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Adorable pair of Dev and Sunny Pawar

VOL 22, No. 1170

March 3, 2017

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NYT SLAMS TRUMP’S SILENCE ON KANSAS NEW YORK: By keeping mum on the killing of an Indian engineer in Kansas, President Donald Trump has "stoked" hate crime in America, a leading US daily has said, warning that his silence will "damage" the vitality and strength of the country. "President Trump and his administration have not only tried to keep many immigrants and foreign visitors out of the country, they have done so by casting them as criminals, potential terrorists and trespassers, out to steal the jobs and threaten the lives of Americans," the New York Times said in its editorial 'Who Belongs in Trump's

America?' "Rather than tamp down hate, the president has stoked it," it said. "He has not said anything about the Kansas shooting," the paper added. 32-year-old Indian engineer Srinivas Kuchibhotla, who was working in aviation systems for Olathe-based Garmin Ltd, died after he was shot by navy veteran Adam Purinton who, according to witnesses, yelled "get out of my country" and "terrorist" at a Kansas bar on February 22 night before opening fire. Details on page 5

Details on page 30

PM to honor women sarpanches

Srinivas Kuchibhotla and Alok Madasani

Community is shocked over Srinivas killing Details on page 16

'Trump got something for One China’ Details on page 6

'Trump favors immigration of skilled workers' Details on page 6

Pak to revive military courts for 2 years

Details on page 6

Indian Lawyer who exposed the 'stent' scam

Details on page 6

CONTENTS

Details on page 8

Bollywood ---------------------- 28-29 Classifieds ------------------------- 52

INDIA POST SURVEY

Community Post -------------- 16-24

survey@indiapost.com

Edit Page --------------------------- 54

This week’s question

HealthScience Post --------- 48-51

Date Book -------------------------- 47

Horoscope ------------------------- 27

Modi should speak to Trump on Kansas?

Immigration Post ------------- 44-46 Life Style ----------------------- 30-34

Last week’s result

Pakistan behaves only after US threat? YES 87%

NO 13%

Philosophy ------------------------- 53

ROYAL GREETING: Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip meeting Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and other delegates during a

Publisher’s Diary ------------------ 4

reception to mark the launch of the UK-India Year of Culture 2017 at Buckingham Palace. Britain's Prince William and Catherine the Duchess of Cambridge are also seen. (Details on page 7)

Real Estate -------------------- 36-39 TechBiz Post ------------------- 11-15 Travel & Hospitality Post ---- 40-43

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Bollywood: Underwater queen Parineeti Chopra, a certified scuba diver, can now dive up to 40 meters or 120 feet in open sea.

Cover Story: Trump silence NYT says by keeping mum on the killing of Indian engineer in Kansas, President Trump has "stoked" hate crime

Community: Killer charged Adams Purinton, killer of Srinivas Kuchibhotla, is being charged with premeditated first-degree murder

Romesh K Japra

FLORIDA B K Madnani CANADA Firdaus Ali Correspondent

HIGHLIGHTS

e are living in a world today where almost every aspect of our life is politicized. Like it or not, and whether we are in it or not, one is being labelled onto one box of political identity or the other. We no longer know where our personal life ends and our public life begins. With career politicians increasingly assigning themselves more and more powers that also translate into money, they have become the de facto headline grabbers pushing aside scientists making new inventions, astronomers making new discoveries, advancing communication technology, athletic and academic achievements, and so on. Frustratingly enough, everything from a teenager's haircut to restaurant menus to a celebrity's gown to the Grammys and Oscars and baby names seem to be making political statements. Worse, my very personal likes and dislikes somehow seem to proclaim political correctness or otherwise, leading to, well, moments of embarrassment depending on which family or social gathering I am trying to fit into. Before we all end up with nothing more than the comfort of watching and discussing cute puppy videos to avoid conflict of any nature, I think we must get the media to stop giving everything on the planet a political angle and stop headlining politics. After weeks and weeks of headlining with Presidential politics, The New York Times recently said in its online morning briefings, "there's more politics to cover, but first let's broaden our perspective…" and went on to talk about the new discovery of seven Earth-sized planets orbiting a dwarf star named Trappist1 about 40 light years from Earth. Now that's as good a top headline for me as any other to start off my day wondering about life other than our own in space or worry that we could be the only ones in the cosmos talking politics.

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NYT slams Trump silence on Kansas NEW YORK: By keeping mum on the killing of an Indian engineer in Kansas, President Donald Trump has "stoked" hate crime in America, a leading US daily has said, warning that his silence will "damage" the vitality and

to keep many immigrants and foreign visitors out of the country, they have done so by casting them as criminals, potential terrorists and trespassers, out to steal the jobs and threaten the lives of Americans," the New York Times said in its editorial 'Who Belongs in Trump's America?' "Rather than tamp down hate, the president has stoked it," it said. "He has not said anything about the K a n s a s shooting," President Donald Trump the paper strength of the country. added. "President Trump and his ad32-year-old Indian engineer ministration have not only tried Srinivas Kuchibhotla, who was

USINPAC condemns killing of Indian engineer NEW YORK: A US-India bipar- violence, Congressman Ro tisan body has strongly con- Khanna said, "Any act of violence demned the "heinous" and "bar- fuelled by hatred and xenophobia baric" killing of an Indian engineer and prejudice cannot be tolerated." in Kansas and sought prompt inHe expressed hope that local vestigation into the incident and and federal law enforcement will other similar hate crimes across the justly investigate the shooting as country. a hate crime. Expressing shock The US-India Political Action over the killing, USINPAC ChairCommittee said the "apparent hate man Sanjay Puri said the organizacrime" is "heinous" and "barbaric" tion strongly condemns the killing and USINPAC stands together of Kuchibhotla. with the victims' families at their "We have reached out to the time of distress. Department of Justice and asked for 32-year-old Indian engineer quick action on these and other Srinivas Kuchibhotla, who was working in aviation systems for He expressed hope that Olathe-based Garmin local and federal law Ltd, died after he was enforcement will justly shot by navy veteran Adam Purinton who, investigate the shooting as according to witnesses, a hate crime yelled "get out of my country" and "terrorist" at a bar such hate crimes around the counon Feb 22 before opening fire. try. This incident needs to be treated Kuchibhotla's colleague Alok as a hate crime. We continue to Madasani, also an engineer from monitor this situation along with Hyderabad, was critically injured other racially motivated incidents in the attack. around the country," Puri said. "My thoughts are with the vicThe USINPAC focuses on the tims and families shaken by the over 3.2 million Indian-Americans shooting in Kansas. Senseless and works on issues that concern acts of violence have no place in the community. It supports candiour country. I'm heartbroken by dates for local, state and federal this tragedy," said Congress- office and encourages political woman Pramila Jayapal. participation by the Indian-AmeriCalling this a senseless act of can community. -PTI

working in aviation systems for Olathe-based Garmin Ltd, died after he was shot by navy veteran Adam Purinton who, according to witnesses, yelled "get out of my country" and "terrorist" at a Kansas bar on February 22 night before opening fire. The NYT said while each act of hate is easily explained away as the work of a disturbed person, had these attacks been perpetrated by a Muslim or an undocumented immigrant, Trump would surely have claimed that he was right all along. The editorial referred to the question "do we belong" posed by Srinivas Kuchibhotla's wife Sunayana Dumala after the killing of her husband. The Trump administration has an "obligation" to convince people like Dumala that they do belong here, it said, adding that Dumala and millions of other members of minorities are "integral" to the US, which is almost entirely made up of immigrants and their descendants.

Kansas reports 'disturbing': White House WASHINGTON: The White House has said that the early reports coming from Kansas, where an Indian engineer was shot dead and another injured in an apparent hate crime, were "disturbing". The White House also condemned the alleged hate crimes against the Jewish community in the US. White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told reporters at his daily news conference that "early reports coming from Kansas are equally disturbing". Srinivas Kuchibhotla, 32, was killed and Alok Madasani, of the same age, was injured in the shooting by 51-year-old US navy veteran Adam Purinton who screamed racial slurs and told them "get out of my country". A 24-year-old American named Ian Grillot tried to intervene and received injuries in the firing in Austins Bar and Grill in Olathe, Kansas. Spicer, during his briefing, also condemned the alleged hate crimes against the Jewish community and asserted that there is no space for violence based on religion and ethnicity. His remarks came after vandals broke and overturned more than 500 gravestones at a Jewish cemetery in Philadelphia, the latest in a spate of recent bomb threats and attacks against sites for Jews across the United States. -PTI

"If Trump does nothing, he will enable the perpetrators of hate crimes and he will damage the vitality and strength of the country," it said. The editorial slammed Trump for being "shockingly slow" to condemn acts of hate perpetrated across the country following his election, saying his "denuncia-

stay here, or come here," it said. It said as hate crimes and other incidents of bias have flared up in Trump's America, Kuchibhotla's "murder" is one end of a continuum of hate and elsewhere, people have defiled or threatened violence at Jewish cemeteries and synagogues. The NYT said Trump can learn

The Trump administration has an "obligation" to convince people like Dumala that they do belong here, it said, adding that Dumala and millions of other members of minorities are "integral" to the US tions of and policies" targeting Mexicans, Muslims and others have "reawakened and energized the demons of bigotry." "... this history might not comfort marginalized groups who hear the administration's words and see what is happening in this country and wonder if it is safe to

from Ian Grillot, a 24-year-old who confronted the Kansas killer and was injured. In a video from his hospital bed, Grillot said: "I was just doing what anyone should have done for another human being. It's not about where he was from or his ethnicity." -PTI

Mother of Srinivas questions Trump policies HYDERABAD: The mother of Indian techie who was shot dead in the US in a suspected racist attack, questioned the immigration policies of President Donald Trump, which allegedly triggered racist attacks. "The US is the country of migration. People from all countries migrate to US. Who are you to say don't come," asked Parvatha Vardhini, mother of Srinivas Kuchibhotla, who was cremated here on Feb 28. "If you kill people because of their color and race, what will happen to their parents? Did you give birth to them, raised and educated them," asked the grief-stricken mother, opening up for the first time since Kansas shooting incident which killed her son.

Parvatha said her son had gone to the bar with his friend to see the football match on a big screen. "His wife had gone to the office and till her return he wanted to spend some time. Was this a crime?" she asked while talking to media persons at their house in Bachupally on the outskirts of Hyderabad. She claimed that Kuchibhotla did not say anything to the man who entered into an argument. "My son did not say anything even though the attacker kept throwing racial slurs," she said. She said Indians living in the US should stay united to prevent such incidents. She, however, was not sure how they will succeed in the atmosphere created in that country.-Agencies

Swaraj hails Grillot's heroism NEW DELHI: External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has wished a speedy recovery to the American, who was injured while intervening in the shooting that killed an Indian engineer in the US, and said India salutes his heroism. "India salutes the heroism of Ian Grillot! Best wishes for a speedy recovery," Swaraj tweeted. Srinivas Kuchibhotla, 32, was

killed and Alok Madasani, of the same age, was injured in the shooting by 51-year-old US navy veteran Adam Purinton who screamed racial slurs and told them to "get out of my country". Grillot, 24, tried to intervene and received injuries in the firing in Austins Bar and Grill in Olathe, Kansas. He is recovering in a hospital after being shot in the hand and chest. -PTI


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'Trump got something for One China policy' WASHINGTON: The White House has indicated that US President Donald Trump "got something" in return from Beijing for agreeing to the 'One China' policy on Taiwan, which he had earlier questioned following his electoral victory. "The President always gets something," the White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told

Washington is not bound to follow its nearly three-decade-old policy to support one China unless Beijing agrees to a new trade deal. However, Trump reaffirmed US support for the One China policy during his first phone call with Chinese President Xi Jinping early last month. Spicer said that Trump agreed

Under the 'One China' policy, considered to be the cornerstone of Sino-US relations, the US recognizes and has formal ties with China rather than the island of Taiwan, which China sees as a breakaway province to be reunified with the mainland one day reporters at his daily news conference when asked about Trump's change in the 'One China' policy over the past few months. Breaking with past traditions, Trump, following his victory in November election, had made a call to Taiwan, and openly questioned the sanctity of the 'One China' policy, suggesting that

to stick with the One China policy at the request of Chinese President Jinping. "He (Trump) had a conversation with President Xi, I'm not going to get into the details of it, but at President Xi's request and after a discussion, the President reaffirmed the one China policy. The President (Trump) is not the one

to discuss his negotiating tactics," Spicer said. "But did he insure the American people get something?" he was asked. "The President always gets something," Spicer said. Under the 'One China' policy, considered to be the cornerstone of Sino-US relations, the US recognizes and has formal ties with China rather than the island of Taiwan, which China sees as a breakaway province to be reunified with the mainland one day. Meanwhile, Trump's nominee for Ambassador to China - Iowa Governor Terry Branstad - was also praised by the White House. "He is known for his soft policies on China. I think he's going to do a phenomenal job representing our nation. He starts with a deep understanding of the Chinese economy, the Chinese government. That is going to really serve our nation well," he said. The Iowa Governor, he said, has deep understanding and ties to China and to China's economy and the Chinese officials. -PTI

'Trump favors immigration of skilled workers' WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump is open to immigration of skilled workers who can add to innovation, a top executive of India's Mahindra company in the US has said amidst the row over possible changes in H-1B visas which, experts believe, would hit India's booming IT sector. "I think Trump is for skilled workers. I don't think he's saying I don't want any immigration. He's talking about getting skilled workers, which will add innovation and technology to this one and we have a lot of Indian scientists," Mani Iyer, president and CEO of Mahindra USA told PTI in an interview. Mahindra, which has been in the US for just two decades, has now emerged as number three top selling tractor company in the country. With a nationwide network, Mahindra also provides employment to thousands of people here. "We know about Indian (companies) adding so much value to the US economy, but at the same time, we have to also see how do we become a local brand. How do

we employ local people? How do we add to the communities, and how do we talk of what the brand does for the market, rather than talking about how do we outsource the staff out of this country and other parts of the world," Iyer said responding to a question on H-1B visas. "So, if you make significant in-

to lose employment here, and no person of any country would like to lose employment. So I think he's talking the right language," he observed. "You just have to see it in the right perspective and align to, and look at the good part of his perspective, rather than picking holes and then start beating it

"You just have to see it in the right perspective and align to, and look at the good part of his perspective, rather than picking holes and then start beating it down to death. In my opinion - his principles and what he wants to do for the country is very right," Iyer said vestments here, and talk about what is your plan in the country, and how local you can get, and how, what value addition you can do for the local economy, I think that's a brilliant move. Then there is no question of immigration and H-1B visa," he said. Iyer insisted that Trump is not against getting skilled workers. "At the same time, we don't want

down to death. In my opinion his principles and what he wants to do for the country is very right," Iyer said. Iyer was in Washington DC to attend a reception and interaction hosted for him jointly by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and Atlantic Council's South Asia Center. Iyer is also chairman of CII-India Business Forum.-PTI

PM to honor women sarpanches NEW DELHI: Women ture across the country. sarpanches, who have done exAs part of this campaign, the emplary work under the Swachh government is aiming to achieve Bharat Abhiyan, will be felicitated an Open-Defecation Free (ODF) by Prime Minister Narendra Modi India by October 2, 2019, the on the occasion of International 150th anniversary of the birth of Women's Day. Mahatma Gandhi, by constructThe Prime Minister will honor ing close to 9 crore toilets. and give awards to women sarpanches for their contribution in the As part of this campaign, the clean India campaign at a function to be held at government is aiming to Gandhinagar, in Gujarat, achieve an Open-Defecaon the occasion of International Women's' tion Free (ODF) India by Day on March 8, October 2, 2019 sources said. The aim behind organizing this event is to motivate So far, about 3.46 crore toilets women and increase their involve- have been constructed and about ment with this campaign, they 1.65 lakh villages have become added. ODF. The Swachh Bharat Abhiyan In last two years, sanitation (SBA) was officially launched on coverage of the country has also October 2, 2014 by Modi himself. increased to 61.16 per cent from The campaign aims to clean the 42 per cent, according to official streets, roads and other infrastruc- data. -PTI

Pak to revive military courts for 2 years ISLAMABAD: Pakistan's po- general consensus. litical parties have agreed in prinBut the government is hopeful ciple to revive the controversial that PPP would be ready to supmilitary courts for another two port the idea when government years for speedy trial of terrorists, would convene the parliament after a fresh wave of suicide at- session to present an amendment tacks killed over 125 people re- in constitution to set up speedy cently. trial courts. The military courts were set up The government can also set in January 2015 for a two year term up the court even without the supafter a constitutional amendment port of PPP as it enjoys the backfollowing a terror attack on an ing of PTI of Imran Khan on the army-run school in Peshawar in issue, but is trying for major conDecember 2014 that killed over 150 sensus. people, mostly students. "The parties have agreed that Since their expiry last month, government has been trying to bring the The government can also political parties around set up the court even without the idea of tenure for military courts. the support of PPP as it The parliamentary leaders of major politi- enjoys the backing of PTI of cal parties met in Imran Khan Islamabad and agreed to amend the constitution to extend the military courts the conditions [in the country] are for a period of two years. still unusual. Circumstances Finance Minister Ishaq Dar threatening Pakistan's integrity and Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf are still prevalent. We have all leader Shah Mehmood Qureshi agreed on this and there is a need informed media about the deci- for the extension," Qureshi told sion. media. However, the Pakistan The military courts work in sePeople's Party (PPP) has some crecy due to fear of backlash by reservations and has called an militants. Rights groups have All-Party Conference to evolve slammed the military courts.-PTI


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Queen hosts reception for UK-India Year LONDON: Queen Elizabeth II hosted here a reception at the Buckingham Palace to launch the

Kapil. Indian High Commissioner to the UK Y K Sinha invited the Indian cricket legend back to the UK in June to launch a special cricketing event celebrating India-UK ties as part of the UKIndia Year of Culture events, which he accepted. The 90-yearold Queen was joined by her husband, Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip, and grandson Prince William and his wife Kate. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley at an event to mark UKHigh-profile India Year of Culture, in London guests from various fields were UK-India Year of Culture 2017 greeted to the main foyer of the with Finance Minister Arun Jaitley palace with a special Indian dance representing the Indian govern- performance on the steps titled ment at the historic event. Jaitley was joined by an Indian delegation that included the likes of actors Kamal Hassan, Suresh Gopi, cricket legend Kapil Dev, singer and actor Gurdas Mann, fashion designers Manish Arora and Manish Malhotra and sitar maestro Anoushka Shankar, at the grand event. "That my name was recommended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi is a huge honor. This is a great occasion to celebrate the shared history of India and the UK. The English language is the best example of that and I often refer to it as a great Indian language that unites us 'Ekam', presented by the Akademi all," said Tamil actor-filmmaker and choreographed by Arunima Hassan. Kumar. "This is the kind of celebration It showcased the cultural diof India-UK culture that should versity of India in the form of have happened long ago," said dance.

Queen Elizabeth II meets Sukanya Shankar (left) and Anoushka Shankar (center), the wife and daughter of Ravi Shankar

An image is projected designed by Studio Carrom, the Bangalore and London-based design studio, of a peacock and dancing figures to mark the launch of the UK-India Year of Culture 2017 at Buckingham Palace

Musicians from the Bhavan Centre in London performed Indian music with Balu Raghuraman on the violin and Shri Balachander on the Mridangam.

"As we celebrate this 70th year of Indian independence, we remember the soulful soul of Mahatma Gandhi. I am looking forward to having eye contact with the legendary Queen who is the longest reigning British monarch," Malayalam superstar and politician Gopi said. "We were under this regime and we have lots of good things they initiated in India, which we carry on with pride...but we built over that and are zooming to be one of the most developed nations," he said. UK-based Indian-origin filmmaker Gurinder Chadha described the evening as a "perfect combination" of the two cultures while singer Mann said, "I am ready to do the Bhangra if I get the chance". The guests pored over unique displays from the Royal Collection, including ancient Indian manuscripts such as the

'Shahnama' and some Persian calligraphy, and Indian ornaments. The event included the projec-

tion of a unique artwork on to the Buckingham Palace facade of India's national bird - the peacock.

Queen learns Indian dance mudras LONDON: Queen Elizabeth II had an impromptu lesson in Indian dance mudras, or ritual hand gestures, when the 90-year-old monarch met celebrated dancer and choreographer Arunima Kumar at Buckingham Palace here. The Queen had hosted a special reception to mark the launch of UK-India Year of Culture 2017, where Kumar had choreographed a unique dance sequence titled 'Ekam'. "I met the Queen and she literally made the mudras with me. She asked me how I do all those moves because they are quite complex. And, I showed her some hand gestures and she copied me and that moment I will remember for the rest of my life," Kumar said. "She is just so amazing. She knows everything about everything. She was able to talk to us about our art with such ease and imbibe that in such a way; it was a very special moment and it inspires me to keep doing what I do and encourages me to do better," said the UK-based dancer, who had choreographed the sequence for Akademi. Kumar, the daughter of former Delhi Police commissioner Neeraj Kumar, herself performed a Kuchipudi dance num-

ber besides the choreographed number showcasing the various dance forms of India. "It is sense of achievement and honor that together with all my dancers we brought Indian art into Buckingham Palace. It is a moment we will remember for ever. We have created history, not just for ourselves but also for India," she said. The reception brought together high profile guests from various fields across India and the UK and the Government of India was represented by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. "This only re-emphasizes the importance which is attached to the Indo-UK relationship. It launches a heavy calendar of events that will celebrate our excellent relationship with the UK over the decades," the minister said. Jaitley was joined by Indian celebrities like sports star Kapil Dev, actors Kamal Hassan and Suresh Gopi, singer Gurdas Mann, fashion designers Manish Arora and Manish Malhotra, choreographer Shiamak Davar, and industrialist Ratan Tata, among others. Priti Patel, the senior-most Indian-origin minister in the UK Cabinet, was among the British parliamentarians at the event.-PTI


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Lawyer who exposed the 'stent' scam SAFWAT ZARGAR

NEW DELHI: In 2014, when lawyer Birender Sangwan visited his friend's brother at a hospital who had undergone a heart surgery, he inspected the box of coronary stent, a tube placed in the artery. "It kind of hit me...there was no bill and I couldn't find any details of price. My friend's brother had paid Rs 1,26,000 for the coronary stent. I felt the price was exorbi-

Firstly, I came to know that cardiac stents are exempted from Customs duty. Secondly, stents are notified as drugs but not covered under any price control mechanism in India because they were not included in the National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM). I had to get it to that list," Sangwan, who filed a petition in Delhi High Court in 2014 asking regulation on prices of

A coronary stent is a tube-shaped device fixed in the arteries to keep them open so as to ensure proper supply of blood to the heart. More than five lakh stents of various categories are used annually in India. Most of them are imported from other countries tant," 37-year-old Sangwan told ScoopWhoop News while sitting in his chamber at Rohini District Court. After doing some preliminary research, Sangwan shot a letter to Union Health Ministry complaining about overpricing of coronary stents installed in patients. He also filed an RTI application to ascertain under which category stents are classified in health sector - drugs or metals. "The RTI reply bewildered me.

stents, says. Sangwan's initial success came in July 2016 when the government included coronary stents in the NLEM list 2015. But the pricing regulation came six months later when coronary stents became part of the first Schedule of the Drug Prices Control Order (DPCO), 2013. The final success of Sangwan's more than two-year-old battle came on when the government decided to cut prices of life-sav-

ing coronary stents by up to 85 percent. According to the government's orders - implemented with immediate effect - the maximum retail price of bare metal stents (BMS) and drug eluting stents (DES) will be Rs 7,623 and Rs 31,080, respectively, inclusive of VAT and other local taxes. Earlier, a patient, on average, had to cough up Rs 45,000 for BMS and RS 1.21 lakh on DES. A coronary stent is a tubeshaped device fixed in the arteries to keep them open so as to ensure proper supply of blood to the heart. More than five lakh stents of various categories are used annually in India. Most of them are imported from other countries. After Government's order, dozens of his colleagues have been dropping by his office to congratulate him. His success has found many takers including Prime Minister Narendra Modi. "See, PM Modi is telling an audience that his government cares for poor and has reduced the price of cardiac stents," Sangwan says while flashing a calm smile. He shows a tweet from PM Modi's handle on his iPhone in which Modi is addressing a rally and speaking about the price cut of stents.

'Indian students 'subsidize' education in UK' LONDON: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said here that the UK must realize the importance of Indian students to its economy because they help "subsidize" education costs here. Referring to a major drop in students coming to study at the

tum of students coming into the UK is declining and other jurisdictions are available. The UK also is a part of the competitive market in that area," Jaitley said. The Union Minister for Finance and Corporate Affairs is in the UK to represent the Indian

"There is a huge mindset change in India with much greater support for reform activity...India being a democracy has its own dynamism and decision making UK universities over the last few years, he highlighted that there were other countries that were more welcoming. "They (the UK) have to realize that when international students come here (Britain), they subsidize the educational costs here," he told PTI. "We already have a reality where the quan-

government at a special reception hosted by Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace to launch the UK-India Year of Culture. "It is a great positive gesture that Her Majesty herself is hosting a reception to mark the UKIndia Year of Culture. This only re-emphasizes the importance which is attached to the Indo-UK

relationship," he said. Earlier, the minister attended a special market opening ceremony at the London Stock Exchange followed by a roundtable with investors where he met UK Minister for International Trade Liam Fox. He then attended an 'In Conversation' event organized by the UK India Business Council (UKIBC) and Federation Chambers of Indian Industry (FICCI) at the Taj hotel in London, when he stressed on India being open to foreign investments as any idea of a "protectionist economy was no longer relevant". "There is a huge mindset change in India with much greater support for reform activity...India being a democracy has its own dynamism and decision making process. Nothing in India is ever ruled out," he said.-PTI

India can grow at higher rate, says Jaitley LONDON: India has potential to grow faster and plans are underway to reduce poverty and create jobs in rural areas, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said here, even as he ruled out the country becoming totally 'cashless' immediately. "One of the reasons for note ban was tax non-compliance. One of the objectives of the demonetization was to reduce and eliminate anonymity. I don't see India becoming a cashless system immediately. I see India becoming less-cash economy," Jaitley told PTI here.

On the Goods and Services Tax (GST) roll-out, the FM said, "The first requirement is constitutional amendment, the law has been passed unanimously and by September 15, 2017 the curtain will be down. We have resolved most of the critical issues. Legislations have been drafted. Two weeks ago, we approved the first draft. By March first week, the second draft will come up. Parliament will be resuming from March 9." The Finance Minister said, "Despite teething problems, hopefully GST will come up for imple-

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley

The Finance Minister said the mentation by July 1. The entire GST regime would also make gen- process has to be completed by eration of cash more difficult, be- September 15. At the moment, it is sides making the taxation system the biggest tax reform since Indemuch more efficient. pendence. Once implemented, it He hoped that the GST would will be far more efficient tax sysbe implemented by July 1. tem. The quantum of taxation will On the Centre's efforts to move go up. GST will make generation towards digitalization and cash- of cash more difficult." less regime, he said, "Major busiDefending the government ness, property transactions, sal- surprise move to ban old Rs 500/ ary payments, and school fees will 1,000 notes in last November, be done through cashless system. Will it be totally cash-less? I Talking about retrospective don't see it happening taxation, the Finance Minisimmediately." Talking about retro- ter said the government has spective taxation, the decided not to resort to such Finance Minister said measures and the existing the government has decided not to resort to disputes are being sorted such measures and the existing disputes are being sorted Jaitley said "one of the reasons out either bilaterally or through for note ban was tax non-complithe judicial system. ance. One of the objectives of the "India still has the potential to demonetization was to reduce and grow at a higher rate than today. eliminate anonymity... Today A series of action is needed to re- there is much greater support for duce poverty in the rural areas. any reform in India." We have planned several proOn trade deal with the UK, the grams for rural India coupled with FM said "in my discussion with measures to create jobs," Jaitley my counterpart here, he clearly said. convinced me that Brexit should "Today, India is one of the not be confused with protectionmost open economies of the ism". world. While the world is turning On visa liberalization, he said protectionist, India is opening up it depends on the policy of the more," he added. UK government. -PTI


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Accept asymmetry with us, says China media BEIJING: India should acknowledge "asymmetry" in its ties with China and learn from Beijing how it took a "back seat" to maximize gains from bilateral ties with the US, state-run Chinese media said. "One lesson India may learn from China is be honest with oneself. Asymmetry in economic and

geopolitical power is natural for any bilateral relation," an article in the website of Global Times said, analyzing the outcome of the upgraded Sino-India strategic dialogue on February 22. The dialogue was aimed at improving ties and resolving differences after China blocked India's admission into the Nuclear Sup-

India-born top Uber official fired NEW YORK: An India-born top executive at Uber was asked to resign after the ride-sharing titan found that he did not disclose that he had left his previous job at Google after a sexual harassment complaint, a media report said. Amit Singhal had joined Uber in January as Senior Vice President of Engineering after working for 15 years at Google, where he oversaw the internet giant's search efforts. A report in technology news website Recode said Uber CEO Travis Kalanick asked Singhal to resign after it was found that Singhal did not disclose to the carhailing company that he had left Google a year earlier after an allegation against him of sexual harassment from an employee.

to leave Google was my own," he said. Uber executives reportedly found about the situation after the report informed them of the chain of events between Singhal and the search giant. Sources at Uber said the company had done extensive background checks of Singhal but had not uncovered any hint of the circumstances of his departure from Google. Singhal's departure comes at a time when Uber is facing intense scrutiny following allegations of sexual harassment by a former female employee against her manager. She said in a blog post that her manager had sent inappropriate messages to her and that the company's Human Resource de-

Google had deemed the employee's claim of sexual harassment against Singhal "credible" in an internal investigation. The report said Singhal, "a highly regarded engineer in Silicon Valley", had disputed the allegation to Google executives at the time and denied the allegations again. "Harassment is unacceptable in any setting. I certainly want everyone to know that I do not condone and have not committed such behavior," he said in an email to Recode. "In my 20-year career, I have never been accused of anything like this before and the decision

partment and upper management were not supportive when she had reported the situation to them. Sources said that Google was prepared to fire Singhal over the allegations after looking into the incident, but did not have to do so after he resigned, according to the report. The female employee who filed the formal complaint against Singhal did not work for him directly, but worked closely with the search team, the report said, adding that she also did not want to go public with the charges, which is apparently why Google decided to allow Singhal to leave quietly.-PTI

pliers Group (NSG) and UN ban against JeM leader Masood Azhar. "The asymmetry should not be an impediment in developing relations," the article said. "China has rarely complained about taking a back seat in its relations with the US, as long as such pragmatism and entrepreneurship help it to catch up quickly," it said. "The moral of the story is straight forward: existing gap, even if it seems wide, should not be the major concern; what's more important is the ways by which such gap can be closed most effectively," it said, suggesting that India should look at convergences than differences. "Acknowledging this asymmetry in a hard-headed pragmatism, rather than obsessing with the false parity, may better help India to achieve its emulation quickly," it said.

