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'INDIA, CHINA MOVES INFLUENCE WORLD' HOMECOMING: UK hoax call victim nurse Jacintha Saldanha's husband Benedict Barboza, son Junal and daughter Lisha during her funeral ceremony at a church in Shirve town in Mangalore, India, on December 17. The Indian origin nurse was found dead following a hoax call to a London hospital treating Prince William's pregnant wife Kate Middleton. (Details on page 5)

WASHINGTON: Highlighting the growing importance of India and China in the region, a top Indian diplomat said here the choices these two nations will make would not only impact them but also affect the world. Arun K Singh, the Deputy Indian Ambassador to the US in a speech on India-China relationship said New Delhi believes it is in the mutual interest of India and China to work together, bilaterally and with other partners, to reduce uncertainty and create an international environment that is supportive to their domestic transformation efforts. His remarks came after Indian External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid described China as a part of a larger picture and said China is more important in terms of our global vision. "The choices that India and China today make, therefore, affect the world," he said.

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CONTENTS Bollywood ---------------------- 28-29 Classifieds ------------------------- 52 Community Post -------------- 16-27 Date Book -------------------------- 49 Edit Page --------------------------- 54 HealthScience Post --------- 12-15 Horoscope ------------------------- 50 Immigration Post ------------- 45-47 Life Style ----------------------- 36-39 Philosophy ------------------------- 53 Publisher’s Diary ------------------ 4 Real Estate -------------------- 30-31 TechBiz Post ------------------- 32-35 Travel & Hospitality Post ---- 40-42


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kay, I am going to be very cynical about this and that is because I am done reacting to gun violence at the hands of impressionable and mentally ill kids in America. So it seems like a cruel justice to me that this Connecticut mother was killed by her own son using her own gun - a gun which well, she kept as a recreational tool for herself. Unfortunately though, it is cruelly unjust for the 26 others who were killed along with her at Sandy Hook Elementary School last week. I have no sympathy for any family with kids in the house that keeps a gun. Nobody deserves to be killed - but according to me the mother of the shooter is primarily responsible for the deaths of so many other innocents, for she made it possible for her son to so darn easily avail of the murderous weapon by keeping it in the house. So we go through the routine once again - heart-rending photographs of mourners, people crying, hugging each other, teddy bears, candles, balloons, those clichéd human interest stories, looking for heroes in the tragedy, a tearful President and yes of course, a "renewed" debate in the media on gun control. These Americans just don't tire of it; in fact they have perfected themselves into making these into classic television events. I almost laughed when President Obama in his speech following the tragic incident said: "We have been through this too many times… we have to take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this… I will do everything in my power as President to help…" Can it get any shallower than this, I wonder. What is in his power as President is to shed tears. What he means by meaningful action is to mouth homilies, while the gun lobby laughs its way through for another successful and meaningful use of a weapon they worship. Anyway, Columbine or Connecticut, it's not the last time we are going to hear of such incidents. So save your tears, save your words, save your homilies… you will need them again, and again, and again.

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HIGHLIGHTS Bollywood: Shocking award Irrfan has earned critical acclaim but being chosen by the masses for an award is something that leaves him surprised.

Cover Story: Impacting world The choices India and China would make in the future not only impact them but also affect the world.

Community: Diwali Milan The Diwali Milan that the Vishwa Gujarati Samaj USA hosted showcased Gujarati culture thru dances and songs.

Health: More affordable 11 Republican governors want to meet President Obama to discuss making Medicaid rolls expansion more affordable.

Life Style: Vidya weds Vidya Balan tied the knot with UTV head Siddharth Roy Kapoor in Mumbai on December 14 in a private ceremony.

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'India, China moves influence world' WASHINGTON: Highlighting the growing importance of India and China in the region, a top Indian diplomat said here the choices these two nations will make would not only impact them but also affect the world. Arun K Singh, the Deputy Indian Ambassador to the US in a speech on India-China relationship said New Delhi believes it is in the mutual interest of India and China to work together, bilaterally and with other partners, to reduce uncertainty and create an international environment that is supportive to their domestic transformation efforts. His remarks came after Indian External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid described China as a part of a larger picture and said China is more important in terms of our global vision. "The choices that India and China today make, therefore, affect the world," he said. "The simultaneous emergence of India and China as Asian and global powers in fact makes it im-

perative for them to be sensitive to each other's interests and aspirations," said Singh in his address to the seminar organized by the Foundation for India and Indian Diaspora Studies. "The prevailing global para-

“India does not believe that there is any inherent antagonism between the two countries. The important point is that both Governments have handled the relationship well to expand on the areas of cooperation” digm of cooperation among major powers also demands from the two countries that they work together to mutually support their rightful place in the comity of nations," he said.

Adding he said India believes that there is enough space and opportunity in Asia and beyond for the two countries to grow and realize their development aspirations simultaneously. "I would not gloss over the fact that there is an element of competition co-existing with the elements of cooperation in the IndiaChina relationship. There is no doubt that China's rise has implications for not just India but the entire world. But India does not believe that there is any inherent antagonism between the two countries. The important point is that both Governments have handled the relationship well to expand on the areas of cooperation, and to minimize the salience of competition," Singh said. Serving as the Deputy Chief of Mission, Singh before coming to Washington DC was the Indian Ambassador to Israel. The day-long seminar was attended by a galaxy of American experts on India-China relation-

Govt urged to guarantee protection of Indians abroad MANGALORE: The Karnataka VII's hospital by a colleague and Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa's government has taken cognizance a security guard on December 7. Karnataka Janata Party at Haveri of the deaths of Jacintha Saldanha Indian dentist Savita on December 9. and Savita Halappanavar abroad Halappanavar died at a hospital "Party MLAs who attended the and requested the Centre to guar- in Ireland on Oct 28 due to preg- launch of KJP in Haveri are under antee protection to Indian citizens nancy related complications after pressure, but the central leaderliving overseas, former Chief Minister D V Sadananda Gowda said here. "The government has taken cognizance of the deaths of Savita Halappanavar and Jacintha Saldanha and urged the Centre to ensure protection to Indian citizens residing or working abroad," he told reporters after meeting the family of Ben Barboza, Jacintha's husband, at Shirva here. Gowda said Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar has written to Deceased nurse Jacintha Saldanha’s husband Benedict Barboza, son Junal, daughter Prime Minister Lisha and other relatives during her funeral ceremony at a church in Manmohan Singh and Shirve town on December 17 External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid and con- being denied abortion. Doctors ship will issue show cause notices veyed the state's concern on it. refused to terminate her 17-week to them," he said. Lashing out at Congress and Jacintha Saldanha, an Indian pregnancy, stating "this is a JDS, he said they had resorted to origin nurse, was found dead fol- Catholic country". lowing a hoax call to a London Meanwhile, Gowda said BJP creating confusion during the hospital treating Prince William's high command would serve show assembly's winter session in pregnant wife Kate Middleton. cause notice to the 13 MLAs who Belgaum as they could not move She was found hanging in her defied the party diktat and at- a no-confidence motion against nurses' quarters at King Edward tended the formal launch of former the government.-PTI

ship. Noting that today India and China are engaged in a positive way to expand their commonalities with extensive dealings in bilateral, regional and multilateral forums; Singh said the determina-

“Because of its ability to project its soft power, India, he argued, is in a much more favorable position than China or any other country in its own neighborhood to have its own robust presence” tion by the two countries to qualitatively elevate their ties by establishing a "strategic and cooperative partnership for peace and prosperity" reflects their shared conviction that India-China relations have now acquired a longterm, global and strategic character and hence, must be treated as such.

South China Sea

Ved Nanda, Professor of International Law at the prestigious

Denver University, suggested India should respond strongly to China's growing assertiveness in South China Sea. "India needs to respond to China's claim to indisputable sovereignty over most of the South China Sea. I would suggest that India should send its light squadron to the region and hold its main fleet obviously in reserve," he said. Referring to the territorial dispute in the South China Sea where it is seeking the entire territory as its own, Nanda said, "India needs to come up very strongly against China." "Because of its ability to project its soft power, India, he argued, is in a much more favorable position than China or any other country in its own neighborhood to have its own robust presence." Nanda praised India for "not surrendering" to China on the passport issue. He noted that India and China are closer to more cooperation than anything in past 50 years. Glen Carle, ex deputy national director of CIA and author of 'Interrogator' said economic policies will prove crucial while shaping the future of the relations between the two countries.-PTI

Indian doc kills self after parents reject British fiancée LONDON: A heartbroken India-born doctor in the UK has reportedly committed suicide after his parents, citing cultural differences, disapproved of his plan to marry his British fiancée and fellow physician, who also did not agree to a Hindu wedding. Bangalore-born anaesthetist Madhu Honnaiah, 33, swallowed drugs from Singleton Hospital in Swansea where he worked after splitting with fiancee Dr Emma Wrighton. An inquest heard his parents had objected to his engagement to Britishborn Wrighton, 32, who had refused to have a Hindhu wedding, the Daily Mail reported. Honnaiah was alone when he injected himself with two drugs used in surgery seven months after their split. The inquest heard Honnaiah had begun a relationship with fellow doctor Wrighton in 2008 while working in Liverpool. Wrighton then got a job in Australia but the pair stayed in touch and moved

in together when she returned to Britain. The two doctors got engaged in 2010, though Honnaiah didn't inform his parents, the report said. Investigating officer Huw Evans told the inquest that

Dr Emma Wrighton

Honnaiah was wary of telling his parents about the relationship because of their "cultural beliefs." He said: "During a visit to Britain from India, his parents learned of the relationship and said they weren't happy about it. It was said his parents wanted him to marry someone from his caste or from the Bangalore area of India where he grew up."-PTI


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Kashmir festival being planned in US next year

J&K delegation explores ski resorts in Denver India Post News Service

WASHINGTON: A week-long Kashmir festival, the first of its kind, is being planned in the US next year. Its promoters feel it would not only promote tourism but also give boost to the States' economy and acquaint Americans with the rich cultural heritage of the Jammu and Kashmir. "This will be a festival wherein we would promote Kashmiri handicrafts and Kashmir as a (tourist) destination," Waseem Trumboo, Director Trumboo Industries Pvt Ltd, leader of the first ever business delegation from the State of Jammu and Kashmir to the United States told PTI in an interview. The delegation had several members of the J & K business community and was organized by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII). To be handled by the CII, the week-long Kashmir festival would be held in either Washington DC or New York City possibly in the months of September-October next year, details of which would be out once the delegation is back home, Trumboo said. A large number of businesses from Jammu and Kashmir are expected to come to the US to attend the festival, which besides

showcasing the best of the State, would also help in developing business to business relationships. On return, Trumboo said, the delegation would submit a set of recommendations to the Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister, Omar

This will be a festival wherein we would promote Kashmiri handicrafts and Kashmir as a (tourist) destination," Waseem Trumboo, Director Trumboo Industries Pvt Ltd, leader of the first ever business delegation from the State of Jammu and Kashmir to the US Abdullah, and would request him to come to the US next year to participate in what he termed as the unique Kashmir-festival. "It would help boost our local economy," he said. During its week-long trip to the

US the first ever business delegation from Jammu and Kashmir the CII delegation traveled to Washington, California and Colorado before concluding their trip in New York. "For us it was more about learning and see what opportunities are here for us," Trumboo said terming it as a great learning experience. "We got a feel of US economy," he added. The delegation besides meeting US government officials in Washington, wherein they insisted on lifting the American travel restrictions on J & K, they traveled to cities like Aspen in Colorado and had firsthand experience of ski-resorts, which they can explore and implement in their own state. Trumboo said some of the members of the business delegation expressed their interest in investing in the tourism sector of the United States. "So this is going to be a two-way process," he said. Following their meeting, the president of the prestigious New York University told them that he will send an official to Jammu and Kashmir early next year to explore the possibility of kind of educational tie up it can have there, he said. -PTI

JOYS OF WINTER: Tourists enjoying fresh snow fall at Manali in Himachal Pradesh

DENVER, Colorado: The CII business delegation from Jammu and Kashmir, led by Waseem Trumboo, Director Trumboo Industries Pvt Ltd, visited the popular ski destination of Aspen, Colo-

and Resorts Pvt. Ltd. Both sides expressed interest in encouraging collaboration, and also explored options for developing a sister-city type relationship between Kashmir and Aspen. Aspen currently has several sister-city relationships around the

rado on their third day in the world, including with the French ski area of Chamonix-Mont-Blanc. United States. The former Mayor of Aspen The delegation plans to pursue (2001-2007), Helen Kalin this concept further in consultaKlanderud, welcomed the group tion with State and City officials to the city and commended CII for in Jammu and Kashmir, which will bringing the first ever delegation allow them to develop a friendly from the state of Jammu & Kash- and meaningful exchange of mir. "I hope their visit was as re- ideas, people, products and serwarding and informational to them vices in business, cultural, eduas it was to us‌ A warm welcome cational, youth, sports, municipal, awaits any future Indian visitors," professional and technical projects. she remarked. In Denver, the delegation met Looking at the well-developed tourism infrastructure in Aspen, with representatives of the ColoTrumboo said, "Aspen is a great rado Office of Economic Developtourist destination with outdoor ment and International Trade, and adventures from skiing to biking, quite similar to the Kashmir valley. Aspen has many amazing We have so much to mountains with a wide learn from this place in terms of developing the range of terrain to explore. necessary infrastrucTheir philosophy seems to ture for places like Gulmarg and Sonmarg." appeal to skiers of all skill The delegates also levels and ages," said Asif met representatives from the Aspen Cham- Iqbal Burza, Director, ber Resort Association Ahad Hotels (ACRA), who briefed them about the business climate of the city. Erik the World Trade Center Denver Klanderud, Director of Member to discuss the specifics of startServices, ACRA said the discus- ing a business in the state. Outlining the support channels sions with the delegation about business development in the ski available to new business venresort industry was a great learn- tures, the local officials offered ing opportunity for the Aspen their assistance to delegation Business Community and that he members looking to make investlooked forward to further engage- ments in Colorado. Each side was also very interment with CII. "Aspen has many amazing ested in learning about the other mountains with a wide range of region's commercial strengths to terrain to explore. Their philoso- identify areas of future collaboraphy seems to appeal to skiers of tion. While in the city, the delegaall skill levels and ages," said Asif tion went on a guided tour of the Iqbal Burza, Director, Ahad Hotels Colorado State Capitol.


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Nirupama Rao meets Nancy Pelosi India Post News Service

WASHINGTON: Ambassador Nirupama Rao met Minority Leader and former Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi on December 11 at the Capitol in Washington D.C. As the 60th speaker of the House of Representatives from 2007 to 2011, Congresswoman Pelosi was the first woman to hold that office and the highest-ranking woman politician in American history. She represents California's 8th Congressional District. Ambassador Rao and Minority Leader Pelosi discussed the present state of India-US relations, and the global strategic partnership between the two countries. Ambassador Rao informed her about recent developments in the relationship and India's perspective on regional and global

Ambassador Nirupama Rao with U.S. House of Representatives Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) on December 11

Khurshid doesn't see Malik remarks as formal policy ON BOARD SPECIAL AIR- you should not take it as formal CRAFT: India has dismissed Pa- policy statement of Pakistan at kistan Interior Minister Rehman this stage," Khurshid said. Malik's controversial remarks durHe was asked about Malik's ing his visit to New Delhi, saying comments equating Mumbai terthey cannot be taken as a formal ror attack to Babri Masjid demopolicy statement of his country. lition which the Pakistani minisMalik had made several con- ter seemed to have retracted later. tentious remarks during his Khurshid also said Pakistan's visit, including equating selective approach on bringing Mumbai terror attacks with Babri to justice those involved in the Masjid demolition and describing “If the Pakistan President L a s h k a r - e - To i b a (LeT) terrorist Abu said it, I would have put it in Jundal as an Indian a different category. Leadintelligence operaers of Pakistan will articulate tive. External Affairs matters in different ways but Minister Salman I don't think it would have Khurshid said that been a discussed, thought Malik's remarks did not appear to be careout, carefully worded fully worded or well statement� discussed. "If the Pakistan President said it, I would have Mumbai carnage was "not acput it in a different category. ceptable". Leaders of Pakistan will articulate He questioned why 26/11 masmatters in different ways but I termind Hafiz Saeed was yet to don't think it would have been a be hauled up. discussed, thought out, carefully "Everybody responsible has worded statement. not been hauled up yet.... We beThis is something he may lieve everybody, particularly the would have felt, responded in masterminds be made accountheat of a moment but I would not able and on that we have not seen think it would be a formal articu- any homework on. lation on behalf of Pakistan," "LeT founder Hafiz Saeed has Khurshid told PTI in an interview. to be made accountable. Why he "It is not that he is nobody. has not been made accountable? He is an important part of the Pa- And that is the big question," kistan government. But I think Khurshid said.-PTI

issues of common interest. Mi- contribution to Afghanistan's renority Leader Pelosi spoke of the construction and viewed the USshared values and India partnership as having an complementarities between India important role to play in ensuring and the US and the broad spec- Afghanistan's peace and prospertrum of opportunities for the two ity. countries to collaborate. Ambassador Rao and MinorMinority Leader Pelosi warmly ity Leader Pelosi expressed admirecalled her visit to India in 2008 as Speaker of the US House of Pelosi warmly recalled her Representatives and visit to India in 2008 as noted that she was "honored to be wel- Speaker of the US House of comed" by Prime Min- Representatives and noted ister Dr. Manmohan that she was "honored to be Singh. Ambassador Rao also recalled the meet- welcomed" by Prime Minising between Prime Min- ter Dr. Manmohan Singh ister Singh and Ms. Pelosi during the Prime Minister's ration for the contributions made state visit to the US in November by a growing and dynamic Indian 2009. American community to the deThe discussion also touched velopment of India-US relations upon the regional situation in and were agreed that the commuSouth Asia. Minority Leader nity is a crucial and important Pelosi welcomed India's positive bridge between the two countries.

Gupta opposes paying $6.78 mn to Goldman NEW YORK: India-born former Goldman Sachs Director Rajat Gupta has said he should not be required to pay the global investment banking firm USD 6.78 million it is asking as reimbursement for legal fees and other expenses incurred by it in connection with his insider-trading case. In a lengthy 43-page motion filed in US District Court here, Gupta has opposed Goldman's demand for "restitution" of legal fees and other expenses totaling USD 6.78 million. Gupta, 64, said Goldman has not identified and submitted "competent evidence" of the legal fees that it can be reimbursed for. Instead the company has submitted 540 pages of billing records for a three-year period from December 2009 through November 2012 which do not contain specifics of the legal tasks performed by Goldman in connection with Gupta's case. Gupta said Goldman is seeking reimbursement of fees for work that was not necessarily incurred during "participation in the investigation or prosecution" of Gupta. This amount includes more than USD three million of fees incurred before hedge fund founder Raj Rajaratnam's trial concluded in May 2011 and before the US attorney's probe of Gupta "kicked into high gear," Gupta's lawyer Richard Davis said in court pa-

pers. Goldman is also seeking reimbursement of substantial fees for work on Securities and Exchange Commission matters, both before and after the Rajaratnam trial as well as for work done over the last

"Simply stated, Goldman is entitled to restitution of only those fees it can demonstrate were necessarily incurred in connection with specific requests by the government or were otherwise required to be done in the investi-

Rajat Gupta

five months, after the criminal case against Gupta ended. Gupta also argues that Goldman is not entitled to restitution for legal fees it incurred relating to the SEC's administrative action against him. Legal fees that Goldman incurred in relation to the investigation and prosecution of Rajaratnam also do not qualify for reimbursement.

gation or prosecution of the Gupta case," Davis said. Gupta said he was informed by the government just one week before his sentencing in October that Goldman was claiming an entitlement to all its legal fees incurred in the course of proceedings arising from Gupta's conduct, in addition to 25 per cent of the compensation he received as Goldman director. -PTI


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Insufficient information against Saeed: Malik ISLAMABAD: India has provided "insufficient information" against Lashkar-e-Taiba founder Hafiz Mohammed Saeed and Pakistan could take action only on the basis of evidence that stands the test of courts, Interior Minister Rehman Malik claimed here. Speaking to reporters at the airport in Rawalpindi on his return from a visit to India, Malik sought to clear the air on several controversies that erupted during his trip, including his remarks equating the 2008 Mumbai attacks with the demolition of the Babri Masjid. He acknowledged that the "greatest pressure" was exerted on him on the issue of Saeed, whom Indian officials have accused of masterminding the Mumbai attacks that killed 166 people. "I said the insufficient information you have given, which you call evidence, will not stand the test of our courts and the (Lahore) High Court bailed him (Saeed) out," he said. "I took a clear stand that India has given only information and not evidence against Hafiz Saeed.

Pakistans Interior Minister Rehman Malik during his visit at the Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliyaa dargah

If they give some evidence, then the government will take action on it like it has done against seven accused who were arrested and 20 who were declared proclaimed offenders," he said. Malik further contended that Indian authorities should accept the decision of Pakistani courts to free Saeed on bail just as the

Pakistan government had accepted the death sentence given by an Indian court to Ajmal Kasab, the lone surviving terrorist involved in the Mumbai incident. "Our courts have given bail to Hafiz Saeed and said not to arrest him because there is not sufficient evidence against him," Malik contended. -PTI

Nepal suspends 6 officials for KFC chicken import from India KATHMANDU: Nepal has suspended six quarantine officials, including two under-secretaries, on the charge of allowing a promoter of KFC here for illegally importing chicken from India despite restrictions. The Ministry of Agriculture Development has taken action against staffers working in the Birgunj quarantine post for their negligence in all o w i n g Devyani International Nepal, a promoter of Kentucky Fried Chicken to import chicken from India as it is banned under the bird flu surveillance list of World Organization for Animal Health. Nepal government has banned import of chicken from India some six years ago after the outbreak of bird flu in the neighboring country.

Delhi gang-rape case to be tried on fast-track NEW DELHI: The Delhi gangrape case will be tried on fast-track basis and action will be taken if lapses are found on part of the police, Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde told the Rajya Sabha while promising steps for ensuring safety of women. Replying to an impromptu discussion on the incident, Shinde said he agreed with the views expressed by members and promised to take necessary steps to ensure safety of women in Delhi. He said four persons out of the six accused have already been arrested and further investigations are on. Promising to take steps for ensuring safety of women in Delhi where law and order is under the direct control of the Union Home Ministry, Shinde said a special task force headed by the Home Secretary will be constituted to look into suggestions made by

AIDWA activists stage a protest at a Saket court in New Delhi on December 18 condemning the gang rape of a 23-year-old student on a city bus

members in this regard. He said all roads will be covered by PCR vans at night and specific routes used by women working in BPOs and call centers will be identified for increased patrolling by police.

Shinde said Delhi Police has issued orders to BPOs and other organizations to ensure that their women staff working in evening shifts are dropped at their doorstep. Besides, three helpline services for women would be

launched. He also mentioned that a Criminal Law Amendment Bill for dealing with sexual offences has already been introduced in Lok Sabha which seeks to enhance punishment for such crimes.-PTI

The suspended officials have been charged with permitting the import of 11 tonnes of frozen chicken from India despite the government's restriction on imports of birds from a bird flu affected country.

The suspended officials include Under-secretary Munni Lal Chaudhary, chief of the Birgunj Quarantine Office, under- secretary at Central Quarantine Office Mohan Dev Lekhak and four technicians. The ministry also questioned the suspended officials, according to sources at the Ministry of Agriculture Development. According to Nara Bahadur Rajwal, director general of the Livestock Service Department, the ministry has formed a threemember committee headed by Joint secretary Uttam Kumar Bhattarai to carry out thorough investigation into the matter. Meanwhile, the ministry asked the Department of Commerce, the Armed Police Force that guards the border and the Nepal Police to stop the import of poultry products from countries named by the World Health Organization as having bird flu. Two containers of frozen chicken imported for the outlets of the international fast food chain KFC were dumped in Dhading with the help of local farmers. PTI


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Jakarta enthralled by Shah Rukh performance

S

uperstar Shah Rukh Khan took his Indonesian fans by storm as he grooved with his friends, actresses Preity Zinta,

Rani Mukerji and Bipasha Basu, as part of his Temptations Reloaded tour in Jakarta.

Shah Rukh made his stage-entry on a bike, sending the huge crowd at Sentul International Convention Center, Jakarta, into

a frenzy of excitement. "This time I didn't get a chance to roam around in Jakarta. But I

have always felt strongly that one can always tell how beautiful the place is by the people one meets there. Jakarta is a lovely place and the love that I got from the people there was my 'feel good factor'," Shah Rukh said in a statement. "I say that because I have been rushing around these days from film festival to movie shoot and then to Jakarta. It has been a mad rush, but the love I got at Jakarta made it all worthwhile," the actor added. Shah Rukh enjoys being part of such live shows. "Doing shows like this is a fine experience of being part of the entertainment industry. Last time we did Temptations was in 2004. The years after that, I and all my friends, who were part of the show, got busy. So we decided to start off again and that's why it's called Temptations Reloaded," said Shah Rukh.

