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India, US sign MoU for labor improvement Details on page 6
Dilip Khale elected to elite architects body Details on page 13
VOL 17, No. 909
February 17, 2012
US TOLD CONCERNS OF I.T. INDUSTRY
WASHINGTON: India has expressed the hope that the current economic woes in the US would not lead to protectionism. Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai on his first bilateral visit to the US raised the issue with the officials of Commerce Department and said that concerns of the Indian IT industry over anti-outsourcing measures announced by President Barack Obama recently should be addressed quickly. He said that the Indian IT industry in the US has contributed USD 15 billion in taxes alone in the last five years and underlined the need to eliminate discriminatory actions.
NJ to have largest Hindu temple in US Details on page 13
1 million Surya Namaskars performed Details on page 12
Details on page 5 US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton receiving Indiaís Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai at a meeting in Washington, DC on February 7. Also seen at the meeting is Ambassador Nirupama Rao
Preet Bharara appears on Time cover
NRI houses targeted for gold in UK
Details on page 7
Details on page 6
US sanctions will not hit India-Iran rice trade
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INDIA POST SURVEY
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This week’s question
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Does the US discriminate against India’s IT industry? Last week’s result
Is Obama's outsourcing threat mere rhetoric? YES 73%
Perspective -------------------- 44-45 Philosophy ------------------------- 48
FESTIVAL OF INDIA: One of the most attractive events that Haryana Tourism organizes every year from February 1 to 15 is the Surajkund Crafts Mela in Faridabad near Delhi. Now in its 26th year, the Mela has gone international displaying exquisite handicrafts, handlooms, cuisine and cultures from India and abroad as seen in the picture above. India Post celebrates the occasion with a Surajkand Mela Special on page 26
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February 17, 2012
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ore than a month since the caucuses and primaries for the Republican Presidential nomination began conservative voters are at a loss for a candidate they can field against President Obama. When Rick Santorum won the very first caucus in Iowa, pundits considered him a flash in the pan that will soon fizzle out. No delegate accrual; negligible voting. Still, Santorum's hat-trick of wins in Minnesota, Colorado and Missouri last week, is giving a serious run for the money for projected frontrunner Mitt Romney and in-your-face Newt Gingrich, in the run-up to Super Tuesday March 6, when 11 states will hold contests. That's called political roulette. So let's take a pedestrian view of what the Republican options are: Romney: He's the richest, busiest and might I add, handsomest of all contenders in the race. His problem - Republican voters don't really like him, and for no good reason. It's more than his being a Mormon. He just doesn't seem to have what it takes. Gingrich: He made it hard for himself - hardly had he won a primary and he was promising to set up at the "end of his second term" a colony on the moon. Talk of "promising the moon"! I doubt if dangling that carrot will work for jobless Americans fighting to fend off encroaching poverty. Santorum: A big family man (7 children), doting father, anti-abortion, antigay Christian with a working class façade (the boring sleeveless pullover on plain blue shirt look). He hasn't convinced Republican voters yet, but he sure has managed to confuse them. Ron Paul: Perhaps the only sensible voice that has been consistent in its tenor in over three decades, his is unfortunately not taken seriously by anyone. The reason is just that - Paul talks sense, and nobody likes it to be told about politics like it is. Ask Michelle Bachman, the Minnesota congresswoman who she thinks is the perfect candidate. She says: "Me". Funny, because she was the first one to fall out of the race. So… Obama, anyone? At least this one in hand might well be worth all of the others in the bush.
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Cover Story: Mathai in US Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai has expressed the hope that the economic woes in the US would not lead to protectionism.
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February 17, 2012
Mathai voices concerns of IT industry WASHINGTON: India has expressed the hope that the current economic woes in the US would not lead to protectionism. Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai on his first bilateral visit to the US raised the issue with the officials of Commerce Department and said that concerns of the Indian IT industry over anti-outsourcing measures announced by President Barack Obama recently should be addressed quickly. He said that the Indian IT in-
back to the country. Obama had said his administration would offer incentives to those firms which will create jobs in the country. Mathai in his address to the Centre for Strategic and International Studies said, "Indian IT industry contributed USD 15 billion in taxes over the last five years. This success story should not be set back by stringent visa regulations which act as a non-tariff barrier." "We do hope the current eco-
‘It needs reiteration that the targets of these discriminatory actions are precisely those who have contributed intellectually to the climate of reform in India, and who have been votaries of strong India-US relations,’ said the Foreign Secretary dustry in the US has contributed USD 15 billion in taxes alone in the last five years and underlined the need to eliminate discriminatory actions. Mathai broached the issue in the backdrop of Obama's State of the Union address in which he outlined measures to bring jobs
nomic challenges in the US would not lead to protectionism and that concerns of Indian IT industry will be addressed quickly," he said. NASSCOM estimates that Indian industry employs over 100,000 in the US up from 20,000 six years ago, he said, adding it supports 200,000 other jobs, in-
cluding indirect ones, apart from enhancing the competitiveness of some the US industries. "According to a back of envelope calculation, Indians paid over USD 200 million in visa fees. Perhaps USD 30-50 million has been taken from young aspiring Indians working in businesses whose US visas were rejected. The pink slip has become a greenback!" Mathai said. "It needs reiteration that the targets of these discriminatory actions are precisely those who have contributed intellectually to the climate of reform in India, and who have been votaries of strong India-US relations," said the Foreign Secretary. Many of Obama's proposals centered on changes to the tax code, including limiting deductions for companies that move jobs overseas, rewarding companies that return jobs to the United States and increasing taxes on wealthy Americans. He said that money should be used to cover moving expenses for companies that decide to bring jobs home. As the bilateral economic ties deepen, Mathai said India and the US will obviously have a growing
range of policy and regulatory concerns with each other. "But, we have in place an elaborate set of bilateral mecha-
nomic Partnership Agreement. "So, we should not only focus on expanding trade and investment, but also use the power of
Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai responds to questions at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), a US think-tank, in Washington. Karl F Inderfurth, the former US Assistant Secretary of State for South Asian Affairs, who is now Senior Advisor and Wadhwani Chair in US-India Policy Studies at the CSIS is also at the dais
nisms to address them. While we should expeditiously conclude a Bilateral Investment Treaty, we must look beyond it, too," he said, noting that the US is the only advanced economy in the world with which India has not concluded or is pursuing a Comprehensive Eco-
innovation to make our economies global leaders in the 21st century, and at the same time, address the needs of the poorest sections of the population in the world and find solutions to the challenges of clean energy, food security, health, education," Mathai said. -PTI
Mathai meets Clinton; holds meetings at State Dept
Indiaís Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Washington, DC on February 7
WASHINGTON: Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai met Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and held a series of meetings at the State Department and the White House on a range of bilateral, regional and global issues. On his first bilateral visit to the US as the Foreign Secretary, Mathai is understood to have presented India's perspective on a wide range of regional and global issues including Iran, the peace talks with Taliban and situation in the region. Secretary of State Clinton dropped by at a meeting between Deputy Secretary of State William Burns and Mathai, State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said. Clinton's meeting with Mathai, Nuland said, was to "make clear that we support these consultations on the full range of issues." She is looking forward to the US-India Strategic Dialogue later this year, Nuland said. Later in the day, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Windy Sherman hosted meetings for Mathai, who met other top officials from the State Department, including Assistant Secretary of State for Political Military Affairs
Andrew Shapiro, Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Robert Blake and Under Secretary of State for Civilian Security Democracy and
Secretary of State Clinton dropped by at a meeting between Deputy Secretary of State William Burns and Mathai, State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said. Clinton's meeting with Mathai was to ‘make clear that we support these consultations on the full range of issues’ Human Rights Maria Otero. Mathai also had meetings at the White House. In the evening, Indian Ambassador to the US Nirupama Rao hosted a dinner for the visiting
Indian delegation which was attended by officials from the State Department. A day earlier, Mathai met the Ambassador at large and Coordinator for Counter terrorism, Daniel Benjamin. Mathai also met a group of Indian American community leaders led by Dr Sambhu N Banik. "His primary task would be to develop better relationships on an equality basis with all the countries including Pakistan," Banik said after the hour-long meeting with the Foreign Secretary. Other Indian-American community leaders were Dr T V George, Sunny Wycliffe, Dr P C Nair and Dr Joy Cherian. Mathai warmly welcomed the leaders who were known to him when he worked as the First Secretary during the year 1981-1984. At that time late K R Narayanan, former President, was the Ambassador of India. During the meeting Mathai recalled his days in Washington and how his interactions with Indian community and his active participation in many community organized activities has shaped his thinking.-PTI
February 17, 2012
India, US sign MoU for labor improvement India Post News Service
NEW YORK: "The road map laid down in the Memorandum of Understanding will facilitate very close cooperation and interaction between our two countries and bring about improvements in the life of workers and their working conditions," emphasized Mallikarjun Kharge, India's Minister for Labor & Employment at signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with US Department of Labor. The MoU was signed Feb 2, by Minister Kharge and US Labor Secretary Hilda Solis in Washington D.C. Kharge expressed happiness over the MoU for cooperation in the area of labor in the areas of Skill Development, Youth Employment, Occupational Safety & Health and Mines Safety & Health. He said India was interested in increasing its know-how in the areas of accreditation systems, self-regulation and auditing through collaboration, exchange & sharing of ideas, etc with the US. The Minister said he looked
Union Labor Minister Mallikarjun Kharge and US Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis shake hands after signing an MoU in Washington. The MoU establishes a framework for conducting dialogue and cooperative activities between the US and India on labor and employment issues
forward to a possible tie-up for training and information exchange in areas of underground & open cast mining, disaster control & emergency management, statistical analysis and development of
data bank. He further mentioned that Government of India looks forward to working together with the US for furthering its knowledge in the area of occupational diseases, toxicology and occupa-
tional medicine. Secretary Solis welcomed the structured bilateral engagement between the Ministry of Labor of India and US Department of Labor. She appreciated the initiatives
undertaken by the Ministry of Labor under Kharge's leadership to address various challenges of skill development, youth development, occupational safety and health, etc. Kharge reiterated Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's vision of skilling 500 million Indians by 2022. He stated that collaboration with the US would enrich India in the areas of training delivery methods, certification, preparation of instructional material, curriculum development and expanding outreach. He stressed the need for cooperation & collaboration in mutual recognition of qualifications, vocational guidance to the unemployed youth and rehabilitation of differentlyabled persons. Kharge concluded that the present MoU will be another milestone and testimony to the increasing cooperation between India and the US in various strategic areas and assured that this would help in further developing an appropriate employment strategy for inclusive growth in India and strong bonds between the people of our two great nations.
NRI houses targeted for gold in UK LONDON: Burglars armed with metal detectors and intimate knowledge of the purity of gold have been targeting houses belonging to people with origins in the Indian sub-continent, who traditionally preserve gold jewellery in the family for generations. Reports of many houses belonging to the Asian community being burgled have prompted the
higher purity, and thus more valuable. Despite tighter security, stolen jewellery finds its way into the flourishing resale market. Besides houses, hundreds of jewellery shops have also been targeted often in Leicester, Birmingham and Manchester. The price of gold is currently 1,100 pounds for an ounce.
Tahir Maher, councilor in Earley, Berkshire, said: "A lot of residents have been very badly affected. It started in the summer. It is very much Asian families who are being targeted. There is a lot of mistrust. This has cost the community a lot.â€™ Last week, four masked men armed with hammers forced their way into Ram Jewellers in Leicester, and escaped with gold bangles and rings police and local councilors to launch special awareness campaign in various towns across Britain, such as Birmingham, Slough, Ealing, Leicester, Reading and Bradford. The rising price of gold is a major reason for the spurt in burglaries for the yellow metal. Jewellery stored in Asian houses is considered to be of
In Leicester, Belgrave Road, better known as 'Little India' and 'Golden Mile' due to the large number of jewellery shops there, has witnessed several burglaries in the recent past, leading to major losses and upgraded security by the business community and the police. Vikas Tandon, a resident of
Reading whose house was burgled recently, told The Guardian: "A few watches and a BlackBerry were taken, but they were looking for gold. They seemed to know where to look. I am confident they used metal detectors". He added: "There were bowls of jewellery in one of the rooms, with real gold and artificial jewellery mixed in together. They only took the gold, so they knew what they were looking for." Tahir Maher, councilor in Earley, Berkshire, said: "A lot of residents have been very badly affected. It started in the summer. It is very much Asian families who are being targeted. There is a lot of mistrust. This has cost the community a lot." Last week, four masked men armed with hammers forced their way into Ram Jewellers in Leicester, and escaped with gold bangles and rings. It was the first armed raid in the area since Kampala Jewellers was targeted in September, when burglars snatched more than 30,000 pounds worth of gold and jewellery before being chased off by the owner, Rajesh Pattni. Reacting to the latest burglary, Local councilor Manjula Sood said: "This will send shock waves
through the community. We've gone a long time without having an incident such as this and hoped it was behind us. I will be taking it up with the police and seeing what else we can to do protect jewellers and businesses and people who live in the area." Amidst the spate of burglaries, the police have issued specific
nationally, due to the value of Asian gold and its purity". The police issued detailed guidelines to the community to prevent crime, including details of safes, insurance, keeping an inventory of jewellery owned, keeping photographs of the items, and to use forensic marking to identify jewellery. Some areas in the south of the
crime prevention advice that urges people not to keep gold items at home, among other measures. Steve Smith, of the Thames Valley Police force, said: "Ideally, we would prefer for people not to keep high value gold at home given what we are experiencing, not only in areas of our force but
Thames Valley have particularly suffered from this type of crime in recent months, the police said, adding in Berkshire, there have been over 200 offences reported to police since April last year. The overwhelming majority have occurred in Slough, which has a large population of Indian origin. -PTI
February 17, 2012
US sanctions won't affect IndiaIran rice trade: State Dept WASHINGTON: The IndoIran rice trade would not be "sanctioned" under the American curbs on Tehran as food and medical exports were exempted from the measures, a top US official has said, amid reports that the Islamic republic was defaulting on rice payments to India. US sanctions on Iran over its controversial nuclear program "include exceptions for exports of things like food, medicine, medical devices. So from our perspective, this kind of trade would not be sanctioned," State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland told reporters. She was responding to questions on news reports that Iran was defaulting on payments to India on its purchase of rice. "If it is true, that Iran is defaulting, it would simply speak to the financial pressure that they're feel-
State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland
ing around the world, from sanctions I would guess," she said. Nuland, however, noted that the US was not in a position to independently confirm the Iranian
default on rice payments. "The Indian government is absolutely clear about our concern that countries ought to be weaning themselves off Iranian oil, and we are working together on how that might be achieved with India and with other countries," she said. The US, she said, has no quarrel with the Iranian people. "In fact, it is the Iranian people's future and their hopes and aspirations to live in a free, more democratic state that actually provides for them rather than siphoning off vital resources of the state into the nuclear program that we are seeking to help them achieve here with these policies," she said. "Our sanctions are designed to make it hurt the Iranian regime, that it is making the choice not to come clean on its nuclear program, not to allow the IAEA in to see what it needs to see," Nuland said. -PTI
India sees business opportunity in Iran after sanctions NEW DELHI: With the US and Europe imposing sanctions on Iran, India sees an opportunity to boost its trade with it by tapping the sectors which would be affected by the restrictions imposed by the West. In this context, a large Indian business delegation will be visiting Iran by the month-end to explore business opportunities. "We will be mounting a mission to Iran at the end of the month to promote our own exports. A huge delegation will be going," Commerce Secretary Rahul Khullar told reporters here. He did not elaborate but sources said huge business opportunities have opened up in Iran after the US and Europe recently imposed sanctions on Iran over its controversial nuclear program. The delegation will include government officials and representatives from trade and industry. The EU on January 23 had slapped an embargo on Iran's oil exports as part of a package of tough new sanctions aimed at blocking funds for Tehran's suspect nuclear drive and pressing it to return to talks. US President Barack Obama also had issued an executive order blocking property of the Ira-
nian government and its financial institutions in America. India, which is heavily dependent on oil from Iran, maintains that it will implement only those sanctions which are imposed by the United Nations and not those imposed by individual nations or groupings. "If Europe and the US want to stop export to Iran, why should I (India) follow the suit? Why
Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, during his visit to the US recently, underlined that India will not scale down its petroleum imports from Iran despite the sanctions by the US and Europe shouldn't we tap that opportunity," a source said. India believes that huge export opportunities are available in sectors like food that include tea, wheat and rice; pharmaceutical; iron and steel and infrastructure projects. . The sources said there are any
number of items which can be exported by India to Iran, which has already been under sanctions for several years. The sources made it clear that the sanctions imposed by the UN do not cover the export of a vast range of products which India can export. Bilateral trade between India and Iran is around USD 13.6 billion, of which Indian export is merely USD 2.74 billion. The main item of trade is oil which accounts for 12 per cent of India's total oil imports from Iran. Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, during his visit to the US recently, underlined that India will not scale down its petroleum imports from Iran despite the sanctions by the US and Europe. "It is not possible for India to take any decision to reduce the imports from Iran drastically, because among the countries which can provide the requirement of the emerging economies, Iran is an important country amongst them," Mukherjee had said in response to a question. Noting that India imports 110 million tonnes of crude per year, he had said, "We will not decrease imports from Iran. Iran is an important country for India despite US and European sanctions." PTI
Indian-American Preet Bharara appears on Time cover WASHINGTON: Eminent Indian-American attorney Preet Bharara has made it to the cover of the prestigious Time magazine for his crusade against Wall Street corruption and irregularities including insider trading. "This man is busting Wall Street," Time said with Bharara's picture appearing in the latest edition of Time, on the day when he announced to have taken action against one of the oldest Swiss banks for having evaded American taxes and helping in flight of US money. Currently US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Firozpur-born Bharara is engaged in a number of high-profile corruption cases including the one of insider trading against that of Rajat Gupta, former McKinsey head and a former Goldman Sachs director. "US Attorney Preet Bharara has already taken down some of the financial world's most prominent figures. He's just getting started," says the cover story written by Bill Saporito and Massimo Calabresi. Born of a Sikh father and Hindu mother, 43-year-old Bharara grew in New Jersey, a State which has a significant Indian-American population. He graduated from the prestigious Harvard College in 1990. Nominated by President Barack Obama as the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Bharara was unanimously confirmed by the Senate in May 2009. In this capacity since he was sworn in on August 13, 2009, Bharara oversees hundreds of criminal and civil cases, involving international terrorism, financial fraud, insider trading, public corruption, and gang violence, as well as the resolution of alleged civil rights violations at various public venues. Bharara has not only been responsible for a major crack down on illegal insider trading on Wall Street, but also has taken head on some of the important terrorism cases of the Obama Administration in New York. Prominent among them include securing life sentences for Faisal Shazad, the Times Square Bomber, and Ahmed Ghailani, an Al-Qaeda associate who was responsible for the mass murder of innocents at the US Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. The Time cover story begins with an anecdote when Bharara secretly joins a conferences call. "On Wall Street and in financial firms across America, the conference call is a standard workday
tool. Traders, analysts and executives hop on to discuss trades, news and rumors that might move the market. Such was the case at the hedge fund Level Global Investors on Nov. 4, 2009, when one of its analysts joined a call organized by a second firm, Primary Global Research. "PGR connects hedge funds, brokerages and other market players with executives of corporations - a Wall Street matchmaker of sorts - and on that day, PGR had some hot information for the hedgies at Level Global," it said. "Unknown to the participants,
Bharara has not only been responsible for a major crack down on illegal insider trading on Wall Street, but also has taken head on some of the important terrorism cases of the Obama Administration in New York Preet Bharara, US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, was recording the conversation, and he wasn't looking for stock tips. A confidential informant had told his office that the party line was being used illegally to trade inside information. Bharara, who has launched a war on Wall Street crime, wanted proof," the magazine wrote. So he obtained a secret court order to join the conference call - something of a first for a US Attorney. "Significant officials at publicly traded companies are casually and cavalierly engaged in insider trading," Bharara said on January 24, sitting in his corner office behind Manhattan's city hall.-PTI
February 17, 2012
Britain re-affirms decision to continue aid to India LONDON: Prime Minister David Cameron has re-affirmed Britain's decision to continue its aid program to India, amidst a row sparked by some ruling Conservative MPs demanding an end to it, and reports that India did not need it. The Prime Minister's spokesman said: "We have reviewed our aid commitments to India. We continue to think it is right to stick to those aid commitments. We continue to provide aid to India, but we focus it on the three poorest states". He added: "The reason we are doing that is because a huge number of the poorest people in the world live in these states. The Government has always been very clear about sticking to its aid commitments and the fact that it would not balance the books on the backs of the poorest people in the world. It is going to stick to that." International Development secretary Andrew Mitchell defended the aid, and said: "We will not be in India forever but now is not the time to quit. Our completely revamped program is in India's and Britain's national interest and is a small part of a much wider relationship between our two countries".
British Prime Minister David Cameron with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during his visit to in New Delhi
He, however, added: "We are changing our approach to India. We will target aid at three of India's poorest states, rather than the Central government. We will invest more in the private sector, with our aid program having some of the characteristics of a sovereign wealth fund." Public fury Earlier, public unease had given
way to increasing fury here over giving millions of pounds in aid to an increasingly prosperous India. The clamor to stop the aid reached a new high when India recently decided to prefer the French fighter jet Rafale to the Typhoon, which is partly manufactured in Britain. The debate was passionately renewed with The Sunday Times
and The Sunday Telegraph reporting that Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee had stated in the Rajya Sabha last August that India did not need British aid which, according to him, was "peanuts". "We do not require the aid. It is a peanut in our total development exercises (expenditure)." Mukherjee's remarks, reported to have been taken from the offi-
cial transcript of the Rajya Sabha, were not reported in the UK media earlier, the newspapers said, sparking another wave of comments from people demanding an end to aid to India. Reacting to media reports, the spokesman of the Indian High Commission to the UK said, "Yes, we have currently an aid program with the UK. We are in ongoing consultation with British Government on nature, future direction, priority and manner of disbursal (of the aid)." The papers also quoted a "leaked memo" which reportedly said that the then foreign secretary, Nirupama Rao proposed "not to avail (of) any further DFID (British) assistance with effect from April 1, 2011," because of the "negative publicity of Indian poverty promoted by DFID". India preferring France to Britain in the fighter jet deal has added public pressure to stop aid to India. International aid is among few areas that have not been subjected to deep funding cuts by the economically-strapped David Cameron government, which has faced much ridicule and more for continuing to send aid to an increasingly prosperous India.
India concerned over Chinese troop presence in PoK BEIJING: Concerned over the Chinese troop presence in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, India has taken up the issue with the top leadership here.
The matter was raised by visiting External Affairs Minister S M Krishna during his talks with the Chinese leaders. Krishna, who met four Chinese
leaders including Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, said India's concerns in this regard were conveyed during the talks. "On the issue of Chinese pres-
ence in PoK, Pakistan is in illegal occupation of certain areas of Jammu and Kashmir," Krishna told a media briefing here after his talks with Chinese leaders. "This has been brought to the attention of the Chinese leadership repeatedly and there it stands," he said. Recently, army chief Gen V K Singh had said in New Delhi that around 4,000 Chinese, including the troops of the People's Liberation Army, were in PoK.
Krishna, who inaugurated a new USD 10 million Indian embassy building here, held talks with Zhou Yongkong, a senior member of the politburo standing committee of the ruling Communist Party of China. Besides, Krishna had a luncheon meeting with Yang, followed by talks with Wang Jiarui, a senior official of the International Department of the CPC; and top Chinese diplomat and State Counselor Dai Bingguo. -PTI
UK church hall converted to Hindu temple India Post News Service
External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna and Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jeichi shake hands during a meeting in Beijing on February 8
BEESTON, UK: An old church hall in Beeston in England is being converted to a Hindu temple. Sri Thurkkai Amman Temple is being created out of a former church hall in Beeston Rylands, which is expected to be officially opened on April 8. Beeston in the borough of Broxtowe is suburb of Nottingham
in East Midlands. It has one of the highest concentrations of pubs-per-person in United Kingdom. Prominent people associated with Beeston include singers Anne Briggs and Edwin Starr, actor Richard Beckinsale, and fashion designer Sir Paul Smith. Milan Radulovic is Leader of Broxtowe Borough Council while Jacky Williams is Mayor of Broxtowe.