"While it is understandable that if India makes up its mind to play second fiddle to its stronger neighbor, its cherished self-esteem may be troubled, from time to time, by any condescension it

critics received the dialogue positively, believing it may thaw the atmosphere and propel the bilateral relations into a new era, their Indian counterparts turned out to be rather pessimistic if not cyni-

"The moral of the story is straight forward: existing gap, even if it seems wide, should not be the major concern; what's more important is the ways by which such gap can be closed most effectively," it said, suggesting that India should look at convergences than differences would perceive, be it real or selfimposed," it said. Referring to the strategic dialogue between Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar and Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Yesui, it said, "While most Chinese scholars and

cal, quoting the 'unsolved' issues like the NSG and Azhar". "Understanding this critical difference between the two is the key to capturing the shifting dynamics between the two emerging economic giants," it said. -PTI


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NRGs urged to invest in Gujarat hotels, motels RUCHIT SHAH

AHMEDABAD: Former Chief Justice of Jammu and Kashmir and Delhi High Courts, Justice B.C. Patel has called upon hugely successful Gujarati hoteliers and motel owners in USA to replicate their success investing in the motels in Gujarat. Addressing a meet of GCCI NRG Centre as Chief Guest here, he observed that Gujaratis being enterprising have been highly successful abroad and have been contributing tremendously to their motherland in various sectors, notably in the education and business areas. The event deemed Resident Gujarati (NRG) Parents Day was organized by the GCCI NRG Centre. The Guest of Honor at the event Shri N.P. Lavingiya, Additional Secretary, (NRI) , said that the NRG Foundation of Government of Gujarat carries out various activities for the benefit of the community with a view to contribute towards development of the State. Amongst the most noteworthy is the launch of Gujarat Card wherein the NRG card holders were provided priority treatment in Government departments and were also eligible for other benefits. Shri Rahul Shukla, Owner and CEO, White Technologies, USA, speaking on Business Opportunities for NRGs in USA, mentioned that if businessmen were ready to invest Rs 7 crore in urban areas or Rs 3.5 crores in rural areas, he or she can enter USA on Investment Visa which was com-

From left: Shri Viren Patel, Trustee, Charotar University of Science & Technology (CHARUSAT) , Changa, Dist. Anand; Shri K.H.Patel Chairman, GCCI NRG Centre, Ahmedabad; Justice Shri B.C.Patel, former Chief Justice, Jammu & Kashmir High Court and Delhi High Court; Shri Bipinbhai Patel, President, GCCI; Shri N.P. Lavingiya, Addl. Secretary (NRI), Govt. of Gujarat; Shri Rahul Shukla, Owner & CEO, S.S. White Technologies USA; Dr. Keyur Buch M.S.(Ortho), CIMS Hospital, Ahmedabad & Shri H.R. Gohel, Manager, GSNRGF, Gandhinagar

paratively easier. He informed the participants that in USA, 21000 hotels and motels are being run by NRGs out of a total of 53000 hotels and motels. NRGs alone contributed Rs. 4000 crores as Income Tax in USA.

Shri Viren Patel, Trustee, Charotar University of Science &Technology (CHARUSAT) speaking on Opportunities for NRGs in Education Field in Gujarat, informed that the University under the parental guidance of Charotar Moti Sattavis

Dr. Keyur Buch, CIMS Hospital, Ahmedabad, speaking on Medical Tourism in Gujarat, called upon the State Government for proactive and aggressive Medical Tourism measures as Gujarat was far behind other States in taking benefit of economical medical services offered in the country Seva Sanstha was working in the education, research and medical sectors. While lauding the contribution of the Diaspora in development, Shri Patel mentioned that of the total outlay of Rs. 150 crores for the first NAAC certified Private University, the contribution of NRIs and NRGs was nearly 70-80%. Dr. Keyur Buch, CIMS Hospital,

Ahmedabad, speaking on Medical Tourism in Gujarat, called upon the State Government for proactive and aggressive Medical Tourism measures as Gujarat was far behind other States in taking benefit of economical medical services offered in the country. Forbes had termed the Medical Industry in India as the Jewel in the Crown. Dr. Buch also mentioned that coordinated efforts towards promoting the achievements of the medical sector along with a proper marketing strategy be adopted to scale up ourselves and showcase the services rendered in the Healthcare sector. Earlier, in his introductory remarks, Shri K.H. Patel, Chairman NRG Committee of GCCI, while giving an overview of the activities of the NRG Foundation and the Centre, acknowledged the presence of senior NRG Diaspora present at this event. He pointed out that NRGs alone had made an investment of Rs. 60,000 crores in the State and held FDs of Rs. 5,000 crores in the banks. Shri Bipin R. Patel, President GCCI, welcomed the guests and attendees.

Airtel's Mittal declares war on roaming BARCELONA: "I am declaring war on roaming", telecom tycoon Sunil Mittal said here as his firm Bharti Airtel removed roaming charges for outgoing and incoming calls as well as SMSes and data usage within India as it takes on competition from new comer Reliance Jio. India's largest mobile phone service provider also said there will be no roaming data changes while international call charges will be cut by up to 90 per cent to as low as Rs 3 per minute and data charges by up to 99 per cent to Rs 3 per MB across popular roaming destinations. "I am declaring a war on roaming," he said at the World Mobile Congress here. The 17-18 countries Airtel operates-in will allow its customers to have the freedom to switch on their mobile phones "wherever and whenever they want". Mittal said "90 per cent of people turn off their data when they travel," including himself, and wait until they can find wi-fi in

their hotel or buy local prepaid SIM cards to avoid stiff charges. "We have a global network, but very few people are allowed to enjoy it," he said, adding that "it (exorbitant fees) is a disaster our industry has created". Despite vast network "55 per cent of our people in the developed world switch off their mobile data. It is my estimated guess that 90 per cent of travelers from emerging markets switch off their mobile data. They go for local SIM cards, they go for the nearest wi-fi spot, they wait for themselves to get to their hotel. What have we done to our industry? This must stop," he said. The industry needs to address this as well as the disdain its customers have for operators, he said.-PTI

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Tech News WhatsApp adds 'status' feature NEW YORK: In a nod to its past as well as its future, WhatsApp is adding a ``status'' feature that lets users tell their contacts what they are up to. It's not a new idea WhatsApp started out as a way for people to let their friends know what they are up to - at work or available, for example. Messaging, now the app's main function, was added later. But it's also a sign that the Facebook-owned app is expanding the amount of features it has, just as Instagram, another Facebook subsidiary, has been doing over the years. Users will be able to post photos or videos as status updates. WhatsApp says the status posts will be end-to-end encrypted , just as its messages are. That means only the parties who are communicating can see the messages, not an outside party or even WhatsApp. But the company sees status as a way to ``share moments with all your contacts - not just with individuals or groups.'' Updates will expire after 24 hours. There is a privacy setting allowing users to control who sees the updates. WhatsApp has more than 1 billion users. The company says its users spend more than 50 billion messages each day, including 3.3 billion photos, 760 million videos and 80 million GIFs - the animated images that make many popular internet memes. -AP

Your next home phone?

T

he landline is dead, but Ama zon and Google think that their smart assistants could take its place. Both companies are reported to be working on voice-calling features for their hugely popular Echo and Home devices, with the intention of tapping your digital contacts to make Skype-like calls an entirely hands-free affair. But apparently the push is hung up over some obvious concernsnot least privacy (because the whole point of these devices is that they're always listening) and the prospect of making every call a speakerphone conversation. -MIT Technology Review

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Solar installations soar F

igures published by the Solar Energy Industries Association show that 14,626 megawatts worth of photovoltaic installations went online in the U.S. during 2016, a 95 percent increase year-on-year. New wind capacity, meanwhile, arrived in the same quantity in 2016 as it did in 2015-but the structure of tax credits means that it could have a bumper year in 2020. Capacity isn't everything-grid infrastructure is important, as Texas has ably demonstrated-but the trend is overwhelmingly upward. Barack Obama's prediction, that the transition to renewable energy is "irreversible," may yet play out. -MIT Technology Review

Canadian institutional money is pouring into India like never before TORONTO, Canada: For Anuj Ranjan, the globetrotting India head of Brookfield, the fundamental investment thesis behind buying a large telecom towers portfolio from Reliance Communications was not all that different from taking over Hiranandani's 4.5 million square foot of swish office and shopping space in the financial capital. The world's largest democracy with a billion plus population needs to communicate, share information as well as work and play to sustain its trillion-dollar economy, said a report in the Economic Times. More importantly, both are scaled-up, income generating, operational assets which can be leveraged further using their global expertise to build out larger platforms. Similarly, they have high margins with low capital expenditure going forward and built-in escalators. Toronto based Brookfield is the world's 2nd biggest manager of alternative assets like real estate and private equity with $250 billion of assets and have already overshadowed traditional Wall Street heavyweights Carlyle, KKR or even Apollo Global Management. So capital has never been a handicap for Ranjan and his 1000 odd team on the ground. From airports to e-commerce, Canadian institutional money is pouring into India like never before. Fresh from raising $14 billion to invest in infrastructure - believed to be the largest single commitment to the sector of its kind the Canadian firm has been scouting around for compelling stories across emerging markets like Vietnam's. So when both the Hiranandani and the Reliance towers came up for grabs last summer, Brookfield jumped head long. By the end of the year, they wrote a $2.6 billion to stitch up both - arguably among the largest FDI commitments in India in the year. The Brookfield Reliance Infratel transaction worth $1.6 billion alone is also the second-biggest private equity transaction

ever in the country, behind Temasek's $2 billion investment in Bharti Telecom in 2007. Call it Canada calling. The bulge bracket Canadian asset managers from pension or PE funds have been the biggest India Bulls in the

2007-2008, reported ET. This becomes even more striking once compared to FDI or trade data. Canada has never been a top investment source for us with bilateral trade touching a mere $6.5 billion in March 2016. That's only

Anuj Ranjan

last one year, whipping up a storm with their investment frenzy. Between marque names like CPPIB, Caisse de depĂ´t et placement du Quebec (CDPQ), Ontario Teachers or Brookfield and Fairfax, they have jointly committed around $78 billion across companies and funds so far, according to industry estimates. This would be among the

a tenth of neighbor US, the 5th largest FDI partner, as per the latest government figures. "Our long investment horizon aligns to the financing and capital needs of India's economy, growing entrepreneur culture and the strength of business in the country," says Suyi Kim, Managing Director, Head of Asia Pacific at CPPIB.

Toronto based Brookfield is the world's 2nd biggest manager of alternative assets like real estate and private equity with $250 billion of assets and have already overshadowed traditional Wall Street heavyweights Carlyle, KKR or even Apollo Global Management single-largest country-wide commitments towards India in recent times. Such Canadian transactions mirror the excitement of PE opportunities in India, which reached fever pitch in the peak vintage of

From the building blocks - airports, roads, power plants to warehouses, logistics parks and commercial real estate to financial services and even financial services firms and even ecommerce com-

panies, their bets are becoming bolder and complex, cheque sizes bigger. Even "regulated sectors" like banking, airports or distress debt is fair game as are risky emerging bets like ecommerce. Last February, instead of safe havens like government securities, Ontario Teachers decided to put its pension capital to back a $200 million capital raise by Snapdeal. The board of the sleepy community lender from Kerala and also one of the oldest private player in the country - Catholic Syrian Bank - will give Prem Watsa - Canada's Warren Buffet and among the earliest champions of the India story - their approval to acquire a controlling 51% slice of their bank through his flagship Fairfax Financial Holdings. Late last November Watsa and his close confidante Deepak Parekh managed to swing RBI to allow the first takeover of an Indian bank by a foreign investor. This was Watsa's 2nd bold bet within 1 year - having bought into GVK's Bangalore airport earlier in 2016. Compared to their US counterparts, the Canadians have been far more conservative in scoping out high growth emerging market opportunities. It is only in the last 34 years that they have looked beyond the usual happy hunting grounds of Canadian bonds, global equities (read US and other OECD countries) and hedge funds to adapt a far global and diversified portfolios. For a country that is 40% reliant on its banks and financial institutions and another 40% on energy, volatile oil prices forced looking beyond the usual safe havens. "The global economic balance has been changing fast so a lot of the fund managers felt they too needed to allocate assets accordingly and build global capabilities. Moreover with some of the emerging markets like China and Brazil have slowed down in recent years making India that much more attractive," said Vikram Gandhi, founder VSG Capital, a long time advisor to CPPIB. -Courtesy South Asian Post


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'Only 5 major telcos will be left in India' BARCELONA: The fresh round of consolidation unfolding in the Indian telecom market is likely to yield five major players ensuring "enough competition but not fragmentation of spectrum", Telecom Secretary J S Deepak said. His comments assume significance as India - the world's second largest mobile services market after China - is in the midst of

India are not only welcome but are also likely to be productive," Deepak told PTI. On consolidation playing out in the telecom market, he said, "The way things are...this consolidation is going to be very good for India as we are likely to get four private and one government player...BSNL-MTNL...which is ideal."

On consolidation playing out in the telecom market, he said, "The way things are...this consolidation is going to be very good for India as we are likely to get four private and one government player...BSNLMTNL...which is ideal." massive consolidation with incumbent operators joining forces to take on aggressive newcomer Reliance Jio. The consolidation in the otherwise crowded Indian telecom industry has been hastened by Jio's free voice call and data plans, forcing incumbents to slash tariff at the cost of profits. "Dropping revenue is a concern which we are also addressing...Era of free service and falling revenue will change...In this backdrop, the investments in

Asked if the spate of buyouts would leave enough room for competition in the Indian market, Deepak said, "Ideal is five players for India, which is what is likely to happen". Stating that the consolidation is potentially resulting in five big players would ensure "enough competition but not fragmentation of spectrum", he said, it will be "optimum for the Indian market". Recently, India's largest telecom operator Bharti Airtel announced acquisition of Norwe-

gian Telenor's India unit. Bharti Airtel's revenue market share will rise to 35.6 per cent following the acquisition. Telenor India currently has 2.6 per cent share in Indian market. Vodafone and Idea have already said that they are considering merging their businesses in India, a move that would create the biggest telecom operator in the country with about USD 12 billion in sales. Anil Ambani-led Reliance Communications has already signed a pact to merge its wireless business with smaller rival Aircel. Deepak, who is attending the Mobile World Congress (MWC) here, is slated to meet senior officials of leading global telecom and tech companies like Vodafone, Huawei, AT&T, Nokia, Ericsson, Intel, and Facebook over the next three days. The Department of Telecom will showcase major reforms undertaken in the Indian mobile market to the global audience. In his presentation at the MWC, Deepak would touch upon the USD 10 billion Foreign Direct Investment inflows into the telecom sector in FY17, and outline flagship programs like Digital India, Smart Cities and Start Up India.

Democracy too liberal in UK for defaulters LONDON: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has said democracy is liberal enough in the UK to permit defaulters to stay here and that "normal" needs to be cracked, in an apparent reference to liquor baron Vijay Mallya, who is wanted in India for loan default and other cases. Referring to loan default as a major problem that needs to be addressed, Union Minister for Finance and Corporate Affairs said India was no longer willing to let defaulters escape the law. "Many thought that when you take loan from the banks, the money need not be re-paid and you can come to London and stay out here...and democracy is liberal enough to permit defaulters to stay here. That normal needs to be cracked," he said during a session on 'Transforming India: Vision

for the Next Decade' organized by the London School of Economics' (LSE) South Asia Centre. "It is the first time that you have strong action being taken. In fact,

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley

it has never happened that defaulters are on the run. The fact that they are on the run and their properties are being attached, is a signal that India as a country is sending for the first time. Otherwise,

we had learned to live with defaulters," he said during his ongoing visit to the UK. Mallya, the chief of the now defunct Kingfisher Airlines, had moved to Britain in March last year after banks sued him to recover around USD 1.4 billion owed by the airline. Earlier this month, the Indian government formally requested Britain to extradite him to India for standing trial for alleged loan default and money laundering. India and the UK have an extradition treaty since 1993, under which only one extradition from the UK to India has ever taken place, that of Samirbhai Vinubhai Patel in October, 2016, to stand trial for his alleged role in the 2002 riots in the west Indian state of Gujarat.-PTI

Asked about concerns on tariff war hitting profitability of telecom companies, Deepak said, "Telecom is scale business...with scale-up of business, even with low tariffs it is possible to make profits as companies have demon-

It may be recalled that the government received commitment of Rs 65,789 crore by selling 964.80 MHz of spectrum in an auction in October last year. The Telecom Department undertook a slew of reforms in

Telecom Secretary J S Deepak

strated. While profits may not happen immediately but those who stay on for the long-term, will make profits." Also, with spectrum harmonization, the sector's efficiencies are likely to go up and reduce cost, which in turn will help companies, he added.

2016 aimed at facilitating ease of doing business. This included formulating the right of way rules for faster telecom network roll-out, spectrum harmonization, increasing the availability of spectrum through auction and introduction of Aadhaar-based eKYC for new mobile connections. -PTI

At 160 kmph, Train2018 by March next NEW DELHI: The railways has decided to go ahead with manufacturing on its own trainsets that can run at a maximum speed of 160 kmph, after its global bid in this regard failed to elicit positive response. Aptly named 'Train-2018', the first trainset - a rake without a separate locomotive - is expected to be ready by March next year

ered by a propulsion system, eliminating the need for a locomotive. "Our aim is to reduce travel time between cities and to achieve that, we have launched Train-2018 project to manufacture two trainsets at the Integral Coach Factory (ICF) near Chennai on a pilot basis," a senior Railway Ministry official involved with the project said.

and is likely to be pressed into service in Delhi-Lucknow or DelhiChandigarh sector. A trainset, much like a Delhi Metro rake, comprises many coaches that are individually pow-

As per the Rs 200 crore project, two trainsets will be manufactured, in collaboration with foreign players on transfer of technology basis, for which the ICF has floated a fresh global tender.-PTI


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India needs more tech scientists: PM NEW DELHI: India needs more scientists to harness technology for the benefit of the common man, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said here while hailing the scientific community for the record launch of 104 satellites and the successful test-firing of a new missile. "The attraction for science among our young generation should increase. The country

ermen locate the most productive fishing zones and get updates about weather and sea conditions. "There are times when a problem portrays the importance of science for finding a solution," Modi said referring to the 2005 Mumbai floods which led to development of a dwelling structure that saves its occupants and prevents water-logging.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi

needs more scientists. When science is harnessed keeping in mind the needs of the common people, it becomes the most valuable contributor to general humanity," he said in his monthly 'Mann ki Baat' radio program. Referring to a recent competition organized at the 14th Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas, he said socially useful innovations were showcased and one of these was an application developed to help fish-

Referring to the 38th successive successful launch of PSLV rocket that placed a record 104 satellite in orbit, Modi said ISRO scientists have brought laurels to the nation. He said the ISRO team had several young scientists, including women. "After the successful mission of sending Mangalyaan to Mars, ISRO scripted a world record in the arena of space. ISRO has successfully launched 104 satellites simul-

taneously into space. "These satellites belonged to various countries...India has created history by becoming the first country to launch successfully 104 satellites into space in one go," he said. He noted that one of the satellites launched by PSLV is Cartosat 2D, which has become operational and will be of great help in mapping of resources and infrastructure and planning for urban development. On the successful test-firing of a ballistic interceptor missile, he said that it destroyed an 'enemy' missile at an altitude of around 100 km above the earth surface. Hardly four or five countries in the world possess this capability, he said. In his over 30-minute address, Modi also lauded the role of the farmers for record production of food grains this year. "Our farmer brothers and sisters have toiled hard to fill our granaries. The hard work of the farmers has resulted in a record production of food grains. More than 2,700 lakh tonnes of food grains have been produced in the country this year. This is eight per cent more than the last record set by our farmers," the Prime Minister said. He also thanked the farmers for cultivation of various types of pulses. "I am happy that the farmers heeded the needs of our poor people and cultivated various types of pulses on about 290 lakh hectares of land," he said, adding that it will help provide required protein input to the poor. -PTI

‘Digital payment can check black money’ NEW DELHI: Digital payment can check black money and play a key role in fighting graft, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said as he asked the youth to become an "anti-corruption cadre" as part of the "cleanliness" drive. Addressing his monthly 'Mann

further as it has a very major and prominent role in the fight against corruption and black money. To me, each and every individual involved in this mission constitutes a new anti-corruption cadre in the country. In a way you are a soldier in the cause of cleanliness and

Referring to his favorite Swachh Bharat campaign, he said "psychological barrier" should not come in the way even while cleaning toilets.” ki baat' radio program, he said people, especially the youth, should become ambassadors of digital payment schemes rolled out by the government. "Lead this movement. Take it

purity," the Prime Minister said. He said gradually people are "shedding their hard currency mindset" and moving towards digital currency and the youth are leading the way using their mo-

bile phones as the new tool to make and receive payments. In the last two months, 10 lakh people have been rewarded, over 50,000 traders have won prizes and an amount of over Rs 150 crore has been earned as prize money by people who have promoted and carried forward the digital payment campaign, Modi said. He said the digital payment schemes will complete 100 days on April 14, the 126th birth anniversary of B R Amdedkar and people should help 125 people download the Bhim application on their mobile phone for digital transactions. Referring to his favorite Swachh Bharat campaign, he said "psychological barrier" should not come in the way even while cleaning toilets.”-PTI

Tech Briefs Imagining future of VR Storytelling at Google

J

essica Brillhart is the principal filmmaker for virtual reality at Google. But what, exactly, does that mean? In an interview , she explains that she gets to explore how everything from exotic 16-camera rigs to cheap cardboard headsets could be used to provide new experiences that traditional Jessica film cannot. It may sound like one of the more cushy and creative Silicon Valley jobs, but it poses some chal-

lenging puzzles. "VR is an embodied medium: creators are taking [a] detached eye and reattaching it to someone's face," she explains. "VR reminds us of the nuances of experiences, what connects people with each other, with places, with things in the real world. And that to me is the key to reBrillhart ally understanding what kind of storytelling could even exist in a VR space."

Designer babies get some approval

F

or as long as gene editing has existed, the prospect of creating designer babies has hung in the air of many labs-along with excitement, fear, and cont r o v e r s y. Now, reports our own Antonio Regalado, a panel of the National Academy of Sciences has recommended that

germ-line modification of human beings be permitted in the future. But let's be clear: it recommends this only in certain circ u m stances, in order to prevent the birth of children with serious diseases, and it comes with a string of moral and technical caveats.

Facebook and Apple take to TV

I

t's no secret that Facebook sees a future in piping video into your eyeballs. But now the social network has officially announced that it's building an app for Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV that will allow you to stream videos on Facebook to a larger screen in your home. Relatedly, it's also

said that its auto-play videos in your News Feed will no longer run silently. Elsewhere, Apple has teased its first original TV shows-James Corden's C a r p o o l Karaoke and a reality show called Planet of the Apps-and initial reactions are … underwhelming.

-MIT Technology Review


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ArcelorMittal plans solar farm in Karnataka NEW DELHI: World's largest steelmaker ArcelorMittal may set up a solar farm on land allotted to it for the proposed 6 MT Karnataka project in view of excess global steel capacity and delays in securing raw materials. The company had entered into a pact with Karnataka government for setting up a 6 million tonnes (MT) steel plant with a captive 750 MW power plant at an estimated investment of USD 6.5 billion. "In view of excess capacity of steel world-wide and uncertainty in iron ore availability locally, the company is also exploring the possibility of utilizing the land in Karnataka for the establishment of a solar farm for generating solar energy," the global steel giant has said in its latest report. ArcelorMittal India has received possession certificates for 2,659 acres of private land following the acquisition of 1,827 acres and 832 acres in December 2011 and October 2012, respectively, it said. A balance of 136.33 acres owned by the Karnataka government is being processed for allocation, it said. Setting up of the solar park will contribute to the mitigation of

Karnataka's power crisis and participation in the National Solar Energy mission of the government of India. "In this regard, the company has sought the state government's

permission to set up a solar farm of up to 600 MW. "The state government is considering ArcelorMittal's proposal and the company is hopeful of receiving a favorable response to the proposal," it said. The NRI billionaire Lakshmi Mittal-led company in June 2010

C'wealth meet to discuss free trade with India LONDON: The UK CommonThey are expected to sign an wealth summit, planned to set free accord that will pave the way for trade deals on course as Britain a free-trade deal between Britain exits the European Union, will put and countries such as Australia, other leading commonwealth New Zealand and Canada after countries including India on Brexit, the report said. course for greater trade liberaliza"We will have more than 30 tion, a media report said here. Commonwealth trade ministers Lord Marland, chairman of the under the same roof for the first UK-based Commonwealth Enter- time ever. I'm hoping we can iniprise and Investment Council, has planned Lord Marland, chairman of the summit to set free trade deals on course as the UK-based CommonBritain exits the Euro- wealth Enterprise and Investpean Union (EU). ment Council, has planned "The summit, to be attended by Liam Fox, the summit to set free trade the [UK] international deals on course trade secretary, will also seek to put other leading Common- tiate a Commonwealth trade acwealth countries such as South cord which will endorse the benAfrica, Nigeria and India on efits of free trade," Lord Marland course for greater trade liberaliza- told the paper. tion," The Sunday Times re"There are huge opportunities ported. for Britain. Everyone in the ComMore than 30 ministers and monwealth speaks English and it around 60 business chiefs will at- is underpinned by the UK rule of tend the summit in London on law. We enjoy a lot of cultural links March 9 and 10. like sport as well," he said. -PTI

had signed an MoU with the Karnataka government to set up a 6 MTPA greenfield project at Kuditini in Bellary, Karnataka. After failing for over a decade to set up plants in Odisha and

Jharkhand, ArcelorMittal had signed the pact with Karnataka government for the plant but the same is yet to take off. While the company is facing raw material security issues in Karnataka, the projects in Jharkhand and Odisha were marred by delays. -PTI

HSBC discloses tax evasion probes in India LONDON/NEW DELHI: Global banking giant HSBC has disclosed being probed by tax authorities in India and several other countries, including against its Swiss and Dubai units, for allegedly abetting tax evasion of four Indians and their families. Besides, the bank has been approached by the regulatory and law enforcement agencies of various countries for information on persons and entities named in the leaked 'Panama Papers' - which included hundreds of Indians who had indulged in alleged tax violations through offshore tax havens with the help of Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca. Disclosing the "tax-related investigations" in its latest annual report, HSBC further said it has set aside USD 773 million (over Rs 5,000 crore) as provision for various tax- and money laundering-related matters.-PTI

Nadella condemns killing of Indian techie NEW YORK: Microsoft's India-born chief Satya Nadella has asserted that there is no place for "senseless violence" and bigotry in the society as he condemned the killing of an Indian techie in a shooting incident in the US. "There's no place for senseless violence & bigotry in our society. My heart is with the victims & families of the horrific shooting in Kansas," Nadella tweeted. 32-year-old Srinivas Kuchibhotla, who was working at GPS-maker Garmin headquarters in Olathe, was killed after he was shot by a navy veteran yelling "get out of my country" and "terrorist" at a bar in Kansas City in the state of Missouri. Kuchibhotla's Indian colleague Alok Madasani was injured when the 51-year-old shooter opened fire on them. A third person, an American who tried to intervene, was also injured. Earlier this month, Hyderabad-

born Nadella during an interaction with students here had underlined the importance of "diversity and inclusion" amid an environment of divisiveness. Also during an employee Q&A on January 30, Nadella had addressed President Donald Trump's

Satya Nadella

executive order on immigration, saying there is no place for bias or bigotry in any society. Nadella's comments come against the backdrop of a divisive and anti-immigrant rhetoric engulfing the US under the presidency of Trump. -PTI

Indian-American businessman held for fraud WASHINGTON: An IndianThese reports were used by the American businessman, who pre- banks to calculate the credit limit viously owned a popular jewellery for Alpha Omega, and included chain in Boston, has been arrested inventory such as luxury watches at the Los Angeles International and high-end items from Indian Airport on his return from India jewellery vendors, that Alpha on charges of defrauding his Omega never in fact possessed. former lenders. On December 15, 2007, Handa Handa, 67, was produced be- and his family abruptly left the US. fore a US court in Los Angeles After discovering Handa's deparfollowing the arrest. He would ture, Alpha Omega's lender took eventually be brought to Boston for a formal According to the indictment, trial. A 2011 indictment Handa owned the Alpha charges Handa with 12 Omega Jewelers, a watch counts of wire fraud. According to the in- and jewellery retailer in the dictment, Handa owned Boston-area the Alpha Omega Jewelers, a watch and jewellery retailer control of the company and conin the Boston-area. ducted a detailed review of Alpha From May 2007 to December Omega's inventory. 2007, Alpha Omega experienced According to the indictment, severe financial troubles, and had the review revealed over USD 7 difficulty keeping current with million in missing or unaccounted loans it had with several banks. for inventory. Handa allegedly fabricated inThe charge of wire fraud proventory on reports that were sub- vides for a sentence of no greater mitted to the banks as part of the than 20 years in prison, three years scheme to defraud Alpha Omega's supervised release and a fine of lenders and in order to obtain ad- USD 250,000 on each count, the ditional loans. FBI said in a statement. -PTI


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S

mart-television maker Vizio agreed to pay a penalty last month for spying on 11 million customers. According to the Federal Trade Commission, the company captured second-by-second information on what customers viewed, combined it with their gender, age and income, and sold it to third parties. How much was the fine for Vizio, which has sales in excess of $3 billion? It was $2.2 million - barely a slap on the wrist. These kinds of privacy breaches are increasingly common as billions of devices now become part of the "Internet of Things" (I.o.T.). Whether it be our TV sets, cars, bathroom scales, children's toys or medical devices, we are already surrounded by everyday objects equipped with sensors and computers. And the companies that make them can get away with being careless with consumer security - and with stealing customer data. Vizio has been accused of exposing its customers to hackers before. In November 2015, security researchers at Avast demonstrated how easy it was for hackers to gain complete access to

the WiFi networks that Vizio's TVs were connected to and that it recorded customer data even when they explicitly opted out of its terms of service. On Black Friday in 2015, hackers broke into the servers of Chi-

One option would be to hold the manufacturers strictly liable for these hacks, to financially motivate them to improve product security. In the same way that seat belt manufacturers are responsible for the safety of their products,

be along the lines of what attorney Matt Sherer recommends in a paper on regulating artificial intelligence systems that was published in the Harvard Journal of Law and Technology: Impose strict liability but with the poten-

devices, the certification or selfcertification of products, and labeling requirements to make

Making smart devices secure against hackers VIVEK WADHWA

nese toymaker VTech and lifted personal information on nearly 5 million parents and more than 6 million children. The data haul included home addresses, names, birth dates, email addresses and passwords. Worse still, it included photographs and chat logs between parents and their children. VTech paid no fine and changed its terms of service to require that customers acknowledge their private data "may be intercepted or later acquired by unauthorized parties." Regulations and consumer protections are desperately needed.

