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Vol. 28 No. 29 Friday, July 17, 2015 • Published Weekly from Houston • 713-774-5140 20 Pages ( 2 sections) 50 cents E-mail: editor@voiceofasiaonline.com

Banga Sammelan – NABC 2015, An Expansive Expo in Texas Brought fun and passion to the heart of Texas

World Congress on Preventive Health Care impacts thousands

Lighting of the Lamp at the inaugural of the NABC at the George R Brown Convention Center, Houston, Texas on July 10-12, 2015. Photo credit NABC.

Koshy Thomas seen presenting a copy to Dr. Eduardo Sanches, President of American Heart Association at the World Congress On Preventive Health Care. Sumita Chowdhury, M.D., and Bollywood Music Director Jatin Pandit on far left watch on. Photo credit Jacob David, VOA.

by Partha Sarathi Chatterjee

Houston Rath Yatra - An Evening with Mayapuris, Dancing with Daandiya

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OUSTON: North American Bengali Conference (NABC) 2015, organized by Tagore Society of Houston was celebrated with unprecedented enthusiasm in Space City Houston, at the George R. Brown Convention Center July 10-12. An overflowing crowd of about 8,000 registered attendees, sponsors, exhibitors, distinguished guests and walk-in visitors to the fair and exhibitors’ area thronged the nook and corner of the sprawling complex. It signified the closest official level participation between India and Bangladesh and even exhibitors from all over India and Middle East. The conference kicked off with the business forum ‘Houston 2025 and Beyond’ led by Asoke Deysarkar and team on July 9 and 10 highlighting the future of energy, Port of Houston and fracking to LNG. MOU was signed at a gala dinner between Mumbai Port and Port of Houston. Continued on Page 5

by Somdatta Gangopadhyay VOA Correspondent.

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OUSTON – the much awaited, colorful event of the year – The Rath Yatra – Festival of Chariots was finally here. On Sunday, July 11 was a day of celebration bringing smiles to many faces at the Discovery Green Park where crowds cheered and chanted as they received the chariots of Lord Jagannath. The Mayapuris, a popular band of singers, dancers and musicians enhanced the mood with their high energy music that had everyone chanting as they went along the procession with the Rath (chariot). A multitude of crowd from diverse cultural background was seen joining the procession. Some draped in sari while others in lehnga-choli blended with the culture thereby the flavor of Rathayatra. Music was in the air without a break as interactive sessions engaged the crowd at a constant rate. Continued on Page 8

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VOICE OF ASIA Publisher: Associate Publisher: Editor-in-Chief: Austin Correspondent: Print & Media Marketing: Marketing: Production: Office Manager: Digital Coordinator

Koshy Thomas Sherly Philip Shobana Muratee Sherine Thomas Jacob David Susan Pothanikat AR Vadlamani Priyan Mathew Harsha Mary Pradeep

Columnists: Legal: Richard M. Alderman Legal: Sharlene Sharmila Richards Research: Prof. Meenakshi Bhattacharjee Health Insurance: Sudhir Mathuria Astrology: Hardik Vyas

VoiceofAsiaOnline.com Editor: Online & Newsletter : 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

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

M

atters of peace and diplomacy in West Asia have hardly been coming up in news headlines of late. But the nuclear deal reached on July 14 between Iran and six world powers is a historic step forward that solves an over-a-decadelong stand-off between Iran and the West. It sets the stage for a radical realignment of equations in West Asia, and has the potential to transform the conflict-ridden region in the long term. The credit goes to U.S. President Barack Obama and his Iranian counterpart, President Hassan Rouhani, who put aside historical acrimony, sidelined the hardliners, took a pragmatic view of ties and pushed hard for a deal. As the details emerge, the agreement looks like a “winwin deal” for all sides. Under its terms, sanctions imposed by the U.S., the European Union and the UN would be lifted, in return for Iran agreeing to longterm curbs on its nuclear programme. All of Iran’s nuclear facilities would be allowed to continue operations. This provision will let the Iranian government sell the deal to its public, pointing out that its right to generate nuclear energy stays intact. Tehran has also agreed to a “snapback” mechanism, under which some sanctions could be reinstated after 65 days if it violated the deal. A UN weapons embargo would remain for five years and a ban on buying missile technology for eight years.

FRIDAY, July 17, 2015

A remarkable achievement

Iranian women hold a portrait of Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif during celebrations in northern Tehran on July 14, 2015, after Iran’s nuclear negotiating team struck a deal with world powers (AFP Photo/Atta Kenare) But the real potential of the deal lies in the fact that it removes the greatest obstacle for a rapprochement between Iran and the U.S. Though both sides have said the talks were related strictly to the nuclear programme and not other bilateral issues, the diplomatic warmth shown by these erstwhile enemies over the past few years is hardly lost on anyone. The changing geopolitical dynamics of West Asia have

also played a major role in bringing the U.S. and Iran together. Both are cooperating in Iraq in the war against Islamic State. Iran, though hit hard by sanctions, is a major power in West Asia whose influence spans from Baghdad and Damascus to southern Lebanon. If the U.S.-Iran hostility could be transformed into cooperation, and Tehran is allowed to claim the economic and diplomatic status it deserves, that could have a positive impact on several conflicts in the region. That

should be the obvious next step after the nuclear deal. But there are challenges, too: powerful sections, including the Republicans in the U.S., hardliners in Iran, and the Israelis and Saudis, remain steadfastly opposed to a U.S.-Iran rapprochement.

August 4, two days before he reached London, the first World War was declared.

about the war and other matters.

The journey so far has not been easy. If Iran and the big powers continue to show the will and the commitment they have demonstrated during the talks, the goals of the deal will be achievable. The Hindu.

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

STORY OF MAHATMA GANDHI First victory for the Satyagraha experiment Part IX

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here had been a recent court decision in South Africa holding that Indian marriages were not recognized by law. The women could not brook this attack on family ties. They openly broke the law and were imprisoned in large numbers. In the coal mines at Newcastle, in Natal, Indian workers went on strike protesting against the repression. The arrests, the deportation of passive resisters, and the untold sufferings of Indian families angered the people of India. A large amount of money was collected for the relief of the victims. Now read on: Many satyagrahis were beaten and flogged, and some were even killed. Gandhi, who felt intensely the humiliation his people suffered, took a triple vow of self-suffering. He decided to dress like a poor laborer, to walk barefoot, and to have only one meal a day, till the poll-tax and other injustices were abolished. Gandhi found the Government relentless. There was no solution in sight. He had to take further measures. In October 1913, Gandhi organized a march of over 6,000 Indian workers from the Natal mining area into the Transvaal, although crossing into the Transvaal without a permit was not allowed by law. Gandhi said, “We are going to march peacefully together across the border into the

Transvaal. The Government will arrest us and put us in prison. We are to remain peaceful. This is the nonviolent way of protesting against the polltax, against the Government’s decision not to recognize our marriages, and against all the laws that are made against us. We are fighting for just causes, we will not harm anyone.” He then cried out to the people, “Are you ready to face arrest and harsh treatment, remaining always nonviolent?” Roars of assent assured him of everyone’s support. They were ready to follow Gandhi with Kasturbai in 1913 Gandhi anywhere. And so the march into the Transvaal spread all through Natal and the Transvaal. The Governbegan. ment did not know what to do, Late in the evening Gandhi because none yielded to their was roused from sleep by sev- cruel treatment. The prisons eral uniformed men. “I know,” were overflowing. At last Genhe said, “you have come to ar- eral Smuts was obliged to act. rest me. I am ready.” He appointed a Commission to Gandhi and many other In- study the situation. dians were jailed. The mines In December 1913 Gandhi were cordoned off by barbed was released, but he would not wire and converted into tempo- give up the struggle. rary jails. The satyagrahis were Gandhi threatened Smuts that beaten and flogged to force he would start another march them to go back to work, but if his demands were not met. without success. The authoriThat march, however, never ties could not make them return took place. The European emto work. Gandhi had aroused in ployees of the railways in the them the spirit of quiet, digniUnion went on strike, and this fied resistance. made the Government’s posiSoon the movement of pas- tion extremely difficult. Gandhi sive resistance, or satyagraha, decided to drop the idea of the

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march at such a critical time as he did not wish to embarrass the Government further. Gandhi ordered every Indian to go back to work, at least for the time being. His decision created a good impression on the Government and even General Smuts recognized this courtesy. The Inquiry Commission reported in favor of all the essential reforms demanded by the Indian leaders. The Indians’ Relief Bill was at last passed and signed by the Governor. It abolished the polltax on indentured workers, declared absolutely legal all Indian marriages, and removed penalties for crossing from one State to another. Gandhi had won. And so had the satyagraha movement. Gandhi had been active in South Africa for 21 years and had contributed much to the welfare of the Indians in South Africa. Gandhi now felt that his mission in South Africa was over and he wanted to return to India. At that time Gokhale was in England. He wanted Gandhi to meet him ill London before returning to India. Gandhi promised to do so. Gandhi announced his decision to Kasturbai. “You are going to London with me,” he said. “From England we will go back to India.” Gandhi, with Kasturbai and Hermann Kallenbach, the white South African farmer sailed for England on July 18, 1914. On

On arrival in London, Gandhi heard that Gokhale had gone to Paris for reasons of health. Communications were cut off between London and Paris because of the war. Gandhi was disappointed. He did not want to return to India without seeing Gokhale, so he stayed on in London. The war was on. What could Gandhi do in England? At the suggestion of some Indian friends, a meeting was called of the Indians in England. Gandhi expressed the view that Indians residing in England ought to do their bit in the war. English students had volunteered to serve in the army and Indians should do no less. There were objections to his views and many Indians were of the opinion that the war provided an opportunity to get freedom for India and that Indians should assert themselves and claim their rights. Gandhi felt that England’s difficulty should not be turned into India’s opportunity. He insisted on rendering all possible help to England. He organized an ambulance corps which, in spite of many difficulties, helped the British in their time of need. After some time Gokhale returned to England. Gandhi and Kallenbach went to see him often and they talked together

Then Gandhi had an attack of pleurisy and Gokhale and his friends were worried. Dr. Jivraj Mehta treated Gandhi but there was little relief. Gandhi was still ill when Gokhale returned to India. As the pleurisy still persisted, Gandhi was advised to go back to India as soon as possible. He accepted the advice and returned to India. Gandhi was back in India after 12 long years. A great reception awaited him in Bombay. Gandhi was overwhelmed by the great love shown to him by the people. Gokhale was in Poona and was in poor health, so Gandhi went to see him. Gandhi told Gokhale that his plan was to have an ashram where he could settle down with his Phoenix family. They had already reached India and were at Santiniketan. Gokhale approved of the idea and promised whatever help he could. Gandhi went to Rajkot and Porbandar to meet his relatives and then went on to Santiniketan. There Gandhi met poet laureate Rabindranath Tagore for the first time, as well as C. F. Andrews who was there too. During his short stay at Santiniketan Gandhi heard the sad news that Gokhale had passed away. He immediately left for Poona, C. F. Andrews accompanying him as far as Burdwan. — To be continued

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VOICE OF ASIA 3

FRIDAY, July 17, 2015

Second Front Page

Friday, July 17, 2015 • www.voiceofasiaonline.com • Page 3 • Email: editor@voiceofasiaonline.com • Tel: 713-774-5140

Celebrating 85th Birthday of the Mar Thoma Metropolitan

Birthday celebration at the Immanuel Center.

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O U S T O N Mar Thoma Church parishioners had the great honor of celebrating the 85th birthday of their Metropolitan, His Grace Rt. Rev. Dr. Joseph Marthoma on the evening of June 27 at the Immanuel Center. Elaborate arrangements were made by both churches: Trinity Mar Thoma Metropolitan, His Grace Rt. Rev. Dr. Joseph Church and Im- Marthoma celebrated his 85 birthday in Houston. manuel Mar Thoma Church. Beauthe Diocese of the South West tifully decorated hall was filled America, Malankara Orthowith well-wishers from both dox Syrian Church Houston churches and Sister churches delivered his message which from India. Houston has the was followed by singing by distinction of having the first the Trinity Malayalam Choir. church ever built by an Eastern Felicitations were given by the Church in the United States. representatives of Trinity Mar Both churches combined; Thoma Church, Immanuel there are over 3000 members Church, and the diocese. in Houston. Trustees of both Churches The program started with a honored the bishop with birthprocession of Bishops, clergy, day gift. Metropolitan in his Executive committee members message recollected his past of both churches and the Choir days as a doctoral student in from both churches. After a the US. He thanked the memprayer the guests were wel- bers and urged the people to be comed by Rev. Saju Mathew. honest, duty conscious, and reThe Malayalam Choir by Im- sponsible citizens of the counmanuel Church was followed try. Also he urged the comby the presidential address by munity to get involved and be Rt. Rev. Dr. Geevarghese Mar loyal citizens. Vote of thanks Theodosius the diocesan Bish- was delivered by Rev. Kochuop of the Mar Thoma Church koshy Abraham, and prayer diocese of North America and and benediction by the MetEurope. English choir by the ropolitan. Meeting ended after children of Trinity Mar Thoma the cake cutting and benedicchurch also sang on the oc- tion. The entire meeting was casion. Rt. Rev. Dr. Alexios emceed by Rev. Rev. Johnson Mar Eusebius Metropolitan of and Rev. Mathew Philip.

Metropolitan, His Grace Rt. Rev. Dr. Joseph Marthoma delivered his message to the parishioners of Trinity Mar Thoma Church and Immanuel Mar Thoma Church who came together to honor him on his birthday.

Bishops, clergy, Executive committee members of both churches: Trinity Mar Thoma Church and Immanuel Mar Thoma Church jointly celebrated Metropolitan, His Grace Rt. Rev. Dr. Joseph Marthoma’s 85th Birthday in Houston.

