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Vol. 31 No. 1 • Friday, January 5, 2018

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AAPI’s 11th Annual Global Healthcare Summit begins in Kolkata Featuring Research/Poster Contest, First Responders Training, Inaugural Gala

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FRIDAY, January 5, 2018

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Pakistan hits back at Trump's 'incomprehensible' tweet by Nasir Jaffrey

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SLAMABAD, Pakistan | AFP | Tuesday 1/2/2018 - Pakistan angrily dismissed threats by US President Donald Trump to cut off aid as "completely incomprehensible" Tuesday, in the latest diplomatic row to rock the shaky alliance between Washington and Islamabad over militancy. The "recent statements... by the American leadership were completely incomprehensible as they contradicted facts manifestly," read a statement issued by the prime minister's office after a meeting of the National Security Council. Trump's comments "struck with great insensitivity" and "negated the decades of sacrifices made by the Pakistani nation", it added. The statement was the first formal comment from Pakistan since Trump lashed out on Monday, making Islamabad his inaugural Twitter target of 2018. "The United States has foolishly given Pakistan more than 33 billion dollars in aid over the last 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies

US President Donald Trump used his first tweet of 2018 to tear into Islamabad, alleging that it provided safe havens for militants. AFP photo. and deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools," Trump said. "They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!" Pakistan, which says it has lost more

than 62,000 lives and $123 billion since 2003 in its war on extremism, disputed the $33 billion figure in the statement. "(T)he huge sacrifices made by PakiContinued on page 10

Gujarati Samaj of Houston celebrates New Year Eve 2018 Dr. Gautam Samadder addressing the contestants at the prestigious GHS Young Innovators Research Competition at the famous Calcutta Medical College

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OLKATA, WB, India: December 28th, 2017 - The 11th edition of the annual Global Healthcare Summit organized by the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI), USA began here at the historic City of Kolkata in West Bengal, India on December 28th at the famous JW Marriott with international poster/research competition, first responders training, and the inaugural gala. “This GHS promises to be one with the greatest impact and significant contributions towards harnessing the power of international Indian diaspora to bring the most innovative, efficient, cost effective healthcare solutions to India,” described Dr. Gautam Samadder, President of AAPI. GHS 2017 is attended by the over 1000 leading experts from several countries, and focusses on sharing best practices, developing efficient and cost

effective solutions for India. The Honorable Shri Venkiah Naidu, the Vice President of India, will be the Chief Guest at the Closing Ceremony of the Summit on December 30th, 2017, and at the gala and awards ceremony on 29th, West Bengal’s Finance Minister, Dr. Amit Mitra will be the keynote speaker. The Conference is being organized in partnership with the ministry of overseas Indian affairs and ministry of health and family welfare, along with collaboration with over 15 professional associations from all over the world. The GHS 2017 features some of the biggest names in the healthcare industry, especially at the 6th annual CEO leadership forum with leaders from across the globe. GHS 2017 is being attended by over 100 opinion leaders and expert speakers from many coun-

GSH New year party: Count down to Midnight – Welcome 2018

Continued on page 9

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OP-ED/COMMENTARY/ANALYSIS

VOICE OF ASIA 2

Did Donald Trump meet expectations in first year of his Presidency?

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

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

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

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Shobana Muratee

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

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

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

FRIDAY, January 5, 2018

Dr. Chandra Mittal by Chandra K. Mittal, Ph.D. Although the judgements on the performance and quality of Presidential leadership is usually reserved for the history, the 45th President came under the microscope from day one when he took oath of office on January 20, 2017, for scrutiny of his Presidency. This was primarily due to Donald Trump’s exceptional abrasive personality; independent style, campaign promises, and his very ambitious agenda to transform America. His lack of experience in any elected public office also contributed to his close monitoring. Donald Trump, in effect, did not have much of a “honeymoon” period as enjoyed by his predecessors. This author had also enumerated many challenges faced by Donald Trump at the outset of his Presidency (Voice of Asia, v.30, No.2, Jan 13, 2017), and had projected what could he realistically deliver in his Presidential term. Now, as the year almost draws to a close, it is perhaps time to take count of what President Trump could indeed accomplish in the eleven months since becoming 45th President of the United States. The answer to the question whether Donald Trump deliver on promises or met expectations for the First-year in office, indeed lies in the eyes of the beholder. It must be also put in perspective. Donald Trump became US President as champion of the American

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ARIS, France | AFP | Wednesday 1/3/2018 - Since the first “red phone” in 1963 between the US and the Soviet Union, many countries including the two Koreas have set up communication hotlines between leaders to ease dialogue in times of crisis. In October 1962, the US detected Soviet missiles in Cuba, as tensions mounted over nuclear conflict. In the confrontation between John F. Kennedy and Nikita Khrushchev, the absence of direct communication enabled rumours on the intentions of both, while messages between Moscow and Washington took hours to be delivered.

conservatism with agenda to dismantle Affordable Care Act 2010 (Obamacare), build wall on the Mexican border, ban or restrict Muslim entry into the United States, deport illegal immigrants, decertify Iran Nuclear Agreement, eliminate terrorism, destroy ISIS in Middle East, balance international trade, relax and reduce business regulations, cut personal and business taxes, lax environmental laws, etc. Donald Trump’s presidential term indeed had a tumultuous start with significance confusion, ambiguity, and uncertainty at various levels of White House operations. This reflected in lack of experience on the top and manifested as high turnover of personal, lack of coordination, and interpersonal conflicts among the staff members. Within first elevenmonth of his Presidency, Donald Trump’s White House saw departure of most of the original senior- level professionals. This includes Press Secretary Shawn Spicer, Chief of Staff Reins Priebus, Senior Advisor Steve Bannon, National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, Health Secretary Tom Price, Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci, etc. Such developments slowed President in achieving his goals. Conservative spin doctors are, however, touting few of Donald Trump’s first-year achievements as a great political success on the domestic front. They point to major tax-reform bill becoming law, appointment of conservative Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, revocation of business regulations, reduced illegal immigration, stock market setting new records, sustained economic growth, substantial defeat of

ISIS in Middle East, and low unemployment as major accomplishments of President Trump. But fact is that except the major Tax-Reform Bill of 2017 and Gorsuch appointment, most other achievements were indeed either due to Executive Actions by the President or carry-over policies from the Obama’s term. Critics, on the other hand, point to many failures of Donald Trump in his first-year. They say he had promised to Repeal and Replacement of Obamacare on the first day of his Presidency but could not deliver on it even in one year. Indeed, the ACA Repeal was embarrassingly defeated in the US Congress by Senators of his own party. Similarly, President’s major campaign promise about Mexico border wall is nowhere in the process. Also, his Executive Orders banning travel from several Muslim-majority countries has been challenged or reversed by the Federal Courts in some states. Besides these developments, in his First-year as US President, Donald Trump has often aligned or identified himself with “moral wrongs”. This includes his defense of the violent White Supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia during the anti-confederate protests, as well as his support of the Senatorial candidate Roy Moore, an alleged Child Molester. Both instances have perhaps hurt his image both nationally and globally. Then, topping all these developments on Donald Trump’s Presidency, is the ongoing “Russian Investigation” by the US Department of Justice and the US Congressional Committees, who are trying to ascertain if Russia interfered

In the meantime, various national polls show Donald Trump having the lowest approval ratings at this point in US Presidency among all US Presidents in the modern era. These low ratings in the 30s may portend danger for Republicans the 2018 mid-term Congressional elections, causing significant anxiety for most incumbents in the Democratic (Blue) States. As regards the Presidential assessments, Presidency is not defined by some predetermined, preconceived absolute parameters. It is indeed shaped and defined by the circumstance that emerge during the Presidential term and how a leader steers through them to preserve and promote the cause of the country. In that respect, one must be fair to President Donald Trump. He has learned a lot in his firstyear of Presidency from legislative maneuvering to political intrigue to survival instincts. He will decidedly benefit from these. For now, however, he has achieved what he could under the circumstances. It may not be optimal, but it is certainly reasonable. Dr. Chandra Mittal is Professor at Houston Community College and Co-Founder of Indo-American Association (IAA). Contact: drckmittal@ yahoo.com: Twitter: @drchandramittal

The hotlines between governments in times of crisis - Nuclear tensions A letter from October 26, 1962, in which the Soviets laid out a possible way out of the face-off, was received by the US ambassador to Moscow at 9:42 am Washington time, but after being translated, transmitted and encrypted, it was after 9 pm by the time the note was in the hands of the State Department. To speed up communication and reduce the risk of nuclear war, the two governments put in place a “red

phone” on August 30, 1963. In reality, it was neither red nor a telephone but a cable line that could transmit written messages. In the 1970s, a satellite phone line was added, which also allowed for documents, maps or photos to be shared between the two governments. In 1994, a new “red telephone” allowed the defence secretaries of the two countries to be contactable nearly all the time. The White House and the Pentagon have always kept secret exactly how many times it has been used. Leaders employed the hotline during the Arab-Israeli wars of 1967 and 1973, and again with the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979. - ‘Red phones’ worldwide -

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in the 2016 Presidential election, which might have in some way affected Donald Trump’s ascendancy to the US Presidency. Such investigations are a distraction for any administration and sources of paranoia and disruption in normal operations.

Other lines of direct communication were subsequently installed between Moscow and European capitals. In 1996, China established a “red phone” with Russia, and then with the United States two years later. In 2005, India and Pakistan did the same.

A hotline between South Korea and North Korea was agreed to as part of a 1972 joint communique between the two nations and went into operation in August that year. The phone and fax lines have been disconnected and reconnected several times since then, depending on the state of relations. The hotline was reopened on Wednesday after a shutdown of nearly two years. In September 2011, the United States proposed opening a direct line with Iran to avoid a possible conflict erupting over the country’s disputed nuclear program. Tehran declined the offer. In June 2013, China and Vietnam opened a direct communication channel to manage their territorial conflict in the South China Sea. The term “hotline” is today used to characterise all forms of direct communication between countries or sensitive authorities, over issues such as security cooperation. Japan decided in 2013 to install a hotline between its security council and Washington and London.

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Aruna Miller inspires youth, leaders at Meet and Greet by: Shravya Aparasu, Natasha Kulkarni, Rohan Perumalla Aruna Miller, an exceptional democratic politician who represents the State Legislative District 15 in Montgomery County, Maryland and is currently running for the 6th Congressional District seat in Maryland, stopped by the India House to encourage and empower Indians to make their mark in American politics

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nsurprisingly, most Indian Americans are wary of public policy and politics. Indian Americans make up 1 percent of our population, but only have five representatives in congress. Indian Americans are an incredibly successful group of people in America, yet they are absent in local and national government activities. Miller highlights this issue and stresses the importance of getting more involved with our local government. To quote Miller, “We can't sit on the sidelines anymore. We have to be able to be an integral part of this country. This is not borrowed land. We are here. Own it.” She understood this power first hand in 2000, after officially being allowed to vote. Aruna Miller witnessed Al Gore, whom she casted a vote for, lose to George W. Bush by 537 votes. She was devastated to see someone who had worked so hard lose to their opponent because just 537 people chose differently. In her mind, if she had called up 538 other people and convinced them to vote differently, the outcome of the whole general election would have been different. This set the stage for her lifelong involvement in politics. Born in India and brought to the United States at the age of 7, Miller has never forgotten her roots. As she said, “You can take the girl

out of India, but you can't take the India out of the girl.” She is unapologetically herself even in the fierce, harsh atmosphere called politics. Miller uses her heritage as an asset rather than an inhibition. Her culture, her religion, and her ethnicity is something she truly embraces and even flaunts. The simple principles of hinduism are something she learns from and uses in her everyday life from the way she works to the way she interacts with those around her. As she likes to say, we as human beings are not having a spiritual experience, but rather we are spiritual beings having a human experience. For her, Hinduism is not just a religion but a way of life and a form of expression. In her political journey, she witnessed the struggles citizens faced in their day to day lives. From seniors to millennials, Miller heard from all. She saw the impact of faulty immigration policies on fresh faced Indian immigrants and understood the impact of discriminatory regulations on H1B visas and the control they have on families across the nation. She observed the detrimental effect of sexual abuse on families in their darkest hour as she stepped up and shared their story to improve their lives. Time and time again she takes action against the cruel realities of the world and uses public policy as a tool to fight for those in need. Miller is a breath of fresh air in the current, shifting political environment. She empowers, women, men, and youth across the country to be unafraid and bold. She not only fights for those that are vulnerable but also motivates others, especially Indian Americans who are eager to sit on the sidelines, to do the same. A special thanks to Ramesh Bhutada, Jugal Malani,

Miller with her young supporters: From left to right, Ankit Lohiya, Rohan Perumalla, Rishi Bhutada, Aruna Miller, Shravya Aparasu, Natasha Kulkarni, Namita Pallod, Bharat Pallod, and Megha Lohiya. Photo credit; Dr. Nik Nikam.

Houston's Indian community leaders: From left to right:Surendar Pullemla, Chandra Sirigiri, Raj Vakulabharanam, Vijay Devireddy, Brij Agarwal, Jugal Malani, Sri Parthasarathi, Bangar Reddy, Aruna Miller, Lakshmi Medi, Rishi Bhutada, Raj Pasala, Karun Srirama, Sridhar Kanchanakuntla, Vijay Pallod, and Asha Reddy

Vijay Pallod, Sudhir Sekhsaria, Bangar Reddy, Rammohan Konda, Sridhar Kanchanakuntla Rishi Bhutada and Indo-American Political Action Committee of Greater Houston (IAPAC) for plan-

ning such a great event! It couldn’t have been possible without them. Most of all, a huge thank you to Aruna Miller for sharing a message so many people need to hear! It was an incredible experi-

ence for the three of us. "Aruna Miller is an astounding democratic candidate whose decisions positively affect the entire U.S. society”, said Rohan. Natasha agreed saying that she felt her speech

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was very empowering and that she is a very sincere politician who always gets the job done. For Shravya, it was incredible experience to see someone of color do something she’s always dreamed of.


COMMUNITY

VOICE OF ASIA 4

Outgoing President Allen Richards's legacy to IACCGH

FRIDAY, January 5, 2018

Gujarati Samaj of Houston celebrates New Year Eve 2018

by Manu Shah n 2005, Allen Richards was tasked with developing the market for a direct Continental flight from Newark to New Delhi. One of his first recourses was to tap the Indo American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Houston 9 (IACCGH) ) for information about business travel and tourism in India. Continental began its nonstop flights to India and so did Allen’s relationship with the Chamber. He joined the Board in 2007 and in 2016 was unanimously voted to be President for the following year.

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The honor of being the first non-Indian President and the fact that “something this big doesn’t come along every day” had Allen agreeing. According to Executive Director Jagdip Ahluwalia, Allen has always been a strong supporter of the Chamber’s mission in promoting Houston’s economy and his Presidency in 2017 elevated it to higher levels of success and goodwill. One of his primary goals, Allen emphasizes, was to put out a memorable and impactful Gala as it is the Chamber’s signature event. It was certainly memorable, he explains wryly, for two reasons. Hurricane Harvey battered Houston that very weekend. The gala had to be cancelled but Allen says he was incredibly proud of how everything was rescheduled from Keynote Speaker Bob Patel’s assent to Mayor Turner and Judge Emmett agreeing to the new date to getting the same banquet hall at the Hilton Americas – all in 24 hours. The rescheduled gala drew over 800 members of Houston’s business community and was a resound-

Allen Richards ing success.

sense of feeling “right at home” the minute he got off the plane. His favorite Indian dish? Chicken vindaloo.

Allen was equally focused on hosting speakers that were topical, relevant and of value to the wide spectrum of members as well as reaching out to millennials and engaging them with the Chamber’s activities. Distinguished Lecture speakers included Police Chief Art Acevedo, Sheriff Ed Gonzales and Shell VP Lori Ryerkerk.

As Sales Manager for International Sales at United, Allen keeps busy flying the friendly skies. On the ground, he’s actively involved with several nonprofits but a cause closest to his heart is Houston K-911 which rescues canines in distress. His wife and he have 5 dogs of their own and it isn’t uncommon to find a couple of foster dogs keeping them company too. This desire to give back, he explains, comes from his father who instilled in him the art of gracious giving – without expecting anything in return.

Drawing lessons from working with an “incredible brain trust and community leaders” Allen describes the experience as enriching and adds that despite being in sales for years and involved in many projects, one “can’t help but learn something new about teamwork and human nature.” Allen’s parents were avid collectors of Asian art which probably explains his fascination with everything Asian. As luck would have it, he walked into a job in the airlines where he got to indulge his love for adventure and travel the world for the last 30 years. His visit to Mumbai, he says, had a

As for his plans moving forward, Allen is keen to continue working with the Chamber to forge closer ties with the business community in his capacity as Past President.

by Girish Naik OUSTON - Gujarati Samaj of Houston and its members celebrated the New Year Eve 2018 Gala at the Arabia Shrine Center on December 31, 2017. Looking at the weather forecast for the night, Girish Naik the President of Gujarati Samaj of Houston commented “Thank God we have an indoor venue where our members can enjoy the program in a very comfortable temperature.”. The day began with the entire committee working on every detail of the program to make sure that the program would be leave a lasting effect on the attendee. All details from Hall Decorations, Logistics, Food, Drinks, Baby sitters for kids, security, midnight party flavors and confetti were checked out and ready so that attendees would have a wonderful time.

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At 7:30 PM the guest started coming in. Well decorated photo booth with party flavors

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GSH Executive Committee at New Year Eve Gala. Right to Left: Front - President Girish Naik, Dhruvit Shah, Prakash Desai, Vice president Geeta Patel, Meena Desai Back - Rakesh Shah, Kishor Patel, Narendra Patel, Harendra Hingu, Kalpesh Rana, Bharat Patel

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awaited them, our professional photographer got their pictures in various poses. The hall was decorated in a Black and silver theme for the night. The entrance welcomed the guests with a curved ache of Balloons with a 2018 sign. Room decorated as per the theme of the night and the tasty smell of appetizers filled the room making you feel hungry. Friends and family started getting their appetizers with drinks and socialized to the soft music that filled the rooms waves. For almost an hour guests mingled with each other and caught up with friends. DJ Rishi kicked the gear up on the music to get everyone on the floor. Non-Stop music all the way to 10:15 PM as Hot Dinner awaited everyone. Three different prices were announced, and raffle was also done as the guest had dinner. Dr. Harshadbhai Patel, chairman of Board of Director updated the members on the progress of our “GSH community center” and promised the mem-

bers that if the weather permits we will have it completed by 2018 as guests finished Dinner. After dinner DJ Rishi got everyone involved with a game “Sole Train”. Fast Music played on the second half of the dancing session as it lead to count-down and mid-night toss of nonalcoholic Champaign with everyone in party flavor hats and glasses. Confetti automatically flowing from the machine. What a sight…”Welcome 2018” with a bang “Swag”… Guests wishing each other “Happy New Year”. Wow what a sight to see. Guests kept the party on until 1:00 AM in the early morning of 2018. God bless USA and may we all have a safe and prosperous New year. Gujarati Samaj of Houston wishes all of you a very Happy and Prosperous New year and do not forget our next program Kite Flying at Moosa Stadium (Pearland) on January 14, 2018 from 10:30 AM.

Volunteers for India’s Republic Day January 20, 2018

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VOICE OF ASIA 5

Fort Bend View

FRIDAY, January 5, 2018

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

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Bollywood Shake Rings In 2018 At Its New Year’s Eve Hollywood Glam Gala!

UGAR LAND - Bollywood Shake hosted its 4th Annual New Year’s Eve Hollywood Glam Gala 2018 at the beautiful Safari Texas Grand Ballroom on December 31st, 2017. This exclusive upscale event included exquisite décor, Hollywood style entertainment, performance by singer JS Paras and his son Joe Paras, a sensational new artist whose album will be releasing on T Series this year, music by DJ AV, food by Nirmanz Food Boutique and an exciting midnight countdown. The event was attended by Houston’s elite crowd who rang in the New Year with a bang! After successful events for the last three years, Ruchika Dias, Founder & CEO of Bollywood Shake gave Houston another well organized and entertaining New Year’s Eve event. The Hollywood Glam theme added entertainment and glamour to the event. The upscale and grand venue was beautifully decorated in a White, Black and Red theme including a gorgeous stage backdrop, 2 photo booth areas and upgraded table linens. There was an abundance of music, food & drinks keeping the guests entertained all night! One of Houston’s top DJs, DJ AV kept people on the dance floor all night with their foot tapping music including Bollywood and Top 40 hits. Guests were welcomed to the beautiful event by a Marilyn Monroe lookalike and aerial dancers! The emcee for the evening was Nina Desai, Mrs. Bollywood 2014 who conducted the show impeccably. The entertainment began with a performance by Marilyn Monroe, followed by an aerial act and then an energetic and rocking performance by singer J.S. Paras who got the audience in a party mood enticing them to dance. DJ AV then took it away and got everyone rocking on the floor! There was an abundant spread of delicious Indian cuisine including catered by Nirmanz Food Boutique and

Local FB agencies join forces to fight child abuse

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OSENBERG - In an effort to combat the injustices of child abuse and neglect, more than 20 agencies recently signed an agreement renewing their commitment to work together on behalf of child victims. The ceremony, hosted by the Child Advocates of Fort Bend (CAFB) Children’s Advocacy Center, was held at CAFB’s offices. The Protocol and Memorandum of Understanding details the importance of the CAFB Children’s Advocacy Center and lists the responsibilities of each agency in working child abuse cases.

