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Dr. Arun Majumdar
Obama names Dr. Majumdar to key post Details on page 6
House votes to end country limits for visas Details on page 38
50% UAE NRIs planning to buy property in India Details on page 22
INDIA POST SURVEY firstname.lastname@example.org This week’s question
Extra tax on NRIs is a negative move? Last week’s result
Tata’s succession process a great model for industry? YES 83%
VOL 17, No. 900
December 9, 2011
DROP PLAN TO TAX NRIs, SAYS GOPIO
India Post News Service
NEW JERSEY: The Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) has urged the Government of India to withdraw the proposal to impose tax on Non-resident Indians who stay beyond 60 days during a visit to the motherland. The resolution was one of the many passed to protect the interests of Indian Diaspora, at the conclusion of the GOPIO Convention 2011, a biennial event, held in New Jersey recently. The new tax proposal, GOPIO says, will be detrimental to the interests of NRIs who contribute substantially to the nation's development. GOPIO wants the Government of India to set up a mechanism to enable NRIs to voice their grievances and prevent adverse government policies. Important resolutions passed include: 1) A plea for nomination of a few prominent NRIs to the Rajya Sabha; 2) initiation of suitable steps to set up fast track courts to deal with the growing number of property offences targeting NRIs; and 3) steps for speedy disposal of cases involving custody of children of NRI parents.
Rao honored by Senate India Caucus Details on page 6
India born still lead in science, maths, engg. Details on page 5
AAPI criticizes Herman Cain's remarks Details on page 42
Milwaukee man found guilty in R-1 visa fraud Details on page 36
Details on page 13
Bollywood ---------------------- 34-35 Classifieds ------------------------- 48 Community Post -------------- 13-21 Date Book -------------------------- 28 Edit Page --------------------------- 50 HealthScience Post --------- 40-43 Horoscope ------------------------- 47 Immigration Post ------------- 36-39 Life Style ----------------------- 24-27
MAKING A DIFFERENCE: Bollywood actor and new UNICEF India brand ambassador Aamir Khan speaks during a signing ceremony for his appointment in New Delhi on November 30. (Details on page 5)
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Philosophy ------------------------- 49 Publisherís Diary ------------------ 4 TechBiz Post ------------------- 44-46 Travel & Hospitality Post ---- 29-31
December 9, 2011
December 9, 2011
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ot since the Indo-US Civil Nuclear Deal was signed in 2008 has there been much mention anywhere of the Senate India Caucus or the House Caucus on India and Indian Americans - both of which are the largest country specific caucuses in Congress. So, it was significant and interesting that both Caucuses - separately - held a welcome reception on Capitol Hill recently for the new Indian Ambassador in Washington DC, Nirupama Rao. It's rare by all accounts for members of the US Senate to hold such a reception for any foreign ambassador and so it is ostensibly being read by US-India observers as a reflection of the importance the American lawmakers attach to relations between the two democracies. While credit does become due to the dynamic Indian Ambassador, whose reputation as an able foreign secretary preceded her appointment as Ambassador, for the honor the lawmakers have accorded her, it can be said that it is no coincidence that she happens to be at the right place at the right time. Moving on from the rhetoric-driven panning of India and Indians in the recent past as job snatchers, US lawmakers have undeniably accepted that dealing with India is no losing proposition. Whether it's Indians in America or Indians in India, they only seem to be adding value to the American economy. Little wonder that Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley has taken a historic trade mission to India, leading a contingent larger than the one that accompanied President Obama to India last year. Unlike at the people-to-people level, it's not easy for Americans to deal with Indians when it comes to business and bargaining. Still, as a co-democracy, India's humungous domestic consumer market holds a luscious promise that the saturated American industry - disillusioned by a tottering European economy - is drooling and waiting to grab. And American lawmakers understand that only too well. It just might be a little while longer before Wal-Mart and other US retailers manage to enter the Indian market, but even if India lets them in on its own terms, it would be a wait worth its while for the beleaguered American economy.
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HIGHLIGHTS Bollywood: Love or hate? We don’t know the kind of relationship Anushka Sharma and Ranveer Singh share, but it is definitely not plain friendship.
Cover Story: Tax on NRIs GOPIO has urged India to withdraw the proposal to impose tax on Non-resident Indians who stay beyond 60 days.
Community: Piano record Fast-fingered Indian American composer Sai 'Psychuck' Manapragada has set a new Guinness Book Record in piano playing.
Health: Films on AIDS Two films on World AIDS Day address the issue of domestic violence and gender inequality which affect women.
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Travel: Dwarka Dwarka, an important pilgrimage center in Gujarat, is steeped in legends associated with the life of Lord Krishna.
December 9, 2011
Aamir Khan new face of UNICEF in India KRISHAN SHARMA & TRIPTI PARULE India Post News Service
NEW DELHI: Bollywood actor Aamir Khan has been named the new Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), teaming up with the UN agency to promote better nutrition for children. "It's a great honor for me to be a part of your (UNICEF) family ... for sure I will be doing the very best that I can," the 46-year-old Khan said at a press conference in New Delhi. "The future of our country really depends on how healthy our children are and it has to start right from the time a child is conceived," he said. Mr. Khan will use his profile to spotlight nutrition issues in India where as many as one out of every two children is classified as malnourished, leaving them vulnerable to disease and health problems. "I realize there is a lot to be done and I hope that by lending my voice I can make a difference to the lives of children and thereby to the future of our country," Mr. Khan said after the appointment was announced. The ambassador - who has already been working with UNICEF, the Government and prominent figures to create a national campaign on malnutrition - said he will focus his advocacy work on India's most vulnerable and marginalized children. India accounts for 42 percent
New UNICEF India brand ambassador Aamir Khan with UNICEF India Country Representative Karin Hulshof poses for photographs during a signing ceremony for his appointment in New Delhi
of undernourished children in the developing world. "As we all have come to know,
when you partner with Aamir Khan you get a full 100 percent, whether in film-making, acting or
advocating for a cause," said Dr. Karin Hulshof, UNICEF representative in India.
"You (Khan) are a superstar for hundreds of millions of people in India and across the globe ... in a few years from now we can say 'Aal is well'," she said quoting one of Khan's most popular dialogues from the movie "3 Idiots". Ms Hulshof described Mr. Khan as a "compelling advocate" who can help to transform the lives of countless children. "His voice and unwavering commitment will help to reach every child, irrespective of their background, caste or religion. India is a rising power on the world stage. And yet, so many rights and entitlements of children remain to be fulfilled." At the press conference he was asked by a journalist how an Aamir Khan with a "tainted past for promoting Coke etc." can be brand ambassador of child nutrition. Aamir coolly replied, "As an actor I have been promoting several products not knowing some of them may have harmed certain sections of society. But knowingly I have never done it. Now that I am more aware of the negative effects of such products, I will never promote them again." A Hindi journalist asked how he plans to take up such a massive task of child nutrition on his delicate shoulders (nazuk kandhe) along with so many other responsibilities. Aamir replied, "Such issues are very dear to me and I have always worked and promoted programs including the movie 'Tare Zameen Par' to expose and educate about betterment of child education and care."
India born continue to lead in science, maths and engineering India Post News Service
NEW YORK: Indians, by a significant margin, continue to establish their superiority in maths, science and engineering among all foreign born as well as native born Americans, Census figures show. Indians hold the most degrees in Computers, Math & Statistics, and Engineering among the foreign-born in the US, according to a new Census Bureau report released late November. In 2010, the country of birth with the largest number of Science & Engineering degree holders was India with 747,000, accounting for 18% of the foreign-born population with S&E degrees. China was the next largest country-of-birth group at 516,000, representing over
12% of the foreign-born population with S&E degrees. Computers, Math & Stats The majority (64%) of foreign born with degrees in computers,
Indians hold the most degrees in Computers, Math & Statistics, and Engineering among the foreign-born in the US mathematics, and statistics were born in Asia, including 24% who were born in India and 14% born in China. Engineering
A majority (61%) of foreign born with engineering degrees were born in Asia, including 22% who were born in India, and 13% born in China. An additional 17% of the foreign born with engineering degrees were born in Europe, and 16% were born in Latin America. Engineering was the most popular S&E field of degree for the foreign born, with 35 percent of foreign-born S&E degree holders majoring in engineering fields. Looking at countries of birth, Iran (45%) and India (43%) were among the countries with the highest proportion with engineering degrees, while Canada had the lowest proportion (24%). In the field of physical and related sciences, the India-born held 19.9% of the degrees among foreign-born in the US, followed by China at 17.5% and Europe at
18.8%. In biological, agricultural and environmental sciences, the India-born held 14.6% of the degrees among the foreign-born,
However, the India born lagged significantly behind in social sciences, psychology and multi-disciplinary sciences followed by China at 13.7% and Europe at 15.8%. However, the India born lagged significantly behind in social sciences, psychology and multi-dis-
ciplinary sciences. In social sciences, those born in India held only about 8.7% of the degrees, while those born in Europe and the Caribbean held 21.5% and 19.4%, respectively. China was right behind India at 8.4%. In psychology, India-born held only 8.1% of the degrees, while Caribbean born held 31.6%; Europe born, 18.8%. In multi-disciplinary sciences, the India-born held only 8.6% of the degrees, while the Caribbean born again led with 22.8%; followed by Europe at 13.3%. In 2010, 48.5 million (28 percent) of the 170.7 million nativeborn population aged 25 and older, and 9.1 million (27 percent) of the 33.6 million foreignborn population aged 25 and older, had a bachelor's degree or higher.
December 9, 2011
Eco partnership bedrock of India-US relationship: Rao
Sen. John Kerry speaks during a reception hosted by the Senate India caucus for Indian Ambassador to the US, Nirupama Rao (seen at left) in Washington
WASHINGTON: Terming the economic partnership as the bedrock of India-US strategic relationship, Indian Ambassador to Washington Nirupama Rao has marked nuclear energy and high technology as some of the new areas where the two countries can expand their cooperation. At a rare reception hosted in her honor by the Senate India Caucus at the Capitol Hill, Rao said the growth of the knowledge economy has brought forth new areas of cooperation and the ties have the potential to shape the destiny of the people of the two countries. "Economic partnership has emerged as the bedrock of our strategic relationship, with innovation as its defining basis, creating jobs and bringing prosperity to our peoples," Rao said in her address to the members of the Senate and Indian American community from across the country. "The growth of the knowledge economy is as an exciting in terms of being frontline of our engagement today. Newer areas of cooperation such as nuclear energy, high technology and clean energy resources are making our partnership mutually more rewarding, with flow of ideas, knowledge and people in both directions," Rao said at the event attended by Senate members like Kay Hagan, Saxby Chambliss, John Cornyn, Mark Warner, Roger Wicker, John Kerry, Charles Schumer and Michael Binnet, among others. Cornyn and Warner are cochairs of the Senate India Caucus, which hosted the event. A wel-
come reception for a new Ambassador is a rare event at the Capitol Hill. Under Secretary for Political Affairs, Wendy Sherman, also attended the event. "As India and the United States embark on their Global Strategic Partnership, the horizon of possibilities of what we can do together traverses across all aspects of human endeavor, from the political and strategic to social,
â€˜I would be remiss without highlighting the contributions of the 2.7 million strong Indian-Americans, whose vigor and drive had added new vitality in our relationshipâ€™ economic, innovation, education and frontier science. "Our partnership has the potential to shape the destiny of our peoples, and indeed, of the larger humanity," Rao said. "It is the relationship that is unique in that it goes way beyond what only Governments can do. The energy, creativity and enterprising spirit of our people, private sector and civil society are building new bridges across hitherto uncharted waters," said the Indian Ambassador who arrived in US as New Delhi's top diplomat
some three months ago. Referring to the recent statement by Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, that there were "no irritants whatsoever in our working together on a multiplicity of areas", Rao said this defines the canvas of partnership between the two countries. Referring to the concerns the two countries have about the terrorism in the region, the Ambassador said counter-terrorism is one of the pillars of cooperation between India and the US. . "But there are many many more such areas that together create such a strong foundation for our partnership in these years and times," Rao said. With India in the midst of a national endeavor to achieve socio-economic development for its billion-plus population in an inclusive and participatory way, Rao said in this task, India sees the US with its economic and technological prowess, as an important partner. She also praised the contribution of the strong Indian American community. "I would be remiss without highlighting the contributions of the 2.7 million strong IndianAmericans, whose vigor and drive had added new vitality in our relationship," she said. "You are a bridge between our two countries, as well as a window to India's civilization, culture and traditions in this country. Your support and contribution to this relationship will always remain a source of strength for our work," Rao said. -PTI
Obama nominates Dr. Majumdar to key Administration post India Post News Service
Dr. Majumdar's research career has focused on the science and engineering of energy conversion, transport, and storage, ranging from the molecular and nanoscale level to large energy systems. He has served on the advisory committee of the National Science Foundation's engineering directorate and the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology.
NEW YORK: Dr. Arun Majumdar has been nominated by President Obama for the post of Under Secretary of Energy in the Department of Energy. Announcing his intent to nominate Majumdar and others individuals to key Administration posts on Nov 29, President Obama said, "These men and women have demonstrated knowledge and dedication throughout He has served on the advisory their careers. I am grateful they have chosen to committee of the National take on these important Science Foundation's engiroles, and I look forward to working with them in neering directorate and the the months and years to President's Council of Advisors come." Dr. Majumdar has on Science and Technology served as the Director of the Advanced ReDr. Majumdar was elected a search Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) since 2009. Previously, member of the National Academy he was Associate Laboratory Di- of Engineering in 2005. He rerector for Energy and Environment ceived his Bachelor's degree in at Lawrence Berkeley National Mechanical Engineering from the Laboratory and a professor of me- Indian Institute of Technology, chanical engineering and materi- Bombay in 1985 and his Ph.D. in als science and engineering at the 1989 from the University of CaliUniversity of California, Berkeley. fornia, Berkeley.
Rajaratnam seeks delay in reporting to prison NEW YORK: Just five days before he was due to start his 11year jail term for insider trading, hedge fund founder Raj Rajaratnam's lawyers made a last ditch effort to keep him out of jail, asking a US court to let him be free on bail while he appeals his conviction. 54-year-old Rajaratnam's prison sentence is scheduled to begin on December 5 at a federal penitentiary in Massachusetts. A three-judge panel in the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit is reviewing a trial court judgment that had refused to grant bail to Sri Lanka-born Rajaratnam while he appealed his conviction. The panel reserved its judgment and is expected to announce it before the end of the week. During the hearing, the judges focused on whether Rajaratnam is a flight risk if he is allowed to remain free on bail. "Wouldn't he rather be living as a centimillionaire in his own country rather than as a convict in a jail?" Judge Dennis Jacobs asked Rajaratnam's lawyer Patricia Millett. Millett argued that her client cannot fly to Sri Lanka as his family lives in the US and his pass-
port had been surrendered to authorities. She also put forth the point that Rajaratnam's health is falling and he needs a kidney transplant. He is required to take 13 medications a day and would not get the required medical care in Sri Lanka. Federal prosecutor Jonathan Streeter said Rajaratnam had strong ties to his native country and had the financial strength to flee. Rajaratnam is currently under house arrest at his Manhattan apartment. His appeal of his conviction on 11 criminal charges is expected to focus on whether the government properly won permission to record his phone calls. The appeal process could take a year. Prosecutors have called Rajaratnam the "modern face of insider trading." He made millions in profits on the basis of inside information he received from his associates, including from former Goldman director and his Indian-origin friend Rajat Gupta, who has also been indicted on securities fraud charges and will face trial next April. -PTI
December 9, 2011
Decision on FDI in retail taken after extensive talks: Montek NEW DELHI: Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia has said the government has consulted all stakeholders, including UPA allies, before opening the multibrand retail to foreign investment. "This is one of the most open decisions with the most enormous amounts of consultation. It almost has been going for a year. I do not think anyone was in any doubt that this was happening
board, Ahluwalia said, "...this is not a case that allies were not aware of. In some cases, actual consultation took place." On objections being raised by states on allowing FDI in retail, he said, "It gives them a veto. We should not let any one state veto the developments for the country on a whole. There are states that are keen to do it. The Chief Minister of Punjab said that this would be
â€˜The calibration is whichever state wants to do it, can do it. The total number of cities is a little over 50 (with over 1 million populations), and half of the states have sort of said no, which has reduced the number to 20,â€™ he said. and it is coming to the Cabinet and the Cabinet will decide," he said in an interview to Karan Thapar for the program 'India Tonight' on CNBC TV-18. Responding to the criticism that UPA allies were not taken on
very good for farmers. There are many others those who have the same view." Given the response the decision has evoked from states, he said multinational companies would be able to set up stores in
about 20 cities. "The calibration is whichever state wants to do it, can do it. The total number of cities is a little over 50 (with over 1 million populations), and half of the states have sort of said no, which has reduced the number to 20," he said. He said the Prime Minister has already explained that "if states have reservations, FDI in retail cannot be implemented unless states give the relevant local positions". . As regards reservation of 30 per cent on sourcing of goods by companies, Ahluwalia said, "The SME reservation was always meant to be India specific...some times documents may misrepresent something, but nobody in the world would want that we impose an SSI reservation in favor of SSIs in other countries. If there is some document that said that, I am sure it was unintentional." On questions concerning job loss on account of opening of retail, Ahluwalia said, "I do not believe that employment is the reason to do this. Although it is clear that if we get some improvement
in the value trade, it will generate more employment." Moreover, he added, FDI in retail will increase upstream and downstream activity which in turn
distribution system where farmers get a fraction of what consumers pay". "It will reduce prices for consumers while farmers will get
Montek Singh Ahluwalia
will generate employment, besides eliminating middlemen. The main case for modernizing trade, he said, "is that it will tackle the present inefficiencies in the
much more than what they get now. These are the two groups we should focus on. FDI in retail will help the process of modernization of retail," he added.-PTI
Tough for Lokpal to handle lakhs of govt employees: Khurshid NEW DELHI: Law Minister Salman Khurshid has expressed apprehensions on whether the proposed Lokpal will be able to monitor corruption related cases against the entire bureaucracy, saying it will be a difficult task for
the decision of the Parliamentary Committee on Lokpal Bill to include Group B and C officials, besides Group A, within the ambit of the anti-corruption watchdog. Khurshid also said it will not be appropriate for him to comment
WHERE IS THE WATER? Devotees take holy dip in the sacred tank at Sri Padmavati temple as part of Panchami Teertham in Tiruchanur near Tirupati
the ombudsman to handle lakhs of government employees. "Hypothetically, the issue is not having a, b or c (Group A, Group B or Group C category officials). That is not a problem. Problem is how will lakhs of officers be handled by nine people sitting in one post in Delhi. That is a concern," he told reporters here. He was asked to comment on
on the recommendation of the committee till the report was tabled in Parliament. "We cannot respond till we get the report," he said. "Someone must give us an answer on how 57 lakhs officers are to be monitored by nine people or 10 people or 15 people whatever, how will they be monitored," he said. -PTI
December 9, 2011
India re-elected to UN body on Racial Discrimination India Post News Service
NEW YORK: India's nominee Ambassador Dilip Lahiri was reelected to serve on the United Nations' Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) for a three year term beginning Jan 20, 2012. Ambassador Lahiri secured 147 votes in the elections held Nov 30 at UN headquarters in New York. Other members who were elected were Ion Diaconu of Romania (109 votes), Pastor Elías Murillo Martínez of Colombia (112 votes), Patricia Nozipho JanuaryBardill of South Africa (117 votes), Fatimata-Binta Victoire Dah of Burkina Faso (125 votes), José Francisco Calí Tzay of Guatemala (127 votes), Carlos Manuel Vázquez of United States of America (131 votes), and Alexei S. Avtonomov of Russian Federation (133 votes). Ambassador Lahiri has had a distinguished career in the Indian Foreign Service for close to four decades and retired in 2005. During this time, he was Indian Ambassador to Peru, Bolivia, Spain and France. He has had long experience of multilateral diplomacy in the UN, the Nonaligned Move-
ment and the Commonwealth covering security and disarmament, international law, human rights and social issues, climate change and environment. Ambassador Lahiri has supervised the preparation of India's national reports to the monitoring
The CERD is a body of independent experts that monitors implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination by its State parties. All State parties are obliged to submit regular reports to the CERD bodies of various UN human rights instruments and also participated in the process of amending domestic laws to conform to UN human rights instruments to which India became party. He has been a member of the CERD since 2008 and is expected to complete
his present term on Jan 19, 2012. The CERD is a body of independent experts that monitors implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination by its State parties. All State parties are obliged to submit regular reports to the CERD on how the rights are being implemented. States must report initially one year after acceding to the Convention and then every two years. CERD examines each report and addresses its concerns and recommendations to the State party in the form of "concluding observations". In addition to the reporting procedure, the Convention establishes three other mechanisms through which the Committee performs its monitoring functions: the early-warning procedure, the examination of inter-state complaints and the examination of individual complaints. CERD meets in Geneva and normally holds two sessions per year consisting of three weeks each. CERD also publishes its interpretation of the content of human rights provisions, known as general recommendations (or general comments), on thematic issues and organizes thematic discussions.
Khangura asks NRIs not to be deterred by crime India Post News Service
QILA RAIPUR: Qila Raipur MLA Jassi Khangura has condemned the recent murder of two NRIs in unrelated incidents in Punjab. He said in a statement, "These murders are totally shocking to me and to everyone in Punjab. I express my deepest condolences and sympathies to the families of the victims in their time of grief." His statement said, "I sincerely hope what has become a tragedy for the families of the victims does not deter other NRIs from visiting Punjab. More than ever we need NRIs here. Not only are NRIs a key part of the democratic process in Punjab, but, speaking from the perspective of what will hopefully be a new Congress Government, we want NRIs to be welcome here for business and investment too. We cannot foster such growth environments when NRIs come to Punjab and get murdered." As a key voice in the Punjab Government for NRIs, and for their rights here, Khangura said "These
murders are deplorable. Any murder is totally unacceptable but these are extraordinary as they will not only ruin the lives of the victims' families, but they will further tarnish the already struggling reputation of Punjab."
Khangura added that NRIs are influential in Punjab and can be decisive in at least 25 assembly seats. He called on NRIs to arrive in large numbers to oust ‘this Government’ Khangura said "At a time when Punjab is supposed to be encouraging NRIs to spend time here, invest here, and be involved back in India in their home villages, such horrific and shocking incidents show the state of lawlessness we are living with. I feel enor-
mous sympathy for the families of those involved." Referring to the Punjab Police and the Judiciary, the Qila Raipur MLA said "all cases of murder must be met by the most robust investigation by police, and rapid progress through a fair and transparent judicial system. The new Congress Government will ensure that any cases such as this are aggressively pursued. Hopefully these cases will be resolved by that time, but if they are not, we will commit to pursing these also." Referring to people who commit crimes, he said "No wonder people feel they can go and commit heinous crimes without fear of punishment. I blame much of this on the Badal Government. This must change and it must change quickly if Punjab is to pull back from the brink it is currently teetering on." Khangura added that NRIs are influential in Punjab and can be decisive in at least 25 assembly seats. He called on NRIs to arrive in large numbers to oust "this destructive Badal led Government."
CPI takes exception to US envoy's remarks on FDI in retail NEW DELHI: The CPI has taken strong exception to comments by the US Ambassador to India on the "virtues" of FDI in retail sector, saying it showed that Indian policy had come under "external influence and pressure". "The comments by the American envoy extolling the virtues of allowing FDI in retail sector shows that Indian policy is increasingly coming under external pressure and influence, particularly from the US," party National Secretary D Raja said here. Batting for FDI in retail, US Ambassador Peter Burleigh had said in Chandigarh that the move
would not affect small traders but rather help consumers and farmers. Raja criticized the manner in which the Union Cabinet took the decision when Parliament was in session. "Parliament should have been taken into confidence on this crucial issue having far-reaching impact on the economy and the people, particularly when the Winter Session is going on." He blamed the government for the disruption in Parliament and said discussions should held on crucial issues like price rise, corruption, agrarian distress and civil nuclear liability rules. -PTI
Exports grew by 10.8 pc in Oct, lowest in 2 years NEW DELHI: India's exports grew by just 10.8 per cent to USD 19.8 billion in October, the lowest in the last two years, mainly due to the declining demand in the US and Europe. The growth rate has been the lowest since October, 2009, when it contracted by 6.6 per cent. Imports grew at a faster rate of 21.7 per cent to USD 39.5 billion leaving a trade deficit of USD 19.6 billion, the highest ever in any month in the last four years, which is also due to expensive crude oils and vegetable oils, according to the Commerce Ministry data. From a peak of 82 per cent in July, export growth has slipped to 44.25 per cent in August, 36.36 per cent in September and 10.8 per cent in October.
