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Arun M Kumar

Senate confirms Indian-American for key post Details on page 6

Fremont temple inundated with riot of Holi colors

VOL 19, No. 1018

March 21, 2014


Periodical Postage

KHOBRAGADE EPISODE 'EXTREMELY IRKSOME' Khurshid tells US to find political solution

NEW DELHI: Terming the Khobragade episode "extremely irksome", External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid has said it was time there should be a "closure" to the issue for which the US should find a "political solution". Asserting that there were "practical considerations" and India cannot look unconcerned when something like this happens, he said the court by rejecting the first indictment has given an opportunity to US administration to put it behind and questioned why they were not doing so. "Even at the worst time, I made repeated statements

that although it is extremely irksome what has happened, and we are convinced that what has happened is wrong and it should not be taken any further, nevertheless this should not impact our larger relationship. But there are practical considerations. "We cannot look unconcerned when something like this happens. We have to balance practical implications with our commitment to keep our relationship intact and in fact, enhance it," the minister told PTI in an interview. Details on page 5

Vivek Murthy chances dim as Obama rethinks Details on page 5

AAP launches online platform in US Details on page 6

Ready to contest against Modi: Kejriwal

Details on page 16 Details on page 6

Hindu temple set on fire in Pakistan

Controversy over WikiLeaks' Modi comment

Details on page 8 Details on page 8

India finish 6th in Wrestling World Cup

CONTENTS Bollywood ---------------------- 28-29 Classifieds ------------------------- 52 Community Post -------------- 16-21

Details on page 8

Date Book -------------------------- 27 Edit Page --------------------------- 54


HealthScience Post --------- 32-35

Horoscope ------------------------- 14

This week’s question

Immigration Post ------------- 44-48

Could US have stopped 2nd indictment of Khobragade?

Life Style ----------------------- 49-51 Philosophy ------------------------- 53

Last week’s result

Do the Republicans want a war President? YES 67%

NO 33%

GAME OF HOLI: Devotees playing Huranga at Dauji temple near Mathura. Huranga is a game played between men and women a day after Holi, the festival of colors, during which men drench women with liquid colors and women tear off the clothes of the men.

Certified by “CIRCULATION VERIFICATION COUNCIL Readership 117,765”

Publisher’s Diary ------------------ 4 Real Estate -------------------- 38-39 TechBiz Post ------------------- 22-25 Travel & Hospitality Post ---- 40-43


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Publisher’s Diary T

he Indian American community is waiting eagerly (or should I say anxiously?) to see how the Obama Administration will handle the appointment of Dr. Vivek Murthy as the Surgeon General. Impeccable though his credentials, Dr. Murthy's Senate confirmation has hit an iceberg and is preciously set to sink unless the Administration comes up with a strategy to get its nomination safely sail through a floor vote. This is, I think, the second time when an Indian American's nomination by the Obama Administration to a key Administrative post has come up against opposition from the people. In 2003 Sonal Shah's nomination was opposed by some Muslim and Christian organizations because of her alleged links to the RSS in India. This time around it's the gun lobby opposing Dr. Murthy's nomination. Now, there are some arguments about Dr. Murthy not being experienced enough to be America's doctor - after all he is only 36 and has simply not seen enough patients! Well, I let that argument pass, as against another that he came into the Administration favor by running an agenda through his organization Doctors for America, which had ostensibly campaigned in favor of Obamacare. While such arguments seem standard media rhetoric, what disturbs me (although doesn't surprise me) is the pressure from the gun lobby, including the National Rifle Association (NRA) to block the nomination because apparently Dr. Murthy has been vocally pushing for gun control through licensing for anyone wanting to purchase a firearm or ammunition, and a federal ban on assault weapons. The NRA feels Dr. Murthy will influence gun control if he is holding a White House position. The issue here is not the NRA's pressuring, but the Senate possibly succumbing to it. I believe, many a Senator, of either party, particularly the ones facing reelection later this year, is poised to block the nomination. Of course, how can anyone go against the gun lobby in this country and survive a career in politics? That would be as sacrilegious as going against the second amendment rights itself. Now who are we kidding when we call ourselves a democracy? Ourselves?

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'Mera Pati' best It's been 15 years since Kajol married Ajay Devgn, but she still finds him to be the "sexiest actor" in Bollywood

Cover Story: Khobragade episode Terming the Khobragade episode "extremely irksome", Salman Khurshid says the US should find a "political solution".

Community: Holi greetings Close to 7000 Indian community members congregated at Fremont Hindu temple to celebrate & exchange Holi greetings.

More ‘humane’ Obama has announced that his administration would change its deportation policy to become more "humane"

Life Style: 'Dancing With Horses' The widely known and celebrated 'Dancing With Horses' event was performed in Jaipur for the first time on 14th March.

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Travel: Sanchi Sanchi is embellished by a series of monasteries, stupas, holy shrines and pillars dating from 3rd BC to 12th century

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March 21, 2014

India Post


Khobragade episode 'extremely irksome' Khurshid tells US to find political solution NEW DELHI: Terming the Khobragade episode "extremely irksome", External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid has said it was time there should be a "closure" to the issue for which the US should find a "political solution". Asserting that there were "practical considerations" and India cannot look unconcerned when something like this happens, he said the court by rejecting the first indictment has given an opportunity to US administration to put it behind and questioned why they were not doing so. "Even at the worst time, I made repeated statements that although it is extremely irksome what has happened, and we are convinced that what has happened is wrong and it should not be taken any further, nevertheless this should not impact our larger relationship. But there are practical considerations. "We cannot look unconcerned when something like this happens. We have to balance practical implications with our commitment to

keep our relationship intact and in fact, enhance it," the minister told PTI in an interview. Khurshid was asked for his re-

ploiting" her domestic maid. The second indictment came a day after a US court dismissed an earlier indictment.

When you are l ooking at no trouble in future, it is an ideal thing would be to put a closure to what has happened." Khurshid also said India was convinced that there were no justified grounds for what they have done action to US prosecutors re-indicting senior Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade on visa fraud charges and accused her of "illegally" underpaying and "ex-

nity to put it behind us so why are we not putting it behind us‌ They should find a political solution." Referring to his meeting with

Salman Khurshid

Observing that "overall it has an effect and there was very deep sense of hurt here", Khurshid said "the court by rejecting the indictment has given you an opportu-

his US counterpart John Kerry on the issue, he said, "We have already agreed that officials from both sides will meet to look into issue of immunity and privileges

so that in future there is no trouble. When you are looking at no trouble in future, it is an ideal thing would be to put a closure to what has happened." Khurshid also said India was convinced that there were no justified grounds for what they have done. The MEA had earlier expressed disappointment over an "unnecessary" step of second indictment and asserted that any measure consequent to the decision will "unfortunately" impact upon efforts on both sides to build IndiaUS strategic partnership. A 1999-batch IFS officer, Khobragade was arrested in New York on December 12 and was strip-searched, triggering a row between the two countries with India retaliating by downgrading privileges of certain category of US diplomats among other steps. She was released on a USD 250,000 bond, was later granted full diplomatic immunity and she flew back to India on January 10. She has since been transferred to the Ministry of External Affairs in New Delhi.-PTI

Vivek Murthy chances dim as Obama rethinks WASHINGTON: The White House has said it is "recalibrating" its attempt to appoint the next US surgeon general, due to fierce opposition from the National Rifle Association. Despite a recent rule change designed to remove Republican vetoes over the Senate confirmation process, President Barack Obama's spokesman, Jay Carney, admitted that a second administration appointee this month has hit potentially intractable opposition from Democrats. Dr Vivek Murthy would have been the first Indian-American surgeon general if confirmed by Congress, but his nomination has been attacked by the NRA over comments in support of gun licensing and a ban on assault rifles. The prestigious public heath post has traditionally had little involvement in firearms policy, but gun lobbyists claim that Murthy's views - together with calls to fund more research on gun violence - make him "a prescription for disaster for America's gun owners". "The public must trust that the surgeon general's actions are based on empirical and scientific evidence rather than political or ideological motives," wrote NRA director Chris Cox in a letter to

senators. "Dr Murthy's record of political activism in support of radical gun control measures raises significant concerns about his ability to objectively examine issues pertinent to America's 100 million firearm owners." The NRA also criticized Murthy's support of Obama's healthcare reforms, and a number of tweets including one in 2012 in

which he said "guns are a healthcare issue". The campaign appears to have helped persuade up to 10 Democrats to warn the White House that they would vote no if the confirmation process reaches the full Senate, according to the New York Times. The Associated Press reported that Mark Begich of Alaska, one of several Democrats to oppose

legislation on expanded gun background checks last summer, has already written to his constituents assuring them he intends to vote no. Last week, the administration was embarrassed by rebellion among rightwing Democrats against its pick for a new head of the civil rights division at the Department of Justice. Debo Adegbile, who has been

Obama must stand by Murthy


resident Obama should stand behind his choice for surgeon general and refuse to surrender to the National Rifle Association - or to nervous Democrats who fear the organization. Dr. Vivek H. Murthy, a Harvard- and Yale-educated internist at Brigham and Women's hospital, is well qualified for the surgeon general's post. But the Brookline resident is under attack because, over the years, he has expressed support for a range of gun control measures. According to The New York Times, as many as 10 Democrats might vote against him. Many of them come from states where

public sentiments are strongly pro-gun, and they are loath to defy the NRA, which plans to include a confirmation vote on Murthy in its legislative scorecard. As a result, the White House is said to be "recalibrating its strategy," with Murthy's withdrawal

The Brookline resident is under attack because, over the years, he has expressed support for a range of gun control measures

one strategy under consideration. Yet if Murthy withdraws, the NRA will have bullied its way across a new line. It's one thing for the NRA to lobby against specific gun-control bills, as it did after the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School. It's another for Democrats to let a hostile special-interest group exercise such broad veto power over their party's nominees. In this case, the gun lobby is targeting Murthy based on "the likelihood he would use the office of surgeon general to further his preexisting campaign against gun ownership," the NRA said in a February letter to Senate leadership. Cont’d on page 6

a senior lawyer with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People's Legal Defense and Education Fund, was criticized for his role in the legal defense of a black activist convicted of murdering a police officer. Carney had said that the White House remained supportive of Murthy's nomination and was merely pausing in its efforts to get him confirmed by the Senate, but he acknowledged that the Adegbile defeat has prompted a strategic rethink. "Dr Murthy was approved out of committee with bipartisan support but after the confirmation vote of Debo Adegbile we are recalibrating the strategy around Dr Murthy's floor vote," he told reporters. "We expect to get him confirmed ultimately and he will be one of the country's most powerful messengers on health and wellness." But such language has often proven the kiss of death for controversial nominees, who are quietly encouraged to withdraw. The political opposition is unlikely to weaken in the run-up to November's mid-term elections, when many Senate Democrats will be running in Republican-leaning states that fiercely oppose gun control.-Agencies


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March 21, 2014

Senate confirms IndianAmerican for key post WASHINGTON: The US Senate has confirmed an IndianAmerican Arun M Kumar to a key administration post that would make him responsible for foreign trade. "I am pleased that the US Senate has confirmed Arun Kumar as

agency's efforts to assist and advocate for US companies in international markets. Promoting US trade and investment is crucial to remaining globally competitive, which is a key priority of our 'Open for Business Agenda'," the Commerce

From 2005 until his retirement in September 2013, Kumar led the firm's West Coast Finance Management Consulting practice. He also led the firm's US-India practice from 2007 to 2013

Arun M Kumar

Assistant Secretary of Commerce and Director General of the United States and Foreign Commercial Service at the International Trade Administration (ITA)," Commerce Secretary, Penny Pritzker, said. "In this role, he will lead the

firm's West Coast Finance Management Consulting practice. He also led the firm's US-India practice from 2007 to 2013. Kumar joined KPMG in 1995 as a Finance Management Leader. From 1993 to 1995, he was the founder and CEO of Planning &

Secretary said. The nomination of Kumar, till recently a partner and member of the Board of Directors at KPMG LLP, was confirmed by the Senate by a voice vote. From 2005 until his retirement in September 2013, Kumar led the

Logic, Inc, a software company. Kumar received a Bachelor of Science in Physics from the University of Kerala in India, and an SM in Management from the Sloan School of Management, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the US. -PTI

Ready to contest against Modi in Varanasi: Kejriwal BANGALORE: Coming out with his guns blazing against Narendra Modi, AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal has declared he was ready to take on BJP's prime ministerial candidate from Varanasi but linked his final call to the people's approval there. Accepting the challenge for a face-off with Modi, a combative Kejriwal said AAP wanted him to contest against him but he would hold a rally at Varanasi on March 23 and would go by people's response, indicating a final decision hinged on it. "I will go to Varanasi on March 23. We will have a rally in Varanasi. Whatever people of Varanasi will say that will be final. If

AAP launches online platform in US WASHINGTON: Aam Aadmi Party's US chapter has launched a unique online platform that it expects to be a game changer in the upcoming general elections by tapping into popular support from inside and outside India. "Today we are using technology to tap into support base and further extend it to leverage people's personal network of friends and acquaintances," said Ravi Sharma, AAP volunteer and architect of ''. The website has been developed by its volunteer cyber warriors from Silicon Valley. "The idea is very simple yet extremely powerful and can have far-reaching implications purely because of the network effect it can unleash. "The amazing thing about this effort is that I have never ever met most of the people who have helped on this project. All I know

is that they have similar goals for India as I do and that is what inspires us," said Sharma. AAP USA spokesman Pran Kurup said the unique technology platform is expected to be a game changer this election as it would enable the party to tap the

groundswell of enthusiasm and support that already exists in its favor. Those who want to help the AAP can simply go to the site and join using their Google, Yahoo!, Facebook, or Live accounts. They can donate, reach out and invite

their friends and acquaintances to become part of the network, he said. Sharma said members can also track donations made by people belonging to their personal network. In other words, each AAP supporter can track how many people in their network donated to the party and what amounts they donated. Further, they can permit AAP to post on their respective Twitter pages and Facebook pages on their behalf. "The platform is really our next generation product as it lays the groundwork for some great future enhancements. The sudden announcement of the election and the crunched schedule forced us to rethink and adapt. Nevertheless, we are very excited about this release and are confident about its success," said Mohan Thirumalai of the AAP IT team. PTI

tory or defeat. We have come here for struggle. I accept this challenge," said Kejriwal, as he wound up his two-day visit to Karnataka, where AAP is aiming big contesting all the 28 Lok Sabha seats. Pouring out scorn and vitriol on Modi and tearing into his development model, he also ridiculed Gujarat Chief Minister over reports that he would contest from another seat in his home state, apart from Varanasi. "...if he does it, it will be like he is leader of Gujarat but not fit to be Prime Minister of the country," he said. Kejriwal said, "....he has to contest from one seat. Contesting from two seats‌doubt will certainly arise in the minds of people as to why he is searching for a s a f e

Arvind Kejriwal

people of Varanasi decide to give me this responsibility, I will accept it wholeheartedly," the AAP leader told a rally, as his supporters cheered him lustily. Kejriwal's announcement, still with a tinge of suspense, came a day after the BJP top bass announced the name of Modi for Varanasi, where a set party veteran Murli Manohar Joshi has yielded to the Gujarat strongman after days of reported hard bargaining. "I have not come here for vic-

seat." "We want a brave Prime Minister. Do we after-all want a Prime Minister who is looking for a safe seat," the AAP leader said ridiculing Modi, against whom he has scaled up the attack after his recent visit to Gujarat. Kejriwal, whose party leaders had earlier indicated that he may challenge Modi, said "...friends, there was meeting within the party. The party told me that I have to fight elections against Narendra Modi."-PTI

Obama must stand by Murthy Cont’d from page 5

Murthy does support limits on who can own guns and how they can be purchased, among other restrictions. Yet at his confirmation hearing, he testified that he did not intend to use the surgeon general's office as a platform for gun control advocacy. The NRA still brands him as radically antigun. In truth, gun advocates' op-

position to Murthy ultimately has little to do with the nominee himself. His stances on a variety of health-related issues, including guns, are common among public-health advocates and are in line with the president's. Obama should be rallying support for his nominee, and pressing wary Democratic senators to vote their consciences. Editorial in Boston Globe reproduced

March 21, 2014

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Hindu temple set on fire in Pakistan over 'blasphemy' KARACHI: A Hindu temple and a dharmashala were set on fire by a frenzied mob in Pakistan's southern Sindh province over alleged desecration of a holy book, marring Holi celebrations and prompting authorities to impose a curfew in the area. The mob attacked the temple overnight in Larkana city, the hometown of the Bhutto family and the stronghold of the Pakistan People's Party. It surrounded the house of a Hindu man accused of burning the pages of the holy book, prompting police to fire warning shots and teargas shells. A local police official said that soon after the news of the man desecrating the book spread, angry students and followers of local religious seminaries started gathering in groups and demanded the man be handed over to them. "They set on fire the main Hindu temple in the Jinnah Bagh Chowk area which also completely gutted the adjoining dharmashala," the official said. "Curfew has now been imposed in the area with heavy patrolling by the paramilitary rang-

ers and police who had to baton charge and use teargas shells to disperse the mob," he said. The Hindu man, who was accused of blasphemy, has been taken into protective custody.

cleaned it before he moved in. "He may have burned the holy book inadvertently," a policeman said. Tensions gripped the Larkana's Jinnah Bagh and some other parts

A Hindu temple burns after it was attacked in Larkana, southern Pakistan's Sindh province, March 15

According to local media reports, initial investigation indicates that the man had rented the house from a Muslim family and

of the city after mob went berserk. People from the area said Holi celebrations have been called off in various localities due to the

Controversy over WikiLeaks' comment on Modi NEW DELHI: A controversy erupted over a claim that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange endorsed Narendra Modi as "incorruptible" even as the whistle-blower website disclosed a secret cable by a senior US diplomat eight years ago that described him as a "distrustful person" who reigns more by "fear and intimidation". The website while denying in a series of tweets that it had called the Gujarat Chief Minister "incorruptible" tweeted details of a number of observations made by the then Mumbai-based Consul General Michael S Owen on Modi's leadership in a cable after his visit to the state in 2006. "No WikiLeaks document say #Modi is 'incorruptible', rather he is popular because 'viewed' as 'incorruptible'," WikiLeaks said. Wikileaks said the term "incorruptible" was apparently used by a Gujarat Congress leader Manoharsinh Jadeja. "The Narendra #Modi "incorruptible" quote comes from Rajkot Congress party leader Manoharsinh Jadeja," it said. In another tweet, WikiLeaks accused BJP of using the "fake Assange-Modi endorsement" to

security situation. Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah directed DIG Larkana to bring the situation under control and probe the incident. Traffic remained sparse in the

raise funds. The website accused Priti Gandhi, Co-Convener of Maharashtra BJP Communication Cell, of pushing the "fake endorsement" by WikiLeaks. Its clarification came against the backdrop of some BJP sup-

He is an insular, distrustful person... He reigns more by fear and intimidation than by inclusiveness and consensus, and is rude, condescending and often derogatory to even high level party officials porters circulating posters in Ahmedabad quoting Assange, saying that "America is scared of Modi because he is incorruptible." BJP, however, downplayed the WikiLeaks tweets. "We don't need a certificate from WikiLeaks or Assange on Modiji," BJP leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi had said. WikiLeaks went on to tweet a secret cable sent by the US Em-

bassy in 2006 which criticized Modi's style of functioning. "Views remain divided on whether Modi's leadership style will help or harm him if he enters national politics. In public, Modi can be charming and likable. By all accounts, however, he is an insular, distrustful person... He reigns more by fear and intimidation than by inclusiveness and consensus, and is rude, condescending and often derogatory to even high level party officials. He hoards power...," one such diplomatic cable under a sub-heading "Modi's Leadership Style" said. The US Consulate, however, added that all of its interlocutors acknowledged that Modi is a modest man "who, unlike many elected officials in India, has not used his position to enrich himself or his family". "Most contacts also say that he has purged the state administration of petty corruption at the mid and lower levels of the bureaucracy. However, several people tell us that big ticket corruption is still common," it added. The secret cable following Owen's visit also stated that the US Embassy in Delhi had cleared the document.-PTI

affected areas as a complete shut down was observed and businesses, shops, filling stations and markets were closed.

Additional contingents of police and rangers were deployed in the affected areas to avoid any untoward incident. A ban on pillion riding was also imposed in the city under Section 144. "We are taking strict action. We have already booked people for vandalism and arrests are being carried out. No blasphemy case has been registered," a senior aide of PPP leader Bilawal Bhutto Zardari told PTI. Bhutto took to social media network Twitter to express his anger. "Deliberate attempts to disturb religious harmony will not succeed. Maintaining peace in this volatile situation is the number one priority," he tweeted. "I consider attack on temple akin to attack on GKB (Garhi Khuda Bakhsh). Perpetrators will b(e) brought 2 justice as will people who spread lies and incited violence," he added. Garhi Khuda Bakhsh is a village in Sindh province. It is the burial place of Zulfiqar, Murtaza and Benazir Bhutto. The PPP is the ruling party in Sindh province. -PTI

India finish 6th in Wrestling World Cup LOS ANGELES: World Championships silver medalist Amit Kumar won four of his five bouts as India finished sixth in the FILA Men's Freestyle Wrestling World Cup here. India lost to Mongolia 3-5 in the 5th-6th position match after finishing third in their group. The Indians started the competition with one wrestler down as Krishan K u m a r (125kg) did not get the visa clearance to the US. Against Mongolia, Amit (57kg) made a solid start as he beat Nomi Batbold leveling the handicap. But Bajrang (62kg) and Rajneesh (65kg) lost their respective contests. However, Amit Kumar Dhankar (70kg) and Parveen Rana (74kg) got India back into the game with clinical wins. However, Pawan Kumar, in the 86kg category, suffered his fifth

straight defeat which was followed by the loss of junior world bronze medalist Satywart Kadian as India finished sixth in their maiden appearance at the competition. The 10-nation tournament was played at LA Forum on March 15 and 16.

