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ASIE completes 2017 with great success

Honors Senior Engineers and Architects, Recognizes Young Engineer and Awards Students

ASIE’s “Young Engineer of the Year 2018 Award” recipient Sirish Madichetti, with ASIE President Dinesh D. Shah and ASIE First President H H Doshi.

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merican Society of Indian Engineers and Architects (ASIE) BOD under the Presidency of Dinesh D. Shah will be completing as a thunderous and historically a successful year. It was concluded with a spectacular traditional Annual Holiday Event on November 11th at

India House to a packed banquet hall of over 250 people with a reflection of giving back to the community and appreciating others. After the social hour, Chaitanya Gampa, an Emcee and Event Chair Continued on Page 9

Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation REaises over $2 million for Education and Development in Rural India

Left to Right Ashok Danda, Chair of US Board of Directors, Subhash Gupta, Chair, Board of Advisors, Chirag Patel, CEO Amneal Pharmaceuticals, Mohan Wanchoo, Chairman of Gala and CEO, Rejesh Khooti, Subhash Chandra, Chair ZTV, Bajrang Bagra, Ekal India CEO, Laxmi Goyal, Chairman, BLSP.

by Ranjani Saigal kal Vidyalaya Foundation, the largest non-profit organization working to bring education and development to over 58,000 rural remote villages in India hosted a fundraising gala on Saturday, Nov.

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4 at the majestic ‘Cipriani Banquet Hall’ in the Wall Street area of New York City. The gala attracted community leaders from around the US and helped raise 2 million dollars. The event featured inspirational keynotes by Dr. Subhash Chandra,

founder of ZEE TV who is the Chairman of Ekal Global and Mitze Perdue, motivational speaker and heiress to the Sheraton Hotel and Perdue farms. The event was the brainchild of Ekal Continued on Page 5

Charges ‘likely’ in Texas State student’s death, SMPD chief says

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Matthew Ellis, 20. Family photo.

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AN MARCOS, TEXAS - The death of a 20-yearold Texas State University student over the weekend will likely result in criminal charges, San Marcos police say. Police Chief Chase Stapp told KVUE News and the Austin American-Statesman on Wednesday that charges related to Matthew Ellis’ death are likely based on a preliminary review of evidence in the case.

“I think it is pretty likely we are going to have some kind of criminal case,” Stapp said. “Once we know the complete picture, we will have to have discussions with the district attorney on the most appropriate course of actions.” The City of San Marcos said that the investigation could take months to resolve and that no charges have been filed in his death as of Wednesday.

Serious Car Accident?

Star, the university’s student paper, Ellis died in his sleep Nov. 12 following an initiation at Phi Kappa Psi. The national organization said in a statement that the chapter was suspended last week for unrelated matters. Phi Kappa Psi released the following statement: “We are heartbroken by the death of Texas State University Continued on Page 9

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“This is an ongoing investigation, and it’s too early to know if criminal charges will be warranted,” Stapp said. “Once all the evidence is known, if we have probable cause to file charges we’ll work with the district attorney’s office to move forward at that time.” Ellis, from Humble, Texas, was a sophomore in the College of Business Administration. According to the The University

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OP-ED/COMMENTARY/ANALYSIS

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Sexual Misconduct Transcends Ethnicity and Nationality

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

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

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VoiceofAsiaOnline.com Editor Online:

by Chandra K. Mittal, Ph.D. f sexual misconduct were an infectious disease, society would likely label 2017 as a year of sexual epidemic, albeit a multi-source one. Unfortunately, it is not a time-specific affliction. Nor is it confined to a region, race, ethnicity or nationality of the perpetrator. It is indeed specific to human species, where one exerts his/her power (be it muscle, money, authority, aura, etc.) to coerce the weak (subordinate, junior, female, child, etc.) into the sexual submission.

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

Lately, many American celebrities and icons have fallen from grace due to allegations of sexual misconduct which includes sexual harassment, sexual assault, sexual abuse, etc. These have included powerful Americans like flamboyant journalist Bill O’Reilly, Fox News boss Roger Ailes, Hollywood Film producer Harvey Weinstein, actor Kevin Spacey, MSNBC journalist Mark Halperin, African-American father role model Bill Cosby, and current U.S. Senatorial candidate from Alabama, Mr. Roy Moore to name a few.

Shobana Muratee

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

It is the policy of Voice of Asia to publish letters to the editor which evidence a variety of viewpoints. The opinions expressed in any particular letter to the editor are not necessarily those of the management. Voice of Asia welcomes letters in reply to issues raised in letters to editor. In as much letters to the editor are not articles written or researched by members of Voice of Asia, it is not the policy of the Voice of Asia to perform any investigation or confirmation of any facts or allegations contained in letters to the editor. Moreover, Voice of Asia reserves the right to edit letters to the editor as necessary to correct errors of fact, punctuation, spelling and to comply with space constraints.

While sexual misconduct has been going on in human society since time immemorial, its public exposure has caught on with high frequency recently with celebrity victims like actress Gwyneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie or television personalities Gretchen Carlson and Megyn Kelly taking on the powerful perpetrators like Roger Ailes, Bill O’Reilly and Harvey Weinstein. These victims have indeed paved the way for many weak and intimidated who had been languishing in silence and shame for many years. They have given them voice and courage to come out and state their case to the public. Present social media and internet technology has also facilitated the exposure of this social evil.

Although paid advertisements may appear in Voice of Asia Group Publications in print, online, or in other electronic formats, the Voice of Asia Group does not endorse the advertised product, service, or company, nor any of the claims made by the advertisement. - The Publisher

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

The menace of sexual misconduct is not confined to any field or race but includes people of diverse backgrounds such as politicians, artists, scholars, educators, scientists, priests, Whites, Blacks, Hispanics, Asians, etc. There are, however, differences in the degrees and extent of misconduct reporting among various

groups, which is related to their cultural and individualistic differences. For example, women in Asian communities suppress their abuse for fear of public shame and blame in their maledominated closed societies as a result, this encourages many men to take advantage. Recently, Dr. Rajendra Pachauri, Chairman of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) who had shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with VicePresident Al Gore was forced out due to sexual harassment charge against his subordinate employee in India. Similarly, disciplinary and punitive action against USC Medical School Dean Dr. Rohit Varma, University of California, Berkeley legal scholar Sujit Chowdhry, and recent conviction of Houston-based radio host Sunil Thakkar for sexual assault of a child, are few examples that sexual misconduct is prevalent among the IndoAmerican community as well, which is otherwise an educated and accomplished model minority of America. Sexual misconduct is the crime of opportunity conducted in isolation when victim is alone, vulnerable or weak due to physical, financial and emotional factors. Because there are no eye-witnesses to the crime, such allegations are difficult to prove in the court of law and hard to prosecute for lack of substantive physical or chemical evidence. As a result,

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many perpetrators are either acquitted or are never charged with the crime. So, they end up roaming the streets freely and living in communities respectfully while the victims rot in shame and guilt. Despite the epidemic proportions of sexual misconducts that occur in society, the rate of conviction is generally low. One of the principal reasons for this is long delays between the incidence and reporting. These delays are primarily due to psychological trauma, guilt, shame, humiliation and wounded spirit of the victims, but typically works against the interest of the victim and in favor of the perpetrator. Long delays often make cases timebarred due to statues of limitations. Further, if the victim is an adult, many times perpetrators claim their acts to be consensual making the crime disputable. Another significant reason for low conviction rates in sexual misconduct is silence of people who know of the crime but do not speak out openly. This was observed overwhelmingly in case of Hollywood Mughal Harvey Weinstein, whose sexual abuse of more than fifty women was known to many celebrities including actor Jane Fonda and Matt Damon but they kept quiet. As unfortunate and serious as the crime of sexual misconduct is, America has not seen the last of it. In fact, it is only the tip of the iceberg that meets the

eye. The real extent of sexual abuse is much wider, subtle, and mostly hidden from the public view. There are many women who lack social and financial resources to fight their powerful employers and influential people in the industry. Many of these women cannot afford to be stigmatized or lose career opportunities. In the end, sexual misconduct is really a variant of emotional abuse of a person that leaves permanent scar on the victim’s psyche as abuse demeans and humiliates them. Perhaps the best way to prevent this evil is transparency, sympathy, support and quick legal action. Although, there are Federal Laws to prevent sexual harassment and misconduct, but these cannot be fully effective if either the victim or the knowledgeable people do not act including involving the media. Sexual predators are narcissistic insecure silent abusers who drive gratification from exploiting the weak to look powerful by demeaning and degrading the victim. Society can protect itself against these characters only by simply exposing them promptly and bringing them to justice. Dr. Chandra Mittal is Professor at Houston Community College and Co-Founder of Indo-American Association (IAA). Contact: drckmittal@ yahoo.com: Twitter: @drchandramittal

Trump’s trip to Asia is a festival of flattery

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residential trips abroad are often more about pageantry and rhetoric than substantive policymaking, but president trump’s long tour of Asia is looking particularly lightweight. In stops so far in Japan, South Korea, China and Vietnam, Mr. Trump has heaped flattery on his hosts — particularly Chinese President Xi Jinping — and largely avoided provocative tweets. While making a substantial effort to strengthen his personal relationships with Asian leaders, he rebuffed Russia’s Vladi­ mir Putin by declining a bilateral meeting at the summit they both are attending. Overall, however, the tour is looking like a missed opportu-

nity for Mr. Trump to spell out more detailed and workable formulations of his security and economic policies. He has delivered a couple of set-piece policy speeches, one on the nuclear threat of North Korea and another on U.S. economic and trade relations with Asia. Yet they were studded with unrealistic goals and rhetoric more suited to the campaign trail than the diplomatic arena. Mr. Trump’s speech in the Vietnamese city of Danang on Friday read as if lifted from one of the rallies he stages in the United States. He denounced “chronic trade abuses” that he said “stripped . . . jobs, factories and industries,” and vowed that “we are not going to allow the United States to be taken advantage of anymore.” But he offered no specific remedies, other than a vague willingness to “make bilateral trade agreements with any Indo-Pacific nation.” Given the president’s insistence on renegotiating the existing U.S.-South Korea trade agreement, he’s likely to get few takers among the 11 countries that signed up for the multilateral Trans-Pacific Partnership that Mr. Trump repudiated; instead, they are working on a way to move forward without the United States. In Seoul, Mr. Trump delivered an address that admirably spelled out the horrors of North Korea — not just its relentless pursuit of a nuclear arsenal but also its tyrannical enslavement of its people. To his credit, he avoided past threats of subject-

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ing North Korea to “fire and fury” and offered the prospect of negotiations, which he previously called a waste of time. But the terms Mr. Trump publicly reiterated — that the regime of Kim Jong Un accept “total denuclearization” at the beginning of the process — are unrealistic. The president’s notion of how to achieve this breakthrough sounds equally far-fetched. According to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Mr. Trump told Mr. Xi that “you’re a strong man” and “you can, I’m sure, solve this for me.” In public Mr. Trump proposed that Beijing cease all trade with Pyongyang and send home its workers. But Mr. Xi’s government has repeatedly rejected the idea that it can or would deliver Mr. Kim. Mr. Trump’s excessive public flattery of the Chinese ruler, whom he called “a very special man,” and his ready acquiescence to autocratic practices such as the prohibition of press conference questions, offered an unseemly spectacle of obeisance to a dictator. Mr. Tillerson is reportedly pursuing a more pragmatic approach to Pyongyang, offering dialogue following a 60-day freeze of missile and nuclear tests. But in general, the administration evidently lacks a concerted strategy for acting on the president’s rhetoric. In the absence of such a strategy, the toasts and threats of this Asia trip will soon be forgotten. (-Washington Post Editorial Board)

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Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation Raises over $2 million for Education and Development in Rural India

Mohan Wanchoo, chairman and founder of EC Infosystems addressing the gathering. Continued from Page 3

supporter. Mohan Wanchoo, CEO of EC Infosystems, who worked tirelessly with a small core team to create this beautiful event. Chirag Patel, Co-CEO & Chairman of ‘Amneal Pharmaceuticals’ came in as the first co-chair for the event and helped shape the event. Other co-chairs for the event included Soner Kanlier, CEO Jasmine Universe, Rajesh Gooty CEO M-Corp Inc, Chintu Patel Co-CEO & Chairman of ‘Amneal Phar-

maceuticals’ and Gautam Patel, Managing Director, Tarsadia Investments. The guest list was a starstudded list that included Rajat Gupta the ex-CEO of McKinsey and Akhil Gupta, the former CEO of Blackstone India, Robyn Meredith, Sundaram Tagore and others. Over 20 people had travelled all the way from Houston to attend the event. The Houston attendees included Ramesh Shah, winner of the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman and the founder of Ekal USA, Ashok

Danda, the chairman of the Board of Directors of Ekal USA and several Ekal supporters including Swapnil Agarwal, CEO of Nithya Capital. In the opening segment the “Apna Ekal Hoga Na, a special song created for Ekal was released. The song was created for Ekal by Anuradha Palakurthi and featured musicians from around the world. A youth panel, featuring Nikita Minocha, Nandini Seetharaman and Rithvik Pothapragda coordinated by Anuradha Upneja, Ekal Youth Leaders Director from New England followed the song release. The youth described their experiences visiting Ekal villages. The highlight of the event was an auction that helped raise over 2 million dollars. Three generous donors – Chirag Patel, Ajay/Ranjini Poddar, Sant Singh Chatwal – each donated $250,000 each. There was amazing synergy and excitement during the pledging process. “The gala in NYC was simply magnificent. It was attended by many eminent personalities. The collection at the gala exceeded our expectation”, said Subhash Gupta, Chairman, Board of Advisors for Ekal.

Mitzi Perdue was the Keynote Speaker at the event.

Bhangra dance performance was part of the event’s entertainment.

For long time Ekal supporter Vijay Pallod, the event was truly memorable. “I had never seen so many donors raising their hand to donate large sums.I was delighted to have Dr. Subhash Chandra personally sign my copy of his book

: The Z Factor: My Journey as the Wrong Man at the Right Time” said Pallod. The event ended with the honoring of Mohan Wanchoo by Ekal India team to thank him for all his efforts on behalf

of Ekal. Dr. Subhash Chandra applauded the efforts and said he looked forward to seeing Ekal USA expand its outreach and support the efforts of Ekal India so that Ekal India can reach 100,000 villages.

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FRIDAY, November 17, 2017

FORT BE

Sugar Land, Katy, Stafford, Missouri City, R

Sugar Land to Host 12 Days of Annexation

FBISD holds groundbreaking ceremony for new Career and Technical Center

annexation@sugarlandtx.gov.

