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'Bobby Jindal plans to run for US presidency' Details on page 17
NY activist saves 82 laborers in Riyadh
VOL 19, No. 1006
December 27, 2013
INDIA LIMITS IMMUNITY FOR U.S. DIPLOMATS NEW DELHI: In a tough reciprocal action, India has downgraded the immunity of certain category of US diplomats and withdrew the immunity enjoyed by their family members, in a fallout of the arrest of a senior Indian diplomat in New York. US consular officials in four consulates in India are being issued new ID cards specifying the limited immunity which will not protect them from serious offences. This is in line with the restricted immunity given to India's Consular officials in the US. Families of American consular officials will no longer
have diplomatic ID cards, an out of way privilege enjoyed by them in India. Families of Indian consular officials do not have any such privileges. After the arrest and strip search of its senior diplomat Devyani Khobragade in New York in a visa fraud case, India had reacted angrily and had taken slew of steps to curtail privileges enjoyed by the US diplomats. It had asked all the US consular officials and their families to surrender their ID cards for a review of their immunity and other benefits. Details on page 5
Details on page 18
Kejriwal to act against 'corrupt' ex-ministers Details on page 9
'Modi for PM': BJP ready with slogan for polls Details on page 7
US court dismisses case against Badal Details on page 10
Obama care picks from best of all systems
UAE sentences American to 1 year in jail
Details on page 25
Details on page 10
India, Pakistan to maintain LoC ceasefire
CONTENTS Bollywood ---------------------- 28-29 Classifieds ------------------------- 52 Community Post -------------- 18-27
Details on page 8
Date Book -------------------------- 48 Edit Page --------------------------- 54
INDIA POST SURVEY
HealthScience Post --------- 32-35
Horoscope ------------------------- 31
This week’s question
Immigration Post ------------- 44-46
Do US diplomats deserve extra privileges?
Life Style ----------------------- 49-51 Philosophy ------------------------- 53
Last week’s result
Publisher’s Diary ------------------ 4
Is removing US embassy security barriers wrong? YES 47%
Real Estate -------------------- 38-39
MAID FOR EACH OTHER: Activists holding a protest in support of the rights of domestic workers in front of Indian Consulate in New York on December 21 even as the case against Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade continues
Certified by “CIRCULATION VERIFICATION COUNCIL Readership 117,765”
TechBiz Post ------------------- 12-14 Travel & Hospitality Post ---- 40-43
December 27, 2013
December 27, 2013
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December 27, 2013
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here's much happening in New Delhi this week, what with the true representatives of the people, the members of the Aam Aadmi Party set to form the state government. It's a revolutionary beginning for a majority of the country's still-stuck-in-the-feudal-mindset voters. But then, I want to wait and see how that plays out, so this week too I want to make a point with regard to Devyani Khobragade, the Indian diplomat who continues to be in the news. India couldn't care less for its woefully unorganized domestic help; so for India, it is not about whether Khobragade is criminally liable or not, but about one of its elite being treated like an ordinary mortal. Also of course, it's "spunky" to criticize high-n-mighty America by the very same people who would cut an arm and a leg to be allowed to live in that country. Anyway, I don't want to get ahead of myself on that… but I do want to say that the old cliché "Once bitten, twice shy" doesn't work for Indian government; it's more like "Twice bitten and still not shy". Two earlier incidents in the same Consulate in New York City involving domestic help with similar accusations, and diplomatic embarrassment, and mounting legal bills fighting those cases in US courts, haven't taught the Indian government nor the diplomatic officers posted to the US any lessons. It happened with Neena Malhotra, a consular officer, and then with Prabhu Dayal, the Consul General himself. In both cases, their maids disappeared only to surface with lawsuits alleging slave-like working conditions. And that hasn't alerted our diplomats posted here to avoid bringing "maids" as part of their entitled diplomatic privileges. C'mon, let's not kid ourselves… it cannot be but with someone in the know of this Indian tendency of underpaying their domestic help, who is instigating these women to come out and sue their employers. Honestly however, I have scant sympathy for either Khobragade or her maid - both tried to exploit their respective situations. And if anyone, it is the US authorities that need to know how easy it is to manipulate their systems.
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HIGHLIGHTS Bollywood: Bed sense During an episode of 'Koffee with Karan'' Johar asked what he rated in bed. To the cheeky question, Aamir quipped, '5'!
Cover Story: Immunity lowered In a tough reciprocal action, India has downgraded the immunity of certain category of US diplomats
Community: Laborers rescued Rajasthani community leader in New York rescued 82 Indian laborers from inhuman conditions in Saudi Arabia
28 1 18
Immigration: Better educated California Latinos have relatively high rates of home ownership, rising incomes and are better educated.
Life Style: Top 10 films of 2013 This has been a year of blockbusters and there were many successful films pulling the viewer back from his sofa before TV.
Techbiz: Investing in India The financial institutions will now report accounts of US citizens to the IRS if balance exceeds US$ 50,000
Travel: Kaziranga National Park Kaziranga National Park, situated in Assam, is one of the most picturesque wildlife parks in India.
44 49 12 40
December 27, 2013
India limits immunity for US diplomats NEW DELHI: In a tough reciprocal action, India has downgraded the immunity of certain category of US diplomats and withdrew the immunity enjoyed by their family members, in a fallout of the arrest of a senior Indian diplomat in New York.
privileges. After the arrest and strip search of its senior diplomat Devyani Khobragade in New York in a visa fraud case, India had reacted angrily and had taken slew of steps to curtail privileges enjoyed by the US diplomats. It had
US consular officials in four consulates in India are being issued new ID cards specifying the limited immunity which will not protect them from serious offences. This is in line with the restricted immunity given to India's Consular officials in the US US consular officials in four consulates in India are being issued new ID cards specifying the limited immunity which will not protect them from serious offences. This is in line with the restricted immunity given to India's Consular officials in the US. Families of American consular officials will no longer have diplomatic ID cards, an out of way privilege enjoyed by them in India. Families of Indian consular officials do not have any such
asked all the US consular officials and their families to surrender their ID cards for a review of their immunity and other benefits. Sources said India has decided to take firm reciprocal steps following the end of the deadline for surrender of Identity Cards provided to US Consular Staff in India. "All Identity Cards provided to US Consular officials now stand withdrawn. New cards which are exact replicas of cards provided to Indian Consulate officials in
the US are being given in lieu of the withdrawn cards. These cards will only be given to the Consular officials and will not be given to their family members," sources said. The family members of Indian Consulate officials in the US are also not provided with such cards, they noted and cited the example of arrest of Krittika Biswas, daughter of the vice counsel at the Indian Consulate in Manhattan, Debashish Biswas, in 2011 when the US State Department categorically said the family members of Indian consular officials do not have immunity. Not issuing IDs to families of US consular officials will ensure strict reciprocity in terms of the Identity Cards being carried by Indian and US consular officials in each others' country, sources said. The sources said, further, acting reciprocally, US consular staff will now only be permitted to import their requirements during the first six months on assuming office as is provided in the Vienna Convention for Consular Relations. Previously, they were allowed
India urged to restore security barriers at US Embassy WASHINGTON: An eminent Indian-American lawyer has urged the Indian government to restore the security barriers at US embassy in New Delhi which were removed after the country announced a slew of reprisal measures over the treatment meted out to its senior diplomat in New York. "As an American, the removal of concrete barriers around US Embassy by Delhi police was one act that seemed to exceed retaliatory reciprocity, especially since the Devyani affair will lead, in time, to stronger and more respectful US-India ties," said Ravi Batra, who represents the Indian National Congress and its president Sonia Gandhi in US courts. "Additionally, both nations are joined at the hip to defeat terror even as they help the rule of law of each nation and find a new and respectful co-existence. After Benghazi, security of American diplomats is of the highest priority, and barrier-reinstallation is necessary for India's continued right to complain and seek maximum relief for Devyani," he said.
"Other restrictions are sufficient, and have gotten needed attention between friends. A "Chai Summit," like the "Beer Summit," is needed to restore the best rela-
tions between United States and India," Batra said. The 1773 Boston Tea Party, with Indian tea, gave birth to the American Revolution - let Indian Tea reunite two law-abiding nations in 2013, he added. In the arrest of Indian Diplomat Devyani Khobragade, the law
of two nations is in conflict, and as such it will take time before a delayed and deliberated court judgment can issue in one or more country, he observed. "By then, the critically important bilateral relationship between United States and India may be needlessly scarred and America's non-negotiable interest in having American diplomats treated with maximum dignity and security on foreign soil, where every nation has its own set of laws, will have been tested," he said. In year 2009, he said, Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. was arrested for disorderly conduct by Sgt. James Crowley. "A homeowner, trying to get into his own home, can legally be charged with disorderly conduct based upon his behavior with the police responding to a 911 call. Yet, there were concerns of racial profiling," he said. "President Obama criticized the arrest, which led to objection by law enforcement. Editorial boards and "talking heads" infused our Republic with discord and a historic unifying presidency was at risk," he added.-PTI
to import their requirements over the three year period of tenure. India had also given December 23 as the deadline to the US embassy to file the visa and other key details of the Indians employed by it and its officers. This information includes salary being paid to domestic helps employed by US diplomats in India. "The data regarding US schools which has been received is being analyzed and assessed," the sources said. However, the sources dismissed the concerns regarding security of US diplomatic officials
in India. "India takes its obligations under the Vienna Convention very seriously and there has not been any loosening of security. There is no change in the security situation and all US diplomatic and consular officials are being provided security as before", they said. The sources added that changes have been made in traffic movement patterns and no change has been made in security status of US Embassy in New Delhi and the security personnel remain deployed at check posts there.-PTI
Signs of India, US moving towards row resolution NEW DELHI: First signs that India and the US may be moving towards a resolution of the standoff over senior diplomat Devyani Khobragade's issue emerged after she got exemption from personal appearance in a New York Court hearing visa fraud case against her even as she got her accreditation to the UN headquarters. Khobragade, who was arrested on December 12 in New York, had been transferred by the government to its mission to the UN with a view to giving her full diplomatic immunity. The US is reviewing the paperwork it received from the United Nations about the diplomatic accreditation of senior Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade arrested early this month on visa
fraud charges, an American official has said. Simultaneously, her exemption from personal appearance in the court is a significant step towards a way out of the stand-off created by her arrest and strip search which had evoked a sharp reaction from Indian government which has been pressing the US to drop the charges against her unconditionally. According to sources, Khobragade's lawyer had requested to court to exempt the envoy from appearing personally in the case and also postponement of the pre-trial and final trial dates much before she was transferred to the PMI to UN. The next date of hearing in the case in New York is scheduled for January 13.-PTI
US embassy paid Devyani maid family's air fare NEW DELHI: The US embassy had paid for the air tickets for three family members of the absconding maid of senior Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade when they were "evacuated" from here to New York last week, it emerged here. The tickets for the maid's husband Philip Richard and their two children - Jennifer and Jatin - were issued by the official travel agency of the US embassy, sources said. The tickets were exempt from service tax of 4.50 percent as per the norm for diplomatic missions, the sources said. The maid's family flew by Air India on December 10, two days before Khobragade was arrested
on a charge of paying her maid Sangeeta Richard - less then the minimum wages under the US law. India had reacted angrily to the manner in which the family had been taken out of India by the US embassy despite Khobragade's complaint in Delhi on July 5 against the family for willful deceit and attempt to cheat to illegally immigrate to the US by wrongful means. However, the US Prosecutor Preet Bharara had defended the "evacuation" of the family saying that the legal process was started in India against the maid, "attempting to silence her, and attempts were made to compel her to return to India".-PTI
December 27, 2013
New Indian envoy arrives in US amid row WASHINGTON: S Jaishankar, the new Indian Ambassador to the US, arrived here to take charge amid a raging diplomatic row over the arrest and strip-search of senior diplomat Devyani
was India's Ambassador to China, arrived in Washington from New York where he flew in from New Delhi. While he would formally present his credentials to US
Jaishankar, who is proficient in Russian, and knows Japanese and Hungarian, succeeds Nirupama Rao. Born in New Delhi in 1955, Jaishankar is son of prominent Indian strategic affairs analyst, commentator, and civil servant K Subrahmanyam Khobragade on visa fraud charges. He is to take charge at a time when officials from both countries have intensified efforts to find an amicable resolution of the issue of Khobragade's arrest. Jaishankar, who till recently
President Barack Obama at the White House in the New Year, Jaishankar is expected to present his credentials to the Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Nisha Desai Biswal at the State Department soon. Known as one of the brightest
Foreign Service officials of his generation who played a key role in the India-US civilian nuclear deal, Jaishankar's first task would be to prevent the relationship from getting derailed any further in the wake of the visa fraud case against Khobragade. Jaishankar, who is proficient in Russian, and knows Japanese and Hungarian, succeeds Nirupama Rao. Born in New Delhi in 1955, Jaishankar is son of prominent Indian strategic affairs analyst, commentator, and civil servant K Subrahmanyam and brother of historian Sanjay Subrahmanyam. Having joined the Indian Foreign Service in 1977, he was Third and Second Secretary (Political) at Embassy of India, Moscow from 1979 to 1981. From 1981 to 1985, he was Under Secretary (Americas) and Policy Planning in the
Ministry of External Affairs. From 1985 to 1988, he served as First Secretary handling Political Affairs in the Embassy in
Washington. Thereafter, from 1988 to 1990, he was First Secretary and Political Advisor to the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) in Sri Lanka. From 1990 to 1993 he served as
Counselor (Commercial) in Budapest. He returned to headquarters and served as Director (East Europe). He was the Press Secretary of the President of India from 19941995 and served as the Deputy Chief of Mission in Tokyo from 1996 to 2000. In the year 2000, he was appointed the Ambassador of India to Czech Republic and served in Prague till 2004 after which he came back to headquarters to head the Americas Division in the Ministry till 2007. He was the High Commissioner of India to Singapore from 2007 to 2009. Jaishankar was the Ambassador of India to China from 2009 to 2013. He holds a Ph.D. and M.Phil in International Relations and an M A in Political Science. He is a member of the International Institute for Strategic Studies, London. -PTI
White House petition to withdraw Many maids have fled homes of Indian envoys in US charges on Devyani WASHINGTON: An online White House petition demanding the Obama Administration drop the visa fraud case against Devyani Khobragade has been launched here by a group of Indian-Americans who said the senior Indian diplomat's public humiliation hurts the sentiments of the community. Protesting the manner in which India's Deputy Consul General was arrested on December 12 in New York, the online petition said there was perceptible animus in handling the arrest. " D r Khobragade was arrested as she came out of her daughter's school, handcuffed, strip-searched, body cavity searched, swabbed and kept in a lock up in spite of her assertions of immunity," the petition said, adding that she is one of the faces of Indian government for the Indian community in the US. "Her public humiliation injures the sentiments of the IndianAmerican community. Such incidents are bound to strain the Indo-US relations. We request that given the trauma and public
humiliation that Dr Khobragade has egregiously suffered, the criminal case against her should be dropped immediately," the online petition said. Meanwhile, several experts questioned the decision of the US
Government to arrest the 39-yearold diplomat on visa fraud case. "There appears to be no question that the government acted legally, but there is a very big distinction between acting under the collar of your authority and doing what as a matter of foreign relations and common goods sense is wise," Stephen Vladeck, professor at the American University College of law, told the NBC news in an interview. "The treatment of the arrested
Indian deputy consul general in New York was abominable. The Indian official is correct that, even with unfriendly countries, such actions are outrageous," said M Gordon Jones, a former US foreign service official who was posted in New Delhi in 1990s. "I fear that the US mania regarding security allows excesses such as the Devyani Khobragade case to be tolerated. But it should not be: The result is worse security for our New Delhi staff. The US Marshals Service should be investigated and, if the abuses are confirmed, the officials involved should be severely disciplined," Jones wrote to The Washington Post. "It is time to put the nation's security into perspective. We must control our officials or they will damage our standing in the world," he said. According to Article 41 of the Vienna Convention on Consular Affairs, a consular officer shall not be liable to arrest or detention pending trial, except in the case of a "grave crime" and pursuant to a decision by the competent judicial authority. It also calls for giving "respect due to" the Consular official in case of arrest. Former Indian Ambassador to the US Nirupama Rao said the treatment meted out to Devyani Khobragade was wrong, disproportionate, and shocking in extreme and condemnable.-PTI
WASHINGTON: A day before towards the end of their tenure. Ambassador Meera Shankar was The Indian Embassy did not to return home after completing respond to PTI's questions on her tenure in the US in the sum- the number of IBDAs currently mer of 2011, her maid, without in- with staff at its diplomatic posts forming anyone, left her official in the US, including the embassy residence on the outskirts of the in Washington and consulates in city never to return. New York, San Francisco, HousThe highly-secretive Indian ton, Atlanta and Chicago. Embassy here hushed up the matIn 2012, the US issued a total ter from the media and is believed of 54 A-3 visas, which are the ones to have registered a formal com- for IBDAs or maids, to Indian dipplaint with police and the State lomats. In all, as many as 1,141 ADepartment, in addition to canceling the maid's The woman domestic official passport. The woman domes- worker, who served the tic worker, who served Ambassador quite well the Ambassador quite well during her tenure during her tenure of more of more than two years than two years in Washingin Washington, is still untraceable and be- ton, is still untraceable and lieved to be living ille- believed to be living gally in the US. illegally in the US And she is not the only Indian maid - officially called "India-Based Do- 3 visas were issued last year, while mestic Assistant" - to have fled 749 applications were rejected. from the homes of senior Indian A-3 visas are for the domestic diplomats in the past few years. help of diplomats and foreign ofSources familiar with such in- ficials who are in the US on A-1 cidents told PTI, strictly on con- and A-2 visas. dition of anonymity, that the According to official figures number of such maids or India- made available to PTI by the State Based Domestic Assistants Department, the US issued A-3 (IBDAs) from the Indian Em- visas for 32 Indian domestic workbassy in Washington - one of the ers in 2011, 50 in 2010, 60 in 2009, largest Indian diplomatic mis- 38 in 2008, 35 in 2007, 40 in 2006, sions - could be at least a dozen 60 in 2005, 55 in 2004 and 47 in in the past decade. 2003. Not only maids, but security Over the past 10 years, the US guards brought from India too issued more than 470 A-3 visas to are believed to have fled, mostly Indian domestic workers.-PTI
December 27, 2013
'Modi for PM': BJP ready with slogan for polls NEW DELHI: The BJP has decided to firmly peg its Lok Sabha campaign on the party's Prime Ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi, while taking the message to the people that the conditions prevailing now were akin to those witnessed immediately after the Emergency imposed by Congress in 1975. Following a meeting of chief ministers of five BJP-ruled states and its Parliamentary Board here, general secretary Ananth Kumar told reporters that the election slogan for the party would be 'Modi for PM'. "BJP's 'Modi for PM' campaign will be on the lines of the JP movement that was launched in the Emergency era to throw out the Congress government," Kumar
said. Maintaining that in 1977, the mood had been strongly anti-Congress, Kumar averred that a similar situation exists today. "It was a watershed year. Nobody thought the opposition could garner so many votes," Kumar said. The recent Assembly election results show that BJP is head and shoulders above its rivals, Kumar claimed. Kumar also revealed that as part of their ambitious campaign, BJP workers will also collect funds under a 'one vote, one note' program. "The minimum amount to be contributed will be Rs 10 while the maximum limit is Rs 1,000," Kumar said. During the meeting, BJP Presi-
India has overreacted, says US media WASHINGTON: The American media, which demanded action by the Obama Administration when a junior consular staff was detained in Lahore for killing two men, has attacked the Indian government for siding with its diplomat after her arrest and ill-treatment. "India is siding with a woman who was in the wrong, who lied, paid her help poorly and now is brazen enough to claim that she should not be treated like a criminal," said a column in The Washington Post on the arrest of Devyani Khobragade. "What's 'deplorable', to use the prime minister's words, is not Khobragade's treatment, which was standard, but the fact that many in India aren't speaking out
against the treatment of the nanny," said the column titled 'Why India is upset about Devyani Khobragade, and why it's wrong'. "India's reaction is disappointing...," it added. The New York Times criticized the Indian government for its stand on Khobragade, the Deputy Consul General in New York, who was arrested for alleged visa fraud. "India's overwrought reaction to the arrest of one of its diplomats in the US is unworthy of a democratic government," the Times said in an editorial. "Officials in New Delhi have inflamed anti-American outrage instead of calling for justice, especially for the domestic worker who is at the heart of the case." -PTI
Devyani case not to impact commercial ties: Sharma NEW DELHI: The ongoing spat between India and US over the diplomat Devyani Khobragade issue would not impact commercial ties between the two countries, Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma said here. "India was outraged over the treatment given to Devyani but our relationship with the US is far too important. It is a strategic partner-
ship between the two largest democracies of the world. Strategic in every sense, so we are not disengaging. This relationship will go stronger," Sharma told reporters here. India has been outraged over the arrest of Deputy Consul General Devyani Khobragade, a 1999batch IFS officer, in a street in New York over visa fraud charges as she was dropping her daughter to school.-PTI
dent Rajnath Singh claimed that wins in three states and a good performance in Delhi in the recent Assembly polls had set the momentum in favor of the party and would help it in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls. The leaders passed a resolution stating that these results were a referendum that a government has to perform or perish. The party has only one target of getting 272-plus seats in Lok Sabha polls. The party will also hold meetings in over 400 Lok Sabha constituencies before selecting its candidates for the polls. A national meet of party boothlevel workers will be held on February 28 to discuss the micro-level management during polling.-PTI
'Bobby Jindal plans to run for US presidency' WASHINGTON: Indian-Ameri- obvious to everybody who has can Louisiana Governor and the been paying attention," the Senarising star of the Republican Party tor said when asked if he believes Bobby Jindal is planning to run Jindal, 42, would to be the next for the 2016 US presidential elec- president. tions, a top Senator from his state has said. "I do think, he â€œI would expect we will (Jindal) will run...He come to a conclusion would be a significant sometime in January," candidate," Senator David Vitter told Ameri- Vitter said can TV channel CSPAN's Newsmakers program. Jindal's second term as the "I like Bobby, I respect his lead- Lousiana Governor ends in 2015. ership, I agree with all of his po- He can't run for the third term. litical values. But I haven't Vitter is considering running for thought about what I would do or governor. wouldn't do personally," Vitter, Jindal had earlier did not rule also a member of Republican himself out from entering the party, said. presidential race in 2016, but said, "Oh yeah. I think that's very "I think it's too early." -PTI
December 27, 2013
India, Pakistan decide to maintain LoC ceasefire WAGAH, Pak: India and Pakistan have decided to strengthen existing mechanisms to maintain the truce along the LoC, months after bilateral ties nosedived over the killing of five Indian soldiers and flare-ups between the two sides on the ceasefire line. The agreement came at a meeting of the Directors General of Military Operations (DGMOs) of the two sides, who held faceto-face talks for the first time in 14 years at the Wagah border. "We had a cordial, constructive and fruitful meeting. We discussed the ceasefire along the Line of Control (LoC) and the existing mechanisms," DGMO Lt Gen Vinod Bhatia said after the two-hour-long talks Pakistan Army DGMO Maj Gen Aamer Riaz and Indian Army DGMO Lt Gen Vinodh Bhatia during the delegation level meeting at the Wagah-Attari border on December 24
with his Pakistani counterpart Maj Gen Aamer Riaz. "We both decided to ensure ceasefire and strengthen the existing mechanisms." The meeting was an outcome of talks between Prime Ministers Manmohan Singh and Nawaz Sharif in New York in September at the height of tensions triggered by the LoC flare-ups. The premiers had decided the DGMOs should hold talks to reduce tensions but the meeting could not be scheduled till now, over which Singh had even expressed disappointment with Sharif. Besides the DGMOs, a brigadier and three lieutenant colonels from both sides took part in the talks. The Pakistani military released photos of Riaz receiving Bhatia at the border and a picture of the meeting. A Pakistani military statement issued earlier said the decision to hold the meeting of the DGMOs was made at the political level. The DGMOs last met 14 years ago after the Kargil conflict of 1999. They usually talk once a week on a hotline.