February 17, 2012
Pak-American pleads guilty of funding terror groups in J-K CHICAGO: A Pakistani-American, charged with sending money to the now-believed-to-be-dead al-Qaeda leader Ilyas Kashmiri, has pleaded guilty before a court here for providing money for terrorist activities in Jammu and Kashmir. Raja Lahrasib Khan, a Chicago
USD 200 to USD 250), which he intended Kashmiri to use to support attacks against India. The Justice Department said on November 23, 2009, Khan sent approximately 77,917 rupees (approximately USD 930) from Chicago to an individual in Pakistan, via Western Union, and then di-
Raja Lahrasib Khan
taxi driver and native of Pakistan who became a naturalized US citizen in 1988, pleaded guilty to one count of attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization, resolving charges that have been pending since he was arrested in March 2010. Khan, 58, is currently in jail and his sentencing is scheduled for May 30. Born and raised in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, Khan faces a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison. He immigrated to the US in 1970s. His plea agreement calls for an agreed sentence of between five and eight years in prison, and it requires Khan to cooperate with the government in any matter in which he is called upon to assist through the termination of his sentence and any period of supervised release, the Justice Department said. Khan admitted that he met with Ilyas Kashmiri, who was also involved in separatist movement in Jammu and Kashmir, in Pakistan in the early to mid-2000s and again in 2008. At the time of the second meeting, Khan knew or had reason to believe that Kashmiri was working with al Qaeda, in addition to leading attacks against the Indian government in Kashmir, the Justice Department said. During their 2008 meeting, Kashmiri told Khan that Osama bin Laden was alive, healthy and giving orders, and Khan gave Kashmiri approximately 20,000 Pakistani rupees (approximately
rected the individual by phone to give Kashmiri approximately 25,000 rupees (approximately USD 300). Although Khan intended the funds to be used by Kashmiris to support attacks against India, he was also aware that Kashmiri was working with al-Qaeda, the Department said. In February and March 2010, Khan participated in several meetings with an undercover law en-
forcement agent who posed as someone interested in sending money to Kashmiri to purchase weapons and ammunition, but only if Kashmiri was working with al-Qaeda, as well as sending individuals into Pakistan to receive military-style training so they could conduct attacks against US forces and interests, the Justice Department said. On March 17, 2010, the undercover agent provided Khan with USD 1,000, which Khan agreed to provide to Kashmiri. Khan then gave the funds to his son, who was traveling from the US to Britain, intending to later retrieve the money from his son in Britain and subsequently provide it to Kashmiri in Pakistan. Further on March 23, 2010, Khan's son arrived at an airport in Britain and a search by British law enforcement officials yielded seven of the ten USD 100 bills that the undercover agent had provided to Khan. After learning of his son's detention, Khan attempted to end his involvement in the scheme to provide funds to Kashmiri by requesting an urgent meeting with another individual who was also present at Khan's earlier meetings with the undercover agent. During their meeting, Khan demanded to return the undercover agent's funds by providing USD 800 to this other individual, the Justice Department said. -PTI
INDO-US JUGALBANDI: People admire a collaborative creation (Jugalbandi) of sand artist Sudarshan Pattnaik and world renowned 3D Chalk Painting artiste Tracy Lee Stum from USA at Puri beach on February 4
Antrix moves court against Devas BANGALORE: Antrix, the commercial arm of ISRO has moved a local court seeking directions to restrain Devas Multi-media from proceedings with the arbitration it has filed against it in an international court in Paris on cancellation of agreement on S band spectrum allocation. Antrix, which cancelled its agreement with Devas, filed the petition before the Additional City Civil and Session Court, seeking an interim injunction against Devas. Judge D B Patil, after hearing counsels for Antrix, posted the matter for February 25 for further arguments.
The suit is to restrain Devas from proceeding with the arbitration at International Court of Arbitration in Paris. Devas has approached the ICC tribunal challenging the cancellation of agreement by Antrix with it on S band spectrum allocation. The Government after canceling the Antrix-Devas deal for reasons of national security also debarred four ISRO scientists, including its former chairman G Madhavan Nair from holding any government posts for acts of commission in the deal. Nair and others have questioned the government decision. -PTI
SCIENCE WHIZKID: President Barack Obama talks with Anand Srinivasan, 15, in the Blue Room, Feb. 7, during the second annual White House Science Fair celebrating student winners of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) competitions from across the country. Srinivasan, a sophomore from Roswell High School in Roswell, Ga., was a finalist in the Google Science Fair for his project, which examines the use of electroencephalography (EEG) and prosthetic technology to make a more functional artificial limb. Official White House Photo by Pete Souza
10 India Post
February 17, 2012
US drone attack kills alQaeda chief in Pak ISLAMABAD: Al-Qaeda's chief in Pakistan, who once fought in Jammu and Kashmir, was among four terrorists killed in a US drone attack in Pakistan's restive North Waziristan tribal region.
Badar Mansoor, a former commander of the banned Harkat-ulMujahideen militant group that was active in Kashmir, was killed with three others when a spy plane fired two missiles at a compound in Miranshah, the main town of North Waziristan tribal agency, officials were quoted as saying by TV news channels. Media reports described Mansoor as al-Qaeda's chief in Pakistan.
He was a key target for the US and was wanted for several attacks. A day earlier, 10 militants were killed in a drone attack near Miranshah.
Punjabi Taliban. Pakistani officials were quoted by the media as saying that Mansoor's death was a "major blow" to al-Qaeda. Mansoor apparently became the head of al-Qaeda in Pakistan after militant Mansoor was linked commander Ilyas Kashmiri was reported killed in a to terror attacks in drone strike in June last Karachi and a year. Mansoor was linked to deadly assault on terror attacks in Karachi mosques of the and a deadly assault on minority Ahmadi mosques of the minority community in Lahore Ahmadi community in Lahore that killed nearly 100 people in May 2010. Pakistani Taliban militants had Several militant groups, includbegun hiding in buildings they ing the Taliban, al-Qaeda and the had rented in Miranshah, officials Haqqani network, have a preswere quoted as saying. ence in North Waziristan, from Mansoor, who served as a con- where they launch cross-border duit between the Taliban and al- attacks into Afghanistan. Qaeda, reportedly ran a training The US slowed down its drone camp in North Waziristan, from campaign in Pakistan's tribal belt where he sent militants to Af- after a cross-border NATO air ghanistan. strike killed 24 Pakistani soldiers Mansoor belonged to Dera in November, taking relations beGhazi Khan in Punjab province tween Islamabad and Washington and had close links with the to a new low. -PTI
CIC directs PMO to trace Emergency records NEW DELHI: The Central Information Commission has directed the PMO to "trace and preserve" the copies of correspondence between the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and the President relating to the Emergency proclamation in 1975, as the top office claimed these records are untraceable. The transparency panel also directed the competent authorities in the Prime Minister's Office to enquire into the episode that the records of "an important post-independence event" are not traceable in the PMO files. In a reply to an RTI applicant, the Prime Minister's Office had claimed that despite its best efforts, the communication relating to proclamation of Emergency could not be traced in its records. When the matter reached before the Central Information Commission, the PMO officials again reiterated the position stated in the RTI reply. Although Chief Information Commissioner Satyananda Mishra did not fault the concerned officials for the missing records, he said, "we must observe that this is something surprising." "The records relating to such an important event in the history of post-independence India should be carefully preserved for future and cannot be allowed to
get lost in the labyrinth of government offices," Mishra said. In his order, the Chief Information Commissioner directed, "We would like the competent authori-
ties in the PMO to enquire into this matter and to ensure that these records are retrieved or traced, and should be preserved appropriately for the citizens to access." -PTI
Zakia disappointed with SIT's closure report on Modi AHMEDABAD: Zakia Jaffery, said the SIT has in its report mainwho had filed a complaint against tained there is no prosecutable Narendra Modi and others in con- evidence against Modi, there has nection with post-Godhra riots, been no official word that it has said she was disappointed with given a clean chit to the Chief media reports that the Supreme Minister. Court-appointed SIT has given a In her complaint, Jaffery had clean chit to the chief minister. sought prosecution of Modi, "We had submitted all the facts to SIT, and then they have submitted such a report, it is very disappointing," Zakia, whose husband was among the 69 persons killed in the Gulberg Housing soNarendra Modi Zakia Jaffery ciety riots, told reporters. "HowThough TV channels have said the ever, I will consult my SIT has in its report maintained lawyers and decide the there is no prosecutable evidence f u r t h e r course of ac- against Modi, there has been no tion," Zakia, official word that it has given a who had filed the clean chit to the Chief Minister complaint against Modi and others, said. along with 57 others, for aiding The SIT had filed a closure re- and abetting communal the riots. port before a magistrate in a sealed Around 1,200 people, mostly cover on the complaint of Zakia Muslims, had been killed in the Though TV channels have communal riots in 2002. -PTI
SMILING RECORD: 4444 students from 25 schools in Gwalior stand together and form a smiley face by holding coloured cloths in Gwalior on February 8, in an attempt to break the Guiness Book World Record of the largest human smiley face
February 17, 2012
India Post 11
Desi News R-Day celebrations evoke Gandhi & Martin Luther ASHWIN PATEL
ST. LOUIS: On Sunday, January 29 at 10 am, the auditorium at Ladue Middle School was almost full with families from the Center of Indian Cultural Education, Bal Vihar, St. Louis and youth performers of Gitana Production's tour of Living the Dream. The occasion was to celebrate Republic Day but one could not help feel the blessings of Mohandas Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King. More than 300 people witnessed India's 63rd Republic Day celebration event where Bal Vihar children hoisted the Indian and American National flags. Details on page 14
Telugu Association celebrates Sankranti ASHWIN PATEL
ST. LOUIS: Telugu Association of St. Louis (TAS), Missouri celebrated Sankranthi Sambaraalu 2012 on January 28 in a spectacular way. More than 700 people attended the celebrations and around 125 kids and adults participated in the cultural events. Dressed in attires reflecting Telugu culture and tradition, artists presented a variety of cultural programs which drew huge applauses from the audience. The Sankranthi and Republic Day theme shows and Kuchipudi Art Academy's Om Shanti and Vande Mataram were highlights of the day. TAS reached another significant milestone when Secretary Ravi Pasupuleti inaugurated the 1st ever eNewsletter. Details on page 15
Congresswoman Chu calls for TSA profiling audit
COMMUNITY ACROSS AMERICA
Details on page 18
12 India Post
Details on page 17
February 17, 2012
Jan 26 declared India Day by New Jersey legislature India Post News Service
NEW JERSEY: Commemorating India's 63rd Republic Day, the New Jersey legislature has declared Jan 26 'India Day'. The joint legislative resolution in the NJ legislature was handed over to India's Consul General in New York Prabhu Dayal during the Republic Day celebrations at the consulate. "I am delighted at the bipartisan resolution declaring 'India Day', which embodies the spirit of strengthening ties between the United States and India and the growing people to people contact between our two nations. It also underscores the increasing contribution and significance of the Indian-American community in New Jersey," Dayal said. Initiated by Assembly Deputy Speaker Upendra J. Chivukula, the 'India Day' resolution sponsored by Senate President Stephen M. Sweeney, Assembly Speaker Sheila Y. Oliver, Senate Republican Leader Thomas H. Kean, Jr., and Assembly Republican Leader Jon M. Bramnick, pays tribute to the "remarkable growth and meritorious achievements" of India, noting that the "country of more than one billion is a rising world power and the second-fastest growing economy in the world." "On behalf of my country, I thank Assembly Deputy Speaker
Indian Consul General in New York Prabhu Dayal with the 'India Day' resolution in his office at the Consulate General of India in New York City
Chivukula for initiating this annual bipartisan joint legislative resolution. We are extremely grateful to Senate President Sweeney, Assembly Speaker Oliver, Senate Republican Leader Kean, Assembly Republican Leader Bramnick and the other 29 lawmakers who
Indian-American residents to arenas of academics, business, political, medical and the arts are respected and renowned, was sponsored by Assembly Majority Leader Louis D. Greenwald, Assembly Speaker Pro Tempore Jerry Green, Assembly Majority Confer-
Initiated by Assembly Deputy Speaker Upendra J. Chivukula, the 'India Day' resolution pays tribute to the "remarkable growth and meritorious achievements" of India signed on to this wonderful tribute to India and Indian-Americans," Dayal added. The resolution, which recognizes that the contributions of all
ence Leader Gordon M. Johnson, Assembly Deputy Speaker John S. Wisniewski and Assembly Budget Chairman Vincent Prieto. The tribute by the New Jersey
Legislature, which notes that "USIndia relations have been significantly strengthened starting with President William J. Clinton's landmark visit in 2008, the groundbreaking civil nuclear deal negotiated by the Bush Administration, and the strategic global partnership by President Barack H. Obama, who symbolically endorsed New Delhi's desire for a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council," is sponsored by Assembly members John J. Burzichelli, John F. McKeon, Peter J. Barnes, III, Joseph Cryan, Patrick J. Diegnan Jr., Celeste M. Riley, Mila M. Jasey, Annette Quijano, Linda Stender, Valerie Vainieri Huttle, Connie Wagner, Gary S. Schaer, Herbert C. Conaway Jr., Timothy J. Eustace, Reed Gusciora and Ralph R. Caputo. Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg, Senate Deputy Majority Leader Paul A. Sarlo, Senators Richard J. Codey, Bob Smith, Jim Whelan, Raymond J. Lesniak, Senate Deputy Conference Chair Robert M. Gordon and Assistant Majority Leader Linda R. Greenstein signed on to the resolution, which salutes. "His Excellency Indian Consul General Prabhu Dayal and all those who have enhanced the sterling reputation of the outreach program between our elected officials and the Indian-American community-at-large." Contâ€™d on page 17
1million Surya Namaskars performed in HSS yogathon India Post News Service
India Post News Service
NEW YORK: An internal Transportation Security Administration (TSA) memorandum concluded that the agency can successfully audit its screening practices to guard against racial and religious profiling. The memorandum, released by the Sikh Coalition, was obtained through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request filed with the assistance of the law firm Covington & Burling LLP.
So Cal Indian community celebrates Republic Day
NEW YORK: The sixth annual Yogathon conducted by the Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh USA (HSS) recently saw 13,000 people from 39 states across the US performing more than one million Surya Namaskars (sun salutations) in two weeks. The Health for Humanity Yogathon conducted Jan 14-29 saw the participation of community groups, yoga centers, school and college students, and several government officials. The 16-day Surya Namaskar
Yajna was an open-to-all program, designed to create awareness about yoga and its advantages in achieving a healthy body, mind
sunshine that is so vital for life on our planet. The routine of sun salutations also provides people the right ex-
The Health for Humanity Yogathon conducted Jan 14-29 saw the participation of community groups, yoga centers, school and college students, and several government officials and spirit. Surya Namaskar or sun salutations are a form of Yoga, performed to revere and celebrate
ercise to improve health and reduce stress day-to-day. Mayors from 19 cities coast-tocoast signed proclamations in
support of the event, while two Congressmen provided letters of support to the program. Governer of the State of Colorado - John Hickenlooper proclaimed Jan 14th to 29th the Health for Humanity Yogathon weeks. Mayors of New York City, Newark, NJ; White Plains; Milpitas, Berkeley, Irvine, Fremont, Sunnyvale in CA; Springfield, Bloomington, Normal in Illinois; Flower Mound, Austin, Morrisville, San Antonia, Sugarland in TX; Tampa in Florida issued glowing proclamations appreciating the yogathon.
February 17, 2012
Community Across America
India Post 13
NJ to have largest Hindu temple in US India Post News Service
NEW JERSEY: The Grand opening and PranapratishthaMahakumbhabhishekam of the authentic Guruvayurappan Temple in Morganville, NJ, is scheduled to be conducted on July 1 in a grand scale. The religious proceedings will start on June 28, and the celebrations conclude on July 4. The temple plans to perform this authentic celebration with the participation of learned religious scholars from India, and other parts of the world. Mahakumbhabhishekam of the Vimanams and Rajagopuram are planned to be conducted on the same day. Several cultural programs by artists from the US and India will be organized as part of the celebrations. Showering of flowers from a helicopter during the Kumbhabhishekam, worship of cow and elephant, traditional Nadaswaram recital by musicians from India, a ceremonious car-festival and procession with the Lord seated on top of the elephant are expected to add to the excitement. The presiding deity of the temple is Lord Guruvaayoorappan. In addition, the temple will house, Ganesha;
Balaji with Sridevi & Bhudevi; Siva with Ambika; Subrahmanya with Valli and Devasena; Ayyappa; S a t y a n a r a y a n a ; Kannikaparameshwari; Bhadrachalam Rama, Krishna, Durga/Lakshmi/Saraswati, Gayatri, Kalabhairava, Hanuman and Navagrahas. All deities are made of granite and sculptured by traditional artisans of Tamil Nadu in southern India. Lord Ayyppa sanctum will have the 18-steps similar to those in Sabarimala in Kerala. In addition, the temple has several unique features. It houses the
utsava murty's of Lord Kalyana Srinivasa with Sridevi and Bhudevi from the TirumalaTirupati Devasthanam (TTD), and Lord Satyanarayana from the Annavaram Satyanarayana Swami Devasthanam. The temple hosted a spectacular Kalyana Utsavam of this Kalyana Srinivasa by TTD in May 2010, with the participation of their priests and several officials from TTD. Similarly, Satayanarayana Vratam was hosted by the Temple when the Annavaram Devasthanam performed it in 2010. The sanctums and vimanams
Dilip Khale elected to elite Architects body India Post News Service
NEW YORK: New York based Indian American architect Dilip Khale has been elected President of the Long Island chapter of The American Institute of Architects. He is the first ever Indian to be elected to this elite professional organization.
signed hotels, commercial and institutional projects for major US cities and Middle-eastern countries but also high end, exclusive residences in Long Island. The recently completed, Plainview Old Bethpage Library, complete with a state-of-the-art auditorium and innovative 'Rooftop Farm' for Brooklyn Navy Yard
During his tenure with the AIA, Khale plans to focus on long range goals of the organization and initiate community outreach programs with government interaction. Khale has been an active member of Indian community A graduate of Pratt Institute, NYC and Sir J.J. College of Architecture, Mumbai, Khale came to the US in 1972, and worked at some of the most prestigious firms in NYC like 'Dale Keller Assoc' and 'Wank Adam Slavin', before independently starting his own practice in 1991 in Melville, NY, with a diversified experience to his credit. Along the way, he not only de-
in NYC are his brilliant creations. A recipient of several awards and honors, Khale has spearheaded some of the well known restoration projects, around New York. Not long ago, his imaginative design for restoration of historic Lighthouse for the 'Village of Old Field' earned him a distinguished prize in an open Architectural competition.
During his tenure with the AIA, Khale plans to focus on long range goals of the organization and initiate community outreach programs with government interaction. Khale has been an active member of Indian community, and is connected with several social and community causes.
The temple completed the priest quarters consisting of twelve, fully-furnished apartments in 2010. A 130-feet walkway, with fountains and lighting, is to be completed before the Kumbhabhishekam. The upper level of the temple houses all the sanctums within an area of 17,500 sq. ft. of Guruvaayoorappan and Ayyappa will be similar to those
in Kerala, with wood-copper finish. The others will be of typical Tamil Nadu/Andhra Pradesh architecture, using glass fiber-reinforced-concrete (GFRC) for better durability. The temple completed the priest quarters consisting of twelve, fully-furnished apartments in 2010. A 130-feet walkway, with fountains and lighting, is to be completed before the Kumbhabhishekam. The upper level of the temple houses all the sanctums within an area of 17,500 sq. ft. The lower level has a multipurpose hall, facilities, gift-shop, class rooms etc. Broad magnificent granite steps lead to the temple in the upper level. The temple is built on a 40 acre property with parking for over 300 cars, with access from Texas Road and Wooleytown Road in Morganville, and is one of the largest temples in the US.
Community Across America
14 India Post
February 17, 2012
R-Day celebrations evoke Gandhi & Martin Luther ASHWIN PATEL
Indian flag display
ST. LOUIS: On Sunday, January 29 at 10 am, the auditorium at Ladue Middle School was almost full with families from the Center of Indian Cultural Education, Bal Vihar, St. Louis and youth performers of Gitana Production's tour of Living the Dream. The occasion was to celebrate Republic Day but one could not help feel the blessings of Mohandas Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King. More than 300 people witnessed India's 63rd Republic Day celebration event where Bal Vihar children hoisted the Indian and American National flags followed by the National Anthems by the Bal Vihar orchestra. Gitana Production from St. Louis opened their 2012 season with an amazing play about Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King. The attendees of the event visited amazing and unique display about food, dress, life style, history of each
state of India prepared by groups of the Bal Vihar school. The event concluded with re-
ceremony, an ensemble of actors and dancers comprising African, American, Mexican, Ethio-
about everyday life where choices are made by youth to either love or hate one another.
More than 300 people witnessed India's 63rd Republic Day celebration event where Bal Vihar children hoisted the Indian and American National flags followed by the National Anthems by the Bal Vihar orchestra Performers
marks by the President of Bal Vihar. After a magnificent opening
pian, and Caucasian youth performed to both Indian and American music telling stories
The scenes provided opportunities to teach the principles of Gandhi and Dr. King as they
apply to situations at home, in the school and within the community. The actors gave tribute to Gandhi and King pointing out that "we must make the change to a better world." They spoke of the violence around the world and repeated those words with heartfelt conviction. Based on the many ovations and the engagement of the children in the audience, the play was enjoyed immensely. Bal Vihar is a nonprofit organization that provides Indian cultural education to students age 518. Students are taught discipline, tolerance, and devotion in their daily routine. The ultimate goal is "to throw the light of cultural Knowledge on every child, to make every child an outstanding citizen and to spread the song of peace and harmony around the world." Students from Bal Vihar St. Louis had a display on "States of India" and each class put up a booth to display the state.
February 17, 2012
Community Across America
India Post 15
Telugu Association celebrates HAF condemns attack on Ahmadiyya mosque Sankranti India Post News Service
NEW YORK: The Hindu American Foundation (HAF) condemned an attack targeting an Ahmadiyya mosque in Chantilly, VA. According to media reports, vandals broke several glass windows and caused approximately $60,000 of damage to the community's mosque. HAF urged authorities to expedite the investigation to find the perpetrators and bring them to justice. "These acts of religious intolerance are unacceptable and have no place in our society," said Jay Kansara, HAF's Washington, D.C.
TAS Executive Committee members: L-R Ramamohan Reddy Paduru, Vice-President; Ravi Vemulapalli, Treasurer; Srini Rajnikanth Gangavarapu, President; Ravi Pasupuleti, Secretary; Sumanth Vadderaju, Cultural Secretary
ST. LOUIS: Telugu Association of St. Louis (TAS), Missouri celebrated Sankranthi Sambaraalu 2012 on January 28 in a spectacular way. More than 700 people attended the celebrations and around 125 kids and adults participated in the cultural events. Dressed in attires reflecting Telugu culture and tradition, artists presented a variety of cultural programs which drew huge applauses from the audience. The Sankranthi and Republic Day
There was a threehour cultural program including songs, poem recitals, instrumental and vocal recitals, Kuchipudi and Andhra Natyam classical dances of South India, movie dance sequences, etc
mosphere. There was a three-hour cultural program including songs, poem recitals, instrumental and vocal recitals, Kuchipudi and Andhra Natyam classical dances of South India, movie dance sequences, etc. Many members took part in Rangoli and Pongal competitions. The colorful events came to an end with kids having 'Bhogi Pallu' and singing national anthem 'Jana Gana Mana' on stage. The participants were awarded
TAS trophies. President Rajnikanth Gangavarapu reminded everyone of the marvelous successes of TAS in 2011. Vice-President Ramamohan Reddy Paduru gave vote of thanks. Treasurer Ravi Vemulapalli managed member enrollments and reception area while Cultural Secretary Sumanth Vadderaju coordinated the cultural events. Last but not the least, authentic Andhra dinner left the taste buds of everyone satisfied.
subsequently banned the community from identifying themselves as Muslims in 1984. According to the Hindu American Foundation, a human rights watchdog which has documented the plight of Hindus and other religious minorities in Pakistan, the violations faced by Pakistan's Ahmadiyyas and other religious minorities include daily acts of abduction and forced conversion. The Ahmadiyya community is increasingly subject to Pakistan's draconian blasphemy laws according to the Foundation's annual human rights report. "The Ahmadiyyas have been
The violations faced by Pakistan's Ahmadiyyas and other religious minorities include daily acts of abduction and forced conversion. The Ahmadiyya community is increasingly subject to Pakistan's draconian blasphemy laws based Associate Director. "We extend our support and solidarity to the community in Chantilly." The Ahmadiyya Muslim community was founded in 1889 in North India by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, who proclaimed himself a Messiah. Ahmadiyyas have a long history of persecution, particularly in Pakistan where former Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto declared Ahmaddiyas as a non-Muslim minority in 1974 and Military Dictator General Zia-ul-Haq
deemed heretical by the majority of clerics and even the government itself in Pakistan," said Samir Kalra, Esq., HAF's Director and Senior Human Rights Fellow. "This position leaves them vulnerable to attacks perpetrated by fundamentalists with little to no government protection. It is unfortunate to hear of this recent attack in Virginia, but we are hopeful that the law enforcement will bring the perpetrators to justice."
