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VOICE OF ASIA 1

VOICE OF ASIA The Largest Asian-American Newsweekly in Texas

FRIDAY, February 23, 2018

Serving Harris, Fort Bend and Surrounding Counties for 30 years

Vol. 31 No. 8 • Friday, February 23, 2018

Published Weekly from Houston

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FRIDAY, February 23, 2018


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VOICE OF ASIA The Largest Asian-American Newsweekly in Texas

voiceofasiaonline.com

Connect with us today! Visit us Online @ www.voiceofasiaonline.com

713-774-5140

Serving Harris, Fort Bend and Surrounding Counties for 30 years

Vol. 31 No. 8 • Friday, February 23, 2018

Published Weekly from Houston

24 Pages (2 sections) 50 cents

Trump suggests arming teachers as he meets Florida survivors

FRIDAY, February 23, 2018

In Section 2 l

Health Line Home & Real Estate Bollywood/Hollywood Business Science & Technology Fashion Legal

l l l l l l

713-774-5140 • E-mail: voiceasia@aol.com

Crime rate in Sugar Land hits historic low

by Chris Lefkow

W

ASHINGTON | AFP | Wednesday, 2/21/2018 - US President Donald Trump suggested arming teachers to deter future mass shootings as he held an emotional meeting Wednesday at the White House with survivors of the gun rampage that left 17 people dead at a Florida high school. Trump also promised "very strong" background checks on gun owners during the poignant "listening session," in which he heard first-hand accounts from bereaved parents and friends, and schoolchildren who narrowly escaped with their own lives. "A gun-free zone, to a maniac -- because they are all cowards -- a gunfree zone is 'Let's go in and let's attack," Trump said.

US President Donald Trump takes part in a “listening session” on gun violence with teachers and students in the State Dining Room of the White House. (Mandel NGAN/AFP)

"If you had a teacher who was adept at firearms, they could very well end the attack very quickly," Trump said, suggesting that 20 percent of a school's teachers could be trained to carry concealed weapons.

"This would only be obviously for people who are very adept at handling a gun," Trump added.

Sugar Land Town Square. (Photo credit: Ed Schipul)

The televised White House meeting came as students staged street protests across the country to demand stricter

gun laws following the murder of 14 teens and three teachers at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Continued on Page 12

Trump Jr in India says presidency is costing the family firm

S

UGAR LAND, TX – Sugar Land’s crime rate for 2017 was the lowest on record.

The results were included in the Sugar Land Police Department’s 2017 Annual Report. More results follow: • Sugar Land’s crime rate decreased 10 percent from 2016 to 2017. The rate is 50.4 percent lower than the state average and 44 percent lower than the national average for 2016.

decreased 22 percent from 2016 to 2017. The rate is 84 percent lower than the state average and 82 percent lower than the national average for 2016. • Sugar Land’s property crime rate decreased 9.5 percent from 2016 to 2017. The rate is 45 percent lower than the state average and 38 percent lower than the national average for 2016. National and state crime rates for Continued on Page 5

• Sugar Land’s violent crime rate

Sri Meenakshi Temple celebrates Maha Sivarathri

US President Donald Trump's eldest son, Donald Trump Jr. leaves after a photo call in Kolkata, India, Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018. (AP Photo/Bikas Das)

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EW DELHI, India | AFP | 2/21/2018 - Donald Trump's presidency has cost the family firm "millions of dollars" in lost business, his son told an Indian newspaper during a visit aimed at drumming up sales of new luxury apartment complexes. Donald Trump junior told the Times of India that the Trump Organization was turning down new business opportunities around the world because of his father's position.

deals while my father is in office," he said in an interview published on Wednesday. "We are turning down deals worth hundreds of millions of dollars around the world." Trump junior is in India to promote a series of luxury apartment developments being marketed under his father's name. On Friday he will have dinner with dozens of people who have bought

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"We are refraining from doing new

MTS Chairman Dr. Padmini Ranganathan performing Abhishekam to Shivalinga during Maha Sivarathri.

Read report on Page 6

Continued on Page 10

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OP-ED/COMMENTARY/ANALYSIS

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VOICE OF ASIA Publisher: Associate Publisher: Editor-in-Chief: Austin Correspondent: Marketing Director: Office Manager:

Koshy Thomas Sherly Philip Shobana Muratee Sherine Thomas Susan Pothanikat Priyan Mathew

Columnists: Legal: Richard M. Alderman Legal: Sharlene Sharmila Richards Legal: Surendran K. Pattel Research: Prof. Meenakshi Bhattacharjee Opinion: Dr. Chandra Mittal

VoiceofAsiaOnline.com Editor Online:

Shobana Muratee

All rights reserved. No material herein or portions thereof may be published without the consent of the publisher. Voice of Asia assumes no liability resulting from action taken based on the information included herein. Published weekly by Free Press LLC, 8303 SW Freeway, Suite # 325, Houston, TX 77074. Tel: 713-774-5140. Fax: 713-7745143. Email for editorial submissions: voiceasia@aol. com; Email for advertising inquiries and submissions: ads@voiceofasiagroup.com

It is the policy of Voice of Asia to publish letters to the editor which evidence a variety of viewpoints. The opinions expressed in any particular letter to the editor are not necessarily those of the management. Voice of Asia welcomes letters in reply to issues raised in letters to editor. In as much letters to the editor are not articles written or researched by members of Voice of Asia, it is not the policy of the Voice of Asia to perform any investigation or confirmation of any facts or allegations contained in letters to the editor. Moreover, Voice of Asia reserves the right to edit letters to the editor as necessary to correct errors of fact, punctuation, spelling and to comply with space constraints. Although paid advertisements may appear in Voice of Asia Group Publications in print, online, or in other electronic formats, the Voice of Asia Group does not endorse the advertised product, service, or company, nor any of the claims made by the advertisement. - The Publisher

Voice of Asia (USPS 010-215) (ISSN#10705058) is published every Friday (for a subscription rate of $30 per year) by Free Press LLC, 8303 SW Freeway, Suite # 325, Houston, TX 77074. Tel: 713-774-5140. Fax: 713774-5143. Periodical postage paid at Houston, Texas. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Voice of Asia, 8303 SW Freeway, Suite # 325, Houston, TX 77074

by Bhamy V. Shenoy and Kul Bhushan Uppal

T

here is not a single Indo-American family in Houston which is not agitated after hearing on radio or watching on TV or reading the news papers about the dreadful shooting in Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida on February 14. This is a tragedy not just affecting the families of 17 students and teachers who were gunned down that day. This is a tragedy which has implanted the seeds of fear of attending schools in the minds of children, parents and grand parents. It is time for all of us to get involved to start a movement to repeal the second amendment to the US constitution which gives rights to every citizen to posses a gun. It was the amendment passed during an era what may be considered as jungle raj. Society in 21st century is vastly different than what it was and there is absolutely no need to possess a gun for our safety. Despite the second amendment how did those children get killed in Florida on Feb 14 or Sandy Hook school in 2002 or Columbine High School in 1999 and many such schools and colleges across the US? Besides these school children

FRIDAY, February 23, 2018

No More Guns. Time to repeal second amendment... 'Arise, Awake and Get Involved' there have been such mass killings. Some of the deadliest are 58 killed during The Harvest Music Festival in Las Vegas in 2017, 49 killed in Pulse Night Club in Orlando in 2016, and 26 killed in First Baptist Church in Sutherlands Springs in 2017. It is very painful to go over these killings, a direct result of man’s irrational and foolish claim to possess guns as a fundamental right. How often do we hear that it is not guns which kill but man holding it. If there are no guns, could he have killed is a question that is never asked.

or the other to contribute to violence. By getting involved in the movement to ban the gun, Indian community in the US can make significant contribution as they have done in scientific, medical and industrial fields.

After each mass shooting either in the school or outside, there are efforts made to control guns in some form or the other. However with the passage of time, such efforts either result in some minor changes or completely die down. This time we should not allow it to happen.

Let us adapt Gandhi’s strategy by writing letters to them. Let us ask them not to accept contribution from NRAs. Let us urge them to start the process of repealing the second amendment. Let us also tell them that if they fail to comply, we will not give our votes to them - most powerful weapon in democracy.

Because of India’s civilizational values we the IndoAmericans have in our DNA to abhor any kind of violence. After all guns end up one way

It may be useful to reflect on what Mahatma Gandhi, the apostle of peace would have done if he were alive today. Can we learn some lessons from his life? He would have led “million peaceful mutinies” by appealing to the conscience of congressmen and senators to repeal the second amendment.

Above all let us have the confidence that we will succeed this time in convincing

the Congress to repeal that second amendment despite the NRA’s funding capacity. Let us recall, that Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela succeeded in reaching their goals which were once considered Impossible using lessons learnt from Mahatma’s life. On March 24th a protest march against guns is planned in Washington by Florida teen shooting surveyors. Every effort should be made to participate in the “March for Lives”. If we cannot participate, we can ask our friends and relatives who live in and around Washington, DC. We should go on one day hunger strike (Mahatma’s most popular strategy) on March 24 and assemble in temples or churches, or mosques of our choice or India House. During those gatherings we should discuss how to mobilize support for the cause. Since ICC can truly claim to represent all Indo-Americans of Houston, may we request its office bearers to lead this movement? ICC can even plan in Houston, “March for Lives”.

Florida’s Valentine’s Day school shooting: An avoidable American tragedy by Chandra K. Mittal, Ph.D. Nothing is more tragic and horrific for a nation than the Valentine’s Day – a symbol of universal love and affection, turning into the Columbine Day – the day that witnessed the mass massacre of many innocent children at Columbine High School in Colorado in 1999. But, unfortunately, that is exactly what played out last week on February 14, 2018, the Valentine’s Day, when the peaceful community of Parkland, Florida experienced the death of many young innocent students and staff members at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School by a disturbed student. The incident devastated many families leaving permanent scars. Sadly, no sooner than the reports of Florida shooting began to spread, a predictable national reaction to the tragedy began to unfold, which fol-

lowed a rehearsed script that always repeats itself every time similar incidence befalls America. These have included mass shootings at Columbine, Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook, Orlando Florida, Sutherland Springs Texas, Las Vegas, etc. As expected, Liberal voices began blaming availability of guns (most particularly the military-style assault weapons) while Conservatives sought refuge in the argument that security lapses at school contributed to the carnage. On their part the party in power, the Republicans, controlling both houses of US Congress and the Presidency kept generally silent except expressing their “Thoughts and Prayers”, a much used (but symbolic) cliché to comfort the Florida victims. Even President Donald Trump only issued a guarded statement on the national tragedy as he avoided using the word “gun” in it, presumably not to offend the National Rifle Association (NRA), one of his ardent supporters. Unfortunately, lost in this wrangling between various political factions and philosophies are the victims and their families who have been devastated forever. They expect and demand, from their government, the safety for their communities and schools. But that is nowhere in sight. All they see is political posturing and excuses. For example, Speaker Paul Ryan, the most powerful political figure in Washington, D.C who is third in line to succeed the US President, called any discussion about guns as a “knee-Jerk” reaction to the Florida tragedy. Sadly, for him there is no good time to have gun-debate.

Gayatri Consciousness Center/ Temple of Katy

Guns in America must be considered in the historic context. These are integral part of American folklore from the very discovery of this new world by the Europeans.

Invites you to

HOLI PUJA/HOLIKA DAHAN Thursday March 1st---6:00 - 7:00 pm Bring coconut/grains to offer

In the beginning, guns were needed to hunt food or safety from predator animals in the wilderness. Later, successive local governments and administrations out-contracted their defense and safety services to private militias with armedcivilians. It is with this background that Founding Fathers included gun-ownership by Americans in the Bill of Rights (Second-Amendment) under the US Constitution. Today, America has almost 300 Million guns in civilian possession that people use for hunting, sports, and personal safety. But it also has the 31st highest rate of gun-related deaths in the world ahead of all its counterparts in the industrialized nations. Many associate this high rate of gun-deaths to easy availability of guns. Today’s debate on gun should not be about gun-Rights but that how to regulate the gun-ownership. The real issue is what types of guns are appropriate for civilians to own, and who should have rights to own it. The dispute revolves around the availability of military-style assault weapons capable of mass killings, such as used at Florida shooting. It is also being debated if guns should be allowed to be owned by people with mental illness and emotional disorders. Regarding the sale of Assault Weapons, United States Congress has completely failed most Americans, majority of whom oppose such sales. This ban was originally signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1994, which expired in 2004. Since then all efforts to renew it, including the aftermath of 2012 Sandy Hook mass shooting, failed in the US Senate almost along the party lines. In general, Republicans favor sale of Assault Weapons, whereas Democrats oppose it. It may be time now to reconsider the ban on assault weapons in view of shooting in Florida, Texas and

Las Vegas. The issue of gun ownership by people with mental illness and emotional disorders is another important issue, but that gets scant respect from the lawmakers in Washington DC. Many argue that Constitutional Right to bear arms is so fundamental that people with mental sickness cannot be deprived of their gun-Rights. It is perhaps this excuse or belief that made President Donald Trump to repeal Obama-era gun background check for mentally ill persons. Incidentally, Florida mass shooter suffered from mental illness but was still able to legally purchase AR-15, a semiautomatic rifle, enabling him to cause mass carnage. Advocates of unrestricted gun-Rights argue that “guns don’t kill people, people kill people”. This may be true, but then the role of human mind becomes critical in one’s decision to use the gun to kill. That brings to the cultural and societal influences that guide and direct behaviors of human beings. Today, many young children are becoming are becoming numb to human death as they regularly interact with violent television shows and video games. Ultimately, America will have to change its stance on current gun-ownership laws to bring them in line with modern times. In addition, it is also time for American society to introspect itself culturally to see how killing instinct can be curtailed in young impressionable minds to prevent tragedies like Columbine, Sandy Hook, Sutherland Springs, Parkland, etc. in the future. Dr. Chandra Mittal is Professor at Houston Community College, and Co-Founder of Indo-American Association (IAA). Contact: drckmittal@ yahoo.com: Twitter: @drchandramittal

HOLI DHULETI CELEBRATIONS Sunday Mar 4th---4:30 - 6:30 pm Followed by Arti & Maha Prasad

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Lecture and discussion on a series of texts by A. Parthasarathy, beginning with The Fall of the Human Intellect. Designed to support a daily study at home.

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Joseph is Director of Vedanta Institute Houston. He has been studying Vedanta since 1996. He is a graduate of the threeyear, full-time residential course on Vedanta philosophy at Vedanta Academy, in India.

Vedanta is derived from two words Veda – Knowledge and Anta – End. Vedanta means the end of knowledge. This ancient philosophy presents the eternal principles of life and living. It programs a life of mental peace combined with dynamic action in the world. Equips one with clarity of intellect to deal with the challenges of life. Above all its philosophy leads one to the ultimate goal of Self-Realization. – A. Parthasarathy

For Registration: www.indiahouseinc.org/programs-services/vedanta-study-group For more information: 713-929-1900 | Vipin@indiahouseinc.org | www.indiahouseinc.org


VOICE OF ASIA 5

Section 1

Community Email: voiceasia@aol.com

HGH to host 8th Annual Hindu Youth Awards and Fundraising Gala on March 3

H

indus of Greater Houston (HGH) is proud to announce their 8th Annual Hindu Youth Awards and Fundraising Gala on March 3, 2018 at ISKCON of Houston (1320 W 34th St, Houston, TX 77018) at 5:30 pm. The purpose of this event is to recognize young Hindu leaders for their achievements in academics, service, and leadership. Award winners are given an opportunity to share their personal experiences and to inspire and encourage other youth attendees to take initiative in making a difference in the community. This event allows for Hindu youth with similar beliefs, values, and interests to connect and create a strong and well-knit community. Additional highlights of this event include recognition of donors and organizations for their commitment and support to an important cause, speeches from special guests interspersed with a cultural program. HH Rtadhvaja Swami who was born and raised in North Dakota will be the guest speaker. He travels to inspire devotees, especially the youth. Swapnil Agarwal, Founder and CEO of Nitya Capital, who was named Entrepreneur of the Year in 2017 will be the guest of honor. There will be an exclusive youth session from 5:45-6:30 pm during which the youth will have the opportunity to speak directly to the special guests and ask questions.

FRIDAY, February 23, 2018

Tel: 713-774-5140

Crime rate in Sugar Land ... Continued from Page 3 2017 will not be published until later this year. The overall crime rate is comprised of Part 1 crimes that include homicides, sexual assaults, robberies, aggravated assaults, burglaries, thefts and auto thefts. Based on statistics published annually by the FBI, Sugar Land’s 2017 crime rate was lower than other cities in Fort Bend County and the Houston region. Sugar Land’s lowest crime

Mukund Nair, Harsh Mehta, Siddhant Ahuja, Govinda Ramirez, Shial Gajjar, Nikita Zamwar, Haripriya Sundara Murthy, Ms. Suhag Shukla (Chief Guest), and Mr. Devinder Mahajan

Partha Krishnaswamy, HGH President, stated, “Every year we see increasing number of nominations for the youth award which not only reflects the value this recognition creates, but it also demonstrates increasing youth involvement in selfless community service, which is a healthy indicator in our society”. Bhawna Luthra, Hindu Youth Awards Coordinator and HGH Board of Director, commented, “It has been a great pleasure collaborating with ISKCON Houston for this year's Hindu Youth Awards. I am looking

were often left in plain site or in unlocked vehicles. Priorities during 2018 will include: • the creation of a parks security master plan; • online crime reporting enhancements; • review and implementation of a management study conducted by industry experts as part of an overall program of continuous improvement; • continued evaluation of a

Source: Sugar Land Police

forward to making this event a huge success. I hope that this event can continue to inspire youth in the community to follow the footsteps of those recognized and to excel in service, academics, and leadership”.

HGH and strengthen its foundation.

With the support of generous donors, Hindus of Greater Houston works to promote unity among Hindus through various events such as Janmashtami and Hindu Leadership meets. Hindus of Greater Houston would like to thank you for your support in helping us further the mission of

You can sponsor a table on behalf of your organization to celebrate this event with a donation of $1000, $500 or $250. Any amount of donation is welcome to help our cause. Donations can be made to HGH by mailing the check to: 4002 Sutton Shadow Ln, Katy, TX 77494.

Your donation will be used for all our activities and allow us to continue to bring about harmony and solidarity among ourselves and outreach to all others.

rate on record was achieved after hitting a 20-year low in 2016. Sugar Land Police Chief Doug Brinkley credits a strong police presence, community partnerships, public education, a commitment to technology, training and departmental leadership for Sugar Land’s historically low crime rate. Analysis from the reports shows that family violence accounted for 31 percent of aggravated assaults, shoplifting represented 37 percent of all thefts and the majority of vehicle burglaries occurred at fitness centers where valuables

public safety training facility; • citywide expansion of the Crime Prevention Camera program, which utilized license plate recognition cameras at entrances to the city; • a focus on traffic enforcement at top accident locations; and • a continued focus on residential burglaries, robberies and vehicle burglaries. “Despite our historic low crime rate, we will remain proactive and continue our focus to remain one of the safest cities in the nation,” said Brinkley.

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COMMUNITY

VOICE OF ASIA 6

FRIDAY, February 23, 2018

Auspiciousness marks Mahasivaratri at Saumyakasi Sivalaya hasivaratri and the glory of the Siva Manasa Puja. Continuing that trend of spiritual upliftment, the festivities of Sivaratri concluded with the Mahamrtyunjaya Homa at Chinmaya Smriti on Saturday, February 17, when hundreds of people gathered to chant the potent Mrtyunjaya Mantra 108 times for the physical and spiritual well-being of family and friends. Every year, this time of collective prayer leaves all those who participate overwhelmed by the power of those deeply healing spiritual vibrations.

