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Upcoming Punjabi film Manje Bistre 2 is most definitely a much anticipated one. Audiences across the globe are showering their precious love on all the film’s artists, the songs, the film’s trailer, and anything and everything which is being released by the makers of this film. Gippy Grewal and Simi Chahal, paired opposite each other for the first time. Manje Bistre 2 is going to hit the silver screens on April 12, 2019 a day before Vaisakhi








100 YEARS ON STILL NO APOLOGY The Mayor of the West Midlands, Andy Street, has called on the Government to apologise on the centenary of the Jallianwala Bagh, or Amritsar, massacre.

The Jallianwala Bagh massacre, also known as the Amritsar massacre, took place on 13 April 1919 on the day of the Punjabi festival ‘Vaisakhi’


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100th Anniversary of Jallianwala Bagh Massacre The Jallianwala Bagh massacre, also known as the Amritsar massacre, took place on 13 April 1919 on the day of the Punjabi festival ‘Vaisakhi’.

The troops of the British Indian Army under the command of Colonel Reginald Dyer fired rifles into a crowd of Indians, who had gathered in Jallianwala Bagh, Amritsar, Punjab. continued on page 2

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'Should Britain Apologise for Jallianwala Bagh?' WWW.THEASIANTODAY.COM

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Many civilians had assembled for a peaceful protest to condemn the arrest and deportation of two national leaders, Satya Pal and Saifuddin Kitchlew. There was also gatherings of people who were out celebrating the Vasiakhi festival and this included children and women. During the festival there were many Hindus and Muslims who also came to celebrate. Without sending any warning or without asking the gathered people to

disperse, General Dyer ordered the soldiers to open fire. He even asked the soldiers to shoot directly at those large gatherings. As the firing started, the crowd panicked and tried to escape from wherever possible. This led to stampede, killing several people. There was a well in Jallianwala Bagh and people jumped into it in order to escape bullets and ended up dying. MP’s across the UK have put forward to the House of Commons to formally


apologise in Parliament and commemorate the Jallianwala Bagh massacre with a memorial day. Calls for an apology for what is widely regarded as one of the most barbaric attacks on Indians by the British colonial administration come every few years. Each time a head of government or the queen visits, the question of whether they will or will not apologise gets aired. Jallianwala Bagh is a stone throw away from the Golden Temple in Amritsar and is now a national monument.

Mayor of the West Midlands calls on Government to apologise for Amritsar massacre also continued from front page


he Mayor of the West Midlands, Andy Street, has today (9th April 2019) called on the Government to apologise on the centenary of the Jallianwala Bagh, or Amritsar, massacre. The Mayor visited the site of the incident in October last year following a trade visit with the Midlands Engine to Maharashtra. MPs will discuss the massacre at a Westminster Hall debate in Parliament on Tuesday. The Mayor is asking the Government to issue a public apology in response to the debate. Mayor Street said: “This week, 100 years ago, a terrible incident took place in Amritsar. “Many people lost their lives. Families and communities were shattered by the 1650 bullets fired by British troops on innocent civilians. “When I went to

Amritsar in October it was even clearer to me that this incident is a stain on our history, but it was also clear that it should not be forgotten. “Let us remember this day and the people - 379 Sikhs, Muslims and Hindus who lost their lives. Sir Winston Churchill rightly called it ‘a monstrous event' and David Cameron described it as a ‘deeply shameful event in British history’. “It is now time for a formal apology by the British Government as a mark of respect, so that our progressive relationship with India is no longer dampened by this aspect of our past. “I know that for many people in the West Midlands of Punjabi heritage a formal apology would be a sign of good faith and would enable us to build even stronger relationships between our two countries.”

Andy Street at Jallianwala Bagh




Birmingham Museums is celebrating as visitor figures released today by the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions (ALVA) reveal that over 831,500 people visited Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery (BMAG) last year, after a bumper year of exhibitions, events and displays. Last year’s figures are an increase of 38% on 2017 and showcase the popularity of hit exhibitions such as Dippy on Tour. Over a quarter of a million people flocked to Birmingham to see the Natural History Museum’s iconic exhibit, making Dippy on Tour the most popular temporary exhibition ever at BMAG. 2018 was also a major year for the Staffordshire Hoard as BMAG revealed a reconstruction of a highstatus helmet contained within the Anglo-Saxon treasure. On display from November, the addition to

the permanent Staffordshire Hoard gallery continues to prove popular with visitors. These major moments, along with innovative exhibitions such as The Past is Now, Women Power Protest and a new display of paintings and watercolours by celebrated Birminghamborn landscape artist David Cox, helped to make it the busiest year at BMAG since 2015, and the third busiest in the last 40 years. 2019 has also got off to exciting start with a display of Leonardo da Vinci drawings from the Royal Collection, which has already attracted 50,000 since the 12 drawings went on display on 1 February. Visitors to BMAG have also been wowed by colourful and creepy exhibition Too Cute!, curated by artist and filmmaker Rachel Maclean as part of the Arts Council Collection National Partners Programme.

Dr Ellen McAdam, Director of Birmingham Museums, said: “Thank you to everyone who visited our sites in 2018 and made it such a successful year for Birmingham Museums Trust. Dippy proved a hit with visitors of all ages, especially small ones. Our programme of excellent events and exhibitions across the year continues into 2019. “Visitors can see the Leonardo da Vinci drawings until 6 May and this summer we are celebrating 50 years of the famous Birmingham band, Black Sabbath, with the exhibition Home of Metal. Our visitor offer for the rest of 2019 includes late night tours and a silent disco, building on last years’ success.” Bernard Donoghue, Director, ALVA, said: "The huge increase in visitors to Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery - one of the largest increases in the whole

of the UK - is wonderful proof of the growing success and ambition of Birmingham Museums Trust. Dippy, the diplodocus from London's National History Museum, may have been the star draw in 2018, but visitors from Birmingham, the West Midlands and from further afield really responded to the eye-catching, fun, provocative series of exhibitions at the Museum and Art Gallery and across the Trust's other sites. This is a great success story for Birmingham." Visitor numbers at Birmingham Museums’ oldest museum and most popular historic property, Aston Hall, also grew. The magnificent Grade I listed Jacobean mansion recorded an increase of 27% in visitors thanks to an innovative programme of events and exhibitions in its 400th anniversary year.

A new Metro extension through the Black Country will help to double the region's economic output and create nearly 35,000 jobs, according to an independent study. West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) are set to sign off on the £449m Brierley Hill to Wednesbury extension on Monday, with the line due to open in 2023. A new report has hailed the economic benefits of the route, claiming: "The extension of the Metro through Wednesbury to Brierley Hill provides a game-changing opportunity for the economic, social and environmental regeneration of the area." It came as it emerged that the WMCA could take out

loans of up to £139.1 to cover the line's spiralling costs, which were set at more than £100m lower last year. Bosses are confident the extra cost will be covered by profits from the Metro, which the authority has operated since last June. The extension runs through Dudley town centre and is set to have stops at attractions including Dudley Zoo and the Black Country Living Museum. The study, by independent consultants, Lichfield, examined the potential economic benefits of building the extension as opposed to not having it. It said it could unlock a 250 per cent increase in the annual delivery of new homes, up from 570 a year to

2,000, and could see jobs go up by nearly 30 per cent over the next 25 years, from 26,070 to 34,560. The region's economic output is predicted to almost double over the same period to £28.6bn, while business rates and council tax receipts could rise by 160 per cent and 46 per cent, according to the study. The report also says that public transport times will be slashed by 50 per cent, "significantly" improving the job prospects of people in Dudley and Sandwell. It adds: "The location of Metro stations has the potential to facilitate growth and regeneration, including being the focus of higher density development, as well as enhancing connectivity

with other public transport modes." The report to the combined authority's investment board shows £310m of funding is already in place for the line, including £207m from the

The Mayor of the West Midlands, Andy Street, brought together Hindu leaders from the West Midlands region at the Shri Venkateswara (Balaji) Temple, the largest temple in Europe, on 21 March to celebrate the festival of Holi. Given the shocking Mosque attacks in Birmingham the evening before, the Mayor’s speech focussed on the Puranic story of Holi and it’s message of good over evil. He said: “The ancient story of Holi about Prahalad and Holika shows that goodness will always prevail over evil. It is something we must think about in the West Midlands today in the face of intolerance and threats on the Muslim faith. When I went to visit the Muslim community earlier in the day the thing they were most comforted by was the response from other faiths, and of course the Hindu faith was one of the first to condemn the attacks and provide comfort in this time of need. “The Hindu community have made a home in the West


Midlands and have not only contributed to business and the economy but also to the peaceful and tolerant society we have here in the West Midlands. “Holi is a celebration of different colours and how they exist beautifully together. The West Midlands is made up of people of so many different ethnicities, languages, heritages and faiths and that is our beauty; it is something to be celebrated.” The event was sponsored by Enzen UK, a knowledgebased Energy and Utility enterprise serving the Gas, Power and Water sectors. An Indian company, it has made a successful home in Solihull, UK, where it serves clients throughout the UK. Manish Jamthe, UK CEO of Enzen UK showed his appreciation to the Mayor for bringing the community together and for promoting the message of community spirit in the West Midlands.

35,000 Jobs could be created with the Black Country Metro Extension

Government and £103m from the WMCA. However, it says "prudential borrowing" of £139.1 could be required to complete the scheme. The project was initially budgeted at £343m, but

bosses say that figure omitted £59m of "optimism bias", after detailed investigation works along the route revealed that significantly more remedial work was necessary than originally thought.

