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FRIDAY, December 15, 2017

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Heart Health Symposium focuses on Asian Indian risk of Heart Attacks and its Prevention A collaborative effort by India House, IDA and IACCGH

Speaker Dr. Virendra Mathur, Cardiologist presenting his report during the Heart Symposium. Photo credit Bijay Dixit.


OUSTON - Last Sunday afternoon, the parking lot of India House was full and some of the usual visitors were wondering; once they came in, they found out that besides many usual Sunday activities, a Heart Health Symposium was going on. Many inquisitive people who had not pre-registered decided to come in if they were allowed and of course the registration was free and they

joined the group. This was the first of a quarterly symposium that has been planned jointly for the coming months by Indo-American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Houston, Indian Doctor’s Association (IDA) and India House. The subject was quite interesting “Are Asian Indians, men and women, at a higher risk of Heart Attacks and if so how to reduce it”. Chair

person was Dr. Prasun Jalal, a G.I., particularly Liver specialist and current President of IDA and speakers were Dr. Virendra Mathur and Dr. Sheila Heinle, both of Texas Heart Institute and Baylor College of Medicine and Dr. Atasu Nayak, Cardiologist of Kelsey Seybold Clinic joined the panelists for Q & A. Continued on Page 3

Wife of murdered Richmond dad makes plea to find his killer


ICHMOND, Texas -- The wife of a Richmond father of four who was found stabbed to death last Thursday is making a desperate plea to find her husband’s killer. Altaf Hussain Malik, 43, disappeared last Tuesday after he went to meet someone who was interested in buying his car. Two days later, Malik’s body was found stabbed near a dumpster in the Third Ward. His wife Quratulain Malik tells Eyewitness News her three younger kids still don’t really know what happened, but her oldest is struggling with her sadness. “When you see her, you can see the grief on her face. She started crying. Right now, she’s confused about going back to school because she says, ‘I don’t want to face people asking me questions about what happened,’” Malik’s wife said. Malik also says she’s thankful for all of the support, but she wants justice. If you know anything that could help police solve the case, you’re asked to call Crime Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS.

Seated: Panelists (L to R): Dr. Sheila Heinle, Dr. Virendra Mathur, Dr. Atasu Nayak,and Chair person Dr. Prasun Jalal. Standing: Col. Vipin Kumar, Swapan Dhairyawan and Jagdip Ahluwalia.

Asia Society Texas kicks off 2018 Tiger Ball honoring Gordon and Sylvia Quan


he Who’s Who of Houston’s international scene gathered at Yauatcha Restaurant in The Galleria last night for Asia Society Texas Center’s annual Tiger Ball kickoff party hosted by Gigi Huang, introducing Gordon and Sylvia Quan as the gala’s honorees for 2018. The evening included Asian-inspired lychee martinis, dim sum, and a surprise visit by playful and mischievous lion dancers who delighted the crowd of about 160. Tiger Ball is Asia Society Texas Center’s annual signature event and one of Houston’s best loved annual society affairs, raising in excess of Tiger Ball 2018 Honorees Gordon and Sylvia Quan during the kick off at Yauatcha Restaurant in The $1 million to support Galleria the organization’s onand strengthening partnerships among the going educational and Sponsor, is scheduled for Saturday, March peoples, leaders, and institutions of Asia cultural programming. 3, 2018, at the Center’s iconic home at and the west. Asia Society Texas Center The tradition began 1370 Southmore at Caroline in the heart of the beautiful Houston Museum District. executes the global mission with a local in the 1990s and has focus, enriching and engaging the vast grown over the years About Asia Society Texas Center With diversity of Houston through innovative, in both size and scope. 12 locations throughout the world, Asia relevant programs in arts and culture, busiThis year’s gala, with Society is the leading educational organiness and policy, education, and community Chevron as Presenting zation promoting mutual understanding outreach.









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Politicization of Sexual Harassment is Detrimental to American Democracy

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

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

by Chandra K. Mittal, Ph.D.

W Editor Online:

Chandra Mittal, Ph.D. HCC

hile victory of Democrat Doug Jones in Alabama senatorial race over the child molester Republican candidate Roy Moore is, for now, the victory of morality and decency over evil and indecency, it is, by no means, a watershed moment for American politics as being projected by many talking heads on the television and radio. After all Roy Moore scored high vote count and lost the election only by extremely thin margin. It showed that many Alabamians were persuaded by President Donald Trump and his former adviser Steve Bannon. They preferred a child molester for their senator ignoring all sense of decency. And this should be worrisome for America.

Columnists: Legal: Richard M. Alderman Legal: Sharlene Sharmila Richards Research: Prof. Meenakshi Bhattacharjee Health Insurance: Sudhir Mathuria Astrology: Hardik Vyas Medical: Drs. Surya and Manjula Raguthu Opinion: Dr. Chandra Mittal

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:

Can anyone imagine great Republicans like President Abraham Lincoln or Ronald Reagan ever endorsing or supporting a sexual predator or child molester to represent a state in the United States Senate? But that is exactly what happened in the United States of America with shameful endorsement of Roy Moore by President Donald Trump, Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and the Republican National Committee (RNC). Times are obviously changing in America where public decency, morality and safety are taking back seat to political expediency. And this portends dark future for American political life.

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.

These political developments are preceded by allegations of sexual harassment by number

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by Joshua Goodman

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uesday’s stunning victory for Doug Jones, Democrat of Alabama, is, for many pundits and party leaders, a vindication of an opinion they have held since Donald Trump took the stage at the 2016 Republican convention, and which was not shaken even by his defeat of Hillary Clinton: that the key

of politicians of both parties. Some recent examples include Senator Al Franken, Rep. John Conyers, Rep. Trent Franks, Rep. Ruben Kihuen, etc. Similarly, sexual abuse allegations have been also levelled against President Donald Trump by several women as was the case with former President Bill Clinton who engaged in inappropriate sexual relationship with a young White House intern. Unfortunately, the response to these immoral and shameful actions by influential politicians has not been outright condemnation but a timid and mild reaction. Politicians have been slow to react to these issues, often making contradictory statements or engaging in duel-talk before taking a public stand. This was best exemplified recently by Democratic Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi who first glorified the Octogenarian Congressman John Conyers as an American Icon before criticizing his actions under public pressure. Similarly, President Trump began supporting Roy Moore under the pretext of avoiding an additional Democrat in the US Senate. Such behavior of senior political leaders is morally repulsive and an affront on American values, decency and national image. To add insult to the injury, America discovered that US Congress indeed has a publicly-supported slush fund to shield members’ misdeeds and pay off the victims of sexual harassment by the elected representatives. These payments were in exchange for buying victims’ silence as well as bind them with nondisclo-

to Democratic victory is in appealing to the better angels of conservatives, focusing on the ethical shortcomings or lack of decorum shown by Republican candidates like Roy Moore or President Trump.


Jones did not win because Republicans en masse chose “country over party,” as Republican Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona said when he crossed party lines to donate all of $100 to Jones.

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Sexual abuse and harassment by influential individuals in positions of power, in and out of politics, is an age-old social evil, but recent endorsement of Alabama’s Senatorial candidate Roy Moore by RNC - the supreme governing body of the Republican Party and President Trump really broke the camel’s back. This is almost unprecedented in American history, and has serious negative implications at various levels that will prove to be detrimental to the institution of American democracy. Besides the optics, as bad as these are, the dangerous implication of this development is the denigration and devaluation of women whose sexual abuse will pass for a socially acceptable behavior by the Party leadership. It will also give tacit support to people who are abusive towards women because party will protect such individuals for political purposes as they did for Roy Moore. This is kind of thing that goes on in Third world countries and banana Republics with no law and order. Furthermore, acceptance and endorsement of sexual abuse by a national political party undercuts the moral authority of the government. Because governing rules and laws are rooted in and derived from

Rather, he won because black voters turned out in unprecedented numbers for an election of this kind. According to exit polls, the 2017 Alabama electorate was 30% black. In 2012, with President Obama at the top of the ticket, it was 28% black. Some majority black counties voted at around threequarters of their presidential turnout, while some of the largest majority white counties were closer to 55% of their presidential average, according to initial returns. This made the difference between Sen. Jones

and Sen.Moore. Millennial Alabamians appear to have voted for Jones by a margin of at least 22 percentage points. But a GenForward survey released earlier this year found that white millennials hold views largely in line with older white Americans. The reason millennials overwhelmingly support Democrats in 2017 is not that the average millennial is further left than the average baby boomer — it is because the average millennial is far more likely to be a person of color than the average baby boomer. White conservatives did not flip to Jones in a significant way. And even if they had, that is not a sustainable electoral model, as Democrats will eventually have to run against candidates who, unlike Moore and Trump, have a moral compass and a vague sense of decency. Jones won because white conservatives stayed home, while black liberals and leftists turned out. These are the facts the Democratic Party must learn to continue to win around the country. The party’s future is not in appealing to “the suburbs of Philadelphia,” as Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer of New York predicted in July of 2016, but in giving nonwhite voters a compelling reason to continue to support Democrats. That means understanding the intersection of issues facing communities of color, not just paying lip service to criminal justice reform or showing up in a church right before an election.

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ethics and moral code, any deviation from morality undermines their effectiveness or confidence in the government, which can potentially lead to widespread lawlessness and chaos in society. Ultimately, it damages the institution of government that is supposed to guard the interest of all citizens, provide safety, and grant equal rights To mend the situation, US Congress should make strict rules against sexual harassment by elected representatives and implement them in a transparent manner. There should not be any so called 90 days “cooling period”, and incidences should be swiftly investigated regardless of political timetable. There should be no reprisal against victim. And for the sake of transparency, names of currently serving accused should be made public once the complaint has been filed. With these new positive changes, the elected officials will be accountable, US Congress will regain public trust and confidence, public will trust their government, and the institution of American democracy will remain credible and an example for the world for follow. Otherwise, it runs the risk of slipping into the degenerative state. Dr. Chandra Mittal is Professor at Houston Community College and Co-Founder of Indo-American Association (IAA). Contact: drckmittal@ Twitter: @drchandramittal.

Why did Doug Jones win in Alabama? He can thank people of color

Even a cursory look at the numbers out of Alabama, however, proves this theory has no basis in reality.

sure agreement for future concealment. Reportedly, United States Congress paid out almost 17 Million Dollars over the past 20 years to settle the many claims of sexual harassment by the elected officials. This was in essence a mockery of the law by the law makers.

In Alabama, where voters must show identification at the polls, the state closed IDissuing motor vehicle offices in multiple majority black counties. Voters overcame this structural barrier to elect Jones, and the Democratic Party can repay them by working to remove it. The Democratic Party cannot take its voters for granted,

and must push a platform of real economic and social justice. It must work actively to dismantle white supremacy and systemic racism, and it must take a strong stance against voter suppression tactics that seek to silence nonwhite voters. Any of these actions would be more beneficial than fretting over whether a Democratic candidate is working hard enough to appear pro-business, post-partisan or moderate on issues such as reproductive choice. Jones made his career by standing up to racists, putting Klansmen on trial for the 1963 bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala., that killed four young girls. His commitment to racial justice is clear. But the Democratic Party still must actively recruit and promote candidates whose life experiences match those of the voters the party represents. We cannot continue to ask black voters to turn out in record numbers for candidates with a learning curve on the issues that matter to them. When Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders were asked at a 2016 primary debate “whether black lives matter or all lives matter,” both candidates delivered the correct answer. (“Black lives matter.”) But I’m sure I wasn’t the only progressive Democrat to hold my breath, not at all certain they’d gotten the message. This is the lesson of the Alabama upset. The Democratic Party doesn’t need to win over people with wildly different values — it doesn’t need Bill Kristol, or Jeff Flake, or George W. Bush — it needs to give its base a reason to vote. The base of the Democratic Party is Americans of color, and the party can win by showing that it understands that. Joshua Goodman is a political consultant and Democratic Party activist based in Burbank.



FRIDAY, December 15, 2017

Second Front Page


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Heart Health Symposium focuses on Asian Indian risk of Heart Attacks and its Prevention Continued from Page 1 Col. Vipin Kumar, Executive Director of India House opened the symposium welcoming the full house of attendees, male and female about 50-50 % and presented a brief introduction of India House mission and regular activities through a brief Video. First speaker, the senior cardiologist of Baylor, Dr. Virendra Mathur presented data indicating how serious are Cardiovascular diseases, the leading cause of death in both men and women, and 92 million Americans are currently victims of these and over 800,000 die each year. Heart attack itself hits about 800,000 Americans annually and 114,000 lose their life. If a person has the misfortune of getting a Cardiac arrest outside hospital, 90% don’t make it. Heart attack occurs every 40 seconds and a heart related death every minute in USA. The most frightening message was the fact that heart disease as well as most of the other deadly diseases are silent killers that do not announce themselves by pain or other prominent symptom and by the time symptoms appear, disease will be very advanced and hard to manage. The common mistake that >90% people make is to assume that pain/symptom is indicator of disease and absence of pain/symptom equals absence of serious disease. Unfortunately, by the time pain or other symptoms appear, all the serious killers of mankind have already spread and are at a very serious stage. Many of these “silent” killers are detectable if people pay attention to their health and see an attentive physician regularly. The main theme of the symposium was about the differences in South Asians and the audience was shocked to hear that heart disease is 4 times as common and Diabetes is 6 times more common in Asian Indians than most other ethnic groups. In addition, the disease in South Asians is even more serious, it hits persons at a younger

Chair person was Dr. Prasun Jalal, a G.I., and President of IDA delivering his talk at the symposium. Photos by Bijay Dixit. age, it is more serious and more fatal, mortality in women is even higher. Data was presented from several countries confirming the higher prevalence and severity of heart disease. Another point that Dr. Mathur emphasized was that the most obvious reason identified was higher incidence of Diabetes and he wanted everybody to know that so called ‘Diabetes’ is really indicator of the real problem which is not ‘sugar’ but several abnormalities together, known as “Metabolic Syndrome” or the Insulin resistance syndrome. This includes high Blood pressure, higher levels of Sugar, Triglycerides, lower HDL level, obesity especially abdominal with a bigger girth. Elevated sugar level is just an indicator of this disease or a messenger while simultaneously disease is damaging all the arteries of the body and other organs like Liver, Kidney, Eyes etc. Just lowering sugar level does not kill the ‘enemy’ or protect the damage to the arteries; only very strict life style correction is the proven benefit to reduce mortality risk. Metabolic syndrome prevalence is increasing like an epidemic and is being diagnosed in children and young teen-

agers. In Indian male adults above 40, it is prevalent in 50%. There are indicators that South Asians have proportionately less lean muscle mass, more fat and more intra-muscular and visceral fat and hormones of visceral fat are much more dangerous for the arteries. He concluded with a ray of hope, an encouraging fact that death rate from Cardiovascular diseases has dropped 70% since 1968 and 25% from 2004 to 2014 with the advances in medicines, techniques, devices, procedures and surgery and it is ongoing at an accelerating pace Dr. Heinle then took the difficult task of discussing the prevention and management to reduce the damage and mortality risk. Most people are aware that Cardiovascular diseases (CVD) include Coronary Artery disease (CAD) responsible for heart attacks and angina pain, Stroke, High Blood Pressure (BP) Limb or Peripheral arterial disease (PAD), Heart failure, Arrhythmias (irregular heartbeats) and Valve diseases and some others. CAD is not only the common-

Panelist Dr. Sheila Heinle, cardiologist Texas Heart Institute making her presentation at the symposium. est but also the deadliest. It is caused by buildup of Cholesterol laden material in the wall of the coronary arteries, blocking the passage inside. She encouraged the audience to remember all the “risk factors” which increase the frequency as well as the severity of CAD. These include Family history, age, smoking, high BP, high Cholesterol, specially LDL, Diabetes, Obesity and very important Physical Inactivity. Dr. Heinle reminded that 1 in 3 deaths are related to C.V. D. More important 90% of CVD events/deaths are due to “preventable” risk factors. The cost burden of USA is $ 200 billion per year. By focusing on health and risk factors it is possible to delay or avoid the deadly complications and reduce mortality. She defined “Ideal CV Health” as a person who a) never smoked, b) had light physical activity of 150 minutes /week or 75 minutes/ week of more vigorous activity , c) satisfied 4-5 points of healthy diet, d) had Cholesterol of <200 mg/dl, e) fasting glucose of <100 mg/dl and BP < 120/80

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Dr. Heinle presented data that smoking alone can increase the risk >5 times by smoking 15 Cigs/day. Importance of physical activity also can be seen by the data of age adjusted death rate which can be reduced from 60/10,000 to 20/10,000 in males if low fitness level is changed to high fitness level; for females, rate drops from 40 to 8/10,000. There is data to show that regular exercise not only reduces CV mortality, including heart attacks, strokes, PAD and BP but it also has beneficial effect on Diabetes, Obesity, Osteoporosis, Muscle loss, depression, Dementia, Breast and Colon Cancers and E.D. In a large study, difference of mortality was 6 fold higher in obese women (BMI >32) versus thin (BMI <19). Besides overall obesity the difference of fat distribution makes a difference, apple shape with most of weight above waist, compared to “pear” shape with most below waist. She presented data showing significant improvement in Metabolic Syndrome (and DiabeContinued from Page 4


FRIDAY, December 15, 2017


Sugar Land, Katy, Stafford, Missouri City, R

Heart Health Symposium...

