sardar Patel International

Airport. b. There are not enough passengers for the flight. According to our information, the Ahmedabad runway is adequate for normal planes used by Air India or other airlines. As to the adequate traffic, Air India was appealed to have at least 1-2 direct flights per week. Though we know the number of passengers bound for Gujarat are adequate to run everyday flight, but for the immediate relief of disabled and elderly people and pregnant women, it was the minimum number. Gujaratis developing rapidly and business trav-

ellers are also increasing in number. Lack of direct flights is a very distinct disadvantage. We had written to the Chairman of Air India and spoken publicly and privately to Shri Praful Patel, Hon Minister for Civil Aviation in the Government of India on 23rd January 2010 in Ahmedabad. He promised to look into the matter but we have received no response let alone restarting of direct flights. A petition campaign was launched by AV+GS and National Congress of Gujarati Organisations (UK) and thousands of people signed it. There were a number of letters

pleading for direct flights which were also forwarded to the Chairman of Air India including from British Gujaratis and their leaders like Lord Bhikhu Parekh, Lord Navnit Dholakia, MPs Keith Vaz, Stephen Pound and several others as well as the Congress, BJP and NCP leaders of Gujarat. Asian Voice and Gujarat Samachar are now relaunching the petition to restart the campaign in order to convince Mr Modi to take up the plights of his Gujarati friends in India. If you agree with us, send us your view and details and we will forward it to CM Modi.

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UK - Asian Voice 9th February 2013

IEBF organises successful business networking event in London

During the recent 9 weeks India visit of our Publisher/Editor Mr CB Patel, he was privileged to watch the election campaign in Gujarat and was also invited by the leaders of the three main parties as a guest to discuss about politics and the election. CB was an eye witness to CM Narendra Modi's sweeping victory and on Saturday 9 Feb, 3-6pm, he will be analysing 'Gujarat's recent and

historical election' and giving his views on the different party political strategies, in presence of some invited guests. If you are interested to join him, please email Venue: Karma Yoga House, 12 Hoxton Market, London N1 6HW. Nearest station: Old Street (Northern Line via bank/king's cross). Bus: 55,243,141,76,43,205,21,214

Young Patidars dine at the House of Lords

Virendra Sharma MP, Baroness Sandip Verma and Vijay Goel, Founder, IEBF presenting a token of appreciation to guest speaker Suhel Seth

Virendra Sharma, MP, Baroness Verma and Chair of the Business Networking event

The Indo European Business Forum (IEBF) organised a business networking event on Thursday 31 January 2013, as a part of the India week, organised by LSE. The event aimed to dis-

cuss the strengthening ties between Europe and India and the future of trade links between the two regions. There was a talk followed by a networking session with students and other ethnic businesses,

S P Hinduja addressing the audience

allowing them to understand the concept in greater detail, whilst also enabling the speakers to talk about their journeys and challenges they have faced in their careers. IEBF is an open forum of like minded people, and provides a platform to share knowledge, experience, opinions related to doing business in India and EU, share information related to resources available on print media and on the internet and also share data amongst UK, EU and Indian companies, who wish to exploit commercial opportunities in India and the EU. They organise many useful events to share data amongst interested participants. Photo credit: Raj Bakrania -PR media

On Friday 25th January 2013, 100 Young Patidar professionals attended a champagne reception and dinner at the House of Lords hosted by Lord Popat of Harrow on behalf of the Federation of Patidar Associations. They were very inspired by after dinner speakers. Dr Rami Ranger MBE, spoke of his career success and encouraged the youngsters to excel and be proud citizens of UK. Alpesh Patel got the young crowd fired up enlightened them with the sacrifices of Sardar Patel in the fight for Independence of India in 1947. Captain Sandip Patel inspired them about his career in the Army instead of PWC job in Dubai and encouraged them to look into joining the Territorial Army. Dinesh Patel, President of the Federation of Patidar Associations thanked Lord Popat for inviting young Patidars to House of Lords on behalf of the Federation of Paridar

Associations and paid a special tribute. He praised the young professionals for investing in education and becoming professionals; many of whom hold high positions here in the city and elsewhere. He said, the Federation looks at the young generation as an investment and to the future development of the UK’s Hindu Gujarati community. He added that the organisation would want to help keep these professionals sharply focussed on their careers and their next talk “Creating your Success” is on 12th April at Patidar

House, Wembley. Concluding the event, he further added, “We at the Federation believe that we are only the custodians of our heritage and our Aspiration, is that you, the next generation will get involved and take the Federation to the next level and ensure that our rich heritage and culture does not get lost or diluted.” He requested them to help in the such activities of getting youngsters involved and organise an awards evening for themselves talented youngsters.

Shazia Mirza Cuckooland UK Tour 2013

Engrossed audience: Vijay Goel, Suni Kr Gupta, Leader, India Chapter, IEBF, Ranu Gupta, SARC Associates Pvt Ltd, Virendra Sharma, MO, Suhel Seth and other guests

Elleven Dental Practice has been awarded the Overall Best Practice, UK (Dentistry Awards 2012), Best Practice, London (Dentistry Awards 2012) and Most Attractive Practice, UK (Private Dentistry Awards, 2012) in 2012. The practice has three partners – Dr Sameer Patel, Shivani Patel and Anthony lam. Sameer Patel BDS, MFDS, RCS(Eng), is clinical director at the award-winning Elleven Dental practice. He qualified from Birmingham University, having been awarded the Centenary Prize and nominated for the Clinical Excellence Award. He then completed his postgraduate studies at Oxford University and Guy’s Hospital London, while working in dental practice. After his training, Sameer was awarded Membership of the Faculty of Dental Surgery at the Royal College of Surgeons in London. Shivani Patel is a Guy's graduate and worked her way up to become a Consultant Orthodontist at the Elleven. She lectures nationally and internationally and is also committed to providing charity work in her spare time.

Internationally acclaimed stand-up comedian, award winning columnist, respected radio presenter and TV commentator, Shazia Mirza hits the road this Spring for the first time in two years with a brand new show. Shazia takes the audience on a fact finding mission of Cuckooland. Everyone lives there though few know it. It is a place where anyone can be anything, do anything and say anything. A land where the inhabitants don’t give a monkey’s what anyone thinks. To hell with it! They’re going to Her BBC3 documentary 'F*** Off say it anyway! We all know we’re a bit I'm A Hairy Woman' received a record deluded sometimes but few can admit breaking 613,000 viewers on its first that we’re all citizens of the rich and transmission. diverse Cuckooland called home. Shazia has toured India for the British Council, gigged at the Arosa Comedy Festival in Cuckooland UK Tour dates Switzerland and performed in Miami, Las Vegas, San 9 Feb: London- artsdepot Francisco, Zurich, Luxembourg 15 Feb: West Bromwich- Public and Galway. She is also an estab- 17 Feb: Brighton- Kimedia lished columnist having written 21 Feb: Bath- Ustinov Studio Theatre Royal columns for The Guardian, 24 Feb- Leicester- Just the Tonic Virgin Trains travel magazine 1 March- Andover- The lights 'Hotline' and the New Statesman 3 March- Bristol - Tobacco Factory Theatre for which she won the PPA Best 8 March- High Wycombe - Swan Columnist Award in 2008. 16 Mar- Sudbury - Quay Theatre Shazia currently writes for 17 Mar- Canterbury - Gulbenkian DAWN, Pakistan's oldest and 22 Mar- Reading - South Street Arts Centre most widely read English news- 23 March- London - Canada Water Culture Space paper and website 29 March- Millom - The Beggar’s Theatre 30 March- Birmingham - The Drum Her many TV appearances 12 April- Leeds - Carriageworks Theatre include’ The Wright Stuff' (C5) 18 Apr- Fareham - Ashcroft Arts Centre 'Have I Got News For You' 26 Apr- Worthing - Ritz Studio Theatre (BBC) 'Joan Bakewell's Taboo' 15-18 20-23 25 May- London - Soho Theatre (BBC) '60 Minutes' (BBC) and 24 May: Bradford - Alhambra Studio 8 June: Colchester- Arts Centre 'Richard & Judy' (C4).

UK - Asian Voice 9th February 2013

Leading Lights

Rani Singh, Special Assignments Editor

Ramona Mehta Brilliantly Protecting her Clients’ Reputations! Ramona is a Partner in Mishcon de Reya and leads the Reputation Protection group. A media litigator by training, Ramona’s clients range from global corporates to high profile individuals and family offices. She advises on complex, often international commercial and reputational disputes. She protects the interests of her clients and their businesses through the combined use of her knowledge as a seasoned litigator and her specialist experience in the field of reputation protection. She is particularly experienced in acting for clients from the world of sport and the media. Ramona works with clients and their advisors to obtain time efficient and cost effective solutions to their disputes. Ramona regularly advises organisations on how to protect themselves from internal and external bribery and corruption risks. She also assists them to devise strategies to minimise reputational exposure when such risks materialise. Chambers and Partners have recommended Ramona in recent years. Chambers commended her “Excellent judgement” and “results focussed approach,” awarding her the title of "Leader in her field". They said, "She has a very calm manner but can most certainly be tough." Ramona does not come from a legal family background. She is the youngest and fourth girl in her family, with no brothers. Her parents are Punjabi and settled in Manchester. She explains her decision to study her particular subject, ending up as one of London’s leading practitioners in her field, this way. “I decided to read Law with French law as I was keen to live in France for a year and quite liked watching LA Law….” Ramona attended University College, London, and spent one year in Paris at university there as a law student. She trained at Mishcon de Reya , where Ramona rose to become a partner. She joined in 1996; qualified in 1998 and became a partner in Spring 2005. Why did she choose Mishcon de Reya and why did she choose this field? Ramona tells us, “I was privileged to train at Mishcon de Reya which had then and continues to

Asian Voice Youth Conference 2013 Shaping Young Lives The time has come again for the annual Asian Voice Youth Conference, hosted by Asian Voice and Gujarat Samachar in a Central London venue. The conference will take place on Saturday 23 March 2013 and will be open to 15-25 year olds. We are expecting around 80-100 youngsters to take part this year. A workshop based conference, it will feature leading professionals from different walks of life who will share their personal experience and offer practical advice on how young people can fulfil their aspirations and get ahead in the world of work. It will also include interactive sessions and mentoring opportunities. This year along with the City Hindus Network, we will also have the involvement of the Royal Air Force. There will be various competitions to win prizes and opportunities to talk to successful and inspiring people in the field of your choice. The conference is in its third year and is set to be the best and most anticipated until now. Previous speakers have been Divya Talwar, journalist from the BBC, Amit Sodha, Lifestyle Coach and stand up comedian, Krupa Sheth, the youngest councillor of Brent, Pratik Dattani, Economist and Chair of CHN, Misha Patel, Assistant General Counsel, KPMG, Dr Pranav Somaiya, vascular surgeon and researcher, Menhaj Huda, film director, producer and writer and Aekta Mahajan, Cabinet Office and Vice Chair, City Hindus Network . We will also be launching an annual youth supplement at the conference. Date: Saturday 23 March 2013 Venue: Central London (TBC) Time: 11am - 4pm Limited seats available. Prior registration required. To register yourself/friends, please email or with your/participant's full name, age, contact details by Sunday March 3 2013.


enjoy a worldwide reputation for excellence in all that they do. No other firm even comes close. I trained in reputation management and immediately recognised it as my niche. “ Reputation management as a concept that requires legal and professional expertise may be fairly new to some, but it is a critical part of the armoury of a high profile, high net worth individual or business. Ramona unlocked her methodology exclusively for us, something rarely discussed in

If a reputation is being tarnished or attacked, swift action must be taken to preserve that public. “We work to fiercely protect the reputation of our clients. It could be a high profile individual who has been defamed or whose privacy has been breached, it could be assisting a multi-national organisation which is being wrongly accused by the press, an ill-informed Non Governmental Organisation or its industry peers. We will provide the client – uniquely I believe – with comprehensive advice in which legal action is one but not the only option. We will advocate our clients' position in the appropriate forum, whether that is the Court or elsewhere.” An increasing number of companies and individuals are concerned with reputation management. For, as Ramona points out,

goodwill is a company's most valuable asset – if a reputation is being tarnished or attacked, swift action must be taken to preserve that. A lifetime's hard work can be compromised very quickly in the public arena –particularly with the advent of the internet and twitter, etc. So what is Ramona’s advice when it comes to negative publicity and criticism; should it just be ignored, and what happens when it adversely affects business? “Each case is different – my advice is to take proportionate action to prevent the mud sticking. Also it is sensible to conduct a "reputational audit" to highlight where there may be weaknesses (eg confidentiality agreements with third party contractors or even domestic staff for ultra high net worth clients) and to ensure that your house is in order, to minimise attacks. We are in the world of the investigative journalist and that isn't changing any time soon.” A perpetual dilemma for successful working Asian ladies-indeed most women with families- in the City is getting the work-life balance right. Ramona says that achieving that balance is demanding but also rewarding. She tells us that she is blessed with “an amazing husband who runs his own very successful business but between us we manage!” She says that she is lucky also with her in-laws who live about half an hour away from her “and are fantastic parents to us and fantastic grandparents to our boys.”

Community organisations are urged to send their youth members to participate in our Youth Conference. The winner organisation (that has the highest number of members, aged 15-25, present at the event) will be given free publicity in Asian Voice, whenever they hold events for the coming 6 months, commencing the conference in March. If you are a community organisation registering your young members on behalf of them, please send their names with their age and full contact details (phone and email) to or by Sunday, March 3, 2013.


Your Voice


Justice Verma’s Committee Report on Rape Laws Justice J S Verma’s Committee submitted his report on rape laws on Wednesday, 23rd January. Amongst its suggestion is an amendment of criminal laws to provide for higher punishment to rapists, including those belonging to police and public servants. Very good, if “public servant” also includes the elected representatives, such as MPs, CMs, MLAs etc. I previously mentioned a number of Indian politicians residing in India’s current 552-member lower house of Parliament who are facing criminal charges (including rape). I understand that this has risen by about a third since 2009, all the way to 162. At its release Justice Verma said that he was impressed by the “spontaneous” response of the youth against the December 16 gang rape. He also stated “Many recommendations made in the past for women have not been implemented. We have perfect laws but they remain ineffective”. I note that Justice Verma was a former Chief Justice of India and also a ex-chairman of the National Human Rights Commission. As Chief Justice why he and the present incumbent not done anything to make it effective, these so called “perfect” laws. If this was not under their jurisdiction, then as the Chair of the National Human Rights Commission it was his and the present incumbent’s prerogative to raise the matter when women are abused in such a way and that in majority of such cases, justice seems to be ineffective. Either their offices are not fit for purpose, or it was, and is a total dereliction of duty on their part. May I also draw your attention to a Metro report of Monday, 4 February 2013 by Sam Smith, entitled “Fighting to save a nation’s soul”. That article is indeed a real soul searcher and a must read by all. Mohindra Master Via Email

The sad rape case of Jyoti I was in a very short visit to India recently after this incident had happened and I read every morning newspaper with the hope that something good will happen to combat this evil. All men and women with soul are feeling this pain and they are getting together as demonstrated by their protests, candle marches, forums, and - unique to India - ways as hunger strikes. Women are getting alert. Girls are getting trained to protect themselves. This young educated unfortunate girl suffered brutality at the hands of the illiterate drunkards, cruel animals. Indeed this is a disgusting inhumane act. Impossible for any sane to interpret. Despite realisation of feminine divinity and power, women have always been subject to underestimation by men at all times, including the so called “modern world”. They are overworked, underpaid, harassed, burnt, and subjected to killing even before birth and in infancy - genocide and infanticide. World has not truly evolved. - Asian Voice 9th February 2013

India-Pakistan relations

Our Mali Misadventure

Mr. Dattani’s statement that India must frighten Pakistan and keep them frightened all their lives is flight into fancy. India has not been able to do so for last 65 years even after repeated violations of ceasefires by Pakistan, India winning three wars/India continuing peace motivating endeavours/talks. India has welcomed Pakistan’s cricket teams, artists, trade, train/bus links, easing of visa rules, giving away advantages gained by India’s army after every war, turning blind eye after every cease fire violation etc yet Pakistan has continuously growls. It is surprising that India growls at torture/beheading of Indian soldiers. It is ironical that Pakistan is demanding proof, alleging India as defaulter. It is unimaginable to expect pro India measures when top policy makers are not Indo-centrics eg. Italian, Sikh, Christians; are pro-Pakistan and pro west; two top persons are born in Pakistan and thus harbour subconscious pro Pakistan sentiments. Combine this fact to Muslim appeasement via vote bank, pseudo secularism in order to retain power. Policymakers insist on acting like west trained brown babus to twist decision against Indians to suit colonial masters, vicious and hostile neighbours. Though India has given away land to form Pakistan, India has not been able to severe umbilicus whereby Pakistan can suffer and pay for its transgressions against generous, meek and caring India. India must forcefully extract advantage via non violent, tough, dispassionate and effective measures to tame Pakistan and help it to be mature, sober and dignified via suffering. Current suffering is only on Indian side whereas Pakistan is encouraged by puppeteer west to act as brat.

When PM David Cameron announced with childish enthusiasm our undying support to our brothers in arms, French involvement in Mali conflict, lending two Hercules Transport aircrafts with support crew, most observers did not believe his assurances that this would be our only involvement in the conflict that may go on for years, bordering our insane, unending involvement in Afghanistan. Within days, we were proved right. It was followed by a promise to lend armoured personal carriers, some 350 support troops to train Mali army and even SAS intelligence gathering units. But PM still insists our troops will not be involved in ground operations. No one believes him but curiously the opposition is keeping silent. This country, unlike Germany and Japan, still lives in the past with delusion that we have an empire to run, the world to police and be the conscious of every nation! PM should know that situations could change at any time. If our troops are kidnapped and under threat of execution, he would have no option but to send in elite SAS personals to rescue these soldiers. It would be the thin edge of the wedge. Mali is a French speaking Islamic nation, hardly any one speaks English. Training someone with the help of an interpreter is not an ideal situation. Moreover rebel outfits have the support of many Mali soldiers who deserted the army and willingly joined the rebels. As Mali was a former French colony, French involvement is understandable, as ours was in Sierra Leone but without French assistance. It is time that the PM should put his world tottering on hold and concentrate fully on our domestic economic crisis, before lending a hand to others. Then to this deluded PM, charity begins overseas.

Ramesh Jhalla Via Email I could feel the togetherness of the general public. The deficiencies in the systems of the law, police, and politics and the so called “spiritual leaders” are coming to surface and at least an effort is beginning to be made towards their correction. I am very much hopeful that her sacrifice will not be in vain. There is evil in this world but the Good has stood the test of time and will prevail. Dr. Rita Ratani Terre Haute,US

Daylight Robbery First we had to contend with the announcements that when visiting our motherland, we are only allowed to take with us four grams of gold jewellery. According to the customs and baggage allowance rules of India, a male visitor may only take with him Rs 10,000 worth (3.57 gms) of gold and a woman visitor may take with her Rs 20,000 worth (7.15 gms). If you take more than this amount, it will be liable to tax and if you try to pass through the green channel, legal proceedings for smuggling or avoidance of tax will be taken against you. These lim-

Bhupendra M Gandhi Via Email its seem ridiculously low. Even a finger ring will weigh more than these amounts. Now to add fuel to the fire, the cost of tourist visas for UK travellers to India is being doubled from 17January. The fee will rise to £92.20 (£82 plus a service charge of £10.20) for visas valid for up to six months.Visas carrying a duration of up to two years which allow a maximum stay of 180 days per visit will cost £277 plus the service charge to give a total of £287.20. This is not fair on people of Indian origin who have their roots in India and go there to visit friends and relatives. They also add to the foreign exchange reserves of India by making vast purchases with the currency of the country of their residence. Therefore, people of Indian origin should be exempt from the need to get visas when visiting the land of their forefathers. AV and GS have in the past mounted campaigns to right many wrongs eg the issue of direct flight to Ahmedabad. Can they take this up with the Indian authorities? Dinesh Sheth Newbury Park, Ilford

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Non-Violence versus Military Interventions on Valentine’s Day Tributes to Mahatma Gandhi (18691948) on his 65th Death Anniversary, (AV 2 Feb p14-17), was very well written. My memory of Mahatma Gandhi goes back to 1947. I was four. My mama was carrying me on his shoulders to Lakhajiraj School in Rajkot, Gujarat. He told me “See there, Gandhi ji is leading a procession march”. By his amazing strength and endurance to accept the harsh physical punishment meted out to him and his followers, he succeeded in arousing the conscience of the aggressor. Reflecting on the past 65 years truthfully, G8 countries used military interventions as the modus operandi for maintaining world peace and harmony among diverse nations, cultures, values and beliefs. I am a Hindu brought up in a Muslim country from birth to age 25 except for 3 years (1946-1949) in India as a child. I found during those 22 years that the Muslims there were no more or less violent than other races I came across. Gandhiji’s second message was that all Indians, both Muslims and Hindus, should live together in harmony and India should not be split into two countries. On Valentine’s Day, leaders of the Indian sub-continent and leaders of the G8 countries should commence a dialogue of understanding through love and respect towards diverse cultures, through economic and technical collaboration rather than military interventions. An Asian Union [AU] similar to European Union [EU] should gradually evolve with SAR (South Asian Rupee) similar to the Euro as the next step; India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka would become the Germany, France, Italy and Spain of the AU. Bhutan, Myanmar, Sikkim and Nepal could join later on. Nagindas Khajururia Via Email

