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Amb. Nirupama Rao with Washington Mayor Vincent Gray

Mayor calls for greater links with India Details on page 7

Only 8% NY South Asians are professionals

NEW YORK • WASHINGTON D.C. • CHICAGO • ATLANTA • CALIFORNIA

VOL 17, No. 914

March 23, 2012

50¢

Periodical Postage

MAMATA PUTS UPA IN JEOPARDY AGAIN

Paula Gangopadhyay

Two Indian Americans in key posts

Wants own minister sacked for raising rail fares

Dr. Sonny Ramaswamy Details on page 40

Details on page 7

Indian NGO receives first US Innovation Award

Ravi awaits verdict as nation debates ‘crime’

Details on page 22

Details on page 7

Sikh American family receives death threats

11 US colleges in india academic links

Details on page 13 Details on page 9

Indian Consulate launches new website

CONTENTS Bollywood ---------------------- 32-33 Classifieds ------------------------- 47

Details on page 18

INDIA POST SURVEY survey@indiapost.com This week’s question

Mamata Banerjee will take the country back? Last week’s result

Can India’s UPA govt survive till 2014? YES 48%

NO 52%

Community Post -------------- 12-20

IN EYE OF STORM: Indian Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi is surrounded by media representatives as he leaves Parliament in New Delhi on March 15, a day after releasing the country's railway budget which was disliked by his boss, Mamata Banerjee. India Post News Service

NEW DELHI: The harried UPA government was plunged into a fresh crisis soon after presentation of Railway Budget in Parliament which raised passenger fares for the first time in eight years. Straightaway the mercurial party chief of Trinamool Congress and Chief Minister of West Bengal Mamata Banerjee demanded the scalp of Railway Minister

Date Book -------------------------- 46 Edit Page --------------------------- 49 HealthScience Post --------- 36-39

Dinesh Trivedi who belongs to her own party. In a two line letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh she sought his replacement by another party member, Mukul Roy. Amid turmoil over the Trivedi issue, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee told the House that the communication from Banerjee was received and "as and when a decision is taken, the House will be informed."

Horoscope ------------------------- 21

Details on page 6

Travel & Hospitality Post ---- 25-29

Certified by “CIRCULATION VERIFICATION COUNCIL Readership 117,765”

Immigration Post ------------- 40-43 Life Style ----------------------- 34-35 Philosophy ------------------------- 48 Publisherís Diary ------------------ 4 Real Estate -------------------- 44-46 TechBiz Post ------------------- 22-23


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t the time of my writing this, the jury was not yet out in the case of Dharun Ravi, the former Rutgers student who is charged with bias intimidation and invasion of privacy of his gay roommate Tyler Clementi who committed suicide. As I followed this case over the last couple of weeks I almost guiltily wondered more than a few times if I was forming my opinions on this Indian American kid based on the fact that I too am Indian American. Am I sympathetic towards him because he happens to be a 'hum-desi'? Is it because I think I know where he comes from culturally or how articulated my own views are on homosexuality? There were no clear answers coming from within as I wondered if I would have viewed this whole case in a different light had it been a gay Indian American kid who was tormented by a Caucasian American kid or if both were of an entirely different ethnicity. Would I see this any differently if the unfortunate teenager who committed suicide had not been gay but was straight and was caught on camera in an intimate encounter with a girl? Would I be reacting differently if Ravi had not looked so good on screen or wasn't as well dressed and promising looking as he is? Would I be angry enough at Ravi for his transgression had Clementi not committed suicide? How much of a difference would it have made if both alleged perp and victim were much older? Irritating as it was, I also faced an inner voice which whispered that perhaps Ravi was being scapegoated because he was brown skinned. And gross as it may sound, it cannot be denied that many in the Indian American community would have first wanted to know which part of India Ravi was a native of, and perhaps heaved a sigh of relief if they hailed from a different part of India than where he comes from. Call it hypocrisy or political correctness, if Ravi is deemed biased then society as a whole is guilty, and we all know how!

Romesh K Japra rkjapra@indiapost.com

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Bollywood: Food lover Fashionista Sonam Kapoor is a big time foodie. She simply can't resist food. Her life revolves around it.

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Cover Story: Mamata trouble Mamata Banerjee wants Union Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi, who belongs to her own party, sacked for raising Rail fares.

Community: Air India ready Air India Midwest Chief Jude Crasto says his front ranking international air career is geared up fully to meet the summer traffic.

Health: Health plan hit The federal govt will stop funding a Texas health program that serves 130,000 lowincome women because of a state law.

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Travel: Alwar The city of Alwar is the gateway to the historic and colorful state of Rajasthan, located in the northwestern part of India.

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Mamata puts UPA in jeopardy again Wants own minister sacked for raising rail fares India Post News Service

NEW DELHI: The harried UPA government was plunged into a fresh crisis soon after presentation of Railway Budget in Parliament which raised passenger fares for the first time in eight years. Straightaway the mercurial party chief of Trinamool Congress and Chief Minister of West Bengal Mamata Banerjee demanded the scalp of Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi who belongs to her own party. In a two line letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh she sought his replacement by another party member, Mukul Roy. Amid turmoil over the Trivedi issue, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee told the House that the communication from Banerjee was received and "as and when a decision is taken, the House will be informed." However he made it clear that Trivedi has not resigned. Mukherjee said the government owned up the proposals that were approved by him as Finance Minister. "The Constitutional position is that the Railway Budget is owned by the government. It is approved by the Finance Minister. Cabinet approval is not required. I own the responsibility and now it is the property of the House," Mukherjee said. "This House has the inherent right to approve every proposal, make changes and decide the fate of the fiscal proposals," he said. The Congress has even told Mamata Banerjee that Trivedi will not be asked to exit the Railways

Indian Railways Minister Dinesh Trivedi waves as he arrives at Parliament flanked by Minister of State for Railways Muniyappa (L) as they are surrounded by media representatives in New Delhi on March 14

Trinamool Congress, was demanding a rollback of the fare hike. He said the party leadership was not aware of the provisions made in the Railway Budget. "It is a very big misconception that the Railways is run from the Writer's Building (headquarters of West Bengal government). She (Banerjee) did not know anything at all and there was no interference by her in any aspect of the budget," Trivedi said in reply to a volley of questions after he presented his maiden rail budget in Parliament. Asked about Trinamool Congress leader Sudip Bandopadhyay's demand for a rollback of the fare hike, he said "political parties have a right to their philosophy. There is noth-

‘Whatever decisions we have taken are conscious decisions, which we have taken with full responsibility in the interests of the Indian Railways and the country.’ He said Mamata Banerjee only spoke as Chief Minister of a state about projects relating to Bengal, like any other Chief Minister Ministry till the end of March. The government wants to minimize the damage caused by Mamata's request till the union budget is presented and cleared.

'Conscious decision'

Unfazed by the attack on him by his own party for raising rail fares, Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi justified the move saying it was a "conscious decision" in the best interest of the Railways. "No comments," he said when asked whether he would quit as Railway Minister as his party,

ing wrong in it. "Whatever decisions we have taken are conscious decisions, which we have taken with full responsibility in the interests of the Indian Railways and the country." He said Mamata Banerjee only spoke as Chief Minister of a state about projects relating to Bengal, like any other Chief Minister. Trivedi parried a question whether he agreed with his party's policies, saying "I don't want to get into politics. This press conference is only about the railway budget".

Asked whether the hike was "necessary", he said "you also know whether it was necessary" and said that without raising resources, no modernization or safety or other works could be carried out.

Opposition attack

BJP and Left leaders described the situation as "unusual and unprecedented" and sought clarifications from the Prime Minister as it showed his coalition government in "poor light" and as "weak". Leader of the Opposition Sushma Swaraj, Sharad Yadav (JD-U), Basudeb Acharia (CPI-M) and Gurudas Dasgupta (CPI) had given notices for suspension of Question Hour and sought clarification from the government. Speaker Meira Kumar disallowed their notices but allowed them to have their say. Trivedi was sitting in the front row in the Lok Sabha which is usually occupied by senior ministers and questions were listed against his name for reply during Question Hour. However, the House was adjourned before the questions could be taken up. Trivedi was seen being complimented by several Congress members before the House assembled for the day. Mukherjee reminded the Opposition that they too had run a coalition government for six years. "It is not unusual. Those who have run the coalition for six years ... they know it much better," he said referring to the pulls and pressures of running a coalition government. "They (NDA) were running their coalition government in the

same way, perhaps in a worse way than we are running," he said amid thumping of desks by members of Treasury benches. As the Opposition created uproar over Mukherjee's remarks, he told them that they were behaving like "petulant children". "You are behaving like petulant children. Behave like leaders not like petulant children," he said. Earlier, Trinamool leader Sudip Bandopadhyay told the House that the party members had not asked Trivedi to tender his resignation. "The Trinamool Congress has not even asked Dinesh Trivedi to tender his resignation. The matter has to be settled between my leader and the Prime Minister," he said.

Minister? What is the status of the Railway Budget? The House would like to know the government's response to this uncertain situation," Swaraj said. Having a dig at the government, NDA Convener Sharad Yadav said though the Opposition wanted the government to go, till the time it is there it should remain with honor and should not be a lame duck one. "Till the government runs, it should be run properly," he said. Basudeb Acharia (CPI-M) said that for the first time a minister has presented the Railway Budget and has been asked to resign. "It is also for the first time that ministers of this government are staging a sit-in against the minister and his budget proposals," he

‘It is not unusual. Those who have run the coalition for six years ... they know it much better,’ Mukherjee said referring to the pulls and pressures of running a coalition government."They (NDA) were running their coalition government in the same way, perhaps in a worse way than we are running "The government is totally settled and would complete its term," Bandopadhyay said. Earlier, Swaraj said the country was faced with Constitutional crisis as no sooner had the Railway Minister presented the Budget his party leader asked the Prime Minister to remove him from the cabinet. She said some unusual events were taking place after a political quake that hit the government. "A Parliamentary Affairs Minister has gone missing from the House. Is Dinesh Trivedi still the Railway

said. Gurudas Dasgupta (CPI) supported the Trinamool demand of rollback for the hike in rail fares and said Mamata Banerjee, as a citizen, had every right to demand the same. Dasgupta said the concept of Cabinet responsibility was being targeted in the Trivedi episode. "The message is going that the government is weak. Protect the foundations of democracy....government must put its house in order," Dasgupta said.-With PTI inputs


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Washington DC Mayor calls for Obama names two Indian greater engagement with India Americans to key posts India Post News Service India Post News Service

NEW YORK: The Mayor of the District of Columbia Vincent Gray has expressed a keen interest in increasing cooperation between the District and India. At a meeting with India's Ambassador Nirupama Rao on March 8 in the capital, Mayor Gray said Washington was focusing on technological development, education, law & order, employment generation etc., and apprised her of the activities of the city administration. Also present at the meeting were Natwar Gandhi, Chief Financial Officer of the District of Columbia and Cynthia Brock-Smith, Secretary of the District of Columbia. Mayor Gray further spoke about the establishment of a Community College in the District spread over four campuses, providing technical education to train youth for employment and noted that enrolment in this college actually exceeds the trend of enrolment in the "four year University courses".

Indian Ambassador to the US, Nirupama Rao, with the Mayor of the District of Columbia, Vincent Gray in Washington

On her part, Ambassador Rao informed the Mayor of the excellent progress in India-US bilateral relations and the priorities of the Government of India in meeting its developmental goals. She hoped that there could be greater cooperation in the field of education between the District and India. Touching on business rela-

UK clarifies 'Overseas Citizen of India' status LONDON: Responding to concerns of British citizens holding the status of 'Overseas Citizen of India' (OCI), the UK Foreign Office has clarified that when such citizens are in India, they will continue to be treated as British citizens and offered consular assistance if required.

Freemans Solicitors, that when OCI holders are in India, they will continue to be treated as British citizens and will be entitled to consular assistance. The letter by Louse Edwards from the Consulate Directorate of the Foreign Office says that the OCI status does not affect a person's nationality under international law. ‘Our understanding is that "Our understanding is that the Indian authe Indian authorities would thorities would not not consider a British citizen consider a British citizen holding OCI to be holding OCI to be a dual a dual national, although this is a matter national, although this for the Indian authoriis a matter for ties. Therefore, for the the Indian authorities’ purposes of consular assistance, they would A large number of people of be treated as a British national and Indian-origin have acquired OCI would be eligible for the consular status after being naturalized as assistance," Edwards writes in the British citizens in the UK. The letter available online. scheme launched by the Indian Registration as OCI entitles government in December 2005 has them to several benefits, such as been welcomed by the Indian multi-purpose lifelong visa, exDiaspora. emption from registration with the The Foreign Office has con- police and parity with non-resifirmed in a letter to a London- dent Indians in financial and ecobased solicitors company, nomic matters.-PTI

tions, Ambassador Rao referred to the gamut of India's commercial relationship with the United States including investments in 43 states of the US by Indian companies and the job creation taking place in the United States because of these investments. The Mayor said he hoped that more Indian companies would be drawn to the District of Columbia as the City welcomed such investment. Ambassador Rao invited the Mayor to visit India during which time the possibility of establishing closer linkages between Washington and New Delhi as capitals of two great democracies could be seriously explored. The Mayor said he greatly looked forward to his visit at a mutually convenient date. It was also decided to explore the possibility of the Embassy of India and the District of Columbia jointly organizing an event to commemorate the 150th birth anniversary of Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore.

INDO-US JOINT EXERCISE: An officer of US army meeting soldiers of Indian army at Indo-US military exercise Yudh Abhyas in Mahajan in Jaisalmer on March 13

tional boards, including the Michigan Humanities Council. she received her B.A. and M.A. from Indore University, and her postgraduate certification in archival, museum and editing studies from Duquesne University. Dr. Sonny Ramaswamy is Dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences at Oregon State University and Director of the Oregon Agricultural Experiment Station. Previously, Dr. Ramaswamy was Associate Dean of the Purdue University College of Agriculture and directed the University's ag-

NEW YORK: President Barack Obama on May 9 announced his intent to nominate Paula Gangopadhyay as a member of the National Museum and Library Services Board, and Sonny Ramaswamy as Director of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture in the Department of Agriculture. Making the announcement, President Obama said, "These dedicated individuals bring a wealth of experience and talent to their new roles and I am proud to have them serve in this Adminis- Paula Gangopadhyay is the tration. I look forward Chief Learning Officer at to working with them in the months and years to The Henry Ford, where she is come." responsible for leadership, P a u l a strategy, and education. Gangopadhyay is the Chief Learning Officer She has held a variety of at The Henry Ford, positions in education and where she is responsible for leadership, arts policy strategy, and education. She has held a variety of ricultural research programs from positions in education and arts 2006 to 2009. Prior to joining the policy, including Executive Direc- Purdue faculty, he was head of the tor of the Plymouth Community Department of Entomology at Arts Council from 2006 to 2008; Kansas State University from Curator of Education, Public Pro- 1997 to 2006, where he held the grams, Visitor Services and Volun- title of Distinguished Professor. teers at the Public Museum of He also served on the faculty of Grand Rapids from 2002 to 2006; Mississippi State University, was and Executive Director of the a research associate at Michigan Great Lakes Center for Education, State University, and is a fellow Research and Practice from 2000 of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and to 2001. She was Executive Director of the Entomological Society of the Commission for Lansing America. Dr. Ramaswamy received a B.S. Schools Success from 1998 to 2000 and Executive Director of and M.S. in Entomology from the Meridian Historical Village from University of Agricultural Sciences in Bangalore, India, and a 1995 to 1998. Gangopadhyay has served as Ph.D. in Entomology from Rutgers a member of many state and na- University.


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Ravi awaits verdict as nation Hindus hail suspension of anti-Hindu website debates punishment for bias India Post News Service

SRIREKHA CHAKRAVARTY India Post News Service

NEW JERSEY: He may have been reviled by many across the nation when news of him spying on his roommate Tyler Clementi's gay encounter leading to the latter's suicide broke out two years ago, but 20 year old Dharun Ravi who has been on trial in a New Jersey court for bias intimidation and invasion of privacy, has become popular with the dozens of media persons who have been covering the court proceedings over the last two weeks. The dynamics of the case have lent themselves to the national, if not international profile of the trial - where you have a young, stylish and good looking defendant, a tragic gay victim, spunky college sophomore witnesses, and the underlying realm of tolerance towards individuals perceived as different, which essentially holds a mirror to society at large. But revelation of facts during the trial itself has since softened the stance of the mainstream media towards the former Rutgers student. Only two weeks ago they called him a loathsome jerk. Now they are not so vehement. The last few days, each time Ravi left the court room along with his attorneys during the breaks, there were quite a few reporters greeting him with a "Hey" or touching his elbow or smiling good naturedly and even flocking to chat up with his attorneys while he stood by smiling. On Wednesday, March 14, a 12-member jury went into deliberations following an intense two week testimony of the prosecution and defense with at least 30 witnesses and reams of evidence showing text messages, tweets and Facebook posts by both Ravi and Clementi. Their task is not an easy one. While the defense has painted Ravi as being malicious with intent to intimidate his gay roommate because he was not "comfortable" with his sexual orientation, the defense maintained that he was nothing more than an immature kid. The prosecution did sound convincing in portraying Ravi's actions as essentially stemming from hate, the defense, albeit with a few lame witnesses, managed to show with enough evidence that Ravi had neither recorded what he saw through his webcam of Clementi's sexual encounter with another man, nor did he broadcast it to anyone. The often packed to capacity

courtroom was filled with family and friends of both Clementi and Ravi who sat through the entire trial; reporters from all kinds of media and individuals with a special interest in the case. "I am just upset with the whole thing," said a man who drove up all the way from Philadelphia to watch the court proceedings, even as the jurors left the courtroom for their deliberations. "It's sad for everyone involved," he said meaning the families of both Ravi and Clementi. "Whatever the verdict, nobody wins in this," he

Dharun Ravi

said. Although he did not identify himself, the man revealed that as a gay man who 'came out' in the '70s, he has known how difficult it was dealing with the other kids at school. But today, he says, they know better and it's not as bad as it used to be. "So, nobody wants this kid to face any harsh punishment, it doesn't serve any purpose," he said. The blogosphere is agog with opinionators asking if the harsh punishment being sought by the prosecution was justified. "Is it fair to punish Dharun Ravi because Tyler Clementi died?" asked a Daily Beast headline. "Ravi maybe a jerk, but he shouldn't go to prison for it," it said in the copy. "Criminal retribution will not serve justice," a Star Ledger

blogger said of Ravi's case, who advocated restorative justice instead of punitive revenge for Ravi's "disrespectful invasion of Tyler Clementi's privacy". Another blogger on New Jersey 101.5 said, "He (Ravi) should be punished for his actions, but not his ideas." "Stop blaming Ravi," said Mary Gray, a Senior Researcher in a blog on the Huffington Post. "Rallying to punish Dharun Ravi, does not do justice to Clementi's life, nor does it move us one step closer to preventing another young person, like him, from turning to suicide." "Tracing a causal link between Ravi's homophobic actions and Tyler Clementi's suicide is a dangerous oversimplification," Gray wrote. A mainstream reporter covering the trial admitted to this correspondent that it wouldn't really be considered "normal" or be "accepted" if an 18-year old were to have sexual encounters in his/her shared dorm room at college irrespective of whether it was homosexual or heterosexual. "One wouldn't be okay with it, definitely not when it's been just a few days since they moved in, like in this case," he said. What seemed to be "unfair" to a member of the Indian American community who was following the trial at the court was the addition of Clementi's gay lover as a "victim" in the case. "I mean, this guy was literally picked up by Clementi off of an internet site and as such was much older and should have been responsible for his own actions. Blaming Ravi for him is taking it too far." The Huffington Post reported that last year, prosecutors had offered Ravi, who is in the US legally, a plea bargain that called for no prison time - and help avoiding deportation. Since he refused the plea bargain and pleaded to not guilty to all charges including bias intimidation, invasion of privacy, tampering of witnesses and evidence, immigration authorities could seek to have Ravi deported if he is convicted of any crime that lands him a prison sentence of a year or more, the Huffington Post report said. It further reports that although in theory all 15 charges against Ravi could result in prison time, he could actually be incarcerated only if convicted of the bias intimidation charges. Any deportation decision, however, would have to come from a federal judge.

Islam4UK, which was banned in 2010 by the British Government. Other individuals associated with sharia4hind.com were allegedly involved with Al-Muhajiroun, a terrorist organization proscribed under the UK Terrorism Act 2000. "Organizations that promote such radical agendas pose a threat to international religious freedom, not just in India, but in other parts of the world as well," said Pawan Deshpande, HAF Executive Council Member. "The type of ideol-

NEW YORK: Hindu Americans hailed the recent suspension of a hateful anti-Hindu website, shariah4hind.com, which explicitly advocated the implementation of Islamic governance in India. The website urged the destruction of all "public idols and statues" in India and a prohibition on the public worship or display of religion by Hindus and other nonMuslims. Sharia4hind.com also issued fatwas, or Islamic rulings, against all Indian political parties The website was suspended and specifically, threat- earlier this month by web host ened leading politiSite5.com, after the Hindu cians. The website was American Foundation (HAF)'s suspended earlier this Managing Director and Legal month by web host Site5.com, after the Counsel, Suhag Shukla, Esq., Hindu American Foun- wrote directly to the web dation (HAF)'s Manag- hosting company ing Director and Legal Counsel, Suhag Shukla, Esq., wrote directly to the web ogy encouraged by Shariah for Hind and its leaders frequently hosting company. "While we strongly believe in leads to religious violence and the fundamental principles of free persecution of moderate Muslims speech, Sharia for Hind's website and non-Muslims alike in many was intended and likely to pro- countries." News reports indicate that the duce violence and lawlessness, and consequently went beyond Delhi High Court has banned the the scope of protected speech," website in India and prohibited a said Shukla. "We are grateful to planned Shariah for Hind rally that Site5.com for working with us and urged all Indian Muslims to rise and demand Islamic law. The suspending the website." Sharia for Hind was reportedly Court ruled that the rally was a established by Anjem Choudary, "threat to secularism and commua British citizen who also founded nal harmony."

SRI SRI IN PAK: Indian spiritual guru and Art of Living Foundation leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar addresses an audience during the inauguration of the Foundation Center in Bani Gala, the outskirts of Islamabad. An Indian Hindu guru may be the last emissary the Taliban expect, but Sri Sri Ravi Shankar would love to teach inner peace to the world's most notorious Islamist insurgents. Visiting Pakistan for the first time in eight years, he basks in the diplomatic rapprochement that made the trip possible


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11 US colleges in academic partnerships in India India Post News Service

NEW YORK: For Helen Gaudette, director of Queens College's recently created Office of Global Education Initiatives, visiting three cities and over 15 schools and organizations in India in just six days was a whirlwind trip, but "the doors it opened to potential international academic relationships were worth the loss of sleep." The study tour from January 29 - February 3 to Mumbai, Hyderabad, and New Delhi was an integral part of a year-long training initiative by the International Academic Partnership Program (IAPP) to increase academic alliances between colleges in the US and India. Queens College was one of 11 colleges and universities in the US chosen for this initiative by the nonprofit Institute of International Education (IIE), which runs the IAPP. Other schools in the cohort included Rutgers, University of Kentucky, University of Oregon and George Mason. According to the IIE, Queens College was selected because of its commitment to global education, as exemplified by its ongoing cultural and academic programming that focuses on a different nation each year. This fall the college will kick off the Year of India - an in-depth exploration of that country's history, society, and economy, as well as its art, literature, music and film. "Developing international partnerships can be very complex, and IIE's expertise in these initiatives proved invaluable," says Gaudette. "Not only did they help us create an effective strategic plan and identify appropriate prospective partners in India, but they connected us with other American colleges with whom we could collaborate, share ideas and develop joint programs." Gaudette points out that these partnerships will also help Queens College globalize its curriculum and faculty research, and create, expand or support such programs as faculty-led study abroad courses, student and faculty exchanges, and seminars. Dr. Indu Shahani, the principal of H.R. College of Commerce & Economics in Mumbai, one of the host colleges on the study tour, recently visited Queens College and will be working with the college on various projects related to the Year of India. (QC President James Muyskens led a college delegation to India from February 4 - 13 to help solidify partnerships for the Year of India.) Queens College has also been assigned a mentor from the IAPP advisory board who will review the

college's strategic plan and guide it on managing and sustaining its Indo-US relationships. In January 2011, Gaudette led a 28-day trip to India with 13 students from Queens College, City College of New York, Baruch and York Colleges. Maritza Carmona, a political science major with a concentration in international politics who will be graduating from Queens College this May, was one of those students. Carmona, who lives in Glendale with her Colombian parents, describes her experiences in India as "life-changing." "The education went beyond the classroom and textbooks," she says. "I not only learned about India, but I got to live it in a unique, personal way. Traveling through cities and villages in the footsteps of Mahatma Gandhi and Muhammad Ali Jinnah, I gained a new, richer perspective of the contrasts between new and old that coexist in this country, but are now on a larger, more global scale." For Geeta Sanehi, who is studying for her master's in special education at QC and lives with her Guyanese parents in Hollis, the trip to India "fulfilled her grandfather's dream." "My great-grandfather was from India," says Sanehi. "It was an empowering experience for me…simultaneously sad and beautiful…to witness how joyful and welcoming the people were in spite of their poverty. I definitely plan to go back." According to Open Doors, a report published annually by IIE in partnership with the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs

‘My great-grandfather was from India," says Sanehi. "It was an empowering experience for me…simultaneously sad and beautiful…to witness how joyful and welcoming the people were in spite of their poverty. I definitely plan to go back’ of the US Department of State, Indian students represent slightly more than 14 percent of the total international student population in the United States, and India is the second highest-sending country after China. Nearly 104,000 international students from India studied in the United States from

2010-11. The number of students from the United States studying abroad in India in 2009-10 increased more than 44% from the previous year, with more than 3,800 students from US colleges and universities receiving aca-

Helen Gaudette

demic credit for study abroad in India. Approximately 570 out of 16,559 undergraduates at Queens College cite India as their country of origin. Located in Flushing, New York, Queens College is part of the City University of New York (CUNY) since its founding in 1961. The Institute of International Education, an independent, nonprofit organization founded in 1919, is a world leader in the international exchange of people and ideas.

