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FRIDAY, December 8, 2017

Tax bill impacts on Health coverage and Medicare Read on Page 16 or Call 832-806-1000

Vol. 30 No. 48 Friday, December 8, 2017 • Published Weekly from Houston • 713-774-5140 20 Pages ( 2 sections) 50 cents E-mail:

Judge Sandill India’s Modi files candidacy faces key test for Texas SC as home state

IDA hosts fundraiser in aid of Indian IDC Charity Clinic

votes by Bhuvan BAGGA URENDRANAGAR, India | AFP | 12/6/2017 - India’s Narendra Modi will face a key test of his popularity after a series of controversial economic reforms when the state where he forged his political career goes to the polls on Saturday.


Modi built his reputation as an economic reformer in his prosperous home state of Gujarat, which boomed under his rule, attracting investment from around the globe. Judge R.K. Sandill


OUSTON, TX – Last week, Harris County State District Court Judge R.K. Sandill officially filed his application to run for Texas State Supreme Court, Place #4 in 2018. Sandill, the first ever judge of South Asian descent elected in Texas, and one of very few Asian American judges elected in Texas, will run as a Democrat. “I am excited about the opportunity to seek a place on our state’s highest civil court,” Sandill said. “For nearly a decade as a judge in Harris County, I have worked hard to treat all who appear in my court with dignity and respect and to make decisions with faithful adherence to the facts and the law. I will do the same as your next Texas Supreme Court justice.” Ravi K. Sandill is the proud son of Indian immigrants, whose father was a career U.S. military officer. He grew up in locations across Texas and all over the world. Sandill holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Texas at Austin, and earned his law degree from the University of Houston Law Center. In 2008, he was elected judge of the 127th State District Court in Harris County and has been reelected to that position twice since. Sandill and his wife, Kelly, also an attorney, and their son reside in Houston.

But turning around the national economy has proved more difficult and the Modi government reforms have hurt the very constituency of traders and small business owners who were his biggest supporters in the western state. Analysts say voter anger over the reforms and a desire for change after 22 years of rule by Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) could boost the flagging fortunes of the opposition Congress Party. That the Congress campaign has been fronted by Rahul Gandhi -- the man likely to challenge Modi for the premiereship in the next general election in 2019 -- has only added to the pressure on the prime minister. The election is seen as a chance for Gandhi to finally prove his mettle before he is named president of the party his mother Sonia has led for more than two decades. “The Gujarat election’s national and psychological impact makes it all-important,” said Indian political commentator R Jagannathan. “This state saw Modi’s rise, and if he gets humbled here, then even his allies will doubt if he can still win in 2019. An upset here will be unlike any other state.” Modi’s personal popularity remains high, with 88 percent of Indians surveyed by the Pew Research Center earlier this year saying they viewed him positively.

K.C. Mehta, IDCC Executive Director (center) being assisted by Nosar Bhujia during the pledge drive as IDA president Dr. Prasun K. Jalal (far right) and IDA Board member stand by. Photo credit: Roy Photography. by Shobana Muratee TAFFORD, TX – The Indian Doctors Association (IDA) Houston, the parent body of the Indian Doctors Charity Clinic (IDCC), hosted an evening of dinner and entertainment on Saturday, December 2 at the Stafford Civic Center as part of the annual fundraiser for IDCC.


A packed hall of about 400 guests,

including sponsors, local businesses and long time supporters contributed to raising funds up to about $40,000 that evening. Welcoming the gathering, IDA president Dr. Prasun K. Jalal spoke briefly of remarkable work of the charity clinic, which has been running for the last 18 years mainly on the funds raised from its supporters, including IDA and volunteers. He thanked the event

sponsors, the musical band led by Hemang Thakkar and a special recognition was made to K.C. Mehta, IDCC Executive Director for his yeoman service to IDCC since 2006. Dr. Jajal also mentioned IDA objectives, the five primary ones being: networking, scholarships to high school students in need, educating the society, mentorship to aspiring medical students, and the Charity Clinic. Continued on Page 3

Pratham Holiday Luncheon 2017 The hi-fashion, glitzy luncheon raised $175,000 for Pratham’s women’s empowerment and entrepreneurship programs. Ash Shah, Pratham’s president announced that 10% of the amount raised would be donated to Mayor Sylvester Turner’s Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund.

TiE Hosts Successful Workshop on “How To Pitch to Investors

Read Report on Page 11. Second Section Models of Ghungat with designers Anuj and Shaveta. Photocredit: Hiram Trillo Photography. Read report on Page 10.



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

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

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

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FRIDAY, December 8, 2017

Is President Trump’s Afghanistan Policy Too Transactional to Succeed?

by Chandra K. Mittal


his fall, United States was back at it again with Donald Trump trying to fulfill his foreign policy election promise to conclude American involvement in Afghanistan. But ironically, he ended up proposing exactly the opposite. On August 23, 2017, in his speech at Fort Myers, Arlington, Virginia, instead of withdrawing the American troops from Afghanistan and letting the country take care of its own security, President Trump proposed expansion of American troops there. President Trump also redefined the America’s goal in Afghanistan. It was “nation-building” as former George W Bush had expounded, but “killing the terrorists”. This was a radical departure from the past American policy objective. As part of his new strategy, President sought the participation of neighboring India and Pakistan in curbing terrorist activities in Afghanistan, and increase economic cooperation with the country. While President Trump’s strategy may have been well-intentioned, it was not entirely practical as reaction from the region has confirmed since. Besides, it was over simplistic and unlikely to achieve the intended objective given the political and cultural realities of Southeast Asian region. Trump’s policy pronouncement reflects more on the American frustration and weariness with prolonged Afghanistan war as it has already spent enormous

American treasure (by some estimate one Trillion Dollars) along with significant loss of American lives with no end in sight. Unfortunately, the history and culture of Afghanistan are such that country has consistently worn out foreign occupiers in the past and compelled them to leave. In 1989, Soviet Union faced the similar humiliating fate in Afghanistan and was humiliatingly compelled to withdraw its troops after 10 years of occupation leaving complete political chaos and destruction in its wake. Soviets also suffered significance loss of treasure for this ill-thought out misadventure. Today, after 16 years since 9/11, America finds itself in almost a similar quagmire as did Soviets in the 1980s, except America has fewer troops in Afghanistan and the country has a democratically elected government in place, albeit a fragile one. Basic problem with Afghanistan is the tribal and corrupt nature of its society that lacks institutional framework of public governance. So, if America withdraws its troops, it faces the predicament of a powervacuum, which will be almost certainly filled back with radicals and fundamentalist elements like Taliban, Al-Qaida, etc. who will oppose Western influence in Afghanistan. It is perhaps this realism that is guiding President Trump new policy towards Afghanistan. But he wants to have more stakeholders in the game. It appears that President Trump’s new Afghanistan policy was decided almost exclusively by the US Government without any consultation or commitments from all parties in the region. Nor did the policy makers in

Washington DC perhaps take into account the political complexities involving Pakistan and India – the two arch nuclear rivals in this cooperative undertaking. As the reaction to President Trump’s announcement showed, both India and Pakistan were not fully willing to go along with President’s plans, though for different reasons. On its part, India refused to commit its troops for Trump’s Afghanistan mission but is willing to cooperate on economic front. Pakistan, on the other hand, has expressed its disdain over President Trump’s attitude towards Pakistan as it passed a resolution in its National Assembly condemning President’s remarks about Pakistan’s role in Afghanistan war so far. And then there is complexity of Indo-Pak relationship going back some 70 years, which is likely to create operational difficulties for Trump’s plan in Afghanistan. The two countries have history of wars, distrust and suspicion which plays well for domestic politics in both countries. Pakistan has been already blaming India for economic cooperation with Afghanistan and fomenting terrorism inside Pakistan’s Baluchistan that borders with Southern Afghanistan. So, President Trump’s prescription for India-Afghanistan economic cooperation is not likely to sit well for Pakistan. Success of President Trump’s Afghan strategic mission will primarily depends on the quality and ability of Pakistan’s cooperation which so far has eluded America despite significant investment there. Estimates vary, but since 9/11 United States has poured significant economic and military aid

to Pakistan for cooperation on Afghanistan. Some put this number to be between 18 to 20 Billion Dollars. But dividends have not been impressive. Ironically enough, the 9/11 master mind Osama-bin-Laden was found hiding in the heart of Pakistan military academy casting doubts on Pakistan’s ability to control events there. Central piece of President Trump’s Afghanistan strategy seems to be economic leverage he can exert on India and Pakistan to seek their support. For India, he has mentioned some 30 Billion Dollar trade deficit, and the worker’s visa program most India migrants use to work in US. For Pakistan, he has hinted at the American aids package that can be used as the leverage point to abide by his plans. But such approach discounts and ignores that fact that countries in Southeast Asian regions are not only driven by just the economy, but have strong social, cultural and political anchors that grant them nationhood. Relationships with such countries cannot be just “transactional” or business. They seek wider kinship with partner countries. President Trump and United States will be better served in meeting their strategic goals and achieving success in Afghanistan if they found common ground with India and Pakistan that is consonant with their social, cultural and political values rather than just economic. Dr. Chandra Mittal is Professor at Houston Community College and CoFounder of Indo-American Association (IAA). Contact: Twitter: @drchandramittal

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ongressional Republicans finally appear poised for a signal legislative achievement after months of near-misses and face-plants caused by intraparty squabbling. Now that the Senate has joined the House in passing versions of a bill to cut taxes — with the support of virtually all Republicans and no Democrats — there’s little doubt that the GOP majority will work out a measure that Republicans in both chambers can support, and send it to President Donald Trump to be signed into law. But the first big win for Republicans in Washington is a loss for the rest of us. Yes, there may be plenty of Americans who will see their tax bills go down, certainly at first. The biggest beneficiaries, though, will be businesses with the highest profits and individuals with the highest incomes, and some of the biggest losers could be those who can scarcely afford the higher tab — graduate students, for example. More broadly, the measure will cause either much larger deficits or large cuts to Medicare

The GOP’s big tax win is a loss for the rest of us and other federal programs, quite possibly accompanied by higher interest rates for borrowers. The Senate version also includes a booby trap for the state exchanges where millions of people buy healthcare insurance: an end to the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that adult Americans obtain coverage. That seems certain to drive premiums even higher and cause millions more Americans to go without insurance. That’s an incredibly reckless path to travel. There’s a good argument to be made for simplifying the tax code, winnowing the thicket of tax breaks and using the extra revenue to lower rates, as Congress did with the bipartisan Tax Reform Act of 1986. For one thing, doing so would help make the U.S. more competitive with the lower tax rates charged in the rest of the industrialized world. But President Trump and many congressional Republicans weren’t satisfied with simply reforming the tax code. Instead, they’re rushing through a deep cut in rates, particularly for businesses, far beyond what could be offset by eliminating some deductions, exemptions and credits. With no hearings on its specifics, little debate and a raft of provisions aimed at winning individual lawmakers’ votes, the measure is bound to be a magnet for unintended consequences. In addition to a dramatic cut

in corporate tax rates, both the House and Senate bills would create a big new tax break for “pass through” businesses (like President Trump’s) — partnerships, small businesses and other entities that report their business profits on their individual returns. But the rationale the congressional leadership has offered for cutting corporate rates doesn’t apply to pass-throughs. Unlike corporate earnings, which are taxed twice on their way to an employee’s or investor’s bank account, pass-through earnings are taxed only once. In other words, they’re already treated favorably by the tax code, and would benefit as well from the GOP’s proposed cuts in individual tax rates. Top administration officials argued that the tax cuts would pay for themselves through a surge in economic growth. The congressional Joint Committee on Taxation punctured that fantasy balloon a few days before the Senate vote, however, estimating that the growth spurred by the tax cuts would offset less than a third of their $1.4 trillion cost over the coming decade. That’s no surprise — history tells us that even when tax cuts do boost growth, they never do so to the extent needed to compensate for the lost revenue. Besides, now that the economy has climbed out of the depths of the last recession, it no longer needs the sort of fiscal adrenaline that tax cuts can provide. The country is producing goods and services

at a healthy clip, the total economic output recently reached its maximum capacity for the first time since 2007, unemployment is at its lowest level in the 21st century, corporate profits are rising rapidly, wages are climbing, and forecasters expect another solid quarter of growth to end the year. It’s worth remembering how congressional Republicans blocked all of the stimulus proposals Democrats made after the recession ended even though the economy was still stuck in low gear. Back then, they believed that budget deficits were a horrible, awful, no good thing. Now, not so much. Under federal budget law, however, Congress can’t just run a bigger deficit. If the tax cuts go into effect as proposed, they could trigger automatic, across-the-board cuts in a wide range of federal mandatory spending, including a 4 percent cut in Medicare. GOP leaders say they won’t let that happen; a more likely result is that Congress will agree to waive the across-the-board cuts and let the deficit grow. That would raise a different set of problems. More of the federal budget would be consumed by debt payments, and the everlarger borrowing could push up interest rates for everyone. Ultimately, the next generation would be left to foot the bill for this Congress’ irresponsibility. That’s some victory for the GOP. (Source: - Los Times, editorial)

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FRIDAY, December 8, 2017

Second Front Page


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IDA hosts fundraiser in aid of Indian IDC Charity Clinic Continued from Page 1 On behalf of IDCC K.C. Mehta spoke about its ‘Vision 20/20’ and the various services the clinic offers completely free to anyone who cannot afford general medical care in the Houston area. The IDCC needs $60,000 annually at the rate of $50 per person. The clinic has thrived on the generous support of local Houstonians and a number of Indian American physicians who have contributed their time, expertise, and resources whenever needed. The IDC Clinic provides non-emergency primary care and eye care to patients above the age of 18 years. Services are available to anyone, irrespective of race, religion, color or nationality; anyone who does not have medical insurance and cannot pay for private medical care. “I’m very fortunate to work with quality people,” Mehta said recognizing the contributions of the board and speaking in praise of Dr. KT Shah, Dr. Jay Raman, Dr. Gandhi, Dr. Ravi Chundru, Drs. Moonat and others that served IDCC. The Charity Clinic is located at 6550 Mapleridge, Suite 229, Houston, Texas 77081 and is open Saturday, from 9 A.M to 12 noon. For more details visit: www.

