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Cyrus P Mistry to succeed Ratan Tata Details on page 44
India beats China for UN body seat Details on page 7
VOL 17, No. 899
December 2, 2011
7 OF INDIAN ORIGIN TOP BIZ THINKERS
India Post News Service
NEW YORK: Seven individuals of Indian origin have been named among the Thinkers50, the list of the world's most influential management gurus. The definitive global ranking of management thinkers is published every two years. Clayton Christensen, a pro-
fessor at Harvard Business School replaced India's CK Prahlad as the most influential business thinker on earth this year. Prahlad, who died last year at age 69, was the winner of the number one spot in 2009. He is famous as the father of the concepts of Core competency and BoP - Bottom of the Pyramid. Details on page 5
Bharat Shyam is CIO of Washington State Details on page 6
Five Indian Americans are Rhodes Scholars Details on page 6
GOPIO meet discusses NRI/PIO issues
Maryland Gov embarks on trip to India
Details on page 7 Details on page 9
Fulbright Award to study Indian 'Jugaad'
INDIA POST SURVEY firstname.lastname@example.org This week’s question
Tata’s succession process a great model for industry?
Details on page 8
Last week’s result
Is the US no longer attractive for higher education? YES 37%
Bollywood ---------------------- 34-35 Classifieds ------------------------- 47 Community Post -------------- 12-22 Date Book -------------------------- 46 Edit Page --------------------------- 49 HealthScience Post --------- 40-43 Horoscope ------------------------- 11 Immigration Post ------------- 36-39
MISS INDIA USA: Twenty-three year old New Yorker Chandan Preeni Kaur
Life Style ----------------------- 24-28
being crowned Miss India USA 2011 by Miss India USA 2010 Natasha Arora. The winner is flanked by the First and Second runner-ups. The annual beauty pageant was held in New Jersey Nov 20.-Pic Mohammed Jaffer-SnapsIndia (Details on page 26)
Philosophy ------------------------- 48
Certified by “CIRCULATION VERIFICATION COUNCIL Readership 117,765”
Publisherís Diary ------------------ 4 TechBiz Post ------------------- 44-45 Travel & Hospitality Post ---- 29-31
December 2, 2011
December 2, 2011
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ooks like India is pursuing a calculated and strategic agenda to power its way to the front and center of the new world order, through unprecedented assertiveness in the United Nations. As quietly as it were, in an election last week, India beat China to a key position on the United Nations' Joint Inspection Unit for a five year term beginning Jan. 2013. Not something laypersons would take note of, but apparently the 29 more votes that India got over China is historic as the first open test between India - a longtime hopeful of a Security Council seat - and China, one of the Big Five in the Council. K.P. Nayar of India's daily Telegraph called this victory a "feather in the turban" for Ambassador Hardeep Singh Puri, India's permanent representative to the UN in New York. India, Nayar points out, has not lost a single election in the UN since Puri assumed office in 2009. His maneuvering of the UN member vote last year to gain India a near 100% endorsement for a non-permanent seat on the Security Council is still being celebrated in New Delhi. But this is not an ode to Puri's diplomatic acumen - it is about China, which as Nayar says, is "long used to having its way in the UN by means fair or foul", and its overbearing competitiveness to get ahead in the world. Our good man in the lobby group US-India Friendship is all excited about the new development. "There is no doubt that China's ham handed behavior toward the nations bordering the South China Sea must have contributed to its unpopularity among many member nations of the UN," he says as the cause of its defeat. Anyway, this is also about India that - while struggling to gain credibility among its own people by setting up a meaningful and independent oversight body to curb corruption - has garnered sufficient credibility among its peers to oversee the UN system and its functioning. This is not exactly like India won the UN Security Council seat. But even in this small victory - against China, it's always a big deal.
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HIGHLIGHTS Bollywood: Celebrating curves Vidya Balan feels that women on the bulky side should celebrate their curves instead of feeling shy about them.
Cover Story: Top 50 Seven individuals of Indian origin have been named among the Top 50 of the world's most influential management gurus.
Community: Pawar address India-born Alderman Ameya Pawar (47th Ward), spoke to community members at a forum hosted by AAI.
Health: HIV infections down The number of new HIV infections in South and South East Asia has dropped by more than 40% between 2006 and 2010.
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December 2, 2011
7 of Indian origin top biz thinkers India Post News Service
NEW YORK: Seven individuals of Indian origin have been named among the Thinkers50, the list of the world's most influential management gurus. The definitive global ranking of management thinkers is published every two years. Clayton Christensen, a professor at Harvard Business School replaced India's CK Prahlad as the most influential business thinker on earth this year. Prahlad, who died last year at age 69, was the winner of the number one spot in 2009. He is famous as the father of the concepts of Core competency and BoP - Bottom of the Pyramid. The ranking is based on voting at the Thinkers50 website and input from a team of advisers. The Thinkers50 has ten established criteria by which thinkers are evaluated - originality of ideas; practicality of ideas; presentation style; written communication; loyalty of followers; business sense; international outlook; rigor of research; impact of ideas and the elusive guru factor. Ranked No. 3, Vijay Govindrajan is the winner of the
the Harvard Business Review article "How GE is Disrupting Itself" (Sept 2009), which introduced the concept of reverse innovation and is rated by Harvard Business Review as one of the ten big ideas of the decade. Govindarajan is also responsible for posing the question that sparked a global challenge to build a $300 house. Ranked No. 13, Nitin Nohria is the dean of Harvard Business School. He is the author, co-au-
thor or co-editor of 16 books and over 50 journal articles, book chapters and working papers. His most recent work is the Handbook of Leadership Theory and Practice, co-edited with Rakesh Khurana (who is also in the Thinkers 50), which assembles the latest thinking on leadership as related by various experts who attended a leadership colloquium organized by Nohria during the School's centennial celebrations. Ranking No.26 and winner of the 2011 Thinkers50 Global Village Award is Nirmalya Kumar, a professor of marketing at London Business School, where he is also co-director of the Aditya Birla India Center. His work focuses on marketing and the rise of India as
2011 Breakthrough Idea Award. Govindrajan is the Earl C. Daum 1924 professor of international business at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire. He is one of the world's leading experts on strategy and innovation. Govindarajan has published nine books including international bestsellers Ten Rules for Strategic Innovators and The Other Side of Innovation. His most recent book, The Other Side of Innovation focuses on how to turn an innovative idea into a successful commercial business. In 2008, Govindarajan took leave of absence from Tuck to join General Electric (GE) for 24 months as the company's first Professor in Residence and Chief Innovation Consultant. Govindarajan also worked with Jeff Immelt, GE's CEO, to produce
an economic force. Kumar is the author of several books. Marketing as Strategy: Understanding the CEO's Agenda for Driving Growth and Innovation (2004); Global Marketing (2005); and Private Label Strategy: How to Meet the Store
Brand Challenge (2007), focused on marketing strategy, where Kumar is also credited with introducing the concept of "3Vs": valued customer, value proposition and value network. His latest book is India Inside: The Emerging Innovation Challenge to the West, written with London Business School colleague Phanish Puranam (2011). Ranking No. 27 and winner of the 2011 Thinkers50 Book Award is Pankaj Ghemawat, the Anselmo Rubiralta Professor of Global Strategy at IESE Business School, in Spain. Prior to that he was the youngest full professor ever appointed at Harvard Business School. Best known for his work on globalization, Ghemawat's books include Games businesses play: Cases and models (1997); Creating value through international strategy (2005); Redefining glo-
bal strategy; Crossing borders in a world where differences still matter (2007); and Strategy and the business landscape (2009). In World 3.0: Global prosperity and how to achieve it (2011), Ghemawat examines globalization and the assumptions made about it. He refutes the idea that there is a single global economy - the central premise of Thomas Friedman's 2006 book The World is Flat. Instead, he argues, on the basis of various economic measures and indicators, nations are much more disconnected than we imagine. We live, he says, in a semi-globalized world at best. Regional differences exist and matter, argues Ghemawat, and the unevenness and differences that exist from region to region are a potential source of commercial advantage. Ranked at No.40 and shortlisted for the Thinkers50 Book Award is Vineet Nayar, the vice chairman and CEO of HCL Technologies, a global information technology services company based in India. Nayar's success has been fuelled by his unconventional management philosophy of put-
ting his employees first, and customers second. By making management accountable to the
employees, he has driven HCL to greater success, a journey related in his book Employees First, Customers Second (2010) in which he details how he set about his management revolution. Among his less conventional management techniques, Nayar makes a point of dancing at the company's employee wide Direction event, both on stage and among the crowd. It helps to remove the barriers between employee and CEO, he says. Ranked at No. 41, Rakesh Khurana is the Marvin Bower professor of leadership development at the Harvard Business School. Khurana's main areas of interest are concerned with
macro-organizational theory and the dynamics of executive labor markets, and he is particularly
Khurana is probably best known for Searching for a Corporate Savior: The Irrational Quest for Charismatic CEOs (2002) and his related academic and managerial articles on the problems associated with charismatic leadership. Khurana is also the co-author with Nitin Nohria, now Dean of Harvard Business School, of the management oath that puts primacy for creating value for society as the purpose of management. Ranked 48, Sheena Iyengar is the S.T. Lee Professor of Business at Columbia Business School, and research director of the Jerome A. Chazen Institute
of International Business. Iyengar is best known for her work on choice. She received the Best Dissertation Award from the Society of Experimental Social Psychology in 1998, for her dissertation, "Choice and Its Discontents." Iyengar's award winning book, The Art of Choosing was published in 2010. In it, Iyengar examines the many facets of choice: how and why people make choices, how other factors influence choice. Her aim is to better equip people to cope with the overwhelming variety of choice in everyday life. Iyengar's own choices have not been easy. By the time she became a teenager her deteriorating sight (she has a degenerative retinitis pigmentosa) meant that she was already unable to read,
Iyengar's award winning book, The Art of Choosing was published in 2010. In it, Iyengar examines the many facets of choice: how and why people make choices, how other factors influence choice well known for his work on leadership and CEOs. The author and editor of four books, and many articles on the executive labor markets and management education,
and by her late teens she was completely blind. Despite discouragement from some quarters, Iyengar pursued her ambitions to go to college, and pursue an academic career.
December 2, 2011
Bharat Shyam appointed CIO of Washington State India Post News Service
NEW YORK: Software and technology whiz and former Microsoft design engineer, Bharat Shyam has been appointed Chief Information Officer of Washington State by Gov. Chris Gregoire. "I am incredibly impressed with Bharat," Gov. Gregoire said, announcing the appointment on Nov 14. "With nearly 20 years of experience at Microsoft, he brings a deep understanding of software and technology. And his level of enthusiasm for the position is unmatched. I welcome him to this role, and know the citizens of Washington state will benefit from his service." "I'm honored and humbled to serve the people of Washington State as part of Governor Gregoire's team," Shyam said. "I adopted Washington as my home two decades ago and my family has benefited enormously from working and living in this state. That's why I'm thrilled to give back by ensuring we spend money wisely on information technology. Home to some of the most vibrant IT companies, combined with rapid change in IT and a dedicated state workforce Washington State has the potential to be the best government in the world when it comes to information technology. I intend to use our state assets - and make
our state nimble while delivering the best services to citizens at the lowest costs." While at Microsoft, Shyam successfully reduced costs of software publishing and servicing, while delivering higher quality and a more agile system. He began his career at Microsoft in
I adopted Washington as my home two decades ago and my family has benefited enormously from working and living in this state. That's why I'm thrilled to give back by ensuring we spend money wisely on information technology 1993 as a software design engineer, developing early prototypes of one of the nation's first smartphones. He later became a lead software engineer for Internet Explorer and Windows 98 and 2000, and was a creator of the billing system for several services in
Microsoft - including XBOX Live. He most recently served as General Manager for Windows Azure. Shyam earned a degree in computer science and engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology in Bombay, India before attending Stanford University, where he graduated with a master's of science in computer science in 1993. On October 1, 2011, the Office of the Chief Information Officer became an official part of the restructured Office of Financial Management and Washington state government. The OCIO's unique role in state government is to create clarity and alignment for IT investments by: • Providing strategic direction and enterprise architecture for state government • Enabling standardization and consolidation of IT infrastructure • Establishing standards and policies for efficient and consistent operations • Educating and inform policy leaders • Creating and nurturing a cohesive operating IT community • Bringing technology expertise to improve the business of Government As the Governor's official press release indicates, Shyam's appointment is effective Nov. 15 and he will earn an annual salary of $147,154.
Cal businessman indicted for undisclosed HSBC India account India Post News Service
NEW YORK: Yet another Indian American businessman with a HSBC India account has been indicted for tax evasion and failing to disclose foreign bank accounts. A federal grand jury in San Jose, California, on Nov 16 indicted Ashvin Desai on three counts of tax evasion, two counts of willfully aiding the preparation of materially false tax returns and three counts of failing to file Reports of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBARs), the Justice Department and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced. According to the indictment, Desai, the owner of a medical device company, his wife and his two adult children maintained
millions of dollars in undeclared bank accounts in India at The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Ltd. (HSBC). During 2009, Desai maintained approximately $8.8 million in his undeclared accounts at HSBC in India. Desai attempted to evade his income taxes for tax years 2007-2009 by filing false tax returns that failed to report $1,306,810 of interest income, and that falsely reported that he did not have an interest in, or signature authority over, bank accounts located in a foreign country. Desai also prepared false tax returns for his children for tax year 2009 that failed to report approximately $189,000 of interest income paid by HSBC in India, and that falsely reported that the children did not have an in-
terest in bank accounts located in a foreign country. The indictment further alleges that during 2009 Desai closed an account he maintained at HSBC in England and directed that the funds from that account be transferred to a bank account maintained at HSBC in Dubai in the name of one of his children, and that, for tax years 2007-2009, Desai failed to file FBARs to report his foreign bank accounts to the Department of Treasury. Each tax evasion charge carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The false tax return charges each carry a maximum penalty of three years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The failure to file an FBAR charges each carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $500,000 fine.
Five Indian Americans among 2012 Rhodes Scholars India Post News Service
Aysha N. Bagchi graduated from Stanford in June with degrees in philosophy and history and honors in ethics in society. She is now studying at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Aysha served as a member of Stanford's task force to review undergraduate education, held many roles on the Stanford Daily, and cofounded the Stanford Immigrant Rights Project. She also received major Stanford prizes for contributions to the university and for her scholarship. Aysha plans to do the M.Phil. in politics at Oxford.
NEW YORK: Five Indian Americans are among the 32 American men and women chosen as Rhodes Scholars representing the United States for 2012. Ishan Nath from Atlanta, Georgia; Nabeel N. Gillani from Virginia; Aysha N. Bagchi from Austin, Texas; Anand R. Habib from Houston, Texas; and Mohit Agrawal from Indiana will join an international group of Scholars chosen from fourteen other jurisdictions around the world, Elliot F. Gerson, American Secretary of the Rhodes Trust, announced Nov Rhodes Scholarships 19. provide all expenses for two Rhodes Scholarships provide all expenses for or three years of study at the two or three years of University of Oxford in study at the University of Oxford in England, England, and may allow and may allow funding funding in some instances in some instances for four years. Gerson called for four years the Rhodes Scholarships, "the oldest and Anand R. Habib graduated from best known award for international study, and arguably the most fa- Stanford in June with a B.S. in bimous academic award available to ology and honors in international security studies. He is currently on American college graduates." Ishan Nath, is a senior at a global health fellowship in Haiti Stanford where he will receive bach- where he is working in a variety elors' degrees in economics and of community health programs. Winning top university awards earth systems, and with a minor in mathematics. His senior thesis re- for his academic work, he also dislates to clean energy and a national tinguished himself as a leader of cap-and-trade emissions trading many public service programs at Stanford, in his communities in system. Ishan also interned at the office California and Texas, and in India, of economic policy at the White Mexico, Guatemala and Haiti. House and served as a consultant Anand plans to do masters' deto the US Department of Energy. A grees in public policy and mediTruman Scholar and an Udall cal anthropology at Oxford. Mohit Agrawal received his Scholar, he has also been an editorial writer for the Stanford Daily and B.A. in mathematics at Princeton a political columnist. A marathon last year and is currently doing a runner, he plans do the M.Sc. in master's degree in economic economics for development at Ox- policy evaluation at the National University of Ireland. Elected early ford. Nabeel N. Gillani, is a senior at to Phi Beta Kappa and the winner Brown majoring in applied mathematics and computer science. Mohit Agrawal received his Nabeel has also served as a research assistant B.A. in mathematics at on a biotechnology Princeton last year and is project, as a Microsoft project manager, and is currently doing a master's working now at Brown's degree in economic policy optimization lab on electricity restoration for di- evaluation at the National saster relief. University of Ireland He founded a Provid e n c e - b a s e d microfinance organization as well of a Mitchell Scholarship, he was as an outreach program in the co-president of Engineers WithProvidence public schools to help out Borders and proposed the younger students learn math. At Ghana School Library Initiative to Oxford he plans to do the M.Sc. in construct a library in Ashaiman, computer science and the M.Sc. in Ghana. education. Cont’d on page 7
December 2, 2011
GOPIO Convention discusses issues of concern to NRIs/PIOs SRIREKHA CHAKRAVARTY India Post News Service
NEW JERSEY: Brass tack issues of concern like consular services, property, taxation, foreign account disclosures, and opportunities for political and economic empowerment were discussed at length at the Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO International) biennial convention 2011 in Iselin, New Jersey, Nov 18-20. The conference "Issues and Concerns of the Indian Diaspora" had various sessions to evaluate, assess, debate, discuss and deliberate on the current, critical issues of interest and concern that confront persons of Indian origin of more than 25 million people living in many countries outside of India. At least 200 people attended the convention coming from all over the US and from India, Sri Lanka, South America, Belize, Canada, Guyana and Bahrain. Heaping encomiums on the GOPIO, the Indian American community and the Indian Diaspora at large, India's Ambassador Nirupama Rao, who spoke on the concluding day, said the government of India remained committed to deepening its engagement with oversees Indians in order to accelerate the pace of the economy and social change in India. "(During the conference) you have raised issues of concern and
questions concerning the overseas Indian community and you spoke of consular services, business and investment opportunities - essentially what came through was your desire to be connected even more closely with mother India and as far as the In-
At least 200 people attended the convention coming from all over the US and from India, Sri Lanka, South America, Belize, Canada, Guyana and Bahrain dian Embassy is concerned and as far as our embassies and consulates around the world are concerned we want to be of assistance first and foremost to all of you. We are there with you, we want to work shoulder to shoulder with you, and we want to assist you in whichever way that is possible." "From time to time you may encounter some problems," Rao continued. "There is always scope for improvement; I do not deny that. But I wanted to assure you of our sincerity and our commitment to be of assistance because
we all serve the common cause of serving India." The Indian American community has made tremendous contribution to India's modernization and that their accomplishments and achievements have caught the imagination of India indeed of the world. At the inaugural dinner reception, Inder Singh, Chairman of GOPIO International said, the Government of India and the various Indian state governments should refit their policies to tap into the "huge reservoir of patriotism and bankable loyalty" of the 25 million plus Indian Diaspora that is still strongly connected to their country of origin "by continually buying Indian food, condiments, clothes, entertainment, jewelry, etc. In 2010, he pointed out, Indians abroad sent $55 billion by way of remittances to India, most of which came from the 3 million odd Indian Americans. Greeting the conference participants on behalf of the Speaker of the NJ legislature, Deputy Speaker Upendra Chivukula said holding such conventions in New Jersey helps the state. Touching on recent issues of concern such as passport surrender fee and penalties; issuance of the PIO/OCI cards; and more recently, the issues with the IRS over declaration of foreign bank accounts, Chivukula said, "We've to come up with clever ways to tackle these issues."
India beats China to win election to UN body India Post News Service
NEW YORK: The UN General Assembly elected India to the UN's Joint Inspection Unit [JIU] on Nov 22. In a two-way contest with China for the lone seat from the Asia-Pacific region for the five year term beginning January 1, 2013, India won with a clear majority of 106 votes out of the 183 cast. India has served only once on the JIU, 35 years ago, from 1968 to 1977. India's nominee for the Joint Inspection Unit is Ambassador A. Gopinathan, currently India's Permanent Representative to the UN offices in Geneva. Earlier, Ambassador Gopinathan was India's Deputy Permanent Representative in New York from January 2002 to September 2005. He has also served as Joint Secretary (UN) from August 1997 to December 2001 at the Ministry of Exter-
nal Affairs. The JIU is an independent external oversight body of the United Nations system, mandated to conduct evaluations, inspec-
In a two-way contest with China for the lone seat from the AsiaPacific region for the five year term beginning January 1, 2013, India won with a clear majority of 106 votes out of the 183 cast tions and investigations systemwide. The JIU is a standing subsidiary organ of the General Assembly with a mandate covering
the United Nations, its separately administered Funds and Programmes, and the Specialised Agencies that have accepted its Statute. It is composed of not more than eleven Inspectors serving for a term of five years, renewable once. Article 3 of the Statute of JIU requires the President of the General Assembly to consult with Member States to draw up, with due regard to the principle of equitable geographic distribution and of reasonable rotation, a list of countries which would propose candidates. The practise has been to draw up this list through an election in the General Assembly. The election on November 22, was for the appointment of an Inspector from Asia, for a term starting on January 1, 2013, on the completion of the term of an Inspector that was secured by China in 2003 and will be held by them for 10 years till 2012.
Speaking on how the Diaspora Indian settled for over two centuries in the Caribbean have come to hold a place of their own, Rudrawatee Nan Ramgoolam Consul General of Trinidad & Tobago in New York said it was paradoxical that in an era of globalization,
The Government of India and the various Indian state governments should refit their policies to tap into the ‘huge reservoir of patriotism and bankable loyalty’ of the 25 million plus Indian Diaspora’ Indian origin people abroad were looking for ethnic enclaves for cultural identity. "As a person of East Indian origin, and a second gen-
eration Person of Indian Origin I am aware of the challenges we face and I thank GOPIO for taking up these issues." Of the 1.3 million population of Trinidad & Tobago, 45% were people of Indian origin, and last year, the country elected its first female prime minister, who happens to be of Indian origin. At the concluding day reception, Indian Ambassador Nirupama Rao lauded GOPIO for its service to the Diaspora community saying that the organization encapsulated the spirit of the global India. Established in 1989 to bring the global Indian community together on one platform, GOPIO helps foster a feeling of 'Indianness' and fellowship among PIOs. "The uniqueness of GOPIO is that we believe in the Indian Diaspora whether they are in Fiji, the Caribbean, USA or any other country," said Dr. Piyush Agrawal, National Coordinator of GOPIO.
Five Indian Americans among 2012 Rhodes Scholars Cont’d from page 6
Mohit also spent a semester at the National University of Singapore and developed tools for anti-cryptology systems for the National Security Agency. He plans to do the D.Phil. in financial economics at Oxford. The Scholarships Created in 1902 by the Will of Cecil Rhodes, British philanthropist and African colonial pioneer, the first class of American Rhodes Scholars entered Oxford in 1904. This year over 2000 students sought their institution's endorsement; 830 were endorsed by 299 different colleges and universities. Committees of Selection in each of 16 US districts then invite the strongest applicants to appear before them for interview. Gerson said, "Applicants are chosen on the basis of the criteria set down in the Will of Cecil Rhodes. These criteria are high academic achievement, integrity of character, a spirit of unselfishness, respect for others, potential for leadership, and physical vigor. These basic characteristics are directed at fulfilling Mr. Rhodes's hopes that the Rhodes Scholars would make an effective and positive contribution throughout the world. In Rhodes' words, his Scholars should 'esteem the performance of public duties as their highest aim.'"
Two-hundred ten applicants from 99 different colleges and universities reached the final stage of the competition, including 15 that had never before had a student win a Rhodes Scholarship. Approximately 80 Scholars are selected worldwide each year, usually including several who have attended American colleges and universities but who are not US citizens and who have applied through their home country. With the elections announced for Oct 2012, 3,260 Americans have won Rhodes Scholarships, representing 314 colleges and universities. Since 1976, women have been eligible to apply and 458 American women have now won the coveted scholarship. And for the fourth time since 1976, more women (17) than men (15) were elected. The value of the Rhodes Scholarship varies depending on the academic field and the degree (B.A., master's, doctoral) chosen. The Rhodes Trust pays all college and university fees, provides a stipend to cover necessary expenses while in residence in Oxford as well as during vacations, and transportation to and from England. Gerson estimates that the total value of the Scholarship averages approximately $50,000 per year, and up to as much as $200,000 for Scholars who remain at Oxford for four years in certain departments.
December 2, 2011
Professor lands Fulbright Award to study 'Jugaad' India Post News Service
NEW YORK: "Jugaad", a grassroots South Asian term for overcoming barriers through the combination of innovation and perspiration, has gained a foothold in the business world, and it is the foundation for a prestigious Fulbright award from the US State Department to Jyoti Bachani, Assistant Professor at Saint Mary's College of California. A faculty member in the Graduate Business Program of the School of Economics and Business Administration, Bachani will travel to India in mid-December to study how the practice of jugaad has contributed to the rise of India as a global economic power. Originally used to describe a vehicle thrown together from whatever is at hand, jugaad is a Hindi word that has been translated into English as "frugal innovation" or "creative improvisation," Bachani said. "The word also can mean breaking and bending rules to get a job done." She noted that a cover story in the Economist last year declared India and China to be "the new masters of management" and added: "It goes on to describe
the Indian national tradition called 'jugaad', where ordinary Indians solve seemingly insoluble problems by making do with whatever they have and never giving up." Other business news outlets have reported on the practice as well, referring to jugaad in business
â€˜This wonderful award will allow me to travel in India for nine months during the next academic year in order to do field research,â€™ said Bachani terminology as "constraint-based innovation" or simply "frugal engineering." Bachani will use the fellowship to create classroom case studies based on her research so that future leaders and managers can explore the Indian management approach in depth. "This award underscores Dr. Bachani's ingenuity in connecting
academic research with real world business practices and contemporary cultural concerns," said Provost Beth Dobkin. "Her Fulbright recognition reflects the global business perspective of the School of Economics and Business Administration." The Fulbright Scholar Program sends 800 US faculty members and professionals abroad each year. Bachani will be based at the Management Development Institute in Gurgaon, and will conduct research in Pune and New Delhi. "This wonderful award will allow me to travel in India for nine months during the next academic year in order to do field research," said Bachani. Ironically, while Western business leaders and academics are fascinated with the practice of jugaad and want to learn about and possibly emulate it, there's a "grass is greener on the other side" attitude in India, Bachani said. "What I've seen so far is that many Indian business leaders are looking beyond jugaad to emulate the business practices of their Western counterparts in order to lead to consistent product quality and market expansion."
