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124 students among 126 killed in Pak Details on page 6

PM Modi hails UN decision on Yoga Details on page 8

BJP govt calls for law to restrict conversions Details on page 7

US reviews India's intellectual property policies Details on page 6

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

Vivek Murthy will face problems with gun lobby? Last week’s result

Time magazine is being parochial in dropping Modi from list? YES 63%

VOL 20, No. 1057

December 19, 2014

50¢

Periodical Postage

OBAMA HAILS MURTHY AS TOP U.S. DOC

WASHINGTON: Lauding the Senate confirmation of 37-year-old Vivek Murthy as the youngest ever Surgeon General, more than a year after his nomination, US President Barack Obama has said the IndianAmerican physician would hit the ground running as the country's top doctor. "I applaud the Senate for confirming Vivek Murthy to be our country's next Surgeon General. "As 'America's Doctor,' Vivek will hit the ground running to make sure every American has the information they need to keep themselves and their families safe," Obama said in a statement. The Senate confirmed Murthy's nomination by 51 to 43 votes. "He'll bring his lifetime of experience promoting public health to bear on priorities ranging from stopping new diseases to helping our kids grow up healthy and strong," he added. The President further said Murthy will also help us "build on the progress we've made combating Ebola, both in our country and at its source."

NO 37%

Details on page 5

Naren Patel

Community mourns passing away of N Patel Details on page 16

Three IndianAmericans honored by TiE Details on page 5

Two Infosys employees were among hostages Details on page 8

Akhil Sharma's novel in NYT's top 10 for 2014 Details on page 9

CONTENTS Bollywood ---------------------- 28-29 Classifieds ------------------------- 48 Community Post -------------- 16-26 Date Book -------------------------- 47 Edit Page --------------------------- 54 HealthScience Post --------- 32-35 Horoscope ------------------------- 49 Immigration Post ------------- 44-46

AMERICAN HINDU: Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, the first ever Hindu to be elected

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

to the US House of Representatives, has arrived in India on her maiden trip during which she will engage with several senior government and industry representatives. Here she is seen being greeted by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj at a meeting in New Delhi on December 16

Philosophy ------------------------- 53

Certified by “CIRCULATION VERIFICATION COUNCIL Readership 117,765”

Publisher’s Diary ------------------ 4 Real Estate -------------------- 30-31 TechBiz Post ------------------- 12-15 Travel & Hospitality Post ---- 40-43


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December 19, 2014

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

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ompliments are raining on us and I am just so proud to be of Indian origin right now. Less than a week ago Richard Verma became the first American of Indian descent to take over as Ambassador to India; this week we had Dr. Vivek Murthy being confirmed by Senate to serve as America's Surgeon General; and to cap the Indian run under the spotlights, we had the United Nations General Assembly formally adopting Prime Minister Narendra Modi's proposal to resolve June 21 as the International Day of Yoga. What I am particularly excited about is the formalization of yoga through a world body like the United Nations; and more importantly, impressed at how the Indian Prime Minister cleverly reclaimed India's authority over the ancient practice. How often does it happen that the head of a country proposes in his maiden address to the UNGA an offbeat idea like declaring an International Day of Yoga, and then puts his might behind it to convince the world to make it happen? The Permanent Mission of India tells us that a record number of 175 out of the 193 member countries co-sponsored the resolution, and commendably, it is for the first time that such an initiative was proposed and implemented by any country in the UNGA in less than 90 days. In his address, Modi had uncannily linked the practice of yoga as a means to change existing lifestyles by cutting down on reckless consumption, to respect nature, to create harmony between man and nature, follow a holistic path to health and wellbeing and in turn to help deal with climate change through mindbody consciousness - all of which will change the very character of economies. In the present day, yoga in most parts of the world - and even in India - has become a commodity, a lucrative product of mass culture that feeds a multimillion dollar lifestyle industry. What Modi did is commendable, in that he took this 5,000 year old Indian practice to a higher level, by making yoga relevant to present day economic challenges. Kudos, Mr. Prime Minister. Respect!

Romesh K Japra rkjapra@indiapost.com

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HIGHLIGHTS Bollywood: No secret this Anushka Sharma finds all the gossip about her relationship with cricketer Virat Kohli completely meaningless.

Cover Story: Vivek Murthy President Obama lauds the Senate confirmation of 37-year-old Vivek Murthy as the youngest ever Surgeon General

Community: Naren Patel The Indian community has lost a real friend, philosopher and guide in the sudden demise of Naren Patel.

Temporary reprieve Immigrant advocates are spreading the word about Obama's plan to give millions of immigrants a temporary reprieve.

Life style: Mrs South Asia IT Project Manager by profession, Priya Gupta has won the title of Mrs South Asia International 2015

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Black money The outflow of black money from India to foreign countries has increased ninefold from $ 10 billion to $ 94.7 billion

Ooty Ooty, the Queen of hill stations and capital of Nilgiris district, is one of the most popular tourist resorts in India

44 50 12 40


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December 19, 2014

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Obama hails Murthy as top US doc WASHINGTON: Lauding the Senate confirmation of 37-yearold Vivek Murthy as the youngest ever Surgeon General, more than a year after his nomination, US President Barack Obama has said the Indian-American physician would hit the ground running as the country's top doctor. "I applaud the Senate for confirming Vivek Murthy to be our country's next Surgeon General.

tion is an epic victory for all Americans," said M R Rangaswami, founder of Indiaspora, who had led the community's effort in support of Murthy at the Capitol Hill along with other Indian-Americans and the influential Asian American Physician of Indian Origin (AAPI). "This process will be a case study on how Indian Americans came together to stand up for

Congressman Joe Crowley, Vice Chair of the Democratic Caucus and Co-Chair of the Congressional Caucus on India and Indian-Americans, said it is a victory for the medical community with a dynamic and skilled physician leading public health policies as the nation's top doctor "As 'America's Doctor,' Vivek will hit the ground running to make sure every American has the information they need to keep themselves and their families safe," Obama said in a statement. The Senate confirmed Murthy's nomination by 51 to 43 votes. "He'll bring his lifetime of experience promoting public health to bear on priorities ranging from stopping new diseases to helping our kids grow up healthy and strong," he added. The President further said Murthy will also help us "build on the progress we've made combating Ebola, both in our country and at its source." He is the first ever IndianAmerican to occupy the post. Regarding the tasks at hand for Murthy, Obama said: Combined with the crucial support for fighting Ebola included in the bill to fund our government next year, Vivek's confirmation makes us better positioned to save lives around the world and protect the American people here at home." Senate majority Leader Harry Reid said: "He will make a fine Surgeon General and will be the first Indian-American in this position. As a physician at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, he served his community while also educating the next generation of doctors as an instructor at Harvard Medical School." The Indian-American community, a number of top lawmakers and anti-gun lobbying groups welcomed Senate's decision noting that this was long awaited and this has resulted in defeat of the strong pro-gun lobby group represented by the powerful National Rifle Association. "His (Dr Murthy's) confirma-

someone in our community who deserved to be confirmed months ago. "It demonstrates our growing strength and influence when we come together for a common objective," he said. "I hope that this victory will be a catalyst for our community to become more engaged with public issues in the future," he added. "It is a great day for the Indian American community," said eminent Indian-American Shekar Narasimhan, who along with a number of other community leaders were present in the Senate Gallery during the voting.

innovation in medicine, and a leader in the medical community, Dr Murthy is an excellent choice for this role and his appointment is historic for the Indian-American community." "As a doctor myself, I also know that the American people will benefit from having a trusted physician leader to help them navigate the complex medical issues we face today," Bera said. Congressman Joe Crowley, Vice Chair of the Democratic Caucus and Co-Chair of the Congressional Caucus on India and Indian-Americans, said it is a victory for the medical community with a dynamic and skilled physician leading public health policies as the nation's top doctor. "I'm glad that this nomination didn't fall victim to partisan bickering and pressure from special interests, but this is more than a political victory. "The confirmation of the first surgeon general of Indian descent is a victory for the entire IndianAmerican community, whose young children will grow up knowing that anything is within their reach," Crowley said. The anti-gun lobby described Murhty's confirmation as a victory for the public health and safety of the nation. "This is a huge victory for Brady and for the public health and safety of our nation. Now we have a Surgeon General who recognizes that gun violence is a se-

firmation on behalf of their billiondollar benefactors," he said. The NRA previously opposed the successful confirmation of Todd Jones as director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). Murthy's nomination received broad support from more than 50

US President Barack Obam

organizations in the medical and public health communities, such as the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American College of Physicians, the New England Journal of Medicine, the American Public Health Association, the American Hospital Association, the American Cancer Society, and the American Diabetes Association. National gun violence prevention organizations including the

File photo of 37-year-old Vivek Hallegere Murthy (C) with other Indian American physicians. Murthy has been confirmed as the 19th Surgeon General of America by US Senate

"I'm thrilled the Senate has confirmed Dr Vivek Murthy as our next surgeon general," said Congressman Ami Bera, who is the only Indian-American lawmaker in the current Congress. "As a practicing physician and instructor at Brigham and Women's Hospital, a champion of

rious public health issue that America urgently needs to address," said Dan Gross, president, Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. "This victory represents a major triumph over the corporate gun lobby 'lap dogs' in the Senate who fought to defeat Dr Murthy's con-

as the first American of Indian descent to serve as Ambassador to India, Murthy was confirmed as the first Indian-American to be Surgeon General. "These outstanding, back-toback accomplishments illustrate the continued growth and influence of Indian-American commu-

Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence have been pushing for his confirmation. "I am excited to share this historic moment with the IndianAmerican community," Congresswoman Grace Meng said. "Less than a week after the Senate approved Richard Verma

nity, and highlights the exceptional contributions that IndianAmericans make to our nation," she said. -PTI

Three IndianAmericans honored by TiE WASHINGTON: Three IndianAmerican entrepreneurs have been felicitated by The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE) with its annual legend awards in recognition of their risk-taking, mentoring of young entrepreneurs, philanthropy and years of dedication to the local community. The awards were presented to Ken Bajaj, Frank Islam and Sharad Tak at the annual gala of TiE DC attended by top Indian-American entrepreneurs from Maryland, Virgina and Washington DC. Bajaj founded AppNet, a Web design and e-commerce integration firm, which grew to be the fourth largest interactive media services company in the US. AppNet was sold to Commerce One in 2000 for USD 2 billion. Islam founded IT company, the QSS Group in 1994, and built it to 2,000 employees before selling it to Perot Systems in 2007. He is known for his philanthropist activities. Tak is an entrepreneur in the fields of computer systems, telecommunications, broadcasting, and power plant development. In his remarks, Islam urged young entrepreneurs not to waste time in trying to emulate someone else's business.-PTI


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124 students among 126 killed in Taliban attack PESHAWAR: At least 124 students were among 126 people killed when heavily-armed Arabic speaking Taliban suicide attackers stormed an army-run school, shooting from classroom-toclassroom and taking several hostages using them as human shield in Pakistan's volatile Peshawar city. A group of 8-10 suicide attackers wearing paramilitary Frontier Corps uniforms entered Army Public School on Warsak Road around 10.30 (local time) and started indiscriminate firing, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Pervez Khattak said. Official sources said that so far 124 students, one female teacher and one army personnel were killed in the attack. At least 122 others have been injured. In one of the most gruesome attacks in recent years against children anywhere in the world, the militants went from classroom-to-classroom shooting indiscriminately at the shocked students, eyewitnesses told local

media. One rescued student told reporters that the attackers had long

At least 24 bodies were lying in the Lady Reading Hospital (LRH) and 60 others in Combined

beards and they were wearing 'shalwar kamiz'. He said they were speaking Arabic and looked foreigners.

tiate an OCR of India in the fall of 2014 to evaluate progress toward achieving meaningful, sustained and effective engagement on the IP issues with the country. Over the last few months, there have been multiple constructive engagements with the Indian officials on the broad range of issues of concern to the US and its stakeholders, the forum said and cited the number of steps being taken by the new Indian government in this regard. The USTR officials hoped that

‘In the last few months under the Narendra Modi Government, we have taken some initial steps that are sufficient engagement to close the OCR. We look forward to continuing and deepen our engagement’ India Trade Policy Forum, the United States Trade Representative (USTR) said in a statement as it announced to have concluded the OCR. The USTR is the government agency responsible for developing and recommending trade policy to the president of the United States. In the Special 301 Report published in April, the USTR had announced that the US would ini-

yard which is adjacent to the school, called Army Public School.

Pakistani rescue workers take out students from an ambulance who were injured in the shootout at a school under attack by Taliban gunmen, upon arrival at a local hospital in Peshawar, Pakistan on December 16

Military Hospital (CMH), Khattak said. At least 43 injured have been shifted to LRH, 40 to CMH and others to nearby hospitals.

US reviews India's intellectual property policies WASHINGTON: Citing positive steps taken by the new Indian government in addressing America's concerns on intellectual property (IP) rights, the US has concluded its Out-of-Cycle Review of India's intellectual property policies. India has made useful commitments in recent months to institutionalize high-level engagement, pursue a specific work program and deepen cooperation and information exchange with the US on IP-related issues under the US-

He said at least one militant blew himself up inside the building, 2-3 others have been killed

these initial steps would culminate in India addressing its concerns over the IP issues. "The US notes these steps and urges India to further strengthen and deepen our bilateral engagement on IP issues in the coming months and beyond," the USTR said. The USTR, in a statement, also welcomed the opportunity to implement fully with India the agreed 2015 work plan on intel-

lectual property as well as each of the IP-related commitments announced as part of the November 2014 Trade Policy Forum. "As this OCR comes to a close, the US looks forward to the 2015 Special 301 Review process, which will provide the next formal opportunity for a thorough review of India's environment for IP protection and enforcement, including progress made on recent IPrelated commitments and on engagement through the agreed work plan," it said. A senior USTR official said, "In the last few months under the Narendra Modi Government, we have taken some initial steps that are sufficient engagement to close the OCR. We look forward to continuing and deepen our engagement going forward." "A number of stake holders noted a positive change in tone (after the new government came in)... We had some good initial steps that lead us to conclude that we can close OCR this time," the official said. Another senior trade official, however, noted that this OCR was never about changing the status of India. "It was always about just reviewing the level of engagement that we had with the Indian Government," the official said.-PTI

and 5-6 attackers are still inside the complex. He declared a threeday mourning. The attackers are holding several students as hostages using them as human shields to prevent army from storming the building. Official sources said the toll could go up. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif condemned the attack and termed it a "national tragedy." He has reached Peshawar to personally monitor the operation. Army Chief Gen Raheel Sharif has also rushed to Peshawar from Quetta. A police official said that the school has been cordoned off, with a rescue operation in progress. About 500 students and teachers were believed to be inside at the time of attack. Mushtaq Ghani, provincial information minister, said the militants entered through a grave-

The school is close to Saint Mary High School located at the start of Warsak Road which was also under threat for last couple of days. A heavy contingent of police and security forces have blocked the roads leading to the school, taking control of the entire area. In a brief statement, the army said: "Rescue operation by troops underway. Exchange of fire continues. Bulk of student and staff evacuated. Reports of some children and teachers killed by terrorists." The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan spokesman claimed that its six suicide bombers attacked army school, saying it was a revenge for the army's operation against militants in the North Waziristan tribal area close to Peshawar. "We want them to feel our pain," the spokesman said. -PTI

India condemns Peshawar school attack NEW DELHI: India has strongly condemned the barbaric attack on a school in Peshawar in which at least 124 children were killed, saying there is never a justification for terrorism. "No words will capture the feeling of deep revulsion and horror we feel about this terror attack against innocent children of the Army Public School in Peshawar - It was not just innocent children who have been massacred, but the very conception of humanity," Official Spokesperson in the External Affairs Ministry Syed Akbaruddin

said here. Terming the attack as "crime against humanity", he said prayers are with the families and loved ones of all those who lost their lives or were injured in this barbaric incident. "We hope the almighty gives them the courage and fortitude to bear their irreparable loss. There never has been, nor will there ever be, a justification for terrorism. Our hearts go out to the grief-stricken families of the innocent children killed and injured in this barbaric attack in Peshawar," he added.-PTI


December 19, 2014

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PM warns MPs not to cross Lakshman Rekha NEW DELHI: In a stern warn- 'lakshman rekha' in their remarks, ing to BJP MPs, Prime Minister the sources said. Narendra Modi has asked them not The PM's remarks come amid to cross the 'lakshman rekha' with controversies over certain statecontroversial remarks as it hurt the ments of party leaders that triggovernment and the party. gered opposition uproar in ParliaM o d i ' s tough talk came against the backdrop of repeated opposition disruptions in Parliament objecting to remarks by a Union Minister and BJP MPs on issues like conversion. Sources said addressing BJP members at the Parliamentary Party meeting at BJP MPs at the Parliament library in New Delhi on December 16 BJP Parliamentary Party meeting here, the Prime ment. The Rajya Sabha has not Minister said government will not been functioning for almost a get diverted from its development week now. agenda and stressed that the work Modi also told party MPs should be "visible" on the ground. about the government's plans to At the meeting, the Prime Min- hold a host of programs like semiister asked MPs not to cross the nars and conferences on 'Good

Governance' on December 25 that coincides with former Prime Minister A B Vajpayee's birthday. The Prime Minister had earlier announced that the day be celebrated across the country for good governance, which he said was ushered in the previous NDA regime led by Vajpayee and is being carried out in this government. A campaign on Clean India, holding debates and discussions on good governance addressed by top BJP leaders, eliciting suggestions from public to improve governance and distributing literature on it during the previous six-year NDA regime and during the six months of this government will mark the day. Elaborating on the program at the BJP Parliamentary Party meeting at Parliament House library, he said service to society will be initiated by holding of camps on health, eye care, blood donation and distribution of blankets and other essentials to the poor in hospitals on the day, party sources said.-PTI

BJP govt calls for law to restrict conversions NEW DELHI: Trying to turn the tables on the Opposition and reiterating a long-held Sangh Parivar view, the Bharatiya Janata Partyled government has called for a nation-wide law to restrict conversions. "Let there be anti-conversion laws in all the States and at the Centre also," Parliamentary Affairs Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu said at the end of a threehour discussion in the Lok Sabha on the "conversion by inducement" of Muslims in Agra. The discussion was allowed by the Speaker as a "special case" after three adjournments in the prelunch session and a meeting between the Government's floor managers and Opposition leaders in her chamber. Opposition leaders accused the BJP and its ideological mentor, the RSS, of being complicit in the reported campaign by Hindu outfits to convert Muslims and Christians into Hindus. Objecting to the Opposition "maligning" the RSS, Mr. Naidu asserted that the "RSS is our mother organisation from which we have taken inspiration". This triggered

an angry outburst from the Opposition which, in turn, brought the BJP members on their feet. Shouting slogans, the Congress led at least half-a-dozen other parties out of the House in a walkout. Earlier, initiating the discussion, Jyotiraditya Scindia (Congress) listed a series of attempts by the Sangh Parivar in the last six months to strike at India's composite culture and included External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj's call for making the Bhagavad Gita a "national scripture'' in the list. He also accused the BJP and its affiliates of "changing Indian history, culture and the national identity". Wondering if these are the "promised good days", he said the Prime Minister should reply to the discussion and allay the apprehensions of minorities. In a surprise change of stance after his morning intervention when he warned that the Agra conversion incident should not be taken lightly, Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh in the afternoon said the media was blowing the issue out of proportion. -Agencies


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2 Infosys employees were among hostages BENGALURU: Another Indian national, who was among about

"We have received confirmation that another Infosys em-

File photo of Puspendu Ghosh, a resident of Kolkata who was held hostage by an armed gunman inside Sydney cafe

15 people held hostage in a popular Sydney cafe and later rescued, was also an Infosys employee.

ployee was in the siege. Both employees have been rescued safely," the city headquartered

company said in a statement. "We are grateful to the Australian authorities and New South Wales Police for their efforts to ensure the safe rescue of the hostages. We also thank the Indian Consulate and the Ministry of External Affairs for their continuous monitoring and involvement in the situation, and everyone else who helped see us all through this ordeal," the statement said. "Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families," it said. Earlier Infosys has said that one its employees was among the hostages at the Lindt Cafe in Sydney. Shortly after the 16-hour siege ended with police action, External Affairs Ministry officials had said that Vishwakant Ankit Reddy, in his mid-30s and currently employed with IT major Infosys and Pushpendu Ghosh are both safe and now in police custody. Initially it was believed that Ankit Reddy, an Infosys employee, was the only Indian hostage.-PTI

Modi calls Aussie PM on hostage crisis NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to his Australian counterpart Tony Abbott to condole the death of two innocent persons in the hostage crisis and appreciated his leadership in resolving it as well as release of the hostages,

including two Indians. "Had a telephone conversation with PM @TonyAbbottMHR on the hostage crisis in Sydney," Modi tweeted. "Appreciated PM @TonyAbbottMHR's leadership that led to resolving of the crisis

& release of the hostages, which included 2 Indians," he said in another tweet. Noting that two innocent people lost their lives in the hostage crisis, the Prime Minister said, "My deepest condolences to their families."-PTI

Cafe manager tried to seize gunman's weapon MELBOURNE: Tori Johnson, the 34-year-old manager of Lindt Chocolat Cafe who was one of two persons killed during the Sydney siege, is being remembered as a hero with some reports claiming

Lindt Cafe since October 2012, and, before that, had worked at a host of restaurants in Sydney and the US. His family has gathered at Johnson's Redfern apartment. Johnson's parents released a statement saying: "We are so proud of our beautiful boy Tori, gone from this earth but forever in our memories as the most amazing life partner, son and brother we could ever wish for. "We feel heartfelt sorrow for the family of Katrina Dawson. "We'd like to thank not only our friends and loved ones for their support, but the people of Sydney; Australia and those around the world for reaching out with their thoughts and prayers. "Our deepest gratitude to the NSW police, armed forces and paramedics for their A hostage is carried by police rescue after tireless efforts. armed response officers entered the building "We ask that the a cafe siege media respects our prithat he tried to snatch the weapon vacy in this difficult time." from the gunman to allow the other The gunman was identified as hostages to escape. Man Haron Monis who was a Johnson died in hospital after radical cleric. It was also reported being shot by the gunman inside that he had several trysts with the cafĂŠ. He was the son of ac- Australian law enforcement agenclaimed Australian artist Ken cies in the past.

