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

Rao discusses US-India ties with Sen Feinstein Details on page 5

Kamaljit Bawa inducted to Arts Academy Details on page 14

IIT-Bombay in plan to set up NY sciences center

VOL 17, No. 920

May 04, 2012

50¢

Periodical Postage

LAWMAKERS PRAISE INDIAN COMPANIES 'They stimulated US economy, created jobs'

WASHINGTON: Applauding the role of Indian companies in stimulating US economy and creating jobs during the tough days of economic recession, top American lawmakers, cutting across party lines, pledged to strengthen economic ties between the two countries. In a rare show of solidarity, more than 20 top American lawmakers turned up for a Capitol Hill reception organized by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII). The reception was organized to release the report 'In-

dian Roots: American Soil'. "This survey confirms that Indian companies are key drivers of US job creation and economic activity," said Senator Mark Warner, co-chair of Senate India Caucus. "I am excited about the growing number of R&D partnerships with US colleges and universities, and the high level of involvement of Indian firms with community-based non-profit organizations," Warner said. Details on page 5

Prof. Dr C Palanivelu

Indian cancer surgeon honored by NY City Details on page 40

Lawmakers want crimes against Sikhs tackled Details on page 10

Hemant Patel aspiring for political pastures

Details on page 21 Details on page 10

Indian American team wins big for NYC app

Pak PM Gilani convicted in contempt case

Details on page 21 Details on page 6

Nobel Laureate, top physicians to address AAPI

CONTENTS Bollywood ---------------------- 38-39 Classifieds ------------------------- 47

Details on page 40

Community Post -------------- 10-20 Date Book -------------------------- 28

INDIA POST SURVEY

Edit Page --------------------------- 49 HealthScience Post --------- 40-43

survey@indiapost.com

Horoscope -------------------------- 9

This week’s question

Immigration Post ------------- 34-37

US, Indian economies can flourish together?

Life Style ----------------------- 25-27 Philosophy ------------------------- 48

Last week’s result

Agni-V test will earn more respect from China? YES 93%

NO 07%

Publisherís Diary ------------------ 4

NEW ENVOY: Nancy J Powell, Ambassador of the United States of America, presenting credentials to Indian President Pratibha Patil at Rashtrapati Bhavan on April 24. (Details on page 7)

Real Estate -------------------- 44-46 TechBiz Post ------------------- 21-24 Travel & Hospitality Post ---- 29-31

Certified by “CIRCULATION VERIFICATION COUNCIL Readership 117,765”

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is how you will feel as you experience our agenda of outstanding speakers and timely educational seminars, highlighted by the Keynote Address on Friday, May 4:

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Michael Steele

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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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ometimes I admire India for its sheer gall as far as its foreign policy goes. Take it or leave it, India is what it is - a sovereign nation with an uncanny vision of what is best for its people vis-à-vis the rest of the world. Just as it doesn't believe a friend of a friend to necessarily be a friend, India doesn't believe that an enemy of a friend should be its enemy too. So, no one can tell New Delhi what it should or should not do when it decides to keep buying oil from Iran or test a long range missile or hold the reins on foreign investors. The comity of nations, especially the US is often left scratching its head - just when they think they have learnt all there is to understand about India, it springs a new facet to its peculiar nature. India is like a little kid who scribbles over the living room wall and doesn't understand why anyone should be upset; after all he is exerting his pent up energies, expressing new found creativity and not really harming anyone, right? Or shall we say like a kid that hangs a bucket of water over the door as a security measure to keep intruders away, and doesn't care who feels uncomfortable about it. Sorry, I couldn't resist making up these analogies. But truth be told, no one but India knows what it is dealing with in terms of security from within and outside its geography; economic sustenance; and its population that's voracious for all things good in life. One can't find fault with New Delhi outside its borders, it essentially plays by rules framed by its own conscience. For almost half a century since gaining independence, India struggled with its pride in having to take help from the West for its very survival. Today, having realized its immense potential to not only stand on its own two feet but also meaningfully contribute to the world, it is exerting its right to do what is best for its people and not what others think is good enough for them.

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Cover Story: Indian firms lauded Top American lawmakers applaud the role of Indian companies in stimulating US economy and creating jobs.

Community: Hate crimes 90 members of the US Congress have urged the FBI to collect data on hate crimes against the Sikh community.

Health:

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HIGHLIGHTS

AAPI convention The 30th annual convention of AAPI will be held in Long Beach, California between June 27 and July 1.

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Life Style: Magda for Cannes A short film by Magda Marcella, a young talented actress of LA, has been selected for showing at Cannes film fest.

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Travel: Pachmarhi An exceptional hill resort, Pachmarhi in MP is not on the usual beat of hill station buffs and therefore, not over-developed.

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Lawmakers praise Indian companies 'They stimulated US economy, created jobs' WASHINGTON: Applauding the role of Indian companies in stimulating US economy and creating jobs during the tough days of economic recession, top American lawmakers, cutting across party lines, pledged to strengthen economic ties between the two countries. In a rare show of solidarity, more than 20 top American lawmakers turned up for a Capitol Hill reception organized by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII). The reception was organized to release the report 'Indian Roots: American Soil'. "This survey confirms that Indian companies are key drivers of US job creation and economic activity," said Senator Mark Warner, co-chair of Senate India Caucus. "I am excited about the growing number of R&D partnerships with US colleges and universities, and the high level of involvement of Indian firms with communitybased non-profit organizations," Warner said. According to the CII report, the surveyed companies operate in 40 states and the District of Columbia, and 70 per cent have increased the number of employ-

ees since 2005, despite the US economic downturn. More than 34 per cent of the surveyed companies have established manufacturing facilities in the US, investing more than USD 820 million in those facilities, the report said. Since 2005, the surveyed com-

‘I am excited about the growing number of R&D partnerships with US colleges and universities, and the high level of involvement of Indian firms with communitybased non-profit organizations,’ Warner said panies have collectively conducted 72 mergers and acquisitions in the US, saving, creating and sustaining thousands of jobs the report said, adding that the projected research and development investments of the surveyed companies are estimated to be

over USD 190 million in 2012 alone. According to the report, nearly 65 per cent of companies surveyed engage in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives, including programs that support 27 universities, community colleges and high schools in developing curriculum, establishing training programs and encouraging Science-Technology-EngineeringMathematics (STEM) education. Applauding the role of Indian companies in the US, lawmakers praised the role of companies like Tata and Wipro in employment generation. Speaking on the occasion, Senator John Cornyn, Co-founder and Co-chair of the Senate India Caucus said, "I welcome the fact that Indian companies are investing substantial capital in the US, which has already yielded tangible results in Texas and across the US." The relationship between the United States and India will be a critical one for the future of both of our economies, said Senator Jeanne Shaheen, the latest Senator to join the 40-member Senate India Caucus. Referring to the fact that the bilateral trade between

India and the US has reached a record USD 100 billion, Congressman Ed Royce, Co-Chair of the House Caucus on India and Indian-Americans, said this is just a beginning; the two countries have a long way to go. "Indian companies are going global. This CII report shows how

Speaking on the occasion, the Indian Ambassador to the US, Nirupama Rao, said the rapidly expanding India-US trade and economic engagement provides a key underpinning to the Strategic Partnership Indian investment is a real plus for the US economy, especially California," he said. "We welcome Indian investment in the US that creates wellpaying jobs for American workers. It is my hope that these investments and jobs will continue

Rao discusses US-India ties with Sen Feinstein India Post News Service

NEW YORK: Ambassador Nirupama Rao met Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-California) on Capitol Hill, Washington DC April 23, to discuss Indo-US relations. Senator Feinstein is among the senior-most leaders in the United States Senate and is presently the Chair of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. She also serves on a number of other Senate Committees, including Appropriations, Judiciary, and Rules and Administration committees. Senator Feinstein is a member of the Senate India Caucus. During the meeting, Senator Feinstein spoke of her confidence in the future of India-US relations. Ambassador Rao expressed appreciation for the Senator's contributions to deepening the IndiaU.S. partnership. She noted the recent developments in bilateral relations, and the shared values and interests of the two countries. Ambassador Rao described the United States as a key partner in India's quest for socio-economic development and inclusive growth, and highlighted sectors

like education and health as important pillars of this partnership. Senat o r Feinstein emphasized the advantages inherent in India's democratic traditions a n d civilizational culture, and noted that India has "unlimited potential". Views Ambassador Nirupama Rao presenting a book on India to Senator Dianne Feinstein during their meeting on April 23 on Capitol Hill in Washington DC were also exchanged ister Indira Gandhi in the Philipon the regional situation, includ- India and the US. Senator Feinstein conveyed pines during the 1970s. ing the situation in Afghanistan Senator Feinstein invited Amand Pakistan, and in East Asia. It her interest in visiting India, and was agreed that the emergence of meeting old friends there. She re- bassador Rao to visit California, an open, balanced and inclusive called her visit to the country in and conveyed her interest in conarchitecture in the Asia-Pacific re- 1978, and fondly remembered a tinuing to remain in touch with the gion was in the interest of both meeting with the then Prime Min- Ambassador.

to increase and employ more and more Americans," said Congressman Joe Crowley, Co-Chair of the House Caucus on India and Indian-Americans. "From our common values to our shared vision for the future, this is one more effort the US and India can work on together that will benefit both countries. Given the strong ties between our two nations, our relationship is more important than ever," he said. Speaking on the occasion, the Indian Ambassador to the US, Nirupama Rao, said the rapidly expanding India-US trade and economic engagement provides a key underpinning to the Strategic Partnership between our two countries. "Of crucial significance is the pivotal role played by Indian industry in infusing bilateral commercial ties with great dynamism," she said. "The continuous growth of Indian investments across different states in the US, in a range of areas of economic cooperation including manufacturing, services, distribution etc are inspiring examples of value based partnerships between our two countries," Rao said. -PTI

No change in visa policy towards Indian students: US WASHINGTON: The US has said there is no change in its policy towards issuing visas to Indian students. "I don't think we've changed our policy with regard to the way we interview applicants," State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland told reporters at her daily news conference. "I think what we are doing is making sure that the sponsoring organizations truly are what they say they are in the United States; that if they say that they are bringing students over to educate them, that they intend to educate them, not put them to work, et cetera," she said. Nuland said the US supports the recent initiative of opening community colleges in India on the pattern of those here. Last fortnight, education ministers of four Indian States Punjab, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, and Jammu and Kashmir, visited several US cities to have a first hand experience of the community colleges here.-PTI

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Pak PM convicted in contempt case; given symbolic sentence

Pakistan's Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani is escorted by security as he waves upon his arrival at the Supreme Court building in Islamabad on April 26

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has been convicted by the Supreme Court for contempt on the issue of pursuing graft cases against President Asif Ali Zardari and was given a symbolic sentence that lasted briefly but questions remained whether he will be consequentially disqualified. "For reasons to be recorded later, the prime minister is found guilty of contempt for willfully flouting the direction of the Supreme Court," Justice Nasirul Mulk, who headed the sevenjudge bench said as he sentenced Gilani "till the rising of the court", sparing him a jail term. The court also made a reference to Article 63(1g) of the Constitution, which lists the grounds for disqualifications of a convicted parliamentarian, but did not invoke it. "We note that our findings and the conviction for the contempt

of court recorded are likely to entail some serious consequences in terms of Article 63(1g) of the Constitution," the bench said in a short order.

The entire proceedings in the courtroom number 4 lasted less than 10 minutes. The judges left the court immediately after announcing the verdict, effectively ending Gilani's sentence Experts said this left the door open for the initiation of the process for the disqualification of 56year-old Gilani, Pakistan's longest

serving Prime Minister. However, the Speaker of the National Assembly or lower house of Parliament will have 30 days to decide on such a move and the Election Commission a further 90 days - effectively meaning that the premier can remain in office for four more months. The entire proceedings in the courtroom number 4 lasted less than 10 minutes. The judges left the court immediately after announcing the verdict, effectively ending Gilani's sentence. Emerging from the heavily guarded court, Gilani told the media: "We had sought justice. The decision was not appropriate". A visibly dejected Prime Minister, accompanied by his sons, shook hands with his team and members of the federal cabinet after hearing the verdict. Attorney General Irfan Qadir described the verdict as "unconstitutional and unlawful".-PTI

Pak opposition seeks Gilani's resignation ISLAMABAD: Pakistan's opposition parties have sought the immediate resignation of Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani following his conviction by the Supreme Court for contempt on the issue of pursuing graft cases against President Asif Ali Zardari. "In light of the verdict, I think Prime Minister Gilani should resign immediately rather than prolong the issue," Nawaz Sharif, chief of the main opposition party PML-N said. The PML-N would no longer accept Gilani as the premier and

the government was "on a wrong wicket" while the Supreme Court is "on high moral ground and people should back the truth", Sharif said. Cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan, chief of Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf took to social networking site Twitter to seek Gilani's resignation. "After SC judgment PM has lost whatever shred of legal & moral authority he had," he tweeted. Chief of the fundamentalist Jamaat-e-Islami party Munawar

Hussain also urged the prime minister to quit as he had "lost moral ground" after the judgment. "The prime minister should have himself declared by now that I am no more prime minister," he said. "The Supreme Court sentenced him in an honorable manner and it also got its verdict implemented. He is now a convicted person and he cannot remain prime minister now," Hussain said. Gilani was convicted and given a symbolic sentence that lasted briefly.-PTI

SC refuses to quash Justice Bhandari's nomination to ICJ NEW DELHI: The Supreme with the argument and said the inCourt has refused to quash Jus- ternational posts have different tice Dalveer Bhandari's nomina- set of rules and it would have tion as a judge for the Interna- been more appropriate if the petitional Court of Justice (ICJ). tioner had questioned the legaliA bench of justices Altamas ties of the rules framed by the Kabir, J Chelameswar and Ranjan Government of India in nominatGogoi initially wanted to out- ing a person to the post. rightly dismiss the plea for quash"You should have questioned ing Justice Bhandari's nomination the vires of the rules in choosing for ICJ, but later allowed counsel a person. This is purely a quesPrashant Bhushan to withdraw it, treating it as "dismissed as withdrawn". Appearing for the petitioner, a post-graduate law student, Bhushan argued that Justice Bhandari's nomination should not be permitted as it compromised the judiciary's independence. Asked as to how the independence of the judiciary was compromised due to the nomination of the apex court judge, Bhushan told the bench that Justice Justice Dalveer Bhandari Bhandari was a sitting Supreme Court judge and the Government of India, which He said that it was like a is a litigant before the apex sitting Supreme Court court in several cases, has been lobbying for his nomi- judge offering himself for nation at various interna- a seat in the Lok Sabha tional fora. The bench also ques- and allowing the political tioned the petitioner's locus parties to lobby for him. standi and wondered if Prashant Bhushan conthere was any public intertended that in case Jusest involved in the issue. "What is the interest of tice Bhandari fails to get public? He (petitioner) is not a contender so what is elevated to the ICJ, he the public interest involved will have to come back here," the bench asked. and join as a judge Bhushan, however, persisted with his argument and cited the nine-judge consti- tion connected with international tution bench ruling in the Advo- and not municipal laws," the cate-on- Record Association case, bench remarked. wherein it was ruled that appointThe bench further pointed out ment to the judiciary shall not be that after Justice Pathak's elevainfluenced by any executive inter- tion in 1980, India was now nomiference. nating a person to the ICJ after He said that it was like a sitting nearly 22 years. Supreme Court judge offering The apex court said in approhimself for a seat in the Lok Sabha priate cases it can examine the and allowing the political parties academic issue vis-a-vis rules of to lobby for him. Prashant nomination for elevation to the Bhushan contended that in case ICJ. Justice Bhandari fails to get el"Come at the right time and we evated to the ICJ, he will have to will consider it," the bench recome back and join as a judge marked while allowing the counwhich would impinge upon his sel to withdraw the petition. judicial independence. In his brief intervention, AttorIn other words, he said, hav- ney General G E Vahanvati sought ing sought the Government of dismissal of the petition on the India's assistance for his eleva- ground that it was frivolous and tion to ICJ, it would be difficult deliberately filed a day before the for the judge to maintain his judi- nomination. cial independence, once he reHe argued that Justice sumes his duty in the Supreme Bhandari's nomination to the ICJ Court. was a matter of prestige to the The bench was not impressed entire country.-PTI

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Uproar in LS over Bofors issue, House adjourned for 90 minutes

MOON IN INDIA: Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare Ghulam Nabi Azad meeting UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, in New Delhi on April 26

New US envoy Nancy Powell presents credentials NEW DELHI: Expressing concern over euro zone and other global political crises, President Pratibha Patil has emphasized upon improving financial governance and promoting trade and investments. After welcoming the envoys of 12 countries including the US, the President also said the world is faced with the growing pressures on the earth's resources and issues related to environment protection and climate change. "In such a scenario, it is very important to work together and have institutions in which the voices of all, particularly those of developing countries, find expres-

sion," Patil said. The President said India is willing to share her development experiences and her expertise with other countries in particular in the context of South-South Co-operation. During the ceremony, Nancy J Powell, Ambassador of the United States of America, Ioannis E Raptakis, Ambassador of Greece, Larbi Reffouh, Ambassador of Morocco, Ali Illiassou, Ambassador of Niger, Aashna Wandani Radha Kanhai, Ambassador of Suriname, Waven Winslow William, High Commissioner of Seychelles, Susan Yoyo Sikaneta, High Commissioner of Zambia,

and Feilim McLaughlin, Ambassador of Ireland among others presented their credentials to the President. The other envoys included Linus von Castelmur, Ambassador of Switzerland, Maria Michael, High Commissioner of Cyprus, Alexandre Cece Loua, Ambassador of Guinea and Sanjaasuren Bayaraa, Ambassador of Mongolia, a Rashtrapati Bhavan release said. The credential presentation ceremony was attended by the senior members of the Missions, senior officials of the Ministry of External Affairs and Rashtrapati Bhavan, it added. -PTI

China allows import of Indian basmati rice BEIJING: China has finally allowed imports of basmati rice from India, which comes as a big boost to exporters who would now get access to a huge market of 1.3 billion people for their about 4.5 million tonnes of aromatic rice. "It is a very positive move by China ... We are in touch with basmati producers back home to see how to take this forward," Indian Ambassador to China S Jaishankar told PTI. China had banned imports of several Indian agricultural products, including basmati rice, because of the issues of pest control and monitoring of quarantine pests in processing and storage houses in India. The approval came after passing through testing procedures of the Chinese official bodies. The Indian Embassy is plan-

ning to conduct a publicity campaign to push basmati rice into the Chinese markets. The diplomats here regard it as a diplomatic success considering that Beijing was found dithering

ever since New Delhi formally sought an opening for India's top rice in 2006. Experts opined that to start with, India exporters should aim for star hotels and Indian restaurants which are mushrooming all

over China to take advantage of steady increase of Indian and foreign travelers here. "It is good news for us. We are getting our basmati so far from Hong Kong. We can now directly buy it," M H Pastakia, owner of Taj Pavilion restaurants in Beijing said. The move would also help in bridging the ballooning trade gap between India and China which stood at about USD 20 billion. India is looking at China, Mexico and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) as new markets for its basmati rice, with a view to expand its share in global trade. The country's share of the global market for basmati rice is nearly 60 per cent, while Pakistan accounts for the remaining 40 per cent. This high quality rice is mainly grown in these two countries.-PTI

NEW DELHI: The Bofors issue Observing that it gave him "no led to disruption in Lok Sabha with delight" to raise this issue, he said, the BJP and Left parties demand- "25 years have passed but the ing reopening of the graft case storm of Bofors refuses to suband a judicial probe into it. side and the guns continue to BJP members trooped into the blaze." Well following heated exchanges Without naming Rajiv Gandhi, with Congress members, forcing the BJP leader said, "The absence Speaker Meira Kumar to adjourn of the late Prime Minister is felt. A the House for over 90-minutes. promising leader was taken away Raising the issue during Zero from our polity." Hour, senior BJP leader Jaswant The reason behind Congress Singh said though "the correct being reduced from its "historic" weapon was acquired; it was ac- victory of 404 seats in Lok Sabha quired in a wrong manner .... You (Congress) have paid, we have paid. Admitting that the NDA had The nation continues to failed to get Quattrocchi pay". "Till you don't re- extradited after his arrest in move this thorn, the Malaysia, Singh said, ‘Many poison will continue to spread. ... Whatever is will say why did you not do happening in the de- it. You have failed, we have fense sector today is because of this episode. failed. But don't consider our It is a saga of continufailure as your success’ ing corruption. In matters of corruption, there is no closure," he said, demand- in 1984 to 114 in the next elections ing setting up of a judicial com- was Bofors pay-offs deal, he said. mission to probe the issue. UPA Chairperson Sonia CPI (M) leader Basudeb Gandhi and Congress General Acharia demanded reopening of Secretary Rahul Gandhi were the Bofors pay-offs case, institu- present in the House when the tion of an independent inquiry and Opposition members raised the extradition of Italian businessman issue. The Lok Sabha had earlier Ottavio Quattrocchi. seen brief disruption on the issue Admitting that the NDA had during Question Hour. failed to get Quattrocchi extraSingh posed a series of quesdited after his arrest in Malaysia, tions on the matter and asked why Singh said, "Many will say why the Indian investigating teams did you not do it. You have failed, which went to Sweden did not we have failed. But don't consider meet their Swedish counterparts our failure as your success." probing the matter. He claimed that Quattrocchi was "permitted through government connivance to escape from Delhi". He sought to know why "political" donations were paid to the account of AE Services, a company owned by the Italian businessman. "How can it (donations) be political in nature when it went to a businessman. We all know he worked for Snam Progetti and Bollywood actor Amitabh Bachchan gestures during a what happened press conference at his residence in Mumbai on April in it. We must 25. Bachchan expressed happiness over his name being cleared in the 25-year-old Bofors scandal but the know what his clean chit had come "too late", he said. Bachchan's political purname appeared in a list of people allegedly tied pose was," he to the corruption scandal said. -PTI

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May 4, 2012

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Swamy levels fresh allegations against Chidambaram NEW DELHI: Janata Party Karti, who is said to be abroad, chief Subramanian Swamy has could not be contacted for his leveled fresh allegations against comments. Home Minister P Chidambaram, accusing him of delaying permission for the sale of Aircel to Malaysia-based Maxis in 2006 when he was Finance Minister so that his son Karti was financially benefited. Swamy shot off a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh seeking Chidambaram's resignation P Chidambaram Subramanian Swamy and directing CBI to include the names of the Minister and his son in the FIR on AircelSwamy alleged that there was Maxis deal along with former a "dubious transaction" between Telecom Minister Dayanidhi a firm "controlled" by Karti and Maran. Aircel in March 2006, just before If this is not done, the told a Maxis' investment of Rs 4,000 press conference, he will approach crore. court seeking a direction in this Chidambaram as Finance Minregard. ister had ensured that Foreign In-

vestment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance on Aircel-Maxis deal be given only after Karti-controlled company got share in the Aircel, he alleged. He said he had already written to CBI, Enforcement Directorate and Registrar of Companies regarding "dubious financial transactions" during the period of the deal. Swamy alleged that CBI and ED were limiting their probe to the role of Maran and his brother in the matter. "It is not possible for the CBI officers who mainly belong to IPS cadre to probe the Minister and his son even though they have solid proof...An impartial probe is not possible for CBI officials when Chidambaram remains the Home Minister," he said. -PTI

Blackmoney: Eight I-T units abroad to be operational soon NEW DELHI: The government has deputed eight senior IRS officers to officiate as First Secretaries in the newly-created Income Tax overseas units in countries like the US, the UK and Japan as part of efforts to curb the problem of blackmoney and illegal funds stashed away abroad. The Income Tax officials, having a tenure of three years, will function from the Indian Missions in Washington DC (the US), London (the UK), Berlin (Germany), Paris (France), The Hague (Netherlands), Abu Dhabi (the UAE), Cyprus (Nicosia) and Japan (Tokyo).

The orders for the deputation of an Indian Revenue Service (IRS) officer to Japan were awaited and the same were issued last evening. The units will be operational very soon as these officers will join in some time at their designated locations, official sources said. Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, during his Budget speech, had made a big allocation for setting up these I-T overseas offices. While the initial budgetary allocation for these units was Rs 2.41 crore in the last fiscal, it has

been raised to Rs 18.20 crore in the current year. "The officials deputed are adept at handling tax evasion cases and international tax treaties and will also help the department liaise with authorities of these countries in tax cases including various high-profile cases which the I-T is currently investigating," a senior Finance Ministry official said. The officials at these units will also help investors from abroad understand Indian tax laws and procedures so that they can make informed decisions, the official said.