Flowers and fruits adorn Sivalinga. Photos by Rajesh Thatte by Satchitananda

S

ri Saumyakasi Sivalaya, Chinmaya Mission Houston (CMH), once again became the spiritual epicenter for the Mahasivaratri celebrations of the Greater Houston Hindu community on

February 13th, 2018. Mahasivaratri, the great celebration of Lord Siva who is the very embodiment of Consciousness and auspiciousness, elevates every spiritual seeker to a higher level of contemplation. So, despite it being a weekday,

Acharya Gaurang Nanavaty performing puja at the spectacular model of Kailas, Lord Siva's abode. hundreds of devout devotees streamed into the Sivalaya for a darshan. They also had an opportunity to perform kshirabhisheka (milk offering) to the utsav murti, throughout the day. The temple priest, Sri Ganesh Satyanarayanaji, led the puja and the atmosphere was replete with continuous, powerful Vedic chanting. The grandeur of the Mahanyasa purvaka Rudrabhiseka performed that Tuesday morning was matched by the glory of the Laghunyasa purvaka Ekadasa Rudrabhiseka conducted in the evening. Watching the different offerings made to the resplendent Sivalinga dur-

Priest performing puja.

ing the abhisekams was an open passport to all for a soulstirring spiritual journey. The Sri Rudram - Chamakam and Namakam chanted during the whole day ushered in the aura of the Vedic past. The Sivalaya at Chinmaya Prabha Houston provided the opportunity to the public for personal spiritual interaction through the various pujas. The cold, mist-filled day seemed a perfect fit to the theme of the mini Kailas set up in the temple basement; as eager devotees lined up to worship with their own chance to do abhiseka at that altar, it felt as though each was teleported to that mystic abode of Lord

Siva. Against the horizon, the main Sivalinga- shaped temple was brightly lit to capture the glowing spirit of the day. When the pujas for the day concluded with aarti, the most awaited part of the auspicious evening arrived – an hour of silent meditation that reminded the bhaktas, the true nature of Siva who is above all expression. That silence and bliss and provided a deeper meaning to the daylong events. The holy celebrations began even a weekend prior when Brahmacarini Shweta Chaitanya inspired the minds of the Chinmaya Mission members by giving an elaborate insight into the significance of Ma-

One cannot escape the wonderment of how CMH pulls off such a feat every year - a majestic reminder of the spiritual legacy left by Pujya Gurudev Swami Chinmayanandaji ably carried on by the resident acharyas – Gaurang and Darshana Nanavaty, fondly known as Uncle and Aunty to all. The magic lies in the dozens of volunteers who eagerly offer themselves for seva. CMH volunteers once again sparkled as they translated the spirit of Sanatana Dharma into practical action on a grand, auspicious scale. For more information on Chinmaya Mission Houston, Sri Saumyakasi Sivalaya and its activities visit www.chinmayahouston.org, www.saumyakasi.org or call temple 281 568 1690 or Jay Deshmukh 832 541 0059 or Bharati Sutaria 281-9330233.

Sri Meenakshi Temple celebrates Maha Sivarathri

Lord Shiva depicted as the Destroyer of Evil, in his heavenly abode Kailash by Bhargavi Golla

S

ri Meenakshi Temple celebrated Maha Sivarathri with devotion and religious fervor in the honor of Lord Shiva on Tuesday, February 13th, 2018. Lord Shiva is regarded as the God of immense power and destroyer of evil. This special day is not for celebrations and merrymaking but to worship Lord Shiva, introspect and become meditative. Maha Sivarathri is celebrated in the dark fortnight or Krishna Paksha at the 13th night or 14th day of the month Maagha or Phalguna (February or March).

Sivarathri comes once every month, Maha Sivrathri or the "great night of Shiva" comes once in a year in the month of Maagha. On this night, the northern hemisphere of the planet is positioned in such a way that there is a natural upsurge of spiritual energy in a human being. There are several legends around Maha Sivarathri. According to a legend, Maha Sivarathri was the day when Shiva drank poisonous negativity to protect the world. Another legend says that it is the night when Shiva performs the heavenly dance of creation, preservation and destruction, while

some believe that this is the night marking the convergence of Shiva and Shakti. Lord Shiva depending on his various qualities, have been recognized and called by 108 different names: Bholeshankar, Parameshwara, Shiv Shambu, Mahadev, Shambhunath, Ardhnarishwar, Devadideva, Kailashnath, Nataraj, Mahayogi, among others. There was a steady stream of devotees through out the day and swell to a big group for the evening’s main event. Priests performed initial rituals of Sankalapam, Vigneswara puja and Punyahavachanam (purification). It was followed by

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Ashtothra Satha (108) Sanku (conch) Puja and Homam while priests and devotees chant the most divine Sri Rudhram. One could feel the spiritual vibrations from Rudra Japam inside the temple. Priests performed Abhishekam to Lord Sundareswara in the sannidhi with the sanctified water from 108 sanku and decorated with beautiful Alankaram. When the sanctum doors opened, going into raptures all the devotees started chanting loudly the sacred ‘Om Namah Shivaya’. A special Archana was performed with gold Bilva leaves while the devotees’ recited Vedic mantra led by priests. Nandi (vahana of Shiva) was beautifully decorated with fruits and flowers garlands. Since pradosham also fell on the same day, Pradhosha moorthy on a Rishaba vahanam was taken in a procession around the temple with Chenda Melam performed by young MTS devotees. The evening puja concluded with

the Maha Aarthi and Aathmalinga puja where all devotees lined up to perform their own milk abhishekam to the Shiva Lingam. This year the silpis, priests and volunteers worked hard to setup the magnificent special exhibit of Maha Pradosha Thandavam. M.K. Sriram explained about the exhibit: At the holy Kailas Mountain, during the most auspicious time of Pradosham, Lord Shiva dances to the absolute delight of Sri Parvathy and all the Devas and Devathas assembled there. Lord Brahma sets the beat to the heavenly music accompanying the divine cosmic dance, while Lord Indra plays the flute and Lord Vishnu plays the drums. Many children after the school gathered at the temple and participated in the cultural program at Nataraja Sannidhi. Partha Krishnaswamy coordinated the cultural program

on this auspicious day. These children mesmerized the audience with their Carnatic talents and beautiful voice and dance. All the dances were wonderfully choreographed on the theme of Lord Shiva by many of Houston’s dance schools including Abhinaya School of Dance, Silambam. May Lord Shiva bestow all the blessings on these children and the gurus. Temple stayed open through out the night and several ardent devotees observed jagaram at the temple by participating in Chaturkala Puja at midnight, 1:30AM, 3AM and 4:30AM and by chanting Shiva Bhajans. MTS Chairman Dr. Padmini Ranganathan thanked the priests, staff, Board and volunteers. M.K. Sriram, Muthukumar and Pandu N coordinated this blissful event. A brief video of the event can be found at: https://youtube/va0uwuFw-mc


VOICE OF ASIA 7

Fort Bend View

FRIDAY, February 23, 2018

Sugar Land, Katy, Stafford, Missouri City, Richmond, Rosenberg and Meadows Place

Section 1

Sri Kulkarni, Congressional candidate for District 22, clears his name

Email: voiceasia@aol.com

Tel: 713-774-5140

Join Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital to raise funds for infant health in the March of Dimes Walk for Babies

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UGAR LAND—(February 9, 2018) — Chloé and Isabella were born at Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital four weeks early to first-time parents Maria and Romain Vidal-Michel. After birth, Chloé went to an incubator in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and Isabella went to the well-baby nursery. “Having our babies separated was hard,” remembers Maria. “But we managed to make the best of it, with help and support from the Houston Methodist Sugar Land staff.”

Photo Courtesy of Sri Preston Kulkarni

Statement: Kulkarni for Congress, February 21, 2018 As many of you are aware already, a group which has endorsed another candidate in the Democratic primary for Congress recently sent out a letter to a wide distribution which attempted to use a very painful personal incident in my life from more than 20 years ago in order to discredit our campaign and claim that I am unfit for office. The letter included multiple false statements about me, including that I am using an “assumed name.” (My full name is Srinivas Rao Preston Kulkarni, and when the candidate in question was told this, his response was, “Produce your birth certificate.” I am publishing my passport and social security card below to clear up this “birther” controversy). To be clear, I am not writing to condemn the author or the campaign which condoned sending it out. I am instead writing to publicly thank the author and the campaign, because they have helped to highlight a serious problem which needs to be addressed in our society. Many qualified people either choose not to seek office because they don’t want to deal with people dragging their name through the mud like this, or they run from the issue, when what we should be doing is trying to honestly confront the problems in our system and fix them. In that light, I’m more than happy to tell my story. When I was 18 years old, in 1997, my father was dying from acute myelocytic leukemia. I had to drop out of college for a year to take care of him. I did his physical therapy, I changed his IV bags, I took him back and forth to MD Anderson, and I even had to carry him to the bathroom and clean him as I watched him wither away to nothing. It was one of the most difficult periods in my life. During this time, my life became even more difficult after I was arrested for drug possession. The charge was for possession of less than 1 gram of cocaine, for which the penalty at that time was 2-10 years in prison. For months, I awaited an indictment, which never came, but even the terms of bail were a tremendous burden. I had to be at home between the hours of 10pm and 6am, and if I wasn’t, I could be thrown back in jail. That proved to be untenable, as I often had to take my father to the hospital in the middle of the night. So, rather than try to fight this charge in court, I accepted an offer of “deferred adjudication.” I was required to pay a fine and do 500 hours of community service, and after 2 years, my case was dismissed, meaning I have not been convicted of a crime. (The distinction is very important, as a conviction results in the loss of many rights). In my case, I was lucky. I went on to graduate from UT and Harvard and had a very successful career in the State Department (where I was granted top secret clearance). Not all people are this lucky. As President Obama pointed out, if he had been arrested for drug possession, he could have easily been one more kid in

While Romain spent time in the NICU learning how to feed and take care of Chloé, Maria was learning how to breastfeed and care for Isabella. Despite the separation, Maria says she knew that her babies had the best possible care at every moment. Today, Chloé and Isabella are nine months old and are happy and healthy. As her way of saying thank you to the hospital staff that took such great care of her babies, Maria is serving as the 2018 Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital’s Patient Ambassador for the March of Dimes Walk for Babies. The Fort Bend Walk for Babies is scheduled for 9 a.m. on Saturday, April 21 at Constellation Field, 1 Stadium Drive in Sugar Land. Houston Methodist Sugar Land employees are teaming up once again to walk in sup-

Romain, Maria, Chloe and Isabella Videl-Michel port of the many valuable services that March of Dimes funds. Fort Bend residents are invited to

join the hospital’s team and participate in the 3.2-mile walk to raise funds that support healthy childbirth and babies.

Fort Bend ISD Celebrates Career and Technical Education ORT BEND ISD (February 20, 2018) -- Earlier this month, the State Board of Education proclaimed February as Career and Technical Education (CTE) Month in Texas, in conjunction with National CTE Month. Fort Bend ISD joins districts across the nation to raise awareness and celebrate the value of CTE. More than 17,000 students are currently enrolled in CTE courses in FBISD and each year participation continues to grow with a variety of courses offered at each FBISD high school and middle school campus.

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According to FBISD Director of Career and Technical Education Meredith Watassek, these courses prepare students for future career paths, whether their plans include college, immediate entry into the workforce, or a combination of both. “There is a common misconception that CTE programs are for students who do not plan to attend college,” said Watassek. “That may have been the case years ago, but today CTE prison. There are millions of people in America today who are not as fortunate as I was, or President Obama, or Bush, or Clinton. Millions of people have their lives completely ruined by things like nonviolent drug offenses or even lack of ability to pay a fine. Our prisons and jails are full of nonviolent offenders who could be productive members of society. Even without a prison sentence, you are often denied employment for years after the incident. Ending the failed War on Drugs and achieving meaningful criminal justice reform are two issues which many progressive groups, including the one which sent this letter, claim to support. To date, our campaign is the only one which has posted publicly on our website about criminal justice reform. We oppose the War on Drugs and sup-

courses offer students a competitive advantage in preparing for their future no matter what their plans are following high school.” Courses available at FBISD high schools include business administration, health science, engineering, agriculture, architecture and construction, finance, human services, marketing, and arts and audio video communications. Additionally, juniors and seniors can access course work in information technology, cosmetology, culinary arts, hospitality and tourism, firefighting, automotive technologies and welding through the Technical Education Center. Students also have the opportunity to earn industry certifications and dual credit that gives them a competitive advantage for their future. “Colleges and employers both look for students who have taken that extra step,” said Watassek. “Earning dual credit and industry certifications demonstrate a student’s advanced academic knowledge in specific fields of study.”

port the initiative to “Ban the Box” (which prevents job applicants from being forced to disclose a prior arrest at the beginning of the hiring process). Our campaign is not afraid to discuss these issues. For those who agree that people should not be stigmatized for their entire life and that a teen arrest does not make one unfit to hold public office, we invite you to join our campaign and stand up for real progressive values. And for everyone, we invite you to participate in this important discussion. We had already been planning a forum on criminal justice reform. This week’s incident only further highlights the need to have serious discussion about these issues. - Sri Preston Kulkarni, Congressional Candidate CD22

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In November, FBISD broke ground on the James Reese Career and Technical Center, which will begin to serve students in the fall of 2019. The new center will offer advanced junior and senior level courses and give students an opportunity to explore careers in agriculture and natural resources, architecture and construction, arts and audio video communications, culinary arts, cosmetology, education and training, information technology, law and public safety, manufacturing and transportation and logistics. This state-of-the-art, 200,000-square-foot facility expands the space and resources available to FBISD students and will serve as many as 2,000 high school students each day. Students will have an opportunity to gain real-world experience working at one of five student-operated learning labs that will be open to the public, including a cosmetology studio, automotive shop, restaurant, credit union and early education center.

Easily sign up at marchforbabies.org/ team/HoustonMethodistSugarLandHospital and click on the purple “Join This Team” button on the right. Or, you can donate to our team by clicking on the pink “Donate” button. “March of Dimes does a fantastic job of working to support healthy lives for newborns,” said Chris Siebenaler, chief executive officer at Houston Methodist Sugar Land. “Proceeds from the annual Walk for Babies are used to fund research into understanding premature births and how to prevent them, as well as actually supporting families like the Vidal-Michel family who are struggling with the stress and difficulty of having a premature baby. Participating in the walk is our way of giving back and working toward reducing or eliminating premature births here in Fort Bend.” The Houston Methodist Childbirth Center at Sugar Land offers moms-tobe from Fort Bend and surrounding areas a convenient, comfortable, caring environment for their labor and delivery. With state-of-the-art technology, an experienced, highly skilled staff and a Level II NICU, the Childbirth Center offers medical center quality close to home. To learn more about Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital, visit houstonmethodist.org/sugarland or our Facebook page at fb.com/methodistsugarland for the latest news, events and information.


COMMUNITY

VOICE OF ASIA 8

FRIDAY, February 23, 2018

Bollywood Shake celebrates love in a magical way!

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alentine’s Day conjures up images of love, romance and red roses and that’s exactly what you found at Bollywood Shake’s First Ever Valentine’s Day Party! With passion and love filling the air, couples boogied to their hearts’ content. With red roses symbolizing deep and undying promises of love, the evening presented an ethereal feel. Ruchika Singh Dias of Bollywood Shake organized this event along with Saritha and Sharat Yempati of Yuva Houston at the Nirmanz Banquet Hall on Feb. 10th. This exclusive event included Valentine themed décor, romantic atmosphere, Live Performance by Zee Music Artist Salman Mithani, Music and Dhol by DJ Tamim Shakir, Couples Games and Food by Nirmanz Food Boutique. Over 50 couples enjoyed the evening with music, masti and fun on the occasion. The lovely hosts for the evening were Rutvi Chauhan, Mrs. Bollywood USA 2017 1st Runner Up and Chandni Pal, Mrs. Bollywood USA 2017 2nd Runner Up. The evening began with all the men presenting a red rose to their lady love in a special way (some on their knees!). Then started the first game, “Pyaar Ka Imtehaan”,

Time for a little entertainment!

Guests having a good time on the dance floor. where three couples were asked questions and had to match answers with their valentine. Some questions were “Who is the first to make up after a fight?” and “Who spends more money in shopping?”. The winning couple Anand and Dr. Ashima Chauhan matched on 5 out of 6 answers! In the next game, “Pyaar Ka Izhaar”, participants were asked to propose to their valen-

tine and the audience voted for the best proposal. The winner was Manali who chose to propose to her husband instead of the other way around! Then came the featured performance by Zee Music Artist Salman Mithani who serenaded the loving couples with his beautiful voice, many of whom came on the floor to dance to his music. Guests were then treated to scrumptious cui-

sine prepared by Chef Nirman especially for this occasion. Four types of chaat items were served as appetizers including bhel, pani puri, papdi chaat and dahi kachoris. Dinner included a lavish spread of vegetarian and non-vegetarian items with favorites like Paneer Kadai and Chicken Tikka Masala. For dessert, the chef prepared a special mixed sweet Falooda in a beautiful presentation.

Following dinner, the couples played a few more games – “Kitne Door Kitne Paas” where couples danced with a balloon between them and “Nach Baliye” where couples had to dance on a newspaper which kept getting smaller and smaller! Finally, the couples danced the night away to DJ Tamim’s music! The kids were also kept entertained in a separate kids’ area. While everyone celebrates Valentine’s Day with much fun and fervor, Bollywood Shake made it all the more special with their first ever Bollywood Valentine’s Day Party. It was a delight to see couples come out

to celebrate Valentine’s Day in a special way. Bollywood Shake would like to thank the sponsors for this event – Malti Kumar of Transamerica and MyTaxFiler. In addition to running a very successful Bollywood dance school and hosting their own radio show (Bollywood Shake Radio Online & On the App 24x7), Bollywood Shake hosts several events throughout the year including Bollywood Pageants, Fashion Shows, Dance Competitions and New Year’s Eve Galas. They look forward to seeing you at their next event!

Pre-Valentine’s Day Hindu Vivah event rocked! by Sanchali Basu eb 11 already had a Valentine’s Day feel in the air. Hindu singles from Houston and the rest of the US found a platform to meet eligible partners of the opposite sex at Maharajah Restaurant’s banquet hall. The event consisted of a round robin meet-up of bachelors and bachelorettes divided into two age groups, 35 and under, and over. A brief one-on-one tete a tete was arranged only for Hindu participants, followed by a mixer. The turnout was respectable and it was interesting and encouraging to see quite a few participants over the age of 35, confirming the popular belief that, “Love has no age limit.” This is the 4th event that the Houston chapter of hinduvivah arranged and now there are several chapters active all over the country, including Atlanta, Dallas, Austin, New Jersey and of course Houston. The most recent success story and feather in its cap is the couple who met through hinduvivah’s Atlanta chapter, which culminated in marriage. HinduVivah (www.hinduvivah.org ) is a US based non-

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From left to right in the picture: Disha Jhangiani, Sangita Dargan, Shelley Bhatti, Deepak Bhatti, Poonam Baweja, Prem Baweja, Vani Parameswar, Srikant Parameswar, Abha Grover, Dharminder Dargan, Vinay Chandraker, Sanchali Basu (sitting). (Some members of the organizing committee)

profit organization whose charter is to facilitate the meeting of Hindu singles for the purpose of matrimony. It is engaged mainly in the arranging of meetings where Hindu singles get a chance to mingle with like-minded

suitors who are implicitly ready for marriage. These meets help break the ice and introduce Hindu singles to each other, at which point Vivah’s work is done, and these singles are left to explore and select a life part-

ner from amongst the singles they meet at the events. Vivah requests Hindu singles to not use these events to date for dating sake. The services are meant to be used by those that are serious and contemplating marriage.

Since Vivah is funded by the Hindu community, its events are free of charge to all its attendees. Research shows that in-person meets have a much higher chance of leading to finding a partner suitable for marriage; than do

online matching/dating sites based strictly on professed personal profiles. At some point in the future if some kind of online presence can complement these in-person meets, Vivah is open to exploring that avenue. The event was very well organized and many participants stopped by the Volunteers’ desk to compliment the event coordinators. They were all praise for the wonderful efforts put together by a great team of volunteers. A suggestion by one of the participants was to include Sikhs of Indian origin in the mix, which will be considered by organizers of future events. This time around, there were 24 matching pairs. Pavel Ahmed of Maharajah restaurant went all out to make everyone comfortable and provide free tea to the participants and benevolent sponsor Umang Mehta of Deep Foods provided snacks and juice. Elite Top USA founders Satish and Meenakshi Varma who have a thriving real estate and roofing tile business, were also sponsors for the event. Please check the website www.hinduvivah.org for updates and notifications of future events.