Guests ushering in the New year at the Safari Texas Grand Ballroom on New year's eve. Photo credit: Hassan tSudio Special thanks to our sponsors: Amir Dodhiya of New York Life and Sheetal’s The Skin Studio and the local media NTV Houston for their coverage. Once again Bollywood Shake New Year’s Eve Hollywood Glam Gala 2018 proved to be the best desi New Year’s Eve party in town for guests looking for an exquisite, upscale and exciting experience.

Cheer! Ladies having a good time at the New Year’s Eve party. mouthwatering desserts. Kids had a wonderful time with balloon twisting and face painting. The highlight of the evening was the midnight countdown accompa-

nied by a champagne toast and celebration at the stroke of midnight! Excitement filled the air and reached a fever pitch as the large gathering rang in the New Year together!

In addition to running a very successful Bollywood dance school and hosting their own radio show Bollywood Shake Radio Online, Bollywood Shake hosts several events throughout the year including Bollywood Pageants, Fashion Shows, Dance Competitions and Galas under its talented founder and CEO Ruchika Singh Dias. Bollywood Shake wishes you a Happy New Year and would like to thank all the people who came out to celebrate and ring in the New Year at

“The Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC) is an important piece in the collaboration of agencies working to reduce the trauma to children going through the civil and criminal systems,” said Fiona Remko, CAC Program Director. “The Center helps to bring together those agencies charged with the civil and criminal investigations of child abuse to ensure that the unique needs of abused children are being addressed in a child friendly manner. The Fort Bend community is very fortunate” The CAC provides forensic interviews, case management services, therapy and criminal court advocacy services for free to families of abuse victims and to partner agencies. Child victims are referred to Child Advocates of Fort Bend’s Children’s Advocacy Center by law enforcement or CPS where trained specialists, social workers and therapists conduct forensic interviews, coordinate the criminal investigation, facilitate resource services, offer criminal court support and provide therapy to help children heal from their trauma.

their event! Bollywood Shake hopes to see you at their 2018 events including the Bollywood Pageant and their next New Year’s Eve Gala!


COMMUNITY

VOICE OF ASIA 6

Join FIS in MLK Grand Parade 2018 by Pranav Konduri, Foundation for India Studies (FIS) Communications Coordinator

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oundation for India Studies is gearing up to participate in the 24th Annual Houston MLK Jr. Grand Parade. This participation for seventh year in a row takes a unique significance for all Indian Americans in Greater Houston because of the parade’s theme “The Color of Unity” The word “unity” is defined as “the state of being united or joined as a whole.” While the international community is thought of to be a “union” comprising of every race, religion, and nationality, there are still innumerable amounts of discrimination and turmoil fueled by indestructible differences that span from culture and religion to entire nations engaging in never ending con-

flict. So, how can the world “unite” and prosper when every nook and cranny of it is experiencing infighting on a daily basis? The answer lies in the phenomenal men and women who have fueled movements against hate and injustice. These movements have shaped the narrative of history by providing a vehicle for hope and unity for all the world to see. Martin Luther King Jr., for example, was one of these people. He recognized that non-violence and civil protest were the key to solving for some of the most discriminatory and hateful of dynamics. On the other side of the world, Mahatma Gandhi preached the belief of non-violent protest as a method to break free from the tyrannical rule of the British. Over the years, the Color of Unity has become a culture that holds everyone accountable for standing up against hate

and injustice. It has become a guideline to do whatever is in one’s full capacity in an effort to not only treat everyone equally, but see them equally as well. It is with the actions of progressive human beings like MLK and Mahatma Gandhi that unity and inclusion has become an expectation, not a higher standard. However, it is not only the responsibility of those kinds of people. If there is one thing we have been taught from the actions of others, it is that we may be from different backgrounds, but we all fall under the color of unity. That part of our identity is the most important. All Indian-Americans are welcome to join under FIS banner to reinforce your support for unity of diverse humanity. Please contact Raghavender Nednur, Event Chair at (713) 927-8126 (Cell) for further details.

FRIDAY, January 5, 2018

Mayor Turner's Message by Mayor Sylvester Turner

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s you know, 2017 was a special year for Houston. Hurricane Harvey and the Astros made the biggest news, but historic pension reform, which benefits all residents, was also a huge development. Even during the recovery from Hurricane Harvey, many of you voted in the November election and helped approve the pension reform bonds that play a role in moving Houston forward as we gear up for 2018. With your votes, we succeeded in overhauling the city’s pension obligations, a task that has eluded the city for past 17 years. With $250 million going to the Houston Municipal Employee Pension System and $750 million going to the Houston Police Officer Pension System, we have stabilized employees’ pensions, reassuring them that we value our workers as much as we value a strong economic future for this city. And we did it without increasing your taxes or taking from city revenues, just as I prom- Mayor Sylvester Turner ised. The comprehensive reform package will eliminate the $8.2 billion unfunded liability of employee pension systems over 30 years, partly because employees agreed to reductions in their pension benefits in return for assurances that pension funds will remain strong. This was accomplished by sitting down with employee groups and negotiating the details, earning City Council approval (by a 16 to 1 vote) of the reforms and then getting approval of more than two thirds of the state House and state Senate. The savings have already improved the city’s financial position to a positive $1.9 billion in Fiscal Year 2017 from a negative $95 million in Fiscal Year 2016. Let me assure you, this historic pension reform benefits all Houstonians. Remember, city of Houston first responders and other employees work tirelessly to serve you. Investing in them is essentially investing in your daily quality of life. At the same time, making this investment reduces the city’s costs, giving the city a greater ability to continue providing the quality basic services all residents deserve. This is certainly something to celebrate as we ring in the new year.

Mayor Houston Awarded City Recognition to Houston Karachi Sister City Association (HKSCA)

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K. V. Doraiswamy Bhattar 281-489-0464 or 281-948-8368 kvdoraiswamybhattar@yahoo.com kvdoraiswamy60@gmail.com

Rituals Performed: Sreemantham, Punyahavachanam, Namakaranam, Annaprashanam, Vidyarambham, Choulam, Upanayanam, Wedding, Sathya narayana puja, and all kind of Homas (Havans) and more. I can drive to your place. More than 30 years of experience as Priest in major temples including Sri Meenakshi Temple Pearland, TX. Can speak 5 languages (Kannada, Tamil, Telugu, Hindi, and English)

t the City Hall Ceremony Mayor Sylvester Turner Presented The City of Houston Recognition to Houston Karachi Sister City Association (HKSCA) for receiving the Sister Cities International Award for Arts & Culture 2017 & for the Association’s commitment to promoting peace, mutual respect, understanding and cooperation displays its dedication to creating a better future for all. The Mayors Recognition was received by the Consul General Aisha Farooqui of Pakistan,

HKSCA President Muhammad Saeed Sheikh, Executive Board members Cristal Montañéz & Azam Akhtar. While addressing the occasion Consul General Aisha Farooqui of Pakistan extended Invitation to the Mayor to Visit Karachi, Pakistan in 2018 which Mayor Turner Graciously accepted. President sheikh informed the Mayor that this is the third time in the last six years the HKSCA has won SCI Innovation Awards. President Saeed Sheikh also Congratu-

lated the Consulate General of Pakistan in Houston, Mr. S. Javaid Anwar Chief Patron, Event Sponsor Amir Makhani & membership of HKSCA for receiving this distinct honor. Further to pay gratitude Consul General Farooqui presented an book on Pakistan’s Arts & Culture and President Sheikh presented traditional Ajrak & Topi to the Mayor. The SCI Innovation Award recognizes the accomplishments of outstanding community and individual Sister City programs.

The Houston Fire Department Receives 4 New Pumper Trucks and Flood Response Vehicles

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he Houston Fire Department has been struggling with an aging fleet for several years. Here soon the department will have some relief with frontline apparatuses with the introduction of four new pumpers. Four of those pumpers were delivered today and displayed at city hall. Four more pumpers will be delivered in March. The accelerated arrival is due to the Mayor’s approval to use cooperative purchasing, aggressive action by Chief Procurement Officer Jerry Adams and the City’s Strategic Purchasing Division; and the HFD’s Resource Management Division’s strategic oversight. Training for the new apparatuses is scheduled for the beginning of January. Following the

training these apparatuses are to be assigned to Station 46, 28, 51 and 67. The decision of assignment was based on call volume, age of current apparatus and annual maintenance cost. The four apparatuses arriving this month are Spartan Pumpers and are the standard for fire departments nationwide. In addition to the new apparatuses, HFD has acquired an additional two High Water Vehicles, similar to the one assigned to station 5 purchased by CM Stardig. These two Highwater Vehicles were purchase by private donations from KBR and Civic Entertainment group. Following training one will be assigned to fire station 57 the other

is still to be determined. Recently, HFD was notified that Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation just awarded a grant for the purchase of a 4th Highwater Vehicle. The goal is to have eight High Water Vehicles assigned to HFD. One assigned to each of the 4 quadrants of the city, one in Kingwood, one in Clear Lake, and two in historically flood prone areas. Most recently, Fire Chief Sam Peña made a data-driven presentation to Council for flood response vehicles and training. The Mayor answered by approving over a million dollars towards flood response vehicle purchases specifically for HFD and gave additional funding for flood response training.

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DIASPORA

VOICE OF ASIA 7

FRIDAY, January 5, 2018

Gujarati doctor turns value investor, makes a killing following Buffett, Lynch

US seeks to stop H-1B extensions, may hit several Indian workers

Medicine and value investing are at best strange bed fellows... But this Baroda-based doctor can prove you wrong.

If the proposal is passed by the US Congress, it has the potential of affecting thousands of Indian skilled professionals working in the US.

by Rahul Oberoi dermatologist by profession, Dr Hitesh Patel (50) is as fluent with Peter Lynch as he is with his scalpels and forceps. He loves to be called a value investor and has a claim to this label after having managed to spot quite a few stocks at their early stages of growth. Patel claims to have generated up to 45 times return on select stocks over the past few years. Hitesh is an astute investor among the value-investing community in India, says Donald Francis, a value investor, and founder of Valuepickr. com. “He has remained my main sounding board before major investment decisions since 2010 when we first met. I was much impressed with his clarity of thought and ability to cut through the clutter and simplify things for us,” says Francis. Patel loves interacting with “like-minded investors,” who he says can change your thought process. He is also an avid reader and follows Peter Lynch and global investment guru Warren Buffett religiously. “They have played a crucial role in moulding my investing journey from ordinary to extraordinary,” claims Patel. Patel has a knack for spotting midcap and smallcap stocks with outstanding growth potential at their infancy. He says pharma-multibagger Ajanta Pharma was part of his portfolio from 2010 to 2015 and it gave him 45 times, or 4,500 per cent, return during

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Hitesh Patel (Courtesy photo)

that period. Patel is very knowledgeable on smallcap and midcap businesses in India and dedicates a lot of time handholding and mentoring young investors, says Francis of valuepickr. com. He was one of the most loved and admired personality on the website’s forum with over 22,000 registered members. By birth a Gujarati, a community that can possibly claim the largest population in India’s financial markets, Patel says Peter Lynch’s classic One up On Wall Street turned him into a serious investor way back in 2008. He also mentioned Buffett’s biography The Snowball , for making him believe that it is possible to create enormous wealth through focused investing. Patel says he follows a bottom-up approach to pick quality names from the universe of India’s more than 5,000 listed companies. “I try to look at the business quality, valuation, management quality, balance sheet, opportunity versus size and enterprise value of a business

and then start working on it,” he said. Patel has a good knowledge of technical analysis, which he often uses to identify the right entry point in a particular stock. “Once a company passes my fundamental filters, I look at the charts and apply my basic knowledge of technical analysis to discover good entry points. Sometimes, chart patterns lead to good companies, which have got great potential in terms of fundamentals. Combining fundamental analysis with technical analysis has worked very well for me,”” he says. Hitesh Patel did have his share of failure and burn his fingers on stocks like Unity Infraprojects nd Renuka Sugars which delivered negative return for long. “I bought Unity and Renuka on hopes of successful turnaround, which did not happen. One dictum I follow strictly is to get rid of losers as early as possible, irrespective of the percentage loss. That helps restrict losses and maintain focus,” says Patel. And like every other investor, haste to book profits on the bets where he got it right has been Patel’s biggest regret. “Exiting potential winners with early harvest, without waiting to fully reap the benefits has been the biggest mistake of my life,” he says candidly. Patel has a piece of advice for new equity investors: Make sure you know why you

HE US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is considering new regulations that would prevent foreign workers from getting H-1B visa extensions while their green card applications are pending.

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are investing in a particular company. You should be able a write up of 1-2 pages explaining your their investment thesis before picking a stock, says he. He says people with interest in the market should try and refine their investing skills constantly, and that would eventually help them achieve big success in the market. Having a sound temperament is of paramount importance for success in stock investing, he says. “I started investing in stocks without much knowledge and lost a lot of money between 2003 and 2008,” Patel confesses. “But after reading some investment books and coming in contact with like-minded investors on various platforms, I developed the confidence to go full throttle into stock investing,” he said. Patel keenly follows value investors such Donald Francis and his peers back home such as Ayush Mittal, Abhishek Basumallick, Anant Jain,Dhwanil Desai and Nirav Parikh. However, he makes it a point to stick to his investing style and refused to clone others blindly. With the domestic equity indices ruling at lifetime highs, Patel is currently focusing on quality midcaps in software and commodity space and is looking for turnaround stories. Patel looks content with what he has achieved thus far: It has been a rewarding journey in terms of the love and respect of fellow investors and the financial returns, says he. (-Economic Times).

If the proposal is passed by the US Congress, it has the potential of affecting thousands of Indian skilled professionals working in the US. The H-1B visa issue has been a source of concern for New Delhi. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley have expressed concern to their counterparts, including US President Donald Trump. McClatchy’s bureau reported on Tuesday that the proposal, being drafted in memos shared between DHS department heads, is part of Trump’s “Buy American, Hire American” initiative promised during his 2016 campaign. “The administration is specifically looking at whether it can re-interpret the ‘may grant’ language of the American Competitiveness in the 21st Century Act to stop making the extensions. The Act currently allows the administration to extend the H-1B visas for thousands of immigrants, predominantly Indian immigrants, beyond the allowed two-three year terms if a green card is pending,” reported the news outlet. “The idea is to create a sort of ‘self- deportation’ of hundreds of thousands of Indian tech workers in the United States to open up those jobs for Ameri-

cans,” a US source briefed by Homeland Security officials was quoted as saying. While officials at US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), which is under DHS, said they couldn’t discuss “any part of the pre-decisional processes”, Jonathan Withington, chief of media relations for USCIS, was quoted as saying that “the agency is considering a number of policy and regulatory changes to carry out the President’s ‘Buy American, Hire American’ Executive Order, including a thorough review of employment-based visa programmes.” The H-1B visa is typically issued for three to six years to employers to hire a foreign worker. But H-1B holders who have begun the green card process can often renew their work visas indefinitely. The proposed changes would have a dramatic effect, particularly on Indian visa holders, since over half of all H-1B visas have been awarded to Indian nationals, according to the Pew Research Center. Estimates suggest that over 1 million H-1B visa holders are waiting for green cards, many of whom are from India and have been waiting for over a decade. When contacted, Indian government sources told The Indian Express, “We have been monitoring all the reports about H-1B visa changes… It is one of our high-priority areas of engagement with our interlocutors in the US. We are working with the stakeholders in the US Congress as well as the US administration on this issue.”

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SOUTH ASIA

VOICE OF ASIA 8

Arundhati Roy: the literary canary in India’s coalmine by Alexandre Marchand

Indian caste protests hit Mumbai, Dalits up in arms

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UMBAI, India | AFP | Wednesday 1/3/2018 - Demonstrators from India’s lowest caste blocked roads and railways across Mumbai on Wednesday in protest against violence involving Hindu nationalist groups at an event commemorating a 200-year-

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EW DELHI, India | AFP | Wednesday 1/3/2018 - She may have returned to publishing fiction after a two decade hiatus, but Indian writer Arundhati Roy says she has no plans to sheath her polemical sword anytime soon in a world where the vulnerable are still being “smashed”.

FRIDAY, January 5, 2018

railway tracks, delaying train services which are the lifeline of India’s bustling financial capital. Some schools and business opted to close as a precaution while the city’s famous lunchbox delivery men, called “Dabbawalas”, also cancelled their services.

Sitting in a cafe in the bowels of Old Delhi’s labyrinthine streets on a chilly winter’s afternoon, the 56-year-old still simmers with the kind of fiery political rhetoric that has made her one of her homeland’s harshest modern day critics. “I would find it very hard to live with myself in this country if I didn’t talk about what was going on,” she says. “Not only in India but all over the world, an economic system is being created that is driving people apart,” she adds. “I’m writing about how this system is actually smashing up the vulnerable in this country.” Roy has spent much of the year publicising her new novel -- “The Ministry of Utmost Happiness” -- a sprawling and lavish tale published in June. But inevitably conversations stray onto the kind of political issues she is now equally well known for: Kashmir, Maoist insurgents, environmental activism and the rising communal tensions in modern day India. The novelist and the polemicist is a duality she has worn for twenty years and she’s not going to stop now. The new book’s dedication after all reads: “To, The Unconsoled.” - Fame and acclaim After years of struggling to find her voice, penning television and movie screenplays in Mumbai, the daughter of a Syrian Christian from Kerala and a Hindu Bengali burst onto the scene in 1997 with her debut novel “The God of Small Things”. The story of twins Rahel and Estha and their traumatic childhood in Kerala was a publishing sensation, selling more than six million copies worldwide, scooping up the Booker Prize and turning Roy somewhat uncomfortably into a darling of the global literary set. Many favourably compared her at the time to South Asia heavyweight writers like Salman Rushdie and Vikram Seth. But those hoping for a swift series of fiction follow ups were disappointed. Instead she turned herself into something resembling India’s moral conscience, churning out essays on a broad range

of topics that riled the country’s elite and -- when it came to her harsh criticism of India’s treatment of Kashmir -- even earned her a sedition charge. “I get into so much trouble so many times and I keep promising myself I won’t write another (essay),” she explains. “But it comes from a place where just keeping quiet just doesn’t seem to be an option.” Her essays, she says, are written with a “kind of pacy restlessness”. But the new novel afforded her an opportunity to write more cautiously and slowly. “When I write fiction I’m the exact opposite. I’m just completely relaxed, completely take my time.” Started some ten years ago, “The Ministry of Utmost Happiness” absorbs many of the leftist political subjects she has written about, forming “part of the foundation” of the book. Among the vast cast are Maoist guerrillas and Hindu nationalist mobs, a transgender community struggling against poverty and prejudice in Old Delhi and a love story set against the backdrop of the Kashmir’s long-simmering insurgency. - ‘Constructed chaos’ Compared to her widely acclaimed debut, the reviews for her belated follow-up are more mixed, with some saying the work is long and chaotic. It is a criticism Roy partially accepts, but brushes off. “I know a lot of people describe it as chaos, but that chaos is constructed,” she explains. She expects her readers to spend time exploring the new book.

“It’s looking at the story as though it’s a big city like Delhi,” she says. “You can’t really just read ‘The Ministry of Utmost Happiness’, you have to get to know it, like you get to know a city: walk through big roads, small roads, courtyards, barren places.” Politics comes fairly easily to Roy, but fiction less so. “It took me a lot of time to recover from ‘The God of Small Things’,” she admits. “Not just because of the worldly success, but to write something that I dredged up from some place that was quite deep.” It is unlikely she will shelve her polemical pen anytime soon. Roy says under the stewardship of Hindu nationalist prime minister Narendra Modi, India is at its most polarised place in years. She reels off a list of ills, from protesters recently blinded by police shotgun pellets in Kashmir, to the ongoing prejudice against India’s “untouchable” castes and rising fundamentalism. “There are mobs running around wanting to burn down cinema halls, there are mobs of huge mustachioed men celebrating sati,” she fumes, referencing the historical but extinct tradition where a widow would throw herself onto her husband’s funeral pyre.

The state government has ordered a judicial inquiry into the clashes.

dations.

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In future only 40,000 local tourists will be allowed to enter the historic complex per day, authorities said Wednesday. "We have to ensure the safety of the monument and visitors as well. Crowd management was emerging as a big challenge for us," an official with the Archeological Survey of India -- which controls the monument -- told AFP on condition of anonymity. The restrictions will not apply to foreigners, who pay 1,000 rupees ($16) to enter. Indian visitors normally pay just 40 rupees, but will be able to buy the more expensive ticket if they want to get around the

“There is an attempt to create a social divide which we have to foil unitedly,” said Neelam Gorhe, a leader of the right-wing Hindu party Shiv Sena.

A protester stops a biker to move ahead following the Dalit protest in Bandra West, Mumbai. (Image: Atish/News18) old battle. Members of the Dalit community obstructed roads, damaged buses and marched down

The protests came in response to violence which broke out at a ceremony in a village near Pune in Maharashtra state on Monday, leaving one man

Pakistan allows use of Chinese yuan for trade, investment

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AHORE | AFP | Wednesday 1/3/2018 - Pakistan will allow the Chinese yuan to be used for imports, exports and financing transactions for bilateral trade and investment activities, in a move economists said Wednesday would simplify a massive Chinese investment project. Both public and private sector enterprises may use the yuan for bilateral trade and investment, the central State Bank of Pakistan said in a statement issued Tuesday. “As per current foreign exchange regulations, Chinese Yuan (CNY) is an approved foreign currency for denominating foreign currency transactions in Pakistan,” it said.