In October, oil imports grew by 20.73 per cent to USD 10 billion. Whereas the non-oil imports rose by 22 per cent to USD 29.4 billion over the year-ago period. But, for the cumulative AprilOctober period, exports aggregated to USD 179.7 billion showing a handsome growth of 45.9 per cent, thanks to sterling trend witnessed in the previous months of the current fiscal. A steady rise of 30.9 per cent in imports for the seven- month period to USD 273.4 billion has left trade gap widening to USD 93.7 billion. Commerce Secretary Rahul Khullar has expressed concerns over the increasing balance of trade and said that at this rate, it may breach USD 150 billion mark during 2011-12.-PTI
NEW CONSULATE: U.S. Consul General Peter Haas speaks during a press conference at the newly opened U S Consulate in Mumbai on November 30
December 9, 2011
McCain amendment seeks list of India ready for consultations over Tipaimukh Pakistanis aiding terror groups WASHINGTON: An influential Republican Senator has moved an amendment, asking the Obama administration to provide to the Congress a list of individuals in Pakistan who are extending material support to terror groups like alQaeda, Haqqani network and LeT and slap sanctions on them. The amendment has been moved by Ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee John McCain, who lost to Barack Obama in the 2008 Presidential elections, to authorize appropriations for the fiscal 2012. According to the McCain amendment, within 90 days of the passage of this legislation, the US President would submit to the appropriate committees of the Congress a list of persons in Pakistan, including officials and exofficials, that the President determines, based on credible evidence, are providing material support for, or are responsible for ordering, controlling, or otherwise directing, individuals or groups. Such groups, it said, include the Haqqani network, Quetta Shura Taliban, Lashkar-e-Toiba and al-Qaeda that carry out acts of international terrorism or other violent attacks against the armed forces of the US, civilian personnel of America or the civilian population or other populations of foreign nationals in Afghanistan, Pakistan, India or the US. The list, which could be unclassified but may contain a classified annex, needs to be updated by the US President every six
month, the amendment says. On the submission of the list, the US government would also slap sanctions on all those individuals under which both the individuals and their immediate family members would be denied a US visa and their property or finan-
dence that the unit maintains connections with an organization known to conduct terrorist activities against the US or American allies. Another amendment moved by McCain requires a report outlining a plan to end reimburse-
cial assets in the US be blocked. McCain and other Senators have moved other amendments also, expressing complete displeasure and frustration of US lawmakers with Pakistan. According to another amendment, the Congress asks US government to prohibit funding for any unit of a security force of Pakistan if there is credible evi-
ments from the Coalition Support Fund to the government of Pakistan for operations conducted in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Senator Tom Casey also moved an amendment which requires a certification on efforts by the government of Pakistan to implement a strategy to counter improvised explosive devices. -PTI
DHAKA: India has said it is days after Prime Minister Sheikh ready for "further consultations" Hasina told the parliament that with Bangladesh on the proposed proposals were made to India to cross-border hydroelectric power carryout a joint study to asses project in Manipur, amid renewed Tipaimukh's viability and a highconcerns over it in this country. level delegation would be sent to The Government of India is New Delhi to discuss the issue. pleased to receive a delegation Dhaka earlier this month defrom Bangladesh to visit India in manded details of Indian steps on this regard," the Indian High Com- Tipaimukh "in full transparency" mission said in a press release. The statement said The Indian response came days Tipaimukh Project was after Prime Minister Sheikh under discussion bilaterally since 1972, with Hasina told the parliament that the objective of reduc- proposals were made to India ing flood damage in the to carryout a joint study to asses Cachar and Sylhet areas of India and Tipaimukh's viability Bangladesh respectively. The Government of India wel- as New Delhi confirmed that it comes the proposal of the Gov- signed a 'Promoter's Agreement' ernment of Bangladesh to hold to install a Joint Venture Company further consultations on the issue (JVC) for the project. of the Tipaimukh Hydroelectric But the statement said India Project. had facilitated the visit of a "The Government of India has Bangladeshi Parliamentary delalways been proactive and re- egation in July-August 2009 when sponsive towards sharing of in- New Delhi shared with Dhaka the formation with Bangladesh on the "complete details and specificaproposed project," it said. tions of the Tipaimukh Project and The Indian response came its outcomes". -PTI
SAIL-led consortium may invest USD 11 bn in Afghanistan NEW DELHI: The SAIL-led consortium that has bagged rights to three iron ore mines in Afghanistan has said it may invest around USD 11 billion on the entire project, including infrastructure creation, mining and setting up a 6-mtpa steel plant and 1,000-MW thermal power plant. Establishment of the steel plant -- which will be situated approximately 200 kilometers away from the three Hajigak mines awarded to the Indian consortium -- would, however, depend on the availability of other inputs like coking coal and limestone, which are to be ensured by the Afghan government, Steel Authority of India Chairman C S Verma said. "Now, if we consider everything is in place like we get the
coking coal and limestone mines, then the total investment in the entire project would be USD 11 billion, which would be spent over a period of 10 years," he added.
The immediate plan, however, is to carry out a geological study of the mines over a three-year period at an investment of USD 75 million, Verma said
There are enough reserves for coking coal and limestone in Afghanistan and Verma indicated that getting such mines would not be very difficult for the consortium. Sources said the consortium had expressed its intent to set up the steel plant much before it was awarded the mines. In fact, that commitment proved to be instrumental in the sevenmember team bagging the mining rights in Afghanistan. The immediate plan, however, is to carry out a geological study of the mines over a three-year period at an investment of USD 75 million, Verma said, adding that the cumulative reserves of the three assets is around 1.28 billion tonnes.-PTI
SUCCESSFUL TEST: Nuclear capable Agni-I strategic ballistic missile, with a strike range of 700 km, being test-fired at Wheeler Island off Odisha coast on December 1
10 India Post
December 9, 2011
Kanimozhi, 4 others granted bail by Delhi high court
DMK MP Kanimozhi, an accused in 2G spectrum allocation case, at the Patiala House Court complex in New Delhi
NEW DELHI: DMK MP Kanimozhi has been granted bail by the Delhi high court in the 2G case. Apart from Kanimozhi, the other accused who have been granted bail include Cineyug founder Karim Morani, Kalaignar TV's MD Sharath Kumar, Kusegaon directors Asif Balwa and Rajeev Agarwal. However, former telecom secretary Siddharth Behura was denied bail. The apex court had earlier granted bail to five corporte honchos in the case. The court had sought a clarification from the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the defense on Section 409 (criminal breach of trust) of the IPC saying the Supreme Court judgment granting bail to five corporate executives was silent on a charge that attracts maximum punishment of life term in the case. Justice VK Shali heard the day-
Six suspected Indian Mujahideen operatives arrested NEW DELHI: The Delhi Police has claimed to have smashed a pan-India terror module with the arrest of six suspected Indian Mujahideen operatives, including a Pakistani, allegedly involved in blasts in Pune, Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore and Delhi's Jama Masjid. A seventh person Ahmad Siddi Bappa alias Imran, believed to be the "main man" who was allegedly providing finance and other logistics besides coordinating various modules, is on the run, police sources said. Imran had allegedly planted the bomb in a car outside Delhi's Jama Masjid on September 19, 2010, the sources said. Police smashed an "Indian Mujahideen terrorist module suspected to be involved in Pune German Backery blast, Chinnaswamy stadium blast and Jama Masjid firing and blast in a car with the help of central intelligence agencies," a Delhi Police statement said. The arrested have been identified as Pakistani national Mohd Adil, Mohd Qateel Siddique, Mohd Irshad Khan, Gauhar Aziz Khomani, Gayur Ahmad Jamali and Abdur Rehman. "The arrests came following a coordinated action with central agencies and police forces in West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Bihar," a senior police official said. Two AK-47 rifles along with 50 cartridges, one 9mm pistol along
with 14 live cartridges, 1.4 Kgs of black explosive material, 3.2 kgs of white explosive material, 350 gms granular off white explosive material, 5 detonators and fake Indian currency notes of the face value of Rs.2 lakh along with other incriminating material were recovered from the six arrested, he said. The first to be arrested was Siddiqui (27) from near Anand Vihar Bus Terminal on November 22. A 9mm loaded pistol along with 14 live cartridges besides
â€˜The arrests came following a coordinated action with central agencies and police forces in West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Bihar,â€™ a senior police official said fake Indian currency were seized from him. Sources said he along with Adil were allegedly involved in the Jama Masjid incident. His interrogation led to raids in Madhubani, Bihar and the next day, Jamali (21) was arrested. On November 25, Adil (40), who hails from Karachi, was apprehended from Madhubani. "Adil came to India in August 2010 on the instructions of Riaz and Iqbal
Bhatkal for action," the statement said. Further raids in Chennai on November 27 led to the apprehension of Khan (52) and Abdur Rahman (19). "Siddiqi came in contact with Ahmad Siddi Bappa @ Imran in the last quarter of 2008 and became a member of the terrorist module Indian Mujahiddin. Khan met Bappa in the first quarter of 2009. They became close associates and he also joined the Indian Mujahiddin terrorist module. "All the six members came in contact with Bappa at various occasions. Khomani came in contact with Bappa. In 2007 he came to Delhi and in November 2008 he renewed his contact with Bappa and joined Indian Mujahiddin. He provided them logistic and financial support. Jamali came in contact with Bappa and joined Indian Mujahiddin later. Rahman met Bappa about four months back and become a member of Indian Mujahiddin. He provided hide out and logistic support," the statement said. Seventeen people were killed in the German Bakery blast and over 40 people have been arrested in this case. However, this is the first arrest in the Jama Masjid terror strike case. 15 people were injured in the blast outside Bangalore's Chinnaswamy Stadium during an IPL match on April 17, 2010.-PTI
long arguments on the bail applications of Kanimozhi, Kalaignar TV chief Sharad K u m a r , Cineyug Films' Karim Morani, Kusegaon Fruits and Ve g e t a b l e s Pvt Ltd directors Asif Balwa and Sanjay Chandra and Karim Morani, both accused in 2G Rajiv B spectrum allocation case, at the Patiala House Agarwal and Court in New Delhi f o r m e r telecom secretary Siddharth Behura. Wireless, Vinod Goenka of Swan "The Supreme Court judgment Telecom and Reliance Group's does not mention Section 409. I Gautam Doshi, Surendra Pipara am not saying that the apex court and Hari Nair. was ignorant of the fact but it is Following this, the pleas of the silent on the issue," said Justice MP and the five others which were Shali. scheduled to have been heard on "The day the order (on bail) Dec 1 in the Delhi high court, were was passed, charges were crys- brought forward. tallized in the trial court and it canAfter CBI Special Court Judge not be said that this fact was not O.P. Saini rejected their bail pleas known to the Hon'ble Supreme on Nov 3, they moved the high Court." court on Nov 5. The special court Justice Shali referred to the dismissed their bail pleas despite judgment of the Supreme Court in the investigating agency not opthe case and said it talked about posing their applications. maximum sentence of seven years Counsel for Kanimozhi told the which could be awarded to ac- high court that the special court cused (corporate accused) if they wrongly made a distinction beare convicted. tween women belonging to variResponding to the query of the ous classes of society even when judge, senior advocate Altaf the provision did not seek to do Ahmed, who appeared for that. Kanimozhi, said the apex court was "Besides, the apex court had aware of charges framed also under Section 409 of the IPC and its order is binding on all courts. Meanwhile, the CBI did not oppose the bail pleas of Kanimozhi and four others saying they were private persons. However, MD of DB Realty Shahid Balwa (L) and MD of Kalaignar TV, Sharad Kumar, at the Patiala House Court it opposed complex in New Delhi Behura's plea saying being a public servant he misused his in June granted her the liberty to position. apply for bail after charges were The six co-accused had moved framed in the case," she said. the court for early hearing of their During the hearing, the CBI bail applications after the Supreme read out a portion of the Supreme Court granted bail to five corpo- Court order granting bail to five rate executives co-accused in the corporate executives who are cocase - Sanjay Chandra of Unitech accused in the 2G case.-PTI
December 9, 2011
Lokpal Bill: Dharna by Anna if panel proposals unacceptable NEW DELHI: Stepping up pressure on Lokpal issue, Anna Hazare has decided to hold a dharna here on December 11 if the Parliamentary Standing Committee's proposals on the bill were not to his satisfaction. Team Anna said the 74-year-old activist will lead a day-long protest at Jantar Mantar if the Standing Committee does not come up with strong provisions in the bill. "It all depends on the Standing Committee's proposals.
Meanwhile, confusion prevailed over Hazare's protest plans at Ramlila Maidan from December 27 with MCD Standing Committee Chairman Yogender Chandolia saying that the civic body has not given permission for the agitation there even as Team Anna insisted that it has got the nod. "No permission has been given yet," Chandolia, a senior local BJP leader, said when asked about claims by Team Anna that it has been given the nod to use
According to Abhishek Manu Singhvi, chairman of the Standing Committee, 25 issues including those concerning media, corporates, NGOs, lower bureaucracy and citizens grievances have been â€˜comprehensively dealt withâ€™ by the panel Anna is planning to sit on a protest in Jantar Mantar on December 11 depending on the Standing Committee's recommendations," a senior Team Anna member said. "Please join the dharna at Jantar Mantar on December 11 for a strong Janlokpal," Hazare was quoted as saying by his close aide Suresh Pathare. The Parliamentary panel on Lokpal Bill is likely to submit its report before December seven. Team Anna has been insisting that the lower bureaucracy, higher judiciary, provisions for Citizen's Charter and setting up of Lokayuktas at the state level be brought under the ambit of the Bill.
the Maidan from December 27 to January five for a protest in case the bill is not passed during Parliament's Winter Session. However, a senior MCD official said permission has not been denied. "But permission has also not been given. We have received an application from Team Anna saying that it wants to book the Maidan," he said. "Team Anna has stated that it wants the ground after the Winter Session. No dates were mentioned. We told them that we have to see the bookings. Now we are looking into it. If there are no bookings, it may get it," the official said. Team Anna member Manish
Sisodia said, "We have sought permission from MCD from December 27 and we have been granted permission to use the ground till January five." Team sources said they have the permission from MCD "subject to an NoC" from Delhi Police. "The permission is subject to an NoC from police. We have a written commitment from MCD in this regard," they said. Hazare's plan to hold a daylong protest is being seen as an effort to build pressure of the Standing Committee, which is dealing with issues like whether to bring the Prime Minister under the ambit of the anti-corruption watchdog. According to Abhishek Manu Singhvi, chairman of the Standing Committee, 25 issues including those concerning media, corporates, NGOs, lower bureaucracy and citizens grievances have been "comprehensively dealt with" by the panel. The Committee, scrutinizing the Lokpal Bill, had on November 24 ended its internal deliberations with "broad consensus" on most of the issues including on giving constitutional status to Lokpal. Meanwhile, Team Anna member Neeraj said Delhi Police has been formally approached for permission to hold protest at Ramlila Maidan from December 27 to January 5. He said on November 23, Team Anna had submitted a request letter to an assistant director of MCD asking for permission to use the Maidan.
Team Anna members Arvind Kejriwal and Manish Sisodiya at Parliament House complex in New Delhi on November 30
In his reply, the official said the Maidan was available for that period and that he needed a 'no objection certificate' from the police, according to Neeraj. "We have submitted a letter to Delhi Police in Daryaganj. We
have said MCD is ready to give us the ground, you issue us an NOC," he said. Team Anna members and supporters held silent protests across the capital to press for the passage of a strong Lokpal Bill. -PTI
ED issues notice to BCCI regarding IPL II fund transfer
BUDDHIST SAPLING: Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama (C) attends a Bodhi tree sapling plantation ceremony to mark the 2600th year of Sambodhiprapti (The Enlightenment of the Buddha) in New Delhi on November 30. The three-day Global Buddhist Congregation 2011 concluded in the Indian capital on November 30
MUMBAI: Enforcement Direc- ment of funds during the IPL sectorate has issued notice to the ond edition. This is a part of the BCCI to explain transfer and rout- overall probe by the agency into ing of funds to the tune of Rs 1,600 the finances of the IPL and its crore in the conduct of the sec- organisers," ED sources said. ond season of Indian Premier The agency has asked the top League cricket tournament. The notice has been issued under the provi- Besides BCCI, the notice has sions of the Foreign Ex- also been marked for former change Management Act (FEMA) regarding IPL Commissioner Lalit Modi, transfer of funds for IPL which was conducted asking for explanation of the in South Africa in 2009. transfer of these funds. Modi is Besides BCCI, the notice has also been at present in London marked for former IPL Commissioner Lalit Modi, asking for explanation of cricketing body to furnish to it all the transfer of these funds. Modi the permissions and records it obis at present in London. tained from the RBI for funding the "The notices pertain to ques- offshore activities of the IPL durtions on the routing and invest- ing the second edition.-PTI
12 India Post
December 9, 2011
Graphic novel brings out Sita's angst NEW DELHI: The docile and soft Sita of Ramayana may not be a role model for most women today, however, author Samhita Arni in a new graphic novel has brought out the bolder colors of the epic character. "Sita's Ramayana," a vivid book which retells the ancient Indian epic through illustrations in Bengal's folk art form of Patua, has Sita voicing out her turbulent life,
her anger on Rama and various such emotions that have been underplayed in most of the 'sanitized' depictions of the Ramayana. Arni, who found international acclaim at the age of 12 with her
book "The Mahabharatha: A Child's View," collaborated with Patua artist Moyna Chitrakar to portray a Sita that the current generation could identify with. "The book came with the feeling that the kind of Ramayana that I grew up with is where Ram and Sita are like ideal characters, can't really identify with them but are held up as role models superficially. "Sita's Ramayana comes from
â€˜I think it's quite beautiful and creates a different image of these characters and also different image of love,â€™ she says folk stories and versions which were sidelined and where we saw a very different Sita, one who has a strong voice, a voice articulating the kind of tragedy that befalls on her," says Arni.
The author was in the capital for the fourth edition of "Bookaroo" book festival which was held in Delhi from November 25 to 27. . Arni's interest in mythology began at a tender age of four with her grandmother's tales and grew further with time spent in Indonesia, Pakistan and Thailand. Her exposure to different cultures also gave her an insight into the varying forms of Ramayana across the world. "There's a wonderful poem that's written on a wall of a Thai temple where Ravana confesses his love to Sita and how he knows his love will kill and destroy him and yet he loves her. I think it's quite beautiful and creates a different image of these characters and also different image of love," she says. The 27-year-old writer disagrees with Delhi University's decision to withdraw A K Ramanujan's essay on Ramayana from the history syllabus. "You should not hinder knowledge and should not blinker yourself. Education is for the sake of expanding knowledge. I don't think we should restrict or prohibit
Delhi HC suspends Sukh Ram's sentence, grants him bail NEW DELHI: In a relief for former Telecom Minister Sukh Ram, the Delhi High Court has suspended the five year sentence awarded to him in a graft case and granted him bail. A bench of Justice Suresh Kait suspended the sentence keeping in view his old age and various ailments. "I suspend the sentence till disposal of case," the court said. The court released him on bail considering that he is an 86-yearold heart patient and keeping in
view the medical report submitted by the Tihar Jail authorities, which said he suffered from heart diseases and cervical spondylitis. It directed Sukh Ram to furnish two sureties of Rs 10 lakh and asked him not to leave the country without the prior permission of the court. The CBI had opposed his bail, saying he has been convicted twice earlier and is a habitual offender. Sukh Ram, who had held the Telecom portfolio in P V Narasimha
Rao's cabinet, was convicted on November 17 in a cable contract case. He was handed out five years jail term by Special CBI judge R P Pandey on November 19 and sent to jail. He was convicted for misusing his official position during his tenure as Telecom Minister in award of a contract worth Rs 30 crore to Haryana Telecom Limited (HTL), a private firm, to supply 3.5 lakh conductor kilometres (LCKM) of PIJF cables to the telecom department after taking Rs 3 lakh as bribe. -PTI
China says in touch with India on new dates for border talks BEIJING: China has said it is in touch with India to finalise dates for border talks, which were put off after rejection of its demand for cancellation of a Buddhist meet to be addressed by the Dalai Lama, even as it opposed any country giving platform for his "anti-China activities". Commenting for the first time after the border talks slated to be held in New Delhi on November
28-29 were put off, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei told a media briefing here that the two countries were in the process of finalising dates and agenda. "China pays great attention to the 15th meeting of Special Representatives on the China-India boundary issue. At the moment the two sides are in communication on specific date of the meet-
ing," he said. Asked whether China pressed India to cancel the international Buddhist conference being held in New Delhi and which is to be addressed by the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader, Hong said "I want to point out that the Dalai Lama is not a pure religious figure but the one who has been engaged in the separatist activities for long time under the pretext of religion".-PTI
it in anyway because that becomes censorship. "Obviously, you can disagree with Ramanujan's essay, you can have a conversation about it, you might not like it but that should not stop it from being out there. Different versions of Ramayan are part of our heritage, we should celebrate it rather than push it
national capital from November 25 to 27. Speaking of her experience at the festival, Arni says, "Although my session at the festival was for 12-16 years of age group, children as young as 8 years old had joined. The book is not restricted to any age group or language due to the visual treatment of the sub-
under the carpet," she says. Arni, whose book has made it to the New York's best seller, featured in the fourth "Bookaroo" book festival that was held in the
ject." Her next book, she says would also be based on the Ramayan but in the setting of 21st century and as a fictional thriller. -PTI
Industry appears divided on FDI in multi-brand retail NEW DELHI: India Inc ap- troduction of FDI in multi-brand peared to be divided on allowing retail trading, it recommends a caliFDI in multi-brand retail, an issue brated approach for introducing which has rocked Parliament and FDI in the retail sector in terms of drawn stiff opposition from UPA the percentage and minimum capially Trinamool Congress. talization requirements". While FICCI extended an allKumar said the associations out support to the government, which are raising concerns that CII recommended "a calibrated global retail chains like Walmart approach for introducing FDI in and Tesco would wipe out momthe retail sector in terms of the percentage and minimum capitalization Addressing a press conferrequirements". Addressing a press ence, FICCI Secretary General conference, FICCI Sec- Rajiv Kumar said opening of retary General Rajiv Kumar said opening of the retail sector would create the retail sector would big employment opportunities create big employment opportunities in the in the country country. Without naming, he said those and-pop stores are following a industry associations which are "politically motivated argument". opposing the foreign direct inSome traders' associations are vestment in multi-brand retail arguing that about 40 million emhave a vested interest. ployed in this sector would loose "This is just a fear that has their earnings because of openbeen created for some vested in- ing of big foreign retail stores. terest. FDI in retail will be a game"In fact, foreign stores will genchanger like telecom. I see only erate employment and that will be positive impact on employment," higher quality employment. Small he said. stores would also increase their CII, on the other hand, said employment to compete with the while it "strongly supports the in- big retailers," he said. -PTI
Desi News Convenience store owners unite for more bargaining India Post News Service
NEW YORK: Meeting in the backdrop of national economic uncertainty that has significantly brought down their sales, convenience stores and gas station owners at the seventh annual convention of the Asian American Convenience Store Association have vowed to join hands to enhance their collective bargaining capacity and purchasing power with large manufacturers and suppliers. "We feel that all these store owners, mostly independents, are not getting the best price for buying their products from the manufacturers. Details on page 15
Indian radiologists pitch to make AARI stronger Asian Media USA
CHICAGO: The American Association of Radiologists of Indian Origin (AARI) held its Annual Dinner of the 2011 at the same time that the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) hosted its meet in Chicago on Sunday November 27 at Gaylord India Restaurant in Chicago Downtown. Over 162 radiologists from America and abroad attended the event. AARI started in 1975 and provides an appealing platform for charitable, educational and cultural activities besides letting its members to share common ideas and discuss topics of mutual concerns. Details on page 18
Sikh community celebrates Thanksgiving THAKAR S BASATI
CHICAGO: The American Sikh Community in Chiicagoland and Spirit Rising Foundation of Chicago celebrated Thanksgiving Day Holiday with students and families of Courtney School in Chicago. Lunch was catered and bought by the Sikhs. The recent tradition has it that Sikhs go once a month to Salvation Army and provide lunch. For past two years there had been some changes within Salvation Army and Sikhs lost track. Now they are trying to revive the tradition. Sikh families take turns to sponsor food. Details on page 19
COMMUNITY ACROSS AMERICA
Chellaramâ€™s Gurbani enthralls Sikh community Details on page 20
13 India Post
December 9, 2011
GOPIO urges India to withdraw tax on NRIs India Post News Service
NEW JERSEY: The Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) has urged the Government of India to withdraw the proposal to impose tax on Nonresident Indians who stay beyond 60 days during a visit to the motherland. The resolution was one of the many passed to protect the interests of Indian Diaspora, at the conclusion of the GOPIO Convention 2011, a biennial event, held in New Jersey recently. The new tax proposal, GOPIO says, will be detrimental to the interests of NRIs who contribute substantially to the nation's development. GOPIO wants the Government of India to set up a mechanism to enable NRIs to voice their grievances and prevent adverse government policies. Important resolutions passed include: 1) A plea for nomination of a few prominent NRIs to the Rajya Sabha; 2) initiation of suitable steps to set up fast track courts to deal with the growing number of property offences targeting NRIs; and 3) steps for speedy disposal of cases involving custody of children of NRI parents. GOPIO has also urged the Indian government to augment the
Trinided and Tobago Consul General releasing the souvenir brochure
staff strength of consulates for the convenience of NRIs. The meet-
can be called International Indian Emigration Day.
