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NRIs Need To Declare Demonetized Notes At Airport Bengaluru: (IANS) NRIs coming to India and resident Indians returning from abroad need to declare at the airport on arrival the number of demonetized Rs 500 and 1,000 notes they are carrying, said a Customs official recently. “The government has given six-month grace period from January 1 to June 30 to NRIs and three months (up to March 31) to resident Indians for submitting in a prescribed form the demonetized notes in their possession,” Customs Joint Commissioner Harsh Vardhan said in a statement here. Though the high-value currency has ceased to be a legal tender from November 9, the government had allowed all citizens to deposit them in banks or exchange them for new notes for 50 days till December 30.

“NRIs coming to India and Indians returning

from abroad have, however, been given an opportunity to surrender the banned notes if they did not deposit them till earlier,” said the official.

As the Ordinance on demonetization was issued on December 30 with penalties on those holding these notes, the holders have to declare holding, transferring or receiving them to avoid penalty after three or six months, as is the case. “NRIs and resident Indians can bring back the banned notes up to Rs 25,000 each as per the Foreign Exchange Management (Export and Import of currency) Regulations,” said the statement. The declaration at the airport will enable the holders to deposit the banned notes at designated RBI offices with the Customs-stamped form to exchange or remit an equivalent amount in their respective bank accounts. The Customs office has made special arrangements at the airport with additional staff to enable the Indian diaspora comply with the regulation.

In Historic Breakthrough, 5 Indian-Americans Are Sworn-In As Members Of Congress Washington: (IANS) Sealing a historic breakthrough for Indian-Americans, five were sworn-in recently as members of the US Congress — one of them, Kamala Harris, becoming the first to become a Senator. Ami Bera, who was the only Indian-American in the 435-member House of Representatives and re-elected in the November elections, was joined by the four others, increasing the IndianAmerican contingent to five members in the Congress. All five are Democrats and three of them — Harris, Bera and Representative Ro Khanna — are from California. The other two Representatives are Raja Krishnamoorthi from Illinois and Pramila Jayapal from Washington state. Harris, whose mother was from Chennai and father from Jamaica, has a dual identity as both an Indian-American and an African-American. Vice President Joseph Biden administered her the oath of office which she swore on a Bible copy held by her husband Doug Emhoff. Afterwards her family and friends gathered around the couple in celebration. Two of them were dressed in saris, although Harris wore a twopiece western outfit in blue. In 1956, Democrat Dalip Singh Saund became the first Indian-American elected to Congress. Forty-eight years later, Republican Piyush Bobby Jindal was elected to the House in 2004

and re-elected in 2006. But in 2007 he was elected governor of Louisiana and left Congress. After a five-year gap for Indian-Americans, Bera was elected to Congress in 2012. Republicans have the majority in both chambers. In the House of Representatives, they have 241 seats to Democrats’ 194 and Republicans control the Senate with 52 seats to the Democrats’ 46 with two Independents allied with them. The opening of the new session of Congress

was overshadowed by the Republican Representatives’ decision recently to restrict the independence of the ethics monitors. Faced with a firestorm of criticism led by their own party’s President-elect Donald Trump, they backed down and agreed to not make any changes to the Office of Congressional Ethics, which was set up in 2008 following corruption scandals that ended with three members of Congress ending in jail.

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Alamelu Amma Passes Away At 103 Atlanta’s oldest Indian-American resident, Alamelu Srinivasan, has passed away. She was 103. Alamelu Amma, as she was fondly called, was a native of Kancheepuram, Tamil Nadu and a resident of USA for over 40 years. She passed away on Wednesday December 28 at Norman, Oklahoma. Her children were by her side at the time of her demise. Amma, who grew up in Myanmar (Burma), was one of the few Indian women who graduated from college in the 1930s. She later worked at the Kancheepuram Government Girls High School and was an educationalist for 60 years. She is survived by her children Dr. Kamala Radhakrishnan, Srinivasan Rajappa, Dr. Ekambaram Rajappa and Atlanta’s Dr. Paddy Sharma, and several grandchildren and great grandchildren. Alamelu Amma was featured in Indians of Atlanta, a blog and Facebook community maintained by NRI Pulse Newspaper in 2015. Her narrative (excerpted below) quickly went viral. “ I am in good health because I keep my brain active. I do math and crossword puzzles every single day. I speak four languages- Tamil, Telugu, Sanskrit and English- and make it a point to write in those languages everyday so I don’t lose them. I was born in 1913 in Rangoon,Burma, the 9th child of my parents. I was interested in litigation at a young age and my father wanted me to be a lawyer. But my brothers felt I was too outspoken and abrupt to be in law. So I got a BA and MA in English literature, then a B.Ed. I ended up becoming an educator. I was married off to this charming would-be doctor in Rangoon when I was just 13, but my father made sure I stayed on with them until I completed my post-graduation. Only then was I allowed to start a family. During World War II, I got on a ship with my kids and two suitcases, leaving behind all we had. Being a doctor, my husband was required by law to stay and take care of the wounded. For 3 months, I did not know his whereabouts. Later, I heard that he had walked the forests of Assam with his sister’s family who had missed the last ship to Calcutta. When we started a new life in Kanchipuram, it was not easy. The culture shock was enormous. Eventually, however, I got into government service and became the principal of a school. My interest in law served me well when I was made honorary magistrate in the 1950s.”

........City News ........


January 2017

An Indian Hanukkah: Consulate Hosts Annual Tradition BY VEENA RAO P.O Box 191124 Atlanta GA 31119 Tel: 404-235-4998 Email: Publisher NRIPulse Media Inc.


Editor Veena Rao

Reports/Features Jyothsna Hegde Supriya D.G.

Atlanta, GA: The Jewish holiday of Hanukkah, also known as the Festival of Lights and the Feast of Dedication, was celebrated in the Indian tradition at the Consulate General of India in Atlanta on December 11. Hosted for the first time by the Consulate in 2014, the celebration has now become an annual tradition, strengthening a decades-long history of warm relations between the Indian-American and JewishAmerican communities of Georgia. Consul General of Israel to the Southeastern United States, Ambassador Judith Varnai Shorer, Congressman Rob Woodall (R-GA), Sandy Springs Mayor Rusty Paul, office bearers of the Atlanta chapter of the American Jewish Committee (AJC) and members of Atlanta Indian-American community associations were part of the celebrations. “Not many people know that Judaism has been an integral part of Indian society for over 2000 years,” Consul General Nagesh Singh informed the gathering. “Jewish traders may have come to India during King Solomon’s time. But recorded history shows that Ju-

Ambassador Judith Varnai Shorer and Sandy Springs Mayor Rusty Paul light the ceremonial candles as Congressman Rob Woodall, Commissioner Tim Echols and others look on. Photos by Bytegraph.

Hebrew songs in the Indian tradition. He said India is the only country in the world where Jews have never faced anti-semitism in 2000 years. “In the 60 years since the middleeast crisis began, never a stone has been thrown at a synagogue. That shows the resilience of the Indian people,” he said. Congressman Rob Woodall, in his address, said the two most powerful speeches given in Washington DC in the last session of the Congress were those given on the floor of

Columnists/Writers Ravi R. Ponangi Mahadev Desai Rani Sharma P.S. Lakshmi Rao

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daism came to the southern coast of India around 79 two countries as we conL to R: Consul General Nagesh Singh, Ambassador Judith AD, after the destruction of the second temple. Dur- tinue to work together. I canVarnai Shorer, Congressman Rob Woodall and Pragya Singh. ing the middle ages, when Jews were persecuted else- not express how much your where in the world, Judaism flourished in India.” support means to us,” she Singh said Hanukkah is a festival that is impor- said. the house by Prime Minister Modi of India and PM tant to India, the Indian-American community and the Nissim Reuben, an Indian-American of Jewish Netanyahu of Israel. What made Modi’s speech resoConsulate General of India. Relations between the US, descent ýand Assistant Director (Asia Pacific Insti- nant was the fact that he talked about the 1.3 billion India and Israel are based on the shared values of de- tute) at AJC led the lighting of the hanukkiah and sang people who no longer had to be afraid. PM Netanyahu mocracy and freedom, and common stratetalked about unfailing partnerships between US and gic and geopolitical interests, he added. Israel in eradicating fear and standing up against the “But it is people to people contact fascists, dictators and bullies. that is the better part of our relationship,” Woodall said America is built on faith, family, he said. education, opportunity and eradication of fear. “I don’t Consul General of Israel Judith Varnai have any idea what the future holds in politics in DC, Shorer talked about the history and sigbut what I don’t have is fear. America doesn’t begin in nificance of Hanukkah. “It is very much DC, it begins right here, and tomorrow looks bright like Diwali, the festival of lights,” she said. for people,” he said. “This holiday represents the fight for our Georgia Public Service Commissioner, Tim Echols, said King Solomon’s wisdom is something we existence. It is a celebration of Jewish herogive attention to everyday. “There is wisdom in counism. We are a small but very determined sel. The Indian community, the Jewish communitypeople who try our best to bring progress any folks that want to make our state better, we need and fight darkness. When we light the to reach out and make sure we are listening and giving hanukkiah (candelabra) we are illuminatpeople input,” he said. ing an entire room with light and hope.” Sandy Springs mayor Rusty Paul said he was Shorer said India has an ever growing pleased to be part of the celebrations. relationship with Israel, and spoke of IsCNN journalist and author Josh Levs emceed the raeli President Reuven Rivlin’s successful proceedings. Dov Wilder of AJC and Ritesh Desai, visit to India in November 2015. “We look Nissim Reuben (left) and Ambassador Judith who referred to himself as an Indian born, America forward to what the future holds for our Varnai Shorer. raised honorary Jew, helped organize the event.


........City News ........