FDI in India The Indian government’s introduction of foreign direct investment by Walmart etc in the whole relevant sector is against the rights of farmers, retailers, workers, etc, corrupting the essence of Mahatma Gandhi’s fundamental principles to protect and aid them, to hold their own farms, to be cultivated organically for the nation’s health, to allow them form their own indigenously reserved and legally protected economic sector, to sell goods independently in the open market; and to allow small retail trade and industries to flourish employing more workers. Due to the FDI policy, the farmers will gradually become debtors and be compelled to sell their farms, retailers will lose their trade and workers will become jobless as they all will be subject to control and management of foreign firms. Continued on page 11

uK - Asian Voice 9th February 2013


Pakistani scientist meets Indian journalists at a Central London restaurant Increasing radicalisation within Pakistan's military could lead to its nuclear weapons being hijacked by radical Islamists, a Pakistani scientist has warned at a London press conference. Professor Dr Pervez Hoodbhoy, who was in London for the launch of his book 'Confronting the Bomb', spoke to the Indian Journalists' Association Members on Thursday at a Central London restaurant. Among the points made by Professor Hoodbhoy in his book are that Pakistan has today the world's fastest growing nuclear arsenal; and the biggest danger to it comes from within its control and security personnel, which he says, are full of Islamists. The book also paints a horrific picture of the consequences of a nuclear conflagration between India and Pakistan. Independent-minded, a secularist and a believer in the use of nuclear technology for peaceful purposes, Professor Hoodbhoy is a target of the Pakistani establishment, but at the same time, respected internationally as a scientist. He was visiting the UK to discuss his book at Oxford,

weapons only because India embarked on it. India has remained primary enemy. But to some extent that perception is changing, with General Kayani (Chief of Pakistani Army Staff) recently saying that Pakistan's major challenge is the enemy within. So there seems to be a doctrinal shift within the army but General Kayani himself is under attack within the forces," said Mr Hoodbhoy. "Jihadists still operate within Pakistan and the state's policy regarding Islamists has been a conProf Dr Hoodbhoy with journalists at the press conference

Cambridge, Warwick and SOAS The nuclear physicist and defence analyst estimated Pakistan's arsenal to be similar to India's, at around 120-130 warheads. "Earlier, such weapons were seen just as a means of deterrence. The most dangerous development is the increasing search for fissile material as a new dimension of tactical nuclear war has entered the picture. This means the number of weapons will steadily increase," he said. Mr Hoodbhoy, who received his PhD in

nuclear physics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), stressed that the issue needs to be addressed for the sake of sub-continental as well as global security. "India and Pakistan have come close to nuclear war at least five times - in 1987, 1990, during Kargil (1999), after the attack on the Indian Parliament (2001) and the Mumbai attacks in 2008. Given the history of nuclear tension, we can't afford to be passive on this issue. The fallout, from the blast itself to the radioac-

tive effects, will be felt not just in the sub-continent but around the world," he said. "Confronting the Bomb: Pakistani & Indian Scientists Speak Out", published by Oxford University Press and edited by Mr Hoodbhoy, is a compilation of essays by scientists from both India and Pakistan. It starts with the atomic age in India in 1974, followed by Pakistan and traces the furious nuclear race after the 1998 nuclear tests. "Pakistan started developing its nuclear

Virendra Sharma MP hosts a tribute to Lord King

Back (Members of the UPF) Front: Virendra Sharma and Lady King Tribute achievement award to Late Lord King

Local MP for Ealing Southall hosted a tribute to Lord Tarsem King of West Bromwich in Parliament on Feb 4 in the House of Commons. The tribute was attended by a number of Lords from the House of Lords and cross party members from the House of Commons Mr Sharma said, “First, let me convey my heartfelt condolences to Lady King, family and friends here

today. I want to thank you all for joining me today to pay tribute to a great man, a great leader and great friend. Lord King was an extraordinary man who has made great contributions to Parliament and in the local and wider community. He worked very hard and was compassionate, gentle and kind. I hope we will remember him for everything that he has contributed, especially

with the Universal Peace Federation where he was Patron UPF’s Presiding Council Member. Again, Lord King has left an extraordinary legacy that will remembered by future generations.” Lord King was UK’S first Sikh peer and former council leader of Sandwell. He died at the age of 75 on 9 January 2013.

fused one," added Mr Hoodbhoy. He is now even sceptical of the peaceful uses of nuclear technology in India and Pakistan. "Whether electricity generated from nuclear sources is really efficient is a big question mark. The construction of nuclear reactors is very expensive and should an accident similar to Japan's Fukushima disaster in 2011 were to occur in India or Pakistan, both countries may not have the capacity to deal with it the same way," he concluded.

Your Voice FDI in India Responding to Sardar Patel’s call during independence movement, all the people were united to look after their own affairs. If the FDI policy were to be tested by the nation’s referendum, the answer would have been certainly a ‘No’, strong enough to warn them to revert it, disturbing their historically established economic progression and the system of soil cultivation with organic fertilizers, that would create havoc which would ruin their lives and consequently the Indian culture. Mahatma Gandhi wanted the Congress workers to become good servants of their masters who elect them. Wearing Gandhi cap demands following Gandhian principles, unequivocally and without deceit and self interest. R N Patel Essex

In the name of religion Salman Rashdie gets banned to attend the Jaipur Literary Festival last year. This year Kamal Hassan agrees to delete certain scenes from his new film to appease those who seem to be upset. A Grand Mufti in Kashmir issues Fatwa against a teenage girl rock band who decided to use guitar and bongo in lieu of traditional instruments followed by social media onslaught from hard-liners sending insults and threats against the poor girls who had to cancel their concerts. Events such as these appear to be well aimed and repercussions of such action no doubt travel the continents similar to the terrorist attacks in Mumbai. In Whitechapel, three bearded youths with ill fitting grubby clothes proclaiming to be part of a Muslim patrol harass British citizens, asking them to wear appropriate clothes and avoid alcohol as they are passing through ‘Muslim’ area! Perhaps the teaching they may have had in rediscovering their religion in Northern Yemen villages lead them to forget that they reside in a country where people are free to do what they like as long as it does not hurt the others. Do they realise that there are two very famous Pakistani Punjabi restaurants nearby, one right behind the mosque frequented by people from all walks of life which readily welcomes punters with their own bottles of beer and wine to partake in a fine dining experience? Therefore would the wider secular Muslim community denounce such actions in the name of their religion? Will they tell their children that they are British first? If increasing demographic influence by sheer population concentration is the only way such vile messages propagated, then the rest of the public have the right to take fearless counter action by writing to their local councillors and MPs or Police Commissioners, contact the press to report the miscreants and benefit cheaters, go on live radio/tv show debates to put the records straight, oppose local planning applications which aid such propaganda in order to ensure that their sympathisers, whether politicians, foreign nations or so called community leaders are exposed. We live in a free country and love whatever Spiritual path we have chosen. Jai Hind Bharat Parmar


Media Watch

Governments are often the targets of media slings and arrows, and rightly so, since they are accountable to the people and their every act put under the closest public scrutiny. The Indian government is no exception. It has been pilloried for the scams that have occurred under its dispensation, for which it must take responsibility. But governments also get a few things right, and when do they deserve that this be acknowledged. So it is with the Government of India. Philanthropist Melinda Gates and husband Bill, the creator of software giant Microsoft, have donated most of their enormous wealth to charitable causes around the world. Melinda spoke recently at the World Economic Conference in Davos, Switzerland, on the eradication

ing into the sea. The missile, which is designed to carry a nuclear warhead, will be integrated into India’s nuclear powered submarine, INS Arihant. India’s triad nuclear deterrence on land, air and sea is now complete. India is the fifth country in the world after the US, Russia, France and China to have this capability. V.K. Saraswat, Director General, Defence Research & Development Organization - asian Voice 9th February 2013

Chakraborty retired at the end of January, having crowned a distinguished career with an extraordinary triumph. Frontline magazine (February 8) produced a detailed profile of the man and his work. The team of young scientists around him should be a source of pride and joy. Especially so, as Sumitha Devi Jena, a woman, happens to be a specialist in hypersonic technology. More is owed to these silent, dedicated scientists than to the loquacious, self-regarding bores who crowd India’s television sets night after night with their vacuous chatter. India plans to build four nuclear-powered submarines.

GPS ‘Gagan’ by 2014 India is to launch the first of its series of satellites for its navigation service. This will be followed next year by ‘Gagan’, which will free India from dependence on the US Global Positioning System (GPS). After all the required satellites were launched, India would be capable of providing a navigation service through ‘Gagan,’ said S.Ramakrishnan, Director, Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre. (Hindu January 28)

GM crop agitation Bill and Melinda Gates

of polio in India, towards which the Gates’ Foundation contributed generously. Melinda Gates was rhapsodic about the massive anti-polio inoculation campaign across this land of a billion and more people. The organization and commitment of doctors and staff and their auxiliaries came in for high praise, as did the authorities. She described it as “ unbelievable and worth something. Two years without polio, when we think of the scepticism in 2000.” Her words were echoed by Bill Gates when, speaking at the Royal Institution hall in London, he said: “India’s accomplishment in wiping out polio in 2011 is therefore among the greatest health successes that has ever been.” Thanks to the government’s efforts two million workers were mobilized in a nationwide drive to eradicate the disease, he said. Earlier, Mrs Gates visited Bihar to witness at first-hand the “eradication of polio and the dreaded kalazar disease.” Her tour of the state included a call at a primary health care centre near Patna and was impressed by its work in reducing infant mortality. The Gates Foundation runs health care programmes in eight districts in Bihar. Chief Minister Nitish Kumar invited Mrs Gates to his cresidence for dinner. (Hindu January 23, 28).

Submarine missile test India achieved a major milestone last weekend when its underwater K-15 missile was successfully test-fired off the Visakhapatnam coast in the Bay of Bengal. The missile, which was launched from a pontoon 50 metres below the water, streaked to 700 kilometres before splash-

(DRDO) and Scientific Adviser to the Defence Minister, told The Hindu reporters, Y.Mallikarjun and T.S.Subramanian (January 28), that , “This is a major milestone in the country’s strategic defence capability.” He also said that as with the Agni missiles, the underwater K family would develop a series of missiles with an extended range from 1,500 to 3,500 kilometres.

Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar is angry. Why so? Because when India, among the world’s largest importers of edible oil, seeks to increase its own production through genetically modified (GM) seeds, it finds that the US, which is the larger exporter of GM soya bean oil to India, is funding local lobby within India to prevent this happening. Obviously, the US would like to lock India in to permanent dependence. Mr Pawar: “I find it alarm-

RBI rate cut The long awaited Reserve Bank of India rate cut arrived last week (January 29) much to the relief of industry and government. The cut by 25 basic points reduces the repo rate from 8 per cent to 7.75 per cent and the cash reserve ratio CRR) for RBI banks by 4 per cent. Governor Dr D.Subbarao said that the cut would “provide an appropriate interest environment to support growth as inflation risks moderate.” Dr Subbaro expected an encouraging flow of investment, “thereby supporting growth.” Brokers and dealers saw the RBI move as a step in the right direction and that it was now up to the government to proceed with its reform agenda. Rakesh Shah, Chairman, Edelwiess Group, said: “The interest rate cut and the increased liquidity by CRR will help in restarting the investment cycle which is critical if Indian growth has to start its climb back to 8-9 per cent growth levels.” Pawan Goenka, President Automotive & Farm Equipment Sectors, Mahindra &Mahindra, said: “Today’s repo as well as CRR cut is a welcome announcement, and, hopefully, will revive investment in the core sectors”. The rest of Corporate India echoed these sentiments.

Law takes its course Former Haryana Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala and his son Ajay Chautala have been given 10-year jail sentences by a special court for the an education scam involving the illegal selection of 8,000 and more of junior basic trained primary school teachers in 1999-2000 by replacing selection lists compiled from 18 state districts with ones that were fakes. Special Judge Vinod Kumar sentenced eight others including Mr Chautrala’s political advisor Sher Singh Badshami, his former officer on special duty Vidya Dhar and former Haryana minis-

ter of primary education Sanjeev Kumar to 10 years’ imprisonment. A pro-Chautala mob attempted to break into the court room, but a strong police presence thwarted them with the use of appropriate force. Mobocracy failed, democracy and the rule triumphed. A happy ending indeed.

Whither BJP? The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) doesn’t as yet look like a government in waiting, which a main opposition party should do if it has reasonable hope of taking power. The BJP appears to be at sixes and sevens, with Nitin Gadkari and his supporters ranged against those of rival Narendra Modi. The BJP leadership, which stepped in and disqualified Mr Gadkari on his allegedly dubious business dealings made a former party president, Rajnath Singh, President

Narendra Modi & Sushma Swaraj

for a second time. The way, it seemed, was open for Mr Modi to throw his cap into the ring as BJP candidate for prime minister come the general election in May/June 2014. However, the Shiv Sena, an important BJP ally, has put a spanner in the works by putting forward the name of Sushma Swaraj for the post. Beyond such bickering there is the BJP’s lack of credible policies, without which it cannot project a coherent vision for India’s future. These points are well taken in a scorching editpage piece analysis in the Economic Times by C.L.Manoj.(January 26). His article is well worth reading and digesting by believers and sceptics alike.

Blessed are the meek

India test fires ballistic missile from undersea platform

“This is a major punctuation in India’s indigenous missile development programme,” said security expert Commodore Uday Bhaskar. Defence analyst Deba Mohanty said rhat by achieving the nuclear triad, India could become a global military power in the real sense. (Telegraph January 28)

Dedicated scientists The K-15 missile was developed at the Defence Research & Development Laboratory (DRDL) which is part of DRDO. Its Director A.K.

ing that the same countries, including America, which export edible oil made from GM soya support anti-GM organizations here.” In a parallel development, against the backdrop of the anti- nuclear agitation against the Kundankulam nuclear power plant, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh detected a foreign hand, emanating from the US, to derail India’s nuclear power programme for the production of cheap, clean electricity India, which would be a boon for the country . (Telegraph January 28)

Jayakumar Perumal (far right) with wife, son Dhanraj and daughter Prema

“I am not educated and that is why I wanted to ensure that my children are,” said Mumbai auto-rickshaw driver Jayakumar Perumal. His daughter Prema (24) has topped the chartered accountancy examination, the results of which appeared early last week. Prema’s younger brother Dhanraj (22) passed the same examination with credit. As chartered accountants they can expect a more comfortable life than that of the slum in which they currently live. Prema and Dhanraj said their success owed a great deal to supportive parents. Father Jayakumar moved to Mumbai from rural Tamil Nadu in search of gainful employment and a better life. His children have done their parents proud. India shares their pride.

UK - Asian Voice 9th February 2013

Father describes his attempts to save family in a house blaze

Dr Abdul Shakoor

The doctor who lost his wife and five children in a house blaze spoke to The Sunday Times magazine regarding his desperate efforts to save them. Police are treating the deaths in October last year as murder after discovering that the house in Harlow, Essex, had been burgled before the fire started. There have been no arrests and police have yet to discover a clear motive. In an emotional interview Abdul Shakoor, 45, described how he jumped from the first floor of the burning house to call for help and was then unable to get back in through the smoke to rescue his family. He recalled calling out the names of his wife and children, one by one, but there was no answer and he was forced to leave before he too succumbed

Wife Sabah Usmani with children Hira, Muneeb, Rayyan, Sohaib and Maheen

to the smoke. “I thought I would be dead, I don’t know how I got out. What was the point in saving or taking care of my own life?” Shakoor was then helped by a neighbour who told him he had called 999. All six victims died of asphyxiation through smoke inhalation. His wife Sabah Usmani, 44, also a doctor, died at the scene with their 12- year-old daughter Hira and sons Muneeb, 9, and Rayyan, 6. Another son, Sohaib, 11, died soon afterwards at the Princess Alexandra Hospital, the couple’s fifth and youngest child, Maheen, who would have

celebrated her fourth birthday nine days after the fire, survived for four days but never regained consciousness after suffering oxygen deprivation to the brain. Shakoor has returned to Karachi since the tragedy to be comforted by his family. He wants to return to Harlow, where his wife and children are buried at Parndon Wood cemetery, and his hospital job remains open. Police have not ruled out race as a motive for the attack. “We are in the realms of speculation,” said Detective Superintendent Rob Vinson, who is leading the inquiry.


‘Do it Yourself Divorce?’ Treat with Caution January & February are often known as ‘Divorce Months’ as more people seek advice on divorce during this period than at any other in time in the year. If have decided to pursue a divorce, you are no doubt By Savita Sharma going through an emotional time. As such, you should consider consulting a family law solicitor who can assist with advising you on all these matters and assist you in finalising your divorce and related matters to it as efficiently as possible. There has been a recent trend in socalled ‘DIY divorces’ with a vast amount of websites online offering the so called cheap DIY divorce services. These services often merely advise people on how to make an application (e.g. the forms to use and court fees to pay) and only apply to very simple divorces, so treat with caution. Divorce is very often not as simplistic as suggested by these services and is not just about following a ‘to do list.’ Difficulties invariably arise and can consequently halt the progression of a divorce. By undertaking a DIY divorce, you may not realise what matrimonial assets you may be entitled to. However, a family solicitor would be able to ascertain these assets and advise you effectively from the beginning of the divorce process. The DIY divorce should not be seen as a quick fix solution to a family breakdown. It is not tailored to your case and in some instances can be a false economy, not proving to be as cost effective as it first appears. Legally, in order to obtain a divorce, you must be married for at least one year. There is only one ground for divorce namely that the marriage has irretrievably broken down and one of five facts must be proven. These range

from adultery, behaviour, desertion and either a 2 or 5 years period of separation. There are three stages of obtaining a divorce which involve the filing the divorce petition and Statement of Arrangements (if there are children) to obtaining the decree nisi and thereafter an application for decree absolute to finalise your divorce. Although this is a straightforward process, it certainly becomes more complex where there are issues relating to children of the marriage, finances or other issues to the divorce such as judicial separation and annulment. It is strongly advisable that one seeks expert legal advice before embarking on divorce proceedings to ensure full aware of one’s legal options relating to Divorce, Children and Financial Relief proceedings. The Legal, Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012, in force from April 2013, is set to drastically cut an estimated 75% of cases that are currently eligible for Public funding. This will include advice & assistance on divorce, financial and children matters unless there is an element of domestic abuse. Therefore, if you are considering making a divorce application with financial or children aspects and you believe yourself to be entitled to legal aid; you should strongly consider contacting solicitors immediately otherwise your only recourse for such assistance will be to pay privately. Duncan Lewis can assist you on legal aid where this is available. Further, Duncan Lewis is currently offering a means tested divorce package “MTPP” for those straight forward divorce applications (without children or financial issues) for those on a limited income. We also offer competitive fixed fee packages and private fees on all areas of family law so you can afford your basic human right to access to legal representation. Author – Savita Sharma is a Director/Solicitor and Head of Department for Legal 500 Law Firm, Duncan Lewis.

Offices across London l City of London l Hackney l Lewisham l Southall

With over 400 Staff to Assist Tel: 020 7923 4020 -

Funeral of the Shakoor family at Harlow

PM urged to remove International students from migration figures David Cameron has been urged to put an end to overseas students being included in migration targets in order to reconcile tensions and encourage internationals to study in the UK. MPs Margaret Hodge and Keith Vaz are some of the politicians campaigning the Prime Minister to overturn the government's net migration policy, which counts non-EU students as immigrants. The Coalition has been warned on countless occasions of the negative impact on international students, with the Universities UK chief say-

l Harrow l Islington l Shepherd’s Bush l Tooting

David Cameron

Theresa May

ing large numbers have been driven to competitor countries as a result. The home office has insisted the net migration rules are in place to stamp

out abuse of the immigration system and curtail the numbers of "bogus students" entering the UK. Theresa May recently announced even tougher

restrictions on foreign students applying to study in the UK, revealing plans to vet prospective pupils. In a letter to Cameron, the chairmen of five select committees, including home affairs, business and public accounts committees, urged "further action to encourage international university students to study in the UK," the BBC reported. The PM is also asked to reconcile the "remaining tensions between visa policy and aspirations for growth by removing international students from the net migration target". Boris Johnson has also previously voiced his concerns over "prejudice" against foreign students in the UK on a trip to India in 2012.

Police uses taser to stop man from hurting himself Police in Central London were forced to taser a man who ran towards Buckingham Palace wielding knives in the air and holding a blade to his throat before throngs of tourists. Talhat Rehman, 54, broke from the crowd in the middle of the Changing of the Guard ceremony, holding one blade to his chest and another to his throat. As an officer tried to intervene, he lunged at him waving both knives and was shot with the stun gun. He was arrested on suspicion of affray and

Talhat Rehman

taken away in a police van. Officers at the scene suggested he was known to them. In the last three years, police have used tasers on at least 78 people to stop them killing or hurting themselves, according to figures obtained under Freedom of Information laws.


UK - Asian Voice 9th February 2013

London pays homage to Bapu, on his 65th death anniversary

The India League and Joined at the event Square) was witness to Indian High Commission were two brilliant singers two bombings, regretting from Bharatiya Vidya how the 'symbol of peace' observed Mahatma Bhavan- Zaheer Abbas stood at the centre of such Gandhi's 65th death Khan and Bilwa Iyer, stugruesome acts by some anniversary in Tavistock dent of Smt Chandrima heinous people. Square on 30th January at 11am. Around 100 people gathered at the venue to mark his Nirvaan Divas. Invited to pay floral tribute to Gandhi were the Vice Chairman of India League- CB Patel, the Indian AmbassadorDr Jaimini Bhagwati, Chairman of BhavansJoginder Sanger, Mayor of Camden- Cllr Heather Johnson, Conservative MP Sailesh Vara, the Mahatma Gandhi Foundation representatives and Rupanjana Dutta, Indian Zaheer Abbas Khan and Bilwa Iyer (on microphone) Journalists' Association Clockwise: CB Patel, Shailesh Vara MP, Dr Jaimini Bhagwati, Executive Committee Cllr Heather Johnson, Mayor of Camden and others Member and the Associate Editor of Asian Mishra, who sang Members of the Voice. Gandhi's favourite bhaMahatma Gandhi The Chair of India jans 'Raghupati Raghav Foundation were also League, Mr C B Patel and "Vaishnava Janato" present to pay floral tribspoke about Gandhi and melodiously, mesmerising ute and sing Gandhi's the importance of his the audience. favourite bhajan. A work, while the High A clip of these youngJapanese monk presented Commissioner of India sters singing Bapu's a book on Gandhi’s messpoke about peace and favourite bhajan sage to the Indian High Gandhi's contributions. 'Raghupati Raghav' is Commissioner, followed Sailesh Vara, MP elaboby a prayer by two Jain posted on our facebook rated on the same, as Cllr nuns. The event was coorwall. Check Heather Johnson spoke dianted by Gauri Shankar, how Bapu's home in /photo.php?v=53050269 Deputy Director, The 0304747 for more details. Nehru Centre. London (Tavistock

PS Kang, Managing Director, Yunus Sheikh, Senior Travel Consultant and John Kalia, Director

The Moresand Group, Crystal Travel, Sam Travel, Air Travel Guide, Tr a v e l c e n t e r U K , Travelhouse, Fast & Easy Travel and 9flights employs over 300 people worldwide with travel

Moresand Staff and Guests

sales exceeding £100 million. To celebrate the Company’s success in 2012 Moresand invited over 100 top Airline

Managers to enjoy a post New Year get together at a local restaurant in the West End of London.