'Conservative party to be first to have British Indian PM' LONDON: The Conservative party is going to be the first in the UK to have a British Prime Minister of Indian-origin, Premier David Cameron has forecast as he praised the community for their hard work to make Britain what it is today. "We were the first party to have a woman prime minister (Mrs Margaret Thatcher), we were the first party in (Benjamin) Disraeli to have a Jewish prime minister and when I look at the talent behind me I think we are going to be the first party to have a British Indian

Prime Minister," Cameron said at the launch of the Conservative Friends of India. He noted that "the values of Conservative party and values of British Indians such as caring about family are identical" and praised "the excellent contributions" of Sailesh Vara, MP, Government whip and Prity Patel, MP. At the outset Cameron told the packed gathering at The Lawrence Hall in central London, "We would like to celebrate the success of British Indian businessmen and British Indian cricket

players." "There are so many British Indians who had put in hard work to make Britain what it is today." Referring to UK-India tie, he said "first of all, the relation between Britain and India is incredibly strong and incredibly important. But we have to make it strongest ever." He said sometimes people think that Indian economy was just based on call centers. "Nothing could be farther from the truth. Indian economy is there as a dynamo to the world economy," he noted. -PTI

US, Pak officials discuss Indo-Pak trade WASHINGTON: The US and Pakistan have concluded their sixthround meeting of the TIFA (Trade and Investment Framework Agreement) Council in Washington, during which they discussed bilateral issues, besides ways to improve Indo-Pak trade relationship. During their meeting, the US and Pak officials discussed a number of trade and investment issues including measures to improve market access, the US Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), protection and enforcement of intellectual property, investment, a number of agricultural issues and Reconstruction Opportunity Zones (ROZs). "Another important discussion focused on improving regional trade in South Asia and removing barriers to increased trade and investment in the region, including the implementation of the Af-

ghanistan-Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement and improved trade ties between Pakistan and India," an official statement said. Both sides agreed to work together to further the work of the TIFA Working Groups on empowering women entrepreneurs and improving US-Pakistan private sector engagement. "It was further agreed that sector-specific engagement between the two private sectors will be arranged on the margins of future TIFA Council meetings," the US statement said, adding that both sides agreed to establish a TIFA Working Group on Trade and Investment Promotion Initiatives. The US agreed to share a working paper on this initiative with Pakistan. "The parties agreed to discuss dates for the next TIFA Council meeting to be held in Pakistan in 2013," it said. -PTI

Sachin, Rekha recommended for RS membership NEW DELHI: Cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar and yesteryears actress Rekha are among four eminent persons who have been recommended for nomination as members of Rajya Sabha. 39-year-old Tendulkar, who has brought many a laurel to the country through his exploits in the game, and Rekha, known for her brilliant and emotional portrayals in Hindi cinema in the 80s, will become members of Parliament under a provision of the constitution that allows the President to nominate 12 members to the Upper House. There is no word from the Government on who the other two are who have been nominated. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh sent a communication to the Ministry of Home Affairs which has been sent to President Pratibha Patil for notification, sources said. Article 80 of the Constitution provides for nomination of persons having special knowledge or practical experience in matters such as literature, science, art and social service. 57-year-old Rekha was one of the top heroines of the 80s in Hindi films and had won several national awards in her acting ca-

reer. Tendulkar's nomination to Rajya Sabha has come as a surprise against the backdrop of a long-standing demand for conferring of Bharat Ratna on him for his contribution to the game. He completed the historic achieve-

Sachin Tendulkar

ment of scoring 100 international centuries in March this year. Earlier in the day, Tendulkar, accompanied by his wife Anjali, met Congress President Sonia Gandhi at her residence. Tendulkar would be the first active sportsman and a cricketer to be nominated to Rajya Sabha. The House already has a member from the film world in Javed Akhtar, an eminent lyricist and script writer in Hindi cinema. On Tendulkar's likely nomination, Congress spokesperson Renuka Choudhary said "it will look nice if he comes to parliament and will encourage sports." -PTI

Horoscope

May 4, 2012

India Post

9

www.indiapost.com

Your Weekly Future by Pandit Parashar MAY 4TH - MAY 10TH (November 23 to December 22)

(March 21 to April 20)

D

Y

o not be nervous and go ahead with your plans. You will be pleas antly surprised with the outcome. Money wise you will continue to do well. You may take family out and relish your favorite food. You may buy some new perfume or cloths for yourself this week. Spouse may complain of aches and pain and feel tired due to extra work.

ou will finally lay your hands on something you wanted to have very badly. Minor obstacles will be followed by quick and easy solutions. You may be successful in getting some tricky thing done from a government agency. Luck is definitely on your side and you should take advantage of every opportunity.

(April 21 to May 20)

(December 22 to January 19)

S

tress about a child will increase and you will be spending time on exploring avenues to resolve this issue. Do not rush to conclusions and remember that you can take better decisions and make better choices only with a cool and rational mind. You may also give final shape to an overseas trip. Money will come and disappear fast as usual.

M

oney could go on making some changes in or outside the property. Strong Venus will help you achieve professional goals without any hurdle. Children will also do better in school. Slowly you will be working on a long distance trip. You have some money coming through legal channel this week.

(May 21 to June 20)

(January 20 to February 18)

Y

Y

ou will make big change in diet in order to get into shape. You will be slowly working on a great plan that can take you towards financial freedom in association with some already successful people. Some one you knew in the past will call or send a message. You will also finalize a small vacation with family to a new and exciting place.

ou have some money coming through legal channels. You will continue to gain edge over your opponents and competition. Help coming from an influential friend. You may successfully resolve an issue with a government agency this week. Spouse will support your ideas and plans. Financial juggling will reduce your liability and expenses.

(February 19 to March 20)

(June 21 to July 22)

B

I

e careful with money for some more time and avoid taking any chance with law. Party will be entertaining but stay away from nosey people. Boss will call you and assign an important project and someone to help also. Spouse will give you some great ideas but lack of funds will delay the launch.

dea of adopting the legal channel to prove your point is not bad. Money wise things will still stay on the edge but relax you have big chunk of money coming your way in immediate future. Some of you may entertain a guest in your house and go around with him. Any change in career this week will prove lucky for you.

(July 23 to August 22)

S

ome of you may start another venture in partnership with some like minded people. A tall person will be helpful and give you some leads. Extra running around will not only be helpful in generating more revenues but you will shed few pounds also in the process. Your past efforts will improve your image and popularity in social circle. (August 23 to September 22)

L

uck is definitely on your side this week too, so out and take your chances. You will be able to recover some old debts also. You may accept a challenging assignment or contract this week. It will be better to dispose off money making stocks and wait for another time to buy them back. (September 23 to October 22)

S

tress level will increase little bit. Do not let small issues make you loose your sleep. You may have to answer to some legal query. Be careful as this could be the beginning of a long process if not handled properly right now. Money wise you will continue to stay in safe zone. You may take family out for dinner at a new place this week. (October 23 to November 22)

I

t will be slightly expensive week and you may have to use money out of savings in order to meet the commitments. You may personally visit a government office to get some work done. Eye sight may start giving trouble and you may start using reading glasses. Relationship will continue to move in right direction and commitment can come any time.

2012 will bring luck, good news & opportunities

K

areena Kapoor has always been in the spotlight ever since she put her first step in Bollywood. Everything she does makes headlines. Such is the aura of this headstrong girl that the masses want to know everything that Miss Kapoor does, whether it is a movie which features her, the dress she wears, the places she visits or the men she chooses to go out with. Kareena has this inherent quality of grabbing the limelight, no matter what she does and where she goes. Kareena is a Virgo and her ruling number is 3. Her lucky days are Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. The planet Jupiter governs this number and those born under it are lovers of justice and love. Usually people born on the 21st of the month are very lucky and she is the living example of it. She is multi-talented and is also very confident. 2012 will bring in luck, good news and opportunities for the beautiful Kareena. Her fans will be happy with her performance and she will be appreciated by one and all. Her hard work will pay off and the year will begin and end on a good note for

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

Kareena Kapoor

her. She will however, need to keep a check on what she says in public as there are chances of negative publicity and controversies being created by the media.

510-886-4370

website: www.parashar.com

Desi News

Scientific exposition of Ramayana

COMMUNITY ACROSS AMERICA

SURENDRA ULLAL & ASIAN MEDIA USA

CHICAGO: A team of leading scientists, artists and business leaders currently touring 10 North American cities, delivered a series of cutting-edge presentations entitled "A New Paradigm: Veda, Consciousness, the Ramayana, and the Self" at Meadows Club in Rolling Meadows, a north side Chicago suburb. Even though 650 people from across the Chicago land had registered, many more continued to stream in at various stages throughout the evening, making the event greatly successful and lively. The event explored the meeting point of science and spirituality by presenting pioneering research that reveals the Veda and the Ramayana as blueprints of our body and the entire universe. Details on page 13

Community activist VM Gandhi honored in Queens India Post News Service

NEW YORK: Vasantrai M. Gandhi, community activist and former chairman of the Community Board 3 of Queens was among those honored with Immigration Heritage Award by New York City Council Member Daniel Dromm to celebrate the Immigrant Heritage Week as a Citywide Celebration in Elmhurst, Queens. Presenting the award, Council Member Dromm praised the services of Gandhi to the Jackson Heights community and his stellar qualities as a person who commands high respect in the society for his philanthropy and helping nature. Details on page 14

Jaswinder Singh enthralls ghazal lovers SURENDRA ULALL

ST LOUIS: Seema Enterprises & Seema World Travel recently hosted a musical event "A tribute to Jagjit Singh by Jaswinder Singh" at the Ethical Society of St. Louis on April 13. Jaswinder Singh, a young ghazal maestro, was in his elements and enthralled 300 plus members of the audience who in turn appreciated the rendering of ghazals. Details on page 18

BAPS Charities goes green for Earth Day Details on page 19

10 India Post

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May 4, 2012

Lawmakers ask FBI to collect data on hate crimes against Sikhs India Post News Service

NEW YORK: More than 90 members of the US Congress have collectively urged the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to collect data on hate crimes against the Sikh American community. The initiative led by Congressman Joseph Crowley (D-NY) has 92 Members of the House signing a letter to the Department of Justice (DOJ) urging the FBI to begin collecting data on hate crimes committed against Sikh Americans, a community that is acutely susceptible to violence because of their appearance. "The more information our law enforcement agencies have on violence against Sikh-Americans, the more they can do to help prevent these crimes and bring those who commit them to justice," said Rep. Crowley. "The Department of Justice and FBI have carried out important outreach efforts in coalition with the Sikh community, but these efforts must also be paired with data collection to ensure we are doing everything possible to crack down on hate crimes against the Sikh community." Sikh-Americans are often targeted for hate crimes because of their distinct identity and common misperceptions with respect to their attire and appearance. At-

tackers often appear to erroneously believe that Sikh-Americans are affiliated with extremists and were somehow responsible for the September 11th terrorist attacks on

California, where two men were murdered. Advocacy groups believe it is likely that many other incidents have occurred but went unreported.

"The more information our law enforcement agencies have on violence against SikhAmericans, the more they can do to help prevent these crimes and bring those who commit them to justice," said Rep. Crowley the United States. Over the past year, Sikh-Americans and their religious institutions have been threatened or attacked in highly-publicized incidents in New York, Michigan, Virginia and

The lawmakers' letter calls for the FBI to update the Hate Crime Incident Report Form (1-699) to include crimes committed against Sikh-Americans. While the FBI tracks hate crimes committed with

a bias against particular groups, there is no designation on the Report Form for hate crimes committed against Sikhs. The Report Form serves as the primary mechanism for the federal government to document hate crimes committed in the U.S. and is related to the allocation of law enforcement resources to abate such crimes. Excluding Sikhs in hate crime data collection efforts not only diminishes the safety of the 500,000 strong Sikh-American community, but also weakens the quality of hate crime data overall. This effort is supported by numerous advocacy groups, including the New York-based Sikh Coalition. Rep. Crowley, a seven-term representative from the 7th Congressional District of New York, is a recognized leader in the US House of Representatives on issues related to Indian-Americans and the Sikh-American community. A former six-term member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, he currently serves as Co-Chair of the Congressional Caucus on India and Indian-Americans and has traveled to India several times. Domestically, Crowley has been a strong voice opposing discrimination against Indian-Americans and hate crimes committed against Sikh-Americans.

Hemant Patel aspiring for political pastures NALINI RAJA

T

alk about coming a long way - one can only imagine what the world could achieve if it was full of hard working, results-driven individuals like Hemant Patel. His Gandhian philosophy is what made him join Rotary Club in Navsari, India at a young age of sixteen. Ever since he has always been ready for community work. These words may not even do justice for the sort of impact that Hemant has made in the hotel/motel community. While being an active leader, hotelier, and community servant, Hemant has developed a Best in Class reputation for himself. He was the first Asian-Ameri-

can to become president of the Greater Biscayne Chamber of Commerce in 1996. In Miami, he has served on many city boards and is an active board member of the Upper Eastside Miami Council, a strong and vibrant neighborhood advocacy group. Currently, he is president of "Do the Right Thing," an association which is part of the Miami Police Department and is designed to encourage leadership and good moral behavior in DadeCounty public schools. He also serves on the Advisory Board of Miami County Day School in Miami. Cont’d on page 12

Hemant Patel with President Obama

Community Across America

May 4, 2012

India Post 11

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IAMA foundation raises $75,000 for its clinic RAMESH SOPARAWALA & ASIAN MEDIA, USA

CHICAGO: Although the bid by Indian American Medical Association (IAMA) to raise funds for its charitable clinic run in Chicago fell short of its target by a whisker, it did not dampen the enthusiasm of organizers or those attending the event held here recently. The target set was $ 100,000 and the funds raised totaled around $75,000. The shortfall was reflective of the state of economy in general in the country and not any lack of efforts on the part of IAMA board or IAMA Charitable Foundation officials, said Cris Zala, a spokesman. "The Clinic is run by committed physicians, nurses, pharmacists and health care professionals and others who render voluntary services. They will continue to offer their services pro bono maintaining the high quality that the Clinic is associated with," he said. IAMA CF operates a free community health clinic on Peterson

IAMA CF Board members and other activists (L-R) Anupy Singhla, Dr. Sanjay Amin -Chairman, Dr Usha Nimmagadda -Past chairperson, Dr. Pat Basu -Keynote speaker, Dr Yogesh Gandhi, Dr. Manish Brahmbhatt - Secretary, Dr Ashutosh Gupta, Dr M Hanumandass, Dr V. Marwaha, Dr Rohit Vasa, Dr Brij Malani, Chris Zala

Amin followed by the singing of national anthems of America by Dr. Anita John MD and Indian national anthem by Indrani Mukerji. A brief business meeting was conducted by Secretary Elect of IAMA Dr. Raj Aurora. A commu-

IAMA continues to make progress in the areas of wellness and medical care through its clinic which is critical for disease prevention and health management of the under-served population, we will be focusing on

Chief Guest and Keynote Speaker Dr. Pat Auveek Basu reflected on the American dream and observed that it turned into reality "because of our own sacrifices� IAMA supporters and sponsors

Avenue in Chicago's West Ridge community. It hosted a Fundraising Dinner and Semi Annual Meeting on Saturday, April 21at the Waterford Banquet, Elmhurst, Illinois. Money raised will benefit the clinic, which is run by doctors, medical personnel, providers of medical services such as free lab tests and free medication. The event was well attended by physicians, politicians, Chicago's prominent businessmen, community leaders and general public The Chief Guest of this program was Pat Basu, M.D., M.B.A. Chief Medical Officer: Virtual Radiology, White House Fellow 2010-2011 and Dr. Raju Ramanathan-Cook County Hospital, Chicago CEO. Seasons hospice, Yoga & Veda- Ramayana IOWA, NLVS medical student and Direct express tours had set up their booths. The main event started at 7 p.m. immediately after the social hour. The function started with Welcome Speech by Dr. Sanjay

nity activist Chris Zala and TV fame Anupy Sinhla - acted as Masters of the ceremony. Both urged the audience to "open your heart, open your wallet". Their request was rewarded by a generous contribution totaling $ 75,000. Aruna Vade, MD President IAMA in her speech stressed the importance of developing comprehensive and strategic objectives and widening the base for the organization to grow. She encouraged everyone to join IAMA, to participate, get involved and volunteer in the various IAMA functions. She pointed out that IAMA Charitable Foundation's free clinic has made a big difference with many unprivileged lives. Dr. Sanjay Amin, MD, Chairman IAMA in his speech thanked all the volunteers for the remarkable support they have provided in 2011 to IAMA-CF which has helped in providing free health services to an ever growing under-served population. "As

three core principles," he said. IAMA will be seeking help from other foundations, corporations and young professionals to invest in free health clinic. It has set up an endowment fund to help sustain and grow by expanding their current services and bring new services to their patients. As the clinic is volunteer

based, they are able to provide primary health care services to the economically disadvantaged and predominantly uninsured patients. Last year, volunteer physicians donated a total of 600 + hours of their time to serve those who are needy. 2,700 patient visits were recorded during 2011. IAMA will continue to recruit more physicians to expand their clinic services. The clinic now has a vibrant and quite diverse geographic and ethnic representation. It has joined Illinois Association of Free and Charitable Clinics as one of the founding members to advocate for healthcare policy which will benefit citizens who do not have access to government or private healthcare insurance. Chief Guest and Keynote Speaker Dr. Pat Auveek Basu reflected on the American dream and observed that it turned into reality "because of our own sacrifices and the sacrifices made by our parents. We are today in a position where we can serve others and make this world a better place not just for our children but for all children, not just for Americans, or Indians but for all patients who enter our doors."

He closed his remark with a quote made by Mahatma Gandhi. "Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony." "This clinic is a mark of that harmony", he concluded. The following people received an award for their outstanding, dedicated selfless volunteerism to advance the goal of the organization: Dr Brij Malani, Dr Rambha Radhakrishnan, Dr Sudha Velamati and Dr. Annita John for their leadership, vision & hard work in running the free health clinic. Sponsors of the event were Seasons Hospice -Main sponsor and National republic bank, American Airlines & Medstar. Dr Manish Brahmbhatt MD presented a vote of thanks and that concluded the event. Delicious dinner was served by Waterford Banquets catered by India House. Rest of the evening, the audience enjoyed DJ and music by Saahil. The Executive Committee IAMA has Sanjay Amin as Chairman, Manish Brahmbhatt as Secretary, Rambha Radhakrishnan as Director, Kishore Chugh as Treasurer and Brij Malani, Ex Director.

Emcees of the event Chris Zala and A. Sinhala (Pics courtesy Asian Media USA)

Community Across America

12 India Post

May 4, 2012

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Hemant Patel aspiring for political pastures

Hemant with Left Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-SC) and Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) Cont’d from page 10

Along with other prominent leaders, Hemant traveled to India in 2001 with former President Bill Clinton on an earthquake relief mission. In addition, Hemant received a community service award from former Congresswoman Carrie Meek in Miami. However, this reputation that he has obtained came with preparation, planning and a few motivators that helped him along the way. Hemant credits Jay Patel of Pensacola (an author of Fair Franchise book and a hotelier himself) for his motivation in join-

more likely today to perceive the economy as growing rather than slowing down. Of course, Democrats are much more positive on the economy than their Republican counterparts. Again, former President Clinton's name was brought up because, according to Hemant, Americans prospered during his time as Clinton was a fiscally conservative, socially moderate President. He says that he is a diehard Democrat because Dems believe in "live and let live co-existence philosophy from Gandhi". Mind you, he also calls the former Governor of Florida, Charlie Christ, his personal

Hemant with former ambassador to the US Ronen Sen and Dr. Piyush Agrawal (center)

ing with certain franchise companies addressing critical member issues. He achieved a lot of success with resolving certain issues with Choice Hotels Int'l. Also was very involved in the passing of the Fair Franchising Bill (AB2305) which passed the judiciary committee hearing in Sacramento, CA in April. His strength is in Governmental affairs, and admits that better interactions with elected officials and connecting with membership effectively can be a win-win situation for all. Also having frequent trips to DC and holding legislative days there should be in every Chairman's agenda. Contributing Political Action Committee (PAC) funds based on AAHOA's agenda would bring beneficial results to this industry as a whole. Also, by organizing fundraisers through members can give awareness of AAHOA clout of 11,000 members, owning 40% of the hotels in the US. A good example of positive result with the DC trips - Cong Bill Posey, FL - proposed legis-

ingly easy to see how the lives of people (and plants and animals and ecosystems) everywhere are closely synced up with one another. Political Aspirations Hemant is seriously considering running for political office. That is and has been a lifelong goal. He has been involved in the local Miami community at grassroots level for 24 years and instrumental in revitalizing that community where he owns a business. Also, has done philanthropic work, involved with local elected officials at various legislative levels and understands the landscape of public service and governmental affairs very well. Hemant truly believes that there is lack of representation from Indian community in US government positions. "We have lot at stake here being the second largest community after the Jewish community. If y're not on the table, y're on the menu", says Hemant. So his message to his membership

Hemant credits Jay Patel of Pensacola (an author of Fair Franchise book and a hotelier himself) for his motivation in joining the hospitality industry and AAHOA. He has always looked to Dr. Piyush Agrawal, national USA coordinator of Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) as his mentor Hemant with Bill & Hillary Clinton

ing the hospitality industry and AAHOA. He has always looked to Dr. Piyush Agrawal, national USA coordinator of Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) as his mentor. He also credits many other close friends and his AAHOA board members for achieving his goals during his tenure as Chairman of AAHOA. From using all the tools he has acquired over his years as AAHOA chairman and a community leader, he feels he is equipped with the power to make a change in the political arena of this country and beyond. Here's how he views certain burning issues: On Recession: Being a staunch Democrat, Hemant is optimistic and believes that the economic recovery is proceeding at a moderate pace. However, he said that Americans are much

friend and a good politician, even though Christ is a Republican. Recently, Hemant met with President Obama and got a chance to discuss current crisis in hotel industry pertaining to capital and lack of funds to small business owners, plus some regulations pertaining to Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) pool requirements which is bad regulation ruling made by Department of Justice (DOJ) and without sufficient research done. Obama was aware of the ADA regulation but Hemant brought up the issues of liabilities involved and safety hazards that were overlooked by the DOJ. Obama, however, was not aware of the serious crisis in the hotel industry regarding lack of lending and foreclosures but said that Banks will start lending once the economy improves. Franchising Hemant is focused on burning issues deal-

lation "Common sense recovery act" which brought members money for lost business in the recent BP oil spill on the Gulf coast. Social Media Social media is the biggest blessing in modern day and time and has burst into our lives in a big way. It carries our agenda and initiatives to the membership and beyond very fast. Everybody should be embracing it. In fact, it's hard to imagine life without it especially with today's generation being so tech savvy. Personal lives aside, social media for business is developing like never before and at AAHOA we hold educational seminars at our regional conferences to capitalize on the success of social media and reaping the business rewards. Going Green Program Absolutely necessary. Rising energy cost is an important issue of the near future and bad for all businesses, especially the hotel industry. Globalization makes the world become smaller, it becomes increas-

is loud and clear - to get involved in the political process of this country. India Impressed with unstoppable growth there. With such a huge population and the largest young force of the world, India can be a valuable player in the world market. It is in the best interest of both US and India to have constructive dialogue and best relationship since largest and oldest economies should be working together. Hemant has been a resident of Miami, Florida, since 1989. He was born in India and received his education in Bombay, India. After working for his father in the diamond and precious stones import/export business in Bombay, Hemant opened his own garment manufacturing business there. When he moved to the United States, he first worked for a dry cleaning and supermarket company in Atlanta, Ga. Hemant is now a full-time hotelier and married to Jaya. Together they have two kids - Harshila and Milan.

May 4, 2012

Community Across America

India Post 13

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IOWA scholars give scientific exposition of Ramayana SURENDRA ULLAL & ASIAN MEDIA USA

CHICAGO: A team of leading scientists, artists and business leaders currently touring 10 North American cities, delivered a series of cutting-edge presentations entitled "A New Paradigm: Veda, Consciousness, the Ramayana, and the Self" at Meadows Club in Rolling Meadows, a north side Chicago suburb. Even though 650 people from across the Chicago land had registered, many more continued to stream in at various stages throughout the evening, making the event greatly successful and lively. The event explored the meeting point of science and spirituality by presenting pioneering research that reveals the Veda and the Ramayana as blueprints of our body and the entire universe. Extensive research on these breakthrough discoveries has also documented collective benefits for society, including the potential for creating world peace. The event featured a video presentation of 1,000 Vedic Pandits in Maharishi Vedic City, Iowa, chanting the Veda. The speakers at this event come from diverse backgrounds. Tony Nader, M.D., Ph.D., neuroscientist and researcher, headlined the event as the keynote speaker with his presentation, "Embodying Totality". A new concept of one of the great epics of India, Ramayana, was espoused and elaborated by a team of scholars including Dr. Tony Nader. He conducted research in neurochemistry, neuroendocrinology, hormonal activity, and on the role of neurotransmitter precursors in medicine. Perhaps it is the first of its kind in the classical work of any country in the world that Ramayana has been studied, re-interpreted, and commented upon by scholars and intellectuals with the present effort embellishing its beauty further. It is apt to agree with the opin-

James Greg & John Hagelin

ion of Maharishi, who said that "Ramayana is for full enlightenment; Ramayana is for perfection in every profession; Ramayana is for mastery over Natural Law; Ramayana is for creation of a perfect world." In this context Nader said that his desire to gain total understanding of the human mind and body, of consciousness and physiology led him to the study of Maharishi's Vedic Science and Technology under his direct guidance. Nader explained in his address that his work, "Ramayana in Human Physiology, is a most objectively studied and scientifically described aspect of life: human psychology. The book illustrates the correlation between the characters and events occurring in the Ramayana and the structure and function of human physiology. The Ramayana, he said, is not studied here as a text belonging to any one religion, nor to a particular race or belief system. It tells the story of Natural Law through its events and characters, just as Natural Law reveals its story in every individual physiology, life, and in the ever-expanding universe." It reflects the oft-repeated Hindu belief, "Truth is One, Pupils (Viprah) see It as many," a typical of Hindu

attitude that imbibes unity of mankind and imbues Oneness of Godhood. On the basis of his knowledge of physiology, Dr. Nader has correlated each aspect of the Vedic

pression of Veda and Vedic Literature. In short this is yet another point of view about Ramayana. What gives credence to this view is its application as documented by original research con-

renowned Harvard-trained quantum physicist, educator and public policy expert. He is Chairman of the Physics Department at Maharishi University of Management (www.MUM.edu). Ramani Ayer was the first Indo-American CEO of a Fortune 100 company. He was Chairman of the Board and CEO of Hartford Financial Services Group for 13 years, retiring in 2009. Mr. Ayer spoke on "Enlightened Leadership and World Peace." James Greg of IOWA Maharishi University also spoke. Joining these speakers via video conference were special guests like Hollywood director David Lynch and the Ramanand Sagar family, of Ramayana fame, from Mumbai. The presentation was very well received as the audience listened in rapt attention. At one point the

It tells the story of Natural Law through its events and characters, just as Natural Law reveals its story in every individual physiology, life, and in the ever-expanding universe." It reflects the oft-repeated Hindu belief, "Truth is One, Pupils (Viprah) see It as many," a typical of Hindu attitude (L-R) Ramani Ayer, Tony Nader and John Hagelin

literature to a specific area of physiology and concluded that human physiology is the expression of Veda and Vedic Literature. This forms the subject matter of his book, Human Physiology: Ex-

Members of the audience giving standing ovation to Tony Nader (Pic courtesy Asian Media USA)

ducted by medical doctors and scientists, which shows the effectiveness of Vedic sounds and vibrations for the treatment of chronic disorders. This is also recognition of the power of the syllables as contained in the 'Mantras" of India's sacred works established by the Tantric literature, popularized by the Nath Tradition of India and Tibet. In appreciation for his achievement in illuminating Vedic science in the light of modern science, Dr. Nader was honored by Maharishi with the title, "Maharaja Adhiraj Rajaraam" and was given responsibility for guiding the "Global Country of World Peace." Dr. John Hagelin, and Ramani Ayer also spoke and urged Yoga enthusiasts to visit the Maharishi Vedic City, experience and be inspired by an entire community who are committed to preserve our priceless Vedic Heritage. John Hagelin, Ph.D., is a world-

appreciative crowd gave Dr. Nader a standing ovation for sharing such profound knowledge so close to their hearts, yet with added scientific insight never before imagined. People came away saying how proud they were of their Vedic tradition. Copies of the book quickly sold out. Oprah Winfrey and her staff all practice Transcendental Meditation. She also went to Maharishi Vedic City to see the Maharishi Vedic Pandits. Oprah and her crew were the first ones allowed in to film the Vedic Pandits chanting. The tour by scientists and others includes visits to San Diego; San Francisco; Vancouver; Fairfield, Iowa; Chicago; Toronto; Montreal; Boston; New York; and Washington, DC. Earlier, Bhailal Patel, a member of the Steering committee welcomed the audience and then introduced the members of the Committee.

