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Sacramento Kings sign Sim Bhullar Details on page 20

Two Indians charged with insider trading Details on page 5

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VOL 20, No. 1073

April 10, 2015

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SCHOOL YOGA IS NO VIOLATION OF RELIGION Court rejects complaints by parents

LOS ANGELES: A US court has ruled that Yoga classes in an elementary school do not endorse Hinduism or violate students' right to religious freedom and are "devoid of any religious, mystical, or spiritual trappings". A three-member appeals San Diego court in California gave its unanimous ruling on a lawsuit filed by parents, who complained that Hindu and Buddhist doctrines were being promoted at an Encinitas district school. According to court documents, the court had to determine whether the school district's institution of the Yoga

program as a component of its physical education curriculum "constitutes an impermissible establishment of religion in violation of the California Constitution". Upholding a lower court ruling, the San Diego court ruled: "While the practice of yoga may be religious in some contexts, yoga classes as taught in the district are, as the trial court determined, 'devoid of any religious, mystical, or spiritual trappings.'"

Raja Krishnamoorthi

Krishnamoorthi plans to run for Congress Details on page 16

Modi strongest Indian leader: John McCain Details on page 6

Details on page 5

US opposes Rajat Gupta's new appeal Details on page 6

Rajani Ganesh-Pillai

Indian-American professor wins teaching award

India launches eBiz portal to ease business

Details on page 6 Details on page 8

Lawmakers praise role of AAPI

CONTENTS Bollywood ---------------------- 30-31 Classifieds ------------------------- 48

Details on page 5

Community Post -------------- 16-25 Date Book -------------------------- 47

INDIA POST SURVEY

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HealthScience Post --------- 35-38

This week’s question

Horoscope ------------------------- 49 Immigration Post ------------- 44-45

Do you think yoga should remain Indian?

Life Style ----------------------- 50-52

Last week’s result

Can the issue of ‘abducted’ kids be resolved by US? YES 37%

NO 63%

Philosophy ------------------------- 53 Publisher’s Diary ------------------ 4

MASSIVE EVACUATION: People evacuated from Yemen by Indian Air Force seated in an IAF C-17 Globemaster-III aircraft at Djibouti prior to taking off to Mumbai on April 5

Real Estate -------------------- 32-34 TechBiz Post ------------------- 12-15 Travel & Hospitality Post ---- 40-43

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IndiaNewsweekly Post Mission Statement To empower the Indian Diaspora and make their voice strong and effective in countries of their adoption. RJ Media conglomerate offers a credible, professional and complete package of news, opinion, entertainment, networking and information.

Publisher’s Diary

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indu advocacy groups in the US have been fighting hard to get school systems in various US states to change their social sciences and history text books that have been perpetuating a grossly distorted version of Hinduism. As the fight continues in some states, a significant victory has been where, after a nearly decade-long advocacy effort, the Virginia Board of Education recently approved a new curriculum to change the way Hinduism and the history of ancient India is taught through textbooks in the Virginia public schools. History, a reflection of a land's cultural identity, is merely a perspective on events as interpreted by whoever is writing it. And then, perpetuating a certain perspective becomes a political and religious compulsion, if not a convenience. Hindu scholars have for long struggled to project a correct version of this ancient Indian religion as against the Western propagandists who have invariably taken a blinkered view that did not go beyond the Hindu caste system or the Aryan invasion theory. I was reading an interesting article the other day in the online version of the Pakistani publication Dawn, on what is or what should be Pakistani culture. One wonders whether for a country that was born less than seven decades ago, and one whose historical and cultural identity until then was the same as that of India, has it been successful in creating an identity of its own that correctly reflects the ethnicity of the land? Apparently, a Pakistani professor of history at Harvard published a study in 1973 that concluded that Pakistan's cultural identity should be shaped by living Sufis, much as India has been doing through the many spiritualists who portray India as a land of pacifists. And just as India has been sending such spiritual propagators to the West, Pakistan too should send a stream of Sufi saints to the West to promote its own identity. Perhaps it's a little late in the day for Pakistan to undo its existing identity, but you see what I am trying to say? History is molded to be seen through the prism of the interpreters, and of course, the propagators.

Romesh K Japra rkjapra@indiapost.com

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HIGHLIGHTS Bollywood: Age no bar Shahid Kapoor is marrying Mira Rajput, a student 13 years his junior, who lives in a farm house in Chattarpur, Delhi

Cover Story: Yoga classes A US court has ruled that Yoga classes in an elementary school do not violate students’ right to religious freedom

Community: Seeking election Indian community activist Raja Krishnamoorthi plans to run for the 8th Congressional District seat

UK election With no party firmly in the lead, the race for the May 7 UK election looks set to produce a fragmented Parliament

Life style: Family fashion In a glittering ceremony many Bollywood legends with their sons and daughters, took to the ramp on March 4 night

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Iranian oil The breakthrough in a standoff between Iran and the West is likely to help major buyers of Iranian oil like India

Coonoor Along with impressive views of the lush green Nilgiri hills, Coonoor is also known for growing exceptionally aromatic tea.

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School yoga no violation of religion Court rejects complaints by parents LOS ANGELES: A US court has ruled that Yoga classes in an elementary school do not endorse Hinduism or violate students' right to religious freedom and are "devoid of any religious, mystical, or spiritual trappings". A three-member appeals San Diego court in California gave its unanimous ruling on a lawsuit filed by parents, who complained that Hindu and Buddhist doctrines were being promoted at an Encinitas district school. According to court documents, the court had to determine whether the school district's institution of the Yoga program as a component of its physical education curriculum "constitutes an impermissible establishment of religion in violation of the California Constitution". Upholding a lower court ruling, the San Diego court ruled: "While the practice of yoga may be religious in some contexts, yoga

classes as taught in the district are, as the trial court determined, 'devoid of any religious, mystical,

body and mind, is being taught at schools across the US. The court also viewed videos

"After a careful review of the extensive evidence presented in the trial court concerning the nature of

or spiritual trappings.'" Yoga, the 5,000-year-old Indian physical, mental and spiritual practice that aims to transform

of excerpts of the Yoga classes that were being taught as an alternative to the traditional gym classes.

the particular yoga program at issue in this case, we conclude that the program is secular in purpose, does not have the primary effect of

Two Indians charged with insider trading NEW YORK: Two Indian-origin entrepreneurs have been charged by a top US regulator with insider trading in connection with the 2013 proposed acquisition of American company Cooper Tire and Rubber by India's Apollo Tyres. Amit Kanodia of Massachusetts, a 47-year-old entrepreneur and private equity investor, and Iftikar Ahmed, of Connecticut, a

Kanodia and Ahmed. Ahmed, 43, is a graduate of the Indian Institute of Technology in New Delhi and Harvard Business School, while Kanodia received degrees from the University of Massachusetts. While the acquisition of Cooper by Apllo was never completed, the SEC complaint said that Cooper Tire's stock price jumped 41 per cent when the acquisition

A second close friend of Kanodia, identified in the complaint as 'Tippee 1', also profited by trading on the confidential information provided by Kanodia and paid a portion of his illicit gains to Kanodia using the same charity, the SEC's complaint alleges general partner at a venture capital firm have been charged with fraud by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in a complaint filed in US district court in Connecticut. The SEC is seeking to have Kanodia and Ahmed return their allegedly ill-gotten gains with interest and pay civil monetary penalties. The US Attorney's Office for Massachusetts announced parallel criminal charges against

was announced in June 2013. The SEC alleges that Kanodia tipped Ahmed and another friend prior to the acquisition announcement after learning of the deal from his wife, who was Apollo's general counsel at the time, more than two months before the merger was announced. Kanodia shared the highly confidential information with Ahmed who began buying significant amounts of Cooper Tire stock and options.

Once news of the deal was public, Ahmed immediately liquidated his Cooper Tire holdings, reaping more than 1.1 million dollars of ill-gotten profits, according to the complaint. Ahmed later paid Kanodia a kickback by transferring USD 220,000 to Lincoln Charitable Foundation, a supposed charity that Kanodia controlled and used to mask kickbacks. A second close friend of Kanodia, identified in the complaint as 'Tippee 1', also profited by trading on the confidential information provided by Kanodia and paid a portion of his illicit gains to Kanodia using the same charity, the SEC's complaint alleges. SEC Enforcement Division's Market Abuse Unit Co-Deputy Chief Joseph Sansone said that Kanodia gave inside information to two close friends who then paid a portion of their insider trading profits to a supposed charity that Kanodia controlled. "Despite Kanodia's attempts at concealment, the SEC staff was able to uncover and unravel the scheme," Sansone said. The SEC's complaint charges Kanodia and Ahmed with violating federal anti-fraud laws and a related SEC rule.-PTI

advancing or inhibiting religion, and does not excessively entangle the school district in religion. "Accordingly, we conclude that the trial court properly determined that the district's yoga program does not violate our state constitution," Justice Cynthia Aaron wrote. Stephen and Jennifer Sedlock and their two children, who had brought the lawsuit, said they were disappointed with the ruling and are considering other options. The UN adopted an India-led resolution declaring June 21 as 'International Day of Yoga' in December last year, less than three months after Prime Minister Narendra Modi proposed the idea. The resolution was overwhelmingly co-sponsored and adopted in the world body, recognizing that "Yoga provides a holistic approach to health and well-being". -PTI

Lawmakers praise IndianAmerican physicians' role WASHINGTON: US lawmakThe passage of SGR bill came ers have lauded Indian-origin on March 26. The SGR formula American physicians for their role places a cap on spending for phyin passage of a bill by the Con- sicians services, according to an gress that reformulates the way AAPI statement. physicians are reimbursed for a "AAPI has been a tremendous government health insurance for organization for what you do here seniors. in the United States and for what Several US lawmakers - includ- you do in India and for what you ing Nisha Desai Biswal, Assistant do to improve and extend the USSecretary of State for South and India relationship," Biswal said in Central Asia, and Ami Bera, the lone IndianAmerican physician in AAPI is the largest ethnic the US Congress - organization of physicians, praised them for their representing over 100,000 hard work and their constant efforts to physicians, fellows and make healthcare afford- students of Indian-origin in able. the US, who have been "We are extremely delighted and grateful lobbying for the repeal of to the US Congress for SGR formula for years passing this historic measure," said Ravi Jahagirdar, her keynote address. President of the Association of Bera shared his own personal American Physicians of Indian experience of growing up to be a Origin (AAPI) urging the US Sen- physician and how he got elected ate to take up the bill and pass it in a district that has only 1 per without delay. cent Indian-Americans. The legislation requires the "My story is your story and Senate approval to repeal medi- our story is that of the entire nacare sustainable growth rate tion," he said, adding: "I want my (SGR) currently in use and would legacy to be how the generation reformulate how physicians are is going to take us all to the next reimbursed for Medicare, a gov- level and have many more Indian ernment health insurance for se- Americans get elected to the Conniors over 65. gress." -PTI


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Rajat Gupta's plea against conviction opposed NEW YORK: India-born exGoldman Sachs director Rajat Gupta's conviction on insider trading charges should not be thrown out as the government provided "overwhelming" proof against him for passing on illegal information in return for "expected potential pecuniary gains," US prosecutors said. The prosecutors said the IIT and Harvard-educated former McKinsey head, who is serving a two-year sentence, had a "powerful" financial incentive to tip his billionaire hedge-fund operator friend Raj Rajaratnam. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Preet Bharara, submitted a memorandum on behalf of the government opposing Gupta's plea to throw out his conviction based on a recent ruling by an appeals court in which it reversed the insider convictions of hedge-fund managers Todd Newman and Anthony Chiasson. In court papers, prosecutors said Gupta is "not an innocent man" as he abused his position as a corporate insider by repeatedly divulging inside information to Rajaratnam, who reaped millions of dollars in illegal profits based on Gupta's tips. Gupta, 66, is seeking to set aside his conviction, based on the

Second Circuit's decision in the case against Newman, in which the court ruled that prosecutors must show that a defendant got a personal benefit for passing illegal tips. Convicted in 2012, Gupta began serving a two-year prison term on insider trading charges in

"In sum, Gupta's financial interests were heavily aligned with Galleon's. Rajaratnam bestowed corporate titles on Gupta, gave him an ongoing financial interest in Galleon International...and generally granted Gupta a level of access and corporate prestige that Gupta craved.

Rajat Gupta

June, 2014. He was also fined USD five million. Stressing that the personal aspect of Gupta-Rajaratnam relationship was "undeniable," the government said Gupta personally invested in Galleon and participated in several actual and contemplated ventures with him.

"As part of their business relationship, each had shared expectations. Rajaratnam expected, and Gupta consistently delivered, inside information that Gupta possessed as a corporate insider. For those tips, Gupta clearly expected potential pecuniary gain in return," the prosecutors said. -PTI

Yoga guru denies allegations of sexual assault NEW YORK: An Indian-American yoga guru, who has been accused of rape and sexual assault by six former students, has strongly denied allegations, saying he would not force himself on anyone because women love him. Bikram Choudhury, 69, founder of the Bikram Yoga - a form of the exercise practiced in hot rooms says he never assaulted the women and they are accusing him after being "influenced" by their lawyers. "I want to...tell the truth to the world, that I never assaulted them," Choudhury told CNN in an interview, his first comments on the allegations. "Women like me. Women love me," he said. "So if I really wanted to involve the women, I don't have to assault the women." He said he feels sorry for his accusers, claiming they've been manipulated by lawyers to lie. "I have nothing against them. I don't think they're bad people.

It's not them saying that," he said. "They are influenced by somebody." Choudhury vowed to clear his name but said the damage has already been done to his family. An emotional Choudhury said his wife "never looks at me anymore". "My children, my wife...we only die once in our life. I'm dying

Bikram Choudhury

every day when I get up in the morning." "How can I share my heart, my spirit? Twenty-four hours a day, I work harder than any other human being. And this is the reward? I'm a rapist?" he said. "Shame on your culture, Western culture. Shame, shame (sic)," he said. The Bikram Yoga form of exercise is among the most renowned forms of the art with participants performing yoga postures in rooms heated to 105 F (40.6 C). Choudhury is facing lawsuits filed by six women with a latest case filed in the Los Angeles Supreme Court in February by a Canadian woman identified as Jill Lawler. Another former student Sarah Baughn, who has accused Choudhury of sexual assault, said in the CNN report that he is lying and "hiding behind" his yoga practice so people do not believe he is capable of "hurting people.-PTI

Indian-American prof wins teaching award WASHINGTON: An Indian- ebration of Faculty Excellence on American assistant professor, May 6, according to a statement. who employs a game called "Baffa "NDSU has many amazing and Baffa" to have students under- dedicated faculty members," said stand culture's role in business, senior academic administrator has won the prestigious Peltier Beth Ingram. Award for her innovative teach"The four faculty being honing methods. ored this spring have distinRajani Ganesh-Pillai, who guished themselves as the best teaches marketing at the North of the best. I am truly delighted to Dakota State University, will be be able to recognize their accomrecognized for her efforts to bring hands-on One of her innovative experience, theorybased understanding practices is a game called and an enhanced global "Baffa Baffa," where the goal perspective to her stuis to have students dents. One of her innova- understand culture's tive practices is a game role in business called "Baffa Baffa," where the goal is to have students understand plishments." culture's role in business and how Ganesh-Pillai earned a it can affect transactions and re- bachelor's degree and Master of lationships. Business Administration from the "This is an eye-opening expe- University of Pune. She also has rience for a lot of students," said a Master of Business AdministraChanchai Tangpong, professor of tion from Emporia State Univermanagement at the university. sity, Kansas, and a doctorate from "This makes them more aware of the University of Central Florida. and more sensitive to cultural isThe Peltier Award was estabsue underlying marketing deci- lished by Joseph and Norma sions." Peltier to honor innovation in Ganesh-Pillai is among four teaching. The NDSU Developfaculty members who would be ment Foundation sponsors the honored during the annual Cel- awards. -PTI

Modi strongest Indian leader: McCain

John McCain

WASHINGTON: An influential American Senator has said Prime Minister Narendra Modi is probably the strongest Indian leader to have emerged in his lifetime and asserted that the US needs to have more cooperation with India. "I'm incredibly impressed with the new leader. Mr Modi is probably the strongest leader that I have seen emerge in India, certainly in our lifetimes," Senator John McCain said here.

In his remarks before the Center for Strategic and International Studies, McCain, the 2008 presidential candidate, said the United States needs to have more co-operation with India. "I believe one of the great longterm challenges we have is to maintain significant influence in the Asia-Pacific region. And we have to do things like look to India for more co-operation," the senior US Republican senators said. -PTI

Narendra Modi


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Sher Rajput of Chicago honored in Bikaner RUCHIT SHAH & HARISH RAO

BIKANER, Rajasthan: If there is a community leader who is active not only in his adopted land America but also hugely involved in community affairs back home in India - the country of origin he is Sher Mohammed Rajput. Recognizing his stupendous contributions in Bikaner,

invited for honoring Sher Mohammed Rajput. Ahmed presented him with traditional turban and a plaque for his contributions to the city and the country. Among the prominent organizations that joined hands with the Mayor were Rajasthan Medial Association, Bikaner Press Club, officials from Maharaja College, representatives of Bikaner Orphanage and others. Sher Mohammed Rajput was also an honored guest at a dinner banquet that is traditionally organized by his friends and well wishers for promoting HinduMuslim unity. All those present at the banquet eulogized his efforts at promoting inter-faith harmony and dialogue. In a talk to this paper, Sherbhai said that he always strove for peace and communal harmony not only in India but also in Chicago. He is one of most active persons at Indo American Center where scores of Muslims FIA Executive team member Sher Mohd from India and Pakistan Rajput at annual FIA Gala banquet mingle with Hindus and Rajasthan, scores of community others. activists led by Mayor Maksood Sher Mohammed Rajput was Ahmed recently organized a grand the founding father of Bikaner reception at his palatial residence. Orphanage two decades ago. He Who is who from the city were is still rendering help in nursing

Sher Mohd Rajput with Bikaner city elites at Mayor Maksood Ahmed's residence

his "baby" by organizing fundraisers whenever he comes to the city. Usually, he has made a practice to come every year and help this orphanage for boys the

Sher Mohammed Rajput was the founding father of Bikaner Orphanage two decades ago. He is still rendering help in nursing his "baby" by organizing fundraisers whenever he comes to the city best he could. He told this paper that close to 400 boys are taking advantage of the facility provided by the orphanage. At the Mayor banquet over 100 city elites and invited guests had

Indian boy in UK wins major physics prize LONDON: A 15-year-old Indian-origin schoolboy in the UK has been awarded the Institute of Physics Prize for conducting an experiment that verified an effect of Albert Einstein's theory of special relativity.

Pratap Singh, a student at The Perse School, Cambridge, has won the 500 pounds Institute of Physics (IOP) prize at the Big Bang Fair held at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham in March. The prize was among several awarded in the finals of the Na-

tional Science and Engineering Competition at the fair. More than 200 UK students aged 11-18 competed in the finals, demonstrating their projects to thousands of visitors. In his experiment, Singh used two GeigerMuller tubes to detect cosmic-ray m u o n s , w h i c h should not reach the Earth in detectable numbers unless time dilation occurs. He created a mathematical model for their arrival rate with and without time dilation, and using a Raspberry Pi and some statistical analysis, showed that they follow the model predicted by Einstein's 1905 theory of special relativity. His experiment was compact enough to fit inside a shoebox.

come. All paid handsome tributes to Sher Mohammed Rajput and assured him that they will carryout his mission of communal harmony.

"I am absolutely thrilled to have won the IOP prize," Singh said. "I am especially happy that over the course of this project I was able to bring together the theory, create a mathematical model, and using just school physics lab equipment build an apparatus to observe relativistic time dilation," he said. The prize also includes a trip to a national physics-related activity, 'Cambridge News' reported. The IOP's head of outreach and engagement, Johanna Kieniewicz, and the IOP's regional officer for the Midlands, David Wilkinson, jointly judged the prize. "I'd like to congratulate Pratap Singh on winning the Institute of Physics prize with his outstanding project. He demonstrated remarkable creativity in his approach to the problem, bringing together theory grounded in robust science with practical ingenuity," Kieniewicz said. An article that Singh wrote about his experiment will be published in Physics Education, a journal published by the IOP. -PTI

Our Chicago Correspondent Harish Rao adds Sher Rajput is associated with a number of social and educational institutions in Chicago, the principal being Indo American

Center. He attends its various meetings and looks after the kitchen facility with Nand Kapur, former president of AIA. Close to 80 people have their lunch at the IAC every day, according to Rajput. Sher Mohammed has also been active in the affairs of the Federation of Indian Associations for the past many years and had served on its Executive Board in different capacities. He is also a doyen of East West University and has been a great help to immigrant students from India. He has been all the time a great champion of inter-faith amity and is a popular figure with the Indian American community at large.

Maritime strength key to becoming global power: PM NEW DELHI: A nation's mari- ogy of Gujarat. time strength is vital for its emerThe book describes expedigence as a global economic power, tions undertaken by the Malams Prime Minister Narendra Modi (navigators) of Kutch. The origisaid here while highlighting that nal Pothis are dated from the 17th India has been strong in this area to 19th century. historically. The Prime Minister He was speaking at a function complimented all those involved organized for the release of the with the preparation of the book book 'Pre-Modern Kutchi Navigation TechThe Prime Minister said niques and Voyages. He referred to his re- historically, India has been cent visit to countries in Indian Ocean and de- a strong maritime power, scribed this as an effort which gave her to revitalize relations with the countries with economic strength whom India shares a common ocean. and said such efforts are an esThe Prime Minister said his- sential part of every culture which torically, India has been a strong is conscious of its history. maritime power, which gave her India has usually not been a hiseconomic strength, a PMO state- tory-conscious society, and therement said. fore, many great accomplishments The book is a depiction and of the past have remained anonytranscription of "Malam Ni mous, Modi said, adding in today's Pothis" - a collection of Gujarati age of patents and IPRs, it was vimanuscripts which describe the tal for India to be conscious of its pre-modern navigation technol- history and culture.-PTI


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India launches eBiz portal to facilitate business VAIDEHI PATEL

MUMBAI: Taking a major step towards achieving its aim of improving India's ranking on 'Ease of doing business' index, Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government has launched an eBiz portal (www.ebiz.gov.in) with eleven government services. "The eBiz portal is a response to the challenge put to us by PM

said that the aim of the portal is to eliminate needless procedures and integrate use of technology. "PM Narendra Modi has really challenged all of us to make India an extremely easy place to do business. There will be a radical shift in government's service delivery approach from department-centric to customer-centric," Kant said.

"The world watches us to see whether we are decisive or not. I am glad that the world has started to view us differently," Jaitley said, while underlining the importance of credibility of the economy and need for promptness in decision making Narendra Modi to improve ease of doing business," said Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman at the launch. "We shall keep expanding the eBiz portal. Many pilot states have been identified for implementation of these single-window services," Sitharaman said. DIPP Secretary Amitabh Kant

Right now 11 services can be availed online end-to-end 24*7 on government's G2B eBiz portal. In the long run, 26 Central government services across nine departments will be integrated on the eBiz platform," Kant said. "A lot of hard work has been done by Infosys, our tech partner, who built the back-end for this portal," Kant added.

Stating that an ideal government is one where those wanting to do business will not have to visit the corridors of power, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said, "A portal of this kind can eliminate problems created by discretionary exercise of power." "The world watches us to see whether we are decisive or not. I am glad that the world has started to view us differently," Jaitley said, while underlining the importance of credibility of the economy and need for promptness in decision making process. Explaining how ease of doing business would increase with the eBiz portal, MoS Finance Jayant Sinha said, "Businesses of different sectors and sizes can benefit from this portal. They can be brought under the umbrella of digital businesses," Sinha said. "We have all the necessary building blocks to make it much easier to do business," Sinha added. Applauding the government's initiative, World Bank Country Director Onno Ruhl said, "What is being launched today is a path-

breaking initiative. We at World Bank see ourselves as partners of

India in improving ease of doing business."