Feng Shui is a recent addition to the City's echelon of exquisite Oriental restaurants. Opened in December 2012, this new restaurant is centred on balance. Feng Shui etymologically stands for a complex body of knowledge that demonstrates how to aid the flow of energy through the Earth’s elements, to give balance that results in good health and fortune. Situated absolutely next to the Monument station, Feng Shui (by owner Johnny Zhu) is a modern restaurant with a contemporary Chinese menu along with a blend of conventional recipes. Designed with opulent dining and drinking in mind, Feng Shui is the perfect location to enjoy a very unique Chinese food and sophisticated cocktails. The menu is divided into several sections, ala carte, small portion, set menu. The quantity is extremely generous and the food tastes absolutely exotic. Whether its vegetarian, fish, sea food, meat or poultry, every dish has a distinct taste and are presented

with much hospitality. Head Chef Teoh Kok Sang, has created a menu that suits different tastes and pockets. Each delicious dish has been prepared with balance in mind – marrying spices, fresh ingredients, herbs and other natural ingredients. While fork and knife are handy if you need them, food lovers who are familiar with the tactical use of chop sticks, will be absolutely at home in Feng Shui. Located in a basement, the décor is intimate and stylish. The rectangular bar is perfect for a few cocktails and some Dim Sum. There are 2 private dining rooms where City professionals can discuss deals or simply unwind. The Bar Manager Gabor Kriston has created a

Question Answer the following simple question and the winner will receive a £50 voucher to spend on their first meal at Feng Shui. Q: What is the name of the head chef of Feng Shui?

Ratings Taste Ambience Location Service Decor

: : : : :

cocktail list that balances old classics with modern favourites as well as adding Oriental touches. If you are a fan of dimsums- Feng Shui can also provide you some quick bites that are to die for. Whist the location is premium, decoration is simple, quiet, very quintessential, yet modern, with dim lighting and a lot of colour in the background. If you haven't decided where to spend your Valentine's day as yet (given its a week day), this intimate restaurant, with great accessibility is the right place to spend quality time with your 'special one'.

a. Teoh Kok Sang b. Johnny Zhu c. Gabor Kriston

***** **** ***** ***** ***

Please email your correct answer to by February 28, 2013. The winner will be chosen on a lottery basis from the correct entries.

Lohana community organises business and professional networking seminar in London Lohana Community North London organised a Business and Professional Networking Seminar in a gala style on Wednesday 23 January 2013 at a prestigious venue in Central London. The purpose was for the members to network, mingle and exchange information. The evening commenced with networking with drinks and canapés. The place was buzzing with members dressed up in formal attire. It was very interesting to see that many young professional and business people participated this year along with several female participants, though more must be encouraged to do so. There were speeches by William Hobbs ( Speaker from Barclays Bank)-Rt. Hon Gregory Barker( MP, Minister of S t a t e ) - P r a d i p Dhamecha(Chief Executive of The

photo courtesy: Bipin Dattani

CB Patel, Vice Chairman, India League & Publisher/Editor AV & GS, HE Dr Jaimini Bhagwati, Indian High Commissioner, Gauri Shankar, Deputy Director, Nehru Centre, Mr. S.S. Sidhu, Minister(Coordination), Indian High Commission, Mahatma Gandhi Foundation members, Rupanjana Dutta, Associate Editor, Asian Voice and others

Feng Shui

Bharat Sodha(LCNL Secretary), Vinod Thakrar (LCNL, Vice President), Lord Dolar Popat(Invited Guest), Rt. Hon Gregory Barker (MP, Minister of State), Pradip Dhamecha (Chief Executive of The Dhamecha Group), Deepak Jatania(LCNL President)

Dhamecha Group ) and Deepak Jatania(LCNL President) The MC for the night was Sheena Bhattessa and the event was greatly supported by Barclays Bank. The feed back from the members was very positive and satisfactory and they requested

for many more platforms like this for the Asian youngsters, professional and business people. It was attended by people from all walks of lifeincluding Accountants, Solicitors, Financial Advisers, Bankers, Property developers etc. - Asian Voice 9th February 2013

VAlentine’s dAy speciAl

Valentine’s day, which takes place on February 14th, is the day that we celebrate our affection for our husbands, wives, boyfriends and girlfriends. Whether you’re treating each other to a special dinner or a fun day out, nothing says I love you then a small, sentimental gift as a token of your affection.

Short Romantic Getaways! Two Night Paris Break - £399.00 Why not take a break and visit the city of love with the one you love. Paris is a truly beautiful city that is seeping with culture and history as well as some of the most highend stylish shops to keep you occupied. You could see the city from the top of the Eiffel Tower, see the Mona Lisa in the Louvre, enjoy some French delicacies in a local cafe and watch the world go by or take a short train trip to see Mickey Mouse, the possibilities are endless. This Two Night Paris Break for One includes return travel on the Eurostar and two nights accommodation in a minimum 3 star hotel with breakfast. The Eurostar trains depart from London St Pancras and arrive in Paris Gard du Nord. For more information, visit

One Night Hotel Break with Dinner Choice Voucher - £149.00 This exceptional offer gives you the chance to get away from it all for a night of sublime dining and pure fun! With a fantastic range of 90 great locations across the UK, your getaway might be in beautiful Berkshire or set deep within the dales of Derbyshire, inside a magnificent and majestic historic house set in rural countryside, or a chic hotel at the heart of a thriving, bustling city. Wherever you decide to spend your precious time, you’ll be treated to an evening meal and have the next morning’s breakfast included! So whether you have your eye on a homely guesthouse or are yearning for an unforgettable urban experience, take a short break away from all those tiresome stresses and strains and treat yourself and your partner to an exciting evening away! For more information, visit

Valentine’s day All Time Bollywood Love Songs Here's a list of timeless romantic numbers from Bollywood, which provide the best background music for a romantic evening with your partner.


Gifts for Him & Her Shower your loved one with these cute, sentimental gifts to express your love! For Her: 1. Balinese Massage with Thermal Journey Spa Day for Two from Six Senses Spa - £112 Visit: 2. Lovely Heart Collection from Thorntons - £15 Visit: 3. Personalized Teddy Bear in a Gift Tin from - £19.95 4. Dinny Hall Heart Padlock & Key Sterling Silver Bracelet from John Lewis - £195 Visit: 5. Strawberry Shower, Scrub & Soften Collection from The Body Shop £17.50 Visit: 6. Dior Addict 2 – Eau de Toilette from Debenhams - £35-£49 Visit: For Him: 1. Personalized Pint Tankard - Keep Calm And Drink On from - £12.99 2. Links of London Cufflinks - £95.00 Visit: 3. HoMedics Shiatsu Massage Cushion £49.99 Visit:

1. Pehla Nasha – jo jeeta wohi sikandar 2. Kaho Na Pyar Hai - Kaho Na Pyar Hai 3. Humko Sirf Tumse Pyaar - Barsaat 4. Tujh Mein Rab Dikhta Hai – Rab 5. Aa Bhi Ja – Sur 6. Chand Sifarish – Fanaa 7. Bolna Halke Halke – Jhoom Barabar Jhoom 8. Kuch Kuch Hota Hai - Kuch Kuch Hota Hai 9. Saans – Jab Tak Hai Jaan 10. Tere liye – Veer Zahra

4. Silver Plated Business Card Case £24.99 Visit: 5. Croon Bluetooth Speaker £149.95 Visit: 6. 50% off Aston Martin versus Audi R8 Driving - £99 Visit:

Messages When it comes to Valentine’s Day, a romantic homecooked feast will always score top marks over a soulless restaurant meal. And nothing is sexier than chocolate and chilli - two of nature’s most powerful aphrodisiacs. End your feast on a passionate note with one of these luscious recipes from Tabasco® Pepper Sauce. The combination of dark chocolate and the spicy kick of Tabasco® is guaranteed to raise the temperature. Stir some seduction into your dinner with this Tabasco® chocolate cake from leading patissier and chocolatier Will Torrent- a sure way to make your partner’s heart melt. Will Torrent’s Hot and Healthy Tabasco® Chocolate Cake Not only is it dairy-free, this cake does not contain eggs and can be made with gluten free flour. And, for those of you who love the combination of chocolate and chilli this cake is perfect, plus it’s so simple to make! Ingredients – serves 8-10 people 250g plain flour 350g Demerara sugar 65g plain cocoa powder 1 tsp baking powder 1 tsp salt 250ml water 10g Tabasco® Red Pepper Sauce 240ml extra virgin olive oil 1 tsp vanilla bean paste 100g roughly chopped dark chocolate

Method 1. Preheat the oven to 180 C / Gas mark 4. 2. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Pour in water, Tabasco®, olive oil and vanilla and the dark chocolate; mix until combined. 3. Place into an 8” loose bottomed lined cake tin 4. Bake for 45 minutes in the preheated oven, until the top is no longer shiny. Allow to cool for at least 10 minutes before dusting with cocoa powder 5. Enjoy warm, when the middle is still gooey! 6. Serve with fresh cream

Mrs Jyoti Rajdev: “I wish my husband Dakshesh a Happy Valentine’s Day. Thank you for everything and for the love we share for each other. We love all our family and wish them Happy Valentines Day!"

Happy Valentine's day to my dearest husband Vi. Thank you for making this life worth every bit of it. Yours Rups Wish my Dearest wife Dipika a very Happy Valentine’s Day Luv Harish xxx

My sweet love (N), You were my first childhood love and my first kiss (1965). Your father wanted you to marry someone wealthier. He shipped you off to another continent (1967). You followed me to a third continent (1970). But it was not to be. There is still time. Be my Valentine. (N) - Anonymous Wish my wife Happy Valentine’s Day Uma (Urmila Mistri) Luv Dilip xxx

16 - Asian Voice 9th February 2013 - Asian Voice 9th February 2013

Prime Icon – another laurel for Amitabh Bachchan

Hit film maker Ranjith has decided to convert the literary piece 'Leela' by R Unni into a motion picture. Despite his busy schedule with Mohanlal in 'Spirit', the director has always been fascinated to do "Leela' with the right cast. Earlier it was said that Ann Augustine would be doing the title role in the film. Now the latest buzz is that Karthika Nair has replaced Ann. When asked Ann about this she said, "Initially, I was to do the title role. But I did not have the dates to accommodate the film, and so I've opted out of Leela. To the best of my knowledge, Karthika will now play my part along with Mammootty." And Karthika's words were, "It is true that Ranjith sir has approached me to star in Leela. Though, the work on the script is not yet over; neither has the date for the shoot been fixed. The rest of the plan can be charted only after the script is complete."

Superstar Amitabh Bachchan has added another laurel to his long list of honours. The legendary actor was recently felicitated as India’s Prime Icon after emerging at the top in a poll conducted by the show of the same name. The audience votes ensured that Bachchan beat personalities like Shah Rukh Khan, Aamir Khan, AR Rahman, Sachin Tendulkar and Narendra Modi, among others to win the poll on BIG CBS Prime. The show chronicled the inspirational lives of some of India’s most influential personalities.

Priyanka Chopra would be a top actress: Govinda

Sanjay Dutt to perform his own stunts Actor Sanjay Dutt, who is known for his powerful screen presence and bulky physique, will be seen performing hardcore action sequences in his upcoming flick “Policegiri” and buzz has it that the deadly Dutt has refused to have any stunt doubles for such scenes. Sanjay said, “I wanted to take a leap and perform the stunts myself to actually feel the state of mind and the adrenaline rush that stuntmen feel. These stunts are physically and mentally challenging and I am ready to take the plunge. Of course, you also need to be mentally prepared for any mishap that may occur. “Policegiri” is the Bollywood remake of South flick “Saamy.”

“Biryani” is a film which has Karthika and Hansika in the lead roles. The film which is being directed by Venkat Prabhu has the music of Yuvan Shankar Raja. After the stupendous success of “Mankatha,” Yuvan Shankar Raja has joined hands with Venkat Prabhu in this film. Since this is Yuvan’s 100th film, he is taking extra efforts in composing music. He is using innovative methods in composing music. One of the songs has been sung by Karthi and Premgi. Now Simbhu has also sung one song for this film. Songs which had the combination of Yuvan and Simbhu were great hits. At this juncture it is expected that this song will also become very popular which will be a great strength to this film.

“Chennai Express” is a film which has Shah Rukh Khan and Deepika Padukone in the lead roles. This film is being produced in Tamil and Hindi languages. The story of this film is about a youngster who comes from Mumbai to Rameswaram in a train. Many Tamil actors and actresses will be acting in this film. Director Rohit Shetty wanted Nayanthara to dance for a Kuthu song. He met Nayanthara and spoke about this. He was also ready to pay a sumptuous remuneration but Nayanthara refused this offer. It is understood that she did not accept this offer because she is busy acting in five films.

Andrew Symonds dating B-town hottie Minissha Lamba Now this is some fodder for gossip. Buzz is that Minissha Lamba could have something special going on with Australian cricketer Andrew Symonds. A little birdie chirps to say that the two have been spotted in different parts of the city on more than one occasion. The birdie says, “Andrew was chilling around with Minissha at her birthday bash along with lots of other close friends till the wee hours of the morning. The two were again spotted partying at a suburban club and the revelry went on till next morning.” Insiders say that the two have been close friends for more than a year and have many common friends.

Simbhu sings for ‘Biryani’

Nayanthara refuses to dance in SRK film

Govinda, who will soon be seen in the much-delayed film “Deewana Main Deewana” opposite Priyanka Chopra, says he always knew that she would go on to become a top actress. "At the time when (K.C.) Bokadia sahab was selecting the heroine for the film, he told me that he would be finalising Priyanka Chopra and asked me how is the idea. I said she will be a top actress. And today she is one of the top actresses of Bollywood. May God bless her," the 49-year-old had said. With “Deewana Main Deewana,” Govinda will break away from his image of a comic actor.

Kareena Kapoor shows skin for Vogue cover The diva is back at work. Just a few days after news poured in about Kareena Kapoor starring in an upcoming Emraan Haashmi movie, the Bollywood actor is all set to feature on the covers of February issue of Vogue India. Kareena looks fresh and hot in the shoot. Kareena is wearing a black tulle gown from Christian Dior. Kareena also dons a hat from Philip Treacy. The actor poses seductively for the cover. The shoot for the cover was recently completed. Kareena, who looks smoking hot in the pictures, said she has dressed in a "really different way after a long time".

I never watch my films: Rani Mukherje

Bollywood star Akshay Kumar will be stepping away from his signature comedy and action roles to portray a serious character in his upcoming film “Special 26,” in which he features alongside South Indian starlet, Kajal Aggarwal, and Bollywood veterans, Anupam Kher and Manoj Bajpayee. The actor was willing to take on the challenging role and reinvent himself as he plays a fake CBI cop in the new film, which is based on the real life heist that took place in March 1987 at a famous jewellery shop in Mumbai, where men posing as Central Bureau of Investigation officers on a raid walked away with ornaments worth millions of rupees. Akshay says, "A con confident artiste is something I have never been offered before and I am happy to have got this opportunity. I am very satisfied with the role and it was a challenge. I am happy to get an opportunity to reinvent myself." The film will be released in UK and Worldwide on 8th February 2013 and is presented by Viacom 18 Motion Pictures and Tip Top Entertainment.


Rani Mukherje’s last release “Aaiyaa” may have got mixed response but Rani is nonchalant about it. Ask her if she is disheartened and Rani is quick to retort, "It can't bother me because as actors, we are meant to do projects and not meant to forecast whether it will work or not. As a creative person, I would want to keep discovering and coming up with something which is spectacular and surprise my audiences with different roles. If I don't move on how can I work on my other projects? I never even watch my own films ever.”

UTV Motion Pictures' forthcoming release, “Kai Po Che,” is scheduled to have its World Premiere at the 63rd Berlin International Film Festival. The film, based on Chetan Bhagat's novel, “The 3 Mistakes of My Life,” will be screened at the film festival on 13th February 2013. The film which stars newcomers Sushant Singh Rajput, Raj Kumar Yadav and Amit Sadh in lead roles, portrays the journey of three friends as they discover cricket, religion and business in their respective fields. UTV Managing Director Siddharth Roy Kapur said, "We are incredibly proud that Kai Po Che has been selected for a world Buzz is that even after securing back-to-back hits with Katrina premiere at the Berlin Film Festival. What is even Kaif, it's going to be while before more creditable is that it is the only Indian film in the she does a Yash Raj film. While official panorama selection announced by the festival earlier YRF would only repeat this year.” Set against the backdrop of religious poliactors like Shah Rukh Khan tics, the story of “Kai Po Che” underlines the three and Amitabh Bachchan in mistakes made by Govind. The film as well as the their projects, lately they book is set in Gujarat and hence the title Kai Po Che. have been picking actresses too for repeat projects. With Rani Mukerji and Anushka Sharma doing eight and five YRF films respectively, Kat too had her fair share with five big releases with the company. But it looks like the situation might have now changed. A birdie chirps to say, “When YRF directors have suggested Katrina for lead roles in their films, Adi has referred replacement actresses.” Adi even shot down having Kat too in their next Ayushmann Khurrana starrer, and instead picked Sonam Kapoor. Another source says, “Kat has featured in YRF's biggest blockbusters, and that too back-to-back. Maybe he is suffering from a Katrina overdose!”

Actress Mallika Sherawat has chosen promotion of her upcoming movie “Dirty Politics” over attending a party in US where President Barack Obama was also invited as it is the "most important film in my life". She said she skipped the dinner at the party that was to be attended by Obama. "It is true...I was invited to a dinner in US. I had even confirmed that I was attending it. But then I got a call from K C Bokadia (director) that we have a press meet. I had to make a decision....For me Dirty Politics is the most important film in my life." She had met President Obama at a tea party in Los Angeles in 2011. She was reportedly invited for tea with President Obama during his Presidential campaign visit in Hollywood last year. Dirty Politics is based on the story of nurse Bhanwari Devi. “Dirty Politics” also stars Om Puri, Jackie Shroff, Anupam Kher and Ashutosh Rana among others and is slated for release later this year.

18 - Asian Voice 9th February 2013

Financial Voice

Chidambaram confident of resolving Vodafone tax dispute India’s finance minister P. Chidambaram said he was confident that the more than $2 billion tax dispute between Vodafone Group Plc and the country's tax office will be resolved as the two sides continue talks. Vodafone, the largest corporate investor in India, has repeatedly clashed with Indian authorities over taxes since it bought Hutchison Whampoa's local mobile business in 2007. "I'm sure some way will emerge out of these discussions. I will be very happy if we could find a resolution to the issue, put it behind us and move on," Chidambaram said in a interview. "I think Vodafone is of the same view, so both government and Vodafone are keen to resolve the matter and I am confident we can resolve it," he said. The Supreme Court of India in January 2012 ruled that the British company was not liable to pay any tax arising out of the 2007 acquisition. But the government of India later amended 50-year-old tax laws enabling it to make retroactive tax claims on long-concluded corporate deals, a move which has

P. Chidambaram

been heavily criticised. Indian officials and Vodafone have had two rounds of discussions on the dispute and were expected to have a third round of talks soon, Chidambaram said. Finance ministry officials have previously said the government may consider waiving off interests and penalty on the original tax demand, however it will prefer to take parliament approval for any such concession.Chidambaram described Vodafone's case as a "one-off", and said he had "no formula in mind" on resolving the dispute." It arose out of an interpretation of an existing law. People have criticised it as applying a law retrospectively," Chidambaram said. "I don't want to get into an argument over that, but let's resolve it, put it behind us and move on."

India will eventually need no aid: Bill Gates

Billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates said India is becoming less dependent on aid and eventually would not need it. His remark came while observing that economic growth is allowing many developing nations to devote more resources for their poorest people. "The good news on resources is that many developing countries have growing economies that allow them to devote more resources to helping their poorest people. India, for example, is less dependent on aid and will eventually not need it," Gates said in his annual letter. Gates, Co-Chair of Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, is actively involved in various developmental activities in many countries, including India. According to him, aid is critical as it helps in meeting the basic needs of people in the poorest countries. "Unfortunately, aid generosity is threatened by big deficits in almost all of the rich countries ... A single story, true or not, about a small amount of aid being misused can often cloud the entire field," he noted. Gate, who is the cofounder of software giant Microsoft, said that some

Bill Gates

countries, like the UK, Norway, Sweden, Korea, and Australia, are increasing their aid while traditionally generous givers such as Japan and the Netherlands have reduced it. "The direction in many countries, including the United States, France, Germany, and Canada, is unclear," he added. Gates expressed optimism that things would be even better in next 15 years. "The lives of the poorest have improved more rapidly in the last 15 years than ever before, yet I am optimistic that we will do even better in the next 15 years. After all, human knowledge is increasing," he added. The two challenges that worry him the most are "the possibility that we won't be able to raise the funds needed to pay for health and development projects, and that we won't align around clear goals to help the poorest".