Houston Methodist Sugar Land offers ‘Beat the Pack’ program Giving smokers a successful start on resolution to quit

Col. Vipin Kumar, Executive Director of India House opened the symposium. Continued from page 3 tes) with life style modification. Dr. Heinle also defined good diets having more fruits, nuts, fish, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, beans, Yogurt, moderate use of Cheese, eggs, poultry, low fat milk and harmful foods included Butter, Red meat, refined grains, starches, sugars, processed meats, high sodium foods and transfats Dr. Heinle also pointed out that South Asian persons do less exercise, even vegetarian diet has high proportion of Carbohydrates and saturated fats and have much higher prevalence of Insulin resistance or Metabolic syndrome and body composition and central distribution of more danger-

of health benefit exists for high BP, CAD and Stroke and probable for Breast and Colon cancers. Possible benefit may also be in Rheumatoid Arthritis, COPD, Osteoporosis, Cataract and Macular degeneration. She also pointed out that guidelines for defining high BP have been modified and currently ideal BP should not exceed 130/80 mm Hg. 100 million or 46% of US population has high BP and it increases risk 3 fold in men and 2 fold in women less than 45 years of age. Only 52% young adults (2039yrs) are aware of high BP, <36% are being treated and < 25% are controlled. In age groups of > 40 years the figures are 75% aware, 65% on treatment and only 37% controlled.

Jagdip Ahluwalia, Executive Director, IACCGH speaking on the occasion. ous fat; all of these factors lead to higher risk of CAD. Jokingly, she recommended Indians to eat less Samosas, Korma, Pakora, Bhajia, Saag Paneer, Sauced white rice and fried stuffed Naans & more of Papadum, Chicken Tikki or Tandoori, Tandoori Kabob, curry from vegetable oil base, daal, Gobhi-matar-tomato, matar pulao, steamed boiled rice, chapati. She pointed out that convincing evidence

Dr. Heinle also touched about the importance in women, pointing out that more women compared to men die of heart attacks. CVD appear at a later age in women but are more serious and mortality rate is higher. The common risk factors are more prevalent in women with CVD compared to men. Prevention as earlier mentioned is

Even long-term smokers can benefit from quitting. “The health benefits of quitting begin almost immediately and continue indefinitely,” said Sindhu Nair, M.D., a board-certified hematologist oncologist


UGAR LAND – (December 12, 2017) — Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital is offering a unique program designed to help people quit smoking, beginning in January. The program, called Beat the Pack®, was developed by Pfizer Inc. and is sponsored by Houston Methodist Sugar Land Respiratory Therapy Department and Cancer Center. The first session is scheduled for Jan. 16, from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. in Houston Methodist Sugar Land’s Main Conference Room A. Participants will meet once a week, for four weeks with a trained facilitator from Houston Methodist Sugar Land who will provide tools, tips and support to help smokers create and follow through with a personalized “quit plan.” “Studies show that close to 70 percent of smokers in the U.S. want to quit,” said Amy Sebastian-Deutsch, director of oncol-

possible in 90% of all persons with CVD and by correcting all the risk factors, severe disease can be delayed or “prevented” until old age. Modern medicines and procedures and technical advances have made it possible to reduce the impact of all the factors and prolong life and “healthier life” After Q & A session, Jagdip Ahlu-

Sugar Land Welcomes Greatwood, New Territory to City Family Sugar Land, TX ¬– Great- All city of Sugar Land resiwood and New Territory are of- dents will receive the same ficially part of the city of Sugar level of quality services and Land as of 12:01 a.m. today. have access to all of the city’s The annexation of these resources. communities was a deliberate, thoughtful process that required 10 years of planning, thought and public feedback. Strategic partnership agreements between the city and municipal utility districts provided the contractual commitments for the annexation to take place, fund itself and have no financial impact to the rest of the city.

Greatwood and New Territory are premier communities with first-class infrastructure; beautiful parks; carefully planned, well maintained neighborhoods; and quality retail and commercial areas that are consistent with Sugar Land’s commitment to excellence. These areas will not only enhance the quality and beauty of the city, but have grown the city to ap-

proximately 117, 869 residents. Based on the collaborative efforts between the city and leaders of both communities, the annexation was a seamless transition. The city is committed to providing full services on day one and welcomes Greatwood and New Territory residents to the Sugar Land family. For information and resources on annexation, visit General inquiries relating to the annexation of Greatwood and New Territory can be submitted to


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ogy and infusion therapy services. “But it typically takes a smoker between six and 11 attempts at quitting to finally succeed. Beat the Pack is a proven program that can greatly increase those odds and make it easier to give up cigarettes for good.” Even long-term smokers can benefit from quitting. “The health benefits of quitting begin almost immediately and continue indefinitely,” said Sindhu Nair, M.D., a board-certified hematologist oncologist with Houston Methodist Oncology Partners at Sugar Land. “Within months, former smokers will have improved circulation and reduced blood pressure, enhanced oxygen flow, the return of taste and smell and less coughing and colds. After a year, their risk of heart disease will be reduced by half. And after 10 years of living without cigarettes, the risk of heart attack or cancer is similar to that of someone who never smoked.”

walia, Executive Director, IACCGH extended vote of thanks to all who had contributed in one way or the other. The audience were then treated with delicious refreshment from Nirmas Food Boutique. Today it is still possible to die “young” although at a later date.

In 2015, a thorough compilation of more than 50 smoking cessation studies that included more than 25,000 participants found that combining behavior support in a group setting with medication provides the best results. “It isn’t easy to quit, and certainly it is more difficult to do so by yourself,” said SebastianDeutsch. “Beat the Pack provides all the tools and support needed, and it does so in an informative, friendly atmosphere that offers encouragement and camaraderie.” The four-week program will be offered each quarter in Main Pavilion Conference Room A at Houston Methodist Sugar Land. Registration is required. For more information or to register, visit and search for Beat the Pack, or call 281.205.4514. Visit our Facebook page at for the latest news, events and information.

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FRIDAY, December 15, 2017


Richmond, Rosenberg and Meadows Place

Rebuild, Relive and Recovery event by BAPS Charities


ouston Strong! The motto that has been ringing in everyone’s ears since Harvey. Many individuals have volunteered their time and effort to help our community. Three months since the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, many residents still are out of their homes. As you walk into their homes the walls are still stripped out of drywall and one can look straight to the back of the house from the front door. Volunteers of BAPS Charities have been active from relief efforts to recovery efforts. This past weekend on December 9, 2017 a Hurricane Harvey Recovery Event was held at the Canyon Gate Cinco Ranch neighborhood. This event was to let neighbors know that BAPS Charities is there to lend a helping hand. BAPS Charities has already provided over 50 homes in the Houston area with 3000 drywall sheets and material. Drywall has been the most needed material for most of the home owners to begin the rebuilding phase of their homes. Sanjay M. in the Katy area has been trying to rebuild his home since he had over 30 inches of water in his home and finally with the house being dried out and mold free he was able to start the work. He was very appreciative of the 95 sheets of drywall and floating material that he had received, “Thanks to BAPS Charities in making this happen.” During the Hurricane Harvey recovery event, BAPS Charities volunteers spent time talking to every individual one-on-one to find out how the recovery was going and if additional support was needed. This event

Fight Back Start the Conversation, a lecture series at First Colony Conference Center – Sugar Land, TX, On December 13, 17

n Saturday December 9, Daya held its next installment of Start the Conversation, a lecture and event series where the community considers, analyzes and confronts the issues, challenges and complexities that affect all.


Over 100 people attended the BAPS Charities Harvey recovery event

Houses hit by hurricane Harvey are still waiting to be rebuilt. drew in over 100 individuals in need of material to rebuild their homes. As many of these homeowners were still living away at friends, families or at motels, they were thankful that BAPS Charities was there to listen and offer any assistance

Volunteers met homeowners to find out what help is needed

that may be needed. Eli M. From the Canyon Gate neighborhood said, “we have had many organizations offer material but BAPS was the only one that actually has delivered what we had requested. And this

means a lot to us.” BAPS Charities has put in over 8000 volunteer hours, served 4500 hot meals, sheltered families and removed water damaged debris from homes since the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.

As reports of powerful individuals abusing others flood our newsfeeds, Daya provided the opportunity for the community to channel outrage into action. In light of the recent news of sexual assault both nationally and here in Houston, Daya created a forum for the community to speak out against the pervasiveness and silence around sexual violence. Founding Board Member, Lakshmy Parameswaran, LPC welcomed the audience and discussed the definition of sexual assault and the role that silence plays in perpetuating the cycle of violence. Sexual assault is any type of sexual behavior that occurs without the explicit consent of the recipient. Societal stigma and victim blaming drive victims to keep their experience a secret. Mrs. Parameswaran stressed that abusers must be held accountable, regardless of their position in the community, their fame, or their wealth. The blame for sexual assault should solely lie on the perpetrator. Executive Director, Rachna Khare then led attendees in an interactive discussion on how to recognize some signs of sexual abuse, respond in ways that empower survivors, and refer survivors to a vast array of supportive services throughout the Greater Houston Area. Houston Police Department officers, Vaibhavi

Patel and Monique Francis explained how the criminal justice system approaches adult sex crimes and provides comprehensive services throughout the process. Officers Kollean Himes and Ernest Slaughter explained the process for child sex crimes, emphasizing the Department’s commitment to keeping children safe. Child and adolescent psychiatrist, Dr. Sindhu Idicula Giri spoke openly about the long-term mental health impact of sexual assault including depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Armed with new knowledge, attendees worked in small groups to critically discuss scenarios they may encounter in the community and practice ways to effectively respond and take action against sexual assault. The expert speakers then convened on a multidisciplinary panel to take questions from the audience and speak candidly about the challenges that still remain. The seminar closed with a call to action from Ms. Khare, who reminded attendees that together law enforcement, mental health professionals, and community members have the power to fight back against sexual assault through a coordinated and system-wide approach. ABOUT DAYA Now in its twenty-first year, Daya empowers south Asian survivors who are trying to break the cycle of domestic and sexual violence and reclaim their lives. Daya empowers survivors and the community by offering counseling and advocacy, promoting community awareness and by advocating at the policy level. Daya’s approach fosters individual freedom and respect leading to healthy families.



FRIDAY, December 15, 2017

Houston’s Only Drop-In Center for Human Trafficking Survivors Hosts Christmas Breakfast with Survivor & America’s Got Talent Finalist Leading anti-trafficking nonprofit also honors law enforcement and community leaders for their commitment to the local fight against modern-day slavery immediate needs met, build relationships, and ultimately make their way to healing and freedom.” Local artist Elizabeth Curtin singingHave Yourself A Merry Little Christmas.”


OUSTON, TX (December 4, 2017) – Early Friday morning the Junior League of Houston was bustling as The Landing’s 2nd Annual Breakfast Fundraiser kicked off this Christmas season in style. More than 320 people, including representatives from the Office of Governor Greg Abbott, the Office of Mayor Sylvester Turner, the Houston Police Department, the District Attorney’s Office, and Council Member Laster were present. Kimberly Williams, Project Coordinator from St. Luke’s, opened the morning with prayer. In the spirit of Christmas, local artist Elizabeth Curtin performed “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas.” Beau Abdulla, founder of an organization promoting healthy sexuality called Voice For Choice, closed the event with a prayer. “The Landing’s annual breakfast fundraiser was a beautiful event that highlighted their collaborative and relational approach to the human sex trafficking issue in Houston, TX,” Beau Adbulla shared after the event. “The Landing is a wonderful organization

Top-level sponsors of the second annual Christmas Breakfast Fundraiser included Team Legal and Bayou City Fellowship. More information about The Landing is available at

that is making a positive impact in the lives of many individuals.” The Landing presented three “Dedicated Partner” Awards to individuals and organizations who made noteworthy contributions in the fight against human trafficking in 2017. Eyes On Me, Inc. was recognized for its partnership serving the Bissonnet area through an outreach called Hip Hop Hope twice a month. In addition, Bayou City Fellowship was honored for consistently supporting The Landing as an organization before the drop-in center even op=ened its doors. The Salvation Army was honored for their dedicated partnership to provide emergency housing for anti-human trafficking victims like The Landing. Finally, S.E.A.L. Security Officers Colonel Paul Reese, Major Jacob Montgomery, and Lieutenant Someya Headley were recognized for their service and the protection they provide during outreaches to help The Landing safely connect with survivors of human trafficking. The highlights of the event were keynote speaker and

S.E.A.L. Security Officers Colonel Paul Reese, Major Jacob Montgomery, and Lieutenant Someya Headley were recognized comedian Marti MacGibbon causing the entire crowd to roll with laughter before sharing her heart-touching, inspirational story of hope and strength as a survivor of human trafficking. Pastor This was followed by a beautiful performance from America’s Got Talent Finalist Mandy Harvey, a deaf singer/songwriter who was Simon Cowell’s Golden Buzzer Winner. Libin Abraham, Pastor of Multi-Site Ministry at Sugar Creek Baptist Church and a member of The Landing’s Ad-

visory Council, encouraged attendees that The Landing is an organization worth supporting financially. Mandy Harvey then led the entire room of attendees to unite their voices in “Silent Night” as the final count for funds raised was being tallied, resulting in a total profit from the event totaling just over $56,000. The Landing opened Houston’s first and only drop-in center for survivors of human trafficking and those in the commercial sex industry in January of 2016. The organi-

zation has been recognized for its efforts to unite law enforcement, government officials and community-based organizations to support women, men, and the LGBTQ population of all ages who are victims of human trafficking or in the commercial sex industry. Andrea Sparks, Governors Office, Director of Child Sex Trafficking Team, believes in the work of the drop-in center saying, “The Landing provides a safe place where exploited youth can get their

About The Landing: The Landing is a daytime drop-in center for survivors of human trafficking and those in the commercial sex industry. A drop-in center is a supportive and judgment-free place where survivors of human trafficking and the commercial sex trade can experience an atmosphere of acceptance and be introduced to social support. Located on a nationally known hotspot for sex trafficking and prostitution in Houston, The Landing team conducts street outreach twice a month, with security provided by S.E.A.L. Security and the Westside Police Division. We provide a comprehensive set of services to its clients on a pro bono basis, including case management, counseling, computer access, shelter support, job search assistance, food, transportation, and more. Our intention is to meet individuals where they are and support them throughout their journey. For more information, please visit

Sugar Creek Drainage Improvements Now Complete


ugar Land, Texas Drainage improvements within the Sugar Creek golf course and Longview Drive are now complete. The project consisted of drainage and waterline improvements as well as full pavement restoration. The drainage improvements in Sugar Creek along Longview Drive and through the golf course were identified as part of the city’s capital improvement program (CIP DR1504) after a comprehensive drainage study in 2013. Construction began in June 2016 with the cooperation of the Sugar Creek Country Club and Sugar Creek residents. The goal of the project was to alleviate the severe street ponding along Longview Drive and accomPictured is city of Sugar Land Mayor Joe Zimmerman with members of City Council, city staff, project managers and Sugar Creek residents.

K. V. Doraiswamy Bhattar

modate future improvements planned for other areas along Longview Drive and Broadmoor Drive. The completed project and community partnerships saved taxpayers millions of dollars and directly improved the quality of life and safety of residents. During the significant rainfall of Hurricane Harvey, the new drainage system performed as expected, protecting this area in the Sugar Creek community from extreme flooding. A ribbon cutting was held on Nov. 28 with the city of Sugar Land’s mayor, City Council, city staff, contractors, consultant, Sugar Creek Country Club representatives, homeowner association representatives and Sugar Creek residents.

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4 Indian-Americans on Capitol Hill endorse Maryland’s Aruna Miller


ASHINGTON, D.C. – (India Abroad) The congressional campaign of threeterm Maryland state legislator Aruna Miller has received a major boost as the four Indian-American lawmakers on Capitol Hill endorsed her and her fund-raising climbed past the half-a-million dollar mark. That tally has made her the candidate with the most amount of cash in hand. 
On Nov. 20, Rep. Ami Bera (D-Calif.) led the endorsement by the four Democrats: Pramila Jayapal of Washington state, Raja Krishnamoorthi of Illinois and Ro Khanna of California. “I am honored to have the support of my fellow Indian American public servants, and I am excited to join them on Capitol Hill. As immigrants, or the children of immigrants, the Indian-American members of the House are inspirational because they represent the best of America,” said Miller. Miller, 52, who began her career as civil engineer and worked for Montgomery County for 25 years, said, “In this time of divisiveness and anti-immigrant rhetoric, it’s important to remember that the promise of America is that if you play by the rules and are willing to work hard, America is truly the land of opportunity. I want to make sure that is the case for the next generation.” In 2010, she was elected to the Maryland Legislature where she represents the 15th District and serves on the Appropriations Committee. The four endorsements come less than three months after Miller’s endorsement from EMILY’s List, a major resource for women in politics that reportedly has raised more than $500 million to support Democratic women candidates. Miller is the only woman running for the open seat in the 6th Congressional District vacated by Rep. John Delaney, the first Democrat to declare for the

presidency in 2020. The EMILY’s List nod was the first big endorsement for Miller and came early in her campaign – more than a year before the election. “We have learned this year that motivated and organized grassroots supporters can move mountains, and we know that with EMILY’s List support, we will take the fight to Donald Trump to protect our healthcare and our choices, to invest Aruna Miller’s bid in 6th Congressional in our public educa- District climbs past $500,000 in fundraising tion and programs like STEM, and to show that government works gressional delegation. for the people,” she said. She The Hyderabad-born Millnoted that EMILY’s List plac- er began her political career es a strong emphasis on sup- by volunteering for her local porting minority women and Democratic Central Commithad helped elect both Indian- tee, going door to door and American women to Congress serving as a precinct captain. in 2016: Jayapal and Kamala She officially entered the camDevi Harris to the Senate. paign for Congress earlier There is no woman representContinued on page 9 ing Maryland in the state’s con-

Student from Hyderabad shot at in US, says kin


YDERABAD (PTI) - A student from Hyderabad was shot at by an unidentified person in Chicago in the United States, his family members said today. The family said Mohammed Akbar, doing his masters in computer sciences, was injured when a bullet hit his right cheek on December 6. According to his brother Mohammed Ashraf, Akbar, 30, was walking towards his car in a parking area when he was shot at. He was admitted to a hospital. His family said it had requested the Telangana government and the Ministry of External Affairs to make arrangements for an emergency visa to enable them to visit the US. “We have met Telangana Home Minister Nayani Narasimha Reddy and today talked over the phone to officials of the Union Ministry of External Affairs. They have assured us of all necessary help in this regard,” Ashraf told PTI.