The new tax proposal, GOPIO says, will be detrimental to the interests of NRIs who contribute substantially to the nation's development. GOPIO wants the Government of India to set up a mechanism to enable NRIs to voice their grievances ing also has resolved to identify and designate a single date that
While welcoming the setting up of Global Advisory Council by In-
dia, GOPIO has requested the government to give representation to Diaspora organizations in the council. The meeting has also resolved to extend all support to the Know India Program initiated by the Indian government and wants a GOPIO-Pravasi member committee to be set up to initiate the program. More and more job seekers from India are falling prey to unscrupulous elements abroad. Contâ€™d on page 16
Gita Reading Month to mark Gita Jayanti India Post News Service
FREMONT, CA: December 6 is Gita Jayanti. The International Gita Society and Krishnauniverse are celebrating this occasion in a unique way by inviting people for the worldwide "31 Days of Science and Spirituality" Bhagavad Gita Reading Campaign from December 5 to January 5, 2012. The invitation describes the venue as "your place" and the time as "anytime." The program is aimed to learn about: 1. Yourself 2. Spiritual and Transcendental Science
"31 Days of Science and Spirituality" Bhagavad Gita Reading Campaign from December 5 to January 5, 2012
3. Laws of Karma (actions) 4. Management Principles 5. Leadership Qualities 6. Ways of Devotion 7. Life after Life 8. Science of Knowledge The proposed ways of being enlightened by the Bhagavad Gita are: 1. Solitary Reading 2. Through a Discussion Group 3. E-Satsang 4. Encouraging Others to Read 5. Distribute the Bhagavad Gita Log on to www.gitasociety.com and www.krishnauniverse.com for details.
14 India Post
Community Across America
December 9, 2011
Indian American sets record as 'fastest piano player' India Post News Service
NEW YORK: Fast-fingered Indian American composer Sai 'Psychuck' Manapragada smashed the previous best to set a new Guinness Book Record - making it his third record in a row - for hitting the most piano keys in a minute. Bay Area based Manapragada secured the title in front of an audience of more than 1,000 of his friends and family from the local community, at a concert for the benefit of the Sankara Eye Foundation which seeks to end curable blindness in India by 2020. Manapragada's performance racked up a total of 669 key hits, beating the previous record of 498 that was achieved by Hungarian Balazs Havasi in November 2009 at the Music Academy in Budapest. The record attempt was recorded by a video camera attached to the piano and played back in slow motion to enable an adjudicator from Guinness World Records to determine the exact number of times the middle C key was struck. The concert at San Jose Center for Performing Arts, San Jose, California titled Trinetram, featured dance performances by more than 250 Bollywood dancers, traditional Indian song accompanied by 80+ piece Symphony by Artists of San Francisco Symphony Orchestra per-
Sai 'Psychuck' Manapragada with certificate.
forming Indian cinematic symphony, a symphony choir of 40
lights of the event. Earlier this year, Manapragada
An entrepreneur and a technology executive in a wireless start-up called Picongen Wireless Inc., Manapragada lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with his wife and two daughters
plus auditioned singers and a fashion show were the other high-
set a Guinness World Record with his rendering of the popular A.R.
Rahman song "Maa Tujhe Salaam" in 265 different languages, at an event he organized in San Jose on May 16. Close on the heels of setting that record, Manapragada, with the support of Federation of Indo Americans (FIA), set another record, this time by involving the entire crowd present at the FIA's Independence Day celebrations on August 15 2010. Manapragada sang the same song in 300 languages with everyone present in the audience singing along with him. Over 3000
audience members sang the chorus for the lines "Maa Tujhe Salaam" and "Vandemataram", becoming eligible to get their own authentic Guinness World Record certificate by signing up the log book. Manapragada is an accomplished music composer, a keyboardist and a singer who also does professional arrangement and mixing under the banner of Psymphony. His official website states that he firmly believes that music is a part and parcel of the human psyche. According to him, "music is so deep-rooted in one's soul that it can influence one's philosophy and outlook in life. Even tone-deaf persons can relate to music in their own unique way... and that is the true testament to the power in music." An entrepreneur and a technology executive in a wireless start-up called Picongen Wireless Inc., Manapragada lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with his wife and two daughters. He is the Chairman of Folklore Arts Research and Music Institute (FARMI, USA) and is the cofounder of Psymphony Inc. - a launch pad for aspiring talent in the fields of music, dance and performing arts industry. He continues to contribute and play key roles in many cultural organizations and non-profit organizations, both in India and in the United States.
NY businessman conferred Priyadarshini award India Post News Service
NEW YORK: New York based businessman K.L. Sardana has been conferred the Indira Gandhi
Sardana is a philanthropist and social activist who has been helping needy people both in the US and in India, morally and financially. A Long Island resident for over two decades, Sardana is owner of Red Cherry Corporation Priyadarshini Award at an event on the eve of 94th birth day of Late Indira Gandhi, Ex-Prime Minister
Sardana with the Award
of India, at the All India National Unity Conference held at India International Center, New Delhi on Nov 17. Marking the achievements of people from all walks of life, nearly 20 individuals were awarded the
Indira Gandhi Priyadarshini Award this year. Sardana is a philanthropist and social activist who has been helping needy people both in the US and in India, morally and financially. A Long Island resident for
Sardana with family members
over two decades, Sardana is owner of Red Cherry Corporation, one of the largest prepaid telecom companies in New York. The award was previously conferred on eminent personalities such as Mother Teresa, Birju
Maharaj, Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia, Mangalampalli Balamurali Krishna, Prof. U.R Rao, actresses Jayaprada, Sushmita Sen, Vidya Balan, Navjot Singh Sidhu and Rajinikanth among others.
December 9, 2011
Community Across America
India Post 15
Convenience store owners unite for more bargaining power
Actress Saumya Tandon inaugurates AACSA event by lighting the traditional lamp India Post News Service
NEW YORK: Meeting in the backdrop of national economic uncertainty that has significantly brought down their sales, convenience stores and gas station owners at the seventh annual convention of the Asian American Con-
their products from the manufacturers. Unity will enhance their bargaining capacity and purchasing power," said Satya Shaw, president of the Asian American Convenience Store Association (AACSA) at the conclusion of the seventh annual convention of this trade body. The day-long event on Novem-
Chandrakant Patel, Chairman, Jay Vyas, Satya Shaw, President, Actress Saumya Tandon, Vijay Gandhi Event Chair, Shilpa Gandhi, Vijay Patel, Brahm Agrawal.
some 50 Indian American store owners and their employees in Georgia as they were selling some products, which they should not have, because of their ignorance. In the last seven years AASCA through its awareness campaign and activism has ensured that there is no repeat of such incident,
of them are now being run by Indian Americans, a majority of whom are from Gujarat. "This is an effort to bring them under one platform. Uniting of all the independent store owners and with their combined purchasing power would reduce the cost of their products and thus enhance
experts from the field and also law enforcement officials. Among those who addressed the seminar were Attorney Ricky Patel, Chase Harmer and Michael Zielinski. "Due to the current economic crisis, this year we have added some useful topics in the education seminar that will be beneficial
Headquarterd in Tampa (Florida), AASCA was formed seven years ago after the arrest of some 50 Indian American store owners and their employees in Georgia From right Satya Shaw, Pres AACSA, Actress Saumya Tandon and AACSA Event chair Vijay Gandhi at AACSA trade show
venience Store Association have vowed to join hands to enhance their collective bargaining capacity and purchasing power with large manufacturers and suppliers. "We feel that all these store owners, mostly independents, are not getting the best price for buying
ber 19, was kicked off by the ribbon cutting ceremony by Bollywood actress Saumya Tandon at the India Culture Center in Tampa. Headquarterd in Tampa (Florida), AASCA was formed seven years ago after the arrest of
Bollywood Actress Saumya Tandon, Rajyasree and Satya Shaw
Shaw said. AASCA today has a nationwide membership of about 10,000 convenience stores and gas station owners. According to unofficial estimates of the 146,000 convenience stores and gas stations in the United States some 50 percent
Bollywood actress Saumya Tandon dances with Atlanta Based dance group at the AACSA Conference
our profits in these tough economic times," Shaw said. How to tackle the economic crisis was one of the major topics of deliberations during the education seminar held for the convenience store and gas station owners, which was addressed by eminent
to all store owners. Our strength and unity is the solution to ensure the growth and profitability of our trade," said Chandrakant Patel, AACSA chairman, who is also the organizing secretary of the Overseas Friends of BJPP-USA. Contâ€™d on page 16
Satya Shaw, President, Hiten Shah of Chicago with Actress Saumya Tandon,
Community Across America
16 India Post
December 9, 2011
GOPIO urges India to withdraw tax on NRIs Contâ€™d from page 13
GOPIO has urged the Indian government to take suitable steps for the rehabilitation of such victims. GOPIO has also expressed special thanks to the authorities in the Kingdom of Bahrain for tak-
New GOPIO Team
During the Convention, GOPIO International held elections for positions in the new two-year term in the GOPIO Executive Council in accordance with GOPIO's ByLaws and procedures.
The meeting has also urged the Government of India to end the discriminatory practices against NRIs at archeological sites and hotels ing prompt action to protect the Indian community during the recent disturbances. The meeting has also urged the Government of India to end the discriminatory practices against NRIs at archeological sites and
The results of the elections are: Ashook Ramsaran (USA) was unanimously elected International President; Sunny Kulathakal (Bahrain) was unanimously elected Executive Vice President; Dr Piyush Agrawal (USA) was
General Body Meeting
unanimously elected Senior Vice President; Inder Singh (USA) was returned as Chairman. GOPIO International held its Biennial Convention 2011 from Nov 18-20, at the Renaissance
Woodbridge Hotel in Iselin, New Jersey. The convention theme of "Issues and Concerns of the Indian Diaspora" evaluated, assessed, debated, discussed and deliber-
ated on the current, critical issues of interest and concern that confront persons of Indian origin of more than 25 million people living in many countries outside of India.
Convenience store owners unite for more bargaining power Contâ€™d from page 15
"This (collective purchasing power) is the only way Indian American convenience store and gas station owners can gain prominence and increase their business," said Ronald L McDoland, international restaurant business leader, author and philanthropist. Author of several popular books including "McDonald's Franchise Buyer's Guide: How to Buy a Restaurant Franchise" McDonald addressed the convention and gave tips to participating convenience store and gas station owners on how to increase their collective bargaining capacity. "This group has the potential to be a powerful voice in the country," he said.
Dr. V. Kabaria, President of FAPI, Chandrakant Patel, Chairman, Jay Vyas, Rachel Burgin, FL State Representative Singing National Anthem, Vijay Gandhi, Event Chair, Shilpa Gandhi, Actress Saumya Tandom, Rajashree Shaw, Satya Shaw, President, Sudhir Shah, Vijay Patel, Arvind Patel
"As the US experiences one of its most historic periods of economic uncertainty and road to recover, convenience store
owners are confronting many challenges: significant Tax increases for cigarettes and alcoholic beverages, implementation
of stricter government laws and ordinances, restrictive supplydistribution policies; and a steady decrease in consumerism which all are factors that contribute to small profit margins," said Vijay Gandhi, AACSA event chair.
nual convention attracted a record number of participation from convenience store and gas station owners. A record number of some 60 vendors had their booths installed this time. "We had to turn down a number of requests this year as we did not had space to accommodate them," Shaw said. Some of the important vendors to attend this year's convention were Vijay Patel of Star Oil Company, Ricky Patel of Miami; VP Enterprises; Good Times; JJ Taylor; Hiten Shah of HTD Tobacco; Royal Buying Group; Central Bank; TCC Global, Camrose wine & spirits etc. After being held in Tampa for seven years, the next AACSA annual convention would be held in Chicago, Shaw announced. "This is time to move on and take AACSA to other cities," Shaw said. The day-long event was
After being held in Tampa for seven years, the next AACSA annual convention would be held in Chicago, Shaw announced. "This is time to move on and take AACSA to other cities," Shaw said "In order to survive through this dire economic situation, we must rely on our resiliency and determination as we have done in the past. The convenient store industry is one of the few markets where one can live and profit from one's efforts," Gandhi said. Reflecting the increasing strength of AACSA, the 7th an-
capped by an evening of cultural extravaganza, which was emceed by Bollywood actress Saumya Tandon. Besides presentation of cultural programs by young local Indian Americans from Tampa, artists from India, Atlanta, New York and New Jersey also enthralled the audience for hours till late in the night.
December 9, 2011
Community Across America www.indiapost.com
India Post 17
Boston Telugu community celebrates Diwali
India Post News Service
NEW YORK: The Telugu Association of Greater Boston (TAGB) celebrated its Deepavali Dhamaka 2011 in great grandeur on Nov 20 at Littleton High School with around 1000 members in attendance for a spectacular variety of cultural elements including kids' song and dance routines and
organization and high-lighted the commitment and efforts put in by various committees and volunteers for organizing several successful events in 2011. During this year, TAGB encouraged the community to participate in different areas of cultural, sports, youth, entrepreneurial and charitable activities. Mohan Nannapaneni, philanthropist and
funny skits and social dramas. There was also a fashion contest, and on the sidelines, stalls vending clothes and jewelry from India. A particular highlight was a talk bySri Srikanth Bolla, a visually impaired MIT student from a rural part of Andhra Pradesh,
past Chairman of TAGB Board of Trustees, was felicitated as "Boston Dhruvathara" by the Executive Committee and Board of Trustees on his election as Executive Vice President of TANA. Nannapaneni's valuable contribution as an initiator of 'TEAM Square', a part of the
who reached the higher level in his academic career. TAGB President Koteswara Rao Kandukuri gave a detailed update on the
Telugu Association of North America (TANA) to aid members of the Telugu community in need of emergency help was recognized.
Community Across America
18 India Post
December 9, 2011
Indian radiologists pitch to make AARI stronger Asian Media USA
CHICAGO: The American Association of Radiologists of Indian Origin (AARI) held its Annual Dinner of the 2011 at the same time that the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) hosted
and discuss topics of mutual concerns. Formerly called Sushruta Society, it traditionally meets annually at the same time of the RSNA (Radiological Society of North America) annual meeting. This year's annual
Formerly called Sushruta Society, it traditionally meets annually at the same time of the RSNA (Radiological Society of North America) annual meeting A group of Indian radiologists with AARI office bearers at Radiologists meet in Chicago. (Pic Asian Media USA)
its meet in Chicago on Sunday November 27 at Gaylord India Restaurant in Chicago Downtown. Over 162 radiologists from America and abroad attended the event. AARI started in 1975 and provides an appealing platform for charitable, educational and cultural activities besides letting its members to share common ideas
dinner was sponsored by Merrill Lynch. Dr. Roger Rodriguez, who has been Master of Ceremonies for years, in his welcome speech mentioned that every president has contributed in a big way to make AARI stronger compared to when they took over and Dr. Sridhar continued that strong tradition. He has spearheaded
the project to revamp the website to make it more relevant to current times. He stated that yet another member of the Executive committee deserving a lot of kudos is Vivek Mishra, the Membership coordinator, who has worked tirelessly to promote membership of AARI." He further outlined measures to make stronger bond between In-
dian-Americans and Indian radiologist by: 1 More involvement of AARI in IRIA national meetings. Speakers of Indian origin in the US could present a short session during IRIA conferences, presenting the latest and best. This was something that used to happen with the Sushruta society (old AARI) but somehow fell
off the wayside. 2. Invite AARI members in presentations at local CME meetings in India, and hopefully help in enhancing the level of discussions at these meetings 3. Academic members from AARI could contribute to academic institutions with residency and post residency training programs by lectures, board reviews and information sessions about focused training opportunities in the US 4. AARI members could work with centers of excellence in India where US residents or even faculty could learn more about infectious diseases or more cutting edge IR procedures. 5. There are academic centers in the US where Indian residents can come for research and get assimilated in the system here, or learn something and go back. 6. AARI could do a better job in identifying mentors of Indian descent here who could guide prospective mentorees.
PCS participates in Thanksgiving Day Parade KRISHNA RAJDA
Punjabi wedding participants during the parade
CHICAGO: The Punjabi Cultural Society of Chicago (PCS) kept up it's tradition of participating in McDonald's Parade held on the Thanksgiving Day. It participated in the 79th Parade held on November 24 at State Street in Chicago downtown. Celebrating its 78th year, the McDonald's Thanksgiving Parade is Chicago's premier holiday event. The weather was chilly and cold but that did not deter the enthusiasm of the participants. The parade was televised live on WGN Channel 9 and rebroadcast on CLTV on the same day. PCS was part of 101 spectacular contingents marching in the parade route North on State Street from Congress to Lake Street. The theme of the PCS float and it's contingent was an Indian/Punjabi/Sikh wed-
ding party (Baraat), which included the bride and the groom in traditional Punjabi wedding outfits, the baraatees in festive ethnic costumes, Punjabi dhol, amplified
PCS participants in McDonald's Parade on State Street
Board of Governors. University of Illinois Chicago Bhangra and DePaul University Bhangra troupes showcased world famous Punjabi folk
Thousands of spectators lined up on-street cheering along the parade route while an estimated 3.75 million at-home viewers watched on TV the PCS float, gigantic helium balloons, marching school bands, majestic Arabian equestrian units Bhangra music and street dancing. "It was a great exposure of our community in the mainstream, through a major TV channel coverage," said Rajinder Singh Mago, PCS
dance Bhangra to thousands of cheering spectators lined up along the State Street. Mona and Manjeet Bhalla were the bride and groom, Nikki Sekhon a baraatee,
Kevindeep Atwal, Sunny Sekhon, and Ryan Singh played Punjabi Dhol (drum) along with Sunshine DJ to keep the spectators involved and the performers warmed up in the freezing morning weather. Thousands of spectators lined up onstreet cheering along the parade route while an estimated 3.75 million at-home viewers watched on TV the PCS float, gigantic helium balloons, marching school bands, majestic Arabian equestrian units, fabulous specialty floats, spectacular performance groups, national celebrities and local personalities, in addition to Bozo the clown and Santa Claus. The PCS participation was organized among others by Balwinder Singh Girn, Thakar Singh Basati, Onkar Singh Sangha, Vick Singh and Rajinder Singh Mago.
Community Across America
December 9, 2011
India Post 19
Sikh community celebrates Thanksgiving with school THAKAR S BASATI
S Shiva Singh and other Sikhs at Courtney School in Chicago.
Serving Thanksgiving lunch
CHICAGO: The American Sikh Community in Chiicagoland and Spirit Rising Foundation of Chicago celebrated Thanksgiving Day Holiday with students and families of Courtney School in Chicago. Lunch was catered and bought by the Sikhs. The recent tradition has it that Sikhs go once a month to Salvation Army and provide lunch. For past two years there had been some changes within Salvation Army and Sikhs lost track.
Now they are trying to revive the tradition. Sikh families take turns to sponsor food. In Courtney School, it was arranged by S. Shiva Singh Khalsa and his wife Sardarni Shabad Kaur Khalsa. Principal and Vice Principal of the school were at hand all the time during lunch service. Before serving lunch, S.Shiva Singh Khalsa explained the importance of free Langar in Sikh Religion. He told the attendees about
Attendees were very appreciative of the free food service, which they perhaps would not be able to enjoy because of tough economic times all around
80,000 people being served free vegetarian Langar at Shri Harmandir Sahib, holiest place of Sikhs in Amritsar, Punjab, India widely known as Vatican of the Sikhs. Silent prayer was said by all attendees. Courtney School has population of 86% people below poverty line and it is only few blocks away from the home of current Mayor of Chicago. About 100 people showed up for free food. Lunch was followed
by chocolate and vanilla cake. Attendees were very appreciative of the free food service, which they perhaps would not be able to enjoy because of tough economic times all around. S.Sarwan Singh also displayed pictures of Sikh warriors from World War 1 and 2. S.Sarwan Singh was joined by S Hardial Singh Deol, S.Amarjit Singh and his sons, Bibi Jasbir Kaur Singh, S Thakar Singh Basati and Dr.Sukhraaj Singh.
Desi girl leads Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade parade, as chants of "USA! USA!" echoed through the streets of Times Square and Herald Square as they marched through, embodying pride and patriotism of our nation's stars and stripes. The multi-talented and versatile Vanan said she was honored to represent and be a part of two classic American traditions The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade as well as America's Veterans United. Bhavna Vanan is a young Indian Ameri-
guages, Vanan became the first Indian American contestant in the iconic singing talent show Sapthaswarangal on Sun TV in India, aired worldwide in 2006. She has also lent her voice to various corporate films, ads, and promos. She began her dance training in Bharatnatyam as a child, and evolved through various dance styles over the years. Today she is a professional Zumba Fitness Instructor and belly
Born and raised in London, UK, and having lived in four different countries and numerous cities around the world, Vanan always brings a unique perspective to the table, and embodies a multicultural spirit through her upbringing and life experiences
India Post News Service
NEW YORK: Bhavna Vanan, an enhancement designer for Macys.com, the official website of the mega chain store, served as a parade captain for the Special Unit America's Veteran's United Performance group in the 85th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on Nov 24. The performance groups started marching about three miles starting from Central Park west & 81st all the way down to Herald Square at 34th street in Manhattan. Vanan appeared as the front lead of the
group on the NBC live broadcast at 34th street, where the crowd of 3.5 million people cheered for America's Veterans. The group of 50 war veterans from all eras each carried a large US flag on a high staff and harness, representing WW-II, Korean War, Vietnam War, Cold War, Desert Storm, Operation Enduring Freedom/Afghanistan, and Operation and Iraqi Freedom. It was noted that this special unit, being one of the most beloved and timeless groups in the parade received the loudest cheers and longest applause of the entire
can graphic designer, visionary, and activist, with a progressive vision for the future. She has designed and conceptualized for companies such as Procter & Gamble, the Emmy award winning broadcast creative agency Digital Kitchen, and more recently global fashion retail giants such as the Italian based designer eyewear corporation Luxottica and Macy's in New York. Born and raised in London, UK, and having lived in four different countries and numerous cities around the world, Vanan always brings a unique perspective to the table, and embodies a multicultural spirit through her upbringing and life experiences. With a fluency in Tamil and a talent for song and dance in multiple lan-
dance performer, which showcases her flair and drive for a multicultural performing arts experience. She has also worked long distance from the US as an assistant film director on the Indian film "Leelai" where she had the opportunity to develop content for a film script, create the film's official website, and conduct research for the pre-production process. Vanan is currently involved in scriptwriting and direction for PSA projects in her activism efforts for Indian audiences. She is excited to be a part of multicultural efforts to showcase and cherish the Indian culture and community in the US and beyond, she says.