January 2017

Sham-e-Sangeet Raises Over $86,000 For Ekal Vidyalayas In India colors to follow: Prem Ratan Dhan Paayo, Aa Bhi Jaa, etc. by Bhavika, Himesh Reshamiya’s cousin and Garba singer from South Carolina, elicited rousing applause. Singer-Songwriter Rekha, who has sung in a Kannada film “Software Ganda”, released a CD “Nasha”, and has been associated with Ekal Atlanta, GA: Over 400 dance and music lov- for several years, had the audience humming to her ers in Atlanta attended the Ekal Vidyalaya Foun- melodious voice in songs, Aapki Nazaron Ne dation of USA’s “Shaam-e-Sangeet” fundraiser Samjha, Muskurane Ki Vajah Tum Ho and Lambi program, conceived, choreographed and coordi- Judai. Saras Jain, a Sangeet Prabhakar and trained nated by Geet-Rung School of Dance and Music. Hindustani Classical vocalist opened with Raahat The program showcased the artistic talents of Fateh Ali Khan’s Lagan Laagi Tum Se Man Kee Atlanta together with students of Geet-Rung Lagan followed by Jag Ghumeya, and a medley of School of Dance and Music and their delightful Arijit Singh’s songs in his captivating voice. Pankaj presentations of old classics, ghazals, riveting Bhargava, the music lead of Geet-Rung, was in full dances, new upbeat foot tapping numbers and a flow, opening with Aap Ke Anurodh Pe, and later vibrant grand finale, at the Impact Center at the singing Kishore Kumar and Kumar Sanu’s medGlobal Mall, Norcross, GA on Saturday, Decem- leys. The duets were also well chosen and showed the versatility of every performing artist. The ber 3,2016. The veritable dance-cum-musical feast was upbeat final medley of all-time favorites made the graced by the presence of the Consul D.V.Singh audience not only clap in rhythm but also join in dancing! and luminaries of the Atlanta community. Ekal’s 2016 DVD highlighted its one-teacher After meeting and greeting, and enjoying the school model which exists in all the Indian states, from Kashmir to Kerala, for an annual sponsorship of only $365. Ekal currently runs 54,292 schools, each providing basic education to nearly 2030 students and benefits 1.5 million rural children, with an almost L to R: Pankaj Bhargava,Saras Jain, Divya Srivastava, equal boy-girl ratio. In the Rekha Pallath and Bhavika Merchant. DVD, India’s delicious dinner prepared by Ashiana Restaurant, Prime Minister, Narendra Modi ji called Ekal “a the attendees were warmly welcomed by vice very successful mission” and acknowledged the president of Ekal Atlanta Rina Gupta and Rachna relentless work undertaken by Zee TV’s head, Gupta, Ekal’s cultural coordinator. Consul Dr.Subhash Chandra for Ekal’s expansion. The Ekal D.V.Singh together with Shiv Aggarwal and win- program of free basic education for children has ners of’s championship, lighted been expanded to formalize vocational training, the traditional diya (lamp), followed aptly by social empowerment and healthcare for adults and Saraswati Vandana, a dance invocation to the god- thus brought about far-reaching changes in neglected areas of India. It is the largest grassroots dess of learning. Geet-Rung had put together myriad colors non-government organization with chapters in Ausinto the show, what with colorful dances by Divya tralia, Canada, Dubai, New Zealand, United KingSrivastava and her students as well as vintage rep- dom and United States (42 chapters). Indian Minertoire of songs by Atlanta’s well known and popu- ister for Human Resources Development, Shri lar vocal artists Pankaj Bhargava, Rekha Pallath, Prakash Javadekar has said: “Ekal’s is one of the Saras Jain and Bhavika Merchant from South Caro- most meaningful social impact work in the field of education.” lina. Once they visualized the huge social impact These busy I.T professionals lent their talent to the program for the love of singing and an their monetary contribution would make, audiinnate interest in Ekal’s cause. Divya and her dance ence members vied with each other to sponsor students mesmerized the audience with their intri- Ekal schools. Some even preferred to sponsor cate footwork, soulful expressions, nuanced emot- anonymously. As soon as 100 schools had been ing, and finesse and grace in Bollywood medleys donated by individuals, Shiv Aggarwal, Georgia and laavani dances. In keeping with the theme of Chapter President, gushed that the number had the program, young singers opened with popular been matched by a check for 100 schools ($36,500) prayer song, Itni Shakti Hamein Dena and fol- from 27th Group, a real estate/restaurants management company, run by Anil Damani, whose lowed later with Saancha Naam Tera. Kya Jaanoon Sajan set the tone for the other HR/PR Coordinator Prem Kaushal was present at

BY MAHADEV DESAI & RACHNA GUPTA Photos by Vinod Devlia & Deepak Naik

Consul D.V. Singh lights the diya as Shiv Aggarwal and others look on. the event.Ekal’s heartfelt thanks were expressed to him by Shiv. “Shaam-E-Sangeet 2016” raised $86,000 for a record number of 201 schools in just 4 hours! Fifteen additional schools were pledged with the funds going directly to Ekal HQ, making it a total of 216 schools in one night! While every sponsor received a heartfelt applause, thunderous claps went to four young children, Varoon, Veda, Isha and Kunal who had created art and craft work especially for Ekal. The sale proceeds of their creations helped sponsor a new school! With these schools, Ekal is slowing inching towards its goal of 100,000. Shiv Aggarwal thanked VHPA for the much needed

Laavani dancers

hot chai, the artists, students, sponsors, donors, volunteers and supporters for joining in, in the task of nation-building through Ekal. Sponsors can track the progress of their school at, can connect with Ekal on Facebook and Twitter too. All in all, it was a well-organized, enthusiastic, engaging, much appreciated and enjoyable program for a very worthy cause!

January 2017

........City News ........


Amma (Mata Amritanandamayi) Ashram Inaugurated In Cumming

Atlanta, GA, January 3, 2017: On Saturday, December 3, 2016, the Mata Amritanandamayi Center, Atlanta was officially inaugurated by Amma’s senior monastic disciples: Swami Dayamrita (Executive Director, M.A. Centers ), Swami Shantamrita (Midwest- M.A. Centers) and Br. Ramanand (East Coast -M.A. Centers) The event began with the planting of a Gingko tree (symbolic of the planting of the seeds of wisdom-as the ancient gingko is known for its beneficial effects on memory and brain function) accompanied by chants. The planting was followed with a processional lighting of 100 lamps by satsang families as they entered the temple hall and offered the light to the altar of Amma. The M.A.Center’s monastic disciples then each spoke on the importance of an ashram as a physical center in which to help seekers find their spiritual center as well as a center for community service through outreach programs. The program ended with devotional singing led by musicians from M.A. Centers throughout the United States and concluded with lunch served to all out on the pavilion that overlooks the 3+ acres of land. The M. A. Center Atlanta is an extension of

Mata Amritanandamayi Math and Embracing the World® that intends to reach into the entire Southeast to do humanitarian projects throughout the region. Current initiatives already include cooking for children shelters, working with seniors, planting organic gardens, and cleaning up parks and river areas, as well as other local community service projects. The M.A. Center Atlanta is a very diverse group. Our members are from literally every major religion, ethnicity, tradition and culture, coming together as a family. Although we primarily follow the Indian tradition of Sanatana Dharma, we observe the important days of all major religions and cultures. In the past 39 years, Mata Amritanandamayi (Amma)- a renowned spiritual and U.N recognized humanitarian leader has physically embraced more than 36 million people from all around the world. Her tireless spirit of dedication to uplifting others has inspired a vast network of charitable activities through which people are discovering the sense of peace that comes from selflessly serving others. Embracing the World ® ( is the global network of local and regional charitable organiza-

Natyam Arts Academy Student Wins Bharatanatyam Competition Atlanta, GA: Natyam Arts Academy student and disciple of Preeti Vinayak, 10year-old Maitri Sridhar, won 2nd place in Saptami Foundation’s Bharatanatyam Solo National Level competition in the sub-junior category. The competition was held at the Mesquite Arts Center in Dallas, TX on November 21st. Leading up to this, regional level competitions were held by Saptami in various cities, including Atlanta, and national qualifiers from all regions were invited to compete in Dallas. Maitri has been learning Bharatanatyam from Ms. Vinayak since the age of 5 and counts dancing as one of her favorite activities. She is also a student of Carnatic music and classical piano. A 5th-grader at Kittredge Elementary School, Maitri enjoys outdoor adventures, playing sports and reading mystery books.

tions and projects which grew out of the Indiabased Mata Amritanandamayi Math (M.A. Center headquarters). Currently active in more than 40 countries around the world, Embracing the World exists to help alleviate the burden of the world’s poor through helping to meet each of their five basic needs - food, shelter, education, healthcare and livelihood - wherever and whenever possible. All who are associated with Amma believe that having their basic needs met is the fundamental right of any human being, and that it is the responsibility of each of us to strive hard to ensure that one day, every human being can live in dignity, safety, security and peace. It is also our duty to be mindful stewards the earth and its resources and to not only practice but also help

educate on Sustainability. Amma teaches that everyone - rich or poor - has the power to make a difference in the life of another, and that no selfless gesture is insignificant. Rather, it is the selfless actions we perform for one another that hold the keys to true peace - peace in the individual, peace in the community and peace among diverse cultures, nations and faiths. M.A. Centers throughout the globe contribute to this humanitarian effort by inspiring people to serve selflessly in the building of a better world. And now Atlanta has its own Center that welcomes everyone to join us in cultivating an even better community. Amma’s 30th U.S. Summer Tour will include Atlanta in June 2017. Visit for more details.

Trump Taps Former Governor Perdue For Agriculture Post US President-elect Donald Trump has tapped former Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue to be Agriculture Secretary, local media reported. After weeks of speculation, Perdue had become the favorite to take over the agriculture portfolio, according to members of the presidential transition team cited by the news web site Perdue, 70, governed Georgia from 2003-2011, and two weeks after Trump’s victory in the November 8 election, he traveled to New York to be interviewed by the Presidentelect at Trump Tower, EFE news cited CNN. Anticipation of Perdue’s nomination had been rising in recent days, despite the increase in voices

calling for Trump to appoint a Latino to the agriculture post to quell criticism over the lack of diversity in his picks for his Cabinet and other top government posts so far.


........City News ........