Obama, Singh meet in Bali India Post News Service
NEW YORK: Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and President Barack Obama met Nov 18, in a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the 19th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Bali, Indonesia, and reiterated their commitment to pursue mutually beneficial interests. In remarks released before the bilateral meeting at the Grand Hyatt in Bali, President Obama expressed his great pleasure to "once again" meet "with my dear friend Prime Minister Singh." Obama recalled that last year
range of issues, such as maritime security or nonproliferation, as well as expanding cooperation on disaster relief and humanitarian aid. On his part, Prime Minister Singh said that since President Obama's historic visit to India last year, the two countries have made progress in every direction, strengthening bilateral cooperation in the economy, investment, trade, higher education, clean energy, and strategy and defense relations. "I am very happy to report to you that there are, today, no irritants whatsoever in our working together on a multiplicity of areas,
SBI becomes MoneyGram International agent India Post News Service
MoneyGram International has joined hands with State Bank of India (SBI), India's largest public sector bank, to provide in-bound money transfer services across SBI's key branches, beginning with 100 new agent locations by the end of 2011. India was the world's largest recipient of remittances in 2010, according to the World Bank, amounting to nearly $55 billion last year. For the Asian Indian Diaspora in the US, this deal reflects MoneyGram's commitment in serving the community. This alliance with SBI, a respected and trusted name among India's banks, brings MoneyGram customers greater options and convenience for sending money to family and friends at home in India. MoneyGram is rapidly growing its network of partners to become one of the largest global money transfer companies in India, having more than 34,000 agent locations. According to Zainab Ali, MoneyGram senior interactive
marketing manager, adding State Bank of India to MoneyGram's agent network increases consumers' access to MoneyGram services in India. The Bank's locations make it more convenient than ever for customers to send and receive money virtually anywhere in the country, he said. Dan O'Malley, MoneyGram ex-
This arrangement is an addition to Thomas Cook's long standing association with SBI ecutive vice president of the Americas and Emerging Markets, said on the occasion, "The State Bank of India is a well-known and respected institution. This is important to us and the customers we serve. They need to know and trust the services they use when they're sending and receiving money. SBI is the largest commercial bank in India in terms of
branches. It is also the only bank in India ranked among the Top 500 (Rank 292) companies globally by Fortune Magazine." Madhavan Menon, MD at Thomas Cook (India) Ltd said, "A partnership of three powerful customer-centric brands (SBI, MG, and TCIL) augurs well for our customers and the money transfer business as a whole. As super-agent for MoneyGram, adding the impressive network of State Bank of India to our extensive pan-India footprint, will ensure increased access and facilitate ease in transactions for our customers, by bringing inward remittances right to their doorstep! This arrangement is an addition to Thomas Cook's long standing association with SBI which includes Foreign Currency Pick-ups from more than 2000 SBI locations in the country and the white labeled Global Money Card (Prepaid Forex Card - Vishwa Yatra Card of SBI) which are retailed out of the 150 plus TCIL branches in India."
President Barack Obama listens to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during a meeting on the sidelines of the Associaition of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and East Asia summits in Nusa Dua on Indonesia's resort island of Bali on November 18
around this time, he had embarked on what was an extraordinary trip to India, in which the two leaders continued to strengthen the bonds, both commercial, on the security side, and strategic between the world's two largest democracies. "And since that time, we've continued to make progress on a wide range of issues," Obama said. "The bonds between our countries are not just at the leadership level, but they're, obviously, at the person-to-person level given the extraordinary contributions of Indian Americans to our culture, our politics, and our economy." President Obama further said that the Bali meeting would be another opportunity to continue to explore how they can work together, not only on bilateral issues but also in multilateral fora, like the East Asia Summit, a premiere arena to work together on a wide
both bilateral, regional, and global issues," Singh told Obama. "It's a privilege for India to find you and your administration as deeply invested in ensuring that India makes a success of its historic journey to have the social and economic transformation carried out in the framework of an open society, a democratic polity, committed to the rule of law, and respect for full human freedoms." Singh further noted the strengthening of mutual cooperation in civil nuclear cooperation, humanitarian relief and disaster management, maritime security all of which, he said, unite the US and India in their quest "for a world free from the threat of war, want and exploitation." Singh said the people of India deeply appreciate the goodwill that President Obama has shown in his presidency, towards India.
December 2, 2011
Maryland Gov embarks on historic Trade Mission to India India Post News Service
NEW YORK: In what is the largest ever business delegation from the United States, Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley is leading a historic Trade Mission to India Nov 28-Dec 4. More than 100 Maryland business leaders, educators and elected officials will join Governor in O'Malley and First Lady Katie O'Malley on this historic six-day economic development and trade mission to India - the first by a sitting Maryland Governor. The delegation will make stops in Hyderabad, Mumbai and New Delhi. Prior to arriving in India, the Governor and First Lady, along with Maryland Department of Business and Economic Develop-
tion technology and aerospace and defense - industries that are strong for both Maryland and India. The Governor is scheduled to meet with several of India's top companies to discuss potential investment and projects in Maryland, and will address three of India's largest business organizations the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII), the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) and the All India Biotech Association. Governor O'Malley will also visit the Indian School of Business and Delhi University and attend a ribbon cutting for Women in Bio Mumbai - the first international chapter of the women life sciences group that started in Maryland a decade ago. In addition, Governor O'Malley
â€˜I am also proud to note that Governor O'Malley will sign a Sister State agreement between Maryland and Maharashtra, where my grandfather emigrated from more than a century ago,â€™ said Barve, who, along with the other legislators on this mission, will be paying for all his expenses personally ment Secretary Christian S. Johansson and Secretary of State John McDonough, will make a brief stop in Doha, Qatar to discuss foreign direct investment opportunities in Maryland. "With this historic trade mission, we are strengthening our ties with India, committing to exploring more two-way trade and investment, and positioning Maryland as the gateway to doing business in America," said Governor Martin O'Malley. "I am confident that, like our successful mission to Asia earlier this year, we will be able to open doors for new investment in Maryland, create jobs, and help our businesses tap into opportunities to provide goods and services to one of the world's fastest growing economies. To create jobs in Maryland, a modern economy requires modern investments and we should pursue those investments at home and abroad." "I am pleased to join the Governor and our Maryland delegation on this trade mission to India," said First Lady Katie O'Malley. "I am looking forward to visiting with court officials in hopes of creating a judicial partnership with our State, and working to find ways that Maryland can lend a helping hand to some of India's most vulnerable women and children." During the mission, Governor O'Malley will promote Maryland as an ideal location for Indian businesses looking to have a U.S. presence, particularly those in life sciences, cyber security and informa-
will meet with government officials from Hyderabad, Mumbai and Delhi and sign two Sister State agreements - the first between Maryland and India - which signify friendship, but also commit the two regions to working together on matters of business and industry, culture and arts and education and health. The Governor will also sign of a number of Memorandums of Understanding to increase twoway trade and investment between Maryland and India. Delegation members will accompany the Governor at many of the official country banquets and events and will be meeting oneone-one with potential business and investment partners throughout the mission. Maryland State Delegate and Majority Leader Kumar Barve, who will be part of the delegation said, "Our primary objective will be to ratify agreements which will bring invest-
ments and jobs to our state. As we will only be in India for six days, it is vitally important that every effort be made to make connections between Maryland entrepreneurs and their Indian counterparts." "I am also proud to note that Governor O'Malley will sign a Sister State agreement between Maryland and Maharashtra, where my grandfather emigrated from more than a century ago," said Barve, who, along with the other legislators on this mission, will be paying for all his expenses personally. "This historic trip will help deepen the close relationship between Maryland and India. Already, India is Maryland's 12th largest export market and our 13th largest import market." "Representing MedImmune, the Gaithersburg-based global biologics arm of AstraZeneca, I am honored to be joining Governor O'Malley as an ambassador not only for Maryland, but for the life sciences community," said Bahija Jallal, Ph.D., Executive Vice President of Research & Development at MedImmune. "I hope to be able to showcase the great science originating in Maryland and to discover opportunities for new collaborations and partnerships between the State and India." "For Premier Rides, India represents a tantalizing though daunting opportunity to expand the client base for global export of our high tech entertainment attractions," said delegation member Jim Seay, President of Premier Rides, a Baltimore-based amusement rides manufacturer "The rapidly developing middle class in India is creating export opportunities that were not available even a few years ago. Governor O'Malley's efforts to open the doors to trade represent a unique opportunity to successfully navigate a very challenging business environment." "India is one of the leading growth markets in the world and has an established relationship with the United States," said delegation member Ken Sanchez, President of Baltimore-based Chesapeake Specialty Products, a
leading manufacturer of environmentally friendly metallic abrasive and iron oxide products that reduce waste, minimize emissions, and reduce cost to consumers. "As India grows, its U.S. partners will grow. Indian companies will benefit from US technologies as the U.S. will benefit from the Indian consumption."
Sri-Sai Pharmaceuticals in Frederick; Bioserve Technologies in Beltsville; Lupin Pharmaceuticals in Baltimore; and Gene Logic in Gaithersburg. In addition, Maryland's India office also has a US location in the International Incubator at the University of Maryland, College Park to assist local companies open offices in
Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley
Between 2004 and 2009, Indian companies made eight acquisitions in Maryland, totaling $564 million, which is in addition to more than $100 million that Indian companies invested in Greenfield projects in Maryland. In 2010, India was Maryland's 12th largest export market with $233 million in goods and services, and was the State's 13th largest import market, with more than $465 million. As of September, Maryland exports to India were valued at over $192 million, representing an 18 percent increase over the same period in 2010. There are four major Indian companies in Maryland, including
India. In the first nine months of this year, the Port of Baltimore saw $341 million in trade to and from India compared with $229 million from the same time frame in 2010 a 49 percent increase. In addition to Maryland's trade office in India, which opened in 2009, the State also recently opened foreign offices in Russia and Colombia to attract foreignowned companies to Maryland and encourage trade opportunities. The offices, which are opened on a contingency basis with no up-front cost to taxpayers, are part of the State's network of foreign offices.
Narinder Singh elected to International Law Commission India Post News Service
NEW YORK: The UN General Assembly re-elected Narinder Singh of India as a member of the International Law Commission (ILC) for a five year term beginning January 1, 2012. The other candidates elected from the Asia-Pacific Group belong to Japan, China, Jordan, Republic of Korea, Indonesia, Qatar, and Thailand.
Singh has been a member of the ILC since 2007 and has contributed extensively to its work. He is currently the Legal Adviser and Head of the Legal & Treaties Division of the Ministry of External Affairs, a position he has held since 2003. He has served as Coordinator of the meeting of legal advisers of foreign offices of the UN member states since 2002. Dr. Singh has been the Presi-
dent of the Asian-African Legal Consultative Organization from 2006 to 2009. Over the period of the past two and half decades, Mr. Singh has represented India in a number of important conferences on international law and has been a regular participant in the work of the Sixth Committee of the UN General Assembly. The International Law Commission was established by the
General Assembly in its resolution 174 (II) of 21 November 1947 for the promotion of the progressive development of international law and its codification. Article 3 of the statute of the International Law Commission provides that the members of the Commission shall be elected by the General Assembly from a list of candidates nominated by the Governments of States Members of the United Nations.
10 India Post
December 2, 2011
Sterling CEO Natasha honored with media award India Post News Service
LONDON: Natasha Mudhar, CEO and MD of international communications agency, Sterling Media, was honored with the Asian Leadership in International Media Award at the esteemed Asian Who's Who Awards 2011, which took place on November 21 at The Dorchester Hotel, Park Lane London. Now in its 24th year, the high profile event pays homage to the most influential Asians the world over, who have made a phenomenal contribution to their respective fields and continue to set a shining example to their peers among the global Asian fraternity and beyond. Natasha was presented the award in the presence of a host of MPs, dignitaries, industry leaders, celebrities and VIP's in attendance. Award winners were selected by an independent panel of eminent advisors, including previous award winners such as Founder and Chairman of Cobra Beer Lord Karan Bilimoria; Baron-
ess Shreela Flather; and Rt Hon Keith Vaz MP. Natasha was recognized for her rigorous business acumen and entrepreneurial spirit. As CEO and MD at Sterling Media, one of the UK's leading full-service communication agencies with global foot-
Natasha was presented the award in the presence of a host of MPs, dignitaries, industry leaders, celebrities and VIP's in attendance prints in Middle East, India, USA, Canada and Pan-Europe, she is known today for her phenomenal contribution in the field of brand management, marketing, public relations, advertising, online and
events. Natasha joined Sterling in 2004 which was established by Ms Teji Singh, one of the first women from an ethnic background to set up an international agency in the UK. Natasha's exemplary leadership has spearheaded the company's transformation into an award-winning, globally recognized name. With the good-will of over 17 years, Natasha's brand building expertise has been sought by emerging brand names, which she has successfully propelled onto a global platform, as well as large corporates that regularly seek her consultancy services. The young achiever successfully manages an impressive portfolio of clients and her contribution to the company includes implementing campaigns for clients such as Live 8 for Make Poverty History I and II, Aston Martin, Lloyds Banking Group, Warner Bros. Pictures, Twentieth Century Fox, Viacom, Sony Music, Sahara, Kingfisher Airlines and Force India.
Sharad Pawar slapped by youth NEW DELHI: Breaking into a group of officials and journalists, a youth attacked Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar after a public event here, shouting slogans against corruption and price rise, an action that was roundly condemned by political parties. 71-year-old Pawar, who went to a literary function at a public auditorium on Parliament Street, was caught unawares when he was slapped by Harvinder Singh, a local transporter in his thirties who
and an official landed some blows on Singh. "I came planned to the event to slap the minister," Singh told reporters who had gone to cover the literary function. "All of them are corrupt," he shouted when he was removed from security and policemen. Wielding a small kirpan, the youth said things could have been worse but for the observance of martyrdom day of Guru Tegh Bahadur.
Supriya Sule said she does not want to blame anybody and asked her party workers to "forget and move ahead". She said police will handle the matter and party activists should not react in any manner. Leaders cutting across political lines condemned the attack saying it cannot be tolerated in a democracy. While Congress blamed the statement of BJP leader Yashwant Singh that continued price rise in
L-R: Rajesh Agrawal, Natasha Mudhar and Dr Rahul Nanda
Tighter immigration rules for women seeking jobs in Gulf NEW DELHI: The Government has tightened immigration rules for women seeking employment in labor-intensive Gulf region to protect them from harassment and exploitation. Overseas Indian Affairs Minister Vayalar Ravi told Rajya Sabha that government has taken a series of measures to protect interest of women including imposing age restriction of 30 years for allowing them to go to the Gulf region and some other countries for employment under ECR (Emigration Check Required) category.
"Indian missions (in the region) receive complaints from women workers, particularly housemaids, on account of non-payment of salaries, long working hours, inadequate living condition, physical harassment and refusal of leave," he said, replying to a question. Ravi said his ministry has also made it mandatory for attestation of employment contract of women under ECR category by Indian missions. The missions will also have to identify the foreign employer before allowing any woman to go the region for work.-PTI
Dam 999 banned by Tamil Nadu govt The combo picture shows Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar being slapped by a youth (at left) and his reaction in New Delhi
had assaulted former Telecom Minister Sukh Ram outside a court earlier after he was sentenced in a corruption case. The NCP veteran, who has very little security, lost his balance for a moment but regained composure after the assault, moved towards the exit of the auditorium and got into his waiting car. Private security guards immediately overpowered the youth who was shouting "he is corrupt"
Pawar himself sought to play down the incident saying he was not sure of what the intentions of the attacker could be and left it to police to handle the issue. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh spoke to Pawar after the incident and condemned the attack. Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee also said that the attack on Pawar was "totally condemnable". His daughter and NCP MP
the "absence" of any concrete steps may become a reason for the people to vent their anger in the form of violence, opposition leaders said the government should take the issue of price rise seriously and address it. Congress spokesman Rashid Alvi blamed BJP statement that continued price rise in the "absence" of any concrete steps may become a reason for the people to vent their anger in the form of violence.-PTI
CHENNAI/KOCHI: Facing mounting political pressure amid an intensifying row over the Mullaperiyar dam, Tamil Nadu government has banned controversial Hollywood film 'Dam 999', whose director now plans to move the Supreme Court. The government banned the film on the grounds that it can disturb cordial ties between the state and Kerala and create law and order problem. "The title of the film candidly refers to the Mullaperiyar Dam row (between Tamil Nadu and Kerala). Since it is capable of creating panic among people over the
collapse of the dam and divide people of the two states, Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa has directed banning the screening of the movie," Chief Secretary Debendranath Sarangi, said. The film could also lead to law and order situation in Tamil Nadu, he said in a detailed statement that followed an earlier terse one-line release from him announcing the ban. The ban was described as "totally unfortunate" by film director Sohan Roy, who said he planned to approach the Supreme Court against it because he has been given a go ahead by the Censor Board.-PTI
December 2, 2011
Your Weekly Future by Pandit Parashar
DECEMBER 2ND - DECEMBER 8TH (November 23 to December 22)
(March 21 to April 20)
lanets help you overcome many difficulties and changes in career just around the corner. Financially you will continue to meet your commitments though worries will not leave you alone either. Isolating from world will not help rather you should call friends and arrange get together. You will work hard to resolve an issue involving a child.
xtra money will bring some relief. Claim will be approved and you will be issued the check. Do things within legal parameters and handle all government related matters carefully. Changes at work will leave you unhurt but still shake you up. You will be travelling to a nice area with family to attend a social event.
(April 21 to May 20)
(December 22 to January 19)
hings will once again start moving in right direction. You may be slowly working towards starting a new venture in partnership. You will start preparation for an upcoming trip also. Spouse will be under lots of pressure for some reasons. People who promised big will not keep up their words as a result you will discard them from your list.
hanges you were working on will finally materialize. It may not be rewarding right away but in long term. Believe in your expertise and march forward with your plans. Family may be leaving for the overseas trip soon. You will get all the help from superiors and those in high places. You may be thinking of taking off from work for few days.
(May 21 to June 20)
(January 20 to February 18)
ome of you will be getting ready for an upcoming trip and spend most of the evenings in mall. You will have better controls of the things at work. Business will also improve but not to satisfactory level. You will be meeting an influential person. Transiting Venus in twelfth can cause intimate relationship with a beautiful person.
ou will need to put in extra hours but sales will be kind of flat. People who you helped in the past will start to maintain distance and will not be there in case of need. People in job will have some changes pretty soon. Do not take any chance with weather. Do not be double minded and do not put off things for another day.
(February 19 to March 20)
(June 21 to July 22)
tress at work will reduce but will not go away completely. After paying off all the bills you will have enough money left in your pockets. People creating trouble in the past will start paying attention elsewhere. All meetings and trips will bring instant results and rewards. You will call or get in touch with a trusted person for advice.
f you try little harder and sincerely, you will achieve lot. Planets are sill favorable for money through speculation or lottery. You will gain friendship of a very useful person. Throw all the fears out of your mind and enjoy what you have. You may be thinking of having some special prayers done at your place and start inviting friends.
Pippa & Prince Harry - Do they really get along?
(July 23 to August 22)
ou have the right tools, but if you hesitate, you will lose a huge opportunity. You will be going on an important trip. Meetings will go well and you will receive the clearance. People will try to cause distraction but will fail. You will become more popular in social circle and will be invited to couple of important parties. (August 23 to September 22)
ocus on today rather than worrying about future. Expenses will come down a lot. You will feel tired of slow or no progress in the past and will take some drastic steps. Gamble will pay off. You will come across few very compatible people and may decide to use their expertise. You will be excited about an upcoming big reunion. (September 23 to October 22)
t will be an expensive week though the money will be well spent. It will be beneficial week for brokers. You will continue to have few fears about job for some more time. You may be double minded about an opportunity that requires change of residence. You will buy some high end gadget for personal use. Useful lead coming from reliable source. (October 23 to November 22)
ou will be going on a short but interesting trip. Concentration of Planets in first will boost your Morales and provide extra ordinary success in career. You will finish an important project well before deadline. Boss will be happy and make necessary approval for next level. You may redevelop taste for very spicy food and desert.
glance at their charts and shared in- more of a practical joker, and will go to fluences reveals that there is not a great lengths to pull off the next funny shred of romantic feeling between them. stunt. They make a great team - but they Both Pippa and Prince Harry of UK enjoy really aren't going to get any closer at least a relationship that is more 'matey' than not in the sense that people seem to think anything else. They share a lot of simi- they will. They are certainly fond of each larities and other - but it is they underan affection stand each devoid of other only too chemistry. well. Pippa is Both have a very streetwise very practical and knows streak and what she both love adwants. She venture, fun won't want to and freedom. get too deeply But Pippa's involved in the love of the ways of the high life, of Royal housebeing at the hold. She centre of the needs a lot Pippa & Prince Harry action, her more freedom packed contacts book, her enjoyment of to run her life on her own terms. Certain the social scene and her determination to aspects of her chart reveal that she needs master it are far different from Prince Harry to be number one in any relationship, and who just loves to have a good time. He is needs to call the shots.
Pandit Parashar, CEO & COO Astro Scan USA is also available for individual consultations. He can be reached at: email@example.com
Desi News Ex-Pak envoy calls Nanak 'Prince of Interfaith Dialogue' India Post News Service
WASHINGTON: Ambassador Akbar Ahmed, Pakistan's former high commissioner to United Kingdom and Ireland has called Guru Nanak 'a prince of Interfaith Dialogue'. Speaking at the birthday celebrations of Guru Nanak at Guru Gobind Singh Foundation (GGSF) in Rockville, Maryland, a suburb of Washington, DC, Mr. Ahmed said, "We are living in a world of change and a world of challenge and after 9/11 these challenges are accentuated and Guru Nanak's life and his teachings and instructions provide us the answers." Details on page 15
NetIP hosts charity gala for 'Cancer is Colorblind' Asian Media USA
CHICAGO: Network of Indian Professionals (NetIP) Chicago hosted its Third Annual Charity Gala benefiting Cancer is Colorblind (CiC) on Saturday, November 12 at the Doubletree Chicago Magnificent Mile. It was attended by about 300 members and guests and raised close to $30,000. The event featured a formal three-course dinner, cultural performances, celebrity appearances, inspirational speakers, and special recognition for cancer fighters and survivors besides a silent/live auction and raffle of donated items and prizes. Details on page 19
Sikh Arts and Film Festival a sold-out event
COMMUNITY ACROSS AMERICA
Details on page 20
12 India Post
Details on page 21
December 2, 2011
NY public officials laud Indo-American engineers and architects India Post News Service
NEW YORK: More than eight hundred engineers, architects, contractors and developers of Indian origin gathered with their families and friends at Grand Hyatt Hotel, New York City on Nov 19 to celebrate their success at the 31st Annual Gala of the Society of Indo American Engineers and Architects (SIAEA). A number of top New York State officials, who attended the event, spoke highly about the professional excellence and integrity of Indo-American engineers and architects. New York Senator and Minority Conference Chairwoman Ruth Hassell-Thompson, who seemed especially impressed by the spectacular display of Indian culture, complimented them for their level of professionalism, creativity and attention to critical details in the design and construction industry. "By drawing upon your cultural Indian heritage and assimilation into American society, you bring a unique and historic perspective to each of the projects to which you contribute throughout our communities," she remarked. Referring to the hard work that went into drafting and adaptation of equal share for minority and women entrepreneurs' legislation Hassell-Thompson said that
SIAEA members can look forward to a brighter future for their businesses as various legal provisions for providing fair share of contracting opportunities were in place. She hoped for removal of all barriers that obstructed equal opportunities for minority and women-owned businesses. New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli was equally impressed by the grandeur of the show as he enjoyed the evening. Professionals of Indian origin
in major projects in his organization belonged to Indian heritage. He said that he was proud to be working with them as they displayed very high level of professionalism and creativity. In his presidential remarks, SIAEA President Nayan Parikh pointed out that the organization was progressing at a fast pace and that its members demonstrated high caliber in executing challenging projects thus earning a good reputation. "The success of
Michael Horodniceanu, President, MTA Capital Construction, pointed out that 40 percent engineers engaged in major projects in his organization belonged to Indian heritage. He said that he was proud to be working with them as they displayed very high level of professionalism and creativity were making remarkable contributions in improving the financial health of New York State, he said. He recognized the Indian American professional community as hard working and forward looking. Highlighting the role of IndoAmerican engineers and architects in MTA's projects, Michael Horodniceanu, President, MTA Capital Construction, pointed out that 40 percent engineers engaged
SIAEA is due to the enterprising spirit of our members and our community," he said adding that SIAEA was committed to uplifting its members' professional development. Parikh said that the Society was geared to expand its activities throughout the United States. "Very soon we will be launching SIAEA's new chapters in Philadelphia, Washington DC and Boston.
More exciting happenings await us in the year 2012," he added. Parikh said that the Society represented the success and accomplishments of its members for which they were honored every year. "Every year we reach out to institutions where the next generation of engineers and architects are being trained. We continue to recognize their talents by offering scholarships to ten meritorious engineering and architecture students," he said. This year too ten students from various universities and institutions in the US were selected for a scholarship of $2000. Eight professionals, Anil Parikh, Deputy Program Executive, MTACC, Hiten Patel, President, Collebera, Atul Shah, President, ANS Consultants, Bhavna Raval, Director-Engineering Audit Office, NYC DCAS/DFMO, Ashok Patel, President, Judlau Companies, Bansi Shah, President, KG Industries, Dave Goswami, CEO, Integrated Project Services, Viren Brahmbhatt, Principal, De.Sign and Husam Ahmad, President, HAKS, were also honored at the event for their distinguished achievements in their profession. Alpesh Patel, President, Voltamp Electrical Contractors, was honored as 'Young Achiever under 40'.
Pawar addresses AAI community forum
ORANGE, CA: SikhArts and Film Festival organized by SikhLens took place November 18-20 at the prestigious Dodge College of Film and Media Arts at Chapman University in Orange, California. The event was attended by over 700 people, with both evening events completely sold out. The three-day Festival began on Friday, November 18th, with a red-carpet Opening Night Gala Event. Guests were greeted with a melodious musical interlude by Jaswinder Ahluwalia (tabla) and Kamaljit Ajmal (Santoor) and then welcomed to the festival.
