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Friday, January 06, 2017 | Vol. 36, No. 01

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Indo American erican News

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January 06, 2017

INDO-AMERICAN NEWS • FRIDAY, JANUARY 06, 2017 • ONLINE EDITION: WWW.INDOAMERICAN-NEWS.COM


January 06, 2017 3 COMMUNITY HWS Begins the New Year with Blessings from Durga Mata!

BY JAWAHAR MALHOTRA

HOUSTON: It is considered an

auspicious beginning of the New Year when the blessings of the Goddess Durga, the Invincible One, are invoked to protect you through the coming months. And the Hindu Worship Society on Wirtcrest Road commenced it with jut that fervor at its annual Mata di Chowki on the evening of Sunday, January 1 from 5 to 9pm with the devotional hall full of devotees. This was the second Chowki held in the past five months, when the previous one on Friday, August 26 featured New Delhi based religious artist Puneet Khurana who performed high-volume bhajans in front of the deities. The New Year’s Chowki featured a well-known local religious singer, Ravi Shankar Puri, and his accompanying musicians, who sang the praises of Durga Mata with equally high gusto, with a saffron turban on his head, a red chunni and a red waistcoat. As is customary, other faithful joined in for their own devotional bhajans, including Surender Talwar, a popular figure among the community, leading off with several songs in his strong tenor voice. The turnout for the Chowki was huge – organizers estimated close to 400 people came – as the next

day, Monday, was a holiday and they joined in for the concluding aarti and Prasad. Dinner was catered, as usual by Bombay Brasserie after the Chowki came to a resounding conclusion. The Hindu Worship Society was formally established in 1980 by the oldest Hindu families, mostly Punjabis from North India, then in Houston. The present worship hall, adjoining facilities and house for the priest on Wirtcrest Road blends into the area north of I-10

and close to the center of the city. The HWS is currently updating its membership roster and is soliciting verification forms in preparation of elections in February or March for its Governing Board and Executive Committee. Forms are to be completed and returned by regular mail, email or in person at the temple before January 8, which is also the date of the next General Body meeting to be held at 11am.

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January 06, 2017

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COMMUNITY

January 06, 2017

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Sri Meenakshi Temple Celebrates the Arrival of New Year 2017

BY AKILAN GOPAL & S. NARAYANAN

PEARLAND: Long before the dawn of

the New Year, devotees were gathered at Sri Meenakshi Temple Society (MTS) to bid farewell to 2016 and to welcome 2017. The special midnight pooja has become a regular feature at MTS with many devotees braving the winter cold for the occasion. The auspicious Dhanur Masa (Marghazhi) which falls from mid-December to mid-January is significant for the early morning Thiruppavai and Thiruvempavai recitations that reverberate at the dawn hours to awaken the Gods, and set the scene for the New Year on January 1st. It was a Grand New Year’s Day celebration at Sri Meenakshi Temple. From the early morning to the late night the main temple was filled with devotees. The weather was great and more than 8,000 devotees visited Meenakshi temple, Pearland, Texas. The Ganapathi Homam, Venkateswara Laksharchana, Pallakku procession for Venkateswara in the morning Pallakku procession for Meenakshi in the evening, Special Archana for Mahalakshmi all went remarkably seamlessly, with the large number of devotees participating. The Priests did an excellent job with the throngs of devotees coming to pray and seek blessings from the God. The décor and the ambience of the inside main temple greatly complemented the expanded precincts of the Main Temple. Meenakshi Temple started the New Year

off with a cultural extravaganza, hosting the talent of local and international artists alike. The occasion was organized by Mala Gopal, who enlisted the help of high school teens Harish Ganesh, Aakash Srikanth, and Gopinath Senthilkumar to run the show. Adhi Gopal and Kishore Ayer began the event with a prayer followed by a classical performance honoring the recently deceased legend M. Balamuralikrishna, who was also the guru for Adhi’s mentor P. Sekar. Soon the hall filled up with guests, looking forward to a magical afternoon of singing and dancing. Magesh, Kishore and Maya Iyer never missed a beat as they gave a violin mini-concert. Sinthuja and Priya, students of Manjula Palivela, sang beautifully. As the program progressed, we experienced delightful classical dances from students of Sreepadham School, Tatvam School, Sunantha Nair School, Anjali School, as well as students of Indrani Parthsarathy. The highlight of the day was a superb dance showcase by the Samarthanam Trust for the Disabled, a non-profit that now supports over 9,000 persons with auditory, visual, or vocal disabilities to help them engage socio-economic-cultural fronts. The specially talented performers truly left the audience in awe, as they showed us how perseverance and determination will overcome all odds – a fitting message to begin the New Year. Devotees witnessed the construction of the Corner Temple Renovation Project (CTRP)

Indo American News (ISSN 887-5936) is published weekly every Friday (for a subscription of $40 per year) by IndoAmerican News Inc., 7457 Harwin Dr., Suite 262, Houston, TX 77036., tel: 713-789-6397, fax:713-789-6399, email: indoamericannews@yahoo.com. Periodical postage paid at Houston, Texas. POSTMASTER: Please send address changes to Indo American News,7457 Harwin Dr., Suite 262, Houston, TX 77036 R. SRINIVASAN AND COMPANY

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already began and generously donated for the project. Food booths were always crowded, and the vendors did an awesome job serving all the devotees. Thanks to Deputy Consul General Mr. Surendra Adhana for his presence. We thank the Dr. P. Vaduganathan, Dr. Suresh Reddy, Dr. Saraswathi Reddy, Dr. Venugopal Menon, Dr. Siva Bodgala, Dr. Saranathan, Dr. Hema Salvady, Dr. Vis-

alakshi Annamalai for their valuable time to be on call at the Temple for any first aid need by the devotees. Thankfully there was no incident. MTS thanks the event coordinator Joint Secretary Ramachandra Reddy, all the volunteers, board members, council members, and staff for their hard work and dedication in putting on such a wonderful New Year’s Day experience at our Temple.

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COMMUNITY

January 06, 2017

Who Said Seniors Don’t Have New Year’s Fun?

The team that brought together the Club 65 New Year’s party; from left, Rahat Kalle, Rosina Jaferali, Hatim Kanorwala, Kamuruddin Rahim, Tayeb “kaka” Shipchandler, Paru McGuire, Fateh Ali Chatur, Farida Jinnah and Dilkish and Saeed Pathan.