In a first, Sikh-American nominated to be New Jersey’s AG


ASHINGTON (PTI) - A prominent Sikh-American lawyer, who has “experienced hate and intolerance first-hand”, has been nominated to serve as the next Attorney General of the US state of New Jersey. Gurbir S Grewal, a public prosecutor who previously served as an Assistant US Attorney in New York and New Jersey, was named by New Jersey Governor-elect Phil Murphy yesterday. With this nomination, Grewal is set to become the first SikhAmerican state Attorney General in the United States.

Gurbir S Grewal

FRIDAY, December 15, 2017

Mohammed Akbar (left), an Indian student from Hyderabad, was shot in the face Dec. 6 morning by a random assailant. Akbar is shown here at Illinois Masonic Medical Center’s ICU with Consul General Neeta Bhushan of the Indian Consulate in Chicago. (Facebook photo) Grewal said that he decided to pursue public service to give back to a country that has given him and other immigrant families so much. “I wanted to perhaps also show people that while I and others like me may look different or worship differently that we too are committed to this country. “As someone who has experienced hate and intolerance firsthand throughout my life, I wanted to work to ensure that we all live in a fair and just society,” Grewal said after the announcement, reported. The move has been welcomed

by the South Asian Bar Association (SABA). Grewal, who has spent most of his legal career in public service, is currently the Bergen County prosecutor. Working for a most populous county in New Jersey, Grewal serves a community of almost one million with his staff of 265. He previously served as an Assistant US Attorney in both New York (2004-2007) and New Jersey (2010-2016). He ended his tenure there as Chief of the Economic Crimes Unit where he was lead prosecutor for the largest known data breach prosecution.


FRIDAY, December 15, 2017

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FRIDAY, December 15, 2017

Pakistan orders several forDublin councillors revoke eign aid groups to leave: NGO Suu Kyi award in protest


SLAMABAD, Pakistan | AFP - Pakistan has ordered a host of international aid groups to wrap up their operations in 60 days, a global NGO said Wednesday, as officials tighten controls on foreign charities in the country.

The organisation, which is funded by the US billionaire philanthropist George Soros and runs a raft of programmes from education to governance, had earlier issued a statement seeking clarification from the interior ministry over the move.

Authorities have moved to force overseas-funded aid organisations to re-register under stricter rules that came into force two years ago, leading several to lose their licenses.

International charity ActionAid, which supports a range of projects from livelihoods to women’s rights, has also said it is being forced to leave Pakistan.

“We believe that we are one of more than 20 organisations whose registrations have been rejected,” Jonathan Birchall, the lead Communications Officer for Open Society Foundations told AFP.

The organisation “has been given 60 days to close all operations in the country”, it said in a statement released last week, after its application to register under Pakistan’s new rules for international non-governmental organisations was declined.

Miller... Continued from page 7 this year and raised more than $355,000 in her first quarter of fundraising. The EMILY’s List endorsement and the endorsements by the four legislators is expected to be a huge shot in the arm for Miller who needs at least $2-million to $3-million to run a competitive race in an expensive media market. Miller is running against several other high profile Democrats who serve in the state House and Senate and also multimillionaire David Trone, co-owner of Total Wine & More. Two years ago, Trone ran unsuccessfully for Maryland’s 8th District in Congress, spending more than $13 million of his own money. The 6th District is one of the most diverse in Maryland, with more than one in every 10 residents being Asian-American and more than one in four residents being black or Hispanic. Last month Bethesda Magazine reported that Trone had raised just $41,000 between his August launch and the end of

September, but augmented that sum with almost $750,000 of his own money. It noted that he ended last month with less than $57,000 in the bank, as federal disclosure forms show he spent almost all of his personal donation already, largely on consultants. Miller, meanwhile, had the most cash on hand: $525,176. Miller was the first out of the gate in signing up for a congressional run in early May, filing an official statement of candidacy in early May with the Federal Election Commission. That enabled her to appoint an exploratory committee, begin fundraising for a potential campaign and also hire campaign aides. Her campaign’s first report with the FEC showed a campaign kitty in excess of $350,000 in the second quarter of 2017. She out-raised fellow State Representative Bill Frick, the Majority Leader of the Maryland House of Delegates, who had also announced his intention to run for the seat, but had raised only $213,000 since creating his congressional campaign committee in mid-April. Last month he opted out, saying he is going to run for County Executive of

Pakistan officials declined to comment when contacted by AFP. In September, the medical aid group Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said it had been ordered to close its facilities in a militancy-wracked tribal district, leaving thousands without healthcare. While militancy and natural disasters plague parts of Pakistan, the country has shown increasing suspicion of foreign aid groups in recent years. In 2012, a Pakistan intelligence report linked the aid group Save the Children to the doctor, Shakeel Afridi, who the CIA used to carry out a fake vaccination programme as they searched for Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden. Save the Children has always denied it had any links with Afridi or the CIA. But the charity’s expat staff were forced to leave Pakistan after the accusations emerged. Pakistan has since hardened its policies towards international aid groups, accusing them of being covers for spying operations, and has repeatedly warned them to restrict their activities.

Montgomery County. According to Bethesda Magazine, which publishes Bethesda Beat, Miller had raised her substantial amount in such a short period “by tapping into a nationwide network of IndianAmerican professionals and entrepreneurs.” It said that more than 95 percent of her contributors in the latest report were of Indian-American ancestry “and among the latter group of donors, more than four-fifths reside outside the state of Maryland--with Michigan, Texas and Virginia among the top states from which Miller received contributions.”


ONDON, United Kingdom | AFP | Dublin councillors on Wednesday voted to revoke an award given to Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi to protest her handling of violence against Rohingya Muslims in her country, Irish media reported. The vast majority of councillors backed the move to revoke the Freedom of the City of Dublin award, with 59 votes in favour, two against and one abstention, broadcaster RTE said. The decision comes after more than 620,000 of Myanmar’s Rohingya Muslim minority fled across the border to Bangladesh, escaping a crackdown by the army which the refugees have said involved murder, rape and arson. Suu Kyi has faced international criticism for her appar-

Myanmar’s civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi has faced international criticism for her apparent failure to defend the Rohingya minority ent failure to defend the Rohingya minority; a dramatic fall from grace for the Nobel Peace laureate who spent years under house arrest in Myanmar.

Indian American sentenced to 12 years for killing newborn


TATEN ISLAND, NY - Indian American Nausheen Rahman, 30, of New Springville, was sentenced to 12 years in prison on Monday as she had admitted to killing her baby and placing the newborn in the trash. At the hearing in Supreme Court, Justice Mario F. Mattei imposed three years of postrelease supervision. Rahman has already served two years of time and could be freed in little more than eight years. Rahman made a long and tearful statement asking for leniency, but the judge imposed the negotiated plea for first-degree manslaughter for the death of the baby, a girl, in

March 2016. “Your actions were unthinkable, they were unforgivable, they were callous, and you took a harmless child and put it in a garbage bag as if it was a worthless peace of trash. Today and only today do you show an ounce of remorse, so your sentence is well deserved,” said Mattei, adding that Rahman “started a false narrative” in the immediate aftermath of the crime by not showing remorse and claiming to police that she didn’t realize that she was pregnant. “Your actions showed that this wasn’t a situation where you panicked at the thought of what might happen to your life if this life was allowed to continue,” he added. (

“The daily oppression of the Rohingya people cannot be allowed to continue and if the revoking of this honour contributes to the pressure on the Burmese (Myanmar) government to respect their fellow citizens it is to be welcomed,” councillor Cieran Perry said, quoted in the Irish Independent. The city council’s decision comes a month after musician Bob Geldof returned his own freedom award at Dublin City Hall, as a protest against Suu Kyi. “I would be a hypocrite now were I to share honours with one who has become at best an accomplice to murder, complicit in ethnic cleansing and a handmaiden to genocide,” Geldof had said. The Red Cross estimates only around 300,000 Rohingya remain in Myanmar’s northern Rakhine state since the mass exodus started in August, with around 300 continuing to cross the border each day. Bangladesh and Myanmar last month signed an agreement to repatriate Rohingya refugees, although the United Nations at the time said the conditions were not safe for their return.



FRIDAY, December 15, 2017

Santhigram Wellness Kerala Asian Heritage Bus Tour Ayurveda, USA celebrates its 10th Anniversary Upcoming Dates: 12/23/2017


DISON, New Jersey - Santhigram Kerala Ayurvedic Co., USA, a leading provider of authentic Kerala specific Ayurveda therapies in the United States, having its presence at 12 locations spread all over US including New Jersey, New York, Texas, Illinois and Wisconsin, proudly announces a grand celebration on the occasion of completing 10 years since its inception in US on Saturday, January 20, 2018 at Edison Hotel Banquet and Conference Center, 3050 Woodbridge Ave., Edison, New Jersey. More than 500 esteemed guests are expected to attend the function on the said day from various walks of life including clients, stakeholders, friends and wellwishers from various parts of US and abroad. It is also expected that the occasion will be graced by the presence of distinguished guests from Elected officials, Media, Community associations, Chambers of Commerce, business and other forums.


ake a 4.5 hour bus tour across Southwest Houston and learn about the exciting history of Southwest Houston! This tour takes you around the Chinatown and International Districts to explore and experience popular dining and shopping hotspots in the area, such as the Shaolin Temple Cultural Center, Mulan Asian Market, Hong Kong City Mall, and Ten Yen Tea & Herbs, and Chung Mei Temple. Lunch is also included! Feast on a hearty lunch at one of Chinatown’s many eateries. Highlighted restaurants include Ocean Palace Restaurant and Banana Leaf Malaysian Restaurant. Go to for fulllist of tour stops that have been featured on the tours.

Fort Bend ISD seeking feedback on 2018-19 calendar



Series of programs have been lined up as part of the event, including the launch of much awaited Ayurveda training School, Santhigram Herbal products and Santhigram staff “Santhigram Foundation” - A charity wing of during the extravaganza eveSanthigram for advocating and ning would be “Celebrating promoting health and well- the Spirit of Life and Good ness and making awareness Health” which will entail walkof the benefits of complemen- ing the audience through varitary and alternative medicine ous chores involved in daily (CAM) based on “Ayurveda” life and focus on realizing the principles that nurture the hu- supreme importance of staying man mind, body and spirit and pristine healthy. extending the benefit of costSome of the distinguished efficient Ayurveda treatments and medicinal herbs for chron- members of the community ic ailments to low income pa- and employees who have supported and contributed imtients. mensely to the growth of the Theme of the celebration

unique business model, Santhigram Wellness Kerala Ayurveda which has been successfully adopted in United States, will be accorded due recognition during the function. It will be followed by variety of enthralling entertaining programs replete with a riveting dance and music programs and a sumptuous dinner evening. For further details, please contact on email: info(at) santhigramusa(dot)com

ORT BEND ISD – December 7, 2018) - Fort Bend ISD has launched a survey to gain public comment on two calendar options for the 2018-19 school year. The survey will remain open through December 15 at 5 p.m., and the results of the survey will be shared with the District’s calendar committee before a final recommendation is presented to the Board.

Goals and Objectives by providing time for staff development and planning for teachers. The drafts allow for professional development days with embedded planning to be distributed throughout the school year, rather than only grouped together at the beginning or end of the school year.

Fort Bend ISD’s Local Innovation Plan, adopted by the Board in March of 2017, provides flexibility to the start and end dates of instruction, giving FBISD the ability to take steps toward an instructional calendar that is more innovative and serves the best interests of our students. The calendars posted for review represent the collaboration of a task force of District and campus representatives, who used the Local Innovation Plan to guide their work.

Traditional FBISD holidays, such as a weeklong Thanksgiving break and the Fort Bend County Fair Day

The task force used the flexibility provided by the Local Innovation Plan to draft calendar options that better support the achievement of District

Both calendar options also include:

A common spring break, March 11-15, 2018 Two District professional development days and four campus professional development days prior to the start of the school year A 187 day contract for teachers At least one full day of professional learning or holiday each month, in lieu of several early release days, allowing staff and students needed breaks to balance their learning. Staff members will continue to ben-

efit from opportunities to grow professionally during the year. (Note: The Texas Education Agency will no longer grant early release waivers in 201819.) At least 75,600 operational minutes, as required by the Texas Education Agency (TEA), as well as at least 840 additional instructional minutes equivalent to two badweather days, should FBISD need to cancel school during inclement weather. In addition to the surplus minutes that are equivalent to two bad-weather days, the two calendar options also include minutes that can absorb any additional emergency closures or changes. The two calendar options and survey are posted on the District’s website, https://www. Following the survey, results will be reviewed by the District’s calendar committee and will be used to inform the final recommendation of the 201819 calendar to the Board of Trustees in January of 2018.


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FRIDAY, December 15, 2017

Mayor: City trade mission finds World renowned jewelers, “golden moment” for economic Joyalukkas launches its South expansion with China Extension in Delhi

Ribbon cutting at the opening of oyalukkas South Extension in Delhi. Yao Ming joins members of the Houston trade delegation at an Air China reception; several delegation members gather.


OUSTON - Backed by Houston’s largestever trade delegation to a foreign country, Mayor Sylvester Turner declared after meetings with government officials and business leaders in China last week that Houston and the world’s most populous nation have reached “a golden moment” of mutual economic advantage. Chinese leaders told the mayor they are eager to expand business dealings with Houston companies and institutions in the fields of health care, energy, engineering, education, finance, aeronautics and other key areas where the city has unique expertise. “It’s my hope that with the opening (of Chinese trade) to the world, and the openness of Houston, we can build on our relationship,” the mayor said during one of the meetings in China.

Mayor Turner signs an economic memorandum with Beijing Mayor Chen Jining, making progress toward more trade that could bring more jobs and investments to Houston. “We are in a golden moment where Houston is the uniquely positioned supplier of goods and services that China needs to meet the growing demands of its booming nation as its president, Xi Jinping, spurs his nation to increase its interac-

tions with the rest of world,” Mayor Turner said on the completion of the trade mission. “Expanded trade with China -- already our second largest international trade partner -brings more jobs and and more investment capital to Hous-

Suspect in New York subway blast slapped with terror charges


EW YORK: US prosecutors on Tuesday brought federal charges against the suspect in Monday’s attempted suicide bombing in one of New York City’s busiest commuter hubs, accusing him of supporting a foreign terrorist organization. Akayed Ullah, a 27-year-old Bangladeshi and self-described supporter of the radical group Islamic State, was also charged in a criminal complaint filed in US district court in Manhattan with bombing a public place, destruction of property by means of explosive and use of a destructive device. Ullah planned to “murder as many human beings as he could ... in support of a vicious terrorist cause,” acting US attorney Joon Kim told a news conference after filing the charges. New York City police have said that Ullah set off a pipe bomb in an underground corridor of the subway system that connects Times Square to the Port Authority Bus Terminal at rush hour on Monday morning, injuring himself and three others. He told police interviewers after the blast, “I did it for the Islamic State,” according to court papers filed by federal prosecutors. Ullah began the process of self-radicalization in 2014 when he started viewing proIslamic State materials online and carried out his attack because he was angry over US policies in the Middle East, prosecutors said. New York officials on Tuesday also filed state charges against Ullah, as investigators in his home country questioned his wife. Ullah was charged with criminal possession of a weapon, supporting an act of terrorism, and making a terroristic threat under New York state law, the New York City Police Department said. The federal charges, which are expected to take precedence over the state charges, carry a maximum sentence of

EW DELHI, India - Dec 2017: Joyalukkas, the world’s favorite jeweller, has launched its new showroom in the bustling metropolis of South Extension, Delhi. The new showroom was inaugurated by Sri. Vijay Prakash Jain (Secretary General, Bhartiya Udyog Vyapar Mandal) on December 9, 2017 at 11:00 am which was an exciting affair attended by local dignitaries, VIPs and chief executives of the Joyalukkas Group.

team offering customers the very best of the world’s favorite jeweller.

Set at the heart of the exciting neighborhood of South Extension, Delhi Joyalukkas will be a sparkling new jewelry shopping destination to captivate the residents’ hearts.

Joyalukkas South Extension will feature over a million jewelry designs showcasing a mix of tradi- tional, ethno contemporary and international influences. It will carry an exclusive line of Joyalukkas brands, such as Veda Temple Jewelry, Pride Diamonds, Eleganza Polki Diamonds, Masaaki Pearls, Zenina Turkish Jewel-


Joyalukkas South Extension features the brand’s signature jewelry collections, spacious interiors, ample parking space and a professional service

ton,” he added. China conducts more than $15 billion in import-export trade with Houston every year, topped only by Mexico. Chinese visitors to Houston spend an average of $5,000 each per trip. As the most diverse city in the United States, Houston has at least 67,000 residents born in China and at least another 100,000 of Chinese descent, making the city a welcoming destination for Chinese visitors. Seeing ripened opportunities for more trade, the Greater Houston Partnership organized a delegation of about 70 business leaders to accompany the mayor Dec. 2-9 to the cities of Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen, an official sister city of Houston.