Diwali & Chopda Pujan celebrated at BAPS Swaminarayan Mandir
CHICAGO: Galvanizing a stronger community was the topic of discussion at a forum hosted by the Asian American Institute (AAI), a member of the Asian American Center for Advancing Justice, on November 19 at Christ Church of Chicago. India-born Alderman Ameya Pawar (47th Ward), spoke to 40 civically engaged community members and organizers in attendance. He described the many avenues necessary for consistent exposure regarding democratic processes and emphasized that voting alone is not enough. As the only Asian-
Alderman Ameya Pawar
American alderman elected to Chicago's City Council, Pawar related his experiences in running for
office and explained what steps are necessary for groups to strengthen their voice in political
decisions. There was a panel discussion led by C.W. Chan, Chairman of the Coalition for A Better Chinese American Community (CBCAC), Jocelyn Woodard, Coordinator for the Illinois Campaign for Accountable Redistricting (ICAR) and Andy Kang, AAI Senior Staff Attorney. Kang also presented voting data within the most Asian Americanpopulous wards of Chicago. The forum adjourned after audience members were allowed some time for a Q&A with Pawar and Tuyet Le, AAI Executive Director.
December 2, 2011
Community Across America
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First Bank & Trust opens new Skokie branch RAMESH SOPARAWALA & HARISH RAO India Post News Service
CHICAGO: First Bank & Trust is set to add one more feather in its cap of achievements when it opens its new eco-friendly green branch in Skokie the second location in the village - on Tuesday December 6.
first" and that was one of the considerations for the management to have a second location at the corner of Dempster Street and Crawford Avenue, and that too a branch designed with geothermal heating, a living roof and other green design features. "This commitment to the environment is a natural extension of First Bank & Trust's mission to put community
The building has large, floor-to-ceiling windows and high clerestory windows that bring daylight into the building, providing a better work environment for employees. Energy efficient LED light fixtures are also in-place throughout the building The over two decades community oriented bank has lived up to its motto of ""putting community
first," said David Purtus, Assistant vice president and branch manager of the existing location on Skokie
Blvd. In a talk to this paper, he said that the 3,600 square foot building has a geo-thermal heat pump, which extracts energy embedded in the Earth, allowing for a 25 percent reduction in power consumption from non-renewable resources. It also has an underground detention system that collects storm water run-off and returns it, filtered, to the storm sewer. The building has large, floorto-ceiling windows and high clerestory windows that bring daylight into the building, providing a better work environment for employees. Energy efficient LED light fixtures are also in-place throughout the building; 20 percent of all building materials are obtained from recycled sources and from within 500 miles, which decreases energy use for transportation. Also, 90 percent of all construction waste will be recycled, diverting that material away
OFBJP conducts training camp for members NEW JERSEY: The Overseas Friends of BJP (OFBJP) - USA conducted a first of its kind training camp for its members to educate
another training session in Houston, TX during the week of November 20. Envisioned by Vijay Jolly, BJP International Coordinator for OFBJP, the first leg of the training
has a two-decade long experience as a motivational trainer for elected representatives, party workers, youth and women, and social and institutional leadership. The second leg of these unique training
them about the Bharatiya Janata Party, its agenda and standing in Indian polity, in New Jersey. About 75 selected members from New Jersey, New York, Delaware, Pennsylvania, and Washington DC areas attended the inaugural training session on Nov 13. The organization conducted
camps was conducted by Dr. Vinay Sahasrabuddhe, the Political Advisor to BJP President in India. He is the founding Director General of a UNO recognized NGO, Rambhau Mhalgi Prabodini; a member of BJP executive committee; and Member of Board of Governors at Sardar Patel Institute of Public Administration (SPIPA). He
camps will be conducted by Ram Lal, the BJP General Secretary. The topics at the inaugural level training session included Jan Sangh to BJP - A Progressive Journey; OFBJP: Agenda Ahead; BJP's Contribution in Indian Polity; and Current Political Scenario and BJP.
India Post News Service
Contâ€™d on page 14
from landfills. The roof was designed by a Michigan-based company called Live Roof, and it lasts two or three times longer than a traditional roof because the plants protect it from the elements.
The decision to have a facility at the Dempster-Crawford location also reflects a commitment to serve the community in that the bank seeks not only to widen its customer base but also would seek promoting local business and industries through its relatively easy to get commercial and smallmedium business loans. "The bank would offer personal banking, business lending, and trust and investment services that should all but ensure that Skokie and the bank customers continue to grow," David said. The Bank has also announced a time bound incentive package for the customers at its new facility on 4007 Dempster Street at Crawford Avenue. "Besides our commitment to provide the highest quality of banking service, we
would offer unending benefits to Charter Members who open a new account before January 30, 2012," David pointed out. Among the list of benefits the Charter member would be assured of: no monthly service charge, no minimum balance requirements on checking account and first 120 checks totally free. Unlike many other banks, there would be nofee for debit card, and free cashier's checks, money orders, bonus CD rate, he added. There will be free 24/7 on-line banking and mobile banking which includes free electronic statements, free bill payment and a free "Going Green" kit. To become a Charter Member, all you need to do is open a personal checking account and one other account (NOW, CD, Savings, Money Market) with an initial deposit of $5,000 or more (new money required). To qualify, accounts must be opened at the new Skokie Branch. The Bank's commitment of "putting community first" seems to have been ingrained among top layers of officers in as much as they are actively involved in a number of local community organizations. David Purtus of the Skokie branch for instance, is Treasurer/ Director Skokie Chamber of Commerce, President/Director Coalition of Asian American Communities in Skokie, Commissioner Village of Skokie-Zoning Commission and President/Director Skokie Lions Club, among his other involvements. Among other officials, Michael Atto is Member Skokie Chamber of Commerce and Lana Shamoon is Ambassador Skokie Chamber of Commerce and Director North Suburban Young Professionals.
Community Across America
14 India Post
December 2, 2011
Congress-NJ interfaith meet a grand success SUDHIR VYAS
NEW YORK: Indian National Overseas Congress (INOC)-NJ Chapter created a forum for 'Loving Light Interfaith' event on November 5 at Royal Albert Palace to foster and celebrate spiritual oneness of NRIs residing in USA. Over 600 people attended the event, and lit the light of love and harmony. Among others present were INOC President of Punjab and INOC National Executive Members desiring to promote the ideas of democracy, secularism and fraternity. Pam Kwatra as President of the INOC-NJ chapter observed in her welcome speech that her "strong desire is to work closely with National Executive Committee members and all other INOC chapters
Young wing chair of INOC, thanked all the delegates of tristate and guests for coming to annual interfaith gathering. Anju Bhargawa represented White House and read the message from President Obama's Administration that touched upon Seva Charity on Humanity. Priests from six different religious backgrounds were present at the event and they spoke about harmony, secularism and they shared their views of working together towards higher goals. Ms. Pam Kwatra also honored and congratulated Gurmit Singh Gill who was recently promoted as the President of Punjab Chapter for entire USA. Gurmit Gill said in his speech, that in the next 12
Ms. Pam Kwatra also honored and congratulated Gurmit Singh Gill who was recently promoted as the President of Punjab Chapter for entire USA to contribute towards strengthening the mission of a democratic and secular India and to bring in the NRIs based here to be able to have their thoughts and voices heard in more effective and positive goal oriented ways. As Sikh, Punjabi, Gujarati, Hindi and many other community leaders are poised and ready to work closely with one another, they could together harness limitless opportunities. We may have different beliefs but our common bond of love for humanity brought us today on this Loving Light interfaith event." Pam Kwatra had vision of strengthening each chapter of INOC and invited most presidents of different States to the Annual interfaith celebration. With handing over appreciation letters and commendable workmanship letters from high command, many guest appreciated the event. Emcee Rahul Bathla, who is also
months he will make a strong Punjab wing in every major city across the US. He will also be leading a delegation of over 150 NRIs from US to Punjab to campaign for the upcoming Punjab election in February 2012. Ms. Pam Kwatra and Gurmit Gill also honored and promoted Harjit Singh Sidhu to be the President of Punjab WingNJ. Gurmit also honored Lali as Senior Sarprasth for Punjab USA Chapter. Ms. Pam Kwatra and Mandeep Hans also inducted Dipak Valsadia as General Secretary and Jimmy Jagtar Singh as Treasurer. All the clergymen, priests and special guests received beautiful framed certificates of appreciation. Chairman Mandeep Hans along with General Secretary Eric Kumar and Jasjit Singh Bindra and Youth Chair Rahul Bathla and Nishi Bahl honored all the performers, participants, sponsors and media personnel with framed certificates of appreciation.
Interfaith meet in New Jersey
OFBJP conducts training camp for members Contâ€™d from page 13
In his address to the trainees, Dr. Prasad Adapa, OFBJP President, stressed upon the importance of discipline of a 'Karyakarta' and gave the background and context of the training. Rakshpal Sood, OFBJP Sr. Advisor gave a detailed account of the events that took place before the inception of Jan Sangh to the present day BJP. He exhorted the Karyakartas to learn from the selfless services of founding fathers of BJP, Dr.
how an interested karyakarta can work or help BJP in various ways. He talked about the importance of social media in educating the masses. OFBJP treasurer Krishna Reddy gave a brief presentation of various forms of social media and illustrated how they played a significant role in the recent Arab spring or Wall Street protests. He asked the audience to join and popularize the OFBJP on Facebook. In a later session, Dr.
Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh and Bihar have developed innovative schemes to help the poorest of the poor and these efforts have been praised by the media and intellects equally, he said. R. P. Singh, OFBJP Vice President talked about the role of media in current politics and stressed upon the unity of the people in solving major problems facing the country. Chandrakant Patel, OFBJP Organizing General Secretary, in his concluding remarks talked about the Karyakarta discipline, role,
Shyama Prasad Mukherji and Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyay. Dr. Sahsrabudhhe talked about the role of an OFBJP karyakarta in being the ambassador of Indian heritage. He explained how a karyakarta by personal behavior and speech can help other Indian and American people in USA and
Sahsrabudhhe talked about the current political situation in India and the role BJP has been playing in highlighting the India causes. He demonstrated with statistical evidence on the governance of BJP ruled states, whose work is recognized by UNO. The states of Gujarat, Chhattisgarh, Madhya
behavior and what is expected of a Karyakarta. A pledge was administered to the delegates to serve America, India, and Indian Americans and build bridges between USA and India. Certificates will be delivered to the attending delegates from the BJP office in India.
December 2, 2011
Community Across America
India Post 15
Ex-Pak envoy calls Nanak 'Prince of Interfaith Dialogue' India Post News Service
WASHINGTON: Ambassador Akbar Ahmed, Pakistan's former high commissioner to United Kingdom and Ireland has called Guru Nanak 'a prince of Interfaith Dialogue'. Speaking at the birthday celebrations of Guru Nanak at Guru Gobind Singh Foundation (GGSF) in Rockville, Maryland, a suburb of Washington, DC, Mr. Ahmed said, "We are living in a world of change and a world of challenge and after 9/11 these challenges are accentuated and Guru Nanak's life and his teachings and instructions provide us the answers." Ambassador Ahmed, a scholar of Islamic studies at American University in Washington DC and at the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, is a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution, Washington's leading think tank. He is also a writer of many books. He has taught at Princeton, Harvard, and Cambridge Universities. Regularly interviewed by CNN, NPR, BBC, Fox, he has appeared several times on Oprah, and has also been a guest of The Daily Show and Nickelodeon. Ahmed was the Pakistan High Commissioner (Ambassador) to the UK and Ireland. During his first ever visit to a Sikh congregation, he said, "If we are looking for a model, Guru Nanak gives us the best model in the 21st century. I feel a great sense of pride in figures like Guru Nanak from South Asia who brings us together and tells us to hold on to the concept of unity of God." He added, "Guru Nanak gave us as a framework to be able to meditate on the beauty of God and
Ambassador Ahmed receiving memento from officials of Guru Gobind Singh Foundation. (L-R) Ranjit Singh Kaler, Sarabjit Singh Sidhu, Ambassador Ahmed, Chattar Singh Saini, Bhai Gurdarshan Singh and Dr. Rajwant Singh
whole world is mine.' and said, "Everyone can relate to it and I, as a Muslim, can also relate to it." He added, "Guru Nanak played an important role in the South Asian region. Through Guru Nanak you have a great intersection of history between two great religions, Hinduism and Islam and now the third religion Sikhism. So you have all the great currents of history meeting in Guru Nanak." Ahmed shared his personal pain of partition when in 1947 India and Pakistan separated. He said it felt like "a knife had gone through the heart of all of us… and separated us, the brothers and sisters." He urged that the healing process must begin by saying "Here we have an opportunity in United States to begin the process of healing and that is the ultimate message of Guru Nanak in the 21st Century. His message of love and compassion constantly inspires us in our daily lives." Ahmed narrated the message of Guru Nanak during his visit to Mecca, Islam's holiest shrine "that God is present everywhere and it
shrine is a testament and we ought to preserve history and in turn we preserve ourselves. It provides us the dignity and identity with the message of Guru Nanak that comes to us through generations.
Ahmed narrated the message of Guru Nanak during his visit to Mecca, Islam's holiest shrine ‘that God is present everywhere and it struck me even as a young boy growing up in Abbotabad that there is so much depth and sense of compassion in Guru Nanak's observation’ Ahmed reminded a large audience about the close connections between the two communities. He said, "We know of close connections with Sikhism and Islam. We know that Mian Mir, a great Sufi saint from Lahore laid the foundation of the Golden Temple and Mughal Emperor Akbar gave a golden gift to the Guru Granth
Sahib (Sikh scripture). We also know that when Dara Shikoh, a Mughal prince fell ill and who was very close to the Sikhs, the Sikh Guru prayed for him. We also know the problems with Mughal emperor Aurangzeb but we must remember that it was not a clash between religions. Aurangzeb in fact imprisoned his own father." Dr. Rajwant Singh, Secretary of GGSF, welcomed the Ambassador to the Sikh congregation and said, "We are touched by Ambassador Ahmed's comments. They are indeed full of passion and deep appreciation for Guru Nanak. We are also proud of the Ambassador's contributions in the field of interfaith dialogue and his desire to bring people of Indian subcontinent together. All religions in the Indian subcontinent must initiate a lead towards civil dialogue rather
Ahmed continues to work towards bringing harmony in a broken world. The world needs persons of faith like him who can create a loving world in line with the vision of Guru Nanak." Later Manjula Kumar, a prominent Indian and a director at the Smithsonian institute, said, "Ahmed was creating history... I have never had such a wonderful experience at any Gurdwara." Dr. Nisar Chaudhury, President of the Pakistan American League, who advocates people to people contact among Indians and Pakistanis to foster harmony in the subcontinent and has organized trips of Pakistani physicians to visit India recently, was also visiting his first Gurdwara with the Ambassador and was thrilled. Sardar Harcharan Singh Brar who is head of the Mian Mir Founda-
(From Left) Nisar Chowdhury, Ambassador Ahmed, Manjula Kumar of Smithsonian Institution and Dylan Kaplan, Senator of the Student Body of the American University partaking Sikh langar during the celebrations
than always be led by politicians or geopolitical events. Ahmed's presence today was befitting while we are celebrating the Great Guru's life." Sarabjit Singh Sidhu, Chairman of GGSF, presented a book on Sikhsim and Guru Nanak on behalf of the Sikh congregation and said, "We pray that Ambassador
tion in Amritsar and his organization is working to bring together relatives separated during the tragedy of Partition and has brought together 600 people, also spoke. Ambassador Ahmed had received a Bridge Builder's Award from the Interfaith Conference of Metropolitan Washington.
United Sikhs wins $250K Chase contest India Post News Service
Nisar Chowdhury and Ambassador Ahmed with Sikhs at Guru Gobind Singh Foundation
beauty of unity; to be householders and yet think of divinity; and finally to live as a community and to share our wealth. These are wonderful principles for any society." He quoted one of his favorite sayings of Guru Nanak 'When I give myself to thee O, Lord, the
struck me even as a young boy growing up in Abbotabad that there is so much depth and sense of compassion in Guru Nanak's observation." He also regretted that a shrine built in memory of Guru Nanak's visit to Baghdad was damaged recently. He said, "Guru Nanak's
NEW YORK: Sikh advocacy group United Sikhs has won the $250,000 'Chase Community Giving' contest on Facebook. The Sikh humanitarian organization won with a margin of 4969 votes from its closest contestant. United Sikhs received a total of 22,685 votes. The top eligible charity receives $250,000 while the remaining 99 top charities earn $25,000 through $100,000 awards. "The Chase Community Giving contest is a labor of love for all our volunteers. It was an exciting
two weeks of networking on the ground as our volunteers hit the road, real people talking to real people, using social media technology for a good cause! We sincerely appreciate the time and effort everyone put in by everyone. We maintained our commitment to the Program rules and thank Chase Bank for the opportunity. We look forward to using the funds for augmenting our Humanitarian Aid and Community Services projects," said Jatinder Singh, Director of the organization. "We thank all the Gurudwaras,
volunteers, and thousands of Facebook users who supported the organization. We congratulate the top 100 winners of the contest. We also thank 'Chase Community Giving' for providing us an avenue to engage communities worldwide in supporting our projects in the service of humanity," said Kuldip Singh, President, United Sikhs. Participating itself has been a learning experience about the passion we bring to help the needy and the wonderful work that other charities do and the various causes they work for.
Community Across America
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December 2, 2011
Bal Vihar celebrates Diwali with gusto ISHITA SANGHVI
ST LOUIS: Diwali is one of the biggest Hindu festivals celebrated among many communities in United States. In St. Louis, MO, on October 30, Center for Indian Cultural Education, Bal Vihar of St Louis celebrated Diwali and Hindu New Year 2067 with over 600 participants that included children and their parents, performing puja in the Hindu Temple of St. Louis and enjoying the New Year with fireworks. As a tradition, Bal Vihar School has been celebrating this
Tripathi. The Event coordinators - Suman Rausaria and Sunita Thanjavuru were supported by a large number of volunteering parents who made this event memorable for Bal Vihar. Local businesses such as Seema Enterprise, Mayuri and individuals such as Dr. Sekhar family, Giri Yanamala family, Mahendra Gunapati family contributed to the occasion. Among the distinguished guests was Brian Bauer, Market Manager for Business Banking from PNC Bank, who actively participated in Diwali cel-
Bal Vihar children doing Puja
event since 1992. Each child and parent offered Puja to Goddess of Wealth, Laxmi, and chanted bhajans. This event was followed by dinner for all who participated in the event. Under the supervision of parents, children enjoyed the fireworks. The event was organized under the supervision of Bhavani Amrithalingam- Director of Education/Events and Bal Vihar Fundraising Director Vishwakant
ebrations. Center of Indian Cultural Education, Bal Vihar of St. Louis, a premier educational institution of MO, fosters Asian Indian cultural values in children. Founded in 1992 under the leadership of Dr. Sudhir Brahmbhatt, this organization is preparing the future citizens, achievers of America to understand and apply Asian Indian culture, its heritage and values for the best in the community.
Taking part in prayer
Community Across America
December 2, 2011
India Post 17
Gujarati Samaj celebrates Diwali ASHWIN PATEL
Gujarati Samaj celebrating Diwali. Pics Mike Oransky Photography
Maduker Bhakta, former President and Rakesh Bhakta, President Gujarati Samaj
Executive Committee members Gujarati Samaj
ST. LOUIS: Gujarati Samaj of St. Louis celebrated Diwali festival with fanfare at St. Ann Community Center on Saturday, November 5. Over 500 members attended the event that was coordinated successfully by Executive Committee of St. Louis Gujarati Samaj. The evening started with social hour with many choices of delicious appetizers and soft drinks. President Rakseh Bhakta wished everyone a Happy Diwali and Happy New Year and gave
Over 500 members attended the event that was coordinated successfully by Executive Committee of St. Louis Gujarati Samaj Samaj's yearly activity report to members. The lamp lighting ceremony was done by Senior Member of Samaj Dr. Chitranjan Vyas. This was followed by a live musical performance by Bhupendra Singh & Group from
Chicago. Extraordinary vocal and instrumental talents of this local musical group led by Bhupendrji thoroughly entertained the audience for over two hours with golden oldies Hindi movie songs. The event was a grand success.
Hamdard Center gala funds 7 programs by the late Dr. Farzana Hamid and Dr. Mohammad Hamid in 1992 as a proactive response to address the critical mental health needs of the South Asian and Middle Eastern communities. Hamdard staff recognizes the importance of cultural sensitivity through its programming in the following languages: Arabic, Bosnian, Gujarati, Hindi, Persian, Punjabi, Serbo-Croatian, Spanish, Telugu, and Urdu. Dr. Mohammad Hamid, Chairman and Co-Founder of the Hamdard Center for Health and Human Services, Deborah A. Liverett is a Senior Vice President at The Northern Trust Co. Kavita Krishnamurthy, Bollywood singer and Ravi Baichwal, ABC Anchor. Pics Asian Media USA Asian Media USA
CHICAGO: The Hamdard Center for Health and Human Services held its nineteenth Annual Gala on Saturday, November 19 at the Donald E. Stephens Rosemont Convention Center in Rosemont, a north side suburb of Chicago with special guests, Ravi Baichwal from ABC 7 News as the Master of Ceremony and Pakistani Consul General Zaheer Pervaiz Khan. It was attended by over 800 Hamdard supporters and members of the South Asian American community. The Center raised $235,000 which will go towards their seven programs including the domestic violence division, transitional housing, senior services, youth
services, primary and mental health services, and case management. The evening highlights included a high couture fashion show by Designer Studio, a live auction, and musical performance by Kavita Krishnamurthy. Over 18 exhibitors and vendors creating a small Bazaar ambiance by displaying their beautiful products such as Indian clothing, jewelry and paintings Ravi Baichwal introduced the Chairman and Cofounder Dr. Mohammad Hamid who spoke about the hurdles and hardship the agency had encountered over the last year due to substantial reduction in funding, but was happy announcing, " tonight it gives me
a great deal of pleasure to announce that the 6-unit apartment building will be Hamdard's new shelter facility and a befitting tribute to its founder, the late Dr. Farzana Hamid." The fashion show featured by Designer Studio showcased the exquisite works of renowned South Asian fashion designers Deepak Perwani, Rizwan Beyg, Shameel and Sania Maskatiya. It was a perfect evening of amalgamation of classic and modern fashion fused with Bollywood, Latin and Hip Hop dance forms. Hamid Community Service award was given to Deborah A. Liverett, a Senior Vice President at The Northern Trust Company, Chicago. Amina Spahic provided
the client testimonial entitled "A Big Part of My Life." She spoke about moving with her family from Bosnia and becoming the first client enrolled in the Youth Enrichment Program. Amina received a thunderous ovation at the end of her speech. The Illinois Auctioneer of the Year (2009) Vinnie Zaffarano then began the live auction which featured five exclusive packages consisting of airline tickets from Etihad and Lufthansa, New York Weekend Getaway, Ritz Carlton at the Caribbean and a Chicago weekend package. The night ended with live entertainment by Kavita Krishnamurthy. Hamdard Center for Health and Human Services was established
Hamdard Fashion show performer
Community Across America
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December 2, 2011
TANA brings smiles to needy children SURENDRA ULLAL
DALLAS, TX: "Give back to the community we live in by serving the needy" is the theme of the multiple annual backpack giveaway events organized in several major cities across the United States this year under the leadership of the Telugu Association of North America (TANA). Founded in 1977, TANA is one of the oldest and largest IndoAmerican national-level organizations with its charter to perpetu-
North America. Prasad Thotakura, TANA President said, "It has been TANA's tradition to serve the mainstream community especially those in real need of basic necessities. It continues to focus on result oriented programs while enabling a new breed of ambassadors to bring the community together". Keeping the long tradition of over five years TANA donated 200 back packs this year to the chil-
gratifying experience in contributing to the needy children of our neighborhood," says Mohan Nannapaneni, Executive Vice President of TANA. Under the leadership of Ms. Manjulata Kanneganti, Regional Director-Southwest, TANA distributed over 200 backpacks to the needy children on the Central Jr. High School campus of HEB school district. Trilok Kantheti, Capital Regional Director, TANA with sup-
TANA volunteers with school children who were given backpacks
TANA volunteers involved in backpack distribution in Dallas
ate, integrate, and assimilate the cultural heritage of the Teluguspeaking people of the North American continent into the mainstream of the cultural heritage of
dren of West Somerville Neighborhood School, Somerville, MA. This brings to 2000 the backpacks distributed to various schools in Boston suburbs. "It has been a
port from Greater Washington Telugu Cultural Society (GWTCS) distributed backpacks to over 300 students in Kimball Elementary School, nearer to U.S Capital in
Washington DC. This is the fifth time TANA donated backpacks in this school since 2003. TANA's nationwide backpack program replicated in Portland area under the leadership of Srimanth Chinnam, Regional Director-North West and in association with a local radio station KUIK 1360. "These families are in financially hard situations and struggle to make ends meet. They typically do not have many material possessions and do not enjoy many of the nice things that more successful families enjoy" quoted Spencer Rubin, General Manager of KUIK Radio, the main sponsor of the event. In association with Telugu Association of Metro Atlanta (TAMA) Madhu Tata, Regional Director, South East, distributed
more than 300 backpacks to the Atlanta area school children. Sagar Malisetti, Regional Director, Great Plains with the support of Telugu Association of Minnesota gave 250 backpacks to the less fortunate children in Great Plaines regions. Backpacks were donated in three localities on different local events. Kris Emerson of St. Paul Public School thanked TANA for being supportive in their objective to serve the society. TANA brought smiles to over 300 children of the Cesar Chavez Middle School, Union City, California. "The students of the school were taken by surprise, as the school management wanted to make these backpacks distribution a surprise gift for them," said Hema Rao, conducting the distribution.