Bilawal wants 'stringent action' against rapists of Hindu girl ISLAMABAD: Pakistan's ruling PPP chief Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has directed the government of Sindh province to take "stringent action" against those responsible for the rape of a sixyear-old Hindu girl. Bilawal, who has begun assuming a larger role in the affairs of the Pakistan People's Party ahead of the formal launch of the party's campaign for next year's general election, instructed the Sindh government to "take stringent action against the real culprits so that they can be brought to book and

punished for this inhuman crime". He also directed the provincial government to "provide every kind of assistance, including the

Bilawal Bhutto

21 Indian products under US glare for child labor NEW DELHI: The US has placed 21 Indian products under its Trafficking Victims Protection Re-authorization Act, 2005 list for alleged use of child labor, the government said. "On December 26, the US Department of Labor has released third update to the Trafficking Victims Protection Re-authorization Act, 2005 list wherein 21 Indian products are listed in which child or forced labor was alleged to have been used," Minister of State for Labor and Employment K Suresh said in Lok Sabha. He said though there are no explicit trade related references in

the report, the "listing of products in these report does have a negative impact on India's brand image". Out of the 21 goods listed, 15 goods like bidi, brassware, bricks, carpets, embellished textiles, soccer balls are already covered under the Child Labor Act, 1986 under which employment of children is banned, he said in a written reply. Suresh said his Ministry has forwarded a note on the steps taken for elimination of child labor to the Indian embassy in Washington to take up the issue with the US officials regarding the listing. -PTI

best medical facilities" to the girl and her family, said a statement issued by the PPP. Bilawal, who is expected to lead the PPP's election campaign, sent a bouquet to the girl from Umerkot district, who is currently being treated at Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto Hospital in Karachi. He also sent a message to the girl and her family of "his renewed commitment to protect all the weak segments of society from atrocities and violence", the statement said. The girl was kidnapped from Ghulam Nabi Shah town in Umerkot district in the first week of December and raped. She was admitted to the hospital in Karachi about 10 days after she was molested. The girl's relatives brought her to Karachi after she was not provided proper care at hospitals in Umerkot, Mirpurkhas and Hyderabad. The National Assembly or lower house of parliament last week asked its Standing Committee on Human Rights to probe reports of the rape. There have been several reports of harassment and kidnapping of members of the minority Hindu community in Sindh and Balochistan provinces this year. Reports have said that dozens of Hindu families had stayed on in India after traveling to the neighboring country for pilgrimages. -PTI

IIT Kanpur to set up office in New York

IIT Kanpur

KANPUR: IIT Kanpur is all set to open its first overseas office in New York, for which a space has been provided by one of its alumnus. With this office, the prestigious institution hopes to deal with a range of overseas affairs including faculty hiring, fund-raising and entering into collaborations for research and development, according to a release.

The office will come up at 62, William Street in New York and a space has been provided by the student for a period of five years, it said. The 1986 batch IITian, Sanjay Khosla, will not be charging any rent from the institute, the release added. The new office is expected to start its functioning from early next year. -PTI

Tokyo Ink charged $45mn for hiding CVP import from India, China WASHINGTON: Tokyo Ink has "Importers seeking access to agreed to pay USD 45 million in United States markets must compenalties for concealing the im- ply with the law, including the port of a high performance pig- payment of customs duties meant ment from India and China to the to protect domestic companies US with the purpose of avoiding from unfair competition abroad," antidumping and countervailing said Stuart Delery, Principal duties, federal authorities here Deputy Assistant Attorney Genhave said. eral for the Justice Department's Since import of colorant carba- Civil Division. zole violet pigment number 23 (CVP-23) from India and China Since import of colorant have been subject to carbazole violet pigment high antidumping and number 23 (CVP-23) from countervailing duties since 2004, Tokyo Ink, India and China have been a Japan-headquarsubject to high antidumping tered speciality chemicals maker, concealed and countervailing duties their origin and told since 2004, Tokyo Ink, a the US authorities that Japan-headquartered spethese were from Japan and Mexico, the Deciality chemicals maker, partment of Justice concealed their origin said. Although Tokyo Ink's CVP-23 from China and In"This settlement demonstrates dia underwent a finishing process that the Department of Justice will in Japan and Mexico before it was zealously guard the public fisc imported into the US, the govern- taking action not only against ment alleged that this process was those who fraudulently obtain insufficient to constitute a sub- government funds, but also stantial transformation to render against those who inappropriately these countries as the countries avoid paying money owed to the of origin. United States," he said. -PTI


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'Connecticut shooter and his mother visited gun ranges' NEW YORK: Adam Lanza, the 20-year-old who slayed 26 people, including 20 children, and his mother both spent time at a gun range in Connecticut, US media reports said. Investigators have determined Lanza did visit a gun range, but they have not determined whether he shot there, officials probing the second-deadliest school shooting in US history said. Investigators have also learned his mother, Nancy Lanza, visited a gun range on multiple occasions, but they have not determined whether her son was with her during those visits, a spokesperson of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives was quoted by the ABC News as saying. ATF agents have been canvassing area gun ranges and gun dealers to learn whether Adam Lanza had been a customer or a visitor. As with many murder-suicides, the gunman in the Newtown, Con-

necticut, shooting took to his grave the reasons that compelled him to kill more than two dozen people before taking his own life. In 2007, a gunman had killed 32 people in a massacre in Virginia

The rampage ended when Lanza apparently took his own life in a classroom. He was carrying three firearms, a semiautomatic .223-caliber rifle made by Bushmaster and two handguns, a Glock and a Sig Sauer Tech, the deadliest shooting incident in the country. Those who knew the shooter struggled to reconcile the difference between the quiet, with-

drawn youngster without a criminal record and the man who donned black fatigues and a military vest and rained hell at Sandy Hook Elementary School last week. Police identified Adam Lanza as the shooter and that he killed his 52-year-old mother, Nancy, in their home before walking into the school and spraying bullets, killing 26 more people -- 20 of them children no older than 7. The rampage ended when Lanza apparently took his own life in a classroom. He was carrying three firearms, a semiautomatic .223-caliber rifle made by Bushmaster and two handguns, a Glock and a Sig Sauer. Connecticut law requires gun owners to be at least 21. The guns, authorities said, belonged to his mother. Police are yet to disclose a motive for the attack - which left those who knew Lanza trying to discern whether anything in his past could have foreshadowed the present, CNN reported. -PTI

Obama consoles families of Connecticut school victims NEW YORK: Consoling the grieving families of the victims of the deadly Connecticut school shooting, US President Barack Obama has said the nation has failed to keep its children safe and vowed to use all his power to prevent such "tragedies". "Can we truly say, as a nation, that we are meeting our obligations? Can we honestly say that we are doing enough to keep our children all of them safe from harm?" asked Obama, who attended an emotional inter-faith memorial service held at the Newtown High School in Connecticut. "If we are honest with ourselves, the answer is no," he said. "We are not doing enough, and we will have to change." Obama traveled to Newtown, where a young man gunned down 26 people, including 20 first-graders at the Sandy Hook Elementary School before committing suicide last week. The police said accused Adam Lanza, 20, used a long rifle and shot the 6-7 year olds multiple times in the carnage that shocked the world and left the America searching for answers. Telling a packed auditorium that the town was not alone in its

Barack Obama

grief, Obama said he offers the love and prayers of the nation but added that the country is failing at its "first task" to keep its children safe. "It's our first job. If we don't get that right, we don't get anything right," he said. Obama said he realizes that mere words of condolences are not enough to heal the "wounded hearts" of the parents and friends

of those killed in the carnage, which has left the nation "with hard questions." As the tragedy reopens the debate on the country's gun laws, Obama said, "no single law or set of laws can eliminate evil from the world or prevent every senseless act of violence in our societies. That cannot be an excuse for inaction, surely we can do better than this." -PTI

NASA eyes mission to Jupiter moon Europa NEW YORK: NASA may have would also do vital reconnaisdevoted many of its exploration sance work for a potential lander resources to Mars recently, but mission in the future, 'SPACE.com' the US space agency also has its reported. eye on an icy moon of Jupiter that Astrobiologists regard Europa, may be capable of supporting life. which is about 3,100 kilometers The agency is thinking about wide, as one of the best bets in ways to investigate the possible our solar system to host life behabitability of Europa, Jupiter's fourth-largest The agency is thinking about moon. One concept that may be gaining traction ways to investigate the is a so-called "clipper" possible habitability of probe that would make multiple flybys of the Europa, Jupiter's fourthmoon, studying its icy largest moon. One concept shell and suspected that may be gaining traction subsurface ocean as it is a so-called "clipper" zooms past. "We briefed [NASA] probe that would make headquarters and they multiple flybys of the moon, responded very positively," mission propo- studying its icy shell nent David Senske, of NASA's Jet Propulsion Labora- yond Earth. tory in Pasadena, said. The moon is believed to harThe USD 2 billion unmanned bor a large ocean of liquid water Europa Clipper, which could be beneath its icy shell. This ocean ready to launch by 2021 or so, is likely in direct contact with Europa's rocky mantle, raising the possibility of all sorts of interesting chemical reactions, Senske said. The irradiation of Europa's surface and tidal heating of its interior also mean the moon likely has ample energy sources - another key requirement for life as we know it. UNITED NATIONS: India, the NASA has long been interested country most affected by malaria in exploring the icy moon and its in the South East Asian region, is ocean. Several years back, the projected to see a decrease of agency drew up an ambitious mis5075 per cent in malaria case inci- sion concept called the Jupiter dence by 2015, a report by the Europa Orbiter (JEO), which World Health Organization said. would have made detailed studThe WHO's World Malaria Re- ies of Europa and the incredibly port 2012 said a concerted effort volcanic Jupiter moon. by endemic countries, donors and According to the 2011 Planglobal malaria partners during the etary Science Decadal Survey, the past decade has led to strength- science returns from such a misened malaria control around the sion would have been impressive world. which outlined the scientific It however warned that a sig- community's goals in the field over nificant slowdown in global fund- the coming decade. The decadal survey ranked ing of anti-malaria campaigns threatens to roll back the gains JEO as the second-highest priormade against the preventable ity among large-scale missions, mosquito-borne disease over the just behind Mars sample-return. But the report said its USD 4.7 billast 10 years. In the south-east Asia Region, lion price tag was just too high. "The recommendation was, Bhutan, Korea, Nepal, Sri Lanka immediately go and do a deand Thailand have registered descope. creases of 75 per cent or more in They loved the science, the the incidence of microscopically confirmed malaria incidence rates science was great. But focus it," said Senske. between 2000 and 2011. Researchers got to work devel"India, the country with the oping a leaner, cheaper Europa highest number of cases in the mission that would fit under a firm region, is projected to achieve USD 2 billion cost cap. They came decreases of 5075 per cent in maup with two main options: the cliplaria case incidence by 2015," it per and a Europa orbiter. -PTI said. -PTI

WHO: India to see decrease in malaria cases


„ Health

Line

Norovirus cases around New Mexico confirmed

SANTA FE, N.M.: New Mexico health officials are urging residents to take precautions after a series of norovirus cases have been confirmed around the state. The state Department of Health says no deaths have been attributed to the infections, but several people have been hospitalized. Noroviruses cause gastroenteritis and inflammation of the stomach and intestines. Common symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea and stomach cramping. People who are infected may also get a fever or chills and muscle aches. Most people recover in a day or two, but officials say dehydration can be a concern in the very young, the elderly or people with weakened immune systems. State Epidemiologist Michael Landen says one of the best ways to protect against norovirus is for people to wash their hands. Health officials say noroviruses are very contagious.-AP

„ Project to stem alcohol-exposed pregnancies SIOUX FALLS, S.D.: A new initiative from Dakotas-based Sanford Health hopes to prevent alcohol-exposed pregnancies and fetal alcohol spectrum disorders in American Indian communities in South Dakota. The three-year project will expand the use of a model currently used by the Oglala Sioux Tribe called Project Choices that has decreased binge drinking among women and minimized unintended pregnancies by encouraging contraception use. Unlike other programs focusing on preventing alcohol exposure in women already pregnant, the Sanford program will focus on women who have not yet conceived. Alcoholism is rampant on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, home to the Oglala Sioux Tribe. The tribe says one in four children born on the reservation suffers from fetal alcohol syndrome or fetal alcohol spectrum disorder. -AP

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LONDON: Nearly everywhere around the world, people are living longer and fewer children are dying. But increasingly, people are grappling with the diseases and disabilities of modern life, according to the most expansive global look so far at life expectancy and the biggest health threats. Details on page 15

December 28, 2012

HELENA, Mont.: A judge has extended his temporary block of restrictions on medical marijuana providers while he considers whether the state can eliminate access to the drug for some of the most seriously ill patients in the interest of curbing abuse.

Details on page 14

GOP governors want to talk health care with Obama FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla.: Eleven Republican governors, including Florida's Rick Scott, Louisiana's Bobby Jindal and Arizona's Jan Brewer want to meet with President Barack Obama to discuss the federal health overhaul, including ways to make expanding the Medicaid rolls and setting up online health exchanges more affordable for states with tight budgets. The letter requesting the meeting comes after the Obama administration said that states can do a partial Medicaid expansion but that they wouldn't get the three years of 100 percent federal funding provided under the law. Scott had previously requested to meet with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to discuss his concerns that the law could burden state taxpayers. Scott has been a vocal critic of the Affordable Care Act, but softened his position after the election, saying he's open to working with federal health officials to find a solution. But he's repeatedly expressed concerns about the potential costs to Florida taxpayers. Now he's one of several Republican governors who recently sent a letter asking for more flexibility in the laws so that states can tailor the programs to their individual needs. Signing the letter along with Scott were governors from Iowa, Utah, Maine, Virginia, Ohio, South

Rick Scott

Bobby Jindal

Dakota, Wyoming, Arizona, Louisiana and Mississippi. The governors made several suggestions that included asking that states be allowed to determine their own Medicaid eligibility levels and still receive all the federal funds. They also raised the possi-

Jan Brewer

want to be able to leverage their private health insurance markets to reduce dependency on entitlement programs. ``The President and his team have met with state leaders for more than two and a half years,'' said Erin Shields Britt, a spokes-

The governors made several suggestions that included asking that states be allowed to determine their own Medicaid eligibility levels and still receive all the federal funds bility of imposing ``reasonable and enforceable-cost sharing requirements'' and worried that the process for determining newly eligible Medicaid beneficiaries could become an ``overly difficult audit procedure at the end of the year'' potentially jeopardizing billions of dollars in payments to the states. The governors also said they

woman for the Department of Health and Human Services. ``The President has welcomed an open dialogue with the nation's governors, one on one and as a group and Secretary Sebelius has offered to meet with Governor Scott.'' For now Florida has defaulted into letting the federal government run the health exchange because

lawmakers chose not to run their own exchange, an online marketplace where residents and small businesses can shop for health care coverage. They could change their mind later and pursue a partnership with the feds, but that would take approval by the Legislature and governor. But they still must decide whether they will expand Medicaid rolls. Officials estimate close to 900,000 residents could be covered under expanded Medicaid rolls by fiscal year 2020-2021, costing the state $330 million. A Senate committee charged with overseeing the implementation of the health law had its first meeting recently and seemed far from making any decisions. Sen. Joe Negron reminded the committee that the state will spend about $21 billion on Medicaid this year. Medicaid covers nearly 3 million people of whom about half are children. Lawmakers say it must be overhauled because it's eating up about 30 percent of the state budget. If Florida lawmakers decide to fully expand their Medicaid rolls, the Obama administration is offering to absorb the cost for the first three years and pick up 90 percent of the tab after that. Florida has one of the highest rates of uninsured rates and some of the most stringent eligibility requirements in the country for Medicaid. A family of three with income of $11,000 a year makes too much and single residents are not covered. -AP

Illegal tobacco sales to minors rise 8.7% India Post News Service

People worldwide living longer, but sicker

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Judge extends temporary block on new pot rules

SACRAMENTO: California Department of Public Health (CDPH) director and state health officer Dr. Ron Chapman released the state’s first “State Health Officer’s Report on Tobacco Use and Promotion” providing new data related to cigarette consumption declines, and the millions of dollars and lives saved. The report also includes new data on illegal sales to minors, the disproportionate number of to-

bacco retailers and advertising in minority and low-income neighborhoods, the effect of tobacco advertising in retail stores, and troubling tobacco-use trends. “The illegal sale of tobacco to minors is a serious issue and we are committed to working with retailers and inform the public in order to stop these practices,” said Chapman. “The tobacco industry’s advertising tactics towards a younger audience is disturbing and shameful. It is startling that the tobacco industry spends nearly $1 million every hour

to market their products nationwide.” Although not necessarily a trend, the increase in illegal sales to minors is a fact that CDPH takes seriously. The Department is concerned about any increase of youth access to cigarettes and aims to prevent any uptick in youth smoking. CDPH continues to find innovative ways to work with retailers and to inform the public to stop these practices. In addition to the latest data on illegal sales to minors, the state report draws attention to the dis-

proportionate number of tobacco retailers, advertising tactics, the effect of tobacco advertising in retail stores, and examples of emerging tobacco use. Highlights of the report include: • Since the inception of the Tobacco Control Program, the annual number of cigarette packs sold in California dropped by more than 1.5 billion per year, from 2.5 billion packs in 1998 to 972,000 packs in 2011; Cont’d on page 15


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TB drugs to be made available at chemists for free NEW DELHI: To ensure improved monitoring of tuberculosis patients and help bring them under the ambit of the government's disease control program, the Health Ministry has proposed to make available medicines free of cost at all

chemists across the country from March next. According to Health Ministry officials, a proposal to this effect is being given final shape and a sum of Rs 800 crore earmarked during the current financial year for rolling the scheme that will bring all tuberculosis patients under the ambit of Revised National Tuberculosis Control Program (RNTCP). "The purpose of the scheme is to make drugs available to all tuberculosis patients, especially the

poor who get themselves treated from private doctors and buy medicines from chemists," said Director General of Health Services (DGHS) Jagdish Prasad. He said the scheme will help improve tracking the disease and monitoring of such patients. Explaining the scheme, Prasad said, records of TB patients will be computerized and every patient will be issued a unique identification number through which chem-

ists can give medicines provided free by the government. At present, tuberculosis patients are enrolled with DOTS (directly observed therapy centers) under the RNTCP but many of them are still treated by private practitioners and tend to miss their regular dosage, often leading to multi-drug resistant (MDR) tuberculosis. An estimated over 2 million people contract TB in the country every year and the government hopes to rope in around 4

lakh more patients under the tuberculosis program. There are around 60,000 MDR tuberculosis patients in the coun-

"A system of how to reimburse money and medicines for TB is being worked out," said an official. Health Ministry officials said

Data has revealed that around 15 to 20 per cent patients registered with DOTS tend to miss their regular medicine dose either due to poverty or big distances, leading to incomplete treatment try, Prasad said. The scheme came after government declared tuberculosis (TB) a notifiable disease in May this year, making it mandatory on all private doctors, healthcare providers and clinical establishments treating such patients to report each case of the air-borne disease to the government. Prasad said the Health Ministry is also working towards opening of more Tracking Units (TU) to help bring one lakh patients under each such unit from the current four lakh people. The DGHS said the scheme also envisages some incentives to chemists to help government reduce the disease burden by providing free medicines to all TB patients in the country.

NGO's would also be involved under the new scheme to help in its effective implementation. The District Red Cross Societ-

ies would also be involved in the new program aimed at improving disease monitoring. Data has revealed that around 15 to 20 per cent patients registered with DOTS tend to miss their regular medicine dose either due to poverty or big distances leading to incomplete treatment and risking them to multi-drug resistant TB. The new scheme envisages no patient misses his treatment module for any reason and they will be tracked through a new monitoring system and data will be maintained nation-wide. -PTI

Senate approves anti-abortion bills in Michigan LANSING, Mich.: The Republican-controlled Michigan Senate has voted to restrict and regulate abortion practices, including requiring a health professional to screen patients to ensure they aren't being forced to end pregnancies. The measures previously approved by the GOP-led House were approved by a 27-10 vote, mostly along party lines. The legislation returns to the House for its final

review of changes before going to Republican Gov. Rick Snyder. The bill package also enacts regulations related to the disposal of fetal remains. It additionally requires private medical offices to be licensed as freestanding surgical outpatient facilities if they perform at least 120 abortions annually and undergo annual state inspections. Cont’d on page 15


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Judge extends temporary block on new pot rules HELENA, Mont.: A judge has extended his temporary block of restrictions on medical marijuana providers while he considers whether the state can eliminate access to the drug for some of the most seriously ill patients in the interest of curbing abuse. District Judge James Reynolds did not immediately rule on whether to grant a preliminary injunction that would indefinitely block the state from implementing a ban on compensation for medical marijuana providers or limiting them to distributing marijuana to three people. Instead, he left in place a temporary restraining order while he considered the arguments from the two-hour hearing. The state Supreme Court this fall overruled Reynolds in the case and said there is no constitutional right to access medical marijuana. The justices sent the case back to Reynolds, telling the judge to re-

view the restrictions in the 2011 law by determining whether they are rationally related to a legitimate government interest. Reynolds acknowledged that he was struggling with the high

Goetz presented three medical marijuana users - two cancer patients and a woman with numerous illnesses including leukemia and scoliosis - who testified they would not know where to find the drug if their providers went out of business and they could not physically grow their own. court's order, particularly on how the state law allowing some use of medical marijuana can be reconciled with the federal ban of the Schedule I drug. But while Reynolds did not issue a ruling, he said he believes the state's restrictions on medical marijuana providers to be ``lo-

Ruling allows California to cut Medi-Cal payments SACRAMENTO, Calif.: A federal appeals court has affirmed California's right to cut payments made to Medi-Cal providers by 10 percent, a victory that Gov. Jerry Brown's administration says will save the state more than $330 million a year. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that trial courts cannot block the state from making the cuts that were approved by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Doctors, pharmacists and other health providers who had sued to try to block the cuts immediately urged the state to reconsider reducing the payments made under the insurance program for the poor and disabled. The groups say they are evaluating their legal options for an appeal. State lawmakers authorized cuts last year to save money, but a district court blocked the move. At the time it was passed, AB 97 was projected to save $660 million, with half the savings going to the state's general fund. Brown's finance officials say the state could see an additional one-time savings of at least $124 million in the general fund if the cut is applied retroactively to June 2011. ``Today's decision allows California to continue providing quality care for people on Medi-Cal while saving the state millions of dollars in unnecessary costs,'' said Brown's spokesman Gareth Lacy. Dr. Paul Phinney, president of the California Medical Association, which represents 35,000

gistically and rationally unreasonable.'' Other provisions of the 2011 law that have gone into effect squeezed out other medical marijuana users except for the most ill

doctors, said the cuts will tragically hurt the access to care for millions of patients. The association says ongoing cuts to Medi-Cal have left doctors with little option but to stop taking qualified patients because the reimbursements do not meet the cost of overhead and supplies to treat them. ``Our hope is that state officials and Gov. Brown can look at the situation and decide not to move forward with these cuts,'' Phinney said in a statement. ``It was a tough

'The decision allows California to continue providing quality care for people on Medi-Cal while saving the state millions of dollars in unnecessary costs' budget decision that was made when the state was in a much more dire fiscal situation than it is now.'' Health providers also voiced concern that the cuts will impact roughly 900,000 kids who are being moved next year from the children's health insurance program known as Healthy Families into Medi-Cal. In addition, millions of new patients are expected to be eligible for Medi-Cal under federal health reform. The program currently serves 7.7 million Californians. -AP

patients, Reynolds said. The parts of the law now being challenged would require those patients to grow their own marijuana if they are unable to find a provider to do it for free, and many of them are physically unable to do so. ``I think that's irrational,'' Reynolds said.

Assistant Attorney General Stuart Segrest said the state has met the Supreme Court's requirement that it prove the law is rationally related to a state interest. It is within the state's right to implement the restrictions because they allow authorities to curb abuse, and the restrictions do not cut off patients' marijuana access, he said. Segrest added that a voter referendum last month that upheld the law takes away the argument that the Legislature acted against the will of the people by passing the law. Montana Cannabis Industry Association attorney James Goetz said the restrictions are irrational because they only cut off access to those who need medical marijuana the most. He said a July memo that purportedly came from U.S. Attorney Mike Cotter - but which Cotter would not confirm as his - shows that federal pros-

ecutors don't plan to go after smallvolume providers or users of medical marijuana. An Associated Press request for the memo under the Freedom of Information Act has been pending for more than two months. Goetz presented three medical marijuana users - two cancer patients and a woman with numerous illnesses including leukemia and scoliosis - who testified they would not know where to find the drug if their providers went out of business and they could not physically grow their own. ``At 65, how do I find somebody underground to do it? I don't know what to do,'' said Melva Stewart. Two medical marijuana providers testified they would likely close down if the provisions banning compensation and limiting patients were enacted, and said it would be difficult and expensive for patients to grow their own. -AP

Senate moves bill covering fertility care for vets

The chief sponsor, Sen. Patty Murray

WASHINGTON: Wounded veterans and their spouses who want to have children could get the government to pay for fertility treatments such as in vitro fertilization under legislation beginning to move through Congress in the waning days of the session. By voice vote, the Senate passed a bill to update the Veterans Affairs Department's medical coverage for one of the signature wounds of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan: trauma to a soldier's reproductive organs. Nearly 2,000 service members suffered such wounds between 2003 and 2011. But when wounded veterans went to the VA for medical help in starting a family, they were told the VA doesn't provide that kind of care. A similar bill is pending in the House. Supporters said the Senate's action increases its

chances of becoming law before Congress adjourns. The chief sponsor, Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., said she has heard from veterans whose mar-

"It made us feel like we were back on track, that our marriage was where we wanted it to be and that our family was where we wanted it to be," she said of having children riages have dissolved because of the stress of infertility, in combination with the stresses of readjusting to civilian life after severe injury.

