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VOICE OF ASIA The Largest Asian-American Newsweekly in Texas

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Serving Harris, Fort Bend and Surrounding Counties for 30 years

Vol. 31 No. 14 • Friday, April 6, 2018

Published Weekly from Houston

24 Pages (2 sections) 50 cents

April26, 2018 In FRIDAY, Section l

Health Line:


Home & Real Estate:

A look at stroke in younger patients seminar

50 Years of the Fair Housing Act



Animals rights groups scent blood as fashion labels go furfree

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India House gala celebrates 15 years Trade war inches closer as of Houston community participation US-China tensions mount by Shobana Muratee

by Douglas Gillison


est economies.


OUSTON - India House, Houston’s landmark community center held its 15th Annual Gala on Sunday, March 24, at the Sugar Land Marriot Town Square celebrating Indian American ties with the Houston communities since its opening 2008.

ASHINGTON | AFP Wednesday 4/4/2018 - The escalating confrontation between Washington and Beijing inched closer to all-out trade war on Wednesday after China threatened retaliation against key US exports.

Over 500 guests attended the fundraising gala that started at 7:45 PM sharp following a social hour. Welcoming the gathering, Jugal Malani, President, India House said “I believe that India House is the platform which gives us an opportunity to give back to the community through the wealth

Beijing unveiled plans for painful import duties targeting politicallysensitive US exports, including soybeans, aircraft and autos, to retaliate against looming US tariffs on more than 1,000 Chinese goods.

Continued on Page 3

Dr. Durga Agrawal and his wife Sushila Agrawal receiving “Lifetime Achievement Award” from Congressman Brady. Photos credit: Bijay Dixit.

Wall Street opened sharply lower but investors apparently later decided their fears might be overblown and stocks closed higher. President Donald Trump's newlyinstalled economic advisor Larry Kudlow said the stock market anxiety was understandable but "at the end of the rainbow, there's a pot of gold." Kudlow is well known to financial markets after many years as an analyst on CNBC. Trump, meanwhile, unleashed a tweet storm, declaring the United States is "not in a trade war with China" and implying he was simply fixing the mistakes of previous administrations.

India House Trustees being honored. From L to R: Jugal Malani, Anjali & Hari Agrawal, Sushila & Dr. Durga Agrawal, Congressman Kevin Brady, Angela & Chowdary Yalamanchili, Bal & Rita Sareen and Nalini and Dr. Virendra Mathur.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross dismissed fears the trade confrontation could endanger the world's larg-

Ross, in an interview with CNBC, downplayed Beijing's retaliation, saying the $50 billion in US exports targeted for sanctions only amounted to about 0.3 percent of US GDP. "So it's hardly a life-threatening activity," he said. China's ambassador to the United States, Cui Tiankai, was at the State Department for talks with acting secretary of state John Sullivan. As he left, he expressed the hope full-blown trade war could yet be avoided. "Of course, negotiation would still be our preference, but it takes two to tango. We will see what they will do," Tiankai told reporters. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said: "The acting secretary reiterated the need to restore fairness and balance to our economic ties." But some US markets already have responded to the trade spat with higher prices and tighter supplies even though the largest of the retaliatory duties have yet to take effect. China is the largest market for US soy and the threat of tariffs on exports of the commodity has the potential to whip up trade anxieties in stalwart Republican areas. The American Soybean Association called on the Trump administration "to reconsider the tariffs that led to this retaliation."

FotoFest 2018 Biennial INDIA given a grand debut










he Consul General of India, Houston, Dr. Anupam Ray held a reception at his residence in honor of the Producers and Artists of FOTOFEST 2018 Biennial on Monday April 2nd. The event featured a presentation by Steve Evans, artist, writer, curator and Executive Director of FotoFest International. The FotoFest 2018 Biennial takes place March 10 – April 22, 2018, in Houston, and will focus on contemporary photography and new media art from India, a nation of over 1.3 billion people, and the world’s largest

democracy. This is the second time in its 35year history that the FotoFest Biennial will focus exclusively on photographic artwork from Asia. The Biennial draws over 275,000 visitors during the course of its six-week run. It attracts visitors and participants from over 35 countries, and is one of the world’s longest-running, largest, and most respected international contemporary photographic art events. Visit for a preview and more information about this landmark event in Houston.

Dr. Anupam Ray (right) and Executive Director Steve Evans. (Photo: Twitter)

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OP-ED/COMMENTARY/ANALYSIS Sabotaging the census: I

FRIDAY, April 6, 2018

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

Contributors: Legal: Sharlene Sharmila Richards Research: Prof. Meenakshi Bhattacharjee Opinion: Dr. Chandra Mittal Editor Online:

Shobana Muratee

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

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

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n normal times, there might be nothing wrong with the 2020 Census asking whether people are U.S. citizens. But it’s wrong now, because these aren’t normal times.

A question of citizenship think it doesn’t matter how much the Census Bureau says we will keep your data confidential,” one adviser said.

Donald Trump is president, the man responsible for that census. He got elected by demagoguing against immigrants, especially those from Mexico, most of whom he seems to think are here illegally. His deportations also are dispatching people to countries they no longer recognize and leaving their American-born children missing one parent or both. The president’s intolerance boiled over on Easter Sunday, of all days, with a factually challenged tweet declaring there’ll be no deal for the Dreamers and demanding that Congress pass tough immigration legislation now. On Monday, his attorney general announced a quota system that threatens the jobs of immigration judges who don’t dispose of cases swiftly enough. The Trump administration’s decision to add a citizenship question to the census guarantees undercounts that will skew federal funding formulas and political redistricting. Immigrants, even those with green cards, will have an incentive to hide from the census. Florida would be one of the states hit hardest if a lawsuit filed Tuesday by 17 states and the bipartisan U.S. Conference of Mayors fails to deter the administration. Florida did not join the lawsuit. It defies human nature to expect undocumented immigrants to believe that the federal agents who question them or read their mail-in forms won’t betray them to the immigration enforcers. Yes, the law forbids that, assuring data privacy for 70 years. But under current circumstances, it’s unrealistic to expect the trust of fearful people. Moreover, the law lets aggregated information be reported in census blocks that would pinpoint where large numbers of non-citizens live. That may actually be the central motive. It bears remembering that many undocumented immigrants are parents of children who are citizens, having been born here. If the parent is afraid to cooperate with the census, those children won’t be counted, either. The administration scheme guarantees that the census, which chronically undercounts minorities and is notably underfunded this time, will perform even worse in 2020. That, in turn, will hurt states like Florida that have higher-thanaverage percentages of undocumented immigrants.

Why now, when the census has managed without a citizenship question since it was last asked in 1950?

lion — are keyed to the census. They include Medicaid, highway money, school aid and food stamps. The population count also determines the apportionment of seats in the House of Representatives — the purpose for which the Constitution established the census — and of voting districts within the states.

could aggravate gerrymandering, to the disadvantage of urban areas where the census is already less reliable than in Republican suburbs. These issues are widely understood, yet Marco Rubio says, “I personally don’t see the problem with it.” Open your eyes, senator. Take off the orange-colored glasses.

Citizenship question in census completely justified by Rep. Dan Donovan (RN.Y.) The extreme, over-the-top hysteria in reaction to a question about citizenship on the 2020 U.S. census has sent the idea of reasoned discourse careening over a cliff. The American Community Survey (ACS), a smaller version of the census that tracks demographics every year, already has a question about citizenship. In today’s public discourse, facts and context take a backseat to supercharged political rhetoric. The activists and politicians ignore the truth and instead inflame divisions for their own political ends. Ironically, the same groups that constantly attack Republicans for ignoring facts are now themselves burying their heads in the sand about the data on citizenship questions. President Trump won the Depending on the degree of undercount, it could cost Florida at least one and possibly three of the 29 congressional seats — up from 27 now — for which it might qualify otherwise. In turn, that would affect state representation in the Electoral College. Within states, undercounts

election, in part, because people were sick of the constant pandering to identity politics and knew he would not succumb to the Pavlovian-like outrage activated anytime a politician dared propose common-sense solutions to our nation's failed immigration policies. If the whole point of a federal census is to gain important information to help inform policy decisions, then knowing how many citizens and non-citizens live in the United States is not only common-sense, it's good policy. While the president's detractors may scream loudly with the microphone of the mainstream media, there are millions of us – myself included – who think this is a no-brainer and welcome the president's refreshing willingness to break some eggs in order to make an omelet. A trial run last year turned up worrisome accounts of people refusing to cooperate with census takers, despite a law that says they must. The Census Bureau’s own panel of experts has advised against the decision. “Because it is viewed as a strictly political decision, I

The administration says it needs to know where people are eligible to vote, and in what numbers, so that it can protect minority voting rights. As the New York Times remarked on that, “Even putting aside the laughable notion that this administration cares about minority voting rights, this argument is bunkum — the Justice Department has been enforcing that law without access to such data for decades.” The editorial called it a move to “give Republicans an advantage in maintaining control of the House of Representatives.” By one informed estimate, some 24.3 million people “would have good reason to skip the 2020 Census if they believe their names and addresses could be shared with law enforcement.” That’s the opinion of Robert Shapiro, who oversaw the 2000 Census as undersecretary of commerce. Writing for the Brookings Institution, he said the resulting federal funding cuts would fall hardest on “the 23 mainly red states with poverty rates above the national average.” It’s not just undocumented immigrants who would dodge the census, Shapiro asserts. “Millions of other Americans will be very sensitive to any intimation that filling out their census forms might help law enforcement officials locate them, including students in default on their federal loans, parents who owe back child support, anyone with an outstanding warrant, and more.” Some critics of the plan are calling on citizens to foil it by refusing to answer the citizenship question. But the law provides a $100 fine for refusing to answer “any of the questions.” An accurate census is so fundamental to a republican form of government that it’s the only federal program mandated in the Constitution. The administration’s intended sabotage — to call it what it is — is a gross disservice to our country. (-Sun Sentinel Editorial Board)

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Section 1

Community Email:

FRIDAY, April 6, 2018

Tel: 713-774-5140

India House gala celebrates 15 years of Houston community participation

India's Consul General in Houston, Dr. Anupam Ray addressing the gathering at India House gala. Continued from Page 1

tance at a nominal cost.

of expertise and diversified that has been expanding unconditionally toward supporting and helping the less fortunate.” He also thanked India House Trustees, Board of Directors, donors, staff and volunteers for their continued support.

Speaking on the occasion, Consul General of India, Houston, Dr. Anupam Ray called India House a “secular temple.” “It’s not just about religion but more,” he said. “It’s about people who are likeminded, getting together for good reason: for giving back, helping each other, reaching out to the society in which they live.” Dr. Ray said India House was the “pillar of Indian presence in Houston,” recounting how the community came together during hurricane Harvey raising close to $2 million for Mayor Turner’s Harvey Relief Fund.

India House programs and services cover a wide range of activities that include: medical assistance through Charity Volunteer Clinic, Legal Consultation by volunteer attorneys, Urban Youth Program hosted for the After-School program and Summer Camp for neighborhood students, Wellness programs with free Yoga and Meditation; Taekwondo and Language learning courses and many more activities. Sareen Harris Health Clinic is one of their successful collaborations with the Harris County, towards providing medical and health assis-

At last year’s gala India House had donated $100.000 to Ian Grillot, a young American who was shot while trying to intervene in a Kansas bar shooting that killed an Indian, Srinivas Kuchibhotla and injured his friend

Alok Madasani. This show of support defies the ‘spirit’ of the Indian community here, Dr. Ray commented. “You are also a bridge between the United States and India.” Dr. Ray referred to Texas Governor Greg Abbot trade delegation in Mumbai and the prospects on increased trade. “We have taken in the first shipment of the $2 billion worth of gas per annual that we will be buying for ten years from Texas,” Dr. Ray said. He also mentioned that Congressman Pete Olson and Mayor Turner plan to visit India as well. “We are the fastest growing economy in the world,” currently, 3 Indian Public Sector Companies are head quartered in Houston: Gas Authority of India Limited, (GAIL), Oil India Ltd. and Oil and Natural Gas Commission of India (ONGC), he mentioned.” India has fastest growing market for tires in the world. We are going to buy 800 airplanes over the next 2-3 years and will build 76 airports over the next 2 years. We just launched the world’s most ambitious and largest medical insurance scheme,” Consul General listed. He mentioned that Air India will be coming to Texas soon. Introducing the Keynote Speaker Congressman Kevin Brady, Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, India House Trustee Dr. Durga Agrawal mentioned that when Brady attended the ground-breaking ceremony had brought the ‘soil from his house, to your house, India House.” Brady, who chairs the most powerful committee in Congress with jurisdiction over taxes, health care, Social Security, Medicare, international

trade and welfare said the “support for India is one of issues that brought both Republics and Democrats together all the time.” He mentioned about Pete Olson’s and Mayor Turner’s upcoming visit to India. He also mentioned other strong supporters like US Senator John Cornyn, Congressman Ted Poe, and Congressman Al Green. Brady touched upon the new tax reforms and said it would be ‘something different’, and every family whether they are making $20,000 or $500,000 would be impacted. “Filing would be simplified he said, “ in a way almost nine out of 10 Americans next year will be filing on a postcard style system.” Small business will not be left behind he said. They now get a 20% discount after they pay their local taxes he said. Dr. Durga Agrawal and his wife Sushila Agrawal were honored with “Lifetime Achievement Award” for their indelible contribution to India House since its inception. Together, they serve as a strong pillar of support to India House and the community at large. Dr. Mathur, India House Trustee read he citation

for the Award. Gala Co-Chair Bal Sareen in his message said” this gala is true celebration of our past, present and future efforts in uniting the cultures and serving the communities.” Chowdary Yalamanchili, a major donor of India House and Swapnil Agarwal also served as co-chairs. India House donors Chowdary Yalamanchili, Hari Agrawal, Dr. Virendra Mathur, Bal Saeen, Dr. Durga Agarwal and Jugal Malani were recognized on the occasion.

Bal Sareen, Gala Co- Chair

Col. Vipin Kumar, (Retd.), Executive Director, India House, gave an overview of India House activities and presented video messages from Senator John Cornyn and Governor Greg Abbott. Rashi Vats, news anchor, Fox 26, was the Mistress of Ceremonies. The event opened with the signing of national anthem of the United States by Apurva Ghosh and Indian national anthem by Prasun Kolhe. Entertainment was by Payal, Anish, Serene and Dipayan. A 22k gold necklace donated by Karat 22 was auctioned as part the fundraiser. Dinner was catered by Bombay Brassiere.