Kerala Center honors six at banquet India Post News Service
NEW YORK: Over 300 people gathered at the Indian American Kerala Cultural and Civic Center to honor six Indian American Malayalees for their outstanding achievements in their field of specialization or for their service to the society. The awardees were honored at the organization's annual banquet on Nov 12. Thambi Thalappillil, Kerala Center president since early this year, said that while the Kerala community has organized themselves according to religion, region and religious denominations, the Kerala Center has been providing a common platform to all Indian American Malayalees and providing services to the Kerala as well as the Indian communities in the New York area. Ramu Damodaran, Deputy Director of Outreach Division, Department of Public Information at
the United Nations, the chief Mooppen introduced the key- ogy Institute at Henry Ford robotic surgery, Dr. Menon said guest for the evening, said that note speaker Dr. Mani Menon, Health System in Detroit. Dr. that for young at heart, it is like with Malayalees being a very di- Rajendra and Padma Vattikutti Menon was also honored for his playing a video game. verse group of people, the Kerala Distinguished Chair in Oncology achievement in medicine. SpeakContâ€™d on page 19 Center has brought all segments and Director of the Vattikutti Urol- ing on his professional specialty, of the Kerala community together. "We have multiple identities; religion, family community, state, nation and now global, however, none of these identities inhibit or lessen the other," said Damodaran. He appealed to everyone to support Center's activities as well as that of the global Indian Diaspora movement. Kerala Center Award recipients for 2011 after the award ceremony pose for a group photo with Chief Guest Ramu Damodaran and Kerala Center Center's Board Members and Trustees. Award recipients in the front row, from L. to R.: Dr. Santosh Mathew, Gracy Varghese, Dr. K.M. trustee Dr. Unni Abraham, Dr. Mani Menon, Dr. Murali Nair and Raju Mylapra
Community Across America
December 2, 2011
India Post 19
NetIP hosts charity gala for 'Cancer is Colorblind'
Kathleen A. Casey, Founder and CEO/President of Bear Necessities, Dr. Jyoti Patel, Associate Professor Feinberg School of Medicine of Northwestern University, Rishi Seth VP, NetIP Chicago, Jonny Imerman the founder of Imerman's Angels. Pics Asian Media USA Asian Media USA
CHICAGO: Network of Indian Professionals (NetIP) Chicago hosted its Third Annual Charity Gala benefiting Cancer is Colorblind (CiC) on Saturday, November 12 at the Doubletree Chicago Magnificent Mile. It was attended by about 300 members and guests and raised close to $30,000. The event featured a formal three-course dinner, cultural performances, celebrity appearances, inspirational speakers, and special recognition for cancer fighters and survivors besides a silent/live auction and raffle of donated items and prizes. The evening started with cocktails and live music performed by a local band, Finally August, followed with a beautiful Bharat Natyam dance Mahishasura Mardini - performed by Vaidehi Patel. The dance
NetIP. He stated, "The CiC campaign had experienced significant outpouring of support through the Chicago City Challenge and our Race Against Cancer 5K Run/Walk at Soldier Field. There are 24 chapters of NetIP throughout the United States." Then he introduced NetIP's President, Kesha Parikh. In her welcome address, Kesha Parikh stated, "NetIP brings together like-minded and passionate individuals who all have a common objective: making an impact. Whether you want to make an impact in your professional or personal lives, NetIP provides the access and opportunity that you may otherwise consider is far beyond reach! NetIP's mission is to serve as one voice for the South Asian Diaspora and to engage and develop a network of professionals to benefit the community." "For three continuous years, we
Vaidehi Patel performing Bharat Natyam
signified victory of good over evil. Ashwin Janakiram, a Net IP volunteer, gave the background for
have been hosting a large scale gala and charitable campaign such as the one today. Collectively NetIP Chicago will have donated
fighting cancer." The evening continued with the bone marrow drive, silent auction, live auction, matching rally, and raffle prizes throughout the night. Surabhi Saraswat, a NetIP Board member, stated, "NetIP chooses causes that are important to the community. Bear Necessities and Robert H Lurie were selected this time. Previous beneficiaries include Apna Ghar, a domestic violence center, Children's Memorial Hospital and Sinai Health Systems." CiC seeks to raise awareness and funds for pediatric and adult cancer prevention and treatment,
NetIP Executive Members 2011
over $200,000 to various local programs here in Chicago" Kesha concluded thanking all sponsors and board members. She then introduced Rishi Seth, Vice President of Charitable Campaigns for NetIP Chicago Rishi Seth said that six years ago, he lost his mom to cancer. "And the biggest lessons I learned from my mom was that, when possible you need to give back to those around you. We were looking through the numerous cancer organizations in the city; we knew we wanted to give to organizations that support the full gamut of cancer care. That is how we decided on Bear Necessities and the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center," he said Rishi then introduced Jonny Imerman. the founder of Imerman's Angels. Fighting cancer at 26 years old, Jonny started the Imerman Angels.org, where cancer fighters can get 1-on-1 cancer support. Rishi introduced Jyoti Patel an Associate Professor of Medicine at the Feinberg School of Medicine of Northwestern University. She specializes in the treatment of lung cancer. In addition to developing novel therapies for lung cancer, she has a special interest in lung cancer in women and
the interplay of genetic, hormonal, and molecular differences that contribute to differences of outcome in women. Under the direction of Dr. Jyoti Patel, the Lurie Cancer Center is creating the first model of personalized cancer care utilizing a patient's genetic code to create specific therapies for all those battling this terrible disease. Dr. Patel told everyone, "Prevention and survivorship is key to
while honoring cancer survivors and fighters All CiC proceeds directly benefited a genetics research program and a cancer support program at two cancer institutions, which serve diverse communities and patient populations: Robert H Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University and Bear Necessities Pediatric Cancer Foundation.
Kerala Center honors six at banquet Contâ€™d from page 18
Dr. Menon felt that innovation should be at the bottom of everything for the betterment of the society. Five others received the Kerala Center awards for outstanding accomplishments and/or for contribution to society. They are: Dr. K. M. Abraham, Research Professor at Northeastern University Center for Renewable Energy Technology in Boston and the President and Chief Technology
officer of E-KEM Science, Boston (Applied Sciences); Dr. Santhosh Mathew, professor, researcher and science writer (Journalism - Science Writing); Raju Mylapra, Chief Editor of Aswamedham online publication, New York (Journalism - Humor Writing); Dr. Murali Nair, Professor & Director of School of Social Work at Cleveland State University in Ohio (Social Sciences); Gracy Varghese, Nursing Home Administrator, East Haven Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, Bronx, New York.
20 India Post
December 2, 2011
Diwali & Chopda Pujan celebrated at BAPS Swaminarayan Mandir
Balikas placing chandlo on each other
India Post News Service
CHINO HILLS, CA: On October 27 a lavish Annakut (mountain of food) was offered to the sacred murtis on the occasion of Diwali and New Year's Day at the BAPS Swaminarayan Mandir in Chino Hills. Preparation for the Annakut started in the early hours of the morning. Over 1000 vegetarian food items were lovingly prepared by devotees to thank God for His providence over the past year and to seek His blessings for the year ahead. An eclectic array of vegetarian food items including Indian, Mexican, Italian, and American dishes were offered. As October 26 marked the date of Diwali, the traditional Chopda Pujan was held. The devotees also offered worship to Goddess Lakshmi to pray for the righteous acquirement of wealth as well as for its use in noble causes. Children of all ages performed puja on their school books, laptops, and notebooks blessing them for the year ahead. Diwali falls on the last day of the Hindu year and business owners traditionally close their account books and perform rituals to open new ones in readiness for the New Year ahead. The Haveli of BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Chino Hills was exquisitely lit up with divos creating a picturesque ambiance.
Visitors viewing exhibition
Haveli lit up
Diwali is often referred to as the Festival of Lights and is traditionally marked by placing decorated oil lamps (each called a 'deepa') in rows ('avali') - hence the Sanskrit
name 'Deepavali'. Devotees prepared a beautiful Rangoli display in front of the Haveli. A unique exhibit depicting the theme of 'Mandir' was set on display for all well wishers to enjoy. The exhibition enlightened all on the unique features of a mandir including origins, mandirs around India, BAPS Mandirs, as well as their contributions to society. Parents brought their children during the fun fair held on Sunday, October 30. There were plenty of carnival games and rides for the kids to enjoy as well as carnival snacks, such as popcorn, cotton candy, and snow cones.
Devotees participating in Chopda Pujan
December 2, 2011
India Post 21
Sikh Arts and Film Festival a sold-out event BANDANA SINGH
ORANGE, CA: Sikh Arts and Film Festival organized by SikhLens took place November 1820 at the prestigious Dodge College of Film and Media Arts at Chapman University in Orange, California. The event was attended by over 700 people, with both evening events completely sold out. The three-day Festival began on Friday, November 18th, with a red-carpet Opening Night Gala Event. Guests were greeted with a melodious musical interlude by Jaswinder Ahluwalia (tabla) and Kamaljit Ajmal (Santoor) and then welcomed to the festival by CoChairs Ravin Kaur Kohli and Tina Kaur Anand, who introduced the Festival with a series of opening
the world renowned Singh Twins, Amrita and Rabindera. The Dean of Dodge College, Mr. Robert Basset addressed the audience, and introduced the 2012 Sikhlens Scholarships. Sikhlens' Partners in Progress award was given to CNN and National Geographic Documentarian, Professor Jeff Swimmer. Guru Singh from the NBC's Outsourced co-emceed the evening's events alongside Ms. Kohli. Several special attendees were in attendance, including living legend Fauja Singh, the 100-year marathon runner. Over 600 attendees on Friday night were able to hear the sharp centenarian entertain the audience with witty comments, and deep insight into his
Creative Sikhs Cluster
night films, live entertainment, and the premiere of the 2012 SikhPoint Calendar with original artwork by
background and world. A notable quote from the Guest of Honor himself, "Don't simply say I am
Fauja Singh, his trainer Harmander Singh and Gurmeet Sodhi
The cast and crew of breakaway with Festival Co-Chair Ravin Kohli and Patron Bicky Singh
your inspiration. Turn that inspiHip-hop artist Mandeep Sethi, tendance at the event and parration into action." Gurmeet Sodhi of the TV Show ticipated in a question and anOrange County's Chief Sandar "GS with GS," tabla player swer session following the film Hutchens addressed, prior to a Jaswinder Ahluwalia, Charenjeet moderated by Ravin Kaur Kohli video montage of Sikhlens' partner Sikh organizations (including SALDEF, Sikh Coalition, United Sikhs and Jakara.) Films for the evening included the West Coast Premiere of A Little Revolution, and the World Premiere of Humble the Poet. Youtube comedic sensation Jus Reign (Jasmeet Singh) and the talented young prodigy "Violinder" Raginder Singh Momi entertained the crowd which lead to thunderous applause. Guests Festival Co-Chairs Ravin Kohli and Tina Anand with Breakaway cast members were also able to view various pieces of Sikh artwork that were Singh (Musician and Composer) and Professor Jeff Swimmer. The displayed throughout Dodge and Kamaljeet Ajimal were just evening concluded with a desCollege's main lobby. The evening some of the amazing talent that sert reception, where Festival atconcluded with book and calen- wowed the audience on Saturday tendees danced to the latest and dar signings, and a delectable des- afternoon. Following the Creative best of DJ NFP, and live perforsert and dance reception. Sikhs panel, the Festival showed mances by some festival artists. Saturday, November 19th, at- a series of short films, both narThe Festival concluded on tracted a record number of attend- rative and documentary, that Sunday, November 20th, with ees for the festival. The day be- ranged in topic from religious three clusters. The morning began with the incredible Youth fo- identity to social service. gan with a Sikhs Around the cused cluster which included an On Saturday night, the Festi- World cluster, showcasing short on-stage sing-along to children's val was proud to be chosen as films and authors from all over book Ik Chota Bacha, an impres- the venue for the US Premiere of the world, including the US Desive live play The Royal Falcon the highly anticipated film but of Khushwant Singh's TurMusical, a series of short films and Breakaway (aka Speedy Singhs). baned Tornado, a biography on a book reading of My First Sikh The evening began with a red Fauja Singh. This was followed Books. This cluster was followed carpet event for the cast and by the unique Social Issues Panel, by Part 1 of the Creative Sikhs! crew of Breakaway. The pro- which focused on women's rights panel, in which several Sikh art- ducer, Ajay Virmani, as well as and gender equality. ists were able to showcase their actors Vinay Virmani, Camilla art as well as answer questions Belle, Noureen DeWulf and Contâ€™d on page 22 from the audience. Rupinder Magon were all in at-
22 India Post
December 2, 2011
Remarrying in later life: East vs. West DR. JASWANT SINGH SACHDEV
embers of ethnic Indian Diaspora, after settling in the Western world, often come across certain Western customs that may not make sense to them. When they view such customs from Eastern perspectives for the first time, some Diaspora members are not only baffled but also get extremely bothered to the extent that emotional upheavals start boiling in their minds. However as time passes, all what seemed unusual initially, slowly starts to sink in and things end up making sense. And then one wonders as to how come, we, the people of India didn't try to practice some of the Western customs within our own culture especially if they were not in conflict with the guidelines of our faiths. Such steps might have improved the lifestyle of many unfortunate souls. One answer to this dilemma could be that some of the traditions ingrained into our psyche over long period of time become difficult to erase even if the change might be for the better. One such custom, to which I would like to allude to, relates to a common Western practice of remarrying in the later part of life for companionship to ward off loneliness, once the previous life partner has departed from this word forever. Not many eyebrows
step appeared a little bit awkward to me from Eastern perspectives. Not only was it too early to consider remarrying so soon after the death of her husband but also in view of what I felt was her relatively advanced age. Talking over to some other Americans about this incident; it became obvious to me that none among them considered this to be a big deal for there was nothing that appeared out of place to them. It again made me realize that the union at this age is not considered that unusual in Western culture. And there are several reasons why people here in the West do not consider this custom to be unusual. First of all the elderly people here in the West are much lonelier than our people back home. On top of it, the elderly women regardless of countries of their residences or race seem to outlive their husbands. This is not only true in the West rather it is so all over the world including India. The concept of joint family system which has been fairly prevalent back home prevents many elderly people, especially the elderly widows, from turning lonely. A widowed grandmother is allowed to play the most important role in more than one way in a joint family. She is not only
The concept of joint family system which has been fairly prevalent back home prevents many elderly people, especially the elderly widows, from turning lonely. A widowed grandmother is allowed to play the most important role in more than one way in a joint family are raised by Western society in practice of such a custom. About couple of decades ago, one of my Western acquaintances, a professional of highest cadre, otherwise deeply religious and of impeccable character, lost her professional husband. At that time, she was close to seventy and had been married for almost forty years. Having known her for couple of decades, I was fully aware of her devotion to her husband who also belonged to same profession to which she was. No sooner did this happen and within couple of months, she remarried another colleague of her, again a professional. Listening to the story, I was somewhat surprised for such a
considered part of the family but rather ends up ruling the entire household including all its members, especially the sons and daughters-in-law. Taking care of her grandchildren, reconnecting them to the culture of the community and introducing them to their family's faith provides her enough of a challenge and responsibility during the day. Come evening time, she turns busy looking over preparation of meals for joint family. Rendering bedtime stories to her brood of grandchildren becomes another important assignment in her life. Looking through the prism of many Indian sitcoms and serials continuously being churned out of Bollywood, this phenomenon becomes all too ap-
parent, of course with its own sets of problems and issues. The junior members of the family not only fall in line but rather they put concerted efforts in making sure that grandma is kept busy and fully engrossed in family affairs. They try to keep her body and mind on the move every minute of day seven days of a week. In turn she tries to make sure that the family unit is run smoothly. Letting her tuck all the keys of the household including that of the safe under her saree's belt while running around the household, performing all the chores makes her feel no less than a Prime Minister of a country. Personal respect, honor, and control of the entire family affairs wouldn't spare a moment for her to think about loneliness. Thus emotionally the loss of husband in the case of an elderly widow is compensated to a greater extent. Likewise, an elderly widower in the joint family system of Eastern culture is provided equal and due respect and given full responsibility in many circumstances. He is usually allowed to consider himself as the head of the household and his opinion is often sought after in matters of the family. Therefore, in most of the circumstances, it leaves no space or time in single elderly parent's daily routine, be it a mother or a father, about the need for remarrying or having a personal companion at that stage of life. Now compare this to the lifestyle pattern of the West. In most of the circumstances nests usually turn empty once the children leave home at the time of their entry in a college. To return back and stay put as one joint family unit again, seems more than unlikely. The number of the friends and relatives also start dwindling as the age of an older individual advances. Therefore, the need for a companion becomes a necessity. To have a life partner in later part of life in Western living by remarrying, in fact fulfils such a need in a rather respectful way. More often than not, the children also try to support their single elderly parent's decision in this regard. And if there are no legal issues about estate or finances that may adversely affect remarriage, it becomes an easier sailing. Remarrying in such situations may or may not necessarily be for the need of sexual fulfillment which of course is of secondary importance in most situations. It will be worthwhile to state here that by no means does this imply that couples here in the
West do not live together without going through a formal process of marriage. Rather a good number of elderly men and women share their lives together in waning years without getting married. Such kinds of arrangements are not necessarily looked down upon by the Western society as happens to be the case in Indian subcontinent. In the example given above, the widow was otherwise well off in all spheres and so were her
culture especially from Indian subcontinent, such a step of remarrying at the later stage of life often appears to be something difficult to consider. They are often concerned as to what the society will say and how it will treat them for there are always people within the society ready to add salt to the wound. Yet the water always flows towards the path of least resistance. While such decisions are usually personal in one's life, human beings happen
In most of the circumstances nests usually turn empty once the children leave home at the time of their entry in a college. To return back and stay put as one joint family unit again, seems more than unlikely. The number of the friends and relatives also start dwindling grown up married children who lived in the other parts of country far away from her. There obviously were no estate issues. It was a situation where this was not only the best choice to ward off her loneliness, rather it was the only one given her lifestyle. She would not have ever considered living with another individual of opposite sex without going through a religious ceremony of marriage. Among the people of Eastern
to be social animals and at the end of the day they will have to live within the norms of their community or society at large. In contrast such kinds of interferences in personal affairs in the Western society are not that common. Therefore, it becomes easier for a newly bereaved elderly individual to make such decisions rather more realistically for the need of a companion in her or his remaining period of otherwise lonely life.
Sikh Arts and Film Festival a sold-out event Contâ€™d from page 21
The hugely successful Festival ended with the second Creative Sikhs cluster, showcasing YouTube comedian Jus Reign, legendary marathoner Fauja Singh and his trainer Harmandar Singh, Music Producer Tej Gill and Actress Agam Darshi, which was moderated by Gurmeet Sodhi. The Sikh Arts and Film Festi-
val serves as a central venue for artists to showcase and share Sikh heritage and culture through the mediums of film, literature, art, music, social media and fashion. As an often-misidentified minority, this type of forum has proven to be essential for Sikhs to transcend cultural boundaries, generate awareness, and connect with the broader community.
Some Festival volunteers and artists
Atlanta plans $ 2 bn Theme Park in Surat
n what could give a major fillip to Gujarat's tourism industry, Mumbai-based Atlanta Ltd, an infrastructure development and real estate company, has received in principle approval from the state government to set up a USD 2 billion (Rs 10,412 crore) theme park in Surat. With the first phase of the project set to begin in April 2012, the theme park has been cleared by the Gujarat Industrial Development Board and Gujarat Tourism Board and the state cabinet is expected to give a final go head in a few weeks. Atlanta, which is active in emerging sectors like road projects, is in talks with World's biggest theme-park operator to partner in the project, reports Business Standard.
Puravankara plans project in Sri Lanka
eal estate developer Puravankara is eyeing the overseas market for expansion. The company's maiden project in a foreign soil is coming up in Sri Lanka. The company had invested on the land some years back, but postponed development as the situation was not congenial for promoting mega projects. "We were waiting for the right time to develop it," a senior official of the company told Business Line. Stating that Purvankara would make an announcement about this upcoming project before the end of the current calendar year, the official said "the site is located en route to the airport from Colombo city.
Zandu Realty to rebuild herbal healthcare firm
andu Realty Ltd has struck a deal with Sheth Developers Pvt Ltd to rebuild erstwhile herbal healthcare firm Zandu Pharmaceutical Works' headquarters in Mumbai's Dadar neighborhood into a 2.7-acre commercial complex. On entering the development agreement, Zandu Realty, an Emami group firm, received Rs 70 crore in cash from Sheth Developers. It will also receive half the developed area on completion of the project, R S Agarwal, joint chairman of the Emami group, was quoted as saying in Mint. Zandu Realty recently assessed the value of its Dadar property at Rs 250 crore.
November 25, 2011
Ozonegroup's township project in Bangalore
eal estate developer Ozonegroup has announced a Rs 3,000-crore integrated township project in Bangalore, near the Bangalore International Airport. The project, Ozone Urbana, would be spread across 150 acres, and "there is a potential to grow this to 167 acres," said K S Sudarshan, chief operations officer, Ozonegroup, at the launch.
Ministry focus on property development for Metro rail project
nion Urban Development Ministry will be focusing on property development to meet financing needs of metro rail projects as it embarks on an ambitious plan to spread the Metro Rail network to all the towns with a population of two million and above. Ludhiana, Pune, Ahmedabad, Lucknow, Indore, Bhopal, Chandigarh and Nagpur are on the immediate radar of the Ministry. Urban development minister Kamal Nath informed that in order to reduce dependence on growth budgetary support and also loans from multilateral agencies, his ministry proposes to raise resources through land monetization. In Delhi, DMRC, according to Nath has granted approval to avail of additional FAR for property development. Currently, DMRC has been engaged in the development of commercial office and retail property in Delhi as a mechanism to raise resources, and residential property development is also on the anvil. Metro Rail network in Delhi and other parts of the country is being developed on different models including DMRC model, PPP model,
Private Funding model and State Funding model. Under the DMRC model, both the Centre and the state government finance 50 per cent of the cost each. The current Metro Rail projects in Delhi-NCR and Bengaluru are executed on DMRC model. More projects have been taken up in Bengaluru,
In a significant move, the centre has given green light for Delhi Metro Phase-4 project spanning seven new corridors, while another 103 km is being added under the Phase-3 project Kolkata and Chennai under the DMRC model at a cost of Rs 31,083 crore. Besides, a 20.4 km Mumbai Metro Line-3 at a cost of Rs 12,015 crore and 25.3 km Kochi Metro at the cost of Rs 4,722 crore is under consideration. Under the private funding model, a five km rapid metro rail project is being taken up by real estate major DLF at the cost of Rs 1,088 crore, while a complete state funded Rs 1,250 crore Metro Rail Stage-1 project in Jaipur has been sanctioned. Meanwhile, Urban
Gujarat realty sector hit by price rise VADODARA: A steady rise in the price of construction material like cement, steel and bricks, coupled with a shortage of skilled laborers, has hurt the realty sector in Gujarat, a senior officer bearer of the state's real estate developers' association has said. Soaring raw material prices, shortage of labor and other factors are leading to delays or cancellation of projects across Gujarat, Vipul Thakkar, the VicePresident of the Gujarat wing of the Confederation of Real Estate Developers Associations of India (Credai), told PTI. Thakkar said the realty business in big cities in the state, such as Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Rajkot, Surat, Jamnagar and Bhavnagar, has been hit as a result. He said cement prices have
Development Ministry is giving first preference to PPP model of funding. "In Delhi, we have already introduced this model on Airport Line, though PPP model is not viable on all the routes. It is side specific and depends on the maximum monetization that can be done," told Nath.
been hiked four times during the past year. "This has made construction of a housing project a very costly affair. The cost of cement per bag has gone up to Rs 270 from Rs 170 over the past one year," Thakkar said. "The cartel of cement companies is responsible for this price rise and the intervention of the Gujarat government is needed to resolve the issue," he added. He said big housing schemes would now need clearance from the Gujarat Pollution Control Board. "Spiraling costs of significant construction material have been putting great pressure on project execution and it is difficult to keep the builders' margins intact," builder Ramesh Patel said. -PTI
Currently under the PPP mode, Metro projects have been taken up in Hyderabad (71 km), Mumbai Line-1 (11.07 km), Mumbai Line-2
(31.87 km) at a cost of Rs 12,132 crore, Rs 2,365 crore and Rs 7,660 crore, respectively. In addition to these, Rs 7,700 crore Jaipur Metro Stage-2 project, Bengaluru Airport project costing Rs 6,000 crore and Chennai Metro Line-1 project costing Rs 2,845 crore are also in the pipeline. In a significant move, the centre has given green light for Delhi Metro Phase-4 project spanning seven new corridors, while another 103 km is being added under the Phase-3 project at a cost of Rs 35,242 crore. After the completion of Phase-4 by 2021, another 104 km will be added to the Delhi Metro network taking the total coverage area to 240 km, surpassing the London Underground Metro.
Crazeal.com offers discount on property deals NEW DELHI: Crazeal, the India unit of group buying site Groupon, has partnered with real estate developer RCL Homes to offer discount on purchase of a property in Karjat in Maharashtra. "This is the first time any bulkbuying website is offering a deal which offers a discount of Rs 1.02 lakh for a property in Karjat, which is a popular weekend getaway destination near Mumbai," Crazeal CEO Ankur Warikoo said. To activate the real estate deal, subscribers have to purchase a Crazeal voucher valued at Rs 999 to get the Rs 1.02 lakh discount
for a studio apartment priced at Rs 10.5 lakh, he added. While the deal will be available for Crazeal subscribers in Mumbai, the company plans to open up the offer to the other parts of the country as well. "We think there would be people not just in Mumbai but other parts of the country, who would want to invest in property. So, we will open it up to other parts of the country too," Warikoo said. On the purchase of the deal, the investor gets sixty days to visit the site or sales office to redeem the discount. -PTI
India Post News Service
NEW YORK: Indian American filmmaker Tarsem Singh is yet to come out from basking in the success of his Immortals at the box office, and already his fairy tale classic Mirror Mirror is creating a buzz with its first official trailer out for public viewing nationwide. Singh's enchanted, reimagining of the classic Snow White fairy tale Mirror Mirror, stars Academy award winner Julia Roberts, Lily Collins (The Blind Side), Armie Hammer (The Social Network), Sean Bean (The Game of Thrones, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King) and Nathan Lane (The Lion King, The Birdcage). The film is set to release in theaters across North America this spring on March 16. Singh rewrites fairy tale history as a wicked enchantress (Roberts) schemes and scrambles for control of a spirited orphan's (Collins) throne and the attention of a charming prince (Hammer). When Snow White's beauty wins the heart of the prince that she desperately pursues, the Queen banishes her to the forest, where a ravening man-eating beast hungrily awaits. Rescued by a band of diminutive highway robbers, Snow White grows into an indomitable young woman determined to take back her realm from the treacherous Queen. With the support of her subjects, she roars into action in an epic battle that blends spectacle, magic and contemporary humor in Singh's signature, jaw-dropping visual style.
Veering way off her comfort zone, Julia Roberts plays the evil queen in this spirited adventure comedy filled
Singh rewrites fairy tale history as a wicked enchantress (Roberts) schemes and scrambles for control of a spirited orphan's (Collins) throne and the attention of a charming prince (Hammer) with jealousy, romance and betrayal that is expected to capture the imagination of audiences the world over.