PM hails UN decision on Yoga NEW DELHI: Prime Minister lution to declare 21st June as 'InNarendra Modi has expressed joy ternational Day of Yoga'," he over the UN General Assembly adopting an India-led resolution declaring June 21 as 'International Day of Yoga' and thanked all the 177 nations of the global body. "Elated! Have no words to describe my joy on the @UN declaring 21st June as 'International Day of Yoga'. I fully welcome the decision," Modi tweeted soon after the resolution was adopted in New York. "I profusely thank all 177 nations across the world who coPrime Minister Narendra Modi sponsored the reso-

added. Noting that countless people across the world have made Yoga an integral part of their lives, he said, "Congrats to them! This will inspire many more people towards Yoga. "Yoga has the power to bring the entire humankind together! It beautifully combines Gyan (knowledge), Karm (work) and Bhakti (devotion)." He also put on his twitter account a link of his speech last year where he talked about yoga and its benefits. The resolution on 'International Day of Yoga' was introduced by India's Ambassador to UN Asoke Mukerji and had 175 nations joining as co-sponsors, the highest number ever for any General Assembly resolution. PTI

Staff members from the Lindt Chocolat Cafe with their arms linked pay tribute to their colleague who lost his live during a siege at the popular coffee shop at Martin Place in the central business district of Sydney, Australia December 16

Johnson and his former wife Rowena. Deputy Police Commissioner Catherine Burn did not confirm the claims about Johnson's heroic act but said police were yet to piece together what had transpired in the cafe and that investigation could take many months, media reports said. Johnson had worked at the

"Let us all pray for peace on earth," the statement said. Second hostage who lost life was a 38-year-old mother of three, Katrina Dawson, who was an attorney. Dawson, a highly respected barrister from Eighth Floor Selborne Chambers in Phillip Street, was a close friend of barrister Julie Taylor who was also taken hostage in the cafe.-PTI


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Dynastic politics like termite Akhil Sharma's novel in NYT's top 10 eating democracy: PM BILLAWAR (JK): Sharpening his attack on the ruling coalition in Jammu and Kashmir, Prime Minister Narendra Modi described dynastic politics as a "termite" that eats away the foundations of democracy. Holding corruption, bad governance and nepotism responsible

people should vote for BJP to end the father-son and father-daughter rule in the state. "Are your children not capable, don't they deserve to hold important positions," Modi asked the crowd. "You people have to elect BJP so as to end this father-son, fa-

Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses an election campaign rally in Jammu on December 16

for the problems being faced by the people of Jammu and Kashmir, he said dynastic politics was the root cause of all these problems. "Dynastic politics is a termite that eats away the foundation of democracy," he said while addressing an election rally at Sangaid Mandli area of Billawar constituency. The Prime Minister said the

ther-daughter rule forever and give your own children a chance," he said. Modi charged that the previous governments in the state were not concerned about the youth, as they were busy with their own children. "The earlier governments were busy with their own children, now its time for you people to send them

home permanently so that they can take care of their family. Give all the 22 seats in the Jammu region to BJP so that they are punished for the next 50 years," Modi said. He said only democracy has the power that can give equal opportunity to the youth of the state. "This is the power of democracy in BJP that a tea seller is now the Prime Minister of the country, the power lies in your vote," he said. The Prime Minister stressed that the ongoing elections in the state were aimed at empowering democracy and people should not vote on the basis of caste or creed. "People have to rise above caste, creed and nepotism and should vote for development. You rely on caste and creed when you seek a match (for marriage) in your family, but in elections you elect a representative who can give you development and fulfill the promises made to the people," Modi said. "Caste and religion don't work when you seek a job, but development does," he said. Modi said the common people don't want gold or big bungalows, but basic facilities. "What did you people ask the government to give, you asked for employment for your kids, education, roads leading up to the villages, medicines for sick, but you were denied of all these things," he said, adding 60 years have passed but the people of the state have received nothing from successive governments. -PTI

WASHINGTON: Indian American novelist Akhil Sharma's second book "Family Life" is among the New York Times Book Review's 10 Best Books of 2014. The Delhiborn author's semi-autobiographical story is about a family that immigrates from India to Queens and has just begun to build a new life when the elder son suffers severe brain damage in a swimming pool accident. The book was earlier quoted amongst the Times list of 100 Notable Books of 2014 in the Fiction and Poetry section. The paper describes the book as "deeply unnerving and gorgeously tender". "The book chronicles how grief renders the parents unable to cherish and raise their other son; love, it suggests, becomes warped and jagged and even seemingly vanishes in the midst of mourning," the paper notes. Sharma, immigrated to the US when he was eight grew up in Jersey and studied at the Princeton University. His first novel "An Obedient Father" won him the 2001 PEN/Hemingway Award. His short story "Cosmopolitan" was anthologized in "The Best American Short Stories

$ 55K raised online for injured crash victims HOUSTON: Five Indian engineering students, who were seriously injured in a road accident in the US state of Texas, have received financial support of USD 55,000 through an online fundraiser here. The public fundraising site crossed the USD 50,000 goal by collecting an amount of USD 55,072 in just three days of the portal's opening. The funds will cover medical costs and travel expenses to get the students' families in India to the US. The portal, which was initiated one week after the crash, raised USD 20,000 within 24 hours of its opening. The collision occurred as the students, studying at Texas A&M University, were returning back after Thanksgiving break in New

Orleans. The car in which they were traveling collided head-on with a truck where the five students Pranan Kannan, 22; Akshay Jain, 22; Chiranjibi Boere, 23; Shachit

dition. All the injured students, except Akshay Jain, are recovering well to the treatment, hospital staff said. Akshay, who was in coma for

Katy Mears, assistant director of Texas A&M International Student Services, said "there have been truly amazing efforts that have been done through ISS and chemical engineering Iyer, 23; and Kishan Bajaj, 24 were seriously injured and immediately taken to hospitals. The wreck did not result in any fatalities, but Life flight helicopters took two students - Jain and driver Kannan - to Memorial Hermann Hospital in critical con-

some days, has stabilized and moved to the intermediate care unit. "His physical body is fairing well--he is breathing on his own and we have started physical/occupational therapy to ensure that his joints remain flexible," they

said. "We continue to remain hopeful and take it day by day," they said. Katy Mears, assistant director of Texas A&M International Student Services, said "there have been truly amazing efforts that have been done through ISS and chemical engineering. There's been an outpouring of support from a variety of students." The creator of the page, Texas A&M student Kavita Sinha, did not respond to messages, but an update on the page under her name read, "I am so amazed by everyone's generosity! I can't believe that we have raised over USD 18,000 in less than 24 hours! Thank you to everyone and I know the families and students greatly appreciate it!" -PTI

(1998)" and was also made into an acclaimed 2003 film of the same name. Others among the Times list are

"All the Light We Cannot See" by Anthony Doerr, "Dept of Speculation" by Jenny Offill, "Euphoria" by Lily King, and "Redeployment" by Phil Klay. -PTI

Narendra Modi congratulates Abe in Japanese NEW DELHI: Congratulating his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe on his re-election, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he looks forward to working closely with him to take the bilateral ties to the next level. Abe responded by saying that he is excited to continue working with him and India. "I congratulate you @AbeShinzo for your election victory. Under your able leadership, Japan will scale new heights of progress & prosperity," Modi tweeted in Japanese language. "Looking forward to working closely with @AbeShinzo to take India-Japan ties to the next level, benefiting both nations," he said in another tweet. In his response, Abe tweeted, "Thank you so much for your warm message! Abenomics will never stop advancing. Excited to continue working with you & India!" Abe scored a big win in the snap polls with his Liberal Democratic Party and its partner Komeito Party bagging two-thirds of the seats in the 475-member Lower House of Parliament. Modi and Abe share a close personal relationship which was reflected when the Indian leader travelled to Japan in August. -PTI


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Manmohan Singh to be examined by CBI NEW DELHI: CBI has been directed by a trial court to examine former Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in the case of Talabira II coal block allocation to Hindalco when he was also Coal Minister in 2005. Sending the matter back to CBI for further investigation after it had filed a closure report in the case, Special Judge Bharat Parashar said it would be "appropriate" that the then Coal Minister be "first examined" regarding various aspects of the matter. "....I am of the considered opinion that before the matter is examined further as to what offence, if any, stands committed or by whom the same has been committed, it

will be appropriate that the then Minister of Coal (Manmohan Singh) be first examined qua various aspects of the matter and also in light of the observations made by this court in the present order," the judge said. Besides Manmohan Singh, the court also said that some top officers, who were working in Prime Minister's Office (PMO) at that time and were concerned with the process of allocation of coal block to HINDALCO, were "either not examined or were not properly examined" by the agency. "B V R Subramanyam, who was PS to the Prime Minister, has not been examined

Manmohan Singh

and T K A Nair, who was working as Principal Secretary in the PMO, though, has been examined by way of a questionnaire but towards the end he refused to answer some of the questions expressing his inability that he was not in a frame of mind of answering further questions," it said. "Thus, it will be appropriate if the IO (investigating officer) examines B V R Subramanyam and re-examines T K A Nair," the judge said in his 50-page order and fixed the case for filing of progress report of further probe on January 27. The case pertains to allocation of Talabira II coal block in Orissa to M/s HINDALCO. The CBI had earlier lodged an FIR against Kumar Mangalam Birla, former Coal Secretary P C Parakh, M/s HINDALCO Industries Ltd and other unknown persons and officials for the offence under section 120-B (criminal conspiracy) of the IPC and under provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act. The CBI, however, had later filed a closure report in the case on August 27 this year opining that no criminal offence was committed by any of the persons involved in the entire process of allocation of Talabira-II coal block to HINDALCO. -PTI

100 Indian railway officials training in China BEIJING: The first batch of the 100 Indian Railway officials, who are to receive training in heavy-haul technology in China, has begun their 12-day coaching at the Jiaotong University here. The inauguration ceremony for training in the heavy-haul technology for the 22 officers from the Indian Railway was held at Beijing Jiaotong University, an Indian Embassy press release said. The 12-day training program, which is being conducted by Beijing Jiaotong University under the supervision of National Railway Administration of China, is the first step in the cooperation envisaged by India and China in the MoU and Implementation Plan on Cooperation in Railways. The training involving 100 Indian officers will lay emphasis on onsite training covering operational and maintenance facilities, monitoring systems and traffic controls. Four more batches from Indian railway officials will be trained at the Beijing Jiatong University in heavy-haul technology in the next two years, the press release said. The training was part of the MoU signed during the visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to India in September this year. Under the MoU, China will do a free feasibility study for a high-speed train corridor. India has chosen the Delhi-Chennai route for this study. India currently is considering two corridors for high-speed trains.-PTI


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'Laudable progress in engagement with India' WASHINGTON: India and the US have made laudable progress in the fields related to intellectual property but the real policy change is yet to happen, a wing of the powerful American Chamber of Commerce said. The US Chamber's Global Intellectual Property Center (GIPC), which had launched an aggres-

characterized the principal objective of the OCR as one of engagements, and seen through that prism there clearly has been notable and laudable progress since May," said Patrick Kilbride, executive director for International IP Policy at the US Chamber's GIPC." "Nevertheless, as the core, ultimate objective of bilateral en-

India has made useful commitments in recent months, including to institutionalize highlevel engagement on IP issues, to pursue a specific work program and to deepen cooperation and information exchange with the US on IP-related issues sive anti-India campaign last year and had demanded punitive measures against New Delhi, said that while there had been a very highlevel of engagement between the two countries their concerns are yet to be addressed. GIPC said this after the US Trade Representatives announced its decision to conclude its out-of-cycle-review (OCR) on India. "In its release, United States Trade Representative (USTR) has

gagement, the GIPC remains focused on measurable and sustainable progression in India toward a regime that promotes and protects intellectual property and innovation; and in that perspective the effort has been defined, but not yet truly begun," he said. "We look forward to working with USTR and the Government of India in the coming months to ensure that the valuable engagement that is now underway will translate to real policy change that

will allow intellectual property to flourish in India, and enable investors and innovators to commit to India's market for the long term," Kilbride said. Citing positive steps taken made by the Indian government in addressing its concerns on intellectual property (IP) rights, and the series of high level engagement between trade officials of the two countries in the last few months, the US had announced to conclude its OCR on Indian IP policies. India has made useful commitments in recent months, including to institutionalize high-level engagement on IP issues, to pursue a specific work program and to deepen cooperation and information exchange with the US on IPrelated issues under the US-India Trade Policy Forum, USTR said. "While progress in these engagements with the US government and US industry has been incremental, these engagements appeared to demonstrate the commitment of the Government of India to strengthening its economic partnership with the US by working together to exchange views and make progress on IP matters of mutual interest," it said. -PTI

311 kids died in Pak's Hindu majority dist in 11 months ISLAMABAD: More than 300 children aged under five have died in Tharparkar, Pakistan's only Hindu majority district, in the last 11 months due to malnutrition and other complications. The main causes behind the children's death in Tharparkar district include birth asphyxia, preterm, low birth weight, respiratory distress syndrome, pneumonia, delivery of babies through traditional birth attendants and diarrhea, Dawn said citing a government report. Tharparkar, a desert district of the country's southern Sindh province along India's Rajasthan state, has been in the grip of drought for a long while. The report was submitted in the Sindh High Court by the chief secretary after the approval of Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah last week. It classifies the casualties of the children according to their age, which shows 118 children who died were newborn babies (one day age), 82 were between two

days to one month and 28 children of 1.5 months to three months and 29 were between eight months and one year of age. The report said the Thar communities, particularly women, lack awareness of their health concerns and majority of the married couple has an average of eight children. The report, however, is silent

the report, blames the Hindu residents for their lack of good food choices. It also said the vegetables have not requisite energy thus their intake of proteins, energy, fats and other requisite calorific values is relatively lesser to a major extent. The report examines that the Thari people use chillies and dairy products as their intake for the

The report said the Thar communities, particularly women, lack awareness of their health concerns and majority of the married couple has an average of eight children about the lack of proper food in the region, an apparent effort to gloss over the official negligence. The private media has been highlighting the apathy of provincial authorities to deal with the emergency situation in the area for the last one year. Instead of recognizing its lapses, the government, through

reasons that they hold huge quantity of livestock and the use of chillies is their traditional pattern. Thus, another factor for weaknesses in women revolves around the non-consumption of proteinsrich diet as well as following their cultural patterns which increase their weakness to a greater extent. -PTI

Parrikar flags off n-submarine Arihant VISAKHAPATNAM/NEW DELHI: India's first indigenous nuclear-powered submarine INS Arihant was flagged off for sea trials from Visakhapatnam harbor by Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar.

Once inducted, the submarine will help the country complete its nuclear triad giving it the capability to respond to nuclear strikes from sea, land and air-based systems. Nuclear triad is the ability to

INS Arihant, the first in the series of nuclear-powered submarines being manufactured indigenously, is a 6,000-tonne vessel powered by 83 MW pressurized light water reactor, Defense Ministry sources said.

fire nuclear-tipped missiles from land, air and sea-based weapon platforms. Arihant will help India achieve the capability of going into high seas without the need to surface the vessel for a long duration. -PTI

India prepared to deal with crisis situations: Parrikar NEW DELHI: Expressing confidence in the country's ability to tackle crisis situations like the Sydney Hostage episode, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar hassaid India's preparedness has definitely improved. "I think we are improving and definitely much better than probably what we were prepared in the earlier years. So, ultimately

it comes with situation, each situation differs. But I think we are quite well prepared," he told reporters here. Parrikar, who is a member of the Cabinet Committee on Security, was asked how he assessed the country's preparedness in the wake of what had happened in Sydney.-PTI

'Negligible' support from Indian youth for ISIS NEW DELHI: There is "negligible" support from Indian youth for ISIS, Home Minister Rajnath Singh said giving credit to families from minority communities for discouraging their children from getting influenced by the terror group. Singh also assured the Lok Sabha that no innocent person from minority community would be taken into custody with regard to suspected terror activities and if there are such instances, these can be brought to his notice. "Minority communities of our country are discouraging this ... Parents are discouraging their children (from coming under influence of radicalism). I appreciate it," Singh said during Question Hour amid thumping of desks by members.

Further, he said that minorities in many countries are encouraging ISIS. Singh made the remarks while responding to queries about the threat of ISIS in India and steps taken by the government in this regard. It is a fact that some of our youth followed ISIS but it is "negligible", the Minister said. Noting that the government took cognizance immediately after ISIS activities began to spread in different parts of the world, Singh ISIS has been prohibited. "We are very much concerned about the activities of ISIS ... We are taking all steps to contain it," he said. Besides, the government assured the House there is not much to worry about the prevailing situation.-PTI


Tech News SpiceJet moves govt, gets temporary relief NEW DELHI: With an imminent closure staring at its face, beleaguered SpiceJet tonight got a breather with indications that state-run Airports Authority of India would not press for immediate clearing of Rs 200 crore dues after the airline's promoter Kalanithi Maran gave personal guarantees to infuse more funds. The development took place after the no-frill airline's Chief Operating Officer Sanjiv Kapoor met Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju late evening, with official sources saying that the government has asked it to continue operations over the next fortnight. The sources indicated that the AAI, which had given time to SpiceJet till to clear its dues, would not press the deadline and give the airline more time to pay up. Cont’d on page 13

Run Air India professionally, says IATA chief GENEVA: Cash-strapped Air India should be run by professionals even if the government partially off-loads its stake to investors to keep it off-the-ground, a top global aviation professional has said. "The Government has to recognize that if it is to privatize Air India, then it has to leave the management of Air India and not interfere with it," Tony Tyler, the Director General and CEO of International Air Transport Association (IATA), said here. Talking to PTI at IATA headquarters here, the chief of the global airlines' body flayed political interference in the functioning of an airline, saying the governmentowned airlines have generally performed well when run by professionals.-PTI

By 2018, 9 out of 10 phones to be smartphones NEW DELHI: Smartphone sales grew over 20 per cent in the JulySeptember quarter, 2014, on the back of strong growth in emerging markets, research firm Gartner said. Given the fast pace of smartphone sales growth and declining preference for feature phones, Gartner estimates that nine out of 10 phones will be smartphones by 2018.-PTI

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Actor Ayushmann Khurrana (C) with Shen Wei, Group CEO, vivo Mobile & Jacky Liao, CEO, vivo Mobile India & Sudhanshu Vats, Group CEO, Viacom18 at the launch of world’s slimmest smartphone Vivo X5Max, in New Delhi on December 15

Black money outflow from India increases nine-fold WASHINGTON: The outflow of black money from India to foreign countries has increased ninefold from USD 10 billion in 2003 to USD 94.7 billion in 2012. India has replaced Malaysia as the fourth largest exporter of black money after China, Russia and Mexico for the 10-year period from 2003-2012. Such has been the upward trajectory of outflow of Indian black money to foreign countries that in 2012, India replaced Mexico as the third largest exporter of illicit money for that year. According to the latest report 'Illicit Financial Flows from Developing countries' released by Washington-based research and advocacy group, Global Financial Integrity (GFI), in 2003, India sent just USD 10.17 billion of black money overseas, which increased to USD 19.41 billion in 2004, and to over USD 20 billion in 2005.

In 2006 there was substantial increase in outflow of Indian black money to foreign countries - USD

it came down to USD 29 billion. But then the next year in 2010, the outflow of black money from

28 billion, which increased to USD 34.6 billion in 2007 and USD 47.1 billion in 2008. There was a sudden dip in outflow of black money in 2009 when GFI says

India more than doubled to USD 70 billion and then increased to USD 86 billion in 2011, GFI says. In fact, the amount of black money going out to foreign coun-

tries is now larger than the amount of hard-earned money being remitted to the country by expatriate Indians. According to the latest World Bank report, in 2014, India is expected to receive USD 71 billion in remittances. This is quite a turn-around since 2003 when remittances were USD 16.39 billion as against black money outflow of USD 10.177 billion. According to GFI, the top five exporters of illicit capital over the past ten years on average are: China, Russia, Mexico, India and Malaysia. The issue of black money has been matter of a serious political debate in India, including during the last general elections. While the new government has said it is committed to tackle this menace, there are no official figures for the overall size of illicit wealth stashed by Indians within the country or abroad. -PTI

Make tax evasion serious crime: SIT chief NEW DELHI: Tax evasion needs to be made a serious 'criminal offence' to force foreign countries to reveal names and account details of Indians stashing illicit wealth abroad, the Special Investigation Team on black money has said. While adding more teeth to India's pursuit of black money kept abroad, this would also check generation of unaccounted wealth within the country, the SIT Chairman M B Shah said. At present, tax evasion is a civil offence in India and it is dealt under the Income Tax Act, 1961 while forex violations are dealt under the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA). Both the laws are civil in nature and do not have criminal proceedings attached as such. "We have made a serious

pitch for this (making tax evasion a serious criminal offence in India). One reason is that, if tax crimes remain civil in nature, the foreign governments will not cooperate,"

preme Court judges M B Shah and Arijit Pasayat as Chairman and Vice-Chairman, recently submitted its latest report on black money menace, wherein it has disclosed

The SIT has suggested making tax evasion of Rs 50 lakh and above a 'predicate offence', saying this would enable easier investigation SIT Chairman M B Shah

Shah told PTI. "If this is made a crime, then there is no difficulty and then they (foreign countries) are bound to reveal the names. That is the main purpose," he added. The Supreme Court-constituted SIT, which has former Su-

tracing of Rs 4,479 crore held by Indians in a Swiss bank and unaccounted wealth worth Rs 14,958 crore within India. In this report, the SIT pointed out that more than 25 countries have made "tax crimes" a predicate offence.

India is seeking cooperation from a number of foreign jurisdictions, including Switzerland, in cases of suspected black money, but its requests have been turned down in maximum number of such instances as tax evasion is not dealt under strict criminal laws, unlike money laundering provisions. To deal with this issue, the SIT has suggested making tax evasion of Rs 50 lakh and above a 'predicate offence', saying this would enable easier investigation into tax evasion crimes under the stringent laws of money laundering as stipulated under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). Pasayat said there is also a need to limit holding and transportation of cash and to check large-value 'unreported' cash dealings that are rampant even at public places like shopping malls. -PTI


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Reliance sells multiplex biz to Carnival NEW DELHI: Anil Ambani led Reliance Group has sold its multiplex business to South-India based Carnival Group in the largest ever deal in this space. The transaction will reduce Reliance Capital's overall debt by Rs 700 crore and is part of Reliance Capital's strategy to exit minority investments. The deal will make Carnival the third largest multiplex operator with nationwide presence and over 300 screens, a statement said. The firms did not disclose the exact value of the deal. The deal struck between Carnival Cinemas and Reliance MediaWorks, will exclude IMAX Wadala (Mumbai) and some other

properties worth Rs 200 crore, the statement added.

Reliance Capital is the parent firm of Reliance MediaWorks,

Anil Ambani

which operates one of the largest cinema chains, under the brand 'BIG Cinemas' with over 250 screens pan-India. Sam Ghosh, CEO, Reliance Capital, said: "We are delighted to begin a long term relationship with the rapidly growing Carnival Group, through the sale of the multiplexes business of Reliance MediaWorks to them." Carnival Group is targeting to achieve "1,000 screens by the year 2017", said its chairman Shrikant Bhasi. The proposed transaction is subject to necessary statutory and other approvals and is expected to be closed within the current financial year.

Reliance Capital, the financial services arm of the Anil Ambaniled business conglomerate, will retain an option to acquire a stake in pre-IPO stage "at an appropriate discount" whenever Carnival goes for a listing. Reliance Capital had recently announced its plans to focus on core business and is in the process of encashing its minority investments. The company is in talks with 23 international investors to sell its 16 per cent stake in leading travel portal Yatra.com for an estimated Rs 500 crore. Shares of Reliance Capital were trading higher by about one per cent at Rs 528.45 apiece on the BSE. -PTI

Inflation hits zero level, lowest in 5-years NEW DELHI: Declining prices of vegetables and fuel items pulled down the inflation to zero level in November, the lowest in about five and half years, exerting pressure on RBI to cut rates to boost growth. The Wholesale Price Index (WPI) based inflation was at 1.77 per cent in October and 7.52 per cent in November 2013. As per data released by the government, the WPI inflation remained flat mainly on account of falling prices of vegetables, especially onion, edible oil, petrol and diesel. In view of the moderation in WPI inflation, which has been on declining trajectory for six months, the industry has stepped up its demand for a rate cut. The Reserve Bank has maintained a status quo in interest rate

since January. The RBI factors in retail inflation while formulating its monetary policy. In its policy earlier this month, RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan had hinted at a rate cut early next year if inflation continued to decline and government took steps to contain fiscal deficit. Food inflation, which is on decline since May, fell to nearly three year low of 0.63 per cent. Inflation in fuel and power segment fell 4.91 per cent, the lowest level since 2009. This is probably the first time when WPI inflation has hit the exact zero level. The last time WPI was lower than this was (-)0.3 per cent in July 2009. Onion price contracted 56.28 per cent as compared to a contraction of 59.77 per cent in October.

In case of vegetables, the contraction was 28.57 per cent. Industry chamber Assocham in

goods and push economic growth. As per the data, prices of pro-

its reaction to WPI numbers made a strong pitch for an interest rate cut to boost demand for industrial

tein rich items of egg, meat and fish rose 4.36 per cent during November, while inflation in potato

SpiceJet moves govt, gets temporary relief They said the airline's promoter Maran has given "personal guarantees" to infuse more funds into the cash-strapped carrier. During the day, the airline, which has a liability burden of over Rs 2,000 crore, sought urgent financial help from the govern-

ent company Sun Group, met Minister of State for Civil Aviation Mahesh Sharma and pleaded for "urgent relief". "No assurance has been given to them," Sharma told reporters after the meeting but said any such decision could be taken at the "highest level" in the

ment to run its daily operations but received no categorical assurances from it. Kapoor and S L Narayanan, Chief Financial Officer of its par-

government. He said the airline's request would be put up before the Prime Minister's Office and the ministries of Finance and Petroleum. The meeting came hours after the airline officials met DGCA chief

Cont’d from page 12

Prabhat Kumar and shared an operational plan, but official sources said there was "nothing new" in it. DGCA had also given the airline time to release pending salaries of employees and submit a schedule on how it plans to pay vendor dues of about Rs 1,600 crore. In a tweet later, Kapoor said, "No financial plan submitted to DGCA. Objective of meeting was to discuss financial impact of 30-day booking limit on the airline." The airline has been losing money and Maran, who owns majority stake in the airline, has already brought in about Rs 250 crore in the airline this year but to no avail. -PTI

stood at 34.10 per cent. Inflation in manufactured products, like sugar, edible oils, beverages and cement, fell to 2.04 per cent in November as against 2.43 per cent in the previous month. Retail inflation data for November showed a record fall to 4.38 per cent. Meanwhile, ICRA Senior Economist Aditi Nayar said: "With monetary policy focused on the medium term trajectory of CPI inflation, lower than expected WPI print is unlikely to hasten rate cuts". The decline in both retail and WPI inflation for November coupled with contraction of industrial production to 4.2 per cent in October, will put pressure on RBI to lower interest rates to boost growth.-PTI


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Jindal Stainless enters modular toilet space NEW DELHI: Betting big on the government's Swachh Bharat initiative, Jindal Stainless has forayed into the modular toilet manufacturing segment and is targeting Rs 200 crore business in the next 2-3 years. The pre-fabricated toilet sets would be manufactured at its Gurgaon facility, which has an installed capacity of producing around 500 single toilets and 100 community toilets per month. The raw material for the product would be sourced from Jindal Stainless' Hisar plant, said Anuj Jain, CEO, Jindal Architecture. Jindal Architecture, a subsidiary of Jindal Stainless, would carry out the company's plan of producing such toilets, which the firm claims can last for at least 25 years with minimal maintenance. The NDA government has recently launched its ambitious cleanliness, "Swachh Bharat", program and hoped to achieve the target by 2019, the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. "The "Swachh Bharat" program of the government will give us a huge boost in our new initiative. We hope to achieve around Rs 200 crore revenue from this business in the next 2-3 years," Jain said. The 100 per cent recyclable toilets

JSW group Chiarman Sajjan Jindal along with his employees participates in a cleanliness drive to support Swachh Bharat Abhiyan in Mumbai on December 15

are available in a range of single units and as community toilets of six and eight units, respectively.