IIE works towards closer Indo-US academic ties The Institute of International Education expanded its work to build closer academic ties between India and the United States through a series of activities in India last month. In Delhi, a representative of IIE's New York-based Center for International Partnerships in Higher Education addressed key education issues at a conference with business, government, and higher education leaders, and IIE hosted a panel discussion with speakers from the US Embassy and Indian higher education to launch its new book on higher education partnerships. Experts from IIE's New Delhi and New York offices brought together universities from the US and India in a partnership-focused university study tour to Delhi, Hyderabad and Mumbai. IIE's Clare Banks addressed the "One Globe" Conference, which convened public and private sector leaders such as Minister Kapil Sibal and Sam Pitroda to explore the role of education in developing India's knowledge economy. Banks highlighted the increasing importance of international partnerships to building the capacity of the institutions

and providing a global environment for students and faculty. Speaking on a panel moderated by Kiran Datar, Advisor for the National Knowledge Commission, with co-panelists Michael Pelletier, Counselor for Public Affairs at the US Embassy in New Delhi, and Torsten Fischer, Director of the German Research Foundation, she provided concrete guidance on forming and financing partnerships, including leveraging resources through networks or consortia, to reduce the resource burden of maintaining partnerships while sharing in the cultural and academic benefits. According to Daniel Obst, Director of IIE's Center for International Partnerships, "Education must be viewed as one pillar of the increasingly complex and globally interconnected economy, along with technology, innovation, and employment considerations. As business and government leaders focus on the relationship between the United States and India, it becomes evident that higher education is a key factor, and academic partnerships are at the forefront of this growing collaboration." "Until now, the higher education community has focused on a number of successful ties between some high profile institutions in both countries," said Obst. "The new era of US - India partnerships will focus on the numerous other high quality institutions in both countries that have much to offer each other in terms of faculty and student ex-

For an introduction to the country's vast educational system, IIE's New Delhibased experts arranged for the U.S. university administrators and faculty members to visit and hold discussions with a wide range of education institutions changes, study abroad programs, collaborative research, and even joint or double degree programs." To help universities succeed in this next wave of partnerships, IIE has developed an International Academic Partnership Program, which guides US institu-

tions through a year-long strategy-building process. The program is currently working with its second cohort of universities seeking to develop partnerships with Indian institutions, building on a pilot program with India in 2010. IIE advises institutions to enter into partnership discussions only after conducting extensive research on both the institution and the region, and to be prepared to invest the time and resources that go into building a partnership. Potential partners need to meet face-to-face many times, travel to each other's institutions, jointly develop curriculum, and ultimately set realistic goals for the partnership.

Study tour to India During the Jan 29-Feb 3 study tour to India, the IIE led a delegation of 24 representatives from the 11 US colleges and universities were briefed about many of the current issues in Indian higher education, such as the pervasive pressure to provide higher education for over 250 million Indian youth over the next few years and the growing debate regarding the role of private higher education institutions. Chancellors and principals from Indian institutions presented their perspectives on the importance of research for their faculty, how they manage the highly regulatory nature of Indian higher education governance, and the possibilities and limitations for international partnerships. To provide an introduction to the country's vast educational system, IIE's New Delhi-based experts arranged for the U.S. university administrators and faculty members to visit and hold discussions with a wide range of Indian higher education institutions. These included H.R. College of Commerce and Economics, St. Xavier's College - Mumbai, S.N.D.T Women's University, the University of Hyderabad, the Indian School of Business, Lady Shri Ram College for Women, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Indira Gandhi National Open University, Amity University, and the Industrial Technology Institute Dheerpur. In addition, the delegation visited one of Delhi's public schools, RK Puram, as well as the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) and the U.S.-India Educational Foundation (USIEF), which operates the EducationUSA advising office for students who are interested in studying in the United States, and manages the Fulbright-Nehru fellowship and scholarship programs in India.


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March 23, 2012

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Akhilesh Yadav becomes UP's youngest CM LUCKNOW: Akhilesh Yadav, who played a major role in revival of SP's fortunes in Uttar Pradesh and helped it get absolute majority, has been sworn in as the 33rd UP Chief Minister, along with 19 cabinet ministers and 28 ministers of state. Akhilesh, son of SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, at 38 will be the youngest Chief Minister of the country's most populous state. The function, held at La Martinere College ground here, was attended by members of SP's first family including Mulayam Singh Yadav, Akhilesh's wife Dimple, Union minister Pawan Kumar Bansal, Congress leader Motilal Vohra, Jaya Bachchan, Punjab Chief Minister Prakash Singh Badal, INLD leader Om Prakash Chautala, CPI(M) General Secretary Prakash Karat, CPI leader A B Bardhan and industrialists Anil Ambani and Subrata Roy Sahara. As representatives of BSP supremo and former CM Mayawati, ex-cabinet ministers Naseemuddin Siddiqui and Swami Prasad Maurya were also present. Shortly after being sworn in, Akhilesh, a post-graduate in environmental engineering from Australia, said the first meeting of his cabinet will be held in the evening to take important decisions. "Samajwadi Party will fulfill promises made in the manifesto.

Uttar Pradesh Governor BL Joshi administers oath of office and secrecy to the new Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav at the swearing-in ceremony in Lucknow on March 15

Law and order will be our responsibility from today. Action would be taken against officers doing injustice," he told reporters here. Attacking the Mayawati gov-

ernment, Akhilesh said, "Organized corruption as happened in the previous regime never took place in the state. There were restrictions during the previous

Akhilesh defends induction of Raja Bhaiyya LUCKNOW: Induction of controversial Independent MLA Raghuraj Pratap Singh alias Raja Bhaiyya as Cabinet Minister in Uttar Pradesh raised eyebrows but new Chief Minister Akhilesh

maximum cases against Raja Bhaiyya and if you ask with dates you will come to know in which dates these cases were slapped," Akhilesh told reporters in reply to a question on Raja Bhaiyya being

Independent MLA Raghuraj Pratap Singh alias Raja Bhaiyya takes oath as cabinet minister during the swearing-in ceremony in Lucknow

Yadav defended it claiming that the criminal cases against him were politically motivated. "You know that who slapped

made a Cabinet Minister shortly after he was sworn in as UP's youngest chief minister. "Wasn't he jailed by the old

government," he said, in a reference to the Mayawati government's action against the Independent MLA from Kunda in Pratapgarh district. Raja Bhaiyya has eight declared criminal cases, including attempt to murder, dacoity and abduction, against him. During poll campaign and also after helping SP craft a decisive victory in the Assembly elections, Akhilesh has made clear his intentions to break away from the past tag of 'goonda raj' during SP's previous rule in the country's most populous state. Congress alleged there were several tainted ministers in the new government. "Akhilesh Yadav is of progressive thinking, but it has to be seen whether he can change the criminal friendly face of the SP or the party changes him...even people are waiting to see the outcome," Congress chief spokesman Akhilesh Singh said. -PTI

government and UP is now celebrating democracy." Besides being the youngest chief minister, Akhilesh is the first chief minister, whose father

Mulayam Singh Yadav had held the post thrice. Akhilesh had successfully spearheaded the SP campaign during assembly elections in which the party got absolute majority winning 224 seats in the 403strong House. Cabinet ministers who took oath were Azam Khan, Shivpal Singh Yadav, Ahmad Hasan, Waqar Ahmad Shah, Raja Mahendra Aridaman Singh, Ambika Chaudhary, Anand Singh, Raghuraj Pratap Singh alias Raja Bhaiyya. Other cabinet ministers who were sworn in were Balram Yadav, Om Prakash Singh, Awadesh Prasad, Parasnath Yadav, Ram Govind Chaudhary, Durga Prasad Yadav, Brahma Shanker Tripathi, Kameshwar Upadhyaya, Raja Ram Pandey, Raj Kishore Singh and Shiv Kumar Beria. Akhilesh's ministry is a mix of old and new faces. While veterans like Azam Khan, Waqar Ahmad Shah, Shivpal Yadav, Ahmad Hasan and Ambika Chaudhary have been given cabinet berths, new faces like Abhishek Mishra, first time MLA from Lucknow north seat, has also been inducted in the ministry. Adequate representation of Muslims in the government has been ensured with three cabinet ministers and seven ministers of state in it.-PTI

School children in rural England learn Hinduism India Post News Service

A

primary school in rural En gland reportedly recently learned about Hinduism for about four weeks. This project at girl-majority Cusgarne Community Primary School in Cornwall sought to expand the cultural horizons of students and as a result they created some Hindu-inspired art which was hung at walls of the school. Children also learned about

prayer, traditional Hindu dance and dress. This small school, with Wendy Nicholls as Head Teacher, in the center of Cusgarne village, serves a number of surrounding villages and hamlets. A previous Ofsted inspection report of the school said: Pupils' behavior is excellent and they report no bullying‌limited understanding of the breadth of British society; for instance, those who had visited London found it a strange place.

World Bank approves USD 4.3 bln aid to India WASHINGTON: The World Bank has announced USD 4.3 billion financial aid to India through a new innovative and flexible financing arrangement to help the country fight poverty. This arrangement, while facilitating a USD 4.3 billion increase in support to India, is designed to maintain International Bank for Re-

construction and Development's (IBRD) - which is its lending arm net exposure within the limit of USD 17.5 billion established by it. In a statement, the World Bank said the new arrangement will allow for special bonds to be issued by the World Bank and purchased by India, to offset additional planned lending.-PTI


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March 23, 2012

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India sex ratio crisis fueled by family pressures India Post News Service

FAIRFIELD, Conn: A new study has dug deeper into India's sex ratio imbalance crisis to find that it is being fueled by complex family pressures, including the belief that boys will be better wage earners, and that men will be more likely to take better care of their aging parents. The study also indicates that elders in the family and often husbands prefer a male child, while many wives pointed out that their voices could not be made heard, and they had little choice in the matter. Led by Fairfield University's Center for Faith and Public Life, the pilot study, is very different from past studies that were exclusively quantitative in nature. Fairfield University's innovative survey included qualitative components to better understand how gender dynamics and family pressures in India lead to the birth of a significantly greater number of boys than girls. The study suggests that male child preference is quite prevalent and the sex imbalance ratio - which is on the increase and was evident in the 2011 Indian National Census - is likely to be a major impediment to the future development of India. The crisis is impacting peoples of all religions, of all economic classes, living in urban and rural areas with considerable rami-

fications to India's economy, the Gross Domestic Product, and an increased threat of violence in the society. Fairfield professors hope this research will ultimately lead to concrete projects in education and workforce development for young people. "This study finds that better access to education and em-

The study also indicates that elders in the family and often husbands prefer a male child, while many wives pointed out that their voices could not be made heard, and they had little choice in the matter ployment prospects will demonstrate to families how to elevate the value of women and girls in society," said Gita Rajan, Ph.D., professor of English at Fairfield's College of Arts & Sciences, an Indian American, who developed the idea for the research endeavor. " There is a need to focus on both boys and girls to make sure that the younger generation as a whole

is given opportunities." Dr. Rajan led the study with Rev. Richard Ryscavage, S.J., professor of sociology and director of The Center for Faith and Public Life. "The study also found that many families feel that educating a boy is more important - the belief being they make better political leaders, business executives, and wage earners in general," said Fr. Ryscavage. "What we intend to do is foster the belief system that every citizen has value and that girls and women most certainly cannot be left behind." The pilot study was undertaken after discussions with the Office of Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women's Issues Melanne Verveer at the U.S. Department of State. It is a crucial component of a longterm project: "Impact India 2021: Elevating the Value of Women and Girls in Society." According to the 2011 National Census of India, there were 914 girls born for every 1,000 boys; in some regions reaching as low as 824 girls. These figures are alarming in comparison to the United Nation's 2010 Population Sex Ratio norm of 101.7 males to 100 females. The Indian census numbers therefore show a severe sex ratio imbalance in the nation. The Indian government, numerous global agencies, NGOs and researchers contend that as women be-

come a minority in the population, there is bound to be a detrimental effect on both India's economic development and social stability. United Nations demographers point to colossal, long-term negative results wherein having more boys/men than girls could lead to an increased predilection to violence in societies.

The research also found that girls are being systematically devalued in society. Yet, the findings also revealed many wives responding that daughters would be better caregivers than sons Undertaken in partnership with St. Xavier College in Mumbai and Loyola College in Chennai, the research also found that girls are being systematically devalued in society. Yet, the findings also revealed many wives responding that daughters would be better caregivers than sons. "The findings of the pilot study have given us confidence to move

to a scaled-up Phase II level with seven Jesuit-run colleges in India," said Dr. Rajan. "These schools are in different regions of India, and we look forward to activating Jesuit partnerships across the nation to understand more clearly how family dynamics lead to male child preference." The Indian government has expressed its willingness to address the sex ratio imbalance crisis. This is one of the reasons Fairfield chose to undertake the research endeavor, which surveyed the upper layer of the lower class and the lower layer of the middle class. The assumption was that those families could be the part of the population that can make changes in their attitudes towards the son preference practice, a change that could be discernible by the next census, in 2021. Rev. Jeffrey P. von Arx, S.J., president of Fairfield University, said the next phase of "Impact India" will involve expanding the number of Indian families surveyed to as many as 3,000 and entail forging partnerships with more Jesuit colleges. "Fairfield, as a Jesuit institution, is well-placed to proceed with this initiative, because of the worldwide network of Jesuit institutions. Our institutional emphasis on educating our students to be global citizens also perfectly supports this most vital endeavor."

Vatican keeps extensive collection of Hindu texts India Post News Service

NEVADA: Vatican Library carries extensive collection of ancient Hindu scriptures and various other Hinduism related texts. Catalogue search reveals books on Rig-Veda, AtharvaVeda, Sama-Veda, Upanishads, Mundaka-Upanishad, Brhadaranyaka-U p a n i s h a d , Chandogya-Upanishad, Katha Upanishad, SvetasvataraUpanishad, Bhagavat-Puran, Devimahatmya, Ramayana, Valmiki-Ramayana, TulsidasRamayana, Mahabharata, NalaDamayanti, Bhagavad-Gita, Parsuram, Mira, Wise Sayings of Bhartrhari, Bhaktiyoga, Krishna, Ramcharitmanas, Ramanuja, Brahma, Brahmanas, Hindu civilization, Hindu manners-customs-ceremonies, Hindu music, Hindu pantheon, Hindu psychology, Hindu theology, Yoga, Hinduism, Yoga-system of Patanjali, Yogic Powers and God Realization, etc. This Hindu collection is in various languages and some of the editions are as old as 1819. Applauding Holy See and

Pope Benedict, Rajan Zed, President of Universal Society of Hinduism, said that it was a remarkable gesture and a step in the right direction to understand each other. Zed invited Pope for a deeper study of ancient Hindu scriptures, which were very rich in philosophical thought, and offered to provide help if asked. Rajan Zed further said that in 200-page "Verbum Domini" (The Word of the Lord) apostolic exhortation released on November 11, 2010, Pope Benedict wrote about "the sense of the sacred, sacrifice and fasting‌" in Hinduism. Vatican Library (Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana) in Vatican City, library of the Holy See, whose traces go back to fourth century, has manuscripts, printed books, prints and drawings, coins and medals. His Most Reverend Eminence Cardinal Raffaele Farina is the librarian of the Holy Roman Church while Monsignor Cesare Pasini is the Prefect. It is said to hold about 75,000 manuscripts and over 1.1 million books, which includes Codex

Vaticanus Graecus 1209, the oldest known nearly complete manuscript of the Bible. His Holiness Pope Benedict

XVI is the ex-officio head of state of Vatican City, a sovereign citystate within the city of Rome (Italy). Pope also heads the Ro-

man Catholic Church, which is the largest of the Christian denominations with about 1.2 billion members.

YALE VISITORS: A group of students of Yale School of Management (USA) posing for a group photo during a visit to Parliament House in New Delhi on March 14


Desi News Holi celebration at Balaji Temple SURENDRA ULLAL

AURORA: The Cultural Committee of the Sri Venkateswara Swami (Balaiji) Temple hosted "Rang De Basanti - Festival of Colors - A Musical and Dance Extravaganza" on March 10 at the Sri Veluchamy Auditorium in Aurora. The event showcased various local Indian dance studios, as well as local instrumentalists and vocalists, to great fanfare and attendance. Holi is the celebration of the end of Winter and the beginning of Spring among Hindus, both in India and around the world. Each dance brought something special to the stage. Details on page 14

Colorful Holi at Chicago temple India Post News Service

CHICAGO: Warm temperature in Chicagoland brought over 4,200 people to celebrate Holi on Saturday March 10 at Sri Rama Temple of Lemont. Holi also known as Dhuli Vandana in Sanskrit, is familiar to many as Dhuleti, Dhulandi,a rich Hindu culture celebrated at the end of winter season on the last full moon day of the lunar month Phalguna. Holi celebrations at Rama temple brought out the best from children and adults, families and friends, people known to each other and otherwise; applying the vibrant colors and wishing each other love, happiness and harmony. Details on page 16

COMMUNITY ACROSS AMERICA

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India Post News Service

NEW JERSEY: More than 150 Hindus from the NJ-NY-PA tri-state area attended the Hinduism Summit (Dharmajagruti Sabha) held at the Balaji Temple Community Hall in Bridgewater March 10 organized by the Forum for Hindu Awakening and Balaji Temple. The audience listened raptly as the speakers addressed the threats to Hinduism from direct assaults, denigration and 'digestion', and provided practical solutions and guidance on the Hindu spiritual way of life. The Summit commenced in a traditional Hindu way, with the blowing of a conch, Vedic recitations and the speakers lighting a wick oil lamp. During the presentations, Hindu activist and avid reader of Hindu Janajagruti Samiti, Jitendra Oulkar warned about the adverse impacts of denigration that most people are unaware of. He urged, "Do not condone the spiritual pollution caused by denigration in the name of freedom of expression, just as you do not condone noise or air pollution." The next speaker, Shilpa Kudtarkar presented Spiritual Science Research Foundation's research performed with dowsing, Polycontrast Interference Photography and DDFAO, a body imag-

ing technology, that respectively indicate the relative strength of subtle energies obstructing Dharma, highly positive vibrations from a Hindu Saint's handwriting and prayer's beneficial impact on the chakras. She emphasized the importance of spiritual practice (saadhana) and Saints' blessings to effectively counter the threats faced by Hinduism. Rajiv Malhotra, Indian American researcher and the main speaker at

and Europe. As well, he explained the importance of stressing the 'non-portability' and 'non-translatability' of Dharmik concepts, to prevent their appropriation by Western individuals and institutions. In Malhotra's words, "You are either being different or being digested!" Bhavna Shinde Hurley, spokesperson of Forum for Hindu Awakening, concluded the presentations with a speech on 'Understanding, living and preserving Hinduism'.

Malhotra outlined his research findings that alarmingly point towards India's balkanization by a nexus between the Christian missionaries and communist groups operative in India and the academic and funding institutions operative in USA and Europe this Summit spoke on the subjects of his latest books, 'Breaking India - Western Interventions in Dravidian and Dalit Faultlines' and 'Being Different - An Indian Challenge to Western Universalism'. Malhotra outlined his research findings that alarmingly point towards India's balkanization by a nexus between the Christian missionaries and communist groups operative in India, and the academic and funding institutions operative in USA

She explained how the various presentations were interconnected the greater strength of subtle distressing energies relative to that of a spiritually average individual is often seen in the gross. For one successful attempt at stopping some denigration, there are tens of new denigrations; for one selfless Hindu researcher like Rajiv Malhotra, there are hundreds of scholars of Hinduism actively undermining Hinduism in academic

circles. Amidst applause, Shinde encouraged the audience to offer some time daily towards learning about Hinduism and issues it is facing, and to complement these efforts with saadhana for greater success in overcoming the issues. This event, 13th in the series of Hinduism Summits held in North America, Europe and Australia since mid-2009, concluded with passing of a resolution requesting Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to evaluate how the US can use its leverage as Bangladesh's 3rd largest trading partner to influence the Bangladeshi government to stop human rights abuses against its Hindu citizens. This was followed by a lively hour long discussion between the speakers and attendees. It addressed thought provoking questions like, 'Do we need a Hindu nation?'; 'How to raise our children from the age of 5 itself to understand Hinduism's importance?'; 'By including the Buddha as a Hindu Avatar, has Hinduism too, digested Buddhism?'; 'What is the significance of two consorts of Deity Balaji?' and such. The attendees spent the rest of the evening browsing through the exhibition of posters and books on Hindu spirituality, history and science, and Rajiv Malhotra's research.

Air India most patronized Chicago-India airliner

SURENDRA ULLAL

Details on page 17

March 23, 2012

NJ Hindus awaken to Hinduism's science and denigration

'Finding Home' Discovery of self after immigration CHICAGO: Kalapriya Foundation, Center for Indian Performing Arts presents "Finding Home" on May 4 and 5 at 8pm in the Larry Long Studio of the Ruth Page Center for the Arts located at 1016 North Dearborn in Chicago. Kalapriya Foundation, Center for Indian Performing Arts, led by Artistic Director Pranita Jain, celebrates the diverse cultures of India through dance and music that is rooted in Indian culture yet evolving and engaging to contemporary audiences.

Indian Consulate launches new website

RAMESH SOPARAWALA India Post News Service

Air India Midwest Manager Jude Crasto addressing ethnic Indian media at Tiffin Restaurant in Chicago. Seen in the picture also are (L-R) Katherine Thorat, Rajiv Sharma and A N Irani.

CHICAGO: Air India Midwest Chief Jude Crasto said here that his front ranking international air career is geared up fully to meet the summer traffic with very convenient summer schedule and highly customer friendly staff - in house, at the airport and on board. Addressing a well attended ethnic India media meet at Tiffin Restaurant on Mahatma Gandhi Marg on Devon Avenue, he said that effective March 25, AI Flight 126 will depart daily from O Hare Terminal 5 at 1-30 p.m. arriving in Delhi

at 3-10 p.m. the following day. The same flight will then continue from Delhi at 4-50 p.m. and reach Hyderabad at 7.07 p.m. the

"The Chicago Hyderabad fight is the longest fling in Air India network now" same day. "The Chicago Hyderabad fight is the longest fling in Air India network now," he said with obvious pride. Cont’d on page 14


Community Across America

March 23, 2012

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Sikh American family receives death threats India Post News Service

NEW YORK: Late last month, a Sikh American family from Sterling, Virginia received a letter containing death threats addressed to 'Turban Family'. The letter received Feb 28 said: "Our People in the neighborhood have been closely watching your

are closely monitoring your day to day activities." According to the Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund (SALDEF), this family has been the target of previous hate crimes as well. In 2003, while living in Gaithersburg, Maryland their home was vandalized with graffiti and they received two

"Incidents like these are constant reminders of the challenges that Sikh Americans face as a result of our unique identity. In the absence of awareness about who we are and what we stand for, Sikh Americans will continue to endure harassment, discrimination and threats� activities and figured out you are a close associate of a secret Taliban movement on the US Soil. We ask you to leave the country as soon as possible otherwise one of our people is going to shoot you dead. Don't attempt to relocate somewhere else in America as people

threatening letters. Then, in 2005, after moving to Leesburg, Virginia, they received two more death threats via mail. In the latter of these cases, the FBI was able to apprehend a suspect for the threat. SALDEF has been in contact with the FBI and local law enforce-

Lecture on Tagore by Dipesh Chakrabarty KRISHNA RAJDA

CHICAGO: The Consulate General of India, Chicago has slated a lecture 'Tagore in Chicago, 1913: The Risks & Possibilities of Cosmopolitanism' by renowned professor Dipesh Chakrabarty on Tuesday, April 3. The discourse will take place in Fullerton Hall at the Art Institute of Chicago. Doors open for seating at 5:45 p.m. The lecture will begin promptly at 6 p.m. Professor Chakrabarty will look at the reception of Rabindranath Tagore as perceived by significant literary personalities of Chicago in the winter of 1913 when Tagore visited the city. The discussion will include how Tagore's writings, often expressive of sentiments that were less universal, traveled across cultures. Professor Chakrabarty will also point to the irony of particular misunderstandings that enabled the creation of a global, literary conversation. Professor Chakrabarty is the Lawrence A. Kimpton Distinguished Service Professor of History and South Asian Languages and Civilizations at the University of Chicago. He obtained his Ph.D. in History from the Australian National University, Canberra, Australia. Coupled with his teaching success, Professor Chakrabarty has written several books including, "Provincializing Europe:

Sikhs are increasingly the target of Islamophobia in the United States.

ment and has urged them to fully investigate this incident as a hate crime. "Incidents like these are constant reminders of the challenges that Sikh Americans face as a result of our unique identity. In the

absence of awareness about who we are and what we stand for, Sikh Americans will continue to endure harassment, discrimination and threats which run counter to the American ideals ," said SALDEF Associate Executive Director,

Jasjit Singh. "We call upon local and federal law enforcement agencies to rightfully classify this incident as a hate crime and bring the perpetrators to justice to show that hate and violence are not tolerated in our society."

Spectacular Maha Sivarathri cultural celebrations

Postcolonial Thought and Historical Difference," "Habitations of Modernity, Rethinking Working Class History," and "Itihasher Janajibon o onyanyo probondho" (written in Bengali, title translated to: "The Public Life of History and Other Essays").