Ullah was charged with criminal possession of a weapon, supporting an act of terrorism, and making a terroristic threat under New York state law, the New York City Police Department said. (Photo: AP). life in prison. Officials declined to disclose Ullah’s condition at Bellevue Hospital late on Tuesday. His first court appearance in the case could come as soon as Wednesday and may be conducted by video conference with a judge, a spokesman for the US Attorney’s office said. On the morning of the attack, Ullah posted on his Facebook page, “Trump you failed to protect your nation.” Ullah’s passport, which was recovered from his home, had handwritten notes, including one that read, “O AMERICA, DIE IN YOUR RAGE.” Homemade Bomb Investigators at the scene found a nine-volt battery inside Ullah’s pants pocket, as well as fragments from a metal pipe and the remnants of what appeared to be a Christmas tree light bulb attached to wires. Ullah told investigators that he built the bomb at his Brooklyn home one week before the attack, filling the pipe with metal screws to maximize damage. He chose a workday to target as many people as possible. Investigators in Bangladesh were questioning Ullah’s wife, according to two officials who declined to be identified as they were not permitted to publicly discuss the matter. They said the couple have a six-month-old boy.

A police official who took part in that interview, who declined to be named as he was not authorized to speak publicly, said the wife told investigators that Ullah had never prayed regularly before he moved to the United States. New York City police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation were leading the investigation into Ullah in conjunction with other agencies through the Joint Terrorism Task Force, and were asking the public for any information about the suspect. Investigators were poring through data on Ullah’s electronic devices, said a law enforcement official who spoke on condition of anonymity. Assistant FBI director in charge William Sweeney said there was so far no indication that Ullah had previously attracted the attention of FBI. Ullah lived with his mother, sister and two brothers in Brooklyn and was a green card holder, said Shameem Ahsan, consul general of Bangladesh in New York. US President Donald Trump said again on Tuesday that the attack emphasized the need for US immigration reforms. Monday’s incident occurred less than two months after an Uzbek immigrant killed eight people by speeding a rental truck down a New York City bike path in an attack for which Islamic State claimed responsibility.

As a result, Mayor Turner

“We are delighted to open our doors in South Extension,“ said Mr. Joy Alukkas, Chairman and MD of Joyalukkas Group. “This exciting neighborhood is set to be amongst the country’s premier shopping and lifestyle districts, and we are looking forward to offering its residents the signature jewelry and award-winning service the world has come to expect from Joyalukas.“

and/or the city’s business leaders signed a series of official memoranda of understanding expressing specific plans to widen commerce with China. Some of the most compelling statements made by Chinese officials in meetings with the mayor came from Li Pumin, secretary general of China’s planning and development agency, the National Development and Reform Commission. As his nation pursues its ‘’Healthy China Strategy,’’ Li said, “China needs a medical center like the Texas Medical Center” and is already turning to Houston’s premier medical institutions for help in meeting the growing healthcare needs of its 1.3 billion people. “The market will have a leading role and the government will give

lery, Li’I Joy Kids Jewelry, the Apurva Antique collection & Ratna Precious Stone Jewelry, along with renowned names in gold, diamond, precious stones, platinum and pearl jewelry. About Joyalukkas Group: Joyalukkas Group is a multibillion dollar global conglomerate, with varied business interests. The group operates its various business operations across UAE, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Oman, Kuwait, Qatar, Singapore, Malaysia, UK and India. The group businesses include Jewelry, Money Exchange, Fashion & Silks, Luxury Air Charters, Malls and Realty. Joyalukkas employs over 8,000 professionals across the world, and is one of the most awarded and recognized jewelry retail chains in the world.

it support,” he added. Li quoted President Xi in the talks about doing business with Houston businesses and institutions: “The doors of China will only open wider to the outside world.” Similarly, the vice administrator of China’s National Energy Administration, Lui Baowue, told Mayor Turner that his nation is looking to Houston’s relatively young liquified natural gas export industry to help China triple its use of natural gas by 2020 as its reduces its use of coal to lessen air pollution. Lui also indicated China is on the verge of seeking help from U.S. companies to tap its shale oil deposits -- an energy industry specialty for which Houston is the unparalleled technological leader.



Two Reuters reporters arrested in Myanmar: govt


ANGON, Myanmar | AFP | Wednesday 12/13/2017 - Reuters news agency said it was “outraged” by the arrest of two of its journalists in Myanmar Wednesday and accused authorities of an attack on press freedoms, as the US voiced concern over the detentions.

imum sentence of 14 years in prison.

Myanmar reporters Wa Lone, 31, and Kyaw Soe Oo, 27, were held under the Official Secrets Act, the government announced, accusing them of having documents relating to unrest in Rakhine State, where a military crackdown has sent more than 620,000 Rohingya Muslims fleeing into neighbouring Bangladesh.

The UN has said the army campaign, which saw hundreds of Rohingya villages razed to the ground, likely amounts to ethnic cleansing and has possible “elements of genocide” -- charges Myanmar vehemently denies.

The United States Embassy in Myanmar said it was “deeply concerned” about the arrests and urged the government to allow access to the pair. “For a democracy to succeed, journalists need to be able to do their jobs freely,” it said in a statement. Authorities released a staged image of the two journalists wearing handcuffs with documents displayed before them. “We are outraged by this blatant attack on press freedom,” said Reuters President and Editor-In-Chief Stephen J. Adler, in a statement posted on the company’s website. “We call for authorities to release them immediately.” The pair stand accused of intending “to send important security documents regarding security forces in Rakhine State to foreign agencies abroad,” a statement released by the information ministry said. They have been charged under a section of the Official Secrets Act that carries a max-

- Media freedom fears The arrests come as Myanmar faces international opprobrium over the army crackdown in Rakhine, as refugees tell of horrifying attacks, murder, rape and arson.

Authorities have banned journalists from independently travelling to northern Rakhine, the epicentre of the unrest, which has been left virtually abandoned and scarred with torched villages. The government statement said that action will also be taken against two policemen who had recently returned from duty in northern Rakhine. Since Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi came to power in 2016 after decades of military rule, rights groups have expressed alarm over worsening freedom of expression. The number of online defamation cases has shot up compared to the previous militarybacked administration with a notorious telecommunications law ensnaring online satirists, activists and journalists. A report by Free Expression Myanmar on Monday said that every case that has made it to court so far has ended with a guilty verdict and a prison sentence. In one prominent case, Myanmar Now news agency editor Swe Win was charged with insulting a Buddhist monk who praised the killer of

FRIDAY, December 15, 2017

US military to send cyber soldiers to the battlefield


ASHINGTON, DC | AFP - The US Army will soon send teams of cyber warriors to the battlefield, officials said Wednesday, as the military increasingly looks to take the offensive against enemy computer networks. While the Army’s mission is generally to “attack and destroy,” the cyber troops have a slightly different goal, said Colonel Robert Ryan, who commands a Hawaii-based combat team. “Not everything is destroy. How can I influence by nonkinetic means? How can I reach up and create confusion and gain control?” he told reporters. The cyber soldiers have been integrated for six months in infantry units, and will tailor operations according to commanders’ needs, said Colonel William Hartman of the Army’s Cyber Command. The Army has for the past three years conducted training for such operations at a huge center in southern California. Hartman didn’t give details on what the cyber troops can achieve, except to say that they would be scooping up information or intercepting planned attacks. According to the New York Times, CYBERCOM has previously placed “implants” in Islamic State group networks that let experts monitor the group’s behavior and

a Muslim government lawyer. The trial is still ongoing. In October, a Burmese journalist, two reporters from Malaysia and Singapore and their driver were arrested in the capital Naypyidaw for flying a drone over parliament and sentenced to two months in prison while awaiting additional charges.

The cyber soldiers have been integrated for six months ultimately imitate or alter commanders’ messages so they unwittingly direct fighters to areas likely to be hit by drone or plane strikes. Another technique likely being employed is a common type of cyber attack known as a denial of service. Cyber Command had previously been a subordinate part of the US Strategic Command, but President Donald Trump in August ordered the Pentagon to elevate it to its own command, in a sign of its growing importance.

Independent reporting was almost completely snuffed out during Myanmar’s half century under the junta, which operated one of the world’s most draconian pre-publication censorship regimes.

Joyalukkas welcomes holiday season with special gifts and offers across the USA showrooms


SA, Dec 17: The festive season is well and truly here with a dazzling new selection of jewellery from the world’s favourite jeweller and an even more spectacular gift giveaway. Gifts of Joy comes in time for the traditional gift-giving that comes with the holidays, with hundreds of the latest Samsung and iPhone models up for grabs. Joyalukkas makes choosing gifts and what to wear for all the festivities easier with over a million designs and special offers available across the premier jewellery retailer’s 130 showrooms in 11 countries. “Family and connecting with loved ones are values close to the heart of the Joyalukkas Group,” says Mr. Joy Alukkas, Chairman & MD, Joyalukkas Group. “There’s nothing more important than spreading joy to family and friends and we do our part by offering great gift ideas and rewarding deals on jewellery in all our showrooms all season long.” Gifts of Joy is happening simultaneously across Joyalukkas USA

showrooms in Houston, New Jersey and Chicago. For a minimum purchase of diamond, polki and pearl jewellery customers get a free Samsung 8 or iPhone X, amongst the most wanted gifts of 2017. Visitors also have the chance to usher in the New Year with dazzling new jewellery with a special old gold exchange offer. Gifts of Joy is ongoing till 7th January 2018. About Joyalukkas Group: Joyalukkas Group is a multibillion dollar global conglomerate, with varied business interests. The group operates its various business operations across UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Oman, Kuwait, Qatar, Singapore, Malaysia, London and India. The group businesses include jewellery, money exchange, fashion & textiles, luxury air charters, malls and realty. Joyalukkas employs over 7,000 professionals across the world, and is one of the most awarded and recognised jewellery retail chains in the world. New collections and Old Gold Exchange Offer at Joyalukkas for this Season of Giving.





Section 2

FRIDAY, December 15, 2017


Tel: 713-774-5140

MassMutual Approves Pondi Café now open at Asia $1.6 Billion 2018 Policy- Society Texas Center owner Dividend Payout embodies MassMutual’s competitive advantage – particularly the contribution of earnings from our diverse portfolio of businesses, which include our institutional, workplace and international insurance businesses, as well as global asset management subsidiaries OppenheimerFunds, Inc. and Barings. Combined, these enable us to provide exceptional value to our policyowners and help them secure their future and protect the ones they love.” The 2018 estimated payout reflects a dividend interest rate1 of 6.40 percent for eligible participating policies. While dividends are not guaranteed, MassMutual has paid them to eligible participating policyowners every year since 1869. In fact, with the 2018 estimated payout, MassMutual will have paid more than $14 billion in dividends since 2009.

Estimated payout marks milestone 150th consecutive year of dividend payouts; underscores exceptional policyowner value, strong financial position

Over the past decade, MassMutual has also paid more than $35 billion in insurance and annuity benefits – including $5 billion in 2016, the most the company has ever paid in a year – delivering on its obligations to its policyowners and customers. Additionally, in 2016, MassMutual achieved its 11th straight year of record weighted whole life insurance sales2, while total adjusted capital has reached nearly $18 billion (as of September 30, 2017).


PRINGFIELD, Mass., Nov. 6, 2017 – Demonstrating the longstanding commitment to its policyowners and customers, Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual) announced today that its Board of Directors has approved an estimated $1.6 billion dividend payout in 2018 to eligible participating policyowners and members. The landmark accomplishment marks 150 consecutive years that MassMutual will be paying a dividend.

Moreover, MassMutual’s financial strength ratings3 remain among the highest of any company in any industry, illustrating its strong operating fundamentals and a prudent, longterm investment philosophy.

I believe you should eat well and live spicy,” said Pondicheri Chef Anita Jaisinghani. “Pondi and Asia Society are providing the opportunity to achieve both. I am thrilled to be serving lunch around some of the best cultural programming in Houston.”

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Pondi Café serves preparations from all parts of India.

Pondicheri, Pondi for short, is the old French name of a city in Southern India now called Puducherry. Jaisinghani chose it as the name for her restaurant not because she or her food are from there, but just because the city had a special meaning in her childhood and she loves the sound of the word. Pondi’s menu represents carefully curated and authentic, yet reinvented preparations, from all over the Indian subcontinent. Pondi is open Tuesday-Friday, 11

“This is truly a significant achievement that illustrates MassMutual’s strength and stability as a mutual company – a century and a half of sharing our success with our eligible participating policyowners and members through a consistent dividend Lack ofannual speech is a payout,” said Roger Crandall, MassMutual Chairman, President and CEO. Crandall added, “Against the backdrop of a prolonged low interest rate environment, this accomplishment


isitors to Asia Society Texas in the heart of the Houston Museum District are now greeted by the enticing aromas of India-inspired cuisine from Pondi, Pondicheri’s little sister. Pondi is open for extended lunch hours TuesdaySunday with a vibrant and innovative menu featuring everything from Butter Chicken to Saffron Shrimp Salad and Bombay Benedict. “Asia Society Texas is known for providing Houstonians access to beautiful art exhibits and scintillating programs and policy discussions,” said Asia Society Texas President Bonna Kol. “Now, we will also be known as a destination for cultural cuisine. This aligns perfectly with what we do and we couldn’t be more excited about the new partnership.”

“This estimated dividend payout am-5 pm and Saturday-Sunday, 10 once again demonstrates our abil- am-5 pm. The menu is available at Pondi Cafe at the Asia Society Texas ity to honor our commitments,” said Mike Fanning, head of MassMutual Information about future programs .Before or after lunch, make plans U.S. “It is also yet another way we to visit Asia Society’s current ex- and exhibitions is available at Asiahelp our policyowners protect their hibit Wondrous Worlds: Art & Islam or by following us families, support their communities Through & Place, a showcase on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. sign of autism. Learn the others at Time and help one another. Still, there are of the global history and breadth About Asia Society Texas Center millions of individuals and families of Islamic art. In recognition of the who are financially underprepared4 With 12 locations throughout the city’s ongoing recovery from Hurand, through our expanded tools and world, Asia Society is the leadricane Harvey, general admission to channels, we have an opportunity to the exhibition is FREE through De- ing educational organization promake our solutions more accessible to moting mutual understanding and cember. a broader range of people.”

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FRIDAY, December 15, 2017

India bans condom advertiseSeeking music edge, Apple buys ments from prime time television song recognition app Shazam


pple said Monday that it would buy leading song recognition app Shazam in a fresh bid to secure an edge in the intensifying battle of streaming services. Apple, whose streaming service has rapidly grown but still has only half the paid subscribers of Spotify, said that Shazam has consistently been one of the most popular items on its App Store. The two companies did not disclose financial terms. The technology news sites Recode and TechCrunch, quoting unnamed sources, both put the deal at around $400 million.

An Indian volunteer holds an umbrella decorated with condoms during an event to mark International Condom Day


EW DELHI, India | AFP - India has slapped a nationwide ban on television ads for condoms during prime time hours, citing rules prohibiting “vulgar” content and concerns over children viewing salacious material. The information and broadcasting ministry ordered India’s estimated 900 television channels to restrict condom commercials to between 10pm and 6am, threatening repercussions if the ads fall outside graveyard hours. “All TV channels are hereby advised not to telecast the advertisements of condoms which are (a) for particular age group and could be indecent for viewing by children,” the order said Monday.

It also cited broadcasting regulations prohibiting “indecent, vulgar, suggestive, repulsive or offensive themes”. India’s public and private television channels beam into nearly 183 million households across the country, data from the Broadcast Audience Research Council industry group shows. Advocates for birth control warned the blackout risked undoing decades of progress on sexual and reproductive health. The Population Foundation of India, a Delhi-based nonprofit, said condoms were one of the few methods available for family planning and encouraged men to also take responsibility for birth control. “What we need is a more

sensitive approach without compromising on information and advocating for sexual and reproductive choice,” the charity’s executive director Poonam Muttreja said in a statement. Sex remains a taboo subject in India, a broadly conservative and traditional country, and condom ads have stirred up controversy in the past.


EIJING, China | AFP | China’s box office may be booming but its domestic films are struggling to find vast audiences abroad, Asian cinema experts said Tuesday, as the world’s second-largest economy seeks soft power to match its growing economic clout.

In September, India’s largest trading body successfully lobbied for condom billboards featuring a former porn star to be pulled down in Gujarat state, citing religious sensitivities. In lodging its protest, the trade body accused the condom manufacturer of putting “India’s cultural value at stake” by promoting contraceptives on the eve of a Hindu festival.

But Shazam has struggled to find a way to make money off its technology, even as it said that it had reached one billion downloads on smartphones last year.

for the Asian Brilliant Stars awards -- a cinema prize held in collaboration with the Berlin Film Festival -- film fans outside China are put off by Beijing’s insistence on championing politically correct movies, as well its strict censorship system. “Foreign prizes are much more likely to go to Japanese or Korean films, many of which are dark, about sex and violence, or the coldness of human nature,” said jury member Manfred Wong, a Hong Kong producer and screenwriter. China’s patriotic blockbuster “Wolf Warriors 2” shattered the country’s box-office record and became the first non-Hollywood film to break into the top 100 all-time grossing movies worldwide, but the receipts were almost all domestic

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Meanwhile, London-based Shazam said in a separate statement: “We can’t imagine a better home for Shazam to enable us to continue innovating and delivering magic for our users.” Shazam, which was founded in 1999 in the early age of online music, has offered a solution to a longtime agony of listeners -- putting a name to elusive songs. With a click, the app identifies tracks playing on the radio, at parties or as background music.

Earlier this year China’s patriotic blockbuster “Wolf Warriors 2” shattered the country’s box-office record and became the first non-Hollywood film to break into the top 100 all-time grossing movies worldwide.

According to jury members

“We have exciting plans in store, and we look forward to combining with Shazam upon approval of today’s agreement,” it added.

Shazam only recently said it had become profitable thanks to advertising and to steering traffic to other sites such as Spotify and Apple Music.

tion has become even fiercer.

The technology is also no longer quite as novel, with Shazam facing rivals such as SoundHound and with latestgeneration smartphones capable of ever more advanced recognition functions.

YouTube, the video-sharing behemoth owned by Apple’s rival Google, also has its own music streaming platform and recent reports said it was looking to launch a new paid subscription package next year.