Hemang Thakkar Group featuring the Legends of Bollywood. Lead singer Hemang Thakkar and singers Salil Bhadekar of Houston’s Sa, Re, Ga, Ma, Pa show winner and Payel Mitra accompanied by Anis Chandani, flute maestro and other artists kept the audience thoroughly entertained. Earlier, one of the band members, Serene Kaggal sang the National Anthems of the United States and India. The program was emceed by the eloquent Nosar Bhujia who is also a well known author. Dr.

Subodh Bhuchar, a long time supporter of IDCC helped with the auction and Dr. Nik Nikam and Roy Choudry provided the photography. Few of the major sponsors and supporters including: Suresh Nachani, CEO of RealAssets Corp., Harish Katharani of Southside Pharmacy, Dr. Virender Mathur, Asha Shah, Ashok Garg, Swatantra Jain spoke a few words in praise of Charity Clinic on the occasion. A good spread of Indian dishes was served by Bombay Brassiere.

Hemang Thakkar and Payel Mitra give a memorable performance. Photos by Roy Photography. Dr. Ramesh Cherivirala assisting with the auction item donated by Arya Esha.

Deputy Consul General of India Surender Adhana spoke a few words encouraging support for the Charity Clinic. He lauded the hardworking, generous Houston Indian Americans. He spoke about India’s tremendous growth especially in the Oil & Gas and Healthcare sector. “Our government is committed to a global healthcare sector in Andhra Pradesh,” he said. The evening had great nonstop musical entertainment by

Hemang Thakkar Group.

India Doctors Association Board of Directors with KC Mehta, IDCC.

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FRIDAY, December 8, 2017


Sugar Land, Katy, Stafford, Missouri City, R

UT Physicians hold Family Health Screening at Home Depot


ORT BEND - UT Physicians – Southwest partnered with Home Depot @ 6800 W. Sam Houston Pkwy., South Houston to host the health fair along with Home Depot Monthly Kids Workshop project on Dec 02, 2017 from 9:00Am12:00PM. This partnership is based on a friendly home and healthy family concept to improve our communities’ health, safety and promote wellness for our surrounding communities. UT Physicians Southwest reached out to the community by hosting a health fair, which included health screenings, BMI & Blood Pressure to improve the community health awareness. UT Physicians Southwest clinic manager Fahad Kamal said, “Through local business’s generous donation and support, this event was able to distribute food and supplies, which included both fresh vegetables and fruits. UT Physicians –Southwest also provided educational resources, which included coloring books, pens, rulers, and pencils for children to enjoy the holiday celebration. Home Depot provided art and crafts that included a gingerbread house and Christmas tree photo frame for kids to build and take home with a Christmas goody bag. Our local Home Depot store manager, Ade Odoffin stated that, “Giving back is one of Home Depot‘s core value. Having these kids workshops are important part of fabric of the Home Depot by giving time, energy, and resource to the communities and society.” There are about 200 family members participated on 12/2/2017 and total 18 volunteers and staff from UT Physicians-Southwest and Medical students of UT Health McGovern Medical School. Thank you our community partners: Merryland bakery; Southwestern National Bank; Jusgo Supermarket; wei-chuan; Home Depot

UT Physicians Southwest Practice Manager, Fahad Kamal with clinic staff, Ivy Weng (Community Health Worker), Sireen Albana (Referral specialist), Espe Kabran (Community Health Worker Interterm)

Home Depot Gardening Department Associate Couch –Ms. Nancy Chu (Middle),Sponsor Southwestern National Bank representative - Ms. Ling Chuang (Right)

Home Depot kids workshop – Ginger House (Photos: UT Physicians - SW)

Family Health Screening being administered on an attendee


FRIDAY, December 8, 2017


Richmond, Rosenberg and Meadows Place

SLP - Celebrating 10 years of academic success What does the co-founder of a world-renowned education institute do when faced with education choices for her own daughter? Build her own school! couldn’t find a public or private middle school with the essential education standards and social and behavioral requirements for today’s youth,” said Carol Appelbaum, founder of the prestigious Sugar Land Prep. “I had a clear idea of the educational and social setting I wanted for my child. So, I used my own training, experience, and resources to create what I knew was missing. I founded a middle and high school for high achievers.”


Ciara Appelbaum Ciara Appelbaum took full advantage of the individualized accelerated program offered by Sugar Land Prep (SLP) and graduated high school in only 2.5 years. She was awarded the Scholastic Achievement Award and numerous other awards and scholarships. Ciara attended Wake Forest University and also attended classes at the University of Cambridge in England. Ciara graduated magna cum laude and is currently working and living in Manhattan NY.

August 2017 marked Sugar Land Prep’s 10th year of success. Focusing on content mastery, character/leadership development, self-discipline, individualized education system, and college entrance PSAT/SAT/ACT exams has proven to be a very successful model. Sugar Land Prep has 10 years filled with academic success stories. Their students won’t find exam shortcuts used by other schools such as matching, true-false, or multiple choice. The use of stringent testing methods is just one of the ways Sugar Land Prep (SLP) students develop strong foundations in subjects. SLP does not administer standardized tests. Instead, their students focus on mastering the PSAT/ SAT/ACT tests. College entrance test mastery is included in their curriculum and begins during the sixth grade. As a result, 85% of SLP seventh grade students earn DUKE TIP state recognition. Later, graduates of SLP receive college scholarships, earn high college GPA’s, receive honors, and Dean’s List recognition. Using their individualized education practices, most students are taking above grade level courses. Some eighth and ninth grade students are taking pre-calculus, calculus, or even physics. SLP’s curriculum is rigorous to prepare students for the demands of college, the “best of the best” and is recognized by the College Board. Junior and Senior level students and their parents receive personalized assistance throughout the college application, enrollment, and scholarship process. You will only find students at SLP with outstanding work ethic, character, and values. Now enrolling students in grades 6-9.

RSVP for their December 14th OPEN HOUSE presentation and tour. Visit their website today at Call 281-303-5590.

Carol Appelbaum, founder, Sugar Land Prep

Logan Turk

Saman Nekoobahr Saman Nekoobahr enrolled at Sugar Land Prep (SLP) entering the 9th grade. He completed algebra, geometry, and algebra II all in his first year at SLP. At age 15, he is currently taking calculus and physics, both senior level courses. He has been able to achieve so much within SLP’s environment which encourages self-paced and self-motivated learning. Saman also assists his fellow students in SLP’s mentor program and volunteers on several school committees.

Logan Turk is age 13 and should be taking 8th grade coursework, but she is already taking all high school level courses including pre-calculus and chemistry. Logan received Grand Recognition for Duke TIP, scoring a nearly perfect score of 35 in the English section. The highest possible score is a 36. Logan also assists her fellow students in SLP’s mentor program and volunteers on several school committees.


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FRIDAY, December 8, 2017

Make your plan for losing weight in 2018

Houston’s only drop-in center for human trafficking survivors hosts Christmas Breakfast

UGAR LAND – Losing weight doesn’t have to mean daily trips to the gym and a strict calorie allotment. Sometimes what you need is to simply create healthy, sustainable changes in your daily life.

Leading anti-trafficking nonprofit also honors law enforcement and community leaders for their commitment to the local fight against modern-day slavery


Dr. Nabil Tariq, bariatric surgeon with Houston Methodist Surgical Associates, helps patients discover new ways to lose weight and keep it off. “With the right plan and support, you can make changes to improve your health,” Tariq said.


Here are five small steps to help with weight loss: • EAT SLOWLY. Eat your meals more slowly and without distraction, such as watching TV. Your body will be better able to pick up on signals from your brain that you are full, which will help you eat less. • WATCH YOUR PORTION SIZE. Trick yourself into easy portion control by using smaller plates, bowls and silverware, making it appear as though you’re eating more than you actually are. If you work, prep your meals. Most of the food available at a workplace is high calorie and high fat and you can really cut down on calories if you bring your own healthy meal. It will likely taste better too. • EMPHASIZE PROTEIN AND FIBER. Reaching for protein or fiber-filled foods, like chicken or apples, can help you feel satisfied for longer than with other foods. Incorporate more plant based proteins in your diet like chickpeas, beans and lentils. They have fiber and protein and have minimal to no fat in them. • DRINK PLENTY OF WATER. It’s caloriefree and helps you feel full so you’ll eat less but don’t skip meals — skipping meals can lower your metabolism and lead you to make poor food choices when you get very hungry. • ADD MOVEMENT TO YOUR DAY. Physical activity burns calories and boosts your mood. If you’ve never exercised before, start slow. Try going for a brisk walk every day, and work up to 30 minutes of moderate exercise three or more days a week. Try using a free app on your phone to count your steps, it can help motivate you and help you set progressively higher targets. - SURGICAL OPTIONS “If diet and exercise alone haven’t resulted in permanent weight loss, you may benefit from weight management services,” Tariq said. Hous-

Dr. Nabil Tariq, bariatric surgeon ton Methodist offers several weight-loss surgery options to patients with a body mass index (BMI) of 40 and higher, or a BMI of 35 or higher with obesityrelated health conditions, such as type 2 diabetes and obstructive sleep apnea. Types of bariatric surgeries we offer include gastric sleeve and gastric bypass procedures. “Weight-loss surgery is a powerful tool,” Tariq said. “However surgery alone can’t do it all. Patients still need to make healthy lifestyle changes to succeed long term. We can help them do that.” Talk with your doctor to learn if weight-loss surgery is a good option for you. To explore whether bariatric surgery is an option for your weight loss journey, call Dr. Tariq’s office today at 281.275.0860 to schedule an appointment. Visit our Facebook page at BARIATRIC SURGERY SEMINAR Weight-loss, or bariatric, surgery isn’t right for everyone, but learning about it and talking to your doctor can help determine if it’s right for you. Join Dr. Nabil Tariq on Thursday, Feb. 8 at 6 p.m. in our Brazos Pavilion Conference Center for an interactive seminar. Registration is required. To register, visit or call 281.274.7500.


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OUSTON, TX (December 4, 2017) – Early Friday morning the Junior League of Houston was bustling as The Landing’s 2nd Annual Breakfast Fundraiser kicked off this Christmas season in style. More than 320 people, including representatives from the Office of Governor Greg Abbott, the Office of Mayor Sylvester Turner, the Houston Police Department, the District Attorney’s Office, and Council Member Laster were present. Kimberly Williams, Project Coordinator from St. Luke’s, opened the morning with prayer. In the spirit of Christmas, local artist Elizabeth Curtin performed “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas.” Beau Abdulla, founder of an organization promoting healthy sexuality called Voice For Choice, closed the event with a prayer. “The Landing’s annual breakfast fundraiser was a beautiful event that highlighted their collaborative and relational approach to the human sex trafficking issue in Houston, TX,” Beau Adbulla shared after the event. “The Landing is a wonderful organization that is making a positive impact in the lives of many individuals.” The Landing presented three “Dedicated Partner” Awards to individuals and organizations who made noteworthy contributions in the fight against human trafficking in 2017. Eyes On Me, Inc. was recognized for its partnership serving the Bissonnet area through an outreach called Hip Hop Hope twice a month. In addition, Bayou City Fellowship was honored for consistently supporting The Landing as an organization before the drop-in center even opened its doors. The

Mandy Harvey, America’s Got Talent 2017 Finalist, AwardWinning Singer & Songwriter performed as the featured artist. (Photo: ABC) Salvation Army was honored for their dedicated partnership to provide emergency housing for anti-human trafficking victims like The Landing. Finally, S.E.A.L. Security Officers Colonel Paul Reese, Major Jacob Montgomery, and Lieutenant Someya Headley were recognized for their service and the protection they provide during outreaches to help The Landing safely connect with survivors of human trafficking. The highlights of the event were keynote speaker and comedian Marti MacGibbon causing the entire crowd to roll with laughter before sharing her heart-touching, inspirational story of hope and strength as a survivor of human trafficking. Pastor This was followed by a beautiful performance from America’s Got Talent Finalist Mandy Harvey, a deaf singer/songwriter who was Simon Cowell’s Golden Buzzer Winner. Libin Abraham, Pastor of

Multi-Site Ministry at Sugar Creek Baptist Church and a member of The Landing’s Advisory Council, encouraged attendees that The Landing is an organization worth supporting financially. Mandy Harvey then led the entire room of attendees to unite their voices in “Silent Night” as the final count for funds raised was being tallied, resulting in a total profit from the event totaling just over $56,000. The Landing opened Houston’s first and only drop-in center for survivors of human trafficking and those in the commercial sex industry in January of 2016. The organization has been recognized for its efforts to unite law enforcement, government officials and community-based organizations to support women, men, and the LGBTQ population of all ages who are victims of human trafficking or in the commercial sex industry. Andrea Sparks, Governors Office, Director of Child Sex Trafficking Team, believes in the work of the drop-in center saying, “The Landing provides a safe place where exploited youth can get their immediate needs met, build relationships, and ultimately make their way to healing and freedom.” Top-level sponsors of the second annual Christmas Breakfast Fundraiser included Team Legal and Bayou City Fellowship. More information about The Landing is available at About The Landing: The Landing is a daytime drop-in center for survivors of human trafficking and those in the commercial sex industry. A drop-in center is a supportive and judgment-free place where survivors of human trafficking and the commercial sex trade can experience an atmosphere of acceptance and be introduced to social support. Located on a nationally known hotspot for sex trafficking and prostitution in Houston, The Landing team conducts street outreach twice a month, with security provided by S.E.A.L. Security and the Westside Police Division.