India and Gibraltar have signed a Tax Information Exchange Agreement (TIEA) on 1st February, 2013 at London. The Agreement has been signed by Dr Jaimini Bhagwati, High Commissioner of India to the UK from Indian side and Hon. Gilbert Licudi QC, Minister with the responsibility of Financial Services, Gibraltar on behalf of Gibraltar. This is the 13th TIEA being signed by India. So far India has signed TIEAs with Bahamas, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Isle of Man, Cayman Islands, Jersey, Macau, Liberia, Argentina, Guernsey, Bahrain and Monaco. Salient features of the agreement with Gibraltar are: • It is based on international standard of trans-

(Left) Dr. Jaimini Bhagwati, High Commissioner of India to the UK and Hon. Gilbert Licudi QC, Minister of Gibraltar.

parency and exchange of information. • Information must be foreseeably relevant to the administration and enforcement of the domestic laws of the Contracting Parties concerning taxes covered by the agreement. • The requesting State

has to provide some minimum details about the information requested in order to justify the foreseeably relevance criteria. • Information is to be treated as secret and can be disclosed to only specified person or authorities, which are tax authorities

Shell India to challenge tax claim After Vodafone, now it’s Royal Dutch Shell which is facing tax problems in India. Shell India has decided to challenge an order of the income tax department which alleged that the company had under priced a share transfer within group companies by `152.20 billion and thereby evaded taxes on it. Citing the tax department’s order as contrary to finance minister P Chidambram’s trip overseas to attract Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), Yasmine Hilton, chairman of the Shell group of companies in India, said: “Taxing the money received by Shell India is in effect a tax on (FDI), which is contrary not only to law but also to the spirit of the recent global trip by the finance minister to attract further FDI.” Shell is

the latest in a list of companies, including IBM, HP and Nokia, which have been served notices in recent times as the income tax department gets aggressive to meet its tax targets. Shell has investments of over $1 billion in India, spanning LNG unit in Hazira, fuel retail, lubricants, aviation, bitumen and technology. The income tax order relates to the issue of 8.7 crore shares by Shell India to an overseas company Shell Gas BV in March 2009 at `10 per share. The income tax authorities have, however, valued the share transfer at Rs

183 a share, resulting in under pricing of the transaction by `152.20 billion ($2.8 billion) and consequently evading taxes. Calling reports on tax evasion as baseless, Hilton said, “Shell India will challenge this order strongly and is evaluating all options for redress. Shell globally and in India complies with all applicable local regulations and laws and has also done so in this instance - in full compliance with the Shell group business principles. Shell India’s view is that the transfer pricing order is based on an incorrect interpretation of the Indian tax regulations and is bad in law as this is a capital receipt on which income tax cannot be levied. Funding of a subsidiary through issue of shares is common in India and globally.”

or the authorities concerned with the determination of tax appeal. • It also provides for use of information for non tax purposes with the written consent of the Competent Authority of the requested Party. • There is a specific provision that the requested Party shall provide upon request the information even though that Party may not need such information for its own tax purposes. • There is a specific provision for providing banking and ownership information. • The Agreement provides for exchange of past information in criminal matters. • The Agreement also provides for the Tax Examination abroad.

Gujarat to seek `160 bn under JNNURM II

The Gujarat government has sought major financial assistance from the Centre under the proposed second phase of Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM). In a recent meeting of finance ministers of all the states, chaired by union finance minister P C Chidambaram, Gujarat finance minister Nitin Patel gave a written submission demanding more funds. Patel said, "Gujarat has one of the fastest rates of urbanization. Cities here have responded well to the pace of urban growth. However, we await the finalization of JNNURM II." "The state government has plans to strengthen urban transportation in and around the mega city of Ahmedabad with a metro rail project.

Fitch warns India to stick to reforms, meet fiscal targets

India needs to commit to its recent reform measures and meet its fiscal deficit targets, Fitch Ratings said on Monday, putting further pressure on a government keen to retain investment grade ratings. Despite praising recent policy steps and finance minister P. Chidambaram's assurances on deficits, Fitch said the country needed to do more, including unveiling "a credible" medium-term fiscal plan. Fitch's warning comes after Standard & Poor's analyst Kim Eng Tan last week said the prospect that India would lose its investmentgrade rating had receded somewhat as a result of economic reforms undertaken by the government. Both Fitch and S&P

had jolted markets last year by cutting the outlook on India's "BBB-minus" rating to "negative," threatening to cut the country to below investment grade, or the dreaded junk rating. "As we have previously said, India's patchy performance on policy implementation and the approach of a general election in 2014 could impede fiscal consolidation, suggesting political and implementation risk remain significant," Fitch said in a statement. The government is gearing up to unveil this month its budget for the fiscal year starting in April, which analysts see as a key test of commitment to shoring up finances. Some investor fears that India would unveil a

spending-heavy budget ahead of the election have eased somewhat following government measures. These have included moves to allow diesel prices to rise and increases in rail fares, both politically unpopular moves. India is also cutting spending, including on welfare, defence and road projects, government sources said, while discussing the raising of taxes. Chidambaram has restated, during meetings with foreign investors last week, a pledge to meet a fiscal deficit target of 5.3 per cent of gross domestic product for the current fiscal year and 4.8 per cent for the next fiscal year. "I don't think the finance ministry is resting

easy. But this note, which has a somewhat cautious tone, is possibly another factor that they will remain concerned about," Jyotinder Kaur, economist at HDFC Bank in New Delhi, said of the Fitch statement. "All the remarks from different rating agencies will weigh on the finance ministry's mind." Fitch said the upcoming budget would be "an important gauge" of the commitment to fiscal consolidation, though not the only one. A credible medium-term fiscal consolidation plan remains key," Fitch said. "We also need to observe the impact of reform and more broadly see how India's macroeconomic outlook develops over time."

finAnciAl Voice - Asian Voice 9th February 2013


The Flip Side Of Property

Suresh Vagjiani Sow & Reap A Property Investment Company

Recently we have purchased a number of projects from investors who have been trading the properties on. This means they have exchanged on the deals but not completed on the properties. On exchange they put 10% of the property value into the deal; if they then sell the project on for 10% more they have doubled their money in a very short time without the expenses of stamp duty, legal and arrangement fees. There are some traders in the market who only do this, thereby they need speed to resell and as time goes on and they get closer to completion they get more anxious to release their funds so they can move on to the next trade. I used to be averse to purchasing anything which was flipped on, as it seemed used and not a fresh deal. It seemed someone had taken all the juice out of the deal, and to be honest there was some resentment at not getting the deal first. This is very one sided in one sense as I was happy to resell properties and contracts without any issues myself, but I never liked to be on the receiving end of them. However as time went on I realised the importance of divorcing yourself from any emotions and preconceptions you have and concentrating on the deal itself.

Oft en novice pu rchasers do not real ise the dang er of pu rchasin g a property being f lipped within a short space o f time. Many have bee n cau ght out. There was one occasion where we purchased an unsold lot from one auction house and resold in another with only a lick of paint at a £22,000 uplift. The reason why I chose to place it in another auction was because I knew if it was sold through an estate agency they would have agreed the offer, then a couple of months down the road I would have been told the purchaser cannot complete as they are struggling with their finance as their lender has an issue with the seller reselling the property within a 6 month period. At auction the purchaser has to put down 10% straight away and must come up with the other 90% with 4 weeks, if he fails to do so then a notice is served and he normally has a further 10 working days to come up with the money. If they fail to do so they stand to lose 10%. Not only the 10% but they risk being sued for more money if the seller does not manage to resell for the same or a higher price. In the above resale the purchaser as I expected did struggle to complete the deal on time, and so we went into the notice period, they even went over this deadline. But we gave them more breathing space and allowed them to complete later. Pre credit crunch this was never an issue, you could even purchase a property and get cash back after the purchase. There were ways you could get a mortgage based on the valuation irrespective of the purchase price, and pocket the difference. Now the lending environment has changed this has led to the bridging lending market mushrooming. The bridging market is worth £1bn and is due to grow at 50% by next year; they now fill the hole of traditional lenders at higher rates. However the astute investor can find lenders who are happy with lending on properties which have been resold. These are specialist lenders which most brokers are unaware of, many brokers like to give the easiest solution not necessarily the cheapest or most appropriate for the client. Central London is a highly liquid market where there is a strong

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level of activity in all price ranges. In 2012 £16bn was invested in the Central London property market, this is the 2nd highest on record; much of it coming from overseas. Foreign funds are seeking a safe haven, and currently it seems they are taking shelter under things like gold, the Swiss franc and Central London Property. W here a mark et is very liqu id at times properties are flipped an d reflipped ag ain prior to completio n. This is problematic if you’re trying to get a mortgage through a high street bank. If you're cash buyer of course there are no issues. Generally bridging companies don't have any issues lending on properties which are being resold. They lend on the purchase price as long as the valuer agrees with it. Where a property is being resold they will ask certain questions to ensure it is a bona fide deal. They will want to ensure the parties involved are independent and money is changing hands. Basically the principle is if money is being put in by the purchaser then it mean they have a vested interest in the property and will ensure the lender's money stays protected. However this can be exploited, if a property is cheap enough, say its price is £70,000 but it's worth £100,000, person A can exchange on it and then sell the contract on to person B for £100,000. B will get 70% funding on it from a bridging company which will mean in effect they will be getting 100% funding. Officially A and B are unrelated but in practice they are in collusion to execute a property deal without putting any of their own funds into the deal. This can work in practise, if not to get rid of the deposit at least to reduce the amount tied up in a deal. This a variation of the method used in pre credit crunch times where you would get a remortgage in place first before buying a property. Say the property is priced at £80,000 but actually worth £100,000, in the good old days you could get an 85% mortgage, in this scenario as a remortgage you would get an offer for £85,000. Once you had the remortgage offer you would then be able to purchase the property for £80,000. The remortgage offer would be used to raise the original sum to purchase the property, as there were companies which would lend you funds at 1% for the day known as a daylight bridgers, based on the fact that you had a remortgage offer in place. So £80,000 would be sent over for the purchase and then sent back once the property had been remortgaged the next day for £85,000. It is always better to have access to cash, or at least a couple of offers, as things can go wrong, bridging companies can withdraw their offers last minute and you can be stuck with no money and risk losing your deposit. So it's always better not to bite off more than you can chew.

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Tips of the Week l The general mentality is to invest in the same locality you live in, but the question you should be asking is where will our money grow the most aggressively? l Remember the mantra of property investment - Location, Location, Location, this is what drives the price of a property.



Maria Fernandes - Asian Voice 9th February 2013

India looks all set to cede the moniker of the world's second fastest growing major economy for 2012, a fall from glory for a country that was spoken in the same breath as China for much of the previous decade and even nursed ambitions of upstaging its larger neighbour. The latest global economic growth forecasts from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have India growing at 4.5% in 2012 (at market prices), much less than the big guns of ASEAN such as Indonesia and the Philippines, and even Bangladesh. Although the size of the Indian economy is much bigger than these countries, making, for some people, comparisons with them odious, some analysts say these countries were benefiting from tailwinds while India faced headwinds. Their interest rates are lower compared with India and much lower than what they were at the time of Lehman crisis. Their

The Independent Monitor has delivered his latest report. One of his tasks was to examine the efficiency and effectiveness of marriage and civil partnership applications and looked at the consistency in approach. He found that the majority of the decisions that he examined were reasonable but highlighted areas of concern. The first was that of the sample of marriage cases he reviewed, that the percentage of successful appeals, 53%, was far too high. He also questioned whether the UKBA have a systematic method of learning from appeal decisions, something that immigration lawyers have been complaining about for years. The second was that there was inconsistency in some areas particular in the application of human rights particularly of applications made abroad. Thirdly, not enough consideration was given to the impact of decisions on children and in particular of the sample he reviewed the number of cases that had considered the best interests of children was negligible. He expressed concern particularly as the law requires it. We are signatories to a Convention and as a result have introduced domestic legislation but this has made very little difference to the way cases are being considered. Fourthly, he found that the UKBA had not reviewed decisions when appeals were lodged because of the lack of resources. Had they done so, it might have avoided the need to go ahead with the appeal (and presumably saved costs to the public purse). He found a backlog of 14,000 cases in which applicants had asked for cases to be re-considered and which were gathering dust whilst the UKBA decided what to do with them. He noted that 2100 cases had been waiting for a decision since 2003. The UKBA has responded by stating that the new regulations in rela-

tion to marriage and children will deliver these issues. Those involved in immigration cases following the new rules will know that, on the contrary, the new rules only partially and clumsily apply human rights legislation and there is likely to be substantial litigation in this area. The plan is to re-introduce interviews for marriage applications and home visits, a system which was disbanded several years ago. The UKBA have also indicated that increased resources will be put into examining lessons and trends from decisions to enable better decisions to be made. Although the recommendations made were accepted in their entirety the response was a defensive one and unlikely to change much. Entrepreneurs: new addition to the rules to make it stricter The rules have just got a lot harder for this category. Until now all that had to be shown was available funds and the main tests for checking that the investment had been made and that jobs were created were carried out at the first extension, 3 years later. As a result of the tightening of the work categories more people have opted to come into as Entrepreneurs. There are concerns because of the increase in numbers that this category was being abused. The rules were changed with 1 days notice. It requires that a business plan must be put in place and the business experience of applicants will be checked. There are likely to be interviews for some cases to assess genuineness. This category has just got a lot harder. Maria Fernandes has been in practice exclusively in immigration for the past 25 years. Fernandes Vaz is based at 87 Wembley Hill Road Wembley in Wembley and can be contacted by telephone on 02087330123, by email on

exports are growing, while Indian exports are seeing a steady contraction. "These economies look strong and would give a strong competition to India, if we do not keep

performing," noted DK Joshi, chief economist with ratings firm Crisil. A cocktail of policy missteps, administrative paralysis in the early part of the year and poor investment activity has hit growth in India this year, changing its profile from one of the biggest boosters of regional growth in the past to one that could weigh it down last year. The IMF, which had earlier pencilled in 4.9% growth for India in 2012, has blamed the country's poor showing on weak

investments and warned that, unless reversed, this could cast a shadow over future growth too. "India's fixed investment has slowed down considerably after the global financial crisis leading to a slowing in growth.... It has also led to concerns about growth," noted T h o m a s Helbling, division chief in IMF's research department while releasing the outlook for World's major countries last month. The IMF world economic outlook update showed the ASEAN 5 region comprising Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam growing by 5.7% in 2012, while the Emerging Market and Developing Economies block is forecast to grow 5.1%. Growth in the Developing Asia block was pegged at 6.6% in 2012.

Growth is likely to stay strong in economies such as Indonesia and the Philippines due to strong fundamentals such as strong consumption and investment, diversified exports and low policy rates in both countries. Economists say that it will be hard for India to match up to these economies if it does not keep performing, adding that India is to be blamed for the much of the deceleration "India has only itself to blame for the slowdown. External factors acted only the periphery," says Abheek Barua, chief economist at HDFC Bank said, adding that countries that are growing faster actively worked on curbing corruption and governance to overcome the global headwinds. Crisil's Joshi, who sees India growing more than 6% in 2013-14, says the country needs to sort out its domestic problems. "India needs to work harder on supply side issues, then investments."

Indian CFO who restored Washington wealth quits

Natwar ('Nat') Gandhi, an Indian-American money manager who turned around the finances of Washington DC, arguably the world's most powerful city but also a profligate one till he took over, resigned as its chief financial officer last week citing personal reasons. Gandhi, 72, served two five-year terms as Washington DC's CFO and had just received a third five-year term amid praise for guiding the city from being broke during the 1990s to a $417 million surplus and $1.5 billion in budget reserves at last count. But buffeted by scandals in tax collection and leakages despite high regard for his personal probity, Gandhi quit after serving less than a year of his third term. The local media also hinted at a budding romance for the grandfatherly poet-manager - he has several books of verse in Gujarati - who was widowed in 2011. "Though I look forward to the next chapter in my life, this was not an easy decision," Gandhi wrote in his resig-

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Natwar ('Nat') Gandhi

nation letter to Mayor Vincent Gray. The great city's finances were anything but great when Gandhi took over in 2001. Washington DC had spent itself into a half billion dollar deficit by the mid-1990s, leading Congress to take control of the city till 2001. In part, this was because of the porous nature of the city. It could not collect taxes from more than half of its workforce and almost half of its real estate owners, including the White House, the World Bank, and scores of embassies. Each day, some half million wealthy suburbanites pour into the city from the suburbs in Maryland and

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Indian govtâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s sell off plan may hit Vedanta Group

Virginia, but they pay no taxes although they use city's public services, leaving the city's poorer residents to foot the bill. Enter the bald, bespectacled Gandhi, whose resemblance to the Mahatma in part resulted in his playing an eponymous role in a theater production last year. He began by simply cutting out all extravaganzas, quickly earning the nickname Dr No, because he said "No" to everything. He then expanded tax collection, inviting squeals of protests from residents who now charge that he shored up finances by underestimating revenue. But scandals relating to collection and leakages began to surface during his second term. A major one erupted in 2007 when tax office employee Harriette Walters was found to have embezzled $48 million from the city. She was convicted and earned a 17-year prison term. A $38 million lottery city contract awarded to the Greek gaming giant Intralot is also under investigation.


Anil Agarwal

In what may come as a setback for Vedanta Group, the government of India is considering offloading its stake in Balco and Hindustan Zinc (HZL) in the stock market instead of selling the shares to metals tycoon Anil Agarwal. The discussion comes at a time when the government is keen to sell shares in companies such as HZL and Balco, where the government disinvested its stake during the NDA regime, and monetize value from other assets in a bid to raise resources to bridge the widening fiscal gap. Sources privy to the discussions said that talks have been held at the highest level in the government and one view was that sale of shares in the market will not only help the government realize better value but also avoid controversy, especially related to pricing.

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finAnciAl voice - Asian Voice 9th February 2013


Foreign Exchange Paresh Davdra is the Dealing Director of RationalFX, Currency Specialists.

Sterling having a breather

Weekly Currencies As of Tuesday 5th February 2013 @ 5pm GBP - INR = 83.24

The pound suffered broad falls on Friday 1st February with the most notable move against the euro where it fell 1.8% intraday and to a 15 month low. Sterling is having a breather as political turmoil in Spain and Greece has again got the attention of markets. With the BoE meeting this week and potential QE on the cards the weakening trend remains in place. Momentum for the pounds weakness continued to build with UK manufacturing output growing less than expected in January as well as more rumours circulating that the UK may lose its treasured AAA credit-rating. The Euro however was in fighting sprits, as not only did it climb to a 15 month high against the pound; the euro reached a 14 month high against the US dollar. The single currency drew support from euro zone manufacturing rising higher than market expectations in January, as well as figures showing inflation and unemployment had stabilised in the region. The euro has started this week on the back foot amid

allegations that Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy and a number of senior officials of the Popular Party had been receiving secret payments for over two decades. The news seems to have unsettled the markets, with Spanish bond yields rising from 5.21% to 5.34% and thus causing the euro to weaken. The political scandal may give scope for further euro weakness as investors may use the news to book profits following the euroâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s impressive gains last week.

The Spanish economy continues to deteriorate further as unemployment rises again in January. The jobless figure hit a new record high in January, with 132,055 new unemployed which gives a total number of 4,980,778. The services sector accounts for 82% of the new unemployed, 8.15% for the agricultural sector, 1.43% for the industrial sector and 0.46% for construction. Also, the number of Social Security holders dropped by 263,243. Across the pond the United

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$ 0 4 5

States Department of Labour showed that the economy has added 157,000 jobs in December, below market expectations for a rise of 160,000, while the unemployment rate increased from 7.8% to 7.9%. Policy makers at the Federal Reserve will no doubt be unimpressed with the figures, adding to the Fedâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s notion that stimulus will continue until an improvement is seen in the recovery of the job market. Data on Friday 1st February also revealed that US manufacturing rose to a nine month high in January. This was closely followed by positive consumer confidence figures. There are mixed reports regarding Britainâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s economy facing a triple dip recession. Some believe that we will see a 0.4% growth in the first quarter avoiding a slip back into recession. On the positive side, business confidence in the UK is at its highest level since the second quarter of 2011... With the Pound weaker, we could potentially see the level of exports and external investment increase again.

USD - INR = 53.13 EUR - INR = 72.06 GBP - USD = 1.57 GBP - EUR = 1.15 EUR - USD = 1.36 GBP - AED = 5.75 GBP - CAD = 1.56 GBP - NZD = 1.86 GBP - AUD = 1.51 GBP - ZAR = 13.85 GBP - HUF = 335.98 Information provided by RationalFX. None of the information on this page constitutes, nor should be construed as financial advice. The exchange rates used areâ&#x20AC;&#x201A;the commercial foreign exchange rates provided by RationalFX. For a live quote or to find out more about how RationalFXâ&#x20AC;&#x201A;can help you, call us on 0207 220 8181.



Pakistan-Bangladesh-sri lanka - asian Voice 9th February 2013

In Focus Pakistan to turn Osama town into amusement city

Peshawar: Pakistan is planning to build a $30 million amusement park with a zoo and adventure sports facilities in the town where Osama bin Laden was killed by US special forces, officials said on Monday. The 50-acre riverside development on the edge of Abbottabad, where the US navy SEALs shot the al-Qaida leader dead on May 2, 2011, will include restaurants, a heritage centre and artificial waterfalls. The government of northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province hopes the project, announced as a public-private partnership, will boost tourism but denied it was intended to improve the town's image after the humiliation of Osama raid.

Nukes could be hijacked by radicals: Pakistan scientist

London: Increasing radicalisation within Pakistan's military could lead to its nuclear weapons being hijacked by radical Islamists, a Pakistani scientist has warned. "Safety and security of Pakistan's nuclear arsenal is of a major concern. The growing radicalisation within the military, given attacks on its own internal bases, could lead to these nuclear weapons being hijacked by radical Islamists," said Pervez Hoodbhoy, who was here for the London launch of his book 'Confronting the Bomb'. The nuclear physicist and defence analyst estimated Pakistan's arsenal to be similar to India's, at around 120-130 warheads.

31 killed as militants attack Pakistan checkpoint

Dera Ismail Khan: Militants attacked an isolated army checkpoint in Pakistan's restive northwest with at least 31 people killed in the initial assault, subsequent crossfire and a rocket attack on a house. The Pakistan Taliban claimed responsibility, saying the attack was in response to a US drone strike in neighbouring North Waziristan last month in which two commanders were killed.