Jugal Malani, President, India House

Col. Vipin Kumar, (Retd.), Executive Director, India House

Apurva Ghosh and Prasun Kolhe singing the natinal Anthem.

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FRIDAY, April 6, 2018

Grand Ram Navami celebrations at ISKCON of Houston

Classical singers Madhavi Chenna and Danalila Pasumarti accompanied by Mahaeswar on Mridangam. (Photo: Shobana Muratee)

Students of Goswami Academy put on a most well-received drama about Lord Ramachandra. (Photo: ISKCON Houston) by Shobana Muratee


any millennia ago, in an age what the Vedic scriptures call Treta Yuga, an incarnation of the Supreme Personality of Godhead descended on earth as Lord Ramachandra in Ayodhya. Born to King Dasharatha and his chaste wife Kaushalya on the ninth day of the month of Chaitra, Lord Rama exemplified the perfect person as is recorded in the great epic Ramayana. He demonstrated characteristics of an ideal king, an exemplary brother and a devoted husband.

The students of Abhinaya School of Dance, Katy were choreographed by their Guru Indrani Parthasarthy. (Photo: Shobana Muratee)

For worshippers of Vishnu or Krishna, Rama Navami is a very auspicious day as it signifies the appearance of the revered incarnation who defined principles of dharma and righteousness. Devotees observe a fast and chant the holy names of the Lord with sincerity. Many also prefer to read from sacred scriptures like the Srimad Bhagavatam, and the Ramayana that describe His extraordinary pastimes. ISKCON of Houston temple celebrated Lord’s appearance day - also known as “Rama Navami - on Sunday, March 25, starting at 4 pm. After ceremonial yagna, arati and kirtans, His Grace Radha Krishna Dasa narrated excerpts from the life of Sri Rama, who is also called Maryada Purushottam (perfect man), the ideal son, brother, husband and king who by his example, showed his followers the righteous way of life. The discourse explained the glories of Sri Rama and His pastimes from the Ramayana. At the Guranga Hall was held the cultural program with skits, classical dance and music. An invocation by Madhavi Chenna and Danalila Pasumarti accompanied by Mahaeswar

HG Radhakrishna Dasa delivered the festival's Rama Katha, telling of His pasttimes and His glories. (Photo: Shobana Muratee) on Mridangam started it off. A vibrant and colorful folk dance was presented by the students of Abhinaya School of Dance, Katy, choreographed by Guru Indrani Parthasarthy. A spectacular classical Oddisi Dance was by Oddisi Academy of Houston, led by Guru Prashant Behera. The highlight was a drama on "Lord Ram" by the students of the Goswami Academy who depicted snippets from epic

Ramayan that included Lord Rama’s Birth, Killing of the Tataka demoness and the famous Lifting of Siva’s bow. The children ranging from ages 3 to grade 6 clad in their colorful costumes and make-up enthusiastically took on their roles with confidence. Goswami Academy is a faith-based private school exceptional in imparting training both creative academics and spiritual values. Goswami Acad-

A spectacular classical Oddisi Dance was by Oddisi Academy of Houston, led by Guru Prashant Behera. (Photo: ISKCON Houston) emy’s Open House is on April 29th, from 1p.m. to 4p.m. Enrolling students ages 2 to grade 7 for the 20182019 school year. All are invited to attend. The celebrations ended with a delicious vegetarian feast, a feature of all

ISKCON festival that devotees and guests enjoy immensely. Visit ISKCON of Houston temple at 1320 West 34th Street. The Sunday feast program starts every Sunday at 5:30 PM. (written with input from ISKCON of Houston.)

Fort Bend View


FRIDAY, April 6, 2018

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

Section 1


Tel: 713-774-5140

Sugar Land branch library Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital celebrates National Cancer Survivors Day on June 1 holds “Adult Coloring Hour” in April


UGAR LAND— (April 1, 2018) — Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital is joining nearly 15.5 million American cancer survivors celebrating the 31st Annual National Cancer Survivors Day® this year. Also being recognized are the many family members, caregivers and health care providers whose contributions to, and support of, cancer survivors help make the celebration possible. “A diagnosis of cancer can generate many emotions but survival is about embracing life and living each day to the fullest,” said Amy SebastianDeutsch, director of oncology services. “You will find our Cancer Survivor’s Day celebration and resource fair filled with laughter, camaraderie, hope, compassion, faith, love and music as we honor cancer survivors for their strength and courage.”


xplore a new form of creative expression when Fort Bend County Libraries’ Sugar Land Branch Library presents an “Adult Coloring Hour” on Monday, April 23, from 6:30 to 8:30 pm, in the Meeting Room of the library, located at 550 Eldridge.

Houston Methodist Cancer Survivor Day Celebration 2017

Anyone living with a personal history of cancer – from the moment of diagnosis through the remainder of life – is a cancer survivor, according to the National Cancer Survivors Day Foundation®. “National Cancer Survivors Day is a great opportunity for cancer survivors, caregivers, friends and family to come together and affirm there can be quality of life after a diagnosis of cancer,” said Clive Shkedy, M.D., medical director of radiation oncology. Additionally, the foundation says that more people are surviving cancer than ever before, thanks to advances in prevention, early detection, treatment and follow-up care. Cancer, however, does come with many challenges, such as hindered access to cancer specialists and promising new treatments, inadequate or no insurance, financial hardships, employment problems and psychological struggles. “Despite these difficulties, cancer survivors can live active, productive lives with the support of other survivors,” said Shkedy.

During this fun activity, learn more about adult coloring -- the latest trend in relaxation and stress-reduction techniques. Coloring has been shown to lower heart rates and is thought to lower blood pressure as well. The creative process of coloring can also be a way to exercise the brain. Unwind and relax while re-discovering this favorite

emcee the event and this year’s keynote speaker is Sally Baskey and her popular character Ida Mae Fudpucker. Guests will also be able to have a photo taken at the photo booth, and visit our resource fair. Recognizing the importance of

Houston Methodist Cancer Survivor Day Celebration 2017 Houston Methodist Cancer Center at Sugar Land welcomes all local cancer survivors and a guest of their choice or one caregiver each to join us as we honor cancer survivors. It’s Not About the Destination…It’s About the

Journey, the Cancer Survivors Day Celebration and Resource Fair will have a travel theme and be held from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Friday, June 1, at the Sugar Land Marriott Town Square. News anchor, ShernMin Chow from KHOU 11 will

childhood activity and demonstrating strokes of creative genius. Materials and refreshments for this program are provided through the generous support of the Friends of the Sugar Land Branch Library. Proceeds from the Friends of the Library book sales and annual membership dues help to underwrite the costs of special programming and various cultural events at the library. The event is free and open to the public. Reservations are not required. For more information, call the Sugar Land Branch Library at 281-238-2140, or the library system’s Communications Office at 281-633-4734.

wellness, guests will be invited to participate in a fun activity prior to enjoying a globally inspired lunch. Registration is required. Register online at survivorluncheon-sl or call 281.274.7500.

Gita Conference Houston Saturday, May 26, 2018 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.

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Prekindergarten registration for 2018-19 school year opens on April 9 After submitting online application, parents will complete process at zoned prekindergarten campus


ORT BEND ISD (April 4 2018) – Registration for students entering prekindergarten in the 2018-19 school year will open on April 9. Parents of eligible students will need to begin the process by completing the first step of the enrollment online and finishing the process at their zoned PreK campus. Online registration for prekindergarten will be open through May 25 at 4 p.m. For more information about the PreK registration process or to confirm your child’s zoned PreK campus, visit Please check the Prekindergarten Feeder Pattern to find the program appropriate for your child. Fort Bend ISD offers a prekindergarten education program for children who reside in the District and who are eligible for the program. Students must be four (4) years of age on or before September 1, be a Fort Bend ISD resident, and meet one of the following specifications: Limited English proficiency because a language other than English is the primary language spoken in the home (students qualifying by language will be tested to determine placement in the program), or Qualify according to the Federal Income Eligibility Guidelines (parents must bring proof of income for April 2018, documentation for at least one month of income, including

current check stubs, child support statement of payment, or SNAP qualification letter, etc.), or Be homeless, or Have current or previous conservatorship of the Department of Family and Protective Services, or Is the dependent child of an active U.S. Armed Forces member or a U.S. Armed Forces member who has been injured or killed while on active duty, or Is the dependent of a police officer, firefighter, or emergency medical responder seriously injured or killed in the line of duty and received the Star of Texas Award. Parents can complete step one of the registration process from their home computer, mobile device, a public library computer or a computer that will be made available at Fort Bend ISD campuses. To access the new student online registration system, parents will need to have an email address to create the account. To complete the registration process, parents will then need to set an appointment at their zoned prekindergarten campus. Enrollment appointments will begin the week of April 16, 2018 during elementary school hours (8:10 a.m. to 3:25 a.m.) Parents must bring the following required documents to register their child: Copy of the child’s original birth certificate Immunization records Social Security card

Southwestern National Bank Scholarship 2018 About The Southwestern National Bank Scholarship Program


outhwestern National Bank Scholarship Program is funded by Southwestern National Bank (Member FDIC) to recognize and assist outstanding high school graduates reduce the financial burden for college. Southwestern National Bank Scholars are selected on the basis of their financial need, academic achievement, and community involvement. Each year a total of $5,000.00 will be awarded to five selected scholars. Each scholar will be awarded $1,000.00. Eligibility 1. Demonstrates financial need for college tuition, book & supplies and expenses 2. U.S. high school graduating seniors

Proof of income, if applicable Proof of residence, including a deed, lease or mortgage agreement


Those serving on the board will review sworn complaints of Code of Ethical Conduct violations by elected or appointed officials. Guidelines for service on the Ethics Review Board includes the following items: • Applicants must be residents of the city. • Elected officials, those serving on another city board/commission and city employees are not eligible. • Anyone convicted of a felony or a crime of moral turpitude will not be considered. • Campaign managers, treasurers, officers or other decision-maker of any candidate elected in past three years may not serve. • Campaign managers, treasurers, officers or other decision-maker of any political action committee during past three years are ineligible. The application is posted at The Ethics Review Board will consist of nine members appointed by City Council. Initial appointments will range from one to three-year terms of service. Beginning in 2019, all new members will serve threeyear terms. City Council is scheduled to make initial appointments to

the board in September, with oaths of offices set for the second City Council meeting in October. Sugar Land City Council adopted a new Code of Ethical Conduct for city officials last year. The code includes the creation of the independent review board. The document was approved after a citizen committee spent months researching best practices and obtaining public input. Sugar Land’s previous ethics code was approved in December 2005, and changes in state law prompted City Council to establish a sevenmember task force to conduct a 10-year review. The Ethics Code includes specific guidelines and regulations governing conflicts of interest, business interactions with the City, City Council’s role in the procurement procedures, disclosure of gifts, private interests, misuse and disclosure of confidential information and restrictions on political activity and political contributions. A process for filing a complaint is detailed in the new code, and the duties and procedures of an independent review board of appointed citizens are included. The Ethics Code is available online at www.sugarlandtx. gov/CodeofEthics. The code is designed to supplement the requirements in state law to ensure Sugar Land’s elected and appointed

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1. Please send your application package to Southwestern National Bank, Attention Scholarship Program-Ling Chuang, 6901 4. Two letters of recommen- Corporate Drive, Houston, dation from a teacher, counsel- Texas 77036. or, and/or other advisors 2. Applications and 5. A two-page typed essay all supporting documents stating why you should be must be received by April awarded a scholarship. Please 30, 2018 for application to be include: considered. • Financial need for this 3. An interview may be scholarship for educational part of the application propurposes cess for all semi-finalists. • Personal and academic 4. Scholarships for the achievements. Give specific 2018 Scholarship program examples. will be announced by mail in • Academic plans and career May 2018. goals. Give specific examples.

$1,000 Scholarship Awards 3. Has a minimum GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale (un-weighted) 4. Will enroll in an accredited U.S. college full-time for the entire academic year 2018/2019 Documents Required (To be considered, all of the following documents must be submitted) 1. A completed Southwestern National Bank Scholarship Application Form 2. An official high school transcript 3. Copies of the most recent document(s) demonstrating the financial need (Family’s 1040 Federal Income Tax Return Form, qualification for School Free/Reduced Lunch Program, etc.)

• Past and current involvePlease Contact Us ment, as well as future plans, For scholarship applicatowards making a difference in tion and information, please your community contact the Scholarship CoApplication Process & Award ordinator by e-mail at ling. Announcement

Harmony School of Ingenuity senior takes third place at state fair

A current utility bill (gas, water or electric) A government issue photo ID of the student’s parent or guardian, which provides their FBISD address (current TX Driver’s License/ID Card) For more information regarding prekindergarten registration, contact the school in which your child will enroll. If you would like to verify attendance boundaries for your home address, please use SchoolFinder or the “Let’s Talk” feature located on the District’s website, using the “Attendance Boundaries” interest area. Be sure to include your name, address, and the grade your child(ren) will enter at the start of the 2018-19 school year.

Application period nears for new independent ethics review board he city of Sugar Land will accept applications for a newly created independent Ethics Review Board beginning April 16.

FRIDAY, April 6, 2018

officials are held to the highest ethical standard. The new code provides for a maximum penalty of $2,000 for ethics violations. Other sanctions include measures such as censure, written reprimands, removal of appointed officials and recommendations for the recall of elected officials.

oneilla Bailey, a senior at Harmony School of Ingenuity in Houston, was awarded third place in the 2018 Texas Science and Engineering Fair recently in San Antonio.


Soneilla’s third-place finish was in the plant science category. One other Harmony School of Ingenuity student, Elaine Tran, also competed in the fair. Only the top finishers in 13 regional fairs across Texas were invited to compete in the state fair, which was held at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center on March 23-24. "I am really proud of our Ingenuity students, Soneilla and Elaine, advancing to the state competition among some other highly motivated and brilliant students from all over Texas,” said science teacher Ms. Nilufar Fatih. “I also want to congratulate Soneilla for placing 3rd in this highly competitive event. The success of these students makes a positive impact on other students' motivation and encouragement to excel and be involved." Soneilla had qualified for the state fair by taking second place at the regional fair on Feb. 24. Elaine also had taken second place at the regional

Soneilla Bailey with her trophy and certificate fair in chemistry. The TXSEF has been operated by the UTSA College of Sciences since 2004, providing

an opportunity for discourse among like-minded, highachieving middle and high school students across Texas.