The following services are being provided:

'Indo-US ties will shape global balance of power' NEW YORK: The deepening India-US ties are among the most significant strategic developments of the past several years and will shape the global balance of power in the years to come, a senior Obama Administration official has said. "In South Asia, we're strengthening our security, economic, and people-to-people ties with India. In my view, India's revival and deepening US-India ties are among the most significant strategic developments of the past several years," US Assistant Secretary as well as Bureau of Political-Military Affairs Puneet Talwar said here. "They will shape the global balance of power for many years to come," the Indian-American diplomat said while addressing a session in San Francisco on US foreign policy priorities in 2015. He said that as the oldest and largest democracies, the US and India are seeing a natural convergence not only of values, but of "our vision for the future". Talwar cited President Barack

Obama's historic visit to India this year as Chief Guest on the Republic Day in January and said that

Beijing defined by "practical and tangible cooperation" on challenges that both the nations face

Puneet Talwar

while India is one of the world's oldest civilizations, it has the world's most young people, with a median age of 27 and 600 million people under the age of 25. On China, Talwar said Washington seeks a relationship with

"India's revival and deepening US-India ties are among the most significant strategic developments of the past several years," US Assistant Secretary Puneet Talwar said

and that strengthening US relationship with China is part and parcel of the rebalance of global cooperation. Citing the example of the joint announcement last year by the US and China to limit greenhouse gases, Talwar said "the more we can work together, and be seen as working together, the better chance we have in tackling some of the world's most daunting challenges". Touching upon the contentious South China Sea (SCS) issue, he said that with nearly half

the world's maritime commerce flowing through it every year, one can imagine the "global ripple effects" if the SCS or Malacca Strait - central arteries of international trade system - "were choked off". "That's why the United States is playing a leading role in the effort to uphold regional and maritime security in Asia, which underpins the global economy," he added. Talwar said California is the perfect example of why Asia's future and America's future are bound together. Since 2009, California's exports to Asia are up

nearly 50 per cent. California also exports more to India and Japan than any other State, he said, adding that five of the top seven export markets for the US State are in Asia. He pointed out that to build on that progress, one of the highest priorities this year for the US is to complete the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, which would open new markets and set high standards on labor and the environment for 12 countries, which together account for almost 40 per cent of global GDP. -PTI

PIO sentenced to 46 years for sex crimes NEW YORK: An Indian-origin man has been sentenced to a 46year prison term in the US state of New Jersey for sex-related crimes against five women in 2012. Hiten Patel, 36, was convicted in February of 22 criminal charges, including multiple counts of aggravated sexual assault and attempted sexual assault in Atlantic County, the prosecutor's office said. Several women described attacks by Patel at a two-week trial in Mays Landing. According to the prosecutor's

office, Patel contended the women were prostitutes who consented to his actions, a report in the Cherry Hill Courier Post said. One victim, a 21-year-old from Camden County, said Patel claimed to be an undercover detective, showed a badge and ordered her into a van where she was sexually assaulted at gunpoint. Police arrested Patel in August 2012 after the woman was able to escape from the van. The gun turned out to be an imitation, officials said. -PTI


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India can't be forced on climate change: PM

Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressing the Conference of State Environment and Forest Ministers, in New Delhi on April 6. Minister of State for Environment, Forest and Climate Change (Independent Charge) Prakash Javadekar, Cabinet Secretary Ajit Seth, Principal Secretary to Prime Minister Nripendra Misra and Secretary, Environment, Forests and Climate Change Ashok Lavasa are also seen

NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has made it clear that India cannot be forced to "follow" the parameters laid down by the developed world on climate change and instead should lead the world in the fight against it. India's position came ahead of a crucial UN meet on climate change scheduled to take place in Paris later this year. Noting India's tradition of protecting and loving environment,

Modi said, "India should be a global leader in the fight against climate change. Is it that the world will guide us in climate change and we will follow them? "The world will lay down the parameters for us and we will follow them, it cannot be. India should lead the world in the fight against climate change," he said while advocating self strategies to tackle the problems of climate change.

The Prime Minister also hit out at the western countries for adopting "dual standards" on the issue, saying there was a need to create pressure on the world. "I believe such pressure will be built in the coming days," he added. His remarks came barely days after the US submitted its climate action plan to UNFCCC giving its targets to cut emissions by 2025. The targets have been termed as

Hindus set to be world's 3rd largest population WASHINGTON: Hindus will become the world's third largest population by 2050, while India will overtake Indonesia as the country with the largest Muslim population, according to a new study. According to the Pew Research Center's religious profile predictions assessed data, the Hindu population is projected to

affiliation currently have the third largest share of the world's total population. Muslims are projected to grow faster than the world's overall population and that Hindus and Christians are projected to roughly keep pace with worldwide population growth, the report said. "India will retain a Hindu majority but also will have the larg-

rise by 34 per cent worldwide, from a little over 1 billion to nearly 1.4 billion by 2050. By 2050, Hindus will be third, making up 14.9 per cent of the world's total population, followed by people who do not affiliate with any religion, accounting for 13.2 per cent, the report said. The people with no religious

est Muslim population of any country in the world, surpassing Indonesia," it said. "Over the next four decades, Christians will remain the largest religious group, but Islam will grow faster than any other major religion," according to the report. The report predicted that by 2050 there will be near parity be-

tween Muslims (2.8 billion, or 30 per cent of the population) and Christians (2.9 billion, or 31 per cent), possibly for the first time in history. There were 1.6 billion Muslims in 2010, compared to 2.17 billion Christians. "The number of Muslims will nearly equal the number of Christians around the world," it added. If the trend continues, Islam will be the most popular faith in the world after 2070, it said. By 2050, Muslims will make up about 10 per cent of the Europe's population, up from 5.9 per cent in 2010. Over the same period, the number of Hindus in Europe is expected to roughly double, from a little under 1.4 million (0.2 per cent of Europe's population) to nearly 2.7 million (0.4 per cent), mainly as a result of immigration, it said. In North America, the Hindu share of the population is expected to nearly double in the decades ahead, from 0.7 per cent in 2010 to 1.3 per cent in 2050, when migration is included in the projection models. Without migration, the Hindu share of the region's population would remain the same.-PTI

"completely inadequate" by the activists here. During his speech inaugurating a two-day environment and forest ministers' conference, Modi also noted that India has a legacy of thousands of years in this field and "we can lead the world and we can guide the world". "India can show the way to the world out of this crisis," he said while adding that Indians have

been the protectors and devotees of nature. He said there is a need to project this fact properly so that the world realizes that India cannot be questioned in this regard. "Indians have always conserved nature, and even today, have among the lowest per-capita carbon emission, globally," he said while observing that the culture of recycle and re-use is not new to India. -PTI

Indian-American woman's sentencing sparks debate WASHINGTON: The stiff 30- sentence confirms that feticide year prison sentence for an Indian- and other measures promoted by American woman for female feti- anti-abortion organizations are cide and child maltreatment has intended to punish not protect sparked a debate in the US on women," said Lynn Paltrow Execuhow prosecutors are using laws tive Director of National Advodesigned to protect expecting cates for Pregnant Women mothers to criminalize women for (NAPW) in a statement. terminating a pregnancy. Patel is not the first woman in Purvi Patel, 33, has been sen- the US to have been arrested and tenced for the neglect of a depen- charged with a crime for terminatdent charge to 30 years in prison with 20 years executed, 10 sus- Patel is not the first woman in pended. She will also serve five years proba- the US to have been tion. arrested and charged with a For the feticide charge, she was sen- crime for terminating her tenced to 6 years in own pregnancy prison, to run concurrently with her neglect of a dependent sentence, ABC ing her own pregnancy or based News reported. on allegations that she had atReproductive rights activists tempted to do so, it said. believe the sentencing of Patel, This case, however, is the first who lives in Indiana, highlights time any woman has been how US prosecutors are using charged, convicted, and senlaws designed to protect expect- tenced for the crime of feticide for ing mothers to criminalize women having attempted to end her own for terminating a pregnancy. pregnancy, it said. "While no woman should face Patel comes from a family of criminal charges for having an Indian immigrants who settled in abortion or experiencing a preg- Granger, Indiana, a suburb of nancy loss, the cruel length of this South Bend.-PTI


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Modi to do Madison Sq in Shanghai during visit BEIJING: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will do a repeat of his Madison Square Garden act during his next month's visit to China that will make him the first Indian leader to address the communist nation's burgeoning Indian community, whose numbers have swelled to 45,000. As diplomats held hectic consultations to work out a wide agenda for his highprofile visit, Indian associations in different Chinese cities sent out invites to their members asking them to be ready to assemble in Shanghai to take part in the meeting with the Prime Minister to be held in the second or third week of May. Going by the invites, the event has been

modeled on the ones addressed by Modi Prime Minister to attempt the same in China at New York's iconic Madison Square Gar- as the numbers of the Indian professionals den and Allphones Arena in Sydney that made waves in India and around the world. He is also expected to address a similar event in Toronto next week during the third and final leg of his three-nation tour to France, Germany and Canada. It is perhaps a novel Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Madison Square Garden effort by an Indian

and businessmen were on a steady rise in the dragon country regarded as hostile for decades after the 1962 war. According to an official estimate prepared during the February visit of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, about 45,000 Indians currently work and reside in China. Though this will be Modi's first visit as Prime Minister, he is a familiar figure in China as he made several visits here as Chief Minister of Gujarat to study the Chinese developmental model and to scout for investments from the world's second largest economy. Modi's May visit will have several new facets, especially the Hometown Diplomacy as he would travel to Chinese President Xi Jinping's home province Shaanxi. Xi was expected to host Modi in the city of Terracotta Warriors in a reciprocal gesture to the latter hosting him in Gujarat during the Chinese leader's India visit in September last year. Pictures of Xi and Modi sitting in a swing in Ahmedabad and the two operating 'charkha', the spinning wheel, at Mahatma Gandhi's Sabarmati Ashram figure

Though this will be Modi's first visit as Prime Minister, he is a familiar figure in China as he made several visits here as Chief Minister of Gujarat to study the Chinese developmental model prominently in the Chinese official media highlighting Xi's visit abroad. The picture of Xi along with his celebrity singer wife Peng Liyuan sitting in the Gujarati swing also made waves in China's popular internet media. In a rare gesture, Xi wants to host a similar cultural event for Modi, showcasing historic past of Shaanxi's capital Xian, especially its links with India, as famous Buddhist monk Xuan Zang, who traveled to India 2,000 years ago and brought Buddhism to China, spent his final years there. Xian houses the Wild Goose Pagoda, built to highlight Xuan Zang's efforts to visit India in 645 AD through the ancient Silk Road. The monk returned home after a 17 year-long sojourn with precious Buddhist scriptures. Besides, the city also formed part of the centre of Xi's mega Silk Road plan as it was declared origin for China's strategic project. Though officials are tight-lipped about the program, Modi was expected to travel to Xian like the way Xi landed in Ahmedabad starting his India visit. After that, Modi is expected to travel to Beijing where he would hold talks with the Chinese leadership on a host of issues, including the border dispute, address Chinese investors and later travel to Shanghai to address the Indian community besides meeting local leaders. -PTI


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UK police honor Indian who saved a leader LONDON: An Indian national has been honored by British police for saving the life of a Sikh religious leader who was attacked at a Gurudwara in the UK in 2013. 51-year-old Baldev Singh traveled to the UK from India to receive his commendation for bravery from Leicestershire Police. He was at the forefront of a group of worshippers at the Namdhari Sikh Gurudwara at Spinney Hills in Leicester city in August 2013 when a man took out an

Baldev Singh

axe and attempted to assassinate Namdhari Sikh sect leader Satguru Uday Singh. "If I hadn't intervened, the situation would have been very different and there would have been a lot of upset within the community. It was my natural instinct to save His Holiness...," Baldev said. "I had a feeling that something wasn't right but no one had any

idea that something like this would happen within a religious ceremony," he said. The Guru is the worldwide leader of the Namdhari Sikh sect and was in the UK from India for the first time on a highly publicized visit. Police said Baldev's brave intervention saved the life of the guru, who received a broken arm and a cut to his nose in the attack. "I am always taken aback when I hear of the acts of bravery and kindness that happen in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland every day," said Leicestershire Chief Constable Simon Cole, who presented the award to Baldev. Ranjit Singh Flora of the Namdhari Sikh community in Leicester said, "Baldev was the first person to get up and defend His Holiness. He is a very brave man". Led by Baldev, who is secretary to the guru at the headquarters of the sect at Sri Bhaini Sahib in Punjab, the group managed to disarm the man, who was later convicted of attempted murder and was jailed for 17 years. Harjit Singh Toor, 27, was found guilty by a jury at Birmingham Crown Court in May last year. -PTI

Rs 600 package tour to Modi's birthplace AHMEDABAD: Prime Minister Narendra Modi's birthplace Vadnagar and a visit to the railway station where he used to sell tea as a boy are now part of a tour package started by Gujarat Government's tourism agency. Tourism Corporation of Gujarat Ltd (TCGL), through its official partner, is offering a day-long tour, costing Rs 600 per head, to Vadnagar in Mehsana district and the local railway station where the PM used to sell tea as a boy at a stall owned by his father, among other spots. The package, 'A Rise from Modi's Village', is being offered by city-based Akshar Travels Pvt Ltd, a TCGL partner, and has reportedly become a huge hit among tourists since its launch. State-run TCGL is promoting

the tour on its website. According to the tour operator, the package has been receiving "very good" response since it was first introduced during Vibrant Gujarat Summit in January this year. Among other destinations and attractions on their way to Vadnagar from Ahmedabad and Gandhinagar, the itinerary includes a visit to Modi's ancestral house in Vadnagar, where he was born. The travelers are then taken to a primary school - Vadnagar Prathmik Kumar Shala - where 64year-old Modi's academic journey started, according to TCGL website. They also get a chance to see the Vadnagar-based high school where he performed various roles in dramas, it said.-PTI

Pak, Lanka agreement for nuclear cooperation ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and Sri Lanka have signed six agreements including one on nuclear cooperation, two months after Sri Lanka inked an atomic deal with India, as the two countries agreed to deepen ties in various fields. The agreements were signed after Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had a meeting with visiting Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena here. According to an official statement the two countries signed a Memorandum of Understating (MoU) "for cooperation between Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission and Atomic Energy Authority of Sri Lanka". The two sides also decided to increase the current trade of USD 438 million to USD 1 billion within

the next few years. Other agreements included one on cooperation against illicit

The two countries signed a Memorandum of Understating (MoU) "for cooperation between Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission and Atomic Energy Authority of Sri Lanka" trafficking in narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances and academic cooperation agreement on

exchange and collaboration between Pakistan's National Defense University and Sri Lanka's Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute of International Relations and Strategic Studies. Sri Lanka's nuclear pact with India in February during Sirisena's first foreign visit after assuming office entailed cooperation in the transfer and exchange of knowledge and expertise, sharing of resources, and capacity building and training of personnel in peaceful uses of nuclear energy. Sri Lanka and Pakistan also singed MoUs in the field of sports, shipping and disaster management. The two leaders held a oneon-one meeting which was followed by delegation level talks discussing a range of subjects.-PTI


Tech News Govt taking steps for business growth: Sinha NEW DELHI: The government is taking several steps in order to spur the growth of businesses in the country, former Finance Minister and senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha has said. "The government of the modern time needs to trust enterprises and then verify, and depart from the earlier practice of verify and then trust. We see that happening now in India and that is indeed an encouraging signal for businesses to grow," Sinha said. He was speaking at the convocation of Lal Bahadur Shastri Institute of Management (LBSIM). Sinha, who was the Finance Minister in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led NDA government, said that post independence, successive governments did not encourage trade, but promoted lobbying. The BJP leader said that to improve ease of doing business in the country, the central government will need the help of state governments. -PTI

Aurobindo Pharma gets USFDA nod for injection NEW DELHI: Aurobindo Pharma has received approval from the US health regulator to manufacture and market Sildenafil injection, used for treating pulmonary arterial hypertension, in the Ameri-

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Union Finance Minister & senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley addressing CII’s National Conference and Annual Session 2015 ‘Building India : A Shared Responsibility’ in New Delhi on April 6

India to benefit from breakthrough in Iranian Nuke standoff WASHINGTON/NEW DELHI: The breakthrough in a standoff between Iran and the West over its nuclear program is likely to help major buyers of Iranian oil like India by lifting curbs on quantity of import and payment restrictions. The US and its allies had blocked all financial channels in order to choke Iran to pressurize the countries like India to cut their

Delhi not importing any oil last month. Iran is one of the biggest suppliers of oil to India. The sanctions on Iran have brought a steady decline in oil and natural gas revenue, to USD 56 billion in the 2013- 2014 fiscal year from about USD 118 billion in the 2011- 2012 fiscal year, according to the International Monetary

Experts say Iran has at least 30 million barrels of crude oil in storage onboard tankers that could quickly move onto the market if sanctions were lifted. After marathon talks, the world powers and Iran had agreed oil purchase from the Persian Gulf nation. This saw India cut its imports from over 18 million tonnes five years back to 11 million tonnes in 2013-14. In 2014-15, US pressured India to maintain imports from Iran at 2013-14 level, which led to New

Fund. India was paying 45 per cent of bills against Iranian oil imports in rupee through a UCO Bank account. For the rest it had to wait for opening of payment channel. The unpaid bills now total USD 5.9 billion. China, India, South Korea, Ja-

pan and Turkey are the largest buyers of crude from Iran, which has the world's fourth-largest oil reserves. The sanctions currently restrict its overall exports to 1 million-1.1 million bpd. Experts say Iran has at least 30 million barrels of crude oil in storage onboard tankers that could quickly move onto the market if sanctions were lifted. After marathon talks, the world powers and Iran had agreed on the framework of a potentially historic deal aimed at scaling back Tehran's nuclear program and relieving the Islamic Republic from the crippling sanctions. US President Barack Obama praised the framework agreement on Iran's nuclear program as a "historic understanding" and a "good

Job opportunities to grow fastest in India can market. The company has received approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) to manufacture and market Sildenafil injection in the US market, Aurobindo Pharma Ltd said in a statement. The company's product is a generic version of pharma major Pfizer's Revatio injection. Sildenafil injection is indicated for the treatment of adult patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension who are temporarily unable to take oral therapy, but are otherwise clinically and haemodynamically stable. "This is the 9th abbreviated new drug application (ANDA) to be approved out of Unit IV formulation facility in Hyderabad... and will be marketed and sold by Aurobindo's wholly-owned subsidiary AuroMedics Pharma LLC," the company said.-PTI

NEW DELHI: Job opportunities in India are expected to grow at the fastest pace globally as 78 per cent of finance leaders believe that growth in existing businesses will

add to the creation of jobs, says a survey. According to the survey by American Express, carried out in partnership with CFO Research,

across the globe employment prospects appear the brightest in India as 78 per cent of respondents predict greater rise in employment. In the US, 61 per cent of respondents said they believe so and for China the figure stood at 50 per cent. " A s with the economic outlook, India is at the top of the list of countries anticipating rising employment. However, the survey points to the shortage of skilled positions," American Express Country Business Head, Global Corporate Pay-

ments Saru Kaushal said. As per the report, 22 per cent of respondents from India pointed to shortage in skilled positions. "We are confident that with the government's increased focus to make India Job Ready, this gap will be bridged soon," Kaushal added. According to 29 per cent of those polled from India, headcount in their companies has increased at a faster clip than their revenues while 48 per cent said that the two had increased at about the same pace. About 37 per cent of executives in Asia and Australia region expect employment to improve while 23 per cent expect it to worsen. In Japan, 29 per cent respondent expect employment to improve. Around 39 per cent of respondents from Australia and 31 per cent from Hong Kong expect a decline in jobs, the survey said.PTI

deal" that is better than risking "another war" in the Middle East and one that would "cut off every pathway" Iran could take to develop a nuclear weapon. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has hailed the agreement,

saying it would open a "new page" for the country's international relations and lead to greater cooperation.-PTI

'Make in India campaign a step in right direction' KOLKATA: Prime Minister Narendra Modi's call for 'Make in India' would help boost manufacturing and employment in the country, PepsiCo Chairman and CEO Indra Nooyi said here. "PM is absolutely right in saying 'Make in India' because ultimately we are trying to build a base in manufacturing and boost employment and that is very good," Nooyi told reporters on the sidelines of IIM Calcutta convocation here. About PepsiCo's plan for India, she said, "Almost everything we sell here is made in India. Yesterday, PepsiCo had inaugurated the country's largest beverage plant in Andhra Pradesh. -PTI


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100 foreign funds get tax demands worth $10-bn NEW DELHI/MUMBAI: In the biggest-ever tax demand slapped on them, nearly 100 foreign funds have been asked to cough up an estimated USD 5-6 billion for 'untaxed gains' made by them in the Indian markets over the past

position of providing a 'nonadversarial and stable tax regime'. Till March 31, close to 100 FIIs got notices from the Tax Department for a controversial Minimum Alternate Tax (MAT) of 20 per cent, while they are now being fol-

Amid concerns that investor sentiment can take a bigger hit as similar demands may be slapped on foreign companies, many international bodies have red-flagged the latest move of the Tax Department, saying "this may act as strong deterrent for foreign investment in India". years. The number of affected investors can rise substantially as assessments are still in progress and notices could be served in many more cases, taking the overall tax demand from them to well over USD 10 billion, sources said. Spooked by these "retrospective" notices and assessment orders, the foreign investors have begun lobbying intensely with the policy makers and regulators, while stating that the move goes against the government's stated

lowed up with Assessment Orders. The FIIs have, however, decided to challenge the tax demands, stating that MAT cannot be levied on FIIs or FPIs as they do not earn any 'business income' in India and their income is defined as 'capital gains' under the I-T Act. These FIIs, many of whom have now converted themselves into Foreign Portfolio Investors (FPIs), include entities from the US and Europe as also those operating through Singapore, Hong Kong and Mauritius.

Among others, the issue has been raised by FIIs with Indian Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Minister of State for Finance Jayant Sinha, capital markets regulator Sebi, the Central Board of Direct Taxes and the top Finance Ministry officials, while they are now planning to approach Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to intervene in the matter. When contacted, a top official said that the government is looking into the matter to allay any 'genuine concern' such investors might have, but added that no assurance can be given as of now to nullify the notices. There are an estimated 8,000 FPIs registered in the country and they have emerged as a mainstay of the Indian markets over the years with an overall outstanding net investment of USD 226 billion (over Rs 11 lakh crore). This includes over Rs 8 lakh crore in stocks and Rs 3 lakh crore in debt markets. In the fiscal 201415 itself, FPIs made a net investment of Rs 2.7 lakh crore into the Indian markets. Interestingly, this is the first time since 1993, when FIIs were

What is due must be paid, India no tax haven: Jaitley NEW DELHI: Finance Minister Jaitley in his last budget speech Arun Jaitley has asserted that le- proposed to scrap MAT on capigitimate tax demand cannot be tal gains made by FIIs. considered "tax terrorism" be"Taxes which are not payable cause India is not a tax haven. must not be paid. They should be Appearing to defend the tax challenged...but taxes which are notices sent to about 100 FIIs to- payable must be paid," he said, taling USD 5-6 billion, he said adding "Our fairness has been "taxes which are payable must be partly misunderstood. The conpaid". "India is not so vulnerable that every legitimate tax demand is considered as tax terrorism ... we are not a tax haven and we don't intend to be Finance Minister Arun Jaitley one," he said while addressing CIA's annual general verse of tax terrorism is not a tax meeting. haven." In the biggest-ever tax demand, Stating that some decisions of nearly 100 foreign funds have been the past have made the taxation asked to cough up an estimated regime adversarial, he said, "An USD 5-6 billion for 'untaxed gains' emerging economy that expects made by them in the Indian mar- investment cannot indulge in what kets over the past years. The In- has been referred to as tax terrorcome Tax department has imposed ism or very aggressive tax laws". 20 per cent Minimum Alternate Tax "But our fairness has been fairly (MAT) on capital gains made by misunderstood. The converse of FIIs. tax terrorism is not a tax haven. If I

read the front page of some newspapers, it is the impression that I get," he said referring to tax demand notices on FIIs. Commenting on the tax notices, Revenue Secretary Shaktikanta Das said, "I think what FIIs and FPIs are asking is retrospective exemption and not retrospective application of a tax law. Because MAT was leviable on them, therefore these assessments, these demands have been raised." He said that some Foreign Portfolio Investors (FPIs) and Foreign Institutional Investors (FIIs) had gone to the Authority of Advance Ruling (AAR) which ruled that MAT was applicable. "Naturally the Income Tax Assessing Officers have raised the demand," he said. Jaitley said the government is in the process of simplifying the procedures in direct and indirect taxes to rationalize the rates and effectively bring them down. As regards the new law on black money, he promised a "reasonable compliance window" for persons with overseas funds to come clean and sought suggestions for improving its structure in the proposed Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets (Imposition of Tax) Bill 2015.-PTI

allowed to invest in the Indian markets, that such investors have been asked to pay MAT. Amid concerns that investor sentiment can take a bigger hit as similar demands may be slapped on foreign companies, many international bodies have red-flagged the latest move of the Tax Department, saying "this may act as strong deterrent for foreign investment in India". These organizations include European Fund and Asset Management Association ( E FA M A ) , Asia Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (ASIFMA) and ICI Global, while many foreign funds have also individually raised the issue. MAT is generally applicable to domestic and foreign companies having a 'place of business in India' that are required to draw up a balance sheet and a profit and loss account for their business income. However, the Tax Department began issuing tax notices to FIIs as well late last year. To clarify the situation, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in his Bud-

get this year proposed to amend the relevant sections so as to specifically "provide that income from transactions in securities (other than short term capital gains arising on transactions on which securities transaction tax is not chargeable) arising to an FII, shall be excluded from the chargeability of MAT..." However, these "amendments

will take effect from April, 1, 2016 and will, accordingly, apply in relation to the assessment year 2016-17 and subsequent assessment years". It is this 'prospective' nature of the clarificatory amendment that has led to the Tax Department continuing with its notices and assessment orders for MAT demand from the FIIs for the past years. Indian tax laws allow such notices and assessments to be issued for up to seven previous years.-PTI


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'Future of Chinese firms not in PM asks better-offs to forgo LPG subsidy China but in India' BEIJING: India made a strong pitch to woo Chinese investors, saying their future is not in China but in India which has liberalized 25 key sectors to make them costcompetitive. Several top Chinese companies attended a roundtable conference held by the Indian Embassy here during which presentations were made about extensive liberalization of procedures for foreign firms seeking to invest in India. Highlighting the USD 45 billion trade deficit in India-China bilateral trade, Secretary Industrial Policy and Promotion, Amitabh Kant said India is poised for a digital growth where mobile phone subscriber base has touched 950 million. "In the context of China it should be created by China and

Made in India," he said. "Chinese firms created lot of infrastructure manufacturing in China. Their future is not in China but in India. Because India will have lot of demand," he said referring to over capacity in China and slowdown of its economy.