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Q. I want to fill out a living will, directing that I not be kept alive by life-support. A friend gave me the form. Where do I file it? A. As you seem to know, a living will, formally called an “Advanced Directive,” is the document you complete if you do not want to kept alive by artificial means once you are found to be terminally ill. The document must be signed and witnessed by two people, but it does not have to filed or notarized. The document should be given to your physician or hospital when you undergo treatment. You also should prepare a second document and give it to a close family member or friend. In the event you cannot give the directive to your physician, your friend or family member can insure your wishes are followed. If you would like a free copy of a living will, visit the “Legal Topics” section on my website, www.peopleslawyer.net Q. If I pay an agreed upon settlement amount to a debt collector for a debt, does this give the creditor or another debt collector the right to take steps to collect the remainder of the debt? A. If you agree to pay an amount to a debt collector as settlement in full for a debt, payment fully satisfies the debt and you have no further liability. Be sure to get your agreement in writing, including language that payment constitutes full and complete satisfaction of your obligation. Also, be sure to pay in a manner that provides you with proof of payment, such as a credit card or check. In my opinion, any effort by the creditor or another debt collector to collect additional money would violate federal debt collection laws. Q. I got a call from a debt collector about a fifteen-year-old debt I can’t even remember. I am not even sure I owe this company any money. The debt collector threatened to sue and put this back on my credit report unless I pay. What can I do about this matter? A. Unfortunately, you are not alone in being harassed about a very “stale” debt. There is a whole new industry devoted to trying to collect debts that are very old. The good news is that the law provides significant relief and protection. First, if the debt is 15 years old, it is too late to sue or place it on your credit report. In Texas, lawsuits for debts generally must be filed within four years of when you stop paying. If you are sued, you have a defense based on what is called the “statute of limitations.” In fact, threatening or suing you for a debt barred by this statute violates the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, the federal debt collection law. Also under federal law, adverse information stays on your credit report only for seven years. After the seven years the information cannot be placed back on your report, and it is not a new debt simply because a different company is trying to collect. In my opinion, the debt collector is just trying to scare you into paying a debt you may not even owe. The law gives you the right to dispute the debt and require the collector verify its existence. I suggest you reply with a certified letter disputing the existence of the debt, demanding proof that you in fact owe the money. The law requires the debt collector to then verify the debt, and stop collection efforts if it cannot. If the debt collector does sue, be sure to speak with an attorney about defending the lawsuit and counterclaiming for damages under Texas and federal debt collection laws. Finally, if you simply want to stop all contact by the debt collector, the law gives you the right to stop all further communication by sending the collector a letter demanding that it stop. Q. Is an oral lease valid? My landlord says it is not. He now wants to raise my rent, and increase the security deposit. A. As a general rule, agreements dealing with real estate, including a lease, must be in writing to be enforceable. Under Texas law, however, a residential lease for a year or less does not have to be in writing to be valid. If you have an oral lease for a year or less it is as binding as a written one. Of course, you must prove the existence of the agreement and its terms. Do you want to know more about your legal rights? Visit my website, www.peopleslawyer. net

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o we think of Indians as athletes? Do we think golf? Sometimes. For the first time, twelve top, world-ranked golf professionals from India are about to embark on an 18city, 45-day, IAPGA 2015 US Golf Tour. The Indo-American Professional Golf Association, (theiapga.org), the non-profit, umbrella network of golf leagues across the US is leading the tour. With the mission of meeting Indian American golfers in the US, the golf professionals are part of golf tournaments as well as meet and greet events along the way. The national tour begins in New York City, goes to Washington D.C. and moves along several cities in the Midwest, the South and then along the West Coast. Major event locations include Houston, Texas, Phoenix, Arizona, Monterrey Bay, California, Seattle, Washington, Minneapolis, Minnesota, and Columbus, Ohio. www.reelvolume.com/events Unless we count the National Spelling Bee, Indian faces are not seen on ESPN and rarely seen as athletes. A few notables are the exception rather than the rule. Alexi Grewal came into cycling fame in 1984 Los Angeles Games and a place in US Bicycling Hall of Fame. Gymnast Mohini Bharadwaj won silver in the 2004 Summer Games. Bronze

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The golf professionals on the tour, were chosen for their ranking, world-wide and their ability to speak well and present themselves on a world stage. Encouraging them along are notables in the sport like PGA winner, Arjun Atwal, who has agreed to join the tour where he can. “It’s pretty exciting! Arjan has agreed to join us and I am speaking to Daniel Chopra as well,” said Gurbaaz Mann, one of the managers and the driving force behind the idea to create the IAPGA. Having traveled the US, talking to fellow golf players in every city he could manage, Mann has had this dream for seven years. “We know there is a huge network. It is just a matter of connecting.” The connection between Indian Americans who share the love of golf has become a strong network. The tour is being mainly crowd-funded by individuals who believe in creating the IAPGA and the hope of seeing one of the golf professionals eventually play the PGA Tour or Webs.com Tour. Japan, Korea and other Asian nations take enough pride in their athletes to promote them worldwide. So far, Indian athletes have not met with

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COMMUNITY

VOICE OF ASIA 5

FRIDAY, July 17, 2015

Banga Sammelan – NABC 2015 ....... Opening ceremony was a fantastic event, starting with the national anthems of India, Bangladesh, Canada and US and lamp lighting by dignitaries. Starting with a rousing welcome by US Congresswoman, Sheila Jackson Lee and proclamation by Annie Parker, Adrian Garcia, dignitaries including P, Harish, Sugato Bose, Rashed Kham Memon, Krishna Bose, Manaranjan Seal Gopal, Md. Abdul Wadad Dara, Arefin Shamsul, Swadesh Chatterjee, Satyam Roychowdhury, Rahul Roy, and others were on stage. Tagore Society President Ruma Acharya, NABC 2015 Presidents Sanku Bose and Tapan Das joined other dignitaries in lighting the lamp; General Secretaries Partha Sarathi Chatterjee and Gopendu Chakrabarti welcomed the audience with a hearty welcome. Eminent music director Debojyoti Mishra and dance director Tanushree Shankar amazed the audience by putting together Broadway style Olympiclike opening and closing ceremonies. There were Shreya Ghosal kicking off her US tour in Houston, sarod maestro Ustad Amjad Ali Khan and his sons Ayaan and Amaan, and the musical group of RED of Sivamani and Suchi fame.

A dance ballet presented by the local artists at the NABC at the George R Brown .

In addition, there was a range of classical with Ashwini Bhide, Ronu Majumdar and Debojyoti Bose 70 odd artists mesmerized the audience – Manomoy, Pramita, Sounak, Kinjal, Iman, Parnava, Keka, Saikat, Saheb, Riddhi, Santanu, Biplab, Biswanath, Rini and so many. Thousands of spectators enjoyed classical and traditional songs including Rabindra Sangeet and Baul to modern and fusion songs, spread over many stages. Film Festival was a center of attraction, drawing packed audience to a host of films like Kadambari, Lorai, Bitnoon, 89, Guerrilla etc. Konkona, Parambrata, Saswata, Gargi and others definitely added to the celebrity glamour quotient along with the famed directors Gautam Ghose and Suman Ghosh.

Famous Bollywood singer Shreya Ghosa performs live to a packed audience.

NABC literary committee had invigorating discussions with many distinguished literary figures –Harsha, Chitra Divakaruni, Selina Hossain, and many more. Popular drama festival featured fabulous play by Debesh and Debshankar group with eminent artists from Kolkata. Twelve dramas some even from United Kingdom and Finland! Seminars with Krishna Bose, Sugato Bose, Swadesh Chatterjee and retired justice Shyamal Sen focused on current topics and throw light on the past, present and future of India. Swami Ishatmanada, head monk of Vedanta Society of Chicago, spoke on Future of Humanity to a packed hall. He wanted people to focus on the inherent humanity of every human being and not the differences. He announced the project for creation of the Museum of World Religions. LUSTER 2015 brought exhibitors and companies from across India, Bangladesh and Middle East with exquisite handicrafts, gems, jewelry, fashion, and sarees. Fashion shows added a glamour factor to the conference. World

Congress

on

Preventive

Indian vendors brought their art and crafts to Texas through NABC. Healthcare 2015 of Dr. Sumita Chowdhury brought medical testing, diagnosis and knowledge about high mortality causes to the fore. Dr. Eduardo Sanches, President of American Heart Association and Dr. Seema Jain, of American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) were impressed. Attendees flocked to an incredible exhibition of Tagore Paintings as also the Art of Bengal with Shuvaprasanna, Ganesh Pyne, Subroto Gangopadhyay, and others.

Physicians who participated at World Congress On Preventive Health Care as part of the NABC on July 11, 2015.

In a sparking awards ceremony, Techno India conferred Shera Bangali awards on Shreya Ghosal(Sherar Shera), Goutom Ghose, Selena Hossain, Konkona Sensharma, among others. Shreya’s high-energy concert, fantastic voice and emotional appeal to her Bengali roots scripted the perfect ending to the conference. Houston helped launch the conference to a new orbit and a huge crowd witnessed that spectacle.

Bollywood actress Konkona Sensharma was among the star attractions at the NABC.

The literary featured well know Bengali writers of international fame.


COMMUNITY

VOICE OF ASIA 6

FRIDAY, July 17, 2015

Houston 2025 and Beyond - An Historic Partnership

T

he inaugural Houston 2025 and Beyond business forum and gala, July 9th and 10th, at the Hilton America’s Hotel in downtown Houston, can be cogently summarized in the phrase “It’s about Houston and You …”. The idea is smooth out the deep troughs of the energy cycles with increased commerce through the Port of Houston, top-notch universities, and a globe-leading medical center. Day 1 featured an opening ceremony, followed by a forum discussion and spirited Q&A session, a cocktail reception and wound down with an elegant gala and entertainment. Day 2 featured impressive forums featuring industry and government leaders which were all very well attended. The opening ceremony featured ribbon-cutting by the Honorable Consul General of India, Mr. Parvathaneni Harish and speeches by Mr. Harish and Mayor Pro Tem, Mr. Ed Gonzalez. Mr. Harish congratulated the organizers on setting up a

Sheriff Adrian Garcia were also present and spoke about the diversity of Houston and the sense of community service and long term plans espoused by Houston 2025. The gala was emceed by Nate Griffin of Fox 26 and the evening’s entertainment was provided by Moodafaruka and Rhythm India, who kept the audience completely enthralled with their energetic performances.

L to R – Atul Badwal, Vice President, Additech Inc., John Moseley, Senior Director, Port of Houston, Honorable Consul General of India, Mr. Parvathaneni Harish, Sutapa Ghosh, Advisor and Co-chair, Houston 2025 and Beyond, Mr. Ed Gonzalez, Mayor Pro Tem, Dipankar Sinharoy, Track Lead, Houston 2025 and Beyond.

Joyti Khatri, Sutapa Ghosh, Advisor and co-chair, Former Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia, Honorable Councilman Jack Christie, John Moseley, Senior Director, Port of Houston. forward-looking agenda incorporating the best minds for the future growth and development of Houston. Mr. Ed Gonzalez expressed his satisfaction with the level of interaction and community involvement in furthering energy development and sustainability programs right in our own backyard. The business forum quickly got down to brass tacks with

an enthralling discussion on the Future of Energy: Innovation, Sustainability and Diversity was moderated by and Ramanan Krishnamoorti, Chief Energy Officer, U of H and featured industry leaders Ram Shenoy, CTO, Conoco Phillips, Dr. Sergio Kapusta, CTO of Technel, June Ressler, President, Cenergy Companies, Graeme Pirie, VP of Business Development,

DNV-GL. The forum focused on STEM education, the challenges of retooling the existing workforce to take on the changing needs of tomorrow and the constant drive to extend the research boundaries to achieve a diverse and sustainable future. The evening was rounded off with a cocktail reception and an elegant gala in the ball room, organized by Sutapa Ghosh,

The next day was featurepacked with forums and lunch discussions. The morning’s forum, Dos and Don’ts of doing business in India and Bangladesh was moderated by Asoke Deysarkar and featured Prof. Sugata Bose, MP - India and Gardner Professor of History, Harvard University, Mr. Rashed Khan Menon, Minister of Civil Aviation and Tourism, Bangladesh and Dean Wenner, Executive VP - Richard Design System Inc. The next session Fracking to LNG: Optimizing Operation Costs on Surface Drilling discussed the importance of increasing efficiency

featured a speech explaining the history of Indo-US relations by Swadesh Chatterjee, recipient of the Padma Bhushan, one of India’s highest civilian awards. After lunch, there were additional discussion around the Fracking to LNG Tracts - Impact of HSE and Future Regulations with panelists Sean Riccardelli, President, RCS and Tim Armitt, Director, Lavender International; Operations and Future Trends with panelists Ajay Batra, Director, Cheniere Energy, Chris Caswell, Director, KBR, Tony Teo, Director, Keppel; Future Trends and Risk Management moderated by Ruth Liao, Editor, LNG Americas at ICIS Heren with panelists Ajay Batra, Director, Cheniere Energy, Rashed Haq, VP, Sapient Global Markets. Houston 2025 and Beyond is an independent non-profit organization whose main objective is to bring together thought leaders from various fields in Houston and abroad to build a better Houston together for 2025 and beyond. The people

Mou Das with the entire team from Regions Bank Advisor and co-chair. The ambience was wonderful and drew a lot of oohs and aahs from all in attendance. John Moseley, Senior Director, Port of Houston recognized the signing of the Memorandum of Friendship and Partnership with the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT), Mumbai, India. Honorable Councilman Jack Christie and former Harris County

and lowering cost especially in these times of low crude prices. It was moderated by Rustom K. Mody, VP/ Chief Engineer, Baker Hughes and featured Prof. Akhil Datta-Gupta, Texas A&M, Richard Green, Region Segment Lead, DNV-GL, Nameer Siddiqui, MD, Goldman Sachs; Mickey Callanan, COO, PfP Industries; Vik Rao, Exec Director, RTEC. Lunch

behind this conference are Asoke DeySarkar and Sutapa Ghosh, Advisors and co-chairs, Jayant K Roy Choudhury and Soovo Sen, co-chairs, Shiladitya Basu and Dipankar Sinharoy, Track Leads along with the forum committee members – Raja Roy, Hirakesh Roy, Mrinal Choudhuri, Indrani de Sirkar, Surupa Shaw, Subrata Dasgupta and Nirmalya Roy.

IACF hosts Annual Desi Grandparents Day

Kamala Raghavan IACF president seen addressing the audience as Ravi Arora, president ISCA Arvind Patel and Lachhman Das look on. Photo credit Murali Santhana.