These toilets have the option of being upgraded to automated biotoilets, the company said. -PTI

Swiss gold exports to India Rs 1-trillion BERNE/NEW DELHI: Amid concerns of bullion trade being used for routing of black money, Switzerland's gold exports to India have risen further and are fast approaching Rs one-trillion mark for the entire 2014. The Swiss gold exports to India stood at over 2.8 billion Swiss francs (over Rs 18,000 crore) in October, up from about 2.2 billion Swiss francs in the previous month, shows the latest data from the Swiss Customs Administration. This has taken the total Swiss gold exports to India since January this year to 14.2 billion Swiss francs (nearly Rs 93,000 crore), as per the data compiled by Switzerland's cross-border trade monitoring agency. This surge in gold shipments has made India the largest destination for the yellow metal exports from Switzerland.

There are concerns that gold trade could be a possible route for laundering of unaccounted wealth, suspected to be stashed by Indians in Swiss banks, although there has been no official word from ei-

ther countries so far in this regard. The Supreme Court-constituted SIT, however, said in its latest report on black money that a dedicated institutional mechanism needs to be put in place to exam-

ine "mismatch between export/import data with corresponding import/export data of other countries on at least a quarterly, if not a monthly basis." The SIT said that this suggestion has been made by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), while citing the Data Analysis and Research for Trade Transparency System adopted by US, to control over/under invoicing to some extent. "It is established since years that over invoicing or under invoicing is known method for stashing black money outside the country. Main question is how to control this malady.-PTI

Vistara gets flying permit; schedule soon NEW DELHI: Paving the way for launch of its flights, TataSingapore Airlines joint venture airline Vistara has been granted flying permit by aviation regulator DGCA, almost nine months after it applied for the license. The new full-service carrier would "shortly" announce its flight schedules and open ticket bookings, an airline official said. Vistara currently has two leased Airbus A320s in its fleet and plans to induct three more by March next year. T h e n e w Delhibased airline plans to conn e c t Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Goa, Chandigarh, Srinagar, Jammu and Patna in the first year of its operations. "I am delighted that we have successfully cleared the final requirement and secured the AOP (Air Operator's Permit). We are thankful to the Ministry of Civil

Aviation for their support and guidance during the entire process," Vistara chief executive Phee Teik Yeoh said. Vistara chairman Prasad Menon said in a statement, "Receiving the AOP is a key milestone for Vistara... We are all looking forward to the first flight with excitement." The airline, in which Tata Sons holds 51 per cent stake and

Singapore Airlines remaining 49 per cent, plans to operate 87 flights in the first year, with five A320s and then scale it up to 301 flights by the fourth year. Once it takes off, Vistara will be the third full service carrier after state-run Air India and Jet Airways.-PTI

After sluggish 2014, India awaits 'promising' 2015 for exports NEW DELHI: Pinning hopes on dividends from 'Make in India' campaign and a conducive business environment, India expects a promising year ahead for its exports and improve on its estimated USD 300-billion plus tally in 2014. However, it would be the revival in global economy that would matter the most for the shipments leaving Indian shores, said the government officials and exporters while striking a note of caution for 2015. This cautious optimism follows a subdued performance on exports front for several years now, largely because of a fragile global economic situation. "2015 will be a promising year. We are hoping that whatever measures we have put in place (this year) for ease of doing business, trade facilitation and initiatives in the area of boosting manufacturing, those should show sustained growth in exports in 2015," Commerce Secretary Rajeev Kher told PTI. However, the global environ-

ment is still not conducive for trade as big markets like the EU are not doing well, he added. India's exports are estimated to have remained at around USD 312 billion in 2013, while the final figures for 2014 could be around this figure only. The overall exports during the first ten months of calendar year 2014 stood at about USD 270 billion. Exporters, as also the Commerce Ministry, are keeping their fingers crossed on account of tepid situation in markets like the European Union, Japan, Russia and Middle East, which account for over 20 per cent of the total Indian exports. The country's monthly merchandise shipments have so far shown a mixed trend this year from a robust growth of 12.4 per cent in May to entering into negative territory in October. According to Kher, Indian exporters will have to focus more on standards, services sector and enhancing their product competitiveness in the global market.-PTI


TechBiz Post

December 19, 2014

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Microsoft denies showing pre-natal sex ads NEW DELHI: Microsoft Corporation (I) Pvt Ltd, which runs 'Bing.com' search engine, has submitted before the Supreme Court that it never advertised any pre-natal sex selection technologies on its website in violation of Indian laws. The internet giant, in its fresh additional affidavit, however, said

it will be "unfair and illegal" to expect that it will block all contents which can be reached through its search engine. Moreover, blocking contents of others is not "technically feasible", it said. The response was filed by the internet firm before a bench of justices Dipak Misra and U U Lalit

New climate deal addressed our demands: India LIMA: India has hailed the outcome of the climate summit here, saying the deal reached has addressed the concerns of the developing countries and given them enough space to grow and take appropriate nationally determined steps to combat global warming. "We are happy that the final negotiated statement at COP20 in Lima has addressed the concerns of developing countries and mainly the efforts of some countries to re-write the convention has not fructified," Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar said. Negotiators adopted a compromise draft for national pledges to cut global carbon emissions at marathon UN climate talks at the Peruvian capital here that addressed all of India's concerns and paved way for a new ambitious and binding deal to be signed in Paris next year. Indian delegation led by Javadekar worked overnight, engaging with developed as well as developing nations to reach the deal taking into account India's concerns. "We played a very pro active role. Last two nights we were awake and we remained actively engaged with developed as well as developing world," the minister said after hectic negotiations by officials from 194 countries for 14 days. "It (deal) gives enough space for the developing world to grow and take appropriate nationally determined steps," he said. He said the final draft reached after the talks, which ran into two days of extra time, has paved the way for a Paris Agreement to be arrived next year on the basis of principles of equity and differentiated responsibility.

"The final draft also clearly mandated the developed world to take more firm financial commitments to scale it up to USD 100 billion per year from 2020. Developed world is also mandated to provide resources for technology development, transfer and capacity building," he said. The developed world will have to take responsibility for action in technology and capacity building and to that end they will have to provide resources. On Green Climate Fund, he said the developed countries have given firm commitment. "The financial treaty which was passed has more clarity.

Prakash Javadekar

Now it is mentioned that they will provide and mobilize funds. So it will be aggressive public financing," Javadekar told PTI. "There is a greater role for public finance for Adaptation Funding," he said. Javadekar claimed that India also succeeded in removing the provision in the earlier draft calling for ex-ante review of actions of even developing countries. "The aspirations and main concerns of the Least Developed Countries and developing countries are addressed," he said. India pro-actively engaged with the developed as well as developing world to arrive at a negotiated settlement based on the principles of the convention and the whole edifice will continue to be under the convention.-PTI

which has been hearing a batch of PILs filed by Sabu Mathew George and NGO Voluntary Health Association of Punjab on issues including decreasing numbers of girl child in the country. Earlier, the court had said that an effort has to be made to ensure that websites like Google India, Yahoo India and Microsoft Corporation (I) Pvt Ltd do not show contents in violation of the Preconception and Pre-natal Diagnos-

tic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act that prohibits sex determination of a fetus. "The answering respondent (Microsoft Corporation (India) Pvt Ltd) does not and has never advertised any sex selection technologies/gender selection tool kits on 'Bing.com' or MSN search engines, as alleged or at all, either in violation of the PC-PNDT Act...," the affidavit said. The affidavit also referred to the

manner in which its search engine operates. "By way of an analogy, I state the activity performed by the search engines is similar to the index prepared by a library, where a reader can find the books that deal with the subject matters of interest of the reader, pursuant to looking up to the index. The difference is here - the index is to 'books' the library does not own or possess," it said.-PTI


Desi News Akshaya Patra's unlimited food for education ARCHANA ASTHANA India Post News Service

MILPITAS, CA: A venture so simple, yet so unique, that addresses the issues of education and poverty for children in India simultaneously, is gaining momentum with each passing year. At a benefit event held in Milpitas on December 6 at the India Community Center (ICC), various stakeholders of the organization, Akshaya Patra interacted with, and educated the attendees on their mission and vision, and allowed us to become active contributors to their noble cause. The force behind this amazing movement comes from Infosys Foundation, headed by Sudha Murthy, the wife of Narayan Murthy, founder of Infosys, who spearheaded the cause with an initial donation of $5 million.

COMMUNITY ACROSS AMERICA www.indiapost.com

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India Post News Service

CHICAGO: Members of Indian community at large in Chicagoland have lost a real friend, philosopher

Indian Christians celebrate with Garba Dandiya Asian Media USA

Details on page 18

Details on page 25

December 19, 2014

Community mourns passing away of Naren Patel

Details on page 23

CHICAGO: The nearly decade and half old Indian Christian Federation of Midwest (ICF) came out with a unique idea of celebrating Christmas this time, and to the good credit of organizers, it was by hosting Gujarati Garba and Dandiya. The grand Christmas Party celebration was on Saturday, December 6 at Levy Center in Evanston, a north side suburb of Chicago.

Gita Jayanti Conference in Bay Area planned

Naren Patel

and guide in the sudden and sad demise of community leader and activist Naren Patel.

Hailing from Ahmedabad Gujarat, Naren Patel 72, died at his resident in Schaumburg fighting bravely a pulmonary disease on December 15. A former head of Association of Indians in America and the founder president of Vishwa Gujarati Samaj, he was a very successful businessman heading a front ranking laboratory, MedStar in Hillside, a Chicago suburb. His firm and his two well groomed sons, Raj and Neil, have helped bucketful organizing of health fairs where testing was done at no cost for the participants. A large number of community members and friends rushed to his residence as soon as the news of his death spread. Hundreds of condolence

Naren Patel (center) with his wife, sons, daughters-in-law and grandsons

messages kept on pouring in. Illinois Governor Pat Quinn too was quick in offering his condolences to Patel family and so was Indian CG Dr Ausaf Syed. His funeral is slated at Russo

Funeral Home in Forrest Park on Friday December 19. Naren Patel is survived by his wife Smt Sumitraben, sons Raj and Neil, two daughters-in-law, Nisha and Sonal, and four grandsons.

Kejriwal captivates Columbia students MUNISH KUMAR RAIZADA

Chicagoland leaders welcome FIA new team JAYANTI OZA

CHICAGO: The Federation of Indian Associations (FIA) hosted a welcome celebration for its newly elect executive team headed by Dr Indrajit Patel at Maharaja India Cuisine in Rosemont (a north side suburb of Chicago) on Tuesday December 9 that was attended by FIA members and a good number of Indian community leaders from Chicagoland The celebration was timed to coincide with the 31st wedding anniversary of Dr Indrajit and Dolly Patel. All those present wished the couple a long and happy married life besides offering their support for the furtherance of FIA objectives and commitments in coming year. Details on page 22

NEW YORK: The short trip by Indian Aam Aadmi Party leader Arvind Kejriwal to New York was highlighted by his address to a gathering of students at Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs on December 7. The session was moderated by Professor Alfred Stepan. Kejriwal started his address by paying homage to Dr. BR Ambedker, who pursued his Ph.D. from this prestigious university spread over a huge campus in upper Manhattan, hardly four miles from Times Square. For the better part of his 45minute speech, the former Delhi Chief Minister talked about the performance of his government in Delhi during its short stint. The session was planned as a platform for interaction between Kejriwal and the students. Cont’d on page 19

Indian political leader Arvind Kejriwal in Columbia University, New York


December 19, 2014

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Pope's refusal to meet Dalai Lama disappoints many SURENDRA ULLAL

CHICAGO: Well meaning members of Indian community in Chicaogland have expressed their disappointment and anguish over the refusal of Vatican Pope Francis to meet a globally respected religious figure Dalai Lama recently. It appears that the Vatican decision was greatly motivated by its political assessment of global politics and its desire to improve relations with China which deems Dalai Lama as anti-national. The Vatican has no formal diplomatic ties with Beijing since Communist take over in 1949 but Pope Francis, like his predecessor, Benedict XVI, is seeking warming of ties with the Chinese authorities, which broke off relations in 1951 and set up a branch of the Roman Catholic Church outside the Vatican's control. Dalai Lama was primed to attend a gathering of Nobel Peace Prize laureates in Rome. The Dalai Lama was quoted by the Italian news agency ANSA as saying that he had been turned down for an audience "because it might create inconveniences." The laureates' gathering was initially set to take place in Cape Town in October, but the South African government of President Jacob G. Zuma, which has close economic ties with China, refused to grant the 79-yearold Dalai Lama a visa. That action provoked a boycott by other Nobel laureates.

The Rome gathering was scheduled for two days after the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize was presented in Oslo to Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani schoolgirl shot in the head by the Taliban in 2012, and Kailash Satyarthi, an Indian campaigner for the rights of chil-

of Universal Society of Hinduism, said that a religious leader of Pope's standing with about 1.2 billion followers should be more focused on bringing the diverse faiths together instead of falling prey to petty diplomacy. "Pope Francis should re-evaluate his

Nand Kapur, former president of Association of Indians in America, said that inter-religious dialogue might help us vanquish the stereotypes, prejudices, caricatures, etc., aggravated by bigots of late. Madhu Patel, president of NRI Press Club

Dalai Lama & Pope Francis

dren. Describing Pope's action as "a sad day for interfaith dialogue," Rajan Zed, president

priorities and place interfaith dialogue on top of the list aiming at bringing all humanity together on issues of common religious concerns like human improvement, peace, ecological responsibility, social & economic development, etc," he observed

said that the Pope's action smacks of a mix up of politics and religion and turning down a well-intentioned meeting request from a well-known leader of another world religion could be dubbed as an unwelcome development.


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Indian Christians celebrates with Garba Dandiya Asian Media USA

CHICAGO: The nearly decade and half old Indian Christian Federation of Midwest (ICF) came out with a unique idea of celebrating Christmas this time, and to the good credit of organizers, it was by hosting Gujarati Garba and Dandiya. The grand Christmas Party celebration was on Saturday, December 6 at Levy Center in Evanston, a north side suburb of Chicago. This was the first time that the ICF held such an event here. The attendees ranged from toddlers to seniors and were dressed in vibrant and colorful Indian attire. Despite adverse weather, over 300 members came in and had a fun feast during their stay, observed Babu Varma and Clerin Parmar, the main Coordinators. Clerin Parmar, Manish Varma, Irene Christian, Ruth Varma and

ICF Executive Committee members with their spouses and Garba and Dandiya Raas participants from Women's Group of Evanston Church and also Gujarati Christian Fellowship of Naperville

Veena Bhagat gracefully emceed the program.

The Banquet was attended by dignitaries including Rev. Timothy

Rathod, Rev. Dr. John Rathod from Emmanuel United Methodist Church. Rev. Walter Christian, Shailesh Alendry, Irene Christian, Vivek Solanki, Shailesh Christian, Vidhyaben Christian, Ester Christian (Chair person) and Ruthben Vyas from Gujarati Christian Fellowship of Naperville and members from Bolingbrook, Gujarati fellow-

Clerin Parmar welcomed everyone attending the event while Babu Varma, president, Indian Christian Federation of Midwest., said that it was a record attendance. He still wanted all Christians living in Midwest area to join the federation and make it a strong organization. "This event would not have been possible without

Garba participants from Gujarati Christian Fellowship of Naperville

ship. The program started with Rev Timothy Rathod performing a prayer followed by delicious dinner - chicken Biryani, Chicken Chapli Kabob, Begun Bartua, 4 kinds of different Naan, Salad and 3 different kinds of chutney served by Masti Grill.

the support of all members from various churches" said Rev. Timothy Rathod. Babu Varma introduced the entire board of Indian Christian Federation of Midwest and sponsors of the event on stage.

Indian Christians Federation committee

Cont’d on page 20


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German gaming firm denigrates Lord Shiva SURI SWAMY

NEVADA: Members of the Indian community have been appalled and hugely upset over the launching of a Shiva gambling machine developed and marketed by the Merkur Division of Espelkamp, the German-based Gauselmann Group. The much- talked of "Shiva" slot depicts Lord Shiva, all blue and four-armed, with dark bur-

Voicing disgust and ire of Hindus over this denigration of Lord Shiva, Rajan Zed, President of Universal Society of Hinduism, said that Lord Shiva, who was highly revered in Hinduism, was meant to be worshipped in temples or home shrines and not for promoting gambling on slots for mercantile greed of an international company.

The gambling machine, which is all over the online gambling sites in the US, also has the cobra, monkey symbols, all part of the Hindu religion. "Step into the realm of the god Shiva and experience an exciting adventure!", the website says gundy lips, holding a Damru in one hand. The gambling machine, which is all over the online gambling sites in the US, also has the cobra, monkey symbols, all part of the Hindu religion. "Step into the realm of the god Shiva and experience an exciting adventure!" the website announcement says. It can be played live on various online casinos.

"In Hinduism, Lord Shiva, along with Lord Brahma and Lord Vishnu, forms the great triad of Hindu deities. Moksh (liberation) is the ultimate goal of Hinduism," he said In a remarkable interfaith gesture, Christian-Buddhist-Jewish leaders have come out in support of Hindus who were upset at Germany developed Hindu god Shiva

themed slot gambling game titled "Shiva", calling it highly inappropriate. Rev Richard L. Smith, a United Church of Christ pastor in Nevada, in a statement, said: "I support the protests of Hindus who are offended by the name and image of the god Shiva being used to promote gaming machines. As I recall, it was the Roman soldiers who cast lots for Jesus' clothing, so I would be likewise offended if his name were to be attached to such a product. I urge the Gauselmann company to find another, more respectful approach. Jikai' Phil Bryan, well-known Buddhist leader, in a statement, stressed: "The game's usage of Shiva and other Hindu religious symbols and iconography is wholly inappropriate and should be discontinued." ElizaBeth W. Beyer, Jewish Rabbi in California and Nevada, in a statement, insisted that Gauselmann Group stop using deities revered by millions of Hindu adherents. Religious iconography, such as Lord Shiva, necessitates respectful and thoughtful use. It should not be

Kejriwal captivates Columbia students Cont’d from page 16

With students shooting a barrage of questions, the Mufflerman seemed at ease while answering them all with a constant smile on his face. He reminded the gathering about the foundation principle of Aam Aadmi Party and said that years of anger and frustration against the political establishment was canalized by 'India Against Corruption' and taken forward by the Aam Aadmi Party.

Without holding back, the students asked a number of questions to Kejriwal ranging from Aam Aadmi Party's top priority if and when they come back to power, its chances in the upcoming assembly elections in Delhi and much more. Kejriwal said the people had been continuously showing solidarity towards AAP and the party would come back at the helm after the elections. He singled out health and education as his party's

Kejriwal said the people had been continuously showing solidarity towards AAP and the party would come back at the helm after the elections. He singled out health and education as his party's top priority He also quoted a number of independent surveys and reports which showed a significant drop in the level of corruption in the national capital when Aam Aadmi Party was in power. He also talked about a number of reforms which were initiated by his government before he quit following a deadlock over the Lokpal Bill in the Delhi State Assembly.

top priority to convert Delhi into an International city. AAP also has started its 'Delhi Dialogue' with the aim of taking suggestions and views from the public on a number of grave issues including women's safety in the city. Kejriwal termed AAP's brand of politics as 'clean politics'. At a time when the major political outfits are vehemently opposed to disclos-

ing the name of their donors, the Aam Aadmi Party set forward an example by publishing its entire donors' list on its website and updating it in real time. He added that the financial integrity of the political parties is at an all time low, thus allowing 'crony capitalism' to seep into the economy and deepen its roots. Responding to a question, he said that for him, development has to go through the common man. Empowering the Aam Aadmi is the basic step towards pushing for development, with the government acting as a mere facilitator. He explained that development of a nation is dependent upon the strength and financial freedom of its common man and not on the richest who are sitting at the top of the pyramid. To a student who seemed to be awed by Modi's foreign policy achievements, Kejriwal did say that we need to look at the diplomatic achievements too rather than just PR achievements. A student handed him over a manuscript of his policy research, while others seemed to be eager to give their opinion on law and order in India. A student touched his feet at the foreign soil, asking for his blessings.

trivialized on a game, Rabbi Beyer adds. Welcoming the support of these diverse religious leaders

over the world and a Fatwa was issued for the head of the cartoonist. "We had come out criticizing this sort of trivializing of

Lord Shiva

Rajan Zed urged Gauselmann AG and its chairman Paul Gauselmann to publicly apologize and immediately recall this slot game showing Hindu Lord Shiva. Inappropriate usage of Hindu deities or concepts for commercial or other agenda was not okay as it hurt the devotees, Zed pointed out. Madhu Patel, president of NRI Press Club, said that this sort of denigration of other religions should be a source of concern to all. He said that a cartoon depicting Prophet Mohammed a few years ago had outraged Muslims

religious figures and holy men. We want a universal code of conduct that would prevent anybody indulging in this type of mischievous activity once for all," he said. Globally active Gauselmann Group, launched in 1957, claims to be "world's leading gaming companies" which reportedly did over •1.8 billion business in 2013. Merkur Gaming, whose tagline is "More than just a game", has a large game selection and develops "cutting-edge casino machines" with presence in various countries of Europe; besides Mexico, Peru and Colombia.


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Badminton Tournament for Bright Life Foundation ASWHIN PATEL

ST LOUIS: A badminton tournament was held in Saint Louis as a family activity to support and spread the word for Bright Life Foundation (BLF). BLF (a non-profit organization) was founded by Dr Subbarao Polineni, who built a school in Martur, India, for underprivileged kids, orphans and HIV positive kids. Currently this school has 300+ students and continues to grow. Mr & Mrs Polineni invested more than $1 million in this organization. In spite of being a cancer survivor, at the age of 70, Dr. Polineni works hard to make his dream turn into reality. Inspired by Polineni's hardwork, dedication, and kindness,

Ram Kudaravalli, the organizer of the tournament, planned this event to propagate BLF by conducting this as a Family Fun event to reach the people of different communities. The tournament was held last month at Saint Louis Christian Academy. Ram Kudaravalli thanked the participants for their support for BLF and the cause. The tournament contained multiple events like Women's Doubles (WD), Family Doubles (FD), Men's Singles (MS) and Men's Doubles (MD). over 60 participants (including kids) registered and played in multiple events. Following are the Winners and Runners-up in each cat-

A group of participants for the BLF badminton tournament

Indian Christians celebrate with Garba Dandiya Cont’d from page 18

Naperville Christian youth performed devotional Christmas song "Yeshu Masih Tere Jaisa hai koi Nahi" joyfully sung by members of Indian Christian Federation of Midwest. The first half of the event was Garba and the second was

songs were presented by well known local singers Imran Durrani, Rajesh Chalam, Shaila Khedkar and Mahijit S. Virdee. The sponsors of the event were Travel King, Medstar Laboratory, National Bankcard, Travel King, Masti Grill, Lake Street Dental, Subway (Nita Dabhi) Modern Accounting, New York Life (Sunil

Family Doubles (FD) winners Subbu & Divya

egory: Winners: Bhavana & Nalini (WD); Subbu & Divya (FD); Sreekanth Peyyeti (MS); Harpreet & Jim (MD); Harsha Chimakurthy (Consolation Prize) Runners-Up: Lakshmi Datla & Josaphine (WD); Parag & Swaraj (FD); Harpreet (MS); Narendra Datla & Radha Krishna (MD); Raju Vanka (Consolation Prize) Dr. Subbarao talked about the school and its self-sustaining policies. Later trophies were handed to the Winner and Runner-up categories by Polineni family and the volunteers. Through this tournament and donations, an amount close to $6000 was raised and it was handed over to the BLF treasurer. Dr. Polineni, in his appreciation of the gesture observed, with BLF's self-sustaining "Feed a Child program" this amount will feed about 8-10 kids indefinitely for a life-long. Women's Doubles (WD) winners Bhavana & Nalini

Dandiya Raas participants from Women's Group of Emmanuel United Methodist Church

Dandiya. Garba was performed by Women's Group of Evanston Church and also Gujarati Christian Fellowship of Naperville. Another unique feature of the event was the prizes for the Best Attire male and female (adult and youth). The prizes were distributed to the following four winners: Kamlesh Gohil, Denise Parmar, Amrita Varma, Priya Shields by owner of Mehndi Neo Salon (Amita Chitnis). Christmas gifts were distributed to children under 10. The vote of thanks was proposed by secretary, Girish Christie. Bollywood

Shah), Sher Rajput, and Mehndi Neo Salon (Amita Chitnis). Executive Committee: Vinubhai Chitnis (Chairman), Babu Varma (President), Clerin Parmar (Vice President), Girish Christie (Secretary) and Oliver Parmar (Treasurer). Board of Directors & Advisory Committee: Samson Macwan, Raman Sutaria, Smita Christian, Ruth Varma, Jyoti Sutaria, Dilip Rathod, Irene Christian, Veena Bhagat, Shailesh Christian, Binny Christian, Jayman Chitnis, Deborah Cowper and Rev. John Rathod (Mission work advisor).