I.o.T. device makers would be presumed to be liable unless they could prove that they had taken all reasonable precautions. The penalties could be high enough to put a company out of business. But this would be inequitable. One of the factors enabling such hacking is that users don't use sufficiently complex passwords and thus leave the front door unlocked. It could also stifle innovation, with the big players avoiding the possibility of extreme penalties by becoming averse to innovations, and small players avoiding entering the market because they lack the resources to handle possible litigation. Duke School of Law researcher Jeremy Muhlfelder says that copyright law has a history of Supreme Court cases that have ruled on this exact principle, of not wanting to curb the "next big thing" by holding innovators liable for their innovations. Innovators themselves wouldn't, and shouldn't, be liable for how carelessly their innovations are incorporated into new products. But imposing strict liabilities on manufacturers, since it would lead indirectly to canceling the rewards of innovation, might not be legally realistic either. A more reasonable solution may

tial for pre-certification that removes the liability. I.o.T. devices would be deemed inherently dangerous, and thus the producer would be strictly liable for faults unless an independent agency certifies the devices as secure. This would be similar to the UL certification provided by Underwriters Laboratories, a government-approved company that carries out testing and certification to ensure products meet safety

consumers aware of the risks. Wheeler proposed "marketbased incentives and appropriate regulatory oversight where the market does not, or cannot, do the job effectively." As Wheeler also noted, addressing I.o.T. threats is a national imperative and must not be stalled by the transition to a new president. This is beyond politics. It is a matter of national security and consumer safety.

One of the factors enabling such hacking is that users don't use sufficiently complex passwords and thus leave the front door unlocked. specifications. Equipment certification is also one of the recommendations that former Federal Communications Commission chairman Tom Wheeler made in a letter to Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-Va.) regarding the government's response to the October 2016 attack on the Internet. He proposed a publicprivate partnership that creates a set of best practices for securing

Vivek Wadhwa is Distinguished Fellow, Carnegie Mellon University Engineering at Silicon Valley; Syndicated columnist Washington Post, Contributor: VentureBeat, Huffington Post, LinkedIn Influencers, ASEE Prism Magazine Website: www.wadhwa.com , Twitter: @wadhwa Author: The Immigrant Exodus and Innovating Women.

Changes in coal royalty program frozen BILLINGS, Mont.: The Interior Department has put on hold changes to how the federal government values huge volumes of coal extracted from public lands, primarily in the Western United States, after mining companies challenged the agency in federal court. The move by the Trump administration means current rules governing the industry will remain in place pending decisions in the courts, according to an agency notification. The changes, crafted under the administration of President Barack Obama, were aimed at ensuring companies don't shortchange tax-

payers on coal sales to Asia and other markets. Coal exports surged over the past decade even as domestic sales declined. Yet federal lawmakers and watchdog groups have long complained that taxpayers were losing hundreds of millions of dollars annually because royalties on coal from public lands were being improperly calculated. In 2016, companies sold 316 million tons of coal from federal and Indian lands valued at $5.4 billion. Those sales generated almost $600 million in reported royalties, according to Interior department data. Most coal from public lands is

mined in Wyoming. Mines in Montana, Colorado, Utah and New Mexico also play a significant role. The fuel is used to produce about one-third of the nation's elec-

tricity, a figure that has dropped sharply in recent years as cheap natural gas has gained a much larger share of the power market. Rules in place since the 1980s

have allowed companies to sell their fuel to affiliates and pay royalties to the government on that price, then turn around and sell the coal at higher prices, often overseas. Under the suspended rule change, the royalty rate would be determined at the time the coal is leased, and revenue will be based on the price paid by an outside entity, rather than an interim sale to an affiliated company. Companies including Gillette, Wyoming-based Cloud Peak Energy argue that the higher price includes transportation expenses and other logistical costs that shouldn't be factored into royalty payments.-AP


Desi News All-women crew on longest DelhiSF flight India Post News Service

SAN FRANCISCO, CA: To celebrate International Women's Day, which falls on March 8, Air India, the country's national carrier airline, on February 26 operated the longest all-women crew flight from New Delhi to San Francisco. Said to be a first-of-its-kind flight, the 16-hour long flight had an all women staff including cabin crew, cockpit crew, doctor, customer care staff and also the ground staff. A team of four pilots and 12 cabin crew were on board the Boeing 777-LR that departed Delhi early on February 26. The flight had over 225 passengers including 30 infants, which travelled a distance of around 14,500 kilometer in close to 16 hours. It was operated as part of International Women's Day celebrations. Details on page 18

Hundreds celebrate Mahashivratri in Boston GEETHA PATIL

BOSTON: Hundreds of devotees thronged Shivalaya Temple of Greater Boston for Mahashivaratri celebrations with great religious fervor and piety on Friday February 24 to pray and offer flowers, bel (wood apple) leaves, milk, honey and more to the Lord Shiva. They in a way joined thousands of devotees who with their families and children crowd many Shiva shrines, big and small in towns, cities as well as rural areas, all over India and abroad. The festival is celebrated especially by singing praises of Lord Shiva by the devotees while observing a rigorous fast for absolution of sin and looking for Moksha on this day.

COMMUNITY ACROSS AMERICA

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Details on page 21

India Post News Service

KANSAS: Johnson County District Attorney Steve Howe said here that Adams Purinton, 51, is being charged with one count of premeditated first-degree murder and two counts of attempted premeditated murder. Purinton is being held on $2 million bond; he's expected to be extradited from Henry County, Mo., to face charges in Kansas. The shooting that occurred at Austins Bar & Grill in Olathe, Kansas, left one man dead and two others wounded. Two of the victims are originally from India Srinivas Kuchibhotla and Alok Madasan. The assailant was allegedly heard yelling "get out of my country" just before opening fire. Srinivas 32, died February 23.Hewas having an after-work beer with his friend Alok. Alok Madasani, 32, and bar patron Ian Grillot, 24, suffered injuries, authorities said.Hours later, police arrested Adam W. Purinton about 70 miles away - in Clinton, Missouri. The FBI is jointly investigating the triple shooting with local authorities, an FBI representative told

Indian-origin philanthropist felicitated

Details on page 20

March 3, 2017

Community shocked as Kansas man is held for shooting Indian

Details on page 19

HOUSTON: An Indian-American has been felicitated by the Indian Consulate here for his contribution towards the community and starting a mission that provides education to millions in tribal India. A native of Gabat village in Gujarat, Ramesh Shah was also awarded the 'Pravasi Bharatiya Samman' last month in Bangalore for his over 40 years of contribution in spreading awareness about the country around the world and working for the welfare of the Indian community ever since he moved to the US in 1970.

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Shilpa Shetty honors Bay area women achievers

The alleged shooter Adams Purinton

NPR. The agency is working to determine whether the victims' civil rights were violated as part of the crime. The Kansas City Star in its report said: "At least one witness reportedly heard the man yell 'get out of my country' shortly before shooting Kuchibhotla and Madasani. The man fled on foot.

Three victims of the shooter Srinivas Kuchibhotla, Alok Madasani and Ian Grillot

A manhunt ensued. Five hours later, Purinton reportedly told a bartender at a bar in an Applebee's in Clinton, Mo., that he needed a place to hide out because he had just killed two Middle Eastern men." Sunayana Dumala, widow of Srinivas deemed this as hate crime and pitched Washington to do something about hate crimes in general."I need an answer; I need an answer from the government. I need an answer for everyone out there," she said. "Not just for my husband ... but for everyone, all those people of any race." She said that she was constantly worried about violence against foreigners in the United States, "I told him many a times, 'Should we think about going back? And his response usually was 'No.' The White House has sought to dispel concerns that the fatal shooting of an Indian engineer and the wounding of two other men was inspired by President Donald Trump's rhetoric. Sean Spicer, the White House spokesperson, said any loss of life is tragic but it would be absurd to link the action to Trump's stance on immigrants.Spicer said it was too early to guess the motive for the incident, in which a man

opened fire in a crowded bar in an apparently racially motivated attack. The Olathe community mourned Kuchibhotla's death during a candlelight vigil on Feb 24 night at a church just steps away from where he was gunned down.The Indian Association of

Gilman of Jewish Family Services of Greater Kansas City was on hand to offer comfort. "Unfortunately we know what it's like to be victims of a hate crime, so we want the Olathe community to know, the minority community to know, that we are with them' The shooting prompted an out-

The Olathe community mourned Kuchibhotla's death during a candlelight vigil on Feb 24 night at a church just steps away from where he was gunned down. Kansas City held a vigil of its own on Feb 26."It takes a long time for us to get out of this shock that the community has been in, because nothing like this has happened here before," Sridhar Harohalli, the group's president, said. "As a community we are shocked, we are saddened, we are devastated," Olathe Mayor Michael Copeland said.Laura

Srinivas with his wife Sunyana Kuchibotla

pouring of support on Go Fund Me pages set up for the victims. A friend who set up a page for the family of Kuchibhotla says he died after "an intoxicated man hurling racial slurs opened fire inside a packed Kansas bar." Cont’d on page 19


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Candlelight vigil held for Srinivas in Fremont India Post News Service

FREMONT, CA: The IndianAmerican community and other locals gathered at Lake Elizabeth on February 25 for a vigil in honor of Srinivas Kuchibhotla, who died at a late night shooting February 22.The event was organized by Mahesh Pakala, Prasad Gattu and Reena Rao. It was attended by city officials, community leaders and public in large numbers. Fremont Mayor Lily Mei encouraged people to come together, saying, "One evil act does not divide a united community." The event was attended by K Venkata Ramana, Consul (CIC) Consulate General of India, San Francisco, Congressman Ro Khanna, Savita Vaidyanathan, Mayor of

Cupertino, Raj Salwan, Councilmember, David Bonnaccorsi, Councilmember and other elected officials and repre-

sentatives from various organizations and cities. Prayers were offered for the 32year-old engineer, as well as an-

HAF condemns Missouri hate crime India Post News Service

WASHINGTON, DC: Leaders of the Hindu American Foundation have condemned the shooting of two Indian immigrants and an American bystander in Olathe, Missouri in what appears to be a hate crime. Both Kuchibhotla and Madasani earned undergraduate

hide. Purinton has since been charged with first-degree murder. The murder of Kuchibhotla is the first reported bias-motivated fatality in the United States after the bitter Presidential election. "Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of Srinivas Kuchibhotla," said Jay Kansara, Director of Government Relations. "We are also praying for

HAF has urged that anyone that has been harassed, assaulted or threatened with harm on the basis of their identity (e.g., race, religion, disability, ethnic origin, or sexual orientation), to report the incident to law enforcement immediately. degrees at Indian universities, with their graduate work done at colleges in the United States. Kuchibhotla is survived by his wife and family members in India. The shooter was arrested after being turned in to police by a bartender in Clinton, Missouri, to whom he bragged about the shooting and said he needed a place to

a speedy recovery for the injured. We call upon the US Department of Justice and local law enforcement to investigate this murder as what it is, a hate crime. Anything less will be an injustice to the victims and their families." A GoFundMe page has been set up to help send Kuchibhotla's remains to his na-

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tive India. "We at HAF want to thank those who put themselves at risk to stop this attack or to bring the perpetrator to justice," Kansara added. "It is these acts of heroism in our communities that make America great." This tragic shooting occurs as hate crimes and acts of bigotry have risen notably in recent months. In the past week alone, a Jewish cemetery was vandalized in St Louis, Missouri, offices of Jewish civil society organizations have received bomb threats, and a man was removed from a flight between Chicago and Houston after leveling racist taunts at Pakistani and Indian passengers, to name just a few incidents. HAF has urged that anyone that has been harassed, assaulted or threatened with harm on the basis of their identity (e.g., race, religion, disability, ethnic origin, or sexual orientation), to report the incident to law enforcement immediately. Similarly, community members should report any incidents involving vandalism, hateful graffiti, desecration, arson, or violence directed towards temples or other properties. HAF has also requested help in tracking incidents of identitybased or bias-motivated intimidation, threats, harassment, and violence being experienced in our communities by filling out the Bias-Motivated Crime Data Collection Form, if they or someone they know has experienced or witnessed an incident.

other Indian man and an American who were injured when a white US Navy veteran yelling "get out of my country" and "terrorist" opened fire on them in an apparent racially-motivated hate crime. Adam Purinton, 51, of Olathe has been charged with first-degree murder in the death of Kuchibhotla. The incident cap-

tured headlines in India and triggered a rage on social media. "I need an answer. I need an answer from the government. I need an answer from everyone out there," Sunayana Dumala, the widow of the engineer, said. "Not just for my husband, but for everyone, all those people of any race."


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All women crew on longest Delhi-SF flight India Post News Service

SAN FRANCISCO, CA: To celebrate International Women's Day, which falls on March 8, Air India, the country's national carrier airline, on February 26 operated the longest all-women crew flight from New Delhi to San Francisco. Said to be a first-of-its-kind flight, the 16-hour long flight had an all women staff including cabin crew, cockpit crew, doctor, customer care staff and also the ground staff. A team of four pilots and 12 cabin crew were on board the Boeing 777-LR that departed Delhi early on February 26. The flight had over 225 passengers including 30 infants, which travelled a distance of around 14,500 kilometer in close to 16 hours. It was operated as part of International Women's Day celebrations. The all-women crew led by

Air India West coast officials

Captain Kshamta Bajpayee along with Captain Sunita Narula, Capt Indira Singh and Capt Gunjan Aggarwal. An event was hosted by Air India at Le Meridien, San Francisco CA on Feb 27 to felicitate the crew and their achievement. The cabin crew along with models walked the ramp and set the stage on fire. The event was attended by Mr. Venkat Raman, Consul, Consulate of India, Mr. Pradip Yadav, Head of Chancery, Consulate General of India, Ms. Melisa Andretta, Director, International Marketing & Aviation, Mr. Jeff Hoglind, Manager,- International Aviation development, Mr. Antony Mira, Director, TSA, SFO Intl airport, Ms. Robin Brown, Brand Manager SFO Marketing, Mr. Pradeep Ganatra, Manager-West Coast, Mr.Neelaj Sharma, District Sales Manager, Air India officials, travel patrons and media. The entertainment quotient of the evening was conceptualized by Women Now TV. Captain Kshamata Bajpayee said, "Air India was the first carrier in the world to operate an allwomen crew in 1985. I am truly

Capt Sunita Narula with model

Capt Kshamita Bajpayee with model

blessed to be part of the Air India family. Only when you wish can you be granted that wish. Only when you dream can that dream come true, it has come true for me". The flight is a symbol of women empowerment and it will encour-

age women to step out of their comfort zone and succeed in maledominated arenas too, said Capt Sunita Narula. "The entire message is actually to encourage young girls who have dreams of getting into the skies and they feel it's too technical or this is something only men do. This flight is a symbol that every single male-dominated function can be carried out by women safely and efficiently", says the whole crew in one chord. Air India's mission to make women self-reliant forms a core facet of the national carrier's corporate responsibility towards its women employees and reflects the "Truly Indian" tradition of showing respect to women. Air India was the first carrier in the world to operate an all-women crew in 1985. The state-run airline has around 3,800 women workforce of

the total 27,500 people with 20,500 of them regular. Every year Air India operates all-women flights to celebrate the International

All women crew

Women's Day. This year they operated 18 flights with all women crews in both domestic and international routes.


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Hundreds celebrate Mahashivratri in Boston GEETHA PATIL

Devotees throng the Temple

BOSTON: Hundreds of devotees thronged Shivalaya Temple of Greater Boston for Mahashivaratri celebrations with great religious fervor and piety on Friday February 24 to pray and offer flowers,

Decorated Crystal Shivling

bel (wood apple) leaves, milk, honey and more to the Lord Shiva. They in a way joined thousands of devotees who with their families and children crowd many Shiva shrines, big and small in towns, cities as well as rural areas, all over India and abroad. The festival is celebrated especially by singing praises of Lord Shiva by the devotees while observing a rigorous fast for absolution of sin and looking for Moksha on this day. On this day,devotees were visiting the temple since early morning but in the evening, we witnessed serpentine queues of devotees, each carrying offerings for the Lord and offered to Lord Shiva their praises and prayers for his

blessings. Swami Nalinanand Giri husband. Worshippers smeared Ji delivered enlightening dis- holy ash on their forehead just like course on Shiva Purana Katha for Shiva and wore Rudraksha gartwo evenings from 6:30pm to lands. The religious acts were per8:30pm on Wed Feb 22nd - Thu formed with a sense of utmost deFeb 23nd. votion. The devotees showed On Shivaratri day, the Maha their gratitude to Shiva god, for Rudra Abhishek was performed by having saved the world. the temple priests Pandit Jay Pandit Jay Narayana Badal Ji Narayana Badal Ji and Swami prayed and blessed all the devoNalinanand Giri Ji along with devo- tees for their prosperous life filled tees with all the Vedic rituals. Swami Ji also performed Shiva Ling shringar while devotees were singing Shiva Bhajans and chanting 'Om Namah Shivaya in chorus.' Maha Mritunjaya Mantra was also chanted with great devotion to seek divine blessings of Lord Shiva.Temple President Shri Vijay Kumar Selhi Ji offered beautiful fresh water garlands to Lord Shiva and Ma Parvati with utmost reverence. Shiva Vivah play was performed by the young children from 8:30pm to 9:00pm as it is also believed that on this auspicious day there is convergence of divine powers of Lord Shiva and Goddess Shakti and Lord Shiva was married to Ma Parvati.Their wedding A devotee offering Abhshekam to Lord Shiva was performed with all the Vedic chanting and rituals by Pandit Badal Ji. On this day, the planetary po- with joys, happiness, affluence, sition in universe evokes the spiri- success, and peace. "We wish you tual energies very easily.Married all a very Happy Shivratri. May women, therefore, pray for the well- Lord Shiva and Mata Parvati being of their husbands and chil- shower their blessings to everydren, unmarried women pray to one. Cont’d on page 20 goddess Parvati asking for a good

Ash Kalra announces emergency service India Post News Service

FREMONT, CA: Following Coyote Creek floods, Assemblymember Ash Kalra has announced emergency service measures as he says, emergency preparedness is critical because flooding remains a concern. "Many areas are still unsafe to access and it is advised that residents should not return to their homes until authorities determine that it is safe to do so. Flood water and homes, cars, and belongings that have been flooded should be treated as contaminated," he says on his website. He has listed the following emergency measures. • To report downed trees and flooding, call (408) 794-1900 (24hour number) • If you have an emergency or a tree is in the roadway, please call 911 immediately • To reach PG&E to report lines down and obtain updates on power outages in your area, please call (800) 743-5000 Residents and businesses are encouraged to visit the Santa Clara Valley Water District for more information. You may register your mobile phone for emergency notifications through the Alert Santa Clara County (SCC) system. The California Office of Emergency Services has established a Local Assistance Center to assist those impacted by the flood, and

the EDD will be one of the participating agencies. The EDD staff will be on site to provide information and assist individuals with their Unemployment Insurance claims and any employment services they may need. Staff will also be available to answer any tax related questions local business owners

Ash Kalra

may have. DMV Local Assistance Center The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will offer limited services to San José area flooding victims at an assistance center opened at the Shirakawa Center, located at 2072 Lucretia Avenue, in San Jose. At the assistance center, affected customers will be able to order, replacement driver licenses, identification cards, vehicle registration and title, substitute license plates and stickers, and disabled person placards. In addition, they can acquire vehicle disposal paperwork, driver record printouts and submit change of address forms. Only payments of cash, check or money orders will be accepted. These services are also available at local DMV field offices.

Community shocked as Kansas man is held for shooting Indian Cont’d from page 16

Kuchibhotla's 70-year-old father, K Madhusudhana Sastry, is a retired scientist from Indian Drugs and Pharmaceuticals Limited and he was in deep grief while reacting that the shooting was a big blow to all family members. Madhusudan has three sons and the remaining two are working in India.

Go Fund Me Chicago Bureau adds: Sunil Shah, the founder president of FIA Schaumburg, said that the entire Indian community here is shocked at the shooting death of Indian techy Sirinivas Kuchibhotla and he has convened the grief of FIA to his widow Sunayana. He said an appeal is on its way urging the community to contribute to the Go Fund Me set up for the victims family members.


Community Across America

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March 3, 2017

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Indian-origin philanthropist felicitated HOUSTON: An Indian-American has been felicitated by the Indian Consulate here for his contribution towards the community and starting a mission that pro-

vides education to millions in tribal India. A native of Gabat village in Gujarat, Ramesh Shah was also awarded the 'Pravasi Bharatiya

Samman' last month in Bangalore for his over 40 years of contribution in spreading awareness about the country around the world and working for the welfare of the In-

Mahashivaratri celebrated at Hanuman Mandir SURESH BODIWALA

Devotees throng Hanuman Mandir for Mahashivratri

CHICAGO: Mahashivaratri was celebrated at Hanuman Mandir in Glenview, a Chicago suburb with religious fervor and lot of enthusiasm on February 24. The temple was decorated with fruits. Bhasam Alankar was performed and over 3000 devotees (men, women, & children) offered milk to Lord Shiva. The youngest child who performed this was 1&1/

2 years old. This was witnessed by many devotees present at the ceremony and was applauded by everyone present. The temple gave the opportunity to each devotee to offer milk to Lord Shiva the whole day. The program, started with Maha Sankalp followed by Ganapathi and Kumbh Puja. The chanting of

prayers was followed by various bhajans that kept the atmosphere thrilled with spirituality. The devotees were provided with holy Prasad. The celebration concluded with Abhishek, Aarti and melodious Bhajans. At 12 midnight, Maha Aarti was performed and devotees received Prasad and blessings from Lord Shiva.

dian community ever since he moved to the US in 1970. He also established the Gujarati Samaj of Houston in 1978. Shah was also a part of the team that organized Prime Minister Narendra Modi's grand Madison Square Garden reception in September 2014. He worked to bring the community together, raised money and recruited volunteers for the event. Shah has travelled across India, Europe and the US to create awareness about the remote parts of India, including the tribal belts. With an aim to provide educa-

service". The crowd gave a standing ovation to Shah and also applauded his wife Kokilaben for standing "shoulder to shoulder" with him in his journey. Shah shared his honor with the Indian-American community and said they have supported him in all his endeavors. He said that he is deeply influenced by Swami Vivekananda's writings and asked for the people's blessings to continue working till his last breath. The Indian-American has been a community resource in times of

Ramesh Shah

tion in tribal areas in India, Shah founded the 'Ekal Vidyalaya' chain for those who have little access to education. He is now the global coordinator of the school chain and travels worldwide to advocate the 'Ekal mission'. Consul General Anupam Ray in his address said that Shah has "personified the Indian ideal of

emergencies, helping its members in immigration, accidents, and family crisis. He has block-walked for political campaigns around the US and in India. In 2010, Shah drafted a petition to the Ministry of External Affairs of India and led a silent hunger strike to protest the unfairness of the renunciation certificate roll out. -PTI

Hundreds celebrate Mahashivratri in Boston Cont’d from page 19

May this festival be a purposeful one to everybody," said President Shri Selhi. Swami Nalinanand Ji also wished happiness and peace for every one with His eternal love and strength." Shri Sudershan Sharma Ji thanked every devotee for their participation and making the event a grand success. He also thanked profusely all volunteers for their time and meticulous job. Maha Mangalarati was followed by very delicious Maha Prasad for more than 400 fasting and non-fasting devotees. Swami Nityanand seen singing Shiv Stotra


Community Across America

March 3, 2017

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Shilpa Shetty honors Bay area women achievers VIDYA SETHURAMAN India Post News Service

SAN JOSE, CA: International Women's Day is celebrated on March 8 worldwide, commemorating the political, social and economic achievements of women. Over the decades, the objective of Women's Day celebrations has evolved and embraced culture and ethnicity to emerge as a celebration of appreciation, respect and love towards women. Bollywood Events and M Lounge presented a fun filled night to celebrate "Womanhood" and awarded 10 Bay area women achievers for their success and service on 26th Feb at M Lounge, San Jose. M Lounge is a unique eat and play lounge, offering a South East Asian Cuisine located at the upscale Downtown San Jose. Over 10 Bay area women, achievers in their own right were honored at the gala by Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty Kundra, who

Bikramjeet Singh, Ashwini Kumar and Shilpa Shetty Kundra. Pics Vik's Photography

will make her stronger and daring to take up new challenges, said Kavi Agrawal of Bollywood Everything who opened the event which was attended by over 300 community members.

Shilpa Shetty Kundra and Jagruti Desai Shah

Speaking on the occasion, Bollywood actress and fitness enthusiast Shilpa Shetty said, "If empowered, the hand that rocks the cradle can surely rule the world; complementing, contributing, creating a better tomorrow for everyone." A fervent defender of gender equality and women's empowerment, Shilpa has always been highlighting the pivotal role of women in the society as source of love, care and affection. "I'm not a feminist but a responsible woman. I salute all the women who are homemakers and I think that's the most difficult job. There is no day off. Women are not only going out and earning bread and butter but also looking after the family," she said. Shilpa may be a celebrity to the outside Anu Natarjan with Shilpa Shetty Kundra world, but at heart, she

is not just a Bollywood actress but a business tycoon and success story herself. Education is the key to women empowerment. If a girl is educated, she will have confidence. She will have employable skills. Employment will lead her to financial independence. Entrepreneurship

says, she's still the girl who comes from a middle class background and has seen her father helping her mother in household work. Shilpa Shetty has recently launched her web channel `Shilpa

Shilpa Shetty Kundra and Kay Kaur Walia

and effective workout regime, balancing fitness with right food, interesting quick recipes and many informative things related to fitness. I would be more than happy to know if I can bring change in

Shilpa Shetty Kundra, Dr Rewa Kumar

Shetty Wellness Series`, which has over 4.2 million views, with the purpose to promote healthy living. She said, "My mission is to promote holistic health for those

The foundation helps to nurture orphan children by strengthening and reconstructing the existing structures which include education, medical help, accommodation and entertainment as well.

Sharan Gill and Shilpa Shetty Kundra

even one person`s life on fitness," she added. With over a dozen business houses managed by Shilpa and her husband Raj Kundra, she heads

Dr Rewa Kumar, Kay Kaur, Rennu Dhillon, Jagruti Desai Shah, Ismeet Narula, Anu Natarajan, Dr Nilima Sabharwal, Harbir Bhatia, Julia Miller, Mani Kambhoj and

Kavi Agrawal, Bikramjeet Singh, Ashwini Kumar, Shilpa Shetty Kundra, Assemblymen Ash Kalra, Cindy & Gagan SIngh

people who cannot afford a gym or nutritionist and not get enough time to take care of their fitness, especially working women. It will give them a chance to find quick

the Shilpa Shetty Foundation, a non-profit organization which thrives to transform lives of orphan children and contribute towards the development of society.

Rashmee Sharma were the selected few who received the Women Empowerment award from Ms.Shetty this year. Cont’d on page 24


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Gurudwara honors Commissioner Frank Avila HARISH RAO

CHICAGO: Frank Avila, the County Illinois. The supervisors Commissioner of the Metropolitan and the managers did not realize Water Reclamation District of that a turban is a religiously manGreater Chicago (MWRDGC) since dated article of faith for practicing 2002, was honored by the Sikh Sikhs, and becomes an extension Religious Soof their body ciety in Pawhen out in latine Illinois, public. a suburb of "But now Chicago on due to a February 19 strong supfor helping port by Comthe Sikh commissioner munity. Avila, who unT h e derstands the Sangat (consignificance gregation) of a turban for was informed a Sikh due to how Commishis business sioner Avila travels to Inhelped the dia, the waiver successful from wearing a implementahard hat was tion of the implemented O.S.H.A. (Ocat MWRDGC. cupational So by setting Safety and this preceHealth Addence it will be Commissioner Frank Avila addressing ministration) easier for the Sikh Congregation in Palatine Waiver from future turban mandatory wearing Sikh wearing of hard hat for turban employees of MWRDGC to get wearing Sikhs working at the waiver," said Rajinder Singh MWRDGC. It was an uphill task Mago. and took years to get an already Avila was introduced to the existing O.S.H.A. Waiver to get Sangat (congregation) from the implemented at MWRDGC in Cook congregation prayer hall podium

Frank Avila was presented with a poster depicting Sikh participation in World War I and II

by Rajinder Singh Mago. He was honored with a plaque by the Sikh Religious Society board members At the MWRDGC Commissioner Avila is the Chairman of Finance ($1.1 billion budget) and also committee chair of Engineering, and Maintenance and Operations. Later Sarwan Singh Raju and Lal Singh facilitated the presenta-

tion to Avila of a picture poster of British India Sikh Soldiers who gallantly fought in World Wars I and II. Commissioner Avila along with his wife of 52 years Sherry Avila observed the Sikh Prayer Service. They sat on the floor in the congregation, listened to the Kirtan (singing of hymns), partook

Parshad (sweet pudding, a token of Guru's love and blessings) and partook Langar (community kitchen vegetarian meal) alongside the Sikh community members. Frank and Sherry Avila were greeted by a group of friends and welcomed with bouquet of flowers upon arrival at the Gurdwara facilities.