The meeting was an outcome of talks between Prime Ministers Manmohan Singh and Nawaz Sharif in New York in September at the height of tensions India is believed to have forcefully conveyed to Pakistan the importance of maintaining the ceasefire on the LoC. Pakistani media reports said Islamabad was expected to seek a larger role for UN military observers deployed along the ceasefire line. The UN Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) was established in 1949 under a resolution passed by the Security Council to monitor the LoC. Pakistan initially proposed to include Foreign Ministry officials in the meeting of the DGMOs but India rejected the move. Pakistan's Foreign Office said that the proposal for including diplomats in such meetings was "still on the table".-PTI
December 27, 2013
Kejriwal promises to act against 'corrupt' ex-ministers NEW DELHI: All set to form the government in Delhi with the outside support from Congress, AAP Convener Arvind Kejriwal has said his government will take action against any "corrupt" minister of the previous Congress regime. In a two-minute video, he justified taking support from Congress and how despite that it was determined to follow its own agenda and fulfill the promises made to the people of Delhi. The video begins with Kejriwal saying (after poll results were out) they had got two kinds of views, one asking them to "keep away from both Congress and BJP" while the other said "form the government and prove that we can deliver" when Congress was extending support and prove that it can run a government fulfilling its promises. AAP clarified that no ministry would be given to any Congress candidate in the government and they "will take action against any previous corrupt minister of Congress and BJP". Kejriwal says people were passionate about their views. So the party had to again go to people to get a referendum on the issue. The video shows that in the public meetings, people in "overwhelming" majority said "Yes" to AAP forming the government. It also claimed that opinion of over 26 lakh people were taken before the party decided to stake its claim. "Yes, we are forming the minority government with outside support" says the message and then explains what is a minority government. It says "no ministry will be given to Congress, which will not be part of the govern-
Unease within Congress over support to AAP
AAP Convenor Arvind Kejriwal with party leaders Manish Sisodiya and Kumar Vishwas leave after meeting Delhi Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung to stake claim to form a government in New Delhi on December 23
ment". AAP reaffirmed its stand and said it would implement all 18 promises it had made to people of Delhi and which were also highlighted in the letters to Congress President
BJP says AAP govt means Cong back in power NEW DELHI: Attacking AAP's decision to form government in Delhi with Congress support, BJP has alleged it means "Congress has come back through the back door". BJP also charged it has exposed Arvind Kejriwal-led party's hypocrisy and duplicity in its claim to cleanse politics of corruption. An AAP-Congress government is a contradiction in itself. How can a party, which professed to cleanse Indian politics, form an alliance with the most corrupt political party in the world, said BJP leader Harsh Vardhan in a press statement following AAP's announcement to go ahead with government formation. Vardhan, who has dubbed AAP as a "B team" of Congress, criticized the "referendum" sought by Kejriwal before taking the decision to form government. Vardhan said it is a "sham and an insult" to the real dimen-
sion of democracy. "You gather a couple of hundred people anywhere or multiple places in the city and ask them to give a particular mandate in your favor or against you, I think that's not the
spirit of democracy in the name of Swaraj. I think that is an insult to the real dimension of democracy, he said. Everybody knows that SMS texts and emails that were sent urging AAP to agree to a power-sharing arrangement were sent from Congress headquarters.-PTI
Sonia Gandhi and BJP Chief Rajnath Singh by Kejriwal while seeking their stand. Kejriwal's party hit out BJP for attacking AAP over the issue of forming government with Congress support. "What is BJP's strategy? If we don't form the government, they said we are running away. If we from the government, they say we are the B-team of Congress," the message in the video says. Reiterating that they were not bothered about Congress or BJP, AAP said they only think of the common man and their focus was on solving people's problems.-PTI
NEW DELHI: Reflecting the unease in sections of Congress over its support to AAP to form government in Delhi, senior party leader Janardan Dwivedi has said there was an opinion in the party that the decision to support AAP was perhaps not correct and it should have instead raised people's issues as an opposition. Dwivedi's remarks came on a day when Congress workers were protesting the party's decision to support Arvind Kejriwal's bid to form government. Ever since AAP decided to form government, Congress leaders have been repeatedly emphasizing that their support to AAP is not unconditional. Talking to reporters about the conflicting opinions in Congress over the issue, Dwivedi said, "There is also an opinion that perhaps the decision to support AAP in this manner was not correct. Some people feel this. "Their argument is that Delhi voters have not given their support to Congress to the extent that the party could win only eight seats and it has not even got the post of Leader of the Opposition. Perhaps, it would have been appropriate that we would have left it to others to form government whoever wanted it." In this condition, he said, we would have played the role of opposition and continued to raise the issues of people like a responsible opposition. Maintaining that the Congress government in Delhi in last 15 years changed the face of the city, Dwivedi said, "Despite this voters did not accept us...It was not our duty...whether somebody forms the government or not." -PTI
10 India Post
December 27, 2013
UAE sentences American to 1 year in video case DUBAI: An American man detained for months in the United Arab Emirates and seven co-defendants, including two Indians, were fined and sentenced to jail after being convicted in connection with a satirical video about youth culture in Dubai. The case, which has drawn the attention of international human rights advocates, centers around a mockumentary uploaded to the Internet. Officials charged that the film spoofing would-be Dubai "gangstas" ran afoul of a 2012 cybercrimes law that tightened penalties for challenging authorities, according to supporters of one of the filmmakers, Shezanne Cassim. Cassim, 29, is a US citizen from Woodbury who was born in Sri Lanka and moved to Dubai for work after graduating from the University of Minnesota in 2006. He became the public face of the defendants after his family launched an effort to publicize his months-long incarceration following his arrest in April. He was sentenced to a year in prison followed by deportation and a 10,000 dirham (USD 2,725)
fine, according to family spokeswoman Jennifer Gore. American consular officials have been following the case closely and attended the hearing at the State Security Court in the
Gulf Arab authorities have been cracking down on social media use over the past two years, with dozens of people arrested across the region for Twitter posts deemed offensive to leaders or for social media campaigns urging more political openness federal capital, Abu Dhabi. The US Embassy had no official comment following the verdict. State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf said American officials were troubled by Cassim's "prolonged incar-
ceration" and called for "a fair and expedient trial and judgment." Two Indian defendants received similar sentences, while two Emirati brothers were sentenced to eight months behind bars and received 5,000 dirham fines, according to state-owned newspaper The National. A third brother was pardoned. The paper said the defendants had been accused of "defaming the UAE society's image abroad." Three other defendants, a Canadian, Briton and an American, were convicted and sentenced in absentia to the penalties given to their other foreigners. They have never been detained by authorities and so are unlikely to serve their sentences. The paper identified the defendants only by their initials, which is common in the Emirati media. Gulf Arab authorities have been cracking down on social media use over the past two years, with dozens of people arrested across the region for Twitter posts deemed offensive to leaders or for social media campaigns urging more political openness. -AP
US court dismisses case against Badal WASHINGTON: A US court has dismissed an alleged human rights violation case against Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, saying the New York-based Sikh group never physically served the summons on him. The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in its order upheld the decision that Sikh for Justice (SFJ) did not effectuate service of the Federal Court summons on Badal. Rights group SFJ and
Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) headed by Simranjit Singh Mann, will now file a "Motion To Remand" the case to District Court to establish that alternative service of summons through Hague has been accomplished on Badal, a media release said. The statement came after Court of Appeals dismissed the case that Badal was personally served with Federal Court summons at Oak Creek High School on August 9 as claimed by SFJ. -PTI
India shuts down S. Sudan oilfields, evacuates employees NEW DELHI: India evacuated all its oil employees from strifetorn South Sudan and shut down oilfields amid escalating violence in the world's youngest nation. All 11 executives working on 40,000 barrels per day Greater Nile Oil Project and Block 5A were airlifted, a top source with direct knowledge of the development said. "The evacuation happened in two batches. All the officials have arrived in India safely," he said. Before departure, the last job the Indian executives did was to shut down the oilfields. ONGC Videsh Ltd, the overseas arm of state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC), had deputed 11 employees at Greater Nile Oil Project and Block 5A in Sudan. The company made all arrangements to evacuate its personnel as rebel forces loyal to deposed
South Sudanese Vice President Riek Machar captured Unity state which housed most of the fields it was operating. OVL owns 25 per cent stake in the Greater Nile Oil Project which produces about 40,000 barrels of oil per day and 24.125 per cent in Block 5A that produced 5,000 bpd. Other partners in the blocks China's CNPC and Petronas of Malaysia too have decided to evacuate their officials from South Sudan, the source said. Fighting in South Sudan, which broke out on December 15, has already claimed as many as 500 lives, including Indian soldiers working as United Nations peacekeepers. The source said rebels so far have not captured any of OVL's oil wells but as a precaution all of them were shut before officials left the country. -PTI
Make healthy India, Modi to doctors
SANTA FLOOD: More than 1,000 volunteers clad in Santa Claus costumes throw their hats in the air as they gather to deliver gifts for the poor in downtown Seoul, South Korea, December 24
BELGAUM, Karnataka: Gujarat Chief Minister and BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi has exhorted the young medical fraternity to dream to make India a "Healthy India". Pointing out that social hygiene was as important as personal hygiene, Modi asked the young doctors if we can fulfill Gandhiji's dream of a healthy India. Noting that there was dearth of doctors and paramedical staff in the country, he stressed on the need for generating more para medical training institutions. Speaking at the Golden Jubilee
celebrations of Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College here, Modi said a "healthy youth is healthy India" and this can come true only with a participation of youth in the medical stream. The BJP leader said India was once known for education sector as back as 2,800 years ago. For 1,600 years India lead the world in education in universities like Nalanda and Takshashila where students from other countries came to seek education. "We have to retain our culture and be technically strong like China," he said.-PTI
December 27, 2013
Nobody should feel scared in secular India: Rahul NEW DELHI: Rahul Gandhi has stressed on the need to instill a sense of security and fearlessness among all sections of society at a manifesto meeting of Congress where the Muzaffarnagar communal riots and the subsequent exodus of Muslims from their villages dominated the discussions. The meeting was held to seek the views and demands of minorities at the grassroots level for inclusion in the party's poll document for the Lok Sabha polls. The participants at the meet emphasized the need to see to it that "around one lakh Muslims living in relief camps" are sent back to their homes. Recalling the fears of a young boy he had met at a relief camp in Shamli near Muzaffarnagar, Rahul said, "No person of any community or caste should ever be scared in India. This is a secular country." The boy had told him that he was afraid to return to his village following the riots, Rahul said.
After his visit to relief camps and a Jat village, the Congress Vice-President had insisted that "mediation" was necessary to ensure that both communities could coexist again.
Riots in September in Uttar Pradesh's Muzaffarnagar left over 60 people dead and rendered 40,000 homeless.
The meet also saw some plain speaking by the participants who told Rahul that issues concerning the minority community should be decided by talking to representatives on the ground and not just to some Muslim leaders at the top, sources said. Minority Affairs Minister K Rahman Khan faced some tough questions with participants wondering as to when the government would be implementing schemes for minorities when only three or four months are left on its term. Meanwhile, stating that the key issue was leadership, Rahul said, "Until we open up processes, until we encourage leadership, problems will not be solved. The problem at all levels is of developing leadership." Raising the issue of Muzaffarngar riots, former National Commission for Minorities member Harcharan Singh Josh raised questions over the role of Samajwadi Party, alleging that the party had played a similar role in the Aligarh riots of 2006.-PTI
Musharraf's treason trial delayed after bomb found ISLAMABAD: The trial of former Pakistani military ruler Pervez Musharraf on treason charges was delayed after explosives were recovered from his route to the special court here. At the outset of the proceedi n g s Musharraf's counsel Anwar Mansur raised objections on the constitution of special court and appointment of the prosecutor. He said the former president could not appear in Pervez the court due to security threat. The court asked the lawyer to file separate plea if there were security threats to 70-year-old Musharraf and then delayed the proceedings. Earlier in the morning, a bomb weighing 5 kg along with two loaded guns were recovered from the route Musharraf was scheduled to take to the special court. The bomb was recovered near
the National Institute of Health by Pakistani rangers during a security check. TV footage showed two black pistols and a bomb. However, the bomb was not live. Musharraf's trial is taking place at the National Library which is the heavily secured Red Zone here that houses all important institutions like the Prime Minister's House, Supreme Court and the Diplomatic Enclave. Musharraf's efforts to wriggle out of a treason Musharraf case had suffered a setback when a Pakistani court rejected his objections against the special court set up to try him. Justice Riaz Ahmad Khan of the Islamabad High Court dismissed three pleas filed by Musharraf's lawyers against the constitution of the special court and the appointment of three judges and a state prosecutor to conduct his trial.-PTI
Tech News Nearly 6,600 new companies registered in Oct NEW DELHI: Reflecting increased business activities, nearly 6,600 new companies or an average of 219 per day were registered in October. Out of them, around 70 per cent entities were from the services sector followed by industry and agriculture segments, respectively. About 6,586 companies got registered in different parts of the country with an authorized capital of Rs 2,833.87 crore in October this year, according to latest data available with the Corporate Affairs Ministry. As many as eight of them were government entities. As per the data, 20 foreign companies were registered in October, with six each in Maharashtra and Karnataka. Among the new entities, nearly 34 per cent are into business services while about 15 per cent were manufacturing firms. In terms of states and union territories, the maximum number of new companies at 1,304 were from Maharashtra followed by Delhi (1,149) and Uttar Pradesh (536), respectively. Meanwhile, at the end of October, India had more than 13.5 lakh registered companies whereas only about 9.12 lakh entities were active. -PTI
Controlling inflation remains RBI priority: Rajan NEW DELHI: Brushing aside suggestions that the Reserve Bank of India, country's central banker, has shifted focus from inflation management to growth, the central bank said fighting rising prices will continue to be its priority and a call on raising interest rates will be taken after factoring in more data. "...nobody should doubt our desire to fight inflation and our belief that interest rates are our main tool that we have. Nobody should doubt that," RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan said when asked if the central bank is now more keen to boost growth than to tame inflation. He said the Reserve Bank will wait for next set of data on inflation and industrial growth before taking a call on interest rates. "We want to see data on how the work we have done so far is playing out and then we will take the next step. Don't judge me by whether I raise interest rates in every meeting," he said in TV interviews.-PTI
TechBiz 12 India Post
December 27, 2013
Vijay Mallya, Chairman of UB Group with models during the launch of Kingfisher Calendar 2014 at Kingfisher House near Alibaug, Maharashtra on December 21
Get smart and open while investing in India SURENDRA ULLAL & RAJESH DHRUVE
CHICAGO: Upset at the drag on US economy caused by money laundering and tax evasion, the US government had initiated a few measures including the one requir-
land, Germany, and a few others that would require the foreign banks or financial institutions, insurance companies, mutual funds , depositories and brokerage firms
ing requirements by 6 months and made it effective from 1st July, 2014. The financial institutions will be now report accounts of US citizens and US addressees to the IRS
finalized yet but is in advance stage of processing, it is learnt. If the deal with USA and India gets formalized the US citizens investing with banks and financial insti-
Disclosing bank accounts with foreign banks
ing the US citizens to declare their overseas holdings, income and transfers in their annual tax return. To plug the loophole and ensure better compliance, it pitched for adherence to Foreign Account Tax Compliance(FATCA) and sought an agreement with a number of overseas governments, inducing India UK, Spain, Switzer-
to report details of accounts of US citizens and US addressees to Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in USA, if the balance exceeded US$ 50,000 as on 31st December, 2013 or if the said account was closed during the year 2013 This requirement is relaxed a bit in that the IRS and the US Treasury have postponed the report-
if balance in the accounts exceeds US$ 50,000 as on 30th June, 2014 or if such accounts were closed in the year prior to 30th June, 2014. These amended provisions are reflected in agreements recently concluded by USA with France; Cayman Islands & Costa Rica, and a few others. Similar agreement with the Indian government is not
tutions will have their stakes get reported to IRS. The practical significance will be that all the details about financial transactions exceeding certain limit will be under IRS radar. IRS notice regarding revised time frame and other relevant factors can be viewed athttp://www.irs.gov/pub/ irs-drop/n-13-43.pdf.
Apple has 'big plans' Indian-Americans unveil voter registration app for 2014 NEW YORK: Apple enthusiasts across the globe are in for a treat as the iconic creator of iPhone smartphone and iPad tablet has
"big plans" lined up for the next year. "We have a lot to look forward
to in 2014, including some big plans that we think customers are going to love," Apple CEO Tim Cook said in a letter to its employees. Extending greetings for the Christmas and the New Year, Cook said, "This holiday season, tens of millions of p e o p l e around the world, from all walks of life, are experiencing Apple products for the first time." Contâ€™d on page 13
WASHINGTON: Indian-American youths in US have developed a smart phone application to help the unregistered voters in India, in particular youths, to register their names in the electoral rolls. The android app "Vote for a Better India" was unveiled over the weekend at an event "Big Ideas for a Better India" organized by the 'Overseas Volunteer for Better India (OVBI)', which among others was addressed by the eminent spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar of the Art of Living. The android app will be used to power Voteathon - an inter college voter registration competition that is expected to have over 10,000 participating colleges with the goal of registering over 30 million voters, the event organizers said.
In his address Sri Sri Ravi Shankar emphasized on increasing the voting percentage during elections. Referring to the high voter turnout in the recently held Assembly elections, he called for in-
creasing the turn out to 95 per cent. The OVBI, in a statement, called upon non-resident Indians to register themselves to vote and travel to India for a fortnight to contribute to voter education drive. It also urged them to encourage their family and friends to vote for a better India. -PTI
December 27, 2013
New customs form for Indians, foreigners NEW DELHI: Passengers flying into India will have to fill in a new customs form on their arrival from the New Year while the need to fill immigration form for returning Indians is being done away with. All passengers coming to India will be filling up an 'Indian Customs Declaration Form' seek details that will be different from the detachable perforated strip which is part of the immigration card at the moment. "There will be a separate form for customs authorities and immigration card from the new year onwards," official sources said. Also from January 1, Indians will have to fill up immigration form
only when they go out. "There will not be any immigration form for Indians returning from abroad," they said. Authorities have also introduced new fields for declaration of dutiable and prohibited goods. For the first time, travelers would be asked to specifically declare any prohibited articles, gold
jewellery (over free allowance), gold bullion and Indian currency exceeding Rs 7,500 in the new form. The passengers will have to give details of countries visited in the past six days and mention their passport numbers on the new form, which was not there earlier. Whereas, old fields like declaration of satellite phone, foreign currency exceeding USD 5,000 or equivalent, aggregate value of foreign exchange including currency exceeding USD 10,000 or equivalent, meat, meat products, dairy products, fish or poultry products and seeds, plants, fruits, flowers and other planting material have been retained in the new format. The passengers will also have to give details of baggage being carried by them in a separate column instead of pieces of hand baggage and checked in baggage separately. As per norms, maps and literature where Indian external boundaries have been shown incorrectly, narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances, goods violating any of the legally enforceable intellectual property rights and wildlife products comes into the category of prohibited items. Counterfeit currency notes or coin or fake currency notes and
specified live birds and animals are also prohibited for import by passengers. Passengers of Indian origin and
Passengers of Indian origin and foreigners of over 10 years of age residing in India (and coming from Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar and China) are eligible for duty free allowance of Rs 6,000. Whereas, a duty free allowance of Rs 35,000 can be availed by such passengers in case they are coming from other than these four nations. foreigners of over 10 years of age residing in India (and coming from Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar and China) are eligible for duty free allowance of Rs 6,000. Whereas, a duty free allowance of Rs 35,000 can be availed by such passengers in case they are coming from other than these four nations. As per rules, a tourist of foreign origin gets a duty free allowance of Rs 8,000. Indian passenger, who has been residing abroad for over one year, can get gold jewellery worth Rs 50,000 (for man) and Rs one lakh (for woman) without paying any import duty. All passengers are also eligible to bring with them liquor or wine up to two liters, 200 numbers of cigarettes, up to 50 numbers of cigars or 250 gms of tobacco. Passengers of 18 years and above age can also bring one laptop computer (note book computer) without payment of customs duty, the rules said. Customs duty is leviable at the
Apple has 'big plans' for 2014 Contâ€™d from page 12
He expressed "pride" on the stellar performance by the California-headquartered firm in 2013. "We introduced industry-leading products in each of our major categories in 2013, showing the breadth and depth of innovation at Apple," he said. During the year, the company extended its leadership in the smartphone market with the launch of iPhone 5s and 5c, besides, unveiling the latest version of its operating system, iOS 7. It also released the latest version of operating system for its PCs and servers (OS X Mavericks) free to its customers, while introducing the iPad Air and the iPad mini with Retina display. Last week, Apple began shipping the latest version of its laptop, Mac Pro, from a manufacturing facility in Austin, Texas (the US).