Pakistan's Gwadar port at first glance seems an unlikely crown jewel in a multi-billion dollar development project with China aimed at constructing a 21st century Silk Road (File Photo/AFP) The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a $54 billion project launched in 2013 linking western China to the Indian Ocean via Pakistan, has been hailed as a “game changer” by Pakistani officials.

Economic analyst and former government adviser on finance Salman Shah welcomed the State Bank’s move, saying that avoiding dollar transactions in the implementation of CPEC would “simplify matters very considerably”.

The bank said that in light of a massive Chinese infrastructure project in Pakistan, the move would “yield long-term benefits for both the countries”.

limit.

High-tech ship en route to resume hunt for MH370

The Taj Mahal was built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan as a tomb for his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal, who died giving birth in 1631.

Visitors to the UNESCO World Heritage site already have to contend with lengthy queues and heavy security.

by Abhaya Srivastava

On Wednesday politicians called for a peaceful end to the violence.

“It can’t go on like this,” she warns. “Something will arise either out of complete destruction or some kind of revolution. But it can’t go on like this.”

- Chaotic -

Experts say vast crowds of tourists increase wear and tear on the Taj Mahal (File Photo)

Mumbai police said more than 100 demonstrators had been arrested and nine cases of unlawful activity had been registered.

“In terms of regulations in Pakistan, CNY is at par with other international currencies such as USD, Euro and JPY,” it added.

The graves also date back to the 17th century but do not actually contain the bodies of the royal couple, who are buried under a separate lower chamber.

Experts say the vast crowds increase wear and tear on the white marble tomb, which already must undergo regular cleaning to stop it turning yellow from polluted air, and could put pressure on its foun-

Dailt leaders accused rightwing Hindus of inciting Monday’s clashes, which spread to other areas of Maharashtra of which Mumbai is the capital.

Critics of Roy’s essays say they can be hysterical and narcissistic. But Roy is unrepentant, seeing herself as a much needed canary in the coal mine.

Anyone wanting to see the main crypt, which houses the couple's spectacular marble graves inlaid with semi-precious stones, will also have to pay for the pricier ticket.

Millions of mostly Indian tourists visit the Taj Mahal every year and their numbers are increasing steadily as domestic travel becomes easier.

Dalits had gathered to celebrate the anniversary of the Bhima-Koregaon battle in 1818, in which they helped British colonial forces defeat the high-caste Peshwas.

Indian author Arundhati Roy during an interview burst onto the literary scene in 1997 with her debut novel “The God of Small Things”. She may have returned to publishing fiction after a two decade hiatus, but Indian writer Arundhati Roy says she has no plans to sheath her polemical sword anytime soon in a world where the vulnerable are still being “smashed”. (Photo by Money Sharma)

India limits visitors to save Taj Mahal

GRA, India | AFP | Wednesday 1/3/2018 - India is to restrict the number of daily visitors to the Taj Mahal in an attempt to preserve the iconic 17th-century monument to love, its biggest tourist attraction.

dead.

The plan to restrict visitors comes after five people were injured in a crush on the last day of the year, which often attracts large crowds. "It's a welcome move because the last time we came here it was very chaotic," Seema Sarkar, a tourist from the eastern Indian state of West Bengal, told AFP. Local tourist police inspector R.B. Pandey said it was a much needed step.

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UALA LUMPUR, Malaysia | AFP | Wednesday 1/3/2018 - A US exploration firm said Wednesday it has sent a hightech vessel in hopes of soon resuming the hunt for flight MH370, whose disappearance is one of aviation's greatest mysteries. The Malaysia Airlines jet disappeared in March 2014 with 239 people -- mostly from China -- on board en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing after diverting from its flight path. No sign of the plane was found in a 120,000 square kilometre (46,000 square mile) search zone selected by satellite analysis of the jet's likely trajectory. The sea search -- the largest in aviation history -- was called off in January last year but looks set to resume soon. Exploration firm Ocean Infinity said it was sending a research vessel to the zone in the southern Indian Ocean and hopes to finalise a deal with the Malaysian government to

"It's priceless heritage and if we don't cap the tourist numbers it will be lost for future generations," he said. "You just cannot control such huge crowds." Daily visitors to the Taj Mahal average 10,000-15,000 but can be much higher at weekends, going up to around

70,000. Nearly 6.5 million visited the monument in 2016, according to government figures. The Taj Mahal has attracted world leaders and royalty, in-

They hope the power stations and transmission lines built as part of the project will help ease Pakistan’s chronic power crisis.

restart the hunt in the coming days.

The Chinese economy is now one of the biggest in the world, he said, justifying the use of the Chinese currency of choice.

to scour the seabed for the jet.

"We are moving the vessel, Seabed Constructor, towards the vicinity of the possible search zone," a spokesman for the company told AFP.

Malaysia's Deputy Transport Minister Aziz Kaprawi confirmed negotiations with Ocean Infinity were in the final stages: "They know we are very serious in taking their offer."

"This is designed to save time should the contract award be forthcoming, as hoped."

Ocean Infinity was one of three companies which had bid to resume the hunt.

The Norwegian research vessel being leased by Ocean Infinity set off from South Africa and was aiming to arrive in the search area by mid-January.

Australia's national science body CSIRO released a report in April suggesting the doomed plane was "most likely" north of the former search zone in an area of approximately 25,000 square kilometres.

The firm wants to start the hunt, which will be on a "no find, no fee" basis, during a period of good weather expected in January and February. The vessel is carrying several autonomous submarines which can be launched from the ship

Only three confirmed fragments of MH370 have been found, all of them on western Indian Ocean shores, including a two-metre wing part known as a flaperon.

Visit us online

Visit: www. voiceofasiaonline.com cluding former US President Bill Clinton. Diana, the late British princess, was famously photographed alone on a marble seat there in 1992.

But the mausoleum faces an array of threats, including the yellowing effects of smog. In 2016, green stains on its rear wall were blamed on excrement from insects.


US/ASIA

VOICE OF ASIA 9

FRIDAY, January 5, 2018

China's Ant Financial drops Mon- Beijing records best air quality eyGram deal as US approval fails in five years in 2017

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EIJING, China | AFP | Wednesday 1/3/2018 - Ant Financial, an affiliate of Chinese internet titan Alibaba, has been forced to abandon a $1.2 billion deal to buy US remittances firm MoneyGram after failing to get approval from regulators in Washington. The decision by the Committee on Foreign Investment (CFIUS) will deal a blow to Alibaba boss Jack Ma's push into the world's biggest financial market and follows a number of moves to prevent Chinese purchases of US firms. The companies jointly announced the termination of the proposed takeover on Tuesday, with MoneyGram chief executive Alex Holmes saying: "The geopolitical environment has changed considerably since we first announced the proposed transaction with Ant Financial nearly a year ago. "Despite our best efforts to work cooperatively with the US government, it has now become clear that CFIUS will not approve this merger." The deal, announced a year ago, had been submitted to the CFIUS several times, but failed to allay concerns about the security of US customers' data. "We hope the US can create a level playing field and predictable environment for Chinese enterprises to invest and start up businesses in the US," Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said during a regular news briefing in response to a question about the deal. Controlled by Ma, Ant Fi-

Chinese internet titan Alibaba nancial -- which provides mobile payment, lending and credit services to a mostly Chinese clientèle -- has looked to expand abroad along with Alibaba, China's largest e-commerce platform. Nasdaq-listed MoneyGram's shares sank in after-hours trading. The two companies will still look to cooperate in other ways despite the setback, Doug Feagin, president of Ant Financial International, said in a statement. "While Ant Financial won't have a direct ownership relationship with MoneyGram, we look forward to working closely with the MoneyGram team to make our platform even more accessible -- particularly to unbanked and underserved communities globally." The news comes almost a year after Ma met then-President-elect Donald Trump, promising to bring a million jobs to the US. The personal relationship did not sway the Trump Admin-

istration, though, which has launched a number of antidumping trade cases against China and is in the process of investigating it over intellectual property issues. The administration labelled China a "revisionist" power last month. The CFIUS, which reviews all foreign takeovers of US firms with potential national security concerns, has squashed a number of Chinese purchases of US businesses in recent years, as concern grows in Washington about selling critical technology to China. In September, Trump blocked the sale of Oregonbased Lattice Semiconductor to private equity firm Canyon Bridge, its Chinese partner Yitai Capital and Yitai's parent the China Venture Capital Fund Corp over national security concerns. The CFIUS has also thwarted takeovers of US chip makers Micron Technology and Sandisk by state-owned Tsinghua Unigroup.

Air quality in China’s notoriously smog-ridden capital in 2017 was the best since pollution control measures were implemented five years ago

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EIJING, China | AFP | Wednesday 1/3/2018 Air quality in China’s notoriously smog-ridden capital in 2017 was the best since pollution control measures were implemented five years ago, the Beijing government announced Wednesday. The city met its targets with year-on-year “improvement of regional air quality and overall favourable meteorological conditions”, a statement posted on the Beijing Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau’s website, said. According to the bureau, the average PM2.5 level in 2017 was 58 micrograms per cubic meter -- down 20.5 percent from the year before. PM2.5 is a measure of the density of hazardous particulate in the air. The World Health

Organization recommends an annual PM2.5 level of 10 micrograms per cubic metre. Beijing also recorded improvements in the density of other major pollutants such as sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and PM10, the latter also 20 percent lower than in 2016. And while the number of heavy pollution days decreased from 58 in 2013 to 23, Beijing also enjoyed 226 “good air” days last year -- 28 more than in 2016, the bureau said. Li Xiang, a bureau employee, told the official Xinhua news agency that “demolition of coal-fired boilers, phasing out vehicles with high emission and upgrading of industrial structure” have all contributed to smog reduction. In the last five years, she

said, Beijing has shut down six cement plants and closed or upgraded nearly 2,000 companies in printing, casting, furniture manufacturing and other sectors. The capital has experienced an unusual streak of clear air this winter, a season that is historically the worst for smog. In November, PM2.5 levels dropped 54 percent year-onyear. Notably there has been absence of coal in at least three million homes surrounding Beijing, with many towns and cities newly equipped with gas or electric heaters. However, some residents have complained of inconsistent or unaffordable heating in designated “no coal” zones in northern Hebei province.

AAPI’s 11th Annual Global Healthcare Summit begins in Kolkata Continued from Page 1

Featuring Research/Poster Contest, First Responders Training, Inaugural Gala famous Calcutta Medical College helped facilitate dissemination and exchange of best practices among the upcoming young physicians of Indian origin from around the world. Dr. Gopal Batra, chair of the research contest, said, the program invited applicants from all Medical Students, Residents, Young faculty up to 10 years after PG, Research Associates, Research Scientists, PhD Students, Hospital and Healthcare Management Students, AYUSH Professionals, Young Innovators etc. of India origin to submit articles/abstract based on Original Research done by him/ her and that it has not been presented, published or submitted anywhere else. The winners of the Research Paper Competition conducted under various categories, were awarded with a citation, cash award and trophy at the inaugural gala this evening.

tries across the globe to present cutting edge scientific findings as these relate to clinical practice, representing major Centers of Excellence, Institutions, and Professional Associations are represented by the invited chairs and speakers. The theme chosen for the GHS this year is Healthcare, Career and Commerce, with the focus on Women’s Healthcare, including high priority areas such as Cardiology, Maternal & Child Health, Diabetes, Oncology, Surgery, Mental Health, HIT, Allergy, Immunology & Lung Health, Gastroenterology, Transplant and impact of comorbidities. Offering trainings to First Responders, a CEO Forum by a galaxy of CEOs from around the world, inauguration of AAPI-sponsored clinic, CMEs, cultural events, Dinner Cruise on the Ganges, interactive roundtables, clinical practice workshops, scientific poster/ research session and meetthe-expert sessions, Women’s Forum by internally acclaimed successful worm from India, a special session on PublicPrivate Partnership featuring AAPI Healthcare Charitable showcase & innovation, and Town Hall sessions resulting in a White Paper on helping create policies benefitting the people of India, are only some of the major highlights of the Healthcare Summit, Dr. Samadder said. Among the many initiatives, the Summit will result in the inauguration of the first ever free AAPI sponsored health clinic in the state of West Bengal, serving thousands of people from the northeastern region of India.

Organizers and judges of the GHS Young Innovators Research Competition at the famous Calcutta Medical College, being recognized with plaques. In collaboration with the American University of Antigua (AUA) College of Medicine, and the American Heart Association, AAPI is organizing a 3-day workshop/training (EMTC) training over 150 first responders, including police, para-medical professional at the KPC Medical College and Hospital, Kolkata as part of the GHS. The trainings are aimed at decreasing the number of deaths, especially from road accidents by enabling the first responders to provide life support to victims of accidents. The training, which includes CPI and other medical services are being provided by

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professional trainers from the US and is offered to personnel from Kolkata Police, West Bengal Police, Kolkata Traffic Police, Police Training School, and Criminal Investigation Department, West Bengal.

throughout India. The GHS Young Innovators Research Competition at the

A special unique to the GHS 2017was a session on the Impact of Cinema on Public Health and awareness with a live conversation with Bollywood stars and producers, including Dr. Kapasi, Shekar das, Dipankar Banerjee, who shared

their personal experiences of making movies on social themes that imparts education on various social topics. Jonathan Watt from the American Consulate in Kolkata shared with the audience about the importance of Kolkata. The first ever American Consulate in the Asian region was established in 1782 in Kolkata by an order by the US President George Washington, by appointing Benjamine Joy at the Consulate. According to Dr. Naresh Parikh, President-Elect of AAPI, who had proposed the vote of thanks, the scientific program of GHS 2017 was developed by leading experts with the contributions of a stellar Scientific Advisory Board and International Scientific Committee, while the event featuring plenary sessions, interactive round-tables, clinical practice workshops, and meet the expert sessions. The day long events came to a close with a sumptuous dinner and a live music concert by popular Bollywood singer, Alka Yagnik.

“EMTC has become an official National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians (NAEMT) Training Center, bringing it to the forefront of both international and national discussions and initiatives that have a significant impact on the EMS profession,” said Neal Simon, President of AUA. AAPI Advisor Anwar Feroz said, he hopes the EMTC can set up training centers for basic CPR and BLS

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In collaboration with the American University of Antigua (AUA) College of Medicine, and the American Heart Association, AAPI is organizing a 3-day workshop/training (EMTC) to over 150 first responders, including police, para-medical professional at the KPC Medical College and Hospital, Kolkata as part of the GHS 29017


US/WORLD

VOICE OF ASIA 10

Excerpts from new book about Trump presidency

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NITED NATIONS, United States | AFP | Wednesday 1/3/2018 - UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Wednesday welcomed the reopening of a hotline between North and South Korea, and voiced hope for more diplomatic initiatives to end the peninsula's nuclear standoff.

The following are excerpts published by New York magazine, The Guardian and The Washington Post from the new book by Michael Wolff about President Donald Trump, "Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House."

Trump also issued a statement denouncing comments made in the book by Steve Bannon, saying that the former White House chief strategist had "lost his mind." - Trump team thought it would lose "Shortly after 8 p.m. on Election Night, when the unexpected trend -- Trump might actually win -- seemed confirmed, Don Jr. told a friend that his father, or DJT, as he calls him, looked as if he had seen a ghost. Melania was in tears -and not of joy. "There was, in the space of little more than an hour, in Steve Bannon's not unamused observation, a befuddled Trump morphing into a disbelieving Trump and then into a horrified Trump. But still to come was the final transformation: Suddenly, Donald Trump became a man who believed that he deserved to be, and was wholly capable of being, the president of the United States." - Bannon on meeting with Russians "The three senior guys in the campaign (Donald Trump Jr, son-in-law Jared Kushner and campaign manager Paul Manafort) thought it was a good idea to meet with a foreign government inside Trump Tower in the conference room on the 25th floor -– with no lawyers. They didn't have any lawyers. Even if you thought that this was not treasonous, or unpatriotic, or bad shit, and I happen to think it's all of that, you should have called the FBI immediately." - Bannon on China "The real enemy, (Bannon) said, was China. China was the

UN chief welcomes reopened Korean hotline

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ASHINGTON, United States | 1/3/2018 (Contains strong language.)

Without addressing specifics, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said there were things in the book that were "completely untrue."

FRIDAY, January 5, 2018

Former White House strategist Steve Bannon's comments in a new book about the Trump administration have drawn the ire of the president first front in a new Cold War. China's everything. Nothing else matters. We don't get China right, we don't get anything right. This whole thing is very simple. China is where Nazi Germany was in 1929 to 1930. The Chinese, like the Germans, are the most rational people in the world, until they're not. And they're gonna flip like Germany in the '30s. You're going to have a hypernationalist state, and once that happens, you can't put the genie back in the bottle." - Ivanka harbors presidential ambitions "Balancing risk against reward, both Jared and Ivanka decided to accept roles in the West Wing over the advice of almost everyone they knew. It was a joint decision by the couple, and, in some sense, a joint job. Between themselves, the two had made an earnest deal: If sometime in the future the opportunity arose, she'd be the one to run for president. The first woman president, Ivanka entertained, would not be Hillary Clinton; it would be Ivanka Trump." - Trump fears being poisoned "He had a longtime fear of being poisoned, one reason why he liked to eat at McDonald's — nobody knew he was coming and the food was safely pre-made." - Trump on his staff "When he got on the phone after dinner, he'd speculate on the flaws and weaknesses of each member of his staff. Bannon was disloyal (not to mention he always looks like shit). (Chief of staff Reince)

Priebus was weak (not to mention he was short — a midget). Kushner was a suck-up. (White House spokesman) Sean Spicer was stupid (and looks terrible too). (Senior adviser Kellyanne) Conway was a crybaby. Jared and Ivanka should never have come to Washington." - Obsession with Murdoch "Rupert Murdoch, who had promised to pay a call on the president-elect, was running late. When some of the guests made a move to leave, an increasingly agitated Trump assured them that Rupert was on his way. 'He's one of the greats, the last of the greats,' Trump said. 'You have to stay to see him.' Not grasping that he was now the most powerful man in the world, Trump was still trying mightily to curry favor with a media mogul who had long disdained him as a charlatan and fool."

North and South Korea earlier Wednesday reopened the communication channel that had been shut since 2016, following an offer from North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un to send a team to next month's Winter Olympics in South Korea. "It is always a positive development to have a dialogue between the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and the Republic of Korea," said UN spokesman Farhan Haq. Guterres "welcomes the reopening of the inter-Korean communication channel," he added. UN Security Council resolutions call for the de-nuclearization of the Korean peninsula and "we hope that enhanced diplomatic initiatives will help to achieve that goal," said Haq. South Korea has offered to hold talks with the North on

Inter-korean dialogue is always "a positive development," says Secretary-General of the United Nations Antonio Guterres, pictured on December 21, 2017 January 9 to discuss "matters of mutual interest" including the North's Olympic participation. Guterres' support for interKorean dialogue stood in contrast to remarks from US Ambassador Nikki Haley, who on Tuesday dismissed the overtures between Pyongyang and Seoul as a "Band-Aid". The United States, backed by Japan, is pushing for sanctions and total isolation of Kim's regime in response to a series of missile launches and nuclear tests. Russia, and North Korea's

sole major ally China, have repeatedly called for talks to deescalate tensions, but the United States has been adamant that Pyongyang must first freeze its military programs. Haley warned on Tuesday that if Pyongyang carries out another missile test, it would face the likelihood of even more sanctions. The Security Council adopted a new raft of sanctions on December 22 to restrict oil supplies to North Korea -- the third set of measures imposed on Pyongyang in a year.

Iran at UN accuses US of 'grotesque' meddling

- The comb-over explained "(Ivanka Trump) treated her father with a degree of detachment, even irony, going so far as to make fun of his combover to others. She often described the mechanics behind it to friends: an absolutely clean pate -- a contained island after scalp-reduction surgery -- surrounded by a furry circle of hair around the sides and front, from which all ends are drawn up to meet in the center and then swept back and secured by a stiffening spray. The color, she would point out to comical effect, was from a product called Just for Men — the longer it was left on, the darker it got. Impatience resulted in Trump's orange-blond hair color."

Macron wants new law to fight 'fake news'

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NITED NATIONS, United States | AFP | Wednesday 1/3/2018 - Iran on Wednesday angrily accused the United States at the United Nations of meddling in its domestic affairs after President Donald Trump backed anti-government protests. Iran's UN Ambassador Gholamali Khoshroo said in a letter that the US government "has stepped up its acts of intervention in a grotesque way in Iran's internal affairs under the pretext of providing support for sporadic protests, which in several instances were hijacked by infiltrators." Khoshroo charged that the United States had violated international law and the principles of the UN charter, and urged countries to condemn Washington's statements. "The president and vice president of the United States, in their numerous absurd tweets, incited Iranians to engage in disruptive acts," said Khoshroo in the letter to the Security Council and to UN SecretaryGeneral Antonio Guterres. "The US Department of State went so far as admitting that the US government wants to encourage protestors in Iran to change their government, admitting that the US is engaged in interfering with the internal affairs of Iran through Facebook and Twitter," he added. The letter was released after Trump pledged to help Irani-

Iran's envoy to the United Nations Gholamali Khoshroo, pictured in 2015, accused the United States of violating international law and the principles of the UN charter with its verbal support for anti-government protests ans "take back" their government and the White House weighed sanctions against those involved in the crackdown against demonstrators. "Such respect for the people of Iran as they try to take back their corrupt government. You will see great support from the United States at the appropriate time!" Trump tweeted. US Ambassador Nikki Haley said Tuesday she would be seeking an emergency UN Security Council meeting to discuss the violence that has left 21 dead.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres earlier deplored the loss of life during the anti-government protests and said "further violence must be avoided." UN rights chief Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein separately urged Iranian authorities "to handle the wave of protests that have taken place around the country with great care so as not to further inflame violence and unrest."