FRIDAY, April 6, 2018

Indo American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Houston (IACCGH) host series of tax seminar with experts

IACCGH President Swapan Dhairyawan. (Photo credit Bijay Dixit)


he Indo American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Houston (IACCGH) is hosting a series of tax seminars at various centers in the city to educate the community on the sweeping tax changes in 2018 as well as Overseas Bank reporting and Harvey affected Business Relief measures. The second Tax seminar was held on Saturday, March 31st at Vadtal Dham in Aliana, Richmond and attracted young pro-

CPA Mahesh Desai. (Photo credit Bijay Dixit)

fessionals and business owners Speakers for volunteering their who wanted to update them- time on a weekend. selves on the recently legislated IACCGH Executive Direc2017 Tax Cuts & Jobs Act. tor Jagdip Ahluwalia highThe event commenced with lighted the Chamber’s 18 year a welcome address by Viren- old evolution, involvement and dra Amin. He explained the mission in promoting Houscenter’s activities and briefly ton’s economy. He also urged outlined the recent outreach the young professionals in the efforts by the organization. He room to become engaged in also commended the Chamber community efforts. for their leadership in being CPA Mahesh Desai presented the voice of the Indo American the Foreign Bank account rebusiness community and the porting and compliance rel-

evance post the signing of the Intra governmental treaties between the US and India as well as the Amnesty scheme and the importance of foreign assets reporting. Chamber President Swapan Dhairyawan, a leading CPA himself, went over the Tax Cuts and the new legislation which would affect the 2018 Tax Year filers. He drew attention to the business cuts

and individual tax cuts that have been instituted in simple layman terms which helped the audience understand its provisions in a clear and concise manner. He also dwelt on charitable contributions and its relevancy in giving and taking advantage of itemized filing. An interactive and lively Q&A followed after which the vote of thanks was made by Madanmohan Patel. He thanked the Chamber and the

CPAs for addressing prominent tax changes during the crucial tax season to assist the community. The next Chamber initiative is the Business Investment Conference to be held in League City on April 18th. Please visit for additional information and schedule of activities. Disclaimer: The IACCGH tax seminar is for advisory purposes only

Children’s India Culture Fest with quiz, art Fort Bend voters host an all-candidates and storytelling competitions on April 7 meeting in Rosenberg


ANVEL TX -- An Indian Culture Festival with a number of fun competitions will be held on Saturday April 7, 2018 at Rogers Middle School, 3121 Manvel Rd, Pearland TX 77584, from 1 to 6 pm. The event is open to all and festival entry is free. Titled “Puranava – From the Ancient to the New” and presented by non-profit Global Organization for Divinity, the event will give adults and children alike, a glimpse into India’s regional diversity and colorful culture. Pura-Nava (“Pura” means old and “Nava” means new) encompasses both, India’s

rich, ancient history and its more recent contributions to global development.

As part of this festival PuraNava Quiz and Art competitions will be held for children and youth of all ages, with exciting cash prizes and awards for the winners and gifts for all participants. The quiz competition is a way for children of both Indian heritage as well as other cultural backgrounds to learn more about India and its global contribution. The Quiz Competition will be in three age categories – Grades K-4 (Individual), Grades 5-8 (Team of Two) and High school & College

undergrads (Team of Two). For quiz competition topics, guidelines and registration, For each age group, there will first be a written preliminary round, with the top few participants moving to the finals.

An Art competition will also be held for participants of all ages, including adults. This will feature competitions in the Art of Storytelling, Coloring/Drawing/Painting on paper and canvas, Doodling, Digital Art and Rangoli (for adults). For art competition themes, guidelines and registration, visit www.tinyurl. com/artpuranava2018.

Apart from the competitions, the Culture Fest will have exhibits from different regions of India, puppet shows, kids art and craft stations, henna and face painting, traditional Indian games, booths to try out Indian traditional wear and Indian languages, photo booths, vendors selling exquisite Indian clothes, jewellery and more. Visitors can also get to taste unique regional Indian foods, including many that are not commonly available in Indian restaurants. There will also be dance performances by children, showcasing India’s varied performing arts. This project is supported by a City of Pearland Cultural Arts Grant program from the City of Pearland Convention & Visitors Bureau. For more information and booth/vendor sponsorships, please call 281-402-6585 or


ll six candidates and two incumbents running for election or re-election in May 2018 were invited to attend the first Fort Bend Voters for Companion Animals meeting. Close to 40 people gathered to learn the stances and intentions of the candidates running for mayoral and city council positions regarding animal welfare issues generally and related to City of Rosenberg becoming a No Kill community. In attendance, there were several county elected officials, citizens from Rosenberg, Sugar Land, Richmond, Katy and Needville, along with past and present shelter volunteers. Encouraging this kind of political dialogue on a local level will give constituents a chance to engage with the individuals running for office on a deeper level; it also allows attendees to consider animal welfare and sheltering issues and questions that may not have occurred to them

previously. Candidates who attended were Isaac Davila, District 1, Terry Joe Gateley, District 2, and Lisa Wallingford, District 3. Councilor Balderas represented Chris Velasquez, candidate for District 3. After listening to the four speeches made, concerned voting animal lovers and all candidates present heard the core message that the problem of shelter killing in Rosenberg is a result of poor leadership. Present council is unwilling to change and does suppress public opinions. All candidates vowed to welcome strategic partnership with private charities and to apply outside the box thinking to save as many lives of animals as possible. (-Courtesy Fort Bend Voters for Companion Animals: To end the needless killing of healthy and treatable companion animals in local municipal shelters through changing legislation and political advocacy.)



India withdraws controversial 'fake news' order after backlash


EW DELHI, India | AFP | 4/3/2018 -Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday reversed an order to punish journalists found guilty of reporting "fake news", after an outcry over a perceived government crackdown on the press. The media sanctions, issued late Monday, stated that the government would withdraw the official accreditation of any journalist responsible for repeated reporting of "fake news". India is the latest government to act against what it calls "fake news". Malaysia is passing a law allowing for up to six years in jail for publishing allegedly misleading information. The government said it needed to curb the spread of misinformation in the media. But Modi's office rescinded the directive just hours later amid

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi has withdrawn an order clamping down on "fake news". (Photo: AFP/Prakash Singh)A allegations India's vibrant press was being muzzled. "PIB (Press Information Bureau) Press release titled 'Guidelines for Accreditation of Journalists amended to regulate Fake News' issued on 02 April 2018 stands withdrawn," the information and broadcasting ministry said in a statement

Tuesday. Under the withdrawn guidelines from the ministry, a first offence would have led to a six-month suspension of government accreditation. A second case would attract a year's suspension followed by a permanent withdrawal for a third offence.

The task is likely to be harder after the US State Department amended its designation of LeT Monday to include the political party.


TTAWA, Canada | Canada should take in Rohingya refugees and press other nations to do the same, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's special envoy to Myanmar said Tuesday.

"Canada should signal a willingness to welcome refugees from the Rohingya community in both Bangladesh and Myanmar and should encourage a discussion among like-minded countries to do the same," Rae told a news conference.

SLAMABAD, Pakistan | AFP | A Pakistan political party linked to the alleged mastermind of the Mumbai attacks blasted Washington Tuesday for violating the country's "sovereignty and constitution", hours after the United States blacklisted the group. The move by the US comes as the White House continues to ratchet up pressure on Islamabad to crack down on extremist groups operating in the country after suspending military aid to Pakistan in January for inaction. The Milli Muslim League (MML) was launched last August by Hafiz Saeed's Jamaatud-Dawa (JuD) -- the charity wing of militant group Lashkare-Tayyiba (LeT). LeT is accused of masterminding the 2008 Mumbai attacks that left nearly 166 people dead and brought nuclear-armed India and Pakistan to the brink of war. Since launching, the MML has struggled to officially register with Pakistan's Election Commission over its links to JuD.


Canada should take in Rohingya refugees: Special envoy

Special envoy Bob Rae -- on the heels of his fact-finding mission to Bangladesh and Myanmar -- also urged Ottawa to increase humanitarian aid for the Rohingya, to continue to target human rights abusers with sanctions and to gather and protect evidence for possible future trials.

Pakistan party linked to rips US blacklisting

"(The) US has no right to intervene in Pakistan's internal political matters and label terror allegations against people who themselves are against extremism," said MML's Information Secretary Tabish Qayyum.

Rohingya Muslims gather behind Myanmar's border lined with barbed wire fences in Maungdaw district, located in Rakhine State bounded by Bangladesh. (AFP/Joe Freeman). In the meantime, he estimated Can$150 million in annual aid is needed over the next four years to provide assistance, education and supporting infrastructure in more than a dozen refugee camps in Bangladesh near the

Myanmar border. Trudeau welcomed the report, saying his administration over the coming weeks would "assess the recommendations ... and outline further measures we intend to take."

"Such designations are aimed to undermine Pakistan's sovereignty and constitution." The decision comes after Pakistani officials began seizing assets from JuD in February. The crackdown followed a vote by members of the Financial Action Task Force -- a global anti-money laundering watchdog -- to place Pakistan on its grey list of nations which are not doing enough to combat terror financing in June.

FRIDAY, April 6, 2018

Baby believed snatched by monkey in India is found dead


EW DELHI, India | AFP | 4/2/2018 Indian police say a 16-day-old baby boy believed to have been snatched by a monkey has been found drowned in a well. The infant was sleeping under a mosquito net at his home in the eastern state of Odisha on Friday when he was taken by a rhesus macaque, a species with a reddish-pink face common across India. "The mother is saying that she saw a monkey take away her child. She raised an alarm but the monkey quickly leaped over the roof and vanished out of sight," police sub-inspector S.M. Baral told AFP. "We launched a search along with the forest officers. Yesterday (Sunday) the baby was spotted inside the well dead,"

she told AFP. A post-mortem showed the infant died of asphyxia due to drowning, Baral said. "Since there were no injury marks on the baby, maybe the monkey dropped him in the well." No case was registered as the "family is convinced it's the monkey that killed their child", the officer said. The incident happened in the village of Talabasta in Cuttack district. Media reports said monkeys have become a growing nuisance in the area where the child was taken. In March last year, schools were closed in Odisha's Kendrapada district because of frequent monkey attacks, the Hindustan Times said.

Bodies of 38 Indian workers killed by IS arrive home from Iraq


MRITSAR, India | AFP | 4/2/2018 - The bodies of 38 Indian construction workers kidnapped and murdered in Iraq by the Islamic State group returned home on Monday four years after their disappearance. Grieving families -- who were told for years by government officials that their loved ones were still alive -- waited at an airport in the northwest state of Punjab to receive the coffins from Baghdad. The victims were mostly from poor families in Punjab and were employed by a construction company when they were abducted by extremists. India's foreign minister told parliament last month that 39 bodies were unearthed from a mass grave in Badush, a vil-

lage northwest of Mosul. DNA testing confirmed the identity of 38 of the corpses. One test was a partial match, with further examination needed, India's junior foreign minister said Monday. The Indians were kidnapped in June 2014 as the Islamic State group overran large swathes of territory in Iraq, including the major northern city of Mosul. Indian officials for years insisted the abductees were alive until proven otherwise, drawing criticism from relatives who accused the government of keeping them in the dark. Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj denied the government had given the families false hope. It is not known when the Indians were killed.


FRIDAY, April 6, 2018



FRIDAY, April 6, 2018

Nelson Mandela's ex-wife US visa seekers will have Winnie Mandela dies at 81 to disclose social media


ASHINGTON, | AFP | 3/30/2018 - Travelers to the United States will soon have to submit their social media identities, previous telephone numbers and email addresses, a measure that could touch 10 million people per year.



OHANNESBURG, South Africa | AFP | 4/2/2018 - Winnie Mandela, the former wife of South African anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela, died on Monday aged 81, triggering an outpouring of tributes to one of the country's defining and most divisive figures. She died in a Johannesburg hospital, her family said in a statement, adding that she had "fought valiantly against the Apartheid state" and that she was known "far and wide as the Mother of the Nation".

According to a State Department plan published Friday, visa seekers -- whether visitors or would-be immigrants -- will be presented with a list of social media platforms. Applicants will be required to identify which they use and provide "any identifiers used by applicants for those platforms during the five years preceding the date of application."

Winnie Mandela, who was married to Nelson Mandela for 38 years, played a high-profile role in the struggle to end white-minority rule, but her place in history was stained by controversy and accusations of violence.

"Other questions seek five years of previously used telephone numbers, email addresses, and international travel," the notice, published in the Federal Register, revealed.

Leading the tributes, antiapartheid campaigner and Nobel laureate Desmond Tutu described her as "a defining symbol" of the battle against oppression. "She refused to be bowed by the imprisonment of her husband, the perpetual harassment of her family by security forces, detentions, bannings and banishment," Tutu said. "Her courageous defiance was deeply inspirational to me, and to generations of activists." The statement from her family said that she passed away at the Netcare Milpark hospital in Johannesburg. "She died after a long illness, for which she had been in and out of hospital since the start of the year. She succumbed peacefully in the early hours of Monday afternoon surrounded by her family and loved ones," it added. In the ruling African Nation-

When these new rules were first suggested last year as part of what US President Donald Trump has called "extreme vetting" of would-be visitors, civil liberties groups sounded the alarm about privacy.

Winnie Mandela, pictured in 2010 at the funeral of anti-apartheid stalwart and women's rights activist Fatima Meer. Seventeen years after the end of apartheid, her career was in oblivion (AFP Photo/Rajesh Jantilal). al Congress (ANC), head of policy Jeff Radebe described her as "an icon of the revolutionary struggle." - Lives apart Most of Winnie's marriage to Nelson was spent apart, with Nelson imprisoned for 27 years, leaving her to raise their two daughters alone and to keep alive his political dream under the repressive white-minority regime.


But her reputation came under damaging scrutiny in the twilight years of apartheid rule. In 1986, she was widely linked to "necklacing", when suspected traitors were burnt alive by a petrol-soaked car tyre being put over their head and set alight. In 1990 the world watched when Nelson Mandela finally walked out of prison -- hand in hand with Winnie.