Success Auto Holding now boasts U-Haul equipment


OUSTON (Dec. 6, 2017) — U-Haul Company of Texas is pleased to announce that Success Auto Holding has signed on as a U-Haul® neighborhood dealer to serve the Houston community. Success Auto Holding at 6501 Bellfort St. will offer UHaul trucks, trailers, towing equipment, moving supplies and in-store pick-up for boxes. U-Haul Truck Share 24/7 is now available at all U-Haul locations, enabling customers to access trucks and vans every hour of every day through the self-pick-up and self-return options on their account. An internet-connected mobile device with camera and GPS features is needed to take advantage of self-service. Normal business hours are 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Friday and 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday. Reserve U-Haul products at this dealer location by calling (346) 772-3194 or visiting today. Success Auto Holding own-

er Deborah Harris is proud to team with the industry leader in do-it-yourself moving and self-storage to better meet the demands of Harris County. U-Haul and Success Auto Holding are striving to benefit the environment through sustainability initiatives. Truck sharing is a core U-Haul sustainability business practice that allows individuals to access a fleet of trucks that is larger than what they could access on an individual basis. Every U-Haul truck placed in a community helps keep 19

personally owned large-capacity vehicles, pickups, SUVs and vans off the road. Fewer vehicles means less traffic congestion, less pollution, less fuel burned and cleaner air. Success Auto Holding is a great place to become UHaul Famous®. Take your picture in front of a U-Haul product, send it in and your face could land on the side of a U-Haul truck. Upload your photo through Instagram using #uhaulfamous, or go to www. to submit photos and learn more.

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Sini, Wesley Mathews’ lose ability to see biological child


EW DELHI | BENGALURU: Canada, which has been courting international students aggressively for about a decade now, has gained from Trump’s protectionist rhetoric in the US. Following Donald Trump’s election as president in November 2016 and the tightening of visa norms for students in the UK, Canada has been able to attract 2030% more MBA students from India this year alone.


ALLAS - December 05, 2017 (WFAA) -Wesley and Sini Mathews, the adoptive parents of deceased 3-year-old Sherin Mathews, have lost all rights to see their biological 4-year-old daughter, for now. The court has found aggravated circumstances and has denied the Mathews parents of seeing their biological child until a former civil trial has taken place. CPS does not have to provide any family reunification services at this time. Their biological child is with relatives in the Houston area. The couple was back in court Tuesday to resume a CPS custody hearing for their biological child from last week. The Mathews were expected to either surrender their parental rights for their 4-year-old daughter or have them terminated by the State during the initial hearing. Both Wesley and Sini took the stand during the Nov. 30 hearing as a witness, but invoked their 5th Amendment rights on most questions asked by the State. The State asked several questions about the night Sherin disappeared, as well as questions about alleged broken bones the 3-year-old suffered last spring. Sini was asked by the State if Sherin had a broken femur, elbow, and tibia between January and March of this year. She was also asked by the State if Sherin suffered another set of fractures in February or March, and whether Sini told doctors that Sherin had a Vitamin D deficiency, leading to her broken bones. The court heard from three witnesses with the first returning back to the stand Tuesday. Dr. Dakil, a pediatrician who had seen Sherin for weight management among other is-

New course: More Indian students at B-Schools in Canada by Varuni Khosla, Brinda Dasgupta

by Alisha Ebrahimji,

Wesley and Sini Mathews.(Photo: WFAA) sues returned to the stand for cross examination Tuesday morning. She said she examined the Mathews’ oldest daughter in addition to Sherin and there were no signs of abuse.

tive on the Mathews case. Det. Farmer said Richardson police interviewed both Wesley and Sini Mathews but got the feeling they weren’t telling the

At the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management, 56 of the 350 MBA students in the class of 2019 are Indian. At Concordia University’s John Molson School of Business in Montreal, applications from India rose by about 30% in fall 2017 while 51% of the applications to the

full-time MBA offered at the Alberta School of Business in Edmonton came from India. The University of Calgary’s Haskayne School of Business told ET that 60-70% of its international MBA students are Indian.

destination. The number of new international students — those enrolled at a US institution for the first time — declined by almost 10,000 to about 2.91 lakh in fall 2016, according to the annual report of the Institute of International Education.

Admissions consultant Rashmi Seshadri, the founder of Ingeneam, said almost 30% of its clients included one or more Canadian MBA programmes among their options for the 2017 admission cycle compared with only 10% in 2015.

Canadian schools have welcomed the growing inflow of students from India.

Canada is seen more as a mosaic than a melting pot, said Ted Sargent, University of Toronto’s vice president, international. “During this time, when other countries have an inwardlooking approach, Canada has gone a different route with the Canadian PM talking about increasing immigration quota for the best in the world.” Trump’s protectionist rhetoric could be a major contributing factor to India’s increasing interest in Canada as a student

The second witness to take the stand was CPS investigator Kelly Mitchell. Mitchell was the investigator who removed the Mathews’ biological child from the home Oct. 9 around 1 a.m.

truth because their stories were not consistent with one another.

Mitchell was asked to comment on the emotional state of Sini during the removal of her 4-year-old biological daughter. She said Sini was “eerily calm” and when Wesley returned from jail she didn’t seem angry towards him.

He said Sini told police she woke up at 5 a.m. and saw Wesley with a “weird look” on his face,” they went to the breakfast table and cried and prayed for three hours instead of calling police when they discovered Sherin was missing.

Mitchell said Sini did not mention Sherin’s name at all during the removal process.

Det. Farmer said the Mathews all slept in one bedroom. Sini, Wesley and their biological child all shared one bed, Sherin slept in a crib in the same room.

During Mitchell’s visit to the Mathews home she said she noticed many photos of biological child but didn’t see any of Sherin.

According to Wesley, Det. Farmer said Wesley woke up in the middle of the night, asked Sherin if she was awake and when she said yes, he asked if she wanted to finish her milk, to which she again said yes. That is when Wesley and Sherin left the family bedroom and headed to the kitchen.

According to Mitchell, the 4-year-old biological child did not cry when she was removed from the Mathews home and cooperated. The next witness to take the stand was Detective Jules Farmer with Richardson police. Farmer is the lead detec-

FRIDAY, December 8, 2017

Sherin Mathews (Photo: WFAA)

India is a very important market for Canadian MBA programmes, according to Christopher Lynch, a senior director at the Alberta School of Business. “India is the first- or secondlargest international market, China being the other. Some students who had traditionally only considered US or UK schools are now strongly considering Canada,” said Lynch. “We have seen this as over 50% of our applications are from Indian students and we are seeing students specifically mention Canada’s visa rules and multicultural society as reasons they are applying to Canadian schools.” (-Financial Times)

Det. Farmer told the court when Wesley learned that they were aware he had turned of his geo-locating function on his cell phone he had a “look of shock.” Wesley admitted to RPD that he endangered Sherin and abandoning her. “He was almost quoting the penal code,” Det. Farmer said. Clothes were found from the trash inside the Mathews home which are believed to be Sherin’s. Those are being tested at this time. Det. Farmer said the Mathews said they practice “time out” as a disciplinary measure but cannot recall if they told him they spank their children. Det. Farmer said Wesley indicated he intended to return to that culvert and give her a burial.



FRIDAY, December 8, 2017

A Jaipur dream fort vista

AAPI to hold 11th Annual Global Healthcare Summit in Kolkata, India


he groundbreaking Summit from December 28-31, 2017 will discuss ways to bring the most innovative, efficient and cost effective healthcare solutions for India New York, NY: November 20, 2017: The 11th annual Global Healthcare Summit (GHS) organized by the Association of American Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) along with the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs & Indian Ministry of Health and the government of West Bengal will be held at the famous JW Marriott, Kolkata, West Bengal, India from December 28 to 31, 2017. Over 50 world renowned speakers from India, the Unites States and from around the world, including industry leaders are expected to participate at the Global Healthcare Summit. With over 200 physicians from the United States, the Summit is expected to be attended by nearly 1,000 delegates from around the world. “To be held for the first time in Kolkata, this year, AAPI Global Healthcare Summit (GHS) will have many new initiatives and also will be carrying the torch of ongoing projects undertaken by AAPI’s past leaders. In addition, several prominent leaders both from India and abroad will be addressing the Summit, including the President of India and the Chief Minister of West Bengal,” said Dr. Gautam Samadder, President of AAPI. The Summit will also result in the inauguration of the first ever free AAPI sponsored health clinic in the state of West Bengal, serving thousands of people from the north eastern region of India. “Many of the physicians who will attend this convention have excelled in different specialties and subspecialties and occupy high positions as faculty members of medical schools, heads of departments, and executives of hospital staff. The GHS offers an opportunity to meet directly with these physicians who are leaders in their fields and play an integral part in the decision-making process regarding new products and services,” said Dr. Naresh Parekh, President-Elect of AAPI “The Summit will also feature a CEO Forum, where a galaxy of CEOs from around the world from hospi-

“A woman is looking towards Amber (or Amer) fort, one of the main tourist attractions in the vicinity of Jaipur, India. Located high on a hill, with its large ramparts, series of gates and cobbled paths, the fort, named after Ambikeshwar, looks impressive and challenging to get to.” - Photographer Matjaz Krivic

The JW Marriott is the location for AAPI’s 11th annual global healthcare summit in Kolkata, expected to be attended by Indian American physicians as well as speakers worldwide. (photo provided) tals, teaching institutions and major healthcare sectors, including pharmaceutical, medical devices and technology, will join to explore potential opportunities for collaboration,’ said Dr. Ashok Jain, Chair of BOT, AAPI.

nationally. In light of this and in keeping with AUA’s commitment to increasing diversity in the medical field, we consider India’s medical community to be a major component of our institution’s success” said Simon.

The Young Physicians Research Forum will be held on Dec. 28th at the oldest medical college of Asia, Calcutta Medical College.

“GHS 2017 will include a scientific programs developed by leading experts with contributions by the Scientific Advisory Board and International Scientific Committee, which will includes high priority areas like Cardiology, Diabetes, Oncology, Surgery, Mental Health, Maternal and Child Health, Allergy-Immunology and Lung Health, Health Information Technology (HIT), and the impact of co-morbidities,” said Dr. Ajay Lodha, immediate past-President of AAPI.

The Summit will continue its tradition of providing the much-needed training to First Responders, American University of Antigua (AUA) College of Medicine will offer the AUA’s Emergency Medicine Training Centre (EMTC) developed a First Aid and CPR courses for first responders, including fire fighters, policemen, and EMTs from West Bengal at the KPC Medical College. According to Dr. Samadder, AUA President and Co-founder, Neal Simon will participate in the panel discussion at the Summit’s Healthcare & Hospital CEO Forum, which[PPK1] will discuss how to establish and maintain a patient-centric approach on the operational and academic levels of organizations. Panelists will generate a white paper with recommendations to the Ministry of Health and the Government of India for broader implementation. “The nation of India has contributed greatly to the field of medicine inter-

Many of the physicians who will attend this convention have excelled in different specialties and subspecialties and occupy high positions as faculty members of medical schools, heads of departments, and executives of hospital staff. The GHS offers an opportunity to meet directly with these physicians who are leaders in their fields and play an integral part in the decision-making process regarding new products and services. The GHS Pre-Summit (Dubai) at the Hyatt Regency from December 24-28, 2017 and Post GHS Tour will be conducted in Bhutan from January 1-4, 2018.

Why America could miss out big time on India’s fintech revolution


here’s an old trope in the West that India is like Indian trains — exotic, lurching and slow.

But tropes can be bad as a business strategy — and this trope is causing American companies to miss out on Indian moonshots and trillion-dollar opportunities. In this article I’ll focus on fintech, which is leapfrogging in a way traditional banking never could. Morgan Stanley expects India’s digital payments penetration to increase from 5 percent today to 20 percent, and the e-commerce market to reach $200 billion, with 475 million e-commerce shoppers, adding up to a GDP upwards of $6 trillion — all by 2027. Just like India’s mobility revolution. Most Indians went from having zero connectivity to being on the mobile internet without ever seeing a PC or even a landline. India now has 800 million mobile phone users with 430 million having internet connectivity. According to Morgan Stanley, the number of internet users is expected to grow to 915 million by 2027.

The same leapfrogging is unfolding in payments. While the internet changed how Indians communicate, read news and get entertained, it didn’t change how they transact. Where is America in all this? American companies still largely view the Indian financial sector as stodgy and are focused on the urban affluent consumers, versus the entire country. So far, American investment in India’s booming payments space have been paltry by Chinese standards. The only company with skin in the game is Amazon. They’ve committed $5 billion dollars to India and are buying stakes in Indian retailers. But we’re not seeing the same level of strategic investment and partnerships with local companies. Despite the deep economic and military ties between the U.S. and India, at the present moment China has stolen a march ahead of America in investing in the Indian fintech frontier. There’s a real risk of American companies being left behind. (-TechCrunch News)

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UN envoy arrives in North Korea as nuclear tensions soar by Yanan Wang



The UN Security Council has hit the isolated and impoverished North with a package of sanctions over its increasingly powerful missile and nuclear tests, which have rattled Washington and its regional allies South Korea and Japan.

EIJING, China | AFP - A senior United Nations official arrived in North Korea on Tuesday for a rare visit aimed at defusing soaring tensions over Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons programme. Jeffrey Feltman’s visit -- the first by a UN diplomat of his rank since 2010 -- comes less than a week after North Korea said it test-fired a new ballistic missile capable of reaching the United States. Feltman shook hands with a North Korean foreign ministry official after flying into Pyongyang from Beijing on the North’s Air Koryo. His trip comes a day after the United States and South Korea launched their biggest-ever joint air exercise -- manoeuvres slammed by Pyongyang as an “all-out provocation”. The five-day Vigilant Ace drill involves 230 aircraft, including F-22 Raptor stealth jet fighters, and tens of thousands of troops, Seoul’s air force said. Feltman, the UN’s under secretary general for political affairs, arrived in China on Monday as Beijing is one of the few transit points to North Korea in the world. He met with a Chinese vice foreign minister while there. China, which is Pyongyang’s sole major diplomatic and military ally, has called on the United States to freeze military drills and North Korea to halt weapons tests to calm tensions. In the North, Feltman will discuss “issues of mutual interest and concern” with officials, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said, adding he was unable to say whether the envoy will meet the reclusive state’s leader Kim Jong-Un. “The first step -- that North Korea agreed to have (Feltman) visit -- is a positive sign,” Wang Dong, an international studies professor at Peking University, told AFP. “If the diplomatic effort is successful, then they will certainly be able to exercise some persuasion.” - Missile progress It will be Feltman’s first visit to North Korea since he took office five years ago. “After declaring that the country has achieved full nuclear statehood, the North is likely to reaffirm to the UN envoy its promise that... it will use its nuclear weapons only for defence purposes,” Koh Yu-Hwan, a professor at Dongguk University in Seoul, told

Pyongyang ramped up already high tensions on the Korean Peninsula five days ago when it announced it had successfully test-fired a new ICBM, which it says brings the whole of the continental United States within range. Analysts say it is unclear whether the missile survived re-entry into the earth’s atmosphere or could successfully deliver a warhead to its target -key technological hurdles for Pyongyang. A Cathay Pacific crew flying from San Francisco to Hong Kong said they spotted what they believed was the missile, with one airline official saying the crew described seeing it “blow up and fall apart”. In recent years, Pyongyang has accelerated its drive to bring together nuclear and missile technology capable of threatening the US, which it accuses of hostility. US President Donald Trump has engaged in months of tit-for-tat rhetoric with Kim, pejoratively dubbing him “Little Rocket Man” and a “sick puppy”. - ‘Moth flying into fire’ -


“We accept and respect the decisions of the IOC Executive Board that Russia may compete under a neutral flag,” the Pyeongchang organising committee said in a statement. “We will work with the IOC and all other relevant stakeholders accordingly to ensure that all the athletes and officials attending the Games as part of this team are given the best


The previous record for the longestlasting rainbow, recorded in Yorkshire, England, in March 1994, lasted just two thirds as long as the one in Taiwan. So if Guinness accepts the recordings and proof from professors Chou Kun-hsuan, and Liu Chinghuang, the recent rainbow would become the official record holder. Those at the university originally didn’t expect the rainbow to last long, as most rainbows don’t, but after four hours the professors started asking students and others at the school to start documenting it, Professor Chou told BBC.