I

ndo American Charity Foundation (IACF) in collaboration with the India House and Indian Senior Citizens Association celebrated its annual “Desi Grandparents day” on Sunday, July 12th at India House to honor the seniors in our community. The event drew more than 260 attendees including 50 kids of ages between 3 to 152 years. It was a lot of fun for the grandparents to grandparents and kids alike to play games and enjoy the bonding of three generations. IACF sponsored the event and provided various activities including medical checkup and cultural entertainment for the adults along with, face painting, balloon craft, and art for the kids. The event started early at 9am with breakfast, followed by games of musical chairs and lemon & and spoon involving grandparents and grandchildren. The games were musical chair event was coordinated by IACF representatives Prem Cholia, Ramesh Wadhwa,

A section of the audience at the Desi Grandparents Day at India House Photo by Murali Santhana.

Sreeni &and Shanthi Nakirekanti, and Ravi Arora of ISCA. The participants enjoyed the games immensely and were reluctant to move on to the next activity of lemon and spoon race in the hallway. All the while, the kids were having fun getting their faces painted, balloons crafted, and doing art work with the supervision of Amparo Raghavan in the clinic room. The formal program started around 11:30am with Vipin Kumar showing a video about India House followed by Kamala Raghavan, President of IACF welcoming the seniors and elaborating on the four pillars of iIACF- Education, Family, General welfare, and Health care. She talked about IACF’s commitment to our seniors and their welfare. Ramesh Modi of ISCA introduced the speaker, Mr. Majmudar who delighted the audience with his speech targeted to seniors. At 12:30pm, students from Anjali School of Music and Dance delighted the audience with incredible music and bharathanatyam

Children having a fun time with grandparents at the India House. Photo credit Murali Santhana. dances under Rathna Kumar’s direction. The young students’ artistic talents were applauded enthusiastically by the audi-

ence members. Arvind Patel, Lachhman Das, and Kamala Raghavan thanked the artists, volunteers, and the audience.

The event finished with a tasty and wholesome lunch from Udipi Café of Sugar Land.

Over all, the interaction of three generations was a sight to behold and quite heartwarming to all present.


COMMUNITY

VOICE OF ASIA 7

FRIDAY, July 17, 2015

ICC hosts Annual Leadership Conference 2015 “Leadership is more about collaborative than competitive.” - Sanjay Ramabhadran by Somdatta Gangopadhyay, VOA Correspondent.

H

OUSTON - A warm welcome speech extended to the audience by the event chair Girish Naik inaugurated the Leadership Conference 2015 organized by the India Culture Center (ICC) in association with other IndoAmerican organizations. In spite of being a weekend, Saturday saw a good amount of crowd at the India House, the venue where the conference was held. In his welcome address, Naik described the experience of meeting and knowing so many speakers as’ having butterflies in the stomach,’ he then introduced Parul Fernandes, the first speaker.

Charlie Patel, President, ICC introduced the theme of the Conference as ‘Developing Leadership’, and spoke about India Culture Center. Parul Fernandes, a Higher Education Consultant with XPAN and a former Director of International Studies at the prestigious University of Houston, calls herself a global citizen and a quiet leader having travelled to 45 countries and having acquired 40 years of experience in education and management. In her speech Fernandes cited examples from different political leaders like Mahatma Gandhi, Indira Gandhi, Nelson Mandela to represent the philosophy of leadership. She also presented the seven habits like ‘Be Proactive, Begin with the stomach end in mind, Sharpen the saw’ among many other habits. Emphasis was also put upon the foundation of America and the principles as followed by Benjamin Franklin. The ‘power look’ and how it influences leadership development also formed a significant part of her presentation. A psychological test was conducted in which the audience had the opportunity to identify their

interpersonal skills and some other traits of characteristics. Her interactive approach was well accepted by the audience. The next speaker Sanjay Ramabhadran was introduced by Raj Bhalla, ICC’s past president. Prior, Bhalla announced the installation of Gandhiji’s monument which was welcomed by a loud applause. Honored as one of the 2012 Ten Outstanding Young Americans (TOYA) by the United States Junior Chamber, Sanjay Ramabhadran, the next speaker appeared on stage and was successful in attracting the attention from the start. ‘The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality and the last is to say ‘Thank you,’ said Ramabhadran. The audience had good opportunity to participate in the presentation as well. Ramabhadran conducted several interactive sessions and also threw open ended questions which added to the ‘liveliness’ of the presentation. ‘Leadership is more about collaborative than competitive,’ said Ramabhadran which again filled the hall with cheers. At the same time Ramabhadran also remembered to incorporate examples from leaders like Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King and many other leaders as well. The Principles of Servant Leadership was also presented. He had also put emphasis on volunteering and its actual value as being ‘priceless’. Hemantkumar Patel, Director ICC introduced the next speaker Pinakin N. Jaradi. Like the other speakers, Jaradi is an highly accomplished individual. Jaradi had been with the oil and gas companies like Shell and Chevron for over 30 years. The experience he gained through designing developing and implementing end-to-end world class busi-

ICC Directors with Girish Naik, Event Chair, Speakers: Sanjay Ramabhadran , Pinakin N. Jaradi , Parul Fernandes

ness solutions could be seen reflected in his presentation. He involved the audience through thought provoking questions like ‘What is management and leadership coping with?’ , and came to the conclusion, ‘Management is about coping with complexity and leadership is about coping with change.’ Jaradi also drew attention to the vision of Disneyland as ‘To make people happy’. Jaradi also serves on the board of Youth Leadership Development Program (YLDP). He concluded his presentation with a cartoon on leadership. Falguni Gandhi, ICC Di-

rector introduced the question and answer session. The representatives of different organizations like SEWA International, CRY, Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh, Houston Maharashtra Mandal, Hindus of Greater Houston and many other organizations introduced themselves. Vipin Kumar ,General Manager, Indian House, the cohost also introduced himself, and said, ‘India House is not your house or my house, it’s our house.’ Other members of India House were also recognized. A Vote of Thanks extended to the audience, the Speakers, BAPS for break-

fast, Chair Girish Naik and Co-Chair, and ICC Board and Trustees. Rajiv Bhavsar from Wallis Bank, Vijay Pallod, the sponsors who made the event

possible. ‘My inspiration is to bring the community together and work as a team.’ said Naik about his inspiration behind being in a leadership role.

Read this and other Community stories Visit: www.voiceofasiaonline.com


COMMUNITY

VOICE OF ASIA 8

FRIDAY, July 17, 2015

Houston Rath Yatra - An Evening with Mayapuris, .... Continued from page 1 People had the opportunity to win a T-shirt or some prize through answering questions at spot quizzes, dance competitions among many other events. A folk dance session was enough to fill the air with cheers. The audience had the opportunity to pick up some steps and win a $50 gift card from ZEE TV through an Odissi dance instruction session. People who had been waiting to buy some exotic stuff could do so at the booths lined up at the entrance. A wide collection of things included traditional Indian dress, accessories, make up and many other things. It was a time for shopping for some as well. Some foodies could be seen surrounding the food booths as well. Mouthwatering samosa to start with, people had the opportunity to pamper their taste buds with other items like chaat, pani puri among others. Shaved ice was also available at another corner to help get some relief from the

from Tara Energy was also invited on stage where he was honored with a garland. As dusk approached the ground was getting ready for daandiya, the stick dance event. A vivacious daandiya performance was staged prior to the final daandiya by Roaring Raas, an University of Houston dance troupe. Loud cheers added to the sparkling effect of the performance. ‘It’s a good exposure.’ said Monika Jahan, Roaring Raas. The dance troupe consisting of boys and girls dressed in bright colors mostly blue fetched claps along with the music as they performed. It was a team work by the entire dance troupe, as Neema Patel, Captain, Roaring Raas said, ‘Getting the team to trust one another is the most important thing. We’re actually turning into a family.’ The audience also had a chance to meet Dr. Sahoo as he was introduced on stage and shared a few words. Dr. Sahoo spoke about the Char Dham among many other facts. The

Participants of the Rath Yatra walk ahead tugging the chariots in procession leading to the Discovery Green Park in downtown Houston on Saturday evening July 11, 2015.

Emcee and Music Masala host Sunil Thakkar introducing Dr. Surya Sahoo (SKAI Foundation), of Char Dham at the event. tormenting heat. A series of performance staged their respective talents one after the other. A western folk dance added liveliness to the air, while a dance performance along with live musical instrumental performance staged by the Mayapuris showcased their splendid talents. The dance performance by the Mayapuris narrated the life of Sri Krishna in an artistic manner as the audience was left spellbound. Khurram Virani

Masala Radio crew also came on stage. Heena, one of the crew members performed two lines from Yeh Samah, Samah Hei Yeh Pyaar Ka (This moment, this moment is of love). The much awaited daandiya event was soon announced as dance steps filled the ground and the stage, letting the sky roar with the beats. Event sponsors included Discovery Green Park, Tara Energy (water), Dr. Surya Sahoo (SKAI Foundation) along with

Crowds cheer and dance to the music of the Mayapuris during the Rath Yatra festival. Char Dham Hindu Temple and ISKCON, Gujrati Samaj of Houston, Indian Culture Center (ICC), Hindus of Greater

Houston, NABC 2015, ZEE TV, Mercedes Benz of Sugar Land, Britannia, Mr. Anand and Dr. Ashima Chauhan. Masala

Radio organized the event. Dr.Surya Sahoo inaugurated the event. Photo Credits to Carlos Pena,

arlospena.photography, Paulina Sjoberg, owner, P.S. Art & Photography, Thejas Prabhu and Vinay Goel.

Stupendous turnout for Radha Rani Rath Yatra in Austin, TX event.

Hundreds of Devotees flock around the world to be a part of Radha Rani Rath Yatra at Radha Madhav Dham in Austin Texas

Radha Madhav Dham which was recently mentioned as one of the top ten places of worship in United States of America by an independent agency, is reminiscent of many leela pastimes in the sacred land of Braj, and Radha Rani’s chariot made stops at Shyam Kuti and Govardhan (These Leela sthalis have been created in Ashram as a replica of Vrindavan), while passing by Kali Dah and Prem Sarovar. A beautiful leela was enacted at Shyam Kuti. Radha and Krishna sat on the jhoola (swing) in the pleasure groves while devotees took turns giving the swing a gentle push. The garments and ornaments worn by the Divine Couple were authentic representation of Radha and Krishna. Everyone present little devotees playing the part of selfless gopis enhanced everyone’s devotion and took it to a higher level.

R

adha Rani Rath Yatra (Radha Rani’s Chariot Procession) is a unique event that is the highlight of all the events held at the exceptionally beautiful Radha Madhav Dham located in Austin, Texas. Every year the Procession draws larger and larger crowds, and it is indeed a sight to behold. A magnificent chariot drawn by devotees; Radha Rani sitting majestically on the chariot served by gopis on either side; followed by devotees chanting enthusiastically, give an authentic experience of divine pastimes 5,000 years ago. This event draws devotees from all over the world such as Ireland, New Zealand and Australia and of course India.

Devotees chant and cheer as Radha Rani’s Rath Yatra (chariot procession ) moves on

Radha Madhav Dham which is the biggest Hindu Temple in North America spread over 220 acres, has been graced with the divine presence of Jagadguru Shri Kripalu Ji Maharaj in 2005 and 2007. The holy vibrations of the fifth original Jagadguru in Kaliyug who was the personification of devotional nectar, have infused divine sweetness into each and every particle of the Dham. The divine beauty of the Temple and Ashram should be experienced by everyone. It is the next best thing to being in the land of Braj.

The much anticipated procession started last Sunday at 8:30 a.m. in front of the temple building with Aarti performed by devotees. Lord Krishna welcomed Radha Rani with song and joyfully danced for Her Highness as devotees showered flower petals on the Divine Couple from above. All devotees were dressed in their finest; women in colorful saris and men wearing fancy kurtas and sherwanis. Every devotee was trying to please Radha Rani not only through devotion but also with attire, hair ornaments and Shringar. Everyone wanted to look their best for Radha and Krishna and danced their hearts out taking their beloved Goddess through the scenic property. There were many devotees like Agna who flies all the way from Ireland has been attending this event since

Radha Madhav Dham is world famous for celebrating all major Hindu festivals in a grand way and is famous for attracting crowds as large as 8000 people on Diwali and Holi.

A beautiful skit presented by the devotees during the festival.

the last 10 years and said she saves her vacation to be a

part of this event every year. Govindanand ji who is flying

all the way from Australia to be a part of this for the

first time shows the growing popularity of this amazing

For more information about this beautiful Ashram visit our website www.radhamadhavdham.org


WORLD/US

VOICE OF ASIA 9

FRIDAY, July 17, 2015

Obama unveils program to connect lowincome areas with high-speed internet ConnectHome will launch in 27 cities and the Choctaw Nation, from where the president announced the initiative: ‘The internet is not a luxury – it’s a necessity’ track to meet its promise that 99% of K-12 students can use the internet in their classrooms and libraries by 2017. “There are places where internet access can be a gamechanger, but where service has not kept up,” Jeff Zients, director at the White House National Economic Council, told reporters ahead of Obama’s trip. “That’s especially true in schools ... Students in every community need fast and reliable internet to get ahead and learn.”