20 India Post
December 9, 2011
Chellaram's Gurbani enthralls Sikh community India Post News Service
WASHINGTON: A 73 old passionate singer of Gurbani, Lachman Chellaram, popularly known in Sindhi community as Dada Lachman Chellaram, enthralled the Sikh community in the Washington area with his melodious singing (Kirtan) of Gurbani and thoughtful explanations in English. A devout follower of Guru Granth Sahib, he delves deep into the spiritual meaning of Sikh teachings during his performances. He had a spellbinding effect on the audience and people listened to him with complete silence and sang fervently with
Lachman Chellarm with members of Sikh community (Pics: Harbans Singh Chhabra)
Lachman Chellarm being honored by GGSF: Left to right; Chattar Singh Saini, Lachman Chellaram, Sarabjit Singh Sidhu, Bhai Gurdarshan Singh, Inderjit Singh, and Arvinder Singh
him. Age has not dampened his spirit and he touches high notes during his singing reminding audiences of his father who had captivated the Sikh community in the 60's with his enthusiastic kirtan. He is one of the few Sindhi singers of Gurbani. The whole experience was uplifting for many in the Washington area. Guru Gobind Singh Foundation (GGSF) had invited Dada Lachman Chellaram for the week-long celebrations of 26th Anniversay of GGSF and 6th Anniversary of the new Gurdwara building recently. Dada Chellaram, born in 1938 in Karachi city of Sindh, is son of famous Bhai (Dada) Chellaram who had fans all over the Indian subcontinent and throughout the A section of the audience
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world for his melodious kirtan. The elder Dada Chellaram had worked closely with many famous Raagi Jathas including the Jatha of Bhai Sudh Singh Pardhan Singh Sargodhawale, a recipient of Punjab State's Bhai Mardana Award. Following the footsteps of his father, Lachman Chellaram has traveled throughout the world spreading the word of Gurbani. Lachman Ji has firm faith in the teachings of Guru Nanak and chose the path of spiritual service. Since 1959, he has been traveling in India and abroad spreading the "Divine Name" through Kirtan and discourses. He has translated Guru Granth Sahib into Sindhi (both in Devnagri and Arabic scripts), Hindi, Punjabi, Gujarati, Marathi, Bengali, and English. Altogether he has published over 100 books on Guru Granth Sahib and Dasam Granth. He recently spent few weeks in Pakistan visiting the Sikh communities and Sindhi communities in southern region of the country. Cont’d on page 21
December 9, 2011
Chellaram's Gurbani enthralls Sikh community will continue to widen the horizon of the Sikh community and reach out to the audience who are ignorant of the message of Guru Nanak." Washington metro area Sikh community tremendously enjoyed his unique style of kirtan and katha during his recent visit. In appre-
Contâ€™d from page 20
Sindhi community all around the world admire his kirtan and he has a busy schedule visiting various communities throughout the United Sates. Inderjit Singh, Executive Director of Guru Gobind Singh Foundation, said, "Lachman ji has further enhanced and glorified his father's name by his wisdom, tal-
ent, devotion and scholarly research of Gursikh history. He has exalted the life mission of Guru Nanak Sahib and has been spreading the ideologies of universal truth and brotherhood." While speaking at GGSF, Chellaram said, "Sri Guru Granth Sahib is a religious scripture which is truly universal. It does not speak just about Sikhs, but about mankind in general." He further says
that "A very few people know what the text actually contains. It is painful that even most Sikhs are not aware of the messages contained in the Holy Scripture. They bow before it and go through all the rituals when they go to a Gurdwara, but a very few know what they are bowing to." For his valuable contributions toward spreading the message of Gurus, Lachman Chellaram has re-
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Persecution of Hindus in Pakistan
hat would be the long-term implications of the persecution of Hindus in Pakistan? To encourage not only Pakistan, but Bangladesh and other Muslim countries with Hindu minorities to force them (the minorities) to flee to India, thus effectively encouraging "ethnic cleansing" by all Muslim (and eventually by all Christian and other non-Hindu) countries? To multiply the experience of the Kashmiri pandits? To exacerbate the situation of Hindus in Malaysia, especially in the States of Johore, Malacca, Pahang, Negri Sembilan, Selangor, Perak, Kelantan, Trengganu, Kedah, Perlis? To further imperil the already gloomy future of Hindus in Sri Lanka? Far better, why not encourage every Muslim in India to flee to Pakistan and Bangladesh - since undivided India was par-
titioned for the precise and deliberate purpose of providing a permanent homeland for all Indian Muslims? In the alternative, why not force Pakistan and Bangladesh to accord Hindus there the same rights as enjoyed by Muslims, and ensure that these rights are permanent and never diminished? Do the same with Muslim Malaysia? And with race-chauvinist Buddhism-besotted Sri Lanka? Are Hindus in Bali forced to flee Indonesia and seek permanent asylum in India? Are Hindus in former British Guiana (now Guyana)? Are Hindus in Madagascar? Should we not rather encourage Hindus to get out of corruption-ridden India, to settle and lead satisfying lives outside? In Europe, in the United Kingdom, in the United States of America, in Canada, in the Gulf States, in South Africa, in Indonesia, in Malaysia,
in Australia, in New Zealand, in Japan, in China, in Korea, in the Philippines? Why are we so cowardly? Why are we all talk and no action? Why are we allowing the chickens to come home to roost? Should we not encourage all poverty-stricken Hindus to travel overseas and make their fortunes there? And then pull over their less fortunate ones still languishing in poverty in India? Did not the Chinese do that? Are the Chinese not doing that today? Are we inferior to the Chinese in culture, in potential, in intellect, in mental capacity, in ability to work, think, act, reproduce, contribute to the wellbeing of the new home countries, share in the new countries' prosperity, arts, culture, way of living, influence the society, the values, the outlook, there? S Narayanaswamy Iyer Schaumburg, Illinois
Disclaimer :- India Post does not endorse opinions expressed in the letters.
ceived many laurels and awards from many organizations in India and abroad including Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee, Amritsar, Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee, Delhi, Takhat Sri Patna Sahib, Bhai Vir Singh Sahitya Sadan, Delhi, and Guru Teg Bahadur Foundation, Delhi. He was also honored by the Freemont Gurdwara Sahib in California last year. Dr. Rajwant Singh, Secretary of GGSF, said, "We are touched by his fervor for Gurbani and his ability to connect with the members of the sangat of all ages. We sincerely hope that others like him
For his valuable contributions toward spreading the message of Gurus, Lachman Chellaram has received many laurels and awards from many organizations in India and abroad including Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee
ciation of his contribution toward Gurmat Parchar and research, Dada Lachman Chellaram was presented with a 'Siropa' by the GGSF. He also performed at other Gurdwaras in the Washington area and visited several cities throughout the US.
Sahara had sought Govt protection
he Sahara Group had lobbied the Ministry of Corporate Affairs for protection from penal action even before it moved the Supreme Court against a Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) order on refunding Rs 24,000 crore raised from investors through a 'private placement'. The chairman of the Sahara Group, Subrata Roy, had written a letter to the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA), requesting them to desist from taking any coercive action against the company as long as its case is pending in the Supreme Court, reports Business Line. Veerappa Moily, Minister, MCA, had responded to the letter promising to do his best. Roy had written the letter on November 3, a week before Sahara moved the apex court, on November 11. Moily responded in a letter dated November 17. The matter pertains to Sahara Group's dispute with the SEBI where the former was asked to refund Rs 24,000 crore to investors. Sahara raised over Rs 19,400 crore from 2.21 crore investors, terming it a "private placement". The SEBI had asked for this money to be refunded along with 15 per cent penal interest. Sahara then approached the apex court, which asked it to approach the Securities Appellate Tribunal (SAT). An MCA official told Business Line, "Under law, if any matter is sub-judice, we automatically do not take any action." Cont’d on page 23
Hinduja Realty Ventures plans IPO
induja Realty Ventures (HRV), the real estate arm of the Hinduja Group, is expected to go in for initial public offerings in the next one to two years, according to the company's senior executives. "We are considering listing the realty arm over the next 12 months," said Abin K Das, director, Hinduja Group India. "For the power company, Hinduja National Power Corporation (HNPC), we would like to first build our portfolio before we tap the markets." It is currently developing a 40-acre mixed use IT park and 115-acre residential project in Bangalore.
Homeownership demand is up
December 9, 2011
Details on page 23
Around 50% UAE NRIs planning to buy property in India
early half of non-resident Indians (NRIs) plan to buy property in India for investment purposes, according to a survey released by Sumansa Exhibitions. Conducted amongst 15,000 NRIs across the UAE, the survey revealed that Mumbai and Delhi grabbed the top spots as the extremely viable options for property investments since the cities continued to be the most robust real estate markets in the country. Pune, Gurgaon and Noida have emerged as hotspots for investments making it to the top five list of favorable cities. The study further indicates that NRIs are not necessarily looking at their hometowns for investments. Sunil Jaiswal, CEO of Sumansa Exhibitions, organizers of Indian Property Show, said: "The survey result is not surprising as Mumbai and Delhi are the most promising markets as far as RoI (return on investment) and net profitability is concerned. Both these cities enjoy commercial prominence, location advantage and increasing wealth, as such the growth momentum either has continued or is stable even if the world markets have experienced economic
crisis. Factoring all the advantages these cities have, the scene will not change in near future. NRI does still consider that investing
ity of the main cities." Honey Katiyal, CEO, Investors Clinic, India's leading real estate consultancy, said: "NRIs are
‘NRIs are choosing other cities apart from their hometowns and especially Mumbai, Delhi, Pune, Gurgaon and Noida, which reflects the sentiments that the investors are looking for good investment’ in these cities will be profitable. Pune, Gurgaon and Noida are in the top 5 as they enjoy the advantage of being in close proxim-
choosing other cities apart from their hometowns and especially Mumbai, Delhi, Pune, Gurgaon and Noida, which reflects the
sentiments that the investors are looking for good investment options for increasing their wealth. These cities are favorable as investors can make good profit as the real estate prices in past few years have spiraled enormously and will witness upward trend in future, barring 10-15 per cent correction in some parts of these cities, plus the cities give good rental income. Home loans and other facilities from Banks & Builders can also be availed quickly, all this makes them good options for investment. We as one of the India's largest real estate management consultancies have seen this trend and expect the same to continue in foreseeable future". Katiyal said NRIs stand to gain from the sharp slide in rupee over last two weeks. The rupee has depreciated more than 16 per cent against the US dollar since July 2011. This has made homes in India increasingly cheaper in dollar price terms, an attractive proportion specially at a time the real estate sector in the developed markets remain depressed. Little wonder then, NRIs have been looking at the homes back home with renewed interest.
Tata Sons to infuse 500cr in Tata Housing
ata Sons will infuse Rs 500 crore into the group's real estate arm, Tata Housing Development Company, through a fresh issue of equity shares, Economic Times reported, citing sources. The process to issue equity shares to the parent is expected to start in the next couple of weeks with an aim to complete it by the end of current fiscal year. This was the only other decision that was taken at the board meeting of the company, which appointed Cyrus P Mistry as the deputy chairman and a successor to chairman Ratan Tata. In a response to an emailed query, Tata Housing said, it "will not be able to comment on this now". Currently, Tata Sons holds
99.78 per cent of equity share capital of Tata Housing that was set up in 1984. In 2006, Tata Sons revived the realty developer by pumping in capital worth Rs 100
of its projects where the land owner becomes a partner instead of receiving consideration for the land, and has a development portfolio of over 44 million sq ft under
The company has been using joint development model for most of its projects where the land owner becomes a partner instead of receiving consideration for the land crore. Since then, the company's revenue has jumped to over Rs 700 crore in 2010-11 from around Rs 50 crore in 2006-07. The company has been using joint development model for most
various stages of execution. In addition to this, the company also has a project pipeline of over 19 million sq ft. It already has presence in Mumbai, Gurgaon, Bengaluru,
Pune, Ahmedabad, Chandigarh, Chennai, Kolkata and Goa, and is in the process of expanding its operations to other parts of India across tier I and II cities. Apart from this, it has also ventured into foreign markets like Maldives and is actively considering markets such as Sri Lanka, and other South Asian countries. With these plans in the backdrop of growth prospects of realty estate, Tata Sons has decided to infuse more capital. In 2010, the company formed Smart Value Homes Ltd, a 100 per cent subsidiary to focus on low cost and affordable housing and has been developing integrated township projects in various parts of the country.
December 9, 2011
Homeownership demand is up JUDY MARTEL
he monthly cost of owning a median-priced home (including taxes and insurance) is lower than the average cost to rent in 12 metro areas, according to a Wall Street Journal
homeownership is more affordable than it's been in 15 years. Some of the cities where homeownership costs less than renting include Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, Las Vegas, Miami, Phoe-
There are signs that the tide is turning back to homeownership and buyers are taking advantage of affordability in the housing market. Pending home sales rose 10.4 percent in October survey. In 15 of the 27 cities surveyed, it is still less expensive to rent, but the scale has been tipping in favor of homeownership. In fact, according to the survey,
nix and St. Louis. Not coincidentally, some of those areas are also the ones where home prices dropped the furthest during the housing crash.
Ansal API's mega city in NCR
ew Delhi-based real estate developer, Ansal API is coming up with Sushant Megapolis, a 2,504-acre mega-city in Gautam Budh Nagar, adjoining Greater Noida, Uttar Pradesh. The first phase of the project measuring around 500-acre was launched in July 2008 and now the company has launched the second phase measuring around 600-plus acre. The project consists of plotted scheme, built-up houses comprising villas and floors, group housing projects, commercial plots and entertainment zones. Dinesh Gupta, chief executive officer of Megapolis, told Financial Chronicle, "The project, when completed, will be serving about 200,000 people. In next nine-12 months, 80 per cent of the phase I will be ready and phase II will take another two to three years' time. We have already begun the work for the launch of phase III." Elaborating on the investment plans for the project, Gupta added, "The total investment, as per the present business plan on the entire project - and at the present costs of development, land and cost of construction - is estimated to be approximately Rs 7,000 to Rs 8,000 crore, which would be spread over the next five to eight years." The company has launched villas and built-up houses. In the group housing project, the company has launched one project named Fairway. This group-housing project comprises one, two, three and four BHK apartments with sizes ranging from 620-1,820
per sq ft. The base rate for various sizes of apartments is Rs 2,100 per sq ft plus the additional charges. The company is in the process of launching two other group housing projects in the next few months, Gupta informed. Apart from these, the company has also launched various commercial projects-under-construction. The company is also trying to bring in local developers and smaller players of the real estate industry to buy space from them and build small multi-storeyed apartments, as an important sales
Rental rates rose nationwide about 4 percent, while home prices continue to fall and mortgage rates remain low. But lately buyers have been reluctant because their credit isn't good enough to qualify for a
Sahara had sought Govt protection Contâ€™d from page 22
The official said that there had been several instances of misuse of private placement of shares to individuals and entities such as Sahara. "Through a notification,
"The project, when completed, will be serving about 200,000 people strategy. "We are seeing lot of demand for this kind of concept. We have a single window clearance for the developers, thereby, easing the process," he said. Some of the significant features that the project will include, according to the company, are Nick Faldo Signature Golf Course, Mahesh Bhupathi Tennis Academy, Sports Academy and Medicity. Speaking about further plans of the company, Gupta said, "We are planning to form a 75-acre SEZ and are at present looking at the overall scenario. We are also in route for 10-acre commercial project. The first building has been launched."
low-interest mortgage or they can't sell their current home. But there are signs that the tide is turning back to homeownership and buyers are taking advantage of affordability in the housing
market. Pending home sales rose 10.4 percent in October from a month earlier, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). The Midwest saw the biggest gains, with a 24-percent increase, while in the West, sales remained basically flat. The Northeast and South also saw gains. Pending home sales, however, don't always turn into signed contracts. Realtors are saying about 18 percent of buyers back out, compared with 4 percent to 6 percent normally. Reasons include not qualifying for credit, cold feet and -- since many of the pending sales are distressed properties -- buyers sometimes becoming weary with the long process required for a short sale.
Chairman of the Sahara Group Subrata Roy Sahara
we are trying to curb this practice," the official added. Earlier, too, Sahara had sought refuge under MCA's wings. In its appeal to the tribunal, Sahara had contended that the SEBI had no jurisdiction over the issue as the companies involved (Sahara India Real Estate Corporation, now known as Sahara Commodity Services Corporation Ltd, and Sahara Housing Investment Corporation) were not listed. The company maintained that as the entities involved were pri-
vately-held, they came under the MCA's jurisdiction. The tribunal had dismissed this argument, saying it had no merit. It further directed the companies on October 18 to refund the money
raised through Optionally Fully Convertible Debentures to investors within six weeks. Sahara has challenged this in the Supreme Court and has sought an interim stay.
December 9, 2011
t is a wonderland that leaves every visitor amazed and amused with its landscape, food, culture and hospitality where they (locals) actually treat you as God and not guest. On top of all this, every house is an artists' world in itself as everyone there is an artist. Over175 km from the nearest airport (Patna- Bihar) on the border of Nepal is this almost neglected beautiful place located. People of Mithila have their own language and a sense of regional identity that goes back more than 2500 years. Among the most celebrated figures believed to have been born or lived in the region are Mahavira (a great spiritual hero of Jain religion), Siddhartha Gautama (better known to the world as the Buddha), and Sita (the legendary wife of Prince Rama and herself a central figure in what may be the world's most popular epic, the Ramayana). Mithila Art Madhubani paintings or Mithila Art is a style of Indian art painting, practiced in the Mithila region of Bihar state, India. The Madhubani paintings come from the Indian villages of Madhubani and Mithila in Bihar. These paintings are done on various materials such as cloth, hand made paper and canvas. The main subjects of Madhubani paintings contain images of Hindu deities such as Krishna, Rama, Shiva,
dings are also beautifully depicted in Madhubani paintings. The art of Madhubani paintings As Madhubani paintings have been con-
Over175 km from the nearest airport (Patna- Bihar) on the border of Nepal is this almost neglected beautiful place located. People of Mithila have their own language and a sense of regional identity that goes back more than 2500 years
Artists at work - Sujni work (another form of rural art where they hand stich to many different types of item on the cloth)
Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswati. You can find beautiful Madhubani paintings of sun, moon and tulsi (sacred basil plant) revered very much by the Hindus. Scenes of royal courts and social events such as celebration of wed-
fined to a compact geographical area and the skills have been passed on through centuries, the content and the style have largely remained the same. Contâ€™d on page 26
December 9, 2011
French Sahib in India Philippe is confronted with traditional Indian values which are very unlike those of the country from which he hails. When young Dipu wants to marry Philippe it is the stereotypical social values that become the stumbling block in their romance. How can they
a French colony. His family came to Paris, and he studied literature at the Sorbonne. He has been a teacher in writing workshops and literary editor. He has also worked for many years as an independent, free-lance writer, both of fiction (novels,
BOOK REVIEW French Sahib was written after he spent two long stays in India, first published in France in 2006, and has received critical acclaim. With his experience with Algeria, Freha feels more like a citizen of the world than just French
hat happens when a Frenchman falls in love with a young Indian guy? Set in India with a French protagonist, and written by a
Frenchman, French Sahib is a French-Indian love story revealing the taboos of Indian society and the hypocrisies of French milieu. On his arrival in India,
confront the unbridgeable gulf between the traditional East and the modern West? In French Sahib Pierre Freha tells that amusing tale of identity, individuality, love and universal human need for connection and belonging. Pierre Freha was born in Algeria at the time the country was
stories, an award-winning radio play) and nonfiction (press articles and books on poker, bridge, and other similar subjects). Currently he exclusively writes fiction. French Sahib was written after he spent two long stays in India, first published in France in 2006, and has received critical acclaim.
With his experience with Algeria, Freha feels more like a citizen of the world than just French; hence, his fascination with India which French Sahib reveals. Since then, he has written three books, one novel based on his experience upon returning to Algeria which he left when he was 9, La Conquete de l'Oued, a collection of stories, Old Algiers, and another novel based in India. The Toad to Betalbatim. Pierre lives in Paris - when he is not traveling, that is. Colour Indienne comments on this book as follows: "I urge you to find and read this novel, you'll have a great time reading it. I have smiled and even laughed out loud at the comical situations, the misunderstandings but I was also very moved at times and drawn to ponder. Drama is also present in the tsunami that is depicted. My favorite character is Radha a typical Indian mother. You will love her too, I'm sure. Enjoy reading this book!"
Pak girl band influenced by classical, Bollywood music NEW DELHI: Introduced to Hindustani classical music when they were just babies, Zeb and Haniya, of popular girl band duo from Pakistan say they were "quite shocked" when they learnt that melody queen Lata Mangeshkar was not from Pakistan. "In our childhood, the cable TV in our area used to catch Doordarshan so Chitrahar became a regular. We grew up listing to those songs, without knowing that this music is from India - a different country. For us, it was music, our music, the borders were irrelevant. It was only when we grew up that geography dawned on us," says Zeb who is visiting India with cousin Haniya. The duo is making their debut in the annual South Asian bands festival beginning here on December 2 that will include 15 popular rock bands from across nine countries in the subcontinent. "Growing up in a family where everyone not only loved music but also lived it. Our grandmother used to hum Hindi lullabies, there was an uncle of ours who owned recordings of the entire series of Geetmala (a weekly radio countdown show of top filmi songs from Indian cinema.) So we were shocked when we came to know that Lata Mangeshkar was not a Pakistani," says Zeb. The singer duo is very excited about the concert here on December 2 for which they say they have
a surprise in tow. "We are featuring two surprise musicians in our performance. One from a local Delhi band and the other also from Delhi but doing a very different kind of music," Haniya who is a guitarist, vocalist and songwriter told PTI.
The musicians who were in Tamil Nadu earlier this year say they absolutely adore Tamil actor Dhanush's song Kolaveri Di that has become a blockbuster over the Internet The musicians who were in Tamil Nadu earlier this year say they absolutely adore Tamil actor Dhanush's song Kolaveri Di that has become a blockbuster over the Internet. "We were in Coimbatore when a friend told us about Kolaveri song and we loved it. It has hit the Pakistani youth as well. People are sharing the song on Facebook," says Zeb who has been singing since age eight and has been trained as a vocalist under acclaimed Ustad Mubarak Ali Khan. Hailing from Kohat near Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in Pakistan
Zeb and Haniya
the band sings in more language than its members speak. Their repertoire comprises mostly Urdu songs but some of the songs are also in Pashto, Persian and Turkish. "As kids we used to listen to Dari and Pashto songs, sung by migrant Pashtuns from Afghanistan. We just learnt the music, even though we didn't understand the lyrics," says Zeb.
Their very first song, Chup, composed when the duo was studying in the US was released on the internet, and was picked up and made popular by radio stations in Pakistan. Zeb and Haniya are also coming up with their yet to be named, new album early 2012. "Beginning of 2012 we will come up with our new album with all original tracks in Urdu. We have
not named the album yet," says Haniya. The artistes also dream to translate and sing the poems of their grandmother Jamsheeda Begum who had a big influence on them. "Our grandmother used to write poems in Urdu, Pastho and Dari. We would love to use the poems by our beloved grandmother in our projects," says Zeb. -PTI
December 9, 2011 www.indiapost.com
The 'selfless' art of Madhubani Khobarpainting on the wall - this is a form of Madhubani painting used only during marriages Contâ€™d from page 24
The art of Madhubani paintings requires skill and implies a certain technique. This technique uses simple raw materials that are easily found in villages such as bamboo sticks and cotton. Firstly the cotton is wrapped around a bamboo stick to serve as a brush. Then the brush is dipped in colors and applied on to the fabric. No shading technique is used. The outline is done with double lines. The gaps between the two lines are filled with cross or straight lines. Madhubani paintings were usually done on walls during festivals, religious events and other milestones of the life-cycle such as birth, Upanayanam (sacred thread ceremony), and marriage. Paintings on walls are very common in the Mithila villages but Mithila art is way more than just painting. There are other forms of art and craft of this area which is not known to the outside world like Sicky work (sicky is a kind of grass grown in the area which is dried and processed in a very natural way and then different shapes are given to it); Paper Mache - another form of art where waste paper material and
Madhubani painting on the wall
mud/clay is used to create some awesome piece of art work. There has been little recognition for such ancient master craft. Even though women in the villages around Madhubani have been practicing their folk art for centuries, the world at large has come to know about these women and to con-
sider them to be "artists" only in the last thirty years. Even now, most of their work remains anonymous. The women, most of them illiterate, are in any case reluctant to consider themselves individual producers of "works of art" and only a few of them mark the paintings with their own name.
December 9, 2011
India Post www.indiapost.com
Big B might play Rabindranath Tagore?
f all goes well, Amitabh Bachchan might soon have a brush with Bengali. Argentinian filmmaker Pablo Cesar is set to bring Rabindranath Tagore's encounter with Argentine writer Victoria Ocampo on the big screen, and wants the actor to play the role of the Nobel Laureate. The filmmaker's script
is ready, but the project has been delayed and won't release in time for Tagore's 150th birth centenary this year, as he'd hoped for. Now, Cesar says, "We have got financial backing from an Argentinean film association. And we plan to approach Amitabh Bachchan in Mumbai," says Cesar, who is in Goa to attend the ongoing International Film Festival of India (IFFI). Cesar plans to title the film, Thinking Of Him, which were the last words Ocampo mentioned in the telegram she sent to his family after Tagore passed away. The film will be partly period and partly set in modern day. The filmmaker plans to shoot in Kolkata, Shantiniketan and Sunderbans, as well as in Argentina. The director, whose film, Shores, is being screened at IFFI, is likely to make the film in Bengali/Spanish. Apparently, Argentina is the only Latin American country that Tagore visited and spent time in. It's believed that Tagore's stint in Argentina revolved mostly around a personal encounter with Ocampo, which reflected in his creative work and in the work of Ocampo herself. Apparently, the famous Tagore song, 'Ogo bideshiniâ€Ś' was written keeping her in mind. For the uninitiated, Cesar is looked upon as a pioneer in developing co-productions between Argentina, India, Tunisia and Mali. He has spent many years shooting a trilogy inspired by old Sufi poems and ancient mythology. He has also been teaching at the University of Cinema in Buenos Aires since 1992
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December 9, 2011
Fri Dec 9 • Lands of the Mughals Venue: The Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium, Fifth Avenue/West 81 Street, New York, 10028 Time: 7 pm Contact: 212-570-3964
Fri Dec 16 • Diamond Jewelery Exhibition Venue: New York Hilton, 1335 Avenue Of The Americas, New York, NY 10019 Time: 11 am Contact: 415-424-8137
Sat Dec 17 • Meetpacking Districts Hottest Lounge with your Favorite Bollywood Music Venue: Honey Lounge, 243 West 14th St., NY Time: 10pm Contact: 914-433-4118
Sat Dec 10
Fri Dec 09
• IAMA 2011 Gala
• AICC 2nd Annual Holiday Party On Cornucopia Cruise Line
Venue: The Meadows Club, 2950 W.Golf Rd Rolling, Meadows, Chicago, IL 60008 Time: 6 pm Contact: 773-275-8630
Venue: Cornucopia Cruise Line, New Jersey Time: 6:30pm Contact: 732-7774666
Mon Dec 19
Sat Dec 10
• Mind & Meditation
• Carnatic Fest Mini Concerts
Venue: Art of Living Center 1251 N Plum Grove Rd Suite#110, Schaumburg, IL Time: 7:15pm Contact: 630-930-9145
Venue: PAL Youth Center, 33 Baldwin Road, Parsippany, NJ 07054 Time: 6: 00 pm Contact: 973-503-1315
Wed March 7
Tues Dec 13
• Loves Got a hold on me
• The Chefís Tasting Wine Dinner
Venue: Freedom Hall, 410 Lakewood Boulevard, Park Forest, IL Time: 7pm Contact: 312-572-9373
Venue: Amiya Restaurant, Harborside Financial Center, Plaza 5, 160 Greene Street NJ Time: 8: 00 pm Contact: 973-978-1177
Fri Dec 9 • ìDiamond Jewelery Exhibitionî Show in SFO Venue: Fremont Marriott, 46100 Landing Parkway, Fremont, CA Time: 11am Contact: 415-425-8137
• Ohlone College Music Department 4th Annual Christmas Extravaganza Directed by Tony Clements Venue: Smith Center at Ohlone College, 43600 Mission Boulevard, Fremont Time: 2pm Contact: 510-659-6031 Highlights: Get your holiday season off to a joyous start with the 4th Annual Christmas Extravaganza, featuring all four Ohlone College bands: Wind Orchestra, Mission Peak Brass Band, Community Band, and the Tuba Ensemble.