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Call today for a complimentary consultation. theme shows and Kuchipudi Art Academy's Om Shanti and Vande Mataram were highlights of the day. TAS reached another significant milestone when Secretary Ravi Pasupuleti inaugurated the 1st ever eNewsletter. The village atmosphere was created with lifesize bullock cart, hut, lantern, kites, touring movie advertisers with loud speakers, etc. depicting Andhra village and Sankranthi at-
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Community Across America
16 India Post
February 17, 2012
Indian Dental Association Banquet a grand success
IDA dinner attendees Asian Media USA
CHICAGO: Indian Dental Association of Illinois (IDA) celebrated its Annual Dinner and Dance Event with members and their families, friends and prominent community leaders on Saturday, February 4 at Waterford Banquets in Elmhurst, a southwest
the IDA and his vision for the future. He indicated collaboration with other related specialties like India Medical Association, Indian Association of Pharmacists etc. Dr Imaad also talked about providing dental services to the less fortunate ones annually thru camps and free clinics. He discussed about the unwanted num-
IDA Executive team memers
become members. She has been instrumental in developing the IDA website and has encouraged members to visit the website for current and upcoming events. Dr Raj Puri, secretary of the Association acted as Master of Ceremony and introduced speakers and some performers. Dr Zishan Badar, Jr. Secretary intro-
He discussed about the unwanted number of dental schools that are opening up in India causing a job shortage for dentists and decline in the quality and salaries of dentists in India Members dancing at the end of the meet
Chicago suburb. More than 200 people attended this event. There were a number of labs and surgical implant companies, access health clinics and accountants and dental specialists and dental companies who sponsored for this event. In a welcome address, secretaries Dr. Raj Puri and Dr. Zishan Bader recognized sponsors for their support. A brief description of the sponsors' products and services was presented. The president Dr. Imaad Shaikh spoke about the achievements of
ber of dental schools that are opening up in India causing a job shortage for dentists and decline in the quality and salaries of dentists in India. He also recognized all his committee members on stage and thanked all the sponsors and guests. Vice President Dr Vishruti Patel spoke about the events which IDA will be conducting this year that includes seminars and free dental check ups. She also recognized the UIC and Midwestern Dental students who were present. She encouraged all to join IDA and
duced some of the performers and also did the raffling of various ser-
Michael Jackson look-alike performing at the annual banquet dinner
vices and products offered by the sponsoring companies. Next was a buffet dinner of various Indian dishes. Azhar Usman, an internationally renowned comedian, kept the audience in splits. Surprise entertainment was presented by Pete Carter, a look-alike of Michael Jackson. He brought the magic of MJ on stage with fantastic music and also got the crowd involved in dancing.
Live music and dance with DJ was the final act lasting till late night hours. Romail Bhatti did a phenomenal job of playing the Tabla, before the program started, to welcome the guests. The following are members of the Executive Board: President: Imaad Shaikh, D.D.S. Vice-President: Vishruti Patel, D.D.S. Treasurer: Arif Khan, D.D.S. Secretary: Rajiv Puri, D.D.S. Jt. Secretary: Navin Makwana.
Sikh rights group website hacked India Post News Service
NEW YORK: The website of Sikh for Justice (SFJ) www.sikhsforjustice.org - a US based human rights advocacy group which is seeking justice for the victims of November 1984 Sikh Genocide, has been hacked. SFJ has filed a written complaint with the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), a Unit of Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) which is responsible for investigating and prosecuting internet crimes. The cyber attack on the group's website has come at a time when SFJ is in the midst of active litigation before the US Federal Court with Indian National Congress and Union Minister Kamal Nath for their respective roles in organizing November 1984 genocide of Sikhs. According to attor-
ney Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, legal advisor to SFJ, the recent cyber attack on the SFJ website is
The cyber attack on the group's website has come at a time when SFJ is in the midst of active litigation before the US Federal Court with Indian National Congress and Union Minister Kamal Nath part of the well coordinated efforts by certain quarters to silence Sikh community's demand for justice
which has gained global momentum through the active litigation at international forums. However, such nefarious attacks will only make the Sikh community more resolute and united in its pursuit of justice for victims of November 1984, added attorney Pannun. According to Jatinder Singh Grewal coordinator SFJ Canada, since the groups is actively disseminating true facts and figures regarding November 1984 Sikh genocide, those who are being exposed by such dissemination of information are trying to subvert the outreach efforts so the facts could remain buried as they have been for the past 27 years. Since its inception, SFJ has led a number of causes where it exposed the human rights abuses against Sikhs and lack of justice to the victims.
Community Across America
February 17, 2012
India Post 17
Sarswati Puja at BSS Aurora temple S SUCHETA
Congresswoman Chu calls for TSA profiling audit India Post News Service
Tabla-vadan at BSS Temple
CHICAGO: Saraswati Puja was conducted at Bharat Sevashram Sangha in Aurora, a southwest suburb of Chicago, on Saturday January 28. Devotees from far and near gathered at the ashram to celebrate the Puja with their children. Puja started around 11 am and continued for almost two hours. A spiritual atmosphere was created as Swamiji started chanting Sanskrit mantras. The sound of the mantras mingled with the fragrance of incense and flowers filled the heart of the devotees. After the puja there was pushpanjali, homa, arati and hate khori (the beginning of writing). The statue of Mother Goddess Saraswati looked magnificent in white garlands, white sandalwood paste and white sari. Prasadam was distributed among the devo-
tees. After all the traditional rituals were finished, one of the BSS board members spoke about the significance of Devi's white sari, white swan and other attributes of
The sound of the mantras mingled with the fragrance of incense and flowers filled the heart of the devotees Devi Pratima. A group of children chanted Saraswati Vandana and Hanuman Chalisa, followed by tabla presentation and dance on a Krishna song.
NEW YORK: An internal Transportation Security Administration (TSA) memorandum concluded that the agency can successfully audit its screening practices to guard against racial and religious profiling. The memorandum, released by the Sikh Coalition, was obtained through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request filed with the assistance of the law firm Covington & Burling LLP. The TSA memorandum is significant because it validates the longstanding demand of the Sikh Coalition and other civil rights organizations - that the TSA combat profiling against Sikhs by auditing its screening practices. Written over 2 years ago in response to concerns raised by the Sikh Coalition and other prominent civil rights organizations, the memorandum discusses eight "strategic options" that the TSA could implement to "address racial profiling concerns" and "improve internal business controls as they relate to secondary screening procedures." The memorandum lists data collection on screening, independent observational studies, and enhancing camera systems to review screening as ways the agency could prevent profiling. It also discusses proposals from the Rand Corporation, Vera Institute for Justice, and two professors at the University of California at Berkeley to audit screening practices.
Since 2007, Sikh travelers have reported that they are routinely selected for secondary screening at some American airports, even after clearing advanced imaging technology machines without incident. The TSA memorandum cites the Sikh Coalition's "TSA Report Cards" as evidence that the Sikh American community is concerned about profiling. In response to these concerns, members of the U.S. Congress, led by Rep. Judy Chu (CA), Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC), wrote to TSA officials in January 2011 to
ports of civil rights violations by TSA screeners are instances of a larger pattern" said Rep. Judy Chu in a press release issued by the Sikh Coalition. "Auditing the SPOT program alone is not sufficient in determining if racial or religious profiling is a systemic problem. Only an independent, publicly-reported audit can reveal the full extent to which TSA officers are violating civil rights and liberties." Because the TSA's memorandum was partly redacted upon release, Covington & Burling LLP has filed a FOIA appeal on behalf
The memorandum lists data collection on screening, independent observational studies, and enhancing camera systems to review screening as ways the agency could prevent profiling. It also discusses proposals from the Rand Corporation, Vera Institute for Justice, and two professors at the University of California request a briefing about internal controls against profiling. In December 2011, a coalition of 38 civil rights organizations, led by the Sikh Coalition, renewed its call for an audit of TSA screening practices in response to reports that TSA personnel intentionally targeted Mexican and Dominican travelers through its Screening Passengers by Observational Techniques (SPOT) program in New Jersey and Hawaii. "I am very concerned that re-
of the Sikh Coalition to secure full disclosure from the agency. "The TSA's own consultant found that audits to guard against profiling are viable," said Amardeep Singh, Program Director, Sikh Coalition. "The Sikh community is tired of TSA denials that profiling does not occur. The issue of whether Sikhs and other communities are being unfairly targeted needs to be settled once and for all through an independent audit of TSA screening practices."
Jan 26 declared India Day by New Jersey legislature Contâ€™d from page 12
Indian-Americans are part of New Jersey's fastest-growing Asian-American ethnic group, which constitutes 8.3 percent of the State's nearly nine million population. At 3.3 percent, IndianAmericans are the largest component of this group. "The growing population of the Indian-American community and its increasing participation in the socio, economic and political aspects of our state is a tribute to the diversity of New Jersey," Chivukula (DSomerset\ Middlesex) said. "It is the mingling of cultures and traditions, which helps us open our hearts and minds to each other. The cross pollination of ideas and ideology fosters greater awareness and understanding among Americans of all backgrounds and advances our coex-
The New Jersey General Assembly with Assembly Speaker Sheila Y. Oliver presiding.
istence in harmony." "I am grateful to Consul General Dayal for hosting a record number of meet and greet opportunities at the Indian Consulate for representatives of the Indian-Ameri-
can community and New Jersey lawmakers. I thank the leadership and members of the state Senate and the New Jersey General Assembly for their participation in outreach to Asian-Americans to get a
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie delivers the State of the State to a joint session of the New Jersey Legislature in the chambers of the New Jersey General Assembly with state Senate President Stephen M. Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Sheila Y. Oliver presiding... (seated behind Gov. Christie)
better understanding of their issues and concerns," he added. In the past few years, lawmakers have significantly increased their interaction with the AsianAmerican community as part of an
outreach program stewarded by Chivukula and backed by the Assembly Democratic Caucus. This has led to a higher level of engagement of the community in state policy and legislative initiatives.
18 India Post
February 17, 2012
So Cal Indian community celebrates Republic Day DILIP BUTANI
ORANGE, CA: Indian Community of Southern California celebrated India's Republic Day on January 29 at The Rupee Room Restaurant, Orange, CA. The beautifully decorated restaurant was crowded with Indian Americans. The program started at 7:30 pm, in a traditional Indian way with Mantras rendered by Pandit Siddharth Pathak and Pandit Ramesh Bhatt. This was followed
Hyatt Hampton and others. Sunil Tolani is one of the top winners of Holiday Spirit Award for the year 2011. The award is in the annual recognition of Orange County business owners who are kind, generous and full of goodwill all year long. Sunil's dream has been to fill the earth with love and warmth of hospitality. Butani then called K.V. Kumar who introduced Congressman Ed
Assembly member Tony Mendoza with Dilip Butani, Amrit Bhandari & Mohan Sharma
by lighting of the lamp and National Anthems of USA and India. President Amrit Bhandari, who was also master of ceremonies, invited Guests of Honor, Congressman Ed Royce, Assemblyman Tony Mendoza, Mayor protem Dr Prakash Narain and winner of Businessman of the Year award Sunil Tolani to the head table. He also recognized guests in the audience. Chairman Dilip Butani then welcomed the guests and in his brief speech said it was on this day that the constitution of India came into force and India became a truly sovereign state. He introduced award winner Sunil Tolani who heads Prince Organization, owners of hotel networks that include FlagsIntercontinental Hotels, Holiday Inns, Hilton, Marriott, Sheraton,
Royce. Ed mentioned about his visits to India and also about his forthcoming election. Ed then presented Businessman of the Year award to Sunil Tolani. Next Mohan Sharma introduced Assemblyman
Tony Mendoza who mentioned the recognition of India Republic Day in the State Assembly. Ramesh Ramnani then introduced Mayor pro-tem Dr Prakash Narain who in his speech mentioned about the importance of Republic Day. All the guests highly spoke about Indo-American relations and presented certificates of recognition to the committee members.
Mayor pro-tem Dr Prakash Narain in his speech mentioned about the importance of Republic Day. All the guests highly spoke about IndoAmerican relations and presented certificates of recognition to the committee members The cultural program began with Ganesh Vandana by Shruti Vijaylakhmi, student of Kalaimamani Dr Sinduri founderdirector of Savitri Arts Academy. Shruti also performed Bharat
Natyam Jatishwaran. Next was Bhangra by Ramneet and Gurneet. Vijay Patil introduced the Bhangra artists while Amrit Bhandari introduced Dr Sinduri. These items were followed by songs by Dr Dhiren Bush, Dr Ramesh Kothari, Sheela Bhandari, Dr Kailash Dhamija and Amarjeet Dhamija. Prakash Pancholi took care of the hall decoration while Lal Thakrar and Kris Kakkar helped in seating
Kumar, Prakash Pancholi, Dr Sinduri, Ajay Khetani, Raj Walia, Lal Thakrar, Kris Kakkar, Ramesh Bhatt, Siddharth Pathak, Kishan Hingorani, Babubhai Gorajia, Dr Ramesh Kothari, Dr Kailash Dhamija, Amarjeet Dhamija, Sunil Shah, Dr Manorama Sharma, Kamini Khare, Nauzad Sadry, Amit Anand, Mahendra Sanatra, Ashok Desai, Dr Ramesh Gokuldas, Amarjeet Dhamija, Tulsi Savani,
California State Assembly speaker John Perez with Indian American leaders
arrangement. The program ended with a sumptuous dinner The team that put together the show included Dilip Butani, Amrit Bhandari, Mohan Sharma, Ramesh Ramnani, Vijay Patil, K.V.
Atul Ghadiali, Roshan Khandpur, Kumar Jawa, Dinesh Gala, Ravji Patel, Manu Patel, Balbir Singh, Naresh Solanki, Suresh Bhatti, Ritu Sehgal, Khushi Sadry and Kainaz Pandit,
Assembly member Tony Mendoza with Indian American Community leaders
February 17, 2012
India Post 19
Welham girls get together to reminisce MONICA SAXENA
LOS ANGELES: Past met Present on February 4 in Los Angeles where today's stark reality collided with the colorful memories of the past era gone by, also simply referred to as "school days". Ok nothing so dramatic, just a simple desire of 13 girls from the same high school living in Los Angeles area to reacquaint themselves with the past they had left behind in the dormitories of a boarding school called Welham Girls High school in Dehradun, India. All it took was an email titled "mini welham reunion." With each response
flashed images of plaits, tracks, dorms, water fountains, school bells. Images converted to
to adult women of today. What came to mind was the comparison of the caterpillar's transi-
All it took was an email titled "mini welham reunion. " With each response flashed images of plaits, tracks, dorms, water fountains, school bells. Images converted to thoughts of experiences each one of us had gone through, transitioning from carefree girls to adult women of today thoughts of experiences each one of us had gone through, transitioning from carefree girls
tion to butterfly with "wings to fly". No doubt FB has wiped out the distance
Rose offers reward in hate crime case India Post News Service
n November 21, 2011, while many were getting ready for Thanksgiving Day and perhaps at the Lucky's shopping center on White and Aborn Roads, a member of what Councilmember Rose Herrera calls "our Evergreen community" was attacked. 32-year-old industrial designer, Atul Lall, was leaving the parking lot outside the Lucky store at 3270 S. White Road, near Aborn Road, around 9:00 p.m. when he was viciously assaulted, inside his car, by a group of men who broke his jaw and called him a "terrorist." The suspects remain at-large and Rose said, "We are asking for the public's help in identifying the assailants." Detectives describe one of the suspects as a 5-foot-6 to 5-foot-9 male, with a medium build and about 200 pounds. The
sketch shows him wearing glasses, with some facial hair under his chin and short dark hair. The suspects, possibly three or
Party gives Ricky Gill 'Contender' status
in connection with this case. If you witnessed this incident, the San JosĂŠ Police Department is urging anyone with information
Councilmember Rose Herrera, thorough Crime Stoppers, is offering a $1,000 reward for tips leading to the arrest and conviction of the suspects involved in this crime Councilmember Rose Herrera
four men, all wore dark, hooded sweatshirts during the attack. There have not been any arrests
and opened doors for friends to reconnect, but yet there really is no comparison for hugs, squeals of surprises, and sharing of pain and laughter and a touch of reassurance, with looks exchanged of unspoken friendship and partnership that stands loyal and steadfast and the realization of strength where this bond was carved for life and nothing could change that. With the good old Scandinavian sandwiches, cutlets and lemon tarts, the one thing has not changed is the "Love of Food." So more reunions are being planned in the near future.
about this case to contact Detective Michael Villanueva in the San JosĂŠ Police Department's Assaults Unit at (408) 277-4161. Persons wishing to remain anonymous can call the Silicon Valley Crime Stoppers at (408) 947-STOP (7867), or may visit: svcrimestoppers.org. Any bit of information could be crucial to solving this crime. Councilmember Rose Herrera, thorough Crime Stoppers, is offering a $1,000 reward for tips leading to the arrest and conviction of the suspects involved in this crime.
Ricky Gill India Post News Service
LODI, CA: The National Republican Congressional Committee has named Ricky Gill a "Contender" candidate, the third of four stages in its selective "Young Guns" election program. Gill is one of only 11 candidates nationwide who has achieved "Contender" status. Advancing to "Contender" status required Gill to meet a rigorous set of fundraising and organizational benchmarks that demonstrate he is "on the road to victory," according to the NRCC. To date, Gill has raised more than $1 million and has earned endorsements from leading national figures including South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, and
former San Joaquin Valley Congressman Norman D. Shumway. "Ricky Gill continues to prove himself by meeting these latest benchmarks in the 'Young Guns' program," said NRCC Chairman Pete Sessions (R-TX). "Ricky's dedication and experience enables him to advocate effectively for pro-growth policies and fight the failed Democrat status quo in Washington. This will stand in stark contrast to the Democrats' record of spending, borrowing and taxing that California families and small businesses know has failed." Gill is challenging Rep. Jerry McNerney (D-Pleasanton), a three-term incumbent who lives in the Bay Area, well outside the Valley and Delta communities of the 9th Congressional District.
Tech News SIAM hits out at move to cut import duty on cars NEW DELHI: Stating that India will gain nothing from the proposed FTA with the European Union, automobile industry body SIAM has reiterated that the sector should be kept out of the purview of the pact. "Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) has also written a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh protesting the inclusion of the automobile sector in the negotiations," an official of the industry body told PTI. "... We understand that the government of India is now considering a reduction of tariff for CBUs (Completely Built Units) under the India-EU FTA, which will be a reversal of the policy of high tariffs to force investment, local manufacturing, local value addition and local employment," the industry body said in a separate statement.
TechBiz 20 India Post
‘Improvement in ties with India would help Pak’ WASHINGTON: Noting that investment climate in Pakistan is not good, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has said improving relations with India and the recent WTO tariff exemptions for 75 items should help the country to overcome its current economic crisis. Contíd on page 21
23-year-old British student is planning to launch a mobile phone made largely from bamboo. The smart phone has been named as 'ADzero', is expected to get unveiled later this year. Interestingly, t h e phone, which is made by fouryear-old organically grown bam-
boo opera t e s Google's Android operating system. The person behind the concept is Kieron Scott-Woodhouse, from Shepherds Bush in London. Hr was bored to see the identical phones in the markets and wanted to design something new. Contíd on page 22
PAN to be most potent tool against tax evasion: I-T Dept NEW DELHI: Come next financial year, the PAN card is likely to become the most potent tool for the Income Tax Department to unearth black money, tax evasion and instances of criminal financing in the country. A recent directive of the Cen-
the recommendations of a highlevel committee appointed by the CBDT last year to find those taxpayers who have gone missing without paying taxes, pegged at Rs 1,01,836 crore at present. The committee under I-T Director General (Administration) was
I-T will obtain during the two month drive which started on February 20 will bolster the 360-degree profiling computer-based databank of the department. The new PANs will be fed into the system and then whenever a transaction is done using that identity, a flow
The measure has been taken on the recommendations of a highlevel committee appointed by the CBDT last year to find those taxpayers who have gone missing without paying taxes, pegged at Rs 1,01,836 crore at present
Facebook India users doubled in last one year WASHINGTON: Popular social networking site Facebook finds India a major growth market, where the number of users have more than doubled in the past one year, as against near-zero penetration in the neighboring China. For Facebook, looking to raise USD 5 billion through initial share sale, India is a key source for future growth. The growth of 132 per cent in India has been higher than many other countries, including home market in US. "We have achieved varying levels of penetration within the population of Internet users in different countries," Facebook has said, while noting that its penetration rate in India was estimated to be 20-30 per cent. "... in China, where Facebook access is restricted, we have near zero penetration. We continue to invest in growing our user base,
February 17, 2012
A smart phone made by bamboo
tral Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) to the I-T Dept has asked its officials to launch a special drive against those who have "not furnished their PAN (Permanent Account Number)" while entering into high value transactions. The drive will end on March 20, eleven days before the current fiscal closes. The measure has been taken on
set up to examine pending cases on I-T demands under the categories "assesses not traceable" and "no assets/ inadequate assets for recovery". A top Finance Ministry official, involved in the planning of the latest drive, explains the idea behind the exercise which is being conducted across the country. "The PAN card data which the
chart of all credit/debit card, banking and other transactions from it will get displayed for the officer investigating," the official said. "The 10-digit alphanumeric number (PAN) allotted by the I-T Department to taxpayers will be the most potent tool for the department to unearth tax crimes and evasion," the official said. This will not only bring about a
mechanism of non-intrusive investigation by department without troubling the taxpayer but will also streamline the financial data of each taxpayer for his assessing officer, the official added. The charter of the drive mandates that taxpayers "will be required" to furnish their PAN if they already have one or "apply immediately for PAN if they do not have one". "The department has tried to kill two birds with one stone. While the high-level committee found that a number of pending recovery cases reached a dead end because of non-availability of PAN cards, it also found that the PAN database itself is not complete. So while the committee had mandated I-T officials to go door-to-door to intimate such taxpayers, it will now be done under the umbrella of this directive," the official said. The CBDT has also asked in the latest directive that such people will also be required to explain the source of the high value investments, deposits, expenditure and whether these were properly explained in the I-T returns filed by them.-PTI
Innovation is India's future: USIBC India Post News Service
NEW YORK: More than 400 delegates from 250 of the top global biotech companies participated in India Bio in Bangalore, Karnataka earlier this month. US-India Business Council (USIBC) President Ron Somers on Feb 6 provided an inaugural keynote at the conclave, featuring India's Union Minister for Health, Ghulam Nabi Azad; the Chief Minister for the State of Karnataka, D.V. Sadananda Gowda; Karnataka's Minister for Science & Technology, Dr. V.S. Acharya; and Biocon's Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw. "We are facing great challenges in our global economies,
but innovation will enable us to overcome these obstacles and achieve success in the 21st Century," stated Somers. "With Karnataka's youthful demographic, its dizzying array of fine educational institutions, R&D tak-
a welcoming policy environment. With these aspects in place, attracting risk capital into this essential sector will follow." Somers noted "the United States and India can be successful because we share the entrepre-
‘Given the right policy environment, there is no question that Bangalore can be a magnet for foreign direct investment in innovation and R&D’ ing place in virtually every industry, and a perfect climate, the only elements requiring further attention," according to Somers, "are the need to develop world-class infrastructure and putting in place
neurial DNA that encourages and rewards risk-taking. Given the right policy environment, there is no question that Bangalore can be a magnet for foreign direct investment in innovation and R&D."
This past week Somers has been leading a USIBC Life Sciences Executive Mission to India, with stops in New Delhi and Bangalore. Mission delegates have been meeting with key leaders in the field to discuss ways to further collaborate in the areas of protecting intellectual property a key ingredient that will spur the development of new medicines and cures in the medical device, biotechnology, and pharma sectors, benefiting all humanity. The executive level delegation was comprised of USIBC member companies including Abbott Healthcare, Baxter Healthcare, GE Healthcare, Merck, Thermo Fisher Scientific, Merck, Covidien, Biogen, Riddhi IP, and Cannon Design, among others.
February 17, 2012
Deterioration in European economy to hit India WASHINGTON: Having already seen its effects on private investment, any further deterioration in the economic situation of Europe has the potential to hit the Indian economy, including a drop in exports, an International Monetary Fund (IMF) official has said. "I think it is also clear that in India, as in other economies, demand for exports would certainly be hit, and certainly for India, we've already seen effects on private investment," IMF Director (Asia and Pacific Department) Anoop Singh said on the downside risks for India if the European situation deteriorates. "My sense so far is that the financial effects on Asia are being contained. We are seeing Asian banks, including Indian banks, stepping in where deleveraging is taking place from European banks," Singh told reporters early
dation," he said in response to a this week. "So far, my sense is that there question. In India, as well as in many is increase in funding costs, yes, for India and other countries. But other countries in Asia the priorsupplies are generally being maintained in key arâ€˜My sense so far is that eas," he added. Noting that it is the financial effects on clearly the objective of the Indian au- Asia are being conthorities to cut tained. We are seeing India's fiscal deficit, Singh said it is clear Asian banks, including that a smaller defi- Indian banks, stepping cit would reduce the government's in where deleveraging demands on savis taking place from ings, allowing more lending to take European banksâ€™ place to the private section. "I think it is a clear objective in ity comes to raising private investIndia to bring the fiscal deficit ment, but this requires also greater down as part of its fiscal consoli- infrastructure investment as part
Oneworld Alliance defers Kingfisher's entry NEW DELHI: The joining of Kingfisher Airlines into the global airline grouping "Oneworld Alliance" was put on hold due to the financial crisis faced by the Vijay Mallya owned carrier. The development came a day after the International Air Transport Association (IATA) suspended Kingfisher Airlines from its Geneva-based clearing house (ICH) due to non-payment of
dues to airline members. "Kingfisher Airlines and Oneworld agreed to put the Airlines entry into the alliance on hold to give it time to strengthen its financial position," a joint statement issued in Washington said. Kingfisher was slated to formally join the alliance on February 10. "These are turbulent times for the airline industry in India and in many other parts of the world. We have been working closely with Kingfisher over the past months and it has become increasingly clear recently that their airline needs more time to resolve the financial issues it is confronting before it can be welcomed into
Oneworld," the alliance CEO Bruce Ashby said in a statement. He said the airline would be inducted on a "new joining date once it is through with this current period of turbulence." Mallya said that in view of "many priorities centered around Kingfisher's recapitalization efforts; we felt it
prudent to defer our entry into the alliance for a little while." "This would allow the airline to
focus on the issues at hand," he said, adding, "We look forward to being part of the alliance very shortly."