Earlier, India had overcome Turkey 5-3, and gained 4-4 criteria decision to beat Armenia while suffering defeats at the hands of hosts USA (2-6) and Iran (0-8) to finish third in pool A. World no. 2 Amit overwhelmed opponents from USA, Turkey, Armenia and Mongolia to guide his side to a respectable finish.-PTI

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Court bars reports linking Dhoni with fixing scam CHENNAI: The Madras High Court has restrained Zee News and News Nation channels from telecasting any news linking India cricket captain M S Dhoni with the Indian Premier League (IPL) betting/fixing scam. The interim order, effective for two weeks, was passed by Justice S Tamilvanan on a defamation suit filed by Dhoni claiming Rs 100 crore damages from the Zee Me-

judge said in his order after perusing Dhoni's affidavit. He issued notice to defendants Zee Media Corporation Limited, Zee News Editor and Business Head Sudhir Chaudary, IPS officer G Sampath Kumar (who initially probed the IPL betting scam) and News Nation network private limited. Dhoni, in his suit, submitted that the defendants had been car-

He charged that actions were done with an intention to project Dhoni as an object of hate and ridicule to the general public. The general public, especially IPL fans of Chennai Superkings in Chennai, have been negatively influenced by the malicious false reports dia Corporation for allegedly telecasting "malicious" news that he was involved in betting, spot and match fixing of IPL matches. "I am of the view that there is a prima facie case and the balance of convenience is also in favor of the plaintiff. Hence interim injection granted for a period of two weeks," the

rying highly defamatory, scandalous and libelous false reports and statements since February 11, 2014. The first and second defendants Zee Media Corporation Limited (Zee News) and Sudhir Chaudary, Editor and Business Head of Zee News Channel, Essel Studios, Noida, Uttar Pradesh, in

collusion with the third defendant IPS officer G Sampath Kumar have been telecasting and broadcasting and posting in their websites false reports insinuating that Dhoni was involved in illegal activities of betting, match fixing and spot fixing. Similarly, defendant no.4, News Nation network private limited (News National channel) Noida, UP, joined the tirade against Dhoni and later on went to the extent of stating that Dhoni was summoned by the Tamil Nadu police, which was also utterly false, the affidavit stated. He charged that actions were done with an intention to project Dhoni as an object of hate and ridicule to the general public. The general public, especially IPL fans of Chennai Superkings in Chennai, have been negatively influenced by the malicious false reports, it claimed. The sole agenda of the defendants was somehow to malign and destroy the reputation of the plaintiff in the eyes of the millions of his fans and cricket lovers all over the world. Plaintiff has filed the suit be-

cause his fundamental right and personal rights had been breached by the telecast and broadcast of the malicious news.

M S Dhoni

He sought a permanent injunction restraining the defendants,

their associations, sister concerns, agents, officers, correspondents, employees or any other person or entity in print or electronic media or via internet or otherwise from publishing/republishing or in any other manner circulating any news insinuating or denigrating his integrity and honesty as a cricketer except the publication of the news of the exact judicial order if any passed by the court. Damages are to be paid jointly and severally by all the defendants for an amount of Rs 100 crore, the affidavit said.-PTI

Forward Policy of Nehru blamed for 1962 debacle NEW DELHI: The "Forward Policy" of the government under late Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and the then army leadership has been blamed for India's humiliating defeat in 1962 war against China in a top secret report accessed by an Australian journalist. The Henderson Brooks report, which still remains officially classified, has found serious faults with the "Forward Policy" and the army for carrying it out without the necessary wherewithal, according to defense journal Indian Defense Review, which has put on its website some portions of the report first released by Journalist Neville Maxwell. Maxwell, who had reported on the war extensively, had released some contents of the Henderson Brooks report on his website. There has been no official reaction to the disclosed contents. The Henderson report has criticized the then government, military and intelligence agencies for basing their assumptions on the belief that the Chinese would not escalate hostilities whereas militarily they should have thought "exactly opposite". The Forward Policy, which

had sought the raising of military outposts in areas claimed by Chinese and launching of aggressive patrols, increased the chances of conflict, the report has said, suggesting that India was not militarily in a position to implement this. "This review is not concerned with the probability of conflict

Referring to various high-level meetings, one of which was attended by Nehru, the report says the Army Headquarters and the then Intelligence Bureau Director were of the view that China was unlikely to use force against Indian posts even if they were in a position to do so.

File photo of Jawaharlal Nehru with Chinese leaders

with or without the Forward Policy but with its introduction the chances of a conflict certainly increased. ... What is pertinent here is whether we were militarily in a position to implement this," the report said.

The army leadership had also overruled the concerns raised by the Western Command, which said it was ill-prepared to implement the policy and we would be "defeated in detail" in case of hostilities, the report said. The Western Command's po-

sition was realistic, it said, but Army Headquarters apparently stuck to their belief that the Chinese would not resort to any largescale hostilities, a presumption belied by its attack as its army ran through Arunachal Pradesh and captured large parts of Ladakh. "The General Staff Branch Army Headquarters not taking note of this warning of Western Command could only be attributed to an incorrect assessment of Chinese reactions, together with a sense of complacency that nothing would happen," it said. Concerned over its military weakness on the ground as the Forward Policy was being executed, the Western Command had submitted to the Army Headquarters a "Reappraisal of the situation on ground as on August 15, 1962", setting forth long-term and short-term recommendations which were brushed aside. "The review was undertaken as Forward Policy was primarily introduced to baulk the Chinese claims in Ladakh. Had the developments stemming out of it been correctly apprised by the Army Headquarters and correlated to NEFA (Arunachal), it is possible we would not have precipitated matters till we were better prepared

in both theatres," the report said. "We acted, it said, on a military 'unsound' basis of not relying on our strength but rather on believed lack of reaction from the Chinese. "Militarily, it is unthinkable that the General Staff did not advise the government on our weakness and inability to implement the Forward Policy," it said, questioning the actions of Lt Gen B M Kaul, the then Chief of General Staff, who played a key role in shaping the Policy and resigned following the debacle. The reports said the Defense Ministry might have put on pressure but it was the General Staff's duty to point out the "unsoundness" of the Forward policy without the means to implement it, which was brought out forcibly by the Western Command. The report authored by the then Lt Gen Henderson Brooks and Brigadier P S Bhagat was commissioned by the Army following its crushing defeat by the Chinese but the government has refrained from releasing its findings which, it said, were "extremely sensitive" and of "current operational value".

10 India Post

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March 21, 2014

India's foreign policy contradictory: Chinese media BEIJING: Accusing India of following an ambiguous and contradictory foreign policy, an article in state-run Chinese media said its foreign policy lacks long term thinking and New Delhi's "reluctant participation in the global system is jeopardizing global governance progress". While Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang signed an agreement pledging restraint on border issues, frequent quarrels are initiated by the Indian side along the Sino-Indian border, an article on the state-run Global Times' website said. "That's why when we talk of strength-

ening economic ties between Beijing and New Delhi, the so-called China threat remains a constant excuse for India's military and nuclear arsenal build-up," it said. "What explains such self-contradictions? First, New Delhi rarely engages in long-term thinking about its foreign policy goals," it said. Stating that India made contradictory pronouncements on Ukraine crisis, it said "in a changing international system, India is expected to play a role as stable regional balancer". "But India is doing its job so well that it is becoming a friend of almost all major

powers, regardless of their divergent positions on major issues," it said. "This makes India's strategic intentions, if there are any, often at odds with its behavior on international issues," it said. The article came ahead of commencement of third Strategic Economic Dialogue between the two countries. "For instance, India boasts of its pluralist democracy model, but it is unwilling to incorporate this value in its foreign policy, and it's trying to wear the mantle of Asian leadership without offering any new commitment or resources to that end. Analysts are often frustrated by such contradic-

tions," it said. It also said India refused to express concerns over Japan's recent turn to the rightwing. "Now, India is registered as an important participant of almost all important world strategic issues. India's reluctant participation in a greater role in the global system is jeopardizing global governance progress and stagnating the creation of international and regional cooperation," it said. -PTI

India to appeal against Italian court order NEW DELHI: An Italian court has barred India from encashing bank guarantees worth over Rs 2,360 crore of AgustaWestland as part of the penalties imposed on it after scrapping of the Rs 3,600 crore VVIP chopper deal. India has decided to file an appeal against the decision of the Italian court, a Defense Ministry spokesperson said. India has already encashed bank guarantees of around Rs 240 crore deposited in banks in India but it is yet to recover the bank guarantees deposited in banks of Italy. An Italian court in Milan had accepted a plea by AgustaWestland's parent company Finmecannica to stop India from encashing over Rs 2,360 crore (Euro 278 million). "With this measure, the Court granted the requests made by the companies of the Finmeccanica Group, recognizing the manifestly abusive enforcement of the guarantees made by the Indian Defense Ministry, given the vagueness of the complaints made in relation to alleged breaches of contract," Finmeccanica said in a statement. "The Milan court has confirmed the ruling made last January, prohibiting...the payment of collateral of more than 278 million euros deposited in relation to the contract," it said. India terminated the Rs 3,600 crore deal on January 1 for procuring 12 VVIP AW101 choppers for the IAF on allegations of payment of kickbacks and involvement of middlemen in the acquisition process by the Anglo-Italian firm. The Italian court had put a stay on India's effort to encash the bank guarantees in an earlier hearing on January 8. After the cancellation of the contract, India had also decided to go in for arbitration with the Anglo-Italian firm and the two sides have nominated their members in this regard. The Anglo-Italian firm has already supplied three choppers to India and the delivery of the remaining nine was put on hold after Defense Minister AK Antony ordered a CBI probe into the corruption allegations after the arrest of Finmecannica's former CEO Guiseppe Orsi and AgustaWestland's former head Bruno Spagnolini in Italy in connection with the probe going on there. -PTI

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March 21, 2014

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India underscores commitment to assist Afghanistan UNITED NATIONS: India said it did not have the luxury of an "exit strategy" in Afghanistan, underscoring its commitment to assist the war-torn nation as it called for an Afghan controlledreconciliation process and rejected any effort to treat the gov-

that promotes terrorist activities against nations like India that have friendly relations with Afghanistan. India has had a long-established policy and commitment to assisting the people and government of Afghanistan as they build

India's envoy to the UN Asoke Kumar Mukerji

ernment in Kabul on par with Taliban. In a UN Security Council debate on the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), India stressed that the main threat to Afghanistan's security and stability is terrorism emanating from "beyond Afghanistan's borders"

a peaceful, pluralistic, democratic and prosperous Afghanistan, India's envoy to the UN Asoke Kumar Mukerji said. "India does not have the luxury of an 'Exit Strategy' in Afghanistan, which shares a civilizational linkage with India," he said, citing the visit of External Affairs

Minister Salman Khurshid to Kandahar last month to inaugurate an Agricultural Sciences and Technology University. "On the reconciliation process, we believe that this process must remain Afghan led, Afghan owned and Afghan controlled while respecting the agreed red lines. We do not endorse any effort to treat the government of Afghanistan on par with the Taliban," he said. With the Afghan Presidential elections scheduled for April 5, India said the election process should have credibility with the Afghan people and expressed hope that it culminates in the choice of an Afghan President acceptable to all Afghans. India, however, stressed that terrorism, which "emanates from beyond Afghanistan's borders", promotes terrorist activities against Afghan interests, as well as "friends of Afghanistan like India. "It is unfortunate that those terrorist sanctuaries and safe havens and the financial and tactical support structures for terrorism are still active. It is necessary to demystify the notion that the problem in Afghanistan is one of rivalry between various ethnic or tribal groups. "The real problem that Afghanistan continues to face is terrorism, which seeks to erode the efforts of Afghanistan and its friends to reconstruct the socio-economic fabric of the country," Mukerji said, adding that the sources of insecurity and violence in Afghanistan

Dust over North Africa boosts Indian monsoon WASHINGTON: Swirling desert dust in North Africa and West Asia stimulates critical monsoon rains over India, according to a new study. The study shows that dust in the air absorbs sunlight west of India, warming the air and strengthening the winds carrying moisture eastward. This results in more monsoon rainfall about a week later in India. The results explain one way that dust can affect the climate, filling in previously unknown details about the Earth system. The study also shows that natural airborne particles can influence rainfall in unexpected ways, with changes in one location rapidly affecting weather thousands of miles away. The researchers analyzed satellite data and performed computer modeling of the region to

tease out the role of dust on the Indian monsoon. India relies heavily on its summer monsoon rains. Phil from the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and V Vinoj

of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bhubaneswar and colleagues wanted to explore whether higher amounts of small particles called aerosols over North Africa,

West Asia, and the Arabian Sea are connected to stronger rainfall over India around the same time. The team used a computer model called CAM5 and focused on the area. The model included man-made aerosols from pollution, and natural sea salt and dust aerosols. They ran the model and noted a similar connection: more aerosols in the west meant more rainfall in the east. Then they systematically turned off the contribution of each aerosol type and looked to see if the connection remained.-PTI

should be looked at. "We stand firmly with Afghanistan in confronting the threat and challenge posed by terrorism," Mukerji said. On the security situation, Mukerji said it is distressing that provinces in the east and south Afghanistan faced intensified attacks from an array of groups, including from Tehrik-e-Taliban, Lashkar-e-Taiba, and Lashkar-iJhangvi, in addition to the Afghan Taliban. “Our assessment is that intimidation in the Southern and Eastern

achieved by the people and Government of Afghanistan in last twelve years on the socio- politico-economic spheres has taught us that with sustained support from international community, Afghanistan can successfully overcome these challenges," he added. Mukerji reiterated India's support to the political, social and economic transition taking place in Afghanistan as well as for the upcoming electoral process. On the mandate of UNAMA, Mukerji said the mission should

"The progress that has been achieved by the people and Government of Afghanistan in last twelve years on the socio- politico-economic spheres has taught us that with sustained support from international community, Afghanistan can successfully overcome these challenges," parts of the country is a threat to smooth elections," Mukerji said. Describing the Afghan presidential election as the most important forthcoming event in the country's political transition, Mukerji said India does not share the negativity and pessimism portrayed about future of Afghanistan. "Afghanistan is going through political, security and economic transitions at the same time. The uncertainties associated with the transitions pose real challenges. "The progress that has been

support the political institutions of Afghanistan besides mobilizing international focus on its reconstruction. "We believe that UNAMA should also harness its strength in the humanitarian and developmental work where their ability to reach the remotest corner of Afghanistan is well proven. UNAMA should concentrate on capacity building and here we would like to assure the fullest cooperation of my country," he added. -PTI

Dubai charter flights for Kerala voters DUBAI: A Dubai-based Indian organization plans to charter flights for Kerala voters who wish to vote in the next month's Lok Sabha elections. The Kerala Muslim Cultural Centre (KMCC), which has 50,300 members in the UAE - 20,500 of whom are in Dubai - would be flying Keralities, eligible to vote, on April 7. "It is a one-way ticket on discounted rates to Kozhikode district. We are in talks with a private company as well as Air India and Air India Express to charter the flights. The facility is exclusively for Keralites," Ebrahim Elettil, general secretary of the KMCC, told Gulf News. He said the facility is available not for KMCC members only but also for non-members, provided they are from Kerala. The organization was founded

by expatriates from Kerala with the aim of extending humanitarian and legal assistance to those in need. The number of chartered flights operating will depend on the number of people who come forward to register for the facility, he said. "The private company is charging Rs 8,319 per person for 165 people, while the other two airlines from India are charging Rs 12,477 per person to fly 180 people and Rs 9,981 to fly 180 people respectively," Elettil said. Elettil, however, said the KMCC will not have any influence on voters who use the charter flight services. "An individual is free to vote for whoever they wish. Our only aim is to make sure that Keralites living here get an opportunity to exercise their voting rights," he said. -PTI

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March 21, 2014

UN N-watchdog says no explosion or crash detected UNITED NATIONS: A UNbacked nuclear watchdog has said that it did not detect either any explosion or crash that could be linked to the missing Malaysia Airlines plane, amid continued speculation over fate of the aircraft. "Regarding the missing Malaysian Airlines flight... the Viennabased Comprehensive NuclearTest-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) confirmed that neither an explosion nor a plane crash on land or on water had been detected so far," Spokesman for UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon Stephane Dujarric told reporters here. Dujarric said plane accidents may be detected, depending on individual circumstances, by three of the four technologies used by the CTBTO's International Monitoring System (IMS). While the verification system has been put in place to detect nuclear explosions, it is also able to detect the explosion of a larger aircraft, as well as its impact on the ground or on water. CTBTO Executive Secretary Lassina Zerbo had said that he would put the sensors of the organization at work to see if a possible explosion at high altitude of the missing Malaysian Airlines plane could be detected.

Zerbo has also encouraged all scientists from UN member states to carefully study the available data. He had said the CTBTO uses "infrasound" - or infrasonic sen-

Treaty, of extremely sensitive sensors throughout the world that detect nuclear explosions and earthquakes. The flight MH370 carrying 239

People holding balloons pose next to a message reading Pray for MH370 during an event for passengers aboard a missing Malaysia Airlines plane, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, March 17

sors - to monitor the earth mainly for atmospheric nuclear explosions. Dujarric said the CTBTO has a network, as part of their Test-Ban-

people has been missing since March 8 and a multi-national search has so far shed little light on where the plane could have landed or crashed.

Last message from missing plane was from co-pilot KUALA LUMPUR: Amid mounting evidence that the disappearance of the Malaysian plane was a deliberate act, authorities here said the last words from the cockpit were believed to have been spoken by the co-pilot as search operations covering 11 countries were intensified. Evidence indicating that the Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 that went missing 10 days ago was sabotaged or hijacked was mounting after it emerged that the last message from the cockpit was spoken after someone had begun disabling one of the plane's automatic tracking systems. The last words - "All right, good night" - were believed to have been spoken by the co-pilot. "Initial investigations indicate it was the co-pilot who basically spoke," Malaysia Airlines CEO Ahmad Jauhari Yahya told a media briefing. Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah and his first officer Fariq Abdul Hamid are under scanner of the probe into the disappearance of the plane.

Zerbo had asked the head of the CTBTO's International Data Center (IDC) to look at the data to find any clues about the missing plane.

The last signal from the Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS) was received 12 minutes before the copilot's final words. The officials are also looking at the possibility whether the plane - with 239 people on board including five Indians and one

Kazakhstan joined the search in the farthest northwest section of the search area, taking the total number of countries involved in the operation to 26 Indian- Canadian - had taken advantage of the busy airways over the Bay of Bengal and avoided suspicion of military radars. Malaysia's defense and acting transport minister Hishammuddin Hussein said, "I can confirm that search and rescue operations in

the northern and southern corridors have already begun. Countries including Malaysia, Australia, China, Indonesia and Kazakhstan have already initiated search and rescue operations." Malaysia got in touch with countries along the northern and southern corridors about the flight. These countries include: Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, China, Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, Australia and France. Australia was leading the search of the remote southern Indian Ocean for the missing plane. Kazakhstan joined the search in the farthest northwest section of the search area, taking the total number of countries involved in the operation to 26. Prime Minister Najib Razak has spoken to the Prime Minister of Australia and the Premier of China. Malaysia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs has sent diplomatic notes to all countries involved in the search operation, Hishammuddin said.-PTI

Zerbo said infrasound would be the best technology to check for an explosion on the missing plane if there was a monitoring station nearby, "or the explosion

is at a level or at an amplitude that it could be detected." "There's a possibility, it's not absolute, that the technology like the Infrazone could be able to detect" an explosion, he had said. The mystery of the missing plane from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing since March 8 continued to baffle aviation and security authorities who have not succeeded in tracking the aircraft despite deploying hi-tech radar and other gadgets. CTBTO said infrasound is produced by a variety of natural and man-made sources like exploding volcanoes, earthquakes, meteors, storms and auroras in the natural world; nuclear, mining and large chemical explosions, as well as aircraft and rocket launches in the man-made arena. Infrasound monitoring is one of the four technologies used by the International Monitoring System (IMS) to verify compliance with the nuclear test ban treaty. The IDC routinely detect signals from commercial planes taking-off and landing at airports located in the proximity of IMS infrasound stations. In the past, CTBTO stations have detected some plane accidents, including the crash of a plane at Narita airport in Japan in March 2009. -PTI

Italy appeals UN to help free marines from India UNITED NATIONS: Italy has Enrica Lexie, said they mistook the appealed to the United Nations to fishermen for pirates. help free its two marines who are They are now staying in the being tried in India for killing two Italian Embassy in New Delhi Indian fishermen in 2012. awaiting trial. "Italy is willing to try the maIndia has removed the possirines at home, but in the mean- bility of a death penalty but intime we ask for their freedom," said sisted that the marines would still Interior Minister Angelino Alfano be prosecuted under the anti-piwas quoted as saying by ANSA racy law. Now, they face up to 10 news agency. Alfano's remarks came ahead of his meeting with UN Secretary- India has removed the posGeneral Ban Ki-moon sibility of a death penalty but here. Italy has been trying insisted that the marines to rally international support among the EU, would still be prosecuted the US and NATO countries to bring home under the anti-piracy law marines. M a r i n e s Massimiliano Latorre and years in jail. Salvatore Girone shot dead two Rome wants the marines to be fishermen off the Kerala coast in tried in Italy, claiming the incident February 2012, sparking diplo- took place in international waters. matic tensions between India and However, New Delhi says it has Italy. the right to try the Italians as the The marines, deployed on the victims were Indians on board an Italian-flagged oil tanker MT Indian fishing boat.-PTI

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March 21, 2014

India Post


Pollution progressively getting worse in India BEIJING: A study pointing that the pollution levels in New Delhi is worse than that of Beijing may have been quoting the data from the worst period of the year but the air quality in Indian cities is progressively getting worse, UN climate change chief Rajendra Pachauri has said. "We also have to allow the fact that there are variations in the composition of PM 2.5 in the atmosphere which varies from season to season. It may very well be the study they are quoting is that of the worst period during the year," he told media here at a prelaunch function of the report on the India-China Low Carbon Study. But at the same he said the situation is progressively getting worse in Delhi and Bangalore and even in second rung cities like Ludhiana. "Frankly I have to look at the numbers to be able to comment. All I can say it is getting progressively worse," he said responding to questions on a study by Yale University stating that Delhi's air quality is worse than that of Beijing, which is battling out worst polluted smog considered to several higher than the levels prescribed by the WHO. Pachauri, chairman of the UN

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, was co-recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize with former US vice president Al Gore in 2007. The Yale data was contradicted by officials in Delhi who cited data of their own obtained from monitoring stations on the ground. About the quality of the data provided by the officials in Delhi, he said: "There are gaps in Delhi data. It is an issue needs to be

He said the situation is progressively getting worse in Delhi and Bangalore and even in second rung cities like Ludhiana. "Frankly I have to look at the numbers to be able to comment� investigated. We are taking about imperfect and inadequate information, we should need to get into this." The Ministry of Environment should commission two or three institutions to carry out detailed assessment of the situation and

what are the drivers of things making this is worse and future policy making, he said. On the debate about the safety of the nuclear power plants, he said: "Frankly we have to demystify nuclear energy. People have to have make decision. In a democracy you cannot ignore that aspect." He ducked the question whether he is for the nuclear energy or not saying that "one has to be cautious. I would not say close your eyes let us go ahead with nuclear power". "Nuclear energy is not a panacea to solve all our problems. We are little glib about it," he said. He was answering questions abut China's plans to build 28 nuclear power plants which are under various stages of construction. Asked about what India can learn from China, he said both can learn each from their strengths. "One cannot generalize. Some sectors they have done well, some we have done well. There has to exchange of knowledge which will have enormous value for both," he said. Earlier at the function, Pachauri focused on the need for enhanced collaborative research between China and India. "The two countries operate in similar contexts in terms of local

Putin recognizes Crimean independence KIEV: Ignoring the toughest sanctions against Moscow since the end of the Cold War, Russian President Vladimir Putin recognized Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula as an "independent and sovereign country", a bold challenge to Washington that escalates one of Europe's worst security crises in years. The brief decree posted on the Kremlin's website came just hours after the United States and the European Union announced asset freezes and other sanctions against Russian and Ukrainian officials involved in the Crimean crisis. President Barack Obama warned that more would come if Russia didn't stop interfering in Ukraine, and Putin's move clearly forced his hand. The West has struggled to find leverage to force Moscow to back off in the Ukraine turmoil, of which Crimea is only a part, and analysts saw the sanctions as mostly ineffectual.