The Board of Trustees and Superintendent Dupre break ground in Telfair (Photos: FBISD)

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ort Bend ISD – On Wednesday, November 8, members of the Fort Bend ISD Board of Trustees joined Superintendent Charles Dupre and the project team for a groundbreaking ceremony at the site of the District’s new James Reese Career and Technical Center, which will open in the fall of 2019. Located at University Boulevard and Chatham Avenue in Telfair, the new center will offer advanced junior and senior level courses and give students an opportunity to explore careers in Agriculture and Natural Resources, Architecture and Construction, Arts and Audio Video Communications, Culinary Arts, Cosmetology, Education and Training, Information Technology, Law and Public Safety, Manufacturing and Transportation and Logistics. Students will also have the opportunity to gain real-world experience working at one of five student-operated learning labs that will be open to the public, including a cosmetology studio, automotive shop, restaurant, credit union and early education center. Industry certifications and dual-credit courses will also be available. “We’ve worked to build our CTE program for several years now and we are doing everything we can to focus our energy on preparing students for the future,” said Fort Bend ISD Superintendent Charles Dupre. “This center is going to be a

An honor corps were there also.

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UGAR LAND – The city of Sugar Land will host “12 Days of Annexation,” a series of days highlighting Sugar Land, New Territory and Greatwood locations while giving current and future residents a chance to win tickets to the Houston Ballet’s The Nutcracker at the Smart Financial Centre. From Dec. 1–12, current residents and New Territory and Greatwood residents can enter to win more than once by visiting more than one “12 Days” site. Entry forms and a specially marked mailbox will be located at each site. Three winners will be selected on Dec. 13. Winners will be asked to present their water bills to

verify residency. The “12 Days of Annexation” includes locations such as the Smart Financial Centre Plaza, Sugar Land Memorial Park, Pecan Park and the Sugar Land Regional Airport. The Imperial Park Recreation Center and T.E. Harman Senior Center will waive membership fees on the designated date for those locations. Sugar Land is prepared and excited to welcome the residents of Greatwood and New Territory on Dec. 12. Funding for the expansion of city services to the annexed areas comes from service surcharges accumulated over 10 years from the residents of Greatwood and New Territory. Annexation will

not increase costs, taxes or impact city services for current residents. The city is committed to excellence in the delivery of public services for Sugar Land residents, as well as its future residents in Greatwood and New Territory. The city encourages all current city of Sugar Land, Greatwood and New Territory residents to participate in the “12 Days of Annexation” contest. For information and helpful annexation resources, visit www. sugarlandtx.gov/annexation. General inquiries or questions regarding the annexation of the Greatwood and New Territory communities can be submitted to annexation@sugarlandtx. gov.

huge step forward in that direction.” The state-of-art facility is funded through the 2014 Bond Program, which included $59 million dollars earmarked for CTE improvements. The 200,000-square-foot facility expands the space and resources available to FBISD students and will serve as many as 2,000 high school students each day. The center was named in honor of James Reese, a former FBISD math teacher who later served as the first FBISD Vocational Director. He also served as the District’s first Distributive Education teacher. Reese’s career in education spanned a total of 36 years, with 33 in FBISD. He passed away in 2009.

FBISD Trustee Grayle James participates in Leadership Program

Grayle James FORT BEND ISD (November 9, 2017) – Fort Bend ISD Trustee Grayle James joined 30 other Texas school board members at the kickoff session of the Leadership TASB Class of 2018, October 5-7. Selected by the Texas Association of School Boards (TASB), the group is participating in a yearlong education leadership study program. These trustees represent school districts of all sizes, with student populations of 184 to 83,270, and reflect a similar range of property wealth. Participants who complete all required elements of the study will graduate next year by earning Master Trustee status. This is the highest designation recognized by TASB. Meeting in conjunction with the Texas Association of School Administrators/TASB convention in Dallas, the trust-

ees had an opportunity to hear featured speaker Peter DeLisle. A recognized authority on leadership training, DeLisle focused on characteristics of effective leadership and team building. The second featured speaker was Debra Fine, a nationally known motivational speaker and author of The Fine Art of Small Talk. Board members also received training at convention sessions and attended the TASB Delegate Assembly, the Association’s annual business meeting. Other Leadership TASB sessions are scheduled for Odessa, November 16-18; Galveston, March 1-3; El Paso, April 19-21; and Forth Worth, June 28-30. Each session has a unique theme that builds on the previous session and features nationally recognized experts in the fields of leadership development and education. Teams also work throughout the year on extended learning assignments between meetings. Created in 1993, Leadership TASB has more than 800 graduates to date. TASB is a voluntary, nonprofit association established in 1949 to serve local Texas school boards. School board members are the largest group of publicly elected officials in the state. The districts they represent serve more than 5.3 million public school students.

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FRIDAY, November 17, 2017

END VIEW

Richmond, Rosenberg and Meadows Place

Sugar Land among nation’s best at engagement, inclusion, transparency

Digital Cities Survey 2017

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UGAR LAND – The Center for Digital Government (CDG) named Sugar Land among the nation’s top five cities that successfully use technology to improve citizen services, enhance transparency and encourage citizen engagement. Sugar Land competed against cities ranging in populations from 75,000-124,999 in CDG’s 2017 Digital Cities Survey. Rounding out the list were places like Boulder, Colo.; Roanoke, Va.; Pueblo, Colo.; Allen, Texas; San Leandro, Calif.; and others. The complete list is posted at www.govtech.com/dc/digitalcities/Digital-Cities-Survey2017-Winners-Announced. html. “This year’s leading digital cities are leveraging technology to connect citizens with critical information and services, promote citizen inclusion in important government processes and share government data with the public,” said Teri Takai, executive director of the Center for Digital Government. “Thanks to the efforts of (cities like Sugar Land), citizens can now meaningfully interact with city government more easily than in any other time in history.” Judges specifically credited Sugar Land for innovative efforts to engage the public utilizing numerous social media platforms and transparency initiatives that leverage online tools such as the city website and mobile applications. “Tied for seventh place in last year’s survey, Sugar Land, Texas, has climbed to fifth, buoyed by what judges recognized as solid decisions,” wrote Government Technology. “This year the city joined the Multi-State Information Sharing & Analysis Center (MS-ISAC), enhancing its cybersecurity posture, and also

Interfaith Thanksgiving being organized fter working together to help Hurricane Harvey survivors, faith groups in Fort Bend County are preparing to celebrate the third annual Fort Bend Interfaith Community Thanksgiving to appreciate their blessings.

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Hurricane Harvey impacted the theme for this year’s event, according to Sharon Ehrenkranz, director of parish life, St. Laurence Catholic Church, which is this year’s host for the event and seats 1,500. In past years, the faith community came together in a beautiful way united to serve the great need in Fort Bend County and all over Houston. he Interfaith Thanksgiving Prayer Service will be 7-8 p.m. Monday, Nov. 20, at St. Laurence, 3100 Sweetwater Blvd., Sugar Land, and will feature elements of liturgy representative of every faith.Cookies and punch will be served.

launched a newly redesigned website with simplified navigation options. Also newly arrived is the MySugarLand app, which is integrated with the city’s computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) from Cityworks and lets residents report related concerns.

meetings on Facebook Live.”

“This summer, Sugar Land launched the City Council Goal Measures Dashboard to let residents monitor the council’s progress. The city (further expanded) its social media video offerings via a productionquality livestreaming system, and … for the first time this year, the city hosted several Town Hall and City Council

The Center for Digital Government is a national research and advisory institute focused on information technology policies and best practices in state and local government. CDG is a division of e.Republic, the nation’s only media and research company focused exclusively on state and local government and education.

Sugar Land and other top-10 ranked cities will be honored at an awards ceremony during the National League of Cities’ annual conference in Charlotte, N.C., on Nov. 16. City staff will not travel to the awards ceremony.

FBISD Board of Trustees authorizes reappraisal of homes and businesses

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ICHMOND – During its Regular Board Meeting on November 13, 2017, the Fort Bend ISD Board of Trustees unanimously passed a resolution to request a reappraisal of homes and businesses located within Fort Bend ISD that were damaged during Hurricane Harvey. FBISD joins other Fort Bend County taxing entities in authorizing reappraisals that would give qualified residents and business owners some tax relief for certain months of the 2017 tax year.

requesting the reappraisal of homes and businesses, we are recognizing the continuing effects of the storm, and we hope that this will help our taxpayers as they continue the recovery process.”

“Hurricane Harvey impacted many of our community members,” said Fort Bend ISD Board President Kristin Tassin. “In

“Fort Bend ISD’s action means that taxpayers impacted by Hurricane Harvey will be

Under the tax code, the governing body of a taxing unit located partly or entirely inside an area declared to be a disaster area by the Governor of Texas may authorize the reappraisal of all property damaged in the disaster at its market value immediately after the disaster.

able to have their property reappraised, and they will receive prorated taxes on the property for this tax year,” said Steve Bassett, Fort Bend ISD’s Chief Financial Officer. “The application of the reduced value is only for the days following the damage of the disaster, but this will still result in approximately four months of a reduced value for our taxpayers.” FBISD has calculated that the benefit to approximately 4,300 Harvey-impacted taxpayers would amount to an estimated $348 in relief for the tax year. (-FBISD)

FBISD goes green with new electronic flyer system ORT BEND ISD (November 10, 2017) – As part of Fort Bend ISD’s continuing efforts to operate more efficiently, the District is transitioning to an electronic flyer distribution system starting Wednesday, November 15, 2017. This electronic flyer communication system, Peachjar, sends flyers to parents through email and to campus websites as part of its green initiative.

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This initiative will save on paper and staff time in order to better focus on student needs, allowing the District to operate more efficiently. Please note that this system is used exclusively for distribution of school-approved flyers only and email addresses are never shared or used for any other purpose. For more information about Peachjar and its service, please visit www.peachjar.com.


COMMUNITY

VOICE OF ASIA 8

FRIDAY, November 17, 2017

Arya Samaj Greater Houston donates to Houston Habitat for Humanity by ​Kanika Talwar Pictures by Aditya​ Talwar

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acklyn’s family, who lives in the 59-S / Tidwell, Houston area, was hosting a television event with 25 guests during the weekend of the highly destructive rainstorm Harvey. Little did they realize that in mere hours, their home and their guests’ cars parked would suddenly be flooded. Jacklyn and her three kids had their home ripped away from them as it fell under the power of the hurricane. They were forced to quickly get acclimated to temporary crowded housing and a new school for the kids. This move caused much anxiety, financial loss, and a complicated future ahead for the children. Houston Habitat for Humanity is a non-profit local organization helping hard-working, low income families impacted by Harvey to get back on their feet. The organization provides zerointerest mortgage loans to first time home buyers to build affordable homes for low income Houstonians, with the help of local volunteer support. It all started with visit from a young man Jacob Starr of Habitat for Humanity to Arya Samaj a few weeks ago. He explained their simple mission: ‘Everyone deserves a Home’, and how they go about achieving their objective with the help of the community. His brief talk inspired Arya Samaj members to sign up immediately for next volunteering opportunity. Arya Samaj motto ‘ “Krinvanto Vishwam Aryam” meaning “To Make the World Noble”, perfectly aligns with Habitat for Humanity objectives. Arya Samaj of Greater Houston (ASGH) , under the guidance of Anil Gupta ji, worked with Houston Habitat to help out in signing up, volunteering, raising funds to buy mate-

Arya Samaj of Greater Houston volunteers at the Habitat for Humanity site.

Houston volunteers working at the Habitat rials, and helping build a new home for Jacklyn and her family. ASGH’s strong team of 30 members, including their 10 youth members of Arya Kishor Mandal (AKM), signed up to help build this new house on November 11th at 8700 Texas Acorn Drive in Tidwell, an area which fortunately did not flood. Taking up this field work was a completely unique and first time experience for most of the ASGH team. ASGH’s enthusiastic team members, including the AKM youth members, homemakers, engineers, accountants, and dedicated professionals, arrived at 7:30 AM sharp to the new home site under construction. The purpose and safety of the project was clearly explained in the beginning by the Houston Habitat volunteers. The team started working with safety, good co-

operation, constant leadership, and communication in lifting, moving, and installing heavy roof girders on top of the new home structure quickly. Everyone came together to join forces and complete the roof work right on schedule and then proceeded to install nails all around the walls of the house (6 inches apart all over the home to the city code so that they would pass inspection). Lunch was sponsored by Subway for the entire team courtesy Dinesh Agrawal ji, and all the tools and equipment were put back safely and neatly for the next group of volunteers. With new permanent homes built by the loving hands of Houston Habitat for Humanity, children of families displaced by flooding have their rightful chance for a brighter future, including the relief of staying in

ASGH’s enthusiastic team members included the AKM youth members, homemakers, engineers, accountants, and dedicated professionals who rolled up their sleeves for Habitat for Humanity. their same familiar schools. Families moving into these homes put in up to 300 hours of exhausting physical work, learning about maintenance of the home, and financial planning to pay for them. Arya Samaj of Greater Houston raised $5000 in just a

few weeks to buy materials for new home. Families will return to their lives much quicker, and a higher percentage of these kids will be able to graduate from high school and then go on to college to become successful members of society than they would

have been without Habitat for Humanity’s care. ​​ASGH can be reached at http://aryasamajhouston.org/ or https://www.facebook.com/ AryaSamajOfGreaterHouston/

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COMMUNITY

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ASIE completes 2017 with great success Continued from Page 3 welcome every one and turn over the microphone to Dinesh D. Shah for the opening remarks. Related to the Student scholarship and recognition to Engineers and Architects Shah said, “Look any item nearby you or beyond, and any item or structure that are integral part of our existence, both are invented and designed by Engineer and Architects.” And said further, “Doctors, Scientist, Attorneys or any other professionals could not function without Engineers and Architects.” Then he highlighted for the Giving to the students. . There are many students that have the terrible need for money to pay for tuition and expenses in order to earn a degree in engineering and architectural. Shah, gave his personal and emotional example. He encouraged students that engineering and architectural education and profession also a part of all important professions. Then he shared the list of accomplishments with just a few examples including monthly seminars, ethics Seminar, volunteering or supporting U of H Gala, MathCounts completion, Science and Engineering Fair of Houston (SEFH) and also participating with Indo-American Community. After playing a hilarious skit by members, the Board Member and the Chair Madhu Kilambi gave the history of “ASIE Class of the Year Award” and announced the names of three honorees included Rashmi Desai, Architect, and Ramesh Maini and Harish Jajoo as eminent engineers. Each one were presented an Award of “ASIE Class 2017’ by Ben Bansal, a retired engineer from C of H and a well-wisher of ASIE, who started this program in 2013 and has been supporting it every year. Then most popular “Lungi Dance” was performed by members which made the audience rocked. The next award ceremony was to honor “ASIE 2018 Young Engineer/Architect of the Year”. Due to out of town trip by Chetan Vyas, the current VP and the Chair, Dinesh Shah, announced the name of winner, Sirish Madichetti. Hasmukh Doshi, the First ASIE President presented the award. Madichetti, is a professional Licensed Engineer and works for Baker International. He is a Board Member and also IT/Website committee chair. Sirish will represent ASIE during Eweek celebrations

FRIDAY, November 17, 2017

Charges ‘likely’ in Texas State student’s death... Continued from Page 3

Student Scholarship Program winners in the center with ASIE Members – Sirish Madichetti, Chaitanya Gampa, Sekhar Ambadapudi, ASIE President Dinesh Shah, and Committee Chair and Past President Naresh Kolli. during February 2018. The current and past ASIE Presidents performed the Mime Dance sequences, which was a great entertaining and humorous item for the audience. Then the past President and the Chair Naresh Kolli gave a glimpse Student Scholarship Program and a history for the program. He announced the six scholarship winners. The total $ 8,000 scholarship were distributed to four $1500 each and two (2) $1,000 each. The student list includes, Tanmay Thakker, an architect student; Bhavik Desai, studying Civil Engineering; Pritam Deshraj is pursuing Masters in Engineering Management; Parth Joshi, MS in Electrical engineering; Neeti Gangidi studying MS in Subsea Engineering; Tejashree Phatak is pursuing PhD at U of H.. Ravi Arora talked about the SEFH, and then he presented the Certificate of Recognition to one of the winner, Zeel Engineer. At the end, the current Board Member Archana Sharma gave the Vote of thanks.