January 2017

Raksha Fundraiser Sold Out- Exemplary Individuals Recognized Photos by Vinod Devlia Atlanta, GA: Raksha Inc.’s Annual Fundraiser, Ek Shaam Raksha Ke Naam was completely sold out this year. The event took place on

December 2, 2016 at the Gathering Spot, an exclusive new social club in Atlanta. Headliner Rajiv Satyal’s stand-up comedy was well-received by the audience. During the course of the evening, Raksha recognized community members and allies who exemplify the values that drive Raksha’s work in the community. Asher Burk of the Women’s Resource Center was honored with The Himmat (Courage) Award for years of unwavering dedication, support, and tireless advocacy for survivors of domestic violence. Burk’s expertise is crucial in helping Raksha’s clients navigate the criminal and civil justice system, especially in DeKalb County. He works to ensure that immigrant survivors understand their rights and have culturally responsive services. His ability to build rapport with survivors and learn about their specific needs and barriers makes him an invaluable partner. Jaymen Chavda of the Chugh Firm was honored with The Seeds of Change Award for years of unwavering dedication, support, and tireless advocacy for survivors of domestic and sexual violence. Jaymen has helped plant the seeds to ensure that Raksha has access to more civil legal assistance. Whether it is providing low bono or pro bono services, Jaymen works with Raksha to ensure that its clients can address divorce, child custody, child support and other legal matters. Jaymen has worked to increase the number of cases the Chugh Firm takes on and is always willing to respond to answer questions from Raksha staff. Keyur Patel was the recipient of the 2016 Ramesh and Vijaya Bakshi Community Change Award for his outstanding and dedicated volunteer service at the Clarkston Community Health Center (CCHC) and help to the refugee population in the Clarkston Community. Clarkston has one of the biggest refugee resettlement areas in the United States and is home to asylum-seekers from all over the world. Patients at CCHC are all uninsured, with a variety of medical problems, ranging from acute to uncontrolled and chronic. The CCHC was founded in 2013 as a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization and started operations in 2015 with a mission to provide affordable, accessible, and linguistically sensitive primary care and preventive services to the Clarkston community and surrounding areas. Meenakshi Chugh was also the recipient of the 2016 Ramesh and Vijaya Bakshi Community Change Award. She was honored for her action to mobilize for a friend in a difficult situation. Upon learning of her friend’s situation, she mobilized friends and neighbors to help this friend and create a support network to help provide emotional support, food, transportation to doctor’s visits and more, organizing over 270 friends and neighbors to action.

........NRI News ........

Trump Appoints Raj Shah White House Deputy Assistant N e w Y o r k : (IANS) US Presidentelect Donald Trump has appointed an expert on strategic communications and political research, Raj Shah, as his deputy assistant and research director on the White House staff. Trump’s announcement said that Shah would also hold the post of deputy communications director. Shah helped Trump’s campaign by highlighting contradictions in Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s political positions and other issues like her handling of her private email server, which turned into a campaign issue. The Republican National Committee website credited him with developing the organisation’s opposition research book on Clinton. Reince Priebus, who will be Trump’s chief of staff, said that Shah and the others appointed to the White House staff “will be key leaders in helping to implement the president-elect’s agenda and bring real change to Washington. “Each of them has been instrumental over the last several months, and in some cases years, in helping the President-elect,” he added. Shah is currently the research director and deputy communications director at the Republican National Committee and also the managing director of America Rising, a company that provides research to candidates. He specializes in what is known as opposition research, which is digging up negative information about candidates for use by their rivals or others. He had earlier done a stint at the White House as a research assistant during George W. Bush’s presidency. He has also worked in John McCain’s 2008 unsuccessful presidential campaign against President Barack Obama. At the Republican National Committee Shah has worked closely with Priebus and Trump’s spokesperson Sean Spicer. The GOP website published Shah’s critiques and analysis of Clinton’s past public stances, her foreign policy and Obama’s policies.

Disney Ex-Workers Say Replacement By Indians Discriminates Against Americans New York: (IANS) Workers laid off by Disney have filed a case against Disney alleging that replacing them with Indians was discrimination against them because they were Americans. The discrimination suit filed in a federal court in Florida on Monday said Disney dismissed the workers “based solely on their national origin and race, replacing them with Indian nationals”. The 29 former information technology workers said in court papers seen by IANS that they were made to train their replacements starting October 2014 and the management treated them and the other 250 laid off workers rudely while the Indians were given “special treatment”. They claimed that they were treated differently based “solely on race or colour and ancestry”. They were laid off in January 2015. The suit was filed three days after Presidentelect Donald Trump had said at two rallies that he would not allow US workers to be replaced by foreigners and was especially miffed that Americans being laid off were made to train their replacements. It is “demeaning”, he said. “We are not going to let it happen to our people any more.”

not suing on the basis “national origin and race” discrimination. However, the case also invokes laws against age discrimination and Jagadean could be covered

under that. This case was filed after a federal judge dismissed another case brought by laid off Disney employees in October against Disney and the two companies that provided it the Indian workers, HCL and Cognizant Technologies. Judge Gregory Presnell ruled that the three companies had not made false statements on certifications for the Visa program that current workers would not be adversely affected, which was the basis of the case, according to the Orlando Sentinel. The newspaper said that the case filed in January, “alleged that the Disney employees were the victim of a racketeering scheme to terminate them and replace them with immigrant, outsourced workers through the federal H-1B Visa program”. The case filed this week is only against Disney and takes a new approach by claiming discrimination against Americans by replacing them with younger Indians.

New York Police Allows Sikh Officers To Wear Turbans, Restricts Beard To Half-Inch New York: (IANS) New York Police Department (NYPD) will now allow Sikh officers to wear turbans and beards marking another milestone for members of that religion although it restricts the beard size to half-an-inch. Announcing the change in uniform and appearance policy, City Police Commissioner James O’Neill said: “We want to make the NYPD as diverse as possible.” Welcoming the change, the Sikh Officers Association tweeted: “This is a proud moment for Sikh Community.” But because of the half-inch beard restriction, the Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund, a human rights organization, appeared to give new policy a qualified welcome. “We look forward to reviewing the policy in depth to ensure that Sikhs can serve with their turban and beards intact and with no limitations or restrictions to either,” said board member Kavneet Singh.

Deport Afghan Pilot To Afghanistan, Say Activists A group of activists has requested US President Barack Obama to reject asylum application of Afghanistan’s first female pilot, Captain Niloofar Rahmani, and deport her to the wartorn country. “Rahmani, who filled an asylum application in the US, does not face any threat in the country. She enjoys a safe atmosphere with some extraordinary security measures,” the letter from the White Assembly, which consists of youths, policy makers, human rights activists and analysts, said in a letter to Obama.

A person of Indian origin, Lavanya Jagadean, is one of the 29 workers suing Disney and, therefore, lawyers said in court papers that Jagadean is

“There is no threat or obstacle for her to carry out her duties safely and securely in Afghanistan,” the letter said. “We believe that granting asylum to such individuals who hold vital position and have important responsibilities, not only has bad impact on the country, but also encourages other citizens to seek asylum through illegal ways,” it said. News emerged recently about Rahmani seeking an asylum in the US. Rahmani was presented the International Women of Courage award for the year 2015 in Washington.

But Singh added: “We commend Commissioner O’Neill on this positive step to make the NYPD a fully inclusive department.”

Till now Sikh NY police were allowed to wear only a small head covering, the patka, under their regulation hats or caps. Now they can wear a full blue turban. “We’ve been working with the Sikh officers to try to make sure we get this done,” O’Neill said after a ceremony for graduating class of the police academy. “I had the opportunity to make the change and I thought it was about time that we did that.” A group of Sikh officers wearing blue turbans with the NYPD badges accompanied O’Neill when he made the announcement. Two Sikhs, who were among the 557 graduates, had earlier received permission to keep their beards but not wear full turbans. O’Neill estimated that there are about 160 Sikhs in the 34,500-strong force in the city of 8.5

million people. The new policy seemed to apply to traffic police who are officially called traffic agents and wear white hats. Last week a Sikh police traffic agent was seen directing traffic near the United Nations wearing a white turban. In April, the US Army expanded its policy of permitting Sikh personnel to wear turbans, although it was in the nature of a waiver rather than a policy change. It was restricted to non-hazardous duties because of concerns with using gas masks. The US Army was facing a lawsuit by a soldier alleging the ban on turbans amounted to religious discrimination. The change in NYPD policy on beards may also allow Muslims police officers to keep their beards. But Muslim officers are demanding that they should be allowed two-inch beards and one of them has filed a discrimination suit. In 2012, the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) which runs the city’s metro and buses allowed Sikhs to wear turbans without the agency’s medallion everywhere on the job settling a case against it by the Sikh Coalition and the federal government. The MTA also agreed to pay $184,500 to eight current or former employees who had objected to wearing the MTA symbol on their turbans claiming it violated their religious beliefs. However, New York police officers will be required to wear the police medallion on their turbans and so far Sikh officers have not objected to it.


Four Held In US Woman Gang-Rape Case Four persons, including a tourist guide, have been arrested here on charges of sexually assaulting a US tourist here in March this year, police said on Monday. Aniruddha Singh, a Rajasthan-based tourist guide, Omprakash, Maqsood and Vivek – all in their late 20s were arrested from different cities during raids conducted by Delhi Police on separate occasions. “On the complaint of a Delhi-based NGO, we contacted the victim and filed a case on the basis of her statement. During our inquiry, we conducted several raids in Delhi and other cities and arrested four persons,” Joint Commissioner of Police Dependra Pathak told IANS. The 30-year-old American tourist was gangraped at a Delhi’s luxurious hotel in March this year. Delhi Police had registered an FIR early this month on the complaint of the woman as External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj intervened in the matter.

........ NRI News ........

Indian-American Elected Mayor Of California’s ‘Apple’ City New York: (IANS) In a first, an IndianAmerican woman has been elected the new mayor of Californian city Cupertino, the worldwide headquarters of Apple, it was reportedrecently. Savita Vaidhyanathan, a Cupertino resident for more than 20 years, was sworn in last week in a ceremony attended by her mother who had flown in from India, the Mercury News reported. “I’ve had several congratulatory messages saying that I’m the first woman mayor of Indian-origin. Yes, I do take a lot of pride and prestige in that,” she said. “I do want to thank the residents of the city of Cupertino that voted me in not looking at ethnicity at all. Thank

you for your trust in me, and maybe we did break that silicon ceiling and put a few more cracks in that glass ceiling,” Vaidhyanathan added. She takes over from Barry Chang who had served as mayor from 2015.

Vaidhyanathan was working as a high school Maths teacher and an officer in a commercial bank.