December 2, 2011
December 2, 2011
Indian-American saxophonist kicks off Flushing Jazz events India Post News Service
NEW YORK: Jazz Journalist Association's 2009 Alto Saxophonist of the Year and winner of the 2009 Downbeat International Critics Poll "Rising Star-Jazz Artist", Rudresh Mahanthappa is one of the most innovative young musicians in jazz today. Synthesizing jazz with the astutely improvised musical forms of South Asia, the Indo-Pak Coalition transcends any preconception of Indo-jazz fusion. Led by Rudresh Mahanthappa, this trio with Pakistani-American guitarist Rez Abbasi and rising tabla star Dan Weiss is already turning heads internationally in both the jazz and world music scenes. Mahanthappa's The Indo-Pak Coalition will be performing Dec 3 at the Flushing Town Hall in Queens, New York, Their debut album Apti (Innova, 2008) reached #1 on the JazzWeek World Music radio charts and enjoyed long stints in the top ten of the JazzWeek Jazz, CMJ Jazz, and ChartAttack radio charts. Rolling Stone, the New York Times, and
Downbeat among others have raved about both the ensemble and the album. "Much as Dizzy Gillespie had wedded jazz chord changes to Cuban rhythms in the nineteenforties, Mahanthappa wrote music that blended Western harmony with South Indian traditions, searching for a style in which American and Indian players might find a common ground without sacrificing their respective im-
provisational approaches," the New Yorker Magazine wrote. Mahanthappa, the Americanborn son of Indian immigrants, seamlessly fuses the musical culture of his Indian ancestry and jazz with myriad other influences to create a groundbreaking artistic vision. Consistently heralded by critics as one of the most original composers in his field, altoist his prolific contributions to contemporary jazz have earned him a Guggenheim Fellowship, commissions to create new work from the likes of the Rockefeller Foundation MAP Fund, Chamber Music America and the American Composers Forum, and a win in the 2011 Downbeat international Critics Poll. His rare ability to synthesize South Indian music concepts with a seemingly boundless range of unexpected influences frequently characterizes him as one of the most important artists in the music today - a distinction the Jazz Journalists Association recently echoed by naming him Alto Saxophonist of the Year three consecutive times from 2009-2011.
Faith helped Daler fight the odds India Post News Service
NEW DELHI: Daler Mehndi, who recently made news for singing 'Dukaalang Pranaasi,' believes that it is his complete faith in God which kept him connected with his inner self. Despite a super-successful career, Mehndi like any other person has witnessed series of unfortunate events. From the controversial album Nabi Buba Nabi, when he was asked to pull off his album by miscreants to gain mileage over a futile issue to his alleged link to the illegal immigration scandal in 2003, the forlorn controversies encouraged him to fight the odds & strengthened his faith in God. Despite all the hardships, Mehndi managed to retain his calmness and serenity by having complete conviction in divinity. "Hardships in life have dragged me around but my Savior, my Guru, Baba Nanak always continued to drag me further into His heart, creating my real freedom. So just keep the faith!" quoted Daler. As he recited and composed 'Deh Shiva Bar Mohe Ehai, Subh Karman Te Kabhun Na Taro' (which means
Despite all the hardships, Mehndi managed to retain his calmness and serenity by having complete conviction in divinity 'Grant me, O Lord, this boon, may I never falter in doing noble deeds' ) in the upcoming movie 'I am Singh,' he affirms that it was the immense faith in his Guru, that helped him rise above the detrimental effects of all the controversies.
December 2, 2011 www.indiapost.com
Chandan Preeni Kaur is Miss India USA
Participants of Miss India USA 2011 in NJ -All pics Mohammed Jaffer-SnapsIndia
Chandan Preeni Kaur
wenty-three year old New Yorker Chandan Preeni Kaur was crowned Miss India USA 2011 at the annual beauty pageant held in New Jersey Nov 20. Kaur, a business administration student, holds a bachelor's degree in the field and is now pursuing her master's. Kaur will now compete in the international contest for the title of Miss India Worldwide 2011 on February 25, 2012, in Suriname. Chandan received her crown from last year's winner, Natasha Arora, a third-year student at the University of Texas-Austin.
December 2, 2011
In college & never learned to cook! C
ollege is supposed to be a place of higher learning that prepares young people for the challenges of taking on a greater role as an adult in a civilized society. While there is no doubt the value of the degrees earned in those hallowed halls, one mom has a striking complaint about it all. "How can you consider yourself educated and sophisticated if you don't know how to cook a decent meal?" asked Hollis Ledbetter, author of OMG! I'm In College and I Never Learned to Cook (www.omgcookbooks.com). "Don't get me wrong, I'm all for higher education for the purposes of being able to earn a living and contribute to the world around them, but I've never seen a college course titled 'How to buy groceries, cook dinner and do your own laundry!'" Ledbetter, a mother of four children (one still in college, the others all have families of their own), sensed the irony of colleges teaching students to become engineers, lawyers and doctors who - without mom's help - are still likely to burn down the kitchen while trying to boil water. "Parents and kids need to know a few key things before the adventure of higher education begins," she added. "Kids need to learn how to cook and parents need to know how to teach them. Taking a semester of home economics in high school does not equate to knowing how to safely defrost a chicken, carve it, prepare it and cook it so that it actually tastes like something other than shoe leather. It's one part art and one part science, and they aren't going to learn either from any class at school." Her tips for parents include: • Just Teach the Basics - You don't have to teach your children how to make eggs
Microwaving a Hot Pocket is not cooking. Cooking involves taking actual vegetables, fruits and meats, and preparing them - either by cooking or mixing - to form a snack or a meal
benedict and how to mix the hollandaise sauce from scratch. Boiling water, broiling meats, making pasta that doesn't stick to the pot like bathroom caulk - these are the basics. Everything else, they should learn on their own. • Don't Coddle Them - You'll save money and they'll eat better if you encourage them to buy groceries, instead of eating fast food or PopTarts all the time. Hold the line on the food budget you give them and they'll hold the line on a good diet. Her tips for kids include: • Definition of Cooking - Microwaving a Hot Pocket is not cooking. Cooking involves taking actual vegetables, fruits and meats, and preparing them - either by cooking or mixing - to form a snack or a meal. If all you can do is make pre-packaged macaroni and cheese, and nuke a burrito, that's not cooking. • Safety - There is a reason why some foods are refrigerated and why some are not. Learn the difference between the two. I guar-
UNESCO honors Shahrukh Khan! "SRK attended the event and he was awarded the Pyramide con Marni award. Humbled with the honor, Shah Rukh was seen signing autographs on the red carpet as well," added the source.
Shah Rukh also bonded with Hollywood action star Shah Rukh Khan with Jet Li India Post News Service
MUMBAI: Shah Rukh Khan won a special award for his charitable deeds at the 20th UNESCO Awards on November 10. The event was held in Germany. SRK is the first Indian ever, to be honored with this award. According to a source, "SRK was asked to be a part of the event in March this year by the Director General of UNESCO. Special UNESCO ambassador Mrs Ohoven sent him the invite as well. However, since the actor was busy with RA.One, the actor couldn't confirm his availability till October."
Jet Li. ‘SRK met Jet Li and told him how he and his son were great fans of the star. The stars even partied together after the event’ Shah Rukh also bonded with Hollywood action star Jet Li. "SRK met Jet Li and told him how he and his son were great fans of the star. The stars even partied together after the event." Other dignitaries who attended the event were Mikhail Gorbacheva, Noami Cambell and Ute Ohoven.
antee you don't want to learn the hard way, when you try to put mayonnaise that was left out all night on a turkey sandwich and wind up in the ER. • Healthy Foods - Here's a good reason to eat homemade healthy foods. If you buy groceries instead of eating out all of the time, you'll not only eat better, but you will save tons of money - money that could be spent on that new smart phone, laptop or tablet you've been dreaming about. Overall, in a nine-month period, it is easy for a single person to save between $1,000 and $2,400 simply by NOT eating out. "There is an old proverb that says, 'If you give a man a fish, he'll eat for a day; if you teach a man to fish, he'll eat for a life-
time," Ledbetter said. "Of course, it stops before they mention if he knows how to cook the darn thing. If you can help encourage your kids to prepare their own meals, they'll eat healthier and be happy in the kitchen for the rest of their lives. And, I think that's a more valuable lesson than they'll ever learn in school." About Hollis Ledbetter Hollis Ledbetter is married with four children (one still in college) and six grandchildren. She has worked as a fitness instructor for the YMCA teaching aerobics, pre-natal exercises and woman's strength training. For the last 17 years, she has worked in real estate and for the last four, she has been writing cookbooks.
December 2, 2011 www.indiapost.com
Indian designer wear showcased at OC Fashion Week 19 and 20. On Saturday 19th, Rohini Bedi presented an amazing Indian inspired Resort Wear Collection for the American woman who likes to travel to exotic places in comfort and in style at the Yost theatre in Santa Ana, Ca.
This is perhaps the first time that an Indian designer has been invited to showcase her talent. The opulence of Indian fashion glowed in the fabrics as she primarily uses beautiful silks and brocades in shocking colors Magda Marcella
JS BEDI India Post News Service
LOS ANGELES: The Orange County Fashion Association held its spring /summer 2012 OC Fashion week on the Nov 18,
The show started with the red carpet and cocktails and ended with a happening after party at the club. Sheer saris were draped like sarongs over swimwear and hand embroidered linen tunics were showcased for summer in ivory and black .The opulence of Indian fashion glowed in the fabrics as she primarily uses beautiful silks and brocades in shocking colors.
Indian fashion designer Rohini Bedi with the OCFA organizer Julia Tudor at Fashion Week -All pics Amer Bedi
This is perhaps the first time that an Indian designer has been invited to showcase her talent. Amongst the bevy of glamorous models was India Post's very own Magda Marcella showcasing Rohini's creations. An actress,
model, filmmaker and journalist, Magda is also fluent in Polish which is a part of her ancestral heritage. All of 22 this young lady has a lot to look forward to. The show ended with an after party till the wee hors of the morning.
Happy to have a daughter: Bachchans MUMBAI: Holding their first official press conference after the birth of a daughter in the Bachchans family, Big B and the new father Abhishek Bachchan said they were happy to have a daughter and the baby was a normal delivery. "We are happy to have a daughter. Jaya and Abhishek wanted that," said Amitabh Bachchan, adding that he just wanted a baby irrespective of the sex and wanted it without any complication. "Big B is now a doting grandfather," said Abhishek addressing the media at their Mumbai residence Jalsa. "I am now without job, KBC is also over. So I have no work now," said Big B and son Abhishek interrupted his father to say the former is now on a full time duty of the new member of the family. Big B thanked the media for their cooperation and said the delivery was normal. "It was a normal delivery," said Bachchan, adding: "Aishwarya wanted a normal delivery and she was in acute labor for two three
dealt with similar, know shall change with time," Big B blogged after spending the first day with his grandchild. "Often the gentlest of smiles quiver across her pouted upper lip, the shut eyes bringing expression through the brows and the settling
‘Her head covered in the littlest of head gear she will ever adorn, snuggles into her mini quilt of varied colors dominated by the pink softness of its material,’ he described Amitabh Bachchan carries his new granddaughter out of Seven Hills hospital in Mumbai as the babyís mother, Aishwarya Rai, follows
hours and had a normal baby. She even did not take the pain killers." Abhishek said they will not have any special ceremony for naming the baby. "Once we get a name we would be happy to just name her," said
Abhishek. A wave of happiness is passing through the Bachchan family as after months of speculations, actress Aishwarya Rai Bachchan gave birth to a baby girl on Nov 16 morning at Seven Hills Hospi-
tal in Mumbai. "The soft innocence of nature rests in my arms, oblivious of what else happens around her. Occasionally she opens her large and what looks now to be eyes of the lighter hue, which those that have
down to that dream she must dream. Her head covered in the littlest of head gear she will ever adorn, snuggles into her mini quilt of varied colors dominated by the pink softness of its material," he described. Ash and Abhishek Bachchan tied the knot in 2007. -PTI
December 2, 2011
Munnar was once a sleepy little hamlet, until Scottish planters discovered it. Later the British who ruled India, developed it more into one of southern India's most important centers for the cultivation of tea, coffee and spices
unnar is Kerala's pre mium hill station. Sur rounded by gently undulating hills swathed in the soothing green of vast tea estates makes it perfect tourist destination in south India. Situated at an altitude of 1600 m above sea level, its bracing climate with the laidback atmosphere and its delightfully refreshing colonial air makes it one of the most sought-after destinations. Kerala itself is called God's own country, with National Geographic Traveler selecting it as 'One of 50 must see des-
tinations of a lifetime' and 'One of the 10 paradises of the World'. And Munnar is the most popular spot in Kerala. The holiday facilities, peaceful environment and the tranquility that it provides make it the perfect serenity spot to rejuvenate and revive the most jaded of travelers. Munnar lies in Idukki district, at the confluence of three mountain rivers. It is pronounced "Moonaar", meaning 'three rivers' in Malayalam. The rivers; Mudrapuzha, Nallathanni
and Kundala meet in the center of the town. The place is encircled by wooded hills of the Annamalai Ranges, with the towering bulk of Anamudi, which is peninsular India's highest peak, at 2695 m. Munnar was once a sleepy little hamlet, until Scottish planters discovered it. Later the British who ruled India, developed it more into one of southern India's most important centers for the cultivation of tea, coffee and spices. They made it their summer hideout because of the cooler climate and the mesmerizing mountain scenery.
Munnar is sometimes called the 'Switzerland of India'. The mountain streams, valleys, tea plants and plenty to discover in the surrounding region, this hill station offers a great variety of choices. It is an excellent base for trekking through the surrounding hills, which are covered by lush green rainforests; for going picnicking beside a crystal-clear mountain stream; for wildlife watching; or for simply getting the kinks out of a tired system! Three rivers In both Malayalam and Tamil,
the word 'Munnar' means three rivers, as it is merging place of three mountain streams. The Duke of Wellington was the first prominent person to visit Munnar. Munnar was once the summer capital of the British in southern India. Some of the bungalows that were built for estate managers of British origin are still in good condition and are being used. The local people here speak Malayalam, the official language of Kerala and since there are a lot of Tamilians, the second language is Tamil. Contâ€™d on page 30
Travel & Hospitality Post
30 India Post
December 2, 2011
www.indiapost.com Contâ€™d from page 29
Munnar has an ancient history and prehistoric relics that can be dated back to Stone Age civilization. The written history begins only from 10th century. In the early 19th century, the headman of the villages of Anchanad, Kannan Thevar, held lands to the north of the high ranges, which belonged to the local Rajah of Poojar. According to record history, the first tea sapling was planted by A.H. Sharp at Parvathi, part of the present Sevenmullay estate. It consisted of 50 acres of land in the surrounding jungle. J D Munro, a British lawyer and tea planter leased close to 600 sq. km of land around Munnar, which was then covered with thick jungle, from the Poonjar chief, a subordinate of the Maharaja of Travancore. He then cleared the jungle for tea plantations. This land was later known as Kannan
Munnar is blessed with a rich variety of flora and fauna but the most well known among them is Neelakurinji The Neelakurinji or Kurinji is a unique shrub species that blooms in Munnar and the hills across Western Ghats. Neelakurinji (Strobilanthes kunthiana) belongs to the family of Acanthaceae. The species name Kunthiana has been derived from the River Kunthi. The genus has around 300 species, of which at least 46 occur in India. Besides the Western Ghats, it can also be found in Eastern Ghats. Neelakurinji On the hills, the plant usually grow 30 to 60 cm in height, but under more favorable conditions they can grow well beyond 180 cms. It can be found only in high altitudes between 1,600 meters and 2,600 m and what makes it so special, apart from its beauty, is that it blooms only once in 12 years. The mass flowering and subsequent death of
Munnar street scene
tween. The flowering season comes between August and November and the peak in late Sep-
Munnar Soothing green of vast tea estates
Devan (Kannan Thevar) Concession Land. Later in 1895, Messrs Finlay Muir & Company bought Munro's land and in 1976 Tata-Finlay Ltd. purchased it. Then in 1983 James Finlay Group sold their remaining share holdings and the company became known as Tata Tea Ltd., the largest integrated tea company in the world.
the Kurinji is the subject of hill folklore. Although Neelakurinji has flowering cycles ranging from one to 16 years, it has been flowering every 12 years since 1800. What triggers the massive flowering every 12 years is not known. Plants that bloom at long intervals like this are called plietesials. But stray flowerings do occur in be-
tember and October although some varieties exhibit little variation. It looks light blue in the early stage of blooming and has purplish blue color when aged. Neela means blue in Malayalam and Kurinji is the local name of the flower. For those in Munnar, the blooming of Kurinji flower is a reminder that their lives have gone past another twelve years and for
those from far off places it maybe makes a great view. once in a life time opportunity to The Shola forests around witness the Kurinji flowers cover- Mattupetty are ideal for trekking ing the hills of Munnar in a blanket and bird watching, with a variety of blue. of birds found there. Small streams The Nilgiris, which means blue and waterfalls cut through the tract mountains, got its name from the here and there, which again adds blue flowers of Neelakurinji. Once more attraction to the place. they used to cover the entire Boating is allowed on Nilgiris like a carpet during their Mattupetty Lake and combined flowering season. However, now with picnic and trekking, it makes plantations and dwellings occupy for a great outing from Munnar. much of their habitat. The departSwiss Livestock Project Farm ments of Tourism, Forests and Also known as Mattupetti (cattle Wildlife have initiated a campaign village), the Swiss Livestock for the preservation of Neelakurinji Project is a highly specialized dairy and its natural habitat. farm where over a hundred breeds During the last blooming in 2006, of high-yielding cattle are reared the biggest Neelakurinji flowering in eleven cattle sheds. Visitors are was at the Eravikulam National Park allowed into three of the sheds in Munnar. It also bloomed gregari- during fixed hours. ously at several places around Munnar and in Kodaikanal. The next The Nilgiris, which means mass flowering is expected to take place in blue mountains, got its name 2018. from the blue flowers of Munnar Attractions Tea Gardens Neelakurinji. Once they used Munnar's top attraction is its scenic to cover the entire Nilgiris like tea gardens which are a top priority on any a carpet during their flowertravel itinerary in this ing season area. There are around 30 tea estates, all privately owned (about 27 of them How to reach Munnar owned by Tata Tea Company), but Munnar By Air most estate managers will allow Nearest major airport is Cochin visitors to wander around the es- which is about 125 km away. Taxi tate for free. Tea factories at the services are available from airport estates offer a great opportunity to Munnar. Cochin airport is well to witness the entire process by connected with all major cities in which tea changes from being a India and many cities abroad. fresh, hand picked leaf to the fraMunnar By Train grant product that makes it to breakNearest rail head is Angamaly fast tables across the world. Some or Alwaye, both are nearly 120 km tea factories also offer tea on sale away from Munnar. Angamaly is for visitors. an important rail junction on Mattupetty Lake and Dam Ernakulam-Trissur route and is well Mattupetty Lake and Dam, connected to all cities in India. which lie 13 km from Munnar, Munnar By Bus enroute Top Station, at an altitude Munnar is connected to other of 1700 mt, are popular picnic spots. cities in Kerala and Tamil Nadu by The lake and dam surrounded by state government public transport wooden hills and tea plantations, buses, but these are not frequent.
December 2, 2011
Travel & Hospitality Post
India Post 31
New luxury train to cover Sikh shrines BEIJING: Indian Railways will launch a special train next month to cover various Sikh shrines in the country to cash in on the success of luxury trains on the religious routes catering to overseas tourists. The 'Takht Express' would be launched on December 23 from Chandigarh. It would cover six sacred destinations for Sikhs, including Amritsar in nine days, Rakesh
Tandon, Managing Director of the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) said here. Tandon was speaking at a get together organized for Chinese travel agents, media and officials of Buddhist shrines here to popularize 'Mahaparinirvan Express' being run on the Buddhist circuit in India and Nepal. He said the train covering Sikh
shrines was being launched following the high demand for such trains on religious routes. The IRCTC along with the Indian Embassy and India Tourism Department, Beijing, organized the event to highlight the popularity of the Mahaparinirvan Express among Buddhists all over the world as it covered most important places sacred to Buddhism. Starting from Safdarjung railway
station in New Delhi the Mahaparinirvan Express covers Bodhgaya, Nalanda, Rajgir, Varanasi, Sarnath, Lumbini,
Sravasti, Kushinagar and Agra. The event was organized to popularize the train in China which has a large number of Buddhists.-PTI
Gulmarg Gondola to be upgraded with French help JAMMU: Jammu and Kashmir government is contemplating to utilize the latest technique for upgradation of the phase first of Gulmarg Gondola by utilizing service of Puma French Company. Minister for Tourism and Culture Nawang Rigzin Jora and Minister of State for Tourism and Home Nasir Aslam Wani held discussions with the representatives of
Puma French Ropeway Company at a meeting in presence of senior functionaries of the Tourism and Cable Car Corporation here. The French Company had also supplied the machinery and experts for phase 2nd of Gondola project at world famous Gulmarg tourist resort in the Valley. The meeting decided that Puma would depute its technical team to
Gulmarg for up-gradation work of Gondola and submit its report to the government. The meeting also discussed with the company representatives the proposal for ropeway projects at Shiv Khori in Jammu and Yusmarg in Kashmir with the company representatives. Jora also directed the corporation to identify more places for establishment of such projects in view of their great commercial prospect. The Minister said that the Cable Car Corporation can play a vital role in boosting the state's economy by setting up such projects at various tourist destinations. The Minister asked the Cable Car Corporation to expedite the work on already taken up projects at Makhdoom Sahib and Ashmuqam in the Valley, besides expediting the procedure of completing the formalities for taking up the work on Mubarak MandiShahabad Bahu Fort Ropeway project, scheduled for June next. -PTI
Tourism theme parks near heritage sites NEW DELHI: In a bid to promote heritage tourism, the government is actively considering creating tourism theme parks near heritage sites. "If we want to add 5 million more global tourists in the next five years, then this cannot be achieved without the development of heritage tourism," Tourism Min-
ister Subodh Kant Sahai said here. Unesco has identified 28 world heritage sites including Taj Mahal, Red Fort, Konark Temple and Bodhgaya Mahabodhi Temple and these sites mostly attract foreign tourists. "We are proposing to construct tourism theme parks in the country and these parks can come up near
these sites to hold tourists for a period of four to five days," Sahai told a heritage tourism conclave here. Seeking industry participation in the development of infrastructure, he said, "Our plan is to construct these parks in PPP (publicprivate participation) model. It will not be possible without the participation of the industry." -PTI
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TOP TEN HINDI FILM SONGS
1 Saada Haq: Rockstar 2 Tum Ho: Rockstar 3 Hawaa Hawaa: Rockstar 4 Bhare Naina: Ra.One 5 Raftaarein: Ra.One 34
December 2, 2011
6 Criminal : Ra.One 7 Chammak Challo: Ra.One 8
9 Habibi Habibi: Azaan 10 Khuda Ke Liye: Azaan
oh la la, now that's what Vidya Balan feels about her curvaceous body. The actress feels that, women on the bulky side should celebrate their curves instead of feeling shy about them. At an event in Delhi, Vidya went on and on about her character in 'The dirty Picture'. Seems like she is living the life of Silk Smitha
with great pride and passion. The actress went retro in her look, sporting a huge frame sunglasses. For Vidya who is celebrating her sensuality with truckloads of oomph on the silver screen, curves are in. The message is: be proud of your body and adore it. Since the time Vidya started promoting
her film The Dirty Picture, the media can't get enough of her bold comments. Not only the film comes with a racy content, it's Vidya who makes it look further hot, rather dirty. "I really had a blast playing this character. You like sex, I'm sex, take it or leave it," Vidya said about her character in one of her early comments.
enelia D'Souza, who was so far tight-lipped about her relationship with Riteish Deshmukh, has finally acknowledged it. She thanked her friends and family for their best wishes for the wedding early next year, and said they are excited about the new phase. "Thanks so much for your overwhelming response. It's a(n) exciting new chapter in our lives and all your wishes and blessings make it even more beautiful and special for Riteish and me," Genelia posted on her Twitter page. Ever since Riteish admitted in a media report that they will seal their eight-year-old relationship by tying the knot in 2012, good wishes have been pouring in for the two actors who made their Bollywood debut together in 2003 with "Tujhe Meri Kasam". Actors like Lara Dutta, Siddharth, Arjun Rampal, Amrita Rao, and filmmaker Karan Johar tweeted their wishes for them. Riteish, son of politician Vilasrao Deshmukh, is 32 and Genelia is eight years younger to him. On the big screen, they were last seen together in "Masti" in 2004, but they have now teamed up again for "Tere Naal Love Ho Gaya"
eepika Padukone may be one of the fittest actresses in the industry but she does not believe in starving herself. In fact, she is a self-confessed foodie. "I love food. I love trying out different types of cuisine. I love eating in different kinds of restaurants, trying out new things and I think I have the luxury to do that because I travel a lot," said Deepika at the unveiling of a food magazine. She feels staying fit is about following the right diet. "It's about eating correctly, healthy and eating what suits your body. I don't believe in dieting. For me, diet is about eating correctly and eating healthy," Deepika said.
December 2, 2011
atrina Kaif has been named as the most dangerous celebrity in the Indian cyber space. Deepika Padukone and Kareena Kapoor take up number two and three positions respectively, according to an internet security company McAfee. Searching for Kaif results in a 10.26 per cent chance of landing on a risky website while Padukone in a 10 per cent chance of being led to a malicious website. Kareena Kapoor, the third Most Dangerous Celebrity and winner of six Filmfare awards has a 9.8 per cent possibility of making users fall into a trap of malware laden websites. Commenting on the findings of the report, Venkatasubrahmanyam Krishnapur, Senior Director, McAfee India, said, "In a celebrity crazy country such as India, cyber criminals find it very lucrative to use the names of popular figures as keywords to lure people to websites with malicious software." Fans looking for results on search engines using strings such as name of celebrity combined with words like free downloads, hot pictures, screen savers, and videos are at risk of running themselves into websites with malicious software and online threats designed to steal personal information. At number four, Saif Ali Khan, has an 8.24 per cent chance of leading users to malicious sites followed by John Abraham with a risk percentile of 8.07 per cent. Priyanka Chopra occupies the sixth position with 8 per cent while Aishwarya Rai Bachchan is the seventh most dangerous celebrity. Bipasha Basu, Aamir Khan and Shah Rukh Khan occupy eighth, ninth and tenth spot with 7.82 per cent, 7.65 per cent and 6 per cent, respectively.
f there's one actor who remembers to thank God in every second sentence that he utters these days, it's Ranbir Kapoor. The 29-year-old actor is on cloud nine after the success of Rockstar, directed by the very talented Imtiaz Ali. The film is not only raking big moolah at the box office, but has also been widely acclaimed by the critics as Kapoor's best work, till date. "It's unbelievable. And so, so heart warming," he says, and excitedly adds, "you know, Mr Bachchan wrote a very personalized letter to me, saying he loved my performance. It is simply amazing...don't know how to thank God." Amid the heaps of compliments from the fraternity and family, whose did he like the most? "Oh well," he says, "my mom watched the film five times. My dad, who is my harshest critic, told me that if he could make one phone call to his father, the legendary Raj Kapoor, it would be to say how proud he is of my performance in Rockstar." But even that's not the best. "My grand uncle Mr Shashi Kapoor has been really unwell and hadn't watched a film in the last 15 years. But he came to watch this one. And he's been so unwell that he doesn't even remember who I am. He turned to the person next to him and said, `this young boy has acted very well'.