Women sport red, for a hearty cause! SWAAPANA DAVE

CHICAGO: The Mediators of Atherosclerosis in South Asians Living in America (MASALA) study team from Northwestern University hosted, "Loving Yourself," a special event focused on emotional well-being and stress management for South Asian women here on a winter Saturday, February 11. This event coincided with

actively engaged the attendees to participate in discussions on common stressors South Asian women experience. The women at the event shared stories about how stress affects their lives and how difficult it can be for South Asians to acknowledge and cope with stress. Dr. Rastogi helped participants reflect on the importance of self-care. She

The women at the event shared stories about how stress affects their lives and how difficult it can be for South Asians to acknowledge and cope with stress American Heart Month and focused on stress because stress is an important aspect of heart health. Participants wore something red as a symbol of love and strength. Dr. Mudita Rastogi, Professor of Psychology, Illinois School of Professional Psychology at Argosy University, delivered an interactive session on stress management in women. Dr. Rastogi

encouraged them to remember their own needs even if there are multiple demands from work and. She asked them to think about, "What exactly am I feeling?" The session also focused on simple strategies to cope with stress, such as being physically active, learning to meditate, getting enough sleep, connecting with friends and family, volunteering and taking time to do some-

thing that brings joy. There was a good discussion about the importance of seeking professional help if needed. Women said it could be hard to get help because of cultural taboos around mental health and stress.Other women shared their own experiences with therapy and how it could help. The session concluded with a relaxing breathing exercise. The MASALA

study, which has 900 South Asian participants, has found that anxiety and depression are associated with cardiovascular disease risk factors. The goal of MASALA is to understand why South Asians have so much heart disease and diabetes and what we can do to prevent these diseases. The study, led by Dr. Namratha Kandula at Northwestern University and Dr. Alka Kanaya at University of California San Francisco, has received over 11 million dollars in funding from the National Institutes of Health. The success of the study is a result of the commitment of the study participants, who have been in the study since 2010. Very few studies have been done on South Asian health, and results from MASALA are being used to inform better health care for South Asians. You can learn more about MASALA at www.masalastudy.org.


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Bureaucrat by day, author by night

M

ona Mohanty, the author of Betwixt Twists and Turns, a collection of short stories, is a part time senior bureaucrat by profession and a part time author by passion. Her writing takes place at odd hours; in the wee hours of the morning, in the silences of the dark night, at lunch hour while grabbing a bite and, of course, over the weekend, when there are also a host of

PRAKASH M SWAMY

come from a variety of viewpoints - an older woman who receives an unexpected telegram, a businessman who encounters what might be a ghost and various animals sharing their impressions of human life. The stories vividly capture the routine of existence - but with a surprising twist. The collection of short stories set in India features tales with unexpected outcomes

Ms Mohanty has been writing since childhood, even before she was ten years old. But like all creative people, she was more of a dreamer than a performer. So a lot of writing through the decades still remains encased in bits and scraps of papers myriad things to attend to apart from writing. She is from Indian Revenue Service (IRS). Betwixt Twists And Turns, a collection of short stories was released in May last year. The author presents a series of short stories born from random thoughts that popped out of nowhere, overheard bits of conversations, parables of family lore and anecdotes from friends. These tales

from a wide range of perspectives both human and animal. The book is published by Partridge India and is among the best sellers in India in the genre now. As she ruefully avers, she is not a disciplined writer, not those regular ten pages of writing on a daily basis as encouraged to do so by the 'how to achieve success' gurus. But, the mind, of course, weaves stories continuously. So

there are always stories in the nascent stage on her plate waiting patiently to see the light of day, biding their time before they are embossed in the writer's pen. She is the eldest of three siblings born into a world of books, books and books. For, their parents taught them the magic of words encased in those volumes that we call books. A grandfather who made up stories to keep a seven year old engaged played a major role in leading her into the world of reading and writing. Ms Mohanty has been writing since childhood, even before she was ten years old. But like all creative people, she was more of a dreamer than a performer. So a lot of writing through the decades still remains encased in bits and scraps of papers, dodgy note pads, even on the blank spaces in newspapers. She has contributed to newspapers and magazines randomly over the years. But, the first systematic foray into letting the world judge her was in the form of the production of her short stories. ' On being asked what motivates her to write, she says that it is a release of sorts from the travails of everyday existence. It is a sort of catharsis, helping in releasing

the hitherto pent up emotions kept in check for we all live within the boundaries of society and its rules. In a civilized world one has to abide by the agreed norms. But,

Mona Mohanty

yes, the outpouring is not a medicinal solution alone. It is a hobby dear to her heart and she loves it.

She draws upon her travel sojourns, interactions with people and memorable incidents, experienced or reported to create her world of fiction. Her much younger siblings, now her greatest critics fondly, remind her of the tales that she used to create and tell them when they were kids. Hopefully, she feels, her readers will keep her motivated by the love and constructive critiques already shown to her after the release of her book. Currently, she is working on a novel which she hopes to complete by the autumn this year. Another collection of short stories is also in the pipeline and may see the light of day this year.

GITPRO conducts successful Missing Menlo Park 6th annual event man returns home India Post News Service

PALO ALTO, CA: Over 500 technologists and aspiring entrepreneurs attended the Global Indian Technology Professionals Organization (GITPRO) annual event, GITPRO World 2017 held at the Jewish Community Center, Palo Alto on February 18. The attendees benefited from a

In addition to engaging keynote presentations in the beginning and end of the day-long conference, attendees chose breakout sessions from four different tracks focused independently on 1) Artificial Intelligence & Big Data; 2) Emerging Technologies such as Block Chain, Chatbots; 3) Entrepreneurship and 4) Professional Development.

Rajiv Ramaswami, COO of VMWare emphasized the importance of innovation and illustrated how VMWare is currently focusing on a common platform across different multiple clouds. unique opportunity to listen to and interact with highly accomplished leaders including several CEOs, CTOs, Vice-Presidents, Professional and Startup Coaches and Venture Capitalists from established companies like VMware, Oracle, GE, Salesforce and emerging companies like UBER, Aerospike, Viptela and many others.

In his keynote speech inaugurating the conference, Rajiv Ramaswami, COO of VMWare emphasized the importance of innovation and illustrated how VMWare is currently focusing on a common platform across different multiple clouds. Ganesan Ramu of GE discussed the growth of Industrial Internet of Things (IIOT) and how GE's Predix plat-

form is enabling developers to rapidly create applications leveraging IIOT. Concluding the conference, successful entrepreneur Raju Reddy of Sierra Atlantic presented the benefits of social entrepreneurship and Dr. Prasad Kaipa shared his thoughts on the seven principles of becoming a wise leader. "GITPRO's objective is to help technology professionals advance personally and in their profession as well as give back to the community. In our sixth annual conference, we continue to attract the best leaders who are eager to share their experiences and guide aspiring technologists to achieve greater heights," said Khanderao Kand, founder of GlTPRO. Sandeep Deodikar concluded the program with, "We thank our sponsors Aerospike, Chugh Law Firm, GE, Quantyzd, Skava, University of California, Davis and Verizon as well as Jewish Community Center, Palo Alto for their help in making this a successful event."

India Post News Service

M E N L O PARK: An elderly Punjabi-speaking man was found walking and lost on Feb 25 morning. Menlo Park police located him near Santa Cruz Avenue at San Mateo Drive. The man has been safely returned to his home, his daughter later said.

He verbally identified himself as "Gurdayal Singh," however the spelling of his name is not certain, according to police. Mr. Singh told police he was 70 years old and suffers from memory loss so he couldn't remember where he lived. Initially, when officers found him he claimed to be Gurdayal Singh heading to his sister's house in Modesto.

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Shilpa Shetty honors Bay area women achievers Cont’d from page 21

The awardees wowed the audience with their powerful speech on women issues, their personal journey and message to the future generations. "We want this program to continue for years to come and become a hallmark event of Bollywood events," says Sharan Gill, Partner, Bollywood Events. Sharan is also the Founder of Care Must Home health and Hospice Care, which she started in memory of her late grandmother. "I started this venture with the aim of providing quality healthcare for the seniors at home during their last phase of life, which they would like to spend with their loved ones rather than away from all at the hospital", says Ms.Gill. She added "To empower each other, not only to empower yourself but to make sure that you lift each other up in all that you do". One of the award recipients Jagruti Desai Shah, who is HR Manager by profession, owner of Javanika Entertainment and a RJ, said she is humbled to have re-

ceived this honor. "I am proud to be an Indian woman". Women are an important element of our Society. Modern society has started recognizing the individual identity of women. She is believed to have her aspiration, abilities and qualities as a man does have and it is also agreed that she should have the opportunities to develop her faculties and to express them according to her own choice. The extent of woman's participation in the corporate life is thus the measure of social change," she added. Rennu Dhillon, Founder of Genius kids, which is an independent Accelerated Learning Center & Franchise founded on the philosophy "Never 2 Little 2 Learn"; based on the simple belief that every child is a "genius" also received the honor. She said "Daughters are angels in disguise. Believe in yourself, act with confidence, courage and this will lead you to conquer your dream. Greater gender equality is linked to a higher GDP per capita; women's participation in the workforce and in income gen-

eration boosts economic growth and has an impact on society as a whole," she added. Genius kids started with just 2 kids some 15 years back and has now grown to 35 centers all over Bay area. Genius Kids has established itself as "Nominated Best Preschool KRON 4" (Best of the Bay 2009), Selected among "26 Best Schools in the World" by TV

Marjania, the forgotten daughters, a movie targeting female feticide & gender inequality. She is also the founding member of nonprofit Kripa and Seva, which will help Women who are victim of domestic violence and acid attacks. The center will offer financial, psychological and medical guidance for the Women who are abused.

"Daughters are angels in disguise. Believe in yourself, act with confidence, courage and this will lead you to conquer your dream. Greater gender equality is linked to a higher GDP per capita; women's participation in the workforce and in income generation boosts economic growth and has an impact on society� 5 Monde, and winning several awards locally, nationally & globally. Kay Kaur, who is a Registered Nurse by profession and Hollywood actress, was also awarded by Ms.Shilpa for her outstanding contribution and service to the community. She is also the producer of Punjabi movie Dheeyan

Kay says "Effective communication is the key to success, and all women should equip themselves with confidence and courage. When women are disrespected, humiliated or exploited, a major chunk of the world population is disrespected, humiliated or exploited. And the entire human race will lag behind, unable

to realize its true potential." "They - I mean, the educated women - will become leaders with the right mindset, making the right decisions at the right time. When women are put at the helm of affairs, conflict has a natural way of decreasing. As mothers, they care. They care about the future generations. They care about this earth. If a male leader takes you where you want to be, a female leader takes you where you ought to be," said Julia Miller, Secretary/Treasurer El Camino Healthcare District. Kavita Agrawal, Emcee of this memorable evening thanked the sponsors, media and national promoter Bindu Kohli for their support. The scrumptious food for the evening was catered by "M Event and Catering" a wellknown name in the Bay Area, which offers the complete portfolio of services to support comprehensive 'Catering Event Management'. M- Event and Catering, has been rated as the No. 1 management company with Asian delicacies in the San Francisco bay area.


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March 3, 2017

India Post

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Ruchi Ghanashyam is India, Israel to celebrate 25 years of diplomatic ties Secretary (West) in MEA NEW DELHI: India and Israel are planning to hold a series of events to celebrate 25 years of establishment of their diplomatic ties. India had established full diplomatic relationship with Israel in

celebrate the occasion in a befitting manner," the External Affairs Ministry said in a statement. The ties between the two countries are on an upswing, particularly in areas of defense and agri-

manned aerial vehicles over the last few years but the transactions have largely remained behind the curtains. "India and Israel have been cooperating each other on many fronts including cooperation in defense and in agriculture and achieved milestones in fostering bilateral relationship," the MEA said. It said both the countries are committed to further deepening and diversifying the relation in many areas including those of space, science and technology, education and innovation. Israeli President Reuven Rivlin had visited India in November during Amar Sinha, Secretary (ER) and lsraeli Ambassador to India, Daniel Carmon shake hands at which both sides the launching ceremony of the 25 Years of India-Israel Diplomatic Relations- A Growing Partnership event at lndira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts in New Delhi on February 28 had decided to "broadbase" their 1992 though it had recognized the culture. already close defense partnership. country in 1950. India is the largest buyer of There were indications that "Both the governments are Israel's military hardware and the Prime Minister Narendra Modi contemplating to hold a series of latter has been supplying various may visit the country sometime events on a variety of subjects to weapon systems, missiles and un- this year. -PTI

NEW DELHI: Senior diplomat versity. Ruchi Ghanashyam has been apHer husband A R Ghanashyam pointed as the Secretary (West) is also an Indian Foreign Service in the Ministry of External Affairs. officer of the same batch. She has been appointed in She has earlier served as the place of Sujata Mehta, who has High Commissioner of India in recently taken over as a Member Ghana with concurrent accrediin Union Public Service Commis- tation to Burkina Faso, Togo and sion. Sierra Leone, from March, 2008 The Appointments Committee to October, 2011. of Cabinet has approved Earlier she served as the MinGhanashyam's ister in the appointment Permanent to the post, an Mission of Inorder issued dia to the by the PerUnited Nasonnel Ministions in New try said. York from As the May, 2004 to Secretary March 2008. ( We s t ) , R u c h i Ghanashyam Ghanashyam will be reserved as the sponsible for Director for Ruchi Ghanashyam looking after Pakistan at the country's headquarters diplomatic affairs with the UK and in Delhi from August, 2000 to other European nations. March, 2004 having earlier served She is at present the High Com- as the Counselor (Political, Press missioner of India to South Africa. & Info) in Islamabad. Before that, she worked as the She has also served in the EmAdditional Secretary in the Min- bassy of India in Brussels, Belistry of External Affairs here head- gium, Kathmandu, Nepal and ing the Europe West Division. Damascus, Syria where she learnt Born on April 4, 1960 she Arabic, and as Under Secretary in joined the Indian Foreign Service New Delhi looking after audio-viin 1982 after obtaining a Masters sual publicity for the Ministry of in Psychology from Bhopal Uni- External Affairs. -PTI

FIR filed in Kargil martyr daughter case

LOCAL TRAVEL: World Bank CEO Kristalina Georgieva travels in a local train from Churchgate to Dadar in Mumbai on February 28

NEW DELHI: An FIR has been registered against unknown persons in connection with the case of a Kargil martyr's daughter who complained of receiving "rape threats" allegedly from ABVP members. Police had received a letter from Delhi Commission for Women demanding immediate registration of an FIR against those who had threatened Gurmehar Kaur (20). The FIR was registered under relevant sections of the IT Act and IPC, said a senior police officer. "Yesterday, DCW forwarded a complaint of a DU student reg. online abuse. Immediately, area DCP spoke to her & provided necessary security. Her complnt was examined by Cyber Cell& an FIR No.32/17, u/s 354-A,506 IPC & 67 IT Act,PS EOW has been registerd & invstigation tkn up," Delhi Police

said in a series of tweets. Kaur had changed her Facebook profile picture to one in which she was holding a placard reading, "I am a student from Delhi University. I am not afraid of ABVP. I am not alone. Every

Gurmehar Kaur

student of India is with me. #StudentsAgainstABVP." Ramjas College had recently witnessed large-scale violence between members of the AISA and the ABVP. -PTI


Horoscope

26 India Post

March 3, 2017

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The stationary transit of Rahu and Ketu is in effect till April 2017, Sudden setbacks, obstructions are likely. Drive safely. Be patience.

March 3rd - March 9th 2017 Please send your birthday, place of birth and time, so I can give you your zodiac sign, according to Vedic astrology. Send to Jaysastrology@gmail.com

he professional matters need care.The promotion is likely to be delayed.Some additional expenses are likely.Take care of your health.Stay away from disputes.Those who are looking for marriage may get some proposal.It is better to avoid new ventures.The child may need help. Things are likely to ease for those who are in foreign lands.

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he professional matters look ok. You have to be careful in the matter of status, driving and relationships. New opportunities are likely.Health may cause concern focus on it. Those who have some planets around 27 degrees in any of these zodiac signs that is Virgo, Capricorn, Pisces and Taurus are likely to have problems concerning children, emotions, business, health of father.

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he professional matters look better.Some of you may have to move in connection with the job.The due promotion/recognition may be delayed by a couple of months. Take care of your child and health.It is better to avoid haste and conflicts. A void unnecessary driving, and risky activities. Patience is the Mantra for you up to September 2017.

rofessional matters look better.Some additional income is likely.The health looks better. The child may bring happiness. Enjoy time with elder siblings and highly placed people. Anxiety is there due to weakness of mercury. Enjoy time with family. Some may get recognition and improve status. Can invest in real estate. Bump in relationship matters so hang in there and be patience.

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he profession and relationships matters look ok. Exercise patience in dealing with obstructions. Students and those who are appearing in selections need to work hard. Continue to perform peace making remedies for your functional malefic planets Moon, Rahu and Ketu. Strengthen your birth planets through a Special Power Kavach as transit weakness of planets.

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he professional matters look ok.Some additional income is likely. Stay away from conflicts. Child may need some help.Some additional expenses are likely. Relationship wise ok. Continue to perform peace making remedies for your functional malefic planets Mars, Venus, Rahu and Ketu. Strengthen your birth planets through a Special Power Kavach as transit weakness

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he professional matters look better.Some easy gains are likely. Work with patience and avoid conflicts at all levels.The new ventures after due deliberations.The health of family may cause concerns, So see doctor is required and get regular check up. The week may involve some additional expenses. Avoid haste, aggressive behaviour, conflicts, unnecessary expenses and driving/travel.

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he concerns continue in job/profession. Take due care be vigiliant of your surroundings. Handle relationship matters with patience. Child needs extra care and help, focus on their needs. The mental peace is comparatively better.It is better to avoid unnecessary driving, risky activities and unfamiliar surroundings. Take care of your health, get regular physical check up if needed.

he professional matters look ok.Some of you may get recognition.The week indicates the incidence of conflicts and health concerns. Manage conflicts with patience. Silence is golden. Handle relationship matters with patience. Avoid new ventures. Avoid manipulations. Child may need help.The time is not good for your father. Take care.Avoid haste, speculation and unnecessary driving.

he professional matters look better.Some additional income is likely. Some new opportunities may also come up, study them then invest.Avoid speculation, gambling and don't play stock market is unsure.Always invest in safe assets.Patience is the best medicine.The child may bring some good news, praise them. Relationship might cause sudden setback and delays be patience.

he professional matters look ok.Handle relationship matters with patience. Obstructions are likely in the sources of income.Health of the spouse may cause concerns. Manage obstructions with patience.It is better to avoid manipulations and driving. The prolonged transit planetary influences caused by Rahu/Ketu are difficult for those whose ascending degree is around 9.

he professional matters need care.Some unexpected and easy gains are likely. Avoid unnecessary journey. Some additional expenses and health concerns are likely. Manage things with patience and avoid conflicts. The prolonged transit planetary influences caused by Rahu/Ketu are difficult for those whose ascending degree is around 9 or some planet is around 9 degrees in odd signs

This weekly horoscope is more focused and accurate as these are based on ascending signs. The ascending sign is worked out on the basis of your date, time and place of birth. You will find the predictions at other places based on your Sun sign or Moon sign. The Sun remains in one sign of zodiac for one month whereas the Moon remains in one sign for about 54 hours. It is the ascending sign, which changes every couple of hours." That is how this site offers you more focused predictions.

JATIN P - ACHARYA MIHIR • JAYSASTROLOGY@GMAIL.COM • 630-675-7148


March 3, 2017

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India Post 27


TOP TEN HINDI FILM SONGS

1 Zaalima: Raees 2 The Humma Song: OK Jaanu 3 Laila: Raees 28 India Post

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March 3, 2017

4 Enna Sona: OK Jaanu 5 Dangal - Title Track: Dangal

She said that diving is an exhilarating experience and seeing the underwater flora and fauna especially sharks is surreal

6 Kaabil Hoon: Kaabil 7 Dhaakad : Dangal 8 OK Jaanu: OK Jaanu 9 Udi Udi Jaye : Raees 10 Bawara Mann: Jolly LLB 2

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arineeti Chopra is yet to begin work on Rohit Shetty's 'Golmaal 4' but before that she is trying her hand at scuba diving. In fact, the actress is now a certified scuba diver. According to reports, Parineeti can now dive up to 40 meters or about 120 feet in open sea. Talking about her experience, she said that diving is an exhilarating experience and seeing the underwater flora and fauna especially sharks is surreal. Pari also added that her next target is to try scuba diving at night and that she wants to practice diving in heavy currents. On the professional front, she is currently shooting for 'Meri Pyaari Bindu' with Ayushmann Khurrana.

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arun Dhawan and Natasha Dalal are dating for quite sometime. They are slowly and steadily making their relationship public. First, they were spotted on secret dates but now they have started going out together for social outings. Varun and Natasha made a grand entry at Shahid Kapoor's pre-birthday party hand-inhand. The 'Badlapur' actor confirmed dating Natasha Dalal. He said, "I am cool about it. In fact, I've always been cool about it. There's nothing to hide. I just don't want the focus to shift from my career to the relationship. That's why I don't talk much about it." "I see it (relationship) reaching a good place. She's quite a handful, so full credit to her for sticking by me. She's one of the best people I've come across in my life," he added.

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dah Sharma, who will soon be seen in action thriller 'Commando 2: The Black Money Trail', enjoyed doing action scenes wearing high heels in the movie. Her role is that of an encounter specialist. The actress, who strongly believes in gender equality, feels a heroine should perform an action sequence as authentically as a man. "I don't discriminate between men and women. My parents brought me up teaching me everyone is equal. A kick or a punch should look as authentic whether it is coming from a man or woman. In the film, I have done action sequences wearing high heels... That was fun," Adah says. She plays a Hyderabad-based girl who is outspoken and beats up bad boys.


Bollywood

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riti Sanon, who made her Bollywood debut three years ago with Heropanti (2014), has mentioned in the past about being ready to take on solo lead movies. Ask her if she is only seeking challenging parts, and she says, "It is not like ki kuch challenging aayega toh hi karungi (I will only take up challenging parts). It can really just be one thing that appeals to me in a film, either the script or the character." However, there are certain directors she would like to work with. "I love Imitiaz Ali's sensibility and the way he brings out emotions in a different way. His characters have layers and complexities. I think for all the actors who have worked with him, those films have been their best. He is someone, who if I get to work with, I might not even look at the script," she says. She is also keen on working with film-makers such as Rajkumar Hirani, Karan Johar and Vishal Bhardwaj.

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utting all rumors of his disapproval to rest, Saif Ali Khan has said he would be more than happy if Karan Johar gives a break to his daughter Sara. Recent rumors suggest Sara Ali Khan will make her Bollywood debut with Punit Malhotra's Stu- dent of the Year 2 - a sequel to the 2012 hit film that launched Alia Bhatt, Varun Dhawan and Sidharth Malhotra in the industry. Karan Johar will produce the movie that stars Tiger Shroff in the lead role. "I would love Sara to be launched by Karan Johar. He is one of the best that we have," Saif, 46, said in a statement. Sara's mother Amrita Singh and Tiger's father Jackie Shroff worked in four films together and now, their children will be working together.

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t's still three months to go before Canadian pop star Justin Bieber comes on his maiden India tour and speculation about the participation of Bollywood stars has begun. Among the first names is of newly-turned global star Deepika Padukone. The actor is in talks to perform at the concert, which will take place at DY Patil stadium in Mumbai on May 10. Deepika's involvement should not be a surprise with the actor recently making her Hollywood debut with Vin Dieselstarrer xXx: Return of Xander Cage. She was seen at Golden Globes after-party and made appearances on coveted US chat shows. Rumors also suggest that Alia Bhatt, Varun Dhawan and Sidharth Malhotra, the trio of Student Of The Year, would perform with Justin Bieber.

"I love Imitiaz Ali's sensibility and the way he brings out emotions in a different way. His characters have layers and complexities. I think for all the actors who have worked with him, those films have been their best

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Actress Hailee Steinfeld joined the co-stars for a quick snap as they made their way up the carpet

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Dev Patel has melted the hearts of many, no more so for his endearing relationship with his young Lion costar Sunny Panwar that evolved to new heights on Oscar night

LOS ANGELES: Indian-origin British actor Dev Patel, who lost the best supporting actor Academy Award to "Moonlight" star Mahershala Ali, made the 89th Oscar Academy Awards ceremony a family affair as he arrived with mother Anita Patel. The 26-year-old star bagged his first Oscar nomination for his role

true-life inspired movie is based on Saroo Brierley, an AustralianIndian, who tries to find his lost family in India through the help of Google map. "It's mind-blowing. It's amazing I'm with my mother and this is very very beautiful and special moment. I'm still trying to absorb it," Patel said on red carpet. The actor thanked child star

Dev Patel buttons the jacket of his co-star Sunny Pawar at the Oscars on Feb. 26, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles.

in Garth Davis "Lion." Clad in a white Tuxedo, the 26year-old star was looking every bit a charming gentleman. Patel's mother complimented him well in a black sari with minimal make-up. Directed by Garth Davis, the

look with green and yellow sneakers. The eight-year-old kid was accompanied by his father and was seen mingling around with a lot of A-list celebrities and even clicked pictures with best actor nominee Andrew Garfield. Priyanka Bose, who essayed

Dev Patel with his mother Anita Patel on the red carpet at the Academy Awards 2017.

Sunny Pawar, who played young Saroo in the movie, saying "He's a really beautiful little soul and I'm grateful to him." Sunny attended the Hollywood's biggest gala night in a black tuxedo and completed his

the role of Saroo's mother, also stunned in an embellished, multicolor Vivienne Westwood gown. Priyanka Chopra was perfect at the as well as Oscars after-party, which she attended with Deepika Padukone. Priyanka was seen

walking the red carpet, talking Baywatch - her upcoming Hollywood break, schmoozing with costar Dwayne Johnson and giving quotable quotes.

Priyanka Chopra accessorised simply with stone earrings and cuffs

Priyanka did not present an award this time but she was still India's shining beacon at the Awards. Frieda Pinto was also present at the after party in Los Angeles, looking smashing. UK's Daily Mail called Dev Patel

the most talked about actor during this year's awards season. "From his humble attitude to bringing his mum as his date to the Oscars, Dev Patel has melted

Deepika Padukone at the Vanity Fair Oscars after party.

the hearts of many, no more so for his endearing relationship with his young Lion co-star Sunny Panwar that evolved to new heights on Oscar night," it said. Cont'd on Page 32


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Different names & fillings of Gol Gappas

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he most common street snack of India has many names. In North India, it is widely called Golgappa, in Mumbai, Maharasthra, it is called as Pani Puri, and it is referred to as Pakodi in some interior parts of Gujarat. The name of this street snack may vary from region to region, but the ingredients remain almost same. It is essentially a round shaped, hollow fried crisp puri filled with the mixture of delicious and sour flavored water (pani) or tamarind chutney or chaat masala which is a mixture of onion and chilli chickpeas. Here are the many names of India's favorite snack. 1. Pani Puri This is the most popular name in most parts of India and the world. Pani Puri is used in Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and even in parts of Nepal. Although addressed by the same name in all these regions, the pani puri greatly varies in taste. While

in Mumbai it is predominantly the hot ragda (thick white peas curry) variety that you get with the meetha imli chutney, in Madya Pradesh, there is potato mash added and no boondi in the water. In Gujarat, the tradition is to add finely diced potatoes with some boiled moong, sweet chutney made of dates and boondi added to the paani. In Bangalore, onions are also added to the mix. 2. Puchka More famous in Eastern India (West Bengal and Assam) as Puchka, the snack is also called by the same name in Bangladesh. Puchkas are quite different from pani puris in terms of content and taste. Puchkas use a mixture of boiled gram and mashed potatoes as the filling, the chutney is tangy rather than sweetish and the water is spicy. Puchkas are also slightly bigger in size and the puris are darker in color. Bihar and Jharkhand also know the delicious snack as Puchka.

3. Gol Gappe The delicious snack of puris filled with tangy water is known as Gol Gappe in Northern India. Almost all of North India, except Haryana, refers to it as Gol Gappe. The taste in Northern India is pretty much the same and it is a favorite. With Gol Gappa stalls lining every street and corner, this is probably equivalent to North India what Vada Pav is to Maharashtra. Gol Gappe are made from a mix of potato and chickpea stuffing, chutney and very tangy water. The water has a dash of mint and lots of spices added to it. Also, in some places in North India, the puris for the Gol Gappe are not very round but slightly longish.