Indian-American Ex-Official Bribed With Luxury Vacations, Prostitutes New York: (IANS) An Indian origin former official of one of the largest pension funds has been charged in a prostitutes and drugs bribery scheme involving billions of dollars in business, prosecutors said. A director and strategist at the New York State Common Retirement Fund (NYCRF), Navnoor Kang “allegedly steered billions of dollars of business to broker-dealers who bribed him with luxury vacations, high-priced watches, drugs, cash and more”, Preet Bharara, the New York Federal prosecutor, said recently. Court documents seen by IANS also listed the services of prostitutes and strippers, “night club bottle service” and a Panerai watch worth $17,420 among the bribes allegedly received by Kang. He was arrested in Portland in Oregon state and was to be produced before a federal judge there, Bharara said. Kang, 38, is a former tennis pro who played in international tournaments in 2005 and 2006. From 2014 to 2016, he was the Director of Fixed Income and Head of Portfolio Strategy at NYCRF, the third largest pension fund in the US with $184 billion in assets. He was responsible for investing $53 billion in fixed income securities. According to prosecutors, Kang colluded with employees of at least two brokerages to divert business from the NYCRF in exchange for the bribes. The two companies, which were not identified, did not do any business with NYCRF in 2013. But by 2016 their combined annual volume of business was $2.557 billion after Kang had started sending them business, according to court

documents. This netted the companies millions of dollars in commissions, prosecutors said. One brokerage employee, Deborah Kelley, is

charged in the same case as Kang. They face charges of fraud, conspiracy, obstruction of justice and “wire fraud” for electronic transfer of funds. They face a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. Kelley is alleged to have paid for Kang’s concert ticket and holidays, in one of which his former girlfriend went along. The employee of the other company, Gregg Schornhorn, was charged in a separate case. Bharara said that last week he admitted he was guilty of fraud and obstructing justice. Prosecutors said Schornhorn gave Kang the Panerai watch and paid for prostitutes and strippers and they used WhatsApp to communicate to prevent law enforcement from monitoring them. Earlier when Kang was working at another company, Schornhorn had given him a Rolex watch costing $8,000, prosecutors said. Kang was fired from that company but he lied about it to NYCRF, prosecutors said.

January 2017

Immigration Manager Found Guilty In H1-B Tech Visa Fraud Case An Indian-origin immigration managerof an outsourcing company has been found guilty in a H-1B visa fraud case, Paul Fishman, the New Jersey federal prosecutor, said on Friday. Hari Karne, 32, admitted before Federal Judge Kevin McNulty in Newark, New Jersey, on Friday that he conspired to obstruct the investigation into a scheme to get fraudulent visas for foreign workers and falsify salary information. Even though President-elect Donald Trump has not yet assumed office, the case came up a week after he announced that one of his priorities would be to have the Labour Department crackdown on H-1B visa fraud. The others in the alleged conspiracy were shown in court documents seen by IANS as SCM Data based in New Jersey and MMC System headquartered in Virginia, and six individuals, but they are not listed as defendants in Karne’s case. The prosecution said that Karne, who is from Hyderabad, worked as an immigration manager with SCM Private Limited in India, which had service agreements with SCM Data and MMC System that in turn provide information technology consultants to US companies. The conspirators recruited students and recent graduates and sponsored them for H-1B visas meant for people with specialised qualification, prosecutors said. To comply with H-1B requirements, they showed them as full-time salaried employees of their companies, according to prosecutors. However, they were not paid by the outsourcing companies and collected salaries only from the companies they were sent to work in. One employee, identified only as “Individual 13 in court papers, was not paid for some time around January last year. Since the outsourcing companies had to show that it paid H-1B visa-holders full-time, Karne asked “Individual 13 to pay cash to the outsourcers from the person’s earnings from the company to which the person was outsourced, prosecutors said. The outsourcers then made out a check using what “Individual 13 had paid in cash back to the person to cover the period they had not paid in order to make it appear the person was a regular, salaried employee, prosecutors said. He could face a maximum sentence of five years in jail, but often the actual penalties are less.

California Man Faces ID Theft, Visa Fraud Charges New York: (IANS) An Indian-origin man faces identity theft and H-1B visa fraud charges, Phillip Talbert, the Eastern California federal prosecutor, said. A grand jury indictment on Friday found that Abhijit Prasad stole the identity of two people to get H-1B visas and also filed 31 petitions with false

statements about work projects to be done in California, according to the prosecutor’s office in Sacramento, California. H-1B visas are temporary and allow people with specialised qualifications to work in the US for employers who sponsor them, Prasad, 49, lives in

Tracy, California. The first step in the federal legal system is for a grand jury made up of citizens hears preliminary evidence on allegations brought by prosecutors. If it finds there is a case it hands down an indictment based on which the prosecutors file a case. Nirav Desai, an assistant federal prosecutor, is prosecuting Prasad and he is scheduled to appear before a judge on December 28.

January 2017

......... NRI News ........


New Year Of Momentous Changes Dawns On The US New York: (IANS) 2017 dawned on the US with promise of momentous changes as UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon launched the ceremonial drop of the iconic ball at Times Square, the “Crossroads of the World,” cheered by a crowd of revelers estimated at two million. The annual ritual marking the start of the New Year took place amid high security, with roads blocked off by sand-filled trucks to ward off potential attackers, and visitors, who began gathering since morning, put through security checks. Away from New York, President-elect Donald Trump, his wife Melania and 10-year-old son Barron celebrated at a New Year ball in his Mara-a-Lago estate. Actor Sylvester Stallone was among the 800 guests. Barack Obama was in his native state Honolulu with his family for a quiet celebration of the last New Year’s Day of his presidency. But 2017 will arrive five hours later on the far-flung island several time zones away in the Pacific. Both Presidents had spent the day Saturday playing golf at places nearly 5,000 miles away. As the clock raced to midnight in New York, Ban in his last act as Secretary-General hit the switch that sent the 5.3-tonne, 3.6-metre diameter ball made of crystal panels down a 43-metre flagpole to reach its base atop 1 Time Square at the moment the New Year dawned. Mayor Bill de Blasio stood by Ban as the crowd drawn from around the world as immigrants and tourists roared their welcome to 2017 and some broke into “Auld lang syne” — “Should auld acquaintance be

forgot” — the age-old tribute to the friendships that withstand the passage of time.

away from becoming President after an election campaign that deeply split the nation. The divisiveness held on as 2016 faded and Trump’s tweeted New Year message underscored it: “Happy New Year to all, including to my many enemies and those who have fought me and lost so badly they just don’t know what to do. Love! In his broadcast earlier on Saturday, Obama recalled his achievements ranging from the creation of 17 million jobs to the killing of Al Qaeda terror chief Osama bin Laden. Echoing his party’s pessimistic expectation of Trump, he made this promise: “I will be there with you every step Ban Ki-moon, who ended his term as the Secretary-General of the way to ensure that this country forever strives to live of the United Nations, prepares for the Times Square ball up to the incredible promise drop. Seen from left are, Chirlane de Blasio, New York Mayor of our founding – that all of us Bill de Blasio, and Ban and his wife, Soon-Taek. (Photo are created equal, and all of us deserve every chance to live courtesy: Times Square Alliance/via IANS out our dreams.” Ban had earlier said that it would be his The nation and world waited with varying Cinderella moment. “Tomorrow at midnight, ev- degrees of expectations Trump’s “Make America erything changes,” he said. Great Again” agenda that promises vast changes At that moment, Antonio Guterres took over to US policies on a scale not seen in recent times. as the Secretary-General and Trump was 20 days Domestically he has said that he would re-

peal Obama’s signature health insurance programme and act on illegal immigration while holding out hopes of massive infrastructure work and job creation. He has also said he would launch his version of make in America to bring back jobs, limit outsourcing and enforce strict rules on technology worker coming in on temporary visas. All those could impact India. On matters affecting the rest of the world, Trump has said would free the US of foreign military entanglements while hardening the fight against Islamic terrorism. More importantly, he has signaled closer ties with Russia – a prospect that Obama has tried in his last days to undermine by imposing severe sanctions on Moscow over what he says are its interference in US elections. Trade agreements would be up for reconsideration, Trump has said, taking aim in particular at China. The New Year marks an important political milestone for Indian Americans. Nikki Haley will be the first Indian American to hold a cabinet level post as the ambassador to the UN and Kamala Harris will be the first Indian American in the Senate. Four others, Ami Bera, Pramila Jayapal, Raja Krishnamoorthi and Ro Khanna, will be in the House of Representatives. The security for Times Square celebrations was extremely stringent given the terrorist attacks with vehicles in Marseilles and Berlin and the shootings on Saturday in Istanbul.


......... Biz Pulse ........

RBI To Announce Facility For NRIs To Exchange Old Notes New Delhi: (IANS) The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) recently said that it will introduce a facility for exchange of old specified bank notes for Indian residents and NRIs, who were abroad from November 9 to December 30. According to a RBI notification, Indian residents, who were abroad during November 9 to December 30, 2016 can avail the new facility up to March 31, 2017, while NRIs can avail it up to June 30. “While there is no monetary limit for exchange for the eligible resident Indians, the limit for NRIs will be as per the relevant FEMA (Foreign Exchange Management Act) regulations,” said the RBI notification. “They can avail this facility in their individual capacity once during the period on submission of ID documents, such as Aadhaar number, Permanent Account Number (PAN) etc, and on submission of documentary evidence show-

ing they were abroad during the period and, that they have not availed the exchange facility earlier.” The country’s central bank elaborated that third-party tender will not be accepted under the new facility. “On fulfillment of the terms and conditions and the genuineness of the notes tendered, admissible amount will be credited to the tenderer’s KYC (know your customer) compliant bank account,” the notification said. “The facility will remain open for residents from January 2, 2017 to March 31, 2017 and for NRIs from January 2, 2017 to June 30, 2017. This facility will be available through Reserve Bank offices at Mumbai, New Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata, and Nagpur.” The notification added that Indian citizens residing in Nepal, Bhutan, Pakistan and Bangladesh cannot avail this facility.