ON CLOUD NINE
ctors Ranveer Singh and Sonakshi Sinha, who will be seen together in director Vikramaditya Motwane's next outing Lootere, have rubbished talks of their link-up, and say that they share a professional relationship. On a chat show, the Dabangg girl had praised Ranveer and shown interest in working with him. She even went on to say that she would love to date the Band Baaja Baarat actor, which fuelled the rumors. At the IIFA awards in Toronto this year, the two had a blast while performing on stage, and were seen sharing a good chemistry. However, this was followed by reports that Sonakshi was irritated with Ranveer's "over-friendly" behavior and hence started avoiding him, a thing that the actor denies. "I share an entirely professional relation with Sonakshi. Whatever has been written or talked about us is motivated," says Ranveer. "I don't know where these reports are coming from. May be because we are in the same territory as we debuted in the same year, and we are of the same age, these things are bound to happen. But it is alright," he adds. Sonakshi says, "Yes I had praised Ranveer for his work and all. But it was all misconstrued. Well, it is a part and parcel of our job and we can't do much about it." "But I am happy that we both are working together in a film. I am looking forward to it," adds Sonakshi. Ranveer also says that he too has been looking forward to working with her. "I am really happy that it is happening. I am excited," he says.
In Brief NJ officer indicted in alleged immigrant shakedown ELIZABETH, NJ: A New Jersey police officer has been indicted in an alleged scheme to shake down illegal immigrants by threatening to turn them over to immigration authorities if they didn't give him money. Rocco Malgieri of Brick Township faces theft, attempted extortion, bribery and official misconduct charges. A 58-count indictment alleges the veteran Elizabeth police officer began targeting Hispanic men in February for unwarranted vehicle stops while he was on duty. Union County prosecutors said at least 12 people have reported Malgieri solicited payments from them ranging from $30 to $250. The 43-year-old officer has been suspended from the Elizabeth police department without pay. A message left for his lawyer was not immediately returned. -AP
Opponents of Ala. immigration law rally at Capitol MONTGOMERY, Ala.: Organizers say roughly 500 people gathered for a peaceful rally on the steps of the Alabama Capitol to protest the state's new law cracking down on illegal immigration. The rally was organized by Jose Antonio Castro, host of a Spanish-language radio show. Speakers at the rally shared their experiences and talked about how they and their communities have been affected by the new law. Castro was presented with nearly 50,000 signed petitions against the law that have been gathered from within the state and around the country. He plans to deliver the petitions to Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley. -AP
GOP contenders square off on immigration WASHINGTON: The Republican presidential hopefuls are debating how to deal with the nation's illegal immigrants, differing on how to deal with millions of people already in the United States. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said that he wouldn't ``expel'' those who have come illegally but have made lives in the U.S. He says that the GOP cannot call itself a party for family when it separates parents from their children born in the US. -AP
December 2, 2011
Groups rally at Georgia immigration detention center ATLANTA: A year ago, Pedro Guzman was inside a federal detention center in southwest Georgia as his wife, mother-in-law and young son joined an annual vigil at the gate. Details on page 39
Justice Department sues Utah over immigration law SALT LAKE CITY: The US Justice Department has filed a lawsuit challenging the state of Utah's immigration enforcement law, arguing that it usurps federal authority and could potentially lead to the harassment and detention of American citizens and authorized visitors. ``A patchwork of immigration laws is not the answer and will only create further problems in our immigration system,'' Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement. ``The federal government is the chief enforcer of immigration laws ... it is clearly unconstitutional for a state to set its own immigration policy.'' The lawsuit was filed in Salt Lake City's U.S. District Court after months of negotiations between Justice Department attorneys, state attorneys and elected leaders. Justice officials said they plan to continue those discussions despite the lawsuit. Other federal agencies included in the lawsuit are the Department of Homeland Security and the State Department. Even with the federal intervention, state officials remained con-
fident the law would eventually be sustained. ``The Legislature worked diligently to craft a law that would pass constitutional muster,'' said Ally Isom, spokeswoman for Gov. Gary Herbert. ``We hope the courts do the right thing.'' The Utah law, signed by Herbert in March, requires people to prove their citizenship if they're arrested for serious crimes rang-
they arrest and the ability for police to verify the status of anybody they legally encounter. Civil rights groups filed a lawsuit earlier this year, and a federal judge granted a temporary restraining order in May against the law. A hearing on that lawsuit is scheduled for Dec. 2. But that hearing may be delayed because of the federal lawsuit, National Immigration Law
Three other states that have passed strict enforcement laws in the past two years have been sued by the Justice Department, including Arizona, South Carolina and Alabama ing from certain drug offenses to murder. It also gives police discretion to check citizenship on traffic infractions and other lesser offenses. Although the Utah law was modeled on Arizona's strict enforcement measure that was passed in 2010, lawmakers worked to address some of the biggest concerns. Chief among those was the requirement that police check the immigration status of anyone
Center general counsel Linton Joaquin said. The NILC, along with the American Civil Liberties Union, is handling the original lawsuit against the state. The federal lawsuit ``reinforced the claims we've been making all along,'' Joaquin said. ``The Utah law is preempted by federal law and is unconstitutional.'' The sponsor of the Utah bill, Rep. Stephen Sandstrom, said he was disappointed by the lawsuit
because he has repeatedly told federal officials that he was willing to work on amendments during the 2012 legislative session that could address some of their concerns. Utah's enforcement law was part of an immigration reform package signed by Herbert this year. Among those was a program that will allow illegal immigrants with jobs to live and work in the state that federal officials also argue is unconstitutional, but they are holding off on a lawsuit because it doesn't go into effect until 2013. Three other states that have passed strict enforcement laws in the past two years have been sued by the Justice Department, including Arizona, South Carolina and Alabama. Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer has urged the U.S. Supreme Court to hear an appeal on an injunction against key parts of the state's law. Federal judges have also blocked parts of the South Carolina and Alabama laws. The department is still reviewing laws passed earlier this year in Georgia and Indiana. -AP
US reps visit Ala. to talk about immigration law BIRMINGHAM, Ala.: Birmingham Mayor William Bell told Democratic members of Congress holding a hearing on Alabama's new immigration law that the legislation smacks of apartheid and Jim Crow laws. Bell told the lawmakers at an ad hoc hearing that the law passed this year by Alabama's Republican-controlled legislature places financial burdens on cities and could force police officers to employ racial profiling. Bell said the U.S. doesn't need immigration laws in 50 states, but rather one federal immigration law. ``We need to speak with one voice and we need to speak as Americans,'' he said. Among the congressmen attending was Rep. Raul Grijalva, D-Ariz., whose home state also passed a strict immigration law.
He said Alabama's law is going to hurt the economy and the social fabric of the state. ``People are discovering that the rhetoric of hate is not making the country any better. It's making it
he said. Later, at a rally at a Birmingham church against Alabama's immigration law, State Rep. Merika Coleman, D-Birmingham, started the calls for the law to be
â€˜Start thinking in terms of compassion for Americans whose lives would be better if we had a sound immigration policy and we enforced itâ€™ worse,'' he said. Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., said the country doesn't need a hodgepodge of policies. ``We need an immigration policy that does justice and fairness to the rich history of immigrants that we have here in the United States of America. An immigration policy that doesn't rip families apart,''
repealed or revised. She said there was strong opposition to the law. ``We are the majority,'' she said. ``They are the extremists.'' Alabama Republican leaders said the federal government should be sending Alabama thank you notes for addressing the problem of illegal immigration. The law
requires police to detain people who can't prove they are in the country legally and prohibits illegal immigrants from receiving government services. ``Start thinking in terms of compassion for Americans whose lives would be better if we had a sound immigration policy and we enforced it,'' said Rep. Mo Brooks, RHuntsville. One provision calls for schools to check the legal residency of new students. ``I was serving as a Sunday school teacher at my church and when HB56 came into effect, my classrooms became empty,'' Alma Martinez of Russellville told the delegation. ``The students were crying.'' Rep. Al Green of Texas said the law ``deserves to be placed on the trash heap of history.'' -AP
December 2, 2011
Perry's immigration record a widespread concern NASHUA, N.H.: Rick Perry is done telling jokes. After days of self-deprecating humor following another highprofile debate misstep, the Republican presidential candidate tried to continue with business as usual in his first swing through New Hampshire in nearly three weeks. It was a day marked by aggressive rhetoric. Perry vowed to ``take an ax'' to federal government departments, ``tear down'' Washington institutions and ``use a sledgehammer to get the job done.'' ``I'm the outsider who's willing to step on people's toes if that's what's required,'' he told dozens of supporters gathered inside a packed Veterans of Foreign Wars hall. The Texas governor didn't mention his gaffe during a nationally televised debate when he failed to recall a fundamental piece of his economic plan; an embarrassing episode that Republicans here described as Perry's ``oops'' moment. While supporters continued to express optimism in his chances of winning the nomination, the
misstep affected even Perry's most loyal Granite State supporters. ``My heart kind of fell,'' said Cliff Hurst, a prominent Perry supporter. He said what happened has ``made it a little bit harder when you're reaching out'' to get others to support Perry's campaign. But as Perry tried to turn the
handles some defense contracts for the federal government. There was some confusion about whether foreigners would be barred. Citing federal regulations, a company employee sat beside a Perry campaign staffer at the door and asked people for driver's licenses or other identification to
Perry also released a new campaign ad that highlights President Barack Obama's recent comment that the US has ‘been a little bit lazy’ in terms of going after foreign business investments page, he also faced new questions about an immigration record that has caused widespread concern among conservative activists. At a Perry town hall-style meeting, those trying to attend what was billed as a public event were asked to prove they are American citizens. The forum was hosted by Granite State Manufacturing, a Manchester company that
prove citizenship. The employee, who refused to give her name, said non-citizens wouldn't be allowed in. Another company employee, assembly manager Shawn O'Hagan, later said immigrants should not have been barred from attending. But he said anyone who couldn't prove their citizenship would have to be escorted inside. It was unclear whether any im-
migrants attended. While Perry's rivals faced similar restrictions when they held events at companies that handle federal defense contracts, the issue brought unwanted attention to Perry's complicated immigration record. Some of his rivals privately seized on his decision to hold an event at such a location, while the leader of a regional immigration advocacy group was more vocal. ``It's disturbing, especially given his record on immigration,'' said Eva Millona, executive director of the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition. ``I find that discriminatory.'' Perry has faced sustained criticism over a Texas policy that allows in-state college tuition for illegal immigrants. He also has struggled to win over some conservatives for being against putting up a fence along the border with Mexico. In a debate earlier this year, Perry strongly defended his immigration record and branded as heartless who would deny an edu-
cation to foreign-born children brought to the U.S. through no fault of their own. ``I don't think you have a heart,'' he said then. Outside the Nashua event, Republican Jay Godfrey, 25, waved a sign that said, ``No government benefits for illegals.'' ``I'm not a big Obama fan,'' he said. ``But I'm clearly not a fan of Perry either.'' John Stephen, a prominent Perry supporter in the state and recent gubernatorial candidate, defended the Texas governor. ``There is no one that's done more through action to oppose illegal immigration than Rick Perry,'' he said. Perry also released a new campaign ad that highlights President Barack Obama's recent comment that the US has ``been a little bit lazy'' in terms of going after foreign business investments. Perry takes Obama's comment out of context and uses it to portray the president as out of touch, even contemptuous, of ordinary Americans. -AP
Spartanburg school exceeding despite challenges SPARTANBURG, S.C.: Arcadia Elementary is defying the odds, and its successes have attracted the attention of federal researchers. Nearly all of the Spartanburg school's 420 students live in poverty, and two-thirds are Hispanic the highest percentage of any school in South Carolina. Plus, the school's numbers keep growing, as whole families crowd in with relatives. Some newly arriving children don't understand enough English to even tell staff their name. Arcardia's children have ``two or three strikes against them to begin with,'' acknowledges Principal Chuck Bagwell. Yet, the school posts higher marks than many schools with far fewer challenges: 70 percent of third- through fifth-graders passed state-standardized tests last spring in reading and math, and Arcadia has met federal education goals for three consecutive years. Earlier this month, the U.S. Education Department sent two researchers to Arcadia as part of a study on how to improve education programs for immigrant students who are learning English. Spartanburg 6 was among 20 school districts nationwide selected for the study. Its results will hopefully provide practical advice
to educators nationwide, according to the federal agency. The contracted researchers spent time at Arcadia and another elementary school in the district with large numbers of Russian and Ukrainian students. Education officials say Arcadia's success is a testament to the impact of good leadership
‘It's a school where children are first, not just Hispanic students. Parents feel very comfortable and engaged’ and getting the greater community involved not only parents, but volunteers from local colleges and area churches. Bagwell quickly deflects credit to dedicated teachers, supportive bosses and others. But his passion for students' success is obvious. The school has become a community hub where parents feel safe to come, no matter what their immigration status is. ``I'm going to do the best I can to make sure they're taught and they're educated, whether they're legal or not,'' he told a reporter vis-
iting his school. ``Politicians can fuss and fight and talk about that all they want to, but when they come here, we're going to teach them, take care of them, love them and feed them and clothe them. This is my mission field.'' As he walks down the school's hallway, students eagerly hold out a hand for a high-five, grinning as he calls each by name. Teachers confirm that discipline problems in class are rare. ``There's just a total commitment and climate of success there,'' said Spartanburg 6 Superintendent Darryl Owings. ``If you're there, you feel it pretty quickly. It's a school where children are first, not just Hispanic students. Parents feel very comfortable and engaged.'' One of the first things Bagwell did after arriving eight years ago was expand the school's afterschool homework center. One hour two afternoons a week for a dozen kids simply wasn't enough. Within months, he pieced together enough money and volunteers to open two hours a day Monday through Friday. The program later expanded to a full-fledged Boys & Girls Club, where students stay until 6 p.m., and most participate. Cont’d on page 38
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Hispanic churches fighting Ala. immigration law ALBERTVILLE, Ala.: Largely unseen by Alabama's Englishspeaking natives, Hispanic churches have become a touchstone for opponents of the state's crackdown on illegal immigration, similar to the way black churches provided a home to the civil rights movement in the South during the 1950s and `60s. Immigrant pastors are helping members understand and cope with fallout from the law, activists say, and many are offering spiritual comfort to both legal and illegal residents now living in fear. In cities large and small, buildings owned by Hispanic congregations have been used for mass meetings and ``know our rights'' workshops where activists and organizers use Spanish to explain intricacies of the statute to community members, many of whom don't speak English. The church involvement goes even deeper. Leaders from as far away as Arizona gathered at a large Hispanic church in Albertville earlier this month to help organize local opposition to the law, and another area church played host to a meeting that drew scores the same weekend. It's unclear exactly how many Hispanic churches operate in the state, but the number is easily in the dozens just in north Alabama, where thousands of immigrants work on farms and in poultry pro-
cessing plants. A community organizer with the Birminghambased Hispanic Interest Coalition of Alabama, Victor Spezzini, said the churches have been busy helping the immigrant community statewide since the law took effect in September. ``I think they have been crucial. They provide an infrastructure. They have been able to provide places for immigrant rights workshops, and that's huge,'' said Spezzini.
Conservative Christians helped push through the law: Bentley himself is a Southern Baptist deacon. But amid fear over the law, Pastor Fernando Rodriguez said he and members of his Spanish-language church, Luz a las Naciones, feel compelled to help their mostly immigrant community because of their Christian beliefs. In English, the church's name means ``Light to the Nations.'' ``We are helping the Spanish-
Unlike a half-century ago, when black churches served as rallying points for minorities seeking an end legalized segregation across the state, Alabama's Hispanic congregations and pastors typically lack deep roots in the community. Many of the churches didn't even exist a decade ago Gov. Robert Bentley earlier this year signed the Republicanbacked legislation to clamp down on illegal immigrants by making it more difficult to work, live and do business in the state, but federal courts have put sections of the law were put on hold in response to lawsuits filed by the Obama administration, immigrant groups and individuals. Police are still required to ask people for proof of citizenship during traffic stops, and government offices are barred from conducting even basic transactions without citizenship checks.
speaking people. We are encouraging them to not go to other states, and to stay here,'' he said. ``We are encouraging people to be organized, to let people know if they are being harassed by the police. Next month, we are going to have the Mexican consulate and probably Guatemalan consulate come to help people because so many people do not have IDs.'' Unlike a half-century ago, when black churches served as rallying points for minorities seeking an end legalized segregation across the state,
Alabama's Hispanic congregations and pastors typically lack deep roots in the community. Many of the churches didn't even exist a decade ago, a fact that makes it all the tougher for them to be on the front lines of the effort today. ``I haven't seen the political activism coming from the Hispanic community as much as I've seen it coming from existing community organizations,'' said Bart Tau, a United Methodist minister who pastors a bilingual congregation in suburban Birmingham. `` (They) are a first-generation community.'' Yet Hispanic churches are still involved, although often out of direct view. Spezzini said he has held about a dozen immigrant workshops around the state since July, and most of them were in Hispanic churches. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People a main cog in the civil rights movement decades ago is now working with immigrant churches and others in opposition to the law. ``We are joining forces. Through a grass-roots effort we are trying to coalesce our communities,'' said the Rev. Anthony Johnson, community relations director for the Birmingham NAACP, which held a community forum that drew hundreds of immigrants to a public school in Birmingham.
Still, like many English-speaking Alabamians, Johnson said he's not sure what is going on in Spanish-speaking churches in response to the law. ``I don't go to one,'' he said. Tau, a Tennessee native whose wife is a native of Mexico living legally in the United States, said attendance at his Spanish-language service is down by about half to 30 people since the law took effect, but the church is doing what it can to help the immigrant community. ``Quietly, we have hosted several groups that have come through to organize, but we are not a central location. Of course, I have participated as have members of my church in marches,'' he said. ``Those who have voices are commanded and required to speak up on behalf of those who do not have voices. My spirituality demands it.'' Rodriguez, the pastor from Albertville, said Hispanic churches are trying to figure out how to be even more active, but many pastors and members don't know what to do and others are scared. He said he has tried to build ties with English-speaking ministers in northeast Alabama, but that's tough given the state's political climate. ``They never want to get close with us,'' he said. ``Sometimes it is hard to work with people with closed minds.'' -AP
Spartanburg school exceeding despite challenges Contâ€™d from page 37
When they go home, their homework is done. Parents want to help, but they can't if they don't know the language. The school also hosts a summer program. But helping students exceed at Arcadia involves more than extra instructional time. The school nurse helps line up doctor and dentist appointments with those who've agreed to serve the children for less-than-cost. Donated items stock a food pantry and clothes closet. Students carry donated bookbags and school supplies. Several years ago, a local resident even donated a winter coat for every child. To make sure students don't start school hungry, all students eat breakfast for free, and _ thanks to a grant _ get a piece of fruit for afternoon snack every day. ``You have to meet basic needs before education can happen,'' Bagwell said. ``A hungry child doesn't care whether he can read or write.''
The school is also where families come to have fun. Once a month, the school hosts family movie night often a musical or Disney film. ``They dress up like they're going to church because they've never been to the movies,'' Bagwell said, noting there's an educational benefit too _ the movies help parents learn English. Then there's ``all-pro dad'' one Saturday a month. Dads - and some moms - come with their children for a biscuit-and-orange-juice breakfast, a short parenting program, and a morning of play, whether that's board games in the cafeteria, shooting hoops in the gym or tossing around a football outside. ``It's a chance for them to spend time with their kids,'' Bagwell said. ``The first time we did it, I didn't think it would work either, but the cafeteria was overflowing.'' With only four teachers who speak Spanish, the language barrier goes both ways. Arcadia's Hispanic population has skyrocketed in the
last decade, from less than 10 percent to 65 percent. Yet, it wasn't until last spring that the school got a paid Spanish interpreter. The school's coped largely by turning students into school ambassadors. Students apply to become one of Arcadia's Interpreting Masters.
The school hosts afternoon parenting classes, and invites adults to log onto the school's computers to learn English The school's bilingual teachers pick the top 15 students who best translate face-to-face and phone conversations. AIMS students get a maroon shirt and nametag, so that, during open houses and other events, parents who need an interpreter know to find a maroon shirt. ``One neat thing about our
school - if you moved here from Mexico today, this is the best school to come to, because more than half the class can talk to you,'' Bagwell said. ``It quickens their learning process because kids are helping them everywhere they go.'' The school hosts afternoon parenting classes, and invites adults to log onto the school's computers to learn English through Rosetta Stone software. Books on tape help both parent and child learn to read English. Parents know to turn the page when they hear the ding, Bagwell explains. The school has two full-time ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) teachers, who pull students out of class to work on their English skills. Newly arrived Hispanic students work daily with the school's one ESOL teacher who speaks Spanish. The crash course teaches the basics, such as numbers, letters and colors. Melissa Miller, a volunteer with Arcadia's Parent Teacher
Organization, said she chose to send her daughter to Arcadia after moving to Spartanburg from Greenville County. Some folks encouraged her not to, she said, but she wanted her bi-racial daughter to blend in and learn about diversity. ``I know I made the perfect decision for my daughter. She adores school,'' Miller said earlier this year about her then-kindergartner. She noted the learning goes both ways in a class that includes several nationalities. ``It's really, really a wonderful thing to watch. She comes home all the time teaching her daddy Spanish,'' Miller said. ``If children don't know the obstacles placed before them, they don't know they're there. If they don't realize the fact that their Hispanic or impoverished and that's supposed to count against them, it won't. They come to school knowing they're expected to excel and behave a certain way. Let the grownups deal with the obstacles.'' -AP
December 2, 2011
Groups rally at Georgia immigration detention center ATLANTA: A year ago, Pedro Guzman was inside a federal detention center in southwest Georgia as his wife, mother-in-law and young son joined an annual vigil at the gate. This year he was outside, participating in the rally and said it felt amazing. Guzman, a Guatemalan native who was brought to the U.S. when he was 8, spent 18 months in the Stewart Detention Facility in southwest Georgia before his release six months ago. He's now a legal permanent resident and was happy this year to be on the other side of the gates. ``It just feels really amazing to be here,'' he said. ``I'm just blessed to be out, but a lot of people are still in there.'' It was the fifth annual vigil organized by Georgia Detention Watch, a coalition of civil liberties and immigrant rights groups. The vigil focused on the impact of detention on the families of detainees, especially the children. Organizers also want to protest the remote location of many immigration detention centers, far away from advocates and lawyers, said Azadeh Shahshahani of the American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia. ``But we still go there frequently, and once a year we have this convergence to show CCA and ICE that we will still come there, no matter how far it is, and also to show our support for the
immigrants,'' she said. Corrections Corporation of America, or CCA, is a private company that runs the detention center for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE. ``It is time to close this forprofit detention center and end the mandatory detention of immigrants,'' said Anton FloresMaisonet, one of the event's organizers. About 270 people attended the vigil, said Flores-Maisonet. Following the vigil, one man de-
Flores-Maisonet was released a short time later after video of the incident revealed that he had not crossed the line cided to commit an act of civil disobedience as a symbolic gesture, crossing under the line of yellow tape that was stretched across the entrance to the detention center property, where he was arrested, Flores-Maisonet said. As one of eight people arrested during last year's vigil, Flores-Maisonet walked up to the line with the man and gave him a hug in solidarity but did not cross the line himself, he said. After the
Ala. immigration law stops home permits MONTGOMERY, Ala.: A new federal lawsuit was filed challenging a section of Alabama's immigration law that civil rights groups say makes it impossible for those who can't prove US citizenship or lawful immigration status to legally keep their manufactured homes The lawsuit was filed in federal court in Montgomery by two immigrants in Elmore County named in the lawsuit only as ``John Doe No. 1'' and ``John Doe No. 2.'' They are challenging a section of the law that prohibits most contracts where one party is an illegal immigrant. Attorneys for the plaintiffs say that provision is being used by state revenue officials to keep illegal immigrants from paying an annual registration fee and obtaining a decal that by law must be displayed on manufactured homes. State law requires the registration to be renewed by Nov. 30.