Moscow showed no signs of flinching in the dispute that has roiled Ukraine since Russian troops took effective control of the strategic Black Sea peninsula last month and supported the Sunday referendum that overwhelmingly called for annexation by Russia. Recognizing Crimea as inde-

Vladimir Putin

pendent would be an interim step in absorbing the region. Crimea had been part of Russia since the 18th century, until Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev transferred it to Ukraine in 1954

and both Russians and Crimea's majority ethnic Russian population see annexation as correcting a historic insult. Ukraine's turmoil, which began in November with a wave of protests against President Viktor Yanukovych and accelerated after he fled to Russia in late February has become Europe's most severe security crisis in years. Russia, like Yanukovych himself, characterizes his ouster as a coup, and alleges the new authorities are fascistminded and likely to crack down on Ukraine's ethnic Russian population. ProRussia demonstrations have broken out in several cities in eastern Ukraine near the Russian border, where the Kremlin has been massing troops. Fearing that Russia is prepared to risk violence to make a land-grab, the West has consistently spoken out against Russia's actions but has run into a wall of resistance from Moscow. -AP

and global environmental issues that confront them today and will become increasingly important in the future. While economic capabilities and institutional systems vary between the two, coordinated knowledge driven processes between China and India will be instrumental in moving both towards global sustainability goals."

"China's per capita income is four time that of India but we are both developing countries that must plan for substantial increase in per capita incomes to meet the needs of the aspirations of our people," Ahluwalia said The study is collaborative effort between the China National Centre for Climate Change Strategy and International Cooperation and the Energy and Resources Institute, New Delhi. The study is jointly promoted by Planning Commission of India

and its Chinese counterpart, the National Development Reforms Commission. In his foreword on the study report, Deputy Chief of the Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia said despite many differences, India and China face similar challenges and opportunities on the global environmental issues. "China's per capita income is four time that of India but we are both developing countries that must plan for substantial increase in per capita incomes to meet the needs of the aspirations of our people," Ahluwalia said. "India and China cannot by themselves solve the problem of global warming. A truly global effort it needed and t he industrialized countries have to make major transition," he said. Deputy Ambassador of India to China, Bala Bhasakar, who authored a book on Energy Security and Economic Development in India said New Delhi and Beijing should capitalize on the cooperation build while dealing with global climate change negotiations. The two countries need to complement each other with new energy efficient technologies, said Bhasakar.-PTI

Smart tag to tell if food is spoiled even before unpacking WASHINGTON: Scientists have developed a new colorcoded smart tag that could tell consumers whether a carton of milk has turned sour or a can of green beans has spoiled even without opening the containers. The tag, which would appear on the packaging, also could be used to determine if medications

and other perishable products were still active or fresh, scientists said. "This tag, which has a gel-like consistency, is really inexpensive and safe, and can be widely programmed to mimic almost all ambient-temperature deterioration processes in foods," said Chao Zhang, the lead researcher of the study.

Use of the tags could potentially solve the problem of knowing how fresh packaged, perishable foods remain over time, he added. A real advantage, Zhang said, is that even when manufacturers, grocery-store owners and consumers do not know if the food has been unduly exposed to higher temperatures, which could cause unexpected spoilage, "the tag still gives a reliable indication of the quality of the product." The tags, which are about the size of a kernel of corn, would appear in various color codes on packaging. "In our configuration, red, or reddish orange, would mean fresh," said Zhang, from Peking University in Beijing, China. "Over time, the tag changes its color to orange, yellow and later green, which indicates the food is spoiled," said Zhang. The colors signify a range between 100 per cent fresh and 100 per cent spoiled. -PTI


14 India Post

March 21, 2014

Your Weekly Future by Pandit Parashar

MARCH 21 ST - MARCH 27 TH , 2014 (March 21 to April 20)


ou will receive positive response to letters or mail you sent out last week. Spouse will maintain a tough stand on an important issue and you should take the advise. With smart strategy you will gain an edge over your opponents. It is very favorable week for people appearing for a tough and highly competitive exam.


(September 23 to October 22)


ome one you come across will cause major change in your religious beliefs. You will attend a big social event with family this week. One of your child struggling in the past will finally find some easy way out. After some thinking you may finally make the offer on a nice property. Material you study will come handy soon.

(October 23 to November 22)

(April 21 to May 20)

ontract you sign will bring immediate rewards. Issues involving a child will come to a pleasant closure. You may change your plans to go to a social event on the last minute. Value of your stocks and other assets will appreciate considerably. Cutting corners here and there will save you lots of money this week.


here is no point in giving up at this stage as you are too close to ultimate success. You will need to stay focused on real issues and take one thing at a time if you want the quick and final resolutions to hurdles. Changes in career you had been looking forward to in the past are imminent and will take place in next few weeks.

(November 23 to December 22)

(May 21 to June 20)


lanets provide you with many chances to make extra bucks. Don't hesitate to try your luck with few lottery tickets. Life will one more time come back on the right track and you will regain confidence. Some electric item in the house will need to be replaced. You may be in touch with some one overseas for an important task.


ou will reap rich rewards for extra time spent at work in shape of money as well appreciation from boss. You will spend money on buying some new cloths for your self. You may finally find some ideal partner to help you on your dream project. Another favorable week for people in sales, marketing or working as brokers.

(June 21 to July 22)


f you can just control irritation and temper then getting jobs done will be a piece of cake. Money wise things will start to brighten up from this week. You may also see a big refund check in mail. A relationship recently started will keep getting strong. You may be traveling to a very nice area with family to attend a big event.

(December 22 to January 19)


lanets are well aligned to help you achieve your goals. Aim high and go with the full swing. Business meeting will go well and the contract will be signed on the spot. Children will plan an interesting trip to a nearby place. You may need some Issues stuck with a government agency or courts will take a sharp favorable turn.

(July 23 to August 22)


resh commitments will put you under financial pressure and you will need to do lots of juggling in order to keep up with the situation. Gambling instincts will pay off in big way. You may invite some one at your place for dinner. You may sign up for a short term course or some kind of training program. Try to cut down on sugar intake.

(January 20 to February 18)


o not hesitate to seek professional help to clear the confusion and fill the paper work correctly. People in business will need to invest heavily in order to stay way ahead of competition. You may continue your search for another job closer to home. You will make final payment on a purchase and still have plenty left.

(August 23 to September 22)


ou will start to pay more attention to health and may start going to a gym in order to come back in shape. You may buy some high tech gadget for personal use. Some of you may also initiate a law suit to claim what was supposed to come long time ago. Spouse may feel exhausted and need little rest. Children will continue to do better.

PANDIT PARASHAR, CEO & COO Astro Scan USA is also available for individual consultations. He can be reached at:

(February 19 to March 20)


o not ignore any paper work or inquiry from a government agency. Some money will go towards an upcoming trip. You may spend little extra time at work to finish the project well before the deadline. Keep an eye on family members charging on the credit cards. People in business will recover most part of an old debt this week.


March 21, 2014

India Post 15

Desi News 'Holi Moli' at University of North Carolina MADHU PATEL

NORTH CAROLINA: A front ranking educational institution, the University of North Carolina at Charlotte (UNCC) hosted Holi, the Indian "festival of color." The Holi festival is not only celebrated across India but in this country too. Indian Americans in all major cities and towns do celebrate this festival of color with a lot of enthusiasm and fervor. "It is an all-out good time with water guns and colors", UNCC website states about "Holi Moli" event, which was sponsored by Campus Activities Board whose mission includes "to enhance and unify the university community" and whose advisors include UNCC Assistant Director of Student Activities. This free event held on March 18 on Front Fields near the main campus entrance starting five pm was participated by many.


Philadelphia Museum has a Hindu Mandapa Details on page 21

16 India Post

March 21, 2014

Fremont temple inundated with riot of Holi colors

Details on page 18 Friends having fun with surfeit of colors

Grand Holi celebration of Holi at Jalaram Mandir YOGESH THAKKAR

CHICAGO: It was one of the grandest celebrations of a top Indian festival - Holi and Dhuleti - at Shree Jalaram Mandir in Hoffman Estate, a north side suburb of Chicago. Over 1200 devotees from across Chicagoland and neighboring Sates of Wisconsin and Indiana thronged the Mandir for darshan, chanting holy bhajans and partking prasad Details on page 19

Dhwani offers tribute to legendary Bollywood singers

RITU MAHESHWARI India Post News Service

FREMONT: Fremont Hindu Temple became the go to place for Indian community this Holi. The temple celebrated Holi Dahan (burning) on Saturday, March 15 and close to 7000 Indian community members congregated at Fremont Hindu temple on Sunday, March 16, to celebrate and wish each other with Holi greetings. Devotees filled every inch of temple premises and their cars occupied all streets in mile long neighborhood. It seemed as if complete temple center was inundated with a rainbow of colors. It was difficult to recognize faces as they were all covered in multitude of colors.

Performance by little kids

Temple campus became one huge family with people applying color to each other and making friends. It also became an opportune occasion to renew and make new friendships. People from all

over Bay area came and participated in the festivities. Many dignitaries and community leaders also participated. Devotees were offered a scrumptious preeti bhoj (lunch) to refresh and reenergize

Teenagers enjoying Holi

Asian Media USA

CHICAGO: Dhwani Entertainment, promoters of local talent, presented "Fabulous Six - Tribute to Legendary Singers of Bollywood" at Elgin Community College, Art Center Building on Saturday, March 8. It was a breathtaking on stage show that took the audience to memory lane paying tribute to Kishore, Manna Dey, Rafi, Mukesh, Asha and Lataji. There were talented artists with live orchestra by M3 Group of Chicago. Details on page 20

Temple campus looked as if ocean of people

for day long activities. Participants were very enthusiastic and played with colors and danced away to the tunes of hit Holi songs. One of the devotees, Deepika Sharma said "This was an excellent opportunity to teach our kids about Indian culture". Shakila said "It was colorful, joyous, fun filled Holi and mainly safest for kids and family. Thank you for the whole Fremont Temple Team. My daughter's smile was priceless." The day started at 11am with over 50 cultural performances by kids and adults alike. There was an amazing show of cultural programs reflecting Indian culture and heritage. Many dance groups from Bay area showcased their talented troupes. Festivities went on till 5pm.

Community Across America

March 21, 2014

Dazzling performances at Desi Winter Bash Asian Media USA

CHICAGO: Noman Khan of Yeh Cheez Entertainment and Tariq Khan of Music Melody Entertainment presented Desi Winter Bash celebrating the End of winter on Saturday, March 8 at India House Banquets, Schaumburg. All those present enjoyed and cherished the best of Chicago Live. The Program started with MC Gaurav Arora, introducing State Rep. Michelle Mussman, Raja Krishnamoorthi and Sunil Shah, who were Honored Guests for the event. State Rep. Michelle Mussman and Raja Krishnamoorthi presented awards to community members Brij Sharma of Chicago (Indian Icon); Sunil Shah, the Founder President

Sonu Nigam Concert on May 16 and free buffet at India House Restaurant. There were individual dance performances by Anand Bhatt, Mr. India Illinois 2013, Nishma Patel, Miss India Illinois 2012 and a group performance by Team Yeh Cheez that thrilled the entire audience. Both the Fashion shows were outstanding. One was sponsored by Chandni Exclusive and the other was by Sana Yasoob's La Couture, where these two boutiques were proud to present their hottest collection of designer clothes, which dazzled the audience as more than 25+ models walked up and down the ramp to demonstrate 2014 collection of ethnic wear, wedding dresses for

Winter Bash guests and awardees

FIA; Ravi Rawat, CFO India House Banquet; Dr. Harjinder Singh Khaira, Lake Street Dental; Neal Patel, Medstar Laboratories; Tariq Khan, Music Melody Entertainment, and Suresh Bodiwala. There were many talented famous singers who delighted the audience with their sweet, melodious voices. They were Mahijeet Singh Virdi; Nipa Shah; Imran Durrani; Manmeet Kaur; Praveen Jaligama; Ahmed Imaad; Dr. Jency. Along with these singers there was also a band "Untouchable". There was Trivia conducted exclusively by Noman Khan where the audience got a chance to win free tickets to Sahil and L.A.Tan's

Dulhans and couples. The closing performance of the evening was by Noman Khan where he performed Lungi Dance, which was a tribute to Rajnikanth. After his performances he sat at the end of the stage and personally thanked the audience for supporting him in making this show a huge success and promoting the youth and "Aam Aadmi" of Chicago. Sunil Shah praised the organizers observing that "the entire event was very well organized. This kind of event showcases the talent of our very own youth and we all should encourage them by being part of such shows".

Winter Bash male models

Winter Bash female models

India Post 17

18 India Post

Community Across America

March 21, 2014

'Holi Moli' at University of North Carolina MADHU PATEL

NORTH CAROLINA: A front ranking educational institution, the University of North Carolina at Charlotte (UNCC) hosted Holi, the Indian "festival of color." The Holi festival is not only celebrated across India but in this country too. Indian Americans in

Kusum Vyas, Founder of the Green Kumbh Movement

all major cities and towns do celebrate this festival of color with a lot of enthusiasm and fervor. "It is an all-out good time with water guns and colors", UNCC website states about "Holi Moli" event, which was sponsored by Campus Activities Board whose mission includes "to enhance and unify the university community" and whose advisors include UNCC Assistant Director of Student Activities. This free event held on March 18 on Front Fields near the main campus entrance

starting five pm was participated by many. The festival of Holi heralds the beginning of spring and starts about ten days before the full moon of Phalguna. Besides color play, ceremonies also include the lighting of the bonfires, during which all evils are symbolically burnt. Holi also commemorates the frolics of youthful Lord Krishna; and celebrates the death of demoness Putana, burning of demoness Holika, and destruction of Kama by Lord Shiva. Holi fell on March 17 this year. UNCC, public research university, founded in 1946 and spread in 1,000-acre campus, offers 21 Doctoral, 63 Master's and 80 Bachelor's degree programs to about 27,000 students. Karen A. Popp is Board of Trustees Chair while Philip L. Dubois is the Chancellor. Its tagline states that UNCC "prepares graduates to become active citizens of the world." Rajan Zed, President of Universal Society of Hinduism in a statement in Nevada pitched for all US and Canadian universities, public and private, should at least hold annual Hindu festivals of Holi and Diwali on the campuses in view of broadening presence of students and professors of Indian origin at the US universities. This type of celebration will also help creating more awareness about other religions among non Indian students and fraternity

Univeristy of North Carolina

which in turn will help make university students well-nurtured and enlightened citizens of tomorrow. Citing Indian legendary poet Kavi Kalidas on Vasanta Ritu (The Spring Season), Kusum Vyas,

Founder of the Green Kumbh Movement said "Gentle breeze, blowing from the south, softens the chilly air of the winter. The land comes to life as the flora suddenly bursts into maturity and young

flowers bloom all over. The air is filled with intoxicating smell of fresh flowers and the effect is seen even on the cuckoo which is in an inebriated state". What's so special about this celebration? First, because Holi is one of the most popular and ancient festivals in India. References to Holi are found in ancient paintings and murals and in sculptures on walls of ancient Hindu temples. The tradition has continued uninterrupted for millennia. In India, while they share prayer and sumptuous food, the best part is the ritual of taking to the streets and splashing friends and even total strangers with dry colors, water balloons, sprayers and even, dousing them with entire buckets of colored water. On this day, everybody, old and young, is fair game. While history and circumstances may have flung many Indians to the farthest reaches of the globe, they remain undiminished in their enthusiasm for festivals and rituals that define home. Wherever Indian Diaspora lives in sizeable numbers, Holi is the same jamboree of myriad colors as in India. However, whenever Holi falls in the middle of working week, the Indian expatriate community celebrates the festival on a weekend closest to the actual date.

Community Across America

March 21, 2014

India Post 19

Grand Holi celebration of Holi at Jalaram Mandir YOGESH THAKKAR

CHICAGO: It was one of the grandest celebrations of a top Indian festival - Holi and Dhuleti - at Shree Jalaram Mandir in Hoffman Estate, a north side suburb of Chicago. Over 1200 devotees from across Chicagoland and neighboring Sates of Wisconsin and Indiana thronged the Mandir for darshan, chanting holy bhajans and partking prasad The Mandir has been celebrating Holi Navratri, Diwali and other important Hindu festivals on a grand scale with huge participation from a cross section of Indian society. Enthused by the huge response, the Mandir management has announced hosting a 24-hour Ram Dhun starting at 11 am until April 13, Annakut Darshan at noon and Ram Janam - the birth day of Lord Ram

The auspicious beginning

The Mandir will also host its annual Health Fair which is a free for all event with volunteers of the

Readers Write...

Where are our secular top brass and other minority leaders?


veryone must have heard the news about the burning of a Hindu temple in Pakistan. So, here are the obvious questions. Where are the following people now: Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, Maun Singh, Omar Abdullah, Shabana Azmi, Javed Akhtar, Aamir Khan, Shah Rukh Khan, Amitabh Bachchan, Javed Anand, Teesta Setalwad, Rajdeep Sardesai, Salman Khurshid, Raj Babbar, Imam Bukhari, various other maulanas and the various fathers of the churches, Sharad Pawar, Mulayam Singh Yadav & his son Akhilesh, Laloo Prasad Yadav, Nitish Kumar et al? For that matter, where are the leaders of Shiv Sena, BJP, Bajrang Dal, VHP etc? Where are Baba Ramdev and the various Shankaracharyas? How come no one is raising the point anywhere, let alone internationally? How come no masjid is burning now in India? How come there are not even peaceful protests anywhere in India, let alone violent reaction? Where are the editors of "prestigious" publications, particularly M. J. Akbar? Why is Bollywood quiet? Look at the words in the news "Pakistanis" instead of "Muslims"; "rumor". There was just a rumor and that was enough to do this? So, in Pakistan, there is freedom to act like this on a mere rumor while, otherwise, there is no freedom? Ajit Gandhi, Surendra Ullal, Atul Patel, Nand Kapur and others Chicago Disclaimer :- India Post does not endorse opinions expressed in the letters.

NEWS on your desktop

Mandir attending to the needs of the needy. The fair will be held on April 20 from 8 am. It will cover

Offering prayers at Holi Dahan

free blood check, EKG, bone density, eye exam, etc. The management wants those coming for

blood test to have 12 hours fasting. The service will be on the basis of first come first served.

20 India Post

Community Across America

March 21, 2014

Dhwani offers tribute to legendary Bollywood singers

Local singers taking audience to memory lanes Asian Media USA

CHICAGO: Dhwani Entertainment, promoters of local talent, presented "Fabulous Six - Tribute to Legendary Singers of Bollywood" at Elgin Community College, Art Center Building on Saturday, March 8. It was a breathtaking on stage show that took the audience to memory lane paying tribute to Kishore, Manna Dey, Rafi, Mukesh, Asha and Lataji. There were talented artists with live orchestra by M3 Group of Chicago. Dances were performed by Tarana Kathak Dance Academy by girls under the guidance of Shital Dhanani with songs compiled by legendary music directors. Shaurin Thakkar was MC of the program. One after the other melodious songs close to our hearts for every mood, happy, sad, romantic, masti, remembering the six eternal Bollywood

Dances from Tarana Dance Acamey

legends were vocalized by Chicago's very best singers like Shaila Khedkar, Rajesh Chalam and Padmini Rao. Other presenters were voice of 'Manna

Day', Virendra Kothariji and another very popular versatile singer Sreepathyji, and Nipa Shah. Dhwani is a conception of

A section of the audience

Virendra Kothari who has been immersed in musical programs for more than 15 years. It was his 38th wedding anniversary and he called on his wife on

stage along with their three daughters and paid tribute to his wife by singing 'Hamen Aur Jeeneki Chahat Na Hoti Agar Tum Na Hote'.

