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Somasundaran inducted to Canada Society Details on page 7

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VOL 18, No. 953

December 21, 2012

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Periodical Postage

FUROR IN INDIA OVER WALMART 'LOBBYING'

NEW DELHI: The Walmart lobbying issue rocked Parliament for days prompting government to declare that it had no hesitation in ordering a probe into reports that the retail giant had spent money to further its case in India. "We have no hesitation in having an inquiry to get to the facts of the matter," Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath said in the Lok Sabha seeking to douse the

Opposition ire on the issue. The government "views the reports (on Walmart) with the utmost concern," Nath said. His statement came close on the heels of senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha demanding a time-bound judicial inquiry into the reports that Walmart engaged lobbying firms to get entry into India and "spent money here". Details on page 5

Indian origin doc rescued from Taliban Details on page 7

CONTENTS Bollywood ---------------------- 28-29 Classifieds ------------------------- 52 Community Post -------------- 16-23 Date Book -------------------------- 49 Edit Page --------------------------- 54 HealthScience Post --------- 12-15 Horoscope ------------------------- 50 Immigration Post ------------- 44-47

This week’s question

Life Style ----------------------- 30-31

Is Walmart guilty of bribing in India?

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

Last week’s result

Real Estate -------------------- 36-37

Are US investigators focussing on Indian Americans? YES 39%

TechBiz Post ------------------- 30-35 Travel & Hospitality Post ---- 40-42

NO 61%

SHAMEFUL DEATH: Benedict Barboza, husband of the late nurse Jacintha Saldanha (left), arrives at the Houses of Parliament in central London with daughter Lisha, 14, and son Junal, 16, for a meeting with a British Member of Parliament about Jacintha Saldanha’s death. (Details on page 6)

Certified by “CIRCULATION VERIFICATION COUNCIL Readership 117,765”


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December 21, 2012

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

Publisher’s Diary

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he Indian Parliament finally passed legislation allowing foreign direct investment in multi-brand retail in India. And representing that 'foreign retail' is the ubiquitous Walmart. For better or worse, Walmart today has come to represent in India what Coke and Pepsi did in the 70s - Capitalism and well, foreign culture. I happened to follow some of the debates in the Indian parliament on the FDI bill, and was amused at a senior cabinet minister stating that the entry of Walmart wouldn't make much difference to the common man in India because the store would be frequented only by the rich. 'Only people in cars will shop at Walmart, so what difference would it make to the common man?' he asked. I wonder how many of these Indian lawmakers actually know that Walmart is essentially a poor man's store back here in the US and that it's very business model is to sell stuff cheap. And that's the irony of the whole idea. Retailers like Walmart and IKEA, which are meant to be low-cost in the US and other western countries, will remain highend for the Indian poor and middle class. So, going by the minister's argument, why does India then need a Walmart at all if it is going to cater only to the rich? If the Indian rich, who already have access to some of the best in India and abroad, are to get more choices, why not the poor? India today is perhaps strong enough in terms of its domestic market and can withstand 'outside' competition, but there are some serious issues that the Indian government is shamming the people about and that is its propaganda that allowing FDI in multi-brand retail will help poor farmers and build a supply chain management infrastructure. If in six decades since Independence, India, an agrarian economy, couldn't build for itself some decent warehouses, and in the two decades since the Indian big businesses that entered domestic retail, farmer suicides couldn't be stopped, what makes them think that a Walmart or its other western counterparts will even want to do it?

Romesh K Japra rkjapra@indiapost.com

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HIGHLIGHTS Bollywood: Sexiest Asian Bollywood superstar Priyanka Chopra has won the 'World's Sexiest Asian Woman' crown in an on-line survey.

Cover Story: Walmart lobbying The Walmart lobbying issue rocked Parliament prompting government to declare that it had no hesitation in ordering a probe.

Community: Baggage policy Air India has amended its baggage policy by enhancing overweight and excess baggage fees on its India services.

Health: Abortion in military There is political pressure to end the ban on women in the military using their health insurance to pay for abortions.

Life Style: Tribute in tears Yesteryear actress Waheeda Rehman was in tears as she unveiled a life-like brass statue of screen legend Dev Anand.

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India furor over Walmart 'lobbying' NEW DELHI: The Walmart lobbying issue rocked Parliament for days prompting government to declare that it had no hesitation in ordering a probe into reports that the retail giant had spent money to further its case in India. "We have no hesitation in having an inquiry to get to the facts of the matter," Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath said in the Lok Sabha seeking to douse the Opposition ire on the issue. The government "views the reports (on Walmart) with the utmost concern," Nath said. His statement came close on the heels of senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha demanding a time-bound judicial inquiry into the reports that Walmart engaged lobbying firms to get entry into India and "spent money here". Later, Trinamool Congress, AIADMK, JD(U), RJD also demanded Joint Parliamentary Committee to probe into Walmart issue. The inquiry should be completed within 60 days and people should know who has been bribed and how much has he got, Sinha said amid cries of 'shame, shame' from the Opposition benches. Noting that there have been "gross financial irregularities" in Walmart leading to suspension of its Chief Financial Officer in India and seven other officers and a probe is on against them in the US, Sinha said "this has sullied the dignity of our country." "These disclosures have made it clear that they have given money to people here to gain entry in India. An inquiry is going on in the US on this issue. But there is no inquiry in India. People have taken money and are sitting tight," the BJP leader said. Trouble broke out when Speaker Meira Kumar asked members to associate themselves with Sinha and called Kamal Nath to respond. This led to Left and Trinamool Congress members, who had submitted adjournment notices on the issue, to storm the Well demanding that they too be allowed to speak. The issue created uproar in the Rajya Sabha too which saw two adjournments with BJP members, supported by members of the Left parties and Trinamool Congress, raising the issue. UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi was seen nudging Leader of the Lok Sabha Sushil Kumar Shinde to make an announcement that Kamal Nath would be making a statement on the Walmart issue. Nath said, "We have learnt from press reports of the reported disclosure by Walmart under US laws on amounts spent by them on lobbying in various countries, in-

cluding India. "The government views this with utmost concern and has no hesitation in ordering an enquiry on this in as much as it concerns payments made in India," the Minister said. Making an almost identical statement in the Rajya Sabha,

notice for a short-duration discussion on the issue. As the din continued, Ansari adjourned the House for 30 minutes and again adjourned it till noon as similar scenes continued. Earlier in the Lok Sabha, as soon as Speaker Meira Kumar took up the Question Hour, mem-

bying with lawmakers to get access to Indian market, the US has said the global retail giant did not violate any American law as far as the matter is concerned. "On the US side, I don't have any reason to believe that we have a violation of US law here. With regard to the Indian side, I'll

Nath said, "Government is not running away on this concern. We are open for a discussion. This is not a matter of concern for the Opposition, it is also a matter of concern for the government. It is for all of us. We are open for a probe." The matter was raised in the Upper House by BJP member M Venkaiah Naidu who demanded an independent probe into the issue and the matter be discussed in the House. "It is a question of our nation's sovereignty. It is a shameful act.

bers of Left parties and Trinamool Congress trooped into the Well raising slogans. They demanded inquiry into reports of lobbying by Walmart, while BSP members sought a status report on a probe in the coal block allocation in Uttar Pradesh. At another point, when the BSP members again stormed the Well, BJP members were heard remarking that they were helping the government after bailing it out on the FDI issue. The uproar continued even as Kumar made repeated appeals for allowing the Question Hour to continue. The Speaker then adjourned the House. With proceedings in Parliament being disrupted, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi discussed ways to resolve the logjam over Walmart lobbying and quota in promotions issues. Soon after Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha were adjourned, senior UPA leaders, who are members of the Congress Core Group, gathered at the Prime Minister's Office in Parliament House and were briefed by Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath. Apart from the Prime Minister, Gandhi and Nath, union ministers P Chidambaram and Sushilkumar Shinde attended the meeting among

refer you to them," State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said here, categorically dismissing allegations by Indian opposition parties in this regard. Nuland was responding to questions on charges by opposition parties in India that Walmart spent huge sums in four years in lobbying before the US Congress, including on those related to enhanced market access for investment in India. "We've seen these press reports. With regard to lobbying in the US, I think you know that the

Noting that there have been "gross financial irregularities" in Walmart leading to suspension of its Chief Financial Officer in India and 7 others and a probe is on against them in US, Sinha said "this has sullied the dignity of our country." We have to have a detailed discussion," Naidu said, adding the matter was even more serious if the money was spent in the US for lobbying in India. Demanding a probe, senior CPI (M) leader Sitaram Yechury said this was "a serious matter. This is something unacceptable" and announced that he would move a

No violation of American laws WASHINGTON: Amid controversy over reports that Walmart spent nearly Rs 125 crore for lob-

"These allegations are entirely false. In accordance with US law, US companies are required to disclose the issues and expenditures associated with lobbying on a quarterly basis," a Bharti Walmart spokesperson said in a statement Lobby Disclosure Act of 1995 and the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act of 2007 requires lobbyists for any company or organization to disclose its activities in a periodic report to Congress," she said. "So the report which some of these allegations have cited is a regularly required report for the

US Government as part of our open government transparency in governance requirements," Nuland said. Meanwhile, Walmart has also denied of being involved in any wrongdoing. "These allegations are entirely false. In accordance with US law, American companies are required to disclose issues and expenditures associated with lobbying on a quarterly basis. The expenditures are a compilation of expenses associated with US federal lobbying contacts and include staffing cost, association dues and payments made to consultants, all in the US," a company spokesperson said in a statement. The spokesperson said the company had "held discussions" with US officials about a range of "trade and investment issues" that impact its businesses in the US and worldwide, and disclosed this in accordance with the law.

Bharti Walmart denial Bharti Walmart Private Limited, which is a joint venture between Bharti Enterprises and Walmart, has also denied the allegations. "These allegations are entirely false. In accordance with US law, US companies are required to disclose the issues and expenditures associated with lobbying on a quarterly basis," a Bharti Walmart spokesperson said in a statement. The expenditures are a compilation of expenses associated with staff, association dues, consultants and contributions spent in the US, it added. "Our Washington office naturally had discussions with US government officials about a range of trade and investment issues that impact our businesses in the US and worldwide and disclosed this in accordance with the law," the official said.

Rs 125-cr lobby bill According to the lobbying disclosure reports filed by Walmart with the US Senate, the company has spent close to USD 25 million (about Rs 125 crore) since 2008 on its various lobbying activities, including on the issues related to "enhanced market access for investment in India". In the last quarter ended September 30, 2012 itself, the company spent USD 1.65 million (about Rs 10 crore) on various lobbying issues, which included "discussions related to FDI in India". Cont’d on page 8


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Hoax call nurse's brother says she died of shame LONDON: The distraught family of an Indian-origin nurse, who got caught up in a prank call made to a hospital treating Prince William's wife Kate, believe she died of shame after falling for the hoax. 46-year-old Jacintha Saldanha was found dead at nurses' quarters next to the private King Edward VII hospital in Marylebone, central London. Saldanha's brother Naveen has said that his sister has died of shame following the royal hospital hoax. Naveen was quoted by the Daily Mail as saying that his devoutly Catholic sister was a "proper and righteous person". She would have been "devastated" at unwittingly assisting a colleague in breaching medical confidentiality over the condition of Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge. "She would have felt much shame about the incident," Naveen said. Saldanha answered the hoax call at 5.30am on Nov 5, and was helping out on reception at the time of the prank. Giggling DJs Mel Greig and Michael Christian were pretending to be the British Queen and Prince Charles and asked her if they could be put through to Kate. Saldanha connected them to another nurse who gave details of Kate's condition, who was suffering from acute morning sickness at the London hospital.

on his Facebook page with a short note "Obituary Jacintha." "I am devastated with the tragic loss of my beloved wife Jacintha in tragic circumstances," he wrote. He said she will be laid to rest in Shirva, India. Saldanha's sister-in-law Celine Barboza said the family could not understand what had caused the "strong" mother of two apparently to end her life.

King Edward VII Hospital. She put them through to a colleague who divulged details of the pregnant Kate's health conditions. Saldanha was subsequently found dead under mysterious circumstances.

the food chain. There are other people who made the decision to put it to air, it wasn't live to air, there was a decision made after that prank call was recorded to put it to air, and virtually all the focus has been on them," Grimshaw

Radio to pay 500,000 dollars MELBOURNE: The Australian radio network, whose prank call to a British hospital treating a pregnant Kate Middleton led to the death of an Indian-origin nurse, has said it would contribute at least 500,000 dollars to a memorial fund to help the grieving family of the woman. The radio network said it would resume the advertising and donate its profit to help Saldanha's family. It said that it would make a minimum 500,000 Australian dollar (USD 523,600) donation to the fund. Following global condemnation after the death of Saldanah, Austereo had suspended all advertising on 2Day FM and was reportedly reviewing company polices and processes. The two hosts involved in the prank call have also been taken off air until further notice. "All profits from advertising on 2DayFM until the end of the year

Carmine Barboza, seated left, mother-in-law of nurse at King Edward VII hospital in London, Jacintha Saldanha, is seen with her unidentified relatives as she speaks to the media after knowing about Saldanha's death in central London, at their village house in Shirva north of Mangalore, India on December 8

A recording of the conversation was broadcast on the '2Day FM' station with the DJs gleefully boasting about their successful hoax. Saldanha, whose husband Benedict Barboza is a National Health Service accountant, moved to the UK ten years ago from Mangalore in Karnataka. Benedict, expressed his sadness

Rhys Holleran said the company was deeply saddened by "this tragic and unforeseen event and offers its condolences to the family of Jacintha Saldanha." "We hope that by contributing to a memorial fund we can help to

will be donated to an appropriate fund that will directly benefit the family of Jacintha Saldanha," a statement from the radio network said. "Southern Cross Austereo reiterates its deep regret for what has taken place in these tragic and unforeseen circumstances and offers its condolences to the family of Jacintha Saldanha." Southern Cross chief executive

Australian radio DJs Michael Christian, left, and Mel Greig appear during an interview

provide the Saldanha family with the support they need at this very difficult time," he said.

'Shattered' pranksters apologize The radio presenters, who made the prank call, sobbed and spoke of being "shattered, gutted, heartbroken" on hearing the news of the death of an Indian-origin nurse and apologized for their actions. Radio station 2Day FM presenters Mel Greig and Michael Christian said they were devastated by the news of 46-year-old Jacintha Saldanha's death. When asked how they reacted when told of the death of Saldanha, the mother of two, both DJs broke down in tears. While Christian said he was "shattered, gutted, heartbroken", Greig replied it was "gut wrenching", the worst phone call of her life. "Our deepest sympathies are with the family and the friends (of Saldanha)," Christian said. "It came into my head that I just wanted to reach out to them (the family), give them a big hug and say sorry. I hope they're OK, I really do," Greig said. The two presenters were interviewed by Channel Nine and the Seven Network. Greig and Christian posing as Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles made the call which was received by Saldanha at London's

"It was just the team sitting down before the show - just had the idea for just a simple harmless phone call," Christian said. "... when we thought about making a call, it was going to go for 30 seconds. We were going to be hung up on, and that was it," he added. Greig said: "We thought a hundred people before us would've tried it. We thought it was such a silly idea and the accents were terrible and not for a second did we expect to speak to Kate, let alone have a conversation with anyone at the hospital. We wanted to be hung up on." Christian was adamant the effect of the prank call could not have been foreseen. "These prank

said. She said she was mindful that anyone in their situation would be fragile and the interview was a chance for the hosts to say what they wanted to say. Meanwhile, the boss of 2Day FM said that staff from the station followed proper procedures and had tried at least five times to contact those involved in the prank call. "It is absolutely true to say that we actually did attempt to contact those people [the nurses] on multiple occasions," company's chief executive Rhys Holleran said. "We rang them up to discuss what we had recorded. Before it

Greig said: "We thought a hundred people before us would've tried it. We thought it was such a silly idea and the accents were terrible and not for a second did we expect to speak to Kate, let alone have a conversation with anyone at the hospital. We wanted to be hung up on." calls are made every day, on every radio station in every country around the world and they have been for a long time and no-one could've imagined this to happen," he said. Grimshaw who interviewed them, said she felt sympathy for the pair. "They're at a certain point on

went to air? Absolutely, we attempted to contact them on no less than five occasions," he said. Owner of 2Day FM Southern Cross Austereo announced cancellation of the Hot 30 show and issued a company-wide suspension of prank calls. Cont’d on page 10


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Indian-American doc rescued from Taliban clutches WASHINGTON: In a daring rescue operation, elite American commandos have rescued an Indian-American doctor who was in the custody of the Taliban in Afghanistan, losing one Navy SEAL and killing seven insurgents. Colorado-based Dilip Joseph had been abducted on December 5 along with two Afghan colleagues as they left a rural medical clinic in Sorobi district in Kabul province. He was rescued in an early Sunday morning operation ordered after intelligence showed that the doctor was in imminent danger of

the location of Joseph and the criminals responsible for his captivity." Gen. John Allen, the top commander of US forces in Afghanistan, said the joint force planned, rehearsed and successfully conducted the operation. President Barack Obama and his Defense Secretary Leon Panetta praised the Special Forces for conducting a successful rescue operation. The mission that rescued an American citizen "was characteristic of the extraordinary courage, skill and patriotism that our

Dilip Joseph's employers, Colorado-based Morning Star Development, insisted that it did not pay any ransom to the Taliban for the release of the doctor, who worked with it for the last three years and has been a frequent traveler to Afghanistan. He would soon return to his home in Colorado, they said injury or possible death, according to a statement. "This was a combined operation of US and Afghan forces," said 1st Lt. Joseph Alonso, a spokesman for US forces in Afghanistan. "Information was collected through multiple intelligence sources, which allowed Afghan and coalition forces to identify

troops" show every day, Obama said. "Tragically, we lost one of our special operators in this effort. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family, just as we must always honor our troops and military families," he said in a statement. Panetta also commended the US Special Operations team who rescued the American citizen captured

by the Taliban in Afghanistan. "I was deeply saddened to learn that a US service member was killed in the operation, and I also want to extend my condolences to his family, teammates and friends. The special operators who conducted this raid knew they were putting their lives on the line to free a fellow American from the enemy's grip," Panetta said in a separate statement.

No ransom paid Dilip Joseph's employers, Colorado-based Morning Star Development, insisted that it did not pay any ransom to the Taliban for the release of the doctor, who worked with it for the last three years and has been a frequent traveler to Afghanistan. He would soon return to his home in Colorado, they said. "Dilip Joseph is still in Afghanistan and will be coming back soon," the Morning Star Development executive director, Lars Peterson, told PTI. "He oversees our medical clinics in Afghanistan, teaching and preparing the local doctors and midwives in their work. I have not spoken to him since last week so I don't know much more about his condition," Peterson said. The family of Joseph was not available for comment. "His family is asking for privacy at this time," he said. Peterson said Joseph along with two other members of the

Morning Star Development were kidnapped by the Taliban on December 5. "Morning Star Development is grateful beyond words for the assistance and support of many people and organizations during this event. Due to security concerns, some cannot be named but their help will never be forgotten. "Among these who cannot be

named we include all of the courageous members of the US military who successfully rescued Mr Joseph as they risked their own lives doing so," he said in a statement. The other two members were released by their captors about 11 hours earlier following hours of negotiations conducted over three days. -PTI

Prof. Somasundaran inducted to Royal Society of Canada India Post News Service

OTTAWA: In a ceremony on November 18 in Ottawa, Professor Ponisseril Somasundaran was inducted as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, the only one from outside Canada to be elected this year. A member of the faculty of Columbia University School of Engineering and Applied Science since 1970, Dr. Somasundaran was one of the youngest members to be elected in 1985 to the USA National Academy of Engineering, the highest possible distinction then in engineering in the U.S., the

tion Award (1983), the Publication Board Award (l980) the Richards Award (l987), the Taggart Award (1987), the "Most Distinguished Achievement in Engineering" award from AINA (1980) and the Engineering Foundation's Aplan Award (1992). He has served on many international, national and professional committees and National Research Council Panels, NSF research and advisory panels, DOI Advisory Panel and university research advisory panels. He served in the Congress' 28th Environmental Advisory Committee (Congressman Gilman, Chair).

Asia Society urges US to continue to bet on India WASHINGTON: Underlining importance of a structured US approach to its bilateral relationship with India, a report by a voluntary organization has appealed to the Obama Administration to continue its cooperation with New Delhi. "India requires sustained highlevel attention, but also a structured US approach to the bilateral relationship. This approach needs to accurately judge how much US and Indian interests will converge and how best to manage the tone of political and diplomatic engagement," a report released by Asia Society said. According to the 75-page 'The United States and South Asia after Afghanistan' report, the US will best position itself for success after the 2014 military drawdown in Afghanistan by taking a fresh approach to South Asia that considers each country on its own merits. US should avoid hyphenated

'Indo-Pak', 'Af-Pak' or 'China-India' policies and thinks regionally about economic, security, and political issues, besides connecting South Asia to an overall Asia

In an interview for this report, a former assistant secretary of state for South Asian affairs suggested that US and Indian interests "will not always be aligned although they can operate in parallel" strategy and integrating diplomatic, defense and development policy agendas, it noted. "As Secretary of State (Hillary) Clinton has said, the United States is making a strategic bet on India's

future," it said. In an interview for this report, a former assistant secretary of state for South Asian affairs suggested that US and Indian interests "will not always be aligned although they can operate in parallel". "The US needs a realistic discussion of how quickly the relationship can move forward, particularly on global issues for which India does not always adopt a similar position to that of the United States. The public tone of Washington's messaging on the relationship needs care," it found. As one interviewee noted, the US "does not need to highlight the value of Indian security cooperation versus that of China", the report said. However, the greatest policy challenges lie in the US relationship with Pakistan, including vital national interests for Washington, the report noted. -PTI

Prof. Somasundaran receiving Royal Society of Canada Award from RYC President Yolande Crise

Chinese Academy of Engineering (1998), Indian National Academy of Engineering (1999) and the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences (2000) and Balkan academy of science/Mineral Technology. He was awarded Padma Shri by the Indian Government in 2010 and was elected a Fellow of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers in 2009. He received the Ellis Island Medal of Honor in 1990, the AIME Gaudin Award (1982), the Mill Man of Distinc-

The Pan American Committee also awarded Prof. Somasundaran the title of Pan American Advisor for Mines, Metallurgy and Materials. In the community, he served as member of the Piermont Planning Board and currently as a member of the Zoning Board of Appeals and Citizen Advisory Committee, Board of the Volunteers in Service to Education in India, U.S. Congress 28th District Environmental Advisory Committee etc.


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Reliance Industries halts US lobbying for 4th straight quarter WASHINGTON: Leading corporate house Reliance Industries has kept its lobbying activities among US lawmakers on hold for the fourth quarter in a row, after having paid nearly USD 2 million to its lobbyist here in past few years. Mukesh Ambani-led RIL group

BGR on behalf of its client RIL for the fourth consecutive quarter in the last three-month period ended September 30, 2012. BGR still maintains its registration in the US as RIL's lobbyist and is therefore required to file quarterly disclosures about its activities regarding this client as

Mukesh Ambani

continues to retain a lobbyist in the US, where it began lobbying in 2009 for its business activities and other causes. Since then, it has paid about USD 1.9 million (over Rs 10 crore) to its lobbyist, Barbour Griffith & Rogers LLC (BGR). However, the latest lobbying disclosure report filed with the US Senate shows "no activity" by

per the US regulations. In the first eight quarters of its lobbying activities (from 2009 to 2010) in the US, RIL had paid USD 190,000 every quarter, while the payments made to BGR later dropped to USD 120,000 in the last three quarters (between January to September 2011) when some lobbying work was done. As per the quarterly lobbying

disclosure reports filed with the US Senate, Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) has been one of the major Indian entities lobbying for its cause among the US lawmakers for past few years. In the recent past, RIL has expanded its presence in the US and other foreign countries, while the US government's policies are said to have significant implications for most of the large corporations across the world. Lobbying in the government departments and other institutions is a legal activity in the US, but all the registered lobby firms are required to make a disclosure every quarter about the payments received by them, as also the details of their lobbying activities. On RIL's behalf, BGR has lobbied with the US Senate, House of Representatives, Department of State and the US Government Accountability Office, among others. BGR has lobbied for RIL in the areas of domestic and foreign trade and has provided "strategic counsel on issues related to trade", as per the lobbying disclosure reports. Incidentally, BGR also happens to be the lobbyist for the Indian government, as also the software industry body NAsscom, another

India furor over Walmart 'lobbying'

Cont’d from page 5

During the quarter, Walmart lobbied for its case with the US Senate, the US House of Representatives, the US Trade Representative (USTR) and the US Department of State, as per its latest quarterly disclosure report.