In 2013, Apple App Store marked its 50 billionth download, Cook added. "Together we've shown the world that innovation at Apple goes beyond our products to the way we do business... I consider
Cook said consumers would "see exciting new products from us in the fall and across 2014." myself the luckiest person in the world for the opportunity to work at this amazing company with all of you," he said. In India too, Apple saw iPhone sales beating all expectations to
rate of 36.05 per cent (basic customs duty 35 per cent+education cess at the rate of three per cent) on the value of dutiable goods that
soar 400 per cent in the April-June 2013 quarter. Earlier this year, Cook had hinted that Apple had lots of products lined up in 2014 including some new product segments. In a conference call with investors following the firm's fourth quarter earnings, Cook said consumers would "see exciting new products from us in the fall and across 2014." "In terms of new product categories specifically, if you look at the skills that Apple has from hardware/software and services, and the incredible app ecosystem, this set of things is very unique. No one has a set of skills like this. "We obviously believe that we can use our skills at building other great products that are in categories that represent areas that we do not participate today. We're pretty confident about that," he had said. -PTI
is in excess of the duty free allowance. Officials said the purpose be-
hind having separate forms is to ensure quick and timely filtering of collected information about passengers and avoid duplication of data. The Finance Ministry has issued a notification of new "Customs Baggage Declaration Regulations, 2013" which will come into force from Jan 1. These regulations shall apply to baggage of passengers coming to India, it said. The new facility will help authorities to keep a check on duty frauds and cases of under-valuation, the sources said. Besides, they would also be able to keep a record of gold jewellery and bullion being brought into the country, they said.-PTI
December 27, 2013
Apple reaches deal to bring iPhone to China Mobile BEIJING: Apple and China Mobile have announced a longanticipated agreement to bring the iPhone to the world's biggest phone company. The deal might help to boost iPhone sales in a market where Apple Inc. faces intense competition. The iPhone already is available in China through two smaller carriers but the latest deal links it with a bigger network and stateowned China Mobile Ltd.'s mar-
nounce pricing or the terms of the agreement. The deal comes a month before China's Lunar New Year holiday in late January, a big gift-buying season. That ``will provide an immediate boost to Apple's share in China,'' said analyst Nicole Peng of Canalys, a research firm. Forecasts of possible increased iPhone sales under a deal with China Mobile vary widely, from 10 million to 40 million. A key issue is
China Mobile has more than 750 million mobile accounts. However, a survey by Bernstein Research said some China Mobile customers use smaller carriers for data service. Apple already has agreements with China Telecom Ltd. and China Unicom Ltd., which have about 455 million mobile accounts. keting power. The iPhone is popular with Chinese customers who can afford it but it has been eclipsed by lowerpriced smartphones from Samsung and local brands. The iPhone 5S and 5C will go on sale in Apple and China Mobile stores beginning Friday, Jan. 17. The companies didn't an-
whether it leads to additional sales or only prompts existing users to switch to China Mobile. The iPhone will help China Mobile promote a new fourth-generation network that received government approval this month. But analysts say Apple needed the agreement more than the Chinese carrier. That gave China Mobile
leverage in negotiations over how to split costs, which for the highpriced iPhone usually includes subsidizing handset sales. The iPhone faces tough competition from cheaper smartphones running Google's Android software. Collectively, Android phones far outsell Apple's iPhone. Apple CEO Tim Cook told the official Xinhua News Agency in January that he expects China to surpass the United States as its biggest market. About 50 million iPhones have been sold in China in the past 2 1/2 years, according to analyst estimates. China Mobile has more than 750 million mobile accounts. However, a survey by Bernstein Research said some China Mobile customers use smaller carriers for data service. Apple already has agreements with China Telecom Ltd. and China Unicom Ltd., which have about 455 million mobile accounts. Apple's share of China's smartphone sales declined to 6.2 percent in the third quarter from 7.9 percent a year earlier, according to Canalys. Samsung's share expanded from 14.1 percent to 21.2
percent over the same period. The iPhone once was so popular with Chinese gadget fans that eager buyers in Beijing waited overnight in freezing weather for the 4S model. But that excitement had faded by this September's release of the 5S. Customers said it offered too few improvements.
only last three months and Samsung will bring out its next flagship model soon,'' said analyst James Wang of Canalys. As for subsidies, Unicom pays 2,500 yuan ($410) of the iPhone's 5,499 yuan ($900) cost in exchange for a customer signing a two-year contract to pay a minimum of 186
Samsung's advantages include being able to offer carriers a mix of phones priced as low as 1,000 yuan ($150) while Apple competes only in the highest market tier, according to Wang. Any boost Apple gets by becoming China Mobile's new high-end phone could quickly fade, he said. ``We expect this advantage can
yuan ($30) per month. Analysts say China Mobile will have to match those terms to achieve significant sales. China Mobile wants to have the world's largest 4G network. It plans to have 4G services available in 16 cities by the end of 2013 and to provide coverage for 340 cities by the end of 2014. -AP
India urged to relax FDI cap in Environment not business friendly: Ficci Chief defense sector WASHINGTON: Asserting that the 26 per cent FDI cap acts as a disincentive for foreign companies to invest in India's crucial defense sector, an Indian defense expert has called for increasing the investment limit. Increase in FDI in the defense sector becomes all the more important as India and the US are working to boost their defense ties and co-development under the Defense Trade Initiative (DTI), said Vivek Lall, Chairman of the IndoUS Strategic Dialogue by the IndoAmerican Chamber of Commerce. "All this can be achieved by India relaxing the 26 per cent limit on FDI in the defense sector: a regulation that is widely attributed to have de-incentivized foreign companies' moves to invest in the Indian defense sector and transfer advanced technologies to it," said Lall. Lall, who recently held high discussions in Manama with the US Defense Secretary, Chuck Hagel on India-US strategic dialogue and policy issues especially pertaining to defense sector, said more strategic collaboration between India and US is inevitable. The United States, he said, needs to regard the defense indus-
trial capability gap between itself and India as an opportunity for collaboration rather than an obstacle. "There is no doubt that the US industry is the most advanced; likewise, there is no doubt that the most advanced technologies and products will have the greatest application in the Indian subcontinent. The gap between these two has to merge in order to meet In-
The US, he argued, is destined to significantly expand its presence in the Indian Air and Defense (A&D) sector over the coming decade.
dian requirements," Lall told PTI. "India has reiterated that defense trade relations with the US must move from purely a buyer/ seller relationship to a more comprehensive partnership covering the transfer of technology and coproduction. "Through such collaboration India has a major opportunity to build an industrial infrastructure that will be able to quantitatively, technologically, and qualitatively support the requirements of the Indian armed forces," he said referring to his recent conversation with the US Defense Secretary. The US, he argued, is destined to significantly expand its presence in the Indian Air and Defense (A&D) sector over the coming decade. US-based companies have been looking to work more closely with India in the A&D sector, he said. "Key segments include: the production of aircraft and related components; air traffic management; maintenance, repair and overhaul; aviation safety; security; and capacity building," Lall said, adding he expect to see a significant US industry presence in India by 2023. -PTI
NEW DELHI: Holding poor implementation of policies responsible for the current state of economy, new Ficci President Sidharth Birla has said a businessfriendly environment is absent in the country. "We do not have business
friendly environment. We have so many regulations," Birla, who took over as the head of the industry body, told PTI. He said that there was no problem with the policy but there has been "paralysis after policy" resulting in poor implementation of the policies. "What actually happened is that the policy was followed by
paralysis. Policy ke badd kuch nai hua (nothing happened after announcement of several policies)," he said. The business urgently needs decision and implementation, he said, adding that "80 per cent of the concerns of business can be addressed by good implementation and decision". Citing the example of the FDI policy in the multi-brand retail, the President said that its implementation "was left to states and the policy started getting confused." "I am not saying that it (30 per cent mandatory local sourcing by global retailers) was for bad intention, but it got confused. so when it got confused, it was paralysis after policy," he added. In September last year, the government permitted 51 per cent foreign direct investment (FDI) in the multi-brand retail sector. As per the policy, at least 30 per cent of the value of procurement of manufactured/processed products shall be sourced from Indian 'small industries'. Several global retailers have raised their concerns over the sourcing restriction.-PTI
December 27, 2013
India Post 15
16 India Post
December 27, 2013
December 27, 2013
India Post 17
Desi News Classy Christmas ball to support Bay Area charities VIDYA SETHURAMAN India Post News Service
SAN JOSE, CA: Despite winter chill, more than 300 guests attended WomenNow TV's maiden Christmas charity ball, on December 15 at Silver Creek Country Club, San Jose. "Funds raised at the charity ball will support Bay Area Charities such as Jeena, One Million Lights, Sahaita, The Grateful Garment Project, Maitri, 1000Mothers Org and Aga Khan Foundation", said Ena Sarkar, CEO and Founder of WomenNowTV. This Charity Ball was an exquisite and classy program lined up to support some select few Bay Area charities with unique programs and causes. Throughout the year WomenNow featured several charities and learnt a great deal about the phenomenal work they do to help the underprivileged across the world. Details on page 23
Sandy Hook school shooting victims remembered SURENDRA ULLAL
PALATINE: The children of Gurmat School (Sunday School) of Sikh Religious Society (SRS) of Palatine Illinois held an Interfaith prayer and Candlelight Vigil on December 14, in observance of the one year anniversary of the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown Connecticut, where 20 first grade children and six adults were killed in 2012.
COMMUNITY ACROSS AMERICA
Details on page 27
18 India Post
December 27, 2013
NY social activist saves 82 deserted laborers in Riyadh PM SWAMY
NEW YORK: Eighty-two unskilled laborers from India, of whom 33 are from Rajasthan, were rescued from inhuman conditions in Saudi Arabia thanks to the timely intervention of Prem Bhandari, social activist and a leader of the Rajasthani community in New York. The laborers were shepherded to Riyadh on a false promise by a broker who took Rs one lakh (about $2500) from each as his fee. They were left in lurch, abandoned on reaching the country and were on the verge of collapse not knowing where to go. There was no food or shelter and most of them slept hungry on the sidewalks of streets with lurking fear of deportation. Some of them had gone to the extent of committing suicide unable to return to their motherland as they had pledged whatever they had in assets to pay to the brokers for the employment in Saudi Arabia that was as close as a mirage.
Samiti, swung into action and established connections in Riyadh. He talked to Gowrishankar Parikh, president of Rajasthani International Association of Riyadh to provide food and shelter to the stranded laborers to save their lives. He also requested Iqbal, owner of Madina Restaurant in Riyadh and who hails from Didwana of Rajasthan, to serve food to all the laborers free of cost to prevent starvation deaths. Gowrishankar who was 400 miles away ensured that the required relief efforts reached on time. Not satisfied, Bhadari personally called Indian Foreign Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid seeking his intervention. The victims said ministers and officials of the Government of Rajasthan showed no interest to help the workers and did not register criminal case against the broker who cheated them. The workers told Bhandari that they would have committed sui-
Details on page 20
MKCA, USA celebrates Nathal Fest HARISH RAO
CHICAGO: As the Christians are in festive mood globally on the occasion of Christmas, the Mangalorean Konkan Christians Association (MKCA) presented its prestigious 12thChristmas program, at Sher-E-Punjab Banquet Hall in Downers Grove, a southwest suburb of Chicago. Although the evening was muggy, rainy and cold, people from around the Chicagoland area ventured to join together and share their joy and happiness with each other. The organizers unleashed fun-packed activities, which prompted everyone from toddlers to the aged to hit the dance floor. Details on page 22
Making sense of Super Bowl (American Life)
Prem Bhandari with Maharajah Gaj Singh
Prem Bhandari, a leader of repute of the Rajasthani community of New York who is also International Convener of Akhil Bharatiya Rajasthani Manyatha Sangarsh
cide but for his timely intervention. Rajasthan police showed no interest in arresting the culprits despite having being given details of the fraudsters.
Prem Bhandari with Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje
Bhandari said Delhi Police usher in a new era of development acted swiftly to book cases and progress in his home state of against the culprits while Rajasthan. Rajasthan Police remained a mute "She is a doer and an able adspectator. To expedite the matter, ministrator. Before she took Bhandari spoke to the Indian Am- charge she asked one question to bassador in Riyadh and Saudi Ara- the senior officials as to who is bian Ambassador to the US in Washington. He even wrote a letter to Bhandari said Delhi Police King Abdullah of Saudi acted swiftly to book cases Arabia seeking his interagainst the culprits while vention. The victims regret- Rajasthan Police remained ted that the then Cona mute spectator. To expegress government led by Ashok Gehlot re- dite the matter, Bhandari mained a mute specta- spoke to the Indian Ambastor when the workers were on the verge of sador in Riyadh starvation in Riyadh. At one point, Bhandari was even prepared to stage a protest Commissioner of Jaipur City Dedemonstration against the govern- velopment Authority and within ment inaction in front of the Con- two days the entire city was sulate General of India in New cleaned, garbage removed and York. spruced up. We need action-leadBhandari, who has over the ers like her to do good to the years built solid connections with people. I plan to send a report to top political leadership of all the her on what happened in the workmajor political parties of India, said ers case and how to prevent its Vasundhara Raje taking over as recurrence in the future." Contâ€™d on page 19 Chief Minister of Rajasthan will
December 27, 2013
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India Post 19
NY taxi drivers to receive $750,000 in restitution India Post News Service
NEW YORK: Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman and Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) Commissioner David Yassky have announced an agreement with Evgeny "Gene" Freidman, and four taxicab companies owned in part by Freidman, to pay $746,406 in restitution to drivers who were charged rates higher than the legally permissible amounts to lease cabs and medallions, as well as $500,000 in fines. With control through his companies of more than 880 medallions, Freidman oversees one of the five largest fleets in New York City. In order to ensure that drivers retain at least a minimal amount of take-home pay, TLC rules - first enacted in 1996 - limit the amount of money drivers may be charged for leasing taxicabs and medallions. Today's agreement is the first settlement of its kind by the Attorney General under these "lease
"Taxicab drivers are not only an international symbol of New York City, they are also among the hard-
est-working New Yorkers," said Attorney General Schneiderman. "Today's agreement is the first major step in enforcing lease cap rules that protect workers and their already modest take-home pay. I'm confident that our new partnership with the TLC will continue to increase compliance in this important area."
"Taxicab drivers are not only an international symbol of New York City, they are also among the hardest-working New Yorkers," said Attorney General Schneiderman. "Today's agreement is the first major step in enforcing lease cap rules that protect workers and their already modest take-home pay. cap rules," following a September 2013 agreement between the Attorney General and TLC to collaborate on enforcement of those rules. Several other investigations under that collaboration remain ongoing.
David Yassky, Commissioner of the TLC, said, "It is unconscionable to cheat hardworking taxi drivers out of their earnings which aren't very much to begin with. Today's enforcement action should send a clear message to the
taxi industry that violation of our driver-protection rules will not be tolerated." The Freidman companies involved in today's agreement are 28th Street Management, Inc.; Downtown Taxi Management, LLC; Tunnel Taxi Management, LLC; and Woodside Management Inc. As agents for medallion owners, these companies control more than 880 medallions out of the total 13,231 medallions currently in existence in New York City. Because of the extremely high cost of purchasing a medallion for a yellow cab (as much as $2.5 million for a pair of medallions at the most recent sale in November 2013), most taxicab drivers do not own their medallions. Instead, they lease medallions, and often vehicles as well, on a daily or weekly basis. NYC taxicab drivers are generally not employees and are therefore usually not covered by minimum wage, overtime, or many other labor laws. The TLC lease cap rules, among the few workplace protections for drivers, limit the dollar amount drivers may be charged, and also strictly limit add-on charges that can be imposed upon drivers. Taxicab drivers earn income from fares collected over the course of a shift, minus the amounts they must pay to medallion owners or agents for leases and add-on fees. Overcharges by owners or agents chisel away at drivers' limited income. To better enforce the lease cap rules, in 2011, the TLC formed the Lease Cap unit and devoted resources to the investigation and prosecution of driver complaints against owners and agents who were charging drivers more than the legal amount for the lease of taxicabs. To date, the Lease Cap unit has investigated over 250 driver complaints and successfully prosecuted 55 cases resulting in $109,594.34 in restitution paid to drivers and $314,978 in imposed fines. In addition to the agreement announced today, earlier this week a medallion owner was found guilty of retaliating against a driver for alleging overcharges with the TLC. The medallion owner was fined a total of $20,000, while the drivers under that medallion were awarded $10,000. In 2012, the TLC estimated that the average driver income after paying the lease fee, sales tax, gas expenses, and fees was approximately $125 per day - before driv-
ers paid Social Security and other taxes. However, drivers' workweeks often consist of five to seven shifts of 12 hours each, and unlike employees covered by the labor law, taxi drivers do not receive any overtime pay. Taking into account the extensive weekly hours commonly spent driving, taxicab drivers' pay often barely reaches the rate that would be required for a minimum wage employee with the same working schedule. The Freidman Companies routinely overcharged drivers in several ways from at least January 1, 2012. In some instances, they collected lease rates from drivers that simply exceeded the lease cap
out and a boss that stole from your paycheck every week. After decades of overcharges, which left drivers impoverished and demoralized, this enforcement action by the Attorney General's Office and the TLC gives us the first level of economic protection against a brutal leasing system where drivers labor long grueling hours without guaranteed income, only fixed expenses. This enforcement sends a signal to the industry that compliance will be enforced, and just as resoundingly, it sends a signal to drivers that we are second-class citizens no more." Vincent Alvarez, President of the New York City Central Labor
After decades of overcharges, which left drivers impoverished and demoralized, this enforcement action by the Attorney General's Office and the TLC gives us the first level of economic protection against a brutal leasing system amounts. They also collected several types of impermissible add-on fees and charges, including a "shift excess time surcharge" fee of $3.50 per shift as well as vehicle registration, commercial motor vehicle and TLC inspection fees. The Attorney General's agreement requires the Freidman companies to pay restitution to drivers and to appoint an internal compliance officer to help the companies follow the law going forward. In addition, the Attorney General and the TLC will regularly review the companies' driver receipts and other documents to ensure compliance. If those reviews reveal material violations, the companies must hire an independent external compliance officer to ensure future compliance. Bhairavi Desai, founder and executive director of the New York Taxi Workers Alliance, said, "Imagine having a job you can't do with-
Council, AFL-CIO, said, "The notion that these medallion owners would rob hardworking cab drivers of their wages is yet another example of the greed that continues to force working men and women into poverty. Today's decision is a real step in the right direction toward protecting workers' wages from greedy business owners who opt to put profits over people." This case was referred to the Attorney General's Office by the TLC. The case was handled by Assistant Attorney General Elizabeth Wagoner, Special Assistant Attorney General David Ross, Special Assistant Attorney General Jason Gonzalez, Special Counsel Patricia Kakalec, and Labor Bureau Chief Terri Gerstein, under the supervision of Executive Deputy Attorney General for Social Justice Alvin Bragg.
NY social activist saves 82 deserted laborers in Riyadh Contâ€™d from page 18
Bhandari has been fighting to include Rajasthani bhasha in the Eighth Schedule of the Indian Constitution so that Civil Service Exam aspirants can write the exams in their mother tongue. He even addressed the issue while speaking at Rashtrapathi Bhavan when Pratibha Patil was the President.
Bhandari is also the Media Chair of the Rajasthani Association of North America (Canada) and a prominent businessman. He was decorated with 2011 Rajasthani Man of the Year Award by California RANA and honored by the Canada RANA for his efforts to promote Rajasthani language. He got the 2011 Marwar Jodhpur Highest Award Siropow from Jodhpur Maharaja Gaj Singh.
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Community Across America
December 27, 2013
Indian Cultural Center opens in South Jersey SUDHIR VYAS
EVESHAM, NJ: After he graduated from the youth program at his Hindu temple, Sapan Modi said he was unsure how to keep contributing to South Jersey's Indian community. On Sunday - in a ballroom buzzing with a success 25 years in the making - he may have found his answer. "This might be the next phase where people can give back," Modi, 27, said as he and 600 others dedicated the Indian Cultural Center in Evesham Township. "I can't contribute $20,000. But I can contribute my time." South Jersey's burgeoning Indian community has been working to build the center for more than two decades. Now that the space on Route 73 is open, organizers said, it will continue to take shape as members bring their own talents to the table and fill the building with the best of Indian culture. Modi said he could see himself teaching a music class there. Another member suggested the community's many physicians could hold health screenings and blood drives. A gleaming stage awaits performances. "We've been blessed with hardworking kids who have done well," said Ravi Goel, an ophthalmologist who has lived in New Jersey since he was a child. "Now it's our time to give back to South Jersey." The center has been developed to do that without promoting any one religion. Hindus, Jains, Sikhs,
Buddhists, Muslims, Christians, and other faiths are all welcome, organizers said. There is no temple, and much of the 20,500-
for a traditional Hindu Vastu Puja ceremony, a housewarming event where God is welcomed into a new home. Women and girls in saris in
promulgates country to country to country. And today it manifests in southern New Jersey." The center was proposed in
Griha Puja in progress
square-foot building is split into community rooms, one of which will become a library. The main ballroom can be used for religious events, but many said they were most excited the space will be a low-cost alternative for families who can't afford to hold weddings or birthday parties at other banquet halls. On Sunday, the room was used
shades from pure white to crimson walked in a procession into the space holding coconuts - considered a holy fruit - in their hands or resting them on their heads. "This place will be a landmark in New Jersey, giving the community and mainstream U.S.A. a feeling of India," Sailesh Chowdhury told the crowd. "India is not a country only. It is a theme which
1987, but the idea took hold in 2001, when internist Prahlad Patel and his wife, Kitri, donated the 18 acres just south of Ardsley Drive. The plot - part of a stretch of retail centers and restaurants -was valued at $1.43 million at the time, Prahlad Patel said. "I felt that by my giving the donation, it could jump-start the project and the community would jump in after,"
he said Sunday. More than 400 families donated a total of $2.5 million in gifts ranging from $100 to tens of thousands of dollars, said Manu Dadhania, the center's fund-raising director. A $2 million mortgage has covered the remaining cost of the $4.5 million center. The project's construction manager, Danny Parikh, came to the United States with his wife in 1974 and said he had long considered himself to have two home countries. The center, he said, has created a bridge between them. "We are not just taking something from this country," he said. "We feel like we are bringing our values and culture here." The center will provide the community of over 3,500 Indiadescent families in South Jersey with a gathering place for ceremonial, social and educational activities; including holding of various cultural and religious festivities, classes in music, language courses, exhibits, health screenings, blood drives, weddings, birthday parties, receptions, youth programs, senior services, etc.; and will house a library, game room, conference room and two kitchens. Its ballroom, besides a techedout stage, will seat up to 579 people. It has been termed as a facility for the promotion, development, education and safeguarding of the Indian social values and cultural heritage.
Sandy Hook school shooting victims remembered SURENDRA ULLAL
PALATINE: The children of Gurmat School (Sunday School) of Sikh Religious Society (SRS) of Palatine Illinois held an Interfaith prayer and Candlelight Vigil on December 14, in observance of the one year anniversary of the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown Connecticut, where 20 first grade children and six adults were killed in 2012. "The vigil was organized to show solidarity with American families against senseless violence, and to honor the little angels, 6 to 7 year old school children and heroes, the teachers of Sandy Hook Elementary," said Rajinder Singh Mago, one of the event coordinators. Despite snow and bitter cold weather, more than three hundred community members, neighbors, interfaith leaders, and government officials or their representatives congregated in the Palatine Gurdwara. Keertan (singing of
Children gathered at Palatine Gurudwara for Candlelight Vigil
hymns) was performed among others by Gurudwara children. A special prayer "Ardaas" was supplicated by Bhai Gurjant Singh. Retired Lt. Brian Murphy the
Hero of Oak Creek Wisconsin Police Department, the first responder to the Oak Creek Wisconsin Sikh Temple Shootings last year guest speaker. He was hon-
ored with a public service and bravery award plaque by the SRS president Sokhi Singh and board members. The program at the Gurdwara
congregation hall was conducted by State, Assistant State's Attorney Cook County Illinois. Contâ€™d on page 22
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Talking Hinduism to high schoolers India Post News Service
CHICAGO: It was essentially a group of non Indian American students at the Rainshadow Community Charter High school in Reno, Nevada, who wanted to know more about Hindusim that too many is shrouded in mystery. A leadership teacher at the school, Kristin Quintana, took the lead in facilitating a talk on Hinduism by noted Indian American Hindu activist, Rajan Zed. The talk was part of the school's Multicultural Day, aimed at helping "to breakdown stereotypes and encourage communication between people of different cultures". Rajan Zed, President of Univer-
Charter School students attending a talk on Hindusim
sal Society of Hinduism, talked about the essence of Hinduism and its contribution to the world
to the students on December 18. Zed also answered students' questions on God, religion and Hindu-
ism. He pointed out that Hinduism, oldest and third largest religion of the world, has about one
Celebrating New Year the Hindu way PUNDIT ANIL JOSHI
indu calendar is a collective name for most of the lunisolar calendars and solar calendars used in India since ancient times. There are several regional Hindu calendars and the month which starts the year also varies from region to region. Hindus in various states of India celebrate the New Year in their own ways and not all of these fall on the same day. Major states in North and South India (Nav Varsh Samvat or Hindi New Year or Chaitra Shukladi) celebrate their New Year on Vikram Samvat Chaitra Shukal Pratipada (MarchApril) the first day after the No Moon (Amavasi) in Chaitra Month. The Hindi New Year is based on lunar calendar and therefore the date changes yearly. Usually, the Andhra Pradesh (Ugadi) , Karnataka (Ugadi), Maharashtra (Gudi Padwa), Kashmir (Navreh), Manipur (Cheiraoba), Himachal Pradesh (Chaitti and Basoa ), Bihar (Chaitra Pratipada), Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh (Chaitra Pratipada) and Sindhi (Cheti Chand) New Year falls on the same day - the first day of the month of Chaitra Shukla, heralding the advent of Spring. In mid-April, the Bengal (Poila Baishakh), the Assam (Bihu), and Tamil (Puthandu), Punjab, Orissa (Mahavishuva Sankranti), Kerala (Vishu) celebrate the beginning of their new year. Kutch (Ashad Beej or Dwitiya) observe New Year on the second day of the Shukla Paksha or waxing phase of moon in Ashada month. Gujaratis observe their New Year the day after Diwali (October). The New Year's Day in these calendars are based on sea-
sons and the agrarian economy of the region. For majority of the Hindus the New Year date falls in the months of March and April. This time, the Vikram Samvatsar Chaitra Mas Shukla Paksha 2071 will start on 31st of March 2014. Generally, January 1 is also celebrated by Hindus as part of the grand celebrations being held on the occasion around the world because we accept English New Year Calendar as part of our life. As Hindus, we should welcome and embrace all the New Year days celebrated in the Indian Subconti-
nent and other parts of the world. We should not forget the religious and cultural importance and understand why and how we celebrate, and the benefits we obtain by celebrating the first day of our own New Year whether we are living in India or abroad. To celebrate the first day of English calendar, Chaitra Shukla Pratipad, or any of your own regional New Year's Day, here are the steps to follow to make your New Year celebration a meaningful one. Pundit Anil Joshi
Contâ€™d on page 22
billion adherents and moksh (liberation) is its ultimate goal. There are about three million Hindus in USA. Rainshadow, "Home of the Pirates" was launched in 2003. Its mission includes "Creating empowered community members through real-world education" and targets at-risk youth. Steve West and Inge Gerber are the Principal and Board Chair respectively of Rainshadow, which is known for its "art program" but also offers culinary, theater and farming. It believes that "learning is a selfdirected, internal process". Rajan Zed is a global religious leader, who besides taking up the cause of religion worldwide, is Senior Fellow and Religious Advisor to Foundation for Religious Diplomacy, Spiritual Advisor to National Association of Interchurch & Interfaith Families, etc.