- Tech battle turns to services

Shazam has already proven it can be woven into another service. A year ago it formed a partnership with SnapChat, the youth-driven social media platform whose videos evaporate, with users able to “snap” to friends the music they discover around them on Shazam.

Apple, which revolutionized online music a generation earlier with iTunes, in 2015 launched Apple Music as the market turns to streaming, which offers unlimited on-demand listening. Apple said in September that the service had more than 30 million subscribers -- a quick rise, but still trailing Spotify. Spotify -- which has emphasized a bare-bones, user-friendly interface instead of unique features -- said it had 60 million paying users as of July and 80 million more on its free tier. And with streaming experiencing rapid growth, competi-

Asian cinema award jury hits out at Chinese film industry

by Becky Davis

But the receipts were almost all domestic and the flagwaving action movie -- along with other big hitters like last year’s co-produced “Great Wall”, starring Matt Damon -- have largely failed to appeal to cinemagoers and film juries abroad.

“Apple Music and Shazam are a natural fit, sharing a passion for music discovery and delivering great music experiences to our users,” Apple said in a statement.

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“But because of China’s censorship system, there simply aren’t those kinds of films here,” he explained, stating no jury wanted to award “warm

movies full of positive energy”. “Wolf Warrior 2” -- which centres on a group of Chinese soldiers saving war-ravaged Africans from Western baddies -- is China’s official Oscar submission for best foreign language film. “China’s trying to promote its concept of ‘cultural self-confidence,’ but that (Wolf Warrior 2) was an instance of excess self-confidence,” Wong told AFP after a press conference. China’s ruling Communist Party operates one of the world’s strictest cultural censorship regimes, subjecting all the movies it releases to intense vetting for subject matter deemed offensive or politically sensitive.

Retail giant Amazon seized on its vast consumer reach as it launched its own streaming service last year.

Neil Saunders, managing director of GlobalData Retail, said the Shazam sale “underlines the fact that the battle of the technology companies is firmly moving beyond hardware and into services.” “This is a good move for Apple that helps to consolidate its already strong position in music content. It won’t be the last takeover of a tech firm by these big giants,” he said “Economically speaking, many Chinese industries and companies can now compete or have even surpassed foreign counterparts, but when it comes to culture, there’s still a big gap,” said Richard Shen, organiser of the awards, which are held in February and seek to popularise Asian movies in the West. But jury member Shozo Ichiyama said he felt film distribution rather than censorship was the greatest challenge facing mainland cinema. “I think the biggest problem for filmmakers is that there are practically no cinemas here to show their work in. It’s a real problem and cannot change quickly,” he said. China has overtaken the US for number of cinema screens, but most of its theatres are multiplexes that show only commercial movies, squeezing out all others.



Section 2


The People’s Lawyer

Q. I am way over my head in debt and I have been told bankruptcy is the best way to get back on my feet. If I file bankruptcy, will I lose my house? A. You will not necessarily lose your house simply because you file bankruptcy. In Texas, your homestead is “exempt” property. This means that your home does not automatically go to your creditors if you file bankruptcy. The only parties who may take your house are creditors that are not subject to this “homestead exemption.” For example, a credit card company is subject to the state’s exemption laws, and cannot take your house as part of the bankruptcy. On the other hand, a lender that loaned you the money to buy the house, a bank that made a home equity loan or a contractor who improved it, all probably have a a lien on the property that is not subject to the our exemption laws. This means that if you filed bankruptcy, those types of creditors would have the right to take the property. As long as you are willing to reaffirm your mortgage or other loan and continue making payments, however, you should be able to keep your home. I suggest you speak with an attorney who is board certified in consumer bankruptcy. Q. I own my home. I am thinking about letting my boyfriend move in with me. Some friends have warned me that if he stays a certain

If you file for bankruptcy, you probably will not lose your house period of time, he can claim “common law” marriage and be entitled to half of my home. Is this true? How many days must he stay—one week, one year, or seven years? A. It is not true, and it is a very common misconception about the law. When it comes to common law marriage, there is no such thing as a “one week rule,” a “seven year rule,” or any other number of days rule. A common law marriage is not based on how long you spend together. To have a common law marriage, you must meet three requirements: you must agree to be married, hold yourselves out as married, and live together as husband and wife. You can live together forever and not have a common law marriage, as long as you do not want to be married. On the other hand, if you live with each other a week, agree to be married and tell everyone you are married and have a common law marriage. But more importantly, however, even if you were married your husband would not have an interest in a home you owned before marriage. Property owned before you are married is “separate” property and a spouse does not obtain an interest in it simply by virtue of a marriage. Q. My father’s will left me $25,000. What else am I entitled to? My brothers and sisters get much more than I did. A. When a person dies with a will, it is the will that determines how the deceased’s property is divided after death. All of the people who receive

property pursuant to the will are called beneficiaries. If the will leaves one beneficiary a sum of money that is all that person is entitled to. It doesn’t matter if others receive more or less than that person. There is no law that says brothers and sisters must receive equal shares of the estate. The only additional property you might be entitled to would be property left to you outside of the will, such as in a joint account or an account on which you were the beneficiary. For example, your father might have a life insurance policy that names you as the beneficiary. The proceeds of that policy would go directly to you and would not be part of the estate, distributed in accordance with the terms of the will. Q. I have been living in the same apartment for almost a year, just paying rent month-to-month. In June, my landlord and I agreed that we would extend the agreement until February at the same rent. Now the landlord says he wants me out next month. He says our oral agreement is not enforceable. A. As a general rule, agreements dealing with land, such as a sale or lease, must be in writing to be enforceable. There is an exception, however, for certain leases. A residential lease for a year or less is enforceable even if it is not in writing. If you and your landlord have an agreement from June to February, it is enforceable. Of course, you will have to prove that the agreement exists.

Do you want to know more about your legal rights? Check out my website, (Article reprinted from Sept. 29 issue)

Surendran K. Pattel Attorney & Counselor at Law, PKS Law Firm, PLLC

Question: In divorce, what happens to assets located abroad? Answer: There are many marriages in which couples living in Texas have property or other assets abroad that must be dealt with if the couple decides to divorce. Texas courts are asked at times to consider the international holdings of the man and woman who married abroad, then moved to the United States to work or live; in some cases, just one spouse is from another country. There are instances, too, in which one party might have worked abroad in the past, with the issue being retirement benefits earned abroad. Whatever the individual circumstance, divorce cases involving foreign holdings can be difficult to litigate in Texas.

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Ajit Pai FCC’s classification of ISPs. Under the proposal by Pai, a Republican appointed by U.S. President Donald Trump, the bulk of the job of protecting the web will be turned over to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission. Pai has said lifting the net neutrality rules removes heavyhanded regulation. Big ISPs say the rules have restricted investment and innovation and could mean eventual regulations on internet pricing. Critics of a repeal say they have a number of reasons to sue. Legal strategies could in-

clude arguing the reversal is arbitrary because it comes just two years after the Obama-era rules were put in place. Opponents also say ISPs should continue to be treated as “pipes” that carry movies, videos and Facebook updates, and that the FCC is wrong to categorize them as content providers, which are more lightly regulated. At least three public interest groups - Public Knowledge, Common Cause and Free Press - have said they are preparing to turn to litigation as a last resort.

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Disclaimer: Information in this column is meant to be general and informational; it is not intended as legal advice. Consult an attorney regarding your personal situation before you take any action that has legal consequences.


Industry and public interest groups are considering several strategies to protect the rules banning internet service providers (ISPs) from blocking or “throttling” to slow service for certain content, including arguing that the decision is arbitrary and pushing back on the

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cated in Texas or abroad. Still, its bet to remember that even when you obtain a Texas court order to divide property abroad, it may be difficult to enforce the order. Some countries recognize foreign judgments, but others will not act on a Texas divorce court order, meaning that you may be forced to take other actions in order to complete the division of property. In any case, if you are considering a divorce in which international property is involved, you should contact an attorney with experience in such potentially complex matters.

ASHINGTON (Reuters) - Net neutrality advocates said they are gearing up for a legal fight after abandoning attempts to convince the U.S. Federal Communications Commission to keep 2015 rules aimed at maintaining an open internet.

Advocates for the rules doubt the U.S. Congress will help prevent a repeal, leaving litigation as a last resort.

Dr. Barbara Sunderland Manousso, CEO

As a general rule, property acquired in marriage will be treated as community property, regardless where the property is located. Exceptions might include gifts or inheritances. The court may consider the value of real property outside of Texas in an equitable division of property. While Texas courts do not assert jurisdiction to determine title to such land, they may consider foreign investments when they divide property. There are ways in which a Texas court can obtain jurisdiction. For a court to issue a binding order, the court must have jurisdiction over the person and/or property. In rem jurisdiction occurs when a Texas court obtains jurisdiction over a piece of property, more often than not because the property is in Texas. However, if a Texas court has involved in your divorce, it can compel you to divide property or other assets abroad. Although a Texas court cannot exercise jurisdiction over international assets directly, it can indirectly do so by exercising jurisdiction over the parties in the divorce. In other words, a Texas court can direct a party to execute documents to transfer or divide property whether it lo-

Advocates ready legal showdown with FCC on net neutrality

The FCC is expected to vote on Dec. 14 to scrap the landmark so-called net neutrality rules championed by Democratic former President Barack Obama, given FCC Chairman Ajit Pai and two Republican commissioners support the repeal.

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First Buddhist Scout group in UK launched

want them to just sit there doing chanting or meditating. We want them to get a holistic education.”

The Scouts now has 40 million members around the world. (Photograph: Scouts) When Robert Baden-Powell, a lieutenant general in the British army, first published Scouting for Boys – the text that was to kickstart the scouting movement in 1908 – he cannot have foreseen what it would become. The Scouts is now the world’s largest youth movement, with 40 million members across most countries. The Scout Association in the UK, which has been co-educational at all levels since 1991, has 618,000 members, with the family set to become even bigger and more diverse. On Sunday, the UK’s first Buddhist Scout group will launch in Manchester. While it will cater primarily to young people from the city’s Buddhist community, it will be open to all young people in the local area who want to take part in Scouting. Set up by the Manchester chapter of the Buddha’s Light International Association (BLIA), the group will meet at the Manchester Fo Guang Shan

temple every Sunday. More than 20 young people aged between eight and 14, and five adult leaders, have signed up so far.

Chief Scout Bear Grylls welcomes group to world’s largest youth movement as he seeks to spread adventure and skills to all young people Dr Mun-Kit Choy, a research scientist at Manchester University who moved to the UK from Malaysia 10 years ago, will form part of the new group’s volunteer leadership team. He argues that the values of Scouting complement those of Buddhism – encouraging people to “do good things, say good words and keep good thoughts”. “We want to give our children a lot more than just Buddhism,” says Choy. “We don’t

Although it was originally conceived along Christian lines, the Scouts have welcomed people from other religions for much of their history. While Buddha’s Light Scouts is the first Buddhist Scouting group in the UK, it is not the first non-Christian one, with Hindu, Muslim and Sikh groups around the country. The Muslim Scout Fellowship has been in existence in the UK since 2005 and a variation of the uniform with a headscarf was created in 2012. “Contrary to recognised misconceptions, Scouting is not a Christian-focused, white, middle-class organisation, but rather a system that embraces all religions, ethnicities and backgrounds,” writes the Muslim Scout Fellowship on its website. While the movement has been historically tolerant of a range of religions, the same cannot be said for atheism, with Baden-Powell having described atheists as “enemies of the worst sort”. In 2014, atheist Scouts were for the first time given the option to swear a Scout’s promise that replaced “duty to God” with “uphold our Scout values”. Choy argues that by encouraging children to leave the temple in Old Trafford and do work in the community in order to get their badges, the group will facilitate the further integration of Manchester’s Buddhist community. (The Guardian)

A boaring day at school in Japan


OKYO, Japan | AFP -Two wild boars caused pandemonium at a Japanese school by charging into classes and even taking a dip in the school pool, forcing pupils to interrupt their exams.

Who says lessons are boaring? School evacuated as two wild pigs run amok inside before being caught in nets

Justin Bieber and Katy Perry rally in support of bullied boy Keaton Jones Emotional video in which Keaton describes how he is tormented at school has had more than 22m views since Friday


EMPHIS - Tennessee boy has been inundated with support from celebrities on social media after a video of him tearfully recounting being bullied at school went viral. Keaton Jones’s mother, Kimberly, posted the minute-long clip of her son apparently sheltering from bullies inside her car on her personal Facebook page on Friday. She wrote that she had filmed Keaton at his request “after he had me pick him up again because he was afraid to go to lunch”. “Talk to your kids,” she concluded. “We all know how it feels to want to belong, but only a select few know how it really feels not to belong anywhere.” In the video, Keaton says other students called him ugly, made fun of his nose and told him he had no friends. He says milk was poured on him and ham put down his clothes. “Just out of curiosity, why do they bully?” he asks tearfully. “What’s the point of it? Why do they find joy in taking innocent people and find a way to be mean to them? It’s not OK. “People that are different don’t need to be criticised about it. It’s not their fault. If you are made fun of, just don’t let it bother you.” The video has been viewed more than 22m times on Facebook and has crossed over to Instagram, where it drew the attention of Katy Perry, Victoria Beckham, Justin Bieber, Cardi B, Snoop Dogg and other celebrities, many of whom made offers of friendship and gifts. Bieber encouraged the boy to send him a direct message and endorsed the anti-bullying message to his 94.6m Instagram followers. “The fact that he still has

In the video, Keaton says other students called him ugly, made fun of his nose and told him he had no friends. sympathy and compassion for other people when he’s going through it himself is a testament to who he is,” Bieber said in a video. “This kid is all-time. He’s a legend. Go check him out. His name’s Keaton.” Bieber’s own video was viewed nearly 2.7m times in eight hours. The actor Penelope Cruz commented with six clapping emojis. “This broke my heart today,” posted Katy Perry. “Please be kind to one another.” The rapper Cardi B condemned Keaton’s middleschool bullies as “not gangsta”. More than 2,444 posts on Instagram have the hashtag #standwithkeaton, some by newly established accounts such as @friendsofkeaton and @keatonjonessupport. A crowdfunding page for Keaton’s future education has so far raised more than $29,000. Dana White, the president of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, asked for friends of Keaton to pass on his offer of a tour of the UFC headquarters in Las Vegas. Donald Trump Jr offered to host the Jones family if they accepted White’s invita-

tion. The UFC fighter Tim Kennedy offered support of a different kind to the boy in a video posted to Twitter. “I’m not good at many things but I’m decent with bullies,” he wrote. “If you ever need a sidekick, let me know. I’ll be there.” The Tennessee quarterback Jarrett Guarantano met Keaton on Sunday, posting a photo on Twitter of him with his “new best bud … the little brother I always wanted”. Several Tennessee players are scheduled to visit Jones at school on Tuesday. Kimberly Jones wrote in another public Facebook post on Saturday that she had received thousands of messages. “Friends, overwhelmed is the understatement of the world right now. I love each of you for what you are doing, but there is literally no way I can respond or even read all of the messages,” she said. “I’m not trying to be rude, or ungrateful, I’m just overwhelmed & at the end of the day, this isn’t new for us, & we still have to truck on thru the day to day.” (The Guardian)

Two teens killed in US school shooting, attacker dead

Television footage showed a wild boar charging around a classroom, bashing its snout against a window in an apparent attempt to escape the school in the western city of Kyoto.


wo teens were killed in a shooting at their high school in the southwestern US state of New Mexico on Thursday, police said, adding that the assailant was dead.

Meanwhile, the other boar was taking a soothing dip in the school’s outdoor pool, as stunned pupils looked on.

The attack took place at Aztec High School, New Mexico State Police said on Twitter. The school is located in the small town of Aztec some 180 miles (300 kilometers) northwest of Albuquerque in an area close to Navajo tribal lands.

“I was very surprised to see it,” a male pupil told Nippon TV, adding that they moved at “super” speed. Students were taking mid-term exams when Monday’s unwelcome interruption occurred but the exams eventually continued as scheduled, public broadcaster NHK reported.

Initial reports of other people being wounded are wrong, San Juan County Sheriff Ken Christesen told a press conference. The identities of the shooter and those killed were not released. Garrett Parker, a student at the school in the town of 7,000, told the local TV station KOAT that he was stunned. “Out of any state, out of all the states in America, you don’t think it would happen here,” he

said. Parker said he was in history class when the shooting started. “At first it sounded like kids were just banging on the lockers. But it started getting closer and louder and it was obvious it was gunshots. We could hear gunshots from right outside our door,” he said. The teacher had locked the door as he normally does and the students hid in a corner of the room. (-AFP)


The boars were shot with stun guns at the school and were “confirmed dead when they were captured,” a Kyoto city official told AFP on Thursday. Wild boars have increasingly been sighted in cities near Japan’s mountainous countryside, as observers say over-development has deprived them of their habitat.

FRIDAY, December 15, 2017

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One of the pair of wild boars who charged around the classroom and then jumped into the school’s outdoor pool Perhaps after such roughhousing, they needed a dip into cool waters! (Photo: AFP)

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‘The Shape of Water’ leads Golden Globes nominations

WEDDING OF THE YEAR! Indian cricketer Kohli, Bollywood’s Sharma marry in Italy

Sally Hawkins in The Shape of Water, up for best actress this year. by Frankie TAGGART

Brett Ratner and numerous other scandal-hit big players.

by Udita Jhunjhunwala


Spacey, who won best actor in 2015 for “House of Cards,” never had a chance of a repeat following a litany of allegations of impropriety with young men.