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prised at the fact that he was the only Indian present in that Ashram and rest all were foreigners. Known for his prim and proper lifestyle, Akshay revealed that he has been following Ayurveda for last 25 years and its

5. Paani ke Patashe Literally translated from both

when the puris burst and the water fills the mouth. Gup Chups generally consist only of boiled chickpeas or white peas and spicy water, eliminating the potatoes. As a result, they are much lighter to eat. Onions are not always added but can be, on request. 8. Phulki

4. Pakodi Do not confuse these with the very famous pakodas, but pani puri is referred to as Pakodi in some interior parts of Gujarat. The taste and the preparation remains similar though there are considerable differences. Sev is sometimes an interesting addition to Pakodi

Akshay speaks up for Ayurveda, naturopathy ctor Akshay Kumar is mak ing the most of his pres ence on social media platforms. After posting patriotic videos with messages for the Indian soldiers and their families, the actor once again took to twitter and posted an inspiring video for his fans. He wrote, "Before I sleep tonight, thought of indulging in some pillow talk. Sharing with you all something I swear by‌ do give your time & thoughts (sic)." Akshay began the video by thanking his fans for praising his films and said he really enjoys these direct conversations with fans. Giving the biggest smile, the actor shared how he's been feeling very light and healthy over the past few days. Away from the hustle bustle of city life, the actor recently spent 14 quality days in a tranquil Ayurveda Ashram in Kerala. Without any phone, television, junk food or branded clothes, he admits it was nothing short of a heavenly experience. However, he is evidently sur-

in some places. Pakodis generally leave the sweet chutney out but incorporate onions. The water is heavy on mint and green chillies. Quite a deviation from the sweetspicy snack, pakodis are quite stuffed and spicy.

healing experience remains unmatched. Asserting on the importance of Ayurveda, Akshay feels sad that Indians don't value this treasure and want to survive on modern medicines, chemical injections and supplements. Though

he's not against allopathic medicines and its treatment, he urges people to include the traditional ways of healing such as yoga, Ayurveda, naturopathy and homeopathy in their lifestyle. Khiladi Kumar clarified that he's not shared this video as the brand ambassador for any Ayurveda company or a centre, rather he genuinely wishes to promote this natural way of healing. "I am the brand ambassador for my own body and I want all of you to be the same. Learn to lead a simple and healthy life and you'd always wake up with a smile like me," he said.

the main ingredients of the dish, puris and the tangy water, Paani ke Patashe is what pani puri is called in parts of Haryana. The taste though is quite similar to that of Gol Gappe. 6. Patashi Not to be confused with the sweet made of sugar, Patashi is another name for pani puri. Popular as Patashi or Paani ke Batashe in Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh the main ingredients here involve the use of different spices for the water though the filling stays the same, i.e, potatoes and chickpeas or gram. In Lucknow, one can taste Paani ke Batashe with 5 different types of water, called Paanch Swaad ke Batashe (spheres of 5 tastes), famous at Hazratganj. The water for Patashi is generally made from dry mangoes. 7. Gup Chup Pani puris are called Gup Chup in parts of Odisha, South Jharkhand, Chhatisgarh, Hyderabad, and Telangana because of the sound they make

While Gujaratis refer to chapati as phulkas, pani puri is called Phulki in the eastern parts of Uttar Pradesh and some regions of Nepal. The preparation for Phulki is the standard and it is only the name that differs. Phulki is traditionally not used as it is often confused with the Ramadan savory of Dahi Phulki, which is essentially dahi vadas where the vadas are made of chickpeas instead of split black lentils. Phulki is not very common and rarely used though. 9. Tikki It is only in Hoshangabad in Madhya Pradesh where pani puri is referred to as Tikki. For the rest of the world, Tikkis are aloo tikkis but for these guys, tikkis are yummy puris stuffed with potatoes or chickpeas and dipped in tangy water! 10. Padaka Once again, a one-off name, Padaka is what the people of Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh, call pani puri. -Courtesy South Asian Post


32 India Post

March 3, 2017 www.indiapost.com

Princess Diana's pretty dresses on show LONDON: The dresses tell the story of a life cut short: first the frilly debutante frocks Princess Diana wore before she married Prince Charles, then the elaborate gowns that stunned the world, and finally the power suits she favored shortly before her death. It's been 20 years since Diana died in a Paris car crash at the age of 36, but the public's fascination with her life - and her clothes - lives on. A new exhibition that opened at Kensington Palace, her home for many years, gives the public a chance to see extraordinary fashion pieces up close for the first time. The workmanship is refined, some of the designs are simple in concept and execution, while others clearly took careful thought and meticulous preparation. One room features designers' sketches for Diana dresses, offering insight into the vision behind many of her choices. Deirdre Murphy, senior curator at the Historic Royal Palaces, said Diana was unique in the way she used clothes to communicate - and also a risk-taker, willing to challenge the unwritten conventions of royal dress. She said Diana captured the ``mystique'' of being a princess even as she occasionally dressed down in jeans and a baseball hat. ``Somehow women all over the world saw a piece of themselves in the princess,'' the curator said. ``She got her image across and her

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The 26-year-old BAFTA winner set hearts a flutter on Twitter as he looked adoringly at his eight-year-old cast mate, while he recreated the Lion King's famous birth scene with host Jimmy Kimmel at the Academy Awards. While many focused on the young film star during the sidetickling moment, it was the Rayners Lane native's joy filled facial expression that set the micro-blogging alight, with many calling the pair's sweet friendship 'goals'. Becoming a solidified heartthrob this awards season, users quickly jumped on the band wagon and started to comment that they hope to find someone in their lives like the Oscar nominee. One user wrote: 'Want someone to look at me the way Dev Patel looks at Sunny Pawar'. While another chimed in with the same sentiment: 'Find

ideas across using clothing in a really sophisticated, really smart, really thoughtful way.'' The display opens with a lacy party dress Diana wore to a ball at her family home, Althorp, in 1979 and includes many of her most fa-

mous outfits. Here are some of the most illustrious: DANCING THE NIGHT AWAY, WITH JOHN TRAVOLTA Diana was married to Prince Charles, and a guest of President Ronald Reagan and his wife Nancy, but that didn't stop her from tearing up the dance floor with John Travolta at a White House state dinner in 1985. Photographers of Diana and the dashing young Travolta domi-

nated newspapers throughout the world, showcasing the midnight blue silk velvet evening dress designed by Victor Edelstein. It remains one of her most famous outfits. DIANA'S ELVIS PERIOD Catherine Walker, who died in 2010, became one of Diana's favorite designers. To prepare for an official visit to Hong Kong in 1989, she designed a strapless white silk crepe and jacked embroidered with sequins and pearls. Its sparkly look, and high collar, reminded fashion writers of the jump suits favored by Elvis Presley late in his career. She looked resplendent in the outfit, topping it with a jeweled tiara. THE BOXY LOOK Diana turned to Emanuel, designer of her wedding gown, for a 1985 official royal visit to Italy. A coat and skirt in green, blue and

black was cut in the boxy shape in favor at the time. The tartan wool day suit was not well received by critics who didn't find it flattering. HONEYMOON HOPES For her honeymoon photos with Charles taken in the lovely Scottish countryside, Diana turned to designer Bill Pashley for a casual, comfortable brown tweed woolen day-suit.

ute to the countryside traditions. POWER DRESSING PRINCESS STYLE Diana relied heavily on Walker at various times in her life, and she turned to Walker again in the years just before her death to help her refine a ``working princess'' style in line with her plan to devote more time to charitable activities. She wore a red day suit by

The tartan wool day-suit worn on a royal visit to Italy in 1985, a pale pink chiffon blouse worn for Diana's first official portrait in 1981 and brown tweed wool day suit worn on her honeymoon in Balmoral in 1981

She had two versions made and chose to wear the larger one on her honeymoon because the extra room allowed her to participate in outdoor activities more easily. Its tweed motif pays trib-

Walker to launch an AIDS charity appeal in 1996. Walker called the outfits she was working on at this phase a ``royal uniform'' for Diana, who was outspoken in her support of AIDS victims. -AP

Adorable pair at Oscars Dev Patel's joyous look at cast mate sets Twitter aflutter someone who looks at you the way Dev Patel looks at Sunny Pawar #Oscars' 'Dev and Sunny. Friendship goal,' another shared. 'Dev Patel's reaction to Sunny actually brings tears to my eyes'. Finally, someone tweeted: 'Dev Patel's reaction to Sunny Pawar, I have never seen anything so pure'. Before the heart melting moment, the two had people talking online about their cherished friendship as Dev adjusted his pal's jacket on the coveted carpet. Proving too much for the Twittersphere, one posted: 'Dev Patel is an actual angel in human form, the pictures of him with Sunny Pawar make my heart hurt

they're so adorable. Before the heart melting moment, the two had people talking online about their cherished friendship Social media went into meltdown when Dev adjusted his pal's tiny jacket on the coveted carpet Harper's Bazaar called them "Our favorite new duo. Panwar, however, might've one-upped his costar in cuteness when he recreated the opening scene of Lion King with Jimmy Kimmel at the Oscars." At the After Party Both Priyanka and Deepika nailed the after party look on head in their bold black gowns. Decadently-dressed desi beauties, not too forget Frieda Pinto, made

Bollywood proud. While Deepika didn't make it to the actual 89th Academy Awards ceremony, one could not miss her, in her embellished blackand-gold gown and statement eyebrows and a strong wavy hair game, at the post-award bash, also known as the Vanity Fair Oscar after party. Also wearing a black gown, Priyanka turned up in a shimmering figure-hugging Michael Kors number that was perfectly complemented by her slick hair and make-up. Although the Quantico star didn't go all-out glam for the Vanity Fair party, sticking to sexy black, she glowed in all the right ways. There is no such thing as too much glitter at the Oscars and

Slumdog Millionaire actor Frieda Pinto was also present at the 89th Academy Awards after party.

Freida stood out in her aqua colored gown. Looking like a blue goddess, she was the definition of Hollywood glamour.PTI & Agencies


March 3, 2017

India Post 33 www.indiapost.com

Nana Patekar admires Aamir Khan

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ishwanath Patekar, lov ingly called Nana Patekar, is a simple man, his 'gamcha' accompanies him in all his interviews during the promotions of his upcoming Hindi film, Wedding Anniversary. The actor stays away from stardom and that reflects in his simplicity and the warmth he spreads everywhere he goes. This is the first time that the veteran actor has promoted his film in this manner. The Natasamrat actor spoke about films and acting, his social work, and how he loved Aamir Khan's Dangal and Akshay Kumar's Jolly LLB 2. He also spoke about what Bollywood could borrow from the Marathi cinema to become more innovative, in a candid interview. On why he chose to do Wedding Anniversary "Wedding Anniversary ek 'utpatang kahani hai' (It is a mindboggling story), I really liked the story and screenplay, it was a different kind of work for me. I don't care if I do Hindi, Marathi, Gujarati or Bangali films, I just look out for a good story, a story that inspires my heart. The movie is one of its kind, the music is amazing, and the story is lyrical." On life after his legendary film, Natasamrat "I wanted to do Natasamrat for the longest time, and I did it. I think

after playing a character that element in you dies once the film is over. Now I won't be able to do a Natasamrat again, or won't be able to deliver the dialogue like that either. There comes a time in the life of an artist when the artist dies

from within and then nothing can be done. And, in this phase if one still continues working, it looks forced and that's not the right thing to do. Even the audience will get bored, and we as artists also get tired. And then you (viewers) want something new, and discard us. And this is something that is very hurtful. We give all our life and soul to our work, and we end up ignoring our families in the process. And when we get back to our real lives, it gets too late, our families might not need us at that time. So I think being an actor is kind of a blessing and a curse. It is

a curse because it is a profession that leaves you lonely even while you are an actor and after you're done. My success belongs to my family, I cannot enjoy success. My happiness lies in the characters I play, and by the time I unwind from that character, I am playing another character, so that moment of joy gets over too." On what Bollywood can borrow from the Marathi cinema Nana has been one of the corner stones of the Marathi cinema, and has contributed greatly in uplifting the cinema and making it realistic, logical and relatable for its viewers. When asked what can Bollywood borrow from the cinema he rules, he said, "Just simply love what you do! Stop making it sound like work, it is my way of life. If it was work for me, I would have gotten tired of it long back, I have been here for 45 years and so many characters will make my soul dance. I think Bollywood needs to move away from the 'ghisi piti' (run-of-the-mill) stories, love stories and the dancing and singing. We need to be more innovative. We have stars changing every

Play explores love in time of war NEW DELHI: A political crisis or a failed love story have been the perennial favorites of playwrights. Director Mohit Takalkar combines both the plots to narrate two parallel stories in his captivating play 'Main Huun Yusuf Aur Ye Hai Mera Bhai' that was staged recently as part of National School of Drama's 19th Bharat Rang Mahotsav here. Set in the back of 1948 Palestine, when the British mandate was ending and the United Nations was voting for dividing the country into two, the play tells the story of a small village straddling between an 'imminent war resulting in a refugee status' and an 'unlikely love story'. Narrated in the voice of a mentally challenged Yusuf, the play is the story of how the boy's handicap as "Gaon ka sabse bewakoof ladka" (the most stupid boy of the village) came in the way of his brother Ali's marriage with the love of his life Nada. As the war plays out in the back

and 'land owners' in the village turn refugees, the production captures the anguished existence of the villagers through nuanced performances by the actors. One of the most striking scenes in the narrative where a villager

Mohit Takalkar

carrying an uprooted tree fearing that it will forget him once the new occupants arrive, evokes a heart wrenching sense of loss and uprootedness. "Hopefully I will plant it again," says the villager, holding the tree over his head. Peeling off deep layers of 'guilt' and 'forgiveness', the play ends

with Ali's purgation as he confesses of throwing Yusuf in a well during their childhood that resulted in his handicap. "I am the one responsible for your condition. I threw you in the well when we were children out of jealousy. I didn't want, but then my hands pushed you. Please forgive me," Ali tells Yusuf, as the latter helplessly pleads with his brother not to leave him. What follows is Ali's hopeless pursuit of Nada accompanied by the doggedly loyal Yusuf that culminates in Ali's death. Takalkar's production is an adaptation of the Hindi-Urdu translation of the original play by Palestinian playwright Amir Nizar Zuabi. "Zuabi's play was powerful, elegiac, exploration of history, memory and different forms of love. "I rehearsed everyday with a certain zeal and enthusiasm to unearth multiple layers and narratives of this fascinating play and left everyday with moist eyes and a parched throat," says Takalkar. PTI

week, with a new film releasing every weekend. This wasn't a case in our time, we had Dilip Kumar sahab, Dev Anand sahad, Shashi

Kapoor sahab, Shammi Kapoor sahab and Rajendra Kumar, they were the greats because they had a lot of devotion for what they did and what they stood for. They respected each other a lot, unlike today. Actors should respect and appreciate the efforts put by others in their work. I don't see that

anymore and there is cut-throat competition, which I don't like." On how he learnt a lot from Aamir Khan "I recently saw Dangal, and what a piece of fine art it is! Aamir (Khan) and the kids have done such a fabulous job! Through this film, Aamir has taught me a lot, and as an actor I have learned a lot from him. It is not necessary that someone to teach you something should be older than you, kids also teach you a lot. I loved the film (Jolly LLB 2) Akshay (Kumar) recently did. And I think it is great that his film is making hundreds of crores of money, and what is wrong if a film entered the Rs 100 crore club? People also make films to make money along with giving good content and entertainment. I also watched Paresh Rawal and Akshay's Oh My God and it was a great film too. I was stuck to the TV while watching it! We are a team, and in a team some people play well, some do not, but we should encourage all to do well, so our team shines through in the process." -Courtesy Indian Express

Took 'selfie' every day for last 30 years BOSTON: Professor Karl Baden beard or moustache or changed has snapped a simple, black and his hairstyle much. Baden says he intends to do white photo of himself every day for the last three decades to docu- the project for the rest of his life. AP ment his aging. Baden's ``Every Day'' project has now turned 30. The stark contemplation on mortality has prompted some to dub the Boston College professor the unwitting ``father of the selfie.'' The 64-year-old Cambridge resident launched his project on Feb. 23, 1987, decades before the word ``selfie'' became commonplace. Baden tries to remain faithful to that This panel of black and white self-made photofirst image, posing graphs provided by Karl Baden shows Baden with the same neutral over the last three decades beginning Feb. 23, facial expression and 1987, top left, through Feb. 21, 2017, lower right. using the same 35mm The Boston College professor's "Every Day" camera, tripod, backproject has chronicled his visage in nearly 11,000 photos in various locations with the same lighting drop and lighting. and background each day for thirty years. He He's also conintends to do it the rest of his life. sciously not grown a


34 India Post

March 3, 2017 www.indiapost.com

Shahid of past vs the man of today

W

hen the going gets tough, the toughest of men put on their gloves and guards and beat the blows. Like a man. Never once leaving the ring. That's what Shahid Kapoor did. With a hint of pride, he claims that he's a "seasoned underground fighter", who is ready for a fight every day. But much has changed about him over the years. His roles primarily - in real life and on celluloid. A doting husband, a protective daddy and an actor who dares to take chances. What has not changed is the chiseled looks and his oodles of charm. And of course, his forever boyishness. Over a cuppa black coffee (as always), before the release of 'Rangoon' directed by Vishal Bhardwaj, he talks about the Shahid of the past versus the man of today and how he has finally got it all sorted. Last three years of your life has seen a huge change - personally and professionally. You seem calmer and more comfortable in the space you are in... Yes, I feel the change outside and inside and I feel like a new phase has started. I guess there are many reasons for it; one is that I am married, so I feel more settled. I've been working for the past 14 years and now I'm in my mid 30s, so I guess I've become closer to my heart as an artiste. And because of that change, the career decisions I make come from within as opposed to too much of overthinking. I like this phase and the direction in which things seem to be going, because eventually, what matters is the route you take. It can be bumpy or smooth, but what matters is that you are moving in the right direction. After so many years, I feel that I'm in the most mentally sorted space now. When it comes to picking roles, have you become wiser? Or maybe just more confident to take risks? Well, let's just say that now, it is less thought and more instinct. I believe that instinct is a more honest, real and relevant measure for an actor. I follow my instinct now and don't overthink. I have done many years of overthinking and figured that it doesn't work (laughs). Also, an actor needs to rediscover himself with every film. I won't say reinvent because in India, that word is used very differently. Today, if we look at some prominent actors in India or internationally, they are not doing the same thing over and over again. They are always surprising the audience with something new, be-

cause we are living in a time where it is all about instant gratification and it has largely got to do with social media and the internet. So, if you do the same thing repeatedly, you won't be relevant for long. There might have been a time when this worked, but it is different now and an actor has to rediscover himself. I think that's a journey that I started some years ago, but I don't think I got it right initially, in terms of the films that I did. It gradually happened with 'Jab We Met' and 'Kaminey', where I did some-

that I wanted to be very successful and do really good films. That was my one-point agenda. Initially, I went through the process of understanding who I wanted to be, and with time, I realized that success is a by-product. They say that a true superstar is someone who can make a bad film work, but I don't think that it holds true for our generation. I think today, a superstar is someone who makes the right choices, invests in the right content and has the courage and conviction to do what others are not doing. I think these will be the superstars of the future generation. Actors who work with Vishal Bhardwaj say that he brings out the best in them. Would you say the same? During 'Kaminey', Vishal sir and I had a professional equation, and it was duri n g 'Haider' that

thing different and that worked. After that, 'Haider', 'Udta Punjab', 'Rangoon' and 'Padmavati' followed. I think that's the way forward for me. How did you cope during the phase when your films were not working? In my early years, I knew that my life is a fight gone bad and I knew that I've to battle some rough rounds. I have had that life since I was a kid, so now I am a seasoned underground fighter. I wake up every day ready to fight and I enjoy that. That's something I have known about myself, and my career has been no different with its share of ups and downs. Once a journalist had said that my career is like a woman's body, which is curvy (laughs). There's been a lot of learning as I come from a background where we didn't have as much money, so the need to be secure was important. At the same time, my dad is all about cinema, and he is a purist. So, I grew up thinking

we connected emotionally. It was a film that nobody wanted to back, but he said, 'Let's make it, but I can't pay you'. I said, 'Fine, let's do it'. I think that got us together and then the film went on to become a success. 'Haider' was the film where we found an equation, which was beyond the actor-director relationship. While shooting for Rangoon, he was busy doing different things and I felt like a neglected child. I've also told him this several times (chuckles). On a serious note, sometimes when there is too much familiarity, you might take each other for granted. But when I am working with Vishal sir, between the 'action' and 'cut', I feel at home. It's a perfect fit. It's like when you girls are buying stilettos, you slip into that one pair and you know it's just right (laughs)! What is your equation with Saif Ali Khan? I loved him in 'Omkara'. He is an extremely relaxed and easy person, so I felt very comfortable working with him. He is an inte-

gral part of the film, though we have just four-five scenes together. He is a cool guy. There were rumors that your costar Kangana Ranaut and you didn't really get along? We finished shooting for the film in May and the rumors surfaced in December. Agar kuch problem hua hota, toh jab shooting ho rahin thi, tabhi hota na? The fact that such stories are appearing now imply that they have been planted. This is my third film with Vishal sir and it is a very precious part of my life. It's like a gem for me and there can never be any negativity around such a film. This is also the first time that I am working with Sajid Nadiadwala and he is someone I hugely respect. So, I don't appreciate people spreading such rumors. You have lived the dream single man's life for years. And now, you are a complete family man - a husband and a father. It must have been quite a turnaround, even emotionally... Well, earlier I used to think that I am so cool and I am the master of my own will, but I was just lonely. It is great to have somebody to share things with, and it's great to come back to your wife and your child. Also, sharing my life with someone like Mira is really special because she is completely her own person, with a very strong point of view on everything. Since she doesn't belong to the film industry, she is very unaffected and her point of view is different from ours. Sometimes, her reaction to some films really takes me by surprise. It makes me think...kyunki bahar ka reaction alag hota hai aur andar kuch aur hi baat ho rahin hoti hai. After marriage, it was a transition for Mira and me, but life changed totally after Misha (daughter) was born. Emotionally, it was a complete flip. Actors in general are rather self-obsessed, but once you become a father, you can't be that way. It can never be about you anymore. Your first thought has to be about your child. Is Mira getting used to living life in the spotlight? She is getting comfortable with it, but I don't think that she is used to it yet. I am surprised to see how well she is handling it. When we host dinners at home for some of our friends from the industry, she just chills and makes conversation with them. But whenever she gets clicked at stores or at the airport, she feels odd. Every time we travel, I usually tell her that I will

hold Misha. One day she told me, 'You always hold Misha, people will think that I don't carry her at all'. But I am so paranoid that I want to keep Misha close to me at such places because it can get a little chaotic and it scares me. In the past, media perceived you as moody, shy and difficult, too. Now that seems to have eased and you seem more amicable. Did you make a conscious effort to change that perception? That is true. If I were to meet myself five years back, I would say, 'He has a stick up his ass'. I have learnt that from people around me. Often when people meet actors, they are nervous and shy. It is the actor's prerogative to create a comfortable feeling and start communicating. Earlier, I was so shy and under-confident that I didn't know how to be with people; only when the camera turned on was I a different person. Over the years, I feel that I have changed. In the past, you saw me as this uptight guy. Now, I am real, so what you see is what you get. I am relaxed and I can't hide that, so people around me feel relaxed, too. I am damn good between 'action' and 'cut', but in real life, I am who I am. Are you relaxed when your film releases, too? I get nervous before anything new. Even when I went on the set of my brother's (Ishaan) debut film on the first day of shoot, I was nervous and my palms were sweaty. When you are young, you think that you know everything, but as you grow older, you realize that you don't know anything. As actors, our job is very unpredictable, and you know that things can go wrong. And, one wrong thing can damage all your hard work. But we can all hope and keep doing the best we can. Do you often revisit your films to analyze and scrutinize your performance? Or do you believe that once a film is done, there is no looking back? Whenever I go back and see my films, and it's mostly by chance, I feel that I could have done it better and differently. But I don't make it a habit to sit and watch my movies again and again; I would rather watch someone else's work so that I can learn something. Every actor at some point was an audience and so, I like being an audience. It is a lot more fun being an audience, where you can just sit in a theatre, munch on popcorn and enjoy a film without any worries. -Courtesy TOI


March 3, 2017

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Realty Tidbits

Centre okays building of 90,000 houses NEW DELHI: The Centre has approved construction of over 90,000 more affordable houses for the urban poor under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Urban) with an investment of Rs 5,590 crore. The central assistance for construction of these houses would be to the tune of Rs 1,188 crore. "The Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation has approved construction of 90,095 more affordable houses for the benefit of urban poor under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Urban) with an investment of Rs 5,590 crore and central assistance of Rs 1,188 crore," an official release said. So far, construction of 16,51,687 affordable houses for the benefit of urban poor has been sanctioned under PMAY (Urban) with total investment of Rs 89,072 crore and central assistance of Rs 25,819 crore. -PTI

„ Realtors express concern on SC ruling NEW DELHI: Realtors body CREDAI have expressed concern that the Supreme Court judgment that flat buyers can jointly approach the apex consumer commission NCDRC will open the floodgates of legal cases against builders. The Supreme Court has upheld the order of the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) that flat buyers can jointly approach it in case of a dispute with a builder. According to the Consumer Protection Act, if the cost involved is less than Rs 1 crore, the complainant has to first file the plea at the district consumer forum. Commenting on the Supreme Court judgment regarding the Rs 1 crore criteria for the plea in NCDRC, Credai President Getamber Anand said: "While the Supreme Court judgment has brought a semblance of relief to the concerned home buyers, it has opened the floodgates on similar lawsuits which will look to bypass the due process set forth initially." "In such a scenario, any and all developers are vulnerable to the misuse of this precedent which, during this difficult and transitionary time for the sector increases confusion and uncertainty," he added. Anand said the impetus right now should be to comfort homebuyers without laying undue burden on the developers who are working towards complying with the new administrative structure being brought in by the real estate regulatory law.-PTI

Real Estate 36 India Post

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March 3, 2017

Govt disappointed with private builders NEW DELHI: The government has expressed disappointment over not a single proposal coming from private builders for low-cost homes and asked realty firms to promote affordable housing that has been given infra status recently. Addressing a real estate conference, Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation (HUPA) Minister M Venkaiah Naidu said builders should not make any "more excuses" as the government has met their long standing demand of according infrastructure status to affordable housing in the Budget for 2017-18. Cont’d on page 37

21 American cities where renting trumps owning India Post News Service

SAN FRANCISCO: You might take for granted that cities are renter hubs while more rural areas are where the homeowners reside. Considering cities' limited space and transient career-chasers not looking for the long-term commitment of a home, that's a fair guess. Yet, of more than 400 urbanized areas around the country with a population greater than 100,000, just 21 are composed of at least 50% renters, according to data from the U.S. Census' 2015 American Community Survey. And that number appears to be poised to grow, says an Abodo press release. As the Pew Research Center reports, the number of homeowners swapping deeds for leases continues to increase, with 3 million making the switch in 2011, compared with 2.5 million in 2001. Taking a look back at the 2012 ACS data, we can see evidence of the trend toward renting. In 2012, there were just 14 predominantly renter cities. In 2013, there were 18. The current number of 21 has been holding steady for two years, and six cities are currently barely missing the majority-renter cut, with more than 49% of the population renting. Among them, Durham, NC; Lubbock, TX; and

San Diego, CA, seem most likely to move into renter-majority status, with renter numbers rising each year. Some cities, however, are on the downslide. Macon, GA, for example, just dipped below 50% renters for the first time in years in

2015. Fresno, CA; Las Vegas, NV; and Stockton, CA, also bounce around the border a bit. So what makes a renter-dominated city? In this study we'll look at where the renter-majority cities are, who makes up their renter population, and what could be driving the uptick.

WHERE RENTING PREVAILS Some of the cities on this list are no great surprise. It will raise no eyebrows, for example, that most housing units (53.9%) in the Los Angeles area are rented, not

owned. The same goes for New York (50.7%) and San Francisco (50.9%) - in fact, five California cities make the list, more than any other state. However, going down the list of the nation's largest cities - ostensibly where the most people are trying to live - you'll find that

many are unexpectedly absent from this list. Chicago, IL; Dallas, TX; Houston, TX; Washington, D.C.; Philadelphia, PA; even Miami, FL, are still dominated by homeowners. Both Dallas and Houston are hovering around the 43% renters mark, while Miami is 41.49%; Washington, D.C. is 40.42%; Chicago is 36.1%; and Philadelphia is just 33.8% renters. Instead, at the very top of our list, with nearly 60%, is the unassuming city of College Station, TX. Not far behind is Athens-Clarke County, GA, with 57.5%, and Killeen, TX, with 56.0%. Other somewhat surprising, not oft-mentioned, cities include Columbus, GA (53.6%); Clarksville, TN (51.9%); Fayetteville, NC (51.2%); and Fargo, ND (50.2%). WHO ARE THEY? Who are these renters? A cursory glance at their ages hews to conventional wisdom. The majority of renters in our list of 21 renter-dominated cities are under 44 years old, with the highest percentage (24.29%) falling between the ages of 25 and 34. Cont’d on page 39

Americans buy existing homes at fastest pace WASHINGTON: Americans shrugged off rising mortgage rates and bought existing homes in January at the fastest pace since 2007. That has set off bidding wars that have pushed up prices as the supply of available homes has dwindled to record lows. Home sales rose 3.3 percent in January from December to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.69 million, the National Association of Realtors said. Steady job gains, modest pay raises and rising consumer confidence are spurring healthy home buying even as borrow-

ing costs have risen since last fall. Some potential buyers may be accelerating their home purchases to get ahead of any further increases in mortgage rates. With few homes

available for sale, buyers are pressured to rapidly close a deal as they find a suitable property. The typical house for sale was on the market for just 50 days last

month, compared with 64 days a year ago. Strong demand is pushing up median home prices, which jumped 7.1 percent from a year earlier to $228,900. Just 1.69 million homes were on the market nationwide in January, near the lowest level since records began in 1999. It would take just 3.6 months to deplete that supply at the current pace of sales, matching a record low reached in December. Supply is usually equal to about six months of sales in a balanced housing market. Cont’d on page 37


Real Estate Post

March 3, 2017

India Post 37

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'Flat buyers can directly approach NCDRC'

Americans buy existing homes at fastest pace Cont’d from page 36

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court has upheld the order of the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) that flat buyers can jointly approach it in case of a dispute with a builder. A bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra rejected the appeal of Amrapali Sapphire Developers Pvt

is less than Rs one crore, the complainant has to first file the plea at the district consumer forum. The realtor submitted before the bench, also comprising Justices A M Khanwilkar and M M Shantanagoudar, that the cost of each flat was less than Rs one crore, so the buyers were individually ineligible to directly approach

Ltd challenging the NDCRC decision on the ground that a plea can be filed directly before the apex consumer commission if the total value of the disputed deal is over Rs one crore and the 43 buyers could not have filed a joint plea before the NCDRC. According to the Consumer Protection Act, if the cost involved

the NCDRC. In this case, the NDCRC had allowed multiple individuals, who bought flats from real estate developer Amrapali, to club their cases to cross the Rs one crore ceiling which was challenged by the builder before the apex court. The 43 buyers got together and formed Amrapali Sapphire Flat

Buyers Welfare Association to file the complaint against the builder in May last year for delay in handing over possession of their flats. The apex court ruling comes as a breather for others stuck with delayed flats to approach the apex consumer commission in a similar manner. In August last year, the NCDRC had passed the decision in favor of the 43 flat owners in Amrapali's Sapphire housing project, saying that they could form an association to achieve the pecuniary limit of Rs 1 crore for approaching it directly. "Once it is accepted that a consumer complaint on behalf of more than one consumer can be filed by a recognized consumer association, it can hardly be disputed that it is the aggregate value of the services which has to be taken for the purpose of determining pecuniary jurisdiction of the consumer forum before which the complaint is filed," it had said. The NCDRC had said if the aggregate value of services in respect of the flat buyers, on whose behalf this complaint was filed, was taken, then it exceeded Rs one crore and hence, it has the jurisdiction to entertain their plea. -PTI

Govt disappointed with private builders Cont’d from page 36

The minister urged the states not to deviate and dilute the rules under the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016, amid reports that some of the states have changed the key provisions of the law. "I am rather disappointed that not a single proposal has come from private builders so far even though PMAY (Urban) has been designed envisaging a big role for private sector," he said at the conference organized by industry body PHDCCI. Naidu said there are huge opportunities for private sector under various components, including affordable housing in partnership (AHP), of the mission. "For a long time, you have been demanding infrastructure status for housing sector... Now, developers have no more excuses to keep on dithering about promot-

ing affordable housing in a big way," Naidu said. The Minister underscored that infra status for affordable housing would go a long way in placing more cash in the hands of home buyers and act as "catalyst" for the growth of low cost housing projects. With the ambit of scheme extended by covering people with incomes of up to Rs 18 lakh per year, he said, "So, the opportunity is knocking at the door. Now, it is for developers to rise to the occasion post Infrastructure status, Real Estate Act and demonetization. No more excuses I repeat." Naidu directed HUPA Secretary Nandita Chatterjee to soon hold a meeting with all stakeholders, including developers bodies, banks and housing finance companies, to find out the reasons for the lackluster response of the private sector to Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Urban) (PMAY-U) scheme.