Sat Dec 10
• Christmas & New Year
• Christmas & New Year Celebrations
Sat Dec 31 • India Samaj Presents Welcome 2012 & Good bye 2011 Venue: Paradise Indian Cuisine, 1660 Whitehead Court, Gwynn Oak, Washington, DC Time: 7:30pm Contact: 410-935-4338
Sat Dec 31 • Kaveri Kannada Association 2011 Membership Venue: Kaveri Kannada Association 10070 Darnestown Road # 232, Rockville, MD 20850 Time: 10pm Contact: 301-633-5311
Upcoming Sat Dec 10 • Sadhana Saturday, A Holiday Stress Buster Venue: Art of Living Los Angeles Center, 948, West Adams Blvd, Los Angeles, CA Time: 9am Contact: 310-820-9429
Mon Dec 12 Sat Dec 10
Sat Dec 10 Venue: High Point High School, 3601 Powder Mill Road, Maryland 20705 Time: 1pm Contact: 443-631-4930
Venue: EverGreen Hight School, 3300 Quimby Road, San Jose, CA Time: 12:00pm Contact: 408-836-5804
• Comedy Bazaar Presents ìOutsourced Comedyî Venue: Laugh Factory Hollywood, 8001 Sunset Blvd, 90046 Time: 10pm Contact: 323-656-1336
Thurs Dec 15 • A Chanticleer Christmas Venue: Walt Disney Concert Hall, 111 S. Grand Ave., Los Angeles, CA Time: 8pm Contact: 323-850-2000
Sat Dec 17 • Holiday Concert with the Gerry Winn Singers Venue: The Fremont Main Library, Fukaya Room, CA Time: 2pm Contact: 510-745-1401
Fri Dec 23
Sat Dec 17
• Art of Living Course
• Ayyappa Lakshaarchana
Venue: Art of Living Center Los Angeles, 948 W. Adams Blvd. LA Time: 7pm Contact: 310-820-9429
Venue: Llvermore Shiva Vishnu Temple, 1232 Arrowhead Ave, Livermore, CA Time: 4:30pm Contact: 408-705-8172
Sat Jan 14
Thurs Dec 29
• I Just Wanna Dance 2012
• Family Fun Activity: Dance
Venue: Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center, 1935 Manhattan Beach Blvd., Redondo Beach, CA Time: 6pm Contact: 310-937-6607
Venue: Ground Floor, South Court 200 Larkin St., San Francisco, CA Time: 1:00pm Contact: 415-581-3500
December 9, 2011
Dwarka is an important pilgrimage center. It is steeped in legends associated with the life of Lord Krishna. In Puranic times, present-day Dwarka was known as Kushasthali or Dwaravati and enjoyed pride of place as the most important spot on the Saurashtra coast
warka is situated in the extreme west of the Indian state of Gujarat in the Saurashtra peninsula on the Arabian Sea. The city is built on the right bank of Gamut creek. History: Dwarka is an important pilgrimage center. It is steeped in legends associated with the life of Lord Krishna. In Puranic times, present-day Dwarka was known as Kushasthali or Dwaravati and enjoyed pride of place as the most important spot on the Saurashtra coast. It is said that Lord Krishna, after slaying Kansa, left his abode at Mathura and traveled with the entire Yadava community to the coast of Saurashtra where he founded a town and named it Swarnadwarika. Vajranabh, Lord Krishna's successor and great grandson, is believed to have built the present temple Dwarakanath, also called Trilok Sundar. Many Hindus fervently believe that the temple was erected in one night by a supernatural agency, under Vajranabh's direction. Legend has it that when dying, Lord Krishna asked his devotees to leave Swarnadwarika so that the sea could engulf it. Until this day, Lord Krishna's city lies buried under the sea. Excavations have revealed that the sea swallowed five settlements, the present-day Dwarka being the sixth in line. Contâ€™d on page 30
Travel & Hospitality Post
30 India Post
December 9, 2011
Gujarat govt keen to develop eco-tourism
ujarat is considering developing eco-tourism in the state following chief minister Narendra Modi's direction to promote tourism activities for the bird viewers in Gujarat. During his meeting with Abran Markat Kabraji, Asian Regional Director of International Union for Conservation of Nature, Modi mentioned that Gujarat has a high level of biodiversity and is blessed with a huge seacoast, Gulf of Kutch, islands and a variety of local and foreign birds. "And so, the state government desires to develop eco tourism and to promote tourism activities for the bird viewers in the state," he said. She took note of the state government's interest in environment protection and discussed the possibility of tying up with the state for eco-friendly growth. The chief minister also gave details of the project in which solar power will be produced by putting up solar panels on the Narmada canals and how ten million liters of water will be saved from evaporating from the canals. The state government is organizing the Rann Utsav, a tourism festival in the white desert of Kutch in Gujarat during December 15, 2011 to January 15, 2012. Giving details of the festival state government spokespersons ministers Jay Narayan Vyas and Saurabh Patel informed that the visitors would see a host of attractions like camel safari, hot air ballooning, desert car rally, horse ride, all-terrain vehicle and food court
besides the cultural programs depicting the culture of Kutch. "Last year some 800 tourists visited Kutch while this year about 32,000 visitors have visited the place so far," the ministers said. Spokespersons said the state government has announced a special package keeping in mind the Christmas and the New Year celebrations. The traditional eco-friendly houses of Kutch known as 'Bhunga' will also
The state government is organizing the Rann Utsav, a tourism festival in the white desert of Kutch in Gujarat from December 15, 2011 to January 15, 2012 be made available to tourists. The government will organize beach festival on the seashore of Mandvi and a special kite festival will be organized in the white rann. Highlighting the 'Kutch Carnival' that would take place on the eve of Rann Utsav, the ministers maintained that about 32 artist groups will perform on the banks of the historical Hamirsar Lake in Bhuj. Tourists would be able visit various archeological sites and could watch flamingos.
India to promote foreign films shooting PANAJI: In a joy for foreign film makers wanting to shoot in India, a special cell has been set up to facilitate the single-window clearance for film shootings in the country. The platform was formed as part of plans to woo more international movie makers to the country, which is already a favorite location of global film industry. "This cell will function in the Chief Minister's office and Union Tourism Ministry will bear the expenses to run it," Union Tourism Minister Subodh Kant Sahay said here. The body will consist of representatives from National Films Division Corporation (NFDC), Union Information and Broadcasting Ministry, Union Tourism ministry, stake holders and the state government. Sahay said red-tapism had been a major complaint of filmmakers, who want to shoot in India. "We are learning from Goa and Pondicherry experience where single window system for film shootings is in place. We want to replicate it in all the other states," he said. The Union Tourism Ministry has also decided to take up the issue of stringent visa regulations faced by the filmmakers, with the Prime Minister. There are complaints from the foreign filmmakers that they are facing difficulty to get visa clearances, he said.
The Ministry has also decided to have proper infrastructure around places that are being developed as film shooting destinations. "People should not be made to travel for
The platform was formed as part of plans to woo more international movie makers to the country, which is already a favorite location of global film industry. "This cell will function in the Chief Minister's office and Union Tourism Ministry will bear the expenses to run it"
4-5 hours to reach these destinations," he said. The country is also considering tax reimbursement to those who shoot their movies in domestic locations, he added. -PTI
Dwarka: Steeped in legends of Lord Krishna Contâ€™d from page 29
In this region, the original inhabitants are said to be Kabas, Modas, and Kalas. The Kabas and Modas now seem to be extinct, but the present-day Vaghers are said to have descended from the Kabas. Tourist attractions The temple of Dwarkadheesh, also known as Jagat Mandir, is built on the north bank of the Gomti Creek. The temple dates back to 2,500 years. Architecturally the temple is constructed on the same plan and system as most of the Hindu sacred edifices of antiquity. Sixty columns support the roof of the audience hall of the Jagat Mandir. The main temple is five-story high with the lavishly carved conical spire rising to a height of 157 feet. There is the one-meter tall, fourhanded black idol of Ranchhodrai, the ruler of Dwarka. Amongst the large number of temples belonging to different periods in the history of Dwarka, the most popular with pilgrims is the temple of Rukmini, Lord Krishna's wife, who is considered an incarnation of Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and beauty. In addition to its temples and
legends, Dwarka is also sanctified as the seat of Adi Shankaracharya, who established four seats (maths) in four different directions in the country. Places around Thirty-two kilometers from
Amongst the large number of temples belonging to different periods in the history of Dwarka, the most popular with pilgrims is the temple of Rukmini, Lord Krishna's wife, who is considered an incarnation of Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and beauty Dwarka lies Shankhoddar Island. Also known as Bet Dwarka or Dwarika isle or Ramandip, this island is supposed to be the place where Lord Krishna and his family lived. Dwarika isle is also believed to be the spot where Lord Vishnu slew the demon Sankhasura.
The temple of Ranchhodrai stands on the island, as does the Matsyavatar Temple. Pilgrims are ferried to and from the island in boats manned by boatmen who claim a long lineage. Near the island is the ancient Gopi Lake and further ahead lies Dwarikavan or forest of Dwarka. In the forest is located the famous Naagnath (Shiva) Temple. It is recorded in the Purana (ancient texts) that 12 jyotirlingas or columns of light representing Lord Shiva manifested themselves in different parts of the country. The jyotirlinga is enshrined in the temple of Naageshwar Mahadev and attracts thousands of pilgrims all through the year. Fairs & festivals: Janmashtami (birthday of Lord Krishna), celebrated in the month of August/ September, is a major festival of Dwarka. Best time to visit October to March How to reach Rail - Dwarka is a station on the Ahmedabad-Okha broadgauge railway line, about 137 km from Jamnagar, 217 km from Rajkot and 378 km from Ahmedabad. Road - A state highway with Jamnagar and Okha also connects
Naagnath (Shiva) Temple
it. Air - Nearest airport is Jamnagar, from where flights for
Mumbai can be taken. Luxury coaches are available from Dwarka to other important cities of Gujarat.
December 9, 2011
Travel & Hospitality Post
India Post 31
Tourism Queensland woos Indian market MUMBAI: Tourism Queensland has unveiled a slew of new products ranging from accommodation to attractions for the Indian market. The tourism board has also launched Study Tours apart from Self Drive tours along the Gold Coast and in Cairns. The new products and tours were showcased to the travel trade at road shows in Delhi and Mumbai recently. A five-member delegation comprising representatives of Hamilton Island, Tangalooma Wild Dolphin Resort, Brisbane Airport, Hot Air Gold Coast (Cairns) and Tourism Queensland, participated in the road shows billed as Queensland on Tour. The delegation interacted with about 60 travel agents and tour operators in each city. "Our aim is to increase Indian visitor overnights in Queensland. Tourists get bored of the same products after sometime and it is necessary to entice visitors with new products and induce them to stay longer. This is also vital in order to stay attractive and competitive in large potential and longterm markets like India. As a result, we decided to introduce a wide range of new products in Indian market and have also upgraded the existing ones," stated Ryna Sequeira, Marketing Manager- India, Tourism Queensland. The new products include a range of accommodation and attractions like Sir Richard Branson's, Makepeace Island; O'Reilleys Rainforest Retreat; Farm stays in Scenic Rim; Quad Biking
(L-R) Daiza Hayashida, Eastern Market Sales & Operations Manager, Hamilton Island, Mark Greaves, Travel Industry Training Manager, Brisbane Airport, Ryna Sequeira, Marketing Manager India, Tourism Queensland, Andrew Steel, Managing Director, Hot Air and Andrew Oldfield, Marketing Manager GCC, Tourism Queensland during the Queensland on Toure road show
at Cairns by Blazing Saddles; Bungy & Minjin Swing at Cairns by AJ Hackett; Day Trip to Lady Elliot Island; Tamborine Rainforest Skywalk - Gold Coast etc. According to Andrew Steel, Managing Director, Hot Air, the number of Indian clients has been increasing over the years and the
Queensland Tourism has been on tapping the leisure segment in India, this year, the tourism board is working aggressively to attract MICE traffic from India. Tourism Queensland recently launched a dedicated website www.queenslandincentives.com to cater to the Indian MICE mar-
"We receive 40,000 visitors annually, of which 2,000 are Indians, mostly from the Groups and FIT segments. We would like to meet tour operators from Tier-II cities of India" country has become an important source market along with UK, USA and Japan. "We receive 40,000 visitors annually, of which 2,000 are Indians, mostly from the Groups and FIT segments. We would like to meet tour operators from Tier-II cities of India," stated Steel. While the major focus of the
ket. Earlier this year, the tourism board also launched the website, www.queenslandholidays.in for the Indian travel trade. Other promotional initiatives this year include 'Win your Dream Romantic Holiday,' an online contest organized to showcase the luxurious and glamorous aspect of the destination.
British tourists flocking to Egypt: Report LONDON: While those from many western countries stay away, British tourists are reportedly flocking to Egypt despite the resurgence of civil unrest in which at least 14 protesters were shot dead by police in Cairo. Flights are still almost full as British holidaymakers take advantage of cheaper deals in Red Sea resorts such as Sharm el Sheikh in the wake of the civil unrest in places like Cairo, the 'Sunday Express' quoted tourism chiefs as saying. Egyptian authorities have announced incentives for charter operators in a bid to thwart the
tourism crisis that has followed January's revolution, jeopardizing an industry worth 11 per cent of the country's output. The Foreign Office has not warned against travel to Egypt but urges Britons to avoid Cairo where tension is mounting. "The situation is volatile and changing rapidly. There is a high risk of indiscriminate attacks on public places frequented by expatriates and foreign travelers," a Foreign Office spokesman was quoted as saying. Yet resort destinations such as Sharm el Sheikh and Hurghada, 300 miles away, are unaffected.
Neil Garner, of the Monarch Travel Group, said: "Our figures for November show that Britons are still flocking to the Red Sea, though Europeans and Russians seem to be staying away. Flights to Sharm have been 97 per cent full." Khaled Rami, director of the Egyptian Tourist Office for the UK and Ireland, said most of the country was safe, adding: "If you look at Tahrir Square you would think all of Egypt is burning, but only in the way that anybody outside of the UK who saw footage of the August riots would think all the UK was burning." -PTI
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e are not really sure about the kind of relationship Anushka Sharma and Ranveer Singh share, but we are sure that the thing that they share, is definitely not plain friendship. There is something more to that. The latest we hear is that Ranveer Singh is just not able to hide his feelings for the Punjabi kudi. He says, "We are so close, we can complete each other's sentences now." When he was asked if he'd like to date Anushka again he says, "Even today I'd love to date her." But what's interesting is that Anushka doesn't seem to have the same kinda feelings for Ranveer. She
says that the kind of relationship the duo share just can't be defined. Says Anushka Sharma, "Ranveer is very flirtatious. Today he says this about me, tomorrow he will be charming a bunch of journalists. He is like that. We cannot be tagged as boyfriend-girlfriend or lovers or just friends. It's a space only we both understand." Adds Anushka, "We are very different people."
The latest we hear is that Ranveer Singh is just not able to hide his feelings for the Punjabi kudi. He says, "We are so close, we can complete each other's sentences now
he proud father of Beti B, Abhishek Bachchan, after a long break, got back to work. However, the actor wasn't able to concentrate on anything that he was doing. Abhi says, all his thoughts were on his little angel and he was just not able to focus on his work. "1st day back at work after Beti B. And so difficult to concentrate. Thoughts are monopolized by a certain little lady,"
December 9, 2011
Abhishek wrote on his Twitter page. Beti B's name is yet to be finalized. The current rage "Kolaveri Di", which has become national news now, has gone viral in the Bachchan pariwaar too. Following daddy, beta Bachchan has also got addicted to the song. "how cool is Kolaveri di!!! slamming it loud! well done Dhanush and Aishwarya (Rajinikanth's daughter). big up guys!" Abhishek wrote.
â€˜1st day back at work after Beti B. And so difficult to concentrate. Thoughts are monopolized by a certain little ladyâ€™
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December 9, 2011
he has always been in the spotlight be it for her size zero phase or for her films, Kareena Kapoor has got it all, fame, fortune and a brilliant fashion sense. Well, it's no wonder then that this leggy damsel was recently voted as the sexiest Asian Woman. According to a poll carried out by Eastern Eye, through social networking sites like twitter, Kareena took the top position, edging out last year's winner Katrina Kaif. This year, Katrina ranks second. She had been holding the number one slot for the past three years. Others on the list include Priyanka Chopra at third place, Bipasha Basu at fourth followed by Freida Pinto at fifth and Deepika Padukone at seventh. New entrants like Jacqueline Fernandez ranked at twelfth, Hrithik Roshan's wife Sussanne at number sixteenth, Nargis Fakhri at twenty three and Sonakshi Sinha at thirty eight. The latest Bollywood mom Aishwarya Rai Bachchan came in at sixth and Sonam Kapoor ninth while Lara Dutta stood at number fifteenth and Malaika Arora Khan at nineteenth.
DHONI TO ACT B
ollywood and cricket are two things that sell like hot cakes in India! And when the two come together, the outcome is pure entertainment! The two hunks in their respective fields, John Abraham and Mahendra Singh Dhoni will be seen together in a film titled Hook Ya Crook. Well, the shooting for David Dhawan's Hook Ya Crook which stars John Abraham in the lead role had been completed quite some time back except the last bit. And for completing that left part, 15 days from MS Dhoni's schedule are required! And since John and MS Dhoni share a great rapport over their mutual love for bikes, John has taken the responsibility to get free dates from the Indian captain! It is also learnt that John and Dhoni are bonding big time over body building! Dhoni is reportedly taking tips from John, and John, too, has said that he loves sharing his fitness tips with cricketers since they feature in advertisements and they must look good on screen!
hahrukh Khan inaugurated IFFI in Goa recently and also took time to mingle with the guests and celebrities, one of them being the American actress Heather Graham known for her role in films like The Hangover, Anger Management and Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me. Both Shahrukh Khan and Heather Graham discussed movies and the superstar is learned to have offered a film to the pretty actress. "Yes, we did discuss our common interest - films - and he invited me to come and work in Indian films. He said he will revert with the details of the project and I am eagerly waiting for it," Heather Graham is quoted as saying by a news daily. Shahrukh is also said to be doing a film with Leonardo DiCaprio. The film is titled Xtrme City in which the latter plays a cop and SRK plays a Mumbai don.
In Brief More than 1,000 illegal immigrants in SC deported COLUMBIA, SC: Reports from the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement show more than 1,000 illegal immigrants with criminal records have been deported from South Carolina. The State newspaper reported that agency reports show nearly 3,800 illegal immigrants have been identified through the Secure Communities program. Just over 1,000 of them have been deported. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's program is designed to catch and deport illegal immigrants who have committed serious crimes or are suspects in major crimes. Critics say the program leads to distrust between immigrants and police. -AP
Republican Latinos face queries on immigrant past ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico: More Latino Republicans are seeking and winning elected office and their families' background is becoming the subject of increased scrutiny from some liberal Latino activists. Experts say it's a reaction to Latino Republicans' conservative views on immigration, and the scrutiny into their background is a new phenomenon that Latino Democrats rarely faced. New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez, a Republican and the nation's only female Hispanic governor, recently found documents that suggested that her grandfather legally entered the country. Previous reports said her grandfather was an illegal immigrant. -AP
Civil rights panel to look at laws on immigration ATLANTA: The US Commission on Civil Rights says it plans to examine the effects on people's civil rights of strict new laws targeting illegal immigration in several states. A news release says the commission plans to look into whether enforcement of the laws has fostered or contributed to an increase in hate crimes, compromised public safety, elevated racial and ethnic profiling, or affected students' rights to a public education. Chairman Martin Castro says enforcement of the laws could affect both immigrants and US citizens. -AP
December 9, 2011
State lawmaker testifies in Ala. immigration case MONTGOMERY, Ala.: A federal judge was asked to at least temporarily stop the state from using Alabama's tough new immigration law to prevent immigrants from renewing required permits on manufactured homes. Details on page 38
Milwaukee man found guilty in R-1 visa fraud scheme India Post News Service
NEW YORK: A religious leader from India, who founded a Hindu temple in Milwaukee, was found guilty of fraudulently obtaining and then selling religious worker visas to Indian nationals. In his scheme, Haldar charged Indian nationals as much as $30,000 each in exchange for his assistance in fraudulently obtaining R-1 visas. The guilty verdict stems from an investigation conducted by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). On Nov 10, a federal jury in the Eastern District of Wisconsin found Sagarsen Haldar, 31, aka Gopal Hari Das, guilty of conspiring to commit immigration fraud, an ICE official release said. Haldar identifies himself as the founder, president, CEO, and spiritual leader of Gaudiya Vaisnava Society (GVS), a religious temple located on Ramsey Ave. in Milwaukee.
According to evidence at trial, Haldar conspired to sponsor more than two dozen Indian nationals to enter the country under religious worker or "R-1" visas. Typically, the R-1 applications falsely stated that the individuals were religious workers from India who
in Chicago as he arrived in the United States from India. Searches of his luggage revealed that he was transporting identification documents - including passports and other Indian identification documents - bearing the names and photographs of other Indian
The fraudulent priests typically made substantial cash payments to Haldar and his associates in India, and were indebted to Haldar for the balance once they arrived in the United States planned to be priests and perform religious work at the GVS temple in Milwaukee. In fact, the Indian nationals had no religious training or experience, and had no intention of being priests or performing religious work once they arrived in the United States. Haldar was charged in June 2010 after ICE HSI agents arrested him at O'Hare International Airport
nationals. The arrest was the culmination of a lengthy investigation into Haldar and GVS. The investigation into Haldar began in June 2008 after ICE HSI received information from US Citizenship and Immigration Services' (USCIS) Benefit Fraud Unit that GVS had filed numerous petitions for R-1 religious workers from India. Subsequent ICE HSI investi-
gation revealed that Haldar used the GVS temple as a front for an elaborate religious visa fraud scheme. The fraudulent priests typically made substantial cash payments to Haldar and his associates in India, and were indebted to Haldar for the balance once they arrived in the United States. They worked at convenience stores and other Milwaukee-area locations, and paid Haldar from what they earned. "We are extremely gratified with the jury's guilty verdict in this case," said Gary Hartwig, special agent in charge of ICE's Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Chicago. "Visa fraud represents a vulnerability that could be exploited by criminals or others who wish to do us harm. HSI will continue to aggressively investigate individuals and organizations that seek to corrupt and exploit our nation's immigration system." Haldar's sentencing is scheduled for Feb 24.