OS ANGELES | AFP - Fairy tale romance “The Shape of Water” led the Golden Globe nominations with seven on Monday as Hollywood launched an awards season expected to be overshadowed by the sexual misconduct scandal engulfing the movie industry. Guillermo del Toro’s acclaimed 1960s-set fantasy picked up nominations in several top categories, including best motion picture drama and best actress for Sally Hawkins. “The Post” and “Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri” followed with six nods and coming-of-age film “Lady Bird” got four nominations. The announcements will give the nominees a welcome boost going into the race for March’s Oscars, with the influential Screen Actors Guild nominations to come later this week. The other best motion picture drama nominees are “Call Me By Your Name,” another coming-of-age tale, World War II thriller “Dunkirk,” media drama “The Post” and “Three Billboards.” The Globes are seen as a chance for Hollywood to demonstrate its intolerance of sexual misconduct following a wave of allegations that emerged after movie mogul Harvey Weinstein was accused of decades of misbehavior that would make him the most egregious sexual predator in the history of filmmaking. The Weinstein Company, which sacked its co-founder, was never expected to land nominations at the ceremony -- and it did not. The wider fallout, however, is likely to have a seismic effect on the awards season, as numerous other powerful figures have been accused of sexual misconduct. The HFPA -- apparently sensitive to the message it would send out -- largely avoided rewarding the work of Kevin Spacey, Jeffrey Tambor, Louis C.K.,

Monday, they said in a statement, ending weeks of frenzied speculation that they were getting hitched.

ndian cricket captain Virat Kohli and Bollywood actress Anushka Sharma got married in Italy

But his alleged misdeeds also appeared to have harmed the chances of his colleagues such as Robin Wright -- the show was blanked this year.

“Today we have promised each other to be bound in love forever. We are truly blessed to share the news with you,” the celebrity couple said, adding that it had been a “beautiful day”. A statement sent to journalists said the wedding had been attended by close family and a few friends as “they wished their wedding to be a very private affair”.

“ Tr a n s p a rent,” which has also had numerous nominations and a win for Tambor, found itself in the same boat with HFPA members giving the comedy a hard pass. Spacey had been expected to front an awards campaign for “All the Money in the World” before Ridley Scott decided to expunge the actor from his latest movie.

They started dating in 2013 after they met during the filming of a shampoo advert and made their first public appearance a year later during a football match.

The ceremony was performed according to Hindu rituals, it added.

Indian newspapers have been gripped by their four-year relationship, which included a reported break-up in early 2016, and rumours of their impending nuptials started swirling recently.

Kohli and Sharma, both 29, posted different photos of themselves smiling together and dressed in colourful Indian wedding garb on their Twitter feeds late Monday.

They were triggered when Kohli pulled out of India’s limited-overs matches against Sri Lanka and Sharma also ducked out of her busy acting schedule in December.

The pastel pink outfits were created by acclaimed Indian fashion designer Sabyasachi Mukherjee.

Then last week Sharma and her family were seen at Mumbai’s international airport, apparently heading for a European destination.

The statement added that the couple will host a reception in New Delhi for relatives on December 21, followed by a celebration in Mumbai on December 26 to be attended by Bollywood stars and cricketers.

Kohli has smashed numerous records throughout his illustrious career and recently became the first batsman to score six double Test centuries as a captain.

Afterwards, Sharma will accompany Kohli to South Africa where he will prepare for India’s forthcoming tour there which is taking place early next year.

His replacement Christopher Plummer -- added via last-minute reshoots in a groundbreaking move -- earned a surprise nomination for best supporting actor in a film.

paid athletes and a huge star in the cricket-mad nation, and Sharma is one of the top actresses in the country’s multi-billion-dollar film industry.

Sharma’s film credits include hit movies “Sultan” and “PK”. She won a national Filmfare Award for her role in “Jab Tak Hai Jaan” (As Long as I Live).

The statement added that after spending New Year’s Eve together Sharma will return to Mumbai in the first week of January to resume her acting commitments.

Indian TV channels billed their vows as the “wedding of the year”.

They will live in the Worli district of Mumbai, the home of India’s Hindi film industry, it said.

“Many congratulations to @AnushkaSharma and @imVkohli on their wedding. God bless and welcome to the club!” tweeted actor Abhishek Bachchan who is married to actress and former Miss World Aishwarya Rai.

Last year, Kohli reportedly bought a luxury, sea-view apartment in the area for 340 million rupees ($5.3 million). - ‘Wedding of the year’ The pair, dubbed “Virushka” by Indian media, are one of the highest profile couples in star-obsessed India. Kohli is among the world’s highest-

Stars from the world of Bollywood and cricket were quick to congratulate the new husband and wife.

“Congratulations and best wishes to the just married @imVkohli and @ AnushkaSharma. You both look wonderful together. #Virushka,” Indian cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar wrote on Twitter

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FRIDAY, December 15, 2017

Section 2


Half of people aged 40-54 have hardened arteries

UN warns of drug-resistants


ASHINGTON | AFP | Monday 12/11/2017 - Half of middle-aged people who are normal weight and don’t smoke or have diabetes may have clogged arteries, researchers said Thursday, urging stronger measures to lower cholesterol. A high level of so-called “bad cholesterol,” or LDL-C, is the main reason why apparently healthy individuals suffer heart attacks or strokes in middle age, said the report in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology (JACC). “Atherosclerotic plaques are present in 50 percent of middle-aged individuals (4054 years old) with no classical cardiovascular risk factors,” said the study. The report was based on nearly 1,800 people who had no classical risk factors for heart disease or stroke. LDL cholesterol was the top predictor of arteries that were in the process of hardening, but had not yet caused a health crisis. “Even in people with optimal blood pressure, blood sugar, and total cholesterol, we detected an independent association between the level of circulating LDL-C and the presence and extent of subclinical atherosclerosis,” said study co-author Javier Sanz of Spain’s Centro Nacional de Investigaciones Cardiovasculares Carlos III (CNIC).

by Mariëtte Le Roux


AIROBI, Kenya | AFP | Tuesday 12/5/2017 The UN warned Tuesday of a ticking time bomb of drug-resistant germs brewing in the natural environment, aided by humans dumping antibiotics and chemicals into the water and soil.

The arteries are the blood vessels that deliver oxygen-rich blood from the heart to the tissues of the body. Each artery is a muscular tube lined by smooth tissue and has three layers


he arteries of our bodies are vital to our health. Without a fullyfunctioning system of arterial vessels, the blood in our body cannot be effectively delivered to our organs. As such, it is important that our lifestyles are conducive to the health of these blood vessels. Clogged arteries can lead to a variety of abnormal health conditions – some of them potentially life-threatening. Among these conditions are heart attack, stroke and cardiovascular disease. Furthermore, an assortment of ailments can arise from clogged arteries, including: vision loss, arthritis and chronic pain.

Current guidelines from the US National Cholesterol Education Program describe LDLC levels that are above 160 mg/dL as “high.”

Although detecting possibly clogged arteries is more difficult than many other conditions, it is indeed feasible to identify congested arteries as a symptom. In identifying with any of these signs, we have the opportunity seek medical care before serious health conditions arise.

Those from 130 mg/dL to 159 mg/dL are considered “borderline high.”

Here are 5 signs you may have clogged arteries:

Experts should consider lowering these thresholds to improve population health, the researchers argue.


1. LOWER BACK PAIN The arteries of our lower back are among the first areas to accumulate plaque. As such,

lower back pain is a common first symptom of artery blockage. Lower back pain can occur when reduced blood flow to the back weakens the disks that cushion the vertebrae – leading to painful herniated disks and pinched nerves. An arterial defect in the back area is a quite common condition. Consider that roughly 10% of the population will demonstrate advanced blockages in their lower back by age 20. With this knowledge, it is beneficial to our children that they receive a physical at least once a year. 2. CALF PAIN Arteriosclerosis – the thickening and hardening of the arterial walls – can also block the arteries that deliver blood to the legs. When this happens, it is common to experience pain in one or both calves, a condition known as claudication. Those that smoke are in a higher risk class than those who do not. Regardless, if this symptom is detected, a doctor’s evaluation should be conducted ASAP. Simple blood tests will be conducted that examine the pulses of the legs, in addition to a couple of other basic tests. 3. DISCOMFORT OR PAIN OF THE LEGS AND FEET

If this continues, people will be at an ever-higher risk of contracting diseases which are incurable by existing antibiotics from swimming in the sea or other seemingly innocuous activities, a report said. “Around the world, discharge from municipal, agricultural and industrial waste in the environment means it is common to find antibiotic concentrations in many rivers, sediments and soils,” the study found. “It is steadily driving the evolution of resistant bacteria,” it said. “A drug that once protected our health is now in danger of very quietly destroying it.”

Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is a buildup of cholesterol and plaque that can occur in the extremities. PAD often results in discomfort in the feet and legs, potentially limiting the ability to walk. In worst cases, PAD is advanced enough to result in the loss of a limb. Once again, simple tests will identify arterial conditions such as PAD. During a routine medical exam, a doctor will check the pulse of the feet. In addition, the doctor may also conduct a screening that determines the amount of blood flow to the ankle. 4. EAR CREASES One of the more odd signs of clogged arteries is ear creases.

The report, “Frontiers 2017”, was released at the UN Environment Assembly, the highestlevel gathering on matters concerning the environment. Health watchdogs are already deeply worried about the dwindling armoury of weapons against germs. A report in 2014 warned that drug-resistant infections might kill 10 million people a year by 2050, making it the leading cause of death, over heart disease and cancer. Bacteria acquire drug resistance partly by exposure to antibiotics. To survive the drug onslaught, bacteria can transfer, even between different species, genes that confer immunity. They can pass these genes on to future generations, or DNA can mutate spontaneously. Strong enough doses of antibiotics will kill disease-causing bacteria before they have a chance to mutate. Now, a momentary pause while about half of our readers stand in front of a mirror…welcome back! Seriously, medical reports have mentioned ear creases as a silent sign of coronary heart disease (CHD). More specifically, an ear crease that runs diagonally from the ear canal to the lower edge of the earlobe. 5. ERECTILE DYSFUNCTION Once again, the effects of clogged arteries directly relate to decreased blood flow. Our (ahem) private members are no different in this regard. Maintaining an erection requires that blood have an unobstructed path to this area.

But antibiotics are generally overprescribed, often at incorrect doses, which means the germs are not killed but instead given an evolutionary boost to survive future exposure to the same drug. “We may enter what people are calling a post-antibiotic era, so we go back to the pre-1940s when simple infection... will become very difficulty, if not impossible” to treat, Will Gaze of the University of Exeter, who co-authored the new report, told AFP. The investigation highlighted a largely unknown and poorly researched contributor to the drug-resistance problem: environmental pollution. Today, 70 percent to 80 percent of all antibiotics that humans take, or give to farm animals to bulk them up and keep them healthy, find their way into the environment, partly through wastewater and manure Continued on next page According to WebMD, Erectile Dysfunction at least indicates that some of the blood vessels on that path are not in ideal health. As a precaution, it’s a good idea to schedule a doctor visit to discuss these symptoms. In conclusion, having any of these signs is not a surefire indication of clogged arteries. By no means is this article meant to provoke feelings of helplessness or distress. We at Power of Positivity truly care about each one of our reader’s health and wellbeing. In providing content such as this, we aim to shine the light on any potential barriers to a fully healthy and bountiful life.


Understanding Medicare Drug Plans Formulary • Plan Name: This is the official Medicare Part D prescription drug plan name from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). The same Medicare Part D plan name generally has a different Plan ID in each state (or CMS Region). • Monthly Premium: This is the amount you must pay each month for this prescription drug plan. This monthly premium must be paid even if you are in the initial deductible phase or the coverage gap (donut hole) phase. • Deductible: If your Part D plan has an initial deductible, you are 100% responsible for your drug costs until your expenses exceed this value and you begin your Initial Coverage Phase. Many Medicare Part D plans use the the standard $405 deductible as provided by CMS in their Standard plan design. Some Part D plan providers offer an initial deductible lower than the Standard deductible. Many prescription drug plans do not have a deductible (also called first dollar coverage or a $0 deductible), however the monthly premium for a plan with a $0 deductible may be slightly higher. • Gap Coverage: The Donut Hole: In the CMS Standard Plan, the beneficiary must pay the next $3,750 in drug costs (the Donut Hole). The Healthcare Reform provides that for Plan Year 2018, ALL formulary generics will have at least a 56% discount and ALL brand drugs will have at least a 65% discount in the coverage gap. The Gap Coverage Types discussed in this section are in addition to the Healthcare Reform mandated discounts. In our chart, you will see one of the following: • No Gap Coverage: you must pay the $3,750

• Yes: This plan offers some level of gap coverage. See plan details for a description of the gap coverage • Drug Tier Information - Drug Tiers are the logical grouping of prescription drugs on a Part D plan formulary. These fields represent the Tier (or drug list group) - for this particular medication - on this particular plan’s Formulary or Drug List. • Tier Number - This is the actual numerical tier level from the formulary. Most Part D plans have five tiers 1=Preferred Generics, 2=Generic 3=Preferred Brands and Generics, 4= Non Preferred Brands 5=Specialty Drugs. • Tier Description - This is the Medicare Part D plan’s description of this particular drug tier. • Cost Sharing - Copay / Coinsurance - These figures apply to the initial coverage phase of your plan. This is the phase after the initial deductible has been met and before you reach the Coverage Gap (Donut Hole). Plans often cover drugs in “tiers”. Tiers are specific to the list of drugs covered by the plan. Plans may have several tiers, and the copay for a drug depends on which tier the drug is in. The drug Tier is shown to the left of this column. These cost sharing figures DO NOT necessarily apply to the Coverage Gap. The plan may have a separate copay/coinsurance for the same drug while in the Coverage Gap. • Preferred Network Pharmacy - (Preferred Pharm) This is the cost-share amount you would pay during the initial coverage phase for a 30Day supply (until your total retail prescription drug costs reach $3750) at a “Preferred” network pharmacy. In most cases, the “Preferred” network and network pharmacy pricing are the same. Mail Order – Generally least cost-

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share amount you would pay during the initial coverage phase for a 90-Day supply if you purchased your medication through your plan’s preferred mail order partner(s). • Drug Utilization Management or Coverage Rules - (Drug Usage Mgmt) - This shows the plan requires drug utilization management controls for this particular medication. • None - This drug does not fall under any drug utilization management controls. • P - Prior Authorization -This drug is subject to prior authorization. • S - Step Therapy -This drug is subject to step therapy. • Q - Quantity Limits -This drug is subject to quantity limits. The actual quantity limit is shown as Q:Amount/Days. For Example: Q:6/28Days means the quantity limit is a quantity of 6 pills per 28 Q:90/365Days would mean that the plan limits this drug to 90 pills for the entire year. To select right Medicare Supplement, Medicare Advantage Plan or Prescription Drug Plan contact Sudhir Mathuria @ 713-771-2900.


FRIDAY, December 15, 2017


Continued from previous page

“So the majority of those hundreds of thousands of tonnes of antibiotics produced every year end up in the environment,” Gaze said.

bacteria in recreational waters off the British coast, despite “high levels of investment” in the treatment of wastewater.

In much of the effluent, drug concentrations are too low to kill bacteria,

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World’s nations adopt plan ‘towards a pollution-free planet’ by Mariëtte Le Roux


he world’s nations vowed Wednesday to curb plastic and chemical contamination of the air, soil, rivers and oceans, requiring a complete overhaul in the way goods are produced and consumed. Changing the behaviour of producers and buyers would be key to achieving the vision of a “pollution-free planet” outlined in a political declaration adopted at the third UN Environment Assembly (UNEA). “Pollution is cutting short the lives of millions of people every year,” said the call to action issued by government ministers in Nairobi at the world’s highest-level decision-making forum on environmental issues.

“Antimicrobial resistance is an issue that has long been on the agenda... it is indeed one of the biggest threats to health” Humans and animals also excrete germs, both resistant and non-resistant, into water and the soil, where they mingle with the antibiotic detritus and naturally occurring bacteria.

but “may be sufficient to induce antimicrobial resistance,” the report said.

Add to this mix antibacterial products such as disinfectants and heavy metals that are toxic to germs, and ideal conditions are created for bacteria to develop drug-resistance in places where humans will come in contact with them.

“Antimicrobial resistance is an issue that has long been on the agenda... it is indeed one of the biggest threats to health,” Norway’s environment minister Vidar Helgesen said.

“If we go into river systems, we see really big increases in resistance downstream (from) wastewater treatment plants... and associated with certain types of land use, so grazing land for example,” Gaze said. “If you go into coastal waters where... you might be heavily exposed to the environment, we know that we can measure quite high numbers of resistant bacteria in there.” - ‘We need to invest more’ One study showed that people were exposed to a drug-resistant E.coli

Delegates urged more research into the newly exposed origin of drug-immune germs.

“When we see emerging evidence that tackling pollution is key to solving the antimicrobial resistance crisis, we need to invest more in getting more knowledge about that.” Gaze agreed that more research was needed to quantify the risk. “There’s no single smoking-gun study that says: ‘This is the amount of infection caused by the environment’. But if you start piecing it together, it looks like it’s significant,” he said. “It’s like smoking: It took 50 years for the actual causal evidence to emerge after everyone knew that it was bad for your health.”

How parents behave is linked to suicide risk by Kerry Sheridan


IAMI | AFP | Tuesday 12/5/2017 - Adolescents who feel their parents rarely express interest in their emotional well-being are far more likely to consider suicide than youths who see their parents as involved, US researchers said Tuesday. The findings by the University of Cincinnati come as the suicide rate among teenagers rises in the United States, adding to concern among parents, educators and health experts.

them they did a good job or helped them with their homework. Among older teens, aged 16 and 17, those who said their parents rarely or never said they were proud of them were three times more likely to have suicidal thoughts -- almost four times more likely to make a suicide plan and attempt suicide -- than peers whose parents sometimes or often expressed pride in their children. - ‘Positively connected’ Researchers acknowledged that the survey was based on youths’ percep-

and generate over 40 million tonnes of electronic waste,” the ministerial declaration said.