But diplomats said Wednesday that no such meeting was scheduled for the time being.

Protests over economic problems broke out in Iran's second city Mashhad on December 28 and quickly spread across the country, turning against the regime as a whole.

Russia and China are among the countries that are expected to oppose Security Council action on Iran, diplomats said.

Tens of thousands of Iranians took to the streets in several cities on Wednesday for proregime rallies.

Pakistan hits back at Trump's... tweet Continued from page 1

French President Emmanuel Macron said France would develop laws to combat fake news in order to 'protect democracy'. (AFP)

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RANCE, 3 January 2018 (AFP) - Macron who came to power in May, has previously lashed out at the Russian outlets as spreaders of "deceitful propaganda" and "organs of influence". "We are going to develop our legal means of protecting democracy against fake news," Macron said in a New Year's speech to the press. Details of the bill will be released in the coming weeks, he said, but he told reporters that media would be forced to reveal all sponsors of their content among other measures to boost transparency. Judges will be able to order media to take down fake news, block access to offending websites, and close social media accounts that spread untruths, Macron said.

France's audiovisual regulator will see its powers boosted to better allow it to "fight any destabilisation attempt by television channels controlled or influenced by foreign states", he added. This would allow agreements allowing such channels to operate in France to be "suspended or cancelled", also taking into account the content they publish online, he said. RT and Sputnik both have French-language websites, and during a joint press conference with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in May Macron accused them of publishing "defamatory untruths" and "deceitful propaganda". Since then, RT -- formerly known as Russia Today -- has launched a French-language TV channel, putting regulators on their guard.

Macron saw thousands of internal documents leaked online while running for president, which he blasted as an attempt at "democratic destabilisation like that already seen in the United States during the last presidential campaign". On Wednesday he said "thousands of propaganda accounts on social networks" were spreading "all over the world, in all languages, lies invented to tarnish political officials, personalities, public figures, journalists".

stan... could not be trivialised so heartlessly by pushing all of it behind a monetary value -and that too an imagined one," it said. Foreign minister Khawaja Asif also mocked the figure on Twitter, suggesting Trump hire a US audit firm to check it "on our expense". Trump first hinted at cutting aid to Pakistan in an August speech charting his Afghan policy, and administration officials including Vice President Mike Pence have also intimated cuts in recent months.

France's government will not be the first to attempt to fight fake news through the law.

But the Pakistani statement said recent interaction with US officials had been "useful", citing visits in recent months by Pentagon chief James Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson as "robust and forwardlooking".

In Germany, recent legislation puts social networks at risk of fines of up to 50 million euros ($60 million) if they do not remove fake news and hateful posts promptly.

Observers said that without further information the tweet could just be more hot air between the allies, whose often fractious relationship has taken a nosedive under Trump.

"Trump is in the habit of issuing hardline statements which only spoil the atmosphere and violate diplomatic niceties," analyst Hasan Askari told AFP, adding that Pakistan should seek more information. - Ambassador summoned The statement came one day after US ambassador David Hale was called to the foreign ministry in Islamabad in a rare public rebuke. Neither US nor Pakistani officials have commented on what was said at the meeting. After the September 11 attacks on the United States, Washington forged a strategic alliance with Islamabad to help in its fight against militancy. But Washington and Kabul have long accused Islamabad of supporting militant groups including the Taliban, believed to have links to Pakistan's shadowy military establishment which aims to use them in Afghanistan as a regional bulwark against arch-nemesis India. Islamabad has repeatedly denied the accusations, lam-

basting the US for ignoring the thousands who have been killed on Pakistani soil and the billions spent fighting extremists. On Tuesday China, which has stepped up a multi-billion dollar economic investment in Pakistan, spoke out in its defence, with a foreign ministry spokesman praising its "outstanding contribution to the global cause of counterterrorism". Trump's August speech, in which he accused Islamabad of harbouring "agents of chaos", triggered a series of high-level diplomatic meetings in the US and Pakistan. The Trump administration also told Congress it was weighing whether to withhold $255 million in earmarked aid to Islamabad over its failure to crack down more effectively on terror groups. But though Islamabad said Tuesday that recent meetings had created a "better understanding", it has given few signs of concessions since August.


SPORTS

FRIDAY, January 5, 2018

BASKETBALL Ball brothers land in Lithuania on ‘journey to NBA’

FOOTBALL Texans organization wins number of awards in 2017 by Deepi Sidhu

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he Houston Texans may have wrapped up their 2017 campaign with a 4-12 record, but the year also had its share of honors for the organization. The Texans were recognized for a number of awards for their contributions to business, sports, community and leadership. - Te x a n s presid e n t Jamey Rootes was named Houston Business Journal’s 2016 Business Person of the Year based on his accomplishments as the 2016 Chair of the Greater Houston Partnership and Super Bowl 51 Committee. -Houston Business Journal recognized Jennifer Davenport, vice president of marketing and community development, and David Fletcher, general manager of Lone Star Sports & Entertainment, as two of their 2017 40 Under 40. The annual list celebrates 40 individuals under the age of 40 who have proven themselves as key industry leaders within their company and in the community. -The Professional Football Writers of America (PFWA) named the Texans Public Relations department as a 2017 Pete Rozelle Award co-winner. The Rozelle Award is given to the NFL club public relations staff that consistently strives for excellence in its dealings and relationships with the media. -PR News selected Amy Palcic as one of its 2017 class of Top Women in PR, an annual list comprised of women who have made bold advances in the communications field, managing crises, developing brand messages, protecting and building brand reputa-

VOICE OF ASIA 11

by Vaidotas Beniusis

tions, and creating content for digital platforms. -The Texans Digital Media team won a Shortie, an award that nationally recognizes the best of social media. #TexansCare Volunteer Day earned a trophy in the Sports category after chronicling seven different volunteer opportunities over five hours with Texans players, ambassadors, cheerleaders, employees and fans across the city.

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ILNIUS, Lithuania | AFP Flamboyant basketball dad LaVar Ball landed with two of his sons in Lithuania on Wednesday to begin their international pro careers, calling it part of their “journey” to the NBA’s Los Angeles Lakers. A Twitter feud with US President Donald Trump shot LaVar Ball into the international spotlight in November.

Trump accused him of being an “Ungrateful fool!” for downplaying his help in getting son LiAngelo returned to the United States from China. The 19-year-old had been arrested along with two UCLA teammates for shoplifting designer sunglasses. After UCLA benched the youngster, dad LaVar agreed to a contract offer in Lithuania.

-The Houston Business Journal named the Texans as the No. 1 Most Philanthropic Business among midsized companies. -The Houston Chronicle recognized the Texans organization as one of Houston’s Top Workplaces of 2017 for a fifth consecutive year. The selection of Top Workplaces is based on feedback from the employee survey results. Other award finalists: -The #SomosTexans campaign was a Shortie finalist as trending hashtag to reach international fans when the Houston Texans played the Oakland Raiders in Mexico City in the first Monday Night Football game played outside of the United States. -The Houston Texans Foundation and Community Relations were also among the top 16 chosen as a finalist for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Sports Award, an honor recognizing professional teams, individuals and organizations that strengthen and serve communities through sport. The Texans Foundation was selected out of a pool of 130 applicants across all professional sports from around the United States and Canada.

TENNIS Injured Nishikori out of Australian Open

“I’m gonna get all my boys on the Lakers, but we gonna come over here and have some fun first,” Ball senior told reporters Wednesday night after landing at Vilnius airport. His eldest son Lonzo, 20, already plays in the NBA for the Lakers. Sons LiAngelo and 16-year-old LaMelo will make their pro career debut in Lithuania’s the Vytautas club, ranked last in the Baltic EU state’s basketball league and located in the small southern town of Prienai, population 10,000. - ‘Big Baller’ The contract, signed last month, triggered interest on both sides of Atlantic. “You know what, we didn’t choose Lithuania, Lithuania chose us!”, LaVar Ball, who created the “Big Baller” brand, told reporters. Basketball is dubbed the second religion after Catholicism in Lithuania, a country of 2.8 million that is ranked number five in the world. The Vytautas club tied for last place in the 10-team national league. A special “Party Bus” took tooks the Balls to their new residence at a luxury spa hotel in the resort town of Birstonas, just across the river from Prienai.

US basketball player LiAngelo Ball poses with fans upon his arrival at Vilnius airport in Lithuania, on January 3, 2018, as he and his brother are about to make their basketball pro career debut in the Lithuanian Vytautas club (AFP Photo/Petras Malukas) The younger brothers of Lonzo, the LA Lakers’ star rookie point guard, will play more minutes in the less competitive Baltic League, with their debut likely next Tuesday.

will put their town on the map.

“Most of the journalists are hyped on their arrival, but not actual playing. We all understand that this deal is not about basketball at all,” sport analyst Donatas Urbonas told AFP.

Lithuania’s Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius also offered a warm welcome to the teens.

“It’s all about Big Baller brand,” he added. The Lithuanian club has also described the contract as a “commercial project”, and has already attracted new sponsors after the deal was signed, according to local media.

“Nobody knows where Prienai is. Maybe now they will,” 49-year-old construction worker Rimantas Bisliukas added.

“Looking forward to watch you playing in #Lithuania - the temple of #Basketball - Ball Brothers! Definitely winning destination!,” Linkevicius tweeted. US President Trump’s Twitter tirade made the family famous after the LiAngelo’s Chinese shoplifting escapade.

A scrolling red LED sign on a restaurant in the host town exclaimed “PRIENAI GOT BALLS!!!!!” ahead of the brothers’ arrival. They will shoot hoops in the nearby 1,500-seat gym.

“It wasn’t the White House, it wasn’t the State Department, it wasn’t father LaVar’s so-called people on the ground in China that got his son out of a long term prison sentence - IT WAS ME,” Trump tweeted.

“We were told they eat only pizzas and burgers. We have both so we don’t need to change much,” says Jaunius Malisauskas, the owner of TangoPizza.

“Just think LaVar, you could have spent the next 5 to 10 years during Thanksgiving with your son in China, but no NBA contract to support you,” Trump continued, before calling the Ball patriarch an “Ungrateful fool!”.

Locals are hoping the Ball deal

Kim says N.Korea could participate in South’s Winter Olympics

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EOUL, South Korea | AFP | Monday 1/1/2018 - Kim Jong-Un on Monday gave the first indication that North Korea could participate in next month’s Winter Olympics in the South, despite tensions over Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons programme. “I sincerely hope the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics will be staged successfully,” said Kim, the North Korean leader, in his new year’s address to the nation. “We are willing to take necessary measures including to dispatch our delegation. “For this purpose, authorities of the North and South would be able to meet in the near future,” he said. Seoul’s presidential Blue House responded positively to Kim’s proposal for talks about sending a delegation to the Games. “We welcome it,” a statement said. “Should the Olympics be staged successfully, it will contribute to peace not only on the Korean peninsula but in the region and the world as well.”

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ELBOURNE, Australia | AFP - Japanese star Kei Nishikori pulled out of the Australian Open Thursday, saying he was not ready for best of five set matches as he struggles to overcome a long-standing wrist injury. The Asian number one has not played competitively since last August after suffering a torn tendon in his right wrist during a practice session at Cincinnati. “I am very sorry to announce that I will miss the Aussie Open this year,” he said on his website of the opening Grand Slam of the year, starting in Melbourne on January 15. “The Aussie Open is my favourite Slam ... it’s my ‘home’ Slam. “It’s the Slam that takes incredible care of the players and their teams, and it hurts that I will have to miss it this year. “My rehab is going well but I am just not ready 100 percent to come back yet in best of five set matches.” Nishikori is not the only top player struggling with injury, with a who’s who of the top names in the game battling to be fit for Melbourne Park. Former world number ones Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray are both

Twelve-time Grand Slam winner Djokovic hasn’t played since a right elbow problem forced him to quit Wimbledon in the quarter-finals in July.

Lee Hee-Beom, the head of the Pyeongchang Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (POCOG) told AFP: “We actively welcome the North’s suggestion that it is willing to engage in talks for the participation in the Olympics.

He has already cancelled scheduled appearances at an exhibition in Abu Dhabi and the Qatar Open, but said late Wednesday he will test his elbow next week at the Kooyong Classic in Melbourne and a Tie Break Tens tournament in the city.

“We’ve been preparing for the Olympics on the assumption that the North will eventually take part in the games,” he said, adding that POCOG have in place protocols for accommodation and transport for the North’s athletes.

in doubt for the tournament.

Murray is also struggling, withdrawing from the ongoing Brisbane International as he works to recover from a right hip injury which has kept him out of action since Wimbledon. The writing was on the wall for Nishikori, who also withdrew from the Brisbane event. The 28-year-old, who reached a career high world number four in 2015, said in November he had chosen rehabilitation over surgery to repair the damage and was targeting a return to action at Brisbane. It is a major blow for the popular Japanese player, who concluded his 2017 season with a 30-13 match record.

- ‘Peace Olympics’ Seoul and POCOG have billed the Games, which open on February 9, as a “peace Olympics” and have been keen for the North to take part. Two North Korean athletes -- pairs figure skaters Ryom Tae-Ok and Kim Ju-Sik -- qualified for the Games but the North Korean Olympic Committee missed an October 30 deadline to confirm to the International Skating Union that they would participate. The pair could still be invited to compete by the International Olympic Committee. “The IOC says the North would be able to take part in any event it wants,” said Lee. “But North Korea is likely to send athletes to figure

South Korean figure skater You Young (L) passes the Olympic flame to comedian Yoo Jae-Suk during a ceremony of the start of the Olympic torch relay across South Korea, at Incheon bridge, on November 1, 2017 skating, short track skating, cross country and women’s ice hockey.” The Winter Olympic main venues are just 80 kilometres (50 miles) from the heavily fortified border with the North and the build-up to the event has been overshadowed by tensions running high over the Pyongyang’s escalating nuclear and missile tests. Kim said the Olympics would “serve as a good chance to display our Korean people’s grace toward the world.” “The year 2018 is a significant year for both the North and the South, with the North marking the 70th anniversary of its birth and the South hosting the Winter Olympics.” - ‘Unstable state’ Kim did strike one note of caution. “The sharp military tension between the North and the South must be eased and a peaceful atmosphere should be in place,” he said. Professor Kim Hyun-Wook at the Korea National Diplomatic Academy said the North was trying to use the Olympics to improve ties with the South despite tensions with the US showing no signs of abating. “The US will find it awkward to put brakes on inter-Korean dialogue focused on Pyeongchang,” he said. North Korea’s past participation

in sporting events in the South has largely depended on the political and military situation, though they did send a full team to the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon, near Seoul. “It is quite noteworthy that the North’s leader himself says the North is willing to participate in Pyeongchang,” Professor Yang Moo-Jin of the University of North Korean Studies in Seoul told AFP. “The chances of the North coming to the Olympics now seem to be more than 80 percent.” North and South Korea have been divided by a demilitarised zone since the end of the 1950-53 Korean war. South Korean president Moon Jae-In last month proposed delaying Seoul’s annual joint military exercises with the US until after the Games. The Key Resolve and Foal Eagle drills usually start in late February or early March and run until the end of April, usually contributing to a spike in tensions, with Pyongyang condemning the exercises as rehearsals for invasion. Pyeongchang is a county in Gangwon province of South Korea located in the Taebaek Mountains region. It is home to several Buddhist temples, including Woljeongsa. It is approximately 180 km (110 mi) east southeast of Seoul, the capital of South Korea.


VOICE OF ASIA 12

FRIDAY, January 5, 2018

Wishing Our Readers, Advertisers and Well-wishers A Happy New Year!

Left to Right: Office Manager, Priyan Mathew, Graphic Designer David Garvin, Marketing Director, Susan Pothanikat, Publisher Koshy Thomas and his wife Moani Thomas and Editor-in-Chief, Shobana Muratee. Image on the right is VOA’s Distribution in Charge, Chris Egharevba.

Published on Dec 14, 2017 There is no disputing Koshy Thomas and his love for Southwest Houston. He says the shops, food, and people make his neighborhood special. Here is his “Love Letter to Houston.”

Koshy Thomas and his Love Letter to Houston

Watch video on Youtube: https://youtu.be/B0Fr6MTT2EU Happy New Year! Here we are: 2018. 1987 to 2017 30 years of uninterrupted service to the community through Voice of Asia is just gone by. We have been blessed to say goodbye to one year and enter into a new one. The sobering fact is that not everyone who started 2017 with us is here to usher in 2018 with us. You and I did not get this precious opportunity to greet 2018 because we are more deserving or more worthy than those who did not. We are here because of one reason: the grace of God. Would we not be remiss if we did not reflect on what is required of us in return for this privilege? This reflection yields responses as varied as the people to whom you pose this question. Some will say that the primary responsibility we have is to honor those who are closest to us. This is true whether the honor presents itself as parents taking care of young children or children taking care of aging parents or parents having to reabsorb responsibilities for their adult children who are still struggling to find their way in life or a myriad of other ways in which we create opportunities to take care of those we love. Others to whom you pose this same question will say that the most important responsibility we owe is to ourselves.They will argue that if we don’t take care of ourselves, whether it is physically, emotionally or financially, we will not be able to take care of others. This is the logic airlines use when they insist that, in the case of an emergency, we place the facemask over our own face before we try to assist others. Regardless of how we answer the question posed above, many of us may start this new year obsessing over much the same things: losing 10lbs, the same 10lbs we obsessed about losing last year, fretting about our child’s college application that may not be accepted by the “right” school, the stock picks that didn’t pan out exactly as we hoped, that real estate investment that went belly up, the x-rays that sparked alarm bells, the love of our life who decided he/she really didn’t want that role anymore or whatever else it is that keeps us awake at 3AM. There is nothing wrong with working hard, being ambitious for ourselves and for our children, or for wanting to improve our lot in life and making it all count. But, is it possible for us to widen our aperture just a bit? Is it possible to widen our circle this year so that we include those we don’t normally include? Perhaps we can take instruction from Mahatma Gandhi’s life that, “The best way to find yourself is in the service of others.” A life marked by service of others has to be intentional. While it takes many forms, service to others does not occur by happenstance. Choose how you want your life to reflect a life of service. However it is that you choose to live your life this year, live it as the profound privilege it is. My sincere thanks to all my, friends, advertisers, well wishers, subscribers, writers, agencies who work with us, especially to my staff members who work so hard to keep the schedules on a daily basis and the delivery people who diligently deliver to hundreds of locations on time.

Koshy Thomas Publisher


BUSINESS

VOICE OF ASIA 13

Section 2

Email: voiceasia@aol.com

Spotify hit with new copyright suit

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EW YORK, NY| AFP - A music publisher is seeking at least $1.6 billion from Spotify for alleged copyright violations, the latest lawsuit to hit the fast-growing streaming company. Wixen Music Publishing, Inc. -- which holds rights to songs of major artists including Neil Young, The Doors, Tom Petty and Santana -- charged in a lawsuit that Spotify failed to seek licenses for significant parts of its 30 million-song catalog. “While Spotify has become a multibillion dollar company, songwriters and their publishers, such as Wixen, have not been able to fairly and rightfully share in Spotify’s success, as Spotify has in many cases used their music without a license and without compensation,” said the lawsuit filed last week in a federal court in Los Angeles. The lawsuit said that Spotify initially tried to work with record labels but, “in a race to be first to market, made insufficient efforts to collect the required musical composition information.”

Wixen, which is seeking a jury trial against the Swedish company, presented a list of 10,784 songs for which it questioned Spotify’s permission to stream.

Wixen called the settlement, which still needs final approval from a judge, “grossly insufficient” and said that it would opt out of the deal insofar as possible.

The publisher said it was seeking the maximum allowed $150,000 in damages for copyright damages for each song, meaning an award of at least $1.6 billion, along with the fees of its lawyers.

Even if unsuccessful, lawsuits amount to a headache for Spotify as the company considers going public.

Spotify did not immediately comment on the latest suit. In May, it reached an agreement to settle a pair of two similar lawsuits under which Spotify said it would set up a $43.45 million fund to compensate songwriters.

sentiment that propelled the market to dozens of records in 2017 amid improving earnings and anticipation of a US tax cut plan that President Donald Trump signed into law in December.

At the closing bell, the techrich Nasdaq Composite Index had jumped 1.5 per cent to end the first session of the year at 7,006.90.

“As long as the economic data suggests improvement, the companies will see more funds from investors,” said Quincy Krosby, chief market strategist at Prudential Annuities.

The year’s buoyant start suggested the turning of the calendar has not altered the bullish

Tel: 713-774-5140

US Fed members divided over rate hikes in 2018

W

EW YORK (AFP) Wall Street opened 2018 on a winning note on Tuesday (Jan 2), bidding Nasdaq to its first-ever close above 7,000 points following a rally in technology shares.

The S&P 500 also notched a fresh record, gaining 0.8 per cent to close at 2,695.79, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.4 per cent to 24,824.01, about 13 points below its alltime record.

by Heather SCOTT

Spotify, which has been valued at anywhere from $8 billion to $16 billion, has maintained its dominance as streaming rapidly grows and transforms the recorded music market. Spotify said in July that it had 60 million users worldwide who pay for subscriptions, with 80 million more using its free tier.