HANGHAI, China | AFP China’s digital economy accounts for nearly a third of gross domestic product, according to a report released at an annual cyberspace conference staged by the government to justify its strict internet censorship. Beijing this year has dramatically strengthened its already tight regulation of the internet, but officials and local media have used the fourth World Internet Conference to declare Chinese cyberspace is “open” -- but subject to controls for the greater good. The report unveiled on Monday in the eastern city of Wuzhen by the state-linked Chinese Academy of Cyberspace Studies, said China’s digital economy reached 22.58 trillion yuan ($3.4 trillion) in 2016, according to conference organisers. That figure is second only to the United States and accounts for 30.3 percent of the country’s overall economy, the report said. The report assessed global internet development from a number of factors including industry capacity and “governance”, China’s code word for restrictions. “China’s experience suggests that both factors are crucial to a sound development of the internet that aims to serve the fundamental interests of the people,” Xu Yunhong, an official from the academy, told a news conference in Wuzhen.

The conference was set up to counter western criticism of its internet restrictions, which include blocking Facebook, Twitter and other foreign platforms. (Photo: AFP/File photo) the Communist Party. China has cracked down even harder this year, including enacting new rules requiring foreign tech companies to store user data inside the country, imposing fresh content restrictions, and making it more difficult to use software tools that allow users to circumvent censors. Ironically, however, Wuzhen attendees from around the world enjoy unfettered web access during the conference. Despite criticism of the conference by the US Congress and overseas right groups, Apple CEO Tim Cook and his Google counterpart Sundar Pichai made brief appearances this year, illustrating the pull of China’s huge digital market.

such as Skype that feature secure communications. And Google is thought to be seeking a return to China after pulling out years ago in a row over censorship and alleged cyberattacks. Both executives seem to have steered clear of any contentious comments in Wuzhen. Company representatives did not respond to AFP requests for further information. Official estimates emerging from the conference said that as of June 2017 there were 3.89 billion internet users around the world, with 751 million of them in China, Xinhua news agency said. China’s digital economy has exploded in recent years due to a surge in ecommerce and the use of smartphone apps for a range of daily activities including ordering food, hailing taxis, messaging and playing electronic games.

In a new editorial on Tuesday, North Korean state media blasted the joint US-South Korean drills as going “beyond the danger line” adding the two allies were like “a group of tiger moths flying into fire only to perish in it”. As well as featuring the latest generation of stealth fighters, this year’s war games involve simulated precision attacks on the North’s military installations, including its missile launch sites and artillery units, Yonhap news agency said, citing unnamed Seoul sources.

Dozens of Japan MPs visit controversial war shrine

Over the weekend Trump’s National Security Adviser HR McMaster told a security forum that the potential for war with the North “is increasing every day”. But some Trump advisers say US military options are limited when Pyongyang could launch an artillery barrage on the South Korean capital -only around 50 kilometers (30 miles) from the heavily-fortified border and home to 10 million people. China’s foreign ministry Tuesday said it “welcomes the UN to play a constructive role in properly settling the Korean peninsula nuclear issue”.

experience possible.” The International Olympic Committee Tuesday banned Russia from the 2018 Winter Games in the toughest sanctions ever levelled by the IOC for drug cheating. An explosive report by the World Anti-doping Agency (WADA) and two subsequent IOC investigations have confirmed that Russian athletes took part in an elaborate drug cheating programme which peaked during the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. Rather than a blanket ban, the IOC chose a more moderate path which offers some Russian athletes a route to compete in the Games.

9-Hour rainbow in Taiwan could break Guinness World Record other Nature may have broken a world record last week when a rainbow appeared over the Chinese Culture University in Taipei and stayed for nearly nine hours, the BBC reported. Two professors worked with students to document the rainbow throughout the day so that they could submit it to Guinness World Records.

China says its ‘open’ internet accounts for a third of economy

The three-day conference, which closes Tuesday, was set up to counter western criticism of its internet restrictions, which include blocking Facebook, Twitter and other foreign platforms, and bans on a range of content deemed politically threatening to

Winter Games organisers say will welcome Russians under neutral flag EOUL, South Korea | AFP South Korean organisers of the 2018 Winter Olympics said Wednesday they would welcome Russian athletes to compete under a neutral flag after Moscow was banned from the Games over its state-orchestrated doping program.

FRIDAY, December 8, 2017

Everyone at the university was ready to document the rainbow because there had been a six-hour-long one a few days earlier, according to BBC. Now everyone is working to collect the information necessary to apply for the new world record. The Department of Atmospheric Sciences at the university alone took more than 10,000 photos of the rainbow to prove that it lasted almost nine hours. Professor Chou said he and his students and colleagues are prepared to prove every second of the rainbow to Guinness. Rainbows are simply optical phenomenons that only appear when the conditions in the atmosphere are perfect and the angle of the viewers is perfect, as well, according to NASA. The colors that appear to radiate from the sky are formed from water droplets that are floating in the air, which is why rainbows so frequently appear after rain. (-IBTimes)

Apple has come under fire recently for cooperating with Chinese authorities in purging its app store of software

OKYO, Japan | AFP - Dozens of Japanese lawmakers on Tuesday made a pilgrimage to the controversial Yasukuni Shrine, which neighbours China and South Korea see as a symbol of Tokyo’s militaristic past.


Prime Minister Shinzo Abe refrained from sending an offering, as he has done in the past, a shrine official told AFP. There were no ministers among the group, according an official in the upper house of parliament. In total, 61 MPs -- mainly from Abe’s conservative Liberal Democratic Party -- attended the war shrine and 76 sent a representative, he said. The shrine honours millions of Japanese war dead, but also senior military and political figures convicted of war crimes after World War II. Beijing and Seoul view it as a symbol of Tokyo’s past aggression.

A Shinto priest leads Japanese lawmakers on a visit to the controversial Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo on Tuesday. Dozens of members of Japan’s parliament on Tuesday made a pilgrimage to the shrine, which China and South Korea see as a symbol of Tokyo’s militaristic past (Photo: AFP) “I made a prayer hoping that no one else will be enshrined” given the tensions in North Korea, said Hidehisa Otsuji, former upper house member and president of the group.

close ally the United States, which said it was “disappointed” by the action.

In October, Abe sent a ritual offering to the shrine but did not visit, a move seen as an effort to minimise protests from neighbours over the issue.

The visits come amid rising tensions over North Korea’s nuclear and missile programmes as Pyongyang last week test-fired another ballistic missile that splashed down in the Sea of Japan.

Abe and other nationalists say Yasukuni is merely a place to remember fallen soldiers, and compare it with Arlington National Cemetery in the United States.

The group postponed their annual autumn visit to Tuesday as they were busy with campaigns for a general election in October.

Abe visited in December 2013 to mark his first year in power, a move that sparked fury in Beijing and Seoul and earned a diplomatic rebuke from

The site has for decades been a flashpoint for criticism by countries that suffered from Japan’s colonialism and aggression in the first half of the 20th century.

But he has since refrained from going and sent ritual offerings instead.

Tokyo is also seeking warmer ties with Beijing and Seoul, key countries in dealing with the unpredictable North Korean regime.

Nissan to begin field tests for ‘robo-taxis’ in Japan OKYO, Japan | AFP - Nissan said Tuesday it would begin field tests for driverless “robot taxis” early next year as its rivals around the world step up self-driving technologies.


The car giant and Japanese mobile game company DeNA have jointly developed the new driverless vehicle services, dubbed Easy Ride. They plan to carry out the test with public participation for two weeks in March in Yokohama, southwest of Tokyo, using two electric autonomous vehicles based on its Leaf, a Nissan spokesman said, with an aim of rolling out the service by 2020. Under their plan, customers can use a mobile app to call the robo-vehicle, set the required destination and pay the fare. They also plan to support multiple languages and use a remote monitoring system to ensure passenger safety.

The vehicle, which provides an indication of how robo-taxis could operate in the future, can also collect pre-ordered shopping or meet the owner at the station or airport (Photo: Volkswagan Group)

The number of foreign visitors to Japan has hit record highs ahead of the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

vators Apple, Google, Tesla, and Uber.

Auto giants are racing to get autonomous vehicles in gear, and their competition includes Silicon Valley inno-

Major carmakers have promised to have self-driving models rolling off assembly lines as early as 2020.

Last week, General Motors said it was aiming to overtake its rivals by launching a large-scale fleet of selfdriving taxis by 2019.



FRIDAY, December 8, 2017

Pratham Holiday Luncheon 2017 rings in holiday spirit with dazzling fashion show


he much-awaited Pratham Holiday Luncheon held on December 1st, 2017 at the Junior League of Houston was an at-capacity event attended by Houston philanthropists, education leaders, and community members. The Holiday Luncheon was emceed by the charming Rekha Muddaraj, TV Anchor, KHOU 11 News. Rekha kicked off the event by introducing Pratham Houston President, Ash Shah, who has lead the chapter for the last 2 years and continued to build the Pratham brand as a premier charity organization in the city. Mr. Shah’s two-year term expires at the end of this year and he encouraged guests to continue to support incoming president Asha Dhume. At his last event as president, Mr. Shah outlined the accomplishments of Pratham during his tenure and how the funds raised at this event would help in providing vocational skill training to young women in India and enabling their entrepreneurial dreams of setting up micro-enterprises. During an emotional note of thanks, he commended the entire Pratham Team for their hard work and effort, and expressed gratitude to event attendees and donors for their love and support. With an introduction by event co-chair Leena Shah, keynote speaker, Ms. Gabriella Rowe, Head of School at the Village School gave an inspirational speech narrating her personal journey growing up in New York and successfully running the Mandel School before moving to the Village School in 2015. She asked the audience to keep the focus on promoting good values to our children instead of focusing only on grades. She recalled her association with Pratham from several years ago and commended the great work that the organization does in India. Ms. Rowe was awarded a

Ash Shah, President, Pratham Houston (Photos: Deborah Wallace, Barfield Photography)

Pratham Houston Boardmembers along with Keynote Speaker Gabriella Rowe and Co-Chair Susan Boggio

plaque of appreciation by co-chair Susan Boggio, who also recalled her long time association with Pratham and thanked the guests for making it the most successful Luncheon that Pratham has ever had. Following the keynote, President Ash Shah led a pledge drive raising a total of $175,000 for Pratham’s women’s empowerment and entrepreneurship programs. Mr. Shah mentioned that 10% of the amount raised would be donated to Mayor Sylvester Turner’s Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund. During a lovely lunch, guests were treated to an elegant fashion show by the “House of Ghungat” with stores in Houston, New Delhi and Dubai. Models walked the ramp in designs from the Kashmir-inspired “Shalimar” collection. Fashion designers, Anuj and Shaveta Choudhary, along with the talented fashion show choreographer Simran Rihal, did a phenomenal job to make this a sensational jaw-dropping fashion show . The Luncheon event ended with a Vote of Thanks by Asha Dhume with a note to mark your calendars for May 12, 2018 for the 2018 Pratham Houston Gala and December 7th, 2018 for the Pratham Holiday Luncheon.

Fashion show by Ghungat, showcasing the Shalimar Collection with designers Anuj and Shaveta.


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Section 2


FRIDAY, December 8, 2017


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TiE Hosts Successful Workshop on “How To Pitch to Investors John Reale’s presentation on Building a Winning Investor Pitch Deck. Participants learned how to take ninety seconds and one hundred and ninety words to light investors up. By learning the essential components of their script, knowing their value proposition, and knowing what counts to their audience! The goal was to make sure the participants knew how to make their elevator pitch clear, concise, compelling, and convincing. The evening concluded with the participants practicing the pitches they had been learning to curate all afternoon. In front of their peers and accredited investors, they gave their best ninety second elevator pitch. Over an hour was spent presenting and receiving valuable feedback. At the end, it was clear that the entrepreneurs were leaving with a stronger sense of what investors were looking for and felt better armed with the tools to take their pitches to the next level.