Mums share how they are reducing their children’s sugar intake 4

APRIL 2019


he recent Change4Life campaign highlighted that children in England are consuming too much sugar – an extra 2,800 sugar cubes per year. That’s equivalent to 312 cans of sugary cola, 469 higher-sugar yoghurts or 562 chocolate bars! Too much sugar is bad for children’s health and has contributed to increased obesity levels. It can also lead to the build-up of harmful fat on the inside that we can't see. This fat can cause weight gain and serious diseases like type 2 diabetes, which people are getting younger than ever before, heart disease and some cancers. Too much sugar can also cause painful tooth decay; shockingly every 10 minutes, a child (in England) has a rotten tooth removed in hospital. We talked to three mums with children aged 4-11 who have become more aware of their children’s sugar intake and have taken action to reduce it by making simple everyday swaps and giving them healthier versions of the foods and drinks, they enjoy. They also told us about the challenges they face when making these changes, especially when it comes to cultural foods and family members such as grandparents.


also downloaded the Change4Life Food Scanner app, which my kids love to use to see the ‘traffic light’ labels brought to life.”

sweet treats, which contains a lot of sugar, I encourage my children to only have them occasionally - usually at special occasions. I’ll also make sure they have

may consider an overweight child as being healthy. Rupal recognises this challenge “Grandparents can be a big influence and often default to the

and sugar to encourage them to start making healthier choices for their family. “Many South Asians know all too well about diabetes and heart disease as the prevalence of these diseases are high in our community. More understanding of the link between these diseases and sugar would go a long way. Also they need to see how much sugar is in everyday foods and drinks. If grandparents understood the risk associated with too much sugar in our children’s diet they could help us to make these swaps.” Ketul shares “At the beginning my in-laws couldn’t understand my approach – but when I tell them how much sugar is in everyday foods and drinks, they are surprised. Also, when they see that my kids eat a variety of foods without any fuss and are not eating a lot of sweets or sugary foods, they proudly tell others to follow my example.”

Getting the kids involved

Rupal firmly believes that involving her children in food decisions can help encourage good long-term habits. “As a family, we plan our meals together, so my kids input into what they are eating. Not only does this help healthier meal preparation but it also helps my kids understand how to make the right choices from a young age.” Her advice is “Don’t do it to your children – do it with them. Make it your family project to reduce your sugar intake.” Ketul also believes it’s important to make children comfortable in the kitchen and involve them in making their meals “We spend time cooking and baking together as opposed to buying desserts. It brings us together as a family and the kids really enjoy it.”

Change4Life is here to help you and your family cut back on sugar. Download the Change4Life Food Scanner app to see the sugar content of everyday popular items or search Change4Life for healthier swap ideas.

Reducing sugar intake

Ketul Nandini, mum of two said “My kids mainly drink water and low fat milk. Occasionally I give them a juice drink, but I know it can be high in sugar so I opt for a no added sugar one which is a better alternative.” Mum of two, Rupal Kantaria shares “I’m careful with breakfast cereals as I know a bowl of higher-sugar cereal can have around 3 cubes of sugar per serving – so I give my kids healthy alternatives such as wheat biscuit cereal, porridge or eggs.” Fellow mum, Raakhi Hurry believes that you have to be proactive in cutting back on sugar to help children eat well. She adds “Making just one or two simple swaps can really make a difference. When shopping, I check the pack labelling for its sugar content. We’ve


Ketul Nandini

Dealing with sugar in cultural foods

Ketul shares “My children love eating Indian food. Sugar is commonly used in some Gujarati dishes like sweet kadhi or daal, but when we prepare these dishes we don’t add any sugar. My kids still enjoy the flavours just as much without it.” Rupal adds “When it comes to mithai and other

small portions. My kids understand that too much sugar can cause painful tooth decay, which helps.”

The influence of family members

Grandparents can play a significant role in their grandchildren’s diet, especially for children living in multigenerational households. This can be challenging for some parents, especially when grandparents’ attitudes may differ - for example, some

mindset which they have grown up with, which very much focuses on ‘the more chapattis eaten the better!” Raakhi thinks it’s important for grandparents to understand the link between serious diseases like diabetes, heart disease

Rupal Kantaria

APRIL 2019


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Help your family cut back on sugar by swapping to lower sugar products. To find out how:


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APRIL 2019


PARKING IN SPARKHILL IS TURNING INTO A ‘WHEELIE BIG’ ISSUE Ivor Road in Sparkhill, East Birmingham is a typical inner-city street, lined with terraced homes and bumper-to-bumper cars. But residents are blocking the roadside with sandbags, now bins are being used keep kerbs clear. Although at a glance you’ll see there’s a WHEELIE big problem. Because parking is so tight that some residents are using their council bins as makeshift cones to ensure they grab a parking space. One woman said she had no option but to put a bin out because even a dropped kerb did not prevent drivers from parking outside her home. She said: “It’s a bit naughty but what can we do? Every house has three or four cars and where are they going to park them? “It’s so hard. Whenever people come, they park and do not move their cars for three or four hours. “My husband comes back late from work about

10.30pm and we have this low kerb. “I’ve been putting the wheelie bin for a few weeks and it does work - it puts people off parking here. I only put it when my husband goes to work.” The problem mirrors the issue in Shakespeare Street, Sparkhill, where a builder used sandbags to block the road, in a bid to sustain access for deliveries to his business. Saghir Hussain said he had been forced into the drastic action to protect his company, Rashid Brothers Builders. He said his pleas for double yellow lines to solve the problem had been denied by Birmingham City Council, which he claimed asked him to pay up to £15,000. And he said he had lost £500,000-a-year contracts as suppliers could not get trucks in and out because of parked cars. The situation is not limited to Ivor Road and is replicated across the area in

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spots where there is a lack of off-road parking, terraced homes or close proximity to a busy main road with shops. Two wheelie bins had been pictured on their side in Medlicott Road, Sparkhill. A resident living on nearby Doris Road said: “It’s fairly common to see people reserving their parking space using wheelie bins, particularly in the evenings. “We have had visitors from other towns who just driven passed because they couldn’t find a spot to park. “But I am not sure whether the situation is unfair; there are just too many cars, quite often several per household. “I don’t know what the council can do, they cannot just wish extra places into existence.” Community activist Anwar Afzal said he did not drive on when he saw a strategicallyplaced wheelie bin. Mr Afzal, a health and safety consultant, said: “My mother lives on Imperial Road, Bordesley Green and usually locals are double


Passenger Claims Racial Profiling on Flight

parked, some with large vans, causing difficulties for the ambulance and fire crews who might have to attend. “I struggle at times to park near my mother’s house and have to park down the bottom of the road or worse still, drive around several times before finding somewhere. “Recently, the problem has gone from bad to worse, and people are now leaving refuge bins to stop people parking outside their homes. “I find it disgraceful that people think it’s OK to do this, however it will never deter me as I get out of my vehicle or if I have a family member I ask them to move the bins.” A Birmingham City Council spokesperson said: “Residents do not have the legal right to park directly outside their own properties and neither do they have the right to reserve these spaces by obstructing the highway and preventing others from parking there legally.”

A passenger on a EasyJet flights claims he was the victim of 'racial profiling' after an airline steward burst into the toilet he was using during the flight. Adil Kayani, from Sutton Coldfield, was interrupted by a male employee. The steward has sparked fury by bursting in because Adil "was taking too long". But Adil said he was left "exposed" and "made to feel like a criminal". The Mirror reports the EasyJet says the steward did it for "safety and security reasons" and claimed 35-year-old Adil had been in there for 15 minutes. Adil said: "There was a heavy knock on the door. "I shouted 'I'll be out soon hold on a minute'. "But then the lock turned from red to green. "Someone had opened it from the outside and forced their way in. "I was still sat on the toilet. I shouted get out and he shut the door immediately. "They didn't do this to anyone else on the flight. It's not as if I was in the toilet for a long time. I feel completely violated." Adil was returning home from a winter break in Marrakesh, Morocco on March 5 and claims

he was in the toilet for 15 minutes. After he was ushered out the lavatory, he complained to the staff. "When I came out of the toilet I saw the guy who opened the door but he avoided me. "I was expressing I was unhappy about it. I sat back down and a stewardess was sent over to explain. She said it was part of their safety and security policy." The passenger has been offered - and said he has rejected - a £500 goodwill gesture and an apology from EasyJet after he complained to company when back in the UK. Adil, who has a Pakistani heritage and is a Muslim, believes he was the victim of "racial profiling". EasyJet venomously deny this allegation. The wholesaler added: "I think it was racial discrimination. They can see the colour of my skin. "I was racially profiled. It was discrimination. I think it is Islamophobic. I feel like my dignity was violated and my dignity is more important than the money. "I'm just not happy with that. I want a proper apology from the individually who I feel was not only dismissive, but extremely rude and arrogant. "I was made to feel like a criminal. It was really humiliating for me. "That is the first time anything like that has ever happened to me. The only way I can make sense of it is because of my racial background. "This procedure is in place to ensure passenger safety of all passengers on board including the well being of the customer in the toilet. "There is absolutely no evidence to suggest that race played a role."