According to a State Department plan published Friday, visa seekers, whether visitors or would-be immigrants, will be asked to provide their identifiers for social media platforms. But officials say they could identify potential extremists, such as one of the attackers in the December 2015 San Bernadino shooting -- who got a visa despite allegedly advocating "jihad" on social media. The measures apply both to the DS-260 "Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration Form" and the DS-160 "Application for Nonimmigrant Visa." In the last fiscal year, 559,536

people applied for US immigrant visas and 9,681,913 for various forms of visitor visa. Friday's announced measures will not touch diplomatic or official travelers. The announcement begins a 60-day period in which interested bodies and members of the public will be allowed to submit comments on the rule changes, which are expected to be approved on May 29.

Saudi Arabia outlaws spying on spouse's phone


IYADH, Saudi Arabia | AFP | Monday 4/2/2018 - Saudi Arabia on Monday announced "spying" on your spouse's phone is now a criminal offence potentially punishable by a hefty fine -- and a year in jail. "Married individuals planning to spy on their spouse in Saudi Arabia will need to think twice, because such an activity could potentially attract a fine

of 500,000 riyals ($133,000, 108,000 euros), along with a prison term for a year," read an English-language statement released by Saudi Arabia's information ministry. The provision, part of a new anti-cybercrime law which came into force last week, is meant to "protect morals of individuals and society and protect privacy", the ministry said. The move comes amid a

"steady increase in cybercrimes such as blackmail, embezzlement and defamation", the statement said. The ultra-conservative kingdom is among the world's top per capita users of cellphone apps and social media. More than half of Saudi Arabia's citizens are under 25, many of whom spend much of their time on mobile platforms, away from official strictures and traditions.

Peacock in the Desert: The Royal Arts of Jodhpur, India is organized by the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, in collaboration with the Mehrangarh Museum Trust, Jodhpur, India. Lead Underwriters: Nidhika and Pershant Mehta Additional generous support for this exhibition is provided by Medha and Shashank Karve; Sushila and Dr. Durga D. Agrawal; National Endowment for the Arts; The E. Rhodes & Leona B. Carpenter Foundation; Eddie and Chinhui Allen; Milton D. Rosenau, Jr. and Dr. Ellen R. Gritz; Paul and Manmeet Likhari; Mr. and Mrs. H. Bruce Sallee; Vivian L. Smith Foundation; Anne and Albert Chao; Jag and Pinder Gill; Dr. and Mrs. Srinivasa Madhavan; Usha and Kumara Peddamatham; Dr. Mani and Anuradha Subramanian; Rama and Geetha Rau Yelundur; Mr. and Mrs. Sundaresan Bala; Monjula and Ravi Chidambaram; Kathy and Marty Goossen; Shantha Raghuthaman; and Miwa S. Sakashita and Dr. John R. Stroehlein. The accompanying catalogue is generously supported by Furthermore: a program of the J.M. Kaplan Fund.

µ˙The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston


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FRIDAY, April 6, 2018

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7 Pakistanis made it to Forbes’ 30 Under 30 Asia 2018 list

US auto sales spring to life in March

Momina Mustehsan and e-commerce entrepreneurs Adnan Shaffi and Adeel Shaffi are just some of the people doing us proud!

HICAGO | AFP - The American consumer returned in force to automobile showrooms in March, lifting an industry that had been plodding along in a post-sales boom hangover.


The biggest players in the North American market all posted gains -- some eye popping -com-pared to March 2017. Analysts expected the industry as a whole to report a two to threepercent sales increase. Muhammad Shaheer Niazi, 17

Hamza Farrukh, 24

General Motors was up an unusually high 16 percent, followed by Fiat Chrysler’s 14 percent sales jump. Ford rose 3.4 percent and Toyota gained 3.5 percent. “March proved to be a lion for the domestic automakers, with double and even triple-digit sales increases posted for redesigned SUVs,” Rebecca Lindland, executive analyst at Kelley Blue Book, said in prepared remarks.

Sadia Bashir, 29


SLAMABAD: Late last year when six Pakistanis made Forbes magazine’s 30 Under 30 in the US, Pakistan was pretty ecstatic. Pakistan has the sixth-largest population in the world, and within that population 60 percent fall in the 18-40 demographic. In other words, we have a large number of young people who can potentially change the world. Forbes’ list includes a singer who uses her platform for activism, tech and business-savvy individuals, social entrepreneurs and people looking to revolutionize health care in the South Asian country. Perhaps the most recognizable name on the list is one

of Pakistan’s leading singers, Momina Mustehsen. The 25-year-old was catapulted into the spotlight after she performed a record-breaking duet to “Afreen Afreen” with Rahat Fateh Ali Khan on the musical production platform Coke Studio. g one with UN Women. Sadia Bashir had a mission to help women break into the world of tech and design by way of video game production — and she did just that. She cofounded Pixel Art Games Academy, which provides training in game design, production, gaming programming, digital art and animation targeted at young women. The program is directly responding to the gender gap in the gaming industry. Thirtythree percent of their students

Momina Mustehsen, 25 are (and always must be) women, a roster Pixel Art Games Academy keeps up through the scholarships Bashir created to encourage women to join. Brothers in real life and in business, Adnan and Adeel Shaffi, 28 and 29 respectively, are the masterminds behind PriceOye, a price comparison website which they launched in 2015. PriceOye does price comparisons for electronics and uses data analytics to help retailers in their own marketing. Neurostic is a health care startup launched by 24-yearolds Muhammad Asad Raza and Abrahim Saha. Neurotstic aims to provide high-quality prosthetics and medical devices

While trumpeting retail market share gains, GM announced it would stop the decades-old indus-try practice of announcing sales totals on a monthly basis, switching to quarterly reports instead. The car giant, accounting for 18 percent of the North Ameri-

(such as cochlear implants) — without the astronomical associated costs. It also addresses clinical decision support, fitness and health monitoring, with a focus on data analytics for health care needs. Raza and Saha are answering the call of a dire need in Pakistan where health care and resources can be sought to come by. Another Pakistani named for his work in health care is also

can market, will instead report sales on a quarterly basis, similar to the electric car maker Tesla. The move could frustrate analysts’ efforts to compile a monthly snapshot of the industry, espe-cially if other major auto makers follow GM’s lead, said economist Charlie Chesbrough of Cox Automotive. “Measuring monthly sales is already difficult,” Chesbrough said in a statement. “Having incom-plete data will make it even more challenging.” But for the time being, March numbers from major automakers suggested US consumers were in a buying mood. Fiat Chrysler appeared the biggest beneficiary. Its Jeep SUV brand had a 45 percent sales jump, helping lift the automaker out of months of decline. Crossovers, pickups and SUVs also lifted GM, which highlighted its newly redesigned Chevrolet Equinox and Traverse SUVs as setting March sales records. Tesla reported first-quarter production totals that fell short of its goal of 2,500 Model 3 sedans per week. Still the company said total output was up 40 percent from the previous quarter.

the youngest of the honorees. Muhammad Shaheer Niazi, 17, is the first to photograph the movement of ions. Forbes named him for the impressive science feat that depicted charged ions creating a honeycomb. This level of research is indispensable to biomedical research. At 23, Syed Faizan Hussan is the founder of startup Parihelion Systems. With a mission to use tech-backed products for

US identifies $50 bn in Chinese imports facing tariffs


ASHINGTON | AFP - US officials published Tuesday a list of $50 billion in Chinese imports set to be targeted by US tariffs, the latest move in President Donald Trump’s simmering trade confrontation with Beijing. The list -- which includes electronics, aircraft parts, medicine, machinery and other goods -- has yet to be finalized and is intended as a response to China’s alleged theft of American companies’ intellectual property and technology. The move comes a day after Beijing imposed duties on about $3 billion in US exports, a countermeasure widely seen as a warning that Chinese officials will not hesitate to retaliate quickly. “The proposed list of products is based on extensive interagency economic analysis and would target products that benefit from China’s industrial plans while minimizing the impact on the US economy,” the office of US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said in a statement.

the improvement of the highest volume of lives, Perihelion Systems is addressing a number of Pakistan’s health issues. The ninth name to make the list is Hamza Farrukh, 24, a portfolio solutions strategist at Goldman Sachs in London, who in his spare time has embarked on a fantastic social venture helping out in Pakistan. Farrukh is the founder of Bondh E Shams, a solar water project. (-Forbes)

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Animals rights groups scent blood as fashion labels go fur-free by Anne-Laure Mondesert / Fiachra Gibbons

FRIDAY, April 6, 2018

A 9-year-old published author – inspired by her little sister with special needs


ARIS, France | AFP | Saturday 3/30/2018 Is this the beginning of the end for fur? With more and more fashion houses going fur-free, San Francisco banning fur sales in the city and British MPs considering outlawing all imports of pelts after Brexit, the signs do not seem good for the industry. After decades of hard-hitting campaigning against fur, animal rights activists believe they scent victory. Last week Donna Karan and DKNY became the latest in a flood of luxury brands to say they were planning to go fur free, following similar announcements by Gucci, Versace, Furla, Michael Kors, Armani and Hugo Boss in recent months.

Young Singaporean author Sofia Chen with her book Amazing Animals: Creative Brick Building with Step-by-Step Ideas, as well as the Lego animal creations you can create. (Photo: Mayo Martin)

Actress Anjelica Huston cuts up her Lynx fur coat in Los Angeles in January (AFP Photo/Frederic J. Brown)

US-based animal rights group PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), which is famous for its spectacular anti-fur protests, declared that “2018 is the year that everyone is saying goodbye to fur.

And it all began because she simply wanted to help her sixyear-old sister, who has Down Syndrome, build brick toys. Sofia is the young co-author and co-designer of Amazing Animals: Creative Brick Building with Step-by-Step Ideas. Published by Post Hill Press and distributed by Simon & Schuster, it is the first title in a brick building series for children aged four and above, and will be officially launched worldwide next month.

“Times are changing and the end of fur farming is within reach!” it told its 687,000 Instagram followers. The British-based Humane Society International said the tide turned when Gucci declared it was going fur-free in October. Another hammer blow came this month when Donatella Versace said that “I don’t want to kill animals to make fashion. It doesn’t feel right.” “Such influential brands turning their backs on cruel fur makes the few designers like Fendi and Burberry who are still peddling fur look increasingly out of touch and isolated,” said the society’s president Kitty Block. Fendi’s Karl Lagerfeld shows little sign of second thoughts, however, and has said he will use real fur as long as “people eat meat and wear leather”. - ‘Leather is next’ But PETA, which also campaigns for veganism, has warned the leather industry that is also in its sights, saying “You are next...” And Professor Nathalie Ruelle, of the French Fashion Institute, told AFP that it was telling that the new fur-free brands “did not say anything about exotic leathers (such as crocodile, lizard and snakeskin).” Of the big designers, Stella McCartney, a vegetarian and animal rights activist herself, has pushed the ethical envelope the furthest, refusing to use fur, leather or feathers. But vegans want to go further still, with a ban on all animal products, which for some also

by Peter Hutchison


UMBAI, India | AFP - Deepa Bhoir used to sit in darkness outside her island home and stare at Mumbai glowing in the distance. Now she stays up late watching soap operas -- one of millions of Indians whose lives have been transformed by a drive to get power to every corner of the country.

Models in fake fur take to the catwalk for a Givenchy fashion show in Paris this month (AFP Photo/ Alain Jocard) means wool. But the fur industry is not taking this lying down and has become much more vocal in its bid to counter animal rights groups’ social media campaigns. The International Fur Federation (IFF) took Gucci to task when it went fur-free, asking if it “really wanted to choke the world with fake plastic fur...” Philippe Beaulieu, of the French fur federation claimed fur-free was a marketing gimmick “trying to surf on emotion” to please millennials. Fake fur, he said, was the real danger to the environment. “Brands who stop fur push synthetic fur which comes from plastic, a byproduct of the petrol industry, with all the pollution and harm to the planet that that entails.” - China’s passion for fur -

In contrast, fur is natural and more and more durable and traceable, he said.

marginal for most of the fashion houses who have stopped using it.”

Arnaud Brunois, of the Faux Fur Institute, which he set up to counter the IFF, disputes this.

For instance, it only accounted for 10 million euros ($12.3 million) of Gucci’s six-billion turnover in 2017, or 0.16 percent.

He insisted that “from an ecological point of view it was better to use a waste product from oil... than farm 150 million of animals then skin them and finally treat the pelts with chemicals.” “It is part of the real fur industry’s marketing campaign to denigrate faux fur,” he added. These days imitation can sometimes pass for the real thing as the British designer Clare Waight Keller proved in her fake fur-heavy Givenchy show at Paris fashion week earlier this month. Luxury brand expert Serge Carreira at Sciences Po university in Paris said “fur was

While fur coats are now rarer on the streets of cities in the West, coats with fur collars -either fake or real, and sometimes a mixture of both, activists claim -- are everywhere. In China, however, the picture is very different. Fur sales grew “phenomenally” there over the last decade, said IFF CEO Mark Oaten, and despite levelling off still dwarfs all those elsewhere combined. The world’s biggest fur consumer is now also far by its it largest producer in a industry worth $30 billion globally in 2017.

Her family relocated to Arcadia, California, two-and-ahalf years ago for her sister’s sake. “We moved because we wanted Natalie to have an early intervention in education,” said Sofia’s mother, Ann Kositchotitana. Kositchotitana, who may be familiar to local fashionistas as the entrepreneur behind the defunct local concept

“We would go to sleep early because there was nothing much to do. But now we stay awake to midnight or 1 am watching our favourite shows. It’s a welcome change,” says Deepa, 43. More than 16,000 Indian villages have been electrified since Prime Minister Narendra Modi was elected in 2014, according to government data. There are still an estimated 33 million households without electricity and Modi wants them all to have power by the end of the year.

“We’ve waited decades for this and we’re so happy. Now I can watch all my favourite shows without any interruptions. The TV is almost always on!” Bhoir tells AFP, grinning.

“Lacking electricity was depressing and we faced numerous hardships,” says Sasuram,

“I was into Lego before and she was my inspiration for the book,” said Sofia. “Natalie likes building Lego but she needs more help, because she learns slower than other kids. So I wanted to make little animal projects easy enough for her and other kids like her to be able to build,” she said. Sofia and her family are currently back in Singapore to celebrate her 10th birthday, visit relatives, as well as do a bit of promotion for the book, which hits stores on May 1.

phones or other electrical devices. They felt cut off from the world and battled boredom.