Amitabh Kant

Stating that India is poised to attract record Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) this year, he said India has liberalized 25 sectors making them cost-competitive. Referring to the establishment of Investor Facilitation Cell which

provides integrated services to the foreign investors in 72 hours, Kant said "We made India one of the easiest places to do business". Other than multi-brand all other sectors are open for investments. "We welcome big Chinese companies to relocate themselves from China," he said adding that China's economy slowed down while India's growth is set to rise. Talking to the Indian media, Kant played down concerns over the likelihood of China's cheap machinery making way to India increasing the chances of environmental problems, saying that India has tough regime of environmental safeguards. He also said a lot of land is available specially in the DelhiMumbai Industrial Corridor and Chennai-Bangalore Corridor and the local governments have acquired land for foreign investors. About the USD 20 billion Chinese investments committed last year during President Xi Jinping's visit to India, he said the projects are well on track and will be delivered before scheduled period of commencement. Kant has also met several Chinese officials during his stay here.PTI

Land records to be reformed to benefit farmers: PM BENGALURU: Facing attack over the new Land Acquisition Bill, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said the land records would be "reformed" for farmers' benefit and attacked opposition for "spreading lies" that the government is working against the interests of the farming community. Addressing a public meeting here, he said his government was working to empower the farmers as it realizes that the nation cannot make progress till villages develop. Contending that he had lived among the farmers, Modi said he could understand their plight and was working with "good intention" to address their woes. "How did farmers lose their land? Where did it go? To get a job of a peon for their children or to make them a driver, they used to be compelled to sell their land to pay bribes. The (previous) governments compelled them to (sell land)," said the Prime Minister who is here to attend BJP's twoday National Executive. "Land records will be reformed

so that farmers get back their land (which they lost). For this, we will launch a big campaign," he said. Targeting opposition which has mounted a campaign over Land Bill without naming anybody, Modi said, "Those spreading lies do not know how to protect inter-

Contending that he had lived among the farmers, Modi said he could understand their plight and was working with "good intention" to address their woes. ests of farmers." The Prime Minister's assertion about taking care of farmers' interests comes against the backdrop of attack by the combined opposition over the Land Acquisition Bill, a contentious issue on which he remained silent in his 55-minute

address. Making a veiled reference to the opposition campaign over Land Acquisition issue, he said efforts were being made to take "political mileage" on the "pretext" of farmers' interests. He said if saving the farmers' land was so important, it was equally important to "protect" their livestock. "Aaj desh ka pashudhan khatam ho raha hai. Aur mai hairan hun, jo log kisan ki zameen ko bachane ke naam par bade bade andolan chalane ke liye nikal pade hain, rajnetik rotiyan pakane ke liye nikal pade hain, agar zameen jana utna dukhdayak hai, utna hi agar pashudhan gaon se khatam ho jayega, toh gaon ka utna hi bura haal hoga. "(The country's livestock is diminishing. And I am surprised at that those people who are undertaking big campaigns for political mileage that if losing land for a farmer is painful, equally worrying is the depletion of livestock as it will have adverse impact on villages)," Modi said.-PTI

BENGALURU: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has coined a new slogan - "give it up" - to exhort the better off sections of society to forego their LPG subsidy that can be utilized in providing subsi-

Rajnath Singh, besides other cabinet ministers and Chief Ministers of BJP-ruled states. Modi said his government was making all efforts to provide strength to farmers and safeguard

Prime Minister Narendra Modi offers flowers to a portrait of Bharat Mata during the inauguration of the two day National Executive Meeting in Bengaluru on April 3

dized LPG connections to the poor. their interests to help make them Urging the well-off to give up prosperous. "Farmers need techtheir LPG subsidy, he said "gas nology in agriculture sector. They cylinders surrendered by them need infrastructure. They need would be transferred to the poor electricity and water. We want to who use wood for cooking. If one strengthen the agriculture sector crore people give up their LPG and our plan is to help provide subsidy, one crore poor people will water to farmers and also protect benefit as they will be given new their land." LPG cylinders instead. Taking on the Congress for "Give it up" campaign should be saying that its policies were being taken up on the lines of "Swacch "copied" by his government, the Bharat" and "Beti Bachao, Beti Prime Minister said some programs Padhao initiatives, Modi said add- may seem similar "but sometimes, ing "I appeal to all MPs, MLAs, more powerful than policies is the ministers, IAS and IPS officers, pro- intent. We have good and firm infessors and professionals to forgo tentions, yours was not. That is their LPG subsidy and derive hap- why we are marching ahead." piness by doing so. He said his experience of 10 Addressing a public meeting on the sidelines of BJP's two-day Na- ‘Sometimes, more powerful tional Executive meet- than policies is the intent. ing here, Modi also pitched for reforms in We have good and firm agriculture sector. intentions, yours was not. He, however, reThat is why we are marchfrained from making any reference to the contro- ing ahead.’ versial land acquisition bill over which the Opposition is on the warpath against months in power demonstrated the government. that "if intentions are right, then In his nearly hour-long address, decisions are also right as are the Modi assured the people that his results". government would fulfill all the He attacked the previous UPA promises made on bringing back government, saying decisions had the black money stashed abroad. remained pending for years. He cited the measures taken so "When I got files, I saw profar including a bill with stringent posals of 2007 hanging till 2014, provisions against those conceal- proposals of 2011 pending till 2014. ing their money held overseas. I wonder what they were doing. The rally was attended by the Files were pending up to 2-7 years. entire top brass of BJP including Hundreds of such proposals were party President Amit Shah, veter- pending. I showed the courage to ans L K Advani and Murli take bold decisions and the nation Manohar Joshi, Home Minister has got going," he said.-PTI


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April 10, 2015

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Govt, RBI think on similar lines: Modi MUMBAI: Amid a widespread perception about differences between RBI and the government, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi praised Governor Raghuram Rajan for being "perfect" in explaining to him complex economic issues and said there was similarity in thinking on both the sides. Stating that Rajan would explain implications of RBI's policies in "just three-four slides", Modi also said that he must have been a very good 'teacher' in the past. Rajan, who has been Professor of Finance at University of Chi-

isfaction over the role played by the central bank under Rajan. "There is lot of similarity between the thinking of the RBI and government... This is absolutely essential. As a representative of the government, I express my satisfaction. RBI is performing its role and I congratulate Raghuram ji and his team," he said. At the same function, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley also congratulated Rajan, his team and past RBI Governors for their contribution in making the country's economy resilient. Recalling his bimonthly meetings with Rajan, Modi said he is "perfect" in explaining the implications of the policies and would do so in just threefour slides. Modi said he himself was not adept at understanding economic issues, but as the Prime Minister he had to learn and understand complex issues. In his address, Rajan said: "There has always been a constructive diaPrime Minister Narendra Modi with RBI Goveror logue between the Raghuram Rajan during the 80th anniversary Government and celebration of Reserve Bank of India in Mumbai the Bank, informed by their respective cago and joined RBI as its Gover- time horizons and attitudes tonor in September 2013, said on his wards risk. part that there has always been a "And history records that suc"constructive dialogue" between cessive governments have invariRBI and the government. ably appreciated the wisdom of the There have been talks from time Reserve Bank's counsel." to time about differences between Underscoring the need to nurthe central bank and the govern- ture strong institutions like RBI, ment on a range of issues includ- Rajan said, "Strong national instiing on inflation and interest rates. tutions are hard to build. ThereWhile the government and RBI fore existing ones should be nurhave always maintained that there tured from the outside, and conwere 'no differences' between stantly rejuvenated from the inthem, some proposals in this year's side, for there are precious few of Budget indicated shifting certain them." functions out of the central bank's Jaitley also lauded RBI's efforts ambit including on the public debt in improving macro- economic management. conditions in the last eight deSpeaking at a function to mark cades. "It is the professionalism 80 years of the Reserve Bank of and ability of the central bank India (RBI), Modi expressed sat- which has indeed served the

country well. We're indeed proud of its performance," he said.

"Starting from 1935 till today, a large part of the country's sover-

eign functions rests on shoulders of the RBI.-PTI


Desi News Sacramento Kings sign Sim Bhullar to a 10-day contract India Post News Service

SACRAMENTO, CA: On April 2, the Sacramento Kings signed Sim Bhullar to a 10-day contract, making him the first player of Indian descent to be on an NBA's team roster. And on April 3, the Kings hosted over 500 Sikhs at a home game versus the Charlotte Hornets. In addition to traditional performances, Sacramento Vice Mayor Allen Warren presented a "Sikh Awareness Week" proclamation to Kings Owner and Chairman Vivek Ranadive and minority owner Raj Bhathal. Born in Toronto, Ontario, Bhullar became the first player of Indian descent to sign with an NBA team when he inked a contract with the Kings on August 15, 2014. The 7-foot-5, 360-pound center was a member of the Kings squad that captured the 2014 Samsung NBA Summer League title in Las Vegas. Details on page 20

Dwarkamai celebrates Sai Palki Utsav JAGAN BUKKARAJU

CHICAGO: Dwarkamai organized its annual Sai Rainbow cultural program and annual Spiritual Walk Festival called "Shri Shirdi Sai Palki Utsav", on Saturday, March 28 at Eisenhower Junior High School, Hoffman Estates, a northwest suburb of Chicago. The event was attended by about 500 people including families and kids, who participated and celebrated the grand event, laced with cultural programs and Palki (palanquin) procession of Shri Shirdi Sai Baba. Details on page 18

Importance of Vastu Shastra and its Principles

V

astu Shastra is a traditional Indian science of architecture which guides the construction and design of buildings with the natural and simple laws of the universe. Vastu's origin can be traced back to more than 5000 years. This edifice science offers detailed information about what to keep in mind when selecting a piece of land, and constructing buildings. The Sanskrit word vastu here means a 'house foundation' or a 'site' and shastra translates to 'teaching' or 'science'. Details on page 23

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From bondagecreating karmas to bondage-breaking karmas

April 10, 2015

Details on page 25

Raja Krishnamoorthi announces plan to run for Congress RAMESH SOPARAWALA India Post News Service

CHICAGO: A front ranking Indian community activist and a former Deputy Treasurer of Illinois, Raja Krishnamoorthi has announced his intention to seek the 8th Congressional District seat, which includes the Northwest Suburbs of Chicago. Democratic U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth currently holds the seat, and she announced her plans to run for the U.S. Senate instead of re-election to the U.S House of Representatives. Raja ran for the 8th District seat in 2012, losing to Duckworth in the Democratic primary. He subsequently worked for her general election victory over incumbent Republican Joe Walsh. He will form a federal election campaign committee later this week. One of the first tasks for him and the committee would be to get Democratic nomination about which he is hopeful as a good number of front ranking Democrat leaders have been hugely supportive. So far he is the only candidate declaring his intention to run for the Congressional seat

In a talk to this paper, Raja said that prominent and recognized names in the Democratic Party like Congressman Danny Davis, State Senator Dan Kotowski, Schaumburg Township Committeeman Mike Cudzik, Former Palatine Committeeman Sue Walton, and many others have blessed his candidacy. "Tammy has been an excellent Representative for this district," said Krishnamoorthi, a Democrat. "I want to continue Tammy's advocacy for working families, with a focus on helping more people to succeed in the new economy. I will work hard to provide education and job opportunities so more families can achieve the economic security they need." He said the main plank for his campaign will be to enable working families to reach and hold on to economic security. "I want them

to enjoy economic upward mobility and the ability to climb the eco-

nomic ladder. We are all better off when Americans enjoy the economic freedom to realize their full potential, he said

Performers parade as Hindu gods in NY cabaret India Post News Service

NEW YORK: Indian Americans across New York and the country are upset at trivializing their deities at the launch party of "Rosé Vintage 2004" champagne of prestigious French brand Dom Pérignon in New York City on March 27. According to reports, at this invitation only chic and grand cabaret soirée hosted to fete the launch of this newest Dom Pérignon iteration and attended by many celebrity guests from fashion, film-making, hoteling, modeling, cooking, television, art

fields; performers dressed and painted as Hindu gods, including Lord Ganesh, took to the stage in slow motion. This cabaret included

Performers dressed and painted as Hindu gods, including Lord Ganesh, took to the stage in slow motion. This cabaret included a topless performer also.

a topless performer also. Some termed it as "Champagne Circus" and "wild, loud, decadent show". Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada, said that Hindu deities were meant to be worshipped in temples and home shrines and it was highly inappropriate to unnecessarily parade them in loud cabarets. Zed has strongly pitched to the Chairman of Paris headquartered LVMH Companies Bernard Arnault, and head of its subsidiary Dom Pérignon, to offer formal apology for hurting the feelings of the Indian community at large. Cont’d on page 19

Krishnamoorthi, 41, of Schaumburg, has a unique understanding of the challenges facing the US economy and their implications for families and future workers. With successful experience in both the public and private sectors, he will go to Congress with clear ideas to help more Americans find good jobs and economic security in a changing world. Raja currently serves as President of Sivananthan Labs and Episolar, Inc., small businesses that sell products in the national security and renewable energy industries. He is a co-founder of InSPIRE, a non-profit organization that provides training to Illinois students and veterans in solar technology, and was formerly Vice-Chairman of the Illinois Innovation Council. "In our rapidly changing global economy, the ability of working families to reach and hold on to economic security is under threat." Krishnamoorthi said. "We need people in Congress who understand the opportunities provided by the New Economy and how to make sure more Americans are prepared to seize them. Raja previously served as Illinois's Deputy Treasurer where he helped revamp the state's unclaimed property system by using technology to increase the amount of property returned to taxpayers while cutting the program's costs. He also helped run the state's technology venture capital fund, assisting in the creation of hundreds of good-paying jobs in Illinois. The son of Indian immigrants to the US, Raja was raised in Peoria, Illinois, where he attended public schools and graduated as a valedictorian of his high school class. Raja earned his bachelor's degree summa cum laude in mechanical engineering from Princeton University and graduated with honors from Harvard Law School. Following law school, Raja clerked for a federal judge in Chicago, served as issues director for Barack Obama's successful United States Senate campaign in 2004, and became a partner at an Illinois law firm.


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Lutheran church turns Hindu Milan Mandir MADHU PATEL

FARMINGTON: A former Lutheran Church building in Farmington (Minnesota) is now Minnesota Hindu Milan Mandir (MHMM) after some repairs. Launched few months back, this about 18,000 square feet Temple reportedly opens every day; and besides sanctuary for worship services, also serves as a community center. The principle goal of the Minnesota

Hindu Milan Mandir is to promote the aims and objectives of the Bharat Sevashram Sangha and Swami Pranavanandaji Maharaj. These include: 1) To create an environment favorable for moral and spiritual growth; 2) To establish educational and cultural facilities in the community; 3) To foster a greater awareness of the spiritual, and cultural heritage

of India; 4) To promote sympathy, tolerance, love, respect and unity among the human race; 5) To help the distressed, nurse the sick, feed the hungry and clothe the naked; 6) To provide necessary financial/relief assistance in times of flood, famine, earthquake and other disastrous conditions; and 7) To

manitarian programs, etc. Omkar "Bobby" Ghamandi, Satya Balroop, Tara Jeffrey and Swami Parameshananda are President, General Secretary, Executive Board member and Minister respectively of MHMM. It is important to pass on Hindu spiritu-

Congress & President need to consult - & not just on Iran

C

LEE H. HAMILTON

ongress has developed a fondness likely to be reversed by a future president. for open letters when it comes to Presidential deals with other countries are Iran. First came the warning shot rarely overturned by their successors. signed by 47 Republican Senators that Yet the fact that a president can act on touched off a storm of criticism. Not to be his own does not mean that he should do outdone, the House checked in with its own so. The reliance on executive orders means bipartisan and more diplomatically stated we have no clear mechanism, or even reletter to the President, warning that its mem- quirement, for the President to consult and bers must be satisfied with any agreement work with Congress on foreign policy. And before they'll vote to rethat's crucial. The Presiduce sanctions. dent and the Congress What lies behind these need to consult regularly moves? I think Congress and in depth before probfeels left out of foreign lems come to a head. Suspolicy-making. tained and respectful I have considerable consultation would go a sympathy for this impulse. long way toward avoidOver the decades, too ing the acrimonious conmuch power has drifted to tention over foreign the President when it policy that we've seen of comes to foreign affairs. late. The Congress has been Congress's bid to redeferential, even timid, in open this question is not, allowing this to happen. in and of itself, a bad And the President has not thing. But if the President Lee Hamilton done a sufficient job of and the Congress want to consulting with Congress. avoid these flare-ups and Yet much as I want to see Congress speak strengthen the nation's foreign policy, they up on foreign policy, how it does so mat- should exercise in-depth, sustained consulters. The Senate's letter to Iran was ill-con- tation. sidered and unhelpful. Its purpose was to Lee Hamilton is Distinguished Scholar, defeat the nuclear negotiations and it un- Indiana University School of Global and Indercut the President while he was trying to ternational Studies; Professor of Practice, negotiate a deal with another world leader. IU School of Public and Environmental AfThe letter did focus appropriately on fairs; and Chairman, Center on Congress at presidential use of executive orders to con- Indiana University. He served as U.S. Repduct foreign policy, but it wrongly sug- resentative from Indiana's 9th Congresgested that an executive order on Iran is sional District from 1965-1999.

Hindu Milan Mandir in Minnesota

promote sympathy, tolerance, love, respect and unity among the human race. The Temple, whose history goes back to about 15 years, also offers classes in Indian music, meditation and Hindi language and plans to offer yoga, organize cultural and educational programs, open a soup-kitchen, and undertake multi-faith activities and hu-

ality, concepts and traditions to coming generations amidst so many distractions in the consumerist society, said Rajan Zed, President of Universal Society of Hinduism. He exuded confidence that this temple would help in this direction. Todd Larson is Mayor of Farmington, which touches Vermillion River and was incorporated in 1872.


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Dwarkamai celebrates Sai Palki Utsav JAGAN BUKKARAJU

CHICAGO: Dwarkamai organized its annual Sai Rainbow cultural program and annual Spiritual Walk Festival called "Shri Shirdi Sai Palki Utsav", on Saturday, March 28 at Eisenhower Junior High School, Hoffman Estates, a northwest suburb of Chicago. The event was attended by about 500 people including families and kids, who participated and celebrated the grand event, laced

with cultural programs and Palki (palanquin) procession of Shri Shirdi Sai Baba. The event got kicked off with the chanting of Sri Hanuman Chalisa and Guru Datta in the divine presence of Shri Sai Baba (idol and a picture); placed in flower bedecked silver Sai Palki (palanquin). The chanting was led by Sekhar Devarapalli of Chicago Baladatta Center, which was fol-

Shri Saibaba Palki

lowed by singing of national anthems of USA and India by a group of children. The bearers of the Palki holding their silver Raj Dhand (royal and pompous sticks) were dressed in cute and traditional Indian palki bearer's dress (Bhaledhar attire), embroidered with colorful stones. The cultural performances were emceed by Anita Ravindra Kumar and Venu Mattey. Performances

included a mix of song and dance for his wisdom, secular and spirisequences from various parts of tual inclusivity. Massachusetts India, with a blend of spiritual, folk has three branches in and around and Bollywood style items. Each Boston metro. performance was received by the This organization does not proaudience with thunderous ap- mote raising huge funds for larger plause. real estate development. To miniThe cultural event was fol- mize costs and to maximize devolowed by a grand temple-like pro- tion, it has been running temple cession. It reminded many partici- facilities in rental places, which pants of the traditional temple pro- involves bare minimum costs to cessions held in India; where all the devotees. The organization is the participants in the procession run entirely by volunteers. Their such as men, women, kids and concept is to boost devotion at a children alike dance in front of the minimum startup cost and latter men-drawn chariot with temple convert the facilities into a permadeities, to the tunes of songs, glorifying the temple god. The Palki adorned by Sai The Palki adorned by Sai Baba deity was Baba deity was shouldershoulder-lifted by the lifted by the men and rest of men and rest of the revthe revelers danced with elers danced with traditional temple brass bells traditional temple brass bells (manjira) and decorated (manjira) and decorated bamboo sticks (dandiya) in groups en- bamboo sticks (dandiya) joying the occasion. The procession concluded with a grand Harathi (oil lit nent place of worship in each of temple lights) performed by all the the location. participants to seek the blessings Dwarkamai plays major roles in of the Lord. community drives including runLocal business owners from ning sport tournaments to faciliHoffman Estates and Schaumburg tate support to local Boston area displayed colorful Indian children's hospital and Perkins dresses and ornaments for sale at School of Blind and back-tothe "Sai Mela" in the school corri- school program for needy children. dors, which added color to the fes- It is planning to either rent or own tivities. The event was preceded a place, near Schaumburg area to and followed by a sumptuous In- house the deities of Sai Baba and dian breakfast and lunch. The Dattatreya. The plan is also to use Annadanam was sponsored by the facility to provide other volthe volunteers of Dwarkamai. All untary services such as health the interested devotees who at- care to the needy devotees and

Saibaba aarti

tended this event and are interested to attend future events can visit www.Dwarkamai.org, to get to know more details about the upcoming temple at Schaumburg, IL. Dwarkamai based in Naperville, Illinois is a non-profit organization, started by the devotees of Shri Shirdi Sai Baba, a saint well-known

community members; Ayurveda (traditional Indian herbal healing form) and pranic healing and yoga camps. The facility and the services are planned to be manned and run by volunteers. The event held on Saturday was very successful and all the devotees had a lot of "spiritual fun and frolic".


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India Association celebrates Spring Festival ASHWIN PATEL

ST LOUIS: Indian Association of St. Louis celebrated the Spring Festival with a lot of enthusiasm and joy keeping up its established tradition of holding it every year. The prime objective is to give a platform to diverse and colorful culture of the Indian community. This year the Spring Festival- 2015 was held on Sunday March 28 at the local Mahatma Gandhi Center and was a huge success, drawing more than 350 visitors.

The day began with vendors bringing their various products and decorating their stalls in the Mahatma Gandhi Center Auditorium. Dr Monider Partap, President Mahatma Gandhi Center, gave a welcome address before ribbon cutting ceremony. All stalls were then opened to the public. Over 20 stalls catered to every need from home décor to Food. The mood was upbeat and hundreds of people enthusiastically

IAS Board members and organizers

Cultural presentation

Hanuman Jayanti celebrated at Glenview Mandir India Post News Service

CHICAGO: Although the construction is half way thru, devotees of Hanumanji wanted to have a grand celebration of Hanuman Jayanti at Hanuman Spiritual and Community Center in Glenview, a northwest suburb of Chicago last week. More than 150 Mandir committee members and devotees led by D r Chandra Khurana gathered at the temple s i t e wherein the 22 ft idol of Hanumanji was uncovered f o r Darshan, Aarti and prayers by those in attendance. It was a site to watch as the spiritual fervor engulfed everyone and all 22 ft tall Hanumanji Idol at Glenview Mandir felt as if

Hanumanji had blessed them. The Mandir was launched with the grace of divine blessings of Hanuman Ji on December 14, 2013 in the presence of 170 dedicated devotees to celebrate the B h u m i Shudhi (land The Mandir construction in full swing and (below) Mandir complex when finished sanctification). The holy occasion marked the acquiring of a 4.1-acre parcel of land situated in Glenview, Illinois, for the construction of Hanuman Spiritual and Community Center, now popularly known as Hanuman Mandir of Greater Chicago. The memorable moment marked the beginning of realization of a noble and long cherished dream of Indian community residing in the northern suburbs of Chicago. The construction is more than half way thru and Dr Khurana expressed the hope that the formal launch of the Mandir will be before the onset of winter this year. It will house the tallest idol of Hanuman Ji and will turn out to be not only a powerful spiritual center but also a great attracDevotees doing Puja at tion for visitors to this windy Hanuman Mandir city.

participated in visiting the stalls and making purchases which continued till the end of the day. Delicious Indian food could be tasted; different varieties of clothes, garments, handicrafts, jewellery could be bought for reasonable prices. In the afternoon, another fun part of the celebrations started in the form of Rangoli Competition for children and adults to channelize their energies towards Rangoli drawings. The huge participation in the competition ended up in a series of beautiful Rangolis in the hall attracting the visitors. The final fascinating program of the day was cultural dances. Several regional cultural dances belting classical and Bollywood

tunes by local talent dazzled the audience for more than two hours. Certificates and prizes were awarded in the end. The event ended on a great note and the organizers thanked everyone for their participation and making the event a grand success. The organization board includes Sharath Rao, President; Meera Jain, President Elect; Shailee Varanasai, Secretary; Vijaya Lakshmi Budhiraju, Treasurer; Krishna Rao Moharir, Public Relations and Web Administrator; Gayatri Chintakunta, Cultural Secretary, Vijaya Kumar Budhiraju, Director; Sendil Rathinasabapathy, Director and Smita Parikh, Director.

the

Performers parade as Hindu gods in NY cabaret Cont’d from page 16

A company like LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, which claimed to be "world leader in highquality products" and which recorded revenue of €30.6 billion in 2014, should have shown some maturity and responsibility before permitting such a show, which was highly insensitive and hurtful to the devotees. There are about three million Hindus and over five million people of Indian origin in USA. The making use of Hindu deities or concepts or symbols for commercial or other agenda is hurtful and is reflective of a "sick mind", many here felt. "It is in a way a

gross misuse of freedom of speech. Indians are largely a peaceful and law abiding community. The same vulgar display of revered figures of any other religion could have triggered riots," said Madhu Patel of NRI Press Club." It tormented the devotees," Zed pointed out and added that businesses should be respectful to various faith traditions. Dom Pérignon, said to be the "most famous champagne on earth", is named after a Benedictine monk Dom Pérignon (1638-1715). It has set records at wine auctions and was reportedly chosen for the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer in 1981.