``Any service member who sustains this type of serious injury deserves so much more,'' she said. With both chambers deadlocked on budget issues, even Murray was surprised the bill didn't raise a single objection in the Senate. Any objection would have quashed it for the year. As Murray spoke, Tracy Keil, of Colorado, watched from the gallery. Her husband, Staff Sgt. Matt Keil, was paralyzed from the chest down after he was shot in the neck in Iraq. The Keils were able to afford the nearly $32,000 it cost for in vitro fertilization and now have 2-year-old twins, Matthew and Faith. But knowing that many families cannot afford that on their own, the Keils have been lobbying Congress to expand the VA's coverage. ``It made us feel like we were back on track, that our marriage was where we wanted it to be and that our family was where we wanted it to be,'' she said of having children. ``Even though we had the injury disrupt the timeline of our expectations, it's everything we've always dreamed of and it makes Matt feel whole again.'' ``We wake up to the joys of our kids every day and I can't picture my life without them now,'' added Matt Keil in a telephone interview. The legislation is estimated to cost $568 million over five years, to be covered through savings from scaling down military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. -AP


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Illegal tobacco sales to minors rise 8.7% Cont’d from page 12

• Illegal tobacco sales to minors rose to 8.7 percent from 5.6 percent in 2011, which was the state’s lowest rate since the survey began in 1995; • Prevalence of smoking was higher at schools in neighborhoods with five or more stores that sell tobacco than at schools in neighborhoods without any stores that sell tobacco; • In 2011, young adults 18-24 had the highest smoking prevalence among any age group in California; • The popularity, promotion and availability of smokeless tobacco have greatly increased – examples include snus (a smokeless, spitless, moist-snuff product), cigarillos (small flavored cigars that are often sold individually), as well as dissolvable and flavored “orbs” and “sticks” that are currently being test-marketed in other states; • In less than a decade, sales of smokeless products have nearly tripled, from $77 million in 2001 to $211 million in 2011; and • Nearly one-third (32.3 percent) of California stores that sell tobacco had at least one cigarette advertisement less than three feet above the floor, where it is easily seen by children. “In 2012, smoking and the use of other tobacco products continues to be a major public health concern in California, with approximately 3.6 million smokers in the state,” added Chapman. “More than 34,000 deaths from tobacco-related illnesses occur every year, and the cost of adult health care related to smoking in California is projected to be $6.5 billion this year, about $400 per taxpayer. The most cost-effective way to decrease health care costs is to encourage and support tobacco cessation. I strongly urge all Cali-

fornians who still smoke to quit.” Chapman also unveiled new ethnic-market advertisements that will continue to educate Californians on the harmful effects of tobacco use. In addition to the ads, a new Spanish website, CAsinTabaco, was launched to complement the campaign and to provide the Spanishspeaking community the tools they need to quit. Ads will start airing in early January and can be viewed at TobaccoFreeCA. The California Tobacco Control Program was established by the Tobacco Tax and Health Protec-

“More than 34,000 deaths from tobaccorelated illnesses occur every year, and the cost of adult health care related to smoking in California is projected to be $6.5 billion tion Act of 1988. The act, approved by California voters, instituted a 25-cent tax on each pack of cigarettes and earmarked five cents of that tax to fund California’s tobacco control efforts. These efforts include supporting local health departments and community organizations, an aggressive media campaign, and tobacco-related evaluation and surveillance. California’s comprehensive approach has changed social norms around tobacco-use and secondhand smoke, resulting in dramatic results. It is estimated California’s tobacco control efforts have saved more than one million lives and have resulted in $86 billion worth of savings in health care costs.

People worldwide living longer, but sicker LONDON: Nearly everywhere around the world, people are living longer and fewer children are dying. But increasingly, people are grappling with the diseases and disabilities of modern life, according to the most expansive global look so far at life expectancy and the biggest health threats. The last comprehensive study was in 1990 and the top health problem then was the death of children under 5 more than 10 million each year. Since then, campaigns to vaccinate kids against

diseases like polio and measles have reduced the number of children dying to about 7 million. Malnutrition was once the main health threat for children. Now, everywhere except Africa, they are much more likely to overeat than to starve. With more children surviving, chronic illnesses and disabilities that strike later in life are taking a bigger toll, the research said. High blood pressure has become the leading health risk worldwide, followed by smoking and alcohol. -AP

Senate approves anti-abortion bills in Michigan Cont’d from page 13

Another key provision requires a physician to perform a mandatory physical examination before prescribing drugs that would cause a medically induced abortion, and prohibits the use of telemedicine, or a web-based camera for that exam. The legislation drew a litany of failed amendments from Democratic Sen. Rebekah Warren, who described it as ``dangerous and punitive.'' Warren's changes included one making the coercion language neutral so criminal penalties also could apply to someone forcing a woman to carry her pregnancy to its full term, and another requiring

a man seeking a vasectomy to be examined by a physician to determine that it's medically necessary. ``Women in Michigan, I hope you're paying attention - today, the sky has fallen,'' said Warren of Ann Arbor, who spent several years working for a nonprofit women's reproductive health clinic. ``This is a shameless back-door attempt to shut down women's reproductive health clinics in the state.'' Supporters viewed the measures as commonsense reforms that keep women safe. ``This bill requires abortion clinics in Michigan be licensed and inspected just like we license junkyards, casinos, dentists' of-

fices, tattoo parlors and everything else,'' said Republican Sen. Rick Jones of Grand Ledge. ``This bill is a pro-woman bill.'' The legislation had been stripped of some contentious aspects as it moved through the legislative process. Most recently, a requirement was removed that required a physician to maintain at least $1 million worth of liability coverage if he or she performed at least six abortions per month and met certain other conditions regarding liability or professional disciplinary sanctions. Earlier, lawmakers didn't take up a companion bill to ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. -AP


Desi News It is time to open Fremont Main Library on Sundays JOE SAMAGOND Member, Fremont Library Advisory Commission

Remember 2003? That was when Arnold Schwarzenegger was first elected Governor of California, the fifth Harry Potter book "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" was released and President Bush took us to war in Iraq. That year, the City of Fremont stopped funding Sunday hours for the Fremont Main Library. Details on page 21

COMMUNITY ACROSS AMERICA

Khushi lights up Artesia Shopping Festival Details on page 25

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December 28, 2012

Vishwa Gujarati Samaj hosts banquet & Diwali Milan RAMESH SOPARAWALA & ASIAN MEDIA USA

AIPHA silver jubilee meet a big success SURESH SHAH & ASIAN MEDIA USA

CHICAGO: A front ranking organization of Indian American pharmacists, the Association of Indian Pharmacists in America (AIPHA) is planning a small expansion of the base of its activities for the benefits of its members and independent pharmacists by setting up AIPHA Buying Club. Unveiling the proposal at the 25th Annual Diwali meet of the association held on Saturday, December 8 at Meadows Club in Rolling Meadows, a north west suburb of Chicago, Harish Bhatt, AIPHA president said, "One of our present goals is to set up AIPHA Buying Club, allowing our members to take advantage of the opportunities of cooperative purchasing on pharmaceuticals and supplies. Details on page 18

Ghazal Night in memory of disaster victims VIDYA SETHURAMAN India Post News Service

SAN JOSE: WomenNow presented "Charity Ghazal Night", of Thanks and Giving for the people who have suffered from natural disasters in 2012. The two hour musical evening was presented by Manesh Judge on December 16 at San Jose Garden airport hotel. The crowd was mesmerized by the performance of Ghazal maestro Praveen Chaddha. He is one of the most sought after singers in the Indian music scene in North America. He performed for about 50 minutes and sang popular ghazals. Sufi singer, Sunita Sharma sang for about 30 minutes. Details on page 24

VGS President Naren Patel welcoming guests

CHICAGO: Of the two most noteworthy features of the annual banquet and Diwali Milan that the Vishwa Gujarati Samaj USA hosted here recently was a sincere and honest attempt to showcase Gujarati culture thru dances and songs, and the second was to recognize Gujarati community activists who contributed a lot for the

Cultural presentation of Vande Mataram that evoked huge applause

betterment of the society at large. The event held on Sunday December 16 at India House restaurant was very well attended with 500 plus invitees, guests and members. The near three and half hour program was very well emceed by three ladies - Beena Patel, Dr Sonal Patel and Sonali Shukla with spicing up done by yet an-

other lady - Toral Chaudhary - who had children and young ones tuned up to perform Gujarati Garba, Raas and other songs. The Gujarati food during social hours and dinner time was excellent and VGS headed by Naren Patel would get full marks but for a small fly in the ointment - the famed comedian Mahesh Rawal

did not really get a chance to present his art. He was disappointed and so were a good number of his fans. Bust Masti group from Baroda really made up for it to a great extent and all those present were happy to have their Sunday evening spent at India House. Cont’d on page 19

Brown is longest serving Clerk of Circuit Court Asian Media USA

CHICAGO: A great friend of India and members of Indian community at large, Ms. Dor-

Dorothy Brown

othy Brown, Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County, was formally sworn into office by Chief Judge Timothy Evans early this month at the Richard J. Daley Center in Chicago Downtown. This landmark event signified that Clerk Brown the longest serving Clerk of Circuit Court in the history of Cook County. In turn, Clerk Brown gave the official oath of office to members of her Executive and Senior Staff and other employees at the morning program. All employees of the Office of the Clerk of Court were deputized. In her remarks, Clerk Brown said, "The Office of the Clerk of the Circuit Court plays a vital role

in the legal system as the official keeper of the records of all judicial matters brought into the court system, and by maintaining these records in an unbiased safe and

and a host of dignitaries participated. Clerk Brown reviewed her plans for the next four years and announced new technology coming to the Clerk's Office. A

Clerk Brown gave the official oath of office to members of her Executive and Senior Staff and other employees at the morning program. All employees of the Office of the Clerk of Court were deputized secure manner and we help to ensure equal justice for all." Clerk Brown hosted an Inaugural Celebration where Cook County Board President, Toni Preckwinkle gave a brief speech

reception immediately followed and an Open House with tours of each division of the Clerk's Office were offered throughout the afternoon. Cont’d on page 20


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Rita Singh elected FIA President for 2013 HARISH RAO

CHICAGO: The Federation of Indian Associations, Chicago, (FIA-C) Illinois has successfully conducted its elections for the new teams for 2013 on December 8. All FIA Member organizations met at India House Banquet in Schaumburg.

Rita Singh, newly elect President FIA

The election process was conducted democratically under supervision of Attorney-at-Law John A. Runion of John A Runion & Associates and Brian Pregler of Property Management Techniques, Inc (Election processing system management) Shahid Razvi, secretary of FIA, had worked diligently to ensure that the entire election process was conducted in most fair and democratic manner. The meeting started at 1 pm and voting process was complete by 2:15 pm. The results of the election were announced by Attorney-at-Law at John A. Runion of John A Runion & Associates at 2:30 pm. Rita Singh was announced winner for President of FIA for 2013 with big applause. Rita Singh is the first woman in the Federation of Indian Associations, Chicago, Illinois to be elected as President. While accepting the FIA President position, Rita Singh thanked all the members of FIA and representatives of FIA member organi-

Sitting left to right - Bharti Desai (Vice President Elect) Rita Singh (FIA President Elect) Benazir Abidi (Joint Secretary Elect) Standing left to right- Brien Pregler of Property Management Techniques (Election processing system management) J. B. Singha (Vice President Elect), John A. Runion, Eraj S. Ahmed (Vice President Elect), Shahid Razvi (General Secretary Elect), Fareeduddin Sabiri (Joint Treasurer Elect)

zations and media for their support. President Elect Rita Singh is planning to take the FIA to next level in 2013. She is a very successful business lady and one of the pioneers in Show business. She is very well connected with Bollywood. There is no doubt that FIA will touch new heights in

2013, said Shahid Rizvi. The names of the new executive members of FIA are as follows: President: Rita Singh; Executive Vice President Publication & Souvenir Committee: Monty Syed; Vice President Protocol and Correspondence: J. B. Singha; Vice President Finance, Budget, Fundraising Committee: Dhiteudra

Bhagwakar; Vice President Program Committee: Bharti Desai; Vice President Banquet & Parade Committee: Eraj S. Ahmed; Vice President Disciplinary Action Committee: Rita Shah; General Secretary: Shahid Razvi; Treasurer Shanu Sinha; Joint Secretary: Benazir Abidi; Joint Treasurer: Mohd Fareeduddin Sabiri.


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AIPHA silver jubilee meet a big success SURESH SHAH & ASIAN MEDIA USA

Association of Indian Pharmacists in America Board members with President Harish Bhatt

CHICAGO: A front ranking organization of Indian American pharmacists, the Association of Indian Pharmacists in America (AIPHA) is planning a small expansion of the base of its activi-

collectively to manufacturers and suppliers, allowing independent pharmacies to share the benefits of bulk purchasing power". The event attended by 500 plus guests, invitees and members was

They then forwarded the proceedings to Madan Kulkarni of Dhrishti to introduce and conduct the exciting dance presentations. The fabulous and extremely well choreographed dances fea-

Jay Stewart, Director Department of Financial and Professional Regulation and John Dik owner of Dik Drug company who received the life time achievement award)

Dutta Tomar and Jay Stewart, Director of Division of Financial and Professional Regulation for the State of Illinois. Air India Manager Rishikant Singh was a special guest Acknowledgements and appreciation gifts were presented to John Lagattuta, (Director of health related position), Sherry Eshoo (Deputy Director of Statewide Enforcement),Yash Amin (Director of Drug Compliance), John Dik of Dik Drug Company; Steve Lawrence from Cardinal Drugs, Dale Smith from HD Smith Drugs, Rishi Singh from Air India, Jake

Miller Aipha's lobbyist and Bob Greenlee, AIPHA's buying group attorney Regulatory head Jay Stewart. The event was sponsored by Steve Lawrence and John Dik of Dik/Cardinal Drug, Dale Smith of HD Smith and Rishi Singh of Air India. John Dik owner of Dik Drug company received the lifetime achievement award and Dr Yashwant Amin received award for Excelling in his field of Pharmacy and Social Work. Cont’d on page 20

Madan Kulkarni introducing Artists, Ms Mukta Tomar Indian Consul General and Rishikant Singh Air India Manager addressing the gathering

ties for the benefits of its members and independent pharmacists by setting up AIPHA Buying Club. Unveiling the proposal at the 25th Annual Diwali meet of the association held on Saturday, December 8 at Meadows Club in Rolling Meadows, a north west suburb of Chicago, Harish Bhatt, AIPHA president said, "One of our present goals is to set up AIPHA Buying Club, allowing our members to take advantage of the opportunities of cooperative purchasing on pharmaceuticals and supplies. An AIPHA affiliate company will represent all members

deemed huge success. It induced Gita Patel, a member Pharmacist, to comment that "this organization has been in existence for 25 years and this is the largest crowd that I have ever seen for this organization. It is a cause for everyone to get together to learn what is going on in the pharmaceutical industry." The evening started with a social hour featuring some tasty appetizers and premium drinks. Masters of Ceremonies for the occasion Pratik Shah and Sharon Xavier kicked off the program by welcoming everyone to the gala.

tured MKM Bollystars from California comprising Shivani Thakkar, Kaasi Aysola, Gloria Lanuza, Joya Kazi and Jack Tyler. They were well matched by the performances of Chicagoan dancers Megan Hartman and Jessica Beuckman. Another highlight of the over three-hour event was an informational narrative of the circumstances of each composition which left the audience wowed and clamoring for more. Spectacular lights and sound added a punch to the performances. The guests of honor were the Indian Consul General Ms Mukta

Bollywood singer Samir Date and SaRaGaMaPa winner Dipali Somayia Pics Asian Media USA


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Volunteer Appreciation Day at Jalaram Mandir YOGESH THAKKAR & ASIAN MEDIA USA

CHICAGO: "Volunteers are not paid, not because they are worthless but because they are priceless", observed Chirayu Parikh, president Jalaram Mandir, " and it was in this spirit that the Jalaram Mandir management decided to offer its recognition to hundreds of volunteers who have helped in executing successfully various activities of the Mandir." Shri Jalaram Mandir in Hoffman Estates, a northwest suburb of Chicago, celebrated its third Volunteer Appreciation Day on Saturday, December 15 with Bollywood music from Suranjali group of musicians. Over 230 volunteers and their families came and enjoyed the special evening besides getting recognition from the Mandir Board. Shree Jalaram Mandir was inaugurated on March 8, 2008, though in fact it had started functioning in a rudimentary way two years ago, that is in 2006. It was with a generous donation from devotees and well wishers that helped raise $1.25 million. A parcel of land was purchased and the

Jalaram Mandir officials with priests and volunteers. Pic Asian Media USA

towards the Mandir's progress. In honor of such commitment, Jalaram Mandir Board decided to have a beautiful way to say thanks to all the volunteers with a musical night and splendid dinner. Prior

Jalaram Mandir Board decided to have a beautiful way to say thanks to all the volunteers with a musical night and splendid dinner. Prior to Musical program, a delicious Gujarati dinner was served Mandir was set up for thousands of Jalaram Bapa devotees. Saturday, December 15 was a day to appreciate every single person who had devoted their time

to Musical program, a delicious Gujarati dinner was served. The program started with DeepPragatya by Priests Shree Katenbhai Jani and Shree

Chaturbhai Deevan. This year they had a raffle to select five volunteers as Chief Guests. Kalpesh Thakkar, Madhuben Patel, Sarojben Shah, Vasuben Prajapati and Ashaben Thakkar were lucky volunteers who performed Deep Pragatya along with the priests. Vipulbhai Thakkar and Rajendra Thakkar did an excellent job as Masters of Ceremony. Chirayu Parikh, president, welcomed the guests and volunteers on behalf of the Jalaram Mandir Trust Board and Executive Board. Explaining the reason for Appreciation Day, he observed that this was "to recognize formally the huge support and cooperation rendered by volunteers in helping the management to carry out

Mandir's activities during the year." Rajendra Thakkar, the Volunter coordinator, thanked all those who have helped the Mandir in improvement work and assisting in

village hall of Schaumburg and within a few weeks time a new elevator will be installed. There are lot more challenges ahead for central air-conditioning and Murti Pratishtha." Harivadan Thakkar recited a poem which was followed by vote of thanks proposed by Bhupendrabhai Thakkar. He thanked Jigger Parikh from Saffron Restaurant for providing delicious sweets. Suranjali team comprised four singers - Suresh and Vijaya Israni, Sunil Pillai and Sanjay Varghese. They entertained all those present with melodious rendering of old and new Hindi film songs. Trustees and Office Bearers of Shree Jalaram Mandir 2011-2013 Executive Committee: Chirayu Parikh (President), Bhupendra Thakkar (Vice President), Vipul Thakkar (General Secretary), Ravi Thakkar (Treasurer), Rajendra Thakkar (Financial Auditor & Volunteer Coordinator), Rajni Modi (Publication & Mailing), Saurin Thakkar (Parking Coordinator), Ramesh Thakkar (Kitchen Coordi-

“Last week we received approval of 60 ft expansion from village hall of Schaumburg and within a few weeks time a new elevator will be installed. There are lot more challenges ahead for central air-conditioning” day to day activities like accommodating the devotees with daily parking and seating arrangement. He added, "Last week we received approval of 60 ft expansion from

nator), Rajesh Thakkar (Cultural Secretary), Jigna Thakkar (Youth Coordinator), Bakul Thakkar (Medical Coordinator). Cont’d on page 22

Vishwa Gujarati Samaj hosts banquet & Diwali Milan Cont’d from page 16

The event started with traditional lighting of lamps by Chief Guest Dr. Ram Raju, President Naren Patel, Grand Sponsor Mafat Patel, Kanti Patel, VGS Board members and others, including Awardees who were recognized for their wonderful contributions to the society. Naren Patel in his brief address urged every body to observe a minute's silence in memory of those who killed in a random act of violence in Connecticut. He welcomed the guests and members and briefly dwelt on the progress made by VGS in recent years. Raj Patel, vice president of MedStar Laboratories introduced Dr Ram Raju who in his brief address lauded the huge work done by VGS and mentioned that he was

VGS guests and artists

feeling more at home in Chicago than in New York where he had spent about three decades before coming to Chicago. Those recognized at the VGS event were Dr Bharat Barai of Indiana, Dr Sanjay Amin, Kishore Chug and Dr Manish Brahmbhatt. Special recognition went to Dr Beejal Amin, a neuro spine surgeon at Loyola Hospital. The cultural program covered 1) Ganesh Stuti 2) Garabo with matlies, thalis and dandiyas "Gheru Gheru Nagaru Bole Che". 3) Bollywood dance - Tumhi ho bandhu 4) Beats of passion - a contemporary twist on Bharatnatyam 5) Vande Mataram 6) Bollywood on beats of Gujarat Rajasthani folk with Garabo-raas "Morni baga ma bole aadhi raat ma and dholi taro dhol baje" performed by Sonal Patel's group.


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Christmas trees from world traditions on display SURENDRA ULLAL

CHICAGO: Over 90 Christmas trees and religious displays, "Holiday Trees from Around the World," reflecti n g Chicagoland's ethnic diversity are being shown during this holiday season in the office of Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas in Chicago downtown. Three-foothigh Christmas trees decorated by sponsoring groups and individuals to reflect

AIPHA silver jubilee meet a big success Cont’d from page 18

A fund raising raffle was conducted during the evening by Tushar Mehta which featured exciting prizes like an I pad, a 32inch flat screen HDTV and a couple of Android tablets. The grand prizes were two individual airline tickets to India from Air India. In his presidential address, Harish Bhatt observed, "the major issues we now face include Medicaid's policy of paying for only four prescriptions per patient and Medicare Part D, which Shivani Thakkar of Los Angeles Belly dance Academy

forces patients to go to chain pharmacies and to mail order. But

Emcees Pratik Shah and Sharon Xavier

AIPHA has battled and succeeded in issues that have threatened our profession in the past and we see no desire to back down now", he went on to add. A scintillating music concert by Mumbai's award winning singers Samir Date and Dipalee Somaiyya then regaled the audience till the wee hours. The performance featured popular hits over the ages aptly titled Kal, Aaj aur Kal. The program concluded with some great memories of an evening which was educational, fun and entertaining. Kasi Aysola India Classical dancer (Los Angeles) and Shivani Thakkar of Los Angeles Belly dance Academy)

Christmas trees display and Holiday party at Maria Pappas' Office. Cook Country Treasurer Maria Pappas welcomes Gulzar Khemani (left), Pankaj Patel (second from left), Rashmika Shah (right) from the Metropolitan Asian American Family Services, to her annual Holiday Party

specific cultural traditions are on dor, Egypt, England, Estonia, counters and tables through the Ethiopia, Finland, France, GerTreasurer's Office, along with dis- many, Greece, Guatemala. Haiti, plays from the African American, Honduras, Hungary, India, IndoHindu, Jewish and Muslim tradi- nesia, Iran, Ireland, Ireland Northern, Italy, Japan, Korea, Laos, tions. The trees have not only orna- Latvia, Lebanon, Lithuania, Luxments and tinsel, but also animals, embourg, Macedonia, Mexico, flowers, fruit, balls, candles, plates, Native American, Netherlands, boats, stars, flags and other items. Trees and displays The trees have not only representing the follow- ornaments and tinsel, but ing countries, groups and also animals, flowers, ethnic communities are on display through January fruit, balls, candles, plates, 4, 2013: boats, stars, flags and African American, Albania, Argentina, other items Assyrian, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Bangladesh, Barba- Nigeria, Pakistan, Panama, Peru, dos, Barbie Doll, Belarus, Belgium, Philippines, Poland, Puerto Rico, Belize, Bolivia, Bosnia and Romania, Russia, Scotland, Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Senegal, Serbia, Slovakia, Canada, Canada-Quebec, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, Carpatho-Rusyn, China, Colom- Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, Urubia, Cornwall, Croatia, Cuba, guay, Ukraine, United States, VietCzech Republic, Denmark, Ecua- nam, Wales.

Brown is longest serving Clerk of Circuit Court Cont’d from page 16

"I am committed to serving Cook County citizens by continuing to shape the Clerk's Office into a model of excellence in record keeping," said Clerk Brown. "I am honored to serve the public in this capacity." she added. Dorothy Brown is the first African-American Clerk of the Cir-

cuit Court of Cook County, who was first elected into office on November 7, 2000. Her unique qualifications and over 25 years of professional experience have enabled her to significantly reform the Clerk's Office through focusing on technological advancements, employee training and financial accountability.


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It is time to open Fremont Main Library on Sundays JOE SAMAGOND Member, Fremont Library Advisory Commission

Remember 2003? That was when Arnold Schwarzenegger was first elected Governor of California, the fifth Harry Potter book

2x the second ranked library in this category) • Highest # of library visits • Highest activity in the Reference section • Highest program attendance • Largest collection

Take a few minutes to consider this data: City

Population

Open on Sundays?

Albany Castro Valley Dublin Fremont (all Libraries)1 Newark Union City San Lorenzo2

18,488 61,388 46,785 217,700 43,041 70,646 23,452

Yes Yes Yes No No Yes Yes

1 - Fremont Main, Centerville, Niles, Irvington. 2 - San Lorenzo is also included in Union City data.

"Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" was released and President Bush took us to war in Iraq. That year, the City of Fremont stopped funding Sunday hours for the Fremont Main Library. And now chew on these factoids - Fremont Main Library's position in Alameda County is as follows: • Largest library in terms of square footage • Largest # of resident borrowers (38% of total county) • Highest number of children and teen library cards (more than

• Largest DVD collection • Largest collection in most # of languages (14) • Highest gate count per open hour (295) • Third highest residence usage (89.1%, behind Irvington and Centerville, both Fremont libraries) Source: Alameda County Library 2011 - 2012 Annual Statistics What this tells us is that the Fremont Main Library with the most resources and the greatest need is one of the few libraries in all of Alameda County that is closed on Sundays. Does that

make sense to you? It is also useful to consider the additional value that the Fremont Main Library specifically provides to our community (besides access the collection of books, DVDs, magazines, etc.).