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Community activist VM Gandhi honored in Queens

Kamaljit Bawa inducted to Academy of Arts and Sciences

Fatima Sharma, V.M. Gandhi, Mrs. Gandhi and Dromm India Post News Service

NEW YORK: Vasantrai M. Gandhi, community activist and former chairman of the Community Board 3 of Queens was among those honored with Immigration Heritage Award by New York City Council Member Daniel Dromm to celebrate the Immigrant Heritage Week as a Citywide Celebration in Elmhurst, Queens. Presenting the award, Council Member Dromm praised the services of Gandhi to the Jackson Heights community and his stellar qualities as a person who commands high respect in the society for his philanthropy and helping nature. From his humble beginnings as an immigrant in 1960s, Gandhi rose to become one of the top 100 Indian-American business owners in the US today. He is the owner of the famous New York Gold, an exclu-

sive showroom selling pure gold coins and bars with sales that touched $6.88 million in 2008 and peaked to $14.18 million last year. A community activist, Gandhi served as Chairman of Community Board # 3 in Queens for three years and also served as its

He was earlier honored by former New York Governor George Pataki with an excellence award and a commendation by William Thompson, Jr, Comptroller of City of New York. Speaking on the occasion, Dromm, who is Chair of the Immigration Committee of the City

Speaking on the occasion, Dromm, who is Chair of the Immigration Committee of the City of New York, said New York City was and is immigrant friendly and every effort will be made to make immigrants living here feel safer and happy member. He has served as member of the President's round table on community affairs of LaGuardia Community College, New York with an enrollment of over 40,000 students and now serves as ambassador of Queens Botanical Gardens, Flushing.

of New York, said New York City was and is immigrant friendly and every effort will be made to make immigrants living here feel safer and happy. "I owe everything to immigrants and they put me in the office I am holding now," he said.

Kamaljit Singh Bawa India Post News Service

NEW YORK: India born biodiversity expert Kamaljit Singh Bawa is one of the 220 new members inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Bawa has been elected in the field of public affairs and journalism along with former Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen, Jr.; veteran diplomat R. Nicholas Burns; U.S. Secretary of State; television journalist Judy Woodruff; and Boston Globe editor Martin Baron. The new class will be inducted at a ceremony on October 6, at the Academy's headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The American Academy of Arts and Sciences recognizes every year some of the world's most accomplished scholars, scientists, writers, artists, and civic, corporate, and philanthropic leaders by inducting them as members. One of the nation's most prestigious honorary societies, the Academy is also a leading center for independent policy research. Members contribute to Academy publications and studies of science and technology policy, energy and global security, social policy and American institutions, the humanities and culture, and education. "Election to the Academy is both an honor for extraordinary accomplishment and a call to serve," said Academy President Leslie C. Berlowitz. "We look forward to drawing on the knowledge and expertise of these distinguished men and women to advance solutions to the pressing policy challenges of the day." Bawa was born and raised in India. His first research on biodiversity was part of an effort at Panjab University to study patterns of chromosomal and morphological variation in tropical and

sub-tropical tree species. He came to the United States in 1967, and in 1969 resumed his research on the genetic basis of species richness in tropical forests of Central America. After working for many years in Costa Rica, Bawa returned to research on forests in India in 1990. His current focus is the magnitude, causes and consequences of deforestation in the tropics. He examines economic, cultural and social forces that accelerate deforestation and other forms of environmental degradation. Bawa is also interested in institutional con-

"Election to the Academy is both an honor for extraordinary accomplishment and a call to serve," said Academy President Leslie C. Berlowitz straints and responses to solutions pertaining to deforestation and loss of biodiversity and he and his colleagues are testing various models of sustainable use of forest resources, Members of the 2012 class include winners of the National Medal of Science, the Lasker Award, the Pulitzer and the Shaw prizes, the Fields Medal; MacArthur and Guggenheim fellowships; the Kennedy Center Honors; Grammy, Emmy, Academy, and Tony awards; the Avery Fisher Prize, and election to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The current membership includes more than 250 Nobel laureates and more than 60 Pulitzer Prize winners.

May 4, 2012

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Baisakhi celebrated at the Consulate

India Post News Service

NEW YORK: More than 200 people attended a function to

Sikh Art and Film Foundation, on April 19. Consul General Ambassador Prabhu Dayal, while welcoming

the Sikh community as it was on this day that Guru Gobind Singh had founded the Sikh Khalsa. Sir Mota Singh, the United

the administration of justice and community relations, Nassau County Comptroller Tom DiNapoli and Dr. Sat Bir Singh

Explaining the significance of Baisakhi in the Sikh community, Sir Mota Singh dwelt at length on the establishment and rise of Khalsa Panth. While Comptroller DiNapoli highlighted the valuable contribution made by the Sikh community in USA celebrate Baisakhi at the Indian Consulate in New York organized in association with the

the guests, said that though Baisakhi is celebrated all over India, it is particularly significant for

Kingdom's first Sikh and Asian judge to be Knighted by Queen Elizabeth II for his services to

Khalsa, Assistant Professor of Medicine & Associate Neuroscientist, Division of Sleep Medi-

cine, Harvard Medical School, a Canadian who has embraced Sikhism, were the special guests who graced the occasion. Explaining the significance of Baisakhi in the Sikh community, Sir Mota Singh dwelt at length on the establishment and rise of Khalsa Panth. While Comptroller DiNapoli highlighted the valuable contribution made by the Sikh community in USA and conveyed his greetings on the auspicious occasion, Dr. Khalsa briefly explained the reasons for becoming a Sikh and the importance and relevance of Sikhism. Tejinder Bindra, President of the Sikh Art & Film Foundation, also addressed the gathering and appreciated the efforts of the Consulate in celebrating Baisakhi and inviting such a large gathering, especially members of the Sikh community. The event was followed by a Bhangra performance, which enlivened the celebrations.

121st birth anniversary of Dr. Ambedkar celebrated

India Post News Service

NEW YORK: The 121st birth anniversary of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar was celebrated by the Indian Consulate in New York in association with the Ambedkar International Mission on April 14 on the Con-

sulate premises. A large number of academics, social activists, local officials and the media attended the event. Ambassador of India to US Nirupama Rao and Consul General of India in New York Prabhu Dayal inaugurated the program by gar-

landing of the photograph of Dr. Ambedkar. In her inaugural address, Ambassador Rao underlined Dr Ambedkar's contribution towards bringing social change in India through constitutional means. She highlighted his efforts in bringing

about social justice by doing away with various divisions in society. Praising his work towards making India modern, she described Dr. Ambedkar as "immortal" and his contribution towards the nation-building as precious and special. She mentioned Dr. Ambedkar's invaluable role in making the Constitution of India and his emphasis on the need for the use of constitutional means in the process of addressing challenges before the nation. She said that Dr. Ambedkar's teachings are of enduring relevance in building the India of the 21st century. Consul General Dayal mentioned that in the form of the Constitution Dr Ambedkar provided Indians with the document of social change which gave freedom for humanity. He informed the gathering about the Government

of India's contribution to establish "Dr Ambedkar Chair in Constitutional Studies" at the Law School in Columbia University. Prof. Vivek Kumar, a renowned sociologist from India and a Fulbright Teaching Fellow currently in residence at Columbia University, presented keynote address titled "Ambedkar's Ideas of a Nation and his Role in Nation Building". He highlighted various aspects of Dr Ambedkar's multifaceted personality, his social movement and his contribution towards building India a Nation. Prof. Dr. Anupama Rao, an associate professor from Bernard College, Columbia University, presented another keynote address titled "Ambedkar - In his Time, and Ours". She traced the origins of Ambedkar's social movement and stressed that his revolution was still incomplete.

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Kathak combines with African 'Dance & Drums'

The fusion in progress

Anila Sinha Foundation artist group

RAMESH SOPARAWALA India Post News Service

CHICAGO: Anila Sinha Foundation (ASF), a not for profit organization established in memory of Kathak teacher and maestro Mrs. Anila Sinha, has slated a unique program combining Kathak dance and music in its traditional form with a vibrant group of the African dancers and drummers, on May 6 in Lemont, a Chicago sub-

urb. Dr Birendra Sinah, one of the main organizers and a spokesman for ASF, said that the African dancers and drummers, called Groupe Daara Jee, will be performing Senegal's traditional dance, the Sabar with its vibrant upbeat drumming. The Daara Jee members include Assane Seck, artistic director, chorographer and drummer, along with Sadira Muhammad, who is a choreographer and dancer of

Joining this African group will be the members of the ASF Kathak dance company directed by Ms Kiran Chouhan accompanied by Indian drummer Raj Deshmukh

exceptional quality. Joining this African group will be the members of the ASF Kathak dance company directed by Ms Kiran Chouhan accompanied by Indian drummer Raj Deshmukh who will make this program unique. In addition to these musicians there will be a drummer playing western drum, Thor, a keyboard player Ryan and a Guitar player Nicholas Metzger. Since its inception in 1999 ASF

has presented a number of performances every year to promote the most popular dance form of north India namely Kathak, with its associated music and stagecraft. This event will take place at the Hindu Temple of Greater Chicago in Lemont on May 6 starting at 5pm. Tickets are $30 for adults and $15 for students and seniors. For further information please email at asfkathak@hotmail.com or call Dr. Birendra Sinha.

2012 IIT Alumni Medal for Manu K. Vora KRISHNA RAJDA

CHICAGO: Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) presented a 2012 Alumni Medal, award to Manu K. Vora (M.S Che '70, Ph.D. '75) during a ceremony celebrating all of the 2012 IIT Alumni Award winners held here on Friday, April 13. The 2012 Alumni Medal is awarded to alumni who demonstrate an exceptional commitment to society through service or support and achieve significant personal and professional success. This is the highest honor bestowed by the IIT Alumni Association. Nominees in this category are selected by the Alumni Awards Judges' Team. Vora holds B.S. in chemical engineering from the Institute of Technology at Banaras Hindu University, India, M.S. and Ph.D. in chemical engineering from Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago and an MBA with marketing management from the DeVry University's Keller Graduate School of Management in Chicago. In 1968, he came to the United States on a J. N. Tata Endowment Scholarship to pursue his graduate work at IIT, Chicago. He has been a volunteer and volunteer leader at IIT in at least six different capacities over the past 20 years. Vora, who lives in Naperville,

(L-R) IIT Alumni Awards Committee Chair Jeff Karp, Dr. Manu Vora, and IIT President John Anderson (R) Dr Vora with wife Neila Vora

Illinois, is chairman and president of Business Excellence, Inc., a global quality management consulting firm. He also serves as an adjunct professor at Northern Illinois University's College of Business. He has published more than 40 articles in professional journals and conference symposia, and delivered over 290 presentations on business excellence and quality management topics around the world. Vora is the founding director and president of the Blind Foundation for India (BFI), which has since 1989 raised more than $3.5

million to serve over 15 million blind people in India. BFI has supported 100,000 free Cataract operations, donated 104 mobile vans, distributed 10,000 Braille kits to blind children, performed eye sight checkup for more than one million people, and completed child sight projects for over 450,000 school-going children. He has served on the board of directors of the American Society for Quality (ASQ), the world's largest network of quality resources and experts. He has been honored with the ASQ's Distin-

guished Service Medal, Grant Medal, and Lancaster Medal. Vora also served from 20002010, an executive director for the GOSUMEC Foundation to support the Seth G.S. Medical College and K.E.M. Hospital in Mumbai, India with over $225,000 in health care technology and educational projects. In 2011, Vora was honored with "The US President's Call to Service Award" for his lifetime volunteer service. In the same year, the National Ethnic Coalition of Organizations (NECO) honored Vora with its Ellis Island Medal of Honor

in a special ceremony at the Ellis Island in New York. The IIT Alumni Awards are divided into eight categories: Alumni Medal, Alumni Service Award, Collens Merit Award, Galvin Award, International Award of Merit, Lifetime Achievement Award, Outstanding Young Alumnus/Alumna Award, and Professional Achievement Award. Founded in 1890, IIT is a Ph.D.granting university with more than 7,700 students in engineering, sciences, architecture, psychology, design, humanities, business and law.

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Andhra youth found dead in apartment

Carnatic music via Skype

PRASAD THOTUKARA

DALLAS, TX: Nikhil Karanam (28) of Visakhapatnam was found dead in his apartment on April 21 in Trophy Club City, a suburb of Dallas. As per the Police Department, Nikhil might have died almost ten days before they found the body. Unfortunately, he doesn't have many friends and was living alone in his apartment. The Tarrant County Medical Examiner's Office and the crime investigator Robert Corley are investigating the case. As per preliminary reports, there is no foul play found and he might have died of medical reaction. Nikhil graduated from NIT Allahabad with MS (Industrial Engineering) in 2006. He worked with Perot systems from 2006 to

Nikhil Karnam

2008 in Noida, India. He joined A&M University, Texas in 2008 and graduated with MS in 2011. He has worked with Fidelity Investments from April 2011 till Jan of 2012. He is survived by parents Venkateswarlu, Sudha Rani and brother Vineet. Venkateswarlu Karanam is working as a school principal in Visakhapatnam area. TANA President Prasad Thotakura is in touch with the Indian Consulate officials, police, investigative authorities and funeral home staff to expedite the sending of the body to his home in India. On behalf of the Telugu community, Prasad Thotakura, TANA President, expressed his condolences to Nikhil's family.

HAF condemns Pak court ruling on Hindu girls India Post News Service

NEW YORK: Hindu Americans widely condemned a decision issued by Pakistan's Supreme Court last week in the case of three Hindu girls who were reportedly kidnapped, forcibly converted to Islam, and married to Muslim men against their will. A special three-judge panel ruled that the girls, Rinkel Kumari, Asha Kumari, and Dr. Lata Kumari, were free to decide whether they

meet with the girls at any point during the latest court proceedings. The Hindu community and many rights activists in Pakistan maintain that the girls have been coerced, threatened, and intimidated by their alleged abductors. The April 18 hearing was originally scheduled for March 26, but postponed by the Court to ostensibly give the girls more time to think about their decision. During the three week interlude, the girls

Rinkel Kumari

wanted to return to their parents or live with their new Muslim husbands. Shortly thereafter, the Supreme Court Registrar announced that the girls had decided to live with their husbands. The girls' official statements of decision were not made in open court, raising concerns by the girls' families about the fairness and transparency of the process. In addition, the families were not allowed to

were ordered to stay at the Dar-ul Aman, or shelter, where they been staying since March 12. Both Rinkel Kumari and Dr. Lata Kumari, however, reportedly declared that they wanted to go home with their parents, and Rinkel stated that she would rather die than return to the Dar-ul Aman, and proclaimed that there was no justice for Hindus in Pakistan, a press release by the Hindu American Foundation

(HAF) said. "The Pakistani Supreme Court's decision is a clear miscarriage of justice," said Arvind Chandrakantan, M.D., HAF Executive Council Member. "The entire judicial process has been highly biased and prejudicial from the beginning, and has failed to take into account the immense pressure and duress the girls have faced from their powerful and highly influential abductors." According to numerous media

The Hindu community and many rights activists in Pakistan maintain that the girls have been coerced, threatened, and intimidated by their alleged abductors accounts, a conservative Muslim politician and Member of the Pakistan National Assembly from Sindh province, Mian Mitthoo, was involved in the kidnappings. Mitthoo was seen celebrating the conversion of Rinkel Kumari with several armed tribesmen outside the Sessions Court in Ghotki, Sindh in February, after legal action was first initiated. Cont’d on page 20

Preethe Sriram India Post News Service

K

eeping in tune with modern trends, Indian music teachers are increasingly using technology to keep their art form thriving across the globe. Preethe Sriram is among the star Skype Carnatic music teachers of South India who has students logging on from different parts of the country and across the globe to learn from her. "Carnatic Music is a very complicated system of music with lot of intricacies compared to other forms of music. A systematic learn-

nience to suit different work schedules and timings. Although it is a virtual classroom, students build a good rapport with the teacher and show immense interest during the class, Preethe Sriram added. Learning via Skype is especially beneficial for those who may have moved out of India for employment or other reasons and are residing in a place where there are no good music teachers, says Sriram. For the future, "My dream is very simple," says Sriram. "‌ to impart quality learning in music

Learning via Skype is especially beneficial for those who may have moved out of India for employment or other reasons and are residing in a place where there are no good music teachers ing of the art under a competent guru enables one to sing with lot of technical perfection combined with Bhaavam (emotion) which plays a very important role in singing." she says. Technology has crossed all geographical boundaries and there are students from the US to Papua New Guinea who learn music through the internet video phone service Skype. Many working professionals, school and college students within India are also choosing Skype tutoring which can be availed at their conve-

through innovative methods while having a great deal of fun. Whether you are just starting to learn music or someone passionate about learning the art, I can assure you that this journey of music learning and appreciation will be fun and very rewarding." Sriram graduated in Carnatic Music from the holy place of arts The Kalakshetra Foundation. She has substantial experience in lending vocal support for Indian classical dance performances and rendering vocal concerts.

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Jaswinder Singh enthralls ghazal lovers SURENDRA ULALL

ST LOUIS: Seema Enterprises & Seema World Travel recently hosted a musical event "A tribute to Jagjit Singh by Jaswinder Singh" at the Ethical Society of St. Louis on April 13. Jaswinder Singh, a young ghazal maestro, was in his elements and enthralled 300 plus members of the audience who in turn appreciated the rendering of ghazals. "I'm getting a very good response and that makes me not only happy but spurs me to do better all the time," he said in a talk with this paper. Accompanying Jaswinder on stage were a team of talented musicians: Vishal Dhumal, among the fastest keyboard players in India; Ojas Adhiya, listed in the Indianorigin Limca Book of Records as the youngest tabla player; Harshvardhan, among the most sought-after percussionists in India; and Pandit Ramesh Misra, a senior sarangi player. The concert began on a reverent note with half a minute of silence in memory of Jagjit Singh. His young successor then pro-

"Tumko dekha toh yeh khayaal aaya", "Hoton se choo lo tum", "Tum itna jo muskura rahe ho", "Kal chaudvin ki raat thi", "Tera chehra kitna suhana lagta hai", "Sarakti jaaye hai rukh se naqaab" and "Baat niklegi toh". Jaswinder sang not only ghazals but Punjabi songs as well. The audience applauded each

Under his father's tutelage, Jaswinder has made singing his full-time career. "I can only sing. I don't know anything else besides music. Music is my bread and butter. Music is for my soul", he said

Jaswinder Singh with organizer Ashwin Patel

ceeded with a heartfelt tribute to the legend by rendering a number of his timeless ghazals, beginning

Slain student's body flown to family in India India Post News Service

NEW YORK: The body of Seshadri Rao Kanagala, the master's student of Boston University who was shot dead by unknown assailant(s) has been sent to his family back home in Bhubaneshwar, India. According to Mohan Nannapaneni, Executive Vice President of the Telugu Association of North America (TANA), the Deputy Consul General at the Indian Consulate in New York and TANA's Team Square volunteers worked tirelessly to send

Seshadri's body by an Air India flight to India on April 23. Seshadri was shot dead by unidentified person/(s) in the early hours of April 19, in Allston, Massachusetts. Nannapaneni, who heads TANA Team Square, said Seshadri's shocked parents contacted the Indian consulate and TANA for assistance. "Ever since, TANA Team Square has been intensively involved and made all necessary arrangements to send Seshadri's body to India," he said. Cont’d on page 20

Talented singer Iqbal Quassim passes away MADHU PATEL

CHICAGO: Hindi/Urdu music world and music lovers, especially his fans in the US, Pakistan and India lost a talented artist in Iqbal Quassim, who died here at a relatively young age. A great singer, a friend, a talented artist and enthusiastic supporter of all that is music, he was a self made person. On April 22 around 11am he had a massive heart attack. Emergency crew revived him but on his way to hos-

"Yun toh kya kya nazar nahin aata, koi tumsa nazar nahin aata"; "Dil ko thaama unka daaman thaam ke, Mere dono haath nikle kaam ke"; and "Jo kiissi par fida nahin hota". Jaswinder revealed that he hails from a musical family and is eternally grateful for being guided by his father Kuldip Singh, a gifted music director in his own right. He

pital he bid "Al Vida" to the family and the friends, who loved him dearly. Born in Bombay on Nov 18, 1949, he was taken to Karachi at the age of two. Listening to the Ustads, he got interested in music and with younger brother Ali Ahmed Khasim and friends formed a group and began singing. He also played Tabla and Harmonium. Cont’d on page 20

with "Jaane woh kaun sa desh jahan tum chale gaye". This was followed by "Pyaar ka pehla khat",

note and each word sung by pounding of the tables. On stage, Jaswinder was in full form: an entertainer, performer, artiste, born to sing! He regaled the audience with ghazals, geet and fast-paced Punjabi numbers. He has three albums to his credit: 'Yours Truly', 'Dilkash' and 'Ishq Nahin Aasan'. From these albums, he rendered romantic ghazals:

is credited with composing timeless numbers like "Tumko dekha toh yeh khayaal aaya" (Saath Saath) and "Itni shakti hame dena daata" (Ankush). Under his father's tutelage, Jaswinder has made singing his full-time career. "I can only sing. I don't know anything else besides music. Music is my bread and butter. Music is for my soul", he said.

Ahmed Khan wins Chicago School Council elections HARISH RAO

CHICAGO: The Chicago Public Schools (CPS) recently held their Local School Council (LSC) elections at 540 schools with nearly 6,500 candidates running for the school-based seats. The LSC election is one of the largest municipal elections in the United States. Local School Councils consist of six Parent Representatives, two Community Representatives, two teacher Representatives, one nonteaching staff member, the principal, and (in high schools) a student. The Northside of Chicago had many strongly contested LSC races. Liaquat Ali Khan, owner of Par Birdie Foods, ran as Community Representative from Dewitt Clinton Elementary School located at 6110 N. Fairfield Ave. Khan was victorious being placed first out of a field of three candidates with 98% of the vote. The largest demographic of students at Clinton Elementary is Asian at 40%. "Clinton School was ranked 161 in the entire city by Chicago Magazine. This is an issue of concern and I will work hard with my fellow LSC officials to improve and raise the school's standard," said Liaquat Ali Khan.

Also elected in the Northside was Ahmed Khan, who earlier had run as a candidate for Alderman in the 50th Ward. He was elected as Community Representative at Stone Scholastic Academy located

Local School Councils were created by the Illinois General Assembly in 1988 to empower local communities to have greater power in deciding how schools are run. The LSC has the right to

Ahmed Khan

Liaquat Ali Khan, owner of Par Birdie Foods, ran as Community Representative from Dewitt Clinton Elementary School located at 6110 N. Fairfield Ave. Khan was victorious being placed first out of a field of three candidates

at 6239 North Leavitt Street. Ahmed Khan also placed first in a field of 3 candidates. Both Khans were endorsed by Progressive Alliance Political Action Committee (PA-PAC) of Cook County. After the election, they both offered a big thanks to all community members, parents and volunteers

choose the school's principal for a four-year contract and help develop, approve, and monitor a school improvement plan and school-based budget. Research indicates that active cohesive LSCs have helped schools significantly improve student achievement and increase parent and community involvement.

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BAPS Charities goes green for Earth Day

India Post News Service

CHINO HILLS, CA: Earth Day is a global annual event aimed at preserving the environment by promoting green initiatives. Since

word about Earth Day's significance. This year, BAPS Charities volunteers from Chino Hills, CA, participated in a local tree-planting event at the Veteran's Park on Chino Hills Parkway. BAPS Chari-

Chino Hills. "Thanks to the great turnout of volunteers from the girl scout and BAPS Charities, we were able to accomplish a lot." In an effort to go beyond the 24-hours dedicated to Earth Day,

environmental designs and materials in their activities. Currently, many facilities utilize power saving fiber optics, LED lighting and management practices to ensure energy consumption is both opti-

ing the environment of their community, making it safer and healthier for generations to come. Globally, BAPS has recycled over 10,000 tons of paper and 7 million aluminum cans, planted 1.5 million

mal and efficient. Every year, BAPS Charities participates in events like Earth Day to offer individuals and families an opportunity to spend time improv-

trees and conducted 497 rainwater-harvesting projects. These efforts highlight the necessity of making every effort to conserve our planet's precious resources.

This year, BAPS Charities volunteers from Chino Hills, CA, participated in a local tree-planting event at the Veteran's Park on Chino Hills Parkway. BAPS Charities youth volunteers planted approximately 25 trees the first gathering, in 1970, Earth Day Network (EDN) has gathered more than 1 billion people to take part in Earth Day activities each year, making it the largest civic observance in the world. Volunteers around the world gather locally to plant trees, recycle, and spread the

ties youth volunteers planted approximately 25 trees of four different types: Elderica pines, Eastern redbud, Cinnamon camphor, and Liquidambar. "Today was a huge success, we planted a good number of trees" said Mike Curtiss, the Landscaping Inspector for City of

the BAPS center in Chino Hills utilizes green energy from solar panels which results in a carbon footprint offset of approximately 1,220,000 pounds of CO2 per year. Additionally, BAPS centers are continuously finding new ways to creatively harness cutting edge

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California Muslim Day in Sacramento on May 7

Fundraiser & fashion show for Akshaya Patra India Post News Service

ADEL SYED

A

s one of the nation's most integrated and educated faith communities, American Muslims have an important role to play in our society's social and political fabric. To that end, on Monday, May 7, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, California (CAIR-CA) will host the first-ever California Muslim Day at the Capitol.

signed to equip community members with the tools and experience needed to have our voices count where key decisions that impact our lives are made. During this first year, community members will focus on two important pieces of legislation. The first piece of legislation, the Workplace Religious Freedom Act (AB 1964), seeks to strengthen the

In a recent study entitled "The American Mosque 2011," evidence suggests that higher levels of religiosity and mosque attendance lead to higher levels of political participation. This can be seen in mosque participants' higher voting levels American Muslims from all over the state will gather in Sacramento to meet and speak about issues of concerns with their legislators. The daylong event aims to introduce community members to the political process and help them be active in shaping the work of our state legislature. This event is de-

religious rights of minorities in the workplace. The second piece of legislation, the TRUST Act (AB 1081), would keep immigration enforcement at the federal level and ensure immigrant communities can safely report crimes without fear of deportation. Both these pieces of legislation are necessary to keep

Talented singer Iqbal Quassim passes away Cont’d from page 18

In 1988, he moved to New York and started mesmerizing audiences with ghazals, geets as well as folk songs in Punjabi, Gujarati, Bengali, Sindhi and Baluch. He represented Pakistan with his music in 55 countries of five continents. He provided music in TV,

films as well as gave live stage performances. He is survived by his wife and five children - two sons and three daughters - besides his grandchildren. Iqbal Quassim was a great entertainer for Hindi/Urdu Diaspora. May God grant strength to the bereaved family to bear this loss.