As per Walmart's reports, the company has continuously lobbied for its India entry since 2008, except for a few quarters in 2009. Indian government recently opened up its multi-brand retail sector for foreign companies after years of political opposition and a Parliament motion against

this decision was defeated recently in both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha. The US-based supermarket chain operator Walmart Stores, which has an annual turnover of USD 444 billion and a world- wide headcount of 2.2 million, has been eyeing for a long time to enter India. The Indian retail market is estimated to be worth about USD 500 billion currently and is pegged to cross USD one trillion mark by 2020, given the rising personal income and growing consumer spending trends. According to a report by global consultancy major A T Kearney, the organized retail is expected to reach 25 per cent of the overall market by 2020. The report also said that India remains one of the most favorable destinations for international retailers and an accelerated retail growth of 15-20 per cent is expected over the next five years.PTI

major Indian entity doing lobbying in the US. Nasscom is currently lobbying in the US through one more lobbyist, the Lande Group. For Indian government, BGR is now lobbying in the area of bilateral relationship between the two countries, while its lobbying issues in the past have included the US-India civil nuclear deal. During the last quarter ended September 30, 2012, the Indian government paid BGR of USD

tember 2005. On behalf of the Indian government, BGR has lobbied at the US Senate, House of Representatives, US Trade Representative (USTR), Department of State and Department of Commerce. In case of Nasscom, its main lobbying areas now include visa and employee immigration issues of various Indian IT companies, which have a significant market in the US. For the quarter ended Septem-

Lobbying in the government departments and other institutions is a legal activity in the US, but all the registered lobby firms are required to make a disclosure every quarter about the payments received by them, as also the details of their lobbying activities 180,000, while similar amounts have been paid for eight consecutive quarters now. The Indian government has paid its lobbyist close to USD five million (about Rs 25 crore) since it began lobbying in the US in Sep-

ber 30, 2012, Nasscom paid USD 70,000 to BGR, while its other lobby firm Lande Group got USD 30,000 for this period. Similar amounts were paid to the two lobby groups in the previous quarter as well.-PTI

India-US discuss visa, domestic content issues NEW DELHI: Domestic issues like hike in visa fee and recent Indian regulations in solar tech policies were raised by India and the US respectively during the high level official meeting here. With the focus on concerns of various sections in their respective countries, Commerce Secretary S R Rao and Assistant US trade representative Demetrios Marantis discussed issues that were of interest to both the sides. "Americans would raise issues like domestic content in some sectors in India. India would raise issues such as visa fee. So we raised our respective issues and tried to see that we conveyed a better understanding of our perspective on either side. And we hope we were successful in doing so," Additional Secretary in the Commerce Min-

istry Rajeev Kher said. He was talking to reporters on the sidelines of a Ficci function. The US had raised visa fee in 2010 to fund its enhanced costs on securing border with Mexico under the Border Security Act. India has been protesting against the measure at different forums. India is also considering to drag the US in WTO on the matter. On the other hand, the US also time and again expresses its concern over certain Indian policies in renewable energy and clean technologies that it says inhibit investments by foreign firms, keen on collaboration with local companies. For example, under the National Solar Mission, India requires that crystalline cells be manufactured in India, a move which is strongly opposed by the US solar industry. -PTI


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December 21, 2012

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Modi and Rahul spar during Guj poll campaign JAMNAGAR/AHMEDABAD: Rahul Gandhi and Chief Minister Narendra Modi sparred after the Congress leader invoked Mahatma Gandhi, as the Gujarat war

heard, whether that person is poor or rich, short or long. That person may be of any region, religion or caste, his voice should be respected," the AICC General Sec-

Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi at a campaign rally for the upcoming Gujarat assembly elections in Jamnagar

hotted up on the last day of campaigning for the first phase of the assembly elections. The AICC General Secretary's attendance in Lok Sabha was also questioned by Modi after he lamented the short duration of Assembly sessions in Gujarat. "If I have any 'guru' in politics, then he is Gandhiji," Rahul said at a rally in Jamnagar, making his maiden appearance in the Gujarat poll campaign. "Gandhiji had one simple rule that voice of not only every Indian, but for that matter voice of everyone in the world should be

retary said. Modi wasted little time in taking on Rahul after the Congress leader's comments on Gandhi. "If Rahul Baba is walking on Gandhiji's path, why is Bapu's 1 wish incomplete - to disband Congress after Independence?" the BJP leader said on microblogging site Twitter. The two-phase election is being held on December 13 and 17. Counting of votes will be taken up on December 20. The Chief Minister also referred to Rahul's remarks on Mahatma Gandhi at his rallies.

"Rahul Baba said he was walking on Gandhiji's path but if he is actually walking on it, then one wish of Mahatma Gandhi would not have been left incomplete, which was to disband the Congress after Independence," he said. On another issue, the Congress leader claimed that even opposition's voice is curbed in Gujarat as the Assembly sits for just 25 days in a year and very often opposition leaders are "thrown" out of the House. "For how many days does the Assembly session take place in Gujarat? For 25 days in a year. You say your vote is your voice and Assembly session takes place for 25 days in a year.

in a year, Modi, the Maninagar MLA said at a rally, "From May 2011 to May 2012, Rahul Gandhi's attendance in the Lok Sabha was 24 out of 85 sittings. From 2010 to

the Vidhan Sabha, the files are sent to the Raj Bhavan for Governor's signature," Modi said, adding that Raj Bhavan has been "converted to Congress Bhavan" by

Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi addresses an election rally

The Congress leader claimed that even opposition's voice is curbed in Gujarat as the Assembly sits for just 25 days in a year and very often opposition leaders are "thrown" out of the House Reacting to Rahul's allegations that the state Legislative Assembly did business only for 25 days

2011, it was 19 out of 72 sittings!" "If he had respect for the Parliament, he would go for all sittings!" he said. If Rahul Gandhi had so much love for the Vidhan Sabha, he should know that in Gujarat, the Assembly has debated issues even for days on end but the attitude of the Congress has not been positive, Modi said. "We discuss issues for many days and Bills are passed. But sadly Congress does not respect Vidhan Sabha also," he said. "After detailed discussions in

the Congress party. At another rally, Modi said, "Today Rahul Gandhi came and said he had a close relation with Mahatma Gandhi. But he was not even born then." On Rahul's narration of Mahatma Gandhi sleeping on the floor in Anand Bhawan in Allahabad, Modi said, "It was Mahatma Gandhi's greatness and his affection towards Nehru that he slept on the floor but the real issue is that Motilal Nehru slept on the bed when his son was in jail. You are descendants of Motilal." -PTI

British Indians 'largest ethnic minority in UK'

GOLDEN AWARD: Bollywood actress Priyanka Chopra, gives Lebanese director Ziad Doueiri, The Golden Star award, the festivals grand prize, for his film The Attack as jury president and British film director John Boorman, watches during the 12th Marrakech International Film Festival in Marrakech, Morocco, on December 8

LONDON: Indians are expected to rank as the largest ethnic minority group in the UK, in the latest results from the 2011 census, according to a media report. Data from the 2011 census will suggest there are now more than one million people born to parents in interracial relationships, the 'Daily Mail' reported. The mixed-race population is among the fastest growing in Britain and is already the largest ethnic group among under-16s. However, academics believe the true figure could be more than double this, because many

of mixed-race are believed to define themselves as a single race on official forms. The latest census results are expected to rank British Indians as the largest ethnic minority group, the paper said. The 2011 census is also expected to show that one million Britons are mixed race, which equates to 1.6 per cent of the population. According to the 2001 census, 677,177 classified themselves as mixed race, equating to 1.2 per cent of the UK population. -PTI


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Afghanistan may be focus of future Indo-Pak rivalry: US WASHINGTON: Another Mumbai-style terror attack on India emanating from Pakistan holds the potential of triggering off a nuclear confrontation, a report by the US intelligence said, identifying Afghanistan as the next focus of a future rivalry between the two countries. The report, however, said that normalization of Indo-Pak trade would be a critical factor in building trust between the two countries over the next few years. "India worries about a second Mumbai-style terrorist attack from militants backed by Pakistan. A major incident with many casualties and Pakistani fingerprints would put a weakened Indian Government under tremendous pressure to respond with force, with the attendant risk of nuclear miscalculation," said the report. Pakistan's large and fast-growing nuclear arsenal in addition to its doctrine of "first use" is intended to deter and balance against India's conventional military advantages, said the fifth installment of the 'Global Trends

2030: Alternative Worlds,' of National Intelligence Council (NIC). According to the NIC report, running into more than 150 pages, Afghanistan could become the focus of future Indian-Pakistani competition, particularly after the drawdown in US and NATO

"India worries about a second Mumbaistyle terrorist attack from militants backed by Pakistan. A major incident with many casualties and Pakistani fingerprints would put a weakened Indian Government under pressure forces post-2014. "Both countries want to deny giving the other a strategy advantage, making regional cooperation difficult. More broadly, conflict-

ing strategic goals, widespread distrust, and hedging strategies of all Afghanistan's neighbors not just India and Pakistan will make it difficult to develop a strong regional security framework," it said. The NIC said like Middle East, South Asia will face a series of internal and external shocks over next 15-20 years. "Impacts from climate change, including water stress, in addition to low economic growth, rising food prices, and energy shortages will pose stiff challenges to governance in Pakistan and Afghanistan," it said. "Afghanistan's and Pakistan's youth bulges are large, similar in size to those found in many African countries and when combined with slow - growing economies portend increased social instability," it said, adding that India is in a better position, benefiting from higher growth, but New Delhi will still be challenged to find jobs for its large youthful population. "Inequality, lack of infrastructure, and educational deficiencies are key weaknesses in India. In-

Hoax call nurse's brother says she died of shame Cont’d from page 6

Southern Cross Austereo chairman Max Moore-Wilton, in a letter to the chairman of King Edward VII's Hospital, assured that the company will cooperate with any investigation. Scotland Yard is understood to have asked police in Sydney for assistance, with a view to interviewing the two DJs ahead of an inquest into Saldanha's death. Nick Kaldas, deputy commissioner for New South Wales Police, confirmed the Scotland Yard's request, telling Sky News: "It hasn't been indicated to us that an offence has occurred and they have not actually asked for anything yet." "They've simply touched base, let us know of their interest and they will get back to us if they actually want something done. Nothing has been requested of us yet," he said. A New South Wales Police spokesman said: "As our policing colleagues in London continue to examine events leading up to the death of London nurse Jacintha Saldanha, we will be providing them with whatever assistance is required." In his letter to the hospital, Max said: "we are all saddened by the

events of last few days. They are truly tragic. It is too early to know full details leading to this tragic event and we are anxious to review the results of any investigation that may be made available to us or made public. We can assure you that we will

“What has happened with this poor nurse in England is not going to be helped by bullying these two people into some sort of breakdown. I was very mindful that anyone in their situation would be fragile” fully cooperate with all investigations."

Fast-track inquiry Meanwhile, Australian Communications Minister Stephen Conroy said the independent Australian Communications and Media Authority had received complaints about the call, and was considering a fast-track inquiry

into the matter. He said the authority had acted swiftly on the matter over the weekend "and hopefully we'll hear from them shortly". Also, thousands of Australians have come out in support of the two broadcasters, holding that the two presenters were not to blame for the tragic death of Saldanha. News Ltd, which conducted a poll, revealed that over two-thirds of voters of more than 11,000 people who participated said the radio pranksters should not be blamed for the tragedy. Grimshaw, who interviewed the two DJs, said: "what has happened with this poor nurse in England is not going to be helped by bullying these two people into some sort of breakdown. I was very mindful that anyone in their situation would be fragile, and very mindful of not becoming part of the problem. "We talked about the process of the prank call, how it came about, what happens after you record something like that, where are the checks and balances, what is the network's policy on prank calls, where do you draw the line. "We talked about their future and we talked about whether prank calls should be banned." PTI

dia also faces an intransigent rural insurgency the Naxalites which constitutes an internal security challenge. "Rapid urbanization in India and Pakistan almost certainly will transform their political landscapes from more traditional con-

The report said that such states choose to exploit terrorist movements out of a strong sense of insecurity. "Therefore, they seek asymmetric options to assert power and deter attack; using terrorist groups as proxies” trol by rural elites to one shaped by a growing pool of urban poor and middle class," it said. NIC said in a 'Turn-the-Corner scenario', sustained economic growth in Pakistan based on the gradual normalization of trade with a rising India would be a critical factor. An improved economic environment would produce more opportunities for youth entering the workforce, lessening the attractiveness of militancy and containing the violence. "Intra-regional trade would also be important in building trust between India and Pakistan, slowly changing threat perceptions and anchoring sectors with vested interests in continuing economic cooperation," it said. "Just as China's economic engine transformed its relations with neighbors from the early 1990s, so a strong economic engine in India could lay down new foundations for prosperity and regional cooperation in South Asia," the

report said. However, if influence of radical Islamists in Pakistan and Taliban in Afghanistan grows, a symbiotic relationship would deepen between the military and the Islamists, and the Army would be more willing to engage in negotiations with the extremists, the NIC said. In case of social unrest in Pakistan and Afghanistan, "India would be left trying to defend against the spillover of militancy, increased tensions in Kashmir, and potential radicalization of its Muslim populations. Rather than uplifting its neighbors as in the Turn-the-Corner scenario, India would be dragged down by them, challenging its ability to play a more global role," it said. It said countries like Pakistan and Iran who feel threatened by what they perceive as stronger regional or global powers may continue to use terrorist groups as proxies for the next few years. "States such as Pakistan and Iran feel threatened by what they perceive as stronger, threatening powers in their regions or globally," said the fifth installment of the 'Global Trends 2030: Alternative Worlds' of National Intelligence Council. The report said that such states choose to exploit terrorist movements out of a strong sense of insecurity. "Therefore, they seek asymmetric options to assert power and deter attack; using terrorist groups as proxies and pursuing nuclear weapons are two such asymmetric tools. "However, international disapproval of state support for terrorist movements has increased significantly, and the costs to a regime of directly supporting terrorists looks set to become even greater as international cooperation increases," the report said.

FBI: US hate crimes down slightly in 2011 WASHINGTON: The FBI says the number of hate crimes reported to police in 2011 declined slightly compared to the previous year. Nearly half of the reported hate crimes in 2011 were motivated by racial bias, and one of every five hate crimes was motivated by a sexual orientation bias or religious bias. One in five was motivated by bias involving national origin or ethnicity.

Nearly 60 per cent of the people who allegedly committed hate crimes were white. Some 20 per cent were black. The FBI has been collecting information on hate crimes for more than two decades. The highest-recorded number of hate crimes was in 2001, when 9,730 such crimes were reported. Law enforcement agencies reported 6,222 hate crimes last year, compared to 6,628 in 2010 and 6,604 in 2009. -AP


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'No problem if Kabul seeks direct HSBC to pay USD 1.92 military help from India' bn for settling US probe WASHINGTON: The US has said it will have no problem if Afghanistan seeks any direct military assistance from India for its armed forces in dealing with security issues born out of insurgent activities in the country. "We have had discussions with the Indians about this issue and about the Afghans, and I don't see any particular problems with the overall approach here at all," a senior Defense Department official said here. The official, who requested anonymity, was responding to a question regarding a news report by an Indian newspaper, which said that Afghan military commanders and intelligence officials have begun urging India to provide direct military assistance to the country's fledgling armed forces. The report claimed that key military equipment including medium trucks with capacity of carrying 2.5-7 tonne cargos, bridgelaying equipment and engineering facilities, light mountain artillery

along with ordnance were sought by the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF). India was also requested to help Afghanistan build close airsupport capabilities for its troops

The report claimed that key military equipment including medium trucks with capacity of carrying 2.5-7 tonne cargos, bridge-laying equipment and light mountain artillery along with ordnance were sought in preparation of drastic scalingdown of western forces in 2014, it said. The official said the US and Afghanistan have jointly developed a "fairly aggressive" plan

that includes broad range of support from the international community for developing capabilities that Afghanistan needs to address security issues born out of insurgent activities. "We think it's important to continue working on the lines of that agreed plan," the official said, praising role played by India in Afghanistan. "India has been very supportive of Afghanistan in a wide range of areas. We think that's been very positive," the official said after the Pentagon submitted to the Congress a bi-yearly report on the progress being made in Afghanistan. Although India has been involved in major infrastructure projects in Afghanistan besides agreements on cooperation in fields like governance, economics and education, New Delhi may choose to broaden its reach into the investment as well as the development sector by bidding on future tenders for mineral extraction there, the paper commented. -PTI

Most Indians ignorant about privacy issues: Study NEW DELHI: Giving an insight into privacy perceptions in India in the wake of huge development in the IT sector, one of the first studies on the subject says a majority of people are ignorant about various privacy issues related to the Internet and online social media, including Facebook. "About 75 per cent of the participants had never read the privacy policy on any website that they interact with and about the same percentage of participants had never read the privacy policy of a website before sharing his/ her personal information," says the study conducted by Prof Ponnurangam Kumaraguru (PK) and Niharika Sachdeva for PreCog@IIIT-Delhi that claimed to have covered over 10,000 people in India. 'PreCog' is a group of researchers at the Indraprastha Institute of Information Technology, Delhi which studies, analyzes, builds and evaluates security and privacy aspects of complex networked systems like social networking sites, including Twitter and Facebook. The privacy awareness about issues in public places was also low, says the study entitled 'Pri-

vacy in India: Attitudes and Awareness V 2.0'. "Participants were not aware of various privacy issues related to cameras in public places, and others taking pictures in public places," it says. The participants, when asked about the first reactions for the word privacy, showed more con-

The participants, when asked about the first reactions for the word privacy, showed more concerns about privacy through mobile phones and Internet, than other forms of privacy issues cerns about privacy through mobile phones and Internet, than other forms of privacy issues -physical, territorial, work place, etc. Majority of them felt passwords to be the most protected Personally Identifiable Informa-

tion (PII) and then, financial information (bank, credit card details). "In comparison to this, religion, mobile phone number, and health related information were rated as less protected PII," says the study. In the context of mobile phones, privacy invasion through somebody specifically taking picture of the individual is of more concern than pictures/videos taken through CCTV and the likes, while about 40 per cent of the participants would never save/share personal information in/through e-mails, it says. The study also says the citizens have misinformed mental models of the privacy situation, as "participants felt there were privacy laws where as there is no privacy law in India." One of the patterns that was observed across participants was that, all of them felt very concerned about financial privacy. "We have developed an empirical understanding of privacy perceptions and awareness with a sample of 10,427 participants across India; and have developed a bench-mark for privacy perceptions through this study," say the authors. -PTI

LONDON: Global banking ma- ment. jor HSBC will pay a whopping As per the US Senate report in USD 1.92 billion to US authorities July, HSBC indulged in transacfor settling alleged violations of tions worth billions of dollars -money laundering, terror-financ- that exposed US financial system ing and sanction laws. to risks -- mainly due to poor risk The settlement announced by control systems at the bank. HSBC brings an end to probe iniHSBC has also reached agreetiated by US authorities following US Senate allegations that the Lon- Admitting responsibility for don-headquartered bank had exposed the "past mistakes", HSBC said it American financial sys- has reached an agreement tem to various terror-fi- with US authorities in relation nancing, money laundering and drug traf- to investigations into inadequate compliance with ficking activities. Admitting responsi- anti-money laundering laws bility for "past mistakes", HSBC said it has reached an agreement with US ment to achieve a global resoluauthorities in relation to investi- tion with all other US government gations into inadequate compli- agencies that have investigated ance with anti-money laundering its past conduct related to these and sanctions laws. issues. A Deferred Prosecution AgreeThe banking entity said it exment (DPA) also has been reached pects to finalize an undertaking with the US Department of Jus- with the UK Financial Services tice, among others. Authority shortly. "Under these agreements, "We accept responsibility for HSBC will make payments total- our past mistakes. We have said ing USD 1.921 billion, continue to we are profoundly sorry for them, cooperate fully with regulatory and we do so again," HSBC Group and law enforcement authori- Chief Executive Stuart Gulliver ties...," the bank said in a state- said.-PTI

US-Russian team inspects Indian stations in Antarctica WASHINGTON: A joint US- the stations are implementing relRussian team has concluded a 10- evant environmental rules and day trip to inspect foreign re- that facilities are used only for search stations in Antarctica, in- peaceful purposes - honoring the cluding those of India. Treaty's prohibition on measures Besides inspecting the two In- of a military nature. dian stations - Bharati and Maitri This inspection effort was fathe joint team also inspected sites cilitated by a Memorandum of Unof other countries as part of the derstanding on Cooperation in collaboration between the two countries announced this September. Officials from the US The other stations Department of State and the visited were Princess Russian Federation Ministry Elisabeth (Belgium), Syowa (Japan), Troll of Foreign Affairs led the (Norway) and inspection, which is the Zhongshan (China). second phase of a "The US appreciates the assistance pro- two-phase process vided by the personnel at all of the visited stations," a Antarctica signed by Secretary of State Department statement said. State Hillary Clinton and the RusThe joint inspection was con- sian Foreign Minister Sergey ducted pursuant to the Antarctic Lavrov last September. Treaty of 1959 and its EnvironOfficials from the US Departmental Protocol, which was de- ment of State and the Russian Fedsigned to review compliance with eration Ministry of Foreign AfAntarctic Treaty system rules fairs led the inspection, which is and regulations. the second phase of a two-phase This included verification that process.-PTI


„ Health

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RI suspends nurse's license over drug recall

NORTH PROVIDENCE, R.I.: Rhode Island's health director has suspended the license of a nurse practitioner who the state says failed to quarantine recalled products from a Massachusetts specialty pharmacy linked to a deadly meningitis outbreak. Health director Michael Fine announced that he suspended Gerald Dornhecker's license after inspectors found recalled products from New England Compounding Center in patient rooms at the business he works for, Skin Essentials, a North Providence wellness spa. Products from New England Compounding Center were recalled following a meningitis outbreak linked to steroid injections it prepared. -AP

„ Flu vaccines available for uninsured children NASHVILLE, Tenn.: Children covered by TennCare and children without insurance that covers the flu vaccine can get vaccinated at county health department clinics for only a small administrative fee. The Tennessee Health Department says children will not be turned away if parents cannot afford the fee. The flu vaccine is especially important for people at high risk for serious illness or death from influenza, which includes young children. Health Commissioner John Dreyzehner warned in a news release that it is very important for people who have not yet received an annual flu vaccination to get one right away. -AP

„ Nearly 200 released as result of drug lab scandal BOSTON: Nearly 200 inmates have been released from prison and their cases put on hold as a result of a Massachusetts state drug testing lab scandal. Public Safety Secretary Mary Beth Heffernan told lawmakers at a public hearing that while investigators are looking at about 34,000 cases overall, 195 individuals have been released, 79 in Boston. Heffernan said their release doesn't mean they have been exonerated. She didn't say what kinds of crimes they had been convicted of, but said they could be under alternative forms of supervision as they await future court hearings to resolve their cases. -AP

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Global efforts needed to curb allergic diseases: Azad HYDERABAD: Highlighting the massive rise in allergic diseases across the world, Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad has said combined efforts should be made by experts from different countries to address the issue Details on page 14

Proponents seek end to ban on abortion coverage in military WASHINGTON: Proponents of ending the ban on women in the military using their health insurance to pay for abortions in cases of rape and incest stepped up the political pressure, insisting that this year's defense bill be used to finally lift the prohibition. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., chief sponsor of a provision in Senate legislation, and two retired Army officers described the current law preventing insurance coverage as morally and economically unfair to the more than 214,000 women serving in the U.S. military. They promised to lobby the chief House and Senate negotiators to end the ban. The Senate passed its version of the defense bill and now must reconcile it with the House measure, which does not include the abortion provision. Three of the four top negotiators - Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Rep. Adam Smith, D-Wash. - favor lifting the ban. On the eve of negotiations, a bipartisan group of eight senators and House members sent a letter to Levin, McCain, Smith and House Armed Services Committee Chairman Howard ``Buck'' McKeon, RCalif., urging them to lift the ban. ``The Department of Defense is

'The Department of Defense is making great strides to provide additional opportunities to women. However, repealing this inequitable restriction on female service members' health care can only be accomplished by congressional action' making great strides to provide additional opportunities to women. However, repealing this inequitable restriction on female service members' health care can only be accomplished by congressional action,'' the lawmakers wrote. Among those signing the letter were Shaheen, Sens. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., Scott Brown, R-Mass., and Rep. Chris Gibson, R-N.Y., all mem-

bers of the Armed Services panels. In 2005, facing conservative pressure, negotiators dropped the provision. Shaheen said it won't happen this time. ``We are watching. The women in the military are watching. Women across this country are watching,'' she told reporters at a Capitol Hill news conference. ``This is a matter of equity, it's a

matter of doing the right thing for the women who are serving in our military.'' Lawmakers will have to decide the issue after a fierce electionyear debate about women's rights and abortion. Current law allows the Defense Department to provide insurance coverage for abortions only in cases in which the life of the mother is endangered. In May, the Senate Armed Services Committee voted 16-10 for Shaheen's amendment to the bill expanding the coverage to cases of rape and incest. ``It is an indefensible law,'' said retired Maj. Gen. Gale Pollock, who served in the Army for 36 years and was acting surgeon general for the service in 2007. Shaheen pointed out that federal employees can receive insurance coverage for abortion in cases of rape and incest and even women who are incarcerated get coverage in cases of rape. The issue also is costly as enlisted women with less than two years of service make about $17,892 a year. Retired Maj. Gen. Dennis Laich said the current law betrays the trust between the American people and those who serve ``by providing our servicewomen with second-class health coverage.'' -AP

Rare blood group stock with blood banks now online AHMEDABAD: Search for rarest of rare blood group availability in blood banks of Gujarat is now a click away with a new feature on Gujarat FDCA portal, a top health official said. "We uploaded a new feature on our portal that enables people to locate blood banks having the rarest of rare blood groups in case of an emergency," Gujarat Food & Drug Control Administration (GFDCA) Commissioner H G Koshia told PTI. "By logging onto our portal one can find quantity of

the particular blood group stock available with a blood bank. This e-governance feature has

that could further speed up the search and shorten time for blood availability. As part of its e-governance ini-

'We uploaded a new feature on our portal that enables people to locate blood banks having the rarest of rare blood groups in case of an emergency' been added in view of public safety," he said. The state drug regulator is also in the process of developing a SMS model of this facility

tiative, the Gujarat FDCA has developed an SMS alert system through which all the stakeholders in the state can be notified of the recalled fake drugs. It also is-

sues drug licenses online. This cost-effective model was launched in the state earlier this year to protect the patients from spurious drugs. Meanwhile, Gujarat FDCA has joined hands with UK's Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) for strengthening, knowledge sharing, and develop better understanding of the regulatory procedures like inspection skills. "We have joined hands with UK's MHRA for training, inspection and knowledge sharing," Koshia said. -PTI


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US files to dismiss Oklahoma health care lawsuit OKLAHOMA CITY: Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt's lawsuit challenging the federal health care overhaul amounts only to a ``difference of opinion'' and should be dismissed, lawyers for the federal government say. Pruitt is challenging the health care law's implementation. Lawyers for the federal government filed papers urging U.S. District Judge Ronald White to throw out the case. They said that Pruitt has asked the court to resolve ``abstract questions of political power, of sovereignty, of government'' involving the Affordable Care Act rather than litigate personal or property rights or sovereign rights that are actually threatened, ``Oklahoma's reading of the Affordable Care Act presents only a `difference of opinion' between the state and the federal government, not a case or controversy,'' the motions filed in U.S. District Court in Muskogee states. ``Under these principles, Oklahoma lacks standing to litigate any of the counts in its amended complaint.'' The government's motion says that while the state's lawsuit is creative at times, it offers nothing more

than conjecture and speculation while challenging the new health care law. The motion says the state does not have legal standing to sue the federal government on behalf of its citizens ``because the federal government is presumed to represent the state's citizens.''

The case remained dormant while the U.S. Supreme Court decided a separate lawsuit filed earlier by Florida and 25 other states that also challenged the law Pruitt, a Republican former state senator and frequent critic of federal government policies under Democratic President Barack Obama, filed the lawsuit in January 2011 shortly after he took office. It challenged the constitutionality of the federal law and its requirement that all Americans purchase private health insurance or pay a penalty.