The discussion will include how Tagore's writings, often expressive of sentiments that were less universal, traveled across cultures. Professor Chakrabarty will also point to the irony of particular misunderstandings that enabled the creation of a global, literary conversation Entry for the lecture is free courtesy by the Art Institute of Chicago. Prior registration with the Consulate General of India, Chicago is required. Those interested in attending may register by providing their full name to: culture@indianconsulate.com

Asian Media USA

CHICAGO, IL: On the auspicious occasion of Maha Sivarathri, Sri Venkateswara Swami (Balaji) Temple in Aurora, IL, organized spectacular cultural celebrations 'Shivoham' on Saturday, Feburary 18 at the temple auditorium. Maha Sivarathri is a very important event for the devotees of Lord Siva. Hindus pray to Parameswara with impeccable devotion and concentration during this period by fasting and staying awake all night chanting prayers. "Shivoham" - unique classical and contemporary dance performances by professional teachers of Chicagoland, in the Indian clas-

sical dance forms of Bharatnatyam, Kuchipudi, Mohiniyattam and Kathak were presented in the Veluchamy auditorium. The event began with the beautiful chanting of Siva puja by students of Dr.Hemalatha Burra, a Sanskrit scholar and a retired professor from Sri Sathya Sai University. This was followed by devotional bhajans of Lord Shiva rendered Chicagoland Bhajan group. The bhajan singing was coordinated by Sri Gopi Jagarlamudi. Highlighting the evening was a unique presentation on Lord Shiva in Mohiniyattam dance style from the state of Kerala. Siva Sthuthi was presented by Smt. Sandhya Radhakrishnan, artistic

director of Bharatanjali School of Dance. 'Ardhanareeshwara" in the 'Odissi' dance style was performed by Smt. Ipsitha Satpathy, Director, Utkala Centre for Dance. Vibrant Kuchipudi performances 'Natesa Kauthvam' followed by 'Enneramum' by Dr. Sangita Rangala, a professional Kuchipudi dancer, enthralled the audience. Presenting the grandeur and beauty of the north Indian dance style Kathak, "Shiv Aradhana and Triwat" hailed the blissful and wondrous Lord Siva. The presentation was beautifully rendered by Smt. Gauri Jog, Director of Indian Dance School, and Isha Jog. Cont’d on page 14


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March 23, 2012

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Holi celebration at Balaji Temple Air India most patronized Chicago-India airliner

SURENDRA ULLAL

AURORA: The Cultural Committee of the Sri Venkateswara Swami (Balaiji) Temple hosted "Rang De Basanti - Festival of Colors - A Musical and Dance Extravaganza" on March 10 at the Sri Veluchamy Auditorium in Aurora. The event showcased various local Indian dance studios, as well as local instrumentalists and vocalists, to great fanfare and attendance. Holi is the celebration of the end of Winter and the beginning of Spring among Hindus, both in India and around the world. Each dance brought something special to the stage. The dance performances ranged from traditional harvest-folk songs, Bharatnatyam,

Cont’d from page 12

Youth artists performing Holi dance

produced by the following dance schools around the Chicago area: Payaliya School of Dance, Danceclemenz School of Dance,

Interspersed between dance numbers were regional and cinema songs performed by local talent, as well as an outstanding Tabla Jugalbandi, or "conversation", by some young artists in training mini dance-dramas and modern movie-hit medleys, all themed around the change of season and paying homage to Lord Krishna. The dances were arranged and

Nataraj Dance Academy, Nritya Geethanjali Dance Academy, Sonia's Dance Rhythm, and Meera Arts. Interspersed between dance

numbers were regional and cinema songs performed by local talent, as well as an outstanding Tabla Jugalbandi, or "conversation", by some young artists in training. Efforts of the following choreographers and teachers for their amazing work and talents need to be applauded: Deepti Patel, Lavanya Jonnalagadda, Apurupa Tipparaju, Vijayalakshmi ShettyAhuja, Trupti Patel, Padmaja Sonti, Anupama Rajesh, Kshama Shah, Sonia Agarwal, Meera Jeyki, Radhika Ramanathan, Bindu Pathak, Jyotsna Kilani. Recognition must also be extended to Ashok Kowdle, Paimala, Mani Tellapragada and Amrutha Daram.

Kids presenting Holi dance

He also pointed out that passengers traveling to other destination after reaching Delhi by AI 127 are also assured of immediate connections to Mumbai ( arriving 7 p.m.) Amritsar (arriving 7-35 p.m.), Kolkata (reaching 10-20 p.m.), Chennai (arriving 8 p.m.), Kochi (reaching 9-35 p.m.) and Bangalore (arriving 7-10 p.m.). He pointed out that Kochi is added now as an international destination which should be most welcome by passengers. The travelers would be reach-

The famed Indian hospitality is epitomized also on board as gracious crew attend to every need of the passengers who are also treated with Award Winning Menu eliciting well earned applause from travelers. Airport Manager A.N. Irani said that his staff is willing and is on record also to go out of way to help passengers getting in the aircraft as well as give the best cooperation in handling their luggage. He however, suggested that the passengers should really exercise extra caution and vigil in

He suggested that the passengers should really exercise extra caution and vigil in selecting their hand luggage as it should not be over-weight nor should it exceed the acceptable width and length dimension as too big and over weight luggage could create problems ing their destinations at very convenient time and not very late night or early morning as is the case with other airlines or even with Air India in the past. In the return journey, flight AI 127 departs Delhi at 2 a.m. and reaches O Hare at 7-25 a.m. the same day with great out bound connections to other US cities. Jude Crasto also said that Air India Chicago has now achieved an excellent on-time record with flights operating well about the industry norms." Both departures and arrival time of AI 126 and AI 127 are in high 90s for on time performances," he added. Air India operates Chicago flight with latest B777 - 3000 ER aircraft that is one of the most modern and comfortable ones for long haul operations, he said.

selecting their hand luggage as it should not be over-weight nor should it exceed the acceptable width and length dimension as too big and over weight luggage could create problems while being placed overhead. It so happens that American Airlines, the only other airline that operated non-stop ChicagoDelhi flight, has suspended its operations. This has also helped in boosting the patronage for the Indian national career. Combined that with good time-record in arrivals and departures, and customer friendly staff, Air India seems to be slowly becoming the most patronized international career flying from Chicago to India. Present at the press meet were Air India Sales Manager Katherine Thorat and Finance Manager Rohit Sharma.

Spectacular Maha Sivarathri cultural celebrations Cont’d from page 13

Yet another unique and dramatic presentation of Bharatnatyam's traditional repertoire in praise of Lord Siva is 'Amma Anandadayini Varnam' performed by Bhavya Kumaran and choreographed by Smt. Sowmya Kumaran, Director, Nrithyasangeeth School of Dance. Contemporary presentation in Bharatnatyam dance style 'Om Shivoham' by students of Jinoo Varghese created excitement in the audience. Anjal Chande, Director of

Soham Dance Space offered 'Prostrations to Lord Shiva' in contemporary Bharatnatyam dance style. Bringing out the fervor of Mahasivaratri, Smt. Sushmita Arunkumar and students of Nrithyanajali presented 'Sankara An Ode to the Dancing Lord'. This presentation was executed with grace and poise and received very well by the audience. Combining elements of Tandava and Lasya along with talent and synergy, 'NatanaanadamThe Dance of bliss, with original choreography by Smt. Janaki

Anandavalli Nair and presented by the guru and her students, in

Kuchipudi dance style, was one of a kind and made a lasting im-

pression among the audience. Stage props with original creations by Ravi Tokala added a beautiful touch to the stage decor. The relentless efforts of the Balaji Temple Cultural committee were appreciated in the vote of thanks delivered by the cultural committee chair, Smt. Usha Pariti. Balaji Temple cultural committee will be hosting a grand Bharatnatyam presentation by renowned artist from Chennai, India, Sri A.Lakshman with live orchestra on Saturday March 3rd, 6pm at the temple auditorium.


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March 23, 2012

India Post 15

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Brahma Kumaris celebrate Mahashivratri Asian Media USA

CHICAGO: World spiritual organization Brahma Kumaris celebrated Mahashivratri Sneh Milan on February 29 in Elmhurst, a south west Chicago suburb, with great enthusiasm. The spiritual evening was enhanced by devotional songs and ghazals by Sharad Gupta, a renowned singer from Bollywood, India. He also performed movie

edge this organization spreads knowledge and preaches free of charge through its 25 centers. There were many dignitaries present on this auspicious musical night. Hiral Gandhi, a member of the Brahma Kumaris center in Chicago, extended a warm welcome to everyone present. She said that Brahma Kumaris was an international spiritual organization with headquarters in Mount Abu, In-

She introduced Sister Kala Iyengar, a highly respected teacher of the Brahma Kumaris and a pediatrician in New York for many years, to talk about the spiritual significance of Shivratri melodies both old and new, which made the whole atmosphere joyful. More than 700 devotees and their families enjoyed this special evening. Ten devotees hosted the event. Didi Mary was the Coordinator of Sneh Milan. Brahma Kumaris were established in USA in the year 1978. The National Headquarters of Brahma Kumaris is in New York. With Raja Yoga and godly knowl-

dia and around 9,000 branches all around the world. Most people know about Brahma Kumaris because of Sister Shivani and her "Awakening with Brahma Kumaris" TV program. Later she introduced Sister Kala Iyengar, a highly respected teacher of the Brahma Kumaris and a pediatrician in New York for many years, to talk about the spiritual significance of Shivratri.

Audience at Brahma Kumaris Meet

The program started at 7:00 pm in the packed auditorium. Didi Mary, coordinator of the event started the program by briefing the audience about Brahma Kumaris and explaining the importance of Jyoti Bindu (soul). Dr. Kala Iyenger from New York spoke on various facets of life and God. There were three short videos explaining various facets of life, who we are, who God is and how to achieve peace and one-god onefamily. Didi Kala explained that God Shiva was the supreme authority and the significance of celebrating his birthday is Shivratri. After her speech, the entire audience

Senator Chappelle-Nadal visits Bal Vihar ASHWIN PATEL

ST LOUIS: State Senator Chappelle- education, and the knowledge about curNadal visited Bal Vihar of St. Louis School rent affairs. It was an interactive morning on March 11. Bal Vihar founder Dr Sudhir as children had the opportunity to ask Brahmbhatt had gone to the office of the questions to Senator Chappelle-Nadal, and Senator to brief her about the activities un- get enlightened as the senator answered dertaken by this center over the past 20 every question in a way they would unyears. The Senator was impressed with the activities that the school carries out at the Laude Middle school in Ladue, MO with current enrollment of 250 children and voluntary services provided by 29 administrative staff and 40 teachers. Senator Chappelle-Nadal with Bal Vihar students The Bal Vihar Community thanked Senator Chappelle-Nadal derstand and comprehend. for taking time from her busy schedule to Later that afternoon, the senator had the visit the facility and spend time with the opportunity to attend the "Transcendental children while they were in class and their Meditation Program" introductory session Yoga sessions. The children proudly pre- along with Bal Vihar parents and the faculty sented their work, their vision of culture, members.

was deeply engrossed in meditation, feeling the eternal peace. This was followed by Sharad Gupta and his group's music performance. Music lovers enjoyed every ghazal, bhajan, nagme and film song sung by Sharad Gupta, a disciple of Anup Jalota. Hiral Gandhi thanked everyone for coming to the program and sharing the celebration with them. She invited the audience to visit their Brahma Kumaris centers in Streamwood, Naperville and Chicago. As a final gift, everyone received a special sweet that was made in peaceful remembrance of god, called a toli, with a little blessing card that revealed some spe-

cial quality of that person. Perhaps few organizations have stimulated as much change and discussion at the time of their inception, as the Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University (BKWSU). When the University came into being under the name "Om Mandali" it consisted of only a handful of men, women and children living in Hyderabad, Sindh. In 1950, the community moved to Mount Abu and established Brahma Kumaris University's world headquarters named Madhubhan. The Madhuban complex currently includes two other campuses, known as Gyan Sarovar (Lake of Knowledge) and Shantivan. Every year the three campuses attract over 2.5 million individuals (students and visitors) from all ethnic and religious backgrounds. Brahma Kumaris also have been accepted as Non Government Member of United Nations. It also works as advisor with UNICEF and ECOSOC in their programs. It also has been awarded Peace Award by United Nations. The organization is also arranging camps for heart sufferers under their Healthy Heart Programs.


Community Across America

16 India Post

March 23, 2012

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Colorful Holi at Chicago temple

Surabhi - Perfect melting pot of music Asian Media USA

CHICAGO: A musical event organized by Ensemble of Ragas, a school that imparts music lessons to over 100 kids was a perfect Surabhi - a melting pot of music at Mayne Stage Theater on Morse Ave in Chicago on Saturday,

composition, gave a happy mood, and magically transported one to Spain! The second set started with a group song by the students of Ensemble of Ragas along with vocals and veenas. Seven veenas lined up in a theater in downtown Chicago, was a beautiful sight. The

Holi revelers at Hindu Temple of Greater Chicago India Post News Service

CHICAGO: Warm temperature in Chicagoland brought over 4,200 people to celebrate Holi on Saturday March 10 at Sri Rama Temple of Lemont. Holi also known as Dhuli Vandana in Sanskrit, is familiar to many as Dhuleti, Dhulandi,a rich Hindu culture celebrated at the end of winter season on the last full moon day of the lunar month Phalguna. Holi celebrations at Rama temple brought out the best from children and adults, families and friends, people known to each other and otherwise; applying the vibrant colors and wishing each other love, happiness and harmony. Holi celebrations started early with a cultural program organized by Rupa Acharya, Cultural Chairperson, HTGC, and DJ Nilesh Patel. Children and young adults

performed dances in groups for famous songs like Thug le and senorita medley, Holi Ayye Re, Crazy kiya re, Bindiya chamke gi, Natkut (Navarang) and many more that bring everlasting memories. Devotees and local community enthusiasts alike joined together at the dance floor. Holika Dahan (burning of Holika) bonfire was ready on premises with the help of temple CustodiansVanamoorthy and Velayudham. Holi color sales by the Youth group and Snack Stall

by Prasadam chair Veena Marwaha were the highlights around the bonfire area. Children were selective in picking the colors green, pink, yellow, blue, orange and purple. Colors were applied to each other expressing love and respect to each other with big hugs. The community joined to light the bonfire with Pandit Ram Parsadji. The slight chill setting in the evening of air was insignificant with hot drinks and snacks to accompany the bonfire and dancing late in the evening

Georgia school celebrates Holi India Post News Service

GEORGIA: Bonaire Middle School in Bonaire, Georgia, celebrated Holi, the Hindu festival of color, on March 9 with great enthusiasm and gusto. Seventh-graders of this school, led by their teacher Telisa Cunningham, chased and doused one another on the school grounds with gulal, the traditional colored powder ordered from India, and ate Indian traditional sweetmeat of Jalebi. She described it as an "enrichment opportunity".

Another teacher Shannon Sanders later sprayed-off the color from participants with a water hose. Students had fun, reports suggest. Joie de vivre festival of Holi, which fell on March 8 this year, welcomes the beginning of spring and starts about ten days before the full moon of Phalguna. Besides color, the ceremonies include the lighting of bonfires, during which all evils are symbolically burnt. Holi also commemorates the frolics of youthful Lord Krishna, celebrates the death of demoness Putana, burning of

demoness Holika, and destruction of Kama by Shiva. About 27,000 students attend Houston County Board of Education (HCBE) schools of which Bonaire Middle, a "Georgia School of Excellence", is a part. Students at HCBE, whose mission is to "produce high-achieving students",

The festival of Holi welcomes the beginning of spring and starts about ten days before the full moon of Phalguna speak about 34 languages. Tom Walmer is Chairman of HCBE Board, James R. Hines Junior is its Superintendent, and Cindy Randall is Bonaire's Principal. Bonaire in Houston County is the hometown of Sonny Perdue, 81st Governor of Georgia.

L to R Shantha Ranganathan, Satya Gummuluri, Patricia Ortega, Carlo Basile, Wendy Clinard, CGI Mrs Tomar, Saraswathi Ranganathan, Ravi Iyer, Ganapathi, Ranganathan, Dhananjay Kunte, Martin Metzger (standing behind not seen), John Knecht, Bob Garrett

March 9. There was a shot of Indian percussion, a generous drizzle of African and Latin drums, exotic flavors of Flamenco, Bharatnatyam and Gypsy dance. For about two hours the audience sat mesmerized, enjoying the aroma from the melting pot of music. After a preview of the program by WBEZ talk show host Catalina Maria Johnson, the program opened aptly with Vande Mataram, the National song of India rendered by Shanta Ranganathan. Sara Ranganathan started the orchestra with a breathtaking elaboration of Raag Mayamalavagowlam. With one pluck of the string, Sara sustained the sound of the Veena for over two minutes and in that time, brought out the melody of Mayamalavagowlam in all its glory. The song continued with Chittibabu's Shivaleela Vilasam featuring Bharatnatyam by Vijayalakshmi. She portrayed the story of Ganga and Shiva with fluid grace and fine emotive expressions. When the folk tune started, it was a pleasant surprise to see Wendy Clinard join in Flamenco. The item continued with Solea featuring a full-length Spanish music with soulful vocals by Satya Gummuluri and Patricia Ortega. Wendy's energetic Flamenco had the audience foot tapping too along with hers. The next musical item was the signature Rhythms Indiana composed by Chittibabu. Carlo Basile showed his expertise with Vibrant Spanish Guitar techniques while Martin Metzger joined with the slides on the Jazz Guitar. Alegrias, another Flamenco

kids were nicely dressed in traditional Indian clothes and looked adorable. The concert continued with Aboud Agha playing Oud. The 10-beat Arabic rhythm was finely brought out. The music was named "Tiri" which translates in Arabic "to fly". So, the Isis Wings with the gypsy dance by Vijayalakshmi was apt and a fantastic addition to this medley. The highlight of the second set

Carlo Basile showed his expertise with Vibrant Spanish Guitar techniques while Martin Metzger joined with the slides on the Jazz Guitar. Alegrias, another Flamenco composition, gave a happy mood was the percussion special "Taal se Taal Mila". Ganapathi Ranganathan on the Mridangam, Ravi Iyer on Ghatam, Dhananjay Kunte on Tabla, John Knecht on African drums and Bob Garrett on Latin drums took the "Tani Avartanam" to the next level. It was ecstatic. The different beats, 'nadais' and rhythm cycles were enjoyable. The concert ended with 'Reverie', a fine blend of Indian and Spanish rhythms with solo interchange between Carlo's Guitar and Sara's Veena.


Community Across America

March 23, 2012

India Post 17

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Hilarious Gujarati comedy staged 'Finding Home' - Discovery of self after immigration SURENDRA ULLAL

The play being enjoyed by community members Asian Media USA

CHICAGO: Manav Seva Mandir and Six Gam Patidar Samaj (SGPS) of Chicago presented a hilarious Gujarati comedy drama, "Patni Nachave Bhagwan Bachave" on Saturday, March 10 at Manav Seva Mandir, Bensenville, IL. The show was

house full with 700 plus people in attendance, jamming the auditorium. Parimal Butala (Kotyark Entertainment) was the national promoter of this play. Six Gam Patidar Samaj (SGPS) of Chicago works to instill and cultivate moral, cultural, and educational values among second generation youth

A still from the play.

in order to strengthen age old Indian cultural heritage. It organizes meets to exchange ideas, and take action. Manav Seva Mandir and Six Gam Patidar Samaj Board of Trustees, Executive Board, Executive board members and volunteers worked hard to make this event enjoyable to the audience.

St. Louis ready with special April events ASHWIN PATEL

ST. LOUIS: Put some spring in your step with an April visit to St. Louis. The Gateway City is blooming with fresh new attractions and "must see" special events and exhibitions bursting with baseball, flowers, horses, music, marathons and even the Titanic. April's birthstone is the diamond so it's a fitting month for the legendary St. Louis Cardinals to begin play on the giant diamond at Busch Stadium. The World Champion Redbirds' inaugural 2012 home game is April 13. Cardinals' opening day is like a holiday in St. Louis with massive opening day festivities filling Downtown St. Louis. April also brings the opening of popular kid-centric seasonal sites. "A Missouri Adventure," the Doris I. Schnuck Children's Garden at the Missouri Botanical Garden (opening March 31) is 2.6acre 19th century Missouri river town adventure-themed green space where kids can climb a tree house and explore wetlands, waterfalls, caves and a village to learn about the environment and ecol-

ogy. Animal lovers of all ages will be enthralled by the equestrian extravaganza known as Cavalia. The critically acclaimed theatrical production, described as a magic encounter between human and horse, gallops in the Gateway City through mid-April. The lavish show, created by one of the original founders of Cirque du Soleil, features 45 magnificent horses, 38 riders, aerialists, acrobats and musicians from around the globe. Run to St. Louis this April 14th through 15th for the GO! St. Louis Marathon and Family Fitness Weekend. GO! is Missouri's largest competitive fitness event and includes a marathon, half marathon, marathon relay, 5K run/walk, GO! St. Louis Read, Right & Run Marathon, children's fun runs and a mature mile. Music fills the air during the Greater St. Louis Jazz Festival held April 20-21 at the Blanche M. Touhill Performing Arts Center at University of Missouri-St. Louis. Headliners include Cubano Be, Pancho Sanchez and his Latin Jazz

Band featuring Terence Blanchard and Christian McBrid History repeats itself in St. Louis this April. Cruise into the Gateway City to experience the history, fashion, food and music of the elegant Edwardian era during St. Louis' Weekend, April 1315. April 15 marks 100 years since the sinking of the world's most famous ocean liner and St. Louis has pulled out all the stops to commemorate the event including an elaborate recreation of the 11course "Last Dinner on The Titanic" at the Fabulous Fox Theatre. Sci fi and outer space buffs have plenty to see in St. Louis during star dates this April. At the Saint Louis Science Center, scope out the Omnimax giant screen movie, "Space Junk" to learn about what's floating around in the final frontier. Science Center visitors are beaming about Star Trek: The Exhibition which brings 45 years of authentic Star Trek artifacts to life, showcasing the largest collection of artifacts ever put on public display.

TANA to conduct sports competitions India Post News Service

DALLAS, TX: The Telugu Association of North America (TANA) is planning Badminton, Volley Ball, Cricket, Tennis, Bowling, Carrom and Chess tournaments across the USA this summer. TANA President Prasad Thotakura said in a statement, "These competitions will be held region-wise first and then regional

winners will participate in TANA Championship finals. Winners will be awarded at the 19th TANA Convention to be held at the Dallas Convention Center, Dallas, TX from July 4th-6th, 2013." Yaswanth Kudaravalli, TANA Sports Committee Chairman said the following tournaments will be conducted in several cities: 1. Badminton: Singles /

Doubles (Men's & Women's) 2. Volley Ball: Team size (6) (Men's & Women's) 3. Cricket: 6 Overs 6 a side Tennis Ball Tournament (Men's & Women's) 4. Tennis: U-13 /U-19/ U-35/ 50 + (Men's & Women's) 5. Bowling: Open for all 6. Caroms: Singles / Doubles (Men's & Women's) 7. Chess: U-13 / U-19 / 19+

CHICAGO: Kalapriya Foundation, Center for Indian Performing Arts presents "Finding Home" on May 4 and 5 at 8pm in the Larry Long Studio of the Ruth Page Center for the Arts located at 1016 North Dearborn in Chicago. Kalapriya Foundation, Center for Indian Performing Arts, led by Artistic Director Pranita Jain, celebrates the diverse cultures of India through dance and music that is rooted in Indian culture yet evolving and engaging to contemporary audiences. In "Finding Home" the discovery of one's self after immigration is explored through a fusion of dance. The program is an intimate studio performance featuring Bharatnatyam, classical dance of India and western modern dance. "Finding Home" features new dances by choreographer Aravinda Tota, a Kalapriya Dance School alumni and a second generation Indian born and raised in the US who has created contem-

porary works using the wide movement of modern western dance yet based in the intimacy of Indian classical dance. New York designer Tara Perry who is also a Kalapriya alumnus has created costumes for the program which reflect finding a balance between tradition and progress, east and west. Kalapriya is partially supported by grants from The Illinois Arts Council, a state agency, The Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, The Alphawood Foundation and a City Arts grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events and John D and Catherine T MacArthur Foundation Special Opportunity Fund, Kamla Bafna Charitable Foundation and the Efroymson Family Fund, a CICF Fund and Hubbard Radio.

TELUGU SOCIETY HOLI AT MILITARY CENTER: The Greater Washington Telugu Cultural Society sponsored and participated in Holi celebrations at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland on March 9. The event was attended by several Army, Airforce and Navy officers including several distinguished Indian Americans.


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18 India Post

March 23, 2012

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Indian Consulate launches new website India Post News Service

SAN FRANCISCO: The Consulate General of India in San Francisco has launched a newly designed user-friendly website to facilitate the large number of persons accessing the Consulate's website everyday seeking visa, passport, OCI, PIO and other consular services. The website was launched by the longest serving employee

ties wherein the Consul General and other senior officers of the Consulate have interacted with a large number of community associations, participated at various functions, and provided clarifications on various issues of interest to the community. "Within the Consulate itself, not only delivery of services has improved, the Consulate now serves all applicants with a smile. "The new website is not only aestheti-

Consul General N. Parthasarathi says the website "would also serve as a gateway to India for those who are trying to access information relating to tourism, trade, economy, etc. The relevant information has been made available through various links to important websites" of the Consulate, Mr. Ariel Quintos. A press release by the Consulate said, "During the past few months, the Consulate has taken various measures to improve the delivery of services provided at the Consulate and through the TRAVISA Outsourcing Agency. The Consulate has also undertaken pro-active outreach activi-

cally appealing and easy to navigate, but also provides information actually needed by the applicants. All the information required for a specific service is provided at one particular place, which is easier to access. The website also provides helpful tips and easy guidance in unambiguous terms to help those

Consul General N. Parthasarathi interacting with the media.

seeking various services. "Specific e-mail contacts are provided for specific service needs and all e-mails are being answered in time by the Consulate. More importantly, apart from providing a response, the Consulate already takes action to provide the services sought by the applicants. In addition, during specific timings on working days, an official from the Consulate would be available in person to answer the queries over telephone. The

Consulate would nonetheless encourage people to use e-mails so that they can get timely responses," the statement concluded. In a message on the website, Consul General N. Parthasarathi says the website "would also serve as a gateway to India for those who are trying to access information relating to tourism, trade, economy, etc. The relevant information has been made available through various links to important websites."

Holi fun & frolic in perfect weather VICTORIA TRUVER

RIVERSIDE: The weather was perfect for Riverside's Shri Lakshmi Narayan Mandir's Holi celebration. The event began with puja followed by a Bharatnatyam performance given by Thushara Poozhikala, Priyanka Vigneswaran and Paulomi Pandit from Rangashree Dances of India. Mandir President Lakshman Koka made announcements and thanked Sujatha Upadhyayula, Festivals Committee Chair, for her part in organizing the successful function. Once Mandir Priests, Dr. Shukavak Dasa and Pandit Vipul Jani applied gulal to the faces of Shri Lakshmi Narayan, Mandir officials joined them on the altar and applied gulal onto each other's faces, as if to announce that it was now time for Holi play. After aarti the delicious Maha

L to R: Prabha Rao, Sujatha Upadhyayula, Raj Sindher, Meena Sindher, Usha Gupta, Mahesh Gupta.

prasad was served. The Holika fire was set up outside and lit by Pandit Vipul Jani. Soon bhaktas began to walk clockwise around the fire, tossing in handfuls of rice and popcorn. Too impatient to eat,

the children and teens ran into the parking lot and smeared gulal onto each other. In a hurry for a big result, they soon began to throw it by the handful. As the Holi play continued

Bharatnatyam dancers Thushara Poozhikala, Paulomi Pandit, Priyanka Vigneswaran.