£50 for buses and HGVs, will remain the same while a host of exceptions previously tabled are also set to go ahead. Transport and environment chief Cllr Waseem Zaffar moved to support residents in those areas, such as Nechells, that the authority would find another 'mechanism' to address the issue of people potentially driving to neighbourhoods 'dumping'

their cars there before walking into the CAZ. Cllr Zaffar said he will continue to lobby the government for a national scrappage scheme which he said would also benefit the motor industry. One significant feature of the funding application is that the £15m required to support Hackney Carriage and private hire drivers was granted. It comes amid go-slow protests in the city from the trade who argue the CAZ is a threat to their livelihood. Following the announcement Cllr Zaffar said: "Getting more than three quarters the money we asked for is substantial. "I am disappointed we didn't get 100 per cent but we can certainly move forward in delivering this scheme this city desperately needs. "We feel that we will have sufficient resources to get the balance right between introducing a very much needed Clean Air Zone and

supporting the communities and businesses potentially affected by these measures. "It is the start of the fightback against the public health crisis in this city which causes 900 premature deaths a year. "I'm pleased that we will have nearly £15m to support the taxi community to upgrade to cleaner and greener vehicles, enabling them to continue providing their valuable service to the city." He also added that he would continue to work with the council's licensing team, including Cllr Barbara Dring the chairman of the Licensing and Public Protection Committee, to secure measures to support taxi drivers. The CAZ is not a congestion charge and will only apply to non-compliant vehicles - diesels older than a EURO 6 (manufactured before 2015) and petrol cars older than EURO 4 (made before 2006).


The Government has permitted Birmingham's Clean Air Zone (CAZ) proposals but left the city council with a funding gap of millions of pounds for the plan. The authority has been granted £38m from the Clean Air Fund to pay for mitigation measures out of £50m. It means the proposed charges for high polluting vehicles of £8 for cars and




APRIL 2019

SERIOUS HYGIENE FAILINGS Racist Graffiti CAUSING RESTAURANT FINE Targets Indian Takeaway OF £10,800 An Indian restaurant in Lye is being given a hefty fine of £10,800 after failing serious hygiene. Dudley Council’s environmental health officers inspected Isha’s restaurant in October 2017. Owners, Rajori Garden Ltd, and company director, Ram Lal pleaded guilty to five charges each under food safety and hygiene regulations at Wolverhampton Magistrates Court on March 7. Health inspectors found walls, floors and equipment including food containers and a microwave not in clean or good condition, storing raw chicken in contact with drinks bottles. The company was fined £10,800 and ordered to pay £1,478 costs and a £170 victim surcharge. Lal, 50, was fined £720 with £1,478 costs and £72 victim surcharge. Dudley Council confirmed that the restaurant, in Stourbridge Road , has recently been inspected and is now achieving a broadly complaint hygiene rating of three. Councillor Gaye Partridge, Dudley's cabinet member

responsible for health and wellbeing, said: "This council works with businesses to secure compliance with the law, we will not hesitate to take legal action against the minority of food businesses proprietors who do not take our advice on board and who fail to meet their legal





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vast majority achieving a satisfactory rating of three or more. I would urge consumers to check out hygiene ratings online as these will give consumers a glimpse of what is going on in the kitchen when they eat out, or behind the scenes at the places they shop.”


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responsibilities. "People need to know that the vast majority of food businesses in the borough are well run and compliant with hygiene and safety rules. "More than half of all food outlets in the borough are achieving the top hygiene rating of five, with the

A popular Indian takeaway had the word "P***" scrawled on its shutters in huge black graffiti, leaving the owner questioning: "Where am I living now?" Distraught Muzibur Rahman, who runs Saffron Indian Takeaway in Solihull , says he feels "victimised and incredibly hurt". Mr Rahman opened Saffron Indian Takeaway in Damsen Lane back in 1995, setting up in Solihull 24 years ago. "Well, I'm devastated," he said. "I can't really express my feelings. This is something very unusual that has happened. "In a long time we have been in Solihull, this kind of thing has never happened before. "I've got lots of customers, friendly people living here and they use us regularly. Nobody said nothing [like this ]to us at all. "We've never felt like we're

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from another country. This is like our home for us." The 52-year-old was disgusted with what was a targeted racial attack on his business. "It happened between 11pm on Tuesday (March 19) and Wednesday morning," he explained. "It's still on the shutters now. I just don't understand. Where am I living now? I belong in Solihull, England is my country. "I just feel victimised, incredibly hurt. West Midlands Police, meanwhile, confirmed it is investigating. Elsewhere, and in another racist vandal attack, a derelict pub in Kingstanding was tagged with, "England, No P****". The disgusting graffiti was spray-painted onto the walls of The Kingstanding, close to the shopping centre precicnt.

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APRIL 2019


MOOR STREET STATION BIRMINGHAM WILL GET A HUGE REVAMP Moor Street station in Central Birmingham is set to undergo a major renovation which will see two new platforms built to cope with the expected increase of five million passengers per year by 2043. Transport chiefs reveal early concepts which could see new platforms and a public square to connect station to HS2. The city centre station which will still retain its historic grade II-listed entrance from 1914 while a second access point will serve Digbeth and the new Smithfield development. The propositions also include the option to more than double the size of the concourse to 21,525 sq ft.

There are also several options to improve pedestrian access between Moor Street and New Street, including a direct route via St Martin's Queensway, and steps and a ramp at Swan Passage adjacent to the new Primark. There could also be a new ramped route from Rotunda Square to New Street station. The new platforms will, alongside other network infrastructure improvements, allow extra services to stop at Moor Street from across the region under the 'Midlands Rail Hub' proposals to increase rail capacity to and from the East Midlands, Hereford, Worcester and the South West.

The newly planned service serving Moseley and Kings Heath could also eventually go into Moor Street. Passenger numbers at Moor Street are expected to grow from seven million to 12 million a year by 2043, with further increases expected as a result of the Midlands Rail Hub and the arrival of HS2 in 2026. West Midlands Mayor Andy Street said: "We have big plans for transport in the West Midlands and the expansion of Moor Street is a crucial part of that. "Our game-changing plans for HS2 and new metro and rail lines are already driving investment, new jobs and apprenticeships as well as bringing communities closer

to those work, training and education opportunities. "This whole area of Birmingham will be revitalised over the next few years as the world's largest Primark opens, Curzon Street HS2 station is built and Moor Street is transformed. "This vision for Moor Street will not only provide a better experience for commuters but, with two extra platforms, it will set the foundation for the future expansion of rail services." The aim is to create seamless access between the new HS2 terminal in Curzon Street, Moor Street and New Street as part of the so-called 'One Station' strategy.


Car dumped on city centre Metro Line halting services

A red Hyundai Getz brought a city Metro service to a standstill, after being dumped on the tram tracks. Services were halted to and from Grand Central as it was abandoned in the middle of the line. The vehicle was spotted blocking the tram line at St Chad's, in Birmingham City Centre shortly before 7am on Sunday morning Sunday 31st March 2019. It had been abandoned there, blocking the route and stopping tram services between St Paul's and Grand Central. In an outrageous image, taken by a passerby, the vehicle was pictured balancing lop-sided on one of the ridges in the middle of the track. The photo was tweeted with the

caption: "There seems to be a car on the tracks at Snow Hill." British Transport Police were called to the scene along with engineers and a recovery vehicle which removed the car. West Midlands Metro had apologised for the inconvenience caused to tram passengers. They wrote to Twitter: "Due to an abandoned car on the tracks at St Chad's, there is currently no service between St Paul's and Grand Central." "@BTP and engineers are on site and a recovery vehicle is on route to remove the vehicle. "We apologise for any inconvenience this morning. All lines are now running normally as the car has been moved off the line.



APRIL 2019

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APRIL 2019


Guru Nanak Dev Ji 550th Birth Anniversary Celebrations at University of Wolverhampton WWW.THEASIANTODAY.COM

Committees UK Avtar Singh, Dr Sadhu Singh, Chairman of the Council of Sikh Gurdwaras, Chief executive officer of Sun Mark, Dr Rami Ranger and a number of other prominent members of the Indian diaspora shared their thoughts on Guru Nanak's teachings and how Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s message of Compassion and Contentment is as relevant today as much as it was 550 years ago The celebrations which

The University of Wolverhampton (UOW) hosted a special event to celebrate the 550th Birth Anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev Ji at the Chancellor’s Hall on 28th March, 2019. The event was organised by the centre for Sikh and Panjabi studies of UOW and supported by Consulate General of India, Birmingham. More than 200 guests from across the UK came together to pay tribute to Guru Nanak

Dev Ji, the revered first Sikh Guru. The event commenced with the welcoming of the guests by the Vice Chancellor of University of Wolverhampton, Prof. Geoff Layer, and featured inspirational speeches from Dr. Opinderjit Kaur Takhar, Director of Centre for Sikh and Panjabi studies, Deputy High Commissioner, Mr. Charanjeet Singh, Lord Suri, Dr. Mohinder Singh, Chairman GNNSJ, Baba Amar Singh Ji, Consul

General Dr Aman Puri among others. The speeches presented at the event highlighted the various aspects of Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s life, his teachings and how he continues to be an inspiration for millions of Sikhs and people belonging to all faiths across the world. Member of European Parliament, Ms. Neena Gill, Baba Amar Singh Ji, Chairman of the Council of Gurdwara Management

filled the Chancellor’s Hall at the Wulfruna Building, featured a string of speeches, motivational messages of peace, gender equality, rejecting discrimination and promoting harmony among communities. Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s philosophy has a timeless quality and universal appeal. Mayor of West Midlands Andy Street thanked the Sikhs across the Midlands region for their outstanding contribution to the community. He also appreciated the

noble initiative of celebrating the Prakash Parv in Midlands. The event concluded with the ensemble of religious songs by Mr. Jas Wohra, Managing Director, East End Foods Plc, creating a spiritual environment at the Chancellor’s Hall. Communities across the globe will mark the anniversary with a series of events throughout this year, with the UK expected to host the biggest celebrations outside India.