BY JAWAHAR MALHOTRA

HOUSTON: Whoever said that

seniors – and that too Indian seniors – don’t like to have fun on New Year’s Eve certainly didn’t tell this bunch who crammed into the party hall of Haveli Kebab and Grill on Hillcroft. So what if it was just two days before the actual day: it was the most convenient

time for them and sure beat all the traffic and drunks weaving around on the roads on the 31st. To be sure, that was probably the thought that went through the minds of the organizing committee of the Club 65 organization, a branch of the Indian Muslim Association of Greater Houston. And they have been doing a yeoman’s job in producing programs all year long for the seniors to participate

in. “During 2016, we have held 10 monthly meetings, four picnics, a Valentine’s Day party, a cruise for some 16 people and now this,” said a pleased Paru McGuire, the President of C65 a few days into the new year. McGuire has been the president for the past two years and will relinquish her post in 3 months to her as yet unnamed successor. The energetic and effervescent

Paru McGuire with the King and Queen for 2017– Khalid Rizvi and Tasneem Khan

McGuire was effusive in thanking her Board – Chair Fateh Ali Chatur, Vice President Rahat Kalle, Joint VP Hatim Kanorwala - and core team of volunteers – Farida Jinnah, Rosina Jaferali, Parvin Sayed, Saeed and Dilkish Pathan - for their help in pulling off all the programs throughout the year. The New Year’s party was also an occasion for McGuire to highlight the achievements of the

group, especially the get-out-andmake-new-members effort that has brought in more people. The IMAGH former President Latafath Hussain and the newly inducted President Munir Ibrahim were in attendance and said a few words. And, unknown to McGuire, there was a surprise birthday cake for her and everyone joined in to sing the birthday song to her. Dinner

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January 06, 2017

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COMMUNITY

January 06, 2017

Who Said Seniors Don’t Have New Year’s Fun? CONTINUED FROM PAGE

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Picture on right: McGuire was surprised by a birthday cake in her honor.

was served from the buffet line at the restaurant. The program held a few more surprises, with raffle tickets and prizes for six lucky winners, New Year’s party hats, streamers and party horns for all. And the King and Queen for 2017 were revealed – Khalid Rizvi and Tasneem Khan – as they took a bow. DJ Riaz Jivaji not only blasted away with the right music but even sang a few songs to liven the evening. But 89 year-old Tayeb Shipchandler, affectionately known as “kaka”, brightened many eyes with four songs in English with a strong, unwavering voice. And the rest of the group danced away to the music till near midnight.

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COMMUNITY Home4Pet is a New True Friend for Pet Owners in India lodging, pet taxi, ambulance, burial services, trainers, spas, cafe, photographer, security tags, rehabilitation and fitness equipment, magazines, birthday organizers, online training courses and to top it all pet insurance for all medical contingencies. The trio sketched out a blueprint, searching the internet on how to bring together the concept from paper to portal. The most difficult task was to find the right people who offer these services with the same passion and have operations in India. They travelled the length and breadth of the city to speak with these people and educate them about the concept. In three months they were able to convince the first set of hesitant providers to come onboard, and trust in the concept.

NEW DELHI:

Human-animal relationships can be traced back to the early days of civilization. Dogs, cats, horses and camels would travel around with human groups and became Man’s trusted companions and also their source of wellbeing. Fast forward to modern times and they still continue to be our best pals. India has been recognized as the top five fastest growing dog population countries in the world. With dog ownership in India rising, Euromonitor International has projected India to be the fastest growing global pet market, and the rising pet ownership rates are driving demand for pet food, health products, and pet accessories. Three entrepreneurs having casual conversation over tea with the founder of an eTailor company suddenly had an idea. Keeping in view their busy schedules and having faced challenges themselves in buying pet services online, they had a eureka moment. Over the next 3 days, their internet research on others offering such a service found nothing in India! That was the birth of “HOME4PET”.

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HOUSTON: Bollywood Shake

hosted its 3rd Annual New Year’s Eve Masquerade Ball 2017 at Safari Texas Ranch Grand Ballroom on December 31. The guest list included the cream of Houston crowd who rang in the New Year with style, glamour and excitement! After successful events for the last two years, there was a lot of anticipation and excitement about this year’s event and the event exceeded all expectations once again! Ruchika Dias, Founder & CEO of Bollywood Shake raised the bar this year and delivered a superbly executed event. The Masquerade theme added some additional elegance, mystery and glamour to the event. The upscale and grand venue was beautifully decorated and exuded glitz and glamour. There was an abundance of music, food & drinks keeping the guests entertained all night! One of Houston’s top DJs, DJ AV kept people on the dance floor all night with their foot tapping music including Bollywood and Top 40 hits. Guests were welcomed to the beautiful event by Samba dancers and a stilt walker! The emcees for the evening were Nina Desai, Mrs. Bollywood 2014 and Riva Verma, a popular RJ on a Houston desi radio station. The emcees looking beautiful and conducted the show wonderfully. The entertainment began with singer J.S. Paras who entertained the crowd with his energetic music. People joined Paras on the dance floor and enjoyed dancing to his music! Then came a melodious performance by 22year old Jamal Shayan who sang beautifully on his guitar. This was followed by a scintillating performance by Samba dancers followed by a fun interactive session. DJ AV got everyone on the dance floor soon and tt was a delightful spectacle to watch hundreds of attendees dance along with the Bollywood Shake team and shake up the dance floor! There was an abundant spread of delicious Indian cuisine includ-

ing Gobhi Manchurian, Vegetable Croquettes, Chicken Tikkas, Butter Chicken, Palak Paneer and Malai Kofta catered by Bombay to Beijing and mouthwatering desserts prepared by Red Berries Bakeshop including pineapple cake, chocolate mousse and gulab jamuns. Kids had a wonderful time in the adjacent Magnolia ballroom with balloon twisting and face painting! The highlight of the evening was the midnight countdown accompanied by a champagne toast and a spectacular confetti blast at the stroke of midnight! Excitement filled the air and reached a fever pitch as the large gathering rang in the New Year together! Special thanks to our sponsors – Amir Dodhiya of New York Life and Upen and Mythily Varanasi. The Bollywood Shake New Year’s Eve Masquerade Ball was a grand success with a full house including guests from all over Texas who attended the event at the exquisite Safari Texas Grand Ballroom. Guests had a delightful time celebrating the New Year at this one-of-a-kind family friendly New Year’s Eve event in Houston which both adults and kids enjoyed equally! In addition to running a very successful Bollywood dance school and hosting their own radio show (Bollywood Shake Radio Online & On the App 24x7), Bolly-

Photos: Hassanstudio.com

wood Shake hosts several events throughout the year including Bollywood Pageants, Fashion Shows, Dance Competitions and Galas. Ruchika Singh Dias, Founder and CEO of Bollywood Shake has been featured in various mainstream media outlets such as NBC Channel 2 KPRC, ABC 13 Houston, Fox 26 Houston, KEYE CBS Austin, News 8 Austin and Houston Chronicle. Bollywood Shake wishes you a Happy New Year and would like to thank all the people who came out to celebrate and ring in the New Year at their event! Bollywood Shake hopes to see you at their 2017 events including the Bollywood Pageant and their next New Year’s Eve Gala!