But the case remained dormant while the U.S. Supreme Court decided a separate lawsuit filed earlier by Florida and 25 other states that also challenged the law and its individual mandate. In a 5-4 vote, the nation's highest court upheld the health care law on June 28. Pruitt amended his lawsuit to challenge a new Internal Revenue Service rule that will help implement the law. The amended complaint seeks recognition that a voter-approved amendment to the Oklahoma Constitution protects citizens from mandated purchases of health care. It also alleges that federal regulations and plans to create online insurance marketplaces do not comply with the Administrative Procedures Act and should be invalidated. The insurance exchanges, a key component of the health care law, will allow people to shop for health insurance and buy policies. Oklahoma and some other Republicancontrolled states have resisted setting up new online marketplaces. The law allows the U.S. Health and Human Services secretary to establish exchanges in states that choose not to. -AP

Ohio House clears rules for health 'navigators' COLUMBUS, Ohio: Ohio lawmakers moved quickly to pass a bill setting training and certification requirements for a new group of professionals who will help guide consumers through the new health insurance exchange. The so-called health navigators, who may work for community groups, for example, will help educate consumers and small businesses about the new online markets created by the federal health care law. Through these online exchanges, consumers will be able to buy individual private policies and apply for government subsidies to help pay their premiums. The exchanges open for business Jan. 1, 2014, but open enrollment for insurance plans begins Oct. 1 of next year. Ohio's bill requires navigators to pass criminal background checks and specifies what navigators cannot do, such as sell, solicit or negotiate health insurance. Rep. Barbara Sears, the bill's sponsor, says the measure would serve as a blueprint as the state moves forward to meet the federal requirements. The bill cleared a legislative committee before the full Ohio House passed it on a 56-32 vote.

The measure now heads to the Senate, where it will be shuffled into the flurry of last-minute, lameduck session action. The state Department of Insurance supports the proposed regulations. Ohio has opted for a partnership with the federal government to run the exchange but

Ohio's bill requires navigators to pass criminal background checks and specifies what navigators cannot do, such as sell, solicit or negotiate health insurance doesn't intend to run its own navigator program. An official with the insurance department told lawmakers Ohio can regulate navigators without running its own program. ``Running the navigator program and regulating those participating in it could create a difficult, if not inappropriate, relationship,'' said Michael Farley, department assistant director for legislative affairs. -AP


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December 21, 2012

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Wyoming lawmakers say Medicaid expansion unlikely CHEYENNE, Wyo.: Some key Wyoming lawmakers say they see little chance the Legislature will expand the Medicaid program in coming months now that Gov. Matt Mead has recommended against doing so. Mead rolled out his budget recommendations advocating against accepting $50 million in federal funds to expand the low-income health care program. The expansion proposal is a cornerstone of the federal Affordable Care Act. Wyoming has about 77,000 people on Medicaid, and the proposed expansion could add another 30,000 by raising eligibility limits. The Wyoming program currently costs about $500 million a year, split evenly between the state and federal governments. Despite the federal government's promise to pick up the bulk of expansion costs for the first few years, Mead said he

doubts it can be trusted to stick with any long-term commitment. He said the ultimate decision on whether to accept the federal funds lies with the Legislature, which convenes in January. Mead, a Republican, had pressed U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius repeatedly for information about how Wyoming would implement the new federal programs. He said a lack of any response was a factor in his announcement that Wyoming wouldn't meet a recent federal deadline to specify whether it would operate a health insurance exchange program under the health care law. Rep. Keith Gingery, R-Jackson, serves on the House Labor, Health and Social Services Committee. He said he believes Wyoming has no choice but to reject Medicaid expansion because of

the federal government's refusal to answer Mead's questions. ``I believe the governor has taken the right course of action in asking many of the questions Wyoming has to the Department

Wyoming was among the states that launched a constitutional challenge to the Affordable Care Act. The Supreme Court upheld the law this summer of Health and Human Services,'' Gingery said. ``He hasn't gotten back those answers, and until we do, I don't think we can make a sound decision.''

Sen. Tony Ross, R-Cheyenne, will serve as Senate president next year. ``Medicaid expansion is a tough pill to swallow in many respects,'' he said, also citing Mead's objections. Ross said he believes the Legislature needs to discuss the prospect of expanding the program but that ``it's awfully premature, in my opinion, to jump onto that bandwagon right now.'' Sen. Phil Nicholas, R-Laramie, is outgoing chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee. He said he believes Mead's recommendation against the expansion likely settles the issue for state lawmakers. Wyoming was among the states that launched a constitutional challenge to the Affordable Care Act. The Supreme Court upheld the law this summer. Nicholas said he doesn't believe the overwhelmingly Repub-

lican Wyoming Legislature is likely to oppose Medicaid expansion merely because of friction between the political parties. ``I think you have a large group of people saying, `Enough on the entitlement programs, and any expansion is dangerous,''' he said. House Minority Floor Leader Rep. Patrick Goggles, D-Ethete, said he believes most Wyoming Republicans believed they should wait until after the presidential election before deciding on how to proceed. Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney had pledged to repeal the law if elected. ``And having not done an analysis prior to this, I would see them as hard-pressed to run any kind of a successful program at this point,'' Goggles said. He said taking a year to analyze the situation is probably a cautious but necessary step for the state. -AP

Global efforts needed to curb Male fertility under threat as sperm count drops allergic diseases: Azad

Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad

HYDERABAD: Highlighting the massive rise in allergic diseases across the world, Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad has said combined efforts should be made by experts from different countries to address the issue. Addressing the inaugural program of the World Allergy Organization's four-day international scientific conference here, he said 300 million people suffer from asthma globally and it causes the death of 2,50,000 people annually. He pointed out that 400 million people suffer from rhinitis, 200 to 250 million people suffer from food allergies and one tenth of the population from drug allergies. Azad said 20 to 30 per cent of people in India have one or more allergic diseases and their prevalence is rising day by day.

Experts from high, middle and low income countries should come together to develop common strategies to find solutions at the lev-

He pointed out that 400 million people suffer from rhinitis, 200 to 250 million people suffer from food allergies and one tenth of the population from drug allergies els of policy, healthcare delivery and education, the minister said. The scourge of diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, cancer and

chronic respiratory diseases is posing a challenge to healthcare practitioners, administrators and policy makers in terms of the increasing complexity of treatment, life-long management and rising demand for more resources, he said. Talking about the complex nature of allergic diseases and factors which contribute to their growth, Azad said that greater awareness is needed among primary care physicians and specialists to attend to them. Observing that greater degree of cooperation is required among healthcare professionals worldwide, he said India would join hands with other nations, international groups and scientific and other professional bodies to address the public health issue of non-communicable diseases. Nearly 1,500 delegates from around the world are attending the conference to discuss the rise of allergic diseases as a global public health problem and exchange information on their prevention and treatment. The event's theme, 'Severe Allergies, Severe Asthma: New Strategies for Treatment and Prevention', was developed to address the challenge of the worldwide increase in allergic diseases and asthma, the organizers said. Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy, state ministers and Ruby Pawankar, President of World Allergy Organization, were present on the occasion. -PTI

LONDON: The reproductive health of the average male is in sharp decline as the number and quality of sperms have decreased drastically during last two decades, a new study has warned. A comprehensive research into the reproductive health of 26,600 men in France found sperm concentration has decreased by a third since the 1990s. The study found there had been a "significant and continuous" 32.2 per cent decrease in sperm concentration over 17 years, 'The Telegraph' reported. Numbers of sperm per milliliter of semen fell at about two per cent a year between 1989 and 2005, with researchers calculating the average 35-year-old man would see his sperm count reduced from around 73.6 million per milliliter of semen to 49.9 million. The proportion of normally formed sperm declined by about a third at the same time. French researchers said the study was the first to identify a long-term "severe and general decrease" in sperm concentration and quality at the scale of a whole country. "This constitutes a serious public health warning. The link with the environment particularly needs to be determined," researchers said. Scientists analyzed data from semen samples collected from 126 fertility clinics throughout France. The couples involved were seeking treatment because of female problems rather than obvious difficulties linked to sperm, the report said.

"The decline in semen concentration shown in our study means that the average values we have for 2005 fall within the 'fertile' range for men according the definition of the World Health Organization," said researcher Dr Joelle Le Moal from the Institut de Veille Sanitaire in Saint Maurice. "However, this is just an average, and there were men in the

This is just an average, and there were men in the study who fell beneath the WHO values. The 2005 values are lower than the 55 million per milliliter threshold, below which sperm concentration is expected to influence the time it takes to conceive study who fell beneath the WHO values. The 2005 values are lower than the 55 million per milliliter threshold, below which sperm concentration is expected to influence the time it takes to conceive," Le Moal said. The study also showed the proportion of active or "motile" sperm rose slightly from 49.5 per cent to 53.6 per cent. -PTI


December 21, 2012

Health Science Post

India Post

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Hospital tech indicted in hepatitis C outbreak CONCORD, N.H.: A traveling hospital worker accused of stealing drugs and infecting patients with hepatitis C through contaminated syringes faces new federal charges in New Hampshire. David Kwiatkowski, whom prosecutors describe as a ``serial infector,'' was arrested in July and charged with one count each of illegally obtaining drugs and tampering with a consumer product. A federal grand jury indicted him on 14 charges - seven counts of tampering with a consumer product and seven counts of illegally obtaining drugs. The indictment against Kwiatkowski, who remains in custody, replaces the earlier charges. Until May, Kwiatkowski worked as a cardiac technologist at Exeter Hospital, where 32 patients were diagnosed with the same strain of hepatitis C he carries. Before that, he worked as a traveling technologist in 18 hospitals in seven states, moving from job to job despite having been fired twice over allegations of drug use and theft. Thousands of patients in 18

hospitals in Arizona, Georgia, Kansas, Maryland, Michigan, New York and Pennsylvania have since been tested for hepatitis C, a blood-borne viral infection that can cause liver disease and chronic health issues. In addition to the New Hampshire patients, a

Kwiatkowski, who pleaded not guilty to the original charges, told investigators he was innocent and suggested that a coworker had planted a fentanyl syringe found in his car handful of patients in Kansas and one in Maryland have been found to carry the strain Kwiatkowski carries. In Exeter, Kwiatkowski is accused of stealing fentanyl, injecting himself and then re-filling the tainted syringes with saline to be used on patients.

The new charges refer to seven incidents between January and March, and were handed up after prosecutors were twice given more time to present the case to the grand jury. In requesting the delays, prosecutors said they were still conducting interviews and complex scientific analysis in multiple states, though the indictments only address Kwiatkowski's time in Exeter. Kwiatkowski, who pleaded not guilty to the original charges, told investigators he was innocent and suggested that a co-worker had planted a fentanyl syringe found in his car. His lawyer, Bjorn Lange, said he hadn't yet read the indictment and had no comment on the new charges. Exeter Hospital officials have said that while employees raised concerns about Kwiatkowski's appearance - some described him as shaky and sweaty - none suspected him of diverting medication. In each case, Kwiatkowski provided plausible explanations related to either personal medical issues or family crises, the hospital said. -AP

Tea partiers oppose state-run health exchange NASHVILLE, Tenn.: Tea party protesters gathered outside the state Capitol to call on Republican Gov. Bill Haslam to reject the creation of a state-run health insurance exchange under President Barack Obama's health care overhaul. About 300 protesters were joined by a handful of GOP lawmakers and talk radio personalities. Throughout the nearly two-hour rally, protesters chanted ``just say no,'' and many held signs stating the same. Tennessee is one of 10 states yet to decide whether it will run its own health insurance marketplace, let the federal government handle it or choose a hybrid of the two. The deadline to decide is Dec. 14. Protester Micah Forrest of Murfreesboro said the federal government should do it. ``They're the ones that passed the law ... let them figure out how to run it,'' said Forrest, who owns a business. Haslam told reporters earlier that while he personally opposes the federal health care law, he wants to be certain to choose the insurance exchange that best fits Tennessee. ``We have to do what's right

for us,'' he said. ``And I think we have a certain advantage because we've been in TennCare for so long and have had folks working on this. I think the people of Tennessee want me to make the most thoughtful decision we can.'' Haslam stressed that even if he decides to proceed with a staterun marketplace, the measure would still have to be approved in the Legislature, where there appears to be little appetite for appearing to agree with any element of the health care law. Asked whether a state-run exchange would be a tough sale for the Haslam administration, Haslam responded: ``No question.'' Senate Republican Caucus Chairman Bill Ketron of Murfreesboro agreed. He noted how the six newly elected state senators opposed the health care law in mailings during their campaigns. ``The first bullet point on all six of their mail pieces said that they will not support Obamacare, so you can't expect them to come back on their first vote and go against what they promised their constituents to get elected,'' said Ketron, who spoke at the rally. -AP


Desi News Bal Vihar celebrates Diwali with great enthusisam RAJ IYER & ASHWIN PATEL

ST LOUIS: President Obama has observed that on the occasion of Diwali, "here at home and across the globe, Hindus, Jains, Sikhs and some Buddhists will celebrate the holiday of Diwali the Festival of Lights, and we join them wholeheartedly." In St. Louis, Mo, on November 17, Center for Indian Cultural Education, Bal Vihar of St Louis celebrated Diwali and Hindu New Year with over 600 participants that included children and their parents, performing puja in the Hindu temple of St. Louis and enjoying the New Year with fireworks.

COMMUNITY ACROSS AMERICA

Details on page 22

16 India Post

VIDYA SETHURAMAN India Post News Service

SAN JOSE, CA: Jhalak Dreams 2012, 5th annual event of Indian Fusion Dance Academy was an eclectic evening comprising two parts held on December 8 at Mt. Pleasant High Auditorium, San Jose. The first half was Carnatic music vocal and Bharatanatyam performances by students of Kalanityam. The second half was a very unique and an extravagant production of Aladdin Bollywood style. The production was enacted by students and teachers of Indian Fusion Dance Academy (IFDA).

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December 21, 2012

Air India baggage changes favor travelers AQ SIDDIQUI India Post News Service

Details on page 18

Jhalak Dreams showcases young talent

Wells Fargo sponsors showing of 'Talaash'

CHICAGO: Air India has amended its baggage policy by enhancing overweight and excess baggage fees on its transatlantic India services for all tickets issued after Nov 15. For First and Executive 2 pieces of 70 lbs (32kgs) per piece is permitted. Each additional piece up to 50 lbs (23kgs) will be charged USD 200. The total linear dimensions (length+breadth+width) of each piece is to be within 158cms (62 inches). For Economy 2 pieces of 50 lbs (23kgs) per piece is permitted. Each additional piece up to 50 lbs (23Kgs) will be charged USD200. Any check-in piece between 51 to 70 lbs (23kgs to 32kgs) will be charged additional USD 100 per piece. The total linear dimension (length+breadth+width) of each piece is to be within 158cms (62 inches). Yet, both pieces put to-

gether should be within 273 cms (107 inch). The following will be considered one piece irrespective of its dimen-

pack; one duffle type bag or a softsided zippered bag with zippered side panel; one pair of portable musical instrument not exceeding

Carry-on /hand-baggage for all the classes of travel is 1 piece of maximum 8 kgs (17.6 lbs). Laptop or ladies purse permitted, subject to small size. The linear dimensions should not exceed 55cms (22 inch) by 40 cms (16 inch) by 20 cms (8 inch) sions: One sleeping bag or bedroll; one rucksack, knapsack or back-

100cms (39 inch); one golf bag with clubs and one pair of golf shoes;

and other sporting equipment. For non-US tickets the checked-in baggage allowance for international travel is First - 40 kgs (88 lbs); Executive - 30 kgs (66lbs); Economy - 20 kgs (44 lbs). For domestic travel First - 40 kgs (88lbs), Executive - 35kgs (77 lbs), Economy - 25 kgs (55lbs). Infants not allowed a seat - 10kgs (22lbs) for a collapsible stroller or car seat or carrycot/basket. In UK and elsewhere no piece can exceed 32kgs, even with payment of excess baggage charges. Additional seat can be paid for at non-rebated/non-child fare for unchecked/carry-on baggage of sensitive nature. Carry-on /hand-baggage for all the classes of travel is 1 piece of maximum 8 kgs (17.6 lbs). Laptop or ladies purse permitted, subject to small size. The linear dimensions should not exceed 55cms (22 inch) by 40 cms (16 inch) by 20 cms (8 inch). Cont’d on page 19

Details on page 20

Students join hands for service through music VIDYA SETHURAMAN India Post News Service

SAN JOSE, CA: Youth Service through Cultural Arts was founded by four musically inclined high school students Ashwin Srikant, Divya Moan, Gopal Ravindhran and Vignesh Thyagarajan in July 2012 in Bay area. They share a passion for Indian Classical music and have join hands to serve the community using cultural arts. YSTCA plans to raise funds for deserving organizations by arranging music/ dance events. Their inaugural event was held on December 8 in Chapel auditorium, Dominican Sisters of Mission San Jose. Details on page 21

NY taxi drivers celebrate legal triumph India Post News Service

NEW YORK: Taxi drivers have succeeded in opposing the Metropolitan Taxicab Board of Trade's legal challenge to the new TLC lease cap rules enacted as part of this year's fare raise increase. MTBOT, a garage owners association, filed a lawsuit challenging the firsttime lease cap on the amount taxi agents can charge to drivers who lease both a medallion and to purchase the vehicle. These "Driver-Owned-Vehicle" drivers are the biggest segment of lease drivers. The MBOT's lawsuit was

the only hold up to the full implementation of the new fare increase rules, the first one since 2004. The taxi companies' lawsuit was

Bhairavi Desai

filed against the Taxi and Limousine Commission, and alleged that

the new lease cap rules violated the contract clause of the United States Constitution. The New York Taxi Workers

vened as a defendant in the lawsuit to defend the regulations and protect the drivers' whose livelihoods were at stake. The MTBOT has now withdrawn the case with prejuThese "Driverdice. As a result, effective Owned-Vehicle" immediately, all drivers should be charged no drivers are the bigmore than at the TLC-regugest segment of lated lease cap. NYTWA is encouraging all drivers to lease drivers. The bring in their lease copies MBOT's lawsuit was to make sure their rights are being preserved. the only hold up to Executive Director the full implementa- Bhairavi Desai of the tion of the new fare 16,000-member New York Taxi Workers Alliance isincrease rules, the sued the following statefirst one since 2004 ment: "We are ecstatic that hard-working taxi drivers Alliance, represented by the law have prevailed. Cont’d on page 19 firm of Sheppard Mullin, inter-


December 21, 2012

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India Post 17

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INOC USA Tamil Nadu Chapter launched India Post News Service

NEW YORK: The Tamil Nadu wing of the Indian National Overseas Congress USA (INOC-USA) was inaugurated here by former Union Minister S Thirunavukkarasar at a gala function held in the presence of Indian National Congress dignitaries from South India. Inaugurating the Tamil Nadu Chapter, the former MP and Minister said Indian-Americans who are ambassadors of goodwill should promote business ties between the two nations taking advantage of the pro-liberalization policies of the UPA government headed by Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh. "Dr Manmohan Singh had ushered in a new era in Indian politics since independence in terms of economic development and India is now looked up in awe by most nations. He has enhanced the prestige and image of India in the comity of nations," he said. He appreciated the glory and respect all Indians in America have added to India in their various fields. He emphasized the

vast scope in business and service sectors both countries could play in furthering these endeavors through IT, power, technology, investments, education, or medicine. Octogenarian party stalwart

Committee President, in his presidential address said Tamil Nadu was a forerunner in Indian freedom struggle with the formation of Native Association in Triplicane, Chennai in 1852, almost 33 years before the launch

Guest of Honor Kumari Ananthan traced the historic roots of the Indian National Congress from its birth in 1885 through its growth in then British India delivering in powerful eulogy the landmark steps taken

George Abraham, Vazhapadi Rama Suganthan, Kumari Ananthan, John Joseph, Thirunavukkarasar Mathappan and Shudh Parkash Singh

Kumari Ananthan, former MP and former Tamil Nadu Congress

of the Congress on Dec 28, 1885 in then Calcutta.

by many Tamil Nadu rulers, leaders including poets in bringing

the so many divisions and people together, remembering among them G. Subramania Iyer, Mahakavi Bharthi, Kamaraj and Sathyamoorthy and recalling the role of Mahatma Gandhi in the freedom movement. Vazhapadi Rama Suganthan, Youth Congress leader and son of former Union Minister Vazhapadi Ramamurthy, said Gandhi being the earliest NRI who went to South Africa to work as an attorney, it was appropriate that Congress President Sonia Gandhi launched the Indian National Overseas Congress - USA in New York in 2001.Madhappan, former Palakode MLA from Tamil Nadu offered his felicitations. John Joseph, a Long Island medical entrepreneur from Amity Harbor, Long Island, New York was installed as president of the state wing. The launch of the Tamil Nadu Chapter INOC(I) was formalized by the handing over of the official Letter of Appointment by George Abraham John Joseph in the presence of all chief guests and INOC (I) Executive Committee members and chapter presidents. Cont’d on page 20


18 India Post

Community Across America

December 21, 2012

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Bal Vihar celebrates Diwali with great enthusisam RAJ IYER & ASHWIN PATEL

ST LOUIS: President Obama has observed that on the occasion of Diwali, "here at home and across the globe, Hindus, Jains, Sikhs and some Buddhists will celebrate the holiday of Diwali - the Festival of Lights, and we join them wholeheartedly." In St. Louis, Mo, on November 17, Center for Indian Cultural Education, Bal Vihar of St Louis celebrated Diwali and Hindu New Year with over 600 participants that included children and their parents, performing puja in the Hindu temple of St. Louis and enjoying the New Year with fireworks. As a tradition, Bal Vihar school has been

For the parents, it is an opportunity to give their children a flavor of what Diwali in India would be like. The biggest attraction of the day (or rather evening) is surely the fireworks

Children and particiatnts doing puja

celebrating this event since 1992. Diwali is the biggest event of Bal Vihar and one that the kids and parents look forward to. For the parents, it is an opportunity to give their children a flavor of what Diwali in India would be like. The biggest attraction of the day (or rather evening) is surely the fireworks. Each child and parent offered puja to Goddess of Wealth, Laxmi, and chanted bhajans. This event was followed by carry out dinner for all who participated in the event. Under the supervision of parents, children enjoyed the fireworks, thanks to local businesses and some Bal Vihar parents who contributed to the occasion. The Hindu Temple provided the facility for this festival and made it a memorable event for children and their parents.

Fireworks enjoyed by children and all

Each child and parent offered puja to Goddess of Wealth, Laxmi, and chanted bhajans. This event was followed by carry out dinner for all who participated in the event Center of Indian Cultural Education, Bal Vihar of St. Louis, a premier educational institution of Mo, fosters Asian Indian cultural values in children. Founded in 1992, this organization is preparing the future citizens, achievers of America, to understand and apply Asian Indian culture, its heritage and values for the best in the community.


December 21, 2012

Community Across America

India Post 19

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5 Rutgers profs named fellows of top science association tifically or socially distinguished. Joining 52 previous Rutgers NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ: Five fellows, the new inductees will reRutgers professors are among 702 ceive an official certificate and a gold and blue roscholars that the sette pin SaturAmerican Assoday, Feb. 16, at the ciation for the AdAAAS Fellows vancement of SciForum during the ence (AAAS) has 2013 AAAS Anelevated to the nual Meeting in rank of fellow. The Boston, Mass. pre-eminent naThe new Rutgers tional scientific AAAS fellows organization seare: lects fellows M o n i c a based on their efDriscoll, Departforts in advancing ment of Molecular science or fosterBiology and Bioing applications Monica Driscoll chemistry, School considered scienIndia Post News Service

of Arts and Sciences. Driscoll investigates the fundamental biology of aging and the neurodegenerative process. She focuses on mechanisms that can protect against catastrophic neuronal loss occurring as a result of nerve cell injury, neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson's and Alzheimer's, or the age-related decline of cell and tissue systems. Driscoll and her team are known as leaders in the field of healthspan genetics, a new area of science focused on determining strategies for prolonging efficient youthful-like functions and creating a higher quality of life for a longer period of time. The association cited Driscoll

Air India baggage changes favor travelers Cont’d from page 16

It is particularly important to note that valuable and important items like personal medicine (with prescription copy), jewelry, money, travel and securities documents, fragile or perishable permitted goods, portable electronic devices, heirlooms, house and car keys must not be checked-in, and carried in the handbag. If for any reason the handbag is excessive in size or heavier than permitted, the same will be taken at the boarding gate and checked-in with Limited Release and No Liability tag. Passengers must remember to take out medicines and valuables as once checked-in these bags cannot be retrieved till the final destination. These bags must be locked, and keys kept safely in purse as the bags may not be accessible in transit stations. Traveling light is most recommended. "Smaller and lighter is always better". Especially for the aged, infirm/incapacitated passengers and family traveling with infants. Passengers on wheelchairs should not carry anything more than required medicines and travel documents for their safety and convenience. Airlines pay handling charges to airport service providers for wheelchairs. It must be noted that baggage poses health and safety risks during any emergency situation. Family of aged parents and infants must be considerate in this

respect. India has seen a consumer resurgence which ensures availability of global goods at affordable prices. Many of the electronic items and phones do not work in India with its different specification. The New Year is full of promises and excitement back home. Festivals like Sankranti and Holi will add color and verve in the months ahead. A brief summary of coming fes-

It must be noted that baggage poses health and safety risks during any emergency situation. Family of aged parents and infants must be considerate in this respect tivities for the first few months is presented for ready reference: 12/25/2012 - Christmas (Birth of Lord Jesus) 1/05/2013 - Guru Gobind Singh birthday (Guru Granth sahib - holy book of Sikhs was dictated) 1/14/2013 - Makar Sakranti (Thanksgiving to Mother Nature for an abundance of crops, well being and prosperity). 1/24/2013 - Milad-un-Nabi (Birthday of Prophet Muhammad

as celebrated by the Sunni sect) 1/29/2013 - Milad-un-Nabi (Birthday of Prophet Muhammad as celebrated by the Shia sect) 2/15/2013 - Vasant Panchami (Spring season and birth of Goddess Saraswati - The Goddess of Learning and Education) 3/10/2013 - Maha Shivratri (Lord Shiva performed 'Tandava', the dance of the primal creation, preservation and destruction) 3/14/2013 - Nanakshahi New Year (Sikh New Year commemorating Guru Nanak - founder of Sikhism) 3/16/2013 - Shushan Purim (Jewish day of fun, joy and celebration) 3/21/2013 - Jamshed-e-Navroz (Parsi-Zoroastrian New Year symbolic of rejuvenation and rebirth) 3/27/2013 - Holi (Festival of colors. End of winter. Holi fire to cleanse the air of evil spirits and bad vibes) 3/31/2013 - Easter Sunday (Resurrection of Lord Jesus) 4/20/2013 - Ramanavami (Birth of Lord Rama, Revered Hindu God, redeemer from evil) 4/23/2013 - Mahavira Jayanti (Birth of Lord Mahavira - the last Tirthankara of Jainism) 4/25/2013 - Hanuman Jayanti (Birth of Lord Hanuman - Huge following of the prime devotee of Lord Rama, an embodiment of loyalty, strength and energy) 5/25/2013 - Buddha Purnima (Birth and Enlightenment of Lord Gautam Buddha)

Yogesh Jaluria

evator shafts in high rise buildings. Jaluria has also made contributions to materials processing, including thermal processing of polymers, fabricating thin films and optical fiber drawing. The association cited Jaluria "for outstanding pioneering contributions to the field of thermal science and engineering, particularly to materials processing, buoyancy-induced flows, fire spread, energy storage and environmental flows." Prof. Jaluria lives in Monroe Township

"for pioneering research in developmental neurogenics, molecular Jing Li, Department of Chemmechanisms of aging and the mo- istry and Chemical Biology, lecular genetics of neuronal cell School of Arts and Sciences. Li redeath." searches materials that are potenProf. Driscoll lives in Highland tially useful for clean and renewPark. able energy applications, includYogesh Jaluria, Department of ing solar electricity production, efMechanical and Aerospace Engi- ficient solid-state lighting, and neering, School of capturing harmful Engineering. gases from burnJaluria is a leading ing fossil fuel and authority in therconverting them mal science and back to fuel or into engineering, and other useful matehas been recogrials. Her work fonized for contricuses on underbutions to fundastanding the chemmental and apistry of new inorplied knowledge ganic materials of heat transfer and inorganic-orand fluid mechanganic hybrid mateics. He is particurials, including Jing Li larly recognized their design, synfor work on buoythesis and modifiancy-induced flows, such as the cation. She and her colleagues way warm water or air create cur- have discovered a nanostructured rents as they rise in a body of wa- semiconductor material family that ter or the atmosphere. These prin- may one day become a viable subciples have been useful in under- stitute for materials made with rare standing environmental phenom- earth elements, which are in high ena and the spread and growth of demand and short supply. fires in enclosed spaces, in parCont’d on page 20 ticular heat transport through el-

NY taxi drivers celebrate legal triumph Cont’d from page 16

The case was an unjust attack on the livelihoods of thousands of drivers who for years have suffered from predatory leasing practices and arbitrary overcharges. Even with the TLC numbers, drivers still bear a heavy burden $1,389 per week plus fuel (and vehicle maintenance and insurance) - before breaking even. "In the absence of lease cap regulations, those numbers were

even higher and always going up. In fact, for a $30,000 vehicle, taxi drivers would end up paying $60,000. This is a huge victory for taxi drivers. We extend a heartfelt thanks to our legal champions, our attorneys Dan Brown and his colleagues at Sheppard Mullin, for helping drive justice into the taxi industry. We call on all drivers to be vigilant in defending our rights and standing up against any lease cap violations."