L-R: Bachubhai Chandravadia, Sujatha Upadhyayula and Suma Hareesh light the diyas for aarti.

through the afternoon the layers of bright colors on the devotees began to mix to become one dark purple shade. By this time the youngest were as tired as their parents and headed home. One

The pure joy of Holi play.

young devotee moved his car into the center of the party, turned the Bollywood music up loud and soon everyone was dancing. There was cheering and the noisy but happy sounds of enjoyment. When someone brought out a drum, it seemed almost like a Punjabi wedding barat and the drum's rhythm was accompanied by loud cheering. Now, instead of using their hands to throw gulal, the bhaktas now danced with their hands in the air. Although reluctant to leave, eventually the Temple environs were emptied. The quiet at the end of the day seemed almost unnatural. Once everyone was gone only the gulal covering the ground in multi-colored hues attested to a day of fun for the eight hundred bhaktas who attended.


Community/California

March 23, 2012

One held for beating up of Atul Lall India Post News Service

SAN JOSÉ: The San José Police Department has announced the arrest of an individual in the November 21st, 2011, beating of San José resident Atul Lall. Detectives from the San José Police Assaults Unit have been working the case since November, 2011 and recently developed a lead through a partial latent fingerprint found on the bottle used to assault the victim. Though the partial print did not have a match, detectives were able to eventually match it against the fingerprints of a suspect that detectives identified through information provided by an anonymous citizen. On Friday, March 2, officers from the Special Operations METRO Unit arrested Suspect Emilio Romayor. Suspect Romayor was booked into the Santa Clara County Main Jail for assault with a deadly weapon.

The Office of the District Attorney has filed one felony count of assault with a deadly weapon along with enhancements for infliction of great bodily injury and the use of a weapon, namely a bottle of tequila. The defendant faces a maximum sentence of 7 years in state prison. Romayor remains in custody and bail was set in the amount of $75,000. Subsequent investigation by the San José Police Department and analysis by hate crimes prosecutors of the facts and the law indicates that racial or ethnic bias against the victim does not appear to have been the substantial motivating factor of the defendant in the commission of this serious crime. The investigation has revealed that the substantial motivating factor behind the assault was likely a traffic-related altercation in the parking lot where the crime occurred.

AAHOA works toward proactive solutions India Post News Service

ATLANTA: With a healthy turnout and enthusiastic leadership, AAHOA raised $33,000 in pledges for the association's Political Action Committee (PAC) fund on March 6 during its Central Midwest Regional Conference in Tulsa, Okla.

AAHOA updated members on the association's political advocacy work at all levels of government, lobbying elected officials on behalf of small business owners across the country The Renaissance Tulsa hosted the day-long event, drawing nearly 200 hoteliers. AAHOA updated members on the association's political advocacy work at all levels of government, lobbying elected officials on behalf of small business owners across the country. AAHOA Chairman Hemant Patel and other Board members told attendees that becoming politically aware and active drives elected officials to be more mindful of AAHOA hotel owners when considering legislation that would impact their efforts to successfully

manage and grow their businesses. Director at Large Bruce Patel, who serves on AAHOA Government Affairs (Legislative) Committee, stressed to attendees that working in unison and speaking as one strong voice leads to proactive versus reactive government rules and regulations. "We have to get to the preventive stage and have a voice before legislation is enacted," he said. Champak Patel, an AAHOA member and owner of Champion Hotels, a 100-property company with headquarters in Oklahoma City, was instrumental in helping to raise the PAC pledges. "Our money has no value if it is not used to help people," he said. "AAHOA's PAC is about people...and the PAC needs money to fight, support and care for you." Chairman Patel noted AAHOA's work in Washington, D.C., regarding a number of issues, including the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) revisions and the FDIC loss-share program. Both measures weaken small businesses, particularly hotel owners. The FDIC loss-share program encourages and enables lenders to foreclose on hotel properties. The only losers in this program are hoteliers as banks can sell the property at a devalued rate and recoup much of the difference in the loan from the federal government. Cont’d on page 20

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AAHOA supports California's Fair Franchising Bill

India Post News Service

ATLANTA: More than 15 years after implementing its landmark "Points of Fair Franchising," the Asian American Hotel Owners Association (AAHOA) has announced its strong support for the recently introduced California fair franchising legislation that incorporates many of the same fair franchising "rights" needed to protect franchisees and all franchise systems. Introduced by State Assemblyman Jared Huffman (D-6th) and coauthored by Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D-13th), "The Level Playing Field for Small Businesses Act of 2012" (AB 2305) would strengthen the rights of franchisees and small business owners against one-sided franchise agreements that favor the franchisors. Vermont and Massachusetts are reportedly also considering similar pieces of legislation. "Fair franchising has been the lifeblood of AAHOA for almost two decades," said AAHOA Chairman Hemant Patel. "We applaud the lawmakers in California and other states for introducing legislation that will stop the franchisors from dealing unfairly with their franchisees. This legislation will go a long ways towards creating a level playing field so that franchisees can grow their businesses and provide excellent services to their customers." California's AB 2305 would significantly revise the state's Franchise Relations Act and the Franchise Investment Law. If passed, several of the highlights that would provide strong protection for franchisees include the following: • A franchisor could only terminate a franchise for "good cause," which would be redefined as consisting of a substantial and mate-

rial breach after the franchisee is given written notice and 60 days to cure the default. • A franchisor would be required to renew a franchise unless the franchisee had substantially and materially breached the agreement, and would require the renewal to be under the same terms as the existing agreement; or if the franchisee elects, under the franchise terms then being offered to new franchisees. • The parties to a franchise agreement would be required to deal with each other in good faith. • The bill would provide that

"We applaud the lawmakers in California and other states for introducing legislation that will stop the franchisors from dealing unfairly with their franchisees” certain acts or practices by a franchisor or subfranchisor are unfair or deceptive acts or practices or an unfair method of competition. • Franchisees would be given certain rights if the franchisor developed a new location or granted a new franchise in essentially the same market in unreasonable proximity to an existing franchise. • Franchisors would owe a duty of competence to franchisees. • Any provision in a franchise agreement requiring the application of the law of another state would be void. • Franchisees would be given additional remedies for violations by the franchisors, including

specified damages, injunctive relief, and an award of attorney's fees and costs in a prevailing action. • It would be unlawful for a franchisor to refuse to recognize and deal fairly and in good faith with an independent franchisee association. "Franchising is most successful when it mutually benefits both the franchisor and franchisee," said AAHOA President Fred Schwartz. "It is reported that franchising is responsible for 760,000 businesses, 18 million jobs, 14 percent of the private sector employment, and over $500 billion in payroll. With this strong legislation, we can ensure the continued success of franchising at every level." AAHOA Franchise & Industry Relations (FAIR) Committee CoChairman Jay S. Patel agrees. "This past year we have emphasized the importance of franchisors developing good faith and fair dealing practices and including them in the franchise agreements," he said. "With this legislation, such practices will become the law of the land. When a franchisee can trust the franchisor to treat it fairly in business, and can rely on the franchisor to make decisions that will truly benefit the brands, all will prosper. This legislation is a large step forward for fair franchising." "This bill strengthens the rights and negotiating powers of AAHOA members and other small business owners in California," said AAHOA Director at Large Satish "Sunny" Gabhawala, who is also Co-Chair of AAHOA's Fair Committee. "I encourage all AAHOA members operating in the state of California to voice their support for AB 2305."


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March 23, 2012

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Heroes who uncovered Muslim surveillance MUNIRA SYEDA, CAIR-Los Angeles Communications Manager

LOS ANGELES: Not frequently, heroes come along who ought to be recognized. I am talking about the Associated Press's Matt Apuzzo, Adam Goldman, Chris Hawley and Eileen Sullivan, who together sifted through hundreds of pages of New York Police Department documents and wrote some 40 stories on the agency's shameful monitoring of law-abiding Muslims. NYPD's devious surveillance tactics included, as reported by the AP: developing detailed maps on Muslim houses of worship, restaurants, home schools; sending in "rakers" and "mosque crawlers" to spy on innocent Muslims; affixing cameras to light poles to monitor mosque activities; focusing on Muslim student groups in areas out of their jurisdiction; keeping track of Muslims who began to use more Americanized names; and using White House funds reserved for fighting drug trafficking for surveillance of Muslims' First Amendment activities. However, the White House wants to avoid the issue altogether. Janet Napolitano is tightlipped. Attorney General Eric Holder for months side-stepped the issue of investigating NYPD's intelligence-gathering techniques before finally saying his office will look into it, in response to a question by Rep. Mike Honda. And, Mayor Michael Bloomberg summed up his erroneous sentiments this way (even as Jewish businesses became a target of NYPD monitoring): "The police department goes where there are allegations. And they look to see whether those allegations are true. ... Remind your-

self when you turn out the light tonight." The subject - monitoring of Muslims isn't news. Worse, it isn't exactly jaw dropping for Americans. Day in and day out, citizens of the free world - that's us - hear about this subject and grow more accustomed to the idea of sacrificing freedoms to protect freedoms. That is, sacrificing someone else's freedoms to somehow protect their own. This complacent attitude suggests that our Constitutional principles of freedom of religion, freedom of expression and freedom of

The AP team has done an amazing job in its months-long investigation of the NYPD, reminiscent of Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein's investigative reporting of the Watergate scandal, which ultimately resulted in President Nixon's resignation and other subsequent action assembly are so fragile that they can only be held up during peacetime, but not during war. Nonsense! The AP team has done an amazing job in its months-long investigation of the NYPD, reminiscent of Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein's investigative reporting of the Watergate scandal, which ultimately resulted in President Nixon's resignation and other subsequent action. The revelations involving the NYPD come at a critical time when we, as a nation, cannot afford to waste resources or implement ineffective measures in counter-terrorism efforts to protect the homeland. Absent

Cal Republican Party endorses Ricky Gill India Post News Service

LODI, CA: The California Republican Party has announced that it has endorsed Congressional candidate Ricky Gill, a small business owner and family farmer who is challenging Rep. Jerry McNerney (D-Pleasanton) in California's 9th District. "I'm proud to have earned the endorsement of the California Republican Party and of all three county parties in the 9th Congressional District," said Gill. "I also know, however, that our task is just beginning - and I'll keep working hard to ensure our Valley and Delta communities send a truly local voice to Congress in 2012." Recently Gill earned the endorsement of all three Republican Party organizations representing counties in the 9th District: the San Joaquin County Republican Party, Contra Costa Republican Party, and Sacramento County Republican Party. Each of those endorsements required Gill to earn a twothirds majority vote from the county's Republican Party central committee.

the AP articles, there has rarely been a sustained, in-depth and independent scrutiny of the NYPD or most other counter-terrorism efforts across the nation. Moreover, the AP reporters' work emanates from loyalty to the truth, ensuring government transparency and protection of the public's right to know, and not necessarily from sympathy for the Muslim community. They know well that a free press is the hallmark of a free society. But sadly, for doing their job, their news organization has been slammed by some

"I'm proud to have earned the endorsement of the California Republican Party and of all three county parties in the 9th Congressional District" Gill, who has raised more than $1 million to date, has also received endorsements from national and local leaders including South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, and longtime San Joaquin Valley Congressman Norman D. Shumway.

from within the profession. New York Post's Michael A. Walsh wrote that the AP "for months now has been waging a journalistic jihad against the NYPD and its counter-terrorism tactics in the name of 'civil rights.'" "Was the AP born yesterday?" Walsh asked. No, it wasn't. Were you, Mr. Walsh? The Post carried on with its attacks, including publishing a cartoon which stereotypically depicted hook-nosed terrorists calling up the AP to complain about NYPD's surveillance of them. The cartoon-

ist, Sean Delonas, previously depicted President Obama as a chimpanzee. The New York Daily News joined in by asking in its editorial pages: "What is the matter with New Jersey politicians that they are raising a stink because the NYPD keeps an eye out for terrorists on their turf?" Both the Post and the Daily News don't want to recognize that Raymond Kelly's NYPD actually evokes memories of the "red scare" and Japanese American internment. History will show just how Kelly will be remembered. In the meantime, questions remain about the effectiveness of NYPD's methods to catch the bad guys (in the absence of agency oversight), how resources were diverted from another program only to be wasted on spying on the legal activities of Americans and the ability of New York's Muslim community to report suspicious activity after having been betrayed by Kelly. Back in 1954, a distinguished journalist stated: "We must remember always that accusation is not proof and that conviction depends upon evidence and due process of law. We will not walk in fear one of another. We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason... and remember that we are not descended from fearful men." The subject was Joseph McCarthy, and the addressor was Edward R. Murrow. Let's take a moment to thank the AP for raising critical questions about whether all Americans, including American Muslims, can safely turn out the light at night in our post-9/11 society?

AAHOA works toward proactive solutions Cont’d from page 19

Throughout the day, Secretary Pratik Patel updated members on AAHOA's efforts to get the new ADA pool lift Regulations relaxed. Although the new Regulations affect more than hotel swimming pools, the Department of Justice's interpretation of accessibility is likely one of the most expensive parts of the revision as hoteliers will have to install self-operating lifts at each of its swimming pools and spa areas. A lift, including installation, can cost between $3,000 and $12,000. Without a lift, a hotel can face a $55,000 fine. In late January, the DOJ responded to questions posed last fall by both AAHOA and the American Hotel & Lodging Association seeking clarification of the confusing pool lift Regulations, and many hotel owners waited for the DOJ response before purchasing lifts. Days prior to the Central Midwest Regional, AAHOA put two issues before the DOJ. First, the association requested an extension of the lift revision so hoteliers have more time to order and install the lifts, which must be per-

manently fixed. Wait times from distributors and manufacturers of the lifts run from three to nine months. Second, a DOJ ruling on the safety of a permanent lift on which children can play and possibly harm themselves. The lifts must be self-operating, meaning a disabled guest should be able to get in and out of the pool without assistance

Ayers stressed that staff training is critical before the ADA Regulations go into effect. "It only takes one front desk person to violate the law" from the hotel staff. As most hotel pools do not have constant staff oversight, AAHOA and AH&LA want to be clear about the hotel's liability should a child be injured while playing on the apparatus. The Regional members also received an overview of the ADA Regulations during one of three Educational Seminars. Bryan

Ayers, an ADA director for Easter Seals in Arkansas, said the revisions address a lot more than swimming pool accessibility. Therapy animals such as dogs and miniature horses are to be permitted in hotels; reservation systems must accommodate sight- and hearing-impaired guests; and a specific number of guest rooms should be made comprehensively accessible, including TTY machines. Ayers stressed that staff training is critical before the ADA Regulations go into effect. "It only takes one front desk person to violate the law" and put the hotel in line for a liability or discrimination lawsuit, said Ayers. Other educational seminars included an industry analysis of the Central Midwest market by Vail Brown of Smith Travel Research. She said the Region is faring well in the economic recovery. However, nationwide, Brown noted a disconnect remains between ADR and the increasing RevPAR and occupancy numbers. ADR, she said, is lagging behind the other metrics, and it may take two to three more years before it reaches pre-recession levels.


Horoscope

March 23, 2012

India Post

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Your Weekly Future by Pandit Parashar

MARCH 23TH - MARCH 29TH (November 23 to December 22)

(March 21 to April 20)

Y

C

ou will try to have conversation with a child and try to make him understand what's right for him. Hunt will continue for a better job. Trip will be fruitful but results will come at a later day. Your ventures will need more money and you will be exploring few ideas to tackle this situation. You may visit a holy place with family this week.

ombination of Sun and Mercury will help in all career related matters but you may have to settle for lot less than what you really deserve. You may put your needs aside and help a real needy person. People in business will do better than past months. You will finally take the initiative and call an old and trusted person.

(April 21 to May 20)

(December 22 to January 19)

I

f you play your cards right and on time without involving emotions, the world is yours. Opportunity will come on a silver platter. Deal will materialize and you will make plans about the big upcoming move. Value of your assets and stocks will appreciate but will be better to hold on to them. You will be working with the best in trade.

Y

ou will take time out to entertain yourself from a busy schedule. Health issues can be tacked by making change in diet and some walk. You may temporarily develop taste for hot and spicy food. Money will go on doing some work in or around the property. Spouse will need lots of moral support. A close relative will send an invitation.

(May 21 to June 20)

(January 20 to February 18)

Y

W

ou may make some money through stocks. Business deal will finally happen and you will lay your hands on a big chunk of money. Decisions will need to be taken fast or chances are you may miss the boat and settle for less. Spouse will buy some fine and expensive item for the house. You will slowly get ready for an upcoming trip.

eek may start with headache but one by one you will resolve all issues once for all. Phone call will not go waste but will bring down financial pressure. People in business will need to work harder to make old clients stay. Waiting for things to happen is not going to help, its you who will need to take initiative. Expect lots of bills in the mail.

(February 19 to March 20)

(June 21 to July 22)

D

I

o not let your guards down and watch out for a person trying to drag you into unnecessary argument and hurt your image even. This week expenses will definitely exceed your income. It will be better to seek advice and help from an experienced person before you make any move.

t will be a mixed week. You will be concerned about spouse and try to provide moral support. You will be buying new things for the house and personal use. Money wise things should start looking up. Dealing in stocks and playing lottery will be profitable. Throw all unnecessary fear out of your mind. There will be some major changes in career soon.

Akhilesh Yadav will lead govt of short life span

(July 23 to August 22)

S

low progress and not getting quick response will cause slight frustration. Keep working on your plans and have patience, results will come and in big way soon. You need to spend more time with children and provide them guidance now. You will be successful in recovering some old payments also. (August 23 to September 22)

Y

ou will continue to march in right direction. Help and ideas will come on their own. Some of you may be traveling long distance to attend to some important business soon. Legal issues should not be taken lightly and it will be better to seek the right advice. Strong Venus in angel will bring in much needed extra cash to play with. (September 23 to October 22)

Y

ou will be working extra hard to please the boss. Most of the conditions will be fulfilled and the loan will be approved in full soon. You will also recover from minor illness with the help of over the counter medication. Search for the right property may continue for some more time. You will do some cleaning work in or around the house.

(October 23 to November 22)

O

ffer will come but way lower than expectations. People in business will deal with few new faces. Running around will not go waste and some of you will be traveling out of area for an important business meeting. A child not doing so well in the past will make remarkable improvement. A sibling may call you and ask for your help.

SUSHIL KUMAR SINGH

I

f we analyze the horoscope of Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav one can see that there is short term Rajyoga in his horoscope which will be full of problems. The placement of his tenth house lord Venus is in lagna. Rahu is in fifth house with Jupiter. The fifth house is creating a wonderful Rajyog in his horoscope. At present he is undergoing Rahu mahadasha. But this Rahu is forming Guru Chandal yoga with lord of eighth house Jupiter. It implies that this Rajyoga is not a complete one and also with problems. He will be under the impact of Rahu mahadasha till 2015. From 2015 he will be under mahadasha of Jupiter. It will not be that effective. It can be easily predicted that his Rahu is strong but his Jupiter is badly afflicted. This Jupiter will always create hurdles in his political career. His Rahu dasha started in September 1997. This will last till 2015 and Jupiter mahadasha will start from 2015. His Rahu is in the eleventh fifth house axis. Venus is tenth lord posited in the

Pandit Parashar, CEO & COO Astro Scan USA is also available for individual consultations. He can be reached at: parashar@parashar.com

lagna. In navamsa Venus is with Rahu in ninth house. I think this the best position for a politician. He may be on a top post for few years. As Chief Minister of UP it is certain that he will lead a government of short life span. Although his horoscope is strongest among all the youth leaders, planets are indicating that U.P will have more than one CM in this assembly.

925-833-7170

website: www.parashar.com


Tech News India, Indonesia record strong growth LONDON: The G-20 economies grew at a slower pace of 0.7 per cent in October-December 2011, while India and Indonesia recorded strong growth during the same period. The first of its kind growth estimates for the G-20 - a grouping of developed and developing nations - is based on data from various agencies, including the IMF and Paris-based think tank Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). "Quarterly Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth in the G-20 slowed to 0.7 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2011, compared with 0.9 per cent in the third quarter," the OECD said in a report.-PTI

Hurdles in decoding intercepted communication NEW DELHI: Security agencies are still unable to decrypt some intercepted communication into readable format even after multiple efforts by the government to ensure real time interception of messages transmitted through telecom networks in the country, the Lok Sabha was informed. "Security agencies are able to intercept the services, including Blackberry Messenger (BBM), Nokia Pushmail, Skype, Yahoo, Gmail etc through lawful interception... However, security agencies have intimated that they are not able to decrypt some encrypted intercepted communication to readable format," Minister of State for Telecom Milind Deora informed the Lok Sabha in written reply.

Vijay Amritraj resigns from board of Kingfisher Airlines MUMBAI: Former tennis star Vijay Amritraj has resigned from the board of the beleaguered air carrier Kingfisher Airlines (KFA). "Vijay Amritraj has, because of increase in his travel schedule and commitments that will prevent him from attending any board meetings in 2012-13, resigned from the board of directors of the company," KFA said in a filing to the BSE. His resignation would be effective from March 14, the company added. With this development, the company will be left with just four board members, including one independent director. -PTI

TechBiz 22 India Post

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March 23, 2012

Aakash II launch in April: Sibal NEW DELHI: A faster, upgraded version of Aakash tablet - touted to be the world's cheapest - would be launched in April without hike in price, Human Resources Development Minister Kapil Sibal has said. Sibal said during Question Hour in Lok Sabha that Datawind will supply one lakh high speed tablets with a longer battery life and better screen. "These higher specifications which include 700 MHz Cortex A8 processor, 3200mAH battery with three-hour usage time and a capacitative touch screen have been necessitated to overcome the initial difficulties observed in the devices," he said.

Indian NGO receives first US Innovation Award India Post News Service

NEW YORK: Indian NGO Chintan is one of the three organizations to receive the US State Department's first Innovation Award for the Empowerment of Women and Girls. Bharati Chaturvedi, Chintan's founder was present to receive the award in Washington DC last week. On March 9, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and The Rockefeller Foundation President Dr. Judith Rodin announced the recipients of the Award that include besides Chintan, Samasource of Kenya and Kickstart of Kenya. The Award seeks to identify and support innovative ideas that hold the promise of transforming the lives of women and girls around the world. The Award is funded by The Rockefeller Foundation through the Secretary's International Fund for Women and Girls, and awardees are chosen by a panel of experts who are themselves innovators. This year's awardees, who will each receive a cash reward of $500,000, represent scalable inno-

vations in the sectors of agriculture, technology, economic empowerment and the "green" economy. Among the jurists this year are Mohammed Yunus (Grameen Bank), Cherie Blair

Heyzer (United Nations). Chintan received the award in support of its work to reduce ecological footprints and increase environmental justice amongst the informal sector through green

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton presents Bharati Chaturvedi with an award for Chintan

(Cherie Blair Foundation), Sheryl Sandberg (Facebook), Beth Brook (Ernst and Young) and Noeleen

jobs, advocacy and organizing. Chintan implements grassroots work on the ground, which in-

cludes solid waste handling, plastics recycling, training and organizing wastepickers and eliminating child labor from recycling. Chintan also undertakes research and advocacy, locally and internationally. Chaturvedi's own work has been on solid waste management and recycling. She has been part of several national and global projects, such as the UNHABITAT's 2010 report on Solid Waste in the Worlds Cities and the European Union's ISSOWAMA project. Chaturvedi is part of various Indian government committees for policy making. She writes a column for the Hindustan Times and she is the recipient of the 2009 Johns Hopkins Alumni "Knowledge for the World Award." In her remarks at the award ceremony, Secretary Clinton said, "These are innovators who are making a difference in India, Kenya and Tanzania. These are people who looked at a problem and said, 'I refuse to accept this. I'm going to do something about it." ContĂ­d on page 23

PepsiCo lines up possible heirs to Nooyi NEW YORK: In a move seen as creating a pool of potential successors to its long serving Indian-origin chief Indra Nooyi, global food and beverage giant PepsiCo has announced a major top management restructuring exercise. The changes include the group's biggest money spinner unit, PepsiCo Americas Foods' chief John Compton being promoted to a newly-created post of PepsiCo President, and Brian Cornell, a former executive, being brought back from retail giant Wal-Mart to fill his position. Along with PepsiCo's Europe head Zein Abdalla, Compton and Cornell are largely being seen as

potential successors to 56-year-old Nooyi, Chairman and CEO of USD 65-billion group. The new appointments come at a time when PepsiCo is grappling with stiff competition from rival Coca-Cola and Nooyi's name is being speculated as a possible candidate for the position of the World Bank chief, falling vacant in June.