California a place where diversity and equality remain at the forefront. Furthermore, recent trends show that the American Muslim community could be the largest swing vote in this election. While such statistics are noteworthy, American Muslim voter registration numbers are unfortunately still the lowest of any religious community in the U.S. As American Muslims, translating values that we hold into larger discussions around issues at the local, state, and national level are paramount. In a recent study entitled "The American Mosque 2011," evidence suggests that higher levels of religiosity and mosque attendance lead to higher levels of political participation. This can be seen in mosque participants' higher voting levels, increased awareness of issues, correspondence with elected officials, engagement with candidates running for office, and other such indicators. As we near the 2012 election primaries, it is important for the community to step up our civic engagement efforts. This can be done by mobilizing community members to register to vote, working directly on political campaigns, or hosting candidate forums. Muslim Day at the Capitol is a great first step down this path. [Adel Syed is Government Relations Coordinator for CAIRGreater Los Angeles Area]

Slain student's body flown to family in India Cont’d from page 18

Nannapaneni coordinated with Boston University officials, the Indian Consulate, the funeral home and the City of Boston for doing the needful. "The (shooting) case is still under investigation and we do not know who and why they killed Seshadri as of now," Nannapaneni said. It has also not been established whether it was a hate crime. Seshadri was a BTech graduate from NIT, Karnataka and was doing his MBA in Mathematical Finance in Boston University. In a statement posted on the University website, President Robert A Brown offered condolences to the victim's family and friends. The Police said that he was shot in the head and leg and was pronounced dead at the scene. There has been a series of killings in Boston that week, say reports.

LOS ANGELES: The Akshaya Patra Foundation has announced its first major fundraiser and fashion show in the Los Angeles area. The luncheon event will be held on Sunday, May 6 from 10:30 am to 3 pm at the Sheraton Hotel in Cerritos, CA. Clothing by reputed Indian fashion designers Shyamal and Bhumika will be showcased and available for sale, with a part of the proceeds going towards Akshaya Patra. The Akshaya Patra Foundation, a not-for-profit organization, came into being in the year 2000 to address two of the most immediate challenges facing India - hunger and education. The Foundation began its work by providing quality mid-day meals to 1500 children in 5 schools in Bangalore with the understanding that the meal would attract children to schools, after which it would be easier to retain them and focus on their learning and development. More than 10 years later, the Foundation has expanded its footprint to serve over 1.3 million children daily from 21 kitchens across 10 states in India. The mid-day meal program is currently being

provided to over 9,000 schools across the country. Akshaya Patra combines good management, innovative technology and smart engineering to deliver school lunches at a fraction

The Foundation began its work by providing quality midday meals to 1500 children in 5 schools in Bangalore with the understanding that the meal would attract children to schools, after which it would be easier to retain them and focus on their learning and development of the cost of other mid day feeding programs. It costs Akshaya Patra $15 to feed a child for the entire school year. Akshaya Patra's next milestone is to serve five million children daily by 2020.

HAF condemns Pak court ruling on Hindu girls Cont’d from page 17

The Sessions Court Judge ruled that Rinkel had converted out of her own free will, disregarding her earlier testimony that she had been forced to do so. She also reportedly informed her mother during a brief meeting that the conversion was not voluntary. The Pakistan Hindu Council subsequently petitioned the Supreme Court to consider the case. Rinkel's parents later received threats and were forced to flee their hometown in Sindh for neighboring Punjab province, where they sought temporary shelter in a gurudwara. "The abductions and forced conversions of Hindu girls in Pakistan continues to be used as a weapon of subjugation and a means to intimidate the Hindu minority into submission," said Samir Kalra, Esq., HAF Director and Senior Fellow for Human Rights. "The Pakistani government, police, and courts are all complicit in this phenomenon, and must be held accountable by the international community for their abject failure to protect the fundamental rights of Hindus." Human rights organizations,

including the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC), assert that at least 20 - 25 Hindu girls are kidnapped and forcibly converted to Islam every month in Sindh province alone. The Hindu American Foundation (HAF) has documented such incidents in its latest

Rinkel's parents later received threats and were forced to flee their hometown in Sindh for neighboring Punjab province, where they sought temporary shelter in a gurudwara human rights report, Hindus in South Asia and the Diaspora: A Survey of Human Rights, 2011. HAF has also collaborated with the Pakistan Hindu Post to raise awareness of Rinkel Kumari's case and the plight of Hindus in Pakistan through a petition to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Tech News Airport charges raised by 346 percent NEW DELHI: Air travel cost from Delhi is set to go up soon with airports regulator AERA deciding to raise airport charges by a whopping 346 per cent for two years, as airlines said the passengers would have to face the brunt of this massive hike. The approximate increase in ticket pricing on account of passenger fee alone would be around Rs.290 in the domestic sector and Rs.580 in the international sector. The ticket prices can go up further depending on to what extent the airlines pass on the additional burden on them due to various charges to the passenger.-PTI

Nokia launches Asha 302 with free music

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innish mobile device manufacturer Nokia has announced the launch of yet another powerful yet economical feature phone under its Asha series in India. The new Nokia Asha 302 is based on S40 operating system and comes with a very comfortable and user friendly Qwerty keyboard and a bigger 2.4 inch display. To power this device Nokia has added a 1 GHz processor which makes sure that users get their work done faster, without any hiccups. After the Asha 303, the Asha 302 is the second phone to offer a speedy 1 GHz processor despite of being a budget friendly device.

Google starts selling Galaxy Nexus

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oogle has started selling Gal axy Nexus smartphones on Google Play. This is the second time that the internet giant has decided to sell smartphones after a failed attempt earlier in 2010. The Galaxy Nexus is available for US $399. It runs on Android 4.0, which is popularly called "Ice Cream Sandwich". The device also supports NFC (near field communication) technology and comes pre-installed with Google Wallet, which enables users to use the phone as a method of payment and redeem offers at select retail shops.

TechBiz 21 India Post

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May 4, 2012

Over 2,00,0000 women addicted to Angry Brides

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ngry Brides, an initiative to raise awareness against dowry in India was launched earlier this year by Shaadi.com, the world's largest matrimonial site. The anti-dowry game hosted on Shaadi.com's Facebook page has received an incredible response from people around the world. Angry Brides, has been played by over 500,000 people in over 35 countries. What is even more remarkable is that over 200,000 of the total players are women. This strongly reflects the changing approach of women against the social evil of Dowry.

IIT-B part of consortium to set up applied sciences center in New York India Post News Service

NEW YORK: The Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay (IITB) is part of a consortium led by New York University (NYU) to set up the Center for Urban Science and Progress (CUSP), an applied science institute offering degree and research programs in the area of urban science. The campus would be set up in Brooklyn, New York. The academic and private-sector consortium will create the NYU-CUSP, the next step in the New York City's Applied Sciences NYC Initiative. New research and technologies developed at CUSP are expected to generate $5.5 billion in overall economic impact and 7,700 jobs over the next three decades. CUSP would be a leading, stateof-the-art academic center and economic engine that will benefit Downtown Brooklyn and the entire City for generations, with a projected completion date of 2017. CUSP will immediately begin operations by leasing and renovating 60,000 square feet in Downtown Brooklyn for Phase 1 of its program, which will accept its first class in September of 2013. Approximately 150,000 square feet space will be designed for classrooms, offices and laboratory

space, with an additional 40,000 square feet programmed for the creation of an incubator for businesses spun off by CUSP or CUSP-related research. The other institutions that are part of the consortium are Carnegie Mellon University, the Polytechnic Institute of New York (NYUPoly), the University of Toronto, City University of New York, the University of Warwick, IBM and CISCO, among many others. CUSP will be a second program

set up CUSP in Brooklyn. Led by NYU and NYU-Poly, CUSP will focus on research and developing technologies for the critical challenges facing existing cities, including infrastructure, tech integration, energy efficiency, transportation congestion, public safety, and public health. The consortium will grant academic degrees in engineering and/or sciences. The consortium proposes taking the MTA building at 370 Jay

CUSP would be a leading, state-of-the-art academic center and economic engine that will benefit Downtown Brooklyn and the entire City for generations, with a projected completion date of 2017 that is part of New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg's plans to build strong ties with leading research universities around the nation and the world. Mayor Bloomberg, with leaders from the various partner organizations, announced the historic agreement among the city, the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA), and a consortium of worldclass academic institutions and private technology companies, to

Street, an underused, run-down building in the heart of downtown Brooklyn, and renovating it into a major hub for research. A projected completion date of 2017 is being targeted, although CUSP will immediately begin operations in space in Brooklyn. Steven E. Koonin, a former undersecretary in the Department of Energy and provost of the California Institute of Technology, will be CUSP's inaugural director.

In December, Mayor Bloomberg announced that Cornell and Technion universities would develop a technology campus on Roosevelt Island. This announcement is the next milestone in Bloomberg's Applied Science NYC initiative, which seeks to increase New York City's capacity for applied sciences and dramatically transform the city's economy. Bloomberg said CUSP was selected through this highly competitive process "due to its unique and bold vision to provide solutions for the world's growing cities." "The Indian Institute of Technology Bombay welcomes the inception of the Center for Urban Science and Progress with the support of the New York City Economic Development Corporation and the appointment of Prof. Steve Koonin as its first Director," said Devang Khakhar, Director of the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay. "The Center presents a great new opportunity to address the challenges of mega cities by the generation of new knowledge using New York City as its laboratory and by imparting education with a focus on the planning, building and managing mega cities. ContĂ­d on page 23

Indian American team wins big for unique NYC travel app India Post News Service

NEW YORK: New York Trip Builder, an app developed by an Indian American team won the grand prize in the Popular Choice Award of the NYC BigApps 3.0 contest. Launched by NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg three years ago, NYC BigApps 3.0 is the third annual competition for software developers and members of the public to create web or mobile applications using official City data. Team members Mukul Pal, Shefali Sarangal, Charu Malhotra

and Vivek Puri developed New York Trip Builder, a travel site that helps users personalize a trip in just a few quick steps. Users will

places by NYTripBuilder.com that are specifically personalized for the user. The itinerary can be retrieved at any time and any place

Team members Mukul Pal, Shefali Sarangal, Charu Malhotra and Vivek Puri developed New York Trip Builder, a travel site that helps users personalize a trip in just a few quick steps. Users will be able to easily create a personalized itinerary be able to easily create a personalized itinerary, which will not only include "Must See" locations, but will also include recommended

simply by just logging into NYTripBuilder.com through either a user's Facebook or Foursquare account.

A total of 11 winning applications were selected from a record 96 eligible applications that were submitted for this year's contest. The Best Overall Application was awarded to NYCFacets, which seeks to streamline and simplify the process for accessing, understanding, and utilizing the tremendous amount of data available in the City's NYC Open Data portal. Additional winning applications focused on simplifying trips to New York City, travel on the City's subway system, and finding the best locations to do work around the City. ContĂ­d on page 22

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S&P cuts India's outlook to negative, warns of downgrade NEW DELHI: Global agency Standard and Poor's (S&P) has lowered India's rating outlook to negative and warned of a downgrade in two years if there is no improvement in the fiscal situation and the political climate continues to worsen. The lowering of outlook from stable (BBB+) to negative (BBB-) is expected to make external commercial borrowings expensive for

BBB- is the lowest investment grade rating. Commenting on the rating action, Jagannadham Thunuguntla, strategist and head of research at SMC Global Securities, said "Indian (new) sovereign rating is just one step away from junk bond status...Somehow I feel the dream of India growth story is coming to an end". The negative outlook, the rat-

India's favorable long-term growth prospects and high level of foreign exchange reserves support the ratings, the agency said. On the other hand, India's large fiscal deficits and debt, as well as its lower middle-income economy, constrain the ratings, it added Indian Inc. It may also have implications for the capital market. "The outlook revision reflects our view of at least a one-in-three likelihood of a downgrade if the external position continues to deteriorate, growth prospects diminish or progress on fiscal reforms remains slow in a weakened political setting" said S & P's credit analyst Takahira Ogawa in a statement.

ing agency further said, signals likelihood of the downgrade of India's sovereign within the next 24 months. "A downgrade is likely if the country's economic growth prospects is dim, its external position deteriorates, its political climate worsens, or fiscal reforms slow", it said. The lowering of rating outlook comes despite Finance Ministry

pitching for an upgrade at the recent round of meetings between the officials and representatives of the S&P. S&P said India's real GDP per capita growth will likely remain moderately strong at 5.3 per cent in 2012-13, compared with about 6 per cent on average over the prior five years. "India's favorable demography and the increasing middle- class population will undergird its medium-term growth prospects, which in turn will support the sovereign ratings," Ogawa said. India's favorable long-term growth prospects and high level of foreign exchange reserves support the ratings, the agency said. On the other hand, India's large fiscal deficits and debt, as well as its lower middle-income economy, constrain the ratings, it added. "High fiscal deficits and a heavy debt burden remain the most significant constraints on the sovereign ratings on India. We expect only modest progress in fiscal and public sector reforms, given the political cycle--with the next elections to be held by May 2014--and the current political gridlock," S&P said.

Such reforms include reducing fuel and fertilizer subsidies, introducing goods and services tax (GST), and easing of restrictions on foreign ownership of various sectors such as banking, insurance, and retail sectors, it said. On the other hand, S&P said the ratings "could stabilize again if the government implements initiatives to reduce structural fiscal deficits and to improve its investment climate". Fiscal measures could include

S&P's rating provides timely warning, says Pranab NEW DELHI: Terming Standard and Poor's decision to lower India's credit rating outlook to negative as a "timely warning", Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee has said there is no need to panic as the government is committed to economic reforms. "I am concerned but I don't feel panicky because I am confident that our economy will grow at 7 per cent, around 7 per cent if not plus. We will be able to control fis-

Indian American team wins big for unique NYC travel app ContĂ­d from page 21

Originally launched in 2009 as part of the City's ongoing efforts to increase transparency in government, as well as improve the quality of life for New Yorkers and visitors, BigApps 3.0 has grown each year and this year included more than 230 new datasets from more than 60 City agencies, commissions, and Business Improvement Districts, for a total of nearly 750 available data sets for developers. "New York City is home to the most creative people, the most talented engineers, and the fastest growing technology community," said Mayor Bloomberg at the award ceremony held at IAC Headquarters. "Thanks to our Administration's work on initiatives like BigApps, our technology incubators, and the new Cornell NYCTech campus on Roosevelt Island, we're making sure New York City has a bright future as a tech capital." The winning applications for BigApps 3.0 will receive cash prizes totaling $50,000. In addition, several non-monetary prizes were awarded, including two NY Tech Meetup demo slots, two TechStars finalist spots, and membership in

the inaugural BigApps Founders Network, which will provide mentorship, networking and business support services to help those selected launch or build their startup businesses. MyCityWay Since its inception, NYC BigApps has become a catalyst for launching successful start-up technology companies, including

MyCityWay NOW will feature a live, personalized dashboard, which is updated in real time and provides information including news, weather, traffic, food and deals MyCityWay - also founded by young Indian American entrepreneurs - which won a number of awards including the Investor's Choice award at the first NYC BigApps. Since 2010, the company has grown to over 70 cities and is nearing 5 million activations. The company itself has received two rounds of investor funding and

grown to 15 people in the New York office and additional team members around the world. Along with Mayor Bloomberg, MyCityWay announced the launch of its newest mobile app, MyCityWay NOW, which was unveiled first for users in the New York City metro-area. MyCityWay NOW will feature a live, personalized dashboard, which is updated in real time and provides information including news, weather, traffic, food and deals around the City. The innovative new interface will provide users an experience unique to mobile devices, including the use of color psychology, the first ever hyper-local smart radius search and a question-based venue mapping. "NYC Big Apps encouraged us to convert our idea into reality, and literally put it into the hands of millions of New Yorkers," said Puneet Mehta, CoFounder, of MyCityWay. "Now, we're helping both residents and tourists navigate, explore and enjoy over 70 cities globally. Today, we are thrilled to unveil MyCityWay Now, our new metro-licious, comprehensive and always connected mobile dashboard that personalizes urban experiences worldwide."

an increase in domestic prices and a more efficient use of fuel and fertilizer subsidies, or an early implementation of the GST. Reacting to the rating action, a senior Finance Ministry official said India's growth rate is intact and robust and it is not going to have any major impact on the country. "We are not overtly concerned about revision. Other nations make India look good," the official added. -PTI

Pranab Mukherjee

cal deficit and it will be around 5.1 per cent", he told reporters here. The Minister, however, said that government will take note of the S&P's decision to lower India's rating outlook to BBB- (the lowest investment grade rating) and work for achieving higher economic growth. "So economic reforms will be on track. The reform process and necessary administrative decisions required to ensure that fiscal deficit is retained at projected level (will be taken). "We should continue to work for higher GDP... We will take note. It is a timely warning", the Minister said. Standard and Poor's, Mukherjee said, lowered India's rating outlook on two counts -inability to achieve 7 per cent growth rate in 2012-13 and failing

to stick to the fiscal deficit target of 5.1 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product. "Perhaps because of these two reasons and delay in the process of legislation particularly (those)... related to financial sector reforms, might have been the reasons for coming to this conclusion. However, they have not downgraded the sovereign debt rating though they have indicated that there is a possibility", he said. Mukherjee in his Budget for 2012-13 projected a growth of 7.6 per cent and proposed to bring down the fiscal deficit to 5.1 per cent, from 5.9 per cent a year ago. As regards the projections, the Minister said, "I am confident that we will be able to stick to the numbers... Situation may be difficult, but surely we have confidence that we will overcome these difficulties." Admitting that there has been delay in passing of certain financial sector reforms bills, the Minister said, "we will try to get these legislations enacted with a broad consensus and I do hope some of the legislations may be enacted during the latter part of the session and surely in Monsoon Session." The government would discuss the Direct Taxes Code (DTC) Bill in the next session of Parliament, he said, adding that certain other legislations which had received approval of the Standing Committee too would be taken up soon. The government has not been able to push reforms in insurance, pension, banking and multi-brand retail because of political reasons. -PTI

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Paul decries under the table style of business LONDON: The old, cozy, family and favorites and under the table style of doing business could destroy India's commercial potential as it taps Africa's vast markets, leading NRI industrialist Lord Swraj Paul has warned. "India and Africa must understand that professionalism and transparency is the only path to progress in business," Paul said while inaugurating the 10th Annual India Business Forum of the

ence, Paul, Chairman of UK-based Caparo Group, noted that one of the biggest challenges in his career came when, some three decades ago, he confronted two of the largest companies in India businesses. "It was evident then that the commercial potential of India was destroyed by these unprofessional managements," he said without naming the business groups.

to USD 70 billion. Paul noted that India itself has opened the doors of economic success. "Of course, there are pitfalls and potholes along the way. But a pattern and a pathway has been set. There is no going back to the days of the Control Raj. The issue now is how we go forward and how we can speed up and better define a process that has begun. The obstacles are many but

“There is no going back to the days of the Control Raj. The issue now is how we go forward and how we can speed up and better define a process that has begun. The obstacles are many but the vision is clear" Lord Swraj Paul

London Business School here. With the economic and political landscape of the world changing in ways unimaginable a decade ago, he underlined that it is increasingly evident that professional business training is one of the essentials for the globalised economy. "India has changed considerable in this respect - professional management has transformed Indian business - and for the better. I believe that lesson is not lost on African entrepreneurs," he said in his speech at the event titled 'India and Africa: Getting down to Business'. "For too long both our societies have been burdened with this old, cosy, family and favorites, under the table style of doing and managing business," he noted. Recalling his personal experi-

Paul, Chancellor of two British Universities - Wolverhampton and Westminster - pointed out that in the past 10 years, the global economic and political landscape has changed dramatically with a remarkable transfer of wealth from Western world to the non-Western world. "We have seen the powerful growth of countries that have had a long history of mediocre performance. We have seen how the world's leading economies have stumbled and lost considerable dynamism. "All this suggests that we are living in an era of unlimited possibilities- an era of great opportunities for regions that did not do very well for a long time," he said noting that Indo-African trade has risen 10-fold to USD 50 billion and this figure was poised to increase

the vision is clear," he said. He said India's success has been, and will be, in the ways that it interacts with global markets and that some enterprises have already competed very effectively in the mature markets of Europe and America. "But perhaps we have not given the attention we should to areas with such significant potential as Africa. Now, happily, that is changing," he said. "I am encouraged by the way in which the Government of India is now beginning a planned interaction with African countries and African markets," Paul said while recalling the vision of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and African leaders like Nelson Mandela and Julius Nyerere who sought to nourish Indo-African trade and economic ties. -PTI

IIT-B part of consortium to set up applied sciences center in New York ContĂ­d from page 21

The work of the Center will benefit New York City directly and will provide a template to address many issues of mega cities. We look forward to contributing actively as a consortium member of the Center through the participation of our faculty who specialize in the fields of engineering and science related to urban

studies. The issues of our home city, Mumbai, will provide unique new insights and will be a source of ideas for the work of the Center." One of the three Founding Consulting Partners, Arup, will provide up to $150,000 per year of consulting services at cost. CUSP will continue to seek to additional private partners as it begins operations. "We look

forward to contributing to the success of what is arguably the most significant educational initiative in the region," said Mahadev Raman, Regional Director of the Americas for Arup. The New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) selected the NYU-led consortium to set up the applied sciences campus in the City in exchange for City capital.

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FinMin hits back, says Vodafone knew of tax liability NEW DELHI: The Finance Ministry has hit back at Vodafone's claim that it was not told of the tax liability on the Hutchison deal, saying that the British telecom giant was provided a copy of the notice. "We have provided copies of the letter (about tax liability) to the concerned parties," Hutchison Essar, which was later taken over by Vodafone, had said in its communication to the tax department on April 5, 2007, a finance ministry official pointed out. Vodafone in a statement had claimed that

it had never received any communication from authorities to withhold tax while making payment to the Hutchison and described the comments of Finance Secretary R S Gujral in this connection as "untrue". The Income Tax Department had in March 2007 advised the Vodafone to withhold tax while making payments to Hutchison to acquire its stake in Hutchison Essar Ltd in the USD 11.2- billion deal. The deal happened in May 2007, well after the tax demand was raised in March 2007, the official said. -PTI

India launches earth observation satellite SRIHARIKOTA, AP: Achieving yet another milestone in its space program, India has successfully launched its first indigenous all-weather radar imaging satellite RISAT-1 that will boost its remote sensing capabilities and facilitate agriculture and disaster management. The perfect launch of the satellite catapulted India into a select band of countries having indigenous radar imaging technology. "Only the US, Canada, Japan and the European consortium have the technology so far," P S Veeraraghavan, Director, Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, Thiruvananthapuram said. Hailing the launch, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said it was an important milestone in India's space program and congratu-

lated the ISRO scientists for displaying mastery of the complex launch vehicle technology. In a textbook launch, the 1,858 kg spacecraft, the country's first microwave remote sensing satellite, was injected into precise orbit by Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle PSLV C-19 about 19 minutes after a perfect lift off at 5.47 AM at the end of the 71-hour countdown from Satish Dhawan Space Centre here, around 90 km from Chennai. PSLV, the workhorse launch vehicle of Indian Space Research Organization, achieved its 20th consecutive successful flight when it launched RISAT-1, the heaviest satellite ever lifted by it, in a mission described as a "grand success" by the space agency chief K Radhakrishanan.-PTI

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Magda Marcella

acted in a few independent comedies including Summer Resort Girls. She studied comedy writing at the Upright Citizens Brigade (UCB) all the while developing an intense passion for the craft of acting and storytelling, studying Method Acting at Ivana Chubbuck Studios. And it was when she was on the rounds of auditions and connecting with other hopefuls in the film circuit that she felt this urge to write about the trials and tribulations of young people who keep banging on doors and want to tell casting agents that if they only get one shot they will not regret it. All they wish for is to find a presence on celluloid. The film was made. Her first. From the first word on the page to packaging the DVDs. "It was the most difficult endeavor and I almost gave up the idea many times.

LA actress's film selected for Cannes PREM KISHORE

LOS ANGELES: Los Angeles is a magnet for actors, models, writers, designers, musicians and dreamers. Magda Marcella is a young talented actress (American Nudist, The Obsession) who made her dream happen. She is on her way to the most prestigious 65th Film Festival in Cannes next month. Her short film Miracle Mile Girls of 13 minutes has been selected for viewing by the jury. The Festival de Cannes created "Cannes Short Film" with the belief that young talents of this generation will be the illustrious names of cinema in the future. At Cannes, short films are represented at the Competition, at the end of which the Jury awards a Palme d'Or, and in the Short Film Corner. Films arrive from all corners of the world created by short film professionals and they are stimulated by workshops and conferences during the Festival. How did it happen? "I have always had an obsession to act. I did small roles but it was tough. I faced so much rejection and dead ends but I never stopped waiting for the Big One. Suddenly, I was struck by the idea that perhaps I could make a film of my struggles." And so with the help of a few close friends who were also trying to scrabble a toehold in the harsh world of agents, auditions and heartbreak, Magda started writing a script. She had always been enthralled and enamored with films and now she wanted to depict the raw honesty, the utter gritty harshness of the struggle and the actor's desire to bring her own special individual quality to a film.