President Obama remarked on Wednesday: ‘A child’s ability to succeed should not be based on where she lives.’ Photograph: Evan Vucci/AP

B

arack Obama on Wednesday paid a visit to one of the largest Native American tribes in the United States to emphasize the importance of expanding economic opportunity. The president chose the Choctaw Nation area, an Indian reservation that spans roughly 11,000 miles across southeastern Oklahoma, to launch an initiative that would increase access to high-speed internet in low-income households. “The internet is not a luxury – it’s a necessity,” Obama said. “You cannot connect to today’s economy without having access to the internet.” The pilot program, called ConnectHome, will serve as part of the Obama administration’s efforts to bridge the gap that leaves many communities – especially in low-income and rural areas – without broadband access. The plan will launch in 27 cities, in addition to the Choctaw Nation, and will initially provide internet access to 275,000 low-income households and nearly 200,000 children, the White House said. Citing an achievement gap, Obama said there were many consequences to not having internet access. It might begin with something as basic as young people not being able to complete their homework, the president said, and translate to a math and science gap and later an economic gap. “In an increasingly competitive global economy, our whole country will fall behind,” Obama said. The trip marks the second time Obama has directed attention at the Choctaw Nation, the third-largest Native American tribe in the United States. Last year, he included the Choctaw Nation among five so-called Promise Zones – an initiative directed at impoverished areas under which the federal government would partner with businesses and local governments to offer tax incentives and grants as part of a broader effort to reduce poverty. Following its Promise Zone designation, the Choctaw Nation has received $58m in federal aid that has been used to expand educational opportunities and access to healthcare facilities. Approximately 23% of individuals residing in the Choctaw Nation live below the poverty line – in some of its communities, the poverty rate is nearly 50%. The national poverty rate was 14.5% in 2013, according to the US census bureau. “We’ve got a special obligation to make sure that tribal youth have every opportunity to reach their full potential,” Obama said in his remarks on Wednesday. “A child’s ability to succeed should not be based on where she lives, how much money her parents make. That’s not who we are as a country.” Prior to his speech, Obama met with youth from the Choctaw Nation, Cherokee Nation, Muscogee (Creek) Nation and Chickasaw Nation. Obama has stressed the need to improve the conditions of Native Americans before, particularly with respect to jobs and education.

“Native Americans face poverty rates far higher than the national average – nearly 60% in some places. And the dropout rate of Native American students is nearly twice the national rate,” he wrote in an oped last year. “These numbers are a moral call to action.” Obama penned that op-ed ahead of a visit last June to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, located in both North and South

Dakota. The president characterized the visit as an emotional one that he said left him and first lady Michelle Obama “shaken, because some of these kids were carrying burdens no young person should ever have to carry”. “It was heartbreaking,” Obama added at the time. According to a fact sheet released by the administration, the Obama administration is on

According to an analysis by the President’s Council of Economic Advisers, released on Wednesday, nearly two-thirds of households among the lowest-income quintile of Americans owns a computer, but less than half have a subscription with an internet service provider. The report further found a “strong positive association” between median income and use of the web. Minorities were disproportionately affected, according to data compiled in 2013: black and Hispanic households lagged 16 and 11 points behind white households in having internet access, while Native American households were 19 points behind white households. The Guardian

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VOICE OF ASIA 10

FRIDAY, July 17, 2015


Lifestyle VOICE OF ASIA

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ONLINE .COM voiceofasiaonline.com

Vol. 28 No. 29 Friday, July 17, 2015 Section 2 Page 11

FRIDAY, July 17, 2015

Email: editor@voiceofasiaonline.com Tel: 713-774-5140

Ramadan festival breathes new life into Saudi’s old Jeddah by Abdel Hadi Al-Habtoor

They also include ground floor offices and commercial outlets, and rooms rented for pilgrims.

J

EDDAH, Saudi Arabia - Residents of the Saudi Red Sea city of Jeddah are slowly returning to its historic centre, where a Ramadan cultural festival and UN heritage status are giving new life to the old quarter.

Only “scant vestiges” of this Red Sea architectural tradition survive outside of Saudi Arabia, UNESCO said. - A sweet history Along alleys between the houses, the Ramadan festival features about 80 shops and stalls and a dozen restaurants -- all usually staffed by locals -- representing traditional trades and delicacies from the coastal Hejaz region around Jeddah.

Last year the United Nations added Jeddah to its UNESCO global heritage list, acknowledging its distinctive architecture, which evolved from the city’s centuries-old role as a global trading hub and the gateway for pilgrims visiting Islam’s holiest sites.

“We have been running this business as a family for almost 150 years, and this is considered one of the oldest professions in the kingdom,” Samir Jastania said at his popular shop selling Hejazi sweets.

The cultural festival that began on June 18, the first day of the fasting month of Ramadan, coincides with a broader tourism drive in Saudi Arabia. The kingdom is targeting its own citizens as well as the millions of Muslims from around the world who undertake religious visits. “We wanted to bring life back to this area after its people had abandoned it, and we achieved that,” Jeddah’s Deputy Governor Mohammed al-Wafi told AFP among the festival crowds. He said a number of homes in the old quarter had already been renovated, but much work still needs to be done in the historic heart of the kingdom’s secondlargest city. Among old Jeddah’s most famous attractions is the Sharbatly House, made of coral, where legendary British First World War intelligence officer T.E. Lawrence stayed in 1917. Like other buildings in the district, which also includes centuries-old mosques, it fell into disrepair before the quarter’s UNESCO listing began to spark a revival. Sami Nawar, head of the historic area known to residents as Al-Balad, said several prominent families are among those who have reconstructed homes at their own expense, and more than 700 restoration licences have been granted over the last five years.

A Saudi woman takes a traditional sweet on offer during a festival to celebrate the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan in the Saudi coastal city of Jeddah on June 25, 2015 (AFP Photo/) Tourism and finance ministry officials are looking at how to help other owners fund their renovations, possibly through loans, Nawar said.

In its decision last year, UNESCO noted the importance of the “reduction of the rate of decay of the historic houses, which are often abandoned and squatted (in) by poor immigrants”.

Wafi said that in its first seven days almost 130,000 people flocked to the festival’s open-air markets, games, traditional rituals, foods and literary discussions.

While warning “negative development” could jeopardise the area’s character, it foresaw “a new virtuous circle” thanks to renovation projects and involvement of homeowners and merchants, like Maha Baeshn.

“The Jeddah festival brought life to the houses and the area,” she said. The homes, some of them ris-

“What makes me happy is that the people of the area run it all. It’s amazing,” said festival visitor Ali Jazar, 39, sipping a popular Ramadan apricot drink known as gamardeen. Although this year’s Ramadan cultural festival in old Jeddah is not the first, the event has taken on added significance since the UNESCO designation.

Rare traditional architecture

Baeshn, an artist and poet, said the Ramadan festival encouraged her and other homeowners to take better care of their properties.

Another vendor offers appetisers, pickles and traditional spices that reflect the cosmopolitan history of Jeddah, a city considered relatively liberal in Saudi Arabia, where a severe version of Islam is practised.

One visitor, Osman al-Rosaini, 45, said it is a chance to “teach my children about their roots”.

Residents of the Saudi Red Sea city of Jeddah are slowly returning to its historic centre, where a Ramadan cultural festival and UN heritage status are giving new life to the old quarter (AFP Photo/)

Mansour al-Zamil, who owns a gift and memorabilia shop, says Ramadan is just the start of his commitment to Jeddah’s old quarter.

ing multiple storeys, are built of rock and wood, with decorated facades and large bay windows known as rawashin to help air circulate. This has the added

“Opening this shop has been my dream since I was a child. I opened it in the historical city and it will be here after the festival is over.”

benefit of creating cooling shadows for people outside. UNESCO said the design and function of the homes reflected

their adaptation to the humid local climate and to Jeddah’s prominence as a trading and religious centre.

Miss USA crowned amid Trump controversy

W

ASHINGTON With flashes of flesh and impressive resumes, Miss USA was crowned Sunday, after the pageant was shunned by major networks following controversial comments on Mexican immigrants by presidential candidate Donald Trump. Miss Oklahoma, Olivia Jordan, took top honors at the contest, which is co-owned by Trump and came under fire after his controversial claim that Mexico was sending criminals to the United States. Broadcaster NBC and Spanish-language Univision both said they would not air the show and a co-host pulled out, but the pageant went forward

and included numerous contestants with ties to Mexico. While the question of immigration and Trump’s comments never came up on stage, the competitors nonetheless faced questions on topical issues. For one of her winning questions, Jordan said race relations is the number one issue America still needs to tackle. “We really need to work on being an accepting society, and being a society where every single person -- no matter your race, no matter your gender -- is given the same rights and privileges and opportunities,” the model said at the show in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Women with careers ranging from modeling to law strutted in bikinis and gowns, and answered questions as the glamorous squad was whittled down to one. Miss USA aired on the cable channel Reelz after NBC and Univision cut ties with Trump. The billionaire business magnate sparked a firestorm over his comments, saying Mexico was “sending people that have lots of problems... They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.” “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best,” the Republican White House hopeful said on June 16.

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Miss USA Olivia Jordan of Oklahoma speaks at the 2015 Miss USA Pageant Only On ReelzChannel at The Baton Rouge River Center on July 12, 2015, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Photo : Josh Brasted/Getty Images. Trump did not attend the pageant, tweeting that he was busy campaigning in Arizona. Several companies and countries have decried Trump over the comments. Costa Rica pulled out of the

Miss Universe competition following the remarks, and said they would not be sending their contestant to the international pageant. But Trump’s voluble and unfiltered style has won him a surge of support amid a cha-

otic Republican field with few frontrunners. While the mogul’s business interests have taken a hit, his political profile has soared. He is polling as the number two contender in the party’s showdown for the 2016 election.


LEISURE

VOICE OF ASIA 12

FRIDAY, July 17, 2015

Female superheroes to the rescue! Or not Many come as their favorite characters, such as three young women dressed as Joy, Sadness and Disgust, the emotional avatars at the heart of “Inside Out,” Disney/Pixar’s latest animated blockbuster. Amanda Reynoso, with long brown hair and her face painted green, has chosen Gamora, the killer character played by Zoe Saldana in “Guardians of the Galaxy,” which was a huge hit for Disney/Marvel last year. “I like strong women... like Gamora or Black Widow,” said the 29-year-old, referring to Scarlett Johansson’s character in the “Avengers” movies. “They still hold their own. They don’t need anyone.” Rachel Kainowski, an English teacher dressed up as Princess Leia from “Star Wars,” laments slow progress, saying female superheroes are over sexualized.

Cosplayer Kay Jay is dressed as Captain Marvel on the first day of Comic Con International in San Diego, California, July 9, 2015 (AFP Photo/Robyn Beck) by Veronique DUPONT

S

AN DIEGO - There are plenty of female superheroes at Comic-Con, the annual pop culture festival in San Diego -- but they are mostly fans dressed up. Bigscreen female icons are still few and far between. The comic book world may have a reputation for attract-

ing male nerds, but in the vast convention center where the four-day fanfest kicked off Thursday, as many women as men have convened, representing all ages. “Things have changed... Women comprise a bigger part of the audience for comic book fantasy,” said Jonathan Kuntz, a professor at the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television.

Attendees dressed as Batgirl, Harley Quinn and Catwoman pose on the first day of Comic-Con International in San Diego, California, July 9, 2015 (AFP Photo/Robyn Beck)

“They have bare legs and pneumatic breasts, while the men have armor,” she said.

also expected on the big screen in 2018. “Supergirl,” a TV show whose first episode was unveiled Wednesday in San Diego, will be aired beginning in October on CBS.

woman, a key character in the Batman world, was a “disaster” when played by Halle Berry on the big screen in 2004.

Marvel Studios, a subsidiary of Disney, has said it plans to launch its character the Wasp in a future film starring Evangeline Lilly, who appears as the superheroine in the soon-to-bereleased “Ant-Man.”

But overall, studios are progressing timidly. Despite Johansson’s success as Black Widow, rumors that she would soon get her own film have proven unfounded, for the time being.

But Reynoso says she hopes things are changing.

“Wonder Woman,” a mythical character from DC Comics and a cult TV series from the 1970s, will come to the rescue in a film scheduled for release in 2017, played by Israeli actress Gal Gadot.

Hacked Sony emails published in the press have also suggested that female heroines are considered a risky bet by the studios.

“Captain Marvel,” with a female actress in the title role, is

In an exchange with Sony Pictures Entertainment head Michael Lynton, Marvel boss Ike Perlmutter recalled that Cat-

- Transition phase -

“Even the small roles that women have now are coming out more than during the 1980s” she said, adding that studios like Marvel are taking their time to make films properly. In action or sci-film films, heroines have made more of a breakthrough. Charlize Theron scored a critical and box-office hit in the role of Furiosa in “Mad Max: Fury Road.”

The upcoming “Star Wars” movie, “Episode VII: The Force Awakens,” due for release in December, also includes a strong female character, Rey. As does “The Hunger Games” franchise, whose stars Jennifer Lawrence and Liam Hemsworth unveiled a new trailer and poster for the final installment, “Mockingjay, Part 2,” at Comic-Con on Thursday. The “Divergent” films have also been hits with female lead Shailene Woodley. “We are in a transition phase,” said Robert Thompson, a professor or pop culture at Syracuse University in New York state.

M.I.A. heads to Indian temple, Ivory Coast for video NEW YORK - The hip-hop star M.I.A. has gone to an Indian temple and the Ivory Coast to direct her first videos, as she announced a new album on the theme of a world without borders. The outspoken artist on Monday released a video of two songs including the new track “Swords,” which begins with the clanking of swords before M.I.A.’s signature heavy beats kick in. The video shows a spirited dance among girls wielding swords and sticks, as well as a performer who smashes plantains lodged under the chin of a supine woman. “Swords” is full of Hindu imagery including temple scenes and aflame Sanskrit script for the holy mantra “Om.”

M.I.A., pictured on November 1, 2013, announced a new album on the theme of a world without borders (AFP Photo/Taylor Hill)

M.I.A., who was born in London to Sri Lankan Tamil parents, did not specify where in India she filmed but the video shows riverside ghats reminiscent of the sacred city

of Varanasi. The song also references the high-tech southern city of Bangalore, as M.I.A. raps, “Highly explosive, ready and raw / Everything banging like we’re in Bangalore.” The video, released on the new Apple Music streaming site, transitions to Ivory Coast where a man in a shiny golden outfit and red tutu dances at fast pace to “Warriors,” a song from M.I.A.’s last album “Matangi” that came out in 2013. M.I.A. said she discovered the Ivorian dancer on YouTube and tracked him down in the West African country. “He is a spiritual warrior and communicates through dancing. It’s a lifelong commitment for him to be the designated spiritual body that channels that dance,” M.I.A. said in a statement. M.I.A. said she had held off on releasing the video for “Warriors,” which was the first

she directed, as the experience inspired her to “make a whole series of songs and videos on the concept of borders.” “There’s 10 more of these countries coming and I haven’t chased where to go yet, so who knows where this project will take me,” she said. M.I.A. said that “broader than a border” -- written at the start of the video -- would be the concept of her next album. The album will be entitled “Matahdatah” but she did not specify the release date. In May, M.I.A. said that unspecified forces had stopped her from releasing a video with a dancer from Ivory Coast -presumably the one in “Warriors” -- due to concerns over “cultural appropriation.” M.I.A. -- whose father was a Tamil Tiger activist -- won critical acclaim for her 2005 debut album “Arular,” which brought a punk edge, reggaeton and developing-world politics to dance music.