At the Fremont Main Library, there are over 40 stations for adults and 17 in the children's area, where users can use computers and popular applications Providing Computer and Internet Access: At the Fremont Main Library, there are over 40 stations for adults and 17 in the children's area, where users can use computers and popular applications. These are very popular and heavily used. People can browse the Internet on some of these computers or on their own devices using the library's free WiFi access. Assisting Job Seekers: Our libraries are helping level the playing field for job seekers. In addition to free public access to computers and the Internet, libraries support job seekers with special-

ized databases and software, along with library programming which covers job seeking strategies and resources, internet training, and much more. Databases supplied at the Fremont Main Library (which can be used at home, or on one of the library's computers) include: • Career Cruising: close to 500 career profiles, each containing two multimedia interviews, an interest assessment tool with a

Teresa Cox sworn in for 2nd Term RITU MAHESHWARI India Post News Service

FREMONT: Ohlone College Trustee Teresa Cox and Trade Advisor to Obama Administration was sworn into office for her second term at Ohlone Community College on Fremont, California campus. She received the highest votes cast of 34% in Trustee Area 2. Long time friend, Alameda County Board of Supervisors Richard Valle administered the oath to Ms. Cox. David and Jacqueline Cox, children of The Honorable Teresa Cox, held the family Bible where Ms. Cox placed her hand. Ms. Cox has many firsts to her credit including being the

Teresa Cox and her family

Teresa Cox Swearing In Ceremony

first woman of color nuclear engineer and first woman of color elected twice at Ohlone College in 55 years. Honorable Cox dedicated her inaugural speech to her mother who, she said, was the most inspiring and courageous person that she has ever known. Her mother taught her about the importance of education and instilled the value of giving back to the community. Honorable Cox expressed gratitude to all who were present and in spirit and said she loves them from the bottom of her heart. She thanked all for their support and for believing in her commitment, vision, and desire to bring empowerment to the community.

skills assessment, and a personal portfolio tool with a built-in resume builder • Job Scout: teaches internet skills needed for job seekers • Brainfuse: links you with a live tutor to get help writing a resume • Learning Express Library includes study guides for many employment tests • Universal Class has hundreds of classes to take from ac-

counting to waiter and waitress training • Links to job listings that visitors can apply for Delivering Services: Fremont Main provides programming that assistance to those applying for or accessing e-government services, unemployment benefits and Medicare enrollment. During tax season, the library is a site for the VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) program, which offers free tax form completion for eligible visitors. There is also a "Lawyers in the Library" program, where people can sign up for a 15 minute free consultation with a lawyer who can offer advice and guidance. Community Place: The Library is a community gathering place for Fremont. Restoring Sunday hours will also make the Library meeting rooms available to community groups for an additional 52 days a year. Cont’d on page 25


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All-religion tribute to Connecticut victims their tears during this interfaith service. Audience accompanied well-known musician Jim Eaglesmith in his fusion rendition of "Give Peace a Chance". Opening the service with Gayatri Mantra, most sacred mantra of Hinduism from oldest existing scripture of the world RigVeda, Rajan Zed said: We want to show that Nevada faiths are united in their mourning and support for the victims, their families and others affected by this tragic loss in Connecticut.

From left to right: Buddhist Carole Maupin, Baha'i Roya Galata, Catholic Sue Kennedy, Hindu Rajan Zed, Mormon Nicholas Frey, Jewish Phillip Sanderson, interfaith student leader Daniel Sanchez, Muslim Sherif Elfass, Mormon George Keele. Pic Meredyth A. Busick India Post News Service

Christian-Muslim-Hindu-Buddhist-Jewish-Baha'i leaders came together in Nevada in a community-wide multi-faith memorial service in honor of Sandy Hook Elementary School Connecticut vic-

tims. They recited prayers and read from scriptures in Arabic-SanskritHebrew-Aramaic besides English and lighted candles at Reno First Congregational Church (RFCC), paying tributes to all victims, their families, teachers, administrators,

and first responders touched by this tragedy. Organized by Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, who is Director Interfaith Relations of Nevada Clergy Association, in collaboration with RFCC Pastor Rich Smith, many in the audience were seen wiping

Besides Zed and Smith, other speakers included Sue Kennedy from Our Lady of Wisdom Catholic Church; Sherif Elfass, President of Northern Nevada Muslim Community; Carole Maupin from Reno Buddhist Center; Phillip Sanderson of Jewish Temple Emanu-El, Baha'i teacher Roya Galata; Daniel R. Sanchez, President of Interfaith Students Club of University of Nevada-Reno; and George Keele and Nicholas Frey from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Hari Om Mandir celebrates Diwali festival

Beautiful 'Hindu Canyon' in Arizona

Hindu Canyon in Nevada India Post News Service

NEVADA: There is a "Hindu Canyon" in the Mohave County of Arizona state of USA. "Hindu Canyon" in the Hualapai Indian Reservation in the Lake Mead National Recreation

Area in the southwestern Grand Canyon corridor is reportedly a sequence of beautiful chutes, cascades, unusual-scenic narrows and pools; and is said to be almost completely unspoilt. Hindu leader Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA), ad-

miring the fascination of the West with Hindu names, urged it also to explore the rich philosophical thought which Hinduism offered. Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, pointed out that some formations in world famous Grand Canyon National Park (Arizona, USA) were named as Shiva Temple, Krishna Shrine, Vishnu Temple, Rama Shrine, Brahma Temple (7851 feet), and Hindu Amphitheater. There were "Narada Falls", highly popular horsetail type waterfall in Mount Rainier National Park in Lewis County in the Washington state of USA named by Arthur F. Knight in 1893, where waterfall dropped 188 feet and it flew year around.

Hari Om Mandir celbrated Diwali with Chappan (56) Bhog Asian Media USA

CHICAGO: With Chappan (56) Bhog, Hari Om Mandir in Medina (a Northwest Chicago suburb) culminated its Diwlai celebration in the presence of hundreds of devottes and Mandir officials. On the five days of Diwali celebrations, the temple opened early in the morning to facilitate those who came to offer prayers for the New Year. There was a continuous flow of people all day who came to the temple for

Darshan. Devotees prepared 56 Bhog with different types of Indian vegetarian food. The food was decorated by volunteers in similar steel bowls. In all 108 different dishes were arranged. The Mandir officials headed by Rajeev Bharel, and Ayodhia Salwan with a large number of volunteers worked hard for the success of the festival. The major corporate sponsors were Cuisine of India, Spice Mart, India House and Star Foods.

Volunteer Appreciation Day at Jalaram Mandir Cont’d from page 19

Trust Board Members: Madhusudan Thakkar (Chairman), Hasmukh Thakkar (Vice Chairman), Yogesh Thakkar (Secretary), Jasvant Patel (Comptroller), Dharmendra Thakker (Treasurer), Arvind Thakkar (Construction Coordinator), Ashwin Thakkar (Cultural Coordinator). Chandubhai Thakkar (Maintanance Coordinator). Chandrakant Thakkar (Kitchen Coordinator), Dr. Ghanshyambhai Thakkar and Dinish Thakkar.

A group of Jalaram Mandir volunteers

Ayodiha Salwan with two volunteers


December 28, 2012

Community Across America

India Post 23

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Bowling event yields funds for Sandy-hit kids India Post News Service

NEW YORK: Boutique PR firm, Neerja Public Relations, hosted a bowling event to raise money and toys for the nonprofit organization, Toys for Tots. The fundraiser which was held at Bowlmor Lanes in Times Square on December 9 raised nearly $2,000 worth of toys for children that were affected by Hurricane Sandy. The US Marine Corps Reserve

Toys for Tots is a program held each year during the months of October, November and December and aims to help less fortunate youngsters by giving them a new toy at Christmas. In support of the Toys for Toys program, specifically to help the children that were affected by Hurricane Sandy, Neerja Public Relations held a bowling event in New York City, along with an online 'WishList" at ToysRUs.com. Bowlmor

Lanes added their support by providing free shoe rental to each guest that brought a toy and donated 20% of all the money spent on bowling, food and drinks to the charity. "I am amazed and overwhelmed by the support from our community for the toy drive. It's such a wonderful feeling to give back this holiday season to those in need and I couldn't be happier that our company was a part of

Kanika Marwaha and Neerja Patel

Toys for Tots group

such a charitable cause" says Neerja Patel, Founder of Neerja Public Relations. The event was conceptualized and organized by Kanika Marwaha, Events Coordinator and Communications Specialist for Neerja Public Relations. Kanika holds a strong passion for assisting multiple non profits, including Sankara Eye Foundation. Her inspiration for hosting the event developed watching the

heart wrenching news coverage of Hurricane Sandy and the impact it had on young children. "It was exciting to see an event I envisioned yield such positive results. I'm already looking forward to doing it again next year!" says Kanika Marwaha. Special guests included Comedian Anish Shah and Joya Dass, TV anchor at CNN and NY1. Photography was provided by Kashma Photography and TV coverage was done by TV Asia.


24 India Post

Community Across America

December 28, 2012

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WomenNow presents Ghazal Night in memory of disaster victims

The WomenNow TV team

VIDYA SETHURAMAN India Post News Service

SAN JOSE: WomenNow presented "Charity Ghazal Night", of Thanks and Giving for the people who have suffered from natural disasters in 2012. The two hour musical evening was presented by Manesh Judge on December 16 at San Jose Garden airport hotel. The crowd was mesmerized by the per-

The proceedings of the show were donated to the Red Cross for people who have suffered from nature disasters in 2012. The event was attended by over 300 people. Among them were top businessmen, physicians, social workers of the Bay area, Dr Romesh Japra, Ms. Teresa Cox and Mr.Ash Kalra, to name a few. Each year, WomenNow continues to advance its mission of serv-

Ms Teresa Cox with Dr Romesh Japra

formance of Ghazal maestro Praveen Chaddha. He is one of the most sought after singers in the Indian music scene in North America. He performed for about 50 minutes and sang popular ghazals. Sufi singer, Sunita Sharma sang for about 30 minutes and enthralled the crowd with her power packed numbers. The last set of performance was by Manesh Judge, a well known musician of Bay area. The accompanying artists for the evening were Mike Anand on guitar, Akshay Naresh on flute and Happy Singh and Manesh Judge on tabla.

ing the community. Through its programs, it claims to have seen many lives change for the better. "Our goal is to continue to make a difference and with the help of donations from supporters such as you we will continue to see improvements," said Ena Sarkar, founder of WomenNow TV. She hoped to continue the great work in future, thereby give back to the community. Ena said she was inspired by the outcome of the event and planned to do many such events in the coming year to support the good cause. She thanked the donors who made the event a grand success.


December 28, 2012

Community Across America

India Post 25

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Khushi lights up Artesia Shopping Festival India Post News Service

ARTESIA, CA: The first annual Artesia Shopping Festival that took place over the December 8 & 9 weekend on the famous Pioneer Blvd in Artesia, was a huge success with throngs of shoppers coming in from all over Southern California and beyond to avail all the special discounts and hobnob with their favorite celebrities. Artesia Mayor Pro Tem Sally Flowers along with Sanaya Irani, the Khushi of the very popular prime-time show on Star 'Is Pyar Ko Kya Naam Doon" officially opened the festival to the public by coming out for a ribbon cutting ceremony. After the inauguration, Khushi met with her fans at the Dish Network booth and took pictures as well as signed autographs. She later made appearances at select stores on Pioneer Blvd, home to many Indian boutiques, restaurants and jewelry stores. The event was made possible by the support of leading Hindi General Entertainment channel, Star Plus and was powered by entertainment platform Dish Network. Participating merchants offered deep discounts on their wares during the two-day extravaganza. More than 50 merchants on the street signed up for the discount

Khushi (Sanaya Irani) cutting the ribbon at the Artesia Shopping Festival on December 8 as Artesia Mayor Pro-Tem Sally Flowers looks on

program that attracted shoppers from across the Southern California region and beyond. On Sunday, Dec 9, the second day of the festival, Star Plus brought surprise celebrity Raghav who met with fans and took pictures at the event.

(From L to R) Khushi, Mayor Pro-Tem Sally Flowers, and Rahul Walia, Founder Artesia Shopping Festival and CEO, Touchdown Media Inc. after the ribbon cutting ceremony.

"This event reiterates Star Network's commitment to the local community, i.e. our viewers; it is also our way of expressing gratitude to the small business advertisers who have brought tremendous value to the general entertainment space with their support.

Sikhs educate neighbors about Sikhi India Post News Service

SACRAMENTO: The State legislature in California declared November as Sikh Awareness and Appreciation month this year. California happens to be the only state to encourage the celebration of Sikhs and Sikh accomplishments on this scale. California Sikhs took advantage of this wonderful opportunity to educate their neighbors about Sikhi. Hundreds of California Sikhs, taking inspiration from a list of projects provided by the Sikh Coalition, organized events, led presentations and engaged with the media to celebrate this month. Below is a sample of some of the initiatives taken by the community: School Outreach Over 1,000 Sikh Awareness and Appreciation Month posters, created by the Sikh Coalition, were distributed to schools, public libraries, and county offices. All 58 County Superintendents of Education were sent information about Sikhs and how to teach Sikhism in the classroom. In addition to the state resolution, Elk Grove Unified School District and West Contra Costa Uni-

fied School District (page 83) have passed a resolution recognizing November as Sikh Awareness and Appreciation Month. Sikh Coalition staff, Sikh Presenter's Course Graduates, Sikh Advocates, and volunteers led over 60 presentations on Sikhism throughout the state. The San Jose City Council proclaimed November Sikh Awareness Month for the entire city.

The Sikh Coalition partnered with 3rd i Films to present three short films about the Sikh identity on November 15. The Sikh Coalition's advocacy manager moderated a Question and Answer session with some of the filmmakers. Seminars for local educators were hosted by gurdwaras in the following cities: San Jose, Yuba City, and Fresno. Sikh Coalition staff led presentations on Sikhism

Sikh Coalition staff, Sikh Presenter's Course Graduates, Sikh Advocates, and volunteers led over 60 presentations on Sikhism throughout the state. The San Jose City Council proclaimed November Sikh Awareness Month for the entire city Gurdwara/Sikh Community Outreach The Sikh Coalition sent packages to over 30 California gurdwaras with information about Sikh Awareness Month. The Coalition encouraged these gurdwaras to host a non-Sikh public educational event in the coming months and provided educational materials and guidance on how to do so.

and bias-based bullying against Sikh students at these events. The Sikh Coalition fielded over 30 requests of assistance from California Sikhs on how to distribute resources, lead presentations and approach educators to celebrate this month. San Jose Khalsa School had their students design posters celebrating the month and presented it to their public school teachers.

We have been an integral part of such an event in New Jersey and are pleased to nurture the growth of this new initiative in the Los Angeles area" said, M K Srinivasan, SVP - North America, Star Network. "My whole family has been so excited about this event ever since we heard about it. The deals, the shopping, the excitement have made it worth our trip. For the first time I could walk freely with my children on the road without worrying about cars. Overall an extremely well managed event," said Suman Arora, who drove in especially from San Diego, CA for this two-day extravaganza. The event was organized by Touchdown Media, after the grand success of the Oak Tree Shopping Festival in New Jersey. "The idea was to bring in all shoppers and help boost the sales and economy while providing them with star attractions and deep discounts," said Rahul Walia, Founder of the festival franchise and CEO, Touchdown Media Inc.

It is time to open Fremont Main Library on Sundays Cont’d from page 21

Empowering Children: Children's materials circulate over 1 million items each year at the Fremont Main Library. By motivating children to read, librarians create lifelong readers, and that makes for better citizens, and that makes for a healthier democracy. Without reading, everything in life is harder. Low literacy is linked to poverty, crime, dependence on government assistance, and poor health. And research has shown that parents who struggle with reading pass this legacy on to their children. Additionally, there is a strong need for homework support for Fremont students on Sunday which the Library provides. Why Sundays? Many living in Fremont have work and family obligations that make it difficult for them to come to the library on any day other than Sunday, thus depriving them of the information during weekdays. When it was open on Sundays pre2003, the library used average 2,000 people visitors with an average number of 3,000 items being checked out. I think that is impactful. How is Fremont Library funded? The County Library is funded primarily by local property taxes, with additional revenue from State grants and contracts with cities for additional open hours and services. The City of Fremont

stopped funding the libraries in 2003. It is time to restore that in the next fiscal year budget and join our neighboring cities like Dublin, Castro Valley and Union City in demonstrating our commitment to the readers and families in Fremont. The cost of restoring the Sunday hours is about $250,000 this coming fiscal year and breaks down to an annual cost of $1.16 per resident. Take Action We live in a knowledge-based economy, which is powered by reading and access to the Internet. Let's make these vital resources available on Sundays too. We ask you to join in supporting the efforts to re-open the Fremont Main Library on Sundays. You can do so by signing this petition http://tinyurl.com/ FremontLibrarySunday or visiting our Facebook page at (and "Liking" us) at https:// www.facebook.com/Restore Sunday Hours For Fremont Main Library As we work through the budget process in 2013, please add your voice by writing a "letter to the editor", expressing your support to the Fremont City Council, the Mayor, your local representative or attending a City Council meeting. Dr. Ruchi Sahota and Robert Monkman of the Fremont Library Advisory Commission contributed to this article.


26 India Post

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December 28, 2012

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IIGS empowering youth through soul-nourishing camps SARDARNI RAVLEEN KAUR

SAN BERNANDINO, CA: See the divine in all. That was the central message of the 76th Sikh International Youth Camp held this August under the pine canopy of the San Bernandino mountains. Since the tragic Wisconsin Sikh temple shooting which shook the community's spirit, one might have expected Sikhs to wallow in resentment, mourning, or selfpity. But Sikhs didn't do that when violently oppressed by Mughal emperors in the sixteenth century. They didn't do that when the British presence in India stomped on their rights. They didn't do that

ies (IIGS) pursues perhaps the most result-oriented of missions - it plants seeds. Communities under attack face the crushing reality that they are being targeted for who they are. Whether through vitriolic cartoons, flag burnings, or gunshots, bigoted violence towards an ethnic, religious, or racial communities constitute a genocide of the spirit - a threat to their very soul. How do we respond to this? The question burns in a million minds. IIGS, and the Sikh community at large, has responded the way it has always responded. We make ourselves stronger. We fall more

Communities under attack face the crushing reality that they are being targeted for who they are. Whether through vitriolic cartoons, flag burnings, or gunshots, bigoted violence towards an ethnic, religious, or racial communities constitute a genocide of the spirit - a threat to their very soul. How do we respond to this? when their holiest shrine, the Golden Temple, was attacked by the Indian government. And they certainly didn't do that at this camp. The International Institute of Gurmat Studies did this summer what it has been doing for decades; it celebrated and cultivated the Sikh spirit by empowering its youth. International Institute for Gurmat Stud-

deeply in love with our faith. We spread awareness not only about ourselves, but about others who face similar struggles. This begins at the grassroots level - with children and teenagers. But like other minorities who straddle the line between two cultures, Sikh youth born and raised in America sometimes fall through

the cracks. They face the dual pressures of assimilation into the mainstream and a commitment to their faith. This camp gives them a place they belong. As it has done for decades through camps, programs, and classes, the International Institute for Gurmat Studies continued to engage Sikh youth with their faith, all the while teaching them to infuse their own lives with positivity and purpose. The camp brought children and adults from California and around the nation. For many, IIGS is a second home. At the heart of the camps is a spirit of community. "You are all part of the IIGS family," said Kavi Raj Singh, director of the camp, in his opening remarks to a hall filled with both new and familiar faces. "Once you come to even one camp, you will always be a part of our family." That spirit of inclusion radiated throughout the camp. "It's really hard to find people who can relate to you on both a friendship level, and a spiritual level, but I finally found that at this camp," said Naureen Singh, 18. The days were long, beginning in the palest hours of morning and ending in inky-blue nights. Older campers tended after the younger ones, who, in some cases, were away from home for the first time. "Watching an 8-year-old kid help a random 6-year-old brush his teeth made me realize that they

weren't kidding when they said that IIGS is one big family," said Simran Singh, 20. In someway, IIGS hit the notes typical of summer camps: wood cabins, delicious food, new friendships, and spontaneous fun. Camps teach leadership and community, bonding and service. But in many ways, this annual camp transcends those clichĂŠs. Beyond religious instruction, this camp is about spiritual nourishment. Book-ending the mornings and evenings were gatherings in the prayer hall where campers sang shabads, sacred melodic hymns, accompanied musically by

workout of sorts, taking classes on topics ranging from Sikh history to martial arts to religious music. Campers learned how to tie a turban and decipher the poetic Sikh scriptures. They attended lectures on the purpose of life and importance of kesh, uncut hair. Selfless service and honest work are central tenets of Sikhism, and campers lived those principles through group tasks such as serving meals and arranging shoes outside the prayer hall. These simple duties were a microcosm of the way Sikhs are taught to live their lives. All of this stirred something in

In someway, IIGS hit the notes typical of summer camps: wood cabins, delicious food, new friendships, and spontaneous fun. Camps teach leadership and community, bonding and service. But in many ways, this annual camp transcends those clichĂŠs. Beyond religious instruction, this camp is about spiritual nourishment harmonium and tabla drums. Setting the tone for the day was the morning Naam simran, meditation upon the name of God. A sea of a hundred voices sang in unison, charging the air with a spiritual electricity that continued to reverberate long after the recitation ceased. Over the course of seven days, campers participated in a spiritual

young hearts. Pride. "I think this camp made me realize just how beautiful and meaningful Gurbani [the divine scriptures] is," said Manjot Kaur, 13. "I feel so proud to be born into this heritage and religion and I look forward to learning more and more everyday" Campers also discussed how to deal with the aftermath of the Sikh temple shooting. "What do you think Sikhs should do to advocate for our community?" asked counselor Gurdayal Singh in a Sikh history class. The group offered a multitude of ideas - from advertising campaigns to classroom education to fundraising and charity efforts. One young boy in the class suggested that Sikhs should stop "white people" from hurting them. "Be careful not to generalize any group because of the actions of one person. We have to spread this message to all," said the counselor. See God in all. That's the crux of the Sikh religion, which compels its adherents to see Waheguru - the creator, in all of humanity by cultivating within themselves a sincere love for God. What did campers glean out of the camp? For one, gratitude. "Always remember God and be grateful for each new day he gives you," said Sukhmani Kaur Charaia, 16. "Each new day is one more chance for understanding Him and the light he is shining upon us"


Community Across America

December 28, 2012

India Post 27

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Some thoughts on Saadat Hasan Manto's centenary RAS H. SIDDIQUI

B

orn and raised in a village few kilometers from Samrala Town, District Ludhiana on the Indian side of Punjab, Saadat Hasan Manto (1912 to 1955) left us horrified, speech-

early 1970s for capturing our collective imagination. The attention that Manto has been getting this year has some much older beginnings which include his stints in Bombay's na-

Manto with his wife

less and even offended while he scribed for the world the depths of depravity, uncertainty and the many ironies encountered during the partition of British India (into the independent states of India and Pakistan) in 1947. For one of the greatest Urdu short story writers the world has ever known (if not the greatest as he described himself), the personal journey was as troubled as the time in history he drew inspiration from. Manto died in Lahore at the young age 42 but not without sharing his genius. Since 2012 was heralded as the Manto centenary year, this scribe just could not let it close without

scent film industry and post partition Lahore. But this has also been the year that the three daughters of Saadat and Safiyah Manto, namely Nighat, Nuzhat and Nusrat finally visited his birthplace in India to a warm welcome. Their father also had an Aligarh Muslim University connection since he did attend that unique house of learning for a short time. It has been reported that he was initially inspired into the writing field by one Abdul Bari Alig, an author and a historian himself who introduced young Manto to the works of western authors. Manto started off by translating Victor Hugo's The Last Day of a Con-

The attention that Manto has been getting this year has some much older beginnings which include his stints in Bombay's nascent film industry and post partition Lahore. But this has also been the year that the three daughters of Saadat and Safiyah Manto, namely Nighat, Nuzhat and Nusrat finally visited his birthplace in India to a warm welcome saying some sort of goodbye. Being weak in Urdu script reading does not help matters here but thanks to translations of his writings by other people who have had a strong command of both the Urdu language and English (like the late Khalid Hasan amongst others), Manto Sahib has never been a stranger. Thanks are also in order to a television series called Mantorama on PTV during the

demned Man into Urdu which was published in Lahore, launching him into the realm of Urdu writing. He also translated Oscar Wilde and works of Russian writers but his own stories soon became a passion in the process. In a way this article is an attempt to stir up some more reader interest in this Urdu writer whose intensity of portraying some of the grimmest aspects of south-

Asian life remains unparalleled. What Manto did was something quite revolutionary in Urdu literature. He took symbolism and threw it out of the window and minced no words to hide what happened to people (especially women) during 1947. He described the rape and murder committed in the name of religion just like it occurred. Many people who once lived together in the same community and happened to be Hindu, Muslim or Sikh suddenly ceased to be human. Some almost became beasts when the forces of history marched on. Manto Sahib in the process of detailing this descent into madness and its aftereffects ended up defending himself against many cases of obscenity leveled against him in the new country of Pakistan (which he opted to move to in 1948). Urdu literature, especially its poetry, has always been well known for projecting profound thoughts wrapped in veiled and very symbolic clothing. Manto made the "error" of taking off this clothing completely in his writing (sometimes quite literally as in his story Khol Do). He also ran into a wall of people in two new countries (India and Pakistan) who wanted to hide under the rug what they once did to each other and move on. Manto, unfortunately for them, was not one to forget. Saadat Hasan Manto wrote about strange intimacies long before it became an acceptable norm even in the western world. His "Bu" (Smell) created a stir in pre-partition India. Later in a writing titled "Thanda Gosht" (Cold Flesh) he almost ventured out into the topic of necrophilia which generated the wrong kind of attention and won him a long trip to the courts for obscenity. Besides this topic, there is plenty of murder in Manto's writings since the late 1940s were quite a murderous period in British Indian history, especially in the

Punjab. Manto was deemed both an opportunist by left leaning progressives and a troublemaker by the conservative establishment in the new Pakistan. India took him off the radar too for quite some time (but he was not totally for-

downtrodden, violated, dispossessed, brutalized or the perpetrators of many sins, yet bewildered to discover that they still retain some leftover qualities that human beings just cannot completely let go of. The last big reason which

Down memory lane: The three daughters of Saadat Hasan Manto - Nighat, Nuzhat and Nusratduring their visit to New Dehli, India, this year

gotten). His once famous "Letters to Uncle Sam" were both witty and sarcastic but he was not as opposed to America as many of his contemporaries. By the time that he died Sadat Hasan Manto had offended and irritated just about everybody that mattered. But whose side was he really on? The answer might be that he always championed residual humanity. The term "re-

Manto book cover

sidual" here is applied to those of his characters who were already

caused this scribe to access the keyboard here to write about Saadat Hasan Manto has to be his masterpiece "Toba Tek Singh" which ridicules the attempts which were made to partition everything in 1947 between India and Pakistan (during which hundreds of thousands perished). Manto's fictional insane asylum Toba Tek Singh too is partitioned with Hindu and Sikh residents being forcibly transported out of Pakistan. The questions seriously asked in this particular writing of Manto's are, how does one really go about partitioning insanity and why? The Manto centenary recently celebrated should encourage Indians and Pakistanis to read and in the process rediscover Saadat Hassan Manto for themselves, even if it is in translation. Let us not just celebrate and forget his 100 years (many of which were spent in controversy), but use his works today to look back at our beginnings and find in them some food for thought for the future of the south-Asian region. Ras writes from Sacramento, California


TOP TEN HINDI FILM SONGS

28 India Post

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December 28, 2012

Shocking

Farhan

fans

A

award

ctor Irrfan has earned critical acclaim for his work and proven his versatility and acting mettle with his recent works. But being chosen by the masses for an award is something that leaves him surprised. The 50-year-old was given the CNN-IBN Indian Of The Year 2012 award for his contribution to the world of entertainment. He was acknowledged for his work in "Paan Singh Tomar", as well as Hollywood projects "The Amazing Spider-Man" and "Life Of Pi" this year. The actor, who competed with the likes of Ranbir Kapoor, Sridevi, Vidya Balan, Aamir Khan, S.S Rajamouli and the team of "Satyamev Jayate", feels honored. "This award is precious for me because the kind of nominations it had and the fact that the voting was done by public. I was never sure that I will get an award. The audience chose me and that was a really pleasant surprise." Irrfan said. "Certain awards give you happiness and we desperately need awards which have weight - the sanctity of an award and integrity of an award," he added.