Kingfisher Airlines slid from a net loss of Rs 263 crore in the first quarter of 2011-12 (FY12) to a net loss of Rs 469 crore in the 2nd quarter of the fiscal. DGCA has also asked the airline to redouble its recapitalization efforts and ensure that safety parameters are not compromised at any cost. -PTI
Improvement in ties with India would help Pak economy: IMF ContĂd from page 20
The IMF mission chief for Pakistan Adnan Mazarei in a conference call with reporters at conclusion of its consultations with Pakistan said the country's security scenario and general economic health are a problem, even though its leaders have taken some steps to address the situation. Mazarei said it is correct to say that Pakistan economy is facing huge vulnerabilities and risks. It is because of building global eco-
nomic pressures and needs to build buffers, he added. Investment climate in Pakistan is not very good, and steps need to be taken to attract it, Mazarei said. "Improving relations with India and WTO tariff exemptions for 75 items recently should help Pakistan," the IMF official said in response to a question. Noting that pressure on rupee could continue, he added those balances of payments are also affected by political situation in the country. -PTI
of the process of raising potential growth, Singh said. "So in India, what is planned, for example, is to introduce certain
Anoop Singh, IMF Director
fiscal reforms that would give more space for higher infrastructure investment, especially in the energy
sector, which is affecting overall investment in India, among other factors," Singh said. Masahiko Takeda, Deputy Director, IMF Asia and Pacific Department said the biggest challenge in India is reviving private investment, which is a source of medium-term growth. "Reducing the fiscal deficit will create room for private investment to grow, by reducing the crowding out. So in that sense, that's an important factor. "But even more important are all sorts of fiscal reform measures that the Indian government can take to improve investment and business conditions in India, so that the private sector has a bigger incentive to increase their investment. And this has been the major emphasis we have put in our recent mission in India," Takeda said. -PTI
Scamsters using I-T Dept website to dupe people NEW DELHI: Cyber experts in India have warned Internet users of phishing scamsters who are luring people with government domain names and sending unscrupulous e-mails to collect financial and personal information. Mail boxes of people are being hit by an e-mail sent from "email@example.com", informing them of a tax refund pending with the department
people to share the information. One such mail was received by Lucknow-based Arun which read, "We have reviewed your tax fiscal payment for previous years and have resolved that you are qualified for a refund of the sum of Rs 34,120.05 which is your accumulated tax excesses. Please submit a tax refund request and allow us to process it within 10 working days." Arun was taken aback as he is a student. "It seemed like a fraud because being a student I don't file any income tax returns. So how can I be eligible of a refund?" According to private Arun was taken aback as he is a cyber security firm XCySS, student. "It seemed like a fraud such e-mails because being a student I don't file show that the department any income tax returns. So how had not propcan I be eligible of a refund?" erly secured its server. Mukesh which can be collected by enter- Saini, chairman of the firm, said, ing their financial and bank-re- "It seems that the website has an lated information by clicking on a open proxy domain which allows given hyperlink in the mail. anyone to assume the name of the The Income Tax Department's Income Tax Department domain web link also has the address and send mails from it and it can "www.incometaxindia.gov.in." be changed if the mandarins of the which gives the scamsters' email a department instruct their service genuine image and even prompts providers." -PTI
February 17, 2012
Shailesh Rao quits Google to join Twitter
hailesh Rao, Managing Direc micro-blogging site that competes tor, Media & Platforms - APAC, with other social media networks Google has such as called it quits at Facebook, growthe organization. ing operations in It has been the markets outlearnt that, soon side the US will after moving help it garner revfrom Google he enues from adwill head Twitter vertisers in Asia as Vice-Presiand elsewhere. dent, InternaRao has been tional Business. with Google Rao, 41, will since March join Twitter as 2005 growing in Shailesh Rao vice-president ranks to oversee for its internaGoogle business tional operations. For Twitter, the in Asia Pacific.
Production base of Aakash to be diversified: Sibal
BANGALORE: The low-cost Aakash tablet PC will be made completely indigenous and its production base diversified, HRD Minister Kapil Sibal has said. "We are now going to diversify production base and indigenize Aakash tablet. We are planning to create eco-system for end to end development of Aakash in India. This will create enormous opportunities for R&D institutions, developers, electronic production houses," he said at a function here. He said the IITs and the ITIs are onboard on development of the device which has so far reached out to a handful of students. The HRD Ministry has already
Dailymotion enables mass video upload
ailymotion has launched a free new tool which will enable users to upload videos in bulk. The Paris based video sharing website currently has over 22 million videos in its library. The Dailymotion Mass Uploader, enables users to upload their videos without having to visit the website. A user only has to download the application in his operating system and install it.
A smart phone made by bamboo ContĂd from page 20 ContĂd from page 20
He is a student of Middlesex University. A technology entrepreneur had contacted him after he posted designs online. The phone was initially intended for the Chinese market but an enthusiastic reception in Britain means it will go on sale in design retailers later this year, the newspaper said.
said that it will require an additional 22 crore units of Aakash and for this fresh tenders will be issued enabling other companies along with the present manufacturer Datawind to also get a chance. At present, the device is available to students at Rs 1,100 after government subsidy. Asked if the next tender will have 'made in India' clause in it, Sibal said, "Well, we want to make sure that it is 100 per cent done locally ultimately." At present, several components including the processor are pro-
cured from outside. At the event of Indian Semi Conductor Association, he said, "I want all of you present here to think about it and be part of this magnificent journey." The government in the meantime plans to involve three more IITs for the Aakash project to make it more indigenous and further lower its price. Apart from IIT Rajasthan, which is spearheading the project, IIT Mumbai, IIT Madras and IIT Kanpur would also be roped in for the project, sources in the HRD Ministry said. The speed of the improved device will come at 800 MHz instead of 300 MHz at present. PTI
ITI to bid for and supply a million Aakash 2 tablets
he Indian Telephone Industries (ITI) has decided to bid for one million Aakash 2 tablets for supplying from April this year. The announcement comes after the HRD ministry's recent decision to involve public sector enterprises for the bidding process. The ministry currently requires 220 million Aakash tablets, to keep its promise of providing a tablet to every college and university students by 2014.
The HRD ministry had earlier found many functional problems with the tablets manufactured by Datawind. The ministry was also not pleased with the UK based company's move of selling the tablets in the market before supplying it to the government. But what really made the ministry to involve public sector enterprises was Datawind's announcement that it would not be able to supply the Aakash 2 tablet without increasing its costs.
February 17, 2012
India Post 23
Your Weekly Future by Pandit Parashar
FEBRUARY 17TH - FEBRUARY 23RD (November 23 to December 22)
(March 21 to April 20)
hings will get little slow this week but do not panic and continue to work on your plans and stay connected with people on the other side. Money you need will get arranged on last minute. Some one too close will try to take undue advantage of your generosity. Do not stretch your limits or compromise with principles.
ind will be at ease as you will overcome many obstacles of the past and look forward to make a fresh start in life. Bank balance will continue to grow slowly. You will maintain a tough stand when it comes to negotiations and get what you really deserve. A long distance tip is in the air.
(April 21 to May 20)
(December 22 to January 19)
government agency may seek more information before giving final clearance. Things will get more relaxing at work as you will finish the project well before deadline. You will be doing some work or cleaning up in or around the house. You will enjoy an evening with an old friend and discuss some business plans.
old actions will get the work done and you will quickly jump to next level. Answer will come in positive for the emails you write. Mind will be slightly restless as you will not be able to make up your mind about traveling overseas because of other commitments. Refund may come this week.
(May 21 to June 20)
(January 20 to February 18)
trong Venus will help you resolve many issues haunting you in the past. Property deal will close soon and you will get indications of upcoming positive changes in career. You may be writing a check to government also. Eye sight may need to be tested again. You will plan a short family vacation.
ou will enjoy company of a new colleague or friend. Meetings will go well and you will be given green signal. Boss will call you to discuss an important issue. Money wise you will stay comfortable. You may also start working on a business idea given by a close friend. You will spend money on one of your vehicle.
(February 19 to March 20)
(June 21 to July 22)
lanet Mercury is in house of loss so avoid signing any paper or contract in a hurry. Efforts will not go waste and there will be some more positive changes in career. A colleague may invite you for a get together at his place. Long awaited clearance can come during the week from a government agency.
lanets in house of luck should continue to provide the much needed boost in life. Money can continue to pour in from various places. There should be some fortunate changes in career too. Stocks will appreciate and refund can come this week. You may receive some nice and valuable gifts from your in laws also.
(July 23 to August 22)
hanges will make you nervous. Feel confident about steps you have taken recently as the results will start coming in soon. Money wise you will stay comfortable as expenses will come down a lot. You may call an old friend and invite him for lunch. You will benefit a lot from some one very fair and with blue eyes. (August 23 to September 22)
any positive things will happen in a dramatic way this week. You will receive help from powerful people. Lucky break you had been praying for will become a reality this week. You will feel lucky in all money matters and achieve your goals quickly. You may call an old and trusted person for some advice. (September 23 to October 22)
ou will gain edge over your opponents. A clear victory possible in ongoing litigation. You will be selected among large number of candidates for the job. Money will come but lot less than your immediate needs. You will be making plans with family to visit a nice place in upcoming short holidays.
(October 23 to November 22)
hings will improve all of a sudden. Concentration of planets will help you achieve your goals in fist shot. There will be big improvement in career too. People in business will make new and important clients. Trip will not only be beneficial but will also boost your morale in a big way.
Khloe and Lamar baby; Will the marriage last?
o Khloe Kardashian and Lamar Obaom have what it takes to make a marriage last? Was Lamar's transfer to the Dallas Mavericks a positive change in their life or is Khloe missing her family? Celebrity astrologer Patty Kamson says, "I really think these two lovebirds have enough sizzle to have a long and happy relationship. Khloe is a Cancer and Lamar is a Scorpio and this combination creates a strong karmic bond. Also, they both have their moon signs in Gemini so emotionally they have a nice compatibility as well. Plus, they love to talk about everything. No secrets between these two. Patty continues, "In terms of what is coming up for their future, Lamar is going to experience a strong Saturn aspect this Fall as well as the start of the Scorpio/Taurus Eclipses. These aspects are about decision making, growth, maturity and big life changes. So it may be that in 2013 Lamar and Khloe will get pregnant and have a baby'. 'For Khloe the Scorpio/Taurus Eclipses are lighting up her house for children. So it looks like the Universe is conspiring to make sure this couple comes together and
Pandit Parashar, CEO & COO Astro Scan USA is also available for individual consultations. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Khloe Kardashian and Lamar Obaom
multiples. Khloe will love being a mom but she will miss her professional life and will want to get beck to work as soon as she is able.' Patty predicts a happy future for Khloe and Lamar. Saturn will hit Scorpio in late 2012 and she predicts more career changes for Lamar Odom. He needs to start thinking about Plan B after he retires from the MBA.
February 17, 2012
India Post News Service
NEW YORK: British actress Amy Jackson is all set to make her Bollywood debut opposite popular young heartthrob Prateik in the new musical romance Ek Deewana Tha, which releases in theaters on February 17. Having already starred in a successful Tamil film, the former Miss Teen World winner won a modeling contract in the US which led to her being discovered by the Indian film industry at the remarkable age of only 17. Jackson sat down to talk about her new film which features A.R. Rahman's latest hit song "Hosanna" which has reached #1 on the music charts in India. Can you tell us about your character Jessie in Ek Deewana Tha? Amy: I play a Malayali Christian girl in Ek Deewana Tha. We have shot the movie in New York, India, Kerala and Chennai over five months. It was a great experience working with such a young and talented actor like Prateik. And Oscar-winning composer A.R. Rahman who did the music! How is the change from Britain to Bollywood? Amy: I was new to acting before my role in Madrasapattinam. Though I was familiar with Bollywood since there are many in Britain who watch Hindi movies, I hadn't watched any of these films before I came to Chennai. I have been away from home since I was 17. I went to the US to start my modeling career at a very young age. So, ven-
‘I went to the US to start my modeling career at a very young age. So, venturing into films and handling the pressure isn't a big task. I feel more comfortable in saris than gowns. Unlike Madrasapattinam where I wear gowns, in Ek Deewana Tha, I wear saris and kurtas. I had never worn one before I started shooting for the film and believe it's the most elegant outfit for a woman’
turing into films and handling the pressure isn't a big task. I feel more comfortable in saris than gowns. Unlike Madrasapattinam where I wear gowns, in Ek Deewana Tha, I wear saris and kurtas. I had never worn one before I started shooting for the film and believe it's the most elegant outfit for a woman. Was it hard to memorize Hindi for your part? Cont’d on page 25
Contest winners dine with Imran Khan India Post News Service
Tasneem Masqati and Anita Mehrotra became the lucky winners of the "Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu" contest recently, which won them the opportunity to dine with Bollywood actor Imran Khan in New York City. Bharat Matrimony, UTV, and Star India Plus joined together recently for the "Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu" contest named after the upcoming Hindi romantic comedy film of the same name, offering winners the chance to have dinner with Bollywood actor and the movie's male lead Imran Khan. Winners were selected and came to New York City on Jan 30 to celebrate and have dinner with the film's star.
Viewers on Star India Plus were invited via an on-air campaign to participate in the "Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu" Contest where they had to explain how their relationship with their own partner is important to them. Lokesh Dhar, Senior VP of UTV Motion Pictures spoke positively of the joint venture saying, "We are glad to partner with Bharat Matrimony and Star India Plus for Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu, which happens to be a perfect fit for this highly anticipated film." Says Farook Shamsudeen, International Business Head of BharatMatrimony.com, "We, being the leading matrimony site for Indians worldwide, are the starting point of many a beautiful relationship, and we are happy to have co-hosted this contest that inspired people to think about the essence of their partner in their lives."
February 17, 2012
Major Mughal era paintings on view at Asia Society India Post News Service
NEW YORK: The Asia Society in New York is presenting the first ever major exhibition exploring the artwork from India's late Mughal period. The exhibition, Princes and Painters in Mughal Delhi, 1707-1857 is on view Feb 7 through May 6. The exhibition brings together 100 masterpieces created during an artistically rich period in India's history. This major international loan exhibition provides a new look at an era of significant change during which the Mughal capital in Delhi shifted from being the heart of the late Mughal Empire to becoming the jewel in the crown of the British Raj. The exhibition includes jewellike portrait paintings, striking panoramas, and exquisite decorative arts crafted for Mughal emperors and European residents alike, as well as historical photographs. The exhibition is curated by William Dalrymple and Yuthika
Sharma. It is accompanied by a 264page illustrated book with essays by William Dalrymple, Yuthika Sharma, Jean Marie Lafont, Malini Roy, Sunil Sharma, and J.P. Losty, published by Asia Society Mu-
India that provided unprecedented impetus for artistic innovation and experimentation," says Melissa Chiu, Asia Society Museum Director and Vice President for Global Art Programs. "We're pleased to be taking a new approach to this magnificent and vibrant work with notable author William Dalrymple and art historian Yuthika Sharma
"Princes and Painters in Mughal Delhi, 17071857 is a reappraisal of a transitional era in India that provided unprecedented impetus for artistic innovation and experimentation," says Melissa Chiu, Asia Society Museum Director and Vice President for Global Art Programs
seum in association with Yale University Press, New Haven and London. "Princes and Painters in Mughal Delhi, 1707-1857 is a reappraisal of a transitional era in
as curators." The exhibition focuses on the reigns of the last four Mughal emperors: Muhammad Shah (reigned 1719-1748), Shah Alam II (reigned 1759-1806), Akbar Shah II (reigned 1806-1837) and Bahadur Shah II Zafar (reigned 1837-1857).
Indian composer scores big with Korean/Canadian film India Post News Service
TORONTO: It's not every day that a composer gets to hear a score they've written being played by a live orchestra due to the coordination, studio space and budgets required. On Saturday, February 5th, 28 classically trained musicians gathered in CBC's Glenn Gould Studio to record a score that Kohli had written. "It's mighty cool to hear an orchestra record something I've written. Thanks to the Screen Composers Guild of Canada for making this happen with the Canadian Film Centre and the Glenn Gould School," Kohli commented; adding "The director, Samuel, had a clear vision of what we needed to do to support the film and it was great to draw upon fellow composers Christian Floisand, Tristan Capacchione, and Darren Fung to get the end result as well as have Josh Tidsbury doing the beautiful surround mix." Kohli scored the music for the film called Wild Goose Daddy, directed by filmmaker Samuel Kiehoon Lee, who is based in Seoul and Toronto and who flew in from Korea just ahead of the recording session. "All of our meetings before the actual recording were over Skype since Sam was in Korea while I was
Having lost military, political and economic power to the newly arrived British in Calcutta, Delhi continued to maintain its extraordinary cultural, literary, and artistic patronage networks. Artists were supported by the Mughal court in Delhi and the city's ascendant European residents, creating an environment
Vikas Kohli at Desi Fest -Pic Derek
Kohli scored the music for the film called Wild Goose Daddy, directed by filmmaker Samuel Kiehoon Lee, who is based in Seoul and Toronto and who flew in from Korea just ahead of the recording session here in Canada. Fortunately, I'm used to working with people halfway across the world, so it was all really fun," noted Kohli, who has produced music for Bollywood films as well as docu-
mentaries and art films all shot in India. Wild Goose Daddy is an action buddy-comedy romp about a middle-aged Korean mobster who has to team up with a young drag queen in order to find his missing daughter in Toronto. The film has a screening in Toronto along with four other films also scored by members of the Screen Composers Guild of Canada. Punk, hip-hop and Bollywood Award-winning composer and music producer Vikas Kohli is known for his expertise at fusing together genres as varied as punk, hip-hop and Bollywood pop. He is the first composer to receive the Trailblazer Award from the ReelWorld Film Festival, the first composer to receive a Voice Achievers Award and he also received a MARTY award from the Mississauga Arts Council. Kohli has been profiled on ET Canada, CBC, The Globe & Mail, The Toronto Star, The Hindustan Times, MSN, AOL, Yahoo, and Zee News. Born in Nepean (Ottawa), Kohli began playing guitar and painting at fine arts school before receiving his Honors Degree in Mathematics & Philosophy from the University of Toronto, his MBA from the Schulich School of Business and his CFA. Kohli now lives in Mississauga, Canada.
of extraordinary interaction and influence between them and the new world of the British East India Company. As the British took over the reign of a dispersed empire from the Mughals in 1803, they were enamored of its courtly elegance and
sought to participate in its culture as patrons and enthusiasts. Company painting, involving artistic commissions undertaken by Indian artists for officers of the British East India Company, was practiced alongside Mughal court painting, with both patrons utilizing the services of a common group of artists. The exhibition looks at recognized works by Delhi-based court artists Nidha Mal and Chitarman, and less familiar works by artists such as Ghulam Murtaza Khan, Ghulam Ali Khan, and Mazhar Ali Khan. In addition to Mughal miniatures produced under later emperors, this exhibition highlights a selection of so-called Company School paintings produced for Delhibased personalities such as William Fraser, James Skinner, and Thomas Metcalfe. The exhibition also chronicles the rise in genre portraiture during this era, epitomized by character studies of urban and rural residents of Delhi.
Amy loves saris Amy: The British accent is hard to miss. Ever since I decided to shift base to India and made Mumbai my home, I have made an effort to learn Hindi and even take diction classes. I couldn't understand a word of Hindi earlier. Though my voice will be dubbed
my friends who are in university back in England find it tough to believe that I am part of Indian cinema. Some of them think I am crazy. For me, this has been a dream come true! How did you enjoy working with Ek Deewana Tha director Gautham Vasudev Menon? Amy: A couple of weeks before
in the movie, it was easier to memorize Hindi than Tamil. Before takes, I used to practice my lines for almost an hour to get it right. Prateik did help me with the Hindi. How have your friends in the U.K. responded to your international movie career? Amy: I had no prior training in acting. Once Madharasapattinam released, we had a premiere in Liverpool for my friends and family. They were surprised to see me on screen! Even today, many of
we began shooting, we did a workshop to understand the personalities of the characters we were playing. Gautham gave me a lot of freedom. He is such a calm and collected director who gives his actors the freedom to experiment. It was nice to be able to give my opinion. What are your plans for the future? Amy: I will be starting work in a Tamil film opposite Vikram in March.
Contâ€™d from page 24
ROSY LOHANI India Post News Service
NEW DELHI: The vibrant Surajkund Mela is the annual exhibition for the finest Indian handlooms, handicrafts, authentic fragrances and flavors of cuisines. It has now turned international with participation from Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Congo, Bhutan, Africa, Maldives, Pakistan and many more countries this year. The 26th Surajkund Crafts Mela offers a lot of fun, frolic, entertainment and exclusive shopping. Many states have showcased their finest handlooms, handicrafts and mouth-watering cuisines. The Mela embodies various arts and crafts not only of India but also of other nations with matching crafts and traditions. Craftspersons from Afghanistan,
Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Pakistan participated in the Mela. More than 100 artists, craftspersons and day performers from Partner Nation Thailand and SAARC countries, besides Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Congo presented a myriad of cultures and added a global dimension to it. Craftspersons from Bhutan arrayed a wide variety of crafts which reflected their
uary 17, 2012
traditions and customs. Adding an African flavor to the Mela were the artisans from Congo who displayed a wide variety of tribal craft. Another highlight of the Mela was the Work Hut of Tajikistan displaying a wide variety of embroidered Taji fabrics known as 'Chakan'. Contâ€™d on page 30
Travel & Hospitality Post
February 17, 2012
India Post 27
LA Times Travel Show attendance up 21% JS BEDI India Post News Service
LOS ANGELES: The Los Angeles Times’ 14th-annual Travel Show and inaugural industry conference, January 27-29, convened more than 24,300 celebrity speakers, travel professionals, industry leaders, members of the media and consumers at the L.A. Convention Center, smashing the previous attendance record by more than 21 percent and officially making it the must-attend Southern California travel event of the year. “The 2012 Travel Show surpassed our wildest attendance expectations and it’s enormously gratifying to have our first indus-
The Incredible India team
with nearly 60 percent visiting for the first time. Consumers spent
A view of the show
try-focused conference receive such a great response,” said David Burns, The Times vice president, promotional revenue, sports and events. “We effectively brought the world to Southern California in great style.” More than 2,000 travel professionals seized the business-tobusiness opportunity of attending the new industry conference sessions, a show floor preview and the consumer event. An exit survey conducted by The Times indicated that a wide range of travelers were in attendance,
an average of four hours exploring the show floor, with 90 percent seeking information about potential destinations and 94 percent planning to travel within the year. Standout exhibitors Taiwan Tourism Bureau, Ecuador Ministry of Tourism, Mexico Tourism Board and Visit Newport Beach were presented with awards from the show organizers. The Indian presence was impressive. The India Tourism booth featured tour companies like Touch of Class Travels, and
Jessie and Roshi Dhillon of Express Tours
Laxpress Travel, to mention a few.
also specializes in vacation travel, religious travel and vacation
The Incredible India team was led by Annabella Arya and Uttank Joshi, Director and Asstt Director respectively of India Tourism Los Angeles. Both, Annabella and Uttank are veterans of the industry and their vast experience will contribute immensely to promoting Destination India. Both the officials are committed to work with the local tour companies to boost business. Laxpress Travel has been on the scene for almost over three decades. Specializing in South and Central America, the tour company
packages not just to India but also to other dream destinations like
Bali, Tahiti, the Mediterranean, and the Caribbean. “Along with the usual tourist spots we also do a lot of lesser known but equally exotic destinations like New Caledonia, Easter Island, Galapagos and jungle safaris to Nigeria. Not only are these destinations equally (if not more) exotic but also way cheaper giving the client more for his Dollar,” said Roshi Dhillon owner of Laxpress Travel. She also said that they do a lot of cruise bookings for both local and other cruises. So if you have a vacation in mind email Roshi at email@example.com. According Roshi the best way to a happy client is to put yourself in the client’s shoes ………… “Never offer the client anything that you won’t accept,” she says. The Los Angeles Times Travel Show and industry conference returns to the L.A. Convention Center February 22-24, 2013.