Miracle Mile Girls follows the lives of two aspiring young actresses who live together fired by idealism, hopes, ambitions only to be thwarted by chilling reality and the hardships of focusing on a career that brought few rewards instantaneously. "All of a sudden, my dream became big-

It all began in Austin Texas, when the toddler Magda arrived from Germany (although she is Polish) with her parents. Soon acting became a passion and she went to Moscow to pursue her goal. Her parents warned her about the dangers of the film industry, and even frightened her by say-

And it was when she was on the rounds of auditions and connecting with other hopefuls in the film circuit that she felt this urge to write about the trials and tribulations of young people who keep banging on doors ger and bigger and I began to fundraise, make connections, get equipment to make a film that expressed my experiences. Now the film has inspired a web series by the same name and we look forward to filming more episodes."

ing she would be kidnapped or murdered. They wanted her to do law or diplomacy but the theater was the place where she knew she belonged. She returned to the US and enrolled in the American Academy of Dramatic art and

A scene from the film

Sid Veda

Location rentals, money were huge problems. I am an actress and had to learn everything about production. Once I had the raw footage, I went on a search of a good editor. And that's when everything fell apart. The tension, frustration and rejections took a heavy toll, I had a nervous breakdown. I left for Poland to be with my family. And that's where the miracle happened. I found my editor Kamil Rutkowsk!" The Festival has been held since 1946, except in 1948 and 1950, and this year's Festival has attracted entries from 97 countries. Magda Marcella will be networking with industry professionals and international representatives in the film business. What has the producing experience taught her? "How strong I can be. Never give up. Stay true to yourself. It was joyful to create something through my work and passion and connect with people who brought their own passion and commitment to the work" Cont’d on page 26

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First ever Oak Tree Shopping Festival in May India Post News Service

NEW JERSEY: Touchdown Media Inc., in conjunction with Star India Plus and Life OK announced the launch of the first-of-its kind annual Oak Tree Shopping Festival to take place over the Memorial Day Weekend. This 2-day extravaganza will be held in the heart of the original 'Little India' in Iselin, New Jersey. Developed by Touchdown Media, the event is being organized to boost local business and bring all that Oak Tree Road has to offer to the forefront and once again establish it as the premier South Asian shopping destination. Featuring deep discounts and special deals at Oak Tree Road's finest shops and restaurants, this first annual festival expects to draw families from the East Coast and beyond. Merchants will offer discounts anywhere from 30% to an unprecedented 70% on clothes, jewelry, fashion along with a unique promotion on food - a Restaurant Weekend with varied specials for the throngs of shoppers. A $5 loyalty card can be purchased on the website www.OakTreeShoppingFestival.com so customers can get free items at participating restaurants at each visit. "Unlike a carnival, this event is focused to bring value to consumers as well as merchants on this bustling strip. It's a win-win for all involved and we are excited to share this with the community," says Rahul Walia, CEO, Touchdown Media Inc. To add to the excitement, Star India Plus will be bringing in popular soap stars from India to shop at this exclusive event.

"We are proud to be a part of the launch of what we expect will become an annual event. This event reiterates Star Network's commitment to the local community, i.e. our viewers; it is also our way of expressing gratitude to the small business advertisers who have brought tremendous value to the general entertainment space with their support. We have been an integral part of such events in other countries and are pleased to nurture the growth of this new initiative in the US," says Rajan Singh, Executive Vice President International Business for Star India.

Merchants will offer discounts anywhere from 30% to an unprecedented 70% on clothes, jewelry, fashion along with a unique promotion on food Verizon FiOS has jumped on board as the Associate Sponsor for the event. "Verizon is proud to sponsor the Oak Tree Shopping Festival in the heart of New Jersey's Little India," said Oscar Madrid, Multicultural Marketing Director for Verizon. "We are thrilled to be part of this event with Star India Plus, a popular channel available on Verizon FiOS TV, and to showcase FiOS TV's amazing picture quality as well as the incredible speed you get with FiOS Internet and Verizon's 4G LTE network." This event will be free to attend and open to the public May 26 and May 27, 11am - 8pm.

LA actress's film selected for Cannes Cont’d from page 25

"I had an amazing group of people who believed in my dream," she says. "Andrea Harrison, co-executive producer and actress, cinematographer Harrison Reynolds, Kristin West, Armin Nasseri the line producers, Sid Veda, Brooke Heatley, Jennifer Mather and Houda El Idrissi who came up with the original theme song, 'You Never existed.' All brought talent, skills, a vision, dedication, energy, excitement and enthusiasm. It certainly was a collaborative effort and that is what the industry is about. Creating art, entertainment, to feel you are part of a team where

every member leaves a mark on the finished product. That is the only way to live and the only way to work" Magda is joyful, expectant and success has come to her at a time when it is rather early for a young woman to get to Cannes with a first offering. But she is cooler than cool and is looking forward with excitement, to more work and bigger dreams as she takes the LA-Cannes route As the Artistic Director Thierry Fremaux said, "Cannes must be open to new ideas, while remaining faithful to its past, of course. Diversity can only enrich it. That´s what makes the Festival de Cannes our festival."

May 4, 2012

India Post

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The new Indian woman has arrived: Shabana Azmi India Post News Service

MUMBAI: India has evolved since independence and so has the new Indian woman. Tracing, celebrating and to remove the roadblock to the evolution of this woman Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) organized a seminar on 'The New Indian Woman'. Actor Shabana Azmi, CoChair, CII National Committee on Media & Entertainment, said, "The new Indian woman has arrived and she is here to stay. She has found a voice and is speaking out. She is asking for her place in the sun without fear and at all

Shabana Azmi

levels. This new Indian women deserves more strength and needs to be supported. When this is done, the new Indian man will emerge and together the two will transform society. They will change notions of power so that power does not remain about oppressing the powerless but of sharing power and partnerships." She further added, "The true measure of a country's progress is not just its GDP, but its human development index where empowerment of women is an important constituent." Mr Amit Khanna, Chairman, CII

National Committee on Media & Entertainment & Chairman, Reliance Entertainment expressed his regret that while much has changed since independence, much still needs to be done. "What saddens me is that after so many years of progressive thought and some affirmative action within the many India's that coexist in our nation, there's still a lot more to do. Out of the extremely poor in the world, 70% are women. 50% of all women and 60% in South Asia are illiterate. Hence to me, the greatest problem is gender bias which takes root at the beginning of gender identity formation. “This bias is so deeply ingrained in our DNA that at superficial levels there might be symbolic changes, but a lot need to be done on ground." He further went on to say that, "If we need to feel proud as a human race, it has to start with the way we treat and honor our women who hold 50% of the sky with us." In a lively discussion between Shabana Azmi and Barkha Dutt both reiterated that their view of the world is informed first by their identity as women. After Shabana Azmi said that she was surrounded by feminists including her father, father-in-law and husband, and when asked if he was a feminist, Javed Akhtar said, "Society should be just and fair and people should get equal respect without regard for their caste, gender or religion. If that makes a feminist then I guess I am one." Shabana Azmi consistently said that the New Indian Woman can't emerge or exist without the New Indian Man and together they can make a modern, progressive society. Munizae Jahangir, Journalist

and Documentary Filmmaker, gave a Pakistani perspective to the position of women. She said, "A lot of change has happened but we have not had the chance to understand the change. In Pakistan things are changing quietly and a silent revolution has been brewing." Director Kiran Rao said that professionalism has helped women in cinema. "When I began

14 years back, far cry from wishing to be able to make a film, I didn't know whether I could be on a set. There has been a sea change since then in the film industry and today women are practically in every space from the studio floor to post production." She added, "Women are attracted to spaces that are professional and safe and where they would be judged not as a woman, but by their skills."

Actor and director Nandita Das said that the change is really slow. "The cinema where I find less hierarchy and more democratic space as a woman is regional cinema. “When I started doing regional cinema, at some level the journey was somehow different. The kind of stories and women characters they have, are far more layered and nuanced. There were more complex images of women," she said.

Datebook

28 India Post

May 4, 2012

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NEW YORK

NEW JERSEY

Upcoming

Upcoming

Sat May 5

Sat May 5

• Desi Speed Dating NYC

• Musical Melange

Venue: Pranna NYC, 79 Madison Ave, New York Time: 7:15pm Contact: 732-444-8781

Venue: JP Stevens Hingh School, 855 Grove Avenue, Edison, NJ Time: 4pm Contact: 732-800-2336

Thurs May 10 • The Luxury Review Venue: The Metropolitan Pavilion, 125 West 18th Street, New York Time: 6pm

Sat May 12

ILLINOIS

NORTHERN CALIFORNIA

Upcoming

Upcoming

Sat May 5

Sun May 6

• Rang De Basanthi-2nd Annual Spring Dance Festival

• Kathakaanjali of Dance Karishma Anniversary 2012

Fri May 19

Venue: Balaji Tremple, 1145 W. Sullivan Rd, Aurora, IL 60506 Time: 4pm Contact: 630-664-1099

• Dr. Kumar Vishwas Live an Iconic Poet

Venue: De Anza College Visual & Performing Art Amphitheater, 21250 Stevens Creek Blvd, Cupertino, CA Time: 4:30pm Contact: 40257-2436

Sun May 20

Venue: Edison Hotel, 3050 Woodbridge Ave, New Jersey, NJ Time: 7:30pm Contact: 732-277-6687

• An Evening in Bollywood

Fri May 11

Venue: Metea Velley High School Auditorium, 1801 North Ela Road, Aurora, IL Time: 2pm Contact: 630-357-9293

• Freshman Days: Ohlone College Orientation

• India Property Show

Sat May 19

Venue: Antum’s, 244 W Old Country Rd, Hicksville,New York Time: 10pm Contact: 646-216-9090

• Baisakhi Celebration by GSCA

Sat May 26

Venue: South Brunswick Senior Citizen Center, 540 Ridge Rd, Monmouth Juction, NJ Time: 712:30pm Contact: 908-583-0422

• Kailash Kher with His Band Kailasa Venue: Copernicus Theater, 5216, West Lawrence Avenue, Chicago, IL Time: 8:30pm Contact: 847-230-7977

WASHINGTON DC

Upcoming Sun May 6 • Grand Qawwali Venue: Chinmaya Mission Auditorium, 1 Union St, Andover, MA Time: 5pm Contact: 978-681-5678

Fri May 11 • Moments with Pankaj Udhas Venue: Donald Wash Auditorium, 11271, Stanford Ave, Garden Grove, CA Time: 7pm Contact: 562-274-6588

Venue: David Starr Jordan High School, 6500 Atlantic Ave, Long Beach, CA Time: 5:30pmpm

ï Hinduism Summit (Dharmajagruti Sabha) Venue: Vedic Dharma Samaj Fremont, Hindu Temple, Fremout, California Time: 2:30pm to 4:45pm Contact: 877-303-3342

Sun May 13 • One God One World Family Venue: Anubhuti Meditation & Retreat Center, 820 Bel Marin Keys Blvd, Novato, CA Time: 11am Contact: 415-884-2314

Sat May 19 Venue: Argentine Tango, Fremont Main Library, 2400 Stevenson Blvd., Fremont, CA Time: 2pm to 4pm Contact: (510) 745-1467

Venue: Atlanta Civic Center, 395, Piedmont Ave, NE, Atlanta, CA Time: 8:30pm Contact: 404-718-0009

Venue: Birminghuam Charter High School, 17000, Haynes Street, Van Nuys, CA Time: 3pm Contact: 818-835-3374

Sat May 12

Venue: Marlborough Middle School, 26 Union Street, Marlborough, MA Time: 3pm Contact: 508-789-3548

• Ustad Rahat Fateh Ali Khan Live

Sat May 5 • Vaisakhi 2012 Celebration

Sat May 19

• Hindu Heritage Day

Fri May 11

Upcoming

Venue:Ohlne College Newark Center, 39399 Cherry Street, Newark, CA Time: 3:30pm to 6:30pm Contact: 510-979-7941

• Argentine Tango: At The Fremont Main Library

Sat May 19

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

Sat July 14 ï Summer Picnic Venue: Lake Elizabeth Park, 4000 Paseo Padre Pkwy, Fremont, CA Time: 10am Contact: 510-713-2686

• Crazy Mohanís Chocolate Krishnaí in Aid of Akshaya, Madurai

Sun June 10 • Songs & Dances from Vibrant Gujarat Venue: Palace Theater, Stamford Time: 8pm Contact: 203-322-9862 Highlights: Gujarat, the Land the Legends: Mahatma Gandhi, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Vikram Sarabhai, Jamshedji Tata and visionary Dhirubhi Ambani go down in history. But, Gujarat also stands for its literary tradition in the form of folk songs, narratives and theater.

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

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

29 India post

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A

mong the few exceptional hill resorts in India, is Pachmarhi in Madhya Pradesh. It is not on the usual beat of hill station buffs and therefore, not over-developed. Though considered a hill station, it does not offer the predictable mountain fare of awesome heights and spectacular scenery, for the Satpuras are low lying weathered hills. Pachmarhi's appeal is low key. Peace, seclusion and a quiet unobtrusive beauty are its prime attractions. Best time to visit: Throughout the year A derelict church and houses with a perceptible colonial ambience are vestiges of the British Raj. It was in fact Colonel Forsyth, a Bengal Lancer, who discovered Pachmarhi in 1857, and the point where he first sighted and fell in love with the area was named after him and earlier called Forsyth Point. Today this has been renamed Priyadarshini Point. This enthralling feeling of Forsyth was echoed by other Englishmen who, finding the town pleasant throughout the year, settled here and developed Pachmarhi into a cantonment which it still is today. Development has come by way of government aided projects which are geared more towards cottage industries. Cont’d on page 30 Cont’d from page 30

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Haryana to promote heritage tourism NEW DELHI: Noting that Haryana was witness to several historical battles, Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda said here the state government is maintaining old monuments which could help promote heritage tourism. Speaking after releasing a book titled "Heritage of Haryana, the chief minister said there is vast diversity in Haryana's history. "It was here that the battle of Mahabharata was fought and the message of Bhagavad Gita was delivered. It was here that three battles of Panipat were fought, which gave a new direction to the history of the country," he said, adding that there were still many places in the state where historical remains were found during excavation. S K Mishra of Rural Heritage Organization spoke about excavations con-

ducted at Rakhi Ghari and Rakhi Kalan villages and said that Saraswati River had its course in that area. Such places could be developed as centers of tourist interest, he said. The book, authored by Yashpal Gulia, provides information not only about heritage of the state, but also about its culture and history. The government would send a copy of the book to all Deputy Commissioners so as to acquaint them with the monuments of archeological significance in their respective areas. Written in English, the book has colorful illustrations of ancient monuments located in the state and provides description of historical forts, royal palaces and tombs of archeological importance and ancient "bawaris". -PTI

Pachmarhi: Peace, seclusion and a quiet beauty Cont’d from page 29

Tribal life: One can easily encounter the tribals, the Gonds and the Korkus, busy gathering firewood. These are the native inhabitants of the area who live in small huts or in almost primeval rock shelters. They are a happy people content with a simple lifestyle, fond of song, dance and the local brew mahua. Their distinct lifestyle manifests itself in a number of quaint customs like the memorial blocks they carve for their dead which are rather like wooden slates, each with a figure carved in relief representing the dead person riding a horse. This is surprising because horses are hardly visible in the area. Perhaps the horses signify a journey to the other world. Pachmarhi is a place for walks, along the short or long chakkars, along the predictable way or along lesser known routes where one can come across rock shelters such as those in the Maradeo hill. These are covered with paintings depicting warfare, food gathering and hunting, some dating as far back as 1000 BC. Walks take one through forests and meadows, to hill tops such as Dhoopgarh, the highest point in the Satpuras where the sunsets are quite spectacular, or down gorges and valleys where water and shade have led to a luxuriant growth of vegetation in every conceivable shade of green. Few sounds are heard other than the chirping of birds or that of water trickling, flowing or thunderously cascading into falls that end in large azure pools. Tourist attractions The Apsara Vihar or Fairy

Pool, is perhaps the most beautiful of pools in Pachmarhi. The descent is easy, the location ideal for a picnic and the pool shallow enough for a paddle. Some distance away the Rajat Parbat or the Big Falls, true to their name gush down from a height of over three hundred feet. Close to the Ramaya Kund, or Irene Pool, are the Duchess Falls, ideal for swimming. These are not quite so spectacular but the setting makes them one of Pachmarhi's most beautiful and picturesque waterfalls. Perhaps the beauty and seclusion led people to believe that Pachmarhi was a preferred place of the gods, for the area around abounds in pilgrim spots. The Chota Mahadev, a narrow point in the hills; Maradeo, the second highest point in the Satpuras, which comes alive during the annual Shivratri celebrations; Chauragarh, where a pilgrim path leads to a sacred summit with several images of Shiva, and the Jata Shankar cave where Shiva is believed to have hidden himself from the demon king Bhasmasur. This is a sacred cave under a mass of loose boulders which re-

Walks take one through forests and meadows, to hill tops such as Dhoopgarh, the highest point in the Satpuras where the sunsets are quite spectacular semble the matted locks of Lord Shiva, hence the name. Handi Khoh, today a deep ravine, was believed to be a huge lake which was guarded by a snake who terrorized all who came to visit the sacred spots in the vicinity. Shiva came to the rescue and succeeded in imprisoning him in solid rock. The flames of wrath

ensuing from this divine battle dried up the waters of the lake and the empty space assumed the saucer-like shape of a handi or pot. Priyadarshini Point, from where Captain Forsyth first caught a glimpse of Pachmarhi, is an oft visited spot. Lanjee Giri is of interest to rock-climbers as it offers some easy scalings near the summit. Jalwataran or Duchess Falls is another important site and one can trek to this picturesque water-fall which descends in three distinct cascades. Pandav Caves are fre-

quented by the tourists. The Pandav brothers are believed to have spent a part of their exile in these famous caves from which Pachmarhi takes its name. How to reach: Air: The nearest airport is Bhopal (120 kilometers) connected by regular flights with Delhi, Gwalior, Indore, Bombay, Raipur and Jabalpur. Rail: Pipariya (47 kilometers), on the Bombay-Howrah mainline via Allahabad is the most convenient railhead. Road: Pachmarhi is connected by regular bus services with Bhopal, Hashangabad, Nagpur, Pipariya and Chhindwara. Taxis are available at Pipariya.

May 4, 2012

Travel & Hospitality Post

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S Africa buoyed by rise of Indian tourists Char Dham yatra begins JOHANNESBURG: South Africa, buoyed by 26 per cent rise in the number of Indian tourists visiting the country, will target youngsters as part of its campaign to tap the rapidly growing market. Hanneli Slabber, Country Head of South African Tourism in India, is passionate about the 26 per cent growth of tourists from India in the past year. "It's something to be excited about," Slabber told PTI. "The nice thing about the growth is that the length of stay has increased and the spending has not been affected by the economic downturn," she said. "The huge increase was a culmination of hard work on both the South African and Indian sides," Slabber said. "The travel industry in India is making money out of South Africa

as a destination and the customer at the end of the day is happy about the value that is retained in the package that he pays for," she said. Slabber said although some of the growth was from business tourism as trade between the two countries continues to increase, the larger part of it was leisure tourism. "We also find a lot of people coming in for business travel and then extending their stay for a holiday. "Surprisingly, Durban with its huge Indian population is not a favorite destination for Indian tourists," Slabber said. Indians appear to prefer Cape Town and the Garden Route up to Port Elizabeth. "What was also very interesting for us is that we are picking up the younger market who go for adventure activities," she added.

"It's India's young people, and the best part for me is that it is driven by women. It's not the men but the women who push the shark-cage diving and the bungeejumping," Slabber said. There were plans to push much more of South Africa to Indian tourists than just Cape Town, she said. A lot of hope is being pinned on a major annual conference of Indian travel agents which will be held in Durban in October this year for the first time. Slabber said although official figures are still to come out, feedback from tour operators and airlines suggest that a campaign launched in January in India by South Africa's Tourism Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk has resulted in greater tourism to the country than in the corresponding period last year. -PTI

No woman takers for lifeguard's position in Goa PANAJI: A fresh recruitment drive to appoint lifeguards on the Goan beaches has failed to attract women candidates once again, a senior official said. The trend of women not coming forward for the coveted job is not new. Goa Tourism Director Swapnil Naik told reporters here

DSRS held swimming test to select 130 lifeguards, who will be patrolling various beaches in addition to the existing ones. "House is open for women between age of 18-30. But we are not getting the response from them" that not a single woman applied for the vacancy at the recruitment drive held by the Drishti Special Response Services (DSRS) which has been guarding the beaches since 2008. Naik said that there were twelve recruitment drives held in the past during which only three women

evinced interest in the position but none of them were "up to the mark". DSRS held swimming test to select 130 lifeguards, who will be patrolling various beaches in addition to the existing ones. "House is open for women between age of 18-30. But we are not getting the response from them," said DSRS CEO V K Kanwar.

The private firm has covered all beaches in the picturesque state by posting over 400 lifeguards who are equipped with modern rescue gadgets. The coastal state has seen a downfall in the number of deaths due to drowning after the lifeguards demarcated the beaches into swimming and no-swimming zones. -PTI

DEHRADUN: The pilgrimage to the revered Hindu shrines of Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri, popularly known as the 'Char Dham Yatra', has begun. Flagging off the yatra, Uttarakhand Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna said the six-month-long pilgrimage is the backbone of spiritual tourism and economy of the state. Special accommodation and elaborate security arrangements have been made for the pilgrims, expected to be around 50 lakh this year, officials said.

Last year, in spite of the late start of the yatra due to inclement weather, large number of devotees,

Badrinath

both from the country and abroad, paid their obeisance at the four divine destinations. -PTI

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In Brief Travel group backs immigrant worker plan TOPEKA, Kan.: The trade group for travel and tourism businesses in Kansas has joined an effort to start a state program to place some illegal immigrants in hard-to-fill jobs. The Travel Industry Association of Kansas says it joined a coalition pushing state legislators to create such a program because it wants to address worker shortages in some industries. The coalition includes the Kansas Chamber of Commerce and agriculture groups. The travel association also says it wants to prevent harm to the tourism industry that might occur if legislators enact tough laws aimed at cracking down on illegal immigration. -AP

18 arrested during immigration raids in Iowa DES MOINES, Iowa: Federal authorities say 18 people have been arrested in Iowa on warrants for immigration violations. A news release from the office of U.S. Attorney Nicholas Klinefeldt says the 18 were arrested in Newton, Oskaloosa and Pella. They're accused of administrative immigration violations. The violations include illegally residing in the United States and violating terms of their legal entry into the country. Klinefeldt's office says none of the 18 was arrested on criminal charges. The 18 people are likely to be deported. -AP

Man accused of transporting illegal workers MINNEAPOLIS: A 46-year-old St. Peter man faces federal charges of transporting and harboring illegal immigrants, and an affidavit alleges he provided some workers to larger companies in Minnesota. The affidavit by an Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent alleges Juan Arrazolo ran a poultry business that contracted with companies including Gold'n Plump, Michael Foods and Crystal Farms. The affidavit says one witness told authorities Arrazolo had as many as two dozen workers, some of which were undocumented. When one worker told Arrazolo he was undocumented, Arrazolo said ``it was not a problem,'' the affidavit says. -AP

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May 4, 2012

Alabama bill makes immigration law changes MONTGOMERY, Ala.: The Alabama House has passed a bill that makes some changes to the state's immigration law in response to complaints from some who said the law infringed on some civil liberties. Details on page 36

Number of illegal immigrants from Mexico drops WASHINGTON: The number of Mexican immigrants living illegally in the U.S. has dropped significantly for the first time in decades, a dramatic shift as many illegal workers, already in the U.S. and seeing few job opportunities, return to Mexico. An analysis of census data from the U.S. and Mexican governments details the movement to and from Mexico, a nation accounting for nearly 60 percent of the illegal immigrants in the U.S. It comes amid renewed debate over U.S. immigration policy as the Supreme Court hears arguments this week on border state Arizona's tough immigration law. Roughly 6.1 million unauthorized Mexican immigrants were living in the U.S. last year, down from a peak of nearly 7 million in 2007, according to the Pew Hispanic Center study. It was the biggest sustained drop in modern history, believed to be surpassed in scale only by losses in the Mexican-born U.S. population during the Great Depression. Much of the drop in illegal immigrants is due to the persistently weak U.S. economy, which has shrunk construction and servicesector jobs attractive to Mexican workers following the housing bust. But increased deportations, heightened U.S. patrols and violence along the border also have

End of US-Mexico border fence

Jeffrey Passel, a senior demographer at Pew who co-wrote the analysis, said Mexican immigration may never return to its height during the mid-decade housing and construction boom, even with the US economy recovering played a role, as well as demographic changes, such as Mexico's declining birth rate. In all, the Mexican-born population in the U.S. last year legal and illegal fell to 12 million, marking an end to an immigration boom dating back to the 1970s, when foreign-born residents from Mexico stood at 760,000. The 2007 peak was 12.6 million. Christian Ballesteros, who has

been at a shelter for immigrants in Matamoros, Mexico, across the border from Brownsville, Texas, pointed to stiffer U.S. penalties for repeat offenders as well as brutal criminal groups that control the Mexican side of the border as reasons for the immigration decline. Ballesteros, who has been deported four times, was recently caught after hopping the border fence near Nogales, Arizona.