Pakistan House clears controversial bill on snooping

Islamabad: A controversial bill that will give Pakistan's intelligence agencies sweeping powers to conduct surveillance and collect electronic data has been passed by both houses of Parliament, paving the way for it to be signed into law by President Asif Ali Zardari. The Fair Trial Bill 2012, which has been criticised by rights groups for posing a threat to privacy and civil liberties, was passed by the Senate or upper house of Parliament. It was passed by the National Assembly or lower house of Parliament on December 20.

Hindu families migrating to India, admits Pak govt

Lahore: The Pakistan government has finally acknowledged reports that dozens of Hindu families have migrated to India. Approximately 4.2 million Hindus, 3.9 million Christians, 16,000 Sikhs and thousands of other minorities' members, including Ahmedis, are living in Pakistan. Around 7,000 to 10,000 Pakistani Hindus left the country in last two years because of feudalism, class system, religious discrimination, forced conversion, forced marriages and poor law and order situation in their areas.

Afghanistan, Pakistan vow for peace settlement

London: Afghan President Hamid Karzai and his Pakistani counterpart Asif Ali Zardari on Monday promised to exert efforts to reach a peace settlement for Afghanistan within six months, following a trilateral meeting hosted by Britain here. All sides concerned should "take all necessary measures to achieve the goal of a peace settlement (on Afghanistan) over the next six months," Xinhua quoted a statement released by British Prime Minister David Cameron's office as saying. This was the third trilateral meeting in a year to discuss the Afghan-led peace and reconciliation process.

Kabul: The Afghan peace effort is floundering, fraught with mistrust and confusion among key players even though the hard-line Taliban militants show signs of softening and their reclusive, one-eyed leader made a surprise offer to share power in a post-war Afghanistan. The US and its allies hope the peace process, which began nearly two years ago, will gain traction before most international forces withdraw from the country in fewer than 23 months. Although the Taliban appear more ready to talk than ever before, peace talks remain elusive because of infighting among a rising number of interlocutors - all trying to get some kind of negotiations started. Members of the Taliban are

Hamid Karzai

in contact with representatives from 30 to 40 different countries, according to senior US, Afghan and other officials. Moreover, the relationship among the key players - the US, Afghanistan and Pakistan - is marked by distrust that keeps tugging momentum away from the peace process. Many of the officials

spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the sensitive contacts with the Taliban. Finding a path to the negotiating table will be a topic when Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Pakistan President Asif Zardari held a series of meetings with British Prime Minister David Cameron. The meetings in London came amid fresh tensions between Kabul and its western allies. Karzai recently warned the West not to use peace talks as a lever against his government. As well, both Kabul and Washington are frustrated that Pakistan is not monitoring the whereabouts and activities of Taliban prisoners it released in recent months. Miffed by the criti-

cism, Pakistan says it freed the prisoners at the request of the Afghan government and doesn't have the resources to keep tabs on them. No one in either Pakistan or Afghanistan seems to know where the dozens of released prisoners have gone. Last week, the Taliban issued a statement by freed former Taliban Justice Minister Mullah Nooruddin Turabi on behalf of all the prisoners - an indication that at least some might have rejoined the ranks of the insurgency. "There were no preconditions to their release and we are getting criticism from our own people inside Afghanistan about that and it is valid criticism," said Ismail Qasemyar, a senior member of the Afghan High Peace Council.

Will not abandon the country It's Pakistan govt's duty to after 2014, US assures Pakistan stop drone attacks: Court Islamabad: The US envoy in Pakistan, Richard Olson, has assured that his country will not repeat mistakes it made in 1989 and will not disengage from the region in 2014expected withdrawal year for the US and NATO forces from Afghanistan. The Dawn quoted Olson, as saying that the US recognizes the mistakes of the past, and will not disengage from the region. He said that even as the US is working with Pakistan to ensure that 2014 is not a repeat of 1989, they are not myopically focused on December 2014. Instead, he added, America is hoping to see Pakistan as a region that will continue to grow in importance. Olson was referring to the time when Pakistan played a prime role in defeating the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. No sooner had the Soviets left, the US abandoned Pakistan, which was left alone to deal with the aftermath of the Soviet withdrawal - armed militants, Afghan refugees, economic burn out etc. Commenting on mutual

Richard Olson

cooperation between the two countries, Olson said the US was committed to a cooperative and long-term partnership with Pakistan, broader than any one issue and centered on areas of mutual interests. The US relationship with Pakistan is not shaped solely by US's commitments and responsibilities in Afghanistan, he added. Olson said the future of Afghanistan is important to the US, as it is to Pakistan. He called for the US and Pakistan to work together with purpose to facilitate a negotiated peace in Afghanistan. Moreover, Olson also underscored that US assistance to Pakistan in energy, economic development, education, and health is a tangible sign of the United States' long-term investment in Pakistan's future.

Lahore: A Pakistani court hearing Jamaat-ud- Dawah chief Hafiz Saeed's petition against American drone strikes in Pakistan has said it cannot order a war against the US. However, Lahore HC Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial said it was the Pakistan government's duty to stop attacks by the CIAoperated spy planes in the tribal areas. "The US drone attacks are against Pakistan's policy but the court cannot order a war against America," Bandial said while hearing Saeed's petition. He observed that courts were bound to pass orders in light of the Constitution. The Chief Justice expressed his displeasure at a response submitted by the federal government and adjourned the case till February 21. He asked a deputy attorney general to present the government's point of view at the next hearing. Saeed's counsel A K Dogar contended that the federal government had not implemented a parliamentary resolution against drone attacks.

He claimed the US government kept on saying that drone attacks could be carried out at any place in Pakistan. In his petition, Saeed had asked the court to direct the federal government to disclose all "secret deals" with the US as every citizen of Pakistan had the right to have access to information on such matters. He asked the court to declare that pre-emptive strikes by foreign countries were not permitted under international laws. US 'needs to keep up drone war' against Qaeda: Panetta: The United States will have to keep up an openended drone war against AlQaeda militants in Pakistan to prevent another terror attack on America, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has said. The assassination of AlQaeda figures in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia with unmanned, robotic aircraft has provoked widespread criticism from human rights groups and some US allies, but Panetta stressed that the attacks had been effective.

Tell us the truth on Kargil, demands Pak daily Islamabad: The country deserves to know the truth on the Kargil "fiasco" that led to the deaths of hundreds of Pakistani soldiers and damaged ties with India, said a leading Pakistani daily. An editorial in the Dawn said "...we have understood how Kargil came to be what it really was: a poorly planned and badly executed operation that put hundreds of our soldiers at risk, and not the mujahideen-led jihad initially sold to the nation". New revelations paint an even bleaker picture of this gamble that Gen Musharraf took as army chief. "...when the head of the ISI's analysis wing at the time (Lt Gen (retd) Shahid Aziz) says he only found out about the operation after it had

been launched - and that the same was true for most of the corps commanders and senior army staff, including the head of military operations his words should prompt yet another look at the Kargil fiasco," said the daily. "Not taking the senior leadership into confidence, both within the army and in the other armed forces, had obvious consequences: the lack of a viable strategy, inadequate logistical planning and a poor calculation of the Indian response, all of which cost Pakistan the lives of hundreds of soldiers, further damaged relations with India and contributed to the political upheaval that followed," it added. It pointed out that there is no objective public record

of what took place. "Musharraf had reportedly banned discussion of the topic at the National Defence University, where military operations otherwise form important case studies. And while it eventually surfaced that scores of Pakistani soldiers had died, the lies the media was fed in the early days of the conflict indicate that misinformation was a critical component of this operation."

The editorial said that many questions still remain, including about the role of the political leadership. "Was the prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, aware of the plan? Was he ordered to seek out American help for a ceasefire, or was he responsible, as Gen Musharraf has claimed, for the operation's failure? "A decade and a half later, it is time for an objective, official examination of the facts, and for making them public. If Lt Gen (retd) Shahid Aziz and others who have spoken up are wrong, they should be contradicted. Even though preventing future mistakes is all that can be done now, the country deserves to know the truth," it added.

world - Asian Voice 9th February 2013


In Focus Washington: India has been cited for deteriorating human rights situation by the foremost global watchdog of civil liberties with New Delhi getting raked over the coals for abuses and mishandling cases ranging from the Maoist insurgence in central India to the protests against a nuclear power plant in Tamil Nadu. Human Rights Watch's 665-page world annual opus on the subject for 2012 released on Friday also zeroed in on the rape of a Delhi medical student that convulsed the nation and brought worldwide opprobrium, saying violence against women continued unabated in India with increased reports of sexual assault. "Global revulsion over the Delhi gang rape should send

a message to the Indian leadership to bring about long overdue reforms to criminalize the full range of sexual assault and to protect women's dignity and rights," Meenakshi Ganguly, HRW's South Asia director said in a statement that came with the report. "Urgently needed are resources to enforce India's laws and hold accountable officials who don't discharge their duties in a sensitive way." The criticism came even as India's ambassador to Washington Nirupama Rao wrote on op-ed in the Wall Street Journal on Thursday promising that the government is "determined to change our nation's laws—as well as the implementation of those laws—to prevent such

US diplomat apprehended Gandhi's assassin Godse Washington: The vivid scene of Mahatma Gandhi's assassination is all too familiar to most Indians and across the world thanks to cinematic representations. What is less well known - the man who seized Gandhi's assassin Nathuram Godse was an American diplomat on his first posting outside the US. Scrutiny of US newspapers on the anniversary of Gandhi's assassination reveal reports that Godse was apprehended by Herbert "Tom" Reiner, a vice-consul attached to the US embassy, who had only just arrived in India. He was attending Gandhi's prayer meeting out of curiosity, as most visitors to New Delhi do at least once, the New York Times reported in its January 31 edition. "Mr Reiner grasped the assailant by the shoulders and shoved him toward several police guards. Only then did the crowd begin to grasp what had happened and a forest of fists belaboured the assassin as he was dragged toward the pergola where Gandhi was to have prayed," the report said.

Reiner died on December 28, 1999, at his home in Cotuit, Massachusetts at age of 83. In a brief obituary several months later, the LA Times said that after arriving in India, Reiner wrote to his mother of his hope to meet Gandhi and attend one of his prayer meetings. On January 30, 1948, he went to a prayer meeting to catch a glimpse of Gandhi, it reported, adding "It was to be Gandhi's last meeting. Nathuram Godse, a Hindu nationalist enraged by Gandhi's overtures to Muslims, brushed past his aide and fired three shots at the great moral leader." Reiner seized him and swung him into the hands of the Indian police, an action captured on the front pages of newspapers around the world, the paper said.

heinous acts in the future." "All of this energy and determination to improve, to bring about and demand change, is good for India. It reflects the strong democratic experience and institutions in the country," Rao wrote, referring to the public outpouring of anger. However, HRW's tract on India was conspicuous for its anti-government tone while

giving a wide berth to rebels groups and NGOs, some of which are suspect in government eyes, particularly with respect to their funding. In fact, the report criticized the government's continued to use the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) to restrict access to foreign funding for domestic organizations. It also panned new restrictions on internet freedom arising in part from concerns about the use of social media to organize protests. However, the report acknowledged that the government did make progress in some areas, including new legislation to protect children from sexual abuse and stronger support for international resolutions to protect human rights in other countries, notably Sri Lanka.

Hillary out, Kerry in as US secretary of state Washington: Hillary Rodham Clinton ended a four-year tenure as secretary of state that made her one of America's most popular public figures, despite leaving on a bitter note amid a partisan feud over the attack on the US diplomatic mission in Libya. John Kerry was sworn in to replace her. In a letter sent to President Barack Obama shortly before she left the state department for the last time on Friday in her official capacity, Clinton thanked her former foe for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination for the opportunity to serve in his administration. Clinton said it had been an honor to be part of his Cabinet. "I am more convinced than ever in the strength and staying power of America's global leadership and our capacity to be a force for good in the world," she said in the letter. Clinton shattered records for the number of countries visited by a US secretary of state. The former first lady, once considered a divisive fig-

John Kerry

ure in American politics, leaves office as one of its most popular. However, she remained coy about whether she would run for president in 2016. "I am making no decisions, but I would never give that advice to someone that I wouldn't take myself," she said in an interview. "If you believe you can make a difference, not just in politics, in public service, in advocacy around all these important issues, then you have to be prepared to accept that you are not going to get 100 per cent approval." Her resignation became effective, when Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan swore in John Kerry as the top US diplomat.

State could collapse if protests go on: Egypt army

Cairo: Egypt’s army chief warned of the “the collapse of the state” if the political crisis roiling the nation for nearly a week continues. The warning by Abdel-Fattah elSissi, who is also defence minister, were the first comments by the powerful military since the country’s latest crisis began recently around the second anniversary of Egypt’s uprising. They came days after President Mohamed Morsi ordered the army to restore order in the Suez Canal cities of Port Said and Suez - two of three cities now under a 30day state of emergency and night curfew. The attempts by Morsi to stem a wave of political violence appear to have made no headway as the country sinks deeper into chaos and lawlessness. So far, nearly 60 people have been killed in the unrest.

“The continuation of the conflict between the different political forces and their differences over how the country should be run could lead to the collapse of the state and threaten future generations,” el-Sissi said in an address to military academy cadets. His comments were posted on the armed forces’ official Facebook page. Earlier, Morsi slapped a month-long state of emergency and a night curfew on Port Said, Suez and

Ismailiya, another city on the Suez Canal. Nevertheless, troops stood by and watched as thousands took to the streets chanting against Morsi in all three cities in direct defiance of the curfew just as it came into force for the first night. The display of contempt for the president’s decision was tantamount to an outright rebellion that many worried could spread. Some of the demonstrators in Port Said waved white-and green flags they said were the colours of a “new and independent state” in the city. Such secession would be unthinkable in Egypt, but the move underlined the depth of frustration in the strategic city on

the Mediterranean coast at the northern tip of the Suez Canal. El-Sissi, who was named defence minister in August, acknowledged the difficult challenges facing his troops in the cities where they deployed. “The deployment of the armed forces poses a grave predicament for us insofar as how we balance avoiding confrontations with Egyptian citizens, their right to protest and the protection and security of vital facilities that impact Egypt’s national security,” he said. Morsi is the first freely elected president in Egypt. But since coming to office nearly seven months ago, he has failed to tackle the country’s massive political, social and economic problems ranging from an economy in free fall to surging crime, chaos on the streets and lack of political consensus.

Armed men rob gurdwara in US

Washington: Armed men barged into a gurdwara in California city and took away the money from a donation box kept inside the complex. Three robbers entered the Gurudwara through the front door. One of the men was armed with a gun, while another with a knife. The third robber was unarmed. The three men took a few thousand dollars from a donation box and left through a side door. Police are searching for three unidentified men.

Burmese python is a babysitter to 13-year-old boy

London: A Chinese family from southern China has raised eyebrows with their choice of babysitter for their 13-year-old son - a 15ft giant Burmese python. Chan Liu leaves his son Azhe home alone with their 220lb pet snake in Dongguan. And instead of keeping her in a cage, Azhe has amazed locals by kissing and cuddling the 15ft predator. Azhe was born six years after his dad Chan brought home a python egg and hatched it out. Eventually the family began to look on python as a nanny to look after the child.

Legal tag awaits 240,000 Indians in US

Washington: Over 240,000 illegal Indian immigrants in the US could be soon on their path to obtaining citizenship under a "big deal" reached by a bi-partisan group of senators but uncertainty remains for the tens of thousands of skilled Indians seeking a Green Card. Described by the White House as a "big deal", the compromise announced by the group of top eight Senators proposes a path to citizenship for 11.5 million illegal immigrants of which more than three-fourths (77% or 8.9 million) are from North America, including Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central America.

Saudi cleric issues fatwa, calls for babies to wear burqas

Riyadh: A Saudi cleric has issued a fatwa calling for female babies to wear burqas, a move that has sparked outrage across social networking sites. Sheikh Abdullah Daoud, who is not affiliated with the government of Saudi Arabia, made his controversial edict during an interview. Muslim veils would reduce the sexual molestation of minors, though the cleric did not cite any evidence for his view.

Only $217 in Zimbabwe government account

Harare: After paying public workers' salaries last week, the balance in cashstrapped Zimbabwe's government public account stood at just $217, finance minister Tendai Biti said. The government finances are in paralysis state at the present moment. We are failing to meet our targets. Zimbabwe's economy went into freefall at the turn of the millennium, after President Robert Mugabe began seizing white-owned farms.

Indian American scientist honoured by President Obama

Washington: US President Barack Obama, presented the prestigious National Medal of Technology and Innovation to eminent Indian American Rangaswamy Srinivasan for his groundbreaking work with laser. Rangaswamy received the award along with Samuel Blum and James Wynne, for the pioneering discovery of excimer laser ablative photodecomposition of human and animal tissue, laying the foundation for PRK and LASIK laser refractive surgical techniques, that have revolutionised vision enhancement.

Jackie Chan, Mo Yan in Chinese parliament

Beijing: China has given a political role to the 2012 winner of Nobel prize for literature Mo Yan and movie star Jackie Chan by selecting them as members of one of the houses of parliament, the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference.


IndIa - asian Voice 9th February 2013

In Focus Indian companies involved in Ethiopia land grab: activists

The Ethiopian government had committed "egregious violations of human rights" in leasing over 600,000 hectares of land to Indian companies, Anuradha Mittal of the US-based Oakland Institute said in New Delhi - charges that country's government has consistently denied. Speaking to reporters in New Delhi, Obang Metho, the exiled head of the Solidarity Movement for a New Ethiopia (SMNE) said the India must choose whether to support globally established human rights, as the world's largest democracy. "I call this daylight robbery," Metho said.

Delhi serial killer beyond 'reform' gets death

Serial killer Chandrakant Jha was sentenced to death for the second case of identical crime by a Delhi Court which said his offence falls under the "rarest of rare case" as the brutality committed by him shows he "cannot be reformed". Jha's modus operandi was to behead and chop the body parts of the victims leading to their death. He then dumped the headless bodies outside Tihar Jail. Sessions Judge "He be hanged by the neck till he is dead" for taking away the life of 19-year-old Upender as his brutality showed he does not possess "basic humanness".

21 killed in Patan road accident

At least 21 people, including eight children and eight women, died when their mini bus collided with a state transport bus near Jilwana Patia near Sami in Patan district on Wednesday night. All the victims were from Gilasan village of Mehsana district and had gone to Sami for a religious function. Mini bus driver lost control after one of its tyres burst and collided with the bus coming from the opposite direction.

Two dead in Kolkata fire

Two people died and two others suffered severe burns in a fire in a building here Wednesday, West Bengal Fire Services Minister Javed Khan said.The fire broke out in a cottage garment factory in Metiabruz area where the four workers were sleeping with the doors locked from inside.Officials said the fire could have been caused by an electrical short-circuit.

Nariman resigns as Solicitor General of India

Rohinton Nariman has resigned as Solicitor General of India. Nariman sent his resignation letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, with a copy to union Law Minister Ashwani Kumar. Though the reasons that triggered Nariman's resignation are not immediately known, sources said that he and the law minister were not on the same page on certain issues, and Nariman was upset with the way government instructions were reaching him. Nariman was appointed solicitor general in July 2011, after his predecessor Gopal Subramaniam resigned.

Man held for FB posts on PM, Sibal, Mulayam

A man in Agra has been arrested for "communal and inflammatory" posts on social networking site Facebook targeting Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Union communications minister Kapil Sibal and Uttar Pradesh's ruling Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Mulayam Singh Yadav. Sanjay Chowdhary, a resident of the Dayalbagh suburb of Agra, was arrested and his laptop, sim card and data card were impounded.

Rushdie blames Mamata for blocking his Kolkata visit

Blaming West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for blocking his visit to Kolkata, Booker prize-winning author Salman Rushdie left India to London. Rushdie was to visit Kolkata for promotion of the film 'Midnight's Children', which is based on his Booker-winning novel of the same name. The controversial writer claimed that Banerjee had ordered the police to block his arrival.

Little less than two months after the heinous rape and murder of a 23-year-old paramedic student in a moving bus, a fast track court today will begin hearing the case. A fresh offence under section 366 of the IPC was added by the court against the accused for abducting the girl with the intention to compel and force her to illicit intercourse. Ahead of the hearing, the Delhi police have filed a supplementary charges in the case which includes post mortem and forensic science laboratory reports. Charges have been framed against five accused under 13 sections of the IPC, the sixth being a minor will be treated according to the juvenile law. The fast-track court will hear the case on a day-to-day basis to ensure speedy justice. Delhi Police had on January 3 filed the chargesheet against the five accused for gang-raping and brutally assaulting the girl on a moving bus on December 16. The accused bus driver,

Ram Singh, his brother Mukesh, Vinay Sharma, Pawan Gupta and Akshay Singh pleaded not guilty and claimed trial. The court has now fixed February 5 for starting the trial. The prosecution will begin with its evidence and examine its witnesses in the case. Additional sessions judge Yogesh Khanna framed the charges after finding a prima facie case to suggest that the

accused conspired to deceitfully induce the girl and her male friend to board the vehicle by making them believe it was a chartered bus for raping the victim and committing other offences. In the order, the fast-track court described the juvenile as an "associate" of the five accused, who committed the gang rape in furtherance of the conspiracy and "in furtherance of common intention". The

Rape leading to death of victim can attract capital punishment

juvenile, the sixth accused, has been been declared a "minor" by the Juvenile Justice Board, which will try him separately for the offences. In the in-camera proceedings that took place on Saturday, the court framed charges under Sections 302 (murder), 307 (attempt to murder), 376 (2)(g) (gangrape), 377 (unnatural offences), 395 (dacoity), 396 (murder in dacoity), 201 (destruction of evidence), 120B (conspiracy), 364 (kidnapping or abducting in order to murder), 365 ( kidnapping or abducting with intent to secretly and wrongfully confine person), 394 (voluntarily causing hurt in committing robbery), and 412 (dishonestly receiving property stolen in the commission of a dacoity) of the IPC. If found guilty under Section 302 (murder) of the Indian Penal Code, the accused could face a maximum punishment of death penalty. The fast-track court framed charges against the five Delhi gang-rape accused.