S

onam Kapoor has been shooting for Bhaag Milkha Bhaag in Rajasthan and Delhi for last one month. In fact, when the trailer came out, Sonam and Farhan Akhtar were shooting for the film. A source says, "After seeing Farhan as Milkha Singh, Sonam has been flooded with requests. All her friends and extended family have become fans of Farhan and they wanted to meet him." In fact, the source says, that Sonam even began teasing Farhan about this. "Sonam changed her display picture on one of the chat groups on her phone to a picture of Farhan from the film. Her phone didn't stop ringing after that," the source adds. The source says, "About 32 people came on the sets and met Farhan. He spent time with all of them," adding that Sonam explained to her friends all that Farhan did to achieve this look. "Sonam really looks up to Farhan because of the amount of hard work he put in for this film," the source says.

MUSIC star too!

P

riyanka Chopra, who made her singing debut with her international single In My City has been nominated for three World Music Awards. Since the release of In My City in September 2012 the single has gone platinum and now Priyanka Chopra whose vocals featured alongside Will.i.am, has more to celebrate about with her nominations. The actress has been nominated under the category World's Best Female Artist, World's Best Song and World's Best Video alongside the likes of international singers Madonna, Alicia Keys, Justin Bieber, Adele, Beyonce and Rihanna. The World Music Awards is international awards show founded in 1989 that annually honors recording artists based on worldwide sales figures. Fans can vote for their favorite artists in every category. The actual awards ceremony is set to take place on December 22 in Miami.

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


Bollywood

December 28, 2012

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CHOOSY A

ctress Rani Mukerji says she is honored to have shared screen space with the three Khans of the industry - Aamir, Shah Rukh and Salman - and hopes it continues in future

SINGH

S

he may have not been able to make her presence felt on the silver screen the way audience expected her to post Lagaan's success, but that doesn't make Gracy Singh less choosy. Despite the fact that not many projects are in her kitty, she is still looking forward to doing only quality roles. And item numbers are certainly not on her wish list. "Item numbers are not my cup of tea," says the actress on her recent visit to Allahabad where she had come to perform at a college fest, adding, "You see, you get a movie like Lagaan once in lifetime. I got one and managed to get appreciation for my work in that movie. I've set up a standard for the kind of roles I want to do. More-

too. "It's a great honor to work with them in any film and I have always said that I always learn from them because I started my career with them and hopefully this association with all the three Khans will be there for a long time," the 34-year-old said at the success party of her latest film "Talaash". Rani adds that more than just films, it is her personal bond with them that matters. "Hopefully, I will be acting with them when I am 80. And more than a film's association it is the friendship which I have built with them over the years and I hope this friendship stays forever," she said.

KHAN KONNECT

S

hahid Kapoor has always been keen to learn new things and re cently when his house needed a renovation he decided to do the re-modeling himself. The Teri Meri Kahaani actor wanted to make sure his house reflects his taste and personality which is why he decided not to get an interior designer on board. Although, the 31-year-old heartthrob bought a few interior magazines and scanned them thoroughly.

SHAHID'S

interiors

over, I am a trained Bharatnatyam dancer and my dance performances are related to Krishna Leela and reflect Indian culture, so, item numbers would not suit my image." Dig her a little more regarding her film outings and she clarifies with smile, "My dance performances are my passion and because of them I am required to travel a lot, which leaves me with very little time to focus on other things. That's why I don't do more than one or two movies a year."

"Shahid decided to keep his walls white and the flooring and furniture essentially black which makes his house look spacious," said a source. The actor, currently working on Phata Poster Nikla Hero, made sure to keep his interior designing simple but elegant. Shahid also made a den for himself where he has a comfortable bed and an interesting collection of films across all genres. He feels that is the best way to invest in his craft i.e acting is by watching and learning from work across boundaries.

India Post 29


„

Realty Tidbits

Housing finance firms to raise $1bn from abroad MUMBAI: The Reserve Bank of India has allowed real estate developers and housing finance companies to raise funds overseas for low-cost housing projects. Developers and housing finance companies will be permitted to borrow $1 billion in 2012-13 under the low-cost affordable housing scheme, RBI said in a notification. The regulator said it will review the borrowing limit every year. Developers with minimum five years of experience in residential projects and those who have not defaulted in any of their financial commitments to banks or any other agencies will be eligible to raise funds overseas. The project for which the builder is raising funds should not be involved in any litigation. RBI has also made it mandatory that the project should be in conformity with the provisions of master plan/ development plan of the area.

„ Ring road project fails to take off JAMMU: After Chief Minister Omar Abdullah announced the prestigious project of the construction of ring roads in the twin capitals of the state almost three months ago, nothing has moved and the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) is still waiting for "alignment approval" from the state government. The NHAI, the executing agency of the project, is yet to start the formulation of detailed project reports (DPRs) on the project involving an expenditure of about Rs 3,000 crore. Official sources said no progress had been made on the project so far and even the work on DPRs for the two ring roads one each in Jammu and Srinagar could not be started. On September 25, the Chief Minister had given a nod to the construction of Jammu and Srinagar ring roads to decongest traffic and cater to futuristic requirements of both the capital cities. -TNS

Real Estate 30

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December 28, 2012

Ghaziabad residents demand Lift Act GHAZIABAD: After a lift malfunctioned again in Indirapuram, endangering two lives, residents have demanded that the UP government immediately enact a Lift Act for the state. Residents have written to Ghaziabad Development Authority to emulate the Delhi government and adopt the Bombay Lift Act, 1939, for UP.

Housing prices to go up after land acquisition bill NEW DELHI: Land prices will escalate leading to rise in housing price if the Land Acquisition Bill is passed by Parliament, real estate developers and property consultants have said. "It is not a good development for the industry. This will definitely increase land cost and housing prices," Confederation of Real Estate Developers' Associations of India (CREDAI) National President Lalit Kumar Jain told PTI when asked about his comments on Cabinet's nod to the bill. If the Bill gets Parliament's nod, developers will also hesitate to go for big projects, he added. The Land Acquisition Bill has been cleared by the Union Cabinet making the consent of 80 per cent of owners mandatory for private projects. In the case of public-private-partnership (PPP) projects, the bill makes

mandatory obtaining of consent of 70 per cent of the land owners. Besides consent, the bill proposes higher compensation and rehabilitation package to land owners. Expressing similar sentiments, National Real Estate Development Council (NAREDCO) President

Mumbai-based Hiranandani Constructions Managing Director Niranjan Hiranandani said with higher compensation to farmers, resistance in acquiring land will reduce in future. On prices, he said: "Definitely land prices will shoot up. Now whether we will get land for affordable hous-

Leading consultant Jones Lang LaSalle India Chairman and Country Head Anuj Puri said demand of housing projects will be affected in future with passage of the bill in Parliament Navin M Raheja said the bill is not an industry friendly one. "While farmers' compensation issue is taken care of, the government should have looked at the overall growth of the country. Unfortunately, that is not the case here," he added.

ing, is a big question mark." Hiranandani said the companies are already acquiring land for private projects with almost 100 per cent consent of the owners, mainly farmers. The country's largest realty firm DLF said the reaction and how it will

affect the consumers, have to be seen after the Bill comes into effect. "There has to be a debate in Parliament for this bill before the final approval. We will see how the situation unfolds in coming days as that will be crucial for any future decision," DLF Group Executive Director Rajeev Talwar said. He said the company acquires land with full consent of the owners, so it does not see any problem on the same. Leading consultant Jones Lang LaSalle India Chairman and Country Head Anuj Puri said demand of housing projects will be affected in future with passage of the bill in Parliament. "Cost of land will go up and developers will pass on the additional burden to consumers. Definitely, it will affect the demand if prices go up beyond the capacity of a home buyer," he added. -PTI

Indian property show big draw in Dubai DUBAI: Indian Property show, a three-day real estate exhibition aimed at attracting NRIs based here, showcased over 1,000 upcoming properties in India worth USD 8.1 billion. Around 90 developers showcased over 300 projects and 1,000 plus properties from across India, along with battery of real estate agents, financers, legal experts and vaastu consultants, Sumansa Exhibitions, the company which is organizing the show, said in a statement. "Due to the economic liberal-

ization in the last decade, we are seeing a trend reversal of sorts as many NRIs (Non- Residential Indians) are migrating to India so we

cake," Sumansa Exhibitions CEO Sunil Jaiswal said. The show drew 18,000-20,000 visitors, including Wadia Group's Bombay

Around 90 developers showcased over 300 projects and 1,000 plus properties from across India, along with battery of real estate agents, financers, legal experts and vaastu consultants are witnessing an increased thrust in NRI investments. "The weakening of the rupee is also serving as an icing on the

Realty, Indiabulls, Sahara Prime City, Vatika Group, Nirmal Lifestyle, Hiranandani, Ansal Housing, Investors Clinic, the statement said.

Jaiswal said the National Capital Region (NCR), Mumbai and Bangalore are three of the biggest property markets in India, and Pune, Hyderabad and Kolkata are the fastest growing destinations in terms of real estate. According to a recent report by Knight Frank India, the real estate sector will continue to remain an attractive investment destination with the possibility of prices in residential areas appreciating by 91-45 per cent in select cities over the next five years, a statement said. -PTI


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Sebi allows 12 Alternative Apartments driving realty scene in Jammu Investment Funds MUMBAI: Market regulator Sebi has allowed 12 entities to set up Alternative Investment Funds (AIFs), a newly created class of pooled-in investment vehicles for real estate, private equity and hedge funds, in the last two months. The 12 AIFs that have been registered with Sebi since October 10 included India Realty Fund, Dar Mentorcap Film Fund, Capaleph Indian Millennium Small & Medium Enterprises Fund and Capaleph Indian Millennium Private Equity Fund. Sebi had already allowed nine AIFs to set up shops in the country. As on August 31, 2012, a total of 20 applications were pending with Sebi for registration as AIFs. The regulator had notified in May this year the guidelines for a new class of market intermediaries named AIFs, which are basically funds established or incorporated in India for the purpose of pooling in of capital from Indian and foreign investors for investing as per a pre-decided policy.

Sebi in August decided that the promoters of listed companies can offload 10 per cent of equity to AIFs such as such as SME Funds, Infrastructure Funds, PE funds and Venture Capital Funds

The Category-II AIFs can invest anywhere in any combination but are prohibited from raising debt, except for meeting their day-to-day operational requirements registered with the market regulator to attain minimum 25 per cent public holding. Under Sebi guidelines, AIFs can operate broadly in three categories. The Sebi rules apply to all AIFs, including those operating as private equity funds, real estate funds and hedge funds, among others.

The Category-I AIFs are those funds that get incentives from the government, Sebi or other regulators and include Social Venture Funds, Infrastructure Funds, Venture Capital Funds and SME Funds. The Category-III AIFs are those trading with a view to make short-term returns and include hedge funds, among others. The Category-II AIFs can invest anywhere in any combination but are prohibited from raising debt, except for meeting their day-to-day operational requirements. These AIFs include PE funds, debt funds or fund of funds, as also all others falling outside the ambit of two other categories. Among other registered AIFs in the last two months are-- Edelweiss Stressed & Troubled Assets Revival Fund Trust, IIFL Private Equity Fund, IIFL Opportunities Fund, IIFL Venture Fund, Quant First Alternate Investment Trust, Fulcrum Venture India Trust, Kedaara Capital and Arcus Opportunities Fund. -PTI

Amplus Realty invests in Bangalore project MUMBAI: Amplus Realty Fund-I, a real estate focused fund in Gujarat region, has made its first investment in a realty project in Bangalore through a joint venture with Assetz Homes. The joint venture will invest

crore, while Assetz will contribute Rs 10 crore. The rest would be raised through other sources, including debt," it said. The project, coming up at Rajaji Nagar, having a saleable area of 2.5 lakh sq ft and consisting of 2, 3

achieve its targets by April 2013, given the investors' interest in Gujarat and other target cities, the release said. "Amplus Capital Advisors may invest a total of Rs 50-60 crore in multiple projects of the Assetz

The project, coming up at Rajaji Nagar, having a saleable area of 2.5 lakh sq ft and consisting of 2, 3 and 4 BHK apartments in the price range of Rs 80 lakh to Rs 1.5 crore, is expected to be completed over the next three years more than Rs 110 crore through equity investment, debt and customer advances to develop the mid and high-end residential project in Bangalore, the company said in a statement.

and 4 BHK apartments in the price range of Rs 80 lakh to Rs 1.5 crore, is expected to be completed over the next three years. The Fund has a target corpus of Rs 200 crore (with a green shoe

"The total cost of the project is around Rs 110 crore, of which Amplus would be investing Rs 20

option of Rs 100 crore), and is open for subscription for second closing and is expected to

Group over the next two-three years," company's Chief Executive Officer Anuranjan Mohnot said, adding, "We expect nearly 20-30 per cent returns on our investments." The company is also actively looking at investing in city-centric prime high-end or mid-market residential or residential-led developments, plotting schemes in high growth areas of Ahmedabad, Surat and Vadodara in Gujarat and a few highly-favored destinations like Mumbai, National Capital Region (NCR) and Bangalore, he said. -PTI

W

hile the realty sector elsewhere in the coun try is in the grip of a slowdown, in Jammu the property prices have gone up considerably over the past couple of years. The city is emerging as a preferred destination of private developers as there is sufficient demand for housing units here. The city has good rail, road and air connectivity and is also attracting a large number of families migrating from the militancy-affected areas in the state. The demand for multi-storey flats in Jammu has increased substantially over the past few years and a number of such societies can be seen in the city. While years of strife and fear of terrorism had severely stunted

After this large scale migration the land prices shot up and this boom attracted many big developers like Parsvnath, Ansal Housing and Royal Nest, who have all launched housing projects here. Big developers show interest Though Article-370 gives Jammu and Kashmir a special category status and offers non-state subjects little opportunity to invest directly in the state, major real estate developers have been investing crores of rupees in tie up with the local colonizers. Emerging trend Amid all this activity in the realty sector, the trend which is gathering steam here is the one for apartments in multi-storey buildings. Investors as well as end us-

the demand for housing in the winter capital of the state for a long time, the city also did not have much influx of well-paid professionals as there was virtually no major industry or commercial activity going on here. Most of the buyers were either locals or those from the nearby areas. "The current surge in property prices and demand for housing here is largely because of the migration of population from different parts of the state", said a local resident. Over the past two decades lakhs of people have made Jammu their home, and this has lead to an increase in the demand for residential units here. People from Rajouri, Poonch, Kashmir valley, Doda, Bhaderwah and Ladakh are buying property in the city.

ers are preferring flats due to the secure and well-planned ambience offered by these. A decade back housing colonies and apartments were alien concepts here and only J&K Housing Board was involved in the construction of residential flats, but now Jammu skyline is dotted with high-rise buildings. Although buyers are still conservative in their approach towards flats, the change is all evident as the cost of building independent homes has risen considerably and lack of civic facilities in the old city areas has made many families look for more planned options on the outskirts of the city. Banking institutions are also giving a major push by offering attractive loan facilities to those interested in purchasing apartments.


Tech News Tata Steel makes new kind of anti-ballistic steel LONDON: Tata Steel's Port Talbot plant in the UK has developed a new kind of anti-ballistic steel which could transform safety of soldiers and security forces fighting terrorists and extremists. Super Bainite, the lightweight, super-strength anti-ballistic steel with a lattice form, could be used to amour-plate troop carriers and tanks. Prince Charles, the heir to the British throne, visited the plant and unveiled a plaque to mark a multimillion pounds project to rebuild a furnace where the new kind of steel is being produced by the Ministry of Defense and the Tatas. Dozens of British soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan by improvised explosive devices buried under roads by Taliban insurgents. -PTI

'Car rally good occasion to boost trade with ASEAN' GUWAHATI: Minister of State for Commerce and Industry D Purandeswari has called for an increase in bilateral trade between NE states and south Asian nations. Purandeswari, who was speaking after the flagging down of the ASEAN-India car rally here, said the country's Look East policy had taken root and now there is tremendous cooperation in trade and commerce between NE region and south Asian countries. -PTI

Envoy says don't bracket B'desh with Pak NEW DELHI: Not happy to be "bracketed with Pakistan" in terms of security risk, Bangladesh has said it was creating problems for its businessmen to set up shop here while Indian brand names were freely operating in Dhaka. It said the matter has been taken up with Indian authorities. "Major problem (is) banking transactions. If I go to Dhaka, you will see over 100 Indian brand names over there. I face questions from my own family that why cannot we see Bangladeshi brand names here. We had somebody apply for setting up an outlet here but he cannot. "We are still bracketed with Pakistan in terms of security. The RBI mechanism spits out the application and it is thrown on the wayside because we are still a security risk.-PTI

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December 28, 2012

Union Minister for Commerce & Industry and Textiles, Anand Sharma inaugurating an exhibition, at the 2nd India-ASEAN Business Fair & Conclave, in New Delhi on December 18

Those opposing FDI in retail are 'ignorant' of realties: PM NEW DELHI: Emboldened by the victory over the issue of FDI in retail in Parliament, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has hit out at opponents, saying they are "ignorant" about global realities or are constrained by "outdated ideologies". Asserting that the decisions on allowing FDI in retail and also in other sectors were based on sound economic logic, he said "these (were) politically difficult" decisions, but the government went ahead as it had the courage of conviction. Addressing the annual general meeting of FICCI, Singh said the recent steps by the government were only the "beginning of a process" to revive the economy and take it back to its growth rate of 89 per cent. "Our decision on Foreign Direct Investment in Multi-brand re-

tail, civil aviation, power-trading exchanges and broadcasting must also be viewed in this larger con-

Manmohan Singh

text," he said while citing the challenges on fiscal deficit front as also the global economic environment.

He insisted that these decisions were based on larger concerns about national security and

The Prime Minister's justification of FDI decisions came against the backdrop of government's victory in Parliament recently, when Opposition's resolution moved against FDI in retail was voted out with BSP and SP support the need to insulate India from persistent global economic slowdown.

"I am afraid that those who oppose these moves are either ignorant of global realities or are constrained by out-dated ideologies. "For example, when I hear the debate on Foreign Direct Investment in Retail, what I hear are arguments against large scale organized retail, and not against Foreign Direct Investment in retail," Singh said. The Prime Minister's justification of FDI decisions came against the backdrop of government's victory in Parliament recently, when Opposition's resolution moved against FDI in retail was voted out with BSP and SP bailing out the UPA. Talking about further reforms for economic reforms, Singh said the government is bringing greater clarity on the FDI policy in the pharma sector and the Railways are working on a Rail Tariff Authority. -PTI

US entities lobbying hard for India business interests WASHINGTON: Global retail giant WalMart, whose lobbying with US lawmakers for access to India has generated much political heat in New Delhi, has got company of at least 15 other large American companies and entities that have spent millions of dollars in 2012 itself to lobby for their Indian business interests along with other issues. These include pharma giant Pfizer, computer makers Dell and HP, telecom players like Qualcomm and Alcatel-Lucent, financial services majors like Morgan Stanley and Prudential Financial, as also Alliance of Automobile Manufactures and the Aerospace Industries Association of America, as per the Congressional records of lobbying disclosure reports. There are also lobby groups like Financial Executives International, Business Roundtable, Business Software Alliance and Financial Services Forum as well as consumer goods makers like

Cargill Inc and Colgate Palmolive that have indulged in lobbying with US lawmakers so far in 2012. Giants like Boeing, AT&T, Starbucks, Lockheed Martin, Eli Lilly and GE have also lobbied earlier with US lawmakers on "specific lobbying issues" related to India, which include discussions on market opening initiatives and

nancial Executives International - have lobbied on issues related to taxation and other proposals of the Finance Bill presented in the Parliament early this year. Besides, Qualcomm has lobbied on issues related to spectrum licenses, Alcatel-Lucent on preferential market access regulations and Pfizer on "issues related to a

One of the most active entities with Indiarelated lobbying issues has been the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers with its opposition to the regulation of carbon dioxide emissions in the US until India along with China and Russia implement similar reductions support for their sales and business opportunities in the country. As per the quarterly lobbying disclosure reports filed with the US Senate and the House of Representatives, at least three organizations -- Financial Services Forum, Business Roundtable and Fi-

Supreme Court decision on generic medicine pricing" and certain patent cancellation matter in India. One of the most active entities with India-related lobbying issues this year has been the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers with its opposition to the regulation of carbon dioxide emis-

sions in the US until India along with China and Russia implement similar reductions. Besides, insurance major Prudential Financial has been lobbying for "Indian financial market access and equity ownership issues". Like the government decision to open FDI in retail, a proposal to increase FDI cap in insurance sector is also being vehemently opposed by various political parties. So far in 2012, Prudential Financial has spent more than USD six million on various lobbying issues in the US, including those related to India, while the lobbying bill for Morgan Stanley has crossed USD two million. Among others, Business Roundtable has spent USD 6.6 million, Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers about USD 8 million, Dell close to USD 2 million, HP about USD 1.5 million, Cargill USD 1 million and Aerospace Industries Association of America about USD 2 million.-PTI


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US to benefit from LNG exports to India, China: Report WASHINGTON: The US stands to benefit immensely from export of LNG, particularly to the Indian and Chinese markets, where demand for the clean fuel is growing rapidly, according to a report by NERA Economic Consulting. At a time when the Indian government is seeking permission to import shale gas from the US, the report recommends that allowing exports of LNG would cause no change in natural gas prices and do no harm to the overall economy. The report, 'Macroeconomic Impacts of LNG Exports from the

United States', which was submitted to the US Department of Energy recently, added that liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports would cause no change in natural gas prices and would no harm to the overall economy in US.

It stressed that the overall employment level in the country will not suffer as a result of the policy. The gains to US would be maximum if it is able to produce large

quantities of shale gas at low prices and the world demand rises rapidly. "The benefits that come from export expansion more than outweigh the losses from reduced capital and wage income to US consumers, and hence LNG exports have net economic benefits in spite of higher domestic natural gas prices," the report said. Both India and China have some indigenous natural gas resources, but these alone are insufficient to meet the domestic demand. "Natural gas demand in these countries is growing rapidly as a result of expanding economies, improving wealth and a desire to use cleaner burning fuels. LNG will be an important component of their natural gas supply portfolio. These countries demand more than they can produce and the pricing

India to turn into major importer of farm products LUDHIANA: Planning Commission member Abhijit Sen has said India will turn into "major importer" of farm products, with farm acreage along with water availability expecting to come down in near future. In the 12th five year plan, the thrust of the government would be on meeting foodgrain demand of ever-increasing population, maintaining viability of small farms and reducing yield gaps, he said at the annual convocation of the Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) here, as per PAU release. "In view of rising population, the land area and water available for agriculture will come down in near future and Indian and China will turn into major importers of farm products," Sen said. Stating that in the last five years, there has been addition of 40 million tonnes of foodgrain to the national kitty, Sen said this is a creditable achievement and a matter of pride for PAU as well as Punjab. "In the past five years, the rate of global farm production has gone up by 3.5 per cent," he said. In 2005-06, the world prices (of

foodgrain commodities) became volatile and it was vital to build up the levels of stocks, he said. Referring to minimum support price (MSP) issue, he emphasized that MSP must give assurance to the farmers that their profits would not become unsustainable. Sen also expressed concern

Abhijit Sen

over depleting underground water table in Punjab and suggested, "For change in cropping pattern, we need to look at livestock and horticulture." "In future, we will move into the world of quality, perishability and marketing. Value addition is also essential in agriculture," he said.