Local officials hope tourists, who take a short boat ride from the bustle of Mumbai to visit the island’s famed fifth century caves, will now spend more time and money there, boosting local businesses and jobs.

But despite living just 10 kilometres (six miles) from India’s financial capital, islanders have spent much of their lives without power.

The book, which is not officially endorsed by Lego, contains simple-to-follow instructions on how to create 30 animal characters – brick creations that are perfect for Sofia’s special younger sister, Natalie.

Power to the people: electricity finally reaches Indian landmark

Bhoir and her husband Sasuram are among hundreds of villagers on the UNESCO world heritage-listed island of Elephanta to have had mains electricity installed in their houses for the first time.

The island is renowned for its temple caves dating back more than 1,500 years and is home to around 1,200 people.


INGAPORE: At the age of nine, Sofia Chen made history last year by becoming the youngest Singaporean author to land a major publishing deal in the United States – with a Lego how-to activity book.

A meter was installed in the Bhoirs’ home last month after the Maharashtra state government completed its 250-millionrupee ($3.8-million) electrification project for the island. A couple watch television on Elephanta island near Mumbai, where hundreds of villagers have had mains electricity installed in their houses for the first time explaining that he and Deepa would often sleep outside during the summer to try to keep cool. “It was sweltering inside. We would lie and look at the glittering lights of Mumbai and long for electricity to live fuller and more satisfying lives,” the

54-year-old adds. - Boredom Residents used kerosene lamps and candles until the late 1980s when they received diesel generators that provided intermittent electricity between 7:00 pm and 10:00 pm every

night. They were, however, unreliable and expensive and the limited supply meant the Bhoirs’ two children regularly did their homework by candlelight. Deepa and Sasuram were often unable to charge their

Engineers spent three months laying a seven-kilometre (four mile) undersea cable that connects a mainland substation to transformers in each Elephanta village. In brightly painted homes, ceiling fans whirl at high speed as light bulbs illuminate dark rooms struggling to keep out the stifling early summer heat. “It’s been 70 years since In-

store Front Row and the brand HLS, recalled how Sofia’s book project began by accident. A family friend named Paul Bacio, an avid brick-builder, had created a DIY Lego building kit for his own young daughter. One day, Kositchotitana and Sofia both saw Natalie following the same building kit instructions at home. “We were so shocked and didn’t expect her to do that,” said Kositchotitana. The two families then decided to team up to create a brick-building book series for young kids, featuring collaborations between the adult Bacio and young Sofia. After releasing a couple of self-published books early last year, another friend, bestselling author Soon Yu, saw the books and offered to link them up with Post Hill Press, which immediately offered them a contract. The book Amazing Animals was an equal collaboration between the two co-designers. After her “Uncle Paul” designed the animals, Sofia would step in to offer suggestions and tweaks, such as choosing which animals would be easy to make (Penny Penguin? Easy. Rally Ram? Advanced) and what colours kids would find more attractive (A brown camel? Let’s make it red and yellow!).​​​​​​​ Most importantly, she was able to streamline the instructions to make it easier for young children to follow – something that adults fail to understand, said her mother. Her mother added: “She has no phone or iPad. She already uses Chromebook in school and that’s enough. I feel kids should be kids and their natural state is to tinker and play. This is the age of curiosity so you feed them things with a lot of sensory input and create something out of nothing.” (-AFP/NewsChannel Asia)

dia’s independence and we’ve been promised electricity for so long. I’m just glad to see it before I die,” says 69-year-old Bhagwan Tali. - Embracing change Elephanta, also known as Gharapuri, meaning “the city of caves” is a world away from Mumbai. Monkeys outnumber humans and there are no cars on the island, just a miniature railway. The only shops are stalls selling snacks and trinkets for tourists. “My business is weak as most cold drinks, ice creams and chocolates can’t be sold,” says 52-year-old shopkeeper Surekha Bhagat, eagerly waiting for her stall to be hooked up to the grid. Elephanta has one school -- for children under 16 -- and there is no hospital, leaving the elderly and sick vulnerable during a medical emergency. Every week, Tulsa Bhoir makes the one-hour boat trip to Mumbai to buy fresh vegetables, milk and other foodstuffs. The 43-year-old hopes electricity will spur infrastructure. “I’m excited to see how our island changes for the better,” she tells AFP. Devendra Fadnavis - the chief minister of Maharashtra state, of which Mumbai is the capital - has said electricity means there is “tremendous scope for tourism” on Elephanta.


FRIDAY, April 6, 2018


Nolan bats for celluloid filmmaking on India trip


Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan Tatum split up after nearly 9 years of marriage


INGAPORE: Celebrities Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan Tatum have announced they are splitting up after nearly nine years of marriage. In a joint message posted on both actors’ Instagram accounts, the two said they had “lovingly chosen to separate as a couple”. “We fell deeply in love so many years ago and have had a magical journey together,” said the couple. “Absolutely nothing has changed about how much we love one another, but love is a beautiful adventure that is taking us on different paths for now.” Acclaimed director Christopher Nolan is among the few big names who prefer to use film rather than digital. (Photo: AFP/Indranil Mukherjee)


UMBAI, India | AFP - Hollywood director Christopher Nolan on Saturday made an impassioned plea to the Indian film industry to revive celluloid as a medium for movies.

ing,” Nolan said.

Nolan is on a three-day trip to the country aimed at drumming up support for shooting on film, as he did for his 2017 World War II epic “Dunkirk”, going against the trend in an industry which has widely embraced digital technology.

“We are trying to preserve for future generation the history of films, especially the way the filmmakers originally intended to make the films in,” Nolan said.

“Filmmaking is full of obstacles... it is not about being logical and pragmatic... it’s about magic, dreams, experiences and bracing your emotional side,” Nolan said after a round table dialogue in Mumbai, the home of Bollywood. The 47-year-old Oscar-nominated director said he had “a very productive” meeting with members of Bollywood, the world’s largest film industry. “I am really trying to engage filmmakers in this conversation about how we can maintain, improve and continue to enjoy the celluloid photochemical analogue infrastructure for filmmak-

Famed for his extravagant vision in films such as “Interstellar” and “Inception”, Nolan is one of the few big names globally who still use celluloid for film-making.

He was joined in the discussion by visual artist Tacita Dean and archivist Shivendra Singh Dungarpur who has been working to preserve and restore celluloid films in India. “We are fighting to save celluloid films in India whereas people are disbanding it without realising their importance,” said Dungarpur. “We are talking about co-existence with digital formats. Till 2014, we were shooting in older formats in India,” Dungarpur said. Nolan was set to present his films “Dunkirk” and “Interstellar” in 70mm and 35mm formats to audiences in India, organisers said.

John Abraham takes over Parmanu, announces new release date


UMBAI - The KriArj Entertainment versus JA Entertainment clash has taken a new turn. Both parties have decided to wash their dirty linen in public. After a lot of blame game, John Abraham has taken over the movie and has announced the new release date. Announcing the release date, the spokesperson of JA Entertainment said, “Much in line with India’s journey to becoming a nuclear power, our film’s journey to its release has also had its own ups and downs! “However, it is perhaps a befitting tribute to the true heroes of our nuclear program- our army and our scientists, that Parmanu is releasing in the same month as we are celebrate 20 years of Operation

Shakti - India’s nuclear test explosions in Pokhran in May 1998. We are extremely proud of the film and what it stands for and can’t wait to take it to our audience on 4th May, 2018.” Directed by Abhishek Sharma, the film stars John Abraham, Diana Penty and Boman Irani and is produced by John’s production house, JA Entertainment. Parmanu - The Story of Pokhran is an ode to the Indian army and scientists, who although ordinary people, accomplished truly extraordinary feats in the face of adversity. It salutes, celebrates and truly embraces the slogan- Jai Jawan Jai Vigyan. While the premise of the film is based on true events, the characters are fictitious. (-Hungama)

“There are no secrets nor salacious events at the root of our decision - just two best friends realising it’s time to take some space and help each other live the most joyous, fulfilled lives as possible.” The couple, who have a daughter called Everly, said they were “still a family” and would “always be loving dedicated parents”. The two decided to share “the truth”


Channing Tatum (L) and his wife Jenna Dewan Tatum arrive at the premiere of Amazon’s “Comrade Detective” at the Arclight Theatre on August 3, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo: AFP / Kevin Winter / Getty Images North America) via the joint public message, noting that “we’re living in an incredible moment in time, but it’s also a time where truth can get easily distorted into ‘alternative facts’”.

you know that if you didn’t read it here then it’s most certainly fiction.” The two celebrities met on the set of hit 2006 dance movie Step Up before getting married three years later. (

“So we want to share the truth so

Banita Sandhu – the London undergrad moonlighting as a Bollywood star

he Welsh actor, and star of Shoojit Sircar’s new film October, is becoming big name in India. But in the meantime, she’s got an English literature degree to finish. While many drama students will be supplementing their income by stacking shelves in a supermarket, and perhaps treading the boards in their local faculty production, one student from a small town in Wales will be swapping Shakespearean plays for the glitz and glamour of the world’s biggest film industry when she makes her debut in a high-profile Bollywood release. Banita Sandhu, who is studying English literature at Kings College London, is in the unique position of balancing coursework deadlines with hitting the headlines after being plucked from obscurity to star in the film October opposite Bollywood heartthrob Varun Dhawan, the Indian equivalent of Liam Hemsworth. Sandhu’s journey from student to potential star could have been taken from the plot of a Bollywood film itself. She was brought up by her secondgeneration, British Indian parents in Caerleon, on the outskirts of Newport in south Wales, before moving to London at 18 to start her degree. Her big break came during her first

‘I went to India because I was being offered the kind of roles that I wasn’t getting here.’ (Photograph: Graeme Robertson for the Guardian) year, when she was offered a high-profile ad campaign for Vodafone India, which was broadcast during the Indian Premier League cricket season.

an education,” says Sandhu. “I went to India because, despite the challenges of moving to a new country and the language barrier, I was being offered the kind of roles that I wasn’t getting here.” (-The Guardian)

“My parents were 100% supportive of my acting on the condition that I got


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Section 2


Speak up to help silent sufferers of domestic violence By Gerald S. Kröon

Their lives are at stake.


ourageous women and men chronicling the pervasiveness of sexual assault in our society are demonstrating the power of collective outrage. But will the force of #metoo reach those without notoriety or financial means to seek justice? Many of those going public about sexual harassment are from the entertainment, sports or political world. When they speak, people know who they are – or who they’re making allegations against. Their stories make the evening news and trend on Twitter. They aren’t the silent victims you ride the bus with every day or see at the grocery store. They aren’t hiding from their abuser in a shelter for battered women or on a relative’s couch. They aren’t dead because an intimate partner’s sexual aggression turned violent. An estimated one third of King County residents will experience some form of domestic violence in their lifetimes, according to the Coalition Ending Gender-Based Violence. Yet victims of domestic violence live in fear and may never speak out about the abuse – be it sexual, physical or psychological. So today, while the nation’s psyche is fixated on the #metoo moment, we must intensify efforts to help silent sufferers of domestic violence – the ones who live next door or down the street.

Too many times women are forced to choose between staying in an abusive relationship or slipping into poverty and homelessness. That shouldn’t be a choice anyone has to make. Yet oftentimes, people who need help the most either don’t recognize there is a legal solution to their problem or aren’t aware that free legal aid services are available to them. It’s on all of us to change that. We can reach out when we see someone hurting, we can listen without judgment and we can let them know how to get help. We can leverage the heightened awareness sparked by the #metoo movement to speak up for the silent sufferers of domestic violence. And we can be advocates for programs and policies that support everyone’s right to justice, regardless of their ability to pay. In the end, it’s all about taking care of each other — and we can do that too. f someone you care about has been facing abuse from their partner and they ask for your help it can be overwhelming to figure out what to do, so we’ve compiled some tips to make your help, well…helpful! Don’t assume, ask! No matter how well you know a survivor, the only person who can tell you how they feel or what they need is them. Calling the police when your neighbor is being yelled at may put them in danger if that’s not something

they’ve asked you to do. Survivors of intimate partner violence have already been dealing with their abusive partner disregarding their wants, needs and boundaries, so to help a survivor it’s vital that you respect their autonomy. The best way to do that is with one simple question–”How can I help?” Work smarter, not harder: It may be useful to think of helping a friend who is facing or has just left an abusive relationship as you would think of helping someone who is grieving the death of someone they loved. Framing your help this way, especially around the house, can ensure you don’t displace something that has big memories or emotions attached to it. If your friend or family member asks you to pick up groceries, for example, a list will likely be inadequate; instead, take pictures of the labels of the brands and products your friend is used to—why? Because there’s comfort in consistency. Similarly, before picking up around the house or throwing anything away, check in with your friend. If someone you know has asked you for help dealing with or escaping an abusive partner, first, encourage them to reach out to The Hotline via phone or chat, if it’s safe, and then, you can call or chat with us too. 24/7/365 to help everyone affected by abuse. Call 1-800-799-7233 or chat with an advocate now using the “Chat Online Now” button at the top of the page.