Community Across America

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Jhalak Dreams showcases exceptional young talent VIDYA SETHURAMAN India Post News Service

SAN JOSE, CA: Jhalak Dreams 2012, 5th annual event of Indian Fusion Dance Academy was an eclectic evening comprising two parts held on December 8 at Mt. Pleasant High Auditorium, San Jose. The first half was Carnatic music vocal and Bharatanatyam performances by students of Kalanityam. The second half was a very unique and an extravagant production of Aladdin Bollywood style. The production was enacted by students and teachers of Indian Fusion Dance Academy (IFDA). The Academy was founded in 2006 by Selvi Pragasam who completed her Masters in dancing from the prestigious Kalaikaviri School of fine arts in South India. IFDA offers Classical, Folk, Bhangra and Bollyfusion dance classes along with Carnatic music and Yoga classes in Evergreen San Jose. The school's instructors are experts

bringing with them experience and quality. IFDA also is an organization that gives back to the community through its charitable fundraisers and special need programs. The

production was executed on a grand scale, complete with exquisite costumes, beautiful choreography, light effects and props along with exceptional young talent. Cont’d on page 21

5 Rutgers profs named fellows of top science association The association cited Parashar "for distinguished contributions to highperformance parallel and distributed computing and its application to the advancement of computational science and engineering." Prof. Parashar lives in Monmouth Junction

charged with updating the agricultural The association cited Li "for sciences major at contributions and innovative reRutgers, and recruitsearch in the development and aping new students to plications of multifunctional mathe major. terials, particularly inorganic-orThe association ganic hybrid semiconductors and cited Robson "for an microporous metal organic frameillustrious career in work compounds." exposure science Prof. Li lives in Cranbury that has changed Manish Parashar, Department agricultural pracMark Gregory Robson of Electrical and Computer Engitices and pesticide neering, School of Engineering. regulation while siParashar has made pioneering multaneously educating students, contributions to high-perforthe public and policy-makers." Mark Gregory Robson, dean of mance computing, specifically in Prof. Robson lives in parallel and distributed systems agricultural and urban programs in Jacobstown that run massive processing tasks the School of Environmental and About the AAAS on multiple comBiological SciFounded in 1848, the AAAS is ences, and profes- the world's largest general scientific puters. His work sor and extension society and works to advance scihas been applied to several scienspecialist in ento- ence for human well-being through tific and engineermology. Robson's its projects, programs and publicaresearch has fo- tions. The tradition of selecting ing fields, including seismic modelcused on the inter- AAAS fellows began in 1874. ing, combustion, action of human AAAS includes 261 affiliated biomedical beings and pesti- societies and academies of sciinformatics, cides, especially in ence, serving 10 million individuo c e a n o g r a p h y, developing coun- als. The association conducts tries. He examines many programs in the areas of sciastrophysics and plasma physics. policies that affect ence policy, science education and He has demonpesticide use on a international scientific cooperaManish Parashar strated expertise in global scale and tion. Its prestigious peer reviewed studies the risk as- journal Science has the largest data structures and algorithms, runtime manage- sessment process as it relates pub- paid circulation of any peer-rement and optimization, and pro- lic health and health policy. He viewed general science journal in gramming abstraction and soft- grew up on a farm in Burlington the world, with an estimated readCounty, New Jersey, and is ership of 1 million. ware infrastructures. Cont’d from page 19

INOC USA Tamil Nadu Chapter launched Cont’d from page 17

Kumari Ananthan garlanded John Joseph with the traditional Congress tricolor shawl. As the lamp was officially lit and program commenced with placing of traditional silk shawls and sandalwood garlands on guests of honor and dignitaries, George Abraham, President INOC (I) in welcoming address applauded the ancient great traditions, culture, arts and music of Tamil Nadu. He said the bringing together of all states under INOC(I) umbrella was marked by this launch and will continue after the launch of Karnataka Chapter recently by the then Foreign Minister SM Krishna. Rajasthan, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh chapters will also be unveiled. Among other noteworthy announcements made were that of the NRI Interface Council for the Indian Diaspora, Business Council for strategic partnership ex-

change between India and USA, the Think-Tank with Academia to be formed which will be officially announced. Shudh Parkash Singh, Senior Vice President INOC (I) in his "Vanakam" address lauded the efforts of John Joseph and his team for bringing three dignitaries from Chennai. Kanwal Sra, treasurer and Mohinder Singh Gilzian, senior executive committee member offered their felicitations to the new chapter. Prakash Swamy, President of New York Tamil Sangam introduced the guests as doyens of Congress in Tamil Nadu. Dr T K Sripada Rao, internationally renowned nephrologist of Brooklyn Hospital who treated late Chief Minister M G Ramachandran (MGR) was honored on the occasion. A special Bharathanatyam dance recital by Pallavi Moorthy and Pooja Iyer, disciples of Padma Bhushan Kamala Lakshman, performed the Pushpanjalli and Padam.


December 21, 2012

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Students join hands for service through music

VIDYA SETHURAMAN India Post News Service

SAN JOSE, CA: Youth Service through Cultural Arts was founded by four musically inclined high school students Ashwin

using cultural arts. YSTCA plans to raise funds for deserving organizations by arranging music/ dance events. Their inaugural event was held on December 8 in Chapel auditorium, Dominican Sisters of Mission San Jose.

YSTCA was raising funds for the music programs offered by the Dominican Sisters of Mission San Jose. They chose the organization as the Dominican Sisters are involved in tutoring music for about 1700 students through six schools in Bay area Srikant, Divya Moan, Gopal Ravindhran and Vignesh Thyagarajan in July 2012 in Bay area. They share a passion for Indian Classical music and have join hands to serve the community

The event featured over 150 students from 15 music schools all over Bay area and was attended by parents, relatives and friends of the participants taking the attendance to about 600. Partici-

pants from Sarada Bhajan Madali, Bhairavi Music Academy, Sri Paduka Academy, Sangithalaya School of Music, Students of Akila Iyer, Nadalahari School of music, Nrithyollasa Dance Academy, Mahatee Music Academy, Sruthi Swaralaya, Sathguru Vidyalaya, Nadhopaasana, Rajguru Sangeet Vidyaniketan, Nadanidhi and Sankalpa Sank Foundation enthralled the audience with their spectacular vocal, instrumental and dance performances. The concluding performance was by the founders of YSTCA. YSTCA was raising funds for the music programs offered by the Dominican Sisters of Mission San Jose. They chose the organization as the Dominican Sisters are involved in tutoring music for about 1700 students through six schools in Bay area, out of which three

schools are dedicated to students from low-income group. YSTCA was able to raise $8050 for the noble cause.

volvement of High school students in the charity organization. YSTCA founders thanked the volunteers and parents who worked

Vice-Mayor of Fremont Anu Natarajan graced the occasion and spoke at length about the in-

relentlessly for the cause and hoped to continue with good work in the future through music.

Jhalak Dreams showcases exceptional young talent Cont’d from page 20

The event was a fundraiser for Propionic Acidemia Foundation. Propionic Acidemia is an inherited disorder in which the body is unable to process certain parts of proteins and lipids (fats) properly. It affects about 1 in 100,000 people in the United States. Research on various aspects of Propionic acidemia has continued for over 30 years, but we still have much to learn before we can develop a true cure for propionic acidemia patients and their families. India Post team wishes them all success and support for the n o b l e cause.


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December 21, 2012

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Wells Fargo sponsors showing of 'Talaash' India Post News Service

SANTA CLARA, CA: Wells Fargo sponsored the showing of movie "Talaash" here on December 1. This is the 100th year of Indian cinema, and the company said on the occasion it was proud to be part of this major milestone by sponsoring NYIFF and the showing of "Talaash". Wells Fargo recently celebrated its 160th anniversary, and it said it was a matter of great pride and honor for Wells Fargo to be able to support similar monumental achievements. The Wells Fargo representative said, "On behalf of our more than 20,000 team members in the Bay Area, Wells Fargo is proud to be with filmmakers, actors and producers. We applaud the risks indepen-

dent filmmakers and their spirit of entrepreneurs, and we want to be part of the audience when their films are being watched for the first time." The company said, "It is especially delighted to support up-

and-coming South Asian filmmakers and actors who are making a name for themselves through platforms such as the New York Indian Film Festival. India is known around the world for its Bollywood films, and so many of

our South Asian customers take pride in their rich film heritage." It said, "As America's #1 small business lender and leading lender to women and diverseowned businesses, Wells Fargo is committed to supporting the

financial success of all small businesses. Investing in each film is like investing in a small business, and we have the right financial tools for producers and filmmakers to make their business venture a success."

Shasta County Board begins day with Hindu invocation India Post News Service

REDDING, CA: Shasta County Board of Supervisors started its day in Redding (California) with Hindu prayers on December 4 for the first time since its 1850 creation, containing verses from world's oldest existing scripture. Rajan Zed, President of Universal Society of Hinduism, delivered the opening prayer from ancient Sanskrit scriptures before the County Board of Supervisors. After Sanskrit delivery, he then read the English translation of the prayer. Zed recited from Rig-Veda, the oldest scripture of the world still in common use, besides lines from Upanishads and Bhagavad-Gita (Song of the Lord), both ancient Hindu scriptures. He started and ended the prayer with "Om", the mystical syllable containing the universe, which in Hinduism is used to introduce and conclude religious work. Reciting from Brahadaranyakopanishad, Rajan Zed said "Asato ma sad gamaya, Tamaso ma jyotir gamaya, Mrtyor

Just before the Shasta County Board of Supervisors historic Hindu invocation, from left to right, are -Supervisor David A. Kehoe, Supervisor Les Baugh, Board Chairman Leonard F. Moty, Hindu leader Rajan Zed, Supervisor Linda Hartman and Supervisor Glenn Hawes. Pic Amy Hall-Crean

mamrtam gamaya", which he then translated as "Lead me from the unreal to the Real, Lead me from darkness to Light, and Lead me from death to Immortality." Reciting from Bhagavad-Gita, Zed urged Supervisors to keep the

welfare of others always in mind. Supervisors, county employees and public were seen standing in prayer mode with their heads bowed down during this invocation. Zed sprinkled few drops of wa-

ter from river Ganga of India, considered holy by Hindus, around the podium before the prayer. Zed presented a copy of BhagavadGita to Board Chairman Leonard F. Moty, who introduced and thanked Zed. "It is a historic mo-

ment of pride for the community when the prayers from ancient Sanskrit scriptures are being read in this great hall of democracy of this great county of Shasta", Zed stated before starting the invocation.


December 21, 2012

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Student-led fundraising effort for Sandy victims HARI RAO

NEVADA: An Indian origin student leader Navgeet (King) Zed recently led a successful Statewide effort across Nevada to raise funds for the victims of Hurricane Sandy.

Student leader Navgeet Zed

Zed, is President of Truckee Meadows Community College (TMCC) Reno Student Government Association. Besides TMCC, he also involved Great Basin Col-

lege Elko and Nevada State College Henderson in these fundraising efforts. All proceeds are going to the American Red Cross. The "Hurricane Sandy Disas-

ous religious leaders lead prayers for the victims and the devastation. The entertainment included bands Shanti-Shanti and Slow Djinn Fez (a middle-eastern fusion band). Besides various TMCC groups, it also received the backing Nevada Governor Brian of many area busiSandoval sent greetings for nesses, non-profits and religious orgathe fundraiser, commendnizations. ing the "kindness, support, Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval and patriotism" and thanksent greetings for ing for the "acts of kindness the fundraiser, and generosity to help the commending the "kindness, support, families in need". United and patriotism" States Senator Dean Heller and thanking for sent a certificate on the the "acts of kindness and generosoccasion, recognizing the ity to help the fami"commitment and lies in need". United States Senadedication to helping tor Dean Heller those in need" sent a certificate on the occasion, recter Relief" fundraiser held at ognizing the "commitment and TMCC on November 19 and coor- dedication to helping those in dinated by Navgeet Zed featured need" and stating that "your entertainment, multi-faith prayers, volunteerism serves as an example silent auction, raffle and food. Vari- to us all".

Navgeet Zed has been Chairperson of Reno Youth City Council, President of International Club of University of Nevada-Reno, organized Night of All Nations (biggest multicultural event of northern Nevada) raising its attendance six-fold, volunteered for

many organizations including a tenure at the area Crisis Call Center compassionately helping people in crisis and at the brink of suicide. For his many humanitarian efforts, Zed was bestowed with "Nevada Peacemaker of the Year" award.


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December 21, 2012

Dev Anand and Waheeda Rehman in Guide

He is not here with us today and I am unveiling his statue. His name will always be remembered in the film industry forever. He will be alive in the people's heart

MUMBAI: Yesteryear actress Waheeda Rehman was in tears as she unveiled a life-like brass statue of screen legend Dev Anand in Mumbai and said the actor-filmmaker still remains alive in many hearts. "He is not here with us today and I am unveiling his statue. His name will always be remembered in the film industry forever. He will be alive in the people's heart," a tearful Waheeda Rehman said during the launch on Dev Anand's first death anniversary.

The statue was unveiled at the Bandra Bandstand Promenade as part of UTV Stars' Walk of the Stars. Remembered as Bollywood's evergreen hero, Dev Anand died of cardiac arrest last year in London. He was 88. Waheeda Rehman, who made her debut opposite Dev Anand in the 1956 film C.I.D. and featured with him in a total of seven movies, said the actor was modern yet simple at heart. "One thing I noticed about Dev saheb was that he

was modern yet simple at heart. He never had stylish cars, never had a huge birthday bash and no show offs," she said. "When I did my first film with him, he was a star but he never made me realize (I was a newcomer) because he was so cooperative and friendly," added the 76-year-old. Dev Anand's son Suneil Anand, also present on the occasion, said: "I am touched that my legendary father Dev Anand is being honored. Thanks a lot." Dev Anand started his career in the black-and-white era with 1946 film Hum Ek Hain, and spent 65 years as an actor and filmmaker in Bollywood. He left an indelible mark in the minds of movie buffs with classics like Baazi, Paying Guest, Guide, Jewel Thief and Hare Rama Hare Krishna.

Akshay back with 7th Khiladi India Post News Service

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hiladi 786 marks the return of Akshay Kumar to his famous Khiladi film series after 12 years since he acted in Khiladi 420. Khiladi 786 promises action, stunts, comedy, romance and is a film for the whole family. Akshay Kumar assumes the role of action hero yet again as he fights the bad guys, cracks some wise one-liners and gets the girl in this year's must see festive film. The film sees Akshay flexing his box office pulling power as well as his brawn. He pulls no punches as he high-kicks his way through some truly spectacular stunts, harnessing his considerable experience of martial arts and extreme sports to make the film a truly visual feast of high-caliber action and stunts galore all sprinkled with some classic 'Akshay humor'. Cont’d on page 25


December 21, 2012

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Shah Rukh leaves Morocco spellbound

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ollywood "demigod and prince charming" Shah Rukh Khan whipped thousands of Moroccans into a frenzy at the Marrakech film festival when he danced to the tunes of movie songs at the Jamaa El Fna Square. SRK, 47, popularly known as "King Khan", was cheered at the square - a Mecca of tourism in Morocco - where a giant screen was installed to show a preview of his latest Hindi movie, Jab Tak Hain Jaan. In its 12th edition, the in this ochre city is presented a "special tribute" to Indian cinema as it celebrates its centenary. "I am pleased to present the star, the icon, the demigod of Indian cinema, Shah Rukh Khan," said an organizer as the arrival of the star sparked a roar from young fans, who braved gloomy and cold weather to catch a glimpse of him. Shah Rukh Khan, who has acted in some 80 films, was specially invited for the festival in Morocco, where Bollywood films Cont’d from page 24

Bollywood's original Khiladi Akshay Kumar has enjoyed a successful year so far with his first two releases of 2012 Housefull 2 and Rowdy Rathore both entering the coveted 100 crore club at the box office in India. Recently, Akshay released his maiden film project OMG: Oh My God from his new production company Grazing Goat Pictures to rave reviews from audiences and critics alike. The film, which is a departure from Akshay's more typical Bollywood offerings, is an avant-garde blackcomedy exploring the realms of faith and God. Akshay Kumar answers here few questions on his new film: You're returning to the Khiladi role after 12 years, how does it feel to be back? From Khiladi to Khiladi 786 my journey has been a full circle and that circle will keep re-creating itself as there is still so much to do, so much to learn and so much to deliver to my fans. Khiladi made me believe in my work and that I could have a career in this line of

Karan Johar. "This is the first time I am seeing Shah Rukh Khan. This is a dream. He was two feet away from me. He is so simple and modest," Khadija Ariba, a young student, said. "I know all his films. They talk of love, injustice, humanity...

rank alongside Egyptian movies in popularity. A true showman, he warmed up the atmosphere with more than half-an-hour song and dance performance on stage that had the crowds screaming in appreciation. Later festival organizers screened a preview of Jab Tak Hain Jaan, directed by legendary Bollywood filmmaker Yash Chopra who died in

October in Mumbai, after more than five decades of movie career. SRK had acted in several boxoffice hit movies produced and directed by Yash Chopra such as Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge, Dil To Paagal Hai and Daar. He has also taken lead roles in other blockbusters such as Kuch Kuch Hota Hai and Kabhie Khushi Kabhie Gham directed by

"What I like most are his songs. And I have a friend, who speaks very good Hindi which he learned by watching his movies," he said as he straddled his motorcycle. things that we speak of. He is the prince of most girls." For many fans it was an "unforgettable" experience at Jamaa El Fna. "We watch movies on satellite

Akshay back with 7th Khiladi work. Khiladi 786 is my gift to the millions of fans who have supported me throughout these years, through thick and thin. It's only because of them and their solid faith in me that I have carried on, to the extent now that I am continuing the Khiladi legacy after a long time and bringing to them Khiladi 786. With Khiladi 786, you return back to action comedy. What do you enjoy the most - action, comedy or romance? To be honest I love all kinds of genres but I must say I have always had the passion for action and it's great to get back in to this genre and what better way than through a long awaited Khiladi film. Khiladi 786 is packed with masala action and plenty of great comedy. I even managed to squeeze in some romance! I'm a complete adrenaline junkie and whether I'm doing action in the reel life or real, it's always been a part of my life and my career. I always

experiment and entertain my fans whether through a family drama like Namastey London, comedy such as Houseful 2 or an action film like Rowdy Rathore. Tell us about khiladi 786...what is it about? Khiladi 786 is comedy and action personified - so expect loads

I'm a complete adrenaline junkie and whether I'm doing action in the reel life or real, it's always been a part of my life and my career of fun and frolic and romance and drama along the way! It is said that many heroines were selected for Khiladi 786 Diana Penty, Nargis and then Asin was chosen. All of them are

from the recent breed of actresses. How is it that any actress opposite you makes a good pair? Asin is a great actress. She is a talented performer, who always gives her best to any project she is involved with. We had a great time making Khiladi 786, and hopefully our on-screen friendship and great working relationship will be visible to all our fans who come to see the film. The music for the film has been very well received. What do you enjoy about the tunes?

channels and some movie theatres. But to be present here on Jamaa El Fna is unforgettable for me," said Ouadie El Ouwad. Ranked in 2001 as part of the World Heritage List by UNESCO, Jamaa El Fna - site of the April 28, 2011 bombing that killed 17 people - was teeming with joyful fans, mostly students and employees, who cheered SRK. "I left my workplace at 5 pm to see Shah Rukh Khan from close, but once here the place was already packed with people," said Ahmed, 32, a carpenter. "What I like most are his songs. And I have a friend, who speaks very good Hindi which he learned by watching his movies," he said as he straddled his motorcycle. The festival's jury comprised Canadian Marie-Josee Croze, American James Gray, Moroccan Jillali Ferhati and French Lambert Wilson. The festival kicked off with a special ovation for French actress Isabelle Huppert. Himesh is really a music maestro and he has done a fantastic job. The songs are really being appreciated and one of my favourites is Sari Sari Raat - it's a die-hard romantic track and for all those romantics out there. See this film has a bit of everything! Himesh is such a creative person its unbelievable. It was a joy to work with him Tell us about the X factor of Khiladi 786? Me jumping off tall buildings, making the fans cry with laughter and getting the girl in the end. Khiladi786 is a culmination of all the other 7 Khiladi films put together.


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TOP TEN HINDI FILM SONGS

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December 21, 2012

ollywood superstar Priyanka Chopra has won the 'World's Sexiest Asian Woman' crown, according to an on-line survey conducted by a weekly magazine. Priyanka, 30, defeated reigning champion Kareena Kapoor and three-times winner Katrina Kaif to claim the crown of sexiest Asian woman on the planet this year. "Priyanka Chopra secured top spot with Kareena Kapoor coming second and Katrina Kaif third," Asian weekly Eastern Eye said. It has rounded off a dream year for Priyanka, which included a starring role in super-hit film Agneepath, delivering a superb performance in India's official entry to the Oscars, Barfi and launching an international pop career alongside charttopping singer Will.i.am," the release added. Clearly delighted with the win, Priyanka said: "I'm hugely flattered. Who wouldn't want to have a title like this bestowed on them! A big shout out to everyone who voted for me." The biggest surprise of 2012 was the number of television actresses from India who entered the list for the first time. 'Ek Hazaaron Mein Meri Behna Hai stars Nia Sharma, who came fifth and Krystle D'Souza on 9th became the first ever TV actresses from India to crack the top 10. Other Indian television actresses who made the list included Drashti Dhami (12), Sanaya Irani (13), Kritika Kamra (19), Jennifer Winger (21), Yashashtri Masurkar (24) and Asha Negi (32). "The fact that so many television actresses made the top 50 showed that Bollywood is no longer the only dominant force in India and that television is playing a much bigger part in the lives of people around the world," said Eastern Eye showbiz editor Asjad Nazir. Other notable stars in this year's list include Deepika Padukone on the fourth spot, Bipasha Basu on the sixth, Sonam Kapoor on the seventh, Diana Penty (15), and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan (16). The highest placed Pakistani was supermodel turned television personality Mehreen Syed (10) and the highest placed star from the west was once again Hollywood actress Noureen Dewulf (11).

1 Apnaa Mujhe Tu Lagaa: 1920 - Evil Returns 2 Jiya Re: Jab Tak Hai Jaan 3 Jee Le Zaraa: Talaash 4 Challa: ab Tak Hai Jaan 5 Laakh Duniya Kahe: Talaash 6 Saans: Jab Tak Hai Jaan 7 Muskaanein Jhooti Hai: Talaash 8 KikliKalerdi: Luv Shuv Tey Chicken Khurana 9 Badla Nazara: English Vinglish 10 LSTCK Theme: Luv Shuv Tey Chicken Khurana

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rom her debut with the 2000 film 'Refugee' to her latest release 'Talaash', Kareena Kapoor has come a long way in her decade-long career. The actress says she picks different kinds of roles as she prefers taking risks when it comes to choosing films. Be it a 'masala' film like 'Bodyguard' or a woman-centric movie like 'Heroine', Kareena has it all in her kitty. The 32year-old Bollywood A-lister says it is her duty as an actress to provide a variety of films for her fans.

PREFERS RISKS When I was doing 'Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu', everyone said it is slightly non-commercial, since the boy doesn't get the girl in the end "It is the duty of an actor to try and pick up different roles, be a little brave about the whole thing. Sometimes films will work and sometimes they won't. It's fun taking risks. I just can't just keep looking pretty and doing a songand-dance film," Kareena told PTI in an interview. The actress said people had asked her not to play Riana Briganza in Shakun Batra's 'Ekk Main Aur Ekk Tu' earlier this year, as the film was slightly unconventional. "When I was doing 'Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu', everyone said it is slightly non-commercial, since the boy doesn't get the girl in the end. I only did the film because people were saying that. I told Shakun that if you change the end of this movie, I'm not doing it. That was me. I wanted to do Riana Briganza and wanted my year to end with something totally bizarre like 'Talaash'. I'm happy with both," said Kareena.