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Sacramento Kings sign Sim Earth Hour celebrated Bhullar to a 10-day contract by BAPS Mandir India Post News Service

SACRAMENTO, CA: On April 2, the Sacramento Kings signed Sim Bhullar to a 10-day contract, making him the first player of Indian descent to be on an NBA's team roster. And on April 3, the Kings hosted over 500 Sikhs at a home game versus the Charlotte Hornets. In addition to traditional

Bhullar became the first player of Indian descent to sign with an NBA team when he inked a contract with the Kings on August 15, 2014. The 7-foot-5, 360-pound center was a member of the Kings squad that captured the 2014 Samsung NBA Summer League title in Las Vegas. Bhullar played for the Kings DLeague affiliate Reno Bighorns

Rep Ami Bera, Sim Bhullar and Vivek Ranadive

performances, Sacramento Vice Mayor Allen Warren presented a "Sikh Awareness Week" proclamation to Kings Owner and Chairman Vivek Ranadive and minority owner Raj Bhathal. Born in Toronto, Ontario,

and averaged 10.3 points (.727 FG%, .600 FT%), 8.8 rebounds, 3.9 blocks and 25.8 minutes per game in 39 games, of which he started 17. He led the D-League in field goal percentage and blocks per game. Bhullar recorded 11 double-

doubles this season and had a triple-double with 26 points (1215 FG, 2-5 FT), 17 rebounds and 11 blocks on February 22 versus the L.A. Defenders. On February 26, Bhullar became the first NBA D-League player to make a guest appearance on a late night talk show when he joined the "The Late Late Show" with guest host Kunal Nayyar of "The Big Bang Theory." In his two seasons at New Mexico State, the Aggies standout averaged 10.2 points (.633 FG%, .496 FT%), 7.2 rebounds, 1.0 assists, 2.9 blocks and 25.3 minutes per game in 65 career games. Bhullar was a two-time Western Athletic Conference Tournament MVP, helping the school reach the NCAA Tournament in 2013 and 2014. As a freshman, he was named WAC Freshman of the Year after accruing averages of 10.1 points (.621 FG%, .465 FT%), 6.7 rebounds, 2.4 blocks and 24.4 minutes per game for the Aggies. He set a single-season school record for most blocked shots with 85 and his .621 field goal percentage ranked fourth on the NMSU single-season list and first in the WAC in 2012-13.

Indian Americans honor District Court Chief Judge India Post News Service

NEW YORK: Samir Chopra, President-Elect of Indian Americans of New York, recently hon-

ored the Chief Judge of the Eastern District of New York. Judge Bagley was nominated by President Bush in 1990. Prior she was a trial Attorney at the Department

Samir Chopra with Chief judge Bagley

of Justice and was an Assistant United States Attorney and Chief of General Crimes. Samir Chopra said, "Judge Bagley has her legacy steeped in public service, her commitment is to the District Court and its constituents. She is a leader by example and has a long track record of fairness, honesty and leadership." Samir Chopra, a marathon runner and triathlete is a past recipient of the Walter Upjohn Award. He has served as Director of the South Asian Bar Association, Trustee of the Hindu Center in New York and Director of the Indian American Committee, after completing his education at Emory University, INSEAD and Harvard. He has been honored by all three of the past Governors of the State of New York, the US Congress and the United States Senate.

CHINO HILLS, CA: Renowned landmarks in cities around the world switched off all lights for 60 minutes on Saturday to honor their commitment to protecting the planet. Joining these municipalities, the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Chino Hills, California observed its third annual Earth Hour at 8:30 pm on Saturday, March 28. Earth Hour is organized by the World Wide Fund for Nature. It

volunteer Krupa Shah, "and it is our responsibility to join together to do our part in sustaining the environment." BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha has pledged to join millions of individuals, businesses and governments around the world in turning off their lights for Earth Hour. Demonstrating a yearround commitment to the principles of environmental sustainability symbolized by Earth Hour, BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha is continuously finding

started in Sydney, Australia as a single city event in 2007. Over the years, it has grown to become one of the world's largest voluntary actions for the environment. BAPS volunteers worked together to arrange candles along the outer staircase and across the inner sanctum of the Mandir. The evening rituals were performed by candlelight. "The candlelit Mandir reminded me that anyone can contribute to the global effort in protecting our earth," said

innovative ways to creatively harness cutting edge environmental designs and materials in its Mandirs and activities. Currently, many BAPS facilities utilize solar power, LED lighting, power saving fiber optics and management practices to ensure energy consumption is both optimal and efficient. Earth Hour was also observed at BAPS Mandirs across North America and at Swaminarayan Akshardham in New Delhi.

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Residents Medical lands residency for its candidates

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here is no more unique or complex strategy to getting Foreign and International Medical Graduates (FMGs and IMGs) into US residency positions than the impressive path developed by Residents Medical. The 21 year-old organization in Los Angeles, under new leadership, has recently celebrated its many clients matching into specialties across the country from Internal Medicine, Family Medicine, Psychiatry, and Pathology. With over 1000 US graduates going unmatched this year and over 6000 IMGs and FMGs going unmatched the competition is not getting any easier, comments Alec Linarte, Sales Manager of Residents Medical's Student Services Division that offers residency guidance, paid research fellowships, hands-on externships as well as some of the best USMLE instruction in America. "We give candidates a chance to prove themselves in a program where we have relationships with Program Directors, Chairpersons of the Department (i.e. OB, Peds, and IM), DIOs or heads of the GME and Primary Investigators of research divisions at university-based residency programs and hospitals," observes Alec Linarte. "Residents Medical takes pride in the fact that any one of our candidates we're helping toward residency is usually at the top of the program after our unique guidance and recruitment strategies," he says. Greg Heffernan, Vice President of Student Services and the Hospital Accreditation division that assists hospitals starting ACGME residency programs, echoes Linarte's observation. "Program Directors want their residents to exude professionalism and good patient care as they represent both the hospital and the residency program," he says. "Once we line up a path for our candidates we prepare them with an associate dean and an actual program director so they come prepared for interviews, clinical experience as well as research protocols. It's a total package. And that's why Program Directors like our candidates. They have all the ACGME Core Competencies. They know it," he says. Linarte states that this year's match was particularly challenging with more FMGs trying to get into Internal Medicine and Family Medicine, while new US medical students are starting to move into these specialties once dominated by foreign medical doctors. "There were only 246 new Internal Medicine slots and 86 Family Medicine slots created this year and that is barely a dent into the massive amount of applicants for those spots. Plus many program directors told us the USMLE scores are getting higher for applicants, making it more challenging for low or average scoring applicants. This is why candidates come on board with us to get inside the programs to rank," says Linarte. All the more reason many IMGs, FMGs and even US graduates are now reaching out to Residents Medical to assist them in getting in. "We are seeing more US grads coming to us for services. We also give FMGs and IMGs the chance they need. ERAS is now becoming a tough "crap shoot" for many FMGs who have no connection but their CV and scores. You need

TOM SHELLEY

mentorship now. You need to have the Program Director know who you are. Our candidates are more than just a CV," says Heffernan, who explains that one of their matched clients was a doctor who had an attempt on CK but whose background in GI research made him a perfect asset to an Internal Medicine Program looking for someone of that caliber. "This doctor would not have had the chance to let this program know his gifts and match him in unless he came to us and let us introduce him into the system. After I recom-

mended him, they got a chance to work with him and they snatched him up in a minute because they saw his gifts and talents. There is really no other way now to get into residency in this doctor's case," he says. "Get into research with a Program Director in our network, or a Program Chairman. Let them get to know you. Let them mentor you," says Linarte. "There's a mass of candidates coming from all over the world now. And scores are critical. If you haven't taken your USMLE's then come to us and let us help you get a good score like240 or 250.

Don't risk your most important exams to inferior instructors. Our tutors must score 250 or better on their step scores. Can any other organization claim that?" he says. Heffernan agrees. "Don't be left out. You can be a doctor if you have the drive and commitment. We're here to help make that a reality and we let you get your foot in the door. Sometimes that commitment and the grace of God is all it takes to change your life," he says. Find Residents Medical at www.residentsmedical.com.


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Swaminarayan Jayanti celebrated at BAPS Mandir

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CHINO HILLS, CA: On Sunday, March 29 the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Chino Hills celebrated the auspicious occasion of the 234th birth anniversary of Bhagwan Swaminarayan, recognized as Swaminarayan Jayanti. According to the Hindu calendar, Chaitra Sud Nom also marks the birth of Bhagwan Ram. This year's program commemorated the occasion following the theme Bhakta Thavu Bhagwan Na - on how to become an ideal devotee of Bhagwan. Local youth volunteers organized the Swaminarayan Jayanti festivities. Children and youth dedicated weeks leading up to the event to organize a professional stage production. With classical devotional songs and dance as well as spiritual discourses, they

illustrated examples of exemplary devotees from Bhagwan Swaminarayan and Bhagwan Ram's time, making them relevant to modern day. The program took the audience on a journey through time, highlighting the meaning of

being a true devotee and citing examples such as Sitaji and Hanumanji. With the mission of uplifting the moral standard of society at a time when adharma once prevailed, Bhagwan Swaminarayan helped

enlighten a generation of people by describing the movement to uplift women to the practice of ahimsa (principle of non-violence). The festivities aimed to connect the audience with the life's work of Bhagwan Swaminarayan in

honoring his legacy. Today, the continuation of this journey is seen through His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj who continues to inspire devotees to lead a life built upon spirituality and higher purpose.

Nagesh Kukunoor's Dhanak- A fable of dreams India Post News Service

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s he walked through the sands, feeling the hot wind against his face, the vast expanse instilling fear, his feet sinking deep into the sand with each step he took, in the distant horizon there appeared a bright figure extending his hand with a magic wand. Colors from the wand streamed through the sunlight, urging him to make one wish. The picture in his mind could be real, he would see instead of envisioning, know the color black from darkness and dreams would be his aspirations of a future. Just when he tried to reach for the hand, the alarm went off. Many such dreams have been part of his nights; every morning bringing the hope that there will be a day when he will be able to see. This not just a film, but also a beautiful fable, symbolizing a miracle waiting to happen for the millions who are visually challenged. Indian celluloid has penned

many stories, that have helped us re-live a brother-sister bond, but this one will strike a chord like never before. Dhanak, also meaning rainbow, is an exceptional portrayal of courage, exemplary determination, and an adventurous journey two siblings undertake so that the little boy can see again. This magical fable set in rural Rajasthan, takes us on a journey with its young protagonists, Pari and her vision impaired younger brother Chotu. In her childhood innocence and unaware of the consequences, Pari promises to get back Chotu's vision before his ninth birthday. Little does she know of the mammoth task that lay ahead of her. On one of their weekly trips to see a movie, she sees a poster of a film star asking people to donate their eyes. To

succeed in her quest, she writes several letters to the film star hoping to get her brother's eyesight back through his intervention. Her faith isn't deterred when she doesn't hear from the film star.

A scene from the film Dhanak

Fate intervenes and news spreads that the film star is shooting in a distant village. Confident that she will be able to fulfill this wish, if allowed to meet the film star in person, they embark on their

amazing adventure. Nagesh Kukunoor's film, Dhanak is about their journey, their struggles during it, and the essence of the strong relationship between Pari and Chotu. Will Chotu be able to see again? Will they succeed in this beautiful journey? Travel with Pari and Chotu and see them light up the screen. N a g e s h Kukunoor, the maker of this film is known to bring rainbows to the screen, and his latest creation is no exception. His stories are enchanting by themselves. He has given us exceptional films in the past, and Dhanak has already won two awards at the Berlin Film Festival, 2015. The 13th Annual Indian Film Festival, Los Angeles (IFFLA) will

be screening the film on April 12th, their closing night at the Arclight Cinemas, Hollywood. IFFLA showcases a combination of features, short films, and documentaries, created by both emerging filmmakers and seasoned auteurs. At this festival, you will also learn of an organization that has played the role of "Pari" to millions of visually challenged people. Sankara Eye Foundation, a presenting organization at IFFLA's closing night, is headquartered in the Silicon Valley, USA. It is the charitable wing of Sankara Eye Foundation, India and has been instrumental in helping them succeed in their mission to eradicate curable blindness. With more than a million free eye surgeries to their credit, their goal of Vision 20/20 by 2020 is proof of what desire, determination ,and courage can achieve. It is a rare chance for the audience to witness an unusual engagement of the finest in cinema and the charitable world.


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Importance of Vastu Shastra and its Principles

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astu Shastra is a traditional Indian science of architecture which guides the construction and design of buildings with the natural and simple laws of the universe. Vastu's origin can be traced back to more than 5000 years. This edifice science offers

detailed information about what to keep in mind when selecting a piece of land, and constructing buildings. The Sanskrit word vastu here means a 'house foundation' or a 'site' and shastra translates to 'teaching' or 'science'. Hence, together they mean 'science of construction'. Vastu Shastra is aimed at harnessing the higher energy levels within the self and can help in various aspects of life such as: • Increasing earning potential • Helping in rising higher in career • Success in studies • Enhancing marital bliss • Ensuring good health • Freedom from tensions and anxieties A proper house to live in is the prime necessity for every living being. Its importance has been explained in the Indian civilization thousand years ago. According to it, before constructing our house, hotel, factory, office, clinic, hospital, restaurant, motels etc. we should know (go through) the five elements and do the construction accordingly so that one gets Peace, Prosperity & Happiness. These five elements are Earth, Air, Space, Fire and Water. Our body is also made of these five elements ('Panchbhoota' or 'Panchtatva') and therefore in this whole process Vastu-Shastra has been very much advantageous. The entire Universe, whether it is stars, planets, moons, or any form of life, is made up of these five elements. In buildings, each direction is dominated by one element; a balanced state being the cause of positive, and an imbalanced state the cause of negative effects. It is the balance or imbalance among these 'Panchtatva' that makes one's Space a virtual heaven or hell. An underground water tank in South Zone will cause anxiety, fireaccidents, restlessness and disturbed sleep. Similarly, the fire placed in North Zone (Zone of Water) will block new opportunities, receipt of payments and lack

of orders, as they are attributes of this Zone. So here in these examples, you can see how an imbalanced state of elements in a building creates problematic reallife situations. In Vastu Shastra, eight directions - North, East, West, South,

North-east, South-east, Southwest and North-west are considered as important. SPACE ('Akasha') - 'Akasha' is the sky or space that provides shelter to all the remaining elements. Space is also important because it is considered to be the primary conductor of all forms of energies, be they physical energy such as sound or light; or cognitive energy forms such as intellect and intuition; and even social energy forms such as emotional energy and psychological energy. Space represents expansion, enhancement, extension, spread,

communication and even thought process (Mental Space). Space dominates the Western direction. Balanced State In a balanced state, Space gives you the charge of your destiny. It gives you a sense of direction and the ability to get organized, ensuring that you excel in all that you do. Space gives you the knowledge and awareness to understand new, creative and beneficial ideas. AIR ('Vayu') - Air or 'Vayu' is what gives support to all life on earth. Without oxygen, no living creature would survive on our planet. 'Vayu' is measured in many ways: humidity, airflow, temperature, pressure, composition, etc. Air represents growth in your life. It is also associated with movement, especially rotational movement, so it brings refreshment, fun, joy and happiness in life. This ele-

ment dominates the East. Balanced State Air gives you the courage to

Rewa Kumar

try new things, take risks for your growth and to explore your innerself. You get to meet people who pave the way for your growth and you perform impressively. EARTH ('Bhumi') - The earth or 'Bhumi' is the land that rests both above and below the sea. Self-sustaining and all-powerful, it shapes the very continents and land mass that humanity lives on. Mother Earth gives stability, balance; infinite patience and maturity in character. Earth dominates the center and diagonal directions in every built-up Space. Balanced State When Earth ele-

ment is balanced, it induces stability in your life; be it your career, behavior, relationships, or results of your efforts. It encourages towards a feeling of peace and harmony with the entire world, especially with those related by blood. WATER ('Jala') - Water or 'Jala' is the core of almost all living beings on earth. Our bodies are constituted of a large degree of water and our blood could not be generated without 'Jala'. Even the earth itself is almost 70% water. This shows that water is one of the crucial elements that help in supporting life on earth. It is associated with conception of new ideas, clarity of thoughts, creation of new vision, flowing of new opportunities in your life, healing energy, immunity and restoration of health. Water dominates the North direction in buildings. Balanced State When Water is in balanced state in a building, the people in such buildings are able to see the larger picture of life. Though their attitude towards life becomes spiritual and philosophical, they are, at the core, essentially, worldly beings. FIRE ('Agni') - Fire represents light and heat which account for day, night, the seasons, energy, enthusiasm, passion and vigor. Without this energy, there would be no rotation and revolution around the sun. Fire is represented on earth by the molten core of the planet. Cont’d on page 25

Learn to operate from trust & not from doubt

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r Shekar was on the terrace of a four storied building and watching his building getting engulfed by fire. People gathered below knowing that it will take at least 15 more minutes for the fire tenders to come and put off the fire, held a huge carpet and told him to jump. "I can't believe you rascals," Mr Shekar screamed. "Don't doubt us; believe us now and jump," screamed the crowd assembled below. "After my jumping you will move the carpet," replied Mr Shekar. "Since there is no other way, you must trust us and not doubt us," answered the crowd assembled below. "Yes, there is a way. Keep the carpet on the ground and I will jump," replied Mr Shekar. We are a victim of our doubts. Unhealthy doubts kill us. Learn to operate from trust and not from

SWAMI SUKHABODHANANDA

doubt. Let trust be the center of doubt will teach you and show life circle and doubt be in the cir- you a pathway to trust. Learn to cumference. use your enemy to win him over. The greatest mystery in life is Like how you brush your teeth not life but death. Likewise, the greatest mystery in life is how we trust doubt and doubt the trust. The greatest foolishness of life is we are against death and by that we miss the mystery of death. Instead of being against death Swami Sukhabodhanad see the mystery of death and try to understand it wisely. every day, so too we should clean In the same way don't be our mind often. Learn to come against doubt. See the mystery of from belief and renounce doubt. doubt and try to understand why An intelligent doubt is anchored doubt exists and not trust. Then, in a positive belief. An unintelli-

gent doubt has no foundation. Even in the corporate world, learn to believe that you can reach targets; learn to believe that the team can be motivated and learn to believe everyone will operate out of abundance and not scarcity. From that space, take the steps necessary to achieve your target. Remember, "Cans" create success and "Can't" creates failure. A wise executive is one who approaches life with deep trust and keeps doubts on the side. Such an approach will create many bridges to success. Learn to trust to be a winner in life and don't doubt that. Student, "Sir, I don't deserve a zero." Teacher, "Sorry Mary, I am helpless that is the lowest I can award to any student for the worst performance. Please trust me and don't doubt me on that." Visit Swamiji's website www.swamisukhabodhananda.org


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Transforming bondage-creating karmas into bondage-breaking karmas SWAMI NIKHILANAND

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n the last article, we learnt some useful techniques to practice the constant presence of God, even while engaged in worldly activities. In other words, we learnt how to practically implement karm yog in our daily lives. However, there are a few concepts regard-

ing the benefits of karm yog - let us understand them properly. How does karm yog free one from the bondage of karm? Karm means both the actions we perform, and the results of those actions. Any action performed with a worldly motivation, whether it is good or bad, is binding to the soul, because it creates a result which must be undergone in the next (or any future) life. Thus, karm in itself is neither good nor bad. Depending upon our state of mind, it can be either binding or elevating. Actions performed solely for the gratification of the senses and fulfillment of pride are the cause of bondage in the material world, while work performed for the plea-

sure of the Supreme Lord liberates one from Maya and attracts divine grace. Karm yog is those actions performed free of any worldly motivation, but done only to please God (as an offering to Him). These actions do not produce any binding result to be undergone in the

future. Thus, karm yog is also called akarm, which means nonaction. It means that a karm yogi is not adding to his stock of past actions. Thus, karm yog frees one from the bondage of karm. Since it is our nature to perform actions, we are forced to work in one of the two modes, described above. Thus, if we do not perform actions as a sacrifice to God, we will be forced to work to gratify our mind and senses. On the other hand, if we perform work as a sacrifice, we begin looking upon the entire world and everything within it as His, and therefore, meant to be utilized in His service. However, even if we do not create any new binding karm, we still have unlimited karm from unlim-

ited past lives waiting to fructify. This is called sanchit karm. Since our sanchit karm is unlimited, even if we live unlimited more lives receiving the consequences of all that past karm, we would still have unlimited sanchit karm remaining. Thus, there is no way for a soul to free itself from the bondage of karm through its own effort. It is only through the grace of God, when one achieves the state of total surrender to Him, that one is completely released from karmic bondage. Karm yog is one of the paths that gradually take one closer to this state of complete surrender to God (along with gyan yog and bhakti yog, which will be discussed later). How does karm yog free one from the bondage of birth and death? The Gita teaches us that working without attachment to the fruits of actions, leads one to the state which is beyond suffering. The paradox of life is that we strive for happiness, but reap misery, we crave love but meet with disappointment and we covet life, but are moving toward death with every passing moment. The blind pursuit of finding happiness in the world has been going on for countless lifetimes and yet there is no sight of happiness. The cause of a soul's rebirth in the mayic world is their past unfructified karm. As long as this sanchit karm remains, the soul is bound to take rebirth to continue receiving the consequences of those actions. Once the sanchit karm has been eliminated through God's grace, there is no reason compelling the soul to take birth again. Thus, that soul is freed from the cycle of birth and death.