INDO-AMERICAN NEWS • FRIDAY, JANUARY 06, 2017 • ONLINE EDITION: WWW.INDOAMERICAN-NEWS.COM


COMMUNITY

January 06, 2017

13

Chamber President 2016:

Joya Shukla

BY MANU SHAH

HOUSTON: Joya Shukla went

from volunteering at an IACCGH event to being nominated to the Board of Directors to Chamber President all in the span of a few years. In 2016, Joya put her heart into ‘chambering’ as her daughter calls it advancing the healthcare initiative, International Internship program, and events for young professionals. As the first American born President and its youngest, Joya, a fifteen year Shell veteran, says she was keen to engage the next generation that she represented. To offer local university students an Indian corporate experience, Board member Narayan Bhargava and she launched the International Internship Program sending two local university students to Shell & JSW in India. Intern Akash Dhingra described this as “one of the best things that ever happened to me.” Joya also launched the Business of Medicine Series which in her words is “a breakthrough.” This healthcare initiative kicked off with a keynote by CHI-St Luke’s CEO Michael Covert. The intent is to strengthen healthcare bridges between top medical facilities in Houston and India and engage CHI-St. Luke further with Greater Houston with a special focus on women and those committed to medicine. The year also delivered Shell Distinguished Lectures featuring LyondellBasell CEO Bob Patel, Dr. Renu Khator, and Consul General Dr. Anupam Ray, while the Women’s Leadership Series featured philanthropist Indrani Goradia, Wood Group CEO Michele McNichol, HMSDC President

Job Posting:

Photo: Bijay Dixit

Ingrid Robinson, WBEA President April Day and Former Mayor Annise Parker introduced by UH Dean Latha Ramchand. The pearls of wisdom gained by attendees at each of these events provided empowering strategies and tools teaching life skills, leadership and work-life balance.” Joya was particularly pleased to have Bruce Culpepper, President Shell, USA deliver the 2016 Gala Keynote since her Chamber journey started in earnest when she was chosen to represent Shell on the Chamber’s board. The 17th Annual Gala, the highlight of the year, had a record turnout of 750 guests from Houston’s top tier – along with an unprecedented thirty executives who joined the

Gala from India. Mayor Sylvester Turner and other elected officials graced the occasion mingling with the diaspora of Houston’s business elite. She admits it was gratifying to see the incredible community support from energy, education, and healthcare—the Chamber’s key focus areas. Quick to share credit, Joya acknowledges that this successful year was possible due to a “phenomenal Chamber board,” Treasurer Swapan Dhairyawan, Secretary Raj Bhavsar, and Executive Director Jagdip Ahluwalia along with the foundation laid by recent past Presidents Sanjay Ram & Ashok Garg and Chamber founders such as Dr. Durga Agrawal. Recognizing her tremendous involvement and contribution to the Chamber’s growth, Jagdip Ahluwalia also highlighted Joya’s persistence and ability to get things done. As her year ends, President Joya Shukla credits her corporate training, project management skills and networking that helped leave the Chamber “just a little bit better than it was yesterday to benefit Houston and India.” While her term as President has ended, her involvement with the Chamber, she says, will continue with the same passion and enthusiasm. She looks forward to continue making an impact in the Houston community through both nonprofit and corporate roles.

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INDO-AMERICAN NEWS • FRIDAY, JANUARY 06, 2017 • ONLINE EDITION: WWW.INDOAMERICAN-NEWS.COM


14 January 06, 2017

COMMUNITY

A Dream and Tons of Determination BY MANU SHAH

HOUSTON: In 2003, IACCGH

WRITERS ... TAKE NOTICE Writers are requested to limit their words to 500. The deadline for advertising and articles is 5 pm on Tuesday of each week. For more information, Call 713-789- NEWS (6397) or email us at: indoamericannews@yahoo.com

For advertising contact: Vanshika Vipin at 713.789.6397

member Khalid (Ken) Parekh waded into the tech world with $100, a dream and tons of determination. That determination won him the Houston Business Journal’s 40 under 40 Award not once but twice – a rare honor. Khalid’s success story as an immigrant is inspiring. At 18, he completed a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer degree from NIIT Mumbai, India, borrowed money for a one way ticket to Houston and landed a job on the third day of his arrival in an engineering company. He worked at gas stations and cleaned restrooms on weekends to make ends meet while evenings were spent cramming for his Associate’s Degree in Economics and Entrepreneurship. At 23, Khalid decided to follow his entrepreneurial instincts and branch out on his own. In 2003, he started his company AMSYS Innovative Solutions, converted his bedroom into an office, worked 14 hour days and within a year hired his first employee and moved into his own office space. His first employee is still with him, revenues are now close to $10 million and his present office at 18,000 sq. feet is a far cry from his first digs. AMSYS quickly picked up steam and showed great revenues until the 2008 recession. The ensuing years proved to be “one of the toughest periods” of his life but Khalid learnt an important lesson. Instead of leaning on one big client like he was, the company now went after different streams of businesses as well as expanded their array of IT services. Today AMSYS has 60 employees and 1000 engineers nationally on a contractual basis and is one of the top three IT outsourcing companies in Houston. The Company

racked up 7 awards this year alone. According to IACCGH Executive Director Jagdip Ahluwalia, Khalid deserves the HBJ 40 under 40 and other awards for “not only proving to be a successful entrepreneur but for opening doors for other startups and boosting entrepreneurship in Houston.” With hacking episodes regularly making headlines, Khalid explains that 6 out of 10 businesses get hacked. Companies, he emphasizes, must spend 15-20% of their IT spending on cybersecurity, which is one of the services AMSYS offers. Client satisfaction is a top priority and the company displayed this in full measure during Hurricane Ike. With the office premises completely damaged,

Khalid did the next best thing. He moved lock, stock and barrel to his house where he and his employees worked 24/7 helping their customers access their data from the AMSYS private cloud and resume business. He believes the company “emerged stronger and better” for it. In 2014, Khalid started Amsys Ventures, a $5 million VC fund which serves as an incubator for startups. Amsys Ventures has invested in two companies to date – AM Label.net and Software App. Khalid enjoys the role of being “a big brother” to these startups pointing out that if he had access to this kind of backing, business wisdom and capital, his company would have grown faster.

India’s 68th Republic Day

BY SANJAY SOHONI

HOUSTON: ICC is pleased to

celebrate India’s 68th Republic Day on Saturday, January 21, 2017 between 1 to 8 pm at Stafford Center, Cash Road, Stafford, Texas 77477. We have planned variety of entertainment and educative programs to display India’s diverse cultural by way of folk, classical dances, skits, yoga, Antakshari, Quiz on ‘Our India’, Women pride of India, Showcasing culture of ‘Turkey’ etc. Additionally, we will be felicitating few prominent personalities from our community in Houston. We have also arranged consular services at the venue to help out needy people. We will have many commercial/

religious/social booths to suit and fulfill need of diverse individuals along with the delicious and affordable food at food booths. To organize any event on such a large scale, money is required. ICC being a non-profit cultural organization, we have kept a very nominal entry fee of $ 3 per person above age of 12 to take care of these expenses. And here is an icing on the cake, based on the entry tickets, we will have a raffle at regular intervals to give away 5 gold coins to lucky winners. The theme of this event is ‘Our India’ and our goal is to keep visitors connected to India emotionally during their presence at the venue and even after they leave for their homes.