Nasdaq ends over 7,000 for 1st time, S&P 500 also hits new record

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FRIDAY, January 5, 2018

Key US data releases this week include auto sales and the employment report for December. The market was led by technology companies, some of which underperformed in the final weeks of 2017 as money managers steered funds to other

sectors. Apple, Amazon and Googleparent Alphabet all rose close to 2 per cent. And the gains were even bigger for Netflix, which surged 4.8 per cent, as well as several biotechnology companies, including Biogen, which rose 4.9 per cent. Petroleum-linked shares also had a good day, with some energy watchers pointing to rising unrest in Iran as a potential threat to oil supply. Dow members ExxonMobil and Chevron each gained more than 1.5 per cent on a day when oil prices retreated. Media shares were another strong group, with Disney soaring 3.7 per cent, Comcast 3 per cent and Viacom 1.2 per cent.

Taco Bell to roll out $1 nacho fries

ASHINGTON | AFP | Wednesday 1/3/2018 - US central bankers are divided over how fast they will need to raise interest rates next year, given differences over the causes behind the low inflation and wage gains seen to date, according to a report released Wednesday. The minutes of the December 12-13 policy meeting, when the Federal Reserve raised the benchmark lending rate for the third time last year, also showed officials believe the likely benefits of the recently adopted tax cut are highly uncertain. While the tax cuts could boost spending, there are indications companies are likely to use the windfall for mergers and share buybacks, the minutes said. That is contrary to the arguments its supporters used to back the massive tax package. The Fed’s policy-setting Federal Open Market Committee last month increased the key lending rate to 1.25-1.5 percent, an increase of a quarterpoint on the rate that affects all types of credit from mortgages to car loans. The Fed’s quarterly economic projections also released last month indicated the central bank is likely to raise the federal funds rate three times in 2018 and once in 2019. However, that is a median forecast and the minutes show there are conflicting views among the policymakers about the number of rate hikes that will be needed. The disagreement centers on whether inflation has remained stubbornly below the Fed’s two percent target due to temporary or more enduring factors. - How many rate hikes? A few FOMC members said three rate increases, while still a gradual upward path, would be too fast and “might prove inconsistent with a sustained return of inflation to two percent.” However, a few others found the pace of rate hikes should be “somewhat faster” than the three signaled in the forecast. They worried that “continued

Fed members divided on rate-hike cycle low interest rates risked financial instability in the future, or that the labor market was increasingly tight.” With steady job creation in the past two years pushing the unemployment down to a 17year low of 4.1 percent, Fed officials have been perplexed about why inflation has remained very low and wage

raising rates. Analysts at Barclays said the actual pace of rate increases will depend on inflation this year, but if it does not rise by March “or if the unemployment rate decline stalls out, then the case for a pause in the rate hike cycle strengthens.” - Uncertain tax cut impact -

Last month’s policy meeting While the tax cuts could boost took place just spending, there are indications before the US companies are likely to use the Congress apwindfall for mergers and share proved the masbuybacks, the minutes said. That sive $1.4 trillion is contrary to the arguments tax package, and many Fed ofits supporters used to back the ficials noted the massive tax package. potential for the tax cuts to provide some boost gains have been sluggish so to consumer and business far, but largely attributed it to spending. However, they highlighted the uncertainty about transitory factors. the magnitude of the impact. The Fed’s preferred inflation On the business side espemeasure, the Personal Consumption Expenditures price cially, reports from firms and index, remains well below two surveys indicate that “the inpercent and shows few signs it crease in cash flow that would will rise soon. The 12-month result from corporate tax cuts core PCE, which excludes vol- was more likely to be used for atile food and energy prices, mergers and acquisitions or for debt reduction and stock buyhas risen just 1.4 percent. backs.” The central bank forecasts Republicans in Congress indicate the unemployment rate is expected to continue to have said the package -- which drop to 3.9 percent next year, lowers the corporate tax rate although some economists see to 21 percent from 35 percent -- would boost business investit falling even further. ment and hiring, while also Two voting members of the helping American families. FOMC, Charles Evans of ChiThe Fed forecasts showed cago and Neel Kashkari of Minneapolis, dissented from central bankers now are lookthe decision to raise rates last ing for faster growth of 2.5 month saying the central bank percent next year, compared should wait to see actual wage to the previous forecast of 2.1 and inflation increases before percent.

Taco Bell | Yum Brands. Taco Bell will begin selling Nacho Fries for a limited time starting Jan. 5 in a bid to be consumers’ go-to value and flavor destination.

by Laura Sanicola (CNN)

The latest entry into the fast food value wars is a real hot potato. Starting on January 25, Taco Bell will begin selling $1 nacho fries in a limited release. The fries will feature “bold Mexican seasoning” and include a side of nacho cheese dipping sauce, according to the company. Taco Bell been beefing up its dollar menu as it competes with other fast food chains for penny pinching customers.

Last month it added the $1 “Stacker,” a quesadilla-like egg sandwich, to its Dollar All Day menu, and says it plans to add 20 new $1 items this year. Chains such as Taco Bell and Jack in the Box have been in a dollar menu war of sorts to compete with the behemoth -McDonald’s (MCD) -- which has been aggressively lowering its prices. Some experts say restaurants don’t make much money from heavily discounting fast food prices in the face of food inflation. But the restaurants can profit if the discounts lure customers to higher-priced items, or bundles of low cost items offered at

restaurants like Burger King, Wendy’s and KFC. For Taco Bell -- which offers $5 combo boxes that include mix-and-match menu items and a drink -- food bundles have been a win. The company said it sold $1 billion worth of its bundles in 2017. The Tex-Mex fast food chain, owned by Yum (YUMC) Brands, has been eying fried potatoes as a way to innovate its menu. It announced a new $2 “California Loaded Fries Burrito” last month and was teasing French fry offerings throughout last year.

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VOICE OF ASIA 14

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

TIP : How to take advantage of Apple’s $29 iPhone battery replacement program right now by Zack Epstein

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ate last year it was discovered that Apple has been secretly slowing down older iPhone models. That’s right, it turns out that all the crazy conspiracy theorists who said Apple intentionally slows down iPhones as they age in an effort to force upgrades were correct. Well, they were half correct, at least; the supposed logic here is that Apple throttled performance on older iPhones in order to extend battery life as batteries start to age. That’s what Apple claimed when it finally fessed up to the intentional iPhone slowdowns last month.

by Apple will not exclude you from collecting your teeny tiny piece of the pie once these lawsuits get combined and settled, so don’t worry about that. Your main concern right now should be restoring your iPhone to its former glory, and it’s quite easy to make that happen. There is no way to toggle Apple’s hidden throttling on or off within the company’s iOS software. Instead, the only way to disable an iPhone slowdown is to install a new battery in your phone. That process is somewhat complex, so doing it yourself is ill-advised. Plus, there’s a good chance you’ll end

Ad firms using tools to help them read your mind

First things first: there are already more than a dozen lawsuits looming over this issue. Lawyers saw a huge opportunity the moment the news broke, and class actions are piling up. Having your iPhone battery swapped

up with a third-party knockoff battery if you try to buy one online and swap out your old battery yourself. On top of that, you’ll pay more than $29 if you order a battery online, so why bother? All you have to do is head over to getsupport.apple.com on Apple’s website to get started. There, you’ll be able to schedule a Genius Bar appointment at your local Apple store, or schedule an appointment with an authorized Apple service provider. If there are no Apple stores or authorized service centers near you, you can use the same page to send your iPhone in for repair through the mail, though that means being without your iPhone for at least a week. If you’d like more

son’s eye fixated. Techniques measuring arousal can signal whether an ad stands out amid today’s media avalanche. Other tests that are becoming more

by John Biers

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EW YORK | AFP | Why did you splurge on that new pair of shoes? Or that pricey smartphone? More and more advertisers are trying to tap into the unconscious to divine the invisible forces that drive those spending decisions. Using gadgets to track eye movements, computer maps of faces to capture a momentary grin (approval) or squinting (anger), and sensors to measure perspiration or monitor brain activity, companies are mining consumers’ raw emotions for information. Traditionally, ad firms have measured the success of their campaigns through consumer surveys, but that technique has its limits. “It’s not that people won’t tell you, they actually can’t tell you why they’re making the decision they’re making,” said Jessica Azoulay, vice president of the market intelligence practice at Isobar, a digital marketing agency.

As part of the company’s effort to make things right with customers, Apple said that it would slash the price of iPhone battery replacements on older iPhone models from $79 to just $29, a $50 discount. The new lower price was supposed to take effect sometime in January, but Apple’s new battery replacement program ended up starting early this past Saturday. Want to take advantage and get your iPhone battery swapped for $29? You’ll find everything you need to know in this post.

FRIDAY, January 5, 2018

information or you have concerns, you can schedule a call with Apple customer service on that page, or just call Apple directly at (800) MY–APPLE. Of note, Apple has said that a future iOS update to be released sometime in 2018 will include “new features that give users more visibility into the health of their iPhone’s battery, so they can see for themselves if its condition is affecting performance.” Even then, however, the only way to disable iPhone performance throttling will be to replace the device’s battery.

Emily Safian-Demers, of French advertising company Ipsos, demonstrates an eye-tracking gadget used to mine consumers’ raw emotions for information (AFP Photo/Timothy A. Clary) The new techniques recognize that our purchase decisions are driven by both rational and emotional factors, and reflect research showing the brain takes in information on different levels. They “enable us to capture many different types of emotions and to be able to profile the emotions that are happening very granularly on a second by second basis,” said Elissa Moses, chief executive of the neuro and behavioral science business at Ipsos, a consultancy and market research firm. “People won’t be able to tell you that something irritated them in scene three or thrilled them in scene seven,

popular seek to shed light on unconscious associations with products or shopping needs. Johnson & Johnson has tested thousands of consumers about Tylenol pain relief and other over-the-counter products, showing them quick-fire images or words that connote a particular emotion. Responses are tracked to the tens of milliseconds, said Eric Dolan, associate director for global strategic insights at Johnson & Johnson. The insights can help determine “whether we want to dig in and reinforce those emotional spaces,” or re-

The new battery replacement program is available for users with an iPhone 6 or later, and it will run through at least the end of 2018. (-BGR.com)

Race for ‘smart’ hits fever pitch at electronics show by Glenn CHAPMAN / Julie CHARPENTRAT / with Rob Lever in Washington

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AN FRANCISCO | AFP | Giving gadgets brains will be a hot theme at the Consumer Electronics Show set to open in Las Vegas, with device makers big and small touting hardware with “smarts.” Whether it’s a doorbell or refrigerator, a TV set or a toothbrush, chances are it will be connected to digital assistants powered by artificial intelligence aiming to anticipate needs or desires. “I think you’re going to see the year of smart,” said Jack Gold, a technology analyst with J. Gold Associates. One of the largest trade shows in the world, the January 9-12 CES will attract about 170,000 visitors and 3,900 exhibitors from 150 countries and will showcase innovations in computers, gaming, robotics, vehicle technology, virtual and augmented reality and more. Gold said gadgets will be increasingly tuned to glean insights about the people using them, with an aim of anticipating what might be desired at any given moment. “Your device will learn about you and will know your preferences, and it’ll then try to get smarter about how to interact with you,” he said. As consumer electronics evolve, an overriding theme has become voiceassisted digital assistants being integrated into more devices, said Stephen Baker of the research firm NPD. “I think you are going to be overwhelmed by smart homes and voice -the voice speakers yelling at you in the convention center and up and down the (Las Vegas) Strip will be overwhelming,” Baker said of CES. He said gadget makers will infuse more products and services with virtual aides such as Amazon’s Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple Siri and Microsoft Cortana.

“What happened is all the appliance and device guys gave up (on making their own isolated smart home systems) and instead are building an ecosystem in which pretty much everybody’s devices will talk to Google or Amazon, or eventually Siri,” Baker said.

Neuromarketing technqiues see computer maps of people’s faces used to capture a momentary grin or a fleeting squinting of the eyes -- enough to indicate a consumer’s reaction (AFP Photo/Timothy A. Clary) but we’ll know from looking at the facial coding,” Moses said.

Still, says Gartner analyst Brian Blau, large and small tech firms are locked in battle to be at the heart of smart homes and devices. “To some degree there is still a war on for the connected home platform,” Blau said.

The connected home will be the battlefield at the 2018 Con-

“Communication stan- sumer Electronics Show with several firms vying to be the smart home hub, such as this one from Chinese tech giant dards are being worked Baidu displayed last year out, but the other thing is whose allegiance you CES hosts the debut of a $130,000 will commit your home to -- will it be Samsung, LG, Amazon, electric car from Fisker -- a relaunched startup led by former BMW designed Google?” Henrik Fisker whose previous venture Carolina Milanesi of the consultancy went bankrupt -- and one of several Creative Strategies said major elec- challengers to rapidly expanding Tesla. tronics firms like Bosch, Panasonic, Although CES ends just days Sony, Samsung are looking to showcase how several devices can work to- ahead of a major Detroit auto show, O’Donnell said automakers are eager gether with a connected hub. to show their new technology to a wid“I definitely see the speaker still er public. be key to controlling the connected “It’s a place to make a statement home,” she said. about technologies that will have reso- Tesla wannabes nance,” he said. Bob O’Donnell, analyst and con“And the vast majority of the new sultant with Technalysis Research, innovations in cars are in fact tech said artificial intelligence also opens things.” the door to “computer vision” used in - Empathy factor drones, autonomous cars and robotics which will be showcased at CES. O’Donnell said the success of these Major carmakers will be on hand new technologies will depend on how as well as makers of tech platforms well machines can think the way peofor self-driving vehicles such as In- ple do. tel’s Mobileye and chipmaker Nvidia, “We are looking for ways these dealong with a dozen exhibitors in the vices have contextual intelligence,” he autonomous car “marketplace.” said.

The technologies can help track if brands are maintaining their edge over competitors, and make ads more effective by determining what to highlight, for example whether to emphasize the distress of allergy symptoms or the relief of treatment when pitching medications. And the techniques are being applied to other industries, such as retail, which is experimenting on ways to attract customers in the Amazon era. “Ultimately there is a dance between the conscious and unconscious,” Moses said, noting that “in order to actually buy a product, you have to make a conscious decision.” - Measuring in milliseconds Some of the techniques were first employed in the 1970s, but now are being more widely adopted as equipment has improved. An eye tracking test uses technology-enhanced glasses with a camera to record what a person is seeing on a television or in a store and read how long the eye settles on a particular cue. That can be combined with other methods, such as galvanic skin responses with sensors applied to a person’s hand to read perspiration, and electroencephalography (EEG) which reads brain activity through sensors on a person’s head. The data is used to produce a “heat map” with yellow, orange or red “hotspots” that show where the per-

think the marketing to convey a different message, he said. - Picking the pitch Tivity Health turned to many of these techniques for its “Silver Sneakers” fitness program for seniors, hiring Isobar to help it devise a marketing strategy based on a psychological profile of potential members. Isobar had more than 1,000 seniors review a series of rapidly presented images and words about exercise. Based on their clicks, the report showed the population most valued exercise because it made them feel empowered or “ready to go.” The finding was important as Tivity weighed potential marketing campaigns, including “Living Life Well,” which featured images of age-defying seniors, such as a grandfatherly figure balancing a toddler on his back while doing push-ups. These ads performed better than an alternative campaign showing groups of smiling seniors together in swim class and in a gym which emphasized the social aspect of Silver Sneakers. That campaign appeared to fall flat with seniors who view exercise as a means of staying independent, or who may be intimidated at the thought of immediately exercising in a group. The results countered Tivity’s assumption that the social aspect of the program was the “key motivating driver for members,” said Elizabeth Rula, who directs research for Tivity Health. “We were a bit surprised.”


LEGAL

VOICE OF ASIA 15

Section 2

Email: voiceasia@aol.com

FRIDAY, January 5, 2018

YOUR IMMIGRATION LAWYER

www.peopleslawyer.net

by Sharlene Sharmila Richards, Immigration Lawyer Email at srichardslaw@aol.com

Merchants may ask for photo ID with a credit card Richard M. Alderman Interim Dean of the Law Center

Q. I heard there is a new law that allows merchants to require a photo ID when you pay with a credit or debit card. I some times just carry a card, and nothing else. Do I now have to start carrying my driver’s license? A. A new state law that took effect January 1st enables all Texas merchants to request that a customer paying with a credit or debit card produce a government-issued photo ID to prove his or her identity. The law allows the merchant to reject the transaction if the customer fails to provide the ID. The effect of the law, deigned to help prevent credit card fraud, however, is unclear. First, the new law is optional and many merchants may chose not to request an ID, especially in smaller transactions. Requiring an ID could slow down the payment process and upset customers. There also is a question regarding whether the merchant even has the right to reject a transaction without an ID, notwithstanding the new law. Many card issuers, such as Visa and Mastercard, have contracts with merchants that bar them from declining a transaction if a customer refuses to show

a dispute. For example, if you and your mechanic have a dispute about how much you owe for repairs, he says $700 and you say $500, a $600 check marked “payment in full” would satisfy your obligation. If the mechanic cashed your check, he would not be legally entitled to any additional money. On the other hand, if you owed the mechanic $1,500 and the amount is not in dispute, you may not offer $1,000 to settle the undisputed amount. Even if the check is clearly marked “payment in full,” the mechanic may cash the check, and then seek to recover the additional $500. The bottom line—in my opinion the credit card company is right and you still owe the $500. Q. A policeman told me I was jogging on the wrong side of the street. Is there really a law about which side of the street you jog on? A. Yes, there is a law and it applies to any pedestrian, whether he or she is jogging, walking, running or skipping. Under the law, a pedestrian must stay on the sidewalk. If there is no sidewalk, you may use the street but you must go in the direction facing traffic. If you were jogging in the street in the same direction as traffic, you were violating the law.

Do you want to know more about your legal rights? Check out my website, www.peopleslawyer.net

PKS LAW FIRM, PLLC Areas of Practice: • • • • • • • •

ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS ABOUT CONSULAR PROCESSING OF IMMIGRANT VISAS

Sharlene Sharmila Richards

and ID. Arguably, the new law does not over-ride these agreements. Whether merchants now begin to require a photo ID or what steps they will take if the customer refuses, remain to be seen. Q. I owed my credit card company $1,500. I could not afford to pay the full amount, so I sent a check for $1,000 clearly marked “paid in full.” They cashed the check. Now they say I still owe $500. I think the matter was settled when the bank cashed my check. Who is right? A. This time of year a lot of people are facing large credit card bills. Unfortunately for them, there is no magic way to add a few words and not owe the full amount. Under the law, paying someone with a check clearly marked “accepted as payment in full” to settle a dispute might discharge the obligation. That means that in some cases, if a business cashes the check it may not recover any additional money. In your case, however, this rule does not apply. For the “payment in full” rule to apply the check must be offered in “good faith” and the claim must be in dispute. In other words, it must be a good faith attempt to resolve a dispute about how much money is owed. Simply offering less than the full amount owed is not a good faith attempt to resolve

Q: I am a US Citizen. The I-130 Petition for Alien Relative which I filed for my husband has just been approved. What is the process for him to obtain his Immigrant Visa? He lives abroad. A: He will obtain his visa through a process known as consular processing. The process is as follows: In approximately 4 to 5 weeks, you will notification from the National Visa Center of the Case Number for your husband’s Immigrant Visa case. You will also receive the instructions as to how to pay the Immigrant Visa and Affidavit of Support Fees including instructions to access and complete the Immigrant Visa application online form known as DS-260 and the types of supporting documents to provide. First you will make the payment for the Immigrant Visa and Affidavit of Support Fees. After the payment has been made and received, your husband will need to complete and submit the online DS-260. For the supporting documents, there is no need to provide any original documents as copies will suffice. The basic documents are a copy of your husband’s birth certificate, copy of the biographic page of his present and valid passport, copy of any US visas he may have or had in the past; copy of your marriage certificate and any divorce decrees for your husband’s previous marriages, if any (including yours, if you were also previously married); Police Certificates, if applicable; arrest and conviction records, if applicable and two passport photos of your husband. In addition to that, as the Petitioner, please also include your completed and signed Affidavit of Support together with your most recent Federal Tax Return and W-2s and copy of proof of your US Citizenship such as your US Birth Certificate or Certificate of Naturalization or biographic page of your present and valid US Passport. Unless the consulate he has been designated for the interview accepts online fil-

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Disclaimer: Any advice provided in this article is general in nature and not intended to constitute legal advice for any specific case. Please consult with an immigration lawyer about the specific circumstances of your case. My Bio Sharlene Sharmila Richards is a licensed Immigration lawyer practicing in Houston, Texas. She is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. She was admitted to the New York State Bar in 2000 and is a member of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals and a member of the US Supreme Court. You may contact her at telephone number 713-623-8088 or by email at srichardslaw@aol.com to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.

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not by the consulate officer. If the waiver has been granted by USCIS, they will in turn notify the consulate of the approval and processing of your husband’s Immigrant Visa will continue. The consulate will then issue your husband with the Immigrant Visa. Q: My US Citizen sister filed I-130 Petition for me and my family more than 10 years ago and the visa will probably become available next year. All of us except our eldest child already submitted our DS-260 Forms and the supporting documents. Our eldest child had already turned 21 years of age but we believe she still qualifies for an Immigrant Visa. What do we have to do about her situation? A: As soon as the consulate schedules you and your family for the interview, inform them that your eldest child may still also be eligible to receive an Immigrant Visa due to protections afforded under the Child Status Protection Act (CSPA) and they will determine the child’s eligibility for an Immigrant Visa under the CSPA.