How does karm yog result in the attainment of God? Karm yog, as described above means performing our actions for the pleasure of God, thus attracting His divine grace. By God's grace, one starts experiencing a deeper connection with the divine and the agitation for sensual desires is gradually reduced. Once that hankering for material objects

By God's grace, one starts experiencing a deeper connection with the divine and the agitation for sensual desires is gradually reduced. Once that hankering for material objects ceases, one goes beyond all suffering and the mind becomes tranquil. ceases, one goes beyond all suffering and the mind becomes tranquil. In that state of internal contentment and peace, the intellect becomes firm in its decision that God alone is the source of happiness and is the ultimate goal of human birth. Previously, the intellect was accepting this only on the basis of knowledge as stated in the scriptures, but now it gets the experience of perfect peace and

Importance of Vastu Shastra and its Principles Swami Nikhilanand Cont’d from page 23

Fire is the driving force behind all life processes and thus is equated with money in modern era. It can transform your life with confidence and enthusiasm. South is the direction of Fire. Balanced State In its balanced state, Fire brings you fame and recognition among the masses. It gives you zeal, power, strength, confidence and money, which become the driving force behind life and its pro-

cesses. The essential premise of Vastu Shastra is that there is always an invisible and constant inter-relation between all five elements. Therefore, any effort by man to build on earth must take into account all five elements and plan accordingly. A building that is made according to the rules of Vastu Shastra will give the inhabitants health, happiness, wealth and prosperity. A building that is made not in accordance to the rules of Vastu

may incidentally incorporate one of the elements, but not the others. This leads to discord and disharmonious living conditions, resulting in loss of wealth, health, happiness and prosperity. Only with proper knowledge and implementation of Vastu Shastra can an abode help the inhabitants to realize their true potential. This collectible article on Vastu Shastra is provided by Rewa Kumar of Divine Vastu Consultations and Research Center

the very form of Divine bliss and knowledge (sat chit anand). After hearing Shree Krishna's explanation of karm yog, Arjun asks what the characteristics of a God realized soul are. How does a Godrealized personality talk, sit, and behave in the world? Let us find out how Shree Krishna answers this question in the next article. Disciple of Shree Kripaluji

bliss. Upon complete surrender to God, He graces you to be freed from the bondage of karm and the cycle of birth and death. Simultaneously, He releases you from the bondage of maya. Maya is the original cosmic energy that has taken the form of the material universe. This material existence is like an endless ocean that separates you from God. With the grace of God, the veil of maya is removed, and you instantly unite with God, Who is

Maharaj: Swami Nikhilanand Ji is a Canadian born Hindu spiritual leader based in Austin, Texas. He is a sanyasi disciple and pracharak of Jagadguru Shree Kripaluji Maharaj. Attracted to the teachings of Hinduism from a young age, Swamiji eventually let his deep spiritual longing lead him to India, where he was most fortunate to come under the guidance of Shree Kripaluji Maharaj. Thereafter, living in the ashrams of JKP, he extensively studied Hindi, the philosophy of the prime Sanskrit scriptures ( V e d a s , D a r s h a n Shastras, Gita, Bhagwatam), and practiced meditation in the tradition of raganuga bhakti. In 2003, he was given sanyas. Swamiji conducts weeklong Family Gita classes across various cities in the U.S. Through these enlightening sessions, Swamiji imparts the true knowledge of the Hindu heritage, tradition and universal principles to children and adults alike. For more information regarding upcoming Family Gita classes in your c i t y, p l e a s e v i s i t h t t p : / / www.familygitaclass.org/


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TOP TEN HINDI FILM SONGS

1 Jeena Jeena : Badlapur 2 Chittiyaan Kalaiyaan : Roy 3 Jee Karda: Badlapur 4 Khamoshiyan : Khamoshiyan 5 Sooraj Dooba Hai : Roy 30 India Post

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close friend of Shahid Kapoor confirms that Shahid Kapoor is indeed marrying Mira Rajput, a student of Delhi who, says the friend, lives in a farm house in Chattarpur. What comes as a surprise is Shahid's age-difference with his fiancee. "She is only 21. She is 13 years junior to Shahid," says the source, adding that there was no pressure from Shahid's father Pankaj Kapoor to marry Mira. "She is the daughter of a family friend, and that's how Shahid met her. But the decision to marry was strictly the couple's. Shahid and Mira liked each other and felt they could spend their lives together. They informed their parents accordingly. After his ill-fated relationships with Kareena Kapoor and Priyanka Chopra, Shahid was sure he didn't want to marry an actress."

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aran Johar might be playing the prime antagonist in Anurag Kashyap's 'Bombay Velvet' but the filmmaker-turned-actor believes his isn't a purely villainous role. "As an actor, I can't have a perspective. I simply followed Anurag's vision because when I am directing that's what I expect from the actors I am working with. I don't play a Mogambo-like role in the film. There is a certain degree of visible flamboyance in Kaizad Khambatta, but he is mainly a grey character who plunges into the black zone from time to time. Anurag's clarity of the character brought in the right colors for the look, the right feel to the role," explains Karan. As an actor, I can't have a perspective. I simply followed Anurag's vision because when I am directing that's what I expect from the actors I am working with

6 Tu Hai Ki Nahi : Roy 7 Judai : Badlapur 8 Tu Har Lamha : Khamoshiyan 9 Chhil Gaye Naina : NH10 10 Dard Karaara : Dum Laga Ke Haisha

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fter several backto-back flops like Humshakals, Bulett Raja and more recently, Raj and Krishna DK's Happy Ending, Saif Ali Khan has put himself in the 'safe' hands of producer Ekta Kapoor who is strategizing his future moves. The actorproducer who has been signed on for Sujoy Ghosh's Bollywood adaptation of the Japanese thriller, The Devotion of Suspect X, being produced by Ekta, recently had a meeting with her in the course of which they discussed two more films which will go on floors once he's finished with the thriller, co-starring Kangana Ranaut and Nawazuddin Siddiqui. His discussion with Ekta revolved around his career and she's given him some sharp insights. One of her suggestions was to do concept driven films that suit his age and justify his talent. He's done with playing the urban Casanova and is now looking for more serious roles," says a source close to the actor.


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kshay Kumar, who is currently busy with promotions of Gabbar Is Back, was overheard saying that Kareena Kapoor Khan's song in the movie, Teri Meri Kahaani, is a treat. Says he, "Bebo has been an integral part of my career; we've done many movies together and I hope we do many more." According to Akshay, Kareena is the quintessential Bollywood heroine who is also a terrific performer. He adds, "Bebo knows how deeply I appreciate her effort and expertise. She is my lucky charm. I'm sure viewers are going to love her in Teri Meri Kahaani. She has brought a kindness to our film like no other." Gabbar Is Back focuses on an aam aadmi (Akshay, whose screen name is Gabbar) waging war against corruption. Excited about the song, Kareena said, "I'm an emotional person. For me, relationships in the industry are of prime importance. My song in Gabbar Is Back is for my friend (co-producer) Shabinaa Khan.�

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rom 'Student of the Year' to 'Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania', Alia Bhatt has established herself well in the film industry. She is to make daddy Mahesh Bhatt even more proud with her upcoming venture. The actress has announced that she would be lending her voice to a music album. People have already heard Alia's lovely voice with 'Sooha Saha' of 'Highway'. Director Imtiaz Ali had been the one to suggest a singing debut to Alia. She says, "I am not a singer... I think I am a bathroom singer. When I was asked to sing I was excited and thought of trying it out." Alia was on could number nine when she was appreciated by Maestro Rahman. Praising Alia, he had said "Imtiaz said Alia has a great voice and I didn't trust him. Then she learned the song and sang to me and I was pretty impressed with her natural ability too. We guided her a little bit to perfect the singing. She did it twice and then we got it almost right and now it sounds great." Alia then crooned 'Samjhawan Unplugged' in 'Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhaniya'. Now that she is confident with her singing skills, she is ready to launch a full album. A reputed music company has offered to launch her music album which would be Alia's birthday gift to herself when she turns 25.

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olden couple Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan has delivered few blockbusters together in the past and now Abhishek Bachchan will be seen playing a cameo in Aishwarya's comeback film, 'Jazbaa' directed by Sanjay Gupta. Aishwarya has begun shooting for the film few months back and now Abhishek joined her on the film set. "Big excitement at the shoot as Abhishek Bachchan shoots his special appearance in Jazbaa," Sanjay Gupta tweeted. In 'Jazbaa' Aishwarya Rai Bachchan plays a lawyer who is forced to defend a death row convict, played by Chandan Roy Sanyal. Irrfan Khan plays a suspended cop. The film also features Shabana Azmi, Anupam Kher, Atul Kulkarni and Siddhant Kapoor in the supporting roles.

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onakshi Sinha, who is training hard for A.R. Murugadoss' actioner Akira, is excited about learning martial arts. She says "learning something new is cool. I have been training a little hard and being innovative now. I think learning something new for a film is very cool. It's a fun thing to do and very exciting," Sonakshi said at a car launch event. "I am just going with the flow. I am enjoying what I am learning and trying to do my best in whatever I do," she added. Akira is the Hindi remake of 2011 Tamil hit Mounaguru and it features Sonakshi's father Shatrughan Sinha as well.

"I am just going with the flow. I am enjoying what I am learning and trying to do my best in whatever I do,


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Realty Tidbits

Simon calls off bid to create mall colossus INDIANAPOLIS: Simon Property Group is calling off its hostile $16.8 billion takeover bid for Macerich, which would have tied together two of the nation's largest mall operators. The Indianapolis company upped its bid two weeks ago to $95.50 per share from $91, calling that its best and final offer and giving Macerich an April 1 deadline to respond. The new offer was valued at $23.2 billion counting debt. Simon announced that it had withdrawn the offer, shortly after Macerich's board unanimously rejected the bid. The Macerich board concluded that now was not the right time to sell, said director Fred Hubbell in a printed statement. ``The independent directors and management are absolutely united in the belief that the execution of Macerich's business strategy will deliver more value for stockholders than Simon's proposal,'' he said. Simon disclosed in November that it had accumulated a 3.6 percent stake in Macerich. It went public with its takeover bid in early March, saying that Macerich was refusing to negotiate. Simon is a real estate investment trust that operates more than 200 properties in the United States, with a heavy presence in Florida, Texas and California. It also runs shopping centers in Canada, Japan, Mexico and other countries.-AP

„ Jackson Hole building permit activity up JACKSON, Wyo.: Building permit activity in Jackson Hole has picked up significantly during the first three months of this year. Both the town of Jackson and Teton County have approved more permits to landowners during the first three months of the year than they did during the same time period in 2014. In addition, the value of those permits has jumped significantly. In Jackson, 33 permits worth $8.82 million were issued in the first quarter. During the first quarter of 2014 the totals were 22 permits worth $3.32 million. The county has issued 61 building permits so far in 2015, compared with 46 in the first quarter of 2014. The Jackson Hole News & Guide reports that much of this year's activity in Jackson Hole is from commercial development.-AP

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Mason City housing project awarded tax credits MASON CITY, Iowa: A Mason City senior affordable living development has been awarded $485,064 in state tax credits. The Mason City Globe Gazette reports that Legacy Manor of Mason City II was awarded the Workforce Housing tax credits through the Iowa Economic Development Authority. Legacy Manor opened in 2013 and plans to break ground on a second phase this spring, according to the company's website. -AP

Global ultra-wealthy buying designer condos in Miami SUNNY ISLES BEACH, Florida: The wow factor for Miami's skyscraper condos no longer comes from a dazzling Atlantic Ocean view. It takes something more audacious to sell beachfront property these days to the global ultrawealthy who arrive in Miami with millions to spend on second or third homes. It takes words invested with meaning in the language of the international jet set: Porsche. Giorgio Armani. Fendi. With a slew of residential and hotel developments, Miami is embracing the notion that homes, like cars, handbags and jewelry, should carry luxe designer labels. The trend has spread from Europe, Asia and the Middle East, where developers discovered a few years ago that luxury-branded hotels and homes could command huge premiums that the moneyed set would happily pay. Having transformed New York and London, the wealthy are in-

creasingly pursuing new havens. Miami is luring Argentinians, Brazilians, Chinese, Russians and French, some of whom seek ref-

chases go beyond the appeal of haute logos: Owning an asset priced in dollars can protect fortunes from the shrunken values of

The under-construction Porsche Design Tower in Sunny Isles Beach, Fla. With a slew of residential and hotel developments, Miami is embracing the notion that homes, like cars, handbags and jewelry, should carry luxe designer labels.

uge from political instability and higher taxes at home. The pur-

euros, pesos and rubles. The pull is so powerful that

developer Gil Dezer's Porsche Design Tower is mostly sold-out, even though construction won't wrap until early 2016, meaning that most buyers committed millions based on blueprints. Shaped like a piston driven into sand, the concrete-and-glass Porsche Design Tower will contain three car elevators. Each can whisk a convertible up 60 stories and then slide it into the owner's personal steel-reinforced garage. (The owner can stay in the driver's seat.) Inside the apartments, curved windows capture a vista of waves billowing from a midnight blue into a pale green along the shore. For the designers and builders, the partnership offers dual rewards: The brands gain a revenue stream and enhance their caché. The developers and owners benefit from the allure of a treasured name and logo. Cont’d on page 34

Dallas developer building 77-space garage DALLAS: Real estate investor Harlan Crow is trying to ease concerns of his neighbors in the wealthy Dallas enclave of Highland Park about construction of a 77-space underground garage on his estate. Crow, 65, CEO of Dallasbased Crow Holdings, says the $5.1 million project is intended for guests to a large library at his family's home and for those attending other functions at his estate like political fundraisers who would have to park on the streets. Neighbors worry about buses and tour groups if he turns the 8-acre estate, now zoned as a single-family dwelling, into a museum. ``It's hard for me to see how a 77-space parking garage can be construed as a single-residence use,'' Michael Lewis, who lives next door, told The Dallas Morning News. Property records show the

site has an eight-bedroom home, a greenhouse, a swimming pool and two unattached servants' quarters. Two years ago the 65-year-old

open it up to more people,'' another neighbor, Laura Williamson, said. ``Accommodating the cars he has is a good idea, but it's going to enable him to have larger groups.''

Heavy equipment is carving out an underground garage at the Highland Park home of Harlan Crow. Neighbors wonder if it’s part of a plan to open his home museum to more people. Crow says it will give his kids a place to play on a rainy day.

CEO tried to get ``historical collection'' added to the zoning definition for his home, then dropped the proposal amid similar opposition from neighbors. ``I'm afraid they're going to

The Harlan Crow Library is in a wing of Crow's mansion. It holds thousands of rare books, manuscripts and artwork related to American politics, science and literature and employs a full- and

part-time librarian. The property also includes a sculpture garden. ``I have what I hope is a very fine collection of manuscripts and books pertaining to American history,'' Crow said. ``And to the extent that I can share that with people from the area in a way that is educational and enjoyable, then I feel like I've done a good thing. ``And that has been and continues to be what I want to do.'' He said the parking area will be more convenient for guests and neighbors. ``And other than that, I see no impact on the whole matter,'' he said. Crow said he's had ``a good couple of years'' and can afford the project, which he sees also being used by his three children for sports activities on rainy days. Williamson said she's been in the library, enjoyed the visit and found it beautiful. ``It's simply in the wrong place,'' she said.-AP


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Godrej to develop housing project in Bengaluru NEW DELHI: Realty firm Godrej Properties has said it has entered into a new deal to develop a housing project at Bengaluru. The proposed project will offer about 79,000 square meters (0.85

new deal to develop a residential project at Whitefield in Bengaluru," the Mumbai-based developer said in a statement. As with most Godrej Properties' projects, this project will be devel-

Recently, Godrej Properties had announced development of a new 43 acre-township project at Pune million sq ft) of saleable area. "Godrej Properties, the real estate development arm of the Godrej Group, has entered into a

oped under a profit-sharing model. "We are very happy to add a new residential project in Bengaluru. This is our eighth

project in Bengaluru and second in Whitefield," said Godrej Properties Managing Director & CEO Pirojsha Godrej. This development fits well with the company's strategy to strengthen portfolio in leading real estate markets, he added. Recently, Godrej Properties had announced development of a new 43 acre-township project at Pune in partnership with two other companies. It also entered into a new deal to develop a residential project at Joka in south Kolkata. The proposed project will offer about 277,000 square meters (3 million sq. ft.) of saleable area. At present, Godrej Properties is developing residential, commercial and township projects spread across 108 million sq ft in 12 cities. -PTI

CBRE to buy Johnson Control's real estate biz HONG KONG/NEW DELHI: Real estate consultancy firm CBRE has entered into an agreement to acquire Johnson Controls' work space solution business GWS for USD 1.475 billion in an all cash deal. Together, CBRE and GWS will manage nearly 5 billion square feet of real estate and corporate facilities globally, including 1.4 billion square feet in Asia Pacific, CBRE said in a statement. CBRE has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire the Global WorkPlace Solutions (GWS) business of Johnson Controls, Inc. The "purchase price of the deal is USD 1.475 billion, payable in cash", the statement said.

"Global WorkPlace Solutions (GWS) will operate as part of CBRE's Global Corporate Services (GCS) business, which has increased revenue at a doubledigit compound annual growth rate over the last decade," it said.

manufacturing, life-sciences, and technology sectors. It has approximately 16,000 employe e s worldwide

GWS serves a blue-chip roster of global corporations, particularly in the industrial or

and generated approximately USD 3.4 billion of revenue for the 12 months ended December 31, 2014. "GWS will further improve our ability to serve clients in more than 50 countries with a marketleading capability in all services, industry sectors and property types. The GWS team is a great fit for our business," CBRE GCS CEO Bill Concannon said. CBRE and Johnson Controls also announced a 10-year strategic relationship. As per the agreement CBRE will provide Johnson Controls an integrated corporate real estate services including facilities management, project management and transaction services on more than 50 million square feet. -PTI

Global ultra-wealthy buying designer condos in Miami Cont’d `` from page 32

ternational buyers, Redfin found. Nationwide, by contrast, all-cash sales accounted for only about a quarter of purchases in February, according to the National Association of Realtors. A result is that the demand for branded condos is far outpacing the fundamentals of a Miami-area economy that's still recovering from the housing bust. Over the past year, average hourly wages in metro Miami have risen just 1.3 percent to $22.74 an hour, according to the Labor Department, below national averages. ``The typical metrics used to

What we're selling is luxury,'' Dezer said. ``The buyers already know the brand. They like the style, they like the look and that's why they feel more comfortable buying it.'' Dezer is also taking reservations for condos at the Armani Casa. The Chateau Group is building the Fendi Chateau (named for the Italian fashion house) steps from the Chanel, Gucci and Tiffany boutiques. Nearby is the Faena District, a condo, hotel and cultural center backed by Argentinian hotelier and fashion designer Alan Faena. Their emergence has spawned thousands of skilled construction jobs. Yet it's also produced an epic surge A Porsche Panamera Turbo is used to test the car elevator and parking technology being developed for the Miamiin home prices. And area Porsche Design Tower at Mid-American Elevator Co, in Crest Hill, III. Each of the Porsche Design Tower's three it's walled off car elevators will be able to whisk a vehicle with its Miami's passengers still inside, up 60 stories and then slide it into coastline bethe owner's personal steel-reinforced garage. hind a phalanx of skyscrapers that has isolated measure real estate markets - such low and middle-income residents. as local job growth - don't apply Many have had to buy farther and here,'' said Neisen Kasdin, a former farther inland, said Aaron Drucker, Miami Beach mayor and lawyer a managing agent for Redfin, the who represents developers of the Faena District. ``I've never seen real estate brokerage. ``Locals are not really part of this congregation of wealth bethe party,'' Drucker said. ``It's a fore.'' Branded homes are helping atlittle bittersweet for folks who aren't going to be able to enjoy tract some buyers who weren't familiar with Miami's luxury housing, the beauty of Miami.'' Demand from European and said Liam Bailey, global head of South American buyers caused research at the London-based real prices for the top 5 percent of estate consultancy Knight Frank. ``There is a marketing benefit homes around Miami Beach to surge 66 percent in the past year of having a brand that is recogto $6.3 million, according to nized outside the market,'' Bailey Redfin. That compares with a 5 said. ``There is an element of trust.'' The developers enjoy a growpercent increase in luxury prices ing pool of wealth to target. nationwide. Miami Beach's gains dwarfed the price increases of top- Roughly 173,000 individuals tier homes in San Francisco, Los worldwide are worth more than $30 million, a population that rose 3 Angeles and Washington D.C. Global buyers are largely pay- percent last year, according to a ing with cash. Some may be shift- report by Knight-Frank. Their ing their holdings from U.S. bank numbers are forecast to swell an accounts after the IRS sought to additional 34 percent over the next reduce tax avoidance in 2012 by decade, meaning that more foreign requiring banks to report interest buyers will be looking for homes earned on accounts held by for- in New York, Los Angeles, Miami eigners. Those accounts are esti- and elsewhere. In setting up the Porsche Demated to hold up to $400 billion, sign Tower, Dezer identified and according to court filings. Two-thirds of sales in the Mi- sent packages to 1,500 individuami area were all-cash, compared als with an affinity for the German with 48 percent in other U.S. mar- automaker. The outreach prokets with high proportions of in- duced 62 sales. -AP


„ Health

Line

NYC secures $400 million in health care savings NEW YORK: New York City Bill de Blasio's administration is saying the city has secured $400 million in health care savings from municipal unions. Labor Commissioner Bob Linn testified in front of the City Council. The de Blasio administration has struck new labor contracts with more than three-quarters of the city's unions. As part of those deals, the unions have to find health care savings to offset new expenditures. In total, the city plans to spend $400 million less in health care costs in the current fiscal year. Linn said it will continue to increase until it reaches a total of $3.4 billion by Fiscal year 2018. Some council members expressed skepticism about the plan and said they were concerned that public sector employees would receive fewer benefits.-AP

„ Multitasking may damage your brain WASHINGTON: Multitasking may hamper your performance and even damage your brain, new research has claimed. A study conducted at Stanford University found that people who are regularly bombarded with several streams of electronic information cannot pay attention, recall, or switch from one job to another as well as those who complete one task at a time. Researchers compared groups of people based on their tendency to multitask and their belief that it helps their performance. They found that heavy multitaskers were actually worse at multitasking than those who like to do a single thing at a time. Frequent multitaskers performed worse because they had more trouble organizing their thoughts and filtering out irrelevant information, and they were slower at switching from one task to another, 'entrepreneur.com' reported. Research also shows that, in addition to slowing you down, multitasking lowers your IQ. Another study at the University of London found that participants who multitasked during cognitive tasks experienced IQ score declines that were similar to what they would expect if they had smoked marijuana or stayed up all night. IQ drops of 15 points for multitasking men lowered their scores to the average range of an 8year-old child, researchers said.-PTI

Health Science

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Lung Foundation urges large graphic warnings on tobacco packs NEW DELHI: World Lung Foundation and the doctor who was with Sunita Tomar in her final hours has appealed to the government to implement large graphic health warnings on tobacco packs without delay, saying it will be a fitting tribute to the brave woman, who died of oral cancer. After being diagnosed with tobacco-related oral cancer, Sunita had agreed to tell her story in a Public Service Announcement (PSA) to raise awareness about the harms of tobacco and to help prevent others from suffering her fate. World Lung Foundation's team in India came to know about Sunita as it supported the Union Ministry of Health in the filming of the PSA and the development and launch of the campaign. The government recently decided to defer implementation of a notification for increasing the size of pictorial health warning on cigarette packets and various other tobacco products. Large graphic warnings have proved highly effective in warning people about the health hazards of tobacco, irrespective of the audience's level of literacy. The graphic warnings also transcend language barriers in a

country like India. A study published last year in the Journal of Public Health based on research in India and several other low and middle-income countries - found that of all the countries surveyed, children in India exhibited the lowest lev-

edge she didn't have," Nandita Murukulta, Country Director, India and Director of Global Research and Evaluation, World Lung Foundation said. Vaishakhi Mallik, Program Manager, India worked closely with Sunita during the filming of

els of awareness of health warnings on tobacco packs. "We were saddened to hear of the death of Sunita Tomar. Like many women, Sunita began to chew tobacco in the form of an oral dentifrice, ignorant of the lethal effects of a supposed dental hygiene product. Within a few years, she developed oral cancer. Hers is not an uncommon story. "Sunita was exceptional in her desire to warn others about the harms of tobacco, to provide them with the information and knowl-

the PSA and recalled, "Sunita was a true fighter. During the filming she was frequently tired and uncomfortable, but she overcame her physical and emotional pain to speak with dignity and clarity to the media, never flinching in the face of all that scrutiny. She wanted to fight for a tobacco free world." Dr Pankaj Chaturvedi of Tata Memorial Hospital, who was Sunita's surgeon and was with her in her final days said she wanted to see government commitment

towards tobacco control. "To her that meant implementing strong tobacco control measures, including large graphic warnings. It looked like the government had heeded that call, but duplicitous tobacco industry tactics and misinformation, which stand in clear contrast to Sunita's honesty and bravery, is delaying progress. "Rapid implementation of these warnings, rather than delays motivated by the tobacco industry's desire to keep its profits high, would be a fitting tribute to this brave woman," he said. Union Health Ministry had issued a notification last year making it mandatory for cigarette companies to devote at least 85 per cent of the surface areas of cigarette packets on both sides to graphically and literally represent the statutory warning. Of the 85 per cent space, 60 per cent had to be used for pictorial warning and the rest 25 per cent had to contain warning messages in English, Hindi or any other Indian language. According to The Tobacco Atlas, tobacco is the cause of 14.3 per cent of male deaths and 4.7 per cent of women deaths in India, killing over 9,81,100 Indian citizens every year.-PTI

Federal govt suspends health care talks TALLAHASSEE, Fla.: Florida officials say the federal government is suspending negotiations over the potential loss of more than $1 billion in money now flowing to the state's hospitals. The move comes at a critical time: The Florida Legislature is trying to finalize a new state budget between now and the end of the session on May 1. Senate Republicans have vowed that they will not vote for a budget if it requires large cuts to hospitals. Agency for Health Care Administration Secretary Liz Dudek said that federal officials are halting negotiations for at least two

weeks because a top official is not available. ``This was sudden and disappointing news,'' Dudek said in a statement. She added that the de-

Federal officials did not respond in detail to Dudek. But a spokesman for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said the federal government re-

Florida has a projected budget surplus of more than $1 billion. Federal officials warned the state last year they would not extend the hospital money beyond this year. cision to discontinue negotiations now ``is troubling and could signal the abrupt end of this federal healthcare program in Florida.''

mains ``in contact with the state.'' The fate of the hospital program, known as the ``low-income pool'' and which reimburses hospitals for treating the poor and

uninsured, has become the major dividing point between the House and Senate this session. Florida has a projected budget surplus of more than $1 billion. Federal officials warned the state last year they would not extend the hospital money beyond this year. That led the Senate to craft a replacement program that it wants the federal government to consider. Senate Republicans have also pushed to offer health care coverage to 800,000 Floridians that would draw down federal money linked to President Barack Obama's health care overhaul. Cont'd on Page 37


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Too much iced tea caused kidney problem NEW YORK: Doctors traced a man's kidney failure to an unusual cause - his habit of drinking a gallon (almost four liters) of iced tea each day. They ruled out several potential causes before stumbling on a reason for the 56year-old Arkansas man's kidney problems. He said he drank about 16 8-ounce (about a

quarter of a liter) cups of iced tea every day. Black tea has a chemical known to cause kidney stones or even kidney failure in excessive amounts. ``It was the only reasonable explanation,'' said Dr. Umbar Ghaffar of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock. She and two other doctors describe the case in New England Journal of Medicine. The unidentified man went to the hospital last May with nausea, weakness, fatigue

and body aches. Doctors determined his kidneys were badly clogged and inflamed by the food chemical called oxalate. The man is on dialysis, perhaps for the rest of his life, Ghaffar said. Besides black tea, oxalate is found in spinach, rhubarb, nuts, wheat bran and chocolate. In rare cases, too much oxalate can lead to kidney trouble, but often there's also a contributing intestinal problem. That didn't seem to be the case for the Arkansas man, and he had no family or personal history of kidney disease. At 16 cups of iced black tea each day, he was taking in three to 10 times more oxalate than the average American, Ghaffar and her colleagues reported. Federal studies suggest that, on average, U.S. adults drink a total of 10 or 11 cups of beverages per day - that's water, coffee and all other liquids combined. Ghaffar didn't know if the man drank sugar-sweetened iced tea - the way it is usually served in the South. While he'd had diabetes, that didn't cause his kidney problems, she said. The Arkansas case appears to be very unusual, said Dr. Randy Luciano, a Yale School of Medicine kidney specialist who has treated people with kidney damage from too much oxalate. -AP

Safe food should be a priority: WHO NEW DELHI: Ahead of World Health Day, the Health Ministry and WHO have come together to seek stronger measures for promoting food safety saying awareness on the issue will help strengthen enforcement of food standards and prevent food borne illnesses. Speaking at the national consultation on food safety, Union Health Secretary Bhanu Pratap Sharma highlighted the need for inter sectoral convergence and enforcement at all levels.