January 2017

Global Headwinds Slow Down Indian IT Industry’s Growth Bengaluru: (IANS) Global headwinds such as macroeconomic factors, currency volatility and disruptive technologies impacted the resilient Indian IT industry in 2016, forcing Nasscom, its apex body, to lower the growth rate for fiscal 201617. “The IT industry is going through a transient phase with global and domestic factors impacting its performance. While the effect of short-term factors may show for a couple of quarters, the worst is behind us,” Nasscom President R. Chandrashekhar told IANS. The singledigit growth of global software majors like TCS, Infosys, Wipro and HCL for the July-September second quarter made Nasscom revise its industry export revenue guidance to 8-10 per cent ($117-119 billion) in November from 10-12 per cent ($119-121 billion) it projected in February. The National Association of Software and Services Companies (Nasscom) has, however, maintained the domestic revenue growth at 11-13 per cent to achieve Rs 1,560-1,590 billion ($22.923.4 billion) by March 31,2017. “This year has been an interesting one for the industry owing to various global and domestic factors. Increased adoption of digital technology by consumers, e-commerce and start-ups has driven the industry’s growth in the domestic market,” Chandrashekhar asserted. Though India accounts for 56 per cent of global sourcing with seven per cent market share of the world’s software and IT services, currency volatility and innovative technologies like artificial intelligence, automation, Internet of Things and machining have disrupted the industry’s traditional products and solutions to enterprises worldwide. “To stay globally competitive, the industry needs to invest and enhance its digital capabilities. This entails a mix of reskilling, domain and platform capabilities coupled with acquisition-led competencies,” Chandrashekhar maintained. Recovering from the fallout of the global financial meltdown in 2008-10, the Indian IT-BPM

(Business Process Management) industry flourished to grow in double digits (12-14 per cent) on a wider base over the last couple of years, thanks to its adoption of cloud computing, big data, analytics and mobility. As a result, the industry’s revenue grew 12-13 per cent in the 2015-16 fiscal to $143 billion, including $108 billion from exports, while domestic revenue increased by 10 per cent to Rs 1,41,000 crore. For the first time in many quarters, IT bellwether Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) reported flat sequential growth for the second quarter, which made its Chief Executive N. Chandrasekaran admit that growing uncertainties in the environment was creating caution among customers and resulted in holdbacks in discretionary spending. S i m i l a r l y, Infosys lowered its annual revenue guidance to 8-9 per cent for this fiscal due to uncertain business outlook and currency volatility from 10-11.5 per cent on June 30 and 11.8-13.8 per cent it projected in April. Unlike its peers TCS and Infosys, Wipro projected flat revenue from its IT services for October-December third quarter due to weak demand and uncertainty in technology spend. The government’s push towards digitisation for a digital economy and enhancing the ease of doing business through administrative overhaul and tax reforms, however, augured well for the industry. Looking forward, Chandrashekhar said 2017 would be the year of re-adoption for the industry, with technology disruptions reshaping enterprises and providers focusing on building technology-led platforms that can redefine services delivery. “Trends like consumerisation of IT, SMAC (social, mobile, analytics and cloud), changing lines of business and new under-penetrated markets will alter the future of the industry.” Industry hiring also took a beating, with the IT majors deferring recruitment of freshers from campuses, holding back appointments for laterals and postponing joining dates for new techies. The industry employee base reached 3.7 million, with an addition of 200,000 employees in 2015-16.

Apple To Cut iPhone Production By 10% In Q1 2017 New York: (IANS) Apple is set to reduce iPhone production by 10 per cent in the first quarter of 2017, a media report said. The news comes after Yahoo-owned research firm Flurry earlier this week revealed that the holiday season was a big hit for Apple’s iPhone and between December 19 to 25, Apple’s iPhone and iPad accounted for 44 per cent of all mobile activations — much higher than Samsung. “This is not the first time Apple has cut back on iPhone production as a similar event occurred

this year in the January - March quarter. That cut on production was around 30 per cent,” reported. Last year, Apple’s devices accounted for 49.1 per cent of all activations during the same period while Samsung last year accounted for 19.8 per cent of all activations. is also reportedly planning to manufacture iPhones in Bengaluru in association with Wistron, a Taiwanese OEM manufacturer for Apple and will start production by April 2017.

January 2017

......... NRI News ........


UChicago-India Collaboration To Focus On Capacity Building in Indian Telecom Atlanta, GA: The University of Chicago and the Telecom Sector Skill Council of India (TSSC) have signed an agreement to bring UChicago expertise and training to India’s fast-growing telecommunications workforce. India’s telecom sector has been undergoing an unprecedented digitalization boom in recent years. Thanks to rapid adoption of technologies like smart phones and digital payment systems there, India is now the second largest and fastest growing telecom market in the world. Under the memorandum of understanding, UChicago will help TSSC, a public-private partnership focused on capacity building in the Indian telecom sector, create training programs focused on improving data analytic and digital skills. As a knowledge partner for TSSC, UChicago will leverage its world-class strengths in evidence-based policy research and program evaluation to help create targeted educational opportunities for TSSC trainers. In turn, the trainers will then train students and professionals who belong to the vast TSSC network, within and outside of India. Currently TSSC has a strong reach in India, Taiwan, Australia and United Kingdom. “UChicago, led by the Harris School of Public Policy, is pleased to partner with such an im-

portant sector of the Indian market,” said Balaji Srinivasan, associate provost and senior advisor to the president at UChicago. “We look forward to bringing our strengths as a University to bear on TSSC’s training program, working closely with them to adopt a model of collaboration that builds upon the existing ecosystem in India, and by plugging in relevant global expertise.” The collaboration builds on UChicago’s current skill-building efforts in India led by the Tata Centre for Development at UChicago. The Centre, based at Harris Public Policy in the United States and the University of Chicago Trust in India, builds on a solid foundation of development-focused research and implementation efforts to deliver training and case studies directed at government officials, bureaucrats, and other decisionmakers within the development space. The MoU was signed on November 29, 2016 by Lt. Gen Dr. SP Kochhar, chief executive officer of TSSC, and Kerwin Charles, interim dean at Harris Public Policy, with Associate Provost Srinivasan as UChicago’s designee for this col-

laboration. A December 22 event with senior public leaders on “Building India 2030 with Emerging Technologies” will launch the agreement. ”Given the extraordinary penetration of smart phones in the society, there is a massive opportunity for efficient delivery of public services through mobiles,” said Lt. Gen Dr. SP Kochhar. “Combined with our government’s focus on training efforts such as Skill India, Digital India and Make in India, it puts us at a historic point to define the next decade for India and the developing world. To leverage this opportunity and tackle its accompanying challenges, emerging markets like ours will need to invest substantially in capacitating their human capital and infrastructure at global standards. Collaboration with the University of Chicago is a critical step towards achieving this goal.” The Indian telecom sector has emerged as one of the greatest economic success stories, registering a consistent overall growth rate of more than 35 percent over the past two decades. The sector employs close to 2.8 million people directly and almost another seven million indirectly,

making it one of the largest employment generating sectors in the sub-continent. In the next five years, the sector will employ more than 8.6 million people in India. Through a partnership with TSSC, UChicago has an unprecedented opportunity to impact this dynamic sector. ”The telecom industry in the US has an experience of over half a century, with cutting edge technology and systems. We have an opportunity to learn from their experience and apply the relevant components in India, while focusing equally on building our local capabilities and expertise” added Lt. Gen Dr Kochhar. Telecom Sector Skill Council (TSSC) is a not for profit public private partnership between the National Skill Development Council of India, Telecom Industry and Government of India, committed to develop a global workforce for the telecom industry, nationally & internationally. In a short span of 3 years, TSSC has enrolled and certified over 360,000 professionals in various segments of the telecom sector. With an exhaustive reach to all States in India through 500 Cities/Towns, TSSC operates through more than 140 Industry Partners, 570 Academia Partners, 507 Training Partners and 2100 Centers. Over a period of 10 years, TSSC aims to skill and certify 4.5 million professionals in 150 telecom roles, delivered through 24,000 trainers.


......... Features ........

January 2017

Mega Trends And Events To Look Out For In 2017 BY AMIT KAPOOR There has been much debate on how the world will be in 2017. Several trends are visible and some planned and unplanned events are likely to come up along the way that will shape the New Year and beyond. In the international sphere, four notable trends and events will have a strong bearing on how things evolve. The first of these is the Trump presidency and what it means for geopolitics and the American and Chinese economies in the wake of technological disruption and job losses. Donald Trump promises to be unpredictable and it will be interesting to see how his presidency shapes the world order. Already there are signs that he will have a greatly altered approach to the Middle East (evident from his statements on Israel and Iran). The US relationship with Russia is expected to alter significantly in the years to come. But most interesting will be the US relationship with China as Trump had promised in the run-up to the elections “to make America great again”. China is already seeing a replacement of manual manufacturing jobs with robots as the wage differential gets reduced between China and the West. The need and capability to reinvigorate American economy in the light of China’s manufacturing prowess will be another important feature of the Trump presidency.

Finally, the Federal Reserve, during the Trump presidency, is likely to see a tightening stance in 2017 which will have an impact on flows of portfolio investments away from emerging markets to the US. The second is Brexit and the idea of Europe. The referendum in 2016 saw the crumbling of the

idea of Europe as it is known today. How this shapes up will have considerable bearing on how other countries believe in the idea. France’s presidential election becomes important in this context, especially in terms of the rise of far right parties. Many countries and their leaders, right from the early 1950s, had invested significant social, political and economic capital to make Eu-

rope what it is today. Then came the idea of the monetary union in the 1990s. Disruption of the sort witnessed after the Brexit referendum shows how difficult it is to understand and gauge popular sentiment. It is also being seen as a movement backwards from globalization as migration and jobs become very important issues for the people. The third important trend to watch out for is the movement of oil prices and their impact on oil producers and consumers. In the past few years, oil has been trading at historic low levels and the price of a barrel at one point dropped to $30 (bouncing back to roughly $60 now). In 2016, towards the end, OPEC and the non-OPEC members signed two separate deals which seek to limit production and thus increase the price of oil. Finally, it will be how the world order copes with the rising terror threats in not just the Middle East but in other parts of the globe — both developing and developed. The recent attack in Istanbul which left almost 40 people dead (of whom two were from India) is a grim reminder of the threat that the world order faces from terrorists. Requisite mechanisms will have to be built for tackling such situations. Within India, there are significant events and trends that will shape 2017. The elections in Uttar Pradesh and Punjab are already the talk of the town. Already a lot is being witnessed in the run-up to the elections,

including the Samajwadi Party power tussle. The outcome of the election will impact India’s political economy for some time to come. The second important thing to look out for will be the Union budget in February. This will define how the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government moves from here onwards. Demonetisation is expected to dampen consumer demand and the budget is most likely to see measures to address rural demand. Already Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speech on New Year’s Eve mentioned some key measures that are expected to benefit the poor. The budget is expected to be one that tries to reinvigorate rural demand, in addition to the continuing investments in the infrastructure sector. The third important happening will be the shift in the timeline of the GST, most likely by a few months. Another thing unrelated to GST but related to the banking sector will be a cut in lending rates due to the additional cash within the banking system. Already SBI has cut lending rates by 0.9 percent. In the wake of demonetization the monetary policy will be again a thing to watch out for. (Amit Kapoor is Chair, Institute for Competitiveness, India & Editor of Thinkers. The views expressed are personal.)