However, officially there have been no word so far about Nooyi's exit from the company, which is a major player in foods and beverage business across the world, including India. "Today marks an important and essential step in PepsiCo's journey to continue to deliver sustainable growth," Nooyi said in a statement about the man-

agement restructuring. The speculations have been rife for quite some time about a succession plan at PepsiCo, as Nooyi is reportedly facing the investors' wrath for market share and stock price losses. Commenting on the creation of the new President position, Nooyi said, "This executive position will serve as a key driver for our long-term growth strategy". Earlier in the day, the Wall Street Journal reported that the top management rejig could place Cornell, Compton and Abdalla as the top three candidates to succeed Nooyi. ContĂ­d on page 23


TechBiz Post

March 23, 2012

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Allow NRIs to invest via overseas PepsiCo lines up possible heirs to Nooyi corporate bodies: Hinduja NEW DELHI: Pitching for simplification of investment procedures for NRIs, the UK-based conglomerate Hinduja Group's Chairman S P Hinduja has said that the Indians settled abroad should also be allowed to invest in the country through overseas corporate entities. In the upcoming Union Budget, the government should also consider bringing NRIs at par with the resident Indians in terms of their investments and taxation, said the Chairman of Hinduja group, an estimated USD 25 billion conglomerate with presence across automobile, banking and energy sectors among others across 50 nations, including India. Listing out the 'tasks and opportunities for the government' during the Budget for 2012-13, to be presented on March 16 by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Hinduja said that there was also a need "to regularize political funding and eliminate its corrosive influence of corruption." To tackle the menace of black money, he said, the government

could consider an amnesty scheme to make accountable the illicit funds allegedly stashed abroad. He further said that the government should also push forward various economic reforms, including opening up of retail business for foreign investment and further liberalization of FDI rules in insur-

"By lifting the ban on OCBs and simplifying the procedures for individual NRI investments, the market will be widened with more players," he said ance and other sectors. While suggesting agricultural reforms in the country, Hinduja said that NRIs should also be allowed to purchase farm land or take on long-term lease (over 10 years), as this will bring latest technology

and modernize agriculture sector. For NRIs, he said that the country should introduce the concept of International Trust and lift the ban on investments through Overseas Corporate Bodies (OCBs). "A large number of NRIs have their wealth in corporates. The OCBs should be permitted to invest as long as proper disclosures are in place and 'Know Your Customer' information is suitably provided," Hinduja noted. "By lifting the ban on OCBs and simplifying the procedures for individual NRI investments, the market will be widened with more players," he said. Hinduja also said that concerns about corruption has impacted the business confidence and FDI flows, besides hurting the government and its image. "This is a cancer which must be addressed. Unstructured, noninstitutional political funding is the root of corruption in India. Electoral reforms may be introduced to regularize and make political parties accountable for funds received.-PTI

Indian NGO receives first US... ContĂ­d from page 22

Further elaborating on Chintan's work, Secretary Clinton said, "Now, most Indian cities rely on workers from the informal sector to recycle their waste. These workers represent a small part of the population, but what they do can reduce a city's waste by 20 percent. This is dangerous, dirty work - picking through garbage to remove recyclable material. Exposure to toxins and pollutants put their health at risk." "At the same time, the industry receives absolutely no formal legal recognition. There's no system for protecting workers from danger or ensuring that they are treated fairly. Chintan is working on the ground to train and organize waste pickers and to eliminate child labor from their ranks. This group is advocating for those who work in the informal sector, pushing for recognition, basic protections, and fundamental dignity." Chintan's efforts have reached more than 20,000 waste pickers in India in the past five years. More than 2,000 children have been pulled out of the trash heaps and put on a path toward education and opportunity. Chintan's work in advocacy and research has expanded beyond local concerns and is helping change the way we understand informal labor sectors

around the world. It is also a stark reminder about why we must protect and advocate for the rights of workers to organize. In advanced economies, it is sometimes easy to forget what used to happen in our own factories, on our own shop floors, in so many industries where, yes, chil-

"We hope that this recognition helps us get Indians to recognize and embrace and acknowledge waste because - and realize that their work is important, not only for the recycling, but also because it makes our existence on this planet more sustainable" dren were exploited and people's working conditions were dreadful. Accepting the award, Chaturvedi said, "On behalf of all these women and young girls who scavenge through the Indian middle class's trash, I want to thank you for acknowledging them." She further said, "The or-

ganization that I work with, Chintan, creates green jobs. We convert waste into social wealth, not just wealth. And these women I work with, their children don't go to school. It's hard for them to get in because there's a lot of discrimination, and they experience a new kind of untouchability, even though what they're doing is recycling our trash in a country that's becoming more and more affluent." Chaturvedi said Chintan would use this award to get a lot of young girls into school out the trash heaps, but also create more and more green jobs for women waste pickers. "But most of all, because poor women feel and experience the brunt of climate change, we also want to talk about how they can be foot soldiers in the battle against climate change. And through green jobs, we can really transform how cities in India - and India is an urbanizing country how they experience just being better, more equitable cities and more inclusive of these people." Chaturvedi said in conclusion, "We hope that this recognition helps us get Indians to recognize and embrace and acknowledge waste because - and realize that their work is important, not only for the recycling, but also because it makes our existence on this planet more sustainable."

ContĂ­d from page 22

Nooyi became PepsiCo CEO in 2006, but has been with the group for nearly two decades. Cornell had worked at PepsiCo for six years before leaving in 2004 and would now take charge of a unit that is the biggest money-spinner for the group and generated roughly a third of its revenue and half of operating profit last year. As per the Wall Street Journal report, Nooyi has said she "loves" her job, and had no immediate plans to quit. The board has also fully backed the top management and its strategy.

Nooyi, on the other, reportedly said at an investor meeting last month that PepsiCo had "outstanding leaders" for each of its businesses and they "are all CEO capable". She is said to have taken various initiatives recently to boost the company's performance and the company expects to return to "high-single-digit" earnings growth next year. PepsiCo said that Compton, in his new role as President, would assume responsibility for all of PepsiCo's existing global category groups. -PTI


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March 23, 2012


25 India post

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The city of Alwar is referred to as the gateway to the historic and colorful state of Rajasthan, which is located in the northwestern part of India. However, it is more than a mere gateway to the rich cultural treasure that lies beyond: Alwar has its own heritage, which goes back to the mythological legends of the Mahabharata

T �

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he city of Alwar is referred to as the gateway to the historic and colorful state of Rajasthan, which is located in the northwestern part of India. However, it is more than a mere gateway to the rich cultural treasure that lies beyond: Alwar has its own heritage, which goes back to the mythological legends of the Mahabharata. Alwar has had a chequered history and has been a witness to many rules and rulers. It offers the traveler many sites of historical importance. The ride on the special train, the Fairy Queen is an added attraction of Alwar. Alwar city is located in the northeastern part of the state of Rajasthan. It lies 170 km south of Delhi and is 150 km from Jaipur. It is flanked by the barren hills of the Aravali range. The climate

March 23, 2012

of Alwar is temperate, but compared to other cities and towns of Rajasthan it is not too hot. Summers can be hot (April-June) but winters are cool and pleasant (NovemberFebruary). The cragged hills that surround Alwar protect it from being too hot in summers. Best time to visit: Though the weather of Alwar is moderate, it is advisable to visit it in the winter season (September-February). History: The origin of Alwar city goes back to the time of the Mahabharata. It was a part of the ancient kingdom of Matsya and it is said that legendary Pandava brothers had spent some time of their exile there. Cont’d on page 26


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Alwar: Gateway to historic Rajasthan

Cont’d from page 25

The ancient state of Alwar was probably the oldest kingdom in the state of Rajasthan. It is said that the city was founded by a member of the Kachh family hailing from the town of Amber. The local Rajput rulers of Alwar had a sweet-bitter relation with the rulers of Delhi in the early medieval period and there was a constant struggle to take control of Alwar. As Alwar was located at a strategic place, the Mughals annexed it and used it to mount military campaigns against the erstwhile Rajput principalities and states. The decline of the Mughal rule saw a brief struggle between Jat and Rajput rulers. Later Pratap Singh, a noble, restored parity in 1775. The descendents of Pratap Singh were great patrons of art and under their rule Alwar became an important cultural center. The later rulers forged an alliance with the British that soon broke off, with the latter taking over Alwar. Tourist attractions: The Bala Quila (Fort) and the sprawling city palace complex or Viney Vilas Mahal are main tourist attractions of Alwar. The lake beside the city palace is a good tourist spot. The government museum is located within the city palace

complex. The tomb of Tarang Sultan is another place to visit. Places around: The town of Silisher, famous for its lake palace, lies 20 km southwest of Alwar. Twelve kilometers from Alwar is the small hill fort of Kesroli. Seventy-five kilometers north of Alwar is the popular restored fort palace of Neemrana. The thickly wooded Sariska Tiger Re-

serve is 37 km from Alwar. The picturesque Jai Samand Lake lies 6 km from Alwar. How to reach Road - Alwar is well connected to different cities around it by road. It is linked with Sariska, Bharatpur, Deeg and Jaipur by road.

The Bala Quila (Fort) and the sprawling city palace complex or Viney Vilas Mahal are main tourist attractions of Alwar. The lake beside the city palace is a good tourist spot Rail - An exciting and exotic train runs from Delhi to Alwar. It is the famous Fairy Queen, which is the oldest running steam locomotive in the world. The hospitality and the luxury of this toy train are exceptional. It takes about 3-4 hours to reach Alwar. One can enjoy the scenery of the surroundings en route.


March 23, 2012

Travel & Hospitality Post www.indiapost.com

Tourism can create 25 mn jobs by 2016: Sahai NEW DELHI: Highlighting India's tourism potential, Tourism Minister Subodh Kant Sahai has said the sector has the capacity to create 25 million jobs in the coming years. "India is a potential market for tourism and has set a target to achieve 12 per cent growth in tourism sector by 2016. If this is achieved, we will be able to create 25 million additional jobs," Sahai said while inaugurating the Indian pavilion at ITB, the tour-

into one of world's largest industries, he said it is a major engine for economic growth. "Indian tourism continues to grow, both in volume and value. It has registered a growth of 11.8 per cent foreign tourist arrivals in the country in 2010," he said. He said that an Inter-Ministerial Coordination Committee for the tourism sector has been set up to facilitate resolution of interministerial issues involved in the development of tourism in the country as well as

Aiming at enhancing its reach across the globe, Sahai said it has been decided to appoint marketing representatives in other countries where it does not have tourism offices. Currently, Tourism Ministry has 14 overseas offices including in New York, Toronto, Frankfurt, Dubai and Paris Tourism Minister Subodh Kant

ism fair in Berlin. He said in order to achieve the target, the ministry has already taken concrete steps to increase tourist traffic to India in the coming years. Aiming at enhancing its reach across the globe, Sahai said it has been decided to appoint marketing representatives in other countries where it does not have tourism offices. Currently, Tourism Ministry has 14 overseas offices including in New York, Toronto, Frankfurt, Dubai and Paris. Emphasizing that tourism has developed

the issues raised by the industry associations. Sahai also stated that his ministry will hold its own National Travel Mart titled Global Travel Mart India in the year 2012-13. Referring to the target of one billion tourists by 2012 set by UNWTO, the Minister said India is aiming to fetch 1 per cent of them to double its foreign tourist arrivals this year. India's foreign tourist arrivals have crossed six million in 2011 and is expected to touch seven million this year. -PTI

Goa tourism industry limping back to business PANAJI: A badly wounded industry is limping back to a semblance of business normalcy in what is often considered the beginning of the end of the state's tourism season. With the assembly polls finally through on March 6 and the code of conduct, imposed on December 24, 2011, ending, the ban on serving liquor and playing music post 10pm has been lifted. But even as the booze is flowing freely once again and the Karaoke sets are ready for their crooners, business is inconsistent, say stakeholders. While some say they are doing well, others are struggling to recover from the slackness of the December-to-February period otherwise considered the peak of Goa's sixmonth tourism season. "The week gone by was good as people came to Goa in large numbers for Holi," says

Baga-based shack owner and secretary, Shack Owners' Welfare Society, John Lobo. "Tourists also know that they can now consume liquor after 10pm as the elections are over," he adds. Vernon Pereira, managing director, L'Amour beach resort, Benaulim, counters, "The season is still pretty dead, but we will restart events (Karaoke, music shows) and hopefully things will improve." Shacks, restaurants and pubs, particularly in the North Goa beach belt of Anjuna, Arambol, Calangute, Baga and Morjim are witnessing more tourists after a lull of over a month. "We are trying to recover at least some of the money we put in," says Harish Mandrekar, a pub owner from Anjuna. "However the main season is almost over and the inflow of high-spending foreigners generally starts to recede in March," he adds.

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Kerala's 'Authentic Ayurveda' attracting Germans

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THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Ayurveda medicine of Kerala is attracting Germans to beat the stress and pressures of routine urban life and stay healthy. Increasing numbers of Germans over the age of 50 are preferring the ancient Indian system to lead a relaxed life, a statement issued by Kerala tourism said. "Our data shows that the highest number of those coming for Ayurveda treatment to Kerala from abroad is from Germany," Kerala Tourism Director Rani George said. An "Ayurveda: Wellness or Medicine" workshop was recently organized by Kerala Tourism in Munich, Germany, to give a fillip to the tradition during which leading personalities in the

Kerala Tourism Director Rani George

field of health spoke on it. "The promotional campaign

on Ayurveda is a boost to Kerala's tourism sector in Germany," George said. State Tourism Minister A P Anil Kumar said that Ayurveda was presented "to the German audience as there is an increasing demand for health and wellness among the people in Germany." The workshop also witnessed demonstrations on various subjects like Ayurveda massage, Ayurveda cooking and Ayurveda oils. Kerala Tourism will also participate in two international wellness fairs in Germany next month and is planning to tie up with online shops as part of a marketing campaign to reach customers, the statement said. -PTI

TAAI to enhance Indo-Turkish tourism MUMBAI: To enhance the Indo-Turkish tourism trade and to delve into the growing opportunities in the travel segment, Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI) is holding its 60th diamond jubilee convention in Istanbul. "The travel and tourism industry has evolved globally into an incredibly dynamic industry, offering abundant opportunities. This three-day convention will provide all our stakeholders a platform to exchange views and to chalk out solutions to meet the challenges of this rapidly changing business environment," TAAI President Iqbal Mulla told PTI here. Turkey, which was not affected by the European crisis, is looking to expand its business presence in India and through this convention, TAAI is looking to capitalize on this opportunity, he said. The 60th Convention and Exhibition of TAAI will begin from

March 11 in Istanbul. "The TAAI Convention, an an-

Turkey, which was not affected by the European crisis, is looking to expand its business presence in India and through this convention, TAAI is looking to capitalize on this opportunity, he said. The 60th Convention and Exhibition of TAAI will begin from March 11 in Istanbul nual event, will serve as a catalyst, to develop and expand inbound

and outbound tourism between the two countries," he said. When asked about India's inbound tourism trend, Mulla said, there is likely to be a 25 per cent increase this fiscal compared to the previous year. "The growth is marginal, as compared to the previous year following the global economic crisis," he added. In FY11, about 12.38 million people from outside visited the country, according to the government data. When asked about what the Indian tourists preferred as their overseas holiday destinations, he said, it is mostly the South East Asian countries, which is due to the good air connectivity and the convenience of on arrival visas. However, with the growing spending ability, Indians have now started looking at other destinations as well, like Europe and Australia, he added. -PTI

Adverse travel advisories affecting tourist arrivals SHILLONG: The Meghalaya government has said adverse travel advisories by several countries has affected inflow of foreign visitors to Northeast and states in the region should improve their image to counter this. "We lose out on a huge tourist potential because of the travel advisories from foreign embassies," Meghalaya Chief Minister Mukul Sangma said.

“The North East is perceived as a disturbed area in general by foreign embassies present in India, and therefore, tourists coming to India and willing to travel to NE are advised not to do so," he said on the sidelines of a workshop on Avenues for Entrepreneurship in Tourism here. The chief minister said each state should showcase that it was a safe destination for tourists and

ensure that embassies knew the ground reality and could give credible travel advisories to interested travelers. Sangma said he came to know about the 'adverse' travel advisories during a program attended by him in Switzerland last year. "A tour operator in Geneva told me that his country's embassy had issued a travel advisory that the North East is not safe," he said. -PTI


March 23, 2012

Travel & Hospitality Post www.indiapost.com

U.S. tourism seeks easier access for travelers SUMMIT COUNTY: The Colorado high country could benefit - at least indirectly from a sweeping effort to boost international visitation to the U.S. under a national travel and tourism strategy being developed by the Obama administration. The U.S. State Department has already added 100 workers and expanded hours to process tourist visa applications in China and Brazil, both seen as key markets for the U.S. tourism market. A new consular facility in Beijing should increase visa interview capacity by 50 percent, and consular officers in Brazil can now waive interviews for applicants younger than 15 and older than 66. The U.S. Travel Association believes even more can be done to spur travel, which could potentially add thousands of new jobs and result in millions of dollars in revenue for American businesses. "The travel industry appreciates the President's willingness to work together in developing a national strategy for travel and tourism," said Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association. "The economic benefits will be significant. By embracing policies to better promote travel to and within our country, we can attract a greater share of the business and leisure travel market, which will mean billions of dollars more for our economy and hundreds of thousands of U.S. jobs." In submitting comments on the national

tourism and travel strategy, the USTA declared an overall goal of recapturing a 17 percent share of the global long-haul international travel market. With global long-haul travel expected to grow by 40 percent over the coming decade, reaching that goal by 2015 and sustaining that level for five years would result in 98

The U.S. Travel Association believes even more can be done to spur travel, which could potentially add thousands of new jobs and result in millions of dollars in revenue for American businesses million additional visitors to the U.S. That, in turn, would generate $390 million in direct travel experts and 1.3 million jobs, according to figures from the USTA. The industry also wants the state department to make online consular service more user-friendly, with visa applications translated into native languages, and wants to see more customer service training for consular officers.

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TOP TEN HINDI FILM SONGS

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March 23, 2012

1 Chikni Chameli: Agneepath 2 Hosanna: Ek Deewana Tha 3 Jhoom Jhoomta Hun Main : Players 4 O Saiyyan: Agneepath 5 Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu : Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu 6 Aromale: Ek Deewana Tha 7 Kal Chalna Shuru Tu : Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu 8 Zara Dil Ko Thaam Lo: Don 2 9 Dil Yeh Bekarar Kyu Hai : Players 10 Sharminda Hoon : Ek Deewana Tha

F

ashionista Sonam Kapoor is a big time foodie. She simply can't resist food. Her life revolves around it. "My whole life revolves around food. While having breakfast I think what I should have for lunch while having lunch I think what I should eat for dinner," Sonam said. The actress was unveiling "Wassup! Andheri", a three-day art and entertainment festival in the Andheri suburb. "I am a Punjabi and the whole point is I love feeding people and I love getting fed." Before joining films, Sonam weighed 80 Kgs. She had to shed oodles of it before she starred in Sanjay Leela Bhansali's "Saawariyan". "My dietician has been working on me for quite some time and she has been unsuccessful," the 26-year-old said.

V

idya Balan, who won the best actress National award for her bold and beautiful performance in "The Dirty Picture", says she has achieved a lot more than she ever expected in her seven-year Bollywood career. I am feeling very good. Actually, I am speechless to tell how wonderful and happy I am feeling," the 33-year-old said at an event. "I always thought of receiving at least one National award in my career. I am just seven years old in the industry and I already have a National award to my credit. As I said, I have got much more than I had expected. I am feeling very content," she added. Vidya forayed into Bollywood in 2005 with "Parineeta" and received the Filmfare award for best female debut for her role as Lolita. The year 2011 proved to be splendid for the actress, whose "No One Killed Jessica" and "The Dirty Picture" received accolades. Vidya's latest "Kahaani" is also fetching the actress rave reviews for her performance as a pregnant woman in search of her missing husband.

ORIGINAL KIDS

A

ctor-producer Anil Kapoor, who has been a part of remake films including "Virasat" and "Nayak", says his children are not interested in the genre and would stick to originals. "Newer generation don't want to do remakes. At least my children don't want to do remakes. They want to do original work. Either they want to adapt books or make original screenplays," Anil told reporters at an event. Anil has two daughters - actress Sonam, producer Rhea - and son Harshvardhan who is yet to make his debut in showbiz "Whenever I try to corrupt them and tell them remakes do commercially well, they say, 'Dad, you have done it, we are not going to do it.' That's the new generation. At least my kids will not do it and they will say, 'Do it on your own.' For me, sometime to keep the company rolling, I will have to do that." His production venture "Aisha" and his recently announced movie "Herogiri" are book adaptations and the 52-year-old says despite being inspired by literary works, both the films' scripts are original.


March 23, 2012

Bollywood

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COMEDY IS TOUGH

MALLIKA'S ITEM G

one are the old days were item numbers were considered cheap and were reserved for only those who were willing to go the distance due to lack of work. With the change in the perspective, the new age actresses have become closely associated with item numbers. As Munni and as Sheila Malaika Arora Khan and Katrina Kaif are setting the screens on fire. Thus, how can Bollywood's very own self-proclaimed LA girl Mallika Sherawat be left behind? The starlet's last dance number was Jalebi Bai in Double Dhamaal. She is ready to show the viewers another item number from her kitty. She is hoping this one from film Tezz will do for her what Chikni Chameli did for Katrina and Anarkali Disco Chali for Malaika. The actress says she is hoping the producers will promote her item number well and that her fans would like it. A number of item numbers give instant fame and Mallika seems to be seeking a reentry into the Bollywood family with her new act.

H

e has proved to be a 'khiladi' of both genres - action and comedy. But kicking and boxing in front of the camera is far easier than making the audience laugh, says Bollywood star Akshay Kumar. "Action is easy, it is very easy. Comedy is difficult," Akshay said in a chat on the sets of Neeraj Pandey's "Special Chabbis". "You know…you can kick your legs, punch someone very easily and do action. In fact, action can even look great through camerawork. Also, for an emotional scene, you can put glycerine in the eyes and make any artist cry, and the viewers think he is crying, so people also start crying," said the actor, looking fit and smart in trousers, a shirt and sleeveless sweater. "But to make someone laugh, you have to work very hard. It's very difficult to make people laugh. So comedy is tough…the toughest," he added. "Nothing has changed about comedy. People enjoy what you give from the heart. 49 Don't try and go by the trend. Go with your heart and mind…if you do your work with sincerity, it will always work," said the actor who has done about 100 films in his 25-yearold career.

HAPPY MOTHER

A

ishwarya Rai is currently playing mother to her three-and-half-month-old daughter and the actress is very happy about it. She has no plans to return to films anytime soon, says hubby Abhishek Bachchan. Says Abhi at an event, "As and when she wants to come back, is completely her decision… as and when she decides, when she sees a script she is inspired by - the decision is entirely hers. Currently she is very happy doing what she is doing." Abhishek Bachchan would love to act in a film based on plays penned by young writers. "I like to read biographies and autobiographies. But there are some wonderful plays out there that a lot of young, Indian talent is writing. I would love to do one of them," said Abhishek Bachchan. Meanwhile, Beti B's name is still a secret.


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March 23, 2012 As you are walking to your seat, you'll be serenaded by two ladies playing live eastern soothing music setting your mood to the journey you're about to go through shortly. Evan Brenner's Buddha - A Fantastic Journey takes you back to Northern India around 500BC. This was the age when kings and queens ruled the land. Brenner takes you back to the day Buddha was born and the important steps he had to overcome through his journey into enlightenment and finally his death. This is not a religious play; Brenner plays the story of one man's journey into truth, compassion and finding enlightenment in the end. All the risks and obstacles Buddha had to go through can be related to everyday citizens living in Los Angels today. The wealth Buddha had to give up for the greater good is a good moral lesson for the children that were watching the per-

LIFE OF BUDDHA IN ONE-MAN PLAY MANURI RANASINGHE

LOS ANGELES: The Bootleg theater located in the heart of Los Angeles receives multiple blessings each time Evan Brenner walks onto the stage. The Bootleg Theater has a personality of its own. It brings

a raw, organic, casual feeling to the guests that are walking in for the first time. It seems to be the perfect place to bring a one man play about the life of Buddha. Every seat in the house is a good seat for the play with a perfect view of the performer.

formance. Knowing that one person found the answer to suffering is an encouragement for us to find answers for the small everyday life sufferings that we cross from time to time. Question and answer time with Brenner after the play satisfied the curious guests

This is not a religious play; Brenner plays the story of one man's journey into truth, compassion and finding enlightenment in the end. All the risks and obstacles Buddha had to go through can be related to everyday citizens living in Los Angels today. The wealth Buddha had to give up for the greater good is a good moral lesson before they go home with unanswered thoughts. If you ever wondered about the story of Buddha this is a great place to start. And if you're very knowledgeable about Buddhism, trust that you'll learn few more things that you might not have been aware of.

Asha Bhosle files complaint against Sadhna MUMBAI: Legendary singer Asha Bhosle has filed a complaint with the police against veteran actress Sadhna for encroaching and trespassing her Khar bungalow. Sadhna, who is a tenant in Asha Bhosle's Khar bungalow, has been embroiled in a defamation case against builder Yusuf Lakdawala who she claims has been threatening her. Sadhana had in August 2010 lodged a complaint with the Santa Cruz Police accusing Lakdawala of issuing death threats and trying to force her to vacate her 3000 sq ft house. Sadhana has lived in this house for over 50 years, as a tenant of Asha Bhosle. Following the complaint, Lakdawala was arrested in November and let off on bail after a day. In October 2011, Sadhna was arrested and later released on bail in connection with a defamation case filed by builder Yusuf Lakdawala.

Sadhna alleges she is being threatened by Lakdawala, who wants to evict her from the house she has been living as a tenant for decades (owned by Asha Bhosle) Sadhna met Maharashtra Home Minister R R Patil last year for unbiased mediation in her property dispute. Sadhna alleges she is being threatened by Lakdawala, who wants to evict her from the house she has been living as a tenant for decades (owned by Asha Bhosle). Both Sadhna and Lakdawala have filed petitions in court.


March 23, 2012

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India Post News Service

NEW YORK: When it comes to action films with a quirky, entertaining and rib-tickling comedy twist, Bollywood superstar Akshay Kumar is the perfect strongman with a soft comic centre. The high-kicking, all action hero of mega cinematic hits such as Singh Is Kinng, Welcome, Namastey London, De Dana Dhan and Desi Boyz, is set to entertain audiences once more in Housefull 2: The Dirty Dozen, a comedy of errors which releases nationwide in cinemas on April 5.

HOUSEFULL 2 SET FOR APRIL 5 RELEASE

Akshay Kumar reprises the role of 'Arush Jolly', a comedic, and at times completely hopeless figure, whose clumsy antics create hysterical and unpredictable results After Heyy Baby and Housefull, Akshay Kumar teams up once again with director Sajid Khan to make it a hat trick of film success with Housefull 2. Always the crowd pleaser, Sajid Khan's latest film promises a cinema-going action adventure experience that is packed with high-jinx, high kicks and high laughs, all sprinkled with a generous helping of tasty 'Bollywood Masala'. Housefull 2 will see the ever-versatile and talented Akshay Kumar return to form in this smash-hit family entertainer as he reprises the role of 'Arush Jolly', a comedic, and at times completely hopeless figure, whose clumsy antics create hysterical and unpredictable results. He is joined by a medley of stars including his leading lady in the film Asin who per-

John Abraham, Akshay Kumar and Ranjeet

forms the role of the vibrant 'Sandy Henna', the sultry Jacqueline Fernandez, comedy king-pin Riteish Deshmukh, and John Abraham in a role as never seen before.

Bollywood item queen Malaika Arora Khan brings the house down with a smoldering song performance - 'Anarkali Disco Chali - which is set to be the 'item song' of

2012. The all-star film also features a bevy of other famous names including Rishi and Randhir Kapoor, Boman Irani, Johnny Lever and Mithun Chakraborty.

Bhopal protest against Saif Ali Khan

OLD TIMER: Bollywood actress Hema Malini performs a classical dance during a religious function ĂŹ326th Prabhu kripa Dukh Nivaran SmagamĂŽ in Amritsar

BHOPAL: Bollywood star Saif Ali Khan's decision to appoint a Saudi national as the caretaker of the guest houses built by the Nawabs of Bhopal for Haj pilgrims to Mecca, has backfired him. The actor was shown black flags by locals here. Saif was in the city to watch the World Series Hockey game between Bhopal Badshahs and Delhi Wizards and also to promote his film Agent Vinod. Congress leader Arif Masood led the protest and threatened that 'Agent Vinod' will not be screened in the city, if Saif doesn't change his decision. "There were 45 'Rubaats' of the Hyderabad Nizam in Saudi Arabia but their number came down to one after Saudi nationals were appointed as caretakers," Arif Masood told reporters, explaining the reason for protesting the decision.