"There is a need for greater awareness and giving correct information to all stakeholders and that's where the role of WHO is extremely important," he said. In her World Health Day message, Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director of WHO, South-East Asia Region said, "Political awareness and consumer education on food safety will help to strengthen enforcement of food standards, improve

hygienic practices, and prevent food borne illnesses. The most pertinent of all the measures is creating awareness among people to ensure that their food is safe." Speaking on the occasion, Nata Menabde, WHO Representative to India said, "Food safety is an issue of growing public health concern. To achieve food safety, strong functional links must be built between public health and other sectors to ensure effective cross-sectoral collaboration." "In India, food safety has obvious and direct linkages with the Swachh Bharat initiative of the Prime Minister that promotes cleanliness and hygiene, which are the key factors influencing food safety, thereby reducing socio-economic impact of food borne illnesses," she said. The consultation strongly advocated that governments must partner with civil society, NGOs, private sector and consumers, to ensure that safe food becomes everybody's business. Perspectives on 'Serving Safe Food' were presented by Akshayapatra and National Association of Street Vendors of India (NASVI), emphasizing the importance of safe food. The theme for World Health Day, which falls on April 7, is safe food this year. -PTI

Abbott launches glucose monitoring system MUMBAI: Global healthcare firm, Abbott has launched the professional version of its flash glucose monitoring system, which will help doctors personalize treatment plans for diabetes patients. "Abbott has chosen India as the first country globally to launch this technology. The glucose assessment tool will cost Rs 1,999 for 14-days, will empower doctors to help their patients manage their diabetes effectively," Abbott Diabetes Care R&D Director Matthew Bates told reporters here. India now carries 20 per cent of the global burden of diabetes. "The glucose monitoring system continuously measures glucose in interstitial fluid through a small filament that is inserted under the skin. It records glucose levels every 15 minutes, capturing up to 1,340 glucose readings over 14 days, thus giving the treating doctor comprehensive data for a complete glucose profile of their patient," Bates said. After 14 days the doctor uses a flash

glucose monitoring reader to scan the sensor and download the glucose results. This data can help doctors to make more informed treatment decisions. "There are a significantly high number of people with diabetes in India who have poor sugar control despite everything that they do to control it," said Shashank Joshi, President, Association of Physicians of India and a leading biabetologist said. -PTI


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Polar bears can't survive Doctor, agents nabbed for sex determination tests on land-based diet NEW YORK: While some polar bears are hunting on land more often in areas hit by climate change, a diet of bird eggs and berries cannot sustain these huge animals, a new study has found. A handful of polar bears have been spot-

ted snacking on land-based foods to supplement their traditional diet of seals and marine mammals. Researchers wondered whether the highprotein, high-carbohydrate foods polar bears eat on land - such as caribou and berries - could help them survive, as seaice loss makes seals harder to snatch, 'Live Science' reported. According to a review of previous research on bear diets, polar bears spend so much energy searching for berries or chasing down caribou that they reap little ca-

loric reward from these meals. "A really large bear has high energetic costs when they get up to forage, and these [terrestrial] resources are typically lower in calories or widely dispersed," said Karyn Rode, lead study author and a US Geological Survey research wildlife biologist in Anchorage, Alaska. Even if a few polar bears do make bird eggs and other terrestrial foods an important part of their diet, the bears may gobble so many eggs that they might decimate the Arctic seabird population. "Terrestrial foods can't offer polar bears what they need at a population level," Rode said. Global warming has reduced the amount of Arctic sea ice near shore, especially in the late spring when polar bears hunt for seal pups before moving onto land for the summer. Polar bears mainly hunt for seals on the sea ice. The shrinking sea ice is sending the bears to shore earlier in the season in some areas of the Arctic, such as Hudson Bay, Canada, and their arrival overlaps with hunting opportunities for geese, eggs and caribou. The review was published in the journal Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment. -PTI

Federal govt suspends health care talks Cont'd from Page 35

Senate President Andy Gardiner sent two state senators to Washington, D.C. to share with federal officials what the Senate is proposing. But House Republicans, who are opposed to any expansion of Medicaid, have contended that the federal government could renew the hospital money without expanding Medicaid coverage. U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, who has also talked to federal officials, disagrees and said the two issues are linked. Nelson, who met with legislative leaders at the Capitol, told reporters that some of the hospital funding now goes to pay to treat patients who would be covered under Medicaid expansion. Nelson, a Democrat, said the ``day of reckoning'' is near and that legislators needed to act now. ``We shouldn't be playing a game of chicken when we are talking about the health care for over 1 million people in the state of Florida that do not have health care now,'' Nelson said. House Speaker Steve Crisafulli put out a statement blasting the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and federal officials for suspending negotiations with the state and said the state would not be ``bullied.'' ``The federal government is doing ev-

erything they can to force Florida to expand Medicaid under the ObamaCare model,'' said Crisafulli. Gardiner acknowledged that if talks between the federal government and state officials are suspended for two weeks it ``becomes somewhat of a challenge'' to

House Speaker Steve Crisafulli put out a statement blasting the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and federal officials for suspending negotiations with the state and said the state would not be ``bullied.'' wrap up work on a new state budget by the end of April. That could force legislators to finish work on a budget during a special session. ``At this time, the Senate believes it has done everything possible to advance solutions to the health care challenges facing Florida,'' Gardiner said in a statement. ``The time has come to find common ground and present a unified solution that is best for Floridians. We hope others will join us at the table to discuss a way forward.''-AP

AHMEDABAD: A team of cops and heath officials have arrested a city-based gynecologist along with his three agents, including a woman, for allegedly conducting gender determination tests, police said.

Sheth's aide Shakina used to bring women who wanted to get gender determination test conducted, while Ashok Patel was the middleman between the doctor and his client. Goswami was a rickshaw driver who used to bring Sheth's clients in his rickshaw. "We arrested gynecologist Paresh Sheth and his three aides from his clinic at Sheth Hospital at Shah-Aalam toll naka area here for conducting gender determination tests," police inspector K R Dabhi

said. Along with Sheth, his agents Shakina Mansuri, Ashok Patel and Haresh Goswami were also booked under the charges of Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PCPNDT) Act 1994, Dabhi said. According to the police, the four were caught in a sting operation carried out by a joint team led by Ahmedabad District Development Officer Bhargavi Dave, Central District Health Officer Shilpa Yadav and ACP Kanan Desai of Women's Crime Branch in the city. Sheth's aide Shakina used to bring women who wanted to get gender determination test conducted, while Ashok Patel was the middleman between the doctor and his client. Goswami was a rickshaw driver who used to bring Sheth's clients in his rickshaw. The doctor also used code words to inform his clients about the gender of the fetus in the womb. "Good news" meant a male fetus, while, "There is problem" meant that the fetus was female, the police officer said. All four accused were produced before the court and were sent for two-day police custody, she added.-PTI


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Too many energy drinks pose danger to heart WASHINGTON: Excessive consumption of energy drinks can trigger sudden cardiac deaths in young, apparently healthy individuals, scientists have warned. The rapid rise in popularity of energy drinks (EDs), particularly among adolescents (aged 10-19 years) and young adults, has serious implications for cardiac health, researchers said. An international research team led by Fabian Sanchis-Gomar, of the Research Institute of Hospital 12 de Octubre Madrid, Spain,

noted that EDs can trigger sudden cardiac deaths in young, apparently healthy individuals. For persons with underlying heart diseases, the risk of triggering sudden arrhythmic death syn-

drome (SADS) or other arrhythmias can be significant. Even atrial fibrillation (AF), normally uncommon in children without structural heart disease, has been observed in a 13-yearold adolescent boy during a soccer training session after ingesting EDs. It is estimated that 31 per cent of 12- to 19-year-old adolescents regularly consume EDs. These beverages often contain high amounts of labeled caffeine. However, they can contain

"masked" caffeine, in the form of guarana, for example, which comes from a Brazilian plant and is identical to caffeine found in coffee beans, but at twice the concentration.

The addition of guarana and other substances such as ginseng and taurine in variable quantities may generate uncertain interactions. Although caffeine is widely used and generally regarded as safe, serious adverse effects have been reported, especially when consumed in larger doses. With a range of readily available sources, such as EDs, gums, inhalers, and orodispersable sheets, adolescents and young adults can easily overdose, researchers said. It is estimated that as many as 46 per cent of the 5,448 caffeine overdoses reported in the US in 2007 occurred in adolescents younger than 19 years. The researchers cautioned that one can (250 ml) of an ED per day is safe for most healthy adolescents but ED consumption before or during sports practice should be avoided. Adolescents with clinically relevant underlying medical conditions should consult cardiologists before drinking EDs. Researchers also warned that excessive ED consumption together with alcohol or other drugs, or both, may lead to adverse effects, including death. The research was published in the Canadian Journal of Cardiology. -PTI

Max elevates Rajit Mehta as MD and CEO NEW DELHI: Max Healthcare has elevated Rajit Mehta as its Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer. He was earlier working as Deputy Managing Director of the healthcare provider. Mehta has been associated with the Max Group for more than 14 years and after being transferred from Max Life Insurance (MLI) in April 2014, was working as the Deputy Managing Director of Max Healthcare (MHC). "In his new role, Rajit will provide strategic thinking, dedicated execution and a sense of confidence to MHC as the company pursues its growth goals, explores organic and inorganic growth opportunities and invests in new capabilities, while sustaining the already high clinical outcomes,"

Max Healthcare said in a statement. Commenting on the development, Mehta said: "My aspiration is to work closely with the shareholders, the board, the leadership team of management and clinicians to take MHC to even greater heights of sustainable success and accelerate the journey of building an institution that is truly admired for its values and credibility by genuinely serving the society." Max Healthcare, at present, has 12 hospitals with 1,900 beds offering services in over 30 medical disciplines. Of this nine facilities are located in Delhi & NCR and others in

Mohali, Bathinda and Dehradun.PTI

Rajit Mehta

Delaware officials close Lewes medical practice DOVER, Del.: State officials have ordered the closing of a medical practice in Lewes following an inspection prompted by patient complaints. Officials ordered the closure of Delaware Otolaryngology Consultants after being unable to confirm that proper sterilization processes were followed. They encouraged people who may have been treated there to consider being evaluated for hepatitis and HIV. Dr Beth R. Duncan, who runs the medical practice, said she wasn't aware of the order and that she thought it was premature. Records show that Duncan was licensed in Delaware in September 2009, two months after a

malpractice complaint was filed against her in Maryland and roughly two years after she was

Dr Beth R. Duncan, who runs the medical practice, said she wasn't aware of the order and that she thought it was premature. reprimanded by Maryland regulators and agreed to pay a $5,000 fine and take a medical ethics course following patient complaints.-AP

New deadline to avoid docs' Medicare cuts WASHINGTON: Congress will get a little extra time to prevent a

The House has overwhelmingly passed a bill to repeal the 1990s budget formula that requires the Medicare cuts. But the Senate left on its spring break before taking action. threatened 21 percent cut in Medicare payments to doctors. Technically, the cut was to take effect on April 1.

But the Department of Health and Human Services said it will hold off processing claims at the lower rate until April 15. The House has overwhelmingly passed a bill to repeal the 1990s budget formula that requires the Medicare cuts. But the Senate left on its spring break before taking action. President Barack Obama says he would sign the House bill. The Senate goes back into session on April 13, giving it just two days to act. If Medicare is forced to pay doctors at the lower rate, it would cover the difference later, assuming Congress acts. But that could raise administrative costs.-AP

Judge orders teen to complete cancer treatment HARTFORD, Conn.: A judge says a 17-year-old Connecticut girl forced to undergo chemotherapy must remain in the hospital until she finishes treatment later this month. The judge's decision also says the teen's mother cannot visit her at the hospital while she is in temporary state custody. The teen, identified only as Cassandra C., testified by teleconference during a closed hearing last month, asking to finish

her treatments from home or have visits with her mother. Doctors say her Hodgkin lymphoma, diagnosed in September, is in remission but she needs the remaining treatments. She says she is no longer fighting them. The state was awarded temporary custody after the teen missed several medical appointments last fall and ran away. Her lawyers unsuccessfully tried to stop the treatment she opposed.AP


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40 India Post

C

oonoor is located in the state of Tamil Nadu in Southern India. It is one of the most famous hill stations of the Nilgiri hills. It is a popular tourist stop because of its impressive views of the lush green Nilgiri hills. It is also known for its tea plantations as the environment is very conducive to growing exceptionally aromatic tea. In fact, touring the plantations and taking walks through the tea gardens is one of the major draws of the area. The impressive views of wildflowers is another favorite experience in Coonoor, as is bird watching. It is common to be able to see such birds as cormorants, pipits, skylarks, Nilgiri verditer, thrushes, and parakeets. The species in the area are not limited to only these, though. The area surrounding Coonoor offers the perfect landscape for activities like trekking and hiking. It offers impressive views that are best experienced while truly out in nature.

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It is possible to experience the area around Coonoor while taking a ride on the local toy train. This train connects Coonoor with other hill stations that are located in the Nilgiri Hills. This train ride provides some breathtaking views of the Nilgiri Hills. The area around Coonoor has been used as the backdrop for several movies made by Indian and foreign filmmakers. Most notable was when it was used as the backdrop for the 1984 American film, 'A Passage to India' by David Lean. Tourist attractions Catherine Falls: Catherine Falls is located in the area that surrounds Coonoor. This beautiful waterfall descending from an impressive 250 feet. It can clearly been seen from the top of Dolphin's Nose if seeing the entire waterfall is what you are looking for. It is also possible to take a road to the top of the falls. Cont’d on page 42


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Palace On Wheels registers News channels 'hyping' highest occupancy flood in Kashmir Valley JAIPUR: Palace On Wheels, Rajasthan's famous luxury heritage train, has registered the highest occupancy of 111 tourists for

tor Tourism Vikram Singh said. POW begins its journey from September to April every year and it was the highest number with full occupancy, he added. Travelers hailing from Britain, Sweden, Australia, USA, South Africa, Canada, Germany, France and Switzerland are among those on board along with a few Indian tourists, he said. On their arrival, the passengers were given a traditional welcome at Gandhi Nagar station here, the MD said. -PTI

the first time this season, an official of Rajasthan Tourism Development Corporation said. There are 111 tourists on board the Palace Of Wheels (POW) which will complete its season trips later this month, Managing Director of RTDC and Direc-

Highest growth in India's domestic air travel NEW DELHI: Domestic air travel demand surged in India by 14.8 per cent in February, the highest worldwide, partly on the back of airlines keeping ticket prices lower to stimulate market in lean travel season, global airlines body IATA said in its monthly traffic report. According to IATA, the overall global demand rose 6.2 per cent in February 2015 over the same month last year with international demand up by 6.8 per cent while domestic demand seeing a growth of 5.3 per cent in the reporting month. "The strongest growth occurred in India and Brazil, followed by China, which benefited from Lunar New Year-related travel," IATA said in a release. "Demand in India began to improve in the latter part of 2014, partly owing to market stimulation, and that has continued in 2015," it said. March and September quarters of the fiscal are traditionally lean seasons for the airlines in the country, and people are wooed with low fares. While the overall seat factor of the airline globally remained flat at 80.4 per cent on domestic routes, it rose 0.7 percentage points to 77.4 per cent on international flights during the month, IATA traffic report said. Also, airlines globally increased their domestic capacity by 5.3 per cent while for international routes it climbed to 5.7 per cent

in February, IATA said. On a consolidated basis, February capacity (available seat kilometers or ASKs) increased by 5.6 per cent, and load factor rose 0.5 percentage points to 78.5 per cent. "Monthly results were positively impacted by the Lunar New Year holiday which occurred in February this year, one month later than in 2014.

Lunar New Year celebrations, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region, certainly contributed to the robust February performance, but it is also clear that solid demand for connectivity is offsetting economic weakness in some regions including the Eurozone," IATA director general and Chief Executive Tony Tyler said. According to IATA estimates, some nine million people travel on 1,00,000 flights, which criss-cross the global skies on an average day.-PTI

SRINAGAR: The tourist arrivals in picturesque Kashmir may drop significantly this season as travel industry blamed television news channels for hyping the flood situation in the Valley, leading to mass cancellation of bookings. The Tourism players accused the TV channels of creating a "fear psychosis" about the flood situation in the Valley, contrary to the ground situation. "I don't understand why is media against Kashmir. The water has already gone but they still show Kashmir is in flood. Wish they understand how important the coming season is for Kashmir," Umar Malik, a travel agent, said. Incessant rains on March 28 & 29 resulted in sudden surge in water level of river Jhelum and other water bodies in Kashmir, giving rise to fear about a possible repeat of devastating floods that hit Kashmir last year. However, with the weather holding up for past two days, the water level has receded significantly in Jhelum and its tributaries. "These channels are still showing visuals which indicate that entire Kashmir is flooded. They should show the actual situation," Masroor Hussain, a general manager at a hotel here, said. He said the constant focus on flood situation in Kashmir has resulted in up to 50 per

cent cancellation of bookings by intending visitors. "April to June is the peak tourism season in Kashmir ...we were hoping to make good some of the losses suffered during last year's flood but this negative publicity is hurting us badly," Hussain said. Sheikh Basharat Ahmad, another travel agent, said he had worked very hard selling packages during the winter months at various travel marts across the country but now

"I don't understand why is media against Kashmir. The water has already gone but they still show Kashmir is in flood. Wish they understand how important the coming season is for Kashmir" everything seems to be going down the drain. "The unnecessary and constant focus on situation in Kashmir has brought prospects of my business for this year down from good to worse than last year," he added. Cont’d on page 43


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Coonoor Breathtaking views & aromatic tea gardens Cont’d from page 40

This vantage point allows you to truly appreciate the awesome

wonder this man put forth such a valiant effort to reach the point. The rock is a jagged cliff that drops down several hundred feet to the

occurring trees, shrubs and creepers are in the park as are many unusual species of plants that have been brought in from a variety of

places around the world. The park is situated in a deep ravine on the northern side of Coonoor and covers twelve acres of undulating land. The well though out park has a beautiful lay out. There is an annual fruit and vegetable show that is held in the park that is well attended. Wellington's Golf Course: Cantonment of Wellington is located in the vicinity of Coonoor. It is in Wellington that the well-respected Defense Services Staff College is located. The Wellington Golf Course is a popular place to stop and enjoy a civilized round of golf. In the midst of the exotic landscape, the touch of normalcy

Wellington's Golf Course

power that Mother Nature has contained within a waterfall as you look down the 250 feet to the pool of water and its surrounding landscape below. Dolphin's Nose: Dolphin's Nose is an enormous rock formation that is entirely unique. The protruding rock formation indeed looks like a dolphin's nose. It takes some effort to climb to the top of this rock outcropping, but the views are absolutely worth the hard work. There are gigantic ravines found both to the left and right of Dolphin's Nose. Hidden Valley: Access to this valley is not readily available. You have to take the trekking route. The green, lush landscape combined with the breathtaking mountain views make this trek worth the physical exertion. The valley is fantastic when you get there, but half of the fun and enjoyment come from the actual trekking experience. Fabulous views abound as you make your way toward it. Lamb's Rock: Lamb's rock is an excellent picnic spot near Coonoor. It is a point on the way to Dolphin's Nose. It was named after Captain Lamb who tried in earnest to open a path to that particular point. With such a view, no

lush jungle below. On the right hand is the Hulical ravine. It is possible to see the Coonoor stream some 5000 feet below. This vantage point also provides you with an excellent view of the Coimbatore plains. Sim's Park: Sim's Park is an unusual botanical garden that was developed back in 1874 by Mr J.D. Sims and Major Murray. Naturally

Dolphin's Nose

surrounded with the unusual location makes golfing at Wellington's an attractive possibility. This golf course is especially popular with film crews. During the filming, the relaxing motion necessary for golf can counteract the stress that occurs in the filmmaking process. Kotagiri: Nilgiris' oldest hill station is Kotagiri. It is located in the same general area as Coonoor. This village is set in what looks like the typical tea plantation with its gently sloping hills. Kotagiri is partially in the shade of the Dodda Betta Range, so constant sunlight everywhere is not a possibility. The Rangaswami Rock and Pillar, St Catherine Falls, and Elk Falls are all places that are near Kotagiri that are worth seeing. By far the most popular attraction in the area is the Kodanad Viewpoint. This one vantage point provides you with exceptional views of the plains, the blue hills, the Moyar River, and the mysterious rising mist. Coonoor has a pleasant climate is good for a visit all through the year. How to reach By Train: The Nilgiri Mountain Railway service between Ooty and Mettupalayam is available with stop at Coonoor. Major broad gauge railway station nearby is Coimbatore junction. This station is connected to all major cities in the country. By Air: The nearest airport from Coonoor is Coimbatore Peelamdeu Airport, which is at a distance of 54 km. Coimbatore is connected by air to airports in South India, especially to Chennai and Bangalore. By Bus: Coonoor is well connected by bus services. Regular state owned bus services are available from Coimbatore, Ooty and other cities in Tamilnadu.