Attorney at Law

Surendran K. Pattel

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ing of supporting documents, please mail his documents to the National Visa Center with a copy of the cover sheet containing the case Bar Code (which you will need to print out after the fees have been paid). If all the documentation sent to the National Visa Center is sufficient, you will then receive notification of the interview venue and date. At this time, he will also be provided with instructions for the interview preparation such as how to get his medical report and what documents he will need to take with him to the Immigrant Visa Interview. If you encounter difficulty following the instructions or need assistance with any documentation preparation such as the Affidavit of Support, I suggest you contact an Immigration Attorney for help. Q: My father attended his Immigrant Visa Interview at the US consulate in Islamabad, Pakistan. After the interview, he was informed by the officer that he needs to wait for them to issue a decision. That was almost 6 months ago and we still have not heard anything. I do not know what to do. A: Please contact the Immigrant Visa unit of the US Consulate to inquire about the status of your father’s case. I suggest the best way is by email. Most US Consulates have an e-mail address for the Immigrant Visa unit and they do respond to case status inquiries. My husband attended Q: his Immigrant Visa Interview at the US Consulate. He was informed that because he had previously overstayed for more than one year in the US, he needs a waiver and that they are unable to process the Immigrant Visa until the waiver has been approved. Does she fill in the waiver application and give it to the consulate? What happens then? I suggest that contact A: an Immigration Attorney to assist you in the preparation of the waiver for unlawful presence. The completed waiver application package is filed with USCIS in the US and will be adjudicated by a USCIS officer,

Sharlene Sharmila Richards

- Serving clients with legal issues in both the United States and India - Extensive experience in U.S. and Indian legal Systems - Has practiced before the Supreme Court of India

Licensed to practice in the state of Texas; in the United States District Court Southern District of Texas; and in India

Tel: 713-774-5140

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YOUNG LIFE

VOICE OF ASIA 16

FRIDAY, January 5, 2018

US teen sentenced to 25 years in Keep calm and be average: China’s mental hospital in ‘Slender Man’ case unambitious millennials

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HICAGO | AFP - A US teen who pleaded guilty to trying to kill a friend to appease a fictitious internet character was sentenced to 25 years in mental hospital by a judge on Thursday. Anissa Weier and her friend Morgan Geyser were both 12-years-old when they stabbed classmate Payton Leutner 19 times in 2014, because they wanted to appease Slender Man, a sinister internet meme often inserted into the background of ominous blackand-white photos.

lier under court supervision, if doctors believe she is well enough. “I just want everyone involved in this to know that I do hold myself accountable for this,” Weier told Judge Michael Bohren before he handed down the sentence. “I will do whatever I have to do to make sure I don’t get any sort of delusion or whatever again. And I want everybody involved to know that I deeply regret what happened that day,” she added.

Now 15, Weier, who was sentenced Thursday, and Geyser offered insanity defenses and said they believed that Slender Man would hurt their families if they did not meet his demands. Geyser has also pleaded guilty and is already receiving treatment at a mental hospital. She is awaiting a sentencing decision in February. Leutner survived and crawled out of the wooded area where she had been left. Weier’s sentence, which will be applied retroactively to when she was first arrested, would keep her in custody until she is 37.

But the judge sided with prosecutors in handing down the maximum sentence, saying he was concerned that a medical report indicated Weier was still having delusions while in custody, which “leads the court to be concerned about a short commitment period.” “I’m satisfied that a 25-year commitment is appropriate,” the judge said. “It gives the community assurance of safety and protection.” The case has been the subject of public fascination, with video of the girls’ police interrogations featured in the 2016 HBO documentary “Beware the Slenderman.”

But she could also be released ear-

1 in 10 young adults have been homeless over the past year, survey finds By Moriah Balingit

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ASHINGTON - Hemmed in by low wages, pricey rental markets and family instability, more young people are crashing on couches of friends or acquaintances, sleeping in cars or turning to the streets, a new study has found. Researchers with Chapin Hall, a youth policy center at the University of Chicago, surveyed in 2016 and 2017 more than 26,000 young people and their families across the country to gauge how many of them had been homeless during some period of the previous year. Their results were alarming: One in 10 people ages 18 to 25 had experienced homelessness. For adolescents, the number was 1 in 30. They concluded that nearly 3.5 million young adults and 660,000 adolescents had been homeless within the previous year.

cent between 2015 and 2016, according to a federal estimate released last spring. City officials and advocates for the poor attributed the growth in homeless families to rising home costs and a city policy of guaranteeing any homeless family shelter. The researchers relied on a broad definition of homelessness and counted as homeless young people who had run away from home — even for a night — as well as those who were forced to sleep on couches or stay with friends temporarily. Children who run away are more likely to face homelessness as adults, Morton said, and many of the young people who researchers spoke to were forced out of family homes after they came out as gay. The study marked the first time researchers had used a nationally representative survey to capture the picture of youth homelessness. Previously, researchers relied on “point in time”

Matthew Morton, a Chapin Hall research fellow, said he aims to dispel the notion that homelessness afflicts mostly older men. His survey identified college students and graduates and employed young people who struggled to find a permanent place to stay. Researchers also found it was no less prevalent in rural areas than in urban ones.

counts, which tallied only people who were homeless on a particular day. Morton said those counts probably underestimated the prevalence of youth homelessness, because young people are more likely to move in and out of it than older people.

“Our findings probably challenge the images of homelessness. Homelessness is young,” Morton said. “It’s more common than people expect and it’s largely hidden.”

The findings “are staggering. They are alarming, but they’re not necessarily surprising,” Morton said. “Many young people are getting hammered in this economy . . . and far too many youth have experienced trauma and lack stable family situations. You have a major affordable housing crisis.”

That was true in the District, where officials counted more homeless children and parents than homeless single men last year. The number of homeless families soared by more than 30 per-

Neither Kera Pingree, 21, nor Dee Baillet, 27, fit the stereotype of homelessness. Pingree is pursuing a degree at Southern Maine Community College while working at the University

Years of a strict one-child policy and a rapidly developing economy have

B

EIJING, China | AFP - While their country’s leader has encouraged citizens to work harder and dream big, some Chinese millennials are declaring their allegiance to the art of being average. Nicknamed “Buddhist Youth”, these young people have embraced a laissez-faire approach to life which has more to do with being chilled out than reading sutras. “Life is quite tiring,” said 23-yearold Guo Jia, who believes being a Buddhist Youth means “accepting the things you cannot change and going with the flow”.

They are the latest in a string of subcultures to achieve online fame in China -- with labels like “greasy uncles”, a type of pompous yet slovenly middle-aged man, to “cultured youth”, the Chinese equivalent of a hipster. Some of these labels have been condemned by authorities, but Buddhist Youth have been greeted -- appropriately -- with indifference. When Guo first arrived in Beijing, everything -- from working at his finance job to riding the subway -made him anxious. Like many of the nation’s young strivers, he came to the capital eager to meet the high expectations he had set for himself. But more than a year later, he has found peace in letting things be. “I haven’t been able to stop caring about everything,” Guo said, “but these days I am generally calm and unperturbed. It is enough to just be content with life.” Such declarations are curious in Xi Jinping’s China, where the president has endeavoured to rally young people in particular around the notion of the “Chinese Dream”. “A nation will be prosperous if its young generation is ambitious and reliable,” Xi said in 2013. - Self-discovery Chinese millennials’ unique take on monkhood grabbed attention online after a popular public account on the WeChat messaging app, called “Ways of the 21st Century”, described various types of Buddhist Youths in detail.

This picture taken on December 22, 2017 shows Wang Zhaoyue, a 24-year-old recent master’s graduate, walking along a street in Beijing. While their country’s leader has encouraged citizens to work harder and dream big, some Chinese millennials are declaring their allegiance to the art of being average. Although Wang works for a reputed architectural urban planning firm in Beijing, she thinks she could achieve more if it were not for her (AFP/Wang Zhao) (China’s equivalent of Uber) rather than explain their exact location to their driver.

placed great pressure on young people to succeed academically and get ahead professionally.

A “Buddhist Online Shopper” is someone who buys the things they like but does not return the things they don’t like.

Now, some of them are happily resigned to being ordinary.

And a “Buddhist Employee” is one who desires nothing more than to “arrive at work peacefully and leave work quietly”. A Buddhist Youth wants nothing because she or he expects nothing -- win or lose, adversity or good fortune, they accept it all. Lin Kexin, a 20-year-old student in eastern Fujian province, said she began to identify more as a Buddhist Youth after acting too impulsively on a romantic crush. “That was tiring,” she said. The trend has even caught the attention of the People’s Daily, the official paper of the ruling Communist Party, which published two articles on Buddhist Youth last week. “This may just be a way for young people to explore their position in society,” the daily said, acknowledging that the identity was a reaction to “life’s quick rhythms”. The assessment is positive compared to the government’s reaction to “sang” culture, another Chinese millennial attitude that has cropped up in recent years.

“I am just average in everything I do,” said Wang Zhaoyue, a 24-yearold master’s graduate. Wang works for an architectural urban planning firm in Beijing, and thinks she could achieve more if it were not for her Buddhist Youth philosophies. “I always did okay in school, but never great. If I underperformed on an exam, I would just tell myself it was because I didn’t care enough to give more than half my effort, which was fine in itself,” she said. “I can’t really relate when my friends tell me about their goals and ambitions. As for me, I don’t have any dreams.” On the surface, they live ordinary lives, eating lunch with co-workers and playing sports over the weekend. But Buddhist Youths are always wary of overdoing it. Guo said he had a sudden urge to improve himself a few months ago. He started regularly going to the gym, playing tennis and studying for a business school exam. A month later, he fell ill with a headache and runny nose. “I immediately went back to eating whatever I want and exercising only when I feel like it,” Guo said. “It’s all too tiring otherwise.”

A “Buddhist Passenger” is someone who chooses to walk to their DiDi

In contrast to Buddhist Youths, who pledge to maintain a neutral outlook, the “sang” lifestyle is characterised by unrelenting, sardonic despondency --

of Southern Maine, and Baillet is a college graduate. They share their experiences as policy advisers for advocacy groups for homeless youth.

Four young men killed in London new year stabbings

When Baillet came out as gay to his mother at 17, she told him he could no longer live at home. So he went to his bedroom and packed a duffel bag, unsure of where he would go. “I had to turn to the streets,” Baillet said. “I stayed around with family and friends, just couch surfing as much as I could.” But it didn’t stop him from graduating from high school and ending up in college, where he finished early and took a teaching job in Indianapolis. But his housing situation fell through. Broke and unsure of where to go, he first considered staying in a shelter, but it felt unsafe. So he slept in his car. Baillet works as a supervisor at an urgent care clinic in Columbus, Ohio, where he grew up. He volunteers at a homeless shelter. He said that many of the short-term solutions for homelessness are geared toward older men and that shelters can be unsafe and uncomfortable places for homeless youth.

People lying on the sidewalk catch the eye of a pedestrian in downtown Washington. A new survey found that 1 in 10 people ages 18 to 25 had experienced homelessness in the past year. (Michael S. Williamson/The Washington Post)

- ‘I have no dreams’ -

by Yanan Wang

As a viral Chinese social media post outlined this month, behaviours associated with the largely irreligious Buddhist Youth include eating the same food every day, allowing one’s romantic partner to make all the decisions and being devoid of strong feelings about virtually everything.

Morgan Geyser (L) and Anissa Weier (R) were 12 at the time of the crime. Police photo

an approach the People’s Daily called “pessimistic and hopeless”.

Pingree, 21, had a daughter at 15 and was separated from the girl three years later, when family conflict forced a move. Pingree bounced from a friend’s house to a partner’s house, where Pingree said there were bed bugs and drugs. Pingree remained separated from the little girl for four months until space at a family shelter opened up. “When I was 16, I was really itching to get out of the house,” said Pingree, who faced abuse and food shortages at home. “Optimally there would have been a program to allow me to live on my own with my daughter.” Pingree is a youth leader with Youth and Community Engagement, a community organizing group attached to the university. Pingree also serves as a policy adviser on homelessness for the National Youth Advisory Council. Now living in a two-bedroom apartment in Portland, Maine, Pingree said people are surprised to learn of their homeless past. “There’s a lot of times people are shocked to find out someone was homeless,” Pingree said.

Men aged 17 to 20 die after separate knife attacks in 15-hour period in locations around capital

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our young men have been stabbed to death in unrelated attacks in the space of 15 hours in London, Scotland Yard said.

don needs you alive” campaign and knife crime strategy since he assumed office as mayor of London in May 2016.

The killings – three on New Year’s Eve and a fourth in the early hours of New Year’s Day – happened in north, east and south London and none were being treated as linked, the Metropolitan police said.

He said: “My thoughts today are with the families of four young men who have tragically been killed in four unrelated stabbings in our city last night.

The three deaths on Sunday bring the total number of fatal stabbings in 2017 to 80, Scotland Yard confirmed. The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said he will “work tirelessly in 2018 and beyond to stamp out this scourge”. The first recorded attack was at 11.30am on 31 December when an 18-year-old man was stabbed in Enfield. He died in hospital that evening. At about 7.30pm, a 20-year-old man was fatally stabbed in West Ham, and at around 10.40pm a 17-year-old boy was stabbed to death in Tulse Hill. The fourth stabbing happened at around 2.30am on 1 January, when a 20-year-old man was attacked in Old Street, east London. A second male, aged in his 20s, was taken to hospital with critical stab injuries. Commander Neil Jerome, of the Met’s territorial policing command, said: “It is heartbreaking that, at a time when so many of us are contemplating what lies ahead in 2018, four families are dealing with the grief of losing a loved one to senseless violence and the callous use of knives as lethal weapons.” Five men were arrested in connection with the murder in Enfield. There have been no arrests in the other cases. Khan launched a high-profile “Lon-

“The police have today assured me that everything is being done to bring to justice those responsible for these appalling acts of violence. I urge anyone with information to come forward. “The police were out in force helping people enjoy our city’s fantastic celebrations last night, and I thank them. However, it is horrific that knife crime has claimed another four young lives as the New Year begins. “We will work tirelessly in 2018 and beyond to stamp out this scourge. I want to be absolutely clear - if you use a knife the full force of the law will be brought down on you. You will be caught and prosecuted.” Meanwhile, West Mercia police said a woman who had suffered what is believed to be a knife injury was pronounced dead at an address in Bromsgrove, Worcestershire, at 12.12am. A 49-year-old man was arrested at the scene after police were called to the property at 11.52pm on New Year’s Eve. In Sheffield, South Yorkshire police said five men in their 20s were taken to hospital with knife wounds after an altercation at around 2.20am in Carver Street. Two of the men suffered lifethreatening injuries and remain in hospital in a critical but stable condition. (-The Guardian)

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Healthy Living

VOICE OF ASIA 17

Section 2

FRIDAY, January 5, 2018

Email: voiceasia@aol.com

Ensuring Home Safety for Seniors

Tel: 713-774-5140

Aspire for a flat belly without dieting? These superfoods will give you fast results

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ONDON: Superfoods can help you to detox after overindulging during the festive period and a nutritionist has answered debate over which ‘super food’ is best, analysing the benefits of green tea, turmeric and cocoa just in time for New Year’s resolutions to come into effect. All three foods have different health benefits - green tea is a natural antioxidant, turmeric is an anti-inflammatory and cocoa is known for its cardiovascular benefits.

exercising. Georgios said, “If I had to choose one of those famous super ingredients, that would be the humble green tea. A cup is easy to prepare, costs next to nothing and provides you with a whopping 7 percent active molecules (EGCG), the most of any other drink or food.”

cocoa. Turmeric

Cocoa

Aspire for a flat belly without dieting? These superfoods will give you fast results

But, according to nutritionist Georgios Tzenichristos, the overall winner was green tea.

I

t’s true that with advancements in health, people are living longer than ever before. Many seniors today are living active, robust lives. As we get older our bodies change. We move a little slower, don’t see quite as well and our bodies begin to lose some of the core strength needed to maintain balance. Combined, these changes can lead to accidents such as falls, breaks and sprains. Safety for seniors and fall prevention for the elderly is important. There are plenty of things you can do now so you can continue to live a healthy and active lifestyle for a very long time. CREATE A SAFE HOME So you can continue to enjoy the independence of living in your own home, create a home safety checklist. Start by walking through your home looking for potential area that are or could become a safety hazard. Pay attention to things such as stairs, loose electrical cords, slippery areas (particularly the bathroom), and dimly lit areas. Although accidents are unintentional, there are still many things you can do to prevent them from occurring and promote seniors’ safety. TIPS FOR PREVENTING FALLS: •

Install handrails that run the entire length of the stairs on both sides of the staircase. Add automated lighting to light up rooms as you enter.

Install grab bars in the shower, tub and near the toilet.

Keep the stairs and open areas clear.

Use double sided tape to keep small rugs down.

Don’t leave anything wet on the floor.

Fix any broken or chipped steps, tiles, or flooring.

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Green tea

Lighting: It’s easy to think you can feel you’re way in the dark. Better, to light the way. Best, use automated lights. Some will turn on when you enter a room. Set them to go on when you’re not home to make it look like your home is occupied. Monitoring devices: Alarms such as fire, temperature and carbon monoxide detectors, warn you at the first sign of danger. It is important to check them at least twice a year to make sure they are properly working. Communication: Systems like a Medical Alert system will let you enjoy the benefits and freedom of independent living, with the knowledge that should there be an accident or emergency, help is just the push of a button away. Stay active and live life on your terms. To ensure things remain that way, take necessary steps now to ensure you’ve minimize as many potential risks as possible.

If seniors have any little ones or grandchildren coming over to visit, make sure medicine is stored in a child-proof area so everyone can rest easy. If you want to make it super secure, consider installing an asset protection device on your medicine cabinet, this device will immediately send an alert text or call whenever the cabinet is opened. Sometimes all you need is a helping hand. (-Article courtesy: ATD Security)

Cocoa that is high in flavanols, or plant chemicals, is good for the heart and brain. According to research from Harvard Medical Schools, it can ward off diseases and help to cut cholesterol.

TIPS TO IMPROVE SAFETY FOR SENIORS

Medicine Cabinet Safety hen medication is needed regularly, it is easy to get disorganized. Stay safe by ensuring that the medicine cabinet is organized, and all medications are in the correct container. This will prevent seniors from confusing pills and dosages. It’s worth going through medicine cabinets at least once a year to get rid of any expired medication. Most importantly, ensure medicine is always taken in a well-lit area to avoid any mix ups.

It contains 7 percent of the active molecule EGCG, while tumeric only contains 2 percent of the molecule curcumin and cocoa contains 0.5 percent flavanols.

Aspire for a flat belly without dieting? These superfoods will give you fast results

It’s also believed that consuming the sweet treat aids serotonin production in the brain. This feel-good chemical helps to regulate the mood and suppress your appetite.

Green tea’s polyphenols help to speed the metabolism and and boost fat-burning during

To reap the benefits, it’s best to consume dark chocolate that contains a high percentage of

Turmeric has been one of the top health trends of 2017 - and Starbucks even added the ingredient into one of their menu items. The spice contains curcumin, a powerful antioxidant. This substance helps to rejuvenate the liver and eliminate toxins. There are several ways to work turmeric into your everyday diet. You can take it in capsules, sprinkle it onto your food for flavour or add it to hot drinks. Mr Tzenichristos also pointed out that green tea is easy to prepare, while turmeric can be difficult and stains teeth, and cocoa often needs large amounts of milk and sugar, or a protein shake to mask the unpalatable taste. (-The Guardian)

ADVERTISEMENT

Looking at your Medicare costs for 2018 How much will your Medicare cost in 2018? The numbers just came out, so let’s go over them. We’ll start with the Medicare Part B premium. Part B covers doctor services, outpatient hospital services, certain home health services, durable medical equipment, and other items. The standard monthly premium for people with Part B will be $134 for 2018, the same amount as in 2017. Under the law, people with Part B pay 20 percent of the costs of running the program, with the government picking up 80 percent. A statutory “hold harmless” provision applies each year to about 70 percent of Part B enrollees. For these enrollees, any increase in Part B premiums must be lower than any cost-of-living increase in their Social Security benefits. After several years of no or small increases, Social Security benefits will increase by 2 percent in 2018 due to a cost-ofliving adjustment. Therefore, some beneficiaries who were held harmless against Part B premium increases in prior years will see a higher premium in 2018. Part B enrollees held harmless in 2016 and 2017 will see an increase in their Part B premiums from the roughly $109, on average, they paid in 2017. An estimated 42

percent of Part B enrollees are subject to the hold harmless provision in 2018 but will pay the full premium of $134, because the increase in their Social Security benefit will be greater than or equal to an increase in their Part B premiums up to the full 2018 amount. About 28 percent of Part B enrollees are subject to the hold harmless provision in 2018 but will pay less than the full $134 premium. That’s because the increase in their Social Security benefit isn’t big enough to cover the full Part B premium increase. The remaining 30 percent of Part B enrollees aren’t subject to the hold harmless provision and will pay the full $134 per month in 2018. This group includes beneficiaries who don’t receive Social Security benefits; enroll in Part B for the first time in 2018; are directly billed for their Part B premium; are eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid and have their premiums paid by state Medicaid agencies; and pay higher premiums because their incomes are higher. Since 2007, beneficiaries with higher incomes have paid higher Part B premiums. These higher premiums apply to about 5 percent of people with Part B. The annual deductible for Part B will be $183 in 2018, the same amount as in 2017. Now let’s take a look at Medicare Part A, which covers inpatient hospital care, skilled nursing services, and some home health services. About 99 percent of Medicare beneficiaries don’t pay any Part A premium since

Sudhir Mathuria Licensed Professional Health Life 360 6776 Southwest Freeway, Suite # 178 Houston TX 77074 713-771-2900 www.MyMedicarePlanning.com

they’ve worked for at least 40 quarters in Medicarecovered jobs. The Part A deductible beneficiaries pay when admitted to the hospital in 2018 will be $1,340 per benefit period, a rise of $24 from 2017. The Part A deductible covers beneficiaries’ share of costs for the first 60 days of Medicare-covered inpatient hospital care in a benefit period. Beneficiaries must pay a coinsurance amount of $335 per day for the 61st through 90th day of a hospitalization (versus $329 in 2017) in a benefit period, and $670 per day for lifetime reserve days ($658 in 2017). For beneficiaries in skilled nursing facilities, the daily coinsurance for days 21 through 100 of extended care services in a benefit period will be $167.50 in 2018 ($164.50 in 2017). For Medicare, Long Term Care, Individual and Small group Health Care, and effective retirement planning contact Sudhir Mathuria @ 713-771-2900.