The number of farms and farmers is not declining, but the agriculture labor force is declining, he said, saying that the NREGA scheme was meant to improve the livelihood of the landless. During the convocation, Sen conferred Grucharan S Kalkat, former Vice-Chancellor of PAU and Chairman, Punjab State Farmers' Commission, with the Degree of Doctor of Science. Presenting the convocation report, Baldev Singh Dhillon, ViceChancellor, PAU, said that during the current year, 10 crop varieties were released for cultivation in Punjab. PAY produced about 65,000 quintals of seed of different varieties, he said, highlighting that it also produced 30,000 disease free sapling of kinnow, 60,000 of poplar and 90,000 other fruit crops. On the challenges ahead, Dhillon said the PAU scientists are striving hard to meet the farm challenges through diversification of ricewheat cropping system. Equally important is to enhance the crop productivity in combination with resistance, tolerance to stresses and better nutritional and processing qualities, he added. -PTI

mechanism for their LNG purchases reflects this," it said. US currently has allowed only Cheniere Energy to export LNG to countries that have not signed an free-trade agreement. The report contains an analysis of the impact of exports of LNG

nomic benefits from allowing LNG exports. Moreover, for every one of the market scenarios examined, net economic benefits increased as the level of LNG exports increased," it said. Explaining the scenario where the exports would not be desirable,

"The benefits that come from export expansion more than outweigh the losses from reduced capital and wage income to US consumers, and hence LNG exports have net economic benefits in spite of higher domestic natural gas prices," the report said on the US economy under a wide range of different assumptions about levels of exports, global market conditions, and the cost of producing natural gas in the US. "Across all these scenarios, the US was projected to gain net eco-

the report said, "If the promise of shale gas is not fulfilled and costs of producing gas in the US rise substantially, or if there are ample supplies of LNG from other regions to satisfy world demand, the US would not export LNG." -PTI

India's vaccine regulator passes strict WHO efficacy test NEW DELHI: A World Health Organization team has cleared India's vaccine regulatory system for maintaining international standards, thus paving the way for easy export of vaccines produced in the country. India's Rs 19,000-crore vaccine industry accounts for exports worth 13 billion US dollars to 150 countries across the world. T h e WHO team said India's national vaccine regulatory authority, the Central Drugs Standard Control Organiz a t i o n (CDSCO) and its affiliated bodies met the strict WHO parameters needed to be maintained by any functional vaccine regulatory system. At the end of a six-month review which concluded this week, the WHO team of 18 inspectors from all over the world including the US Food and Drug Administration Office certified the CDSCO and its facilities as functional, paving the way for local vaccine producers to better market their products. In an increasingly safety con-

scious world, most countries necessarily import vaccines from countries where the national regulatory authorities have been tested by the WHO as functional. WHO assessment of a regulatory authority as functional means the country's vaccine production lines are efficacious and safe and can be easily trusted. "This is a big achievement and

an important milestone for our vaccine industry," said a senior Health Ministry official. The latest certification means all the 12 Indian vaccine makers can now apply for WHO pre-qualification and thus improve the chances of exporting their products to the first world and a range of global agencies including the UNICEF and World Bank and the Gates Foundation which only import from WHO prequalified makers. -PTI


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India lost $123 bilion in black India's wheat exports may touch 6 mn tonnes money in a decade WASHINGTON: India lost a whopping USD 123 billion in black money in 2001-2010, making it the eight largest victim of illicit financial outflow, a US-based research and advocacy organization said in a report. However, India's black money loss of USD 123 in 10 years is far

(USD 201 billion), Russia (USD 152 billion), the Philippines (USD 138 billion) and Nigeria (USD 129 billion). India is the eight largest victim of black money loses, said the report 'Illicit Financial Flows from Developing Countries: 2001-2010,' released by Global Financial Integ-

less that China, which according to the report suffered a loss of USD 2.74 trillion during the same period (2001 to 2010), followed by Mexico (USD 476 billion), Malaysia (USD 285 billion), Saudi Arabia

rity (GFI). India is the only South Asian country to figure in the top 20 list of such nations. In 2010 alone, the Indian economy suffered USD 1.6 billion in illicit financial outflows.

"USD 123 billion is a massive amount of money for the Indian economy to lose," said Dev Kar, GFI lead economist and co-author of the report. "It has very real consequences for Indian citizens. This is more than USD 100 billion which could have been used to invest in education, healthcare, and upgrade the nation's infrastructure. Perhaps last summers electrical blackout would have been avoided if some of this money had remained in India and been used to invest in the nation's power grid," he said. While progress has been made in recent years, India continues to lose a large amount of wealth in illicit financial outflows, said GFI director Raymond Baker. "Much focus has been paid in the media on recovering the Indian black money that has already been lost. This focus is for naught as long as the Indian economy continues to hemorrhage illicit money. Policymakers and commentators should make curtailing the ongoing outflow of money priority number one," he said. -PTI

NEW DELHI: India's wheat export is expected to touch 6 million tonnes in the 2012-13 marketing year (MY) on the back of firm global prices, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) said in a report. "With the current tight open market supplies of wheat, private

ports at 6 million tonnes, which includes 3 million tonnes each of government and open-market wheat," USDA said. Wheat marketing year in India commences in April and ends in March. "With export prospects looking favorable on expected firm inter-

wheat exports are likely to come down significantly in the coming months. Consequently, we continue to estimate MY 2012-13 ex-

national wheat prices through the first quarter of calendar year 2013, the government most likely will further augment the governmentheld wheat export quota," it added. The government wheat is currently fetching good export rates compared to the PDS wheat price of Rs 2,000-6,100 (USD 36-110) per tonne, MSP for MY 2012-13 of Rs 12,850 (USD 234) per tonne and open market sale price for bulk consumers in most states, it said. The government's decision to export 2 million tonnes of wheat from central stocks fetched a rate in the range of USD 296.70-319.50 per tonne. In July this year, the government had allowed export of 2 million tonnes of the grain from central pool stocks of Food Corporation of India (FCI) through central public sector undertakings (CPSUs) like STC, MMTC and PEC. Last week, Commerce Secretary S R Rao had said the Food Ministry will move a proposal for allowing export of an additional 2.5 million tonnes of wheat from the central stocks in order to ease the storage crunch being faced by the country due to an all time high production. India harvested an all time high wheat crop of 93.90 million tonnes of wheat in the 2011-12 crop year (July-June). The government has a wheat stock of 37.65 million tonnes as of December 1, 2012, which is more than double the stipulated buffer and strategic stock requirement of 11.2 million tonnes as of January 1, 2013.-PTI

Switzerland mulls bill to India leads effort in SAARC currency swap agreement check black money NEW DELHI/BERN: Often acWhile a revised tax treaty has cused of providing safe havens to come into force between the two black money from India and other countries for exchange of inforcountries, Switzerland has pro- mation on untaxed assets and posed a new bill to prevent its money laundering related activibanks and other institutions from ties, the rules require sufficient accepting "untaxed assets" from information for any banking detheir clients and put in place a tails to be shared and many restricter due diligence regime. quests face the risk of getting reThe Switzerland Federal Council, the apex decision making The move follows rising body of Swiss govern- global pressure on Switzerment, has asked its filand to act against its banks nance ministry, the Federal Department of giving 'safe haven' to overFinance (FDF), to sub- seas entities in name of mit a consultation draft client confidentiality at the start of 2013 to meet its goal of preventing banks from accepting jected in the name of 'fishing exuntaxed funds from their clients. peditions'. A decision to this effect was The Swiss Federal Council taken by the Federal Council at a said in a statement that it "is stepmeeting in Bern. ping up its efforts to combat The move follows rising glo- abuses in the area of money launbal pressure on Switzerland to act dering and taxation". against its banks giving 'safe ha"With the planned implemenven' to overseas entities in name tation of the revised recommenof client confidentiality. dations of the Financial Action In India as well, the issue of Task Force (FATF), serious tax ofalleged hoarding of black money fences will be qualified as prediin Swiss banks has been a matter cate offences for money launderof political debate. ing in future. -PTI

NEW DELHI: India is spear- "Policies are made by each counheading an initiative to develop a try based on their laws but once currency swap agreement among we have policies in place which SAARC countries which would are in line with international prachelp them protect their currencies tices, we should not allow nonduring special exigencies, Foreign economic considerations to affect Secretary Ranjan Mathai said here in functioning of commercial ention. ties in each others' country." "India is spearheading efforts To a suggestion on having a to finalize an agreement for SAARC central banks to establish a cur- He said the integration of rency swap arrangement SAARC economies was "not as a baseline measure only important but it is an that would provide funds to SAARC states imperative for all of us South to defend their curren- Asians if we want to cies when faced by speface challenges facing cial exigencies," he said our region here. The Foreign Secretary was addressing a conference multilateral investment protection on economic integration of agreement, he said "it is timely and SAARC countries. relevant. He said the integration of India remains steadfast in supSAARC economies was "not only port to SAARC." important but it is an imperative On the SAARC agreement to for all of us South Asians if we develop a food security reserve, want to face challenges facing our he said that "currently India has region and if we want to meet the to hold reserves of 3 lakh metric aspirations of our people." tonnes of food including both On the issue of protecting in- wheat and rice out of the 4.86 lakh vestments made by the member metric tonnes envisaged in the nations in the region, Mathai said, group as a whole." -PTI


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Nano being 'refreshed' to realize full potential: Tata MUMBAI: World's cheapest car, Tata Nano, is being 'refreshed' to realize its full potential, says group Chairman Ratan Tata. "We were not prepared to market the car as we should have. I think that has a lot to do with the fact that momentum got lost," he told PTI in an interview. He listed out the reasons due to which Nano, nicknamed 'The people's car', could not realize its full potential as the momentum got lost in initial years due to issues like plant transfer and insufficient advertising campaign and dealership network. Asked whether these issues are

thing to refresh the product, which we are also doing." To a query as to what went wrong with Nano, which was promised as 'people's car' with a

price tag of Rs one lakh and that hit the road in 2009, he said there were "several things", including the events in West Bengal. "It caused us to move and caused us to build another plant. That cost us another year from the time of the launch which created a lot of excitement and three months from that launch date, the car should have been on roads. "Instead, because of those events it went on the road a year and half after that event," Tata said. Nano was originally planned to roll out from a plant in Singur, West Bengal, but the plant had to be shifted to Sanand in Gujarat after political protests at its earlier plant. The first Nano rolled out from a factory in Pantnagar in Uttarakhand in 2009, while output from Sanand plant began about a year later in June 2010. The car was launched with an

'Silly taxes' rule out making Jaguar in India

‘Two-pronged strategy to help youth in Kashmir’

MUMBAI: Ruling out any possibility of manufacturing Jaguar and Land Rover in India in the near future, Tata group chief Ratan Tata has said that some "silly taxes" make even their assembly here costlier than the imports. Tatas are building a plant in China which will export these cars

to different parts of the world and have been invited by Saudi Arabia as well. "India is still making it somewhat difficult for us to offer it," he told PTI when asked as to when Jaguar and Land Rover could be manufactured in India. "They are being assembled now (in India). Unfortunately, today if we were to manufacture here, it would cost more than the assembled one," said Tata, who would hang his boots as the chief of an over USD 100-billion salt-to-

being addressed, Tata said, "It is being addressed now and I think we will succeed. It is a three-four year old product (and) we have to do some-

software conglomerate later this month on December 28. Asked about the difficulties in manufacturing these cars in India, Tata said, "Because we do not have scale of manufacturing here, we are selling about a 1,000 Jaguars a year and you would need to be at least four to five times that in order to justify the investment that you would make... "...so unfortunately, the assembly here is turning out to be more costly than importing the cars because of some silly taxes that they have imposed on companies." Tata said that the "government should really look at doing things to incentives people to bring more investment to India so that it becomes a base of exports, which unfortunately is not happening and China is doing that." "We are building a plant in China which will export to different parts of the world. Even Saudi Arabia is asking us to come there and India is still making it somewhat difficult for us to offer it," he added. -PTI

MUMBAI: The Tata group will adopt a two-pronged strategy to give opportunities for students and entrepreneurs in the Kashmir Valley which includes supporting setting up of venture capital units. Outgoing Chairman of the Tata group Ratan Tata, who interacted with students of Kashmir University in October last, said the group would like to follow the 'American Venture Capitalist model' and help the local entrepreneurs in setting up their own business. "We will do two things that we have promised. We will interview students on campus through the university and the second is that we will provide internship to students in our companies," Tata, who retires as the group Chairman on December 28 when he turns 75, told PTI in an interview. The campus interview will be done as and when the graduation ceremony takes place, he said, adding "I promised them (students) that there will not be any bias against students from the University there." Tata recalled that during the interaction some students had asked him whether Tata group would be setting any business in Kashmir. "I expressed another view. I said we know what we should be trying to do with you is have you build your business and support you who have entrepreneurial spirit.-PTI

initial ex-factory price tag of close 3,20,000 vehicles, which would to Rs one lakh for the basic model have taken from zero ramping up while the current ex-showroom 18 months to do. price here is in So we dethe range of cided we Rs 1.55-2.16 would restrict lakh. the orders to Tata Mo1,00,000 and tors has sold we would have more than 2.2 a lucky draw to lakh units of decide who Nano since its got the velaunch, while hicle. sales grew by "When this 5.8 per cent in 1,00,000 were the last fiscal over, we were ended March in a normal 31, 2012 to market condi74,521 units. tion and the Ratan Tata Ta l k i n g company did about the isnot seem to sues faced by Nano in the initial have prepared itself. There was no days, Tata said, "The next issue advertising campaign in place, we was when it went on the roads, we had not looked at creating more had an order with payments for dealers...-PTI


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Showing off her mehendi

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ollywood actor Vidya Balan tied the knot with UTV head Siddharth Roy Kapoor in Mumbai on December 14 in a private ceremony which saw a mix of both Punjabi and Tamil traditions. The wedding rituals went on for over an hour at the welldecorated Green Mile Bungalow in Bandra in the presence of family members of the bride and groom. "The wedding ceremony was a mix of both Punjabi and Tamil With parents and siblings

traditions. The food served was South Indian," a source close to Vidya told PTI. The 34-year-old Vidya Balan underwent three changes in costume during the wedding ceremony, one of them being a mustard saree with a pink blouse, matching the 38-year-old groom's yellow kurta and pink turban. After the ceremony was over, the newly wed couple came out to pose for pictures and Vidya was seen wearing a red saree teamed with gold jewellery. The 'Kahaani' star also waved her mehendi-adorned hands at the waiting media, revealing the Punjabi-style 'chooda' she was wearing.

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The 34-year-old Vidya Balan underwent three changes in costume during the wedding ceremony, one of them being a mustard saree with a pink blouse, matching the 38year-old groom's yellow kurta and pink turban.

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The wedding festivities for the couple began on December 11 with a private dinner which was followed by a mehendi ceremony at her home on December 12. One celebrity spotted at the mehendi ceremony was veteran actor Rekha, who arrived with vermillion (sindoor) in her hair parting, traditionally a mark of married Hindu women. The two are known to be very close and Vidya has often said that she admires the legendary actor, who like her, also hails from Chennai.

After the ceremony, Vidya stepped out with her parents and elder sister and held up her hands to show her mehendi to the waiting media. The 'Kahaani' actress, who was born in Kerala and grew up in Mumbai, made her Bollywood debut with the 2005 film 'Parineeta' She has made a mark in the Hindi film industry with films like 'Bhool Bhulaiyaa', 'Paa', 'Ishqiya' and 'The Dirty Picture'.


December 28, 2012

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Hrithik Roshan crowned Salman to visit US for health check sexiest Asian

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or the second year in a row, Bollywood star Hrithik Roshan has emerged as the sexiest Asian man in the world in an online survey conducted by a London-based weekly. The 38-yearold actor pipped the likes of Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan, Akshay Kumar, John Abraham and Ranbir Kapoor to clinch the top spot. "The star of 2012 hit 'Agneepath' beat off tough competition from around the world and won by an even bigger margin than last year as he received votes from all over the world from continents that included Asia, Europe, Africa and South America from fans of all ages and different cultures," the Eastern Eye Newspaper said in a release.

n August 2011, while millions of his fans prayed back home, Salman Khan underwent a surgery for trigeminal neuralgia in the United States of America. And after a five-hour long operation, and a few weeks of recuperation, the actor was back on the sets to

lar health check up. A source said, "Salman's condition needs him to undergo regular check ups. It's nothing serious. Just a routine follow up. He is fit and will start shooting Sohail's film soon." Last time when the actor vis-

shoot for the several projects that were lined up. Though he had reportedly complained of 'jaw pain' on and off since then, Salman had been fit and fine. And now, it is learnt the actor is ready to visit US again. Come January, Salman will fly out of the country - this time for a regu-

ited US for a surgery, he had missed Ganpati (a festival celebrated with a lot of fanfare in the Khan household) and the premiere of his film Bodyguard. This time, he would be leaving for US on January 22 when the actor doesn't have any film promotion, premiere or festival lined up.

Bollywood newcomer Sidharth Malhotra was the highest new entry at fifth place and narrowly beat off popular TV star Kushal Tandon who was sixth. Shah Rukh joined the list at seventh place and was followed by John Abraham Even though he was the hot favorite and led right from the beginning, the win came as a major surprise to Indian cinema's hottest pin up. "I am extremely humbled at the decision of the public, also a little embarrassed as I just can't imagine myself as sexy! I'm actually someone who's just trying to get by with his battered, bruised and broken tools. So a big thank you to all for this dose of encouragement! Thank

Ali Zafar

you Eastern Eye readers for this very sweet recognition," said Hrithik. He beat Pakistani singer-turned-actor Ali Zafar who was the surprise runner up. 'Dabangg' hero Salman Khan finished third and last year's runner up Shahid

Kapoor came fourth. Bollywood newcomer Sidharth Malhotra was the highest new entry at fifth place and narrowly beat off popular TV star Kushal Tandon who was sixth. Shah Rukh joined the list at seventh place and was followed by John Abraham at eight and Ranbir at nine. Eastern Eye showbiz editor Asjad Nazir, who puts together the very popular list and is chairman of the judging panel, aid despite having the best physique, those voting for Hrithik were impressed by a lot of his other qualities. "Although guys and girls from different age groups, cultures and countries pushed Hrithik to the top of the list hey all pin-pointed different qualities that make him the sexiest man on the planet. Whilst some were impressed by his physique and good looks, others liked that he is humble, and voted family man, father and hardworking individual. "This not only makes Hrithik the perfect role model, but the dream man of women around the world and someone men are aspiring to be like. The mass global appeal means it will only be a matter of time before he becomes an even bigger international star," said Nazir. The list had a massive group of television stars that include Barun Sobti (10), Karan Tacker (11), Gurmeet Choudhary (22), Karan Singh Grover (24), Vivian D'Sena (27) and Ashish Kapoor (28).


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December 28, 2012 www.indiapost.com

Arvind Kejriwal top newsmaker

Gujarat CM Narendra Modi

The Indian 'Brangelina' Saifeena - were also the most sought after celebrity couple in 2012 as netizens searched on the

A

rvind Kejriwal topped the list of newsmakers, while adult film star Sunny Leone was the most searched celebrity online in 2012 in India, a report by search giant Yahoo! said. According to Yahoo! India's Year in Review 2012 (YIR), Arvind Kejriwal was the most searched newsmaker this year, knocking off mentor Anna Hazare from the position. Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi was next in line, followed by Malala Yousafzai (an education activist from Pakistan), Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and Robert Vadra. "YIR combines search trends with the editorial selection of what users read, recommended and shared most on the Yahoo! network in India during 2012. It offers a glimpse into the social trends, compelling newsmakers and top stories of 2012," Yahoo! said in a statement. It is clear while looking at the top trends that scams and controversies, with a large dose of Bollywood gossip, captured the attention of the user in 2012, it

Ekta Kapoor

Malala Yousafzai

latest information on where the couple would get married, their trousseau and the guest list. Superstar Amitabh Bachchan

added. Indo-Canadian adult movie star Sunny Leone became the most searched celebrity online during 2012, ahead of many of Bollywood's leading ladies, thanks to her controversial entry into Bollywood with Big Boss 5 and Jism 2.

Sunny Leone

and Sonam Kapoor topped the list of 'Best Dressed Celebrities', while queen of small screen Ekta Kapoor topped this year's 'Worst Dressed' list, with Mallika Sherawat tailing her at a close second. Virat Kohli was the most searched cricketer, ahead of Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman, Kevin Pietersen and Sachin Tendulkar. YIR selected Olympics Bronze medalist boxer Mary Kom as Yahoo! India's 'Person of the Year'

Saif Ali Khan and Kareena Kapoor

Amitabh Bachchan

However, in terms of celebrities making news, it was Aishwarya Rai's post pregnancy weight gain that put her ahead of Leone in the 'Celebrity in the News' list for 2012. Others in the list included Poonam Pandey, 'Saifeena' (Saif Ali Khan and Kareena Kapoor) and Sherlyn Chopra.

Virat Kohli

It is clear while looking at the top trends that scams and controversies, with a large dose of Bollywood gossip, captured the attention of the user in 2012. Indo-Canadian adult movie star Sunny Leone became the most searched celebrity online during 2012, ahead of many of Bollywood's leading ladies, thanks to her controversial entry into Bollywood with Big Boss 5 and Jism 2.

Mallika Sherawat

Poonam Pandey

Sonam Kapoor

following her performance at the London Games 2012. iPhone 5 dominated the list of Top Tech Stories for 2012, followed by Google glass, Facebook IPO and its purchase of Instagram.

Sherlyn Chopra


December 28, 2012

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Books for kids on Indian wildlife Kiran Gupta paintings win appreciation in Paris

India Post News service

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harmila Sankar of Mumbai has written and designed two books for young children on Indian wildlife. The books have been written to entertain and educate young children about Indian animals. Sharmila says Indian kids know more about the Panda and the Kangaroo than about our own ethnic wildlife. "The old stories from the Panchatantra and Jataka tales, while entertaining, are from a different time and are quite dated. There is a need for modern stories, set in contemporary India, that today's children can relate to," she says. "The goal is to create empathy for these forgotten animals,

like the Ganges River gharial, the giant squirrel of Maharashtra and the golden langur of Assam."

The series of 10 books under Wild Tales of India will tell stories of the wildlife in the states of India. These will be illustrated with traditional art belonging to each state WilderIndia is a company that develops media for young adults with a focus on the animals of India. Sharmila has just completed

filming her first feature film. 'Dhobi Ki Dulhan Pyari Hai' is a live action rom com, with a donkey as one of the lead characters. The series of 10 books under Wild Tales of India will tell stories of the wildlife in the states of India. These will be illustrated with traditional art belonging to each state. The stories will be of different genres from comic, to thriller or with a moral. At the end of each story will be a short write up about the state animal - its habitat and lifestyle, along with actual photographs of the animal. There will also be a description of the traditional art being used to illustrate the story, its special features and technique, along with a sample painting of the style.

Kiran Gupta with her painting

India Post News Service

PARIS: Salon 2012, a big cauldron of art, organized by the Societe Nationale des Beaux Arts 2012 opened here on December 13 amidst a great gathering of artists, art lovers, art connoisseurs from all over the world. More than 600 artists are showcasing their artworks in different categories of Painting, Sculpture and Graphics. Indian Artist Kiran Soni

Gupta's painting "Poojatime" has won the honor to be displayed at this prestigious gallery. It is a rare honor won by the creative bureaucrat and artist. Poojatime won high appreciation from people gathered at this occasion. They were struck by the brilliance of hues depicting five women going for worship on the occasion of "Karvachauth" (a fast kept by women in India praying for the long life of spouses).


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he town of Dras is located in a relatively flat and open space, 60 km west of Kargil on the road to Srinagar. It is a small township lying in the centre of the valley of the same name. Dras is an enchanting valley formed by the Dras River which rises in the Machoi glacier near the famous Zozila Pass. The river is joined in its course by many other rivers and streams flowing in from snowfields in the nearby mountains. It has extensive willow groves along the river. In summer this town presents a pleasant look while in winter it is covered under a thick blanket of snow. Dras experiences the lowest temperatures in the valley and with its altitude of 3,300 m, this town is said to be the second coldest inhabited place in Asia. The mercury may drop to as low as 40 degrees Celcius below freezing point. Often the small huts are covered by snow and communication with the outside world is cut off. The river Shigar flowing in from the north drains an adjoining part of the Dras Valley. In summer, as the snow in the uplands melts, the volume of this river rises considerably. It meets the Suru River near Kharul a short distance away from Kargil.

December 28, 2012

Dras is an enchanting valley formed by the Dras River which rises in the Machoi glacier near the famous Zozila Pass. The river is joined in its course by many other rivers and streams flowing in from snowfields in the nearby mountains

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The terrain is characterized by rock and stone with the occasional greenish patch formed by willow and groves. There is a short summer season in the Dras Valley. It begins in May, when the snows begin to melt. Crop sowing activities start late, while harvesting is done early so that the crops are brought in before the beginning of snowfall. Cont’d on page 41


December 28, 2012

Travel & Hospitality Post

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Dras: Enchanting valley on road to Srinagar Cont’d from page 40

Barley and other coarse cereals are the main crops grown in this valley. Agricultural production is hampered due to the poor and unproductive soil and the short growing season. Moreover, there is a lack of irrigation facilities in many parts of the Dras Valley. As a result, agricultural yields are not enough to meet the needs of the people. Food grains have to be imported from the Kashmir Valley. Fuel too is a scarce commodity and has to be brought in from across the Zozila Pass. Brokpas are the people living in the Dras Valley. They probably migrated to this tract from Gilgit several centuries ago. Prime Attractions Zoji La The Dras valley starts from the base of the Zoji La pass, the Himalayan gateway to Ladakh. For centuries its inhabitants are known to have negotiated this formidable pass even during the most risky period in the late autumn or early spring, when the whole sector remains snow-bound and is subject to frequent snow storms. They still transport traders' merchandise across and help stranded travelers to traverse it.