INDO-AMERICAN NEWS • FRIDAY, JANUARY 06, 2017 • ONLINE EDITION: WWW.INDOAMERICAN-NEWS.COM


January 06, 2017

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16 January 06, 2017

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BOLLYWOOD B

January, 06 2017

17

Bollywood 2016

OLLYWOOD: Bollywood is one of the emerging film industries in world, producing numerous big budget movies every year. Bollywood actors has also gaining popularity all over world especially in Asian countries and generating fan following for their super acting skills, abilities and versatility. Some of most famous and beloved Indian actors include Salman Khan, Shahrukh Khan and Akshay Kumar who have been highly paid for their acting in any movies even they earned a lot for giving special appearance in movies. Here top paid actors of Bollywood are listed below for you. 10. Ranveer Singh The 29-year-old actor has named among the top paid actors in Indian film industry with estimated 9 crore while his upcoming project are Dil Dhadakne Do and Bajirao Mastani.

7. Ajay Devgan Devgan is also top paid actors in Bollywood with 16 crore and one of the leading actors following his appearance in more than 80 movies. 6. Hrithik Roshan One of the most attractive male celebrities, joined showbiz as child star then did his first leading role in Kaho Naa Pyaar Hai, is another top paid Bollywood actors with estimated 20 crore, has won numerous awards including Filmfare Award for Best Actor, IIFA Best Male Debut, IIFA Glamorous Star Award and Screen Award for Best Actor. 5. Ranbir Kapoor Ranbir, 32 has been considered as one of the leading actors and highest paid actors in Bollywood with maximum 24 crore from any movie while his upcoming films include Bombay Velvet and Jagga Jasoos.

Rahi Pyar Ke, and Andaz Apna Apna in his early career foe which he received several awards and nominations and became most popular celebrity in India. 2. Akshay Kumar Best known for is martial art, Akshay Kumar is also very famous icon in Bollywood who has been appeared in more than hundred movies till now and named in top paid Indian actors with 45 crore each movie. 1. Salman Khan The biggest star and most popular television personality is also at the top of most higest paid actor with sum of 55 crore from single movie, also topped the Times Celebex Bollywood actors index rating regularly. Among Bollywood Actresses, 1. Deepika Padukone – 15 crores: One of the most talented among the younger lot, she doesn’t mind work-

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9. John Abraham Abraham has started his career with leading role in erotic-thriller Jism opposite Bipasha Basu after doing modeling for several commercials and advertisements and enlisted in top Bollywood paid actors with earnings of 11 crore per movie. He has been critically admired for her consecutive successful releases including Dostana, Housefull 2, New York, Race 2, Force, Shootout at Wadala, and Madras Café for which he received several nominations also won many of awards. 8. Saif Ali Khan One of successful and popular actors in Indian film industry, he also named in list of top paid actors with estimated amount of 14 crore for a movie.

4. ShahRukh Khan Don actor is named in the list of top paid actors with earning up to 35 crore from any movie while he is one of most influential celebrity in India and world’s biggest movie star with massive fan club. 3. Aamir Khan Mr. Perfect famed Indian star has many successful films that are Raja Hindustani, Sarfarosh, Hum Hain

ing with even debutante directors and is ready to bargain for small budget films, if she likes the script. All three films last year proved her mettle as a versatile actress. 2. Kangana Ranaut – 11 crores 3. Kareena Kapoor – 9 crores 4. Priyanka Chopra – 9 crores 5. Vidya Balan – 7 crores -abcnewspoint.com & indiatimes. com

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18 January 06, 2017 High Ground, Short Cut T

he main political message of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s new year-eve address to the nation, also marking the end of 50 days of demonetisation, came somewhere in the middle: According to information with the government, he said, there are only 24 lakh people in India who accept that their annual income is more than Rs 10 lakh. Can we digest this, the PM asked, as anger or farce? There are legitimate questions about the manner of implementation of the PM’s demonetisation exercise, its shifting goalposts and unintended outcomes. But by framing it as a project that involves all citizens and emphasising the essential linkage between taxation and the citizen-government contract, PM Modi is making a political statement whose power draws from its very simplicity. In that aspect, demonetisation can be ranked alongside Swachh Bharat. And with his exhortation, in his first Independence Day speech, to parents to question and correct their sons instead of constantly putting the onus on their daughters, in the context of the growing public attention to incidents of sexual violence after the gangrape of a young woman in a Delhi bus in December 2012. But if the PM’s core message was far-reaching, the manner and context of its articulation was questionable. To begin with, it verged on drawing a class divide — them versus us, rich versus poor, tax-evaders versus tax-payers. Of course, the tax net must be spread wider, but there are complex political and economic reasons behind its flimsiness and narrowness so far, and the solution does not lie in drawing simplistic oppositions and contrasts. Then, in his speech, the PM announced incentives and schemes for farmers, the poor, those running small and medium businesses, women and the elderly — in other words, all those who were affected the most due to the cash restrictions because of demonetisation. But be it the interest subventions for small home loans, or the hiking of credit limits to small industry, these seem too much like sops for the suffering, at a time when banks are already saddled with debt. In any case, announcements of this kind should be part of the government’s budget speech, not a prime ministerial declaration or promise. That’s the other problem with the PM’s announcements for different sections: Investing them with the PM’s own political imprimatur and authority sends a confusing signal on institutional process and procedure. When the budget is only a month away, the timing of the announcement links it to the demonetisation hardship which is neither good politics nor good economics. The PM’s speech on November 8 launched an ambitious plan that in its unfolding has touched off many questions and challenges. His December 31 address fell short of answering and addressing them. -indianexpress.com