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n November 29, 2017 entrepreneurs, mentors, and investors gathered at Houston Exponential (previously known as Houston Technology Center) for a workshop on how to pitch to investors put together by TiE Houston and Houston Exponential. The focus of the event was to help entrepreneurs learn from about what investors are looking for in presentations from investors themselves. The whole event culminated with the participants practicing their pitches and getting immediate feedback from the same investors. Kicking off the event was a welcome from Houston Exponential’s Executive Vice Chairman, Paul Frison followed by Dr. Arun Pasrija, President of TiE Houston and CEO of CHR Solutions. First to present was Bob Prochnow, Executive Director of the Technology Collaboration Center. He navigated the participants on how to build and communicate their value proposition. This begins by understanding that a company’s success depends on providing value to all key stakeholders. Identifying who those stakeholders are isn’t always clearLack but a of valuable exercise. speech is Therefore, after the presentation the participants were encouraged to share their value proposition with the group who provided valuable feedback to consider.

presented by Gregory Phillips of Phillips Kaiser PLLC. He shared the most common founder negotiating mistakes and how to avoid them, key term sheet provisions, pre-money valuation, and many many more topics. With no topic being off the table, the participants took full advantage to ask questions they had about navigating terms with potential investors. His biggest emphasis to the entrepreneurs was for them keep a focus on whether an investor creating too many obstacle is one they want to have a long term relationship with. No deal is so good that you can’t walk away.


A new topic to the workshop this year, Negotiating Term Sheets, was

TiE Houston is one of 61 chapters of TiE Global which is an organization solely dedicated to the fostering of entrepreneurship. This year TiE is celebrating their 25th anniversary with its 11,000 members and 2800 charter members making it the largest network of entrepreneurs in the world. Charter Members, who are successful entrepreneurs and/or business executives, make the pillars of each chapters. They commit their time to help next generation of entrepreneurs - a “leveraged give back” which creates jobs, economic activities and wealth in the community. Houston chapter has a strong and vibrant charter member community helping meet’s TiE’s mission and making it a meaningful part of Houston’s start up eco system. The next and final event for 2017 will be taking place on Wednesday, December 6th from 5:30 pm to 8:00 pm at City View Lofts. More information available on

seem to be sourced in a variety of ways, they all agreed that genuineness goes a long way, especially remembering that angels are investing their own money. After an advantageous networking break, participants dove right into the Elevator Pitch presentation by Mike Evans of Technology Startup Consulting followed by Station Houston CEO, TiE Workbooks for participants.

After a break for networking, the only panel of the day was started by a short presentation by serial entrepreneur, Ashok Rao. The environment for investing in start-ups seems bleak based on the statistics but the silver lining is the various Angel Investors that are beginning to make a big impact on the Houston eco-system. He then joined fellow panelists and angel investors Keith Kreuer (Red House Associates), Courtney Siegfried (Alice), and Michael Raspino ( May River Venture/TiE Angels) for a moderated discussion by TMCx Director, Erik Halvorsen. Each sign autism. Learnperspecthe others at panelistof shared their unique tives on the process for getting angel investing. How does the average deal start? A causal meeting or introduction. Keith Kreuer encouraged the participants to take advantage of any opportu- Participant receiving feedback after practicing newly created elevator pitch from Courtenay Siegfried, Alice and fellow nities to network, like during the breaks investors of the workshop. While all of their deals

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Picasso’s erotic etchings sell for over $2 million to US collector


ARIS, France | AFP - A series of 100 etchings by Picasso, which depict his personal and political turmoil in the 1930s, has sold for 1.9 million euros ($2.2 million) in Paris, auctioneers said. The Spanish-born artist took seven years to complete the prints called the “Vollard Suite”, which deal with his erotic obsessions and marital strife as well as the gathering storm clouds of war over Europe. The hammer came down on the prints late Sunday as part of a weekend of sales in the French capital from the collection of art dealer Henri Petiet. Some 622 lots were sold for 3.3 million euros, which the auction house Ader Nordmann called an “enormous success”. It said the Picasso series was bought by an unnamed American collector. Civil war erupted in Picasso’s homeland as he was working on the series, leaving his alter ego in the drawings -- the minotaur -- lost and blind by the end. Picasso’s technique also developed greatly over the years from his relatively simple early prints of his voluptuous mis-


In viral video that surfaced on China’s internet, an instructor in the class in the northeastern province of Liaoning tells students that “women should talk less, do more housework and shut their mouths”. The teacher also said that “women should not strive to move upwards in society, but should always remain at the bottom level”. “If you order food delivery instead of cooking by yourself, you are disobeying rules for women,” another instructor said. The class was launched in the city of Fushun by the Fushun Traditional Cultural Research Association, which was established in 2011 with the approval of city authorities. Its aim was ostensibly to reinforce Confucian values, part of a growing national embrace

The final three prints are portraits of the French art dealer Ambroise Vollard, who commissioned the series in 1930, giving Picasso paintings by Renoir and Cezanne in exchange. With no telephone or online bidding allowed for the Paris sale, “there was an unbelievable atmosphere in the room,” auctioneer David Nordmann said, which led to the “exceptional result”. Only a handful of galleries have a complete collection of the drawings: the Picasso Museum in Paris, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the National Gallery in Washington and the British Museum, which acquired its set for one million pounds (1.1 million euros) in 2011. Among the other stellar works in the sale were Renoir’s lithography “Pinning the hat”, which went for 43,000 euros -- double its estimation -- as did Toulouse-Lautrec’s “The jockey”, which sold for 40,000 euros.

Select earrings that are in tune with your style personality What’s your Style Personality? Are you the romantic type who enjoys pretty feminine clothes? Choose earrings with rounded and curvy details. Dramatic, or city chic types, choose earrings with straight edges, and square, rectangular, and triangular shapes. If you are the a Sculptor, model and sculpted bust from 1933 (printed 1939) from The Vollard Suite by Pablo Picasso

of traditional teachings, but video of the lectures angered many. “This is female slavery, not female morality,” wrote one angry user of China’s Twitterlike Weibo platform. Education authorities in Fushun said the class had been launched without authorisation and would be stopped immediately, the official Xinhua news agency said. “Female morality classes” are sometimes offered at Chinese schools and teach traditional culture such as Confucian morals, calligraphy, martial arts and appreciation of classic texts. The Fushun school had opened branches in three other Chinese cities, Xinhua said. After coming to power in 1949, the Communist Party denounced Confucianism as a relic of China’s feudal past. Its adherents -- real or imagined -- were targeted during the violent purges of the Cultural Revolution of the 1960s and 1970s. But the political climate has changed radically in recent years -- President Xi Jinping readily quotes the philosopher, has included Confucian teach-

Young people are prioritizing travel over putting down roots by Julia Buckley Millennials are splurging on travel because they know they’re unlikely to get on the housing ladder, according to industry experts. Donna Jeavons, sales & marketing director for Contiki, which specialises in millennial travel, says that the company has noticed an upward trend in younger people spending money on travel. This year, Contiki saw a 10 per cent rise in the average spend of clients aged 18 to 35. Jeavons reckons the extra spending power is due to younger people’s realisations that they have no chance of saving for a house any time soon. “I think the urgency for buying a house is no longer there,” she told The Independent. “The

ings in government propaganda and has been a champion of the increased study of traditional Chinese culture.

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tress Marie-Therese Walter in the arms of a bearded sculptor, to the darker later pictures where she leads a blind, impotent minotaur by night.

No class: China halts Millennials chauvinist ‘female chosing travel morality lessons’ over house EIJING, China | AFP | 12/4/2017 - Chinese authorities have shut down a “female morality class” that provoked anger by lecturing women to shut up, accept a second-rate role in society and focus on housework, state media reported Monday.

FRIDAY, December 8, 2017

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cost of buying – in particular the deposit –can make it prohibitively expensive for many young people at this stage in their lives, so saving can feel like a fairly futile exercise. “Instead, young people are choosing to live in the moment – we’re seeing many millennials investing in experiences over bricks and mortar. Other industry figures who cater to millennials agree. Chris Townson, managing director of U by Uniworld, which launches its first “millennial cruise” in April 2018, told The Independent that he’s noticed the trend as well. “Property ownership is out of reach for many young people at this stage in their lives, so we are seeing more investment in travel and life experiences as a definite trend,” he said. “With home ownership out of reach for many young people, this money is being invested in taking more, and better quality travel experiences. “Our customers are spend-

Natural types – wear small and simple, so you barely notice them. Nothing too shiny or detailed. Earrings are a wonderful way to perk up your face and make you look classy and fabulous after 40. But be careful you don’t make the mistake of wearing earrings that are “in style” but don’t really suit you. (-InStyle)

ing significantly more on travel than previous generations. It’s not uncommon to see young people spending €100 for access to beach clubs, such as Nikki Beach, as they want to have quality experiences when they travel.” Millennial travel is an exploding sector, with travel companies falling over themselves to appeal to a younger audience. Marriott was the first to plug into the trend, launching the Moxy brand of hotels – whose rooms have don’t have telephones, desks or cupboards, but score high on connectivity and Instagrammable interiors – in 2015. Last week, Air France launched Joon, a lifestyle-focused airline whose publicity material reads more like a club than an airline. And last month, Richard Branson announced the launch of Virgin Voyages, an adults-only, experiencefocused cruise line, which will debut in 2020. Little wonder that with the young pound flowing freely, the travel industry is bending over backwards to cater to it. Adventure tour operator G Adventures recently conducted a

survey of their millennial travellers in order to study their habits. “Travel for millennials has become a necessity,” managing director Brian Young told The Independent. “So while they may also wish to save for a home, they aren’t going to do this at the expense of travelling. People are waiting later to settle down, buy homes, get married and have children, so they are able to prioritise travel while they are younger. They are setting aside budgets, and making it part of their life.” So are millennials more spendthrift than generations who went before them, splurging on flights and avocado toast when they should be saving? Jeavons says it’s tricky to work that out. “Travel has become much more affordable over the past few years, and opened up destinations which were never previously accessible,” she said. What’s more, it’s no longer seen as an indulgence. “I think it may have allowed young people the space to travel, rather than rush into trying to put a deposit down,” she said. (-The Independent)



Section 2


FRIDAY, December 8, 2017

The People’s Lawyer


by Sharlene Sharmila Richards, Immigration Lawyer Email at

You can’t lose your car for not paying your credit card bill Richard M. Alderman Interim Dean of the Law Center

Q. A debt collector for a credit card company has threatened to sue me. He told me if I didn’t pay he would sue and take my car. This will leave me without a way to get to work. Then I will not be able to pay any of my bills. Is there anything I can do to protect my car? A. You do not have to do anything. The debt collector for the credit card company has no legal right to take your car. As I have said before, under Texas law certain property is “exempt.” Even if a creditor sues and gets a judgment against you, he may not take “exempt property.” Included in the list of exempt property is your car. This means that the debt collector cannot take your car, even if he sues and wins. The debt collector’s threats to take your car also probably violate state and federal debt collection laws. Under both statutes, it is unlawful for a debt collector to threaten to take action that the law prohibits. As far as I am concerned, threatening to take exempt property violates our debt collection laws. Check out my website at the end of the next question to learn more about our debt collection laws.

Q. I have not had this arise, but I am still curious. Can a store demand to see a photo ID when I pay with a credit card? Some places ask, and many do not. A. Until recently, the only law that controlled whether a store could ask for a photo ID from a customer was the contract between the credit card issuer and the merchant. For most credit cards, this contract prohibits asking for an ID if the card is signed. If the card is unsigned, the merchant has the right to demand to see a photo ID. Here is what each credit company contract says: • Visa: Merchants cannot require ID if the credit card is signed. However, if the credit card is not signed, the merchant can ask you to show a government-issued ID and sign your credit card on the spot. • Mastercard: Merchants cannot require ID if the credit card is signed. However, if the credit card is not signed, the merchant can ask you to show a government-issued ID and sign your credit card on the spot. • American Express: Merchants should verify that the customer is the actual cardholder, but there are no specific requirements for (or against) requesting to see an ID. • Discover: Merchants can request an ID if they believe the credit card isn’t valid. For unsigned credit cards, the

merchant can request two forms of identification, one of which must be a government-issued photo ID. Recently, however, Texas enacted a law that allows merchants to ask for photo identification for credit and debit card purchases—and turn down transactions if a buyer won’t show it. The legal issue now is whether this law or the contract between the store and the credit card issuer controls. In my opinion, because the law says a merchant “may” decline a transaction without a photo ID, the contract between the merchant and the credit card company controls. We will all have to wait for the lawsuit that I know will be led after the law takes effect in 2018 to see if I am right. Q. I am going to cash out an IRA to pay some bills and repair my home. There will be about $4,000 left after I pay my bills. If I put the money left in the bank, can my creditors seize it? A. As you apparently know, in Texas an IRA is “exempt” property. This means that even if you are sued, your creditors may not seize your IRA. Once you cash in the IRA, however, the funds generally lose their exempt status and may be subject to your creditors. This means that if you put the $4,000 in a bank account, it could be subject to a writ of garnishment.

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

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Q: My request for asylum was not granted by the asylum officer and I received a letter which says that my case has been referred to Immigration Court. What happens now? A: You have been placed in removal proceedings. You will receive a Notice to Appear in Immigration Court. You will the opportunity to present your asylum case again, but this time, your case will be heard by an Immigration Judge. Before the Individual Hearing of the case, you will be permitted to update your asylum application and provide additional documents in support of your case. At the Individual Hearing, you will be given the opportunity to testify and to present witnesses to testify on behalf of your case, if needed. Be prepared to be questioned by the Government Attorney and also the Immigration Judge. Q: What is a Calendar Hearing and an Individual Hearing? A: A Master Calendar hearing is a short preliminary hearing in immigration court where the person in removal proceedings (referred to as the Respondent) will meet the Immigration Judge and the Government lawyer to decide how the Respondent’s case for removal should proceed. During this hearing, the Immigration Judge will take pleadings, decide on removability, designate a country of removal if not designated by the Respondent, and schedule the Respondent for submission of relief application(s). The Individual Hearing or sometimes referred to as

the Merits Hearing is the final hearing when the Respondent’s case is heard. After all testimony has been heard, the Immigration Judge will then decide to grant or deny the relief sought. Q: My two minor children and I were granted voluntary departure 5 years ago because there was no other form of relief available. I did not return to my home country and have remained in the United States. I married a US Citizen two years ago and he physically and mentally abused me and my two minor children. I feared for our safety and left my husband. We are now living in a homeless shelter. Is there anything I can do about our immigration case? A: It may appear that you may have possible relief under the provisions of the Violence Against The Woman’s Act (VAWA)) for domestic violence and extreme cruelty. Your failure to depart the United States automatically transformed your failure to depart into a deportation/ removal order. You will first need to reopen your removal case in Immigration Court. There are special provisions for VAWA applicants to file a motion to reopen outside the normal 90 day deadline of the date of when you received the voluntary departure. You may also need to file a stay of removal in conjunction with the motion to reopen. If the Immigration Court grants the reopening of your immigration case, you will be able to present your case with the court again. You may need to file a self-petition for abused spouse and child with USCIS and when that petition has been approved, it will constitute the basis for you to adjust

your status to permanent resident at the court. Q: I have just been placed in removal proceedings but do not have money to hire an Immigration Attorney to represent me. Can I ask the court to provide me with an attorney? A: Immigration Court proceedings are not like criminal proceedings where the Defendant has the right to an attorney. In Immigration Court proceedings, if you decide not to retain your own counsel, you may inform the Judge that you are representing yourself. Clearly the better course of action is for you to retain competent counsel to assist you in preparing your defense against removal. Disclaimer: Any advice provided in this article is general in nature and not intended to constitute legal advice for any specific case. Please consult with an immigration lawyer about the specific circumstances of your case. My Bio Sharlene Sharmila Richards is a licensed Immigration lawyer practicing in Houston, Texas. She is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. She was admitted to the New York State Bar in 2000 and is a member of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals and a member of the US Supreme Court. You may contact her at telephone number 713623-8088 or by email at to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.