This round table also needs to discuss ways and means, if need be, of improving various components of PMAY (Urban) to encourage private sector participation," he said. Naidu said the Act and demonetization will give a big push to the housing sector provided the developers "change their outlook and mindset" and come out with new business principles and models. "It is a fact that this critical sector over the years has acquired a certain degree of taint for several reasons that we are all aware of. There is a serious crisis of character," he said, adding that the new realty law seeks to restore the character of the sector. "The Benami Transactions (Prevention) Act would further complement in this regard. RERA Act has boosted the entire industry and is definitely proving to be a game changer for the real estate sector," he said. -PTI

on their bond holdings, pushing up yields. The average rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage was 4.15 percent last week, according to mortgage buyer Freddie Mac. While that has dipped since earlier this month, it is much higher than last year's average rate of 3.65 percent. By some measures, the housing market has fully recovered from the bust that began in 2006. Yet its newfound health is creating its own set of challenges. In high-demand markets, mostly on the West Coast, homes are being purchased after less

The supply crunch will likely get worse during the upcoming spring buying season, economists say, as demand typically rises by more than supply during that time. ``Relative to the number of households, the number of homes for sale is well through prior historic lows,'' said Ted Wieseman, an economist at Morgan Stanley. ``The level of inventories could be a much bigger challenge moving into much higher sales in the spring and summer.'' That, combined with higher mortgage rates, could soon restrain By some measures, the sales. ``We are a bit less housing market has fully gloomy about housing recovered from the bust that than a couple of months ago but sales will not began in 2006. Yet its continue to rise at their newfound health is creating recent pace,'' said Ian its own set of challenges. Shepherdson, chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics. than a month on the market, acThe bulk of the stronger buy- cording to real estate brokerage ing is occurring among higher- Redfin. priced properties, the NAR said. Denver was the fastest market Sales among homes and condo- last month, Redfin found, with miniums priced at $100,000 and purchase contracts signed just 23 below fell nearly 10 percent in Janu- days after listing for a typical home, ary compared with a year earlier. far below the 43 days that was They rose slightly in the typical a year earlier. Seattle was $100,000 to $250,000 bracket and the second fastest, with 26 days jumped by roughly 20 percent in on the market, followed by Oakhomes priced at higher levels. land, at 27 days. Last year, low mortgage rates The strength in sales should lift helped offset rising home prices. growth going forward, as new Yet now both are rising. homeowners purchase furniture, Mortgage rates have climbed buy appliances and spend more on since the presidential election. In- landscaping and outdoor equipvestors are anticipating that tax ment. Home sales also tend to spur cuts, deregulation and infrastruc- renovations, which helps to update ture spending will accelerate aging properties and generates growth and push up inflation. That additional construction work for has caused investors to cut back the broader economy. -AP

Debt MF investment in housing eased NEW DELHI: Debt mutual funds can now invest up to 15 per cent of their total net assets in housing finance companies with Sebi easing the regulations in this regard. The norms have been relaxed as part of efforts to channelize more funds towards affordable housing activities. Debt mutual funds were allowed to have an exposure of only up to 10 per cent to housing finance companies. This has been increased to 15 per cent with the immediate effect subject to certain conditions. In a circular, Sebi said mutual

funds would need to ensure that the additional exposure to the securities issued by HFCs have high investment grade rating. Besides, the entities should have been registered with the National Housing Bank (NHB). According to the regulator, the guidelines for sectoral exposure in debt oriented mutual fund schemes put a limit of 25 per cent at the sector level and an additional exposure not exceeding 10 per cent (over and above the limit of 25 per cent) in financial services sector only to HFCs (Housing Finance Companies). -PTI


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Residential boom bolsters Texas City TEXAS CITY, Texas: Texas City, better known for petrochemical landscapes than landscaped subdivisions, is poised for an unprecedented growth spurt as the region's residential boom continues its southward advance. The Houston Chronicle reports the transformation of a vast expanse of interstate-fronting prairie into a mixed-use commercial hub began with a fancy outlet mall and a sprawling Buc-ee's. It continues with the 3,300-acre Lago Mar subdivision, now in the early stages, that eventually will add up to 7,000 homes on the edge of the Galveston Bayside town. To top it off, construction of an adjacent amusement park is now underway. Texas City officials predict that by the time Lago Mar is filled up, an estimated 15 years from now, the development will have added as many as 12,000 residents to the city's current population of about 48,000. By comparison, the city added about 7,000 people between 1990 and 2017.

``It's hard to compare any previous growth with this,'' said Jenny Senter, vice president of the Texas City-La Marque Chamber of Commerce. ``It's like the Super Bowl compared with Friday night football.'' The expansion in Texas City comes as brokers and industry experts in the region report a continued migration of investment toward the southeast, away from the northwest, where a rapid proliferation of new residences during the shale boom left the housing market over-supplied once drillers and oil field service providers cut back. The oil slump didn't put a damper on the petroleum industry around the Port of Houston and Galveston Bay, however. Companies there deal in downstream products like refined fuels or plastics and can maintain healthy profit margins even when oil prices tank. ``Everything on the east side of Houston, pretty much from Baytown south, has benefited'' from low oil prices, said Bruce

McClenny, president of Apartment Data Services. That's evident along Interstate 45 in Texas City, where a Buc-ee's and Tanger Outlet mall rise from about 5 square miles of former rice fields, now overgrown with shrubbery. Work crews there are busy assembling the first of a few thousand homes in the background. Catalon at Lago Mar is preparing to open the first of 230 planned apartment units next month. Land Tejas was imagining Lago Mar years before the bust - indeed, before the boom that pre-

There will be fiber-optic cables for internet service and neighborhood-wide hot spots, along with swimming pools, recreation centers and amenity lakes ceded it. Together with three investors, including Houston-based Prime Capital, the developer as-

PEL, Ivanhoé Cambridge in joint projects MUMBAI: Diversified firm Piramal Enterprises (PEL) has entered into a partnership with Ivanhoé Cambridge to provide long term equity capital to residential projects across five metros in the country. Ivanhoé Cambridge, a real estate subsidiary of CDPQ (Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec) will be allocating an initial USD 250 million for this purpose. "At a time when the real estate sector is going through a slowdown, this platform will help developers to raise funds for their projects. Such equity funding with Tier 1 development partners will enable us to deploy capital over a longer time horizon and facilitate participation in larger

projects with the ability to generate returns across real estate cycles," Piramal Fund Management Managing Director Khushru Jijina told PTI here. This fund will be majorly focusing on providing pure equity, but if there are opportunities in structured equity also, this platform will do that as well, he said. "In case of pure equity, Ivanhoé Cambridge will deploy nearly 75 per cent of the funds while PEL will commit an additional amount alongside and coinvest around 25 per cent for each transaction. However, in case of structured equity, both the parties will contribute equally for each transaction," he said.

sembled and bought a vast tract of land that spans both sides of I45 in 2006. Then the housing bubble burst in 2007 and construction was delayed. In the meantime, Land Tejas negotiated building rights with Texas City, and even won status as a tax reinvestment zone, meaning a specified portion of the local property taxes would be dedicated for use in Lago Mar instead of shared among the entire city. ``We wouldn't have done it for almost any other developer,'' said Nicholas Finan, Texas City's ex-

Jijina also said there is a strong demand for equity in the capital stack as developers increasingly prefer the option of partnering with investors in the early stages of the development life cycle over high cost financing. The investment focus shall include the Mumbai Metropolitan Region, Delhi (NCR), Bengaluru, Pune and Chennai. When asked about the deployment of funds, Jijina said, "We plan to deploy almost Rs 200 crore per transaction. We may do almost 7-8 deals under this partnership. We are in touch with developers and we may close at least once deal in the next four months." Commenting on the deal, Ivanhoé Cambridge Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Daniel Fournier said, "Piramal, with its long experience, impressive track record and strong relationship with India's top developers, will certainly play a key part in the success of this important investment." "India's compelling demographic and economic fundamentals combined with supportive government policies bode well for a long-term residential development strategy such as this one," said Fournier.-PTI

ecutive director of management services. The key, he said, was Lago Mar's location along the main route through Galveston County; city leaders saw the project as an opportunity to develop an attractive gateway into Texas City, the hub of which sits about three miles east of the interstate, out of sight to passers-by. ``It's not going to be just another suburb of Houston,'' Finan said. ``You'll know you're in Texas City.'' Good fortune struck Land Tejas in 2011 when Tanger Outlets asked to buy 54 acres off the interstate. Rarely does commercial precede residential development in a wide open field, but Tanger's business model aims to draw shoppers from across the region. Then in 2012, Texas convenience store chain Buc-ee's bought a lot adjacent to Tanger, which local officials allowed on the condition that the store's sign said Texas City. A year later, Webster-based cardiologist Dr. Harvey Slusky bought 35 acres for a theme park, Adventure Pointe, which is now under construction. Slusky's family owned and operated the miniature train at Hermann Park for decades until 2010. Adventure Pointe will house his collection of mini-trains, and will feature a vintage carousel shipped from Boston, an iceless outdoor ice skating rink, a walkthrough pirate ship in a piratethemed area and an old-fashioned Main Street. Other commercial developments are expected along the interstate's edge as homes go up. Those homes, according to Land Tejas director of community

sales and marketing Tim Johnson, will feature open floor plans to suit modern tastes and minor accommodations for multigenerational living, which was identified as a popular desire in a Land Tejas survey of 200 home sales professionals conducted last year. There will be fiber-optic cables for internet service and neighborhood-wide hot spots, along with swimming pools, recreation centers and amenity lakes that double as flood-control features. Planners have set aside three sites for schools in Lago Mar and one site for an ``education concept village,'' with a combination elementary and middle school, said Tammy Dowdy, a spokeswoman for Dickinson ISD, which currently operates 13 campuses. While the sites for future schools are set aside in Lago Mar, voters would need to approve bonds to fund them. If approved, taxpayers from the entire district would contribute to building new schools. In the coming years, however, elementary and middle school students that move into Lago Mar will attend Dickinson's newest campus, Lobit Education Village, which opened in August 2016. ``Population is slowly drifting in from the Houston area,'' said Eric

Planners have set aside three sites for schools in Lago Mar and one site for an ``education concept village,'' with a combination elementary and middle school Gage, former city manager of La Marque, which neighbors Texas City. Now a real estate agent with Re/ Max based in downtown Houston, Gage recently sold one of the first homes built in Lago Mar to a young family from League City, which he said has become crowded after years of rapid growth. The development at Lago Mar, he said, will provide one of the last opportunities for new housing along I-45. ``It used to be cow pastures,'' Gage said. ``Now, I don't really see any land left anywhere.'' Ground was broken on the first Lago Mar homes in 2016, and the first model single-family homes opened in January. Land Tejas expects the first phase of construction, 520 homes including 320 in gated communities, to be completed in 2018. -AP


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India Post 39

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21 American cities where renting trumps owning Cont’d from page 36

Owners tend to be older - a whopping 77.16% of them are over 45. But a closer look at the age breakdown reveals some interesting divisions, especially on the renting side. In renter-dominated cities, the percentages are more equally spread across age groups for renting than for home-owning. Although over 50% of renters are between ages 15 and 44, a sizeable percentage are older: 18.62% are between the ages of 45 and 54, and another 14.13% are between the ages of 55 and 64. A higher percentage of renters are 65 to 74 (8.32%) or 75-plus (6.96%) than 15 to 24 (5.9%). Renting, clearly, is not only for the young in renter-dominated cities. It's also not only for the single and unattached. When we examined the percentages of renters whom the ACS identified as "families" vs. "non-families," we saw a wide range from city to city. In Salinas, CA, 76.3% of renter households were families, while in Boulder, CO, only 20.92% were. In 11 of the 21 renter-dominated cities, over 50% of renter households were occupied by non-families. Those cities - Boulder, CO; Champaign, IL; Columbia, MO; Lafayette, IN; Tallahassee, FL; Fargo, ND; College Station, TX; Athens, GA; Eugene, OR; Santa Barbara, CA; Gainesville, FL share a common identity: They're

Beach-Anaheim, monthly homeownership costs exceeded the area median rent by $1,326 and $965, respectively. Four more of these family-dominated renting cities are located near major military bases: Killeen,TX (Fort Hood); Clarksville, TN (Fort Campbell); Fayetteville, NC (Fort Bragg); and Columbus, GA (Fort Benning). Active military service people (and their families) receive a Basic Allowance for Housing, which they can put toward accommodations off- or on-base. Given the high mobility of military families - the U.S. Department of Defense estimates that the average child in a military family moves six to nine times during a school career - it makes sense that renting (and not owning) would be a popular option off-base. HOW RENTER GROWTH CORRESPONDS TO HOUSING COSTS According to our data, the three majority-renter urban areas experiencing the greatest growth in renters from 2011 to 2015 were Boulder, CO (14.68%); Savannah, GA (11.50%); and Columbus, GA (9.16%). Boulder, home to The University of Colorado and over 37,000 undergraduate and graduate students, is an obvious rental hotspot. But it's also a growing city, just 25 miles north of the booming Denver Metropolitan

One might expect that as renter demand increases, so too would renting costs. That was definitely true for Boulder, which saw a 19.43% increase in renting cost from 2011 to 2015. One reason for this might be limited supply. all college towns, home to major public state universities. It's unsurprising, then, that their local economies would be flooded with renters, and that the (sometimes vast) majority of renters would be young students who hadn't yet started families. The other 10 cities are a more mixed bag. In a few - San FranciscoOakland, New York-Newark, and Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim - extremely high housing costs go a long way to explain why families are choosing to rent. In the San Francisco-Oakland urbanized area, for example, the 2015 monthly cost for homeowners with mortgages was $2,754 - the highest in the country, and over $1,000 more than the area median rent of $1,603. And in New YorkNewark and Los Angeles-Long-

Statistical Area. According to The City of Boulder and the Colorado State Demographer's Office, the city added over 10,000 new residents between 2010 and 2015, and over 13,000 jobs. Savannah, GA, doesn't support a major state university, but it is the home of four colleges: Armstrong State University, Savannah State University, South University, and Savannah College of Art and Design. It's a historic waterfront city with high housing costs, and from 2010 its population growth mirrored Boulder's. According to the U.S. Census, the population grew 6.9% between 2010 and 2015, adding 9,339 new residents. Columbus, GA, is the third-largest city in Georgia, with a population of over 250,000. It's home to

Fort Benning, the largest Army base in the country, which supports (but does not necessarily house) over 120,000 active-duty military, reserves, retirees, civilian employees, and family members. For each of these three cities, the 2011-2015 changes in homeownership costs and renting

Columbus, for example, experienced a 5.91% decrease in renter population from 2011 to 2012, a period of time in which rental costs decreased 1.48% and homeownership costs decreased 3.4%. The rental population rebounded sharply the next year, gaining back all the ground it lost

costs are often widely separated. The differences are especially noticeable in Boulder and Savannah. From 2011 to 2012, when ownership costs in Savannah increased about 10%, renting costs stayed pretty level, decreasing only .86%. Renting costs began to increase in 2013, exceeding 2011 costs at about the time that homeownership costs began to decrease below 2011 levels. One might expect that as renter demand increases, so too would renting costs. That was definitely true for Boulder, which saw a 19.43% increase in renting cost from 2011 to 2015. One reason for this might be limited supply. Boulder sits at the base of the Rocky Mountains, and its expansion plans restrict development above elevations of 5,750 feet by limiting water and sewer service. That curtails large-scale residential development, pushing it east into an already crowded urban area. Interestingly enough, Boulder ownership costs decreased steadily over much of this time period, and looked to continue on their downward trajectory until 2014 - precisely when renting costs also skyrocketed. Do rising home-ownership costs affect the decision to rent? Maybe. But it's only one factor among many. If a rental market is dominated by young professionals and college students - as is the case in Boulder - falling homeownership costs won't affect the rental market that much. But in Savannah and Columbus, where families account for about 58% of renters, changes in the cost of homeownership might have more noticeable effects.

and then some, for a percentage 3.67% greater than it had been before the downturn. In that same period of time, homeowner costs stayed approximately level, while rent increased to 1.6% above the 2011 benchmark. It's worth noting that the last convoy of American troops left Iraq in late 2011, and the United States Army Armor School - which includes over 7,500 soldiers moved from Fort Knox to Fort Benning in 2011. Such an influx of residents - some new and some returning, some with families and some single, some renters and some homeowners - makes for a volatile housing dynamic. Perhaps returning service members wanted to put down roots as homeowners, and new residents, unsure of their permanent plans, felt they would rather rent. Short of an extensive

study of the housing supply in Columbus, it's hard to say just how much ownership costs affect the decision to rent or own. CONCLUSION Nationwide, renters are on the rise. In fact, 2015 saw 1.4 million new renter households, creating the largest percentage of renter households the nation has seen since the 1960s - 36.4%. Thanks to this rental boom, renting became the majority in 21 U.S. cities in 2015, up from just 14 three years prior. The demographics of these 21 renter-majority cities are varied, but almost unsurprising: Some are college towns, with young, temporary residents; others are near military bases, where many residents are transient; and yet others are large cities with extremely high housing costs, making ownership less than feasible. The U.S. housing market crash of 2007 - with accompanying home price plunge - opened the door to many to finally afford a home. But at the same time, as the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard notes, the crash also revealed what a risky investment home ownership can be, which continues to contribute to the trend toward renting. As we've seen in our study of housing costs in the three cities where the renting population grew the fastest between 2012 and 2015, monthly cost, is not the sole factor at play in people's decisions to rent or own. Decreasing homeownership costs don't always translate to more homeowners, just as increasing rental costs don't always limit the number of people who want to rent. However, as was the case with Boulder, Columbus, and Savannah, as more cities fill with renters and vacancy rates decline, we can expect demand to drive prices up.


40 India Post

Y

et another jewel in the crown of God's Own Country - Kerala - is the pristine, tropical city of Kumarakom. This cluster of small picturesque islands around the Vembanad Lake, with its beautiful landscapes and scenic environs is a perfect holiday spot. This small town was established by the Indian government

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as part of its special preservation effort. The soil found in the region is fertile, the numerous paddy fields, mangrove forests, and coconut groves found stand testimony. The lush greenery is an amazing sight and is a treat for the eyes. The island is popular among honeymooners looking for peace and solitude. Thousands of migratory birds flock to this area every year. Bird watchers flock here each year to catch a glimpse of the various birds visiting the island.

March 3, 2017

This beautiful island has numerous small fishing skiffs throughout the town. With both salt water and fresh water surrounding Kumarakom, there are several varieties of fish found here. Excellent marine and freshwater fish including tasty karimeen (also known as pearl spotted fish), shrimp, and prawns are available in the area making it perfect to enjoy a lip smacking sea food platter when on honeymoon in Kerala Experience the backwaters and rejuvenate your senses with an Ayurvedic massage which is popular in the region. You can also include Munnar tour packages when holidaying in Kumarakom. Cont’d on page 42


March 3, 2017

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Indian travelers becoming more spontaneous NEW DELHI: Young Indian travelers are becoming more spontaneous in planning trips as is evident from the last minute bookings being made over the past year, according to a new study. Conducted by online travel portal Make My Trip, the study observed an increase in the number of bookings made merely a week before the trips, indicating an emerging trend of impromptu bookings.

bookings. The spontaneity reflects in the data. More impromptu plans have been made with 81 per cent of the domestic bookings happening within a month and 36 per cent of international bookings happening within a week of travel," the study said. Based on the bookings made on the portal between July and December last year, the study attempts to deduce the consumer behavior trends in the travel

"Young Indian travelers are very spontaneous, as demonstrated by the surge in last minute

space, by comparing the same with the same time-period last year. One of the major findings of the

study also included that Indian travelers now increasingly comprise younger people with 17 per cent of them being in 18-24 year age group compared to 12 per cent last year. The study has also noted an increase in repeat individual travel while registering a significant number of bookings made online. "57 per cent more customers travelled in the second half of 2016 as compared to the same time period in 2015 with 56 per cent of all customers using the app for all their bookings, witnessing an almost 1.7 times growth from 33 per cent last year," the study said. Destinations like Thailand, Singapore and Dubai continue to be the top travelled international destinations among Indian travelers, while popularity of places like Maldives, Warsaw and Seychelles is on the rise. Kerala, Andamans, Goa and Himachal remained the preferred domestic destinations according to the study. -PTI

Israel sees growth in Indian tourist inflow HYDERABAD: Israel recorded a growth of 13 per cent in tourist arrivals from India in 2016 over the previous year and it hopes to maintain the double digit growth figures in 2017 as well, senior officials said here. As many as 44,672 Indian tourists visited the West Asian country last year, they said. "Israel is an emerging destination for the Indian traveler and travel has been growing from India to Israel over the last couple of years. "We are working towards increasing our leisure and MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions) travelers while continuing our focus on existing segments using different mediums, including investing in advertising campaigns and continue to build and strengthen our travel trade relationships in the Indian market," said Hassan Madah, Director of the Israel Ministry of Tourism, here. He said three million foreign tourists visited Israel in 2016 and the number was 2.8 million in 2015.

As part of their campaign to promote tourism in Israel, a road show was held in a networking workshop format. The campaign would be conducted in the second phase in summer, he said. Replying to a query, Madah said the concerns over political

unrest in Israel were a bit exaggerated and asserted Israel is safe for tourists. The city of Tel Aviv, the historic city of Jerusalem and the Dead Sea are among the major tourist attractions in the country, he added. -PTI

Jet Airways, Hong Kong in codeshare partnership MUMBAI: Private carrier Jet Airways has announced a reciprocal codeshare partnership with Hong Kong Airlines, which will enable Indian fliers to travel seamlessly to New Zealand, Japan, Indonesia, Vietnam and Thailand. As part of the pact, Jet Airways will place its marketing code "9W" on Hong Kong Airlines' flights operating between Hong Kong and Okinawa and Tokyo in Japan, Denpasar in Indonesia, Hanoi in Vietnam, Bangkok in Thailand and Auckland in New Zealand. Hong Kong Airlines in turn, will place its marketing code "HX" on

especially to our first time codeshare destinations such as Okinawa in Japan and Auckland in New Zealand," he said. According to him, both business and leisure travel between India and the destinations covered under the pact has been growing at a compound annual growth rate of 12 per cent over the last five years. The pact will also allow Hong Kong Airlines to offer its passengers a daily service connecting the key business cities of Hong Kong, Mumbai and Delhi, the airline said. The codeshare will provide op-

Jet Airways' flights between Hong Kong and Mumbai as well as Delhi, Jet Airways said in a statement. Codesharing allows an airline to book its passengers on its partner carriers and provide seamless travel to destinations where it has no presence. Hong Kong Airlines currently flies to 36 major cities across the Asia Pacific region, including Gold Coast, Auckland, Beijing, Shanghai, Taipei, Tokyo, Sapporo, Seoul, Bangkok, Bali and Okinawa. Commenting on the codeshare pact, Jet Airways Chief Commercial Officer Jayaraj Shanmugam said that Jet Airways customers will now have greater choice in terms of destinations following the partnership with Hong Kong Airlines. "It will further strengthen the choice available for our guests,

portunities for both airlines to expand their reach and cater to guests across the region. "We are very happy to establish the partnership with Jet Airways. From our observation, there has been great potential in the India market as increasing travelers from India tend to transit via Hong Kong to Japan, South East Asia and even farther to Auckland," Hong Kong Airlines Chief Commercial Officer Li Dianchun said. By connecting Hong Kong with Mumbai and Delhi, the new agreement enables passengers from these key cities to travel seamlessly to a bunch of destinations in Hong Kong Airlines' network, he said. On the other hand, Hong Kong Airlines passengers can also access India easily for either business or leisure travel purpose, he added. -PTI

SUBSCRIBE TO INDIA POST E-PAPER From Left: Judah Samuel, Director of Marketing – IMOT India, Anat Varchitzky, Adviser to Director General, IMOT, Hassan Madah, Director – IMOT India, David Halevi, Director General – IMOT and Akov David, Consul General of the State of Israel

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42 India Post

Travel & Hospitality Post www.indiapost.com

Cont’d from page 40

Tourist Attractions Bay Island Driftwood Museum: Located around 14 km from Kottayam in Kumarakom, this museum showcases a sole collection of quality driftwood articles which hold high artistic values, prepared through an innovative modern art technique. The museum also houses various root and tree trunk sculptures in unique forms and designs. It is founded by Raji Punnoose, a dynamic school teacher in

Andaman and Nicober Islands. The sculptures in the museum are the transformed driftwood pieces, comprising twisted tree trunks, stumps, roots etc., which she had collected from the seashores during her professional tenure in Andaman and Nicober Islands. Many of the sculptures or pieces resemble birds, animals, reptiles, amphibians and fishes.

Backwaters: Various canals, lagoons, and waterways surround Kumarakom's small cluster of islands. These numerous waterways make up what is known as the Backwaters. Tourists love to rent a houseboat here. Each houseboat commonly contains a living room, one bedroom, a bathroom, and a deck too. A local oarsman will pole the houseboat for you as you explore the beautiful scenery in the region. Numerous types of flora and fauna can be seen against the mirror like lagoons as you sail across

the picture perfect backwaters. Large houseboat companies will even let you tether several houseboats together to house a larger tourist group. Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary: A birdwatcher's haven, the Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary covers an impressive expanse of 14 acres. A large variety of different birds can be found at the sanctuary at any given time. Numerous migratory birds even from places like Siberia visit the sanctuary. It

is common to see golden-backed woodpeckers, night herons, kingfishers, paradise fly-catchers and egrets. The entire area was established by the government of India in an effort to preserve the natural habitat of both native plants like mandrakes and coconut trees and various birds. Local people can be hired to canoe you through the entire sanctuary. Best time to visit Kumarakom experiences a tropical climatic condition and the

best time for visiting the place is from September to March. How to reach By Train: Kottayam is the nearest railway station which is about 16 km away from Kumarakom. Cont’d on page 43

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Kenya eyes 40% rise in Indian tourists MUMBAI: The tourism board in Kenya, which is famous for its wildlife tourism, has said it is looking at an impressive 40 per cent growth in both leisure and business travelers from India in 2017, and is also wooing Bollywood filmmakers to shoot in Kenya. During the last five years, the Indian market has grown to be the

third largest tourism source market for Kenya representing a market share of 7.3 per cent of total tourist arrivals into Kenya. "We are looking at an impressive 40 per cent growth in both leisure and business travelers from India in 2017. In 2016, Kenya received a total of 64,116 tourist arrivals from India, representing a

growth of 28.9 per cent compared to 49,756 arrivals in 2015. Year 2016 marks the best performing year for tourist arrivals from India into Kenya," Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) Director Mohanjeet Brar told reporters here. Kenyan government is also looking at providing incentives to Bollywood producers to shoot

films there. Kenya offers wonderful filming locations and the required supporting infrastructure. Several producers have shown keen interest in Kenya, which has 61 wildlife national parks, Brar said. "India is the biggest trading partner of Kenya, which seeks investment from Indian entrepreneurs in areas like healthcare, edu-

Kumarakom Small picturesque islands around a lake Cont’d from page 42

By Air: The nearest airport is Cochin International Airport at

Nedumbassery, nearly 85 km away from Kumarakom. Cochin is well connected to many major cities in India and abroad, especially

cation, agriculture, housing and IT sectors," KTB Director of Marketing Jacinta Nzioka-Mbithi said. To maintain this momentum, the board has increased its investment in the Indian market by focusing on impactful consumer campaigns both offline and online and trade incentive campaigns to incentivize the travel agents to push Kenya sales. KTB recently launched the "Kenya Kalling" campaign that promotes numerous travel aspirations in Kenya targeting the newage Indian traveller, families, adventure seekers, golfers, honeymooners, film makers and MICE or "b-leisure" travelers. The campaign highlights the incredible diversity of landscapes, rich culture and history, abundant wildlife and unique experiences that Kenya has to offer, Brar said. The Kenyan delegation participated in India's leading Outbound Travel Mart 2017 currently being held in Mumbai. The delegation was led by senior officials from the Kenya Tourism Board in partnership with topnotch hotels and tour operators. -PTI

connected directly to gulf countries. By Bus: KSRTC buses are plenty from Kottayam to reach Kumarakom. Kotatyam is connected to all cities in Kerala by KSRTC buses. By Boat: One can reach Kumarakom by boat from Muhamma, near Alleppey. State owned boat services and private houseboats ferry form Muhamma to Kumarakom Jetty.