The ethical role of the attorney in Alabama CYRUS D. MEHTA
labama's immigration law, HB 56, is aimed at making life miserable for unlawfully present immigrants, and is intended to drive them out of the state. The law criminalizes a person's very existence in Alabama. Many portions of the law have been enjoined pending appeal by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in USA v. Alabama, 2011 WL 4863957 (C.A 11 (Ala.)), although some very troubling provisions still remain and have taken effect. What is the role of the attorney in advising non-citizens who may be committing crimes in Alabama by virtue of simply being alive in Alabama? At this point in time, Section 30, which is very much in effect, makes it a felony for an alien not lawfully present in the United States to enter into a "business transaction" with the State of Alabama or any political subdivision
thereof. Although "business transactions" may be thought of as activities such as renewing a license or commercial activities with the government, it already appears to be going beyond these activities and can apply to any dealings with
ship or that they are lawfully present in the US. Hence, a woman unlawfully present in the US who is applying to change her name after divorce from her abusive husband may be committing a felony un-
Section 30, which is very much in effect, makes it a felony for an alien not lawfully present in the United States to enter into a "business transaction" with the State of Alabama state or local governments. A powerful IPC Report highlighting Section 30's impact, Turning Off The Water, http:// immigrationpolicy.org/special-reports, gives the example of an Alabama probate court putting out a notice that all individuals conducting business transactions with it must provide proof of US citizen-
der Section 30. The IPC Report also states that the town of Allgood, Alabama, has interpreted this provision to require all water customers to provide an Alabama driver's license or Alabama picture ID in order to keep current water service. Alabama Power has asked for proof of lawful presence when a
family tried to get electricity reconnected. Model Rule 1.2(d), which has its analog under state bar rules, provides, "A lawyer shall not counsel a client to engage or assist a client, in conduct that the lawyer knows to be criminal or fraudulent, but a lawyer may discuss the legal consequences of any proposed course of conduct with a client and may counsel or assist the client to make a good faith effort to determine the validity, scope, meaning or application of the law." Does this mean that an attorney cannot advise a client who is unlawfully present to apply for the probate of her deceased husband's will? Must an attorney thus advise an unlawfully present parent of three US citizen children to no longer contract with an Alabama utility for water and electricity in her modest dwelling? Contâ€™d on page 39
December 9, 2011
DOJ: New immigration law complicating enforcement BIRMINGHAM, Ala.: Alabama's new law against illegal immigration may hamper enforcement rather than being the tough crackdown sought by its supporters - by taking officers away from the vital job of prosecuting and deporting immigrants with criminal records, Justice Department lawyers said. The president of the Alabama Association of Chiefs of Police, Boaz Police Chief Terry Davis, agreed that officers are stretched by multiple duties, particularly with tight budgets. But, he said, enforcing the state law should not conflict with the broader federal goal of nabbing criminals who are in the country illegally.
``I can see where they're coming from ... but I think it's just another tool to use in doing our job,'' Davis said of Alabama's tough, new law. ``We're going to get the
agencies already strapped for money and manpower are been forced to develop their own plans for enforcing the state law rather than concentrating on prosecut-
The department said it has received more than 1,000 telephone calls and emails to a hotline established for people to report possible abuses under the law federal folks involved just like we always have. I would hope it doesn't cause a conflict because we're all in this together.'' U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance, the top federal prosecutor for 31 counties in north Alabama, said local
ing and deporting illegal immigrants with criminal records, the priority set by the Obama administration. Vance said she and the head of the Justice Department's civil rights division, Tom Perez, have
GOP candidates walk tightrope on immigration AMHERST, N.H.: The Republican presidential contenders are tying themselves in knots over immigration. Newt Gingrich is endorsing a South Carolina law that allows police to demand a person's immigration status a week after taking heat for advocating a ``humane'' approach. Rick Perry, though defending Texas' in-state tuition for some illegal immigrants' kids, spent time campaigning with a hardline Arizona sheriff in New Hampshire. And Mitt Romney is talking tough on immigration in his second White House campaign, though he previously supported the idea of allowing some illegal immigrants to stay in the U.S. Meanwhile, many voters say immigration won't determine which candidate they'll back for the GOP nomination. Instead, they say they're focused squarely on the economy and jobs. ``In light of the economy, questions about immigration policy are less egregious,'' said Loras Schulte, an evangelical conservative from northeast Iowa. So what gives? The contortions by the Republican candidates illustrate the straddle they're attempting on a complex issue. In order to win the Republican nomination, they must court a GOP electorate that is largely against anything that could be called ``amnesty'' for illegal immigrants. But they can't come off as anti-immigrant, a stance that could alienate the independents and moderates not to mention Hispanics they'd need to attract in a general election should they win the party's nod to challenge President Barack Obama. In 2008, immigration helped
shape the Republican presidential race, with John McCain bypassing the leadoff caucus state of Iowa and planting his flag in New Hampshire after seeing his standing tank when he backed a plan to give some illegal immigrants an eventual path to citizenship. Still, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee won the caucuses that year despite having backed tuition benefits in his state for children of illegal immigrants. And McCain ended up winning the nomination despite his position.
This year, many Republican voters are focused on an unemployment rate that's been stuck around 9 percent nationally and is even higher in some states Exit polls in Iowa that year found Republican caucus goers naming immigration their top concern. This year, many Republican voters are focused on an unemployment rate that's been stuck around 9 percent nationally and is even higher in some states. A poll by The Des Moines Register taken last month showed economic and fiscal concerns topping immigration. ``Four years ago it was about who is the best person in the party. And now they are saying, `Who can beat Obama?''' said Susan Geddes, a top organizer in Iowa for Huckabee last time. But immigration as an important issue has hardly gone away.
Gingrich is the latest to wrestle with it. Enjoying a rise in national and state polls, he called in a debate last week for an approach that would grant legal status to illegal immigrants with longstanding family and community ties. Since then, he has been defending that approach from attacks by opponents who say it would amount to amnesty for millions. ``An absolute falsehood,'' Gingrich retorted while campaigning in Bluffton, S.C. He pressed his rivals to say how they would deal with some 12 million illegal immigrants in the country. ``What is it that you're going to do? Are you really going to go in and advocate ripping people out of their families?'' he said. A day earlier, however, he sounded like an immigration hardliner when he expressed support for a South Carolina law that would require law officers who make traffic stops to call federal officials if they suspect that someone is in the country illegally. At the College of Charleston, he called the law ``pretty reasonable.'' In New Hampshire, Perry looked to regain his footing on the issue that has dogged his campaign from the outset. With Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio at his side, the Texas governor, who opposes a border fence with Mexico, defended anew his signing of legislation to allow in-state tuition for children of illegal immigrants. â€œThey are working toward getting citizenship, and they pay full in-state tuition,'' Perry said. ``As the sheriff knows, I've been fighting this illegal immigration issue for a decade. But the people of Texas made that decision.'' -AP
met with local authorities to discuss what she called a ``significant problem'' of both enforcing the state law and tracking down criminal immigrants with only limited resources. ``Rather than strengthening immigration enforcement opportunities at a time, quite frankly, there are fewer resources than we have had in the past, this had made a more difficult environment for us to work in,'' Vance said. Press aides to Gov. Robert Bentley, who signed the bill into law, and Attorney General Luther Strange, who is defending it in court challenges, didn't return messages seeking comment. Vance commented during a news briefing with Perez and Assistant U.S. Attorney General Tony West. West was in Birmingham for a private meeting with business leaders, members of the state's immigrant community and others to discuss the law, which the Obama administration has filed suit to block. While the administration has filed suit to block similar laws in
Arizona, South Carolina and Utah, West said the situation in Alabama is different than anywhere else. ``We have a unique situation in this state because portions of the law have gone into effect, which we have not seen in other states,'' he said. The department said it has received more than 1,000 telephone calls and emails to a hotline established for people to report possible abuses under the law, which supporters say is meant to make it impossible for illegal immigrants to live in Alabama. Federal courts ruling in lawsuits filed by the Obama administration and other opponents of the law have temporarily blocked some of its provisions, but police are still required to ask for proof of citizenship and detain people who can't provide it. The administration contends federal law prohibits states from enacting immigration laws, but Republican supporters argue the federal government has failed to enforce immigration statutes for years. -AP
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Ala. immigration arrests highlighting Obama policy BIRMINGHAM, Ala.: Two men visiting Alabama to protest the state's tough new law on illegal immigration walked into a U.S. Border Patrol office and said they were in the country illegally, resulting in their arrest. They remain in federal custody more than two weeks later awaiting deportation proceedings. Border Patrol officials said they were only doing their job in arresting Isaac Barrera, 20, and Jonathan Perez, 24, Mexican men who lived in California before coming to Alabama to demonstrate against the state law. ``We'd be violating the law if we didn't,'' said Randall Baldwin, an assistant chief in the New Orleans office.
But activists are trying to use the cases of Barrera and Perez to highlight what they say are unjust immigration practices at the federal level as demonstrations and
proper legal documents, so Barrera and Perez staged a test of the policy Nov. 10 at the Border Patrol office in Mobile. In an exchange that was briefly captured
‘Basically they turned themselves in,’ he said. ‘If somebody just shows up at the police station and turns themselves in, we arrest them’ lawsuits continue over the state's controversial crackdown. The Obama administration said this summer it would concentrate on deporting illegal immigrants with criminal records rather than people only living in the United States without the
on a cell phone camera and posted on YouTube, one of the men told an officer he is in the country illegally. Both of the men were arrested and are now being held at a detention center in Louisiana, according to the Alabama Youth
Collective, part of a network of groups protesting Alabama's crackdown on illegal immigration, which the Obama administration is suing to block. Mohammad Abdollahi, an organizer with the youth collective, said the administration took the correct course by focusing deportation efforts on people with criminal records. ``It was a good policy. The only problem is that it isn't being enforced,'' Abdollahi said in a statement. ``If it was working would Isaac and Jonathan be in a detention center right now?'' Baldwin said officers didn't have any choice whether to arrest the pair. ``Basically they turned them-
selves in,'' he said. ``If somebody just shows up at the police station and turns themselves in, we arrest them.'' DREAMactivist.org, which opposes both the Alabama law and federal immigration practices, are using the cases of Barrera and Perez to raise awareness by asking supporters to sign petitions and make telephone calls on their behalf. The Alabama Youth Collective is trying to stop the deportation of the two with a campaign called ``Bring Isaac and Jonathan Home for the Holidays.'' Baldwin said the two would be held until a judge decides whether to deport them, and it was unclear how long they might remain in custody. -AP
House votes to end country State lawmaker testifies in Ala. immigration case limits for worker visas WASHINGTON: The House voted to end per-country caps on worker-based immigration visas, a move that should benefit skilled Indian and Chinese residents seeking to stay in the United States and the high-tech companies who hire them. The legislation, which passed 389-15, was a rare example of bipartisan accord on immigration, an issue that largely has been avoided during the current session of Congress because of the political sensitivities involved. The measure would eliminate the current law that says employment-based visas to any one country can't exceed 7 percent of the total number of such visas given out. Instead, permanent residence visas or green cards would be handled on a first-come, firstserved basis. Similar legislation is pending in the Senate. The bill, said its sponsor, Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, ``does encourage high-skilled immigrants who were educated in the U.S. to stay and help build our economy rather than using the skills they learned here to aid our competitor nations.'' Currently, the State Department issues about 140,000 such green cards a year to foreign nationals working in the United States, often after getting degrees from U.S. universities. The bill also changes familybased visa limits from 7 percent per country to 15 percent per country, an adjustment that could slightly ease the backlog for naturalized citizens, particularly from Mexico and the Philippines, trying to bring relatives
into the country. The Obama administration in its first two years failed in several major efforts to change immigration law, and this year the issue has largely been off the table, with Republicans making clear that anything suggesting amnesty for those in the country illegally would be rejected. The Chaffetz bill does not change the number of visas being issued, and groups representing immigrants said the bill would
The legislation, which passed 38915, was a rare example of bipartisan accord on immigration, an issue that largely has been avoided during the current session do little to resolve pressing immigration issues. However, they applauded Congress for showing it can act. Ali Noorani, executive director of the National Immigration Forum, said that while the bill won't bring significant changes, ``we think this is a positive step forward.'' He said it was a good sign that ``Republicans and Democrats are actually working on solutions.'' Crystal Williams, executive director of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, said the measure ``makes the system a tiny bit fairer'' and does ``dem-
onstrate that Congress can do something on immigration, however small.'' She cited estimates that while someone from England might wait two or three years for a green card, an Indian could conceivably be on the waiting list for decades. Still, because there will be no increase in visas issued, there will be losers. Hosin ``David'' Lee, president of the KoreanAmerican Scientists and Engineers Association, said the bill would force engineers from South Korea to wait an additional two years in their immigration process to get green cards. But Compete America, a group representing high-tech companies such as Google and Microsoft Corp. and research institutes, said the bill would correct a problem in which Greenland is subject to the same 7 percent cap as large countries such as India and China, which account for more than 40 percent of the world's population. The lengthy waiting periods for people trained and working in the United States ``are contributing to a reverse brain drain in the U.S. as frustrated professionals opt to return to their home countries to pursue their professional ambitions,'' Kevin Richards, senior vice president of Tech America, which represents the technology industry, said in a letter to lawmakers. US employers are prohibited under law from hiring foreign workers unless they show there are not sufficient U.S. workers willing and able to take the jobs. -AP
MONTGOMERY, Ala.: A federal judge was asked to at least temporarily stop the state from using Alabama's tough new immigration law to prevent immigrants from renewing required permits on manufactured homes. US District Judge Myron Thompson promised a quick ruling on the request for a temporary restraining order. Attorneys for a coalition of civil rights groups said the state refusing to renew the manufactured home permits could force some people to abandon their homes and is an example of their contention that the purpose of the new law, described by supporters and critics as the toughest in the country, was to ``drive immigrants'' from Alabama. The House and Senate sponsors of the immigration bill, approved by the Legislature earlier this year, both testified a purpose of their legislation was to encourage illegal immigrants to leave the state. ``My purpose was to make it difficult for illegal immigrants to live and work in Alabama,'' said the House sponsor, Republican Rep. Micky Hammon of Decatur. The wide ranging law effects many daily facets of life for immigrants, including allowing police to detain people they suspect of being an illegal immigrant and making it illegal to employ illegal aliens. The Senate sponsor, Sen. Scott Beason, a Republican from Gardendale, said he believes illegal immigrants take the jobs that should go to ``legal Alabama taxpayers.'' He also said he believes they bring diseases such as tuberculosis into the US.
Mary Bauer, attorney for the Southern Poverty Law Center, asked Beason if the purpose of the law ``is to force people to leave.'' ``The purpose is reduce the number of illegal aliens in this state,'' Beason said. Hammon and Beason testified during a federal court hearing in Montgomery. Two Elmore County immigrants are challenging a section of the law that prohibits most contracts where one party is an illegal immigrant. Civil rights groups criticize the law on several points, including that it forces immigrants to leave Alabama.
Two Elmore County immigrants are challenging a section of the law that prohibits most contracts where one party is an illegal immigrant Alabama Revenue Commissioner Julie Magee testified that the new law requires county employees to check the immigration status on anyone who does business with the state. She said state officials have provided counties with a list of documents, including a driver's license, acceptable to prove citizenship. But Karen Tumlin, attorney for the National Immigration Law Center, told Thompson the bill specifies that immigration status must be confirmed by federal authorities. -AP
December 9, 2011
The ethical role of the attorney in Alabama Cont’d from page 36
There are other provisions that also criminalize the person's very being but have been temporarily blocked. Section 11(a) makes it a misdemeanor for an unauthorized alien to apply for, solicit, or perform any kind of work. Section 13(a) (2) makes it unlawful to encourage an unlawful alien to come to Alabama. Thus, an immigration attorney who represents a US citizen living in Alabama temporarily for work related reason, and who wants to sponsor his unlawfully present spouse living in Tennessee for a green card, may violate Section 13 if the attorney encourages her clients to live together in Alabama in order to strengthen their case to further establish that the marriage is bona fide. Some provisions were not blocked before the law took effect. For instance, Judge Blackburn in the lower district court decision, USA v. Alabama, 2011 WL 4469941 (N.D. Ala.) did not enjoin Section 10, which criminalizes one who fails to carry a registration document and who is in the US unlawfully. Section 10 was enjoined only on October 14, 2011 by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals and was effective from September 30, 2011 until October 14, 2011. An attorney may have represented an unlawfully present client who had no registration documents, but who was eligible for asylum, and it took time to prepare and file a solid asylum application. If this attorney, even if outside Alabama, in the course of the representation logically advised the client to remain in Alabama in violation of Section 10 while it was in effect, would he or she have breached an ethical rule? Sections 5 and 6 state that government officials including "an officer of a court" cannot block the enforcement of immigration laws by "limiting communication between its officers and federal immigration officials." Because "an officer of the court" could include an attorney, this might require attorneys to reveal information about their clients to immigration officials, if demanded by government officials. This provision has already stirred consternation among local attorneys, and the President of the Morgan County Bar Association has predicted that
there will be many lawyers who will challenge this provision before turning client information in to the government. Clearly, Sections 5 and 6 breach the Sixth Amendment right to counsel as the essence of this right is the ability to have privacy of communication with counsel. See U.S. v. Rosner, 485 F.2d 1213 (2d Cir. 1975).
Section 11(a) makes it a misdemeanor for an unauthorized alien to apply for, solicit, or perform any kind of work Even outside the criminal context, the same analogy applies to Sections 5 and 6. Federal statutes and regulations provide a right to counsel in removal proceedings, INA § 240(b)(4)(A), 8 C.F.R. § 1003.16(b), 8 C.F.R. § 1240.3, and any Alabama attacks on lawyer-client confidentiality would most certainly be a violation on the Supremacy Clause. An ethical argument can be made that a lawyer may represent unlawfully present non-citizen clients in Alabama if they can ultimately seek an immigration benefit under federal law. For instance, a person who is unlawfully present is not driven out of
Under federal law, being unlawfully present is generally an infraction under civil immigration statutes the US under federal law, unlike Alabama, but has a right to appear before an Immigration Judge in a § 240 removal proceeding. As indicated in my prior blog , http://cyrusmehta.blogspot.com/ 2011/07/role-of-immigration-lawyer on the ethical role of the lawyer in advising undocumented clients, under federal law, being unlawfully present is generally an infraction under civil immigration statutes. This individual may seek various forms of relief in removal, including cancellation of removal under INA § 240A or adjustment of status under § 245.
He or she may still be considered unlawfully present under federal law, but can apply for work authorization, while pursuing relief applications, even if they have been denied in the first instance and are being appealed in federal court. Even a person who has an outstanding order of removal may seek to apply for an administrative stay of removal or supervised release as well as apply for work authorization. While this unlawfully present individual legitimately pursues relief and is permitted to work, his or her existence in Alabama is criminalized and is not allowed to contract with the state for electricity and water. Further examples of how Alabama's, and even Arizona's, anti-immigrant laws absurdly conflict with federal law are amplified in David Isaacson's blogs, http:// cyrusmehta.blogspot.com/2011. A lawyer, after discussion the consequences of various courses of conduct, may permit a client to disobey a law if the lawyer in good faith believes that this law will ultimately be held unconstitutional. Arizona's law, SB 1070, which contains many similarly ridiculous provisions that conflict with federal law, has been enjoined as unconstitutional in USA v. Arizona, 641 F.3d 399 (9th Cir. 2011). A law that is ultimately held to be unconstitutional is no law at all. Of course, the lawyer bears some risk if the law's constitutionality is ultimately upheld, but it may also be possible, that under federal law his or her client may have obtained permanent residency after being unlawfully present, or at least been granted permission to remain in the US to pursue applications for immigration benefits. * Cyrus D Mehta, may be contacted at 212-425-0555 or email@example.com
Toys identified with health risk to children FREDERICK, Md.: Parents now scanning toy store shelves with Christmas lists in hand might want to check another list before choosing gifts for their youngsters this holiday season. The Maryland Public Interest Research Group's 26th annual ``Trouble in Toyland'' report identifies items that pose a potential health risk to children because of toxic material content, choking hazards or excessive noise. According to the report, some toys exceed the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act's legal limits for lead and potentially hazardous plastic additives. Even more toys exceed the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended lead limits, which are stricter. -AP
Arizona plans to loosen budget cut for health care PHOENIX: Arizona is moving to restore some government-subsidized health care coverage for children of lowincome families as part of a plan to provide several major hospitals with more Medicaid dollars to pay for serving people without insurance. The two-year plan submitted for federal approval in mid-November would allow enrollment of 19,000 children now on a waiting list for KidsCare, the state's version of the federally sponsored Children's Health Insurance Program, officials said. -AP
Kids sought for vaccine tests in Mobile, Ala. MOBILE, Ala.: Coastal Clinical Research in Mobile wants local parents to let their school-age children and teens participate in a test of two new vaccine combinations. For ages 11 to 17, there's a Meningitis B vaccine combined with Gardisil, which protects against the cancer-causing Human Papilloma virus. For ages 10 to 12, there's a Meningitis B vaccine that's combined with a Tdap booster. All the vaccines have been approved separately. The Press-Register reports that Logan Brave, a sixth-grader at Silverhill Elementary in Baldwin County, became part of the clinical trial for the Meningitis vaccine coupled with Gardisil in October. -AP
Health Science 40
December 9, 2011
Pharmacists must do more when health risks known CARSON CITY, Nev.: Pharmacists have a legal duty to warn patients or contact their doctors when they are aware of a specific health risk to a patient, the Nevada has Supreme Court ruled. Details on page 42
Addressing gender inequality an absolute must to stem HIV SHOBHA SHUKLA
wo films, "Diamonds" and "In Women's Hands" were screened by CNS in Lucknow in the lead up to World AIDS Day, 1st December 2011, and to mark 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence, which is an international event seeking gender equality in society, and lasts through November 25 (International Day against Violence against Women) to December 10 (International Human Rights Day) every year, to emphasize that gender-based violence is not merely a women's issue but it is a fundamental issue of violation of human dignity and human rights. Both films address the issue of domestic violence and gender inequality which continues to put millions of women and young girls at an increased risk of infections such as HIV among other undesired outcomes. They also document the inherent strength and resilience in women who are positively alive with HIV and convey a strong message of hope. 'Diamonds' is a documentary film based on the personal narratives of
They also document the inherent strength and resilience in women who are positively alive with HIV and convey a strong message of hope four women living with HIV, which forms part of a book by the same name (authored by an HIV activist Susan Paxton) about ten women and one girl who are HIV-positive. Like diamonds, formed under tremendous pressure to become the strongest and most brilliant natural substance on earth, these
women have overcome incredible challenges to become leaders in their communities. In this documentary, Neri (from Philippines), Kiren (from Malaysia), Huyen (from Vietnam) and Pharozin (from Cambodia) talk of their life's struggles, and challenges, the fear of being shunned by society, of
eventually accepting themselves as positive women, and ultimately emerging as winners and advocates for people living with HIV and as powerful voices in the global dialogue on AIDS. Their lives carry a powerful message of hope and empowerment. The documentary film 'In Women's Hands' captures the dilemmas of women living in a world of AIDS - women who face the growing risk of HIV with limited options to protect themselves. All around the world, unprotected sex with a long term partner is the number one risk factor for HIV infection in women. They are more likely to contract HIV from a single unprotected sex act than men, yet are unable to protect themselves from HIV without the cooperation of their male partners. Women need prevention methods that are under their direct control. Men-who-have-sex-with-men (MSM) and transgender populations also struggle to negotiate condom use with their insertive partners while having rectal or anal sex, thereby putting themselves at a heightened risk of contracting HIV among other STIs. Cont’d on page 43
HIV/AIDS is becoming manageable: WHO India Post News Service
NEW DELHI: Thirty years after the first reported case of human infection with the HIV virus, the profile of HIV/AIDS is undergoing a transformation from a life-threatening emergency to a manageable chronic disease. New strategies and initiatives have ensured that fewer people are getting infected with the virus, and more infected people are getting treatment and living longer. On World AIDS Day 2011, WHO has urged countries in South-East Asia to focus on eliminating the disease, particularly in children, by 2015. Between 2001 and 2010, the number of people newly infected with HIV declined sharply by 34% in WHO's South-East Asia Region. The number of people living with HIV and receiving
anti-retroviral treatment (ART) also increased 10-fold. This indicates that more people are getting access to treatment. With the expansion of facilities providing testing and counseling services, approximately 16 million people have been tested for HIV across the Region.