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Young Life


Facebook launches a messaging app for kids



anielle Turk, 12th grade student who attends Sugar Land Prep, has been awarded the President’s Volunteer Service Award. Danielle was recognized for her involvement in the Houston Chapter of the Homeless Period Project. The President’s Volunteer Service Award (PVSA) is the premier volunteer awards program in the USA, encouraging citizens to live a life of service. “We, at Sugar Land Prep, are incredibly proud of Danielle,” stated Carol Appelbaum, founder of the prestigious Sugar Land Prep (SLP).

Messenger Kids is being rolled out for Apple iOS mobile devices in the United States on a test basis as a standalone video chat and messaging app. Product manager Loren Cheng said the social network leader is offering Messenger Kids because “there’s a need for a messaging app that lets kids connect with people they love but also has the level of control parents want.” Facebook said that the new app, with no ads or in-app purchases, is aimed at 6- to 12-year-olds. It enables parents to control the contact list and does not allow children to connect with anyone their parent does not approve.

Danielle Turk Here’s what Danielle had to say:

The social media giant added it designed the app because many children are going online without safeguards.

It cited a study showing that 93 percent of 6- to 12-year-olds in the US have access to tablets or smartphones, and two-thirds have a smartphone or tablet of their own. “We want to help ensure the experiences our kids have when using technology are positive, safer, and age-appropriate, and we believe teaching kids how to use technology in positive ways will bring better experi-

Facebook’s Messenger Kids app is fairly limited in scope, allowing for text and video chat, as well as sending photos. Children can add filters or playful drawings to the photos they send.

ences later as they grow,” the company said. Facebook’s rules require that children be at least 13 to create an account, but many are believed to get around the restrictions. Cheng said Facebook conducted its own research and worked with “over a dozen expert advisors” in building the app.

She added that data from children would not be used for ad profiles and that the application would be compliant with the Children’s Online Privacy and Protection Act (COPPA). “We’ve worked extensively with parents and families to shape Messenger Kids and we’re looking forward to learning and listening as more children and families start to use the iOS preview,” Cheng said.

US teen gets suspended sentence over Auschwitz vandalism


ARSAW, Poland | AFP - A Polish court on Monday handed an American teenager a suspended one-year prison sentence for etching his name on a barrack at the former Nazi German death camp at Auschwitz, a local news agency reported. Identified only as Raphael A., the 17-year-old rabbinical school student was arrested in early July after an employee of the Auschwitz Museum saw him use a rock to scrawl his name inside one of the barracks. The student explained that he had seen several other words etched on the wall.

Sugar Land’s 12th grader receives President’s Volunteer Service Award For her work on Homeless Period Project – Houston Chapter

AN FRANCISCO | AFP - Facebook on Monday unveiled a version of its Messenger application for children, aimed at enabling kids under 12 to connect with others under parental supervision.

“Many of us at Facebook are parents ourselves, and it seems we weren’t alone when we realized that our kids were getting online earlier and earlier,” a Facebook statement said.

FRIDAY, December 8, 2017

Konrad Gwozdziewicz, the presiding judge at the court in Oswiecim, southern Poland, said he had taken into account the fact that the accused was young, had expressed his regret and had no criminal record. But he also expressed astonishment: “This act was committed by a student of a religious school for future rabbis, so by someone who should be fully aware of the importance and nature of the former Auschwitz camp,” he said. The teenager, who did not attend the hearing, was also ordered to pay one thousand zlotys (240 euros, $280) to the Auschwitz museum, located on the grounds of the World War

II-era death camp. Last February, the Oswiecim court also handed similar suspended sentences to two 17-year-olds from Portugal for vandalism at Auschwitz. Nazi Germany built the camp after occupying Poland during World War II. The Holocaust site has become symbolic of Nazi Germany’s genocide of six million European Jews, one million of whom were killed at the camp from 1940 to 1945. More than 100,000 non-Jews also died at the camp, according to the museum. An estimated 232,000 of the victims were children.

“The amount of euphemisms for a woman’s menstrual cycles are plentiful. The ‘Crimson Wave,’ ‘Aunt Flo,’ and ‘That Time of the Month’ are just a few. Regardless of a woman’s station in life, having menstrual products is an issue every woman has dealt with. I decided to help those women who are underprivileged and unable to afford the basic necessities. These women must face this every single month. Believe

it or not, menstrual products are the least donated items to shelters, although the need for them is endless. As a woman, this struck a chord with me, and I decided to do something about it. Thus, the Homeless Period Project (HPP) Houston was born.” “As Founder and President of this chapter, I collect and dropoff donations for shelters and schools, manage the project’s social media accounts, and network with volunteers and other non-profit organizations. After

the devastation of Hurricane Harvey, we partnered with the Unmentionables, a nonprofit similar to the Homeless Period Project, to host a ‘free shopping event’ for Harvey’s victims. At this event, I was able to witness first-hand the effect that HPP had on women’s lives; as they walked by my station, the women’s eyes would light up as they stuffed their shopping bags with items that were seldom found in donation bins. I was truly making a difference in my community.”

Syrian teen pleads for ‘a chance’ at kids peace prize


HE HAGUE, Netherlands | AFP - A Syrian teenager made a strong plea Monday for the world to give refugees fleeing his country’s war an opportunity, as he received the prestigious International Children’s Peace Prize in The Hague. “We just want people to give us a chance to prove ourselves,” Mohamad al-Jounde told AFP. “I can promise you, we are people just like them, we live in the same world,” Jounde said, as he was handed the award at a gala ceremony in a medieval hall in the Dutch capital. The 16-year-old’s words came after yet another wave of Syrian air strikes killed at least 25 civilians and wounded dozens across the besieged rebel enclave of Eastern Ghouta near Damascus on Sunday, a Britainbased monitor said. More than 340,000 people have died in Syria since the conflict began in March 2011 and more than five million peo-

ple have fled, according to the UN refugee agency.

many children to go to school,” she said.

Many refugees, including 2.5 million children, are now in camps in Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan and elsewhere.

Jounde said it was especially photography that helped children deal with the terrible experiences they had endured.

“Mohamad receives the award for his tireless efforts to ensure the rights of Syrian refugee children,” the KidsRights Foundation, which organises the prize, said.

“It’s often only through their pictures that we can really see who these children really are, as they don’t trust anybody,” he told AFP.

Despite being a refugee himself, the energetic boy and his family built a school now housing 200 children in a refugee camp in Lebanon where he taught maths, English and his passion, photography. “As Mohamad knows, Syria’s future depends on its children and their future depends on education,” said Nobel Peace Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai, who presented Jounde with the KidsRights prize. “Despite all they have personally suffered, Mohamad and his family have helped

After the worst migrant crisis in Europe since World War II peaked in 2015, as well as a string of jihadist attacks, refugees and migrants have faced a growing backlash in recent months. “My message to people who don’t want refugees to be there is we didn’t want to come either. But that’s what war does,” said Jounde, who now lives in Sweden with his mother and father but has an older sister still trapped in Lebanon. “Start dealing with us as normal people, not as refugees or immigrants,” he said.

Shanghai schools fly the flag for China’s next generation Melodic music played on the school P.A. system signals class is over and the students stand in unison and belt out: “Goodbye teacher!”

by Peter Stebbings


HANGHAI, China | AFP | They sing the Chinese national anthem with gusto, hundreds of little arms bent in salute and faces transfixed on the country’s red flag as it is hoisted high above Wuning Road school in Shanghai. Here and at other primary schools across the country the next generation of Chinese is taught everything from mathematics and English to tea-making, football, ethics and even hip-hop dancing.

It’s now time for the school’s 1,300 children to pay their daily respects to China’s flag. They file into the playground and stand to attention for the raising of the banner before enthusiastically singing the national anthem. Next, as military-style marchingband music plays, the children perform physical exercises by heart. Barely an arm or leg is out of sync.

Western interest in China’s school system, and Shanghai in particular, has intensified after the city’s pupils aced worldwide standardised tests in recent years. Teachers from England have been visiting to learn from Shanghai’s success and the World Bank last year published a report titled, “How Shanghai does it: Insights and lessons from the highest-ranking education system in the world”. As teacher Zhang Jing watched, boys and girls wearing the school uniform of trainers, blue tracksuit bottoms, white T-shirts, and red or green scarves, work silently on math exercises. What does Zhang do if they talk? “I look at them,” she replies in perfect English. That’s all that is needed by way of a reprimand. Chinese education has long had a reputation for strong discipline and

“Stay in line, left, right, left, right,” barks a woman with a microphone. “Eyes forward and swing your arms.” Students take part in a physical training session at their school in Shanghai conformity, but teachers at Wuning Road, whose students are aged 8-12, and at another high-performing Shanghai school say success today requires a slightly different approach. Teachers want pupils to like, not fear them, and say they encourage expression and creativity. “I’m dealing with young children and what they need from the teacher is a kind of gentleness,” said Shen Yi, a maths teacher with 26 years’ experience. - ‘Stay in line’ Shen sets her class of 34 boys and girls a statistics task and walks among

their desks as they beaver away, occasionally touching them tenderly on the back of the head, addressing them as “little sister” or offering words of encouragement like, “Your graph is so pretty”. Pupils sit ramrod-straight, arms folded one on top of the other, and speak only when addressed. “We basically don’t have punishments, only encouragement,” said Shen. “It makes them feel the relationship between them and their teacher is really close, like a mother or a friend, and that makes them think, ‘The teacher loves me so I want to go to class’.”

- World leader A staff member at another top-performing local school said discipline is instilled foremost by parents, and China’s Confucian traditions mean rules are obeyed and teachers are highly respected authority figures. The World Bank’s report said Shanghai’s academic success is due largely to high-quality teaching. It credited rigorous pre-service training and continuous professional development of teachers once they start. “One of the most impressive aspects of Shanghai’s education system is the way it grooms, supports and manages teachers, who are central to any effort to raise the education quality in schools,” it said.


Section 2

FRIDAY, December 8, 2017


‘Star Wars’ sisters hail girl-powered galaxy OS ANGELES | AFP - Carrie Fisher’s death caused a huge disturbance in the Force, but the women of “The Last Jedi” vowed Sunday to honor her legacy in the latest girl-powered “Star Wars” chapter.


someone be misunderstood for decades?

by Frankie Taggart

“How can

thing else,” said Gwendoline Christie, 39, who plays stormtrooper commander Captain Phasma. “And also you’re seeing a developed character, or a developing character, that is showing some complex character traits. I’m delighted that

Photo: Wikipedia

Carrie Fisher (right) and Billie Lourd (Photo: Vanity Fair)

Salman Khan on sexual misconduct in Bollywood, past and present


alman Khan feels taking advantage of someone with a promise to give work is disgusting, and says if he comes across any such person, he takes the person to the “cleaners”. The actor addressed the issue at a forum which he was attending as a speaker. Asked about the existence of the casting couch in the Hindi film industry, the actor said: “No one has come and confirmed it. I have been there for the longest time, my father has been here [for] more [time] than me. Till today I have not heard anyone come and say it straight out.” The cast came together in a secret location in Los Angeles with director Rian Johnson to build buzz for the latest chapter in the blockbuster space saga, which hits theaters on December 15. “You get to see women that are not big and strong just because they’re acting like men. They’re doing some-

something as legendary as ‘Star Wars’ has decided to reflect our society.” Fisher -- who played General Leia Organa when she was known simply as Princess Leia in the original 197783 trilogy -- died last December, having already wrapped her scenes for “The Last Jedi.”

“Now, being a beautiful woman or a man, someone or the other is going to flirt with you,” the actor said, adding that it is different from harassment. The 52-year-old actor continued: “If someone is there with a principle that you have to sleep with them to get a job, then it is the most disgusting thing ever. I have not heard anything like this. If a lady or a man comes up to me

The actor also spoke about his court cases and his troubled past and tells me that something of the sort has happened with them, I will take them down to the cleaners.” The entertainment industry — be it Hollywood or Bollywood — is having a moment of reckoning in the wake of sexual abuse reports coming in from all quarters. It started with numerous women coming forward to allege that Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein used his position of power to harass them. Since then, many have come out in the open to talk about sexual advances from big names like Kevin Spacey, James Toback, Brett Ratner and Dustin Hoffman. Over the years, Khan has also had several run ins with the law, facing multiple court cases, including a vehicular hit-and-run incident that caused the death of one person. Khan stated that he does indeed get bothered by the accusations. “I have to smile, go to interviews, ro-

mance on-screen even if I am worried about my court cases,” he revealed. Talking about his public image, Khan said: “For the last 30 years, I am told I am misunderstood. How can someone be misunderstood for decades? “The kind of life I have led is the kind everyone has led. I have been working 24 hours, seven days a week. The rest you hear is because people are running their own shows... It’s a hardworking life I have led. I still live in a one-bedroom apartment. My parents also believe that I must have said something wrong, until they watch the clip.” When quizzed about the nepotism issue that sees Bollywood stand accused for promoting star kids, Khan said he didn’t even know the term before actress Kangana Ranaut brought it up. (-IANS)

Indian screen icon Shashi Kapoor dies aged 79 by Udita Jhunjhunwala

dra Modi tweeted that he was “saddened” by Kapoor’s death. “His brilliant acting will be remembered by generations to come”,” wrote Modi.