``The Mexican cartels are taking over, are actually being like the border patrols on this side,'' Ballesteros said. ``They threaten them, `if you don't pay, what we're going to do is we're going to cut your head off.' That's the worst, the worst, the worst part,'' Ballesteros said. After his last apprehension by U.S. authorities, Ballesteros was sent to a detention facility in Las Vegas for 21/2 months. He fears it could be six months if he is caught again. ``You can lose money, but if you lose time there's no way you can recover that time,'' Ballesteros said, noting that many immigrants have families to support. Jeffrey Passel, a senior demographer at Pew who co-wrote the analysis, said Mexican immigration may never return to its height during the mid-decade housing and construction boom, even with the U.S. economy recovering. He cited longer-term factors such as a shrinking Mexican work force. He noted that government data now show a clear shift among Mexican workers already in the U.S. who are returning home. He said that data is a sign that many immigrants are giving up on life in the U.S., feeling squeezed by increasing enforcement and limited opportunities that they don't see improving anytime soon. Cont’d on page 36

Use of employment firms for recruitment CORA-ANN V. PESTAINA

(Continued from last week) nder 656.17(e) (1) (ii), when conducting recruitment for a professional position, the employer must conduct three additional recruitment steps to advertise the position. The employer may choose from ten forms of recruitment including the use of a private employment firm or placement agency. 656.17(e) (1) (ii) (F) states: The use of private employment firms or placement agencies can be documented by providing documentation sufficient to dem-

U

onstrate that recruitment has been conducted by a private firm for the occupation for which certification is sought. For example, documentation might consist of copies of contracts between the employer and the private employment firm and copies of advertisements placed by the private employment forms for the occupation involved in the application. In Credit Suisse Securities, 2010-PER-103 (Oct. 19, 2010), BALCA rejected the employer's argument that 656.17(f), requiring that advertisements placed in

newspapers of general circulation or in professional journals state the name of the employer and provide a description of the vacancy specific enough to apprise U.S. workers of the job opportunity, was not applicable to the additional recruitment steps for professional occupations, and held that the regulation in fact governs all forms of advertisement. However, not all the additional recruitment methods for professional positions readily lend themselves to these requirements. For instance, when recruiting through

private employment firms, it makes no business sense to indicate the name of the employer because an applicant could then bypass the headhunter and apply directly to the employer. Indeed, in Credit Suisse Securities, BALCA acknowledged in note 7 that the requirements of 656.17(f) only applies to advertisements, and that it was not making a determination with respect to job fairs, on-campus recruiting, private employment firms and campus placement offices. Cont’d on page 36

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Romney backs student loan proposal Obama supports

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney

ASTON, Pa.: Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has embraced a student loan proposal that President Barack Obama is selling on the campaign trail and refused to endorse Sen. Marco Rubio's conservative immigration plan aimed at helping young illegal immigrants. The two policy positions signaled an effort by Romney to move to the political center as he works to court critical general election swing voters including young voters and Hispanic voters after a brutal primary fight. ``I think young voters in this country have to vote for me if they're really thinking of what's in the best interest of the country and what's in their personal best interest,'' Romney said as he stood next to Rubio, R-Fla. Romney was campaigning in Pennsylvania and answered reporters' questions for the first time since effectively securing the GOP presidential nomination. House Republicans have said the estimated $6 billion annual cost of extending low-interest rates for student loans isn't affordable without offsetting cuts but that they are still deciding whether to support a temporary extension. Obama has started pushing Congress for the extension and planned a three-state tour to warn students of the potential financial catastrophe they will face if Congress fails to act. Interest rates are set to double on July 1, from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent, on a popular federal loan for low-and middle-income undergraduates. ``I support extending the temporary relief on interest rates for students,'' Romney said, though he did not offer specifics on how the extension should be paid for or how long it should last. He said he supports the extension because

of ``extraordinarily poor conditions in the job market.'' Romney refused to embrace a Rubio proposal that would allow young illegal immigrants to remain in the United States to work or study. He did say there were provisions to ``commend'' it and that his campaign would ``study the issue. Romney said during the South Carolina primary that all illegal immigrants should return to their home country and get in line to be eligible for U.S. citizenship. Rubio's still-evolving bill would allow young illegal immigrants who

Romney also tacked to the right on immigration during the primary. In recent days, he's been highlighting Hispanic concerns at events while leaving out much of the rhetoric he embraced earlier this year graduated from high school and have no criminal record to obtain a nonimmigrant visa. They could stay in the United States, obtain a drivers' license and work or continued their studies but would have no special path to citizenship. Romney's answers illustrate the careful line he has to walk as he transitions from the primary to the general election, where he'll have to tussle with Obama for support from the Hispanic, female and young voters who propelled Obama to victory in 2008. Obama, meanwhile, has to hang on to those constituencies. His tour through North Carolina, Colorado and Iowa is intended to rally

young supporters. Romney's language on loans, for example, was distinctly different from the answer he gave when he was last asked about the issue. Prior to the Illinois primary on March 20, he told a young woman concerned about student debt to ``get ready for President Obama's claim.'' ``I know he's going to come up at some point and talk about how he's going to make it vanish. And that's another, `Here, I'll give you something for free.' And I'm not going to do that,'' Romney said. During that same answer, he said he wanted to keep interest rates low. Romney also tacked to the right on immigration during the primary. In recent days, he's been highlighting Hispanic concerns at events while leaving out much of the rhetoric he embraced earlier this year. He said he would outline additional changes to the immigration system in the coming months, particularly with the visa system that governs who is allowed to work in the U.S. ``I anticipate before the November election we'll be laying out whole series of policies that relate to immigration, and obviously our first priority is to secure the border, and yet we also have very substantial visa programs in this country,'' Romney said. ``How we adjust our visa program to make it fit the needs of our country is something I'll be speaking about down the road.'' Still, he wouldn't go so far as to embrace Rubio's immigration proposal. Rubio has said his goal is to craft a Republican compromise on the so-called DREAM Act that Romney could support. The DREAM Act, which has languished on Capitol Hill, would provide a path to citizenship for some young illegal immigrants who attend college or serve in the military. The Cuban-American senator is considered a top potential pick for vice president. He's the latest in a string of possible running mates to campaign with Romney and is the first to get an audition since former Sen. Rick Santorum, RPa., left the race and Romney staffers formally began organizing the process of searching for a No. 2. Romney declined to say if Rubio was on his list of vice presidential candidates. He said his campaign is still setting up the infrastructure that's required to scrutinize potential nominees, including hiring legal and accounting staff. -AP

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Immigration Post

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Number of illegal immigrants Use of employment firms for recruitment from Mexico drops Cont’d from page 34

Cont’d from page 34

About 1.4 million Mexicans left the U.S. between 2005 and 2010, double the number who did so a decade earlier. In the meantime, the number of Mexicans who entered the U.S. sharply fell to about 1.4 million, putting net migration from Mexico at a standstill. More recent data suggest that most of the movement is now heading back to Mexico, accounting for the drop in the illegal immigrant population. During the same period, the population of authorized Mexican immigrants edged higher, from 5.6 million to 5.8 million. Among the Mexican immigrants who leave the U.S., an estimated 5 to 35 percent are deported while the rest opt to go back voluntarily, often taking U.S.-born children with them. Those who were in the U.S. illegally and returned to Mexico also are increasingly saying they will not try to come back about 20 percent, compared to 7 percent in 2005. The Pew estimates come amid heightened attention on immigration in an election year where the fast-growing Hispanic population, now making up roughly 16 percent of the U.S. population, could play a key role. Arizona's law, being challenged by the Obama administration in the Supreme Court, seeks to expand the authority of state police to ask about the immi-

gration status of anybody they stop on the rationale that federal enforcement has largely failed. Since Arizona's law passed in 2010, five other states - Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, South Carolina and Utah - have passed similar measures. Steve A. Camarota, director of research at the Center for Immigration Studies, a Washington group that advocates tighter immigration policies, said the latest numbers show that immigration policies do

About 30 percent of all current US immigrants are Mexican born, by far the most from any single country; that's down from its peak of 32 percent in 2004-2009 make a difference. ``The bottom line is that immigration is not the weather. It is something that ... can be changed,'' he said. ``The economy is worse but enforcement is also higher, making it more difficult for immigrants to get jobs in states like Arizona. They are now making new calculations and changing their views.'' Other findings:

Illegal Mexican immigrants who have stayed in the U.S. for longer periods of time are now more likely to be sent back by authorities than before. About 27 percent of immigrants sent back had resided in the U.S. for a year or more, up from 6 percent in 2005. Despite an increase in Border Patrol agents, apprehensions of illegal immigrants at the U.S.Mexico border have dropped sharply - from 1 million in 2005 to 286,000 in 2011, a sign that fewer illegal immigrants are trying to enter. About 30 percent of all current U.S. immigrants are Mexican born, by far the most from any single country; that's down from its peak of 32 percent in 2004-2009. The next largest share comes from China (including Hong Kong and Taiwan), accounting for 5 percent of the nation's 40 million foreignborn residents. A typical Mexican woman is projected to have an average of 2.4 children in her lifetime, compared with 7.3 children in 1960. By region, Mexican-born immigrants in the U.S. are mostly likely found in the West (51 percent) and South (33 percent). About 58 percent now live in California and Texas, down from 63 percent in 2000 as immigrants spread out over the past decade in search of jobs in other states. -AP

Alabama bill makes immigration law changes MONTGOMERY, Ala.: The Alabama House has passed a bill that makes some changes to the state's immigration law in response to complaints from some who said the law infringed on some civil liberties. The bill passed on a 64-34 vote and now goes to the Senate for debate. The legislation makes changes to the law that supporters and opponents have called the toughest crackdown on illegal immigrants in the nation. The vote mostly broke along party lines with Republicans voting for it and Democrats voting ``no.'' The sponsor, Republican Rep. Micky Hammon of Decatur, said the changes were aimed at removing confusing language and making the law easier to enforce. Changes included giving a judge the option to suspend a business that hires illegal immigrants for up to 60 days instead of the 10 days in the current law. Religious leaders had complained about a section of the law that that made it a crime to provide or lodging or shelter to a

known illegal immigrant. The new law adds language that says the law would not prevent a church or church-affiliated organization from ministering to or providing help to all individuals regardless of immigration status.

At one point more than 70 protesters gathered in the hallway outside the House Chamber on the fifth floor of the Alabama Statehouse Hammon said the bill does not make massive changes to the immigration law it just clarifies certain sections. ``If we have a law that is confusing, it won't be enforced. I feel like we are going to have a stronger law and a more enforceable law,'' Hammon said. Opponents of the immigration

law argued that it needed to be repealed and not rewritten. ``There is nothing about this that makes it okay,'' Democratic Rep. Patricia Todd of Birmingham said of the changes the bill would make to the immigration law. ``''We are a country based on immigration.'' Lawmakers debated the bill for more than five hours before deciding shortly before 5 p.m. to cut off debate. A vote was delayed for about an hour so that the 83-page bill could be read at length. The debate was sometimes emotional and lasted throughout the day At one point more than 70 protesters gathered in the hallway outside the House Chamber on the fifth floor of the Alabama Statehouse. The protesters sang songs in Spanish, prayed and urged legislators to repeal the immigration law. One protester, Nancy Santillan, said she left Mexico because she could not find a job and provide for her daughter, who was 2-yearold at the time. She said she came across the border holding her daughter in her arms. -AP

In World Agape Mission Church, 2010-PER-01117 (Mar. 23, 2012), the employer conducted recruitment for the professional position of "Pastor (Associate)" recruiting through a private employment agency as one of the three additional recruitment steps for professional positions. The CO issued an audit notification and, as part of its response to the audit notification, the employer submitted a letter from the private employment agency certifying that the agency had checked its database for any qualified applicants and had posted the job posting online. The job posting listed the job title, salary information, a job description, experience and education requirements, and that the position was full-time. The job posting was identifiable by a job number. The CO argued that the employer's name must be included in an advertisement to ensure that the results of an employer's test of the labor market are legitimate. The CO cited 656.17(f) (1), requiring that advertisements placed in newspapers of general circulation "name the employer." BALCA noted its decision in Credit Suisse Securities but held that an advertisement placed by a private employment agency is different than one placed directly by the employer. BALCA referenced its decision in HSB Solomon, 2011PER-2599 (Oct.25, 2011) that 656.17(f) does not apply to advertisements placed by private employment firms. However, World Agape Mission Church makes it clear that the employer still has a duty to recruit in good faith and to make the job opportunity clearly open to all U.S. workers even when using a private employment agency. Of particular note was the fact that the job posting provided applicants with sufficient information like the job title, job duties, and education/experience requirements, and even if it did not list the name of the employer, it listed a job number which matched the job number listed in the letter from the employment agency certifying its recruitment. This allowed the CO to match the listing to the agency's advertisement even without the inclusion of the employer's name in the posting. Supervised Recruitment As the supervised recruitment train keeps barreling through, we have to keep on the lookout for any BALCA decisions to help guide us through the process.

BALCA recently issued two decisions worth reading. In Kennametal, Inc., 2010-PER01512 (Mar. 27, 2012), BALCA held that the employer had improperly rejected U.S. workers because it did not consider the possibility that certain applicants could become qualified after a reasonable period of on-the-job training. But most interestingly, BALCA held that the employer's rejection of applicants for not possessing the requisite bachelor's degree was unlawful and specifically listed examples of applicants who had an associates' degree and 10 to 24 years of experience. BALCA held that because the employer indicated in its advertisements that it would "accept a combination of education, training and experience" (well-known to practitioners filing PERM applications as the Kellogg language based on Matter of Francis Kellogg, 94-INA-465 (Feb. 2, 1998) (en banc), the employer should have considered these applicants

Now, employers have to be alert to the fact that the DOL could then use that same Kellogg language against them to argue that they unlawfully rejected US workers and interviewed them to further evaluate their skills. This is particularly interesting in light of the fact that the DOL routinely requests that employers list the Kellogg language in the supervised recruitment advertisements even where it is not applicable. Now, employers have to be alert to the fact that the DOL could then use that same Kellogg language against them to argue that they unlawfully rejected U.S. workers. In JP Morgan Chase & Co, 2011PER-00635, BALCA upheld the CO's denial of the PERM application under supervised recruitment because the employer did not list the addresses of the U.S. worker applicants in the body of its recruitment report as required under the supervised recruitment regulations at 656.21(e)(3) despite the fact that the employer had submitted copies of all the resumes which listed the U.S. addresses of the applicants. * Cyrus D Mehta, may be contacted at 212-425-0555 or info@cyrusmehta.com

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May 4, 2012

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Fla. AG backs Arizona in immigration battle TALLAHASSEE, Fla.: Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi is supporting Arizona in its battle with the federal government over immigration. But the state's chief legal officer is changing her stance on whether Florida needs the same type of law that triggered the showdown between Arizona and the administration of President Barack Obama. In February, Bondi signed on to a legal brief submitted by Michigan and 14 other states that supports Arizona's right to pass its own immigration law. The federal government challenged the law and the case will be argued before the U.S. Supreme Court this week. She said she supports Arizona because each state should have

the right to enact its own laws. She said, however, that does not mean Florida should pass its own law that requires police, while enforcing other laws, to question a person's immigration status if officers suspect that person is in the country illegally. ``I'm not saying that's right or wrong for Florida,'' Bondi said. Bondi added that Arizona took action because the federal government has not adequately enforced immigration, but stressed ``I'm not saying Florida is in an identical situation.'' Her position now is different from when she was a candidate for attorney general. While campaigning back in 2010, she said Florida lawmak-

ers should pass an Arizonastyled law. ``We have a constitutional right to deal with the immigration

The American Civil Liberties Union of Florida has sharply criticized Bondi for supporting Arizona, saying she was endorsing the use of racial profiling problem plaguing our state,'' Bondi said in a campaign pitch that she sent voters right before that year's Republican primary. ``I

High court hears Arizona immigration dispute WASHINGTON: The Supreme Court is refereeing another major clash between the Obama administration and the states, this one over Arizona's crackdown on illegal immigrants. The case could add fuel to the partisan split over tough state immigration laws backed by Republicans but challenged by the administration. Like last month's arguments over President Barack Obama's health care overhaul, the immigration case is expected to be decided at the end of June. The arguments will focus on whether states can adopt their own immigration measures to deal with an estimated 11 million illegal immigrants, or whether the federal government has almost exclusive authority in the area of immigration. Arizona was the first of a halfdozen states to enact laws intended to drive illegal immigrants elsewhere, a policy known as ``attrition by enforcement.'' Even where blocked by courts, these laws have already had an impact on farm fields and school classrooms as fewer immigrants showed up. ``If the federal government had been doing and would continue to do its job in securing the border here in southern Arizona, this would not be an issue. Unfortunately, they failed to do that so Arizona stepped up and said, `We want to be partners. Here's a role we think we can play,''' said Sheriff Larry Dever of Cochise County, which shares an 83.5-mile border with Mexico in the state's southeastern corner. The administration says it has both increased border enforcement to keep people from entering illegally in the first place and

picked up the pace of deportations. In its first two years, the administration deported nearly 800,000 people, far higher on a yearly basis than President George W. Bush's administration. The Obama administration sued to block the Arizona law soon after its enactment two years ago. Federal courts have refused to let four key provisions take effect: requiring police, while enforcing other laws, to question a person's immigration status if officers sus-

Five states - Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, South Carolina and Utah - have adopted variations on Arizona's law. Parts of those laws also are on hold pending the outcome of the Supreme Court case pect he is in the country illegally; requiring all immigrants to obtain or carry immigration registration papers; making it a state criminal offense for an illegal immigrant to seek work or hold a job and allowing police to arrest suspected illegal immigrants without warrants. Five states - Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, South Carolina and Utah - have adopted variations on Arizona's law. Parts of those laws also are on hold pending the outcome of the Supreme Court case. Civil rights groups that mounted legal challenges indepen-

dent of the administration's say the laws encourage racial profiling and ethnic stereotyping. ``It blurs what used to be a very bright line, that you can't stop someone and ask for papers based just on how they look,'' said Anthony Romero, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union. ``But the impact is on citizens as much as immigrants. It's a dragnet approach that sweeps up law-abiding American citizens based on the color of their skin or ethnic origins.'' And the state laws already have had a marked effect on people's behavior, whether or not the laws ever went into force, the groups say. In some states, crops rotted in fields for want of workers to pick them. In Alabama, where a provision required schools to check student's citizenship status, more than 2,000 students stayed home the first week the law was in effect, said Karen Tumlin, managing attorney for the National Immigration Law Center. Foreign employees, including a German Mercedes-Benz executive, have been detained or ticketed for not carrying immigration documents. -AP

fully support the Arizona law and I strongly urge the Florida Legislature to follow suit and pass a similar law.'' Since Arizona first enacted its law, federal courts have refused to let four key provisions take effect, including one that requires all immigrants to obtain or carry immigration registration papers. Five states Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, South Carolina and Utah - have adopted variations on Arizona's law. Parts of those laws also are on hold pending the outcome of the Supreme Court case. Florida lawmakers in 2011 considered a tough immigration bill, but the Republican-controlled Legislature could not ultimately agree on what should be included in the legislation. This spring lawmakers did not con-

sider any immigration legislation. Bondi did not include an immigration bill on her list of top priorities that she wanted legislators to consider this year. The American Civil Liberties Union of Florida has sharply criticized Bondi for supporting Arizona, saying she was endorsing the use of racial profiling by signing onto the legal brief. Howard Simon, executive director of the ACLU of Florida, said the Arizona law ``open the door for wrongful arrests, harassment and other abuses.'' ``As Florida's principal legal officer, the attorney general should know that racial profiling is bad policing, and that it drives an unnecessary wedge between law enforcement and the communities it protects,'' Simon said in a statement. -AP

Immigrant tuition bill moves on in Colo. House DENVER: A bill that would allow illegal immigrants in Colorado to attend college at a discounted tuition rate is moving on in the House. The bill is moving on to another House committee after the House Education Committee narrowly approved it. The measure could run into more opposition later in the Republican-led House, where a similar measure failed last year. The proposal would let illegal immigrants who graduate from Colorado high schools attend college at a rate lower than the outof-state price but slightly higher than the in-state rate. The students must sign an affidavit saying they are seeking legal status. The bill has already passed the Democratic-led Senate. This is the sixth time Colorado lawmakers have debated the issue. Thirteen states - including Texas, California, Illinois and Connecticut - have passed legislation granting in-state tuition for immigrant students, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Under this year's bill, Colorado

students who are illegal immigrants would not get in-state tuition, which includes a state subsidy. An illegal immigrant student attending the University of Colorado at Boulder, for example, would pay about $9,500 annually, compared with an estimated

Thirteen states - including Texas, California, Illinois and Connecticut - have passed legislation granting in-state tuition for immigrant students $7,700 for Colorado residents and about $28,850 for non-Colorado residents. The proposal allows colleges and universities to decide not to participate. But many have expressed support, including the University of Colorado, Colorado State University and the state system of community colleges. -AP

TOP TEN HINDI FILM SONGS

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ead the headline clearly, it's Chikni Kamar and not Chikni Chameli. After Katrina Kaif's hit Chikni Chameli, it's Sonakshi Sinha's turn to dance in an item song titled Chikni Kamar! The song is a part of Akshay Kumar's upcoming film Rowdy Rathore and Sonakshi is all charged up to set the screen on fire with her oomphy gyrations in her first ever item song. Sonakshi Sinha prefers to call the track - "a complete masaledaar song". The song is choreographed by Vishnu. From the sidelines, director and ace choreographer Prabhu Deva will also provide valuable inputs. Though Sonakshi has shown some jhatka-matka in her film Joker, her item song for Rowdy Rathod will be in a different league altogether. Sonakshi has not been asked to shed weight for the song, nor is she dieting. "Prabhu Deva and everyone else I'm working with like me the way I am," claims Sonakshi. She also confided that she has performed some of the action sequences herself in the film.

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he's fast climbing up the ladder and mak-ing all the right moves. Sunny Leone who is currently shooting for Jism 2 is making headway in Bollywood. The adult star has reportedly signed on with none other than Ekta Kapoor for her next film which is a sequel to Ragini MMS. The film which will be a B-horror film will scare the audience while at the same time have them coming back for more. The production team feels that Sunny Leone fits the role perfectly. While the original film revolved around the video footage of Ragini and was loosely inspired from the real story of a girl from Delhi, the sequel is also be inspired by a real-life story. However, the scale of the sequel is much bigger and it will be much scarier, sexier and more sensuous. The shooting of the film will begin after Sunny finishes shooting for Jism 2.

May 4, 2012

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

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May 4, 2012

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KAREENA THE QUEEN

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he is already shooting for a challenging role in Madhur Bhandarkar's film Heroine, and now Kareena Kapoor has bagged the role of queen Arundhati in the Hindi remake of 2009 Telugu blockbuster Arundhati. The Telugu Arundhati was one of its kind women-centric film set in the ancient times with awe-inspiring graphics and technology. It was also Telugu cinema's biggest blockbuster. The movie's super success made Anushka Shetty the top heroine of Telugu films. It's said that many top actresses like Katrina Kaif and Rani Mukherjee were in the race to essay the role of queen Arundhati who kills a devil played by Sonu Sood, but the role has finally gone to Kareena Kapoor. Sonu Sood will play the villain in the Hindi version as well. Gemini Film Circuit has acquired the Hindi remake rights of the film Arundhati and wants to give the same grand feel to the Bollywood version. Speaking about the role, Kareena Kapoor says, "I am excited to do this film which gives importance to the female character." Arundhati is an action thriller with a few gory scenes as well. Anushka Shetty excelled in the character of Arundhati which got her Filmfare Best Actress Award of the year.

MALLIKA THE SINGER

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ollywood diva Madhuri Dixit has confirmed that she will play the lead in Vishal Bhardwaj's "Dedh Ishqiya". Directed by Abhishek Choubey, "Dedh Ishqiya" is a sequel to 2010 film "Ishqiya", which starred Vidya Balan, Naseeruddin Shah and Arshad Warsi. "Hey guys, back in action. Am doing 'Dedh Ishqiya' and 'Jhalak...' is right around the corner. More to come! Thanks for all ur patience and support!," she posted on her Twitter page. The sequel retains Naseer and Arshad in prominent roles. In 2007, Madhuri, who is married to US-based Sriram Nene, was seen in the film "Aaja Nach Le", after which she shifted back to US. The actress returned in 2011 to be a judge on dance reality show "Jhalak Dikhla Jaa". And later decided to shift permanently to India with family. This will be Madhuri's first film after shifting back to India.

M MADHURI SIGNS 'DEDH ISHQIY A' ISHQIYA'

allika Sherawat is all set to add another feather to her cap. The actress will be unleashing her singing talent along with co-star Sonu Sood in her upcoming film Lucky Unlucky. The song composed by Santokh Singh Dhaliwa will have Mallika crooning in her native language Haryanvi. The movie will also have songs in Punjabi, Haryanvi, Telugu, Tamil and Marathi. Lucky Unlucky, directed by Afzal Rizvi, is a road movie and the music for the film will be in the languages of the cities that the characters of Mallika and Sonu would visit. The film also marks Sonu Sood's debut as a producer.