Bhubaneswar-Kuala Lumpur direct flight BHUBANESWAR: The first international flight from Bhubaneswar to Kuala Lumpur will fly here on April 26, according to a release issued by Air Asia. Air Asia Berhad, a low-cost airline of Malaysia, introduces new exclusive route from

from as low as Rs 999 one way, it said adding that the Air Asia has started booking for the tickets. Air Asia on February 17 signed a MoU with Odisha government in connection with beginning of direct flights to and from the Malaysian capital. The fares from Rs 999 one way

Bhubaneswar to Kuala Lumpur from April 26 with 4 weekly flights, a release by Air Asia said. Celebratory fares would be

are available for booking from till March 5 for the travel period from April 26 to October 27, the release said. -PTI

Ski train attracts more than 15,000 DENVER: More than 15,000 passengers have ridden the ski train between Denver and Win-

vice was discontinued for a few years during World War II, it ran almost every ski season from

Winter Park Express / Winter Park Resort

ter Park Resort so far this season. Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari tells The Denver Post the response has exceeded expectations and ``has given us several ideas to consider for next year too.'' The weekend rail service started in 1940, the same year the ski resort opened. After the ser-

1947 until 2009. A joint effort by Amtrak, Union Pacific Railroad, Winter Park Resort and others breathed new life into the ski train, and the service was relaunched Jan. 7. The train is pulled from Denver about 60 miles and 3,700 vertical feet to the base of the resort and can accommodate more than 550 passengers. -AP


In Brief Chicago Indian jailed for visa fraud CHICAGO: A three-year prison sentence has been handed a man who pleaded guilty to wire fraud for a scheme to defraud foreign investors into backing a convention complex by Chicago's O'Hare International Airport. Anshoo Sethi of Chicago admitted to using fraudulent documents to raise millions from mostly Chinese investors who believed they'd get U.S. residency in return. The case involves the EB-5 visa program, which allows foreign investors green cards. The 33-year-old Sethi pleaded guilty in January 2016 to a wire fraud count alleging he lied to about 290 Chinese nationals who bankrolled the $145 million project. During sentencing, U.S. District Judge John Lee told Sethi he took advantage of hundreds of people for personal gain. In addition to the prison term, Lee ordered Sethi to pay $8.8 million in restitution to his victims. -AP

„ Immigration raids at Mississippi restaurants JACKSON, Miss.: Federal authorities have raided multiple restaurants in Mississippi as part of an immigration check. Agents with Immigration and Custom Enforcement executed criminal search warrants at eight Asian restaurants. It was unclear how many people were detained. Agency spokesman Thomas Byrd tells The Clarion-Ledger the majority of restaurants affected were part of the Ichiban chain. The raids occurred in Jackson, Flowood, Pearl and Meridian. A China Buffett in Pearl was also a target of the search warrants. Bryd declined to say what was

Law enforcement officers stand outside Ichiban Sushi & Chinese Buffet in Flowood earlier last week.

outlined in the warrants. However, he said, all of the warrants are related. Bill Chandler with Mississippi Immigrants Rights Alliance says it's his understanding the raids were targeting those ``not in status'' or undocumented workers who may be in Mississippi on expired visas. -AP

Immigration 44 India Post

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March 3, 2017

Refugees reunite in Bismarck after ban halt Details on page 38

Immigrants change up their routines, brace for arrest In Orange County, California, dozens of immigrant parents have signed legal documents authorizing friends and relatives to pick up their children from school and access their bank accounts to pay their bills in the event they are arrested by immigration agents. In Philadelphia, immigrants are carrying around wallet-size ``Know Your Rights'' guides in Spanish and English that explain what to do if they're rounded up. And in New York, 23-year-old Zuleima Dominguez and other members of her Mexican family are careful about answering the door and start making worried phone calls when someone doesn't come home on time. Around the country, President Donald Trump's efforts to crack down on the estimated 11 million immigrants living illegally in the U.S. have spread fear and anxiety and led many people to brace for arrest and to change up their daily routines in hopes of not getting caught. In El Paso, Texas, Carmen Ramos and her friends have developed a network to keep each other updated via text messages on where immigration checkpoints

have been set up. She said she is also making certain everything she does is in or-

said the 41-year-old Ramos, who with her husband and three children left Ciudad Juarez because of

people wave U.S. flags during a naturalization ceremony at the Los Angeles Convention Center, in Los Angeles. Since Trump’s immigration enforcement order and travel ban, immigrants have been rushing to prepare applications to become Americans. Advocates in Los Angeles, Maryland and New York catering to diverse immigrant communities from Latin America, Asia and the Middle East all said they’ve been fielding a rising number of questions about how to become a U.S. citizen.

der at all times. She checks her taillights before leaving the house to make sure they are working. She won't speed and keeps a close eye on her surroundings. ``We are surprised that even a ticket can get us back to Mexico,''

drug violence and death threats in 2008 and entered the U.S. on tourist visas that have since expired. ``We wouldn't have anywhere to return.'' The unease among immigrants has been building for months but

intensified in recent weeks with ever-clearer signs that the Trump administration would jettison the Obama-era policy of focusing mostly on deporting those who had committed serious crimes. The administration has announced that any immigrant who is in the country illegally and is charged with or convicted of any offense, or even suspected of a crime, will now be an enforcement priority. That could include people arrested for shoplifting or other minor offenses, or those who simply crossed the border illegally. Some husbands and wives fear spouses who lack legal papers could be taken away. And many worry that parents will be separated from their U.S.-born children. Dozens of immigrants have been turning up at an advocacy group's offices in Philadelphia, asking questions like, ``Who will take care of my children if I am deported?'' They are also coached on how to develop a ``deportation plan'' that includes the name and number of an attorney and other emergency contacts in case of arrest. Cont'd on Page 46

Trump plans impact 3 lakh Indian-Americans WASHINGTON: Nearly 300,000 Indian-Americans are likely to be impacted by the Trump administration's sweeping plans that put the nation's 11 million undocumented immigrants at risk of deportation. President Donald Trump has laid the groundwork for potentially deporting millions of undocumented immigrants by issuing new guidance that drastically broadens the ways in which federal immigration laws should be enforced. "The Department no longer will exempt classes or categories of removable aliens from potential enforcement," the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said in an enforcement memo. "Department personnel have

full authority to arrest or apprehend an alien whom an immigration officer has probable cause to believe is in violation of the immi-

ment memos, which among other things, tightens deportation of illegal immigrants. The emphasis is on criminal aliens, though, but opens up the door for others too. IndianAmericans as per unofficial figures account for nearly 300,000 illegal aliens. According to the memo, the DHS Secretary has the auUS President Donald Trump thority to apply gration laws," it said. expedited removal provisions to The Department of Homeland aliens who have not been admitSecurity has issued two enforce- ted or paroled into the US, who

are inadmissible, and who have not been continuously physically present in the US for the two-year period immediately prior to the determination of their inadmissibility, so that such aliens are immediately removed unless the alien is an unaccompanied minor, intends to apply for asylum or has a fear of persecution or torture in their home country, or claims to have lawful immigration status. The memorandum said when illegal aliens apprehended do not pose a risk of a subsequent illegal entry, returning them to the foreign contiguous territory from which they arrived, pending the outcome of removal proceedings, saves the government detention and adjudication resources for other priority aliens. -PTI


Immigration Post

March 3, 2017

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Chicago schools take a stand on immigration CHICAGO: As educators around the United States wonder whether a crackdown on immigrants will reach their schoolhouse doors, principals in Chicago have been given a simple order: Do not let federal immigration agents in without a criminal warrant. The stand taken by Chicago Public Schools, the country's third-largest school system, is among the boldest of the districts that have announced measures to protect those who may be living in the country illegally. It remains unknown how much interest U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement will show in schools under President Donald Trump, and there is little schools can do to thwart agents who show up with warrants, but they are acting at least in part to ease concerns of skittish immigrant communities. In districts like Chicago, where nearly half of the 381,000 students are Hispanic, there is concern that immigration authorities could grab parents outside the schools and their children inside. ``My 9-year-old son gets upset because he knows some of his friends in school and his father are undocumented and he is scared, and asks `Am I going to see them again,''' said Gabriela Barajas, who was brought to this country ille-

gally as a child but is allowed to stay as part of a federal program launched in 2012. ``When I told him about (what CPS was doing) he was clapping, he was so happy.''

some form they are protected,'' said Sigala. Trump's decision to target more people for deportation than had been targeted during the Obama administration has ratcheted up

Gabriela Baraja, right, and her sons Melvin Garcia, left, and Antonio Garcia pose for a photo at their home in Chicago. As President Donald Trump moves ahead with a nationwide immigration crackdown, school principals in Chicago have been given a simple order: Do not let federal immigration agents in without a criminal warrant. Barajas was brought to the U.S. illegally as a child but is allowed to stay as part of a federal program launched in 2012.

Alma Sigala, an immigrant who has a daughter in district, said the relief is not just for the children but for the parents. ``Once the parents are inside the schools they'll feel more secure, that in

worries about families being torn apart all over the country. In the note to Chicago's principals, Public Schools Chief Education Officer Janice Jackson urged them to not only keep immigration

agents outside and to avoid sharing any student records with the agents, but to also put plans in place for the possibility of parents being detained while their children are in school. ``To be very clear, CPS does not provide assistance to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in the enforcement of federal civil immigration law,'' Jackson wrote. Principals around the country have been stepping up efforts to make students feel supported, said JoAnn Bartoletti, executive director of the National Association of Secondary School Principals. In Syracuse, New York, the school board approved a policy this month requiring schools to deny access to ICE officials until they consult with the superintendent. In Salt Lake City, Utah, the school district discussed a resolution. Connecticut's governor advised school districts in that state to refer any ICE agents to the superintendent. And in New York City, principals there have been told that immigration officers may not be granted access without legal authority. The latest Trump administration guidance leaves in place Obama-era policies limiting enforcement actions at ``sensitive locations,'' including schools. While those policies say agents

should generally avoid apprehending anyone inside those designated areas, they do not stop agents from obtaining records or serving subpoenas. Jim Bever, an Indiana principal on the board of the National Association of Secondary School Principals, said he would try to discourage immigration officials from accessing students and records, but school administrators around the country are ``a bit in the dark'' and any agents would likely see a wide range of responses. Some experts say it's unlikely administrators will be tested. Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies in Washington, D.C., which supports tighter immigration policies, said schools do not seem to have reason for alarm and Chicago Public Schools and others implementing similar policies mostly appear to be ``showing off.'' Among those prioritized for arrest under the new guidelines are immigrants who abuse public benefits, which Krikorian said could include free and reduced school lunches. ``It could well affect them, but again that has nothing to do with the school grounds,'' he said. ``It's not like ICE goes in there and says, `Drop that tater tot, kid.''' -AP

Indians largest group of skilled workers LONDON: Indians were the largest group of skilled workers granted visas to live and work in the UK last year at 57 per cent, according to official figures released here. The Home Office said Indians

accounted for 53,575 skilled work visas granted in 2016, and US nationals were the second largest group at 9,348. "Indian nationals accounted for 57 per cent of total skilled work

visas granted (53,575 of 93,244)... The information technology sector sponsored 42 per cent of skilled work visa applications, followed by professional, scientific and technical activities (19 per cent) and financial and insurance

activities (12 per cent)," the Office of National Statistics said in its immigration update. Indians also accounted for over half the applications made in the sponsored skilled visa category

last year at 30,556 of the total 56,058 applications. "Indian nationals were issued the largest proportion (40 per cent of the total) of skilled work visas in the 2010 cohort and, of these skilled Indian nationals, 32 per cent had received settlement after five years, while a further 12 per cent still had valid leave to remain in the UK," the ONS said. The student visa figures for India registered a very slight uptick with 11,330 granted in 2016, up from 11,160 in 2015. The latest figures will further highlight the importance of mobility of professionals and students as part of the wider IndiaUK relationship. "For us, mobility is key for our services sector. There has to be a system where our professionals can come to the UK and return. They contribute immensely to both the Indian and British economies," Indian high commissioner to the UK, Yashvardhan Kumar Sinha recently said. Overall, net migration to the UK dropped to 273,000 last year up until September 2016, down 49,000 from the previous year. It is still

far short of the UK government's target figure for net migration to be under 100,000. The ONS figures record the difference between the number of people coming to live in the UK and those leaving. Immigration was estimated to be 596,000, including 268,000 EU citizens and 257,000 non-EU citizens (which includes Indian nationals). They included the highest level ever recorded of Romanians and Bulgarians coming into the UK at 74,000, one of the major factors

behind the vote in favor of Brexit last June. "This is the first release to contain long-term international migration estimates including three months of data following the EU referendum. Although we have seen a fall in net migration of EU citizens there have been continued increases in immigration from Romania and Bulgaria, so it is too early to say what effect the referendum result has had on longterm international migration," said Nicola White, ONS Head of International Migration Statistics. -PTI

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Immigration Post

46 India Post

March 3, 2017

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Santa Fe passes immigrant- Govt making all efforts on H-1B issue friendly resolution SANTA FE, N.M.: The Santa Fe City Council passed a resolution that affirmed the city's immigrantfriendly policies without using the word ``sanctuary.'' The council voted 8-0 to approve the resolution, with one council member absent on an outof-town trip. The vote came more than a week after the City Finance committee unanimously approved a softened

versions since first being introduced in December with the most notable change being the removal of the word ``sanctuary.'' Rather than specifically identify Santa Fe as a sanctuary city, supporters said the resolution affirms the city's status as ``a welcoming community for immigrants and refugees.'' The resolution also states that the city has the authority to pre-

Cities and counties across the U.S. are immersed in a debate over what role, if any, they should play in immigration enforcement as Trump seeks help from local law enforcement to boost deportations of those living in the country illegally. version aimed at not starting a fight with President Donald Trump, who has promised to punish local governments that don't help federal authorities increase enforcement of immigration laws. Santa Fe's resolution, which restates a policy under which local police have operated since 1999, has gone through multiple

serve the confidentiality of information collected from residents, including a person's immigration status. City Councilor Joseph Maestas, one of the resolution's sponsors, was previously quoted as saying the policy is a way of ``thumbing our nose at'' the Trump administration.

After hours of discussion during previous committee meetings, the proposal was amended and the word ``sanctuary'' was removed to make it more palatable to some councilors. Maestas has said that changing the words doesn't diminish the intent of the resolution. Cities and counties across the U.S. are immersed in a debate over what role, if any, they should play in immigration enforcement as Trump seeks help from local law enforcement to boost deportations of those living in the country illegally. Many large cities including New York, Los Angeles and Chicago have pledged to resist and not cooperate with requests for help from federal immigration officials. ``This community has been under immense pressure to abandon our embrace of all immigrants into this family, an idea that has been at the center of Santa Fe's identity for centuries,'' Santa Fe Mayor Javier Gonzales said in a statement. ``We responded with courage and integrity, sending a message that no matter what happens in Washington, we will stand up for who we are and continue to fight for our values.'' -AP

Utah lawmakers support refugee rights SALT LAKE CITY: Utah lawmakers reasserted their commitment to making the state a welcoming place for refugees as President Donald Trump crafts a revised travel ban. Members of a Senate economic development and workforce services committee unanimously backed a resolution expressing the stance during a hearing in which they highlighted their own ancestors' experience as immigrants. Proposal sponsor Sen. Brian Shiozawa, R-Cottonwood Heights, said his grandfather moved to the U.S. from Japan as a single man who didn't speak much English. He said his grandfather soon married and had seven children. The resolution, which Shiozawa said helps solidify the state's embrace of diversity, next moves to the full Senate for consideration. Republican Sen. Jacob Anderegg told committee members that his grandfather was an

immigrant, who moved to Utah with his parents from Switzerland

Brian Shiozawa at the Senate at the Utah State Capitol in Salt Lake City. A resolution expressing Utah's commitment to protecting the rights of legal immigrants and refugees fleeing persecution has received full support from a panel of lawmakers.

after being disowned by their family when they converted to the Mormon church. ``I think we have to strike that

balance of protecting our boarders while at the same time recognizing that we're all immigrants, we're all decedents of immigrants,'' he said. ``We can't exclude some who are desperately in need at the sake of wanting to ensure that we don't have any people coming here who would have alternative motives.'' Though Trump comfortably won the mostly Republican state, his stance on refugees puts him at odds with the Mormon church and some top leaders such as Gov. Gary Herbert, a Republican. Utah's unique political culture, dominated by the Mormon church, puts a premium on personal decency and openness to immigrants and refugees. The embrace of refugees by the religion has roots in the history of the faith, which counted many immigrants among its early members. Utah receives about 1,200 refugees each year and has a total of about 60,000 in the state. -AP

INDORE: Amid apprehensions of a clampdown on H-1B visa by the US, Union Minister of State for External Affairs V K Singh has said his ministry is making all efforts in safeguarding the interests of Indian citizens. "The External Affairs Ministry is active in this direction (US President Donald Trump's plan on H1B visa) and we are making all efforts to safeguard the interests of Indian citizens," Singh told media persons after inaugurating a Pass-

Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, would cater to the needs of people in 15 districts of Indore region. While addressing the inauguration function, Singh announced that passport services would be started in post offices of four cities of Madhya Pradesh including, Vidisha, Satna, Jabalpur and Gwalior. Vidisha Lok Sabha constituency is represented by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj. He also a s k e d Chouhan to discuss with the state Post Master General about the possibility of opening passport centers in the post offices of other districts of M a d h y a Pradesh. Union Minister of State for External Affairs V K Singh "The government has port Sewa Laghu Kendra (PSLK) evolved an online transparent arhere. rangement for issuing passport. We The centre, inaugurated by want to decentralize this service to Singh, along with Lok Sabha make it available at nearest point of Speaker Sumitra Mahajan and the applicants," Singh said. -PTI

Immigrants change up their routines, brace for arrest Cont'd from Page 44

In Los Angeles, immigrants have been attending know-yourrights workshops but also calling in to report they're afraid to pick up their children from school, said Jorge-Mario Cabrera, a spokesman for the Coalition of Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles. Immigrants in the Chicago area have said they are scared to drive, and some are even wary of taking public transit. When Chicago police and federal authorities conducted regular safety checks on a train line earlier this month, many assumed it was an immigration checkpoint. Word spread so quickly on Twitter and among activist groups that Chicago police issued a statement assuring immigrants, ``You are welcome here.'' A 34-year-old Mexican immigrant and mother of two in Miami said she has been texting friends and exchanging mes-

sages on Facebook about what roads to avoid to steer clear of immigration patrols. She drives to work and also takes her children to school, even though she has no license, something she cannot get because she is in the country illegally. She agreed to be identified only by her first name, Marina, for fear of deportation. In the Bronx, Dominguez, a college student who is in the U.S. with permission under the Obama administration policy for people who entered illegally as children, is looking into what she needs to do to raise her American-born brother and sister, ages 6 and 11, if their parents are deported. The parents are in the U.S. illegally. Now, when Dominguez goes out, she tells the others where she is going, with whom, and when she will be home, and expects the same from her parents and siblings. If someone is late getting home, she said, ``we start calling.'' -AP


Datebook

March 3, 2017

India Post 47

www.indiapost.com

NEW YORK

NORTHERN CALIFORNIA

Upcoming

Upcoming

Fri, Mar 3 • 2017 NJTS Annual Membership

Fri, Mar 10 • Two to Tango, Three to Jive - Saurabh Shukla LIVE

Venue: New jersey Tamil Sangam, 30 Ginger Drive, Edison, NJ 08837 Time: 01:00 pm

Venue: Flushing Temple Auditorium, 14307 Holly Avenue, Flushing, NY 11355 Time : 08:00 pm

Fri, Mar 3 • Bollywood Carnival Brazilian Dancers, Beads, & Masks!

Sat, Mar 04 • Musik Waves -Tribute to Mehdi Hassan

Sat, Mar 11 • The Biggest HOLI Party in New York City

Venue: E Hotel, 3050 Woodbridge Avenue, Edison, NJ 08837 Time: 08:00 pm

Venue: Stage48, 605 West 48th Street, New York, NY 10036 Time : 12:00 pm

Sat, Mar 11 • Gujarati Comedy Natak “Jyan Laxmi Tyan Narayan”

Sat, Mar 18 • Festival of Colors / Holi In The City Brunch Party

Venue: Plainfield High School - NJ, 950

Venue: Stage48, 605 West 48th Street, New York, NY 10036 Time : 12:00 pm

NEW JERSEY Upcoming

Park Avenue, Plainfield, NJ 07060 Time: 07:30 pm

Venue: Back Bar - Downtown San Jose, 418 South Market Street, San Jose, CA 95113 Time: 10:00 pm

Sat, Mar 4 • Bharatanatyam Dance Performance: Chitravali - A picture Book on Krishnamaya by Vidushi Rama Vaidyanathan With Live Orchestra Venue: CET (Center for Employment Training),, 701 Vine Street, San Jose, CA 95110 Time: 04:00 pm

CHICAGO

Upcoming Fri, Mar 10 • Ladies Only Night Venue: Pista House Milpitas, 556 South Milpitas Boulevard, Milpitas, CA 95035 Time: 07:00 pm

Sat, Apr 01 • Movie On Stage – The Magic Of Flavors Venue: Santa Clara Convention Center Theater, 5001 Great America Parkway, Santa Clara, CA 95054 Time: 1:00 pm

ATLANTA Sun, Mar 5 • 2 to Tango, 3 to Jive: Saurabh Shukla's Hinglish play Venue: Mexican Heritage Center, 1700 Alum Rock Avenue, San Jose, CA 95116 Time: 05:00 pm

Upcoming Sat, Mar 11 • Dr. Radhika Chopra Live concert Venue: Ashiana Banquet Hall, 5675 Jimmy Carter Boulevard, Norcross, GA 30071

Sat, Mar 16 • Vidushi B. Suchitra - Katha Kutcheri, Vidwan VVS Murari – Violin, Vidwan NC Bharadwaj - Mridangam

Time: 6:00 am

Sat, Mar 25 • Bollywood Beats 2017 Venue: North Gwinnett High School Au-

Venue: CET - Soto Theater, 701 Vine Street, San Jose, CA 95110 Time: 04:00 pm

ditorium, 20 Level Creek Road, Suwanee,

Sat, Mar 18 • SPB 50 - Exclusive Telugu Concert Live In Bay Area

Sat, Apr 08 • Radha Mangeshkar Hrishikesh Ranade

Venue: City National Civic, 135 W San Carlos St, San Jose, CA 95113 Time: 06:30 pm

Venue: Berkmar High School Auditorium,

GA 30024 Time: 04:30 pm

405 Pleasant Hill Road, Lilburn, GA Time: 07:00 pm

ILLINOIS Upcoming 1st and 3rd Sunday of Month • Chicago Children's Bal Mukund Character Building Program and Hindi Literacy Classes Venue: Vogelei Center, 650 W. Higgins Road, Hoffmann Estates, IL 60192 (Next to Nissan Dealership) Contact: Ajay & Arti Chandhok @ 630-561-4807

Mondays and Fridays • Free ESL - English as Second Language Classes Metropolitan Asian Family Services Venue: 9015 N Milwaukee Ave, Niles, IL, Time: 10:30am to 12:30pm Contact: 773-465-3105

Mondays and Fridays • Free ESL - English as Second Language Classes Where: Metropolitan Asian Family Services Venue: 9015 N Milwaukee Ave, Niles, IL, Time: 10:30am to 12:30pm Contact: 773-465-3105

Swami Ishatmananda • Bhagavad Gita: Philosophy of life Venue: Public Library-95th Street 3015 Cedar Glade Rd Naperville IL 60564 Time: 1st friday of every month 7-8 pm Contact: 630-637-0662

• India Eternal: From the Vedic Age to the Present Venue: Hindu Temple of Greater Chicago 10915 N. Main Street Glendale Heights, IL 60139 Time: 10:00 pm Contact: 630-655-8822


„ Health

Line

NY moving to cut funds to fight cancer ALBANY, N.Y.: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is proposing a $25 million cut to programs that fight cancer, diabetes and other health threats. The Democratic governor's administration says specific reductions, to be made by state health officials, would make health programs more efficient. Lawmakers are skeptical about the proposal in Cuomo's budget. Democratic Sen. Liz Krueger says Cuomo should say which programs will be cut before the budget is approved. The American Cancer Society opposes reductions, noting one program facing cuts funded 25,000 breast, cervical and colorectal cancer screenings for poor New Yorkers last year. The administration says the cuts wouldn't affect a separate $16 million program dedicated to breast cancer screenings. Last year, Cuomo proposed big investments in cancer screening after his girlfriend, celebrity chef Sandra Lee, successfully battled breast cancer. -AP

Murkowski differs in health care debate JUNEAU, Alaska: Alaska U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski has staked out positions that could put her at odds with fellow Republicans and the Trump administration, saying she won't vote to defund Planned Parenthood or to repeal expanded Medicaid. Murkowski told a joint session of the Alaska Legislature that she won't vote to deny Alaskans access to health care services provided by Planned Parenthood. But she said taxpayer dollars shouldn't be used to pay for abortions. She also said thousands of Alaskans have benefited from expanded Medicaid under former President Barack Obama's signature health care law. As long as the state Legislature wants to keep expansion, Alaska should have that option, she said. Murkowski previously broke ranks with Republicans in voting against Betsy DeVos for education secretary. DeVos was approved on a tie-breaking vote from Vice President Mike Pence. Murkowski, who has a reputation as a moderate, told reporters she is an Alaskan first and looks for ways to do what is best for Alaska. With many Alaskans anxious and worried about what will happen with their health care, she said she wanted to provide some clarity on where she stood. Cont’d on page 50

Health Science 48 India Post

www.indiapost.com

March 3, 2017

Govt to study deaths due to pollution Details on Page 50

Health law created winners & losers when buying insurance WASHINGTON: Michael Schwarz is a self-employed business owner who buys his own health insurance. Subsidized coverage through ``Obamacare'' offers protection from life's unpredictable changes and freedom to pursue his vocation, he says. Brett Dorsch is also self-employed and buys his own health insurance. But he gets no financial break from the Affordable Care Act. ``To me, it's just been a big lie,'' Dorsch says, forcing him to pay more for less coverage. Schwarz and Dorsch represent two Americas, pulling farther apart over former President Barack Obama's health care law. Known as the ACA, the law rewrote the rules for people buying their own health insurance, creating winners and losers. Those with financial subsidies now fear being harmed by President Donald Trump and Republi-

Mike Schwarz, sole proprietor of Mike Schwarz Photography, poses for a photo in Tampa, Fla. Schwarz is a self-employed business owner who buys his own health insurance. The subsidized coverage “Obamacare” provides him protection from life’s unpredictable changes and freedom to pursue his vocation, he says.

cans intent on repealing and replacing the ACA. But other consumers who also buy their own insurance and don't qualify for fi-

nancial help feel short-changed by Obama's law. They're hoping repeal will mean relief from rising premiums.