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Health care is a civil right, says Dr Raju PM SWAMY

NEW YORK: Healthcare is a fundamental right of every citizen and more of a civil right, a human right and a constitutional right for all in this country, said Dr Ramanathan Raju, President and CEO of New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation. "The Only way to improve health for all is to provide adequate access not only to healthcare but also equal opportunities in education, wealth, housing, jobs and pursuing happiness," he added Dr Raju was addressing an investiture ceremony of America Tamil Sangam that bestowed its highest honor Tamil Ratna (Jewel

Dr Raju addressing the gathering

among Tamils) at a function attended by leading Indian-American physicians in Hotel Madras Woodlands in New Hyde Park recently. John Joseph, Executive Vice President of America Tamil Sangam presided over the meeting. Dr. Ramanathan (Ram) Raju heads the largest municipal health care system in the nation. Dr. Raju was appointed by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio in January 2014 to lead the 37,000 employees of this $6.7 billion corporation, which includes 11 acute care hospitals, five nursing homes, six large diagnostic and treatment centers, more than 70 community-based health centers, and a large home care agency. Prior to accepting the role of President and CEO at HHC, Dr. Raju was the Chief Executive Officer for the Cook County Health & Hospitals System (CCHHS) in Chicago, Illinois. Dr. Raju attended Madras Medical College to earn his medical diploma and his Master of Surgery degree. He underwent further training in England and was elected a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons. He is also a physician executive, having obtained an MBA from the University of Tennessee and CPE from the American College of Physician Executives. "I have chosen a profession which brought me so much joy and my work in the last decades to eliminate the health care disparities that exist in our country has been very fulfilling. The people from Tamil Nadu are always at the forefront of social justice issues in this country and this is because

of the rich traditions we carry in our social fabric and greatness we carry in our service. As we continue our mission to bring our greatness and our service to all New York, organizations like America Tamil Sangam have a special place in our minds and hearts," he said. Cont’d on page 23

Dr D'Esposito, center, presenting the award to Dr Raju while scientist Dr Arul Veerappan, Dr Madan Raj, Jaya Sundaram and John Joseph look on


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Chicagoland leaders welcome FIA new team JAYANTI OZA

CHICAGO: The Federation of Indian Associations (FIA) hosted a welcome celebration for its newly elect executive team headed by Dr Indrajit Patel at Maharaja India Cuisine in Rosemont (a north side suburb of Chicago) on Tuesday December 9 that was attended by FIA members and a good number of Indian community leaders from Chicagoland The celebration was timed to coincide with the 31st wedding anniversary of Dr Indrajit and Dolly Patel. All those present wished the couple a long and happy married life besides offering their support for the furtherance of FIA objectives and commitments in coming year. Among the notables present were Drs. Bharatbhai Barai, Pannaben Barai, former FIA Presidents Hina Trivedi, Sunny Gabhawala, Babu Patel, Kanti Patel,

Chicago community leaders with Dr Indrajit and Dolly Patel

the current FIA President Keerthi Kumar and Trustee Chair Iftekhar Shareef, Dr. Manish Bhrambhat, Chandresh Bhrambhat, Nirav Patel,

Dahyabhai Prajapati, Narsinhbhai Patel, Dilip Patel and Babu Verma of Indian Christian Federation. Cont’d on page 23

Health care is a civil right, says Dr Raju Cont’d from page 21

"I want to thank President of America Tamil Sangam Prakash and other officers for spearheading efforts to awaken the civic responsibilities amongst Tamils across this country," Dr Raju said. Dr Madan Raj, a leading pain

zeal to provide healthcare to the uninsured. Capt Stanley George, the highest ranking Indian-American officer of NYPD, in his remarks praised the role of America Tamil Sangam for honoring one of its illustrious sons of Tamil Nadu. Dr Raju's work on preventing an outbreak of Ebola could go down in

A section of the packed audience

management physician of Long Island and officer of Madurai Medical College Alumni Association, praised Dr. Raju for helping people. "Mayor Bill de Blasio hired him to run the largest health care system in the country or even in the world because of his unique credentials as a surgeon trained in three continents - Indian sub-continent, Europe and North America - for years and skill set of a business leader with a heart to help others," he added. Dr. Robert D'Esposito, president of Nassau County Medical Society, who presented the Tamil Ratna Award to Dr Raju, praised his spirited public service and a

the history of New York City. America Tamil Sangam also honored Dr Karthik Ramasamy, a leading plastic and cosmetic surgeon in Chennai, for his fight against obesity, especially childhood obesity in schools. Eminent Indian-American physicians such as Dr Dattareyudu Nori, a world-renowned oncologist and others attend the event. Josh Joseph in his remarks said America Tamil Sangam stood in the forefront of honoring and recognizing prominent Tamils both in India as well as the US. Jaya Sundaram, Secretary welcomed the gathering and Koshy Ommen, Treasurer proposed a vote of thanks.


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Profound impact of Akshaya Patra's unlimited food for education M u r t h y , founder of Infosys, who MILPITAS, CA: A venture so s p e a r h e a d e d simple, yet so unique, that ad- the cause with dresses the issues of education an initial donaand poverty for children in India tion of $5 milsimultaneously, is gaining mo- lion. Dr. Vishal mentum with each passing year. At a benefit event held in Milpitas Sikka, the curon December 6 at the India Com- rent CEO of munity Center (ICC), various Infosys emstakeholders of the organization, phasized the Akshaya Patra interacted with, c o m p a n y ' s and educated the attendees on long standing their mission and vision, and al- r e l a t i o n s h i p Dr. Vishal Sikka, CEO and Managing Director Event Keynote speaker Barbara Kinney: Award of Infosys. Event Guest of Honor lowed us to become active con- with Akshaya winning photojournalist, White House staff Patra by comtributors to their noble cause. photographer The force behind this amazing bining the execution excellence of movement comes from Infosys for-profit organizations to the in 2000, where only Foundation, headed by Sudha compassion of non-profits. He is 1500 underprivileged children go- goal is to reach 5 million children Murthy, the wife of Narayan committed to continuing to build ing to public schools were served by 2020. on this and a hot mid day meal, the numbers Desh Deshpande, the Chairtaking the rose to 300,000 children in 2005. man of Akshay Patra and founder movement to At present, the 23 kitchens across of Deshpande Foundation in new heights. 10 states serve wholesome meals Hubli, India, has done much to I n n o v a - to 1.4 million children in 10,600 harness the giving spirit of Indition in India schools which is an incentive for ans in USA through Akshaya bears fruit by struggling families to send their Patra USA which provides 10% thinking big, kids to school. While these sta- of vital funding towards the and outside tistics are indeed impressive, the school meals program. In dollar the box with intervenIndependent studies have shown that the tions to bring about incentive of a hot mid day meal has imand scale proved enrollment and attendance in pubup, life changing solic schools, lowered the drop-out rates, lutions such and improved health and academic peras these. formance. With a Dr. Desh Deshpande, Chairman of Akshaya Patra USA smaller scale ARCHANA ASTHANA

India Post News Service

Chicagoland leaders welcome FIA new team

Dr Indrajit and Dolly Patel with FIA Trustee Chair Iftekhar Shareef, President Keerthi Kumar, Babu Verma of Indian Christian Federation and Harish Rao

terms, the cost of a meal is 12 cents, of which 7 cents (about 60%) is shouldered by the Indian federal and state governments through meal and cost subsidies, so the donations required amount to only 5 cents per meal! This translates to $15 to feed a child for a year. A number we can easily wrap our brains around and willingly help the cause. The public-private partnership of sponsorship and technological efficiencies has brought about a human revolution for Akshaya Patra, according to Dr. Sikka. He compared this movement to the Green Revolution of decades ago which was instru-

Prabhakar Kalavacherla, Board Member of Akshaya Patra USA. Partner at KPMG

mental in making India self reliant for grain production. Humans, amplified by technology, can create innovation and endeavor that can build great systems and purposeful ideals. It was revealed that almost 40% of the world's malnourished children reside in India, which also has a 40% dropout rate, especially for girls, who work to earn money to put food on the table. Independent studies have shown that the incentive of a hot mid day meal has improved enrollment and attendance in public schools, lowered the drop-out rates, and improved health and academic performance. The innovative, mechanized kitchens prepare 100,000 meals in 5 hours, bake 60,000 chapatis and cook 1,000 liters of rice and daal (lentil soup) in one hour. The meals are simple, but served hot, so the distance between the schools and kitchens, as well as transport modes to keep the meals hot, are also factored into the design Cont’d on page 25 model.


24 India Post

Community Across America

December 19, 2014

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Big turnout for Naresh Solanki fundraiser India Post News Service

CERRITOS, CA: Torrential rains, horrendous traffic, limited parking - nothing could hold back the overflowing turnout of supporters and sponsors backing Naresh Solanki for the Cerritos City Council race of 2015, at the Cerritos Park East facility here on December 9. The current and former City

Council-members and Mayors rallied in supporting and endorsing Solanki in a magnificent fund-raising event that gave his campaign a big jump-start. Amongst the galaxy of stars present, were Cerritos Mayor ProTem Carol Chen, Council member and former Mayor Bruce Barrows, Council member George Ray, former Mayor Laura Lee, former Mayor Sherman Kappe and former

With City Officials

Mayor, former ABCUSD Board Member and former Cerritos College Board of Trustees Bob Hughlett, amongst many others. Naresh, in his address said he was humbled by the overwhelming support that was shown and went on to tell the gathering what he stood for and what he would like to accomplish as a

Councilmember. Earlier, each of the speakers - the Who's Who of Cerritos - lauded Solanki for his eight years of experience as a Planning Commissioner together with his entrepreneurial background that has earned him and qualified him as a most suitable candidate for the Cerritos Council job.

Audience - Who's Who of Cerritos


December 19, 2014

Community Across America

India Post 25

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Gita Jayanti Conference in Bay Area planned SATYA KALRA

NEW DELHI: For the first time in history, Gita Jayanti was celebrated at Red Fort, Delhi, India, on December 7. We are planning to have a Gita Jayanti Conference in the Bay Area in 2015, as a corollary to this Great Gita Jayanti 5151 celebration. I was very fortunate to receive an invitation to participate in the International Gita Prerna Mahotsav - Grand Celebration of Gita Jayanti 5151 with world leaders, politicians, spiritual leaders and bureaucrats, at the Red Fort, India. My heartfelt thanks go out to Gita Manishi Mahamandaleshwar, Swami Shri Gyananandji Maharaj, the founder of Gita Global Inspiration & Enlightenment Organization of

Bhagwat Gita (GIEO). He organized this holy program and asked me to speak on the sacred "Bhagwad Gita". It was truly an unforgettable and rewarding expe-

rience, for which I am indebted to my respected hosts and Lord Krishna. It is said that Lord Krishna granted a divine gift to the world in the form of Bhagawad Gita

Profound impact of Akshaya Patra's unlimited food for education cation, he was able to become a physician, and was awarded the Testimonies to the powerful "Physician of the year" award by impact this organization has on the Kaiser Permanente in California lives of children were many, includ- last year! ing that from past President Bill A first- hand account shared Clinton, who visited the Akshaya with dignity and self esteem has Patra kitchens and facilities in remained with me and encourages 2010, and came away humbled by me to do all that I can to make more such dreams a reality. All who spoke emphasized the primal instinct of extreme hunger pangs and what they can do to a child's psyche. They urged audience members to experience it at least once to understand this basic need in its gravest form. The Keynote speaker, Barbara Kinney, who served as one of the photograActress Richa Shukla, Event Emcee phers with the Clinton administration shared his interactions with the smiling some candid and interesting picand hopeful children who sub- tures taken during her tenure at sisted on one meal a day. the White House. Included here Children, in a taped clip also were pictures of Clinton's visit to thanked the "sambhar-rice ladies" Akshaya Patra kitchens in for rescuing them, or they would Lucknow and Jaipur, hosted by Mr have starved to death. Especially Deshpande. humbling was the experience Emily Rosenbaum, CEO of shared by an audience member, Dr. Akshaya Patra USA, spoke about Tiwari who identified with the the corporate organization in Inplight of the children and shared dia with 5,800 employees and the his experience of living on a few excellence coming from smart enchapatis and green chillies as his gineers and management team. only meal for a few years. Drink- The number of children served ing water was the only other op- daily, impeccably clean kitchens, tion to fill his stomach should hun- high health and hygiene stanger strike again. dards, nutritious and fresh meals Aided by a generous donor all exemplify that the impossible who supplied him the $3 needed can be made possible if you can to fill out a medical school appli- dream big and execute with modCont’d from page 23

ern technologies and scale ups. The organization was awarded the Gold Shield Award for five years by President Clinton in Jaipur. Her personal stories of interactions with the children interlaced with love, hope, joy and affection teared up many attendees. The youth ambassadors, as well as the MC, Richa Sharma, also spoke about leading a privileged life in the US and not being aware that lack of food could become a barrier to education...until now. The emotional evening resulted in copious pledges forwarded by the generous attendees. We must give back and do what we can to ensure a path of forward movement for the youth in a country which we still think of as our Motherland, despite what official papers might say.

through Arjuna. It is considered the most precious Epic in the world. Gita is the greatest inspiration

and practical guide that teaches how to fulfill your responsibilities, remove all the pains and miseries, enhance the quality of life, and experience Ultimate Peace, and Happiness, "Sat Chit Ananda." The event was organized with these objectives: may Shrimad Bhagwat Gita become the source of practical inspiration of mankind across the globe; may there be an awakened outlook of fulfilling responsibilities; may all sorrow, mis-

India and was broadcast live abroad by Sansakar Channel. Participants included External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar, Science and Technology Minister Dr. Harshvardhan, Spiritual leaders Jagat Guru Shankaracharya, Swami Gurusharananand of Vrindavan, Swami Ramdev, Shri Ramesh Bhai Ojha, VHP leader Ashok Singhal, Heart specialist Dr.Naresh Trehan, Justice RC Lahoti, Justice Girdhar Malviya, as well as dignitaries from over 20 countries. The printed copy of my Kindle bestselling book, "108 Mantras to Awaken Your Soul" was released at this conference. The book distills the 700 verses of the Bhagavad Gita into 108 most prominent mantras. The book serves as a quick reference and helps to awaken the human soul (pure consciousness) in everyone seeking eternal happiness, peace and Anandam, i.e. blissful state of mind. As a Gita lover and former CEO of a biotechnology company, I shared my life experiences of how Bhagawad Gita's teachings (advised by H.H. Swami Hariharji Maharaj) had changed the direction of my life and helped me to

Satya Kalra

It costs just $15 to feed one child for an entire school year

ery, grief, depression, and fear cease and may mankind attain supreme bliss. Another goal was to involve, engage and inspire youth with the teachings of Gita philosophy, to develop positive attitudes and values so they are prepared to face daily challenges and prosper in their lives and careers. Through these teachings, one learns to eradicate prejudices based on caste and creed, language and thinking, allowing one to develop a morally sound character that leads one to act responsibly toward the world, their nation, society and family. More than 30 thousand people attended the grand celebration and millions more watched on TV. The event received wide coverage in

deal with challenges living in USA for 45 years. Gita's teachings have helped me cope with difficult situations, but I have learned from adversity and moved forward in life. My greatest reward has been feelings of self-satisfaction, feelings I had never experienced before, even after achieving career and life goals I had set for myself. Seven years ago, the message came to me from Lord Krishna to share with others what I have learned in life and therefore, I founded Path to Anandam (www.pathanandam.org), a nonprofit organizationto help others to live blissful life. Satya Kalra is the Founder of 'Path to Anandam', Danville, California


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December 19, 2014

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The rule is that we come to God through Guru SWAMI NIKHILANAND

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n the previous article of this series (There are qualifications to know the Bhagvad Gita), Swami Nikhilanand explained that only a person who has faith in Shree Krishn is qualified to study the Gita. In this article, Swamiji sheds light on another very important qualification. Verse 34 of Chapter 4 says that the knowledge of the Gita cannot be acquired without first surrendering to a God-realized Saint. Only with his help and guidance could the true meaning of the Gita be understood. This verse says that we must fully surrender (pranipat) to such a Saint who is both learned in the scriptures (gyaninah) and who has attained God (tattva darshinah). We should humbly and sincerely ask him questions (pariprashn) in order to clear our doubts and clarify the teachings of the Gita. We should also serve him (sevaya). Then he will impart the knowledge of the Gita to us (updekchyanti te gyanam). Q: Was Arjun surrendered to a Guru? Swamiji: Yes, in fact, he accepted Shree Krishn as his Guru when he said, 'shishyasteham

shadhi mam tvaam prapannam' (chapter 2, verse 7). He said, "Krishn, please instruct me. I am your surrendered disciple." How-

ever, it is Krishn's rule that no one can surrender directly to Him (God). The procedure is that we must come to God through a Guru. He even sent the greatest gyani of that time, Uddhao, to the Gopis of Braj to be graced with Divine love. In other words, He didn't Grace Uddhao directly, He sent him to the Gopis to make them his Guru. Then the Gopis graced him with Krishn's Divine love. Q: Why did Krishn allow Arjun to surrender directly to Him? Swamiji: In this case, since Krishn was physically present, Arjun had the choice: instead of saying, "Krishn, You are God. Please instruct me." He said, "Krishn, You are my Guru. Please instruct me." So, Krishn had to instruct him as a Guru instructs his surrendered disciple. If Arjun had said, "Krishn, You are God. Please instruct me." Then Shree Krishn

would have said, "Go to a Guru. I cannot help you directly, as I am God."

Q: What is the role of the Guru? Swamiji: The Guru is like a chemistry professor who instructs his students in the area of

Swami Nikhilanand

his expertise. The professor not only has a theoretical understanding of the subject, but has researched it, performed experiments, and had a practical experience of it. So, his knowledge is not only theoretical, it has been elevated to a practical, experiential level. Similarly, a true Guru must not only have a complete theoretical knowledge of the Hindu scriptures, but, more importantly, a practical experience of God. Q: Why is surrender important? Swamiji: After we have found such a Guru, we are then in a position to study the philosophy of the Gita. The first thing we would have to do is to surrender to that Guru. Surrender? What does surrender have to do with acquiring knowledge? It has everything to do with it. In fact, the chemistry students must also surrender to their professor in order to learn. They surrender their intellect, or they join their intellect to the intellect of their professor. They allow him to guide them through the journey of acquiring this advanced knowledge of chemistry. They even take some things on faith, because at their elementary level of understanding, they have not experienced any of the things he is teaching them. So, they learn the theory and take it on faith, until such a time when they can experience it for themselves. That experience is the proof of the theory, which they had accepted on faith. It is important to note that without faith in the teacher, the theory cannot be learned, and without learning the theory, experience cannot be

gained. Thus, faith is the gateway to gaining knowledge, and eventually proof or experience. The same is true for acquiring spiritual knowledge and experience. We must have faith in (be surrendered to) the Guru. The true Saint can make us understand the philosophy of the Gita, but only if we humbly surrender our intellect to him. Initially, we have to accept what he is saying on faith; then, when we practice accordingly, we will receive the experience. So, in the spiritual field as well, faith and surrender are the gateway to knowledge and experience. Please keep in mind that he can only impart that knowledge to us if we surrender to him. Otherwise, whether they are chemistry students, or students of the philosophy of the Gita, if they doubt every little thing their teacher tells

series. Disciple of Shree Kripaluji Maharaj: Swami Nikhilanand is a Canadian born Hindu spiritual leader based in Austin, Texas. He is a sanyasi disciple and pracharak of Jagadguru Shree Kripaluji Maharaj. Attracted to the teachings of Hinduism from a young age, Swamiji eventually let his deep spiritual longing lead him to India, where he was most fortunate to come under the guidance of Shree Kripaluji Maharaj. Thereafter, living in the ashrams of JKP, he extensively studied Hindi, the philosophy of the prime Sanskrit scriptures (Vedas, Darshan Shastras, Gita, Bhagwatam), and practiced meditation in the tradition of raganuga bhakti. In 2003, he was given sanyas. Now, with the blessings of his Guruji, he offers satsang programs throughout America, engaging audiences with his clear explanations of Hindu philosophy coupled with inspired chanting of Sanskrit mantras and shlokas and

Arjun had the choice: instead of saying, "Krishn, You are God. Please instruct me." He said, "Krishn, You are my Guru. Please instruct me." So, Krishn had to instruct him as a Guru instructs his surrendered disciple. If Arjun had said, "Krishn, You are God. Please instruct me." Then Shree Krishn would have said, "Go to a Guru. I cannot help you directly, as I am God." them, they will never be able to learn the advanced material being taught in that course, nor will they ever gain the practical experience of that subject. They should question, but question humbly, in an effort to understand - not question in an effort to challenge the teacher or show one's own learning. There is one more way that the Guru helps his students in their quest for knowledge. This will be the topic of the next part of this

charming nam sankirtan. His informative and compelling speeches provide practical insight into how to adopt the teachings of Sanatan Dharm into our daily lives, and inspire us to awaken our inner spiritual potential. To stay in touch with Swami Nikhilanand Ji, like his Facebook page at https:// w w w. f a c e b o o k . c o m / SwamiNikhilanand or follow him on twitter at https://twitter.com/ Swami_Nikhil.

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TOP TEN HINDI FILM SONGS

1 Manwa Laage : Happy New Year 2 Lovely : Happy New Year 3 Meherbaani : The Shaukeens 4 Meherbaan: Bang Bang www.indiapost.com

28 India Post

December 19, 2014

5 India Waale : Happy New Year 6 Kill Dill : Kill Dil 7 Jaise Mera Tu : Happy Ending 8 Sajde : Kill Dil 9 Tu Meri : Bang Bang 10 Tere Hoke Rahenge: Raja Natwarlal

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nushka Sharma finds all the gossip about her relationship with cricketer Virat Kohli completely meaningless. "I really don't know. I mean it's something that I just don't get because I keep saying it's not something that's a secret. It's right out there, and it's just that it's my personal choice to not discuss my personal life openly because nobody would like to! Who discusses their life with their partners with outsiders? I mean, who discusses these things out in the open?" Elaborating her stand, the actor says, "Nobody goes to office and talks like, 'arrey pataa hai aaj aisa hua'. It's very uncomfortable. You would do that with friends, but you wouldn't do that with just anyone. You would not do that at a conference meeting with a bunch of your colleagues and just start talking about your relationship in between," says Anushka, adding that as much as people would like to believe, there really isn't any scoop to her and Virat's relationship that people should be bothered about. "I lead my life very very openly. It's for everyone to see. It's not something that I need to hide. I am not trying to hide some scoop," she says. "I think because we belong to the entertainment world, everything about our lives becomes a topic of entertainment. But I don't want my personal life to be a matter of a coffee table discussion. At the end of the day, I am a person who will have certain things which are very normal but because you are a known person, your normalcy is not treated very normally," she rues.

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ollywood-based Indian actress Freida Pinto and her long time boyfriend Dev Patel are reportedly no longer together. Freida Pinto and Dev Patel , who played on-screen couple in 'Slumdog Millionaire' have ended their real-life romance after dating for about six years, reported Us magazine. "Dev and Freida have broken up. They have been done for a while," a source said. The brunette beauty celebrated her 30th birthday without Dev Patel, 24, this past October. The 'Immortals' actress was, instead, spotted hanging out with aspiring actor and son of Indian businessman Vijay Mallya, Siddharth. "Freida is single and happy. Friends are setting her up," the source added. Pinto and Patel met on the set of Danny Boyle's 2008 critically-acclaimed 'Slumdog Millionaire' where they played an on-screen couple. Before dating her co-star, Pinto was engaged to her former publicist Rohan Antao. They called it off in January 2009.

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ollywood has become interested in biopic and the story of Milkha Singh and Mary Kom has now been immortalized in celluloid under the titles 'Bhaag Milkha Bhaag' and 'Mary Kom'. Now, director Neeraj Pandey (of 'Baby' fame) has taken up the ambitious project of making the biopic on the captain of the Indian cricket team, Mahendra Singh Dhoni. Reportedly, the project has been given the go ahead by the cricketer and the casting issues are now being sorted out. Sushant Singh Rajput plays Dhoni in the film. The first look of the actor with long hair and unshaven visage wearing the famous tee shirt with lucky number 7 has now been released. It must be agreed that there seems to be an uncanny resemblance between the cricketer and the actor. Director Pandey has ultimately chosen the well known Telugu actor Ram Charan Teja to portray the character of Suresh Raina.


December 19, 2014

Bollywood

India Post 29

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The year ends on a super-high for Priyanka Chopra. The actress has topped this year's list of 'World's Sexiest Asian Woman'. This is the third time that the title sits pretty on PC's shoulders who was conferred the title after over 10 million people from across the world voted for her in a UK-based poll. That's not all. She has also won the title of 'The Queen of Bollywood' in an online poll, elbowing her contemporaries with 48% of the total votes. The parameters considered in the survey were an actor's star power, charisma and boxoffice performance. Having won appreciation from all quarters for her gritty performance in Mary Kom and having also released her third international pop single, PC also shone bright for supporting key initiatives related to education and empowerment of the girl child in her role as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador.