Travel & Hospitality Post
28 India Post
February 17, 2012
SITA introduces Affordable India India Post News Service
LOS ANGELES, CA: SITA World Tours, a recognized leader in international travel for more than seven decades, has announced the introduction of Affordable India, an exciting, new tour product line designed to attract a growing budget oriented segment of the travel market. According to Hardeep Sidhu, SITA's Product Manager for India, the new collection of India itineraries is the result of an increased
demand for more affordable India travel options at the same time that India is providing better quality accommodations in the 3- and 4star hotel range. SITA recognized that there is a well-versed traveler who has visited many popular destinations and is seeking an authentic, culturally enriched experience, without the higher cost of more luxury-oriented programs. For the cost of a value-priced cruise or resort package, SITA's Affordable India tours offer a colorful, more diverse experience in
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comfort with all the value. The new itineraries reflect SITA's vast experience in India touring with varied, unique itineraries. The list of accommodations includes excellent quality hotels such as Radisson, Crowne Plaza and Le Meridien. Mr. Sidhu, an India travel expert, will oversee operations for the new concept along with the SITA team. The tours offer some of
India's most popular sights and experiences along with special people-to-people opportunities such as dining in the homes of local families, learning turban tying and henna, and joining in on a yoga session from a local yogi. The initial offering will include eight different itineraries including: • Temples & Palaces of North India (11 days) • Land of Maharajah (16 days)
• South India Sojourn (9 days+4 day extension to Karnataka) • Glimpses of India (12 days) • Golden Triangle (6 days) • Essence of India (9 days) With almost eight decades of experience as a tour operator, SITA arranges luxurious, affordable and customized programs to destinations worldwide, including Africa & the Middle East, Asia, India, South and Central America.
Plea to develop infrastructure for Vaishno Devi
JAMMU: With nearly one crore pilgrims visiting the Vaishno Devi shrine this year, a hoteliers' body has pitched for developing infrastructure to divert the visitors to other tourist spots in the region to boost J-K's economy.
"The arrivals for Vaishno Devi pilgrimage have crossed the one crore mark. But we regret that full benefits of such a large number of pilgrims visiting the state are not being achieved," President of All Jammu Hotels and Lodges Asso-
Malaysia Airlines announces discount fares from India MUMBAI: Malaysia Airlines has announced discounted fares for Indian travelers flying to destinations in South-East Asia, AsiaPacific, East Asia and North Asia, between February 6 and April 15.
CATERING IS OUR SPECIALITY
Bangalore and Hyderabad, it said. "Our special fares allow travelers to experience international destinations at value prices with flexible travel dates. "It provides leisure travelers many options to plan holidays in advance suiting their budgets by
"Our special fares allow travelers to experience international destinations at value prices with flexible travel dates. "It provides leisure travelers many options to plan holidays in advance The all inclusive international return fare series with flexible travel period are for departures from New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai,
booking competitively now and flying later," said Malaysia Airlines Regional Senior Vice-President (South Asia) Azahar Bin Hamid. -PTI
ciation (AJHLA) Indrejeet Khajuria told reporters. "The result is that while there is an unmanageable rush during the peak yatra period at Katra, the hotels and lodges in Jammu remain almost empty," he said. The Association demanded taking up concrete steps to promote border tourism at Suchetgarh, Chamlial and in entire border belt in Jammu by creating necessary infrastructure. It has also demanded speedy development of Ambaran Buddhist site and JioPota heritage spot on the banks of Chenab near Akhnoor to attract tourists. If these steps are taken, the Vaishnodevi pilgrims will be automatically attracted to visit these spots and full benefit of the heavy yatra rush will be achieved, he observed.-PTI
Travel insurance to grow on rising tourist traffic MUMBAI: The growth of travel insurance sector will gather momentum over the next 5-7 years, as people become more aware of this facility in view of increase in tourism, especially overseas travels, industry experts said. "At present, travel insurance is not popular in the country. Most travelers don't opt for it. While there is literally no insurance-takers for domestic travels, this is not that popular even among many overseas travelers too," Bharti Axa General Insurance chief executive Amarnath Ananthanarayanan told PTI. "However, we hope things will change in the next five to seven years as the industry matures," he added. He blamed prevalence of conventional products coupled with low awareness among travelers as the reasons for low popularity and penetration.-PTI
February 17, 2012
Travel & Hospitality Post
India Post 29
Kerala marketing blitz in Australia, Middle East MUMBAI: Buoyed by an over 11 per cent increase in foreign tourist arrivals in 2011, which was a bad year for the global tourism industry given the bleak economic environment, Kerala is on a marketing blitz to attract more travelers from the Middle East and Down Under. "We plan to spend over Rs 10 crore on mass media campaigns and road shows in the Middle East and Australia this year," Kerala Tourism Director Rani George told PTI in Thiruvananthapuram recently. This is significant, considering that the entire marketing budget for the Tourism Department of 'God's Own Country', which is how Kerala is known in
global tourism circles, is only Rs 35 crore for the year. The marketing blitz in the Middle East involves road shows and mass media campaigns involving television and the print media. The first leg of the campaign has already been kicked off in Saudi Arabia, with its three main cities of Riyadh, Jeddah and Dhamam as the focal points of the road shows, George said. In Australia, too, the department will be using the mass media and road show models to lure Australians to the country, she said. The other focal markets for 2012 will be Russia and China, she added. George further said the de-
Srinagar Jamia Masjid to be beautified SRINAGAR: The Jamia Masjid corridor beautification project in downtown city here is likely to start from April. "The beautification project of historical Jamia Masjid corridor is expected to get approval of the centre by March and the work on the project is likely to be start from April," Kashmir Divisional Commissioner Asgar Samoon said. Addressing a high level meeting here, Samoon noted the project will not only restore past glory of the historical monument, it will also boost prospects of tourism in the area and strengthen the local economy.
Terming the Jamia Masjid an integral part of state's "identity", he said the government is making all efforts to harness state's prospects as a potential hub of cultural tourism. Representatives of Jamia Masjid Market Federation, who also attended the meeting, gave full assurance of supporting implementation of the project in letter and spirit. Meanwhile, addressing the meeting, Director (Tourism) Farooq Ahmad Shah said the work on the Rampart wall under the Rs 38.14 crore Nagar Nagger project has already been started from Kathidarwaza. -PTI
Himachal voted Favorite Summer destination SHIMLA: Himachal Pradesh has been voted as 'The Favorite Summer Destination' by the Outlook Traveler. The survey was conducted throughout the country by the magazine in 2011 and Himachal Pradesh has been voted as the Favorite Summer Destination, Chief Minister P.K. Dhumal said. This survey is an authoritative benchmark of the consumers' preferences in travel and tourism across 18 categories including Hotels, Airlines and Hotel, Holiday Destinations, he added. He said the contribution of tourism sector towards the GDP has steadily increased from around 7 percent in 2009 to 10 percent at present and Himachal Pradesh was the first state in the country to link the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme
(MNREGA) for development of tourism infrastructure in rural areas. The state developed 12 rural circuits last year and rural tourism activities were undertaken in 64 villages, he added.
The endeavor of the state was to spread tourism to lesser known and unexplored places in rural areas to avoid crowding The endeavor of the state was to spread tourism to lesser known and unexplored places in rural areas to avoid crowding of already congested tourist resorts and also generate employment and self employment in rural areas, he said. -PTI
In 2011, revenues from foreign tourists rose by 11.2 per cent to Rs 4,221 crore, George said, adding, "The overall revenue from tourism touched Rs 19,037 crore, which is an increase of 9.74 per cent in 2011 over 2010" partment has empanelled creative agency Stark to come out with a tourism awareness film
that will help locals respect foreigners visiting the state. The ad film will be ready in the next six months and will be aired in the main markets of Europe and Britain, she added. "Foreign tourist arrivals rose 11.18 per cent in 2011 to 7.32 lakh, while domestic arrivals touched 93.8 lakh during the year, which is an increase of 9.15 per cent," George said. In 2011, revenues from foreign tourists rose by 11.2 per cent to Rs 4,221 crore, George said, adding, "The overall revenue from tourism touched Rs 19,037 crore, which is an increase of 9.74 per cent in 2011 over 2010." This makes the contribution of tourism to the state GDP nearly
10 per cent, she added. In 2010, revenue from tourism crossed Rs 17,000 crore, constituting 9 per cent of the state GDP. On the prospects for this year, George said she is targeting an 8-10 per cent spike in overall arrivals. When asked whether the department is looking at new tourism circuits in the state, she said the state is already working on a Northern Circuit, which will be completed in FY'13. "For the central part, we are developing a heritage project in Kodungaloor, in Thrissur district. Called the Muziris Heritage Project, this involves a Rs 200 crore investment," the Tourism Director said. -PTI
Tourist arrival, forex earnings up NEW DELHI: With increase in the number of foreigners coming to India, foreign exchange earnings have gone up by about 50 per cent in January, thanks to Incredible India tourism campaign. There were 6.81 lakh foreign tourists in the country in January
this year as against 6.24 lakh during the same month last year, registering a growth of 9.2 per cent. Forex earnings during January, 2012, were Rs 8623 crore as compared to Rs 5777 crore in January, 2011, a growth of 49.3 per cent. "We have undertaken a series of roadshows abroad showcasing
our destinations as our aim is to attract more foreign tourists", said senior Tourism Ministry official. Tourism Ministry has also proposed to extend visa-on- arrival scheme to 14 more countries including France, Russia, Germany, Norway, Spain and Thailand. -PTI
Travel & Hospitality Post
30 India Post
February 17, 2012
Surajkund Mela goes international Exquisite crafts, culture & cuisines from India & abroad
Thai food stall Contâ€™d from page 26
The Work Huts of Thailand in the special enclosure attracted a large number of visitors. The stall of Uzbekistan had traditional embroideries which were skilfully crafted on bags, scarves and skull caps. Exhibiting their craft for the first time were the artisans from Maldives. Their prod-
'Panthi' of Chattisgarh; 'Sambhalpuri' Dance of Odisha; 'Ghoomar' & 'Phag' Dance of Haryana to name a few. These dances reflected the traditions of each State that they were representing the diverse cultures of India in one fabric. The traditional Thai 'Norim Norim' dance from Uzbekistan in which the dancers danced on the
Work Hut- Tajikistan
Choupal and Natyashala have been very integral to the popularity of the Mela. Choupals witnessed 'Brij ki Holi' and 'Mayur' dance of Uttar Pradesh climbing to popularity amongst the visitors with each passing day. Similarly, 'Siddi Goma' dance of Gujarat gave a majestic aura with their heart rendering drumbeats and dance forms. The food court spread in the
another dimension to their visit. Thai food stall was an instant hit. The visitors could relish appetizers like 'Poh Pia' (spring rolls), 'Som Tom' (papaya salad), 'Tom Yum Koong/Kai/Jay' (soups) and the main course dishes included Red and Green Curries, 'Khao Pad Jay' (fried rice with vegetable), 'Pad Thai Noodles', to name a few. The Thai cuisine, just like that of In-
ucts included baskets, traditional dresses and wall hangings. Adding to the liveliness of the Mela were cultural dances of Assam - 'Bodo', 'Rabha' and 'Bihu'; 'Bhangra & Gidda' of Punjab;
tapping of stones, the traditional dance of Congo with 'bongo drums' and the dances of Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan enlivened the evening of the Mela. Cultural performances at
Chawal' and ` Chole Bature' besides a host of others were made available in the stalls. Combining the traditions with modernity, a special stall of Dominos Pizza was also set up in the food court. The Mela witnessed a 'never before' mega event with over 15 'differently abled' people creating a cosmic experience with their classical dance moves. The audience
sprawling area of the Mela offered a fantastic range of cuisines each reflecting its regional uniqueness. The visitors were lost in the exotic flavors presented by India and Partner Nation Thailand which added
dian cuisine, was very rich and diverse in its ingredients. The stall of Theme State Assam served some of the most mouth watering food items. Traditional foods of North India like `Rajma
Work Hut- Sri Lank.
was left spell bound with some of their breath taking dance-theatre performances. It was heartening to see how boldly these 'differently abled' people challenged their own inabilities and put up a spectacular mega event. The man behind the spirit of their body and mind was Guru Syed Sallauddin Pasha, recipient of the National Award from the President of India for outstanding performance in the field of empowerment of persons with disabilities and Founder of Ability Unlimited. The Mela also extended its platform to students of various schools to showcase their talents. Competitions like Kite Flying, Mehandi, Drawing, Face Painting, Photography and Rangoli were arranged for the fortnight.
February 17, 2012
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Manchin voices concern over birth control order
CHARLESTON, W.Va.: Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin is voicing concern over the Obama administration's plan to require religious employers to cover birth control. Under President Barack Obama's health care overhaul law, most employers and insurance plans will have to cover birth control free of charge as a preventive service for women. The administration had already ruled that churches and houses of worship do not have to follow that requirement, but officials recently announced that many religious-affiliated institutions such as hospitals, colleges and charities must comply. In a letter to Obama, Manchin called the mandate ``un-American.'' He said that he's heard from West Virginia employers that would be forced to violate their religious beliefs. -AP
Four more jailed in Florida pill mill crackdown WEST PALM BEACH, Fla.: Four more people have been sent to federal prison is part of a crackdown in Florida on pill mills that illegally distribute powerful prescription painkillers like oxycodone. The sentences were part of Operation Oxy Alley that targeted pain clinics in Broward and Palm Beach counties. Prosecutors say the clinics illegally distributed 20 million oxycodone pills and made some $40 million between 2008 and 2010. Among those sentenced was 30-year-old Christopher Paul George, who operated the pain clinics along with his twin brother Jeffrey George. -AP
Raw milk remains popular, despite illnesses WASHINGTON: The popularity of unpasteurized raw milk remains strong despite warnings from public health officials about its dangers and outbreaks of bacterial infections. In the latest case untreated contaminated milk from a Pennsylvania farm has sickened 38 people on the East Coast. It's a reminder of the risks of consuming milk bottled straight from the cow. The confirmed cases of campylobacter bacterial infection include 31 people in Pennsylvania, four in Maryland, two in West Virginia and one in New Jersey. -AP
Health Science 33
February 17, 2012
New inner-city health center opens in Boston BOSTON: A $35 million community-based health center built in Boston's Roxbury neighborhood is being hailed as a model for delivering quality health care to underserved urban areas. -AP
From despondency to optimism: 25 years of HIV in India SHOBHA SHUKLA
he YRG Centre for AIDS Research and Education, Chennai, recently organized with partners the Chennai ART Symposium (CART 2012), and The International Science Symposium on HIV and Infectious Diseases, to deliberate upon a wide range of aspects related to HIV infection and provide latest clinical updates on the management of the disease, which has been plaguing the Indian populace for over 25 years. The first case of HIV/AIDS in India was detected in the sex workers of Chennai in 1986. It was a kind of shocking disbelief, which ultimately transformed into panic and then hopeless resignation. According to Dr Ramesh Paranjape, Director National AIDS Research Institute, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), "We never thought that HIV would ever visit India and take us on. At that time HIV was considered to be a disease of the western world and we had nothing to do with it. But slowly with more and more cases testing positive
for the virus, it became a grave concern for us too." Today with an estimated 23.9 lakh HIV infections (of which 39% are females and 4.4% are children) India is home to the second largest population of people living with HIV - an epidemic which is concentrated in high risk populations such as sex workers
Its short life-cycle and high error rate cause the virus to mutate very rapidly, resulting in a high genetic variability of HIV. By the time it is recognized it has already covered 5 pathways, infecting and damaging more and more CD4 cells in the process. The fewer is the number of healthy CD4 cells, the weaker is
The 20 years period from 1986 to 2006 saw the development of safe and effective therapeutic agents which could block each known stage in HIV replication in the human lymphocyte and their clients, men who have sex with men, transgenders, and injecting drug users. AIDS is a unique pandemic that knows no geographical bindings. The HIV virus survives till the death of the host. The virus attaches itself to the host CD4 cells that aid its replication. The life cycle of the virus can be as short as about 1.5 days from viral entry into a cell, through replication, assembly, and release of additional viruses, to infection of other cells.
the immune system, making the person more vulnerable to numerous infections. The 20 years period from 1986 to 2006 saw the development of safe and effective therapeutic agents which could block each known stage in HIV replication in the human lymphocyte. By late 1986 clinical tests showed that Azido-thymidine (AZT), which had been developed in the 1960s as an anti-cancer agent, slowed the progress of HIV in humans, making AZT the first approved drug
treatment for HIV and AIDS. By 2000 the triple drug cocktail had been developed which was the most exciting thing that happened for HIV treatment. Combinations of anti retrovirals create multiple obstacles to HIV replication to keep the number of offspring low and reduce the possibility of a superior mutation. If a mutation that conveys resistance to one of the drugs being taken arises, the other drugs continue to suppress reproduction of that mutation. Combinations usually comprise two nucleoside-analogue RTIs and one non-nucleoside-analogue RTI or protease inhibitor. India has played a significant role in combating the disease by way of manufacturing generic drugs used in treatment of HIV, thus bringing down the cost of medicines to affordable levels. Today it supplies 85% of the low cost HIV drugs to the developing world. Also, over the past few years we have seen a lot of advocacy for HIV control programs at different levels - NGOs, government and networks of people living with the disease themselves. Cont’d on page 34
Rotary surpasses fund target for polio eradication India Post News Service
otary International, one of the largest partners in the fight against polio across the world, has succeeded in raising more than $202.6 million, thereby surpassing the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's $200 million target in funding for polio eradication. The fundraising milestone was reached in response to $355 million in challenge grants awarded to Rotary Foundation by the Gates Foundation to support polio immunization activities in affected countries where the vaccine-preventable disease continues to paralyze children. "It is a welcome milestone, as funding for the polio endgame will be crucial to ensure that the
fight against the dreaded disease continues with the same intensification and commitment. This has been achieved through increased generosity and effort by countries to contribute towards the cause. In the past 2-3 years, India has risen
Initiative was launched to eradicate polio from the world and, at the same time, strengthen health infrastructure. The Initiative has achieved significant progress toward both these goals and today with just a few countries still with
'Rotary started the global fight against Polio, and continues to set the tone for private fundraising, grassroots engagement, and maintaining polio at the top of agenda with key policymakers' from being a beneficiary to that of a donor and has become the 3rd leading contributor to Rotary's service funds," said Deepak Kapur, Chairman, Rotary International's India PolioPlus Committee. The Global Polio Eradication
Polio transmission 99.9 % of the world remains Polio-free. India, one of the endemic countries along with Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria, has completed an entire year without a case of Polio - the last reported case was
on 13 January 2011 in West Bengal. India must record another two years without a case of Polio to get the Polio-free certification from WHO. "The Polio partnership - Rotary, WHO, UNICEF and the Govt. of India in particular - have renewed their commitment and resources to achieve this target", added Mr. Kapur. Congratulating Rotary International's for its leadership role in the global effort to rid the world of the crippling disease, Jeff Raikes, CEO, Gates' Foundation, said, "Rotary started the global fight against Polio, and continues to set the tone for private fundraising, grassroots engagement, and maintaining polio at the top of agenda with key policymakers." Cont’d on page 36
Health Science Post
February 17, 2012
Cleveland Clinic & varsity to study brain injuries CLEVELAND: Two competitive Ohio medical research institutions are teaming up at a new lab to study head and spinal injuries that occur in sports and combat. The Cleveland Clinic and Case Western Reserve University will jointly run the Cleveland Traumatic Neuromechanics Consortium, working to learn more about the causes of head and neck injuries and to create better protection and treatment, The Plain Dealer reported. ``There are many more questions than answers'' about brain injuries, said mechanical engineer Adam Bartsch, who leads the Clinic's Head, Neck and Spine Research Laboratory. One of those questions is what level of force or number of repeated impacts causes temporary or permanent brain damage. There's concern that injuries like concussions can cause lasting damage. The lab will search for answers
with specialized equipment, including an air-powered ram that will be used to test football helmets on replica human heads by mimicking certain impacts, such as a straight-line hit or an oblique,
The lab will search for answers with specialized equipment, including an air-powered ram that will be used to test football helmets on replica human heads head-spinning blow from an aggressive NFL linebacker barreling into a quarterback, which some researchers suspect may be even more damaging. Developing sensors for the test
heads and simulations of how a brain reacts might help the researchers better understand what causes concussions, and that could pave the way for better rules or safety standards and improved helmets and other protective gear. ``There are things that can be done to the helmet that would be helpful in basically absorbing energy and protecting the head,'' said Case Western mechanical and aerospace engineering professor Vikas Prakash, who has worked on creating better protective gear for military personnel and vehicles. ``Engineering-wise, it's very rich.'' Prakash and Bartsch, who are codirecting the joint research effort, unpacked the air-powered ram known as a linear impacter. Later they plan to add high-speed cameras and a ballistic air gun. That would allow them to study the type of brain injuries caused by roadside bombs through simulations of the shock-wave effects. -AP
Vt. would allow 'bronze plan' to encourage health MONTPELIER, Vt.: Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin and legislative leaders said they wanted to make it possible for more of the state's small businesses to offer lower premium health insurance plans sometimes known as ``bronze plans'' until the state can implement its single payer health care system. Speaking in Montpelier, Shumlin and leaders from the House and Senate, all Democrats, said they would also allow businesses with more than 50 employees to remain outside the federally-mandated health care exchange until 2016. ``We feel strongly that the exchange is not the answer to all Vermont's health care problems,'' Shumlin said at a news conference in the Montpelier Statehouse. ``We feel that as we design an exchange it should have maximum flexibility and allow shoppers to make choices for insurance until we implement our plan in Vermont.'' As part of the federal health care reform law known as the Affordable Care Act passed by Congress
two years ago, on Jan 1, 2014 states must have set up health care exchanges where businesses and individuals can buy health insurance. Under federal law, in 2016 the health care exchanges will carry the 100 employee limit. Last year Vermont passed legislation outlining a plan to comply with that requirement. This year, a Vermont House committee has been considering the first in what's expected to be a series of bills to implement that broad plan. As originally introduced, the Vermont bill would have set the small business limit at 100 employees and it would have forbid the bronze plans. The announcement meant the state would use the 50employee number. ``The federal government requires businesses of 100 or less to be in exchanges by 2016. We're now saying that they can now stay out until 2014. When you limit it to 50, those larger businesses cannot buy into the exchange for two years,'' Shumlin said. -AP
From despondency to optimism: 25 years of HIV in India Contâ€™d from page 33
In 1992 the National AIDS Control Organization (NACO) was created. This helped in improving the understanding of the complex HIV epidemic in India, with the focus shifting from raising awareness to behavior changes; from a nationalized response to a more decentralized one. The results of these combined efforts are there for everyone to see. The estimated number of new annual HIV infections has declined by more than 50% over the past decade. India had approximately 1.2 lakh new HIV infections in 2009 as compared to 2.7 lakh in 2008. The trend of annual AIDS deaths is also showing a steady decline since the roll out of free ART program in India in 2004. Dr Paranjape feels that there are three major impediments in controlling the disease today: (i) Not having right strategies in place, for reaching most at risk populations, like unorganized female sex workers, injecting drug users, and men having sex with men. Although homosexuality has been de criminalized by law and is gradually being accepted by society, we have not been able to reach them fully. Also those of them who are married are potential threats for transmitting the virus to their wives. So to reach this population is still a major challenge. (ii) The second challenge is to get everybody under the umbrella of medical care. We still have a situ-
ation where from the integrated counseling and testing centre (ICTC) to the time when the patient goes for anti retroviral therapy (ART), there are a lot of missed opportunities, which have to be plugged in. (iii) Despite huge amount of investments that have rightly gone into research, we still depend upon prevention methods based on behavioral change aspects which are in our hands. We do not have vaccines, microbicides, or any other clinical preventive measures. We only have condom use and behavior change. A close watch has to be kept on drug resistance too which could pose a great danger, more so as the number of patients on ART goes on increasing (today we have more than 400,000 people on ART and the number is likely to go up). Surveillance for drug resistance and surveillance for recombinant virus is the need of today. According to Dr Atmaram Bandivdekar, Scientist at the National Institute for Research in Reproductive Health, Mumbai, "There are many issues we still need to understand as to how HIV can infect. Till now people believed that CD4 is the only receptor responsible for HIV binding. But the spermatozoa or vaginal epithelial cells do not have CD4 receptor and still HIV binds to them. We have identified this receptor which is different from CD4. The mechanism of HIV binding to
this receptor is different, and so there is a revised need for prevention technology. We are getting some encouraging results in the field of microbicides. But it is too early to say as to when we will have one. The HIV virus is continuously mutating, and in the same person there could be a mixture of different isolates - in blood, semen or in other body fluids also.