„ Health

Line

Abortion coercion bills face votes in Michigan

LANSING, Mich.: Michigan lawmakers might soon take some initial votes on bills related to abortion law in the state. Legislation awaiting a vote in the Republican-led House would require a doctor or an assistant to do some screening before an abortion to make sure a pregnant woman isn't being forced or coerced to have the abortion against her will. Other bills would provide penalties for coercing a woman to have an abortion against her will. Lawmakers debated the measures recently and soon could vote on the proposals. If the measures are approved in the House, they would advance to the Republican-led Senate. Opponents of the bills say they are part of a nationwide effort to whittle away at the Roe v. Wade federal court decision that makes abortion legal. -AP

„ RSV cases on the rise in Iowa DES MOINES, Iowa: The Iowa Department of Health says cases of respiratory syncytial virus, commonly known as RSV, are on the rise in central Iowa. Department media relations specialist Amy Varcoe told Des Moines television station KCCI that her infant has even had the virus. RSV doesn't cause serious problems for older children and adults, but it can cause life-threatening respiratory infections in some infants. For children under a year, it's the most common cause of pneumonia and an inflammation of the small airways. -AP

„ Juvenile offenders face mental health problems IDAHO FALLS, Idaho: Idaho officials say about 5,500 juveniles are on probation at the county level and some 350 are in custody statewide. Idaho Department of Juvenile Corrections Director Sharon Harrigfeld says juveniles in state custody are typically more difficult to deal with and often have been traumatized by abuse or witnessed abuse. She tells the Post Register that many are struggling with depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, bipolar disorder or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. -AP

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March 23, 2012

Obama's health care law: A trek, not a sprint WASHINGTON: It took only a year to set up Medicare. But if President Barack Obama's health care law survives Supreme Court scrutiny, it will be nearly a decade before all its major pieces are in place Details on page 39

Feds to stop funding Texas women's health program HOUSTON: The federal government will stop funding a Texas health program that serves 130,000 low-income women because of a state law that bars abortion-affiliated clinics from getting public money, a top U.S. health official said. The federal money, which covers 90 percent of the state's $40 million program, will be phased out between May and September because the law violates federal regulations requiring that women have a choice in medical care, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said during a trip to Houston. That means the Women's Health Program will join a long list of programs nationwide on the chopping block because of their affiliations with Planned Parenthood or other groups that offer abortions. The announcement came a day after Texas Gov. Rick Perry pledged to find state money to keep the program afloat, though details remain scarce about where the money would come from. Texas suffered massive spending cuts last year due to a $15 billion deficit, though a state health services official said that Texas would

Local citizens and employees of the Planned Parenthood clinic in San Angelo, Texas, gather in front of the clinic to participate in the "Don't Mess with Texas Women" rally

That means the Women's Health Program will join a long list of programs nationwide on the chopping block because of their affiliations with Planned Parenthood or other groups that offer abortions prefer to increase its deficit than completely eliminate the program. Perry blasted Sebelius' announcement, insisting Medicaid

rules give states the right to determine which clinics are qualified to provide women's health care. ``The fact that the Obama ad-

ministration would announce its decision to deny care for more than 100,000 low-income women during a press event before giving official notice to the state is a clear demonstration of the political motivation behind this decision,'' he said in a written statement, adding that Texas officials are still waiting for official word on the decision. As is the case with other programs now in the national spotlight, the Women's Health Program provides cancer screenings, family planning and other women's health services. About 44 percent of women in the Texas program go to Planned Parenthood clinics, although none that accept funding from the program may perform abortions, and no federal funds are used to terminate pregnancies. The problem in Texas is being caused by lawmakers' desire to prevent state funds from going to Planned Parenthood. The state is implementing a law that bars public funds from going to any programs, organizations or groups that are affiliated with abortions, even if they don't perform them. Cont’d on page 39

United Sikhs' service of medical relief in Kenya India Post News Service

NEW YORK: When Dr. Seema Kaur, an OB/Gyn from California was asked to mentor Dr. Erika Kwok for a relief mission in Kenya, she saw it as a mission to fulfill her yearning for sewa (selfless service), an opportunity to embark upon the path laid down by the first Sikh Guru, Guru Nanak Sahib Ji. Dr. Seema, a member of Kaiser Permanente Volunteer and Disaster relief group and also a volunteer with United Sikhs, arrived in April 2011 with two physicians with assistance of the Tiba Foundation. Their mission was to cater to the region of Siaya, one of the poorest districts in all of Kenya, with 480,000 residents. Dr. Seema recalls the faith with which, the patients, braved through

horrid conditions for an opportunity to be treated. "They walk many miles and wait all day carrying tattered test reports which have to be pieced together. Many patients have no records available and have to pay again to initiate the entire

pertinent and timely care." Dr. Seema, who volunteered beyond the hospital to do field work in the villages and noted, "A majority of the babies are delivered in villages, despite the fact that the moms are HIV positive and need medica-

'They walk many miles and wait all day carrying tattered test reports which have to be pieced together. Many patients have no records available' process again of getting lab results, radiology tests, etc. before a surgery can be scheduled. "The women have to return home before dark, which is a risk factor and underscores the problem faced by the majority of patients as they are unable to receive

tion before delivery to reduce transmission of the virus to the baby. "These labors are assisted by the traditional birth attendants that often deliver the babies with their bare hands or grocery bags covering them. Many of these women are in labor for days, often

having the baby die in utero or have problems after birth. In one case a 13 year old young girl was abandoned by her family due to a large hospital bill. Her baby was stuck in the birth canal and died during childbirth causing a fistulous tract between her bladder and vagina and an infection caused by long hospitalization. The operation was performed on payment of the bill." The Director of Siaya District Hospital, Dr Omoto Jackton, said, "If only we could automate the patient records, a large number of the in-efficacies that exist today will be removed. Long waiting periods will diminish and timely care can be provided. This will increment the number of patients that will receive medical help." Cont’d on page 38


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Papers debate 'Doonesbury' series on abortion law KANSAS CITY, Mo.: A national syndicate will offer replacement ``Doonesbury'' comic strips to newspapers that don't want to run an upcoming series that uses graphic imagery to lampoon a Texas law that requires women to have an ultrasound before getting an abortion, officials said. Papers were debating the use and placement of the strips by cartoonist Garry Trudeau, whose sarcastic swipes at society's foibles have a history of giving headaches to newspaper editors. ``We've heard from a handful of papers that are uncomfortable with running the series and want substitutes,'' said Sue Roush, managing editor at the Universal UClick syndicate. ``Garry has provided us with substitutes in case anyone asks.'' The Texas series features a woman who goes to an abortion clinic and is confronted by several people who suggest she should be ashamed. Among them is a doctor who reads a script on behalf of Texas Gov. Rick Perry welcoming her to a ``compulsory transvaginal exam,'' and a middle-aged legislator who calls her a ``slut.''

One panel equates the invasive procedure to rape and describes the device used to perform it as a ``10-inch shaming wand.'' ``Our readers are accustomed to pointed political and social commentary in strips like `Doonesbury' and `Mallard Fillmore,''' Tom McNiff, managing editor of The Gainesville Sun and Ocala Star-

The Texas series features a woman who goes to an abortion clinic and is confronted by several people who suggest she should be ashamed Banner in central Florida, said in an emailed statement explaining his papers' decision not to run the strip. ``But the language the author used to make his point in two of the strips was quite graphic for a general readership.'' Texas' law does not specify the type of sonogram a woman must receive, but an invasive transvagi-

nal ultrasound is necessary to meet requirements that the doctor show the woman an image of the fetus, describe its features and make the fetal heartbeat audible in the first trimester. The procedure uses a wand inserted in the vagina to yield an image and differs from an abdominal sonogram, in which the wand is rubbed over a woman's belly. Asked for a comment on the ``Doonesbury'' series, Perry spokesman Catherine Frasier said, ``The decision to end a life isn't funny.'' Several newspapers that already opt to publish ``Doonesbury'' on opinion pages said the Texas series still would run, while others said they would move the series from the comics to op-ed pages. Steve Shirk, manager editor of The Kansas City Star, said his paper would use the replacements in the comics section. ``We felt the content was too much for many of the readers of our family friendly comic page,'' Shirk said. ``We felt that (op-ed) page was more appropriate for that story line.''-AP

TIP OF THE WEEK

Heal heartburn with cider vinegar

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ip 1 tablespoon of apple ci der vinegar mixed with 8 ounces of water before every meal, and experts say you could shut down painful bouts of heartburn in as little as 24 hours. "Cider vinegar is rich in malic and tartaric acids, powerful digestive aids that speed the

breakdown of fats and proteins so your stomach can empty quickly, before food washes up into the esophagus, triggering heartburn pain," explains Joseph Brasco, M.D., a gastroenterologist at the Center for Colon and Digestive Diseases in Huntsville, AL.


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Obama's health care law: A trek, not a sprint WASHINGTON: It took only a year to set up Medicare. But if President Barack Obama's health care law survives Supreme Court scrutiny, it will be nearly a decade before all its major pieces are in place. And that means even if Obama is re-elected, he won't be in office to oversee completion of his signature domestic policy accomplishment, assuming Republicans don't succeed in repealing it. The law's carefully orchestrated phase-in is evidence of what's at stake in the Supreme Court deliberations that start March 26. The Affordable Care Act gradually reorganizes one-sixth of the U.S. economy to cover most of the nation's 50 million uninsured, while simultaneously trying to restrain costs and prevent disruptions to the majority already with coverage. Despite the political rhetoric about what ``Obamacare'' is doing to the nation, only a fraction of the law is in effect. ``We really haven't seen the main game,'' said Drew Altman, president of the California-based Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonprofit information clearinghouse on the health care system. ``The major provisions that will affect the most people and cost the most money don't go into effect until 2014 or later.'' What has taken effect in the two years since the law was enacted

has produced both successes and clunkers, and some surprises. Few expected a relatively minor provision tacked on late in the legislative process to be its biggest success so far. But allowing young adults to stay on their parents' insurance until age 26 has added nearly 2.5 million people to the coverage rolls, at no cost to taxpayers. Despite Republican pledges to repeal the overhaul, it's arguably the Obama administration that has done more to scale it back. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius decided to pull the plug on a longterm care insurance program seen as a budget drain. She also decided that Washington would not dictate a basic health benefits package for the country, allowing each state to set its own, within limits. Medicare recipients gained more protection from high prescription costs and better preventive coverage, but older people remain the age group most opposed to the law, concerned that cuts to the program to finance benefits for the uninsured eventually will compromise their own care. If the Supreme Court overturns the law entirely, that would present an immediate dilemma about popular early benefits such as coverage for young adults and prescription savings for seniors. ``These provisions give imme-

diate relief to a small percentage of people, but it's a lot of relief,'' said economist Len Nichols of George Mason University in Virginia. Other early benefits have been a mixed bag. Millions of people are getting preventive care that now must be provided at no additional cost to patients. Birth control for women soon will be on that list. Insurance premium increases are getting more scrutiny. But a program of tax credits for small businesses has seen little

Millions of people are getting preventive care that now must be provided at no additional cost to patients. Birth control for women soon will be on that list. Insurance premium increases are getting more scrutiny acceptance. The administration is in the awkward position of asking congressional Republicans to help fix it. A highly promoted program that provides a lifeline to people denied coverage because they already had medical problems has probably saved lives. But enrollment in the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan has been disappointing, with only about 50,000 people nationwide. Glenn Nishimura, a consultant from Little Rock, Ark., checked it

AIDS fund sees new conditions set on donor money GENEVA: Stung by donor complaints about its financial losses, a $23 billion health fund is increasingly being forced to devote a portion of its donations to improving its own spending controls rather than disease-fighting, the new head of the fund said. Gabriel Jaramillo, the general manager of the Genevabased Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, said in an interview that the donor insistence on tightening how the billions of dollars of grant money is managed stems from complaints about the fund's past financial losses. ``You have quite a few donors that have earmarked portions of their donations to us, their contributions, to capacitybuilding,'' he told The Associated Press. France, whose nearly $2.9 billion in donations have made it the fund's second-largest contributor after the U.S., will sign a new

pledging agreement this month requiring that 5 percent of its money go to tighten financial accountability among grant recipients, he said. Jaramillo was a member of an outside review panel created last year after AP articles about the

fund's losses led some donors to withhold funding, and the fund scaled back its spending. ``It was a year of reflection,'' said Jaramillo, a former chairman and CEO of Sovereign Bank, who also was a special U.N. adviser on malaria. ``The fund had to be saved.''

out and found his premiums would come to about $6,300 a year. ``It's out of my price range,'' said Nishimura. It makes more financial sense to take care of his high blood pressure and high blood sugars by paying out-of-pocket and gambling that his health will hold up, he reasons. In three years he'll be eligible for better coverage under Medicare. If the health care law is upheld, it will bring some relief against such risks for millions of people such as Nishimura.

In February, he emerged from retirement to begin a one-year post with the fund with the aim of calming donor backlash, imposing financial reforms and streamlining the organization. Recently, he happily announced that Germany had contributed (euro) 50 million ($65 million), the first quarter of what it pledged for this year. As the fund's fourth-largest donor, Germany had stunned the fund when it withheld money last year out of concern over the tens of millions of dollars in losses because of corruption, undocumented expenses and other misspending that the fund's internal watchdog its inspector general's office had uncovered. Jaramillo said he was committed nonetheless to preserving the fund's transparency it publicly posts audits and investigative reports from the inspector general despite the potential for giving bad news to donors. -AP

Starting in 2014, insurers will have to accept all applicants regardless of prior health problems. Also that year, many middle-class people will qualify for federal subsidies to lower the cost of their premiums. Consumers will have access to competitively priced private insurance through new statebased markets called exchanges. At the same time, Medicaid would be expanded greatly to cover millions more low-income people, childless adults who do not now qualify. Between the two approaches, more than 30 million uninsured people are expected to obtain coverage. Millions more will gain the security of knowing they can't be turned down for health insurance if they switch jobs. That's critical for Natalie Hough, a college sophomore from Hillsborough, N.C. An aspiring artist, Hough has a heart condi-

tion that probably would make her uninsurable if she had to apply on her own later in life. Starting in 2014, insurers will not be able to turn away people like her. ``It's definitely peace of mind, knowing that I can go to a hospital if I need to,'' she said. ``I'm an art major, and I'm not going to make billions of dollars.'' But such changes hinge on whether the law's requirement that most people have health insurance is upheld by the Supreme Court. This individual mandate, the main target for the law's critics, also takes effect in 2014. Without it, many experts fear that the new exchanges, the state-based markets for private insurance, won't work. Healthy people would be tempted to postpone signing up until they get sick, raising costs for everybody. Administration lawyers have advised the court that if it strikes down the mandate, it also should invalidate the requirement that private health insurers accept customers with health problems. If the court leaves the rest of the law in place, the Medicaid expansion could continue. But even if Obama's plan to expand coverage survives its test of constitutionality, expect the law's cost-control measures to remain under attack. One is an independent board that would have the power to curb excessive increases in Medicare spending by ordering cuts if Congress fails to act first. Republicans call it a ``rationing board,'' although the law specifically bars the yetto-be-named panel from restricting access. The health care industry opposes the board; efforts to do away with it or diminish its role seem to be gaining ground. -AP

United Sikhs' yeomen service of medical relief in Kenya Cont'd from page 36

Dr Omoto Jackton requested United Sikhs to come up with a solution, thus germinating the idea of automation of the patient medical records. On May 6, 2011, on the request of Dr Omoto, the United Sikhs Human Development and Sustenance Program (HDSP) Team swung into action, under the leadership of volunteers, Yudhvir Singh and Nelson Garcia. Dr Omoto laid out his vision of the facility, on a sketch and provided a letter of invitation, a memorandum of understanding with United Sikhs and a written mandate from

the Kenyan Ministry of Medical Services. By June 10, 2011, the United Sikhs HDSP-Technology team developed the first working prototype for medical billing. The following months were spent to develop a working prototype, purchasing equipment, and working on the logistics of the trip. The team was in Siaya by Dec 10, 2011, and implemented the solution. In an email to United Sikhs from the office of the superintendent, Kidemi Vincent, said, "The automation will double the number of patient encounters and possibly save 120,000 lives per year."


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NY Assembly calls for fracking health impact study ALBANY, N.Y.: Environmental and health groups are praising the New York State Assembly for including an independent health impact study of hydraulic fracturing for natural gas in its budget proposal. Numerous physicians, health organizations and environmental groups have criticized the Department of Environmental Conservation for not including a comprehensive health impact study in its environmental review of gas drilling using high-volume hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. Gas drilling in New York's part of the Marcellus Shale has been on hold since the DEC review began in 2008. Gov. Andrew Cuomo and DEC Commissioner Joe Martens have said the review and new regulations are expected to be completed within a few months. The Assembly bill would set aside $100,000 for a study by a school of public health within the state university system following a model recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Before the study, the school would have to prepare a document outlining its plans, and the public would have the opportunity to comment and suggest changes.

The study would include research into other states' experiences with fracking; estimated costs of any health impacts to the state, insurers, employers and the health care system; and a long-term plan for monitoring and mitigating health impacts. ``This study will go a long way to answer the many questions New Yorkers have

A formal health impact assessment such as the one described in the Assembly bill would be far more extensive and detailed than what DEC has done. In comments to DEC on its environmental review, the Natural Resources Defense Council said DEC looked at some health issues but ignored others about what fracking would mean for their health if this goes forward,'' Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton, who proposed the study, said in a prepared statement. Lifton is a Democrat from Ithaca. There is no companion bill in the Senate. The Medical Society of the State of New York has called for a moratorium on natural gas extraction using hydraulic fracturing until scientific information on health impacts

Feds to stop funding Texas women's health program Cont'd from page 36

After touring a hospital in Houston, Sebelius said the state law violates federal Medicaid regulations that require women be allowed to choose where they go for health care. Federal funds flowed to Texas under a waiver, but ``we plan to let Texas know that that waiver will not be extended,'' Sebelius said. The money will be phased out so women have time to find alternative care, she said. The state was warned that implementing the law would jeopardize federal funding, and Texas chose not to immediately enforce it when it was passed, Sebelius added. ``They knew ... they are not allowed to deny women the right to choose,'' Sebelius said. ``Women would be losing their doctor, their medical home, their choice.'' Stephanie Goodman, spokeswoman for the Texas Department of Health and Human Services, said money to pay for the program would be diverted from others that are under budget though she didn't offer specifics. If that doesn't cover the costs, she said, the state would increase its deficit to pay for the services because officials believe that if low-income women don't have access to birth control, the birth rate would rise and cost the state another $57 million in maternity bills. Last year, Texas lawmakers slashed state funding for women's health and family planning programs by $73.6 million cutting services to 160,000 women. They also took $10 million from a separate family planning budget line and shifted those responsibilities to organizations that administer Medicaid in Texas.

is available. Fracking stimulates gas production by injecting a well with millions of gallons of chemically treated water at high pressure to fracture surrounding shale, releasing trapped gas. There are concerns about health impacts of chemicals used in the process, handling of large volumes of highly contaminated wastewater, air pollution, and

Now, with the expected cut in federal funds, ``there's a huge gap in family planning'' in Texas, Sebelius said. State Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee, D-Houston, said she and members of Congress are negotiating with Sebelius and federal officials to find a way to ensure that the funds don't stop flowing. ``We have been working with Texas. We're eager to work with Texas to find a solution,'' Sebelius said. ``But if Texas chooses to go down a road that violates the law, we really have no choice.'' -AP

Program links diabetes patients with resources LEWISTON, Idaho: A group of high-risk young adults with diabetes has been learning to cope with their disease using a virtual reality program that connects them with health care providers and others with diabetes. The Intrepid Healthy Lifestyle Hunter was created by faculty from the University of Idaho extension program, the school of family and consumer sciences, the college of art and architecture's virtual technology and design and the college of business and economics. Its purpose, said SeAnne Safaii of the UI extension staff, is to reach people 18 to 28 years old who often fall through the cracks between pediatric and older adult health care related to diabetes. -AP

other issues. ``We have county medical societies throughout upstate and downstate that are very concerned that the health impacts have not been studied,'' said Pat Clancy, the medical society's vice president for public health and education. In October, 250 physicians and medical professionals signed a letter to Cuomo calling for a comprehensive public health impact assessment. ``DEC has fully considered the impact high-volume hydraulic fracturing could potentially have on public health and our communities if it goes forward in New York,'' the environmental agency said in a statement. The agency said it looked at ways the pub-

lic could be exposed to hazards from gas drilling and proposed guidelines and regulations to prevent that exposure. ``DEC's approach is to address the potential causes of exposure to prevent them from happening in New York state. If there are no pathways of exposure in the first place, adverse health impacts cannot occur.'' A formal health impact assessment such as the one described in the Assembly bill would be far more extensive and detailed than what DEC has done. In comments to DEC on its environmental review, the Natural Resources Defense Council said DEC looked at some health issues but ignored others. NRDC noted that there are numerous reports of health complaints among people who live near natural gas drilling and fracking operations in other states and some have been investigated by researchers or governmental agencies. Reported health issues include eye irritation, dizziness, nasal and throat irritation, respiratory symptoms, nausea, fatigue, headaches, anxiety and other ailments. ``New York State has to date failed to take a hard look at the health impacts of fracking,'' said Katherine Nadeau of NRDC. ``By calling for an independent study of fracking's health impacts, the Assembly is leading the charge to provide state leaders with the science necessary to make informed decisions.'' -AP


In Brief Ga. immigration review panel gets first complaint ATLANTA: A panel charged with ensuring compliance with Georgia laws on immigration has received its first complaint. The Immigration Enforcement Review Board discussed the process for handling complaints. The board also voted former Fulton County GOP chairman Shawn Hanley vice chairman. The first complaint filed by activist D.A. King names Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and city council members. King's complaint says a city ordinance violates a new state law targeting illegal immigration by recognizing a Mexican matricula consular ID card for city government transactions. The Georgia law says agencies that administer public benefits can't accept the matricula consular. -AP

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Jurors return to mull immigration fraud charges CONCORD, N.H.:A New Hampshire jury will resume deliberating whether a Manchester mother of three lied on applications to enter the country and obtain citizenship by denying any role in the 1994 Rwanda genocide. Federal prosecutors say Beatrice Munyenyezi commanded extremist Hutu militia and manned a roadblock in Butare where Tutsis were singled out for slaughter. Her lawyers say she is the victim of lies by Rwandan witnesses who never mentioned her name during nearly two decades of international investigations and trials. The 12 jurors have deliberated for about eight hours. -AP

March 23, 2012

PELHAM, Ala.: Alabama's crackdown on illegal immigration may keep Charlie Brown and Snoopy from performing in a high school musical. Details on page 43

Only 8 percent NY South Asians work as professionals Chhaya Community Development Corporation (Chhaya CDC) released a report - Deepening Roots and Creating Space - last week and updated over 100 community advocates and residents, elected officials and industry experts on the latest demographics and challenges facing New Yorkers of South Asian descent.

Pearce to appear at immigration hearing in DC PHOENIX: A US Senate subcommittee will hold a hearing April 24 in Washington on Arizona's tough immigration law and the bill's author will appear. New York Sen. Charles Schumer says he's accepted former Arizona Senate President Russell Pearce's offer to testify at the hearing of the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Immigration, Refugees and Border Security. Pearce lost his seat after a voter backlash led to his recall. The hearing occurs a day before the US Supreme Court will hear the federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of SB 1070. -AP

www.indiapost.com

Ala. immigration law puts school play on hold

Seema Agnani, Executive Director Chhaya CDC India Post News Service

NEW YORK: Contrary to stereotypical perceptions of South Asians as being highly skilled professionals, a recent study has shown that only about 8% of South Asians in New York work in professional and technical fields. Instead many work in services industries as taxi drivers, hotel workers or retail staff.

able information that the Census could not" said Seema Agnani, Executive Director Chhaya CDC. "The stereotype of South Asians is often one of the wealthy Wall Street employee or physician, however, our findings show that only 8% of South Asians work in professional and technical fields. Instead many work in services indus-

‘Ironically, many of these service workers hold college degrees from their countries of origin, but are unable to access employment opportunities in their field of expertise’ The organization collected information from more than 500 New York City residents on housing trends and conditions including overcrowding, evictions, and displacements among tenants and owners. It also looked at larger barriers to employment for South Asians in the city. "We wanted to provide a comprehensive picture of the South Asian community, and supply valu-

tries as taxi drivers, hotel workers or retail staff. Ironically, many of these service workers hold college degrees from their countries of origin, but are unable to access employment opportunities in their field of expertise." The research includes official Census data, as well as the results of a survey and focus groups conducted in-language with more

than 500 individuals across the five boroughs of Manhattan. Christina Lagdemeo, Deputy Director, White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders delivered the morning keynote, "This type of community based report is so critical as disaggregated data about Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders is so rare. I hope to share this research with key people in Washington DC across federal agencies to better inform their work." Chhaya partnered with the DataCenter, an independent research organization for social justice movements and grassroots organizing on the project. Saba Waheed of DataCenter highlights the importance of community based approaches to research, "This groundbreaking report shows that South Asians in working class neighborhoods in New York face a wide range of hardships, from housing instability and underemployment to language barriers and lack of access to services. Cont’d on page 43

Assault on employment immigration to US CYRUS D. MEHTA

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t the behest of Senator Grassley (R-IA), the DHS Office of Inspector General recently issued a controversial report, "The Effects of USCIS Adjudication Procedures and Policies on Fraud Detection by Immigration Service Officers." I wonder about the intentions of Senator Grassley who put a hold on the Fairness For High Skilled Immigrants Act, which passed the Republican controlled House of Representatives by a landslide on November 29, 2011. More recently, Senator Grassley also put a hold on the Startup Visa Act, which has also received bipartisan support. Is he truly concerned about the integrity of the system or is there a deeper hidden agenda. Mind you, he has also been a foe of immigration from India with his recent opposition to the use of

the H-1B and B-1 visas by Indian IT professionals. It is amazing how one Senator, who has only one vote among 100 Senators, can have so much influence over immigration policy. It is time to speak out. The report stems from a pet

plications might be fraudulent or the applicant is ineligible." The Inspector General interviewed 147 managers and staff, received 256 responses to an online survey, and reviewed USCIS policies related to the ef-

The report stated that "special treatment of complainants fosters a sense among ISOs that USCIS inappropriately grants benefits in certain cases” concern of Senator Grassley, as expressed by Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith in a February 15, 2012 hearing before the House Subcommittee on Immigration, about whether "senior [USCIS] leaders are putting pressure on employers to approve more visa applications, even if the ap-

fort to detect benefit fraud. The report was based on testimonials, not empirical data. The report recommended process improvements, such as instituting more training and collaboration to improve the fraud referral process; developing additional quality assurance or supervisory

review procedures to strengthen identification of names and aliases of those seeking an immigration benefit; performing nationwide onsite outreach efforts to discuss the performance management system with Immigration Service Officers (ISOs); developing standards to permit more time for an ISO's review of case files; revising policy on requests for evidence (RFEs) to clarify the role that the requests play in the adjudication process; and developing a policy to "establish limitations for [USCIS] managers and attorneys when they intervene in the adjudication of specific cases." The report stated that "special treatment of complainants fosters a sense among ISOs that USCIS inappropriately grants benefits in certain cases." Cont’d on page 42


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US unveils reform-minded immigration facility

Gary Mead, executive associate director for the ICE's Enforcement and Removal Operations, surveys clothing and toiletries that will be issued to detainees at a new civil detention facility for low-risk inmates in Karnes City, Texas

KARNES CITY, Texas: A 608bed facility unveiled in Texas represents what federal officials say is a centerpiece of the Obama administration's pledge to overhaul America's much-maligned system for jailing immigration offenders. Although the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement facility has heavy security, with doors that lock electronically and windows made of reinforced glass, officials insist this isn't a prison. Guards don't carry handcuffs, there's no wall around the facility, and the exterior is painted a crisp royal-blue and burgundy. The rooms have four bunk beds, a private bath, television and phone, which they can use to make international calls for just 15 cents per minute rates mostly unheard of on the outside. There's not even a lights out policy at night, with the residents free to wander common areas even during designated sleeping time. The White House promised three years ago to rethink its detention policies, in response to civil-liberties lawsuits filed on behalf of families held at a crowded central Texas facility where children were held behind razor barbed-wire. The Karnes County Civil Detention Center in this tiny South Texas town, 60 miles (96 kilometers) southeast of San Antonio,

was intended to be more humane to detainees though some activists argue they shouldn't be locked up at all. ``We needed to do better. We needed to improve our detainee treatment,'' said Gary Mead, executive associate director for ICE's Enforcement and Removal Operations. Some conservatives, however,

“This is their new model civil detention facility, but it's still going to involve detaining people who don't need to be detained” fear the $32 million civil detention center is coddling criminals. Most of the inmates held here will be those arrested after sneaking across the border in the Rio Grande Valley and other parts of Texas. Officials are retrofitting facilities in California, Virginia and New Jersey to make them more like the one here, and also constructed more-restrictive detention centers in Florida and Illinois for mediumand high-risk detainees.