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alki Koechlin says she is still learning and hopes to excel in acting when she turns 90. "There is no better teacher than experience. After every film, we all learn something and take that with us. I hope when I am 90, I will be a great actress," the 30year-old told reporters in a group inter- "There is no better view. teacher than "Yes, I have done films which were not experience. After hit, but that's fine. I think it's not important every film, we all all your films should learn something be hit. Your performance should be apand take that with preciated. We all work and try to improve and us. I hope when I better ourselves," she added. am 90, I will be a The "Dev D" star's great actress," the recent releases like "Zindagi na Milegi 30-year-old told Dobara" and "Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani" reporters in a are all commercial projects. But she says group interview it was not a conscious decision to do them. "I don't take any conscious decision to do commercial films. I do what I find interesting," she said.

nal fessio i's o r p e Balk porat d cor seen in R hchan. n a n MBA h Bac e soo a, an el, will b g Amitab ho found v a t s od s, w rrin iva and m mitabh sta tall actres ved her A a Shr s a n d i t d actress e a h i e h b h h S c ita ac turne ming film 5 feet 7 in era, has r and Am o e a c m h t a h m t , c e Ku for ole of th shay this r have With g in front Khan, Ak ed to for s s e r l i n i gard eels b in be h Aam dita f ry high re sion rking wit n s a a p V , her st of wo lds ve fficer i eeta my o ies and ho r A Sang g wishl h a n . n r t a i o f f c o t c n oin B a c h daughter in differen i s t a k e n t l e o f d at m n e a e h e ft m T fbe lif o i s o t a k e t h e got into of t r u nced rces. h e i w r , e Ma exp fense fo n t o til. She ress e act a s kee e 's film t h e d i s i n t u i t i v r a n g a d a , i te Smita P B h a r d w a j a s h . H o w a t a l l i l g a Th a h n e T h i h C s work a la t agti's as Vi ni or Bijla tense roles ilms such Reema K ial path by ukeens. f nd in erc The Sha dola a stream omm main li Ka Man a totally c umar film j Ki Bi he charted Akshay K d s , r eve ust release j e h t in

V

She got into offbeat mainstream films such as Vishal Bhardwaj's film Matru Ki Bijli Ka Mandola and Reema Kagti's Talaash


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Realty Tidbits

SBI seeks tax incentives for housing NEW DELHI: SBI Chairperson Arundhati Bhattacharya has pitched for a slew of tax incentives for housing and education loans in the forthcoming Budget for boosting economic growth. "There would a number of things that we would look to the government in the Budget because this would ultimately result in better growth," she said. "Interest subvention on housing loan. At this point of time, the housing loan amount eligible for it is only Rs 15 lakh. This should be increased to Rs 25 lakh and the cost of the house should be increase from Rs 25 lakh to Rs 35 lakh," Bhattacharya said at Delhi Economic Conclave. Similarly, she said, if government can provide some additional deduction of Rs 50,000 over and above the existing limit of Rs 1 lakh. This would also be a major booster for the economy, she added. At the same time, interest subvention on education loan could be extended to those based on income criteria. "The present deduction under section 80c for payment of tuition fee is up to Rs 1 lakh. There again, government can provide another Rs 1 lakh to cover repayment of principle amount... This reduction could also be available to parent or spouse," she said. -PTI

„ Puravankara receives 507 bookings at GOSF CHENNAI: Real Estate developer Puravankara has received 507 booking orders for two of its upcoming projects at the recently concluded three-day Google online shopping festival (GOSF), the company says. "The GOSF campaign has seen a significant response for Puravankara and Provident with over 5,000 enquiries during the three-day period, of which we received 507 online bookings for homes across the brands," the company said in a statement. The annual online shopping festival organized by Internet giant Google was held between December 10 and 12, 2014. The company said the inventory originally made available under the GOSF plan of 200 units was oversubscribed by 2.5 times. Allocation of final units to customers would be on first come first served basis, it said. "We are very happy to see that our website has seen over 27 times of its regular traffic during the three days of the GOSF campaign...", Joint Managing Director of Puravankara Projects, Ashish Puravankara said.-PTI

Real Estate 30 India Post

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December 19, 2014

Tiny house movement makes gains in Syracuse SYRACUSE, N.Y.: A Syracuse nonprofit group has proposed building townhouses for the homeless that would cost less than $14,000 each. Why so cheap? In part, it's because the houses would be tiny. Each house would be 12 feet wide and 14 feet long - about the size of a garden shed. Across town in the Hawley-Green neighborhood, two entrepreneurs are planning a similar venture with tiny houses, but not for the homeless. -AP

Cut taxes with early mortgage payment KAY BELL

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omeownership offers many tax breaks, but to maximize them, you need to make some moves by Dec. 31. Start with your mortgage payment. An early January payment could lower your upcoming Internal Revenue Service bill. Unlike rent, which you pay beforehand (i.e., your Jan. 1 bill covers your stay in the rental unit for that coming month), your mortgage payments are made at the end of your occupancy period. That means your Jan. 1 mortgage statement represents interest for the month of December, making it a taxbreak-eligible bill for this year. By accelerating that payment even by just a day, you get an additional tax deduction for the interest paid. Don't get greedy, though. You can't make your February, or any other upcoming, mortgage payment early to boost your year-end tax deduction amounts. Tax law generally prohibits write-offs for prepaid interest (there is an exception for loan points in some cases).

Each year, you can deduct only the home mortgage interest for that year. You also want to make sure you don't cut it too close in making the early payment. Get the check in the mail in plenty of time for it to arrive at your lender by year's end. If you pay online, be sure you make

ment (usually a Form 1098 or an IRS-acceptable substitute) you'll get from your lender in late January, detailing your deductible mortgage activity.

the electronic transaction in time to have it credited to this tax year's payment amount. That way, the added interest will show up on the annual state-

gage payment late this month with a check dated Dec. 31 and count it toward your tax deductions. However, if you actually get your payment to the bank by the

Timing your payment Some tax professionals say you can simply make your extra mort-

last business day of the year or a weekday or two early, the extra interest will show up on the lender's official paperwork. And that means no curious tax examiner will question any difference between the amount you claim on your Schedule A and what your lender reported - and copied to the IRS on the 1098 form. If your year-end mortgage statement doesn't reflect the extra payment's interest, go ahead and deduct the correct amount on your tax return and attach a statement explaining why your number, not the lender's, is accurate. If your mortgage holder pays your annual property tax bill from an escrow account, that also will be listed as a deductible home-related expense on your Form 1098. But if you, not your lender, pay your property tax bill, and it's due early next year, consider paying it in December as well. As with your mortgage interest, this payment -and tax deduction -- will be shifted into this tax year. Cont’d on page 31

Locals oppose prison at six potential Utah sites SALT LAKE CITY: Six possible locations for a new state prison have spurred protests from residents and local officials, including one city council that's looking to hire a lobbyist and another that fast-tracked a housing development remove a nearby site from consideration. That leaves five sites in Salt Lake, Tooele and Utah counties for state officials to zero in on, but locals are complaining a nearby prison is undesirable and will hamper development. ``Almost all of the sites that are on the list _ they're not in the path of economic development. They're on the edge of economic development,'' said Sen. Jerry Stevenson, a Layton Republican and co-chairman of the Prison Relocation Commission. ``I believe that there's a big difference there.'' State officials say the current 700-acre prison in the Salt Lake County suburb of Draper needs

to be updated and expanded and is tying up valuable real estate. The Prison Relocation Commission is looking for a new location that won't face Draper's problems in the future, but the facility can't be so rural that it's difficult for prison workers and volunteers to get there for or for prisoners to be transported to courthouses or hospitals. But in Saratoga Springs, Eagle Mountain, Salt Lake City, West Jordan and Tooele County, residents and officials say a prison in or their cities will still cause problems. In Tooele County, the prison commission is looking at land near the Miller Motorsports Park and an entertainment complex. That's a key commercial area for the county, said Katrina Hill, a Stansbury Park resident and organizer with the group No Prison in

Tooele County. ``What we're afraid of is that other companies will not want to

Jerry Stevenson

build next to a prison, so we'll lose the very center of our valley as a commercial district,'' Hill said.

That's a similar argument officials made in the Utah County city of Saratoga Springs, where a proposed site has dropped out of the running. City leaders signed an agreement to instead to start annexing the 480-acre plot for a housing development. The land is owned by Western States Ventures, a group of investors that includes Josh Romney, a Utah resident and son of former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. In exchange for starting the annexation process, Western States Ventures withdrew their application with the prison committee. That same day, city council members in nearby Eagle Mountain passed a resolution opposing a prison at another site south of that city. The resolution says the city is willing to spend $50,000 to fight it. Cont’d on page 31


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Private equity in realty sector to grow up to $3bn in 2 yrs MUMBAI: The government's decision to relax FDI norms in the construction sector is likely to attract private equity investments to the tune of up to USD 3 billion in the real estate market in the next two years, according to property consultant Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL). The real estate private equity market inflows which stood at around USD 1-1.5 billion per annum over the last few years, is likely to double in the next two years due to the relaxation of FDI norms, JLL Chief Operating Officer (business and international) Ramesh Nair said in a statement. "The government's announce-

ment of easier FDI norms for the construction sector has generated a lot of excitement among country's real estate players. The fact that 100 per cent FDI will now be allowed under automatic route to invest in completed assets along with relaxation of other norms, it is expected that FDI inflows will increase significantly," he said. He said the modification of the 3-year lock-in period basically opens the portals wide for FDI funds who were deterred by this clause so far. "It also means that there will be more pressure on developers to accelerate construction of

projects being funded so that these funds can exit at a favorable time," Nair added.

Uber executive in dispute with SF landlord SAN FRANCISCO: An Uber executive who recently suggested launching a million-dollar campaign to investigate journalists critical of the ride-booking company is in a bitter dispute with the landlord of his rental condo. The San Francisco Chronicle reported that Uber senior vice president Emil Michael filed a restraining order last year against his landlord. Michael accuses his landlord, tech industry lawyer John Danforth, of waging a harassment campaign designed to make Michael move. A judge tossed out the request in September 2013, calling Michael's court filing borderline frivolous. Michael alleged that Danforth gave keys to the condo to several workers and, in one case, a ``stranger'' was discovered in his backyard. Danforth told the judge that the stranger was a ``highly experienced gardener'' doing her ``routine monthly watering and clean up.'' Danforth said the work-

ers were a painter, a plumber, a locksmith and repairmen for appliances who entered the condo only after giving Michael 24 hours' notice. But the dispute persists accord-

``This appears to be part of Mr. Michael's efforts to escalate (and/ or short-cut) a landlord-tenant dispute,'' Danforth wrote to the judge, ``something we have already tried to resolve through

Lyft car drives crosses Market Street in San Francisco. California prosecutors have filed a lawsuit against Uber over the ridesharing company's background checks and other allegations, adding to the popular startup's worldwide legal woes.

ing to emails sent by Michael to Danforth reviewed by the Chronicle.

multiple contractor visits, two mediation sessions and protracted follow-up emails.'' -AP

Locals oppose prison at six potential Utah sites Cont’d from page 30

Mayor Chris Pengra said that his fast-growing city is looking at hiring a lobbyist to press their case to lawmakers, saying right now, their objections aren't being heard. Pengra said moving the prison nearby could limit businesses moving in and result in the same lost-opportunities that Utah officials worry about right now in

Draper. ``They'd simply be displacing their problem, so to speak,'' he said. Stevenson said much of the controversy will go away on its own once the commission narrows their list to one or two sites. ``We're trying not to get caught in the public fray of this until we can see which sites we really are going to have to deal with and which are going to go away,'' he said.

After that, the commission will hold public meetings and hearings to explain what the facility would look like and hear feedback. The Prison Relocation Commission is scheduled to meet again Dec. 22. They're expected to recommend a site or two sites to lawmakers sometime during the upcoming legislative session, which runs from January to mid-March. AP

Investors will now be permitted to exit either on completion of the project, or after the comple-

tion of support infrastructure in the project such as internal and approach roads, water supply, street lights, sewerage, among

others. This new exit feature correctly assumes that the successful deployment of such infrastructure is a major landmark point in a project's life cycle, post which all other development will happen assuredly and according to stipulated time lines, he said. "Allowing 100 per cent FDI automatic route in completed project for operation and management of not only townships but also shopping complexes and business centres, will enable developers to sell completed malls and integrated townships to foreign investors. This will significantly increase the volume of the retail real estate business," he said. Also, with a lot more projects qualifying under FDI funding, the refinancing business will see significant increase, Nair said. -PTI

Cut taxes with early mortgage payment Cont’d from page 30

When shifting deductions doesn't pay A word - actually, three words of warning about accelerating some tax payments: alternative minimum tax. This parallel tax system was devised in 1969 to guarantee that wealthy filers paid their fair share to the IRS. But millions of upper middle-class filers have found that this tax, referred to as the AMT, applies to them. There is, however, some good AMT news. The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, also known as the "fiscal cliff" bill enacted on Jan. 2, 2013, included inflation indexing of the amount of income that is exempt from the AMT. Previously, taxpayers had to wait for Congress to increase the amounts, often making tax planning difficult. Now the income levels at which the AMT

applies will increase automatically each year. Under the AMT, some usually acceptable tax breaks aren't allowed. Mortgage interest on your main and second home is still AMT-deductible, but home-equity loan interest could be disallowed. And real estate and personal property taxes aren't deductible under the AMT. So before you shift payment of those taxes into this year, make sure you won't face an AMT bill where the write-offs won't be of any tax use. And remember: While an early payment will give you 13 mortgage interest amounts to deduct this year, it means that the next tax year you'll have only 11 - or 12, if you pay a little early next December, too. So before you send off that check, make sure you really need the added tax deduction amount on this coming return. -Bankrate.com


„ Health

Line

11 lakh Cancer cases in India every year NEW DELHI: About 11 lakh Cancer cases are occurring in India every year, the Lok Sabha was informed. Replying to a question, Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare Shripad Yesso Naik said, it is estimated that about 11 lakh Cancer cases are occurring every year (incidence) in India, as per the estimates of Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). Responding to another question, he said that the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) has agreed in principle for allotment of additional land for expansion of trauma centre at AIIMS.-PTI

„ Construction begins on SD affordable clinic RAPID CITY, S.D.: Construction has begun on a medical and dental care clinic that is expected to provide affordable services in western South Dakota. The Rapid City Journal reports that the long-planned 28,000square-foot facility will consolidate the services of the Community Health Center, the Pediatric Center and Oral Health Center, which are currently scattered around the city. Those facilities provide care to 14,000 residents. Tim Trithart with Community Health Center of the Black Hills says the new facility will make it easier for patients to coordinate all of their health care needs and enable the center to take on more patients. -AP

„

Minorities face health disparities in Multnomah

PORTLAND, RE.: A Multnomah County report shows people of color, especially African Americans and Native Americans, have the worst health outcomes and face multiple inequities that affect health. The report examined outcomes for five ethnic groups across 33 factors, including both health outcomes, as well as health behaviors, and social, economic and environmental factors that impact health. African Americans experienced the highest number of disparities including extremely high incidence of gonorrhea, high infant mortality and high diabetes mortality. Multnomah County commissioners have pledged more funding to combat the conditions affecting the health of minorities.-AP

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New drugs could treat drug-resistant skin cancer Details on Page 34

First month of Healthcare enrollment calmer this year RALEIGH, N.C.: The first month of the current period for North Carolinians to enroll Affordable Care Act plans has been calmer than the same stretch last year, insurers and advocates say. New customers can sign up for coverage that starts in January. Existing customers must make changes to information in their accounts if they want it reflected in plans starting January. The overall enrollment period ends February 15. A more knowledgeable customer base and fewer technical problems have contributed to the more moderate pace. Neither the federal government nor the three insurers offering plans in North Carolina have released latest enrollment numbers for the state. The administration set a target of 9.1 million people enrolled across the country for 2015. That

includes 6.7 million current customers, most of whom will be automatically re-enrolled. Through Dec. 5, some 1.4 million people had used the federal website to select plans, about half

experienced moderate volume of customers enrolling and re-determining for 2015 plans.'' Vulcan urged existing customers to make sure their information is current and that they've autho-

of whom were new customers. Ryan Vulcan, a spokesman for Blue Cross Blue Shield North Carolina, said the company ``has

rized the federal exchange website to access their tax information. And while people who take no action will be re-enrolled, he

Smartphone app to monitor sleep disorders WASHINGTON: Researchers are developing a smartphone app that can track your breathing while you sleep, making it easier to monitor sleep disorders. A team of researchers at Stevens Institute of Technology and Florida State University conducted a sixmonth study in which earbuds that included an in-line microphone were plugged into a smartphone that recorded sounds as six people slept. Even with the earphones placed on a table next to the bed, researchers were able to use the microphone to monitor participants' breathing to within half a breath per minute of what could be recorded with a chest-worn respiration monitor and a micro-

phone clipped to participants' collars. Yingying Chen, an associate professor at Stevens, said the team plans to release a smartphone app related to their work next year, 'MIT Technology Review' reported. Such an app could make it easier and cheaper to accurately keep tabs on the quality of sleep than sensor-laden wristbands or devices that sit on or beneath the mattress, researchers said. Chen believes the work can help diagnose health problems like sleep apnea. Typically, such problems are studied at hospitals, where sensors are attached to a patient's body and snoozing is monitored by medical professionals. -PTI

also said that taking the time to select a plan and renew is important to ensure that they get ID cards and customer materials in a timely fashion. Signups appear to be steady in urban areas but slower in rural places, said Adam Linker, who has served as a health policy analyst for the North Carolina Justice Center. Overall, the pace has been slower, he said, ``not the kind of rush that there was last year.'' The lawyer who oversees Legal Aid of North Carolina's enrollment efforts, Jennifer Simmons, said that she has seen good turnout at her group's events. Legal Aid works with a coalition of 13 groups that have 200 certified navigators around the state, ranging from full-time employees to volunteers. ``It seems like consumers are getting good results from the system,'' she said.-AP

Brain inflammation a hallmark of autism WASHINGTON: While many combinations of genetic traits can cause autism, the disorder is related to inflammation in the brain, according to a new study that may pave the way for new treatments. An analysis of data from autopsied human brains shows that brains affected by autism share a pattern of rampedup immune responses. "There are many different ways of getting autism, but we found that they all have the same downstream effect," said Dan Arking, from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. "What we don't know is whether this immune response is making things better in the short term and worse in the long term,"

Arking said. The causes of autism, also known as autistic spectrum disorder, remain largely unknown and are a frequent research topic for geneticists and neuroscientists. But Arking noticed that studies of whether and how much genes were being used known as gene expression - involved too little data to draw many useful conclusions about autism. Unlike a genetic test, which can be done using nearly any cells in the body, gene-expression testing has to be performed on the specific tissue of interest - in this case, brains that could be obtained only through autopsies. Cont'd on Page 35


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Radiation fears from telecom towers unfounded NEW DELHI: The Department of Telecom (DoT) has asked its monitoring wing TERM to carry out a media campaign to allay "undue apprehensions" about possible health effects of radiation from telecom towers. In a letter to Telecom Enforcement Resource and Monitoring (TERM) Cells, the DoT said the Gujarat High Court has directed, through a judgment, that necessary steps be taken regarding awareness of general public to mitigate their general fear and apprehension about radiation from towers.

TERM, which is made up of 34 Cells in India's 24 telecom circles and 10 large telecom districts, is responsible for vigilance, monitoring and security of the network. "TERM units are requested to take necessary action to spread public awareness so as to allay undue apprehensions in respect of possible health effects from EMF radiations," the DoT wrote last month. It cited the judgment which said the Court deemed it necessary to mention that the concerned authorities should, by way, of communication through TV, radio etc

DU training nurses on use of sign language NEW DELHI: Delhi University is providing sign language training to nursing staff in hospitals across the national capital to help them deal with hearing impaired patients. "The use of sign language is minimal in our country and a survey done by DU students had revealed that even visually impaired people are not aware of the proper technical language in place. They just develop their own signs for communicating according to their convenience," Hina Nandrajog, Associate Professor at DU's Cluster Innovation Centre (CIC) told PTI. Nandrajog, along with a team of six DU students, is working on the project in which training sessions are being conducted for nursing staff to give them basic knowledge

of the sign language and how it can help in dealing with hearing impaired patients. "It is very important for the medical staff to have the knowledge of sign language as the patients might not be able to explain themselves or about the problem they are facing. It will help in better diagnosis," she said. "Deaf patients have to attend consultation with no communication support and rely on written notes or they have to be accompanied by someone to act as an interpreter," she added. The training-cum-counseling program, which began last fortnight, has so far been conducted at Hindu Rao and Kasturba hospitals. "We have written to AIIMS and GTB hospital for the next session. Other hospi-

tals are also being lined up. We have also compiled a hospital-specific vocabulary for training purpose," Nandrajog said. In the first phase of the project, DU had trained over 2,000 police personnel in order to sensitize them about the problems faced by deaf in communicating with police. The workshops were conducted in collaboration with the National Association of Deaf (NAD) and Noida Deaf Society (NDS). "After the 10-hour module training sessions conducted at police training schools at Wazirabad and Jharoda Kalan, DCP (Police Training) Robin Hibu decided to make basic course in Indian sign language compulsory part of police training," Nandrajog said. "DU has prepared a curriculum to be recommended to the police training wing, which will be further vetted by professionals before being formally included in the training program," she said. "We will be making recommendations to the Medical Council of India (MCI) too for including training of sign language in the training program for medical professionals," she said. The varsity has its plan chalked out for the next phase as well. Each phase is conducted by a different team. "We will be compiling a handbook for teaching and practice of basic crime-related sign language for redressal of grievances of deaf people. A police team also collaborated in suggesting us the contents and suitable vocabulary," Nandrajog said, adding, "once ready, the handbook will be placed in all police stations for ready reference. A handbook for hospitals will follow in the same manner." Similarly, a list is being compiled of the sign language interpreters available in Delhi and across the country, whose services can be availed in police stations and hospitals when required, she said.-PTI

bring it to the notice of the people at large that there is no reason for them to fear the erection of the BTS.

The DoT said TERM, Ahmedabad has already taken various steps like coordinating workshop, interacting with print and electronic media etc. The judgment of the Gujarat High Court came in response to a petition filed by Mukti Park Cooperative Society praying for removal of tower erected outside the premises of petitioners on the ground that it would cause health hazard due to radiations. The petition was rejected by the Court. Earlier, a panel set up by the DoT had

also said there is "no conclusive evidence" about the dangers of radiation from mobile towers. The 13-member panel consisted government officials, IIT professors from Kharagpur, Kanpur and Roorkee, a medical consultant from AIIMS and scientists. There have been fears among people that radiation from mobile towers causes cancer and has other effects on health. This led some people objecting to installation of mobile towers near their homes. This has created a hurdle for companies eyeing expansion in network coverage. Mobile phones emit low levels of radiofrequency energy. According to the US Food and Drug Administration website, the radio-frequency exposure that people experience from base stations is typically much lower than from cellphones because the antennas are mounted on towers or other building structures and are substantially away from public.-PTI


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New drugs could treat drug-resistant skin cancer LONDON: A new family of cancer drugs designed to block several key cancer-causing proteins at once could potentially treat incurable skin cancers, according to a new study. Clinical trials to test the new drugs in patients should begin as early as 2015, researchers said. Existing drugs target faulty versions of a protein called BRAF which drives about half of all mela-

nomas, but while initially very effective, the cancers almost always become resistant to treatment within a year. The new drugs - called panRAF inhibitors - could be effective in patients with melanoma who have developed resistance to BRAF inhibitors.