Israel keen on development ties with Gujarat

Shaken by the Nirbhaya case, the government approved a law prescribing the death penalty for cases of rape that lead to the victim’s death or her slipping into persistent vegetative state, going beyond the recommendations of the Justice J S Verma committee. An ordinance cleared by the Union Cabinet seeks to treat rapes resulting in the death of the victim or causing her to be in a persistent vegetative state as a crime belonging to the “rarest-of-rare” category for which courts can award death punishment if they so decide. For such cases, the ordinance proposes a minimum sentence of 20 years which can be extended to imprisonment until the natural life of the convict, or death. The ordinance was rushed through to beat the notification of Parliament’s budget

session which is due to begin on February 21. The notification would have prevented the issuance of an ordinance. The ordinance, designed to change the Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2012, and set to be promulgated shortly, has accepted Justice Verma committee’s recommendation to treat voyeurism, stalking, disrobing of women and acid attacks as specific offences under the Indian Penal Code. The change will raise “eveteasing” from being considered a minor offence to a serious crime attracting enhanced punishment. The panel’s recommendation for punishing those who knowingly employ a trafficked person has been accepted, with the government proposing a maximum sentence of five years for the guilty. It has also accepted the recommendation of the com-

mittee, set up in response to the public upsurge over Nirbhaya rape case, to raise the maximum punishment for rape from the existing 10 years to life. For repeat offenders, the life imprisonment will cover his entire life and not just 14 years as is usually the case now. The government has also embraced the recommendation that rape committed by a “person in authority” — a term that covers public servants and officers of police and Army — be punished by a minimum 10 years of rigorous imprisonment that can be extended to life. However, it did not agree with the committee led by the retired Chief Justice of India that rape should not be made a gender-neutral crime. Accordingly, the expression “rape” in law is proposed to be replaced by “sexual assault”.

Israel is keen to increase research and development (R&D) and cultural ties with Gujarat. On his first visit to the state after being appointed the Israeli ambassador to India, Alon Ushpiz, met chief minister Narendra Modi at his residence. He was accompanied by consul general of Israel from Mumbai Orna Sagiv. Ushpiz later said, "The chief minister and I discussed several areas of co-operation like agriculture and industrial research and development, solar and thermal power, pharmaceuticals, water recycling and water desalination plants. Our focus is on increasing research ties with Gujarat." Ushpiz suggested building a corpus for expanding the partnership between the two in industrial development. He said Israel has partnered Gujarat for establishing a centre of excellence for mango and vegetable production.

Faced with a China that is aggressively pursuing its territorial interests in the South and East China Seas, Japan and India decided to coordinate moves and exercises in the first ever maritime dialogue held. The India-Japan maritime dialogue was decided during a meeting of foreign ministers last April. Interestingly, India decided to hold a maritime dialogue with China over a month before the India-Japan decision. The Indian move to start talks with Japan ahead of the dialogue with Beijing points to a stress on New Delhi's security priorities. The Indian side was led by D B Venkatesh Varma,

who leads the division on disarmament and international security in the ministry of external affairs (MEA), and included officials from ministries of defence, coast guard, shipping and earth sciences. The Japanese side was led by Kazuyuki Yamazaki, from their foreign office and comprised officials from ministries of shipping, economy, Coast Guard, etc. India and Japan are likely to conduct more joint naval exercises building on the first such bilateral exercise that was held off the Japanese coast last year. Similar exercises are likely in the Indian Ocean off the Somalia coast as well. Japan also gave an elabo-

rate update of their simmering dispute with China on the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands. The new Chinese president, Xi Jinping, re-emphasized China's "core" interests in his maiden foreign policy speech on Tuesday, indicating a more "robust" posture. "No foreign country should ever nurse hopes that we will bargain over our core national interests, and nor should they nurse hopes that we will swallow the bitter fruit of harm to our country's sovereignty, security and development interests," Xi was quoted as saying. Most analysts agree that this particular dispute has the potential to spiral out of con-

trol. With India increasing its naval footprint in the South China Sea, and coming up against Chinese expansionism, particularly affecting its oil interests in that region, India appears to have made common cause with Japan. Both countries say they want the UNCLOS and rule of law to be the core of their common approach. In the Indian Ocean Region (IOR), India has ramped up anti-piracy initiatives, where New Delhi and Tokyo plan to work more closely together, including coordinating on rescue attempts. In the multilateral arena, India and Japan plan to work together and coordinate positions in ARF, EAS and ADMM+ fora.

India, Japan make common cause to thwart China's maritime moves

indiA - Asian Voice 9th February 2013


In Focus Science museum to be named after Delhi braveheart

Activist Anna Hazare accused the government of betrayal on the issue of making Lokpal a strong tool to curb corruption and dismissed the proposed legislation as “ineffective”. Demanding making the CBI and the CVC as independent bodies on par with the Election Commission, Mr. Hazare said if required he may again go back to the Ramlila Maidan to press for an effective Lokpal. “The government has been betraying us and people of the country repeatedly... If required I will go back to Ramlila Maidan to demand a strong and effective Lokpal Bill,” Mr. Hazare said addressing a press conference. Rejecting the Lokpal Bill cleared by the Cabinet, Mr. Hazare said the fight against corruption will not be effective if the government did not relinquish its control over the CBI and the CVC. “Due to government control over the CBI and the CVC, corruption has increased. Both these

India irked as China gets Pak's Gwadar port Pakistan's cabinet formally agreed to hand over the operation of its strategically located Gwadar port to China. This puts in place China's famed "string of pearls" strategy which may have significant implications for India. The Pakistan cabinet, in one of its last decisions, transferred the operations responsibility of the Gwadar port from Singapore's PSA (Port of Singapore Authority) International to China's Overseas Port Holdings. This had been agreed some time ago as PSA International and Pakistani navy fell out over land transfers, security issues and lack of infrastructure. PSA had asked to withdraw from the contract and Pakistan had agreed. In 2011, the Pakistani defence minister had announced in Beijing that Islamabad would transfer ownership to a Chinese company.

bodies must be made autonomous like the Election Commission,” he said. Mr. Hazare also criticised Prime Minister Manmohan Singh accusing him of failing to keep his promise on specific demands based on which he had ended his 12-day fast in August 2011. The Union Cabinet amended the controversial Lokpal Bill, delinking it from the setting up of Lokayuktas in the States and transferring powers of sanction of prosecution against public servant to the ombudsman. The Cabinet accepted 14 of the 16 recommendations made by the Rajya Sabha Select Committee,

which was set up in May 2012 amid sharp differences among political parties because of which the legislation was stuck in the Upper House since December 2011. The approval of the official amendments paves the way for consideration of the bill afresh by the Rajya Sabha during the Budget Session. Mr. Hazare said he will travel across the country to make people aware about “government’s betrayal” and to motivate them to elect those with clean image in the 2014 elections. The 75-year-old antigraft activist also questioned UPA government's commitment to root out corruption in the country, saying he does not "trust" Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress President Sonia Gandhi to bring a stringent bill for creating an anti-corruption ombudsman. Hazare while describing the lokpal bill approved by the Union

Cabinet as "a farce" said he had written a letter to Sonia in reply to her letter to him seeking clarification whether the proposed bill will be a stringent one and whether CBI and the CVC will be kept out of the government's control. But she has not responded to these clarifications, he said and trashed the proposed lokpal bill. "The Centre is trying to befool the people by going ahead with it." Hazare said if the government went ahead with the enactment of a 'weak' lokpal bill he would launch another agitation. Hazare went on a 12day fast at the Ramlila grounds in Delhi in August 2011 to press for the Jan lokpal Bill in an action that shook the nation. Hazare, who had launched apolitical outfit 'Janatantra Morcha' to work for change of system here yesterday, said he will travel across the country to mobilise people to join his 'crusade'.

Arvind Kejriwal targets Delhi CM over power discoms

Joining the battle for the 2013 assembly elections, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) convener Arvind Kejriwal and Prashant Bhushan accused Delhi government and power regulator Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) of turning a blind eye as power distribution companies fudged records to show artificial losses and inflate electricity bills at the expense of consumers. They alleged that people were being forced to pay double of what they should be billed, with both Delhi government and DERC taking decisions to favour discoms, including putting a 20102011 order proposing a 23% reduction in tariff on hold. The “expose’’ will be followed by a series of similar “scams’’ being brought before the public. Asking Delhi consumers to pay only half of their electricity bill, Kejriwal said his party would create awareness on this issue through a series of meetings for the next 21

days. He added that on Saturday he would expose how water prices had increased 18-fold in the past few years. Reacting to chief minister Sheila Dikshit’s observation that the tariff hike was not in her control, Kejriwal said, “What kind of excuse is this? When the tariff has to be raised, it is not in her control, but when DERC recommended a reduction, she intervened and stopped it.’’ Demanding a CAG audit of power companies and lodging of an FIR against the discoms – Anil Ambaniled BSES and Tataled TPDDL – Kejriwal alleged that DERC chairman P D Sudhakar had failed to check fraud billing despite a sample test check

that revealed that 15,000 of the total 15 lakh consumers had been billed for ‘zero’ amount despite consumption of electricity. In another instance of alleged “cooking’’ of books, BSES had shown power consumption and revenue earned from Delhi Jal Board and Delhi airport as nil in 2008-2009, he said. Kejriwal alleged that BSES had also artificially inflated its losses. The distribution losses that had decreased from 16.9% in 2007-2008 to 1.36% in 2009-2010 in Alaknanda area, for instance, suddenly spiralled to 8.87% in 2010-2011 under Sudhakar’s watch. Aam Aadmi Party also accused BSES of artificially inflating its expenses by declaring that it bought equipment worth `1428 crore between 2004 and 2006 from sister concern Reliance Energy Limited (REL) when the equipment was actually worth `850 crore.

Maya Deepak, Harish Bhimani visiting London

Maya Deepak, a light vocal artiste with several firsts to her credit, has been the recipient of many honours. The first Gujarati female singer to perform at the British Parliament, at Trafalgar Square and at the Royal Albert Hall in London, she began her Hindustani classical training at the age of 8. Over the last 25 years, she has lent her voice to a versatile range of musical forms from ghazals, bha-

jans, lokgeets and balgeets to jingles and film songs. To know about her schedule in London or for organizing her programmes Please contact phone no 07891 192 487 Popular Indian compere/Master of ceremonies, voice-over artist and writer, Harish Bhimani has been variously described by the media as “one of the most recognisable voices in India,” “the most travelled Indian

compere” and “a writer with a zing.” He is most known as the voice of Samay, the narrator in the TV series Mahabharat (1988-1990). His significant achievements include his association with India's ambitious text-tospeech e-venture comprising over 18,000 recordings of commercials and documentaries and recording globally through his unique voice website

The main opposition BJP, which has demanded speedy justice for the December 16 gang-rape and murder victim, has decided to name a science museum proposed in South Delhi after her. BJP president Vijendra Gupta said, “We have decided to name a science centre proposed in South Delhi after the Delhi braveheart as a mark of respect to her.”The state BJP chief also said that all formalities in this regard have been completed and a proposal to this effect was also brought in a meeting of the Naming Committee of the South Delhi Corporation.

Rod shoved into mouth of woman while resisting rape in Delhi

A 24-year-old woman was critically injured here after a man inserted an iron rod into her mouth during a rape attempt. Anil Kumar, 26, a cable operator tried to rape the woman at her house in south Delhi's Lajpat Nagar. Kumar went to the woman's home to collect monthly rent for the cable TV. Finding the woman alone, he tried to rape her. He inserted an iron rod inside her mouth when she was crying for help. Hearing the woman's voices some neighbours came to help her but Kumar managed to flee from the spot. He was later arrested.

Gujarat criticises Centre's coal allocation policy

Gujarat criticised the Centre for alleged discrepancies in its coal allocation policy, claiming that it was receiving coal from distant mines which was increasing the cost of power production.Speaking at the Power Ministers Conference, Gujarat's Energy and Petrochemicals Minister Saurabh Patel complained that instead of available coal reserves in nearby Western Coalfields, the state is receiving coal from distant coal mines and paying huge transportation cost of around `2,200 crore per year.

Narendra Modi to visit Kumbh Mela on Feb 12 to take holy dip

"Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi will travel to Allahabad on February 12 to take a holy dip in the river Ganga during the Kumbh Mela," sources in the Chief Minister's office said. There were reports that VHP and some Hindu religious groups close to the Sangh Parivar might discuss Modi's candidature at a conclave during the Kumbh Mela in Allahabad. Modi's visit comes at a time when the chorus within the BJP for declaring him party's prime ministerial candidate has grown loud.

New Delhi, Mumbai among world's cheapest cities

The cost of living the Australian dream has surged with Sydney and Melbourne among the five most expensive cities in the world, outstripping most European and U.S. locations, according to an annual survey released. Mumbai and Karachi were the joint cheapest locations.


IndIa - asian Voice 9th February 2013

In Focus Two get seven-year jail term in rape cases in Punjab A local court sentenced two men to seven-year imprisonment in as many rape cases. The Special Court for Crime against Women pronounced the judgement in the two cases.In the first case, the court sentenced Kaptan Singh, a resident of Basarpura village, for raping a married woman in Rangar Nangal area of Batala sub-division in 2007. In the second case, the court sentenced Lakhbir Singh alias Lucky, a resident of Sikri village in Hoshiarpur district, for raping a woman in Sri Hargobindpur area in 2009.

Apache choppers to support Army's operational plans: Browne New inductions in the IAF such as Apache attack helicopters will be in support of operational plans of the Army, which is raising a new Strike Corps along the borders with China in the northeastern sector, Air Chief Marshal N A K Browne had said. "Whatever inductions are taking place in the IAF, they will fully support the Army's plans. All the strike helicopters like the Apache...They will all support the Army?s plans," he told reporters on the sidelines of a seminar.

Budget Session of Parliament from Feb 21 The dates for the presentation of Union Budget will be presented on February 28, the Railway Budget will be present two days earlier on February 26. The Budget session will last from February 21 to May 10.The Congress said that a "very promising budget" is on the anvil, indicating that the Union Budget 2013-14 will be replete with populist schemes as also economic reforms. The government is now well in control. Economic steps are the most important thing.

Kingfisher posts 7.55 billion rupee loss as planes sit idle Debt-ridden and with no customers, Kingfisher Airlines Ltd posted a 7.55 billion rupees loss in the three months to December 31 as its planes sat idle, creditors circled and regulators rebuffed the Indian airline's revival plans. Kingfisher, which has been stripped of its flying licence, owes an estimated $2.5 billion to banks, staff, airports and oil companies, but maintained it was "a going concern" in its results statement. The airline, once India's second-biggest, has spent the past few months negotiating with its creditors and India's aviation authorities.

Court frames charges against Kalmadi, 9 others A Delhi court framed charges against former Commonwealth Games (CWG) Organising Committee chief Suresh Kalmadi and nine others for forgery, cheating and conspiracy in a corruption case related to the 2010 Delhi Games. The court order came in a case against Kalmadi and his associates, including former Organising Committee secretary general Lalit Bhanot, in the case related to financial irregularities in awarding a Rs.141 crore contract for time, scoring and records system for the Games.

VHP rages at nude exhibition in Delhi An art exhibition here showcasing a retrospective on modern nude art ran into trouble with right wing activists forcing it to shut down temporarily and organisers reopening it with police protection. The Naked and the Nude” exhibition hosted at the Delhi Art Gallery's exhibition space in south Delhi witnessed a protest by the women's wing of VHP demanding a ban on the show which they said contained “nude and obscene paintings that showed women in very bad light”.

CP Thakur, Shatrughan Sinha, Maneka Gandhi join other leaders in pitching for Modi In a bid to put down party men airing views on its prime ministerial candidate, BJP president Rajnath Singh on Monday issued a virtual gag order on the issue which was breached by two leaders - C P Thakur and Shatrughan Sinha - from Bihar and Maneka Gandhi pitching for Narendra Modi. The fissures in the party were evident when BJP national spokesman Shahnawaz Hussain said that the BJP has not decided on its prime ministerial candidate so far. Even as he denied there was a crack in NDA ranks over the projection of Narendra Modi for the post, BJP VicePresident Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi “revealed” that Modi is one of the eight top BJP leaders who could be the party's prime ministerial candidate in the next Lok Sabha polls.

Narendra Modi

Whatever names are making the rounds are personal opinions of individual leaders and not of the party, Hussain said, adding only the BJP Parliamentary Board is authorised to finalise the name of the party's prime ministerial candidate and would do so at the proper time. He said only official spokespersons of the party are entitled to speak on the issue. "Beside me there are seven other spokespersons of

BJP and none of them has named any leader as prime ministerial candidate." However, Naqvi said, “There is a list of eight top leaders in the party, including Modi who could be prime ministerial candidates in the next elections.” The parliamentary board would decide on the prime ministerial candidate from the the eight top leaders at an appropriate time, he added. Shatrughan backs Yashwant: Actor-turnedpolitician Shatrughan Sinha backed party colleague Yashwant Sinha who has openly pitched for declaring Modi as its prime ministerial candidate. “Yashwant is a senior and an experienced leader. He never talks lightly. He speaks only after giving deep thought on an issue, I stand with him on what he

Pakistan is a 'fake' country: Markandey Katju

has said,” Sinha told reporters in Patna. The BJP leader justified saints and priests choosing prime ministerial candidate. “Sadhus, sants, maulvi and maulana have always been speaking on issues gripping the nation. We hear of fatwa issued regularly... they are also citizens of the country and have every right to decide a PM candidate,” Sinha said. Modi will be good PM Maneka Gandhi: Modi is among five to six BJP top leaders who can make a good PM, said BJP MP Maneka Gandhi in Ranchi, adding “I will support the party in all its decisions (on the selection of its prime ministerial candidate).” About JD(U)’s reservation on Modi, Gandhi said it was that party’s view and BJP should work hard to strengthen itself.

Nitish best man for PM post, says JD-U leader

Pakistan is a "fake" country which was created artificially by the Britishers who started the "bogus two-nation theory", Press Council of India chairman Justice (retd) Markandey Katju said on Tuesday. The former Supreme Court judge was confident that in next 15-20 years India and Pakistan would reunite and a strong, powerful, secular and modern minded government would come to power. He condemned the recent war hysteria created by media in the wake of beheading of an Indian soldier by Pakistanis troops in a cross LoC attack in Jammu and Kashmir. "First of all let me tell you one thing Pakistan is no country. It's a fake country, it's artificially created country by the British who had the policy of divide and rule by starting this bogus two-

nation theory that Hindus and Muslims have two separate nations," he said at a panel discussion in Delhi. "And we are fools and were taken for a ride by the Britishers. Same artificial entity Pakistan was created. What is Paksitan? It is Punjab and Sindh, which is actually part of India," he said at the discussion on "Fuelling IndoPak Crisis: Mutilation or the media" at Delhi University. "It is anti-national to talk about war between the two nations. Our economies, which is already in poor state, would be ruined. You must know that war is very expensive affair and we are poor country. We have fought three wars, has the standard of living of the people risen because of wars," Katju said. He criticised media for making hue and cry over nonissues like news items related

to film stars and cricketers while leaving behind important issues of poverty, price rise, unemployment and malnutrition among children and farmers' suicide. "In last 15 years, 2.5 lakh farmers have committed suicide but it was suppressed by the media for five years and it came to light only when P Sainath had reported it. Even now no one is reporting it, instead they are reporting with whom Karina is having affair or (Sachin) Tendulkar making his 100th hundred," Katju said, wondering how Tendulkar's 100th hundred will raise the standard of living of the people. Katju also attacked the media over its round-theclock coverage of Anna Hazare's agitation and said there was great hue and cry about his agitation as if he would solve all problems.

As speculation mounts over BJP's Narendra Modi being the NDA's prime ministerial candidate in the next general election, a senior Janata DalUnited (JD-U) leader has said Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar is the best man for the job. "There are several names doing the rounds for the post of PM. But Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar is best among them," JD-U leader Hari Kishore Singh told. The JD-U is the second-largest party in the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA). "Going by the reputation and experience of governance with justice, Nitish Kumar ranks first among those in the race for the post," added Singh, who is also vice chairman of the Bihar State Planning Board. Without Nitish Kumar's support, no party would be able to form a government at the centre, he said.

Continued from page 1

Shirani Bandaranayake. While his supporters celebrated the impeachment, a legal activist, turned to the words of Mark Antony in Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar” to express her fury, lamenting “judgment fled to brutish beasts.” Sri Lanka, she claimed, had “entered its darkest phase since independence”. The impeachment of Mrs Bandaranayake, in contrast, was a bloodless tussle of constitutional interpretation. Just a few days later it began to look more like a minor squall briefly interrupting the Rajapaksas’ ascent to the sunlit uplands of untrammelled power. Although Sri Lanka’s lawyers have almost unanimously rejected Mrs Bandaranayake’s impeachment and regard her replacement, Mohan Peiris, as an

illegitimate government stooge, she did not force a confrontation by turning up to work on January 15th. Rajapaksa reneged on his promise of giving autonomy to Tamils despite growing international pressure to compromise with the minority and to investigate allegations of war crimes. Sri Lanka is expected to face questions from the UN Human Rights Council in March on its progress in implementing its own war commission report, which also recommends investigating alleged human rights violations and giving autonomy to Tamils. The United States has said it would sponsor a resolution at the council for a second straight year on the implementation of the war commission report. The pres-

sure comes nearly four years after the government, dominated by the ethnic Sinhalese majority, defeated the separatist Tamil Tiger rebels, who had been demanding an independent Tamil nation after decades of perceived discrimination. According to a United Nations' estimate, 80,000 to 100,000 people were killed during the war, which ended in 2009, but other reports suggest it could be much higher. "When the people live together in unity there are no racial or religious differences," Rajapaksa said in his independence day speech. "Therefore, it is not practical for this country to have different administrations based on ethnicity. The solution is to live together in this country with equal rights for all communities," he said.