Dr Samlee Plianbangchang, WHO Regional Director for South-East Asia. He added, "We must learn from our experiences, and work to ensure that no child born gets infected with HIV." To achieve this, WHO along with UNICEF, UNFPA, UNAIDS and countries in the Asia-Pacific
The epidemic continues to be on the rise in Indonesia, although the number of new infections is showing a downward trend in India "We are coming out of a transformative decade for the HIV/ AIDS epidemic. With innovative treatment regimens, improved health services as well as political commitment, HIV-positive people who are on treatment are living longer and better lives," said
Region launched an initiative in 2011 with the goal of eliminating new pediatric HIV infections and congenital syphilis by 2015. Also making this possible is the new treatment initiative recommended by WHO and UNAIDS, "Treatment 2.0". It
works on the principle that high quality drugs that are easy to take, easy to monitor, and affordable are needed to achieve universal, sustainable access to treatment. However, major challenges remain. According to the WHO Progress Report on HIV/AIDS in South-East Asia 2011, an estimated 3.5 million people were living with HIV/AIDS in 2010, including 140 000 children. Women accounted for 37% of this population. The epidemic continues to be on the rise in Indonesia, although the number of new infections is showing a downward trend in India, Myanmar, Nepal and Thailand. Annually, there are an estimated 210 000 new HIV infections and 230 000 AIDS deaths in the South-East Asia Region, mainly transmitted through sexual intercourse, followed by injecting drug use (IDU). Cont’d on page 41
Health Science Post
December 9, 2011
LGBT outcry against Indian American HIV/AIDS is becoming nurse for homophobic rant manageable: WHO India Post News Service
NEW YORK: The gay and lesbian community across the US has launched a petition to gather signatures calling for the ouster of an Indian American nurse at the Dallas VA Medical Center, for her alleged homophobic rant against a patient. Nurse Lincy Pandithurai is on leave and the VA Medical Center has placed her on administrative duties pending investigation. According to the Dallas Voice, Esther Garatie, a 28-year old former US Marine had visited the Dallas VA seeking help for severe depression and suicidal thoughts. Pandithurai, however, subjected her to more than three hours of a bizarre anti-gay tirade, Garatie alleged. Garatie told the Voice that when she entered Pandithurai's office, the nurse's first question to her was, "Are you a lesbian?" Surprised, Garatie replied that she was. "Have you asked God into your heart?" Pandithurai reportedly asked. "Have you been saved by Jesus Christ?" In her statement to the Voice,
Garatie told the Voice that when she entered Pandithurai's office, the nurse's first question to her was, "Are you a lesbian?" Garatie writes, "This is when I realized that I was no longer a United States veteran in her eyes, I was just a homosexual." She adds that
Pandithurai talked at length about Hell, urged Garatie "back towards the light," and asked her a number of invasive questions about any previous sexual encounters with men. The nurse also allegedly told her, "The reason you are so upset is because you feel the darkness surrounding you, and you feel guilty about being a homosexual and living in sin. I'm going to prescribe you some anti-depressants, maybe they'll help, but I'm not saying that you aren't going to continue to want to kill yourself." The news has since been widely reported on LGBT-oriented blogs around the country, and a petition on Change.org to fire Pandithurai, begun by Garatie's close friend Jessica Gerson, has garnered more than 15,000 signatures. Garatie enlisted to the Marines in 2003, when she was only 19. After boot camp and combat training in South Carolina, she was stationed for a year and a half in Twentynine Palms, in the Mojave Desert, near Joshua Tree National Park. She was then deployed to Iraq.
Contâ€™d from page 40
The overall prevalence of HIV is low in the Region (0.3%), but sex workers and their clients, men who have sex with men (MSM), transgender individuals and people who inject drugs are disproportionately affected. Protective behavior such as consistent condom use is increasing among sex workers, but not in MSM and IDUs. The majority of people living with HIV are unaware of their HIV status. Less than one out of five pregnant women have access to HIV testing and counseling; two out of three HIV-infected pregnant women do not receive anti-viral prophylaxis. Only a third of all people with advanced HIV infection are receiving anti-retroviral treatment as per the latest WHO criteria. However, more than four out of five people who have started treatment are alive and on treatment 12 months after the start of therapy. Access to HIV testing for all pregnant women, and ART for those who have tested positive, are essential to prevent children from being infected in the womb or through breastfeeding. In or-
der to achieve this, WHO has recommended HIV services to be integrated into related health services, such as maternal and child health services. Reducing HIV-associated stigma and discrimination in community and healthcare settings is also vital. WHO continues to advocate for reducing prices of
Less than one out of five pregnant women have access to HIV testing and counseling anti-retroviral drugs, and investing in building health systems and human resources so that countries can scale up HIV interventions. The Regional Health Sector Strategy on HIV, 2011-2015, which has been endorsed by all Member States of the WHO South-East Asia Region, envisions "zero new HIV infections, zero AIDS-related deaths and zero discrimination in a world where people living with HIV are able to live long, healthy lives."
Health Science Post
December 9, 2011
Further cuts to Medicare and Medi-Cal opposed India Post News Service
OAKLAND: The Alameda County Board of Supervisors has approved a resolution introduced by Supervisor Wilma Chan that requests a proclamation by the Board of Supervisors opposing cuts to Medicare and Medi-Cal programs. In Alameda County there are 14 General Acute Care Hospitals providing care to an estimated 230,000 Medi-Cal beneficiaries, more than 500 Medi-Cal service providers, and 50 clinics operated by Federally Qualified Health Centers. Cuts to Medicare and Medi-Cal would have a devastating impact to the recipients and
providers of these services. "Healthcare affects everyone in Alameda County. Medi-Cal and Medicare support our communities' most vulnerable - the elderly, people
Children's Hospital of Oakland. "I support the County Board's resolution to oppose further cuts to Medicare and Medi-Cal funding because hardworking fami-
The Alameda County Board of Supervisors has joined a growing movement of municipalities, healthcare providers, healthcare workers and patients in support of Medicare and Medi-Cal. The latest vote falls on the heels of additional resolutions created by SEIU-UHW members to protect Medicare and Medi-Cal living with disabilities and children plus a majority of hospitals like ours," said Dave Hawthorne, Respiratory Care Practitioner at
lies need to focus on living their lives rather than stressing about whether they have health coverage," said Joseph Winkle, an
OR Technician II at Seton Medical Center. "The super committee's failure to reach an agreement is good news-no deal is better than a bad deal for Americans." The Alameda County Board of Supervisors has joined a growing movement of municipalities, healthcare providers, healthcare workers and patients in support of Medicare and Medi-Cal. The latest vote falls on the heels of additional resolutions created by SEIU-UHW members to protect Medicare and Medi-Cal funding this month: • Amador County passed November 8 • Yolo County, Sponsor-Matt
Rexroad, Yolo County Supervisor, passed November 8 • City of Los Angeles, Sponsor-Richard Alarcón, Los Angeles City Councilmember, passed November 16 • San Joaquin passed November 22 Similar resolutions are being considered in San Francisco and Sacramento. Medicare and Medi-Cal provide more than half of the funding for both hospital care (51%), as well as nursing home care (80%) in California and the programs are crucial components of California's economy, with more than 1 of every 10 jobs in California in the healthcare sector.
Pharmacists must do more New line of treatment for ALS proposed when health risks known MUJEEB OSMAN
CARSON CITY, Nev.: Pharmacists have a legal duty to warn patients or contact their doctors when they are aware of a specific health risk to a patient, the Nevada has Supreme Court ruled. The court's decision came in a case that involved an elderly woman who died after taking a sulfa-based medication that ``chemically cooked'' her body when she suffered an allergic reaction noted in her patient profile. In a unanimous ruling written by Justice Ron Parraguirre, the court reversed a lower court ruling in a wrongful death suit filed against Walgreens by the family of 86-year-old Helen Klasch. ``We conclude that when a pharmacist has knowledge of customerspecific risk with respect to a prescribed medication, the pharmacist has a duty to exercise reasonable
care in warning the customer or notifying the prescribing doctor of the risk,'' the court said. Klasch died in 2006 after taking a sulfa-based medication prescribed by Dr. Frederick Tanenggee to treat her for a urinary tract infection. Her patient medical history noted a possible allergy to sulfa. According to court documents, the doctor said her infection could be treated most effectively with a Bactrim, a sulfa-based antibiotic, and asked Klasch to clarify how certain she was of her allergy. Klasch downplayed the note in her medical history and asked for the prescription, which she took to Walgreens. A separate settlement was reached in a suit filed against Tanenggee. When Klasch's caregiver picked it up, a pharmacy employee told her the prescription had been
``flagged'' by the computer system because Klasch's patient profile also noted her sulfa allergy. An employee then called Klasch, who said she had taken Bactrim in the past and had no adverse reactions. The pharmacist then overrode the computer system's warning and filled the prescription with a generic form of the drug, according to court records. Later that day, Klasch complained of feeling ``itchy.'' She was taken to the emergency room the next day where she was diagnosed with Stevens-Johnson Syndrome/ toxic epidermal necrosis - a reaction that causes ``blistering of the mucous membranes ... and patchy areas of rash, followed by the entire top layer of skin ... peeling off in sheets from large areas of the body,'' according to expert testimony in the case. -AP
AAPI criticizes Herman Cain's remarks India Post News Service
NEW YORK; Republican US presidential hopeful Herman Cain is facing a backlash from physicians, including Indian-origin doctors, over his remarks that he was worried about being treated by a doctor who "sounded too foreign". Cain, 66, was talking about his battle with Stage IV colon cancer in 2006. Speaking at The Holy Land Experience, a religious-themed park in Orlando, Florida last weekend, Cain told supporters that he was concerned that one of the surgeons working with him in the chemotherapy process was named Dr
Abdallah. He told a physician's assistant that the name sounded "too foreign". He then expressed relief when he was told that the physician was a Christian from Lebanon, and not Muslim. Cain's press office was not immediately available for a comment. Cain was also criticized earlier this year after he said he wouldn't be "comfortable" in appointing Muslims to his Cabinet if he is elected to the White House, but later backtracked to insist he meant extremists. An influential body representing the powerful group of Indian American physicians has termed
his remarks as insulting. "Cain's latest remarks are completely insulting to physicians of Indianorigin across America," said Dr Sunita Kanumury, president of American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI), which in a statement strongly condemned the remarks made by Cain. "It doesn't matter to a physician what race, religion or creed their patient belongs to. All they care about is providing the best health care possible to them. Similarly, our patients don't care about our race and religion. What they want is the highest quality health care from the best doctor of their choice," said Kanumury.
CHICAGO, IL: A front ranking researcher from the Indian subcontinent, Dr.Teepu Siddique, was the keynote speaker at a symposium on Lou Gehrig and Chairman Mao: A Fatal Link" held at East West University, Chicago Downtown recently. The symposium was part of the East-West Perspectives lecture series and it touched upon his successful research in the medical field. Dr. Teepu Siddique and his team had made a breakthrough research defining a new cause of ALS that could open up a new field for an effective treatment for the disease. Dr. Teepu Siddique is Abbott Professor of Neurology at Feinburg School of Medicine at Northwestern University. He is an internationally recognized researcher and has received numerous awards for his work in neuromuscular disorders, especially ALS, or Lou Gehrig's disease. Dr. Siddique identified the breakdown of cellular recycling systems in the neurons of the spinal cord and brain of ALS patients that results in the nervous system slowly losing its ability to carry brain signals to the body's muscular system. Dr. Siddique earned his medical degree in 1973 from the University of Karachi in Pakistan, and came to the United States in 1975 for an internship and a neurology residency at the New Jersey Medical School in Newark. Dr. Siddique has won numerous prestigious awards. He is the author of more than 200 journal articles, abstracts and book chapters.
He is an internationally recognized researcher and has received numerous awards for his work in neuromuscular disorders The host committee included Dr. Madhu Jain, Dean of East West University, John Thomas, Judy Bacon, Kenneth Gaines, Dr. Wilke, Board of Trustee Sher Rajput, Wasim Raja, and Arshad Mirza MD.
December 9, 2011
Health Science Post
Addressing gender inequality an absolute must to stem HIV Contâ€™d from page 40
Insisting on using condom use can also risk putting women or MSM or transgender populations at risk of violence. Prevention options for STIs including HIV need to be developed sensitive to the needs of populations who are least likely to use or negotiate the use of existing prevention methods. Existing HIV prevention methods such as male or female condoms provide bidirectional protection to both partners engaged in the sexual act. The film "In Women's Hands" captures the need for the research and development of microbicides. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), microbicides are compounds that can be topically applied in the form of a cream/ gel inside the vagina or rectum to protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs) including HIV. They are not yet available and currently under research and development. The development of microbicides is seen as a key to empowering women to protect themselves from HIV. Women are biologically more vulnerable to the transmission of STIs and many cultural and economic factors compound this vulnerability. Millions of women live in societies
that permit them no role in sexual decision-making, that condone male infidelity and assign the burden of shame and stigma associated with infectious diseases to women. Existing preventive strategies have largely failed to address this vulnerability, focusing on abstinence, mutual monogamy and male condom use, none of which are easily controlled by women. Vaginal or rectal microbicides are also likely to fail until both partners who engage in sexual act understand and respect the need to protect themselves against HIV and other STIs. Not only do women or MSM or transgender populations need preventive options that they can choose to use freely to protect themselves, but the gender inequalities that make it harder for them to insist on safer sex must be addressed too. In this way they will be able to protect not only themselves, but also their partners from avoidable infections. Both the films highlight the link between gender-based discrimination and HIV/AIDS. Globally, HIV/ AIDS disproportionately affects women, and the incidence of HIV/ AIDS among women is rising. In 1997, 41 per cent of HIV infected adults were women. In 2009, out of the 33.3 million people around
the world living with HIV/AIDS, 50% (16.6 million) were women. This feminization of HIV/AIDS is a worrying trend. The HIV epidemic in India, first recognized in 1986, is now just under 25 years old and is counted among the most serious public health problems in the country. India carries the largest burden of HIV after South Africa (5.5 million)
The development of microbicides is seen as a key to empowering women to protect themselves from HIV and Nigeria (2.9 million). It is estimated that around 2.3 million people in India are living with HIV. Of these, an estimated 39% are female and 3.5% are children. As HIV transmission in India is largely through heterosexual contact, the infection rate for women is increasing, and the low economic and social status of women continues to be a barrier to preventing new infections. However, a new report by the Joint United Nations Program on
HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), released on 21st November, shows that India has witnessed a decline in new infections by a significant 56% between 2006-10, which is a welcome sign indeed. India has 4.48 lakh HIV positive patients on the lifesaving antiretroviral therapy (ART) at present, against the target of 3.4 lakh. Yet, as of now, only 20%-40% of the eligible HIV population was actually receiving ART - one of the lowest HIV treatment coverage in the world. Also, less than 40% of pregnant women had access to ART to prevent new HIV infections among children. Latest researches have proved that in the case of HIV/AIDS, treatment is prevention, and that those on ART are not only able to keep their own disease under control, their chances of transmitting the virus and infecting others is drastically reduced. So it is essential that all those who are in need of it, are brought under ART, and those receiving it continue to do so. The governments will have to ensure that drug stock outs do not occur for want of finances or faulty supply systems, or for any other reason, so that treatment adherence is not compromised. The discussions that followed the screening of the two films, ac-
knowledged that along with women empowerment, men need to be de-conditioned from their age old and traditional patriarchal role in society and become more sensitive towards the mental and physical needs of their female partners. It was strongly felt by the audience (which was an interesting mix of journalists, educationists, social activists, people working with high risk groups such as MSM, FSWs, IDUs, homeless children, women who have faced violence, young entrepreneurs among others) that there should be more commitment on the part of government to implement its public health programs, and more community participation to ensure availability of, and adherence to quality treatment. According to the UNAIDS estimates, there are now 33.3 million people living with HIV, including 2.5 million children. During 2009 some 2.6 million people became newly infected with the virus and an estimated 1.8 million people died from AIDS. It is therefore imperative for the global community to work together to achieve universal access to HIV prevention, treatment and care in order to have "Zero new HIV infections, Zero discrimination, and Zero AIDS-related deaths."-CNS
Tech News ICC welcomes India move on FDI in retail India Post News Service
MINNEAPOLIS: The India Chamber of Commerce has acclaimed India's recent decision to throw open its $450 billion retail market to global supermarket giants, approving its biggest reform in years that may boost sorely needed investment in Asia's thirdlargest economy, said the Reuters. The investors from United States and other countries viewed this as a welcome sign and lauded the Cabinet's approval of opening India's vast multi-brand retail sector to foreign direct investment (FDI) and expanding FDI into single-brand retail. India, with its growing $1.6 trillion economy, is seen as one of the last frontiers for a massive and modern supermarket sector aimed at hundreds of millions of middle class consumers who still shop in neighborhood mom-and-pop stores. Food Minister K.V. Thomas said the government will allow foreign direct investment of up to 51 percent in multi-brand retail - as supermarkets are known in India. It will also raise the cap on foreign investment in single-brand retailing to 100 percent from 51 percent, he added. "Although the fear of driving down prices and causing huge job losses have been the key factors for delaying this decision", says Seann Nelipinath, President of India Chamber of Commerce, "it now provides India with significant advantage for attracting foreign capital and removing supply bottlenecks."
Indo-US CEO Forum asked for FDI in retail: Govt NEW DELHI: Amidst a raging controversy over FDI in multibrand retail, the government has said it received a recommendation from the Indo-US CEO Forum to open up the sector, among other areas, for foreign investment. In a written reply in the Rajya Sabha, Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Jyotiraditya Scindia quoted the Indo-US CEO Forum as having recommended enhancing of "Indian foreign direct investment (FDI) policy reforms through further opening up of key sectors such as insurance, private sector banks, retail and defense to foreign investors". ContĂd on page 45
TechBiz 44 India Post
December 9, 2011
Rs 6,994 crore loss for Air India in 2010-11 NEW DELHI: Air India is estimated to have incurred a loss of Rs 6,994 crore in the year 2010-11 and only two of its 175 domestic and international flight routes were meeting all costs during the April-September period, the Indian government said. Replying to several questions about Air India in the Rajya Sabha (upper house of Parliament), Minister of Civil Aviation Vyalar Ravi gave details of the national carrier's financial woes. "Air India incurred a loss of Rs 5548.26 crore during 2008-09, Rs 5552.55 crore during 2009-10 and the estimated loss for 2010-11 is Rs 6994 crore," Ravi said in reply to a question by Y S Chowdhury. MPs Prabhat Jha and Kusum Rai asked the Civil Aviation Minister whether of the 175 routes that Air India operated, only two met all their costs.-PTI
S&P downgrades top US, European banks; ups China's NEW YORK: In a major blow to the already struggling banking sector in a weak global economic scenario, rating agency major S&P has downgraded as many as 15 large banks globally, including some big American names like Bank of America, Citigroup and Goldman Sachs. Standard and Poor's has also cut ratings for US-based banking giants like JP Morgan, Morgan Stanley, Wells Fargo, while some European banking titans like Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds Banking Group, RBS (Royal Bank of Scotland) and Rabobank have also been downgraded. In a major rating action review of as many as 37 banks globally, S&P has incidentally upgraded two Chinese banks - Bank of China and China Construction Bank. The review did not include any Indian banks. At the same time, the rating agency giant has kept its ratings unchanged for a handful of big European names like BNP Paribas, Credit Agricole and Deutsche Bank. Another agency Moody's has also hinted at possible rating downgrades for some European banks. A credit rating is generally con-
sidered as a tool to measure an entity's creditworthiness. The downgrade would make it costlier for the banks to access funds, while their funding needs for dayto-day activities in the overnight debt market could also become more expensive. On its part, S&P said that the ratings have been reviewed to apply its new ratings criteria for the
S&P, about their alleged inability in foreseeing the financial crisis of 2008 by not truly reflecting the inherent investment risks in their various rating actions at that time. S&P first proposed the changes in its rating criteria in January, and had later said that the ratings would be reviewed to apply the new methodology in the last quarter of 2012.
Experts said that the first set of bank ratings from S&P, as per the new methodology, indicated towards a fundamental shift in the global banking landscape towards Asia. Though financial titans of the US and Europe have been downgraded, S&P has upgraded two Chinese banks banks, which it had finalized earlier this month. The new rating methodology is said to be aimed at a greater focus on the ability of banks to handle the market and economic uncertainties and the likelihood of any support from the government for troubled financial institutions. The changes have been made in the rating criteria after criticism of various agencies, including
Experts said that the first set of bank ratings from S&P, as per the new methodology, indicated towards a fundamental shift in the global banking landscape towards Asia. Though financial titans of the US and Europe have been downgraded, S&P has upgraded two Chinese banks. The banks whose ratings were left unchanged also included Commerzbank, Industrial and
Commercial Bank of China, ING Groep, Societe Generale, Banco Santander. At the same time, S&P has downgraded the outlook for two European giants, Credit Suisse and Deutsche Bank, to 'negative', although their credit ratings have been retained. Another rating agency major Moody's has also hinted at a possible downgrade of its ratings for some European banks. Moody's would soon review ratings for BNP Paribas SA and Societe Generale SA (France's biggest lenders), UniCredit SpA (Italy's largest), Spain's Banco Santander SA, and Swiss giants Credit Suisse AG and UBS AG. Earlier in September, Moody's had downgraded some US banks, such as Bank of America, Citigroup and Wells Fargo. Bank of America, as also its Merrill Lynch unit, have been downgraded by S&P to 'A-', from 'A' earlier. The ratings for each of Goldman Sachs, Citigroup and Morgan Stanley were also cut to 'A-'. At the same time, JP Morgan Chase was downgraded to 'A' from 'A+', while Wells Fargo and Bank of New York Mellon Corp were cut from 'AA-' to 'A+'. -PTI
Cabinet Comm to decide on biometrics collection NEW DELHI: Days after voicing concern over the data collection process of Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), Home Minister P Chidambaram has said a decision on who would capture biometrics information of all Indians will be taken by a Cabinet Committee. "What is being referred to the Cabinet Committee on UIDAI is who should do the capture of the biometrics. Should it be the Registrar General of India or should it be the UIDAI. UIDAI as of now has a mandate to capture biometrics for up to 200 million people. So, UIDAI
committee will decide," he said at a press conference here. He was responding to a question whether the government is changing the Foreigners Act to
"Once that decision is taken it will be implemented. The decision will be taken by the Cabinet Committee on UIDAI," Chidambaram said.
Early last month, the Home Minister had expressed concern over the data collection process of UIDAI saying there was real chance of inclusion of non-usual residents and creation of false profile which may compromise internal security notify UIDAI as a registrar so that it can go ahead to collect the biometrics of more people than what it was mandated.
Early last month, the Home Minister had expressed concern over the data collection process of UIDAI saying there was real
chance of inclusion of nonusual residents and creation of false profile which may compromise internal security. He said the process of the National Population Register being prepared by the Registrar General of India has been carefully devised after considerable deliberations at the level of an Empowered Group of Ministers, pilot trials, consultations with state governments. "The data collected by multiple registrars of the UIDAI does not meet the degree of assurance required under the NPR from the point of view of internal security," he had said. -PTI
December 9, 2011
No plan to revisit FDI retail policy: Govt NEW DELHI: Ruling out any roll-back of the policy to allow foreign investment in multi-brand retail in the country, the government today said it would issue the guidelines in due course. "The rules will be framed which answer the issues raised and decisions taken in the Cabinet," Secretary of the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) P K Chaudhery told reporters here. Asked whether the government will again invite public comments before formulating and announcing the rules governing the FDI policy, Chaudhery said there was no such move. "If my answer to you was yes, that means I am conceding that we will revisit the policy, no," he said. Chaudhery said his department did not write directly to the state governments while the policy was being formulated. He said the states were consulted when the issue was debated by the Standing Committee of Parliament attached to the Commerce
Members of BJP hold placards and shout slogans against Central government during a protest against FDI in retail sector, in Bangalore
retail and removal of the 51 per cent cap in single-brand retail were approved by the Cabinet on November 24. "Guidelines on FDI in multibrand retail are not to be put on
Asked whether the government will again invite public comments before formulating and announcing the rules governing the FDI policy, Chaudhery said there was no such move. "If my answer to you was yes, that means I am conceding that we will revisit the policy, no," he said Ministry. In addition, the proposal in the form of a discussion paper was on its official website and the states were free to respond, he said. Fifty-one per cent foreign direct investment (FDI) in multi-brand
hold... (it is) work in progress," Chaudhery said without indicating any timeline. The government's decision to permit FDI in multi-brand retail has created political turmoil, disrupting functioning of Parliament and leading to traders' protests. -PTI
Traders stage a protest march against FDI in retail at Navi Mumbai
Indo-US CEO Forum asked for FDI in retail: Govt ContĂd from page 44
Asked whether the government would accept these recommendations, the minister said, " ... the policy is reviewed on an ongoing basis with a view to making it more investor friendly". After the Cabinet approved 51 per cent FDI in the multi-brand retail and removed the cap on the single brand retail on November 24, the government has come under attack not only from the Opposition but also from the UPA allies - Trinamool Congress and the DMK. These parties have forced stalling of Parliament for the last four
days demanding a roll-back of the decision, whereas the government has indicated no reversal of the
Co-chaired by Tata Group head Ratan Tata and Honeywell Inc's Chairman and CEO David Cote, the Forum last met in Washington in September this year policy. The Indo-US CEO Forum was constituted in July 2005 as a major
initiative for enhancing bilateral trade and investment. It was reconstituted in November 2009 by President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and comprises 12 Indian and 12 US CEOs. Co-chaired by Tata Group head Ratan Tata and Honeywell Inc's Chairman and CEO David Cote, the Forum last met in Washington in September this year. Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma, Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahlulwalia attended the Washington meeting. -PTI
December 9, 2011
Garment makers divided over FDI in multi-brand retail CHANDIGARH: Punjab-based garment makers have welcomed the Center's move to allow FDI in multi-brand retail and see it as an "opportunity", while manufacturer-cum- retailers have termed it as a "threat to local brands". Favoring the Center's move to allow 51 per cent FDI in multi-brand retail, garment makers say it will bring in more opportunities for them in the shape of getting big size orders from global brands like Wal-Mart and forging exclusive partnerships with international players. However, local garment brands who are also into manufacturing, are wary of opening of large shops by global retailers, suggesting that it could hurt their "well-established" domestic market. Despite the fact that there was a hue and cry over allowing FDI into multi-brand retail across the country, garments makers have termed it as move in right direc-
tion. "Because of the 51 per cent FDI allowed into multi-brand retail, garment units here will open more possibilities for local players to supply their garments by giving large volume of order size to us
â€˜If companies like WalMart opens their shops here, they can pose stiff competition to domestic brands like ours as they have the capacity and resources to offer wide variety of itemsâ€™ which will further boost the local garment and terry towel making in the state," Ludhiana-based garment maker, Ajit Lakra told PTI. Lakra supplies garments to big brands like Reebok, Spencer and
Benetton. Local players also see the opportunity in having a joint venture with global retailers like Wal-Mart for producing exclusively for them to cater to Indian market. "We can have an exclusive arrangement with international retailers for making garments for them only and it will provide a fillip to the manufacturing sector here who usually get small size of orders from big brands at present," he said. On the other hand, local garment brands are apprehensive over the entry of brands big brands into retail sector. "If companies like Wal-Mart opens their shops here, they can pose stiff competition to domestic brands like ours as they have the capacity and resources to offer wide variety of items to customers," Ludhiana-based Duke Group Chairman Komal Jain said. -PTI
Montek for foreign investment in medical education NEW DELHI: Plan panel Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia has pitched for opening up of the medical education sector to foreign investment to increase the supply of professionals, including doctors and nursing staff. "My view is that opening up (medical education) to private (investment) sector is crucial... and wherever private investment is allowed, I have no problem with for-
beds over the next few years, then you have a chance that 30 medical schools could be created." Ahluwalia suggested that with present capacity of medical institutions in the country, it is not possible to produce half a million doctors in the next few years, which is the need of the hour. "At present, you cannot run a medical university unless you are a society or a trust. If you have a major corporate hospital and want
Nissan mulls more exports from India due to floods in Thailand TOKYO: Japanese car giant Nissan is looking to utilize its Indian production facility to export vehicles to more markets like the Middle East as overseas sales from its Thailand manufacturing base have come to a standstill in the wake of devastating floods in the nation. "... We are studying to utilize capacities in India to export to other countries like the Middle East. There is a possibility of that," Nissan Motor Co Chief Operating Officer Toshiyuki Shiga told reporters at the Tokyo Motor Show here. The company is currently recovering from the impact of the devastating floods in Thailand, he said, but added that there was no scope for augmenting exports based on existing capacity at Thailand. "... Besides, our capacity in Thailand is full. Now there is no room to export from Thailand," Shiga said. The company has a joint manufacturing facility with its global partner Renault in Chennai, with an annual production capacity of two lakh units. The two firms had committed an investment of Rs 4,500 crore on construction of the plant, which will have a capacity to roll out four lakh units per annum. "We have a big plant in Chennai... We are exporting a lot. With small car Micra, we will expand to more countries like the Middle East," Shiga said.