One of the attorneys for the plaintiffs, Mary Bauer, legal director of the Southern Poverty Law Center, said that without the permit some people may be forced to abandon their homes and left homeless. ``It's a flagrant violation of the Fair Housing Act and the United States Constitution,'' Bauer said. The plaintiffs asked U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson to issue a temporary restraining order stopping state officials from preventing illegal immigrants from renewing their manufactured home permits. A hearing on the request was held in Thompson's chambers. Thompson did not issue an immediate ruling. This is one of several lawsuits that have been filed seeking to stop all or parts of the immigration law, which has been described by supporters and critics as the toughest in the country. -AP
vigil was over and nearly everyone had left, a sheriff's deputy walked up to Flores-Maisonet, who had stayed behind to give interviews, and said that he had crossed the line and was under arrest, Flores-Maisonet said by phone from the sheriff's office. Flores-Maisonet was released a short time later after video of the incident revealed that he had not crossed the line, Stewart County Sheriff Larry Jones said. A spokesman for ICE said the agency didn't have a specific comment on the vigil. Stewart is the largest immigration detention facility in the country. ``ICE fully respects the rights of all people to voice their opinion without interference,'' the agency said in a statement. ``The agency continues to prioritize the health and safety of detainees in our custody while increasing federal oversight and improving the conditions of confinement within the detention system.'' Guzman said the six months since his release from Stewart have passed quickly. ``It's unbelievable how fast time moves when you're not behind bars,'' he said. He's returned to Durham, N.C., where he lives with his U.S. citizen wife, Emily, and their 5-yearold son, Logan. He's been working as a contractor and he and Emily are expecting a daughter in March, he said. At last year's vigil, Emily Guzman had planned to cross the police line at the entrance to get arrested, but decided not to because she figured it would be too hard on her son so her mother got arrested instead. This year the family attended the vigil together. ``It was very emotional because we were able to all be together as a family and walk up to the detention center and show them that we're not going to stop fighting for immigrant rights,'' Emily Guzman said. ``It's been amazing to have Pedro back with us. But we're looking back because we know there are people who were left behind in that detention center.'' -AP
FDA revokes aproval of Avastin for breast cancer
WASHINGTON: The Food and Drug Administration has declared the blockbuster drug Avastin should no longer be used in breast cancer patients because there's no proof it extends their lives - and it is causing dangerous side effects. The ruling was long expected, but is sure to disappoint women who say they've run out of other options. FDA Commissioner Dr. Margaret Hamburg called the decision difficult but said patients must have confidence that drugs sold for their condition are effective. Avastin won't stop selling, as it's also used to treat colon cancer and certain other tumors, but the FDA ruling is expected to influence insurance coverage. Medicare says it will continue to cover Avastin while it evaluates whether a change is needed.-AP
NC Catholic Colege sues over birth control rule BELMONT, NC: Belmont Abbey College is suing the Obama administration over a birth control provision in the landmark health care legislation approved last year. The Catholic college in Gaston County says the rule would require it to pay for birth control and sterilization for employees, practices that are contrary to Catholic teaching. The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty filed the lawsuit in federal court on the school's behalf and says the exemption in the law for religious employers only covers institutions that hire and serve members of their particular faiths. Belmont Abbey has about 200 fulltime employees and 1,700 students, but not all of whom are Catholic.-AP
NJ advances needle sales for drug addicts TRENTON, N.J.: An Assembly committee has paved the way for final legislative action on a measure that would allow New Jersey pharmacies to sell syringes and needles. The Health and Senior Services Committee approved the measure. It now heads to the full Assembly. The bill is designed to give intravenous drug users access to clean needles. The bill's sponsors say access to clean needles helps stem the spread to HIV and other bloodborne diseases.-AP
Health Science 40
December 2, 2011
FDA approves Regeneron's eye injection Eylea NEW YORK: Regulators have approved Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc.'s drug Eylea, an injection designed to treat a common cause of blindness in older people. Details on page 43
Workers initiative package to rein in healthcare costs India Post News Service
SACRAMENTO: California healthcare workers have filed two statewide ballot initiatives with Attorney General Kamala Harris's office that give consumers needed transparency on hospital costs, end overcharging for hospital services and ensure increased charity care for the neediest. The package of initiatives was submitted by members of SEIUUnited Healthcare Workers West (SEIU-UHW). "Three quarters of the hospital industry pays no taxes," said Dave Regan, president of SEIU-UHW. "Companies that operate tax-free should not be permitted to overcharge consumers, and they should be required to meet their charitable duty by providing a reasonable level of services for prevention, treatment and wellness to those in need." The initiatives will appear on the general election ballot in November 2012. They will help consumers by ensuring that hospitals live up to their commitments to the communities where they operate: • The Charity Care Act of 2012:
Sets the minimum level of charity care at 5 percent of patient revenue that nonprofit hospitals must spend on healthcare for the needy in exchange for not paying state and local taxes. • The Fair Healthcare Pricing Act of 2012: Prohibits all hospitals from charging more than 25 percent above the actual cost of providing patient care. On average, California hospitals charge 450 percent, and as much as 1,000 percent, more than the ac-
crease care for the needy. It is exactly what we should demand and expect from healthcare companies we exempt from taxes because they have a charitable mission." Taken together, the ballot measures address the root causes of annual skyrocketing premiums that average almost 10 percent. Currently health insurance costs consumers more than $15,000 each year for family coverage and exceeds 20 percent of income for Californians.
Currently there are no set requirements for how much charity care a nonprofit hospital must give in order to receive tax exempt status tual cost of providing care when they treat patients in their facilities. Insurance companies and the uninsured are often left to deal with vastly inflated bills that drive up the cost of healthcare for everyone. "As healthcare workers we want to make a difference," said Nisa Walker, an SEIU-UHW member and healthcare worker in Sacramento. "These initiatives give consumers transparency and in-
The initiatives would infuse nearly $1.7 billion into the California economy and use existing government departments for enforcement. Currently there are no set requirements for how much charity care a nonprofit hospital must give in order to receive tax exempt status even though the non-profit hospital industry is holding more than $42 billion in reserves. The "fair pricing" measure would re-
quire all hospitals to charge patients reasonable rates based on the actual cost of providing care putting an end to price gouging. In 2010 California hospitals charged patients a total of $249 billion - even though all of California hospitals' expenses amounted to just $54 billion. For example, in 2010 Olympia Medical Center, a privately-owned for-profit hospital in Los Angeles, charged patients a total of $979 million, even though the hospital's total expenses were only $95 million that year - an average of 1,029 percent of the actual cost of providing care. The ballot initiatives are one piece of "Let's Get Healthy California!" Under this banner healthcare workers will negotiate contracts, introduce legislation and work with partner organizations to improve the quality of healthcare, lower healthcare costs and improve healthcare jobs. SEIU-UHW members are committed to building a team of 10,000 healthcare workers to launch a massive education program in the state focused on wellness and preventive care, and to help prepare for the increasing healthcare demands of an aging population.
56% fall in new HIV infections in India India Post News Service
NEW YORK: The number of new HIV infections in South and South East Asia has dropped by more than 40% between 2006 and 2010, according to a new UNAIDS report on HIV/AIDS. The report launched in Geneva on Nov 21 also reveals that new HIV infections in India fell by 56%. UNAIDS and the World Health Organization also said that people with HIV are living longer and AIDS-related deaths are declining due to antiretroviral therapy. Although the rate of HIV prevalence is substantially lower in Asia than in some other regions, the absolute size of the Asian population means it is the second largest grouping of people living with HIV. In South and South-East Asia, the estimated 270000 new HIV infections
in 2010 was 40% less than at the epidemic's peak in 1996. In India, the country with the largest number of people living with HIV in the region, new HIV infections fell by 56%. The prevalence of HIV among key populations at higher risk of infection - notably sex workers,
the epidemics, both between and within countries. In many Asian countries, national epidemics are concentrated in relatively few provinces. In China, for example, five provinces account for 53% of the people living with HIV1, while a disproportionately large share of
The HIV epidemic in North America and Western and Central Europe remains stubbornly steady, despite universal access to treatment, care and support and widespread awareness people who inject drugs and men who have sex with men - is high in several Asian countries although over time, the virus is spreading to other populations. The overall trends in this region hide important variations in
Indonesia's burden is found in its Papua and West Papua provinces. The HIV epidemic in North America and Western and Central Europe remains stubbornly steady, despite universal access to treatment, care and support and
widespread awareness of the epidemic and the causes of HIV infection. HIV incidence has changed little since 2004. The total number of people living with HIV in North America and Western and Central Europe reached an estimated 2.2 million in 2010, about one third (34%) more than in 2001. More than half (about 1.2 million) of the people with HIV in this region live in the United States of America. The rising number of people living with HIV reflects the wide-scale availability of antiretroviral therapy, especially in the countries with the largest epidemics, which has significantly reduced AIDS-related mortality. The number of AIDS-related deaths has varied little since 2000 despite the 34% increase in the number of people living with HIV.
December 2, 2011
Health Science Post
AIDS epidemic stabilizing, still work to do LONDON: The AIDS epidemic is leveling off and the number of people newly infected with the virus that causes it has remained unchanged since 2007, the United Nations said in a report. Critics say that the body's aim of wiping out the disease is overly optimistic, however, considering there is no vaccine, millions remain untreated and donations have slumped amid the economic crisis. There were 2.7 million new HIV infections last year, approximately the same figure as in the three previous years, said the report from UNAIDS, the joint United Nations program on HIV and AIDS. The figures largely confirm earlier findings released by the group in June. At the end of last year, there were about 34 million people with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. While that is a slight rise from previous years, experts say that's due to people surviving longer. Last year, there were 1.8 million AIDSrelated deaths, down from 1.9 million in 2009. The outbreak continues to hit hardest in southern Africa. But while the number of new infections there has fallen by more than 26 percent since the peak in 1997, the virus is surging elsewhere.
In Eastern Europe and central Asia, there has been a 250 percent jump in the number of people infected with HIV in the past decade, due largely to the spread among injecting drug users. In North America and Western Europe, the outbreak ``remains stubbornly steady,'' according to the report. ``It's looking promising, but the numbers are still at a scary level,''
Dr. Paul De Lay, deputy executive director of UNAIDS, acknowledged the idea of eliminating AIDS infections and deaths is ``more of a vision for the future,'' and would likely not be accomplished without new tools like a vaccine, which could take several decades. Earlier this month, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called for an AIDS-free generation and prom-
While studies have shown that could dramatically slow AIDS transmission, experts have voiced concerns about healthy people taking AIDS drugs, which have toxic side effects said Sophie Harman, a global health expert at City University in London. She was not connected to the UNAIDS report. In its strategy for the next few years, UNAIDS says it is working toward zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDSrelated deaths. Harman said that was an admirable goal but wasn't sure it was achievable. ``They need to get real,'' she said. ``Maybe they need to aim high but if their main goal is eradication, it's highly unlikely that will ever happen.''
ised more money for programs in Africa. De Lay said U.N. strategies will focus on more aggressive prevention and treatment policies, like treating people with HIV earlier. In Africa, people with HIV are not usually treated until their immune system reaches a certain threshold, and officials are now increasingly trying to start treatment before patients get too sick. Future strategies might also include giving medicines to people at high risk even before they get infected. The World Health Orga-
nization is considering how to advise countries with major epidemics on giving drugs to healthy people vulnerable to catching the virus, such as prostitutes, gay men and injecting drug users, as a prevention method. While studies have shown that could dramatically slow AIDS transmission, experts have voiced concerns about healthy people taking AIDS drugs, which have toxic side effects. It could also encourage drug resistance, and there are already millions of people in developing countries who qualify for treatment but are still waiting for it. Sharonann Lynch, an HIV
policy adviser at Doctors Without Borders, said many African countries are anxious to implement more aggressive strategies and that some are redrafting their guidelines even before official U.N. advice is available. But she said the financial crisis is affecting treatment and that enrollment in some clinics, like in Congo, have stalled or even been suspended. That could allow the epidemic to resurge. ``Just at the moment when we know how to manage HIV, we're hitting the brakes,'' Lynch said. ``Without more investment, we'll be squandering the best chance we have of getting ahead of the new wave of infections.'' -AP
Washoe County reports first lab-confirmed flu case RENO, Nev.: The Washoe County Health District has confirmed its first case of the flu this season in the Reno area. Health officials say that a laboratory identified the strain as type A H3, which can be treated with antiviral drugs within the first 48 hours of symptoms.
Dr. Joseph Iser of the health district says officials expect to see flu cases in northern Nevada starting in December and peaking in January and February. Iser says a vaccine is the best way to avoid getting the flu. He advises getting the shot early because it doesn't take full effect for two weeks. -AP
Health Science Post
December 2, 2011
Pa. legislative health plan changes, savings eyed LEVITTOWN, Pa.: The Pennsylvania Senate committee responsible for negotiating legislative employee benefits could propose major changes, including the amount of employee contributions, before the end of the year, according to a state senator. Sen. Tommy Tomlinson, RBucks County, said the Senate Committee on Management Operations has met several times during the fall session and its chairman, Joseph Scarnati III, assures him changes are coming. The Senate can act at any time to change certain aspects of its health benefits package. ``They are going to do something,'' Tomlinson said. ``They're getting the message.'' Tomlinson said he had no details about what specific changes are under consideration but said they appear to revolve around indemnity plans, an expensive insurance coverage that is virtually non-existent in private industry. He added from what he understands, ``it's going to be significant savings.'' The House and Senate recess for the Christmas holidays on Dec. 14. The House, whose employee health benefit plans expire next year, is also talking changes though without a timeline. Earlier this year, Tomlinson vowed to introduce legislation to drop indemnity plans and raise employee contributions to ``at
least'' 20 percent of the cost of the plans, if the management operations committee didn't take action first. Senate Chief Clerk Russell Faber also confirmed that the committee is working on health plans changes, which could be adopted by the end of the year. Only one local state lawmaker, Rep. Kate Harper, R-Montgomery County, is enrolled in an indemnity plan. Tomlinson and two others had been but switched to the PPO plan in July. This year, premiums for some Senate health benefits increased roughly 14 percent, after the plans were renewed without changes in July. The indemnity plans are responsible for most of the increases, which averaged $3,100 per person over last year, according to a review of the plans. This year, premiums including drug costs for the indemnity plans range from $12,566 for single coverage to $35,453 for a family. Premiums for the Preferred Provider Organization plan with drug coverage are slightly lower this year, ranging from $6,969 for single coverage and $19,311 for a family, which is $76 and $287 less, respectively, even with an increase in drug costs this year. The difference is significant for taxpayers. Employees contribute 1 percent of their salary toward the cost of their health plans. The average House or Senate lawmaker contribution is
$780 a year. In the last three fiscal years, the Senate indemnity premiums have jumped 42 percent while PPO premiums have increased less than 1 percent, according to contract information. Last year, taxpayers footed most of the $16.8 million cost for Senate medical and supplemental health benefits for roughly
The annual deductible for the Senate's indemnity plan is $100 for individual coverage and $300 for family coverage; the annual out of pocket maximum is $380 for each person covered 900 employees, according to the Chief Clerk's Office. The indemnity plan alone cost $6.1 million last year. About 60 percent of Senate lawmakers are enrolled in indemnity plans, compared with only one-third of other Senate employees. Seven of the nine senators on the Committee on Management Operations are enrolled in indemnity plans. Indemnity plans saw their popularity among private-sector
employers drop dramatically in the 1990s as more businesses converted to managed-care plans with cost-saving features such as provider networks, precertifications and referrals. Last year, only 1 percent of U.S. employees in private industry were covered under traditional indemnity plans, according to health care consultant Mercer's National Survey of Employer Sponsored Health Plans. Only 5 percent of active state employees in the United States were enrolled in indemnity plans as of 2009, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Generally, under indemnity plan coverage, the insured pays 100 percent of medical bills until an annual deductible is met. Then the plan pays a portion of the medical costs and the insured picks up the rest. Plans often have an out-of-pocket maximum, after which the plan pays 100 percent of medical bills. The annual deductible for the Senate's indemnity plan is $100 for individual coverage and $300 for family coverage; the annual out of pocket maximum is $380 for each person covered. The Senate's health benefits are more expensive than the House's, where employees have four plan choices (including an indemnity plan) with premiums ranging from $4,543 to $20,420 this year for medical and drug coverage alone. Three of the four House em-
ployee medical plans will expire next July. Premiums increased 5 percent this year for the one plan that expired this summer, the cheapest option, an HMO with the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Eighteen people are enrolled at a cost of $156,000 this year. Among the 203 House lawmakers, 27 percent are enrolled in indemnity plans compared to 15 percent of the 1,673 active House employees. Three of the five Bi-Partisan Management Committee members responsible for choosing the health benefits are enrolled in family indemnity plans. House lawmakers started contributing 1 percent of their salary toward medical benefits July 1. Other House employees and retirees are expected to start contributing 1 percent soon. Rep. Frank Farry, R-Bucks County, has introduced a bill seeking to raise lawmaker contributions to 20 percent of plan premiums, phased in over 10 years. Rep. Gerald Mullery, DLuzerne County introduced a bill to raise lawmaker contributions to 10 percent of the health plans costs starting in January. Both bills remain in the state government committee. House Chief Clerk Anthony Barbush said last week that the House Bi-Partisan Management Committee will make changes to the health care plans when they are renewed next year. -AP
Doctors continue to work while under investigation BATON ROUGE, La.: Four Louisiana physicians wrote hundreds of bogus prescriptions that powered multimillion-dollar health-care frauds in the Baton Rouge area, according to evidence amassed by the nearly two-year-old local Medicare Fraud Strike Force. Yet all four physicians remain licensed to practice medicine, including two who pleaded guilty and a third convicted at a jury trial in August. The fourth doctor, who had previous probations of his license, is fighting the charges in his indictment. In a similar case that dates from before creation of the Strike Force, the Advocate a Louisiana physician in 2009 retained his medical license even though he was convicted of health care fraud. Officials of the Louisiana State Board of Medical Examiners declined to comment on the targeted physicians - three of whom had their licenses suspended or placed on probation for questionable prescription practices before being
charged in the Medicare fraud cases. Doctors can continue practicing medicine while their licenses are on probation, but cannot during a suspension. The Medicare Strike Force fraud cases are not related to the medical board's previous disciplinary actions against the four physicians, court and board records show. The license of Dr. Sofjan Lamid, 82, of Mandeville, was twice suspended in the 1990s for alleged over-prescription of painkillers. Lamid was ordered by the Board of Medical Examiners in 1991 to surrender ``for life his DEA permit for prescription and dispensation of controlled drugs,'' according to the board order. But Lamid retained authority to prescribe Medicare-funded power wheelchairs for patients. In August of 2011, Lamid was convicted by a federal jury in Baton Rouge on charges he accepted kickbacks for writing unnecessary prescriptions for power wheelchairs that
resulted in fraudulent Medicare costs of $2.5 million. He has not yet been sentenced. The medical license of Dr. Anthony S. Jase, 41, of New Orleans, was placed on probation for three years in October 2010 for his fail-
Jase pleaded guilty this year in a federal case that alleges he and others bilked Medicare out of more than $470,000 for unnecessary equipment or services ure to control prescription pads used to obtain amphetamines, codeine, Hydrocodone and Lomotil. Jase also was ordered by the Board of Medical Examiners to cease the practice of medicine in the field of ``management of non-malignant
chronic or intractable pain.'' Those penalties were imposed before Jase completed a prior three-year period of license probation ordered in 2008 for what the board described as his acceptance of ``cash for office-visit fees calculated ... on the amount of medications prescribed.'' Jase pleaded guilty this year in a federal case that alleges he and others bilked Medicare out of more than $470,000 for unnecessary equipment or services. He agreed he owes restitution of $230,963 to Medicare. Another Louisiana physician, now waiting for his Baton Rouge trial on Medicare fraud charges, had his license placed on probation for five years by the Board of Medical Examiners in May 2010. That physician, Dr. Michael Selwyn Hunter, 54, of New Orleans, also was stripped of his right to practice in the ``management of non-malignant chronic or intractable pain or in the treatment of obesity.'' The board ordered
Hunter not to prescribe any medications for weight control or weight reduction. Now, Hunter is accused in a federal indictment in Baton Rouge of providing bogus prescriptions for home health care services that fueled an alleged illegal scheme that netted $14.9 million from Medicare. Dr. Dahlia Kirkpatrick, 63, of LaPlace, remains licensed to practice medicine in Louisiana even though she is serving a 30-month prison term for providing unnecessary prescriptions to a medical equipment retailer who defrauded Medicare of $302,811. She pleaded guilty in October 2010 and was informed at sentencing that she and the retailer are jointly responsible for repayment of Medicare's loss. Rita Arceneaux, the Board of Medical Examiners' executive assistant, said board officials could not talk about any physicians charged in the Medicare investigations, including those already convicted. -AP
Health Science Post
December 2, 2011
NC lawmaker says he has plan on abortion plates RALEIGH, N.C.: A potential showdown in court this month over whether North Carolina can sell anti-abortion specialty license plates that say ``Choose Life'' will be a mere sideshow if the lawmaker who shepherded the plates through the legislature has anything to say about it. Rep. Mitch Gillespie said the hearing in federal court in Wilmington, scheduled for Nov. 28, doesn't have much bearing on his plans to ensure North Carolina motorists will be able to buy the plates. But the details are under wraps for now, the McDowell County Republican said. ``I've got a plan that will make the lawsuit that they have a moot point,'' he said. ``I think this will all be taken care of in a short period of time.'' Gillespie wouldn't be drawn out on details, but one of the central complaints in the lawsuit is that while lawmakers approved the ``Choose Life'' plates, there's no corresponding option for supporters of abortion rights. The lawsuit was filed by the state chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union.
``The North Carolina General Assembly has undertaken to permit North Carolina drivers to engage in private speech through a special license plate dedicated to the abortion debate, but the state only permits expression of one side of the debate,'' reads a memo-
Twenty-nine states either already make 'Choose Life' plates available or have approved such plates but have not manufactured them randum filed by the ACLU in federal court. ``The First Amendment is designed to protect citizens against exactly that type of abuse.'' The General Assembly approved the ``Choose Life'' plate this year, along with 79 other specialty plates. The Carolina Pregnancy Care Fellowship, an association of nonprofit pregnancy counseling centers, will get $15 from each plate sold.
Gov. Beverly Perdue, an abortion rights supporter, signed the license plate bill, saying she didn't want to veto dozens of other plates over the anti-abortion plate. Supporters of abortion rights have said that if the ``Choose Life'' plates are approved, the state should also offer a plate that says ``Respect Choice'' or a similar message. Twenty-nine states either already make ``Choose Life'' plates available or have approved such plates but have not manufactured them. But the plates have a mixed record when it comes to court challenges, with some judges ruling states can sell them and others siding with challengers who say the plates are unconstitutional. In 2004, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a South Carolina judge's ruling that the ``Choose Life'' plates approved by lawmakers in that state were unconstitutional because they provided one group a forum to express its beliefs without giving the opposing view a similar forum. The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the case, and the state was forced to pay Planned Parenthood's $157,810 legal bill. -AP
FDA approves Regeneron's eye injection Eylea NEW YORK: Regulators have approved Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc.'s drug Eylea, an injection designed to treat a common cause of blindness in older people. Eylea is intended to treat neovascular or ``wet'' age-related macular degeneration. More than 200,000 cases are diagnosed in the U.S. every year. The standard treatment for the condition is Roche's Lucentis, which was approved in 2006 and posts $1.5 billion in annual sales. Analysts have high expectations for Eylea because clinical trial data showed it could be administered every other month, although the Food and Drug Administration recommends monthly injections for the first three months and then bimonthly. Lucentis is approved to be used once per month, although Roche says the drug is often used less frequently. Regeneron said each dose of Eylea will cost $1,850, while Lucentis costs $2,000. The company said health insurers and programs like Medicare will save money because patients won't
have to visit their doctor as often for injections and checkups. It said those visits cost $250 to $300 each. The most common side effects of Eylea included bleeding of the conjunctiva, eye pain, cataracts, detachment of the retina from the vitreous humor, and greater pressure within the
The most common side effects of Eylea included bleeding of the conjunctiva, eye pain, cataracts eye. In a few patients, strokes, nonfatal heart attacks, and vascular death, including deaths of unknown cause, occurred. Those side effects occurred in about 1.8 percent of patients combined. An FDA advisory panel unanimously recommended approval for Eylea in June, but in August, the FDA extended its review of the drug by three months to check additional data. -AP
Tech News Jet Airways takes delivery of 100th aircraft India Post News Service
NEW YORK: Jet Airways, India's premier international airline, has achieved a major milestone - the induction of the 100th aircraft into its fleet. The airline became the first private airline in India to operate a 100-aircraft fleet with a brand-new, next generation Boeing 737-800 with sky interiors in Seattle on November 15. The 100th aircraft will be the third all-new Boeing 737-800 configured with eight premiere and 162 economy seats, and will commence commercial operations from December 5. New improved passenger service units, a significantly quieter cabin with Sky Interiors and pivot bins designed for greater overhead bin capacity will further enhance guests comfort. Nikos Kardassis, Chief Executive Officer of Jet Airways, said: "The delivery of our 100th aircraft is a major milestone for everyone at Jet Airways. The airline has always chosen to utilize the very best in next-generation avionics to ensure superior quality, reliable service and above all customer satisfaction. We were the very first airline in India to fly the fuel-efficient Boeing 737-300 aircraft in Indian skies, and later, the first airline in Asia to fly the next-generation Boeing 737-800, barely seven months after its commercial induction in the United States. We are also happy to have worked closely with GE Capital Aviation Services (GECAS) as a partner since 1995 and look forward to more fruitful affiliation in the years to come, as Jet Airways expands its domestic and international network." With the acquisition of its 100th aircraft, Jet Airways will fly to 76 destinations in India and around the globe, making it one of the fastest-growing airlines in the world.
TechBiz 44 India Post
December 2, 2011
NEW YORK: United Statesbased Globaltel media is launching into India with a localized version of its popular service in Hindi. The site, Cherple.in, is now available allowing native Hindi speakers to have two-way text chats to any Web-enabled computer. The service is free of charge for the computer user. With a population of more than 1.4 billion and as the third largest consumer of the Internet in the world, India is poised to be one of largest users of Cherple to improve its international communication. According to Globaltel Media
PUDUCHERRY: Puducherry has become the first among all states and UTs to register 100 per cent banking coverage, Chief Minister N Rangasamy said here. Stating this at a meeting of the State-Level Bankers Committee, Rangasamy said he was hopeful that with this accomplishment the inhabitants of Puducherry would be able to “effectively ameliorate their economic well being by utilizing the opportunity”. He lauded the initiative taken by the Indian Bank (the lead bank in Puducherry) in association with several other banks in successfully covering all the villages in the Union Territory under banking services.. -PTI
Cyrus P Mistry of Pallonji Group to succeed Ratan Tata NEW DELHI: Ending a yearlong search, Cyrus P Mistry, Managing Director of construction major Shapoorji Pallonji Group, has been named successor to Ratan Tata at the helm of over USD 80billion conglomerate, Tata Group. A non-Tata family person, 43year-old Mistry will take over from Tata, who retires as the Chairman of Tata Sons next December when he turns 75. This is the first time that a person outside the Tata family will head the salt-to-software conglomerate. "The Board of Directors of Tata Sons at its meeting appointed Cyrus P Mistry as the Deputy
Mistry, Chairman of the Shapoorji Pallonji Group that holds 18 per cent stake in Tata Sons. Interestingly, Mistry was also part of the five-member search panel appointed last year to find Tata's successor. Shapoorji Pallonji Group holds 18 per cent stake in Tata Sons. Tata Sons, however, said Mistry's appointment is as per the unanimous recommendation of the selection committee. Various candidates, including Tata's half-brother and son-in-law of Pallonji Mistry, Noel Tata and PepsiCo Chairperson Indra Nooyi were speculated as possible suc-
Mistry is the son of Pallonji Mistry, Chairman of the Shapoorji Pallonji Group that holds 18 percent stake in Tata Sons. Interestingly, Mistry was also part of the five-member search panel appointed last year to find Tata's successor Chairman. He will work with Ratan N Tata over the next year and take over from him when Tata retires in December 2012," Tata Sons said in a statement. Mistry is the son of Pallonji
cessors to Tata. Commenting on the appointment, Ratan N Tata, Chairman of Tata Sons, said: "The appointment of Cyrus P Mistry as Deputy Chairman of Tata Sons is a good and
US-based Globaltel Media expands into India India Post News Service
Puducherry 1st to achieve 100% banking coverage
President and CEO Robert Sanchez, the company's expansion into India has created the need for in-country partners to support and expand its operations and reseller base. "Our successful expansion in India will come from the relationships we secure with telecom partners, operations providers, technology resellers and advertisers," Sanchez said. "With SMS traffic through the Hindi site expected to top ten million SMS messages per month, our partners will be critical to the initial performance and plans for expansion." Cherple.com is a text messaging Website that links Web-en-
abled computers and tablets with any US mobile phone for patentprotected, two-way text communication. By using the most basic forms of wireless communication, the Internet and Cherple.com makes international wireless communication more readily available to a larger number of Internet-connected people. The easy-to-use platform does not require downloads or registration and is accessible from any Internet-connected device. In addition to the localized India site launched recently, localized Cherple sites are available in the Philippines, Mexico and Brazil. Expansion into Korea, Taiwan and Vietnam is expected in early 2012.