ASIE Board Member and ASIE Class 2017 Award Committee Chair Madhu Kilambi, Dinesh D. Shah, award recipients Harish Jajoo, Rashmi Desai, and Ramesh Maini, and Ben Bansal.

The entertaining song by Lagnesh Varshney and instrumental music for “name the tune” by Avinash Patel was well received by the audience. The live auction by Dr. Nik Nikam for the Monte Blanc pen donated by K-22 raised good amount for scholarship program. With delicious dinner catered by Hyderabadi House, a colorful venue, high quality of variety entertainment, and tireless efforts by ASIE program team, the holiday event centered around a good cause a great success!!

ASIE members performing the “Lungi Dance.”

student and Phi Kappa Psi new member Matthew Ellis,” said Phi Kappa Psi Executive Director Mark Guidi. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends and the entire TSU student body during this difficult time.” The chapter had been suspended by Phi Kappa Psi Fraternity, Inc. last week for unrelated matters, and will remain suspended while the investigation continues. Phi Kappa Psi will continue to work closely with the TXSU administration and law enforcement during their review of this matter, and have advised all members to cooperate fully.” Ellis was found by friends shortly after 11 a.m. Nov. 13, and the city said officers were dispatched to the Millennium Apartments around 11:35 a.m. Ellis was declared deceased shortly before 12:30 p.m. Texas State University President Denise M. Trauth said in a statement that all Greek activities are suspended. Full statement: As president of Texas State University, I am deeply saddened by the tragic death of one of our students who attended an off-campus social event on Sunday evening hosted by members of a university fraternity. Following a call from friends, officers with the San Marcos Police Department found Matthew Ellis, a Phi Kappa Psi pledge, unresponsive on Monday morning at an apartment off campus. He was pronounced dead after EMS personnel were unable to revive him. My thoughts are with his family, friends, and the Texas State Community. As a result of this tragedy, I have suspended activities of all Greek fraternity and sorority chapters at Texas State. These chapters are prohibited from holding new-member events, chapter meetings, social functions, and philanthropic activities until a thorough review of the Greek Affairs system is completed. I have asked Dr. Joanne Smith, Vice President for Student Affairs, who has responsibility for the Greek Affairs system, to immediately initiate this review and propose recommendations for reinstating fraternity and sorority chapters that demonstrate a commitment to the core values of Texas State and the ideals established by their respective national organizations. It is imperative that our entire university community develop a culture that places the highest priority on the safety of its students, faculty, and staff.


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Study in USA: Fewer Indian students opting for USA as a study abroad destination, report

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UMBAI: Every year, lakhs of Indian students travel to Unites States of America for their higher studies. Over the past few years, the trend has seen a rapid growth rate of 25 to 30 percent. However, this year, the growth rate of Indian students opting for USA as their study abroad destination has dipped to half, says a survey. As reported by TOI, the Open Doors survey conducted by the Institute of International Education has stated that this year the percentage increase in enrollments for Indian students in US Universities has halved. Last year, the number had seen a 25 percent increase. The same growth percentage, this year, however is at a 12.3 percent. On a whole, the number of global or international student enrollments in US universites has seen a dip. India, however, continues to be one of the top countries that account for international students in USA and maintains a positive growth rate – even though lower than previous years. As per the numbers shared, Indian student population in USA is at 1.86 lakh. The growth is seen primarily in the graduate

level courses with students choosing to opt for the Optional Practical Training or OPT for 12 months. The figure also states that 22,000 Indian students are ni the undergraduate level (a growth percentage of 13.9% pver previous year). The largest number continues to be at the masters level with 1.05 lakh graduate students and another 57,312 doing OPT. The rest are enrolled in non-degree courses – which has seen a decline in about 7.3 percent. India and China continue to be top exporters of students to USA. The survey states that Indian and Chinese students form about 50 percent of all international student community in USA. The report also shared some interesting numbers regarding the distribution of these students within the US varsities. As per the statistics shared, only about 1/5th of the total international students study in the top 20 US Universities. Also, Indians contributes to 17% of total earnings of US universities from overseas students. And, even though the numbers have dipped, India has seen the highest growth rate among the top 10 countries or origin of foreign

Study Abroad Consultants have shared that the dip in numbers has been due to more than one factor. While the popularity of US universities continue to be a steady reckoner, initiatives from other countries to attract Indian students have paid dividend. Though the number is still small, many Indian students are now looking at European Countries. Canada, always among the Top 3 choices for study abroad, has also seen a rapid increase and gained favors with the Indian students. The changing economical and political environment in USA, shared a consultant on terms of anonymity, has been one of the top concerns with Indian students planning to study abroad. (-The Times Now)

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Miteshkumar Patel, 42, resident in Illinois, joined six other defendants who recently pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges for their roles in liquidating and laundering victim payments generated through a massive telephone impersonation fraud and money laundering scheme perpetrated by a network of India-based call centres responsible for defrauding American residents of hundreds of millions of dollars, the Justice Department said. Sunny Joshi of Texas, Jagdish Kumar Chaudhari, of Alabama; and Rajesh Bhatt, 53, of Texas each pleaded guilty to one count of money laundering conspiracy. Raman Patel, 82, of Arizona; Praful Patel, 50, of Florida; and Jerry Norris, 47, of California, each pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit fraud and money laundering offenses. The pleas were entered before US district court Judge David Hittner of the southern District of Texas between September 22 and November 13, except for Raman Patel’s plea, which was entered before US district Court Judge Michelle Burns in the district of Arizonaon November 6. Six of the men have been in federal custody since their arrests in October 2016 and will

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a sizeable Indian-American population. Krishnamoorthy, who has carved a niche for himself in the last 10 months in the US Congress through his articulate views on key issues like national security, immigration and economy, is backed by the former US President Barack Obama. If nominated by the Republican Party, it would be for the first time that an Indian-American would be pitted against another in a Congressional election. Diganvker said that he is running for Congress to give a voice to the hard-working middle-class Americans that are too often ignored by career politicians in Washington DC. “Immigrating to our great country, my family and I have experienced many highs and lows,” he said. “My family came to America to achieve the American dream--to succeed or fail by our hard work and commitment. Today, career politicians have left behind hard-working

country “at the right place and time”. Dhillon’s parents, Parminder Kaur Dhillon and Tejpal Singh Dhillon, moved to the US in the early 70s from Chandigarh. She was two. She grew

Harmeet Dhillon (Photo: AFP/File) made history by winning the election.) Still, Dhillon, who earlier served as vice chair of the Republican Party in the deep blue state of California, seemed fated to rise further up party ranks, even all the way up to Washington. She was a candi-

date to run civil rights under the US Department of Justice in the Trump administration. (What a story that would have been for women of colour.) Ultimately the job went to another lawyer, Eric Dreiband. (Yup. White. Male.) Dhillon blames the “swamp” in Washington and says she wants to serve her

Indian-American pleads guilty in money laundering conspiracy n Indian-American has pleaded guilty in a massive telephone impersonation fraud and money laundering scheme in the US perpetrated by India-based call centres.

Indian-American announces to run for US Congress

ASHINGTON: Indian-American Jitendra Diganstudents in US. vker has announced to run for US consul general Edgard the US House of RepresentaKagan was happy with the tives in the 2018 Congressionumber. In his interaction with nal elections. TOI he states that the number If elected by his Republican of 12.3 percent growth was still good, though much lower party in the primaries, Diganthan the previous figure of 29 vker, a business owner and percent. He also stated that he community worker, would be has kept hearing that the num- pitted against popular Demobers would be low this year cratic Incumbent Raja Krishand the growth rate is still namoorthi from the 8th Con‘pretty good’. He however gressional District of Illinois. shared that he would want the A suburb of Chicago, the numbers to be higher. Congressional District has

Meet a Sikh Republican who’s battling Google for stifling ‘free speech’ he first Indian American elected to the Republican National Committee, last year Dhillon covered her head and sang a Sikh prayer with aplomb at the Republican convention in Ohio. She says it enraged “mostly some Sikhs and other Indians” enough for them to send her death threats, because they felt she had used the faith to garner support for Donald Trump. Her political opponents weren’t any kinder. A portal associated with the New York Times reported that one of them called Dhillon a Muslim who supported beheadings . Sikhs in America are not unfamiliar with such slander. A few weeks after Economictimes.com met Dhillon, flyers were circulated in Hoboken, New Jersey, calling the city’s Sikh Democrat mayoral candidate Ravi Bhalla—who Dhillon says is a “good friend”—a “terrorist”. (Bhalla eventually

remain detained until their pending sentencing dates, the Department of Justice said.

spirators from India-based call center and organisational codefendant HGLOBAL.

According to admissions made in connection with their pleas, Miteshkumar Patel, Raman Patel, Joshi, Jagdishkumar Chaudhari, Bhatt, Praful Patel, Norris and their co- conspirators perpetrated a complex scheme in which individuals from call centers located in Ahmedabad, impersonated officials from the IRS and US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), and engaged in other telephone call scams, in a ruse designed to defraud victims located throughout the US.

Patel communicated about the fraudulent scheme with various domestic and Indiabased co-defendants via email, text messaging and WhatsApp messaging.

Using information obtained from data brokers and other sources, call centre operators targeted US victims who were threatened with arrest, imprisonment, fines or deportation if they did not pay alleged monies owed to the government. Victims who agreed to pay the scammers were instructed how to provide payment, including by purchasing general purpose reloadable (GPR) cards or wiring money. Upon payment, the call centres would immediately turn to a network of “runners” based in the US to liquidate and launder the fraudulently obtained funds, federal prosecutors said. According to guilty plea, Miteshkumar Patel, beginning around 2013, managed a crew of a half dozen domestic runners involved in the criminal scheme, liquidating as much as approximately USD25 million in victim funds for con-

FRIDAY, November 17, 2017

Patel and his runners purchased re loadable GPR cards that were registered using the misappropriated personal identifying information (PII) of unsuspecting victims that were later used to receive victims’ funds, and used those re loadable cards containing victims’ funds to purchase money orders and then deposit those money orders into bank accounts, as directed, while keeping a portion of the scam proceeds as profit. He also trained the runners he managed on how to conduct the liquidation scheme, provided them with vehicles to conduct their activities in Illinois and throughout the country, and directed a co-defendant to open bank accounts and limited liability companies for use in the conspiracy. Patel further admitted to using a gas station he owned in Racine, Wisconsin to liquidate victim funds, and possessing and using equipment at his Illinois apartment to make fraudulent identification documents used by co-defendant runners in his crew to receive wire transfers directly from scam victims and make bank deposits in furtherance of the conspiracy. (-PTI)

(Photo: Twitter) middle-class Americans. I will be a voice for those very people who have been left behind, because my family is one of them,” Diganvker said. He lost his two daughters in a tragic house fire in 1999, which drove him to become a compassionate community servant. He said he has seen first-hand, how burdensome government regulations and rising health care costs can discourage the entrepreneurial spirit.

class families. I will be the voice of everyday Americans in Washington,” he said in a media release. The US House of Representative currently has four Indian Americans. Ami Bera from California is the three-term lawmaker. Three others - Ro Khanna from California, Raja Krishnamoorthi from Illinois and Pramila Jayapal from Washington State - were elected to the Congress last year.

“I am not a politician. While most politicians pass laws yet never feel the effects of their actions, I come from real America. I have felt these struggles and know first-hand the consequences of Washington’s action, and inaction, on issues important to middle-

All of them would be seeking re-election next year.

up in rural North Carolina where she attended a science and mathematics institute, but then picked law because it was “more interesting”.

Dhillon, moved to the US in the early 70s from Chandigarh. She was two. She grew up in rural North Carolina Aandpicked law because it was “more interesting”. (-Economic Times)

Dhillon’s parents, Parminder Kaur Dhillon and Tejpal Singh

Kamala Harris from California is the first Indian-origin American Senator. She was elected to the Senate last year. She is of mixed parental heritage. (-Economic Times)


VOICE OF ASIA 12

FRIDAY, November 17, 2017


BUSINESS

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Uber sued by female Black money: I-T officials taking passengers alleging a hard look at property deals driver rape, violence EW DELHI, November 15, 2017 - The Income Tax department will comb through the tax history of all people who have registered property valued above Rs30 lakh to check if any tax evaders own such properties by proxy, Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) chairman Sushil Chandra said.

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Mismatches between asset ownership and reported income enable the department to identify cases of tax evasion. In benami ownership, the beneficial owner of the asset will be different from its legal owner.

GETTY IMAGES

by Johana Bhuiyan AN FRANCISCO, California, November 14, 2017 - Uber has yet another lawsuit on its

hands.

victims.” That is exacerbated by the company “targeting” intoxicated passengers with claims that Uber is a lifesaving option for riders who have had a few drinks, the women allege.

In a new complaint seeking class action status, two women — who are maintaining anonymity — are asking a court to force the $69 billion ridehail company to change many of its driver screening and other practices on behalf of all U.S. riders who were “subject to rape, sexual assault or gender-motivated violence or harassment by their Uber driver in the last four years.”

The complaint reads: Uber has done everything possible to continue using low-cost, woefully inadequate background checks on drivers and has failed to monitor drivers for any violent or inappropriate conduct after they are hired. Nothing meaningful has been done to make rides safer for passengers — especially women. This is no longer an issue of “rogue” drivers who act unlawfully.

In addition to compensation for the alleged rapes that these women suffered, the women are asking a judge to order an injunction against Uber that forces the company to, among other things, implement stricter background checks on its drivers.

“Uber received this complaint today and we are in the process of reviewing it,” a company spokesperson said in a statement. “These allegations are important to us and we take them very seriously.”

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The women say they were assaulted by their drivers, and claim the ridehail company has engaged in unlawful and “fraudulent” conduct that misled them into believing their drivers would safely transport them. The women further claim the company generally misrepresented the safety of taking an Uber. “Uber made such false representations after failing to screen the drivers in any meaningful way, thereby Lackthreats of speech is a presenting grave to Plaintiffs’ safety and well-being,” the complaint reads. These women argue that Uber performs inadequate background checks, creating a “system” within which “bad actors can gain access to vulnerable

This lawsuit comes as the ride-hail company is working to revamp its image after a tumultuous year fraught with public scandals.

The Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Act was notified for implementation on 1 November last year. Since then, tax department has attached 621 properties, including some bank accounts, and the total amount involved in these cases is about Rs1,800 crore, the CBDT chairman said. The tax department is also investigating the shell companies that were recently struck off the registry and their directors as part of the drive against black money generation, the official said. “We will destroy all instruments that are used to launder unaccounted wealth. This also includes shell companies,” Chandra told reporters after inaugurating the Income Tax department pavilion at the India International Trade Fair (IITF) which began at New Delhi’s Pragati Maidan on Tuesday. Chandra said the tax authority has already done a lot of work on track-

manent account number) registraMint had reported on 6 November tions, an 18% rise in income tax rethat heightened surveillance and a turns as well as a significant increase in the number of properties seized by Jacob Sanchez crackdown on black money has led tax department. (-Mint.com) Diagnosed with autism to a three-fold increase in PAN (per- the ing down benami assets.

House passes bill to renew, overhaul federal flood insurance

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by Sylvian Lane, TheHill.com

But the question at the heart of this new case is one that Uber has been navigating since its inception: Are its background checks thorough enough?

ASHINGTON, November 14, 2017 - The House on Tuesday passed a bill to renew and overhaul the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) after months of negotiations between fiscal conservatives and lawmakers from coastal areas.

In the complaint, the women argue Called the 21st Century Flood ReIn addition to boardroom squabbles, that Uber driver screenings only go Uber’s newly minted chief legal of- back seven years. The company has form Act, the bill renews the debtficer Tony West will also have to previously said that is as far back as riddled NFIP for five years, updates navigate a trade secret battle against the law allows it to go, but lawyers federal flood mapping requirements Alphabet’s self-driving arm, in addi- for the plaintiffs say that’s because and seeks to bolster an emerging prition to several federal probes into the the system they use primarily sifts vate flood insurance market. company’s privacy practices. Button- through credit-reporting systems. AlThe bill passed 237-189 along party ing up these legal issues, and cutting ternate background checks, like fin- lines, a week after Republicans struck its financial losses, will become in- gerprint background checks, would go a deal over proposed increases to flood creasingly the company sign of imperative autism.asLearn the others at autismspeaks.org/signs. insurance premium caps. back further, the complaint alleges. prepares to go public in the next 18 to That provision is one of several inInternal Uber customer support doc36 months. uments that I previously obtained in cluded in the bill meant to reduce the As the year comes to a close, the 2016 showed that when searching the financial burden on NFIP, which faces company has also committed $5 mil- term “sexual assault,” there were more more than $30 billion in debt. lion to funding several organizations than 6,000 driver or rider complaints NFIP was created in 1968 to fill gaps that focus on preventing sexual assault that met that query. (-Recode.com) left by a lack of affordable private and domestic violence.

flood insurance options. The program provides flood insurance to residents of flood-prone areas, where the insurance is federally mandated, and stayed largely solvent until the toll of hurricanes Katrina and Sandy saddled it with more than $24 billion in debt. Lawmakers negotiated over fixes to the NFIP for several months, with the program facing a December deadline for its renewal. Republicans have sought to downsize the federal program, and its ballooning debt, in hopes of fostering a private market for flood insurance. Democrats have been open to more flood insurance privatization but have also pushed back on some GOP efforts to reduce the program’s cost and raise premiums. Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), the top Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee, said it was “unconscionable” to raise flood insurance premiums after the summer hurricanes.

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LIFESTYLE / LEISURE

VOICE OF ASIA 14

Here’s how astronauts do their grocery shopping in space

FRIDAY, November 17, 2017

Indian one-man band blows, strums and sings against smoking

by Cailey Rizzo

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LEAR LAKE CITY, Texas, November 14, 2017 - Living in space is, understandably, not like living on Earth. Those of us on the ground rarely think twice about the more mundane aspects of life. But in space, something simple like grocery shopping turns into a multi-day mission, complete with rocket launches and official countdowns. On Sunday, NASA sent 7,400 pounds of groceries and supplies to the International Space Station on a cargo rocket.

Indian one-man-band singer Gladson Peter performing in a church in Mumbai (Photo: © AFP )

Although most of the astronaut’s grocery list is prepackaged food, this shipment includes a special “cool box,” filled with fresh fruits and vegetables. The produce is a rare treat for the space crew, according to Space. com, considering that most of their meals are freeze-dried packages of space food or the occasional head of lettuce grown in space. The shipment also includes science experiments for the astronauts to conduct, a new laser-based communication system, and a virtual-reality camera from National Geographic. The crew will also receive “traditional Thanksgiving food items” alongside Christmas presents and care packages from their family on the ground. Once astronauts receive their shipment of food (expected to arrive Tuesday morning), they will unload the cargo hold and repackage it with trash collected from the space station over the past few months. They will send it back out and it will burn up when reentering Earth’s atmosphere. The meals will then go into a storage facility. It is a space station job

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Astronaut Scott Kelly showing off his citris juggling skills in zero gravity (Photo: NASA via Getty Images) that every day, one person must go to the cargo to get all the meals for the following day.

lunch and dinner as scientists are constantly studying their bodies’ reactions to the meals.

Typical meals are freeze-dried and hot water is re-added once it’s time to eat. And astronauts must eat all of their meals. They have to follow a specific, pre-planned menu for breakfast,

Food is resupplied to the space station every 90 days, according to NASA, so astronauts will have to wait until February for the next grocery store run. (-Travel+Leisure)

Here’s why airports have carpet

UMBAI (AFP) - Indian musician Gladson Peter strums the ukulele while blowing into a harmonica and smashing a cymbal using his foot as children from one of Asia’s biggest slums clap and cheer.

have come up to me and apologised for tobacco consumption and have quit smoking,” Peter told AFP.

Peter, who can play 45 instruments, claims to be India’s only one-man band and enjoys something of a fan following for his renditions of popular songs, including Ed Sheeran hits.

Peter feared that he would never play wind instruments again.

The 24-year-old, a keen musician since the age of three, performs to raise awareness about the dangers of passive smoking after he lost part of a lung as a teenager. “My shows are the hook through which I share my messages that can change someone’s life. Many people

At college in his late teens two holes caused by tuberculosis were found in one of his lungs.

Doctors said the disease could be exacerbated by passive smoking. So last year he decided he would form a one man band, playing 11 instruments, as part of his own anti-smoking awareness campaign. “We built the equipment in a week, rather miraculously, and I kickstarted my performances,” said Peter, who has since played around 200 concerts across India.

Female bodybuilder finalists pose in front of judges at a local bodybuilding competition in Bangkok, Thailand

by Stacey Leasca

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EW YORK CITY, November 14, 2017 - If you spend enough time traveling, you may start to wonder about the many aspects of airports. Take, for example, that most airports are carpeted. You would think that terminals should for the most part be designed with hard floors to keep travelers and their wheeled luggage moving quickly and to make it easier for airport staff to keep it clean. But as it turns out, carpeting is one of the many ways airport planners can affect your mood — and your behavior. Many airports have gate areas that are carpeted. This simple design element helps to keep travelers feeling more relaxed before takeoff, because carpets provide a “soft, cozy feeling, like you might find in your own living room.” Carpeting — along with lower ceilings, more natural lighting, and comfy seating — encourages relaxation among travelers who are very likely to be stressed, according to as Fast Company. Why? Because it turns out there’s a

Female bodybuilders stretch for new beauty standard in Thailand (Photo: AFP/ Getty Images)

Airport carpet have a psychological effect on weary travelers (File photo) benefit to relaxed passengers that airports are sure to appreciate: Travelers that are both happy and relaxed tend

to spend about 7 percent more money on retail around the airport and 10 percent more on duty-free, according to airport market research company DKMA.

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But this is not your average Thai beauty pageant -- it is a competition for the growing number of female bodybuilders challenging norms in kingdom where the pale, ‘twig’ physique has long been upheld as the standard of beauty.

The fad is increasingly catching on in Thailand, which took home a string of medals at this year’s bodybuilding world championship in Mongolia.

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Nittaya Kongthun, the 26-yearold who takes home first prize in the ‘Model Physique’ division, is among dozens of Thai women competing. With her bulging muscles covered in bronze body paint, she is a far cry from the traditional ideal, but believes beauty and lifestyle trends are starting to shift. “Today, sporty trends are in,” says the full-time trainer, beaming after her trophy win.

human interaction when shopping, meaning you’re far more likely to see an unmanned kiosk than a store full of

The kingdom now boasts more than 500 men and women who compete professionally, according to the president of Southeast Asia’s bodybuilding federation. “That number has increased by the hundreds from ten years ago,” Phumvarin Chunhawongvarit told AFP. Thais will have another chance to showcase their talents on the global stage in December 2018, with the kingdom is set to host the World Bodybuilding and Physique Sports Championship in the northern city of Chiang Mai.

employees the next time you’re at the airport. (-Travel+Leisure)

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“By doing this sport we can have a beautiful body and be healthy,” she adds.

She tells AFP she was drawn to the

2

Shani Mang

To keep you spending, airports also tend to keep around fewer kiosk employees, according to Skift. A survey by NCR found 40 percent of respondents would prefer to avoid

sport to boost her fitness and develop a new look she describes as “like a Barbie doll but with more muscles.”

3K

Mn, Gu

8

It even goes beyond interior design. As Mental Floss noted, many airports are also adopting more unorthodox methods of finding preflight serenity like adding spas, yoga rooms, and even therapy dogs to their terminals.

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LEGAL

VOICE OF ASIA 15

Section 2

Email: voiceasia@aol.com

FRIDAY, November 17, 2017

The People’s Lawyer

EB-5 Visa A Great But Costly Option

www.peopleslawyer.net

Non-refundable deposit may be enforceable Richard M. Alderman Interim Dean of the Law Center

Q. If I cancel a retail purchase, in this case furniture, within the 72-hour cancellation period, does the store have the right to keep my deposit? The contract does state that the customer shall forfeit the deposit to the store. A. First, unless a store expressly gave you three days to cancel, you generally do not have any time to change your mind and get out of the contract. As a general rule once you sign the contract you are bound. There is a time period to cancel in only very limited cases. For example, you have three days to rescind a contract with a health spa, or in a door-to-door sale, or with a contract that puts a lien on your home. On the other hand, any contract may give you the right to change your mind and cancel, even if law does not require it. Based on what you say, it sounds like the furniture store expressly gave you three days to cancel the contract, which you did. Whether you get back the deposit, however, depends on the terms of the contract and the amount of the deposit. As a legal matter, there is nothing unlawful about requiring a nonrefundable de-

posit. If the contract states the store keeps the deposit if you cancel, my opinion is that the store may retain the deposit, unless the deposit was unreasonable. Under the law, a contract may provide for the forfeiture of a deposit, as compensation for the loss the seller may have suffered by your cancellation. But to be enforceable, the non-refundable deposit must be “reasonable.” For example, as far as I am concerned, the store could keep a 10% deposit to compensate it for the time spent on your transaction and the possibility of losing a sale. But a much larger deposit, say 50%, would probably be considered a penalty rather than compensation and not enforceable. Q. I was recently contacted by a debt collector concerning a ten year-old credit card debt. Isn’t there some time period after which they can no longer try to collect? A. This has become a very common question. It seems that more and more collection agencies are trying to collect very old debts. Under the law, there are time periods within which a lawsuit must be brought. If you delay beyond this period, the suit may be dismissed as timebarred. In most cases, a lawsuit for a credit card debt must be brought within four years of when you defaulted. Obviously, it has been much longer than

that. This means that if the debt collector filed a lawsuit, you could have it dismissed. It does not mean, however, that the collector may not contact you to ask that you pay. Even though the company may no longer sue, you still owe the money. Until the debt is paid, the creditor or debt collector may try to collect. In my opinion, as long as the company does not harass, threaten, or abuse you, it may request that you pay a timebarred obligation. Under federal law, however, you may stop all contact by sending a letter demanding it stop all future communication. That should end the matter. Look at the debt collection on my website listed below. Q. I am an hourly employee. I always put in eight hours a day and do my job well. Now my employer says he expects us to work overtime as well. Can I be fired for not working over-time?

Court Holds U.S. Retailer Accountable for Promoting Piracy by Selling IPTV Streaming Devices with Unauthorized Channels

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NGLEWOOD, Colo., Oct. 11, 2017— A bankruptcy court in Florida has ruled that Amit Bhalla, a retailer of IPTV streaming devices with unauthorized channels, cannot use a bankruptcy case to shield himself from monetary liability for copyright infringement. In 2016, the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California issued a permanent injunction halting the unlawful distribution of television content from programmers CCTV and TVB on TVpad devices. DISH Network, which has exclusive rights to distribute much of CCTV’s and TVB’s content in the United States (including through its Sling TV OTT service), and CICC, an affiliate of CCTV, were also plaintiffs in that underlying

lawsuit, which began in 2015. The plaintiffs alleged that the manufacturers and distributors of the TVpad device set up a pirate broadcasting network designed to stream CCTV and TVB channels without authorization. The court ordered manufacturers and distributors of TVpad to pay $55 million in damages to DISH, TVB, CCTV and CICC, and the injunction prohibited retailers from distributing, advertising, marketing or promoting TVpad and comparable devices that deliver CCTV’s or TVB’s copyrighted content. Rather than accept responsibility for his actions, Amit Bhalla chose to file for bankruptcy in an attempt to avoid being held financially account-

able. Citing Bhalla’s willful and malicious conduct, the plaintiffs filed a motion for summary judgment in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Middle District of Florida. The court granted the motion, and Bhalla must now pay plaintiffs $4.4 million for copyright and trademark infringement. “This ruling sends an important message to retailers who think they can get away with profiting off pirated content: you will eventually be held accountable, and a bankruptcy filing will not protect you,” said Samuel Tsang, vice president, Operations for TVB USA. “Our hope is that, as a result of this ruling, retailers will stop selling content obtained through illegal means and instead serve their customers with legal, reliable content and devices.”

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ited or general partnerships, sole proprietorships, business trusts, or other privately or publicly owned business structures. In addition, EB-5 applicants can consider investing in Regional Centers, which administer EB-5 projects and, indeed, have become quite popular. Such investment may be more advantageous and desirable to some applicants because the investor does not have to set up the EB-5 projects independently. Disclaimer: Information in this column is meant to be general and informational; it is not intended as legal advice. Consult an attorney regarding your personal situation before you take any action that has legal consequences. BIO: Surendran Koran is an Indian-born attorney in private practice in the Houston area. He is the founder of PKS Law Firm, PLLC. He is licensed to practice in Texas, United States District Court Southern District of Texas, and in India. To contact please email: adv.surendran@gmail.com

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certain American-defined criteria. As most immigrants and would-be immigrants know, a green card provides many privileges to the immigrant on U.S. soil. In addition, obtaining a green card is a significant step toward U.S citizenship, if that is what the immigrant desires. The EB-5 option is not for everybody, as the required monetary investment will be cost-prohibitive for many folks -- if not most -- who seek green cards. USCIS rules and regulations for EB-5 set the minimum investment at a steep $1 million. If you are willing to invest in rural America or a targeted area of high-unemployment, the investment minimum is just $500,000 – still on the high end of the investment spectrum for the average person. Beyond the money itself, EB-5 investments must lead to the creation of at least 10 fulltime jobs for American workers. The jobs must be created within two years of the investor’s having received conditional permanent residency. Generally speaking, the EB-5 visa applicant can invest directly in a new commercial enterprise or in a regional center. New commercial enterprises can include corporations, lim-

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Young Life

VOICE OF ASIA 16

‘Bots battle for the ball, and the globe in Robot Olympiad

FRIDAY, November 17, 2017

Sex and violence: the roots of Mexico’s teen pregnancy problem by Sofia Miselem

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EXICO CITY, Mexico | AFP - Claudia Colimoro still remembers the day she met Rosa, a 12-year-old girl sent to the shelter she runs after being sold into sex slavery twice and getting pregnant for the second time. Rosa -- not her real name -- is one of hundreds of thousands of teens and pre-teens who get pregnant each year in Mexico, a worsening problem caused by minors having unprotected sex at an early age, but also by horrific violence against women and girls.