Welcome Lunch and Induction for IMAGH’s 2018 Office Bearers

IMAGH Board of Director. L to R: Back Row: Sayed Nasir, Tasnim Vadva, Karim Maknojia. L to R: Front Row: Dr. Maqbool Haq, Dr. Mujib Ashrafi, Dr. Saleha Khumawala, munir Ibrahim (IMAGH President) and Fateh Ali Chatur.

by Paru McGuire he Indian Muslim Association of Greater Houston (IMAGH) hosted a lunch to welcome the incoming Board of Directors and Board of Advisors at Maggiano’s cozy upstairs meeting room on Sunday, January 28, 2018. Also in attendance was Adrian Garcia, the Democratic

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candidate for County Commissioner Precinct 2, who inducted the Board members with a swearing-in ceremony. Fakruddin Sabir and Dr. Abdul Moosa who are also serving on the Board of Directors were unable to attend the meeting Cynthia Cisneros, a former news reporter at Channel 13 KTRK and now Vice Presi-

dent of Community Affairs was the Emcee for the event. The program began with a welcoming statement by IMAGH President Munir Ibrahim who spoke of how IMAGH embraced its cultural diversity and Club 65 President Paru McGuire and SAYA President Mohammed Khan briefly talked about the Vision and events put forth by their respective sister or-

Board of Advisors: L to R (front row) Munir Ibrahim (IMAGH President), Latafath Hussain, Neeta Sane, Gordon Quan, Abeezar Tyebji, (back row) Swapan Dhairyawan, Vijay Pallod, Dr. Nadir Ali, Raj Bhavsar, Ken Matthews, Jawahar Malhotra

ganizations, both under the umbrella of IMAGH. Munir further thanked the host for the luncheon, Dr. Maqbool Haq, who is also Chairman of the Board of Directors and Abeezar Tyebji, Chairman of the Advisory Board as well as Latafath Hussain, Past President of IMAGH. He also introduced the members of the Board of Directors, the Board of Advisors and the IMAGH

Executive committee. Latafath Hussain who is lovingly referred to as IMAGH’s godfather, welcomed all the new Board members and recognized those who have supported his efforts to get IMAGH going: Mariam Izza, Gordon and Sylvia Quan; Shakuntla Malhotra, Maqbool Haq and Abeezar Tyebji. Dr. Maqbool Haq as well

as Abeezar Tyebji shared their goals for IMAGH for the year which included raising money for an annual Houston Science and Art Festival for Kids and a series of Discover Houston Walk. The afternoon ended with a sumptuous lunch and dessert catered by Maggiano”s Little Italy.


COMMUNITY

VOICE OF ASIA 9

FIS features India-Israeli relationship at its Distinguished Lecture Series

FRIDAY, February 23, 2018

Tiger Ball Underwriter Party pix

Speakers: Dr. Anupam Ray, Consul General of India in Houston and Gilad Katz, Consul General of Israel by Nish Bhan OUSTON - On a sunny afternoon of February 18th. about 80 attendees including several Jewish people came and listened attentively to two distinguished speakers Mr. Gilad Katz, Consul General of Israel who was a former adviser to Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, and Dr. Anupam Ray, Consul General of India in Houston. The lectures were arranged by the Foundation for India Studies, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization under its Distinguished Lecture Series. The topic was: India-Israeli relationship in the current geopolitical climate.

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Mr. Katz spoke first, and traced the ancient connections between India and Israel. In particular, he highlighted a shared mutual respect, and genuine friendship between PM Netanyahu and PM Modi. Mr. Katz stated that the relationship between India and Israel is one that focuses on the future, especially on technology and trade. Dr. Ray echoed a number of Mr. Katz's sentiments, and focused especially on the connections of security, technology and culture between the two nations. He highlighted that India is one of the few nations that has never had serious violence against Jews, and that both nations have deep historical connections. He referred to his own close, personal friendship with Mr. Katz that seemed to echo the relationship between PM Netanyahu and PM Modi. He also noted that both Israelis and Indians, especially Indo-Americans, have a strong focus on education. Both Consuls General focused on the fact that the nations are spiritually, technologically and culturally aligned. In particular, both highlighted the fact that India and Israel are both homes to ancient civilizations, that are thousands of years old, but as nations have only existed for about seventy years. This was a central theme of the event--working together to tackle similar problems, while always favoring democracy, growth and education. After the speeches, the floor was opened to a Q&A. Questions posed ranged from India management of its relationship with both Israel and Palestine, to how both nations would tackle food-security and agrarian distress in the future. Both

Honorees Sylvia & Gordon Quan, Nancy Allen, Chevron’s Joni Baird, Asia Society Texas Center president Bonna Kol, co-chair Sultana Mangalji. Photo credit: Asia Society Texas Center.

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inner was a lavish affair and offered options from many different Asian cuisines, in all 4 corners of the room, in addition to a decadent array of desserts.

L-R: Mr. Brahmbhatt, Sr. Harshith Marepalli, Parul Fernandes, Krishna Vavilala,Founder Chairman of FIS; Dr. Anupam Ray,Consul General of India, Mr. Gilad Katz,Consul General of Israel, Vishal Merchant, Raghavender Nednur, Nischal Bhan,Event Chair. Mementos in the front were presented to both Consuls General in appreciation of their thought provoking lectures on the topic of "IndiaIsraeli Relationship in the current geopolitical climate", followed by Q and A on wide variety of issues. CGs gave insightful, intelligent answers to the questions. In particular, in response to a question about security in Kashmir, both diplomats focused on the importance of coming to the table with a willingness to negotiate, using education and outreach to overcome obstacles, and making sure that security and diplomacy can be taken together. In the beginning, FIS Chairman, Krishna Vavilala welcomed the A section of the audience at the FIS Lecture Series. audience and both Consuls General, and spoke of FIS's accomplishappreciation of their informa- tory project. The purpose of ments in the past 12 years and tive and thought provoking lec- the project is to preserve imsaid since not many details of tures. migrant experiences of the first the recently signed agreements Tracing back to centuries old generation Indian immigrants between India and israel were to America. Their stories are adequately reported in the me- India-Israel relationship, both archived in the Houston Public dia, FIS has invited both the the C.Gs delivered content- Library's digital archives. CGs to come and speak on the rich lectures loaded with facts In order to connect the Insubject. In view of the burgeon- which sounded like a history ing relationship between India lesson. For example, not many dian community with the main and Israel following Prime knew that the Ben-Gurion Li- stream America, FIS routinely Minister,Mr. Netanyahu's re- brary in Israel displays the pic- participates in Houston's Annual MLK Grande Parade and cent visit to India, the selected ture of Mahatma Gandhi. topic was considered important Besides the Distinguished was the recipient of the 2015 to the Indian diaspora. Lecture Series, FIS also con- Grand Marshall Award. FIS thanked the volunteers At the conclusion of the ducts interviews of the first event, which started and ended generation Indian immigrants from the Youth Leadership Deon time, mementos were pre- for it's Signature project called velopment Program (YLDP) sented to both the speakers in the Indo-American Oral His- for providing help at the event.

Many of Asia Society’s board members and new patrons were on hand to thank Sylvia and Gordon Quan (this year’s honorees) for their many years of dedication to this city and to Asia Society specifically. As a reminder: the Tiger Ball is Asia Society Texas Center’s

annual signature event and one of Houston’s most beloved annual society affairs, raising in excess of $1 million to support the organization’s ongoing educational and cultural programming. The tradition began in the 1990s and has grown over the years in both size and scope. This year’s gala, with Chevron as Presenting Sponsor, is scheduled for Saturday, March 3, 2018, at the Center’s iconic home at 1370 Southmore at Caroline in the heart of the beautiful Houston Museum District.

Houston Health Department Confirms Season's First Pediatric Flu-Associated Death

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boy between the ages of 6 and 10 is the city’s first flu-associated pediatric death of the season, the Houston Health Department (HHD) confirms. The child, who died in early February, had pre-existing health conditions that contributed to his death. No other information about the case will be released. With flu activity remaining high, HHD encourages people 6-months and older to get vaccinated. Those 65 and older, pregnant women, young children and those with chronic health conditions are at higher risk for serious complications or death if they get the flu. In addition to vaccination, people should help stop the spread of the flu and other illness by: Washing hands frequently Covering coughs and sneezes Staying home if sick and until at least 24 hours after their fever is gone, except to get

medical care. People can visit their doctor, pharmacy, local health department to get a flu shot. Many grocery stores also offer the vaccine. HHD offers flu shots at its health centers to people in high risk groups on a sliding scale basis that ranges from free to $15. To find the nearest health center, people can call 832-393-5427 or the City of Houston’s 311 information line. They can also go online to visit houstonhealth.org. Symptoms of the flu may include fever, chills, cough, sore throat, runny nose, body aches, headaches and fatigue. People with a combination of these symptoms should promptly see a medical provider. While flu spreads every year, the timing, severity, and length of the season varies from one year to another. Flu outbreaks typically happen as early as October and can last as late as May.


SOUTH ASIA

VOICE OF ASIA 10

Trump Jr in India says presidency is costing the family firm

FRIDAY, February 23, 2018

Pakistan avoids financial watchlist over militancy funding: minister

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SLAMABAD, Pakistan | AFP | Wednesday 2/21/2018 - Pakistan has narrowly avoided being targeted by a global watchdog over terrorism financing, the foreign minister said, after reports that the US had supported a motion to place its ally on the group's watchlist. The country was granted a three-month reprieve by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), according to a tweet late Tuesday by Khawaja Asif, after a meeting in Paris failed to reach agreement on the matter. The Trump Organization has lent its brand to developments being built with local partners in Kolkata, Mumbai and Pune. (Photo: AFP/Dibyangshu Sarka) Continued from page 3 into a development in Gurgaon, a satellite of the capital where many major companies have their offices. The 47-storey towers will comprise 250 homes and are expected to be completed by 2023, with price ranging from 55-110 million rupees ($850,000-$1.7 million). The Indian developers say the high-rise apartment complex boasting floor-to-ceiling windows, state of the art amenities and a "lifestyle concierge" has already clocked up sales worth nearly $80 million. Trump junior is on an unofficial visit to India, but will address a business conference on Friday on the subject of Indo-Pacific ties. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is the keynote speaker at the event. The US president has ceded

control of the Trump Organization to his adult sons, but refused to divest his assets, sparking concerns about a conflict of interest. Critics say the Trump family's continued involvement could allow the firm to profit from foreign governments eager to curry favour in Washington. But Trump junior said the firm was focusing on existing developments rather than seeking new business opportunities in India, its biggest market outside the United States. He praised Modi's economic reforms and said India was a better place to do business than regional rival China. The Trump family earned $3 million in royalties in 2016 from ventures in India, according to a New York Times report.

The Trump Organization has also lent its brand to developments being built with local partners in Kolkata, Mumbai and Pune. It does not invest directly, but takes a share of the profits in return for the use of the Trump name.

"No consensus for nominating Pakistan," Asif wrote, adding that the forum instead proposed a three-month pause along with the submission of a new report to the body. "Grateful to friends helped," he added.

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FATF declined comment, with a spokeswoman saying any formal decision would be made by Friday.

The US State Department said it also expected a formal decision in coming days. "We're anticipating that the final decision would be made on Thursday of this week," a spokesperson said.

economic prospects.

Earlier this month Pakistan quietly amended its anti-terror laws to ban groups listed as terrorists by the United Nations.

In January Trump ordered the suspension of US military aid to Pakistan, saying it was not doing enough to target the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani insurgent group.

Following the move, officials began seizing assets from the Jamaat-ud-Dawa group, whose leader Hafiz Saeed is a prime suspect in the 2008 Mumbai attacks. Reports claimed earlier this month that the US had tabled a motion to add Pakistan to the FATF watchlist, as ties fray over accusations that Islamabad gives safe haven to militants who launch attacks in neighbouring Afghanistan. The FATF move rattled officials and businesses, who fear any type of financial restrictions could crimp the country's

Relations between Pakistan and the US have been tense since President Donald Trump lashed out at Islamabad last August, upbraiding it for sheltering "agents of chaos".

Pakistan had been on the FATF watchlist for years but was removed in 2015 following "significant progress" in meeting its demands. Parliament that year approved amendments to an anti-money laundering law to make it more effective in targeting the financing of extremists and bring it into line with global standards. FATF is an inter-governmental body established in 1989 to help combat money-laundering and financing for extremists.

Bangladesh urge Mashrafe to make T20 comeback

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HAKA, Bangladesh | AFP | Tuesday 2/20/2018 Bangladesh would welcome former captain Mashrafe Mortaza back into the national Twenty20 side if he decides to come out of retirement, cricket board president Nazmul Hasan said Tuesday.

er announced his retirement from international T20s in February last year but continued to lead Bangladesh in one-day internationals.

The 34-year-old fast bowl-

Nazmul met the team's

Bangladesh have failed to make any impact in his absence, most recently losing the T20 home series against Sri Lanka 2-0.

coaching director Khaled Mahmud and captain Shakib Al Hasan to discuss the defeat, and said afterwards that he had wanted Mashrafe to return for the Sri Lanka series. "We discussed... Mashrafe. But it entirely depends on him," Nazmul told reporters after the meeting.

"Some people said if I tell him, then he would play, but I told him to play in this (Sri Lanka) series... I didn't force him. He said he wanted to play Test cricket which is why the discussion didn't progress," he added. "Apart from Mustafizur (Rahman), I think Mashrafe is the most dependable (bowler)."

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'Flying moustache' leads Nor- South Africa way to Olympic ski jump gold beat India by six wickets in second T20

FRIDAY, February 23, 2018

RACING

Red Bull launch new car ahead of F1 season

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ENTURION, South Africa | AFP | 2/21/2018 - South Africa beat India by six wickets in the second Twenty20 international at SuperSport Park on Wednesday. Scores in brief: India 188-4 in 20 overs (S. Raina 30, M. Pandey 79 not out, M. Dhoni 52 not out; J. Dala 2-28) Robert Johansson jumped last as Norway won men's team ski jump gold (AFP Photo/Jonathan NACKSTRAND) by Alastair HIMMER

afterwards."

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Norway finished with a winning total of 1,098.5 points to Germany's 1,075.7 to snatch top spot in the Olympic gold medal table with 11, one more than the second-placed Germans.

YEONGCHANG, South Korea | AFP | Robert Johansson and his magnificent moustache anchored Norway to a stunning Olympic ski jumping gold in the men's team event Monday to deny Poland's Kamil Stoch a Pyeongchang double. The 27-year-old, who has lit up social media with his bushy ginger whiskers and picked up two individual bronze medals in Korea, produced a final jump of 136 metres to edge Germany into silver and leave large hill champion Stoch with a team bronze. "We've been a bit nervous today," said Johansson, his bristly moustache quivering in the chill night air. "I think it's fantastic to perform like we did," he added, after leading Norway to their first Olympic team gold. "I did see on the top that we had 22 points on Poland before the last jump. That made me a bit calmer but anyway the nerves are coming more and more as it's closing in to your own jump. "I just tried to calm myself down to deliver what it took. Nervous, but a fantastic feeling

Andre Daniel Tande set the tone for Norway by unleashing a monster jump of 140.5 metres before Andreas Stjernen's effort of 135.5 put their rivals under serious pressure.

South Africa 189-4 in 18.4 overs (J. Duminy 64 not out, H. Klaasen 69; J. Unadkat 2-42) Result: South Africa won by six wickets. Series: The threematch series is tied at 1-1 Toss: South Africa - Remaining match: February 24, Cape Town

Ivanka Trump to attend Winter Olympics finale in S. Korea

Germany's normal hill gold medallist Andreas Wellinger pulled out a leap of 134.5 metres, which was good enough to earn him a second silver of the Games after finishing behind Stoch in the large hill at the weekend.

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ARIS, France | AFP | Red Bull unveiled their new car for the 2018 Formula One season on Monday, well before the start of pre-season testing, as the team looks to challenge for a first championship in five years. dominated by the North Korea crisis.

Stoch, who did the normal and large hill double in Sochi four years ago, had it all to do on his final jump, but came up short as Poland's men in chocolate brown suits finished third with a total of 1,072.4 points. "It's still a historic moment for us because it's the first medal for Poland in (team) ski jumping," said Stoch, who tied fellow ski jumper Adam Malysz on a Polish record four Olympic Winter Games medals.

Red Bull became the first of Formula One’s top three teams to lift the covers off their new-look car on Monday, a week before pre-season testing starts in Spain. Picture source: Red Bull Twitter handle

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vanka Trump is set to attend the closing ceremony of the Winter Olympics in South Korea on Sunday in the latest high-profile visit to Games which have been

The trip by US President Donald elTrump's dest daughter -- who is also one of his advisers -- comes in the wake of a visit to the Pyeongchang Games by North Korea's ceremonial head of state Kim Yong Nam and Kim Yo Jong, sister of leader Kim Jong Un. "The upcoming visit by ad-

The main changes to this year's model, the RB14, are the introduction of the protective halo and new exclusion zones that effectively remove wings at the rear. "Installing the Halo has been a challenge -- mostly in terms of building a chassis strong enough to accommodate it and pass a brutal homologation test -– but the rest of the regs have been comparatively stable," Red Bull said in a statement. "That's the primary reason we're able to launch earlier than usual." The car was presented with a temporary black and blue paint scheme, with the team's official racing livery set to be revealed viser Ivanka is intended to celebrate the successful hosting of the Pyeongchang Olympics and highlight the mutual understanding of the South Korea-US alliance," Noh Kyu-duk, spokesman for the foreign ministry in Seoul, said Tuesday, according to the Yonhap news agency.

at next week's testing sessions in Barcelona. The Renault-powered cars will again be driven by Dutchman Max Verstappen and Australia's Daniel Ricciardo, who took the new model for a spin at Silverstone on Monday. The Milton Keynes-based Austrian manufacturer had in previous years delayed their car launch until just before the start of testing to maximise the time for development. "It serves a purpose –- but you wouldn't do it if you didn't have to, and this year we didn't have to," explained Red Bull, who finished third in last year's constructors' championship. "It's preferable to finish the car early and deal with any snags now, when the car is on a track a short drive from the factory, rather than using up one of our eight ultra-precious test days doing the same at the Circuit de Catalunya." The first of two four-day preseason testing sessions starts in Barcelona next Monday.


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VOICE OF ASIA 12

FRIDAY, February 23, 2018

Who are the #NeverAgain kids US Fed says tax cuts could boost economy more than expected pushing for US gun control? by Leila Macor IAMI | AFP - They survived the Parkland school massacre and now a group of Florida teens -- driven, empowered and united -- are spearheading a #NeverAgain activist movement that hopes to pressure US lawmakers into tightening gun laws. After 17 people were shot dead at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School last Wednesday, students from the community near Miami were quick to raise their voices to demand action to stop the scourge of mass shootings in American schools.

by Heather Scott

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Having grown up in a world where children are drilled to prepare for the possibility a gunman could attack at any time, a group of eloquent teenagers have seized national attention with a call for a clampdown on the ready availability of powerful automatic firearms. Their leaders include Cameron Kasky, creator of the #NeverAgain hashtag; Emma Gonzalez, who gave a fiery speech hitting out at politicians who receive money from the National Rifle Assocation; David Hogg, who filmed interviews with schoolmates during the shooting, and their classmate Chris Grady. What sets these teens apart from the victims of previous shootings, said Frank McAndrew, a psychology professor at Knox University in Illinois, is that they "are young enough to be perceived as innocent victims but old enough to speak for themselves." They are "voicing shock, rage, sadness, and an entire range of innocent and raw emotions unsullied by political goals," he told AFP. All between the ages of 16 and 18, these youths come from affluent families, and experts say they will not be easily intimidated by adult politicians or the powerful National Rifle Association gun lobby. After taking their demands to state legislators in Florida, the so-called "Parkland kids" plan to march on Washington on March 24 -- in a "March for Our Lives" that has received two million dollars in pledges of support from the likes of George and Amal Clooney and Oprah Winfrey. Across the country sister movements are emerging to support the Parkland students, such as Student Walkout Against Gun Violence, which is organizing protests under the Twitter handle @studentswalkout. "Everyone wants to take action and make change in this country," said the account creator, a 19 year old California college student who asked to remain anonymous arguing that the story is not about her. "If you don't want to take action you haven't watched the videos," she said, referring to the images shared by the students while gunman Nikolas Cruz, 19, was on the shooting rampage at Stoneman. - A new dawn? Last year 58 people were shot dead at an open air concert in Las Vegas. In 2016, 49 people were slaughtered at a bar in Orlando, Florida. In 2012, 20 elementary school children and six adults were shot dead at the Sandy Hook school in Connecticut. In 2007, 32 college students were killed at a Virginia university. In all of those cases, urgent calls for tougher gun control proved fruitless, but experts believe the teens now have a chance at making a real political impact. What makes Parkland different? Dana Fisher, a University of Maryland expert on US social protests, notes that the student movement comes at a time of heightened political activism following Donald Trump's election, which reignited a culture of political protest starting with the historic Women's March the day after his inauguration. "Everybody in this country is way more politically involved than they've ever been before," she said. "As a result, people are paying attention to politics like they haven't before, including children." A second key factor: the tech-savvy millennials from Stoneman, many of whom are preparing for college, are unlike the children from Sandy

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ASHINGTON | AFP | 2/21/2018 - US central bankers said the recent tax cuts could juice the economy more than expected in the near term, meaning further interest rate hikes likely will be needed, according to meeting minutes released Wednesday.