By virtue of their mastery over the pass they had established a monopoly over the carrying trade during the heydays of the panAsian trade. A hardly people enduring with fortitude and harshness of the valley's winter, the inhabitants of Dras can be de-

across the sub-range separating the two valleys. This trek passes through some of the most beautiful upland villages and flower sprinkled meadows on both sides of the 4,500m high Umbala pass, which falls en route. The trek to the holy cave of

The Dras valley starts from the base of the Zoji La pass, the Himalayan gateway to Ladakh. For centuries its inhabitants are known to have negotiated this formidable pass even during the most risky period in the late autumn or early spring, when the whole sector remains snow-bound and is subject to frequent snow storms scribed as the "Guardian's of Ladakh's Gateway". Puga Valley The Puga Valley is famous for its hot water springs. Every year hundreds of visitors come to this valley for a bath in these springs as it is known to help people suffering from rheumatism and skin diseases. Trekking Dras is a convenient base for a 3-day long trek to Suru valley

Amarnath in neighboring Kashmir, which stars from Minamarg below Zoji La, takes 3 days and involves crossing of 5,200m high pass. Dras also offers numerous shorter treks and hikes to the upland villages How to reach Road: Buses plying between Srinagar and Kargil/Leh touch Dras. Local buses leave Kargil in the morning and afternoon for Dras. Srinagar is well-connected with rest of the country via air and

Real-time flight info for air travelers

Dras -Trekking trails to the battle peaks

road through National Highway NHIA. Where to stay The Tourist Complex here provides furnished rooms and suites.

Advance reservation can be done through the tourist office at Kargil or its branch at Dras. Some private hotels also provide rooms equipped with basic necessities.

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NEW DELHI: This winter season fliers may expect less inconvenience due to fog at the Delhi airport as its operator has taken measures to provide flight information on real-time basis and reduce flight delays and cancellations. "To reduce delays and congestion due to fog, we have devised a plan along with various stakeholders that would ensure smooth flow

of flight information on almost real time basis to the passengers," said I Prabhakar Rao, Chief Executive Officer of Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL) during a workshop on fog here. Passengers would be provided accurate information about flights through Flight Information Display System (FIDS) at the airport terminal.

It would be updated regularly by the Airport Operations Control Centre (AOCC) based on the information given by the airlines, he said. Elaborating on the other facilities, DIAL's Chief Operation Officer, Marcel Hungerbuehler said the number of help desks has been increased as also the food and beverage (F&B) counters. Cont’d on page 42


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India and Pakistan ease travel restrictions NEW DELHI: India and Pakistan have formally operationalized a new visa agreement that would facilitate multiple-entry and reporting-free visas for businessmen, besides allowing visa on arrival for the elderly. The new agreement would replace a 38-year old tardy visa regime signed in 1974 by two countries. Announcing the new regime, Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde said, "This new visa regime will pave the way in promoting people-to-people contact. We have already issued circular to all Indian missions abroad and state governments notifying the introduction of the new visa regime." On the occasion, visiting Interior Minister of Pakistan Rehman Malik said, "Time has come to forget the old days. This visa regime will take bilateral relations forward. It will bring good trade, will remove this miscommunication...This is not only a historic step but a step forward for peace that we are looking for generations." He said people traveling from Wagah to Lahore would get a "complimentary ride".

unless the entry was also on foot via Attari-Wagah," it said. Under the new regime, visa on arrival to citizens over 65 years will start in four weeks from January 15. The visa will be for 45 days with single entry at Attari-Wagah checkpost. The two countries had signed

‘Time has come to forget the old days. This visa regime will take bilateral relations forward. It will bring good trade, will remove this miscommunication...This is not only a historic step but a step forward for peace that we are looking for generations’ Indian Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde shakes hands with Pakistan's Interior Minister Rehman Malik before their bilateral meeting in New Delhi December 14

The new agreement would facilitate multiple-entry and reporting-free visas for businessmen, allowing them to visit five cities instead of three as per the older system. It would exempt police verification for businessmen with an annual income above Pakistani Rs five million or annual turnover

above Pak Rs 30 million or equivalent in Indian currency traveling on business visa, a statement issued on the occasion said. "Now entry and exit from different designated immigration check posts can be allowed, if indicated in application. However exit from WagahAttari on foot cannot be accepted

Real-time flight info for air travelers Cont’d from page 41

"There is a combined seating arrangement at Terminal 1 and Terminal 3 of 16,900, also there are around 6,100 trolleys for the passengers. There are 24 F&B counters at T1, 27 at domestic side of T3 and 29 on the international side of T3 for convenience of the passengers," Hungerbuehler said. On the city side, additional traffic marshals and two cranes have been deployed for smooth traffic movement, he said. Hungerbuehler said cooperation is expected from stakeholders like airlines, air traffic management officials, ground handlers, food and beverage counters to ensure less inconvenience caused to the passengers. MeT department has predicted that dense fog is likely to descend upon the airport from December 20. "Last season, we had just seven days of dense fog in December 2011 and nine days in January this year. We are expecting dense fog to begin from December 20. Presently, fog has started to build up in eastern states and southern parts of Rajasthan," said R K Jenamani, Airport MeT incharge. Till now, we haven't even had shallow fog. The conditions are favorable for fog to begin, but only thing against it is the wind,

with not less than 10 members and not more than 50 members in each group, organized by approved tour operators/ travel agents," the statement said. The new regime would also allow entry and exit from different designated immigration check posts, if indicated on the appli-

let's see how long this situation prevails, he said. MeT department is fully equipped to predict fog with 95 per cent accuracy, he said. Jenamani also said with such precise predictions last season the airport had managed to reduce by 30 per cent the number of flight cancellations and diversions com-

ticular airline has been given a slot to operate flight and they will have to choose which flight they would like to operate during that slot. "This would be prepared based on MeT information and handed over to airlines. This will not only reduce congestion at the airport but also cause less inconvenience to the passengers,"

The IGI airport here has 10 machines to gather data of runway visual range, which is the highest number for any airport in the world. Speaking about the steps taken by the air traffic control unit, Joint Managing Director (ATM-SQMS) S B Sharma said for a foggy day, we have provided slots for airlines to depart as soon as fog lifts pared to the last four years. The IGI airport here has 10 machines to gather data of runway visual range, which is the highest number for any airport in the world. Speaking about the steps taken by the air traffic control unit, Joint Managing Director (ATM-SQMS) S B Sharma said for a foggy day, we have provided slots for airlines to depart as soon as fog lifts. "We have made slots for airlines, which were to take off during a particular period. And based on the number of flights, a par-

Sharma said. This would give a real-time picture about flight delays to the passengers and airline can start boarding passengers based on this information, he said. DIAL has made three more bays CAT-III B ILS (Instrument Landing System) compliant for aircraft to park even when the runway visibility is around 50 meters. Last year there were 145 such bays, while this year the number is 148. Also two more taxiways have been made CAT IIIB compliant. -PTI

the new regime on September 8 with the aim to facilitate travel for the nationals of both countries and promoting people-to-people contact. The two countries would also operationally from March 15, 2013 the group tourist visa for a period of 30 days which would be issued to tourists traveling in groups of 10-50. "Group tourist visa for 30 days may be issued for travel in groups

cation. The arrangement would also allow, in exceptional cases, issue of visa for up to two years as against the one year provision in the older regime. However, the two-year visa would be given only for persons above 65 years or national of one country married to national of the other country and children below 12 years accompanying parents in the latter case. -PTI

Haryana tourism adopts multi-pronged strategy CHANDIGARH: Aiming to make Haryana a tourist hotspot, the tourism department of the state has adopted a multi-pronged strategy to further improve its services. "The department is expanding 'banqueting and conferencing' facilities, rooms in tourist complexes are being renovated, several hotel management, catering institutes and amusement parks are also being set up in the state," Haryana's Principal Secretary (Tourism) Vijai Vardhan said here. New banquet and conference halls have already been added at eight-nine tourist complexes, he said, adding, three more were being added at complexes in Panchkula, Hisar and Yamunanagar

and another has been approved for the complex at Rai. This, Vardhan said, was being done keeping in view the growing demand for such a facility. Also, the online booking of rooms recently introduced has been showing encouraging results, he said, adding that the facility is currently available for 80 per cent of the complexes and would be soon applicable for remaining complexes as well. He said that while a new amusement park would be set up at Pinjore's complex within next one or two months, such parks would also be set up at Tilyar Tourist Complex, Rohtak and Surajkund in district Faridabad. -PTI

Restriction lifted on gap between visits India Post News Service

WASHINGTON: Travelers on Tourist Visa are currently required to have a gap of at least two months between two separate visits to India. The Indian Embassy has happy news for

travelers. In a press release it says that this restriction has now been lifted except for nationals of China, Iran, Pakistan, Iraq, Sudan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Foreigners of Pakistan and Bangladesh origin and Stateless persons.


India Post 43

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In Brief Guest worker permit bill planned in Oklahoma OKLAHOMA CITY: A Republican state senator from Seminole says he'll reintroduce a proposal to allow illegal immigrants to work in Oklahoma. Sen. Harry Coates of Seminole says he's filed a bill to allow illegal immigrants who are 18 or older to stay in the state if they purchase a guest worker permit, find a sponsor who will both hire them and provide health insurance. The permit would cost $1,000 and the workers must agree to a criminal background check and provide a home address and phone number. Coates sponsored a similar bill earlier this year that was never heard in a Senate committee. -AP

Woman sentenced in illegal drivers’ license ring ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.: A woman who claims to be a pawn in the politics of immigration has been sentenced to 10 years for forging affidavits that authorities say allowed 44 illegal immigrants to get New Mexico driver's licenses. The Albuquerque Journal reports Ana Hernandez was sentenced to a decade behind bars to be followed by five years of probation after pleading guilty to 10 of 324 charges in an indictment returned last year. The 46-year-old Mexican born naturalized U.S. citizen is accused of signing affidavits that falsely said the applicants lived at her business address. -AP

Immigration charges dropped against deputy

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India Post

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December 28, 2012

Waco judge helps sexual abuse victim get visa WACO, Texas: A state district judge in Central Texas has helped a 13-year-old sexual abuse victim get an immigrant visa after the local district attorney refused, according to a newspaper report. Details on page 46

Fewer health care options for illegal immigrants ALAMO, Texas: For years, Sonia Limas would drag her daughters to the emergency room whenever they fell sick. As an illegal immigrant, she had no health insurance, and the only place she knew to seek treatment was the hospital - the most expensive setting for those covering the cost. The family's options improved somewhat a decade ago with the expansion of community health clinics, which offered free or lowcost care with help from the federal government. But President Barack Obama's health care overhaul threatens to roll back some of those services if clinics and hospitals are overwhelmed with newly insured patients and can't afford to care for as many poor families. To be clear, Obama's law was never intended to help Limas and an estimated 11 million illegal immigrants like her. Instead, it envisions that 32 million uninsured Americans will get access to coverage by 2019. Because that should mean fewer uninsured patients showing up at hospitals, the Obama program slashed the federal reimbursement for uncompensated care. But in states with large illegal immigrant populations, the math

may not work, especially if lawmakers don't expand Medicaid, the joint state-federal health program for the poor and disabled. When the reform has been fully implemented, illegal immigrants will make up the nation's second-largest population of uninsured, or about 25 percent. The only larger group will be people who qualify for insurance but fail to enroll, according to a 2012 study by the Washington-based Urban Institute.

uncompensated care hospitals gave to that group. ``In response, many hospitals have had to curtail services, delay implementing services, or close beds.'' The federal government has offered to expand Medicaid, but states must decide whether to take the deal. And in some of those eight states - including Texas, Florida and New Jersey hospitals are scrambling to determine whether they will still have

President Barack Obama's health care overhaul threatens to roll back some of those services if clinics and hospitals are overwhelmed with newly insured patients And since about two-thirds of illegal immigrants live in just eight states, those areas will have a disproportionate share of the uninsured to care for. In communities ``where the number of undocumented immigrants is greatest, the strain has reached the breaking point,'' Rich Umbdenstock, president of the American Hospital Association, wrote last year in a letter to Obama, asking him to keep in mind the

enough money to treat the remaining uninsured. Without a Medicaid expansion, the influx of new patients and the looming cuts in federal funding could inflict ``a double whammy'' in Texas, said David Lopez, CEO of the Harris Health System in Houston, which spends 10 to 15 percent of its $1.2 billion annual budget to care for illegal immigrants. Realistically, taxpayers are al-

ready paying for some of the treatment provided to illegal immigrants because hospitals are required by law to stabilize and treat any patients that arrive in an emergency room, regardless of their ability to pay. The money to cover the costs typically comes from federal, state and local taxes. A solid accounting of money spent treating illegal immigrants is elusive because most hospitals do not ask for immigration status. But some states have tried. California, which is home to the nation's largest population of illegal immigrants, spent an estimated $1.2 billion last year through Medicaid to care for 822,500 illegal immigrants. The New Jersey Hospital Association in 2010 estimated that it cost between $600 million and $650 million annually to treat 550,000 illegal immigrants. And in Texas, a 2010 analysis by the Health and Human Services Commission found that the agency had provided $96 million in benefits to illegal immigrants, up from $81 million two years earlier. The state's public hospital districts spent an additional $717 million in uncompensated care to treat that population. -AP

New USCIS immigrant fĂŠe from Feb. 1 SURESH SHAH

MONTGOMERY, Ala.: Illegal immigration charges have been dismissed against a Canadian man who served as a reserve sheriff's deputy in southeast Alabama. U.S. Magistrate Judge Wallace Capel dismissed the charges at about the same time the 46-yearold Henry County reserve deputy, Kevin Dwight Venhuis, was scheduled to appear before him for a hearing. Venhuis volunteered as a reserve deputy for the sheriff's department for 25 years. His immigration status became an issue when he was divorced from his wife, an American citizen. He was arrested recently during a traffic stop. -AP

CHICAGO: The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will begin collecting a new USCIS Immigrant Fee of $165 from foreign nationals seeking permanent residence in the United States from February 1, 2013, it is learnt This new fee was established in USCIS's final rule adjusting fees for immigration applications and petitions announced on Sept. 24, 2010. New fee allows USCIS to recover the costs of processing immigrant visas after individuals receive their visa packages from the Department of State abroad.

USCIS has worked closely with the Department of State (DOS) to implement the new fee which allows USCIS to recover the costs of processing immigrant visas in

and the cost of producing and delivering the permanent resident card. The implementation of this new fee is further detailed in a Federal Register notice.

New fee allows USCIS to recover the costs of processing immigrant visas after individuals receive their visa packages from the Department of State abroad the United States after immigrant visa holders receive their visa packages from DOS. This includes staff time to handle, file and maintain the immigrant visa package,

In order to simplify and centralize the payment process, applicants will pay online through the USCIS website after they receive their visa package from

DOS and before they depart for the United States. DOS will provide applicants with specific information on how to submit payment when they attend their consular interview. The new fee is in addition to fees charged by DOS associated with an individual's immigrant visa application. USCIS processes approximately 36,000 immigrant visa packages each month. Prospective adoptive parents whose child will enter the United States under the Orphan or Hague processes are exempt from the new fee.


46

Immigration Post

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December 28, 2012

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Deal looms in Kan. case on 'total identity theft' WICHITA, Kan.: An illegal immigrant accused of completely assuming the persona of a Houston elementary school teacher has reached a plea deal in a case that put a face to the growing problem of ``total identity theft'' in the United States, a prosecutor said. A docket notation shows a change-of-plea hearing for Benita Cardona-Gonzalez has been scheduled for Jan. 7 in federal court in Wichita. The notice comes the same day that prosecutors amended charges against her to a single count of possessing fraudulent identification documents. Assistant U.S. Attorney Brent Anderson confirmed that the woman's defense attorney had

advised him and the court that Cardona-Gonzalez had accepted the plea offer and is ready to plead guilty. The Mexican national is accused of completely assuming the persona of teacher Candida L. Gutierrez, who first went public with her plight in a story by The Associated Press that circulated around the world. Gutierrez first learned her identity had been hijacked when she was turned down for a mortgage more than a decade ago. All the while Cardona-Gonzalez claimed it was Gutierrez who had stolen her identity. The women's unusual tug-of-war personified the problem of ``total identity theft'' in which con artists go beyond financial fraud to assume many other as-

Waco judge helps sexual abuse victim get visa WACO, Texas: A state district judge in Central Texas has helped a 13-year-old sexual abuse victim get an immigrant visa after the local district attorney refused, according to a newspaper report. The Waco girl was abused by her mother's boyfriend, who pleaded guilty last year and was sentenced to 35 years in prison. Both the girl and her mother are illegal immigrants. The girl was brought to the United States from Mexico as a toddler, the Waco Tribune-Herald reported. Victims' advocates referred the girl and her mother to Waco attorney Susan Nelson, who pushed for both to be given U-Visas that can be granted to immigrants who are victims of crimes. But McLennan County District Attorney Abel Reyna refused the request, saying he didn't want the visas given as ``rewards.'' Nelson went to Judge Ralph Strother as a last resort. Strother agreed to help. ``She didn't ask to be here or ask to be a victim,'' Strother said, according to the newspaper. ``It was just the right thing to do.'' The girl and her mother have struggled since the boyfriend went to prison because he was the provider for the family. Advocates say a U-Visa could help the mother find better work and the girl receive help from Medicaid, including counseling. The paper did not name the girl or her mother. The Associated Press typically does not identify victims of sexual assault. Nelson and the girl's mother said they had not received an answer for months from Reyna until

the newspaper published a story about the case. Two days after the story was published, Reyna declined the request. ``U-Visas are not supposed to be a reward for testimony, but rather an insurance policy to make sure that justice is done,'' Reyna said in a Facebook post about the case. He suggested Nelson could go to the police or a judge with the visa paperwork. But Waco police do not help with U-Visa applica-

Victims' advocates referred the girl and her mother to Waco attorney Susan Nelson, who pushed for both to be given U-Visas that can be granted to immigrants who are victims of crimes. But McLennan County DA Abel Reyna refused the request tions as a matter of department policy, a spokesman told the newspaper. Strother said he believes he was the right person to handle the visa request all along. A prosecutor, by supporting a visa for a victim, could risk the appearance that the victim was getting benefits for his or her testimony, Strother said. ``We're definitely overjoyed,'' Nelson said. -AP

pects of another person's life. In this case, the thief not only opened fraudulent credit and bank

The alleged impostor was arrested in August, and her fingerprints confirmed that immigration agents had encountered Cardona-Gonzalez in 1996 in Harlingen, Texas, and sent her back to Mexico accounts but also used the stolen identity to obtain a job, a driver's

license, a mortgage and even medical care for the birth of two children. Anderson declined further comment on the case but said that court filing is similar to those in other document fraud cases that typically result in a 12-month or longer sentence as an aggravated felony conviction. Persons convicted of an aggravated felony are almost always subject to automatic deportation. Both women claimed they were identity theft victims and sought to get new Social Security numbers. The Social Security Administration turned down the request from Gutierrez, instead issuing a new number to the woman impersonating her. And in another ironic twist, Gutierrez was forced to file

her federal income tax forms using a special identification number usually reserved for illegal immigrants. Cardona-Gonzalez allegedly used the stolen identity during a 10-year period when she worked at a Topeka company that packages refrigerated foods. The alleged ruse was exposed after Gutierrez's new husband contacted federal authorities in Kansas and asked them to investigate the employee working there who had stolen his wife's identity. The alleged impostor was arrested in August, and her fingerprints confirmed that immigration agents had encountered CardonaGonzalez in 1996 in Harlingen, Texas, and sent her back to Mexico. -AP

Judge lifts hold on part of Ga. immigration law ATHENS, Ga.: A federal judge in Atlanta has cleared the way for a section of Georgia's tough law targeting illegal immigration that had been blocked to enter into effect. U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Thrash signed an order adopting a judgment on the law by the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. In a ruling before the law was set to take effect in July 2011, Thrash had issued preliminary injunctions that blocked some parts of the law pending the outcome of a legal challenge to the law filed by a coalition of activist groups. A three-judge panel of the 11th Circuit in August ruled that a part of the law that authorizes law enforcement to verify the immigration status of criminal suspects who fail to produce proper identification should be allowed to go into effect. Thrash's order, which showed up in an online filing system, seems to indicate that law enforcement agencies can immediately begin enforcing that section of the law, said lawyers in the case. The 11th Circuit panel left in place Thrash's injunction blocking part of the law that makes it illegal for someone to knowingly harbor or transport an illegal immigrant during the commission of a crime. That section of the law remains blocked under Thrash's new order. The state can still appeal that part of the 11th Circuit decision to the U.S. Supreme Court. The order does not resolve the lawsuit filed by the activist groups challenging the law. It merely addresses the preliminary injunc-

tions. The full legal challenge to the law, which alleges it is unconstitutional and is pre-empted by federal law, could drag on for years, lawyers in the case said. ``We're going to be monitoring the implementation of the showme-your-papers provision in Georgia very carefully,'' said Karen Tumlin, a lawyer with the National Immigration Law Center, referring to the law enforcement section of the law. She said they'll gather evidence on how the law is interpreted and enforced to use in seeking a permanent injunction of that section.

Thrash had issued preliminary injunctions that blocked some parts of the law pending the outcome of a legal challenge to the law filed by a coalition of activist groups The Georgia attorney general's office said in a statement that Thrash's order simply applies the recent 11th Circuit order applying Section 8, the law enforcement provision of the law. ``As the State has argued throughout this litigation, Section 8 does not break new ground as law enforcement already independently possesses this authority,'' the statement says. Omar Jadwat, a lawyer for the

American Civil Liberties Union, one of the groups that challenged the law, said that while the order seems to lift the injunction, ``it would be irresponsible for the state to go ahead and start enforcing it without providing guidance to law enforcement on how it should be enforced. Police departments and sheriff's offices in the state are governed by local governments, which will have to make decisions about how to enforce the law. Unlike similar laws in other states, such as Arizona, Georgia's law does not require officers to check someone's immigration status. Instead it authorizes them to do so during the investigation of another crime if the suspect cannot produce an acceptable form of identification, such as a valid driver's license. Terry Norris, executive director of the Georgia Sheriff's Association, and Frank Rotondo, executive director of the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police, both said they hadn't issued any sort of guidance to local agencies on how to enforce the law. Norris plans to talk to his organization's training committee to see if they planned to issue any guidelines, but because of the large number of laws that officers have to enforce it is not practical to issue guidance for each one, he said. ``If anything changes, it will not be an overnight change,'' he said. ``It will be a gradual acknowledgement of the provisions and a determination of how to enforce them.'' -AP


Immigration Post

December 28, 2012

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New portal welcomes entrepreneurs to USA CYRUS D. MEHTA

C

onsistent with its earlier policy of welcoming entre preneurs, the USCIS launched a new portal called Entrepreneur Pathways providing resources on how foreign entrepreneurs can use existing visas to launch their innovative startups in the US. The portal is quite good, and it is hoped that USCIS officials retreat from their culture of "No" and process cases in the spirit of this new guidance. At the outset, we clearly need Congress to create a Startup Visa rather than entrepreneurs using existing visas that were not designed for them, but those legislative proposals are still floundering. One version of a Startup Visa would require the entrepreneur to invest a minimum of $100,000 in order to get a two year green card. To keep the green card past two years, the founder would need to create five jobs and either raises at least $500,000 in additional funding or $500,000 in revenues. Even if Congress enacted a Startup Visa, these requirements could be rather burdensome for a nimble entrepreneur who could still launch a successful business without an initial $100,000 investment. There are enough opportunities under our existing immigration law for entrepreneurs who may not need to make such a high investment in their startup. The existing visa system if interpreted broadly, together with the Startup Visa, would provide a welcoming environment for job creating foreign entrepreneurs in the US. The new portal shows the way on how entrepreneurs can use the existing immigration system to set up ventures in the US and possibly even flourish. While these ideas have been used by creative immigration attorneys on behalf of their clients from time immemorial, it is good to know that the portal validates them, largely based on the input that the USCIS received from real entrepreneurs through its Entrepreneur in Residence initiative. Most important, the EIR has endeavored to train USCIS officers about the unique aspects of a

startup business. It is hoped that USCIS officers, after receiving such training, will change their mindset and be willing to distinguishing a legitimate startup from a fraudulent artifice. For instance, startups may not yet be generating a revenue stream as they are developing new technologies that may lead to products and services later on. Many have received financing through venture capital, angel investors or through

To keep the green card past two years, the founder would need to create five jobs and raise at least $500,000 in additional funding "Series A and B" rounds of shares. Startups may also operate in more informal spaces, such as the residences of the founders (with regular meetings at Starbucks) instead of a commercial premise. Some are also operating in "stealth mode" so as not to attract the attention of competitors and may not display the usual bells and whistles such as a website or other marketing material. Startups may also not have payroll records since founders may be compensated in stock options. Still, such startups are legitimate companies that should be able to support H1B, L, O or other visa statuses. The portal suggests that if a foreign student has a "Facebook" type of idea, he or she can start a business while in F-1 Optional Practical Training provided the business is directly related to the student's major area of study. After completing F-1 OPT, this student can potentially switch to H-1B visa status (provided there are H-1B visa numbers at that time). Regarding the startup owner being able to sponsor himself or herself on an H-1B, the USCIS is surprisingly receptive, but still obsessed with the Neufeld Memo

that there must be a valid employer-employee relationship and that the entity has a right to control the employment. Still, the USCIS suggests that a startup may be able to demonstrate this if the ownership and control of the company are different. This can be shown through a board of directors, preferred shareholders, investors, or other factors that the organization has the right to control the terms and conditions of the beneficiary's employment (such as the right to hire, fire, pay, supervise or otherwise control the terms and conditions of employment). Some of the suggested evidence could include a term sheet, capitalization table, stock purchase agreement, investor rights agreement, voting agreement or organization documents and operating agreements. Even with intra-company transferee L-1 visas for executives and managers, the portal recognizes that an entrepreneur may establish a "new office" L-1 (which could be a subsidiary, parent, affiliate or branch of the foreign company) with a validity period of one year, which allows a ramp up period where the entrepreneur can be involved in "hands on" tasks instead of function as an executive or manager. After the one year ramp up, the organization must be able to support the entrepreneur in a true managerial or executive capacity. The portal also refreshingly suggests that entrepreneurs who can demonstrate extraordinary ability in their field of endeavor can take advantage of the O-1 visa, and can set up a company who can sponsor them. Interestingly, there is no mention of the control test for the O1 visa like for the H-1B visa. Finally, the portal also provides guidance for nationals of certain countries that have a treaty with the US, which facilitates the E-2 investor visa. All this looks good on paper (rather online!), and it remains to be seen whether USCIS officers will faithfully interpret this guid-

ance. Even if an H-1B founder of a company successfully establishes that the entity can control her employment through a board of directors or through preferred shareholders, the USCIS could likely challenge whether a position in a startup, where the beneficiary may be wearing many hats, can support a specialized position. The H-1B visa law requires the petitioner to demonstrate that a bachelor's degree in a specialized field is the minimum qualification for entry into that occupation. Also, positions in innovative startups may not necessarily fit under the occupations listed in the Department of Labor's Occupational Outlook Handbook but may yet require at least a bachelor's degree. It is hoped that USCIS examiners

are trained to be receptive to other evidence to demonstrate that the position requires a bachelor's degree. Furthermore, an MBA degree should be considered a specialized degree in itself since many MBA programs at top business schools focus on entrepreneurship and other fields, such as technology or web analytics, which equip one to be a successful entrepreneur. In the end, the success of the Entrepreneur in Residence initiative largely depends on whether the USCIS has been able to alter the mindset of its officials who are in the habit of saying "No."