Two participants prepare a miniature robot during the World Robot Olympiad under way in Costa Rica, the first time the event has been held in the Americas Two participants prepare a miniature robot during the World Robot Olympiad under way in Costa Rica, the first time the event has been held in the Americas (AFP Photo/Ezequiel Becerra) by Marc Burleigh

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AN JOSÉ, Costa Rica | AFP - The World Robotics Olympiad, being held in Costa Rica this weekend, shows human athletes still have little to worry about: sweat and glory do not compute well when relegated to faceless automatons. But the same may not be true for workers, especially those in menial or transport activities where robots are steadily taking over. Think factory assemblers and sorters, or even selfdriving cars. Some of the technology behind the robot revolution could be seen in the Olympiad, which gathered more than 2,500 people from more than 60 countries in a vast hall on the outskirts of Costa Rica’s capital San Jose -- the first time the event, now in its 14th year, has been held in the Americas.

sessions. He and other tech-savvy youngsters crowded around dozens of tables -- computers or robots in their hands -- to observe. - Environmental theme At one table, a group of Australian teens fine-tuned their contraptions trying to win possession of a palm-sized transparent “soccer” ball containing a sensor. The robots were able to detect the ball, grab it while fending off rivals, and protect the goal area. Being at the Olympiad, surrounded by equally bright peers from around the world, was eye-opening for the teens. “We’ve never been to an international competition before, so it’s a new experience. I can really only compare it to the competitions we’ve had in Australia — in Australia we’ve done pretty well,” said Tiernan Martin, 13.

Pint-sized robots packed with sensors and rolling on plastic wheels showed their football skills by battling rivals on miniature soccer fields.

The competition over the weekend was being judged in several age categories, as well as in the football, university and open tournaments.

Others rolled across tables seeking out blocks of certain colors and sizes to grab and place within demarcated zones.

This year, the environment was the overriding theme -- an area in which Costa Rica is at the forefront.

It was all more than child’s play for the contestants representing their countries, aged from six to adult. “It’s so difficult,” said Hassan Abdelrahem Alqadi, 17, from the United Arab Emirates. “We have to do it in the system and make the robot take the color and go to the pieces that we want. So it’s very difficult,” he said. The teen, who hopes to be a mechanical engineer in the oil industry, admitted he had picked up tips from watching other competitors’ practice

Thus, robots had to show their usefulness in sustainable tourism (identifying protected areas), carbon neutrality (planting trees), and clean energy (seeking out the best places to set up wind turbines). - Robots ‘help humanity’ Costa Rica’s science and technology minister, Carolina Vasquez Soto, told AFP her country won the right to host the Olympiad -- hitherto held mostly in Asia -- “for the participation we’ve had in sustainability, because we are contributing to that with more and bigger resources.”

Colimoro runs a shelter called Casa Mercedes in Mexico City that takes in pregnant girls with nowhere else to go, pays for their education and helps them raise their babies if they decide to keep them. Rosa was not yet a teenager when she arrived at Casa Mercedes, but she had already been sold into prostitution twice by her own mother. Her family comes from Puebla, in central Mexico, a state with a picturesque colonial capital that belies a much darker side: it is also home to networks of human traffickers who force women and girls into prostitution. “She got pregnant from being forced into sex work, because her mother had sold her,” Colimoro explained. “The first time, she refused to believe her own mother had sold her. She ran away, went home to her mom asking for help, and her mom sold her again.”

The second time Rosa got pregnant, she was sent by a court to Casa Mercedes. As Colimoro does for all the girls who pass through her privately run shelter, she educated her about her options -- adoption, abortion or motherhood. Colimoro addressed the issue of teen pregnancy this week at Women’s Forum Mexico, a gathering of leaders and activists meant to generate creative ideas on gender issues in a country where inequality is rife and violence against women is soaring. - ‘Cluster of risk’ Mexico has the worst teen pregnancy rate in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OCDE), at 77 births per 1,000 girls aged 15 to 19.

Indian teenager kills schoolmate to postpone exams EW DELHI, India | AFP India arrested a teenager Wednesday for allegedly slitting the throat of a seven-yearold schoolmate in hopes the murder would lead to an exam being postponed, federal investigators said.

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The 16-year-old is accused of killing his young schoolmate in September at a smart private school near Delhi in an attempt to delay an impending test and parent-teacher meeting. Police had initially detained a bus conductor over the murder, claiming he killed the boy after the young pupil resisted a sex attack. But a spokesman for federal investigators said they had credible evidence against the “academically weak teenager, whose motive was to postpone the examination and a forthcoming parent-teacher meeting”. “He admitted during questioning that he wanted to shut the school to defer the exams and meeting,” Central Bureau of Investigation spokesman R.K. Gaur told AFP. The teenager, who cannot be named for legal reasons, would be sent to a juvenile detention centre until his trial for murder, he added.

Robots play soccer as young participants look on at the World Robotics Olympiad being held in Costa Rica (AFP Photo/Ezequiel Becerra)

(AFP Photo/Alfredo Estrella)

Gaur said the bus conductor would remain in custody until

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cleared by a court of any wrongdoing. The crime made national headlines and stoked concern among parents over safety in schools. India’s swelling middle class has fuelled the growth of private schools in a country where public education is under immense strain. Much prestige is placed on academic achievement and children face intense pressure to score good grades. Experts say this has aggravated stress and mental illness among teenagers. India, a nation of 1.25 billion, has the world’s highest rate of suicide. Students are particularly vulnerable. Official figures show nearly 9,000 students committed suicide in 2015. Health experts say many young people find it difficult to cope with the pressure to succeed and struggle to accept failure in examinations.

The statistic doesn’t even capture the youngest girls affected. “One in six pregnancies in this country, nearly 20 percent, are girls between 10 and 19 years old,” Interior Minister Miguel Osorio Chong said recently. Most girls who get pregnant before the age of 15 are victims of “some kind of physical violence,” he said. And the problem is getting worse. The teen pregnancy rate rose by nearly 10 percent from 2014 to 2016. Early sexual activity has played a part in the increase, said Maria del Carmen Juarez of the National Women’s Institute. But the problem goes deeper. There is also a “cluster of risk” involving crime, drugs, alcohol, physical abuse and child sex slavery, she said. - Opportunity: the best contraceptive Those are the factors that tend to be involved in the cases of girls who end up at Casa Mercedes, such as Teresa Garcia. Garcia, 25, arrived at the shelter when she was 14 years old. She gave birth to her son soon after, and has lived there with him since, studying for a law degree that she completed just days ago. She grins contemplating the new life that now awaits her. But it was not easy to get here. “When you’re that age, all you want to do is talk with your friends, go out. But I couldn’t do any of that. I had to take care of my son,” she said. In the courtyard, fellow resident Rosalba Vazquez is playing with her two kids, aged four and five. She is 19 years old, but looks younger with her slender build and face partly hidden by a curly mane of hair. She has managed to finish high school since moving to the shelter and is now studying at a private university on a full scholarship. Mexico has a teen pregnancy rate at 77 births per 1,000 girls aged 15 to 19.


BOLLYWOOD - HOLLYWOOD VOICE OF ASIA 17

Section 2

FRIDAY, November 17, 2017

Email: editor@voiceofasiaonline.com

Shakira cancels first week of concerts of her world tour

Total Dhamaal: Madhuri Dixit and Anil Kapoor to reunite on screen after 17 years

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ere’s some exciting piece of news for all the fans of Madhuri Dixit Nene and Anil Kapoor. The hit jodi of 90s is all set to be back on the silver screens in Indra Kumar’s Total Dhamaal. The duo have already given hits like Beta, Ram Lakhan, Parinda and Pukar and with them coming together again, one can expect fireworks at the ticekt windows. The director Indra Kujmar told Mumbai Mirror, “Anil Kapoor and Madhuri Dixit have been paired in Total Dhamaal which goes on the floors in January in Mumbai. However, this film is essentially a comedy so don’t expect any ‘Dhak Dhak’ but I promise total dhamaal. Anil and Madhuri have always been a great pair to work with and getting them together again is a

Doctors have ordered Shakira to cancel the concerts so her vocal cords have time to recover (File photo) ARIS, France | AFP | 11/10/2017 - Pop star Shakira was forced to cancel the first swathe of concerts of her world tour Friday because of a problem with her vocal cords, the tour’s promoters said. The Colombian singer postponed two concerts this weekend in Paris and a Belgian date on Sunday as well as a concert in Amsterdam on Tuesday “on the orders of her doctor”, they said.

opening concert of the “El Dorado World Tour” in Cologne on Wednesday, telling fans that all cancelled shows would be rearranged.

The cancellations come after the “Hips Don’t Lie” star called off the

“Shakira is really upset not to see her fans, and is thankful for all the support they have given her in this difficult pe-

P

“We regret to announce the postponement of the dates,” promoters Live Nation said. “It was under the orders of her doctor because the singer’s vocal cords are still recovering.”

riod,” their statement added. The singer is now due to kick off the tour in the southern French city of Montpellier next Thursday before a slew of Spanish concerts, which will end in her adopted home of Barcelona at the end of the month. The star, who has a reported net worth of around 260 million euros (£300 million), was this week caught up in the “Paradise Papers” leaks. According to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists she avoids tax by being domiciled in the Bahamas and has transferred the rights to her songs to companies in Malta and Luxembourg.

Hundreds join #MeToo march in Hollywood against sexual abuse

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OS ANGELES | AFP | - Hundreds of people marched Sunday in Hollywood, joining a growing movement against sexual harassment and abuse that emerged after movie mogul Harvey Weinstein and later a string of film personalities faced accusations of misconduct.

periences of sexual harassment.

Demonstrators gathered at the iconic Dolby Theatre in Hollywood -- which hosts the Academy Awards ceremonies -- to draw attention to their cause.

US comic admits to sexual misconduct

“I’m really happy to come here, because really it’s Hollywood that opened this floodgate,” Tarana Burke, who cofounded an organization called Just Be Inc., told The Los Angeles Times.

“It’s really symbolic to have this march happen, not with Hollywood stars, but in Hollywood.” Last week, comedian Louis C.K. became the latest Hollywood figure to be felled by sex abuse allegations, follow-

Protesters carried placards that read “The way I dress is not a yes!!! #MeToo,” and “Unite to fight patriarchy.”

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omedian Louis C.K. admitted sexual misconduct and expressed remorse Friday after a New York Times expose accused him of masturbating in front of women amid Hollywood’s burgeoning sexual harassment scandal. “These stories are true,” C.K. said in a statement released by his representative to US media a day after the newspaper expose from five women.

The protest comes on the heels of a surge in women and men who have gone public with the gory details of systemic sex abuse by those in positions of power in the film industry and beyond. The #MeToo campaign to denounce harassment and abuse debuted on Twitter in mid-October, with women across the world revealing their own ex-

ing producer We i n s t e i n , producerdirector Brett Ratner, director James Toback, actor Kevin Spacey and

Louis C.K., seen here in a file photo taken on September 15, 2017, says the stories accusing him of sexual misconduct “are true”

The Times published accusations from the women saying that the award-winning comic masturbated or asked to masturbate in front of them or on the telephone in separate incidents dating from the 1990s to 2005. “At the time, I said to myself that what I did was okay because I never showed a woman my dick without asking first, which is also true,” said C.K. in the statement.

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“But what I learned later in life, too late, is that when you have power over another person, asking them to look at your dick isn’t a question. It’s a predicament for them. “I’ve brought pain to my family, my friends, my children and their mother,” he said

Anil Kapoor and Madhuri Dixit (File photo) dream.”

reports the tabloid.

The director furher added that he is looking forward to release the film somewhere arounf Diwali 2018. “”The final decision on the release date will be taken by the studio we tie up with but it would be great to have a dhamaal Diwali next year,” he said,

Total Dhamaal is said to be the third film in the Dhamaal franchise. The second film titled Double Dhamaal was also helmed by Kumar. With such an exciting jodi headlining the cast and doses of comedy, this one’s definitely a film to watch out for!

Sony Pictures announces crowdfunding reality series “Meet The Drapers” slated to premiere November 19

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EW YORK, NY (October 27, 2017)— Sony Pictures Networks announced today that their upcoming crowdfunding- based reality series “Meet the Drapers” will premiere across the United States on November 19, 2017 at 6pm (ET) on Sony Entertainment Television (SET). In this innovative show, produced & directed by Sarika Batra, three generations of venture capitalists from one of the most prominent families in Silicon Valley: Bill Draper, Tim Draper, and Jesse Draper, come together to hear hot, up-and-coming startups pitch their ideas. Each episode will feature three exciting startups trying to convince the Drapers to invest in their company and simultaneously convince millions of viewers to fund them through their crowdfunding page on the Republic platform. Episodes will also feature a guest judge, who is a legendary success in his/her their respective field. Bill Draper began his venture capital career in 1959 and is one of America’s first venture capitalists. Currently, he is Managing Director of Draper Richards L.P and Draper International. He serves as the Co-Chairman of the Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation. Mr. Draper is also author of the book, The Startup Game: Inside the Partnership between Venture Capitalists and Entrepreneurs. Bill’s son, Tim Draper has been named one of Worth Magazine’s 100 Most Powerful People in Finance and is the founding partner of Draper Associates and DFJ. His original suggestion to use viral marketing as a method for spreading a software application from customer to customer was instrumental to the success of Hotmail, Skype, and others. Tim also received the World Entrepreneurship Forum’s “Entrepreneur for the World” in 2015. Tim’s daughter, Jesse Draper followed in the family footsteps, betting big on female founded and led companies through her new venture capital fund Halogen Ventures. Through Halogen Ventures, Jesse spearheads early stage seed investing in female founded consumer technology startups; some of her portfolio companies include: Laurel & Wolf, Move Loot, Carbon38, BlockCypher, Beautycon & Sugarfina. Tim Draper shares: “It is finally possible for the individual investor to participate in the funding of exciting young ventures. ‘Meet the Drapers’

ARDMS Certified Ultrasounds on Premises 713-271-2708 Methodist Sugar Land

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allows viewers to watch us interview entrepreneurs and then, invest in companies that have the potential to change the world. We are thrilled to have created a unique show, that invites viewers to become investors in exciting new startups. We’ve been blown away by the entrepreneurs we’ve met so far, and believe viewers will be too.” Guest judges for “Meet the Drapers” include successful serial entrepreneurs Naveen Jain; business executive, entrepreneur and the founder and former CEO of InfoSpace, Vivek Ranadive; founder and former CEO of TIBCO, a multimillion-dollar real-time computing company, and Jyoti Bansal; founder and former CEO of AppDynamics, which he sold to Cisco for $3.7 billion. “South Asians are a vibrant part of the Silicon Valley startup culture.” said Jaideep Janakiram, Head of the Americas at Sony Pictures Networks. “We created this show to showcase these trailblazing entrepreneurs, VCs and angels, and to allow SET viewers to participate in their ventures. Pitching companies will be accepting investments via Republic – a leading equity crowdfunding platform that makes startup investing available to anyone. Republic is the easiest way to become an investor in breakout earlystage startups for as little as $10. To participate in crowdfunding for selected ventures, viewers are encouraged to watch “Meet the Drapers” on Sony Entertainment Television every Sunday at 6pm (ET), starting November 19th, 2017. About Sony Entertainment Television: Sony Entertainment Television (SET), one of India’s leading Hindi general entertainment television channels is a part of Sony Pictures Television (SPT) backed Sony Pictures Networks, which is India’s leading television network. Since its launch in October 1995, SET has created a unique space for itself in the Indian Television industry. Pioneering new waves in television programming, with blockbuster movie premieres, big format non-fiction shows and an impressive array of fiction shows like Sabse Bada Kalakar, Super Dancer, The Kapil Sharma Show, Indian Idol, Kaun Banega Crorepati and a few oters. n total, SET influences over 332 million viewers in the Indian sub-continent, and the South Asian Diaspora worldwide.