Rajapaksa rules out greater autonomy to Tamils

from his long-stalled promise to empower the ethnic minority as part of the country's reconciliation process following a bloody quarter-century civil war. He is accused of the savagery that cost so many civilian lives as his army defeated the rebel Tamil Tigers in 2009. They bridle at how he has carved up the government among his brothers, like a thriving family-run conglomerate. They resent the amendment of the constitution pushed through in 2010 to remove the limit on his tenure of two six-year terms, and to give himself legal immunity and the final say in appointments to the civil service, the judiciary and the police. A huge outrage erupted on his decision to impeach and sack the chief justice,

indiA - Asian Voice 9th February 2013


umbh Mela is a mass pilgrimage of faith in which Hindus gather at a sacred river for a bath in the river. It is held every third year at one of the four places by rotation: Haridwar, Allahabad, Nasik and Ujjain. Thus the Kumbh Mela is held at each of these four places every 12th year. Ardh ("Half") Kumbh Mela is held at only two places, Haridwar and Allahabad (Prayag), every sixth year. The rivers at these four places are: the Ganges (Ganga) at Haridwar, the confluence (Sangam) of the Ganges and the Yamuna at Prayag, the Godawari at Nasik, and the Shipra at Ujjain. Kumbh means a pitcher and Mela means fair in Hindi. The pilgrimage is held for about one and a half months at each of these four places where it is believed in Hinduism that drops of nectar fell from the Kumbh carried by gods after the sea was churned. The festival is billed as the "biggest gathering of Hindu pilgrims on Earth". There is no scientific method of ascertaining the number of pilgrims even approximately and the estimates of the number of pilgrims bathing on the most auspicious day may vary from two to eight million.

The current Maha Kumbh Mela began on 14 January 2013 at Allahabad (Prayag). According to expectations more than 100 million people will attend the 2013 Kumbha mela. The next Kumbh Mela will be held at Ujjain (MP) on the bank of the river Shipra in 2016. The Kumbh at Ujjain is also called "Simhastha." The Triveni Sangam, or the intersection of Yamuna River and Ganges River and the mythical Sarasvati River, where devotees perform rituals. Kumbh Mela is celebrated at different locations depending on the position of the planet of Bṛhaspati (Jupiter) and the sun. When Jupiter and the sun are in the zodiac sign Leo (Simha Rashi) it is held in Trimbakeshwar, Nashik; when the sun is in Aries (Mesha Rashi) it is celebrated at Haridwar; when Jupiter is in Taurus (Vrishabha Rashi ) and the sun is in Capricorn (Makar Rashi) Kumbha Mela is celebrated at Prayag; and Jupiter and the sun are in Scorpio (Vrishchik Rashi) the Mela is celebrated at Ujjain. Each site's celebration dates are calculated in advance according to a special combination of

zodiacal positions of Sun, Moon, and Jupiter. History: The first written evidence of the Kumbha Mela can be found in the accounts of Chinese traveler, Huan Tsang or Xuanzang (602– 664 A.D.) who visited India in 629–645 CE, during the reign of King Harshavardhana. However, similar observances date back many centuries, where the river festivals first started getting organised. According to medieval Hindu theology, its origin is found in one of the most popular medieval puranas, the Bhagavata Purana. The Samudra manthan episode (Churning of the ocean of

milk), is mentioned in the Bhagavata Purana, Vishnu Purana, the Mahabharata, and the Ramayana. The account goes that the demigods had lost their strength by the curse of Durväsä Muni, and to regain it, they approached Lord Brahma and Lord Shiva. They directed all the demigods to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Vishnu and after praying to Lord Vishnu, he instructed them to churn the ocean of milk Ksheera Sagara (primordial ocean of milk) to receive amrita (the nectar of immortality). This required them to make a temporary agreement with their arch enemies, the demons or Asuras, to work together with a promise of sharing the wealth equally thereafter. However, when the Kumbha (urn) containing the amrita appeared, a fight ensued. For 12 days and 12 nights (equivalent to 12 human years) the gods and demons fought in the sky for the pot of amrita. It is believed that during the battle, Lord Vishnu (incarnated as MohiniMürti) flew away with the Kumbha of elixir spilling drops of amrita at four places: Allahabad

(Prayag), Haridwar, Ujjain and Nashik. Most significant days during the Kumbh Mela Makar Sankranti: A Holy bath during this period carries special significance. Those who take a holy bath in the rivers Ganga, Yamuna, Godavari, Krishna and Kaveri acquire pious credits. Paush Purnima: The day occurs when the moon is full in the Hindu month of Paush. This is the last full moon of winter. By this time, the sadhu and hundreds of thousands of pilgrims arrive at the Kumbh Mela. Mauni Amavasya Snan: For the holy men and women, this is the main bathing day. New members to various holy monastic orders receive their first initiation on this day. Basant Panchami Snan: This is the fifth day of the luminous half of the lunar month and is the beginning of spring in North India. Rath Saptami Snan: Rath Saptami festival is observed on the seventh day of Shukla Paksha in the Magh Month (January – February) in the traditional Hindu calendar. Bhishma Ekadasi Snan: On this day, Bhishma Pithamaha, the oldest, wisest, most powerful and most righteous person belonging to the Kuru dynasty, narrated the greatness of Lord Krishna through Sri Vishnu Sahasranama to Yudhishtira, the oldest brother of Pandavas. Pilgrims renounce world, begin life as hermits: Hindu pilgrims at the Kumbh Mela in Allahabad have renounced their tiers with the materialistic world, and initiated themselves into leading ascetic lives. Clad only in loincloth, many of them assembled on the banks of the Ganges River, where saffron-clad hermits blessed them as they entered this new phase. The day-long initiation featured several rituals that marked the transition from daily life to a carefree and spiritual existence. "The life of an ascetic is such that the body may be left behind anywhere at any time. For a hermit, it does not matter if someone gives him a funeral or not. At the time of renouncing

worldly pleasures, the first step is tonsuring the head, after which there is a ritual bath in the Ganges. Then there is the 'pind daan' (offerings made to ancestors). At night, there is a 'havan' ritual done in accordance with Vedic tradition. Then a guru comes and imparts his teaching. The disciples visit their gurus in the morning, after which their initiation is complete," said Swami Narayan Giri, a hermit of the Juna Akhara. "The 'shraadh' ritual symbolizes the leaving behind of worldly ties, be it a person, a family or a community. They are sacrificing these ties and dedicating themselves to the service of



every one," said Swami Avdheshanand, another ascetic of the Juna Akhara. Once every 12 years, tens of millions of pilgrims from India and abroad stream into Allahabad for the Maha Kumbh Mela at the point where the Ganges and Yamuna rivers meet with a third, mythical river - the Saraswati. Naga Sadhus at Kumbh Mela: Naga Sadhus are a group of saints who come out of their abode which is in the Himalayan Caves only during Kumbh Mela, never seen in the cities or vil-

practices. The Naga Sadhus are said to follow unique features of Lord Shiva, holding tridents as he would do, crowned with human skulls, their skin smeared with ashes of thick layers, bridling their long hair in coiled and matted form along the head, with their bare bodies exposed during such a biting cold climate, people say that they smoke Marijuana through a pipe called Chillum or Shiv Muli, with a claim that with that they tend to avoid the distraction of worldly influences, yet

lages otherwise. While they participate in the Kumbh Mela fair, they are peculiar and distinct from others, dabbed in ashes all over their body, the climax of it being their stark nakedness, which is very uncommon even among saints and those who are withdrawn from worldly

maintaining self-control although in the intoxicated state throughout. The Naga Sadhus are said to have been totally withdrawn from the materialistic world, practicing celibacy to escape from the mortal cycle of birth and death, aiming at total salvation.

Story of Kartikeya (His Birth)

n the forest with the Pandavas, Markandeya tells them the story of the birth of Kartikeya. Markandeya said, “The God (Deva) Agni, together with the wives of the seven Brahma rishis, had a luminous son called Kartikeya. Let me tell you his story. He served the Brahmins because of which his fame grew. At the time, a great war was being fought between the Devas and the Danavas (demons). The ferocious Danavas were gaining victory over the Devas every day. On one particular day, the Danavas destroyed a large portion of the army of Indra, the king of the Devas. This saddened Indra and he paced about in deep worry about how he would find a suitable army commander who could hold his own against the formidable Danavas and destroy them.” “Lost in thought, King Indra did not realise that he had walked all the way near the top of Mount Kailas. There he suddenly heard a woman's terrifying shrieks. He ran towards the source of the sound and came to a woman shouting at the top of her voice. ‘Please someone marry me, save me. If you cannot get me married, then you yourself become my husband.’ Indra told her

not to be afraid but she replied that he must find a powerful and brave husband for her, whose fame would spread through the three worlds.” “Now Indra forgot about his own troubles and started worrying about where he would find the kind of husband she wanted. At that very moment, Indra looked

towards the eastern horizon where the Sun was just about to rise. It was dawn and the following night would be the night of the new moon. As he saw the rays of the majestic Sun fill the sky, he also saw the fortunate Moon disappear behind those rays. This was during the fiery astrological period of Rudra and from the top of the mountain, Indra could see the battle waging between the Devas and the Danavas. He saw that the skies were filled

with the colour red which was not just of the dawn, but the reflection of the ocean's waters which had turned the colour of blood red and were reflected in the rays of the Sun. He saw the descendants of the two rishis - Bhrigu and Angiras enter the Sun with materials to light the Agni of sacrifice. Indra knew that this would be the last new moon of the year and during this period the characteristics of the moon are very cruel. Indra saw that surrounding the Sun was a circle of fire. Both the Sun and Moon had conjunct in their most terrible forms. He knew that the signs were foretelling a terrible battle that night. He saw the river Sindhu (Indus) filled with the colour of blood. He could read the omens. This was the most fearful and terrible combination of omens he had ever seen. The meeting of the three - Surya, Chandra and Agni - in their most awesome and dreaded forms, together with lustre and brilliance, signalled the birth of a great child who would become the husband of this young maiden.” (To be continued next week)

All past articles on the Mahabharata can be accessed from or from


travel & women - asian voice 9th February 2013

Purvi Apurva Shah

Visit to Kohima and tribal villages worthwhile ohima, the capital of Nagaland and the tribK al villages of Khonoma

Khonoma Nature Conservation and Tragopan Sanctuary. Touphema is an appealing overnight option for those travelling on to further districts, such as Mokokchung. You won't have to sacrifice too many comforts to have a cultural experience here - the bathrooms even have Western toilets. The attractive tourist complex is positioned on a hillock that

of around 1,100 British and 330 Indian soldiers are buried there. You'll find the Kisama Heritage Village approximately 10 km from Kohima. This open air museum can be visited daily from morning until evening, and contains a collection of traditional style tribal Nagaland buildings. Don't miss the Hornbill Festival, held there during the first week of December every year! Picturesque Khonoma village, home to the Angami tribe, is located around 20 km from Kohima. The journey is a bone rattling two hour one because of the terrible condition of the road, yet the village draws visitors with its soul soothing vistas. Village homes cascade down hilltops to the valleys below. Get an intimate taste of village life by staying in one of the rustic home stays there. The inhabitants of Khonoma place a lot of emphasis on wildlife conservation and have established The

overlooks the village, with the hills providing a dramatic 360 degree backdrop. There are guides to show visitors around the village, and excellent cultural programs in the evenings. The village women will even share their recipes!

and Touphema are the main places of tourist interest in the state. Those who're interested in history will find a visit to the Kohima War Cemetery worthwhile. This cemetery is a tribute to the soldiers who laid down their lives pushing back the Japanese army during World War II. The bodies

Hornbill Festival

with wood carvings and hollow log drum instruments, which are beaten in haunting symphony at the end of the day. There are plenty of handicraft stalls, food stalls, and heady rice beer to indulge in as well. In the evenings after sundown, the main attraction is the Hornbill National Rock Concert. Bands from all over the country come to compete. This is followed by a night market in town. Hornbill Festival Travel Tips: The Hornbill Festival is one of the top tourist draws in Nagaland, so if you're planning to attend, do book accommodations well in advance. There's a very handy Information Center next to the festival venue, which provides brochures listing the events at the festival and other attractions in Nagaland. Make sure you bargain at the souvenir shops. Entry permits are required for visiting Nagaland. Indian tourists need an Inner Line Permit, while foreigners require a Kohima War Cemetry

Hornbill Festival: The Hornbill Festival takes place at Kisama Heritage Village, around 10 km from Kohima. Performances begin by 9 a.m. each day. The Hornbill Festival is attended by all of Nagarland's major tribes. It features traditional arts, dances, folk songs, and games. All this takes place amidst immaculate replicas of tribal hutments, complete

Restricted Area Permit and need to travel in groups of at least four. Find out more about permits for Nagaland and where best to get them. Kohima doesn't have an airport. The nearest one is in Dimapur, with flights to and from Kolkata and Guwahati. From Dimapur it's a two hour drive to Kohima. Or, if you're in a hurry, a 30 minute helicopter ride.

By AV Correspondent Constructed in 1026-27 AD, during the reign of King Bhimdev I of Patan, the Modhera temple is dedicated to Surya or the Sun God. Although it bears a dilapidated look, it is still a magnificent specimen of superb artistry of Gujarat's architects of the bygone days. The temple is positioned in such a manner that at the equinoxes the rising sun strikes the images in the sanctuary. It also incorporates an amusement park, a museum, a cafeteria, picture gallery and library. According to the Skanda Purana and Brahma Purana, the areas near Modhera were known during ancient days as Dharmaranya, literally meaning the forest of righteousness. According to these Puranas, Lord Rama, after defeating Ravana, asked sage Vasistha to show him a place of pilgrimage where he could go and purify himself from the sin of Brahma-hatya (the sin of killing a Brahmin, because Ravana was a Brahmin by birth). Sage Vasistha showed him Dharmaranya, which was near the modern town of Modhera. In the Dharmaranya, he settled at a village Modherak and performed a yagna there. Thereafter he established a village and named it Sitapur. This village is about 15 km from Becharaji Modherak village and it subsequently came to be known as Modhera. The Sun Temple was built by Rushabh Bhimdev I of Solanki Dynasty. This was the time when Somnath and Servings: 2 Time Taken: 15-30 mins Ingredients: 1 cup Rajma, soaked in water overnight, 1 cup - grated coconut, 1 - tomato, chopped finely, 1 - medium onion, chopped finely, 2 tsp - rasam powder, 1 tsp garam masala, 1 tsp - chilli powder, 1 tsp - cumin seeds, 1 tsp - ginger garlic/ ginger paste, 3 to 4 - curry leaves, 1 tsp - lemon juice, 2 tbsp â&#x20AC;&#x201C; oil, salt as per taste. Method: Pressure cook Rajma in plenty of water until it is completely cooked (about 3 whistles) and keep aside. In a blender, grind the coconut with water to make a smooth paste. In a pan, heat some oil. Add cumin seeds. Add curry leaves after the seeds splutter. Add chopped onions and

the adjoining area was plundered by Mahmud Ghazni and reeled under the effects of his invasion. The Solankis, however, regained much of their lost power and splendour. Anahilvad Patan, the Solanki capital, was restored to glory. Royalty and traders jointly contributed to build grand temples. Solankis were considered to be Suryavanshi, Gurjar or descendants of Sun god. The Sun temple is of a unique architecture. The temple comprises three separate, axially aligned and integrated elements: Surya Kund, Sabha Mandap and Guda Mandap. The temple is partially in ruins after it was destroyed by the Allauddin Khilji. However, enough has remained of the temple to convey its grandeur. This Suryakunda, also known as Ramakunda, is a large rectangular tank measuring 53.6 x 36.6 meters under the east face of sabhamandap used to store pure water. Devotees were required to perform ceremonial ablutions here before worshiping the Sun God. This hall of religious gatherings is a magnificent pillared hall. It is open from all sides and has 52 intricately carved pillars representing 52 weeks in a year. The carvings depict episodes from the Hindu books of Ramayan, Mahabharat and Krishna Lila. Between the Sabha Mandapa and the sanctum sanctorum is a beautiful hall with pillars and arches, whose facade has been renovated and partially redone. The walls have 12 niches showing the differ-

ent aspects of the Sun God in each month. The Suryakund is a finest example of geometry. The organization of stone into composition gives shape to a dazzling pattern of art. It is proportioned with innumerable stone steps leading devotees down to its base. 108 miniature shrines are carved in between the steps inside the tank. There are four terraces to descend to reach the bottom of the tank. Small pyramid-shaped steps are for each terrace. God and Goddess depicted in immortalized stone unfold the sculpture wealth. Two huge ornamental arches called Toran forms a gateway to the Sabha Mandap The canvas on the walls and pillars depict the incidents from the Ramayan and the Mahabharat, and forms of gods and goddesses and the way of life of the people of that time. An interesting iconograph is one with three heads, three arms and three legs. Adjoining the Sun Temple is the huge 'Sun Kund' (Rama Kund) with numerous smaller temples numbering about 108. To create the enchantment and splendor of ancient history and rich cultural traditions, Modhera dance festival is held during the third week of January every year, after the festival of Uttarayan for three days in the backdrop of the Sun temple. Renowned Indian artists perform here and enthrall the audience. The objective is to present classical dance forms in its original form. The festival is organised by the Tourism Corporation of Gujarat.

Rajma in Coconut Gravy fry till it turns transparent and light brown in colour. Add ginger paste and saute. Add tomatoes and the coconut paste; cook covered until the tomatoes become tender. Add salt, rasam powder, chilli powder, garam masala and the cooked Rajma. Cover and cook for another 2 mins. Remove from stove, add lemon juice and serve hot with rice or rotis. Health benefits: Rajma are an excellent source of cholesterol-lowering fiber, as are most other beans. In addition to lowering cholesterol, the

high fiber content in Rajma prevent blood sugar levels from rising too rapidly after a meal, making these beans a specially good choice for individuals with diabetes, insulin resistance or hypoglycemia. - asian Voice 9th February 2013

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eople can often forget themselves when they are in relationship and it is important to remember the following fundamentals so you can relish and enjoy every relationship you have. Firstly, remember to love yourself first. Be your own best friend and not your own worst enemy. You have to know your strengths and qualities, be proud of them and share them with the people you love. Never put yourself down or compromise your worth. If you are find that you are having to do this remind yourself that you have a choice to be in any relationship. Also, you should not need anyone to make you love yourself â&#x20AC;&#x201C; this is a risky way to love yourself as you rely on others to raise your selfesteem. You need to give yourself this love from

within. This is sustainable and will give you a sense of confidence that cannot be knocked. Secondly, forgiveness is always the right thing to do. Do not hold onto things for they will damage you and create dis-ease within your body. Learn the lessons and take this wisdom to help you grow and become stronger. Being bitter and holding grudges damages no one but you. Live and let live as they say. Life is very short, we all make mistakes and no one is perfect, ask yourself what you will gain from holding onto this bitterness. Will it make you a better person or worse? Strong characters forgive and release the painful burden of past events and situations. Thirdly, accept that fact that people change and nothing remains the same.

Instead of being resistant to this change be open to learning how the change is good for you and the other person. Realize that you have changed as well and as you change you adjust and grow to become wiser. Lastly, never stop communicating. Be calm and share your thoughts and feelings. Have a trusted friend that you can talk to, it will make you feel better and will help you to regroup and appreciate your relationship. If you donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t feel comfortable talking, write things down and have a brain dump of your thoughts. Downloading your thoughts will make you feel lighter. Donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t forget to follow us on twitter, like us on facebook (thinkspalondon) and email us if you have any questions. Light and love â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Mamta

sleep deteriorates and prevents those memories from being saved by the brain at night," Walker said.Healthy adults typically spend one-quarter of the night in deep, nonrapid-eye-movement ( REM) sleep. Slow waves are generated by the brain's middle frontal lobe. Deterioration of this frontal region of the brain in elderly people is linked to their failure to generate deep sleep, the study found. In older adults, the results showed a clear link between the degree of brain deterioration in the

middle frontal lobe and the severity of impaired "slow wave activity" during sleep. On average, the quality of their deep sleep was 75 per cent lower than that of the younger participants, and their memory of the word pairs the next day was 55 per cent worse.

ings suggested. Their discovery opens the door to boosting the quality of sleep in elderly people to

improve memory."What we have discovered is a dysfunctional pathway that helps explain the relationship between brain deterioration, sleep disruption and memory loss as we get older - and with that, a potentially new treatment avenue," said UC Berkeley sleep researcher Matthew Walker, an associate professor of psychology and neuroscience at UC Berkeley and senior author of the study. "When we are young, we have deep sleep that helps the brain store and retain new facts and information. But as we get older, the quality of our

cientists at the University of S California, Berkeley have

for the first time found a link between poor sleep, memory loss and brain deterioration in older adults.They have found that the slow brain waves generated during the deep, restorative sleep we typically experience in youth play a key role in transporting memories from the hippocampus - which provides short-term storage for memories - to the prefrontal cortex's longer term "hard drive." However, in older adults, memories may be getting stuck in the hippocampus


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UK Coming Events Half term fun

Under 16s from Enfield will be able to swim and use gym facilities free of charge between 16 - 24 February thanks to a special half term offer by Enfield Council and its leisure centre management company Fusion Lifestyle - so sign up now! To take advantage of the free offer during all school holiday periods youngsters must apply for the concession card. Free swimming is available during all advertised general/child specific swimming sessions at Albany Leisure Centre, Arnos Pool, Edmonton Leisure Centre, Southbury Leisure Centre and Southgate Leisure Centre. Gym facilities are available at Albany Leisure Centre, Aspire Sports & Fitness Centre, Edmonton Leisure Centre, Southbury Leisure Centre and newly refurbished Southgate Leisure Centre. All gym facilities will be open at the following times during the school holiday period: Monday - Friday 7:00am - 6.00pm Saturday & Sunday 8:00am - 6.00pm ---------------------Throughout February half term week and the Easter holidays families can join London Transport Museum’s make and take arts and crafts workshops and story time sessions inspired by the 150th Anniversary of the London Underground. February Half Term Sat urday 16 – Su nday 24 F ebru ary * Story time- 11.00 and 14.00 * Make and Take Craft Workshop- 11.30 and 14.30 Easter Holidays Mon day 1 April – Frid ay 12 April *Story time: 11.00 and 14.00 * Make and Take Craft Workshop: 11.30 and 14.30 All events open to all ages. Entrance to the Museum is free for children under 16. Adult admission is £15.00 (£11.50 concessions) and tickets allow unlimited entry for a whole year. Further information can be found at l Sangeet Ratna & Nritya Ratna Awards Young Musician and Dancer of the year Milapfest, in association with Arts Council England, is delighted to announce the creation of two new annual arts awards for talented young artistes engaged in the performance of Classical Indian music and dance in Britain. Application and Competition Dates: Applications Open: Tuesday 29 January 2013 Application Deadline: Friday 29 March 2013 Short List Announced: Tuesday 28 May 2013 Performances: Late July 2013 Further information and application forms are available on request from Milapfest. Contact Chethana Siddappa at or call 0151 291 3649 - Asian Voice 9th February 2013

14 year old Karishma Raichada receives special recognition award

Your thinking is inspired, so listen to your thoughts. This may be a time of expansion and opportunity and it would be unwise to let yourself become complacent. The need to push ahead with personal interests and to assert yourself with added force will take precedence over everything else for some time to come.