The Texas center will hold only adult males considered low-risk detainees, and they won't begin arriving for about three weeks. But ICE invited reporters and representatives from non-government groups like the American Civil Liberties Union to tour the facility. The Karnes facility's gym has weight-lifting equipment, a soccer field, indoor and outdoor basketball courts and sand and nets for beach volleyball. There are 117 pay phones, and besides the cheap international calls, domestic ones are just 10 cents a minute. There's a law library, a walk-up pharmacy and a computer lab that's often open 13 hours a day and offers free internet access. Dayrooms have TVs tuned to channels in English and Spanish, microwaves, tables for board games and washers and dryers so inmates can do their own laundry. Lisa Graybill, legal director of the ACLU of Texas, said, ``this is their new model civil detention facility, but it's still going to involve detaining people who don't need to be detained.'' ``It sounds good but our concern is it's not actually going to be good,'' said Graybill, who said her group is troubled that profit margins maybe more important than detainee welfare. She said that the Obama administration should scrap U.S. policy adopted in 2005 of detaining nearly all immigration offenders, and instead only lock up only those considered most-dangerous, including any with past criminal records. Others could be given electronic ankle bracelets to ensure they appear for future court dates, she said. Mead said ICE had increased its use of ankle bracelets and other alternatives to detention, and now has about 23,000 people in such programs compared to about 18,000 last year. He said it costs the federal government about $122 per day per immigration detainee and that those outside detention are cheaper - but their cases are processed more slowly. Cont’d on page 42

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Former Assistant State’s Attorney

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Assault on employment immigration to US Cont’d from page 40

The report noted that "[t]here may be a basis for clarifying adjudication policy for O visa petitions. A low approval rate is not one of them." The Inspector General found that O visa petitions are granted at a high rate. "Quality assurance information we examined demonstrates that excessive O visa approvals are more likely than denials." The report stated, "From January 2008 through March 2011, the California and Vermont service centers approved 40,719 of 44,386 O visa petitions (91.7%). This approval rate exceeds the approval rate for many other nonimmigrant worker petitions. During the same time period, the two centers approved 78.5% of H-1B (specialty occupations) and 76.1% of L-1B (specialized knowledge worker) petitions." The Inspector General's report noted, however, that: (1) the testimonial evidence shared by interviewees may not represent views shared by other employees; (2) USCIS has taken action to diminish threats to the immigration benefits system; (3) general employee concerns about the impact of production pressure in the quality of ISO decisions "do not mean that systemic problems compromise the ability of USCIS to detect fraud and security threats; (4) "[n]o ISOs presented us with cases where benefits were granted to those who pose terrorist or national security threats"; and (5) "[e]ven those employees who criticized management expressed confidence that USCIS would never compromise national security on a given case." The report concluded, however, that "[e]ven with the additional security checks and process improvements USCIS has made in the past several years, national security and fraud concerns may require more thorough review of immigration applications and petitions." The OIG noted that "[a]dditional documentation, or further insight gained through more interview questions, would ensure that ISOs have greater confidence before making a decision." Also, the report suggests that "Congress may wish to raise the standard of proof for some or all USCIS benefit issuance decisions." As an immigration practitioner, the Inspector General's conclusions about applications being granted too easily have no bearing with reality. A filing of an H1B or L petition, especially in certain industries such as IT consulting, results in a lengthy and detailed RFE asking for every aspect of the job duties, elaborate itineraries and unrealistic work schedules (such as the percentage of time performing each duty) and

other unnecessarily and trivial information about the employer and the employment. This is true even if the USCIS has been approving an H-1B petition previously on the exact facts for the very same worker who must be now be on his 10th year in H-1B status. Also, in the case of an H-1B worker in an IT consulting company who is placed at a third party client, the employer has to repeatedly demonstrate that it has a right of control under the Neufeld Memo over this worker's employment even if the employer demonstrated this in great detail when it last filed a request for an H-1B extension. Senator Grassley, I ask you to put yourself in the shoes of this H-1B worker who has an approved I-140 immigrant visa petition for

satisfying certain statistical requirements, it will find it by shifting the goal posts. Look how many times over the past 10 years the USCIS has redefined what it means by the US equivalent of an Indian bachelor's degree or equivalent education, thus blowing apart I-140 petitions approved after the employer meticulously but unsuccessfully tested the US labor market. Or look how the Neufeld Memo has been aimed against a very successful business model that has served the needs of Fortune 500 US corporations. If we see stricter adjudications, the US will be deprived of the talents and vision of foreign entrepreneurs who have a burning desire to set up startups in the US even in the absence of the Startup Visa Act, which have

If the H-1B gets denied this time under some arbitrarily invented heightened scrutiny standard, he and his family will fall out of status and will have to most likely need to leave the US the green card, but is still waiting endlessly for it, along with his family, only because of the long waits in the EB-2 or EB-3 for India. If you did not put a hold on the Fairness for High Skilled Immigrants Act, this H-1B worker may have received a green card by now or close to receiving one. He now needs to wait nervously each year for an approval, with the fear that the H-1B may be denied this time around even though it got approved under the same facts the year before and the year before that. If the H-1B gets denied this time under some arbitrarily invented heightened scrutiny standard, he and his family will fall out of status and will have to most likely need to leave the US after working in the US legally for 10 years, paying taxes and otherwise contributing to the productivity of his employer and clients. He will also be forced to yank his brilliant children out of school disrupting their lives and causing great turmoil in their young impressionable minds. If the OIG report becomes USCIS policy, it will kill and stifle a US employer's ability to bring in skilled foreign national workers on H-1B, L-1 and O-1 visas. Despite Senator Grassley placing a hold on the Startup Visa Act, the DHS in August 2011 announced initiatives for entrepreneurs who founded their own startups to be able to have the company file for an H-1B visa on their behalf. This initiative too will get killed because if the government wants to look for fraud for the sake of

the potential to do brilliantly well like Google, E-bay or Yahoo. At the February 15, 2012 Congressional hearing, the testimony of Bo Cooper, former General Counsel of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, is worth noting. Summaries of other witnesses at this Congressional hearing can be found in our forthcoming March 2012 Immigration Update. Mr. Cooper said that USCIS has released official data since the report came out. He noted that recent analysis shows that the data refute concerns "that USCIS may be institutionally biased toward unjustified approvals and that the agency observes policies that would suppress RFE issuance." The data tell the opposite story, he said: "Particularly with respect to the key nonimmigrant categories for foreign professionals, denial rates and RFE rates have risen very sharply in recent years." The "most startling example," Mr.Cooper said, appears in the L1 program, which is used by multinational corporations to transfer managers, executives, and specialists into the United States. Noting that such visas "are an essential component of a huge range of productive economic activity in this country," he said that L-1 visas are critical to attracting foreign investment that supports the creation of jobs for U.S. workers and are critical when U.S. companies acquire companies based oversees and need to have the acquired company's specialists come to the United States to inte-

grate their expertise and processes. L-1 visas are also critical to companies who need to bring specialists from their overseas affiliates into their research centers and operations in the United States, he noted. "Without predictable, reliable access to these visas, employers find themselves having to move jobs and projects to other countries." The data for employees with specialized knowledge in the L-1B program "shows a steep rise in denials and requests for evidence beginning in 2008," he said, noting that the denial rate for L-1B petitions more than tripled in 2008 and is now at nearly quadruple the pre-2008 rate, at 27 percent in 2011. The RFE rate change is even starker, he said. From 2005 to 2011, the rate soared from 9 percent to 63 percent of L-1B cases. He also noted that in the L-1A program for managers and executives being transferred within multinational corporations, the RFE rate rose from 10 percent in 2005 to 51 percent in 2011. Denial rates rose 75 percent over five years, from 8 percent in 2007 to 14 percent in 2011. In the H-1B program for professionals in specialty occupations, the denial rate increased from 11 percent in 2007 to 17 percent in 2011. Over a quarter of all H-1B filings generated an RFE in 2011. Seen in the light of this data, Mr. Cooper said "there is no basis for the concern expressed in the OIG report that USCIS has an institutional bias in favor of approvals or against RFEs." In fact, he said, the data show the opposite trend. Noting that USCIS said in its response to the OIG report that it is reviewing its RFE policy and aims to issue new RFE guidance this year, Mr. Cooper recommended that the new policy reflect "the needs of today's business environment and the innovation economy," and that it be monitored carefully once put into practice.

Finally, the Inspector General's report asks that the standard for adjudicating visa petitions be raised from the "preponderance of evidence standard" to something higher, such as the "clear and convincing evidence" standard or the even higher standard used in criminal proceedings, which is "beyond a reasonable doubt." Under the preponderance of evidence standard, applicants have to demonstrate that the facts in their case are slightly more true than not true. Even though the preponderance of evidence standard requires a lesser degree of proof than the clear and convincing standard, this does not mean that it provides an invitation for fraud. The preponderance of evidence is the common standard used in civil proceedings, and allows the USCIS examiner to fairly evaluate very nebulous criteria while giving the benefit of doubt to the application, for instance, whether an O-1 visa applicant is extraordinary or not or whether an L-1B worker has specialized knowledge. If the applicant provided patently fraudulent documentation, he or she can be charged with the fraud ground of inadmissibility under INA § 212(a)(c)(6) and there also exist tough criminal sanctions. In any event, it does not seem that the USCIS is faithfully adhering to the preponderance of evidence standard even today, and officially raising the bar will surely serve as an invitation for USCIS officials to arbitrarily deny even more case without fairly weighing the evidence. This would further undermine the ability of US employers to use our employment-based immigration system in an effective and rational manner to benefit them and simultaneously make the US prosper. * Cyrus D Mehta, may be contacted at 212-425-0555 or info@cyrusmehta.com

US unveils reform-minded immigration facility Cont’d from page 41

The ACLU sued in 2007 over incarcerating families at the T. Don Hutto detention center just northeast of Austin, Texas, alleging inhumane conditions. Authorities removed all families and sent them to a facility in Pennsylvania, and Hutto now only houses females. The detention system has grown from 7,500 beds in 1995 to more than 33,000 today as have reported abuses such as medical neglect of detainees and denial of due process. ICE removes nearly 400,000 illegal immigrants per year,

and has reduced the average length of stay to about 30 days. Not all detainees are illegal immigrants. Some entered the country legally and committed a crime, making them deportable, but many people in detention have not been convicted. Others are seeking asylum. The Obama administration recently released more than 400 pages of guidelines for illegal immigrants held in federal custody, and Rep. Lamar Smith, a Texas Republican, called them ``more like a hospitality guideline for illegal immigrants.'' -AP


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Ala. immigration law puts school play on hold PELHAM, Ala.: Alabama's crackdown on illegal immigration may keep Charlie Brown and Snoopy from performing in a high school musical. A public high school has put the production of ``You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown'' on hold after a New York licensing house that owns the rights to the play refused to submit a document required under the immigration law. The licensing company, TamsWitmark Music Library Inc., relented and submitted the document following inquiries from The Associated Press, school officials said. Pelham High School still must purchase the rights to the play, which can cost more than $1,200, before the show will go on. Acting groups even student theater troupes must pay for the right to use scripts or risk lawsuits. Rehearsals had been going on

for weeks before the company's initial move forced teachers to pull the plug, frustrating student actors. ``They, and their teachers, have already put in many hours of preparation and hard work to have it taken away from them because

pany declined comment. ``We don't discuss our business,'' said chairman Robert Hut. According to its website, the company owns the rights to some of the most popular stage shows, including ``A Chorus Line,''

The immigration law, passed by the Republican-controlled Legislature last year and signed by Gov. Robert Bentley, requires companies doing business with the state or local governments in Alabama to submit sworn documents certifying they don't knowingly employ illegal immigrants of politics,'' said Donna Vildibill, whose son Andy was cast as piano-playing Schroeder in the musical. ``As usual, it's the children that get the raw end of any deal in Alabama.'' The Manhattan-based com-

``Camelot,'' ``Oliver'' and ``My Fair Lady.'' The immigration law, passed by the Republican-controlled Legislature last year and signed by Gov. Robert Bentley, requires companies doing business with the state

or local governments in Alabama to submit sworn documents certifying they don't knowingly employ illegal immigrants. Companies also must promise they are enrolled in the federal E-Verify program, a database for screening workers for citizenship. Federal courts ruling on lawsuits filed by the Obama administration and others have blocked key sections of the law since it was supposed to take effect last fall, but not the provision that requires the vendor certifications. A spokeswoman for Bentley, Jennifer Ardis, said about five companies have refused to submit documentation mandated by the law, but the state still has 4,733 registered vendors and has awarded 96 contracts since the law took effect. Designed to make it difficult for illegal immigrants to live or work

in Alabama, the law has created confusion since it took effect. Some local governments are requiring that all vendors submit documents certifying they don't have workers who are illegal immigrants. But Cindy Warner, a spokeswoman for schools in Shelby County, said all that was required from the New York company was a form stating it doesn't have employees in Alabama. County schools have sent thousands of letters to other vendors asking them to comply with the law, she said. ``We have mailed forms to every vendor we do business with trying to determine if they have operations in Alabama,'' she said. ``We've probably sent 8,000.'' Warner said Pelham High teachers are planning an alternative show in case they can't pull off a deal for ``You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown.'' -AP

Only 8 percent NY South Asians Pardoned man held on immigration charge work as professionals Cont’d from page 40

Combining community perspectives with three decades of government data, the report provides powerful evidence for recommendations that are critical for this community as well as for all low income communities in New York City." Findings from the report include: • The Bangladeshi community grew by 973% over the past two decades • Almost half of those surveyed held college degrees but only 8% were working in professional or technical jobs • Half of renters did not have leases, 41% paid in cash and many reported having to borrow to pay rent • In 2009, South Asians made

up 65% of owners in foreclosure in the Briarwood/Jamaica Hills area and 56% in South Ozone Park • Fifty-eight percent of owners did not show proof of income when purchasing their home - the majority of which occurred in the past decade. • New Yorkers of South Asian descent grew by 160% in the last three decades The findings highlighted the need for new approaches to housing and the need for in-language information on tenant rights. "When we carried out the survey, we found that 35% had basement apartments that could be converted safely to legal dwellings for extended family or much needed additional income. This is a viable option of creating more affordable rental housing whose

time has come" said Anjali Chaudhry, Lead Organizer at Chhaya CDC. One of the recommendations of the report was to allow multiple family members on a mortgage. "With this research, Chhaya continues in New York City's long history of developing innovative forms of home ownership, such as limited equity cooperatives." said Patricia Swann, Senior Program Officer, New York Community Trust. Based in Jackson Heights, Queens, New York, Chhaya CDC meaning "shelter or shade" is dedicated to creating stable and sustainable communities by increasing civic participation and addressing the housing and community development needs of New Yorkers of South Asian origin and their neighbors.

Ariz. lawmaker kills bill on border-area warnings PHOENIX: A proposal seeking public safety warnings about border-area dangers related to illegal immigration was scrapped by a southern Arizona lawmaker, citing opposition from within her legislative district. Willcox Republican Rep. Peggy Judd's bill would have had the Department of Homeland Security use its discretion to issue online and email warnings based on information from international, federal or state sources. However, Judd said she's abandoning the proposal and not pursu-

ing a possible watered-down replacement version because of opposition. Leaders of U.S. border communities complained about the bill, saying it could harm tourism and economic development by spreading rumors and misleading information. Judd said she's killing her bill because that's what community and business leaders in her legislative district wanted and because she promised to heed whatever input she received. ``I gave my word that if they did come up, I would listen to them. And I would do what their

wishes were,'' she said. ``My word is good - like gold.'' Judd also indicated the issue might have become a distraction. ``Our focus needs to be jobs. Our focus needs to be getting our economy back on track,'' she said. Judd said she still thinks there may be need to convey accurate information about border-area conditions, but that she won't raise the issue again this year. Her bill defined the border area as within 62 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border on the U.S. side and within six miles on the Mexico side. -AP

JACKSON, Miss.: A South African man pardoned by former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour will remain in federal custody pending the outcome of an immigration case, officials said. Azikiwe Kambule was released from a Mississippi prison after the state Supreme Court upheld Barbour's end-of-term pardons. Mississippi Department of Corrections spokeswoman Tara Booth said that immigration officials picked up Kambule at the prison when he was released. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesman Temple Black said Kambule was taken into custody for overstaying his visa. Kambule was being held in Louisiana. Black said he couldn't release any other information. Kambule's attorney, Cynthia Stewart, said that her client's parents had returned to the United States so they could take him back to South Africa as soon as he was released from the Mississippi prison. Kambule came to the U.S. as teenager in 1994 while his mother went to college here. He was sentenced in 1997 to 35 years for armed carjacking and accessory after the fact to murder. He's one of nearly 200 people Barbour pardoned before leaving office in January. Former South African President Thabo Mbeki and Nobel Peace Prize winner Archbishop Desmond Tutu were among numerous people who had called for a pardon or some type of compas-

sionate release given Kambule's age, 17, at the time of his arrest. He is now 33. Kambule's case got international attention when a prosecutor initially said he would seek the death penalty for those involved in the slaying of social worker Pamela McGill in 1996. At trial, Kambule testified that his friend, Santonia Berry, wanted McGill's red 1993 Dodge Stealth

Kambule's case got international attention when a prosecutor initially said he would seek the death penalty for those involved in the slaying so they followed the 31-year-old woman home and kidnapped her at gunpoint. Kambule said McGill cried and pleaded for her life as she was taken to the woods in Madison County where Berry shot her in the head. Berry was sentenced to life without parole. Kambule was among the last pardoned people to be released. Barbour, a nationally-known Republican who once considered running for president, created a public outcry after signing the pardons in his last days in office. -AP


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Realty Tidbits

DLF to introduce escalation charge

Real Estate

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LF is coming up with new strategy of levying escalation charge on buyers. In the last three years DLF has seen a situation where the construction cost has gone up by nearly 40%. In order to protects its margins it has devised the new escalation charge, which will be based on RBI index of steel, cement etc. There is a formula that they have come out, that gives each of the commodities a weightage and an independent audit firm then computes the actual acceleration that has taken over the time of construction. Therefore that will then be added onto sale side after the construction. So, one will have the ultimate price of the apartment only post the construction is done. Some analysts feel that this could be an increase or decrease of 10-11%. What DLF has also written in its buyer agreement is that supposing we see inflation cooling off and input cost actually going down as per the RBI index, that money will also be refunded.

„ FDI rose 31% in 2011, realty gets its share

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espite a gloomy global out look, foreign direct investment (FDI) clocked a 31 per cent growth to $27.5 billion during January-December 2011 period. FDI inflows for January-December 2010 stood at $21 billion. Services still attracted largest chunk of FDI inflows at 20 per cent. This was followed by telecom, housing and real estate, and construction and power among others, a Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion data said. Mauritius, Singapore, the US, the UK, the Netherlands, Japan, Germany and the UAE are the major investors in India. Mumbai attracted the maximum inflow accounting for as much as 40 per cent of the total share of the FDI, followed by Delhi-NCR region, Bangalore and Ahmedabad closely following. FDI inflows totaled $19.42 billion in 2010-11 financial year, down from $25.83 billion in 2009-10. Official sources said that the Government's move to liberalize foreign direct investment polices has been instrumental in sending positive signals. Some of the norms that have been tweaked in the past include 100 per cent investment in single brand retail besides easing norms in share pledging for external commercial borrowings.

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March 23, 2012

Haryana cuts licence fee for commercial units

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he Haryana government has decided to reduce the charges for granting permission to commercial establishments by five times. At present, an applicant has to pay Rs 14,000 per sqm as the license fee for setting up a commercial unit along the road having width of 12 to 30 meter in municipal areas. The existing fee for those along the roads of more than 30-metre width is Rs 16,000.

Property transaction cost highest in Mumbai

W

hile it is a known fact that property prices in Mumbai are the highest in the country, a new report by a London-based realty research firm shows the city has the highest transaction cost in relation to its rents on a global scale. Transaction cost refers to taxes and levies that a buyer has to incur even before taking into account the actual price of buying a property. Since these taxes are a percentage of the property cost, the high transaction cost is indicative of unusually high capital value of property. According to the World Cities Review by realty agency Savills, it takes 4.3 years in rented accommodation in Mumbai before the cumulative cost of rent exceeds the transaction costs alone of buying that property. Of all the 10 global cities detailed in the report, this is the longest in terms of number of years. In comparison, it takes just six months worth of rent in Moscow to cover the transaction cost, while in London, Sydney and New York it takes only between one and two years worth of rent to match the cost of transacting. Jatin Patel of Savills India said that transaction cost includes stamp duty and registration charges, municipal tax, agent's commission, legal conveyance fee and service tax, all of which add up to over 10 per cent of the actual property cost.

For instance, if the monthly rent of a house costing over a crore in Mumbai is Rs 20,000, over

than to buy a house in Mumbai. Patel said the high capital value and low rental yields are indica-

The report states that the property price growth in these new world cities over the last several years have outperformed that in the old world cities. However, over the last six months, it is on the wane with real estate prices here growing by only 0.7 per cent as compared to 1.4 per cent in established old world economies such as Europe and United States 4.3 years the total rent paid would amount to Rs 10 lakh. This is equal to the sum that a buyer purchasing the property ends up paying as transaction costs alone, making it substantially cheaper to rent

tive of an extremely speculative market. "Investors are buying into property not for the rental yield but for the whole per-sq ft price increase game that goes on here, a trend that is very unhealthy for

the market," he said. The report states that considering that robust rental levels are an indication of healthy demand from end users, Paris, London and Hong Kong are sound markets. "Rental yields in Mumbai are under three per cent of the property value annually. Such low rentals and exorbitant capital values are symptomatic of a market where property is bought for capital growth by investors, making it speculative and volatile," said Yolande Barnes, head of Savills Residential Research. She said owing to global economic conditions, Mumbai and the other new world cities of Shanghai, Singapore and Hong Kong that were booming until six months ago have now slowed down considerably. The report states that the property price growth in these new world cities over the last several years have outperformed that in the old world cities. However, over the last six months, it is on the wane with real estate prices here growing by only 0.7 per cent as compared to 1.4 per cent in established old world economies such as Europe and United States. The report adds, "Mumbai, having seen price increases of 154 per cent over the last six years, looks to be on the brink of correction. 2012 may mark the tipping point, with falls of between 10-15 per cent anticipated."

Emaar tax default lands CWG Village in mess

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he Commonwealth Games Village finds itself embroiled in yet another controversy, with real estate firm Emaar MGF allegedly failing to pay tax dues of Rs 314 crore to the Delhi government. The firm constructed the highend apartment complex with the Delhi Development Authority (DDA), under the public private partnership (PPP) model. The firm's failure to pay the Rs 314 crore VAT could further delay buyers from taking possession of the flats, as

they remain unoccupied even 18 months after the Games concluded. An official said that there was

stipulated time. 'The assessment order stating the exact amount of the dues was

'The assessment order stating the exact amount of the dues was issued to the firm in the third week of February. They had one month to pay up, but haven't,' the official said a provision to attach the property and bank account of Emaar MGF if it fails to pay the amount in the

issued to the firm in the third week of February. They had one month to pay up, but haven't,' the official

said. A spokesperson of the real estate developer refused to comment on the charges, saying the company would deal directly with the tax department. Only recently, the DDA had refused to grant a completion certificate to the flats built by Emaar MGF claiming that they had exceeded the Floor Area Ratio (FAR) by constructing extra flats. However, the certificates had to be given out following a Delhi High Court order.