The new study, jointly led by scientists at The Institute of Cancer Research, and the Cancer Research UK Manchester Institute, showed that the new drugs - provisionally named CCT196969 and CCT241161 - stopped the growth of BRAF-driven melanomas, including those that had stopped responding to currently available BRAF-targeted drugs. In addition, the new drugs

halted tumor growth in cancers in which BRAF-targeted drugs had never worked in the first place - which happens in around 20 per cent of cases. The researchers showed that these new drugs work because they target both BRAF and the growth pathways that the cells

come to rely on when they become resistant. The studies established that for both drugs, a dose of 20mg per kg per day - which when translated to humans would be achievable by taking in pill form - caused tumors to regress without significant side-effects. "Melanomas often respond initially to the current generation of treatments, but they inevitably acquire resistance to them, and there is a desperate need for more effective options," said study co-leader Professor Caroline Springer, Professor of Biological Chemistry at The Institute of Cancer Research, London. "Our new inhibitors are the first in a new family of drugs that attack cancers without allowing them the get-out clause of drug resistance, by blocking multiple cancer proteins at once. "We are very hopeful that clinical trials from this series of new inhibitors will begin very soon and that they will ultimately become new first or second-line options for patients who, at the moment, exhaust all the available treatments and end up with fatal disease," Springer said. The study is published in the journal Cancer Cell. -PTI

Others step up after Ind. pain doc closes clinics FORT WAYNE, IND.: Dozens of health professionals are trying to ensure that thousands of patients have medication and other assistance they need after a suspended doctor closed pain centers in nine northeastern Indiana cities. Allen County Health Commissioner Dr. Deborah McMahan is leading a group of 50 to 60 doctors and others responding to what's been deemed a crisis, The Journal Gazette reported. Patients may begin to experience withdrawal symptoms after waiting too long to seek medical attention, McMahan said flanked by about half a dozen health professionals at the Fort Wayne-Allen County Health Department's annex in New Haven. ``We have to work together.'' ``People have to realize that

they will need to be seen and can't simply have their medications refilled,'' McMahan said. Dr. William Hedrick closed all Indiana Pain Center locations last month after the Indiana Medical Licensing Board suspended his license for 90 days

Inc., said pain management patients shouldn't make the mistake of thinking they can simply go without their medication. ``You can't go cold turkey after being on narcotics,'' he said. Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller praised the response to the

Patients may begin to experience withdrawal symptoms after waiting too long to seek medical attention, McMahan said flanked by about half a dozen health professionals at the Fort Wayne-Allen County Health Department's annex. in October, saying there was no control or accountability at the clinics. The closures affected between 5,000 and 10,000 patients. Tom Allman, manager of addictive services at regional mental health provider Park Center

situation. ``Northern Indiana has a strong network of reputable health care providers who have stepped up to make sure patients in need of care are treated safely and responsibly,'' Zoeller said in a statement.-AP

Ebola death toll climbs to 6,583 GENEVA: Nearly 6,600 people have now died from the Ebola virus, almost all of them in West Africa, the World Health Organization has said. The UN health agency reported that as of December 10, there had been 18,188 cases of infection from the deadly virus in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, of whom 6,583 people had died.

WHO did not provide an update of cases in other countries, but said the death toll remained the same: six in Mali, one in the United States, and eight in Nigeria, which was declared Ebola free in October. Spain and Senegal, which have both been declared free from Ebola, meanwhile counted one case each, but no deaths. Sierra Leone, which overtook Liberia as the nation with the most infections, counted 8,069 cases and 1,899 deaths on December 10.

The toll up until December 7 stood at 7,897 cases and 1,768 deaths. Liberia, long the hardest-hit country, has meanwhile seen a clear decrease in transmission over the past month. As of December 7, the country counted 7,765 cases and 3,222 deaths, up from the 7,719 infections and 3,177 deaths tallied four days earlier. In Guinea, where the outbreak started nearly a year ago, 2,354 Ebola cases and 1,462 deaths were recorded as of December 10. Three days earlier, the country counted 2,292 Ebola cases and 1,428 deaths. Ebola, one of the deadliest viruses known to man, is spread only through direct contact with the bodily fluids of an infected person showing symptoms such as fever or vomiting. People caring for the sick or handling the bodies of people infected Ebola are especially exposed. As of December 7, a total of 639 healthcare workers were known to have contracted the virus, and 349 of them had died, WHO said. -AFP

Punjab govt sets up 3 warehouses to stock medicines CHANDIGARH: The Punjab government has set up three scientifically-designed regional warehouses in Amritsar, Bathinda and Kharar to stock medicines that can be supplied to government hospitals based on need. Stating this here, Health and Family Welfare Minister Surjit Kumar Jayani said the state government was presently providing more than 300 medicines free to government hospitals and this number would increase in the near future. The minister said the warehouses, built at the total cost of Rs 376.39 lakh, have been set up for storage and timely distribution of medicines and are equipped with ultra-modern facilities. "With the establishment of these regional warehouses and putting an online inventory management system in place would streamline the procurement and distribution of drugs and

consumables," he said. Jayani said last year, medicines worth Rs 70 crore were supplied to government hospitals for free distribution.

The warehouses, built at the total cost of Rs 376.39 lakh, have been set up for storage and timely distribution of medicines and are equipped with ultra-modern facilities. "Recently, PGIMER and Government Multi Specialty Hospital in Chandigarh were facing acute shortage of anti-snake venom (a life saving drug) and this was provided by the state government to these hospitals," he said.-PTI


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China's e-cigarette boom lacks oversight for safety BEIJING: With 90 per cent of the world's e-cigarettes being made in China, health experts have warned that poorly manufactured devices can vaporize heavy metals and carcinogens alongside the nicotine, harming the users. This year, Chinese manufacturers are expected to ship more than 300 million ecigarettes to the US and Europe, where they will reach the shelves of Walmart, 7-Eleven stores, gas station outlets and so-called vaping shops. The devices have become increasingly popular, particularly among young adults, and yet hundreds of e-cigarette manufac-

There have also been reports in the US of e-cigarettes that exploded after a lithium ion battery or electric charger overheated, causing burns. "We need to understand what e-cigarettes are made of," says Avrum Spira, a lung specialist at the Boston University School of Medicine, "and the manufacturing process is a critical part of that understanding." A review by The Times of manufacturing operations in Shenzhen, a booming city in southern China, found that many factories were legitimate and made efforts at quality control, but that some were lowerend operations that either had no safety testing equipment or specialized in counterfeiting established brands, often with cheaper parts. Chinese companies were the first to develop e-cigarettes, and that happened in a Ninety percent of the world’s e-cigarettes are made in China. Experts regulatory warn, however, that poorly manufactured devices can vaporize heavy void. In the US, metals and carcinogens alongside the nicotine. the Food and turers in China operate with little oversight, Drug Administration (FDA) has just begun The New York Times reported. to move toward regulating e-cigarettes, Experts say flawed or sloppy manufac- working on rules that would force global turing could account for some of the heavy producers, in China and elsewhere, to prometals, carcinogens and other dangerous vide the agency with a list of ingredients compounds, such as lead, tin and zinc, that and details about the manufacturing prohave been detected in some e-cigarettes. cess. One study found e-cigarette vapor that But analysts say setting those rules and contained hazardous nickel and chromium new manufacturing guidelines could take at four times the level they appear in tradi- years. In the meantime, Chinese factories tional cigarette smoke; another found that are quickening the pace, hoping to build half the e-cigarettes sampled malfunctioned profits and market share before regulatory and some released vapor tainted with sili- scrutiny arrives and most likely forces many con fibers. e-cigarette makers to close.-PTI

Brain inflammation a hallmark of autism Cont'd from Page 32

To combat this problem, Arking and colleagues analyzed gene expression in samples from two different tissue banks, comparing gene expression in people with autism to that in controls without the condition. They analyzed data from 104 brain samples from 72 individuals - the largest data set so far for a study of gene expression in autism. The research team was able to narrow in on a specific type of support cell known as a microglial cell, which polices the brain for pathogens and other threats. In the autism brains, the microglia appeared to be perpetually activated - and the genes for inflammation responses

turned on. "This type of inflammation is not understood well, but it highlights the lack of current understanding about how innate immunity controls neural circuits," said Andrew West, an associate professor in the University of Alabama at Birmingham Department of Neurology and co-author of the study. "Given the known genetic contributors to autism, inflammation is unlikely to be its root cause. Rather, this is a downstream consequence of upstream gene mutation," Arking said. The next step, he said, would be to find out whether treating the inflammation could ameliorate symptoms of autism. The study was published in the journal Nature Communications.-PTI

Patient's death leads to $3 million settlement

SAN FRANCISCO: The family of a patient who went missing for more than two weeks before being found dead in a stairwell at the San Francisco hospital has settled a lawsuit for $3 million. The San Francisco Chronicle reported that the city and University of California tentatively agreed to the payout. The city

Lynne Spalding, the patient who went missing for more than two weeks before being found dead in a stairwell at a San Francisco General Hospital.

is responsible for $2.94 million. The city's Board of Supervisors is expected to approve the settlement. Lynne Spaulding, 57, was admitted on Sept. 19, 2013, to San Francisco General

Hospital with a bladder infection. When Spaulding was admitted, doctors concluded that she was disoriented and weak and ordered constant monitoring. Nonetheless, Spaulding vanished from her room two days later. Two weeks after she went missing, Spaulding's body was found during a routine check of the little-used stairwell. Four days before her body was found, a doctor reported to a nurse that he saw a woman slumped over in the stairwell. Spaulding's death sparked multiple investigations focusing on communication failures between the hospital and sheriff's deputies who provide security and conducted the search for Spaulding. A sheriff's department dispatcher who assured the nurse a deputy would check on the report was fired. Two other sheriff's employees were suspended and five others disciplined. The coroner said Spaulding died of dehydration and liver failure related to alcoholism. The coroner said Spaulding had died several days before she was found, but could not determine an exact time of death. Haig Harris, the family's lawyer, said Spaulding's 20-year-old son and 24-yearold daughter will split the settlement. ``No amount of money will bring back the mother of these two children,'' Harris said. -AP


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40 India Post

O

oty, also known as Ootacamund, is the Queen of hill stations and the capital of Nilgiris district. It is one of the most popular tourist resorts in In dia. Ooty is also a land of picturesque picnic spots. This place used to be popular summer and weekend getaway for the Britishers during the colonial days. It is situated at an altitude of 2,240 mt above sea level. An added attraction for the tourists is the mountain train journey on a ratchet and pinion track which commences from Kallar, near Mettupalayam and wends its way through many hair-raising curves, fearful tunnels and chugs along beside deep ravines full of verdant vegetation, gurgling streams and tea gardens. One can notice a marvelous change in vegetation, as one goes from Kallar to Coonoor. The establishment of numerous tea estates made Ooty famous. Lofty moun-

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tains, dense forest, sprawling grasslands and miles and miles of tea gardens greet the passengers on most routes. The annual Tea and Tourism Festival attracts crowds in huge numbers who have a great time in this wonderful place. The environment is so wonderful that it attracts a lot of tourists who come here to enjoy a wonderful time with nature while staying close to huge landscape. Ooty has blooming vegetation and wonderful tea gardens and fine pine and eucalyptus trees, which keep enhancing the beauty of the place. Several areas are preserved like that of sanctuary so as to conserve the beauty of the nature and avoid extinction of the various animals. Tourist attractions Government Museum & Art Gallery: The Government Museum, Mysore Road, Udhagamandalam has items of

December 19, 2014

tribal objects, districts ecological details and representative sculptural arts and crafts of Tamil Nadu. It is situated about 2 km from Udhagamandalam on the main Mysore road. It has various collections of contemporary paintings and sculptures all over from India. Avalanche Valley: Located at a distance of 28 km from Ooty, Avalanche Valley is one of the most popular places to visit around Ooty. Named after a landslide which hit the region in the year 1823, the valley is a natural paradise. Filled with shola trees, rhododendrons, orchids, magnolias and a trout stream, Canada dam and Avalanche Lake & Dam are the few attractions tourists can explore here. Cont’d on page 42


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10 indicted for defrauding India-bound travelers NEW YORK: Four Pakistani citizens were among the 10 travel agents indicted here for running a fraudulent business and stealing over a million dollar from nearly 200 India-bound travelers, who were left stranded in the US. Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance announced the indictment of the 10 individuals connected to a commercial travel scam in which the agents, using credit card information obtained illegally, were able to steal more than a million dollar from the 200 victims. The defendants placed advertisements in Indian-American publications throughout the US that offered competitively priced tickets to and from popular destinations in India. The fraudulent activity disrupted many victims' longplanned international travel and

prosecutors said victims of the travel scam included a woman who

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus

was seven-months-pregnant and was unable to complete a leg of

Goa faces prospect of falling tourist arrivals PANAJI: The Crimean crisis, Russia's falling rouble and stopping of tourist charter flights from international destinations might prove to be a dampener for the much-hyped New Year party scene in Goa this time, fear tourism industry experts. While the ongoing St Francis Xavier exposition might to a certain extent off-set the impact of the

The New Year is grim for us. There will be hardly any party scene," said Cruz Cardoso, President, Shack Owners Welfare Society, a union of beach shack operators in Goa. The deserted shacks, thinning crowd on beaches, and stringent government rules extracting more taxes this year have made business unviable, according to him.

decrease in tourist footfalls, the industry is not expecting many visitors to turn up for beach parties, which are tailor-made for New Year revelers. The tourism industry's major backbone - Russian travelers - has been hit by falling rouble and sanctions on Russia due to Ukraine conflict. "What we have heard is that the charter flights from Moscow will stop coming after January 15.

Cardoso fears that few shacks might wind up soon after the New Year due to lack of business. He said majority of the total 350 beach shacks spread across the state are currently doing just 75 per cent of the expected business, and it may go further south in coming days. Goa has been a major party destination attracting lakhs of tourists to usher in New Year. Cont’d on page 43

her scheduled trip, family members who were not able to attend a relative's wedding and an individual who was prevented from visiting a sick father in India. The defendants, four of whom live in Pakistan, are each charged in an indictment in New York State Supreme Court on varying counts of grand larceny, identity theft and scheme to defraud. "During the holiday season when so Vance many people are traveling to visit their families at great personal ex-

pense, it is especially important to be on high alert for scam artists and cyber criminals," Vance said. The agents indicted are Sadaqat Ali of Bronx, Sumit Chawla, Shah Nawaz Kiani, Muhammad Asif and Rana Muhammad Tariq of Pakistan, Zubair Dar, Sarfraz Khan and Manjeet Singh of Queens and Muhammad Arif of Brooklyn. According to the indictment, between June 2012 and November 2014, the agents operated a business involving multiple incorporated travel agencies including Bombay Travel and Tours, Raj Travel, Gandhi Travel, Patel Travel and Maha Guru Travel and several bank accounts that were fraudulently opened in the name of the travel agencies, using falsified passports and licenses.

Travelers seeking assistance with arrangements were instructed to provide names, passport numbers, and flight information, and deposit payment checks directly into bank accounts controlled by the travel agents. However, in place of using customers' checks to pay for tickets, the defendants pocketed the money and instead used stolen credit card information to buy the tickets that were later sent to their customers. When travelers arrived at the airport for their scheduled trips, many were informed that their tickets had been cancelled, or that they would not be able to travel using the illegally purchased tickets, for which they had already paid thousands of dollars to the defendants.-PTI


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Ooty, Tamil Nadu Lofty mountains, dense forest & miles & miles of tea gardens Cont’d from page 40

Bellikkal Lake: Bellikkal Lake is a beautiful water feature that has some great views to offer. Fishing here may not be a good idea since this lake is a popular watering hole for a variety of wild animals. Elephants can be frequently seen getting a drink early in the morning or right at dusk here. Tigers, bear, bison, and deer are all possible animals that could be sighted as well. Bison Valley: Bison Valley acquired its name from the Indian bison that roam throughout the area. Impressive views of cardamom forests are possible from this beautiful valley. Beautiful greenery exists in almost every place that

Doddabetta Peak: Doddabetta peak is the highest known peak in the region of Ooty and its altitude stays to be more than 2,623 meters in height. It actually stays in the suburbs of Ooty and is hardly 10 kms from the place. Dolphin's Nose: Dolphin's Nose is an enormous rock formation that is entirely unique. The protruding rock formation looks exactly like what it is named after, a dolphin's nose. It takes some effort to climb to the top of this rock outcropping, but the views are absolutely worth the hard work. There are gigantic ravines found both to the left and right of Dolphin's Nose. Emerald Lake: Emerald Lake is a wonder-

Kalhatti Falls

you look. Catherine Falls: Catherine Falls is located in the area that surrounds Coonoor. This beautiful waterfall falls from an impressive 250 feet. It can clearly been seen from the top of Dolphin's Nose if seeing the entire waterfall as one total impression is what you are looking for. It is also possible to take a road to the top of the falls.

Emerald Lake

Hidden Valley: The Hidden Valley is in the region that surrounds Coonoor. This valley is known for being both impressive and beautiful. Access to this valley is not readily available. Instead, it is necessary to trek to this particular valley. Kalhatti Falls: Kalhatti Falls is a magnificent waterfall that plum-

in Tamil Nadu. Ketti Valley stays to be 7000 feet deep inside the mountains near Coonoor. Lake District: India's Lake District is found near Red Hills where the numerous rain-filled reservoirs make for an impressive and incredibly beautiful landscape. In fact, there are 8 separate lakes in the area with each being remarkably beautiful in its own right. The sce-

Dolphin's Nose

ful lake in the upper plateau region of the Nilgiri hills. It is a part of the silent valley and is beside the Red hill nature resort which is a best picnic place of the region. The site of the lake is wonderful and one would definitely love being at that place. One would hold one's breathe by looking at the wonderful sites of the nature and fun is to the fullest.

mets 400 feet or 122 meters. Sometimes these falls are referred to as the Kalahasti Falls. It is almost a transcendental experience to witness the raw power that this waterfall contains, yet it radiates beauty and grace at the same time. Ketti Valley: Ketti Valley is a small village developed in the valley region of the Nilgiri Mountains

have a wonderful time enjoying the sport as such a wonderful place on earth. Ooty Rose Gardens: Rose garden is the heart and soul of city of Ooty. The construction is so beautiful and there are small tunnels made wherein the roses are planted in tunnels. Best time to visit

Ooty Lake

nic blue lakes are Emerald, Upper Bhavani, Avalanche, Porthimund, Parson's Valley Lake and Western catchments numbered 1, 2 and 3. Lamb's Rock: Lamb's rock is an excellent picnic spot near Coonoor. It is a point on the way to Dolphin's Nose. It was named after the man Captain Lamb who tried in earnest to open a path to that particular point. With such a view, no wonder this man put forth such a valiant effort to reach the point. Ooty Botanical Gardens: Who doesn't know about the Botanical Gardens? It's the best garden ever known in India and is a great tourist destination. It is located on the hillock of Ooty which is one of the most popular tourist destinations in India. Ooty Lake: Ooty Lake stays in the heart of Ooty with its L shape construction. It is the best place for boating and the summers are primly wonderful. Several boat races are conducted and people

Ooty is a destination that can be visited all through the year. Summers are quite pleasant, winters are cool, and monsoons are beautiful. However, the best time for visiting Ooty is from October to June. How to reach By Train: Mettupalayam, which is 47 km away from Ooty, is the nearest major railway station. There are regular train services from Coimbatore and Chennai to Mettupalayam. Mettupalayam and Conoor are connected to Ooty with toy trains. By Air: Coimbatore airport is the nearest airport and is around 105 km from Ooty. A number of private airlines provide services to Coimbatore which is well connected with many south Indian cities by air including Chennai, Bangalore, Madurai and Hyderabad. By Bus: Ooty is well connected with all most all south Indian cities by bus.


December 19, 2014

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Modi govt plans to defeat terrorism with tourism RAIPUR: In a bid to dispel the "negative perception" about India of foreign tourists and to "defeat terrorism with tourism", the Centre has initiated efforts to attract visitors by promoting infrastructure, cleanliness, security and hospitality in the country. Concerned with the safety of foreign students, the Centre is also planning to start a toll-free number service for them, which can be used for the round-theclock assistance. "Sometimes message goes out (in the world) that India is not safe due to incidents like rape, terrorist and Naxal activities. We are making new attempts keeping in view to defeat terrorism by promoting tourism. We believe tourism will put an end to terrorism," said Union Minister for Tourism

and Culture Mahesh Chandra Sharma. He was speaking to reporters after attending the opening ceremony of an aerobridge here at Raipur's Swami Vivekanand airport. Sharma said his ministry was

ists that it is not that India which was used to be earlier, it is not that Chhattisgarh which was used to be earlier," he said. Sharma said the Tourism ministry wanted to focus on key issues like infrastructure, cleanliness, security and hospitality to

During their discussion, the chief minister listed varied features of Sirpur and said there are ample opportunities to develop the spot as an international tourist site planning to launch some projects in this regard on the occasion of 'Sushasan Diwas' on December 25. "These (projects and plans) will change the perception of tour-

attract tourists in the country as well as in Chhattisgarh. Expressing concern over safety of foreign tourists, the minister said, "The department will start a toll-free number service for

Goa faces prospect of falling tourist arrivals Cont’d from page 41

The 105-km-long beachline turns into a party spot on the New Year eve, with night-long revelry planned for visitors. "You might get domestic tourists from cities like Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore, Delhi, Hyderabad and other two-tier cities for the parties. "But the season does not look promising. The hotel occupancies have remained low right from October this year. The only hope we see is in the form of Visa on Arrival facility extended to various countries. That too, the facility should function

its efforts to bring in tourists from new markets, D'Souza pointed out that the charter flights from countries like Germany, Sweden and Switzerland have stopped arriving due to less demand from tourists there, contributing to the down slide. "The number of Western European tourists coming to Goa has gone down. We need to focus our promotion vigorously in these targeted markets," he said. Mark Mendes, a senior tourism expert and member of State Level Tourism Marketing Committee, said the number of tourists might remain same on paper due

Goa is also hosting a large number of festivals in January 2015 that will definitely bring in both international visitors and domestic tourists, Abhyankar said properly," said Ralf D Souza, a hospitality sector expert and spokesman for Tours and Travels Association of Goa (TTAG). D'Souza said that RussiaUkraine crisis coupled with the devaluation of rouble has made foreign travel expensive by 30-35 per cent. This is the main reason why the numbers from Russia are falling. The occupancy in the state in last 15 days was low by 27 per cent, he said. While State Tourism Department in the past had boasted of

to ongoing exposition of relics of St Francis Xavier, but those actually turning up for parties may be less. "There will be a drop by almost 12 per cent in arrivals from Russia. Anybody related to beach tourism will be affected this year," he said. Mendes, who is working in close coordination with the State Tourism department, said they had foreseen this scenario which prompted the department to run promotional campaigns in countries like Japan, Korea, France and

Switzerland. Attempts were made to activate new markets, he said adding research indicates that travelers from these countries have started showing interest in visiting Goa. The state tourism department has put a brave face claiming that the tourist season is doing fairly well. "Goa is the place to be in for New Year 2015," commented Director of Tourism, Amey Abhyankar. The season has been faring well and we recently had a record 13.5 per cent increase in tourist arrivals for October month, he stated. The Visa On Arrival facility at Dabolim airport, launched recently will further facilitate arrivals of foreign tourists for the New Year, he said. Goa is also hosting a large number of festivals in January 2015 that will definitely bring in both international visitors and domestic tourists, Abhyankar said. "For the Exposition, which culminates on January 4, 2015, alone, we have estimated a figure of five million tourists visiting Goa during the 43-day event. "With Carnival, Shigmo and the long line up of exciting festivals starting January 2015, the footfalls will see a surge," he added. Responding to worries of beach shack owners, he said the festive season is just picking up and the department is certain that shack operators will have a busy time in the weeks ahead.-PTI

the international tourists visiting India, which can be used for round-the-clock assistance. "Besides, a proposal had been taken up with the Home Ministry to enact a strong law so that nobody touches a foreign tourist or creates any problem (with them)," he added. Responding to a query on granting the international status to Swami Vivekanand Airport, Sharma, who is also the Minister of State for Civil Aviation, said the process is underway and work like acquisition of land to expand the area of the airport is being carried out. He later called on Chief Minister Raman Singh and assured him of inclusion of the historical Buddhist site at Sirpur, situated on the banks of Mahanadi river 78 kms

away from Raipur, under Tourism Ministry's ambitious plan to develop the 'Buddha circuit'. "Union Minister Sharma gave assurances in this regard during a discussion with Chief Minister Raman Singh here," an official statement said. During their discussion, the chief minister listed varied features of Sirpur and said there are ample opportunities to develop the spot as an international tourist site, the release said. A broad discussion on a number of issues including developing amenities under tourism and culture and civil aviation was also held during the meeting, it added. Chhattisgarh Tourism Minister Ajay Chandrakar and other officials were present during the discussion.-PTI

Centrum plans travel card for incoming tourists MUMBAI: The largest homegrown pure-play forex retailer CentrumDirect, an arm of diversified Centrum Group, is planning to launch forex cards for incoming tourists to cash in on e-visa facility launched by the Modi government. When launched, this will be a first in the country and another first for the group as it was Centrum which launched the country's first travel card way back in 2000. According to the company, which is also the largest seller of prepaid travel cards in the country and the second-largest standalone foreign exchange retailer after Axis Bank, the visa-onarrival/e-visa facility can boost tourist arrivals by a whopping 3040 per cent from the present 7 million visas being issued annually. "We will be launching a travel card for incoming travelers, on the lines of the present travel card for outgoing travelers. "The product can help increase the visitors' sense of security as they need not carry cash and save on exchange rates to some extent," CentrumDirect Managing Director T C Guruprasad told PTI in an interaction here. He said the company is already in discussions with Yes Bank and Axis Bank to launch the product and it should be rolled out over the next three to four months. Both these private banks have been running a pilot in this area since the past few months. The proposed cards can be used at ATMs to withdraw cash

or can be swiped at PoS terminals to make payments. Centrum, which entered the forex retailing business 17 years ago, was the first domestic forex retailer to launch the plastic cards in place of traveler's cheques in the country way back in 2000, when it launched the facility in association with Citicorp and Visa. Today, with over Rs 4,500 crore