Top 10 Fake News Forwards That We (Almost) Believed BY ALISON SALDANHA From currency to salt-very little escaped the reach of fake or fabricated news in 2016. Rumors spread from WhatsApp and other social media into the mainstream media. Institutions such as Unesco and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) had to step in and tell us what was true. Even Facebook and Google, two of the worlds biggest internet companies, sat up and took notice. Such news can have widespread reach: India is one of the biggest markets for several social media and communication companies-it has 160 million of WhatsApp’s one billion-plus monthly active users, 148 million Facebook users, and over 22 million Twitter accounts. Here are some of the most popular Indian fake news stories of 2016: 1. Unesco declares Modi best Prime Minister Unesco has been one of the primary alleged sources of fake news in India. In June 2016, fake news broke out on WhatsApp groups, and other social media, that the UN cultural agency had awarded Prime Minister Narendra Modi the title of best prime minister in the world. That rumor is still circulating on social media. 2. Unesco declares “Jana Gana Mana” best national anthem The fake news started in 2008 through email and then caught the UN agency’s attention. “We are aware of several blogs in India reporting this story, but can assure you that Unesco has made no such announcement concerning the anthem of India or any country,” an official told India Today in 2008.Circulation of the rumor peaked around India’s Independence Day in 2016.

3. Unesco declares new Rs 2,000 note best currency in the world Another fake Unesco certificate for India touched upon the notebandi crisis, as messages claimed the organisation had certified the new Rs 2,000 note as the “best currency in the world”. The message, shared widely on WhatsApp, claimed “Dr Saurabh Mukherjee, head of cultural awareness department of Unesco announced this to media”. The rumors caught the eye of the BBC, which reported that “thousands” of Indian WhatsApp users had “forwarded the message along with joyful emojis”. 4. New notes have a GPS chip to detect black money Another notebandi rumor proliferated when PM Modi announced the withdrawal of old Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 notes on November 8, 2016. In less than an hour, rumors circulating on WhatsApp of a nano geo-positioning system (GPS) tracking device embedded in the new Rs 2,000 notes gained traction. This chip, the messages said, would alert authorities if black money was hoarded . The RBI has clarified the new notes contain security features such as latent images, colored strip security threads, watermarks etc, but they do not have a chip installed, according to a Hindu report. 5. New notes have radioactive ink Earlier this month, rumors began circulating that the RBI was using radioactive ink to print new Rs 2,000 and Rs 500 notes. The new notes include a “radioactive isotope of phosphorous (P32), which has 15 protons and 17 neutrons”. The fake news claimed the income-tax department was using the isotope to trace large quantities of cash held at a particular spot.

6. WhatsApp profile pictures can be used by ISIS for terror activities A WhatsApp forward, supposedly sent by the Delhi police commissioner, requested “moms” and “sisters” to delete their WhatsApp profile pictures for security purposes. These pictures were supposedly vulnerable to misuse by the terror group Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), whose hackers had access to citizens’ details and could easily steal their virtual iden-

tity, according to the forwarded message. The message further claimed that WhatsApp’s CEO had requested users do this for 20-25 days, while their team worked on enhancing the messaging application’s security features. The message was signed off by an A.K. Mittal, who claimed to be Delhi’s police commissioner — blatantly wrong because the incumbent is A.K. Varma. 7. RBI declares the Rs 10 coin invalid Months before notebandi was announced, the message that the RBI had declared the Rs 10 coin invalid spread through WhatsApp, particularly to areas in Agra, Delhi and Meerut.This confusion led shopkeepers, kiosk-owners, auto-rickshaw drivers and vendors to refuse the coins, according to a Hindustan Times report from September 2016. 8. Jayalalithaa’s ‘secret daughter’ and heir lives in the US

Soon after the death of former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, fake news and photos of a secret daughter went viral on WhatsApp and social media. The message alleged that the woman in the photograph was Jayalalithaa’s daughter, who lived somewhere in the US in anonymity. As it turns out, the woman in the photograph was not connected to Jayalalithaa and lived in Australia, according to popular singer and TV show host Chinmayi Sripada, who took to Facebook to dispel the rumors. 9. Salt shortage in India WhatsApp messages of a salt shortage (despite a 7,517 km coastline) in November 2016 triggered panic buying at markets past midnight, and caused a four-fold price-rise in some parts of the country. The subsequent chaos to stock up on the essential commodity led to the death of a woman in Kanpur, while police batoncharged crowds and stopped mobs from looting grocery shops, according to an India Today report. The government issued a clarification denying any shortage of the commodity. 10. “Nehru Govt has stood like a Banyan Tree”: Mark Tully Fake news claiming former BBC India bureau chief Mark Tully called for support to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government, while describing India’s first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru’s government as standing “like a banyan tree, overshadowing the people and the institutions of India”, went viral on social media earlier this month. “Nothing grows under the banyan tree,” the message added. Tully rebutted the claims of the post in a Hindustan Times column.

......... Bollywood Pulse ........

January 2017


Bollywood Films To Watch Out For In 2017 BY SUBHASH K. JHA Mumbai: (IANS) There were not too many outstanding Bollywood films in 2016. The some that came were lapped up greedily. 2017 seems to have a richer, more prolific slew of celluloid yummies for cineastes. Here’s a look at the purported cream of the crop:

film “Guddu Rangeela” tanked badly, needs a hit. Releasing February 10.

tures the talented Taapsee Pannu in a full-on action role. ShivAm Nair directs it. Releasing on March 30.

* “Rangoon”: Kangana Ranaut, Shahid Kapoor and Saif Ali Khan directed by Vishal Bhardwaj in a love triangle, set during World War II . Sounds interesting! Releasing February 24.

* “Jagga Jasoos”: At last, Anurag Basu’s quirky film about a young detective’s search for his father. The film has Ranbir Kapoor as an animal lover. We should expect Ranbir to have more chemistry with the animals than Katrina Kaif. Releasing April 7. * “Baahubali: The Conclusion”: Arguably the most eagerly awaited sequel in the history of sequels, “Baahubali: The Conclusion” has a tremendous responsibility towards the expectant audience. Whether director S.S. Rajamouli lives up to the promise, will be evident on April 14.

* “OK Jaanu”: Shaad Ali, as we all know by now, is at his best while remaking his mentor Mani Ratnam’s films. Remember “Saathiya”? So let’s see what Shaad has done to Mani’s Tamil film “Ok Kadhal Kalmani”. In the teasers, Aditya Roy Kapoor and Shraddha Kapoor do not convey even half the ‘aashiqui’ of Dulquer Salman and Nitya Menon in the original. But let’s see. Releasing January 13. * “xXx: Return of Xander Cage”: So okay, this is a Hollwyood film. But it’s being released in a proper Hindi dubbed version. And it’s our Deepika Padukone’s international debut. We can’t wait to see how she has matched muscles and fists with Vin Diesel. Go for it girl, we are watching you. Releasing January 14. * “Kaabil”: Hrithik Roshan’s blind revenge act promises to set the screen ablaze. Sanjay Gupta promises to blend his own unique style of slick thrills with Rakesh Roshan’s emotional content. Promises to break records. Releasing January 25. * “Raees”: Shah Rukh Khan playing a rule-breaker, law-transgressor in prohibition-ridden Gujarat in the 1980s. Rahul Dholakia’s stylish drama of the damned will see SRK revamp his image completely. Sunny Leone’s “Laila oh laila” is already a talking point. Releasing on January 25. * “Jolly LLB 2”: Akshay Kumar was part of the stunning “Airlift” in January 2016. His first release for 2017 is a sure-shot winner. Akshay plays a wastrel lawyer whose life changes with an important case. Subhash Kapoor, whose last

* “Badrinath Ki Dulhania”: Karan Johar’s quirky wed-and-wild franchise brings together the saleable Alia Bhatt and Varun Dhawan. Foolproof rom-com. Releasing on March 10. * “Sarkar 3”: Few would dispute that “Sarkar” was Ram Gopal Varma’s only watchable film in recent times. Though Ramu has messed up with Bachchan in “Aag”, we shall give him the benefit of the ‘clout’. Releasing on March 17. * “Phillauri”: Anushka Sharma’s first production “NH10” was a whammy. “Phillauri” features Anushka with the “Udta Punjab” star Diljit Dosanjh and Suraj Sharma, the wonder boy from “Life Of Pi”. Debutant Anshai Lala helms this thriller set in rural Punjab. Releasing on March 24. * “Naam Shabana”: A sequel of sorts to the gripping Neeraj Pandey thriller “Baby”, “Naam Shabana” fea-

* “Noor”: Sunhil Sippy directs this movie adaptation of Saba Imtiaz’s novel “Karachi, I Love You”. Sonakshi Sinha, who proved a dud in the title role in “Akira”, promises to make up for lost time. Releasing on April 21. * “Half Girlfriend”: Chetan Bhagat’s silly stereotypical novel about a Bihari boy chasing down his beloved, pairs Arjun Kapoor with Shraddha Kapoor for the first time. How exciting. Releasing on May 19. * “Toilet - Ek Prem Katha”: Shot entirely in Mathura, Akshay Kumar’s satire on sanitation is yet another departure from the norm for Bollywood’s most daring superstar. Debutant director Shree Narayan Singh’s comedy film opens on June 2. * “Tubelight”: Salman Khan’s Eid release directed by Kabir Khan. Need we say anything more? Releasing June 23.