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December 21, 2012

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he king of Bollywood and the man, who is ruling the industry over 20 years; Shah Rukh Khan, has now added one more prestigious honor to his credit. Superstar Shah Rukh Khan has been conferred with Morocco's prestigious Medal of Honor at the Marrakech International Film Festival. The festival also paid a tribute to the 100 years of Indian Cinema. Many Bollywood biggies made their presence felt at this most acclaimed festival. Along with SRK, megastars like Amitabh Bachchan, Hrithik Roshan, Sridevi, Tabu, Sharmila Tagore, filmmaker Anurag Kashyap and wife Kalki Kolchin were present. After giving tribute to Indian cinema, Prince Moulay Rachid hosted a dinner for Indian delegation of Bollywood stars. At the royal dinner, Prince Rachid presented Shah Rukh Khan with the Medal of Honor of Morocco. Shah Rukh has expressed his feeling for this great honor presented to him on Twitter. He twitted, "Thanks for the honor and happiness. All the best for the rest of the festival."

Mobile K

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atrina Kaif is this year's reigning queen as far as downloads on mobile phones of images of an actress are concerned. It is the fourth consecutive year that the "Chikni Chameli" star has topped the category. Katrina is followed by Kareena Kapoor, Priyanka Chopra, Anushka Sharma and Vidya Balan for the actress with most images downloaded on mobile, according to the findings of Airtel Mobitude 2012. Among men, Shah Rukh Khan led in the category of Bollywood actors' wallpaper downloads. Salman Khan and Ranbir Kapoor featured in the top five. Katrina's "Chikni Chameli" number from "Agneepath" was the most downloaded song of the year. In the Hollywood segment, Kim Kardashian led in the category of images downloaded and also featured in the top five Hollywood celebrities. Popular hit "Kolaveri di" maintained the top position in terms of downloads in 2012 as well.

Explain kiss!

PRINCE HONORS KING

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ormer Miss World and Bollywood actress Aishwarya Rai might be a doting mother now, but the Bachchan bahu is still a very influential personality overseas. In an interview to Sir David Frost in the interview for Al Jazeera English, Aishwarya spoke about her first onscreen lip lock that scandalized one and all in the country. `I did it once prominently in the movie 'Dhoom' and it was so topical, and you'll be surprised, I mean I actually got a couple of notices, legal notices, from some people in the country turning around and saying "You are iconic, you're an example to our girls you have led your life in such an exemplary manner, they're not comfortable with you doing this on screen so why did you?", dailymail.co.uk quoted the actress as saying. The actress sounded a little sarcastic when she was quizzed about people's reaction to the kissing scene. She said, "And I was like wow, I'm just an actor, doing my job, and here I am being asked to offer an explanation for a couple of seconds in a two, three hour piece of cinema."


Tech News India aims for 5% global mkt share in ship building NEW DELHI: India aims to have a five per cent global market share in ship building by 2020, India's Shipping Minister G K Vasan told the Lok Sabha. Replying to supplementaries, Vasan said the government has mooted plans to develop ancillary units for the ship building sector, which has the potential to create 2.5 million jobs. He said government has taken various initiatives for upgradation of infrastructure in ports which include expeditious implementation of various capacity addition and mechanization project. The initiatives include private sector participation in capacity augmentation/upgradation for which bid documents have been standardized, and 100 per cent FDI being allowed under the automatic route, he said.-PTI

Luxury aviation firm Vistajet to focus on India NEW DELHI: After placing a record order worth USD 7.8 billion to Bombardier, Swiss luxury aviation firm Vistajet says it will focus on the Indian market and hopes to have a base of around 200 business-flyer clients in the country in next five years. "We have plans of opening up an office in India and we are hoping to have a client base of around 100-200 people in India who fly out frequently on business trips to international destinations," Vistajet advisory board chairman Rob Hersov told reporters here. -PTI

Corporation Bank to introduce FLASHremit in India DUBAI: Corporation Bank and global remittance and foreign exchange company UAE Exchange have entered into an agreement to offer FLASHremit services to customers. The pact will enable customers to now send money real time to their beneficiaries' bank accounts in Corporation Bank. The service will enable money transfer to bank account 'within minutes' and also intimate both sender and receiver through SMS on account credit. Amar Lal Daultani, Executive Director - Corporation Bank, said that this new arrangement will benefit our customers. -PTI

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Wipro launches 'SmartOffers' with Intuition Intelligence BANGALORE: Wipro Technologies has announced the launch of "SmartOffers", a location based solution for banks, in partnership with Intuition Intelligence. "Wipro SmartOffers, primarily targeted at retail banks, will help increase coupon redemption rates significantly by delivering the right offers to the bank's customers over the mobile or the Internet", the city-headquartered company said. -PTI

NYU Stern to host India Business Forum India Post News Service

NEW YORK: On January 11, 2013, New York University Stern School of Business will convene its faculty thought leaders and some of India's top corporate leaders and policymakers for a full-day event entitled, "India in the 21st Century: From Potential to Progress." The participants will investigate the unique opportunities and challenges facing India, an emerging market leader and driving force in the global economy. The conference will include sessions on the future of India's urban growth, valuation in the Indian context, the impact of corporate governance and building India's infrastructure. "We are driving the conversation around the world about the most pressing issues that will affect growth in the 21st century. How India conducts business,

serves its citizens and interacts with the world is a critical part of this global conversation," said Geeta Menon, dean of NYU Stern's

top-ranked business school who is India-born and was educated mostly in India. NYU Stern has meaningful con-

Undergraduate College, and conference host. Dean Menon is among the first women deans of a

nections with India. More than 300 Stern alumni live or work in India. At the Stern School, nearly

100 percent of Undergraduate College business students have at least one global academic experience, and among their options for global study is a short-term immersion course, Stern Around the World: India, which includes an academic trip to Mumbai. Stern also offers a Doing Business in‌ graduate-level course in India in which MBA students study its business and culture in the country. According to the College Board, in India, NYU is the 5th most searched university online. Stern's inaugural India Business Forum aims to deepen ties by convening faculty, alumni, students, and the Indian business and policy community to discuss India's role in 21st century global economic growth. NYU and NYU Stern faculty who will participate in the Forum include: Cont’d on page 31

Law of the land should have sanctity: Tata MUMBAI: The outgoing Chairman of the Tata group Ratan Tata is "rattled" by India's current image emerging from scams and retrospective taxation, and wants the government

freewheeling interview to PTI ahead of his retirement on December 28 after serving the group for 50 years including 21 years as Chairman. In the hour-long interview, Tata, who turns 75 later this month, spoke about the major decisions taken during his chairmanship, the current investment scenario, and business ethics and crony capitalism. India has been "hurt" by scams, court process and some of the retrospective taxation acts which had given "a sense of uncertainty to investors in terms of the credibility of Tata group Chairman Ratan Tata during an the government", he interview in Mumbai said. to give an "irreversible commit"You get FIPB approval to inment" that law of the land has vest in India and to own a comsanctity. pany, you get a license to operate "Never before has India had and, then three years later the that kind of image," he said in a same government... tells you that

your licenses are illegal and that you have lost everything. "This leads to a great deal of uncertainty. Never before has India had that kind of image. So that really rattled me because then anything can happen," the Tata patriarch said. India must give an "irreversible commitment" that law of the land

taken by the government to boost investor confidence, Tata said, "What they did recently to FDI and other things, I think, will reinstate some degree of confidence". While these steps may have had a "great" positive impact it was not enough, he said. "There will have to be efforts

Welcoming the recent steps taken by the government to boost investor confidence, Tata said, "What they did recently to FDI and other things, I think, will reinstate some degree of confidence". While these steps may have had a "great" positive impact it was not enough, he said. has sanctity and the government approval cannot be taken lightly, he emphasized, adding "otherwise India would be taken lightly". Despite being critical of the current situation, Tata sounded quite optimistic about the future of India as an economic power. Welcoming the recent steps

made to reassure people that the laws that are in place, the legislation that is in place, is here to stay. If it is changed, it has to be changed in some rational way of announcing a change which is prospective and not retrospective," he said. Cont’d on page 31


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US intel sees India economic powerhouse in 2030 WASHINGTON: US intelligence has predicted that in 2030, India could be the rising economic powerhouse of the world as China is seen today and that it will continue to consolidate its power advantage over Pakistan. "In 2030 India could be the rising economic powerhouse that China is seen to be today. China's current economic growth rate 8 to 10 per cent will probably be a distant memory by 2030," said the fifth installment of the 'Global Trends 2030: Alternative Worlds', of National Intelligence Council (NIC), released here.

As the world's largest economic power, China is expected to remain ahead of India, but the gap could begin to close by 2030.

"India's rate of economic growth is likely to rise while China's slows," said the report which is aimed at providing a framework for thinking about the future. According to the report, the total size of the Chinese working-age population will peak in 2016 and decline from 994 million to about 961 million in 2030. "In contrast, India's working-age population is unlikely

Law of the land should have sanctity: Tata Cont’d from page 30

Describing FDI in multi-brand retail as a significant step, Tata said that it would help the consumer in terms of having an opportunity to choose, hopefully at lower cost. "If it doesn't do that then the model has failed." Tata had words of praise for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh describing him as a leader of high integrity and an architect of the 1990 reforms. "My view is that the PM had to move. If he got attacked from all sides... you don't do anything after that. If you want him to do something and you attack him from all sides, then in all likelihood he would not do anything." Answering a question about crony capitalism, the Tata Chairman said it was becoming an issue not only in India but globally. India was not a leader in this but "we are quite prominent". He said crony capitalism leads to a situation of the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer. This disparity leads to an unhealthy situation in which power is focused in certain pockets and a "skewed" competitive situation, he said. Tata said the problem of crony capitalism can be done away with basically by the law being implemented in its spirit. "There is nothing wrong with the legislations that we are doing with. What we unfortunately tend to do in India is we legislate, drafting of which is fairly ok, but enforcement of it is poor," he said. Then, Tata said, it leads to noncompliance or violation which brings a new legislation which blocks everybody as if all are violators. "But the violators continue to operate because enforcement is still inadequate. So now you got a

very biased legislation that has replaced a good one that makes it impossible for you to operate legally or very difficult for you to operate and accentuates the situation more. "If we had stronger legislation, with no exceptions based on who you are or whom you know, then I think crony capitalism would finally find its own limit," he said. Asked if the problem was getting worse, Tata said, "Yes. It's just an observation, I have no facts or figures to prove it."

Giving an example, he said there would be quite a noise 30 or 40 years ago if a man broke a queue in a cinema house to get a ticket out-ofturn. "But today if somebody barges in nobody will dare say anything and he will get what he wants” To a question on his statement that the fabric of Indian values and the ethics was slowly deteriorating, specially in the business community, he said, "I hold to that view." Elaborating, he said he thought the system was partly responsible for that because if a company follows a value system then operations were definitely much more difficult than they were "if you would comply with the standards that are in existence today". "So certainly the softer option is to become part of the system

and you move to a lower level and so it becomes a snow-balling effect. And then we consider that what we are doing that is out of the line is ok and it has to happen," Tata said. Giving an example, he said there would be quite a noise 30 or 40 years ago if a man broke a queue in a cinema house to get a ticket out-of-turn. "But today if somebody barges in nobody will dare say anything and he will get what he wants and take ten tickets and it will be a houseful. He may be a black marketeer and selling tickets. He may be doing whatever he may be doing. So nobody stops him. "Eventually what happens is the little guy says the fact that a little money to get to the front of the line, if I do this I can do. Pretty soon it becomes a normal thing. And that I think is what has happened over the 50 years of Independence," he said. Asked if that was happening in industry also, Tata said if there was a product in short supply some companies will make money exploiting that. Some dealers, distributors and middlemen will make money. "We have that kind of situation. It is not that we have enforcement that comes now on us and says the maximum retail price is such and such and we will prosecute you if you were violating it." On Tatas doing business without compromises, Tata said, "it is still possible and you still can grow. It is a great pride to me and happiness is that you can go home and sleep you didn't succumb. "You may lose... and you may not get the airline you want. Forces work against you. So may lose some. You may have some scars on you but on the whole I don't think we have done badly." -PTI

to peak until about 2050," it said. to strengthen the global economy. "Also of significance, India will "India's expected robust growth most likely continue to consolidate in the next 15-20 years means that its power advantage relative to Pa- its contribution to global growth kistan. will surpass that of any individual "India's economy is already advanced economy except the nearly eight times as large as United States," it said. Pakistan's; by 2030 that ratio could World Bank modeling suggests easily be more than 16-to-1," the that together China and India will US report said. serve as nearly twice the engine The NIC report said the diffu- for growth as of the United States sion of power among countries and the euro zone combined by and from countries to informal net- 2025, the report said. works will have a dramatic impact by 2030, The NIC report said the diffulargely reversing the historic rise of the West sion of power among counsince 1750 and restoring tries and from countries to Asia's weight in the global economy and world informal networks will have a dramatic impact by 2030, politics. In a tectonic shift, by largely reversing the historic 2030, Asia will have surpassed North America rise of the West and Europe combined in terms of global power, based upon India, however, faces many of GDP, population size, military the same problems and traps acspending, and technological in- companying rapid growth as vestment. China: large inequities between China alone will probably have rural and urban sectors and within the largest economy, surpassing society, increasing constraints on that of the United States a few resources such as food and water, years before 2030. According to and a need for greater investment the NIC report, the World Bank in science and technology in orassesses that India will join China der to continue to move its as an "emerging economy growth economy up a notch, the report pole" by 2025, which could help said.-PTI

NYU Stern to host India Business Forum Cont’d from page 30

John Sexton, President, NYU; Geeta Menon, Dean, Undergraduate College, NYU Stern; Rohit Deo, Associate Dean of Academic Affairs, Undergraduate College; Aswath Damodaran, Kerschner Family Chair in Finance Education; Paul Romer, Professor of Economics and Director of the Urbanization Project; Marti G. Subrahmanyam, Charles E. Merrill Professor of Finance, Economics and International Business; Arun Sundararajan, Associate Professor, Information, Operations and Management Sciences, and NEC Faculty Fellow. Industry leaders and policymakers who will participate in the Forum include: Gautam Bhandari (MBA '01), Former Managing Director and Head of Asia, Morgan Stanley Infrastructure; Rama Bijapurkar, Market Strategy Consultant and Independent Director; Mihir (Mickey) Doshi (BS '81), Managing Director and Country Head, Credit Suisse Securities (India) Pvt. Ltd.; N. R. Narayana Murthy, Founder and Chairman Emeritus, Infosys Limited; Sanjay

Nayar, Chief Executive Officer and Country Head, KKR India; Shri Nandan Nilekani, Chairman, Unique Identification Authority of India; Ankur Sahu, Managing Director and Co-Head Asia Pacific, Principal Investment Area, Goldman Sachs; Sundeep Sikka, President and CEO, Reliance Capital Asset Management Ltd; Venkatraman Thyagarajan (Thyagi), Former SVP & Regional Director, GlaxoSmithKline Asia, and Board Member, TCS, Varian Medical Systems Inc., and Murugappa Group Access the complete conference agenda online. NYU Stern will also broadcast the conference via live webcast on January 11, 2013, beginning at 9am IST. About NYU Stern Located in the heart of Greenwich Village, New York University Stern School of Business is one of the world's premier research and teaching institutions. NYU Stern offers a broad portfolio of graduate and undergraduate programs, all of them informed and enriched by the dynamism, energy and resources of one of the world's business capitals.


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China asks Indian firms to gain from its growing import market BEIJING: China is encouraging its companies to buy more from India to address the neighboring country's ballooning trade deficit, its top diplomat Dai Bingguo has said, asking Indian firms to "seize" the opportunity offered by the Chinese import market which is expected to touch a whopping USD 10 trillion by 2015. "China pays close attention to the trade imbalance. We have already encouraged Chinese companies to import more from India and will continue to do so," Dai, China's Chief negotiator with India for over a decade, told PTI in an interview here. India's trade deficit with China has grown to USD 23 billion in the first ten months of this year. Last

year the deficit stood at USD 27.07 billion even though bilateral trade

Dai Bingguo

touched all time high of USD 73.9 billion. Dai, China's pointman for India for the border issue, played down

the focus on the trade deficit. "China's economy is an open economy. We do not seek a trade surplus. While China enjoys a surplus with the US, Europe and India, it has a deficit with Japan and the Republic of Korea," said Dai, who is set to retire in March as the administration of the outgoing President Hu Jintao steps down to pave the way for new leadership headed by Xi Jinping. "It is true that China's export has grown fast, but our import has grown at an even faster pace," he said. "China is implementing its 12th five-year plan (2011-15). During this period, China's total import is expected to reach USD 10 trillion. I sincerely hope that Indian companies will seize this opportunity and export more products that meet the demand of the Chinese market." China's overseas trade reached USD 3.64 trillion last year. While exports accounted for USD 1.9 trillion, imports rose to USD 1.74 trillion, constituting nine per cent of the global imports. The USD 10 trillion import projection is being made in the backdrop of China altering its export dependent economy to that of the

BEL, IAI ink pact on future missile-ship defense BANGALORE: Bharat Electronics Limited has signed an MoU with Israel Aerospace Industries for cooperation on future Long Range Surface to Air Missile (LRSAM) Ship-Defense Systems. The MoU lays out framework for BEL-IAI cooperation, under which BEL will function as the lead integrator and produce major subsystems. IAI will continue to act as design authority and to produce sub-systems as main subcontractor of BEL. H N Ramakrishna, Director Marketing of BEL, said: "We see IAI as a strategic partner with a wide range of potential joint activities. This MoU demonstrates that BEL and IAI can work closely together on the most sophisticated and advanced programs, for the mutual benefit of both companies." "We will continue to operate under the active support and guidance of the DRDO (Defense Research and Development Organization)", he added.

Joseph Weiss, President and CEO of IAI (right) and Ramakrishna, Director Marketing of BEL (left) signed the MoU on December 5

Joseph Weiss, President and CEO of IAI, said the MoU is a significant step forward in IAI's joint work with India. "Partnership with BEL will further enhance IAI's ability to provide high quality solutions and service to Indian defense services, best supporting the needs of India. BEL is a strategic partner for

IAI, and we hope this cooperation will expand to other areas of mutual interest", he said. For several years IAI has been engaged in joint development programs with DRDO and Indian defense industries for the Indian Navy and Indian Air Force, including joint manufacturing of subsystems, according to BEL. -PTI

one based on domestic consumption in order to reduce dependence on falling exports. In order to do that, China says its focus for the next five years is going to be on boosting living standards with increased income, which results in big increase in imports. As a result of declining exports, China fixed 7.5 per cent target for GDP this year with projections to grow over eight per cent next year, mostly based on increased con-

broad prospects for economic cooperation. We are confident that, by working together, we will reach the goal of USD 100 billion of twoway trade by 2015," he said. The expectations were mostly based on the successful Strategic Economic Dialogue (SED) held in New Delhi last month during which the two countries inked 11 agreements entailing investment of over USD five billion. "We welcome Indian enterprises to actively explore the Chi-

"China's economy is an open economy. We do not seek a trade surplus. While China enjoys a surplus with the US, Europe and India, it has a deficit with Japan and the Republic of Korea," said Dai, who is set to retire in March as the administration of the outgoing President Hu Jintao steps down sumption. Dai said in recent years, ChinaIndia bilateral trade has expanded rapidly, bringing real benefits to both sides. "As neighbors and large emerging countries, China and India enjoy huge potential and

nese market. Not long after the 18th Party Congress, we held the second China-India Strategic Economic Dialogue, which produced many results. I am sure it will lend new impetus to our efforts to expand trade and mutual investment," Dai said. -PTI

Standard Chartered to pay USD 327 million to settle case in US NEW YORK: British bank Standard Chartered will pay a penalty of USD 327 million to US federal and state agencies to settle allegations that it illegally moved millions of dollars through the US financial system on behalf of sanctioned Iranian, Sudanese, Libyan and Burmese entities. The penalty includes USD 100 million which the bank would pay to the Federal Reserve and USD 227 million to the US Department of Justice and the District Attorney for New York County. "For years, Standard Chartered Bank deliberately violated US laws governing transactions involving Sudan, Iran, and other countries subject to US sanctions," Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer of the Justice Department's Criminal Division said. "Standard Chartered's conduct was flagrant and unacceptable," he said. A criminal information was filed in federal court in the District of Columbia charging Standard Chartered with one count of knowingly and willfully conspir-

ing to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act. The bank has waived the federal indictment and has accepted responsibility for its criminal conduct and that of its employees, the Justice Department said in a statement. The bank operates a branch in New York that provides wholesale banking services, primarily US-dollar clearing for international wire payments. According to court documents, from 2001 through 2007 the bank violated US and New York state laws by moving millions of dollars illegally on behalf of Iranian, Sudanese, Libyan and Burmese entities subject to American economic sanctions. The bank's "willful criminal conduct" resulted in over 200 million dollars being processed in transactions that otherwise should have been rejected, blocked, or stopped for investigation under regulations relating to transactions involving sanctioned countries and parties.-PTI


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Indians among several honored for business leadership LONDON: Indian entrepreneur Deepak Kuntawala was among several people of Indian-origin to be awarded with an Asian Leadership award here for their dynamic roles in establishing and leading their business organizations. Kuntawala, the founding chairman of commodity trading and finance company DVK since 2001, was awarded the Young Entrepreneur 20102 award by the publisher of Asian Who's Who International. Receiving the award from leading NRI entrepreneur Lord Karan Bilimoria, Deepak said "this award belongs to my team, my investors and to my family members who supported me in my endeavors." Deepak has led the DVK Group to new heights, establishing a strong global footprint with 200 employees across his offices in Johannesburg, China, Hong Kong, UAE, Switzerland, Moscow, Nairobi and Ghana. Ravi Gidar, an Indian-origin entrepreneur who founded the Gold Care Homes, one of the leading providers of elderly care in the UK won the Asian of the Year Award 2012. Joginder Pal Sanger, winner of the Asian of the Year in 2011 presented the award to Gidar who currently operates 23 care homes across Birmingham and the South

East with about 1150 beds. Ravi came to live in the UK in 1966 with his parents from India.

Deepak Kuntawala

Deepak has led the DVK Group to new heights, establishing a strong global footprint with 200 employees across his offices in Johannesburg, China, Hong Kong, UAE, Switzerland, Moscow & Ghana He grew up with schooling years in West London and graduated from Leicester School of Pharmacy.

He completed his Post Graduation in Pharmacy from Kings College London. Namita Kapoor, Mumbai-born CEO of the IVS Group Ltd, UK's leading independent Merchandise and Event retailing company, bagged the Asian Leadership in International Business award. Namita Kapoor moved to the UK in 1990 and in 1999 joined IVS Group Ltd and in 2011 became its CEO. Ashraf Chohan, CoChair person of India-Pakistan Friendship Forum, was chosen for the Asian Leadership in Community Service award. Born in Pakistan, Chohan studied for his medical degree in Lahore. Sanjay Newatia was chosen for the Asian Leadership in Banking award. Sanjay is currently Managing Director and Investment Partner at Credit Swuisse Ag. "Sachar dreamt of the idea of recognizing Asians for their outstanding contributions at a time when the conditions were quite different," said Lord Navnit Dholakia, Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrats in the House of Lords. Lord Raj Loomba, launched the Silver Jubilee 25th Edition of Asian Who's Who 2012. -PTI

Ukraine shows interest in Chandrayaan-II NEW DELHI: Ukraine has expressed interest in cooperating with India in its second unmanned moon mission Chandrayaan-II. "We are interested in cooperation by Ukrainian companies in the new space mission Chandrayaan-II," Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych said here at a function jointly organized by industry bodies Assocham, Ficci and CII. Chandrayaan-II, which is expected to be launched in September 2013, is a lunar landing mission, while the earlier one (ChandrayaanI) was only an orbiter. People's Deputy of Ukraine Anatoliy Kinakh said that in Ukraine, "There is an advanced cosmic station which would help a lot for Chandrayaan-II."

Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych with MoS for Commerce & Industry D. Purandeswari (3rd from R), FICCI President R V Kanoria, ASSOCHAM President Rajkumar Dhoot and Chairman, CII National Committee on Pharma, Arun Sawhney during a Business Meeting in New Delhi on December 10

There is a potential for cooperation in the field of construc-

tion of aeroplanes and ship building, he added. -PTI

Probe sought into 'unreasonable' air fare hike NEW DELHI: Charging most Committee, headed by senior CPIIndian carriers with "unreason- M leader Sitaram Yechury, said the ably" hiking air fares, a parliamen- recent initiatives by DGCA in this tary panel has sought a probe regard "has not received much reagainst them and recommended sponse from the traveling public". that any increase in ticket prices It also asked DGCA to ensure should be approved by aviation that airline operators "do not inregulator DGCA in the future. dulge in unfair trade practices in Noting that "most of the airlines fixing airfares during festival and operating in the country had been other peak seasons much to the overcharging the passengers by discomfort of the traveling public". increasing the air fares unreasonably", the panel sought an inves- The Standing Committee on tigation into the fare hikes by all airlines and Transport, Tourism and Culsaid those found guilty ture recommended that "in may be penalized. It also said the ex- future all the airlines may be cess amount the airlines asked to increase their fares have collected "by way of exorbitant passenger only with the approval fares may be identified". of DGCA." In its report tabled in Parliament, the Standing Committee on Transport, TourThis winter peak season, air ism and Culture recommended that fares have risen by almost 25-30 "in future all the airlines may be per cent, primarily to due to high asked to increase their fares only jet fuel prices, with the Ministry with the approval of DGCA." asking airlines to make public the It said a "transparent formula" pricing system of various fare for pricing of air tickets should be slabs under which airlines bunch evolved and "implemented within tickets for sale. three months." The aviation regulator has a cell In response to Civil Aviation which regularly monitors the air Ministry's comments that the fare rates of all airlines on the baDGCA plays a monitoring role and sis of the lowest and highest fare ensures that airlines display the brackets submitted by the carriers fares of various categories, the themselves. -PTI

CII pact with UNICEF on Knowledge Management Hub CHENNAI: Confederation of women and children, from child Indian Industry has signed an rights and business principles agreement with UNICEF to set up perspective, he said. a Knowledge Management Hub Kumar said CII and UNICEF for Corporate Social Responsi- would jointly initiate a series of bility (CSR) here in south India. measures, including capacity The hub would be a knowl- building programs, workshops edge centre of CSR related information, act as a think-tank and Speaking at the launch play an advocacy role for CSR activities in ceremony, Mohapatra said Tamil Nadu, a CII press the overall goal of the CSR release said. The memorandum Hub would be to jointly of understanding was strengthen knowledge and signed by Pradipa K Mohapatra, Chairman, build capacity of the private CSR Sub-Committee sector involvement in CSR and Satish Kumar, Chief, UNICEF State Office for Tamil Nadu and Kerala. for industry on CSR; training Speaking at the launch cer- modules in line with UN global emony, Mohapatra said the over- initiative on 'Child Rights and all goal of the CSR Hub would Business Principles'; identify be to jointly strengthen knowl- best practices related to child edge and build capacity of the centric CSR in public and private private sector involvement in sector units, amongst other iniCSR, with particular focus on tiatives. -PTI


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Climate activists livid at absence of decisive action at Doha DOHA: As negotiators heaved a sigh of relief at having salvaged the Doha talks with an 11th-hour pact that kept the Kyoto Protocol alive, climate activists were livid at another squandered opportunity for a decisive action to save the planet from catastrophic effects of global warming. After marathon talks that stretched by a day, sleep- deprived diplomats from almost 200 countries agreed last night to a face-saving deal that would see the historic Kyoto Protocol extended by eight years albeit without any new or ambitious commitments to cut greenhouse gases. They also decided to put off by another year a concrete decision on ways to mobilize long-term finance for poorer nations to carry forward their mitigation efforts and at the same time launch adaptation measures to deal with the rapidly visible impacts of climate change. Coming in the backdrop of megastorm Sandy that devastated a major portion of the US east coast and more recently cyclone Bopha whose victims and losses the Philippines is still counting, the talks, however, failed to move world nations into visible actions that would immediately curtail emissions to save the planet. The deal on the Kyoto Protocol extension was struck after much bickering and despite objections by Russia as well as reservations by the US, and after the host Qatar made repeated pleas to save the failing talks. The Climate Action Network (CAN), an umbrella group of 700 NGOs from around the world, said the Doha talks had failed to de-

liver increased cuts to carbon pollution, nor did they provide any credible pathway to USD 100 bil-

catastrophe for which they are least responsible. WWF head of delegation,

Tasneem Essop, said Doha was supposed to be an important element in setting up a fair, ambitious

make any consequential progress with the countries only reaffirming their commitments and laying

"These talks have failed the climate and they have failed developing nations... The Doha decision has delivered no real cuts in emissions, it has delivered no concrete finance, and it has not delivered on equity," said Essop

and binding deal in 2015 and therefore needed to rebuild trust and instill equity. "These talks have failed the climate and they have failed developing nations... The Doha decision has delivered no real cuts in emissions, it has delivered no concrete finance, and it has not delivered on equity," said Essop. The activists said the talks delivered at best a very vague outcome that would require enormous political will to yield increased ambition. Climate finance that was at the core of this year's talks failed to

out no quantitative results on the table as to how they would upscale finances for the USD 100 billion Green Climate Fund. "Developing countries have come here in good faith and have been forced to accept vague words and no numbers," said Tim Gore, International Climate Change Policy Advisor for Oxfam, calling it a "betrayal." Wael Hmaidan, Director of CAN-International, said it's time people demand leadership from their governments on the issue of climate change before it was too late.-PTI

Local and international activists demonstrate inside a conference center to demand urgent action to address climate change at the U.N. climate talks

lion per year in finance by 2020 to help the poorest countries deal with climate change. "Two weeks of negotiations have not altered that path and that politicians need to reflect the consensus around climate change through funds, targets and effective action," said Greenpeace International Executive Director Kumi Naidoo. Others accused the developed world, singling out the US as the biggest deal blocker, of having failed in delivering their responsibility to save the planet and help the poor ones foot the bills of a

LS approves changes in Debt Recovery Bill NEW DELHI: The Lok Sabha (Lower House of Indian Parliament) has approved an amendment bill to make easier recovery of bad loans by banks amid walkout by the Bharatiya Janata Party, Left and some other parties after the government rejected their demand for referring it to the Standing Committee. The Enforcement of Security Interest and Recovery of Debts Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2011, which was approved by voice vote in the Lower House, seeks to convert any part of debt into shares of defaulting company by the asset reconstruction Company (ARC). The Bill was introduced in Lok Sabha in December, 2011. While the opposition demanded that the bill be referred to the Standing Committee for scru-

tiny, Finance Minister P Chidambaram said when the bill was introduced last year the Speaker decided against referring it to the Parliamentary committee. Referring it to the committee now would delay the process fur-

The Enforcement of Security Interest and Recovery of Debts Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2011, which was approved by voice vote in the Lower House, seeks to convert any part of debt into shares of defaulting company

ther, he said, adding the then minister wanted it to be passed without delay as amendments were of technical nature. "The bill was introduced in 2011 and should not be referred (to Standing Committee) now after 12 months...It would defeat the very purpose the bill. In the interest of banking sector, it is necessary to pass the bill in 2012," he said, adding the move would quicken the process of loan recovery. On the issue of rising non-performing assets (NPAs) of banks, Chidambaram said the banking sector is well regulated and the gross NPA, which is around 3.5 per cent of total loans, was not high and the situation would improve with economic recovery. Chidambaram said, "Because of stress in economy, several sectors are not doing well. -PTI

Optimum level of control needed for Indian markets NEW DELHI: Pitching for optimum level control over the financial sector, a financial expert has said that it should be not so excessive as to kill the development agenda. "India has a well-regulated financial sector. It needs to reach an optimum level of control and maintain a fine balance, thereby not killing the agenda of development finance," Indian Finance Minister P Chidambaram's tax advisor Parthasarathy Shome said at a conference. The conference was organized by the Haryana-based O P Jindal Global University in collaboration with the FGV law school in Brazil and the Indian Institute of Foreign Trade to examine business, legal

and regulatory opportunities in developing countries. To promote investment in infrastructure sector, Shome suggested that the government should "bear the burden of risk allocation and risk mitigation in financing infrastructure". The Planning Commission has pegged the fund requirement for the infrastructure sector during the 12th Five Year Plan (2012-17) at USD 1 trillion of which a large portion would have to come from the private sector. Shome's reports on the controversial issues of General Anti Avoidance Rules (GAAR) and indirect transfer of assets are awaiting decision by the government.-PTI


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Ten global cos cut one lakh jobs in 2012 NEW YORK: With an aim to save costs in troubled economic times, just 10 companies together have announced nearly one lakh job cuts worldwide since start of 2012 and they include giants like HP, Google and Citigroup. While these companies come from a wide array of businesses, the reason behind layoffs has mostly been cost-cutting efforts in their respective operations. Others who have announced major layoffs in 2012 so far are AMR Corporation, PepsiCo, MetLife, Hostess Brands, JC Penney Co, Procter & Gamble and Morgan Stanley. Collectively, these ten companies have announced layoffs affecting at least 95,500 jobs in their operations globally. The technology giant HewlettPackard tops the chart of corporate job cuts for the year with its announcement in May to axe 27,000 jobs to save up to USD 3.5

billion. HP is followed by the Hostess Brands, the bankrupt maker of Wonder bread and Twinkie, which

that it would cut up to 14,000 jobs, while PepsiCo and P&G have also revealed plans this year to downsize their respective

advertising and marketing. On the other hand, P&G said it would eliminate 4,100 jobs in fiscal 2013 as part of an effort to trim

Internet giant Google also said in August that it would cut 4,000 jobs from the 20,000-person work force of Motorola Mobility, which Google acquired earlier this year. According to regulatory filings, about two-thirds of the proposed job cuts by Google would take place outside the US announced last month that it would eliminate 18,500 jobs as it liquidates the company's assets and sells off its brands. Besides, AMR Corporation, the parent company of American Airlines, also announced in February

Dassault asks India to define HAL's role NEW DELHI: After bagging the termine the role of the defense and multi-billion dollar deal for supply- security wing of a new Indian deing 126 Rafale fighter aircraft to the fense company in the project and IAF, French firm Dassault Aviation a major share of work would be has asked the Defense Ministry given to it, they said. to define the role of Hindustan Soon after Dassault was deAeronautics Limited in the project. clared as the lowest bidder for the If the contract is finalized, the MMRCA (Medium Multi-Role first 18 aircraft would be supplied Combat Aircraft) deal pipping by Dassault directly to the Indian EAD's Eurofighter, it signed an Air Force and the remaining 108 MoU with a Reliance Industries would be license-produced at Limited company for working toHAL facilities in Bangalore. The French Dassault Soon after Dassault was has asked the Ministry to define the role of the declared as the lowest premier Indian aerobidder for the MMRCA (Mespace company in the final delivery of the 108 dium Multi-Role Combat aircraft to be produced in India, industry Aircraft) deal pipping EAD's sources told PTI here. Eurofighter, it signed an MoU As per the IAF tender issue for the project, with a Reliance Industries the primary role for in- Limited company tegration and supply of these aircraft would be of the HAL, which is successfully gether in the security sector. working on several important It is currently negotiating the fighter aircraft projects such as the deal with the Defense Ministry and Su-30MKI project. the IAF. The French company has told For completing the Indian the Ministry that if it is given the project, Dassault has also opened overall responsibility for the an Indian subsidiary company project, it should be given the free- here. The company named dom to decide on the proportion Dassault Aircraft Services India of work to be done by the HAL Private Limited (DASIPL) was set and private companies in the pro- up recently and it is 100 per cent gram, they said. owned by its French parent comIn that case, the firm would de- pany, they said. -PTI

workforce. PepsiCo had said it would trim three per cent of its global workforce, or about 8,700 jobs, to save about USD 1.5 billion by 2014, in order to offset high commodity costs and increased spending on

Govt to dole out Rs 99k cr for flagship schemes NEW DELHI: States failed to utilize nearly Rs 30,000 crore meant for various flagship programs like MGNREGA, even as the government promised to dole out Rs 99,000 crore for such schemes in the current fiscal. "In 2012-13, about Rs 99,000 crore are being given to the states for rural development programs. The responsibility for spending money on these programs is entirely on state governments," Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh said in Rajya Sabha during Question Hour. Ramesh said Rs 10,993 crore remained unspent under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) and Rs 5,859 crore under Indira Aawas Yojana (IAY) last fiscal. Besides, Rs 8,919 crore could not be utilized under Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) and Rs 3,987 crore under Integrated Watershed Management Program in 2011-12. "The Central government provides the funds for rural development programs which are broadly defined to include water supply and sanitation," he said. Ramesh said, "There are very many practical problems in the field. I accept the point that we must work with the state governments to help them expand and improve their capacity to spend money. There is no shortage of money. -PTI

costs by USD 10 billion over the next four years. Citigroup has been the most recent in the top-league of layoffs and announced this month itself

that it would slash 11,000 jobs as part of an effort to save USD 1 billion. At the beginning of the year, clothing house J C Penney announced restructuring measures that would affect 4,700 jobs, while MetLife trimmed a sizeable chunk of its workforce, about 4,300 jobs, early this year due to closure of its Texas-based home loans unit. Internet giant Google also said in August that it would cut 4,000 jobs from the 20,000-person work force of Motorola Mobility, which Google acquired earlier this year. According to regulatory filings, about two-thirds of the proposed job cuts by Google would take place outside the US. Financial services firm Morgan Stanley in July said it expected a seven decline in staff from 2011, implying the loss of about 3,200 jobs. -PTI


„

Realty Tidbits

Sell unsold stock at discounted prices: Credai

MUMBAI: Leading realtors' body Confederation of Real Estate Developers' Association of India (CREDAI) has asked its members to seriously consider selling off maximum inventories by reducing prices. "The developer community is willing to consider the suggestions made by the Finance Minister P Chidambaram to unlock the value of the unsold stock. We have asked our members across the country to seriously consider the proposal to sell (the unsold stock) in maximum numbers," Credai national president Lalit Kumar Jain said in a statement. The governing council of Credai had met at Kochi over the weekend where it was decided to consider the suggestion to sell maximum number of housing units by reducing the prices to the extent possible, it said.

„ Big scope for realtors in higher edu sector MUMBAI: Lack of physical infrastructure in the education sector, which has become a key focus area for the government, provides huge opportunities for real estate players, says a survey. "The quantum of physical infrastructure and real estate development required to address the aspiration of GER (gross enrolment ratio) enrolment is a Herculean task and cannot be achieved by government or education institute operators alone. "This provides significant opportunities for real estate developers for creating physical infrastructure in the education landscape," DTZ India co-head for investment advisory Anuj Nangpal said in a survey. With a population of around 1.2 billion and over 144 million potential customers for higher education, the country is now ranked amongst the largest markets globally, the report says, adding, there are around 25,000 colleges and 460 universities. -PTI

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Property tax notice baffles residents GURGAON: Several residents who have got house tax notice, perhaps for the first time, don't seem to be aware how to go about paying it. Acknowledging that there seems to be some kind of ambiguity over the payment of tax, the municipal corporation officials say the confusion is because of the change in the house tax policy announced a few months ago.

7 questions to ask before buying a home DANA DRATCH

B

efore you make an offer on a house, it pays to ask a handful of questions. While the answers might scare you off or make you rethink your bid, they could make you feel more confident that you're making the right move on the right house. As you prepare for buying a home, here are seven questions to ask before you make the offer. What is this property worth in today's market? For ethical reasons, agents can't tell you how much to offer, says C.D. "Chip" Boring, broker/owner of Re/ Max Realty Plus in Sebring, Fla. Instead of asking directly how much the home is worth, you ask indirectly, by seeking information about comparable sales, or "comps." An agent should arm you with plenty of comparables -- prices of similar, nearby homes that have been sold recently -- along with high and low ranges for a particular property, Boring says. Your agent can tell you how long homes are staying on the market, and the percentage of the asking price sellers are getting, says Dick Gaylord, past president of the National Association of Realtors and broker with Re/Max Real Estate Specialists in Long Beach, Calif. This information tells you how hot the market is where you are looking, he says. Also ask how long the property has been on the market. If it's been languishing for months with nary an offer, it could be slow market or it could be overpriced, says Robert Irwin, author of "Tips and Traps

How flexible is the seller on the asking price? If you insult the seller with a lowball offer, you could lose your shot at the house. To avoid offend-

to make lowball offers, plan to make "offers on several properties before you connect with a seller who will deal," Irwin says. A question that often goes hand-in-hand: Is the seller willing to help with the closing costs?

of the properties, so they're failing to disclose any real problems." Take the direct approach, he says. Ask: "Is there a problem with this house?" Irwin recommends reminding sellers that with inspections and

ing the homeowner, ask the seller's agent how firm the seller is on price, Irwin says. You can have this conversation directly with the

On foreclosed homes, a seller's contribution to closing costs "certainly is common with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac because they

disclosures, chances are you'll find any problems. "So if the sellers just get it out in the open, they'll avoid wasting your time and theirs," he says. Some sellers' agents recommend a home inspection before putting the home on the market, Boring says. If one has been done, ask to read it. Some states, such as Texas, mandate disclosure forms in which sellers have to reveal any issues or problems with the house, says James Foltz, who recently bought a home there. In his case, the disclosure not only provided information, but it also started a dialogue with the seller. Foltz learned that there had been a problem and that it had been fixed. In the end, Foltz says, "It wasn't that big a deal."

When Negotiating Real Estate."

Irwin recommends reminding sellers that with inspections and disclosures, chances are you'll find any problems. "So if the sellers just get it out in the open, they'll avoid wasting your time and theirs” seller's agent or have your agent ask the question. Keeping it in terms of "how flexible are they on the price?" instead of "how much less will they take?" allows you to feel out the situation without offending the seller, Irwin says. Not every seller will be willing to bargain, so if your strategy is

want to sell their properties," Gaylord says. "And sellers who have equity in their property and want to help are helping." What's wrong with this house? "One of the things that's happening now is every house is in 'perfect condition,'" Irwin says. "The sellers really want to get rid

Cont’d on page 37


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7 questions to ask before buying a home Cont’d from page 44

Is this home in a flood plain? Living in a flood plain can require flood insurance, which can affect the cost of living in the house, Foltz says. Be sure to ask if the home is in a flood plain. The Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, posts free online maps that show if your home-to-be is in a flood plain. It doesn't hurt to double-check with the county, and talk with your property agent, too. If you discover that the home you want is in a flood plain, you need to know what type of flood plain (some ratings indicate higher risks than others), and how much flood insurance will cost. (One way to find out: Ask to see the seller's flood insurance bills.) Once you have some information, you can weigh your options. Can you afford any additional costs that might be associated with this type of flood plain? And are you still comfortable with the property? "In most cases it is possible to

assume the seller's flood policy," says Graham Stiles, senior vice president with Alexander Chandler Realty and partner at Highrises.com, in Fort Worth, Texas. Will the lender allow a short sale? In a short sale, the bank allows the property to be sold for less

lender's criteria for short sales. So even if the buyer and seller settle on a price, without the bank's permission there won't be a deal. That's why, when a home is advertised as a short sale, the buyer should ask whether the lender has agreed to allow the home to be sold for less than the outstanding mortgage amount.

sale requests in that situation? Are any foreclosures for sale in the area? It's the question sellers (and their agents) hate: Are foreclosed homes for sale nearby? Foreclosures usually cost less, and that has to figure into your buying decision. "It always makes sense to ask if

If the buyer has gotten permission for a short sale, what was the bank's reason for granting it? than the amount of the outstanding mortgage. If the seller's bank doesn't give its consent, the short sale can't happen. But some sellers simply decide to list their properties as "short sales" before even talking with their lenders, Gaylord says. These sellers don't realize that their financial situations might not meet the

"Find out if there has been communication with the lender," Gaylord says. Do a little investigation, too, he urges. If the buyer has gotten permission for a short sale, what was the bank's reason for granting it? Does that reason sound plausible (divorce, job loss, transfer)? And are banks typically granting short

Adani to invest Rs 1000 cr on Guj housing proj NEW DELHI: Adani Group's real estate venture Adani Realty has announced its tie up with Delhi-based M2K Group to develop a premium housing project in Gurgaon at an investment of about Rs 1,000 crore. Adani Group, a nearly USD 8 billion company primarily engaged

Desai told reporters here. Asked about the investment on this project, he said it would be about Rs 1,000 crore including both the phases. The proposed investment would be met through internal accruals, debt and advances from customers. Giving details about the project,

in power, coal and logistics businesses, has formed an equal joint venture with M2K to develop the project 'Oyster Grande' spread over 40 acre in Gurgaon near Dwarka Expressway. "We have projects in Ahmedabad, Mumbai and Kochi. Now we are foraying into the NCR market as it is an important region in the country. Dwarka Expressway is an upcoming destination," Adani Advisory LLP CEO Ameet

M2K President Vikash Bhagchandka said the JV company is launching 756 flats in the first phase and there would be about 1,500-2,000 units in the entire projects. "We are launching this project at Rs 6,300/sq ft, which is very competitive considering the quality and specification we are providing," Desai said. The size of the units varies from about 1,600 sq ft to over 7,000 sq ft. The cost of

each flat would be in range of about Rs 1-4.5 crore. On the overall realty business, Desai said the venture is currently contributing less than 5 per cent to the total group turnover. "We are in build-up phase. We are developing various projects. The revenue would start coming after 2-3 years but still it would be lower than the other business," Desai said, adding the group is committed to long-term investment in this sector. At present, Adani Realty is developing about 50 million sq ft with an investment of about Rs 3,500 crore. These projects would be completed in the next 5-7 years. The 600- acre integrated township at Ahmedabad is its major project. Desai said the company is targeting pan-India presence in the next five years and "we are evaluating several proposals in various cities across the country". Adani Realty is not averse to developing projects in tie-up with other developers as well as landowners, he said, while ruling out any plan to raise funds via private equity to meet proposed investment on developing projects. Besides real estate, M2K Group is into multiplexes, bio-technology, aviation and bio-technology businesses. It is currently developing more than 10 million sq ft. -PTI

there are other houses for sale in the neighborhood," says William Poorvu, professor emeritus of entrepreneurship at Harvard Business School and co-author of "The Real Estate Game." "In today's world, you should also ask if any of these sales are as a result of foreclosures." With foreclosures in the neighborhood, "you can assume there will be

a lot of price competition, and you may offer less money," Poorvu says. Do you have the paperwork for the mechanical systems? Foltz says he should have asked more persistently for receipts and documentation about his new home's appliances and mechanical systems. "But it's something you don't have that much control over," he says. The seller replaced the air conditioner shortly before putting the home on the market, but didn't save the paperwork. Without documentation, the new buyers didn't have a lot of options when the unit malfunctioned. Foltz says he didn't know who sold the air conditioner or if it was under warranty. "So we paid out of pocket." The seller did pass along all the documentation on the home's hardwood floors. So when the new owners wanted to install that same hardwood in the hallway and office, they had the information they needed to get an exact match. -Bankrate.com

HC permits CREDAI to carry out certain works BANGALORE: The Karnataka High Court has conditionally permitted the Confederation of Real Estate Developers Association of India make certain modifications on listed works on an under construction building on condition it does not cause sound pollution to nearby residents. The division bench, headed by Chief Justice Vikramajit Sen passed the order after hearing an Interlocutory Application (IA) by Sobha Developers and CREDAI, seeking modification of its order on a PIL by J P Nagar First Phase Residents Welfare Association. The Association had sought quashing of the sanctioned plan

of the firm for a high rise in J P Nagar, reportedly in violation of all rules and contended it was disturbing the peace of other residents. The court permitted CREDAI and Sobha Developers to carry out listed works, subject to the condition till Mar 30, 2013. It also permitted the petitioner to initiate contempt proceedings in case of violation. The court observed that its Sept 6, 2012 order, banning construction work after 6 PM would be in force and it can suo motu initiate contempt proceedings in case of any violation. The court then adjourned further hearing to Apr 4, 2013. -PTI


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ishikesh, 24 kms from Hardwar, is located in the laps of lower Himalayas, and is surrounded by scenic beauty of the hills on three sides with holy Ganga flowing through it. The whole place is considered to be sacred as it is believed that meditation at this place leads to attainment of salvation. There are many temples - some ancient, some new along the river. Rishikesh is important not only as pilgrimage centre closely associated with the Ramayana, but also as home for many important centers of Hindu religious

the Ganga. Places to visit Bharat Mandir: Built by Adiguru Shankaracharya around 12th century, Bharat Mandir is situated in the heart of the old town on the banks of the Ganga. Detailed account of this oldest temple of Rishikesh is available in ancient records of Kearkhand. The inner sanctum of the temple has the idol of Lord Vishnu, carved out of a single Saligram. In the inner canopy above the idol is shree yantra installed by Adi Shankaracharya.

thought and spirituality, and as a very great Yoga centre. There are a great many ashrams and Yoga institutes here. Rishikesh is also the gateway and the startoff point for journeys to important religious places like Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri. Rishikesh is also acquiring greater significance as a centre for white water rafting, other river sports, a base for treks and hikes in the beautiful Garhwal Himalayas. Rishikesh is an ideal destination not only for pilgrims but also for those who want to delve deeper into meditation, Yoga and other aspects of Hinduism. For the adventurous, Rishikesh is the place for starting their trekking expeditions and excursions towards the Himalayan peaks. The International Yoga week, which attracts participation from all across the world, is held here every year from 2nd to 7th Feb on the banks of

Rishikesh is also acquiring greater significance as a centre for white water rafting, other river sports, a base for treks and hikes in the beautiful Garhwal Himalayas. The International Yoga week, which attracts participation from all across the world, is held here every year from 2nd to 7th Feb on the banks of the Ganga

The original temple was destroyed by Tamur Lane in 1398 A.D. Lot of old statues, coins, pots and other things of historical importance were found in recent excavations in the premises of the temple. Rishikund: Close to Trivenighat is the most ancient place, the Rishikund. Ancient records relate this to Kubz Saint, who was blessed by the Goddess Yamuna who saturated this pond with its water. The pond reflects the temple of Ragunath, dedicated to Lord Rama and his wife, Sita. Triveni Ghat: The main ghat in the town area where most of the

pilgrims take holy dip. Every evening hundreds of pilgrims attend the Ganga Arti at the Ghat. Ram Jhula Area Geeta Bhawan: It is one of the oldest temple complexes in the area. The famous Indian epics Ramayana and Mahabharata are described here on the walls. Parmarth Niketan: One of the most renowned temple complexes and ashrams in the area. Known for its substantial work on Hinduism, there is a school run on traditional Indian patterns. The ashram organizes excellent Ganga Arti and Hawan on the Parmarth Ghat every evening. Cont’d on page 42


December 21, 2012

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Luxury Mumbai-Konkan bus service planned MUMBAI: With an aim to attract foreign tourists, Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) has decided to start a luxury bus service to Konkan from Mumbai and Pune. MTDC has purchased five Volvo buses which have facilities like chemical toilets, fridge, oven, Wi-Fi at a cost of Rs 5.48 crore. The tourist packages will be for three or five days. Private operators will be roped in for conducting the tours and an MoU will be signed between MTDC and the operator. Competitive bids have been invited and MTDC hopes that the bus service will start commercial operations in the first week of January, sources in the tourism department told PTI. The sightseeing packages will include all tourism sites on Mumbai-Sindhudurg and PuneSindhudurg routes. From Mumbai, the bus will halt at Raigad, Harihareshwar, Chiplun, Ganpati Pule, Pawas, Ratnagiri, Kunkeshwar, Tarkarli, Malwan, Sawantwadi and then return to Mumbai. Similarly, the Pune route will

cover Kolhapur, Sawantwadi, Tarkarli, Malwan, Kunkeshwar, Ganpati Pule, Pawas and Ratnagiri. The bus will again come to Ganpati Pule, proceed to Pawan Khind, Panhala Fort, Jyotiba Mandir and

Every year approximately 14 lakh foreign tourists arrive in Mumbai. ‘Our endeavor will be to attract these tourists to stay back and enjoy the scenic beauty of Konkan region’ return to Pune. Ticket fares will be fixed after competitive bids are finalized, sources informed. The tourist package will cover temples, beaches and sea forts in the Konkan region. Every year approximately 14 lakh foreign tourists arrive in Mumbai and then proceed to different parts

Australia seeks direct air connectivity with India NEW DELHI: Australia has sought direct air connectivity with India to boost tourism. This was stated during Australian Tourism Minister Martin Ferguson's meeting with Indian Tourism Minister K Chiranjeevi here. Both the Ministers expressed their resolve to strengthen bilateral tourism cooperation at the meeting. Referring to the recent road shows organized by India Tourism in Australia, Chiranjeevi expressed the hope that such shows will contribute to more tourist inflow from Australia. The minister suggested creation of a joint tourism forum whereby tour operators, hoteliers, airlines and other tourism stakeholders from both the countries could exchange ideas for promotion and development of tourism between Indian and Australia. He said both the countries should explore the possibility of renewing the MoU on tourism cooperation which expired in 2008. Chiranjeevi also suggested easing of visa norms to boost tourism. India and Australia are impor-

tant tourism markets for each other. Australia is one of the top 10 tourist generating markets for India as far as inbound tourism is concerned. There has been an increase in the number of Australians visiting India in the last two years. About 1,69,647 Australians visited India in 2010, while the figure rose to 1,86,002 in 2011.