Community Across America

March 21, 2014

India Post 21

Philadelphia Museum has a Hindu Mandapa India Post News Service

PHILADELPHIA: The granite pillared Hindu temple Mandapa, dating back to 1550 is now part of Philadelphia Museum of Art in Pennsylvania. The Museum's collections include many Hindu objects including Vishnu, Shiva as Nataraja, Rama, Durga, Dancing Ganesha, Karttikeya, Kali, Face of Bhairava, Indra, Kamadhenu, Nandi, Surya, etc. The granite pillars, brackets, and slabs that form this temple hall (mandapa) come from the Madanagopalaswamy Temple, a sixteenth-century building complex in the south Indian city of Madurai. (The complex is dedicated to Krishna, an avatar of the

Hindu god Vishnu, and is still used for worship today.) The architectural elements installed here were purchased in 1912 by Adeline Pepper Gibson of Philadelphia while on a visit to Madurai. They are believed to have come primarily from a freestanding hall that once stood in front of the main shrine and was probably dismantled in the mid-nineteenth century. The eight stone slabs between the pillars' lion brackets depict scenes from the Ramayana, the epic tale of the hero Rama, another avatar of Vishnu. The slabs were originally part of a larger relief series that ran around the inside of the hall and narrated the entire Ramayana. The life-sized fig-

ures projecting from the central-aisle pillars are deities and characters from both the Ramayana and another major Hindu text, the Mahabharata. These include Garuda (the bird-man ve-

A view of the temple hall

hicle of Vishnu) and Hanuman (the monkey-general of the Ramayana). A variety of small relief images of divine and human figures also ornament the pillars, including Krishna as a baby, a couple making love, royal donors, and even the temple architect with his measuring stick. Rajan Zed, president of Universal Society of Hinduism, said that art had a long

An overview of Meeakshi Temple, Madurai

Indian woman gets CDO position at Nielsen SURENDRA ULLAL

D Sangeeta

CHICAGO: Nielsen, a leading global provider of information and insights into what consumers watch and buy, has announced the promotion of South Asian Dr D. Sangeeta to the role of Chief Diversity Officer, effective immediately. Sangeeta will report to Chief Executive Officer Mitch Barns. As Chief Diversity Officer, Sangeeta will be responsible for ensuring that Nielsen remains an employer and business partner of choice and enables innovation by leveraging diversity as a competitive advantage. She will also lead Nielsen's Diversity Council and employee resource groups, all of which serve to strengthen recruitment, retention, community outreach, and professional development.

and rich tradition in Hinduism and ancient Sanskrit literature talked about religious paintings of deities on wood or cloth. Rajan urged major art museums of the world; including Musee du Louvre and Musee d'Orsay of Paris, Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, Los Angeles Getty Center, Uffizi Gallery of Florence (Italy), Art Institute of Chicago, Tate Modern of London, Prado Museum of Madrid, National Gallery of Art in Washington DC, etc.; to have exclusive Hindu galleries, thus sharing the rich Hindu art heritage with the rest of the world. The Philadelphia Museum of Art, whose history goes back to 1876, is among the largest museums in the United States, with a collection of over 227,000 works of art and over 200 galleries presenting painting, sculpture, works on paper, photography, decorative arts, textiles, and architectural settings from Asia, Europe, Latin America, and the United States. Constance H. Williams is its Trustees Chair and Timothy Rub is the Director & CEO.

Tech News Easing food prices pull down inflation to 4.68% NEW DELHI: For the first time in nine months, inflation slipped below the psychological mark of 5 per cent in February on easing prices of onion and potato, creating headroom for RBI to cut interest rates in the monetary policy review on April 1 to boost sagging economic growth. Inflation based on movement in the Wholesale Price Index (WPI) came down to 4.68 per cent in February, from 7.28 per cent a year ago. It was 5.05 per cent in January 2014. "Need to watch inflation carefully... Happy that overall inflation is coming down," Finance Minister P Chidambaram said while expressing satisfaction over improvement in the price situation ahead of the general elections. Food inflation, which has been a major cause of concern for the government, dropped to 8.12 per cent in February, compared to 8.8 per cent in January as the rate of price rise slowed in almost all items, except fruits, rice and milk. Inflation, which is on decline since December, was 5.05 per cent in January. Prior to February, the lowest WPI was recorded in May 2013 at 4.58 per cent. In June, it had inched up again to 5.16 per cent.-PTI

TechBiz 22 India Post

Airbus India CEO Srinivasn Dwarakanath and Joost Van -DERHeijden, Head Marketing, addressing the media during India Aviation 2014 at Begumpet in Hyderabad on March 13

March 21, 2014

District of Columbia extends IT contract with Infosys NEW DELHI: Infosys has said that the District of Columbia in the US has extended its IT contract to implement the next phase of health insurance and Medicaid modernization program. Last year in January, the Bangalore-headquartered firm's US subsidiary Infosys Public Services was awarded the USD 49.5 million contract from the District of Columbia to develop its health insurance marketplace, the DC Health Link. "The US District of Columbia has extended its contract with Infosys Public Services, a USbased subsidiary of Infosys," the firm said in a statement. Under the new agreement,

Infosys Public Services will modernize the legacy eligibility system and additional federal and local

AAI plans cashless payment tool for pilots

Singapore University honors Ratan Tata

HYDERABAD: After providing cash-less payment system for air services operators across 95 airports in the country, the state-run Airports Authority now plans to take the technology on-board to facilitate pilots' easy payment clearances, a senior government official has said. The proposed WiFi-enabled system will facilitate pilots to make various airport-related payments like landing and navigation fee, etc from the cockpit by using any international credit card, Civil Aviation Ministry's joint secretary G Asok Kumar said here. Kumar, who had rolled out GPRS-enabled electronic data capture (EDC) machine at the Begumpet airport here for cashless payments at the just-concluded India Aviation Show here, said a trial run is already going on the Panjim airport in Goa currently for chartered flight operators and the same will be rolled out at other airports in due course of time. "Last year, 1,171 chartered flights had landed at the Panjim airport. The proposed system will make private airlines, chartered flights, tourists and others more welcome.-PTI

SINGAPORE: India's leading The honorary degree acknowlindustrialist Ratan Tata has been edges the 76-year-old's achieveconferred with an honorary degree ments as a visionary entrepreneur, of Doctor of Business by a a societal leader and an astute busiSingaporean university for his nessman. achievements as a visionary enIn 2008, the Singapore governtrepreneur m e n t and a sociawarded etal leader. Tata the 2007 The honHonorary orary deCitizen gree was award for jointly prehis valuable sented to contribution Tata, Chairto the man Emericountry's tus of the growth and Tata Group, developb y ment. Singapore's "Tata is Minister for an eminent Ratan Tata Education individual Heng Sweet who has exKeat and Singapore Management hibited true distinction in business University President Arnoud De and philanthropy and who has Meyer at a ceremony here. strong and active connections The ceremony, which was fol- with SMU both directly and lowed by a dialogue with Tata, was through his organizations. attended by about 100 guests, inThis award recognizes the ascluding India's High Commis- pirations, values and ideals that sioner to Singapore Ms Vijay he and his organizations share with Thakur Singh and SMU Senior our University," said Ho Kwon Fellow and former Singapore Presi- Ping, Chairman of SMU Board of dent S R Nathan. Trustees.-PTI

health and social programs for the US District of Columbia, it added. Infosys Public Services will le-

verage the foundational capabilities developed in 2013 to enable the District's agencies to collaborate with their constituents to achieve sustainable health and social benefit outcomes, it said. "The District is a leader in implementing the new healthcare insurance mandates and insurance marketplace," Infosys Public Services President and CEO Eric Paternoster said. Infosys Public Services provides consulting, systems integration, IT services, business process services, products & platforms solutions to health insurers and providers, government healthcare, federal and state & local government. -PTI

Indian arms imports three times than China, Pak NEW DELHI: India's import of weapon systems is three times higher than Pakistan and China as it continues to be the largest buyer of arms in the world, a Swedish think tank has said. "India's arms imports are now almost three times as high as those of the second and third largest arms importers - China and Pakistan," said the new data on international arms transfers published by Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).

dia in 2009-13 accounting for 75 per cent of imports and the United States with 7 per cent, which for the first time became the second largest arms supplier to India. "In contrast, the USA's share of Pakistani imports in the same period was 27 per cent. China was also a major supplier in the region, accounting for 54 per cent of Pakistani arms imports and 82 per cent of Bangladeshi imports," the report said.

The volume of Indian imports of major weapons rose by 111 per cent between 2004-2008 and 200913, and its share of the volume of international arms imports increased from 7 to 14 per cent. Meanwhile, Pakistan's imports of major arms increased by 119 per cent," the think tank said. The data said that Russia was the major supplier of arms to In-

Commenting on the arms supply business in the South Asian region, the SIPRI report said the US and China "appear to be using arms deliveries to Asia to strengthen their influence in the region". India relies on weapon imports for meeting its military requirements in absence of indigenous manufacturing industry. -PTI

TechBiz Post

March 21, 2014

India Post


SC dismisses Nokia plea to sell Indian assets NEW DELHI: Nokia suffered a jolt when the Supreme Court refused to lift the restraint on sale of its Indian assets, including the Chennai plant, as part of the handset maker's global deal with the Microsoft. The apex court dismissed Nokia's plea against the Delhi High Court order directing its parent company in Finland to give an undertaking to fulfill the conditions relating to payment of tax dues. The apex court's decision not to interfere with the High Court order assumes importance as it would put hurdles on Nokia to transfer its Chennai plant which is

a part of the USD 7.2 billion global deal with Microsoft. A bench, comprising justices A R Dave and Shiva Kirti Singh, declined to accept Nokia's plea for a direction to the Income Tax department for lifting of the stay on transfer of assets, including the Chennai manufacturing plant, in view of the deal with Microsoft. The apex court had earlier asked the Nokia India Pvt Ltd to come up with a concrete proposal to settle its tax row with the income tax department. The handset maker had said it would approach the tax authorities for their approval for the trans-

fer of its assets to Microsoft along with final valuation of its Indian assets. However, when the company

BlackBerry sells US headquarters to Property Group NEW DELHI: Faced with mounting losses and unsold inventory, struggling smartphone maker BlackBerry has sold its US office in Texas to Brookfield Property Group as it seeks to rationalize costs. Financial details of the trans-

offices globally, including one in India. Once a leader in the global smart phone market, BlackBerry has lagged behind competitors Samsung and Apple and lost market share steadily. For the quarter ended Novem-

the reported quarter. The pile up was mainly on account of unsold BlackBerry 10 devices, launched last year with much fanfare. BlackBerry started a program in 2012 to streamline operations and increase efficiency. Among other

Once a leader in the global smart phone market, BlackBerry has lagged behind competitors Samsung and Apple and lost market share steadily. action were not disclosed. "We can confirm that Brookfield Property Group has purchased BlackBerry's Irving, Texas campus property. BlackBerry will continue to be a tenant on the campus," a BlackBerry spokesperson told PTI. The move is being seen as a part of the Canadian handset maker's broader efforts to conserve cash and fund turnaround efforts amid intense competition from Apple and Google's Android operating system-based smartphones. Waterloo, Ontario-based BlackBerry had bought the upscale Riverside Commons sixbuilding complex in 2009. Brookfield is an alternative asset manager focused on property, renewable energy, infrastructure and private equity with over USD 175 billion in assets under management. It has eight corporate

ber 30, it posted a net loss of USD 4.4 billion compared with a loss of USD 965 million in the year-ago period. The loss includes a non-cash, pre-tax charge against inventory and supply commitments of approximately USD 1.6 billion during

things, the company sought to optimize its manufacturing footprint and outsource global repair services and reduce its workforce. BlackBerry said it would cut 4,500 positions to bring the total workforce to approximately 7,000 full-time global employees. -PTI

submitted the report of internal valuation of its Chennai plant and not that of an expert, the bench disapproved it. "This is no way. You should have got valuation report by an

expert. We wanted to have some authentic valuation," the court observed. Nokia's counsel submitted the projected tax demand is about Rs 21,000 crore. The Income Tax department's counsel said the company was not fair with the court and had "not come to court with clean hands". Solicitor General Mohan Prasaran said Nokia India had made no profits but it gave Rs 3,500 crore dividend to its parent company Nokia Corporation Finland by taking money from its reserves. "There were no profits. Dividends were paid. Dividends were paid from reserves. It appears fishy," the bench observed. -PTI

24 India Post

March 21, 2014

TechBiz Post

March 21, 2014

India Post


India, China hold third round of Ludhiana, Kanpur among world's top most polluted Economic Dialogue BEIJING: India and China held their third round of the Strategic Economic Dialogue here focusing on collaboration in a number of areas, including railways and Information Technology. The Indian side at the talks is headed by Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia while Xu Shaoshi, Chairman of the National Reforms Development Commission (NDRC) led the Chinese delegation. Ahead of the talks, five working groups covering different areas finalized the details for the high-level economic and trade dialogue between the two countries. The working groups covered areas like infrastructure, mainly the railways and operationally the agreement for service centers to

be set up in India for Chinese power equipment, environment and resources protection, water management and policy coordina-

Officials said the working group on infrastructure focused discussions to work out collaboration in strengthening the existing tracks in India to increase speed of the trains tion, collaboration on planning and urbanization, cooperation in high technology including the IT sector.

Reliance Life eyes Rs 1,800 cr new business NEW DELHI: Leading private insurer Reliance Life Insurance is targeting Rs 1,800 crore total new business premium in the current financial year, ending this month, and expects to continue a doubledigit growth in the next fiscal along with full-year profitability. The company recorded 56 per cent rise in its new business premium collection to Rs 1,424 crore during April-December period of 2013-14, from Rs 911 crore in the year-ago period. "We have continued our growth momentum in the first three quarters of this fiscal and achieved robust growth in our new business premium income during April-December 201314 with a focus on traditional products, agent productivity and improved quality of business. "We expect to end this fiscal with a new business premium collection of Rs 1,800 crore and log a doubledigit and profitable growth next fiscal," Reliance Life Insurance CEO Anup Rau told PTI. The company posted 18.2 per cent growth in its new business premium income in the third quarter ended December 31, 2013 to Rs 401 crore, helped by a significant increase in its individual insurance business. Reliance Life, part of Anil Ambani-led Reliance Group's financial services arm Reliance

Capital, registered a 4 per cent growth in its total income, comprising new business and renewal collections, at Rs 971 crore in the third quarter. The average ticket size rose by over 33 per cent to over Rs 20,400 in the third quarter of this fiscal. The total funds under management of Reliance Life as on December 31, 2013, stood at Rs 18,073 crore, while its profit grew to Rs

27 crore in the third quarter. "Agency productivity improvement continues to be the key growth driver. The proprietary channels have also started making a visible contribution to the top-line," Rau said. However, the company's renewal premium collection fell to Rs 574 crore during the October-December quarter of 2013-14 from Rs 596 crore in the corresponding period a year ago.-PTI

Officials said the working group on infrastructure focused discussions to work out collaboration in strengthening the existing tracks in India to increase speed of the trains, official sources said. They said talks would be centered on high speed tracks rather than high speed trains in which China has developed expertise in recent years. The two sides would also discuss collaboration on improving heavy haul and redevelopment of the railway stations. Present global economic situation, cooperation in international monetary and financial systems, global commodity markets, sustainable development and climate change would also figure in the discussion. -PTI

People can get pre-2005 notes exchanged at bank NEW DELHI: All banks will exchange pre-2005 currency notes, including Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 denominations, till January 1, 2015, following a Reserve Bank directive asking banks to help the public get rid of old currency notes. There is no limit on the number of notes that can be exchanged. RBI has decided to withdraw the pre-2005 currency notes from circulation and asked the holders of such currency to exchange them by January 1, 2015. The earlier deadline was June 30. Thereafter, people would have had to produce identity proof to exchange more than 10 notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000. In the recently released FAQs, the RBI said: "Banks have been advised to freely provide this exchange facility to all members of public, whether customer or non-customer." RBI further said that there is no such restriction on the number of pieces that can be exchanged. "Banks have been advised to freely exchange these notes till January 1, 2015." Meanwhile, banks have been advised to stop re-issue of the pre-2005 series notes over the counters/through ATMs. The banks have been asked to forward the pre-2005 notes to RBI. -PTI

PARIS: Paris has leapt into the headlines over an alert for dangerous atmospheric particles, yet it does not ordinarily count among the world's most polluted cities that include Ludhiana and Kanpur in India. Here are the top 10 cities for which data is available, according to a 2011 World Health Organization (WHO) report. The pollution is measured as the microgram (mcg) concentration per cubic meter of air of particulate matter smaller than 10 micrometers (PM10) - about a seventh of the width of a human hair. The figures are the average for the year. Seasonal spikes can be many t i m e s higher. T h e W H O ' s h e a l t h guidelines are maximum exposure of 20 mcg/m3, measured as an annual average. 1) Ahvaz, Iran 372 mcg/m3 (2009 data); 2) Ulan Bator, Mongolia 279 mcg/m3 (2008 data); 3) Sanandaj, Iran 254 mcg/m3 (2009 data); 4) Ludhiana, India (2008 data) and Quetta, Pakistan (2003/4 data) tied at 251 mcg/m3; 5) Kermanshah, Iran 229 mcg/m3 (2009 data); 6) Peshawar, Pakistan 219 mcg/ m3 (2003/4 data); 7) Gaborone, Botswana 216 mcg/m3 (2005 data); 8) Yasuj, Iran 215 mcg/m3 (2009 data); 9) Kanpur, India 209 mcg/

m3 (2008 data); 10) Lahore, Pakistan 200 mcg/m3 (2003/4 data) Paris, whose levels hit a high of 180 mcg/m3 recently, has an annual mean level of 38 mcg/m3 according to 2008 data. Beijing, which has also been in the news over smothering smog, is listed with an annual mean figure of 121 mcg/m3. The Middle East and North Africa is the world's most polluted region with an annual mean level well over 130 mcg/m3, followed by Southeast Asia with a level near 100 mcg/m3.

The WHO estimates more than two million people die every year from breathing indoor and outdoor particle pollution. Particles are released by burning petrol and diesel for car and motorcycle combustion, or coal, fuel wood, charcoal and animal waste for heating and cooking. Weather conditions can drastically affect pollution levels, as in Paris where particles were trapped by a high pressure system causing sunny days and cold nights, with little wind. Particulate pollution is also measured by levels of particles called PM2.5.-AFP

NRI deposits rise in Oman Indian banks DUBAI: The deposit portfolio of NRIs of Indian banks in Oman went up 43.5 per cent year-on-year in January-end, according to a report. The outstanding Non Resident Indians deposit rose to USD 99.15 billion in January from USD 98.63 billion in December 2013. Under the Foreign Currency Non Resident FCNR (B) category, these were USD 40.7 billion at the end of January, up from USD 40.4 billion in December 2013, the Times of Oman said quoting the latest RBI data. "The rise can be attributed to the steps taken by Reserve Bank of India in August and September

2013, to attract NRI deposits, to attract foreign exchange, to stem the fall in the rupee's value against the dollar," Indian bankers in Muscat were quoted by the newspaper as saying. However, they do not see the NRI deposits growth sustaining as the rupee is gaining strength. According to World Bank's report - Migration and Development Brief -the top recipients of officially recorded remittances for 2013 were India (USD 71 billion) followed by China (USD 60 billion), the Philippines (USD 26 billion), Mexico (USD 22 billion), Nigeria (USD 21 billion), and Egypt (USD 20 billion). -PTI

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March 21, 2014

NEW JERSEY Upcoming Sat, Mar 22 • Carnatic Music Mela 2014 Venue: Guruvayoorappan Temple Auditorium, Wooleytown Rd, Marlboro Township, NJ 07751 Time: 9:00 am Contact: 7328218410

Sat, Mar 22 • Page 3 Parties Venue: Dorrians, 555 Washington Blvd, Jersey City, NJ 07310 Time: 09: 00 am Contact: 201-600-1120

Fri, Mar 28 • Sangam 2014 Venue: The Hindu Temple Society Of North America, 45-57 Bowne St, NJ 11355 Time: 6:00pm Contact: 732-398-9022

NEW YORK Upcoming Fri, Mar 28 • Sangam 2014 - NY Venue: The Hindu Temple Society Of North America, 45-57 Bowne St, New York, NY 11355 Time: 6:00 pm Contact: 347-989-6104

Sat, Mar 29 • Zakir Hussain and The Masters of Percussion

Venue: The Theater at Madison Square Garden, Seventh Avenue between 31st and 33rd Streets, New York, NY 10001 Time : 8:00 pm Contact : 866-858-0008

Thu, Apr 3

India Post 27





Sat, Mar 22 • Raat Chand aur Gulzar Venue: Carrington Hall, 1201 Brewster

Sun, Mar 22 • Aav Taru Kari Nakhu

Ave, Redwood City, CA 94062

Venue: Smith Center at Ohlone College,

Time: 7 pm

43600 Mission Blvd, Fremont, CA 94539

Sat, Mar 22 • Brahma Kumaris Silicon Valley Meditation Center has organized a special talk on "Make Mind Your Best Friend"

Time: 6:00 pm

Sun, Mar 23 • Lalgudi GJR Krishnan & Lalgudi Vijayalakshmi

Venue: 821 Anacapa Court, Milpitas,

Venue: Jain Temple, 722 South Main Street,

CA 95035

Milpitas, CA 95035

Time : 10:00 am to 12:00 noon

Time: 3:30 pm

• DJ Rekha Presents Basement Bhangra


Venue: Le Poisson Rouge, 158 Bleecker Street, New York, NY 10012 Time: 08:00 pm

Sat, Mar 22 • BAYVP Dhuleti 2014 Celebrations

ATLANTA Upcoming

Time: 11:30 pm

Fri, Mar 21 • Hassi Ke Hungame with Johnny Lever

Contact: 510 897 8111

Venue: Atlanta Event Hall, 3750 Venture

Venue: Shreemaya Krishnadham, 25 Corning Ave., Milpitas, CA 95035

ILLINOIS Upcoming • J K Yog Satsang and Bal Mukund Hindi Classes are held every 2nd and 4rth Sunday of Month Chicago Satsang Information: J K Yog, Chicago - Swami Mukundananda Venue: Clarion Inn/Waterford Banquets, Board Room, 933 South Riverside Drive, Elmhurst, IL 60126 Time: 3:30pm-5:30pm Contact: Ajay & Arti Chandhok @ 630-561-4807 Website:

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 Website:

Drive, Duluth, GA 30096

Sun, Apr 13

Sat, Mar 22 • Holi On The Beach 2014

Time: 7:00 pm

• Music Program For Blind Foundation Of India

Venue: Will Rogers State Beach (between Los Angeles, CA 90272

Sun, Mar 16 • Alka Yagnik Udit Narayan 100 Years Of Celebration

Time: 11 a.m

Venue: SAtlanta Symphony Hall, 1280

Contact: 8435032133

Peachtree Street NE, Atlanta, GA 30303

Venue: Avery Coonley Performing Arts Center 1400 Maple Avenue, Downers Grove, IL 60515 Time : 5:00 pm - 10:00 pm Contact: 630-548-5531

towers 5&6), Pacific Coast Hwy,

Sat, Mar 29 • Hilarious Gujarati Drama Venue: Carrington Hall, 1201 Brewster Avenue, Redwood City, CA 94062 Time: 11:00 am Contact: 510-304-2903

Time: 9:00 pm

Mondays and Fridays

Sat, Apr 19 • Vaisakhi Celebration 2014

• Free ESL - English as Second Language Classes Where: Metropolitan Asian Family Services

Venue: Ashiana Global Mall, 5675 Jimmy Carter Blvd, Norcross, GA 30071 Time: 7:00pm

Venue: 9015 N Milwaukee Ave, Niles, IL, Time: 10:30am to 12:30pm Contact: 773-465-3105


1 Tune Maari Entriyaan: Gunday 2 Mann Kunto Maula: Gunday 3 Zehnaseeb: Hasee Toh Phasee 4 Patakha Guddi: Highway 5 Ishq Bulaava: Hasee Toh

March 21, 2014

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anbir Kapoor and Anushka Sharma have been shooting for Anurag Kashyap's Bombay Velvet in Tissa in South Sri Lanka where a world-class set has been created inside their film city. Ranbir and Anushka are staying at a luxurious resort about 45 minutes away from the shooting location inside the famous Yala National Park. Virat Kohli was spotted on a 5.30 flight from Colombo to Mumbai after having spent the last few days with his lady love. All through the flight he was fast asleep as obviously he drove through the night before to catch the morning flight from Colombo. It is also learnt that Katrina was back in Colombo to again spend time with Ranbir. Interestingly, both Katrina and Virat were in Yala on a joint date. It was great to see both Virat and Katrina take the six-hour journey to be with their respective lovers.