Mayor Andy Street appreciating the noble initiative of celebrating the Prakash Parv in Midlands




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Future Faces will celebrate another record year – during which it has doubled in size – at the ICC in Birmingham in September. The young professionals’ arm of the Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce is staging its fifth annual awards and dinner on Friday, September 20. A move to the ICC, one of the largest conference and event venues in the city, reflects the organisation achieving record growth in the past 12 months. Future Faces helps businesses support young colleagues during their career development and its membership profile now spans across multiple sectors, comprising professional, financial and IT, manufacturing and construction, charity and public sector, marketing and events, leisure and business hospitality, technology, engineering and entrepreneurial and creative. Mark Hipwell, Future Faces president, said: “Now in our seventh year, the Future

Faces network has grown from strength to strength. Our numbers have grown exponentially and we are excited that our awards dinner is graduating to one of Birmingham’s biggest event spaces. “I can’t wait to see the awards applications coming in over the next few months - particularly as Birmingham continues to hit massive highs with entrepreneurs, small businesses and with its ever-changing skyline. “I’d highly recommend any young professional who is keen to develop their career or promote themselves beyond their own business sector to apply for the awards.” At the 2018 awards, marketing expert Rebecca Halbert from commercial property consultancy Avison Young was crowned the Future Face of Greater Birmingham, having also won the Future Faces of Sales Marketing and Communications sector award. The winner of this

year’s overall Future Face of Greater Birmingham award will also receive a fully-funded Executive MBA scholarship from Future Faces patron Aston University. The scholarship is worth up to £30,000. Mark Smith, executive director of business engagement at Aston University, said: “Aston University is delighted to support Future Faces by offering a fully-funded MBA programme to the winning member.

“Alongside the excellent opportunities offered by Future Faces, the Aston Executive MBA - one of the best in the world - will equip them with the knowledge needed to thrive in their sector. “We look forward to welcoming the winner into our Aston Business School alumni.” This year’s awards will feature two new categories – the Future Face of Charity and Social Enterprise and the Future Face of Public

Mark Hipwell, Future Faces president Sector and Education, reflecting the network’s multi-sector membership base. The Future Faces

Ambassador Award is sponsored by Common Purpose, with the winner receiving their Streetwise MBA, worth £5,000.


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SPARKHILL BUILDER USES SANDBAGS TO BLOCK ROAD IN PARKING ROW WITH COUNCIL A builder from Sparkhill East Birmingham is obstructing the road outside his business with sandbags to stop drivers from parking outside amongst a £500,000 access row. Saghir Hussain stops drivers from parking outside Sparkhill firm and tells anyone who complains to speak to the council. Saghir Hussain said he had been forced to take desperate action to ensure access to his firm, Rashid Brothers Builders in Shakespeare Street, Sparkhill. He said his pleas for double yellow lines to solve the problem had been denied by Birmingham City Council, which he requested asked him to pay up to £15,000. And he said he had lost £500,000-a-year contracts as suppliers could not get trucks in and out because of parked cars. The 39-year-old dad-of-

three, who started working at the yard when he was a teenager, said: "How long can we go on like this? We have to run a business. "We just want double yellows. We do not want to upset the community - we want to live in harmony." Saghir said the firm which employs ten workers and has been trading for 32 years - had lost business after several companies closed accounts, citing "health and safety" concerns. He said the problems started three or four years ago when Stratford Road was made into a red route banning parking and loading and unloading. Double yellow lines were painted on Warwick Road and nearby St John’s car park was changed into a payand-display facility. He said: "We can’t get articulated trucks in and out


of our yard. "Our main supplier has refused to come in because their trucks can’t get in or out and they closed their accounts for health and safety reasons. We’ve lost half a million pounds every year." He added: “We put out sandbags when necessary. People generally walk up the road asking: 'What's this, where can we park our cars?' "We say: 'Speak to the council'." He said: “I asked them (the council) about double yellows and they said they had no funding and could I provide £10,000 to £15,000 to put them down." Now, despite a visit from the council, he is leaving two sandbags on the junction of Bard Street and Shakespeare Street, saying he had "no choice". A Birmingham City Council spokesman said:

"Where obstructions placed in the road are reported to the city council we will take action to remove them, recognising the balance that needs to be struck in servicing businesses and the need for on-street parking in areas where there is a mix of business and residential activity. "With regard to providing double yellow lines the process can be costly, takes time and is open to objections from those who would not wish to see the road space restricted. "With the limited funding available to the council, we prioritise that funding to address known safety issues as our first priority. "Given that position, currently there would be no funding available to implement the requested restrictions."


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VAISAKHI CELEBRATIONS in Birmingham – 28th April 2019 16


pril is the time of year when Sikhs around the world celebrate the festival of Vaisakhi, one of the most important dates in the Sikh calendar. The festival marks several important events including; the time Sikhi was created as a collective Dharam (faith) in 1699, the spring harvest festival and the Punjabi New Year. This year is even more poignant for the Sikh community as it will be Commemorating the 550th Prakash Purb of Guru Nanak Dev Ji (birth anniversary) of the first Sikh Guru and the founder of the Dharam. There will be events held worldwide to mark the 550th anniversary throughout the whole of 2019. The Birmingham Vaisakhi open air celebrations, considered by many as the largest in Europe, will be taking place on 28th



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April 2019 culminating in Handsworth Park. The event is planned and organised by Council of Sikh Gurdwaras in Birmingham (CSGB) and the Gurdwaras from Sandwell and the Black Country. The Vaisakhi Celebrations have become a landmark event in Birmingham. To mark the 28th year of the event, the Sikh community is determined to making the occasion even more grand and memorable and invite all to join them. Chairman of CSGB, Amrick Singh, said, “With Maharaj Ji’s blessings we are glad to see this event go from strength to strength. The Birmingham area has a population of over one million, making it the largest local council area in the country and we know people travel in to the area from much further than Birmingham. It is astounding to know that over a hundred

different languages are spoken in Birmingham and in some wards of the city up to 80% or residents are from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic groups. Birmingham is a growing city that has the youngest average age of the core cities of Europe, with almost half of the population under 30 years of age. Vaisakhi commemorates the Amrit Ceremony of Baptism which took place in the year of 1699 on the first day of the month of Vaisaakh. It was on this day that the Tenth Sikh Guru, Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji, created the order of the Khalsa, requesting his disciples to come forward to give their heads for the causes of justice and righteousness. The Amrit Ceremony of Baptism marked the ‘birth’ of the Sikh Nation, graced with a strong sense of selfdiscipline and a moral code

of conduct, the Khalsa was tasked with the responsibility of defending all those who were suffering at the hands of tyrants and dictators, to serve the downtrodden, to uplift the oppressed and to see humanity as one common people of equals regardless of caste, religion, gender or colour. With the seasonal timing of Vaisakhi, many South-Asian cultures celebrate it as the harvest festival. However, in 1699 for Sikhs the reason for celebration changed to mark the birth of the Khalsa, the collective of initiated Sikhs. It was during an annual harvest gathering that the 10th Guru, Guru Gobind Singh Ji, created the order of the Khalsa. Guru Gobind Singh Ji requested five people to come forward to sacrifice themselves to Him. The men who came forward came to be known as the

Panj Pyare, most commonly translated as the five beloved ones. Each of the men who stepped forward to be initiated into the Khalsa were from different castes. They were individually reborn through the Amrit Sanchar initiation ceremony and given names representing the qualities a Khalsa should have; Daya (compassion), Dharam (righteousness), Himmat (courage), Mokham (determination) and Sahib (sovereignty). With this initiation the Panj Pyare also adopted a distinct based on the wearing of the five kakars (Ks); kesh (unshorn hair), kanga (wooden comb), kirpan (small sword), kashera (underwear) and kara (iron bangle). They also took on a moral code of conduct which included a pledge to defend the weak and protect the innocent. Once Guru Gobind Singh

Ji initiated the Panj Pyare, he in turn asked them to initiate him, in a rare case of someone of regal leadership giving powers to their followers. For Stall bookings, Adverts in the official CSGB Magazine or Ads on the big screen in the park, also for corporate sponsorship deals please visit our website: https:// Email: csgbvaisakhi@gmail. com Call CSGB Vaisakhi Hotline: 07380 194106. To support your Vaisakhi Event we invite you to donate : BARCLAYS ACCOUNT NAME: The Council Of Sikh Gurdwara Birmingham SORT CODE: 20-09-03 ACCOUNT No. 10883514 More of this Article can be found Online

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VASAKHI POSTER 2019 10 April 2019 16:44:26



Thousands of visitors will be expected at Wolverhampton's premier park for the annual celebrations in May. The Council of Sikh Gurdwaras in Wolverhampton together with the Asian community is holding the popular cultural festival at West Park on Sunday 6 May 2018 between 10am and 5pm. The event promises entertainment for all the family, including a fun fair, stalls and prominent Asian musicians and singers performing live on stage. There will be speeches by religious leaders, a variety of local organisations will showcase their services and free food will also be served throughout the day. Entry is also free. Keren Jones, Director for City Economy, said: Vaisakhi is always hugely popular and with less than a month to go preparations

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are underway by the Council of Sikh Gurdwaras in Wolverhampton and the Asian community to ensure another fun filled family event. The City of Wolverhampton Council urge everyone to put the date in their diary and see West Park come alive to the sights and sounds of the Vaisakhi Festival. There will be a parade from the Guru Nanak Satsang Gurdwara on Cannock Road to West Park, starting at 9am. Motorists are advised that temporary road closures will be in place while the procession makes it way to the park. Vaisakhi is one of the most important dates in the Sikh calendar. It is the Sikh New Year festival, and this year marks the 319th Anniversary of the Creation of the Khalsa Order and making of Saint-Solider by Guru Gobind Singh Ji in 1699.