ARIES Mar 21 - Apr 20

TAURUS Apr 21 - May 21 Having all the major planets above the horizon in your solar chart shows that the general pattern of events will focus your attention on the need to make an impact on the world. Although the very practical affairs of life continue to be highlighted, you will be very much in demand socially. Take some time out to reflect. Try and work out where you want to make changes in your busy life. Once you know, don't hesitate to implement it systematically. A tremendous amount of planetary activity in your chart signals a time of mixed emotions as well as personal issues to be dealt with.

GEMINI May 22 - June 22

Ryan Thomas, Kareena Raichada (Karishma's Sister aged 11), Karishma Raichada and Adam John Barton

On Friday 25th January 2013 over 240 people (including special VIP guests and famous actors) attended The Flame Awards which took place at Hilton Hotel Manchester. 14 year old Karishma Raichada from North Wembley who attends Claremont High School Academy in Kenton received a special recognition award for her outstanding contribution in helping charities and fundraising. Her work includes helping both local and national charities. During her school summer holidays in August 2012 Karishma visited an orphanage in Mombasa, Kenya, where she volunteered.

Her special recognition award was presented to her by the famous TV presenter and actress Ms Denise Welch current host of ITV series "loose Women" (Please see attached photo) Karishma said " It was an amazing experience helping others less fortunate, I enjoyed meeting so many different people who have also done amazing voluntary work. it was a great evening meeting famous stars such as Ryan Thomas who plays Jason Grimshaw in ITV Coronation street as well as Adam John Barton from British soap opera Emmerdale played by Adam Thomas and some of the caste from BBC Waterloo Road.

The accent’s very much on relationships. The opening up of a more diverse social life is a point in favour of romantic attachments. You will achieve a lot more, especially when you're motivated by your own desires. The general pattern of things continues on a progressive and buoyant theme.

CANCER Jun 22 - Jul 22

LEO Jul 23 - Aug 23

It is a good time for dealing with financial interests with a long-term basis, such as investments, insurance and all jointly held resources. You will be able to sort out any difficulties by taking immediate action. Therefore you will need to adopt a fairly flexible policy to accommodate the odd twists and turns of everyday life. Business partnerships are tested, some of them could challenge your authority. Now is the time to cultivate an easier relationship with life, get out and about, explore fresh possibilities. Once you set your mind on a goal you stay the course no matter what obstacles you encounter.

VIRGO Aug 24 - Sep 23

If lately you have had all sorts of demands being placed on you from all sides, don't despair; take some time out to reflect. Try and work out your priorities. Once you know, don't hesitate to implement it systematically. A tremendous amount of planetary activity in your chart signals a time for change.

LIBRA Sep 24 - Oct 23

SCORPIO Oct 24- Nov 22 With Venus, Mars well placed in your chart, this is a good time for your social as well as your love life. If you’re single you are likely to meet the person of your dreams and this could lead to a permanent relationship for some of you. You could also benefit at work through a promotion.

l Brighton Marathon Sunday by Sense, 14 April, Registration: £10. Contact: 08451270063 or Editor: CB Patel Associate Editor: Rupanjana Dutta Tel: 020 7749 4098 - Email: Senior News Editor: Dhiren Katwa Freelance Correspondent: Rudy Otter Chief Operating Officer: Liji George Tel: 020 7749 4013 Email: Chief Financial Officer: Surendra Patel Tel: 020 7749 4093 Mobile: 07875 229 220 Email: Chief Accountant: Akshay Desai Tel: 020 7749 4087 Business Manager: Alka Shah Tel: 020 7749 4002 - Mobile: 07944 151 893 Email: Advertising Manager: Kishor Parmar Tel: 020 7749 4095 - Mobile: 07875 229 088 Email: Business Development Managers: Rovin J George - Email: Tel: 020 7749 4097 - Mobile: 07875 229 219 Nihir Shah - Email: Tel: 020 7749 4089 - Mobile: 07875 229 111 Urja Patel - Email: Kalpesh Shah Tel: 07539 88 66 44 Email: Graphic Designers: Harish Dahya & Ajay Kumar Tel: 020 7749 4086 Email: Customer Service: Ragini Nayak Tel: 020 7749 4080 - Email:

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It seems that the winds of change begin to gather momentum and put a strong focus on domestic and family matters. Besides spending more time tending to domestic affairs, the focus can be on cultivating and nourishing your inner foundations, so to speak. Extra energy and drive will get things accomplished, but don't be too harsh when you deal with others.

SAGITTARIUS Nov 23 - Dec 21

You will progress by focusing your mental and physical energies on what you want to achieve. The underlying trend seems to be pulling you into a much wider social circle now. This will enrich your life and give you a deeper sense of purpose. The prevailing pattern of planets gives you a marvellous opportunity - take advantage.

CAPRICORN Dec 22 - Jan 20

Your attention turns to money and finance this week. You are satisfied with your love life, but now you’ve got to get busy making cash. You have much professional territory yet to cover, with planets in your financial sector, there is not reason why you should not get there. Good period for communications.

AQUARIUS Jan 21 - Feb 19

This is a favourable time for getting away from usual routines and seeking a retreat for a few days. All the better if you are interested in such things as meditation, yoga and therapies that help you. This will prove to be highly beneficial for your physical and psychological well-being.

PISCES Feb 20 - Mar 20

Sport World - Asian Voice 9th February 2013


Afridi named captain of Pak A side against Afghanistan

Glenn Maxwell, the off-spinning all-rounder from Victoria, was the biggest buy in the Pepsi-Indian Premier League (IPL) player auction at Chennai on Sunday. Auctions have thrown up surprises in the IPL and Maxwell, who began with a base price of $200,000, was finally bought by Mumbai Indians for a whopping $1 million. The 24-year-old Maxwell has had modest success at international level - he has 197 runs in nine ODIs at 28.14 and four wickets at 58.50. And in nine twenty20 internationals, he has 47 runs at 15.66 and five scalps at 25.60. He has, however, gained a reputation for being a hard striker of the ball and a handy off-spinner in domestic cricket. The needs of Mumbai Indians - how much a player eventually goes for is often dictated by circumstances and the requirements of a team - made him becoming a ‘million dollar baby’. “He is an upcoming youngster. Maxwell can bat and bowl his off-spin well. He is also a tremendous fielder and we needed such a cricketer in the side,” said Nita Ambani of Mumbai Indians. In contrast two marquee players - Ricky Ponting and Michael Clarke - did not fetch more than their base price of $ 400,000. Mumbai

Indians was pleased with two batting legends Sachin Tendulkar and Ricky Ponting being in the same side while Pune Warriors was contemplating making the quick-thinking Clarke as the captain. In all 37 cricketers were sold from a total number of 108 players who were in the auction. Sadly, only one wicket-keeper, Quinton de Kock, was picked, by Sunrisers Hyderabad, for his base price of just $20,000. Bigger names such as Matt Prior, Prasanna Jayawardene and Matthew Wade did not find a buyer. All-rounder Abhishek Nayar emerged as the most expensive Indian cricketer in this auction. He was sold for $ 675,000 to Pune Warriors; his base price was just $100,000. Pacemen Jaydev Unadkat (Royal Challengers Bangalore, $525,000), Manpreet Singh Grewal (Kings XI Punjab, $500,000) and R.P. Singh (RCB $400,000) were big gainers in the auction. Domestic pacemen were clearly in demand. It was a rather low key auction but IPL Chairman Rajiv Shukla explained, “The major auction will come only next season. This time the teams were only looking to pick players to fill their immediate needs.” It was an auction where the smaller names attracted

Glenn Maxwell

bigger bids. Twenty-one year old Aussie paceman Kane Richardson, with a base price of $100,000, was roped in by Pune Warriors for $700,000. He had gone wicket-less in his lone ODI against Sri Lanka at Adelaide recently but is considered by many to be promising. Chennai Super Kings (CSK), seeking to strengthen its pace bowling, purchased young South African all-rounder Christopher Morris for a jaw-dropping $625,000 overcoming strong bids from Mumbai Indians and RCB. Morris’ base price was just $20,000 and here was a case of a cricketer picked purely on potential. CSK, striving to find a replacement for Doug Bollinger, shelled out $600,000 for veteran leftarm quick Dirk Nannes. Another experienced customer, off-spinner Johan Botha, was sold to Delhi Daredevils, seeking spin-

ners, for $450,000. Warriors sign Mendis And comeback Sri Lankan mystery spinner Ajantha Mendis was signed by Pune Warriors for a startling $725,000 (reverse price $50,000) after Kolkata Knight Riders had made a serious bid. Warriors were convinced that Mendis had rediscovered himself as a bowler. Even as highly-rated leftarm spinner Rangana Herath remained unsold, lesser known countryman Sachithra Senanayake, an off-spinner, was won by defending champion Kolkata Knight Riders for a surprising $625,000 after holding off a strong bid from CSK. The Sri Lankan’s reserve price was just $50,000. Another Sri Lankan, Thissara Perera, was bagged by Sunrisers Hyderabad for $675,000; a significant jump from his base price of $50,000. Keen on purchasing all-rounders, Sunrisers also roped in West Indian captain Darren Sammy, another pace bowling allrounder, for $425,000 (reserve price $100,000). Darren Bravo and Bollinger, fancied names, went unsold but the relatively unknown pace-bowling all-rounder James Faulkner was lapped up by Rajasthan Royals for $400,000 (base price $100,000). This was the mood in the auction.

India flex muscle in ICC meet, threaten pull out over DRS

India has once again threatened to pull out of any tour in which the host country insists on using the Decision Review System. According to a report, at the ICC executive council meeting in Dubai, BCCI president N Srinivasan has shot down a proposal in favour of a policy change where the approval of the host country would be enough to implement the DRS. The report said that the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) chairman Giles Clarke was the lone man who spoke in favour of a policy change regarding the implementation of DRS. "Srinivasan’s concerns are understood to still centre on a belief that the technology could be easily manipulated and is unreliable. It has been learnt that he made the claim that India would pull out of bilateral series if a system was in

N Srinivasan

place where the home side could insist on the DRS," the report said. "Though the DRS issue was not even listed on the agenda, or in the post-meeting press release dispatched, it was discussed at length in the wake of a renewed push during the ICC chief

executives committee (CEC) meeting last month, for universal implementation of the referral system." At that meeting, held on December 4, every member with the exception of India had backed a change in the DRS implementation policy," the report added. The existing playing conditions as laid down by the ICC require the approval of both countries on DRS during a bilateral series. But report said that the CEC recommended that the issue should be resolved via a vote during the executive board meeting. "In the end there was no vote as most of 13man strong board (10 Full Members plus three Associates) failed to stand up to Srinivasan. Only Clarke, who supported the CEC recommendation, felt it warranted a discussion this week again," the report read.

Former Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi was named captain of the Pakistan A side against Afghanistan in a limited over series being held next week. Afridi would lead not only the national A side but also of the combined Karachi/Sindh regional outfit that will play against the Afghans in Hyderabad. Afridi, who has been yearning to get match practice before the limited over series in South Africa, also dropped the idea of playing in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy first class tournament because of the Afghanistan series. "We have named a very strong Pakistan A side for the series because Afghanistan is a outfit that can't be taken lightly at any time," chief selector Iqbal Qasim said. Besides Afridi the Pakistan 'A' ODI and T20 squads also include prominent players like Kamran Akmal, Umar Akmal, Ahmed Shahzad, Wahab Riaz, Fawad Alam, Zulfiqar Babar, Umar Amin, Ali Asad, Yasir Shah and Khurrum Manzoor.

David Beckham signs up for French club Paris

David Beckham's distinguished career took a surprise late twist when the high-profile former England captain joined French club Paris St Germain. The 37-year-old ex-Manchester United and Real Madrid midfielder will get as much attention off the pitch as on it with the world's media trailing him as he settles into the Parisian lifestyle. "David refused a lot of clubs from around the world, so we're very happy to have him," PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi told a news conference at the Parc des Princes. "He will help us to reach our dream to become one of the best European clubs, he'll be of big value for the club, he'll be a big asset." "I'm 37 years old and was offered a lot of offers, more now than I've had in my career, and at my age. I'm honoured by that. I chose Paris because I can see what the club are trying to do, I can see the players the club are bringing in," said Beckham.

No major overhaul in Lanka team too soon: Jayasuriya

Sri Lanka's new chief selector Sanath Jayasuriya denied plans to target senior players in a major overhaul of the national team. "Straight away you can't make big changes," Jayasuriya said at his first meeting with reporters here after he was made the chief selector, leading a five-member panel of former cricket players. "The big task is to give confidence to the existing players in the team. It is wrong to say I have been appointed to remove certain players," he said. Jayasuriya, the 43-year-old star from the 1996 World Cup-winning Sri Lankan team, dismissed reports that he would axe Jayawardene and Sangakkara. There was speculation that Jayasuriya, now a ruling party MP, would target both Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara.

Australia names 17-man squad for India tour

All-rounder Glenn Maxwell has been included along with specialist spinners Nathan Lyon and Xavier Doherty in Australia’s 17man squad for the four-test series in India starting next month. Selectors announced a large and diverse range of bowling options, including five pacemen, two specialist spinners, uncapped all-rounder Maxwell who bats in the middle order and bowls offbreaks and medium pace allrounder Moises Henriques. Vice-captain Shane Watson was picked as a specialist batsman and opener David Warner was included despite a thumb injury which has ruled him out of the fivematch limited-overs series against

the West Indies. Batsmen Usman Khawaja and Steve Smith have also been included as Australia searches for long-term replacements for recently-retired veterans Ricky Ponting and Mike Hussey. James Pattinson returns to the test lineup after injury to join a five-strong pace attack including

Peter Siddle, Jackson Bird, Mitchell Starc and Mitchell Johnson. The Australians will play two warm up matches in Chennai before the first test starts Feb. 22. “We have a good opportunity for members of the squad to get well acclimatized to the conditions,” selection committee

chairman John Inverarity said. “This squad has the flexibility that will be required for the varying conditions expected in India and it will provide valuable experience to a number of young players.” The 24-year-old Maxwell has played only seven limited-overs internationals for Australia, scoring 146 runs at an average of 24.33 and not taking any wickets, but is considered a player of the future after setting a domestic record with a half century from 19 balls for Victoria against Tasmania in a limited-overs match. Doherty hasn’t played test cricket since his two tests in the Ashes defeat at home in 201011, while Smith also played the

last of his five tests in that series loss to England. “It’s a long tour and a very important one as we look to continue our improvement in test cricket and our quest to return to the top of the ICC test cricket rankings,” Inverarity said. “We are also building toward back-toback Ashes series.” The squad: Michael Clarke (captain), Ed Cowan, David Warner, Phil Hughes, Shane Watson, Usman Khawaja, Steve Smith, Matthew Wade, Glenn Maxwell, Moises Henriques, Mitchell Johnson, Peter Siddle, James Pattinson, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, Xavier Doherty, Jackson Bird.

32 - Asian Voice 9th February 2013

Harbhajan quits as MI skipper

Fans name Steven Gerrard as England player of the year

Steven Gerrard was on Sunday named as England's player of the year for 2012 after winning over 40 per cent of a fans' vote, the Football Association announced. The 32year-old Liverpool star edged out Danny Welbeck and Ashley Cole to clinch the award. England captain Gerrard became his country's sixth cap centurion in November when he chalked up his 100th appearance in the meeting with Sweden. "I still feel fresh, looking forward to the next game as much as my debut. Every time you put the England shirt on, it is a proud moment," said the Liverpool midfielder.

Hashim Amla takes over as number-one ranked Test batsman

South African Hashim Amla on Monday became the first batsman since Ricky Ponting to head both Test and ODI rankings at the same time in the latest ICC charts. Amla leads a number of South Africa players who continue to make impressive gains in the latest ICC Test Player Rankings. South Africa players now head the ICC Test Player Rankings tables for batting, bowling and all-rounders after the side's 211-run win over Pakistan in the first Test at Johannesburg on Monday.


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"I have seen Somdev Devvarman play in the Asian Games," said Jeong Suk-Young after securing the Davis Cup tie (Asia Oceania Group I) for Korea at the RK Khanna Tennis Stadium in Delhi. "He would have loved to play on this slow hard court." The Koreans, having won 4-1, understood why they were returning home with their heads held high. But they were not complaining. India's rookie singles players VM Ranjeet and Vijayant Malik were not complaining either. They may never get the opportunity of representing the country in this event again. They may never feel the fervour of an appreciative, drum-banging crowd again. "I had goose pimples when I stepped on to the court," said Ranjeet, who fed off the energy. The crowd urged him on and he urged the crowd to crank up the volume. It bothered Jeong a bit but the Korea No. 1 was a cool customer. Aware that he was never going to win a baseline battle on such a court against a tireless opponent, Ranjeet tried to change his tactics, moving forward to keep the rallies at a minimum. But the fistpumping moments were few and far between. India needed him to stretch the tie to the fifth

Hundreds of soccer matches have been fixed in a global betting scam run from Singapore, police said on Monday, in a blow to the image of the world's most popular sport and a multibillion dollar industry. About 680 suspicious matches including qualifying games for the World Cup and European Championships, and the Champions League for top European club sides, have been identified in an inquiry by European police forces, the European anti-

The All India Tennis Association (AITA) on Sunday formed a threemember committee, including Justice Deepak Verma and former Davis Cupper Naresh Kumar, to resolve the issues with the rebel players, but its suggestions apparently would not be binding on the national tennis federation. Apart from Verma, a former justice of Supreme Court, and Kumar, the committee has retired bureaucrat M C Gupta as the third member. The decision to appoint the committee was taken at

the All India Tennis Association Executive Committee meeting here. The committee will discuss the issues with the rebel players and before giving a final report within four months, it will file an interim report so that top players could be brought back for the next tie, slated for April 5-7 in India. Asked what was the need of forming the committee when the players just wanted an assurance in writing, AITA CEO Hironmoy Chatterjee said they wanted a certain process to the end. "This policy of blackmailing has been going on for long. The availability came with pre-conditions and we do not appreciate that. We want to stop it. It is a neutral committee and I am hopeful that the suggestions it would make would be acceptable to both the parties," Chatterjee said.

"It's a step forward, pre-conditions are not welcome. Hopefully, they (players) will not challenge this committee." Asked if the suggestions of the committee would be binding on AITA, Chatterjee said, "I am not saying that". Since AITA will give terms and references to the committee, it was asked how then the committee can be branded as neutral, to which Chatterjee said since none of the committee members are associated with AITA in any way, it was neutral. When pointed out that if the committee makes suggestions which the AITA does not like, the CEO said he was hopeful that it will not come up with anything which will be "unacceptable to anyone". If the players refrain from accepting the committee's suggestions or even refuse to talk, the status quo will remain on the issue. The players are expected to respond to the formation of the committee. Chatterjee made it clear that if the players don't accept the final decision, then "they will have to sit out". The committee, which will have its first meeting on February 22, will not delve into issues concerning selection of support staffs, but can talk to the players on the matter.

crime agency Europol, and national prosecutors. "This is a sad day for European football," said Rob Wainwright, director of Europol. "This is now an integrity issue for football. Those responsible for running the games should hear the warnings." The world's most popular sport, soccer is played on every continent. The World Cup and Europe's Champions League are beamed worldwide and generate billions of dollars for national associations,

clubs and broadcasters. Top players such as Lionel Messi of Barcelona and Argentina and Cristiano Ronaldo, a Portuguese international who plays his club soccer for Real Madrid, are household names. The matches in question, some of which have already been subject to successful criminal prosecutions, were played between 2008 and 2011, the investigators said. About 380 of the suspicious matches were played

in Europe, and a further 300 were identified in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Corruption linked to Asian betting syndicates and organised crime has long been seen as a threat to the game, but Monday's announcement underlines the scale of the problem. Ralf Mutschke, Director of Security for world soccer's governing body FIFA, said sports bodies and prosecutors needed to work more closely together.

rubber. Although he looked a better player on Sunday, having gained the experience of one Davis Cup match, the challenge was too steep. He succumbed 4-6, 4-6, 2-6 to his superior opponent. But was he really the loser?

AITA forms committee to resolve crisis

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Off-spinner Harbhajan Singh has submitted his resignation as captain of the Indian Premier League franchise Mumbai Indians. The team management will now be looking to hand over the responsibility to someone else and it is believed that middle-order batsman Rohit Sharma could be in the fray for the job. Harbhajan, it is learnt, wanted another teammate to take over the job after Mumbai Indians' failed attempt at winning the cup so far. Meanwhile, after allowing batsman T Suman to take a transfer for IPL VI, MI have also relieved RP Singh, Herschelle Gibbs and Robin Peterson for this season. The IPL GC will announce the list of players for the 2013 auction this week.


Asian Voice  

Asian Voice weekly news paper

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