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VOICE OF ASIA 18

Voice of Asia

FRIDAY, November 17, 2017

Section 2

Life expectancy up 10 years thanks to better lifestyles: OECD

HEALTHY Introduction to Diabetes and its complications

H

ealthier lifestyles and higher incomes have helped increase life expectancy in the 35 OECD nations by 10 years in the past half century, according to a report published Friday.

glucose levels to rise while the rest of your cells are deprived of much-needed energy. This can lead to a wide variety of problems affecting nearly every major body system. Manjula Raguthu MD,FAAFP,ABAARM

The OECD’s ‘Health at a Glance 2017’ report said the average life expectancy throughout the group of countries -- which includes the US, Canada, Australia, Japan and most EU nations -- now stands at 80.6 years, an increase of more than 10 years since 1970. “Healthier lifestyles, higher incomes and better education have all contributed to boost life expectancy in recent decades,” the report said. “Better health care has also helped”. The longest-living are the Japanese and the Swedish, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development report. Life expectancy at birth in those two countries was put at 83.9 years, with Spain and Switzerland not far off on 83 years. At the other end of the scale of the OECD countries is Latvia, with a much lower life expectancy of 74.6 and Mexico on 75 years.

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Healthier lifestyles and higher incomes have helped increase life expectancy in the 35 OECD nations by 10 years in the past half century consumption were halved, life expectancies would rise by a further 13 months, the research found. A main driver of the higher life expectancies has been steadily increased spending on health care, the OECD said, while pointing out that the growth has slowed since the financial crisis a decade ago. “Health spending per capita has grown at around 1.4 percent annually since 2009, compared to 3.6 percent in the six years up to 2009,” the report’s summary said. - US leads on health spending -

However, while some factors like a decline in smoking rates and higher health spending have helped achieve these figures “there has been little success in tackling obesity and harmful alcohol use, and air pollution is often neglected,” the report warned.

The US tops the list for health spending per capita -- at $9,862 (8,470 euros) per year, more than double the OECD average -- but the report points out that the benefits are derived not just from how much money is pumped in but how effectively it is used.

If the rates of smoking and

“Reducing wasteful spending

is key to maximise the impact of public resources on health outcomes,” the report says, pointing to the increased use of cheaper generic drugs in some countries -- including the US. Health spending per capita was also relatively high in Switzerland, Germany, Sweden and France, where it totalled 11 percent or more of GDP. The report also warns against the overuse of antibiotics. Obesity remains a major problem with more than half, 54 percent, of adults in the OECD countries overweight and nine percent obese. “Obesity rates are higher than 30 percent in Hungary, New Zealand, Mexico and the United States,” said the report. On the plus side, fewer people are dying following heart attacks or strokes and across the OECD countries, five-year survival rates for breast cancer are up to 85 percent and just over 60 percent for colon and rectal cancers. (AFP)

iabetes increases your risk for many serious health problems. The good news? With the correct treatment and recommended lifestyle changes, many people with diabetes are able to prevent or delay the onset of complications.

Diabetes can be effectively managed when caught early. However, when left untreated, it can lead to potential complications that include heart disease, stroke kidney malfunction, and nerve damage. Normally after you eat or drink, your body will break down sugars from your food and use them for energy in your cells. To accomplish this, your pancreas needs to produce a hormone called insulin. Insulin is what facilitates the process of pulling sugar from the blood and putting it in the cells for use, or energy. If you have diabetes, your pancreas either produces too little insulin or none at all. The insulin can’t be used effectively. This allows blood

Types of diabetes The effects of diabetes on your body also depends on the type you have. There are two main types of diabetes Type 1 and Type2 also called juvenile diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes, is an immune system disorder. Your own immune system attacks the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas, destroying your body’s ability to make insulin. With type 1 diabetes, you must take insulin to live. Most people are diagnosed as a child or young adult. Type is related to insulin resistance. It used to occur in older populations, but now more and more young populations are being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. This is a result of poor lifestyle, dietary, and exercise habits. With type 2 diabetes, your pancreas stops using insulin effectively. This causes issues with being able to pull sugar from the blood and put it into the cells for energy. Eventually, this can lead to the need for insulin medication. Earlier phases like pre-diabetes may be effectively managed with diet, exercise, and careful monitoring of blood

sugars. This can also prevent the full development of type 2 diabetes. Diabetes can be controlled. In some cases it can even go into remission if proper lifestyle changes are made. Gestational diabetes is high blood sugar that develops during pregnancy. Most of the time, you can control gestational diabetes through diet and exercise. It also typically resolves after the baby is delivered. Gestational diabetes can increase your risk for complications during pregnancy. It can also increase risk of type 2 diabetes development later in life for both mother and child. Dr. Manjula Raguthu has been a family physician for 26 years. She is specialized in Obstetrics and Gynecology. She is a member of the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Medical Association, American Physicians of Indian Origin, Texas Academy of family Physicians and American Anti-Aging Academy. She takes a holistic approach to health, uses Bio identical hormones and integrative therapies to achieve optimal health for her patients. Visit www.medwinfamily.com for more details.

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November is National Diabetes Awareness Month

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enters for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Seema Verma discussed her vision for the future of Medicaid and unveiled new CMS policies that encourage states to propose innovative Medicaid reforms, reduce federal regulatory burdens, increase efficiency, and promote transparency and accountability during a plenary session at the National Association of Medicaid Directors (NAMD) Fall Conference in Arlington, Virginia. During her first major speech on the subject, Verma noted that when the federal government established Medicaid, it was intended to be a partnership with state governments to care for society’s most vulnerable citizens. With the growth of the program over the last several years came increased federal and state spending, which naturally meant increased federal oversight and regulation, said Verma. “Our vision for the future of Medicaid is to reset the federal-state relationship and restore the partnership, while at the same time modernizing the program to deliver better outcomes for the people we serve,” said Administrator Verma. “We need to ensure that we are building a Medicaid program that is sound and solvent to help all beneficiaries reach their highest potential.” Verma emphasized her commitment to “turn the page in the Medicaid program” by giving states more freedom to design innovative programs that achieve positive results for the people they serve and pledged to remove impediments that get in the way of states achieving this goal. She announced several new policies and initiatives that break down the barriers that prevent state innovation and improvement of Medicaid beneficiary health outcomes: Web Site Updated: CMS updated Medicaid.gov to give states a clearer indication of how their reform strategies

might align with a core objective of the Medicaid program: serving the health and wellness needs of the nation’s vulnerable and low-income individuals and families. The revised web site content signals a new, broader view of Section 1115 demonstrations, in which states can focus on evidence-based interventions that drive better health outcomes and quality of life improvements. The update signals CMS’s willingness to work with state officials requesting flexibility to continue to provide high quality services to their Medicaid beneficiaries, support upward mobility and independence, and advance innovative delivery system and payment models. In a significant shift from prior policies, in speaking about the new approach to Section 1115 demonstrations, Verma emphasized the agency’s commitment to considering proposals that would give states more flexibility to engage with their working-age, able-bodied citizens on Medicaid through demonstrations that will help them rise out of poverty. As Medicaid has expanded to ablebodied individuals, the needs of this population are even more imperative, she said. During her remarks, the Administrator made it clear that CMS will openly consider proposals that promote community engagement and work activities. “Every American deserves the dignity and respect of high expectations and as public officials we should deliver programs that instill hope and say to each beneficiary that we believe in their potential,” said Administrator Verma. “CMS believes that meaningful work is essential to beneficiaries’ economic selfsufficiency, self-esteem, wellbeing, and health of Americans.” CMS released several new policies that improve federal and state program management, specifically through improvements in the review, approval process, and monitoring of 1115 In addition, the policies will improve how waivers and demonstration projects are monitored and evaluated. Waivers

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

and demonstration projects that are less complex and have been running smoothly will require much less reporting, and waivers and demonstration projects that have a good track record of producing positive results will find an easier path to renewal. In her remarks, the Administrator underscored that these new policies were intended to relieve the regulatory burden on states, avoid increasing administrative costs for taxpayers, and refocus time and resources on improving the health outcomes of Medicaid beneficiaries. Creation of First-Ever Medicaid and CHIP Scorecards: CMS is in the early stages of developing Scorecards that will provide greater transparency and accountability of the Medicaid program by tracking and publishing state and federal Medicaid outcomes. In her remarks, Verma said that the Scorecards were a “historic opportunity” to demonstrate to taxpayers that their hardearned tax dollars were being spent appropriately. In addition, the reporting will provide validation to Medicaid beneficiaries that the $558 billion spent on Medicaid is producing positive results and improved health outcomes. To choose the right Medicare Supplement Plan, Medicare Advantage Plan or Medicare Prescription Drug Plan contac Sudhir Mathuria @ 713-7712900.


VOICE OF ASIA 19

FRIDAY, November 17, 2017

LIVING

Email: voiceasia@aol.com

Tel: 713-774-5140

Shingles: What you Frequent alcohol drinking kills new brain cells should know in adults, females are more vulnerable

longer considered infectious. Pain is another common debilitating symptom of Shingles. Approximately 75% of patients develop prodromal pain in the dermatome where the rash erupts. The pain can be described as burning, throbbing or stabbing sensation. Approximately 10 to 15 percent of all patients will develop post herpetic neuralgia which means pain persisting beyond four months from the initial onset of the rash. Individuals older than 60 years account for 50 percent of these case. Sensory symptoms can include pain, numbness, dysesthesias, and allodynia (pain precipitated by movement) in the affected dermatome.

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ALVESTON, Texas (Nov 9, 2017) — Researchers from The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston recently discovered that alcohol killed the stem cells residing in adult mouse brains. Because the brain stems cells create new nerve cells and are important to maintaining normal cognitive function, this study possibly opens a door to combating chronic alcoholism. The researchers also found that brain stem cells in key brain regions of adult mice respond differently to alcohol exposure, and they show for the first time that these changes are different for females and males. The findings are available in Stem Cell Reports. Chronic alcohol abuse can cause severe brain damage and neurodegeneration. Scientists once believed that the number of nerve cells in the adult brain was fixed early in life and the best way to treat alcohol-induced brain damage was to protect the remaining nerve cells. “The discovery that the adult brain produces stem cells that create new nerve cells provides a new way of approaching the problem of alcohol– related changes in the brain,” said Dr. Ping Wu, UTMB professor in the department of neuroscience and cell biology. “However, before the new approaches can be developed, we need to understand how alcohol impacts the brain stem cells at different stages in their growth, in different brain regions and in the brains of

Zhou, Jing, MSN ,FNP-C

Herpes zoster vaccination can deby Jing Zhou Image: Adobe stock. both males and females.”

are created in adults.

In the study, Wu and her colleagues used a cutting-edge technique that allows them to tag brain stem cells and observe how they migrate and develop into specialized nerve cells over time to study the impact of long-term alcohol consumption on them.

They also noted that female mice showed more severe deficits than males. The females displayed more severe intoxication behaviors and more greatly reduced the pool of stem cells in the subventricular zone.

Wu said that chronic alcohol drinking killed most brain stem cells and reduced the production and development of new nerve cells.

Using this model, scientists expect to learn more about how alcohol interacts with brain stem cells, which will ultimately lead to a clearer understanding of how best to treat and cure alcoholism.

The researchers found that the effects of repeated alcohol consumption differed across brain regions. The brain region most susceptible to the effects of alcohol was one of two brain regions where new brain cells

Other authors include UTMB’s Erica McGrath, Junling Gao, Yong Fang Kuo, Tiffany Dunn, Moniqua Ray, Kelly Dineley, Kathryn Cunningham and Bhupendra Kaphalia. (- UTMB at Galveston)

Bill Gates giving $50 million for Alzheimer’s research

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ASHINGTON | AFP | Monday 11/13/2017 - Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates announced Monday that he is investing $50 million to fund research into treatment for Alzheimer’s disease. Gates, in an entry on his blog, said he was making the investment from his personal fortune and not with his charitable Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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aricella-zoster virus (VZV) infection causes two distinct forms of disease clinically. The Primary infection with VZV is called Chickenpox which is characterized by development of different stages of vesicle lesions on different part of body such as face, trunk, and extremities. The second infection is caused by reactivation of VZV also known as Shingles. Shingles is characterized by a painful, unilateral vesicular eruption in a restricted dermatomal distribution.

The rash of shingles starts as erythematous papules which can evolve into grouped vesicles quickly.

CDC estimates that approximately 30% of people in the United States will experience zoster during their lifetimes. Shingles infection affects 1 million individuals annually causing substantial morbidity. Age is the most important risk factors for development of shingles. Other risk factors including underlying malignancy, patient with autoimmune disease, transplant patients, immuno compromised patients and patient with chronic lung or kidney disease. In addition, among person with shingles, the risk for post herpetic neuralgia (PHN) also increases with age. In one study, the percentage of patients with herpes zoster who developed PHN increased from 5% in

crease the risk of developing herpes zoster (Shingles) and post herpetic neuralgia individuals greater than 50 years of age. The United States Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommend zoster vaccination for patients greater than 60 years old. It is not necessary to determine whether patient has a history of Chickenpox or shingles prior to vaccination. However, the vaccination should be delayed for 6 to 12 month after a recent shingles episodes so the vaccine can provide an adequate booster effect. In addition, antiviral such as Acyclovia and Valacyclovir should not be administered 24 hours prior the vaccination or 14 days after vaccination.