Sikhs in the Square Vaisakhi Celebrations and Nagar Kirtan Procession Sunday 14 April 2019 | 9am – 4pm Parade commences from the Forest Recreation Ground to Old Market Square at 10am Join Nottingham's Sikh community in this auspicious year, celebrating the 550th birth anniversary of their founder, Guru Nanak Dev Ji. For Sikhs, Vaisakhi marks their New Year and commemorates the formation of Khalsa Panth in 1699 by their 10th Guru, Guru Gobind Singh and since then, the Khalsa panth has been a way of life for the Sikhs. It is also a spring harvest festival. During Vaisakhi, colourful processions called Nagar Kirtans take place around the world.

Vaisakhi celebrations are open to all communities. All are welcome to take part in the procession or alternatively, to join the celebrations in the Old Market Square. Upon arrival in the Square, the event will start with formal prayers in the presence of Guru Granth Sahib Ji. There will be various activities taking place throughout the day including: - Turban tying - Sikh martial arts - Discussions on Sikhi in English - Langar (cooked food) The event is open to everyone - the Sikh community will be out in force and it is a great opportuinty for interaction with other communities in Nottingham.

Charity Founder defies trolling and wins Pride of Birmingham award 18

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A charity founder has been given a Pride of Birmingham award for her voluntary work to tackle the taboo surrounding female health issues in marginalised communities. Coronation Street actress Kym Marsh presented Neelam Heera, Business Development Executive in the personal injury department at law firm FBC Manby Bowdler and founder of women’s health charity ‘Cysters’, with a Special Recognition award in a glittering ceremony at the University of Birmingham’s Great Hall (March 26). It was one of two regional events of the Pride of Britain Awards that celebrate the extraordinary achievements of people and Neelam could be one of the finalists for the national awards that will be held in the Autumn. Neelam set up Cysters in 2015 to breakdown some of the cultural barriers in Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities that exist around women’s health issues, in particular gynaecological and mental health problems, following her own health experiences. She has already received


a Points of Light Award and a personal letter from Prime Minister Theresa May praising her work and is due to visit 10 Downing Street later this year. However Neelam has also been on the receiving end of much trolling and online abuse due to the work around sexual health, with many believing open conversation around sex and healthy relationships are a cultural taboo. Neelam said: “I founded ‘Cysters’ in 2015 to combat some of the misconceptions around reproductive health following my own diagnosis of polycystic ovary syndrome. I discovered that gynaecological health was a taboo subject within BAME communities due to cultural beliefs, which can have a detrimental impact on women’s health. “To receive such a prestigious award is a real honour, especially to be recognised alongside so many other worthy winners.” As the charity’s founder, Neelam maintains an active online support group and delivers workshops with faith-based groups, the community and medical professionals. She recently

spoke at the Parliamentary Launch of the British Sikh Report 2018 about the effects of reproductive illnesses on mental health. She was also most recently named in Birmingham’s 30 under 30 by Birmingham Live, due to her on-going community work. Some of the more notable achievements of Cysters include, Producing a report on Cervical Screening following consultations, focus groups and interviews with over 80% BAME women. This led to creating the Cysters Smears Awareness events across the Midlands. Culturally sensitive programs, within the grassroots community speaking about the importance of having a smear test. Chai and Chats, peer lead support groups. Since this award there are now plans to replicate these across Manchester and London. The importance of meetings like this is to ease to social isolation of having such debilitating conditions. These sessions also promote self care and listening skills. Our Cysters – Period Poverty Programme, working with Schools in

the Handsworth Area to provide them access to menstrual products with dignity. It also opens up the conversation around menstrual health and wellbeing in these schools. Cysters continued to work alongside the Handsworth Association of Schools to work on a programme to highlight any issues on concerns within the schools. As the government are going to supplying High Schools from September onwards, they will continue to support primary schools and also extend services to other marginalized communities. The programme also distributes these menstrual products to local homeless charities. Cysters Youth Board – Statistics show that there are not enough women in Leadership Positions, particularly in Birmingham. So Cysters created a Youth Board, to be involved in the strategic growth of Cysters, create and co-ordinate their own projects, and become the next generation of health advocates. More information about Cysters can be found at


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Upcoming Punjabi film Manje Bistre 2 is most definitely a much anticipated one. Audiences across the globe are showering their precious love on all the film’s artists, the songs, the film’s trailer, and anything and everything which is being released by the makers of this film. Gippy Grewal and Simi Chahal, paired opposite each other for the first time. Manje Bistre 2 is going to hit the silver screens on April 12, 2019 a day before Vaisakhi









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Garry Has a Rumours of the Couples Track Comi Divorce News of Priyanka and Nick divorcing has created a ripple in the tinselville and everyone is wondering what went wrong in four months of their wedding. But the actress’s representative slammed the rumour and called it nonsense and hogwash. The news of their separation was carried

out by the famous OK magazine. It was reported that the couple often fight and things are not going well between them. Even Nick’s parents are frustrated with their constant fights and they wanted them to go separate paths.

Garry Sandhu Punjabi singer took to his Instagram to revealed that he has brand new track ‘Doabey Wala’ is on its way. The ‘Laddu’ singer already made a great start to the year after releasing ‘Alert Kuday’ and then the romantic track ‘Dobara Milde Aan’.

Alia Says I love you Dabaang 3 To Start Shooting to Ranbir This year’s 64th Filmfare Awards has got bollywood fans talking as Alia Bhatt kissed and said "I love you" to Ranbir Kapoor in a rare public display of affection. Alia Bhatt referred to Ranbir as her "special one" when she took the stage at the

awards show, where she won the Best Actress Award for her role in "Raazi" on Saturday night. A video that is going around on social media, Alia Bhatt can be seen saying "I love you", while Ranbir can be seen blushing over Alia's special gesture.

The start of Dabangg 3 is set to go from April 1 and the news was confirmed by Salman Khan via a clip posted on his social media accounts. Salman

shared the video with the caption, “Back in our birthplace for #Dabangg3 shoot @ arbaazSkhan.” In the clip, Salman and Arbaaz reveal that

they have just landed at their birthplace, Indore. They will be going to a few places where their grandfather was posted during his years with the police force.

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a New ing Soon

Awaited Movie Kalank The period drama film, Kalank is finally here and is set to release in India on 19 April 2019. The film, set in the 1940s during the partition of India, features Alia Bhatt, Madhuri Dixit, Sanjay Dutt, Varun Dhawan, Aditya Roy Kapoor, Sonakshi Sinha, Kunal

Amy Jackson Announces Pregnancy News Bollyood actress Amy Jackson announced her pregnancy in an adorable Mother’s Day post. Taking to Instagram, the mum-to-be shared a picture of herself holding onto her fiance George Panayiotou, while showing off her blossoming baby bump. In the caption she wrote: ‘I’ve been waiting to shout it from the roof tops, and today, being Mother’s Day, it couldn’t be a more perfect time.’ The actress added: ‘I already love you more than anything in this world, the purest most honest love. We can’t wait to meet you our little Libra one.’ Fans were quick to comment on the picture and couldn’t help but wish the star well.

Khemu and Hiten Tejwani. Directed by Abhishek Varman and produced by Karan Johar, Sajid Nadiadwala and Fox Star Studios, Kalank’s first looks were released on March 8, Women’s Day to support the female lead roles in the movie.

Avengers Endgame With the new Avengers movie soon to be released, fans saw many of the Avengers die at the end of 2018's Infinity War as villain Thanos snapped his fingers and wiped out half the Universe. Now Marvel has

released posters revealing the fates of some of the key characters as fans await Avengers sequel Endgame. On the posters, survivors are shown in colour with the dead in black and white.

Deepika Shares new movie poster




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Deepika Padukone will start shooting for her new movie. The divine actress has given fans their first look as her transformation into an acid attack survivor. She will be playing a character

named Malti based on acid attack survivor Laxmi Agarwal in the upcoming film Chhapaak. The poster has been shared on Twitter and Instagram. Deepika was

unrecognisable as she revealed the prosthetics and make -up used to tell the inspirational story. The actress tweeted: ‘A character that will stay with me forever…#Malti

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The Asian Today Interviews Akshay Kumar on Film locales such as in Spiti. It was a grueling schedule, with a lot of intense action sequences which was quite a challenge as it had to look real. But when you see the film and how scenic the locations are, and how well it all worked out, it was so worth it. What was your experience working with Anurag Singh? What I really like about my director Anurag is his clarity in what he wants and his relentlessness in achieving it no matter what. He has such a pure heart that he deserves to tell this story and he deserves to be appreciated for it. He may have chosen the most difficult locations but he stood true to the story & come Hell or high Water he was going to show this battle how it should be told. He's one of the best directors as a human and as a talent I've had the pleasure of working with... You have done all kinds of films, giving the best that the audience can ask for, your dedication and love for your profession is reflected in your work. It is always a pleasure watching you. With a career spanning almost three decades you have seen the industry grow


Why should we watch Kesari? Because it’s a true story and it’s a forgotten and proud part of our history. It’s a story that needs to not only be heard but experienced for all its wonders – I genuinely feel the audience will connect with every scene and

character; they will be filled


with emotions and left asking questions. And of course, we as a team – the entire crew, the stellar cast including Parineeti, have put our heart and soul into this film. We hope we make those 21 brave Sikh soldiers proud with Kesari. It’s in their honour and we salute them.