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HEALTH

VOICE OF ASIA 18

FRIDAY, January 5, 2018

Flu widespread in 36 states, CDC reports

After the Diagnosis: How Cancer Affects Sexual Functioning

by Rachel Ohm

O

utbreaks of influenza are getting an early start this year in part because of cold weather gripping much of the USA and low efficacy associated with this year’s flu vaccine.

UH study tracks prevalence of sexual dysfunction in young adult cancer patients by Chiara Acquati, lead study author and assistant professor at the Graduate College of Social Work, University of Houston

It’s still too early to say whether this winter will be a bad season for the flu, but epidemiologists in 36 states already have reported widespread influenza activity to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in data released Friday. Twenty-one of those states show a high number of cases.

by Chris Stipes

A

cancer diagnosis disrupts a person’s life in many ways, including sexually. A study led by the University of Houston found that more than half of young cancer patients reported problems with sexual function, with the probability of reporting sexual dysfunction increasing over time.

Peak flu activity in the U.S. usually occurs around February. Vaccine effectiveness varies from year to year though recent studies show that the flu shot typically reduces the risk of illness by 40% to 60% among the overall population when the circulating virus is matched closely to the vaccine virus, according to the CDC. Because only a certain percentage of people with flu symptoms go to hospitals and get tested, it can be challenging to track the actual number of people affected, Radtke said. False negative results for flu tests are also common, so it’s likely the number of people with the flu is much higher. From the start of the flu season, which begins in October and lasts until May, Arizona has reported a nearly ninefold increase in the number of cases compared with the same period last year, according to the state Department of Health Services.

Photo: ThinkStock

“It’s just one of those years where the CDC is seeing that this strain of flu is only somewhat covered by the vaccine that was given this year,” said Jennifer Radtke, manager for infection prevention at the University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville. “They’re seeing that it’s anywhere from 10% to 33% effective, so any time there’s a mismatch between the vaccine and the circulating strain of the flu, you’re going to see more cases.” with respiratory problems. Influenza can develop into pneumonia, causing the lungs’ air sacs to become inflamed and fill with fluid. Deaths already have occurred in some states this flu season. Among them: • In Arizona, the state is reporting one death of a child in its latest tally; however, an otherwise healthy 20-year-old mother of two in Phoenix died Nov. 28, one day after being diagnosed, CBS News reported. • In California, at least 10 people younger than 65 have died, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. An 11th death occurred Thursday. The state does not track flu-related deaths among those 65 and older. • In Delaware, a 47-year-old man with underlying health problems and an 83-year-old woman have died, state health officials said.

“It’s not uncommon to see it this time of year,” said Radtke in Knoxville. “But we’ve had cold Decembers before and not had flu.”

• In North Carolina, 12 people, including a child, have died.

Flu symptoms include fever, body aches, chills, fatigue, cough and a sore throat. The illness typically passes within a few days but can be especially dangerous to the very young, the very old, pregnant women and those

Getting a flu shot now is still one way to combat the virus even though it can’t promise total immunity, health officials say.

• In South Carolina, seven have died. All were age 65 or older.

More insurers fully cover the cost,

and pharmacists in all states now can administer the vaccinations, according to the American Pharmacists Association trade group. “People are able to come in to the pharmacy — especially a 24-hour pharmacy like this one where you can come in at literally any time — and be in and out usually within 15 minutes,” said Jason Lind, a Walgreens pharmacist in St. Cloud, Minn. Also wash or sanitize your hands frequently to keep the germs at bay, especially if you’re touching shared surfaces such as shopping carts in public places; clean faucet and toilet handles frequently at home to reduce transmission of the virus within your family; cover your mouth when coughing; stay home when you’re sick; stay away from sick people; and avoid touching your face. It also pays to stay well rested and hydrated so if you do come in contact with a flu virus, your body is prepared to fight it off. “It can take up to two weeks to build full immunity to the flu after you are vaccinated,” said Dr. Cara Christ, director of the Arizona Department of Health Services. “So I encourage everyone who has not yet had a flu shot to get one today before the holidays.” (-Knoxville News Sentinel)

The study, recently published in the American Cancer Society journal Cancer, discovered that two years after their initial cancer diagnosis, nearly 53 percent of young adults 18 to 39 years old still reported some degree of affected sexual function. While cancer-related sexual dysfunction has been studied among adolescents and young adults with cancer, the study is the first to establish its prevalence and to identify variables that contribute to reporting sexual problems over time. “We wanted to increase our understanding of what it’s like to adjust to cancer as a young adult but also the complexity of it over time,” said Chiara Acquati, lead author and assistant professor at the UHGraduate College of Social Work. “Cancer can put a patient’s life on hold, especially among young adults who are just starting their careers or families.” The study also found that for women, being in a relationship increased the probability of reporting sexual problems over time; for men, the probability of reporting sexual problems increased regardless of their relationship status. “We concluded that sexual functioning is experienced differently among males and females. For a young woman, especially, a cancer diagnosis can disrupt her body image, the intimacy with the partner and the ability to engage in sex,” Acquati said. At the beginning of the two-year study, almost 58 percent of the participants were involved in a romantic relationship. Two years after diagnosis, only 43 percent had a partner. In addition, psychological distress increased over time. For Acquati, studying the effects of

cancer on relationships and families is personal. Several family members have died after a cancer diagnosis, including two of her grandparents, and a close friend at age 16. These experiences shaped her interest in studying the impact of cancer on patients and informal caregivers, with the goal of improving psychosocial care for both. She says it’s important to research how psychological and emotional development are effected so tailored interventions and strategies can be created. Detecting changes in the rate of sexual dysfunction over time may help to identify the appropriate timing to deliver interventions. Failure to address sexual health, the study concludes, could put young adults at risk for long-term consequences related to sexual functioning and identity development, interpersonal relationships and quality of life. Acquati said health care providers might find it challenging to discuss intimacy and sex because of embarrassment or lack of training, but she believes addressing sexual functioning is vital soon after diagnosis and throughout the continuum of care. “Results from this study emphasize the need to monitor sexual functioning over time and to train health care providers serving young adults with cancer in sexual health,” said Acquati. “Furthermore, patients should be connected to psychosocial interventions to alleviate the multiple life disruptions caused by the illness and its treatment.” Other researchers involved in the study include Brad J. Zebrack, University of Michigan; Anna C. Faul, University of Louisville; Leanne Embry and Dr. Christine Aguilar, The University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio; Rebecca Block, MNR Analytics; Dr. Brandon HayesLattin, Oregon Health and Science University; Dr. David Freyer, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and the University of Southern California, Los Angeles; and Steve Cole, University of California-Los Angeles. This study was funded by HopeLab, Inc. of San Francisco. (-Article courtesy UH.edu)

Why Women Should Listen to Their Hearts Heart health screenings available many are unaware of their risk for the condition. Women often put off taking care of their health — and this inaction can put an extra burden on their hearts.

Dr. Kesavan Shan, board-certified cardiologist

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UGAR LAND – (January 1, 2018) — Despite the perception that heart disease is a man’s disease, it’s the No. 1 killer of women, according to the American Heart Association. Millions of women die of heart disease every year, yet

One form of heart disease, a heart attack, can strike suddenly and with no advance warning. Just like men, women often experience the crushing chest pain and discomfort typically associated with a heart attack. However, women are somewhat more likely than men to experience other common heart attack symptoms and often ignore them. “A misunderstanding of genderrelated heart attack symptoms could cause women to delay getting care because they aren’t sure if they’re having a heart attack, panic attack or indigestion,” according to Kesavan Shan, MD, a board-certified cardiologist with Houston Methodist Cardiology Associates.

that something may be wrong — and if you’re ever in doubt, don’t hesitate to seek prompt medical care.” HOW A WOMAN’S HEART ATTACK MAY FEEL You may already be familiar with classic heart attack symptoms for men, such as crushing chest pain that radiates down the left arm associated with sweatiness, paleness and shortness of breath. “Women are more likely than men to describe chest pain that is burning and sharp as well as experience extreme fatigue, pain in the neck, jaw, throat, abdomen or back,” Shan said. “Breaking out in a cold sweat is also more common in women, as is lightheadedness,” Shan explained. RISK FACTORS OFFER CLUES

Managing your risk factors for cardiovascular disease is only possible if you know what they are, and routine screening tests can reveal the answers. “It’s key to learn and watch for signs At your next checkup, ask your doctor to assess your weight and BMI (body mass inCall Today! dex), waist cirumference, 281-888-2705 cblood pressure,

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cholesterol and fasting blood glucose level. “These tests offer important clues to cardiovascular health as well as your overall health,” Shan said. HEART ATTACK NOT SOLE SETBACK With all the focus on heart attacks, some aren’t aware that cardiovascular disease can take many forms. Other heart problems include heart failure, in which the heart isn’t pumping as efficiently as it should; arrhythmia, a too-slow or too-fast heartbeat that can affect its ability to meet the body’s needs; and heart valve problems, which can impede proper blood flow through the heart. Nearly all of these conditions are easily detectable with routine medical checkups,” Shan said. “It’s yet another reason why establishing an ongoing relationship with a primary care physician is so critical to your heart health.” MENOPAUSE IS TOO LATE TO PREPARE Women with heart disease risk factors, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and a family history, shouldn’t wait until menopause to start a dialogue with their primary care physician about a prevention regimen

to keep them healthy. A recent survey published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that 74 percent of women in the United States had at least one heart disease risk factor, but only 16 percent told their doctor about it. “Women have such a low prevalence of heart disease until menopause that often times, the topic is ignored until women are well into their 50s and 60s,” Shan said. “But those with risk factors need to be 10 years ahead of the game when it comes to prevention. Unfortunately, too many women already have heart disease by the time they’re tested.

To schedule an appointment with Kesavan Shan, MD, at Houston Methodist Cardiology Associates, call 713.776.9500. For the latest news, events and information visit our Facebook page at fb.com/methodistsugarland. HEART HEALTH SCREENINGS Schedule an appointment to learn your 10-year risk for heart disease and receive cholesterol and blood pressure screenings. Registration is required. Go to events.houstonmethodist.org/heart-sl or call 281.274.7500 for more information and to register.


HEALTH

VOICE OF ASIA 19

New substance may help combat tuberculosis The researchers found that the substance can inhibit the biosynthesis of the mycomembrane and kills mycobacteria effectively. The scientists suspect that disrupting the mycomembrane enables antibiotics to enter the bacteria more easily.

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ONDON (IANS) Researchers have discovered a substance that may help combat the bacterium that causes lifethreatening tuberculosis (TB) infections.

drugs.

The substance, called beta lactone EZ120, interferes with the formation of the bacterium’s mycomembrane.

“Vancomycin, a common antibiotic, and EZ120 work together very well,” said lead researcher Stephan Sieber, Professor of Organic Chemistry at Technical University of Munich in Germany.

As this membrane is known to hamper the effect of many medications, this new substance offers hope of fighting the bacteria that can develop resistance to the antimicrobial

It is effective even in low concentrations and when combined with known antibiotics their effectiveness is improved by up to 100-fold, the study said.

“When used together, the dose can be reduced over 100-

fold,” Sieber said. The mycomembrane of the tuberculosis pathogen Mycobacterium tuberculosis consists of a lipid double layer that encapsulates the cell wall, forming an exterior barrier. The researchers found that the substance can inhibit the biosynthesis of the mycomembrane and kills mycobacteria effectively. Using enzyme assays and mass spectroscopy investigations, Johannes Lehmann of Technical University of Munich demonstrated that the new inhibitor blocks especially the enzymes Pks13 and Ag85, which play a key role in the development of mycomembranes. The scientists suspect that disrupting the mycomembrane enables antibiotics to enter the bacteria more easily. “This is a new mode of action and might be a starting point for novel tuberculosis therapies,” Sieber said.

Autism risk: Why are girls more protected from diagnosis? by Jessica Firger

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ennifer and Sarah Ross are 6-year-old twins, but they couldn’t be more different. Jennifer is quiet, reserved and calm. She likes to dance, do gymnastics and jump on trampolines. She has plenty of friends. Sarah, on the other hand, is all energy. She has trouble sitting still. She has a gift for math and puzzles, and she likes to play video games. While Sarah has only a few friends and is usually content to be on her own in the playground, she does love a captive audience. “Everyone know I can sing opera?” she asks. “Whaaaaaaa!” Jennifer and her mother, Alycia Halladay Ross, giggle. On a recent morning, the three sat in the playroom at the Seaver Autism Center for Research and Treatment at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City. Halladay Ross, the chief science officer at the Autism Science Foundation, planned to spend the better part of the day at the center with her two daughters. The girls would undergo a series of exercises and activities to test their cognitive and intellectual abilities. Jennifer and Sarah were to be observed while playing with blocks, then they’d participate in word-association games. The girls, along with their mother, were also there to provide the center with saliva samples—the most critical part of their visit. “In our spit, there’s lots of scientific information,” Paige Siper, chief psychologist of the Seaver Autism Center and an assistant professor of psychiatry, tells the girls. “It tells us lots of different things about us—about kids, about adults.

FRIDAY, January 5, 2018

Neuroscientist predicts ‘much better treatment’ for Alzheimer’s is 10 years away by Terri Gross

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EW YORK , NY British neuroscientist Joseph Jebelli first set out to study Alzheimer’s because of his grandfather, who developed the disease when Jebelli was 12. In the years that followed, Jebelli watched as his grandfather’s memory started to disappear. But Jebelli points out that although a certain amount of memory loss is a natural part of aging, what happened to his grandfather and to other Alzheimer’s patients is different. “Losing your keys, forgetting where you put your glasses, is completely normal,” he says. “But when you find your glasses and your keys and you think, ‘What are these for?’ — that’s a sign that there’s something else going on, that it’s not just a memory loss.” Though there is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, Jebelli is optimistic about current research involving neural stem cells and cell regeneration. “Just the last few years alone have seen some serious breakthroughs in Alzheimer’s research,” he says. “Ten years should be enough time for us to develop, if not a cure, certainly a much better treatment than what we have at the moment.” On how the brain changes with age

Jennifer and Sarah Ross, pictured with their mother, Alycia Halladay Ross, are enrolled in the Autism Sisters Project, a long-term study that seeks to understand why being female provides some protection from developing autism. (Photo: Newsweek) So we’re getting spit from lots of different kids and families so we can learn lots of things about inside our bodies.”

appear to show that being female provides some protection from developing autism.ternal ‘Bathroom Scale’

Siper was explaining the methodology of an ambitious effort currently under way at the center in collaboration with the Autism Science Foundation. Sarah was diagnosed with autism several years ago, but her sister wasn’t. The Rosses are one of 3,000 families enrolled in the Autism Sisters Project, a long-term study of families with at least one child who has autism and at least one female sibling who does not.

When comparing the genome of a girl with autism to the genome of a boy with autism, females tend to have twice as many genetic mutations as boys. What this means is girls have a higher genetic threshold before developing the disorder. Girls need more mutations “to actually pass that boundary to autism traits,” says Joseph Buxbaum, director of the Seaver Center. “Autism is highly genetic, and a big part of the genetic risk is inherited.”

As genetics research has advanced, scientists have discovered some 50 genes linked to autism risk; there are likely many more. As this research has exploded, geneticists in the field have observed a curious pattern, leading to a compelling theory that begs for closer investigation. Studies

“We can actually think about drug development,” he says. “If we have a pathway in the brain that is actually protecting against autism, we can stimulate that pathway through medicine. Then we can actually reduce the risk and ameliorate the manifestations of autism.” (-Newsweek)

Healthy brains shrink and lighten by about 10 percent between the ages of 50 and 80. It used to be thought that the reason they shrink and lighten by that degree is because you lose loads of brain cells, but actually you don’t. Actually, you keep a lot of the brain cells that you have throughout your life, it’s just that the brain cells shrivel up, they get a bit smaller; the contacts between each brain cell reduce in number and so they just function a bit more slowly. And that’s why, as you get older, you do have problems with just day-to-day tasks and everyday remembering. But suddenly not being able to understand what keys are for and what glasses are for is a sign that there’s a deep underlying confusion that’s setting in. And it’s when you have that confusion — that is a sign that it’s something a bit more malign than just normal, everyday forgetting. On the first symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease The first symptoms of Alzheimer’s are usually mild forgetting, confusion with day-to-day tasks — things like paying the bills, stocking the fridge and a sort of mild confusion. So they’re quite subtle. They’re the sort of things that

“Losing your keys, forgetting where you put your glasses, is completely normal,” he says. “But when you find your glasses and your keys and you think, ‘What are these for?’ — that’s a sign that there’s something else going on, that it’s not just a memory loss.” (Photo: Shutterstock) people do just experience in normal, healthy aging and they’re quite difficult to detect. That’s actually been a big problem in the field; because lots of the old drug trails have failed because we think that actually many of the people in the drug trials didn’t have Alzheimer’s disease, they just had sort of a normal, healthy forgetting. So the early signs are quite mild. It’s when it goes to the moderate- to the late-stage symptoms that you really start to see the true face and character of Alzheimer’s disease. On why the onset of Alzheimer’s is often described as an “attack” In Alzheimer’s disease, there is a huge buildup of these sticky clumps of proteins that we call plaques and tangles. In an Alzheimer patient’s brain, the brain is literally littered with plaques and tangles. The brain is essentially under attack by the presence of these toxic proteins. And we know that also once Alzheimer’s starts, the immune system kicks in. When the immune system kicks in, you get ... inflammation, which actually makes the whole process much worse in many ways. And so the brain cells are sort of struggling to stay alive. The immune system, to begin with we think, tries to heal the brain — tries to remedy the situation and clear away the plaques and tangles. But for whatever reason it seems to fail. So it very much can be seen as an attack in the sense that there are these bizarre buildups of these strange proteins that seem to be damaging brain cells to a massive degree. On the current medication for Alzheimer’s disease The current medication for Alzheimer’s disease is approved, essentially, because it’s better than nothing. There’s nothing else at the moment. ...

These drugs were pioneered in the ‘70s and ‘80s and they treat the symptoms, as opposed to the underlying biology. And we found that in about 60 percent of patients these drugs will delay the symptoms by about six months to a year. And that is certainly better than nothing. It’s certainly good enough for them to be approved and for patients to be taking them; and many of the patients I interviewed for the book said that actually they do feel much better taking these drugs. ... But six months to a year is just simply not good enough. On the importance of sleep We know that sleep has hugely beneficial effects for the brain. When you sleep your brain essentially cleans itself — it uses cerebral spinal fluid to pump away the plaques and tangles that we think cause the disease. And so lots of research is now looking into ways of using sleep to treat Alzheimer’s disease, and seeing if a certain level of sleep can somehow affect the symptoms or somehow slow the disease down. On how research into neural stem cells may affect Alzheimer’s treatment There is a lot of really exciting research coming out now into neural stem cells that suggests that actually there are populations of cells in the brain that may provide regeneration, that may actually give birth to new neurons in the brain. And some scientists think that if we can figure out where these populations of neural stem cells are — and if we can figure out what the biochemical and genetic messages are that activate these cells — that we can develop a drug to switch those on, essentially, to allow the brain to heal itself. So it’s a very exciting field at the moment, because a lot is happening. Jebelli’s new book is In Pursuit of Memory: The Fight Against Alzheimer’s. (-Fresh Air: National Public Radio)

Treatment against blindness to sell for No rise in autism in US in past 3 years: study $850,000 in US M IAMI| AFP | Tuesday 1/2/2018 - After more than a decade of steady increases in the rate of children diagnosed with autism in the United States, the rate has plateaued in the past three years, researchers said Tuesday. The findings were based on a nationwide study in which more than 30,000 parents reported whether or not their children had been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). “The estimated ASD preva-

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EW YORK, , AFP 3 January 2018 - Luxturna, a medication against hereditary degeneration of the retina that can lead to total blindness, will be sold for $850,000 in the United States, making it one of the world’s most expensive medical treatments. It is administered in a single dose, according to its manufacturer, Philadelphia-based Spark Therapeutics. It will retail for $425,000 per eye, which is less than the $1 million price tag that had been expected before the company received FDA approval in midDecember. The announcement comes amid a growing debate in the United States over the high cost of medicine, particularly for supposedly innovative treatments. Anticipating criticism, Spark promised to reimburse patients if the treatment proves not to be effective, and said it expects US health authorities to authorize payment in stages. In doing so, the company is following the lead of Novartis, which sells Kymriah, a treatment for a very aggressive form of leukemia in children and young adults. The Swiss

There are currently about 1,000 cases of people who suffer from hereditary degeneration of the retina, and 10 to 20 new cases are expected to be added each year

drug maker has pledged to reimburse insurers and patients if the $475,000 drug doesn’t work. Luxturna is considered the first American medication to emerge from gene therapy, which consists of repairing a defective gene. There are currently about 1,000 cases of people who suffer from hereditary degeneration of the retina, and 10 to 20 new cases are expected to be added each year. Besides Luxturna, several other medications are near the

million-dollar price mark, although they are often administered in several doses. Such is the case with Spinraza (known as Nusinersen in Europe), developed by Biogen and Ionis against muscular dystrophy, and Soliris, made by Alexion Pharmaceuticals to treat a rare form of kidney disease. Both cost around $750,000. The prize for the world’s most expensive medication goes to Glybera, which its Dutch developer UniQure sells for $1 million as a treatment for several genetic maladies.

lence was 2.41 percent among US children and adolescents in 2014-2016, with no statistically significant increase over the three years,” said the research letter by experts at the University of Iowa, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). The first observation of a plateau was made by a separate group in 2012, when the rate flattened out to 1.46 percent, according to the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network.