Disney gives sneak peek for planned China theme park

People stand in front of a picture of the planned castle for the Shanghai Disney Resort during a press event in Shanghai on July 15, 2015 Disney gives sneak peek for planned China theme park

S

HANGHAI, China - US entertainment giant Disney on Wednesday unveiled details of its planned theme park in Shanghai, promising Chinese features and new attractions not found in its five other resorts. The Walt Disney Co. and Chinese Partner Shanghai Shendi Group broke ground on the $5.5 billion park in April 2011. The opening was

originally planned for this year, but Disney has pushed it back to 2016. “When we began this project, our goal was to create something that was authentically Disney and distinctively China. We believe we’ve achieved the perfect blend,” Disney gives sneak peek for planned China theme park told a media event. The company has scrapped its signature “Main Street,

USA” for mainland China, using a “Mickey Avenue” to replace the facade of an American town found at its theme parks in Paris, Hong Kong and Tokyo as well as those in the US. When the French park was first proposed there was outrage over the prospect of an American cultural invasion, although Europeans later embraced it. For the Shanghai Disney

Resort, cultural considerations include food and attractions -- such as a garden mosaic depicting the 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac using images of Disney characters -- as well as the presence of Chinese language throughout the park. It will also feature the biggest Disney castle in the world and an entire piratethemed “land” based on the movie franchise “Pirates of the Caribbean”.

The company has not announced a specific start date, but Iger reiterated that the doors would open next year. Shanghai, China’s financial capital, sees the park as a key driver of tourism revenue for the future, as well as a showpiece for an international city. A Disney executive played down potential competition, which includes homegrown offerings and projects by international rivals, saying Chi-

na’s domestic tourism boom was a “tremendous opportunity” for the company. “We feel like it’s really important for us to be in China at this time,” Bob Weis, executive vice president for Walt Disney Imagineering, told journalists. US film studio DreamWorks Animation is building a $3.2 billion “entertainment zone” in Shanghai, while Universal Studios plans to construct a park in Beijing.


FEATURE

VOICE OF ASIA 13

|by Aditya PHATAK

M

UMBAI India’s mass Hindu pilgrimage, the Kumbh Mela, officially starts in Maharashtra state Tuesday, with organisers desperate to avoid a repeat of a deadly stampede at the same venue 12 years ago.

FRIDAY, July 17, 2015

India’s Kumbh Mela festival to open amid stampede fears

Nashik, situated around 160 kilometres (100 miles) north of Mumbai, is also unique out of the four venues in that it has two main bathing sites, stretching the emergency services across a wide area.

Thirty-nine pilgrims were trampled to death and dozens injured when the religious festival was last held on the banks of the Godavari river in the city of Nashik, around 160 kilometres (100 miles) northeast of Mumbai, in 2003.

“We expect somewhere between eight million to ten million in total to attend the three key bathing dates and 20,000 police personnel are being deployed,” said Moghe.

“We have learnt lessons from that stampede and have changed the route for the ‘Shahi Snan’ (main dip) to avoid tight alleys and steep slopes to the bathing ghats (steps leading to the river),” Nashik district information officer K. Moghe told AFP.

“There will be clearly marked staging areas for the emergency services at key points during the ceremonies and a dedicated road will be kept clear to allow them to respond quickly.

“We have also widened the bathing ghats in Nashik and Trimbakeshwar to provide more space and avoid overcrowding. That should prevent the major triggers for a stampede,” he added. The deadly crush at Nashik was believed to have been triggered when a sadhu, or holy man, threw coins into a crowd of pilgrims who were waiting on the river banks. Tens of thousands of the devotees, forced to stand be-

The Kumbh Mela is held at Nashik every 12 years and although it isn’t on the same scale as the editions on the Ganges at Haridwar and the Saraswati at Allahabad, it still draws millions of pilgrims.

“We’re also setting up a temporary intensive care unit to provide on-the-spot emergency care,” he added.

Indian sadhus and devotees bathe in the dipping tank during a ceremony at a holy ghat at Trimbakeshvara on the outskirts of Nashik, celebrating the Kumbh Mela in 2013 (AFP Photo/Rob Elliott) hind barricades, were reportedly getting increasingly restless while having to wait for their holy dip.

When the coins were thrown they scrambled to gather them resulting in dozens of people suffocating, according to reports at the time.

- Millions of pilgrims A flag hoisting at 6:30 am (0200 GMT) on Tuesday

marks the official opening of the 2015 Kumbh Mela, which is held every third year and is rotated between four holy sites.

The three main bathing dates fall on August 29, September 13 and September 18. The Kumbh Mela has its origins in Hindu mythology, which describes how a few drops of the nectar of immortality fell on all of the places that host the festival, the fourth being Ujjain in central India.

Pope laments corruption as ‘gangrene of a people’ by Paula Bustamante / Kelly Velasquez

silica to say mass, but Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi later dismissed any notion that the pope was unwell.

P

ope Francis decried the scourge of corruption as the “gangrene of a people” on Saturday in Paraguay, one of the poorest countries in South America and where graft is rampant.

“As you can see for yourselves, the pontiff is fine, everything is ok,” Lombardi said. Thousands of Argentines traveled across the border by bus -- some on journeys lasting 50 hours -- to welcome the pope in a homecoming of sorts.

The 78-year-old pope -- in Paraguay on the last stop of a three-nation tour of South America -- also railed against ideologies and hammered home the central theme of his trip to his home continent: equality.

“The pope has inexplicable powers of attraction, almost like a lover,” said Graciela Sosa, adding she had barely slept all night so she could get a prime viewing spot.

Speaking to an enchanted crowd of 5,000 at a small stadium in the capital Asuncion, Francis drifted away from his scripted remarks, saying that “ideologies end badly, they do not work, they do not take into account the people.” “Look what happened with ideologies in the last century... they ended in dictatorships, always,” he added, applause ringing out in response. In a question-and-answer session, he denounced corruption, which plagues several countries in South America. But perhaps to avoid offending his hosts, he stressed that it was a recurring problem “among all peoples of the world.” As he had done on previous stops during his trip, first in Ecuador, and then Bolivia, Francis called for an end to poverty -- also endemic in the region -and lamented today’s consumer society. Wealth creation should not be “only for the benefit of a few,” he said to more acclaim, and must be extended to “each citizen, without exclusion.” He urged political leaders not to “sacrifice human lives on the altar of money and profit.” “In economics, in business and in politics, what counts first and foremost is the human person and the environment in

Francis also met with several family members and close friends who came in from neighboring Argentina to see him, according to Lombardi. Pope Francis waves as he arrives at the Metropolitan Cathedral in Asuncion on July 11, 2015 (AFP Photo/Rudy Lezcar) which he or she lives,” he said. - ‘Glorious women’ Earlier in the day, before hundreds of thousands of worshipers at the country’s main pilgrimage site, the first pontiff from Latin America praised the sacrifices of Paraguay’s “glorious” women during a history marked by war. Paraguay was left reeling during the so-called War of the Triple Alliance against Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay fought from 1865 to 1870, with a large majority of its male population killed. Francis was speaking on the esplanade of the domed shrine of the Virgin of Caacupe, not far from the border with his native Argentina. “I would like especially to mention you, the women, wives and mothers of Paraguay, who at great cost and sacrifice were able to lift up a country defeated, devastated and laid low by war,” Francis said.

“You are keepers of the memory, the lifeblood of those who rebuilt the life, faith and dignity of your people.

Francis was apparently so moved by their singing that he was late to emerge from the ba-

After visiting Ecuador and Bolivia, Francis arrived Friday in Paraguay, where 90 percent of the population is Catholic, to begin the final leg of his eightday tour. Ecuador, Bolivia and Paraguay are predominantly Catholic and have been marked by a long history of poverty and inequality, especially afflicting indigenous populations.

- ‘Learn from the children’ -

Francis heads back to the Vatican on Sunday after an openair mass in Asuncion, which will be attended by Argentine President Cristina Kirchner.

At a children’s hospital in

He will return to Latin Amer-

www.voiceofasiaonline.com Youngest Astrologer of North America Astrologer, Vaastu & Gem Stone Consultant

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Caacupe, about 55 kilometers (35 miles) east of Asuncion, has become a place of international pilgrimage thanks to a small wooden statue of the Virgin Mary that has been credited with various miracles. The vast crowds played guitar, shook maracas and sipped gourds of mate -- the herbal drink beloved by many in the region.

He also made a quick surprise visit to a clinic for the terminally ill.

Read more on

“God bless your perseverance. God bless and encourage your faith. God bless the women of Paraguay, the most glorious women of America.” The huge crowd was delighted to hear the pope deliver the Lord’s Prayer in Guarani, the language of the country’s indigenous people, spoken by 80 percent of the population.

Asuncion, the pope said: “We need to learn from your ability to fight, from your strength, from your remarkable endurance.”

Astrologer Hardik Vyas, a famous young face in Vedic Astrology from India is available in Houston. Call for guidance on Health, Wealth, Education, Career, Business, Property, Love & Passion, Marriage & Compatibility, HoroscopeMaking, Child Problem, Luck & Fortune, Peace & Prosperity, Karma & Economical Sources.

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Young Life

VOICE OF ASIA 14

Friday, July 17, 2015

Section 2

Page 14

Email: editor@voiceofasiaonline.com

FRIDAY, July 17, 2015

Tel: 713-774-5140

Myanmar youth strike a pose against hate in selfie campaign by Reuben EASEY

protect the interests of the country’s Bamar majority.

Yangon, Myanmar - In a nation where religion and ethnicity are incendiary issues, a selfie campaign by Myanmar students promoting crosscultural friendships has become a rare counterpoint to bilious anti-Muslim rhetoric from hardline Buddhist monks.

The tend to portray Islam as external invasion that will wipe out Myanmar’s Buddhist heritage despite the fact that Muslims have existed in the country for centuries. Pamaukha, a monk and spokesman for Ma Ba Tha, denied the group caused anti-Muslim violence, saying it was only “working hard” to ensure Myanmar “does not become an Islamic country”.

At first glance there is nothing unusual about the group of grinning teenagers jostling for space in front of a mobile phone camera. But their selfie -- taken with Yangon’s gleaming Shwedagon Pagoda in the background -- is an act of unity in a nation hit by deadly recent outbreaks of communal violence and increasingly inflammatory hate speech in a crucial election year.

Few mainstream politicians -- including opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi -- dare speak out in defence of Muslims for fear of alienating Buddhist voters ahead of crucial elections.

A bespectacled boy from the country’s Buddhist majority shares the screen with a group of fellow students who are Muslim, part of the ‘My Friend’ campaign which encourages people from different religions and ethnic groups to snap selfies together Campaigners from different religions and ethnic groups pose for a selfie at the KanDawGyi Lake in Yangon, Myanmar and post them online. on June 18, 2015 “Everyone loves to take selfies in They were determined to launch the But the exponential growth in web their own way, so why don’t we use ethnic group have fled Rakhine in recampaign before polls expected in Nocent years to escape persecution after access has also seen hate speech flourit in a proper way, for the betterment vember fearful that campaigning will deadly communal unrest erupted there ish on social media with many wellof society?” explains campaign codeepen communal divisions. founder Wai Wai Nu, who hails from in 2012, leaving more than 200 dead visited accounts operating anonyand 140,000 displaced in sprawling mously. Myanmar’s heavily persecuted MusMyanmar is a collage of ethnicities. camps -- mostly Muslims. lim Rohingya minority. Blogger Nay Phone Latt is behind But decades of neglect under military On the Facebook page of the coun- the Panzagar -- or “Flower Speech” -- rule and conflict still raging in parts She was spurred into action by a ristry’s most notorious hardline monk movement which monitors and reports of the country’s remote north and east ing tide of hate speech, which often have left many of its officially recWirathu, a recent post warns against hate speech on sites like Facebook. targets the country’s various Muslim ognised 135 minority groups on the lifting a constitutional clause that communities, who make up an estiwould allow those who have married He says the government is doing lit- fringes. mated four percent of the population. foreigners to become president, with tle to stop inflammatory content from Extremist clergy members are at Hardline Buddhist monks have led a sketch of a future leader next to his spreading. the vanguard of moves to marginalise hijab-wearing wife. the anti-Muslim rhetoric through pub“There are some groups who are these minorities, especially Muslims. lic demonstrations and online, senti“If the law is changed, the country intentionally trying to spread hate ments matched by policy proposals Well-organised Buddhist nationalwill look like this,” it warns. speech, and trying to ignite violence,” many say target the minority. he said, describing systematic online ist movements such as Ma Ba Tha - Web fuelling hate hate campaigns that are deeply inter- -- which is closely allied to Wirathu’s The most recent spate of protests 969 movement -- prints regular jourtwined with the country’s politics. in Yangon and western Rakhine state nals that reach tens of thousands of Cheap mobile technology has ignithave railed against help being offered readers. ed an Internet revolution in the former The “My Friend” selfie group, which to desperate Rohingya Muslim mijunta-run nation as it emerges from operates on Facebook and Twitter, degrants found adrift on boats in the Bay - Silent politicians decades of isolation since the end of cided it would use the same technolof Bengal. outright military rule in 2011. ogy to reduce those divisions. Such groups say they are fighting to Tens of thousands of the minority

Her reticence, especially on the Rohingya issue, has earned her international opprobrium. But Buddhist nationalists are actively campaigning against Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy party because it has spoken out against the Buddhist “protection laws” put forward to parliament by Ma Ba Tha. “We will campaign not to vote (for the NLD or others opposing the laws) through speeches and pamphlets,” said Pamaukha. The smiling subjects of the “My Friend” campaign on Facebook know they have a long way to go. Their campaign has garnered only around 1,700 likes on Facebook, a figure dwarfed by the more than 74,000 subscribers on Wirathu’s page. But they still hope their message of friendship gains traction as the country prepares to head to the polls. As Han Seth Lu, a recent contributor to the campaign’s Facebook page, put it in a post showing him standing alongside a woman in hijab: “I’m Buddhist and my friend is a Muslim.” “We are different but we accept each other,” he added. “Because friendship has no boundaries”.