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FRIDAY, April 6, 2018

Foreign visas plunge under Trump by Nahal Toosi, Ted Hesson And Sarah Frostenson


he United States is granting fewer visitor visas to people from around the world — not just Muslims — as President Donald Trump ratchets up his antiimmigration rhetoric. By one measure, the U.S. granted 13 percent fewer visitor visas over the past 12 months when compared with fiscal year 2016, according to State Department data analyzed by POLITICO — a downward trend that appears to have accelerated in the past six months. It’s unclear whether the drop is due to fewer people applying or more rejections of applications. The cause is likely some combination of both. The State Department furnishes data on how many visitor visas are granted per country, but releases only limited information on how many applications are received or refused. But the decline comes as Trump is once again underscoring his hard-line views on immigration. Over the weekend, the president used Twitter to blame Democrats and the Mexican government for a “dangerous” flow of migrants over the border. The Republican president blasted America’s “dumb immigration laws” and threatened to abandon legislative talks on how to deal with undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children. Evidence plainly indicates that Trump’s desire to restrict foreigners’ access to the U.S. has become a reality. Critics say that, by imposing new procedural and security hurdles, Trump and his aides are building a figurative wall to keep people out of America, even those who just want to come for a brief visit. The critics fear the drop in visas could damage industries, ranging from tourism to higher education. “There’s been a concerted effort … to really slow down the wheels of immigration,” said Sirine Shebaya, a senior staff attorney with Muslim Advocates, a legal advocacy organization. “There are particular immigrant populations that this administration does not see as fully belonging here in the United States, and it includes Muslims, it includes immigrants of color [and] it includes people from Africa.” People from Arab and Muslim-majority nations saw some of the steepest drops in visitor visas. That includes the handful targeted by the three successive iterations of Trump’s travel ban, whose legality will be debated in front of the Supreme Court this month. But substantial drops were observed also in non-Muslimmajority countries. People from Haiti, which Trump reportedly described as a “shithole” country whose immigrants he judged less desirable than those from Norway, have been granted fewer visitor visas throughout the past 12 months for which data were available


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On a larger scale, China, a country whose trade practices Trump has blasted almost every month, got tens of thousands fewer visitor visas compared with fiscal year 2016. Venezuela is another interesting case: Trump barred some officials from the country’s authoritarian regime, blaming them for the economic and humanitarian crisis there. But his administration simultaneously granted fewer visitor visas to ordinary Venezuelans who must live under that regime. Visas drop sharply for travel ban countries For six countries targeted by various iterations of President Donald Trump’s travel ban, the drop in visas granted has been steep, although none has hit zero yet. For visa statistics prior to March 2017, the State Department provides only annual totals — and these according to fiscal year, which begins not in March but in October. That makes direct month-to-month comparisons impossible. So POLITICO compared the monthly statistics available from the past year with the monthly average of visas granted in fiscal year 2016, the last full fiscal year under former President Barack Obama. That fiscal year, the U.S. granted an average of 865,124 visas worldwide per month. But, from March 2017 to February 2018, the U.S. granted 754,479 visitor visas worldwide per month — a 13 percent drop. Under Obama, the U.S. saw an overall rise in the number of visas issued to foreign visitors, from 5.8 million in fiscal year 2009 to a peak of 10.9 million in fiscal year 2015. The worldwide decline in U.S. visitor visas under Trump was particularly glaring during the last six months for which data are available. In September, the number fell below 700,000, where it has remained each succeeding month except January. When compared with fiscal year 2016, the gap is too large to be explained solely by restrictions on Muslim-majority countries. The State Department also has released the total number of visitor visas issued worldwide for fiscal 2017, most of which fell under Trump. That total, 9.7 million, was well below the fiscal year 2016 total, 10.4 million, and offers further evidence that Trump’s efforts to curtail access

to the United States are working. During his campaign for the presidency, Trump took a hard line against immigration, calling for a ban on Muslims entering the United States and the construction of a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, to be paid for by Mexico. He cast the proposals as being about national security, saying they were needed to stop criminals and terrorists. Trump has had limited success fulfilling those pledges. Construction of the wall has been delayed by congressional resistance to funding it (and Mexico won’t pay, either). The travel ban, which critics call a “Muslim ban,” has gone through three iterations and took full effect only in December, after a series of court challenges. But, according to lawyers and other analysts who study the subject, the Trump administration has used other means to reduce the number of people entering the United States. U.S. visitor visas for the countries named in the three travel ban policies have plummeted since Trump took office, despite intermittent court injunctions. The most recent version of the policy imposes a range of restrictions against travelers from six Muslim-majority countries — Chad, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen. Visitors from North Korea also are barred, as are some government officials from Venezuela. Travel Ban 3.0 directs immigration officials to consider waivers for affected visitors on a case-by-case basis, a possible reprieve available to people who don’t pose a threat, whose admission would be in the national interest, and who face hardship if they can’t come to the United States. But immigration lawyers contacted by POLITICO said successful waiver requests have been infrequent since the Supreme Court allowed the ban to take effect in December. “I’ve got a few that are pending, but none that have actually been approved,” said Sarah Pitney, an associate attorney with the D.C.-based law firm Benach Collopy. “Generally, we will tell people, if it’s not life or death, you may not want to waste your money or your time.” A State Department official said at least 375 waivers have been approved under the third travel ban. (-Politico)

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Sudden loss of wealth in mid-life may boost death risk

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AMPA, United States | AFP | 4/3/2018 - People who suffer a sudden, major financial loss in mid-life may face a 50 percent higher risk of dying within the next 20 years, said the first longterm study of its kind Tuesday. The report in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) examined the health effects of losing 75 percent or more of one’s total wealth during a twoyear period. About one-quarter of Americans aged 51 and higher have faced this scenario in their lifetimes, said the study. “We found losing your life-savings has a profound effect on a person’s long-term health,” said lead author Lindsay Pool, a research assistant professor of preventive medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

A study examined the health effects of losing 75 per cent or more of one’s total wealth during a two-year period. — CentralITAlliance/ pic via AFP

Loss of life savings may have spiked during the Great Recession from 2007-2010, but these crises happened to Americans at a relatively consistent rate over the past two decades, “regardless of the larger economic climate,” said the report in the April 3 edition of JAMA.

found that their risk of dying in the next 20 years was 67 percent higher than those whose nest eggs grew steadily over their lives.

of major anxiety due to losing so much money, researchers said. But more study is needed to figure out the true causes.

Researchers also studied an agematched group of low-income people who never had any wealth, and

“The most surprising finding was that having wealth and losing it is almost as bad for your life expectancy as never having wealth,” Pool said. Reasons for the higher death risks could include finding it hard to pay for medical care, and health effects

The JAMA report was based on data from more than 8,700 people who took part in a long-running national survey called the Health and Retirement Study from the National Institute on Aging. Participants were between 51 and 61 when they enrolled.

Commonwealth organizers roll out red carpet and condoms


OLD COAST, Australia | AFP | Monday 4/2/2018 - About 225,000 condoms, 17,000 toilet rolls and free ice cream: welcome to the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games village, where athletes and officials will want for little. Ahead of Wednesday’s opening ceremony, thousands of competitors and support staff are pouring in to their temporary home on Australia’s eastern coast. Organisers hope to make the village as comfortable and safe as possible for the 6,600 athletes and team officials -- and that includes

their sexual health. The large number of free condoms equates to about 34 per person, a robust average of three a day over the 11 days of competition. At the recent Pyeongchang Olympics in South Korea, organisers handed out 110,000 free condoms -- a Winter Games record -- while 450,000 were on offer at the Rio Olympics, where sexually transmissible Zika was a threat. At the Gold Coast village, competitors can relax with virtual

reality computer games, swim, lounge by a man-made waterfall, play the piano or sample the free lollies and ice cream. About 300 chefs will staff the 24-hour dining room, catering for different needs including vegan, vegetarian, halal, gluten-free or lactose-free. The 1,250 apartments and townhouses that comprise the athletes’ village will be sold off or made available to rent from early 2019. The redevelopment of the area is the “most significant legacy project of the Games”, organisers say.

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Easier ways to get active this spring. (PHOTO: Halfpoint/


pring is an ideal time to get active outdoors and kickstart a fitness regimen that can carry you into beach and pool season. Need some motivation? Try out these ideas for getting started and sticking with the program. Get Social A personal trainer can be expensive, but a friend is free and potentially just as motivating. Besides, a little friendly competition never hurt anybody. Find a buddy to join you for runs and hikes, and with whom to hit the new HIIT class -- that’s high-intensity interval training -- or spot you in the free weights section of the gym. Joining an organized run crew, cycling club or other fitness group can be another great way to keep yourself inspired to move -- as these meet-ups can be fun social events in addition to a great workout. Gear Up New wearable technology is not only fun, it can help you analyze your daily movement and workouts. See

“Prescribing Cascades: Opportunities to Improve Medication Safety” WHEN: Friday, April 13, 8:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. WHERE: The Denton A. Cooley, MD and Ralph C. Cooley, DDS University Life Center, 7440 Cambridge St., Houston, TX 77054

how much progress you make with wearable devices like the GBA800 Training Timer, a water- and shockresistant watch that comes equipped with a three-axis acceleration sensor tracking your step count, a countdown timer that allows for up to 20 timer combinations, as well as 200lap memory. With the download of the dedicated G-SHOCK Connected app to a smartphone, the watch can even track movement and support daily fitness. Employing a new algorithm, the app displays a graph breaking down daily steps taken in each of five metabolic equivalent (MET) levels, from data based on your step count and walking pace. It also displays the exact location and time where the wearer’s calories were burned, while measuring MET levels, making it useful for interval training. Give it a Purpose Find your motivation and dedicate your workouts to this purpose. One great way to do this is to sign up for a competitive athletic event that requires training. Whether that’s an obstacle course, a triathlon or a 5k foot race, having such an event on your calendar will provide the daily motivation you need. Check out free training plans that can offer you guidelines for the best way to prepare for each type of event. Need further incentive? Use the event to raise money for a cause that matters to you. From new friends to new gear, you can make getting active this spring easier with the right motivational elements. (StatePoint)




OUSTON, (April 3, 2018) -- Most youth are healthy, physically and emotionally, yet one in every five youth meet the criteria for having a lifetime mental disorder that can cause severe impairment or distress. Studies also show that substance use or dependence is the most commonly diagnosed health concerns for young people, followed by anxiety disorders, depressive disorders, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. On April 12th, the Center for School Behavioral Health at Mental Health America of Greater Houston in collaboration with Advocates of Healthy Minds, The Council on Recovery, Fusion Academy and the Peace of Mind Foundation, will hold a special screening of the new IndieFlix Original documentary, “Angst: Raising Awareness Around Anxiety,” at The Council on Recovery (303 Jackson Hill Street, 77007) as an opportunity to create a dialogue between local families, community leaders and experts about the state of youth mental health in our area. The event, scheduled from 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm, will feature a viewing of the 56-minute film that tells the stories of kids and teens who discuss their anxiety and its impacts on their lives and relationships, and how they have found solutions and hope. The film also provides discussions with mental health experts about the causes of anxiety and its sociological effects, along with the help, resources and tools available to address the condition. Following the film, a panel discussion with behavioral

Youth inspired film sparks new conversations about mental illness


The West Hollywood, California-based dating app, which claims 3.6 million daily active users globally, confirmed Monday it had been sharing users’ personal data -- including HIV status -- with third party software vendors. The revelation dovetails with a furor over lax personal data protection at Facebook. The social media giant has come under withering scrutiny since it became known that a British consulting firm, Cambridge Analytica, harvested tens of millions of its users’ personal data to create voter profiles for Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. Grindr chief technology officer Scott Chen sought to distance the dating app’s public relations mishap from the Facebook scandal, calling the sharing no more than “industry standard practice.” He said Apptimize and Localytics, the companies that used Grindr’s data, were simply tasked with software optimization and “under strict contrac-


developmental anomalies of the blood vessels of the brain. TAKE STEPS TO PROTECT AGAINST STROKE

Rony Ninan, M.D., neurologist health experts, Elizabeth McIngvale, Ph.D, founder of the Peace of Mind Foundation and Sam Scharff, LPC, LCDC with The Council on Recovery and a Fusion Academy student, will highlight the evening. “Anxiety disorders are real and treatable,” said Janet Pozmantier, M.S., LPC, LMFT, RPT, director of the Center for School Behavioral Health at Mental Health America of Greater Houston. “Getting young people preventative care, treatment and tools to cope is crucial to helping them to not only feel better, but to have a greater chance of having success in life. It’s time to start the conversation in our homes, our schools and our communities.” Anxiety disorders are the most common mental health challenge in the U.S., impacting 54 percent of females and

46 percent of males, with age seven being the median age of onset, according to the World Health Organization. While anxiety disorders are highly treatable, only one-third of those suffering receive treatment. Everyone involved in the development of “Angst” has a personal experience with anxiety – from the producers to the interviewees. Information on free and lowcost tickets are available at The screening is appropriate for students, families, advocates and community members interested in learning about preventing and addressing mental health concerns including anxiety, depression and suicide. “Angst” screens in schools and communities across the world and is expected to reach more than three million people around the

tual terms that provide for the highest level of confidentiality, data security, and user privacy.” But a wave of advocacy organizations and users say the revelations are a serious violation of trust and privacy -- with some worrying the news could undercut recommendations from HIV prevention experts to regularly get tested and disclose HIV status with potential sexual partners. One Grindr user who identified himself as Danny said he originally thought the dating app’s option to disclose HIV status was “great,” also lauding frequent reminders on the app to get tested. “As an HIV negative man, I still had lingering anti-HIV sentiments, but with these blatant disclosures, I was forced to learn,” he told AFP. “I really thought that Grindr cared about the gay community, and was forcing us to have an important dialogue about our health and safety.” He called Grindr’s sharing of the data “a slap in the face.” “It’s sad, because I think that it did drive important conversations within our community.” The AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) echoed that sentiment, calling Grindr’s datasharing “an egregious breach of confidentiality laws,” demanding it “immediately cease and desist the reckless practice.”

“It is extremely unfortunate that those men who have been courageous enough to share their HIV status, be it positive or negative, on their Grindr profiles, may have now had that most personal data indiscriminately shared by Grindr,” said Michael Weinstein, the AHF president. - ‘Key role’ of apps Approximately 1.1 million people in the United States live with HIV, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention -- among them an estimated 166,000 people unaware of their status. The CDC recommends that everyone ages 13 to 64 get routine annual HIV testing, adding that sexually active gay and bisexual men could benefit from more frequent tests. In 24 US states people aware that they are HIV positive are legally mandated to tell partners, according to the health agency. AIDES, a French HIV-advocacy organization, called for boycotting Grindr in light of the news -- but emphasized that sharing HIV status on a dating app before meeting can “allow HIV-positive people to avoid a possible rejection when they announce it verbally,” helping to “normalize the perception and image of HIV-positive people.”

world, through 25,000 community and school screenings. About The Center For School Behavioral Health The Center for School Behavioral Health at Mental Health America of- Greater Houston works corroboratively with 26 public and charter school districts and more than 80 child-serving organizations, institutions of higher learning, community stakeholders, advocacy groups, students and parents, to develop and implement projects and policies that promote the well-being of schoolage children, prevent the downward trajectory of untreated behavioral health problems and appropriately address the needs of children with behavioral disorders, as well as the needs of children who have experienced trauma. For more information, visit

have failed to mimic or show some of the critical hallmarks of an adult human heart, like it’s tissue structure and beat pattern. ‘Many of the ongoing efforts including those from our lab have been biomimetic in nature, trying to recapitulate the known events present during native development,’ said Dr Vunjak-Novakovic, professor of medicine at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons. ‘The common approach in our field has been that the more mature the starting cardiomyocytes, the better,’ said her fellow researcher Dr Kacey Ronaldson-Bouchard. ‘Because these efforts have been limited in how much maturation can be achieved, we decided to try something totally new: to explore the concept of accelerated development,’ she added. The conventional wisdom for growing stem cell-based organs

Online Communities, said open conversations about HIV are vital -- and “apps play a key role in helping those conversations happen.” “We also hope that apps help users make informed decisions as to how their data are being kept safe.” Natasha Babazadeh, a law fellow at the Electronic Privacy Information Center, emphasized that Grindr must be transparent about how it is using the data or risk losing consumer trust. “Just as users have begun deleting their Facebook accounts after the Cambridge Analytica controversy, dating app users will similarly delete or extensively restrict their use of such apps,” she said in a statement to AFP. “If corporations fail to protect their users’ data they will face the ramifications, legally, financially and socially.” For his part, Danny said he “will think twice before using Grindr again.” “There are plenty of ones that gay men can use that aren’t sharing our HIV status,” he said. “These are the ones I’d turn to first.”