A close watch has to be kept on drug resistance too which could pose a great danger, more so as the number of patients on ART goes on increasing (today we have more than 400,000 people on ART) Hence it is difficult to control the virus and prevention is not easy. As clinical prevention strategies right now are not very effective, we can only socially educate the people to prevent unprotected sex. Multiple sex partners increase the risk of exposure to multiple viruses, and live in relationships can also be a problem area." One must remember that in India unprotected sex (87.4% heterosexual and 1.3% homosexual) is the major route of transmission of the
virus, followed by parent to child transmission (5.4%), infected needles/syringes (1.7%) and use of infected blood and blood products (1%). According to Dr Dilip Mathai, Professor and Head, Department of Medicine, Christian Medical College (CMC), Vellore: "I do not believe that anyone should die of HIV any longer. The only two deterrents can be - not taking medicines and not knowing their HIV positive status. The problem is that people do not want to be tested, even though treatment is available and lifelong management of the disease is possible. In India we still have a big social problem of stigma/discrimination. This is earth shattering for me. In 2006 I had one ART testing centre and 3010 patients voluntarily tested. I put three more centers and now I find only a 1060 people tested. Is it because of poor counseling?" So it is not only availability of drugs, but proper counseling which plays a very important role in the management of HIV. In the absence of any medicines to cure the disease, good counseling is imperative to ensure treatment adherence and compliance. Doctors can diagnose and treat, but it is the counselors who are in constant personal touch with the patient. Counseling should not be for the patient alone but stigma and other societal issues need to be addressed too. Very often, due to social stigma people do not come
forward to avail of the free government treatment. Adolescent education on this issue is very important. This is the critical age where people need to be well informed about the perils of unsafe sex. As of now, we have a dearth of qualified counselors. All said and done, we have indeed come a long way from those days when the disease was nothing short of a death sentence. Today the situation is very optimistic and we see the HIV epidemic coming under control, though eradication is still a long dream with about 1.72 lakh people dying of AIDS related causes in 2009 in India. Yet, one can now think of HIV just as a chronic disease, like diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, which can be controlled by taking medicines lifelong. Quality as well as longevity of life has increased. The scores of PLHIV I have come in contact with, are more lively, healthy and cheerful than their negative counterparts. But a lot more needs to be achieved. All eligible patients have to be put on ART, and parent to child transmission has to be brought down to zero. We must strengthen, and not cut down on methods, to ensure that we do not lose on whatever success we have achieved. Also there should be no relaxation on funding by national and international agencies. Because if we become complacent now we are likely to lose the gains made in the past few years. -CNS
February 17, 2012
Health Science Post
Bill to ban buying sweets with food stamps FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla.: Florida's poor can use food stamps to buy staples like milk, vegetables, fruits and meat. But they can also use them to buy sweets like cakes, cookies and Jell-O and snack foods like chips, something a state senator wants stopped. Sen. Ronda Storms, R-Valrico, also wants to limit other welfare funds, known as Temporary Assistance For Needy Families, from being used at ATMs in casinos and strip clubs and anywhere out of state. The bill comes after reports that the debit cards welfare recipients now receive were used in those places, as well as locations in Las Vegas and the Virgin Islands in a small percentage of cases, but the state does not track what items were purchased. The bill recently passed a committee. A companion bill in the state House companion is being considered by a subcommittee. The bill would also require the state to launch a culturally sensitive campaign to educate people about the benefits of a nutritious diet. Supporters say it would help recipients follow healthy eating habits and prevent taxpayer funds from being used to
purchase luxury foods like bakery cakes when they can whip up a cheaper box mix. ``Most individuals using public assistance dollars are using the funds to get by and to provide for their families. However, we should do what we can to prevent dollars intended to help Florida's poorest families from being spent in the wrong places,'' Storms said in a statement. But critics say the government shouldn't dictate what people eat.
"Most individuals using public assistance dollars are using the funds to get by and to provide for their families. However, we should do what we can to prevent dollars intended to help Florida's poorest families from being spent in the wrong places" ``What I choose to ingest even though I may be on food stamps, that's at my discretion. I don't need government telling me what I can and cannot purchase,'' said Rep. Gwyndolen Clarke-Reed, a Pompano Beach Democrat who voted in committee against the bill (SB 1658). She said the bill is de-
US charity won't cut breast screening grants NEW YORK: After three days of controversy, a renowned breast cancer charity in the U.S. said it is reversing its decision to cut breast-screening grants to the country's most well-known reproductive health organization. ``We want to apologize to the American public for recent decisions that cast doubt upon our commitment to our mission of saving women's lives,'' a 'Susan G. Komen for the Cure' statement said. The Associated Press first reported that Komen had adopted criteria excluding Planned Parenthood from grants because it was under government investigation notably a probe launched in Congress at the urging of anti-abortion groups. In Washington, 26 US senators signed a letter calling on Komen to reconsider its decision. ``It would be tragic if any woman let alone thousands of women lost access to these potentially lifesaving screenings because of a politically motivated attack,'' the senators wrote. Komen leaders had denied Planned Parenthood's assertion that the decision was driven by pressure from anti-abortion groups. According to Planned Parenthood, its health centers performed more than 4 million breast exams over the past five years, including nearly 170,000 as a result of Komen grants. The grants totaled $680,000 last year. As the controversy erupted, Komen was deluged with negative emails and Facebook postings accusing it of knuckling under to pressure from anti-abortion groups. Many of Komen's affiliates across the U.S. openly rebelled, and donations to Planned Parenthood poured in. The group said the donations since the original Komen decision surpassed $900,000, including a $250,000 pledge by New York
meaning and invasive and she worries the education campaign would imply to ``minorities and low-income folks that they're not intelligent enough to make selections on the foods they want.'' The state Department of Children and Families, which oversees the food stamp program, would have to get federal approval from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to implement the bill if it passes, which may be tricky since no other states have been
Mayor Michael Bloomberg to match future donations. Planned Parenthood's president, Cecile Richards, thanked those donors and welcomed Komen's change of heart. ``We are enormously grateful that the Komen Foundation has clarified its grant making criteria,'' Richards said. ``What these past few days have demonstrated is the deep resolve all Americans share in the fight against cancer.'' A source with direct knowledge of decision-making at Komen's headquarters has said the grant-making criteria were adopted
"It would be tragic if any woman let alone thousands of women lost access to these potentially lifesaving screenings because of a politically motivated attack,'' the senators wrote with the deliberate intention of targeting Planned Parenthood. The criteria's impact on Planned Parenthood and its status as the focus of government investigations were highlighted in a memo distributed to Komen affiliates in December. According to the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of repercussions, a driving force behind the move was Karen Handel, who was hired by Komen last year as vice president for public policy after losing a campaign for governor in Georgia in which she stressed her anti-abortion views and frequently denounced Planned Parenthood. -AP
successful. The federal government spent nearly $5 billion last year to help about 3 million Floridians, as an increasing number are relying on the program in a sour economy. The average monthly benefit in the state is about $140 per person, according to the USDA. In 2004, Gov. Tim Pawlenty tried to make Minnesota's welfare program the first in the country to ban recipients from buying candy with food stamps, but feds didn't go for it. Last year, New York City applied for a waiver to restrict the sale of soda and sugary drinks, but that was also denied. Iowa, California and Texas have proposed similar bills
in the past two years, but nothing has been passed into law, according to at the National Conference of State Legislators. The waivers often require cumbersome negotiations with federal officials and, if granted, cannot originally be applied statewide. The USDA requires a control group, meaning it must be started as a pilot program in a few counties, and be evaluated by an outside party, said Sheri Steisel, director of human services policy for NCSL. The proposal comes months after another attempt to clamp down on welfare spending. Gov. Rick Scott and the Republican-led Legislature passed a law last year supporting drug testing for welfare recipients. The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit on behalf of a military veteran and single father and it's now a classaction case. U.S. District Judge Mary Scriven in Orlando issued an order temporarily blocking implementation of the law, which she found may violate a constitutional ban on unreasonable searches and seizures. The state is appealing the order that put testing on hold until Scriven can hold a full hearing. Rep. Scott Plakon, R-Longwood, who sponsored the House bill, is working with others on the sugar issue before the bills goes to the next committee. A group of bishops and welfare advocates met with lawmakers to oppose the bill they say is insulting to Florida's growing number of unemployed. -AP
Health Science Post
February 17, 2012
Obama administration rejects Medi-Cal copayments SACRAMENTO, Calif.: Federal health officials have said California cannot force Medi-Cal recipients to make a co-pay for doctor visits and prescription drugs, a decision that brings relief to lowincome patients but complicates the state's effort to close a $9.2 billion budget deficit. A letter from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services said agency officials were ``unable to identify the legal and policy support'' for the state's request. The decision is the latest in a string of legal and regulatory challenges that have made it difficult for the state to reduce spending and balance its budget. Gov. Jerry Brown and lawmakers were planning to save $511 million a year in the health insurance program by requiring low-income patients to pay a share of their medical costs. Under the state budget passed last year, Medi-Cal would require recipients to pay $5 for doctor and dental visits, $3 for preferred prescription drugs, $50 for emergency room visits and a maximum of $200 for a hospital stay. The co-pays were to start Oct. 1.
State officials said they intend to appeal to U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and others in President Barack Obama's administration. ``We will be seeking a reversal of the ruling,'' said Brown's finance spokesman, H.D. Palmer. ``If this ruling were to stand, it's
prescriptions for themselves or their children. ``For a lot of folks, hearing $5 for a doctor visit or $3 for a prescription doesn't sound like a whole lot, but when you're talking about a person on Social Security who relies on five prescriptions and regular doctor visits or when you are talking about some-
Earlier this month, a federal judge blocked the state from reducing Medi-Cal provider reimbursements by 10 percent after the federal government had approved the reduction another instance where the state would be precluded from achieving savings the Legislature has approved.'' Advocates for the poor called it the right decision, saying the co-pays would have deterred people from seeking preventive treatments. Doctors and health providers argued they would have a hard time collecting copays and say it would discourage low-income families from filling
body living on $500 or $800 a month, that's a large percentage of their budget,'' said Vanessa Cajina, a legislative advocate for the Western Center on Law and Poverty. She said no state has been allowed to impose across-the-board co-payments. The decision is the latest setback for California's budget. The state has been prevented from reducing funding for its in-
home supportive services program, which serves about 435,000 low-income seniors and disabled people. In that case, a federal judge expressed concern that a 20 percent across-the-board service reduction would put seniors at risk and violates the American With Disabilities Act. The state had been counting on $100 million in the current fiscal year and $200 million in the fiscal year that begins July 1 from in-home service cuts. Earlier this month, a federal judge blocked the state from reducing Medi-Cal provider reimbursements by 10 percent after the federal government had approved the reduction. The proposed cuts were projected to save the state's general fund $623 million for the year. The lawsuit was brought by the California Medical Association, which represents 35,000 doctors, along with other providers. Many doctors have stopped accepting Medi-Cal patients because the reimbursements do not meet the cost of overhead and supplies to treat those patients.-AP
Rotary surpasses fund target for polio eradication Contâ€™d from page 33
Rotary International is a voluntary organization comprising 1.2 million members across 209 countries that undertakes different humanitarian programs, polio eradication being one of them. Rotary International, the spearheading member of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative and the largest private sector donor till date, has contributed nearly US $ 1 billion (Rs 5,000 crores) worldwide to end Polio. In India alone, Rotary has contributed US$ 148.8 million (Rs744 crores) to fund eradication activities. In addition to their own record-breaking financial contribution for polio eradication and countless volunteer work-hours, Rotarians have helped leverage a further US$ 8 billion from governments the world over. Its volunteers throughout the world have helped organize national immunization days, staffed health stations and given drops to children.
In Brief Two charged with forging documents CARBONDALE, Colo.: Two men have been arrested on charges of making and selling forged immigration and Social Security cards in Eagle County. The sheriff's department says a detective posing as an illegal immigrant bought fake documents from 41-year-old Sergio Edwin Garcia Carranza. Authorities say detectives raided a location in Carbondale and seized cash, fake cards and $2,000 worth of equipment allegedly used to make fake cards. Deputies arrested 30year-old Victor Daniel Vazquez Cortes. The men are being held on suspicion of forgery and possession of forged instruments, both felonies. -AP
Utah's AG spent $85k defending immigration law SALT LAKE CITY: The Utah Attorney General's Office spent about $85,000 last year defending the state against a federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Utah's immigration enforcement law. KSL reports the amount was disclosed by United for Social Justice, a group opposing the law. Group representative Mindy Hatch said at a news conference that the amount was relatively small, but could have been better spent elsewhere. Records show state attorneys worked 771 hours on the lawsuit between May 19, 2011 and Dec. 31, 2011. -AP
Forum to probe immigration, education ties LINCOLN, Neb.: Internationally acclaimed social scientist Marcelo Suarez-Orozco will discuss the effects of immigration on the education of children and teenagers at a lecture at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. The Monday program will run from 1:30- 3 p.m. in the Nebraska Union Auditorium. The lecture is free and open to the public. Suarez-Orozco is a leading scholar on the social and cultural effects of immigration. The short-term and long-term health and educational impact of immigration on various groups, particularly students, will be discussed. -AP
February 17, 2012
Bill sets up illegal immigrant hiring reporting DES MOINES, Iowa: A bill that allows anyone to file a complaint with the attorney general's office alleging a business is employing an illegal immigrant has been approved by a House panel. Details on page 39
NM House panel OKs bill to halt immigrant licenses SANTA FE, N.M.: A proposal to stop driver's licenses for illegal immigrants in New Mexico is heading to the Democratic-dominated House for a politically difficult vote that likely will resonate in this year's re-election campaigns of members of the Legislature. The House Judiciary Committee voted 9-6 to endorse a measure backed by Republican Gov. Susana Martinez to overturn a 2003 law that allows driver's licenses for illegal immigrants. Two Democrats joined with seven Republicans in agreeing to send the measure to the 70-member House, which approved a similar proposal last year. But critics of the proposal predicted that Martinez won't succeed in winning enactment of the legislation because it's likely to fail in the Senate, where Democrats hold a stronger majority than in the House. Before the committee voted, Rep. Antonio ``Moe'' Maestas, an Albuquerque Democrat, described the governor's proposal as a ``political football.'' Republicans have hopes of winning a majority in the House in this year's elections. But Rep. David Doyle, an Albuquerque Republican, said the
current law creates incentives for illegal immigration. Unless New Mexico ends its license policy, he said, ``we become the open door state that allows illegal activity.'' New Mexico and Washington are the only states that grant driver's licenses to illegal immigrants and others without a Social Security number. Utah issues
officials contend New Mexico is a magnet for immigrants to get a license and then leave. The administration tried last year to force immigrants with licenses to recertify their residency in New Mexico, but a lawsuit halted the program. Supporters of the current law include church leaders, including New Mexico's Roman Catholic Church bishops, social advocacy organiza-
Democrats on the committee complained they were unable to negotiate a compromise because of Martinez's unwillingness to accept anything other than a repeal of the current law a special permit allowing immigrants to drive but, unlike a driver's license, it doesn't serve as a widely accepted government-issued form of identification. More than 90,000 licenses have been issued to foreign nationals in New Mexico since 2003 when the state eliminated the requirement for license applicants to have a Social Security number. The governor says it's a public safety risk to issue licenses to illegal immigrants, and administration
tions and immigration rights groups. New Mexico's license law, they say, is a practical approach for confronting a broader immigration problem and deals with the reality that some of the people working and raising families in New Mexico are illegally in the country. Without a license, those immigrants can't legally drive to their jobs or transport their children to school and doctor's appointments. Democrats supporting the current license law are pushing an
alternative to the governor's plan a move they hope will potentially insulate some of their members from expected campaign attacks on the issue. The proposal continues to allow driver's licenses for illegal immigrants but imposes new restrictions, including fingerprinting of applicants and a six-month residency requirement. Supporters describe it as a compromise that will crack down on the license fraud that Martinez alleges is widespread in the current system. The proposal resembles a measure the Senate approved last year but is opposed by the Martinez administration. It restricts immigrant licenses to two years and will cancel previously issued licenses unless those are renewed within two years. Currently, a New Mexico driver's license lasts four or eight years. Democrats on the committee complained they were unable to negotiate a compromise because of Martinez's unwillingness to accept anything other than a repeal of the current law. They predicted nothing will be enacted this year and the issue will be back before the Legislature in 2013. -AP
List of employer best practices during worksite audits CYRUS D. MEHTA
he Department of Justice's Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices has released the following do's and don'ts for employers facing audits by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE): DO's: • Develop a transparent process for interacting with employees during the audit, including communicating with employees that the employer is subject to an ICE audit. • Provide all workers with a reasonable amount of time to correct discrepancies in their records identified by ICE. Treat all workers in the same manner during the audit, without regard to national origin
or citizenship status. This means that all workers with like discrepancies who are asked to present additional documents are provided with the same timeframes and the same choice of Form I-9 docu-
• Inform employees from whom you seek specific information that you are seeking this information in response to an ICE audit. • Communicate in writing with employees from whom you seek
If your workers are represented by a union, inform the union of the ICE audit and determine whether a collective bargaining agreement triggers any obligations ments to present. • If your workers are represented by a union, inform the union of the ICE audit and determine whether a collective bargaining agreement triggers any obligations.
information, and describe the specific basis for the discrepancy and/or what information you need from them. Follow the instructions on the ICE notice and the instructions for the Form I-9 when seeking to correct Form I-9
defects, including the Lists of Acceptable Documents and the anti-discrimination notice. DON'Ts: • Selectively verify the employment eligibility of certain employees based on their national origin or citizenship status based on the receipt of an ICE Notice of Inspection. • Terminate or suspend employees without providing them with notice and a reasonable opportunity to present valid Form I9 documents. • Require employees to provide additional evidence of employment eligibility or more documents than ICE is requiring you to obtain. Cont’d on page 38
February 17, 2012
Bill sets up illegal immigrant hiring reporting DES MOINES, Iowa: A bill that allows anyone to file a complaint with the attorney general's office alleging a business is employing an illegal immigrant has been approved by a House panel. Lawmakers voted to move forward with the bill, which requires the attorney general, county attorneys and local police to investigate the complaints. They backed the measure despite opposition from lobbyists and the attorney general's chief of staff. Rep. Julian Garrett, R-Indianola, authored the bill, and said the goal is to create a deterrent for illegal workers. Verified complaints would be reported to federal immigration officials, and employers could lose their business licenses. ``What it will accomplish is as soon as it becomes known that it's Iowa law, the people that work here illegally won't even apply for jobs,'' Garrett said. The bill also requires employers to use a federal electronic worker verification system. Rep. Gary Worthan, a Storm Lake Republican and chairman of the justice budget committee, said that's a good goal. ``You have businesses that are taking unfair advantage,'' said Worthan, who is co-sponsoring Cont’d from page 37
• Limit the range of documents that employees are allowed to present for purposes of the Form I-9. • Treat employees differently at any point during the audit because they look or sound foreign, or based on assumptions about whether they are authorized to work in the U.S. The list is available at justice.gov/crt/about/osc/pdf/ p u b l i c a t i o n s / worksite_enforcement.pdf. Immigration office opens in Queens On January 20, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) opened its newest immigration field office in Queens, New York. The new office, located at 2735 Jackson Avenue, includes an Application Support Center (which offers fingerprinting and photographic services as part of the application process), a naturalization ceremony room, and interview and file rooms. The hours are 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The Queens office is expected to serve about 500 people each business day. Approximately 100 employees were transferred to the Queens
the measure. ``If they're employing illegal immigrants, they have an advantage over businesses that are doing things correctly.'' But Iowa Attorney General Chief of Staff Eric Tabor told lawmakers that it is not the role of state, county or local officials to enforce immigration law, and the attorney general's office would likely need more staff to cover the
“It's really kind of a clumsy attempt to get the officers of the state of Iowa to get involved in enforcing immigration law, which is really the job of the federal government” responsibilities outlined in the bill. ``What this bill does is imposes a substantial burden on the attorney general's office and the county attorney and presumably on police to do these investigations,'' Tabor said. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 17 states now require employers
to use the e-verify system, including neighboring Missouri and Nebraska. Some states only require public employers and contractors to use the system. The free system was used more than 17 million times in the 2011 fiscal year by more than 300,000 employers, according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Ben Stone, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa, said the verification system is flawed, as is the proposed legislation. ``It's really kind of a clumsy attempt to get the officers of the state of Iowa to get involved in enforcing immigration law, which is really the job of the federal government,'' Stone said. And Adam Mason, state policy director for Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, said the bill is reminiscent of controversial immigration laws in Arizona and Alabama. He also said the bill could lead to racial profiling. ``That's a huge concern for the Latino community who is here legally,'' Mason said. Garrett noted the bill doesn't allow for claims based on race, color or national origin, and he doesn't believe the measure would put a strain on law enforcement.-AP
Senator offers changes to Alabama immigration law MONTGOMERY, Ala.: A Republican senator is looking to modify Alabama's tough and contentious immigration law. Sen. Gerald Dial of Lineville said he has pre-filed legislation that he says will add common sense to the law, which has been described as the toughest in the nation. The bill amends a section prohibiting the harboring or transporting of illegal immigrants to allow churches or other ``good Samaritans'' to provide assistance to people without fear of punishment. The bill removes a section of the law that prohibits illegal immigrants from being released from jail on bond. Dial said his bill would eliminate provisions requiring proof of citizenship to renew vehicle tags and allow people to show military identification cards as proof of citizenship. Dial said many of the changes in his bill were recommended by Attorney General Luther Strange. Strange said in a statement that he has suggested ways that the law could stay strong but relieve burdens on ``law-abiding citizens.'' But Strange said his office is not promoting a particular bill or participating in the development of legislation. Bentley and legislative leaders in the House and Senate want to
make minor changes to the law during the 2012 session. They have not yet released specific proposals, but have said they want to make sure the law does not hurt the state's efforts to recruit new industry. This became a concern after officials with two of Alabama's largest international companies, Mercedes and Honda, were detained briefly because of the new law.
Strange said in a statement that he has suggested ways that the law could stay strong but relieve burdens on “law-abiding citizens'' Dial said he thinks it's particularly important to clarify that it's OK for Alabama residents to offer assistance to those in need without fear of breaking the law. ``My bill includes a provision that will allow our churches and other good Samaritans to continue the efforts for the less fortunate without the fear of legal repercussions,'' Dial said. -AP
List of employer best practices during worksite audits office from the now-closed Garden City, Long Island, office. USCIS recently opened an additional office in Holtsville, Long Island. China, India visa number priority cut-off dates move forward The Department of State's Visa Bulletin for February 2012 shows that the China and India cut-off dates continue to move forward, in some cases at a rapid rate. For February, the China employment-based second preference cut-off date has advanced a year to January 1, 2010. Also for February, the China employmentbased third preference cut-off date is December 1, 2004, advancing a month and a half from January's cut-off date, when it was October 15, 2004. The third preference "Other Workers" category remains unchanged at April 22, 2003. For February, the India employment-based second preference cutoff date is January 1, 2010, also advancing a year. Also for February, the India employment-based third preference cut-off date is August 15, 2002, advancing a week from January's cut-off date. The third preference "Other Workers" cat-
egory for India in February is August 15, 2002, a two-week advance from January. The Visa Office explained in the February bulletin: China and India: Reports from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration
For February, the India employmentbased second preference cut-off date is January 1, 2010, also advancing a year. Also for February, the India employment-based third preference cut-off date is August 15, 2002 Services (USCIS) indicate that the rate of new filings for adjustment of status in recent months has been extremely low. This fact has required the continued rapid forward movement of the cut-off date, in an attempt to generate demand and maximize number use under
the annual limit. Once the level of new filings or USCIS processing increases significantly, it will be necessary to slow or stop the movement of the cut-off. Readers are once again advised that an eventual need to retrogress the cut-off date is also a distinct possibility. Also, in the January bulletin, the Visa Office noted: The China and India Employment Second preference cut-off date has been advanced at a rapid rate in recent months. As previously noted, this action was intended to generate significant levels of new filings for adjustment of status at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) offices. USCIS has reported that the rate of new filings is currently far below that which they had anticipated, prompting an even more aggressive movement of the cut-off date for January and possibly beyond. While this action greatly increases the potential for an eventual retrogression of the cut-off at some point during the year, it also provides the best opportunity to utilize all numbers available under the annual limit.