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and transform, we got our 'Khiladiyon ka Khiladi' the ultimate and the one and only Akshay Kumar of the film industry who has only been going ahead day by day. How do you see your journey when you look behind? I think I’ve done well enough to make my parents proud...they believed in me when I wanted to concentrate on sports, then in martial arts and eventually the every step they encouraged me and my sole aim was to show them they were right in doing so. Today, when I look back, I can say I didn’t let them down. When we see the trailer we see utmost passion in your eyes for the character you are playing. How close or important this film is for you? This film is extremely special and close to my heart. I’m actually very emotional about it, it’s my dedication to all the martyrs back then and even now who keep fighting f o r our country, our Bharat Ke Veer.

Ma k

Tell us about Kesari and your role in the movie? Well, I was truly amazed that Kesari was based on a true story, the Battle of Saragarhi, a battle that was truly forgotten if not erased from our history. It’s the story of the bravest battle ever fought in history between 21 Sikh Soldiers and 10,000 invaders in 18th century India. A beautiful story that depicts the bravery, values and valiance of the Sikh regiment, Kesari is also in honour of “every martyr that has ever lived". It’s my first war drama and I was honoured and humbled to have had the opportunity to portray such an important role in the history of India, that of Havaldar Ishar Singh. I can only describe this opportunity as sheer pride & I'm so lucky to have had the privilege to portray this incredible Sikh in my lifetime. What was the biggest challenge of acting in this film? The biggest challenge for me was to shoot in unbearable weather conditions, whether this was heat in Mumbai whilst wearing my heavy turban to shooting in low altitude

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APRIL 2019






New Zealand 49 killed in two mosque shootings Birmingham reacts with grief The two shootings in New Zealand have left Fortynine people killed and four people are in custody after a terrorist attack during Friday prayers at two mosques. The disturbing incident unfolded in the New Zealand city of Christchurch. Birmingham has reacted with heartbreak as the tragic news develops in the southern hemisphereon Friday morning. Mr Mohammed Shafiq, CEO of the Ramadhan Foundation comments: “I strongly condemn the terrorist attacks on two Mosques in Christchurch New Zealand early today by far right extremists inspired by their hatred of Muslims and Islam. Over 40 people killed and many injured attending prayers. We stand resolutely with our brothers and sisters in New Zealand and send our prayers and condolences to the families of the victims and those injured. Human life and places of worship are sacred and we mourn the loss of life. An attack on a place of worship is an attack against all faiths, I’m confident that in the days ahead you will see all communities come together. At least 30 people were killed at the Masjid Al Noor mosque in central Christchurch, at least seven people died inside the

suburban Linwood Masjid Mosque, and at least three others died outside the same mosque. The Leader of Birmingham City Council Coun Ian Ward tweeted: "Heartbreaking news from New Zealand overnight. "My thoughts are with the victims, their families and anyone else caught up in the horrific shooting." Dave Thompson, Chief Constable of West Midlands Police, added: "Thoughts to all in Christchurch at this terrible time. "These events send shock waves around the world and will resonate in the towns and cities of the West Midlands. "We will consider what action is needed if any at home to protect and reassure." New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the national security threat level has been lifted from low to high, adding the shootings appeared to have been a wellplanned "terrorist attack". She described it as "one of New Zealand's darkest days". WMP added: "Our thoughts go out to those victims caught up in the atrocious attacks in New Zealand. "Thoughts also with @ nzpolice & other emergency service staff. "We must not let these abhorrent acts divide us & recognise all lives are

precious irrespective of creed." Ian Foster wrote: "Absolutely heart breaking...", and Sam Jennings wrote: "Regardless of your skin colour or religion no one deserves to go into a place of prayer and get murdered, these terrorists are the lowest of the low." David Kelly chipped in with: "Absolutely horrifying. "So sad for the victims and their families. "Sadly I doubt I will see many New Zealand flags on people's profiles/in my timeline.." One of the attackers Brenton Tarrant - appears to have live-streamed the attack on Facebook as he

shot victims in a mosque. Police have urged the public not to share the "extremely distressing" material online. The 28-year-old Australian described his anti-immigrant motives in a manifesto. Police have warned there may be more suspects. Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison said one of those arrested was an Australian citizen and described the suspected attacker as an "extremist right-wing violent terrorist". Officers first received reports of shots fired in central Christchurch at about 1.40pm local time (12.40am GMT).

Rajah Spices brought communities together with a Masaledar Saturday filled with Bollywood dance and the taste of home #RajahMasaledarWeekends The vibrant colours of Bollywood and the aromatic flavours of authentic South Asian spices took over the Boulevard at Wembley Park and surprised families and passers-by at the London Designer Outlet with a high voltage dance performance by ace choreographer Shiamak Davar’s troupe. Rajah Spices celebrated the spirit of South Asia by treating the community to a unique Bollywood dance performance and desi-

flavoured masala popcorn. It was a medley of song, dance, weekend vibes and spice, with Bollywood presenter Anushka Arora anchoring the activity. It was a regular Saturday at Wembley Park, until Rajah Spices took over the Boulevard to celebrate eight decades of Bollywood – with 1931 marking the birth year of Bollywood’s first multisensory film Alam Ara and the birth of the taste of home, Rajah Spices in the UK. While families were busy exploring the London Designer Outlet – the whiff of aromatic spices soon filled the air and adding to it were the invigorating

performances by Shiamak London. The 15-minute-long performance ended with a Bollywood masterclass by Shiamak London, which saw hundreds of people join in. Sunrise Radio presenter Anushka Arora shook a leg with the audience, while broadcasting the celebration live on UK’s largest Bollywood station. “My child likes playing at the park, which is why coming to the Boulevard is an every weekend affair and we were pleasantly surprised to see Rajah Spices and Shiamak London performing for us. Both my son and me got excited listening to Bollywood songs out in the

open and he had an amazing time dancing with the troupe. Rajah Spices truly brought the whole Boulevard to life and it was certainly one of the most enjoyable weekends we had,” said Mrs Upadhyay, mum to a nine-year-old. Irrespective of people’s backgrounds, nationalities and ethnicities Rajah Spices showed how desi food and Bollywood could bring the entire Wembley together. Award-winning choreographer Shiamak Davar said: “Bollywood moulds itself beautifully to development in music and movies globally, and therefore bridges cultures through cinema.”

Wembley grooves to the flavours of Bollywood and Rajah Spices

Prince of Wales Praises British Muslim Heritage Centre

The Prince of Wales visited the British Muslim Heritage Centre in Manchester on April 3 and has praised the work that is being done, telling those gathered for his visit: "How important your communities are here in this country." Charles was greeted by children from local schools waving Union flags before he was shown around the centre, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary. The prince told trustees, workers and representatives of local businesses and community groups: "I've been so impressed by all the different initiatives and projects you run here and the difference you are making, in terms of all the work you are doing in the community, but also in terms of linking all the other communities together. "It is obviously of huge importance, this dialogue and activity. "If I may say so, I just wanted to congratulate you and to say how much I admire all the work

you are doing. And how important your communities are here in this country." The head of projects for the centre, Ashraf Ali, said Charles took particular interest in the Stories of Sacrifice Exhibition, which is first about the Muslims who fought for Britain in the First World War. Mr Ali said he showed the royal visitor a panel of Charles's great-grandfather, King George V, wearing a turban when he was head of a Muslim cavalry regiment. "I said, 'I've got someone here, you might recognise him'," Mr Ali said. "He said, 'I know this guy. Of course I recognise him'." Mr Ali said Charles also took an interest in the work of the centre in bringing communities together. Charles left the centre and Manchester to head east to Wigan , where he is visiting The Old Courts in the town centre to learn about the building's restoration into a community arts centre.

The weekend perfectly encapsulated the glamourous and sumptuous journey of eight decades in one day, with

Shiamak Davar’s troupe and the tadka of Rajah Spices with desi-flavoured popcorn and Masaledar freebies.

PUBLIC NOTICE I, MOHIT Samyr Zein S/O Sh. Randhir Jain R/o B-448 New Friends Colony New Delhi 110065 have changed my name to Mohit Jain for all purposes


APRIL 2019

THE ASIAN TODAY Our very own Graphic Designer and on the side Journalist - Anil Singh Gill brings his Food Reviews to The Asian Today, bringing all the news from hot restaurants to cool bars and everything in between.