Community Across America
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December 27, 2013
MKCA, USA celebrates Nathal Fest HARISH RAO
CHICAGO: As the Christians are in festive mood globally on the occasion of Christmas, the Mangalorean Konkan Christians Association (MKCA) presented its prestigious 12thChristmas program, at Sher-E-Punjab Banquet Hall in Downers Grove, a southwest suburb of Chicago. Although the evening was muggy, rainy and cold, people from around the Chicagoland area ventured to join together and share their joy and happiness with each other. The organizers unleashed fun-packed activities, which prompted everyone from toddlers to the aged to hit the dance floor. The program began with celebration of Holy Eucharist which was conducted in Konkani and in English. The MKCA choir members sung Konkani and English hymns under the leadership of Dorothy Rego. The Homily was delivered by Rev. Fr. Cyril Fernandes, who inspired the devotees to share the Peace and Joy with those who are in great need.
The President of the association Godwin Rego welcomed all the guests, well-wishers and members present. He thanked his executive committee in successfully conducting several programs during his tenure. The compeer of the program, Vissia D'Souza, invited the audience to savor the typical Indian appetizers and the open bar, cour-
President Godwin Rego, welcoming guests
tesy MKCA. The program was followed by activities for the young and old conducted by the current Secretary of the Association Steven D'Souza. The President Godwin Rego, distributed prizes to the winners of the activities and door prize winner. As a hallmark of the program, children and adults sang Christmas Carols. As the Christmas car-
Celebrating New Year the Hindu way Cont’d from page 21
• As a Hindu, before the celebration of New Year, clean, renovate and decorate your home. On the New Year's Day dress up in new clothes or your best outfit, and perform family prayers and pujan of Lord Ganesh, Vishnu, Shiva and Devi Ma along with your Kula Devata and Kula Devi with Guru poojan. Offer home-made traditional dishes and sweets to the deities. Listen to the effects of different planets and stars of Nava Samvatsar from the priest and read some holy books of your faith • Follow your cultural rituals associated with New Year celebrations as rituals carry enormous powers, and generate well-being • Remember your ancestors, re-
spect your living parents, teachers and spiritual gurus and offer them gifts • Remember the past on the first day of the year - what we have
Do some charities, donations to the needy people and religious organizations which facilitate to inculcate feelings of sacrifice and helping out others done good or bad in our life. Do confession in front of God and your parents to pardon your mis-
Santa Claus appears
Mass in Progress
At the Alter
takes and request them to bless you with new enlightenment • Do the pledge not to repeat bad things and misbehaviors in the coming year by Mansa, Vachna and Karmana. Make a wish to uphold love, peace and harmony in the family and community • Do some charities, donations to the needy people and religious organizations which facilitate to inculcate feelings of sacrifice and helping out others • Think about protecting and nurturing your family, society, religion, culture and nature for the next generation • Make efforts to suppress your ego, give love and care for humanity Cont’d on page 23
ols were concluded, there was as also the typical Mangalorean grand arrival of Santa Claus style Christmas goodies, prepared (Steven D'Souza), to the tunes of by the Members of MKCA. The "Jingle Bells". The arrival of Santa proceeds of this sale was earsent electric waves among chil- marked for the Philippines' Tydren. They were all mesmerized and happy to receive gifts from As a hallmark of the proSanta Claus. gram, children and adults The General Secretary of the Association sang Christmas Carols. As and the Chairperson of the Christmas carols were the program, Steven concluded, there was grand D'Souza, thanked all the audience present for arrival of Santa Claus their gracious presence (Steven D'Souza), to the and all those who pre- tunes of "Jingle Bells". pared the Kuswar items. The sumptuous typical Indian dinner with never- phoon victims. As usual the atto-miss Dukra Maas (pork meat) tendees hit the dance floor for the and Sannam (idli) was served musical tunes of Konkani, English, along with desert. Spanish and Hindi songs preThe organizers sold the sented by the D.J. Joey Kuswar packets for a nominal price Mendonca.
Sandy Hook school shooting victims remembered Cont’d from page 20
After the prayers and tributes, the candlelight vigil ceremony was held indoors at Langar hall due to snow and cold weather outside.
Maneshwar Singh, a community youth and Loyola University student, conducted the proceedings, a moment of silence was held. The whole assembly shared langar (community kitchen vegetarian meal) thereafter.
Comdr Brian Murphy and Asst State Attorney Amrith Kaur Aakre
Community Across America
December 27, 2013
India Post 23
Classy Christmas ball to support Bay Area charities VIDYA SETHURAMAN India Post News Service
SAN JOSE, CA: Despite winter chill, more than 300 guests attended WomenNow TV's maiden Christmas charity ball, on December 15 at Silver Creek Country Club, San Jose. "Funds raised at the charity ball will support Bay Area Charities such as Jeena, One Million Lights, Sahaita, The Grateful Garment Project, Maitri, 1000Mothers Org and Aga Khan Foundation", said Ena Sarkar, CEO and Founder of WomenNowTV. This Charity Ball was an exquisite and classy program lined up to support some select few Bay Area charities with unique programs and causes. Throughout the year WomenNow featured several charities and learnt a great deal about the phenomenal work they do to help the underprivileged across the world. Many of them need to build more awareness and generate funds. All these charities work towards causes of underprivileged people. Through this Charity Ball they hope to provide them a plat-
Dr Romesh Japra, Mr Rajesh Verma and Mr Sham Asnani
form to reach out to people who can help them, says Uma Asthana of WomenNow TV. Here's is a glimpse of organizations supported in this Charity Ball: Jeena is a self-help group of parents founded in April 2000, dedicated to improving the quality of life of parents and children with developmental disorders. Its mission is to enhance the quality of life of parents and children with development disability by provid-
WomenNow TV team and volunteers
ing non-medical support, and opportunities for training and information, to parents and professionals while keeping in mind the cultural nuances. One Million Lights works to improve the daily lives of children and adults by providing clean and healthy lighting. They distribute safe, rechargeable solar lights around the world, replacing dangerous and polluting kerosene lamps. Sahaita is a non-profit organization committed to educating, supporting and uplifting the underprivileged members of society. This is accomplished through healthcare initiatives, education sponsorships, vocational training and affiliated partner non-profit organizations. The Grateful Garment Project is a non-profit organization whose entire mission is to assist in the process of returning dignity to victims of sexual violence. They ensure all victims of sexual assault go home with proper clothing and are provided with items they require to reduce further trauma.
INOC condemns the manner of diplomat's arrest India Post News Service
he Indian National Overseas Congress (I) USA has strongly condemned the boisterous and high handed manner in which Dr. Devyani Khobragade, the Deputy Consul General of India, was arrested by US federal agents for alleged Infractions of the law. "It was tantamount to harassment which was totally uncalled for, especially when she is a diplomat, who was in the process of picking up her children from school," said Sudh Prakash Singh, President of the INOC (I) USA. This inappropriate action has hurt the feelings of the Indian Americans here and has the po-
tential of straining the good IndoAmerican relations. There was no need to dramatize the arrest in the way it was done. The action was also apparently way out of the proportion to the gravity of the charges. This mother of two children was suddenly handcuffed like a criminal without any prior notice. "This traumatizing incident has caused pain to our community," Shudh further added. Harbachan Singh, General Secretary of INOC (I) USA stated that the Deputy Consul General is a senior Indian diplomat who is reputed to be one of the brightest of the elite Indian Foreign Service. She enjoys high regard and respect for her outstanding merito-
rious service on a world wide basis in the diplomatic circles. "We wish to express our greatest sympathy and support to the Deputy Consul General and truly hope and believe that she will be fully absolved and vindicated from all allegations or charges that are being meted out to her," he added. The President of the Tamil Nadu Chapter of INOC (I) USA John Joseph said, "Arresting her in this manner is an insult to the country and to all Indians." Rajender Dichpally, Chair of USIndia Political Council of INOC (I) USA lamented, "It is unfortunate that this is happening again to our diplomat after the last Consul General."
Ena Sarkar with Jeena team
Maitri provides compassionate residential care to men and women in need of hospice or 24-hour care and cultivates the deepest respect
activities and Volunteer programs. 1000 Mothers to Prevent Violence is a grassroots nonprofit organization devoted to serving
and love for life among its residents and caregivers. The six components of Maitri's model residential care program for people living with AIDS are Nursing & attendant care, Comfortable accommodations, Food & nutrition, Social work case management, Resident
families who have been directly impacted by violence. "1000 Mothers to Prevent Violence" endeavors to provide a continuum of care for the entire family, in particular the grieving parent who must continue to provide for surviving children. Cont’d on page 25
Celebrating New Year the Hindu way Cont’d from page 22
• As an individual and Hindu try to understand your own responsibility towards uplifting of your spiritual life Due to the influence of modernity our younger generation is losing touch with our religion, culture, values, traditions and rituals. So we have to make an effort to teach and preserve them. The goal of any religious celebration is to uplift our spiritual
life and build our unique identity in the world. It is every one's responsibility to pass on our rich religion, philosophy, and culture to the next generation otherwise we will become responsible for losing our identity built over the years by our Rishis, Santa Samaj and ancestors. Pundit Joshi is highly educated Sanskrit scholar, acclaimed astrologer, Priest and administrator at Grays Lake Hindu Temple
24 India Post
Community Across America
December 27, 2013
Light hearted Musical Ramayana
India Post News Service
FREMONT: The Ramayana A Musical is a light hearted Hindi comedy show which was held at Dosa Biryani on November 23. It makes you laugh, think and then laugh again. It shows Ramayana as a human story of the God who came on earth to have human experience. The play utilizes less emphasized aspects of the Epic such as Laxman's stay in Vanvaas
to generate comedy. The play is also enriched with Hindi poetry for dramatic effect. It was directed by Ashok Vijay. The cast was as follows: RamVinod Jain, Laxman -Munish Arora, Sita (Palace) - Monika Arora, Sita (Forest) - Megha Beri, Music - Gaurav Behel, Sound - Kishore Rane, Executive producer- Rohit Verma, Art Director - Asavari Gavankar, Written and Directed by - Ashok Vijay.
December 27, 2013
Community Across America
India Post 25
Obama care picks from best of all systems HARIKRISHNA MAJMUNDAR
he patient protection and affordable care act popularly known as Obama care was signed into law by President Obama on March 23, 2010. A legal challenge was mounted by 26 State Governments. It was finally resolved in June 2012 when the Supreme Court of the United States handed down its decisive ruling. It decided in favor of the Obama administration on nearly all the legal points of contention and most important of all upheld the socalled individual mandate provision of the law which compels every American to obtain health insurance or pay a fine. The Supreme Court ruled by a narrow 5-4 majority that the individual mandate was constitutional. It also ruled by a 7-2 vote that the Federal Government could not force the States to expand medical coverage within their borders against their will. 19 states have opted in, and the other 31 states have opted out. For these 31 states the federal Govt will run the exchange. Obama care's support in the house was 219-212 and in the senate 56-44. It became a law without a single vote of the opposition party. As per the decision of the Supreme Court it may be said that it is a blessing in disguise to the 19 States. In those states "Obama care has come to stay" even if the opposition party comes in power with the President from that party. The States would not be compelled to scrap it.
Essential Benefits So far as the seniors from India are concerned the law does not
directly affect them. In November 2012 the department of health and human services announced more details about the essential benefits that all the seniors would be able to enjoy. They would also get the benefit of increased funding for preventive services in Medicaid. For those who currently receive Medicare benefits, the Obama care includes one significant improvement regarding the donut hole. It will finally close. The recipients by 2020 will have robust prescription drug coverage, regardless of how much they spend. However according to the Congress budget office hundreds of billions of dollars in funding for Obama care will be generated by cuts in Medicare's budget over the next decade. President Obama and congressional Democrats have promised that the cuts to Medicare will not adversely affect services seniors have come to expect but at this point that is only their expectation not a guarantee and the worries of the seniors are justified. For a senior citizen who has one or more chronic ailments and
needs day to day assistance that means getting help both from Medicare and Medicaid. According to the Kaiser foundation, almost 10 million people receive both Medicare and Medicaid benefits. These so called dual eligible are the neediest Americans receiving government assistance. Very little attention has been paid to them. Obama care seeks to change that and has promised to coordinate the delivery of benefits to this important group. We hope this promise is fulfilled. As fee for service facilities are restricted seniors would suffer. The doctors under restriction may avoid some necessary checks. That should be scrupulously guarded.
Medicare advantage plan's low income Americans are hard hit. These cuts could have been avoided.
Responsiveness According to world health organization as regards responsiveness of national health care system, America is number one in rank. Does the doctor respect the patient's dignity? Does a patient get prompt treatment? Etc. We are proud of our country's system. The question arises does our present system need change? The reply is "yes". Among all 191 nations experts say France was rated number one and America number
President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and senior staff, react in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, as the House passes the health care reform bill
Senior citizens usually need more than basic Medicare, which covers only 60 percent of their medical expenses on average, the Medicare advantage plans. Lower income senior citizens secured additional coverage. In cutting
37. In ranking for avoidable mortality we are at number 15, in quality and fairness of life we are number 37.On disability adjusted life expectancy (DALE) our rank is 24. With (DALE) life expectancy at70 years and with normal life expect-
Classy Christmas ball to support Bay Area charities Contâ€™d from page 23
The Aga Khan Foundation (AKF) focuses on a small number of specific development problems by forming intellectual and financial partnerships with organizations sharing its objectives. They work to improve the welfare and prospects of people in the developing world, particularly in Asia and Africa, without regard to faith, origin or gender. Ena Sarkar, Founder of WomenNow TV, thanked her team, volunteers and people who have come forward to help for such a special cause. She said WomenNow TV will continue to work with these organizations and support their cause.
ancy of 77 in ranking for infant mortality rates, we have the highest mortality rates among ten developed countries 6.8 babies per 1000 die in infancy. More than 20000 Americans die in the prime of life each year from medical problems that could not be treated because they cannot afford to see a doctor. Hundreds of thousands of Americans go bankrupt every year because of medical bills. Yet in 2005 our health expenditure as a percentage of GDP was 15.3 the highest among 13 developed nations. Do these not call for fixing our broken health system? From Theodore Roosevelt to Barack Obama half a dozen presi-
dents have tried to fix up our health system. The last was Bill Clinton. All others have failed so far and there is a huge opposition from the Republican Party desiring to scrap the act altogether. It is true that all other developed countries (except China) have a manageable population. America with its 300 millions finds it difficult to change the system.
Basic question We first have to answer a basic question. Should we guarantee medical treatment to everyone who needs it? Do you feel that medical treatment is a privilege available to those who can pay for it? Do you feel that any attempt to give medical treatment to all would deprive many of the seniors the best treatment we need most? Do you feel that equality for medical treatment is only a platitude and impossible to put into action? If you think making medical treatment available to all would adversely affect the quality of the treatment to seniors and chronically sick ones then say no to obama care. Contâ€™d on page 26
Community Across America
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December 27, 2013
Obama care picks from best of all systems Cont’d from page 25
stay sick or die.
If you feel that medical service is a public service like the fire department or the public library, public parks etc. go all out for Obama care. Be assured that you are with all developed countries of the west like France, Germany, United Kingdom, Canada, Switzerland and also with Japan and Taiwan. All these countries give free or at a very little cost equal medical treatment to rich and poor, young and old, women and children. An ethical question is involved. America is not willing to do it because it is a strong capitalist country believing in democracy. In America the market rules the nation. We have to admit that America is the richest country in the world because of its market policy. Work hard, get rich and enjoy the benefits of prosperity even in the medical field. The rest of the developed countries do not subscribe to this philosophy.
Best of all Systems
Four Models There are four models in the world for medical benefits: (1) The Bismarck model. It is found in Germany, Japan, France, Belgium, Switzerland and to some degree in Latin America. (2) The Beveridge model. It is followed in United Kingdom, Italy, Spain and most of Scandinavian countries. Hong Kong, Cuba and in the US Department of Veteran Affairs. (3) The national health insurance model. Canada, Taiwan and South Korea follow this system (4) The out of pocket system. All poor countries where there is no established health care system follow this model The salient points of these models are as follows: • In Bismarck countries both health care payers and providers are private entities. There are private insurance plans usually financed jointly by employers and employees through payroll deductions. They cover everybody and do not make profit. Tight regulations of medical services and fees give the system much of the cost control clout. • In the Beveridge model, health care is provided and financed by government though tax payment. There are no medical bills. It is a public service. • In the national health insurance model, the providers of health care are private but the payer is the government run insurance program financed by monthly premiums • In the out of pocket system, the basic rule is simple and brutal. The rich get medical care: the poor
The Obama care has taken the best of all the systems to an extent that suits the rich American nation. Why are we reluctant to follow the best of these systems? America feels that the foreign approaches would never work here. There are five American myths about health care systems overseas (1) It is all socialized medicine out there. (2) They ration care with waiting lists and limited choice. (3) They are wasteful systems run by bloated bureaucracies. (4) Health insurance companies have to be cruel (5) Those systems are too foreign to work in USA There are two main reasons for America ignoring these systems. (1) American exceptionalizm. (2) The vested interest of Insurance companies, Drug manufacturing companies and Wall Street. They are interested in the status quo. Americans are coming to realise that the other rich countries are getting more and better medical treatment for less money than we do. The powerful institutions backed by Republican conservatives would fight tooth and nail to keep the system as it is. The developed countries of the West and Japan make fun of us. The number one country has no place in various health reports by world health organization and other Harvard reports. They say no doubt America is top in percapita expenditure and spends highest per individual. The medical systems in other countries are not perfect and the
In Bismarck countries both health care payers and providers are private entities. There are private insurance plans usually financed jointly by employers and employees through payroll deductions. people of those countries are not fully satisfied. In British parliament both Tony Blair and his successorGordon Brown silenced the opposition to British health care system, by saying "the honorable gentleman opposite clearly hopes to turn our health care system into a profit
making corporate enterprise as the Americans have done. This we will never do." We have read above much of the systems of other countries. Now coming to Obama care, our own health system. Even if we demur at foreign systems we are following the Bismarck system for people under 65. Both the worker
Now they cannot refuse to take insurance for existing bad health conditions, they cannot increase insurance premium and they cannot cancel insurance policies. They are worried that if only such sick people take insurance and healthy people do not, they will not be able to maintain 80-20 loss ratio. The loss ratio is a pecu-
and the employer share the premium for the health insurance policy. The insurer picks up most of the expenditure for treatment with the patient either making a copayment or paying a percentage. For native Americans, military personnel and Veterans we follow British system. The doctors are Govt employees working in Govt owned clinics and hospitals. Americans in this system never get a medical bill. The Indian health service also provides free care in government clinics. The people over 65 getting both Medicare and Medical are to some extent covered by Beveridge model. For those who are over 65 and not covered by Medical, we are following Canadian methods. Americans with end stage renal diseases regardless of age are also covered by Medicare. The "dialysis community" has opted for coverage under Govt run scheme. For the 45 million uninsured Americans we follow the out of pocket system. If you are rich pay for medicine, if you are poor stay sick or die. Republican Opposition We have to understand why rich Conservative Republicans oppose Obama care. The excise tax on Cadillac Health care plans are to be taxed 40 percent, $10200 for individuals and $27500 for families. So far they used to get very excellent type of treatment paying out of pocket and claiming income tax relief. This has been stopped. If Obama care survives into 2020 the tax on Cadillac plans is likely to become the biggest revenue source. Why the insurance companies are in such big opposition? So far they spent a big part of their premium in finding out ways and means how to deny coverage.
liar requirement. As per their requirement all premium they receive is 100 percent, if no claim is paid. When the claim is paid the 100 percent would come down to the extent of payment. They would not permit the loss ratio to go above 80 percent. They move heaven and earth to employ lawyers to deny the payment on flimsy grounds.The author of the famous book "Healing of America" T. R. Reid quotes how American insurance company denied his claim, because the claim was sent to the company in foreign currency. They wanted the claim to be submitted in American currency. Because of the denial requirement their administrative expenditure is very huge. However the insurance and drug companies are given a carrot. When health insurance is
The seniors over 80 have to be watchful. If they find that the doctors take their ailment as a sign of old age and ask them to bear them, the matter should be brought to the notice of medical deptt. mandatory, 30 million more policies have to be issued and the insurance and drug companies would find it difficult to meet with the demand. Even with a slight amount of profit for each insured and drug buyer the insurance companies hope to make millions. Four Types of Polices There are four types of polices,
the Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum with various rates of premiums to be paid and out of pocket expenditure. Most of the seniors are covered by Medicare-Medical. Out of the remaining a good number is at present coved by Medical alone but the coverage is almost 100 percent. There are two worrying points. One is the question of global assets. The original Obama care rules required seniors over 65 to consider their assets. It was also specified that green card holders will not get Medical up to 5 years after they get green card. As both these restrictions are not compatible with Obama's individual mandate that all should be covered, those with assets and green card holders have to be put somewhere. With the limited income they would get the benefit of extended medical. California covered website gives details of the system in California. There is no use repeating it here.
Stay Alert Though our seniors have not to be worried they have to be alert and they should study the various rules of Obama care as they need to make extensive use of the preventive services. "Obama care hopes that the health care scheme would bring sizeable revenue to the federal govt. The seniors should be watchful to find out the sources from which Obama care hopes to get revenue at the expense of seniors." The seniors over 80 have to be watchful. If they find that the doctors take their ailment as a sign of old age and ask them to bear them, the matter should be brought to the notice of medical department and media. This is likely to happen in most cases. Rather than spending huge amount in surgeries and in post surgeries on an aged individual just enabling him or her to live a year or two more, the health provider is most likely to ask the seniors to concentrate on religious practices and wait for the inevitable hour. We have to resist that. It is a moral question that all rich or poor, young or old citizens or green card holders sick or healthy should get health care free or at a very affordable cost. We seniors may help Obama care to succeed. It is unavoidable that when the cake - however large - sharers are increased, each will get a little less. That should be welcomed with equanimity. Harikrishna Majmundar is President South Asian Senior Services, Palo Alto CA.
December 27, 2013
Community Across America
India Post 27
Making sense of Super Bowl (American Life)
he cacophony, hype and commercialization of Super Bowl is a no mean task to achieve by all the players, and I do not mean just the ones on the field. It involves the most clueless to the most ardent fans of the game. Some of us are just there for the food and conversation, while some are there for the ads. And yes, the previous group could also belong to this one. A handful are actually watching, understanding and following the losses and gains. When I first came to the country, the American football was deemed some cousin of the Indian football or rugby versions. Since I didn't watch those with any passion, it was not required to immerse myself in the game, until the Super Bowl came around. It was as if I had been watching the world of football through a keyhole eavesdropping into the occupants of a room. Once you enter the room, it was a cult! People were planning parties, weddings, wedding proposals, even funerals to coincide with this Very Important Date, and to commemorate their great love for the game with their other love.