The February 2012 bulletin notes that those categories with a "Current" projection will remain so for the foreseeable future. The Visa Office estimates that other employment-based categories not discussed above could also advance by up to one month per month in the near future, including the Worldwide, Mexico, and Philippines categories, depending on demand. U.S. Consulate in Chennai stops processing immigrant visa petitions As of January 1, the U.S. Consulate General in Chennai, India, is no longer processing immigrant visa petitions. The U.S. embassy in New Delhi and U.S. consulate in Mumbai are now the only acceptance centers in India for immigrant visa applications. Applicants currently in the process of petitioning for an immigrant visa may e-mail ChennaiIVU@state.gov for clarification of their status. * Cyrus D Mehta, may be contacted at 212-425-0555 or firstname.lastname@example.org
February 17, 2012
Brewer files brief in appeal over immigration law PHOENIX: Lawyers for Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer filed their opening brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in her appeal of a ruling that blocked enforcement of the most controversial sections of the state's immigration enforcement law. The governor is asking the nation's highest court to overturn a ruling that, among other things, barred a requirement that police while enforcing other laws question the immigration status of those they suspect of being in the country illegally. The governor said in a written statement that the debate isn't just about Arizona's immigration law. ``Rather, it is for the constitutional principle that every state has a duty and obligation to protect its people, especially when the federal government has failed in upholding its core responsibilities,'' the governor said. The Supreme Court will hear arguments on the Arizona law on April 25. Brewer lost her first appeal in April when a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals
rejected her request to overturn a July 2010 decision by U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton. Bolton had blocked key provisions from going into effect, including also a requirement that immigrants get and carry registration papers. But she allowed other
Brewer's attorneys argued that the Arizona law doesn't impose new immigration standards, but rather seeks to use state resources to enforce federal rules parts, such as a ban on obstructing traffic while seeking or offering day-labor services on streets, to take effect. Lawyers for the governor argued that Arizona bears the brunt of America's border problems and that the 9th Circuit's decision conflicts with Supreme Court precedent.
The 9th Circuit had said the federal government is likely to be able to prove the law is unconstitutional and likely to succeed in its argument that Congress has given the federal government sole authority to enforce immigration laws. Brewer's attorneys argued that the Arizona law doesn't impose new immigration standards, but rather seeks to use state resources to enforce federal rules. They said the issue before the Supreme Court is whether federal immigration law trumps parts of Arizona's immigration statute, as opponents of the law have argued. ``They suggest that immigration is so different from every other area of law that even parallel efforts at cooperative law enforcement are forbidden,'' the governor's attorneys wrote. In the past, the federal government has argued the law intrudes on its exclusive authority to regulate immigration, disrupts relations between the U.S. and Mexico, hinders cooperation between state and federal officials and burdens legal immigrants. -AP
Car makers asked to opposed Alabama migrant law BIRMINGHAM, Alabama: Opponents of Alabama's crackdown on illegal immigration say they have asked the state's three international automakers - MercedesBenz, Honda and Hyundai - to help fight for repeal of the law. Gov. Robert Bentley and Republican legislative leaders only want to tweak the anti-immigrant law, called by its sponsors the toughest in America, in the upcoming session. Critics of the law, speaking in a telephone conference with reporters, said they had sent letters to Mercedes-Benz parent Daimler AG, Honda and Hyundai seeking meetings to discuss the law, parts of which have been put on hold by
federal courts. The president of the Washington-based Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights said opponents want the automotive companies to help them fight to overturn the law, which already has resulted in the brief detention of foreign employees from Mercedes and Honda. ``The truth is, there is no fix for (the law),'' said Wade Henderson. ``The only option that makes any sense and the only option that will help Alabama restore its reputation in the U.S. and with the international business community is for the Legislature to approve a complete repeal of this obnoxious law.'' A spokesman from Honda had
no immediate comment, and a representative from Mercedes-Benz did not immediately return a message. Janet Murguia, president and chief executive of the National Council of La Raza, said Hyundai had agreed to a meeting, but company spokesman Robert Burns in Montgomery said he was unaware of such plans. Primed by Mercedes' decision to locate in Tuscaloosa County in 1993, Alabama's automotive industry is responsible for more than 48,000 jobs statewide, according to a trade association, and it has the capacity to produce more than 750,000 vehicles and engines annually. -AP
PRADEEP ROY-SINGH B.A. LL.B. M.B.A. J.D. Attorney-at-Law
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Civil & Criminal Litigation Felonies, Misdemeanors, Inc DUI 1 Personal Injury, Business, Divorce etc. 1 Property Tax for Commercial Properties 1 1
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TOP TEN HINDI FILM SONGS
February 17, 2012
ight years together and now Ritesh and Genelia are husband and wife. Together, they make a picture perfect. The wedding took place at the suburban Grand Hyatt hotel on February 3. The groom was all decked up in a white sherwani and red turban. Waving to the onlookers, Ritesh entered the venue on a Ghodi. He was glowing with excitement. The super cute and bubbly bride was dressed in a red and gold lehenga designed by Ritu Kumar. Needless to say, she looked stunning. It was a Maharashtrian wedding for the couple. The guest list included: Shahrukh Khan, Abhishek Bachchan, Jaya Bachchan, Shahid Kapoor, Asin, Ajay Devgan, Kajol, Akshay Kumar, Karan Johar, Ashutosh Gowariker, Sajid Khan, Sajid Nadiadwala, Satish Shah, Jacky Bhagnani, Vashu Bhagnani and Ramesh Taurani. Many politicians were also present. Announcing his wedding on the social networking site, Riteish Deshmukh posted a pic of him with his oh so gorgeous wifey.
1 Chikni Chameli: Agneepath 2 Hosanna: Ek Deewana Tha 3 Jhoom Jhoomta Hun Main : Players 4 O Saiyyan: Agneepath 5 Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu : Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu 6 Aromale: Ek Deewana Tha 7 Kal Chalna Shuru Tu : Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu 8 Zara Dil Ko Thaam Lo: Don 2 9 Dil Yeh Bekarar Kyu Hai : Players 10 Sharminda Hoon : Ek Deewana Tha
Lo veless Lov eyes
talian historian and author of about 17 historical novels, Valerio Massimo Manfredi has a few unpleasant words for Bollywood queen Aishwarya Rai. For those who do not know, Aishwarya Rai along with Colin Firth and Ben Kingsley, acted in the film 'The Last Legion', which is adapted from Manfredi's own book. Talking to a news agency, Manfredi said, "My character of the leading lady was totally different. She was from a village but Aishwarya was totally different. She was the lover of the protagonist…but she acted as if the film was for kids," Manfredi said. In love with Aishwarya Rai's eyes, Manfredi regretted the lack of expression of love in them. "She has such strong expressive and beautiful eyes. Some little expression of love would have made the film more different," Manfredi added.
February 17, 2012
Living in P
rateik Babbar has moved in with Amy Jackson at her Bandra home. Ever since the two started dating, they have made no secret of their relationship. Says a source, "Amy has been staying near Mount Mary. Prateik has been often spotted in the vicinity. But of late he has been staying over at her place. Residents in the area have been observing Prateik's continuous presence." Adds the source, "Though Prateik also stays elsewhere in Bandra, he has been spending more time at Amy's place. A while back her mother had been staying over but now that she has gone back to the UK, he has shifted there." The couple fell in love on the sets of their film Ek Deewana Tha. The duo has been spotted together at events and Prateik has stated that she is special.
Heartbreak again 2013 wedding
fter her alleged split with Sidhartha Mallya, Deepika Padukone is said to have turned to her former beau, Nihar Pandya's shoulders to cry on. Deepika and Nihar were dating each other during her modeling days. Post break up, the actress was still in touch with his family. Says a source, "Deepika has had a heartbreak yet again. She was open about her affair with Ranbir Kapoor, but after they broke off, she preferred to be guarded about her relationship with Sidhartha. Though both were spotted together, she avoided questions about their relationship." Adds the source, "Nihar has always been around for her. Though she moved ahead professionally and personally, he has always been stuck on her."
he latest to join the marriage club is Dia Mirza and her beau Sahil Sangha. However, the couple, who have been dating for a couple of years now, are planning for a 2013 wedding. Dia revealed, "Well, we haven't finalized the date yet. But yes, Sahil and I shall start planning sometime next year." Dia's friend informs, "The original plan was to marry by end of 2012. But now they have mutually decided to shift the date to 2013. The wedding will take place in Mumbai." "Their families too are happy with the decision," added the friend.
‘Notify Dadri wetlands as protected’ GREATER NOIDA, Dadri: A day after the union environment ministry halted all construction work around the Dadri wetland area, environmentalist are calling it a "battle half won". They green men say that the government should declare the area protected officially. Taking note of the sale of such wetlands to private players, the ministry of environment & forests had asked the state government to conserve the entire habitat supporting more than 200 species of endangered birds. Environmentalist Anand Arya says the government has finally taken the matter seriously and now, without wasting any time, it should officially recognize it as wetland and bring a concrete policy to conserve the habitat of these birds. "The fight is not against any fraternity or organization, it's just to conserve a natural rich wetland in the area," Arya said, adding that the Gautam Budh Nagar district administration played a major role in the deplorable condition of the wetland. "In 2009, the UP chief secretary wrote a letter to all district magistrates to identify all wetlands in their respective districts and inform him. However, the callous administration did not pay heed to conserve this wetland," alleged Arya.
License of Mayfield Gardens cancelled GURGAON/ CHANDIGARH: The department of town & country planning (DTCP) has cancelled the license of Mayfield Gardens and asked senior town planner (STP) in Gurgaon to take control of the colony for administrative purposes. "The license has been cancelled as the promoters of the colony failed to maintain civic amenities like internal roads and community services," said T C Gupta, director general DTCP, Haryana. This is in addition to the default in payment of Rs 23 crore by the promoters of the company on the account of external development charges (EDC) and annual license fee outstanding against the colony, Gupta added. The department had earlier put an embargo on sale and purchase of any property in the Mayfield project. And now the DTCP is in the process of issuing notice for cancellations of license of the builder of Mayfield Gardens.
Real Estate 42
February 17, 2012
Middle East eyes Gujarat's realty market AHMEDABAD: Investors of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and some other countries of the Middle East, such as Oman and Jordan, are believed to be interested in investing in Gujarat's real estate market. This is the perception of realtors from the state who were part of the 61-member delegation of Confederation of Real Estate Developers Associations of India (Credai), Gujarat Chapter, which recently visited several countries in the Middle East. Cont’d on page 43
NRI investments in property set to grow
n estimated 30 million NRIs, living in 130 coun tries, are sending remittances back home regularly. According to the World Bank, India continues to retain the top slot in remittances by expatriates from abroad. India will beat China in receiving the highest amount of remittances for five consecutive years. For 2011, NRI remittances are likely to touch 4 58 billion against China's 4 57 billion. In 2010, India received 4 54 billion in foreign exchange remittances, three percent of India's GDP, beating China's 4 53 billion. The rupee depreciation and West Asian currencies linked to dollar which is appreciating against the rupee are major driving forces that resulted in a surge in remittances to India. The remittances are mainly used for family needs and investments in stocks, property and term deposits. Real estate here is preferred because of a desire to create a higher lifestyle for the family and the price appreciation in the long term. Though there was an interim sluggishness in NRI investments, industry experts feel the trend is
going to pick up in the coming months due to the uncertainty prevailing in the global economy and
the surge in NRI investments in real estate. Property shows are held regu-
Since liberalization in the 1990s, investment norms have been simplified to enable NRIs and persons of Indian origin (PIO) to invest in real estate here the attractive investment opportunities offered here. There are opportunities opening up for developers in new markets such as Mauritius. This is ample proof of
larly now in various countries such as US, UK, and West Asia due to the concentration of a large number of expatriates in particular areas. The organizers focus on the
many options available in various localities here. Since liberalization in the 1990s, investment norms have been simplified to enable NRIs and persons of Indian origin (PIO) to invest in real estate here. Realtors here have also set shop in some countries to interact directly with overseas Indians and extend effective after sales services. Moreover, housing finance companies and banks with their representative offices in various countries offer home loans to NRI investors. Cont’d on page 43
Ahmedabad, the new 'real' hotspot AHMEDABAD: Buoyant economy and influx of industries has seen a two-fold rise in prices, says Avinash Nair. For real estate companies, Ahmedabad has turned out to be a proverbial goose that lays the golden eggs. Property prices across the city have doubled since 2010. While Godrej Properties, which got a major chunk of its revenue in the last quarter from just one project here, is reaping the benefits of being the first-mover among the realestate bigwigs, others like the Hiranandanis, the Ajmeras, the Tatas and the Adanis too have established their bases in Ahmedabad over the last couple of years. The reasons are not far to seek. Real-estate experts believe the influx of industries in the nearby town of Sanand (located 40 kms from Ahmedabad) has been responsible for this spike. Apart from auto companies Tata Motors, Ford and Peugeot, the town has
multinational companies like Bosch, Hitachi Hi-Rel Electronics, Colgate Palmolive, Hyundai Transformers and AIA Engineering buying land for their respective businesses. "Ahmedabad has become highpriority for national developers because of its growth. In the last
rector of a global property consulting firm, Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL). Godrej which sold flats at Rs 2,450 per square feet in March 2010, is now offering similar flats at a basic price of Rs 3,300 per square feet. Excluding the three townships currently being constructed,
The reasons are not far to seek. Real-estate experts believe the influx of industries in the nearby town of Sanand (located 40 kms from Ahmedabad) has been responsible for this spike two years, there has been almost a two-fold rise in real estate prices. To put it simply, a flat that used to cost Rs 63 lakh in a prime location in the city, is now priced at Rs 1.2 crore. No other city in the country has seen such a steep growth," says Nirav Kothary, regional di-
around 16,000 apartments are being developed in Gujarat. As far as commercial properties supply is concerned, nearly 6 to 8 million square feet is under construction. This supply is expected to be delivered in next 2-3 years. In the last three years, approxi-
mately 30,000 residential units and 10 million square feet of commercial (including retail) were made available in Ahmedabad. "Gujarat as a state has been growing rapidly over the past decade and Ahmedabad's real estate sector is one of the key beneficiaries of this growth. Ahmedabad has been one of the best performing markets of the 12 cities in which Godrej Properties has a presence," Pirojsha Godrej, the new managing director of the company said after the company's third quarter results. Gujarat's state domestic product has been clocking double digit growth since the last few years. According to the data published in the socio-economic review for the state, Gujarat has clocked a 211 per cent growth during the six years between 2004-05 and 200910. This is almost at par with states like Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra. Cont’d on page 43
Real Estate Post
February 17, 2012
IndiaHomes to invest $10 mn, Panel for equal property rights among couples to acquire IT firm
eal estate brokerage firm IndiaHomes has said it will invest $10 million over the next one year to foray into new areas and is scouting for an acquisition in the IT space to boost online transactions. The company, formerly known as Agni Property, announced that it has re-branded itself as IndiaHomes. It said it is also planning to ramp up its headcount by over 65 per cent to 500 people in the next financial year. "Seeing the demand from the consumers, we are expanding very aggressively in India as our company is the first professionally managed realty brokerage firm. We are now investing an additional $10 million to foray into new areas," IndiaHomes Managing Director Samarjit Singh told reporters. Two private equity firms Helion Venture Capital and Foundation Capital -which are the promoters along with Singh, have already put in $4 million and the rest will come in during the next one year, he added. This $10 million investment will be in addition to the USD 12 million that the firm has put in since starting its operations in 2009, he
said. Elaborating on its expansion plans, Singh said: "We are present in the NCR, Mumbai, Bangalore and Kolkata. Besides further strengthening in these locations, we will start our operations in Pune, Ahmedabad, Chennai and Hyderabad soon." The company will hike its staff strength to about 500 people next
IT firm and "within the next 6-9 months, it will be clear whether we will develop our softwares inhouse or acquire some company". IndiaHomes also launched a new property pricing software Goldmine - which will take into account factors like luxury, market demand, availability and positioning of the flat. Talking about revenues, Singh
"Seeing the demand from the consumers, we are expanding very aggressively in India as our company is the first professionally managed realty brokerage firm. We are now investing an additional $10 million to foray into new areas" fiscal from the current 300 employees, he said. When asked if the company would acquire local brokerage firms to further expand its reach, Singh said: "The small brokerage houses lack in professionalism and value. However, we are looking at acquiring a technology firm to offer a better online experience to our customers." Without sharing details, he said IndiaHomes was exploring possibilities to acquire a Mumbai-based
said: "This fiscal, we are expecting to generate Rs 25 crore from fees from dealing properties worth Rs 1,000 crore. For next fiscal, our target is to transact Rs 3,500 crore worth of properties and earn a net transaction fee of Rs 100 crore." Meanwhile, the company announced the appointment of Bhaskar Bagchi as Chief Operating Officer, Ashwinder Raj Singh as Vice-President (Sales) and Deepak Goel as Chief Product Officer.
Ahmedabad, the new 'real' hotspot Cont’d from page 42
According to data provided by global property consulting firm, Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL), the residential real-estate prices in some of suburban locations of Ahmedabad now stand higher in the suburbs of larger cities like Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Chennai and Pune. For instance, apartments in Whitefield (Rs 3,250 per sq.ft.) and Mysore Road (2,450 per sq. ft.) in suburban Bengaluru are
cheaper than those on Sardar Patel Ring Road where prices are as high as Rs 3,500 per square feet. Even when prices are at an alltime high, developers in Ahmedabad foresee another round of price hike in the coming months. The commissioning of large automobile projects like Ford, Peugeot and Maruti Suzuki in the coming years will drive this increase, say experts. Mumbai-based Ajmera Group, which is currently constructing a
luxury residential project in partnership with a local developer in the western part of the city, predicts a 12 per cent rise in prices in the coming days. "Rising job opportunities, growing income levels and increased migration are reasons why Ahmedabad stood strong (in the past) and will continue to be stronger for the next few years. Though a correction is expected, it will not touch matured locations," says Dhaval Ajmera, director, Ajmera Realty & Infra India.
NRI investments in property set to grow Cont’d from page 42
An Indian citizen who resides outside India is permitted to acquire property in India other than agricultural, plantation property and farmhouse. NRIs get almost all the privileges that residents have while investing in real estate. They can acquire, inherit, transfer and gift residential or commercial property. The purchase can be made through funds remitted to India through normal banking channels or funds held in certain types of accounts maintained in
India. They can get home loans, mortgage loans and loans against future rental income. While sale proceeds up to two residential properties can be repatriated after a lock-in period of three years, there is no restrictions on commercial property. Up to one million dollars per year from such a sale can be remitted outside India from a non-resident ordinary account. Rental income can be repatriated after payment of tax, wherever applicable. A number of property management companies including MNCs
have set up shop in major cities to extend property management services. This is a boon to NRIs and PIOs investing in India while living in other countries. NRIs, while returning, can retain their foreign current assets acquired, held or owned while abroad, or inherited from a person who was a resident outside India even after return to India for permanent settlement. However, income earned from an overseas asset needs to be repatriated to India and credited to a resident foreign currency (RFC) account.
NEW DELHI: A high-level government panel has suggested that all movable and immovable assets acquired by a married couple or a couple living together be classified as joint property, to be divided equitably in case of separation or desertion. The Planning Commission's working group on Women's Agency and Empowerment wants a comprehensive legislation 'Right to Marital Property Act' - to be brought in, which would be applicable to all communities. The panel, which wants a complete relook at family laws, argued that all assets acquired by a couple
should be viewed as joint property, regardless of who bought it. It said the law must recognize a woman as an equal partner with the husband and her contribution to the household should be appreciated. The panel noted that apart from some reforms in the 1950s in Hindu law and some struggles around maintenance for Muslim women, family law reform had been neglected. "There is thus an urgent need to consider… a standalone comprehensive legislation, which will ensure that all assets…acquired by the family are divided in an equitable manner," it said.
Middle East eyes Gujarat's realty market Cont’d from page 42
The Gujarati realtors had gone on a seven-day tour of the Middle East to explore the possibility of attracting investment in the state from oil-rich Arab nations. The developers said investors from these countries are closely watching developments in the Indian economy as they are interested in investing in this country, particularly in Gujarat. Gujarati realtors met investors in Muscat (Oman) and Amman (Jordan). "Investors in the Middle East are happy if they get around 5% annual appreciation of their investment in property. In comparison, the average return on investment in the real estate sector in Gujarat has been around 15% per annum. Hence, investors from the Middle East are interested in investing in Gujarat," said Suresh Patel, vice president, Credai, Gujarat. Realtors from the state said that NRGs in Muscat and Amman are affluent and influential. Till now, NRGs used to invest in the Dubai realty market but now the tide has turned as the Dubai market has gone into a slump. "I
have received a couple of enquiries from investors in Muscat and Jordan who are keen to invest here," said Dinesh Patel, president, Gujarat, Credai. The inflow from the Middle East could be critical for the state's realty sector as cash flow from domestic investors has dried
The Credai (Gujarat) delegation also visited several famous projects such as the Wave, in Muscat (Oman) and Almouj Golf, Oman's first sea-facing golf course up forcing developers to focus more on end-users (and not on investors) to sell their properties. The Credai (Gujarat) delegation also visited several famous projects such as the Wave, in Muscat (Oman) and Almouj Golf, Oman's first sea-facing golf course designed by the legendary Greg Norman, to understand the best practices in quality and service.
February 17, 2012
Hinduism, as explained to Christian believers V.V. PRAKASA RAO
n January 20, Mr. Mark Blum, Team Pastor from Elevate Life (Church) came to Karya Siddhi Hanuman Temple in Frisco, Texas and informed that he was visiting different faith organizations to know more about their respective religions. He said he already visited Jewish Synagogue, Baha'i Temple and Islamic Mosque and heard them speak about their religion. He wanted to bring about 22 missionary students to hear about Hinduism from one of the Hindu Temples. One of his Indian friends told him to contact Hanuman Temple. He said that all the representatives of their religions talked about "how peaceful their religions are?" I asked him if all these religions are so peaceful, "Why do we hear and read about violence, terror, bomb blast, desecration of holy places, destruction of property and mass killings? Do you know how many thousands of people are being killed in the name of religion?" Mr. Blum smiled and said softly that he wanted to be polite and civil, and did not want to ask questions that may rake up bad feelings. I told him when he brings his students to Hanuman Temple he can ask any and every question about Hinduism and he should not be polite and civil. I suggested that he should inform all his students to read about Hinduism and prepare as many questions as they can. That is the only way they would know the true picture of any religion. On January 26, Mr. Blum and 24 students came to Hanuman Temple. We greeted them at the entrance and briefed them about our Temple. Then we all assembled in front of Lord Hanuman and explained about different manifestations of God, and names of some of the deities and their characteris-
Karya Siddhi Hanuman Temple in Frisco
tics. Then we proceeded to one of the classrooms for the Power Point Presentation on Hinduism. The lecture started with quotations from Annie Besant, Max Mueller and Abdul Kalam. Anne Besant observed that "After a study of some forty years and more of the great religions of the world, I find none so perfect, none so scientific, none so philosophical and none so spiritual than the great religion known by the name of Hinduism." Max Mueller who translated the Vedas to discredit them said "if I were asked under what sky the human mind . . . has most deeply pondered over the greatest problems of life, and has found solutions to some of them … I should point to India. And if I were to ask myself from what literature … made our inner life more perfect, more comprehensive, more universal, in fact more truly human a life . . . again I would point to India." Dr. A P J Abdul Kalam, former President of India, "In 3000 years of our history people from all over the world have come and invaded us, captured our lands, conquered our minds. From Alexander onwards, the Greeks, the Turks, the Moguls, the Portuguese, the British, the French, the Dutch, all of them came and looted us, took over what was ours. Yet we have not done this to any other nation. We have not conquered anyone. We have not grabbed their lands, their culture, their history and tried to enforce our way of life on them. Why? Because we respect the freedom of others." This is what India, rather Hinduism, is all about? Hinduism emphasizes meaningful living, peaceful living, and respect for freedom for every individual. Then I presented 24 slides dealing with the origins of Sanatana dharma, the concept Hinduism, sources of literature (Vedas, Upanishad, Puranas, Itihasasa, Tantras) Purushardhas, Temple worship, Image worship, Guru concept, Karma philosophy, reincarnation, Yoga and meditation, stages of life, ahimsa, conversion, and other topics. Following about 40 minute presentation,
the Christian students would have 20 minutes to ask any questions they may have. But they stayed for more than 45 minutes. Most of their questions centered on Idol (Image) worship, multiplicity of Gods, conversion, and reincarnation.
Image (Idol) Worship Why so many Gods? Why worship idols? Why do the Gods have different shapes and features? Hindus believe in one Supreme Power
goddesses. In fact these manifestations can be infinite. The proper analogy is Sun and the infinite number of rays. It is difficult to experience the sun and also difficult to look at the sun directly. But we can experience its rays. For all these infinite rays there is only one source that is sun. Similarly all these multiplicity of the gods and goddesses of Hinduism are merely representing the many aspects of Brahman. Also we need to keep in mind that although we cannot see the Sun directly with our eyes, we know that it exists. But we can see the Sun by holding a mirror and see the image of the Sun in a mirror. What we see in the mirror is only an image of Sun, not Sun itself. Similarly, thousands of gods and goddesses we worship in the temples and at homes are the images of that ONE Supreme power. Another way to explain the infinite manifestations of Supreme Power is by remembering the very nature and qualities of God.