The ACA sought to create one big new market for individual health insurance in each state. It required insurers to accept all customers, regardless of medical problems. And it provided subsidies to help low- and moderateincome people afford premiums. These newly vested ACA customers joined consumers already in the market, to make a new insurance pool. Policies offered to all had to be upgraded to meet new federal standards for comprehensive benefits, raising premiums. And many of the new customers turned out to be sicker than insurers expected, pushing rates even higher. Consumers who didn't qualify for government financial help wound up bearing the full cost of premiums. They also faced the law's new requirement to carry health insurance or risk fines. Cont’d on page 51

India leads in suicides, says WHO NEW DELHI: Over five crore Indians suffered from depression, a major contributor to global suicides which occurred mainly in low-and middle-income countries like India in 2015, a WHO study has said. The World Health Organization in its new global health estimates on depression for 2015 said while over five crore Indians suffered from depression; over three crore others suffered from anxiety disorders. The report titled 'Depression and Other Common Mental Disorders - Global Health Estimates' said over two-thirds of global suicides were in low-and middleincome countries. The WHO document said that 322 million people are living with depression worldwide and nearly half of them live in South East Asian and Western Pacific region, reflecting relatively large populations of India and China. "The total number of people living with depression in the

world is 322 million. Nearly half of these people live in the South-East Asia Region and Western Pacific Region, reflecting the relatively larger populations of those two Regions which include India and China," the document said. The total estimated number of people living with depression increased by 18.4 per cent between 2005 and 2015, it said. According to WHO figures, the total cases of depressive disorders in 2015 in India were 5,66,75,969 which was 4.5 per cent of population in 2015 while total cases of anxiety disorders were 3,84,250,93 which was 3 per cent of the population in the same year period. For depressive disorders, WHO said total Years Lived with Disability (YLD) in India was 1,00,504,11 which was 7.1 per cent of total YLD, for anxiety disorders, total years for YLD was 35,19,527 which was 2.5 per cent of total YLD. The document noted that in 2015, an estimated 7,88,000 people

died due to suicide while many more than this number attempted but did not die. It said suicide accounted for close to 1.5 per cent of all deaths worldwide, bringing it into the top 20 leading causes of

death in 2015. "Suicide occurs throughout the lifespan and was the second leading cause of death among 15-29-year-olds globally in 2015," it said. The suicide rate varies by WHO Region and by sex, ranging from below 5 per 100,000 popula-

tion among females in low-and middle-income countries of the Eastern Mediterranean and American Regions to 20 or more among males in high-income countries and also in the low-and middle-income countries of the African, European and SouthEast Asian Regions. "78 per cent of global suicides occurred in low-and middle-income countries in 2015," it said. India accounted for the highest estimated number of suicides in the world in 2012, according to a WHO report published in 2014 which found that one person commits suicide every 40 seconds globally. Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide, and is a major contributor to the overall global burden of disease, WHO said and asserted that more women are affected by depression than men and at its worst, depression can lead to suicide. -PTI


March 3, 2017

Health Science Post

India Post 49

www.indiapost.com

Turning patients into savers, shoppers The U.S. government may soon lean on someone new to help lower health care costs: you. The idea is that when your money is on the line - and not the insurance company's - you'll look for the best value and do your part to curb national health care spending. The Affordable Care Act's fate is up in the air as President Donald Trump and Congress weigh plans to overhaul the law. While much remains unknown, Republicans indicated that they will encourage wider use of insurance that comes with a health savings account aimed at pushing patients to save and shop for care. This coverage has been around for years and is becoming more common in plans offered through employers. It comes with a high deductible, which means most insurance doesn't kick in until patients have first spent their own money up to a limit that can top $10,000 for family coverage. To ease that pain, health savings accounts, or HSAs, let customers set aside money before taxes, and some offer the chance to invest the balance in mutual funds like a retirement account. More than 20 million people are covered by plans with HSAs, according to various estimates. Patients who used these accounts for years say they save money, and the coverage changes how they approach health care. But these plans also may push patients to skip care or quickly pile up debt. The shopping they encourage also is limited. While these plans may help patients save on doctor visits,

they do little to curb spending on the priciest care like major surgeries. ``They really have very little effect on controlling costs,'' said Robert Laszewski, a health care consultant and former insurance

Colorado resident said. The couple had no chance to shop for a better deal since they were dealing with an emergency. Even if they had time to make some calls, Stelton-Holtmeier doubts they would have made much

Patients can keep their accounts when they change jobs and build their balances over time. Real estate broker Francisco Nieves-Taranto used his HSA to cover the entire $8,000 bill from the birth of his fifth child last year. His account still had between $4,000 and $6,000 left over afterward. The 48-year-old figures he's saved more than $6,000 since switching to an HSA plan more than five years ago, due in part to tax breaks and the lower monthly premiums. Nieves-Taranto said he also has become a discerning shopper, favoring cheaper retail clinics over a doctor's office for routine care. When he reinjured his knee playing basketball, the Windermere, Florida, resident avoided going back Lauren Nieves-Taranto, left, and husband Francisco play with their youngest child Nicolas, 4-months, at their home in Windermere, Fla. Nieves-Taranto covered the entire to the doctor because of $8,000 bill from the birth of Nicolas last year with his account balance from a health the potential cost. savings account, or HSA. Instead he stopped playing and used ice and executive. ``Reality doesn't match progress. stretching to give his knee time to the theory.'' She found doctors hesitant to heal. He's now pain-free and figJenel Stelton-Holtmeier wound give her a price specific to the care ures he saved a few thousand dolup several thousand dollars in debt she needed when she did try to lars in medical bills. a few years ago after heart attack shop around. Plus her insurer ``It works perfect for me,'' symptoms sent her husband to the didn't provide tools or directories Nieves-Taranto said of the achospital. The pain turned out to for comparing cost and quality count, adding that it's crucial to be sprained ribs. Bills from all the specific to her coverage. keep money in it. testing hit the couple before they HSAs let patients set aside Janet Burke opened her first met their deductible or had a money before taxes. It grows tax- HSA about eight years ago chance to put money in an HSA. free and isn't taxed when used for through work, and was taken ``You have to have a mindset medical expenses. That triple layer aback when she got a $1,600 bill of planning for it because you are of protection is unique among in- for an MRI because she had yet going to be paying for everything vestment options allowed under to meet her deductible. up front until you hit that deduct- federal tax law, said Jay Savan of But the 58-year-old Orlando, ible,'' the 41-year-old Boulder, the consulting firm Mercer. Florida, financial adviser has since

become a fan of the coverage. She likes the tax breaks the account offers, and she's figured out how to take advantage of her coverage. Late last year, after she hit her deductible, she filled about 10 prescriptions before it reset in January. That saved around $600. ``You have to learn to play the game,'' Burke said. Whether people who will opt for this coverage under any federal plan will be able to play the game like Burke or make it pay off like Nieves-Taranto is far from clear. People with low incomes may not benefit from the tax breaks the accounts offer, and they also might struggle to keep money in their accounts especially if the government doesn't help stock them. Others might avoid care. The nonprofit Employee Benefit Research Institute studied a large employer it did not identify that offers the accounts. It found a steeper drop in doctor visits for workers making less than $50,000 compared to those making at least $100,000. Researchers also saw an initial drop in prescriptions and use of preventive care like flu shots or breast cancer screenings after workers were introduced to coverage with an HSA. But those declines appeared to level off once they learned how to use the coverage. ``They don't necessarily know how the plan works when they first enroll in it, but they find out pretty quickly,'' said Paul Fronstin, health research director at the institute. -AP

WHO for national framework on health KOLKATA: The WHO has stressed on the need for a national framework defining roles of the Centre and the states to address health issues and ensure convergence and portability. This will also give the states the flexibility and freedom to choose their own path and progress at their own trajectory, says WHO Representative Dr Henk Bekedam. "Diversity and equity are the two most crucial aspects of large economies like India. It is important to recognize diversity and also different health needs necessitate different approaches. Health is a state subject in India. As the Centre and states are at varying levels of development, there is a need to be cognizant of this reality," Bekedam told PTI. "It will therefore be important

to agree on a vision for the health sector and develop a national framework that defines roles of the Centre and the states. The agreed

framework will help ensure convergence and portability. This will

also give the states the flexibility and freedom to choose their own path and progress at their own trajectory," he elaborates. Praising the Centre's role in adopting several policies such as the Draft National Health Policy 2016, the National Health Mission among others, the WHO official said it should focus on positioning health higher on its agenda with a greater investment in the public health sector. The country should also accelerate effective financial protection, protection from diseases, fast-track-

ing the Sustainable Development Goal 3 (SDG3) agenda and a strong monitoring and evaluation (M&E) system, Bekedam, who took charge as the UN body's representative to India in 2015, said. On whether the objectives of the National Health Mission pertaining to the Universal Access to Equitable, Affordable and Quality Healthcare Services was achievable or not, he sounded positive reiterating on the need a framework for it. "The objectives are achievable but what is needed is a clear framework of accountability and programmatic adjustment based on progress made. The vision to achieve health for all is possible but for this, the process needs to be owned and led by the country." On the WHOs role in helping

India implement the Universal Health Coverage (UHC), Bekedam says, "UHC is an overarching umbrella and key to achievement of all SDG-3 targets and intrinsically linked to reducing poverty and inequities. We are working closely with the government in this area and will continue to share global best practices and lessons learnt from other countries." He hails India's attainment of polio-free status as one of the biggest achievements in the annals of public health. "While retaining the essential polio functions of surveillance, outbreak response and containment, we will, in consultation with the government, provide support to address new and emerging public health priorities," Bekedam says. -PTI


50 India Post

Health Science Post

March 3, 2017

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11.5 kg tumor removed Govt to study deaths due from abdomen to pollution NEW DELHI: Doctors at a city hospital claimed to have removed the world's largest adrenal tumor weighing 11.5 kg from a 55-year-old patient who also suffered from type 2 diabetes mellitus and hypertension. The patient, Ashwini Marwah, had been gaining weight for the last few years and was suffering from type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) and hypertension. This prompted him to consider bariatric surgery as he weighed 125 kg. "During evaluation and investigations, a large abdominal tumor of size 30x25 cm was detected which occupied the right side of his abdomen and was also spreading to the left side," Dr Randeep Wadhawan, Director, Bariatric and GI Surgery at Fortis Flt Lt Rajan Dhall Hospital, Vasant Kunj (FHVK) said. Mr Marwah was unaware of the tumor, except that there was an increase in his weight, dragging sensation and heaviness on the right side of the abdomen. "The location of the tumor was adjacent to vital organs particularly kidney, inferior venacava and intestines. As the patient suffered from diabetes mellitus and hypertension he was a high risk can-

didate for surgery," Dr Wadhawan said. "The biggest challenge in his case was to salvage his right kidney since his kidney functions were already affected due to his comorbidities like diabetes and hypertension," he explained. Doctors made a large incision in his abdomen and tumor was removed on November 22, last year. The largest adrenal adenoma, which is one the differential diagnosis for the adrenal tumors, removed in the world weighed 7.5 kg and was removed from a patient in 2013, the doctor said. "Adrenal myelolipoma is a very rare benign tumor, which contains mature adipose tissue and variable amounts of hematopoietic, elements. "Most lesions are small and asymptomatic and discovered incidentally. It is usually small, asymptomatic and nonfunctional in nature with an overall incidence of 0.05-0.2 per cent," Mr Abrarali Dalal, Facility Director at the hospital, said. Post surgery the patient was under observation for some time and has lost more than 30 kg and his diabetes is also under control. He has been discharged, the hospital official said. -PTI

NEW DELHI: Expressing his reservations on global reports linking deaths to air pollution, Environment Minister Anil Dave has said a study will soon be conducted by Health Ministry on the issue. The Union minister, while iterating his views on various reports linking deaths to air pollution, asserted that a proud nation always believes in its own data. Noting that such reports are often based on extrapolation "without" due scientific validation, Dave sought to shift the onus to state governments and local bodies, saying tackling air pollution was no "rocket

science" and the states and bodies have to play a "decisive" role as the Centre can only work like a "philosopher and guide" to them. "For sometime now, various reports have come on air quality. There is a speciality in India. We are less influenced by things which are Indian and are influenced by those things coming from outside. There are many serious institutions in India, NGOs, government organizations which do research on this issue. "And proud country always trusts in its own data and takes action on that. (Tackling) air quality is not a rocket science. What state governments and local bodies have to do, they have been told a number of times.

In the future as well they will be told. They just have to work on four or five points," Dave told reporters here. The remarks come after a recent study, State of Global Air 2017, stated that surpassing China, India now accounts for the maximum number of premature deaths from air pollution in the world. The Lancet, a UK medical journal in its recent study had also said that the air Indians breathe is turning more toxic by the day and an average of two deaths take place daily due to air pollution. In a federal structure like this, the Environment Ministry regularly asks state governments and local bodies to take appropriate measures, he said. "Whatever report comes, we need to trust data from India. We believe in our institutions," he said adding, "I am that much certain (on Indian institutes) as much as the country is certain on the Indian army," he said. Dave said that Chittaranjan National Cancer Institute had earlier conducted a study which concluded that air pollution aggravates certain diseases but this is not the only reason behind diseases or mortality. "A study is being done by the Indian Health Ministry and its report is awaited. As soon as it comes we will provide it to you. Neither we are saying those (global) studies are correct or they are incorrect. "We are also not saying that we do not take note of those studies. We only want to say that only to take those studies as certificates, we need to give it more thought," he said. -PTI

Murkowski differs in health care debate Cont’d from page 48

Her comments earned praise from Planned Parenthood, which organized a rally outside the Capitol, where Murkowski spoke. In organizing the event, Planned Parenthood hoped that Murkowski would take a stand against efforts to defund the group, said Jessica Cler, a spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest and Hawaii. She commended Murkowski for her ``bold leadership.'' In her speech, Murkowski also said she does not support a ``reckless'' effort to repeal the health care law that ``leaves people hanging.'' She said later that a replacement should be in place before the existing law is repealed.

She said there are elements of the existing law that should remain, such as allowing those younger than 26 to be on their parents' insurance and barring insurers from discriminating against pre-existing conditions. -AP

Lisa Murkowski


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Wolf gives robust defense of health law HARRISBURG, Pa.: Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf kept up pressure to keep the 2010 federal health care law covering 1 million-plus Pennsylvanians, using his office to mount a vigorous public defense of it as efforts unfold in Congress to repeal it. Wolf is in a prime position to help exert public pressure on Pennsylvania's big delegation of Republicans in Congress. Only Texas and Florida send more Republicans to Congress than Pennsylvania's 14, and only a couple of other Democratic governors hail from a state with a Republican congressional delegation of significant size. Wolf's administration has tried to make the case for the law in at least a half-dozen events in recent weeks, while Wolf's public events on fighting Pennsylvania's wave of heroin and prescription drug addiction often touch on the law's crucial coverage of addiction treatment services. It also issued a 105-page report detailing the

broad reach of the law's coverage in Pennsylvania. The latest event joined three of Wolf's Cabinet secretaries with people who had their own story to tell about how the law known as Obamacare or the Affordable Care Act had changed their life.

law's requirement that insurance companies cover those with preexisting conditions, and that her daughter, stricken with multiple sclerosis, has gotten insurance under its Medicaid expansion. Michael Simmons, of Willow Street, told how the law made

Anna Trace, of Chambersburg, said she has felt protected by the law's requirement that insurance companies cover those with preexisting conditions, and that her daughter, stricken with multiple sclerosis, has gotten insurance under its Medicaid expansion. ``The medical bills were phenomenal,'' said Carl Goulden of Littlestown, describing the aftermath of two major heart attacks he suffered several years ago that landed him in a coma. ``The ACA protected me.'' Anna Trace, of Chambersburg, said she has felt protected by the

health insurance more affordable for him through the Healthcare.gov marketplace, enabling him to quit his job and start his own businesses. Vini Portzline, of Harrisburg, said the addiction treatment available under the law's Medicaid expansion extended the life of her son for at least two years,

before he died of opioid addiction earlier this month. The event in the Capitol rotunda came a few days after top U.S. House Republicans unveiled a rough sketch of a plan that would mean dramatic changes to the law. Wolf administration officials say repeatedly highlighting the benefits of the law is driving up support for it. ``I think that everybody is doing their part, everyone's saying, `stop and think about what's going to happen,''' said Ted Dallas, Wolf's secretary for the Department of Human Services. ``This is not something you do for political reasons. This is a very serious thing. These are people's lives, it's their health, it's their livelihood. A lot of people, if they don't have health insurance, they can't work.'' In the meantime, the advocates of the law are holding town hall events in Pennsylvania to discuss its benefits and are inviting Republican members of Congress to attend. So far, Republicans are not

showing up or holding their own town halls in their districts, opting instead for telephone town halls. Plans being developed by House Republicans would phase out the expansion of Medicaid, which made it available to millions of low-income working adults, almost entirely financed by federal taxpayers. Federal subsidies for people who qualify through online portals established by the law would be replaced by tax credits and health savings accounts. ``It's really a lot of ideas that have been out there before and, for various reasons, haven't been all that popular, haven't been all that effective, and also ideas that tend, I think, to benefit folks who are a little bit more well off than folks who are in the Medicaid expansion,'' Dallas said. The cost to keep the Medicaid expansion - $4.5 billion in federal aid over the past year - is unaffordable to Pennsylvania, Dallas said. -AP

Health law created winners & losers when buying insurance Cont’d from page 48

``One (group) is angry and one is incredibly grateful,'' said Robert Blendon of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. If Trump and congressional Republicans aren't careful, their actions could stoke fresh grievances without solving longstanding problems of access and cost. Consider what happened to Schwarz and Dorsch this year, as premiums for a standard plan through HealthCare.gov jumped an average of 25 percent. Schwarz and his wife are in their mid-20s and live in Tampa, Florida. He has his own commercial photography business and she's pursuing a graduate degree in speech-language pathology. The sticker price of their HealthCare.gov policy went up about 20 percent, but what they pay monthly is about $115 lower than last year. Not only did their subsidy cover the rise in premium, they're also getting more help because their income went down when Schwarz's wife returned to school full time. ``Being uninsured is not an option,'' said Schwarz. If Republicans take away his subsidy, ``I would have to change careers and find a job that offered health insurance,'' he said. Dorsch and his wife live in Wilmington, Delaware, and are in their mid-50s. He has a wholesale

business supplying electronics to retail stores and has been buying his own health insurance for years. He gets no financial help from the ACA. Dorsch said their insurance company wanted to raise the monthly premium to $2,050, or nearly $25,000 a year. They settled for a skimpier plan that still costs $1,350 a month and has a very high

Republican proposals to tie tax credits to age, not income, would help Dorsch. But they may not be generous enough for Schwarz. ``It's trying to find the way to help the one without hurting the other that's really tricky,'' said Nicholas Moriello, a health insurance broker from Newark, Delaware. ``If we had a way to help the person whose premium has be-

Consumers in the subsidized market are generally costlier to cover. For those with a standard plan, per-person medical claims averaged $376 per month in 2015, compared to $312 for unsubsidized customers who bought policies directly from an insurer. deductible. ``In four years my health insurance has more than doubled and I have less coverage,'' said Dorsch. ``It's ludicrous.'' He voted for Trump. ``He saw the reality that Obamacare has been a nightmare for most Americans, unless you are poor or in a very difficult situation,'' said Dorsch. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the pool of people buying individual health insurance is basically split down the middle among subsidized customers like Schwarz and those who get no help, like Dorsch.

come unaffordable without hurting the person we are currently subsidizing.'' Caroline Pearson, of the consulting firm Avalere Health, studied consumers on government marketplaces like HealthCare.gov where nearly 90 percent get subsidies and compared them with those who purchase directly from an insurer and pay full cost. Among Avalere's findings: • The majority of consumers in the government marketplaces live in lower-income neighborhoods with high unemployment. However, among those who purchase

directly from an insurer, about 30 percent live neighborhoods with a median income of $100,000 or more. • Consumers in the subsidized market are generally costlier to cover. For those with a standard plan, per-person medical claims averaged $376 per month in 2015, compared to $312 for unsubsidized customers who bought policies directly from an insurer. • The subsidized market is important in states that voted for Trump. In Florida, for example, 70

percent of individual policyholders purchase through HealthCare.gov. In Georgia, it's 62 percent. ``Obamacare helped a lot of lower-income people with high health needs who previously couldn't afford insurance,'' said Pearson. ``It overlooked the fact that there are a lot of people who are relatively healthy and who didn't want the increased benefits. More sick people drove up premiums, which is resulting in some people feeling like they are worse off.'' -AP


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Philosophy

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T

he fourteenth day of every lunar month or the day before the new moon is known as Shivratri. Among all the twelve Shivratris that occur in a calendar year, Mahashivratri, the one that occurs in February-March, is of most spiritual significance. On this night, the northern hemisphere of the planet is positioned in such a way that there is a natural upsurge of energy in a human being. This is a day when nature is pushing one towards one's spiritual peak. It is to make use of this, that in this tradition, we establish a certain festival which is nightlong. One of the fundamentals of this night-long festival is to ensure that - to allow this natural upsurge of energies to find their way - you remain with your spine vertical you stay awake. Mahashivratri is very significant for people who are on the spiritual path. It is also very significant for people who are in family situations and also for the ambitious in the world. People who live in family situations observe Mahashivratri as Shiva's wedding anniversary. Those with worldly ambitions see that day as the day Shiva conquered all his enemies. But, for the ascetics, it is the day he became one with Mount Kailash. He became like a mountain - absolutely still. In the yogic tradition, Shiva is not worshipped as a God, but considered as the CEE

S

ome have asked the question over the years, "I'm in meditation and I feel this peace, and then as soon as I get up and walk around I don't feel it anymore, and I want to hold on to it. I want to keep it. How do I bring this joy and peace that I feel in meditation into my everyday life?" Well, let's talk about meditation a bit first. In our way there is not a point in the distance that one must reach, and so meditation is not a progressive means to get somewhere else other than where we are. As Master Nome has pointed out, you can't start from something dual and get to something nondual. If there seems to be duality and a sense of separateness then we only need to clear up that mistaken notion. There's actually no distance traveled. Yet wise seekers who find themselves yearning for the truth because they have confused themselves with the physical form, or they are suffering, have turned to meditation as recommended by their teachers and by the great traditions. And the number of people who awakened without any meditation are small in comparison to

Adi Guru, the first Guru from whom knowledge originated. After many millennia in meditation, one day he became absolutely still. That day is Mahashivratri. All movement in him stopped and he became utterly still, so ascetics see Mahashivratri as the night of stillness. Legends apart, why this day and night are held in such importance in the yogic traditions is because of the possibilities it pre-

"That which is not" means, if you open your eyes and look around, if your vision is for small things, you will see lots of creation. If your vision is really looking for big things, you will see the biggest presence in existence is a vast emptiness. A few spots which we call galaxies are generally much noticed, but the vast emptiness that holds them does not come into everybody's notice. This vastness, this unbounded

where. The immature minds in the world have always described darkness as the devil. But when you describe the divine as all-pervading, you are obviously referring to the divine as darkness, because only darkness is all-pervading. It is everywhere. It does not need any support from anything. Light always comes from a source that is burning itself out. It has a beginning and an end. Darkness has no source. It is a source unto

Mahashivratri has great possibilities for seekers Mahashivratri is very significant for people who are on the spiritual path. It is also very significant for people who are in family situaSadhguru Jaggi Vasudev

Sleep is that golden chain that ties health and our bodies together. -Thomas Dekker

tions and also for the ambitious in the world.

sents to a spiritual seeker. Shivratri, is the darkest day of the month. Celebrating Shivratri on a monthly basis, and the particular day, Mahashivratri, almost seems like celebration of darkness. Any logical mind would resist darkness and naturally opt for light. But the word "Shiva" literally means "that which is not." "That which is," is existence and creation. "That which is not" is Shiva.

emptiness, is what is referred to as Shiva. Today, modern science also proves that everything comes from nothing and goes back to nothing. It is in this context that Shiva, the vast emptiness or nothingness, is referred to as the great lord, or Mahadeva. Light is a brief happening in your mind. Light is not eternal, it is always a limited possibility because it happens and it ends. But darkness is all-enveloping, every-

itself. It is all-pervading, everywhere, omnipresent. So when we say Shiva, it is this vast emptiness of existence. It is in the lap of this vast emptiness that all creation has happened. It is that lap of emptiness that we refer to as the Shiva. Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev is a mystic, founder of Isha Foundation, Padma Vibhushan awardee and bestselling author. Mahashivratri was celebrated on February 24

those who have used meditation as a tool to find the truth. We sit, we are still, we look inside ourselves, taking all attention from outer things like worries, cares, and our own physical form. Sometimes we say we "park" the body, because we put no attention on the body when we meditate. We go IN. And it may take you

between anything. We come to the utter and complete joy and peace of pure existence, pure being. And it's not like we come to it - it's more like uncovering it. Uncovering what's real and just taking away the false assumptions. So the way we do this is (as recommended by Ramana Maharshi and taught to me by my own

tion of looking to see who you REALLY are. Don't you think this is a good endeavor in this lifetime? To know who you are before you start living it and running off with all kinds of assumptions of who you are? So find a way to park this physical form for a while and delve into your own existence. I can't tell you

You can't start from dual & get to nondual We finally come to a realization that there is absolutely no division between in and out, no one to have such a thought and no division between anything. We come to the utter and complete joy and peace of pure existence awhile to understand what IN is, but IN is profound. Some people think it's a rejection of "out" but actually we just use it to understand what's real. We finally come to a realization that there is absolutely no division between in and out, no one to have such a thought and no division

When a father gives to his son, both laugh; when a son gives to his father, both cry. -William Shakespeare

teacher Nome - the wonderful Nome who's taught for 25 years with the greatest humility and brightness. They recommended, and I assure you this is the most direct way), look into your own existence. We use the simple words, "who am I?" The words don't matter. It's the fierce inten-

He that knew all that learning ever writ, Knew only this - that he knew nothing yet. -Aphra Behn

Money can't buy love, but it improves your bargaining position. -Christopher Marlowe

I've never seen the point of the sea, except where it meets the land. The shore has a point. The sea has none. -Alan Bennett

Happiness grows at our own firesides, and is not to be picked in strangers' gardens. -Douglas William Jerrold

One way of looking at speech is to say it is a constant stratagem to cover nakedness. - Harold Pinter

Cee

what this means. You have got to find it out for yourself. I can point, I can urge, but you must do it yourself. I can't give you yourself. Only you can find yourself. A student of Nome and Ramana Maharshi, Cee meets with people and holds retreats in the quiet, still, and lush town of Hana, Maui.

I went from god to god until they cried from me in me, "Oh, thou I!" - Bayazid of Bistun

Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens.

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J&K situation needs urgent review

India Post

ASHOK BHAN

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ndian Army Chief Gen Bipin Rawat has rightly shown his serious concern regarding the developing situation in the Kashmir valley where interference of separatists' supporters is jeopardizing the implementation of collateral-damage-free counter-insurgency operations. These protests have led to losses of lives of security force (SF) personnel and even escape of terrorists - both of which were avoidable. On 12 and 14 February, eight terrorists were killed in three encounters that were based on specific information regarding the presence of the former in residential houses at Nagbal Frisal (Kulgam), Hajan (Bandipora) and Handwara; but these operations also led to the deaths of two civilians and six SF personnel, including a Major in the Indian Army, and injuries to over a dozen SF personnel (including a Commanding Officer of the CRPF). In these encounters, locals are learnt to have gathered in large numbers and alerted the hiding terrorists, and even pelted stones at the SFs, resulting in unusually large casualties on the SF side. This is not the first time that SF personnel have lost lives fighting terrorists in such numbers. The difference is that in the past, generally, such high numbers of casualties occurred in explosions, suicide attacks, ambushes and hit-and-run incidents in crowded places - always initiated by the terrorists. This time, as well as in most other cases in the recent past, the

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indu Americans for Kumar has demanded an apology from Washington Post for the erroneous reporting against Shalabh Kumar and Hindu traditions in the article "The Man Angling to Become the U.S. Envoy to India shares Trump's Love of the Limelight," published on 2/22/17. The article provides biased opinion and indecorous facts while harnessing indirect attack on Hindu traditions of Dharma relationships. "This is a hit piece targeted to undermine Mr. Kumar's selfless work for our Nation, Republican Party and Hindu Americans. He

losses of lives took place during information-based operations wherein the troops had had time to plan and go well prepared. The locals' large scale support for the terrorists during these operations is a cause for concern. The Army Chief has appropriately voiced his concern and has warned those attacking SFs during anti-militancy operations of tough action. There are reports of the state government issuing prohibitory orders in a three kilometer belt surrounding an operation site to keep the protestors away from the line of fire. The increase in casualties in the recent times can be partly attributed to fewer numbers of terrorists being spread over a large area, making counter-insurgency operations tedious and man power intensive. Additionally, fresh induction of locals in militant ranks, better training, increased infiltration, ceasefire violations by Pakistan, and increase in local support for terrorists have all contributed to this situation over the past four years. Political Situation There is a disconnect between the elected representatives and their constituents, particularly in the Kashmir valley, and alienation has increased. Mainstream politicians, instead of reaching out to the people, are busy indulging in army-bashing at every opportunity. This is demoralizing for the SFs and encourages hostile elements to lay impediments to the former's operational duties. Barring the chief minister, all other Valley based leaders are maintain-

ing a studied silence, expecting the SFs to magically bring peace. Meanwhile, the agitating separatists construe this silence as support. It is a tight rope walk for the SFs in such a hostile environment. People-friendly measures to avoid collateral damage and operating with hands tied behind will mean more casualties and demoralization for the troops and the police. Conversely, harsher measures will further alienate the people. While the SFs must carry out their mandated responsibility of flushing out terrorists, other players cannot ignore their role of reaching out to the people and other stake holders any further. The fact of the matter is that isolating Pakistan or avoiding separatists has not helped India's cause in Kashmir. The wait-and-watch approach has not yielded any positive results. The peace process in Jammu and Kashmir faces a serious challenge that cannot be met by security forces alone. The Army Chief has voiced his concern and has appropriately reflected on his mandated area of responsibility. The political leadership at the Centre and in the State will have to urgently review the situation and take appropriate initiatives to ease the law and order situation on the ground to prevent recurrence and escalation of the violence and protests of 2016. The writer is Distinguished Fellow, IPCS; Former Director General of Police, J&K and former Member, National Security Advisory Board, India

Responsible party

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he BJP has emerged victorious in the Maharashtra municipal elections where out of the 10 municipalities in the fray, it has bagged 8. Earlier municipalities in Maharashtra used to be dominated by the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) of Sharad Pawar, which two have now been decimated. In the prestigious Brihanmumbai corporation fight, the BJP is placed second to the Shiv Sena. Shiv Sena's tally has come down from the last time and that of the BJP has increased. Still it has to play second fiddle to Shiv Sena. The sweep of the BJP in Maharashtra is remarkable. It follows similar victories earlier in Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Chandigarh as well. The BJP has now replaced the Congress as the major national party. Although the results of the current elections in five Indian states will be declared only on March 11, it is safe to bet that the BJP would be bagging a larger part of this cake. It means that the people have given big thumbs up to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's demonetization move. Many opposition parties were calling the Maharashtra elections as a referendum on demonetization. They had severely criticized it, even blocking Parliament proceedings, alleging it has hurt the ordinary people who would take it out against Modi in the elections. The present voting pattern is a big dampener for opposition critics. However these victories of the BJP should make it behave as a responsible party. This is not borne out in the vicious election campaign rhetoric witnessed in Uttar Pradesh and other poll bound states. Even PM Modi went to the extent of raising communal temperatures with some of his remarks. The Opposition parties too have been using caste and communalism so much so that even the Election Commission has expressed dismay over inflammatory talk. It has issued an appeal not to communalize the atmosphere with such comments before the elections. The more the BJP wins in the mainland, the more estranged is becoming the general public in Kashmir. The BJP has to behave in such a manner as to assure Kashmiri Muslims that their identity is protected and that the future lies in Hindu-Muslim unity even in Muslim majority Kashmir. In this scenario, it is incumbent on the party to see that the Muslims in India do not fear about their safety. The Prime Minister himself has to take the lead in creating an atmosphere where people of all religions and castes feel safe and work for the future of a prosperous India.

Washington Post distorted facts in attack on Shalab is an honorable man of faith who has been working tirelessly for many years", said Krishna Bansal, on behalf of Hindu Americans for Kumar, explaining how the sacred relationship of Goddaughter in Hinduism is defined. "This seems to be an organized move to tarnish Mr. Kumar's image due to his major role in President Trump's victory. We have learnt that Washington Post was offered documents to counter Annie's assertions, like the ZNews Poll, like Nov. 25th letter from House Republican Conference, but they ignored all that. And the fact that this hit piece was written 66 days after the Press

conference in Delhi exposing WP's real motives". Earlier, Congressman Pete Sessions issued a strong letter to Washington Post stating, "As a Republican Member of Congress who has worked with Mr. Kumar to improve U.S.-India ties, I have seen his involvement up close for many years. I know of no one who has dedicated more time and resources to help the Republican Party engage the Hindu and Indian American communities and to strengthen the relationship between the world's oldest democracy and the world's biggest democracy". "I am personally aware of this sacred relationship between Mr.

Kumar and his Dharma daughters, Anika and Manasvi, and have had regular involvement with the entire Kumar family. The article on Mr. Kumar ignored some of the basic facts about his incredible contributions to the Republican Party and his staunch devotion to his faith and family. His deep ties with the Indian community present a wonderful opportunity for this Administration to not only bolster the support among Republicans but to also reach across the aisle in the Indian-American community. I believe the Post's readers deserve to know the entire truth about this wonderful man", said Congressman Sessions.

Disclaimer :- India Post does not endorse opinions expressed in the letters.

Swami Vigyananand, who is the Hindu Scholar and Founder and Global Chairman of World Hindu Foundation has attested the facts on Biological Vs Spiritual Relations in Hindu Dharma. Shalabh Kumar is an industrialist, philanthropist, and a fearless leader. He is the Chairman of Republican Hindu Coalition and had played a major role in Trump's victory in battleground states. This claim has been verified by the scientific polls conducted by Zee News, one of the largest media entities serving the U.S.-Indian community. Vandana Jhingan Chicago, IL


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