28 India Post

"I have a Kajol song - 'Bhala hai bura hai jaisa bhi hai mera pati mera devata hai...' (Whether he is good or bad, my husband is my god)"


t's been 15 years since Kajol married Ajay Devgn, but she still finds him to be the "sexiest actor" in Bollywood, and says she craves to go on a romantic date with him as they don't get "enough" time. During a tete-a-tete on her filmmaker friend Karan Johar's celebrity chat show "Koffee With Karan", she was asked - "Who is the sexiest actor in the movies? Objectively today?" Pat came the reply: "My husband." The filmmaker, who considers Kajol as his lucky charm and who has roped her in for all his movies so far, pulled her leg by saying: "I have a Kajol song 'Bhala hai bura hai jaisa bhi hai mera pati mera devata hai...' (Whether he is good or bad, my husband is my god)" Kajol retorted: "I am sorry it's got nothing (to do with that). ...I really find him the sexiest actor, I really like those dark brooding looks! It's got to do with my personal taste." Since both the actors lead busy lives, when Kajol was asked to name "a person from the film industry you would like to take on a romantic date", she said: "My husband!" Justifying her response, Kajol said: "I don't get enough time with him. I would really like to take him out for a romantic date."

Phasee 6 Maahi Ve: Highway 7 Jashn-e-Ishqa: Gunday 8 Kinare : Queen 9 Zabaan Jale Hai: Dedh Ishqiya 10 Jugni: Queen


March 21, 2014


onakshi Sinha, who has sung for the first time in the dubbed Hindi version of Hollywood film 'Rio 2', feels she is not better than a bathroom singer. Sonakshi, 26, has crooned a few lines and also dubbed for 'Rio 2', the sequel to 2011's hit animation flick 'Rio'. "There is a scene where Jewel (the character for which she has dubbed) is dancing and singing so they made me sing a few lines. It was a new experience, I would have even loved to sing more but unfortunately I am just a bathroom singer,"



t was sunny day in Jaipur when Sunny Leone flew in to pro mote her upcoming film and interact with her fans. After a day full of events around the city, Sunny said in an interview that her fan-following in India at times gives her nightmares. Sharing her fears about overnight stardom, Sunny said, "Anybody would be flattered to know that he or she is admired and loved by people. But, at times, it gives me nightmares.

J she said. Sonakshi has lent her voice to some funny lines in the film as Jewel, the memorable macaw (from the hit sequel 'Rio').


acqueline Fernandez, who is fitness conscious herself, believes Deepika Padukone and Salman Khan are the greatest fitness icons of the Hindi film industry. While Jacqueline worked with Deepika in "Race 2" last year, she will be seen opposite superstar Salman in Sajid Nadiadwala's "Kick". "I think a great icon or inspiration for fitness is Deepika Padukone," Jacqueline said in an interview. "Since I have worked with her, I have seen how dedicated she is to her fitness regime, how she works out in the gym, how healthy she is and what healthy food she eats," she added. Among the male actors, Jacqueline feels Salman and John make for great fitness icons.

ast April, Mona Singh and Vidyut Jamwal hit rock bottom in their relationship after an allegedly doctored MMS of hers was leaked online. But, it seems the lovers have now reconciled. Recently, the couple was spotted enjoying a hearty meal at a plush suburban hotel. And keeping them company was Gaurav Gera who had worked with Mona in the TV show Jassi Jaissi Koi Nahin and still shares a cordial relationship with the actress. A friend of Vidyut said, "Mona and Vidyut were absolutely smitten with each other and were even contemplating marriage. But, then with the MMS coming out, things got a little uncomfortable between the two. But, recently they reconnected and cleared the air. They realized that it was foolish of them to have parted ways over such a trivial issue.

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March 21, 2014

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„ Health


Obama: Enough have enrolled for stable health care WASHINGTON: President Barack Obama says enough Americans have signed up for health care to make his signature law work. Obama told medical web site WebMD that the 4.2 million people enrolled for this year, quote, "is already large enough that I'm confident the program will be stable." The President acknowledged in an interview that the mix of people who sign up is actually more important than the number. More young and healthy people need to enroll to offset the cost of caring for older, sicker patients. Obama's 30-minute interview with the health information website is part of his campaign to get more Americans to enroll before the March 31 deadline to get coverage for this year. -AP

„ Doctor says firing over patient's photo unfair GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.: An emergency room doctor has sued Spectrum Health Hospitals, saying it wrongfully eliminated her job over her Facebook post about a photo of the backside of a woman. The Grand Rapids Press says Dr Catherine Puetz filed the suit in federal court, saying the hospital company incorrectly found her to have violated federal patient record policy rules. Puetz says she saw a picture Aug. 5, 2013, posted by a nurse. Puetz says she thought she recognized the woman as someone she had seen both in public and at the Grand Rapids hospital. The doctor says she posted a comment on the photo saying: ``OMG. Is that TB?'' Spectrum Health investigated and disciplined several employees. It declined comment on Puetz's lawsuit. Puetz worked as a contractor for the hospital. -AP

Health Science

Study to test 'chocolate' pills for heart health Details on Page 35

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March 21, 2014

Process to remove dead cells can reduce diseases MELBOURNE: An Australian research has shed new light on how dead and dying cells are removed from the human body, a breakthrough which can help potentially reduce numerous diseases. According to the Melbournebased La Trobe University, the research could potentially lead to new ways to boost the body's defense mechanisms and better treat a range of inflammatory diseases such as heart problems. Cell biologist Ivan Poon, who has been studying the protein Pannexin 1 (PANX1) used by a dying cell to signal 'defender' white blood cells or phagocytes to find and remove that cell, discovered that the same protein is essential to cellular integrity and can control the ability of the dying cell to break into smaller 'bite sized' pieces which can then be removed more efficiently by phagocytes.

The discovery, made by Poon in conjunction with colleagues at both La Trobe University and the University of Virginia, has been scheduled for advance online publication on Poon said more than two hun-

man health that they are removed quickly and efficiently. "The accumulation of unwanted dead and dying cells in the human body is linked to numerous disease states including inflammation and cardiovascular

dred billion cells die each day in the average adult human body as part of a normal turnover in various organs. He said it was essential to hu-

diseases, autoimmunity, cancer and infections, so it is vital that we better understand this process," Poon said. "Now, for the first time, we

have a much clearer understanding of the mechanisms of cell disassembly and removal that are taking place on such a massive scale in all of our bodies every day of our lives." Doing this is a bit like accelerating the demolition of the dying cell. By further improving the efficiency of the body's own 'clean up' mechanism we can potentially reduce the impact of inflammatory diseases, he said. "In the case of heart disease, the faster the body can clear away dead cells in the cholesterol plaque on the walls of our arteries, the more we can slow plaque progression and reduce the impact of one of Australia's biggest killers. "It is still early days, but I hope this discovery will change the way scientists understand and mitigate common diseases that impact millions of people around the world," he added. -PTI

Call for ban on paan masala, gutka in Kerala THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: A group of bureaucrats, health professionals and social advocates in Kerala have collectively given a call to ban consumption of tobacco-based paan masala and gutka products by law, following the example of Assam, which recently passed such a legislation. Reflecting public sentiment, they said the desired impact of the ban - of reducing the public health burden - cannot be achieved unless consumption is also prohibited. K Anil Kumar, Commissioner (in-charge), Food Safety, said illicit smuggling of these products into Kerala is one of the major challenges in implementing an effective ban. He said stringent action has been taken against violators since 2012 when Kerala banned these products. However, illicit smuggling of these products

has been a major challenge in implementing an effective ban of paan masala and gutka containing tobacco and nicotine, he said in a release today. Kerala is the second state after Madhya Pradesh to ban manufac-

K Ramadas, Medical Superintendent, Regional Cancer Centre here said that while oncologists and the medical fraternity at large can treat and provide care to the cancer afflicted, legislative reform, as effected in Assam, would have

ture, storage, sale or distribution of gutka and paan masala containing tobacco or nicotine as ingredients under the Food Safety and Standards (Prohibition and Restriction on Sales) Regulations 2011.

far reaching positive implications. "Chewing tobacco, whether it is paan masala and gutka, is a major cause of cancers affecting the head and neck in Kerala," he said. Ramadas said he had seen several youth who had lost their taste

buds, parts of their tongue and jawbones due to use of these smokeless tobacco products. "This sorry state can be corrected to a great extent if Kerala can also legislatively ban the consumption of chewing tobacco products," he said. Assam has banned consumption of paan masala, gutka, zarda and so on containing tobacco or nicotine under 'Assam Health (Prohibition of manufacturing, advertisement, trade, storage, distribution, sale and consumption of zarda, gutka, paan masala, etc, containing tobacco and/or nicotine) Act, 2013'. The Act also makes specific reference on prohibiting advertisements of these products. Violators are liable to be punished with imprisonment up to seven years and a fine between Rs one lakh and Rs five lakh, the release added. -PTI

March 21, 2014

Health Science Post

India Post 33

Gene family can suppress prostate cancer WASHINGTON: Scientists have discovered direct genetic evidence that a family of genes are tumor suppressors. Cornell University researchers said that MicroRNA-34 gene family (miR-34), act as bona fide tumor suppressors. Previous research at Cornell and elsewhere has shown that another gene, called p53, acts to positively regulate miR-34. Mutations of p53 have been implicated in half of all cancers. MiR-34 is also frequently silenced by mechanisms other than p53 in many cancers, including those with p53 mutations. The researchers showed in mice how interplay between genes p53 and miR-34 jointly inhibits another cancer-causing gene called MET. In absence of p53 and miR-34, MET overexpresses a receptor protein and promotes unregulated cell growth and metastasis. This is the first time this mechanism has been proven in a mouse model, said

Alexander Nikitin, the research paper's senior author. In a 2011 study, Nikitin and colleagues

Genes may thwart elderly's exercise gains WASHINGTON: Scientists have found that a particular gene in some elderly people may prevent them from fully reaping the health benefits of exercise. Exercise has repeatedly been shown to reduce or slow age-related declines in physical function and is widely recommended for seniors, but the way that older people respond to exercise varies widely, researchers said. A new study by Thomas W Buford from Department of Aging and Geriatric Research, University of Florida, studied whether the ACE I/ D gene and its variations the ID, DD, and II genotypes - impact some seniors' ability to fully reap the benefits of exercise. Researchers followed 424 sedentary, mobility-limited seniors aged 70-89 for a year. Participants were randomly placed in a group that focused on either health education or physical activity. The health education group received ongoing presentations on eating right, how to properly use medication, and other information on maintaining a healthy lifestyle, but did not perform exercise as part of the study. Seniors in the physical activity group were taught a variety of strength (eg, squats and leg raises) and balance exercises and a walking program that they were encouraged to perform both in a group setting and at home. The researchers measured changes in walking speed and participants' ability to

perform other tasks such as getting up from a chair. They found that the physical activity intervention led to greater improvements walking speed among ID and DD genotype carriers (29.9 per cent and 13.7 per cent respectively). However, among II genotype carriers, health education alone led to more improvements in walking speed than physical ac-

tivity intervention (20 per cent vs 18.5 per cent). In the physical activity group, II carriers also experienced smaller gains in lower body performance than those in the health education group. These findings suggest that the ACE I/ D genotype may be a significant factor in how well seniors respond to exercise, researchers said. The study is published in the journal Physiological Genomics. -PTI

showed that p53 and miR-34 jointly regulate MET in cell culture but it remained unknown if the same mechanism works in a

mouse model of cancer. The findings suggest that drug therapies that target and suppress MET could be especially successful in cancers where both p53 and miR-34 are deficient. The researchers used mice bred to develop prostate cancer, then inactivated the p53 gene by itself, or miR-34 by itself, or

both together, but only in epithelium tissue of the prostate, as global silencing of these genes may have produced misleading results. When miR-34 genes alone were silenced in the mice, the mice developed cancer free. When p53 was silenced by itself, there were signs of precancerous lesions early in development, but no cancer by 15 months of age. When miR-34 and p53 genes were both silenced together, the researchers observed full prostate cancer in the mice. The findings show that "miR-34 can be a tumor-suppressor gene, but it has to work together with p53," Nikitin said. In mice that had both miR-34 and p53 silenced concurrently, cancerous lesions formed in a proximal part of the prostrate ducts, in a compartment known to contain prostate stem cells. The early lesions that developed when p53 was silenced alone occurred in a distal part of the ducts, away from the compartment where the stem cell pool is located. This suggested there was another mechanism involved when p53 and miR-34 were jointly silenced. "These results indicated that together [miR-34 and p53] regulate the prostate stem cell compartments," said Nikitin. The study is published in the journal Cell Reports. -PTI

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Health Science Post

March 21, 2014

Married women less likely to Rare female-to-female HIV case reported in US die from heart disease LONDON: Married women are 28 per cent less likely to die from heart disease than unmarried women, a new Oxford study has claimed. This is despite the fact that marriage makes no difference to women's chances of developing heart disease in the first place, researchers said. The reasons for this difference are not known, but Dr Sarah Floud and colleagues at Oxford University's Cancer Epidemiology Unit suggest one explanation could be that the partners of married women may encourage them to seek early medical treatment for symptoms. The researchers say there may be other possible explanations too. For example, other studies have shown that partners tend to encourage their spouses to take medication and make changes in unhealthy lifestyles. The findings come from the latest analysis of data from a large UK study of women's health, the Million Women Study. The study, published in the journal BMC Medicine, included 730,000 women who were on average 60 years old. Over a nine-

year period, 30,000 of these women developed heart disease and 2,000 died from the condition. Researchers found that mar-

socio-economic status and lifestyle, but the lower risk of death from heart disease remained. "Married women were no less likely to develop heart disease

ried women, or those living with a partner, had the same risk of developing heart disease as unmarried women (this included single, widowed and divorced women). But the chance of dying from heart disease was 28 per cent lower. The study took many factors into account that could have influenced the results, such as age,

than women who were not married, but they were less likely to die from it," Floud said. "This means that, over 30 years, about three in 100 married women would die from heart disease compared with about four in 100 women who are not married or living with a partner," said Floud. -PTI

WASHINGTON: A 46-year-old woman in the US has likely acquired HIV from her female partner in a rare case of female-to-female sexual transmission of the deadly AIDS virus, scientists say. The woman "likely" acquired the virus during a six-month monogamous relationship with a 43year-old HIV-positive woman in Texas, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported. In August 2012, the Houston Department of Health contacted CDC regarding the rare transmission of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) likely by sexual contact between two women. Laboratory testing confirmed that the woman with newly diagnosed HIV infection had a virus virtually identical to that of her female partner, who was diagnosed previously with HIV and who had stopped receiving antiretroviral treatment in 2010. The woman with newly acquired infection did not report any other recognized risk factors for HIV infection, and the viruses in-

heterosexual sex, tattooing, acupuncture, piercing, use of shared sex toys between the partners and other persons, exposure to body fluids of others, and receipt of transplants or transfusion, the report said. The woman who acquired HIV had a history of heterosexual intercourse, but not in the 10 years before HIV infection. She reported three female sexual partners in the preceding 5 years but said she had no IDU, receipt of tattoos, acupuncture, transfusions, transplants, or any other recognized HIV risk behavior. The woman supplemented her income by selling her plasma and had tested negative for HIV by HIV-1/2 enzyme immunoassay (EIA) serology screening after donating plasma in March 2012. In April, 10 days after donating plasma, the woman went to an emergency department with a sore throat, fever, vomiting, decreased appetite, pain on swallowing, dry cough, frequent diarrhea, and muscle cramps.

fecting the two women had 98 per cent sequence identity in three genes. Transmission of HIV between women who have sex with women (WSW) has been reported rarely and is difficult to ascertain. The potential for HIV transmission by female-to-female sexual contact includes unprotected exposure to vaginal or other body fluids and to blood from menstruation or to exposure to blood from trauma during rough sex. Other potential exposures associated with HIV transmission in WSW that must be ruled out include injection drug use (IDU),

At that time, she was again tested for HIV by EIA serology screening, and the results were negative. She was treated with azithromycin for a presumed upper respiratory infection and discharged. Eighteen days later, the woman attempted to sell plasma but was refused because she tested positive for HIV by EIA serology screening followed by an HIV-1 Western blot test. On July 5, results of repeated EIA and Western blot tests conducted on the woman at a health clinic were positive for HIV infection. -PTI

Large waist tied to poor health WASHINGTON: Having a big belly is detrimental to your health, even if you have a healthy body mass index (BMI), a new study has warned. The international collaborative study led by a Mayo Clinic researcher found that men and women with large waist circumferences were more likely to die younger, and were more likely to die from illnesses such as heart disease, cancer and respiratory problems. The researchers accounted for body mass index, smoking, alcohol use and physical activity. They pooled data from 11 different cohort studies, including more than 600,000 people from around the world. They found that men with waists 43 inches or greater in circumference had a 50 per cent higher mortality risk than men with waists less than 35 inches, and this translated to about a threeyear lower life expectancy after age 40. Women with a waist circumference of 37 inches or greater had

about an 80 per cent higher mortality risk than women with a waist circumference of 27 inches or less, and this translated to about a fiveyear lower life expectancy after age 40. Importantly, risk increased in a linear fashion such that for every 2 inches of greater circumference, mortality risk went up about 7 per cent in men and about 9 per cent in women. Thus, there was not one natural "cutpoint" for waist circumference that could be used in the clinic, as risk increased across the spectrum of circumferences. A n other key finding was that elevated mortality risk with increasing waist circumference was observed

at all levels of BMI, even among people who had normal BMI levels. Because of the large size of this pooled study, researchers were able to clearly show the independent contribution of waist circumference after accounting for BMI, said James Cerhan, a Mayo Clinic epidemiologist and lead author of the study. "BMI is not a perfect measure. It doesn't discriminate lean mass from fat mass, and it also doesn't say anything about where your weight is located.. -PTI

March 21, 2014

Health Science Post

India Post 35

Study to test 'chocolate' pills for heart health It won't be nearly as much fun as eating candy bars, but a big study is being launched to see if pills containing the nutrients in dark chocolate can help prevent heart attacks and strokes. The pills are so packed with nutrients that you'd have to eat countless candy bars to get the amount being tested in this study, which will enroll 18,000 men and women across the U.S. ``People eat chocolate because they enjoy it,'' not because they think it's good for them, and the idea of the study is to see whether there are health benefits from chocolate's ingredients minus the sugar and fat, said Dr. JoAnn Manson, preventive medicine chief at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. The study will be the first large test of cocoa flavanols, which in previous smaller studies improved blood pressure, cholesterol, the body's use of insulin, artery health and other heart-related factors. A second part of the study will test multivitamins to help prevent cancer. Earlier research suggested this benefit but involved just older, unusually healthy men. Researchers want to see if multivitamins

lower cancer risk in a broader population. The study will be sponsored by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute and Mars Inc., maker of M&M's and Snickers

coa extract capsules, but with less active ingredient than those that will be tested in the study. Candy contains even less. ``You're not going to get these protec-

bars. The candy company has patented a way to extract flavanols from cocoa in high concentration and put them in capsules. Mars and some other companies sell co-

tive flavanols in most of the candy on the market. Cocoa flavanols are often destroyed by the processing,'' said Manson, who will lead the study with Howard Sesso at Brigham and others at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle. Participants will get dummy pills or two capsules a day of cocoa flavanols for four years, and neither they nor the study lead-

Wis. proposal would require coroners be licensed GREEN BAY, Wis.: A number of controversies involving Wisconsin death investigations have renewed calls for stiffer requirements for coroners and medical examiners. A Press-Gazette Media report says Wisconsin is one of a handful of states that doesn't require those officials to have specific training. Critics say that can impede criminal investigations. Republican state Rep. Chad Weininger says right now anyone can be elected coro-

ner, regardless of qualifications. He says that could ultimately allow someone to get away with murder. The daughter of a man who died in Monroe County in 2010 wonders if that already happened. Robert Lichtie died after a fall that family members consider suspicious but a coroner allowed his body to be cremated before authorities could rule out foul play. Proposed changes include requiring those who investigate deaths to be licensed. -AP

ers will know who is taking what during the study. The flavanol capsules are coated and have no taste, said Manson, who tried them herself. In the other part of the study, participants will get dummy pills or daily multivitamins containing a broad range of nutrients. Participants will be recruited from existing studies, which saves money and lets the study proceed much more quickly, Manson said, although some additional people with a strong interest in the research may be allowed to enroll. The women will come from the Women's Health Initiative study, the long-running research project best known for showing that menopause hormone pills might raise heart risks rather than lower them as had long been thought. Men will be recruited from other large studies. Manson also is leading a governmentfunded study testing vitamin D pills in 26,000 men and women. Results are expected in three years. People love vitamin supplements but ``it's important not to jump on the bandwagon'' and take pills before they are rigorously tested, she warned. ``More is not necessarily better,'' and research has shown surprising harm from some nutrients that once looked promising, she said. -AP

36 India Post

March 21, 2014

India Post 37

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Realty Tidbits

Indian firm to raise Bahrain project investment DUBAI: Indian real estate firm Ajmera Mayfair Realty will increase its current investment in Bahrain Bay Development from USD 30 million to USD 300 million, a news report has said. Real estate developers Ajmera Group and Mayfair Housing have formed the Ajmera Mayfair Realty Group and jointly invested in the purchase of a waterfront land parcel at Bahrain Bay, a Gulf Daily News report said. The company will begin construction of a 50-storey high-rise commercial tower on the land by the end of the year. Ajmera Mayfair Realty Group representatives met Bahrain's King Hamad during his visit to India accompanied by a business delegation that included Bahrain Bay Development deputy chief executive Abdulla Al Doseri. -PTI

„ Agent, kin booked for cheating flat buyers THANE: A property finance agent and his kin were booked on charge of cheating three persons to the tune of Rs 2.17 crore by promising them flats in the city, police said. The accused Amit Singh, who had his office in Anat Laxmi Chambers near Thane station, is in the business of property finance for flats, they said. Assistant Police Inspector of Naupada station, S G Kale said Singh had taken Rs 2.17 crore collectively from three persons, namely Mohanlal Agarwal (Rs 75,00,000), Ashok Ghag (Rs 39,00,000) and Arun Sulakhe (Rs 1,03,25,000) from December 2013, for buying them flats in the city. However, the complainants did not get any flat as promised by Singh, following which they approached police. "Singh has withdrawn money from bank accounts of victims who had made payment by cheques and DDs," Kale said. -PTI

Real Estate 38

India Post

March 21, 2014

Fredericksburg stadium group gets extension FREDERICKSBURG, Va.: Fredericksburg has given investors a 90-day extension to finalize their acquisition of land for a minor league baseball complex. The group had faced a deadline to study the 38-acre site, prepare construction plans and finalize financing. The property is owned by the U.S. National Slavery Museum, which failed to pay city real estate taxes. The Fredericksburg Treasurer's Office agreed last October to postpone a public auction of the property for 150 days while details of the sale are finalized. -AP

'Gruhapravesh' Property Show to hold 3rd Edition in US India Post News Service

CHENNAI: After a string of successful property shows across India, is all set to announce the 3rd Edition of its flagship property shows Gruhapravesh, tour of the US. Top builders from all over India will participate in this event, showcasing around 100 projects across all segments. has redefined property shows over the past few years. The US Edition of Gruhapravesh is all set to reach new heights with a wide array of new properties to be showcased this year. Over the last 30 months Gruhapravesh has seen record breaking response with more than 500,000 customers, 1680 plus onspot bookings and 492 happy builders and promoters. Last edi-

to a fresh round of investments, the total estimated sale value is expected to reach $ 15 million mark this year. According to Ganesh Vasudevan, CEO, "We have seen a huge demand and interest by the NRI clientele in the Indian real estate market. The market has seen a slump in the recent past and is said to stabilize post the general elections. This is the right time to invest as the prices are relatively lower. The falling Indian rupee has also fueled this interest over the years. With the event centered around four major cities in the US, with a huge Indian population, we expect an outstanding response at Gruhapravesh 2014."