EDITORIAL/COMMENTARY

Assembly Polls: Will Penny Fall for Modi? BY SHASHI SHEKHAR

A few days ago, I was standing

in the complex of the Tanot Mata temple, close to the India-Pakistan border. “How are things?” I asked the man selling Prasad. “Very bad, Hukum (Sir),” he replied in a feeble voice. “By this time of the year, thousands of people should have arrived here. The tourists are just not coming!” Although by the time December 25 ended, the tourists began arriving and the hotel occupancy was full again. Tanot is a place where the Pakistani army dropped dozens of bombs during the 1965 war. Several of these bombs also dropped in the temple complex, but miraculously none of them exploded. The locals attribute this to the blessings of the Devi and that is why the temple is always thronged by local and outstation tourists. But at the time I visited it, the temple was deserted. The situation was not very different at the clock-tower located in the heart of Jodhpur. Here, vendors have set up stalls to sell handicrafts. My wife stood before a tribal lady selling junk jewellery. We were her first customers of the day. According to the lady, during winter, by the end of the afternoon, most people return home after selling their stock. The afternoon was almost over, but the stalls selling handicraft hadn’t got too many buyers. The decision on demonetisation has wreaked havoc on farmers, labourers and those who live on the margins. A research-based report in Hindustan Times this week talked about how farmers around the country were forced to sell their vegetables at wholesale mandis at minuscule prices. Onions sold for just Rs 1 per kilogramme in Madhya Pradesh’s Mandsaur and tomatoes for Rs 3 a kg in Karnataka’s Kolar. Cauliflower sold for Rs 3 per kg in Patna, peas for Rs 3 in Chandigarh and potatoes for just Rs 2 in Farrukhabad. Clearly the farmers are likely to spend the next few months in deprivation. Small industry has also been hit hard and forced to cut jobs. The government in Uttar Pradesh has even

People stand in a long queue to withdraw money from an ATM in Allahabad. PM Narendra Modi’s demonetisation move triggered a nationwide cash crunch.

doled out a compensation of Rs 2 lakh each to 14 families whose loved ones died while waiting in ATM queues. Opposition parties say the number of people who’ve met an untimely death in this manner is more than hundred. The 50-day time limit that the prime minister had sought has ended. But people are still awaiting relief from cashlessness. When I passed through the village Bharol in Uttar Pradesh’s Ferozabad district, I saw dozens standing in queues to draw money from an ATM. It was the 50th day of demonetisation. Because of these reasons, the Opposition, which had been in a semiunconscious state for the last two and a half years, has suddenly found an opportunity to become aggressive. As 2017 begins, they want to put up a united front and evolve a combined strategy to corner the prime minister. So many aspersions wouldn’t have been cast on the Union government had a few bank officials and their cronies hadn’t found ways to dispense the new currency to turn their black money into white. It was highly unfortunate that at a time most bank employees were working day and night to alleviate the side-effects of demonetisation, some of their colleagues were busy sullying the image of the entire banking system. At one time, George Fernandes had said that wherever multinational banks had gone, they had encouraged corruption. Years later, his comment is ringing true. Most of those tainted

were private bank employees. Employees of public sector banks also alleged that a larger number of currency notes were made available to private banks. This is an allegation that needs to be investigated. Over the last few days, crores of currency has been recovered in raids across the country. The prime minister has been repeatedly warning at public forums that those still sitting on heaps of illegal currency should mend their ways. In 2017 no mercy will be shown to them. One hopes the government has set its sights on the big fish. The people still have confidence in the prime minister. And the man on the street is with him. Those who jump to hasty conclusions believe the PM has failed in his ambitious endeavour. Is that true? To find an answer, we return to the lady selling junk jewellery in Jodhpur. I asked her if she knew who had taken the decision to demonetise currency. “Modiji,” she replied. “Is that a good thing or bad?” The lady anxiously waiting for her first sale had her answer ready: “It’s good.” Similarly workers engaged in repairing the Khama Fort near Jaisalmer said they were poor people. They’d braved odds all their life but were confident that Mr Modi will set everything right. Shashi Shekhar is editor-in-chief at Hindustan Times -hindustantimes.com

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COMMUNITY

January, 06 2017

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22 January 06, 2017

PUZZLES / RECIPES

SUDOKU

Mama’s Punjabi Recipes

Place a Number in the empty boxes in such a way that each row across, each column down and each 9-box square contains all of the numbers from one to nine. Send us the correct answer before January 10, 2016. Email us at indoamericannews@yahoo.com or mail to 7457 Harwin Drive, Suite 262, Houston, TX 77036. Send us your solved Sudoku for your name to be published (for first three entrees only & 1 submission per month).

Loonki or Namakdani (The Spice Box)

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earning to make food dishes well requires a basic understanding of some of the fundamentals involved in the cooking process. Each type of cuisine has its own ingredients and it’s important to known how these will play with each other to create the desired flavor of the dish. While most cuisines of the world are focused mostly on meat or fish based dishes, Indian cuisine has perfected the art of using a unique blend of spices and the building blocks – onions, tomatoes, garlic, cream – in creating exquisite vegetarian and non-vegetarian food to a degree that other cuisines find hard to imitate. And it all starts from learning the uses of spices which are the key to learning Indian cooking. You have to learn to distinguish their smells, how they will effect the vegetables (or meats) and what desired taste you want to create for the dish being prepared. Not all spices go well with all vegetables and you should understand what the flavor is that you want to create. I learnt to cook as a young 9 yearold girl in my ancestral home in Lyallpur from my mother whom everyone called biji. I would sit next to her in the large rasoyi (kitchen) and she would tell me, “here, take these padde (dough balls) and make some rotis (bread).” I would complain that they would come out all crooked and not round, and my father, whom we called bauji, would call out that it didn’t matter, he’d eat all the crooked

ones I made! I didn’t really learn to make any dishes until I was married and we had moved to Delhi in 1947 when I was 19. I would ask biji, who was a good cook, to teach me a few dishes every time I went to visit her in Daryagunj in Old Delhi. I first learnt to make the batter to make pakoras (fried fritters) with my sister-in-law Savitri who was also my age. I refined my skills as I grew older, had my own family and we moved to London. The basic ingredients for all Indian food lie in a box of spices which is called loonki in Punjabi or namakdani in Hindi. The old style loonki was a rectangular box made of wood, with six to eight compartments and a lid that would slid open. Each compartment had the basic spices – two for namak (salt) as it is used a lot; and one each for powdered lal mirch (red pepper), haldi (turmeric), dhania (coriander), garam masala and jeera (cumin). The extra compartment would hold some loung (cloves), kalli illachi (balck cardamom) and daal chinni (sticks of cinnamon) for the few times they would be needed, like in making basmati chawal (rice). Some people

add saunth (ginger powder) in the last compartment instead. Of course, there are many other spices that go into making Punjabi Indian dishes, like adrak (ginger) which is best if used fresh and not as a powder; lassan (garlic) also best is used fresh. Other spices like jaiphal (nutmeg); sarson til (mustard seeds) and kali mirch til (black pepper seeds – the powder is not often used in Indian food) are usually kept in bottles on the shelf, but are not used daily. In the US, it’s surprising to me that many younger Indian men and women have no concept of the loonki and the way the spices are used. Most of them – especially the second generation – may have seen their mothers using the modern day version, a stainless steel round box with compartments, or a cheaper plastic model but few have one of their own, preferring to use bottles in a spice rack. There is certainly a sense of tradition and closeness to the food you are cooking when using a loonki, which doesn’t come from spices in a bottle! Shakuntla Malhotra is a skilled cook of Punjabi dishes made in the oldfashioned style that she learnt as a young woman in her ancestral home in Lyallpur (since renamed Faisalabad), India before it became part of Pakistan after the Partition. People have often admired her cooking for its simplicity and taste that comes with each mouthful. Even in her late-eighties, she continues to cook daily and agreed to share some of her delectable recipes.