Federal health authorities say that means about one in 68 children in the United States have the neurodevelopmental disability, whose causes remain poorly understood. The ADDM had documented a “continuous increase from 0.67 percent in 2000 to 1.47 percent in 2010.” The 2.4 percent rate described in the JAMA report translate to one in 47 children, but researchers cautioned that the discrepancy may be explained by “differences in study design and participant characteristics.”

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LIFESTYLE

VOICE OF ASIA 20

FRIDAY, January 5, 2018

Masayoshi Son: From chicken feed to Japan’s richest tycoon by Natsuko FUKUE

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OKYO, Japan | AFP - Once asked on Twitter about his receding hairline, Masayoshi Son, founder of Japanese telecoms giant SoftBank, retorted: “My hair is not receding. I’m advancing.” It was a typically bullish remark from the 60-year-old tycoon, listed by Forbes as Japan’s richest man with an estimated fortune of $22.2 billion, who has embarked on a furious spree of purchases culminating in Thursday’s deal to take a hefty stake in ridesharing app Uber. Under Son’s leadership, SoftBank is sending shockwaves through the tech world with its massive new Vision Fund -- a venture capital fund with $100 billion in its coffers intended for start-ups. The new fund is expected to dominate the industry to such an extent, it’s playfully referred to as a “gorilla”. The bold and flamboyant Son was one of the first personalities from the business world to meet another unconventional tycoon -- Donald Trump -last year after his election victory. Son pledged to invest $50 billion in the US economy and create 50,000 jobs and Trump’s off-the-cuff announcement of this gave reporters their first glimpse into the presidentelect’s unusual communication strategy. Son’s SoftBank has not been afraid to venture outside its core business -completing deals with the likes of ecommerce Chinese giant Alibaba and French robotics firm Aldebaran, which developed the chatty human-shaped “Pepper” robot. And on Thursday, Softbank and Uber announced that the tech titan would take a large stake in the US ridesharing giant -- 15 percent of the equity according to a source familiar with the terms of the deal. - ‘I’ve worked hard’ But the wheeler-dealing of today belies a background that could scarcely be more humble. Son was born in 1957 to ethnic Korean parents on the southern Japanese

Photo of Masayoshi Son courtesy Softbank

island of Kyushu.

ternet access in Japan.

His family scratched a living raising poultry and hogs in a country where Koreans have long faced discrimination stemming from the Japanese occupation of the peninsula between 1910 and 1945.

In the 1990s and 2000s, SoftBank bought and sold Ziff-Davis Communications, the US publisher of computer magazines including PC Magazine, as well as chipmaker Kingston Technologies, and conference organisers Interface and Comdex.

“I sat in a cart when I was small. It was so slimy that I felt sick. My grandmother, who is dead now, was pulling the cart,” Son recalled in a 1996 speech when accepting a business award. “We collected leftover food from neighbours and fed it to cattle. It was slimy. We worked hard,” he said. “And I’ve worked hard.” Son went to the US as a 16-year-old and later studied at the University of California at Berkeley where he began his business career. His first big success came when he invented a computer system to translate English into Japanese. He later sold it to Sharp for one million dollars. In 1981, a year after returning from the US, he founded SoftBank as a software wholesaler and publisher of computer magazines. Since going public in 1994, SoftBank has consistently made headlines with its aggressive strategy of taking over Japanese and foreign businesses, a jolt to the staid world of corporate Japan. The company was once the top shareholder in Yahoo and it has been credited with pushing broadband In-

It also owns the Fukuoka-based Hawks baseball team. The company shook up a market long dominated by NTT DoCoMo and smaller rival KDDI, introducing a significantly cheaper fee schedule and bringing Apple’s iPhone to Japan. Although it no longer has the monopoly on the wildly successful iPhone, SoftBank Mobile is Japan’s third-largest carrier, and does particularly well among urbanites, at whom its savvy marketing campaigns are often aimed. “He’s an unusual character,” David Gibson, an analyst at Macquarie Bank, said of Son. “He has a more longer term vision than many other investors,” he told AFP.

A groom kisses his bride during a mass wedding held in celebration of the New Year in Jakarta Sunday. Hundreds of couples took part in the mass marriage held by the city government to help the poor who were unable to afford a proper wedding (Photo: AP)

Indonesians celebrate New Year with mass wedding

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AKARTA, Indonesia | AFP Hundreds of Indonesian couples celebrated getting married in Jakarta on New Year’s Eve in a free mass wedding. The communal event, attended by 437 couples, was staged by authorities to ease residents’ struggles with bureaucracy. Many Jakartans cannot access public services because they have never legally been married, according to governor Anies Baswedan,

Son also expanded into the solar power sector as Japan searches for safe and clean alternatives to nuclear power in the wake of the Fukushima atomic crisis.

“If they want to celebrate their wedding anniversaries, they will not only celebrate it with their families but the whole world (who) will celebrate with them because it coincides with New Year’s,” the governor said.

The tycoon became a massively followed presence on Twitter at the time of the nuclear crisis, using the social media platform to rail against nuclear energy.

Muhammad Nasir, 64, and his 65-year-old wife Aminah, who only goes by one name, have been married since 1968 -- but only according to Islamic law due to financial reasons.

They have five children and nine grandchildren, but as they have never been legally married some of their children do not have birth certificates and cannot gain access to public services such as healthcare. They immediately signed up to the mass wedding when they heard about it. “I am happy. I am happy, I am very happy,” Aminah told AFP. “I’m happy because it’s for free and now I have all the legal documents which I have never had before, thank God,” she added. As well as older couples who have been married according to Islamic law, young newlyweds received a gram of gold, Korans and a set of prayer outfits. Music festivals, cultural parades, foods stalls and bazaars were also held at around the capital to celebrate New Year’s Eve.

FASHION 6 Fashion Trends to Get Excited About In 2018

Ultra Violet

Pantone announced 2018’s Color of the Year to be Ultra Violet, “an enchanting purple shade that offers designers versatility of expression,” per its press release. The shade represents “our shared desire for deeper understanding in an increasingly complex landscape, and our eagerness to experiment to reach that level”—and it’s one that’s already had a presence on the Spring 2018 runways, at shows like Rochas and Zadig and Voltaire. Except to see the saturated purple hue everywhere in 2018.

Bike Shorts

The Spring 2018 runways confirmed it: Whether you like it or not, ‘90s-style bike shorts will be the inescapable trend of 2018. Kim Kardashian has been on this comeback train for a while, but her penchant for the thigh-hugging bottoms were validated on the runways of Fenty, Nina Ricci, and Agnes B. So, here we are.

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ou don’t need to have spent too much time (as in, literally a few hours) in the new year to know what fashion trends are going to dominate 2018. The writing’s been on the wall: Designers, influencers, and all the incredibly stylish people you see on the street seem to be on the same page about a handful of trends—a certain type of coat, a particular kind of sleeve. Before you know it, those trends will be at your neighborhood purveyor of fastfashion; and from there... You won’t be able to go anywhere without noticing them. So, before they reach that level of pervasiveness, brush up on the eight fashion trends we’re betting on big for 2018. (Editorial photos: Glamour)

Balloon Sleeves We’ve already seen sleeves get super-sized in 2017. The next iteration? Voluminous blouses that feel a little bit 19th century, a little bit Louis Vuitton. Nicholas Ghesqui`ère has been playing around with the silhouette for a while, but now other luxury brands—like Burberry and JOUR/NÉ—are joining in on the fun.

Plastic Jackets

Raf Simon’s Calvin Klein has reignited our interested in super-slick coats and accessories. Two seasons after he first sent them down the runway, we’ve begun to notice more plastic-look jackets on the street and at our favorite retailers than we had since the heyday of The Matrix—trenches, moto jackets, overcoats... You name it.

Disco Flair

It wouldn’t be a fashion trend roundup if there wasn’t a mention of a decade past suddenly making a comeback. We’ve seen the return of the ‘90s and the aughts. (Hello, new Juicy for spring!) In 2018, we’re seeing designers’ fascination with ‘70s disco manifest into all-over sequins, power suits, and embellished bustiers. Look to the runways of Marc Jacobs and Halpern for endless inspiration.

Primary Color-blocking Calvin Klein, Marni, and Oscar de la Renta seem to be in agreement: If you're color-blocking in 2018, keep your palette restrained to those three primary colors. With this limited collection, you can focus on the graphic combination of these hues. The more saturated the shade, the better.


VOICE OF ASIA 21

FRIDAY, January 5, 2018

BOLLYWOOD - HOLLYWOOD

Section 2

Email: voiceasia@aol.com

Kriti Sanon

Indian Tamil cinema superstar Rajinikanth to enter politics Rajinikanth’s announcement ended a wait of almost two decades for many of his fans, especially in the southern Tamil Nadu state

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EW DELHI, India | AFP | 12/31/2017 Rajinikanth, the wildly popular Indian cinema star who inspires almost godlike adulation in some parts of the country, announced his entry into politics Sunday.

ister Pon Radhakrishnan, who is also a parliamentarian from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Tamil Nadu, congratulated Rajinikanth on Twitter. One of Bollywood’s biggest stars, Amitabh Bachchan also

I am not restricting “myself as an actor ” A ctor Kriti Sanon said after spending four years in film industry and starring in films such as ‘Dilwale’ and ‘Barielly Ki Barfi’ she has improv- ed a lot as a performer. The actor, who hails from Delhi, said to create her own space in films without and any support system ‘feels great’

“The fact that I had never thought of becoming an actor in the first place when I was doing B-Tech... then coming to a completely new city, where I knew no one and now to having done four films and have been able to (have) space of myself on my own, it does feels great.” “With every film I feel I have grown as a person and as actor. I learnt a lot on my job as I had no real training of being an actor. When I look back at my films and roles and the approach towards work it is different now then what it was earlier. For me growth is more important,” Kriti says.

The 67-year-old actor’s announcement ended a wait of almost two decades for many of his fans, especially in the southern state of Tamil Nadu where he is revered and referred to simply as “The Superstar”. “I will form my own political party and contest from all 234 seats in the next (state) assembly election,” he told a hall packed with supporters in the state capital Chennai. The state, home to 72 million people, has been hit by political instability since the death in December 2016 of its charismatic chief minister Jayalalithaa Jayaram, also a former movie star. Rajinikanth worked as a bus conductor in the southern city of Bangalore before heading to Chennai in 1973 to pursue his passion for acting. He rose to become the biggest star in the history of Tamillanguage cinema. Rajinikanth is widely credited for almost single-handedly defeating a state government in 1996 by asking his fans to vote it out days before the election. “I am not doing it for any post or money or fame as I have enough,” he said Sunday of his political plans.

The 27-year-old added that she is open to take risks if the role interests her. “Whatever opportunities I get I should like it. I am not restricting myself as an actor, I want to play different kind of characters but I should like the offers.”

had warm words. “My dear friend, my colleague and a humble considerate human, Rajinikanth, announces his decision to enter politics... my best wishes to him for his success,” Bachchan told more than 32 million Twitter followers. But most political parties -- especially the two regional parties DMK and AIADMK, which have dominated Tamil politics and have the most to lose from Rajinikanth’s foray -- were guarded in welcoming his announcement. The BJP, despite its preeminent position across most of India, remains a fringe player in Tamil Nadu. Modi however has a good rapport with the Tamil star, who has often publicly praised the prime minister. The entire state of Tamil Nadu goes into a frenzy every time a new Rajinikanth movie is released. Many companies give their employees a day off, expecting low attendance.

For Kriti it has been a mixed year as her first release ‘Raabta’ did not do well at the box office but ‘Bareilly Ki Barfi’ was appreciated. “I take it all as an experience, whether it is ‘Raabta’ or ‘Bareilly Ki Barfi’ both the films have been special to me as an actor. I believed in both the films.”

had and whether I have moved ahead with some positivity or learning. As I am not from a film background so I am always learning something on my job,” she said.

“I learnt a lot while working on these two films. What matters to me is the experience I

Kriti said working on both the films was a learning experience for her and the praise

I’m content even without being in a relationship: Barrymore

A

ctor Drew Barrymore says she never knew she could be “this content” without being in a relationship.

Kareena Kapoor and Saif Ali Khan, along with Taimur are in Switzerland to usher in the New Year. The couple left over the weekend for their annual trip with little Taimur for company this time.

Fans cut their hair to resemble Rajinikanth’s characters, and some even get his face tattooed on their bodies to mark the release of a film.

Many fans let off firecrackers, danced to drums and shouted slogans in support of Rajinikanth after the announcement.

In Chennai, many fans hand out sweets and even pour milk over giant posters advertising his movies -- a tradition that derives from the ritual bathing of Hindu idols in milk.

India’s junior finance min-

In his movies Rajinikanth

specialises in playing ruffians with a golden heart. He also often portrays underdogs fighting for the good of society against corruption.

The 42-year-old star, who is currently single after splitting from husband Will Kopelman last year, said she is really focused on raising her kids - Olive, five, and Frankie, three, reported InStyle magazine. “My daughters are so fulfilling that I feel like my cup is just avalanching over. If love took on a physical analogy form,

Here’s what the green milk in ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ actually tasted like

T

he creature designer who worked on the wildlife of Star Wars: The Last Jedi has opened up about that weird green milk. Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) is seen harvesting the milk from the udders of walrus-like creatures (known as Thala-Sirens) on the island planet of Ahch-to as Rey (Daisy Ridley) follows him in search of help. Creature designer Neal Scanlan has now revealed to Collider that the effect was created by building a giant animatronic puppet in Pinewood studios which was then transported to the filming location in Ireland. “Once it was in the location, we locked two puppe-

teers inside there. The head opened a little bit, two puppeteers got inside, we put the head back up, and we sealed it with a prosthetic band that went around the side,” he explained. Other puppeteers were brought in to operate the flippers and background puppets, whilst those inside the creature worked an internal milk delivery system. “The guys on the inside could see what was happening on the outside, through monitors and a walkie system that we had, and Mark literally walked up, bent down, and milked his sea-sow. It made a lovely tasting drink, by the way. It wasn’t as disgusting as it looked.”

she received for her work in the movies has made her more confident as an actor. “When your work gets appreciated, you feel more confident to take up roles that you have not done before, do something that you have not done before.” (-PTI)

Star Wars: The Last Jedi saw the introduction of multiple new creatures, including ‘porgs’, which were edited into the film to fix the abundance of puffins in the Irish filming location. The eighth film was recently revealed to have the second highest box office opening figures of all time, beaten only by predecessor The Force Awakens, in spite of strong fan criticism. (-New Musical Express)

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“So I’m not really hungry for it at this moment. I don’t think I would have ever known that I could be this content, this whole, without being in a romantic relationship. That would have been a surprise to my younger self,” Barrymore said.

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Don’t Say “Change Is Hard” When You’re Asking People to Change When a change initiative hits a roadblock, leaders often remind people that “change is hard.” But that old saw can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Momentary setbacks or delays can be viewed as the dead canary in the coal mine, and suddenly, employees disengage en masse. Instead, try flipping the script. In a University of Chicago study, researchers were able to change participants’ mindsets by reminding them that most people improve with a little bit of effort. The results? Study participants were quicker to identify the upsides of change than the downsides. Instead of accepting that initiatives rarely succeed, remind yourself and your team that you’ve all been learning new skills and adapting to new environments for your entire lives. And every time you feel the impulse to say “Change is hard,” make a different claim, one that is every bit as accurate: Adaptation is the rule of human existence, not the exception. Source: Adapted from “Stop Using the Excuse ‘Organizational Change Is Hard,’” by Nick Tasler http://www.harvardbusiness.org/management-tip-day-hbrorg www.hbr.org

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VOICE OF ASIA

Your Horoscope for the Week of JANUARY 5, 2018 Aries (A,L,E) 21 March to 20 April Welcome any challenge coming in your way. It could involve a friend or an older family member to guide you on the path of success. Don’t try going it alone. Ask for help. Your helpmate will see that there is much to be done & will be not only willing, but also able to contribute to the solution. Show your ability to swing right back from anything. Late in the week, you’ll feel fully absorbed by exciting news from far away. Now it’s your turn to be on a high Celebrate.

Taurus (B,V,U) 21 April to 20 May You will stay focus on your immediate objectives, though others will create doubts. You’re confident , so you’ll have little patience for detours or changes in plans. Somebody may try to slip something past you, be aware but don’t let on. Family and old friends are the best company for you right now. You’ll learn an important lesson. Sharing will be necessary. The message will become clear and positive. Many will vie for your attention and some will insist on becoming a part of your entourage.

Gemini (K,CHH,GH) 21 May to 20 June

MANAGEMENT TIP OF THE WEEK

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Your every action will get so much of public attention. But having others around could prove to be a plus. Someone close to you may understand what you’re going through and offer you an alternative. Your creative skills will be required. Great ideas will come and go very easily. Your emotional well being hinges on keeping a positive flow to everything you do. Sure, you could whine and complain, but what good would that do. Even though you hate to wait, you cannot rush into things.

Cancer (D,H) 21 June to 22 July Try to avoid the usual pitfalls and begin to make yourself happy. You need to express both your fears and your fantasies. Once you admit to the limitations you have, you’ll be able to communicate your dreams and perhaps even make some of them come true. The world is far too exciting for petty or personal issues to interfere. Your energy will attract the attention of others. They’ll stand up and take notice of you. Many may want your friendship, but few are willing to pay their dues.

Leo (M) 23 July to 22 August A long-term relationship will prove once again to be a source of security and delight for you. Your feelings have been mixed and you’ve been keeping them hidden. Loved ones will sense your mood and question you. It’s important that you keep your cool and explain how you feel. Conversations could get out of hand if you are too quick to assume what others think. Ask the questions and you’ll get the truth. You’ll feel unsettled if you say something before you know how they really feel.

Virgo (P) 23 August to 22 September Normally you allow others more room, but you need to make sure that everybody is on the same page. It’s not that you are inflexible, but some assurance. If a smile and a handshake make you suspicious, maybe your intuition is working overtime. A solid presentation of your ideas will generate instant success for you. Your word will be accepted as the unwritten law. What’s obvious to you may be brilliant to others. Your future is looking better all the time. Weigh the options you have and ask yourself if it’s worth the trouble.

Libra (R,T) 23 Sept to 22 Oct If you are unsure of your feelings, you need to be more definite with your goals. Lately, you haven’t been paying too much attention to those close to you. Do your best to make them feel more comfortable with the recent changes that have occurred in your lives. You need to be more sensitive to their needs. Try to reach a real understanding on issues that are important to both of you. Leave nothing to chance. By week’s end, plan a candlelight dinner for two. Express your inner most feelings.

Scorpio (N,Y) 23 Oct to 21 Nov The more flexible you are now, the less rigid your problems will become. A good conversation with those concerned will help you to understand the things that were said. Think on a smaller scale and you’ll be able to see things differently. Another native may show you a glimpse of your future. Acceptance will come if you have the will to improve your imperfections. Now that you’re on the right track and there should be no reason to worry. You’ll have a vision which will make things clearer.

Sagittarius (BH,F,DH,TH) 22 Nov to 21 Dec Nothing remains the same. You may feel very uncomfortable at first, but once you express yourself clearly, you’ll feel more at ease. You’ll do well at abstract thinking which will help you to put up with the challenges of change. Your outlook will improve and your luck will start to change. Be open to new areas of your personal life opening up. If you are looking for an honest relationship, you may just meet your match, this week. Ideas that seemed crazy at first may prove to be your solution.

Capricorn (KH,J) 22 Dec to 20 Jan Show self-motivation. You may be able to turn a loss into a gain. An old project, or even an old love, may come back into your life. Approach it differently this time. Be certain that you want what you’re going after. This is your chance to make a new start. Just make sure you do it on your terms. You’ve got to be motivated by your own passion, not by someone else’s desires for you. You don’t have to be a total control emotions, but you must be in charge of your own feelings.

Aquarius (G,S,SH) 21 Jan to 19 Feb Your sense of humor will take control and make life interesting again. Try your best to get along with the majority and everything should run smoothly. If you sense a reluctance from others, don’t push it. If you like to help others, you can expect to have a rewarding time, this week. If you feel your patience is slipping away, you should avoid confrontation, at all costs. Invite someone special to visit an important place with you. Share a fantasy, that way, you will be in charge of the illusion.

Pisces (D,CH,Z) 20 Feb to 20 March You may need to face issues in your personal life. You can’t continue to avoid the obvious. New ideas may rekindle your interest to work with a team. On a good team, praise and criticism should be equally valued assets. Put your ideas on paper and together you’ll be able to come up with a perfect solution. A friend will figure some changes prominently. Physical appearance and material wealth are only part of your charm. Your generosity will allow you to share the spotlight with those concerned. Accept your share humbly and don’t allow your ambition to lead you down the wrong path.

Prepared By, Hardik Vyas : Astrologer, Vaastu & Gem Stone Consultant Cell : 832-298-9950, Web : www.toaskfuture.com

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