A Ruby in the Jewellery Quarter

If you are in the mood for a curry with a twist then JoJoLapa is the one with fine and distinctive flavours from Nepal and Northern India, this Nepalese restaurant has moved from the City into the Jewellery Quarter in September 2018. Located on Fredrick Street just on the outskirts of Central Birmingham and just a short walk from Jewellery Quarter Station and on the Metro line. With Jewellery Quarter being a trendy upcoming area with loads of bars and tapas style restaurants this is a great place to sit down for a meal with friends or family or before a night out in the City. Received a warm welcome and the decor of the restaurant is very contemporary and modern with a Far East and South Asian vibe a great selection of drinks at the bar and speciality cocktails – the house beer is definitely one to try a Nepalese beer Khukuri quite refreshing. The menu is reasonably priced and a great selection of vegetarian and vegan dishes, the vegan MoMo is one to try. The food is cooked to perfection especially the Lamb Chops very succulent, the flavour combinations work great together. Overall a great meal definitely one to try if you are looking at trying Traditional Nepalese and North Indian style cuisine. JoJoLapa 21 Frederick St, Jewellery Quarter, Birmingham B1 3HE

Get more food news on twitter @theasiantoday and on the web :




Dishe khi HARV aisaTHE VFOR Vaisakhi is the Harvest Festival and marks the start of the Punjabi New Year for Sikhs and Hindus, and also marks the Birth of Khalsa the Sikh New Year founded by the Tenth Guru and the last living Guru of Sikhism Guru Gobind Singh Ji. The Khalsa tradition was initiated in 1699.

Vaisakhi is also to celebrate with friends and family, Here at The Asian Today are some tasty vegetarian dishes to indulge and enjoy with loved ones during Vaisakhi, there is a starter a main and a dessert if you find yourself struggling with ideas on what to make.

STARTEbRle pakoras Vegeta

Classic Indian finger food that no one can resist, these easy vegetable pakoras are so simple to make. Ingredients 250g/½lb gram flour 50g/2oz self-raising flour ½ tsp red chilli powder 1 tsp garam masala 1 tsp tandoori masala powder (optional), available from specialist Asian supermarkets 1 tbsp lemon juice 300g/10½oz potatoes, peeled and cut into small pieces 300g/10½oz onions, finely chopped 3 spring onions, trimmed, finely chopped 6-8 spinach leaves, finely chopped handful fresh coriander

leaves 1 tsp chopped green chilli 1 tsp salt sunflower oil, for deep frying Method 1. Sift the gram flour and the self-raising flour into a bowl. Add the chilli powder, garam masala and tandoori masala powder, if using, and stir well to combine. 2. Add the lemon juice, then gradually add enough water to form a smooth batter that is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Set aside for 10-15 minutes. 3. Add all of the remaining ingredients except the sunflower oil to the batter mixture and mix well to coat the potatoes and onions. 4. Heat the oil in a deep

heavy-based frying pan until a breadcrumb sizzles and turns brown when dropped into it. (CAUTION: hot oil can be dangerous. Do not leave unattended.) 5. When the oil is hot, carefully lower tablespoons of the batter mixture in batches into the oil and fry for 5-6 minutes, or until

the pakoras are crisp and golden-brown and the vegetables have cooked through. Serve immediately.

APRIL 2019





s FESTIVAL eVEST MAIN Vegan chickpea curry


r e e h K

This Indian rice pudding is made with almonds and sultanas and scented with cardamom. Ingredients 75g/2½oz basmati rice, washed 1 litre/1¾ pints whole milk 8 cardamom pods (or 1 tsp Vegan, healthy and cost effective: this tasty chickpea curry is perfect for a family dinner. Ingredients 1 tbsp oil 1 onion, chopped 1 garlic clove, crushed ¼ tsp salt ½ tsp cumin powder ¼ tsp coriander powder ¼ tsp turmeric powder ¼ tsp red chilli powder 1 fresh tomato, chopped 400g tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed 5cm/2in piece root ginger, grated pinch of garam masala pitta breads or plain basmati rice, to serve Method

1. Heat a deep lidded saucepan or a medium sized wok and add the oil. Fry the onions and garlic, until the onions are caramelised 2. Add the salt, cumin, coriander, turmeric and red chilli powders. Mix for a minute and tip in the tomato. Cook the sauce until it begins to thicken. 3. Add 4 tablespoons water and stir. Then tip in the chickpeas and mix. Mash a few of the chickpeas while cooking. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Then add the ginger and the garam masala. Cook for another minute. 4. Serve with pitta breads or plain basmati rice.

Specialists in


ground cardamom), lightly crushed 50g/1¾oz slivered almonds 75g/2½oz sultanas 2 tbsp caster sugar handful pistachios, chopped, to decorate gold leaf, to decorate (optional)

Method 1. Tip the rice into a large saucepan and toast over a low heat for a few minutes. 2. Stir in the milk, cardamom and almonds. Bring to a simmer and cook, uncovered, for 40 minutes. 3. Stir in the sultanas and simmer for 15–20 minutes, or until the liquid has reduced by half and the mixture has thickened. 4. Stir in the sugar, to taste, remove from the heat and allow to cool. 5. Pour into a large bowl, cover with cling film and chill in the fridge for 1–2 hours, or overnight. Pick out the cardamom pods. 6. Serve in four bowls decorated with crushed pistachios and gold leaf (if using).

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APRIL 2019





Naeem Arif is a highly experienced customerorientated leader, with over 15 years experience as director of multiple successful Private Limited Companies in the Retail and Management Consulting world. He the founder of NA Consulting, a retail and management consultancy, and the Co-Founder and Vice Chair of the Midlands Retail Forum.



Naeem Arif Business Columnist

Paul Cadman Business Columnist

5 Ways to Drive WHAT WE CAN LEARN Customer Conversion FROM BREXIT Rates in Your Stores Same-store sales are looking a little flat and you need to find ways to deliver better results. There’s still a scent of the financial melt-down lingering, but you survived that crisis and it’s time to start getting the sales needle to move in a positive direction. There are only three ways you can drive sales in your stores: (1) encourage more prospects to visit your store; (2) increase your average ticket and (3) increase your conversion rate — that is, sell to more of the prospects already visiting your stores. These are the folks who visit your store but don’t buy. To a great extent retail sales has been a two-trick pony: drive more prospect traffic and increase average ticket. Driving more prospects into your stores usually requires an advertising or promotional investment of some kind, and increasing average ticket, well let’s just say that most retailers have been and continue to focus on this one — but what about conversion rate? Driving conversion rate is the third trick every retailer needs to learn — it’s another source of sales opportunity that most retailers today completely overlook. Before I get into the ways you can drive conversion, I need to confirm that you actually track traffic and calculate conversion rate in your stores. First, you need to actually track prospect traffic. This is not the same as transaction counts. Lots of retailers are confused about this. Transaction counts represent the number of people who made a purchase; traffic counts represent the total number of people who came to the store including buyers and non-buyers. Conversion rate is simply calculated by dividing sales transactions by gross traffic counts.

For example, if you logged 500 traffic counts in your store and there were 200 sales transactions for the day, your conversion rate would be 40% (i.e. 200/500). As you can see, without traffic counts, you can’t actually calculate conversion rate. The fact is, if you don’t track traffic in your stores, you can’t calculate conversion rate. If you can’t calculate conversion rate, well, you can’t improve it. So for the roughly 35% of retailers who actually track traffic and conversion rates, here are five ways you can improve conversion rates in your stores. 1. Understand why people don’t buy: one of the most important things a retailer can do to improve conversion rates is to understand why people don’t buy. Long till line ups, can’t find sales help, out-ofstocks, poor merchandising, the list goes on. There are reasons why people visit your store and don’t buy and you need to understand it. Ever y store manager should spend some time obser ving visitors in his/ her store. Resist the temptation

to help; just observe the behaviours. Watch customers as they move through your store, and it won’t take long for you to identify some actions you can take to turn more visitors into buyers. 2. Align your staff to traffic not transactions: Sounds simple enough, but one too many retailers overlook. Staff scheduling is tricky at the best of times, but aligning your staff resources to when prospects are in your store will help you maximize your chances of converting more of them into buyers. Pay particular attention to lunch time, when store traffic can be way up, but staff lunch breaks can seriously drag down conversion rates. Associates need to eat, but customers need to be served. Matching staff schedules to traffic volume and timing in your store will help improve your chances of converting more. Read more of Naaem Arif's Business Column Online - Head over to www.theasiantoday. com

I have just been looking at an article suggesting that if the UK had a codified constitution, the situation as regards how we leave the EU, would be much more straight forward. It reminds me of when senior leaders turn to leadership books for answers when they are facing a crisis in their own businesses. We can’t seem to accept that some situations are a mess and there is never a simple, straight forward answer to some problems. We are where we are with Brexit and any business putting its investment strategy on hold until they get a clearer picture of what leaving the EU will look like, is giving its competitors an advantage it will never recover from. A globalised economy means that any business, anywhere can enter into your market and take away your customers. And while you are waiting for clarity, your customers are being wooed by a business that is hungrier and leaner than yours. Some of us thrive in the middle of a mess; some of us become paralysed. I

have never waited for all my ducks to be lined up before acting. I prefer one duck, one action. Otherwise you end up in a situation that becomes political, about ego, about sub-optimisation and about satisficing – making do rather than focusing on the prize. Look at Brexit: it is clearly more about power and politics than it is about the economic well-being of the nation. I am a trustee of quite a few charities and it always intrigues me when the debates become driven by power-plays and financial projections rather than the value that the clients of the organisation are receiving. I have nothing against financial projections, but at the end of the day businesses that deliver no value become run by margin and easily become prey to a meaner and hungrier competitor. There are some basic principles behind all this: to navigate your way forward when you are the middle of a mess you need passion and management skills. It is not an either, or. If you lack passion, you will not care

enough about the issues that your organisation faces to find the means to overcome them. It is only people who really care about what they do that survive: your indifference, because you are more interested in your career, looking-good or your next salary rise, will kill your organisation. Management skills are equally important. Note that I am not talking about leadership. Leadership tends to be a rare quality, just look at our politicians. If we wait for the right leader to pull us out from the mire we have driven ourselves into, we will be long gone. A colleague of mine has an interesting theory. He says that only 0.3% of any organisation are potential leaders. So, we pour hundreds of thousands of pounds into questionable training courses and wonder why nothing happens. Leadership is context related and requires a level of selfawareness that most of us do not just don’t have. Read more of Paul Cadman's Business Column Online - www.theasiantoday. com