„ Health

Line

Cholesterol levels continue to drop

ATLANTA: US health officials say only 13 percent of U.S. adults have high total cholesterol. That may seem incredible in a nation where two-thirds of adults are overweight. Experts believe it's largely because so many Americans take cholesterol-lowering drugs, but dropping smoking rates and other factors also contributed. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released the report whose numbers come from interviews and blood tests of nearly than 6,000 U.S. adults in 2009 and 2010. Cholesterol is a fat-like substance in the blood. Too much total cholesterol is a risk for heart disease. -AP

„

Bid to improve blood pressure measurements

HONOLULU: The Hawaii state Department of Health is launching program to improve the accuracy of blood pressure measurements. The department said the program will reduce errors in everyday diagnosis and treatment. High blood pressure is one of the leading risk factors of heart disease and stroke. The state says one in three adults in Hawaii has heart disease or has had a stroke. The department it's beginning blood pressure measurement training sessions this week. It's relying on the help of the Hawaii Medical Assurance Association, University Health Alliance, AlohaCare, the Hawaii Medical Service Association and other private sector partners. -AP

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May 4, 2012

WASHINGTON: If the Supreme Court strikes down President Barack Obama's health care law, employers and insurance companies - not the government - will be the main drivers of change over the next decade and maybe even longer. Details on page 43

Nobel Laureate, top physicians to address AAPI Convention India Post News Service

NEW YORK: The 30th annual convention of American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) will be held in Long Beach Convention and Entertainment Center, California between June 27 and July 1. Dr. Sunita Kanumury, President of AAPI, said more than 3,500 members representing academicians, researchers, clinicians, medical students, residents, and fellows will be addressing various healthcare related issues during cutting edge educational seminars, panel discussions and lectures by world renowned speakers from across the globe. Thought provoking speeches, Continuing Medical Education Programs (CME), Women's conference, yoga for adults, alumni meetings, entertainment by eminent artists and networking will be some of the highlights of the convention. AAPI has many members in executive positions at their medical institutions. These leaders are

Congressman Ed Royce

Nobel Laureate Bruce Beutler

The star speaker at the convention will be Nobel Laureate Bruce Beutler, an American immunologist and geneticist. Together with Jules A. Hoffmann, he received 2011 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine making decisions about medical and pharmaceutical products, devices and equipment, and practicerelated services at multiple levels in hospitals, medical schools, out-

patient centers, and health care facilities, she said. The convention will offer an opportunity to engage a large influential audience in personalized

product discussions and hands-on demonstrations. Additionally, the convention offers a range of marketing and educational opportunities, such as CME sponsorship, publications, exhibitions, and symposium, Dr Kanumury said. The star speaker at the convention will be Nobel Laureate Bruce Beutler, an American immunologist and geneticist. Together with Jules A. Hoffmann, he received 2011 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, for their discoveries concerning the activation of innate immunity. US Representative Ed Royce (D-CA), and a member of the Congressional Caucus on India and Indian-Americans will also be a guest at the convention. The convention will offer over 10 hours of CME credits. "Our programming will feature state-of-theart clinical content from dynamic world renowned speakers. These carefully selected topics represent areas of medicine that are of high interest and importance to our members," Dr. Kanumury said. Cont’d on page 43

Indian cancer surgeon honored by NY City Council

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India Post News Service

PENDLETON, Ore.: Public health officials in Oregon are so worried about the whooping cough epidemic in neighboring Washington State that some nurses are giving out free vaccinations in shopping center parking lots. The East Oregonian newspaper reports (http://bit.ly/I6Sl7Y ) that Oregon has 120 reported cases of whooping cough since January, most in Multnomah and Washington counties. Oregon had four pertussis-related deaths since 2007, all infants. Washington has 897 reported cases so far this year, and those high numbers are worrying public health officials in Umatilla County. The county is offering free vaccination clinics next month in Pendleton and Hermiston. -AP

NEW YORK: In a rare gesture, the New York City Council has commended the service of Prof. Dr C Palanivelu, founder-chairman of Gem Hospital and Research Center in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu for his service to medicine and obesity control leading to better and healthier life of people. A Certificate of Recognition signed by New York City Council Member Peter Koo (District 20) on behalf of the City Council was issued to Dr. Palanivelu. The City Council hailed his contribution to medicine and for creating awareness on lifestyle diseases and for being a pioneer in weight loss surgery in Asia. Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano has also issued an official signed proclamation to commemorate Dr Palanivelu's visit to the US and for his service to the cause of suffering humanity. Mangano said Dr. Palanivelu was

Whooping cough epidemic in Wash. worries Oregon

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If Obamacare fails: employers & insurance firms will take charge

Albert Chelladurai and Dr. Parithivel look on while Zahid Syed presents the Nassau County proclamation to Dr Palanivelu -Pic Ramesh Ramanathan/New York

the first Indian professor with privileges to operate and teach abroad without formal training and license in the respective host countries. The third award - "Living Legend of Laproscopy Award" - for his pioneering works in the field of medicine and enhancing the image of Tamils and Tamil Nadu in

global arena was also presented at a function held in New York on April 21 where a galaxy of speakers showered praise on Prof Palanivelu and his contribution to the world of laproscopy. Dr. Vellore S. Parithivel, Associate Professor of Clinical Surgery/ Albert Einstein College of Medi-

cine/ Deputy Chairman Department of Surgery/ Bronx Lebanon Hospital Center and founder of Association of Tamil Medical Association (ATMA) said Dr. Palanivelu is considered one of the top surgeons of India especially in his field Single Incision Laparoscopic Surgeries and colorectal procedures. He presented the award to Dr. Palanivelu on behalf of New York City Council. Albert Chelladurai, advisor to New York Tamil Sangam, in his address said Tamils in the US are proud that Dr. Palanivelu received the highest honor of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, United Kingdom in appreciation of his scientific contribution in the field of minimally access surgery at global level. Also, Dr Palanivelu was the first Indian doctor to get International Olympic Surgery Silver Medal conducted by the American Gastro-intestinal Endoscopic Surgeons in Phoenix, Arizona, he said. Cont’d on page 42

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Measles deaths have plummeted over a decade LONDON: The number of measles deaths worldwide has apparently dropped by about three-quarters over a decade, according to a new study by the World Health Organization and others. Most of the deaths were in India and Africa, where not enough children are being immunized. Health officials estimate about 9.6 million children were saved from dying of measles from 2000 to 2010 after big vaccination campaigns were rolled out more than a decade ago. Researchers guessed the number of deaths fell during that time period from about 535,300 to 139,300, or about 74 percent. But the figures come with a big grain of salt; scientists only had solid data for 65 countries. For the 128 others, they used modeling to come up with their estimates. Despite the major dent, the progress fails to meet a WHO target to cut measles deaths by 90 percent by 2010. ``This is still a huge success,'' said Peter Strebel, a measles expert at WHO and one of the authors of the study. ``You don't reduce measles deaths by three quarters without significantly accelerating efforts.'' He noted that the global 85 percent vaccination coverage rate was the highest ever recorded. The study was paid for by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and was published in the journal, Lancet. Measles is one of the most infectious diseases that exists and mostly affects chil-

dren. It causes a fever, cough and a rash all over the body. The disease kills about one to two children for every 1,000 it infects and can also cause pregnant women to have a miscarriage or premature birth. Past progress in reducing measles has led some health officials to consider whether they can eradicate it. Smallpox is the only human disease to have been wiped out. Other initiatives to rid the world of diseases including polio and guinea worm remain largely stalled.

is and are skeptical of the vaccine. The first measles shot was licensed in the U.S. in 1963 and is now widely included in routine childhood immunization programs in developed countries. Last year was the worst year for measles in the U.S. in 15 years, with 222 cases - mostly imported by foreign visitors or by U.S. residents infected overseas. Daniel Berman, a vaccines expert at Medecins Sans Frontieres, noted there has been a massive increase in measles across Africa in the last two years, largely because

Despite the major dent, the progress fails to meet a WHO target to cut measles deaths by 90 percent by 2010. "This is still a huge success,'' said Peter Strebel, a measles expert at WHO and one of the authors of the study. "You don't reduce measles deaths by three quarters without significantly accelerating efforts'' ``I am cautious about adopting too many eradication campaigns at once,'' said Nancy Leys Stepan, author of a book on disease eradication and a professor at Columbia University. She was not linked to the study. Stepan said problems like getting good data and the challenges of eradication make it more reasonable to stick to deadlines for reducing measles rather than trying to eliminate it. In recent years, the disease has surged in Europe _ the number of people infected since 2007 has tripled. Doctors say measles cases are rebounding in Europe because people don't realize how serious the disease

of backsliding on immunization campaigns and declining funds. ``The challenge is to find ways to make measles campaigns happen in countries with weak systems,'' he said. Berman said it would be hard to dramatically improve the 74 percent drop in measles deaths and that it would probably plateau. WHO's Strebel said just maintaining the decline in measles still requires a major effort. He added experts are not ready to set any eradication deadlines. ``Let's wait until we get a bit closer to the top of the mountain before we say if we can get there,'' he said. -AP

TIP OF THE WEEK

End endometrial pain with oats

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he ticket to soothing endometriosis pain could be a daily bowl of oatmeal. Endometriosis occurs when little bits of the uterine lining detach and grow outside of the uterus. Experts say these migrating cells can turn menstruation into a misery, causing so much inflammation that they trigger severe cramping during your period, plus a heavy ache that drags on all month long. Fortunately, scientists say opting for a diet rich in oats can help reduce endometrial pain for up to 60 percent of women within six months. That's because oats don't contain gluten, a trouble-making protein that triggers inflammation in many women, making endometriosis difficult to bear, explains Peter Green, M.D., professor of medicine at Colombia University .

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Debate on letting parents say no to vaccines MONTPELIER, Vt.: For Jennifer Stella, it's a question of informed consent. Her son had a seizure after getting childhood vaccinations and her daughter suffered a ``head-to-toe'' eczema outbreak; she says parents should research the risks and benefits of immunizations and decide which ones are appropriate. For Jill Olson, a mother of two, it's a matter of trusting the experts. ``There's not really any way that as an individual I can do more scientific study and research than the American Academy of Pediatrics or the Centers for Disease Control.'' For Vermont House Speaker Shap Smith, the state motto sums it up: ``freedom and unity'' individual choice versus the public health benefit of having a high percentage of kids vaccinated. ``It's a balance between individual rights and our obligations to each other in society,'' the Democratic speaker said. For much of the legislative session, Vermont has been embroiled in a debate over whether to end the ``philosophical exemption'' essentially a right of refusal for parents who want to enroll their children in school or child care without immunizations. The list of shots called for by the state Health Department and the CDC is roughly 20 by the time a child enters kindergarten. The CDC and state health officials say Vermont is among the states with the highest exemption

rates for childhood vaccinations. Some say it's no coincidence that Vermont recently has seen an outbreak of one of the diseases the vaccines target: pertussis, or whooping cough. In 2010-11, the latest school year for which data is available, an Associated Press analysis of state health department data showed Alaska with nearly 9 percent of kindergarten children exempted. Colorado's rate was 7 percent and Vermont and Washington state each had 6 percent. As the 2012 legislative session winds down, lawmakers are at loggerheads: The Senate voted 26-4 in early March to eliminate the philosophical exemption; the House voted 93-36 earlier this month to keep it. If no agreement is reached, the legislation will die and Vermont will remain among the 20 states that allow some form of philosophical exemption from required childhood immunizations. All but a handful of states offer religious exemptions, and all allow medical exemptions for kids. Many of Vermont's more vocal vaccine skeptics are active in alternative health and natural food movements and are critical of what they see as a profit-driven pharmaceutical industry. Stella, a homeopathic health practitioner, works at a clinic that also offers massage and herbal medicine. Critics of the philosophical exemption say Vermont's immunization rates have been dropping, a

slide that must be halted to preserve what public health officials call ``herd immunity.'' That's when most of the population is immunized against a specific disease to keep outbreaks from occurring. Christine Finley, immunization program manager at the state Health Department, said the percentage of Vermont kindergarteners with all their required immunizations dropped from 93 percent in 2005 to 83 percent in 2010.

Many of Vermont's more vocal vaccine skeptics are active in alternative health and natural food movements and are critical of what they see as a profit-driven pharmaceutical industry Aside from pertussis, Finley said, Vermont has not seen big increases in other vaccine-preventable diseases, but she argued prevention is necessary. ``Do you want to wait until you've got a measles outbreak?'' she asked. Stella's group, the Vermont Coalition for Vaccine Choice, says the rate of vaccination decline is exaggerated, since kids are counted as unvaccinated if

Senators knock heads over youth concussions MONTPELIER, Vt.: A debate over health care reform grew to its most passionate when Vermont senators turned to an amendment dealing with high school athletes who suffer concussions during games. The debate ended with the Senate giving preliminary approval to a bill earlier passed by the House that sets up a regulated health care marketplace called an exchange in compliance with the federal Affordable Care Act of 2010. But the House-passed version contained a provision containing a standard saying that coaches need only to have reason to believe a student athlete has suffered a concussion before pulling him or her out of a game or practice. Sen. Dick Sears wanted to change that standard to the coach needing to have actual knowledge

that a concussion had occurred. ``I feel that's a fairer thing,'' he said, calling the ``reason to believe'' standard too open to interpretation. That drew a heated response from Sen. Kevin Mullin, RRutland, who said he had coached youth sports. ``There's no way a coach could ever have actual knowledge ... There would be no occasion under which the coach would not have to put that kid back in that game.'' ``The question has been are we going to protect the safety of our athletes ... because a second hit could be catastrophic'' for a student athlete sent back into a game while suffering from a concussion, Mullin said. The exchange set off a lengthy debate in which senators described their own experiences playing or coaching sports. Sen. Tim Ashe of Burlington

said the ``reason to believe'' standard would leave coaches pulling kids out of football, hockey and other rough games even after taking minor hits. Tackle football would be reduced to ``two-hand touch,'' he said. ``We're going to replace the ice (in hockey) with rubber mats ... They'll be reluctant to put kids back into games for instances that are really not that big a deal.'' Sears and Mullin agreed on one thing: Parents often put tremendous pressure on coaches to put their children back into games even when that should not happen. The House last year passed legislation containing the ``reason to believe'' language; the Senate changed the language to say coaches would have to pull students out of events when they were showing symptoms of a concussion. -AP

they miss just one of the required shots. Finley said Vermont and other states with high exemption rates have seen recent outbreaks of pertussis, or whooping cough, a sometimes fatal bacterial infection of the upper respiratory tract. Pertussis vaccine is part of the required childhood immunization schedule. And because the immunity wears off over time, the CDC advises everyone 11 and older to get a booster shot, Finley said. Vermont saw 102 pertussis cases between January and the first week of April, Finley said, more than were reported in the state all last year. Washington State had 640 cases of pertussis from January through March, up from 94 for the same period last year. One of the most vocal Vermont lawmakers pushing to end the philosophical exemption has been Rep. George Till, D-Jericho, an obstetrician-gynecologist. He has complained bitterly of parents failing to get their children immunized and putting other children at risk. ``The question is whether they have the right to endanger other children in the school setting,'' he said during a recent House debate on ending the philosophical exemption. Stella dismissed that criticism, saying vaccines aren't always effective in all children and that some who have received shots are as susceptible to disease as those who have not.

One hot spot for the immunization debate in Vermont has been Middlesex, just outside the capital of Montpelier, where 41 of 157 elementary children at Rumney Memorial School come from families filling out a state form and exempting them from vaccines. Rumney school nurse Martha Israel who was quick to say she was speaking only for herself and not for the school said she does not want to see kids kicked out of school because their parents won't have them vaccinated. ``I don't think we deny our children in Vermont a public school education because we don't agree with the medical choices their parents make, when we're not in a public health crisis,'' said Israel, a school nurse since 1989. Gov. Peter Shumlin has sided with the House's push for more education on immunizations over the Senate's push to remove the philosophical exemption _ a 180degree turn from the position his health commissioner, Dr. Harry Chen, pushed for earlier in this year's legislative session. ``I do not believe that in the end the government should dictate to parents what inoculations their kids have to get in order to get a public education in Vermont,'' the governor said. He said he wants Vermont to ``start with more education, to separate the myths that you read about on the Internet with the facts that health care providers will give you on this.'' -AP

Indian cancer surgeon honored by NY City Council Cont’d from page 40

Prakash M Swamy, president of New York Tamil Sangam said Dr. Palanivelu brought laurels to India, especially Tamil Nadu with his research and scientific pursuit and put Tamil Nadu on the global map. He also recalled the Sixth World Congress of Laproscopic and Endoscopic Surgery in Rome, Italy where Prof. Palanivelu was the only Indian physician to be honored for his contribution to the field. In his acceptance speech, Prof Palanivelu thanked the New York City Council, Nassau County and New York Tamil Sangam for honoring him and said he chose to serve his motherland despite lucrative offers from the US hospitals and teaching institutions after graduation. Dr. Palanivelu has been invited as a faculty for the 13th World Congress of Endoscopic surgery

to be held at Peurto Vallarta, Mexico April 23 to 26. The World Congress is a bi-annual affair organized by International Federation of Surgical Endoscopic Societies (IFSES), a conglomeration of different laparoscopic associations of the world. Dr. Palanivelu's Coimbatore Center has tremendous experience in treating certain cancers laparoscopically. He has the largest published series of laparoscopic Whipple's procedure in the world, a procedure which was once considered insurmountable for treating pancreatic cancers. Dr. Palanivelu is also renowned for his work widely known as thorocolaparoscopic esophagectomy for the treatment of cancer of esophagus. This procedure, called the 'Indian technique' was popularized by Dr. Palanivelu that improved the survival of esophageal cancer patients substantially.

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If Obamacare fails: employers & insurance firms will take charge WASHINGTON: If the Supreme Court strikes down President Barack Obama's health care law, employers and insurance companies - not the government - will be the main drivers of change over the next decade and maybe even longer. They'll borrow some ideas from Obamacare, and push harder to cut costs. Business can't and won't take care of America's 50 million uninsured, but for the majority with coverage, here's what experts say to expect: * Workers will bear more of their own medical costs as job coverage shifts to plans with higher deductibles, the amount you pay out of pocket each year before insurance kicks in. Traditional workplace insurance will lose ground to high-deductible plans with tax-free accounts for routine medical expenses, to which employers can contribute. * Increasingly, smokers will face financial penalties if they don't at least seriously try to quit. Employees with a weight problem and high cholesterol are next. They may get tagged as health risks and nudged into diet programs. * Some companies will keep the health care law's most popular benefit so far, coverage for adult children until they turn 26. Others will cut it to save money. * Workers and family members will be steered to hospitals and doctors that can prove to insurers and employers that they deliver quality care. These networks of medical providers would earn part of their fees for keeping patients as healthy as possible, similar to the ``accountable care organizations'' in the health care law. * Some workers will pick their health plans from a private insurance exchange, another similarity to Obama's law. They'll get fixed payments from their employers to choose from four levels of coverage: platinum, gold, silver and bronze. Those who pick rich benefits would pay more. It's an approach that Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., the GOP budget leader, also wants to try with Medicare. ``Employers had been the major force driving health care change in this country up until the passage of health reform,'' said Tom Billet, a senior benefits consultant with Towers Watson, which advises major companies. ``If Obamacare disappears ... we go back to square one. We still have a major problem in

this country with very expensive health care.'' Republican proposals for replacing the health care law will help some businesses and individuals, but aren't likely to solve the problem of the uninsured because of the party's opposition to raising taxes. The GOP alternative during House debate of Obama's law would have covered 3 million

A Towers Watson survey found that 35 percent of large employers are currently using penalties or rewards to discourage smoking, for example, and another 17 percent plan to do so next year. The average penalty ranges from $10 to $80 a month, but one large retailer hits smokers who pick its most generous health plans with a surcharge of $178 a month, more than $2,100 a year uninsured people, compared with more than 30 million under the president's plan. After the collapse of then-President Bill Clinton's health care plan in the 1990s, policymakers shied away from big health care legislation for many years. Many expect something similar to happen if the Supreme Court invalidates Obama's Affordable Care Act. Starting in 2014, the law requires most Americans to obtain health insurance, either through an employer or a government program or by buying their own policies. In return, insurance companies would be prohibited from turning away the sick. Government would subsidize premiums for millions now uninsured. The law's opponents argue that Congress overstepped its constitutional authority by requiring citizens to obtain coverage. The administration says the mandate is permissible because it serves to regulate interstate commerce. A decision is expected in late June. The federal insurance mandate is modeled on one that Massachusetts enacted in 2006 under then-Gov. Mitt Romney. That appears to have worked well, but it's unlikely states would forge ahead if the federal law is invalidated because health care has become so politically polarized. Romney, the likely Republican presidential nominee, says he'd repeal Obamacare if elected. That would leave it to employers, who provide coverage for about three out of five Americans under age 65.

Nobel Laureate, top physicians to address AAPI Convention Cont'd from page 40

Noted singers Sonu Nigam, Amit & Sumit Kumar, and comedian Navin Prabhakar will provide the entertainment. Deepak Rao, recognized as a Star Performer, Conference Energizer and corporate celebrity will also be present to entertain the convention attendees. Rao is Asia's leading Corporate Edu-tainer. Rao's show is structured to baffle and delight distinguished gatherings with stunning demonstrations in Extra-Sensory-Perception, Telepathy, DĂŠjĂ  Vu, Tele-kinesis, Premonition,

``With or without health care reform, employers are committed to offering health care benefits and want to manage costs,'' said Tracy Watts, a senior health care consultant with Mercer, which advises many large employers. ``The health care reform law itself has driven employers, as well as the provider community, to advance some

and Intuition etc. Applauded as the single most classy form of interactive and edutaining session in Asia today the 'E S P' Rao's show is expected to shock and awe the AAPI convention participants. At the end of the convention, Dr. Narendra Kumar, currently AAPI presidentelect and Michigan-based OtolaryngologyHead & Neck Surgeon in Saginaw, Michigan and Medical Director of an Accredited Sleep Diagnostic Facility will take over from Dr. Sunita Kanumury as president for the year 2012-13.

bolder strategies for cost containment.'' First, employers would push harder to control their own costs by shifting more financial responsibility to workers. Data from Mercer's employer survey suggests that a typical large employer can save nearly $1,800 per worker by replacing traditional preferred provider plans with a high-deductible policy combined with a health care account. ``That is very compelling,'' said Watts. It won't stop there. Many employers are convinced they have to go beyond hag-

gling over money, and also pay attention to the health of their workers. ``As important as it is to manage the cost of medical services and products, and eliminate wasteful utilization, there has been a strong recognition that ultimately healthier populations cost less,'' said Dr. Ian Chuang, medical director at the Lockton Companies, advisers to many medium-size employers. His firm touts programs that encourage employees to shed pounds, get active or quit smoking. Employer health plans were already allowed to use economic incentives to promote wellness, and the overhaul law loosened some limits. A Towers Watson survey found that 35 percent of large employers are currently using penalties or rewards to discourage smoking, for example, and another 17 percent plan to do so next year. The average penalty ranges from $10 to $80 a month, but one large retailer hits smokers who pick its most generous health plans with a surcharge of $178 a month, more than $2,100 a year. Overall, one of the most intriguing employer experiments involves setting up private health insurance exchanges, markets such as the health care law envisions in each state. Major consulting firms such as Mercer and Aon Hewitt are developing exchanges for employers. -AP

„

Realty Tidbits

Xander buys Chennai office park for $ 40 mn NEW DELHI: Private equity company Xander Real Estate Partners has said it has acquired an office park in Chennai from Appaswamy Real Estates for USD 40 million. "The real estate private equity arm of the global investment firm, The Xander Group Inc, has completed the buy-out of a 'Grade A' office park in Chennai for USD 40 million from Appaswamy Real Estates Ltd," the company said in a statement. The office park is leased to multinational tenants and Xander is in advanced talks to lease the remaining space to other companies, it added. "This transaction is in line with our strategy to build a portfolio of well-located, income yielding Indian assets. The purchase highlights Xander's ability to identify and acquire quality assets at attractive prices," Xander Investment Management Pte Partner Rohan Sikri said. -PTI

„ Philippines sells off Marcos property MANILA: The Philippine government has auctioned off a prime property once owned by the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos for more than USD two million. The 41,000-square-foot lot in the mountain resort city of Baguio was acquired by a real estate firm for USD 2.16 million, said Nick Suarez, of the Presidential Commission on Good Government. "It was a very successful, transparent bidding," and the final price was more than three times the minimum bid, added Suarez, whose agency is tasked with recovering the ill-gotten wealth of Marcos. However, another Marcos property failed to sell after no bidders showed up, he said. Both properties were surrendered to the government by Marcos crony Jose Yao Campos in 1986 in exchange for immunity after a popular revolt toppled the regime earlier that year. Marcos ruled the Philippines from 1965 to 1986, much of the time as a dictator. His family and their henchmen are accused of stealing billions of dollars in state funds during this period. Although Marcos died in exile in 1989, his family has since returned to the Philippines. His widow Imelda and their son, also named Ferdinand, were elected to parliament in 2010. -PTI

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Bengal seeks 30% reservation for low-cost housing

May 4, 2012

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Ministry working on safeguards against abuse of ECB

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he Finance Ministry is building safeguards to ensure realty companies do not misuse the external commercial borrowing (ECB) window announced in the Budget by diverting the money. According to sources the modalities are being worked out for implementation of the Budget announcements. These were likely to specify the projects and also the developers who would be allowed to utilize the ECB facility. The Finance Ministry has cleared the way for implementation of the ECB announcements for power, roads and airlines. For affordable housing, the go-ahead is expected in two weeks. Noting ECB is not allowed in real estate as a general rule but the Budget had proposed to allow these for low-cost and affordable housing projects so that the cost of borrowing could be lower for the segment, the official said the guidelines would be framed to ensure this. Track2Realty has learnt that an escrow account may be made man-

datory to check that ECB funds go only for affordable housing and are not routed elsewhere. The ministry is talking to various entities, such as the Housing Ministry, NAREDCO, the National Housing Bank (NHB) and RBI. ECB is most likely to be routed through a channel, like the NHB. NHB CMD R V Verma has confirmed that ECBs may be routed

definition and eligibility criteria, and the guidelines should be practical. Otherwise, allowing ECBs would just be another statement to please people," says Lalit Jain, Chairman, CREDAI. However, Sachin Sandhir, Managing Director-South Asia of RICS is not convinced with the argument to allow ECB in the segment. "First, the government needs to

The Finance Ministry has cleared the way for implementation of the ECB announcements for power, roads and airlines. For affordable housing, the go-ahead is expected in two weeks through it, as it had an apex role and aggregate lending would provide 'economies of scale' to NHB, ensuring no risk was transferred to the sector. Verma did not divulge details, saying the matter was being looked into by the Ministry of Finance. Real estate bodies want a clear definition of affordable housing. "There needs to be clarity on the

give incentives to developers to go for affordable housing, such as low development fees, stamp duty exemption and tax rebate." Allowing additional sources of funds through ECB is step two. Step one is not complete, so step two does not seem to be of a great benefit, and attracting funds for low-cost housing will be a challenge, he says.

The Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation (MHUPA) defines affordable housing where the size of a unit ranges from 300 sq ft to 1,200 sq ft, and 25 per cent of the 300 sq ft units are reserved for economically weaker sections (300 sq ft for EWS, 500 sq f for the low-income group (LIG) and 600-1,200 sq ft for the middle-income group (MIG). Section 35 AD of the Income Tax Act defines affordable housing; a couple of the criteria being "at least 90 per cent of the total allocable rentable area of the project shall comprise of affordable housing units of EWS, LIG and MIG categories", and "at least 30 per cent of the total allocable rental area of the project shall comprise of affordable housing units of EWS category". NAREDCO has recommended the finance ministry apply the affordable housing definition of MHUPA for allowing ECB, as the I-T 35AD definition talks about 30 per cent of the floor area ratio for EWS, and does not define size or number of units for these.