Starbucks-led coalition commits to hiring 100,000 disconnected youth

C

HICAGO — A coalition of executives from some of the nation’s largest companies, spearheaded by Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, pledged to hire 100,000 young Americans who have been shut out of the job market. The 100,000 Opportunities Initiative, which launches Monday, aims to give a leg up to some of the estimated 5.5 million Americans, ages 16 to 24, who aren’t employed or in school. Demographers and economists refer to the group as “disconnected youth.” Schultz, who pledged this year to hire 10,000 such youth by the end of 2018, is being joined by top executives from 16 companies who will look to hire young people for apprenticeships, internships and part-time or full-time jobs. In addition to the Seattlebased Starbucks, Alaska Airlines, Cintas, CVS Health, Hilton Worldwide, HMSHost, JCPenney, JPMorgan Chase, Lyft, Macy’s, Microsoft, Porch.com, Potbelly Sandwich Shop, Taco Bell, Target, Walgreens and Walmart have signed on. The coalition is looking to recruit more com-

panies to join the push. “What we’ve learned over these last many years is that rules of philanthropy, the rules of engagement have radically changed,” Schultz told USA TODAY. “You really have to build a coalition of like-minded organizations and people who have the kind of experience and skill base and local knowledge to tackle a problem as complex as this.” The push by Schultz, who has been outspoken in his call to shareholders about the need for the coffee company to embrace social responsibility, comes after a pledge to hire 10,000 veterans and the expansion this year of a company program that pays employees’ tuition toward an online degree at Arizona State University. Schultz also made a short-lived push this year for Starbucks baristas to engage customers in a dialogue about race relations. Schultz has long been concerned about the dearth of opportunity in huge swaths of America. He grew up in a Brooklyn housing project but saw his fortunes change after earning a football scholarship to Northern Michigan Univer-

sity. The plight of the young and poor — particularly people of color — was made more difficult by the Great Recession, when teenagers and young adults found themselves competing for jobs against adults and college graduates who were settling for positions below their skill level. At the national level, 22% of blacks, 20% of Native Americans, 16% of Latinos, 11% of whites and 8% of Asian Americans fall into the category of disconnected youth, according to a study published last month by the policy group Social Science Research Council. Though the situation has shown modest improvement since 2010, the peak year for youth disconnection over the past decade, the job prospects for many young people remain grim. One in seven young people neither works nor goes to school. This group of Americans is roughly the size of Minnesota’s population. Martin Drell, who heads the infant, child and adolescent psychiatry division at LSU Health Sciences Center in New Orleans, said the post-

recession malaise causes an enormous strain on the psyche of low-income Americans. “There were always people who never made the American Dream, but what is happening now is the American Dream is getting more difficult to fathom for young people at the bottom layers of socioeconomic status,” Drell said. The coalition will host a jobs fair in Chicago on Aug. 13, the first of what Schultz expects to be many across the USA. Schultz recruited actor and rap artist Common, a Chicago-native, to lead a discussion with about 2,000 young people expected to attend the first fair. The companies have set a goal of making 1,000 hires — including 200 on-the-spot job hires — from young people who attend the Chicago fair. “I believe in the talent that lies within our young people, and I know that when we give them a real chance, they will achieve and soar,” Common said in a statement. To launch its first hiring burst in the campaign, the coalition chose a city where the plight of disconnected youth

has been on the forefront of policymakers’ agendas. Mayor Rahm Emanuel gave funding priority to youth jobs and training programs and an initiative to make community college free for any student who graduates from the city’s public schools with at least a B average even as the city faces mounting budgetary challenges. The mayor, who was reelected in April, used much of his second inaugural address to call for a commitment to giving “an adolescent who was born without a prayer his first prayer at getting ahead.” Chicago faces daunting challenges in finding a path for disconnected youth. Only 11% of Chicago teens in some of the poorest households, those with less than $20,000 in annual income, were employed in 2013, according to a study published this year by Drexel University’s Center for Labor Markets and Policy. Chicago, like cities throughout the country, has felt the impact in recent years as states and the federal government slashed funding for summer jobs programs that helped

communities reach out to disengaged youth. “Both Illinois and the federal government are AWOL when it comes to our adolescents, at least when it comes to (youth unemployment),” Emanuel said. “I believe those kids are not only getting a job and a paycheck, but they are also getting all the values that come with that paycheck — the respect of work, the respect of responsibility and structure.” Schultz said the need for private sector businesses and government to dig into the issue is hardly altruistic. Taxpayers spent roughly $26.8 billion in 2013 on incarceration, Medicaid, public assistance and Supplemental Security Income payments associated with disconnected youth, according to the Social Science Research Council. “If we allow the cultural and economic divide to continue to widen, I think we’re going to be facing significant social issues that are greater than the ones we have today,” Schultz said. “That’s why it’s so vitally important that we recognize that this cannot be business as usual.” (USA Today)


VOICE OF ASIA 15

Friday, July 17, 2015

Bollywood Masala

Section 2

Page 15

Email: editor@voiceofasiaonline.com

HC allows Salman’s plea for translation of documents

Madan Mohan’s magical tunes are unforgettable

FRIDAY, July 17, 2015

Tel: 713-774-5140

When Rahul Dev Burman composed a song mid-air

Music Director, composer, singer and song writer late Rahul Dev Burman Bollywood actor Salman Khan

M

UMBAI - (13-Jul2015) - The Bombay High Court today directed its registry to submit by July 20 the translation of copies of documents sought by Bollywood actor Salman Khan in connection with his appeal against the five-year sentence awarded to him by a sessions court in the 2002 hit-and-run case. Some documents in the case are in vernacular language and the actor’s lawyer Amit Desai had urged for an English translation of these copies so that the appeal could be heard.

another case involving the actor, on July 20. However, the HC did not grant a longer date as sought by the actor’s lawyer and deferred the matter by a week.

ficer, had said that there were four persons present in the Toyota Land Cruiser when the accident occurred and that it was the family driver Ashok Singh who was at the wheels.

The 49-year-old actor did not come to the court today as he is on bail. His sister, Alvira, who normally comes for every hearing, was also not present.

Public Prosecutor Sandeep Shinde, though not opposing admission of appeal, had earlier objected to suspension of the sentence and argued that the actor had knowledge of consequences of rash and negligent and drunken driving.

Salman’s lawyer also filed an application giving a list of “missing” documents in the case. He said if the “missing” documents were not required by the court then he would not press for it, but if they were necessary for hearing the appeal, the authorities may be directed to supply the same.

A man was killed and four others were injured when the actor’s Toyota Land Cruiser ran over them while they were asleep on a pavement outside a bakery in suburban Bandra on September 28, 2002.

Justice A R Joshi directed Public Prosecutor S S Shinde and the investigating officer in the case to scrutinise the list given by Salman and ascertain if some documents were missing in the ‘paper book.’ If they find some papers are missing, they have been asked to provide these documents before July 20, when the matter has been posted for further hearing. Salman’s lawyer sought adjournment of the hearing till July 27 as the actor’s legal team would be busy in a Jodhpur court in connection with

Salman was convicted by a sessions court on May 6 and sentenced to five years imprisonment on various counts, including ‘culpable homicide not amounting to murder’.

The HC had on May 8 stayed the execution of the 5-year sentence awarded to Salman in the 13-year-old case and granted him bail while admitting his appeal. Salman has challenged the findings of the trial court that he was drunk and was driving under the influence of liquor. The actor pleaded that the trial court had wrongly convicted him under the culpable homicide charge because he had no knowledge that he would meet with an accident. In the appeal, he has argued that the trial court had failed to appreciate the fact that four prosecution witnesses, including the investigating of-

Therefore, he had said, the trial court had rightly convicted him under the charge of culpable homicide not amounting to murder. Shinde has said the blood test of Salman revealed there was alcohol content above the permissible limit. Apart from being convicted of culpable homicide, Salman was also found guilty of offences under section 279 of IPC (rash and negligent driving) and sections 337 and 338 of IPC (causing hurt by acts endangering life or personal property of others), which prescribe six months’ jail. He was sentenced to undergo jail for six months under sections 181 (driving without licence) and 185 (drink driving) of Motor Vehicles Act. Salman was also found guilty under the Bombay Prohibition Act’s section 66 (a) and (b) for which he received two months’ imprisonment and fine of Rs 500. All sentences will run concurrently. PTI.

Not troubled by ‘Shuddhi’ cast changes: Alia Bhatt

F

But it got derailed due to Hrithik’s health issues leading to his exit following which Kareena also walked out. Later, Salman Khan was roped in but his leading lady was undecided. After some time, Salman also opted out. “I feel pressure before every film whether it’s big or small. I don’t feel like I should take anything for granted. There is pressure but it is good pressure. I am not feeling bogged down. I am excited about the film and I want to put up a great show,” Alia told PTI. This is the third time she will be teaming up with Varun after “Student of the Year” and “Humpty Sharma ki Dulhaniya”. “I hope we live up to that

by P.K. Ajith Kumar

A

s she grew up as a little girl in New Delhi in the 1960’s, Chitra Iyer was fascinated by the film songs she heard, along with her music-loving aunt, on their huge radio. Songs like Aap ki nazron se … ( Anpadh ) and Lag jaa gale… ( Woh Kaun Thi? ) made a huge impression on her. She was too young to know who composed those songs. When she found out later, as she began to learn music, that they were all tuned by one man she was amazed. That man, who bowled over Chitra and hundreds of thousands of music lovers across the country, was Madan Mohan, whose 40th death anniversary falls on Tuesday. Timeless He may have been one of the most unsung composers in his life time – men like S.D. Burman, Naushad and ShankarJaikishan were far more successful – but the beauty and timelessness of his songs are second to none. He was a genius. And his music was magic.

This is the fifth film that KJo is producing for Alia after “Student of the Year”, “2 States”, “Humpty Sharma Ki Dhulania” and “Kapoor and Sons”. “Karan is like my father to me… that is the relation I have with him. Whether we are working on a film together or any other project it is so much fun. We are comfortable with each other and the chemistry is right,” Alia said. All of Alia’s films till date have been hits and she is glad with the success each of her projects. “I am not sitting… taking a backseat and thinking I have achieved something. I don’t feel I have achieved anything. I feel I have a long long way to go. I have just started. More than being content I am excited, energetic and nervous to do more good films,” Alia said. As there are a lot of newcomers and even

It was during a flight from Bombay to Delhi with the then reigning superstar Rajesh Khanna that RD composed the scintillating “Ye jo mohabbat hai” song for the 1971 film “Kati Patang”, says a new book. “R D Burman - The Prince of Music”, further reveals that the airborne composition was appreciated so much by Khanna that he specially created space for the song in the film. “Once, Rajesh Khanna and RD were travelling together on a short flight to Delhi and Rajesh asked RD to hum something to

soothe his frayed nerves. RD obliged to the unconcealed delight of co-passengers! “Rajesh liked what he heard and prevailed upon producerdirector friend Shakti Samanta to create a situation in “Kati Patang”, which was on the floors at the time, to accommodate RD’s airborne melody. And that’s how the song “Ye jo mohabbat hai” was added to “Kati Patang” and went on to become a classic,” says Khagesh Dev Burman, the author. The song struck gold with listeners and became an instant hit. Kishore Kumar even received a Filmfare Best Singer Award nomination for this airborne number but was outdone by Manna Dey with his “Ae Bhai zara Dekh ke chal” from the Raj Kapoor-starrer “Mera Naam Joker”. (PTI)

Amitabh Bachchan: Demotion is the Toughest Battle a Celebrity Faces

“You would have to struggle to list bad songs tuned by him,” she says.

For playback singer G. Venugopal, Humse aaya na gaya … ( Dekh Kabir Roya ) and Phir wohi shaam … are the favourite Madan Mohan numbers. “He was a completely original composer,” he says. “It is unfortunate that he did not enjoy much success in his lifetime.” Courtesy: The Hindu. expectation and entertain our audience.”

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EW DELHI, Jul 13 Genius ideas often strike at random times and this held true for Rahul Dev Burman who seemed to have a penchant for composing some evergreen classics of the Hindi film music while travelling.

Songs like Woh chup rahe to … ( Jahan Ara ), Dil dhoondta hai … ( Mausam ), Phir wohi shaam … ( Jahan Ara ), Nagma o sher ki… ( Ghazal ) and Teri ankhon ke… ( Chirag ) are among the finest songs ever in Indian cinema. “It is astonishing that he could compose so many brilliant songs in film after film,” says Chitra.

She adds that she often gets requests in her shows to sing Madan Mohan’s songs. “ Lag jaa gale …, Aap ki nazron ne … and Naina barse … ( Woh Kaun Thi? ) and Jhumka gira re … ( Mera Saaya ) are the most popular songs at shows,” she says. “My personal favourites though include Woh chup rahe to …, Aaj socha to … ( Hanste Zakhm ) and Zara si aahat … ( Haqeeqat ).”

rom Kareena Kapoor, Hrithik Roshan and Salman Khan to finally Alia Bhatt and Varun Dhawan, Karan Johar’s “Shuddhi” has been in news for its casting tweaks but that does not worry the “Highway” actress. Alia Bhatt, 22, said she will approach “Shuddhi”, which was announced in early 2014, like any other project. The film, to be produced by Jo- Alia Bhatt har and directed by “Agneepath” helmer Karan Malhotra, originally had Kareena Kapoor and Hrithik as the lead pair. (Pics: Alia Bhatt and other Bollywood celebs at Shahid Mira’s reception)

Madan Mohan

Amitabh Bachchan

M

egastar Amitabh Bachchan has seen many highs and lows in a career spanning four decades, but the actor said that the most arduous battle a celebrity has to face is that of demotion. The 72-year-old star believes that one needs a lot of strength to survive through the phase of fading success. “Celebrity hood is no different from a champion. The day you lose the success, you shall be relegated to the background and someone else, someone else bigger and better shall occupy the chair which you had warmed for

several years, never expecting it to be snatched away,” he wrote on his blog. Big B drew the comparison between being a celebrity and a champion while discussing about World number one Novak Djokovic’s win over Swiss star Roger Federer in Wimbledon final. “It is the toughest battle that a celebrity faces. Lauded and applauded with unprecedented love and affection one day and then another day it’s all gone. Gone to another. You need the strength of a bull, a skin of a rhino and the roar of a lion to understand the phenomena that unfolds.” PTI.

established actresses around, Alia thinks competition is important. “Competition is very important. I don’t think anyone is looking at it like a race or people are running to win a first prize. Everybody wants to do very well. I feel the opportunities have become very diverse as more and more directors, writers, producers are coming up with new and exciting content,” Alia said. “I feel if not this film then other film we will get to show our talent. As long as you are engaging the audience and keeping them happy then you will be happy as well,” she said. Alia will be seen next opposite Shahid Kapoor in “Shandaar” which is set to release in October this year. She is filming for “Kapoor and Sons” with Siddharth Malhotra and she has recently wrapped up shooting for “Udta Punjab” which again has Shahid and Kareena Kapoor in the lead.