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Single window clearance for tourism projects SRINAGAR: Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed has announced a "single window" for project clearance in a time-bound manner to fast-track approvals for laying high-end tourism infrastructure in the state. "There is a need to promote 'Business with Ease' and the Single Window will facilitate creation of high-end facilities with global benchmarks," Sayeed said, chairing a high level meeting here. He said his government would remove hurdles to facilitate brand tie-ups so that high-end intake capacity of the state, which is presently low is substantially increased to draw overseas and topclass domestic visitors to the state. "A high-powered Committee will be framed that will facilitate creation of brand infrastructure to attract international tourist footfall to the state," he said. Asking for a concerted effort to promote J&K as a top-class golf destination with week-end and week-long packages, the Chief

Minister called for an organized publicity campaign to promote golf tourism in the state. "We already have golf circuits at Srinagar, Gulmarg, Pahalgam and Sidhra. We are exploring possibilities of laying new courses at Sonamarg, Sanasar and Yusmarg for which feasibility reports are

being prepared," Sayeed said, adding Kashmir Golf Club, one of the oldest courses in the country, will also be refurbished to attract golf lovers. He urged the top stakeholders in tourism industry to employ local youth in their hospitality and human resource divisions, saying

Mufti Mohammad Sayeed

Swiss travelers top spenders at Indian hotels MUMBAI: Globetrotters from Switzerland shelled out maximum money for their stay in India among the foreign tourists in 2014, an 11 per cent rise from their spending on hotels against last year, according to a report. "Visitors from Switzerland spent the most while staying in

India in 2014. On an average, they paid Rs 8,261 in this period, which is 11 per cent more from what they paid in 2013," the Hotels.com Hotel Price Index (HPI) report on hotel prices in major destinations across the world revealed. Travelers from 18 countries covered in the report spent more than what they did in 2014 on hotel rooms in India. This resulted in

an overall 3 per cent rise in average room rates across the country, it showed. The report is based on bookings made on Hotels.com sites across the world and tracks the actual prices paid per hotel room (rather than the advertised rates). In 2013, travelers from Hong

Kong were the top spenders in India but slipped to spot two in 2014 with an average spending of Rs 7,753 per night for a room, followed by Britons, on third position, who spent Rs 7,616, it said. Denmark and Malaysia were the highest risers among Asian countries that witnessed a jump of 14 and 12 per cent, respectively, in travelers' spending on hotel stay. The

spending for Denmark stood at Rs 6,437 at number 17 and Malaysia at Rs 5,956, ranked 25 on the list. In 2014, the French paid Rs 6,186 after an increase of 11 per cent followed by the Taiwanese, who paid Rs 6,094, a rise of 10 per cent from their spending in previous year. Among the key inbound markets that saw a rise were tourists from Spain who shelled out an average of Rs 6,089 per room night, an increase of 8 per cent from 2013, followed by Americans who spent Rs 7,473, a 2 per cent hike from the previous year. The Norwegians and the Irish spent Rs 6,702 and Rs 6,873 respectively, increasing their spending by a negligible 1 per cent. Among the few countries with declining figures, the sharpest fall in spending was recorded by the Thais, down 12 per cent to Rs 6,052, followed by New Zealanders who spent Rs 6,094, down 6 per cent against 2013. Others countries which recorded a drop of 4 per cent were South Africa with spending of Rs 7,304 and China at Rs 6,829. Hotels.com is an online accommodation booking website operated by Hotels.com, LP, with approximately 435,000 properties around the world.-PTI

expansion of tourism infrastructure would create countless employment opportunities in the services sector. "Our youth are greatly talented in HR and Hospitality segments and I am sure they will do a fairly good job at the cutting-edge level," he asserted. In a bid to dovetail exquisite Kashmiri cuisines with the tourism industry, the Chief Minister asked for branding the food industry of Kashmir by opening a series of restaurants catering to the select market. "Institute of Hotel Management at Srinagar has the potential to vastly improve the food services sector that can supplement our travel industry," he said stressing upon the need for organizing more food festivals across the country to showcase the state's famed recipes like 'Wazwan'. The chief minister said he has prioritized the finalization of the master-plans of Gulmarg, Pahalgam and other resorts so that develop-

ment and improvement of resort infrastructure is taken up in a planned way without disturbing the ambience of the surrounding environment. "We have to sell tourism as a wholesome package to high-end visitors as footfall from outside will considerably increase our internal revenue generation," he added. During the meeting, the chief minister was shown two presentations by Ahad Hotels and Resorts, ITC and Sarovar Group of Hotels, aimed at upgrading tour and travel infrastructure in the state in tune with international standards. Ahad Group of Hotels, in collaboration with ITC, is establishing a new chain of high-quality five-star hotels while Sarovar Group is planning to open highend luxury hotels to improve intake capacity of top-class visitors in the state. Hotel Nedou's at Srinagar is also being developed as a worldclass heritage hotel and the work on the project is expected to start soon. -PTI

News channels 'hyping' flood in Kashmir Valley Cont’d from page 41

Irshad Parray, who works in the hospitality industry, said media should act responsibly and not go after TRPs. "Media should act in a very sensitive and responsible way highlighting the flood panic which is good on one side but on the other hand they should also highlight the safe and prosperous tourist spots of Kashmir," he said. Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah appealed to tourists not to cancel their booking for visiting Kashmir in view of flood threats. "Those of you with bookings to visit Kashmir please PLEASE

don't rush to cancel. Instead I request you wait to see how things develop," Omar wrote on twitter. The working president of National Conference said the tourism industry had a bad year since the September floods last year. "The Tourist industry had a disastrous Autumn & a really bad winter because of the floods. Finally things were looking up in April. "Now because of the recent rains & accompanying news stories hotels are reporting up to 40 per cent cancellations which is a disaster for them. So my earnest appeal to you is to please keep the faith, don't rush to cancel. Wait to see how the next few days go & then decide, he added..-PTI

Fleet of luxury buses launched in Kashmir SRINAGAR: A theme-based high-end fleet of luxury buses was launched here to provide better facilities to tourists visiting the Kashmir Valley. Launched by Kehwah Group, the fleet called 'Onwheels' has been custom built to provide onthe-go services as hotel spa, cafe, caravan and vanity van. The fleet consists of four types

of hi-tech buses which provide "unmatched fun-filled and safe travel options" to the tourists, according to Sheikh Imran, CEO of Onwheels, the bus division of the Group. All the buses have GPS tracking on board which will be monitored from a central control room. The fleet was launched by Minister of Public Works Department, Altaf Bukhari.-PTI


In Brief Immigration problems impact crawfish season BATON ROUGE, La.: Going into what is supposed to be the biggest sales week of the crawfish season, processor Dexter Guillory says he is nothing but worried. One month into the peak season, during which the crawfish industry makes most of its money, an immigration kerfuffle has kept Guillory and most of the owners of the state's dozen or so processors from hiring enough peelers. Most of the workers come from Mexico and Central America. Without the peelers, the processors will stop buying as much crawfish from the fishermen. ``If we can't buy them and the fishermen don't get the money they need, the pyramid starts to cave in,'' Guillory told The Advocate. Louisiana officials are aware and spent much of last week scurrying around Washington, D.C., trying to craft some sort of emergency solution to what has been a double-whammy for the program that allows people from other countries to get work permits for seasonal jobs. Congress limits the number of permits, called H-2B visas, to 66,000 a year. The U.S. Department of Labor issues 33,000 every six months and had reached that cap in January. -AP

„ Kansas to create immigration studies center LAWRENCE, Kan.: The University of Kansas has hired two sociologists to plan a center for migration and immigration studies. School officials say Victor Agadjanian and Cecilia Menjívar, both distinguished professors at Arizona State University, will begin work in Kansas this fall. The Lawrence Journal-World reports. The professors will start planning the center when they arrive on campus. ``We have faculty strength here, but we haven't had a research center particularly focused on this area,'' said Mary Lee Hummert, interim vice chancellor for research. ``Each of them (Agadjanian and Menjívar) is fabulous in terms of groundbreaking research that they've been doing.'' Agadjanian is the founding director of Arizona State's Center for Population Dynamics, and his research focuses on social change in sub-Saharan Africa, the former Soviet Union and Latin America. Menjívar's work centers on migration from Central America to the U.S. -AP

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Police register FIR against immigration officer Details on page 45

Unease about immigration at core of UK election campaign BOSTON, England: Boston is a typical English town - ancient church, traditional shops, Polish supermarkets, Baltic bakeries. Amid the bargain-hunting crowds on market day, eastern European languages are almost as common as the local Lincolnshire accent. Immigration has transformed Boston in the last decade. At least one in eight residents comes from Eastern Europe, and the population is growing at double the national rate. The change Boston is seeing is not unique - and unhappiness about Britain's transformation is reshaping the political landscape as voters prepare to choose a new government, fueling support for outsider politicians focused on immigration. With no party firmly in the lead, the race for the May 7 election looks set to produce a fragmented Parliament for a fractured nation. ``I think there are a few too many of the foreign brigade here at the moment,'' said butcher Nigel Lote. His customers come almost exclusively from the long-settled

English population of Boston, a town of about 65,000 that gave its name and its Pilgrim heritage to the Massachusetts city. ``It's getting to the stage where there's them and us,'' he said. ``We don't mingle.'' A short walk away is West

European Market shop seen in Boston, Lincolnshire, England, Saturday March 21. British voters go to the polls May 7 in the most unpredictable election in decades. All parties are trying to woo voters in the North Warwickshire constituency, one of the country’s closest races.

Street, a once-declining commercial strip now lined with grocery stores, delis and information cen-

Nevada urges Cong to pass immigration reform CARSON CITY, Nev.: Nevada lawmakers are considering a measure that would urge Con-

Mo Denis

gress to pass comprehensive immigration reform. Democratic Sen. Mo Denis and other lawmakers from the

ters for the eastern European community. Shelves are packed with pickled vegetables and canned fish. Notices advertise rooms to rent, used cars and agricultural jobs in the fields around Boston. Karolina Mediancevaite, serving customers in a Lithuanian bak-

Nevada Hispanic Legislative Caucus have presented Senate Joint Resolution 21.The measure seeks changes that would implement a guest worker program and create a pathway to citizenship for legalized immigrants. The Legislature does not have the power to change immigration law, but Denis said the measure would respectfully ask congressional representatives to do so. Opponents said they would be more open to the measures described in the resolution if the borders weren't so porous. The committee did not take action on the resolution.-AP

ery, paused when asked if the locals are friendly. ``Some,'' she said. ``It would be better if they talked to you and not look at you like `You are not from this country.''' Robin Hunter-Clarke, local candidate for the U.K. Independence Party, said Boston has ``huge social problems.'' ``There are some streets that local people won't walk down because they feel uncomfortable,'' he said. ``And I think that's sad. And that's because of the sheer number of people that have entered one small market town.'' UKIP, which has risen rapidly from ragtag band of right-wing dissidents to serious political force, is the main beneficiary of Britain's unease about immigration. The party wants Britain to leave the European Union - closing the door to EU citizens, who currently can work freely in the U.K. - and create a more restrictive immigration system geared to Britain's labor needs. UKIP denies being racist or antiforeigner, but its symbolism is rarely subtle. Recently party leader Nigel Farage unveiled a campaign poster promising to cut immigration under an image of the

White Cliffs of Dover scaled by escalators. UKIP says it's giving voice to long-stifled concerns; opponents claim the party is fueling social divisions. Either way, it's working. Nationally, UKIP is running third in the polls and hopes to win a clutch of seats along the eastern fringe of England, in towns like Boston where many voters feel neglected by what they see as London-centric politicians and metropolitan elites. Bookmakers have shortened the odds to 50-50 that HunterClarke, a 22-year-old county councilor, might overturn the constituency's large Conservative majority. ``People are angry. People are looking for somebody to vote for, and they are choosing UKIP,'' Hunter-Clarke said. Britain has long been a land of immigrants, absorbing waves of Huguenots, Jews, Irish, West Indians, Pakistanis and more. But in the 21st century, seismic political and economic shifts - globalization, economic crisis and the lowering of European borders - have brought a level of immigration unseen in more than a century. Since the end of the Cold War, the number of countries in the European Union has more than

UKIP says it's giving voice to long-stifled concerns; opponents claim the party is fueling social divisions. Either way, it's working. Nationally, UKIP is running third in the polls doubled, to 28. The biggest expansion came when a group of former Eastern Bloc countries, including Poland, Hungary and the Baltic states, joined in 2004. Britain was one of the few EU countries not to impose temporary employment restrictions on people from these new - and much poorer - members. Cont'd on Page 45


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US files appeal of hold on immigration action WASHINGTON: The Justice Department has urged a federal appeals court to reverse a hold a judge placed on President Barack Obama's immigration executive action. The 69-page brief was filed with the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ahead of arguments scheduled for next month. Lawyers for the federal government are challenging a preliminary injunction issued in February by a federal judge in Brownsville, Texas. That decision placed on hold an executive action that could spare from deportation as many as 5 million people who are in the U.S. illegally. Justice Department lawyers say in the new court filing that the federal government has unique authority to enforce the nation's im-

migration laws and to use its limited resources to exercise discretion during the deportation pro-

Justice Department lawyers say in the new court filing that the federal government has unique authority to enforce the nation's immigration laws and to use its limited resources cess, including by deferring removal of certain groups of immigrants, such as those who do not pose a public safety threat.

The executive action was challenged by a coalition of 26 states, led by Texas, who argued that the move was unconstitutional. The states have said they will suffer irreversible economic harm if the injunction is lifted. But the Justice Department says the states have failed to show exactly how they would be negatively affected by the executive action. A court hearing has been set for April 17. The other states seeking to block Obama's orders are Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, West Virginia and Wisconsin. -AP

Unease about immigration at core of UK election campaign Cont'd from Page 44

The U.K. government predicted a modest influx of 13,000 people a year from those countries. That turned out to be a dramatic underestimate. The Office for National Statistics says more than half a million people from the 2004 EU entrants had moved to Britain by the end of 2013. In Britain's big cities, the eastern European plumbers, nannies, IT workers and baristas joined a complex economy and rich multicultural mosaic. In Boston, set amid agriculturally rich flatlands 120 miles (200 kilometers) north of London, the immigrants came mostly to pick fruit, vegetables and flowers and work in food factories. Eastern European newcomers have gone on to open businesses, reviving a shabby shopping area. While some residents claim migrants are taking jobs from local people, unemployment here is well below the national average. But Boston's growth - the population rose by more than 10,000 people in a decade - has stretched schools, hospitals and housing. Some locals accuse migrants of living on government handouts - a recurring theme in UKIP literature - and blame them for everything from litter to drunkenness. ``I notice that an awful lot of the social housing has got east-

ern Europeans in them now,'' said Terry Hollick, a retired bricklayer who, like many others, is thinking of voting UKIP. ``My daughter, she can't get on the housing ladder.'' UKIP's critics say it offers simplistic solutions to complex social problems and doesn't understand how intertwined modern econo-

``The problem is, the competency of the (mainstream) political parties on this issue has been reduced because of free movement from the European Union,'' Goodwin said. mies work. ``Ever since we've had work on the land we've had migrants from the Midlands, from Ireland, from Portugal, now from Eastern Europe,'' said Conservative candidate Matt Warman, who is battling to hold the seat for his party. ``People here understand that migration is a complex issue. ``We need an immigration policy that doesn't encourage people to think the streets of Boston are paved with gold,'' he said.

But ``we've got to make sure that we don't decimate the local economy.'' He sounds confident, but UKIP's surge has put the much larger Conservative and Labor parties on the defensive. Labor leader Ed Miliband, whose party ran Britain between 1997 and 2010, has said Labor ``got it wrong'' on immigration. Prime Minister David Cameron admits he has failed to deliver on a promise to cut net migration - the number of immigrants minus emigrants - below 100,000 people a year. Nottingham University political scientist Matthew Goodwin, who has tracked the rise of UKIP, says that Labor and the Conservatives have failed to grapple with ``social and cultural issues'' such as immigration and national identity. As a result, ``UKIP is now owning the immigration issue.'' ``The problem is, the competency of the (mainstream) political parties on this issue has been reduced because of free movement from the European Union,'' Goodwin said. ``Political parties do not want to draw attention to an issue that plays to their weaknesses rather than their strengths.'' While UKIP may well win in Boston, it is not going to win the national election. Britain's firstpast-the-post system means the party will probably take a handful of seats at most. But it has already altered the political landscape.-AP

Police register FIR against immigration officer NEW DELHI: Delhi Police have registered an FIR against the immigration officer who had allegedly 'verbally sexually' harassed a passenger at Indira Gandhi International Airport in the national capital. The FIR was filed at IGIA Police Station under sections 354A, 354D and 506 after police received an email complaint from the victim. "We have registered an FIR and taken up investigation after we received the women's complaint through email. Everything will be done in this case as per law," said a senior police official. The immigration officer, identified as Vinod Kumar, allegedly asked the woman some sexually explicit questions while checking her passport and other travel

documents after she reached the national capital from Bengaluru on her way to Hong Kong. The Bengaluru-based woman in her complaint to the police has alleged that she was verbally sexually harassed by Kumar. "I would like to complain about an immigration officer who verbally sexually harassed me not only during the immigration process at the desk but also by following me along the travelator between domestic and international transfer. This happened on March 19 at 9.30 PM," the woman said in her complaint. The woman has also alleged that the immigration officer asked many unpleasant and private questions while clearing the decks at the immigration counter. -PTI

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Datebook

April 10, 2015

NEW JERSEY Upcoming Sat, Apr 18 • Shobanas Krishna, A Musical In English Venue: Montgomery High School, 1016 Route 601,, Skillman, NJ 08558 Time: 6:00 pm Contact: 973-760-6762

Sun, Apr 19 • India Fair 2015 Venue: NJ Convention & Expo Center, 97,Sunfield Ave, Raritan Center, NJ 08837 Time: 11:00 am Contact: 609-937-2800

Fri, May 1 • Madhura Delights Presents Girls night out ! Venue: RASOI III, 620 Geoges Road, Manmouth JN, NJ 08852 Time : 7:00 pm

NEW YORK Upcoming Sat, Apr 25 • Hamari Devrani Fame Paresh Bhatt & Samir Rajda Venue: Hindu Auditorium, 143-09 Holly Ave, Flushing, NY 11355 Time : 7:30 pm Contact: 516-336-9042

Sun, May 3 • Kailash Kher Venue: The Town Hall, 123 W 43rd St, New York, NY 10036 Time : 6:00 pm Contact: 917-409-7262

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NORTHERN CALIFORNIA

CHICAGO

Upcoming

Upcoming

Fri, Apr 10 • Non Stop Bhangra Night Fash-

Fri, Apr 17 • IFFER - International Night

ion Show Venue: Raja Sweets & indian cuisine, 1275 W Winton Ave, Hayward, CA 94545 Time: 8:00 pm Contact: 650 669 0281

Sun, Apr 12 • A Special 35th Anniversary Event, Bharatanatyam – Temple Legacy Lecture, Demonstration and Performance

Thu, May 9

Venue: Cubberly Theater, 4000 Middlefield

• Ranjeet Rajwada Prince Of Ghazal

Rd, Palo Alto, CA 94303

Venue: Hindu Auditorium, 143-09 Holly Ave, Flushing, NY 11355 Time: 7:30 pm Contact: 347-989-6104

India Post 47

Time: 5:00 pm

Tue, Apr 14 • Master Classes in Smt. Balasaraswati’s traditional Venue: Abhinaya Dance Company of San Jose, 4950 Hamilton Ave, San Jose, CA 95130 Time: 7:30 pm

Sat, May 16 • Isayum Thendral The healing breeze Venue: DMarsee Performing Center, 16007 Crenshaw Blvd, Torrance, CA 90506 Time : 05:00 pm

Fri, Apr 17 • Carnatic Concert By Sudha Raghunathan Venue: India Community Center, 525 Los Coches St, Milpitas, CA 95035 Time: 7:30 pm Contact: 510 796 5252

Venue: Golden Peacock Banquets, 24989 Santa Clara St, Hayward, CA 94544 Time: 7:30 pm Contact: 650-921-2846

Sat, Apr 25 • Marathi Movie- Coffee Ani Barach Kahi Venue: Serra Theaters, 200 Serra Way, Milpitas, CA 95035 Time: 1:00 pm Contact: 650-248-7804

ATLANTA Upcoming Fri, Apr 24 • Ranjeeet Rajwada Live in Atlanta Venue: The Palace Restaurant, 6131 Peachtree Pkwy, Norcross, GA 30092 Time: 6:30 pm

Sat, Apr 26 • CMA Walkathon 2015 - for CORD Venue: Settles Bridge Park, 380 Johnson Rd, Suwanee, GA 30024 Time: 9:00 am Contact: 678-428-4718

Mon, Aug 31 • MITHAS 2014 Membership Venue: Wong Auditorium, MIT, 70 Memorial Dr, Cambridge, MA 02142 Time: 07:00 pm Contact: 857-205-9731

ILLINOIS Upcoming 1st and 3rd Sunday of Month • Chicago Children's Bal Mukund Character Building Program and Hindi Literacy Classes

Venue: Vogelei Center, 650 W. Higgins Road, Hoffmann Estates, IL 60192 (Next to Nissan Dealership) Contact: Ajay & Arti Chandhok @ 630-561-4807

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

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

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

Sun May 24 • White Out Party feat. Indias Dj Notorious! Venue: SPY BAR, 646 N. Franklin , Chicago, IL 60604 Time: 10:00 pm Contact: 773-490-0975


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April 10, 2015


Horoscope

April 10, 2015

India Post

49

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Your Weekly Future by Pandit Parashar April 10th - April 16th 2015 (March 21 to April 20)

H

elp will come from totally unexpected place and person. Mind will be full of some bright ideas and you will wait another minute to implement them. Relationship will keep getting stronger. You may go to a mall and buy some nice cloths for your self this week. Some of you will be switching jobs also.

(April 21 to May 20)

Y

ou will be spending money on buying some fine and quality item for the house. Large gains possible from far off places and people living overseas. People in business will continue to gain edge over their opponents with the new strategy and marketing. Do not sign any contract in a hurry and read the fine lines.

(May 21 to June 20)

S

upporting planets will bring an excellent opportunity to get involved in a new venture with some like minded people. A child may get accepted far away from home. You may have to make little sacrifice and put your needs aside in order to help close family member. It will be better if you allow head rule over your heart.

(June 21 to July 22)

C

oncentration of four planets in tenth is very favorable and may cause sudden changes in career. You may finally lay your hands on a dream opportunity with some very liberal perks. Don't hesitate to try your hands at lottery for next few weeks. Children will do better and a property deal can also finalize this week.

(July 23 to August 22)

(November 23 to December 22)

F

our favorable planets in house of luck will give you the Midas touch for next few weeks. Money stuck for several years may be finally awarded and of course with legal help. Value of your assets will shoot up and you may replace one of your old vehicle with a new luxury model. You will be invited to an important party.

(August 23 to September 22)

E

ven the planets in eighth will help you in a strange manner. Legal matters will take favorable turn overnight and you could be awarded a big chunk of money. You will make friends with few very compatible people at the party. You will be spending more money on a child and may help him with some paper work also.

(September 23 to October 22)

C

oncentration of four planets in kendra forms a big Laxmi yoga. Deal will be nothing less than a financial jackpot. Do not hesitate and try your hands at lottery also. Stocks purchased in the past could suddenly appreciate and it will be better to cash them out right now. There will be some change in your travel plan.

(October 23 to November 22)

Y

ou will be tired of stale life and take your chance. Planets in sixth will help your cause. Though it will not be that easy but finally you will make it big time. People in business will see increasing foot traffic and some new and valuable clients. You may also recover from minor illness with home made remedy.

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

C

ombination of Sun and Mars in fifth is auspicious. There will be some fortu nate changes in life within next few weeks. Mind will become very sharp and your ideas will get proper attention. A child may get accepted in a prestigious institution. Mind will become religious and you may visit a holy place.

(December 22 to January 19)

Y

ou will spend lots of money towards another property or make big upgrades to your existing home. You may also write a check to government in form of some kind of taxes. Business will keep growing steady. Just remember that the project you are working on right now can change life and take you to a different level.

(January 20 to February 18)

T

hings will happen in a dramatic way so don't panic. Courageous actions on your part will pay off in a big way. A government agency will also give necessary clearance making way for big improvement in career. Mind will become inclined towards religion and you may have some special prayers done at your place with family and friends.

(February 19 to March 20)

C

ombination of Sun and mars in second is favorable. You may get a big refund from government this week. Speculation and playing lotto will be favorable. Loan application will go through without any difficulty. Any new venture started at this point will go a long a way and will become instant success and profitable.

510-886-4370 www.parashar.com


Amitabh Bachchan with daughter Shweta Nanda

50 India Post

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April 10, 2015

Amitabh Bachchan with wife Jaya Bachchan, Shatrughan Sinha and Sonakshi Sinha

MUMBAI: In a glittering ceremony that had the audience asking for more, many Bollywood legends with their sons and daughters, took to the ramp on March 4 night for Mijwan - The Legacy, a fashion show in support of the cause of women's empowerment. Amitabh Bachchan and Shweta Nanda; Shatrughan and Sonakshi Sinha; Anil and Sonam Kapoor; Javed and Farhan Akhtar sashayed down the runway, and the ones to pull off this casting coup was Shabana Azmi and Manish Malhotra for their annual fashion show. In its fourth year now, the fashion show is organized in aid of the weavers of Mijwan, a NGO founded by the late Kaifi Azmi, which is headed by Shabana and Namrata Goyal. "Legacy is something that we either inherit from our parents, or it is the value system, and it is my father, Kaifi Azmi's secular values that we are taking forward," said Shabana. Added Manish, "Through this initiative, the Mijwan women got an opportunity to become independent, and I got to showcase to the world the best that our country has to offer." Focusing on both tradition and change, Manish interpreted Chikankari with a modern twist by incorporating floral patterns and appliquĂŠ on modern silhouettes including crop tops, skirts, jackets and saris for women and structured sherwanis, bandikurtas, bandhgalas for men. Shankar Mahadevan, son Siddharth, and Pooja Chavan Gaitonde regaled the audience with their hit melodies as models walked down the ramp.

"Legacy is something that we either inherit from our parents, or it is the value system, and it is my father, Kaifi Azmi's secular values that we are taking forward"

Farhan Akhtar with his father Javed Akhtar

Anil Kapoor with his daughter Sonam Kapoor during fashion show 2015 for Shabana Azmi's Mijwan Welfare society in Mumbai.