* Cyrus D Mehta, may be contacted at 212-425-0555 or info@cyrusmehta.com

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

http://www.proy-singh.com

2335 W. Devon Ave., Suite 204, Tel: 773-381-1820 Chicago, IL 60659


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Datebook

December 28, 2012

India Post

49

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NORTHERN CALIFORNIA

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

NEW YORK

NEW JERSEY

ILLINOIS

Upcoming

Upcoming

Upcoming

Upcoming

Upcoming

Sat Dec 29

Mon Dec 31

Sat Dec 29

Fri Dec 28

Mon Dec 31

• L U S H Ent. NYE Party

• Fantasy Ball 7 - New Years 2013

Venue: Madhuban, 50 Skyport Dr, San Jose, CA 95110 Time: 7:00 pm Contact: 408-537-3235

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

• Bhangra On The Terrace

• Arabian Nights Belly Dancing Show w/ DJ Wave! ONLY FIRE N ICE

• NYE SOIREE 2013 w/ Stache Hyatt Chicago Magnificent Mile

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

Mon Dec 31 • Unforgettable New Year's Eve by India Post Venue: San Jose Airport Garden Hotel, 1740 North First Street, San Jose, CA 95112 Time: 7:30 pm to 1:00 am Contact: Priya Nayar, 510-565-9993 Highlights: Complimentary Black, Gold or Blue Label for selected sponsor tables. Fabulous dinner; Fantastic DJ with Suresh; New Year Fancy Decors, Live Entertainment and much more. Co-hosted by WomenNow

Mon Dec 31 • Rhythm 2013 Last Year Sold Out Venue: The Domain Hotel, 1085 E El Camino Real, Sunnyvale, CA 94087 Time: 8:30 pm Contact: 510-432-6385

Mon Dec 31 • ICC's New Year's Eve Venue: Indian community center, 525 Los Coches St, Milpitas, CA 95035 Time: 8:00 pm Contact: 408-934-1130

Mon Dec 31 • Ringa Ringa Ring In 2013- New Year's Eve Party Venue: Dosa and Biriyani, 250 E Java Dr, Sunnyvale, CA 94089 Time: 7:00 pm Contact: 408-822-1328

Venue: Hudson Terrace, 621 W 46th St, New York, NY 10036 Time: 9:30 pm Contact: 9084251603

Venue: Fire n Ice: Exotic Hookah Bar & Lounge, 583 Ford Ave, Fords, NJ 08863 Time: 7:00 pm Contact: 732-417-1999

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

Mon Dec 31

Mon Dec 31

Mon Dec 31

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

• Bollywood Style-New Year Eve

Mon Dec 31

Venue: The Caulfield, 119 E 27th St, New York, NY 10016 Time: 8:00 pm Contact: 646 415 8569

• Dj Magic Mike Presents NYE

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

Mon Dec 31 • NYE 2013 - Desi Dhamaal 3 Venue: Crowne Plaza Hotel Anahiem Disneyland, 12021 Harbor Blvd, Garden Grove, CA 92840 Time: 7:00 pm Contact: 9512173604

Mon Dec 31 • Radio5 Events presents New Years Eve 2013 Venue: Sheraton Gateway Hotel, 6101 W Century Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90045 Time: 7:00 pm Contact: 323-205-5594

WASHINGTON DC Upcoming Mon Dec 31 • Blockbuster Bollywood 13 - New Year Party Venue: Mood Lounge, 1318 9th St NW, Washington, DC 20001 Time: 9:00 pm Contact: 202656-3374

Mon Dec 31

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

• ARIZ's New Year's Eve 2013

Mon Dec 31

Venue: Junoon Street, 27 W 24th St, New York, NY 10010 Time: 10:00 pm Contact: 201-696-7222

• Temptation New Year's Eve

Mon Dec 31 • SANA and THE HUNGAMA CREW Presents New Year's Eve Venue: Barolo Ristorante, 398 W Broadway, New York, NY 10012 Time: 9:00 pm Contact: 646-330-4172

Mon Dec 31 • Harry Malhotra's New Years eve Extravaganza 2013 Venue: World Fair Marina, Flushing, New York, NY 11368 Time: 7:00 pm Contact: 917-325-4903

ATLANTA Upcoming Mon Dec 31 • A New Year's Resolution 2013 Venue: Westin Perimeter, 7 Concourse Parkway Northeast, Atlanta, GA 30328 Time: 9:30 pm Contact: 864-907-2003

Venue: Hotel 999 /// Jewels of India (formerly Ramada Inn), 999 U.S. 1, North Brunswick Township, NJ 08902 Time: 8:00 pm Contact: 732-522-1755

• New Year Party with Bollywood Sensation Esha Deol Venue: Meadows Club, 2850 w. golf road, Rolling Meadows, IL 60008 Time: 7:30 pm Contact: 2243922466

Mon Dec 31 • Chicago’s Official Bollywood New Year Venue: Crown Plaza, 733 W Madison St, Chicago, IL 60661 Time: 9:00 pm Contact: 847-372-1415


Horoscope

50 India Post

December 28, 2012

www.indiapost.com

Your Weekly Future by Pandit Parashar

DECEMBER 28TH to JANUARY 4TH (March 21 to April 20)

M

oney will go on an upcoming trip. You will hear some encouraging news at work but the implementation will take several weeks. Sound strategy will help people in business beat competitors and increase their profit margin. You have a pleasant surprise coming in mail. An old friend will call to invite you to a party at his place.

(July 23 to August 22)

S

ome of you may accept the offer from a friend and decide to start the business in partnership. Have proper clothing when you go out in the evening. You may have to pay couple of legal bills also this week. Children will be making some plans for a short trip. You will be call an old friend and try to arrange a get together at your place.

(April 21 to May 20)

Y

ou will finalize a short trip to a nice and never visited before place. Things will stay calm at work and soon you will be working on a new project. Intuitions will help you take several correct decisions. You will be doing little work in and around the house. You will be reunited with a close family member soon.

(August 23 to September 22)

T

hings will slow down all of a sudden but there will be enough money in pipeline. You may be traveling in East direction in near future. You may also receive a small check in shape of a refund. Some of you will be getting ready to travel long distance to meet relatives. You will be working on another big business proposal.

(May 21 to June 20)

Y

ou will be under lots of pressure. Family and finances both will be the main issue in mind. Solution will be hard to find. Some one close will express the desire to move to distant place. You will quickly recover from minor health problem also. You may be thinking of contacting an old and trustworthy friend for advice and some directions.

(September 23 to October 22)

Y

ou will have many opportunities to make extra money little unorthodox way. You will be traveling and spend most of the time away from home. You may win some money in lottery if you try your hand at it. Dispose off money making stocks and wait few weeks. Eye sight may start giving trouble but you may not get time to visit the doctor.

(June 21 to July 22)

D

o not ignore the opportunity. You will be working extra hours and will be on your feet most of the time. You will be working really hard to meet upcoming commitments. Soon you will be reunited with a close family member. There is a big chance of some money coming through legal channel. You will also give final shape to a short trip.

(October 23 to November 22)

M

ind will become very creative and you will buy some interesting items for others. You will be moved to another important project. Money wise you will continue to do well and may dispose off some stocks and pocket the profit. You will take time out to write letters and mail. You will help a very needy person with your expertise. (November 23 to December 22)

Y

ou will be very firm when it comes to dealing with people who kind of used you in the past and every body will notice the change. You will be eagerly waiting for the return on investment made recently. Your good deeds will make you popular in social circle and you will be invited to few parties. Do not ignore health issues. (December 22 to January 19)

A

void any frictions at home. Opponents will make mistakes and you will have the chance to take advantage of the situation. Some of you will be getting ready for an overseas trip. You have big chunk of money coming through legal channel soon. Planets will make you far sighted and you will be planning big from now and on. (January 20 to February 18)

Y

ou will go on an important trip and it will turn out to be beneficial for you in many ways. New association and friendship is in horizon. People will try to irritate you but will not succeed. You will be spending lots of money with your own hands. You will be spending lots of time on a new project collecting data etc. (February 19 to March 20)

F

inancially it will be a rewarding time. Your popularity is on in crease and you will be surrounded by admirers at the party. You will be offered a new project by an intellectual group. A child may not keep well and need extra medical care and rest. You will also give final shape to a short trip to a neighboring state.

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

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


December 28, 2012

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Classifieds

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December 28, 2012

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FOR SALE

BULL DOG PUPPIES ADORABLE 3 ENGLISH BULL DOG PUPPIES FOR SALE. THEY HAVE GOTTEN VACCINES AND SHOTS UP TO DATE, HOME TRAINED, GOOD WITH KIDS AND HAVE GOT A GOOD HEALTH RECORDS. THEY ARE AKC AND CKC REGISTERED. THEY ARE $950 EACH. Email at

wells.turris@aol.com if interested.

Notice is hereby given that sealed bids will be accepted in the office of the Alameda County Behavioral Health Care Services, 1900 Embarcadero Cove, Suite 205, Oakland, CA NON-MANDATORY NETWORKING/BIDDERS CONFERENCES for RFP BHCS #13-04 – Substance Use Disorder Treatment of Bay Area Service Network (BASN) and AB 109 Participants South County: Tuesday, January 8, 2013 at 10:00 AM, Behavioral Health Care Services, 1900 Embarcadero Cove, Suite 205, Wildcat Canyon Room, Oakland and North County: Thursday, January 10, 2013 at 9:30 AM, Livermore Public Library, Board Room, 1188 South Livermore Avenue, Livermore Responses Due by 2:00 pm on January 29, 2013 County Contact: Nermina Terovic (510) 383-2766 or via email: nterovic@acbhcs.org Attendance at Networking/Bidders Conference is not required. The RFP is available via the GSA website— www.acgov.org under Current Contracting Opportunities 12/28/12 CNS-2419624#

For Classifieds Ads Call NORTHERN CA (Sonia) Tel: 510-938-8668 sonia@indiapost.com (Priya) Tel. 510-275-4467 priya@indiapost.com SOUTHERN CA (Shashi Trivedi) Tel: 562-441-5511/ Fax: 562-947-0632 shashi19@yahoo.com CHICAGO (Ramesh Soparawala) Tel: 773-973-7394 / Fax: 773-973-7396 sramesh@aol.com NEW YORK (Pinky) Tel: 212-944-1931/

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December 28, 2012

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here's nothing wrong with anything. Our perception is very small, our understanding of time is so limited, and we don't see the perspective of consciousness where everything is arising as it is. Everything is going where it's supposed to be going in its own time. The way we understand time is based on this body. That's why it's limited because it's limited to its form, and that form is limited. That has nothing to do with consciousness, with reality. That is ongoing, and it has its own time and momentum and reason, its own motion. There's much confusion and a lot of drama about Karma and destiny. All it means is that it's a momentum of things. Whatever has been set in motion needs to come to fruition. That's what it means in this realm of cause and effect because that's the only place karma exists. That's what destiny also means: whatever has been set in motion must come to fulfillment. If there has been a deep longing for freedom, if there has been good karma from the past... that is going to eventually come to fulfillment which is realization or enlightenment. It doesn't depend on anything or anybody. Once it is set in motion, there is nothing we can do about that. We can only be here. RAMANA MAHARISHI

Q

uestion:What is Gurukripa ? How does it lead to Self-realization? Maharishi: Guru is the Self.... Sometimes in his life a man becomes dissatisfied with it, and, not content with what he has, he seeks the satisfaction of his desires, through prayer to God etc. His mind is gradually purified until he longs to know God, more to obtain His Grace than to satisfy his worldly desires. Then, God's Grace begins to manifest. God takes the form of a Guru and appears to the devotee, teaches him the Truth and, moreover, purifies his mind by association. The devotee's mind gains strength and is then able to turn inward. By meditation it is further purified and it remains still without the least ripple. That calm Expanse is the Self. The Guru is both 'external' and 'internal'. From the 'exterior' He gives a push to the mind to turn inward; from the 'interior' He pulls the mind towards the Self and helps in the quieting of the mind. That is Guru-kripa. There is no difference between God, Guru and the Self.

Karma is not unique or personal to an individual. It's a certain stream of consciousness that carries a certain momentum. It's not individual-based. Yet in this reality here, it appears as a particular person who is going through certain things. But it's not personal. Consciousness does it all. Once this motion is set in consciousness, it has to come to fulfillment. That means there's nothing we

The tremendous power of Satsang is being here. The moment you are willing to be here, something stops. You are actually resting here as you are. Everything is attracted to that freedom, that space, because now there is some place to rest. It doesn't perpetuate. It comes and stops right here in that quiet willingness. It's like there's space created when you stop. Openness attracts things to come in like a vacuum.

You can be honest about what arises in consciousness and take absolute total responsibility for what it is, no matter how much or how little you know about it. Let's say your recognition is very small, where you can vaguely taste that sense of freedom. Now you ask, "Am I willing to really embody that? Am I willing to follow that truth?" That's what I would call a willingness or a path, not to fall back

The tremendous power of Satsang is being 'here'

Neelam

Something gets set in motion, and sets something else in motion, "your" reactivity creates another involvement with that, and sets in motion something else. It goes on and on like that.

can do about the circumstances that arise. But we could be here just the way we are. In that being here, something stops. It doesn't go on anymore because that's what's going on in this karma field - constant perpetuation of suffering. Something gets set in motion, and sets something else in motion, "your" reactivity creates another involvement with that, and sets in motion something else. It goes on and on like that.

That's who you are. That's your nature, spaciousness. Once you're out of the illusion you're something else, everything can come and rest in that. Because that's what consciousness ultimately wants; it wants to rest here. Once that is available, anywhere in the universe, everything is going to come towards that because that's the place to end suffering. That's called Satsang.

to sleep, not to say, "Oh yeah, that was nice sitting in Satsang. Oh that was beautiful. Now let's just go back to the story." How about taking that truth and really allowing that to be your life, to be present in your life, to really take you out of that denial. Neelam from Poland is a disciple of Papaji. Her message is excerpted from answers given to Rita Marie Robinson in her book Ordinary Women, Extraordinary Wisdom.

Q: In the Theosophical Society they meditate in order to seek Masters to guide them. M: The Master is within; meditation is meant to remove the ignorant idea that He is only outside. If He be a stranger whom you await, He is bound to disappear also. Where is the use for a transient being like that? But as long

M: Does the Guru hold you by the hand and whisper in the ear? You may imagine him to be what you are yourself. Because you think you are with a body, you think He has also a body, to do something tangible to you. His work lies within, in the spiritual realm. Q: How is the Guru found? M: God, Who is immanent, in

right path until he realizes the Self within. Q: What should the devotee do then? M: He has only to act up to the words of the Master and work within. The Master is both 'within' and 'without', so He creates conditions to drive you inward and at the same time prepares the 'interior' to drag you

The Guru is both 'external' and 'internal'

Ramana Maharishi

as you think you are separate or that you are the body, so long is the Master 'without' also necessary, and He will appear as if with a body. When the wrong identification of oneself with the body ceases, the Master will be found as none other than the Self. Q: Will the Guru help us to know the Self through initiation etc.?

He creates conditions to drive you inward and at the same time prepares the 'interior' to drag you to the Center. Thus He gives a push from 'without' and exerts a pull from 'within' His Grace takes pity on the loving devotee and manifests Himself according to the devotee's development. The devotee thinks that He is a man and expects a relationship as between two physical bodies. But the Guru, who is God or the Self Incarnate, works from within, helps the man to see the error of his ways and guides him in the

to the Center. Thus He gives a push from 'without' and exerts a pull from 'within', so that you may be fixed at the Center. You will know in due course that your glory lies where you cease to exist. The 133rd birth anniversary of Ramana Maharishi will be celebrated on December 30.

Our greatest glory is not in never falling but in rising every time we fall. -Confucius Health is the greatest possession. Contentment is the greatest treasure. Confidence is the greatest friend. Non-being is the greatest joy. -Lao Tzu Evil exists to glorify the good. Evil is negative good. It is a relative term. Evil can be transmuted into good. What is evil to one at one time, becomes good at another time to somebody else. -Mencius To receive everything, one must open one's hands and give. -Taisen Deshimaru There are only two people who can tell you the truth about yourself - an enemy who has lost his temper and a friend who loves you dearly. -Antisthenes When I look upon seamen, men of science and philosophers, man is the wisest of all beings; when I look upon priests and prophets nothing is as contemptible as man. -Diogenes

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India Post

December 28, 2012

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Afghanistan elections: Will the Taliban contest? J JEGANAATHAN

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n 31 October 2012, the In- a free and fair election without for- tonomy in governing the country. It is also unviable for the Taliban dependent Election Com eign interference. Moreover, one cannot rule out to mobilize a nationwide armed inmission (IEC) of Afghanistan announced the timeline for any possibility of such a scenario, surgency against the government Presidential and Provincial Coun- given the new circumstances that for two simple reasons: feeble excils Elections, which are scheduled emerged especially after Osama's ternal support and sympathy, and, to take place in April 2014. While death, in which the Taliban ap- popular domestic discontent over releasing the Election Calendar peared reformed and matured. A their political and ideological disduring a press conference in clear example of this was the re- position. In fact, the Taliban's exKabul, Fazil Ahmad Manawi, the leasing of the third Layeha, the ternal support - both monetary and head of the IEC said, "we are even Taliban's Code of Conduct, issued material - has been deteriorating. prepared to pave the ground for by Mullah Omar, which prohibits The Taliban's leadership is now in the armed opposition, be it the attacking civilians and looting. a position to reform themselves, Taliban or Hezb-i-Islami, to partici- This reflects the Taliban's profes- as well as their political strategies, pate in the election either as vot- sional public relations strategy in accordance with the lessons ers or candidates...there will be no and growing political maturity in they have presumably learned their leadership. over the last decade. discrimination". According to the Royal United Ballots for bullets This is an open invitation to Nevertheless, it is quite difficult Taliban and other armed insur- Service Institute's report, which is gents to take part in the elections. based on interviews with Taliban to gauge which of the two factions of the Taliban hold In this context, the elecmore say since they are toral process of Afloosely organized and ghanistan that was physically scattered. kicked-off recently asOne may not be sure sumes significance whether the Taliban from a national reconwould contest or parciliation perspective. ticipate in the elections But, the moot question but it is beyond doubt is, will Taliban contest that they will surely exin the election or even plore all suitable opsupport it? tions to come back to The significance of power. 2014 elections In light of this, perIt is widely believed haps the best way to that the 2014 elections realize their political are crucial for the peace Afghan Election Commission Chief Fazil Ahmad Manawi goals would be and stability of Afghanistan as the country is set for po- interlocutors, the Taliban's liaison through ballots rather than bullets. litical, economic and security tran- with the Pakistani army or the ISI In fact, this option is most viable sitions. Politically, the country is as well as the al Qaeda, is waning. for the Taliban merely because of preparing to embrace a new lead- It can also be inferred that the demographic reasons since ethnic ership since incumbent President, Taliban's leadership is divided Pashtuns remain a majority in the Karzai, is constitutionally barred into two camps: idealist and prag- country, accounting for 42% of the total Afghan population. from running in the 2014 elections. matist. The pragmatists are willing to Therefore, if the Taliban decides Moreover, international forces deployed in the region have de- negotiate their radical ideology for to contest or field their candidates, cided to hand over security re- a legitimate political space in the then they will definitely dominate sponsibilities to Afghan forces Afghan polity. But, they are the outcome of the elections. This and therefore, the new govern- strongly averse to any external would, however, entail some ideoment will confront the security interference in determining or dic- logical compromises and organitransition, as well. The country tating their political future and also zational revamping on the part of will also undergo an economic disapprove of the present govern- the Taliban leadership. It seems that they have polititransition from aid economy to ment as being a "stooge". The idealists are often termed cally matured now and are aware independent self-sustained economy. Nevertheless, the pros- as radicals who are marginal, carry of their tactical constraints as well pects for peace and stability will the baggage of past glory and re- as strategic restraints. In short, the be dismal unless there is a fair main determined to carry forward Taliban is now in survival mode their Jihad. This polarization was both in ideological and operational and square political transition. very much perceptible in the terms. However, this would highly What does the Taliban say? So far, there is no official reac- Taliban's response to the West's depend upon the IEC's efforts to tion from the Taliban regarding the proposal for peace talks or nego- ensure a free and fair election, proposed election schedule. How- tiations as well as in their replies which includes the equitable treatever, the official website of Islamic to any reconciliatory efforts initi- ment of electors, candidates and parties by election officials, the Emirates of Afghanistan, Shahmat, ated by the government. It is quite obvious to the government, the police, the miliquestioned the elections as being "new attempts to justify the inva- Taliban that the international tary and the judiciary. The prosion". It decreed that "the Islamic forces will duly withdraw their posed elections could create a winEmirate of Afghanistan anticipates combat missions by 2014 and that win situation for both the Taliban the solution of the Afghan pre- President Karzai will no longer be and mainstream Afghans, if it is dicament in full freedom and not in the picture. Unlike the incum- orchestrated well. The writer is Research Fellow, through a false and fake election". bent, the new leadership will enThis indicates their penchant for joy relative independence and au- IReS, IPCS

Electioneering trip

P

akistani Interior Minister Rehman Malik came to India on a three-day visit with an agenda. And it was not reconciling differences between the two countries. He riled Indian government and the people no end by making outrageous statements claiming among others, that Pakistan had no hand in the Mumbai attack, it being intelligence failure on the part of the Indian government; that one of the masterminds Abu Jundal, now in Indian jail, was not a Pakistani but an Indian double-agent and that the words of the hanged terrorist Ajmal Kasab could not be believed to implicate LeT leader Hafiz Saeed in the Mumbai attacks. He also tried to equate 26/11 Mumbai attack with the Babri Masjid issue. India has reacted with horror at the claims of the Pakistani minister and after his talks with his Indian counterpart Sushil Kumar Shinde, not only was there no joint press conference, even a joint statement was not put out. Was Malik perturbed by these developments? Not at all. He had not come to India to please the Indians. That doesn't bring votes in Pakistan. He had come with an eye on the approaching Pakistani general elections. He had not come as the Pakistan minister but as the Pakistani People's Party (PPP) representative and it was part of an electioneering trip. He was addressing the Pakistani electorate. President Asif Ali Zardari, as head of the PPP, has made several efforts at making up with India particularly through trade as at heart he remains a businessman. But he has also learnt with much difficulty that friendship with India doesn't fetch votes in Pakistan. Enmity with India does. So in these times with approaching elections, he has allowed the anti-India sentiments full play so that the voting generation is brought around to the PPP side. Zardari was in the forefront to try and grant Most Favored Nation (MFN) status to India so that better trading between the two countries could be facilitated. His government has now given up that move, perhaps temporarily, because the anti-MFN forces have ganged up in Pakistan, led by India's bete noir, Hafiz Saeed. If Malik's visit was geared to winning electoral points back home even by embarrassing his hosts, there was Narendra Modi in Gujarat gratefully exploiting Malik's remarks to garner votes for himself. He was quick to remind his audience that the weak Indian government had failed to stand up to the visitor's attempt to insult India. And that weak government was led by the Congress which was now trying to malign him in the elections. He had another weapon up his sleeves: accusing the Central Government of nearing an agreement to handover Sir Creek in Kutch district to Pakistan. Predictably, Sir Creek is in Gujarat and this statement came on the eve of elections there. The Malik visit was not without any gains. Despite setbacks and delays, India and Pakistan have finally operationalized the liberal visa regime they had agreed upon earlier. Under the new regime, ordinary tourists from the two sides will be given visas for five cities. The citizens above 65 years will be issued arrival visas for 45 days. Visas on arrivals can also be issued on Wagah and Attari borders. Even from the ashes of this doomed visit, some commentators have found reason for hope. Radha Kumar, who was part of an interlocutor group set up by the Prime Minister on Jammu and Kashmir, invites our attention to the statement by Malik that terrorism is an equally critical concern for Pakistan. She claims that ten years ago no Pakistan minister would have made such a statement. "If the Pakistani government and civil society now view home-grown terrorism as their major threat, then the ground has been cleared for our two countries to work together on the issue, recognizing that the progress will be slow and hard." It seems we have to be grateful for small mercies.


December 28, 2012

www.indiapost.com

India Post 55


56 India Post

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December 28, 2012

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