UGAR LAND – (April 3, 2018) — Stroke is often considered a condition that almost exclusively strikes older people. Although people over 50 still comprise the vast majority of stroke patients, research findings published in the 2016 Journal of the American Heart Association suggest a disturbing trend that indicates an increase in stroke in younger age groups. “When people think of stroke, they probably think of grandpa who smokes and has hypertension,” said Rony Ninan, M.D., a board-certified neurologist at the Houston Methodist Neuroscience & Spine Center at Sugar Land, “And while he certainly carries a higher risk of stroke, it doesn’t mean that if you’re young and healthy you can’t be at risk of stroke, too.” BE ALERT TO THE RISKS

While the symptoms of stroke are the same for both older and younger adults (see “The FAST Test”), people may not readily recognize the symptoms in younger patients, which may lead to a delay in diagnosis that can cause permanent damage. The “FAST” test from the National Stroke Association may help you determine if someone is having a stroke: Face: Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop? Arms: Does one arm drift downward when you ask the person to raise both arms? Speech: Can he or she repeat a simple sentence correctly? Are the words slurred? Time: If a person shows any of these symptoms, call 911 immediately. Carefully note the time when the first symptoms appeared. This information is critical for treatment decisions. Ninan said young adults should be aware of their stroke risk factors and the importance of maintaining a healthy weight, avoiding smoking and scheduling regular blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes screenings.

Research indicates that 10 percent of all ischemic strokes (the most common type of stroke) now occur in adults under age 50. Researchers in the U.S. attribute the apparent rise in strokes among younger adults to many of the same lifestyle risk factors commonly found in older patients: high blood pressure, obesity, high cholesterol levels, diabetes and smoking.

To schedule an appointment with Rony Ninan, M.D., or another specialist at our Houston Methodist Neuroscience & Spine Center at Sugar Land, fill out our online form at or call 281.274.7979. Also, visit our Facebook page at for the latest news, events and information.

Ninan said younger patients may have additional stroke risk factors, such as congenital or structural heart defects or injuries to the arteries in the neck possibly caused by even minor trauma. Another factor may be illicit drug use, including abuse of substances like cocaine and methamphetamines. Young people with blood coagulation defects or conditions, such as sickle cell disease, are more susceptible to stroke, and the risk also increases if they have

Join Rony Ninan, M.D., on Thursday, May 3 at Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital’s Brazos Pavilion Conference Center to learn about stroke which is the fifth leading cause of death in U.S. and the leading cause of disability. Ninan will discuss prevention, symptoms and risk factors and answer your questions. Registration is required. To register, visit or call 281.274.7500.


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

Dan Wohlfeiler, a public health expert who directs the organization Building Healthy

Scientists use stem cells to grow a beating human heart muscle for the first time ever by Jaleesa Baulkman cientists have grown the first human heart muscle that functions just like an adult’s would. Instead of the nine months it takes for a baby’s heart to develop in the womb, they grew a functioning heart from stem cells in just four weeks. Although researchers can grow many tissues, including the heart muscle, from stem cells, scientists at Columbia University were able to build one mature enough to be useful for medical research for the first time. This development is a step forward in studying human physiology as it gives researchers a way to test treatments for conditions like heart failure on a lab-grown heart that can mimic a diseased adult one. This isn’t the first time scientists have managed to grow a heart muscle, but senior author Dr Gordana Vunjak-Novakovic said those cardiac tissues

A look at stroke in younger patients seminar

Houston youth and behavioral health experts to lead community panel discussion

Dating app Grindr faces fury for sharing HIV data by Maggy Donaldson ASHINGTON Experts had greeted with enthusiasm efforts from the selfproclaimed world’s largest gay dating app to promote regular HIV testing and status disclosure -- but the effort backfired badly with the revelation that Grindr was sharing the data, prompting calls for a boycott.

FRIDAY, April 6, 2018

is to use cells in a later stage of development so that they are closer to specializing into the kind of tissue the scientists wish to study. But in growing their new heart, the Columbia researchers tried a different and bold method. In other words, they used very early-stage stem cells, which were easier to manipulate and, they hoped, would respond better to stimulation intended to accelerate their growth. To speed up the development of the heart tissues, the researchers delivered electric pulses to the heart to stimulate it enough to make it twitch, which is exactly what happens in healthy heart muscle in the body. We found that very earlystage cells, which still have developmental plasticity, would respond better to the external signals we deliver to drive maturation,’ said Dr Ronaldson-Bouchard. - Dailymail

Read up on what’s changing in the Health world

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



SpaceX readies second launch using recycled rocket, spaceship

FRIDAY, April 6, 2018

Millennials want to say ‘I Do’ to high-tech wedding registries

This December 2017 photo released by NASA shows a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the Dragon spacecraft on Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.


AMPA, Florida | AFP SpaceX is poised Monday to send supplies to astronauts on the International Space Station aboard a rocket booster and a cargo ship that have both flown before. The liftoff of the recycled Falcon 9 rocket and unmanned Dragon cargo ship is scheduled for 4:30 pm (2030 GMT) from a NASA launchpad at Cape Canaveral, Florida. “This is the second resupply mission for NASA where we are not only flying a flightproven booster but we are also flying a Dragon that has already been to the International Space Station,” SpaceX’s Jessica Jensen, director of Dragon mission management, told reporters Sunday.

“This booster launched the CRS-12 mission back in August of last year, and this Dragon flew the CRS-8 mission to the space station in April of 2016.” SpaceX’s first such doublerecycle resupply mission for NASA flew to the orbiting outpost in December 2017. The effort is part of the California-based company’s mission to lower the cost of space flight by re-using costly, multimillion dollar components that typically have been discarded after each launch. “What is really neat about this is it is becoming the norm,” Jensen said. SpaceX will not attempt to land the tall portion of the rocket, known as the booster

or first stage, after launch, she said. Monday’s trip marks SpaceX’s 14th resupply mission for NASA. The capsule is packed with about 5,800 pounds (2,600 kilograms) of food and supplies and science experiments, including one to study thunderstorms and another to test drug development in space. Weather for Monday’s launch attempt was 80 percent favorable, NASA said. If the liftoff is delayed for any reason, another launch window open Tuesday at 4:08 pm (2008 GMT). The cargo ship is scheduled to latch onto the space station Wednesday morning, and will stay in orbit for about a month before returning to Earth.

Facebook ‘ugly truth’ memo triggers new firestorm over ethics


ASHINGTON | AFP, Tuesday, April 3, 2018 Was a leaked internal Facebook memo aimed at justifying the social network’s growth-atany-cost strategy? Or simply a way to open debate on difficult questions over new technologies?

The extraordinarily blunt memo by a high-ranking executive -- leaked this week and quickly repudiated by the author and by Facebook -- warned that the social network’s goal of connecting the world might have negative consequences, but that these were outweighed by the positives. “Maybe it costs a life by exposing someone to bullies,” the 2016 memo by top executive Andrew “Boz” Bosworth said. “Maybe someone dies in a terrorist attack coordinated on our tools.” While Bosworth and Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg said the memo was only a way to provoke debate, it created a new firestorm for the social network mired in controversy over the hijacking of personal data by a political consulting firm linked to Donald Trump. David Carroll, a professor of media design at the New School Parsons, tweeted that the memo highlighted a “reckless hubristic attitude” by the world’s biggest social network. “What is so striking is that an executive chose to have this conversation on a Facebook wall,” said Jennifer Grygiel, a Syracuse University professor who studies social networks. “He showed poor judgment and poor business communication skills. It speaks to Facebook’s culture.” Grygiel said these kinds of

issues require “thoughtful discussion” and should take place within a context of protecting users. “When these companies build new products and services, their job is to evaluate the risks, and not just know about them, but ensure public

safety.” Bosworth, considered part of chief executive Mark Zuckerberg’s inner circle, wrote: “The ugly truth is that we believe in connecting people so deeply that anything that allows us to connect more people more often is ‘de facto’ good.” On Thursday, he said he merely wanted to open a discussion and added that “I don’t agree with the post today and I didn’t agree with it even when I wrote it.” Zuckerberg responded that he and many others at Facebook “strongly disagreed” with the points raised. - ‘Offloading’ ethical questions Jim Malazita, a professor of science and technology studies at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, said it was not surprising to see the memo in an industry whose work culture is highly compartmentalized. Malazita said the memo frames the discussion with the assumption that technology and connecting people is always positive. “By the assumptions built into that framework they are already shutting down a whole bunch of conversations,” he said. Malazita added that most people who learn computer science are taught to make these technologies work as well as

possible, while “offloading” the question of moral responsibility. “It’s not that they don’t care, but even when they care about the social impact, there’s a limit to how much they practise that care.” Joshua Benton, director of Harvard University’s Nieman Journalism Lab, said it may be too easy to blame Facebook for misuse of the platform. “I’m rarely in a position to defend Facebook,” he said, but the view that a technology is worth spreading even though some people will use it for terrible ends “is something you could have believed about the telegraph, the telephone, email, SMS, the iPhone, etc,” Benton tweeted.

Smart showers and voice assistants are becoming popular wedding registry items.(Photo: Statepoint)


nce upon a time, wedding registries were created so newlyweds would have all the basic essentials to establish their first home. But as technology has evolved, so too has the registry. Gone are the days where registries only include dishware and candlesticks. Couples can now incorporate modern must-haves, like connected lightbulbs, voice assistants and smart showers. Leading faucet manufacturer, Moen, commissioned a survey conducted online by Harris Poll in March 2018, which investigated what smart products would top the list when it comes to millennial (ages 18-34 at time of survey) wedding registries and how this tech-savvy generation may be reinventing the process of registering. The Gift of Technology It may have once been a nono to ask for anything except traditional household goods. But young nearly-weds are modernizing registries by embracing the gift of technology: • More than two in five millennials (42 percent) would want to include smart home products on their registry if they were registering today, with digital voice assistants (66 percent), such as Amazon Alexa and Google Home, topping their lists of desired smart products. • Would-be grooms in partic-

ular seem to love tech – nearly half (48 percent) of male millennials who would want smart home products on their wedding registry would add smart lightbulbs/light switches, smart thermostats (42 percent) and a digital shower (32 percent). “Tech is trending when it comes to wedding wish lists,” says Andrea Maher, senior marketing communications specialist, Moen. “Our survey found that just as many millennial would-be brides would put smart home products on their registries (43 percent) as glassware (44 percent), with products like a robot vacuum cleaner (65 percent) and a hands-free faucet (39 percent) being some of the most wanted items among those who would want smart home products on their wedding registry.” “After all, with the great gear available today, why would you limit yourself to towels and serving trays?” adds Maher. Across the country, young couples aren’t just bending nuptial gift list rules, they’re rewriting them. With emerging technology, it’s not just the presents that are being modernized, the registries themselves are too. Moen’s survey found that of millennials who have ever had a registry, over two in five (43 percent) registered at onlineonly retailers, such as Amazon or, while 23 percent used a honeymoon registry,

which allows couples to request donations to use toward honeymoon experiences, and 18 percent used a universal registry, where newlyweds-to-be can seamlessly link gifts from multiple retailers. Of millennials who have ever had a registry, only one in five (21 percent) registered at a brick and mortar store without an online option. “Recent CDC research found that young people are getting married later and living with partners before tying the knot, meaning they may already have glassware, blenders and toasters,” says Maher. “As a result, gifts like a hands-free faucet for the kitchen or money toward honeymoon excursions are what couples really want and need.” Online tools like Zola and Honeyfund have made creating a modernized registry easy and can help ease the minds of traditionally-minded guests, as they’re able to see exactly where their money is going. “From high-tech wedding presents to donations for snorkeling excursions, millennials are bucking many age-old gifting customs,” says Maher. “Though traditionalists may find these new registry customs strange, couples shouldn’t be afraid to craft a list full of things they’ll be excited about receiving – even if they are a little unconventional by your standards.” grandmother’s (-StatePoint)

Indian scientists lose contact with satellite India’s national space agency has lost contact with a satellite days after it was launched into orbit with much fanfare, authorities said Sunday.

- Doing the right thing Patrick Lin, director of the ethics and emerging sciences group at California Polytechnic State University, said he sees “no evidence that Facebook’s culture is unethical, though just one senior executive in the right place can poison the well.” “I’d guess that most Facebook employees want to do the right thing and are increasingly uncomfortable with how the proverbial sausage is made,” Lin added. Copies of internal responses at Facebook published by The Verge website showed many employees were angry or upset over the Bosworth memo but that some defended the executive. Others said the leaks may suggest Facebook is being targeted by spies or “bad actors” trying to embarrass the company. Zuckerberg said on Tuesday the social network had no immediate plans to apply a strict new European Union law on data privacy in its entirety to the rest of the world, as the company reels from a scandal over its handling of personal information of millions of its users.