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HEALTHY LIVING VOICE OF ASIA

VOICE OF ASIA 16

Friday, July 17, 2015

Section 2

Page 16

FRIDAY, July 17, 2015

Email: editor@voiceofasiaonline.com

Can smoking drive you mad? Study suggests it might

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ARIS, France | AFP | Thursday 7/9/2015 People who suffer from psychosis are about three times more likely to be smokers, but scientists have long scratched their heads over which one leads to the other. On Friday, research published in The Lancet Psychiatry suggested daily tobacco use, already known to cause cancer and stroke, may be also be a contributor to mental illness -not necessarily result of it.

“People with first episodes of psychosis were three times more likely to be smokers,” said a statement from King’s College London’s Department of Psychosis Studies, which took part in the meta-analysis. “The researchers also found that daily smokers developed psychotic illness around a year earlier than non-smokers.” It has long been hypothesised that higher smoking rates among psychosis sufferers could be explained by people

P

“This breakthrough... sets the stage for replacing diseased tissue in patients and opens the door to a world of regenerative medicine where doctors are able to treat human diseases that are currently incurable,” said a statement from the Oregon Health & Science University, whose scientists took part in the study. Mitochondria are the tiny powerhouses found in most cells in the body, turning sugar and oxygen into energy. But DNA mutations heritable through the maternal line can cause them to malfunction, affecting anything from vision or hearing to muscle, heart and brain function. About 1,000 to 4,000 children are born with mitochondrial diseases every year in the United States alone, and there is

T

he cash value in a universal life insurance policy is determined principally by the size of premium payments made by the policy-owner and the interest credited by the insurance company. In any universal life insurance policy, the cash value is a function of four factors: • expense charges deducted • cost of insurance charges deducted • interest credited

Research suggests daily tobacco use, already known to cause cancer and stroke, may be also be a contributor to mental illness -- not necessarily a result of it (AFP Photo/Eric Feferberg) seeking relief from boredom or distress, or self-medicating against the symptoms or sideeffects of antipsychotic medication.

The team stressed they had not conclusively proven that smoking causes psychosis, saying further research must be done.

association.

But if this were so, researchers would expect smoking rates to increase only after people had developed psychosis.

But the results did suggest that smoking “should be taken seriously as a possible risk factor for developing psychosis and not dismissed simply as a consequence of the illness,” they wrote.

“Excess dopamine is the best biological explanation we have for psychotic illnesses such as schizophrenia,” said King’s College psychiatric professor Robin Murray.

“These findings call into question the self-medication hypothesis by suggesting that smoking may have a causal role in psychosis,” said the statement.

The researchers theorised that changes in the brain’s dopamine system may explain the

Dopamine is a chemical messenger that helps control the brain’s reward and pleasure centres.

“It is possible that nicotine exposure, by increasing the release of dopamine, causes psychosis to develop.”

Study claims stem cell advance for mitochondrial disease ARIS, France | AFP | Wednesday 7/15/2015 Scientists said Wednesday they had taken a key step towards stem cell therapy for rare mitochondrial disorders, passed on from mother to child. They “corrected” harmful mitochondria in skin cells taken from patients to create healthy, pluripotent stem cells -- versatile cells which can differentiate into any tissue cells in the body, the team reported.

Life Insurance - Cash Values and Policy Loans

• premiums paid

Analysing data from 61 studies conducted around the world between 1980 and 2014, a team found that 57 percent of people first diagnosed with psychosis were smokers. The studies contained data on nearly 15,000 smokers and 273,000 non-smokers, some of whom were diagnosed with psychotic illnesses like schizophrenia.

no effective treatment. “To families with a loved one born with a mitochondrial disease waiting for a cure, today we can say that a cure is on the horizon,” said Shoukhrat Mitalipov, who co-authored the study in the journal Nature. - Healthy cell The team collected skin cells from people with mitochondrial DNA mutations and removed the nuclei, which they paired with cytoplasms taken from healthy donor eggs. Cytoplasm is the mitochondria-containing, gel-like substance inside the cell membrane, and around the nucleus. “Through this technique, scientists created an embryonic stem cell with healthy mitochondria,” said the statement. “Scientists aspire to use this technique to replace diseased tissue in the future by removing one cell, correcting the mutations, multiplying the cells and reinserting the genetically correct cells into the patient to replace diseased tissue.”

A scientist works on stem cells on August 27, 2010 in Farmington, Connecticut. AFP/Getty Photo in the lab to neurons or blood vessel cells in the brain is very difficult,” David Valle of The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine said in comments to Britain’s Science Media Centre (SMC). Added Darren Griffin, a genetics professor at the University of Kent, it would be “some time before it can be applied clinically given the need for clinical trials.”

Experts who were not involved in the study hailed the lab achievement, but warned a practical application was likely far off.

In 2010, British scientists created a lab-dish embryo whose mitochondrial DNA came from a donor, and the rest from its biological mother and father.

“Going from a flask of cells

In February this year, Britain

became the first country to allow the creation of so-called three-parent babies using the method to prevent the transfer of mitochondrial flaws. Two years ago, Mitalipov admitted mistakes in a study in which he and a team reported being the first to transform human skin cells into embryonic stem cells, but stood by the results. Their cloning technique, which involves transplanting an individual’s DNA into an egg cell stripped of genetic material, was hailed as a breakthrough for not destroying human embryos in stem cell creation.

Each month on the monthly deduction day, the insurance company credits any premiums received since the previous monthly deduction day, credits the month’s interest, and deducts the cost of insurance charges and any expense charges. The resulting amount is the current cash value. The income earned in a cash value life insurance policy is tax-deferred, unlike many other financial products. Dividend payments from stocks or mutual funds and interest earned in a bank savings account or in a CD are taxed in the year the interest accrues, while earnings that accumulate as cash value in life insurance policies are not taxed until withdrawn. This can be a significant advantage, especially because the money can be used as collateral for a loan from the insurance company that is also nontaxable. In addition, life insurance proceeds paid upon the death of the insured are not taxed as income. Thus, if an individual protects his or her family by buying life insurance equal to five years of gross income, the actual protection provided is much higher, because the income tax that the individual would have paid had he or she earned that amount of income is not paid when the survivors receive the life insurance proceeds. Regardless of how a policy owner intends to use his or her permanent life insurance policy, it is important that agents and prospective policy owners understand that the most important feature of a life insurance policy is its death benefit. Recommending a life insurance policy solely as a tax-deferred investment by an individual without a need for the death benefits is generally unsuitable. After a cash value policy has been in force for a sufficient time, it generally contains adequate cash value to enable a policy owner to take a policy loan. A policy loan is nothing more than a loan from a life insurance company for which the insurer’s policy acts as collateral. Any outstanding loan reduces both the policy’s cash value and its death benefit

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Sudhir Mathuria Contact: Sudhir Mathuria Licensed Professional Health Life 360 6650 Southwest Freeway Houston TX 77074 713-771-2900 www.MyMedicarePlanning.com dollar-for-dollar. This ability to use the cash value as a source of needed policy loans incur policy loan interest. That interest can be based on a fixed loan interest rate specified in the policy or can be based on a variable interest rate. Whether the loan interest is based on a guaranteed loan interest rate or on a variable rate, the policy owner should arrange to pay the interest when loans are made from the cash value. Failure to do so causes the company to add the interest due and unpaid to the outstanding loan, thus depleting cash value and further reducing death benefits. The insurer has the right to defer a loan request for up to six months unless the reason for the loan is to pay premiums due. Except in the case of policy loans under variable life insurance policies, a policy owner can generally borrow up to 100 percent of the policy’s cash surrender value. Policy loans taken under variable life insurance policies are usually limited to no more than 75 to 90 percent of the policy’s cash value. Loans are generally received income tax free. One of the tax advantages of cash value life insurance is that policy loans are not taxable income to the policy owner. (As is described later, loans are considered distributions if the policy is surrendered or permitted to lapse. In such a case, a tax liability can result.) If the insured dies while a policy loan is outstanding, the amount of the loan is deducted from the death benefit, and the amount of the loan never becomes taxable income to the policy owner or the beneficiary. Given the tax-favored nature of policy loans, a policy owner can use policy loans from a cash-value life insurance policy as a source of tax-free income to supplement retirement income from other sources. To plan, protect and purchase life insurance from any major company contact Sudhir Mathuria 713-771-2900.

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Business VOICE OF ASIA

VOICE OF ASIA 17

Section 2

Page 19 Email: editor@voiceofasiaonline.com

FRIDAY, July 17, 2015

Tel: 713-774-5140

Walmart, Amazon square off Top US firms push to hire, train 100,000 young over big July sales events Americans N

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EW YORK - More than a dozen top US companies announced Monday a drive to hire or train at least 100,000 young Americans from disadvantaged backgrounds by 2018. Starbucks and JPMorgan Chase are among the 17 companies forming the 100,000 Opportunities Initiative, a coalition to help Americans between the ages of 16 and 24 “who face systemic barriers to jobs and education,” the companies said in a statement.

Through apprenticeships, internships, training programs and both part-time and full-time jobs, the coalition aims to open

up pathways to economic opportunities for the some of the 5.6 million youth who are out of school and not working.

In the US, there are 3.5 million unfilled jobs that do not require a four-year college degree, the group noted, but often young people are unaware of them and lack the skills to pursue and land the jobs. US Labor Secretary Thomas Perez welcomed the initiative: “I hope more employers will follow their lead.” “In America, your ZIP code should never determine your destiny. Breaking down barriers to employment for young

people doesn’t just help the individual workers – it benefits entire communities and the economy at large,” Perez said in the statement. The coalition said that at its first fair, to be held in Chicago on August 13, the participating companies were expecting to train more than 2,000 youth and make at least 200 job offers. In addition to coffee chain Starbucks and JPMorgan Chase, the founding companies are Alaska Airlines, Cintas, CVS Health, Hilton Worldwide, HMSHost, JCPenney, Lyft, Macy’s, Microsoft, Porch.com, Potbelly Sandwich Shop, Taco Bell, Target, Walgreens and Walmart.

Pinterest CEO sees site’s future in its ‘catalog of ideas’ by Rob Lever

A

SPEN, United States - Pinterest is not a social network but a “catalog of ideas” to help people discover and try new things in their lives, founder and chief executive Ben Silbermann says. Silbermann said Monday that the company -- now valued at $11 billion after its latest funding -- is fundamentally different from social networks which try to bring users together. “We’ve always thought of Pinterest as a catalog of ideas,” he told the Fortune Brainstorm Tech conference in Aspen, Colorado. “There are recipes to cook, there are products to buy, there are places to visit. And we figure our job is taking this huge catalog of ideas -- there are 50 billion pins -- and to show you the right ones at the right time. And I think that’s a different thing than a social network.” Pinterest has become one of the Internet’s hottest websites, particularly among women, by giving people virtual bulletin boards that they can decorate with pictures showcasing interests in anything from food to sports, to fashion or travel.

Pinterest is making international growth its top priority, Silbermann said, noting that some 40 percent of its users are now outside the United States. - No IPO coming -

But he also said there are no immediate plans for public stock offering and that the San Francisco company is focused on growing its base and building revenues, mainly around advertising. “We don’t have any shortterm plans to go public,” Silbermann said. “Our inspiration is to build a product that people love... and to build a business model that can support that.” Silbermann said Pinterest -which sometimes calls itself a “visual bookmarking tool” -- helps people with important personal choices. “These are some of the most important and personal decisions people make -- what am I going to eat, what’s my home going to look like, where am I going to travel. I think people struggle to have good tools to make those decisions. They still flip through catalogs, they look at billboards.” Pinterest has not talked about

its user base or revenues, but some private analysts say it has more than 60 million users worldwide. The company recently began getting advertising revenue in the form of “promoted pins” and it created a “buy button” which, like those launched by Facebook and Twitter, allow users to buy things they see without leaving those services.

Silbermann said Pinterest is not getting any revenue at this time from the buy button, saying it was launched because “people were asking for it for a long time.” He sees advertising as the “primary” driver of revenue for Pinterest but said he wants to avoid “ugly” ads which detract from the user experience.

EW YORK - WalMart Stores announced plans Monday for a massive sale timed to compete with a big Amazon promotion, as the two retail giants escalate a battle for American consumers.

The sale on Walmart.com will offer lower prices on 2,000 products, cut the threshold for free shipping to $35 from $50 and offer the discounts for 90 days, because “we’ve always believed in giving customers low prices every day,” a spokesman said. Wal-Mart will launch the sale on July 15, the same day as the “Prime Day,” when Amazon plans a huge number of oneday-only deals to members of its $99 “Prime” subscription service. Amazon has said its Prime sale will have “more deals than Black Friday,” the November post-Thanksgiving sale day for retailers across the country. But Walmart played up its counter-attack.