MAMA’S TIP OF THE WEE TRY SOME SARSON K TI

L (MUSTARD SEED S) FOR ADDED BE Indian food is all ab NEFITS ou t the flavor and the unique taste and ar spices that give them oma. Most spices their are store, like haldi (tu rmeric) and lal mirc ready to use from the grocery h (re made on the spot, lik e seeds plucked fro d pepper), but others can be m illachi (cardamom cut adrak (ginger) to add ) or freshly Sarson de til (mustar flavor to tea. d se ed s) are not usually used most often used in in cooking, acha flavor and is very be ars (pickles) like mango pickle. It ha and are s neficial for its bitte rness which can he a distinct high blood sugar an lp those with d adds some flavor fo salt diet. Heat the oi l and then throw in r those who are on a restricted the mustard seeds fi some cauliflower, rst cabbage or other sa utéed vegetables w . Try it with use adrak (ginger) hich you don’t in.

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January, 06 2017

ENTERTAINMENT:REVIEWS/NEWS ENTERTAINMENT:REVIEWS/NEWS

Deepika Padukone Has Big Plans to Welcome Vin Diesel In India

A

ctress Deepika Padukone announced that her first Hollywood co-star Vin Diesel will join her for the premiere of their film xXx: The Return of Xander Cage in India. Deepika posted a message for Vin Diesel in Hindi on Twitter saying India is “anxiously waiting for his arrival.” Her Hindi tweet read: “India is anxiously waiting for you. We’ll meet soon - on January 12 and 13. With lots of love.” And now, a source close to the

actress told Mid-Day that she will host a grand party with the who’s who of Bollywood in attendance for Vin Diesel. “Of the many things on the list, one of them is a big party to be hosted by Deepika, with the top guns of Bollywood in attendance,” a source told Mid-Day. The source also said that Deepika, who will be 31 tomorrow, has planned to receive Vin Diesel at the airport with band baaja and garland. “We plan to receive him at the airport with band baaja and garland. As the host, Deepika wants nothing short of a perfect welcome, so that Diesel has a warm, enjoyable stay here. He will be introduced to mouth-watering Indian delicacies too,” the source told Mid-Day.

xXx: The Return of Xander Cage is the third film in the xXx series. In the film, Vin plays the role of Xander Cage, who comes out of retirement for a special case. On his mission he meets many deadly and lethal people - Serena Unger, played by Deepika Padukone, being one of them. The film releases in India on January 14, five days before it will hit the screens in other areas. “While I was shooting I suggested the team that it would be great (to release it first in India) and I am happy it happened finally. It is a huge international franchise and I am happy India is such a big part of the plan,” Deepika earlier told news agency PTI. Deepika also said that she’s proud to represent India in Hollywood. “I feel very proud that I get to represent my country especially in this kind of an action franchise film. I am sure this film will be enjoyed a lot because of the content. There is lot of action, adventure, which we have not seen in Indian films before. So, I am excited to show the film here,” she told PTI. xXx: The Return of Xander Cage, directed by D J Caruso, also stars Donnie Yen, Samuel L Jackson, Tony Jaa, Nina Dobrev, Ruby Rose, Rory McCann, Kris Wu, and Ariadna Gutierrez. -ndtv.com

23

Shah Rukh Khan’s Raees Song O Zaalima is Exotic. SRK Makes You Fall In Love Again

A

nd the wait is finally over. Shah Rukh Khan teased fans with snippets of O Zaalima, the second song from his upcoming film Raees, on Twitter and now the actor shared the full song for his fans to enjoy. O Zaalima, a romantic track sung by Arijit Singh and Harshdeep kaur, features Shah Rukh and Pakistani actress Mahira Khan in exotic desert locations and other palatial spots confessing their love for each other. Shah Rukh looks extremely handsome dressed in pathani suit all through the song while Mahira’s

Farhan Akhtar January 09, 1974

options varied from shararas to lehngas. O Zaalima was worth the wait. Shah Rukh Khan, 51, plays titular Raees in Rahul Dholakia’s film. Raees, a businessman at heart is a liquor baron operating from Gujarat. Among his many enemies is a police officer (played by Nawazuddin Siddiqui) who has vowed to put an end to Raees’ illegal trade. Raees co-produced by Farhan Akhtar’s Excel Entertainment and SRK’s Red Chillies Entertainment, will hit the screens on January 25. The film was earlier scheduled to release on Eid in 2016, but the makers instead made way for Salman Khan’s Sultan. The film’s release was further delayed to avoid clash with Karan Johar’s Ae Dil Hai Mushikil. Raees is finally opening a day before Republic Day, along with Hrithik Roshan’s Kaabil. -ndtv.com

Farah Khan January 09, 1965

INDO-AMERICAN NEWS • FRIDAY, JANUARY 06, 2017 • ONLINE EDITION: WWW.INDOAMERICAN-NEWS.COM

Hrithik Roshan January 10, 1974


24 January 06, 2017

SPORTS

Renshaw and Warner Seize the Day BY DANIEL BRETTIG

BY DAVID HOPPS

C

SYDNEY: David Warner en-

shrined himself among the greats of the game’s past before Matt Renshaw secured his Australian future. On a day of contrasting openers and innings at the SCG, Warner blasted his way to the first century before lunch in Tests in Australia, then 20-year-old Renshaw dug in to become Australia’s seventh-youngest centurion. If Warner’s innings was the favourite of a festive New Year’s crowd, Renshaw will have delighted Australia’s selectors, coaches and players with a display of the sort of calm assurance so vital to Test match success. Renshaw styled much of his game on England’s Alastair Cook: working the ball repeatedly off his hip then driving and cutting occasionally he played very much the spit of an innings the older man made against Australia on this ground six years ago. Having played a major role in Australia’s win in Melbourne by scoring a rapid century, Warner doubled down with another intimidatory batting effort against Pakistani bowling that mixed the presentable with the ordinary on a blameless SCG pitch. Warner joined Victor Trumper, Charles Macartney, Sir Donald Bradman and Majid Khan as the only other men to score a century in the very first session of a Test. Majid was the most recent batsman to get there, making his century against New Zealand in Karachi in 197677. While Warner was unable to go on for long after the interval, Renshaw wedged himself into the wicket, and was composed through the departures of Usman Khawaja and the captain Steven Smith before Pete Handscomb, another bright young thing, settled in. With the debutant Hilton Cartwright and an out of touch Matthew Wade below them, this pair played with some care to reach