Emma Gonzalez, a Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student who survived the shooting, gave an emotional speech naming politicians who receive money from the National Rifle Association gun lobbying group. Hook, who were too young to speak for themselves. Nor are they unrelated victims like in the Orlando and Las Vegas shootings. "They were all students at the same high school and so many of them know each other personally," said McAndrew, an expert on mass shootings. "We are hearing from the victims directly, and we are hearing from them with one unified voice rather than many scattered voices." Their familiarity "and the ease with which social media is integrated in their lives also gives them an edge when it

comes to organizing and communicating with each other, as well as with the world at large," he said. Furthermore, the Parkland kids "are affluent and therefore empowerment is real," said J. Reid Meloy at the University of California at San Diego. "They are energized by their suffering and grief and channeling the emotion," he said. "They are not intimidated by the older white males in politics and the NRA. They are tired of the passivity of being a potential victim," said Meloy, a former consultant to the FBI on mass shootings.

But the minutes also revealed a split on the Federal Reserve's policy-setting committee, with some officials saying the central bank can afford to be patient in raising the benchmark lending rate, according to the minutes of the January 30-31 meeting. The Fed did not increase the key interest rate at last month's meeting, and indicated three rate hikes are expected this year. However, that was before the strong January employment report spooked markets due to the fear the Fed will have to raise rates faster to head off inflation. Many economists now expect four moves in 2018. The language in the minutes spooked markets again, as Wall Street, which was in positive territory most of the day, tumbled after the report was released. Participants in the policysetting Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting

pointed to the tax cuts and the improved global economic outlook as factors supporting US growth this year, and many upgraded their forecasts, even while cautioning that the impact of the tax cuts is not yet clear. A number of members noted that "the effects of the recently enacted tax changes -- while still uncertain -- might be somewhat larger in the near term than previously thought," the minutes said. As a result, the "stronger outlook for economic growth raised the likelihood that further gradual upward policy firming would be appropriate." - Patience? The use of the term "further" was the subject of intense debate among economists, with some doubting whether the term indicates the Fed will continue as it has, or speed up the pace of rate hikes. However, the minutes explain that the central bankers purposely used the term to "update" their description of the likely path of the rate used to set all kinds of lending from car loans to mortgages. The first rate increase of the year is expected at the March FOMC meeting, which will be the first led by newly-installed Fed Chair Jerome Powell, and

will be followed by his first press conference. The Fed offered an upbeat outlook for the economy "suggesting full steam ahead for a rate hike next month," Joe Manimbo of Western Union Business Solutions said in a research note.

Trump listens... Continued from Page 3 Parkland, Florida. Holding signs reading "Never Again" and "Be The Adults, Do Something," teenaged survivors of last Wednesday's shooting rallied outside the Florida state Capitol in Tallahassee. "No longer can I walk the halls I walked millions of times before without fear and sadness," Stoneman Douglas student Florence Yared told a crowd that included thousands of supporters. "No longer can I walk the halls without imagining bloodstains and dead bodies," the 17-year-old junior said. "All because of the damage that a single AR-15 rifle caused."


VOICE OF ASIA 13

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Business

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Amazon: from online book seller to market shaker

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AN FRANCISCO | AFP - Amazon has grown from a humble beginning as an online bookseller to a colossus of the internet. It recently devoured Whole Foods Market, and is now biting into health care.

Amazon has become one of the world’s biggest companies with a large online presence and a growing number of physical stores, such as this New York bookstore. booming world of video game play as spectator sport with the billion-dollar buy of eSports streaming platform Twitch in 2014.

-- Amazon Web Services, launched in 2002 to be the online hosting platform for Amazon and its partners, has grown into one of the world’s biggest cloud computing operators.

- Amazon bought US grocery chain Whole Foods in a $13.7 billion deal announced in June of last year.

-- In 2005, the company launched Amazon Prime, a subscription service offering free delivery on many items and other benefits, representing an important element in the Amazon business model. No official figures are available, but some analysts say Prime has some 90 million subscribers in the US.

-- Amazon started making Kindle e-readers in 2007 and expanded its hardware to tablets with the Kindle Fire in 2011. A Fire smartphone launched in 2014 flopped, but Amazon continued in hardware with its voice-activated Echo speakers, igniting a market for voice-commanded home assistants powered by artificial intelligence. Amazon also produces Fire TV devices.

- Music, games, food -- In 2007, Amazon Music launched as a platform for streaming songs, and later evolved into a cloud-based service. -- Amazon made its first move into grocery delivery in 2007 with Amazon Fresh. It is now beginning deliveries through Whole Foods. -- A rival to Netflix in video, Amazon offered both DVD rentals and streaming for several years before rebranding its service as Instant Video and later as Prime Video. It now has its own studios producing original programs and films, and won an Academy Award last year for “Manchester by the Sea.” -- Amazon waded into the

Tel: 713-774-5140

Older retirement ages and more social security changes coming in 2018

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-- Incorporated in 1994 in Seattle, Washington, Amazon sold its first book in July 1995, with founder Jeff Bezos personally mailing packages to customers in the early days.

-- Amazon has expanded internationally, and operates as a retailer in Canada, Mexico, Britain, France, Germany, Japan, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, Ireland, China, India and Australia.

Section 2

by Lauren Hamer

Here are some key facts about Amazon:

-- In 1999, Amazon went beyond books into gadgets, toys, electronics, software, home improvement and video games. A year later, it launched “Marketplace,” allowing third parties to sell over the Amazon platform and has added new categories of merchandise and services over the years.

FRIDAY, February 23, 2018

- Hardware, drones, video -

-- The first Amazon physical retail store opened in Seattle in 2015. A cashierless “Amazon Go” shop opened in its home

city early this year uses technology to automatically bill customers for items they pick from shelves. -- Amazon has been pushing for drone delivery for several years, launching its first project in Britain in 2016, saying regulatory obstacles were too great in the United States. Amazon also has its own aircraft and local delivery operators that avoid third parties. -- Globally, Amazon had some 540,000 employees as of the end of last year, boosting employment in warehouses even as it installed thousands of robots. It has research operations for artificial intelligence, robotics, ad technology and related fields. -- Amazon gained a reputation delivering little or no profits in its early years as it invested for growth. But for 2017 it posted a profit of $3 billion on $178 billion in revenue.

South Korean cryptocurrency regulator found dead at home South Korean official who guided Seoul’s regulatory clampdown on cryptocurrencies was found dead on Sunday, according to a government spokesman.

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A government spokesman later said in a The Wall Street Journal report that Jung, 52, “died from some unknown cause.” His colleagues also raised the possibility that stress — following increased pressure from crypto-related duties — led to Jung’s death, Yonhap reported. Jung was in charge of coordinating the opinions of various South Korean ministries and of-

fices in preparation for weekly meetings led by Hong Nam-ki, minister of the Office for Government Policy Coordination, the news agency said. South Korea began stepping up its scrutiny of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies late last year and enacted a ban in late January on anonymous trading accounts. However, officials have dialed back comments that they might shut down cryptocurrency exchanges, where high demand often causes the cryptocurrencies to trade at higher prices than at other major global exchanges. (-CNBC)

ocial Security will look a bit different in 2018. Every year, Americans eagerly await the announcement outlining the various changes being made to what many consider the most important social program in the country. Will your benefits increase? What about the strict guidelines tethered to the program? Will they be modified in a way that affects your ability to get by? These are all questions 46 million of America’s seniors and 66 million overall worry about every fall. The Social Security Administration released its adjustment reports for 2018. Here is what you need to know about the changes being made to Social Security in 2018 and how they’re probably going to affect you. 1. You’ll (sort of) get a raise With the release of the January 2018 Cost of Living Adjustment, Americans can now stop wondering what will happen to their monthly payouts. This year, seniors will receive a 2% increase in COLAs, which amounts to about $27 per month more on average. Singles will receive an average of $1,404, and couples who are both receiving payments will receive $2,340, a full $46 more monthly. The maximum possible Social Security benefit for those who begin collecting benefits at full retirement age will also increase to $2,788 in 2018. In 2017, Americans saw benefits increase by just 0.03%, so this increase is a welcome change of pace for those living on a fixed income. The COLA hasn’t been this high for six years. But don’t break out the champagne and credit cards just yet. Most Americans won’t notice any difference in their monthly checks, as the increase in Medicare Part B premiums automatically deducted from your benefits will likely offset any boost. 2. A higher tax cap hits wealthier Americans Workers are required to pay a 12.4% payroll tax into Social Security, but your employer usually picks up 50% of the tab. This means most Americans will pay 6.2% of their earned income to Social Security until their income exceeds $127,200. In 2018, however, this cap rises $1,500 to $128,700, meaning wealthier individuals should expect to fork over an extra $93

An increase in Medicare Part B premiums might negate the cost of living adjustment. (Photo: William Thomas Cain/Getty Images) in tax at minimum next year. However, those who earn more than the taxable maximum will not have those earnings taxed. The Social Security Administration predicts roughly 12 million people will pay higher taxes beginning January 1, 2018, as a result of this change. At first glance, this may anger those who are affected by the jump, but when you look at the bigger picture, it’s much more reasonable. Last year, the wage base increased a whopping $8,700, or roughly $540 more per month. 3. An older retirement age People will have to wait a little longer to retire. Something unique about the 2018 Social Security changes is that the full retirement age will rise. Everyone born between 1943 and 1954 must wait until they are 66 to receive 100% of their monthly benefit. Full retirement age for those born in 1956 is now 66 and 4 months. This is a two-month increase from 2017, when the full retirement age for people born in 1955 ticked up to 66 and 2 months. Your relaxing retirement will have to wait if you don’t want a reduced payout. You can sign up for Social Security at age 62, but you’ll receive a reduced payout. It’s not until you reach your designated full retirement age that you’ll get your full benefit. This means older workers affected by this change will have less time to boost payments via delayed claiming. 4. The earnings limit is going up, too The earnings limit is increasing for those working while receiving benefits. While there’s no law prohibiting you from working and receiving benefits simultaneously, there is an earnings limit for people

who retire before their full retirement age. Fortunately, this limit will increase in 2018. Next year, the limit will rise to $17,040, up $120 more than in 2017. The earnings limit expands by $480 to $45,360 for those who reach full retirement age in 2018. Working during retirement is a wise choice, but even with larger earnings limits, you’re still at risk of penalty should you exceed the ceiling. If you earn too much, Social Security will withhold $1 for every $2 earned above the limit. The penalty decreases for those at full retirement age to $1 withheld for every $3 earned above the limit. No need to panic, though. Your penalties are held captive only until you hit full retirement age, at which point you’ll receive credit for any and all benefits withheld in the past. Social Security will also continue what’s known as a trial work period for those who’d like to try their hand returning to the workforce. The trial period allows the beneficiary to collect benefits and earnings at the same time. Trying to effectively manage yearly changes to Social Security could easily add a few gray hairs to your head. But the same downside to such uncertainty is also the silver lining. The only thing that’s constant is change itself, so once you learn to expect such modifications, you can plan for them appropriately. Obviously, an emergency fund will help offset any substantial Social Security cost increases year over year. But those who effectively budget for their retirement years and beyond should have little issue taking these changes in stride. (-CheatSheet.com)

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VOICE OF ASIA 14

FRIDAY, February 23, 2018

Home&Real Estate In high-priced Manhattan, more and more empty stores

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EW YORK | AFP - The New York borough of Manhattan is richer and more populated than ever, but a growing number of businesses are closing their doors under the pressure of exorbitant rents and online commerce.

The Power of ‘Self-Directing’ your Retirement Funds

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aving been in the real estate development business for a long time, the number of people that I have run into that don’t understand what a Self Directed IRA means, is staggering. On average, I would say around 9 out of 10 people I meet, have no idea about this investment vehicle and the benefits it offers (and most of these people are sophisticated investors too).

On Wednesday -- which happens to be Valentine’s Day -- Steven Telvi will close down his Upper East Side drugstore, The Source, after nearly 37 years. It fell victim to slower business and high rent, he says. “The whole island is going down the tube,” Telvi says of small business in Manhattan. Empty retail space on Madison Avenue in New York, where small businesses are struggling From Soho to the Upper against high rents (Photo by Thomas Urbain/AFP) West Side, passing Fifth Avenue or the Meatpacking But the proportion of vacant busiSteven Soutendijk, executive diDistrict, it is no longer rare to see two or three deserted storefronts on nesses is still rising, to nearly a rector of retail sales at Cushman & the same block, right in the middle quarter of spaces in Soho at the end Wakefield, said, “it’s going to take of the Big Apple, a shopper’s para- of 2017, according to property firm some time” before the market adCushman & Wakefield. justs. dise. “Landlords have been slow to He talks of “two or three years beNearly all the economic indicators of America’s largest city look change the price point of their retail fore it really swings back,” but isn’t positive: historically low unemploy- offering,” said Kenneth Hochhauser, worried. ment; per capita income 34 percent executive vice president of Winick “In the financial crisis, you had all above the national average; more Realty Group. activity dry up entirely for a period than 61 million tourists last year. For the shopkeepers who remain, of four or five months,” he said, reBusiness people and property sometimes in tenuous financial cir- ferring to the global economic colagents interviewed by AFP all cite cumstances, “it’s not helping” to see lapse that struck in 2008 and peaked skyrocketing rents as the primary neighbors disappear, says Clara, a the following year. salesperson at ready-to-wear clothes cause of the business closures. “It does not feel as negative as retailer Variazoni on the Upper West 2009. Not even close.” Rents rose 68 percent between Side. 2009 and 2016 in Soho, 70 percent But at that time, online commerce “Business is not very good. in parts of the Upper West Side, and represented only 3.6 percent of re175 percent in places on Fifth Av- There’s no (foot) traffic” because tail sales, against 9.1 percent today, enue, according to the Real Estate there aren’t enough businesses, said according to the latest government Jennifer Sun, who opened the MagiBoard of New York (REBNY). figures. cal Kids store for children’s clothing - Market fundamentals Telvi remembers it perfectly. That on the Upper East Side in May 2016. was when he changed locations -“This is a classic example of pricAfter an “OK” first year, Sun ing outstripping demand and fun- says many surrounding stores have from one side of Third Avenue to the damentals in a market,” said Brian closed “over the last five or six other. Klimas, REBNY’s vice president in months” -- and activity slowed. “That’s when the internet kicked charge of research. in” for commerce, he said. “I don’t even have a salary,” she Prices have finally started to fall said. Since then, his activity has dropped over the past few months in numerfive percent annually. - Online commerce ous parts of Manhattan.

What is a Self Directed IRA? A regular IRA or 401K lets you invest in stocks, bonds, mutual funds or CDS and in most cases, the custodian that you (or your employer) have parked the account with, limits the options available to you even within that space. However, if you roll your funds into a Self-Directed IRA, your investment options now open up to real estate, investment properties, asset-based lending, equity fund placements and so much more. Best of all, you get to choose between any of these opportunities that are available to you in the market and not those that were hand-picked by your custodian. There are a select few investors that are stock market wizards and they can beat the market and create alpha on a consistent basis and for those people, the value proposition of an SDIRA might not be that attractive. However, the vast majority take a ‘let-it-ride’ approach to their IRA/401K investments and do not realize the amount of money they

are leaving on the table by not fully considering the options available to them. Even the most conservative approach – having your Self-Directed IRA lend money with real estate as collateral – should fetch you returns over 10% consistently. And there are several other options for those looking to target more aggressive returns. Now, add tax-deferred compounding to the equation and it is not hard to see that the numbers add up very quickly. In summary though, regardless of what an investor chooses to do, I believe it is important for him/her to know that Self-Directed IRAs are an option that should be considered seriously to see if it is the right fit for their investment philosophy. Over the years, most people that I have spoken to about it, have ended up converting their IRAs into a SelfDirected account – if not for anything else, at least to have total control over their investment options. Should you too? The author, Shaun Vembutty, is the founder and principal at Ashton Gray Development and Ashton Gray Capital. In addition to overseeing a large amount of residential and commercial real estate development at his firms, he mentors investors wanting to venture further into real estate. To learn more, visit www.ashtongraydev.com or www.ashtongraycapital.com.

The opening of new subway stations on Second Avenue at the end of 2016 reduced the foot traffic past his store a little more, cutting by a quarter his turnover and pushing him towards the exit.

Bill de Blasio made an initial move, doubling the threshold for which retailers are exempt from municipal tax.

Some New York City Council members say authorities have to act.

“I do special things that nobody has,” says Sun, pointing to an embroidered pillow.

In a report released in mid-December, they warn that otherwise, the economic downturn could “undermine the neighborhood character and provision of goods and services that are essential to livability.” At the end of November, Mayor

The shopkeepers are fighting with their own weapons.

“We always struggle to stay relevant to our customers and what they need,” says Matt Sartwell, of Kitchen Arts & Letters. “People that come here get something in return.”

Smart Home Savvy: 6 Ways to Add Technology to Your Living Spaces

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smart, connected home is what’s in style. In fact, since 2014, research shows smart technology has increased in priority during renovations, especially for first-time home buyers. Wondering what options are out there? Here are six ways to add tech to your space. 1. Stay Cool and Comfortable. Certain smart thermostats on the market today intuitively understand when to turn on heating or cooling equipment based on your home’s unique energy profile, the

weather outside and thousands of other data points -- making sure you’re comfortable 24/7. Some units even claim to save homeowners enough energy to pay for themselves. 2. Design the Perfect Shower. The first Wi-Fi/cloud-based digital shower on the market, U by Moen shower, allows users to precisely set shower temperature and flow with an in-shower digital controller or from their smartphone, thanks to a helpful app. Need extra snooze time? Power on the shower from bed and it will alert you when it’s ready. Picky about your shower pref-

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erences? The ability to set up to 12 custom pre-sets in the app ensures you get your perfect shower every time. 3. Keep Your Eye on Fido. Ever wonder what your dog is up to while you’re away at work? Now, there are fun, tech-based ways to check in on furry friends. HD pet cameras enable owners to monitor their pets with a wide-angle view, day and night. Some even offer an app that allows owners to toss a treat to their dogs or play a game of catch. Plus, a barking sensor sends notifications to your phone so you can see what’s happening and calm

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down your pooch via two-way chat. 4. Be Hands-Off in the Kitchen. Imagine the convenience of having a kitchen faucet turn water on or off, without a touch. Faucets with Moen’s MotionSense Wave touchless technology feature single-sensor hands-free activation, allowing users to easily activate the faucet with the wave of a hand. It’s perfect for when your hands are too full or messy to turn on the faucet, and also helps minimize the spread of dirt and germs, since you don’t have to touch the faucet.

5. Create the Right Ambiance. The perfect lighting is now right at your fingertips. Instead of a regular incandescent bulb, smart lightbulbs allow homeowners to control lighting with a few taps on your smartphone or tablet. Want to turn on lights when you’re away or adjust their brightness and color? No problem. What’s more, the bulbs last longer and even help save energy. 6. Make Food Prep Smarter. Not sure how to blend your favorite concoction? Vitamix Ascent Series blenders have you covered. These high-per-

formance, Bluetooth-enabled blenders are compatible with a family of Self-Detect Containers that sense which container is being used and automatically adjust settings. The Ascent Series machines also connect and communicate with the Vitamix Perfect Blend Smart Scale and Recipe App to seamlessly guide you through recipe preparation. From customizing your kitchen to creating a luxurious bathroom, smart home devices can now cater to your preferences, elevating everyday experiences. (StatePoint)

US household debt rises for 5th year in 2017

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ASHINGTON | AFP - Total debt held by US households surged in 2017 to more than $13 trillion, the fifth straight annual increase, amid a continued rise in home mortgages and auto loans, according to data released Tuesday. But nearly 10 years after the

start of the global financial crisis, the hangover from the US housing market collapse is still evident in some areas of the country, the New York Federal Reserve Bank said in its quarterly report. Total credit and debt jumped by $572 billion, nearly all of that or $402 billion, was due

to the increase in mortgages as buyers continue to come off the sidelines to purchase homes and prices recover. Student loan balances, auto loans and credit card debt all increased as well, while home equity lines of credit were the sole category to show a decline, the report said.