Wal-Mart will launch the sale on July 15 “We’ve heard some retailers are charging $100 to get access to a sale,” said Walmart. com chief executive Fernando Madeira. “But the idea of asking customers to pay extra in order to save money just doesn’t add up for us.” On Monday, Amazon fired back, mocking Walmart for the disparity in prices between goods sold online and

in stores. “We’ve heard some retailers are charging higher prices for items in their physical stores than they do for the same items online, Greg Greeley, vice president of Amazon Prime, told Bloomberg. “The idea of charging your in-store customers more than your online customers doesn’t add up for us.”

GM recalls nearly 780,000 SUVs

U

S - General Motors recalled about 780,000 sports utility vehicles in North America on Friday over faulty rear power liftgates which can fall suddenly and cause injuries. The recall affects 20082012 Buick Enclaves, 20092012 Chevrolet Traverses, 2007-2012 GMC Acadias, and 2007-2010 Saturn Outlooks.

GM said the gas struts which hold up the liftgates “may prematurely wear”, making them unable to support the liftgate’s weight. GM said 56 people have been injured because of the problem. The SUV liftgate recall came two days after GM re-

called nearly 200,000 Hummer SUVs worldwide for an electrical problem which has resulted in dozens of fires. GM is still working to resolve the problems of some 30 million vehicles recalled over the past two years, most of them for a ignition-switch malfunction that resulted in at least 121 accident-related deaths.

Read more on

www.voiceofasiaonline.com

So far, Silbermann said users have been receptive to the promoted pins, with little negative feedback. “That speaks to the fact that the motivation between a person who is there to discover something they love and an advertiser who is there to have their product discovered are very closely aligned,” he said. “And our job is to make that process work really well.”

Google adding ‘buy’ buttons to mobile search ads

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AN FRANCISCO Google is looking to make it easier for people to shop while using its website, launching a trial run of a feature allowing smartphone users make online purchases from their search results. The introduction of ‘Purchases on Google’ comes as Facebook, and Pinterest also try to make it easier for people to shop while using their sites, putting themselves in position to profit from transactions or related advertising. “Although we’re still in early experiments with a limited number of retailers, we see ‘Purchases on Google’ as a big step towards helping retailers drive more mobile conversions and win more customers,” Google shopping product management vice president Jonathan Alferness said in a blog post. Mobile devices, typically smartphones, are increasingly consulted before or during shopping trips in the United States, influencing nearly a trillion dollars in in-store sales last year, according to Alferness. When people make shopping-related searches using Google, results may include ads featuring ‘Buy on Google’ buttons that can be clicked to jump to pages where they can check-out using payment credentials stored in Google accounts. “Purchases on Google will simplify our customers’ ability to search for items on Google and then buy with Staples,”

Google is launching a rial run of a feature allowing smartphone users make online purchases from their search results. Staples executive vice president of global e-commerce Faisal Masud said in the blog post. - Pinterest purchase pins Google also rolled out enhancements to shopping ads on mobile devices, including expanded information regarding topics such as product ratings and whether items are available at nearby stores. “As the consumer continues to rapidly adopt mobile as their primary device, we have to more at a similar pace in how we reduce purchase friction and enhance the user experience with our brand,” Under Armour chief revenue officer of digital Jason LaRose said in the blog post. “Google’s technology solutions help us innovate.” Pinterest last month dove into e-commerce with “pins” that let iPhone or iPad users in the United States buy items they like at the popular online

bulletin board. “Pinterest is already designed to work like a catalogue, so we wanted to find a way to weave buyable pins into the pages people already know,” co-founder and chief executive Ben Silbermann said during a launch event at the company’s headquarters in San Francisco. “Buyable pins are a simple and secure way to buy the products you love right from inside Pinterest,” he said. Pinterest has become one of the Internet’s hottest new websites, particularly among women, by giving people virtual bulletin boards that they can decorate with pictures showcasing interests in anything from food to sports, to fashion or travel. Last month, Facebook expanded tests of a “buy button” designed to let shoppers easily purchases items advertised at the social network.

sphilip@llppc-law.com


HOROSCOPE

VOICE OF ASIA 18

FRIDAY, July 17, 2015

Your Horoscope for the Week of July 17, 2015 READ YOUR COMPLETE HOROSCOPE

by Hardik Vyas, Astrologer Cell : 832-298-9950

ONLINE WWW.VOICEOFASIAONLINE.COM

Libra (R,T) 23 Sept to 22 Oct

Aries (A,L,E) 21 March to 20 April Uncertainty in your career. You may want to bury your head in the sand. Your awareness of something that is not fair or just at your job could make you want to walk away from some career situations. Be sure you don’t cut off your nose to spite your face. If some associates behave like traumatized children, treat them that way. Give people the attention they require. Then you’re free to go on your way, unfettered and clear of resentments. You should have good luck selling or purchasing property.

Questions about areas of your life that come under fire. You may be unwilling to confront the cost of an entertainment project until it’s too late. If you are disappointed as a result, you may blame yourself and may even become ill over it. Anything that is related to partnership activities or your home life could be a source of uncertainty. You may be uncertain whether you should take the next step toward a more exciting life or maintain the status quo.

Scorpio (N,Y) 23 Oct to 21 Nov

Taurus (B,V,U) 21 April to 20 May Strong emotional & physical ties may be waiting for you. You may be so high on life that you forget to look at the reality of some things. Be especially careful with financial matters, because you could be overconfident of your success. You may be very vulnerable and sensitive, especially when it comes to your own creativity and your need for self-expression. Don’t let anyone tell you what you can and can’t do. Show your leadership and avoid overly aggressive behavior.

Collect additional income that is owed to you. Financial matters demand your careful attention. To avoid going down the garden path of unfulfilled dreams, take care of all practical matters. Keep your eye on your goals, but take precautions. Secure the situation with practical measures. Partnership projects could seem uncertain. If someone you depend on lets you down or acts in an unpredictable manner, you may need to discuss the situation more thoroughly. You could discover that the actions of others have little to do with you.

Sagittarius (BH,F,DH,TH) 22 Nov to 21 Dec

Gemini (K,CHH,GH) 21 May to 20 June Working situations that could seem very stressful. Others may try to give you more than your share of the load. Learn to say no, especially if you’re tired and need rest. You may need to get extra rest to keep nervous reactions under control. Try not to get upset over misunderstandings. Others may tend to think out loud & cause you to lose your temper. You may need to blow off some steam. Utilize your natural sense of humor to help yourself to see things from a different perspective.

Get yourself completely organized. You need to prepare for changes in your personal life as well as in public or professional situations. Your social consciousness could lead you to situations that might help resolve some global problems. You may feel as if you are plugged into a source of very high energy. Considering the opportunities that await you, you have good reason to be excited. Pay attention to gut instincts that tell you where the treasures of the world are buried.

Capricorn (KH,J) 22 Dec to 20 Jan

Cancer (D,H) 21 June to 22 July Changes, even though you want your life could stay exactly the same. After all, that makes you feel safe and secure. Change doesn’t have to be frightening, in fact, major changes taking place in your creative life, could awaken you to new talents and abilities. Remember that there is always another step to take and that things may not actually be as they seem. Don’t resist these changes. You are developing new levels of consciousness, and these changes are part of that development.

You need to get a better perspective on things. Make the effort to understand what is going on by having sensitive discussions. You need to get ready to accept all the good things that are coming your way, because this is a perfect time for new starts and there are indications of fabulous financial conditions. Your mate could seem unpredictable to you. You might be tempted to let go of the relationship for all the wrong reasons. Look deeper in order to understand motivations.

Aquarius (G,S,SH) 21 Jan to 19 Feb

Leo (M) 23 July to 22 August Something or someone that tends to get under your skin. If you are resentful toward friends or associates, you may have to struggle with those feelings. You may find it difficult to keep a smile on your face when you see funds slipping through your fingers. A partner or your mate may appear to take the easy way out and ignore your struggle to balance everything that’s going on around you. Don’t let stress tempt you to play games or plan ways to get even. Do yourself and others a big favor by investing in some background checks & research.

Virgo (P) 23 August to 22 September Friends and associates that could prove to be very unreliable. New responsibilities could seem burdensome now. You need to make an effort to adjust to the demands of you. If you’re under too much pressure, your health could suffer. You need to be needed and you may have to carefully structure your time to accommodate everything you want to do. With some patience and understanding on your part, however, you’ll realize what could occur in the lives of others to cause them to have to completely re-adjust their routines.

QR

Travel & humanitarian issues, will lead you. Let your natural enthusiasm take you into uncharted territory. Explore the waters of new partnership activity as well. Life may be more abundant than you could have ever imagined. Don’t put on the blinders just yet. Sensitivity can be a positive and valuable commodity but when those feelings are close to the surface, they can turn into feelings of insecurity. Your sensitivity may come in handy when it comes to an appeal to others for aid.

Pisces (D,CH,Z) 20 Feb to 20 March A rude awakening to situations around you. Your partners may paint a rosy picture but if matters don’t work out the way you expect, you could be very upset. Take a look at the truth of any situation, no matter what anyone else might say. Try not to go overboard with promotional efforts or the additional expenses. Be sure you don’t let flattery lead you down the wrong road. You may be counting on unreliable sources of income now. If you trust that checks will arrive on time, hedge your bets and make sure they were mailed as promised. Don’t let the grass grow under your feet.

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Looking for M/WBE Subcontractors Lisle Violin Shop is bidding on Project RFP # 15-06-12 RFP/Musical Instruments Supplies & Accessories, Choral Music, Equipment & Accessories, Music Electronics & Accessories, Rental/Lease & Repair of Musical Instrument for the Houston Independent School District. We are looking for possible M/WBE subcontractors to provide the following services: 1. Violin/Viola/Cello and Bass Bow Repairs - Must have 1 year previous bow restoration/repair or rehair experience (Or completion of recognized bow rehair/repair school) 2. Lower Strings Repair/Setup - Cello/Bass - Must have 1 year previous cello/bass repair or setup experience (Or graduate from a known violin making or repair school) 3. Upper Strings Repair/Setup - Violin/Viola - Must have 1 year previous violin/viola repair or setup experience (Or graduate from a known violin making or repair school) If you are interested in this opportunity, please contact Nehad at 713-526-4005 by July 31st, 2015.

Restaurant For Sale Amazing opportunity! Restaurant For Sale 3,000 sqft. Fully Furnished, New Kitchen Equipment, Huge Walk in cooler - Freezer , Bar Area and Patio in a Great Location (Westheimer @ Kirkwood)

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Brooke @ 832-512-6999. $100k Retail Sales Associate/ Sales Manager Ghungat is a high end boutique for exclusive Indian Garments like Sari, Suits and Lehenga. We are opening a new store in the Hillcroft area in Houston and are looking for full time and part time male or female Retail Sales Associate/ Sales Manager for the sales of suits, sarees and lehenga’s. You should be energetic with excellent communication skills, positive learning attitude and high customer service abilities, you should be ready to learn new skills and may be required to work over the weekends. Prior experience is an advantage but not a must. Salary will be best in the industry.

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MANAGEMENT TIP OF THE DAY FROM HBR.ORG

We all have default behaviors. And the way we handle these automatic reflexes during meetings, conversations, negotiations, conflicts, etc., can be the difference between success and failure. Say you butt heads with a coworker over a project’s next steps. If you jump to defend your position, you might fail to hear the other person’s side, ending up in an erratic, emotional dispute. How do you override automatic reactions like these? First, know what triggers your emotional or competitive side. Then make a list of your default behaviors, like interrupting, becoming aggressive or passive, taking ownership of ideas, micromanaging, or judging too quickly. Then anticipate them. If careful listening is your goal — but frequent interruption is your default – rehearse a plan for better listening before your high-conflict meeting. And don’t schedule these conversations for times when your self-control is low, such as right before lunch or at the end of the day.

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FRIDAY, July 17, 2015

Documents can be obtained at: www.hccs.edu/district/ departments/procurement. Sealed proposals will be received in Procurement Operations (3100 Main Street, Room No. 11A06, Houston, Texas 77002) until 2:00PM (local time) on Thursday, July 30, 2015.

Assignment Editor KTRK-TV, the ABC owned station located in Houston, TX is looking for an aggressive and motivated Assignment Editor. The successful applicant will be responsible for all facets of the assignments desk, which includes but is not limited to making beat-checks, answering phones, monitoring police and fire radios, getting information and developing stories. The candidate should be detail-oriented and able to handle many different responsibilities at the same time. Good news judgment, an even temper, patience and strong communication skills are essential. The candidate must be able to take directions, but should also be able to work without supervision. The candidate should be familiar with the use of social media for news gathering. Candidates must be open to a flexible schedule, including overnights, weekends and evenings. The ideal candidate should have experience as a television news assignments editor. This is not a clerical or secretarial position. Only candidates with news experience will be considered for the position. To be considered interested applicants apply online at www.disneycareers.com by uploading a resume file, cover letter and list of references. Please reference Job Requisition # 286974BR. Equal Opportunity Employer – Female/ Minority/ Veteran/ Disability. No Telephone Calls.

Part-Time Web/ Digital Content Producer KTRK-TV, the ABC owned station located in Houston, TX is looking for a part-time digital content producer for our web department. The ideal candidate will have at least two years’ experience creating content in a fast-paced, ever-changing news environment and must be able to handle multiple projects simultaneously with a keen eye for detail. We’re looking for someone who can produce content for all digital platforms, including mobile and social media. KTRK is a 24/7 operation and candidate must be available to work early mornings, late nights, weekends and/or holidays as scheduled. To be considered interested applicants apply on-line at www.disneycareers.com by uploading a resume file, cover letter and list of references. Please reference Job Requisition # 287536BR. Equal Opportunity Employer – Female/ Minority/ Veteran/ Disability. No Telephone Calls.

Know Your Words

Amazing facts from all over the WORLD!

• The average person falls asleep in 7 minutes

Here’s your chance to be a Vocabulary Sleuth!

• An ostrich’s eye is bigger than it’s brain

Resolute- firm of purpose

• Lemons contain more sugar than strawberries

Tenacious- holding firmly to idea or purpose Subversive- intending to overthrow

• Goldfish can see both infrared and ultraviolet light

Insolence- lack of respect; rudeness

• The only continent with no active volcanoes is Australia

Didactic- intending to preach or teach

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VOICE OF ASIA 20

FRIDAY, July 17, 2015

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E Paper july 17 2015  

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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