UMBAI, India | AFP | 12/4/2017 - Bollywood icon Shashi Kapoor -- a star of 1970s Indian cinema and a member of the Hindi film industry’s famous Kapoor family -- died on Monday aged 79 after a long illness, his family said.


Kapoor was born in the eastern Indian city of Kolkata in 1938, the youngest of Prithviraj’s three children. He began his career early, assisting in his father’s travelling theatre company and appearing on stage in a production of “Shakuntala”, a classic Hindu love story, at the age of six.

The multiple award-winning actor died at a hospital in Mumbai on Monday evening, his nephew Randhir Kapoor told the Press Trust of India news agency. “Yes, he has passed away. He had kidney problem for several years,” Kapoor told PTI, adding that the funeral would be held on Tuesday. Shashi -- the youngest son of Prithviraj Kapoor, a pioneer of Hindi film and theatre -- appeared in more than 150 films, winning over fans with his charm and suave good looks. His most memorable roles were in such films as “Jab Jab Phool Khile” (Whenever The Flowers Bloom, 1965), “Kabhi Kabhie” (Sometimes, 1976), and “Kalyug” (Age of Downfall, 1981). He was also adored for his role opposite Bollywood veteran Amitabh Bachchan in the hit movie “Deewaar”

His Bollywood career also began in childhood and he grew into a matinee idol after debuting as a leading man in “Dharmputra” in 1961. He enjoyed a thriving onscreen relationship with Bachchan. As well as “Deewaar”, they appeared together in “Trishul” (Trident, 1978) and “Suhaag” (Husband, 1979).

Shashi Kapoor (1938 - 2017) (The Wall, 1975) in which he delivered one of Hindi cinema’s most famous lines -- ‘Mere paas maa hai’ (I have a mother). Tributes poured in from the world of Indian cinema and politics following news of Kapoor’s death. “Shashi uncle was not only a great star and a passionate filmmaker, but

also a wonderful human being. His work has always given Indian audiences great joy,” Bollywood superstar Aamir Khan said in a statement posted on Twitter. Indian Prime Minister Naren-

Thanks to his youthful looks Kapoor often played Bachchan’s younger brother, despite being five years older

than him. Kapoor was among the first Indian actors to work abroad, with roles in Merchant Ivory films such as “The Householder” (1963), “Heat and Dust” (1983) and “Shakespeare Wallah” (1965). In 1958, Kapoor married English actress Jennifer Kendal. They had three children together. Kendal died of cancer aged just 51 in 1984. The couple were keen patrons of the arts and in 1978 established the Prithvi Theatre in Mumbai which is today one of the city’s most popular theatres. Kapoor won numerous acting prizes and in 2011 was honoured with the Padma Bhushan, one of India’s highest civilian awards. Shashi’s eldest brother Raj Kapoor, who died in 1988, was also a famous Hindi cinema actor and father to Randhir.

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Voice of Asia

Section 2

Men at higher risk of dying of AIDS than women: UNAIDS


TTAWA, Canada | AFP | Friday 12/1/2017 - Men are less likely to test for HIV or access antiretroviral therapy and, therefore, are more likely to die of AIDS-related illnesses than women, UNAIDS said on Friday. Around the world, fewer than half of HIV-positive men are getting treatment, compared to 60 percent of women, according to a UNAIDS report released on World AIDS Day. Men are also more likely than women to start treatment late, interrupt it, and not follow up after treatment. About 36.7 million people in the world were living with HIV in 2016, but fewer than 21 million people had access to antiretrovirals, according to UNAIDS. AIDS or related diseases killed one million people worldwide in 2016 and an estimated 1.8 million new infections were reported. In sub-Saharan Africa, men living with HIV are 20 percent less likely to know their HIV status than women. In the same region, condom use for onenight stands is low among older men, who are also more likely to be HIV-positive. “These data are consistent with studies showing a cycle of HIV transmission from older men to younger women, and from adult women to adult men of a similar age in places with high HIV prevalence,” said UNAIDS. Gay men are 24 times more likely to contract HIV than heterosexual men. In addition, in more than a dozen countries, including Mexico and Nigeria, more than

by Olivier Thibault


ARIS, France | AFP | Thursday 11/29/2017 - Fifty years after the first heart transplant in South Africa, here is look back over the history of human organ transplants.

Children light candles during an HIV/AIDS awareness campaign on the occasion of World AIDS

Five key numbers on AIDS - 17 seconds - Roughly 1.8 million people worldwide contracted the virus that causes AIDS in 2016. That figure breaks down to about one HIV infection every 17 seconds, or almost 5,000 per day. - Two-thirds of new cases in Africa - Since 2010 the rate of infection among adults has decreased slowly from 1.9 million to 1.7 million per year in 2016. Two-thirds of new cases occur in Africa. - Children’s cases cut almost by half - New infections among children have fallen sharply: since 2010 they have been cut almost by half from 300,000 to 160,000 in 2016. A key factor has been detection among pregnant women in Africa, followed by treatment with anti-retroviral drugs that protect their baby. - Nearing 40 million with HIV - Close to 40 million people live with the virus today. UNAIDS put their number last year at 36.7 million. The number continues to increase, however, owing to continued transmission of the disease and increased access to antiretroviral drugs in developing countries which has raised the survival rate of HIV-positive people. - Deaths halved - AIDS-related deaths have declined by almost 50 percent since a peak of 1.9 million in 2005, to 1.0 million in 2016.

15 percent of gay men live with AIDS. UNAIDS also deplored the decline in condom use in Australia, Europe and the United States.

“If we allow complacency to take hold, HIV will take root and our hopes of ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030 will be dashed,” said UNAIDS Director Michel Sidibe.

Death rates soar among people hospitalized for opioids


IAMI | AFP | Monday 12/4/2017 - People who are hospitalized for opioids -- including prescription painkillers and heroin -- are four times more likely to die than they were 15 years ago, a US study said Monday.

“More than 35,000 people died from heroin and synthetic opioid overdoses last year,” said study senior author Zirui Song, an assistant professor of health care policy at Harvard Medical School. With the nation in the grips of a worsening opioid epidemic, reasons for the rise in mortality include the growing potency of heroin and the rising use of fentanyl, which is often deadly.

The discovery of the immunosuppressive effects of cyclosporine, derived from a microscopic fungus, gave new impetus to transplants from the early 1980s, greatly reducing the risks of organ rejection. - Skin In November 1869 Swiss doctor Jacques-Louis Reverdin carries out in Paris the first modern skin transplant. He covers a wound on a patient’s left elbow with skin taken from their right arm. - Kidney In June 1950 in the US city of Chicago, doctor Richard Lawler transplants the kidney of a deceased person into a woman. The organ is rejected after 10 months but the patient survives for five years. Two years later in Paris, the team of Jean Hamburger carries out the first kidney transplant from a living donor. The patient dies 21 days later. - Liver In 1963 in the US city of Denver, Thomas Starzl attempts the first liver transplant but the three-year-old patient dies.

The professor is more successful in 1967 when the 19-month-old organ recipient survives for more than a year. - Lung The first lung transplant is carried out in June 1963 in Jackson, United States, by James Hardy. The patient survives 18 days. - Heart Christiaan Barnard carries out the first human-to-human heart transplant in December 1967 in Cape Town. The patient survives 18 days but dies from pneumonia. The first transplant with an artificial heart is carried out in December 1982 in Salk Lake City in the United States. The patient survives 122 days. - Larynx In January 1998 in Cleveland, United States, a successful larynx transplant is carried out on a man who has lost his vocal cords in a motorcycle accident. It is only made public in 2001. - Hand In September 1998 at Lyon, France, the team of Professor Jean-Michel Dubernard transplants a donor’s hand on to a 47-year-old New Zealander. It is amputated in February 2001 after the patient abandons his anti-rejection treatment. In January 2000 a transplant of a patient’s two hands and the lower part of his forearms

is carried out by Dubernard. - Tongue The first successful tongue transplant is carried out in July 2003 in Vienna on a person suffering from mouth cancer. - Face In November 2005 in Amiens, France, a partial face transplant involving nose, lips and chin is carried out on a woman disfigured by her dog, by the team of Dubernard and Bernard Devauchelle. In March 2010 in Barcelona, Spain, a group led by Joan Pere Barret carries out the first successful complete face transplant on a man deformed in an accident. In August 2015 in New York the team of Professor Eduardo Rodriguez carries out a complete face transplant including the scalp, ears and ear ducts. It is considered the most comprehensive face transplant to date. - Penis In September 2006, the first penis transplant is successfully carried out in China on 44-year-old man. Two weeks later, he asks for the organ to be removed due to psychological trauma. - Uterus In September 2014 in Gothenburg, Sweden, a woman gives birth to a baby after receiving a uterus transplant, in a few first.

CVS to buy medical insurer Aetna for $69 billion


S drugstore chain CVS Health announced Sunday it would buy medical insurer Aetna for about $69 billion, in a move that would create a new giant in the healthcare sector. The deal would see Aetna shareholders receive $207 per share, with $145 in cash and the rest in newly issued stock. The overall cost of the transaction rises to $77 billion with the assumption of Aetna’s debt.

“The transaction is expected to close in the second half of 2018,” CVS said in a statement, adding: “It is subject to approval by CVS Health and Aetna shareholders, regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions.” Talks between the two have been reported since late October, and are believed to have been driven by rumors of online shopping behemoth Amazon’s

entry into the drugstore market. The merger between CVS and Aetna comes amid rising medical costs for many citizens and employers, including prescription medicines. The healthcare industry, meanwhile, is preparing for possible cuts to governmentfunded programs such as Medicaid as a result of Republican tax cuts. (-AFP)


White people who are over 50 and have lower incomes are the hardest hit by the spike, said the findings in the journal Health Affairs. In 2000, less than one half of one percent (.43) of opioiddriven hospitalizations resulted in death, compared to 2.02 percent in 2014, said the study, led by Harvard University researchers.

The world’s first organ transplants

Tax bill impacts on Health coverage and Medicare

Image: Shutterstock The rate of opioid-driven hospitalizations has remained relatively stable, but “patients are increasingly likely to be hospitalized for more deadly conditions such as opioid poisoning or heroin poisoning,” said the report. Prior to 2000, most opioid hospitalizations were for opioid dependence and abuse. Death rates are unchanged among people admitted to hospital for other kinds of nonopioid drugs. The study is the first to focus on patients whose primary diagnosis was related to opioids.

It also included people with both public and private insurance. “These results are just scratching the surface of what health professionals and policymakers could use to help patients and the public, and the picture they paint is concerning,” said Song. “As the United States combats the opioid epidemic, efforts to help hospitals respond to the increasing severity of opioid intoxication are acutely needed, especially in vulnerable and disabled populations.”

The tax overhaul Republicans are pushing toward final votes in Congress could undermine the Affordable Care Act’s health insurance markets and add to the financial squeeze on Medicare over time. Lawmakers will meet this week to resolve differences between the House- and Senate-passed bills in hopes of getting a finished product to President Donald Trump’s desk around Christmas. Also in play are the tax deduction for people with high medical expenses, and a tax credit for drug companies that develop treatments for serious diseases affecting relatively few patients. The business tax cuts that are the centerpiece of the legislation would benefit many health care companies, but there’s also concern among hospitals, doctors and insurers about the impact on coverage. Here are some questions and answers on how the tax bill intersects with health care: Q: Trump has said he won’t cut Medicare, and the program doesn’t even seem to be mentioned in the tax bill. Why is AARP saying that health insurance for seniors could be jeopardized? A: The tax bill would increase federal deficits by about $1 trillion over 10 years, even after accounting for stronger economic growth expected from tax cuts. More red ink means

higher borrowing costs for the government, and that would reduce the options for policymakers when Medicare’s long-postponed financial reckoning comes due. Medicare’s giant fund for inpatient care isn’t expected to start running short until 2029. That’s still more than a decade away, but a federal anti-deficit law currently in effect could trigger automatic cuts as early as next year — about $25 billion from Medicare. Q: How did “Obamacare” wind up in the tax bill? A: The Senate version repeals the Affordable Care Act’s tax penalties on people who don’t have health insurance. That would result in government savings from fewer consumers applying for taxpayer-subsidized coverage, giving GOP tax writers nearly $320 billion over 10 years to help pay for tax cuts. What’s more, repealing the fines would deal a blow to the Obama-era health law after a more ambitious Republican takedown collapsed earlier this year. Q: Those fines have been very unpopular, so how could repealing them undermine the health law? Other parts of the ACA will remain on the books. A: Premiums will go up, and that’s never popular. The fines were meant to nudge healthy people to get covered. Because insurance markets work by pooling risks, premiums

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from healthy people subsidize care for the sick. Q: So just taking away an unpopular penalty would destabilize the health insurance law? A: Repealing the fines is part of a broader context. The Trump administration slashed the advertising budget for ACA sign-ups this year, at the same time that it cut the enrollment window in half. The administration is working on rules that would allow broader sale of skimpy insurance plans with lower premiums, which would also draw healthy people away from the health law markets. To choose right Medicare Supplement Plan, Medicare Advantage Plan or Medicare Prescription plan or Obamacare Plan contact Sudhir Mathuria @ 713-771-2900.


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What to do when a patient has a What we’ve learned treating ‘Do Not Resuscitate’ tattoo? people with HIV can make care better for us all by John Henning Schumann

getting care, regardless of location.


Carmel was a patient I cared for years after Harry. She’d been abused as a youngster, which understandably put her in a dark place emotionally. She was isolated from her family, and struggled with drug addiction over the years.

t’s been two decades since we established effective treatment against HIV, rendering what was nearly always a fatal infection to a chronic, manageable condition. I remember one of the first AIDS patients I met as a medical student in the mid-90s: Harry, a young man losing his sight from an opportunistic infection called CMV retinitis. We had only one drug we could give him to try to stop him from going blind.