He also said if India can provide competitive advantages in terms of suppliers and labor costs, then the country can export to many other locations. "Now Japan is losing its competitiveness, we are losing production volume in Japan. So we are shifting more to the growing mar-
"There is no doubt that we have to expand electric vehicles in the world. We will surely launch electric vehicles in India, but I cannot tell when and how many units," Nissan Motor Co Senior Vice-President Minoru Shinohara said kets like India," he added. The company will continue to invest in India in different areas, including manufacturing activity and strengthening its R&D centre in Chennai. "We have R&D centers in the US and China, but one of the very strong candidates for research activities and product development is India," Shiga said. The company is considering
the launch of more small cars in future, besides developing light commercial vehicles and luxury cars, he added. On alternate fuel-based transportation, he said the company plans to introduce more models in future, which will be rolled out in India as well. In this regard, the company is exploring the possibility of introducing electric vehicles in India in the future. "There is no doubt that we have to expand electric vehicles in the world. We will surely launch electric vehicles in India, but I cannot tell when and how many units," Nissan Motor Co Senior Vice-President Minoru Shinohara said. The company is currently developing electric vehicles for global markets in partnership with Germany auto giant Daimler. By 2016, Nissan plans to sell 1.5 million electrical vehicles. It has so far sold 20,000 units. Nissan showcased concept models of its electric cars Pivo 3, Leaf and Townpod at the Motor Show. It also showcased a concept of premium sports utility vehicle Juke Nismo. Talking about currency fluctuation and the impact on Nissan's Indian operations, Shiga said: "The problem is exporting Micra from India... because of weak euro, we are suffering. It is difficult because of the volatility of the currency."-PTI
Deputy Chairman of Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia shakes hands with President Public Health Foundation of India K Srinath Reddy (R) during the inaugural session of 8th India Health Summit in New Delhi on Dec 1. Naresh Trehan, Chairman CII National Committee of Healthcare, is also seen
eign investment," Ahluwalia told reporters here on the sidelines of a Health Summit organized by CII. Ahluwalia's comment comes at a time when the government is facing flak over its decision to open up the multi-brand retail sector to foreign investment. The decision has resulted in a logjam in Parliament, which could not function for the eighth day in a row. He further said, "If the private sector is going to set up 10,000
to run a medical school, it is not allowed. Is that a good idea?", he asked. According to Ahluwalia, the law prescribing that only trust or societies can run a medical school in the country is an obsolete idea in the present context. He stressed that it would be better to have a 'Section 25' company running a medical school, as it would run business in a more transparent way. -PTI
UPA bowed to US pressure in allowing FDI in retail: BJP MUMBAI: Supporting the 'bandh' called by small and medium traders in protest against the Indian government's decision to allow FDI in retail, primary opposition Bhartiya Janata Party has accused the UPA government of "bowing" to US pressure. "We are supporting the bandh. The decision taken by the government is dangerous to the retail. Government has bowed to the pressure from US," Mumbai BJP spokesper-
son Madhav Bhandari said. Expressing apprehensions that the entry of big retailers like Walmart would adversely affect the small retailers in the country, he said United Progressive Alliance government lacked transparency. About 35 lakh small and medium traders from across western Indian state Maharashtra downed shutters in protest against the FDI policy.-PTI
December 9, 2011
Your Weekly Future by Pandit Parashar
DECEMBER 9TH - DECEMBER 15TH (November 23 to December 22)
(March 21 to April 20)
ou may hear some disturbing news at work but it won't affect you right away. Some of you will be getting ready for a challenging assignment starting next week. Money wise you will stay comfortable and see bank balance grow. You may plan a very short vacation with family to a close by and real nice place.
ast efforts are about to bring the desired changes in life. You are very close to some major things in life. Some of you may start some legal process to claim what belonged to you in first place. You will be getting ready for an upcoming trip also. You may dispose off some stocks and pocket the profit.
(April 21 to May 20)
(December 22 to January 19)
owerful planets will take your worries away finding excellent solution. You will write a check to a government agency also in form of taxes or fine. Bachelors will be introduced to some one who is connected with health industry. You will get to see many relatives after long interval at the party this week.
ou may accept the new offer and get ready for the break before starting new job. You are going to enjoy an evening with close relatives and some old friends. Some money would be spent on home also. Do not disclose your full strategy to anyone. You have some money coming through legal channel soon.
(May 21 to June 20)
(January 20 to February 18)
ou may put your needs aside and help some one needy. You may also get rid of something piling up dust in the garage and pocket the money. It will be better to read the contract carefully and have second opinion before you sign it. Boss will pay attention to your suggestions. Bank balance will grow fast.
ncouraging news will continue to pour in one after another. Every body will be excited about upcoming trip. A child may need your help with studies. You may receive some business proposals also through a friend. Strong Venus in seventh can take the relationship to a new level. Money will come but disappear fast.
(February 19 to March 20)
(June 21 to July 22)
ou will enjoy the company of new friend at work. Money wise you will continue to do fine. It will be better to dispose of money making stocks and wait for few weeks to buy them back. You may sign some important papers involving a claim. Slowly you will be preparing for an upcoming interesting trip.
ou have big chunk of money coming during next few weeks. Positive changes will continue to occur in career and there will be tremendous progress in ongoing projects. Right help will be within reach. A long distance journey is also in the air. Some one from past will reappear and try to come too close again.
(July 23 to August 22)
ife will continue to turn in the right direction. You will be motivated and feel fully charged. Business will improve a lot. You will be preparing to receive some guests at your place. Do not stay indoors too much and take advantage of Sunshine. Strong Saturn in third will get you lots of money through legal means. (August 23 to September 22)
t will another hectic week but you will get some positive results. Be careful with money and do not take any chance or speculate. Expenses will other wise too exceed your income. It will be better to get involved in projects that provide services rather than selling any expensive products. (September 23 to October 22)
ou will take all important decisions with a calm and rational mind. There will be financial growth and business will improve a lot. New vendors will be prompt and less expensive. People in food business will see sales shooting up. There is a big chance of money coming through stocks or lottery this week.
(October 23 to November 22)
ou will be in touch with some experts to seek their opinion and the process. Children will be visiting home soon. Money wise things will start looking better once again but expenses will hardly leave you alone. You may take one of your vehicle to an auto shop for some minor repairs this weekend.
US founding fathers believed in astrology
mericans might be surprised to find that their founding fathers had strong beliefs in astrology. Books such as "Turning the Solomon Key: George Washington, the Bright Morning Star, and the Secrets of Masonic Astrology" by Robert Lomas tries to link early American leaders who were Freemasons, such as George Washington and statesman Benjamin Franklin, to astrology. There are several astrological images located in government buildings around Washington, D.C. For example, the Ariel Rios Federal Building, part of the Federal Triangle government complex, has a ceiling mural that contains images the four seasons and the twelve zodiac signs. In the 1980s, Americans found out for a fact that astrology was helping plan the movements of their president. Many Christians supported Ronald Reagan's
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campaign for president and were dismayed when they found out that First Lady Nancy Reagan often consulted astrologer Joan Quigley for advice. Nancy had known Joan Quigley since the 1970s, but Nancy sought her advice for the president's personal safety after the assignation attempt on his life in 1981. In "For the Record" by former White House Chief of Staff Donald Regan, he states that Nancy Reagan used astrologers to help plan the president's schedule of activities. Joan Quigley wrote in her own book that she was heavily involved in activities involving the President's international relations. Over the years, many politicians and world leaders have relied on astrology to help guide them. But, because at certain periods of time throughout history, astrology has been viewed unfavorably, many have kept it a secret from their public.
December 9, 2011
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Notice is hereby given that sealed competitive bids will be accepted at the Health Care Services Agency, 1000 San Leandro Blvd., Suite 300, San Leandro, CA, 94577- ATTN: Connie Yale MANDATORY NETWORKING/ NORTH COUNTY BIDDERS CONFERENCE RFP HCSA #900112 Downtown Educational Complex (DEC) School Based Health Center Health Provider/Lead Agency, Monday, December 12, 2011, 2:00 PM 単 Alameda County Health Care Services Agency, 1000 San Leandro Blvd., 2nd Floor, Conference Room 220, San Leandro, CA NON- MANDATORY NETWORKING/NORTH COUNTY BIDDERS CONFERENCE RFP HCSA #900112 Downtown Educational Complex (DEC) School Based Health Center Health Provider/Lead Agency, Tuesday, December 13, 2011, 2:00 PM 単 Alameda County Health Care Services Agency, 1000 San Leandro Blvd., 3rd Floor, Conference Room 325, San Leandro, CA Responses Due by 5:00 pm on January 4, 2012 County Contact: Kimi Sakashita at (510) 618-3425 or via email: email@example.com Attendance at December 12th Networking Conference is Mandatory. Specifications regarding the above may be obtained at the Alameda County GSA Current Contracting Opportunities Internet website at www.acgov.org. 12/9/11 CNS-2214068#
Notice is hereby given that sealed competitive bids will be accepted in the office of the GSA-Purchasing Department, County of Alameda, 1401 Lakeside Drive, Suite 907, Oakland, CA 94612 NETWORKING/NORTH COUNTY BIDDERS CONFERENCE RFQ #900908-Audit Services Pool, Wednesday, December 14, 2011, 10:00 A.M. 単 General Services Agency, 1401 Lakeside Drive, Room 1107, 11th Floor, Oakland, CA NETWORKING/SOUTH COUNTY BIDDERS CONFERENCE RFQ #900908-Audit Services Pool, Thursday, December 15, 2011, 2:00 P.M. 単 Castro Valley Library, 3600 Norbridge Avenue, Chabot Room, Castro Valley, CA Responses Due by 2:00 pm on January 12, 2012 County Contact: Ann Marie Romero (510) 208-9742 or via email: firstname.lastname@example.org Attendance at Networking Conference is Non-mandatory. Specifications and bid copies regarding the above may be obtained at the Alameda County GSA-Purchasing Department or the Current Contracting Opportunities Internet website at www.acgov.org. 12/9/11 CNS-2215138#
December 9, 2011
Page Sponsored by Sahanis OSHO
ove is not a relationship. Love relates, but it is not a relationship. A relationship is something finished. A relationship is a noun; the full stop has come, the honeymoon is over. Now there is no joy, no enthusiasm, now all is finished. You can carry it on, just to keep your promises. You can carry it on because it is comfortable, convenient, cozy. You can carry it on because there is nothing else to do. You can carry it on because if you disrupt it, it is going to create much trouble for youâ€Ś Relationship means something complete, finished, closed. Love is never a relationship; love is relating. It is always a river, flowing, unending. Love knows no full stop; the honeymoon begins but never ends. It is not like a novel that starts at a certain point and ends at a certain point. It is an ongoing phenomenon. Lovers end, love continues- it is a continuum. It is a verb, not a noun. And why do we reduce the beauty of relating to relationship? Why are we in such a hurry? Because to relate is insecure, and relationship is a security. Relationship has a certainty; relating is just a meeting of two strangers, maybe just an overnight stay and in the morning we say goodbye. Who knows what is going to happen
tomorrow? And we are so afraid that we want to make it certain, we want to make it predictable. We would like tomorrow to be according to our ideas; we don't allow it freedom to have its own say. So we immediately reduce every verb to a noun. You are in love with a woman or a man and immediately you start thinking of getting married. Make it a legal contract. Why? How does the law come into love? The law
intimacies. There are seasonal flowers too; within six weeks they are there, in the sun, but within six weeks again they are gone forever. There are flowers that take years to come, and there are flowers that take many years to come. The longer it takes, the deeper it goes. But it has to be a commitment from one heart to another heart. It has not even to be verbalized, because to verbalize it is to profane it. It has to be a silent
Love is relating; it is not a relationship Relationship has a certainty; relating is just a meeting of two strangers, maybe just an overnight stay and in the morning we say goodbye
comes into love because love is not there. It is only a fantasy, and you know the fantasy will disappear. Before it disappears settle down, before it disappears do something so it becomes impossible to separate. In a better world, with more meditative people, with a little more enlightenment spread over the earth, people will love, love immensely, but
umi acknowledged Hakim Sanai and Attar as his two primary inspirations, saying, 'Attar is the soul and Sanai its two eyes, I came after Sanai and Attar.' Sanai wrote an enormous quantity of mystical verse, of which The Walled Garden of Truth or The Hadiqat al Haqiqa is his master work and the first Persian mystical epic of Sufism. Dedicated to Bahram Shah, the work expresses the poet's ideas on God, love, philosophy and reason. For close to 900 years, The Walled Garden of Truth has been consistently read as a classic and employed as a Sufi textbook. Sanai was originally a court poet who was engaged in writing praises for the Sultan of Ghazna. The story is told of how the Sultan decided to lead a military attack against neighboring India and Sanai, as a court poet, was summoned to join the expedition to record the Sultan's exploits. As Sanai was making his way to the court, he passed an enclosed garden frequented by a notorious drunk named Lai Khur. As Sanai was passing by, he heard Lai Khur loudly proclaim a toast to the blindness of the Sultan for greedily choosing to attack India, when there was so
their love will remain a relating not a relationship. And I am not saying that their love will be only momentary. There is every possibility their love may go deeper than your love, may have a higher quality of intimacy, may have something more of poetry and more of godliness in it. And there is every possibility their love may last longer than your so-called relationship ever lasts. But it will not be guaranteed by the law, by the court,
by the policeman. The guarantee will be inner. It will be a commitment from the heart, it will be a silent communion. If you enjoy being with somebody, you would like to enjoy it more and more. If you enjoy the intimacy, you would like to explore the intimacy more and more. And there are a few flowers of love which bloom only after long
commitment; eye to eye, heart to heart, being to being. It has to be understood, not said. Once you are in a relationship you start taking each other for granted- that's what destroys all love affairs. To take the other for granted is insulting, disrespectful. The 80th birth anniversary of Osho Rajneesh will be observed on December 11
Wisdom from Hakim Sanai's 'Walled Garden of Truth'
much beauty in Ghazna. Sanai was shocked and stopped. Lai Khur then proposed a toast to the blindness of the famous young poet Sanai who, with his gifts of insight and expression, couldn't see the pointlessness of his existence as a poet praising such a foolish Sultan. These words were like an earthWe tried reasoning our way to Him: it did not work; but the moment we gave up, no obstacle remained. He introduced himself to us out of kindness: how else could we have known him? Reason took us as far as the door; but it was his presence that
The road your self must journey on lies in polishing the heart. It is not by rebellion and discord that the heart's mirror is polished free quake to Hakim Sanai, because he knew they were true. He abandoned his life as a pampered court poet, even declining marriage to the Sultan's own sister, and began to study with a Sufi master named Yusef Hamdani. Sanai soon went on pilgrimage to Mecca. When he returned, he composed his The Walled Gar-
den of Truth. There was a double meaning in this title for, in Persian, the word for a 'walled garden' is the same word for 'paradise', but it was also from within a walled garden that Lai Khur uttered the harsh truths that set Hakim Sanai on the path of wisdom. The following is an excerpt from the poem:
let us in.
journey on lies in polishing the heart. It is not by rebellion and discord that the heart's mirror is polished free of the rust of hypocrisy and unbelief: your mirror is polished by your certitude by the unalloyed purity of your faith.
But how will you ever know him, as long as you are unable to know yourself? Once one is one, no more, no less: error begins with duality; unity knows no error. The road your self must
Thoughts are impediments to seeing your own face. Don't give rise to any thought, and discover who you are. -Poonjaji Meditation depends upon the strength of mind. It must be unceasing even when one is engaged in work. Particular time for it is meant for novices. -Raman Maharishi When we have inner peace, we can be at peace with those around us. When our community is in a state of peace, it can share that peace with neighboring communities. The Dalai Lama You can hear the footsteps of God when silence reigns in the mind. Sri Sathya Sai Baba The life of inner peace, being harmonious and without stress, is the easiest type of existence. Norman Vincent Peale When we are unable to find tranquillity within ourselves, it is useless to seek it elsewhere. Francois de La Rochefoucauld
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December 9, 2011
Civil war and instability as an option in Afghanistan D SUBA CHANDRAN
ith preparations for the international withdrawal from Afghanistan after 2014 in full swing, there has been a significant amount of discussion on what is acceptable and what is not. There is a unanimous understanding that instability and a civil war situation in Afghanistan is unacceptable. Why should such a situation not be acceptable? If it is the most likely outcome, and worse still, inevitable, would it not be a better strategy to prepare for the eventuality? First, the argument that civil war and instability in Afghanistan are unacceptable is flawed, for they are inevitable. It displays cowardice and hypocrisy. It is flawed also because those who argue that it is unacceptable are unlikely to do anything to avoid the situation in Afghanistan. The international community has failed to comprehensively engage in and with Afghanistan. If instability is indeed unacceptable, then they should continue to stay and engage with Afghanistan, instead of withdrawing from the country. Ten years of engagement in Afghanistan, after using it as a proxy during the previous decades, is hardly sufficient. Second, the counter argument - why should instability and civil war in Afghanistan not be acceptable? Afghanistan has never remained a stable and democratic country; such a notion in Afghanistan is even ahistorical. While democracy never existed in Afghanistan, at least in the form practiced in the neighborhood, stability was more an exception rather than the norm. Afghanistan has always experienced an unstable coalition or a risky balance amongst the multiple ethnic communities and numerous warlords. How does one explain the existence of Afghanistan and the relationship between multiple ethnic groups within the country until the 1970s? Afghanistan has always lived with an element of instability and lack of democracy. In a sense, it is ironic to debate democracy in Afghanistan; sociologically interpreted, the tribal jirgas could be considered much more democratic and republican in nature than much the western world. Though Afghanistan failed to translate at the national level, the multiple Pashtun tribes, at the grass roots level, have remained until recently substantially democratic through their jirga pro-
cesses. Though it may appear chaotic, and at times, even barbaric, this is how Afghanistan has existed until now, and is likely to continue. Stability and democracy as perceived and practiced in the West can never be replicated in Afghanistan. This is the context in which both the US and its European allies lack a basic understand-
ence of instability in Afghanistan unacceptable? Or does the imposition of a global jihadi agenda by a non-state actor, or/and the use of Afghanistan as its neighbor's backyard by state actors, make instability and civil war within Afghanistan unmanageable? A civil war situation, if led only by the multiple Afghan actors, would be self-contained. One
India Post FDI furor
Tribal Jirga in Afghanistan
ing of Afghan history. In fact, had they been conscious of its history, they would not have invaded the country, or continued to be embroiled in plans to establish order, norm and stability within a decade. Afghanistan is not a place for fast food culture. It is unfortunate that
Stability and democracy as perceived and practiced in the West can never be replicated in Afghanistan. This is the context in which both the US and its European allies lack a basic understanding of Afghan history from Alexander the Great to Obama, the West never learnt its Afghan lessons. The questions that need to be addressed are: what if Afghanistan faces a civil war after 2014, and remains unstable? Is the pres-
could even crudely relate the situation to the classic balance of power situation in Europe until World War I. However, if external actors - state or non-state - get involved in the instability situation to use it to their advantage, it would magnify the situation. Pakistan and Iran in particular have used different groups within Afghanistan as their stooges, which have made the problem of a crossborder since the 1980s. Finally, when the al Qaeda decided to superimpose its global jihad on the country, it became a global issue. To conclude, a civil war situation within Afghanistan led by various players within the country need not necessarily be totally unacceptable. Even if it remains chaotic and unstable for an outsider, the multiple Afghan groups should be able to balance each other and present an unstable coalition. What would be unacceptable is the use of Afghan soil by outside actors - both state and nonstate. Afghanistan should be left in the hands of the numerous Afghan groups; external involvement should be avoided. The writer is Director, IPCS & Visiting Professor, Pakistan Studies Program, Jamia Millia Islamia
n 2004, the then NDA government had proposed 100 percent FDI in multi-brand retail. More recently, a group of chief ministers chaired by Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi of the BJP recommended promotion of organized retail and contract farming. But when the UPA government of Manmohan Singh decided to allow 51 percent FDI in retail, the BJP joined the Left parties in not only opposing it but stalling parliament over it and organizing a traders' bandh. The shortsightedness of the BJP is intriguing. Like the Republicans in the US, for whom anything connected with Obama is to be opposed, the BJP is hell bent to exploit every opportunity to embarrass the UPA. Not that all the UPA allies are together on the issue of FDI in retail. There are concerns within the Congress itself, used for long toeing the Leftist line. Particularly in view of the coming elections to UP, it is being projected that small traders will be affected. Even Anna Hazare has declared allowing FDI in retail is not in national interest. Economists however say that FDI can rescue economy battling sliding growth, costly credit, rising inflation and falling rupee. Rajiv Kumar, Secretary General of Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce, says, "Data clearly shows that domestic capital is not sufficient. There is a clear case for liberalizing the FDI norms." Another economist says FDI in a regulated environment is always a better option than forcing companies to raise debt at high interest rates. Union Steel Minister Beni Prasad Verma, a backward caste poster boy of the Congress has sought to quell the apprehensions of his own party men asking them to study details of the decision. He said FDI in retail would benefit farmers as it would weed out the role of middlemen in marketing commodities. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh cited a recommendation the government had received from the Indo-US CEO Forum to open up the sector, among other areas, for foreign investment. The US has also welcomed the decision saying such economic reforms will further strengthen business-to-business relations between the two countries. This has added fuel to the opposition outcry with veteran BJP leader L K Advani alleging the decision was taken under pressure from the US, UK and France. Of late, concerned citizens including industry captains have been expressing alarm at slow decision making in the government. Industrialists like Mukesh Ambani and Azim Premji have referred to the policy paralysis and the government's inability to jump-start a faltering economy. Analyzing the slowdown, Prof N.R. Bhanumurthy of the Institute of Economic Growth, a government-funded think tank, said, "Inflation, a high interest rate structure, combined with the fact that banks are unable to lend properly because of rising portfolio of bad loans has slowed growth." If in response to these concerns, the government has decided to take reformist action after a long time, it is greeted by vociferous opposition not only by parties in the opposition but by its own allies, and within the ruling Congress party itself. Can it be the case that the government has not been able to sell reforms? An economist says the retail market is expected to grow from the present size of $490 billion to nearly $1 trillion in the next 20 years. During this time the share of large retailers, including foreign ones, is expected to increase from 4-16 per cent. That still leaves 84 per cent of the retail market to small stores, implying a market of $840 billion for them. Finally, foreign stores are being permitted only in larger cities with populations of one million and above. These number 53 still leaving a huge market for the small stores.
December 9, 2011
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December 9, 2011