APRIL 2019





Perry Barr Athletes village to deliver only 58 'family council houses' after Commonwealth Games An extensive 1,414-property athletes village being built for the Commonwealth Games will provide just 58 affordable houses for desperate Birmingham families. Criticism of scheme as 12,500 people on housing waiting list at Birmingham City Council. The huge Perry Barr development will house 6,500 of the world’s finest sportsmen and women, alongside officials taking part in the 2022 spectacular. Perry Barr MP Khalid Mahmood also criticised the scheme. He said: "I don't believe there is going to be enough affordable housing, not least given the huge public funding that's going into it. "They wouldn't allow any other development company to do this. But because it's the city council themselves, they are allowing themselves

all sorts of elasticity to do what they want to. "And I'm also particularly concerned about people renting apartments because if you have too many single occupancy dwellings, you tend to have young people or old people. "Who are the people who will be able to buy in that environment? "I'm asking that many of the flats they're going to build to be converted into family homes, there are too many flats. The technology's there to be able to do that. "I think it's essential that we look again at what's being planned here, and have a different structure that will be better able to accommodate families, and those who need social housing." Civic leaders had spoken proudly of the Perry Barr redevelopment after housing plans were approved for

the site on the former Birmingham City University campus last year. Mayor Andy Street talked about Perry Barr being a “game changer for the region with a lasting housing and regeneration legacy. New estates built by private developers typically include a standard 25 per cent social housing, and Birmingham City Council usually has 35 per cent. Birmingham City Council says the Perry Barr scheme offers 22 per cent affordable and social housing - but that includes the retirement village. Yet just 58 properties will be three or four bedroom houses - family homes - for social rent. Yet the Perry Barr development has just 22 per cent affordable homes ratio, with the rest being sold off by home builders for potentially huge profits.




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APRIL 2019




DEBUTS AS THE MOST EXPENSIVE NEW CAR EVER A modern interpretation of Jean Bugatti’s personal Type 57 SC Alantic that got lost during World War II, the stunning grand tourer is described by the manufacturers from Molsheim as being the most expensive new car ever to be sold. With a spectacular price tag of €11 million (approx. £9.5M) before taxes. Bugattis president Stephen Winkelmann spoke at the Geneva motor show saying the car was sold for €16.5M (£14M), taxes included. The La Voiture Noire has a handcrafted carbon fibre body and follows the Bugatti Divo but takes exclusivity to

a whole new level. The car uses the same quad-turbo W16 8.0-litre engine with 1,479 bhp and 1,180 poundfeet of torque as the Chiron, Chiron Sport, and Divo. If there’s one brand that can pull off six

exhaust tips without looking like overkill, it’s definitely Bugatti. The full-width LED brake light strip makes the unique hypercar

seem even wider than it already is, while below it sits an illuminated ‘Buggatti’

just in case you might not know what your looking at. At the front of the car the horseshoe grille is more pronounced than ever

before and above it the sleek LED headlights extend on top of the wheel arches. It is very unclear who paid

a small fortune to own the unique car, with Stephan Winkelmann only saying that it belongs to a ‘Bugatti enthusiast’ The company didn’t show the car’s interior during the premiere event held in Geneva, nor can we see it in the adjacent official image gallery. There’s a pretty good chance the cabin has gone through some significant changes compared to the Chiron and Divo taking into consideration the eyewatering asking price. Will we ever see it outside of a car show in our lifetimes? Hopefully, but we wouldn’t get our hopes up too high given the value of the car which will only go up in time.

APRIL 2019





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Boxer Amir Khan will face Terence Crawford for the WBO welterweight title on April 20 at Madison Square Gardens. The former world champion has constantly chased big time fights. Khan could have easily taken a fight with domestic rival Kell Brook before accepting this fight. Speaking to Adam Catterall on talkSPORT’s Extra Time, Khan agreed that no

one can say he ducks fights and explained why he chose to face Crawford and not Brook. “You’re 100% right there. And, not only that, people are saying ‘oh, he’s a fresh guy..’ you have to remember, Terence [Crawford] is 31-years-old. There’s only a year apart in us. He’s not like a young spring chicken. “I had all these options to have easier fights, fights that I know I can go in and

win, but I just wanted that test. I wanted to bring that love back into it but also that fear as well that things can go wrong if I’m not switched on. This is a fight that’s going to bring the best out of me and at the same time, there’s a world title on the line and that’s only going to inspire me and motivate me to put on a greater performance. “Whenever I’m the underdog, I always perform well. Most of my life, going back

to when I was fighting in the Olympics at 17, I’ve been the underdog and nobody expected me to do anything. It’s the same again in this fight: no one is going to expect me to do anything. I think I can win this fight and hopefully shock the world. Khan has a stern test ahead of him against the 34-0 Crawford but the fight with Brook will probably be there for him afterwards no matter the result.

Kash Ali Apologises For Biting David Price

Birmingham’s heavyweight Kash Ali has apologised for biting David Price, saying his behaviour was not a "true reflection of who I am". Ali’s boxing licence has been suspended pending a hearing and his fight purse withdrawn. "I am hugely embarrassed for my actions and the way the whole fight unfolded," Ali, 27, said. Price, 35, says Ali chose to bite him because he "wanted to get thrown out" of their bout in Liverpool on Saturday 30 March. In the fifth round, Price landed a stinging shot on undefeated Ali, prompting a grapple. Ali fell on top of his opponent and appeared to bite Price near his rib cage. Price claims Ali had bitten him "a couple of times" in earlier rounds - which he says he flagged up to referee Mark Lyson - leaving him with further bite marks on his neck.

"The occasion got the better of me and those who know me, including David, can testify that my behaviour on Saturday during the fight was not a true reflection of who I am," Ali said. "I expressed my regret from the moment it happened and even more so now." Price used to spar with Ali and said the bite was "out of character" for his Birmingham opponent. Ali added he could not provide more details about the "reasons which resulted in my behaviour", but said he would have the opportunity to do so at a British Boxing Board of Control hearing later this month. "I have every intention of curbing my thoughtless actions and will adjust my behaviour accordingly. "I'm sorry to everyone affected by my actions."

WOLVES SIGNS RAUL JIMENEZ FOR £30M Wolverhampton Wanders FC have smashed their club transfer record in signing striker Raul Jimenez from Benfica for £30m. The Mexican, 27, has scored 15 goals in 37 games since joining the Premier League newcomers on a season-long loan in June 2018. He has helped Wolves to seventh in the table and

played a key role as they reached FA Cup semifinal against Watford. "I want to make history here at the club," said Jimenez, who has agreed a deal until the summer of 2023. "I want to put the club back into the top places in the Premier League. I think we all want that and have that ambition. "It's a great honour

for me to now be a permanent member of the team." Jimenez moved to Benfica in 2015 after a season at Atletico Madrid and scored 31 goals in 120 appearances for the Portuguese side. Jimenez began his career with Mexican side Club America and won two Liga MX titles.




APRIL 2019

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IPL: 12TH SEASON WHO WILL WIN Indian Premier League 12th season is in full swing and contenders are ready to do battle in the 2019 competition. Defending champions Chennai Super Kings are gunning for their fourth title of IPL action. Sunrisers Hyderabad will be gunning for revenge after losing the final in 2018, while the Delhi Daredevils have been rebranded as the Delhi Capitals. Eight teams will do battle over 60 matches in a bid for supremacy. India and Mumbai

Indians all-rounder Hardik Pandya won the man of the match award for his all round performance defeating Chennai Super Kigs (CSK). During his eight-ball knock, Hardik hit one four and three sixes with the best shot landing in the top-tier of the stadium and Dhoni looking very impressed. Cricket Fans around the world are tuning in who will win the IPL 2019.

Kho Kho – a league of its own Kho Kho a popular tag and ancient sport in India has announced to launch a professional league of its own. After the opulence of Cricket, Football, Hockey, Kabaddi, Badminton & Wrestling leagues in India, another famous Indian sport is set to have a franchisebased tournament named ‘Ultimate Kho-Kho. A 21-day event there will be eight participating teams who will play a total of 60 matches in a double-round robin format. In total, there will be eight franchises with 12 players each and all the sides must include two

foreign players and two players under the age pool of 21. KhoKho, a sport which needs minimal infrastructure, is also played globally, especially in Asian countries like Japan, Malaysia, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal, and Korea including England Amit Burman, Dabur India vice-chairman, who had been associated with Poker Sports League in the past, is combining with the Kho-Kho Federation of India to kickstart this ambitious project. “We are launching the league in association with the Kho Kho Federation of Indian (KKFI).

Profile for The Asian Today

The Asian Today Issue 245 – April 2019  

The latest issue of The Asian Today out now.

The Asian Today Issue 245 – April 2019  

The latest issue of The Asian Today out now.