Rabada, Philander Dismantle Sri Lanka

David Warner celebrated his 18th Test century off only 78 balls.

stumps. After Smith won the toss and announced two changes to the Melbourne team, Steve O’Keefe and Cartwright, Warner rocketed away with a volley of boundaries in the first two overs of the match, the second of which was bowled by one of Pakistan’s inclusions, Imran Khan. From there it seemed only a matter of Warner keeping his wicket intact and getting enough strike, two tasks he performed without much trouble as barely a ball beat the bat. There were runs either side of the pitch for Warner; a lack of straightdriven boundaries reflecting both the pugilism of his method and also the shortish lengths favoured by Pakistan’s bowlers. Pull shots and punches through the covers were most prevalent, all played with a level of hustling intent that suggested Warner always knew the hundred before lunch was on. In the end Warner was able to go from 95 to 100 with a two and a

three from the bowling of Wahab Riaz, the first a pull shot and the second a punch behind square on the off side that should only have been worth two but became the pivotal third via a misfield. Warner’s celebration was typically ebullient; he had already made history in a match just two hours old. It was to be Wahab who sent Warner back to the dressing room, via an SCG standing ovation, when he coaxed an indeterminate edge when trying to run the ball down through the gully region. Khawaja’s edge arrived a few overs later from a more aggressive attempt to score, and it was Renshaw who got the balance right. Smith, having been so dominant in Melbourne, surprised in edging an attempted cut at Yasir Shah and falling to an excellent catch by Sarfraz Ahmed, the prelude to a nervy period in the 90s for Renshaw after tea. On 91 his visor wore the brunt of a Mohammad Amir bouncer, and a

check-up from the team doctor Peter Brukner was required before Renshaw continued. In the end a hurried single was enough to take him to the milestone, triggering an outpouring of joy that reminded all present of the difficult spells he has already negotiated whether against Vernon Philander in Adelaide, Amir at the Gabba or a fiery Wahab here. Handscomb was meanwhile reprieved when Sarfraz failed to go with a Yasir legbreak that could have resulted in a stumping. More runs flowed from Renshaw’s bat, his stroke range expanding in direct correlation to the amount of time he spent in the middle. There is plenty of power in his tall frame, but the aversion he shows in the formative stages of his innings will serve him well in what now seem likely to be many years of Test batting to come. Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. -espncricinfo.com

APE TOWN: The Cape Town monster was more in Sri Lanka’s own mind than the startling nature of the Newlands pitch, but the monster reared its head nevertheless on the second day of the second Test and engulfed them in a trice. South Africa had been candid about their wish for a pitch offering pace and seam, and it was delivered to order effectively enough, but Sri Lanka’s disintegration to 110 all out represented a huge overstatement of the difficulties they faced. Sri Lanka were spared the followon - South Africa instead stretched their lead of 282 to 317 by the close - so escaping their fate on their last appearance in Cape Town five years ago. On that occasion Sri Lanka’s batsmen did have an alibi in that they were responding to South Africa’s 580 for 4. On this occasion, as nine wickets went down for 54 in 19.3 overs, their batting often lacked nous and sometimes verged on impulsiveness. The chief instigator of Sri Lanka’s rickety resistance was Kagiso Rabada with three for 10 in 25 balls at the start of the final session. Vernon Philander then swept aside the tail with 4 for 5 in 12 balls as South Africa found things all too easy. From South Africa’s perspective, at least it deflected attention away from Kyle Abbott after ESPNcricinfo revealed that he is agonising over whether to abandon his international career and take up a deal in England with Hampshire as a Kolpak player. CSA was expected to meet Abbott’s agent on Wednesday before making a statement. David Hopps is a general editor at ESPNcricinfo -espncricinfo.com

Quinton de Kock raises his bat for three figure.

INDO-AMERICAN NEWS • FRIDAY, JANUARY 06, 2017 • ONLINE EDITION: WWW.INDOAMERICAN-NEWS.COM


January, 06 2017

25

Gap Between India’s Share in World GDP and World Market Cap at Highest in 13 Years

MUMBAI: The gap between In-

dia’s share of world market capitalization and its share in world gross domestic product (GDP) has widened to the highest in at least 13 years. This is due to the underperformance of Indian markets in comparison to developed and emerging markets on the back of a flight of capital to dollar assets and investor sentiment being hurt by demonetisation—at least in the near term. While India’s GDP as a share of global GDP is 2.99%, its share of market capitalization is 2.26%, a gap of 73 basis points and the highest since at least 2003, according to data from Bloomberg and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). A basis point is one-hundredth of a percentage point. GDP data has been considered as per IMF estimates, as recent government data is not yet available. A stronger dollar took a toll on emerging market inflows after Republican Donald Trump unexpectedly won the US presidential election, while the government’s sur-

While India’s GDP as a share of global GDP is 2.99%, its share of market capitalization is 2.26%, a gap of 73 basis points.

prise demonetisation of high-value banknotes also dampened market sentiment. “The data implies that Indian equity markets have underperformed global equity markets. One of the reasons for this is the general underperformance and selling pressure faced by the emerging markets, “said Gaurav Dua, head of research at Sharekhan Ltd. “Second, is the India-specific issue

relating to demonetisation, and its adverse impact,” added Dua. In 2016, India’s benchmark equity index, the 30-share Sensex, has underperformed the MSCI Emerging Markets index and the MSCI World index for the first time in six years. The Sensex gained 1.95% in the year, while the MSCI EM index and MSCI World index have added 8.10% and 5.42%, respectively. Corporate earnings that were poised for a consumption-fuelled take-off on the back of a good monsoon and sharp wage hikes are expected to be hit by the sudden withdrawal of high-value currency notes as the effects of a cash crunch ripple through the system. The surprise announcement scrapping Rs1,000 and Rs500 notes on 8 November, in an attempt to curb black money, counterfeiting and terror financing, led to a cash deficit as banks struggle to replace the demonetised notes. The move has dashed hopes of consumption jump in Asia’s third largest economy, which was looking up with a good monsoon after two years of drought, along with the

implementation of the Seventh Pay Commission’s recommendations. Consumption that would have been fuelled by black money will come to a halt as well. “India has underperformed world markets, which has widened the gap, between its GDP contribution and market cap contribution,” said Ajay Bodke, chief executive and chief portfolio manager, portfolio management services, at securities house Prabhudas Lilladher Pvt. Ltd. “This could also be due to demonetisation. Overall, emerging markets have been reeling under pressure due to a stronger dollar. Money has been flowing out from EMs (emerging markets) to DMs (developed markets),” added Bodke. The dollar index, a measure of the greenback’s strength against six major currencies, gained 3.66% in 2016, rising for the fourth straight year. As a consequence, the rupee and other emerging market currencies depreciated. The rupee fell 2.61% against the US dollar in 2016. Separately, India’s market capitalization as a percentage of GDP was