Schedule for Gruhapravesh 2014:

India Property Online Pvt. Ltd. is country's leading portal in the tion of Gruhapravesh in the US saw top builders like Lodha, Puravankara, Brigade Group, The Chennai Homes, Trinity etc. participating in the flagship property show. With the NRIs warming up

online real estate space. Launched in 2006, offers one-stop property marketing solutions serving builders, real estate agents and home owners to sell or rent their properties, while

offering a feature rich interface for property buyers to search and

identify properties that match their requirement. India Property has pioneered several innovations such as Assisted Property - India's first online assisted property search service, Gruhapravesh - India's first series of virtual and offline property shows and India's first augmented reality based Real Estate Mobile Application amongst others. The portal receives over 1.2 million unique visitors a month, has 4.5 lakh properties listed across 20 cities, 3 million active registered users and over 1000 new projects advertised. For enquiries contact: Lijin Thomas @ +919840351137

Residential prices soften in Delhi-NCR Housing prices have declined by an average 8 per cent in DelhiNCR during 2013 compared with the year-ago period due to slowdown in property market amid economic and political uncertainties, a study said. "Delhi-NCR is one of the most sought after property destinations in India. However, the present economic and political uncertainty is getting reflected in capital prices in the region," property portal said in a report that covers trends on property prices for the housing segment. The quarter on quarter comparison shows a decline of 2 per cent in Q4-13 as compared to Q313 of this year. "Annual compari-

son (Q4-13 with Q4-12) however shows a decline of 8 per cent in 2013," the portal said in a statement. The average rentals for 3BHK flats have dipped by 6 per cent

during the fourth quarter of 2013 against the previous quarter. Rentals have fallen by 7 per cent during 2013.

Commenting on the report, Business Head Vineet Singh said: "Delhi -NCR region is witnessing a decline in transactions which is underlined by a combination of factors like slackened demand for real estate, high costs of borrowing and rising inventory of projects by real estate developers." However, he added that certain pockets in the region have shown a spike in prices like Noida extension, Yamuna Express way and Bhiwadi area near Gurgaon due to the presence of affordable range of new projects. -PTI

Real Estate Post

March 21, 2014

India Post 39

Bangalore most preferred by NRIs for real estate investment India Post News Service


2014 study by Jones Lang LaSalle India shows Bangalore is the most-favored city for real estate investment by NRIs. Information technology has long been the biggest contributing factor towards Bangalore's real estate boom. The most popular submarkets for real estate investment are East and North Bangalore. East Bangalore including Whitefield, Old Madras Road and Electronic City is popular due to its proximity to IT/ITES companies and presence of social infrastructure like schools, hospitals, shopping and entertainment. While East Bangalore remains an excellent investment choice, it is a more mature submarket. North Bangalore towards the airportcould offer greater appreciation in property values since the

area is seeing considerable infrastructure investment from the government to provide better transportation links to the city in addition to development of SEZ and IT parks. There is also heavy demand for affordable housing in the outskirts of West and South Bangalore.

Some developers provide assistance with procuring home loans, property management services and interior design packages, which could be of immense value to NRIs

Ministry explores financing options for Jaipur Expressway NEW DELHI: The Road Transport and Highways (RTH) Ministry is exploring options like real estate development along the DelhiJaipur Expressway to finance it as land cost alone has trebled after the new land acquisition law came into force. The cost of 11,750 project that included provision for land acquisition is likely to shoot up by at

Delhi-Jaipur Expressway

least 30,000 crore as the land cost has trebled after the new law. "The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has informed us that the cost of land alone for 272 km expressway would be about 18,000 crore from the estimated 6,000 crore," a ministry official informed. The development comes barely a month after the Prime Minister's Office asked the RTH Ministry to move a Cabinet note for the project saying it would be the first such

highway to be built by the Central Government. "The Delhi-Jaipur Expressway is one of the announcements of the Prime Minister in November, 2013 which has been taken up as a priority project of the government. As on date, there is no expressway built by Central Government and DelhiJaipur Expressway would be the first," a PMO statement had said. The official said the Ministry is exploring ways for financing the project which may include development of real estate along the stretch or building it around the existing highway. The Ministry has sought advice on possible financing modes from stake-holder states - Delhi, Rajasthan and Haryana, before proceeding on the project, the official added. The Road Ministry has estimated the project cost for the DelhiJaipur Expressway at 11,750 crore, including land acquisition and preconstruction activities. RTH Minister Oscar Fernandes had earlier said that unless a major portion of the land is handed over in the construction of the proposed Delhi-Jaipur expressway, financial institutions could shy away from funding the project. -PTI

Today, NRIs are spoiled for choice when it comes to finding the right property.Therefore it is of utmost importance that NRIs pay attention to a developer's track record and proven execution ability. Some developers provide

assistance with procuring home loans, property management services and interior design packages, which could be of immense value to NRIs who don't have the time and resources to manage these aspects from afar.

According to a press release, to take the next step toward making a successful real estate investment in India, you can contact Legion Real Estate at their Menlo Park, CA, office at 650-494-4975 or

40 India Post quaint little village at the footsteps of a hill, Sanchi in the Indian State of Madhya Pradesh carries the genesis of Buddhism in India. A tiny hamlet with a rich culture, Sanchi is embellished by a series of monasteries, stupas, holy shrines and pillars dating from 3rd century BC to 12th century AD. The glory of Sanchi, as a devout centre, can still be experienced in its composite formations where the rich carvings reflect various legendary beliefs and Buddhist myths. Though Sanchi's history hangs around the Buddhist monuments, it is amazing to believe that Lord Buddha never visited Sanchi during his lifetime. Nevertheless, in the soothing stillness of Sanchi one could perceive his presence more effectively than any of the other famous Buddhist centers. Formerly known as Vidishagiri, Sanchi was a busy trading center and a hub of affluent merchants. Sanchi owed much to these mighty merchants for their wholehearted patronage, which helps it to thrive as a leading center of Buddhist tradition. Sanchi also unfurls a true love story that is nothing short of a fairy tale. It's about a beautiful girl by name Devi, a pious Buddhist. King Ashoka fell in love with Devi and it is believed she motivated the king to construct such marvelous monuments in Sanchi. Sanchi's fame set in to oblivion by the end of the 13th century and only in 1818 this renowned center of Hinayana Buddhism was rediscovered. Despite the neglect for centuries, the architectural splendors of Sanchi still adorn the prime position and it offers the most redolent and eye-catch-

March 21, 2014

ing Buddhist site in India. Stupas and gateways of this world heritage site are superb expressions of classiness in architecture. In fact these marvels of ancient Buddhist ethnicity herald a new arena in the field of temple architecture in India. Apart from the religious and historical aspect, Sanchi tenders a delightful view of the adjoining landscapes. If religion is not your passion, you could move onto other options since Sanchi is a fine place to just chill out and rest, or travel around. Cont’d on page 42

Travel & Hospitality Post

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India Post


Lavasa gets PATWA award for 'Emerging Destination' MUMBAI: Lavasa, the hill station near Pune, has received the International Council of Pacific Area Travel Writers Association's (PATWA) award for 'Emerging Destination in India' at the annual Internationale Tourismus-Borse (ITB) Convention held in Berlin recently. Represented by members from 70 countries, PATWA is the world's biggest travel writers' organization, which organizes international awards every year at ITB Berlin, which is the world's biggest travel fair. United Nation's World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Secretary-General Taleb Rifai presented the award to Lavasa Corporation's Senior Vice President (Tourism, Hospitality and Leisure) Rajiv Duggal, a release issued said.

Secretary-General Taleb Rifai presented the award to Lavasa Corporation's Senior Vice President (Tourism, Hospitality and Leisure) Rajiv Duggal

Thailand, Singapore India's favorite holiday spots NEW DELHI: Southeast Asian countries such as Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia are the preferred holiday destinations among Indian tourists and their affinity to these places is likely to increase in the coming years, as per an Euromonitor International report. According to the global consultancy firm, out of the 154 lakh Indians who traveled abroad in 2012, around 11 lakh went to Singapore, 10 lakh went to Thailand and 8.2 lakh visited Malay-

to have a foreign trip to these countries rather than a domestic one. By the year 2017, the tourist flow to these Southeast Asian countries is likely to increase further as 14 lakh Indians are likely to visit Malaysia, 20 lakh would opt for Singapore and Thailand each, the report said. However, in terms of tourist expenditure, however, the picture is totally different. Singapore with Rs 5,400 crore topped the charts, followed by


sia. On the contrary just 6.3 lakh tourists visited the US. Another favorite with Indian tourists is the United Arab Emirates, which saw as many as 9.8 lakh tourists in 2012 and this figure is expected to increase to 19.29 lakh by 2017. "These countries were aggressively marketed in terms of package holidays that featured wildlife, adventure and natural scenic beauty at budget prices," the report said, adding that the budget packages were well received by the Indian consumers who preferred

United Arab Emirates and the US with Rs 5,000 crore each. By 2017, the Singaporean authorities are likely to earn Rs 7,700 crore from Indian tourists, while the UAE would topple the US to the No.2 slot with Rs 7,500 crore likely to flow to the country, a little more than the US at Rs 7,100 crore. The report further said that leisure departures continued to dominate outbound travel, accounting for 68 per cent of all departures in 2012 and leisure travels recorded a 10 per cent rise in 2012. Cont’d on page 43

"This will create a new chapter in Lavasa's history. We have earlier been recognized for design and development, but this is the first time that Lavasa has received an international recognition for tourism. The award is an extremely important milestone," Duggal said. "The recognition by an international body will place Lavasa on the international tourism map and give an opportunity to foreign tourists to experience it. "A 100-acre medicity coming up in the second town, Mugaon, will help showcase Lavasa as a Medical Tourism destination for the Middle East and European markets. Also, recognition has now opened doors for international tieups and investments. We are looking at participating at ITB Berlin next year with our partner Apollo Hospitals," he said. -PTI


Travel & Hospitality Post

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March 21, 2014


Marvelous monuments motivated by a King's love Cont’d from page 40

History Going back to the Sunga Period (2nd century BCE) the city was under the rule of Pusyamitra Sunga, who is believed to have

It was in the 12th century that the city saw the establishment of most of its temple. After the decline of Buddhism in India, most of the historical monuments of Sanchi dilapidated. The present town of Sanchi was brought back

Sanchi Temple

destroyed the main Stupa which was later rebuilt by his son Agnimitra. King Asoka, belonging to the Mauryan dynasty, built the giant Stupa in the 3rd century. The Satavahana Period lasted around 70 BCE and it was during this time that the gateways and the banister were built. The abundant amounts of stone carvings depicting the life of Buddha were also built during this age. Not much of the history is known from then onwards.

to glory by the British General Taylor, who discovered the site in 1818. Restoration of the site was commenced under the guidance of John Marshall in 1912 and was completed in 1919. The site gained momentum of being UNESCO World Heritage Site in the year 1989.

Sanchi Ashoka Pillar

Attractions Ashoka Pillar: Put up in the third century, this Greco Buddhist style structure stands as a proud testimonial to the rich legacy of Sanchi. The brilliantly carved pillar is renowned for its aesthetic beauty and sumptuous proportions. Buddhist Vihara: An important center of Buddhist culture, Sanchi encompass so many Buddhist Viharas and shrines. One could be able to see all forms of Buddhist architecture here. Among the relics of this great culture, Viharas take the predominant position. Sanchi Museum: A proud testimonial to the rich cultural and religious heritage of India, Sanchi Museum houses invaluable objects that belong to the early years of fist to third centuries. It has now become one among the alluring tourist attractions in Sanchi. Sanchi Stupa No 1: Dating back to 3rd century, this stupa is meant to keep the remnants and has been found with relics of the disciples of Buddha. Stupa No 2: Placed at the periphery of the hill, Stupa number 2 is characterized by the striking

stone railings that surround it. Built in the 2nd century BC, this Stupa is placed on an artificial podium and it lies beneath all the other Stupas. Stupa No 3: Lying adjacent to the great Stupa, Stupa no. 3 is also referred to as the most striking edifice of Buddhist as well as Mauryan arts. In design, Stupa number one and three are akin. The Eastern Gateway: Constructed in 35 BC, the four gateways in Sanchi portray important incidents in the life of Buddha. Popularly called as Toranas these gateways are named as eastern, western, southern and northern. Elephants facing four directions support the architraves of this gate. The Great Bowl: As the cradle of Buddhist renaissance, Sanchi houses a vast expanse of glorious monuments that reflect the reli-

gious norms of the past centuries. All these monuments are put atop a hill that overlooks the plains and these structures were the major center of Buddhism till the end of 12th century. Best time to visit: Best period to visit Sanchi is from October to March. How to reach By Train: Bhopal is the nearest railhead, which is 50 km away from Sanchi. Bhopal is a major railway junction, which is placed in the Mumbai - Delhi broad gauge line. By Air: Raja Bhoj' Airport in Bhopal is the nearest airport. It is 67 km from Sanchi.Air India offers flights to Sharjah and Dubai from Bhopal. By Bus: Government owned public buses and private luxury buses provide services from Sanchi to many cities, including places like Bhopal (46 km), Indore (287 km) and Vidisha (10 km).

Sanchi Temple

March 21, 2014

Travel & Hospitality Post

India Post


County offering tips on French Canadian tourists CAPE MAY COURT HOUSE, N.J.: It helps if a waiter serving a French Canadian tourist knows something about ice hockey. It's absolutely essential he knows how the meal was prepared and what wine goes with it. These tidbits are offered within a new, free course that aims to teach the Cape May County hospitality industry how to make French Canadian tourists feel welcome. The county has successfully courted Canadian tourists since 1968 even opening an office in Montreal in 1970 - but a recent push farther north, to Frenchspeaking areas in Quebec, has created a new challenge. Many people from those regions don't speak English, even as a second language. And they are coming to the county in large numbers. The tourism push is working. County Tourism Director Diane Wieland told The Press of Atlantic City that people from Quebec made 665,900 overnight visits to New Jersey last year. Half of them were from Quebec, and 70 percent of the visits were in Cape May County, she said. She expects larger numbers this year. It's been cold in Canada this

winter, with one polar vortex after another, and Wieland said vacation inquiries have skyrocketed. ``They're spending $139 million a year in New Jersey. This is a niche market we need to expand,'' Wieland said.

Campgrounds, hotels, motels, restaurants and other businesses that get French Canadian tourists are welcome to attend. Cox said some basic ``conversational French'' will be taught, enough to help with directions, menu selec-

said. Dining is a good example. Wieland said French Canadians have a European philosophy about dining. It is taken very seriously. They don't want to be rushed. They want the waiter or waitress

Wieland's intern, Rachael Cox, a hospitality and tourism management student at Richard Stockton College, came up with the idea of having a course. Atlantic Cape Community College supplied the grant funding and expertise to make it happen.

tions, check-in policies, telling guests where the pool is located and other vacation information. The course will also delve into French Canadian culture. ``The goal is to have them understand the culture as it relates to hospitality and tourism,'' Cox

to be informed and helpful. Wieland said the tourists are very value-conscious, and they tip based on the quality of service, starting at 10 percent and with 15 percent the top end. She noted Americans usually tip at 20 percent no matter how bad the service is. ``They don't eat - they dine. If you rush them, which often happens in the summer, they will tip as they feel is necessary,'' Wieland said. Just knowing this can clear up some confusion. Some locals think Canadians undertip because they are cheap, but it's probably because the service didn't meet their standards, she said. The Canadian tourist is more upscale these days. The first visi-

Visitors to northeast Ohio Park decrease BRECKSVILLE, Ohio: The number of Cuyahoga Valley National Park visitors has slipped, dropping the northeast Ohio spot from 10th to 11th among the most-visited U.S. national parks.

among all U.S. National Park Service properties, which include historic sites and monuments. Cuyahoga Valley ranked just behind Mount Rushmore National Memorial.

destinations. The total visitors to the park system overall also decreased last year. The service partly blamed the federal budget crisis that closed parks for more than two weeks last fall. -AP

Thailand, Singapore India's favorite spots Cont’d from page 41

The park between Cleveland and Akron drew 2.1 million visitors last year, down from nearly 2.3 million in 2012. It ranked 38th in attendance

The new superintendent tells The Plain Dealer that many of Cuyahoga Valley's users visit repeatedly, while more remote parks are often seen more as one-time

Meanwhile, business departures also posted a 10 per cent rise in number of trips in 2012, to account for 32 per cent of all departures. As per the report, outbound tourism is likely to continue to grow at a steady pace and the use of Internet for research, reviews and bookings would result in the strong development of the online channel for outbound travel. -PTI

tors that came from Montreal in the 1970s typically stayed in mainland campgrounds. The exchange rate was not favorable for them back then. Wieland said the exchange rate is more favorable to Canadians now. The children of those tourists often stay in hotels or rent houses on the barrier islands. Some are not crazy about driving the long distance, and direct airplane service to Atlantic City is being explored. Wieland said visits from Canada were up 18 percent last year and spending was up 15 percent. She said about 25 percent of these visitors who stay in Cape May County also visit Atlantic City. The Quebec market is being courted though a radio and television ad campaign and visits at trade shows. The county has also produced tourism brochures and other information in French. Wieland noted the first visit to Quebec City in 1994 didn't go too well because all the brochures were in English. ``Explorez le Jersey Cape!'' the literature now proclaims. But once here, after they have been enticed, Wieland notes it is important to make them feel welcome, or ``bienvenue,'' as the brochure states. French is being used on the department's website. One worker in the department, Lindsay Rowland, speaks the language, and Cox is learning it. The course also might be a good idea for area golf courses, as many Canadian visitors are coming to play the links. These visitors even come in the spring and fall shoulder seasons. ``Golfing is huge, and their golf season is very short,'' Wieland said. -AP

San Diego Zoo performs rare C-section on gorilla SAN DIEGO: Veterinarians at the San Diego Zoo have performed a rare cesarean section on an 18year-old gorilla. Zoo spokeswoman Christina Simmons said the female baby gorilla was in guarded condition, having suffered complications from the birth night at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. The full-term baby gorilla weighed 4.6 pounds (2 kilograms). Simmons said it was the first time veterinarians at the zoo performed the procedure on a gorilla. The mother gorilla, named Imani, had never given birth and

was in distress after going into labor. Veterinarians were joined by neonatal specialists from Univer-

sity of California San Diego Medical Centre. The baby was the 17th gorilla born at San Diego Zoo Safari Park, which is home to eight gorillas, including the new baby. -AP

In Brief Drop in number of Indians working in Oman DUBAI: The number of Indians working in Oman has witnessed the biggest drop over the last two months as the Gulf nation started implementing its nationalization program, new visa regulations and job bans. There has also been a drop in Pakistani and Ethiopian numbers, the Times of Oman report said quoting latest data issued by the country's National Centre for Statistics and Information (NCSI). The NCSI data shows that there was a dip of 0.1 per cent in the number of Indian workers in January this year when compared to December 2013. While 599,473 Indians were working in Oman in December last year, the figure for January this year was only 598,674. A dip of 0.1 per cent was also witnessed for Indian workers in December when compared with the data of November 2013. According to the report, in November 2013, the number of Indian workers was 600,349, but it fell down to 599,473 in December. "Since the first month of this year, the Ministry of Manpower imposed a temporary ban on different job categories for expatriates. In addition to this, new regulations have been imposed for visa status. These might have been reasons for the dip in the number of expatriates, mainly Indians," Deepa Sudhir, one of the embassy panel lawyers, was quoted as saying. -PTI

„ Another group of 60 migrants tries to enter US TIJUANA, Mexico: Sixty Mexican migrants have been detained by U.S. authorities for crossing into the United States from the border city of Tijuana as part of a protest against U.S. immigration policies. It was the third such group to try to enter the U.S. at the Otay Mesa border crossing in San Diego. Mothers holding their children's hands, young students and others gathered at the border and before crossing said they are protesting a growing number of deportations during President Barack Obama's administration. They are also demanding an overhaul of U.S. immigration laws. The group was led by two sisters, ages 11 and 12, whose parents live in North Carolina. The girls haven't seen their parents in 10 years. -AP