Abhishek Bachchan alongwith mother Jaya Bachchan walks the ramp

Shatrughan Sinha with daughter Sonakshi


India Post 51

April 10, 2015 www.indiapost.com

Antiquities looted from India at Honolulu museum HONOLULU: An international investigation into antiquities looted from India and smuggled into the United States has taken authorities to the Honolulu Museum of Art. The museum has handed over seven rare artifacts that it acquired without museum officials realizing they were ill-gotten items. Agents from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement will take the items back to New York and, from there, eventually return them to the government of India. U.S. customs agents say the items were taken from religious temples and ancient Buddhist sites, and then allegedly smuggled to the United States by an art dealer. The dealer, Subhash Kapoor, was arrested in 2011 and is awaiting trial in India. Officials say Kapoor created false provenances for the illicit antiquities. Someone on vacation visiting

the museum last year recognized the name of Kapoor's New York gallery as the source of a 2,000year-old terra cotta rattle and contacted authorities, said Stephan Jost, the museum's director. Museum officials then pored over their

records and determined six other Indian items had ties to Kapoor. Kapoor donated one of the items and sold five to the museum, Jost said. One was a gift from someone else. Agents are hailing the Honolulu museum for being the first U.S. institution to publicly and easily cooperate with the investigation, dubbed ``Operation Hidden Idol,'' involving four arrests and the recovery of thousands of pieces worth a total of $150 million. Marc Thomas, chief preparator at the Honolulu Museum ``Owning stoof Art, holds one of seven stolen artifacts that were on len stuff is not display in the museum’s collection, in Honolulu. part of our mission,'' Jost said.

France bans ultra-thin models PARIS: French deputies have voted to ban ultra-thin catwalk models, despite howls of protest from modeling agencies in the world's fashion capital.

tional Assembly lower house of parliament. Agencies found employing models considered too thin could be liable for a fine of up to 75,000

"Anyone whose body mass index... is below a certain level will not be able to work as a catwalk model," according to the amendment voted in the Na-

euros (USD 85,000) and six months in prison. "The prospect of such a punishment will have the effect of regulating the entire sector," said

Olivier Veran, the deputy proposing the amendment, who said that similar measures had been taken in Spain, Italy and Israel. Health Minister Marisol Touraine had previously said that young models should "eat well and look after their health". "This is an important message to young women who see these models as an aesthetic example," added the minister. However, the National Union of Modeling Agencies has complained this would affect the competitiveness of French modeling. The new law comes after a similar amendment was passed that would punish people inciting others to "extreme thinness" to a year in prison and a fine of 10,000 euros. That law was aimed at so-called "pro-ana" websites that some accuse of encouraging anorexia. Up to an estimated 40,000 people suffer from anorexia in France, nine out of 10 of them women and girls.-AFP

``I'm not sure we've done anything or the construction of national heroic. We just want to do the right identity,'' he said. ``If evidence is thing.'' provided that's convincing, no Jost watched as agents in- museum will resist.'' spected the items - the rattle, figuHe cited an example from about rines, architectural fragments and 10 years ago when Italian police tiles - and them hauled them in uncovered evidence revealing a packed crates into a truck. number of items that were impropMartinez stressed there's no erly removed from Italy. The U.S. culpability on the museum's part, museums where some of the items as it wasn't aware of the items' ended up returned them, he said. provenance when it acquired them Repatriation has become more between 1991 and 2003. common in the past couple of deAmerican art museums are be- cades, said Malcom Bell, a profescoming more rigorous in vetting sor of Greek and Roman art and the history of objects they ac- archaeology at the University of quire, Jost said. ``Could we have Virginia. As a general rule of done a better job? Sure,'' he said. thumb, museums and art collectors ``Were we a victim? Yes.'' avoid purchasing items exported It's not uncommon for unsavory without clear and valid documendealers to donate ill-gotten items tation before 1970 - the year of a for tax benefits and other reasons, said Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent Brenton Easter. He's part of a group of agents in New York that focus on cultural property crime whose work includes dismantling the organizations behind the crimes and repatriating the seized pieces. Some institutions are reluctant to come forward, partly beOne of seven stolen artifacts that were on cause of the financial display at the Honolulu Museum of Art is shown loss involved, Easter in a secure room of the museum’s basement, in said. Honolulu It's very rare for evidence to come to light to show a museum has items that United Nations cultural agreement were illegally obtained, said James targeting trafficking in antiquities, Cuno, president and CEO of the J. he said. Paul Getty Trust. ``Transparency is important, ``Claims might come from time and if the Honolulu museum has to time. But most often those been open, that's probably to be claims are based on just interest applauded,'' Bell said.-AP


52 India Post

April 10, 2015 www.indiapost.com

Romancing Urdu: From China, with love NEW DELHI: For 75-year-old Chinese poet Zhang Shixuan, composing verses in Urdu is a passion and over the past five decades his love for the language has grown manifold. The couplets he recited at the 17th annual Jashn-e-Bahaar mushaira here evinced much interest among those present at the event. "Toot jaata hai qalam, harf magar rehta hai, paaon chalte hain magar naqsh thair jaata hai (The pen breaks but words stay, feet keep moving but their impressions remain)," read one of them. "It was in 1963, I was in the third year of my graduation when I was told by the government to study Urdu as China wanted to establish closer ties with India and Pakistan. Initially I felt bad as journalism was my passion but as I started studying the language, I fell in love with it," Zhang told PTI in an interview here. Zhang, who has adopted the pen name Intekhab Alam which is the Urdu translation of his Chinese name, said he studied the language for four years with a group of seven students that also included a girl whom he later married. The group studied Urdu at the

Beijing Broadcasting Institute now known as the Communication University of China. Zhang later went on to become the editor of China Pictorial monthly magazine's Urdu edition. Zhang, who has participated in the annual Jashn-e-Bahaar mushaira four times, said, "When

I got a complete grip over the language, I started composing verses in Urdu. What started as a compulsion became a passion later and I fell in love with Urdu." He wrote his first 'nazm' (Urdu poem in rhyming verse) in 1979 saddened by the execution of then Pakistan Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto. From 1967-1999 he worked for the China Pictorial's Urdu edition and was its editor for the major part

of the period. The magazine closed down a year before his retirement due to financial constraints. China Pictorial was first published in 1950. It was one of four publications allowed during the Cultural revolution in China. In addition to the Chinese edition, it was published in many languages including Hindu, English, Urdu, Japanese, French, German, Russian among others. Urdu edition was discontinued. Asked if Urdu could become a link language like English or some of the other international languages, he said "Urdu in the present times is lagging behind as a working language for economic gains so it is important to harness and nurture the language with love. Only love for the language can help it in spreading it to different corners of the world." "Urdu has history, it has philosophy, it has culture just like the Chinese language. If you leave this language you will get distant from your history which is very dangerous. You have to love Urdu. It is a language that native people and those coming from outside

Getty oil heir's death latest in string of family tragedies LOS ANGELES: It's a family name that has long been associated with unimaginable wealth and sometimes unspeakable tragedy. The mysterious death of J. Paul Getty's grandson Andrew Getty is just the latest example of the latter. Andrew Getty, 47, was found dead after authorities said his girlfriend called emergency services to report discovering his bloodied body at his Hollywood Hills mansion. He appeared to have died of natural causes, coroner's Assistant Chief Ed Winter said, but he added it could take more than two months to determine the exact cause. The reclusive Getty had said in recent court documents that he was battling a ``serious medical condition'' that could endanger his life. He and other heirs of oil baron J. Paul Getty have managed to maintain a significant share of the fortune their patriarch left behind, but the money hasn't shielded subsequent generations from drug

addiction, premature death, tabloid scandal and violent attacks by others. ``The story of the famed Getty family is one of the most obvious examples that money, cold hard cash, doesn't buy happiness,''

Andrew Getty

Forbes Magazine reported in a profile last year when it listed the combined family fortune at $5 billion - 54th highest on its list of America's most wealthy. Andrew Getty's cousin J. Paul Getty III was kidnapped in Italy in 1973. When his wealthy grandfather was slow to pay a ransom, kid-

nappers cut off the 16-year-old's ear and threatened to return him piece by piece if they didn't get money. The oil baron, who previously told reporters, ``I have 14 grandchildren and if I pay one penny ransom, I'll have 14 kidnapped grandchildren,'' eventually coughed up a sum reported to be $3 million. Once released, the teenager resumed a jet-set lifestyle of abusing drugs and consorting with rock stars until he suffered a debilitating stroke in his 20s. He died in 2011 at age 54. His stepmother, actress Talitha Pol, who had lived her own jet-set life, died of a heroin overdose in 1971. Marilynne DeJonge, the mother of Andrew Getty's girlfriend, said Getty told her daughter Lanessa DeJonge that he'd been diagnosed with a brain aneurysm. -AP

and settling there have together made so it does not belong to any religion or community. It belongs to everyone," Zhang said. According to him, not many people knew Urdu in China when he started out. "People in Xinjiang had an interaction with Pakistanis. There, people knew the language.

train ticket to visit my home in Shaanxi province. I did not go home for four years that I studied the language," he said. Asked about his favorite poet, he said though he likes Ghalib, Allama Iqbal, Sheikh Ibrahim Zauq his favorite is Faiz Ahmad Faiz. He said though his mother tongue and the environment he

Zhang Shixuan

Though now also not many people know Urdu in China but it is taught in three universities and many people have become interested in the language," he said. Zhang said he and his wife have given a lifetime to Urdu and initially he had to sacrifice a lot to study the language. "After studying journalism, I had to quit it without completing it. During the four years that I studied Urdu, my family supported me a lot. My grandfather and grandmother died during those four years and my family did not inform me as there were financial constraints and they knew that I would not be able to afford the

was living was alien to the language, Urdu was easy for him to learn. Zhang said only his wife Li Keli, whose name in Urdu is Sabira Sultana, and he learnt the language but laments that his son and daughter do not understand it. He said mushairas still excite him and he has been around the globe to take part in them from India, Pakistan, Dubai to Los Angeles. "Waqt dariya hai koi jheel nahi hai Alam. Raah mein gham ho, khushi ho ye guzar jayega. (Time is like a river and not like a lake. Sadness, happiness will also pass)," he signed off. -PTI

Kapil Sharma to make his singing debut MUMBAI: Kapil Sharma is not just making his debut in Bollywood as an actor but the stand-up comedian is all set to croon for a film as well. After showing his singing abilities on his show Comedy Nights With Kapil, he is teaming up with Punjabi singer Dr Zeus for the Bollywood number. Kapil Sharma will be next seen in director duo Abbas-Mustan's Kis Kisko Pyaar Karu, which will mark his acting debut. He was set to make his movie debut with Bank Chor earlier but the comedian and Yash Raj Films parted ways. The come-

dian later landed a project with Abbas-Mustan. The multi-starrer comic film is expected to hit theatres during the year end.-PTI

Kapil Sharma


Philosophy

April 10, 2015

India Post 53

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Page Sponsored by Sahanis SWAMI RAMDAS

I

t is not by mere external renunciation that one attains God. There are so many who have externally renounced and gone to the forests but have not realized Him. It is not necessary that one should externally renounce anything. It is not the outer condition that matters so much as one's inner state of mind. If we dedicate our life to God and live in His light, it does not matter where we live. We can live in the family and still realize Him, because God is everywhere and not only in forests and caves. He is in us, with us and all about us. To seek Him, we need not go anywhere. The examples of Buddha, Chaitanya and Vivekananda are not for all to follow. They are rare cases in which God made them renounce the external ties also so that they might freely serve all mankind. When God wants us to undertake such a glorious mission, by all means, let us not resist the current when it comes to sweep away our narrow limitations. Sri Krishna and Janaka in their lives have shown that even for the work of Lokasangraha, the normal duties of life that fall to our lot need not be abandoned. To attain Moksha for oneself, willful breaking off from external ties is not at all necessary. God-realization is not getting away from the world, but looking VIMALA THAKAR

T

o be spiritual is to be related to the visible, invisible and the infinite aspects of life simultaneously. True spirituality never provides any escapes for fear-obsessed people. We may find other escapes in the world, but they are not the essence of spirituality. Please realize this very clearly. It's an adventure to be truly religious, to be a totally spiritual person. When we are committed to the totality of life and not to any walls created by man in the name of nationality, denominations, creeds, and dogmas, then we do not belong to a particular race, to a color, but to the whole global family. In spirituality none of us escape the challenges. They will pursue us wherever we go. We carry within us the inheritance of the human race; the knowledge, the experience, the conditionings of the total human race are contained in each of our minds. Please see that spiritual inquiry is not withdrawing from life and living, but bringing a qualitatively new approach to the act of living. It is not escape and it is not an ego-centered activity of collecting occult and transcendental ex-

upon it as the manifestation of God and serving Him in all creatures and beings, in a state of perfect submission to His will. What we have to give up is the ego-sense, the idea that we are the doers. God within us is the doer, the sole master of all our activities. If we dedicate all our actions to Him we can destroy our ego sense and find our supreme union with Him. Surrender does not denote any change in the external mode of life, but a right attitude towards it. Ramdas still belongs to the world, not in a partial sense, but in

Ramdas' Beloved dwells everywhere, as all beings and creatures in the world. Action in itself is neither virtuous nor sinful. The error lies in attributing it to our false individuality, when really it emanates from Him. So no action which we are engaged in need be discarded. All actions are to be surrendered up to Him who is the master of all actions. 'Possess things, but do not be possessed by them'. Whenever you accept presents from any one, take it that the Lord Himself gives

gives and the Lord takes away. The sense of possession is a great obstacle to the realization of God. The idea of 'I' and 'mine' must disappear entirely before the aspirant can find absolute freedom and peace in union with God. Verily, everything belongs to the Lord who dwells in the hearts of all creatures and things. Attachment to any external object narrows our vision, fosters egoism and gives rise to the false notion that we are separate from God, i.e., from the universal life and

Sense of possession a great obstacle to realization

self on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect. -Mark Twain

Sri Krishna and Janaka in their lives have

Knowing your own dark-

shown that even for the work of

ness is the best method

Lokasangraha, the normal duties of life that fall to our lot need not be abandoned. Swami Ramdas

totality. His Beloved is not only in particular persons, but is in His full power and glory in all beings, creatures and things. Ramdas has only expanded the narrow family circle into a world-family. So it is not renunciation, but expansion. God has in His mercy made him embrace the whole universe as his.

them to you and the moment an occasion comes when you have to part with them, give them away with as much delight as you had when you received them. Understand that you are returning them only to Him who gave them to you. In the same light consider every gain and loss. The Lord

spirit. The whole universe is permeated through and through with God. The visible and invisible worlds are all He. There is nothing and none but He. Excerpted from Thus Speaks Ramdas. The 131st birth anniversary of Swami Ramdas will be observed on April 10

periences. We often talk about religious inquiry, spiritual inquiry, meditation in a very petty sense. If we want to achieve something personal in spiritual inquiry, we are transferring ambitions from the physical and psychological to the religious field. Spiritual inquiry is not a self-centered, ego-centered activity. It is responding to the challenge confronted by the human race.

lishing sects and gathering disciples. If we play games in the name of spirituality, we are trying to protect the ego from the flame of revolution, the piercing force of truth. We are free to defend ourselves if we like, but it's no use pretending we are undertaking an inner revolution when we try to collect psychic experiences, play with the occult.

healing practices, to become enmeshed in extra-sensory experiences, but unless that being is set free of the tyranny of conditionings, there is no spiritual inquiry worth the name. The desperate need of the human race is not the cultivation of psychic powers and extra-sensory experiences; the urgent requirement is for mature, whole human beings who are free of ego

Spiritual inquiry is not withdrawing from life

people. -Carl Jung It's a funny thing about life; if you refuse to accept anything but the best, you very often get it. -W. Somerset Maugham Whether it's the best of times or the worst of times, it's the only time we've got. -Art Buchwald In the practice of toler-

-Dalai Lama I have noticed even people who claim everything is predestined, and

an inner revolution when we try to collect psy-

The spiritual journey is to set ourselves free of the prison house of the ego; it is not to make the prison house more interesting by the addition of psychic experiences, occult practices. Many of us work very hard to give a spiritual appearance to our lives, to delve into the mysteries of the invisible, occult, to take up

darknesses of other

best teacher.

but it's no use pretending we are undertaking chic experiences, play with the occult.

for dealing with the

ance, one's enemy is the

We are free to defend ourselves if we like,

We can have fascinating experiences in the realm of the occult; this kind of spirituality is a good commercial proposition. People trade in it, make money by offering to stimulate certain psychic powers in others. But religion and spirituality are precious, sacred things, not things for trading, or for estab-

Whenever you find your-

that we can do nothing to Vimala Thakar

attachments, emotional imbalances and who are aware, attentive, sensitive, creative and fully alive. Excerpted from an address by Vimla Thakar on Dec 24, 2012 pasted on website http:// www.awakin.org. The 94th birth anniversary of Vimla Thakar will be observed on April 15.

change it, look before they cross the road. -Stephen Hawking Believe that life is worth living and your belief will help create the fact.

sure yourself FIRST. Call Sahanis, (Arish, Priya or Shiv) for your Insurance needs 718- 271- 0453. Serving for last 35 yrs

-William James


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Yemen: Why the current strife will continue

S

oon after its formal establishment in 1932, Saudi Arabia invaded Yemen and absorbed the Yemeni provinces of Asir and Najran, in 1934. Since then, Saudi Arabia has tried to influence internal political dynamics by using a 'carrots and sticks' policy to ensure that unfriendly regimes did not come to power in Yemen, but with limited success. For these reasons Yemenis have not been well disposed towards Saudi Arabia. Except for intermittent periods of relative 'stability', from 1962 onwards, Yemen has witnessed continual internal armed conflicts between regional and tribal groupings. Ali Abdullah Saleh, a Zaidi Shia himself, was president of North Yemen from 1978 to 1990 and of united Yemen till 2012. Major protests against his autocratic rule started in the mid1990s. The most powerful amongst them was by the Ansar Allah, under the leadership of

Houthis taking control of most of the country including almost all its main cities and ports in just a few months. The president and his cabinet were arrested. Having escaped, the President of Yemen, Abd Rabbu Mansour al Hadi, a southerner, and previously a vice president under Saleh, first fled to Aden and after the presidential palace came under attack there, fled to Saudi Arabia. Al Hadi has no support base in north Yemen and little real support even in southern Yemen, except in Aden. Meanwhile the former supporters of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (in Yemen) who have recently allied themselves with the Islamic State, have steadily been expanding their control of major areas of southern Yemen. All this has led to Saudi Arabia abandoning its traditional cautious, deliberate, low key diplomacy and adopting a surprisingly

There is very little prospect of a Saudi-friendly government emerging as the end result of such negotiations. Thus, the unfolding events in Yemen are likely to prove another and particularly major strategic setback for Saudi Arabia. Meanwhile, Yemen is likely to remain embroiled in violent civil strife for some years to come Hussein al Houthi, from the Saada region in the north, but there were no sectarian motives behind this. This led to a concerted military campaign against the Zaidi Shia grouping, during which Hussein al Houthi was killed in September 2004, even as Saleh was dubbed a puppet of the Americans and yet another 'civil war' in Yemen began. Saleh's inability to control the burgeoning mass demonstrations in Yemen, which were part of the so-called Arab Spring unrest, led to him being forced to step down by the GCC countries in 2012. Adept at switching alliances, Saleh opportunistically allied with the Houthis in 2014 in an effort to recapture power. Having headed the army and the country for so long, Saleh enjoys a considerable support within the army (even though it is a predominantly Sunni army), and particularly amongst the powerful Republican Guard. This support has contributed particularly significantly to the

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muscular approach, apparently at the behest of the very young and completely inexperienced new Saudi Defense Minister, the youngest son of King Salman, Mohammad bin Salman Al Saud. Incredibly, in a matter of days, Saudi Arabia successfully forged a grand Sunni alliance and launched 'Operation Decisive Storm' involving extensive air strikes against Houthi and Saleh forces in and around Sana'a, Taiz, Hodeidah and even Aden, but has been unable to dent the Houthi/ Saleh dominance. A particularly notable feature is the large military commitments made by the members of this coalition, with Saudi Arabia contributing 100 fighter jets, 150,000 soldiers, and some naval units; Bahrain and Kuwait deploying 15 fighter jets each; Qatar contributing 10 jets; and Jordan contributing 6. Even Sudan has promised 3 jets. Egypt is deploying unspecified naval and air force units, and ground forces will be deployed

"if necessary." Concerted efforts to persuade Pakistan to join are being led by King Salman himself. Turkey is being strongly wooed too. This underscores Saudi Arabia's alarm about developments in Yemen. Frenetic Saudi rhetoric notwithstanding, there is little credible evidence of Iran having provided large enough consignments of weapons, to make a tangible difference, to the Houthis. But, Iran has now made very significant gains in Yemen: direct flights between Tehran and Sana'a started in March; with several ports now being under Houthi control, theoretical possibilities of Iranian weapons supplies to Yemen have opened up. This will inevitably happen if needed. Iran has already signed several agreements with the Houthi authorities to supply Iranian oil, help in construction of power plants, modernization of strategic ports, etc. Thus, Iran has acquired credible locus standii and will now inevitably be an active player in the processes to determine Yemen's future, particularly now that the nuclear deal has been signed. The issue of the 'lost provinces' may well be reopened. Clearly, the war cannot be won through air strikes alone. Given that Saudi troops had performed particularly poorly against the then much weaker and less organized Houthis in 2009-2010, and have no real combat experience, they are hardly likely to do any better this time, fighting against battle-hardened Yemenis in their own terrain. A military victory is unimaginable. A semblance of peace, the normal situation in Yemen, can only be re-established through negotiations mainly between the parties directly concerned - Iran and Saudi Arabia under US auspices sitting down with the Houthis. There is very little prospect of a Saudi-friendly government emerging as the end result of such negotiations. Thus, the unfolding events in Yemen are likely to prove another and particularly major strategic setback for Saudi Arabia. Meanwhile, Yemen is likely to remain embroiled in violent civil strife for some years to come. The writer is Distinguished Fellow, IPCS, former Indian Ambassador to Yemen and Oman, and former Member, National Security Advisory Board (NSAB), India

What about landless?

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o problem of India can be solved in isolation. As we discuss the land acquisition bill and the controversy surround ing it, we tend to forget that there are many more landless than the land owners and their interests can be ignored only at our peril. According to the 2001 Census, 56.6% of Indian workers are engaged in 'Agricultural and allied activities'. This is followed by 'Manufacturing Industries', which employed about 13.4%. The services sector forms 10 % of the total main workers with similar number engaged in 'Wholesale retail trade and repair work, hotels and restaurants'. With the Modi government focusing on 'Make in India,' which is the manufacturing sector, the impression is gaining ground that it is not as much concerned about farming and the problems of farmers. And with the land acquisition bill, it is further being alleged that it is more about snatching the land of the farmers rather than creating conditions for their welfare. In olden days, India was proudly proclaimed as 'Krishi Pradhan Desh' that is, a country primarily focused on agriculture. In today's circumstances, agriculture is not a viable profession. What adds to the problem is the unpredictable weather and the dependence on monsoons. Besides, crops also get destroyed either by drought or by floods. In fact, among those engaged in agriculture, an extremely large number of rural families subsist on less than two bighas, and must supplement their meager incomes with some form of labor. Many of their children are thus found engaged in construction work in cities and adding to the problem of slums. A major survey published by Hindu newspaper finds that almost half the respondents don't want to continue with agriculture. The survey in fact indicates that more than one-fifth (22 per cent) of the farmers have begun to dislike farming. Most conversations with farmers reveal how income returns are very low, irrigation facilities are inadequate and supporting infrastructure is largely absent or of poor quality. They are clinging to a land which brings them little and having taken loans, the increasing debt burden leads them even to suicide. The farmer's children do not have an alternative mode of livelihood and thus the cycle continues. Economist Bibek Debroy says that one of the reasons for visible stress among farming communities at the very thought of losing land is that the government has not provided their young with skill-sets that would make them productively employable in any other sector. Thus it is not enough for the government to buy their land and give the farmers a fair compensation. Lot of unearned money in the hands of the unemployed youth could lead them to drugs or some other evil practices as is happening in Punjab and Haryana. Instead, the government needs to look after wholesome development in villages providing them housing, toilets, electricity, water, education and of course jobs. Millions of people work as daily coolies in the farmlands. No one thinks of this population without whom agricultural activities are impossible. They are under paid, live in absolute poverty. Thus an integral approach to agriculture is needed. The current focus on land, farmers and farming seems to obfuscate the stark reality of India's landless - over 100 million households which would constitute at least 300 million of the population. These are the Indians either below or hovering on the poverty line. Urgent attention needs to be paid to the landless who seem to have totally fallen off the radar. Manufacturing and jobs must now go to where the poor live in vast stretches of rural India. BJP spokesperson M.J.Akbar says in an article in Times of India that the land bill should be renamed as "the Land and Landless Economic Regeneration Bill instead of the cumbersome Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (Amendment) Bill, 2015." The suggested alternative should help identify the most relevant category of beneficiaries, the landless.


April 10, 2015

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