It committed governments to promoting “sustainable economic productivity”, and to encouraging more “sustainable lifestyles” by making it easier to reuse and recycle products, thus reducing waste.

The UN Environment Programme said it had received 2.5 million antipollution pledges, including from national governments, municipalities, businesses and individuals by Wednesday.

“What we need to do next is to move concretely to a plan of action,” UN Environment Programme deputy head Ibrahim Thiaw told journalists on the final day of the December 4-6 pollution-themed gathering.

They include commitments, which are non-binding, to ban plastic bags, curb air pollution, or green public transport.

All 193 UN states are members of the UNEA. “Some of the actions will have to do with the way we produce and the way we consume,” Thiaw said. “Our models of production and consumption will have to change. We do not have to have models of production and consumption that harm the environment and keep killing us.” This would require “very clear policies” from governments at the national and local level, said Thiaw, such as banning single-use plastic shopping bags. Mobile phones could be upgraded and reused instead of being replaced every few years, and plastic straws prohibited, for example. - Biggest human killer “Every year we dump 4.8 to 12.7 million tonnes of plastic in our oceans

“Parents ask us all the time, ‘What can we do?’” said Keith King, who coordinates the University of Cincinnati’s health promotion and education doctoral program. “Kids need to know that someone’s got their back, and unfortunately, many of them do not. That’s a major problem.” King and his colleague, Rebecca Vidourek, based their findings on a 2012 national survey of people 12 and older that revealed a significant link between parental behaviors and thoughts of suicide among adolescents. They found that those most affected by parenting behaviors were 12- and 13-year-olds. Children in this age group who said their parents rarely or never told them they were proud of them were nearly five times more likely to have suicidal thoughts, said the researchers. They were also nearly seven times more likely to formulate a suicide plan and about seven times more likely to attempt suicide than their peers. An unusually high risk of suicide was also seen in 12- and 13-year-olds whose parents rarely or never told

tions of their parents behavior, and that some parents may disagree with how their children responded. “Youth perceptions are extremely important to suicidal ideation and attempts,” King told AFP in an email. “Sometimes parents think they are involved, but from the perspective of the adolescent, they are not.” Some ways for parents to protect against suicide include “direct communication and direct interactions that are authoritative in nature between the parent(s) and the adolescent,” he added. Teens may also be more likely to try drugs or risky sexual behavior if parents are not adequately engaged, King said. “A key is to ensure that children feel positively connected to their parents and family,” said Vidourek, who serves as co-director of the Center for Prevention Science, along with King. The study did not delve into completion of suicide by teenagers, but whether they harbored suicidal thoughts, made plans or had attempted to take their own lives. A report by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention earlier this year found that the suicide rate among teen girls doubled from 2007 to 2015, and rose 30 percent among boys.

Some 88,000 individuals also made pledges, undertaking to switch to lesspolluting fuel, for example, or to use less plastic and recycle more. Taken together, if all the commitments by governments, businesses and civil society are honoured, they would lead to 1.4 billion people breathing clean air, said Jacqueline McGlade, who co-authored a pollution report for the assembly. Furthermore, 480,000 kilometres (almost 300,000 miles) -- a third of the world’s coastlines -- will be unpolluted, and $18.6 billion dollars (15.7 billion euros) will be invested in antipollution research and innovation. The assembly heard this week that pollution has become the biggest killer of humans, claiming nine million human lives every year -- one in six deaths worldwide. Of the annual tally, nearly seven million people succumb from inhaling toxins in the air -- from car exhaust

Babies’ brains at risk from toxic pollution: UN


fumes, factory emissions and indoor cooking with wood and coal, according to a recent report by The Lancet medical journal. - ‘Tide of plastic keeps growing’ Lead in paint alone causes brain damage in more than half-a-million children every year. The assembly adopted a dozen pollution-curbing resolutions -- urging governments to ban the use of lead in paint, step up “actions” to prevent and significantly reduce marine pollution of all kinds by 2025, and urging member states to set ambitious air quality standards. The president of the UNEA meeting, Costa Rica’s environment minister Edgar Gutierrez, lamented Wednesday that humans “haven’t done a good job” managing Earth’s natural bounty. “The room we have for making more mistakes is very narrow,” he warned. Environmental group Greenpeace welcomed the assembly outcome, stressing the resolutions must now be put into action. “Whilst leaders talk, the tide of plastic, chemicals and air pollution keeps growing,” Greenpeace East Asia campaigner Cheng Qian said in a statement. “The decisions made here must be actioned, implemented and accelerated if we are to stand a chance of restoring the health of our planet.

point averages among school children, as well as other neurological behavioural problems.” “As more and more of the world urbanises, and without adequate protection and pollution reduction measures, more children will be at risk in the years to come.”

EW DELHI, India | AFP | Wednesday 12/5/2017 - As New Delhi and other major cities hit new toxic smog peaks, the United Nations sounded the alarm Wednesday over the damage that pollution is doing to babies’ developing brains.

CEF said in a report.

The UN’s children’s agency, UNICEF, said Asia accounts for more than 16 million of the world’s 17 million infants aged under one year living in areas with severe pollution -- at least six times more than safe levels.

Air pollution has already been linked to asthma, bronchitis, and other longterm respiratory diseases.

Damage to the membrane has been linked to Alzheimers and Parkinson’s disease in the elderly.

“But a growing body of scientific research points to a potential new risk that air pollution poses to children’s lives and futures: its impact on their developing brains,” UNICEF said.

UNICEF also highlighted the growing risk from minute particles of the iron ore magnetite which is increasingly found in urban pollution.

India topped the list of countries with babies at risk, followed by China, UNI-

In the past month alone, a 10-yearold girl in Colorado and a 13-yearold in California hanged themselves. Their parents say bullying at school contributed to the girls’ deaths.

Pollution has become the biggest killer of humans, claiming nine million human lives every year -- one in six deaths worldwide (AFP Photo/Joseph Eid)

“Every day, nine out of 10 of us breathe air that exceeds WHO (World Health Organization) guidelines for air quality and more than 17,000 people will die prematurely because of it,” the declaration added.

About 5,900 youths between the ages of 10 and 24 committed suicide in the United States in 2015, according to government figures. Experts say a range of factors contribute to suicide risk, including depression and mental health, negative influences on social media, bullying, financial struggles and exposure to violence.

Satellite imagery used to assess pollution levels around the world found that South Asian countries accounted for 12.2 million of the total number of affected children but that there is also a growing problem in African cities.

The report highlighted links found between pollution and brain functions “including verbal and nonverbal IQ and memory, reduced test scores, grade

The research was presented at this year’s American Public Health Association conference in Atlanta.

The nano-particles, which easily get into the blood stream, are highly dangerous to the brain because of their magnetic charge and have also been linked to degenerative diseases.

Like Us Brian Mertz, M.S. CEO “Helping India Caregivers Help Others” “We are a caregiver information and advocacy website that all Indian Americans could use”

King said certain basic parental behaviors may help. “You can tell them you’re proud of them, that they did a good job, get involved with them and help them with their homework,” said King.

The ultra-fine particles in city pollution can damage the blood-brain barrier -- a delicate membrane that protects the brain from toxic substances.

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FRIDAY, December 15, 2017

Naples pizza-making wins UNESCO heritage status

Why Do Jews Celebrate Hanukkah? by Ariel Feldman (Newsweek)


hen asked which Jewish holidays they know, my students frequently name Hanukkah first. Indeed, it is probably the most public Jewish holiday in the U.S. Not only does it often coincide with Christmas, but there are also giant menorahs, delicious foods, and, of course, presents. Lighting the menorah (Getty Images) But despite the ideal conditions for a great holiday — gifts, cuisine, and the right timing—this popular holiday had a rather slow start. The eight-day long festival of Hanukkah—“dedication” in Hebrew— celebrates the purification of the Temple in Jerusalem. The events that led to it are among the greatest puzzles of ancient Jewish history. Ira Forman, Special Envoy of the US government to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism, lights a torch on the last day of the eight-day Jewish festival of lights, the Hanukkah, at Bartok square of Szekesfehervar town, southwest of Budapest, on December 13, 2015 during a joint commemoration for Hanukkah and a silent demonstration to protest against plans to set up a new statue in honor of Balint Homan who participated as Hungarian minister during the World War II era in drafting legislation that restricted the rights of Hungarian Jews and called for their deportation. On March 6, 2015, the Budapest Municipal Court rehabilitated Balint Homan, who had been sentenced to life imprisonment by the post-war Peoples Court in 1946. At that time, Judea was a part of

the vast Seleucid kingdom ruled by Antiochus IV. His predecessors had no problem tolerating the diverse religious beliefs of their subjects. Yet in 167 BCE Antiochus banned Judaism and converted the Jerusalem Temple into a pagan shrine.

First and Second Books of Maccabees.

To explain the king’s unprecedented actions, some scholars argue that he wished to unify his empire under one religion. Others suggest that Antiochus acted on the advice of the Jewish elites.

Of course, Jewish traditional lore also has stories about Hanukkah. Yet these are relatively few and late.

These Jews embraced the Hellenistic culture and believed that a strict observance of their ancestral religion led to a dangerous isolation from the rest of the world. According to yet another view, the king’s forceful prohibition of Judaism was a punishment for a Jewish uprising fueled by their separatist religious worldview. One of the reasons for the lack of a clear-cut explanation of Antiochus’s policy is the scarcity of sources. Most of what we know about his decree, its implementation, and the subsequent Jewish revolt culminating in the first Hanukkah comes from two texts, the

Given the current popularity of this festival, it is surprising that neither of these Jewish books found its way into the Jewish Bible. Rather, we owe their preservation to Christian copyists.

Curiously, among these late traditions is the one that most Jews are best familiar with—the story of the magical oil vessel known as the cruse. Found undefiled in the desecrated Temple, a jar with a mere day’s supply of sacred oil for the Temple candelabrum miraculously lasted for the eight days of purification. This celebrated miracle pales in comparison to the remarkable victories of the rebels led by Judas Maccabeus. However, since the actionpacked accounts of the apocryphal Books of Maccabees were less known among later Jews, the miracle of the cruse, found in the authoritative Babylonian Talmud, became the hallmark of the divine presence in the Hanukkah story.

What is Hanukkah and when does it start?


anukkah, the eight-day Jewish Festival of Lights, begins at sundown on December 12 and lasts until December 20.

Ultimately, the Jews regained control of the Second Temple and, to commemorate, lit a candelabrum with seven branches called a menorah. Initially, they believe they had only a day’s supply of ritually purified oil, but according to legend, the oil miraculously lasted for eight days. The story of Hanukkah does not appear in the Torah because the events occurred after it was written. It does, however, appear in the Talmud, one of the central texts of Rabbinic Judaism. The events are also detailed in The First Book of Maccabees, which was written about 100 B.C. The book, which details the feats of the Maccabean dynasty, also tells tales about giant mythical elephants that rode into battle. But most of the important religious details are found in the Talmud. According to the Talmud, Judah Maccabee and the other Jews taking part in the rededication of the Second Temple believed that they witnessed a miracle when the menorah continued to burn for eight days. In response, religious leaders decided to celebrate an eightday festival of lights each year. The festival is meant to celebrate the re-dedication of the Second Temple, which was ultimately destroyed by Roman invaders in 70 A.D., hundreds of years after the battle with the Seleucids. In modern times, Jews light one branch of the menorah each day for

The art of the ‘pizzaiuolo’ -- handed down for generations in the southern Italian city -- was given the nod by the UN cultural body’s World Heritage Committee, who met on the South Korean island of Jeju. Two million people had signed a petition to support Naples’ application, according to Sergio Miccu, head of the Association of Neapolitan Pizzaiuoli -- no doubt buoyed by his offer of complimentary pizza if the age-old culinary tradition joined the prestigious list. “We’ll be giving out free pizza in the streets,” Miccu earlier told AFP. Proud pizza-makers in Naples celebrated even before the distinction was announced on Thursday, pounding the dough and handing pizzas out to passersby who chewed it up in celebration.

The Neapolitan custom goes far beyond the pizzaiuolo’s spectacular handling of the dough -- hurling it into the air in order to “oxygenate” it -- to include songs and stories that have turned pizza-making into a timehonoured social ritual.

Hanukkah began in Israel over 2,000 years ago. According to Jewish tradition, Israel was ruled during the second century B.C. by a Syrian-Greek people called the Seleucids. The Seleucids practiced a form of Zoroastrianism, and they wanted the Jews to adopt their religion and culture.

But a small group of Jews, led by Judah Maccabee, eventually defeated the Seleucid army and drove the Greeks from the land. Historians say Judah and his army used guerilla warfare to defeat the enemy over several years.


EOUL, South Korea | AFP | The art of Naples’ doughtwirling pizza makers joined UNESCO’s list of “intangible heritage” Thursday, securing the coveted status alongside a host of cultural treasures including a Saudi art form traditionally practised only by women.

- Pizza ritual -

The holiday typically falls in December, but the exact date depends on the Hebrew calendar. Jewish holidays always begin at sundown.

People attend the lighting ceremony of Europe’s largest Hanukkah menorah at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Germany.

by Hwang Sunghee

“How perfect to celebrate with pizza for breakfast. The word pizza must be the most famous in the world, in every language, and now everyone knows we invented it!” said Marco Toeldo, 47, who was on his third slice.

by Cristina Maza (Newsweek)

Around 168 B.C., a Seleucid army descended on Jerusalem and began slaughtering Jews. They also erected a statue in the Second Jewish Temple to the Greek God Zeus and began performing animal sacrifices there.

Naples’ art of pizza twirling has joined UNESCO’s list of ‘intangible heritage’ (Photo: AFP)

“Victory!” Maurizio Martina, Italy’s minister for agriculture, food and forestry, wrote on Twitter. “Another step towards the protection of Italy’s food and wine heritage.”

A young boy dressed as a Maccabee celebrates the start of Hanukkah at the National Menorah lighting ceremony. (Photo: Reuters) eight days to mark the holiday. Blessings are also recited before or after the candles are lit. Traditionally, people eat food fried in plenty of oil, a symbol of the miraculous fuel that kept the menorah blazing.

Hanukkah is one of the best known Jewish holidays, but it is far from the most important holiday on the Jewish religious calendar. The most sacred day on the Jewish calendar is Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement.

In a statement, Martina said the recognition came after a years-long campaign. “The art of the Neapolitan pizza-maker contains Italian know-how ... especially traditional knowledge that has been transmitted from generation to generation,” he said. - Humble origins The pizza’s humble ancestor, a plain affair usually tarted up with a bit of lard, initially emerged as a cheap, easy

and fast way to feed the city’s army of poor, said historian Antonio Mattozzi. But despite being an immediate hit with the locals, pizza failed to take off outside the city at first, Mattozzi told AFP. It took Queen Margherita’s love of the classic tomato, mozzarella and basil version to fire up the imagination and taste buds of diners far and wide -- or so the story goes. Hoping to win the hearts of the commoners, the Italian queen asked in 1889 to try their favourite dish. And while she was unconvinced by anchovy and Parmesan-topped versions, the basil delight won her over. - Saving tradition Thirty-four candidates were in the running to join UNESCO’s list of intangible heritage, created in 2003 mainly to raise awareness, although the agency also sometimes offers financial or technical support to countries struggling to protect their traditions. The list already included more than 350 traditions, art forms and practices from Spain’s flamenco dancing to Indonesian batik fabrics, to more obscure entries such as a Turkish oil wrestling festival and the Mongolian coaxing ritual for camels. Saudi Arabia was among those celebrating on Jeju, claiming the tag for Al-Qatt Al-Asin -- elaborate interior wall paintings traditionally done by women. The art, which promotes solidarity among women, is handed down through observation. Bangladesh also claimed victory with its tradition of Shital Pati, an intricate weaving craft using strips of green cane to produce mats and bedspreads. Another winner was the traditional horseback game of Kok Boru in Kyrgyzstan, where players score points by putting a goat’s carcass in an opponent’s goal -- though the dead animal is replaced with a mould in the modern-day version. An array of traditions struggling to survive will also be given special support after being placed on an “urgent safeguarding list”. These include a whistled language that developed in Turkey as a way to communicate across steep mountains and rugged topography but is now threatened by mobile phones.

Santa’s creepy chum gives Austrians a scary thrill by Simon Sturdee

Head-to-hoof in dark fur with horns, a tail and a lolling red tongue, from the 16th century Krampus traditionally appeared on December 5, the eve of Saint Nicholas Day.


CHWADORF, Austria | AFP | Austrian financial adviser Ernst Eigner is ugly and scary. But only in his “Krampus” costume with red glowing eyes and horns to frighten naughty children and “evil spirits”.

“Children would be tested on religious knowledge by Saint Nicholas. He would reward them but couldn’t punish them. That was Krampus’s job,” ethnologist Helga Maria Wolf told AFP.

His troupe is just one of an estimated 850, with 10,000 members around Austria marauding through towns and villages over the Christmas period in “Krampuslauf” parades.

“Even into the 1960s, the pair would visit families on request,” she said.

“We are spreading the tradition of scaring away evil spirits,” Eigner told AFP as he donned his outfit before one such event in Schwadorf near Vienna. “Just symbolically though of course,” he said, resplendent in his shaggy Roman centurion-cum-zombie costume, animal bones dangling here and there. It starts off innocently, with Santa -or rather Saint Nicholas -- giving out sweets. But fear is in the air because soon come his satanic sidekicks, dozens of them. Wave after wave bound in, stomping around a roaring fire that sends sparks into the night sky, clanging cow bells attached to their backs and brandishing whips and blazing red flares. With heavy metal blaring, the several hundred spectators in the market town watch behind safety barriers as

“Krampus” is traditionally the evil sidekick of Santa, sent to frighten away “evil spirits” in the run-up to Christmas (Photo: AFP) the demonic creatures prowl around menacingly, leering at the public. But apart from one tearful little girl, everyone has fun. The monsters highfive with kids as they slope off back to their lair -- actually the local school -to get changed. “We are trying to make it look brutal but our whips are only made of horse hair,” Eigner assures us. “People can hardly feel it if we hit them.” - Black angels and orcs It’s a booming trend, with ever more

groups springing up to satisfy a seemingly insatiable demand, and not just in Austria but in southern Germany and further afield too.