‘In 3000 years of our history people from all over the world have come and invaded us, captured our lands, conquered our minds. From Alexander onwards, the Greeks, the Turks, the Moguls, the Portuguese, the British, the French, the Dutch, all of them came and looted us, took over what was ours. Yet we have not done this to any other nation’ (Brahman) and also believe in the manifestation of multiplicity of gods and goddesses. According to our scriptures the number would run into 330 million gods and
All religions including Christianity and Islam believe that God is omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient. Contíd on page 45
February 17, 2012
Hinduism, as explained to Christian believers ContĂd from page 44
That means God is all pervading, he is all-powerful, and he is all knowing. If that is the case, God can take any shape He wants to take, He can appear in any number of places he wishes to do so, and he can be present in any number of images or any objects if he chooses to be. If we think otherwise, we humans with limited knowledge and little brains, are limiting the Supreme Power of the Almighty. God cannot be limited, he cannot be restricted, he cannot be boxed in and he cannot be confined. Hence we Hindus believe in the supreme power of God; and see Him every-where and in everything. Only Hindus are Idol worshippers? All religions practice image worship. They are all idol worshippers. Hindus accept it with pride and have developed lengthy procedures to conduct worship services (pujas). Since Hindus believe in multitude of gods and goddesses, they developed wide variety of pujas to suit the image of worship. But unfortunately, there is a tendency on the part of Christians, Muslims, atheists, secularist, and communists to discredit the image worship knowing fully well they hold certain items or images as sacred and hold them dearly. World is made up of signs, symbols and images Let us remember one thing at this point. The whole world is made up of images, signs and symbols. Without them, the whole human race cannot communicate, cannot speak, cannot imagine, cannot accumulate, cannot travel, cannot identify, and cannot remember. When we think of a mother, we know exactly how she looks and remember her smile, words and compassion instantly. Similarly, when we think of a house, children, God whether he be Hanuman, Allah, or Jesus Bible, Quran, Bhagavad Gita, Vatican, Mecca, national flag, etc., we immediately remember and identify with it. When somebody sits in a Church and hears the sermon by a Priest or Pastor, would not that faithful remember the images of Jesus and the Bible? Can we imagine somebody going to Hindu Temple and not imagining and identifying
with an image? We all know that all religious followers respect their scriptures, and respect their services as sacred. Hindus accept it, remember them, and do pujas, while Christians and Muslims may accept them as sacred but refuse to do worship services similar to Hindus. Mind Also it is very difficult to control the mind and keep it blank. It cannot be kept quiet. It always imagines, perceives, wanders, roams around, and keeps moving. It arouses thinking, opinions, philosophy, emotions, feelings, memories, dreams about material as well as non-material objects. It can travel with the speed of light any where irrespective of the distance. Mind has the ability to form a mental image of something that may or may not even exist. That kind of imagination is the root of many inventions and discoveries. It is the mind that creates or builds mental images, pictures, objects or events. Hindus believe that the mind creates the images depending on what you want to imagine. A Hindu can sit in a worship room in the house or in the temples and visualize images with different attributes, characteristics, costumes, weapons, features, ornaments, and the mystery. When Hindus think of different images of gods and goddesses, they evoke memories of the connection between the image and the beyond. Hence he can imagine the kind of image he wants such as Lord Rama, Krishna, Hanuman, Lakshmi and so on. Similarly, if a Christian sits in the Church listening to the Pastor, it is reasonable, rational and natural for the mind to imagine either Jesus, Mary, Bible, Cross, Paul or Timothy. Unfortunately they do not want to accept it for the fear that they may be called idol worshippers. Likewise, when Muslims go to mosque to listen to Imam, do Namaz five times a day, kneel on the floor in the direction of Mecca, mentally thinking of being in front of Allah, and making a Hajj to Mecca to touch or kiss Kaaba, It is difficult to believe that they do not imagine any of these. All religious followers are image / idol worshippers. Hindus accept this with pride and others don't. Swami Vivekananda and King of Alwar Then I gave an example of Swami Vivekananda meeting King of Alwar Mangal Singh who thought image or vigraha worship was a superstition. (I have summarized the
Since Hindus believe in multitude of gods and goddesses, they developed wide variety of pujas to suit the image of worship. But unfortunately, there is a tendency on the part of Christians, Muslims, atheists, secularist, and communists to discredit the image worship knowing fully well they hold certain items or images as sacred and hold them dearly following incident to the students.) Once Vivekananda arrived at the palace of King of Alwar who was an ardent follower of English culture. The King said to him, "I think Hinduism's so called "Vigrahaaradhana" is a baseless superstition. Making an idol from wood or stone, and then kneeling in front of it and praying! I can't agree with this nonsense." There was a picture of King, hanging on the wall. As requested by Swamiji, the King's minister fetched that picture. Swamiji asked the Minister, "Whose picture is this?" "This is our Maharaja's picture," replied the Minister. "If so, I ask you to spit on it." The minister and others near him were astonished to hear this audacious demand from Swami Vivekananda to spit on Maharaja's picture; and that too right in front of the King! Vivekananda ordered again to the minister, "Do as you were told. Anyone can spit on this picture."
Hinduism promotes freedom of speech, freedom of expression and freedom to think. Tolerance of other ways of worship and other images is the epitome of Hinduism. Even in a single family, one member may worship one image (Hanuman), second member Shiva, third member Devi, fourth member Rama, and the fifth may be an atheist The minister and other citizens stood there, trembling with fear. Finally, somehow the minister gathered a little courage and said, "This is our beloved Maharaja's Picture. I will not spit on it. Not only that, even asking me to spit is a punishable offence." Swamiji answered with a smile, "This picture is nothing but a mere piece of paper. It has nothing to do with the King who is standing right here in front of you. This picture does not move or speak like him. Still, you think that spitting on this picture is insulting the King!" Turning towards the King, Swami Vivekananda spoke: "At one level, this pic-
ture is not you. But at another level, it reminds about you. It helps to invoke your memory in the viewer's mind. So, the same respect they have for you, is given to this picture as well. This is the reason preventing them from spitting on it. This is also the logic behind 'Vigraha-Aradhana'. No one has ever heard about any single Hindu standing in front of the Vigraha and saying, "Oh Stone/Wood! I worship you." Every Hindu is worshipping the same God. It is not possible to limit the 'Parabrahman' within the individual mind to worship. Even to think about any particular idea, we need to have a specific means such as its name or shape. Only with that, we could think about the idea. Hinduism promotes freedom of speech, freedom of expression and freedom to think. Tolerance of other ways of worship and other images is the epitome of Hinduism. Even in a single family, one member may worship one image (Hanuman), second member Shiva, third member Devi, fourth member Rama, and
Maharaja Mangal Singh (1874-1892)
the fifth may be an atheist. Hence respect for the freedom of expression and worship are embedded in Hinduism. No member will criticize the other for his choice of worship. No member will condemn the other to hell for not believing his manifestation of God. Thus Hindus from their childhood learn to respect other ways of worship and believe in freedom of worship as long as others would not interfere with their ways. Can the Christians and Muslims allow other religions to practice their way of worship? The writer is an office bearer of the Global Hindu Heritage Foundation
46 India Post
February 17, 2012
Sat Feb 18
Sat Feb 18
• Thyagaraja Aradhana
• 'Sivoham'- Mahasivarathri Celebrations
Venue: PS 115, 80-51, 261st Street, Glen Oaks, New York Time: 3pm Contact: 631-462-2814
Venue: Sri Balaji Temple Auditorium, Aurora, IL Time: 4:30pm Contact: 630-403-8342
Sun April 22
Sat Feb 18 • Celebrate Valentineís Party at Chand Palace
ï Faag Pratiyo Gita 2012
Venue: Chand Palace Banquet Hall, 269, Littleton Road, Parsippany, New Jersey Time: 7pm Contact: 973-334-5444
Venue: Shree Sanatan Dharma Shiv Mandir, 803 Blaine Ave, Sacramento, CA Time: 4pm Contact: 916-410-0667
Wed March 7 • Loves Got a hold on me
Sat March 31
Sun Feb 19
Venue: Peter Norton Symphony Space, 2537 Broadway@95th street, New York Time: 7pm Contact: 212-545-7536
Venue: Freedom Hall, 410 Lakewood Boulevard, Park Forest, IL Time: 7pm Contact: 312-572-9373
• Arif Lohar/Sanam Marvi Ensemble
Sat April 7
Sat March 17
Venue: Pollak Theater, 400 Cedar Ave, West Long Branch, New Jersey Time: 8pm Contact: 732-263-6889
Venue: Anubhuti Meditation & Retreat Center 820, Bel Marin Keys Blvd, Novato, CA Time: 12am Contact: 415-884-2314
Venue: Tribeca Performing Arts Center, 199 Chambers Street, New York Time: 6:30pm
• Tufaan 2012
Sun April 21
Venue: Cahn Auditorium, Northwestern University, 600 Emerson Street, Evanston, IL Time: 6pm Contact: 617-827-5581
• India Fair 2012 Venue: NJ Convention & Expo Center, 97 Sunfield Ave, Raritan Center, Edison, NJ Time: 11am Contact: 609-240-2350
Sat Feb 25 ï Bhangra Madness!! Venue: Indian Kitchen, 3878 Walnut Ave, Fremont, CA 94538 Time: 9pm Contact: 408-768-6839
Upcoming Sun March 11 • Rang De Mujhe Rang De (Holi) Venue: MANTRA Restaurant, 52 Temple Place, Boston, MA Time: 11am Contact: 617-935-9193
Sat April 7 • Swar Bahaar Venue: Littleton High School Auditorium, 56 King Street, Littleton, MA Time: 4pm Contact: 617-905-4305
Sat April 21 • Yamandu Costa, Classical Guitarist Venue: 8000 York Road, Towson MD, Baltimore, WDC Time: 8pm Contact: 443-296-2247
Upcoming Fri Feb 3 to Sat Feb 25
Sat Feb 18
• Pandit Jasraj: Masters of Indian Music
• Best of the Best 2012
Sun March 4 ï Kids Art Contest 2012 Venue: 525, Los Coches St. Milpitas, CA Time: 3pm Contact: 408-934-1130
Mon May 14 ï Amjad Sabriís Qawwali Program Venue: India Community Center, ICC, 525 Los Coches St. Milpitas, CA Time: 9pm Contact: 510-754-0129
• Buddha: Triumph & Tragedy in The Life of the Great Sage Venue: Bootleg Theater, 2220 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90057 Time: 7:30pm Contact: 800-838-3006 Highlights: Written & Performed by Evan Brenner, Directed by John C. Reilly, Presented by the Bootleg Theater.
Sat Feb 18 • Mehfil Entertainment Presents Valentine 2012 Bollywood Musical Eve Venue: Royal Delhi Palace, 22323 Sherman Way, Canoga Park, CA Time: 6pm Contact: 805-404-9836
Fri March 2 • Art of Living Course Venue: Art of Living Center Los Angeles, 948 W. Adams Blvd, Los Angeles, CA Time: 7pm Contact: 310-820-9429
Mon, March 19 • The Wedding Salon Venue: SLS Hotel Beverly Hills, 465 South La Ciengega Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA Time: 4pm Contact: 212-631-7777
Sat March 31 • Jashan A celebration Venue: Pearson Park Amphitheater, 401 North Lemon Street, Anaheim, CA Time: 5pm Contact: 714-368-3424
Sat July 14 ï Summer Picnic
Fri April 20
Venue: Lake Elizabeth Park, 4000 Paseo Padre Pkwy, Fremont, CA Time: 10am Contact: 510-713-2686
• Tadasana Festival Venue: The Tadasana Village 2600 Barnard Way, Santa Monica, CA Time: 8am Contact: 415-533-4052
February 17, 2012
India Post 47
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ost people spend their entire life imprisoned within the confines of their own thoughts. They never go beyond a narrow, mind-made, personalized sense of self that is conditioned by the past. In you, as in each human being, there is a dimension of consciousness far deeper than thought. It is the very essence of who you are. We may call it presence, awareness, the unconditioned consciousness. In the ancient teachings, it is the Christ within, or your Buddha nature. Finding that dimension frees you and the world from the suffering you inflict on yourself and others when the mind-made "little me" is all you know and runs your life. Love, joy, creative expansion, and lasting inner peace cannot come into your life except through that unconditioned dimension of consciousness. If you can recognize, even occasionally, the thoughts that go through your mind as simply thoughts, if you can witness your own mental-emotional reactive patterns as they happen, then that dimension is already emerging in you as the awareness in which thoughts and emotions happen the timeless inner space in which the content of your life unfolds. The stream of thinking has enormous momentum that can
Questioner: Would you please explain what you mean by dying daily? J Krishnamurti: Why is it that we are so frightened of death? Because death is the unknown. We don't know what is going to happen tomorrow; actually, we don't know what is going to happen. Though we build for tomorrow, actually, realistically, we don't know; and so there is always the fear of tomorrow. So, fear is the guiding factor, which is the incapacity to meet the unknown, and therefore we continue taking today over into tomorrow. That is what we are doing, is it not? We give continuity to our idiosyncrasies, to our jealousies, to our stupidities, to our memories; wherever we are, we carry them over from day to day. Don't we do that? And so there is no dying, there is only an assurance of continuity. That is a fact. Our names, our actions, the things that we do, our property, the desire to be - all these give a continuity. Now, that which continues obviously cannot renew. There can be renewal only when there is an ending.
easily drag you along with it. Every thought pretends that it matters so much. It wants to draw your attention in completely. Here is a new spiritual practice for you: don't take your thoughts too seriously. How easy it is for people to become trapped in their conceptual prisons. The human mind, in its desire
Thinking fragments reality - it cuts it up into conceptual bits and pieces. The thinking mind is a useful and powerful tool, but it is also very limiting when it takes over your life completely, when you don't realize that it is only a small aspect of the consciousness that you are. Wisdom is not a product of thought. The deep knowing that is wisdom arises through the
Dogmas - religious, political, scientific - arise out of the erroneous belief that thought can encapsulate reality or the truth. Dogmas are collective conceptual prisons. And the strange thing is that people love their prison cells because they give them a sense of security and a false sense of "I know." Nothing has inflicted more suffering on humanity than its dogmas.
Don't take your thoughts too seriously In you, as in each human being, there is a dimension of consciousness far deeper than thought. It is the very essence of who you are
to know, understand, and control, mistakes its opinions and viewpoints for the truth. It says: this is how it is. You have to be larger than thought to realize that however you interpret "your life" or someone else's life or behavior, however you judge any situation, it is no more than a viewpoint, one of many possible perspectives. It is no more than a bundle of thoughts. But reality is one unified whole, in which all things are interwoven, where nothing exists in and by itself.
simple act of giving someone or something your full attention. Attention is primordial intelligence, consciousness itself. It dissolves the barriers created by conceptual thought, and with this comes the recognition that nothing exists in and by itself. It joins the perceiver and the perceived in a unifying field of awareness. It is the healer of separation. Whenever you are immersed in compulsive thinking, you are avoiding what is. You don't want to be where you are. Here, Now.
It is true that every dogma crumbles sooner or later, because reality will eventually disclose its falseness; however, unless the basic delusion of it is seen for what it is, it will be replaced by others. What is this basic delusion? Identification with thought. Spiritual awakening is awakening from the dream of thought. Eckhart Tolle is author of The Power of Now The 64th birth anniversary of Eckhart Tolle will be observed on February 16
If you are the same tomorrow as you are today, how can there be renewal? That is, if you are attached to an idea, to an experience which you have had yesterday and which you desire to continue tomorrow, there is no renewal; there is a continuity of the memory of the sensation of that experience, but the experience itself is dead.
tually uncreative. There is no possibility of a rebirth, a renewal. Whereas, if each day we died, finished at the end of the day all our worries, all our jealousies, all our idiocies and vanities, our cruel gossip - you know, the whole business - if each day we came to an end and did not carry all that over into tomorrow, then there would be a pos-
not continue, there would be a possibility of a new understanding, a new opening. This is not metaphysical, this is not something fantastic. Experiment with it yourself and you will see that an extraordinary thing takes place. If one does not continue, if one does not give continuity to a worry, but thinks it out, goes
Why is it that we are so frightened of death? J. Krishnamurti
There is only the memory of the sensation of that experience, and it is that sensation you want to continue. And where there is continuity, obviously there is no renewal. And yet it is what most of us want we want to continue. We want to continue with our worries, with our pleasures, with our memories; and so most of us are ac-
So, fear is the guiding factor, which is the incapacity to meet the unknown, and therefore we continue taking today over into tomorrow. That is what we are doing sibility of renewal, would there not? So, why do we accumulate? And what is it that we accumulate, apart from furniture and a few other things? What is it that we accumulate? Ideas, words, and memories, do we not? And with these we live - we are those things. With those things we want to live, we want to continue. But if we did
into it fully and dissolves it, then one's mind is fresh to meet something else anew. If we die each day, each minute, to everything that one has accumulated, then there is a possibility of immortality. The 26th death anniversary of J Krishnamurti will be observed on February 17
There is pleasure when a sore is scratched, But to be without sores is more pleasurable still. Just so, there are pleasures in worldly desires, But to be without desires is more pleasurable still. -Nagarjuna I find that somehow, by shifting the focus of attention, I become the very thing I look at, and experience the kind of consciousness it has -Nisargadatta Maharaj Meditation is painful in the beginning but it bestows immortal Bliss and supreme joy in the end. -Swami Sivananda By hating that person, you have lost something very sweet in yourself. -Sri Chinmoy A little knowledge that acts is worth infinitely more than much knowledge that is idle. -Kahlil Gibran The more you are motivated by love, the more fearless & free your action will be. -Dalai Lama Where there is love there is life. -Mahatma Gandhi
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February 17, 2012
Guilty until proved innocent D SUBA CHANDRAN
uring the last few months, there have been few reports in Pakistani media, hinting Jamaat Ali Shah, former Indus Water Commissioner from Pakistan, had fled the country to avoid being prosecuted for failing to protect Pakistan's interest. His guilt: he failed to stop India from building a dam across the river Indus in Nimoo Bazgo, near Leh in Ladakh. Few news reports and comments have already made up their mind in providing their verdict that Jamaat Ali Shah was guilty of not protecting Pakistan's interests and India's project along the Indus River is in violation of the Indus Waters Treaty signed between the two countries. According to a news report, "Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has registered a case against Syed Jamaat Ali Shah, Pakistan's former Indus water commissioner, for allegedly acting as an agent of India by allowing India to build the Nimoo Bazgo Dam." Unfortunately, when it comes to water issues, the entire South Asian societies, base their arguments on emotions, rather than facts. Even if there are facts to support their case, they do not want to look at the truth behind the facts. Consider the objectives of constructing the Nimoo Bazgo dam, before blaming Jamaat Ali Shah and India for acting against the interest of Pakistan. Not many in Pakistan (for that matter, many inside even India) realize Ladakh is mountain locked territory, opened to the rest of the world only for six months, that too only through a single pass - the mighty Zoji La. Of course, there is another route via Manali, but it is opened for a shorter period than SrinagarLeh road, cutting across Kargil. With Ladakh being a cold desert, it is important for the region to get electricity generated from within to support its economy. With agriculture declining and tourism becoming the main revenue earning sector for Ladakh, it is important for this region to play on its strength - tourism, which also is seasonal. Though there is winter tourism in Ladakh, the number is negligible. To sustain tourism, it is important for Ladakh (or for that any other parts in J&K, which thrives on tourism economy) to have adequate electricity to attract the inflow of tourists. Imagine in a freezing cold, having electricity only for two hours a day. While for many in the Kashmir Valley and Ladakh - this is a daily routine, for a tourist it may not. Hence, it is imperative to develop
the power sector in Ladakh, to sustain the thriving tourism industry to support the local economy. While Pakistan may not understand the domestic need to develop power from the available resources, what is worse, is the fear that India is building the dam across the Indus River to divert water. Anyone who has visited Nimoo Bazgo would understand what the dam is capable of. Is the dam capable of storing the waters of the Indus to an extent, that it would cripple the economy of downstream? Or is India planning to divert the waters of the Indus from the dam to elsewhere? Technically the dam in Nimoo Bazgo is incapable of becoming a huge storage dam or to divert the waters to another region. This project cannot be anything but run of the river project, generating electricity, which is permissible under the Indus Waters Treaty.
dia and the government believe that Pakistan is not seriously interested in developing the Indus Water resources jointly, and only looking forward to an opportunity to delay any and every project across the river irrespective of signing a treaty. This apprehension over Pakistan's delaying tactics, influence India's decision making in going ahead with the project without adequate prior consultation. Now, getting back to the original question - of accusing Jamaat Ali Shah of conspiring with the India is likely to set a negative trend, which would have a huge implication for any future dialogue on water sharing between India and Pakistan. Despite few clarifications in the Parliament of Pakistan on the nature of Indian projects over the Indus River, a section seems to have already made up its mind: India is attempting to use the waters as a weapon.
However, the debate in Pakistan is unlikely to be on the nature of this project and the reasons behind constructing the same. Invariably, the majority within Pakistan believe that India's primary objective of any project on the Indus River will have to be essentially anti-Pakistan. In fact, not many in Pakistan understand that the local societies within J&K across the LoC are extremely upset and even angry for not being able to make use of the water resources, which run across their land. Pakistan also does not understand, a section within J&K would like India to abrogate the Indus Waters Treaty, as they consider it essentially anti-Kashmiri. It is unfortunate, that the wishes and genuine interests of the multiple societies living across the Line of Control over the Indus waters cannot be addressed sufficiently. Why cannot India explain the situation to Pakistan on projects like Nimoo Bazgo and Kishenganga in advance? The Indus Water Commissioner in In-
What does the Jamaat episode signify? What lessons need to be learnt? First and foremost, any issue over the sharing of waters across the Indus River is going to be an emotional issue, irrespective of the facts. In fact, facts and truth will become the first casualty in the growing water hysteria on the Indus River. Second, it is important to reach out to the multiple societies sharing the Indus River, and initiate an Indus water dialogue, comprising Indians, Pakistanis and Kashmiris. It should also include the Sindhis, Punjabis and Kashmiris from both sides of the border, Balochis and Pashtuns. Let us remember, these societies have lived together and shared the same river for centuries. An Indus Water dialogue, at the societal level, cutting across the multiple communities will bring them together. Let the Indus become one big natural bridge, once again, from Demchok to Karachi. The writer is Director, Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies (IPCS)
India Post Citizens' vigilance
oes the Indian voter really have a choice? If she protests against Congress misrule, the alternative is BJP misrule. A former finance minister during the BJP led NDA rule, Yashwant Sinha has made a long list of Congress scams during the Nehru-Gandhi party's tenure as India's ruling party. This was in response to Congress Minister Kapil Sibal's demand that the BJP apologize for dragging the name of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh into the 2 G scam. The Supreme Court, in its judgment, had absolved the Prime Minister of all blame while indicting the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) for delay in sanctioning the probe against the then Telecom Minister A Raja. Sibal wanted a BJP apology for blaming the Prime Minister. Indeed it is a curious judgment. The PMO exists because there is a Prime Minister. If there is no PM, then there can be no PM office. And if the PM office is apportioned blame, how can the PM remain unscathed? The PMO functions at the PM's bidding. If the Supreme Court had indicted the PM himself, it would have been a big thing and the PM might have been obliged to resign bringing down the government of UPA also. So the Supreme Court avoided pointing the finger at the chief functionary to avoid a political earthquake. But that doesn't absolve the Prime Minister from moral responsibility of knowingly not doing his duty of flagging his erring minister. As such Sibal's demand for an apology looked a little silly. Faced with a spate of scams, the Congress has fallen back on the much beaten track of blaming everything that has gone wrong on the six years of BJP-led NDA rule at the Center. Sibal even said the 2 G policy was just a follow up of the first-come-first-served policies the NDA had been pursuing during its rule, and therefore UPA should not be singled out for blame. Considered one of the intellectuals in the cabinet, Sibal is in effect saying that the UPA chose not to use its mind. Since coalition politics is here to stay, no single party can enforce its policies even if it wants to. Instead of looking ahead to people's welfare, each party seeks to ensure first its survival. The tragedy of the Congress is that even in this game of survival, they are not united. The reaction of each minister, and even the Prime Minister, is "I didn't do it." There is no one to take responsibility. The supposed power behind the throne, Party Chief Sonia Gandhi, is herself not willing to take on major issues. Even if the BJP comes to power in 2014, it won't be able to put into practice its own policies as it would be able to reach the Delhi throne only with the help of some regional parties who would ask for their pound of flesh. Which means ministries like that of A Raja's infamous Telecom will be given to those with most clout. And there would be opportunities of making a quick buck provided nobody's watching. That is going to be the difference between past governments and future governments. Whatever combination comes to power wherever, they will be subject to scrutiny by an awakened public. Anna Hazare may have retreated after his Mumbai fast fiasco, but the points he made with his movement and the people's response to it is very much a fact of life. So there is hope in a vigilant citizenry. There are avenues like RTI and the courts available to question the dubious deeds of politicians and their attempts to carry on the business of politics as before will not succeed.
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February 17, 2012
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