Referring to the recent road shows organized by India Tourism in Australia, Chiranjeevi expressed the hope that such shows will contribute to more tourist inflow from Australia. India Tourism Office in Sydney looks after promotion and marketing of India as a tourist destination in Australia. Tourism Ministry in association with Indian Association of Tour Operators organized road shows in Sydney and Melbourne in October this year.-PTI

of the country, sources said. "Our endeavor will be to attract these tourists to stay back and enjoy the scenic beauty of Konkan region," they added. In the 12th Finance Commission, Rs 225 crore were allocated to the tourism department for upgrading infrastructure, resorts and repairing of guest houses. Out of this Rs 5.5 crore were allocated for purchasing Volvo luxury buses, sources said. Konkan region, in the southern most tip of Maharashtra, has three districts Raigad, Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg. Sindhudurg was declared a tourism district in 1999. -PTI

HP to develop new tourism destinations SHIMLA: The Himachal Pradesh government would chalk out a concrete plan to strengthen tourism infrastructure and develop new destinations to optimize the tourism potential of the state, Chief Secretary S Roy has said. Claiming that the tourism potential of the state had not been fully exploited, Roy said the government would build parking lots, roads, roadside amenities, and improve air and rail connectivity to attract more tourists. Himachal Pradesh had registered the highest growth in the number of domestic tourists in the country at 10.28 per cent during the current year with 1.5 crore tourists visiting the state, he said while pre-

siding over a meeting of district tourism officers and forest officials here. He said 75 new parking lots with a total capacity of 2,000 will be built at main tourist destinations, including Dharamsala and Shimla, at a cost of Rs 4.52 crore. Wayside amenities would be created at 40 places which will include an information centre, cafeteria, toilet, souvenir shop, clock room and parking, he said. The official said that so far, Rs 52 crore out of Rs 86 crore received from the Centre had been spent on tourism promotion. Roy said Tourism department was executing works worth Rs 52 crore and the state government has spent a sum of Rs 2.50 crore on eco-tourism. -PTI


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Rishikesh: Sacred land of the Ganga, fit for meditation Cont’d from page 40

"When the orange sun, as if suspended, waits low amid the red/yellow streaked horizon, then all these combine to give this town a very special evening. The temple bells roar, priests chant mantras. Immersed in sublimation stand the pilgrims. Cupped leaves, with saffron marigold petals and a small candle flame, flickering ride the current of water of wisdom. Suddenly the sky darkens, spreading a blanket of stillness. Everything stops, except the sound of current, which has just sunk the tiny flames of cupped leaves, few minutes back". Transcendental Centre of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi: Situated on the extreme end of Geeta Bhawan area, Maharishi's TM centre is situated in the peaceful forest area. Once the most active branch, it has nothing much to offer to the visitors today. One can see the ruins of the TM centre from a distance. Laxman Jhula Area Tera Manzil Temple: A multistoried temple complex of idols of Hindu gods, and goddesses. Very popular among domestic pilgrims. One can have an excellent view of the entire area from the top floor of the temple complex. Sunset

Laxman Jhula

view from this place in winters is an excellent option. Laxman Temple: On the right bank of the Ganga is situated the ancient temple of Laxman. Lord Rama with Laxman made a twig bridge here on the way to their journey to high Himalayas. Outskirts of Rishikesh Kunja Puri Temple Drive to Kunja Puri, one of the 13 most important goddesses of Shivalik range, the lower Himalayas. One can witness excellent sunrise or sun set on the Greater Hiamalayan peaks and the vast Indo Gangetic plains. One can

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see almost all the peaks of Garhwal Himalayas from here e.g Banderpunch (6316 Mts), Swarga Rohini (6252 Mts) Gangotri (6672 mts) Chaukhamba (7138 mts) etc. Vasishtha Gufa One hour drive from Rishikesh up the river is situated Vasishtha Gufa, where famous saint Vasishtha meditated on the banks of the Ganga. The cave is very peaceful and is a perfect place for meditation. The entire drive to Vasishtha Gufa is along the river. Devprayag: One of the panchprayags (five confluences), Devprayaga is an ancient town situated at the confluence of Alaknanda and Bhagirathi which combine to make

the holy Ganga. Visit the ancient temple of Lord Rama at the beginning of the river. The entire drive is along the beautiful river Ganga up to Devprayag. Surkanda Devi (10,000 feet) Drive (2.5 to 3 hrs) to Kadukhal via Narender Nagar, the capital of Tehri Garhwal once. Now the palace is converted into a world famous Spa. Stop at the palace for sometime and continue to Chamba. The drive till Chamba is a gradual ascent through the forest and small villages. Stop at the small hill town of Chamba for a cup of tea and then drive along the ridge till Kadhuhla. One can enjoy the panoramic view of mountains on one side and the big Doon valley on the other

side. Arrive Kaddu Khal and commence trek (01-1.5 hrs) to Surkanda Devi. The trek is a gradual ascent till the mountain top. Visit the temple of Surkanda Devi, one of the 13 important goddesses of Himalayan foothills. Enjoy the 180 degrees panoramic view of snow covered Greater Himalayan Range and the massive Doon valley. One can see almost all the major peaks of Garhwal Himalayas e.g Swarga Rohini (6252 Mts) Sudarshan Parbat (6507 Mts), Kamet (7756 Mts), Nanda Gunti (6309 Mts), Nanda Devi (7878 Mts.) Trek down (01 hr) to Kaddu Khal. Picnic Lunch and little rest in the mountain tea shops. Later drive back to Rishikesh via Mussoorie (The famous hill station in north India) and Dehradun, the capital of Uttaranchal State. Instead of driving via Mussoorie, one can also opt for visit to Tehri Dam Lake near Chamba How to reach: Air: The nearest airport is Jolly Grant, 18km from Rishikesh on way to Dehradun. At present chartered planes operate. Rail: Rishikesh is connected by rail with Haridwar, Delhi, Bombay, Howrah, Lucknow and Agra. Road: Rishikesh is connected by road with most places of North India.

Review sought of campaign to woo foreign tourists NEW DELHI: A parliamentary panel has observed that the action plan of the Tourism Ministry to woo foreign travelers is not effective enough and has suggested review of the overseas campaign strategy. The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Tourism, Culture and Transport has recommended that the ministry must have a relook into the necessity of various tourism promotion offices abroad and the efficacy of various officials under overseas promotion and publicity. The 31-member panel headed by CPI (M) MP Sitaram Yechury in its report observed that the expenditure incurred up to February is Rs 194.26 cr for overseas promotion. The committee was of the view that the expenditure is not commensurate with the return in the form of number of foreign tourist arrivals (5.78 million) in 2010. It expressed surprise that with so many attractions like religious tourism, health care and

many more "why we have not been able to attract enough tourists to India". Taking note of lack of cleanliness at tourist places as one of the reasons for low tourist arrival, the committee observed that only Rs 10,000 cr has been made available

tourist will come only when our tourist places are clean and well maintained. The panel also noted that a comprehensive waste management system is lacking in most of the tourist destinations as this will become a serious problem in the

under the head for "Clean India" campaign. It was of the view that a substantial part of the allocation may be diverted for the campaign as the

coming years because of the increase in the number of tourists. It also noted scarcity of water in almost all tourist places and specially in hilly areas. -PTI


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In Brief Wis. Governor vows to fight immigration bill MADISON, Wis.: Republican Gov. Scott Walker says he would fight any Arizona-style immigration bill in Wisconsin. When he was a gubernatorial candidate in 2010 Walker said he had concerns about such a law. Days later he said he would sign similar legislation in Wisconsin. His campaign manager said Walker changed his mind after doing more research. But after Republican Mitt Romney lost to President Barack Obama the GOP has put a new focus on connection with Hispanics. Walker told reporters he would push to make sure no Arizona-type bill came to his desk, saying such legislation would be a distraction and doesn't fit his job creation priorities. -AP

George W. Bush opens conference on immigration DALLAS: Former President George W. Bush says as the U.S. debates immigration policy, he hopes ``we do so with a benevolent spirit and keep in mind the contribution of immigrants.'' Bush opened a conference on the benefits of immigration hosted by the George W. Bush Institute and the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. One of the Bush Institute's focuses is economic growth. The conference is part of an institute initiative to find ways for the U.S. to achieve 4 percent gross domestic product growth. Bush notes that a book the institute released over the summer on achieving 4 percent GDP included chapters on the importance of immigrants to growth. -AP

Obama uncle wins new deportation hearing BOSTON: President Barack Obama's uncle is getting a new deportation hearing after an appeals board ordered the agency running the country's immigration court system to review his case. Onyango Obama is from Kenya and was ordered by an immigration judge to leave the country in 1992. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesman Brian Hale said that the Board of Immigration Appeals has sent Obama's case to the Executive Office for Immigration Review for reassessment. Hale declined comment on what triggered the decision. -AP

Immigration 44

India Post

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Illegal immigration drops after decade-long rise WASHINGTON: New census data affirm a clear and sustained drop in illegal immigration, ending more than a decade of increases. Details on page 46

GOP support helps move immigrant driver licenses in Illinois SPRINGFIELD, Ill.: Illinois pressed ahead toward becoming the third state to allow illegal immigrants to get driver's licenses, with the state Senate approving a bipartisan plan hours after top Republicans offered support. The tone of the discussion with little opposition among senators - was a stark contrast to previous years and came weeks after Republicans suffered devastating Election Day losses, which they blamed partly on failing to appeal to immigrants and minorities. The measure, which would let illegal immigrants get tested for licenses and buy insurance without facing deportation, passed the state Senate 41-14. It headed to the House, where it faces similar reception. A spokesman for House Speaker Mike Madigan said it wouldn't likely come up for a vote until January. The legislation, sponsored by Chicago Democratic Senate President John Cullerton, was presented as a way to enhance public safety and curb costs created by uninsured drivers. The licenses would look different than permanent driver's licenses and couldn't be used for other purposes, such as boarding a plane or voter identification. ``There is a cost to society when

Illinois Senate President John Cullerton, D-Chicago, argues the issue of illegal immigrants driver’s licenses legislation on the Senate floor during veto session at the Illinois State Capitol December 4, in Springfield Ill

Illinois has about 250,000 illegal immigrants who are driving without training and insurance. They cause $64 million in damage claims each year we have uninsured, untrained, untested drivers ... They're not going to self-deport. The federal government is not going to deport

them. They are here,'' said state Sen. Bill Brady, a Bloomington Republican who spoke in support of the bill. ``We have to try to find

some resolution to this.'' He and other Republicans - including Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno, House Minority Leader Tom Cross and former Gov. Jim Edgar - held a news conference ahead of the vote to urge colleagues to vote for it. It was the first time some in the GOP contingent publicly voiced approval. Washington and New Mexico allow illegal immigrants to obtain drivers' licenses. Illinois has about 250,000 illegal immigrants who are driving without training and insurance, proponents of the measure say. Those drivers caused $64 million in damage claims each year, according to the Highway Safety Coalition, a group that supports the bill. ``At the end of the day, this is about public safety,'' said state Democratic Sen. Iris Martinez of Chicago. Supporters say the temporary licenses issued would look the same as those given to people in the country legally, so police couldn't target illegal immigrants. Vicente Del Real, a 30-year-old illegal immigrant from the Chicago suburbs, said he was relieved at the Senate's support. Cont’d on page 46

GOP bills unlikely to pass in the Senate CYRUS D. MEHTA

T

he U.S. House of Repre sentatives passed H.R. 6429, the "STEM Jobs Act of 2012," by a 245-139 vote on November 30. The bill would allocate 55,000 immigrant visas for certain foreign graduates of advanced degree programs in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). It would exclude students with degrees in biological and biomedical fields. Among other things, it also would eliminate the diversity visa (DV) program so that there would be no overall increase in the level of immigration. Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), said, "We should staple a green card to [foreign STEM graduates'] diplomas." Rep. Darrell Issa (R-

Cal.), who also voted in favor of the bill, said," We need to break up the elephant into bite-size pieces. I want to break this up into passable bill by passable bill."

tion reform package. Similarly, the Obama administration said in a statement that it "strongly supports" legislation to attract and retain foreign students who gradu-

The statement advocated an approach that would "provide for attracting and retaining highly skilled immigrants and uniting Americans with their family members” H.R. 6429 is considered unlikely to pass in the Senate. Democrats said they support STEM visas but did not think the DV program should be eliminated and believe that STEM legislation should be part of a larger immigra-

ate with advanced STEM degrees, to establish a start-up visa for foreign-born entrepreneurs "to start businesses and create jobs," and to "reform the employment-based immigration system to better meet the needs of the U.S. economy."

However, the administration said it does not support "narrowly tailored proposals that do not meet the President's long-term objectives with respect to comprehensive immigration reform." The statement advocated an approach that would "provide for attracting and retaining highly skilled immigrants and uniting Americans with their family members more quickly, as well as other important priorities such as establishing a pathway for undocumented individuals to earn their citizenship, holding employers accountable for breaking the law, and continuing efforts to strengthen the Nation's robust enforcement system." Cont’d on page 45


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45

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GOP bills unlikely to pass in the Senate Cont’d from page 44

Also, on November 27, Sens. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) and Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Tex.) introduced the "Achieve Act," S. 3639, which would allow certain undocumented youth to attain a visa. They would have to apply for employment authorization after they have completed higher education or served in the military. "We have to get this ball rolling ... and this particular part of immigration reform seemed a logical place to begin," Sen. Kyl said. The bill is more restrictive than the previously proposed DREAM Act and would limit eligibility to those who entered the United States under the age of 14, among other things. Sen. Hutchison also noted that the bill "doesn't allow them to cut in line [for U.S. citizenship] in front of people who have come and abided by the rules of our laws today. It doesn't keep them from applying under the rules today, but it doesn't give them a special preference." The Achieve Act is also considered unlikely to pass in the Senate. The Congressional Hispanic Caucus rejected the Achieve Act, outlining nine principles that they said should be part of any effort toward comprehensive immigration reform: (1) requiring the estimated 11 million undocumented persons in the United States to register with the government, among other things, and "earn a

path to permanent residency and eventual citizenship"; (2) reducing family backlogs to keep spouses, parents, and children together, including same-sex couples; (3) attracting "investors, innovators, and skilled professionals," including those in STEM fields; (4) building on the DACA program and incorporating "DREAMers"; (5) including a "balanced, workable solution for the agriculture industry" that ensures that agricultural workers have a route to citizenship and employers have the workers they need; (6) providing legal avenues for foreign workers to fill gaps in the workforce, including labor rights, protection from discrimination, and a "reasonable path to permanency"; (7) ensuring enforcement that both protects the borders and fosters commerce; (8) establishing a "workable" employment verification system; and (9) ensuring that all workers "pay their fair share of taxes, fully integrate into our way of life and bear the same responsibilities as all Americans" and reaffirming "our shared belief that the Citizenship Clause of the Constitution is a fundamental freedom that must be preserved." U.S. Mission in India expands Interview Waiver Program The U.S. Mission in India has announced expansion of the Interview Waiver Program (IWP), launched in March 2012, which

Calif top cop says holding immigrants is voluntary SAN FRANCISCO: California Attorney General Kamala Harris is telling local police agencies that it is up to them whether to comply with the federal government's request to hold illegal immigrants. Harris, the state's top law enforcement officer, issued a law enforcement bulletin saying that complying with the federal government's Secure Communities program is voluntary. The federal program checks the immigration status of people who

are arrested for any crimes. Harris' bulletin says federal requests for immigration holds ``are requests, not commands.'' Some local police, including Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck, have said they want to stop honoring federal immigration detention requests in cases involving low-level crimes. Harris says police can decide whether to comply based on their ``public-safety priorities or the best use of limited local law enforcement resources.'' -AP

allows qualified individuals to apply for additional classes of visas without being interviewed in person by a U.S. consular officer. The U.S. embassy in New Delhi expects this expansion to affect thousands of visa applicants in India. Under the current IWP, Indian visa applicants who are renewing visas that are still valid or expired within the past 48 months may submit their applications for consideration for streamlined processing, including waiver of a personal

Indian visa applicants who are renewing visas that are still valid or expired within the past 48 months may submit their applications interview, within the following visa categories: • Business/Tourism (B-1 and/or B-2) • Dependent (J-2, H-4, L-2) • Transit (C) and/or Crew Member (D) - including C-1/D • Children applying before their seventh birthday traveling on any visa class • Applicants applying on or after their 80th birthday traveling on any visa class Under the expanded IWP, the following Indian applicants may also be considered for streamlined processing: • Children applying before their 14th birthday traveling on any visa class • Students returning to attend the same school and same program • Temporary workers on H-1B visas • Temporary workers on individual L-1A or individual L-1B visas The renewal application must be within the same classification as the previous visa. If the previous visa is annotated with "clearance received," however, that applicant is not eligible for a waiver of a personal interview. Not all applications will be ac-

cepted for streamlined processing. As always, consular officers may interview any visa applicant in any category. Applicants who are renewing their visas may still need an appointment for biometrics (fingerprint and photograph) collection. All applicants must submit all required fees and the DS-160 application form. The U.S. embassy in New Delhi said that this is "one of many steps the Department of State is taking to meet increased visa demand in India." The embassy explained that in 2011, consular officers in India processed nearly 700,000 nonimmigrant visa applications, an increase of more than 11 percent over the previous year. Currently, applicants generally wait fewer than 10 days for visa interview appointments and spend less than one hour at U.S.

consular facilities in India. In September 2012, the U.S. Diplomatic Mission to India implemented a new visa processing system throughout India that further standardizes procedures and simplifies fee payment and appointment scheduling through a new website at http://www.ustraveldocs.com/in. For more details about procedures for submitting a renewal application, see http:// www.ustraveldocs.com/in/in-nivvisarenew.asp. In relation to this development, Cyrus Mehta authored an article that was published in Quartz, "A Trade War Wages Across U.S. Consulates in India Over H-1B Visas. Is a Truce in Sight?" * Cyrus D Mehta, may be contacted at 212-425-0555 or info@cyrusmehta.com

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46

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Illegal immigration drops after decade-long rise WASHINGTON: New census data affirm a clear and sustained drop in illegal immigration, ending more than a decade of increases. The number of illegal immigrants in the U.S. dropped to an estimated 11.1 million last year from a peak of 12 million in 2007, part of an overall waning of Hispanic immigration. For the first time since 1910, Hispanic immigration last year was topped by immigrants from Asia. Demographers say illegal Hispanic immigration - 80 percent of all illegal immigration comes from Mexico and Latin America - isn't likely to approach its mid-2000 peak again, due in part to a weakened U.S. economy and stronger enforcement but also a graying of the Mexican population. The finding suggests an uphill battle for the Republicans, who passed legislation in the House that would extend citizenship to a limited pool of foreign students with advanced degrees but who are sharply divided on whether to pursue broader immigration measures. In all, the biggest surge of immigration in modern U.S. history ultimately may be recorded as occurring in the mid-1990s to early 2000s, yielding illegal residents who now have been settled in the U.S. for 10 years or more. They include migrants who arrived here as teens and are increasingly at risk of ``aging out'' of congressional proposals such as the DREAM Act that offer a pathway to citizenship for younger adults. ``The priority now is to push a vigorous debate about the undocumented people already here,'' said Jose Antonio Vargas, 31, a journalist from the Philippines. ``We want to become citizens and not face the threat of deportation

or be treated as second class,'' said Vargas, whose campaign, Define American, along with the young immigrant group United We Dream, have been pushing for citizenship for the entire illegal population in the U.S. The groups point to a strong Latino and AsianAmerican turnout for President Barack Obama in last month's election as evidence of public support for a broad overhaul of U.S. immigration laws. Earlier this year, Obama extended to many younger immigrants temporary reprieves from deportation. But Vargas, who has lived in the U.S. since 1993 and appeared this year on the cover of Time magazine with other immigrants who lacked legal status, has become too old to qualify. ``This conversation is a question about how we as a nation define who is an American,'' Vargas said, noting that if politicians don't embrace immigration overhaul now, a rapidly growing bloc of minority voters may soon do it for them. ``If you want us to pay a fine to become a citizen, OK. If you want us to pay back taxes, absolutely. If you want us to speak English, I speak English. But we can't tread water on this issue anymore.'' Jeffrey Passel, a senior demographer at the Pew Research Center and a former Census Bureau official, said U.S. immigration policies will have a significant impact in shaping a future U.S. labor force, which is projected to shrink by 2030. Aging white baby boomers, many in specialized or management roles, are beginning to retire. Mexican immigration, which has helped fill needs in farming, home health care and other low-wage U.S. jobs, has leveled off.

``Immigration is one way to boost the number of workers in the population,'' he said, but the next wave of needed immigrants is likely to come from somewhere other than Mexico. ``We are not going to see a return to the levels of Mexican unauthorized immigration of a decade ago.'' The numbers are largely based on the Census Bureau's Current Population Survey through March 2011. Because the Census Bureau does not ask people about their immigration status, Passel derived estimates

In all, the biggest surge of immigration in modern U.S. history ultimately may be recorded as occurring in the mid-1990s to early 2000s, yielding illegal residents who now have been settled in the U.S. for 10 years or more on illegal immigrants largely by subtracting the estimated legal immigrant population from the total foreign-born population. The numbers are also supplemented with material from William H. Frey of the Brookings Institution and Mark Mather of the Population Reference Bureau, who reviewed data from the Census' American Community Survey. The data showed that 11.1 million, or 28 percent, of the foreignborn population in the U.S. consists of illegal immigrants, virtu-

ally unchanged since 2009 and roughly equal to the level of 2005. An additional 12.2 million foreignborn people, 31 percent, are legal permanent residents with green cards. And 15.1 million, or 37 percent, are naturalized U.S. citizens. Fewer Mexican workers are entering the U.S., while many of those immigrants already here are opting to return to their homeland, resulting in zero net migration from Mexico. In 2007, legal and illegal immigrants made up equally large shares of the foreign-born population, at 31 percent, due to ballooning numbers of new unauthorized migrants seeking U.S. construction and related jobs during the mid-2000s housing boom. Naturalized U.S. citizens then represented 35 percent. Broken down by geography and race, roughly half of all states last year posted declines or no change in their numbers of foreign-born Hispanics, including big immigrant states such as California and New York as well as economically hard hit areas in Arizona, Georgia and North Carolina, which previously had seen gains. Foreign-born Asians were a bigger source of population gain than Hispanic immigrants in California, New York, Virginia, Illinois and New Jersey. Newly moving into suburban communities, the Asian population spread out more across the southeastern U.S. and Texas, increasing their share in 93 percent of the nation's metropolitan areas. As a whole, foreign-born residents are slowly graying, with 44 percent now age 45 or older. They are more likely than in 2007 to be enrolled in college or graduate school (39 percent, up from 32 per-

cent) and to be single (17 percent married, down from 22 percent). Births to immigrant mothers also are on the decline, driving the overall U.S. birth rate last year to the lowest in records dating back to 1920. ``At least temporarily, the face of immigration to the U.S. is changing in terms of cultural background, education and skills,'' Frey said. ``The fertility bump provided by past Hispanic immigrants may not be replicated in the future, especially if Asians take over a greater share of U.S. immigrants.'' House Republicans, seeking to show they are serious about addressing the immigration issue after being largely rejected by Hispanics in the election, voted to make green cards accessible to foreign students graduating with advanced science and math degrees from U.S. universities. The measure, strongly backed by the high-tech industry and touted as a boost to the U.S. economy, would have a net effect of extending more visas and eventual citizenship to students from India and China. It is opposed by most Democrats, the Obama administration and immigrant rights groups such as the Asian American Justice Center which want to see it packaged with broader legislation that extends legal status for illegal immigrants. These groups also oppose the proposed new 55,000 visas for foreign students because they would be offset by eliminating a lottery program that provides green cards to people with lower rates of immigration, mainly those from Africa. Senate Democrats have blocked Republicans from bringing up the bill. -AP

GOP support helps move immigrant driver licenses in Illinois Cont’d from page 44

He has been driving without a license for several years, something he says he has to do to get to work and school. He hopes the measure becomes a law. ``It would make me feel more safe,'' he said. Proponents of the plan include Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Gov. Pat Quinn, who has said he'll sign it if it arrives at his desk. ``This legislation is about safety and responsibility,'' Quinn said in a statement. He estimated that Illinois motorists would save about $46 million in insurance premiums. Opposition to the bill mainly

focused on urging the federal government to do more to overhaul immigration overall. Republicans' stance was clearly different than in previous years when the party has said that it's more important to enforce current immigration laws than strive for comprehensive reform. But in the wake of the Nov. 6 elections, in which Democrats won supermajority control of both the House and Senate, that line of thought appears to have shifted, especially with exit poll data showing that most voters believe that there should be a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants working in the U.S. On Nov. 20, the Illinois Coali-

tion for Immigrant and Refugee Rights kicked off their campaign in support of the licenses with an

hadn't discussed the matter with Cross. Asked about their absence,

Republicans' stance was clearly different than in previous years when the party has said that it's more important to enforce current immigration laws than strive for comprehensive reform. event in Chicago that drew Cullerton, Quinn, Edgar and Republican Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka. Radogno or Cross did not attend. At the time, Radogno said she had a scheduling conflict and a spokeswoman said she

Cross and Radogno downplayed the issue. Cross said that he'd seen the bill and was supportive of it. ``It's not a new issue and it's had bipartisan engagement for five years,'' Radogno said. ``What we see now is both sides coming

together and some movement on both sides to get a product that can actually move the ball forward.'' Neither addressed the point Edgar made two weeks ago - that the measure is a sound opportunity for the GOP to reach out to Latino voters. GOP endorsement ``bodes well for not only this piece of legislation, which is so important,'' Edgar said. He was secretary of state in the 1980s. ``It bodes well for the whole system that we see on an important issue like this, that Republicans and Democrats are coming together and trying to find common ground.'' -AP


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Feds crackdown on illegal immigrant hiring in Kan WICHITA, Kan.: A company that employed illegal immigrants at its McDonald's restaurants in Wichita has been ordered to pay $400,000 as part of a federal crackdown in Kansas on companies that knowingly hire workers who are unlawfully in the United States. The U.S. attorney's office announced that McCalla Corp. had pleaded guilty to one count of knowingly accepting a fraudulent identification document as proof of employment eligibility. Under the settlement, the Wichita-based company paid a $300,000 fine and a $100,000 forfeiture. U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom told The Associated Press that the Justice Department has to deal with the realities of budgetary constraints and that it makes sense from a ``cost-effective standpoint'' to go after the employers. ``If nobody is employing un-

documented workers, then we don't have an illegal immigration issue to deal with,'' he said in a phone interview. McCalla operates six McDonald's restaurants in Wichita. Investigators found that managers at five of those six restaurants were unlawfully in the country, and that they in turn hired other undocumented workers, Grissom said. The government estimated that between 20 and 30 illegal immigrants worked at the restaurants between May 2009 and September 2012. The $100,000 forfeiture represented the ``unjust enrichment'' the corporation had garnered as a result of hiring illegal immigrants at a reduced rate and not having to payroll taxes such as Social Security, Medicare and other withholding taxes, Grissom said.