* “Chef”: “Airlift” director Raja Krishna Menon’s adaptation of Jon Feavreu’s culinary hit should, must, do wonders for Saif Ali Khan’s career. Releasing on July 14. * “Bareilly Ki Barfi”: Ashwini Iyer Tiwari, who gave us the heartwarming “Nil Battey Sannata”, returns with this Ayushmann Khurrana-Kriti Sanon rom-com set in a small town in Uttar Pradesh. Releasing on July 14. * “Mubarakan”: Anees Bazmee brings together uncle Anil Kapoor and nephew Arjun Kapoor in a wacky comedy of errors. Releasing on July 28. * “The Ring” (working title): Imtiaz Ali gets together with Shah Rukh Khan and Anushka Sharma for the first time. Intriguing. Releases August 11. * “Crack”: Akshay Kumar teams up with his “Special 26” and “Baby” director Neeraj Pandey to own the Independence Day weekend. Releasing August 11. * “Simran”: Hansal Mehta teams up with Kangana Ranaut for a comedy set in the US. Releasing September 15. * “Judwaa 2”: Varun Dhawan takes over the franchise from Salman Khan. Would he be as entertaining in a double role as the original? We’ll know on September 29. * “Padmavati”: Sanjay Leela Bhansali helms the most expensive Indian film ever produced by Viacom18. Deepika Padukone plays the title role in this lavish costume drama. Ranveer Singh and Shahid Kapoor are the two men in her life. Wow! Releasing November 17. * “Tiger Zinda Hai”: Since Aamir Khan has no Christmas release in 2017, his friend Salman takes over the slot with this sequel to “Ek Tha Tiger”, directed by “Sultan” director Ali Abbas Zafar. Releasing December 24.

Hope More Families Support Girls To Enter Sports: Phogat Sisters Of ‘Dangal’ Fame New Delhi: (IANS) They faced opposition from the community when they started wrestling and yet went on to win gold medals for the country. Now, with “Dangal” bringing alive their journey to success, Geeta and Babita Phogat hope that such movies will motivate many Indians to push their daughters into sports. They feel their life has changed a little after the release of the Nitesh Tiwari directorial, which stars Aamir Khan as their father, former national level wrestler Mahavir Singh Phogat of Balali village in Haryana’s Bhiwani district. “Life has definitely changed now. I can now see sports in India getting the acknowledgment it deserves. People recognise us and it’s a completely different feeling,” Geeta told IANS at a recent meetand-greet with fans at the DLF Promenade here. Babita, too, is overjoyed about the critical and commercial success of “Dangal” and hopes it will motivate more parents to urge their children to pursue sports as a career.

“It’s nice to see that your family and your struggle can now be seen by the world through this film. The biggest achievement is that people will know about our struggles and more families will support girls in their houses to participate in sports,” Babita told IANS. Geeta, 28, won India’s first-ever gold in

women’s wrestling (55 kg freestyle category) at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi. She and Babita, 27, later claimed a bronze medal each in the Women’s World Wrestling Championship in Canada in 2012. Babita then won a gold medal in the women’s 55 kg freestyle category at the 2014 Commonwealth Games. Watching “Dangal” made the family emotional, but happy too. “My family was extremely happy when they got to know that a film will be made on our life’s journey,” Geeta said. She added: “Wrestling was my father’s passion. I never wished to become a wrestler. At the age of 12, my father initiated me into this sport and gradually, I liked it. Then, it got converted into a passion.” The “Dangal” narrative spans from how Mahavir decides to make wrestlers out of his daughters, and how he puts them through tough training

to make his wish come true. However, when they step out in the professional arena — the National Sports Academy — the coach is shown as insecure about how dependant Geeta is on her father and his strategies to win. The film shows that Mahavir did not watch Geeta’s Commonwealth Games match live because of her coach — did that happen in real life too or was that fictional? She said: “My father didn’t watch any of my initial matches.” Geeta feels the Indian government is now promoting sports better and feels it could be partly due to the many movies being made on sports personalities. “I feel with movies promoting sports, it’s working for the benefit of sportspersons and athletes. The government is also working in the best way to promote sports. We hope that people now will get equal and fair treatment in sports and our story inspires people about it,” Geeta concluded.

........Features ........



Things That Prove The World Has Gone Officially Insane

INTERNSHIP FOR STUDENTS NRI Pulse is offering writing internships for high school/college students. Please email for more details. To advertise in our Classifieds section, please call 404-235-4998 or email Only $15 for the first 20 words and 50 cents per additional word.

EVENTS Sri Mahalakshmi JANUARY 13-15 Temple of Atlanta Makara Sankranthi Celebrations When: January 13, 14, 15 Where: 1637 Peachtree Parkway, Cumming, GA 30041, USA Contact: 4046427452, 4702537571,, Website: http:// Chinmaya Mission of JANUARY Atlanta When: Every Sun starting 1st January 2017 Bhagvatam 9.30 AM | Vivekchudamani 10.30 Bhagvat Gita 11.15 - 12.00 noon Where: Chinmaya Niketan: 5511 Williams Rd. Norcross GA 30093 Contact: Chaplain: Manhar Valand, V.P., 770626-8848; Acharya Dr. G. V. Raghu 478-2136103; January 22nd to 27th: Jnana Yagna, Swami Bodhatmanandaji

Indian Republic Day JANUARY 28 celebrations and award night hosted by Indo-American Press Club Chief Guest: Consul General Nagesh Singh, Guest of Honor Charlotte Nash, Chairman, Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners When: Jan 28 at 6.30 pm Where: Ashiana Banquet Hall, Global Mall Sradhanjali to Bala JANUARY 29 Murali Public event hosted by Satyanarayana Temple Join many renowned singers and musicians from Atlanta to pay tributes to one of the legends of Carnatic Music Sri Mangalampalli Bala Murali Krishna garu and listen to these musicians perform to his amazing creations of over decades. When: Sunday, January 29 1 PM - 6 PM Where: Sri Satyanarayana Swamy Temple, 225 Curie Dr, Ste 300, Alpharetta, Georgia 30005 Contact: 470-210-4492

Simple Tips To Beat The Holiday Blues Many people who are returning to their daily routines after taking time off to celebrate Christmas and New Years, find it a struggle to adapt back into their everyday lives. But one can beat the holiday blues by taking care of a few simple steps like settling back to home quickly but to work slowly. * Settle back home quick: Unpack as soon as you get back, set your watch back to the right time, and arrange a grocery delivery for when you return. The more comfortable and organized you feel once you’re back home, the easier the transition back will be. * Settle back to work slowly: Avoid overwhelming yourself with too much work as soon as you get back. Instead ease yourself in making reasonable, do-able to do lists for the first few days till you are able to catch up with everything. * Go towards the light: One of the reasons that travel is the key to happiness is because we spend more time in natural daylight rather than confined indoors all day long so even though you may not be able to stroll down to the beach, at least try and go out for a short walk once a day. * Make sure you have stuff to look forward to: Having something scheduled in your diary that you’re looking forward to is a great way to get through the January Blues. A reservation at a favorite restaurant,

North Korea’s government banned sarcastic your local pusher. Both make you feel better, comments against it (they actually did, this is not a but the cheaper one comes with a trip around joke); so I sent them an email: “Great idea, you bunch Jupiter on a pink space elephant. of geniuses.” They’re sure to thank me. More backwards logic came from a droughtThe world’s gone mad. ridden part of the US. The A reader sent me a news Angeles Department THE FUNNY SIDE Los story about police checking of Water and Power banned so-called “sacks of rice” which people from using sprinklers on drivers were delivering across a their lawns — and then were exborder and discovering that the posed using sprinklers to water bundles were really — (creepy their own grass. Officials pointed music) — dead bodies. No, wait. I out that their lawn was not grass, just read the item again. What it but plastic turf, which benefited actually says is that the driver told from regular cleaning. police he was moving dead bodies A colleague who covers but shocked officers discovered fashion said that her world had that the bundles were really bags always been mad, but the insanof rice. This took place recently in ity level had risen alarmingly. Her Nigeria, where tax is payable on evidence: Top fashion company imported foods but not on Golden Goose just launched corpses. “Nothing to see here, ofcheap fabric shoes that look old, ficer, just dead people.” “You sure shabby, broken and held together it’s not grocery items?” by duct tape. “Distressed SuperIt reminded me of a time a star Sneakers” look exactly like few years ago when a friend was at the security gate the ancient things you find in the bottom of your at Phnom Penh airport. He put his bag through the x- teenagers’ cupboard — but are hot fashion items ray machine, and the guy next to him put his AK-47 costing $585 a pair. Why can’t buyers just look in machine gun through the machine. “What were the the bottoms of their own teenagers’ cupboards guards looking for inside the machine gun?” he pon- and get the exact same thing with the added realdered. “Men’s cosmetics?” ism of that stinky feet smell? Humanity is now officially insane. More Okay, I just noticed that my shoes are ancient, proof: a top drug watchdog in the United States falling apart, and have a hole in the left sole. If you’ll recently revealed that after Wall Street took over excuse me, I need to nip over to New York to score a pharmaceutical firms, ordinary prescription pain big sale. Fashionistas gonna love them. pills cost six times as much as illegal drugs from - Nury Vittachi

a quick weekend getaway, plans to see a movie you’ve been waiting for, or a day off from work where you get to explore the city are all wonderful ways of giving yourself a sense of perspective when you’re feeling down. * Stay connected: While hiding away and hibernating until spring may seem appealing, it’s actually really important that you make a point of meeting up with family and friends. This will remind you of the things you love here at home and will help you begin to enjoy your day-to-day life and routine again. * Capture and recall the memories: Keep the memories made over the Christmas season alive by telling the stories and going through your photos and maybe even framing a couple. * Do something new: Make a New Year’s resolution to try something new in 2017. Take up a new hobby, learn a new language or join a class that you have been meaning to for a while things like this don’t take much investment financially but still give you that great sensation of doing something for the first time! * Plan your next holiday: One of the best ways to get over the Post Holiday Blues is to plan another trip - even one in the distant future.

January 2017

SuDoku Challenge Rules: 1.The 3 x 3 sub grids are called regions 2.Numbers already filled in the grid are called givens 3.The goal of the player is to fill the blank grids of · Every row · Every column and · Every 3 x 3 box · With the numbers 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9 However: All rows and columns and regions (3 x 3) should contain numbers 1 to 9 without being repeated.