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VOICE OF ASIA 15

Section 2

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FRIDAY, February 23, 2018

BOLLYWOOD - HOLLYWOOD

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Priyanka Chopra may cut ties with Nirav Modi

Delhi officials ask ex-007 Brosnan to explain Indian ad

EW DELHI: Actress Priyanka Chopra, global brand ambassador of Nirav Modi Jewels, has not sued the billionaire jeweller although she is contemplating scrapping her contract after allegations of financial fraud to the tune of Rs 11,300 crore were made against him. “There are speculative reports that Priyanka Chopra has sued Nirav Modi. This is not true,” a spokesperson for Chopra said. “She is currently seeking legal opinion on terminating her contract with the brand in light of of allegations of financial fraud against Nirav Modi.” Chopra, with a net worth estimated at $28 million, signed a three-year endorsement contract with Nirav Modi Jewels in January last year. She is the only woman on Forbes magazine’s top 10 highest paid Indian celebrities last year, with earnings of Rs 68 crore. Apart from turning the spotlight on those promoting other brands associated with Nirav Modi, the scam exposes how difficult it can be to curb misleading ads by celebrities. Representatives of actresses Kriti Sanon, the face of Gitanjali Jewellery’s Gili design collection, and Kangana Ranaut, who endorses Nakshatra dia-

Priyanka Chopra, who featured in one of the advertisement campaigns for billionaire jeweller Nirav Modi, is currently seeking legal opinion to terminate her contract with the brand. (Photo: HT) monds, remained cautious. Gili and Nakshatra are owned by Gitanjali Gems, which is promoted by Mehul Choksi, Modi’s maternal uncle who was also named in the complaint filed by Punjab National Bank. “At the time of signing contracts, details of the companies involved are examined carefully and if there is no inkling of anything wrong, we obviously go ahead,” said Atul Kasbekar, the promoter of talent management firm Bling Entertainment Solutions, which represents Ranaut. “In cases where wrongdoing is proved later, we generally reassess contracts —

that is the general practice.” “The matter is legal and we would not want to comment on it,” said Vijay Subramaniam, cofounder of Kwan Entertainment, the agency representing Sanon, who signed up as brand ambassador of Gili last year. Actor Sidharth Malhotra was roped in along with Chopra as the face of Nirav Modi Jewels. Malhotra told ET in a text message: “My contract was for just one day and that expired long ago.” Chopra had said her association with Modi was like “a meeting of minds” in many ways. (ET Bureau).

Canadian PM and family enchant Bollywood

Former 007 star Pierce Brosnan has been asked to explain why he features in a commercial for an Indian mouth freshener linked to chewing tobacco. (Screenshot)

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EW DELHI, India | AFP - Former 007 star Pierce Brosnan has been asked to explain why he features in a commercial for an Indian mouth freshener linked to chewing tobacco, Delhi authorities said Wednesday. Health officials in the Indian capital said they had issued a show cause notice requiring Brosnan justify his starring in a James Bond-style ad dating back to 2016 for pan masala -- a mixture of betel nut, spices and sometimes tobacco. The adverts for Indian TV channels, newspapers and billboards showed a bearded Brosnan grappling with villains and flirting with beautiful women

before revealing a can of pan masala, a twist that invited ridicule at the time. But local authorities remain less than impressed, insisting the ads are still at large and warning the 64-year-old Irish actor he could be violating Indian laws against tobacco advertising. “We saw Pierce Brosnan’s posters advertising Pan Bahar (a pan masala brand) at tobacco shops in Delhi in the last fortnight,” S.K Arora, a health department officer with the Delhi government, told AFP. Arora said authorities had reached out to Brosnan through Pan Bahar, the pan masala company in question and “even di-

rectly on his Twitter account” -- but had not heard back. Brosnan could face a fine of 5000 rupees ($78) or up to two years in jail if he did not answer within 10 days, Arora added. The makers of Pan Bahar insist their product does not contain nicotine, but many pan masala mixtures in India designed to freshen breath and aid digestion contain tobacco along with pastes, areca nut and spices. Arora said chewing tobacco had been linked to cancer and millions of Indians chewed pan masala every day. The distinct mixture leaves lurid red stains on the mouth after being chewed or when it is spat out.

Stars of feminist Western say movies ready for new gender roles by Deborah Cole

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ERLIN, Germany | AFP | Friday 2/16/2018 - Hollywood stars Robert Pattinson and Mia Wasikowska said the current reckoning with power abuses in the entertainment industry has opened a door to new movies that subvert traditional gender roles, as they presented the feminist Western “Damsel” Friday at the Berlin film festival. Pattinson, the “Twilight” heartthrob turned independent film actor, said the #MeToo movement against sexual misconduct felt like a watershed moment both on and off screen.

Canadian Prime Minister JustinTrudeau with his wife Sopie Trudeau (L), daughter Ella-Grace & son Xavier met top star Shah Ruhk Khan at a film event on Wednesday. (Getty Images)

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UMBAI - The celebrated politician has already visited the Taj Mahal in Agra, the Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad and the Golden Temple in Amritsar. Speaking about his visit, Trudeau had earlier told a leading daily, “One of the things that I really wanted to show to my kids is the extraordinary diversity of India, being able to go to a mandir, to Golden Temple, to a mosque and then to other places, this highlights the diversity and pluralism of India which isn’t without its challenges.” Justin Trudeau is scheduled to meet Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on February 23. Shah Rukh Khan was last seen in 2017’s Jab Harry Met Sejal. His upcoming film is Zero costarring Anushka Sharma and Katrina Kaif. Trudeau’s trip to India included a refuelling stop in Rome, where he got out the kinks out midway through the 20-hour long journey by going for a run with his protective detail.

The seven-day Indian official visit is a mix of business meetings, round tables on education, women’s rights and human rights, tours of popular Indian sites and a meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi later in the week. “Wheels up for India and a busy visit, focused on creating good jobs and strengthening the deep connection between the people of our two countries,” Trudeau posted on his official Twitter account, along with a photo of the family boarding the plane in Ottawa. The Trudeaus were greeted in Delhi by Nadir Patel, Canada’s high commissioner in India, his wife, Jennifer Graham, and their two-year-old daughter, Nylah. Vikas Swarup, the Indian high commissioner to Canada, was also on the red carpet for the arrival, live tweeting shots waiting for the plane to land and once it was on the ground, saying that “a long wait is finally over.” (-Zoom / Canadian News Service)

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“I think if you feel that you’ve been wronged and you feel like you’ve been bullied into silence, it’s one of the most awful feelings in the world,” he told reporters after the screening of “Damsel” in competition at the 11-day event. “It’s kind of amazing when any kind of dam breaks and people feel like they’ve got the numbers to say ‘you’ll be safe to say whatever’s happened to you’. “A lot of these kind of conversations kind of mirror what we’re trying to say on the screen.” - ‘Projection of man’s desires’ The Polish-Australian Wasikowska, who also divides her time between big Hollywood productions such as “Alice in Wonderland”, television series like “In Therapy” and smaller budget movies, said her character represented a new take on the old-fashioned Western

Polish-Australian Mia Wasikowska said her character represented a new take on the old-fashioned Western heroine heroine. “I just really like that we were led to believe a certain thing of this character and then halfway through the film it gets flipped on its head and all the expectations we have of this woman are very much a projection of the man’s desires,” she said. “I think it’s part of a growing kind of consciousness of changing the way that women are seen. The more you see empowered female characters that have a really strong voice or who know who they are or are challenging expectations that

are deeply ingrained in culture, the better it is.” Wasikowska said she thought her character meshed with the current zeitgeist, in which seismic shifts in sex and power dynamics are becoming palpable. “I think it’s amazing -- I’ve been in Australia for most of the last year and watching it from afar,” she said. “Damsel” by US filmmaker brothers David and Nathan Zellner is one of 19 movies in competition for the festival’s top prizes.


LEGAL

VOICE OF ASIA 16

Section 2

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FRIDAY, February 23, 2018

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Estimated and Actual Costs in a Commercial Triple-Net Lease- Part 3

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Answer: When you approach a Triple Net Lease you may find a big gap between the estimates that were quoted to you and the actual costs that you are ultimately liable to pay. To be honest, it often turns out that the estimates were loose estimates at best, and the actual document can be full of jolting surprises. Furthermore, it can take some time for a landlord

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The tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida has shocked many Americans, inspired students to launch campaigns to reduce gun violence, and put Congress and President Donald Trump’s administration in the spotlight as they consider what changes, if any, should be made to the country’s gun laws. Voters support tightening gun laws by 66 to 31 percent, according to Quinnipiac University’s national poll, which described the margin as “the highest level of support” since it began surveys on the question in 2008. The poll also found that a

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“If you think Americans are largely unmoved by the mass shootings, you should think again,” Quinnipiac poll assistant director Tim Malloy said in a statement. “Support for stricter gun laws is up 19 points in little more than two years,” he added, referring to December 2015 poll data that showed 47 percent of voters supported tightening such laws. When broken down by political party, however, the latest re-

sults show that just 34 percent of Republicans support stricter gun laws, compared with 86 percent of Democrats. Trump signaled support Monday for a bipartisan effort to expand and improve a national system of background checks for gun purchases in the wake of the Florida school shooting. Several legislative proposals were introduced after a shooter killed 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut in 2012, including a ban on semiautomatic weapons like the one used last week in Florida, banning high-capacity magazines of over 10 bullets and a universal background check bill. None has made it into law.

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ASHINGTON | AFP | 2/20/2018 - Americans support stricter gun laws by a more-than two-to-one margin, one of the highest levels on record, a polling agency reported Tuesday one week after the latest US school shooting left 17 people dead.

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As a result, it is in your best interest to seek legal help to negotiate lease terms and minimize your exposure to risk and extra expense. As you consider the terms of a Triple Net Lease, your legal adviser will assure that you keep looking beyond the base rent to those estimates that can result in your overall occupancy costs becoming overwhelming.

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Still, as a tenant you do have some options, chief among them the right to audit. Before you pay a penny toward the difference between estimates and actual costs in a lease, ask in writing to have access to invoices. The objective is to see evidence supporting the basis for the landlord’s calculations -- be they figures regarding property taxes or maintenance costs -- as well as justification for the root causes of the increases. Remember: questionable costs can be the result of honest clerical error, but the result can be as costly as intentional inflationary tampering.

This article was first published in Voice of Asia in November 2017.

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sic level of accounting skills. But don’t forget that a Triple Net Lease is the sign of a landlord or property management company with genuine real estate know-how. It is more than likely that they will have the staff and accounting infrastructure to manage and track all costs and estimates that they will present to you.

to reconcile estimates and actual costs, and that can be expensive. As the old saying goes, time means money.

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VOICEOF OFASIA ASIA 17 VOICE

FRIDAY, FRIDAY, February February23, 23,2018 2018

Section 2

Science begins to unlock the secrets of brains that age well by Kathleen O’Neil

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mprovements in medicine, science and lifestyles continue to add years to the average lifespan. In the 1970s, living to 100 got you a birthday card from President Richard Nixon, said Dr. Claudia Kawas, professor of neurology and associate director of the Institute for Memory Impairments and Neurological Disorders at the University of California, Irvine. But that stopped decades ago when the ranks of centenarians grew. Children born in the United States today are expected, on average, to live to age 103, and by the middle of the century, the U.S. will have 8-10 million people age 90 and older, she said. “The sad thing is, we’ve added more years than we’ve added quality,” Kawas said during a press briefing on Feb. 17 at the AAAS 2018 Annual Meeting in Austin, Texas. About two-thirds of people over age 90 have dementia or some less severe cognitive loss. But, “there’s a remarkable core of individuals we see who maintain excellent cognitive skills and often motor skills,” she said. As the lead investigator of “The 90+ Study,” Kawas and other researchers have been testing and tracking subjects for the past 15 years to find differences in their brains and lifestyles that might be responsible. One of Kawas’ most interesting findings is that when her team began autopsying the brains of those who were aging well and exhibiting no signs of dementia, about 40 percent had “full-fledged” Alzheimer’s Disease. “And the question is: ‘Why are they still thinking well?’” Kawas said. While they don’t have definite answers, besides having good genes, Kawas said, the answer is probably a combination of being resilient to Alzheimer’s Disease and also that they did not develop other dementia-causing conditions, such as microscopic infarctions that occur when blood flow is blocked from certain regions of the brain and hippocampal

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ew research, which was presented at the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s annual conference, has found that moderate drinking is linked to a longer life. Drinking about two glasses of wine or beer a day was linked to an 18% drop in a person’s risk of early death—an even stronger effect than the lifepreserving practice of exercise, according to the researchers. The results came from the 90+ Study, a research project out of the University of California Irvine’s Institute for Memory Impairments and Neurological Disorders that examines the habits of people who live to at least 90. Though the study has not yet been published in a scientific journal, it triggered a spate of booze-praising headlines. But can alcohol actually help you live longer? Researchers have gone back and forth on that question for years. Here’s what the research really says about alcohol and health. - Alcohol may be linked with longevity The new study isn’t the first to link alcohol with a long life. A 2015 study of people with mild Alzheimer’s, for example, found that moderate drinkers were less likely to die during the study’s follow-up period than teetotalers. A large 2017 study also found that light and moderate drinkers were less likely to die from cardiovascular disease than those who never sipped. Red wine, in particular, is often singled out for

Help For Chronic Headaches

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UGAR LAND - (February 16, 2018) – According to the World Health Organization, 1 in 20 adults has a headache every day. Carisa Liew, MD a neurologist with Houston Methodist Neuroscience & Spine Center at Sugar Land, wants headache sufferers to know that an effective therapy plan can help. “It’s a misconception that it’s OK to just live with headaches. They’re a major cause of missed time at work and school, and can affect many areas of your life,” Liew said. UNDERSTANDING YOUR HEADACHE People can be affected by different types of headaches, such as migraines, tension headaches and cluster headaches. Migraines typically: • Affect one side of the head • Create throbbing and pounding pain

sclerosis, which causes neuron loss. Both conditions almost guarantee dementia. Another study focused on “super-agers,” 80 years or older who have memory performance as good as people in their 50s or 60s and examines lifestyle differences. The brains of the super-agers showed less cortical thinning, or neuron loss in certain areas, said lead researcher Emily Rogalski, research associate professor at the Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer’s Disease Center, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago. In fact, their brains were physically more similar to the brains of people aged 50-60 than their 80-year-old peers. The super-agers also had developed increased thickness in an area of the brain associated with decision-making, impulse control and emotions and other functions that was not found in the brains of their peers or of healthy younger people. Lifestyle surveys showed super-agers also were more likely to report valuing close, meaningful relationships with people in their lives. “There are brain benefits of having good friends,” Rogalski said. However, the researchers are not sure if the super-agers have more close friends or family members that they’re communicating with or wider social circles. Rogalski said she plans to study that, as well as how relationships benefit brain health. For those who need some memory or other cognitive improvements now, there may soon be a video your doctor can

prescribe. Adam Gazzaley, professor of neurology, physiology and psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco and executive director of Neuroscape, has developed video games designed to improve memory, attention and learning that adjust to a player’s performance and focus on different cognitive systems. The games are being tested in elderly people with Alzheimer’s Disease or Parkinson’s Disease, as well as in children diagnosed with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder to gain FDA approval as a treatment. Earlier trials showed that the games could improve multitasking using the game in healthy 70, 80, and 90-yearolds, Gazzaley said, and that the games created other cognitive improvements. He is now working on incorporating new technologies that will allow players to use their bodies as they play, while the game tracks their heart rate as well as cognitive performance. “I’m interested in new tools to help improve neuroplasticity,” Gazzaley said. There are other reasons to be hopeful we can all age better. Data show that the risk of developing dementia has declined slightly in the past decades, Kawas said, which she attributes to people improving their lifestyles: eating better, exercising more, trying to minimize stress. Research has also showed better cognitive performance in people who usually get at least 8 hours of sleep. Her advice? “Do what your mother told you,” Kawas said.

Can alcohol help you live longer? Here’s what the research really says by Jamie Ducharme

Tel: 713-774-5140

HealthLine - A Guide to Seniors on: l Remolding Homes l Assisted Living Facilities l Health and Wellness

its anti-aging benefits, usually because of a compound called resveratrol — though that explanation may be a little oversimplified, and more research is needed.

bias. It still found that moderate drinking may protect against heart attacks, strokes, chest pain and fatal heart disease.

Many of these papers come with caveats, however. Most of them are observational, meaning they can detect patterns in a dataset, but not cause and effect. That means it’s hard to tell whether the beverages themselves are imparting longevity benefits, or if the health effects come from other lifestyle factors common among moderate drinkers, such as a strong social network. Plus, most research focuses specifically on moderate drinking, which is typically defined as no more than a drink a day for women or two drinks a day for men. - Alcohol may or may not be good for your heart -

The link between alcohol and cancer is strong enough that the American Society of Clinical Oncology came out with a new warning in November underscoring associations between drinking and at least seven types of cancer. The relationship between alcohol and breast cancer has been particularly well-studied, with scientists theorizing that alcohol may increase estrogen levels and therefore feed breast cancer. Other research suggests that alcohol may disrupt DNA activity, potentially leading to cancers of the breast, colon, liver, mouth and esophagus. These risks may be even more severe if you have certain other habits, such as smoking and drinking hot tea.

The relationship between alcohol and cardiovascular health is perhaps the most contentious of all. Quite a few studies have linked moderate drinking with better heart health, but some researchers have questioned these findings based on something called the abstainer bias: the idea that many non-drinkers teetotal because they have other health issues, or because they’re recovering from addiction. Including these folks in studies could skew the data to make people who don’t drink look unfairly unhealthy, and to falsely equate booze with health benefits. A large 2017 study looking at alcohol and heart health, however, was designed to eliminate the possibility of abstainer

- Alcohol may be associated with cancer -

- Contribute to weight gain?It’s easy to forget, but alcoholic beverages are often quite high in calories. Regularly imbibing, then, can sneakily contribute to weight gain and obesity. Those can come with their own set of health problems, ranging from heart disease to type 2 diabetes. There’s still a lot scientists don’t know about drinking, but the research clearly suggest that moderation is key. While it’s smart to cut back if your drinking veers into bingeing territory, there’s likely no reason to stop drinking if you do so in small amounts. (-Time)

• Are associated with light or sound sensitivity • Cause nausea or vomiting • Create visual auras, such as kaleidoscope vision Tension headaches typically: • Wrap around the head • Cause pressure or tightness (nonthrobbing pain) • Tend to come on later in the day • Are not associated with nausea or vomiting • May be associated with stress or fatigue Cluster headaches typically: • Affect one side of the head • Cause sharp pain over the temple or behind the eyes • Come in a cluster, often several times a day, for a period of time and then disappear • May cause nasal congestion, watery eyes and flushing of the forehead and face on the same side as the headache • Cause sudden onset of pain that may awaken you from sleep Liew sees another type of headache known as a medication overuse headache, also known as a rebound headache. “Many patients develop worsening headaches over time partially due to too frequent use of pain medications,” she explained. “If you take pain medication for headaches often, and the headache returns, you

Carisa Liew, MD, neurologist might be experiencing a medication overuse headache.” Your doctor can help you manage the dosages and frequency of any prescription and over-the-counter medications you take to avoid medication overuse. SPECIALIZED TREATMENT FOR BETTER RESULTS When it comes to headaches, finding the right treatment for your unique symptoms is vital. A neurologist is trained to identify your headache and offer treatments for your specific needs. Treatment options are diverse and include over-the-counter and prescription medications, dietary supplements, noninvasive medical devices, cranial nerve blocks, BOTOX® injections, infusions, psychological techniques and physical therapies. Prior to your appointment, it’s a good idea to keep a headache diary for several weeks, jotting down details about each headache’s onset. It may offer important clues to what may be triggering your headaches — a major step in preventing the pain. GET RELIEF If you’re suffering from headaches, we can help. Call 281.274.7595 to schedule an appointment with Carisa Liew, MD or another neurologist with Houston Methodist Sugar Land Neurology Associates. Visit our Facebook page at fb.com/methodistsugarland for the latest news, events and information.