McCalla's attorney, Lee Thompson, said the company has already paid the fines, and ``is a

Grissom said going after business owners is more effective than showing up at a job site and arresting illegal immigrant workers, which he said usually results in other undocumented workers replacing them in a few days good corporate citizen and accepts responsibilities for the acts of its employees.'' He noted that the

criminal charge was ``very limited'' to one incident. When the firm was first charged in October, McCalla President Roy McCalla said the incident did not reflect his company's policies. But the U.S. attorney's office said in a statement that any attempt to minimize or excuse this kind of conduct is unacceptable. "We know these practices are widespread, and investigations similar to the McCalla case are under way.'' Grissom declined to say how many such investigations were under way, but said they were in both urban and rural settings. McCalla is the second Kansas company this year to be prosecuted for knowingly employing illegal immigrants. In September, the U.S. attorney's office charged the owners of two Clarion hotels one in

Kansas City and the other in Overland Park after finding half of their employees were illegal immigrants. The owners, a suburban Kansas City couple, face charges including conspiracy to harbor undocumented aliens for personal gain. If convicted, they could lose their two hotels, bank accounts and spend decades in prison. Grissom said going after business owners is more effective than showing up at a job site and arresting illegal immigrant workers, which he said usually results in other undocumented workers replacing them in a few days. ``So the most cost-effective message we can send out is, if you as an employer are knowingly hiring undocumented persons, then we are going to pursue you,'' Grissom said. ``This is going to send a very loud and clear message.'' -AP

Senate GOP fails to bring Report criticizes Colo immigration enforcement law up immigration bill WASHINGTON: Senate Democrats have blocked Republicans from bringing up an immigration bill offering permanent residence visas for foreigners with advanced degrees that passed the House last week despite the opposition of most Democrats. Senate Republican John Cornyn of Texas sought unanimous consent to consider the bill that provides some 55,000 green cards a year to those with masters and doctorate degrees from U.S. colleges in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. ``We all know that America's immigration system is broken, but in particular by driving away highly skilled foreign workers who want to start businesses and create jobs right here in America,'' he said. New York's Sen. Chuck Schumer, a Democratic leader on immigration policies, objected to Cornyn's request. Schumer said Democrats support creating socalled STEM visas and he has a proposal to do that. ``But what we don't do is take away other visas or add in other extraneous positions.'' House Republicans turned to their STEM bill as a way to show Hispanics, who deserted them in the November election, that they are serious about immigration legislation. But it met strong opposition from Democrats be-

cause it eliminated another visa program that benefits less-educated people, particularly from Africa. The Congressional Hispanic Caucus said Republicans were trying to pick winners and losers among different people who want to gain permanent residency. The Republican bill would also have made it easier for the spouses and families of people

Senate Republican John Cornyn of Texas sought unanimous consent to consider the bill that provides some 55,000 green cards a year to those with masters and doctorate degrees from U.S. colleges with green cards to enter the United States while they wait for their own green card applications to be approved. The STEM bill is seen as an opening skirmish as Congress and the White House plan for writing comprehensive immigration legislation next year dealing with both legal immigrants and the estimated 11 million living in the country illegally. -AP

DENVER: A Colorado immigration law intended to crack down on people in the country illegally is an example of misplaced priorities and has resulted in detentions for low-level crimes and longer jail stays, activists said in a report. The study from the Colorado Fiscal Institute, a left-leaning advocacy group, criticizes the 2006 law that requires police to report suspected illegal immigrants to federal authorities. The law has cost state about $13 million annually, enough to hire 200 additional police and sheriff's deputies, the report said. Legislators should revisit this law and ``ask again if immigration enforcement is the right priority for local communities,'' the report concluded. Supporters of the law known as SB90 say that it's appropriate and that it doesn't go far enough. ``I think it's the right direction for the state to go in. I don't even think it's sufficient,'' said Republican state Sen. Kent Lambert, who has sponsored strict immigration legislation in the past. Lambert said people in the country illegally are breaking the law, and authorities shouldn't ignore that. Republican state Sen. Ted Harvey previously said he's disappointed that authorities don't enforce the law appropriately. Harvey says officers only notify U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials when people are taken to jails. He says

the law was written to cast a wide net and should be applied during traffic stops and other cases that don't lead to bookings. Under the law, suspects are held in local jails if ICE officials request. It is sometimes weeks, however, before federal officials pick them up, according to the report. The report's estimate of the

Under the law, suspects are held in local jails if ICE officials request. It is sometimes weeks, however, before federal officials pick them up, according to the report. The report's estimate of the law's expense isn't definitive law's expense isn't definitive, since it's extrapolated from data in only two metro-area jurisdictions Denver and Broomfield. Still, $13 million is a ``pretty conservative estimate overall,'' since it doesn't account for counties such as Arapahoe and Weld, which have higher rates of enforcing the law, said Kathy A. White, the study's author. White acknowledged that data for how often ICE issues a detainer ``is not great. It's incom-

plete.'' But she stands by the estimate, saying ICE issued detainers about 40 percent of the time when Denver and Broomfield made notifications in 2010 and 2011. The report then calculated that the average length of stay at a Denver jail for suspected illegal immigrants is 22 days longer than the rest of the inmate population. The report said that if the same pattern in Denver and Broomfield exists in the rest of state, then the state is spending $13 million annually to detain suspected illegal immigrants, based on a statewide average of $55 per day to house inmates. Opponents of the law have said they fear it harms trust between minority communities and law enforcement. The Colorado Association of Chiefs of Police had opposed SB90, citing concerns from immigrant rights groups. Greenwood Village Police Chief John Jackson, the association's legislative liaison, said the law may be redundant now because of the federal Secure Communities program, which checks the immigration status by referencing the fingerprints of everyone who is booked into a jail. He said there have been discussions with immigrant rights groups about legislation next year to scrap SB90, but his association has not taken a position on whether to support that. -AP


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Datebook

December 21, 2012

India Post

49

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NORTHERN CALIFORNIA

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

Upcoming

Upcoming

Fri Dec 21 & Sat Dec 22 • Smith Center Presents! Yoko's Dance Academy - The Nutcracker Venue: Smith Center at Ohlone College, 43600 Mission Boulevard, Fremont Time: Fri 8 pm (Sat) 2 pm Contact: 510-659-6031

Tue Dec 25 • Ayyappa Irumudi Puja Venue: Concord Shiva Murugan Temple, 1803 2nd St, Concord, CA 94519 Time: 9:00 am Contact: 4847278424

Mon Dec 31 • Temptation 2013 - Biggest Bollywood New Year Party Venue: Canyon View, 680 Bollinger Canyon Way, San Ramon, CA 94583 Time: 8:00 pm Contact: 510-334-7683

Mon Dec 31

Venue: Indian community center, 525 Los Coches St, Milpitas, CA 95035 Time: 8:00 pm Contact: 408-934-1130

Mon Dec 31

Venue: Le Poisson Rouge, 158 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10012 Time: 10:00 pm Contact: 718-207-0058

Venue: Princeton Area, 17 Dey Farm Rd, West Windsor Township, NJ 08550 Time: 6:30 PM Contact: 7325998914

Venue: Hyatt Chicago Magnificent Mile, 300310 S Federal St, Chicago, IL 60604 Time: 10:00 pm Contact: 5122319226

• New Year' Eve Party 2013 Bollywood Musical/Entertainment Evening

Thu Dec 27

Mon Dec 31

Mon Dec 31

• Dj Magic Mike Presents NYE

Venue: Royal Delhi Palace, 22323 Sherman Way, Canoga Park, CA 91303 Time: 8:00 pm Contact: 805-404-9836

• End of Year Basement with Bikram Singh Venue: SOBS, 200 Varick St, New York, NY 10014 Time: 7:00 pm Contact: 718-207-0058

Venue: Mirage Banquet Hall, 1655 Oak Tree Road, New Jersey, NJ 08820 Time: 8:00 pm Contact: 646-529-2055

Mon Dec 31

Mon Dec 31

Venue: Sheraton Gateway Hotel, 6101 W Century Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90045 Time: 7:00 pm Contact: 3232055594

Mon Dec 31

Mon Dec 31 • NYE 2013 - Desi Dhamaal 3

• Radio5 Events presents New Years Eve 2013 Venue: Sheraton Gateway Hotel, 6101 W Century Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90045 Time: 7:00 pm Contact: 323-205-5594

WASHINGTON DC Upcoming

• Rhythm 2013 Last Year Sold Out

• ICC's New Year's Eve

Upcoming

• Yoga and Meditation with Sudharshan Kriya

Mon Dec 31

Mon Dec 31

Upcoming Fri Dec 21

• Unforgettable New Year's Eve by India Post

Venue: The Domain Hotel, 1085 E El Camino Real, Sunnyvale, CA 94087 Time: 8:30 pm Contact: 510-432-6385

Upcoming

ILLINOIS

• Bollywood Disco X-MAS by DJ Rekha

Mon Dec 31

Mon Dec 31

NEW JERSEY

Mon Dec 24

• Fantasy Ball 7 - New Years 2013

Venue: Crowne Plaza Hotel Anahiem Disneyland, 12021 Harbor Blvd, Garden Grove, CA 92840 Time: 7:00 pm Contact: 9512173604

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Horoscope

50 India Post

December 21, 2012

www.indiapost.com

Your Weekly Future by Pandit Parashar

DECEMBER 21ST to DECEMBER 27TH (March 21 to April 20)

G

uidance from a trusted friend will help you overcome many difficulties and see things in a clear way. Things will be little tight on financial front also but you will meet all commitments on time. Some of you will be taking a trip in direction East. Issues involving a child will come to a favorable ending.

(July 23 to August 22)

I

f you do not play your cards right, soon you will be in a financial mess. Do thorough research before you make the commitment. An important meeting will ultimately get finalized and you will start making the preparation. You may be in touch with an expert to seek advice about an issue involving a child.

(April 21 to May 20)

Y

ou may ignore the conflicting reports and go ahead with your plans. New friends and contacts will come handy. All presentations will go well and a big contract is within your reach. You will try to help your child with his future plans and maybe move. Long awaited reply will finally come from government agency.

(August 23 to September 22)

T

here will be lots of confusion in mind and things can become opaque again. Help will come from total unexpected place and person. You will take time out of busy schedule to take kids on a fun trip. Some of you will be getting ready to move to a nice location. Do not rush to conclusion when it comes to relationships.

(May 21 to June 20)

Y

ou may buy some fine quality items for your personal use. You will be double minded about an important issue but ultimately take the right decisions. Projects recently launched will keep moving in right direction at fast pace. You will throw out many fears after consulting a trusted and matured person.

(September 23 to October 22)

V

alue of Stocks recently purchased will appreciate considerably. If you are not careful you could get into some trouble with law. Boss will ask you to go on an important trip. Keep an eye on other family members using credit cards. Some of you may make up your mind to get out of a partnership venture soon.

(June 21 to July 22)

Y

ou may loose little money due to a contract recently signed in a hurry. There is a strong chance of money through lottery or stocks. You will be little aggressive on the phone but will get the job done. Just handle all tools and machinery will extra care. You will be working on a travel plan for close family members.

(October 23 to November 22)

Y

ou will have chance to learn from someone lot younger in age. News will come but not through proper channel. You may be nominated for some kind of prestigious award also. You may either replace or purchase another car this week. You may cash out some money making stocks and out money aside in savings.

(November 23 to December 22)

A

major break in career just a few days away so stay optimistic. Money wise you will continue to stay in comfortable zone as expenses will come down a lot. You will plan a short trip to another state with family. You may be thinking of getting some work done in or around the house or add another area. (December 22 to January 19)

C

oncentration of planets in house of luck will bring more than one opportunity. You may recover some money from Insurance also. Concerns about an older family member will grow bigger. Keep an eye on your valuable during the course of a trip. You will be invited to a big party by a very close relative. (January 20 to February 18)

T

ry to relax as much for next few weeks and postpone all major decisions. Some of you will be traveling far away from home this week. You may find some item and return it to the rightful owner. Money will come but will not stay too long. You will spend a quite evening with people from political background. (February 19 to March 20)

Y

ou will be paying more attention to spouse. A business partner will try to create some problems. Money wise you will be comfortable. Some one you knew in the past will call to seek your valuable advice. You will be going for an important business trip soon. You will be given a choice to move to another department.

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

510-886-4370 website: www.parashar.com


December 21, 2012

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Philosophy

December 21, 2012

India Post

53

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Page Sponsored by Sahanis MOTHER MEERA

Q

uestion: Is formal meditation important? Mother Meera: Yes, to meditate a half an hour or an hour is good. But if one becomes fanatical, wants to leave one's job, live alone and meditate twentyfour hours a day, that is not good. Q: What kind of meditation should we do? M: Close your eyes and sit in silence and do japa on any divine name. Q: What is japa? Why is it so important? M: Japa is the repetition of the name of that in which we believe. Japa is essential. Japa is not simple words - each divine name is full of divine vibrations. These surround us and protect us and penetrate both our bodies and our whole inner being. Remembrance of the divine name gives immediate peace and happiness and turns us from the worldly to the Divine. There is no special and limited time for japa. It is very good to do japa all day. If this is not possible then remember whenever it is possible. We can practice japa during all activities. It is easier to remember when we do physical work without mental work. This japa helps us to purify our consciousness and make our sadhana easy. Q: How should we say japa?

LUKE 8:40-49

A

s Jesus was on his way, the crowds almost crushed him. And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years, but no one could heal her. She came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak, and immediately her bleeding stopped. "Who touched me?" Jesus asked. When they all denied it, Peter said, "Master, the people are crowding and pressing against you." But Jesus said, "Someone touched me; I know that power has gone out from me." Then the woman, seeing that she could not go unnoticed, came trembling and fell at his feet. In the presence of all the people, she told why she had touched him and how she had been instantly healed. Then he said to her, "Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace."

Exposition Word of Jesus' astounding acts of healing had spread all over Galilee, even to the village where this woman lives. And she determines to find him and be healed. When his boat is spotted coming towards

M: Simply. Just say it. In doing japa, one should not strain or try to achieve something specific. One should try to be sincere and to have love of God. The power immediately follows, whether you are aware of it or not. Q: Would you explain the power of the name? M: Each syllable of a divine name - such as Krishna or Jesus has vibrations which change the atmosphere. Any object that we

you easily and spontaneously is the one you should do. It should give a strong feeling and be like music flowing from the heart. Q: I don't have a fixed japa. At different times different forms of the Divine - such as Shiva or Krishna - come into my mind, and I sing the appropriate mantra. Is doing this all right? M: Yes, whatever appeals at the moment is all right. One doesn't have to have a fixed mantra.

repeat the name of the Divine as well, because doing this trains the mind and heart. Q: What is the best technique of meditation? M: There are so many techniques. Generally they confuse people. Quite often they increase people's spiritual pride instead of destroying it. The proud man is far from God. You have to be very careful. The best way is to remember the Divine in everything and

Japa of divine name gives peace and happiness

Mother Meera

In doing japa, one should not strain or try to achieve something specific. One should try to be sincere and to have love of God. The power immediately follows

think about repeatedly generates its own vibration. Even though mantras are strong and powerful, we may not feel the effects immediately but results will come. One can feel the differences in the vibrations of words. Using the word, one can make things change. Q: Is it necessary to wait for a guru to give a mantra or may one find a mantra on one's own? M: Whichever mantra comes to

Q: When I repeat your name is it necessary to say the mantra as given in The Mother, or can I just repeat Mother Meera or simply Meera? M: Either is sufficient. Q: In meditation on a form of the Divine, is it enough to just have the feeling of the Divine, or must one say the mantra as well? M: It is enough to have the feeling. But it is good to mentally

to offer everything to the Divine. Q: What is the importance of asking the Divine for something? M: If you want anything - love, truth, or courage, for example - you must ask for it. If you ask God for anything humbly and lovingly, you will receive it. But you must ask with your whole heart. The 52nd birth anniversary of Mother Meera will be celebrated on December 26

shore she is among the crowd waiting. When Jairus prostrates himself before Jesus begging for his daughter's life, she is not far away. And when Jesus begins to move through the crowd toward Jairus' house, she is not far behind. For twelve years she has suffered from uterine bleeding and she is weak. Mark records, "She had suffered a great deal under the care

comes up behind him. She has decided in her heart, "If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed" (Mark 5:28). She doesn't want to confront him in public. She is too ashamed to admit the nature of her illness, and perhaps even be rebuked for mingling with others in her unclean state. She must do this without revealing anything. But she must

be unclean as long as she has the discharge, just as in the days of her period. Any bed she lies on while her discharge continues will be unclean, as is her bed during her monthly period, and anything she sits on will be unclean, as during her period. Whoever touches them will be unclean." (Leviticus 15:25-27) Anyone who knew about her

Go in peace, said Jesus, your faith has healed you

Jesus Christ

of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse" (Mark 5:26). To reach Jesus she must push and shove and elbow her way between people when tiny openings occur. She is weak; her strength is drained, and yet she will not give up. She must reach Jesus, and so she continues to wedge her body through the crowd until she

She has decided in her heart, "If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed" (Mark 5:28). She doesn't want to confront him in public. She is too ashamed to admit the nature of her illness touch him. She must. Her problem is compounded by the way she is viewed by Jewish law - as ceremonially unclean. Women were normally considered unclean during their period. "When a woman has a discharge of blood for many days at a time other than her monthly period or has a discharge that continues beyond her period, she will

illness would shun her. She couldn't go about in society and mingle in the marketplace with the other women, since a touch from her would make someone unclean. She couldn't attend ceremonial occasions, or synagogue worship. And so she resorts to secrecy. She comes incognito. But she comes with determination.

This is love: to fly toward a secret sky, to cause a hundred veils to fall each moment. First to let go of life. Finally, to take a step without feet. -Rumi If we lose love and self respect for each other, this is how we finally die. Maya Angelou Education is the ability to listen to almost anything without losing your temper or your self-confidence. -Robert Frost Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes. -Walt Whitman To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment. -Ralph Waldo Emerson To live is so startling it leaves little time for anything else. -Emily Dickinson Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore. -Andre Gide

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54

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December 21, 2012

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Maldives: Indian investments vis-a-vis Chinese footprints N MANOHARAN

I

ndia was once again caught unawares on 27 November when Maldives announced the termination of a US$511 million project with the Indian infrastructure company GMR Infrastructure Limited (GIL). On 24 June 2010, the GIL-MAHB (Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad) consortium with 77 and 23 per cent stakes respectively won the contract to maintain and develop the Ibrahim Nasir International Airport. It was done through a global process of tenders conducted by the International Finance Corporation (IFC). Notably, it had become the single biggest FDI into Maldives, that too at the time of global economic recession. This project that got underway in November 2010 aimed at upgrading, maintaining and operating the existing airport as well as build a new terminal by 2014. In the process, the aim was to increase the traffic from 2.6 million passengers per annum to over five million. The Maldivian government under Mohamed Waheed has justified the termination on grounds that "there were many legal, technical and economic issues" which seems to be a lame excuse. If the reason was legal, Maldives would not have much problem in abiding by the Singapore High Court's stay on the termination. If the reason was technical, the project would not have stayed alive successfully for two full years. Even otherwise Waheed, who was the Vice President in Nasheed's government, and later as President, had enough time to sort it out. If the reason was economic, Malé would have accepted GMR's offer of waiving the US$25 airport development fee for all Maldivians flying out of Maldives. The island state indeed has every right to take calls on matters that suit its national interests. But, what has annoyed India most is the unprofessionalism displayed by Waheed's regime on the issue and its disregard to abide by international agreements due to local political considerations. Surprisingly, even Indian Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid's suggestion to iron out the differences between Malé and GMR through a neutral international expert was not considered by Maldives. Despite injunctive relief, Malé is adamant that its termination was "non-reversible and

non-negotiable" and "no such injunction can be issued against a sovereign state." As one of the larger donors to Maldives, India is concerned that such thoughtless cancellations would hurt the interests of this atoll state in the long run. The move has already sent negative signals to prospective investors, especially Indian. When Waheed succeeded Nasheed, the first democratically elected president of Maldives, in a bloodless coup this February, New Delhi quickly reached out to

him. It looks like the Indian gesture has become thankless now. However, the fact that fringe groups like Adhaalath Party could dictate terms to the government of Maldives shows that President Waheed is not in control of things. What is of more concern is the antiIndian sentiments displayed by the

Perhaps, Maldives finds China much more attractive now, but India's long-term commitment and help in developing the island cannot be undermined. India's Standby Credit Facility to Maldives runs into millions of dollars groups that have been behind the termination of GMR contract. This got India worried on the safety of about 30,000 Indians working presently in Maldives and the state of Indian interests there. Even more disconcerting is the favorable disposition of these antiIndian groups towards China that has been desperately looking for a strong foothold in the Indian Ocean region. In a tweet, Adhaalath Party stated that "We would rather give the airport contract to our friends in China." It further stated, "…the addition of Maldives as a friend [by China]

would be a massive blow to future Indian power in this region." Beijing has for long been building maritime and other linkages with the countries of eastern Africa, Southeast Asia, and South Asia to ensure the security of its sea lanes. These linkages have also doubled up as virtual encircling of India, which some call as the "String of Pearls" construct. Maldives is undoubtedly an important "pearl." Sino-Maldives interactions have increased in the recent past to the extent of China opening an embassy in Male in 2011. Chinese are amongst the top visitors to Maldives of late. Beijing has evinced keen interest in developing infrastructure in Ihavandhoo, Marao and Maarandhoo Islands of the Maldives. Perhaps, Maldives finds China much more attractive now, but India's long-term commitment and help in developing the island cannot be undermined. India's Standby Credit Facility to Maldives runs into millions of dollars. Several state and private Indian institutions have been playing a vital role in the economic and cultural development of Maldives. Above all, it was India that saved Maldives from a mercenary attack in 1988 by promptly dispatching its armed forces ('Operation Cactus'). To bring Maldives around on the GMR issue, ideas like suspending economic aid are being floated in India. But, any such move would not work and in fact push Maldives further into Chinese hands. Any punitive measure would also help in strengthening the radical anti-Indian forces in the island. New Delhi should, of course, let Malé know sternly of its disappointments and the costs involved in the long run. At the same time, in the interest of Maldives and in the interest of India-Maldives ties and in the larger interest of regional peace and security, the issue needs to be dealt with a lot of patience. On its part, the Maldivian government, instead of outright rejection, should consider negotiating with GMR and flush out an amicable settlement. Narrow political considerations should not come in the way of bilateral relations and development of the island country. The writer is with Vivekananda International Foundation. Courtesy IPCS

Hierarchy in sports

C

orruption is not the monopoly of politicians. India's sports bodies are also mired in corruption as evidenced in the recent expulsion of India by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) over election of tainted administrators. It is another matter that most of the sports bodies are headed by politicians because there is money to be made and power to be wielded. The sportspersons as a result are always at the receiving end and do not get enough encouragement to excel in their respective disciplines. In good faith the government is trying to clean up sports administrators by stipulating not more than two terms for an incumbent. However the vested interests call it interference and even the international associations have cried foul over this act of the government. While resenting government's initiative, the sports bodies are refusing to change their constitution by virtue of which they have extended sway over sports organizations. Commonwealth Games scam is still fresh in memory but the officials associated with it are still being elected to run the show. The stand of the IOC is contradictory. While on the one hand it underlines the need to maintain the highest standards of ethics in sport, on the other, it makes good governance optional, leaving it to the total discretion of local bodies. The recent woes of cricket in India are due to entirely different reasons. Both the players and administrators are making so much money that no one wants to disturb the status quo for fear of losing the material comforts that they enjoy at this moment. Eight successive defeats abroad and now consecutive defeats to England in India's home grounds doctored in favour of hosts have failed to shake the establishment. In any other country the captain would have been sacked, or would have been shamed enough to at least offer to quit. But there is hardly a ripple among cricket administrators who are sitting tight in their comfortable positions. The greatest cricketer India has produced is now a shadow of his former self. Everyone else is politely calling upon him to hang his boots but it seems he is living in his past glory and refuses to heed the warnings of his body. Scores of 8 and 16 have not shamed him into quitting the game and giving more time to talking about it among the politicians that he has now been grouped into after being nominated to the house of parliament meant for elders. If he has accepted to be an elder in the House, he must admit he can't be also playing the game as if in his prime. The Indian selectors also earn a lot of money and they tremble in their boots at the prospect of telling Tendulkar it is time to go. His contemporary, another great Ricky Ponting of Australia had the good sense of knowing that his time was up and announced his retirement. Media is awash with features highlighting Tendulkar's poor run and how he is blocking the nurturing of young talent. But the Star is bent upon tarnishing his good name. And he is not the first one to refuse to go. Kapil Dev, another yesteryear's great who is suggesting that it is time for Tendulkar to go; himself delayed his departure in order to reach the milestone 400 wickets although his form had woefully dipped. There is turmoil in sports administration in India with many sports bodies being suspended by their parent international organizations for lapses in governance. But gerontocracy is so marked in this field that 81 year old Vijay Kumar Malhotra is the President of the Indian Olympic Association! There are other old men continuing to head sports bodies now for several terms. And interestingly, they keep getting "elected" to these posts. Their argument would be, if Indian politics is run by dynasties, why not sports? In none of these one is expected to perform.


December 21, 2012

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56 India Post

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December 21, 2012

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