“Of all the disorders that plague us late in life, one stands out as a particularly big threat to society: Alzheimer’s disease,” Gates said. “Scientists have yet to figure out what exactly causes Alzheimer’s or how to stop the disease from destroying the brain,” he said. “In the United States, it is the only cause of death in the top 10 without any meaningful treatments.” Gates said he was investing $50 million in the London-based Dementia Discovery Fund, a private-public venture that supports innovative research into dementia. The multi-billionaire philanthropist said finding treatment for Alzheimer’s, which affects nearly 50 million people worldwide, was particularly urgent since improved medical care meant people were living longer. He noted that his own father would soon celebrate his 92nd birthday -- “a milestone that was practically unimaginable when he was born.” Gates said there is a nearly 50 percent chance of developing Alzheimer’s for people who live into their mid-80s.

those younger than 60 years to 20% in those aged 80 years or older. Gates said he was investing $50 million in the London-based Dementia Discovery Fund, a private-public venture that supports innovative research into dementia. (AFP/File photo) “If you get the disease in your 60s or 70s, you might require expensive care for decades,” he said. “Absent a major breakthrough, expenditures will continue to squeeze healthcare budgets in the years and decades to come,” Gates said. Gates acknowledged that making progress against Alzheimer’s would be a long-term project. “The first Alzheimer’s treatments might not come to fruition for another decade or more, and they will be very expensive at first,” he said. “Once that day comes, our foundation might look at how we can expand access in poor countries,” he said.

But Gates said he was optimistic. “We’ve seen scientific innovation turn once-guaranteed killers like HIV into chronic illnesses that can be held in check with medication,” he said. “I believe we can do the same (or better) with Alzheimer’s.” The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has concentrated mainly on fighting communicable diseases such as malaria and polio in poor countries.

The rash of shingles starts as erythematous papules which can evolve into grouped vesicles quickly. These vesicular lesions can become pustular or hemorrhagic occasionally with 3-4 days. In immuno competent patients, these lesions will crust by 7-10 days and are no

Zhou, Jing MSN ,FNP-C specializes in Family Medicine. Her clinical interests are Caring for the elderly in the Asian and under served communities. She graduated from the University of Texas, Medical Branch in 2014. She is board certified with the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners. She speaks English and Mandarin.

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

IndiaCSS can provide information to India caregivers regarding the following topics: Caregiver Associations, Caregiver Support Groups, Caregiver Information & Publications, blogs, Caregiver Training, Online Caregiver Certification Programs, Training Centers, Institutes, Councils, Non-Profit Organizations, Medical Supply Companies, Assistive Technologies, Home Health Care Agencies, Caregiver Entrepreneur Assistance and Caregiver Cancer Support, Overseas Caregiver Opportunities and more.

• CAREGIVER ASSOCIATIONS • CAREGIVER CANCER SUPPORT • CAREGIVER INFORMATION & PUBLICATIONS • CAREGIVER SUPPORT GROUPS • CAREGIVER TRAINING • HOME HEALTHCARE AGENCIES • ONLINE CAREGIVER TRAINING CERTIFICATION PROGRAMS • OVERSEAS CAREGIVER OPPORTUNITIES • MEDICAL SUPPLY COMPANIES

IndiaCSS can assist India caregivers who are experiencing the following issues: • Dementia • Elder Care • Caregiver Burnout Visit us at: www.indiacaregiversupport.com support@indiacaregiversupport.com Member, IACCGH


VOICE OF ASIA 20

ART & CULTURE

First hijab-wearing Barbie to honor US fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad

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EW YORK | AFP - American group Mattel unveiled its first ever hijab-wearing Barbie doll Monday in honor of US Olympic fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad, who in 2016 became the first American Olympian to wear a headscarf while competing.

FRIDAY, November 17, 2017

New children’s book perfect for Chinese New Year/Lunar New Year “An animated introduction to Chinese culture and folklore, Christopher Corr’s The Great Race: Story of the Chinese Zodiac fuses bright colors and lively characters.” - ForeWord Reviews

The doll, part of the toymaker’s “Sheroes” collection, is dressed in fencing gear as well as the hijab.

“Corr’s vignettes and spreads blaze with color, and his folk-artstyle paintings give the figures sinuous contours and stylized eyes. Against backgrounds of contrasting colors, the animals seem to pop off the page.” - Publishers Weekly

It will be on sale online from 2018, a spokeswoman told AFP. “We are so excited to honor @IbtihajMuhammad with a one-of-a-kind #Barbie doll! Ibtihaj continues to inspire women and girls everywhere to break boundaries,” Mattel wrote on its social media accounts, accompanied by a photo of Muhammad holding the doll.

The Great Race: Story of the Chinese Zodiac

On its website, Mattel said the new Barbie is “inspiration for countless little girls who never saw themselves represented in sports and culture,” adding it hopes the doll “shows girls they can be anything.” Meanwhile, 31-year-old Muhammad described the doll created in her image as a “childhood dream come true.” “Thank you @Mattel for announcing me as the newest member of the @Barbie #Shero family! I’m proud to know that little girls everywhere can now play with a Barbie who chooses to wear hijab!” she wrote on Twitter. It is not the first time Mattel, which is currently facing financial difficulties, has honored an American Olympian with a doll. In 2016, the group released a Barbie created in the image of gymnast Gab-

US fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad described the Barbie doll created in her likeness as a “childhood dream come true” on Instagram: “Thank you @Mattel for announcing me as the newest member of the @ Barbie Shero family! The Barbie Shero Program recognizes women who break boundaries to inspire the next generation of girls and I am so excited to join this incredible group of women. I’m proud to know that little girls everywhere can now play with a Barbie who chooses to wear hijab! This is a childhood dream come true #shero” (Photo: © AFP/File) by Douglas, the individual all-around champion at the London 2012 Games. Mattel’s latest announcement comes

as The Wall Street Journal reports rival Hasbro plans to buy the toy manufacturer.

Which twelve animals were the first to cross the river and have a year named after them?

How churches were lifted to safety in communist Bucharest by Mihaela RODINA

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UCHAREST, Romania | AFP -A bit bruised but still standing, old Orthodox churches can be found around Bucharest, having escaped the frenzied demolition of the Romanian capital in the 1980s ordered by ex-communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu. At least 10 jewels of Romania’s religious heritage from the 16th to 19th centuries survived due to an engineering tour de force: they were moved and hidden away.

And why are Cat and Rat no longer friends? Find out in this beautifully illustrated retelling of the Chinese zodiac story.

Tensions over Muslim street prayers north of Paris

Engineer Eugeniu Iordachescu was head of an institute at the time that was confronted with the architectural whims of Ceausescu and his wife Elena. The couple had been impressed with Pyongyang, the North Korean capital, and got the idea to bulldoze the historic centre of Bucharest to make way for a government district dominated by a gigantic “House of the People”.

A bit bruised but still standing, old Orthodox churches can be found around Bucharest, having escaped the frenzied demolition of the Romanian capital in the 1980s ordered by ex-communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu (Photo: Daniel Mihailescu/ AFP )

The demolitions had already started when Ceausescu inquired about the width of Bucharest’s main Kiseleff road.

exterior paintings, was the first church saved in June 1982, moved 245 metres. It was tucked away behind a massive building that today houses the state’s intelligence service.

“Someone said 50 metres (165 feet), another 70 metres. Then Ceausescu said, ‘Make the boulevard 90 metres wide’. That had major implications. You had to destroy 20 metres more on each side,” recalled Iordachescu, now 88 years old.

“The sight of a church bothered Ceausescu. It didn’t matter if they demolished or moved it, as long as it was no longer in sight,” according to the capital’s former chief architect Alexandru Budisteanu.

When the engineer went out to evaluate the impact of the destruction, he was enchanted by a small Orthodox church, Schitul Maicilor (meaning the Nuns’ Convent), built in 1725. “A jewel that had to be saved no matter the cost,” he told AFP. “After months of wracking my brains, God enlightened me.” Inspired by “the waiter who carries glasses on a tray without spilling a drop”, he said he imagined a “concrete tray” built under the church. Detached from its foundations, the church was lifted and placed on rails and moved to a new location with the help of hydraulic jacks and winches. - Out of sight Schitul Maicilor, with its beautiful

“Relics that were seen (by the Communists) as forming part of an outmoded city model were to be removed.... Some churches were kept but banished to the backyards, possibly to avoid provoking the religious population,” according to the recently published “Mobile Churches”, a book of photographs by Anton Roland Laub, a Romanian photographer. Nine more churches, including seven in Bucharest, were saved thanks to the “concrete tray” method and then concealed behind the new huge communist buildings. Among them was the Mihai-Voda church, built in 1594 by Prince Michael the Brave, which endured the longest trip, moved some 289 metres. Iordachescu says his proudest feat was the moving of the Orthodox syn-

odal palace, a 9,000-tonne building, including the basement, in 1985. - A ‘priceless’ effort While some churches were saved, many more were lost. Bulldozers knocked down 22 churches between 1977 and 1987, making way for Ceausescu’s grandiose plans for Bucharest, which ultimately demolished a fifth of the capital, the legacy of the dictator executed in 1989 after the overthrow of communism. “When are you going to move that church?” Iordachescu recalled Ceausescu would say during his weekly visits to the construction sites. A simple wave of his hand could lead to the demolition of a building or an entire road. “The Orthodox Church managed to save what it could. A more radical attitude, an open conflict with the communist regime, would not have accomplished more,” the spokesman for the patriarchate, Vasile Banescu, told AFP. And how much did that rescue effort cost?“A building erected 400 or 500 years ago is priceless,” the engineer simply responded.

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LICHY, France | AFP - Around 100 local French lawmakers attempted to block Muslims praying in a street north of Paris on Friday and called on the government to ban what they see as an unacceptable use of public space. The lawmakers, led by the head of the regional government of the Paris area, Valerie Pecresse, disrupted the crowd of around 200 all-male devotees and sang the national anthem in the multiethnic Clichy suburb. “Public space cannot be taken over in this way,” Pecresse said at the demonstration alongside the rightwing mayor of Clichy, Remi Muzeau, who like other lawmakers wore a sash in the national colours of blue, white and red. Prayers in the street have taken place every Friday in Clichy since March to protest the closure of a popular local mosque that had operated in a government building. The interior ministry “must ban street prayers,” Muzeau told reporters at the scene on Friday. “I am responsible for guaranteeing the tranquility and freedom of everyone in my town.” The former mosque run by the Union of Clichy Muslim Associations (UAMC) was used by 3,000 to 5,000 Muslims daily before the mayor’s office reclaimed the building and turned it into a library. Muzeau says that local Muslims have been urged to use a new 1,500-square-

metre (16,000 square feet) mosque nearby, but many are refusing to go there. France has Europe’s largest Muslim community, estimated at around five million, and concern about the religion challenging the country’s strict secular laws was a major theme in this year’s presidential election. Muslim religious leaders complain that not enough space is made available for those wanting to attend services, but building new mosques remains controversial, with the influential far-right National Front (FN) particularly hostile. In 2011, FN leader Marine Le Pen compared the sight of Muslims praying on the streets to the occupation of France by the Nazis in World War II, leading her to be prosecuted -- and acquitted -- for inciting hatred. Abdelkader, a Clichy resident who was praying in the street on Friday, told AFP that he wanted a “dignified” place to worship, as Christians and Jews enjoy in France, and that said nobody liked being in the street surrounded by police every Friday. He also resented the lawmakers singing the national anthem during their protest. “They were singing the Marseillaise, throwing it in our faces, even though we’re French people here. We’re French. Long live France!” he said.


SPORT

VOICE OF ASIA 21

HOCKEY Canada-US ice hockey rivalry thaws as former captains have child together

FRIDAY, November 17, 2017

BOXING India’s Kom rejoices at fifth Asian Gold

hey have battled three times for Olympic gold, racing across the ice as part of women’s hockey’s most heated rivalry.

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On Monday, the former rivals – who have captained national hockey teams for Canada and the US – announced the birth of their daughter. Liv Chu-Ouellette, seven pounds and three ounces, was born earlier this month to parents Caroline Ouellette, the captain of Canada’s team at the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi and, Julie Chu, who led the American team from 2011 to 2013. “I feel truly blessed to experience this incredible adventure with my love and best friend Julie,” Ouellette wrote on Instagram. “Cheers to the sleepless nights to come!” The couple – who last season were team-mates on Les Canadiennes de Montréal in the Canadian Women’s Hockey League – first battled for Olympic gold in 2002, stepping on to the ice in the same jersey number: 13. The Canadians won gold in those games. Chu and Ouellette again faced off for Olympic gold in 2010 and 2014, with the Canadians winning both times. The decades-long rivalry continued between Olympic games, with Chu and Ouellette playing against each

Julie Chu and Caroline Ouellette with their daughter Liv Chu-Ouellette. (Photograph: Shannon Miller/Twitter) other for more than half a dozen world championship titles. In the 2007-2008 season, the pair worked together as assistant coaches for the University of Minnesota Duluth women’s hockey team. On Monday, Ouellette and Chu – who between them have eight Olympic medals – described their daughter as their most incredible blessing to date. “We have already been blessed with so many things in our life: Amazing friends and family, Love, Rep-

resenting our countries, and doing things we are passionate about each day,” Chu wrote on Instagram. Their posts sparked an outpouring of reaction online. “What Julie Chu and Caroline Ouellette have proved is that you too can live the life of an inspirational sports movie with a compelling relationship arc,” wrote one person on Twitter. Another remarked: “I can’t believe Julie Chu and Caroline Ouellette just ended the USA-Canada rivalry forever.” (-The Guardian)

BASKETBALL UCLA players held in China on way home after intervention

Indian boxer Mary Kom, pictured in 2016, makes a triumphant comeback (AFP Photo/Chandan Khanna)

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EW DELHI, ndia | AFP India’s Mary Kom made a triumphant comeback on Wednesday, taking her fifth gold medal at the Asian Women’s Boxing Championships -- a win she dedicated to those who stuck by her after many had written her off. The 2012 Olympic bronze medallist, who defeated North Korea’s Kim Hyang Mi in the 48 kilo category, told the Press Trust of India (PTI) news agency she was “really happy” at the way the championship had panned out. “I would like to dedicate this victory to all those who have supported me even though the world had written me off,” said the 34-year-old. Kom, a five-time world champion, was left heartbroken after she failed to qualify for the Rio Olympics.

The mother of three from a poor family in India’s remote northeastern state of Manipur was dubbed “Magnificent Mary” after she won her fifth world championship title in 2010. She is a member of India’s upper house of parliament and was also the subject of a popular Bollywood movie in 2014. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who nominated Kom for her parliamentary seat, took to Twitter to congratulate her on her win. “Congratulations Mary Kom for clinching the gold... India is elated at your accomplishment,” Modi tweeted. Kom told PTI it had been tough to juggle her various roles. “I don’t even know how I manage to pull it off sometimes,” she said.