Tame the Flu

It’s time to get serious about a universal flu vaccine. By Jonathan Fielding

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TLANTA, Georgia, Febuary 20, 2018 The Centers For Disease Control have announced that there are signs the flu epidemic may be peaking. But a sharp increase in the number of children’s flu deaths – and thousands of deaths due to flu each week – should remind us of the urgent need to press forward with all speed and the robust funding needed to find more effective preventive measures for the flu. We have gone without a universal flu vaccine, one effective against all of the many forms of flu viruses, for too long. Right now, there is progress being made in the effort to create it, and this may be the year – and the flu strain – that finally moves government to accelerate progress with the necessary funding. It has taken some time to answer the call of renowned epidemiologist Dr. Michael Osterholm, issued in 2007, for a billion-dollar-per-year U.S. commitment to develop a universal flu vaccine. Osterholm is still working to address this public health danger, and he received some vindication recently when Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., proposed a bill to greatly increase funding for a universal flu vaccine. That legislation aims to provide $1 billion to the National Institutes of Health in order to support development of a universal flu vaccine, building on current promising efforts. Funding would begin next year. The timing of Markey’s announcement coincides with the CDC’s latest weekly release of death rates in this year’s flu epidemic. The total number of children who have died from flu has climbed to 84. The weekly report also posits that the number of cases may be starting to plateau, with the percentage of Americans seeking care

slightly lower than peak levels during the 2009-10 swine flu pandemic. The week that ended last Saturday was the first one in which this indicator did not increase.

flu strains and could confer immunity over a longer period. The flu virus itself has a part that changes every year and a part that does not. Current vaccines target the part that chang-

Still, it’s recognized that in mid-February one out of every 10 U.S. deaths was likely due to flu, over 4,000 deaths per week. And we expect over 50,000 flu related deaths before the end of the flu season. Nearly everyone I talk to about the inoculation wants to know, “Why is the effectiveness rate so low?”

es. Imagine a new vaccine that targets the part that remains the same. That “universal” vaccine could offer broader and longerlasting immunity.

Seasonal influenza vaccines are formulated to produce antibodies that attack the specific strains of the virus most likely to hit the U.S. The approach – which requires some guesswork based on which strains are seen in countries in the Southern hemisphere, for which the flu season is earlier – allows vaccine developers to focus on the likeliest strains. But, it also means that each year, the inoculation has to be reformulated. In past years, when the A(H1N1) strain of flu was prevalent, vaccines were 4060 percent effective. The predominant strain this season is A(H3N2), against which the vaccine is only about 25 percent effective. The vaccine’s effectiveness is also generally lower for specific groups, such as those over 65 and those with chronic diseases. But there are other approaches to developing flu vaccines, particularly a vaccine which would be effective against all

In addition, there are a number of private-sector-funded efforts to identify effective therapies for those exposed to flu and those who are sick with it. Several of these promising antiviral compounds are in clinical trials now and it would not be surprising if, within the next year, one more of the pharmaceutical companies involved applies for government approval to sell their product. What to do while we await more effective vaccines and antivirals? Get the current vaccine (no, it is not too late!), wash your hands often, avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with your hands, stay home if you are sick, avoid close contact with others and consult your primary-care doctor about whether to take existing antiviral drugs if you are exposed to flu or have flu symptoms and are at high risk for flu complications. If you are an employer, encourage your employees to stay home if they are experiencing flu symptoms. And provide sick pay so that they don’t feel compelled to come to work when sick with an easily transmitted, infectious agent like the flu virus. (-US News Reports)


HEALTH

VOICE OF ASIA 18

Peanut allergy treatment succeeds in study

ing a reaction if they are exposed to peanuts. That would be a relief to Cathy Heald, a Dallas woman whose 10-year-old son Charlie was in the study. “We had to teach him that he has to ask about everything he eats from a very early age,” she said. “He’s described it as living in a cage, watching other people get to eat what they want.” Charlie was assigned to the group given the placebo in the study but has been able to get the real thing since it ended, she said.

Some people have life-threatening reactions if exposed to peanuts. (Patrick Sison / Associated Press) he first treatment to help prevent serious allergic reactions to peanuts may be on the way. A California company said Tuesday that its daily capsules of peanut flour helped children build tolerance to the nuts in a major study.

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Millions of children have peanut allergies, and some have life-threatening reactions if accidentally exposed to the nuts. Doctors have been testing daily doses of peanut flour, contained in a capsule and sprinkled over food, as a way to prevent that by gradually getting them used to very small amounts. Aimmune Therapeutics, based in Brisbane, Calif., said 67% of children who had its treatment were able to tolerate the equivalent of roughly two peanuts at the end of the study, compared with only 4% of those given a placebo powder. But a big warning: Don’t try this at home. “It’s potentially dangerous,” said Dr. Stacie Jones, a University of Arkansas allergy specialist. “This is investigational. It has to be done in a very safe setting” to make sure kids can be treated quickly for any bad reactions that occur, she said.

Jones helped lead the study, consults for the company, and will give the results at an allergy conference next month. The results have not yet been reviewed by independent experts. The study involved nearly 500 children ages 4 to 17 with peanut allergies so severe that they had reactions to as little as a tenth of a peanut. They were given capsules of either peanut flour or a placebo powder in gradually increasing amounts for six months, then continued on that final level for another six months. Neither the participants nor their doctors knew who was getting what until the study ended. About 20% of the kids getting the peanut powder dropped out of the study, 12% because of reactions or other problems. The product showed “overall good safety,” Jones said. Dr. Andrew Bird is an allergy specialist at the University of Texas’ Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas who also consults for Aimmune and had patients in the study. He said the treatment doesn’t enable children to eat peanuts as if they had no allergy, but the research suggests that being able to tolerate at least one peanut should protect 95% of them from hav-

Aimmune plans to seek U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval for the treatment later this year and in Europe early next year. The company’s chief executive has said he expects the first six months of treatment to cost $5,000 to $10,000, then $300 to $400 a month after that. The thinking about peanut allergies has changed in recent years, and experts now think early exposure helps prevent those allergies from forming. Last year, the National Institutes of Health issued new advice, saying most babies should get peanut-containing foods starting around 6 months, in age-appropriate forms such as watered-down peanut butter or peanut puffs — not whole peanuts because those are a choking hazard. Aimmune’s stock initially jumped after the news, then dropped sharply before recovering somewhat. Around 11 a.m. Pacific time, the shares were down more than 3%. Adam Feuerstein, a columnist with healthcare news site Stat News, said on Twitter that the company’s valuation had been high and that there remains a question about whether parents will have their children undergo the treatment, given the possibility of adverse reactions such as anaphylaxis. (-AP)

Why heart attack symptoms are sometimes missed in women by Jacqueline Howard

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mong adults 55 and younger, women may be more likely than men to experience lesserknown acute heart attack symptoms in addition to chest pain, a new study has found. And more than half of the doctors seeing women who seek care for those symptoms, prior to being hospitalized, might not even realize that the symptoms are heart-related, the study suggests. Misinterpreting such heart attack symptoms could put young women at a greater risk of death than similarly aged men. These differences between symptoms, and how they’re interpreted in men and women, are spotlighted in the study, published in the journal Circulation on Monday. It’s a situation that 42-yearold Des Moines, Iowa, resident Melissa Murphy knows all too well. About two years ago, Murphy awoke and sat up, clutching her chest. It was about 2 a.m. on Ash Wednesday, and the pain in Murphy’s chest was unnerving, but she figured that maybe her body was reacting to her giving up caffeine for Lent. Then, another thought crossed her mind. The mother of two woke her husband, asked for his cell phone and began searching online for “women’s heart attack symptoms.” Suddenly, “the pain started to get intense, and I started to have pain in the left side of my jaw,” said Murphy, who was not involved in the new study. “That’s when my husband looked at me and said, ‘I don’t know CPR very well. I’m calling an ambulance,’ and thank God he did, because I was having a right-sided heart attack,” she said. Murphy, who now conducts patient and reimbursement support for Otsuka Pharmaceuticals, used to work as a surgical nurse. “I used to hold the human heart when we would do bypass grafts on patients who had heart attacks. So in my mind, I thought, ‘if this ever happens to me or a family member, I’m going to know they’re having a heart attack,’ “ Murphy said.

But “when you actually experience a heart attack, that’s the last thing you think of.” “You think if you have a heart attack, it’s going to be the Hollywood heart attack. You’re going to fall over on the floor. You’re going to grab your chest. Everybody around you is going to know you’re having a heart attack. Well, with women, it doesn’t happen like that.” - A young woman ... has a higher risk of mortality The new study highlights how most women and men both experience chest pain as the predominant symptom of a heart attack, but women tend to experience a greater number of additional non-chest pain symptoms. Those additional symptoms in women can be dangerously misunderstood. “The backdrop for all of this is the fact that a young woman who is hospitalized with a heart attack has a higher risk of mortality than a similarly aged man in this age group of 18 to 55,” said Judith Lichtman, associate professor in the department of chronic disease epidemiology at Yale School of Public Health and lead author of the study. Though the study does not dive into the scale of that increased risk, a previous report in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology shows that between 2001 and 2010, the rate of in-hospital heart attack deaths for women ranged from 3.3% to 2.3%, whereas the rate for men ranged from 2% to 1.8%. Not getting care for heart attack symptoms could result in complications, such as an arrhythmia or abnormal heartbeat, heart failure, heart rupture or even death. Heart attacks most often occur as a result of coronary heart disease, when a part of the heart muscle doesn’t receive enough blood. Every 40 seconds, someone in the United States has a heart attack, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Every seven minutes, someone in the United Kingdom will have a heart attack, according to the charity Heart UK.

Cardiovascular diseases, such as coronary heart disease, are the leading cause of death globally, according to the World Health Organization. - This represents a missed opportunity The new study included 2,009 women and 976 men, ages 18 to 55, who had been hospitalized in the US for having an acute heart attack between August 2008 and January 2012. One hundred and three hospitals across the country were included in the study. Shortly after their heart attack, the patients were interviewed and asked whether they had seen their doctor in the week before going to the hospital. They also were asked whether their doctor told them that their symptoms might be related to a heart problem.

FRIDAY, February 23, 2018

Zika virus mimics host’s immune system, triggering hosts body to attack itself

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ALVESTON, Texas – A research team from the U.S., Germany and Singapore, led by The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, has uncovered evidence that parts of the Zika virus closely resemble parts of the host’s own immune system, which may trigger the host’s body to mount a defense against both the Zika virus as well as its own complement system, which is important for fetal development as well as for the immune system. This mistaken identity may contribute to the birth defects and adult neurological disorders seen in people who have been infected with Zika. These findings are detailed in Scientific Reports. In healthy people, a Zika virus infection usually results in mild or symptom-free infections, the risk of a disorder in which your body’s immune system attacks your nerves called Guillain-Barre syndrome and microcephaly in a developing fetus is an alarming consequence that has created a worldwide health threat.

Although the Zika virus was discovered nearly 70 years ago, scientists do not yet fully understand how the virus causes infection once it enters the host. The researchers from the multinational team sought out to determine whether there were Zika proteins that “mimic” the host proteins and if the immune response could be aimed against both. Different proteins serve different roles within the body and understanding what the proteins targeted by the immune system or the virus do could explain why Zika infection can result in neurological complications. Cellular analyses using a bioinformatics platform from BiomedProtection, LLC, showed that the E protein of the Zika virus shares similarities to a protein complex within the host called complement system component C1q, suggesting that they may be biologically similar. Next, they detected elevated levels of anti-C1q antibodies in the blood samples of mice and non-human primates

that were exposed to Zika virus, suggesting that this virus induces autoimmune responses. “We know that C1q is involved with the body’s natural immune reaction to foreign invaders, homeostasis, the development of new blood vessels, brain circuitry organization and programmed cell death,” said Slobodan Paessler, UTMB professor in the department of pathology. “If the C1q-mimicking Zika virus E protein is causing the host’s body to create antibodies specifically against C1q, it suggests that these antibodies may contribute to Zika-associated complications such as microcephaly and Guillain-Barre syndrome.” Paessler said that as potential Zika vaccines enter clinical trials, it’s important to ensure that these vaccines do not induce anti-C1q antibodies that may lead to an autoimmune response in the people receiving the vaccination. (-Yahoo! News)

Google’s software can detect heart attack risk Algorithms observe human eye to predict health dangers by Drew Harwell and Carolyn Y. Johnson

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y looking at the human eye, Google’s algorithms were able to predict whether someone had high blood pressure or was at risk of a heart attack or stroke, Google researchers said Monday, opening a new opportunity for artificial intelligence in the vast and lucrative global health industry.

of more than 280,000 patients across the United States and United Kingdom into its intricate pattern-recognizing algorithms, known as neural networks. Those scans helped train the networks on which telltale signs tended to indicate long-term health dangers. Medical professionals today can look for similar signs by using a device to inspect the retina, drawing the patient’s blood

that could be administered in a range of settings, letting people know if they should come in for follow-up. The research, one of an increasing number of conceptual health-technology studies, was conducted by Google and Verily Life Sciences, a subsidiary of Google’s parent Alphabet. The idea that people’s eyes

The algorithms didn’t outperform existing medical approaches such as blood tests, according to a study of the finding published in the journal Nature Biomedical Engineering. The work needs to be validated and repeated on more people before it gains broader acceptance, several outside physicians said. But the new approach could build on doctors’ current abilities by providing a tool that people could one day use to quickly and easily screen themselves for health risks that can contribute to heart disease, the leading cause of death worldwide. “This may be a rapid way for people to screen for risk,” Harlan Krumholz, a cardiologist at Yale University who was not involved in the study, wrote in an email. “Diagnosis is about to get turbo-charged by technology. And one avenue is to empower people with rapid ways to get useful information about their health.” Google researchers fed images scanned from the retinas

or assessing risk factors such as their age, gender, weight and whether they smoke. But no one taught the algorithms what to look for: Instead, the systems taught themselves, by reviewing enough data to learn the patterns often found in the eyes of people at risk. The true power of this kind of technological solution is that it could flag risk with a fast, cheap and noninvasive test

might reveal signs of underlying cardiovascular disease isn’t as outlandish as it might seem. Diabetes and high blood pressure, for example, can cause changes in the retina. Krumholz cautioned that an eye scan isn’t ready to replace more conventional approaches. The results show how tough it is to make significant improvements in cardiovascular risk prediction. (-Washington Post)

About 22.1% of men and 29.5% of women said they sought medical care for their symptoms before their hospitalization, but only 37% of those men -- compared with 53% of those women -- said that their doctors did not think their symptoms were heartrelated. “From my perspective, this represents a missed opportunity to identify symptoms of heart disease, even if they are reported within the context of multiple non-chest pain symptoms -- particularly in a population with multiple risk factors for heart disease,” Lichtman said. Though risk factors were common for both sexes, the researchers wrote that the women were more likely than the men to have a history of congestive heart failure, diabetes, obesity, stroke, chronic kidney disease and chronic lung disease. Almost two-thirds of the women and men said that persistent symptoms were the reason they sought medical care, and more than half said the pain was too bad to ignore, the researchers found.“I would rather have somebody be told at the ER that it’s not what they thought it was, and it’s not a heart attack, than to have somebody have a heart attack not get help and then could die,” she said. (-CNN)

Voice of Asia brings you the latest in medicine, medical technology, nutrition, pharmacy, and other health related


HEALTH

VOICE OF ASIA 19

FRIDAY, February 23, 2018

“ Dig The Well Before You Get Thirsty” Harris County Public Health Confirms Flu-Related Pediatric Death by P.G. Parameswaran, MD

Chinese proverb says “dig the well before you get thirsty.” We are not following this adage when it comes to arming our South Asian community with enough bone marrow donor registrants so that when the need arises there is some one in the large pool who will be a match. The present dearth of registrants - possible donors - have caused our families to look for a donor at a time when their loved one is already stricken with Leukemia (or other type of cancers needing a bone marrow transplant) and in urgent need of a donor to stay alive.

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Every 3 minutes someone gets diagnosed with blood cancer and every ten minutes someone dies from it. As a retired physician who has conducted bone marrow donor drives for many years, I am convinced that the only way to save the lives of our South Asian children and adults with Leukemia who fail to respond to chemotherapy and waiting for a bone marrow transplant is to get 100% of our healthy adults to register and commit to donate when matched with a patient. Is this just a wishful thinking or will our community wake up and do what has to be done? At any time, an average of 6000 patients with Leukemia are awaiting marrow transplant every day in the USA. About 75% of Caucasians have registered with the National “Be The Match Registry” while the number of registrants from the South Asian community are, at present, very dismal. I have been approached a number of times by our fellow community members to organize a bone marrow donor registration drive on behalf of a loved one who has failed to find a match both within the family and in the the national ‘Be The Match’ Registry. Their hope is that they will find a match amongst the new registrants who can save their loved one. This is a farfetched hope because the response to such spur of the moment drives is usually poor. This, coupled with the fact that the chances of matching within family members is about 15% to 25% and with a non-relative is anywhere from one in 10,000-100,000, the patient and their families will most likely be disappointed even after conducting several such drives. The best and the only way to avoid heartbreaks and give the patients a fighting chance is for our community to encourage healthy adults to register on their own and conduct ongoing drives. In addition to their illness, another devastation that South Asian patients face is when, after several drives and a long wait, the rare matched donor that they have found decides to back out when he or she is asked to donate. This happens on an average 4 out of 5 times. As a result, there are too many deaths amongst the South Asian children and adults for want of donors. In the greater Houston area, with a South Asian population of 200,000 and growing, this tragic loss of our loved ones should not happen. What are the reasons for this and can something be done to

Residents Encouraged to Protect Themselves from the Flu

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ARRIS COUNTY, TX - Harris County Public Health (HCPH) is confirming a flu-related death of a child in Harris County. This is the first pediatric death in Harris County this flu season (starting October 1, 2017). Due to confidentiality issues and out of respect for the privacy of the family during this difficult time, no further information on the child will be released. According to information provided last week by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there have been 84 pediatric flu-related deaths across the country during this challenging flu season. Additionally, per the CDC, this year’s vaccine offers good protection for children over six months to eight years of age.

The very first marrow donor of 2018 from Houston, Parveez correct this sad situation ? One or more of the following reasons may cause you not to register or to donate. 1. Feeling confident that you or your family member is unlikely to suffer from leukemia. Statistics show that every 3 minutes someone gets diagnosed with blood cancer (Leukemia) and every ten minutes someone dies from it. 2. If you register you will have to donate marrow to a stranger. Every one of us needing a marrow transplant and cannot find a matching donor in the family will be depending on a stranger for the marrow. 3. Fear of the consequences of losing one’s bone marrow. The amount of marrow that one has to donate is an extremely small percentage of the 92 ounces of marrow that is present in the long and flat bones of a healthy adult. Donating this small amount of marrow is safe and will have no ill effect. The marrow is restored in about 2 weeks time. 4. Fear of not knowing what to expect and risks associated with the procedure. Prior to thee donation process, the donor undergoes a medical examination to confirm he or she is in good health. Depending on the patient’s needs the doctor might decide to obtain the marrow cells by one of two method, either using the traditional technique of inserting the needle in the hip bone under local or general anesthesia under sterile conditions in the operating room (There could be some pain at the site where the needle was inserted in the hip for a couple of days which is easily relieved with pain pills) or obtain stem cells from the peripheral blood (PBSC). The same blood forming cells that are found in the bone marrow are also found in the circulating peripheral blood. One of our community members, Parveez recently donated PBSC to save the life of a Leukemia patient, Meet the very first marrow donor of 2018 from Houston, Parveez . He donated PBSC to save the life of the person who

was in urgent need of the transplant. Without this transplant the patient could die. Fifty-five year old Parveez said,”After several years of being listed on the registry, when I received the call that I was a match, I received full support from my wife, children, brothers, sisters and rest of the family. My family was so supportive that my 17-year-old son gave me a ride on the donation day and my aunt came with us to give us company. The support did not end at home; it continued to my work place as well. My boss at Oceaneering supported me whole-heartedly and granted me the days off needed for the donation and recovery. Although I had some soreness after the donation for two days, it was very humbling experience. I have recovered completely and resumed my life at work and home and am now desperately waiting to hear the recovery news of my recipient.” 5. You might wonder if one can refuse to donate after matching with a patient. If you refuse, it is a death sentence for the patient as you are the only one who has matched and there is no one to replace you. Please register only if you are committed to donate when matched.