DOL policy on laid-off US workers Details on page 46

44 India Post

March 21, 2014

Obama announces shift in stance on stopping deportations DENVER: President Barack Obama's recent surprise announcement that his administration would change its deportation policy to become more "humane" shows how the immigration battle has narrowed after months of congressional deadlock. As recently as last year, immigrant rights activists, along with an unusually broad coalition of business, labor and religious groups, were united in their demand that Congress pass a sweeping bill to both remove the threat of deportation from many of the 11 million people here illegally and eventually make them citizens. But now activists just want to stop deportations. They have pressured Obama to limit the number of people sent back overseas, which led to his administration's announcement of a review of deportation policies after a meeting with the Hispanic Congressional Caucus. Activists also are pushing state legislatures to end participation in a program to help federal immigration authorities deport people and chaining themselves across entrances to local jails or immigration deten-

tion centers. "We need relief and we need it soon," said Reyna Montoya, 23, of Phoenix, whose father is fighting deportation and who co-wrote

the citizenship issue. "People who are directly affected just want peace. Later on they'll worry about becoming citizens." Immigrant rights groups still

This photo taken Feb. 6, 2014, shows Abel Bautista and his wife Guadalupe posing with their four children at their home in Thornton, Colo. From left are, Kolby, 12, Wendy, 8, Guadalupe, 32, Able, 37, Kimbereli, 7, and Able, 10. Abel Bautista and his wife entered the U.S. illegally decades ago, and have been fighting deportation ever since a traffic stop in September of 2012.

an open letter with dozens of other young activists urging immigrant rights groups to stand down on

want to win citizenship for many who are in the U.S. without legal permission. But the shift to depor-

tation relief shows the desperation felt by immigrant communities as deportations have continued, even as the President and many in Congress say they support changing the law to allow some of those people to stay in the U.S. It also represents the possible splintering of the diverse coalition for an immigration bill that would overhaul the system by expanding citizenship. And the more aggressive, confrontational tactics also raise the risk of a public backlash. "One picture of a cop with a bloody nose and it's all over for these people," Mark Krikorian of the Center for Immigration Studies, which favors greater restrictions on immigration, said of the activists. The change comes after many expected Congress to pass a sweeping immigration overhaul last year. Republicans have been torn between some in their base who want to step up deportations and others alarmed at how Hispanics, Asians and other fast-growing communities are increasingly leaning Democratic. Details on page 48

NY Senate rejects 'Dream Act' for immigrant students ALBANY, N.Y.: The New York Senate has rejected a bill that would open up state tuition assistance to students in the country illegally, dashing long-held hopes of immigration advocates and prompting finger-pointing among rival Democrats. The 30-29 vote was short of the 32 votes needed to pass, a rare defeat for a bill on the floor of the Senate. There are 63 seats, two are vacant, and two senators did not vote. The Senate's ruling coalition of Republicans and breakaway Democrats brought the closely watched bill to the floor late in the day with little notice. Supporters of the measure said that was intentional. "It certainly seems that it was

bought up to fail, given the outcome," said Sen. Michael Gianaris, a Queens Democrat. He said the vote "made a mockery of a very

important issue." No Republicans voted for the measure, though all five of their coalition partners in the Indepen-

Protesters dressed in cap and gown prepare to turn themselves in at the U.S.-Mexico border, trying to enter the United States, during a Dream Act protest in Tijuana, Mexico, March 10, 2014.

dent Democratic Conference voted for it. All but one of the mainline Democrats in the minority voted for the measure. The proposal includes a budget appropriation of $25 million to open up Tuition Assistance Program money for students who are in the country illegally but attend public or private colleges, paying up to $5,000 a year for undergraduates at four-year institutions. Exactly how many would be eligible for the need-based assistance is unclear, but according to a report issued by state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, 8,300 such students in the CUNY and SUNY systems would qualify. Details on page 48

Immigration Post

March 21, 2014

India Post 45

NC immigration proposals get mixed review in study


sponsor of proposed im migration laws in North Carolina says a study shows some of the more stringent

they're stopped for other reasons, the study says. Federal law prohibits stopping a person solely on the suspicion that the person is in

Rep. Harry Warren

ones may be costly or unnecessarily repetitive. The state Department of Public Safety released the study at the request of legislators, who ordered the review rather than voting on the proposals in the last session. The bill includes proposals such as one similar to Arizona's ``show-me-your-papers'' law and another that would require people in the state illegally to reimburse the state for their incarceration. Rep. Harry Warren says the study shows the proposals may not be essential. ``They might be, and I stress might be, something that would be expendable,'' said Warren, RRowan. Legislators ordered the study by the state Department of Public Safety after coming to loggerheads over the bill - GOP leaders said a proposal to allow driving permits for people in the state illegally was the main sticking point. The ``show-me-your-papers'' proposal is redundant since officers already can question a person's immigration status when

the country illegally, the study says. Having people in the country illegally pay for their incarceration costs could cost the state money for several reasons, including the likely loss of federal funds that reimburse the state for those costs and the low likelihood of getting money from the person before they're deported, the study said. ``It seemed to have two clearly demarcated issues at hand,'' said Raul Pinto, a staff attorney with the N.C. chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union. ``The first is

egorically states that those provisions are costly and aren't necessary for the state of North Carolina.'' The second, Pinto said, was the issue of driving privileges. The ACLU believes the study's conclusion ``was a good start for discussions between the community and legislators.'' he said. The study concludes that giving driving permits to immigrants in the state illegally should lead to safer driving, although there's no established statistical basis to verify that conclusion. The permits also could help law enforcement officers because more people would have verifiable identification, the study said. ``Tens of thousands of people are in the state illegally, driving illegally without insurance and without proof that they know how to drive,'' Warren said. Allowing them to take the tests to get licenses should improve the safety of everyone on the road, he said. ``We also have to look at the social cost if we do nothing,'' Warren said, pointing out that motorists have resources now if they're in an accident with someone who has no driver's license and no insurance. The study also lists the downsides to issuing the licenses, including more resources needed for the Division of Motor Vehicles and the influx of applicants, many of whom may not pass the exam. That possibility is based on the experience in Nevada, where 75 percent of people in the state illegally failed the exam, the DPS report says. ``Thus, while the demand may be high, many potential applicants may not be able to pass and there-

The study reminds legislators of the contradicting interests involved in the immigrant issue. For example, some industries support the driving permits because they make it easier for their workers to get to the job the rejection of the anti-immigrant provisions ... the provisions we took issues with, such as showme-your-papers. The study cat-

fore, may not be able to obtain a temporary driving privilege,'' the study says. ``We also have to look at the

social cost if we do nothing,'' Warren said, pointing out that motorists have resources now if they're in an accident with someone who has no driver's license. While numbers are hard to pin down, the Department of Homeland Security estimated that about 400,000 immigrants lived in North Carolina illegally as of January 2011. A Pew study from 2010 had put that number at 250,000 - ninthlargest in the country - out of a total immigrant population of 325,000. The study reminds legislators of the contradicting interests involved in the immigrant issue. For example, some industries support the driving permits because they make it easier for their workers to get to the job, the report says. ``However, just as increases in

population lead to economic benefits for retailers, population increases also lead to an increased burden on infrastructure, schools and other government services that must be paid for with tax dollars generated by residents and businesses,'' the study concludes. The report points out ``negatives, redundancies and some positives,'' Warren said ``It gives me a good platform to craft the bill in such a way that we may be able to address it in the short session.'' And that's important, he said, because of the problems in getting Congress and the president to agree on immigration reform, he said. ``We as a state need to be able to take some measure to control the narrative in North Carolina,'' he said. -AP

PRADEEP ROY-SINGH B.A. LL.B. M.B.A. J.D. Attorney-at-Law

Former Assistant StateÂ’s Attorney

Civil & Criminal Litigation Felonies, Misdemeanors, Inc DUI 1 Personal Injury, Business, Divorce etc. 1 Property Tax for Commercial Properties 1 1

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Immigration Post

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March 21, 2014

DOL policy on laid-off US workers CYRUS D. MEHTA


he filing of a labor certifi cation application is nor mally the first step when an employer sponsors a foreign national employee for permanent residence. Under the labor certification process, the employer is required to demonstrate that it unsuccessfully conducted a good faith recruitment of the US labor market at the prevailing wage before it can proceed to sponsor the foreign national employee. The Department of Labor, under the slim authority given to it in INA 212(a)(5) has promulgated complex rules in 20 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 656

than for an employer to contact its own prior workers regarding a job opportunity that is the subject of the labor certification application. The notification requirement of all laid off workers in the specific occupation or related occupation has also been open to varying interpretations. Would it suffice if the laid off worker was told to check job opportunities in the future on the employer's website or must the worker be actually notified when labor certification is being sought in the same job opportunity? The Department of Labor's Em-

The Q&A adds that an employer must maintain documentation showing that it has met its notice and consideration requirements, including copies of all relevant letters, e-mails, faxes, Web pages (including those listing details of the relevant job openings and applications by laid-off workers for those openings) that govern how an employer must establish a good faith test of the US labor market. These rules, which have created a huge "labor certification bureaucracy", also reflect a concern for US workers who were laid off within 6 months of filing the labor certification application. Specifically, 20 CFR 656.17(k) provides: 1) If there has been a layoff by the employer applicant in the area of intended employment within 6 months of filing an application involving the occupation for which certification is sought or in a related occupation, the employer must document it has notified and considered all potentially qualified laid off (employer applicant) U.S. workers of the job opportunity involved in the application and the results of the notification and consideration. A layoff shall be considered any involuntary separation of one or more employees without cause or prejudice. (2) For the purposes of paragraph (k) (1) of this section, a related occupation is any occupation that requires workers to perform a majority of the essential duties involved in the occupation for which certification is sought. The requirement for an employer to have notified and considered all potentially qualified laid-off workers has always been a touchy issue for employers. It is easier for an employer to broadcast advertisements and undertake other prescribed recruitment steps for prospective US workers

ployment and Training Administration has added a new question and answer (Q&A) to its frequently asked questions (FAQ). The new Q&A concerns notification and consideration of laid-off U.S. workers for PERM labor certification applications. The new Q&A asks, "How does an employer demonstrate that it notified and considered laid-off U.S. workers for the job opportunity listed on the ETA Form 9089?" The answer notes that some employers have misconstrued the regulations to require only that they inform workers when laid off that the employer may have future positions and invite the worker to monitor the employer's job postings and apply, rather than their actively notifying and considering the laid-off workers. In fact, the Q & A notes misapplication of the regulatory requirements will result in denial of a PERM application. The employer must make a reasonable, goodfaith effort to notify each potentially qualified worker who has been laid off during the six months preceding the application whenever a relevant job opening exists and invite the worker to apply. The Q&A notes that an employer who files multiple labor certifications can satisfy its responsibilities under the relevant regulation by notifying each laid-off worker (in the manner chosen by the worker) at least once a month that a list of current relevant job openings is

maintained electronically on a website operated by the employer. "Simply informing a laidoff worker to monitor the employer's website for future openings and inviting the worker, if interested, to apply for those openings, will not satisfy the employer's regulatory obligation to notify all of its potentially qualified laid-off U.S. workers of the job opportunity," the Q&A states. The Q&A adds that an employer must maintain documentation showing that it has met its notice and consideration requirements, including copies of all relevant letters, e-mails, faxes, Web pages (including those listing details of the relevant job openings and applications by laid-off workers for those openings), and other contemporaneous documents that show when and how notice and consideration was given. In addition, an employer must obtain and maintain written documentation that a laid-off worker has declined to receive notices, requested discontinuation of the notices, or refused to give or update contact information. While the DOL has clarified the notification requirement for laidoff workers, must an employer contact all laid off workers in the specific or related occupation for which labor certification is sought even if the employer knows that the laid-off worker's qualifications do not objectively meet the requirements of the position? For example, the job opportunity for which labor certification is being

The employer must make a reasonable, good-faith effort to notify each potentially qualified worker who has been laid off during the six months preceding the application sought, let's say a Software Engineer, requires five years of experience in certain computer programming languages like C++, Java and Python. The employer knows that a former worker, also a Software Engineer, who was laid off 3 months ago only had 1 year of experience in C++, but not Java and Python. Is the employer required to notify this worker under 20 CFR 656.17(k) when the employer knows that the laid off worker is not qualified for the po-

sition? The employer must also check off a box on ETA 9089, Section 1.e.26, which broadly asks whether the employer had a layoff in the area of intended employment in the occupation of the job opportunity or a related occupation within 6 months of filing the application. The checking off the "yes" box is likely to trigger an audit and further scrutiny. The next box Section 1.e.26A, asks "were the laid off U.S. workers notified and considered for the job opportunity for which certification is sought?" If the employer checks off the

edge of SAS, including SAS on Unix and SAS for Windows. The laid-off worker did not have experience with these program tools. Although the Certifying Officer in denying the labor certification assumed that the laid off worker would have obtained the same skills and knowledge for the position for which labor certification was sought, having worked with the employer for three years, BALCA found that the CO's assumption was unfounded and unsupported by the record. Cisco Systems, Inc, 2011-PER-02900 (BALCAApril 26, 2013), however,

It may thus be defensible for an employer to not notify all laid off workers in the occupation for which labor certification is sought, or a related occupation, unless the laid off worker is potentially qualified for the position. Of course, when in doubt, the employer must contact the laid-off worker "no" box or the "NA" box, would that be permissible if the laid off worker is clearly not qualified for the position? In other words, when an employer knows that a laid-off worker is not potentially qualified, may it only consider the worker's qualification or does it also need to notify that prior worker? If the labor certification is audited, the DOL will request documentation to establish the number of US workers in the occupation or in a related occupation that were laid off by the employer; a listing of all occupations relevant to the layoffs; an explanation as to why notification or consideration of the employer's potentially qualified laid-off US workers was not applicable; and proof that any laid off US workers not notified and considered by the employer were not potentially qualified for the job opportunity. The Board of Alien Labor Certifications in Matter of Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp, 2011-PER-02902 (BALCA February 10, 2014) held that an employer was justified in rejecting a laid-off worker who was not qualified for the position. While it is not clear from this decision whether the employer had notified the laid off worker, it is clear from the resume that the laid off worker was not qualified for the position, according to BALCA. The position in the instant case required a very deep knowl-

provides more clarity regarding whether an employer needs to notify a laid-off worker who is not qualified for the position. There BALCA held that the employer who had not notified a laid-off worker was justified in its rejection of that worker who clearly lacked the qualifications for the position. It may thus be defensible for an employer to not notify all laid off workers in the occupation for which labor certification is sought, or a related occupation, unless the laid off worker is potentially qualified for the position. Of course, when in doubt, the employer must contact the laid-off worker per the new DOL FAQ. Unfortunately, in the world of labor certification, the DOL imposes unrealistic requirements and burdens upon employers, and one can never know how the DOL will react when an employer justifies that its reason for not notifying laid-off workers was because they were unqualified for the position. The DOL has publically indicated that BALCA does not speak for it, and it may not consider itself to be bound by Matter of Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp or Cisco Systems. Therefore, employers are advised to tread very cautiously when workers have been laid off within six months prior to filing a labor certification on behalf of a foreign national employee.

March 21, 2014

India Post 47

Immigration Post

48 India Post

March 21, 2014

Feds prosecuting fewer people in courts in Kansas WICHITA, Kan.: Federal prosecutors charged nearly 21 percent fewer defendants last year in Kansas, led by steep declines in prosecutions of immigration and drug cases, a new report from the federal judiciary shows. The U.S. Attorney's Office in Kansas has faced ``gaps in resources'' over the past two years due to a federal hiring freeze and budget cuts, spokesman Jim Cross said. ``The federal agencies that investigate cases and bring them to us for prosecution have felt similar pressures,'' Cross said in an email. The latest report of the federal judiciary released by the Admin-

istrative Office, provides an annual snapshot of the caseloads in the nation's federal appeals courts and district courts. In Kansas, federal prosecutors filed 895 criminal cases for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30 2013, compared to 1,128 cases the previous year, the judiciary report shows. Nationwide, filings of federal criminal cases dropped 3 percent to 91,266. Cross said that there are numerous things that can affect the number of cases prosecutors filed, and that it ``may be influenced to varying degrees by one - or all - of them at any specific time.'' Much of the decline in Kansas' federal criminal cases reflects a

significant downturn in the number of prosecutions for illegal reentry by immigrants, the report shows. In 2013, just 36 such cases were filed for illegal re-entry, compared to 107 a year earlier. Seventeen cases related to other immigration offenses filed last year were at a comparable level to 2012. However, the decline in prosecutions for illegal re-entry comes as the U.S. attorney's office in Kansas started aggressively cracking down on Kansas employers accused of knowingly hiring immigrants who are living in the United States without legal permission. The recent crackdown on employers began with an indictment

Obama announces shift in stance on stopping deportations Cont'd from Page 44

The Senate in June passed a bipartisan bill to legalize, and eventually grant citizenship to, many of the 11 million people in the U.S. illegally. But the bill died in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives. Republican leaders there floated a proposal that could stop short of citizenship for many people here illegally. But Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, acknowledged it stood little chance of passing. Meanwhile, Obama's administration is on track to having deported 2 million people during the past six years. Critics say that's more than President George W. Bush's administration deported, though some who push for a tougher immigration policy argue the Obama administration's numbers are inflated. Obama already has eased some deportations. In 2012, as he was trying to generate enthusiasm among Hispanic voters for his reelection, Obama granted people who were brought to the country illegally as children the right to work in the United States and protection from deportation if they had graduated high school or served in the military. Advocates are pressuring the president to expand that to other people here illegally. The administration has said it cannot make sweeping changes without Congress, and it is unclear what steps it will take after its review is completed to limit deportations. Chris Newman, legal director of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, said it's inevitable that Obama makes changes. "This is a

White House that has told the immigrant rights community that they had to build up enforcement massively to create the political climate for comprehensive immigration reform," Newman said. "Well, that gambit failed." Roy Beck of Numbers USA, which pushes for a more restrictive immigration policy, said expanding deportation relief could also fail. "It looks radical," he said of the notion of sharply limiting removals. Activists are willing to take that risk and have grown tired of wait-

The biggest victory came last year in California when Gov. Jerry Brown signed the Trust Act, barring California police from participating in Secure Communities. ing for Washington. Late last year the Austin Immigrant Rights Coalition's members acknowledged there were no hopes of a big immigration bill anytime soon. They began pushing the local sheriff's office to end its participation in the Secure Communities program, which checks the immigration status of anyone booked into local jails and refers people here illegally to federal authorities. Last month, six coalition members were arrested after locking themselves together to block entrance to the county jail. "We decided we needed to

change our focus because this is a more winnable campaign," Executive Director Alejandro Laceres said. Of Congress, he added, "We don't have the luxury of moving at their pace." In Arizona, activists have launched a series of protests, including blocking buses transporting immigrants to courts. "We just realized we are losing too many people in our community," Carlos Garcia of the group Puente Arizona said in a telephone interview minutes before he was arrested outside the Immigration and Customs Enforcement office in Phoenix. Worries about whether their tactics could cause a backlash "go out the window," he added. "Our heads hurt from thinking about the politics around it." At the state level, activists have had notable successes. The biggest victory came last year in California when Gov. Jerry Brown signed the Trust Act, barring California police from participating in Secure Communities. Immigrant rights groups are trying to replicate that legislation in Illinois and Massachusetts. Driving the efforts are cases like that of Abel Bautista, who was stopped for traveling 8 miles (13 kilometers) per hour over the speed limit on a Colorado interstate in 2012 and has been fighting deportation ever since. At first he was not too worried, because he expected an immigration overhaul last year to make the case moot. Now he worries about the lack of legislative action and the trauma inflicted on his three U.S. citizen children as his case drags on. -AP

filed in September 2012 against a suburban Kansas City couple that accuses them of illegally employing immigrants at two Clarion hotels, one in Overland Park and the other in Missouri near the Kansas City International Airport. They will go to trial later this month in Kansas City, Kan. Since then, other Kansas businesses have been indicted on similar immigration-related charges. The McCalla Corp. paid $400,000 in fines and forfeitures

to all other illegal drugs dropped from 315 to 212 in 2013, the report said. Prosecutions of most other federal crimes - such as fraud, embezzlement, robbery and sex offenses, among others - remained relatively stable compared to the previous year. Federal courts in Kansas have consistently ranked among the top three in the 94 judicial districts nationwide in recent years for the number of gun prosecutions. And

The decline in prosecutions for illegal re-entry comes as the U.S. attorney's office in Kansas started aggressively cracking down on Kansas employers accused of knowingly hiring immigrants after pleading guilty in December 2012 to illegally employing immigrants at its McDonald's restaurants in Wichita. In Ottawa, the manager of the El Mezcal Mexican Restaurant was indicted in September 2013 for allegedly harboring immigrant workers living in the country illegally. And the owners of the World Buffet Grill will be sentenced in May for illegally employing immigrants at their Wichita restaurant. Federal prosecutions related to drug offenses were also down significantly in Kansas. Marijuanarelated cases fell from 91 in 2012 to 56 in 2013, while cases related

the trend has continued upward in Kansas for firearms and explosives cases: Federal prosecutors filed 193 cases in 2013 compared to 161. The U.S. attorney's office in Kansas has previously touted its partnerships with local law enforcement because federal firearms statutes carry stiffer prison sentences. Prosecutors have been using federal statutes that prohibit convicted felons from possessing guns or that make it a federal crime to possess firearms in furtherance of drug trafficking or violent crimes as a way to help local communities clean up their gang and drug problems.-AP

NY Senate rejects 'Dream Act' for immigrant students Cont'd from Page 44

Since it was first introduced three years ago, opponents have argued that using taxpayer money to fund tuition assistance for people in the country illegally takes opportunity and funds away from students who are citizens. New York is among 16 states that already allow those students to pay in-state tuition at public colleges. The Assembly passed the Dream Act last month. After the vote, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who has indicated support for the bill, released a statement saying he was disappointed that the Senate had failed to pass the measure. Opponents said the bill amounted to an improper use of taxpayer funds. "I simply cannot justify spending tens of millions of taxpayer dollars annually to pay for tuition for illegal immigrants when so many law-abiding families are

struggling to meet the ever-increasing costs of higher education for their own children," said Sen. Mark Grisanti, a Republican from the Buffalo area. Sen. Ted O'Brien, a Democrat from the Rochester area, was the only member in his conference to vote no on the bill. Advocates had looked across the aisle to Long Island Republican Sens. Jack Martins and Phil Boyle, both with a sizable Hispanic constituency. Martins voted against the bill and Boyle was not present to vote. After the vote, Sen. Jeff Klein, co-sponsor of the bill and co-president of the chamber, said he was disappointed in the outcome. "I think it's very difficult to not have a united Democratic conference, all Democrats, IDC and regular Democrats on such an important issue and then expect Republicans to support that piece of legislation," Klein said. -AP

49 India Post

March 21, 2014

India Post News Service

JAIPUR: The widely known and celebrated 'Dancing With Horses' event was performed in Jaipur for the first time on 14th March. This was also performed on the occasion of Diamond Jubilee of Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II at Windsor Castle in London. Dancing with Horses is an award-winning spectacle featuring dancing horses, tribal dancers, cavalry tent peggers and folk musicians of Rajasthan. The show has excerpts choreographed at the world premium of Queen's Diamond Jubilee that was held at Royal Windsor Horse Show, 2012. The show was one of the most exciting events in Jaipur. It was a truly magnificent sound and light theatrical experience showcasing dancing story tellers and musicians who set the stage for the most precious jewel

A glimpse of the 'Dancing With Horses' with the Director and Producer of the Show, Ms. Francesca Kelly on the horse.