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March 23, 2012

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Mumbai construction sector hit by labor shortage

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he migration from Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan to Mumbai seems to be on decline as the construction industry is reeling under a severe shortage of manpower that traditionally comes from these states. Owing to this, the rates of skilled and unskilled labor has gone up by Rs 50-100 per day compared to the daily wages charged nearly a year back. The officials of Confederation of Real Estate Developers Association of India (CREDIA) said that the rates of both skilled and unskilled manpower have increased with the carpenters and masons now charging between Rs 450-600 while the laborers charging Rs 250-300 a day. The businessmen associated with real estate industry said the shortage of manpower is around 20-25 per cent against the per day requirement of nearly 30,000 people in the city. "The shortage is due to the decline in the number of workers from UP, Bihar and Gujarat. This is because now these states are also witnessing development," said JP Shroff, member of management committee of CREDAI. Some independent real-estate

companies also pointed out the decline in migration as a reason for the shortage of manpower. Ranjit More, Managing Director of Universal Group, said the shortage in manpower is being met by raising the skilled manpower through in-house training. "We are facing

While the developers are trying to meet the shortage by using machines, as a long term initiative training programs are being offered by industry body like CREDAI and some institutes to help meet the gap. "We have raised a trained manpower of 1,600 people and the training in different skills is

"The shortage is due to the decline in the number of workers from UP, Bihar and Gujarat. This is because now these states are also witnessing development," said JP Shroff, member of management committee of CREDAI. Some independent real-estate companies also pointed out the decline in migration as a reason for the shortage of manpower manpower shortage at a number of projects that are going on in different parts of the state. We are being helped by people from other business streams in the company to train the manpower to operate machines which are now being used in place of manual labor," said More.

being offered at the sites. The training is currently going on at 11-12 sites," said Shroff. President of Maharashtra-Pune Metro chapter of Confederation of Real Estate Developers Association of India (CREDIA), Satish Magar, said, "Mechanization is increasingly becoming common to deal with the la-

Wave Infratech to build township in Noida NEW DELHI: Wave Infratech, the realty arm of Ponty Chadha's Wave Group, has said it will invest Rs 4,000 crore to develop the first phase of the 152-acre township in Noida and the company does not see any impact on the project with change of government in Uttar Pradesh. The integrated mixed-use project would be developed on the land the company had won last year through an auction for about Rs 6,500 crore after outbidding Amrapali and The 3C Company. "We are launching Wave City Centre in Noida which will be a city within a city with world-class amenities," Wave Infratech Joint Managing Director Manpreet Singh Chadha told reporters here. When asked whether the project would be affected after change in the political scenario in UP as the company is perceived

to be close to Mayawati, Chadha said: "We have been doing business in UP from last 60 years. We do not envisage any problem".

In the first phase, the company will develop 1,400 housing units with a starting price of over Rs one crore, 900 studio apartments, 370 high street shop condominiums The land has been registered and the company expects to get all the necessary approvals to start the development of the project

within few weeks, he added. On the project cost, Chadha said the company would invest Rs 4,000 crore to construct the first phase of township covering about 50 acres of land. "We will fund this investment from internal accruals, advances from customers, debt and private equity," he added. Giving details about the township, Chadha said the total size would be 40 million square feet, of which the company would develop 9.5 million square feet in the first phase to be delivered by 2016. In the first phase, the company will develop 1,400 housing units with a starting price of over Rs one crore, 900 studio apartments, 370 high street shop condominiums, two hotels comprising 400 rooms, a shopping mall covering two million square feet of area and 1.8 million square feet of office area.

Kolkata Port Trust may monetise its land NEW DELHI: The Kolkata Port Trust, which owns more than 10,000 acres of prime property in and around Kolkata, may just succeed in monetizing some 100 acres of its land through commercial use. West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee has sought union shipping ministry's approval for effective utilization of some 100 acres of KoPT's vacant land. Part of the port's land is currently home to some shabby real estate, several years old, fetching rent as low as Rs 10 a month. KoPT chairman ML Meena said, "The state chief minister has

sought shipping ministry approval for effective utilization of some 100 acres of vacant land. Of this, about 30 acres have become labor colonies. If the ministry allows it, the chief minister intends to rehabilitate the encroached land." The union shipping ministry is, however, yet to give the go-ahead to the plan. K Mohandas, secretary, ministry of shipping said that a concrete proposal has not been finalized yet. However, he added in-principle they would be willing to work with the state government for the development of the city.

The current shipping guidelines allow port authorities to use a portion of their properties for non-port related activities, but the proposal has to be sanctioned by a high-powered committee formed by the shipping ministry. "Currently, for land matter, there is an embargo. Although, we have an existing policy but it would now be so designed that ports can lease the land," Mohandas said. Any lease or licensing policy would be done only based on cabinet's approval. The cabinet approval is expected in a month's time, he added.

bor shortage. The machinery like concrete mixers and lifts are being used by the developers to reduce the dependence on labor." Real estate developers however say despite initiatives like mechanization and onsite training the projects are getting delayed. Director of B U Bhandari Landmarks, a real estate company, Anuj Bhandari, said, "The estimated time for the completion of projects is getting delayed. The work that is being done has now become more expensive due to the labor shortage." Due to the manpower shortage, the training institutes like the Ideal Construction Practices are offering training programs on raising the manpower. Founder of Ideal Construction Practices, R B Chaphalkar, said, "From March we are starting 21-lecture course on the supervision of building constructions. The course will train people in undertaking the supervision of the construction works. We have created all the facilities at our training centre at Dhayani in the city to train the people in the supervisory work."

ASK Property invests Rs 40 cr in Pune project MUMBAI: ASK Property Investment Advisors, the real estate arm of the ASK Group, said that it has invested Rs 40 crore in realty developer Paranjape Schemes' project in Pune. The investment, in a Rs 150 crore worth project, is a part of Rs 340 crore raised through the ASK Real Estate Special Opportunities Portfolio 1 in 2009, a company statement said here. "The current market situation has provided us with very good investment opportunities to partner with reputed developers in promising growth areas. We are extremely bullish on the outlook of the Pune real estate market," ASK Investment Holdings chief executive and managing director Sunil Rohokale said. The ASK Group, which manages domestic real estate funds of over Rs 1,000 crore, has already invested in a residential project worth Rs 255 crore with Amit Enterprises and in

another project with Darode Jog, worth Rs 270 crore. "As per our analysis, Pune is a very stable market and demand is expected to be firm due to growth in services and manufacturing sectors. With accelerated economic activity, growth of IT/ITeS sector and migration, city will witness increased demand for housing," he said. Under the special opportunities portfolio, the firm has so far invested in the key markets including Delhi NCR, Pune, Bengaluru, and Chennai, the release said. "Given our experience and professional knowledge in this industry, we are confident of delivering a high quality product that would appeal to the preference of the customers. This partnership with ASK group would enable us to execute such projects with agility, which is our strength" Paranjape Schemes (construction) chairman Shrikant Paranjape said.


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Datebook

India Post

March 23, 2012

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NEW YORK

NEW JERSEY

Upcoming

Upcoming

ILLINOIS

NORTHERN CALIFORNIA

Upcoming

Upcoming

Sun March 25

Sun March 25

• Holi Hai 2012

• Gujarati Natak TU CHE LAJAWAB

Sat March 24

Sat March 24

Venue: 1 Dag hammarskjold Plaza 47th Street between 1st & 2nd Av, New York Time: 12pm Contact: 212-372-8001

Venue: Plainfield High School Auditorium, 950, Park Ave, Plainfield, NJ07060 Time: 5pm Contact: 732-261-2559

ï Carnatic Flute Concert by Shantala Subramanyam & Hindustani Sarangi Concert by Ustad Ikram Khan - Live Concert

ï Sita Swayamvar

Sat March 31

Sat March 31

• The Lhevinne Classical Concert

• Arif Lohar/Sanam Marvi Ensemble

Venue: The Center at Maple Grov, 127-15 Kew Gardens Road, Kew Gardens, NY Time: 8pm Contact: 718-523-1876

Venue: Pollak Theater, 400 Cedar Ave, West Long Branch, New Jersey Time: 8pm Contact: 732-263-6889

Sun April 22

Sat March 31

Venue: Sri Venkateswara Swami (Balaji) Temple, Aurora IL Time: 4pm to 10pm Contact: http://www.icarnatic.org/ concertsbalajispl.aspx Highlights: Flute Concert by Shantala Subrahmanyam & Hindustani Sarangi 'Ustad Ikram Khan', Balaji Temple

• Pandit Jasraj: Masters of Indian Music

• Priyadarsini Govind Bharatanatyam Concert

Sat March 31 to Sun April 1

Venue: Peter Norton Symphony Space, 2537 Broadway@95th street, New York Time: 7pm Contact: 212-545-7536

Venue: Montgomery High School, 1016 Route 601, Skillman, NJ08558 Time: 4pm Contact: 609-273-1450

ï Ramnavmi Akhand Dhun Venue: Shree Jalaram Mandir of Chicago Time: 11am Contact: 847-490-5252

Sun April 1 ï Akshaya Trust and meet Venue: Sama Rathi Auditorium Hindu Temple of greater Chicago, 10915 Lemont Road, Lemont, IL Time: Show-4pm to 7pm and Dinner 7pm to 9pm Contact: 630-841-6789 Highlights: Enjoy an evening of an Indian Cultural Show, Featuring stellar multi-lingual music and dance performances by Professional Chicagoland Talent and an Inspiring presentation by Narananan Krishnan

Venue: California State University, East Bay, 25800 Carlos Bee Blvd,, Hayward, CA94542 Time: 3pm Contact: 510-429-8422

Sun March 25 ï Sri O. S. Thyagarajan - Vocal Venue: Santa Clara Convention Center, 5001 Great America Pkwy, Santa Clara, CA95054 Time: 4:30pm Contact: 408-733-4482

Fri April 13 ï Giddha & Bollywood Bhangra Venue: Mayuri Indian Cuisine, 2230 El Camino Real, Santa Clara, CA95050 Time: 7:30pm Contact: 408-400-0629

Sat April 21 ï Ustad Rahat Fateh Ali Khan Live In Concert Venue: SJSU Event Center, 290 South 7th Street, San Jose, CA95192 Time: 8pm Contact: 209-604-2543

Sat April 28

Upcoming Sat March 24 • TAO: The Art of the Drum Venue: Palace Theater, 61 Atlantic St. Stamford, CT 06901 Time: 8pm Contact: 203-325-4466

Sun March 25 • Ravi Shankar Celebrating His Tenth Decade Venue: Long Beach Covention and Entertainment Center 300 E. Ocean Blvd, Long Beach, CA 90802 Time: 7:30pm Contact: 858-442-1586

Sat April 28 • Javed Ali in Concert Venue: Palace Theater, 61 Atlantic St. Stamford, CT 06901 Time: 8pm Contact: 203-325-4466

Fri Oct 19 • Royal Drummers and Dancers of Burundi Venue: Palace Theater, 61 Atlantic St. Stamford, CT 06901 Time: 8pm Contact: 203-325-4466

ï Kailash Kher Kailasa

Tues April 3

Venue: Chabot College Performing Arts Center, 25555 Hesperian Blvd, Hayward, CA94545 Time: 8pm Contact: 510-509-1990

ï 'Tagore in Chicago, 1913: The Risks & Possibilities of Cosmopolitanism'

Mon May 14

Venue: Fullerton Hall at the Art institute of Chicago Time: 5:45pm Contact: culture@indianconsulate.com Highlights: By renowned professor, Dipesh Chakrabarty

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

ï Amjad Sabriís Qawwali Program Venue: India Community Center, ICC, 525 Los Coches St. Milpitas, CA Time: 9pm Contact: 510-754-0129

Thurs Sept 27 • Ballet Folklorico De Mexico Venue: Palace Theater, 61 Atlantic St. Stamford, CT 06901 Time: 8pm Contact: 203-325-4466

Sat March 31 • Student Performance Show Case Venue: Mimis Plaza 13931 Carroll Way Suite C cross street - 17th Street, Tustin, Tustin, CA 92780 Time: 1pm


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Shree Jalaram Mandir Chicago NEEDS IMMIDIATELY 1. Full Time Cook Needed ASAP 2. Full Time Pujari Need ASAP Please Contact: Hasmukh 1 847 371 1098 or Bhupendra 1 224 715 2010

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March 23, 2012

Notice is hereby given that sealed competitive bids will be accepted in the office of the GSA-Technical Services Department, County of Alameda, 1401 Lakeside Drive, 9th Floor, Suite 907, Oakland, CA 94612 MANDATORY PROPOSERS/NETWORKING CONFERENCES (2) RFQ #410181 A/E Pre-Qualification Open-Ended Architectural & Engineering Services: 1 - Architectural, Structural Engineering, and Cost Estimating Services - Friday, March 30, 2012 at 10AM and 2 -Mechanical & Plumbing, Electrical, and Special Testing & Inspection Services - Tuesday, April 3, 2012 at 10 AM 単 Both at General Services Agency, 1401 Lakeside Drive, Conference Room 201, 2nd Floor, Oakland, CA Attendance at one of these Mandatory Proposers Conferences is required. NON-MANDATORY PROPOSERS/NETWORKING CONFERENCE - RFQ #410181 A/E PreQualification Open-Ended Architectural & Engineering Services: All Services - Wednesday, April 4, 2012 at 10 AM 単General Services Agency, 1401 Lakeside Drive, Conference Room 201, 2nd Floor, Oakland, CA Responses Due by 2:00 pm on April 23, 2012 for Architectural Services, April 24, 2012 for Structural Engineering Services, April 25, 2012 for Mechanical & Plumbing Engineering Services, April 25, 2012 for Electrical Engineering Services, April 26, 2012 for Special Testing & Inspection Services, and April 26, 2012 for Cost Estimating Services County Contact: Fawaz Khanachet at (510) 2089824 or via email: fawaz.khanachet@acgov.org Information regarding the above may be obtained at the Alameda County Current Contracting Opportunities Internet website at www.acgov.org. 3/23/12 CNS-2276268#


48

Philosophy

India Post

March 23, 2012

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Page Sponsored by Sahanis JILLELLAMUDI AMMA

H

appiness arises in the mind, not in the possessions. It is the mind that thinks, "I have", or "I lack". It is the mind that wants; and it is the mind that feels satisfied with whatever is available. A mind, which thinks otherwise, experiences suffering. To want anything that is not available is sorrow. Contentment is happiness". Responsibility is itself suffering. If we do not think "I am doing", but rather I am merely an instrument", then even twice the amount of work is painless responsibility. Worship Although we dimly perceive that there is ONE which is infinite, we cannot grasp it with our minds and worship IT; but we can perceive IT in a limited form and offer worship. So form is necessary. When you worship a form or symbol and deeply contemplate, how can the feeling for your own divinity not grow in you? This is what happens in the worship of form. I don't mean that one gets that result only in the worship of a form or symbol. Whatever the activitycooking meals, farming - if that same 'Bhava' (one pointed attitude) is maintained, the result will be the same. In all kinds of worship, the result depends on the 'Bhava' one HAZRAT INAYAT KHAN

T

he first thing that a seeker after truth must realize is the purpose of life. No sooner does a soul begin to feel sober from the intoxication of life, than the first thing it asks itself is, 'What is the purpose of life?' Each soul has its own purpose, but in the end all purposes resolve into one purpose, and it is that purpose which is sought by the mystic. For all souls, by the right and the wrong path, either sooner or later, will arrive at that purpose, a purpose which must be accomplished, a purpose for which the whole creation has been intended; but the difference between the seeking soul and the soul who blindly works toward that purpose is like that between the material and the maker of it. The clay works toward the purpose of forming a vessel, and so does the potter. But it is the potter's joy and privilege to feel the happiness of the accomplishment of the purpose, not the clay's. And so it is with the beings who are unconsciously striving towards that purpose and the souls who are consciously striving towards it, both in the end coming towards the same accom-

has. Ultimately, one should have the same 'Bhava' no matter what activity one is engaged in. Sadhana What ever you do in your daily routine with attention and devotion is 'Sadhana'. You often hear it said that That (the Real) is real and This (the world) is an illusion. I say that This is also real. You think that teaching children, providing for the household, defending clients

stances. The loves of the world are changing; a word or a deed is enough to alter these. If the other person does not act according to your wish, you get angry. But the love I speak of doesn't change in that manner. Such love is found only between mother and child. The mother bears patiently the lapses of the child. The child is never at fault in the mother's eyes, however blameworthy he

always remembering me, where is the separation? Mother's love? Love itself is Mother. No one knows my measure: I am the measure of all. They view me according to their state of being. Mind is the measuring rod. They measure me according to the state of the mind; but whereas there are inches in a yard, there are no yards in an inch.

The world is the great gymnasium where we come to make ourselves strong. -Swami Vivekananda

Happiness arises in mind, not in possessions I am not anything now that I was not from birth onwards, I have been ever the same. If there is any change, it is in your understanding of me

Jillellamudi Amma

in courts etc., is all worldly and that 'Sadhana' is something different from all things. If you do everything as His work and as He would have you do, what else is there to be desired? Love When love becomes primary (in your life), it is not possible for there to be a single person who is not loved. You love death, you will love life - love alone will be important. It is the nature of true love to remain constant in all circum-

may seem to others. Such a love is found in a mother's heart and nowhere else. Do you think that my love will fade away simply because you don't come into my room and see me? As if love were intensified by embracing the four legs of my cot, or by moving about in my room! It is not correct to say that you have broken ties with your Mother (when you leave Jillellamudi); physical separation can never mean separation. When you are

I am not anything now that I was not from birth onwards, I have been ever the same. If there is any change, it is in your understanding of me. There is nothing that I have practiced, and there is nothing that I have acquired. I have not attained anything now that I did not have earlier. I have been the same. The 89th birth anniversary of Jillellamudi Amma will be observed on March 28

plishment; the difference is in the consciousness. The first step on the spiritual path is when a soul realizes its outer purpose in life. For it is not every soul in the world which even realizes its outer mission in life. And the soul who does not realize it, may go on, perhaps, for its whole life and may not realize it

to that purpose. One may ask, 'What is the best way for a person to understand his life's purpose?' If one follows the bent of one's own mind, if one follows the track to which one is attracted, if one follows one's own inclination, which is not satisfied with anything else, one feels, 'There is something waiting for me

So nature has taught every soul to seek its purpose. It has made every soul for that purpose, and it is continually calling that soul to see that purpose. If the soul does not hear the call and sleeps, it is not the fault of nature, which is continually calling. Therefore, if I were to say in a few words, how to find one's purpose,

Each soul has its own purpose in life Hazrat Inayat Khan

even to the end of its life, but the one who cares to realize it, must sooner or later realize it. Sadi says, 'Every soul is created for a certain purpose and the light of that purpose has been kindled in that soul.' If there is already a flame lit even before the person was born on Earth, it remains for the person to find out for himself the purpose of his life, although everything outside himself points

Everything a person does, spiritual or material, is only a stepping-stone for him to arrive at the inner purpose, if he can only take it to be so which will bring me satisfaction.' Besides, if one is intuitive and mystical, it is easier still, because then one is continually told what is the purpose of one's life. For nature has such a perfection of wisdom. One sees that the insects are given the sense to make their little houses and to protect themselves and make a store of their food. The bees, who have the gift of making honey, are taught how to make honey.

I would say: by waking from sleep. One might ask, 'Would the outer purpose lead to the inner purpose of life?' Certainly it would. Everything a person does, spiritual or material, is only a stepping-stone for him to arrive at the inner purpose, if he can only take it to be so. If he is mistaken, the mistake is in himself; he is working toward the inner purpose just the same

Just as a flower gives out its fragrance to whomsoever approaches or uses it, so love from within us radiates towards everybody and manifests as spontaneous service. -Swami Ramdas If you sell diamonds, you cannot expect to have many customers. But a diamond is a diamond even if there are no customers. -Swami Prabhupada Our modern society is engaged in polishing and decorating the cage in which man is kept imprisoned. -Swami Nirmalananda Nonviolence is the greatest of all religions. -Swami Sahajanand Humility is not cowardice. Meekness is not weakness. Humility and meekness are indeed spiritual powers. -Swami Sivananda It's a spiritual practice. One's hunger draws the mind back to God. Swami Tadatmananda

You Insure all your Valuables, all are replaceable except YOU! So Insure yourself FIRST. Call Sahanis, (Arish, Priya or Shiv) for your Insurance needs 718- 271- 0453. Serving for last 35 yrs


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China's Wukan uprising: First step towards democracy? NAMRATA HASIJA

W

ukan village lo cated in the Guangdong province of China has been in the news for a very visible mass movement that took place last year. The residents rebelled against the local officials over land grabbing, a burning issue and the prime catalyst of protests in China. Premier Wen Jiabao's recent acknowledgement of these arbitrary seizures of farmland in China during his February 2012 tour of Guangdong was the first official recognition by the party's top leadership. The constitution of a freely and fairly elected village committee to supervise the upcoming March elections in Wukan as a result of the uprising raises a few questions: What was the difference between the Wukan movement and other mass movements in China which led the government to yield to the villagers' demands? What has been the impact on Wukan? Will the Wukan movement set a trend for other villages in China with similar problems? How did the unrest come about? In China, the village committee is the lowest level in the administrative system. It is a directly elected body - the only opportunity for such direct elections in China. However, the elections are allegedly manipulated by the local party cadres and independents rarely win. These committees take all decisions on collectively-owned lands in the village. In September 2011, a deal between a local company, Lufeng Fengtian Livestock, and China's largest property developers, Country Garden, was finalized with the approval of the Wukan village committee headed by Xue Chang. As news leaked of the USD 157 million sale (of which 70 per cent had allegedly been pocketed by local officials), villagers came out in open protest. They damaged public property and clashed with local officials. The authorities tried to use a carrot-and-stick policy by promising a review of the deal but also threatening to punish them if protests continued. The residents, refusing to bow down, were asked to form a representative committee to carry out talks with the officials. However, the committee was declared illegal and five leaders were arrested, and one leader, Xue Jinbo, died in police custody. This incensed the protesters still fur-

ther. The villagers threatened to take their march to the nearby county town of Lufeng and forced the head of the village committee to flee. Villagers also refused to hand over the two leaders accused of starting the riots after the death of Xue Jinbo, whose family refused to sign papers accepting that he died of a heart attack instead of police torture.

sons and provisions from entering the village. In the end, the villagers gained many concessions - the promise of free and fair elections, the arrest of the culprits, investigation of the land deal and ex gratia payments. Moreover one of the protest leaders went on to be selected as Wukan's party leader. The successful constitution of the eleven-member election committee that will over-

India Post Rise of regions

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People rose up and seized control of the village of Wukan in Guangdong province late last year.

The Shanwei city government tried to thwart the march by offering higher land compensation than offered previously. The protesters clearly stated that they wanted their land back along with the dead body of their leader and not compensation. The villagers also demanded the appointment of a transparent com-

In the end, the villagers gained many concessions - the promise of free and fair elections, the arrest of the culprits, investigation of the land deal and ex gratia payments mittee to supervise the upcoming elections scheduled for March. What was its impact on Wukan? The Wukan incident was different from other mass incidents in China on the basis of its duration, nature, and impact. It lasted five months and was violent in nature. The villagers continued their protests despite police blockades that prevented per-

look the March elections of the village leadership is described as a watershed moment by many political analysts. Will there be more Wukans? The success of the Wukan movement is seen by many as the initiation of the long march to democracy in China. However, one has to be cautious when analyzing this incident; the Western media's comparison of it to the Arab Spring can be misleading. Most of the reportage by the Western media highlights this as a revolt and an embryonic challenge to the Communist Party of China. However, one must also note that the protest was not directed towards corrupt local officials, and not the CPC. The intervention and diffusion of the crisis by the Guangdong provincial governor was seen by the residents as a sign of the responsiveness to local problems by the party's higher levels. It can be said that the mass incidents are seen more as policy problems than an existential dilemmas by both the party and the people. Wukan might be used as a model for introducing changes at the village level but to hope that it will inspire others to revolt and challenge the CPC seems farfetched at the moment. The writer is Research Officer, IPCS

he problem with the Congress is its refusal to treat its allies like equals. Although the BJP too, as a national party, is down in the dumps, it is at least not known to treat its allies with contempt. The first thing an NDA coalition does is to set up a co-ordination committee among its coalition partners and major policy decisions are taken by this co-ordination committee. This amounts to giving equal importance to the smaller parties and gives them less scope to feel slighted and resentful ever to upset the apple cart. The Congress however talks down to its allies. Recently it warned recalcitrant ally Mamata Banerjee not to attend the swearing in ceremonies of winners of state assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh and Punjab. While Punjab has a government which is aligned with the Opposition BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) the Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh actually supports the UPA government led by the Congress at the Center. In such a scenario it is strange that the Congress is getting upset over regional parties getting together. Part of its worry is due to the open talk of a third front of regional parties, which excludes both the national parties, and which might lay stake to forming a government at the Center in a future election. In fact the message of the recent elections to five states has been the decline of the national parties and the rise of the regional bosses. In a future scenario it is quiet possible that regional bosses like Mamata Banerjee, Mulayam Singh Yadav, Jayalalitha, Naveen Patnaik and Nitish Kumar could get together and decide on the name of the prime minister. Thus it is time for the national parties to learn a few lessons. It is the hardest for the Congress because it cannot shed its old habit of dominating over the states. Another problem with the Congress is treating its own state governments as branches of the Center and not allowing them to function on their own. The choice of state leaders is not made by the state party by a democratic vote but by the dictates of the so-called high command. Its habit of imposing leaders from Delhi was recently repeated in Uttarakhand where the leader Vijay Bahuguna was decided in Delhi and is already facing a revolt in the state party. Most of the Congress MLAs support Harish Rawat, who is an MP and presently a minister in the UPA government at the Center. The Congress which narrowly won the election in the small state is now saddled with a full blown crisis with many predicting fall of the new government within days. The leader imposed from Delhi is a lightweight related to some big leaders of the party and has no grassroot connections whereas Rawat is said to have been a driving force behind the Congress victory. It is this highhandedness even within the party that is going to cost the Congress dear. Decision making is based on cronyism, proximity to the first family of the Congress and an inflexibility which fails to factor in local conditions and regional demands. The Congress high command doesn't even realize how narrow was its victory in Uttarakhand over an incumbent BJP and now it has made itself a laughing stock by imposing a choice from above. Isolated in her ivory tower, party chief Sonia Gandhi doesn't believe the election defeats are much of a setback. She told the Press recently that there is no threat to the UPA and that the allies are being spoken to and there would be no problem. It is like sinking your head in the sand and refusing to see what is coming.


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