Any self respecting fan was mandated to wear his/her team logo on some article of clothing, and if that were not possible, on person. Thus my first introduction to "face painting"! Even babies were not spared, although I have to wonder if they maintained their
Giant, Mylar balloons, cake decorations, entire shops dedicated to team paraphernalia or a shrine to their revered player in a private home. By now, my curiosity getting the better of me, and against my better judgment, I decided it was
team affiliations once they were old enough to decide! The media, as they do for any little thing, duly hyped the event whereby it assumed a life of its own, and engulfed even the innocent bystanders. You couldn't walk into a store, a restaurant, a mall, or even a friend's house, without something proclaiming your attention for the upcoming game.
about time to do one of the many truly American things to do. So I subjected myself to watching the game. I was all set to follow the ball, and separated the players of the opposition by their team colors. No sooner had the kick off begun, the ball disappeared under mounds of human flesh decked in some forbidding-looking gear,
making it impossible to determine which team had the winning hand. The ball resurfaced as the human pile disintegrated and moved with remarkable speed and ferocity across the field, only to have "take two" of the moments after kickoff. This series of events repeated several times, until the ball was somewhere deemed the 10 yards line. Now it really started to heat up, with the armchair players screaming into their TV sets in the earnest belief that their favored player would actually respond to their suggestions. The field players seemed to be charging at members of the opposing team without much regard for the ball. The game reached its merciful end with one of the teams being declared the winner. It was quite obvious which one, just by watching the colors that stood out in the stadium crowd. By now, the clueless had con-
gregated in the dining room, with the ad watchers sheepishly joining in, and the die hards waiting to be served in their armchairs as they continued to debate the good versus the bad plays...loudly! So it repeats every year, as I go to Super Bowl parties, unashamedly to socialize, with no pretense of watching the game, and have converted to the ad watching group. That, by itself, takes the same attention to detail as that required for watching the game, as, it is often hard to tell what the ad is about. You would think they would get to the point to get the most out of the $3 million spent on a 30 second ad during the game, but they keep you guessing, and often the post game discussion involves the merits and demerits of certain ads, as much as those of the game. Then, there is the Half Time Show, which, is as important as the game itself; made even more popular, not by the quality of performers necessarily, but by the faux pas of the past. The term "wardrobe malfunction" having been coined after one such episode involving Janet Jackson.
TOP TEN HINDI FILM SONGS
1 Dhoom Machale Dhoom: Dhoom 3 2 Ram Chahe Leela: Ram-Leela 3 Gandi Baat: R..Rajkumar 4 Nagada Sang Dhol: Ram-Leela 5 Tattad Tattad: Ram-Leela 28 India Post
December 27, 2013
6 Tamnche Pe Disco: Bullet Raja 7 Part All Night: Boss 8 Too : Gori Tere Pyaar Mein 9 Raghupti Raghav: Krrish 3 10 Main Rang Sharbato Ka: Phata Poster Nikhla Hero
uring an episode of 'Koffee with Karan'' Aamir Khan was candid throughout the show. He went to the length of saying he did not feature on the show in the earlier seasons as he did not know Karan that well and what ever he knew of him, he did not like. The highlight of the show was Karan's famous (or infamous) rapid fire round in which Karan asked Aamir Khan to rate himself on a scale of 10 as a father, an actor or a director. To this, Aamir spontaneously replied, '5'. To spice things up a notch higher, Karan asked what Aamir rated himself in bed. To the cheeky question, Aamir again quipped, '5'! Nevertheless, Aamir's doting wife, Kiran Rao, fondly referred to as 'K', egged Aamir on to say '20'. Well, she would know better! She added that Aamir was definitely more than five. Aamir also revealed that he initially did not like Salman Khan, especially during the filming of 'Andaaz Apna Apna'. But, during his low days, it was Salman who helped him get up and on with life which opened the doors to friendship.
THE HIGHLIGHT OF THE SHOW WAS KARAN'S FAMOUS (OR INFAMOUS) RAPID FIRE ROUND IN WHICH KARAN ASKED AAMIR KHAN TO RATE HIMSELF ON A SCALE OF 10 AS A FATHER, AN ACTOR OR A DIRECTOR. TO THIS, AAMIR SPONTANEOUSLY REPLIED, '5'.
atrina Kaif and Ranbir Kapoor are not ready to divulge their relationship status and are still maintaining a good friend and extremely special tag. Kat has now been all round for her 'Dhoom 3' promotion and when asked whether Ranbir Kapoor is an important part of her life. She answered, "Yes, of course! Ranbir is an extremely important part of my life but beyond that I can't say anything more." When asked to comment on Ranbir's statement about Katrina being an important part of his life. Very aggressively she replied, "I really hope that's true. I think that friendship, support and being there for each other in life is extremely, extremely important and if I was ever in need, I really hope that he (Ranbir) would be there for me and that will be a great thing because being selfless in life is important." When media grilled her and asked the diva, Is she in love? Kat said, "I won't answer that as it will add fodder to more speculation. It's a something that people in my life and the person in my life or the people I am hanging out to know. Do they know if I love them? Yes. Do I feel the need to say if I am in love in print? No. I don't want to say I am in love".
December 27, 2013
India Post 29
hah Rukh Khan is on top of the world as his daughter, Suhana captained her school, Dhirubhai Ambani High School to their title win of the MSSA-MI U-14 girls football tournament. The proud father was beside himself with joy as he tweeted his daughter's achievement with a newspaper clip containing the news. He tweeted, 'Am quite reticent when it comes to praising kids' achievements but this is highly 'show off worthy'. You go girl!!!' Suhana has a natural knack towards sports. She also pursues Taekwondo and claims to be quite good at it. Moreover, she is into athletics such as the 100m sprint.
So what's the twist? The twist is that Suhana does not want to take up sports as her career. Instead, she wants to follow in daddy's footsteps and become an actress someday. Now that is a brilliant example of 'Daddy's girl'! About her dream, Suhana says, 'I want to be an actress. Not just a Bollywood actress. My dad says that I should be an international actress and be open to acting anywhere in the world.' On being asked about her favourite actor/actress in Bollywood, she said, 'I don't idolise anyone. My dad is my biggest idol'. He wants me to study acting and dabble with both Indian and international cinema. After finishing school, I plan to go abroad, possibly America to learn acting and become like dad one day', adding that she does not want to study in India. So what does Daddy Khan have to say about this? "I am proud of my daughter. I would love to see her as an actress."
hitrangada Singh thinks BJP Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi could try abandoning his beard in favour of a clean-shaven look. "I think Modi can try a clean-shaven look. I think you (men) all look good. It might just, I don't know, look better," the Bollywood diva told reporters on the sidelines of a brand's event. Asked if bearded men like Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Modi aren't attractive, Chitrangada said, "See if you are a Sikh and there's certain amount of religious reasons for you to keep beard or the hair. Of course, that is great and you can still look wellgroomed. You still look well turnedout."
t is a well-known fact that Shilpa Shetty Kundra has bagged the 'yummy mummy' tag ever since she became a mother and has inevitably always scored brownie points for her style. Her svelte figure, glowing skin and an effervescent personality is always accompanied with that hundred watt smile. The country now celebrates that fact as the actress turned producer, recently emerged as the Yummiest Mummy in India as per the recent AC Nielsen poll. The international survey organization AC Nielsen, a global marketing research firm that operates in over 100 countries ,with worldwide headquarters in New York City, United States of America, recently conducted a survey on 'Yummy Mummies' and leggy lass Shilpa Shetty Kundra bagged the maximum votes.
30 India Post
December 27, 2013
December 27, 2013
What the Stars Foretell but do not Compel FOR YEAR 2014
by Pandit Parashar
(510-886-4370) (May 21 to June 20)
(March 21 to April 20)
ard work and patience will pay off right after June 19th when Jupiter moves into cancer or the fourth house. It should be a remarkable year by all means. It does not mean that things will be that easy in first six months but the Jupiter's aspect on ninth from third will help you overcome all obstacles and difficulties in daily life. You will be spending more time on phone or writing mails in first few months. Results will be instant and positive. Just do not disclose your plans and strategy to any one before it gets implemented unless you want to get jinxed. When Jupiter moves in Cancer all your long cherished desires will get fulfilled. You may move to a nice home or reconstruct your existing home. This next move or relocation will be very lucky and may be permanent. Life which had been challenging for past few years will suddenly come under full controls. Rahu and Ketu's moving into sixth and twelfth from July will be an additional bonus. You will become humble and perform many good deeds and make generous contribution to a religious place this year. Rahu will help overcome your opponents and some secret sufferings of the past. Spouse will be working hard and extend a helping hand and provide moral support and act on your ideas quickly. The year will start with more than one great financial opportunity which will lead path for all kind of prosperity after June 19th. Children will excel in their lives in 2014. You may have some health issues requiring minor surgery after November. Do not ignore elderly, pay due respect, seek their blessings because its the blessings of Jupiter or Guru will will turn your life around in 2014. (April 21 to May 20)
aturn the lord of house of luck as well as house of career will stay exalted in sixth till November. Saturn will help those looking for a change in career and the opportunity that comes from direction west will be very lucky. If you are appearing for any highly competitive exam this year, success in first shot is certain. You will also recover or be cured from any past illness in 2014. Money will come in plenty but the expenses will not leave you alone. The only good part is that money will go on good reasons like children education or marriage. Once Jupiter moves into Cancer, you will have a sigh or relief as suddenly expenses will come down a lot, liability will kind of disappear and you will start to accumulate money in savings. There is a strong possibility of one of your child moving out for a good reason, maybe getting married or going away for education purpose after July, 2014. All you will need is little patience as the results for your efforts will always come a day later. People prone to blood pressure problem should be careful and other wise also no harm in cutting down on salt this year in order to stay in shape. February and March are favorable for career and to appear for any exam. You may also buy another property for investment purpose this summer.
rogress will be slow and steady in the beginning and the projects started in last six months will soon start to bear fruits. In spite of the things going in right direction, you will be slight nervous and shaky from within. Try eating an apple every day or green vegetables to make nervous system strong. You will continue to receive big support or guidance from an elderly and successful person. For bachelors it might be slightly difficult to choose among several options but will end up making the correct choice. Jupiter will bring a great opportunity to start a new venture in partnership with some like minded people before June 19th. Once Jupiter moves into Cancer,money will start pouring in. All your earlier investments will start yielding profit and by the end of year 2014, you will accumulate wealth in a big way. Just be very careful when re investing the extra cash on hands. People working will also either make a smooth switch or will be promoted with big raise and benefits before June 19th. You have to be little careful with people with their name starting with letter "N" this year. Spouse will provide great support and motivate you when you become double minded. There is absolutely no hard in playing few lottery tickets in second half when Jupiter, factor for wealth will be aspected by exalted Saturn, the lord of house of luck. By all means it will be a better year money wise. (June 21 to July 22)
his year will start on a slow note but after January 20th, suddenly you will find your self full of energy and planning for the future in a big way. There will be some interesting change in career from February and onward and the progress will not stop there after. Transiting Saturn in fourth will keep you focused on resolving issues in family life as if its not going to be one thing, it will be another. This exalted Saturn on the other hand will ultimately prove to be very beneficial. Assets will grow and you may purchase another big property and even move in this summer. Once Jupiter moves on your sign on June 19th, Life will take a very positive turn and most of your desires will be fulfilled. Without any outside help you will take many wise decisions and implement them quickly. You will have the Midas touch for rest of the year. This time gains and benefits will be for long terms and you will invest money wisely. You may get a big consulting contract in July. Family life will be better and issues involving children will get resolved to your satisfaction. Jupiter's transit will revamp you with wisdom and maturity. You will become more religious and perform many charity in second half of 2014 when Ketu moves into ninth house, the house of religion. The only negative thing this year is that the people you give advice will benefit immediately but the same formula will not work on self. You will need outside help from time to time. (July 23 to August 22)
hance of addition of a new member in the family still good till June 19th. Life will continue to improve in 2014 and some of you may buy out your business partners or get out of partnership and start on your own. There is no harm in expanding but most probably you will stretch your limits, end up making big commitments and increase your liability. You will start to feel crunch and pressure right after July 2nd when Rahu moves in second, or the house of finances. Avoid stocks and other speculations also in second half. Some of you may also accept assignment away from home. You may leave at an earlier date and family may join you later after few months. Some one tall and having dark skin will give headaches this year. If going for any competitive exam, the best time is before June. There might be slight delay in getting the judgment but ultimately victory is all yours in ongoing legal matters. Saturn will make you travel long distance and the places you never visited before for business as well as recreation purpose this year. PREDICTIONS FOR REST OF THE SIGNS WILL APPEAR NEXT WEEK
Calif. battery plant to reduce arsenic health risk INDUSTRY, Calif: A Southern California battery recycling plant has been told to reduce the health risk from arsenic it's spewing into the air. A Nov. 22 inspection found that smokestack emissions of arsenic had increased at Quemetco, Inc. The plant in the San Gabriel Valley smelts lead from old batteries. Regulators felt that the arsenic emissions might exceed the threshold level that could create a 10-in-a-million risk of cancer, said Sam Atwood, a spokesman for the South Coast Air Quality Management District. In a Dec. 10 letter, the company was told it must conduct a health risk assessment by May showing it had reduced its cancer risk below 25 parts per million, or the plant would face stricter controls. Quemetco plans to comply with the AQMD's order, Chris Bryant, an attorney for the company, told the San Gabriel Valley Tribune. ``We're confident their concerns will be alleviated,'' Bryant said. Quemetco is one of two battery recycling plants in Southern California. The air pollution control agency is trying to shut down the other, Exide Technologies of Vernon, until its air pollution control systems are improved. Hearings on the issue are set to resume next month. -AP
Â„ Health scheme for children in J-K soon JAMMU: The scheme to provide healthcare facilities to 27 crore children in the country, that was started in July this year, will soon be launched in the Jammu and Kashmir, Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare Ghulam Nabi Azad has said. "A new scheme namely Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakram (RBSK) launched in the country in July-2013 will be shortly started in Jammu and Kashmir", Azad said while jointly inaugurating the Arogya Mela2013 with the Chief Minister Omar Abdullah at Parade Ground here. He said 27 crore children are targeted to be screened and treated under this scheme in the country. Azad said that AYUSH and Allopathic Centers are being co-located in 52,000 newly constructed health buildings in the country to provide both Indian and Allopathic medicines under one roof.-PTI
Water treatment facilities hotspots for superbugs Details on Page 34
32 India Post
December 27, 2013
Health exchange voted top Kentucky story of 2013 LOUISVILLE, Ky.: The debut of a statewide online health insurance marketplace, which earned a thumbs-up from President Barack Obama for smoothly enrolling tens of thousands of people, has been voted Kentucky's top news story of 2013. Unlike the technical glitches that marred the federal health benefit exchange, the rollout in Kentucky went much better. Kentucky built its own exchange, the result of an executive order by Gov. Steve Beshear, a Democrat. Expanding medical coverage, he said, would benefit a state with about 640,000 uninsured residents. The state also ranks among the nation's unhealthiest, with high rates of heart disease, cancer and diabetes. ``This is going to change the history of Kentucky when it comes to the health status of our citizens,'' Beshear said. ``It won't happen next week or next year, but over the next generation you're going to see a huge, positive change in the health status
of Kentuckians.'' His decision drew the scorn of conservatives and spurred a lawsuit.
coverage was the centerpiece of the Affordable Care Act. Enrollment began Oct. 1, and so far more than 96,000 Kentuck-
Gov. Steve Beshear discusses his veto of a Medicaid bill in Frankfort, Ky.
The state received more than $250 million from the federal government to set up its exchange. The online marketplace for people to shop for insurance
ians had signed up for new health coverage, including slightly more than 72,000 in Medicaid and the rest in private insurance, according to the governor's of-
fice. Coverage is set to begin Jan. 1. Beshear's enthusiasm for the embattled health care law, and the performance of Kentucky's exchange, drew national attention. The governor received a personal thank you from Obama. Kentucky's U.S. senators, Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul, are among its leading critics. McConnell, the Senate's top-ranking Republican, branded the law a ``national calamity.'' ``I continue to hear daily from constituents who are upset and angry that `Obamacare' means higher premiums and deductibles and less access to the doctors and hospitals they trust,'' McConnell said. The health care developments were selected as the year's biggest story in Kentucky in voting by subscribers and staff for The Associated Press.-AP
Bloomberg leaves rich public health legacy NEW YORK: Michael Bloomberg steered New York City through economic recession, a catastrophic hurricane and the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, but he may always be remembered, accurately or not, as the mayor who wanted to ban the Big Gulp a super-sized soda drink. After 12 years, Bloomberg leaves office Dec. 31 with a unique record as a public health crusader who attacked cigarettes, artery-clogging fats and big sugary drinks with as much zeal as most mayors go after crack dens and graffiti. And while Bloomberg's audacious initiatives weren't uniformly successful, often leading to court challenges and criticisms that he was turning New York into a ``nanny state,'' ex-
perts say they helped reshape just how far a city government can
healthy lifestyle. ``He has been a transformative
Michael Bloomberg holds 11-month-old Joshua Rodriguez while campagning for mayor during an impromptu campaign stop at a Brooklyn McDonald's restaurant in New York. Bloomberg went on to win the election and during his 12-years in office zeroed in on fast food chain restaurants with innovative public health policies.
go to protect people from an un-
leader,'' said Dr. Linda Fried, dean
of Columbia University's school of public health. ``He has created a model for how to improve a city's health.'' Coming into office as a billionaire businessman who made his fortune selling data to Wall Street, Bloomberg was accustomed to using hard, cold research to drive decisions, and it was an approach he used effectively on matters of public health. Bloomberg pushed to ban smoking in indoor public spaces and prohibit cigarette sales to anyone under 21. He got artificial trans-fat banned from restaurant food - an action that led fast food giants like McDonald's and Dunkin Donuts to change their recipes rather than lose access to the New York market. Cont'd on Page 35
December 27, 2013
Health Science Post
India Post 33
Even in willing states, health law's rollout rocky ST. PAUL, Minn.: A bug-ridden website. Endless wait times on a toll-free helpline. Error-laden data sent to insurance companies. These are not problems burdening Republican-led states that had to be dragged kicking and screaming into the federal health insurance overhaul. These are recent complications in the rollout of MNsure, the state-based exchange in Minnesota, a place with a long tradition of activist gov-
through MNsure. Beckfeld already canceled his old plan. Despite spending many hours on hold with the MNsure call center, he said, he has been unable to correct problems with his application and is still unsure if he can count on new coverage on Jan. 1. Minnesota's website has been down for long stretches, even as callers to its helpline sometimes spent more than an hour on hold. Oregon's exchange still has not been able to enroll anyone electronically and continues to accept only paper applications. Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, a Democrat, acknowledged that not every resident who wants insurance by Jan. 1 will necessarily get it. In Hawaii, the exchange had to delay the Oct. 1 start of MNsure contact center representatives specialist Carlos Villanueva, open enrollment by left, and guide Emily Joyce work in one many cubicles at the center in two full weeks. St. Paul, Minn. in preparation for federal health care law opening for The problems enrollment. have led to some ernment and generous social programs. high-profile departures of exchange leadPolitical opposition to President Barack ers. April Todd-Malmlov of Minnesota and Obama's Affordable Care Act runs deep in Rebecca Pearce of Maryland quit under surstates led by Republican governors and leg- prisingly similar circumstances. Both faced islators. And problems with its troubled public criticism for taking tropical vacations rollout have been felt starkly in many of over Thanksgiving while their exchanges those places. But states where Democratic struggled back home. Top-ranking exgovernors and legislative majorities enthu- change officials also resigned in both Orsiastically enacted the system have also egon and Hawaii. bogged down with glitches, gaffes and ``Many states made the same mistake controversy. that the federal government made - there Minnesota's efforts became so beset was just no starting concept of how you with problems that Democratic Gov. Mark deliver on high quality and high innovaDayton issued a public apology and tion,'' said Sanjay Singh, CEO of hCentive, MNsure's top executive recently resigned. a Virginia-based health technology com``I believe in this program. But this has pany that helped set up exchanges in Kenjust been inexcusable,'' said Tom Beckfeld, tucky, New York and Colorado, which had a small business owner and Democratic ac- smoother rides. ``If you started with a flawed tivist in central Minnesota who's been sty- foundation, then anything you build on top mied in his attempts to nail down coverage of it will suffer flaws as well.''
Yoga may boost cancer therapy WASHINGTON: Yoga - the centuriesold Indian meditative practice - may help boost cancer therapy in young patients, researchers say. Yoga is combined with nutrition education to help young cancer patients manage their disease today and lay the foundation for a healthy future, researchers at St Jude Children's Research Hospital, US said. "We're focusing on all of the benefits of yoga, which include balance, coordination, a decrease in pain and improving quality of life," said Jessica Sparrow of St Jude Rehabilitation Services. An occupational therapist trained in providing yoga for children, Sparrow added that having this special combination of yoga and nutrition as a service provided for patients is a true complement to treatment. "Our ultimate goal is that they take this practice into their everyday lives - like breathing exercises to help with anxiety and
pain," Sparrow said. Sparrow worked with Danielle Doria, also of Rehabilitation Services, and Karen Smith of department of Clinical Nutrition to create the program's outline. After each yoga session, patients get a lesson on healthy eating, which often includes a hands-on demonstration from a chef. "We focus on foods that bring patients out of their comfort zone but are also tasty and healthy," Smith said. "The younger kids are more open-minded about trying new foods. The parents, who are present at the sessions, can see that their children are eating hummus or something they might not have thought they would try. It encourages the families to make good food choices," said Smith. Doria is enrolled in a special certification for yoga therapy, which will eventually allow her to expand the program to treat more medically complex patients. -PTI
No state's political leadership embraced federal tax subsidies, when they actually did. all major facets of the federal overhaul ``It's unacceptable,'' Dayton said as he more enthusiastically than Minnesota, the apologized to Minnesotans ``who have only state to implement all three major as- been seriously inconvenienced or are dispects: an expanded Medicaid program, an traught by the failures of MNsure.'' online insurance marketplace and a basic The setbacks have been political fodder health program. for Republicans who opposed MNsure's MNsure has not been a total failure. Minne- In addition to a sporadically functioning sota has the website and hard-to-reach call center, state lowest premium insurance companies complained that data costs nationwide under the on enrollees from MNsure were filled with new law. And inconsistencies and errors. About 1,000 as of Dec. 14, nearly 48,000 people learned they had to re-enroll people had completed applications for insurance cov- formation at every step. They have been erage through MNsure. happy to hang its failures around the necks But in recent weeks, even as many of of Dayton and Democratic lawmakers. the problems with the federal exchange The problems left state officials scramseemed to ease, problems with MNsure bling to respond as the holidays approach were multiplying. and with the Jan. 1 coverage date looming. In addition to a sporadically function- The new interim CEO quickly extended by ing website and hard-to-reach call center, one week a Dec. 23 enrollment deadline, state insurance companies complained that meaning Minnesotans can sign up right up data on enrollees from MNsure were filled to start of coverage. MNsure, in tandem with inconsistencies and errors. About 1,000 with insurance companies, also extended people learned they had to re-enroll after the payment deadline to Jan. 10 even for being notified that they did not qualify for plans that kick in on Jan. 1. -AP
34 India Post
Health Science Post
December 27, 2013
Water treatment facilities hotspots for superbugs NEW DELHI: Even as the crisis of antibiotic resistance looms large, an international team of doctors has found that waste water treatment facilities, including where chlorination of drinking water is done, are hotspots for spread of the multidrug-resistance organisms or superbugs. Focusing on the issue of antibiotic resistance, the new report, compiled by 26 leading experts from around the world including India and published in the British medical journal The Lancet Infectious Diseases, has called for developing a global code of conduct for antibiotic use and strategies to deal with antibiotic resistance. Dr Chand Wattal, Indian author of the report and Chairperson of Department of Microbiology at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital here, said, "Waste water treatment facilities can be a hotspot. The chlorination of drinking water can, in fact, concentrate some antibiotic resistant genes." "One of our key recommendations is for increased research on how to reduce and neutralize man-made antibiotic pressure and how to control the resistance pool in hotspot environments," added Wattal. According to the report, in India, E-coli isolated from urine cultures of pregnant women in their first trimesters showed highest overall resistance to antibiotics like ampicillin, naladixic acid, and co-trimoxazole by 75 per cent, 73 per cent, and 59 per cent, respectively between 2004 and 2007. Moreover, 30 per cent had shown resis-
tance to injectable antibiotics such as amino-glycosides, the report said about its findings in India. In a study of bloodstream infections, the proportion of E-coli producing ESBLs, an enzyme that can break the commonly used antibiotics rendering them ineffective, has increased from 40 per cent in 2002 to 61 per
by the rapid loss of antibiotic effectiveness. The authors advocated for a health system "thinking approach" in the efforts to contain antibiotic resistance. Wattal said antibiotic resistance arises when bacteria evolve mechanisms to withstand the drugs which are used to fight infection. "Recent decades have seen vast increases in the use of antibiotics across medicine and agriculture, and in the absence of adequate regulatory controls, treatment guidelines, and patient awareness, this has led to a huge Electron micrograph of a cluster of E. coli bacteria. global surge in antibiotic cent in 2009, and the proportion of K pneu- resistance," said Wattal. monia with carbapenem resistance inThe report's lead author Dr Ramanan creased from 2.4 per cent to 52 per cent, the Laxminarayan, research scholar at Princeton report stated. Environmental Institute and Public Health The report concluded that there is a need Foundation of India, stressed that the enfor global concerted actions to deal with vironment plays a key role in the spread of the serious threat to public health caused resistance.