Tata Group Chairman Ratan Tataís successor Cyrus Mistry outside the Bombay House in Mumbai
far-sighted choice. "He has been on the Board of Tata Sons since August 2006 and I have been impressed with the quality and caliber of his participation, his astute observations and his humility." Tata further said: "I will be committed to working with him over the next year to give him the exposure, the involvement and the operating experience to equip him to undertake the full responsibility of the Group on my retirement." Ratan Tata would be hanging his boots in December 2012 when he turns 75 - the retirement age fixed by the group with presence in businesses from salt to software. Tata Group has over 90 compa-
nies, of which 28 are listed, including the country's largest software exporter TCS, India's largest auto maker Tata Motors and Tata Steel, which is the world's fifth largest steel maker. Although the group is over 100 years old - founded by Jamsetji Tata in 1868 when he set up a private trading firm - it was only in 2006 that it earned a major global recognition when Ratan Tata spearheaded the buyout of AngloDutch steel maker Corus for about USD 12 billion. Rata Tata followed this up with another big ticket purchase of Jaguar Land Rover, the luxury British auto brands, from Ford in 2008 for USD 2.3 billion.-PTI
December 2, 2011
Vikram Akula quits SKS Microfinance MUMBAI: Founder and executive chairman of the country's only listed microfinance institution SKS Microfinance Vikram Akula has resigned from the board in wake of the huge losses suffered by the Hyderabad-based firm. Akula, who had a troubled association with the company, would continue with SKS as a "consultant" till March 2012 and "assist with the transition." SKS board has appointed P H Ravi Kumar, Independent Director, as the interim non-executive chairman with immediate effect, the company said in a statement. The company did not give any reason for his resignation. At present it provides funds to 6.9 million borrowers. After resignation Akula said,
Akula, who founded SKS in late 1997, led the organization until 2004 and became its poster boy with the massive success of the IPO. Then he joined McKinsey & Co in Chicago, only to return to SKS in 2005 and convert it to a for-profit company Vikram Akula
"The current leadership is well equipped to take SKS into the next phase of its evolution. I will, of
course, remain committed to the sector, and will continue my involvement in the industry at a
Kaspersky, Mahindra sign MoU for security solutions India Post News Service
Kaspersky Lab, and Indian multinationals Tech Mahindra and Mahindra Satyam announced Nov 21, the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for broad range collaboration in Information Security solutions. Under the MOU, Kaspersky Lab, Tech Mahindra and Mahindra Satyam have agreed to leverage their strengths in security products and services to develop joint security solutions in the areas of Mobility and Endpoint Security, and Cloud Security Services. These solutions will aim to address the ever-increasing security threats to consumers and corporates in India and Asia Pacific. Kaspersky Lab is the largest antivirus company in Europe. It delivers some of the world's most immediate protection against IT security threats, including viruses, spyware, crimeware, hackers, phishing, and spam. The company is ranked among the world's top four vendors of security solutions for endpoint users. The focus of Mobile Security solutions will be to secure the growing number of smartphone users, who access the internet on the move for official and personal purposes. Security analysts have identified mobile malware as one of the key emerging sources of security threats, due to the increasing acceptability and penetration of such devices into the corporate environment. Kaspersky Lab will also work with Tech Mahindra to create a
range of managed security services offerings aimed at the SMB sector in the sub-continent and beyond. These services, built using Kaspersky Lab's proven endpoint security products and Mahindra's expertise in service delivery, will provide small businesses with access to enterprise-class security at low transaction costs.
The focus of Mobile Security solutions will be to secure the growing number of smartphone users, who access the internet on the move for official and personal purposes. Security analysts have identified mobile malware as one of the key emerging sources of security threats Commenting on the occasion, C P Gurnani, CEO, Mahindra Satyam said, "Information Security Services is growing at a rapid pace globally and we are doing very well in this area. Our understanding with Kaspersky Lab is to jointly address this market with solutions, platforms and models, to provide customers with new "security-as-a-service' offerings and address mobile security
threats." "India is one of Kaspersky Lab's key markets and growing extremely fast. Having Indian System Integrators like Tech Mahindra and Mahindra Satyam partnering with Kaspersky Lab is, by itself, already a success story. Kaspersky Lab has reached the Number 1 position in the Indian AV market and with strong partners like Tech Mahindra and Mahindra Satyam, we can further grow our market share in India while extending the same success to other APAC markets. â€œWe are very excited about this partnership. It is the value-driven service orientation of Tech Mahindra and Mahindra Satyam to provide world-class security solutions to clients and the potential to win new business that will make this partnership a very fruitful and successful one," said Mr. Harry Cheung, Managing Director, Kaspersky Lab, Asia-Pacific. Lucius Lobo, Vice-President Security Services, Tech Mahindra, said, "With the rapid growth of smartphones and tablets and their use for commerce, new threats from mobile malware have already started becoming a major problem. Nearly 6 billion individuals today have a cellphone and can be the target of cybercriminals over the next 2-3 years. The partnership between Kaspersky Lab, Tech Mahindra and Mahindra Satyam will help address these challenges by bringing a comprehensive portfolio of mobile security solutions to consumers and enterprises on a wide scale."
policy level. I will also be involved in a mobile banking initiative." The resignation comes close on the heels of announcement of second quarter results of SKS during which the company suffered huge loss of Rs 384 crore, as against a Rs 80.54 crore profit in the corresponding period a year ago. In a filing to the BSE, SKS said Akula has entered into a "noncompete and non-solicitation" agreement with the company. "Vikram turned an idealistic vision into a business that today serves millions of rural women. I have witnessed firsthand the amazing impact SKS has had in India. But a lot more needs to be done," Vinod Khosla co-founder of Sun Microsystems and a significant shareholder in SKS said.
Raj also denied reports that there was pressure from the board on Akula to hang up his boots. Akula now holds around 3 per cent stake in the company, in which PE firm Catamaran, set up by Infosys Co- Founder N R Narayanamurhty, is a major investor. Akula, who founded SKS in late 1997, led the organization until 2004 and became its poster boy with the massive success of the IPO. Then he joined McKinsey & Co in Chicago, only to return to SKS in 2005 and convert it to a for-profit company. SKS was the first micro finance firm to go public in South Asia. SKS shares had touched a lifetime high of Rs 1402.30 on September 28, 2010. But soon the bumpy ride began and the scrip fell to Rs 640 on November 18 after crisis hit the Rs 20,000-crore sunshine industry in Andhra Pradesh, its largest market, following an Ordinance that massively curbed the industry's operations. The AP Ordinance followed a spate of suicides by farmers, allegedly due to coercive methods adopted by collection agents. SKS had also witnessed some low moments following the ouster of CEO Suresh Gurmani in October last year. Gurmani, who was at the helm of the microfinance lender at the time of its dazzling IPO, was replaced by M R Rao.-PTI
December 2, 2011
Fri Dec 4 • Karishma TV & Pali Presents EID Festival 2011 Venue: Antuns 244, West Old Country Road, Hicksville, NY Time: 7pm Contact: 718-600-0954
Fri Dec 9 • Lands of the Mughals Venue: The Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium, Fifth Avenue/West 81 Street, New York, 10028 Time: 7 pm Contact: 212-570-3964
Fri DEC 16 • Diamond Jewelery Exhibition Venue: New York Hilton, 1335 Avenue Of The Americas, New York, NY 10019 Time: 11 am Contact: 415-424-8137
Sun Dec 04
Sun Dec 4
• Hiking Meditation
• Dulhan Expo- Somerset
Venue: Inner Metamorphosis University 1418 W Howard St, Chicago, IL Time: 6am Contact: 773-262-1468
Venue: Garden State Exhibit Center 50 Atrium Dr. Somerset, NJ Time: 12:00pm Contact: 732-469-4000
Sat Dec 10
Fri Dec 09
• IAMA 2011 Gala
• AICC 2nd Annual Holiday Party On Cornucopia Cruise Line
Venue: The Meadows Club, 2950 W.Golf Rd Rolling, Meadows, Chicago, IL 60008 Time: 6 pm Contact: 773-275-8630
Venue: Cornucopia Cruise Line, New Jersey Time: 6:30pm Contact: 732-7774666
Mon Dec 19
Sat Dec 10
• Mind & Meditation
• Carnatic Fest Mini Concerts
Venue: Art of Living Center 1251 N Plum Grove Rd Suite#110, Schaumburg, IL Time: 7:15pm Contact: 630-930-9145
Venue: PAL Youth Center, 33 Baldwin Road, Parsippany, NJ 07054 Time: 6: 00 pm Contact: 973-503-1315
Upcoming Sat Nov 26 • 28th Annual Indian Music & Dance Competition Venue: University of Maryland Baltimore, 1000 Hilltop Circle, Baltimroe, MD Time: 12am Contact: 410-747-3950
Sun Dec 04 • Christmas, New Year Celebrations Venue: Kerala Association of Greater Washington McKnew Road, Burtonsville, WDC Time: 1pm Contact: 703-506-0807
Sat Dec 31
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA Upcoming Fri Dec 2
Sat Dec 3
• Diamonds Show
• Ohlone College Community Chorale Fall Concert
Venue: Sheraton Cerritos 12725, Centercourt Drive, Cerritos, CA 90703 Time: 11am Contact: 415-424-8137
Venue: Centerville Presbyterian Church, 4360 Central Ave, Fremont Time: 3pm Contact: Gosia Asher-510.659.6206
Sat Dec 3 • Bollywood Nights Senorita in SFO Venue: Kaama Lounge (Santana Row) 385 S. Winchester Blvd, San Jose, CA Time: 8:30pm Contact: 408-234-6709
Sat Dec 3 & Sun Dec 4 • A Weekend of Light with HH Sant Rajinder Singh ji Maharaj Venue: 4000 Loews Coronado Bay Road Coronado, CA 92118 Time: 9am to 12noon (Morningh Meditation and workshops) 7pm (Public Talk) Time: 619-424-4000
Sun Dec 04 • Khushbu Se Bhare Khat, A concert in Tribute to Jagjit Singh Venue: Joan Pisani Community Center, 19655 Allendale Ave, Saratoga, CA Time: 4:00pm Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sat Dec 10 • Christmas & New Year Celebrations Venue: EverGreen Hight School, 3300 Quimby Road, San Jose, CA Time: 12:00pm Contact: 408-836-5804
Sat Dec 31 • Yuva Bharti Membership 2011 Venue: Yuva Bharati 870, Ames Avenue, Palo Alto, CA Time: 12am Contact: 650-565-8859
Highlights: Morning Mediation and workshops and Public Talk “Spark of The Divine” and “Explore Spiritual Realms”.
Sat Dec 3 • Home Rescue Fair Venue: Pico Park 9528 E. Beverly Blvd. Pico Rivera, CA 90660 Time: 10:00am to 3:00pm Contact: (323) 722-3955
Thurs Dec 15 • A Chanticleer Christmas Venue: Walt Disney Concert Hall, 111 S. Grand Ave., Los Angeles, CA Time: 8pm Contact: 323-850-2000
Sat Dec 17
• Kaveri Kannada Association 2011 Membership
Sat Dec 31
Venue: Kaveri Kannada Association 10070 Darnestown Road # 232, Rockville, MD 20850 Time: 10pm Contact: 301-633-5311
Venue: Abhinaya Dance Company of San Jose, 52 Harold Avenue, San Jose Time: 12am
• Friend of Abhinaya Membership
• Holiday Concert with the Gerry Winn Singers Venue: The Fremont Main Library, Fukaya Room, CA Time: 2pm Contact: 510-745-1401
December 2, 2011
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Notice is hereby given that sealed competitive bids will be accepted at the Health Care Services Agency, 1000 San Leandro Blvd., Suite 300, San Leandro, CA, 94577 MANDATORY NETWORKING/ NORTH COUNTY BIDDERS CONFERENCE RFP HCSA #900111 School-Based Mental Health Consultation Training Institute for Providers and School Staff, Tuesday, December 6, 2011, 10:00 AM 単 Alameda County Health Care Services Agency, 1000 San Leandro Blvd., 3rd Floor, Conference Room 325, San Leandro, CA NON- MANDATORY NETWORKING/NORTH COUNTY BIDDERS CONFERENCERFP HCSA #900111 School-Based Mental Health Consultation Training Institute for Providers and School Staff, Wednesday, December 7, 2011, 10:00 AM 単 Alameda County Health Care Services Agency, 1000 San Leandro Blvd., 3rd Floor, Conference Room 325, San Leandro, CA Responses Due by 5:00 pm on January 3, 2012 County Contact: Lisa Warhuus at (510) 6181953 or via email: email@example.com Attendance at December 6th Networking Conference is Mandatory. Specifications regarding the above may be obtained at the Alameda County GSA Current Contracting Opportunities Internet website at www.acgov.org. 12/2/11 CNS-2211226#
December 2, 2011
Page Sponsored by Sahanis PETER HOLLERAN
aul Brunton (1898-1981) was one of the first westerners to visit Sri Ramana Maharshi in the 1930s. He arrived at the sage's abode after a long search that led him to the feet of many faqirs, yogis, and saints. His extensive journeys were chronicled in the books A Search in Secret Egypt and A Search in Secret India, where many westerners were introduced to the fascination and allure of the east and its teachings, and perhaps most importantly, that of Ramana Maharshi. In his later years "PB" went far beyond the scope of his early writings, rejuvenating the ancient meaning of the term "Philosophy" for the modern age. Brunton wrote that he was no stranger to mystic rapture as a child. A burning desire for truth caused him to set aside his position as a journalist, while yet in his thirties, and travel the world in pursuit of the higher wisdom. His passion was intense, and he once even considered suicide. He went on to write thirteen books between 1935 and 1952 converting a wealth of ancient doctrines into forms understandable by modern men and woman. His historical significance was that of being one of the original East-West bridges, putting traditional religious and philosophic teachings into a contemporary
Questioner: My own feeling is that my spiritual development is not in my hands. Making one's own plans and carrying them out leads nowhere. I just run in circles round myself. When God considers the fruit to be ripe, He will pluck it and eat it. Whichever fruit seems green to Him will remain on the world's tree for another day. Maharaj: You think God knows you? Even the world He does not know. Q: Yours is a different God. Mine is different. Mine is merciful. He suffers along with us. M: You pray to save one, while thousands die. And if all stop dying, there will be no space on earth. Q: I am not afraid of death. My concern is with sorrow and suffering. My God is a simple God and rather helpless. He has no power to compel us to be wise. He can only stand and wait. M: If you and your God are both helpless, does it not imply that the world is accidental? And if it is, the only thing you can do is to go beyond it. Q: I just do not know how much I can do for the world. All I
form consistent with science and a global world-view, and, in the opinion of many, for making a creative reinterpretation of the perennial wisdom teaching which had only existed in incomplete fragments in both the East and the West at the time. Brunton's experiences with Ramana as detailed in A Search in Secret India culminated with an episode of mystical absorption under Maharishi's influence in which
experience...When you wake up from sleep a light appears, which is the light of the Self, passing through Mahatattva. It is called cosmic consciousness. That is arupa (formless). The light falls on the ego and is reflected therefrom." Brunton later went on to write about the further realization of the spiritual heart, the inner source of attention, in jnana or jnananirvikalpa samadhi (the transcendental subject, exclusive of body
aspects of the higher teachings to him and "filled in the gaps" or intellectual blind spots that his experience with Ramana did not provide. Among these were the sage Atmananda (Shree Krishna Menon), the Shankaracharyaof Kanchipuram,and Vedantist V.S. Iyer, the latter whom Brunton referred to as "my teacher" and said "made the scales fall from my eyes." Indeed, it is impossible to fully appreciate the writings of PB with-
Paul Brunton - one of the original East-West bridges Iyer actually tried to get PB to stop meditating at one point, so he could move on to the more complete realization of Sahaj samadhi
he was drawn into the heart and experienced an infinite expanse of supra-physical light. This appears to have been an exalted form of savikalpa samadhi, or transcendental consciousness where the subject-object distinction persists. (His experience was later clarified by Ramana who said "Since the experience is through the mind only, it first appears as a blaze of light. The mental predispositions are not yet destroyed. The mind is, however, functioning in its infinite capacity in this
and world, which he termed the Overself), in The Quest of the Overself and supra-mystical realizations beyond that, in The Hidden Teaching Beyond Yoga, but it was this first contact with Maharshi that revolutionized his quest. He acknowledged Ramana as the inspiration behind much of his early writing efforts, and affirmed years later that his inner link with the sage had remained unbroken. While Ramana remained his "root" guru, he had many other teachers and influences who elaborated different
out studying those of Iyer. Iyer was both a scholar and realizer who was also influential in the lives of important Ramakrishna monks Nikhilinanda and Siddeswarananda who spread the teachings of Vedanta to the United States and Europe, respectively. Iyer actually tried to get PB to stop meditating at one point, so he could move on to the more complete realization of Sahaj samadhi, wherein one "understands the world through the mind's intelligence," as Atmananda once said.
can do, is to try. Is there anything else you would like me to do? M: Without you is there a world? You know all about the world, but about yourself you know nothing. You yourself are the tools of your work, you have no other tools. Why don't you take care of the tools before you think of the work? Q: I can wait, while the world cannot.
and not yours? Q: Why should it be my sole concern? M: Consider. The world in which you live, who else knows about it? Q: You know. Everybody knows. M: Did anybody come from outside of your world to tell you? Myself and everybody else ap-
world appears a man who tells you that the world of painful contradictions, which you have created, is neither continuous nor permanent and is based on a misapprehension. He pleads with you to get out of it, by the same way by which you got into it. You got into it by forgetting what you are and you will get out of it by knowing yourself as
You know all about the world but nothing about yourself
M: By not enquiring you keep the world waiting. Q: Waiting for what? M: For somebody who can save it. Q: God runs the world, God will save it. M: That's what you say! Did God come and tell you that the world is His creation and concern
When you are free of the world, you can do something about it. As long as you are a prisoner of it, you are helpless to change it pear and disappear in your world. We are all at your mercy. Q: It cannot be so bad! I exist in your world as you exist in mine. M: You have no evidence of my world. You are completely wrapped up in the world of your own making. Q: I see. Completely, but hopelessly? M: Within the prison of your
you are. Q: In what way does it affect the world? M: When you are free of the world, you can do something about it. As long as you are a prisoner of it, you are helpless to change it. On the contrary, whatever you do will aggravate the situation. Excerpted from 'I Am That'
When, by self-inquiry, you find out that the meditator does not exist, all activity becomes pointless and you come to a state of nonattaining, an openness to the unknowable. -Jean Klein When we look with the 'I' we dream. When we look for the 'I' we awaken. -Mooji A fool thinks himself to be wise, but a wise man knows himself to be a fool. -William Shakespeare Chaos is inherent in all compounded things. Strive on with diligence. -Buddha A religion that takes no account of practical affairs and does not help to solve them is no religion. -Mohandas Gandhi Man seeks to change the foods available in nature to suit his tastes, thereby putting an end to the very essence of life contained in them. -Sai Baba Look at the optimism of Nature. Nothing can stop it. Only the ego makes humans pessimistic, and this causes suffering. -Mata Amritanandamayi
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December 2, 2011
India-Pakistan & MFN status: why, why not and will it? ANUREET RAI & ARYAMAN BHATNAGAR
he status of Pakistan's grant of 'Most Favored Nation' (MFN) to India is in doubt. While the foreign ministry has given assurances that the decision would be implemented, an actual decision is yet to be taken. This raises several questions. Why did Pakistan agree to grant India the MFN status? What has led to the delay in the implementation of this decision? Will this decision ever be implemented? Pakistan's decision to grant MFN to India is motivated by both economic and political factors. Given the asymmetric responsibilities India is willing to shoulder, this is a win-win situation for Pakistan. According to the Pakistan Business Council, bilateral trade is said to double over the next three years if this deal goes through. Moreover, it will also help bring US$10 billion worth of illegal trade between the two countries, currently routed through Dubai, within the official channels. This is said to increase the annual GDP of Pakistan by 1-2 per cent. Increased production volumes increase Pakistan's ability to beat down the price of imports critical to reducing import costs. Importantly, this would also mean a reduction in the import cost of energy-related raw materials, which may help reduce Pakistan's energy problems. Finally, the traders, who comprise a large segment of Pakistani mercantile community will also benefit from the increased trade volumes that access to a larger market enables. There could be two political motivations behind the granting of the MFN status. First, given that the establishment is under serious attack from all quarters within Pakistan, an economic surge would be seen, at least in the short term, as shoring up the status quo and boosting the morale of the Pakistani public. Second, given the increasing global and regional isolation of the Pakistani state, this provides vital strategic breathing space for Pakistan. Despite all this, news emerged that the decision would not be implemented. Most of the opposition to this deal seems to have come from the industrialists, who cannot compete against Indian economies of scale and fear dumping. Moreover, India's non-tariff barriers and protectionist policies are highly resented as well, being the main reason for the balance of trade being overwhelmingly in India's favor. According to Huma Yusuf, a columnist for Dawn, 'the
India Post Tit-for-tat politics
T Green signal for trade?
pseudo backtracking' is primarily to reassure the industrialists that their interests are also being taken into account. Further opposition to the implementation of the deal comes from the religious parties such as Jamiat Ulema-eIslam (F) and Jamaat-e-Islami, who seem to have difficulty accepting 'arch enemy' India as the 'most favored' nation.
The most important factor that seems to be working in favor of the MFN is the fact that it has the backing of the army. It would not have been possible for the federal government to have made any announcement regarding the MFN without the approval of the army It seems unlikely that such obstacles could prevent India from getting the MFN. The religious parties and the business communities have managed to delay the process, but are unlikely to prevent the decision from being implemented. The concerns of the latter are motivated more by practical reasons rather than any ideological factors and these could be resolved by properly negotiating the negative list. Similarly, as Yusuf states, the MFN could increase the bargaining power of Pakistan vis-Ă -vis India, thereby, placing it in a much
better position to negotiate the removal of the non-tariff barriers and the high tariff rates on goods like textiles and agricultural products, which are of interest to Pakistan's business community. As far as the religious parties are concerned they are no longer as powerful as they used to be in the 1980s and 1990s. While they continue to adhere to their ideological opposition to India, the mainstream parties in Pakistan like the Pakistan's People Party and Pakistan Muslim League (N) have been calling for improving ties with India. The climate in Pakistan towards India seems to be undergoing a change and there is a genuine desire to work towards reconciliation. This was evident in the return of the helicopter, which had strayed into Pakistani territory, as well as at the 2011 SAARC Summit in the Maldives, in which India and Pakistan pledged to work towards normalization of relations. The most important factor that seems to be working in favor of the MFN is the fact that it has the backing of the army. It would not have been possible for the federal government to have made any announcement regarding the MFN without the approval of the army, which continues to exert significant influence over Pakistan's foreign policy, especially on matters concerning India. This means that the more difficult political process has been completed. The obstacles may delay the process but are unlikely to prevent the MFN from being granted to India. The writers are Research Interns, IPCS
he Congress might be down in the dumps over every conceivable issue from fighting corruption to indecision and dithering over crucial policy matters that affect the health of the nation. But the main opposition party, the BJP, has not exactly covered itself with glory in the meantime. Its declared plan to obstruct the functioning of the winter session of Parliament over alleged culpability of P. Chidambaram on the 2G spectrum issue shows up its shortsightedness and indifference to matters which affect the populace in general. This time the people, awakened by the Anna Hazare agitation, won't forgive anyone who doesn't allow the crucial bills, including the Jan Lokpal Bill, from being passed in Parliament. The issue of Chidambaram's complicity in the 2G scandal is being decided by the courts. The BJP should allow the legal process to take its course. It has to be admitted that the BJP has been provoked into this action by the Congress trying to rope in the previous NDA government into the 2G inquiry by asking its handmaiden, the CBI, to raid premises of companies which allegedly benefited from the spectrum awards during NDA rule. The Congress thought it would deflect attention from its own misdoings by targeting BJP leaders involved in spectrum distribution during their tenure. The message would be, we are not the only culprits. The BJP is also involved. By doing this on the eve of the Parliament session it invited retaliation from the BJP which has duly come in the form of blocking Chidambaram from speaking in Parliament. By indulging in tit-for-tat politics the two main political parties have proved how little they care about the problems that ordinary people face from day-to-day. It is important for the Congress to erase the impression of lack of governance and for this it needs the support of the BJP. It should do nothing to rile them because if this winter session also turns out to be dud, the fallout will be more dangerous for the Congress than for the BJP. It must make all out efforts to ensure that bills on judicial standards, protection of whistle-blowers, public grievance redress and Lokpal make the cut this session. These are central to its political strategy to counter the Anna Hazare campaign against Congress for being complicit in corruption. There are equally important economic bills pending, with the government anxious that at least some can be passed including legislation on money laundering, pension reform, banking and insurance laws, debt recovery and public procurement. Obviously, the BJP and other opposition parties are not going to make things easy for the government. Team Anna members have already gone on overdrive over alleged lacunas in Government's Lokpal bill like exclusion of the prime minister, lower bureaucracy, judiciary and MPs from the ambit of the proposed law. They have also briefed the BJP leaders about these. Obviously, the BJP sees merit in continuing to see the Congress-Hazare confrontation. Another issue that might trouble the Congress is UP Chief Minister's challenging move to have the state divided into four parts. With the separate Telengana issue already on the boil and several other regions demanding separation, the Congress cannot afford to remain indecisive any longer. The UP chief minister threw the gauntlet after crown prince Rahul Gandhi attacked her government on misgovernance and law and order. Mayawati in her bold reply said UP is too big a state to be properly governed. It needs to be divided into at least four parts and she named the four parts where agitations for separation are already taking place. The Congress needs to set up a fresh states reorganization commission before this new storm engulfs it.
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