“Perchten” meanwhile, figures of good and evil whose origins are possibly pagan, would emerge in early January or in the carnival season before Lent, the Christian period of fasting. Traditional Perchten processions still exist, such as in Gastein in western Austria where 140 creatures from mythology and legend “drive out winter” every four years.

One of Austria’s biggest parades, in Schladming south of Salzburg, involves some 800 monsters and attracts 8,000 spectators paying 12-15 euros ($14-18) per adult.

But in recent decades, Krampus and Perchten have merged into hybrids, incorporating other influences from horror movies to heavy metal music, and appearing from early November onwards.

Yet, while it may be inspired by past customs, the phenomenon has moved and evolved far beyond its supposed origins in the remote valleys of the Alps.

In Schwadorf there was Death himself and an assortment of witches, monks, red-faced Satans, black angels and other beasts resembling “Lord of the Rings” orcs.



Maradona in Kolkata

FRIDAY, December 15, 2017

Sharma’s third double ton leads India to series-levelling win over Sri Lanka by Sajjad Hussain


OHALI, India | AFP Skipper Rohit Sharma on Wednesday became the first batsman to hit three double centuries in oneday internationals as he powered India to a 141run win over Sri Lanka in the second match on Wednesday. Sharma’s unbeaten 208 steered the hosts to an imposing 392-4 and then restricted Sri Lanka to 251-8 to level the Rohit Sharma celebrates after completing his double century during the three-match series at 1-1 second ODI against Sri Lanks - AFP photo. in Mohali. Argentine football legend Diego Maradona during his visit to the Mother House in Kolkata on Dec 12, 2017.India. (Photo by Debajyoti Chakraborty/Nur)

His epic knock, laced with 12 sixes and 13 fours in 153-ball stay, led the Indian charge after they were invited to bat first in overcast conditions. Sharma reached 200 in the 50th over, bowled by opposition skipper Thisara Perera. His first hundred came off 115 balls, and his second off just 38 balls. “It was a great day. Winning the game was important for me and the team after that loss in Dharamsala,” Sharma said after his first win as Indian captain. “In the first two 200s as well I got the century in the 38th over and I kept telling myself to hold my shape and hit through the line.

NFL Redskins deny name change after hoax


ASHINGTON | AFP | Wednesday 12/13/2017 The Washington Redskins on Wednesday denied that they were changing their name in a statement responding to “fraudulent websites” that said the moniker some find offensive would go. “This morning, the Redskins organization was made aware of fraudulent websites about our team name,” the NFL franchise said in a statement. “The name of the team is the Washington Redskins and will remain that for the future.” The Washington Post reported that an alliance of American Indian activists launched several online web pages disguised as news outlets falsely claiming the team had bowed to pressure and changed their name to the Redhawks. At least five web pages -some of them mimicking legitimate sports news sites such

“I did pretty similar things in the earlier ones too - getting 50 off 70 balls. This wicket was superb to start off, the longer I stayed the easier it became to bat on,” said Sharma. The right-hander scored 209 against Australia in Bangalore in 2013, and followed that double-hundred with his highest score of 264 against Sri Lanka a year later in Kolkata. Martin Guptill (New Zea-

land), Virender Sehwag (India), Chris Gayle (West Indies) and Sachin Tendulkar (India) have recorded a double century each in ODI cricket. Sharma made a bright start with his opening partner Shikhar Dhawan (68) after the Indian batsmen’s horror showing in the opening ODI, when they were skittled out for just 112. “All three came at crucial times. 264 is obviously very close to me. I’ve said it many times, but I honestly cannot pick one,” Sharma said of his three double tons. “The Australia one was a decider, the Sri Lanka 264 -- I came back after a three-month layoff after a big injury, and this one also -- after a humiliating loss, we wanted to come back as a team, as a batting unit especially.” Sharma’s 213-run stand for the second wicket with Shreyas Iyer, who scored 88, also stood out on a hazy day in Mohali. Dhawan, who hit nine boundaries during his 67-ball knock, was caught at mid-wicket off Sachith Pathirana. - Plan A, B, C failed The wicket though proved to be a minor blemish on India’s

innings as Sharma dominated the bowlers with the attackminded Iyer for company. Iyer also changed gears after completing his maiden fifty in just his second ODI, smashing the Sri Lankan bowlers around the park. Perera got three wickets with his medium-pace bowling but was still hit around the park by Sharma. Sri Lanka were never in the chase after losing their openers for just 30 runs as Angelo Mathews top-scored with an unbeaten 111. Leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal claimed three wickets. “We had a plan A, B and C but none of that clicked for us which was the most important thing,” said Perera. “If you want to chase a score as big as this, you need starts and scores in the middle order as well. But none of it clicked for us. “Angelo did really well for us, but it wasn’t enough. We’ll come back hard in the decider,” he said. The third and deciding match will be played in Visakhapatnam on Sunday.

Disgraced former US gymnastics doctor to appeal sentence The Washington Redskins have denied that they plan to change their name, which many feel is a racial slur toward Native Americans. as and Bleacher Report -- and a Twitter account were included in the campaign, and the links were widely shared on social media. Rebecca Nagle, co-director of the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center and one of the organizers of the campaign, told USA Today that the goal was to “draw attention to reaffirm that there’s an overwhelming mountain of evidence that the name is offen-

sive and is harmful to Native American people”. The US capital’s NFL club has come under fire in recent years for its reluctance to consider changing the name that many feel is a racial slur toward Native Americans. Redskins’ owner Dan Snyder, who has refused to consider changing the nickname, insists it’s a tribute to Native Americans.

Cycling Froome’s asthma piles pressure on beleaguered Sky by Barnaby Chesterman


A R I S , France | AFP | Wednesday 12/13/2017 - When Sky burst into the professional cycling world with a starstudded line-up and lofty ambitions they proudly trumpeted to all who would listen their “zero tolerance” policy towards drugs. And yet two major scandals related to doping later in this year alone, Sky are Chris Froome’s positive test for elevated levels of the asthma drug salbutamol left reeling and their is the second major scandal for sponsor Sky in 2017 alone (AFP Photo/Jeff favourite tagline Pachoud) seems to be ringing more hollow than ever before. gins and Froome had benefitted That was called seriously from therapeutic use exempinto question last year when First there was the jiffy-bag Fancy Bears published records affair involving former rider tions (TUEs). Bradley Wiggins, and now When you set the ethical bar of Wiggins’s use of triamcinoFroome’s positive test for ele- high, you can also set yourself lone, a powerful, and banned, corticosteroid before his tilts vated levels of the asthma drug up for a hefty fall. at the 2011 and 2012 Tours de salbutamol. Sky from their inception France and 2013 Giro d’Italia And those came on the back claimed to be different, they -- the three Grand Tours in of revelations in September claimed to be clean and they which he started as one of the 2016 from the Fancy Bears claimed to have a “zero toler- favourites. hacking group that both Wig- ance” approach to doping. There is no suggestion that


HICAGO | AFP | Wednesday 12/13/2017 - Former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar filed notice Wednesday that he will appeal his 60-year prison sentence for child pornography possession. Nassar pleaded guilty to the charges and last week a federal judge in his home state of Michigan handed down the maximum possible prison term. One of his lawyers filed notice Wednesday of an impending appeal, since the sentence was longer than what had been expected in a plea agreement. Nassar has also pleaded guilty in two separate state courts to sexually abusing young girls, some under 13 years old, under the guise of treatment. He is awaiting additional sentencing in January. More than 100 athletes have accused Nassar of abuse, including members of the gold medal-winning US Olympic

Wiggins or Sky have done anything wrong as the TUEs were properly acquired. The issue was more about when they were sought -- before the three biggest races of Wiggins’s professional career -- and how this conflicted with Sky’s supposedly transparent approach to cycling. Froome also benefitted from two TUEs -- in May 2013 and April 2014 -- so he could take the steroid prednisolone, used to treat allergies such as his asthma. But he also revealed earlier this year that he had rejected the possibility of applying for a TUE during the 2015 Tour de France, which he won, because he said “it did not sit well morally with” him. - Drained But admitting to having rejected a TUE on ethical grounds served only to raise questions as to why he hadn’t felt the same way when previously applying for them.

Nassar pleaded guilty to the charges (Photo: AFP/File) team. Nassar’s lawyers had agreed not to oppose an advisory sentencing range of 22-27 years in the child pornography case, but US District Court Judge Janet Neff instead handed down an

effective life sentence to the 54-year-old. “He has demonstrated he should never again have access to children,” Judge Neff said in court, according to the Grand Rapids Press newspaper.

This came at a time when Sky, and Froome, were already drained from constantly defending themselves over the four-time Tour winner’s stunning performances during the 2013 and 2015 editions that saw him practically hounded by a suspicious cycling press that was still seething over the sordid doping of the Lance Armstrong years.

and Sky did not have a case to answer, UKAD did criticise the crossover between personnel at Sky and British Cycling, and did not, strictly speaking, find either Wiggins or Sky innocent of any wrongdoing.

Froome, and Sky, have regularly been questioned about not just doping but also the use of electric bike aids as the Kenyan-born rider and his team have dominated four of the last five Tours.

And for a team that is already deeply unpopular in many areas of the cycling world -- from fans to specialist press often convinced the British outfit has been getting away with skulduggery of some sort since its inception -- this latest scandal is another unwanted distraction.

Then there was the jiffybag saga earlier this year in which Sky failed to show any documentary evidence to support belated claims that a mysterious package delivered to Wiggins during the 2011 Criterium du Dauphine contained nothing more than the legal decongestant fluimucil. Although a 14-month inquiry by UK anti-doping (UKAD) found that Wiggins

Now the latest salbutamol story will further tarnish a reputation Sky have been trying to protect for some time.

Froome may yet be found to have done nothing wrong -as with the cases of TUEs and the jiffy bag -- but the damage done to Sky’s image and proud claims of transparency and “zero tolerance” will not so easily be swept under the carpet.



FRIDAY, December 15, 2017

Your Horoscope for the Week of December 15, 2017 READ YOUR COMPLETE HOROSCOPE

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


Libra (R,T) 23 Sept to 22 Oct

Aries (A,L,E) 21 March to 20 April You will have to compromise by listening other’s story. People around you will cooperate & that will lead to great success. If your relationships are less than ideal, this is probably as good a time as any to resolve those difficulties. Keep a smile on your face and you’ll be amazed at what you can get away with. This approach is one that enables you to be strong while appearing gentle. Some intense debate could prove engaging late in the week. Humor, again, is the key to having your say without damaging your relationship.

Your confidence level will increase by amount of success. Observe new possibilities in matters of business. Use your productive time to organize things, lead the way to the top. You may be pleasantly surprised with other’s reactions. Something complicated may come to light. Don’t cover it up, instead clean it up. Problems are sometimes opportunities to show how competent you are and could lead to a more efficient system. You may have to keep hammering away to get your point across.

Scorpio (N,Y) 23 Oct to 21 Nov

Taurus (B,V,U) 21 April to 20 May Better communication will be beneficial, that will make you shining star in the sky. Objectivity is needed for you to make the best decision. The better choice should become very clear to you. A simple observation can provoke a strong response. You’ll need to have emotional contact with others. You may want to discontinue old friendships and begin new ones with individuals who share your ideals and who you can trust. Information has power when it’s used in the right situation. You may be tempted, though, to spill the beans.

You will spend some quality time with those who really matter to you. Keep some moments for yourself & reflect how funny life can change. If you push hard, you’ll get a lot of resistance. If you use humor and playfulness, you’ll have a much better chance at getting cooperation when you most need it. A friend or colleague may reveal a secret or you may have some information yourself. In either case, discretion is the key. Just because you know something doesn’t mean you have to say it. Competition could help your team.

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

Gemini (K,CHH,GH) 21 May to 20 June Let the flow of positive vibes be continue so that will make yourself fit, will benefit you both physically & emotionally. You could easily get upset by unwanted things & may not be able to receive expected appreciation. Try not to turn this into arguments. There are, after all, many ways to approach a problem. Wisdom is about the willingness to take in, with an open mind, the views of others. You’ll be ready to break loose by the weekend. Go do something different! If you need the space, go have a good time by yourself and leave others out of it.

Your mature decisions will lead you. You’ll be able to take care of current goals. And your partner could change directions without telling you. If you have any doubts about where you stand, make sure that you ask the right questions and insist on getting answers. Cooperation doesn’t work unless you have all the information. Mind reading is not to be expected. Remember, though, that words alone do not tell the whole story. Pay attention to tone of voice, rhythm, and body language to understand how someone really feels. Talk to your family.

Capricorn (KH,J) 22 Dec to 20 Jan

Cancer (D,H) 21 June to 22 July Enjoy the beautiful nature. Mother nature loves you & gives you a message, “Always be happy & enjoy each moment of your life”. Some small & boring work may demand your time and attention. Don’t worry, this is not permanent. In fact, you may find yourself in a much more sociable mood. Give yourself the right to try some different approaches. A bossy person may shake your self-image. You needn’t copy someone else’s model to be successful yourself. Open the doors & be yourself.

More than expected support will be given by your loved ones. Your ability to work through complex situations can come in very handy. You need to eliminate distractions and get straight to the heart of the matter. You push a just a little, but you get a powerful reaction. Money will become much more plentiful and easier to come by. It’s a good time to ask for a raise in pay or pay off any outstanding loan. You can improve your credit standing. Collaboration can flourish with different opinions, but only if respect for the other person is not lost.

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

Leo (M) 23 July to 22 August You will appreciate & be thankful to your loved ones & learn to enjoy the simple treasures you possess. You might be feeling financially pinched, don’t let that shut down your plans for a good time. The company you keep could lift your spirits and remind you that fun doesn’t have to be expensive. One of the most useful activities is simply to share your thoughts with someone you trust. You could use a sounding board, someone to respond to your ideas. We all need feedback sometimes. Once you let your feelings out, you should be able to enjoy a good time.

Emotional insecurities can lead to Changes in life. As long as you are sure of your position, you should prevail. Look to your dreams for a clue to what you might need to change. You may get caught up in details when this is really a good time to enjoy art, beauty, love, and recreation. There is, though, that stubborn person who just wants to keep doing things the old way. You may need to be extra persuasive in order to get their support. It will help you to clarify the choices you’re making now. Get out of the house and connect with people.

Pisces (D,CH,Z) 20 Feb to 20 March

Virgo (P) 23 August to 22 September Cautious approach will be held in everything you do. You might do well to tiptoe around someone who is irritable. You haven’t done anything wrong, you simply may be working with some very vulnerable people right now. You may be surprised by what you hear. Rather than defend yourself, face the truth with a readiness to make changes. Even if you try to get off to a quick start, chances are you’ll need to slow down to deal with delays and obstacles. Events this week may become a starting point for personal & professional successes. Don’t panic. You may take comfort in the past, with its old ways and old solutions.

Read your Weekly Horoscope Online


Stand proudly with your best qualities, set aside your insecurities. Communications & understanding will increase greatly. Conversations with neighbors or siblings could test your patience, remember, you are not required to fix all the problems you hear about. Decide how far you’re willing to go and stick to it. A reunion with family, or with those who feel like family, seems appropriate. You might want to invite them to your place, where you can entertain with style and grace. Differences of opinion can open your eyes if you’re willing to accept the views of others now.




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8 1 0 l 2 a i c e p S Tax 018 - April 13, 2018


Train Your Brain to Focus on Something You Find Boring We all have a few subjects that we find boring or dull. Fortunately, it’s possible to learn to like — maybe even love — topics that make your eyes glaze over. First, you have to overcome the pain. When we think about something we don’t like or want, it can activate a portion of the brain that’s connected to our experience of pain. This means, for example, that thinking about statistics (if you don’t like statistics) can cause you actual physical pain. As a result, you brain may divert your attention away from whatever sparked the pain — in other words, you procrastinate. So the next time you need to study statistics, force yourself to focus. Turn off all distractions. Set a timer for 25 minutes. Focus intently for those 25 minutes. And then reward yourself for at least five minutes by listening to your favorite song, talking with a friend, or getting coffee. Taking little breaks helps the brain consolidate what you’re learning, which builds understanding while minimizing frustration.

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PET of the WEEK I need a loving home

VIDA - ID#A004099

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organized activities and children’s play areas. Other benefits may include: • The option to rent an existing home in the community or place your own home in the community. • Provided services, which often include professional property management, care and maintenance of common grounds, as well as resources and amenities like trash removal, community centers, playgrounds, storage and laundry facilities. • The possibility of not paying real estate taxes. While it varies state-to-state, residents of land-lease manufactured home communities often don’t pay real estate taxes, but rather, pay a personal-property tax, offsetting the cost of land-lease rents for the homeowner. • Affordable homeownership, along with many of its benefits, including control over home and yard improvements, as well as convenient parking.

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• A sense of community. In many communities, there are social or activity clubs, fitness amenities, and friendly and caring neighbors. Indeed, “sense of belonging” is among the most frequent responses about why residents enjoy living in a land-lease community. Newer manufactured homes come in a variety of architectural styles and exterior finishes that will suit most any buyer’s desires, as well as customization opportunities, including interior features like vaulted ceilings, fireplaces and stateof-the-art kitchens and baths. They also feature enhanced energy efficiency in an era of rising energy costs, thanks to upgraded insulation and more efficient heating and cooling systems than homes from decades ago.

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Smart buyers also are turning to ENERGY STAR-labeled manufactured homes for additional savings. (StatePoint).

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