Kids understand multi-digit numbers even at age 3 WASHINGTON: Children as young as 3 understand multi-digit numbers better than previously believed, a new study has found. The research, led by a Michigan State University education scholar, suggests students may be ready for more direct math instruction when they enter school.
"Contrary to the view that young children do not understand place value and multi-digit numbers, we found that they actually know quite a lot about it," said Kelly Mix, MSU professor of educational psychology "Contrary to the view that young children do not understand place value and multi-digit numbers, we found that they actually know quite a lot about it," said Kelly Mix, MSU professor of educational psychology and co-author of the study. "They are more ready than we think when they enter kindergarten," Mix said. Understanding place value is the gateway to higher math skills such as addition
with carrying, and there is a strong tie between place value skills in early elementary grades and problem-solving ability later on. "In short, children who fail to master place value face chronic low achievement in mathematics," the study said. In several experiments, Mix and Richard Prather and Linda Smith, both from Indiana University, tested children ages 3 to 7 on their ability to identify and compare two and three-digit numbers. In one task, for example, children were shown two quantities (such as 128 and 812) and asked to point out which was larger. "There was significant improvement in interpreting place value from age 3 to 7 but it was remarkable that even the youngest children showed at least some understanding of multi-digit numbers," Mix said. Mix said the surprising findings are likely due to the fact that children in today's society are bombarded with multi-digit numbers - from phone numbers to street addresses to price tags. Interestingly, children may be developing partial knowledge of the place value system at least partly from language, she explained. Children often hear multi-digit numbers named while also seeing them in print, such as when parents comment on a calendar, ask their child to push the elevator buttons or look for a room number in an office building.-PTI
"Many drivers of antibiotic consumption are grounded in human medicine. However, antibiotic use in veterinary medicine and for growth promotion and disease prevention in agriculture, aquaculture and horticulture is also a major contributing variable," said Wattal. In the report, it was observed that there is a very low antibiotic resistance in polar bears on the isolated Arctic area and higher resistance in animals living closer to human settings. Calling for a bolder intervention outside hospitals and toward an ecological antibiotic stewardship, the authors have recommended development of strategies focused on the control of non-human sources of antibiotics, resistant bacteria, and resistant genes, such as in agriculture and waste water from the pharmaceutical industry. Treatment for bacterial infections is a fundamental prerequisite for fulfillment of health related Millennium Development Goals and access to effective antibiotics should be included in the discussions of the post- 2015 Developmental Goals. The report also called for governmental coalitions to create global funding mechanisms for needs driven research and development of antibiotics, alternative treatments, diagnostics and vaccines. It said that a global code of conduct should be developed for antibiotic use and implementation of strategies against antibiotic resistance. -PTI
Health Science Post
December 27, 2013
India Post 35
In rural Wisconsin, nurses come to the farm SHAWANO, Wis.: Wisconsin dairy farmer Kevin Ainsworth rushed to the emergency room in 1992, when he sliced off the tip of his finger. Other than a quick trip in 2010 when a test during a blood donation raised a false alarm about hepatitis C, that was his last visit to a doctor. His father jokingly hassles him about needing a prostate exam now that he's past 50, but Ainsworth shrugs that off. With a $5,000 deductible on his health insurance policy and a never-
ending slate of chores, he's not eager to spend time or money on medical care that isn't absolutely necessary. Ainsworth is a typical dairy farmer, more likely than most Americans to go without health insurance or buy his own policy. For years, he has received basic care from a unique community program that sends a nurse to farms to check farmers' blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels and screen them for health risks. Farmers with signs
of serious problems are referred to a doctor or clinic. Agriculture and health care advocacy groups had hoped the new federal health care law would improve farmers' situation by allowing them to buy affordable policies that cover preventive care and have lower deductibles. No savings are to be had, say farmers who've been shopping for insurance and believe they'll end up with plans similar to their current ones. That's why the Rural Health
Initiative remains valuable. ``I would say most farmers, in general, if it's not a lost limb or something crushed, they're probably not going to go to the doc-
The initiative started in 2004 after health care workers and residents realized many farmers received no medical care until they turned up in emergency rooms.
Bloomberg leaves rich public health legacy Cont'd from Page 32
He got restaurant chains to start posting calorie counts on their menus, lobbied food processors to add less salt to their products and got city schools to start serving healthier meals. The city distributed millions of free condoms, emblazoned with an ``NYC'' logo, in an attempt to cut down on teen pregnancy and HIV transmission. One of his pet initiatives essentially created a new public transportation system built around bicycles.
rie counts on their menus. The Food and Drug Administration said last month that it was adopting its own trans-fat ban, and would phase the substance out of the food supply for good. Bloomberg launched his career as a health policymaker almost immediately on taking office in 2002. At the time, the municipal cigarette tax was 8 cents a pack. Bloomberg got it increased to $1.50, saying he wanted to make cigarettes so expensive people would be forced to quit. Subse-
``The question before us is straightforward,'' Bloomberg told City Council members at a 2002 hearing. ``Does your desire to smoke anywhere at any time trump the right of others to breathe clean air in the workplace?'' Bloomberg also put new data collection and analytical tools in place to track all the new policies. Among the results: The adult smoking rate has declined from 21.5 percent in 2002 to 15.5 percent today. Childhood obesity rates inched down among schoolchildren. Life expectancy has increased in the city by three years since Bloomberg took office, compared to 1.8 years in the rest of the country. ``We've shown that local government can take on the biggest public health problems of our time, and win,'' said the city's health commissioner, Dr. Thomas Farley. Along the way, he influenced national policy. President Barack Obama's signature health care reform law contained a provision, modeled after the one in New York, that will require chain restaurants nationwide to post calo-
quent increases in the state tax have since raised the per-pack tax to $5.85 within city limits. Then he went after smoking in public places. New York wasn't the first place to ban smoking in bars and restaurants. California had done it in 1998. But the cultural impact of New York's ban seemed to resonate further. ``The question before us is straightforward,'' Bloomberg told City Council members at a 2002 hearing. ``Does your desire to smoke anywhere at any time trump the right of others to breathe clean air in the workplace?'' As recently as last month, the mayor was still punching away, signing a new law that raised the legal purchase age for cigarettes and set a minimum price of $10.50 per pack. He pushed for, but ultimately abandoned, rules that would have prohibited merchants
from even displaying cigarettes for sale. They would have had to hide them in cabinets or under the counter. Bloomberg's first health commissioner, Dr. Thomas Frieden, who now leads the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said one of the underpinnings of the city's strategy is a belief that many public health agencies are still rooted too deeply in their historic mission of fighting infectious disease, even though chronic lifestyle diseases such as obesity and smoking are the leading causes of preventable death in the U.S. today. Attacking those illnesses, though, takes willpower to stand up to the natural resistance people have to government telling them how to eat or what to drink. ``I love that he's shoving his idea of good health down my throat,'' New York University student Brendan Sullivan, 19, said sarcastically last month after the latest smoking law passed. That disdain for outside considerations may have finally done in a Bloomberg health policy this summer, when a court blocked the administration's attempt to restrict sugary drink sizes at restaurants. The judges, in a strongly worded opinion, said city health officials had exceeded their authority and created restrictions that were arbitrary. Among other things, the portion rules applied only to restaurants, not convenience stores, meaning (much to the dismay of comedians and commentators) it didn't actually apply to 7-Eleven's 30-ounce (900 milliliter) Big Gulp. That court decision is now on appeal.-AP
Nurse Dawn Dingeldein checks farmer Jay Vomastic's blood pressure in his home in Shawano County, Wis. Dingeldein works for the Rural Health Initiative, a program based in Shawano that sends nurses to farms to provide basic preventive care, including blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar checks.
tor. If you've got a virus, it's going to wear off,'' said Jay Vomastic, another dairy farmer who lives minutes from Ainsworth in central Wisconsin's Shawano County. Most dairy farms in Shawano County are generations-old and small enough to be run by a family, perhaps with one or two workers. Farmers can easily spend eight hours or more on their feet, but increased mechanization has made them less active than previous generations. Add to that a diet traditionally heavy in milk, cheese and beef, which presents cholesterol and other risks.
The tight-knit community, where farmers are active in schools, local government and state politics, formed a focus group. Thirty-six percent of U.S. dairy farmers and their families lacked insurance in 2011, compared to 9 percent of all farmers and about 16 percent of the general population, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Dairy farmers are less likely than crop farmers to hold off-farm jobs for insurance because their animals require constant care. Eighteen percent bought their own policies in 2011.-AP
5 deaths in Texas blamed on swine flu HOUSTON: Texas health officials have issued new guidelines for treating flu patients after the spreading illness has left at least five people dead. Test results returned showed the cause of death for three men, ages 45, 50 and 53, was the H1N1 influenza virus, Tricia Bentley, a spokeswoman for the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences told the Houston Chronicle. Two of the three had significant underlying health conditions including hypertensive cardiovascular disease and obesity, Bentley said. One man died Nov. 28, another died the next day and the last man
died on Dec. 9. Two people who died this week at Good Shepherd Medical Center in Longview had the H1N1 vi-
rus, according to the Northeast Texas Public Health District. -AP
36 India Post
December 27, 2013
India Post 37
December 27, 2013
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Realty sector welcomes home loan rate cuts
elcoming the 0.25% rate cut by two of the biggest home loan financiers SBI and HDFC, realty sector participants have said the move will help revive interest in the gloomy market. "This is a positive move to boost property sales and spur industry growth. Home buyers who were earlier waiting for rates to come down will now certainly look at buying their dream homes," industry body Confederation of Real Estate Developers Association of India (Credai) Chairman Lalit Kumar Jain said. "The home loan rate cuts from certain banks have occurred after nearly a year, and will augur well for investment sentiments in the market," property consultant CBRE South Asia's Chairman and Managing Director Anshuman Magazine said.
LMW joins hands with Sobha Developers COIMBATORE: Moving from its core activities, textile machinery major Lakshmi Machine Works (LMW) has made a foray into the real estate sector, joining hands with realty major Sobha Developers. The two companies have also jointly launched a unique residential project in the city. The 4.76 acre development offers 236 units of 1, 2 and 3 BHK configurations, ranging from 800 to 1,700 sq feet, priced between Rs 45 lakh to Rs one crore, P Ramakrishnan, deputy managing director, Sobha Developers, told reporters here. He said the project targets middle income to higher strata segment. The project 'Elan' is designed in such a way that 20 per cent of its units would accommodate BHK, 50 per cent in 2 BHK and the balance in 3 BHK, the works for which would begin soon and are expected to be completed by 2016, he added. -PTI
December 27, 2013
Joy Alukkas Group forays into real estate sector KOCHI: Joyalukkas Group is diversifying into real estate sector and is setting up a 22-storeyed 156 apartment project at nearby Vazhakala with an investment of about Rs 300 crore. The project, 'Gold Tower', is a premium three, fourbedroom and supersize apartments that has been designed with inspiration drawn from the finest projects in Singapore and Middle East, Group chairman Joy Alukkas told reporters. -PTI
Office space leasing up in NCR despite slowdown NEW DELHI: Office space absorption in NCR, the largest office market in the country, is slightly higher at 4.9 million sq ft during January-September period of this year despite economic slowdown in India as well as globally, according to property consultant Knight Frank. In the first nine months of 2012, office space absorption stood at 4.8 million sq ft. "The NCR (national capital region) office market has remained rock solid amidst economic woes. The fact that office space take-up during the first nine months of 2013 has marginally exceeded that of the same period in 2012 clearly indicates strong fundamentals in the NCR office market." Gurgaon remains at the forefront of both new office space and absorption in the market, the consultant noted. "Considering the current run rate of transactions and the level of precommitments, total absorption for the current year is likely to be in the range of 6.3-6.8 million sq ft. This is commendable given the weak global and domestic eco-
nomic scenario," the report said. The consultant projected that the total absorption for the current year would marginally exceed the 2012 level. "NCR is the largest office market in the country with an opera-
office space in the year 2010 and 2011. Knight Frank pointed out that even though there has been remarkable improvement in occupiers' interest this year, absorption levels still fall short by 20 per cent
Gurgaon remains at the forefront of both new office space and absorption in the market.
tional stock of 118 million sq ft of which 93 million sq ft is occupied, resulting in a vacancy of 21 per cent," Knight Frank said. The consultant attributed the upward movement in vacancy due to an additional 20 million sq ft of
compared to 2011 when nearly 5.8 million sq ft of space was taken up. A total of 173 transactions were recorded during January- September 2013 as against 163 transactions during the same period in 2012. The weighted average rental
value stood at Rs 53/sq ft compared to Rs 56 in the year-ago period. Majority of these big transactions took place in Gurgaon, clearly showing a preference for the market. Simultaneously, there was a notable rise in the number of smaller transactions with an area less than 5,000 sq ft due to increasing non-IT transactions. Nearly 30 per cent of the absorption was contributed by the IT/ITeS sector which accounted for 1.5 million sq ft of office space during the first nine months of 2013, which is a substantial dip of 51 per cent compared with the same period in 2011. On future outlook, Knight Frank said that leasing activity is expected to witness moderate improvement as corporates align their real estate strategies towards consolidation and relocation for cost benefits. "Rental values are expected to move in narrow ranges as demand remains buoyant and supply is constrained especially in select micro-markets of Gurgaon," the consultant said. -PTI
New Orleans apartment market surges NEW ORLEANS: Demand for apartment housing continues to outpace supply throughout the city, leading local real estate analysts to declare the New Orleans area rental market remains strong moving into the final weeks of 2013. And looking ahead to 2014, new
construction isn't expected to put much of a dent in the need for additional units. The average rent in New Orleans and Jefferson and St. Tammany parishes reached about $900 a month at the end of October, up from $877 from the same time last year according to the newest Greater New Orleans Multi-Family Report. The boutique real estate business Larry G. Schedler and Associates and mortgage banking firm Madderra and Cazalot produce the report twice a year. Their research shows the occupancy rate for the apartments they track in the New Orleans market is to 94 percent through October, with some submarkets showing a 96 percent rate. ``I've been doing this for 30 years, and these past couple years have been the first time I have not
had to sell New Orleans to outside investors,'' Schedler said. ``They see a market that still has further room to strengthen.'' According to the report, the highest rental increases in the past year are in the city's Historic Cen-
where rates have gone from $931 in 2012 to $954 this year. ``There continues to be an increased acceptance of multifamily living,'' Schedler said. ``New projects that have come online in the past year, like the Hibernia
The average rent in New Orleans and Jefferson and St. Tammany parishes reached about $900 a month at the end of October, up from $877 from the same time last year according to the newest Greater New Orleans Multi-Family Report. ter, which includes the French Quarter, Warehouse District, Central Business District, Mid-City and the St. Charles Avenue corridor. Monthly rent is up $62 to $1,329 per month. Other notable increases include Metairie, where rents average $783, and Harahan,
Tower Apartments and the American Paint Works Building, opened with occupancy above 90 percent.'' Developers have also started to become more willing to move forward with projects that don't involve tax credits. Cont’d on page 39
December 27, 2013
Real Estate Post
India Post 39
Big Highway projects to move soon: Minister NEW DELHI: The highways ministry ex- on projected returns from tolls. pects projects worth over Rs 1 lakh crore, Fernandes said that this move will pave which have been stuck for long, to start way for many upcoming infrastructure moving from next month as a concrete deci- projects. sion on the rescheduling of premium paid The ministry had sent a proposal to the by developers is expected by the end of Cabinet seeking its nod for rescheduling this month. premium of about Rs 1 lakh crore involving "I am hopeful that highway projects 23 BOT (toll) projects. worth over Rs 1 lakh crore would be on Meanwhile, sources said one of the prostream next month onwards. The report of posals made by the Rangarajan panel is that C Rangarajan Committee on premium re- 75 per cent of the premium amount payable scheduling is likely to be accepted by monthend," Road Transport and Highways Minister Oscar Fernandes told PTI. The government has constituted a panel, headed by Prime Minister's Economic Advisory Council C Rangarajan, to look into the issues pertaining to bailout of highway developers. The government had approved a proposal in The highways ministry expects projects worth over Rs 1 lakh October for the postcrore, which have been stuck for long, to start moving from next ponement of premium a concrete decision on the rescheduling of premium paid payments by highway month as by developers is expected by the end of this month. developers and has referred the matter to the Rangarajan panel. to the government will be restructured in The move is likely to provide relief to a the first three years of the contract. large number of players such as GMR, GVK At present, companies pay some amount and Ashoka Buildcon. of premium to the government in the first Their projects have been facing delays year of the project which keeps increasing on account of high premium - the payment in the subsequent years. made by developers to the National HighThe minister also said that the ways Authority of India under the build, government's focus will now be on EPC (Enoperate and transfer (BOT) mode. gineering, Procurement and Construction) The premium, which is offered by com- projects, a chunk of which are likely to be panies during the bidding stage, is based awarded this financial year (2013-14). -PTI
New Orleans apartment market surges Contâ€™d from page 38
Mark Madderra, a principal partner at Madderra and Cazalot, said five construction projects currently underway in the metro area will add 777 market rate units to the fold without the benefit of tax credits. ``That number doesn't factor in other projects in the CBD and in St. Tammany Parish that have been announced but have yet to begin construction,'' Madderra said. ``Units under construction could balloon to more than 1,200 as we get into 2014.'' Two projects are under construction in the Central Business District. The first is at 144 Elk Place, where developer Mike Wampold is converting an office tower into loft apartments, retail and parking. The second, Paramount, is in the first phase of the South Market District. Two additional projects - The Garage at 849 Carondelet St. and redevelopment of an office tower at 225 Baronne St. - are expected to move forward in the next six months. Madderra said once those projects get
underway, there will be few options left in the CBD where a converting an existing building to apartments is feasible. ``Everything has already been claimed for redevelopment,'' he said. ``Some new construction is still on the horizon, but activity is going to slow.'' Outside of the CBD, the bulk of the construction activity continues to take place on the North Shore. A second phase of the Brookstone Park development in Covington will add 112 units and The Retreat at Canterbury in Slidell will add another 48 units. Two other projects in the Covington area - Reagan Crossing and Faubourg St. John, each with 244 units - also have been announced. ``This activity is a product of an increase of office and retail growth on the North Shore,'' Madderra said. ``More people are working in those areas and people want to live near where they work. It isn't affecting occupancy on the South Shore, just adding more units to the fold.'' -AP
Builders mull legal action against 'betterment charges' AHMEDABAD: Circulars recently shot off by the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) to developers asking them to pay "betterment charges" and even demanding land cuts have stirred a hornet's nest. Ambitious residential and commercial projects that were announced within the 200-metre buffer zone along the BRTS corridor-to ensure transit-oriented development - and for which FSI of up to four was proposed, have now come to a standstill. Developers are now in a dilemma and most of them have either stalled work on their projects or postponed it citing 'environmental clearance issues'. "The AMC is charging us money illegally under the guise of betterment charges. We are not ready to pay up because we know that it is unfair and it will double our project costs. We are in the process of challenging this move in the court," said a developer who has announced a project in Sola. "The new development plan was not in place when the builders announced their projects. Besides, as the DP is in draft stage, the land deduction is still not clear. Following the AMC notification, developers are expected to pay up to 20% more over the current jantri rate. This could increase land
costs which would ultimately be passed on to the consumer," said Vijay Shah, GCCI's urban committee chairman. The worst-affected areas are Ambli, Bodakdev, Sola, a few places in Ghatlodia,
Naroda, Nikol, Chandkheda and Gota, among others. NK Patel, another developer, said, "If a builder is keen to start a project in these areas, he will have to pay twice the jantri rate in the name of betterment charges, which are illegal. We expect a lot of petitions to be filed against AMC in this matter as no developer would be in a position to pay so much extra for doubtful reasons."
40 India Post
VIEWING WILDLIFE AT KAZIRANGA PARK BECAUSE OF ITS VAST OPEN SPACES, THE PRESENCE OF THE MIGHTY BRAHMAPUTRA, AND ADJOINING MIKIR HILLS MAKES A TRIP TO KAZIRANGA A COMPLETE 'JUNGLE' ADVENTURE.
aziranga National Park, situated in the northeastern state of Assam, is one of the most picturesque wildlife parks in India. The natural habitat of the one-horned rhino (Rhinoceros unicornis), Kaziranga lies on the southern banks of the Brahmaputra River, northeast of Assam's capital Guwahati. Originally established as a game reserve in 1908, which included specific portions of Assam's Sibsagar district, Kaziranga was declared a sanctuary in 1940 to counter excessive poaching. In 1974, the Indian Government declared it as a protected site. The park's original inhabitants - the rhino and the elephant being the most noticeable - now thrive in a serene environment to the sheer delight of nature lovers. Viewing wildlife at Kaziranga Park because of its vast open spaces, the presence of the mighty Brahmaputra, and adjoining Mikir hills makes a trip to Kaziranga a complete 'jungle' adventure.