Her HIV eventually progressed to full-blown AIDS because of many fits and starts with her antiretroviral treatment. When I met her, she’d lost her ability to walk due to an opportunistic

by Ed Yong


IAMI, Florida - Earlier this May, Gregory Holt had just finished doing the morning rounds at Miami’s Jackson Memorial Hospital, when he got a call about a new patient in the emergency room. He went down with seven colleagues to find an unconscious 70-year-old man with breathing problems and signs of septic shock. He was alone and had no identification. His blood was full of alcohol, and its pressure was dropping. And when the doctors peeled back his shirt, they found a tattoo, running along his collarbones. It said: DO NOT RESUSCITATE. The NOT was underlined. There was a signature under the final word. Holt was shocked. “We’ve always joked about this, but holy crap, this man actually did it,” he says. “You look at it, laugh a little, and then go: Oh no, I actually have to deal with this.” By default, doctors would treat patients in this man’s condition as if they were “full code”—that is, they’d want everything possible done to prolong their life. “When faced with uncertainty, you pick the choice that’s not irreversible,” Holt explains. “So let’s do everything we can and when the dust settles, we can determine what the patient wanted if it wasn’t clear from the beginning. The tattoo threw a monkey wrench into the decision.”

Ganciclovir was horrible. Given intravenously, it burned at the infusion site, made him severely nauseous, and caused his already-low blood count to fall. On top of all that, it didn’t work very well. Days after we discharged him from the hospital, Harry was readmitted with pneumonia caused by Pneumocystis and died. He was 32 years old. In those years, we saw many patients in the hospital with complications from HIV. They had unusual malignancies like Kaposi’s sarcoma, and other opportunistic infections like toxoplasmosis that we never see in patients with intact immune systems. In extreme cases, patients simply wasted away, physically and mentally, from AIDS. Then protease inhibitors were introduced in 1996, and almost overnight the death rate from AIDS plummeted. Now people could live with HIV rather than die from it. Patients with AIDS disappeared from our teaching hospital wards. HIV had become an “outpatient problem.” Antiretroviral therapy keeps the viral load suppressed in patients infected with HIV. This means not only that they stay healthy, but also are much less likely to transmit the virus to others. Fortunately, the cocktail of three different medications taken to keep HIV in check, which include a protease inhibitor like tenofovir and the newer integrase inhibitors like dolutegravir, have become better tolerated over the years. Today the life expectancy for someone who is HIV-positive is about the same as for someone without HIV — as long as they are able to stay on their medication. For many, though, there are still significant barriers to care that make the not-so-simple act of adhering to a medication regimen near impossible. Chief among them is access to care. Especially in rural areas, it remains difficult to find practitioners up to date with the latest information in HIV care. In addition, stigma associated with HIV diagnosis and treatment continues to be a formidable barrier to

infection called cryptococcal meningitis. After three years with numerous hospital admissions, Carmel died. To me, it seemed especially tragic because I knew we had the medical tools to nurse her toward health. But we were unable to cross the psychosocial chasm that Carmel lived beyond to effectively engage her in care. Even with effective medications, only half of the 1.1 million Americans living with HIV have an undetectable viral load. But this represents progress, as does the fact that 85 percent of Americans infected with HIV are aware of their status, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In Florida, patients can ask not to be resuscitated by filling in an official form and printing it on yellow paper. (Yes, it has to be yellow.) Only then is it legally valid. Clearly, a tattoo doesn’t count. And yet, the patient had clearly gone through unusual effort to make his wishes known. The team members debated what to do, and while opinions differed, “we were all unanimous in our confusion,” says Holt.

An unconscious patient’s chest tattoo reads “Do Not Resuscitate” and is accompanied by a signature, which has been blurred out (Photo: New England Journal of Medicine) DNR tattoo having a tracheal tube hanging out of him,” Holt says. All of this bought them enough time to get a hold of Ken Goodman, the codirector of the University of Miami’s ethics programs. “My view was that someone does not go to the trouble of getting such a tattoo without forethought and mindfulness,” Goodman says. “As unorthodox as it is, you do get a dramatic view of what this patient would want.” But tattoos are permanent and desires are fleeting, so the team pondered whether the words actually represented the man’s desires. And there’s good reason to be cautious. Back in 2012, Lori Cooper at the California Pacific Medical Center was preparing to amputate the leg of a (conscious) patient when she noticed a “DNR” tattoo on his chest. The man revealed that he got the tattoo after losing a poker bet many years ago, and actually, he would very much like to be resuscitated if the need arose. “It was suggested that he consider tattoo removal to circumvent future confusion about his code status,” Cooper wrote. “He stated he did not think anyone would take his tattoo seriously and declined tattoo removal.”

ity, and to everyone’s immense relief, they had an official DNR form for him, printed on the requisite yellow paper. The man’s condition deteriorated, and he passed away in the night. The team did the right thing, says Nancy Berlinger from the Hastings Center. They provided basic care to buy time, called for an ethics consult, and got social workers involved. “Even if the records weren’t there, it was right to honor the patient’s preferences,” she says. “Paper gets lost, and some people do not trust paper. This man may have been trying to safeguard against that, and [the tattoo] might have been the most reliable way to make his voice heard. It was right to take it seriously.” But Lauris Kaldjian, an ethicist at the University of Iowa, says he wouldn’t have honored the tattoo without finding the official form. A DNR order isn’t an end in itself, he says. It’s a reflection of a patient’s goals—how they want their life to end. Patients are meant to discuss those goals with a physician so they can hear all the options available to them, and make an informed decision; the physician must then sign the order. “That’s not meant to be a paternalistic move,” Kaldjian says. “It’s meant to give evidence that a rational discussion was had, and I don’t think tattoo parlors are a place to have to have a code-status discussion.” (-The Atlantic)

These are all-time highs, but show that there is still work to be done.

They decided to temporarily ignore the tattoo, at least until they could get advice. In the meantime, they gave the man basic treatments—antibiotics, an IV drip, an oxygen mask to help him to breathe, and adrenaline for his plummeting blood pressure. But they avoided putting a tube down his throat and hooking him up to a ventilator. “It would have hurt to see a man with a

It’s worth remembering that strong, sometimes militant advocacy is what pushed us forward in how we diagnose and treat HIV. Scientific, medical, and social progress occurred more rapidly with HIV than with any other condition before it.

Thousands of Texas children’s healthcare in jeopardy

AIDS activism pushed the research agenda forward, and brought truly holistic care to people diagnosed with HIV. The care model we use for HIVpositive persons is an ideal model for how we could care for everyone— thinking not just about the medical aspects per se, but also about nutrition, medication adherence, transportation, mental health and overall wellbeing. In Oklahoma, where I practice, the stigma surrounding HIV is still palpable. Fortunately, an organization called Tulsa Cares has blossomed to provide case management and psychosocial and nutritional support to people with HIV and their loved ones. This vastly increases the likelihood that patients will get into treatment and stay with it. Advocacy for HIV is what led to the dramatic improvements in our ability to care for the illness. On this 30th anniversary of World AIDS Day, let’s remember what a difference holistic care has made for people with HIV and how amazing it would be if such a model spread to all corners of health care. (-NPR)


USTIN (FOX 7) - The Federal Children’s Health Insurance Program, or C.H.I.P., has been a resource for many low income families across the nation. “When C.H.I.P. was created, it was built as a health insurance plan for children whose families make too much to qualify for Medicaid but also the parents dont work in situations where they have employer based insurance,” said Mimi Garcia, spokesperson for Texas Association of Community Health Centers. Congress never renewed the program. Funding expired Sept. 30. The program covers about 9 million kids and pregnant women nationwide, and just over 400,000 in Texas. In order to delay a nightmare before Christmas, by sending out cancelation letters, the health and human services commission is asking for $90 million to keep the program going at least until

Holt’s unconscious patient couldn’t weigh in, but social workers used his fingerprints to track down his identity. He had come from a nursing facil-

February. “On December 22, just a few days before Christmas, families who rely on C.H.I.P. will be told the coverage will run out at the end of January,” said Adrianna Kohler with Texans Care for Children. The non-profit says the thousands of families who rely on C.H.I.P. can be severely affected financially. “Families may have to postpone or delay healthcare for their kids, miss doctors appointments. We are concerned about the kid who rely on C.H.I.P. for eyeglasses to see the board at school, asthma medications, treatment and surgeries for cancer,” said Kohler. Across Texas families, and children all are hoping lawmakers can come up

with a solution quickly, so this holiday won’t be overshadowed by the end of health coverage. But the ultimate goal for these families, is refunding the program, so it won’t run out next year, in the first place. “State leaders and our leaders in Washington need to act before the holidays to get this done,” said Kohler. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has worked with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on issuing joint guidance for all states with a separate CHIP program on purchasing and claiming for vaccines administered to separate CHIP children. The guidance letter explains that, for states that purchase vaccines through the CDC, states are required to pay for vaccines at the time they are ordered.

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FRIDAY, December 8, 2017

Your Horoscope for the Week of December 8, 2017 READ YOUR COMPLETE HOROSCOPE

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


Libra (R,T) 23 Sept to 22 Oct

Aries (A,L,E) 21 March to 20 April Implement new ideas, dynamic thinking will be important In order to accomplish your immediate goals. If you want to see results, you should know who can help. You have a great network of allies that can provide you with some solid support. Partnerships will bring you more resources than if you try to go it alone. Listen to reason rather than emotion. If you start to promote your own ideas others will find it hard to deny your requests. By week’s end, you should try to slow down your pace a little.

You need to art of being patient. Others want answers right away, but you should take some time to analyze the whole picture. If you try to push the process faster, something will hit the fan. Unfounded suspicions and accusations will only make others more uncomfortable. It’s better to keep quiet than to be negative. A surprise will shake things up and provide you with some answers. Try to be as discreet as possible. You’re ready to accept the news but not everybody is.

Scorpio (N,Y) 23 Oct to 21 Nov

Taurus (B,V,U) 21 April to 20 May You are working very hard in all aspects of life but still ignoring important matters. Everyone is a specialist or is in need of one. Prove that you know more than your history suggests. Save time and money by drawing on the resources that you already possess. If this strategy has worked for you in the past, then it will probably work again. Strike a happy medium with authorities who are being too rigid about your boundaries. An apology, a smile or a hug will get you what you want.

You know just which emotions to draw out of others and when to do it. You could combine valid points of view to provide a dynamic effort. Supporters will rally for your cause. Look upward and forward. Doubts should not be considered an option. Teamwork is easy for you and it could prove to be very profitable, in the long run. You’ll come out ahead no matter where you start from. By week’s end, you may get tired of being patient. Selfishness will try to rear it’s ugly head, unless you get what’s rightfully yours.

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

Gemini (K,CHH,GH) 21 May to 20 June Thinking too much but not able to take action will be your state of mind. This may create frustration, little depression & will lead to little health issue like upset stomach. Patience will be your mantra to pass this week smoothly. You need to have some blessings & positive energy to get the things done. Taking your parents to temple or places of their interest will bring blessings & positivity in your life. You should keep yourself away from any gambling related activities. You need to become smart enough in the process of decision making.

Your positive energy will over power negative energies around you. But remember, you need to learn to walk first before you can run. The warmth you feel inside will spark your passion for life. Get out there and enjoy all that life has to give. Look past others misgivings in order to take advantage of their expertise. You may not understand all the workings of a new technology, but you can figure out how to use it for your own purpose. Check your list and make sure you cover all the bases. Others will be ready to open up to you and to share all of what they have.

Capricorn (KH,J) 22 Dec to 20 Jan

Cancer (D,H) 21 June to 22 July You like the way things are and want to order more of the same. Try to calm yourself down, go about your business and don’t be jealous of those on top. Your constant support will encourage others to go the distance for you. Cherish your friendships and you’ll never feel alone, again. A friendship could even turn into something stronger. Exciting events should prove to make fun week-end plans. Your wishes and dreams will thrive on the new secure place you’ve found within yourself.

Recent events have made your temper flare and you need to re-organize and consolidate your energy. Even though you feel agitated, you’re very social and very capable. Once the meetings are over, transform your home into a refuge from the real world for a while. Step back and realize that things aren’t quite as bad as you thought. Your positive flow has actually put you in a better position than you were before. You may have to act before you think you are ready to do so. Trust your intuition and don’t allow others to intimidate you.

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

Leo (M) 23 July to 22 August You need to spare time to listen to the problems of family members & loved ones. Your experience and know-how will help them get back on track. Those experiences will provide insight and awareness that will come in handy in your day-to-day life. Satisfaction will be your reward. Financial investments will also be lucrative. You can persuade others to support your plans for the future. You will not be in a position to proposition others. Consider your personal needs before your professional ones.

Sometimes, you may be too quick to re-act, but this week, you’re right to take a stance. Others are the same as always, but your perception of them will change radically. Be aware that your words and your actions will affect them greatly. You can probably talk your way out it, but everybody is watching to see the outcome. Stay calm and your confidence level will rise. Everybody wants security, but their concepts may be different than yours. Your job is to find some common ground and then to start from there.

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

Virgo (P) 23 August to 22 September Listen to your inner voice and plan how to use it to your best advantage. Before moving ahead on your own, think about ways to unite others. Human emotions cannot rule you, this time. You must try to look at things on an a more intellectual plane. Try your best to stay clear of those who try to bring you down to their level. You need to look beyond the immediate to understand how the bigger picture works. Everyone needs to feel secure, some may rely on luck but you have your own strategy in place. In order to succeed, you must first expand your reach beyond here and now. Each step you take now will be bold and relevant.

Read your Weekly Horoscope Online


People with attitude problems shouldn’t even come into the equation, stay clear of them. Your dilemma is that everybody wants precious time of you. You’ll have no choice but to be yourself when you journey on this new adventure. By week’s end, the mysteries will start to wear thin and expose the harsh reality that really exists. You may have to temporarily withdraw from your profession in order to handle this personal matter. Once you finish dealing with the problem, you’ll be able to find a lot more compassion from your peers than you ever expected.




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FRIDAY, December 8, 2017

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Voice of Asia E-paper December 8, 2017  
Voice of Asia E-paper December 8, 2017  

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