Since flu season can last as late as May, HCPH reminds individuals to remain diligent in protecting themselves and their families against the flu. Harris County residents who haven’t had a flu shot are encouraged to get one as soon as possible as flu vaccine remains available throughout our com-

The participants in the study used cleaning products over the course of two decades, according to Newsweek, which reports the study found women who used the cleaning products regularly had a markedly decreased lung capacity.

Researchers also found increased rates of asthma among women who used the products regularly. Cleaning was not significantly associated with lung function decline in men, according to the study’s results, A hack also could interfere with doctors’ ability to monitor heart data transmitted by the ICD, or alter the device’s function in a way that would drain its battery. It is possible that someone could hack in and monitor the heart data being transmitted from a device to a doctor’s office, Lakkireddy said.

By Dennis Healthday

Many ICDs used these days are wirelessly programmed in a doctor’s office, and transmit real-time data on patient heart rate that cardiologists can use to track a person’s heart health.

Each ICD sends and receives on a unique radio frequency, and it can be reprogrammed only with proprietary software produced by the device’s manufacturer, Lakkireddy said.

ICDs track a patient’s heart rate and, if it becomes erratic, delivers a jolt of electricity to restore normal rhythm.

A malicious hacker would

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our wireless heart implant suddenly goes on the fritz, either conking out completely or causing your heart to beat rapidly or irregularly. Could you be the victim of a hacking attack aimed at endangering your life by messing with your heart device? It happened on the “Homeland” TV series, when Islamic terrorists hacked the heart pacemaker of the vice president of the United States and engineered his untimely end. But hacking a cardiac device isn’t just the stuff of fiction. It’s a potential possibility -- though remote at this time -- that must be guarded against to protect patients, a new review suggests. “We need to be thinking about these possibilities ahead of time. We need to be a couple

“We need to think about safety nets in the design of the hardware, software and programming of these devices,” Lakkireddy added. It’s highly unlikely that a hacker could alter the programming of an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) in a way that would endanger a patient, said Lakkireddy, a leader of the Electrophysiology Section of the American College of Cardiology (ACC). “After reviewing the literature and talking to the industry people, their engineers and people in the cyber sector, our final take on this is it’s a theoretical risk that has been blown out of proportion,” Lakkireddy said.

Medical devices have been targets of hacking for over a decade, Lakkireddy and his colleagues noted. Some insulin pumps have been shown to be vulnerable to a remote hacking attack, and in 2016 a cybersecurity firm issued a report alleging that certain ICDs also might be hackable. The concern is that a hacker could target someone’s ICD with an attack that would cause the device to deliver inappropriate or life-threatening shocks, according to a report from the ACC’s Electrophysiology Section.

HCPH reminds others that flu is not a reportable disease to health departments. HCPH monitors flu activity mainly from lab reports, emergency room visits due to influenza- like illness, and school absenteeism data. However, children’s flu deaths must be reported to local health authorities.

The research published in the American Thoracic Society’s American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine tracked 6,235 men and women, whose average age was 34 at the start and 54 at the end.

Could hackers target heart devices? of steps ahead of the hackers,” said Dr. Dhanunjaya Lakkireddy. He directs the University of Kansas Medical Center’s Center for Excellence in Atrial Fibrillation and Complex Arrhythmias.

HCPH has a number of flurelated resources on its website - please visit hcphtx.org.

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But there are a lot of hurdles that someone would have to clear to remotely reprogram another person’s heart implant, he continued.

Thompson,

Persons who have flu-like symptoms (especially if they are serious) are asked to contact their healthcare provider for further advice and stay home from school or work for at least 24 hours in order to avoid making others sick.

study by scientists at the University of Bergen in Norway finds that regular use of cleaning sprays can have the same health impact as smoking a pack of cigarettes a day.

To register in the “Be The Match” directory please contact any one of the following. After you register encourage friends and family to register as well -- the only way to “dig the well before you get thirsty”

The author is grateful to Gayatri Kapoor for her assistance providing the statistics and donor information.

Flu symptoms include the following signs and symptoms: • Fever* or feeling feverish/ chills; • Cough; • Sore throat;

*It’s important to note that not everyone with flu will have a fever.

by David Nelson

Effects were comparable to 10 to 20 years of smoking a pack of cigarettes a day and applied to women cleaning at home or working as occupational cleaners.

Contact the Indian American Cancer Network (IACAN) which conducts bone marrow donor registration drives regularly at 713 370 3489 to find out the date and location of the next drive or visit www.iacannetwork.org

Getting vaccinated is especially important for the following groups: • Anyone with certain medical conditions including asthma, diabetes, heart disease, and chronic lung disease; • Pregnant women; • Young children over the age of six months; • Anyone 65 years of age and older; and/or, • Anyone who lives with or cares for others who are at high risk of developing serious complications.

• Runny or stuffy nose; • Muscle or body aches; • Headaches; • Fatigue (very tired); and/or, • Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.

Home cleaning products may be as harmful as 20 cigarettes a day

We encourage the readers to let us know if there are specific concerns that prevents you from registering to be a prospective donor or prevents you from donating when matched.

Visit https://bethematch.org/ for more information.

munity. “This death is a somber reminder of the danger flu poses to our residents, especially those who are more vulnerable to develop serious flu complications” said Dr. Umair A. Shah, Executive Director of Harris County Public Health “Obtaining a flu shot and taking other preventive measures are your best lines of defense against the flu.”

File photo but an increase in diagnosed asthma was seen among men cleaning at home. The study notes it may be that women appear more affected due in part to the greater number of women involved in the study. Of the 6,235 people studied, 53% were women and 44% had never smoked in their lives. Also, of all the women in the study, 85% reported to be the person cleaning at home, while only 46.5% of men said they were. Previous studies on chemical exposures, like tobacco smoke and wood dust, have found that less exposure in women is needed to develop illness. The scientists advise using first have to know that a person has a heart implant, then figure out what brand of heart implant and its radio frequency, then get the proprietary reprogrammer for that device within range of the victim, then tinker around nearby without the person becoming suspicious, Lakkireddy said. Given stringent U.S. laws protecting patient information, it’s unlikely that someone could cobble together all of this information and launch such an attack, he said. “When you pile up all these pieces of information together, the probabilities keep going down dramatically,” Lakkireddy said. “It’s not operationally plausible.” Dr. Gordon Tomaselli, chief

microfiber cloths and water for cleaning rather than chemicals, while some health advocates suggest using cleaning products that are labeled “allergy friendly” and are made with fewer chemicals. The study concludes that its findings “suggest that cleaning activities in women, whether at home or as an occupation, may constitute a risk to respiratory health, not only in terms of asthma... but also in terms of long-term impact on lung function decline.” “Our findings advocate a need for further focus on preventing harmful exposure to the airways from exposure in cleaning activities,” the study concludes. (-KWQC TV)

of cardiology for Johns Hopkins, in Baltimore, said it’s theoretically possible that someone sitting near a person with a heart implant could hack into the ICD and reprogram it. “It could not be done by somebody sitting somewhere at a computer in their basement, hacking,” Tomaselli said. “They’d have to have access to the device.” Tomaselli agreed with Lakkireddy that patients today have nothing to fear. “If you’re not remotely monitored, it’s virtually nonexistent,” Tomaselli said. “If you are remotely monitored, the chances are very, very small.” “There are things we are going to continue to have to do to make sure patients remain safe”

Voice of Asia brings you the latest in medicine, medical technology, nutrition, pharmacy, and other health related articles.

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VOICE OF ASIA 20

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

Physicists create a new form of light by binding photons

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OSTON, MA - In an MIT lab, physicists have pushed the boundaries of what we thought was possible by creating a new form of light. The scientists were able to coax photons to interact with another, similarly to how atoms attract or repel each other in ordinary matter. This breakthrough could one day enable scientists to fashion so-called “light crystals,” where photons are arranged in fixed patterns and which could be key in producing future quantum computers and communication systems.

However, Sergio Cantu, a Ph.D. candidate at MIT, and colleagues managed the impossible — and they did it with a bit more than flashlights. The team chilled rubidium atoms close to absolute zero, which makes them almost motionless, then activated a laser, resulting in an ultracold cloud. Everything is contained in a small tube that magnetized, thus keeping the rubidium atoms diffuse, slow-moving, and in a highly excited state. The researchers then fired a very weak laser onto the dense cloud of ultracold rubidium atoms. What happened next was rather than exiting the cloud as single, randomly spaced photons, the photons combined together in pairs or triplets. This means that some sort of interaction between the photons is at play — in this case, attraction. Surprisingly, the three-photon grouping was even more

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hen ‘Oumuamua, a mysterious interstellar object, swept through our solar system last October, it elicited breathless news stories all asking the obvious question—is it a spaceship? There were no signs it was—although many people seemed to hope otherwise.

Photo credit: Pixabay stable than the pair. “The more you add, the more strongly they are bound,” said co-author Aditya Venkatramani, a Ph.D. candidate in atomic physics at Harvard University. The scientists knew the photons must be interacting, since the pairs and triplets of photons give off different energy signatures or phase shifts, the authors reported in the journal Science. “The phase tells you how strongly they’re interacting, and the larger the phase, the stronger they are bound together,” Venkatramani explained. Typically, in a vacuum, photons travel at the speed of light (almost 300,000 kilometers/ second) and have no mass. However, after they passed through the clouds, the bounded photons were 100,000 times slower than normal non-interacting photons and acquired a fraction of an electron’s mass. Though not confirmed yet, the physicists think the photon group together by forming a photon-atom hybrid or polariton. When a single photon travels through the rubidium cloud, it hops from one atom to another, like a bee foraging from flower to flower. A photo-atom hybrid forms when

one photon briefly binds to an atom and when two such hybrids meet in the cloud, they interact. When the polaritons are about to exit the cloud, the atoms stay behind while the photons lurch forward, still bound together. Triplets form when you add more photons — or so the physicists’ theoretical model goes. “What’s neat about this is, when photons go through the medium, anything that happens in the medium, they ‘remember’ when they get out,” Cantu said. “The interaction of individual photons has been a very long dream for decades,” said Vladan Vuletic, the Lester Wolfe Professor of Physics at MIT, in a statement. The findings could put to use in a novel quantum communications system which entangles bound-photons, allowing almost instantaneous transmission of complex quantum information. “It’s completely novel in the sense that we don’t even know sometimes qualitatively what to expect,” Vuletic said. “With repulsion of photons, can they be such that they form a regular pattern, like a crystal of light? Or will something else happen? It’s very uncharted territory.” (-SciAm)

Wedding trends: Tech-inspired or intimate? by Frans Snackers

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edding trends change dramatically over time. Some couples spare nothing for a once-in-a-lifetime grand ceremony, while others prefer an intimate affair. Bride-to-be Yerisa, who plans to get married this spring, met her future husband about two years ago through mutual friends. But since she is currently away in Croatia, the groom-to-be and his family are taking care of wedding preparations. “Actually, I just want a very simple wedding — only at the civil registration office and then later in a restaurant with all my family members and close friends,” said the 30-year-old. In her opinion, the most important part of a wedding is the ijab kabul (Islamic wedding vows) rather than all that pomp. But she understands why people find it important to have a big wedding. “A big wedding shows you are proud. But I personally would rather have a small one because I do not want to owe money to the bank and not be happy in the marriage because of it,” said Yerisa, who, in the end, will still have around 500 wedding guests. Anita, not her real name, grew up with the hope of having a Disney princess dream wedding in a castle, where she would dance with her handsome prince. “As I grew up I realized this kind of dream was just too good to be true, so I became more realistic about it and left those thoughts behind,” said the 24-year-old Jakarta resident. While planning their big day, Anita and her future husband went with a concept quite different from those dreams, opting for a small wedding instead of inviting large crowds. “I’d rather have a small but more meaningful wedding, surrounded by people who have a close bond with me, rather than have a big wedding where I don’t even recognize half the people. I want it to be just

Is humanity ready for the discovery of alien life? by Yasemin Saplakoglu

- The real lightsaber If you ever tried crossing the beams of two flashlights, you probably don’t remember much about it. That’s because it was rather uneventful, i.e. nothing happens. Typically, photons don’t interact with each other, which is why you don’t see light beam bounce off each other — that would be a weird sight.

FRIDAY, February 23, 2018

a small beach wedding with fewer than 150 guests in total; we’ll just invite family and close friends.” Their choice of a smaller wedding does not mean the couple plans to rein in their spending — inviting fewer people means they can spend the money on other things such as traveling together, rather than blow it all in one day. They have a very clear idea of what they want: the wedding must have a sense of grandeur and modernity — a beach-side wedding with a Javanese touch as an homage to her roots. It will be semi-outdoor, with dim lights and a mostly white and rose gold color scheme. Weddings in Indonesia can be a heavy financial burden for couples. Yerisa has chosen vendors she found based on a friend’s recommendation for decoration, food, makeup, traditional wedding clothes as well as souvenirs and wedding invitations, costing her around US$4,000 so far. Anita looked up potential vendors for her wedding on Bridestory’s website, where she could use filters to find those matching her wishes and budget. “It’s really cool for millennials like me who like to find everything in an easy way,” she says. The presence of wedding fairs and websites has simplified the daunting task of planning weddings for couples, cutting down the time from

months to just days, leaving you more time to focus on the big day. Bridestory’s annual fair, which took place over the weekend in the Sheraton Hotel’s dimly-lit grand ballroom, was packed with couples in search of their perfect wedding. The lighting was in line with the “Stardust” theme, which was inspired by the high-tech lifestyle of this generation’s young couples. “We chose this theme because we wanted to highlight technological innovation reflected in the current wedding industry trend,” said Nathalia Isadora, Bridestory’s event director. Apart from the fairy lights draped across the many vendor booths, Isadora offered examples of flower-like decorations lit by LEDs and fabrics that could light up on their own to make the bride a glowing centerpiece at a summer night wedding. For Alice Callista, who put her floral pieces on display, wedding fairs are a good place for vendors like her to show what they have in store. “It’s a facility for us to showcase our creations and designs,” she said. It was the vendors themselves that came up with most of the creations, according to Kevin Mintaraga, CEO and co-founder of Bridestory. Most of them are local, hailing from Jakarta and Bali — hotspots in the Indonesian wedding industry. (-The Jakarta Post)

Throughout history most strange new cosmic phenomena have made us wonder: Could this be it, the moment we first face alien life? The expectation isn’t necessarily outlandish—many scientists can and do make elaborate, evidence-based arguments that we will eventually discover life beyond the bounds of our planet. To true believers, what may be more uncertain is whether or not such news would cause global panic—which depends on how our minds, so greatly influenced by our Earthly environment and society, would perceive the potential threat of something utterly outside our familiar context. “There’s this feeling amongst the public—a very large fraction of the public—that the discovery of intelligent life at least would be kept secret by the government because otherwise everybody would just go bonkers,” says Seth Shostak, an astronomer at the SETI Institute who was not involved with the study. Perhaps it might make sense for our brains—tuned by millions of years of evolution to be wary of predators—to freak out over immensely powerful alien beings arriving on our cosmic doorstep from parts unknown. But let’s say the situation hasn’t gone full “alien invasion” yet and malevolent starships aren’t sailing toward Earth, but rather we have read news of a definitive discovery of extraterrestrial life. How might we react then? Psychologists at Arizona State University (A.S.U.) used language-analyzing software to gauge feelings associated with 15 news articles about past discoveries that could have potentially been attributed to extraterrestrial life—reports covering items such as newfound Earth-like planets, mysterious astrophysical phenomena and possible life found on Mars. The articles used more positive and reward-oriented words than negative and risk-oriented ones, they report in a study published in January in Frontiers in Psychology. Although not in the paper, the team later similarly found articles about ‘Oumuamua skewed positive. They will report those results on Saturday in Austin, Texas, at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. “I think we’re generally sort of positively predisposed to novelty, unless we have strong reason to suspect it could harm us,” says Michael Varnum, a psychologist at A.S.U. Tempe and the study’s senior author. “Of course, I’m not saying that if we got news that there were a bunch of large alien warships on their way towards Earth that we would be happy about it.” - Martian Microbes According to Varnum (and many astrobiologists), because simple, single-cellular life is presumably more cosmically common than star-crossing civilizations, it’s much more likely we will someday discover alien microbes rather than anything we could talk to. For his next set

Most Americans would probably be thrilled to learn extraterrestrials (intelligent or not) exist. Other nationalities beg to differ. (Graphic: fotocelia Getty Images) of experiments, he polled some 500 U.S. participants online to write about how they—and society in general—would react to news of such a discovery. Then he asked a separate group of around 250 people to read and respond to an actual New York Times article from 1996 that reported the potential discovery of fossilized microbes in a Martian meteorite. He compared this first batch of responses with those from another group of 250 people who read a 2010 New York Times article about the first synthetic life form created in a lab. He presented both stories without a dateline as if they were “fresh” off the press (although some participants likely realized they were not). After analyzing the emotional tenor of their responses, the team found the participants generally used more positive than negative words when describing both extraterrestrial and synthetic life. This positive-to-negative word ratio was greater when participants were responding to the discovery of extraterrestrial life compared with the creation of synthetic life, which could be an indication the data wasn’t skewed by, say, a possible human tendency to write or react positively. Participants tended to report they would respond more positively than society at large. Varnum thinks this could be because of a psychological tendency called “illusory superiority” in which a person thinks they have better qualities than others. But Shostak notes the methodology of the experiment might have biased readers toward a more positive response. Even if it didn’t, “I can’t say [the conclusion] was a big surprise to me,” he says. “If we were to announce tomorrow we found microbes on Mars, people would not start rioting in the streets… but I don’t think anybody thought they were going to riot in the streets.” If Martians landed in Silicon Valley, however, “I’d buy a lot of frozen pizzas and head for the hills—I mean, I’d be out of here, too,” he adds. - The Ambiguous Alien If it’s a discovery somewhere in between the extremes of an extraterrestrial microbe and rapacious, hostile aliens laying siege to Earth, will people respond differently based on the era or society they live in? Our brains are wired with ancient circuits to defend us against predators. But as we navigate through the world, experience can also shape what we come to accept or to fear and how open we are to novelty. This study only looked at U.S. responses but two neuroscientists think the results might have been very different around the world. “If you look at societ-

ies that are much less open and much more xenophobic and so on, they might perceive [finding extraterrestrial life] as much more negative and unsettling,” says Israel Liberzon, a professor of psychiatry, psychology and neuroscience at the University of Michigan who was not part of the study. “Culture may be a strong determinant of how we respond to novelty,” says Cornelius Gross, a neuroscientist at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory– Rome who studies the neural circuitry of fear and was also not involved with the research. “People came to America because they were novelty seekers, so we’ve selected for [that] and then continued to foster novelty seeking and place it very high on our list.” Furthermore a person’s religious beliefs could play a powerful role in shaping their reaction to learning that humanity is in fact not as universally special as many traditions hold. How we respond to such a situation can even be influenced by something as small as which extraterrestrial invasion movies people have seen or science fiction books they have read. If you see a lot of “UFO-type movies and the aliens are always ‘good’ in the end usually, then you might think that that stuff’s going to affect your [brain’s] prefrontal cortex,” Gross says. “And you’re going to adjust your responses to future novel [experiences].” But all in all, Liberzon notes, context is key. Individually or collectively, human beings will respond very differently to observing a lion at a zoo versus coming across one in the African savanna, just as we would when reading about an alien in a science fiction novel versus actually meeting one And if scientists discover something so out of this world, literally, but also in the sense that we can’t compare it with anything we know, it seems futile, even silly, to make predictions about how humanity would react. Gross thinks we would probably first try to understand it, a reaction that can be interpreted as yet another ancient, evolutionarily sculpted defense system aimed at gaining control of a novel situation. There would probably be some positive responses and some negative ones, but they will all be “based on humans’ need to control their environment and make sure things are not threatening to them,” he says. “When we think about what forms life may take elsewhere, we’re really limited by the fact that we only know about what life has evolved to look like here,” Varnum says. But “my suspicion is in fact, the sort of stranger it is, the more excited people would be.” (-CNN)

Japan team builds second skin message display by Hiroshi Hiyama

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OKYO, Japan | AFP | Palmreading could take on a whole new meaning thanks to a new invention from Japan: an ultra-thin display aActly to the body. The band-aid-like device is just one millimetre thick and can monitor important health data as well as send and receive messages, including emojis. Takao Someya, the University of Tokyo professor who developed the device, envisions it as a boon for medical professionals with bed-ridden or farflung patients, as well as family living far from their relatives.