December 27, 2013
Best time to visit: Weather in Kaziranga is pleasant throughout the year. There are no extremities in terms of temperature variation; the winters (November-January) are cool and summers warm (temperature does not exceed 38Â°C). Monsoon (JuneJuly) season is dominant and lasts for a long time in this area. Mild showers may be experienced throughout the year. Tourist attractions Apart from being the home of the one-horned rhino, it is also the natural habitat of wild buffaloes, wild boars, elephants, Barasinghas (swamp and hog deer), leopards, tigers, hoolock gibbons, capped langur, rock python, monitor lizards, various species of eagles, partridge, bar-headed geese, whistling teals, florican storks, herons, pelicans and water fowls. Large areas of the park comprise marshland interspersed with large pools fringed with reeds, patches of elephant grass, scattered trees, and thickets. Contâ€™d on page 42
December 27, 2013
Travel & Hospitality Post
All set for famous festivals of Rajasthan B I K A N E R / JAISALMER: Preparations are afoot for the famous festivals of Rajasthan, attended by thousands of foreign and domestic tourists, to be held in January and February next year. The annual colorful event 'camel festival' would be held in Bikaner in January while the desert festival is scheduled at
London most preferred holiday destination for Indians
BANGALORE: Majority of people in India plan to take a vacation this month and many of them desire to visit London for holidays, a study has said. An analysis of 2.50 lakh online conversations has found that international destinations received the most buzz (32 per cent) on all social media platforms and London emerged as the most talked about city for spending holidays. According to the study by IBM, about 59 per cent of people in India are "looking forward" to taking vacation this month. While destinations with beaches and palaces were on top of the list for vacations, Goa came out as the most desired place for a holiday followed by Delhi, Agra and Jaipur, on the domestic front. The study found that as much as 33 per cent of social media conversations tracked revolved around travel and hospitality such
as flying, driving and vacations with family and friends, among others. "Measuring social sentiment has the potential to enable the travel industry to design travel offers and services tailored to what travelers are telling us," IBM India & South Asia Global Business Services Partner Lata Iyer said. "Big data has the power to offer new insights to the travel industry including airlines, hotels and other travel providers that can translate customer desires into irresistible offers that they will welcome," she added. The latest analysis was part of IBM Social Sentiment index which identifies and measures positive, negative and neutral sentiments shared in public forums such as Twitter and blogs and provides a quick insight into consumer conversations about issues, products and services. -PTI
Jaisalmer in February, official sources said. Both the festivals, organized by the state tourism department, comprise interesting competitions like turban tying, tug of war, camel dance and camel decoration among others. The three-day camel festival
will start from January 15. It will begin with a colorful procession of decorated camels and head to the open ground where the festivities will take place. In Jaisalmer, desert festival is slated to be held from February 12 to 14. New shows and events may be
included this year to make the festival more interesting this year, sources said. District Collectors held meetings in respective districts to review the preparations of the events and gave necessary directions to officials for conducting the festivals. -PTI
Travel & Hospitality Post
December 27, 2013
Kaziranga National Park Natural habitat of the one-horned rhino Contâ€™d from page 40
In November 1999, the Kaziranga National Park was selected for the millennium award by the World Wildlife Fund-Tiger Conservation Program (WWFTCP) for being one of the best-
managed parks in the country. The Park earned this award for the second time in succession. The areas adjoining the park, though they sound like tough terrains, are easily accessible on the backs of elephants. Mihimukh is the starting point for the park and elephants can be hired from here to enter the sanctuary. An el-
ephant-ride during early hours of dawn awards an excellent opportunity for seeing wildlife at a close range. Elephants are managed by authorized mahouts (trainers), who guide visitors through the park. Contrary to what one may have heard, rhinos browse past visitors nonchalantly. The rhino is a peaceloving animal and, instead of bat-
ting an eyelid about peaceful tourists who have invaded its territory, it keeps itself busy grazing in the wild. Moreover, the conditions at Kaziranga are ideal for the rhino to survive. In addition to elephant rides, several watch towers have been set up for elevated viewing of the wildlife park. Pleasant boat rides at the nearby Rhinoland Park can also be availed by tourists.
towards Kaziranga National Park. How to Reach By Air: The nearest airport here is Jorhat that offers regular flights to Kolkata. By Rail: The nearest railway station is Furkating which is wellconnected to Guwahati on the broad gauge line. The trains that connect this place are Brahmaputra Express to Delhi and
Sunset is a pleasant sight as well with the birds returning to their nests. After sunset, a pleasant conversation and personal experiences can be exchanged with other fellow tourists once the day's adventures come to a close. Convention and norms are limited and the beauty of the regional flora and fauna can be enjoyed at its closest best. It is precisely for this reason that many tourists feel drawn
Kamrup Express to Howrah (Kolkata). There is also the facility of an Intercity Express train that interlinks Furkating with the towns of Dibrugarh and Guwahati on a daily basis. By Road: The nearest National Highway to this park is NH-37. Kaziranga is located at a distance of 217 km from Guwahati, of 96 km from Jorhat and 75 km from Furkating.
December 27, 2013
Travel & Hospitality Post
Shimla, Manali get first snowfall of season
SHIMLA: Tourist resorts of Shimla, Manali and Chail experienced first snowfall of the season while lower areas of Himachal Pradesh were drenched by widespread heavy rains. A white Sunday greeted Shimlaites, with the entire town and its suburbs covered under a thin blanket of snow. Residents braved biting cold wave conditions to enjoy the snow even as
high velocity icy winds swept the region. Shimla received snow in the third week of December after a gap of 21 years. It usually receives snow towards end of December or in January. The resort town received 10 cm of snow and recorded minimum temperature at 0.2 degrees Celsius. Vehicular traffic was disrupted in the morning in upper Shimla area
Zoo panda cub Bao Bao to go on view Jan. 18
WASHINGTON: The National Zoo's giant panda cub Bao Bao will make her public debut Jan. 18 after her fans have watched her grow for months on the popular panda cams online. The zoo says members of Friends of the National Zoo will have an early preview of the panda cub from Jan. 11 to Jan. 17. Bao Bao and her mother, Mei Xiang will determine how much
time they spend on public view. They will have access to the den where Bao Bao has spent most of the past few months and may choose to spend time there instead of in public viewing areas. The zoo says they will spend more time on exhibit as Bao Bao grows older. Bao Bao has recently been climbing rocks in her exhibit. -AP
and scores of vehicles were stranded between Dhalli and Narkanda. Kinnaur and Rampur-bound buses were diverted via Basantpur-Kingal highway while Manali-Leh national highway was closed beyond Manali. The high-altitude tribal areas of Lahaul and Spiti, Kinnaur, Pangi and Bharmaur and adjoining valley areas reeled under biting cold wave conditions as mercury dipped and stayed between -8 degrees Celsius and -16 degrees Celsius after intermittent snowfall. The sprawling Dhauladhar ranges, donning a mantle of snow, presented a dazzling view while Kangra valley and other lower hills received widespread heavy rains. Kangra was wettest in the region with 55 mm of rains till this afternoon while Dharamsala and Chamba recorded 45 mm and 40 mm of rains respectively, followed by Nahan 25 mm, Sundernagar 20 mm, Bilaspur and Solan 15 mm each, Bhuntar 14 mm and Hamirpur 12 mm. The rains and snow provided some relief from fog to people in towns along river banks in lower hills as minimum temperature rose marginally. Jakkoo, Kufri, Fagu and Narkanda recorded 25 to 40 cm of snow till evening. Manali received 30 cm of snow while Rohtang Pass, Kunzam Pass, Dhauladhar and Churdhar ranges and other higher reaches experienced intermittent heavy snowfall. Chail, Kufri and Narkanda tourist resorts received intermittent snowfall while areas surrounding Shimla and Manali also experienced first snowfall.-PTI
Goa launches cruise boat service PANAJI: West Indian state Goa, one of the most sought after holiday destinations in the country, now has luxury cruise boats for tourists. For the first time, motorized cruise boats have been introduced in River Mandovi, a major river in the coastal state, for commercial use. "Though private players have their own cruise boats for several years, we have introduced the same service for general tourists comprising middle class families," Bhargav Desai, managing director
of state-based Desai Voyages, said. "The concept is to show other side of Goa which is not beaches," Desai said. Tourists can now charter a boat and spend time cruising the river line which has on its bank several villages, Old Goa heritage monuments and islands. The company has launched open deck and open lounge boats which are ideal for a group, while main attraction is luxury boats which are ideal for honeymoon couples, he added. -PTI
At Iowa prison, grim history may lure visitors FORT MADISON, Iowa: The Iowa State Penitentiary stands like an ancient stone fortress on a bluff over the Mississippi River, ringed by castle-like guard towers and sheathed in chain link and razor wire. Built in 1839, seven years before Iowa became a state, the buff-colored compound is the oldest operating prison west of the Mississippi, and as unwelcoming
ghost hunters and the plain curious will show up to replace them. Around the country, state prisons built in the 19th and 20th centuries are closing due to rising maintenance costs, security concerns and general obsolescence. But cities eager to fill the economic gap believe they can capitalize on something that most tourist sites lack: a morbid past.
a place as you can imagine. But soon, a place people have long wanted to avoid may try to become the opposite: an attraction for visitors. After Iowa's most dangerous criminals leave next spring, some local officials hope that history buffs,
``Forts historically were built to keep people out. Now we want to swing the tide on that and let people in to see what's gone on for so many years behind these walls,'' said Iowa State Penitentiary Warden Nick Ludwick.-AP
In Brief Cuban woman granted visa for stem cell donation MIAMI: Immigration officials have approved a visa for a Cuban woman coming to the U.S. to donate stem cells to her sister with leukemia. According to Rep. Ileana RosLehtinen's office, Alina Ortega's non-immigrant visa request was initially denied by U.S. Interests Section workers in Havana. A relative approached RosLehtinen, who was able to intervene and ask that officials reconsider the request. A spokesman for the congresswoman says Alina Ortega is now scheduled to fly to Miami for the procedure, which could save her sister's life. -AP
Man charged in NJ with green card fraud
CAMDEN, N.J.: Federal authorities in New Jersey say they've broken up an alleged fraud ring selling fake government documents. The U.S. attorney's office announced that Domingo Luna was arrested on Dec. 12 by Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The 33-year-old Camden resident has been charged with one count of making fake identification documents and a count of producing counterfeit green cards. Authorities say Luna is a Mexican national in the U.S. illegally. He remains in immigration custody. His attorney at the federal public defender's office cited the agency's policy of not commenting on active cases. -AP
Mass. group urges support for immigrant services
BOSTON: The head of the largest immigrant advocacy group in New England is asking supporters to make a donation this holiday season to support efforts to make life easier for nearly a million foreign-born people living in Massachusetts. Eva Millona of the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition says funding will help advance state legislation that would allow all eligible Massachusetts residents to get a driver's license regardless of their federal immigration status. Donations will also bolster a push to allow all high school graduates pay in-state tuition rates. She says donations will also help protect essential services, including culturally appropriate counseling for victims of domestic violence. -AP
Judge: US government assisting child smuggling
44 India Post
December 27, 2013
Details on page 46
California Latinos are better educated, have higher incomes MADERA, California: Hilario Santiago Vasquez came to California during a surge of 1980s immigration to follow the crops from the Central Valley to Oregon to Florida. Along the way, he picked grapes, blueberries and oranges. ``I slept under the bridge, covering myself with a newspaper, because there was no housing to rent for farmworkers,'' he said. Santiago Vasquez, one of millions who helped Hispanics become California's largest racial or ethnic group, no longer chases harvests. Like many other Mexican farmworkers, he found permanent work. He now lives in Madera, a town north of Fresno where 80 percent of the 61,000 residents are Latino and the downtown is packed with Mexican restaurants and stores that sell cowboy boots and tortillas. His story illustrates a reality for California Hispanics: With the immigrant boom ending long ago, they are older and more settled than elsewhere. As a result, they have relatively high rates of home ownership, rising incomes and are better educated. ``We're running 15 to 20 years ahead of the nation,'' said Dowell
Myers, a demography and urban planning professor at the University of Southern California. ``California has a large population of second-generation children who
1982, at the same time Central Americans abandoned their homes as civil wars spread. He came to California in 1985 to work in the fields, following other mi-
are now coming of age. The rest of the country doesn't have that.'' As California joins New Mexico next year as the only other state where Latinos make up the largest racial or ethnic group, other regions of the country are seeing stronger growth. New Latino arrivals are reshaping the Midwest and South, just as they did California a generation ago. Santiago Vasquez, 47, fled after Mexico's economy collapsed in
grants who were pushed north by poverty from villages in the Mexican state of Oaxaca. They poured into Los Angeles' Koreatown, San Francisco's Mission District and other urban enclaves, joining Hispanics who came to California in previous generations - some tracing their roots back to when the state was part of Mexico. The new arrivals told friends and family back home that jobs were waiting.
Rosa Lopez, 45, was one of them. She knew she wasn't cut out for hard labor on her family's Oaxacan ranch when she followed her cousin to San Diego 25 years ago. ``Once I arrived here, I never thought about going back,'' said Lopez, who eventually got a green card granting permanent resident status through her husband and later became an American citizen. As defense jobs dwindled in the aftermath of the Cold War, however, and the 1990s recession hit harder than in other states, new arrivals from Mexico and Central American increasingly shunned California for states where job prospects were better and housing was cheaper. The number of people living in the country illegally tripled in Iowa from 2000 to 2010, nearly doubled in Ohio and surged 55 percent in North Carolina, according to the Pew Hispanic Center. ``Once there's an immigrant beachhead, other people move in ... In the South, first people broke the ice and others followed,'' said Manuel Pastor, director of USC's Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration. Cont'd on Page 46
NJ governor signs immigrant tuition bill TRENTON, N.J.: Students at New Jersey public colleges who are in the United States illegally will get an immediate tuition break after Gov. Chris Christie signed a bill allowing them to pay in-state tuition rates. The bill, which had become a political complication for the Republican governor and possible presidential candidate in 2016, was the result of a deal. As part of the pact, lawmakers agreed to drop a provision that would have also made the students eligible for state financial aid if they qualified under income guidelines. Christie had resisted going that far, saying it would be costly for the state and also make New Jersey a magnet for students in the country illegally but living
in other states. The Democrat-controlled Legislature acquiesced to Christie's position and passed a new version of the bill.
the new tuition rates put in effect for the semester that begins next month at most state colleges and universities. Until now, foreign-born stu-
Gov. Chris Christie
By agreeing when they did, lawmakers gave up something they wanted but managed to get
dents who are not citizens have paid the more expensive out-ofstate tuition rate.
The difference is significant. At Rutgers, the state's flagship public university, the in-state tuition is $10,700 annually - $14,000 less than the out-of-state cost. Fulltime students also pay nearly $3,000 in fees, and room and board are extra. At least a dozen states have similar laws, including Texas and California, the two states with larger foreign-born populations than New Jersey. Christie came out in support of the bill, often called the Dream Act, during his re-election campaign after previously objecting because of its cost, but not the principle of equality for students. The governor won re-election by 22 points and got the support of half the state's Hispanic voters. -AP
December 27, 2013
India Post 45
Immigration benefits for same sex partners in India CYRUS D. MEHTA & RAMYA MAHESH
he question of immigration benefits to same sex couples is still a far cry in India. India not only disallows same sex marriages, it also currently criminalizes relationships between same sex partners, terming them as unnatural. Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code ("IPC"), an archaic law, was introduced in 1861 during the British rule in India, which criminalized "carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal" with a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. The struggle to strike down Section 377 of the IPC as unconstitutional has been a long one, spearheaded by several activists from Non-Governmental Organizations ("NGOs") fighting for the rights of the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender (LGBT) community. On July 2, 2009, a historic judgment decriminalizing homosexuality was passed by the Delhi High Court in favor of Naz Foundation,
file a review petition challenging the decision of the Supreme Court soon. As Indian law does not recognize same sex marriages there are no provisions in Indian law according immigration benefits to same sex partners. It is therefore not possible to qualify for an entry visa to accompany one's partner who may be entering India on a long term employment visa. At the most, the partner can come to India on tourist visa (for a maximum period of 180 days). However, there have been isolated incidents and trends worth reporting. In November 2013, a senior IFS officer was demoted from her post in the Ministry of External Affairs ("MEA") passport and visa division for refusing a visa to the same sex spouse of an American diplomat. She refused the visa on the ground that same sex marriages are not legal in India and the diplomat's spouse could not therefore be granted a diplo-
In light of India's opposition to the arrest of its Deputy Consul General in New York, one politician from the Bhartiya Janata Party has shrilly suggested that the same sex partners of American diplomats be prosecuted under Section 377 as a retaliatory measure. an NGO working in the fields of HIV/AIDS intervention and prevention and for the rights of the LGBT community. An appeal was filed challenging this decision in the Supreme Court of India. On December 11, 2013, the Supreme Court reversed the decision of the Delhi High Court, thereby criminalizing homosexual intercourse between consenting adults. The apex court shifted the onus onto parliament to decide whether to repeal the provision, arguing that the courts could not make such decisions under the existing laws. The apex court further observed that there was "no constitutional infirmity" in the 377 law. This judgment has sparked widespread condemnation throughout India and internationally, and has been criticized as regressive. Naz Foundation plans to
matic visa and recognized as a "spouse" in India. A senior official in the MEA's American division suggested that although there is no rule in India to give visa to a gay couple, the diplomat's partner could be given visa as a family member as it had been done in the past. In light of India's opposition to the arrest of its Deputy Consul General in New York, one politician from the Bhartiya Janata Party has shrilly suggested that the same sex partners of American diplomats be prosecuted under Section 377 as a retaliatory measure. It is hoped that this inappropriate statement be viewed as an isolated one and not consistent with mainstream opinion. As for domestic and unmarried partners, Indian law did not, till recently recognize the relationships between domestic, live-in partners. On June 17, 2013, the
Madras High Court held that for a valid marriage, all customary rights need not be followed and subsequently solemnized. As long as the couple is not disqualified by law from marrying each other, and a third party's rights are not affected, the couple can be declared to be spouses by the court. This declaration would be on the basis of whether they have had a sexual relationship. The Court held that if a woman aged 18 and above, and a man aged 21 and above, have a sexual relationship, they will be treated as husband and wife, especially if the woman becomes pregnant. Even if the woman does not become pregnant, if there is "strong documentary evidence to show existence of such relationship," they will still be termed "husband" and "wife." However, this ruling is only applicable to the state of Tamil Nadu and cannot be enforced elsewhere in India. In a recent judgment of November 26, 2013, the Supreme Court of India had dealt with the issue of live-in relationships but it was within the purview of the Domestic Violence Act 2005 (the "DV Act, 2005"). The Supreme Court has held that a "live-in relationship" would not amount to a "relationship in the nature of marriage" falling within the definition of "domestic relationship" under Section 2(f) of the DV Act, 2005 if the lady in such a relationship knew that the male partner was already married. All live-in relationships are not relationships in the nature of marriage, but they can still come within the ambit of the DV Act, 2005. The judgment was delivered by a Division Bench of Justices KS Radhakrishnan and Pinaki Chandra Ghose in an appeal filed by one Indra Sarma (Appellant) against the decision of the Karnataka High Court. This ruling will only apply to domestic partners of opposite sexes and will not be applicable to same sex partners in view of the recent decision of the Supreme Court in the Suresh Kumar Koushal case It has to be kept in mind that as these issues are very recent and path-breaking as far as Indian laws are concerned, there has been no
recognition, thus far, in Indian law, of same sex partners or domestic / unmarried partners with respect to Indian immigration. It is quite obvious that if India does not change
penal provision in 377, is not in keeping with the principles and traditions of the world's largest democracy country that has otherwise accommodated diverse people
Even if the woman does not become pregnant, if there is "strong documentary evidence to show existence of such relationship," they will still be termed "husband" and "wife." However, this ruling is only applicable to the state of Tamil Nadu its outlook to according benefits to same sex spouses or partners, it will be disadvantageous to the country as fewer people may wish to travel to India for tourism and business. More important, failure to recognize same-sex relationships, especially in light of a regressive
and beliefs through its history. Guest writer Ramya Mahesh is an Associate at Little & Co., one of the oldest and most highly reputed law firms in Mumbai, India * Cyrus D Mehta, may be contacted at 212-425-0555 or firstname.lastname@example.org
PRADEEP ROY-SINGH B.A. LL.B. M.B.A. J.D. Attorney-at-Law
Former Assistant StateÂ’s Attorney
Civil & Criminal Litigation Felonies, Misdemeanors, Inc DUI 1 Personal Injury, Business, Divorce etc. 1 Property Tax for Commercial Properties 1 1
2335 W. Devon Ave., Suite 204, Tel: 773-381-1820 Chicago, IL 60659
46 India Post
December 27, 2013
Judge: US government assisting child smuggling McALLEN, Texas: A federal judge in Texas said in a recent order that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is assisting in criminal conspiracies to smuggle children into the country when it helps reunite them with parents who are known to be in the U.S. illegally. U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen made the comments in a 10page order, at the conclusion of an immigrant smuggling case. Hanen expressed his frustration in having four cases in which a child who arrived in the U.S. illegally alone was reunited with a parent
El Salvador. The girl was then reunited with her mother who was living illegally in Virginia. ``Instead of arresting (the child's mother) for instigating the conspiracy to violate our border security laws, the DHS delivered the child to her - thus successfully completing the mission of the criminal conspiracy,'' Hanen wrote. Hanen's office said he would not be commenting on the order. Department of Homeland Security spokeswoman Marsha Catron said in a prepared statement that the agency follows the laws when dealing with unaccompanied mi-
Most of the children come from Central America. Nonprofit agencies that help provide the children legal representation say widespread violence perpetrated by gangs and drug cartels in their home countries are prompting more children to strike out on the dangerous journey north. who was herself in the country illegally pass through his court in the past month. In the most recent case, Hanen sentenced a smuggler to 10 months in prison. But he saved his most withering words for the U.S. government for not arresting and deporting the mother who hired the smuggler. The order doesn't have the power to change policy, but it offers harsh criticism from a judge who regularly handles border issues but isn't known for being outspoken on immigration. The case involved a woman who was arrested at an international bridge trying to use her daughter's birth certificate to smuggle in a 10-year-old girl from
nors. ``DHS screens unaccompanied alien children for human trafficking, notifies the proper authorities, and then transfers children into the custody of Health and Human Services,'' she said. The U.S. government for years has made it a priority to reunite unaccompanied children with parents regardless of their immigration status while awaiting their cases in immigration courts. Hanen's order did not mention that the children remain in deportation proceedings after they are reunited with their parents. Sending them to family members in the U.S. gets them out of government-funded shelters, which have been overwhelmed.
In recent years, the number of children apprehended by U.S. authorities without their parents has skyrocketed. Between 2008 and 2011, the number of unaccompanied minors who landed in the custody of the Office of Refugee Resettlement, a division of the Department of Health and Human Services, fluctuated between 6,000 and 7,500 per year. That number shot up to 13,625 in 2012 and surged even more - to 24,668 - this year. Those figures do not include thousands of Mexican children who are routinely returned to that country through coordination with its consulates at the border. The issue received national attention last year, when about 100 children were temporarily housed in a barracks at a U.S. Air Force base in San Antonio because sufficient beds weren't available in the shelter network. Most of the children come from Central America. Nonprofit agencies that help provide the children legal representation say widespread violence perpetrated by gangs and drug cartels in their home countries are prompting more children to strike out on the dangerous journey north. ``It's not necessarily just because a family member is here and a family member is facilitating their travel to reunify,'' said Wendy Young, president of Kids in Need of Defense, a nonprofit organization that coordinates pro bono legal representation for unaccompanied children in the immigration system. ``It's typically because the child is really compelled to leave the country because of conditions in the home country.'' -AP
4 immigrants in Italy sew mouths shut in protest ROME: Four North Africans held in a migrant centre on the outskirts of Rome have sewn their lips together in protest at their lengthy detention, Italian news agency ANSA reported. The men, aged between 20 and 30, used a thread from a blanket and a small needle to sew their mouths shut at the Ponte Galeria facility. They are receiving medical care, ANSA said. The heavily guarded Ponte Galeria immigrant detention centre, located near Rome's Fiumicino airport to facilitate deportations, houses around a
hundred illegal migrants.
More than 33,000 migrants had landed in Italy as of late October - nearly three times more than the number for 2012. Most come from impoverished African countries but now also from Syria.
"Their revolt requires us to reopen the national debate on these inhumane centers and on a legislation that takes in those fleeing war, violence and poverty," said Rome mayor Ignazio Marino. How to deal with the growing number of immigrants is a controversial issue in Italy. More than 33,000 migrants had landed in Italy as of late October - nearly three times more than the number for 2012. Most come from impoverished African countries but now also from Syria. -AFP
California Latinos are better educated, have higher incomes In California, the previous generation of Hispanic immigrants transformed communities, such as Madera. Latino farmworkers settled near downtown, as whites moved to suburban subdivisions. Santiago Vasquez brought his wife and three daughters from Mexico in 2002, and rented an apartment in the downtown area. He ended his annual tradition of picking blueberries in Oregon a few summers later and found a year-round job with a company that grows almonds and pistachios. A lack of temporary housing in other states discouraged farmworkers like Santiago from chasing the harvests, said Philip Martin, professor of agricultural and resource economics at the University of California, Davis. Some farmworkers settled in states such as Oregon and Washington, meaning fewer migrants were needed. Santiago Vasquez earns about $11,000 a year, a reminder that Latinos lag other groups on the income ladder. Latinos had a me-
California State University, Northridge and now practices entertainment law in Los Angeles. It is a far cry from her childhood in a rough neighborhood of Los Angeles' Panorama City area, where her family rented a two-bedroom apartment. Her father came to California from Mexico when he was 18 and her mother came from Guatemala when she was 15, and both stayed illegally. He worked as a Thai restaurant busboy and wait staff supervisor at the Los Angeles Country Club. She cleaned houses. ``I feel like I did what I was supposed to do,'' said Garcia, whose parents had only an elementary school education. ``You're supposed to go to school and get educated.'' Omar Martinez, the son of Mexican immigrants who grew up bilingual and bicultural in suburban Los Angeles, is an American success story. As a teenager, he listened more to Milli Vanilli than the Mexican music of his parents but came to appreciate his family's culture as he grew older. Martinez still has family in Zacatecas state, and heads the
dian household income of $44,401 in 2011 - well below the statewide median of $58,328. Many work in low-skilled jobs. Lopez makes about $32,000 a year cleaning offices seven days a week in San Diego. Despite her financial struggles, she recently bought a three-bedroom condominium. Sixty percent of California Latinos who have been in the U.S. at least 30 years are homeowners, six points above the state average, according to USC's Myers. ``I wasn't thinking of buying, but then I can't be throwing my money into the trash,'' Lopez said. Lopez didn't finish high school in Mexico. Her children attend San Diego State University and community college. California's high school dropout rate among Hispanics is 16.2 percent in 2012 compared to 13.2 percent overall but the education gap is closing. Marjorie Garcia, 36, worked three jobs to put herself through
Federation for Zacatecans in Southern California - a group that raises money for public works projects in the Mexican state. The organization was started by migrants to California years ago, and Martinez is the first American-born president of the group. Now 42, he employs 50 people at Miravalle Foods in El Monte, which posted more than $7 million in revenues last year selling tamarind, curry, chiles and other Mexican cooking staples to supermarkets in California, Colorado and Utah. He is also raising four children to speak English and Spanish - and two of them are also learning Chinese. ``The other day they congratulated (my daughter) because she knows the numbers 1 to 100 in Chinese,'' he said in his office overlooking a pungent warehouse as workers slapped stickers on boxes. ``We think that's going to be the future, right?'' -AP
Cont'd from Page 12
India Post 47
December 27, 2013
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December 27, 2013
Tue, Dec 31 • Nirvana NYE 2014 Bollywood Extravaganza !