Onlookers watch as the GSAT-6A communications satellite is launched


he Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) lost communication with the GSAT-6A satellite as it prepared to undertake its third and final orbiting manoeuvre on Saturday. “Efforts are underway to establish the link with the satellite,” ISRO said in a statement. The satellite—an indigenous model weighing more than 2 tonnes—was designed to improve communications for the armed forces. It was launched from the southern state of Andhra Pradesh on Thursday. The space programme is a

source of much pride in India and an achievement that highlights its emergence as a rising power and major world economy. Prime Minister Narendra Modi hailed the launch Thursday, saying he was “proud of @isro for taking the nation towards new heights and a brighter future”. The launch was seen as another feather in the cap for ISRO scientists, who won Asia’s race to Mars in 2014 when an Indian spacecraft reached the Red Planet on a shoestring budget. That feat burnished India’s reputation as a reliable low-cost

option for space exploration, with its $73 million price tag drastically undercutting NASA’s Maven Mars $671-million mission. In February last year India put a record 104 satellites into orbit from a single rocket, surpassing Russia which launched 39 satellites in one mission in June 2014. But the Indian space programme has also been blighted by failures, most recently in August last year when a mission to launch a backup navigation satellite suffered a major technical glitch. (-AFP/Channel NewsAsia)




FRIDAY, April 6, 2018





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23 September to 22 Oct Exercise, and eat your meals slowly and deliberately so that your breath remains the priority in all that you do. Love could strike powerfully and passionately in any number of places.

23 October to 21 Nov The energy of the day may send your blood pressure soaring and your heart racing. A certain person is set to make your day come alive in a very special way. The impact will no doubt be very profound.

22 November to 21 Dec One particular conversation that you have today with a loved one may lead you into new pastures. You may begin by chatting about nothing much, when a whole new line of thought.

22 December to 20 Jan If you are looking for sympathy or an understanding shoulder to cry on, you might as well be looking for a needle in a haystack. The bottom line is that you won’t be very successful in your quest.

21 January to 19 Feb A small bump in the road is turning out to be a bigger deal than you expected. This molehill is actually turning into a mountain, as the opposition continues to gain strength. This is a sign that you should adjust your perspective.

20 February to 20 Mar A powerful focus on your social sector suggests that you may already be contributing a lot to your community, clubs, and other groups, so it might be worthwhile to prioritize these activities.



1. Caprese birthplace

1. “____ down!”

6. Vigor

2. Sheltered, nautically

9. Opera house box

3. ____ du jour

13. Completely dedicated

4. Hindu sage

14. *Earth Day month, acronym

5. Get a lungful

15. Boiling kettle emission

7. *Federal org.

16. Dog collar attachment 17. Lao-tzu follower 18. Think tank output 19. *Greenhouse gas 21. *Green transportation 23. U.N. labor issues org. 24. Copper coin 25. Unit of electrical resistance 28. Short for “and elsewhere” 30. Take for ransom 35. Blow up 37. *What exhaust pipes do 39. Cabbage 40. “I’m ____ you!” 41. Alternative to talkers 43. Russian autocrat 44. Must-haves 46. Was aware of 47. Giant Himalayan 48. Put on a pedestal 50. “Team” homophone 52. Say it to agree 53. Hallway permission 55. Mouth piece 57. *Homemade fertilizer 61. *Marked with different recycling codes

6. Toupee spot 8. Exploratory spacecraft 9. “____ and the Tramp” 10. Crude group 11. Hockey score 12. Highland tongue 15. Target of crime 20. Prominent 22. Desk well content 24. Grisham novel “The ____” 25. *Diminishing layer 26. Sharpens 27. Sacred song 29. In a frenzy 31. Half-rotten 32. Offensively curious 33. Winged 34. *The ____ Agreement 36. Pie a la ____ 38. *Oxygen generator 42. Excellent, old fashioned 45. Indian soldiers in Great Britain’s army, e.g. 49. More, in Madrid 51. Unwholesome sphere


54. *Nature’s rage 56. Impostor

65. Shylock’s practice

57. Intersection of two arcs

66. O in OPEC

58. Capital of Norway

68. Île de la Cité river 69. Blackthorn fruit, pl. 70. Future fish 71. Mixed breed dogs 72. One trick animal? 73. Rain byproduct 74. “Bye” to Banderas

59. Negatively charged particle 60. The hunted 61. Same as pleaded 62. South American monkey 63. Sean Penn’s movie “____ the Wild” 64. ____pool or ____pit 67. Debtor’s letters




Accounting Assistant Wanted Full time position with a global company headquartered in Houston seeks an Accounting Assistant to provide accounts support at facility in South Houston, TX. Attention to details is crucial in this job. Prepare invoices, follow-up with clients on A/R & A/P, communicate with customers by phone and email as directed by the Manager, basic computer knowledge is required including the use of Excel and Word, able to perform some accounting research, well organized with ability to prioritize daily work, be customer service oriented, a dependable team player with positive attitude. Kindly send resume or work history to

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Supports business operations by supervising staff, planning employee schedules, and implementing administrative systems. Assist company owners with financial management of company by managing banking and basic bookkeeping. Provide administrative support to the General Manager, Management Team, and staff. Serve as a liaison to company’s CPA and attorneys. Manage company’s internal files, and databases. Maintain calendars of events, meetings, and key deadlines. Must possess excellent record keeping skills and ability to work effectively within a team. Bachelor’s degree and six (6) months administrative experience required. Please email resumes to

Name Change

I have changed my name from MUNISA to KABANI MUNISA AMIN

What to know about seasonal allergies and your eyes


uffering from itchy, watery eyes? You may have ocular allergies or you could have another issue entirely, such as chronic dry eyes. Experts say that getting the correct diagnosis is the only way to treat symptoms properly. “Chronic dry eye often mimics the symptoms of seasonal allergies and must be approached entirely differently,” says Arian Fartash, VSP network optometrist. “Many over-the-counter allergy treatments can actually make dry eyes worse, so make an appointment with your eye doctor to determine the exact cause of your discomfort.” If your itchy and watery eyes are diagnosed as ocular allergies, Dr. Fartash recommends taking the following steps. • Limit your exposure to pollen on high pollen count days. • Wash your face after being outside to reduce the amount of pollen on the skin. • Use cold compresses for some added relief. • Don’t rub your eyes, as this will increase your body’s overreaction to the irritants. • Remove contact lenses, which can attract allergens that accumulate throughout the day. Consider wearing your glasses or switching to daily disposable contacts during allergy season. • Try over-the counter eye drops. There are a number of allergy drops that are formulated to relieve itchiness, redness, and watery eyes. But consult your optometrist to find out which are the best recommended. • Consider prescription medications. If the symptoms won’t go away, you might need something stronger. Go see your eye doctor to discuss if a prescription medication is right for you. You can find a doctor local to you by consulting the VSP-network at Don’t suffer this season. See your best and feel your best by getting your eye symptoms properly diagnosed and treated. - (StatePoint)

Houston Community College Request for Proposals (RFP) Executive Search Services Project No. 18-03

Sealed proposals will be received in Procurement Operations (3100 Main Street, Room No. 11B01, Houston, Texas 77002) until 2:00PM (local time) on Tuesday, April 24, 2018. Documents can be obtained at: http://www. procurement/

To place Classifieds in Voice of Asia Call 713-7745140

FRIDAY, April 6, 2018

Hiring - Marketing/Web Master/Graphic Designer

Voice of Asia is looking for a Marketing / Web Master / Graphic Designer person who can do it all to be part of the team leading the charge to take our digital efforts to the next level. Interested applicants can email their resume to



FRIDAY, April 6, 2018

Home&Real Estate A couple spend $3K to turn an old RV into a cozy home for five


How to find an affordable home in today’s market

OUTHERN CALIFORNIA - When Ashley and Dino Petrone sold their five-bedroom house to purchase land for a future dream home they hoped to build in Ventura, California, fitting their family of five into a tiny mobile home wasn’t part of the plan. Yet, when apartment rentals proved more expensive than expected, the couple took a chance with a 2003 Cougar Keystone camper they purchased used for $8,000. And after putting in $3,000 for renovations, they have revamped it into a surprisingly chic family home of just 180 square feet.

A family of five live comfortably and stylishly in a freshly renovated 180-square-foot camper. (Photos:

What’s the hardest part of prefab building?


evelopers, general contractors and subcontractors swap stories that sound too good to be true about prefabricated construction: a student housing project that cut its delivery time by a third or a hospital that installed hundreds of bathrooms in three days with only five laborers. Though the practice of off-site construction dates back thousands of years, the last real estate cycle has pushed prefabricated construction to prominence. The compact kitchen features a ceramic tile backsplash. “The state of the RV was old and blue and dirty. The curtains were horrible and huge and the whole feeling just felt dark,” says Ashley when describing the trailer’s former condition. The couple began the remodel by replacing the camper’s blue carpet with pale timber floors. They also ripped out cabinetry and built-in furniture that crowded the interior. Original wallpaper was traded for wood trim. The couple share the master bedroom, while their three young children sleep in triple bunk beds in the opposite end of the camper. Sliding doors are used to provide privacy

throughout the space. As for their secret in keeping the space tidy with three kids in tow, Ashley says they’ve learned how to be okay with less. “We just don’t buy a lot and if we do bring something in, we get rid of something,” she explains. Their temporary home is parked on their land at the bottom of their lot while the couple makes preparations to build their new home. Inspired by her recent RV renovation journey, Ashley has also launched a blog, Arrows and Bow, to help others learn more about their process and trailer renovation. (-Dwell. com)

Off-site construction, also called prefabricated or modular construction, allows various building elements — anything from bathrooms to pre-wired light fixtures to exterior walls — to be built in a factory and transported to a construction site. Q: If modular construction were really painless, more people would own prefab homes. What are the problem points nobody talks about? A: The easy solution is to provide pre approved construction of prefabricated buildings and modules. This is where the building layout and specifications are agreed to meet national and local building requirements with the local authority where the building is to be erected. Companies can also provide a set of drawings and specifi-

50 Years of the Fair Housing Act April is National Observance of Fair Housing Month


he Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (“TDHCA”) joins the entire nation in celebrating the passage of the federal Fair Housing Act 50 years ago. As the lead state agency responsible for affordable housing opportunities, TDHCA is dedicated to advancing awareness of the fair housing rights available to all Texans, and providing information that supports its mission to develop high quality, safe, and affordable housing. The Fair Housing Act protects the rights of individuals to rent an apartment, buy a home, obtain a mortgage, or purchase homeowners’ insurance free from discrimination based on:



National Origin



Familial Status, and


In observance of this landmark legislation, TDHCA will provide the following informational content: •

Website articles

50 years of Fair Housing Timeline

Join Our Email List


For more information, please

Baseer H. Pirzada Realtor




visit TDHCA’s Fair Housing 101 or Press pages. About The Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs The Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs is committed to expanding fair housing choice and opportunities for Texans through the administration and funding of affordable housing and homeownership opportunities, weatherization, and community-based services with the help of for-profits, nonprofits, and local governments. For more information about fair housing, funding opportunities, or services in your area, please visit

Modern manufactured homes are among the safest housing choices today (PHOTO: StatePoint) ffordable housing is in high demand in cities and counties nationwide. Experts say that areas grappling with affordable housing issues may find factory-built homes to be a powerful tool in addressing this need.



• Provided services, which often include professional property management, care and maintenance of common grounds, as well as resources and amenities like trash removal, community centers, playgrounds, storage and laundry facilities.

Built in a factory and delivered to home sites, this efficient process translates into lower production costs that are passed on to the consumer. The good news is while manufactured homes cost less than site-built homes they are just as high quality. The average new manufactured home costs around $70,600. The cost for a smaller new single-section home can be as low as $20,000. In 2016, manufactured homes accounted for 80 percent of all new homes sold under $150,000.

• The possibility of not paying real estate taxes. While it varies state-to-state, residents of land-lease manufactured home communities often don’t pay real estate taxes, but rather, pay a personal-property tax, offsetting the cost of land-lease rents for the homeowner. • Affordable homeownership, along with many of its benefits, including control over home and yard improvements, as well as convenient parking.

Unfortunately, when many people think of manufactured housing, the old stereotype of a run-down trailer park enters their minds. However, most of the more than 37,000 manufactured housing communities in the U.S. are a far cry from that negative image, boasting amenities like community centers, organized activities and children’s play areas. Other benefits may include:

• A sense of community. In many communities, there are social or activity clubs, fitness amenities, and friendly and caring neighbors. Indeed, “sense of belonging” is among the most frequent responses about why residents enjoy living in a land-lease community. Newer manufactured homes come in a variety of architectural styles and exterior finishes that will suit most any buyer’s desires, as well as customization opportunities, including

• The option to rent an existing home in the community or place your own home in the cations to the client when the structure is handed over to them. If by any chance the original manufacturer goes bust then all the build details are in the hands of the house owner.

Also, it could be a question of, ‘How do I get what I want?’, when, to a certain extent, some things are already figured out for you. When done correctly, offsite construction can benefit a project’s schedule, budget and skilled labor requirements.

Navigation through planning and building departments (or the assumption that the process would be difficult, simply because it is ‘different’), the question of who manages and coordinates the building process - does the owner find a contractor (somehow that is familiar with the process), or pay an arm and a leg to the prefab company?

With skilled labor shortages impacting more of the U.S., off-site construction is a way to build projects in less affected areas, and to provide workers with safer working conditions in a prefab factory than out in the field. Prefab offers more control

interior features like vaulted ceilings, fireplaces and stateof-the-art kitchens and baths. They also feature enhanced energy efficiency in an era of rising energy costs, thanks to upgraded insulation and more efficient heating and cooling systems than homes from decades ago. Smart buyers also are turning to ENERGY STAR-labeled manufactured homes for additional savings. Modern manufactured homes are among the safest housing choices today, as homes must adhere to strict federal building standards. All aspects of construction are continually inspected by professionally trained third-parties, and homes feature smoke detectors, and limited combustible materials around furnaces, water heaters and kitchen ranges, as well as wind resistance in areas prone to hurricane-force winds. “The need for quality, affordable housing has never been greater. However, today’s manufactured homes are highquality and cost up to 50 percent less per square foot than conventional site-built homes,” says Richard Jennison, president and CEO of the Manufactured Housing Institute. “These savings are allowing more Americans to own a home in the face of an ever-widening housing affordability gap.” (StatePoint).

and flexibility with labor. The benefits of building offsite make its value a no-brainer for general contractors and developers. No one would question how we build cars today. It would be comical to have all the parts delivered to your driveway, with a dozen workers to build it. Yet we build our homes, schools and offices in this inefficient and wasteful manner every day. (-Forbes/Dwell)

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Voice of Asia E-paper April 6, 2018  

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

Voice of Asia E-paper April 6, 2018  

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