The proposed cards can be used at ATMs to withdraw cash or can be swiped at PoS terminals to make payments. in revenue/billing, CentrumDirect is the second-largest travel card distributor in the USD 2-billion market in the country and enjoys around 12 per cent market share. The sector is dominated by Axis Bank. It's so far has been clipping at 17 per cent this year, Guruprasad said, adding that the e-visa facility, which is being extended to over 180 countries will give a fillip to its business. As part of diversification of its travel-related services, the company, which already runs Club7 Holidays, will be focusing on visarelated services, he said, adding that it currently does this job for other such service providers which outsource the job. -PTI


In Brief Visa-on-arrival registers 62% growth NEW DELHI: Continuing the growth trajectory, a total of 2,968 foreign visitors availed the visaon-arrival (VoA) scheme in November as compared to 1,824 during the same month last year, registering a growth of 62.7 per cent. While maximum number of VoAs was availed by South Koreans (837), followed by those from Singapore (467) and New Zealand (427), only two visitors from Laos came to India using the scheme, according to Tourism Ministry data. The VoA scheme was extended to 12 countries. Aiming at attracting more foreigners, the government launched Tourist Visa on Arrival (TVoA) enabled by Electronic Travel Authorization on November 27 for 43 countries. -PTI

„ Immigrant's family hopes he can leave church DENVER: The family of a Mexican immigrant living in a Colorado church to avoid deportation hopes he will be home in time for Christmas. Arturo Hernandez's wife said meetings with immigration officials in Washington have given her hope her husband will be able to leave the church. He would qualify for President Obama's deportation relief if he didn't have an alreadyactive deportation case. Ana Sauzameda and her two children were part of a group of religious leaders and families seeking shelter from deportation in churches that flew to Washington to lobby for wider leniency from the Obama administration. The president last month said his administration would permit as many as 4 million immigrants living here illegally with U.S. citizen children to stay in the country and work. But many immigrants who at first blush may qualify will slip through the cracks. Hernandez, from the state of Chihuahua in Mexico, could be one of them because of his four-yearold deportation case. It stems from an assault charge that Hernandez was acquitted of at trial. But it prevents Hernandez from qualifying for deportation relief that Sauzameda and their oldest daughter both can receive. The couple's youngest daughter, age 9, is already a U.S. citizen. The state's three Democratic congressional representatives have urged the Obama administration to let Hernandez, who fled to the church in October after immigration officials issued a final deportation order, to stay in the country. -AP

Immigration 44 India Post

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December 19, 2014

Democrats, Obama part on $1.1T spending bill Details on page 46

Immigrants flock to workshops after Obama reprieve LOS ANGELES: In small-town community centers, schools, churches and a vast city convention center, immigrant advocates are spreading the word about President Barack Obama's plan to give millions of immigrants living in the U.S. illegally a temporary reprieve. The November announcement promising work permits and protection from deportation made a splash, but lawyers say the events are crucial to dispel rumors about eligibility, ward off fraud, and help immigrants determine what they might need to apply. Immigrants are eager to see if they qualify for Obama's executive actions to spare nearly 5 million people from deportation and to refocus enforcement efforts on criminals. At least 20 states have filed a lawsuit to try to block the measure, which aims to benefit immigrants who have been in the country illegally for more than five years and have children who are American citizens or permanent residency green card holders, along with some immigrants who entered the country illegally as children. In Los Angeles, advocates are hosting an information session for as many as 10,000 people at the city's convention center. ``After this big forum, we're going to have daily orientations. That is what we have to do in order to deal with the demand,'' said Angelica Salas, executive director of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles. For immigrant advocates, the challenge is reaching prospective

applicants in diverse communities that speak multiple languages and often know little about the United States' byzantine immigration laws. While some immigrants find strength in numbers, others shy away from public meetings be-

children, said she attended to verify that she and her husband would qualify for the program. She's been living in the U.S. for 14 years after crossing the border from Mexico and wanted to ensure she didn't need a visa to apply.

Tony Bernabe gives information to Daisy Juarez in downtown Los Angeles advertising a massive information session to tell immigrants more about President Barack Obama’s executive actions on immigration.

cause of fear or stigma over their immigration status. At recent workshops and on telephone hotlines, immigrants have questioned advocates about who will qualify and what documents they will need. Many want to know how they can prove their identity after living under the radar for so long, Salas said. At a recent forum at a San Diego community center, an immigration attorney fielded questions for two hours, and many hands were still raised when time ran out. Anahi Maldonado, a 32-yearold mother of two American-born

``The thing is, sometimes someone has questions that the president is not going to answer,'' said Maldonado, adding that she also wondered if she would need a

she didn't have valid immigration papers. Immigrant advocates are doling out whatever information they have, much of it based on their experiences with a 2012 program to assist U.S.-educated immigrant children. But there is still much that is unknown, and no application form yet. Advocates are warning immigrants not to pay anyone to get in line to apply and to avoid being duped into filling out fake applications. Many are also planning oneon-one consultations to help immigrants determine if they're eligible and if that's their best shot at immigration relief, since sometimes people may qualify for a visa or other benefits. Michelle Saucedo, a legal advocate for Asian Americans Advancing Justice in Los Angeles, said Asian immigrants are more likely to turn out for one-on-one consultations than group sessions because some feel a sense of shame over their immigration status. When advocates advertised large workshops about the 2012 program in the Chinese community, only one or two

At recent workshops and on telephone hotlines, immigrants have questioned advocates about who will qualify and what documents they will need. Many want to know how they can prove their identity good conduct letter from police, and how she could get one since

people would show up, she said. -AP

Russia may abolish visas for Indians NEW DELHI: Russia has said it is mulling abolition of visas for Indian businessmen and tourists and a decision in this regard could come soon. Russian authorities are discussing abolition of visas for Indian businessmen and tourists, Russia's Minister of Industry and Trade Denis Manturov said here

a day after President Vladimir Putin's visit. Abolition of visas mainly for entrepreneurs and also for tourists was discussed, he said after a meeting with the leadership of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) here. It is discussed regularly in Russia, "The next step is abolition of

visas for tourists and entrepreneurs. We constantly discuss it, and I think the process to settle it will not be long," Manturov told the Russian Itar-TASS news agency. The minister did not comment on when visas would be abolished, saying it was under the jurisdiction of the Foreign Ministry and migration services.

Last month, India launched the much-awaited electronic visa facility for visitors from 43 countries, including Russia. Now, a visitor from these countries will just have to apply for an e-visa on the designated website and pay the fee online to get an electronic travel authorization (ETA) within 72 hours.-PTI


Immigration Post

December 19, 2014

India Post 45

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Obama's executive action brings new hope for families PAUL CHANG

I

had the great pleasure of join ing President Obama at Del Sol High School in Las Vegas as he spoke about new steps he is taking to start fixing America's broken immigration system. President Obama announced executive actions that can provide nearly 5 million undocumented immigrants, including approximately 400,000 Asian immigrants, with temporary relief from deportation. With over 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States, nearly 1.3 million are from Asian and Pacific Islander communities. Standing before a packed auditorium, President Obama inspired hope for me and so many Americans, as well as those who already consider themselves Americans. These executive actions will provide sweeping reforms to the current immigration system by securing our borders and protecting Americans by prioritizing the removal of felons, not families. It will provide a way for those living in the shadows to come forward if they pass national security and criminal background checks, pay a fine, and contribute their fair share of taxes. The President's actions will also grow our economy, reduce our deficit, and create jobs. I was brought to tears hearing the story of Astrid Silva, a young

undocumented student who knew she could not have the same childhood as her peers and who was unable to attend the funeral of her grandmother overseas. Like Astrid, millions of undocumented

also be able to visit his ailing mother in Hong Kong who he has not seen since 1996. The President's reforms will also provide relief for millions of undocumented workers. With de-

their income and pay their fair share in taxes. Due to the inaction of Congress on immigration reform, President Obama is taking actions - within his executive authority as President - to make America's immigration system more fair and just. These reforms, however, do not change the law or fully fix our broken system. Only Congress has the authority to create a new law that can replace these actions and fix the whole system. President Obama reiterated that he will continue to work with Congress to make permanent, comprehensive, common-sense immigration reform a reality. As an

undocumented child, I received my legal status when Congress last acted on immigration reform in 1986. Now serving at the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, I look forward in the coming months to working with federal agencies and immigrant families on implementing President Obama's Immigration Accountability Executive Actions. And I stand alongside families across the country in being thankful this holiday season for a new hope for the future. Paul Chang is a Regional Advisor at the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

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

President Barack Obama delivers remarks on immigration at Del Sol High School in Las Vegas

individuals live in fear and are separated from their families. With the President's executive actions, Guo Qiang Ye, father of four children all born in the United States, can now apply for deferred action to be with his family without the fear of deportation. If approved under the program and granted permission, Mr. Ye will

ferred action, they will be better able to avoid exploitation, allowing them to earn at least minimum wage, which also helps protect native-born workers. Families can go to work with the peace of mind that they will not be deported while simply trying to make an honest living. Undocumented workers will also be able to report

1st images of historic San Francisco shipwreck released LOS ANGELES: The first threedimensional sonar maps and images of an immigrant steamship that capsized over 100 years ago in San Francisco, killing 128

leased. The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and its partners released sonar maps and images of the SS

people, mostly immigrants from China and Japan, have been re-

City of Rio de Janeiro that struck jagged rocks near the present site

of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco and sank almost immediately on February 22, 1901. Fishermen in the area, hearing the ship's distress calls, had rescued 82 survivors, many plucked from makeshift rafts and floating wreckage. The dead included Chinese and Japanese immigrants as well as the US Consul General in Hong Kong, who was returning to America with his wife and two children. The entire family died in the tragedy. NOAA's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries Maritime Heritage Program is engaged in a twoyear study to discover and document shipwrecks in Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary and nearby Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Cont'd on Page 46

Former Assistant StateÂ’s Attorney

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

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Democrats, Obama part on $1.1T spending bill WASHINGTON: Swapping crisis for compromise, the House narrowly approved $1.1 trillion in government-wide spending after President Barack Obama and Republicans joined forces to override Democratic complaints that the bill would also ease bank regulations imposed after the economy's near-collapse in 2008. The 219-206 vote cleared the way for a final showdown in the Senate on the bill - the last major measure of a two-year Congress far better known for gridlock than for bipartisan achievement. Hours before the vote, House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi delivered a rare public rebuke to Obama, saying she was ``enormously disappointed'' he had decided to embrace legislation that she described as an attempt at blackmail by Republicans. The White House stated its own objections to the bank-related proposal and other portions of the bill in a written statement. Even so, officials said Obama and Vice President Joe Biden both telephoned Democrats to secure the votes needed for passage, and the president stepped away from a White House Christmas party reception line to make last-minute calls. In addition to the government funding, the bill sets a new course for selected, highly shaky pension plans. It also sets up a clash for February between Re-

publicans and Obama over his decision to remove the threat of deportation from about 4 million immigrants living in the country illegally.

federal government due to run out of funds at midnight. Even so, there was no threat of a shutdown in federal services - and no sign of the

House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio holds what may be his last news conference of the 113th Congress, though critical legislation is still pending, Thursday, Dec. 11

Despite the day's drama, 57 Democrats supported the bill, including the party's secondranking leader, Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland, and Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who doubles as the chair of the Democratic National Committee. The outbreak of Democratic bickering left Republicans in the unusual position of bystanders rather than participants with the

brinkmanship that marked other, similar episodes. Instead, the House passed a measure providing a 48-hour extension in existing funding to give the Senate time to act on the larger bill. Said a relieved Speaker John Boehner, ``thank you and Merry Christmas.'' Hours before the mid-evening final vote, conservatives had sought to torpedo the measure

1st images of historic San Francisco shipwreck released Cont'd from Page 45

In November, Hibbard Inshore and Bay Marine Services donated a research vessel and crew, along with a high-powered remotely operated vehicle, to help NOAA

NOAA's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries. NOAA has so far plotted nine of nearly 200 ships including four never before found vessels. California-based salvagers found the wreck in the 1980s, but

Schwemmer and the Hibbard team captured the first detailed sonar and threedimensional images of City of Rio resting in the dark, muddy waters outside the bridge. find the City of Rio de Janeiro wreck site using three-dimensional sonar. "This exploration of the San Francisco Bay is about our overall efforts to learn about the area's important marine heritage..," said James Delgado, director of maritime heritage for

its exact location was unknown as the coordinates they provided did not coincide with any wreck charted by NOAA through years of sonar work. During this expedition, Robert Schwemmer, West Coast regional maritime heritage coordinator for NOAA, worked with

Delgado, and multi-beam sonar expert Gary Fabian to locate the wreck site again. They located the site in 287 feet of water, positioned inside the main ship channel, and largely buried in mud. Schwemmer and the Hibbard team captured the first detailed sonar and three-dimensional images of City of Rio resting in the dark, muddy waters outside the bridge. "The level of detail and clarity from the sonar survey is amazing," Schwemmer said. "We now have a much better sense of both wrecks, and of how they not only sank, but what has happened to them since their loss." Most Americans whose ancestors came to the US from the Far East in the 19th and early 20th centuries to start a new life arrived on ships like City of Rio de Janeiro. -PTI

because it would leave Obama's immigration policy unchallenged. Boehner patrolled the noisy, crowded House floor looking for enough GOP converts to keep it afloat. He found them - after the vote to move ahead on the bill went into overtime - in retiring Rep. Kerry Bentivolio of Michigan as well as Rep. Marlin Stutzman of Indiana. Even so, Republican defections required Boehner and supporters of the measure to seek Democratic votes for passage. ``Remember this bill was put together in a bicameral, bipartisan way,'' he said. Officials in both parties said Pelosi was fully informed of the bill's contents before it was released to the public, and did not signal her opposition. If there was political drama in the House, there was something approaching tenderness in the Senate, where several lawmakers are ending their careers. Sen. Tom Coburn, ROkla., choked up as he delivered a farewell speech from his desk, and Republicans and Democrats alike rose to applaud him. There was little if any contro-

A provision in the big bill relating to financially failing multiemployer pension plans would allow cuts for current retirees, and supporters said it was part of an effort to prevent a slowmotion collapse of a system that provides retirement income to millions. ``The multi-employer pension system is a ticking time bomb,'' said Rep. John Kline, R-Minn., who negotiated the agreement privately with Democratic Rep. George Miller of California, who is retiring after 40 years in Congress. The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. estimates that the fund that backs multi-employer plans is about $42.4 billion short of the money needed to cover benefits for plans that have failed or will fail. Miller said the legislation would give retirees the right to vote in advance whether to enter a restructuring that could cut their benefits. He, Kline and others said the alternative to the legislation might be an even deeper reduction in benefits. The legislation drew a mixed reaction from unions and the opposition of the AARP, but the White House written statement on the legislation did not mention it as a concern.

A provision in the big bill relating to financially failing multi-employer pension plans would allow cuts for current retirees, and supporters said it was part of an effort to prevent a slow-motion collapse of a system that provides retirement income to millions. versy over the spending levels in the $1.1 trillion measure, which provided funding for nearly the entire government through the end of the budget year next Sept. 30. It locked in cuts negotiated in recent years between the White House and a tea partyheavy Republican rank and file. The only exception is the Department of Homeland Security. It is funded only through Feb. 27, when the specter of a shutdown will be absent and Republicans hope to force the president to roll back an immigration policy that promises work visas to an estimated 5 million immigrants living in the country illegally. When Congress convenes in January, Republicans will have control of the Senate for the first time in eight years and will hold their strongest majority in the House in more than eight decades.

The White House did raise objections to a provision that would roll back one of the regulations imposed on the financial industry after the economic nearcollapse of 2008, and to a separate element of the bill that would permit wealthy contributors to increase the size of their donations to political parties for national conventions, election recounts or the construction of a headquarters building. Democrats cited the same issues, but Boehner rejected their request to jettison either or both of the provisions. Republicans noted that 70 members of the Democratic rank and file supported easing the bank regulations on a stand-alone vote in October of last year. Remarkably, there was relatively little controversy about the spending levels themselves that form the heart of the bill. -AP


Datebook

December 19, 2014

NEW JERSEY

NEW YORK Upcoming

Upcoming Sun, Dec 21 • Dr. Prakash Baba Amte The Real Hero by UMANG Venue: TV Asia Auditorum Hall, 76 National Rd, Edison, NJ 08817 Time : 12:00 pm Contact: 201 835 5688

Fri, Dec 26 • Tribute To Jagjit and Chitra Venue: Edison Hotel, 3050,Woodbridge Ave, Edison, NJ 08837 Time: 8:00 pm Contact: 732-277-6687

Wed, Dec 31 • Bollywood NYE King & Queen Competition Venue: Hotel Executive Suites, 30 Minue St, Carteret, NJ 07008 Time: 6:00 pm Contact: 732-703-6661

Thu, Dec 25

• DJ Rekha Presents Bollywood Disco Xmas Edition Venue: Le Poisson Rouge, 158 Bleecker Street, New York, NY 10012 Time: 10:00 pm Contact: 718-207-0058

Wed, Dec 31 • 11th Annual New Years Eve

Blowout

Venue: The World Fair Marina Restaurant and Banquet Hall, 1 Worlds Fair Marina Flushing, NY 11369 Time : 8:00 pm

Wed, Dec 31

• Harry Malhotras New Year Eve Masquerade Ball 2015 Venue: Antuns by Minar, 244 W Old Country Rd, Hicksville, NY 11801 Time : 08:00 pm Contact: 917-325-4903

India Post 47

www.indiapost.com

NORTHERN CALIFORNIA

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

Upcoming

Upcoming

Fri, Dec 26 • YAK Qadam Pesh Tour - SFO Venue: The Golden Peacock, 24989 Santa Clara St, Hayward, CA 94544 Timet: 8:00 pm

Wed, Dec 31 • Hungama 2015 At Amaya Lounge

Venue: Amaya Banquet and Lounge, 7850 Beach Boulevard , Buena Park, CA 90620 Timet: 7:30 pm Contact: 562-577-0865

Wed, Dec 31 • Hollywood Bhangra - Xmas

Bhangra Theme Party - Last One of 2014

Venue: Metropolitan, 652 N La Peer Dr, West Hollywood, CA 90069 Timet: 10:00 pm

Wed, Dec 31 • The Biggest International Bollywood New Years Eve Ball Rhythm 2014

Wed, Dec 31 • ICCs New Years Eve 2015 Venue: India Community Center, 525 Los Coches Street, Milpitas, CA 95035 Time: 8:00 pm.

Wec, Dec 31 • The Biggest International Bollywood New Years Venue: DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel, 39900 Balentine Dr, Fremont-Newark, Time: 7:00 pm Contact: 510-432-6385

ATLANTA Upcoming Wed, Dec 31 • Welcome 2015 New year Bash Venue: Adora Hall, 12200 N Mopac Expy, Austin, TX 78758 Time: 7:00 pm

Wed, Dec 31 • PREETYSHA & SAMEER - New

Wed, Dec 31 • Millennium - New Year Eve Party

Venue: Anaheim Plaza Hotel & Suites, 1700 S.Harbor Blvd, Anaheim, CA 92802 Time :07:00 pm Contact: 714-397-7224

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

CA 94560

Venue: DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel, 39900 Balentine Dr, Fremont-Newark, CA 94560 Time: 07:00 pm Contact: 510-432-6385

Years Bash 2015

ILLINOIS

Venue: Champagne toast at midnight, 25585 Berg Rd, Southfield, MI 48033 Time: 8:00 pm Contact: 586-872-0770

Sat, Jan 10 • Practical Application of Gita in Daily Life (Chapter 13-18)

Wed, Dec 31 • Welcome 2015 New year Bash

Venue: Radha Govind Dham LA Center, 5530 Donna Ave, Los Angeles, CA 91356 Time: 7:00 pm Contact : 818-403-3270

Venue: Adora Hall, 12200 N Mopac Expy, Austin, TX 78758 Time: 07:00 pm Contact: 512-351-3108

1st and 3rd Sunday of Month • Chicago Children's Bal Mukund Character Building Program and Hindi Literacy Classes Venue: Vogelei Center, 650 W. Higgins Road, Hoffmann Estates, IL 60192 (Next to Nissan Dealership) Contact: Ajay & Arti Chandhok @ 630-561-4807

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

Sat, Dec 20 • NATHAL FEST Malabar Konkani Christian Association (MKCA) has scheduled its Nathal Fest 2014 Venue: Courtland Square, Recreational Hall, 8909 David Place, Des Plaines, IL 60016


48

India Post

Classifieds

December 19, 2014

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For Classifieds Ads Call NORTHERN CA (Priya) Tel. 510-275-4467 priya@indiapost.com SOUTHERN CA

NEWS on your desktop www.indiapost.com

(Shashi Trivedi) Tel: 562-441-5511/ Fax: 562-947-0632 shashi19@yahoo.com

NAME CHANGE I, Sugandha, D/o Ramesh Hari R/o 255 S. Rengstorff Ave #119, Mountain View CA 94040 USA, permanent address D-23 Satyawati Nagar, Ashok Vihar Phase-3, Delhi-110052 India have added surname Arora in my name. My name has been changed from SUGANDHA to SUGANDHA ARORA. I shall henceforth be known as SUGANDHA ARORA.

Please contact me at +12178986976 or 9911576407

CHICAGO (Ramesh Soparawala) Tel: 773-973-7394 / Fax: 773-973-7396 sramesh@aol.com NEW YORK (Pinky) Tel: 908 338 3752 pinky@indiapost.com


Horoscope

December 19, 2014

India Post

49

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Your Weekly Future by Pandit Parashar

December 19th- December 25th, 2014 (March 21 to April 20)

Y

ou will be relaxed and enjoy time with few visitors or children. Money will show up in bank earlier than expected. Value of your stocks will appreciate and you may dispose off some for a decent profit. Those looking for a relationship, will find some one who is not only good looking but well educated too. You will perform some charity also.

(April 21 to May 20)

Y

ou may slow down a little bit and keep working on your plans and gather necessary paper work. An elder family member will need extra medical care. It will be better to take decisions will calm and quite mind. Money will come and disappear fast. People around will be more demanding and you will need to stretch your limits to give them what they want.

(May 21 to June 20)

Y

ou will feel very energetic and make some plans with family for the weekend. Do not be double minded or will loose a great opportunity. Changing weather may affect but recovery will be quick. People in retail business will do exceptionally well. You may try to cut down on nicotine or caffeine. Saturn in sixth will help you gain an edge over strong opponents.

(June 21 to July 22)

M

arriageable child may start talking to a very nice person. You may have to make big changes in diet in order to overcome an issue bothering for some time. You may also travel to a nice place with family. Any change in career at this point will be lucky and last long. You may also buy some expensive gifts for family.

(July 23 to August 22)

(November 23 to December 22)

P

lanets will make your dream come true. Recent developments will turn the table in your favor. Mind will be full of a great plan and you may start filling necessary paper work. Children will excel in their fields. You will spend some quality time with a well known person. Some of you may also dispose off money making stocks and wait to buy them back.

(August 23 to September 22)

S

ome of you will be going on trip this week. Reports you get will be conflicting but you will end up making the right choice. Recent developments in personal life will boost your confidence. You may also make final payment on an old debt and stay away from making fresh commitments. Advise from an experienced and mature person will be helpful.

(September 23 to October 22)

E

xtra running around will not go waste. Property deal can also get signed after minor changes. Some of you may also sign papers to buy a running business. Do not ignore any legal notice or it will become headache. You may also change some electric item in the kitchen. Some one at the party will try to drag you into unnecessary argument.

(October 23 to November 22)

I

t will be a lucky week. Money can come through stocks or lottery even. You will finish the project well before time in order to enjoy a short vacation with family. Children will do exceptionally well in school. You will be energetic and make some plans with family to go to a place never visited in the past. Just handle tools with care.

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

P

ast efforts will bring you in limelight. Your popularity in professional as well as social circle will sky rocket. Mind will stay cheerful and you may arrange a get together at your place. You may also spend big money on buying gifts for others. Try to stay away from red meat and too spicy food. You may buy some electronic item for personal use.

(December 22 to January 19)

P

roblem will shake you up but the right advise is also a phone call away and you will use this trump card this time. People prone to blood pressure problem should watch out what they eat. It will be better to dispose off money making stocks. You may also make a commitment to attend a big event with family.

(January 20 to February 18)

F

inances will stay under check though you will go out of your way to buy gifts for family close. You may also spend extra hours at work in order to catch up or finish project on hand well before deadline. Some one may come up with a bright idea and offer to launch a venture in partnership. Some of you may purchase another vehicle this week.

(February 19 to March 20)

Y

ou will attend a very important business meeting this week. New contacts you make will come out handy at a later date. You may also perform some charity and visit a holy place with family. It will be better to listen to your own instincts rather than believing rumors. All your decisions will reflect maturity and far farsightedness.