TENNIS

Serena Williams set to tie the knot in New Orleans: reports

OS ANGELES - LiAngelo Ball, Cody Riley and Jalen Hill, the UCLA basketball players held in China over allegations of shoplifting, are on their way back to the United States.

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According to the Wall Street Journal, the trio were seen checking into a flight bound for LA at Shanghai’s Pudong International Airport on Tuesday. The Pac-12 later confirmed the report and UCLA said the players will appear at a news conference on Wednesday, along with their coach Steve Alford. LiAngelo Ball is the brother of Los Angeles Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball. Earlier on Tuesday, Donald Trump said he had a long conversation on the matter with his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping. “They’re working on it right now,” Trump told reporters in the Philippines as he prepared to return to Washington after a visit to Asia that included an earlier stop in Beijing. “He’s been terrific,” Trump said, in an apparent reference to Xi. On Monday, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said that three American men were being investigated in the eastern city of Hangzhou for alleged theft and that China and the US were in contact over the matter.

LiAngelo Ball (15) is the brother of Lakers star Lonzo Ball. (Photograph: Icon Sportswire/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) “China will handle this case in accordance with law and protect the lawful rights and interests of the people involved,” Geng said. Chinese authorities detained the UCLA freshmen for questioning last week about allegations of shoplifting before a recent game against Georgia Tech in Shanghai. The UCLA team returned to the US without them on

Saturday. ESPN last week reported the players could be Hangzhou for “a week or two” while the situation is resolved. ESPN said there is surveillance footage of the players shoplifting from three stores inside a high-end mall. They were questioned when allegedly taking sunglasses from a branch of Louis Vuitton. (-The Guardian)

SOCCER England hold Brazil but Neymar’s rare gifts offer Southgate a reality check ONDON - The funny thing is that until last week it had been seven years since England’s last goalless draw at Wembley, going all the way back to a Euro 2012 qualifier against Montenegro when Fabio Capello was in charge. They have now had two in the space of four days but as Gareth Southgate pointed out, that is not necessarily such a bad thing when the opposition have been the highest-placed teams in Fifa’s world rankings.

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Southgate can certainly be encouraged by clean sheets against first Germany and now a Brazil side that likes to think of itself as football royalty. England’s inexperienced line-ups have managed two creditable results against sides that will go to the World Cup with realistic aspirations of going all the way. Joe Gomez was named as the man of the match for this one and Dominic Solanke, a substitute, will certainly remember the night he won his first cap. He came on with Tammy Abraham after 75 minutes, meaning Southgate has given half a dozen players their England debuts over the last two fixtures. Unfortunately for Solanke, his touch was heavy when he had the chance to make himself a hero in the final exchanges. “Congratulations,” the on-pitch reporter gushed to Eric Dier

Ohanian and Williams, shown here in May at the Met Gala in New York, met in Rome in 2015. AFP photo. ASHINGTON | AFP | 11/15/2017 - Tennis superstar Serena Williams is used to hoisting trophies, but on Thursday, it looks like she’ll be carrying a wedding bouquet. Music royalty Beyonce and Jay Z, along with actress Eva Longoria are among the A-listers reportedly convening in New Orleans for Williams’ wedding to Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian.

Thursday morning.

People and The Daily Mail, citing unnamed sources, have reported that about 250 guests will be invited to the ceremony at the Contemporary Arts Center in the Big Easy.

They announced their engagement in December after meeting in 2015 in Rome.

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The Daily Mail said the wedding planning has been shrouded in secrecy and guests would not learn the details until Joe Hart and Gabriel Jesus compete for a high ball. (Photograph: DigitalSouthSHM/Rex/Shutterstock) during an interview directly after the match – presumably, for not losing. Yet England might actually have won the game with that late chance and without going overboard, Southgate was entitled to think it had been a useful exercise, particularly bearing in mind the nature of the Seleção line-up. This was the strongest team available to Tite, the Brazil coach, and the imbalance of talent was often a reminder why England will not be in the first pot of seeds when the World Cup

draw is made on 1 December. Neymar, in particular, could be mesmerising and England were reminded why it will be so imperative to keep the ball against the best teams in Russia next summer. It is simple really: give away the ball at this level and it can be a long time before it comes back. “We couldn’t get hold of the ball and keep it,” Southgate said. “We looked anxious with the ball.” That in itself made this a rarity: an England game at Wembley where

the opposition had more of the ball, with the more refined touches and the swagger of a side who know they are something special. Brazil lacked a penetrative edge but, even with Philippe Coutinho having a below-par night, it was still a joy at times to see the way they moved the ball. The pass Neymar nonchalantly curled into Gabriel Jesus midway through the first half, playing the ball with the outside of his boot, was just one example. Neymar does not often use his left foot but on this evidence, maybe he should try it more often.

It said the event would cost more than $1 million and guests would be asked not to bring their cell phones because an exclusive photo deal has been signed with Vogue. Williams, 36, a 23-time Grand Slam champion, and Ohanian, 34, welcomed their first child, daughter Alexis Olympia, on September 1.

Williams won this year’s Australian Open while pregnant, and is expected to defend her title in Melbourne in 2018 -just four-and-a-half months after giving birth to her baby girl.

His next attempt to release Jesus was another beauty. Neymar’s shooting could be wild and the half-time announcer even had the temerity to poke fun at one of the misses, with the shot replayed on the large screens. Just a bit of fun, perhaps, but Neymar was operating at a much higher level than his opponents, as demonstrated by his exquisitely delivered nutmeg on Jake Livermore and the umpteen step-overs with which he tormented the same player later on. It is not often Wembley hosts one of the world’s categoryA footballers. (-The Guardian)


HOROSCOPE

VOICE OF ASIA 22

FRIDAY, November 17, 2017

Your Horoscope for the Week of November 17, 2017 READ YOUR COMPLETE HOROSCOPE

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

ONLINE WWW.VOICEOFASIAONLINE.COM

Libra (R,T) 23 Sept to 22 Oct

Aries (A,L,E) 21 March to 20 April You need some patience. Use these valuable virtues to get you through others’ moods. Those around you may start the week with enthusiasm, then lose their way in the process. You can get others to do things for you if you use your charm. Dealing with awkward people may test your patience. Try to keep your workload to a normal level, no more long hours. You need your rest, even if you see yourself as too tough to quit. Soothing music or easy reading can make you more comfortable.

The intuitive and psychic perceptions you receive from many sources. An intense conversation could be important to you. Re evaluate your past, try to bring out your best qualities, set aside your insecurities. Communications & understanding will increase greatly. Plan outings with family or friends with fun filled conversation. Your knowledge & good sense will help more than you expect. Competition could help your team, especially if you approach it in a positive manner.

Scorpio (N,Y) 23 Oct to 21 Nov

Taurus (B,V,U) 21 April to 20 May The flow of energy will be different, it will be cheerful due to good news you will get either for yourself or your family members. A new Partnerships or engagement possibilities. This is not just about romance; it can also be about friendship and professional partnership. Your involvement with family situation could prove to be very interesting. You may want to watch what you say, though. Your words could be misinterpreted. Your intuitive insights and healing energies can be used positively to help others.

New dynamic cycle of change that is about ready to begin. Unpredictable events may disrupt your routine greatly. You may find it hard to get a clear response from a coworker, mate. You need the information & you need it now, but somehow it may not be forthcoming. Try asking again, with finer delicacy. It may just be that, there’s more here than meets the eye. An act of kindness or gesture of caring can melt the resistance and get you what you want. Your generosity could also put you in the poorhouse.

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

Gemini (K,CHH,GH) 21 May to 20 June There will be balancing in your emotional stability. You don’t have to accept whatever comes your way, but neither should you reject innovation as a matter of course. You may also have the gift of being able to push others in the direction you want them to go. You understand how to use the energy of the team, and this enables you to stretch a dollar with great success. Take some time out to do things with children. You may just find they really need more than you imagined. Try not to lose your patience, support will work better than criticism.

It will be time of getting yourself organized. Your life has been far too busy lately. Try not to sweep your problems under the rug. Expect disagreements with your partner if financial irresponsibility has left you in a tight spot. The key might be to set limitations on each other’s spending habits. Perhaps you were supposed to take care of this situation long time ago. Slow down and deal with it now. Then you’ll get this problem behind you forever. If you want to make long term plans, make sure you share them with those who will be affected.

Capricorn (KH,J) 22 Dec to 20 Jan

Cancer (D,H) 21 June to 22 July You are ready to take on challenging work. Your job may demand that you pay attention to every detail. You prefer to deal with the big picture. A close friend or partner could get on your nerves now. They may be worried about a minor matter that frustrates you. Don’t allow your emotions to make decisions for you. It may cause trouble to control your actions or re-actions. Your emotional well-being will depend on how well you deal with a recent family situation. Don’t take on more responsibilities than you can handle.

You may feel sleeping disorders, although it’s temporary, try to listen peaceful music in the night, it will surely help you out. You will be ruled by Responsibilities & getting back to basics issues. You need to have a conversation with one who wants to hang on to your generous hospitality, forever. Some uncertainty may cause you to take time to make decisions. Your ability to work through complex situations can come in very handy. You need to eliminate distractions and get straight to the heart of the matter.

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

Leo (M) 23 July to 22 August You may face some Stressful domestic & personal affairs. Spend time by yourself if at all possible. Your usual cool may not be evident and your emotions could be extreme. Erratic behavior may cause isolation. Allow others to do their own thing. When communicating with children, try to put yourself in their position. It’ll help you take a fresher perspective on the whole situation. You’ll experience a growing awareness of who you are and what you need. By the end of the week, you should have a much clearer sense of where you stand.

You will need to have different approach like…. Partnerships, teamwork & working towards your mutual goals. You know it is impossible to accomplish anything if you try to do it alone. Bring your leadership qualities to the surface & help organize your mutual efforts. Arguments with family or friends may really set you off. Try hard not to instigate unnecessary friction with anyone. It would be best for you to stay put & avoid conversations that are controversial to start with. Follow your basic instincts & you’ll do very well.

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

Virgo (P) 23 August to 22 September Emotions will give you visions to see in the past events. You may be able to see & analyEmotions will give you visions to see in the past events. You may be able to see & analyze much more than the rest of us. You’ll be able to tap into this part of your psyche with little effort. Your perspective will allow you to notice the big patterns that often may be lost in the shuffle of day-to-day life. Children & loved ones may be on your mind more. Try to get more involved in organizations that help children who are experiencing difficulties. You have much to offer & will gain greatly by the experience.

Read your Weekly Horoscope Online

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Promises of business or financial opportunities may surface up. You may also have to deal problems with authority figures that could lead to confinement or delays. Your imagination can help you come up with some high profit ideas. Even you still have things to learn. Taking part in a class or workshop is one way to help this happen. Make sure all of your personal papers & data are in order. Pay close attention to detail & don’t put serious issues on the back-burner. If you see the challenge as a puzzle, you’ll be able to put the pieces together.

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CLASSIFIEDS

VOICE OF ASIA 23

FRIDAY, November 17, 2017

PET of the WEEK JOHN WAYNE - ID#A007125

I need a loving home

Shelter staff named me JOHN WAYNE. I am a neutered male, blue merle Australian Cattle Dog. The shelter staff think I am about 9 years old. I have been at the shelter since Sep 08, 2017. For more information about this pet, call: City of Sugar Land Animal Services at (281) 275-2364

Tips for Choosing and Using Your 2018 Medicare Health Plan

6213 Skyline Drive, Suite 2100 Houston, Texas 77057

Photo source: (c) Viacheslav Iakobchuk/stock.Adobe.com

It’s that time of year again: The Medicare Annual Election Period (AEP) began Oct. 15 and runs through Dec. 7. Medicare is a critical source of health care for millions of Americans who are age 65 and older and for younger people with certain qualifying disabilities. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) sets this time for people eligible for Medicare to select or make changes to their plans for the following year. For people with Medicare, there is nothing more important than maintaining physical and financial independence. The right health care plan can help. It can ensure you have access to fitness programs, preventive services, engaged doctors, maintenance medications and transportation, all at an affordable price. That’s why it’s so crucial for Medicare consumers to consider their health and budget needs as they evaluate their health care options for 2018. “Choosing a plan isn’t as simple as just keeping the one you had last year or looking only at the monthly premium costs,” says Brian Evanko, who leads Cigna’s government programs, which include Cigna-HealthSpring. “The goal should be to choose a plan that best meets your individual needs. It’s important to find the right balance for you between benefits and af-

fordability.” To help you choose a plan and get the most from it, consider these five tips: 1. Make a list of your priorities and health care needs. Focusing on prevention? Keeping out-of-pocket costs low? Staying active? Needing dental, vision or hearing coverage? Seeking comprehensive prescription drug coverage? Take time to evaluate plan options according to your health and financial goals. 2. Know your network. Many plans offer choices with a network of doctors. Navigating the health care system can be complex, timeconsuming and costly. Without the right support, you can feel very alone. That’s why it’s critical to surround yourself with a team of providers who are committed to getting to know your needs and to meeting them through open communication and care coordination. The primary care physician serves as your quarterback, directing your care through a network of like-minded specialists. 3. Take advantage of preventive care benefits. Medicare plans offer many preventive health benefits. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 100,000 lives could be saved each year if everyone received recommended pre-

ventive care, which often starts with seeing a doctor for an annual check-up. So go to your doctor, know the health screenings you need for your age and get them to take control of your health. For more information about preventive care, visit www.cigna.com/ takecontrol. 4. Stay active with fitness benefits. Exercise is essential to healthy aging. Original Medicare doesn’t cover gym memberships or fitness programs, but some Medicare Advantage plans offer such benefits as part of their coverage at no extra cost. 5. Use no-cost resources to help pick the right plan. CMS’ Plan Finder helps you compare costs, covered medications and other items. Many insurance plans offer seminars at no cost and with no obligation to sign up. You can also check health plans’ websites or call customer service for more information. Local and state agencies on aging also connect older adults and caregivers with community resources. As you weigh the options, Evanko offers this advice: “It’s worth it to take the time to set your priorities and see how plan benefits stack up. Only then can you choose a plan that really helps you get the most from it and reach your goals.” - (StatePoint)

MANAGEMENT TIP OF THE WEEK Plan Ahead for Your Post-Retirement Career Are you ready to leave behind full-time corporate life for a variety of part-time roles — board seats, adjunct professorships, consulting, or writing? Before you make any big life changes, know what you want from your post-retirement career: Is it flexibility and less travel? The opportunity to give back? A clear view will make sure you choose the right opportunities to pursue. Also, get some relevant experience under your belt. If you want to serve on boards, join a few before you leave your full-time job. If you want to write, be sure you’ve published before you make the leap. Without a track record of success in a certain area, good opportunities will be hard to find. Lastly, be prepared for a slower pace. After years, or decades, of full-time work — the incessant intensity, immediately returned phone calls, in-the-moment demands, and urgent decisions — many executives are surprised to find the pace of portfolio life so much slower.

Source: www.hbr.org

sphilip@llppc-law.com

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Voice of Asia e-paper November 17, 2017  
Voice of Asia e-paper November 17, 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...

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