“With this, even in home-care settings, you can achieve seamless sharing of medical data with your home doctors, who then would be able to communicate back to their patients,” he told AFP. Slapped onto the palm or back of a hand, it could flash reminders to patients to take their medicine, or even allow far-away grandchildren to communicate with their grandparents. “Place displays on your skin, and you would feel as if it is part of your body. When you have messages sent to your hand, you would feel emotional closeness to the sender,”

Someya said. “I think a grandfather who receives a message saying ‘I love you’ from his grandchild, they would feel the warmth, too.” The invention could prove particularly useful in Japan, with its rapidly ageing population, replacing the need for in-person checks by offering continuous, non-invasive monitoring of the sick and frail. The display consists of a 16by-24 array of micro LEDs and stretchable wiring mounted on a rubber sheet.It also incorporates a lightweight sensor composed of a breathable “nanomesh” electrode, and a wireless communication module.


FASHION & BEAUTY

VOICE OF ASIA 21

by Catherine Triomphe

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EW YORK | AFP | Fashion photographer Jerris Madison thought his titanium rod leg spelled the end of his glamor days when doctors amputated his leg four years ago in a battle with bone cancer. But in 2016 designers Alleles, a small Canadian company, spotted a photo of him wearing his prosthetic on Instagram and sent him their latest product for him to try out: one of their dazzling, colorful array of prosthetic covers.

FRIDAY, February 23, 2018

How fashion, shoes and accessories enable the disabled

Madison isn’t the only person with a disability who has seen their daily life improve thanks to a growing market of products designed to make things easier, but also look chic and stylish at the same time. From now until September an exhibition at the Cooper Hewitt design museum in New York is showcasing some of these new products, from the low- to the high-tech. “In the last few years there has been a proliferation of new design, very functional and esthetically desirable products for people with all sort of disabilities,” says Cara McCarty, curator of the exhibition. Besides the tattooed-style covers made by Alleles, which start at $375, the exhibition shows Nike “FlyEase” sneakers, first made for a student with cerebral palsy, with a wraparound zipper and adjustable strap to make getting them on and off easier. There is also a walking stick, made in the color of your choice, which can be propped up easily against a wall without falling over, on sale for around $100. - For everyone A hearing aid looks like a giant earring. A bracelet connected to a smart-phone GPS app which guides the blind and tracks obstacles above the knee. Another item is a jacket, included in a new clothing line

“There is a mentality that people don’t really care about well-designed, thoughtfullydesigned home healthcare products and we are trying to change that,” he said.

A group of prosthetic leg covers are displayed as part of the Access+Ability exhibit at the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum February 8, 2018 in New York. From now until September an exhibition at the Cooper Hewitt design museum in New York is showcasing some of these new products, from the low- to the high-tech. (AFP/Don Emmert) for disabled children carried by Target, that comes apart at both sides making for easy wear. The key to success for lots of these products, says Caroline Baumann, director of the museum, is that they are so practical. When Target designers conceived of the jacket “they were thinking about the child on the autism spectrum that might have difficulty putting on their jacket, but what they are finding is that people of all abilities are buying that jacket,” she told AFP. “I would love that jacket for my three-year-old because its a fight every morning to put him in his parka,” Baumann laughed. Keith Kirkland, a former designer at Calvin Klein who coconceived the vibrating GPS “Wayband” bracelet, agrees. If the bracelet was tested on the blind, the idea in launching it for sale later this year, is that “anyone” can pick it up “to figure out which way to go.” More cross-board appeal also means products can be more affordable. “A lot of times the reason the product is so expensive is because you have to amortize that cost over a much smaller market,” Kirkland said. - Breaking down stigma Designers are also eying an aging population, which bring their own disabilities, as another source for market expansion. “One out of three people

India suspends passport of billionaire jeweller Money-laundering designer accusation

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EW DELHI, India | AFP | India said Friday it had suspended the passports of a billionaire jeweller and a diamond merchant accused of defrauding a state-run bank after reports they had left the country. India’s financial crimes agency is investigating allegations that Nirav Modi and his business partner Mehul Choksi were involved in defrauding the Punjab National Bank (PNB). Authorities have registered a money laundering case against Modi, one of India’s richest men and jeweller to top Hollywood stars including Kate Winslet and Naomi Watts. Ministry spokesman Raveesh Kumar told AFP their passports had been suspended for four weeks and would be revoked if they did not provide a response. “If they fail to respond

But if these products are sexy, few are widely available in retail outlets. Most are sold solely online. “The biggest barrier right now is people want to buy these products but the companies responsible for distributing or selling to the end user are very apprehensive,” Kroeker explained.

“When I opened the box, I felt like it was Christmas,” 45-year-old, Los Angelesbased Madison told AFP. “Having that leg cover really boosted my self-esteem,” he said. Walking around in just a bare titanium rod used to make him feel self-conscious. “People would stare and know I was an amputee. Now, they look at me as a walking piece of art.”

preneur, who has also designed a range of compression socks in more exciting colors than the usual black and brown.

within the stipulated time it will be assumed that they have no response to offer and the MEA (foreign ministry) will go ahead with the revocation,”

from the age of 62 has some kind of visual impairment and that aging population is supposed to double by 2060,” says Kirkland.

Matt Kroeker, whose small Canadian firm Top & Derby created the non-falling walking stick, says the idea is to create products that aren’t simply practical but which people en-

joy using. “It’s just like glasses who were utilitarian until the late ‘40s and became more fashionable after that,” said the entre-

Ugly Models, an agency of extraordinary ‘characters’, startles by Edouard Guihare

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ONDON | AFP - | Long necks, large chins, flapping ears, crooked noses: welcome to Ugly Models, a London modelling agency of a different stripe, where imperfections are celebrated.

Madison also hopes to help change attitudes by giving his prosthetic leg cover its own Instagram account. “It is about breaking down that stigma, so you are no longer hiding a hearing aid or hiding a prosthetic leg. You are saying ‘I am more able with this tool that has been designed so well, and I am not embarrassed about it’,” says Baumann.

50-year-old brunette in a twopiece suit. Kris Chesney, an ex-rugby player with Toulon and Saracens, is a man mountain at nearly two metres (over six feet) tall and weighing 135 kilogrammes (almost 300 pounds). With his shaved head, tattooed arms, rugged face, and body bearing the marks of countless scrums, he is perhaps an unlikely male model.

Fashion Week opens in the British capital Friday, and among the legions of models strutting down the catwalk, several will come from Ugly.

“It’s a new journey, something interesting, like a challenge,” he said.

They make eye-catching additions to the perfectly honed or androgynous models that typically feature at fashion’s annual showcase in London.

Sheerah Ravindren, a petite 22-year-old model just 1.61 metres tall, comes from Sri Lanka and proclaims herself a “militant immigrant model”.

“It’s celebrating diversity really and it’s bringing a bit more light to fashioninstead of just using the bog-standard models,” agency owner Marc French told AFP.

Sporting a bare belly between baggy jeans and black top, she has a right nostril piercing and plenty of positive attitude.

He describes it as a “character” model agency -- “from fat, thin, to large to small: you name it, we’ve got it”. He cited the example of French actor Gerard Depardieu. “I mean look at him: he’s so full of character and charisma. “He becomes sexy because he’s so cool and he’s so different.” - ‘Imperfection is beauty’ Founded a half century ago,

a day after PNB said it had detected fraud of almost $1.8 billion at a brand in the city.

Others are on more of a personal mission.

Model Chris Manns poses during a casting at the UGLY model agency in London Ugly occupies trendy openplan space in west London featuring a baroque sofa, brushed aluminium computers and walls studded with photos of models. A portrait of late rock superstar David Bowie adorns the wall, alongside the quote “Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius,” which reads like a company motto. Like any such agency, it manages the careers of its models,

putting them in touch with employers of all stripes, from Burberry to Mercedes to Jack Daniel’s. On a recent weekday, Ugly was organising a casting to complete its catalogue and those in attendance were atypical models. Among them were some tough-looking guys. Chris, for example, a former soldier with arms as thick as logs, posed shirtless with a

“I’m a woman of colour. Growing up, I’ve never seen people that look like me in media, in fashion.” Frances, a disabled model who gets around using a pair of eye-catchingly futuristic crutches, revealed proudly that her disability “didn’t stop me from doing what I want”. For French, “what makes a good ugly models is someone who is comfortable in his own skin. We don’t want retouching, we dont want people to change the way they look. There’s so much pressure on young kids,” he said.

Kate Middleton and Sophie, Countess of Wessex host Commonwealth Fashion Exchange, celebrating creativity The Duchess and Countess both looked spectacular as they co-hosted the Commonwealth Fashion Exchange at Buckingham Palace’s star-studded fashion event.

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Nirav Modi, 47, is one of India’s richest men and jeweller to top Hollywood stars. His high-end Nirav Modi brand has stores in several of the world’s major cities (AFP Photo) Kumar said in a statement. Authorities searched Modi’s Mumbai offices on Thursday,

African fashion on display at early ‘Black Panther’ shows

The Central Bureau of Investigation carried out raids on more properties on Friday.

Fans donned bright dresses, head scarves, tribal shirts and traditional African garb for the first showings Thursday of Marvel Studios’ latest blockbuster. At a theater in New York’s Times Square, Miquain Gainey wore a Basotho blanket that is used by a South African tribe for his first viewing of the film. He says he wanted not only to have something that reflected the film’s fashion, but also keep him warm. In Nashville, some parents brought their children with their entire families decked out in traditional African attire.

“Black Panther” is inspiring moviegoers to dress up for the superhero film, but it’s not the typical costume play. (Above: Lupita Nyong’o in the film)

Fans are excited because the film shows a vision of Africa that is rarely seen in cinemas. (-Yahoo! News/AFP)

ONDON - The exchange is an initiative which uses fashion as a common language and platform to help people understand the modern Commonwealth in a different way. Tonight’s exchange aims to create partnerships between established and emerging talent from across the 53 member countries, in the lead up to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in London this April. It will celebrate creativity, sustainable production and manufacturing, trade links and ethical supply chains across the fashion industry, from business and design to textile and fabric design and manufacturing. Over the past six months, major fashion designers such as Stella McCartney, Karen Walker and Bibi Russell have partnered with artisan producers in small nations who exemplify traditional handcraft techniques and trades, with a view to creating a skills exchange. The star-studded fashion event featured American Vogue’s Anna Wintour; fashion designer Stella McCartney, British Vogue’s Editor Edward Enninful and many more. (-The Express UK)

Above: Kate Middleton talks fashion with Takura Taria from the Cook Islands at the reception for the Commonwealth. Right: Artisan fashion designer Marama Papau poses for a photograph with models Neelam Gill, Arizona Muse and Noella Coursaris (Photos: Reuters)


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Your Horoscope for the Week of FEBRUARY 23, 2018

Astrology.com

to get

How the Average Citizen Can Help Bring About Friendlier Politics

Aries - 21 March to 20 April

You find it simpler than ever to make your partner smile -- and you’re getting a lot of help from friends and even strangers! Go with the flow and you’ve got it made. Things get even better tonight! You’re putting carts before horses. Desperate times call for desperate measures, but your desperation is causing faulty thinking. You need to slow down, for starters. If it helps, know that you can do this.

Taurus - 21 April to 20 May

Plenty of people are seeing things from a new perspective these days. If you were already one of the enlightened, then you should be welcoming them into the fold. And not by doing any preaching, either. You can count on your partner to follow through with whatever they said they’d do today, no matter how many times they’ve backed out before. There could be weird energy between you tonight, though.

Gemini - 21 May to 20 June

You and your partner are exchanging subtle signals that neither of you might understand consciously. If anything seems weird, wait it out -- tonight brings a new kind of energy. Don’t be surprised if someone is holding out on you. After all, you have your own hidden agenda. Money isn’t called the root of all evil for nothing. At its least, it can bring out the worst in you.

Cancer - 21 June to 22 July

There is no way you’ll be able to put off the issue that is on the table right now -- so you may as well roll up your sleeves and get to work! Things will get better in the near future. If only you could delegate making money to someone else. Sigh. Something requires your personal touch. In fact, it’s screaming for it. Like it or not, you have to come out of your cozy lair and deal with it yourself.

Leo - 23 July to 22 August

If you’ve been feeling apathetic lately, now is the time to jump off the fence. You can see what you want, though it may not be exactly what you were expecting. Move forward with your partner. Making the right mark is still important, even if it doesn’t seem to be getting you anywhere. With such slim pickings, you can’t expect each good impression to pay off immediately. Consider it effort in the bank.

PHOTO SOURCE: (c) Rawpixel.com / stock.Adobe.com

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t a divisive moment in our nation’s history, you may be wondering how average citizens can help bring about friendlier politics.

Virgo 23 August to 22 September

Experts suggest that it starts with finding common ground among those whose opinions differ from you. Ira Shapiro, a former ambassador who has held senior positions in the U.S. Senate, recently authored “Broken: Can the Senate Save Itself and the Country?” in order to explore the state of U.S. politics and its future.

Libra - 23 Sept to 22 Oct

Of the U.S. Senate, his area of expertise, he says, “America is deeply divided. But the men and women of the Senate should not mirror -- or worse, inflame -- the nation’s divisions. Their job is to overcome them, finding common ground to take collective action in the national interest.”

Your hard work will have paid off if you can breathe easy over the weekend. Your standards may have fallen but at least you still know how to enjoy yourself. Get ready for fun or romance. You put a fair amount of work into your relationship, and your partner does indeed recognize that. Expect a show of respect and affection relatively early today -- one that will keep you smiling all day long.

You find a new limit that hadn’t occurred to you before -- and it might make life with your partner kind of difficult. The good news is that this evening should shake things up for the better. Sentimentality is getting in the way of wrapping things up. Putting off the inevitable won’t bring back yesterday, or the money you had then. Take one last look over your shoulder and close the door.

Citizens can apply this principle in a number of ways:

Scorpio - 23 Oct to 21 Nov

• Get involved. Attend city council meetings and town hall meetings. Join the PTA. But don’t just show up -- make your voice heard. Make friends on all sides of the issue. Be a coalition builder. Discover where your beliefs overlap with others before debating about the issues on which you disagree.

Sagittarius - 22 Nov to 21 Dec

• Get in touch. From petitions to postcards to calls and texts, there are numerous ways to get in touch with your elected officials at every level of government. Encourage your representatives to work constructively with their colleagues in an effort to de-polarize politics and ultimately be more effective at their jobs.

Inspiration hits in a big way today, and you ought to be able to get your partner to go along with your hot new idea. Try to make sure you’re not just retracing old steps, though! Ideas just keep coming. Is it because there is no way you can implement them now? That could be, but you can write them down for future use. Things won’t be this austere forever.

Inspiration hits in a big way today, and you ought to be able to get your partner to go along with your hot new idea. Try to make sure you’re not just retracing old steps, though! What did they always say about necessity being the mother of invention? It’s time to be original. You have plenty on hand that can be put to good use in a pinch. That leaves you no reason to spend another penny.

Capricorn 22 Dec to 20 Jan

You’ve got an undeniable spark right now -- the kind that could be perfect for igniting a new romance! Head out to a party or nightspot filled with new people to meet, impress, and connect deeply with. Doom and gloom has clouded your perspective. Don’t forget that your plans are long term. In the right light, you can see that they’re still working.

Aquarius - 21 Jan to 19 Feb

You risk flailing about like a fish out of the water if you don’t let your partner set the agenda today. That will get easier as it gets later, and by tonight, you should find that things are great. You’re the only one who can see your inner turmoil. You’ll flail away all day long if you don’t get a grip on yourself. Keep your head down and block out any and all subliminal fears before they get the best of you.

Pisces - 20 Feb to 20 March

You need to step up and assume a bit more leadership. This might not come naturally to you, so take things at your own pace and see if you can get buy-in from your partner first. The world has a way of correcting itself. All of mankind could stand a bit of a refresher course in the realm of value, and you and your group aren’t the only one taking it. Know you’re in good company.

• Speak out. Organize or attend a rally. Raise money for a political cause that mattes to you. Write a letter to the editor of your local paper. Take advantage of the channels available to you. “The best remedy of all, on both the national and local levels, is to support candidates who are problem solvers and consensus builders, not partisan warriors. Look for the candidates who put the country, or the community, first -- above party allegiance or personal aggrandizement,” stresses Shapiro, who also serves as a trade law and global policy consultant. More thoughts from Shapiro are available on his consultancy’s website at www.shapiroglobal.com. Shapiro believes that the Senate is in trouble, but it can be saved. Likewise, everyone, including average citizens, can be a champion for a climate of healthier politics, whether it’s around the dinner table, on a social media thread or at a city council meeting. (StatePoint)


CLASSIFIEDS

VOICE OF ASIA 23

FRIDAY, February 23, 2018

Job Posting - Broadcast and IT Systems Specialist KTRK-TV, the ABC/Walt Disney Company owned station located in Houston, TX is seeking an experienced Broadcast and IT Systems Specialist. Duties – This position will be responsible for the following: Providing technical and IT troubleshooting for all systems within the station Installing, configuring, and maintaining broadcast television and IT equipment Interfacing with third party vendors and support technicians Responding to user submitted help desk tickets and phone calls Providing back-up Master Control support as needed Testing and updating software Leading projects for new system installations Adhere to local and corporate IT policies and best practices for Broadcast IT Infrastructure Facility support Completing regular training and continuing education All other duties as assignedQualifications – the ideal candidate must meet the following criteria: Associate degree in a television or IT related field, or at least five years experience in television or IT related industry Advanced knowledge of computerized television broadcast equipment and systems including but not limited to master control and newsroom automation, asset management systems, non-linear editing systems, and networked storage systems Strong administrative and troubleshooting skills for computer workstations, laptops, and servers Knowledge of IT networks, switches, routers, and firewalls Proven track record managing projects Ability to work singly as well as with clients and colleagues Ability to work a schedule that may include weekdays, nights, weekends, and holidays Must be willing to be on call and/or work overtime Excellent organizational and documentation skills required  Must be able to lift 50lbs Must be self-motivated and possess strong interpersonal skillsTo be considered all interested candidates must apply online at disneycareers.com, ref job # 525776BR. Please upload a cover letter, resume and list of references. Equal Opportunity Employer - Female/Minority/Veteran/Disability/Sexual Orientation/Gender Identity No Telephone Calls Please

Job Posting - Temp Broadcast and IT Systems Specialist KTRK-TV, the ABC/Walt Disney Company owned station located in Houston, TX is seeking an experienced Broadcast and IT Systems Specialist. Duties – This position will be responsible for the following: Providing technical and IT troubleshooting for all systems within the station Installing, configuring, and maintaining broadcast television and IT equipment Interfacing with third party vendors and support technicians Responding to user submitted help desk tickets and phone calls Testing and updating software Adhere to local and corporate IT policies and best practices for Broadcast IT Infrastructure Facility support All other duties as assignedQualifications – the ideal candidate must meet the following criteria: Associate degree in a television or IT related field, or at least two years experience in television or IT related industry Basic knowledge of computerized television broadcast equipment and systems including but now limited to master control and newsroom automation, asset management systems, non-linear editing systems, and networked storage systems Strong administrative and troubleshooting skills for computer workstations, laptops, and servers Knowledge of IT networks, switches, routers, and firewalls Ability to work a schedule that may include weekdays, nights, weekends, and holidays Excellent organizational and documentation skills required Must be able to lift 50lbsTo be considered all interested candidates must apply online at disneycareers.com, ref job # 525782BR. Please upload a cover letter, resume and list of references. Equal Opportunity Employer - Female/Minority/Veteran/Disability/Sexual Orientation/Gender Identity No Telephone Calls Please

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VOICE OF ASIA 24

FRIDAY, February 23, 2018

Voice of Asia E-paper February 23, 2018  

Voice of Asia Newspaper is based in Houston since 1987. We reach South Asian and Asian American families in Houston and surrounding cities i...

Voice of Asia E-paper February 23, 2018  

Voice of Asia Newspaper is based in Houston since 1987. We reach South Asian and Asian American families in Houston and surrounding cities i...

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