510-886-4370 www.parashar.com


50 India Post

December 19, 2014

www.indiapost.com India Post News Service

I

T Project Manager by profession, Priya Gupta has won the title of Mrs. South Asia International 2015. Priya will represent South Asia at the Mrs. International 2015 pageant on July 24 and 25 at Jacksonville, Florida . Priya, highlighting the significance of Mrs. International pageant, mentions, "The International Pageant system has been developed to promote today's married women, their accomplishments, and commitment to family and marriage. Around the world women are finding this system to be the opportunity to work with their husband and family to become positive role models. Talking about preparation, she says, "I took the title seriously from the time I enrolled myself. I thoroughly enjoyed the process I went through, revamped myself, I grew & I won the title."

Priya Gupta

Since the title is based on family values and the platform to give back to society, Priya has been actively working on the platform of sexual and domestic abuse against women which bagged for her the prestigious title. Priya is very happy and is looking forward to use her title to help millions of women

LONDON: South African beauty Rolene Strauss was crowned Miss World 2014 at a glittering ceremony in London as India's Koyal Rana lost out, finishing in the top 10. Miss Hungary, Edina Kulcsar, was the runner-up in the contest and Miss United States, Elizabeth Safrit, came in third as an estimated billion viewers watched the finale on television around the globe. Priyanka Chopra was the last Indian winner of the coveted title in 2000. 21-year-old Jaipur-born Rana made it to the top 10 but failed to make it to the top five. Rana, however, bagged the sub-title of Best Designer of the world where she was seen standing gorgeously tall in a Falguni & Shane Peacock gown. She also shared the "Beauty With A Purpose" title with Kenya, Guyana, Brazil and Indonesia. She was amongst top five in the Beach Beauty contest. Rana, who is an active social worker and has an NGO, performed to a Bollywood song at the start of the event. "I am extremely thankful to Miss India Organization, my family and friends for supporting me through this wonderful journey. It was a wonderful experience," Rana said after the event. She is currently the face of fbb, Neutrogena and many more fashion brands. She has also been a showstopper for top designers and jewellery brands. Cont'd on Page 51

around the globe. Strongly supported by her husband, family and in-laws, Priya finally accomplished her dream to compete in an International beauty pageant and make a difference in society.

Miss South Africa Rolene Strauss is crowned Miss World 2014

Cont'd on Page 52


India Post 51

December 19, 2014 www.indiapost.com

Bhopali cuisine turns 'progressive' PREETI VERMA LAL

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horba Imtiyazi. Makai aur khoye ki seekh. Mughlai chatka. Adraki gilafi sheikh. Laskari kaaliya. I had barely

red-eye into the City of Lakes in search of traditional food but that early December morning, the menu was getting lost in transla-

Bhopali food until that moment in Bay Leaf when Chef Chaudhary delved into the culinary secrets. Smug in the heart of India, Bhopali food is laden with Hyderabadi and Awadhi culinary influences yet has its own distinct nuances. It is neither sour like Hyderabadi nor rich like Awadhi cuisine.

vegetables even in non-vegetarian dishes like Keema maithi, Filfora and Saljam Gosht. "In Bay Leaf, the classic Bhopali cuisine turns ''progressive". We serve progressive Indian cuisine", Chef Chaudhary added. In Bay Leaf, I sat outside with the brass birds and dug the

glutton in Bay Leaf. "Chatori Gali in Old Bhopal is a haven for foodies, specially if you love all things meaty." I immediately bought into Nakka's suggestion. But the Greedy Lane had to wait because it is only after dusk that the nahari pot is opened in the Gali. I, however, had to see Old

Courtyard by Marriott in Bhopal

stepped into Bay Leaf, Bhopal's first and only fine dining restaurant, when Ajay Chaudhary, Executive Chef, Courtyard by Marriott, stumped me with scrumptious options. On the table lay gold enameled bowls and from the wall a painted bay leaf beckoned. I had flown near

tion - and forgotten time. I know Bhopalis wake up to a poha/jalebi breakfast; they devour the rizalas and sheermals unabashedly; their Suleimani tea has a hint of salt and no day flutters off the calendar without a dollop of gulkand in the paan (betel). I thought I knew all about

Sheermal is a must-have

A Bhopali rizala has a hint of green; the dal is more khada and it is fried onions that lend an edge. What is remarkable is the influx of

Miss South Africa crowned Miss World

Bhopali biryani

spoon into what the Begums and Nawabs partook in. "How about a spin around the Greedy Lane?" Marketing Communications Executive Jayadev Nakka's question took me by surprise. I sure hadn't pigged like a

Bhopal which is cluttered with mosques and havelis. On a mission to taste Suleimani chai and savor Bhopali paan, we drove through crowded lanes and parked near Chowk. Cont'd on Page 52

Cont'd from Page 50

22-year-old Strauss, a medical student, beat 121 contestants across the globe to the coveted title and was presented with the sash by the outgoing Miss World, Megan Young of the Philippines. She then sat in the winner's throne as the 2013 champion put the glittering crown on her head at the ExCeL exhibition centre in east London. "South Africa this is for you. I think I will brace myself for what's about to happen. It's a huge responsibility," she said. The Miss World pageant returned to the British capital city for the 2014 edition after its inception 63 years ago. The event this year has been overshadowed by the murder of Miss Honduras, 19-year-old Maria Jose Alvarado, who was

Ajay Chaudhary, Executive Chef, Courtyard by Marriott

From left, Miss India Koyal Rana, Miss Kenya, Idah Nguma, Miss Brazil, Julia Gama, Miss Indonesia Maria Asteria Sastrayu Rahajeng, and Miss Malaysia, Dewi Liana Seriestha, celebrate, after winning the charity section of the Miss World competition, at the ExCel centre in London.

shot dead with her sister in their homeland last month on the day she was due to travel to London.

This year's winner will travel to the violence-hit central American nation to build a school named in their honor. -PTI


52 India Post

December 19, 2014 www.indiapost.com

Hrithik Roshan voted sexiest Asian

B

ollywood star Hrithik Roshan has been voted the world's sexiest Asian man for the third time in four years. The 40-year-old actor reclaimed the crown, which he lost last year, in the 11th edition of the '50 Sexiest Asian Men In The World' list produced annually by Britain's weekly newspaper 'Eastern Eye'. Television actor Kushal Tandon was the surprise runner up in this year's list and last year's winner Ali Zafar slipped to third place on the ratings. TV actor Vivian D'Sena, who made it into the top 10 for the first time, was fourth in a record-breaking year that saw more than 10 million votes cast in all. "Thank you 'Eastern Eye'. I am

humbled by the desirable tag. I believe sexy is less to do with the physical and more to do with the mental perspective on life, others and yourself," Hrithik said. "Do good, never please, know your worth, walk your path, have a sense of humor, be the giver, be self-sufficient and contribute with power to all around. Sexy is as sexy does. Create your own sexy!" 'Eastern Eye' showbiz editor Asjad Nazir, founder of the list and chair of the judging panel, believes Hrithik is on his way to become India's first global cinematic superstar. "The reason why Hrithik is regularly voted top is that he ticks all the boxes. He is a talented actor, is the best dancer in

Bollywood, has arguably the best physique and has the kind of humility that connects him to the everyday individual," Nazir said. The win rounded off a roller-coaster year for the actor that saw him star in one of the year's biggest hits 'Bang Bang' and his amicable divorce from wife Sussanne Khan. Actor Fawad Khan was in seventh position. Others stars in the top 10 include Shahid Kapoor (5), Barun Sobti (6), Ranbir Kapoor (8) and Salman Khan (10).

Hrithik Roshan

Indian TV stars dominated the 2014 list including actor Ashish Sharma (14) who followed up his stunning win on reality TV show 'Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa 7' by being the highest placed newcomer. Other TV stars in the list included Gurmeet Choudhary (11), Karan Singh Grover (12), Karan Tacker (16), Kunwar Amar (17), Harshad Arora (19), Gautam Rode (20), Rithvik Dhanjani (21) and Aham Sharma (27). Virat Kohli (38) is the only sportsman in the list again. Other notable names in the list include Shah Rukh Khan (13), Sidharth Malhotra (15), Arjun Kapoor (18), Ranveer Singh (22), singer Arjun (31), Atif Aslam (40) and Suriya (50).-PTI

Priyanka has the 'Sexiest Back in Bollywood'

P

riyanka Chopra, after emerging as the sexiest Asian woman of 2014 in a poll conducted by a UK-based weekly newspaper, has once again beaten her contemporaries Katrina Kaif and Deepika Padukone. The "Mary Kom" actress has been voted as having the sexiest back in Bollywood in a poll conducted by Bollywood Life. The poll listed out the Bollywood actresses with sexiest back and Chopra, with her curvy back, topped the list with maximum votes of 54%. Chopra was followed by

Priyanka Chopra

leggy lass Deepika Padukone who received 23% of the total votes, while "Bang Bang" star Katrina Kaif surprisingly got only 17%. The fourth position was secured by Kareena Kapoor Khan with just 4%, while Alia Bhatt and Shraddha Kapoor managed to get 1% of the votes each. The last in the list is Anushka Sharma with barely any votes.

Bhopali cuisine turns 'progressive' Cont'd from Page 51

Syed Farhan, Marriott's Sales & Marketing man, knew exactly where to find perfect paan and best chai. I maneuvered fast cars and slothful cattle towards Shahab Tea Corner where a bearded Muhammad Hanees was pouring salted black tea over a ladleful of

In Courtyard by Marriott's Corner Bar have traditional poha/jalebi/chai breakfast

thickened milk. Price: Rs 5 per verandah and silver tiffin boxes, glass. cutlery, bowls and spittoons are On large platters lay sweet stashed under thick glass panes. samosas stuffed with coconut and The Nawabs sure loved their dried fruits. Just an arm's length food and ate them in style. They away Nawab Khan with a metal needed no fine dining restaurant; hairband was making paan like a their entire kitchen was all about cat on helium - in a blink he pinched out countless condiments from small containers, topped them on the leaf. And lo! The eight-rupee paan was ready. No story about Bhopal food is complete without a mention of Gulshan-eAlam (commonly, Golghar), Bay Leaf, Bhopal's first and only fine dining restaurant a 24-door round building which houses photographs and fine dining. I am no Begum but I artifacts that narrate the story of a love fine dining. At Courtyard by bygone Bhopal. Embroidered Marriott's Bay Leaf, I fine dined. blinds are neatly arranged in the And felt like a Bhopali Begum!

The actress will soon be seen in Aamir Khan starrer "PK". Meanwhile, the "Barfi" actress who recently topped the list of 50 World's Sexiest Asian Women 2014 in an annual poll conducted by Eastern Eye, is elated to bag the prestigious title. "Someone once told me, sexy is what sexy does and you do it best when you are yourself. I don't know what I did to deserve

this but I'll happily accept this title." said Chopra, according to a report in India Today. Chopra, who garnered praise for her performance in "Mary Kom", is currently busy with Sanjay Leela Bhansali's magnum opus "Bajirao Mastani" that has Ranveer Singh and Padukone playing the lead actors. Chopra plays a supporting yet important role in the period film.

Priya wins Mrs South Asia title Cont'd from Page 50

Priya also competed in Gladrags Mrs. India 2008 and was crowned 'Gladrags Mrs. India -Mrs. Beautiful Face - 2008' in Mumbai sponsored by Botox. She also got crowned as Mrs. India Fremont International 2013 in Mrs. India International pageant held in Atlanta, GA. Though every crown is precious but Priya says the recent title is the most special as she will be representing Mrs. South Asia in Mrs. International pageant in July 2015. Priya wanted to be a model and by winning the crowns in various pageants she has been keeping

her dream alive. Priya has done a lot of print shoots including an 8page catalog shoot for Botox in 2008 and ramp shows with wellknown Indian designers such as Amita Bal with Bollywood celeb-

rity Preity Zinta as a showstopper. Priya also was one of the judge in Miss India Florida 2014 in Tampa, FL with Preity Zinta as the celebrity judge.


Philosophy

December 19, 2014

India Post 53

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Page Sponsored by Sahanis EKNATH EASWARAN

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mantram is a spiritual formula of enormous power that has been transmitted from age to age in a religious tradition. The users, wishing to draw upon this power that calms and heals, silently repeat the words as often as possible during the day, each repetition adding to their physical and spiritual well-being. In a sense, that is all there is to a mantram. In another sense, there is so much! Those who have tried it saints, sages, and ordinary people too - know from their own experience its marvelous potency. We find a clue to the workings of the mantram in the popular etymology which links the word to the roots man, "the mind," and tri, "to cross." The mantram, repeated regularly for a long time, enables us to cross the sea of the mind. An apt image, for the mind very much resembles a sea. Ever-changing, it is placid one day, turbulent the next. Awesome creatures lurk below in the unconscious - fears and animosities, desires and conflicts. Each of us drifts about on the surface, blown by typhoons and carried by currents, in a rudderless little boat called "I." With such vast and treacherous waters before us, with no glimpse at all of the far shore, can we ever hope to make the crossing without some help? The mantram is such help. The WILLIAM SAMUEL

M

r Shieh asked me what is meant by "the same moon shines on ten thousand rivers" Well, it wasn't long before I had several pages filled to answer "the same moon shines on ten thousand rivers" When I went to see Mr Shieh I must have given the right answer because he kept me for his student, to study under the Taoist traditions, which is very hard - you only see the Master once every thirty days. He gave me a discipline to do, that discipline was to walk down and go into this village and to see good in everybody, no matter what they looked like, no matter what they said, did, but to keep looking at them until I could see some good. I still do that, it's the funnest difference there ever was - all of you try it, keep going until you can see something good about that one. Now sometimes it aint' easy. It was really easy for me to see a pretty lady and see something good, isn't so easy to see an old man. On my last day in China with Mr Shieh he didn't come the way

scriptures of all religions proclaim it to be a radiant symbol of ultimate existence, the supreme reality which, depending on our background, we call by various expressive names. What we call it matters little. What matters greatly is that we discover - experientially, not intellectually - that this supreme reality rests at the inmost center of our being. This discovery constitutes

fully that real health is more than just an absence of disease. We toughen our will, too, which signals the end of addictions that may have enslaved us for years. Internal divisions are healed and our purposes unified, so we become a beneficent force in life and not something of a burden on the earth. We gain access to inner resources - courage, patience, compassion - which are presently locked

you're waiting for your turn, don't sit there worrying about the audience; repeat the mantram." I was skeptical, but because I loved her I did as she suggested. I remember saying to myself, "Rama, Rama, Rama . . . I hope it works." I got through the ordeal safely enough, so the next time I had to give a speech I tried the mantram again . . . and again. I soon found myself saying, "Rama, Rama . . . I

Mantram is a radiant symbol of ultimate existence

Eknath Easwaran

In the simple act of repeating the mantram we accomplish remarkable things. The tension in our bodies, the cause of specific complaints and general malaise, ebbs away, and we find delightfully real health

What the Mantram can do In the simple act of repeating the mantram we accomplish remarkable things. The tension in our bodies, the cause of specific complaints and general malaise, ebbs away, and we find delight-

up within. Then all our relationships flourish; we love and are loved. Gradually, if we repeat it often, the mantram permeates and utterly transforms our consciousness. This is a strong claim. Can a mere word achieve all that? It is a natural question. I remember when I had to give a speech to my high school class; I was so nervous at the prospect that I was afraid my knees might not hold me up. My spiritual teacher said, "While

think it works!" Now, after many years of practice, I know it works. As a medical friend once told me, until recently we didn't know how aspirin works, but that didn't keep it from relieving pain. Similarly, with the mantram, no explanation I can give can take the place of your own personal verification. Excerpted from easwaran.org. The 104th birth anniversary of Eknath Easwaran was celebrated on December 10

he was supposed to. He was supposed to come right down and greet me with the Chinese thing. Finally, late in the day, I sent the little tiny soldier that was there to ask for Mr Shieh, to please come, I only got to see him once in 28 days, he was the only one in that part of the world that could speak English.

And that was the last time I saw Mr Shieh. Some moths later, I'm home and there is a letter for me, and my dad with great anticipation said, there's a letter from China for you. I recognized the date on the letter, it was the date of the incident, I call that the incident, the day he called me a fool. I opened the letter and I

and IT - the letter went on. This day I am going to do the most difficult thing I've ever done. I'm going to show you how two words, just sounds, a word can't hurt you, you know, it's just a sound, I'm going to show you how two words will step between a friendship of many years - I had to stop and think what the two words were, he had

the goal of life, and the mantram stands as a perpetual reminder that such perfection is within all of us, waiting to flow through our thoughts, words, and deeds.

Keep looking till you see some good in everybody Finally he showed up, he was wearing his slippers, and he looked very angry. He looked at me and he said, "you fool!" I didn't know what he meant. I had done everything I was supposed to do. Well, finally he showed up, he was wearing his slippers, and he looked very angry. He looked at me and he said, "you fool!" I didn't know what he meant. I had done everything I was supposed to do. He looked at me the second time and he said "you fool!" and then he spun around and he left.

read it, and it said approximately; Dear Bill, I will, this day, call your attention to the most difficult thing I've ever done. This day I am going to tell you all that stands between you and self-fulfillment, between you and peace, between you and joy, between you and victory, all that stands between you

Just as a candle cannot burn without fire, men cannot live without a spiritual life. - Buddha You have to grow from the inside out. None can teach you, none can make you spiritual. There is no other teacher but your own soul. - Swami Vivekananda It is through gratitude for the present moment that the spiritual dimension of life opens up. - Eckhart Tolle When people get married because they think it's a long-time love affair, they'll be divorced very soon, because all love affairs end in disappointment. But marriage is a recognition of a spiritual identity. -Joseph Campbell We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience. - Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

William Samuel

called me a fool," you fool" and walked out. Mr Shieh passed on a few months later - but he is alive now more than he ever was. Excerpted from woodsongjournalnotes. Transcribed from William Samuel Seminar DVD by Sandy Jones

I believe that if Mohammed, Buddha, Jesus, and Moses all got together they would be best of friends because the spiritual basis of all religions is something that builds unity. - Yehuda Berg

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


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December 19, 2014

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Islamic State: Implications for the Arab World India Post

RANJIT GUPTA

T

hough it is going to take a long time to defeat the Islamic State (IS), and it must be defeated, some silver linings of the very dark cloud the IS represents are beginning to be hazily visible over the horizon. Since the proclamation of the IS, strange things have begun happening in West Asia. The IS is not only against the Shia governments of Iraq and Syria but also of Iran; it is even more against the Sunni governments of the Gulf monarchies, in particular, Saudi Arabia, apart from the US in particular and the West in general; it is also fighting against al Qaeda and its clones and affiliates. The IS is against everybody. It has no allies. It has thus succeeded in bringing about a heretofore difficult to imagine scenario: countries, entities and regimes traditionally antagonistic and hostile to each other find themselves engaged in a common war against a common enemy. Thus, we have the rather strange spectacle of seeing the US and Iran; Saudi Arabia and Iran; Saudi Arabia and Shia-ruled Iraq; the Assad regime and those sworn to overthrow it - Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar and the US and assorted Islamist extremist groups, and, Kurdish factions perpetually at loggerheads with each other and with the governments of the nations they are part of - all of them in the same camp warring against the IS. This could have some very positive consequences in a region where hostile and conflictual relationships are endemic: First, after the fall of former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein-ruled government, sectarian and ethnic fissures came to the fore in Iraq in a manner that had never been the case before. Sunnis have been the traditional ruling element in Iraq throughout history, but since 2003 they have not only been deeply alienated but also deliberately humiliated. Therefore, the involvement of Shias, Sunnis and Kurds in the common fight against the IS is very encouraging and could be cathartic and therapeutic. This bodes well for Iraq's future since it had begun to appear that its being partitioned along sectarian and ethnic divides was becoming inevitable. This enforced togetherness may finally persuade regional rivals Iran and Saudi Arabia and their respective allies to work to-

gether in the common and shared interests of fighting to eliminate Islamist extremism and sectarianism. A third potentially significant consequence is that this will ultimately help to promote disenchantment of the average Muslim, particularly in the Gulf region, whether he is Sunni or Shia, with sectarianism and Islamist extremism, and make them realize that these ideologies are very dangerous for all Muslims. The fourth potential consequence is that as the war against the IS progresses well, combined with the possibility of a deal between Iran and the P5 on the nuclear issue, all this may lead to real possibilities of a negotiated

vour their own creators. The reality is that the leaders of the Arab world have long been in denial about their own responsibility for their problems; the outside world is constantly blamed. The fact is that in the postWorld War II era more Muslims have been killed by Muslims than by all others put together. As per the Country Threat Index, among the 10 most dangerous countries in the world, 9 are Muslim countries and 6 of them are Arab countries. These facts have to be squarely faced. Time has come for very serious introspection. The emergence of the IS has created that opportunity. Lasting peace in the Arab world will be possible

Islamic State fighters march through Raqqa, Syria

political solution to the civil war in Syria, which otherwise seems impossible to envisage. The fifth flows from the fact that the intense rivalry between the IS and al Qaeda for control of the global jihadist movement is already causing intra-jihadist infighting and this can be expected to escalate throughout the region and this augurs well for the defeat of pernicious extremist and jihadi groups. One consequence of the derailing of the Arab Spring has been the enormous strain on GCC unity, primarily due to Qatar taking a very different stance as compared to other GCC countries in relation to various Islamist groups. This was hampering the fight against the IS. The GCC Summit held in Qatar appears to have resolved the differences. The IS experience should also make Arab regimes and their Western patrons finally realize that pandering to religion for short-term geopolitical gains only creates Frankenstein monsters that de-

only if an ideological battle is waged and won within Islam to change the poisonous mindsets that have enveloped much of the Arab world. Some positive indications are already evident in new approaches by GCC countries, particularly Saudi Arabia and the UAE, both domestically and otherwise. Arab countries being overwhelmingly Muslim countries, political Islam must be given space and legitimacy to function in domestic political processes; banning or prohibiting political Islam only leads to radicalization of those elements of society that are more religiously inclined than others. Wide-ranging political reform processes must also start now, concomitantly with the execution of the war against the IS. Tunisia, where the Arab Spring started, has demonstrated that a new path is possible. The writer is former Member, National Security Advisory Board (NSAB). Courtesy IPCS

Conversions debate

A

n online advertisement describes 'How to convert to Islam' with "live help through 1-to-1 chat." Christian evangelists are equally unapologetic in trying to persuade non-Christians to convert to Christianity. Proselytizing however is not in the grain of Hinduism. The 34th Shankaracharya of Sringeri Mutt Sri Chandrasekhara Bharati was once requested by a European gentleman to convert him to Hinduism, so impressed was he by the Shankaracharya's personality and his answers which he could not satisfy in Christianity. The pontiff pointed out the real name of Hinduism was Sanatan Dharma or the Eternal Law to which belong all beings and thus there is no need to convert. He advised him to seek out true Christians who will clear his doubts and convince him that God was after all justified in making him a child of Christian parents. The gentleman understood that the pontiff's aim was to make a Christian a better Christian and a Hindu a better Hindu. That is the classic view of Hinduism. But what about the state of affairs in India for some generations where Hindus have been forced to convert to either Islam or Christianity by force, by stealth, by monetary inducements or some other means. The issue of conversions was never touched upon by previous Indian governments as they indulged in pacifying the minorities for electoral gains. As conversions particularly of poor people continued some sections of Hindus protested and some even took to violent methods. But the open way in which some wings of the RSS parivar have taken to re-converting the converts has raised a great deal of hullabaloo in Parliament as well as in the English media. The 'Ghar Vapasi' campaign through which a number of Muslims were welcomed back to Hinduism in Agra recently has raised tempers. Although Prime Minister Narendra Modi has advised partymen not to cross the "Lakshman Rekha" the genie seems to be out of the bottle. Parliament was disrupted repeatedly with Opposition leaders accusing the BJP and its ideological mentor, the RSS, of being complicit in the reported campaign by Hindu outfits to convert Muslims and Christians into Hindus. Trying to turn the tables on the Opposition and reiterating a long-held Sangh Parivar view, the BJP government has called for a nation-wide law to restrict conversions. "Let there be anti-conversion laws in all the States and at the Centre also," Parliamentary Affairs Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu said in the Lok Sabha on the "conversion by inducement" of Muslims in Agra. Another senior BJP leader Sushil Modi also called for ban on religious conversion, especially forced religious conversion. He called for an all-party debate on the issue. This is something the Congress and its like minded parties are loath to allow as it will stop conversions by the Christian and Islamic zealots also. As the online Firstpost Editor R. Jagannathan points out the truth that religious conversion has largely been a one-way street so far - "away from Hinduism, for historical, social and political reasons. The Sangh Parivar, of course, is quietly trying to reverse this slide through its "Ghar Vapasis", but so far the anecdotal evidence is that the net conversions are still away from Hinduism." Also, conversions away from Hinduism are heavily funded internationally by Gulf petro-dollars or rich evangelical Christian churches in North America, he says. Even Mahatma Gandhi, in an interview to a missionary nurse on May 11, 1935 had opposed missionaries coming to India in order to baptize. He said, "If I had power and could legislate, I should certainly stop all proselytizing. It is the cause of much avoidable conflict between classes and unnecessary heart-burning among missionaries. But I should welcome people of any nationality if they came to serve here for the sake of service. In Hindu households the advent of a missionary has meant the disruption of the family coming in the wake of change of dress, manners, language, food and drink."


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