Hongkong hotel scouts partner to enter India NEW DELHI: The Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels Ltd that operates luxury hotels under 'Peninsula' brand has said it is in talks with interested parties for partnership to enter the Indian market. "We have looked at several properties and held discussions in India to have a presence in the country," Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels Ltd Director and Chief Operating Officer Peter C Borer told PTI. The company is scouting for assets in India to start operations in Delhi and Mumbai. Unlike other international chains, it will look to invest in properties as owners with a majority stake. Senior company officials have been visiting India for the last four to five years to scout for potential partners, he said but did not disclose the parties with which the company has been having discussions. When asked why the company has not made progress so far, he

said: "We are looking for the right partnership for long term and we want to go slow and steady in the market." Borer, however, did not comment on the timeline for opening its first property in India as well as

tality chain currently operates nine hotels in Hong Kong, Tokyo, Beijing, Shanghai, Bangkok, Manila, New York, Chicago and California with an average room of about 200-300 per property. These properties are positioned as busi-

ranges between USD 150 to USD 900 per room per night. The average occupancy level across the chain is about up to 75 per cent. Commenting on the Indian market, The Peninsula Shanghai Gen-

possible investments to be made in the country. Commenting on the company's business model, he said: "Our philosophy worldwide is to invest in property and manage rather than only managing it." The Hong Kong-based hospi-

ness as well as leisure destinations. The company is currently developing its 10th property in Paris and is likely to be operational by 2013. When asked about room tariff of the chain, Borer said it varies from location to location but

eral Manager Joseph W Y Chong said: "We are still learning about the real estate situation in India. We will not compromise on lower or cheaper substitutes and ideally we will go for a location which is culturally connected and centrally located." -PTI

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Govt mulls tax sops to revive SEZ boom NEW DELHI: It could be a second innings for special economic zones, especially those held up for years, with the commerce department proposing fresh tax concessions and a cut in the minimum area requirement to a quarter of the present specifications. The department has suggested that any zone that is not built around the identified 40 million-plus cities and state capitals would be eligible for duty benefits on capital investment for construction of hotels, hospitals, schools and colleges, residential and business complexes and training, leisure and entertainment facilities in what is billed as non-processing area (NPA) infrastructure. Sources said that the zones will be eligible for the tax concession if they are built 50-100 km from an urban conglomerate and facilities have to be for exclusive use of SEZ employees. In case of SEZs constructed in 123 backward districts, this infrastructure can also be used by those who are not part of the zone, a 48-page note said. At present, the rules specify that NPA can't exceed half the area of an SEZ. In addition, the department wants to extend the benefits of export schemes to SEZ units, that are already available to entities outside the zone, to make up for the levy of minimum alternate tax and other tax concessions that were withdrawn by finance minister Pranab Mukherjee last year.

Further, nearly half the funding available under Aside, a scheme to build infrastructure for exports, may be allocated for building connectivity and infrastructure in SEZs. Amid a flurry of SEZ development, which many had termed as real estate activity, the government decided to withdraw tax concessions and phase out several of them. According to the commerce department, since February 2006, 585 SEZs have been approved and 381 have been notified, with a majority of them related to information

just cutting the minimum area requirement but also changing the rules for contiguity. If the department's proposal goes through, a multi-product SEZ could be built over 250 hectares instead of the minimum floor area of 1,000 hectares at present (see table). In case the zones are planned in the specialcategory states, which include the North East and the hill states, the minimum area requirement is proposed to be cut from 200 hectares to 50 hectares. Further, within the multi-product zones,

The department wants to extend the benefits of export schemes to SEZ units, that are already available to entities outside the zone, to make up for the levy of minimum alternate tax technology and IT-enabled services. Exports from SEZs are in of Rs 3 lakh crore and account for over 28% of the shipments from the country. In all, over Rs 2 lakh crore has been invested in SEZs so far and over 7 lakh people are employed in development and running of the zones and companies located there. The number could have been much more but several projects ran into land acquisition hurdles. To tide over the land problem, the commerce department has proposed not

more flexibility is proposed to be given in creating sector-specific areas if the land area is exceeded. For instance, if a multi-product developer has 270 hectares, it can have one multi-product zone and two others of 10 hectares each for, say, handicrafts and gems and jewellery. There will also be the option to build four sector-specific zones of 10 hectares each in case a developer has 40 hectares land. There is concession planned for IT SEZs too with the commerce department suggest-

ing that the minimum land requirement of 10 hectares be done away with. Also, the requirement of one lakh square meters of builtup area would be insisted upon only if the IT or ITES zone is in Delhi (NCR), Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Pune and Kolkata. In case of 15 category B towns, this requirement is proposed to be fixed at 50,000 square meters and 25,000 for all other cities. There are other provisions too which are aimed at helping developers tide over the problem of land acquisition. For instance, the commerce ministry has suggested that continuity between the processing area, which houses the manufacturing units and related logistics, and NPA may not be instead upon. "You can have several gates which are manned by SEZ personnel to allay fears related to physical contiguity in case there are highways or water bodies," said an official. If the move goes through, developers can have over 50-60% of the processing area in one plot of land, while residential quarters, hospitals and schools can be built on another patch even if it is at a distance. A commerce department official said the land norms were being changed as acquisition had become difficult and the government was trying to push for setting up of the zones in smaller towns and cities.

Hyderabad 3rd most affordable office location NEW DELHI: Hyderabad has emerged as the world's third most affordable office location in 2011 in a list prepared by global realty consultant DTZ, which has also named Chennai and Pune among the top five such positions. According to DTZ's latest study 'Global Occupancy Costs Offices', Surabaya in Indonesia and Qingdao in China were placed in the top two positions of the chart as the most affordable office locations in the world last year. "While Tier II cities in India and China dominate the list of top 10 most affordable markets globally, Surabaya in Indonesia remains number one," DTZ said in the report. The consultant said Hong Kong, London, Geneva, Tokyo

and Zurich were the five most expensive office markets in 2011. DTZ said Surabaya and Qingdao saw average rentals of $ 1,680 and $ 2,380 per workstation a year, respectively in 2011. Hyderabad, Chennai and Pune followed the top two places with rentals of $ 2,430, $ 2,570 and $ 2,590 a year per workstation respectively, it added. The study showed that Hong Kong was costliest office place with an annual rental of $ 25,160 per workstation in 2011, followed by London and Geneva at $ 22,590 and $ 18,740, respectively. DTZ, however, said many cities across the world are likely to witness decline in their rentals during this year. "Under the downside scenario,

2012 offers occupiers a window of opportunity in which to realize cost savings as rents decline‌ In the top five least affordable cities

The study showed that Hong Kong was costliest office place with an annual rental of $ 25,160 per workstation in 2011 of Paris, Tokyo, Geneva, London and Hong Kong, office rents fall in 2012 under the euro break-up scenario," it added. Occupiers in Rome and Milan

Compensate landowners, else pay Rs 1 lakh CHANDIGARH: Taking serious note of the inordinate delay being caused in payment of compensation to landowners in Punjab, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has told the state government to ensure that no further delay is caused in this regard. If the state fails to do so, a division bench has held, then the erring official will have to pay a penalty of Rs 1 lakh in each such

case which reaches the High Court. The High Court has also passed strictures against Punjab for causing "unnecessary delay". The directions have been passed by the division bench comprising Justices Hemant Gupta and A N Jindal. The bench has clubbed all such petitions together - around nine - some of which pertain to Mohali. The petitioners, landowners,

in different petitions have moved the High Court alleging that delay is being caused on petty and frivolous grounds. This, the High Court observed, is "avoidable". The petitioners also alleged that despite conceding the fact that there is no dispute with regard to possession or ownership of the property, the landowners were being forced to approach the High Court for demanding their compensation. -PTI

are likely to benefit from falling occupancy costs over the next five years as sharp decreases in rents are expected in 2012 and 2013, DTZ said.

Real Estate Post

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May 4, 2012

Bengal seeks 30% reservation for low-cost housing

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he promise of Ma, Mati, Manush governance by Mamata Banerjee may fall short of the second M-word, meaning land - at least for real estate developers in the state's capital city. For, the West Bengal government has now decided to bring in an amendment to the Urban Land (Ceiling and Regulation) Act (ULCA), 1976, an eyesore of developers for quite some time. The proposed alteration will stipulate

of the chief minister. After all, Banerjee had once wondered, "What will happen if someone wants to buy the city?" According to the Act, the ceiling limit on vacant land in a category 'A' city like Kolkata is 7.5 cottah or about 500 square meters. The demand for repealing the ULCA was raised for the first time by Godrej Properties chairman Adi Godrej, at an industry meet within the first month of Banerjee taking over the chief minister's

"We are not going to abolish the Land Ceiling Act," he said. "Instead, we will give permission to developers for purchase of land beyond ceiling the developers to reserve 30 per cent apartments in big housing projects for the low-income group (LIG). Industrialists have been seeking a total repeal of the Act, introduced in 1976 to prevent hoarding or excessive holding of land in urban centers. West Bengal is one of the few states in the country to have a legislation like the ULCA. The move is in sync with the apprehensions

office. Much to the disappointment of the developers, urban development minister Firhad Hakim has now totally ruled out the possibility of repealing the Act. "We are not going to abolish the Land Ceiling Act," he said. "Instead, we will give permission to developers for purchase of land beyond ceiling, provided they reserve 30 per cent housing for low-income housing

segment." The amendment will be a part of a bigger urban development policy that the government is expected to announce next month. For West Bengal, which has not seen the launch of any major real estate projects since the Trinamool Congress government came to power 11 months ago, the move is seen as a dampener for already sluggish real estate market. Prominent city-based developer Santosh Rungta says it is not

feasible to reserve 30 per cent of the project size for the LIG segment. "The responsibility of the state is being thrust upon the private developers," according to Rungta, who is a former president of the Confederation of Real Estate Developers Association of India. The body is now set to hold a meeting with government, insisting that not more than 15 per cent of the reservation was possible for LIG segment. As for the Trinamool dispen-

sation, it has also decided to do away with the concept of publicprivate partnership (PPP) - an idea pioneered by the earlier Left Front government under Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee. Instead, "the government will allocate land to the highest bidder and for the rest of the big projects the state will build on its own," according to Hakim. Notably, in spite of the Land Ceiling Act, the earlier government had windfall gains by allotting land in prime areas of city. For example, three prominent government agencies involved in land deals in and around Kolkata - the Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority (KMDA), Kolkata Municipal Corporation and West Bengal Housing Boardsigned deals worth more than Rs 18,000 crore, for over 5,250 acres of land during the period in little over two years. In fact, KMDA was credited with signing deals, worth more than Rs 800 crore with real estate developers on a single day. "The process of land allotment slowed substantially over the last two years. First, it was due to elections," said a city-based real estate developer. "second, it was due to lack of vision and policy of the new government."

Single-screen theatres find value as malls, apartments BANGALORE | CHENNAI: The somber story of projectors whirring to a halt at old cinema theatres is taking a heartening turn, with appreciating land prices offering hapless owners not able to compete with multiplexes a way out of the dark. Abdul Rehman, owner of Bangalore's Galaxy Theatre, has converted his single-screen theatre to a mall that will sell premium and luxury products. "There was

no point running a single-screen theatre. We were losing business to multiplexes," says Rehman, whose newly-built Embassy Galaxy Mall has 189,762 sq ft of upscale retail space on a 1.1 acre plot. Much like Rehman, owners of Alo Chhaya in Kolkata, Thangam in Madurai, Ashoka and Elphinstone in Patna, Majestic in Delhi, Anand in Chennai and City Light in Mumbai have also brought down the curtains on their theatres to convert them to

commercial or residential complexes. "The old theatres are losing color as they are not able to compete with the technologically superior multiplexes. So theatre owners are now cashing in on escalating land prices," says Jehil Thakkar, who heads the media and entertainment practice at KPMG India. Even as single-screen theatres are proving increasingly unviable, turning them into multiplexes is either not possible or too expen-

Cyrus Mistry was never with SD Corp: Pallonnji Group MUMBAI: The city-based construction major Shapoorji Pallonji Company has denied that Cyrus Mistry, the chairman-designate of Tata Group, was a director of SD Corporation, as alleged in a PIL. "Our attention has been drawn to reports in a section of media seeking to implicate Cyrus Mistry in a litigation filed by Ketan Tirodkar in the Bombay High Court against Maharashtra state concerning the redevelopment of Samata Nagar by SD Corporation at Kandivli in Mumbai. "Cyrus Mistry has never been a director of SD Corporation,

which is a joint venture between Shapoorji Pallonji Group and the Thacker group. As such he has never been concerned or involved with the affairs of SD Corporation," a company statement said. All the business transactions that Shapoorji Pallonji and SD Corporation have entered into are fully compliant with the law, it said. The HC had issued a notice to Pallonji Shapoorji Mistry, Cyrus's father, on the PIL which alleges that the real estate company had given over Rs 250 crore to a firm owned by Nitesh Thakur, a former deputy collector.

Nitesh has been arrested by the state anti-corruption bureau on charges of corruption. According to the PIL, Nitesh and his brother Nilesh had formed a company called PRS Enterprises, to which Pallonji Shapoorji's real estate company paid Rs 258.88 crore. The IT department inquiry had concluded that the parties failed to substantiate the reasons behind the payment, the PIL alleges, seeking a further probe. It also says that Thakur brothers disbursed bribe to government officials on behalf of the Pallonji group for facilitating real estate projects. -PTI

sive in many cases. That explains why, according to the Film Federation of India, the number of single-screen cinema theatres has dwindled to 10,167 from 13,000 over the past five years. In cities such as Mumbai, where more than 30 single-screen theatres have shut shop, the government's exit policy is hurting the business, says Punit Shah, general secretary of Cinema Owners & Exhibitors Association of

India. "The lack of planning and regulations for redevelopment of cinemas according to new standards is also causing hardship for the owners and landlords," says Shah, who also owns Mumbai's Deepak Talkies. While Shah's theatre is among those that continue to operate despite dwindling margins, Alo Chhaya in Beliaghata, among Kolkata's oldest cinema halls, is making way for apartment blocks.

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Philosophy

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n important core teaching in Buddhism is self-love. Buddha teaches that you love the self before extending the love to others. In other words, before you are able to be a love luminary, you must have the capacity to embrace yourself fully. Buddha observes, "You can travel around the world to search for someone more lovable than yourself, and yet that person is never to be found." In other words, the search is not external but internal. You first find it from within. To love the self is to be in continuous connection with your true essence. You learn to accept, appreciate and affirm who you are. Unconditional love and compassion are divine qualities of your intrinsic nature. When you connect from the inside, you experience the unfolding of wisdom. An inability to experience true self-love leads to love as something conditional. You love yourself if and only if you fulfill a certain expectation of the self. Your love for others also becomes conditional. Clouded by filters and perceptions, the ability for true knowing of the self and others become lacking. Self-realization is key. This means that you are to awaken into love on an experiential basis. You are to actualize it with your own experiencing. As it has been often pointed out, "the finger pointing to the moon is not the moon". All

in, Buddha's teachings involve an existential approach, rather than through fuzzy understanding via a religious abstraction. From self love, you lay the ground for the expression of compassion for others. You tune into the sense of shared humanity. You recognize that others are no different from yourself. Everyone is going through essentially the same pain and sorrow - regardless

of the specific packagings of external circumstances. You extend to others what you would extend to the self. By opening your heart, you gain a gentle-yet-powerful connection with all others. Loving the self enhances your ability to send metta, generating energy that is real, pure and transformative. Many Buddhists practice the sending of metta in their prayers. The Buddha shares insightfully, ""Hatred can never be ceased by hatred; it is ceased by love alone."

thing that can be worked upon. The more you practice, the greater your ability to love and be compassionate. Buddha encourages you to share your light, "Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared." The Buddha concluded that putting our energy in grasping for temporary pleasures is not only useless, it creates many problems, also karmic actions which we had better avoided.

ment with yourself and then eat and drink naturally, according to the needs of your body. Attachment to your appetites - whether you deprive or indulge them - can lead to slavery, but satisfying the needs of daily life is not wrong. Indeed, to keep a body in good health is a duty, for otherwise the mind will not stay strong and clear." Buddha Purnima, or the 2575th birth anniversary of Gautama Buddha will be observed on May 6

SWAMI CHINMAYANANDA

changing. So is FET. At our present level of evolution man cannot observe the world objectively. Einstein himself despaired because of two changing factors. 'Jagat', the universe, itself comes from the root word which means change or flux. So to the question 'What is unchanging?' you cannot answer from your experience. Only the

cannot be a witness to the movement. But you are conscious that everything is changing. Therefore you must be the changeless. There exists something in you which is changeless - in your BMI. This subjective essence in me is changeless, because it is not conditioned by space and time. This immortal essence, essential 'I' in

is represented by AUM. It stands for the changeless centre from which one picks up all his conscious experiences. Matter is inert (no locomotion) and insentient (no awareness). "I" am also matter but "I" have locomotion and sentience. Therefore there exists something other than matter. In the

C

harms of technology have enthralled the public almost as a danseuse will. If we carefully look back on the history of the world, it is clear we are the saddest generation of humanity. But why? The caveman had his laughter and was happy. The modern days of rat race show improvements only on the outside surface. In the absence of a set of values for ourselves how can there be happiness for human living? The over-development of one cell to the exclusion of others is called cancer in medical terms. The faster development of one facet of civilization irrespective of the other facets is the cancer of modern times. Instincts and impulses rule us. Each one of us is honestly searching for happiness in the wrong direction. Desire after desire is what makes us unhappy. What is the purpose of existence? There is an infinite variety in nature. Who created this variety? Why? Such questions do not arise in the animal mind. Question, Enquiry, Discovery - this should be our style of living. Everything is conditioned by Time and Space. BMI is constantly

Metta is the radiation of loving kindness towards all beings. The wish is this: may all beings be well and happy. True metta is a warm feeling of generosity, compassion, abundance and love that extends beyond all human-imposed boundaries (such as political, racial, social and gender barriers and the divide between human and all other things). Love is a practice. It is some-

"Let me tell you about the middle path. Dressing in rough and dirty garments, letting your hair grow matted, abstaining from eating any meat or fish, does not cleanse the one who is deluded. Mortifying the flesh through excessive hardship does not lead to a triumph over the senses. All selfinflicted suffering is useless as long as the feeling of self is dominant. "You should lose your involve-

Love the self before extending love to others

Buddha

"You can travel around the world to search for someone more lovable than yourself, and yet that person is never to be found." In other words, the search is not external but internal

If I am also changing I can't observe change That which you are not aware of does not exist. That there exists such an essential Reality is the theme of all scriptures. There exists something higher in every one of us Rishis can answer. There exists something which does not change. Who is knowing that everything is changing? When you watch the roadside traffic, you are the Subject; everything else is the Object. Is there not in you a centre which is observing, knowing and becoming conscious of all changes? If I am also changing I cannot observe the change. If you are part of the system of movement, you

my true nature, is the pure Consciousness, Light or Awareness. All our experiences are dancing about because of this. They are all shining because of this Awareness. That which you are not aware of does not exist. That there exists such an essential Reality is the theme of all scriptures. There exists something higher in every one of us. It is called Brahman. That is not a thing in itself. It

Swami Chinmayananda

bulb there exists something other than the bulb which makes it glow. In the steam engine there exists something other than the engine which is propelling it. It is the Power, Shakti. It expresses you in you, me in me, the bird in the bird and the plant in the plant. Life is one. The 125th birth anniversary of Swami Chinmayananda will be observed on May 8

The wise man beholds all beings in the Self and the Self in all beings; for that reason he does not hate anyone. -Isa Upanishad The Universe is seen; it can be learnt about; it can be experienced and enjoyed. But God is unseen. He has to be inferred through His handiwork. -Atharva Veda Attractiveness and magnetism of man's personality is the result of his inner radiance. -Yajur Veda Complacency is a state of mind that exists only in retrospective: it has to be shattered before being ascertained. -Vladimir Nabokov A great many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices. -William James Bid, then, the tender light of faith to shine by which alone the mortal heart is led unto the thinking of the thought divine. -George Santayana A 'karma-yogi' who takes a resolve and works accordingly, without bothering about 'success' or 'failure', will eventually reach his goal." -Sam Veda

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Agni V missile: What is its strategic significance? PR CHARI

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he successful launch of Agni-V, with its 5000+ km range and 1500 kg payload, has generated great euphoria in India. Manmohan Singh described the event as "another milestone in our quest to add to the credibility of our security and preparedness‌" Significant choice of words, since the Army Chief's indictment of defense preparedness to ensure the country's national security is agitating the parliamentarians and strategic community in India. Agni-V's successful launching was given extensive publicity by the media and talking heads in the 24X7 TV channels; they are generally supportive of this success of the UPA government, as it staggers from one crisis to another. In truth, the strategic direction of India's missile program was set in the mid-eighties; it was designed to traverse the route from short-range to medium-range to intermediate-range to inter-continental range ballistic missiles. It has taken unconscionably long to reach the Agni-V milestone, which is classifiable as an intermediate-range ballistic missile; it will take some more time to attain ICBM (over 10,000+ km range) capabilities. Moreover, further tests, how many is difficult to estimate, are required before Agni-V can be fielded. Currently, it can only be deployed overground or in silos. India would like, however, to deploy the missile in a road and rail mobile mode. Then again, it wishes to develop a nuclear triad; hence Agni-V would ultimately be placed on land, aircraft and submarine platforms to yield a failsafe deterrent. Claims, incidentally, about Agni-V's accuracy are unverifiable since the precise splashdown area was not identified before the test. Further developments would include developing a version that could attack enemy satellites in space, or be equipped with mini and nano satellites for civil or military purposes, or with multiplewarheads to attack several targets. Agni-V could also be equipped with maneuverable warheads to evade attack. Much could be argued for and against the proposition that India needs to establish ICBM capabilities, which is subsumed in the criticism that India has not revealed the strategic objectives underlying the Agni-V. Nationalists argue that India must join the Nuclear

Club to dine at its strategic high table. But, slight introspection would reveal the fecklessness of seeking an extended-range AgniV with an ICBM radius of action. Does it wish to target Washington, Moscow, Paris or London? That would ensure India being targeted, in turn, by all these coun-

Agni-V launch

tries. Strategic objectives need not be expressed; they can be inferred from actions. Agni-V's strategic objective is clearly to primarily deter China. Indeed, Prime Minister Vajpayee had clearly named China and Pakistan, and their strategic links, to identify the nuclear

Pakistan showed concern over India's plans to take its AgniV out to sea for making it invulnerable to a first strike, which is central to Pakistan's launch-on-warning strategic posture. International observers are worried that the Agni-V seems designed to contain and not merely balance China threat driving India's nuclear test series in May 1998. Reactions abroad to the AgniV launch were muted, unlike the cacophony that erupted before and after North Korea's attempted

satellite launch, generally interpreted to be a long-range missile test. Such comparisons are wholly invidious. India has not infracted any international norms by launching Agni-V. In contrast, North Korea violated its recent agreement with the US prohibiting it from undertaking long-range missile tests in return for food aid. There are nuances in these muted reactions of various countries to the Agni-V test that are worth noticing. The US response was mild, restricted to pointing out that India had a 'solid' nonproliferation record, which was in marked contrast to its sharp criticism of India's nuclear tests in 1974 and 1998 that occasioned a raft of sanctions being imposed. China's state television expressed doubts about Agni V's precision and capabilities, noting that its weight would only permit its being fired from a silo. It would, therefore, be easy to attack. However, the Chinese government also downplayed the strategic significance of Agni-V, while expressing the need to "cherish the hardearned momentum of cooperation," consolidated at the recent BRICS Summit meeting in New Delhi. Pakistan showed concern over India's plans to take its Agni-V out to sea for making it invulnerable to a first strike, which is central to Pakistan's launch-on-warning strategic posture. International observers are worried that the AgniV seems designed to contain and not merely balance China; SinoIndian competitive co-existence could hence deteriorate into strategic rivalry. A bilateral arms race between India and China that could include Pakistan and acquire triangular dimensions would be inherently unstable. Agni-V can reach any part of China and of course, Pakistan; hence India does not need to proceed further if its objectives are only to strengthen its deterrent. However, great power seekers would urge that India must have ICBMs to join the Nuclear Club; it could never be a de jure member, unless the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) is amended - the chances of this happening are zero. A seminal decision cannot be evaded now on the strategic logic for extending or not extending the range of the Agni-V. India cannot proceed serendipitously forever. The writer is Visiting Professor, IPCS

India Post Time for Agni

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t is said, symbolically, that the sword that great king Ashoka threw into the river (renouncing violence) was picked up centuries later by Guru Gobind Singh, the 10th Guru of the Sikhs. It implies that strategies of pacifism or use of force depend upon the times and circumstances. Seeing the futility of conquests by the sword and the human cost of bloodshed, Ashoka took to Buddhism. Conversely, seeing the atrocities being committed daily on their subjects by the Mughal rulers, Guru Gobind Singh picked up the sword to fight on behalf of the oppressed. A pacifist India was rudely shaken in 1962 by the Chinese military attack and the Indian defense was shown up in really poor light. Mistaking India for easy fodder, a few years later Pakistan launched an attack which was rebuffed. India began shoring up its defense and in 1971 used force to free the area then called East Pakistan from the clutches of the murderous Pakistani army. Pakistan never took its defeat in the right spirit and unable to meet India's might on the battlefield, took to terrorism to harm India. China also kept up its pinpricks to keep India on its toes. Both its adversaries are now nuclear armed and the strategies of defense have changed from war to containment. Like Guru Gobind Singh, India had no choice but to go nuclear to face any eventuality in its conflict with Pakistan and China. If Pakistan has not forgotten its defeat at the hands of India in 1971, India has also not forgotten early humiliation by Chinese aggression. Since war and aggression is no longer an option, India is nevertheless keeping itself war ready in case of any eventuality. With the rapid advance in Chinese military power, India has been way behind in comparison. Although both India and China have both proclaimed their preference for resolving disputes through dialogue and peaceful means, the threat perception remains. The recent launch of the Long Distance Ballistic Missile Agni V by India reduces the gap a little. It extends India's missile reach to 5,000 kilometers which would include Chinese cities of Bejing and Shanghai in its target range. The official reaction from Beijing was conciliatory: "We are not rivals but cooperative partners." But the Chinese media bristled: "India should not overestimate its strength. Even if it has missiles that could reach most parts of China, that does not mean it will gain anything from being arrogant during disputes with China." It seems Beijing is a bit perturbed. So the message has gone home that China cannot take unilateral aggressive postures and get away with it. Interestingly there has been no criticism of India's missile test from anywhere in the world, unlike the condemnation of warlike nuclear preparations of countries like Iran and North Korea. The US has in fact welcomed India's efforts to close the missile gap with China. Although in its reaction, the US called on all nuclear capable nations to exercise restraint but it also noted India's record on nonproliferation and its cooperation with the international community on nuclear issues. India has openly declared its policy of no first-use in the case of nuclear weapons. But that doesn't absolve it of the responsibility of constantly upgrading its arsenal. It doesn't pay in today's world to be caught unprepared in strategic defense matters. It is unfortunate in this context that the present UPA government gives the impression of not trusting its defense forces and keeps them starved of necessary replenishments. Even in the case of Agni induction into the armed forces, there are avoidable delays.

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