Princess on a horse

After the grand finale of 'Dancing With Horses', the Director and Producer of the Show, Ms. Francesca Kelly speaking to the audience. To her right is Co-Producer, Mr. Raghuvendra Singh Dundlod.

Dancing with Horses is an awardwinning spectacle featuring dancing horses, tribal dancers, cavalry tent peggers and folk musicians of Rajasthan.

of India's heritage; the Marwari Horse. As many as 30 horses, 15 riders, 3 foreign dancers, 20 Indian cultural dancers, 10 musicians and 5 horse trainers participated in the event. There was no entry fee for the show and a crazily large number of foreign tourists, members of the erstwhile royal families, celebrities, bureaucrats, defense service personnel attended and applauded the event. The spectacular night took the audience on a beautiful journey through horsemanship, cavalry displays, music and dance.

The event held at the Rajasthan Polo Club in Jaipur, was presented by Francesca Kelly and Raghuvendra Singh Dundlod of the Jaipur-based Indigenous Horse Society of India. The event showed the legendary performances of the dancing Marwari horses. A wonderful joyous celebration of man and horse filled the air with happiness expressing the rich heritage of India.

Audience watching the mesmerizing performance

50 India Post

March 21, 2014

Holi fun with stars

H Hrithik Roshan

rithik Roshan, Sonam Kapoor, Lara Dutta and Kalki Koechlin shared photos celebrating the festival of colors with family friends and fans! Celebs are reveling in the festivities but they did not forget to share their best Holi moments with their fans. Bollywood heartthrob Hrithik Roshan did not let a bad year overpower his Holi fun. The 'Krrish' actor was spotted enjoying Holi with his sons Hrehaan and Hridhaan sans estranged wife Sussanne. But joining

the boys was Sussanne's sister and designer Farah Khan Ali along with his brother-in-law Zayed Khan in Mumbai. Sonam Kapoor is still pretty as she shares a Holi-mood picture with her fans and greeting them on the festival. Sonakshi Sinha also smeared gulaal on her cheeks for a festive click. Kalki Koechlin, who has said that she will be playing Holi like crazy, was dressed in pyjamas and tshirt armed with a kitty pichkari and funky glares.

Sonam Kapoor

Lara Dutta

Sonakshi Sinha

Kalki Koechlin Cont'd on Page 51

India Post 51

March 21, 2014

'Best of best' of Ansel Adams' photos on display LOS ANGELES: During the last years of his life, Ansel Adams pored over the tens of thousands of negatives he'd carefully stored since his teens, setting aside 70 he determined would stand as his greatest works of art. Adams offered to personally print, sign and sell sets of 25 photographs from them - but with several strings attached: He would select the first 10 and let buyers choose the other 15. But not just anybody with $30,000 to spend in 1980 could

the exhibit, ``is that they were created all within a span of years by Ansel Adams himself, at a time when he was printing with a particular intensity in mind.'' These were the photos the pioneer of art photography considered his best, Hellman continued, and he would take special pains in reproducing them to make sure people knew that. ``He spoke about that at the time, how later in life he wanted to create images that were more impactful,'' said Hellman, assistant

An exhibit

purchase the collection he called ``The Museum Set Edition of Fine Prints.'' They would only be sold to people Adams judged serious collectors and only after they promised never to resell them. If they left the buyer's family, they would have to go to a museum. Among the few dozen who made the cut were the late Leonard and Marjorie Vernon, prominent Southern California collectors whose set was given to the J. Paul Getty Museum in 2011 and is now the centerpiece of ``In Focus: Ansel Adams.'' Augmented by several other Adams' photos from the museum's collection, the exhibition marks the 30th anniversary of the photographer's death next month. More than that, it provides a fresh look at both Adams' genius with a camera and in the darkroom. ``What sets them off, really,'' said Karen Hellman, who curated

curator in the museum's Department of Photographs. Although the collection contains several instantly recognizable images, such as ``Moon and Half Dome,'' photographed in California's Yosemite National Park in 1960, and ``The Tetons and the Snake River'' captured in Wyoming in 1942, it's safe to say even serious students of his work haven't seen photos quite like these. The difference is likely best displayed in two large prints of arguably Adams' most famous work, ``Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico.'' The museum set photo printed by Adams in 1980 hangs side-by-side with one he printed in 1948. In a brief video clip accompanying the exhibition, Adams describes how he captured the image on a late November afternoon in 1941. He was returning to Santa Fe from a day of fruitlessly search-

ing for subjects to photograph, when he caught a glimpse out of his car window of an ``extraordinary'' scene of the moon rising over a cemetery. ``I practically ditched the car, and I had some companions with me,'' he recalled. ``I started yelling, you know, `Get me the eight-byten, get me the tripod.''' He managed to get off exactly one shot before he lost the light from the setting sun that had been illuminating the crosses marking the cemetery's graves - and providing the element that made the photo. Although the brilliance of Adams' work is clearly seen in the 1948 print, it's displayed in much more intense contrast in the 1980 version: The crosses are brighter, the night sky is darker, the buildings in the background and the landscape in the foreground are sharper. ``My parents owned several `Moonrises,' and to put them together and look at the differences from how they changed over time is really fascinating,'' said Carol Vernon, who with her husband, Robert Turbin, gave ``The Museum Set'' to the Getty. Under her parents' agreement, the photos could have stayed in the family, but she and her husband thought it better for the public to have a chance to see them in an environment where they could be carefully preserved in the future. ``Composition was paramount for him and he spent a lot of time before he ever pushed the button and snapped the shutter,'' said Vernon, who got to know Adams over the years. ``But he also was an incredible technician in the darkroom.'' How he developed those skills is explained in the exhibition, which includes photos ranging from 1921 to 1960. It was in the 1940s that Adams came up with his Zone System, dividing an image into 10 specific zones, ranging from black to white. And it was while photographing ``Monolith, The Face of Half Dome,'' in 1927 with a camera with a glass-slide negative that he said

he devised the system for picturetaking called Visualization. ``As I replaced the slide, I began to visualize how the print was to appear,'' Adams would say later. ``I began to see in my mind's eye the finished product.'' That, said Kurt Molnar, a photography instructor who in his early 20s worked in Adams' gallery and lived in a shack next door to him, was the greatest lesson he imparted - to every art photographer who followed him. ``More than anything I learned

from Ansel was his ability to take pictures with his eyes and with his mind,'' said Molnar, who now teaches photography at Lake Tahoe Community College in California's Sierra Nevada, where Adams captured so many of his iconic images. ``Let's say you're standing on the edge of the Grand Canyon,'' Molnar continued. ``Most people are going to see the entire vista. He could envision, he could see in his mind, the finished product before he even took the picture.'' -AP

Photographer Ansel Adams

Holi fun with stars Cont'd from Page 36

Lara Dutta also had a fun filled Holi with husband Mahesh Bhupathi and daughter Saira. Mahesh Bhupathi shared a candid photo of his family after Holi. Sophie Choudry is happy to strike a pose with her Holi buddy. Actress Isha Koppikar looks

stylish even after being smeared with color! 'Highway' actor Randeep Hooda played Holi with his sister and brother-in-law and shared the candid picture on Twitter. Vir Das, who was last seen in 'Shaadi Ke Side Effects', celebrated Holi with Ashwin Mushran.



India Post

March 21, 2014


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he notion that consciousness marks humans as di vinely distinct, can first be challenged by recognizing that consciousness does not independently exist, but is an interrelational function. What is considered to be conscious, is inseparable from what is not considered to be conscious. Here is a brief outline of the relationship. Sensory perception must involve an image of the perception in order for the perception to be noted. This image, such as that of a tree, is known as consciousness. Consciousness cannot be separated from sensory perception or from the tree. They are not distinct entities. Thinking, is but the interplay of these sensory-perceptual images. Likewise, conscious thought is not an independent affair, but a dynamic, interrelated mind-bodyworld activity. Conscious images are not objective impressions of a world out there. They are a function related to human survival (just as is the notion of subjectivity is such a function). For instance, there are no colors in the world. However, color is necessary to help mobile organisms make distinctions between objects. The perceptual image of color is activated when different wavelengths of light are converted into images of color within the neuralvisual system. Objects are not the separate entities that they appear to be either. The impression that



uman suffering is one of life's most compelling mysteries: Why is there so much misery? Is God helpless to act or does He choose not to? What is God's role in the scheme of things? We can blame neither God nor devil. Nothing happens by the whim of an external agency. We are responsible for what life brings us. You are the architect of your own destiny. You make yourself. You destroy yourself. The Law is: As You Think So You Become. The word "karma" comes from the Sanskrit verb kri, to do. Karma or action is the pivot around which life revolves. Action comes from desire. Desire from thought. And thought from vasana. Vasana is the inborn urge, deep-rooted inclination, inherent tendency. When you have a vasana for music the thought for music arises in your intellect. This thought crystallizes as a desire in the mind to sing or listen to music. The desire then manifests as action. This action further creates an imprint, groove, vasana for music. Sometimes you are conscious of the imprinting process.

they are, involve other interrelated processes that allow an immeasurable quantum-like world to appear as object images. A key point here is that what is considered to be conscious, depends upon sensory organs such as eyes, ears, touch, etc., that are not regarded as conscious, but as material body parts. Objects of sensory perception such as the tree, are also not considered consciousness, but matter. Likewise, the neural brain that is integral to

ture, being or constitution. The issue is not to regard consciousness (or any phenomenon) as non-existent, but to recognize that its freestanding appearance is deceptive. In the same way, a tree appears to be a separate entity and yet what we call a tree cannot be separated from the sun, clouds, rain, oxygen, minerals, and so forth. The appearance of its inherent separateness is like a mirage. And as with a tree, it is important to note that given all of the

tions, in both their coarse and subtle appearances, are relational and therefore cannot ultimately be singled out. Objects appear and function but have no nature of their own. Regarding consciousness, the straightforward recognition that it cannot manifest apart from a body makes the point that consciousness cannot have its own nature, as does the arising of conscious thought upon reading these printed words.

Consciousness cannot have independent nature

Susan Kahn

They are not distinct entities. Thinking, is but the interplay of these sensory-perceptual images. Likewise, conscious thought is not an independent affair, but a dynamic, interrelated mind-body-world activity.

the formation and interaction of perceptual images, is not conscious by definition, but regarded as brain matter. Therefore, no fundamental distinction can be drawn between mind and matter. For if you look at all that consciousness depends upon and that is not considered conscious and cleared it away, there would be no consciousness essence or function left over. Since consciousness depends upon conditions that are not regarded as conscious, consciousness cannot be established as having its own independent na-

diverse conditions that consciousness relies upon such as sense organs and their perceptual objects, there cannot be one singular consciousness. Consciousness becomes reified into a unitary essence under the lens of a mechanical reductionism. Consciousness is an abstract, conventional name for what is not reducible to a separate entity that is conscious in and of itself. Nor can matter be reduced to an essence that is inherently material. One cannot say what mind or matter truly are, because all forma-

Now, previous thoughts conventionally appear as proximal conditions for subsequent thoughts to arise, but this is not the result of an individual continuum with an essence. A thought does not think in itself. Thought is a dynamic interplay without establishing one iota of independence that endures as its own entity. Excerpted from Susan Kahn is a licensed psychotherapist who unites both tradition and nondual emptiness teachings.

Most times you are not. As your vasana so will be your thought, desire and action. Your vasana then creates the environment or circumstance. Thus you are a victim of your vasanas in the present. This is referred to as destiny. All other species have to act in line with their vasanas. The human being alone is gifted with the

choose the way you think, desire or act. Once chosen you are a victim of its effect. The universe gives back what you have given to it. So be very careful how you think. If you anger easily you create an angry mind that is predisposed to anger. As water gathers force when directed into a narrow canal, the grooves in the mind create chan-

thoughts. When the collective effect of all this negativity hits, you wonder why the tragedy has struck! Think a positive, loving, elevating thought. That instant you have become a little more divine. The effect of it comes to you by way of good fortune, happiness and spiritual growth. You meet with serendipitous experiences.

As your vasana so will be your thought, desire & action Think a positive, loving, elevating thought. That instant you have become a little more divine. The effect of it comes to you by way of good fortune, happiness and spiritual growth. choice of action. You can choose to act as per your vasanas or be independent of them. With this choice or purushartha you determine your future. Destiny or prarabdha is the sum total of all your past purusharthas. It is irrevocable. So if you look at your past you are a victim. With reference to the future you are a victor. At each juncture you are free to

nels of behavior patterns which become difficult to resist or reverse. Changing an ingrained mental habit becomes an uphill battle. Think a negative, hateful thought. That moment you have become a little more evil, vile and disgusting. The effect of that thought has to come to you by way of failure, misery and sorrow. You carelessly entertain negative

Jaya Row

Spiritual life is not about relocating to an ashram or a hermitage. It is about changing your thoughts, attitudes and feelings. This is far more difficult than a mere shift of address. So purushartha or free will is the key to your emancipation. Irrespective of your past you can choose to be better, nobler, more evolved. Excerpted from

Whether the body perishes now or lasts the age of moon and stars, what matters it to me having Consciousness alone as my body ? What matters it to the sky in the pot, whether it (the pot) is destroyed now or exists for a long time. - Varaha Upanishad The mind that is attached to sense-objects leads to bondage, while dissociated from sense-objects it tends to lead to liberation - Amrita-Bindu Upanishad The Self that is subtler than the subtle and greater than the great is seated in the heart of every creature. - Katha Upanishad Liberated from the grip of egoism, like the moon (after the eclipse), full, ever blissful, self-luminous, one attains one's essence. - Adhyatma Upanishad He who perceives all beings in the Self alone, and the Self in all beings, does not entertain any hatred on account of that perception - Isavasya Upanishad Knowing that great and all-pervading Self by which one sees (the objects) both in the sleep and the waking states, the intelligent man grieves no more. - Katha Upanishad

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India Post

March 21, 2014

Afghan Elections 2014: What to expect? MARIAM SAFI


fghan President Hamid Karzai, in his final speech to the Wolesi Jirga (Parliament) on 15 March 2014, took a strong stance warning foreign countries against interfering in the upcoming presidential elections, asserting that local electoral bodies and Afghan Security Forces were fully capable of ensuring the safety and integrity of the election. However, with the elections set for 5 April, Karzai's reassurances have done little to help growing fears about the security, and ultimately, the legitimacy of the elections. In order for elections to be considered free and fair they require inclusivity, transparency, credibility and legitimacy. In Afghanistan, the challenges of state-building have been paramount and the country continues to grapple with inefficient government institutions, particularly those at the subnational level, weak rule of law in

population continues to lack basic knowledge of their civic rights as the Independent Election Commission has lagged in extending its civic education activities to all parts of the country? Moreover, how can credibility be expected when the majority of voters remain uninformed of candidate platforms since campaign offices and activities have been kept out of supposed high risk areas in provinces such as Helmand, Nuristan, Kunar, Zabul, Oruzgan, Paktika and Khost? These issues will undoubtedly culminate and call into question the legitimacy of the upcoming elections if they continue unmitigated. Ensuring security is also a critical determinant. The Ministry of Interior recently reported that 408 polling centers, out of 7,168, have come under significant security threats. So far, there are reportedly 62 districts in 15 provinces that

Afghan presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah waves to the crowd during presidential election campaign in Jalalabad province

the majority of the provinces, growing poverty and lack of sustainable development, and rising levels of violence. To guarantee that the presidential elections in Afghanistan will be free and fair under these conditions is naive to say the least. How can inclusivity be expected in the elections when there are only 12 million registered voters out of approximately 27 million citizens? And when registration of voters in remote and insecure districts has remained well below those living in major city centers? How can transparency be ensured in the elections when public officials have been seen directly supporting and rallying for candidates, even allocating government resources to their preferred candidates? How can the credibility of the elections be ensured when the majority of the

face increased levels of violence. According to the Transparent Election Foundation of Afghanistan (TEFA), districts in Balkh, Nuristan, Nangarhar, Parwan, Kapisa, Baghlan, Badakhshan, Khost, MaidanWardak, Jawzjan, Sari Pul, Kunduz, Paktia, Takhar and Faryab are considered high security risks. TEFA fears that such threats will prevent residents from casting their ballots ('Insecurity to bar voters in 62 districts: TEFA', Pajhwok Afghan News, 9 March 2014). Moreover, The Free and Fair Election Forum of Afghanistan (FEFA), which is the largest institution observing the elections, reported in its 'First Observation Report on Campaign Process of 2014 Presidential Election' that insecurity, at the hands of the insurgency, has been the main worry amongst campaign workers.

The Taliban have warned that they will 'use all force' to disrupt the elections. In a statement released to the media on 10 March, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid called the elections 'an American conspiracy' and told all Afghans to reject the elections and stay away from polling. Since the commencement of election activities, camping-related attacks have become common, with several attacks and assassinations carried out. How then can the ANSF be expected to guarantee the safety of voters, candidates, election observers, election personnel and polling stations? Most importantly, how they can be expected to ensure the integrity of the elections? In the absence of security, polling stations will not only become vulnerable to insurgency attacks but also to rigging and ballot-box stuffing, as was witnessed in the 2009 presidential elections. The upcoming presidential election and its potential to establish a legitimate government hold paramount importance to Afghans from all ethnic, religious and professional backgrounds. As such, all eyes are on the elections, with many acknowledging that it is improbable to expect a completely free and fair process. Yet they hope that its results would at least reflect the aspirations of the the majority. This for Afghans denotes a successful election which would mark the first peaceful transfer of power from an incumbent to an elected successor and ensure continued international support and aid. On the other hand, an unsuccessful election would be one that sees the majority of the population rejecting election results and opposing the new government which would then lead to a loss of international support, threaten the future of democracy in the country and potentially give way to internal violence. With the withdrawal of foreign troops drawing nearer, and the transition of security and economic responsibilities falling on Afghan shoulders, the absence of a political consensus around the election will invariably cloud the future of the country. The writer is Founding Director, Organization for Policy Research and Development Studies

India Post Tainted tickets


t was expected that after the Arvind Kejriwal explosion against corruption, the mainstream political parties would take notice and be careful about who they nominate as candidates for the Lok Sabha election. But as the lists emerge, it appears the tainted ones are getting a mighty look in. The political styles of the two mainstream parties, the Congress and the BJP, seem to be identical as they get down to distributing tickets. The Congress has given election tickets to tainted leaders like Pawan Bansal and Subodh Kant Sahay, both of whom were previously forced out of the Cabinet over corruption charges. Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi may have insisted on anti-corruption ordinances, but political compulsions have forced the Congress to go in for compromises. BJP's former Karnataka chief minister B.S. Yeddyurappa, who had to step down on corruption charges and who left the party and worked for the defeat of the BJP in the Assembly elections, has been readmitted to the party. However what takes the cake is the BJP ticket to controversial former Karnataka minister B. Sriramulu, despite the stiff opposition by BJP leader in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj. Sriramulu is the aide of Bellary Reddy brothers involved in the mining scam. The public displeasure of Swaraj highlights the unease in party circles over the way alliances are being forged and people and parties being added to the BJP and the NDA. How this is sought to be papered over is the reaction of the other top leader of BJP, Arun Jaitley, who called it a "marginal issue" which should not be allowed to divert the attention from the core issues of governance, as highlighted by Narendra Modi. Jaitley made it clear that "winnability" was the chief factor in selection of candidates. The BJP has often criticized the Congress for dynastic politics but the trend seems to be common to the candidates list of both parties. The BJP has given tickets to Yashwant Sinha's son, Pramod Mahajan's daughter, former UP chief Minister Kalyan Singh's son, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh's son, late Delhi chief Minister Sahib Singh Verma's son, former Himachal chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal's son, and the list goes on. The list of the Congress leaders' sons and daughters is endless and defies counting. The Congress has even given tickets to the wives of some high profile leaders. The stock of the anti-corruption AAP keeps coming down with the antics of Arvind Kejriwal and his partymen. He seems to be making only noise. This election will show the impact, if any, of his anti-corruption crusade. Even if the AAP candidates do not win but the dynasts and the corrupt are defeated, it will be considered a victory for the AAP. Kejriwal has realized that in order to be noticed, you need to be always on the attack mode, keep highlighting the misdeeds. He has even attacked the media for allegedly being in the pay of Modi and the Ambanis. Even though the media has strongly protested against his attacks, however it is unable to take Kejriwal off the front pages. That is what he is aiming at and is now getting. Gautam Adhikari in an article in Times of India has made a very telling point. Comparing corruption in India and China, he cites statistics to show there is little difference in this matter between the two countries. Both are exceedingly corrupt. However when it comes to Ease of Doing Business the World Bank places India at a lowly 134th while China ranks impressively high at 16th. From this he deduces that China "partners the private sector aggressively, thereby supercharging economic growth to generate surpluses for development, India doesn't." This is ironical as India is a democracy and should be open, transparent and facilitator for business; it is communist China which is doing so. This is a lesson he holds out for the new government which takes over in May this year.

March 21, 2014

India Post 55

56 India Post

March 21, 2014


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