1 6 5 9 4 2 3 8 7

2 8 9 1 7 3 4 5 6

5 3 4 6 9 7 2 1 8

7 9 1 2 8 4 6 3 5

6 2 8 3 5 1 9 7 4

8 1 6 7 2 9 5 4 3

3 4 7 5 1 6 8 2 9

9 5 2 4 6 8 7 6 1



9 1 8


4 8



5 2


8 2 1 9

SuDoku Solutions 4 7 3 8 6 5 1 9 2


7 4





6 3




NRI Pulse Online Magazine The Complete Portal for NRIs News, Views, Blogs, Features, Perspectives, Debates, Community Profiles, Immigration, Health, Business, Youth, Fashion, Entertainment, Bollywood, Cookery, Free Classifieds and more...

..... Health Pulse .....

January 2017


Seven Day Detox Diet For The New Year So you indulged in calorie rich food during the holidays. It’s time to follow a detox diet to help clean your body after the party season. Harpreet Kaur, Nutritional Coach, FITSO - Your Fitness Coach, suggests how:

monds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, melon seeds, chia seeds and flax seeds. With green tea. Dinner: Vegetable/chicken stew.

Day one: Early morning: Half lemon in lukewarm water. Breakfast: Detox vegetable juice - one carrot, one beetroot, half apple, a piece of ginger and a dash of lemon juice. Mid-morning: Choose fruits like guava, pear, apple, orange, strawberry, peach, plums and apricots. Lunch: Salad bowl - a variety of lightly steamed or raw seasonal vegetables preferably organic. Evening snacks: Handful mix of nuts and seeds like walnuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and melon seeds with green tea. Dinner: Vegetable clear soup/stew with grilled vegetables/chicken.

Day two: Early morning: Half lemon in lukewarm water. Breakfast: Detox smoothie - Half cup of strawberry, raspberry, blueberry and spinach. Mid-morning: Choose fruits like guava, pear, apple, orange, strawberries, peach, plums and apricots. Lunch: Lentil and coriander soup. Evening Snacks: Handful mix of mix of nuts and seeds like walnuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, melon seeds, chia seeds and flax seeds with green tea. Dinner: Broccoli and paneer salad.

Day three: Early morning: Amla juice (two tablespoon in a glass of water) Breakfast: Detox yogurt bowl with fruits and dry fruits. Mid-morning: Choose any two fruits like guava, pear, apple, orange, strawberries, peach, plums and apricots. Lunch: Quinoa with seasonal choice of vegetables including spinach and unsweetened lemon juice. Evening snacks: Handful mix of nuts and seeds like walnuts, al-

Day four: Early morning: Half lemon in lukewarm water/amla juice. Breakfast: Detox protein smoothie greens (spinach/ kale), four almonds, four dates. Mid-morning: Choose any two fruits like guava, pear, apple, orange, strawberries, peach, plums and apricots. Lunch: Boiled vegetables in vegetable stew. Evening snacks: Handful mix of mix of nuts and seeds like walnuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, melon seeds, chia seeds and flax seeds with green tea. Dinner: Raw vegetable and fruits salad like carrot, papaya, capsicum, tomatoes with a dash of lemon and half teaspoon virgin olive oil.

Day five: Early morning: Half lemon in lukewarm water Breakfast: Detox wheatgrass juice with one teaspoon chia seeds. Mid-morning: Choose any two fruits like guava, pear, apple, orange, strawberries, peach, plums and apricots. Lunch: Half cup of organic brown rice with steamed vegetables and fresh herbs. Evening snacks: Handful mix of mix of nuts and seeds like walnuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, melon seeds, chia seeds and flax seeds with green tea. Dinner: Bowl of mixed green salad like lettuce, spinach, cabbage with tomatoes, bell peppers, two tablespoon grated paneer/boiled egg white. Sprinkle with sunflower seeds. Toss with virgin olive oil and lemon.

How Much Sleep Does One Need? BY DR. PANCHAJANYA PAUL Sleep, along with nutrition and exercise, constitute the three pillars of good health. We spend about a third of our life in sleep. Our requirement varies based on our age, health and work requirement. The American culture values hard work, productivity and efficiency. According to sleep surveys, about one third of the US population may be suffering from sleep problems. A recent study found that US workers lose 11.3 days of work due to sleep problems. That averages out to 2280 dollars lost per person per year. In total, untreated sleep problems may cost the US economy 63 billion dollars annually. Our sleep-needs change as we grow older. Newborns and children require the most sleep, teenagers also require more sleep than adults, and as we reach adulthood our sleep needs stabilize. The National Sleep Foundation has the following recommendations: These are the guidelines for healthy individuals. A variation from these hours may be unhealthy and suggest a sleep-disorder or a medical illness. Sleep-hours are different from bed-hours because we do not fall asleep as soon as we lie down. There is a time lag between the time we lie down and fall asleep. This is known as sleep latency and it varies from person to person. Also we do not

get out of bed as soon as wake up. We often spend a few moments in bed before getting up. For many, the time in bed before and after sleep is time for contemplation, creativity and introspection. Many people come up with brilliant ideas while in bed. Also, the time in bed is for relaxation, discussion, making love, etc… Thus, one should add an extra one to two hours of bed-time depending on one’s routine. Sleep requirements increase when we are under stress. It increases if we are learning some new skills as sleep boosts memory and learning. Sleep need also go up when we are sick or are recovering from illness. Sleep hours go up for pregnant and lactating women. Those in shift work or night work, or those with irregular sleep schedule, will require more hours to compensate for the disrupted sleep. In summary, one should try to sleep adequately. Use the table as guidance. Poor sleep quality or quantity can lead to acute and chronic health problems, afflicting the mind and the body. Take your sleep seriously for a healthy living. Dr. Panchajanya Paul, MD, ABIHM, ABPN, is an American Board certified child, adolescent and adult psychiatrist. He holds adjunct faculty position at Emory University School of Medicine; University of Georgia & Georgia Regents University, and University of Central Florida School of Medicine.

Day six: Early morning: Amla juice Breakfast: Detox yogurt with dry fruits like apricot, peaches, prunes, flaxseeds and almond flakes. Mid-morning: Choose any two fruits like guava, pear, apple, orange, strawberries, peach, plums and apricots. Lunch: Choice of steamed vegetables with fresh herbs and half cup of quinoa. Evening snacks: Handful mix of mix of nuts and seeds like walnuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, melon seeds, chia seeds and flax seeds with green tea. Dinner: Clear fish soup/lentil soup.

Day seven: Early morning: Half lemon in lukewarm water. Breakfast: Detox banana, coconut and dates smoothie Mid-morning: Choose any two fruits like guava, pear, apple, orange, strawberries, peach, plums and apricots. Lunch: Omelette with vegetables/tofu salad. Evening snacks: Handful mix of mix of nuts and seeds like walnuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, melon seeds, chia seeds and flax seeds with green tea. Dinner: Spinach soup.




........ What’s Cooking? ........



Lavanga Triangles

Chimmili (Sesame seed balls)

3 Cups all purpose flour 3 Tablespoons hot Crisco or oil 1Cup warm water 1 Pinch of salt 1D 2 Cup all purpose flour for dust-

1 Cup white sesame (skinless) seeds 1D 2 Cup brown sugar 2 Tablespoons maple or any pancake syrup

ing Cloves (lavangas) 2 Cups of oil Sugar syrup 1 1D 2 Cup sugar 1 Cup water 1D 2 Teaspoon crushed cardamom seeds (elaichi) Slivered almonds and pistachios (optional) In a medium mixing bowl, mix dough ingredients together and knead for two minutes. Keep it covered for a couple of hours. In a three- quart saucepan, mix sugar and water. Boil for three minutes. Reduce heat; simmer for four minutes and remove from heat. Mix cardamom powder. Keep it aside. Make one-inch diameter balls and dust them with flour. Roll each ball with a rolling pin to four-

inch diameter circles. Fold each circle into half circle and fold it again to make it a triangle. Stick a clove in the middle, so that the shape will remain in tact when fried. Repeat with remaining dough. In a small frying pan, heat oil and fry three or four triangles at a time on low heat until light brown. Transfer these to sugar syrup and remove immediately with a separate slotted spoon to a tray. Sprinkle almonds and pistachios if using. Variation: Make circles same as above. Make four or five slits in the middle and pinch the ends together. These look very nice like jack fruit segments.

Roast the sesame seeds in dry pan on low heat until light brown. Transfer them to a bowl and let them cool completely. Blend the seeds in a blender or pulse for thirty seconds on high speed, mixing once. Add brown sugar and blend or pulse for another thirty seconds. It is O.K if you have a few seeds left. Re-

January 2017 move the powder from the blender into a bowl and mix the syrup and powder. Make 12 to 14 lime size balls. Note: This is a very quick sweet to make with only three ingredients. You can add a few finely chopped pistachio nuts. If you don’t have any syrup, add 2 tablespoons more brown sugar. Add few drops of milk or water to make balls.

........ InVogue ....... BY RANI SHARMA Raneez Fine Boutique

The Unconventional Winter Look Be unconventional this winter. Try a look that is out of the ordinary. Team your sari or any other Indian dress with a floor length jacket. Instead of the usual blouse, try wearing a waist length jacket that goes well with the sari, anarkali or lehenga. Well, I am not talking about a denim jacket here, obviously, but a velvet or silk jacket in contrast or similar color will keep you looking stylish and warm. It could be a Nehru jacket or any style you fancy. A black formal blazer with some detailing would work, too. If you don’t want to tailor a jacket just for pairing with Indian wear, then by all means pin a lovely broach to your western blazer to add that splash of glam. It will tie the whole outfit together. Instead of the blouse, you can opt for a fitted sweater in a solid color that can be tucked inside your sari petticoat. While driving away the cold, it will make you look fabulous. Try a polo neck sweater in black for example and accessorize with chunky jewelry. You can do the same with a lehenga and swap the blouse for a fitted sweater or a cardigan. Leave the top few and bottom few buttons of the cardigan open, to show a bit of midriff. When wearing a sari, try to just throw the unbuttoned cardigan over your shoulder like a cape. So classy. If you love wearing dhoti pants or patiala suits, skip the top and try it with a chunky or snug sweater. Casual yet stylish and great for winters!

For more info, call me at 404-633-4966 or visit Raneez Fine Boutique in Decatur.

November 2016


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