• J K Yog Satsang and Bal Mukund Hindi Classes are held every 2nd and 4rth Sunday of Month
Tue, Dec 31 • M4U Events - New Years Eve 2014
Tue, Dec 31 • Mint Presents “New Years Eve 2014”
Tue, Dec 31 • Nirvana NYE
2014 Bollywood Extravaganza !
Venue: Clarion Inn, 999 U.S. 1, North Brunswick, NJ 08902 Time: 7:00 pm Contact: 732-246-3737
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Venue: Vermilion, 480 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10035 Time: 8:00 pm Contact: 201-696-7222
Tue, Dec 31 • Desi Dhamaal 4 - New Year
Tue, Dec 31 • New Years Eve Bollywood
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Chicago Satsang Information: J K Yog, Chicago - Swami Mukundananda
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Tue, Dec 31 • Pujari Atlanta New Year Eve Venue: Ashiana banquet hall, 5675 Jimmy Carter Blvd, Norcross, GA 30071 Time: 8:00 pm
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Mondays and Fridays • Free ESL - English as Second Language Classes Where: Metropolitan Asian Family Services Venue: 9015 N Milwaukee Ave, Niles, IL, Time: 10:30am to 12:30pm Contact: 773-465-3105
49 India Post
his has been a year of blockbusters. There were many successful films pulling the viewer back from his sofa before TV. There were classics and experimental films like The Lunchbox, Shahid, Ship of Thesus, Madras CafĂŠ, Kai Po Che and Dday but the 10 top grossers which won the day in 2013 are as follows: Dhoom 3: Released late in December, Dhoom 3 has set new
weekend records in every International market as well as on the home turf, where it's on course to be the biggest hit. It recorded the highest opening collections for this year beating Shahrukh Khan's Chennai Express which held the record of Rs 100.35 crores. Dhoom 3 stood at a total of Rs 107 crores at the domestic box office. The movie has created a buzz
December 27, 2013
with its breath taking action sequences, stunts and the gorgeous Katrina Kaif. For the first time, Aamir Khan is seen in a negative role. Abhishek Bachchan and Uday Chopra reprise their roles as Jai Dixit and Ali Akbar.
'Dhoom 3' is also believed to be one of the most expensive films of all time with most expensive song in it called 'Malang'. Krrish 3: Superhero sci-fi film starring Hrithik Roshan has been one of the year's biggest hits. The
superhero flick produced on a budget of Rs 1.15 billion was the third film in the Krrish series after 'Koi... Mil Gaya' (2003) and 'Krrish' (2006). Apart from Hrithik Roshan, the film also had Vivek Oberoi, Priyanka Chopra, and Kangna Ranaut in the lead roles. Cont'd on Page 51
Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani
Bhaag Milkha Bhaag
50 India Post
December 27, 2013 www.indiapost.com
I still believe in love: Sussanne
umbai glitterati descend on a tony Bandra en clave to witness a newly single Sussanne Roshan's first public outing since her split from Hrithik Roshan. The occasion was the launch of her new store, a collaboration with two other
Bollywood wives Maheep Kapoor and Seema Khan. The interior designer looked waiflike in a red dress, but far from downcast as she posed with her business partners, who arrived at the venue much before her. She took for a tour of the store, which is spread over six floors and
topped with an open air bar. "This is the first time I'm having a proper look, it feels like giving birth to another child," Sussanne said. She insisted on using the stairs as she mingled with the guests while going over the details, including the music, which she insisted be changed. Clearly she is focused on work, post the split. "Every family goes through ups and downs. It's part of life. But I'm glad to have my girls around. I'm going to focus on the store for now. I still believe in love and the good in the world. I have a feeling that happy things are in store for me in the future. With time, one has to move on in life," said Sussanne. And the kids? "They are dying to see the store. I couldn't get them today. But they'll be here tomorrow morning," she said. Shilpa Shetty and Lara Dutta were the first guests to arrive. Salman Khan's arrival caused a pandemonium as he walked in with Sohail Khan and his two nephews to support his sister-in-law Seema. Arbaaz Khan and wife Mallaika too represented the Khan khandaan. Shah Rukh Khan's entry seemed timed to avoid the other Khan as he arrived with wife Gauri, a close friend of Sussanne. Arjun Rampal and Mehr Jessia were there too and so were Karan Johar, Sridevi, Ritesh Deshmukh and Genelia D'Souza.
Filmfare awards to be held on January 24
he 59th Filmfare awards are being held on January 2014. With a spectacular range of films this year, the organizers promise a completely different experience. "It has been another astounding year for Bollywood. More than 130 films produced - films that have been huge commercial successes and have won critical acclaim. For the first time seven films have crossed the Rs.100 crore mark," said Tarun Rai, CEO, Worldwide Media, the publishers of
Filmfare magazine. Rai added that the remarkable ensemble of movies has made it tough for the jury to select the best in every category in this centenary year of Indian cinema. "It will be a tough task for the Filmfare readers and jury to select the winners as we have both popular and critics' awards. And, of course, you can look forward to a spectacular Awards night. It will be noth-
ing like what we have done before or people have seen so far," he said.
Sunny Leone beats Sachin Tendulkar
ore people searched online for Bollywood newcomer Sunny Leone than actors like Salman Khan and Katrina Kaif and cricket maestro Sachin Tendulkar, making the adult star the most searched
personality this year, according to Google India's annual Zeitgeist. Shah Rukh Khan was fifth in the list, followed by singer Honey Singh, Telugu and Tamil film ac-
Sachin Tendulkar Tarun Rai
Actor-Filmmaker Farhan Akhtar was present at the official announcement of the event and even lit the lamp for it. The awards will be held at the Yash Raj Studios in Mumbai, with Bollywood's glitterati in attendance.
Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), John Walker and Jiah Khan also made it in the top 10 list. BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi emerged the leader in the most searched news
tress Kajal Agarwal, Kareena Kapoor, Sachin Tendulkar and Poonam Pandey. Bollywood hits and the Indian Premier League topped the trending charts, with Shah Rukh Khan starrer-Chennai Express topping the Zeitgeist chart this year. Following in the list was Indian Premier League 2013, Bollywood film Aashiqui 2, while the Unique
category, followed by Blackberry phones, Rahul Dravid, Saina Nehwal and Vijay Mallya. According to the Zeitgeist, there was an increase in searches for e-commerce sites with Flipkart and Olx.com topping the chart for most searched online shopping sites. "From a search trends perspective, 2013 was clearly the year of entertainment. Online shopping, banking and e-commerce also continued their upward trend - a clear testimony to Indians embracing online transactions," Rajan Anandan, VP and Managing Director (Sales and Operations) at Google India, said. Searches on mobile phones were driven by people looking for restaurants, bars and movies, followed by coffee and cricket score. Exotic travel destinations like Macau, Maldives and Mauritius also saw more searches than places like Boston, Dubai, Amsterdam and Singapore.
December 27, 2013
India Post 51 www.indiapost.com
Top 10 films of 2013 Cont'd from Page 49
Rakesh Roshan's 'Krrish 3' received mixed reviews from critics but praises for Kangana Ranaut's performances, the VFX and cinematography. The film did a stupendous business both in India and oversees and was declared a blockbuster. Despite being re-
Koechlin in supporting roles. Dancing queen Madhuri Dixit appeared in an item number titled 'Ghagra' in this film. The film received positive reviews and was a huge box office success. It went on to become the fourth highest grossing Bollywood film of all time in India and worldwide. The film is also the seventh highest grossing
leased during the Diwali weekend, the movie did great business and had more than 80 per cent occupancy in multiplexes and almost 90-100 per cent in single screens Chennai Express: Shah Rukh Khan and Deepika Padukone's blockbuster of the year 'Chennai Express' broke several records in India and abroad in 2013. This typical Bollywood 'masala' film, which was directed by Rohit Shetty, received mixed reviews. Despite this, it became the fastest film to enter the 100 crore club in just 4 days. It surpassed 'Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani.' The film broke the record held by '3 Idiots' (2009) in the domestic market and was declared a Blockbuster in India. It is also the third highestgrossing Bollywood film in overseas market. Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani: Romantic comedy and the new age film, 'Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani' starring ex lovers Ranbir Kapoor and Deepika Padukone in lead roles was the second highest grosser of the year. Directed by Ayan Mukherjee and produced by Karan Johar, the film also had Aditya Roy Kapur and Kalki
Bollywood films in overseas markets. Bhaag Milkha Bhaag: Farhan Akhtar impressed all as Milkha Singh in Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra's 'Bhaag Milkha Bhaag', a biopic on the life of Olympic medalist Milkha Singh. The film got
for one rupee but inserted a clause stating that a share of the profits would be given to the Milkha Singh Charitable Trust. The film opened exceptionally well at multiplexes across India, especially in Punjab and Delhi and earned approximately Rs 8.50 crores on its first day. Ram-Leela: Sanjay Leela Bhansali was back in business with 'Goliyon Ki RaasleelaRamLeela' this year. This romantic drama, an adaptation of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, featured Ranveer Singh and Deepika Padukone in lead roles. The film, which received good reviews, had a strong first day collection of over Rs 16 crore despite limited release due to controversy. It went on to earn Rs 53 crore in its opening weekend. It was declared a hit by Box Office India. Overseas, 'Ram-Leela' opened up better than 'Krrish 3' and 'Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani'. 'RamLeela' collected about Rs 107 crore in its lifetime. Grand Masti: Sequel to 'Masti', 'Grand Masti', featuring Vivek Oberoi, Aftab Shivdasani and Riteish Deshmukh received negative reviews from critics. But to everyone's surprise it opened well
mixed reviews from critics and performed very well at the box office. 'Bhaag Milkha Bhaag' is currently the third highest grossing Bollywood film of 2013 in India. Milkha Singh sold the movie rights
at the box office. And the movie went on to become the highest grossing Bollywood film with an A (Adults Only) certificate in India, and then entering Bollywood's elite 100 crore club. It had a very
good first day, grossing around Rs 12 crore and was the highest opening day of 2013 after 'Chennai Express', 'Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani' and 'Race 2'. Aashiqui 2: Romantic musical drama 'Aashiqui 2' starring Aditya Roy Kapur and Shraddha Kapoor came as a surprise hit on the box office. Sequel to the 1990 hit 'Aashiqui' was directed by Mohit Suri. The film received a positive to mixed critical response and became a major commercial success at the box-office despite featuring newcomers. It earned Rs100 crore worldwide within the first four weeks. The soundtrack of the film became very popular after its release. Special 26, featuring Akshay Kumar, a thriller directed by Neeraj Pandey, was critically acclaimed by all reviewers. The film opened to 30 per cent occupancy but steadily kept increasing with
each day. The film earned a total of Rs 103 crore worldwide. Raanjhanaa, which marked the Bollywood debut of Tamil superstar Dhanush, was appreciated mostly for its script and the performances. The film also starring Sonam Kapoor was widely liked for its music and Dhanush's performance as a fierce lover. Within a week of its release, the film col-
lected about Rs 35 crore domestic nett. 'Raanjhanaa' was declared a hit.
December 27, 2013
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India Post 53
esus went unto the mount of Olives. And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came unto him; and he sat down, and taught them. And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst. They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou? This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not. So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground. And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man con-
other Meera, who chooses to live in Germany, declares that mankind is about to experience a great acceleration in consciousness. Says she: "The consciousness of mankind is being prepared for great leaps and discoveries in a gentle way wherever possible. ... God is giving man a great chance. Many divine persons are here. We are showing man a way out; we are offering him the divine Light, the divine Knowledge. Now man must choose. Man is free; God will not force his children to do anything. He wants their free love. Mercy and love are always there." Q: Are there other incarnations of the Divine Mother on Earth at this time? Mother Meera: Yes, many. Some will be known, others wish to remain secret. The work of each is different. Each expresses a different aspect of the Divine Mother. My scope is very broad and more integral. I help people at all stages of life. Great changes take time. They have to be worked for, aspired [to]. Man has to do great labor; God will not do everything. When people become conscious of the presence of the Light, the
Page Sponsored by Sahanis demned thee? She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more. Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. The Pharisees therefore said unto him, Thou bearest record of thyself; thy record is not true.
the testimony of two men is true. I am one that bear witness of myself, and the Father that sent me beareth witness of me. Then said they unto him, Where is thy Father? Jesus answered, Ye neither know me, nor my Father: if ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also. These words spake Jesus in the treasury, as he taught in the temple: and no man laid hands on him; for
I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins. Then said they unto him, Who art thou? And Jesus saith unto them, Even the same that I said unto you from the beginning. I have many things to say and to judge of you: but he that sent me is true; and I speak to the world those things which I have heard of him.
'He that followeth me shall not walk in darkness'
Though I bear record of myself, yet my record is true: for I know whence I came, and whither I go; but ye cannot tell whence I come, and whither I go. Ye judge after the flesh; I judge no man.
Jesus answered and said unto them, Though I bear record of myself, yet my record is true: for I know whence I came, and whither I go; but ye cannot tell whence I come, and whither I go. Ye judge after the flesh; I judge no man. And yet if I judge, my judgment is true: for I am not alone, but I and the Father that sent me. It is also written in your law, that
his hour was not yet come. Then said Jesus again unto them, I go my way, and ye shall seek me, and shall die in your sins: whither I go, ye cannot come. Then said the Jews, Will he kill himself? because he saith, Whither I go, ye cannot come. And he said unto them, Ye are from beneath; I am from above: ye are of this world; I am not of this world.
They understood not that he spake to them of the Father. Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things. From John 8: 1-28 King James Version (KJV). Christmas is being celebrated on December 25
transformation can go faster. It is working anyway, but few people are conscious. More will be conscious soon. In the meantime, enjoy the Light. It is here; let it change you.
knots in it here and there, which divine personalities help to undo. It is very delicate work and great care has to be taken to undo the knots, as there is danger for your life if the thread is broken. When I hold your head I am untying these knots. I am also removing other obstacles to your sadhana, practice. Question: When we have done
opening every part of yourself to Light. When you are open you will feel and see this clearly. Question: What do you see when you look into people's eyes during darshan? MM: I see the difficulties in their lives and the obstacles to their sadhana. Question: How does the work that you do during pranam differ from that during darshan?
Darshan Question: When we have your darshan we do pranam (bow down) in front of you and you take our heads between your
Man's consciousness being prepared for great leaps When people become conscious of the presence of the Light, the transformation can go faster. It is working anyway, but few people are conscious. More will be conscious soon. In the meantime, enjoy the Light. It is here hands, what are you doing? MM: On the back of the human being is a white line that runs from the toes to the head. In fact, two lines start from the toes, rise along the legs, join at the base of the spine and then become a single line reaching to the top of the head. This line is thinner than a hair, and has some
pranam, we look into your eyes in silence (darshan). What are you doing? MM: I am looking into every corner of your being. I am looking at everything within you to see where I can help, where I can give healing and power. At the same time, I am giving Light to every part of your being. I am
MM: The work of each is different. During pranam, the work is on the deep aspect of the being, the soul, while darshan helps the personality and the life situation. Courtesy Mother Meera Foundation. The 53rd birth anniversary of Mother Meera is being celebrated on December 26
To enjoy good health, to bring true happiness to one's family, to bring peace to all, one must first discipline and control one's own mind. - Buddha And as long as you're subject to birth and death, you'll never attain enlightenment. - Bodhidharma There is no fundamental difference between the preparation for death and the practice of dying, and spiritual practice leading to enlightenment. - Stanislav Grof Knowing others is wisdom, knowing yourself is Enlightenment. - Lao Tzu I would say any behavior that is not the status quo is interpreted as insanity, when, in fact, it might actually be enlightenment. Insanity is sorta in the eye of the beholder. - Chuck Palahniuk The real meaning of enlightenment is to gaze with undimmed eyes on all darkness. - Nikos Kazantzakis Enlightenment must come little by little otherwise it would overwhelm. - Idries Shah
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Should India provide military aid to Afghanistan? D SUBA CHANDRAN
fter the recent visit of President Karzai to New Delhi, there have been a series of editorials and commentaries on the nature of the Indo-Afghan strategic partnership; Indian military aid to Afghanistan in particular. Should India consider this option and pursue it? Is it not in the interest of Afghanistan's future? Will it not help stabilize the bilateral strategic partnership? First and foremost, the request has come from Afghanistan. India has always taken pride in letting the rest of the world know that its support to Kabul is not in terms of what New Delhi wants, but rather what Afghanistan and its people need. If the primary objective of India's aid to Afghanistan is based on what Kabul wants and the
presence or training. It has been amply discussed and has already been decided upon. The issue facing India is military aid to Afghanistan.
India hesitant What does Afghanistan want, and for what purpose? Kabul wants to augment its counter-insurgency capacity and hence requires related equipment - from helicopters to communication tools. Given the nature of Afghanistan's terrain and the extent of threats, it is important that the Afghan security forces are armed with adequate systems, and more significantly, enough logistical support for the forces that are engaged in the actual fighting. Unlike the Indian case where
but the agreement is political. So is Indian military aid to Afghanistan. Providing military aid is political in terms of showing solidarity to the Afghan government and its people. Precisely for this reason, military aid becomes strategic. India would certainly not like to see an unstable Afghanistan in terms of its government finding it difficult to fight the insurgency. Especially when the international community has worked hard to build this force over the last decade and the government and its people are willing to fight. It would be a colossal loss if they fail because of lack of adequate military support. It therefore makes no sense to ask what will happen if Indian military aid falls into the wrong hands. Will it be acceptable for India if the entire infrastructure and investments made so far fall into the wrong hands just because India failed to provide the right military support at the right time?
Foreign Policy Question
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh meeting the President of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai, in New Delhi on his recent visit
country needs, then why should New Delhi delay the provision of military aid to Afghanistan? A distinction needs to be made between Indian military presence in and military aid to Afghanistan. In fact, Afghanistan would not be interested in an Indian military presence in the country - boots on Afghan ground has been discussed at length in India and the majority agree that it would not be productive. Besides an Indian military presence, there have been discussions on training the Afghan security forces. India has agreed to train them, and although Afghanistan would prefer to enlarge the scope in terms of number of officials trained, there has been a steady growth in the training process regardless. Generally, it has been accepted both in India and Afghanistan that this is much needed and on the right track. The debate therefore is certainly not about Indian military
India has desisted from using air power to fighting insurgency, in Afghanistan, perhaps it is a necessity. Even more important is to ensure that lines of communication are open to the troops that are fighting insurgency in remote areas. Given the geographical expanse of Afghanistan, and the writ of the State, such air support is vital for fighting insurgency. In India, the military and paramilitary are present everywhere and can comb the terrain inch by inch without losing physical communications with the base. This is not the case in Afghanistan. If this is what Afghanistan requires, why is India hesitant in providing such military support? The reasons put forward do not augur well, either for the Indian image in Afghanistan, or the promise India has made for its strategic partnership. True, the partnership agreement may not commit India to provide military aid;
Finally, the foreign policy question; that of India providing military aid to another country. There are enough reports in the public domain highlighting Indian military support (lethal or otherwise) to the Sri Lankan government to fight the LTTE. If this could be done in Sri Lanka, despite opposition from Tamil Nadu and Sri Lankan Tamils, what stops New Delhi from repeating the same strategy in Afghanistan, especially when the majority within India would support such a move? Another foreign policy question is whether such support would undermine Indo-Pak relations and offend Islamabad's sensitivities. Such an argument does not make sense, especially when Afghanistan is requesting weapon systems not to wage an external war, but to fight an internal insurgency. A counter question would be - suppose India does not provide military aid; will India-Pakistan relations become a model bilateral partnership? Especially when Karzai is also attempting to strike a balance with Islamabad, the Pakistan factor in India's military aid to Afghanistan does not make sense. India should thus go ahead and provide the necessary military aid to Afghanistan. The writer is Director, IPCS
India Post AAP & accountability
olitics is a means of delivering services to the people in a democracy. Over the years it has turned into the most lucrative profession tempting wrongdoers with an opportunity to misuse the huge discretionary powers available within it. This misuse had become so widespread that people had resigned to it as normal with no hope of deliverance from such a stranglehold of corrupt politicians. It was inconceivable that such an order of things could be changed. The advent of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) promising to root out corruption and the VIP culture gave a little glimpse of hope and the citizens of Delhi responded massively to it voting it to a position to even form a government. It is a different matter that everybody in the conventional party culture is hoping for it to fail. The Congress Party, reduced to mere eight seats in Delhi, is in a huge dilemma. It has committed to support an AAP government but is fearful that the crusading party will expose many scandals in the previous government's cupboard. For starters, a video taken by an AAP member has been uploaded on the internet showing a truckload of liquor to be distributed to voters before the elections. The number plate of the truck can be easily seen and also the brand of the liquor bottles. If the AAP chooses to investigate and expose more such scandals the Congress party will find it difficult to support it. And if it withdraws support, it will be blamed for foisting another election on Delhiites and creating instability. The Congress had offered to support the AAP in the hope that the fledgling party will not be able to fulfill its promises and thus fall in the eyes of the voters. But if the eyes of the voters get to see the corruption of the conventional parties, it will be difficult for the Congress to make a comeback. Union Minister for Rural Development Jairam Ramesh even felt that the Congress was committing political harakiri by propping up an AAP government. Ramesh's view is shared by a section of the party leaders. Already the Congress is beginning to look silly on the national stage. Even as Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi admitted before industry captains that corruption was "bleeding" people of the country and sought to take credit for the UPA government for passing the Lokpal Bill to fight it, in Maharashtra the government led by his own party has rejected the Adarsh scam report in a bid to save former chief minister and Maharashtra leader Ashok Chavan who has been indicted in it along with several others. Meanwhile, the BJP cadres are chafing at being denied the opportunity to form government even though they ended up as the largest party in Delhi. The BJP has also chosen to attack the AAP terming its referendum over forming government as "farcical." Opposition leader in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley said the AAP was trying to mask its "political opportunism" and somersaulting on its stated position of not accepting support. In short, AAP is causing a stomach ache among most conventional politicians. The AAP is also aware what it is up against and that the Congress support might not last long. Supreme Court lawyer and an important AAP leader said, "We know they want to prove that we cannot run a state, they will be waiting to show us in a bad light, and their support might be withdrawn. But at this juncture, we will form the government," he asserted. He also felt that the scenario was undemocratic in the sense that the largest party, the BJP, was being left out of the government. What the AAP has tapped into is the lack of accountability in the democratic functioning of India. A deeper democracy requires accountability not only at the time of elections but also during routine, post election government functioning.
December 27, 2013
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56 India Post
December 27, 2013