68.17%, the lowest in the past three years, and sharply lower than its 10year average of 79.92%. “We are in the midst of a global riskoff trade, where capital is gravitating out of EMs to DMs such as US. This is due to expectation of pursuit of reflationary policies by the incoming Trump administration, looser regulations and lower tax rates,” said Bodke. Also, valuations could be turning attractive, but not yet been captured fully in the price and estimates as some earnings downgrades may still be on their way. December quarter corporate earnings, which will start trickling in during the second week of January, will throw some light on the impact of demonetisation. Investors are anxiously awaiting commentary by companies on what lies ahead. “Valuations on a macro level have turned attractive. However, the elusive growth in corporate earnings has kept the price-earnings multiple still at higher than average multiples,” said Dua of Sharekhan. -livemint.com

Rupee Plunges 30 Paise to Breach 68 Mark Against Dollar

MUMBAI: The rupee started

2017 on a weaker note and plummeted by a whopping 30 paise to 68.22 against the US dollar due to huge demand for theAmerican currency. Frantic investment outflows from the country against the backdrop of buoyant dollar sentiment largely kept home currency under immense pressure. Healthy demand for the American unit from importers and corporates too weighed on the rupee alongside subdued trend in local equities, a forex dealer commented. Indian bourses had a softer start to 2017 as equities were buffeted by concerns surrounding over the post demonetisation drive and

upcoming Q3 corporate earnings outlook. The domestic currency resumed on a weak note at 67.95 from last Friday’s closing level of 67.92 in an extremely quiet trade at the Interbank Foreign Exchange Market. But it witnessed a sudden bout of volatility in mid- afternoon deals and drifted down to hit an intra-day low of 68.25 before ending at 68.22, revealing a steep loss of 30 paise, or 0.44 per cent. Meanwhile, the rupee finished the year-2016 with a 2.68 percent annual fall, scripting its sixth consecutive years of decline against the greenback. A large part of the outperformance was attributed to heavy capital outflows during the fag-end of the year, although

The rupee finished the year-2016 with a 2.68 percent annual fall against the dollar.

it rebounded after plunging to historic lows. Hedge funds and overseas investors have pulled out a massive $4 billion from the Indian capital market in December following rate hike by the US Federal Reserve. In worldwide trade, the greenback rebounded from a two-week low against a basket of six major currencies on growing expectations that the US Federal Reserve will hike rates as many as three times this year. The US dollar index was quoted marginally lower at 102.37 in late afternoon trade. The RBI fixed the reference rate for the dollar at 68.0225 and for the euro at 71.5121. -livemint.com

INDO-AMERICAN NEWS • FRIDAY, JANUARY 06, 2017 • ONLINE EDITION: WWW.INDOAMERICAN-NEWS.COM


26 January 06, 2017 AIADMKUrges Sasikala to Immediately take Charge as Tamil Nadu CM CHENNAI: The AIADMK on Monday renewed its calls for Sasikala Natarajan to take over as Tamil Nadu chief minister, barely two days after she officially assumed her position as the acting general secretary of the ruling party. In a four-page statement released by Lok Sabha deputy speaker and senior party leader M Thambidurai, the AIADMK said the leadership of the party and the government had to be the same for development and progress. “When the country is going to face parliamentary election in two years, our party AIADMK has to function very effectively to get the wholehearted support of the people, and to continue to win the election, as was done by Puratchi Thalaivar (MGR) and Puratchi Thalaivi (Jayalalithaa), I emphatically request that Respected Chinnamma (Sasikala) has to immediately take over the leadership of the government, as the chief minister of Tamil Nadu,” Thambidurai wrote in a letter issued to the media.

“It is my strong belief that it is very important that Respected Chinnamma has to shoulder the responsibility of the chief minister of Tamil Nadu, to take forward the party and to carry on the governance of Tamil Nadu, for the welfare of the people of Tamil Nadu,” he added. This isn’t the first time that the party has asked Sasikala, who has never held any public office or contested an election, to take over from O Panneerselvam. Panneerselvam is currently the chief minister, though he has a history of being a stand-in CM. “This is hardly new. When Amma was alive he stood in for her as chief minister several times before going back to be the finance minister,” a senior AIADMK leader said. Party spokesperson S Ponnaiyan repeatedly asked for Sasikala to become the new CM, saying that it was only natural in Dravidian parties that the leader is in charge of both the party and the state. Panneerselvam himself has been

AIADMK party general secretary Sasikala Natarajan.

supportive of Sasikala since taking over on December 5, even publishing an ad in a local daily saying she was suitable for the role.

Sasikala will hold the post of general secretary – the highest position in the AIADMK – until formal party elections, which sources said will

be held in the first week of January. She was made the acting general secretary because the party has retired the general secretary’s post, which Jayalalithaa held till she died after a cardiac arrest. According to party rules, candidates for the top post must be an AIADMK member for at least five years. Sasikala, who was expelled from the party by Jayalalithaa in 2011, formally rejoined in 2012. The party presidium is expected to amend the bylaws prior to the elections. The 60-year-old Sasikala has been the closest aide of the late AIADMK chief and six-time CM since the 1980s. She has been taking care of party affairs, though she never held any formal position in the AIADMK. Jayalalithaa died after two months of hospitalisation on December 5, plunging the state and the party in crisis. But Sasikala, who performed the last rites, was soon seen as her replacement. -hindustantimes.com

New Year’s Eve in Bengaluru Witnesses Mass Molestation of Women in Police Presence

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into 2017 with horrific incidents of molestation marring its New Year’s eve celebrations. According to a Bangalore Mirror report, the city’s most bustling areas of MG Road and Brigade road saw thousands of men mobbing the revellers, and groping and trash talking the women in the streets on Saturday night even as a large number of policemen were deployed in the area. Even though the New Year crowd in the city is always unruly, the deadline for celebrations this time were extended till 2 am this year, reportedly

under pressure from some of the commercial establishments, especially the drinking joints in the central division. Bengaluru police had earlier said that all of their forces will be patrolling the city to ensure incident-free celebrations. Even though 1,500 policemen were positioned in the area, unruly men on bikes, cars and on foot, far outnumbered them. The policemen largely

Photo: india.com remained a spectator and intervened only intermittently as men went about their hooliganism. Some women, according to the report, had to take off their stilettos and run for help. Significantly, police said there has been no official cases of molestation and harassment registered with them despite several eyewitness accounts and photographic evidence. The police admitted to helping out women in distress who reached out to them, but denied getting any calls complaining of molestation. But some of the police personnel on duty narrated stories of chasing away men trying to take advantage of women. The traffic plans for the day also did not work either. According to The New Indian Express, city traffic police booked around 400 cases of drunk driving, even as there were complaints that traffic cops were lenient with motorists, many of them under the influence of alcohol, rode bikes recklessly. -indianexpress.com

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